Tag Archives: The Hat Series

Distractions

I looked up from the roll-top desk in my paranormal office and sighed.

Lisa Burton, my robot personal assistant was lounged out on the couch. “What’s the matter?”

“I added fourteen-hundred words today and it looks like Lizzie’s story is going to come up a little short. I still have to add her big tantrum at the end, but the President and the courts are messing with me over that. I have no idea how student debt is going to play out.”

“Then make it up. You have the basis in fact that you’re always harping about.”

“I know, but I’m not completely in the swing again.”

“These are supposed to be short novels. They seem to be character driven, so you know, drive that.”

“I am. I keep thinking up junk for a story about three books down the line and just need to focus.”

“I’ve been your PA for enough years to know how it works. Just let it happen. You have a brand new book on the shelves and you can wrap this one up later. Go back to Mari’s story for a while.”

“I need to do that, too. There’s just this missing piece for the future storyboard I can’t quite get a grip on.”

“Maybe we can help.”

I snapped around so fast I nearly fell over.

                                                             Research Sirens

“I don’t have time for your antics right now.”

“Actually, you have nothing but time.” Libraria, the leggy blonde, took her time slowly leaning over the coffee table to put her books down.

Conversia slid into my easy chair, stretching her legs out full length of my ottoman. “Tell us about the problem. I’m sure you’re due for a break. Sounds like a decent word count already.

I wheeled my chair over. “I really want to write this Asian afterlife tale into the Hat Series, but there are some problems. I want to respect the differences between Japanese, Chinese, and other cultures, but I also kind of want a bit of all of them. If I explain that the afterlife has everyone all together, maybe I can get away with it.”

“What’s the story about?” Wiki turned her iPad mini my direction. “I can look some things up for you.”

“It’s the Chinese version of Armageddon. I’ve already discovered the lore from it. I want to steal some from Journey to the West and made some notes there.”

“I have a complete, unabridged version.” Libraria tapped one of her books. “What seems to be the problem?”

“I also have a ghostly character who is Yakuza. That’s Japanese. Lizzie fights monsters, so I’ve been looking into Japanese monsters. Some Asian things are scary as hell, like the one whose head leaves it’s body at night and flies around with its entails trailing after it. All of them are big on demons, too, so I need to consider some of that. I also don’t want the same old thing for Lizzie to deal with and have other characters to consider.”

“I think you should take a tour of Asia,” Conversia said. “Just the Pacific coast. Talk to some of these people. I think you’ll find a lot already blends together, despite the source. There are a lot of variations as well, so you can meld and merge to your heart’s content.”

“You’ve been trying this for years. I’m not going on an extended trip with you.”

“We could make it fun.” Libraria practically sang the last word.

“Stop that. I’ve already pushed it back and another year isn’t going to kill me now. I have two books before that one. I just have to figure out how to—.”

“Why’d you push it back?” Wiki asked.

“Because I came up with another cool character, and it would be perfect to use him. His intro is in a different book, so it has to come first. Then I have to figure out how to write a musical competition show and not have one of the judges come across like Simon Cowell. It’s a chance for Lizzie’s band to climb out of the doldrums a bit.”

Wiki flipped her iPad around to display a creepy picture. “Jiangshi.”

“Gesundheit.”

“Not that. Jiangshi is also known as the hopping vampire. He hops because of rigor mortise, and sucks souls instead of blood. Some legends have it as more of a zombie. Lots of variables, so you can put your own spin on it. Cool stuff with vinegar, yellow paper, and something called Joss paper. He’s afraid of a rooster’s crow. Maybe she can fight these things.”

“My cool new character is actually a rooster. I can work with this.”

Libraria selected one of her tomes and started flipping through it. Stopping at Joss paper.

Conversia said, “Maybe I can set up a Zoom meeting with an actual Shaman for you. Do you speak Cantonese?”

Lisa stood up. “I’ll put on the coffee. I can tell where this afternoon is going.”

