Tag Archives: Spying With Lana

Just checking in

I know when all the remaining blog tour posts are supposed to go up, except for one. I've been watching to make sure I don't miss it. I want to support my supporters, and share these everywhere.

Tonight, I had this snarky thing planned, but didn't get all the research finished. I'll have to be snarky another night.

I actually sold a book on Facebook today. It's a milestone for me. I'm relatively new to Facebook, but this author asked if anyone had ever published a book of short stories. I raised my hand, and he bought a copy of Experimental Notebook.

He's known for comics and graphic novels. I'd love to do one of those someday, but I haven't got a clue how to get into that. Maybe he'll become a good contact.

Advance sales of The Playground are pretty light. I'm hoping that will change over the weekend, but the book will come out regardless. I need to figure out some cool graphics for posting on Twitter.

Tonight I assembled a final draft of a Lisa Burton Radio post and sent it to the author. Then I wrote a first draft of an even further down the trail post. It's nice having them scheduled that far out. It makes things more leisurely for those of us who work 40 hours per week.

Last week's show was the most popular post every day since it posted. I'm excited about it, because my long term stats show nearly everyone who comes here reads three or more posts while they're here. Sean Harrington drove a lot of the viewers here, but so did the folks who reblogged. Last time I checked the Spying With Lana post had 525 views and counting.

I'll honestly admit, the average interview won't get that many views, but this bit on my blog is growing, and I couldn't be happier. A new episode goes up sometime before I get out of bed tomorrow.

I'm off Friday, and I may even get back to the Yak Guy Project. I also need new wallpaper, then I have to go through my critique assignments, and keep up with blog tour comments. I'm trying not to get too ambitious with Yak Guy. I also have a short story in the works that might be a good backup plan.

Hope everyone is having a good week. See you out on the internet somewhere. Don't forget I have Facebook sites now. You can catch me there occasionally now too:

Entertaining Stories on Facebook: https://facebook.com/ColdhandBoyack

Lisa's Facebook page: https://facebook.com/lisa.burton.7121



Filed under Writing

We go Spying With Lana, on Lisa Burton Radio


Welcome to another edition of Lisa Burton Radio. I'm your host, Lisa the robot girl, and we're having a little difficulty getting through to Hogwarts. Maybe we'll play some music while we wait. I have a Runaways album that's pretty awesome.

Wait, we have a caller. “Hello, You're on the air with Lisa Burton.”

“Hi, this is Lana, calling from an empty warehouse in the middle of nowhere. First time caller, long time listener.”

“Lana, as in Spying with Lana?”

“Alas, yes.”

<Squee> “Spying has to be such a glamorous lifestyle. Beautiful locations, pretty clothes, hanging out with high rollers. Maybe knocking down the casino at Monte Carlo.”

“That's what they tell me. I'm still waiting for the glamour part to kick in. I wonder if the Agency is giving the glamorous missions to someone else behind my back…..”

“Where are you now, and what's involved with this mission?”

“Your guess is as good as mine. Today I was in a warehouse waiting to meet some guy, but he never showed up, so now I'm in a warehouse not waiting for anyone. Sean probably doesn't even know where this story is going, which he really should, since they're pretty repetitive.”

“It must be a really important mission, or the Agency wouldn't have sent you.”

“Of course! Once I battled a team of assassins on a mission to get a refund for the Chief's defective laptop. And there was the time he accidentally sent me into the middle of a rebel uprising when I was supposed to be on vacation. He also once sent me undercover to take down an arms dealer that turned out to be an employee of the Agency, but that's hardly worth mentioning.”

“Sounds to me like you're under appreciated. Still, you get to wear all those cool outfits. You know, until they get destroyed.”

“Yes, unfortunately the wardrobe department has suffered a lot of casualties on my missions. While I have been known to, er… misplace a few clothes here and there, most of the time it isn't my fault! It seems like every time a get a cute new outfit, it ends up getting ripped, shredded, or torn right off! Oh well, I suppose that as long as I stay in one piece myself on these ridiculous missions I shouldn't complain.”

