Tag Archives: short fiction

Daily Review: The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack II

Amazon Review

By Mae Clair

The author deals with death, afterlife, loyalty, survival and loneliness and weaves those emotions into cleverly constructed fast-paced short stories.

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. Read More Here…

 

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It’s a Draft

I put in the effort today. I needed to pick a project and focus on it, so I limited myself to just one thing. I added about 4500 words to The Enhanced League and finished it.

It's a draft with flaws, and it needs some help here and there, but it exists now. I can address the issues in the editing phase.

So what is it? It's a story about an alternate baseball league where anything goes. This includes performance enhancing drugs, aluminum bats, lasers that call balls and strikes, and more. I borrowed pages from my Experimental Notebooks, and my novel The Playground to try telling an overall story by writing a bunch of short stories, micro-fiction, and something new. There is a pinch of science fiction involved when it comes to my semi-main character too.

That something new is what I am calling anthems. They're almost like a monologue, but written in second person point of view. I think I shared one on this blog a month or so ago.

4500 words is a long day for me. Since these were individual stories, I didn't know what I had until I assembled them all. The book came together at slightly over 37,000 words. That isn't a lot, and I feel like it could use another three to five thousand.

Still, my intention all along was to make it a 99¢ special. I also have a theory that novellas are where it's at right now, so maybe it does work.

My personal goal was to make all the short pieces tell a larger story, and I did. It keeps me from my normal twist endings, but I'm okay with that. This isn't an Experimental Notebook. I still managed two pretty good ones using my semi-lead character Roger Warren.

I'm trying to celebrate, I swear, but I always wind up critiquing my own work. I poured a big glass of Laphroaig, not my usual drink, and am trying to type between bouts of throwing a squeaky bone for Otto.

I would like to work on The Yak Guy Project tomorrow, but can't. I have a Lisa Burton Radio to assemble and schedule. I also have a new one to work up a shtick on and ship to the guest author. Then there are those Storyreading Ape posts I need to write. To tell you the truth, I'm dragging my feet there, because I may have a new release to post about. Maybe I'll write May's post and deliver it. Then, if I have a new release, I can write about it for June.

Lots to think about, more toys to throw, and a nice smoky scotch to down. I'd like to see a Spring Training game for actual baseball, but there doesn't appear to be anything on right now.

My wife called and already spent all her money on the first day. Let's be honest, I knew this would happen. It sounds like they are having a great time, and I'm going to have to accept the fact that another day of spending is going to happen.

So it appears I did get some writing done. The girls are having a great time, and did spend too much money. Otto is having fun too, and whisky (without the e) is good for what ails you.

Tomorrow is all about blog work, after I call my parents. Then I need to deal with some mundane things like dirty dishes and such. It won't be that hard to resist the editing phase, since it isn't my favorite. I'll probably still dwell on things like cover art, Lisa posters, beta readers, and the whole releasing a book strategy. I promise not to initiate any of it though.

I wish I could share it with my critique group, but I may be on the verge of losing the group. We've been together for years, but three of the members stepped out. We got one new member, but now we're having trouble scheduling the meetings. We skipped February all together. My beta readers for Enhanced League are going to be more important than ever.

The Enhanced League needs time to ferment. A couple of weeks of being ignored will give me a new perspective on the whole thing. It may also give me time to finish The Yak Guy Project.

Yak Guy is next, with no new projects until it is a draft too.

Talk to me tonight. Did you do any writing today? What do you think about novella length works? Would you rather be at the Mall of America with my wife and daughter?

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The saga of today

I've been waiting for some news all day. It never came, and so the post I had planned will have to wait for another time.

My wife works at a hospital, and her holiday time has to be shared. She got today off, but has to work tomorrow and Monday. My instructions were to entertain Otto, the dog, for a few hours so she could sleep in.

We had some degree of success with what I call poodle time. It involves him zoning out in my lap and leaving my poor wife her one day to sleep in.

I spent a little bit of time playing pumpkin ball, and since the squeaker has been tusked to death, it makes a quiet toy now. (There on the floor in the picture.)

The sun came up, but at five degrees it didn't seem to make much difference. The world was covered in pogonip. This is a Nevada/Indian word for what everyone else calls hoarfrost.

It really is beautiful, and I spotted a great horned owl in one of the trees around town. I couldn't get a shot of him without too many branches in the way, so you'll have to imagine how wonderful it was. The screens at the local baseball diamond were like thin sheets of ice twenty feet tall.

We decided to spoil Otto by taking him to the pet store. He chose a couple of squeaky bones, and a furry football. Then we stopped by Whole Foods and my wife grabbed a pair of lobsters.

Quiet night indoors for us. New Years Eve has been called amateur night by many, and it's a good time to stay off the roads.

I got a new X-Box for Christmas, and we decided to play with it tonight. Not much fun there. Umpteen jillion megabite downloads are required, and it's been pretty useless so far. I've never owned a gaming system before, so this came as a surprise. Then the controller needed an update, then each game needs an update…boring.

I managed a bit of short fiction, and that has to count as my victory today. That's only a writing victory, and the dog, the pogonip, the nice dinner with my wife are bigger victories.

Hope you are all having a nice New Year's celebration, and be careful out there.

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A few loose things

I watched old movies, played with an app, and wrote another short piece. I also ordered some promotional material that I can use during some future promotions. I’ll address all of them in sections.

The new app simply allows me to take a photo and add text to it. All of the ones I’ve tried so far are kind of burdensome to use. This one is even worse, because it doesn’t allow me to squeeze it into a vertical shape, it simply flows beyond the box and doesn’t show everything I typed. I have other apps that work better.

