Tag Archives: tarot

Paying the Bills, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Lisa Burton

Hi everyone, and welcome to this week’s edition of Lisa Burton Radio. Just me this week for several reasons. The main one is that I didn’t want to stick a guest during the week between the holidays.

Still, Christmas is over, and mine was wonderful. Bunny and I hung out at the writing cabin, and it was nice and quiet.

Speaking of Christmas, what did you get? I know this crowd, and every one of you got an Amazon gift card. You’re all readers and writers, don’t deny it. After you finish your purchases, there is likely to be a bit left over, and that’s what I want to talk about today.

Craig is my author. Officially, it’s C. S. Boyack, but we all just call him Craig. See, he writes books too. His are all ebooks, so you’ll need a Kindle or one of the apps to read them.

He has a lot of titles these days, so I won’t break them all down. There are novels, collections of short stories, one group of short stories that tells an over-arching tale, and even a couple of free anthologies he’s appeared in.

Craig lives in the world of speculative fiction, so you’ll find fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction among his titles. Sometimes more than one in the same book.

2018 was a fair publishing schedule. Craig released a novel and his first novella. Call it whatever you like, but it’s 50,000 words or so. We don’t like novelette or some of the other designations.

The first one is a novel called The Yak Guy Project. This one is about a rotten young man who wakes up in the desert with no idea how he got there. He’s rescued by a talking yak, and taken on an adventure that provides quite a bit of room for personal growth.

Let’s face it, the guy had a lot of room for personal growth. Know what I mean? Think of it like a coming of age story for a new generation. You can pick up your copy for $2.99. There’s bound to be that much left on your Amazon card.

This is the one that follows the Major Arcana of the Tarot if that appeals to you. You don’t have to understand it to enjoy the ride. If you do, it might be interesting to try spotting the places where a card is represented.

The next one is called The Hat. This is the shorter one I mentioned. You can actually read it in a long afternoon. It’s about a girl who crosses paths with an old hat. Only this isn’t really a hat. He’s a being from another dimension trapped in the form of a hat for all eternity.

They are worlds apart, so they argue a lot. She’s twenty-one, and he’s been in a box for twenty years. He missed cell phones, the Internet, and most of the daily technology we have today.

These guys are both pretty capable, but together they form a symbiosis that let’s them do even more. Think of them like paranormal superheroes, and they’re on the trail of some nefarious baby snatchers.

It seems like a lot of story, and it is. But you can pick up your copy for 99¢. That’s it, 99¢. Come on, you know you got free shipping on your Amazon Alexa unit. Check the reviews and I think you’ll become converts.

Oh, and I have it on good authority that Lizzie and The Hat are going to make a return engagement in 2019.

That’s it for me today. We’ll start having guests again after the new year. I usually throw in a bunch of links and stuff at this point, but you’re already here. I’ll add some cover art, make them link to the purchase site, and toss this link in for good measure.

Craig’s Amazon Author Page is https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00ILXBXUY Just in case you want one of those free anthologies or a different title.

That’s it for me, I’m outta here. Don’t forget to use those sharing buttons today. Craig’s done it for over a hundred episodes of Lisa Burton Radio, and he’ll do it again when your character appears on the next Lisa Burton Radio.

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The Yak Guy Project, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Lisa Burton

Welcome all you lost wanderers, and those without purpose. You’ve found Lisa Burton Radio, the only show that brings you the characters from the books you love. Except for this week, that is.

This week you get me, talking about Craig’s book, The Yak Guy Project. I’ve run out of guests right now, and want to keep the slot open for everyone.

It’s okay though, I was there through the writing of this whole story. I can wing it enough to pull this off. As an example, see this poster.

It’s about this rotten kid, who leeches off his friends, and brings nothing to the table. At the beginning of the book he wakes up having been dumped in the desert. Guess people grew tired of his crap.

He gets rescued by a talking yak, but the whole thing is a setup. He’s been relocated to an alternate reality, and given a chance to start over. This means he has to learn some of the things he failed to learn the first time.

These lessons are pretty simple at their heart, but they aren’t easy. Many of them are a matter of life and death. More important are the lessons about understanding others.

Yak Guy has to learn all of this before he can be considered complete. He isn’t the center of the universe, and other people aren’t there to serve him.

