Tag Archives: witchcraft

Slower going today

Lizzie and the hat went a little slower than I anticipated today. It makes perfect sense when I think about it. I’m in the phase where I’m still moving pieces around.

Once I got past some of this in Mari’s story my word count really picked up. I had to get Lizzie inside the server farm so she could deal with the gremlins. That didn’t go well, so she needed help.

Some of this stems from the ongoing series aspect here. I can’t just plop Dash Goodman into the story without some minor reintroductions. We’re also exploring a new part of Good Liniment for this help, and I need to slow down and describe it. I have every intention that someone could pick this story up without ever having read any of the others and not feel lost.

Turns out the basement at Good Liniment might be even more interesting than the bar and restaurant upstairs.

This is going to turn into a wild goose chase to find something to deal with the gremlins. Imagine trying to kill cockroaches with pistols. She needs a new tool. It’s going to allow Lizzie to foster a relationship with Joyeux DuPont, and allow me to introduce a new witch entirely.

This one won’t be quite as dark as some of its predecessors. I’ve gotten Lizzie shot before, gave her a mental meltdown, and there have been some brutal killings in previous volumes. I can afford one that’s a bit lighter.

This doesn’t mean Lizzie will have a cakewalk. I intend to put her under a curse that could be career ending. (I intend to play it for humor.)

Another thing I could be struggling with is the publication schedule. Good Liniment is on Amazon right now. Midnight Rambler will come out this Fall. Goodbye Old Paint could include growth points from a story nobody’s seen yet. I don’t think this is the problem, though. Moving the pieces into place always takes time for me.

I’d like to fit Kevin the vampire in here somehow, but he’s not exactly working for this story. Dash’s kind of help seems more pertinent. I also need to come up with something for Night Bump Radio, but government hacking should be a simple enough idea. Tying it to the urban legend of Hellpox might take some serious thought.

Word count came to 2200 today. About a thousand off from what Mari’s last writing day produced.

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It’s a new book #bookrelease

My path for the last couple of years has been weird. I get sporadic writing time, and try to make the best of it. Eventually, those sessions add up, which is why I’m posting today.

My work schedule put me in a strange place, because I could publish last weekend, then not talk about it all week, or publish this weekend and have the same problem ahead of me. I went ahead and ran it through Amazon’s mill last Sunday.

Good Liniment is now available on Amazon and has been for a couple of days now. I’ll be taking it out on tour for a few weeks to give it a good launch, and will be reblogging the posts here as a way to support my hosts and hopefully drive a bit of traffic. Lisa Burton, spokesmodel for my career, will be out there too handing out some book specific posters.

Getting sick didn’t help matters along. I missed a bunch of work this week with something like the flu on steroids. (I got the flu shot, so it’s probably something else.) At one point I was feverish and slept for 20 straight hours. The other four were spent in the bathroom.

That doesn’t leave a lot to talk about in a blog post, so let’s make this about the new book.

Someone is murdering members of the local witches coven. They turn to Lizzie and the hat for their unique skills that might help eliminate the killers.

A religious zealot might be a monster, but is still a human being. This task isn’t the same as staking vampires or shooting zombies. It isn’t the usual project Lizzie takes on for her night work.

This all takes place during a recovery period for Lizzie. She needs to keep her cover band together and find a new way of getting them gigs. More bands and less venues are making finances tight. The hat didn’t make things easier during her absence, by spreading rumors about why she took her sabbatical.

Someone killing others over a point of view insults Lizzie’s sensibilities. She has secrets to keep. Her employers have secrets, too. It doesn’t make for a comfortable working environment, but she agrees to do what she can.

Convincing her strong-willed employers to stay indoors during all this poses another problem. Can she keep them alive long enough to finish her task?

Good Liniment is full of magic, magical creatures, and an entire underground community living amongst us.

The Hat Series consists of short novels that can be read in a single afternoon. They’re full of snarky dark humor and can be easily read out of order.