Sometimes it’s nice to make up an image for a pinned tweet and get a few more words by making them part of the photo. Still, I made this and it might give some of you a chuckle.

I spent some time with my old mentor, Sir Alfred Hitchcock today. Since Halloween is on a Monday, they decided today was a good day for a film festival. I caught some of Vertigo, watched all of Psycho, and turned it off when The Birds came on. I think The Birds had a great concept, but failed to deliver. No doubt there are people who disagree with me, but that’s my opinion. I wish one of these outfits would rediscover Rope, I loved that one.

Psycho was ground breaking in its day. It was the first one that showed murder so brutally. Hitchcock was known as the master of suspense, but he drifted into horror territory with this one. (Aside: I could sure see Jamie Leigh Curtis’ face in some images of her mother.)

Psycho started kind of an arms race. Prior to this, monsters lumbered, howled, and threatened. I believe this was the catalyst of all the gore that’s come to be expected in the horror genre, and I think that’s what eventually killed it off. If Psycho were to be made today, Bates would have had sex with Janet Leigh’s corpse before dismembering it (Requiring power tools that are deafeningly loud), and possibly eating the evidence.

I kind of wish we could go back and erase all the blood and gore from this genre. That’s why I try to include a bit of suspense, but leave the rest out.

I broke down and used a coupon to order some promotional stuff for the next time I decided to do a push. Maybe people don’t want another gift card or ebook, but something unique will garner more attention. Maybe not, but I’m going to find out.

Finally, I wrote this thing. I don’t exactly know what to call it, but I’m calling them anthems. I am looking for input as to what they actually are called. They are from a narrator’s POV and use second person perspective.

I had another of my crazy thoughts, and intend to include them in my collection of short stories called The Enhanced League (TEL). They have nothing to do with the stories, but they might be fun to break things up. I like the idea of between three and half a dozen of them. TEL will be about a futuristic baseball league. Some characters will recur in the stories and some are one shot wonders.

Anyway, I don’t know how to solicit your input without sharing one, so here goes nothing. It’s draft material, but will give you the idea. Let me know if it’s too crazy to live, or has some merit.

Anthem #2

The Hardest Day

 

You took the wife and kids to the ballpark more religiously than most folks go to church. For you, it was church. Didn’t matter if it was blazing sun, or frosty nights, you were there.

Your wife was the life of the party. Everyone knew her, and she always seemed to draw the television camera the way she stood and led cheers. You wound up on the kiss camera more times than you were comfortable with.

You named your son after a Golden Glove winning shortstop. When the team travelled, the two of you played catch in the backyard and practiced that shovel toss to second base.

The kids grew up, and your wife passed away. Some of your old buddies from the trucking company bought your seats for a game or two when you didn’t have someone to take you. It wasn’t much, but the money helped pay for your meds.

Your son took you to a few games, until his own kids started playing sports. Now they spend most of their time kicking soccer balls around. Your daughter and her new husband took you once, but it felt like meeting your new step-parent.

Finally, the day arrived. You offered up your seats and sold them for five figures. The guys from the trucking company were pissed, but they couldn’t pay going rate.

You thought you were going to have a stroke. You sold out, Buddy. You sold a piece of your soul that day. You worried that you might have cursed the team somehow.

You wanted to give them to your kids, but they couldn’t have cared less. Your son-in-law would have sold them too and used the money to bet on horses.

So here you are, in assisted living with no family around. You bought the league pass and get every game on your new big-screen television. The old farts come around to watch, and they seem to be enjoying the team as much as you do. You finally admit the air conditioning doesn’t ruin the experience.

You’ve seen more games this year than the last three combined. Your doctor even approved a beer, provided you only have one. You never told him about the hotdogs Mrs. Corrigan brings. A hotdog never killed anyone anyway.

It was the worst day of your life, the day you sold the seats, but none of this would be possible if you hadn’t.

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Let’s check the reviews

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.

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“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.

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Time for some street-team help

First a little locator to help you all find your way:

My newest book, “The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack II” is available for presale right now. This is another collection of short stories and micro-fiction with an unusual bent to them.

It will deliver on August 31st, and it’s probably best to wait for then before taking on any kind of blog tour. That way I can take advantage of those spur-of-the-moment sales, because the book delivers immediately. This isn’t a cruel thought process in my mind, because the book is only 99¢. Less than a pack of gum.

Because of the price, I don’t want to hire an expensive blog tour, or spend a ton of money on it. I think my royalty per sale is something like 35¢. The goal here is to share some stories, have some fun, and maybe build curiosity in my larger body of work.

What I’m looking for is people who would like to host me, or my assistant Lisa, on their blogs. I’m willing to custom write the pieces depending on what you think your regulars would appreciate.

The normal topics are inspiration, characters, the difference between short stories and novels, that kind of thing. Excerpts are hard to deliver, because these are all short stories and micro-fiction.

For Lisa’s appearances, I commissioned two new pieces of art. One relates to pulp science fiction, and the other to pulp horror. She can deliver a poster for your blog and talk about her role in helping me write. She can get into other topics if you prefer.

So my plea today is: Who wants to host either Lisa Burton the robot girl, or me as part of a cheap blog tour? If you do, what kind of topic would you prefer? I have a few weeks to write them up and get them delivered.

I have my keyboard all ready to go. Lisa has the biplane all fueled up and a roll of posters waiting. I even changed my banner to reflect that. Most of my regulars have my email address, and new folks are welcome to volunteer in the comments.

For the rest of you, every little bit helps. The simple act of retweeting my pinned tweet about the launch, or adding it on Goodreads is very helpful.

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Today is the day

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.

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