Some of you might find it interesting that this story is based loosely around the Major Arcana of the Tarot. Understanding of this isn’t important to the story, but if you know something about the Tarot, you might enjoy spotting the characters and situations involved. As your first clue, Yak Guy is The Fool.

This book has been on kind of a slow burn, it sells, but slowly. Reviews are coming in, but slowly. Some books seem to do this, and there is no rhyme or reason to which one it will be. Maybe Craig released it too close to summer.

I have two issues for all of you today. First is to consider checking out The Yak Guy Project, because this is what we do on Lisa Burton Radio. I’m not going to add fancy links and cover art, because this broadcast will post to Craig’s blog after I go off the air. All you have to do is visit the sidebar and click on the cover art there.

My second pitch is for more guests. These interviews seem to be a feast or famine kind of deal. We either have too many guests to cover them all in a reasonable time, or not enough to keep the line moving. Some authors get tired of waiting and drop out. Usually this is after we’ve done all the work to get their interview ready.

This spot is for you to promote your wares. It’s been productive, because some of you dropped me lines and told me you moved copies on the day of the post. Some authors are sharing their interview on social media a year after we conducted it. You get out of it, what you put into it.

Drop me a line. Would one of your characters like to have an interview by the most awesome robot girl with her own radio show? Could your book use a bit of free promotion?

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Success!

Today is the day. I didn’t get everything I wanted finished, but the heavy lifting is done. The Yak Guy Project is live on Amazon.

I dragged my feet getting started today. It’s been a long couple of weeks at work, and that 6:30 start time was fine with me for a change. I sipped my coffee under a pile of bulldogs, and surfed through social media.

For my second cup, I worked on uploading the story. I wound up doing some spastic “swipe” maneuver and lost everything I’d done to that point. The second entry worked, then the nail biting while waiting began.

While waiting, I wrestled with three different artwork programs to make a graphic for Twitter. After I got the word from Amazon, I updated my sidebar and the cover is a purchase link. The slideshow took a bit more effort, but Yak Guy shows up in the rotation now too.

I made the first step on the only paid promotion I used last book. I’m still waiting for a PayPal invoice, but that’s in the works now.

I really like to do things in A-B-C order under my own roof. I have to operate in a more helter-skelter fashion at my workplace, but try to avoid it here, because it stresses me out. Wasn’t meant to be this time. It’s more A-B1/2-C-B2/2, but I can handle it… tomorrow that is.

I’ll either get the invoice and finish that part, or jump ahead with the first wave of blog tour stuff.

There were some small things too, like getting it set up on Goodreads, Lisa posted about it on her Facebook site. That kind of thing. Lisa and I will be making the rounds soon, and there will be some new Lisa posters on her part of the tour.

So, new book. I reckon I ought to tell you about it. This is my site, and this is where my friends are. This means no deeply thought out third person blurb, just me telling you about the story. You’ll get more tidbits during the blog tour that’s coming soon.

Let’s start with this cool cover from Sean Harrington:

The cover tells you a bunch about the setting. You have a pseudo modern outfit, but with some feudal bits like the sword. The presence of the yak indicates there is no spaceship, Jeep, or dirt bike.

Yak Guy wakes up in the desert with no idea what happened to him. All his life, he’s used others to get whatever he wants. He’s the guy who will sleep on your couch, eat your food, and drink your beer. He’ll let you do the cooking and the cleanup too, but that life just ended – forever.

He’s rescued by a talking yak, who tells him he’s gotten a second chance at life. Change is required, work must be done, survival is optional.

Those who’ve followed regularly will remember this is the one I based upon The Fool’s Journey from the Tarot. An understanding of Tarot is not required to enjoy the story. Those with deeper knowledge will probably be able to pick out some of the Tarot characters and lessons, but like I said, not a prerequisite.

Yak Guy’s world was once modern, but hundreds of years of war destroyed all of that. I worked pretty hard to weave in some bits about what was lost, but not lose the situation they have during the events of this story. Right now, the idea of horsepower comes from actual horses, and they fight with pokey things.

Early sales and reviews are so important to a book. If you’re so inclined, this is the universal link http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B07D1QY9Y7 It should take you to the correct Amazon outlet, no matter where you are in the world.