“Doesn't running around naked distract you from completing your mission?”

“Oh, one get's used to it, and on some missions it can be quite helpful, as you can imagine! Unless the mission is in someplace really cold, then… well, you can just imagine that, too. Or maybe not? Being a robot, you probably don't get cold; of course, you probably don't run naked through the snow with guard dogs chasing you very often, either.”

“I'm going to order some sexy spy clothes. I could totally pull off a Lana cosplay at the next convention I attend. If it's in Vegas, maybe I'll take down a casino in your honor.”

“Wow, really? I'd be flattered! I'd be even more flattered if you'd take my place in this crummy mission while I go to Vegas, but never mind that…..”

“It looks like we have a caller. Hello, you're on the air with Lisa and Lana.”

“Hey Lana, this is the Chief with an update on your mission. You're going to get a good laugh out of this, but the guy didn't want to meet in that warehouse after all! His name is Ware and he wanted to meet you at his house! I rescheduled the meeting for tomorrow since it's about a 12 hour bus ride to his house from where you are.”

“How long would it take to get to where you are and strangle you?”

“Oh, don't make such heavy weather over such a minor mistake. Besides, the nearest bus stop is only an hour's walk away! You'll be there in no time.”

“More like three hours with all the snow outside, but what's the difference, right? It's already a lousy day.”

“That's the spirit! And don't forget, the secret password is 'Sasquatch'. Don't let anyone know.”

“This isn't a secure line, you know. It's a radio show being broadcast all over the world.”

“Really? Oh… Well, I'll call you with a new password tomorrow.” <click>

“He's going to call the radio station tomorrow isn't he?”

“Yeah, most likely. But don't worry about it. It'll probably be the wrong password anyway.”

“I heard some of your old missions have been collected into a graphic novel. What can you tell me about that?”

“I'd rather forget about most of my missions, but Sean keeps collecting them in graphic novels. The latest one is called Sweet Dreams, and it contains some of my craziest missions yet. It even has some new pages and scenes in it that readers have never seen before (and I hope I never see again)! It sometimes irks me that Sean profits from my misery, but he doesn't profit very much so I suppose it's okay.”

“I still think it sounds glamorous. Cute shoes, pretty dresses, catsuits.”

“Yeah, I'm living the dream. Say, can you wire me some money for a bus ticket? I don't have any pockets in my outfit. Actually, I don't even have my outfit anymore. It's a long story….”

“Um, yeah, no problem. I'll collect your info off the air.”


Sean Harrington is an extremely versatile artist. He creates all the Lisa Burton art for me. He also has some cool art deco pieces, and does great motorcycles and cars (and biplanes).

He made the covers for Wild Concept, and The Playground. Check out the GTO on this cover:


Spying with Lana is a funny webcomic. I'm still laughing over the time she flipped a tank; who flips a tank? It has some mature themes, and occasionally takes spy sexiness a degree further. I love all the perspective, reflections, and blur in this Lana image. The gun is pretty cool too.

You can pick up a copy of Sweet Dreams at this site. He says right up front that it's for mature readers, and it is.

This is Sean's Tumblr, for those of you familiar with that platform.

This is the site where you can hire him for book covers. He's interested in doing more, and I've found him to be reasonable, reliable, and fast. I hadn't seen this new site until now, and was pretty excited to see Wild Concept among his promo pieces.

Every artist needs a DeviantArt site. That's where I found this Art Nouveau piece. Maybe something like that is more suitable for some genres.

Keep Sean in mind if you're shopping for a cover artist. If you would like one of your characters to be on Lisa Burton Radio, check out the page of the same name at the top of my blog.


Filed under Lisa Burton Radio

Some thanks are in order

Since I released Wild Concept last week, several people have helped me along the way. I want to publicly thank them, and encourage everyone to check out their sites.

M. T. McGuire told all his Twitter followers about my book release. He didn’t have to do that, but I’m really glad he did. Thank you M. T.

