Tag Archives: reviews

So I missed a few things

Going on vacation will cause you to miss some things. I really didn't go through my reader while I was gone. I tried to read back, but you guys are pretty prolific.

In the real world, my friends do things outside my sight. We don't share every waking moment, so I choose to look at it like that. I will pick up my blog reading from this point on. If I missed something important, let me know and I'll try to get to it.

I hit it hard on Lisa Burton Radio today. I got one scheduled for Thursday, and worked on three others. I'm about two ahead, but Lisa always needs guests so don't be shy.

I read the children's book I tried to read on the airplane, and posted a nice review. The Big Cheese Festival has a nice message about bullying, and I can relate to it because of my grandchildren.

I grabbed a copy of Unseen Motives, by Joan Hall to read next. I really need to keep up on this stuff, but I feel like I'm getting caught up now.

While I was at Amazon, I decided to check my own progress and found a wonderful five star review of The Playground. Thank you, Don Massenzio, so glad you enjoyed it.

I have to go back to work tomorrow, so I may knock off for now. I may even play a video game.

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Ready for the work week

My last day at the office was Wednesday. I have to go back tomorrow. Admittedly, I took this time off to pay my debt as an author. This might come as a surprise to many of you readers, but it will make sense to the authors out there. I'll try to give the rest of you a glimpse into the secret club today.

I need proofreaders, critique groups, beta readers, blog hosts, and reviews to make my books a success. There isn't a kind of shop where you can go get all of that. Being self published is often a matter of supporting your hobby without going too far into the hole. The big dream is to turn a profit someday.

The truth is you can pay for many of those services, but it gets kind of expensive after a while. This is why we all tend to help each other. At a bare minimum, we are a fresh set of eyes who can spot the difference between hear and here in a manuscript. It's hard to spot these kind of things in your own work. There are also times when we know exactly what we're describing, but readers aren't getting that vision. Different eyes will raise a red flag at these points.

I take advantage of this kind of help, so it's important to provide it in turn. We don't typically share project for project. It's more like a pool of authors who will do what they can – when they can. I rarely get the same people from project to project, but in the long run – they are the same group.

Most of my time off was spent paying my authorly debts. The rest was spent on other duties, just like at the workplace. I'm proud to say I finished my last authorly project at about 1:30 today. Then I hauled off all the fruit tree branches, and declared myself done.

I feel a bit like that guy at the top of the post, but I also feel pretty darned good about it. I got to read some awesome stories, some for a review, some as a beta reader.

The good news is that my metaphorical office is clear. On my next day off I can return to my own novel. I'm kind of excited about it to tell you the truth.

I'll spend the rest of the evening catching up with most of the blogs I neglected to read. After that, it's off to bed early enough to go to my workplace all fresh and ready for work.

One of these days I'll have to take some time off for the sake of time off. It could happen, someday.

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Keeping up with my blog responsibilities

The blog tour is off and running for the Second Experimental Notebook. You probably noticed the reblogs around here. I think it's important to support those who are supporting me. I will say that every stop on this tour is custom written, and not a simple post that is moving from site to site. I did that to keep it interesting, and also to show my hosts a degree of respect.

I've been circling back and participating in the comments on those posts, and will be doing that for the next couple of weeks.

I've noted here before how I think a blog is more than just a place to reblog whatever I find online. I owe it to my followers to produce some original content at the same time. While all of this has been going on, I have been keeping busy behind the scenes.

Like most weekends, I started with a task list. I won't bore you by typing it out again, but here is a selection of what I've worked on this weekend. I made my first post over at Story Empire. This is the collective effort I posted about a few days ago. The post is about my use of living documents, if you want to check it out.

I assembled and scheduled three posts for the next few days. There are so many authors in my circle with new books coming out it's pretty exciting. Some of them will be visiting here to tell us about their projects. I also worked on various passes of three different Lisa Burton Radio posts.

