Tag Archives: The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack

Forward Momentum and Planning

I walked into the front office at the writing cabin and spread the artwork across Lisa’s desk. “What do you think?”

image

“Ooh, I like it,” Lisa said. “It has some similarities to the first Notebook, but it stands out as its own book too. What’s your plan now?”

“I’m out with beta readers right now. I already got one full read, and some great catches. One of them involved names, and you missed it too.”

“My spellchecker must have seen it as a real name.”

“It is, so I changed the name completely to make it simpler.”

“When the betas are finished will you publish it then?

“Not quite. While they’re working, we have some stuff to do ourselves. You need some promotional artwork.” I spread a list of story titles in front of her.

Lisa sifted through the titles, and pointed. “This one, for sure.”

“Last Flight of the Rocket-Men? I figured that would catch your eye. You love the rocket-pack. Do you suppose it should be Rocket-Men, or Rocketmen?”

“You could ask your blog friends.”

“Good idea, we need one more. Make a star next to that one.”

“A star, really? I’ll make an electronic list and use a cute emoji. It’s the twenty-first century, you know.”

“Fine.”

“I’m not feeling some of these. There isn’t much chance for me to be fun in a poster.”

“How about Jason Fogg? It could be like a romance cover with you in the shower, and fog swirling all around. He could be kind of visible, but kind of not at the same time.”

“Veto.”

“What do you mean, veto? I’m the boss.”

“I’m not doing it.”

“I would never let you be completely nude. You know that right. Most of those book covers show a shoulder or something.”

“It isn’t that. I’m not shy or anything.”

“Okay, so why not?”

Lisa Burton

“Jason Fogg creeps me the hell out, that’s why.”

“Is it his addiction?”

“If you want to call it that.”

“He’s trying really hard to get over it.”

“I don’t think I’ll ever have confidence in him. What else do you have?”

“Not all of these will work, but that’s always the case. Parade Wave, Magpies, Practical Geology. I’m not feeling it.”

“What about Fever, or Career Move? Or Angel, I would make a great angel. I still have my Victoria’s Secret wings.”

“That’s a good reason why not. Everyone’s seen the wings already. Questing might be a good one too. Maybe you could be like a scream queen prisoner.

“That could be kind of fun. We could have done Night Bump Radio, but I borrowed the idea already.”

“I need to think about it some more. Meanwhile; why don’t you get Sean Harrington on the line and see if he has a few ideas.”

“I’m on it.”

***

Okay, so I have cover art, and it looks pretty darned good. I need to get Lisa situated, but we’ll figure something out. Question for you authors out there, do you prefer Rocket-Men, or Rocketmen?

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Stopping in at the Writing Cabin

Lisa* had the sun tea all ready when I arrived, but seemed disappointed when I couldn’t stay long.

“It’s the new puppy. I can only get stuff done while he’s napping.”

“So what are you going to work on?”

“I really don’t promote on the blog very often. I think I’m going to post about my books.”

“Can I watch?”

“Sure.”

***

Most of you know I’m a writer by now, and I have a decent sized catalog of titles. It seems like they don’t have much of a lifespan, because something new always comes along. Other authors are cranking out projects and it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. Today’s post is all about mentioning some of my efforts. Maybe one of you will want to take one on vacation this year. Great poolside reading, and all that.

The Playground is my newest title. A power-mad businessman built a line of elaborate toys, just in time for the Christmas season. He loaded them with a special new social media for children. His plan is to brainwash the children into his own personal army. To this end, he turns to occult methods.

A cancer survivor, and former doctor finds herself working in end of life care. She is abducted into a strange secret society that can see into the otherworld. She doesn’t know what she’s doing, but she’s our best hope to stop the next generation of The Playground Network before it comes online.

She’s up against a brutal thug, racing to recover the software to speed up this nefarious plan. He’s bigger, has more street smarts, and a head start. Think of this one like my tribute to Tarantino, and Frank Miller.

Will O’ the Wisp is the story of fifteen year old Patty Hall. She’s being stalked by an ancient curse, but has no idea what it is. She’s perfectly prepared for the wrong problem, and if she doesn’t figure it out soon, she’ll join her relatives in the family cemetery.