S. K Nicholls re blogged my summary to all of her followers. She also made some helpful comments about book reviewers that I need to explore. This was a generous thing to do, and I certainly didn’t expect it. Thank you S. K.

Note: I published as C. S. Boyack. What is it with us writer types using our initials? M. T., S. K., and I are all initial people now.

Sean Harrington published my cover art on his Deviant Art site. He included links to my blog, and the Amazon page where people can buy the book. He also linked the cover to 50 groups on Deviant Art. This was incredibly generous, and I know I’ll be a repeat customer. Please check out his site, along with his wonderful web comic Spying With Lana

I really am overwhelmed at the amount of support I’m getting. Thank you all.


Filed under Uncategorized, Writing

I Swear, it happened just this way.

I finished my editing with Lisa* and went home. I stayed up late doing some final work.

Tuesday morning, I loaded my cover art onto a thumb drive and flew to the writing cabin. I had a hard time keeping it from Lisa. She’s a walking talking computer after all. I handed the thumb drive to her, and she plugged it into her umbilical port.

She jumped up and down and hugged me.

“Um, fragile old person here,” I said.

“Is this me? Is this really my cover?” she asked.

“Yeah, I think we’re about ready to go with Wild Concept.”

She paced back and forth across my office. It looked really odd with a thumb drive in her navel. I logged onto Amazon and followed the instructions. Everything said a Word file worked best, so I saved the manuscript to my desktop and jumped right in.

Doubt** the raven, croaked the entire time, and Lisa’s rabbit hid under the couch. I don’t know what he’s worried about. I’ve seen full grown dogs that are smaller than he is.

When it said to upload my book it was a total failure. It looked like a vertical line of old fashioned typewriter strike overs. This is where I lost it a little.

“There has to be something online that tells me how to try again,” I said. “Can you figure out how to do this?”

“Sorry, Chief. These are real world keystrokes. I can’t do them for you,” Lisa said.

“Maybe I’m rushing all this. Maybe I should have hired someone. Maybe I should have had this up last year. What do you think?”

Lisa said, “I think you’re letting that raven get to you. There comes a time to ignore him and move on.”

I saved my manuscript as an ePub document and just loaded it again. When I hit the review button, it looked great.

I think I hyperventilated a little bit, but I managed to set up my tax document and electronically signed something or other.

I turned toward Doubt and stared him down. He stopped all the racket. Bunny poked his head out from under the couch. I took a deep breath and stepped away from the computer.

“Here, Lisa. You’ve waited a long time for this. It’s just one button, and we’re online. This button belongs to you.”

She kissed her finger and pressed the key. Everything worked. It went into a review process that took several hours. Then it went into a publishing process that took several more hours.

We celebrated with beer and left over chicken and dumplings. Today, you can buy Wild Concept as an ebook through Amazon. Here’s the link: Wild Concept.

I’m really grateful to Sean Harrington who did my cover art. Check out his other stuff at Spying with Lana.

Here’s the cover art once more:

Wild Concept

Wild Concept

I’d appreciate a heads up if any of these links fail to work. I’d also appreciate a few book sales. Check it out. Tell your friends. I hope people enjoy it, and I have more on the way.

* Lisa is the main character in Wild Concept. She’s a robot, and helps around the writing cabin these days.

** Doubt is a Raven. He was a gift from my Muse, and yesterday he was a pain in the rear.


Filed under Muse, Writing

We Have Cover Art

I spent quite a bit of time searching around Boise’s Treasure Valley for a cover artist. I really wanted someone local, but the only interest I had wanted $800. I tried all the universities and colleges, and even a high school art department.

Other than the expensive fellow, none of them even responded to my inquiry. I went online and approached those who hold themselves out as cover artists. None of them ever responded to my inquiries.

I blogged several months ago about some web comics I really enjoy. I took a shot and sent an email to Sean Harrington. He writes and draws the wonderful comic “Spying with Lana”.

Sean responded back the same day, and his price was wonderful. I told him I wanted something old school, like the science fiction I used to read, back in the day. The name of my blog is “Entertaining Stories”, and I never intended to get too deep here.

