Book Review Tuesday: Serang @Virgilante, If Darkness Takes Us @bsmithnovelist, My Baby Wrote Me a Letter @JacqBiggar

Warm and cozy window seat with cushions and a opened book, light through vintage shutters, rustic style home decor. Small cat on window seat, along with coffee cup by pillow, Words Book Review Tuesday superimposed over imageHello, and welcome to my first Book Review Tuesday of December! Bear with me, because I plan to share several books I read in November today and next week. After that, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve pop up on Tuesdays and I know many people go offline until the first of the year. Because I want to ensure the authors have exposure for their hard work, I won’t be reviewing on those days. Hopefully, that makes sense. :)

I’m pleased to say all of today’s books earned 5-Star reviews from me. Now, let’s get started!


Book cover for Serang by C. S. Boyack shows young female monk with shaved head in martial arts poseSerang
by C. S. Boyack

A vivid story that follows an orphan’s path as she matures from a child adrift, to a confident young woman and warrior. Serang is a character from Boyack’s popular Voyage of the Lanternfish tale, but you needn’t have read that book to enjoy this story. It stands on its own, allowing the reader to grow with Serang.

Through the course of the story she learns valuable lessons—many from a wise monk—faces multiple challenges and discovers herself along the way. There is danger and adventure. Heartbreak as well, but there is also plenty of humor, and the ending delivers a beautiful reward. As a reader I loved seeing the growth of Serang’s character. Enjoy this as a backstory to Voyage of the Lanternfish, or as a brand-new tale. Either way, it is a wholly entertaining read!

Amazon Link
Genre: Coming of Age > Travel Adventure Fiction


Book cover for If Darkness Takes Us by Brenda Marie Smith shows high tension utility tower shrouded in darknessIf Darkness Takes Us
by Brenda Marie Smith

I’ve always had a weak spot for apocalyptic novels. What makes this one so intriguing is the author confines the action to a single suburban neighborhood. A solar pulse is responsible for wiping out the power grid, turning life upside down. Bea Crenshaw is a 70ish woman who has her four grandkids for the weekend when the disaster strikes. As the world she knows falls apart around her, she steps up to take charge, not only in protecting her family—teaching them how to function in a world without internet, cell phones, or even refrigeration—but also taking on a leadership role in her neighborhood. Fortunately, Bea has been stockpiling goods for some time, preparing for the day when tragedy strikes, though she never expected it to come from the sun.

The kids vary in age from grade school to older teens, and each are forced to do some serious growing up before the book is over. Bea is a strong character who does what she can in an impossible situation. There are plenty of hardships including balancing the need to help others with caring for your own family. Bea has a huge heart, but she can also be secretive and controlling when she needs to be. She makes a unique MC, especially in a novel of this type. Her oldest grandson, Keno, is also particularly strong, as is neighbor Jack Jeffers. The characters lodge in your heart, including many of the secondary ones who arrive halfway through the book. The pace moves swiftly, and the author’s easy style of writing will keep you flipping pages to find out what happens next. The ending is rather surprising and not one I expected. As an apocalyptic novel this one is unique in its approach and characters, and well worth reading.

Amazon Link
Genre: Post-Apocalyptic Science Fiction > Thrillers > Dystopian Science Fiction


Book cover for My Baby Wrote Me A Letter by Jacquie Biggar shows young woman in front of old manual typewriting, sepia-tone wash over coverMy Baby Wrote Me a Letter
by Jacquie Biggar

This is a beautiful, heart-warming story of family, long-ago secrets, and healing. When Grace Freeman discovers a letter from her mother–a woman who abandoned her, her brothers and her father many years ago–it opens a door to the past and wounds that have never quite healed. Impacting the emotional level even more—Grace is expecting her first child, and her Navy husband is overseas.

I love Jacquie Biggar’s stories. She knows just how to tug on a reader’s heartstrings, and she does it again in this tender short story that touches on so many levels—fathers and daughters, sisters and brothers, fathers and sons, husbands and wives. The warmth in this story is like wrapping yourself in a cozy blanket, then settling in front of a fireplace with a cup of hot cocoa. Sheer bliss!

I particularly enjoyed the thread regarding the names Grace chose for her unborn baby. Each one made me smile and appreciate the effortless warmth in this beautiful tale. A true gem!

Amazon Link
Genre: 90-Minute Literature and Fiction Short Reads > Family Life Fiction > Contemporary Short Stories


Have you read any of these? Are they on your TBR? Did you have a hard time balancing NaNo and reading, like I did? I can’t wait to get back to my regular patterns, LOL!