This one is set in the 1970s, and features a strong coming of age story. Readers enjoyed the setting in a time before the Internet and cell phone technology.

The title is the North American Link. This is the one for the rest of the world.

The Cock of the South is my mashup of traditional fantasy characters with Greco-Roman fantasy characters. Follow Cobby as he gathers bands of oppressed non-humans and opposes the forces of Remus.

Part Exodus, part “hang together or hang separately,” this one pokes the idea of what might have happened to centaurs, Amazons, dwarves, elves, and others.

“Hail Cobby!” Check it out.

 

Arson is the story of Perry Wolfe, a elite firefighter who fights his battles in space. He loses everything due to a freak accident. He’s depressed, and tries to regain some of his former glory as an ATF Arson Investigator. This means traveling to another planet to attend training.

His first arsonist seems to have ties to his murdered sister, but he’s in the wrong bureau to do much about it.

Living up to the family business isn’t for everyone, and maybe he needs something (or someone) else in his life. This story heats up in more ways than one.

Panama is the story of two dipshits who are in over their heads. Ethan and Coop took an assignment to look into some unusual events plaguing the construction of the Panama Canal.

They run into monsters, ghosts, witchcraft, and more in their adventure. It’s all driven by a Carlist pretender to the thrones of Spain and France, who wants to recapture the New World.

Panama also has a few fun celebrity cameos, appropriate to the turn of the century.

***

“Seems kind of dry,” Lisa said.

“What do you mean? I’m just trying to give a sample of what the stories are about, in case someone wants to take one on vacation.”

“Can I try?”

I turned my computer over to Lisa. “See if you think you can do better.”

Not that way, sillies. My stories are great for reading in bed. The adventure starts in my origin story, Wild Concept.

Wild Concept is the story of a new kind of robot, built in a concept lab to be the showcase of what technology has to offer. The robot, Lisa, takes a job at Hudson PD to test out her abilities in a human world.

What she doesn’t know, is that her creators intend to disassemble her for research purposes at the end of her experiment. When she finds out about the plan, this concept goes a little bit wild.

 

Then there is a really cool short story involving me, called Bombshell Squad. It’s tucked inside the Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack.

The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack is a collection of short stories across the speculative genres.

It covers some science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy stories. Priced permanently at 99¢, it is a nice way to explore the kinds of stories Craig writes.

These stories are great for coffee breaks, commuter busses, and times when you can’t dedicate a weekend to writing.

***

“Yeah, um, I… Remember when we talked about the word naiveté?”

“Yeah…”

“Well, this may be one of those times, where readers aren’t quite going to understand.”

“Sure they will. It’s a joke. See they can read my stories in bed. Get it?”

“I get it, but you have to remember that picture you were sent too. That’s the world we live in. And stop shaking. Something is going to fly out if you keep it up.”

“But I have mad sign shaker skills.”

“I know. How about if we just return to the books?”

“Fine. Read one of Craig’s books while you’re on Summer break. They cover a broad spectrum of speculative categories, and are highlighted with great characters like me.”

“Perfect.”

*Lisa Burton is my personal assistant, and the official spokesmodel for Entertaining Stories. She’s a robot, and super smart at anything dealing with computers. She may be a little bit naïve in other ways.

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A day of celebration

I got to the writing cabin late today. I have family responsibilities on Sundays, and won't shirk those. I went into my office and started on all the things a writer has to keep up with.

I answered several emails, checked Twitter and Facebook, then proceeded to WordPress. Lisa* brought me some coffee, and I looked away from the computer. “Guess who just won a Planetary Award?”

“I don't know, who?”

“Me. My short story, Something in the Water, won a Planetary Award over at Planetary Defense Command.”

“Oh.”

“I thought you'd be more excited. I'm excited.”

“It would have been nice to have Bombshell Squad win something.”

“I get your point, but Something in the Water was a fun story, and it caught the judge's attention. Besides, you've been getting plenty of attention. Wild Concept sold some copies during its 99¢ sale, and the UK sale is still going on. They may even surpass the US store.”