Sean asked plenty of good questions, and sent me several line drawings. I told him which one I thought would work best, and within two weeks I had a finished product. He sent me one sized for Amazon, a larger one I could have framed if I want, and a large one without the title. This didn’t cost me any extra.

I will use him again, and I hope you’ll check him out at the link above. He’s also done some work for Heroic Comics, most notably his work on “Flare”.

Here’s what I’m going with:

Wild Concept

Wild Concept

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Filed under Writing

Can writers learn from comics?

I confess, I don’t read enough. I read novels in clusters, then I may not read one for six months. I’ve already explained about my Zite Magazine app, and the RSS reader to follow blogs and such. So I am reading, I just need to find time for more novels.

I also follow several web comics. I can’t decide if this is just a chance to talk about comics, or how this will tie to novels, but I’ll try. It seems I can find inspiration in almost anything.

Comics have an advantage in their visual aspect. They can say more in one frame than I can in a whole chapter. The trick is, I can use that frame to decide how I would write the same scene. It’s frozen, and I can come back to it again and again. Television and movies don’t allow me that option.

One frame, shot from above, of a victim slumped in an alley crying in the rain. Most likely it’s black and white. I can place my point of view character at this angle looking down, I can color the mood, and describe the rain and alley. But I can describe the sound of the rain, and the smell of the alley too. Chock up a point for the novelist.

We can do the same thing with one frame of someone getting chewed out. Facial features, spittle, etc.

Comics regularly run out of gas, and web comics are notorious for doing that. I follow one that is about zombies, and a zombie didn’t appear for a year. (They have again.) There are some lessons here too.

Sometimes our big ideas aren’t enough to fill a novel. I’ve personally done this, and oh crap I’m only at 30K words- what now? The other lesson is that not every story needs a sequel, or to be serialized. I wrote one where their “happy ever after” is enough. Going back to them would minimize what they’ve already been through.

Comics are great for character interactions and styles too. Some do snarky humor very well, others are into self depreciating humor. These are nice tools to add to my kit. Remember, I have the luxury of going back one frame at a time to see how they do it. You could record something and go back using your remote, but this is a post about comics, work with me here.

I follow some, just because I like the artwork. None of us are immune to choosing a book with an awesome cover. This tells me that cover art is important. I also admit to following some girlie comics. I like looking at girls, and use pin-up art as my phone wallpaper. This has nothing to do with writing, and you are welcome to be judgmental as hell. Knock yourselves out.

I might as well include a few links. You might enjoy these as much as I do. In skullkickers, two dipshits are heroes for hire. They always manage to screw things up, and come out fine. I used this character interaction in a story called Panama, that I’m trying to get online. I’m not too thrilled with the new artist on the current story, but I’m hooked now and will stay with them. Check it out here: Skullkickers

Spying with Lana deals with some adult themes, so you’ve been warned. It’s great for snark, and self depreciating humor. Check out Lana, if you read the warning: Spying with Lana

I’m new to Giant Girl Adventures, but it’s been a blast so far. Roni is an imperfect character if there ever was one. I don’t know what I’m learning from her, but I like it: Giant Girl Adventures

My favorite is Girl Genius. I started reading Prof. Phil Foglio in the back pages of Wizard magazine. (I think it was Wizard, I’m old, give me a break) His comic, Phil & Dixie, was the reason to buy the magazine. He’s lost nothing over the years. I like steampunk, and mad scientists, and this comic does it with a dash of humor too. Here’s the link: Girl Genius

I’ll throw this one out there too, knowing it may piss some people off. It is over the top adult oriented.Nudity too, and the themes aren’t for kids. (Or some adults.) This is more for the 50 Shades crowd. It has the best artist ever, and the realistic character interactions are worth my price of admission. This is one I can learn from, since the characters are fully fleshed out, and in their weird world are realistic people. It’s set up on deviantart, and you have to surf around to read it in order. Check out Sunstone if you understand the warning and are willing to surf around a bit. You’ve been warned.


Filed under Uncategorized, Writing