 

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Back to work

Today was the day for medical appointments. All is well, but I have another one set for a few months. Must be part of the aging process. Either that, or they’re really exited that I have insurance.

I spent the weekend reading my own WIPs. I didn’t get all the way through both of them, but anticipate new words some time this coming weekend.

I decided to share something different tonight. I confess that it could be somewhat promotional in nature, but doesn’t have to be.

I use Pinterest a lot. I try to create a board for all my stories, but the older ones aren’t there. When it comes to The Hat Series, it’s all on one big board. You’ll find things that have appeared in the stories. There are some things that inspired something I created for the series, and there are some things I haven’t used yet, but intend to. I have inspirations for Ray’s Harley bagger, his gunstock warclub, several Colt Pythons, and some upright basses.

If you scroll through it, you can use your own imaginations to decide what I might come up with. You can also see the sinkholes, wooden pitchforks, and a broad spectrum of hats. There are even Lisa Burton posters included from various tours she participated in.

I’m going to keep adding to this board and there are some things saved that might not get used for two years or more.

If you’re looking for something different, check it out. https://pin.it/6UZcF9I

Do you use Pinterest as a writing tool? Do you want to after glancing through this?

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Coffee with Colleen Chesebro

I’m visiting with Colleen today in what’s become a Halloween tradition for us. Colleen is a prolific lady who runs the largest poetry blog I know of. She’s always been a big supporter of independent authors, and I’m proud to consider her a friend. While you’re over there, please check out all she has to offer and consider following her interesting blogs.

Hello everyone! Welcome to the Halloween edition of Colleen’s Coffee Klatch. Since at least 2016, C. S. Boyack has spent every Halloween with me on the blog. He usually has a new book to discuss, and this year is no different.

Keep reading here. https://colleenmchesebro.com/2022/10/31/colleens-happy-halloween-coffee-klatch-the-hat-series-with-virgilante/

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Something for Halloween

October is nearly upon us, and in typical fashion I have something to share with everyone.

Life has been busy, and I’ve had to target what I can do as opposed to what I’d like to do. I still have company, and I’ve dedicated a large portion of time to being a good son.

One of the things I did was to silently publish The Midnight Rambler last weekend. I didn’t make a big deal about it, because all my promo posts are targeting the month of October. What I really wanted was the purchase link to send out with my tour posts.

Old What’s Her Face is taking Mom home tomorrow, meaning I’ll have the whole house to myself. I sent out the first week of promo posts to make sure I didn’t drop the ball.

This weekend I’m going to send something to everyone I have scheduled. I think I have a couple of extra posts and might contact some of you directly to see if I can put them to good use.

If you’d like like to go hunting for an ancient monster with Lizzie and the hat, I’d appreciate everyone giving it a chance. This one goes down during a major flood event, and Lizzie might even have a pseudo-boyfriend out of the deal.

This series involves stand alone stories that make sure you don’t have to read the predecessors to enjoy the story. They’re also short novel length and readers seem to appreciate that, too.

I’ll be sharing the blurb and a bunch of points about the book during my tour. For tonight, you get a cover and a purchase link. Then I’m going back to being a good son for one more night.

Get your copy here: https://mybook.to/TheMidnightRambler

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Vacation day four: New words and new problems

Technically, this is the last day of my vacation. Everything remaining is the weekend. They’re still leisure days, so who cares about technicalities.

I wanted to get some kind of word count out of the deal, and am satisfied with how things went. Mari left her last mentor and headed into the wilderness once more.

She wound up in a new town and used her newfound sense of smell to some advantage. I made it kind of embarrassing, because she had to sniff the abandoned saddles of the killers she’s after.

All told it came to most of a chapter. I’d like for her to spend more time here, but she’s probably discovered everything she’s going to and needs to move on.

President Biden posed a new problem for me. In “Old Paint,” Lizzie is manipulated into helping a secret branch of the FBI with a paranormal problem. I’ve posted about this before. However, the leverage was her unpaid student loans.