Purchase Link: http://mybook.to/Good_Liniment

Series Link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08KTQY1XJ?ref_=dbs_p_mng_rwt_ser_shvlr&storeType=ebooks

I hope to give this one a good launch. It expands the world of Lizzie and the hat exponentially, and provides a base the next few stories will feed off of. I plan on making minor introductions in subsequent stories so you can still read them out of order should one grab your attention more than another.

I also have a finished manuscript for The Midnight Rambler that glances off some things in Good Liniment. Probably hold that one for the Halloween season.

I’m scheduling this post ahead of time and hope to be back at work by the time you read it. I might have to catch up with comments after hours.

So, there you have it. A new book in The Hat Series. Do all the things authors dream of. Pick up a copy, have fun, tell your friends, maybe share it on social media. Watch for the tour posts. I made every one of them unique and I think it will be a good tour.

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All quiet here

Old What’s Her Face decided to visit her brother this weekend, leaving me to take care of the dogs. It wasn’t my first choice, but I decided to make the best of it.

I spent my time writing. I actually got a lot accomplished, but it wasn’t what I had in mind. There really isn’t any need to start a new tale this year, but it gives me something to do.

It’s kind of fun expanding the witchcraft world in the hat universe. There is a challenge, though, in that Lizzie and the hat aren’t part of that environment. They can only learn what they are told or observe themselves.

I solved some of this by introducing two new characters. By alternating sections, readers can get a bit more than what Lizzie will discover on her own. It’s been fun, but I still intend to leave some of that mystery without complete explanations. It allows readers to use their own imaginations.

Each member of the witchcraft community has different magical roots. I’m not explaining these either, but there are clues if readers want to figure it out on their own. It shouldn’t be too hard, but won’t be required if someone just wants to blast through for a good story.

I also did a section that was a bit of character soup. We’ve all been to a gathering where we met a bunch of people, but didn’t get to know all of them. It feels realistic to me, but maybe my critique group can give me some advice here. My secret intent was to glance across some characters that could be used in future stories.

At this stage, I’m tired. I’m not at a slog of any kind, but it’s time for me to rest my brain. Hope everyone had, or is having a great holiday.

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What’s next for Lizzie and the hat?

I’m visiting with Denise Finn today. We’re talking about what happens down the road in The Hat Series. Stop over and say, Hi.

Denise is one of my Story Empire partners, a great author, and a strong supporter of the author community. While you’re over there you should check out her site and works. Follow this link: https://dlfinnauthor.com/2021/05/24/new-release-lunar-boogie-by-c-s-boyack-virgilante-storyempire-indieauthor-newrelease-whattoread/

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The Idea Mill #36

It’s been about six months since we visited the old Idea Mill. I’ve save a few articles over that time, but they don’t seem to be showing up as fast as they used to. Then there’s the other fact: I’ve been busy. It’s time to put some of the fun things back into this blog, so we’re returning to the Idea Mill today.

My basis for posting these is that I write speculative fiction. I know many of you do too. This kind of fiction always requires a leap of faith. Because of that, it’s important to base much of what we do on fact. It makes that leap easier to make for our readers. These articles are to kick your Muse, but also ground your story elements in a bit of reality.

Our first one involves how muggles used to protect themselves from witches. They looked upon their homes as defensible spaces. I guess if you were out shopping you were on your own. They did this by building various items into their homes, behind walls, under the threshold, that kind of thing. They hid worn out shoes, which includes an interesting theory about the devil. Desiccated animals were popular, cats being a major target. There is even a tutorial about making your own witch bottle. Hint: Drink a lot of coffee before you start. Read the article here.

You could make a neat character who is kind of an anti-witch. He or she makes things to protect against witchcraft. Of course, eventually, someone figures out this is also witchcraft and turns people against your heroine. I still have those con artists who sell curses and counter curses on the back burner somewhere. They are actually a married couple and work to get people spending with them. They might fit into a future volume of Lanternfish now that I think about it.

Our next article is about an archeological site that is a graveyard of sorts. There are a couple of intriguing graves, including one that appears to have been buried with live horses still harnessed to a chariot. The most interesting one is a young warrior who appears to have died of natural causes. However, he was “killed” again before burial by stabbing him repeatedly and bashing his head in. Here is the link.