I got a couple of requests for review copies of the new book and got those sent out. Helen Jones, who is hosting me today, was the big winner of the blog party contest from last week. I figured out how to send her the Amazon Gift Card and got it sent out too.

Sean Harrington is sharing the other Lisa Burton poster on his DeviantArt site today. I think the world of this artist, and encourage you to visit him and check out his gallery. He's interested in doing more cover work, and is affordable and versatile.

My wife and I managed a simple date night at a new place we haven't tried before. Very nice experience at Barrel 55 on Eagle Road. They also had a pumpkin beer on tap, so happy happy. Part of date night involved a trip to the Boise Co-Op where I grabbed a few different pumpkin beers to try.

I made a tour through various social media, and shared things as appropriate. When I finished I wound up with a few hours to myself.

I opened up the short story I've been working on, and added a thousand words on Sunday. Today I finished it with about 1500 more words. This one is called Welcome to the Freak-Show, and came in at about 8600 words. This is on the long side of what I consider a short story, and I think there is room to make it bigger. This is part of my Enhanced League project about a baseball league that doesn't care about performance enhancing drugs. (Still debating the hyphen in the title.)

I also wrote another piece for this collection. It came in at 530 words. To tell you the truth, I don't know what it is. It's kind of a monologue where the speaker is talking to you. It isn't exactly second person point of view, but it's close. It's almost an anthem kind of piece, and I shudder to think it might be like spoken word poetry. I avoid poetry like the plague. I have no idea whether it will stay or go, or whether it has any merit at all. I almost need to have someone who doesn't know baseball check it out to see if it motivates or not. I will say that I heard Tommy Lasorda's voice repeating the words as I typed it.

I kind of want to write another one, but think I should do some editing on this one first. Not too bad, approximately 3000 words of new fiction, several blog posts, and a bunch of other work finished.

Aside from that, there was Otto play, and I picked some of my Asian Pears. They were green and bitter about ten days ago. They are so juicy and sweet today. In fact, I think I should go have another one right now.

I'll be supporting my hosts for the rest of this tour, and there will be a Lisa Burton Radio post this week. I also gathered enough info for another Idea Mill post. I may hold back on that until I get to the middle of the month.

There are five reviews on the New Experimental Notebook, and I hope to get some more by the end of this week. I probably don't have to tell you how important reviews are to authors. If you liked the Second Experimental Notebook, or any other author's book, a simple review means the world. Even if it only includes “I liked it” in the comments. This is because Amazon's machine doesn't read them, it only counts them up. When we get enough reviews, Amazon will push it out to more people.

It was a great weekend. It wasn't as busy and manic as the last one when I was trying to get the book out. I got to visit with more bloggers and even found a few hours to write. Back to the paycheck job tomorrow.

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Kind of Tired…

The blog party was a huge success. Thank you all for participating and making my book release into a fun event. We cracked a few of Amazon’s top 100 lists for a little while.

I’ve already gotten two reviews on The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack II. They were both five stars and mean the world to me. I love finding out which stories resonated with readers. The first Experimental Notebook was drawn along with the new release. There were several sales and some new reviews there too. That was a pleasant surprise.

There was a ton of work leading up to this event. In the past weeks, I’ve written 13 blog tour posts and delivered them to my hosts. Those will be coming out in the next two weeks. My job now is to watch for them, and participate in the comments they receive. I’ll also try to reblog them and support them on social media.

I also took up Chris Graham, the Storyreading Ape, on his offer for guest posters from September through December. It was work to fit it all in, but I delivered all of my posts prior to the deadline. Chris has a large footprint, and I felt like it would be a mistake to pass the chance up.

That’s only a small part of what I’ve been up to. There are other projects that I’m not ready to pull the veil back on just yet. It’s been a lot of work, and I’m looking forward to dialing it back for a few days. I can’t afford to tone it down for any longer.

This doesn’t mean I’ll be idle. I have a collection of Lisa Burton Radio posts in various stages to work on. I also went to critique group last night, and have my submission to spruce up.