“I suppose. It's just that you've grown as a writer. Bombshell Squad is a little better writing than Wild Concept.”

“I don't get your point. Something in the Water is just as recent, and reflects the same amount of growth as a writer.”

“Should we celebrate, or something?”

“I think we should. We'll get the enchanted beer horns filled up and drink them dry. Make sure you post a picture of the haunted biplane on the blog too. People may want it for a phone background, or even a computer. Besides, you're in the picture, and some people might like that too.”

“That's a good idea. I love my flight jacket.” Her eyelashes fluttered, and I knew she was online.

Lisa scowled. “I have some bad news too. It looks like someone held a kegger out at the island. They defaced the Moai with spray paint and left garbage everywhere.”

“That sucks, why do people have to act like that?”

“Don't know. Do you want me to take a sandblaster out there and try to clean it up?”

“No. Today we celebrate. Drop a note to the National Park Service fairies. They'll take care of it.”

“You're not going to make those poor fairies scrub those giant statues, are you?”

“It's kind of their job, but no. They use dermestid beetles.”

Lisa's eyelashes fluttered again as she searched the Internet. “Gross, those are the kind of beetles scientists use to strip bones clean.”

“Right, they use them for museum displays. I think even the cops use them to study the bones of murder victims. The fairies keep a large herd of them, because they eat garbage and even spray paint.”

<Snort>

“What?”

“Do the fairies use tiny little dehorning saws and branding irons?”

“I have no idea. I'll bet they have an informational page on their website. You should check it out.”

“I'm going to, and if they don't I'm going to shoot them an email.”

“For right now, let's celebrate.” I whistled for the enchanted beer horns, and they both trumpeted. Lisa filled them up while they wagged their tails and helped us celebrate. Lisa doesn't need to eat or drink, so I'll probably empty both of them myself.

*Lisa is my robotic personal assistant, and the spokesmodel for my books. She even has her own Facebook Page.

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Because I’m easily amused

I have these fun new toys now, and I need to play with them. They involve the program Procreate, and my Apple Pencil.

Once upon a time, I wrote a story involving a snail. He's in The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack. I had Sean Harrington paint him into this bit of Lisa art to promote the book with.

I cut out the snail from this image, and placed it into my header image. Just to amuse myself, I'm going to make him move at a snail's pace across the image, and up onto my sunglasses.

He'll move slowly, and I don't know if I'll take him any farther than that. It involves loading a new banner every couple of days.

If you want to know more about the snail. You can check him out in The Experimental Notebook for the princely sum of 99¢.

 

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Saturday recovery

It's been a long week. I not only put in my 40 hours, I have a book release going on. (As if you hadn't noticed.)

I've been returning to all the sites to play in the comments, but beyond that, I've been pretty slow. I got a comment today that made me think. There might be someone out there who doesn't know this stuff, so I'll address it.

Amazon comes up with things they think will benefit us. Some do, some don't. The pre-order isn't some kind of thing authors invented. Amazon came up with this, but here's how it shakes out at my level. The book sales are all tallied on the day they deliver. This is important to me as an author, and here's why. If my book registers a large enough pile of sales, I may get into some of the lists. This means more visibility, and the possibility of more sales when someone is shopping using the top 100 in that genre. Maybe they shop the top 100 new releases, that kind of thing.

The point is, if you want to add it to your reading pile, buying it during the pe-release helps me out. You don't have to read it immediately, it will be ready when you are. I'm not jacking the price later or anything. It's just that simple. Many of my followers are authors, but many of you aren't so that's why the whole pre-order thing is set up.

The email arrived at about 10:00 this morning:

I'm in New York stumping for your new book, and dropping off posters. Decided to get some retail therapy. Please look in on Bunny, I'll be home late. — L

I decided I'd better get out to the writing cabin. Lisa* works hard, and deserves a little time to herself. I flew out and went in the kitchen.