Lisa, the Robot Girl Talks Viral Blues and Grenades #SomethingWickedTour @Virgilante @StoryEmpire

It’s Friday, and the final day of the Story Empire Something Wicked Blog Tour. I hope you’ve enjoyed the posts this week. I’ve had a blast! To wrap things up, you can find the complete tour schedule here.

And what better way to close, than by having one of my favorite guests visit. Lisa, the robot girl, spokesmodel for C.S. Boyack has been here many times. I’m delighted she dropped by again to help me close out the tour. As always, Lisa is a class act…


Hi, Mae. Always a pleasure to see you. I understand that you’re over at P.H. Solomon’s place today with your own promo, so I hope you’re killing it over there.

Craig sent me to push his newest book, “Viral Blues.” This is a sequel to “The Hat,” but it’s so much more. A bunch of Craig’s characters got a sequel in a way. Including your favorite robot girl.

Gina Greybill gathered us all together under her Host Program. This is kind of a secret society that deals with paranormal threats. Someone, or something, is tampering with the nation’s vaccine supply. It’s our job to sort it all out, and still keep the general public from knowing about us at the same time.

Craig’s making me take excerpts around this time. This one is kind of embarrassing, because I’ve just been taken out by an electro magnet. Sometimes, robot girls have problems the regular folks don’t face.

Anyway, we’re in a fenced area that seems to be the place where the tampering is going on. Our position is inside a junkyard where the magnet moves cars to the crusher.

***

Lisa leaned against the Jeep. She spoke in a chorus of three different women’s voices. “Hi, guys. Welcome to Jurassic Park.”

“She’s still incapacitated,” Gupta said. “Where did the others go?”

“Those disgusting smelly people keep coming from the garages, and they’re even wading out of the river. Gina went into that building to talk to their boss. She took Clovis with her to make sure they listen. They’re going to stink up our garden party.”

“Stack the grenades across the car. When you get a cluster, let ‘em have it,” the hat said. “We’ll head for the river.”

“Wait.” Gupta leaned against the wrecked Jeep. “How do they work?”

“Such children,” the hat said. “Unscrew the cap at the end of the stick. There’s a bead in there. Grab it and pull. Throw it at the bad guys.”

Gupta removed the cap and found the bead. “I think I have it, and – Oh my, God.”

Lizzie and the hat turned to face Lisa. She used one of the grenades to repair her hairdo, and stuck bobby-pins to keep the victory rolls in place. “These things are great. Wish I had a blow dryer to go with them.”

Lizzie took the grenade away. “We need to borrow your curler for a minute, okay.” She turned to Gupta, and the whites of her eyes flashed wide. “You’re going to have to watch her.”

***

What would one of my visits be without a free poster for your readers. This is me trying to fix my hair with one of the grenades. Honestly, it was working pretty well before they took it away.

illustration of sexy red head in revealing midriff plaid shirt and jeans, curling her hair with a grenade

Lisa, definitely gets herself in a few fixes in this story.  Good thing she’s a robot, girl, and has options for turning the tables on the bad guys. It’s always fun when she drops by to promote one of Craig’s books. While I trot out the blurb for Viral Blues, Lisa and I are going to talk shoes and accessories. 🙂

BLURB:

Someone knows about the hat. The creature from another dimension that helps Lizzie fight against the creatures of darkness.

They are summoned to a cryptic meeting with a secret society, where they meet other people with enhanced skills. It turns out someone, or something, has been tampering with the world’s vaccine supply. The goal doesn’t appear to be political or financial, but biblical pestilence.

Can this group of loners come together in time to make a difference when even the proper authorities are obstacles?

Check out Viral Blues, for your dose of paranormal adventure, with a strong sample of dark humor. And in recent superhero style, don’t miss the secret last chapter after the back material.

PURCHASE FROM AMAZON

bio box for author, C.S. Boyack

Connect with Craig at the following haunts:
Blog | My Novels | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook | Pinterest 

What can be better than zombies for Halloween reading? This is a fun, imaginative story with a diverse cast of characters who keep every page entertaining. Highly recommended.

And to close out the week, I’m visiting with P.H. Solomon talking about a very specific curse that has haunted a town for centuries. I hope you have an opportunity to visit!

Book Review Tuesday: Viral Blues @Virgilante, Nine Lives @jaydawes2, Here to Stay @mredwards

Warm and cozy window seat with cushions and a opened book, light through vintage shutters, rustic style home decor. Small cat on window seat, along with coffee cup by pillow, Words Book Review Tuesday superimposed over imageHi, Friends! I’m back from Maine and eager to catch up with everyone. I’ll be chatting more about my trip to the Pine Tree State tomorrow, but first, I’d like to share this week’s book reviews. Ready? Let’s dive right in!