Part of my story is based upon an earlier era, where they used to seize assets to pay the loans down. Most typically a car. It’s fiction, and really happened, so I’m content here.

Biden threw me a curve by forgiving student debt, but I can work with it. First, Lizzie’s debt exceeds any forgiveness being offered. (Spoiler) Since Lizzie takes a lot of her hits from everyday life, I decided to add the debt forgiveness to the story at the end. Meaning, she does all this work to pay her debt, then after she finishes, the President forgives it all anyway. It really feels like something that fits into Lizzie’s journey.

What I don’t like is having this put a timeline on the series. I don’t want to release this book until early next year, and will stick to my guns. I kind of like reflecting some current events in these stories, like the various conspiracy theories that get into Night Bump Radio.

I’d rather not have been so spot-on, but really don’t have a choice. I can ignore the reality and forge ahead, or include it. I’m choosing to include it. I need a few more words for that story, and if Lizzie has a big tantrum it might even help.

On a side note, my Story Empire friends and I had a laugh about things I dream up coming true. I’m the guy who published Viral Blues two months before an actual global pandemic. The latest jab was the death of the weather witch in Good Liniment. Seems like the weather has gone to crap since then.

After the student loan thing, maybe I should write about the cure to cancer, or Covid. I really wish the grid from Grinders would come true, but it seems I don’t have control over that.

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My 2022 Business Plan

This is another annual event here at Entertaining Stories. I recap the year I finished, then some time after all the resolution posts have cleared out of WordPress, I post my business plan.

A few years ago, I decided that volume was important to my efforts. It might seem manipulative, but having a few titles available can influence shoppers to take a chance. I spent two years publishing three titles per year, and there were also a couple of anthologies I contributed to. I have to say, this stuff works.

Last year, I decided to limit myself to two titles. Let’s face it, a lot of work goes into six publications, plus there’s the required promotion that accompanies it all. This slower pace allowed me to experiment with different promo options, but I’ve already discussed those.

Personal matters took a toll, and I’m grateful not to have stressed myself for that third title. It’s already written. It only needs some artwork and a bit of formatting, but I’m not pushing beyond my comfort zone. It will count for 2022.

This year, I’m making it up as I type. Something that usually helps is to get a few things down for consideration. First is that I liked the pace last year and would like to retain that. Two per year seems reasonable, and might even give me some extra time if an anthology comes calling.

Here’s where the problems start, but I’ll walk through those, too. The Lanternfish Trilogy is complete. I’m thrilled for that, and it opens up some space for me.

Lizzie and the hat will continue, and this is where it starts looking like a problem. The finished story is called Good Liniment. I could publish it as soon as I get my ducks in a row, and probably will. However, The Midnight Rambler is also part of this series, and I’m up to 15,000 words on it as I hack this post out. I have three additional storyboards ready to go here, as well.

I don’t want to look like a slacker, but these are short novels on purpose. I think Lizzie and the hat are better in smaller doses. People also appreciate the occasional quick read. If my two publications are both in The Hat Series, I could look like a slacker.

It’s only perception, because I’m also currently writing a Space Opera with a goal of three books. I would like to hold back on publication so I can have a more rapid release schedule for them. This means lots of writing, but not as much publication.

One of my dreams is to release another stand-alone title or two. I have the storyboards, but the Muse hasn’t pushed me down that path yet. They don’t seem to sell as well, but I still like them. I think a certain type of reader feels the same way.

When I put all of this in my scrying bowl, what I see is something about personal enjoyment. Since I’m not making the house payment from book sales, I’m allowed to enjoy myself a little bit more. This is what I do for fun, and forcing another title feels like the wrong way to go.

The Hat Series is fun for me. I enjoy them, and I know many of you do too. Having all those storyboards ready to go makes it even more fun.

2022 might just have to be the year when I put out two titles in The Hat Series. I don’t see myself finishing the space opera this year, but will keep working on it. I’m bound to have a gap after the first one is complete, and I can fill that gap with one of the stand alone titles. I probably won’t finish it in 2022, but could make one hell of a dent in it.

