My second Experimental Notebook got its own review too. I’m so glad everyone is enjoying these stories.
Tag Archives: science fiction
A wonderful new review for The Playground. Actually, it would be fun to see one of my stories turned into a feature film.
The Playground by C. S. Boyack
My review follows the authors blurb found on Amazon.
“The hottest new toys of the Christmas season are the Playground Network dolls. They contain a worldwide social network for children. Except the network is controlled by a ruthless businessman with dreams of power. To reach his goals he turns to the occult. Will our children make up his personal army? Could we have an enemy soldier in every home? Gina Greybill is a cancer survivor who stumbles into her own brush with the paranormal. She wants nothing to do with it, but may be the only one who can bring down the Playground Network. To do it she’ll have to embrace her new situation, and recover the next generation of Playground software. There is competition for the software in the form of a brutal thug named Clovis. He’s bigger, more ruthless, and more experienced…
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Don’t touch that dial, you’ve landed at Lisa Burton Radio, the show where we bring you the fictional characters you love. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and my guest to day is Dr. Samuel West from the Book of Lost Doors Series, by Misha Burnett.
“Welcome to the show, Samuel.”
“Thank you for having me, Lisa.”
“My sheet says you are a pale surgeon. Tell us what that involves.”
“I am a devotee of the Vital Art. Throughout human history art has always been other-directed, which is to say that human race modifies its environment to produce a given aesthetic effect. The Vital Art—still, to be admitted, in its comparative infancy—internalizes the artistic drive.”
“You lost me.”
“My canvas, my clay, as it were, is the human form itself. Utilizing modern surgical techniques and a few specialized refinements—the… cutting edge, as it were—I transform my patients into living works of art.”
“Oh sweet mother of robotics! Are there others out there like you?”
“It is growing artistic movement within what might be termed the subterranean community. For a number of purely practical reasons we eschew publicity. Law invariably lags behind technology as I am sure you’re aware.”
“Tell me about it. Being mechanical is not a crime, people!”
“There are, at present, two main schools within the Pale Surgeon movement. The older and more representational Dead Man’s Shoes Society, and the Ten Teacups, of which I am a member. Without going into the rather… esoteric philosophical differences between the schools, suffice to say that as part of the Ten Teacups I feel that all organic life can and should be used as models in the transformative process, echoing, in fact, the evolutionary process. Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny, you know.”
“Let’s back up a second. When you say “transformative” what exactly do you mean? Transforming into what?”
“Into themselves. Some might say ‘more than human’, but I believe that humanity, itself is interpretive. Does one become other than human by having tattoos? Pierced ears or lips or nipples? Does alloplasty negate humanity?”
“Of course not. The human race has always embraced body modification as a form of self-expression, from filing teeth and facial scars in the earliest human settlements in Olduvai. We merely expand the limits of the canvas.”
“And Keith Morgan? What did he want to be transformed into?”
“You still with me, doc?”
“How do you know that name?”
“I’m a journalist, Dr. West. I research things.”
“Yes. I see that you do.”
“So tell me about Keith Morgan.”
“That was a commissioned piece. In today’s world, unfortunately, art must sometimes toil in the vineyards of commerce.”
“You cut off his head and replaced it with a closed circuit TV set.”
“The modifications were considerably more extensive than that. He became, in fact, a full functioned telefactor. Artistically, I will admit it was rather crude—not a portfolio piece at all. Technically, however, there were some unique challenges—particularly since I was operating on a very tight schedule.”
“Operating for Agony Delapour, in fact.”
“I am not in the habit of revealing the names of my patrons.”
“Your long association with Delapour & Associates is a matter of public record, doctor. West Medical Transport, the ambulance service that you own, has a very lucrative contract with Bellona Staffing, which is owned by, who? Delapuour & Associates. I see also that you were listed as personal physician for a number of key D&A personnel, including Agony herself.”
“I won’t deny that I was—at one time—associated with Delapour & Associates. I am no longer.”
“Getting back to Keith Morgan—did he, or did he not consent to the procedure that you performed on him?”
“I did not agree to be on your program to discuss Keith Morgan.”
“No? Then let’s talk about John Cabot.”
“I have no comment.”
“You vivisected the man and used his internal organs to build a coin operated fortune telling machine.”
“I think this interview is over.”