Viral Blues
by C. S. Boyack

When nefarious forces tamper with the population’s vaccine supply, substituting lethal viruses in place of inoculations, a group of players with unique gifts unites to bring down the supernatural forces responsible. Think a mash-up of superheroes, zombies, and music, and you’ve got a hint of the fast-paced and highly imaginative story that comprises Viral Blues.

Our group of power players includes an ex-thug who hasn’t lost his knack making people talk, a sexy, brilliant robot girl, a street savvy detective with a habit of evaporating into fog, a girl as handy with pistols as she is fronting a band, and an extra-terrestrial being in the guise of a hat. Yes, a hat.

Boyack gives each of these colorful characters (and more) a chance to shine in his high-octane tale. Our heroes battle hordes of zombies, organized crime bosses, and supernatural bad guys. The action sequences are peppered with near escapes and shoot-outs, and the dialogue flies as fast as the bullets (I love the hat’s snarkiness). Most all of these characters have appeared in other books and novellas Boyack has written, but tossing them together in a melting pot was a stroke of brilliance. I loved watching them interact, particularly Lisa, the robot girl (a favorite of mine) and Clovis, the thug. The hat pretty much steals every scene he’s in (did I mention I love his dialogue?).

The climatic confrontation is explosive and should be filmed. If you like imaginative stories, memorable characters, and superhero theatrics, you’ll love Viral Blues. As an extra treat the author adds a secret chapter at the end, much like the final in a movie after the credits roll. Highly enjoyable! 5 Stars!!

Amazon Link
Genre: Paranormal and Urban Fantasy > Superhero Fantasy


Book cover for Nine Lives by Jaye Marie shows close u of woman's face super imposed over sunset on oceanNine Lives
by Jaye Marie

In Nine Lives, we meet Kate, a fifty-nine-year old artist who has had a wretched string of bad luck when it comes to men, and who is now going through the motions of a day-to-day existence. She has health issues, smokes too much, and is plagued by an inner voice that constantly monitors her decisions.

Much of the story is written in expository style, admittedly not something I am used to. The reader is treated to a lot of background information about how Kate’s life has evolved and how each day unfolds. She’s made mistakes, bad choices she now recognizes, and has been taken advantage of by more than one man. Kate hopes the worst is behind her—especially now, with a female mentor and friend who offers the steadfast support she has been lacking. Sadly, there are still hurdles to overcome, the toll of which becomes evident when several in Kate’s orbit meet with foul play.

The writing is crisp, the descriptions vivid. Dialogue, when it appears, is well done, although the bulk of the book relies on narrative. I did find several of the scenes difficult to read and had to skim them. That aside, the author did an excellent job in creating a thoroughly reprehensible villain, who I couldn’t wait to see reach a justifiable end.
4 Stars.

Amazon Link
Genre: Psychological Fiction


Book cover for Here to Stay by Mark Edwards shows part of house at night, lighted upper window with someone standing in front of window, tree to left of houseHere to Stay
by Mark Edwards
It’s every newlywed’s hope for wonderful in-laws. In the case of Elliott, a mild-mannered science teacher, his neat, orderly life is turned upside down by the in-laws from hell. A chance encounter with Gemma ends with her saving his life. Four months later, they’re married, and shortly after that, Gemma asks if her parents can move in for a few weeks. They’re coming back to England after being in a France for an extended time and have no place to go.

Having recently finished the remodeling work on his dream home and eager to meet his in-laws, Elliott is happy to oblige. Jeff and Lizzie Robinson arrive along with Gemma’s younger sister, Chloe, who appears almost catatonic. It’s unclear why the three left France—which seems to have been in a hurry—or how they managed before they did. Gemma is tight-lipped and jittery around them, and barely acknowledges her sister. Although Chloe eventually comes out of her shell, it becomes evident Jeff and Lizzie have no plans of moving.

They settle in like squatters. Much like parasites or roaches who invade and take over. These two are revolting—obnoxious, gross, filthy, loud, rude, utterly repellant. Jeff is a bully, Lizzie a piranha. Gemma refuses to stand up to them and avoids them whenever possible even as they start to trash Elliott’s home. They’re brazen enough to haul in paint and start arranging furniture to their liking (side note: if you think the law should be involved, that’s addressed).

Frustration? Yes! I was irritated with Elliott for being so blind about what was happening and refusing to take a firmer stand. He is a likeable protagonist, one who garners sympathy from the reader, but someone you want to see take forcible action. When that moment finally arrives, it’s not in the way I would have expected. But this is a Mark Edwards psychological thriller which means there are going to be numerous curveballs. In that respect, the author delivered several. If that’s not enough, he tossed in a few mysterious murders early in the book for good measure.