I’m sure we can come up with all kinds of undead stories for the young warrior. Maybe he did pass from natural causes, but rose from his grave as something else requiring the re-killing.

The charioteer is just as interesting. What if he volunteered to go to the other side and wage war against the zombie hoard, or vampire uprising?

Obviously, these monster tales take a leap of faith, but it’s cool knowing about the real burial practices that could fit into your story.

Finally, we have the world’s first 3-D printed human heart from the donor’s own genetic material. We’ve known this was coming for a long time. It seem to me I posted once before about this, and it was based upon growing the heart muscle on a framework of spider silk. This one is tiny, but it proves a lot of the science to make it a real thing. Read the article here.

This one screams science fiction, particularly that ten-minutes-into-the-future kind I love. It makes some neat scenery for your Dr. McCoy kind of characters.

I like the idea of people being people, and may be able to work with this to a degree myself. We stop taking care of ourselves, because insurance allows us to grow our own spare parts and store them at the hospital. Go ahead and destroy your liver, there’s a brand new one when you need it. Lung cancer, Ha! I already have the cure in the freezer. Maybe every teenage sports star has a jar of replacement ulnar collateral ligaments in dad’s freezer.

I like to make up my own corny outline for these posts, so here goes nothing:

A young soldier returns from Afghanistan, but dies suddenly of natural causes. He rises from the grave as a vampire and starts giving all the local girls hickeys.

Terrified townies start dehydrating their cats and making witch bottles from a YouTube tutorial to keep him out of their homes. They’re safe, but don’t dare go outside. Resources are running out.

A hero arises, and volunteers to fight the vampire in the netherworld. To do this, he has to die and be buried with the weapons he needs on the other side. The only way to bring him back after the battle is by placing a fresh beating heart in his chest. Fortunately, he has good insurance and one is waiting for him at the hospital.

They bury him alive, but instead of a living horse, he gets a Humvee with the motor running, and a .50 caliber machine-gun.

The only way the locals can tell if the job is finished is to watch the vampire’s body for signs of damage. Once he’s thoroughly mangled in the afterlife, they plant him, dig up the hero and stitch in his brand new heart. Happy ever after with some kind of diatribe about how growing the heart was covered, replacing it wasn’t covered, medical bankruptcy etc.

***

I hope something here inspired you with a new story idea, some kind of setting, or scenery you can make use of.

I gave the Idea Mill posts their own category to make for simple surfing. Lookit, right over there in the sidebar.

All you have to do is click the Idea Mill category and the posts will filter down to more of these.

I’d love to hear from you guys. What would you do with one (or more) of these? Have I given you any ideas for your stories. Maybe a line for your notebooks somewhere for future use? Talk to me.

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The Idea Mill #33

It’s been a while since we strolled down to the old Idea Mill to see what it’s been grinding out. For those of you new to these posts, they are the kind of things that might feed your Muse. As a speculative fiction author, I choose things that are a bit strange.

Our first story is from India, where an electrician unearthed the carcass of an animal. Not just any animal either, this one appears at first glance to be a dinosaur. That’s cool, you might say, except this one has flesh on it. Anything that’s been dead for 65 million years or so should not have anything that isn’t fossilized.

There is some speculation in the article that it’s an aborted goat fetus. I don’t buy it, because that tail is pretty long, it appears to have canine style teeth, and there is one point where you can see through the sinus cavity. It was less than a foot long which seems to eliminate a dog of some kind. You can read the article for yourself. It has the picture, which I will not steal from them.

If you need a story with dinosaurs in the modern world, this is your foot in the door. This article likely spread pretty wide regardless of what it turns out to be. I believe fiction folks should try to stay close to the possible before asking readers for that leap of faith. A quick reference to the discovery in India and you’re off to the races. Maybe this can be used to explain the disappearance of the lost colony of Roanoke. Fictionally, find a few more of these all over the world and you’re set.

You could make them alien in origin too pretty easily. Ancient sailors used to plant food animals on islands they might return to one day. Maybe the aliens did this too, and they’re going to return.