“Like Keith Morgan, you operated on John Cabot without his consent. Also, while working for Delapour & Associates. Under the direct orders of Agony Delapour herself, is that not true?”
“Good day, Miss Burton. Thank you for your time.”
“You’re not getting rid of me that easy, doc! The public deserves the truth about Delapour & Associates! Doc? Hello, are you still there?”
“He hung up on me. What a turd, oops, I mean twit. Thank you for tuning in to Lisa Burton Radio. The story of Dr. Samuel West is a matter of public record. You can read all about it the Book of Lost Doors Series, by Misha Burnett.
“Don’t forget to click the sharing links at the bottom of this post. They help keep the lights on around here, and can help bring Dr. West’s story to the attention of the general public.”
Misha can be found at the following places:
Regular readers know that I’ve had my new book out on a blog tour lately. I try to reblog the posts as a way of supporting my hosts. I hope they pick up some new followers along the way.
Part of setting up this tour was the decision not to request specific dates. These hosts are all friends, and in many cases they have specific things that occur on their blogs. These might be Wednesday Wander, Thursday Doors, or any number of fun things. I don’t want to disrupt them, so I asked for a selection of dates at their pleasure. This means that some days along the tour I may have a blank, and others may double up.
I’ve waited until midday, and haven’t spotted a tour post to share, so I’m going to make one up. The tour is for The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack II. Since the reviews are starting to come in, I thought it would be fun to snip some lines from them and share them here. Maybe one of the reviewers will whet your appetite for some shorter fiction.
“This is a spectacular collection of short and micro fiction. I really enjoyed the author’s first “Experimental Notebook” but this one is superb. The blend of stories from sci-fi, to paranormal and even horror, is an entrancing mixture much like strolling through a sideshow carnival and goggling at all the curiosities. Some of these stories will make you think, a few might make you squirm, but all will have you applauding at how deftly they’re delivered…I have my favorites. From the pulp-type Last Flight of the Rocketmen to the cleverly executed Documentary and oddness of Magpies (just to name a few), there is something here for everyone. Best of all, you can easily enjoy them in small doses or all at once. My absolute favorite is Holo-Barkers, a brilliant little piece that I still find myself grinning about.”
“It is hard to choose favorites for I enjoyed each story for a different reason. The following are just a few that lingered in memory after reading, although each story was well done. ‘Magpie’ was narrated simply, yet it conveyed a touch of the macabre as the predatorial birds gather waiting for a woman to die… ‘Night Bump Radio’ DJ Pete Rogers runs a late night radio show from a trailer parked on land that has a mystical history. Callers talk about things live to air, the things that go ‘bump’ in the night. As, Pete chats to his callers, what appears to be interference is heard on the line. That interference continues, becoming clearer and more audible with each call he takes. I don’t want to spoil this for anyone, so suffice it to say that I’ll be listening more acutely tonight when I close my eyes. This story was chilling… These speculative pieces hold something for everyone, and have left me eager to explore more of this talented authors work.”
” In THE EXPERIMENTAL NOTEBOOK OF C. S. BOYACK II, we are treated to a wide variety of Boyack’s talents, which include the sci-fi, horror, and paranormal genres. It’s clear these stories came from an active and creative mind, and it’s difficult to pick a favorite; each story is more entertaining than the next. But if I have to give a shout-out to one, it’s “Practical Geology.” I’m pretty sure that one’s going to stay with me for a while. If you enjoy any of these genres, you’re going to want to give this collection a try.”
“Boyack has written another great collection of short stories. Each one drew me in and had me waiting for twists that did not disappoint. A lot of them have a science fiction and horror vibe, which keeps a great theme going throughout the collection. Even with the similar genres, every story has a unique voice and atmosphere. I would say my favorite is ‘Inheritance’ because of the multiple voices. It’s longer than many of the others, but it keeps you locked in and wondering what is going on. There is definitely an eerie mystery to that I remember long after I finished reading it.”
“I read the author’s first Experimental Notebook, and really enjoyed it. But I liked this one ever better. C.S. Boyack’s ability really shined through. I’m amazed by his level of creativity. For an author to be able to write in so many genres, from speculative fiction to paranormal to crime, he has talent galore. The EXPERIMENTAL NOTEBOOK II starts off with a bang with FEVER. Loved that story!!! I also loved THE LAST FLIGHT OF THE ROCKETMEN, which really surprised me, actually. I’m not usually a fan of spaceship anything, but the voice of the story was so well done I couldn’t stop reading it.”