There are other things you can do too. Mark it as something you’re interested in on Goodreads. Share this post. Go to Amazon and use the sharing buttons directly from the purchase site. I already added it to one of my Pinterest boards from there. I also have that pinned tweet you can share. This post will auto-feed to the Entertaining Stories Facebook page, so you can share it there, or share the one Lisa made on her site. None of these efforts requires you to buy the book at all, but it will help spread the word.

I hope I’ve piqued your interest, and I’m excited to bring this one to you. I’m also excited to put it out there before school lets out for the summer. I’m declaring success for today, and I’ll work on more promo stuff tomorrow.

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Progress, such as it is.

We just walked in from date night, and took Otto for a walk. It's nice to have the gigantic snow drifts gone again. There are still some ten foot tall piles around everywhere, but most areas are clear now.

I managed about 1500 words today on my novel. That isn't great, but it's better than nothing. This part involved killing some bad guys, and accomplishing one of his goals. The next goal is a journey through the wilderness with people who are ill suited for it. (Children.) This time, he's the one leading and not in the care of others. Did I mention this is a personal growth story?

The story structure is based on the Major Arcana of the Tarot. I'm torn as to whether to include the Death card in the next section, or not. It might come across as forced, and many might not realize that it doesn't signify actual death. Decisions to be made on the fly.

After this journey, one big turning point, then denouement.

I stopped to take care of some neglected chores. Where we shoveled the driveway, there were four + foot piles of snow for the last two months. It was 50+ degrees this week, and that's all changed now. The drifts are small enough to allow me to recover my extension cords. These were out for Christmas lights, but got frozen in place then buried. I also picked up my ladder and broom, these were in place for multiple cleanings of the satelite dish. My dream is that's all behind us now for the rest of 2017.

Right before date night, I hacked my way through a proof of next week's Lisa Burton Radio interview. If my guest author approves, I'll assemble and schedule it on Sunday. I have another one to work on too. Then I need more guests.

Tomorrow I have another shot at some writing, so maybe I can work right up to the end. I could actually finish, but that would be an extraordinary day. If this one stumps me, I'll shift over to the book of short stories.

Hope the rest of you are having a great weekend.

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Productive Holiday

I headed for the writing cabin about 6:30 this morning. It was clear and cold, and apparently determined to stay that way. (Our high temperature today was a blistering nine degrees.)

Lisa* knew I was coming. (She monitors my phone and gyrocopter.) When I walked into the writing cabin, the fireplaces were pushing heat, and the coffee was hot. “What's the plan today, boss?”

“The Yak Guy. We're getting close to the end, and I want to keep making progress. Is the yak still in the basement stable?”

“Sure is.”

I turned toward the staircase, and Lisa stopped me. “Wait. Give him his carrot. I picked up a bunch, and give him one every day.”

“Won't Bunny get jealous?”

“Oh no. He gets some too.”

I grabbed the carrot by the leaves, scooped up some hot coffee, and headed downstairs.

The yak stood in his stall, but the gate was open. “Hey, brought you a carrot.”

“Thanks, but I don't care for them that much,” the yak said.

I glanced back over my shoulder. “You're going to have to eat it. Lisa thinks she's doing something wonderful for you.”

“Fine, but I've had to eat a lot of carrots in the last six months. I don't want to let out my saddle.” He accepted the carrot and started munching.

“I'm heading for the Wheel of Fortune part of the story. Is the Yak Guy ready for it?”

“He isn't too bright, but he seems to be ready when the next event comes along. All you can do is try. I don't know how he's going to react to a decision he has to make with imperfect information. He always wants to know all the answers ahead of time.”

“Don't we all. It seems more prevalent with Yak Guy's generation though. I have a hunch, he'll deal with it if I don't give him any choice.”

“You can always have me gore him in the butt again.”

“Heh, that was fun, but I don't know if we can do it again without it seeming forced.”

“I understand, but there are days I'd like to.”

“Alright, buddy, get your saddle on and I'll have Yak Guy meet you in the meadow.”

I tromped upstairs to my office and kicked Yak Guy off the couch. “Time to get to work.” He begrudgingly left, and headed outside.

Words flowed well, and the Wheel Of Fortune lesson is over. All I have to do is rescue some kids, then find some refugees, and reunite him with the love of his life. I think it's going to hit 80,000 words, and if not I'll have to enhance a couple of places. I have a hard time calling it a novel if I don't get the word count.