Next we have a strange burial of a bunch of cauldrons. They were placed in a semicircular ditch and buried. Keep in mind that cauldrons were likely extremely valuable way back when. Valuable enough to be passed down from daughter to daughter. Iron was not something easily available, so access to it would not have been an everyday occurrence. I have no evidence to support my theory, but a cauldron was likely a major investment for a family back then.

There is some speculation about a feast in the article, which you can read here.

What would lead multiple families to part with such a valuable item? Keep in mind that cauldrons are also something referenced in witchcraft. Could this have been some kind of Christian oppression? Are there the ashes of women in them from their burnings at the stake? Could this have been the site of a powerful ancient ritual, the result of which rendered the cauldrons unusable? These might be good stories to tell.

What if the story is of the recent discovery? Could there still be some ancient magic living around this site? Maybe something best left undisturbed? Maybe the only way to keep the demon down is to put the cauldrons back… in exactly the same way they were originally placed. This could lead to some fun puzzle solving for your characters.

Our next story might not fuel everyone’s Muse, but I dig it. It’s about rosewood being given a new status on the CITES list. It’s becoming endangered. This is an important wood for stringed instruments, and now musicians are worried about crossing international borders, in some cases with instruments that are hundreds of years old. This has led to illegal logging, smuggling, and over 150 deaths. Check out the article here. The culprit is a desire for rosewood furniture in China.

People love unique settings and situations. Smugglers, killers, and jungles are great things to pepper into an adventure story. Add a few dangerous animals, maybe some tiny dinosaurs from the first article and take to the jungles. Maybe your adventurer is a musician and you can add a unique element to the character. Tie it back to China by rescuing a few Asian rhinos.

Finally, we have a story that Russian Cosmonauts swabbed the outside of the International Space Station and found bacteria. The speculation is that this is an alien life form. There is a chance that it’s a contaminant from Earth and it’s capable of surviving in space, but where is the fun in that? You can read the story for yourselves.

I like this one, because it reminds me of Jason Fogg’s origin story. You can read it in my first Experimental Notebook. There are all kinds of possibilities for something coming from outer space. Start your zombie apocalypse right here folks. Maybe a new kind of plague, or one that’s happened before, that now has a new explanation.

Maybe you prefer limiting the outbreak to the International Space Station. One of the important pieces of a good horror story is isolation and being a long way from help. How about being quarantined in space with people who now want to shake your spinal fluid into a cocktail before dinner?

One of the fun parts of the Idea Mill is laying down some plot points of a story that is based on all the articles. I’ve got to tell you this isn’t an easy group to use in one story, but I’ll give it a shot.

A young botanist is sent to the jungles to make a count of the rosewood trees. She runs into smugglers, but there is something wrong with them. They are terrified of the small dinosaurs that are picking them off like plagues of locust. One of the smugglers takes her to the site of a meteor crash. This reveals a seeding of some sort that brought the dinosaurs to our planet… once again.

Lots of running bleeding and shooting later, she discovers a site that’s been looted by treasure hunters. The only way to get rid of the dinosaurs is to repeat an ancient ritual and bury the cauldrons in a specific pattern. However she must run the looters down to determine what patterns the cauldrons were buried in. Can she do it in time, before the dinos spread all over the globe? Ticking clocks etc. Oh, and let’s add some stress by making her a concert cellist who damaged her hands to the point she cannot play. This will give her something to struggle with against the ethics of protecting the trees that provide her lovely instruments.

So what would you do with these as inspiration for your own stories? Do any of them trip your trigger? Share some ideas in the comments, I’d love to read them.

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Hallo-WE-en features Will O’ the Wisp

Will O’ the Wisp
Will O’ the Wisp is a paranormal tale from C. S. Boyack. It involves a mildly handicapped girl facing a mysterious threat. The wisp has been killing off Patty Hall’s family for generations, and she’s next on the list. It is suitable for young adult readers. It’s a perfect Halloween read.