“If you’re looking for a collection of short and micro fiction, don’t look past this one. C.S. Boyack excels at maintaining pace, giving us characters we can root for, and stories with loads of creativity. Highly recommend.”
“The second Experimental Notebook by C. S. Boyack is another adventure into some entertaining and downright genius short stories. The beauty of most of the stories is they grab you right in the beginning and then lead you down a path you never expected. It is a path that you are glad you traveled but where it comes out is an unusual surprise. Several of the stories were my favorites (it is hard to pick a favorite). The inheritance brought to mind the classic Victorian story with a sorry ending. Last Flight of Rocket Man was ingenious in its characterizations and story detail. Night Bump Radio was my most favorite but have to confess I was a radio jock in my youth. The scenes were well drawn, and the accuracy of the studio functions was impressive.
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a variety of stories with a consistent quality of writing and spirit of surprise.”
“Boyack has an imagination like no other. His short stories are always well written and uniquely different, the attention to detail second to none. Such a wide variety of interesting topics, full of memorable characters. Every time you think you have a favorite story, you find another one!
You won’t be able to put this book down until you have read them all, and still want more.”
“I read the first Experimental Notebook of C S Boyack and when I saw this second volume, I had to read it. The author didn’t disappoint. The collection contains short stories of varying length and genre, ranging from tales that chill to experimental fiction to sci fi and more. It wouldn’t feel right to pick a favourite, as they’re all good for different reasons, and many leave you thinking about them long after you’ve read them.”
There you have it; a sample of the kind of reviews the Second Notebook is getting. It’s priced at 99 cents, and is performing well. If you think these kind of stories might appeal to you, I’d appreciate you checking them out. Halloween is coming soon, and some of them make great spooky reading.
Welcome to the party, but I hope this isn’t your first stop. There have been prizes and fun posts all month long. There is a prize today too, and anyone can win. It isn’t limited to club members. I’m giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card. This is an E-card so it will be delivered via email. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment. I thrive on comments anyway, so leave as many as you like.
There are several Grand Prizes to award after the tour ends, so leave those comments and get in the running for those too.
I volunteered to close this party out, but there is a method to my madness. I know some of you are packing bright shiny new gift cards of your own. I’m going to try talking you out of 99¢. There could be alcohol involved. You see, today is a very special day.
When you do a pre-release sale, you get to have two announcement days. The first one is when the pre-release starts. Today is the second one. This is the day the book delivers. Those first few sales really help as far as the Amazon lists go, so don’t be shy.
My second Experimental Notebook is a collection of short stories and micro-fiction. They are speculative in nature, with a little science fiction, a little paranormal, and one that might pass for fantasy.
This time, there are two stories with no speculative element. So I made sure to have extra stories. Those who only want speculative stuff are getting more than what I included in the first Notebook.
I was in a pulp mood when I wrote these, so some of them reflect that style of fiction.
Here is the link for The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack II.
My hope is the Notebooks will appeal to the lovers of short form fiction, but also serve as a gateway to my longer works. If you’ll take a glance to the right, my two most recent titles have their own linked images, and there is a slideshow of all the titles.
We might as well talk about what you can find here. The right hand column includes the most popular recent posts, the categories I post under to help filter my posts, and a chance to follow my Facebook page. It’s kind of new and could use some help. Those of you who write speculative fiction might enjoy the Idea Mill category.
If you take a look at the top, there are several pages on this site. You can find out more about me, get a free Lisa Burton paper doll, (My attempt at swag since I produce ebooks), and participate in Lisa Burton Radio.
Lisa is my personal assistant, and the spokesmodel for Entertaining Stories. She’s also a robot.
She’s heading out on a world tour after this party to help promote the newest Experimental Notebook. Today she’s generously volunteered to tend bar, but refuses to open the bar until I tell you about her radio show.
Lisa is my fictional character. She has a place on this blog where she interviews your fictional characters. It’s been pretty popular and several of the RRBC members have taken part. If you want to participate, the page at the top includes an email address to make contact.
Her show has its own blog category and you can check a few of them out in the sidebar.