A large Baggie of rabbit pellets sat on the counter with a note. I counted out precisely 748 pellets for Bunny. Please give them to him, then put his dish in the sink. His treats are in the refrigerator. –L

The apple slices and small carrots were all lined up with small notes telling me what time to give them out. I swear, her methods are robotic sometimes. Heaven forbid she just scoop the bowl full of rabbit chow and walk away.

After I got Bunny all tended and on schedule, I decided to write. I managed a little over 600 words on a new short story. To be real honest, Doubt the raven impeded me. This is first draft material, and the idea is to get it on paper. He can start his complaining when I start editing the damned thing.

I'm kind of jazzed about this story, because it's written for a subsequent Experimental Notebook. Many of the stories are just for fun. Some of them are written to try new things out. This one is intended for publication from the beginning. I had a lot of requests for the return of Jason Fogg, and I'm trying to deliver. There is some mileage left in a guy who can turn into fog and slip under doors unseen.

Jason has some serious flaws to deal with too. He's done some shady things when nobody knows he's around, and I can't completely abandon that either. This time, I'm treating it more like a recovering addict, he wants to be a pervert, but he has been good.

Jason can have several thousand words, and that's fine. I started out in third person and wrote a couple of pages before it dawned on me that his origin story was all first person. I want that to carry through. I discarded and started over. Maybe Doubt has some value after all. At least I didn't write the whole thing.

Today isn't Jason's day though, and it might not be mine either. I need to show that life moved on for Jason and Riley, the girl he rescued. This puts the curse of backstory into play. Right now, I'm looking at this material as test material. It may take me some time to get completely back into Jason and Riley.

I'd better go. It's time to give Bunny his apple slice. I hope Lisa gets home before I have to cuddle him for exactly 32 minutes. Maybe on Easter, but today is still Saturday.

I also promised my wife we would have date night tonight. We are moving ahead after the death of our old dog, and it's time to get on with life.

Note: There are a lot of new followers lately. For your benefit, Lisa Burton is my personal assistant and the spokesmodel for Entertaining Stories. She is actually a robot, and is out stumping for my new book, The Playground. Bunny is her pet rabbit. Doubt is a huge raven. He was a gift from my Muse, and is supposed to help me with my editing.

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Good things happened today.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Puttering again

I'm still feeling under the weather today. Everyone who's had this locally has to deal with it for weeks. Yay me. Let's just say if I'd written my creative Day Of Pots post today I could add one more pot. This is the kind you set on, and we'll just leave it at that.

My crud even put a stop to date night, and I'm kind of bummed about that.

I puttered around all day on mini projects. I read a few chapters of an ARC for a friend. This iPad Pro is wonderful in that I can have a second window open for notes. I made a few, but it makes beta reading so much easier.

I bounced around with various social media today. I used a couple of free apps to make graphics for Twitter and Facebook. I found one where you can place a note into a bottle on a sandy beach. I added the cover of Experimental Notebook and posted it on Twitter. It's getting a little bit of action, and reflects one of the stories in the book.

I also made a few like this using the older Lisa Burton artwork. I'm using them to post the new Facebook links.

In case you missed it, Lisa is on Facebook and is the administrator of Entertaining Stories on Facebook.

The app has a Playboy cover too, but that is sooo not Lisa. Gotta stay in character with these projects. She's willing to fish with that bait, but not all of it, if you catch my drift.

If you have a chance, check out these sites and tell your friends about them. Thank you to those who already have, but I'm trying to expand my footprint here. Enough said.

I added a few lines to the retro science fiction story. These include gelatinous water spheres instead of plastic bottles. The characters just eat them. I decided they should also be gelatinous olives in cocktails, and something to bite after a tequila shot. (It sounded fun to me.)

The girl in this story has to convince the guy he needs to give up on his past and face his future. Tequila seems like a decent way to introduce that.

I managed to change my wallpaper too. Let's go with toy robots for a month.

Not a ton going on here today. With all this time on my hands I should have made some bigger progress. I'm afraid I'm going to be puttering along for some time. After this goes live I'll probably look at those critique submissions. They aren't going to read themselves and we meet Tuesday.

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