All stories involve some kind of research. I set this story in 1974, because I wanted Patty to use her wits, and display a bit of patience in revealing this story. Suspense is a great story technique, and having high speed internet would have spoiled some of the fun.

Keep reading here…

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Will O’ the Wisp, on Lisa Burton Radio #RRBC

Lisa Burton

Welcome to another edition of Lisa Burton Radio. I’m your host, Lisa Burton the robot girl, and my very special guest today is Patty Hall. “Welcome to the show, Patty.”

“Thank you Miss Burton, it’s an honor to be here.”

“Oh please, call me Lisa. Tell our audience how old you are.”

“Okay, Lisa, I’m fifteen and live in rural Virginia. High School class of 1978, if I make it.”

“We’ll get to that last remark in a minute. You live with a certain disability, why don’t you tell our listeners about that. If that’s okay.”

“It’s alright. My mother makes me wear corrective leg braces. They aren’t any worse than lots of other people, and it’s embarrassing to wear them. They’ve made me a social outcast at school.”

“I wouldn’t exactly say that. You seem to have some pretty solid friends to me.”

“Pete and Laura are the best. I suppose if that’s all the friends I can have, at least I have the best.”

“I think so too. Now, you ran into a bit of trouble out in the forest, what’s that all about.”

“We’re all into star gazing. We like to look at the constellations, planets, satellites, that kind of thing. One night we saw this glowing green thingie floating through the woods. It attacked this college boy who was camping for the night. It was terrible.”

“It sounds horrible. Did you ever determine what it was?”

“It’s called a Will O’ the Wisp, and it’s more awful than you think. It went into this boy’s body and made him sick. It controlled him and made him kill my uncle. Then it made the boy drown on dry land. It’s hard to explain, but it’s like his body filled up with water and killed him.

“And that’s not the worst of it. Another one attacked one of my Mom’s friends, and she’s trying to kill me.”

“Have you told anyone about it? Maybe there’s some kind of protection available.”

“Are you kidding me. Pete and I both saw it, but nobody is going to believe us. Laura says she does, but I can tell she’s trying to be a friend. My mother would have me talking to a shrink so fast– I mean, I’m thinking about running away, but I’m afraid it would follow me.”

“You mean your mom’s friend?”

“Yeah, her, but if she drowns I think there will be another one.”

“What will you do?”

“I don’t know, I think it must be alien, but that’s as much as I know. It isn’t like H. G. Well’s virus is showing up to kill off the aliens for me. All I know is that it came from up Bergamot Holler. If I can find where it comes from, I might figure out how to stop it. Except my mother wants me to stay away from Bergamot Holler. She says weird things happen up there. I found out some of my ancestors died up there too, and one of them drowned on dry land.

“I mean, what if there’s an alien ship buried up there and they’re mad at my family? I don’t know. It’s all making my hair fall out, and my nose bleed.”

“It sounds dangerous to me too. It would be hard walking through the woods with leg braces, then doing it at night with something dangerous in the woods.”

“I’m kind of used to it. The woods are where we watch for satellites. My mother is making me wear these things to the Homecoming dance. I don’t even want to go, but she’s forcing me. It’s embarrassing to show up without a date. I mean, who’s going to ask the girl with braces? Then if anyone dances with me it will just be to make a joke or show off to their friends.”

“Maybe she knows you can’t go back and do it later. High School is kind of a one shot deal.”

“No thank you. I’d rather wait until college. I’ll be out of these stupid braces then. That’s assuming I live that long.”

“So what would you study?”

“I want to be an astronaut. Bent legs won’t make any difference in space, and they might even be an advantage. The Soviets have lady Cosmonauts, how much longer can the US hold out? I think if I work hard, I could be one of the first ones.”

“I think you can too, if you study hard. In the mean time, get some help and try to avoid the Will O’ the Wisp.”

“It’s not the wisp that’s trying to kill me. It’s Mrs. Matthews who’s being controlled by the wisp. Can you imagine Mom’s reaction if I accuse her friend?”

“That could be a problem–”

“Yeah, and protective custody doesn’t look too good on a college application, or an application to NASA.”