The yak led his human into the basement and got him all settled. Lisa asked if that was it for the day.

“I think I can manage a bit more, to be honest. I'm going to try a baseball story.”

“Oh, crap, I never called any of them.”

“No problem, this story is about a barbecue on a day when the players are off. I'm going to explore their feelings about being placed on waivers, and who their competitors are for post-season slots. We'll write it, and interview them all later to make it feel right.”

“Too bad, I would have enjoyed a barbecue and a dinner party. I have this cute little black–“

“Nevermind, let's just write it. Maybe you can put an old game on TV for some atmosphere.”

“Oh sure, no problem.”

That seemed to get Lisa focused, and I cranked out a 1000 word micro-story. I'm enjoying these tales, but I don't know how the world will receive them at large. There are a bunch of stories, and a few recurring characters. It tells the story of a mythical season, but delves behind the scenes and covers a lot of activities off the field too. In a way, it has some similarities to The Playground in the way I'm relaying it. Because there is an overarching story, I can't do the twist endings my short stories are known for. There are some, but not with the frequency an Experimental Notebook would have.

I leaned back in my chair and took a sip of my coffee. “Let's make a couple of storyboards.”

“Are you serious? I didn't thaw out the left side of your brain. I might be able to, but don't want to scorch it again.”

“Don't worry about him. We'll just pin some cards up, and we can make them perfect later on.”

Lisa headed for the basement, and returned with two storyboards, a pile of index cards, some sticky notes, and all the colored pens you could want. What can I say, the girl likes making storyboards.

We made one for a science fiction tale I'm calling Estivation. This is like hybernation, but occurs when things get too hot. It involves a cute young couple who have to spend three months in a survival bunker while a parasite sun passes by their planet. I invented the term parasite sun for a gas giant planet that manages to ignite somehow. When things line up, their own sun plus the parasite sun, makes the surface deadly.

Their bunker is already occupied by a thief, and they all get locked in together. Happiness and merriment ensue. (Not really) They don't have enough food to last three months now. Throwing the bad guy out will expose them all to deadly radiation.

Lisa put that board aside, and we made one for a project called The Hat. This involves a hard working girl, who missed out on the family decision about what to do with grandma's personal possessions. She had to pull an extra shift and missed the meeting by a couple of hours. When she gets to granny's junk shop, her evil uncle decided to sell everything. All the heronine wanted was one of grandma's house plants, but even this was denied her.

When evil uncle's back is turned, she grabs a box and takes it home. Inside the box is an old fedora hat. It wasn't even grandma's, it belonged to the grandfather she never knew. Turns out the hat talks and forms a kind of symbiotic relationship with the wearer. This one is going to become a kind of paranormal superhero type story.

When wearing the hat, my heroine can see through his eyes too. They can communicate without vocalizing their words. She can see behind her, or wherever he is looking. She can also shoot guns while using his vision, while her own vision aims a different direction. On top of that, The Hat, plays an upright bass. She needs to wear him, and he uses her fingers and hands. This part is going to be great for character purposes.

I think my main plot problem is going to involve baby snatchers, and I've decided to include an unhelpful witch in the supporting staff.

The Hat is going to be more of a buddy tale, with my heroine and the hat making up the buddies. They're going to bicker and (hopefully) grow during the tale.

Lisa said, “So The Hat can be any kind of hat she wants, as long as it's a hat? Is that what's going on?”

“Yeah, basically. She can be seen in one thing, round the corner, and it's something else completely. Maybe headphones or something. Might make a reasonable way to avoid the cops.”

“This is so exciting, I'm going to order a small mountain of hats.”

“You party on, Lisa.”

And that's where I called it a day.

*Lisa Burton is my robotic personal assistant, and the spokesmodel for Entertaining Stories.

If any of you are that interested, you can check out pin boards for The Hat, and Estivation on my Pinterest site.

 

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It’s still progress

Today didn't go as well as yesterday. I still came in slightly over 2000 words, and hope for more tomorrow. I wrote the scene with The Hanged Man, and it came out pretty well. I don't know that his lesson is finished, but the Hanged Man has been buried. Yak guy needs to reflect upon it while he's crossing the steppes. Maybe he can find some connection to the Hermit and decide he misjudged the fellow to a degree. Maybe the yak can throw that in his face, which is what usually happens.