I’m thinking about some advertising options over the next few months. Timing is the big thing to consider. A few more reviews might be helpful before I run an Amazon campaign for the second Notebook. Several of my novels have a Halloween flavor to them. I may run an Amazon giveaway, or a free day for those. Watch this space.

Finishing my tasks this weekend shouldn’t be that tough. I may try to weave in some actual writing somewhere. It’s a three day weekend in the USA, so there might be time.

Lisa is taking off as part of this blog tour. She’s talking with several hosts and dropping off her posters. I should probably help her clean up the writing cabin after the big party.

Lisa Burton

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Chipping away at things

I allowed myself to sleep in this morning. I think I could have lasted another hour, except for my wild alarm clock. There was a duck quacking right outside my window. It's kind of funny when you think about it. I still got to sleep in, but it is what it is. What do you think possessed him to come in my yard and act like that? I expect this out of the tiny birds, but waterfowl should be better behaved.

When I got up, my daughter was already downstairs. Saturday is usually my best writing day, but this Saturday was going to have to be a compromise.

I managed to get my wallpaper changed for May. It is a little bit cramped on my iPad, but it looks great on the Mac. I'm going to assume it looks great on PCs and laptops. I'm sure it never looks good on phones, but I can't help that.

I assembled next week's Lisa Burton Radio post, and it promises to be a fun one. I also spent some time working on future posts in this arena, and it looks like I'll be able to keep it going for a while.

I checked my sales page, and it looks like a few more sales recently, and a few pages read. The sales are mostly due to the Wild Concept sale, but there are a few Experimental Notebooks, and Playgrounds mixed in. The pages read are mostly The Playground.

I received a couple of invitations, and need to ponder them. I love challenging assignments, so I'll have to see what I can come up with here. I have about a third of one in mind, and maybe my Muse will show up and inspire me for the rest.

I found a great new 5 star review for Experimental Notebook. The reviewer said, “Mr. Boyack must be a strange man. I like the way he thinks.”

You know, I probably am a strange man, because this quote gives me great pleasure. I've been cracking up about it since last night. Besides that, 5 stars is awesome! Reviews have been really hard to get lately, so I'm thrilled.

I played around a bit more with my art app. I'm getting a big kick out of messing with the blog banner. I have a bunch of ideas, but not a lot of talent. We'll all find out together if I can pull it off.

I spent some time surfing around for stuff to use in Lisa's artwork. It seems like I have more ideas than money to get the art made. This round is so I can stockpile stuff to use on the blog, Facebook, etc. I have other ideas for specific book promotions. I consider this to be research, but it isn't totally unpleasant. There are a lot of retro pinup models online these days. It kind of makes me want another antique car. I used to have one I took to car shows in the last century.

Other than that, I haven't been very productive. The new issue of Heavy Metal arrived the other day, but I haven't taken the wrapper off yet. My wife wants to take me for beer and pizza tonight, so that's good. I know it's her plan to trick me into shopping for shirts at the mall. I need some new short sleeve shirts, and beer is always good. I'm going to go along with her nefarious plan, and not tell her I'm onto her.

Hope you guys are having a great weekend.

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Whew!

Is there anyone in this galaxy who doesn't know I have a new book out today? The tour was really fun, I met some new people, and we had a ton of interaction. The pre-sale period is over, they delivered today and you can simply buy a copy now. Those of you with Kindle Unlimited can read it for free.

At the risk of irritating everyone, you can check out The Playground at this link.

I'm so grateful for everyone who added it on Goodreads, bought a copy in the pre-sale, and hosted a tour spot. I'm also grateful for everyone who reblogged or shared the posts across social media. I'm thrilled about everyone who stopped and left us a comment.

I thought I might write out the whole book of heroes who loaned me their blog space. That isn't particularly good blogging, so I'll just thank my hosts again. If any of you can use my blog space, please let me know.