“Thank you for joining us today, Patty, and I hope you figure it all out soon.”

“Thank you, Miss Lisa.”

“Our sponsor today is Will O’ the Wisp by our own C. S. Boyack. I’ll include all the details on the website. For Lisa Burton Radio, I’m Lisa Burton.”

***

img_1018There is something evil up Bergamot Holler, and it’s been targeting the Hall family for generations.

Patty Hall is fifteen years old. She loves stargazing, science fiction, and all things related to space exploration. This leaves her perfectly prepared for the wrong problem.

Patty is afraid her mother will send her to a care facility if she tells her what she’s seen. If she doesn’t figure things out soon, she’s going to join her father in the Hall family cemetery plot.

Patty has to come to grips with her own physical handicap, survive the wilderness, and face an ancient evil all alone if she’s going to survive.

Will O’ the Wisp is suitable for young adults. It involves strong elements of suspense, and is set in the mid 1970s.

This book is available in two different versions, depending upon where you live.

North American Continent http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B00UPH6BNS

Rest of the world http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B00UQNDT2C

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Get it while it’s hot, Macabre Macaroni

Ever since I started blogging, I’ve tried to post some spooky themed stories in October.

I make them all micro-fiction so nobody has to panic about finding part two, or missing one in the middle.

There is a style of micro-fiction called creepy pasta. Someone eventually glommed onto that name and started a website to host stories, the whole works. I know you can’t copyright a name, but I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes either. Maybe someday, that person will become a friend.

That’s why I call my stories Macabre Macaroni. And here we have the lovely Lisa Burton bringing us a platter right now, so everyone dig in.

The Woodworker’s Dilema

The tiny bell above my shop door jingled. It was early in the day for tourists to be wandering. I sat down my tea, checked my face in the antique mirror, and walked into the front. “Good morning, and wel–” I crossed my arms at the sight of Reverend Whitaker. “What do you want?”

He held up his palms. “I, I come in peace. I want to discuss something with you.”

“Like closing my shop down and running me out of town? Three years now you’ve been trying to put me out of business.”

He glanced at the apothecary section, then quickly looked away. He moved a hand-blown glass vase off the table, and sat down. I suppose he never noticed the furniture and the vase were for sale.

“I hope we can put all that behind us.” He placed a small cardboard box on the table. “I’ve come to the conclusion that… Well, that maybe there is more to this world than I know.” He gestured to the seat across from him. “Please.”

“I’m just having tea. Would you like some?”

He glanced again at the apothecary section. “No, I um. Thank you.”

I slid into the chair and adjusted my apron. I waited for him to speak, not wanting to invite the condemnation papers or whatever he was up to this time.

“I have a hobby, you see. When I’m not preaching, I have a life just like everyone else. One of my parishioners knows I’m a woodworker, and asked me to remove one of her trees in exchange for the wood. She seemed very upset about the tree, so I agreed to help.

“It turns out it was a huge maple, hundreds of years old. I had to get some of the other members involved to help remove it, and haul the trunk to my farm.”

“What does this have to do with me?”

“Right, um, it turns out it was all curly maple; lovely stuff really. I make knife handles, mirrors, brushes, duck calls, that kind of thing. I have so much of it, that guitar makers and violin makers are calling me.”

He placed a block of wood on the table before me. It was breathtaking. The lines and swirls had a kind of reflective quality that was mesmerizing. I looked up and pushed a hair out of my face. “It’s beautiful. I might be able to sell a few pieces for you.”

“Yes, well, that wasn’t what I had in mind, but perhaps. I was, was, am hoping you could lend a special kind of assistance.” He removed a second piece from his box and turned it towards me.

“I, um. I don’t know–”

“Please. I need to know if this is demonic, or, or witchcraft.” He loosened his collar and wiped his brow. “I can’t let anyone else have this if it’s going to, to, to curse them.”

I lifted the piece and turned it in my hand. I detected nothing evil about it. “I think it is exactly what it appears to be; a cry for help.”

“But from whom, and what kind of help? Can you tell me anything?”