This isn’t as formal or committed as previous years. 2021 threw me plenty of punches and I’m still reeling from some of them. There are days when all I can manage is to stay home and bleed. (Figuratively speaking) I’m not going to push myself in 2022. Publish two tales in The Hat Series, work on my space opera, fill the gaps with something else. It isn’t much of a plan, but it is a plan, and one I can live with.

Story Empire is something I’m very proud of. I will keep contributing over there, but wish the Muse would send me a cool series to write about. I’m more about story structure or characters and have covered a lot of ground in those fields. I’m not really the technical guy, or the super successful promoter. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for something I can stretch across multiple posts. If any of you have requests, I’m willing to consider them.

How about you guys? Do you formulate some kind of business plan, or are you more on the less stress is better method. This year I feel like I’m doing a little of both. Do you think me unwise to have two titles in the same series this year? Let me hear from you in the comments.

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Still here, and pecking away

I’ve really let this place down over the last few months. I’m sorry for that, but there are reasons why. I’ll glance off some of those when my 2021 Assessment posts later this month.

I’ve created a lot of new material, but as part of various blog tours, it’s been hosted elsewhere. I figured I owed you guys something, so here it is.

I’ve been dabbling with a side project for months, but not taking it too seriously. It’s a space opera that could lead to a trilogy. I have about a third of a novel so far, but today I decided to start another one.

This plays into my two at a time history, and since I’m at a wall on one project, this gives me a way to stay somewhat productive. I never really do this, but here is the first effort from today’s work.

***

The single-room farmhouse stood deep in the forest. Leaves covered the sagging roof, and clumps of moss anchored to the sides. The door dangled from a single hinge and allowed leaves to blow inside. Rays of sunlight shone through the roof and dust motes swirled in the beams. The windows had long disappeared leaving the room open to weather from multiple directions.

The old bed was nothing more than a frame and rusty springs after all these years. A rack of simple farming tools hung on the south wall, and a cracked old trunk stood at the foot of the bed, it’s brass fittings long ago turning green.

Light swirled unnaturally between the chest and tool rack. It moved in and out of form, but eventually resembled a human, casting its own light into the dark corners of the cabin. Moving about the room it grew in size, then staggered like someone wounded. With great effort, it managed to open the chest.

After pulling on cracked leather boots, denim jeans, and a plaid shirt it rested, looking for all the world, like someone had placed the clothing on the floor in a pattern.

The following day, the spirit pulled on leather gauntlets and a long canvas duster, then chose a sickle from the tool rack. As it grew in strength, it went outside to cut dried grass which it stuffed down its pants or into its shirt. Insects took up residence in the stuffing, but it kept working. As the sun set, it walked back inside, only its head missing from the apparition. The area of its head glowed red in the cabin’s darkness like some kind of angry god.

The spirit removed an old burlap sack from the trunk, then pulled it over his head. He twisted the bag until a face fit over the front. Triangular eyes glowed like the fires of hell from behind the mask. The loosely stitched up mouth also glowed, and served to strengthen the terrifying visage. He pulled a thick, hemp drawstring closed around his neck. Next he selected an old canvas hat from the chest. It had been carefully waxed to retain its shape in all kinds of weather. It had a broad, bent brim and tall, pointy crown, like those traditionally worn by witches.

A canvas trug was the last item inside. He spread that across the bed springs, then piled all the tools on the square of material. There were handles on opposing corners, which he grabbed to create a carrying case for the sickle, a scythe, sheep shears, grafting knives, saws, axes, and hatchets.

He kicked the remaining door off on his way outside. Pushed the crown of his hat back toward his shoulders, then stared at the nightime sky. “Now where is that Goddamned hat living these days?”

***

Would you read something that started this way? I’m calling it “The Midnight Rambler,” after a favorite song of mine. With that last bit of dialog, and the book title, you can tell where it’s going to fit in my catalog.