When he gets home, he will find the shit's really hit the fan. This will move the story into act three, and he's going to have to make some big, life changing, decisions. I need to get him home, but I don't want to lose the idea that it takes a long time to ride a yak across the steppes. Maybe beta readers will decide I can make some cuts along these lines.

His next lesson will be the Wheel of Fortune, and I may still work in Justice. They are out of order now, but I prefer the way the story flows.

I spent a huge amount of time playing pumpkin ball with Otto today. He's hard to resist, and he's been such a good boy while we are at work lately. I can't blame him for being excited when someone is home. If the opportunity comes up tomorrow, I'll probably play even more pumpkin ball.

Where I screwed up is in the short fiction department. I had the chance to work on some this afternoon and just blew it off. That's no way to become a productive writer.

I would like to get both Yak Guy, and The Enhanced League out the door in the first quarter of 2017. I have two or three stories that are screaming at me to get written, and they're likely to come in as novellas. (Something new for me.) I think I'll write them while polishing my outline for the next novel. I've never spent as long on a novel as I have with Yak Guy, and that isn't good. My outline wasn't as tight, and that's the reason. With a tight outline, I wrote The Cock of the South in three months, and it turned out great.

I counted on the tarot card order to act as part of my outline, and they did to a degree. Yak Guy still has to move through his world and deal with problems, and a real outline would have helped. Lesson learned: More time outlining = less time drafting.

PS: I'm glad I'm not a celebrity yet. 2016 doesn't seem to be the best year for them. Maybe 2017 is a better year to become a million seller.

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Unexpectedly Productive Today

My wife and I were supposed to spend the day together. She volunteered to watch the grandkids so their parents could go skiing. They took the kids over the weekend, but I understand that sometimes mom & dad need to do things without the kids too. To my surprise, the babysitting took place at their house, not mine.

Well, now. (Visualize me rubbing my hands together.) I headed for the writing cabin. Lisa* met me in the lobby along with Yak Guy and a smelly Hermit. I waved my hand under my nose.

“I understand,” Lisa said. “I turned off my sensors. You said we were writing him in the winter and it wouldn't matter.”

“Guess I never counted on being indoors during the winter. Are we done with the giant lion?”

“He's out on the patio, just in case.”

I headed out back and went over my last chapter.

“I'm not too happy about having to gorge all that food down, but I'm grateful for the work,” the lion said.

“I needed you to look totally full. I appreciate your dedication.”

“I'm available for rewrites, or even scenery shots if you want.”

“I'll have Lisa stay in touch.”

“I gave her my card, would you like one too?”

I really didn't, but it seemed important to him, so I accepted it.

“Maybe next book you'll need a lion with some dialog. I can do accents too.”

“Good to know. I have to get back to the Hermit now.”

The lion left, and I got to work on the Hermit section. Yak Guy and the Hermit got along fine, but the Hermit's lessons didn't come across well. I decided to go with it. It's almost like when the card is dealt upside down. I decided it was more realistic to a reading that way. Not everyone is going to get through to a student. Yak Guy learned more from some than others, and it just seems more natural to me that way.

When we sewed it up for the day I'd written over 4000 new words. I googled a few things, and discussed them with Lisa. She gets the information as fast or faster than I do.

“I know you've been struggling with this next section,” she said. “What are you going to do?”

“I could drag this out forever. It might involve a secret trip to visit the Research Sirens again, and I know I'm not supposed to do that. I think it's time to make an executive decision.”

“Yeah?”

“Ring up the Hanged Man, and let's get him over here. I'm skipping around for the sake of the story. I really don't feel the need for Justice, and I want the Wheel of Fortune later on.”

“I can have him here tomorrow. Are you okay? I picked up some of that salted caramel cocoa you wanted to try.”

“I'm good with it. I got what I needed to out of the challenge, but I want to deliver a good story too.”

“But you couldn't skip the smelly Hermit guy?”

“I guess that's just how it worked out. Now about that cocoa?”

“I'll get it ready, and fumigate the lobby while the kettle is heating up.”

*Lisa is my personal assistant, and the spokesmodel for Entertaining Stories. She's also a robot and has her own stories.

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