I tossed the wood between my hands to get a reading, but got nothing. “Are there any more messages?”

“Not so far, just this one. Can you help?”

“Perhaps, but we’ll have to work on it together. You find a way to count the tree rings. That will tell us what year it was planted. Figure out what age the message came from too. Then find out who owned the property at that time. Search also for news from those years; tragedy, missing persons, unsolved crimes, a reason to ask for help.”

“What will you do?”

“I’ll try some divinations. I will also interview the woman who owned the tree. She may have dreamed something, or noticed strange things. Together, we may be able to figure out something. Right now, do not discount that this message came to you. It is your help being sought. It looks like whoever sent it knew how to write, and they chose not to use cursive script. Possibly they were too young to know it. That is all I know today.”

“Thank you, and – this is hard to admit, but I may have been wrong about you.”

“Your culture has been wrong for centuries. Perhaps you and I can change that.”

***

You guys know me, I’m always trying out new things. This time it was pictures to enhance the story. What do you think? Did the pictures help more than a lengthy description would?

Just a couple of quick announcements. Both of my Experimental Notebooks contain short stories and micro-fiction. Many of those have a paranormal bent to them. If you need something to keep you awake at night, maybe one of those would do the trick.

This week is also the free week for my novel Panama. If you like historical fiction with some creep factor involved, this might be the story for you.

 

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Let’s saddle up and chase some demons

I may have mentioned that I'm doing a bunch of October promotions. Some are in groups, some are solo efforts, and some involve host blogs. This one is all on me, but it might benefit you. My book, Panama, is going to be free all this week. There are always some quirks with Amazon, and international date lines, but it should be free by the time this posts.

This is actually my most reliable selling book. It only spiked once and that was a long time ago. It regularly sells a copy here and there, and folks seem to like it.

The dawning of the twentieth century was a strange time. There were unexplored areas of the world. There were wild Indians, places an outlaw could escape, and radar couldn't find ships at sea.

Steam power ruled the day, and the industrial revolution was in full swing. Europe was mostly ruled by monarchs, before World War One changed all of that.

The French wanted to build a canal across the isthmus of Panama in what was then Colombia. This was no light undertaking, and workers died in the thousands from diseases, and more than a few industrial accidents.

I put a lot of research into this one, and it's where I learned that a dose of reality helps sell the fantastic. There are period appropriate celebrity cameos, and with the exception of one, they were where the book represents when they appear in the story.

Ethan and Coop are old friends. They both served in different cavalry troops, because Coop is black. The black cavalry were called Buffalo Soldiers by the Indians. They wound up on San Juan Hill together in the Spanish American War. Both of them have experience with paranormal goings on, and that's why President Roosevelt approached them. There is something unspeakable going on at the canal construction zone.

I spent a considerable amount of time dealing with the prejudices of the era too. Coop's life and viewpoint are different than Ethan's.

Most of the construction workers were chasing fortune and glory. They came from all over the world in pursuit of high wages. I went out of my way to make my construction zone an international community.

The boys run into plenty of magical issues when they get there, and I tried to make that international too. You'll find a bit of witchcraft, some shamanism, and even some hoodoo along the way. The problem is all caused by a demon, but there is a power behind him that must be dealt with. Right in the middle of their project, the Panamanians decided to try for independence. This brings the Americans, the Panamanians, and the Colombians into some tense situations.

To make matters worse, there is a Carlist rebel who is trying to gain the former Spanish colonies back for his want-to-be king. The Carlist movement involved someone who arguably could have been king of Spain. This is called a pretender to the throne, and they still exist to this day. I know some of you get into this stuff, and you might appreciate the Wikipedia brief.

I stumbled across this post the other day, and saved the link for you. They are extracting an entire steam train from underneath Lake Gatun. This lake was created as part of the workings of the canal. The post I had went down last night, so I Googled another one for you. Check out French trains.

So there you have it; a strange mixture of the old world and the new. A strange mixture of cultures, and magic. If you're up to the task, grab your straw hat, holster your six shooter, and saddle up. This week the books are on me, and I hope you enjoy Panama.

 

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