Now, Lisa’s downloaded the Savoy Cocktail Manual into her internal drive, and she’s been watching video of flare bartenders. She’s excited to show off her new cocktail skills. Don’t be shy, and we have clean towels in case of an accident.
Have fun, ask questions, leave a comment to get in the drawing, get tuned up and buy my new book, and let’s party.
It’s noon here in Idaho, and we just cracked two of the Amazon lists. I’m so excited you guys. Thank you so much.
I'm back at the campground after a day of trooping around. I took some cool pictures to share with everyone, and they get my creative juices flowing. They were taken with my phone, so quality might vary.
We got to Craters of the Moon National Monument while it was still cool this morning. If I were more dedicated, I would have gotten there for sunrise when the light is best for photography, but sleeping in was nice too. Since there are photos, I'm going to break this into two posts to spare you on loading time.
As we drove over, my wife turned on the radio. My truck displays the song title, but only has so many characters. Sometimes a title runs off screen. We started our day laughing like idiots at this:
Yeah, we're that kind of couple.
We stopped off at the visitor's center to get a map. We wanted to see as much as we could. My wife walked the puppy while I stopped inside.
They had those neckerchiefs with some kind of plastic sand inside them. You soak it in water, it swells up and acts like a swamp cooler. I bought one for Otto, and it works great.
Speaking of Otto, the canine ambassador for the bulldog breed had fun greeting people outside the visitor's center. I held the leash so my wife could use the restroom. People stopped, pictures were snapped, and his little butt wiggled like crazy.
This volcano involves continental drift, and plate tectonics. The hotspot that caused all this is now under Yellowstone National Park. This doesn't mean Craters is out of the woods. It appears to erupt every 2000 years. That's the blink of an eye in geological terms. It's actually 100 years overdue.
This volcano acts more like the Hawaiian kind. It leaks, it fountains, it leaves behind interesting features. There are multiple lava flows from various eruptions. I think the surface of Yellowstone must be harder than Craters, because there is one hell of a caldera in Yellowstone. It's more like the Cascade volcanos that atomize everything with a huge explosion.
Great is subjective, but I'm talking about the new asphalt and touched up picnic tables. Craters of the Moon actually looks like this:
I'm an old desert rat from way back. I find beauty in desert environments. This old tree could be a marker along some journey a character has to make. An author could make it resemble something, it wouldn't have to look exactly like this.
One of the tricks to a place like this is to “look small.” The vistas are wonderful, but sometimes the more interesting thing is right under your nose. This kind of lava flows, makes a skin on top, and flows again. It leaves some interesting features:
It actually looks like roots or some kind of wood. Does anyone else see the monstrous fingers of some beast woven together?
Maybe your character is following up some local legend, finds this and decides the monster is no more. Oh how wrong he is…
This stuff even forms what looks like knotholes.
I thought this one was pretty interesting. Lucifer's taffy pull anyone. Again, you have to look small or you'll walk right over this kind of thing.
The NPS seems to have it in for cute bulldog puppies. We brought his leash and harness, bags to clean up after him, and even a wagon in case the rocks were too hot for his feet. Every trail is paved, but no dogs are allowed. I had to limit myself to the short trails and hurry up while my wife watched the puppy.
She really doesn't get into this like I do. I'm kind of a volcano junkie. She was content with the beautiful vistas and blue skies. Let's look at one of the broader images. I took several, but this is where the iPhone has its limits.
Nearly a hundred miles of razor sharp rocks. In some cases the rubble is the size of a pickup truck and piled so tightly you couldn't walk through it in a million years. If you tried, you'd need extra boots, bandages, and some decent insurance.
Does anyone get the idea of Mordor here? Check out this next one for a closer image of the rubble.
This window formed as one of the cinder cones collapsed over the centuries. Random thought: need a fantasy obstacle? How about a Wind-Doe? The cinder cone reminded me of the surface of the asteroid in the movie Armageddon.
I took a short trail to look down a cinder cone. Check this out:
This hole is about 30 feet deep. The lava fountained, when it cooled it left the hole behind. Vermithrax Pejoritive was the best dragon name ever. Can you see this as the opening to her den? Can you see this whole area of devastation surrounding her den?
Walking back, the sun was shining perfectly into this small hole. It's as deep as my arm. (Sorry about the shadow in the image.) Is this where the mechanism to the hidden door is? Maybe the first volunteer has a bad encounter with a rattlesnake or a scorpion.