I'm extremely grateful for my beta readers. They spotted things that really tightened up the story. As writers, we get so close to a project that we can't see everything. Fresh eyes really help with the fine tuning.

It was a ton of work, and most of the posts were written by request. These include the Lisa visits, and several where the host challenged me to something different. Some of the items were pre-written, but even those had to be written at some time.

The good news is that these posts are saved on iCloud. In a couple of months, I can run them out with a tour provider I use, and they'll be fresh and new on those sites.

I'm tired, I'm pretty darned happy, and I'm excited for what the future holds for this book. Hopefully, the reviews will come too.

For my next amazing stunt, I'm part way through researching a different kind of ad campaign. I'll probably run an Amazon campaign too. I need to make some better promotional images to use on Twitter and Facebook. I need to submit my story to a review site or two. This stuff will make up my next task list.

Something tells me I need a day off in there somewhere first. My rotating day off is Wednesday this week, and maybe I'll just pick away at my short story for a few hours. Or take a nap, a nap sounds pretty good.

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Good things happened today.

I just made and devoured a home made Rueben sandwich. Fried things are probably bad, but sauerkraut is good, so I’m all balanced on the health meter. On the happy meter, I’m way up there.

I wrote this short story Saturday night. It amounted to about 2200, 2300 words. There is no speculative element in it, so it’s kind of an orphan. It involves a murder, so I sought some help. Sue Coletta said something polite like, “That sounds like fun.” I twisted that into, “Please let me read it.”

I knew I wasn’t entirely honest about it, but she is the best murder writer I know. Honestly read her book, Marred.

Sue read my short story, liked it, and even edited it for me. I was so excited, I lost my concentration for a moment or two. I have the iPad Pro that allows for a split screen, but I can’t open the same program using the split screen.

I never got rid of my old iPad, so I improvised. I opened Sue’s mark-up on the old iPad, and my draft on the new one. This works incredibly well. I even looked up a spelling error on the split screen, so I had three windows open at once. I just caught this one while I was working through it. Mother-load is not correct. I’ve worked at mines, and staked thousands of claims in my lifetime. A quick Google confirmed that it is mother-lode, like a lode deposit.

This also means that I owe Sue big time. I have something in mind, but I’ll have to wait to tell everyone about it.

The Yak Guy Project gained about 3000 words. I’m a little afraid that things aren’t happening fast enough for my usual readers, but this is a different kind of story. It involves a young man from the entitled generation who gets plopped into a world where all the technology is gone. Life is tough, and if you don’t do it yourself, you might starve to death. He has to get his hands dirty and everything, and I mean slaughtering chickens kind of dirty.

In this scene, he is with someone he considers less than himself. The fellow survived a war wound that left major brain damage. He can function to a degree, but needs some help with basic things too. It turns out Yak Guy Ted learns things from the invalid, and he’s about to have a revelation about himself.

There is a lot of philosophical stuff in Ted’s journey, and he is growing up in ways he should have years ago. I have no idea what genre to even plunk it in when I’m finished. I really like the idea of pride takes a fall in today’s words, and maybe there is hope for the Yak Guy after all.

Third big deal, fourth if you count my awesome sandwich. I posted some time ago about being nominated for a Planetary award. This was for my short story, Something in the Water, which came out in The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack.

It looks like the nominating period is over, and the voting starts tomorrow. I would really appreciate anyone who votes for my little story. Win or lose, the Commander is a great guy, and if we could drive him some traffic that would be great too. The voting link isn’t up right now, so I’ll post the home page where it will be tomorrow. This is the voting link.

I have to go back to the paycheck job tomorrow, but if I get time, I will update the link to the actual voting page. I’ll also try to share the link across social media as time allows.

The old dog is having a good day. The Walking Dead came back last night, and Daryl blew up some obnoxious biker thieves, Carol shot the Wolf dude, and that was all cool. I got some good work done, and I’m feeling pretty happy about things. I even gathered another five star review on one of my older books. (Panama)

I may even start another short story to carry me through the week.

 

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