Interaction along the tour has been great, but there’s something to be said for meeting all of you here. Leave me a comment. Do you have an ear-worm now?

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Lisa Burton visits the Murder Blog

I sent Lisa Burton over to visit Sue Coletta today. Sue is one of my favorite authors, and I’ve read most of her books. She also has one of the most interesting blogs out there. Make sure you check out her blog and wares while you’re over there. I recommend all of them highly.

***

Join in me in welcoming Lisa Burton. Did I mention Lisa isn’t human? She’s a robot girl and spokesmodel for my buddy Craig’s writing career. Shawnee Daniels and Lisa go way back to when Lisa hosted her own radio show. If memory serves, I believe I had to drag Shawnee out of there before these two went head-to-head. So, if you’re reading the Mayhem Series, please don’t tell Shawnee she’s here. 😉

Welcome to Murder Blog, Lisa! Keep reading here.

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Viral Blues at SC Jensen’s

Hi, all! The Hat Series tour stops off at SC Jensen’s site today. The specific topic is Viral Blues. Stop over and visit. While you’re there, check out her Bubbles in Space series. It’s tons of fun.

What are you reading this spooky season?

I like to reserve October reads for all things horror and paranormal, and this year I’m doing something a little different.

I’ve decided to dive into C.S. Boyack’s The Hat series! It has been so much fun.

I have read and loved Boyack’s cyberpunk detective novel Grinders, and have been wanting to explore some of his other worlds.

Boyack is a writer who really knows his craft and seems to have no end of wild and whimsical ideas to explore.

I really appreciate his sense of humour and love of the absurd, and that’s ultimately why I settled on The Hat series. You can read my review of the entire series (so far) here!

I’m fortunate to have C.S. Boyack on the blog today to share a little bit about this series, and in particular the book Viral Blues! Check it out. Maybe The Hat will tickle your fancy, too…

Keep reading here.

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A small update

I’m going to be pushing The Hat Series all this month. Regular readers will have noticed the reblogs for the first book. To kick things off, I made The Hat free for a few days, announced that at Teri Polen’s Bad Moon Rising event, and hired a push by Fussy Librarian.

Stacking events might be the way to go. I try to share results, both good and bad, but this time they look pretty good.

The Hat made it up to number four on the free lists, and I’m surprised it didn’t climb higher. This is because during the free days I managed to give away 1144 copies of the book. It could be a tougher genre than last time, but those last four notches must require another 400 copies each.

I took a photo, but I’m not sharing it. I want to share this one instead. This was early Tuesday morning when it first hit the free promo. It is a paranormal title, and I thought this was funny. Check out that ranking under Paranormal & Urban Fantasy. Ha ha!

During all this, my pages read really spiked. This seems to be across the whole series, so it must have something to do with the push. Those who understand the indie author’s life seem to get that Kindle Unlimited is still free for them, but I get paid a little something out of the deal.

There will be promo for the other series titles, and I’m also stacking one of those in a couple of weeks.

I mention these things, because some of you might want to try something similar. This time it seems to have worked. It’s October, paranormal titles, blog tour, give always, plus a small paid promo. This could work with the right titles at Christmas, Valentines, and more.

As the rest of it shakes out, I hope you’ll forgive the reblogs. I want to support my hosts as much as possible, and if I can drive them a little traffic, or introduce someone to their sites, they deserve it.

I also had the post over at Story Empire today. I started a series about Three Act Structure that some of you might enjoy. You can check that out here.

This afternoon, Old What’s Her Face and I drove to Twin Falls and met my in-laws. They bought two pigs, and we bought half of one from them. The small freezer is packed tonight, and I’m kind of tired.

Tomorrow, I’ll catch up on your blogs, check for comments on the sites that hosted me, and might even manage to write a chapter. I need to start hacking out my next Story Empire post as we move into Act 2. Then I need to look to my Lanternfish manuscript. It’s back from the formatter and I need to check it this weekend.

I have a hunch there is some ham for breakfast somewhere along the line, too.

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