NASA trained astronauts here for the moon landing. They gave up when it proved too tough. Those with “The Right Stuff” couldn't handle it. Lava fields don't actually resemble meteor impacts anyway, but it gives you an idea of how harsh this area is. It's also filled with little yellow sulfur butterflies and wild flowers.
This environment can work in many kinds of stories. Imagine running for your life in this kind of place. You might just say, “Go ahead and cut my throat it will be more merciful.”
Captain Jack and the Modoc Indians hid out in a similar place in Northern California. They evaded the US Cavalry for years by using secret trails, and lava tube caves. The trail to the caves here was over a mile (each way) and that isn't fair to Otto or my wife. We enjoyed the vista from the trailhead and moved on.
There is also an area where the lava flowed over trees and left perfect casts of them when they burned out. Mt. Vesuvius did something similar to living humans.
These environments are real places. That adds credibility to your fiction. Need to look for old Snuffy's secret gold mine? Maybe your Western needs an impenetrable robber's roost. Need an area of devastation around your dragon's den? How about access to the underworld in your Greco-Roman fantasy?
Maybe you need an alien planet. I'm sure landing here would damage your space ship.
I've been getting back into pulp stuff lately. Someday, I might write one about a lost world. This would be a great place to follow the map and find the entrance. It would be easy enough to discover some dinosaur remains that looked like those ropy lava flows. What world building skills would you take from a place like this?
I reduced the size of the pictures and I hope that made them easier to load. Tomorrow's post is going to be from here, it's going to be completely different, but still allow for some speculation. I'll tag them under the Idea Mill category if you want to find them again.
Well, it's one of the days. My newest book The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack II is now available for purchase on Amazon. It's a pre-sale, and the books will deliver on August 31st. That is the other day.
I wanted to do a short pre-sale, but Lisa my robotic assistant must have messed up. Let's talk about the actual book.
This is similar to the first Experimental Notebook, in that it's a collection of short stories and micro-fiction. It's also similar in that it's priced at 99¢.
I decided to make the alchemy wheels into a kind of theme. The first Notebook has one, this book has two, and should there be a third volume it will have three wheels. That way the covers are similar, but also unique.
This book has some science fiction, some paranormal, and one that barely qualifies as fantasy. I love fantasy, but don't write quite as much of it. It also has two stories that don't have any speculative element. I've taken to writing short stories and micros in my spare time, then stockpiling them. When I have enough, I bundle them into a notebook.
Part of me worried about including some tales that didn't have the speculative element in them. So this book has more stories than the first one did. That way, you get the same deal and can consider those stories as free extras.
I revisited Pete Rogers, who first appeared in Will O' the Wisp. He's all grown up now, and trying to make a life for himself. I also revisited Jason Fogg, the fellow from the first notebook who can turn himself into fog. In this story, Jason is investigating a fishy situation.
This book has a few stories that are a tribute to the pulp era as well. People usually think of crime fiction, or romance, when they think of the pulp era. There were plenty of pulp science fiction and horror stories too, and I hope I did them justice.
The stories are also experimental, thus the titles of the books. I tested out the epistolary style in one story, and even tried a longer monologue to relay one story.
The first notebook included an intermission where I address the reader. It proved to be popular, so I did it again in the new book. I suppose it's become a theme now too.
So there you have it. For 99¢ you get fifteen conveniently sized stories. Perfect for coffee breaks, commuter busses, or when those Pokemon are just too elusive. You also get an excerpt from the ever charming Clovis right out of my last novel, The Playground. At that price, even if only one trips your trigger, I think readers are getting their money's worth. If they all ring true, it's a steal of a deal.
Early sales are important, because they credit on the day the book delivers. That can help me get onto one of the Amazon lists. Please consider pre-ordering and helping out. I included the link up above, but I'll include it again in a convenient tweet worthy paragraph:
Pick up the newest Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack on presale today. It's a steal at 99¢ http://a-fwd.com/asin=B01KENADN6
I just tested it out, and there's even room for your favorite hashtags. Simply copy and paste.
I planned on working on more short fiction today, but I need to address some other things. I need to track down a Goodreads librarian and add the book over there. I should put it in my blog sidebar, make some Twitter worthy art to promote with, and assemble my street team. I'll probably turn on the street team bat-signal on Wednesday, but I can write the post today.