Here to Stay is a story about what people will resort to when pushed to the breaking point. This is dark psychological fiction—darker than I would normally choose to read. I’ve been a fan of Mark Edwards for a long time, which is why Immediately grabbed the book upon release. Well written, well-told, and certain to wring a host of emotions from the reader, it’s a gripping tale with a dramatic ending. 4.5 stars.

Amazon Link
Genre: Psychological Fiction> Mystery, Thriller and Suspense


Have you read any of these? How do they sound to you? I’d love to get your thoughts in the comments!

Book Review: Voyage of the Lanternfish by C. S. Boyack #FantasyAdventure #PirateAdventure

For the new year, I’m going to be adding a variety of posts, including sharing book reviews. With the amount of books I read a year, why not? 😀

I still haven’t finalized the format. Most likely it will be something I do on a monthly basis with reviews of the books I’ve read during the month.

But to get started, I’m doing a stand alone review. I finished Voyage of the Lanternfish by C. S. Boyack last night and am still thinking about the highly imaginative world the author created. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed this story. I’ve read a number of Craig’s books, but this one rocks the boat! Heehee. Pun intended.

Book cover for Voyage of the Lanternfish by author, C. S. Boyack, shows bow of old clipper ship with glowing lanternfish headFirst the Blurb:
An honorable man is mistaken for his disreputable father. Now he’s pushed into a political scheme to start a war that will spread across multiple kingdoms. James Cuttler’s fiancé is being held captive to ensure he goes through with the plan.

He soon decides his skills are at sea and procures a ship to wage war upon those who disrupted his simple life. He can’t do it alone, so he recruits a band of cutthroats to help him. But first, they need guns and munitions to outfit the ship properly. Deception and trickery will only get them so far. Eventually, they’re going to have to engage the enemy.

James’ goals aren’t necessarily the same as his crew. It’s a delicate balancing act to collect enough loot to keep his crew happy, while guiding them back to rescue the girl.

Voyage of the Lanternfish is filled with adventure, magic, and monsters. Lots of monsters. Hoist the colors and come along for the ride.

MY 5-STAR REVIEW:
What a rollicking, magical, high-octane, deftly plotted adventure! Remember when Dorothy steps from her black-and-white world into the Land of Oz for the first time? That explosion of color, wonder, and delight is equivalent to what the reader experiences in Voyage of the Lanternfish.

Wow, where to begin? I won’t reiterate the plot (just hop up and read the blurb), but I will say you’re in for a treat with this story of pirates, high-sea adventure, a diverse cast of characters and plenty of bizarre creatures. Where else will you encounter root monsters, an anvil bird, Fu dogs, owlcats, and a moving reef? And those are just some of the imaginative beings Boyack introduces with his latest release. I developed a special fondness for the root monsters with their unwavering loyalty, nightly story-telling sessions, rabid delight in receiving names, and atrocious mangling of language. Of special note: You can’t read this book and not appreciate the cleverness of “I I I I”

Trust me. 🙂

The cast is every bit as colorful as the creatures and extremely diverse in backgrounds. They each have such strong personalities, it’s hard to choose a favorite. Even secondary characters and third level characters get plenty of moments to shine. The battle scenes involving mortars, guns, and claiming ships are perfectly executed. I was dazzled and glued to the pages.

I have read several books by this author but this one is in a league of its own. Hop aboard and set sail. You won’t be disappointed!


Gang, go forth and ONE CLICK. This isn’t just a adventure story, but one that builds on character relationships, too. You won’t regret setting sail!

New Release: Voyage of the Lanternfish by C. S. Boyack #Fantasy #Pirates #RootMonsters

My first post of 2019 is going to be a treat, folks! Not only is Lisa Burton, stunning spokesmodel for author C.S. Boyack, visiting my blog, but she’s here to share Craig’s latest book, Voyage of the Lanternfish.

Book cover for Voyage of the Lanternfish by author, C. S. Boyack, shows bow of old clipper ship with glowing lanternfish head Now, I’m always excited when Mr. Boyack trots out a new novel. His stories are wildly imaginative and flavored with a bit of odd. I’m a huge fan of odd.

I’m also a huge fan of monsters, especially cryptids. There are root monsters in Craig’s new book! Seriously, how cool is that name? I can’t wait to meet these guys. Let’s see what Lisa has to say about them.


“Oh, my gosh, Mae. I’m so happy to be back here. In fact, I’m happy to be anywhere this time of year. The writing cabin gets pretty cold and lonely about now.

“Anyway, Craig has me out on tour for his newest book, Voyage of the Lanternfish. I know fantasy monsters aren’t quite cryptids, but work with me here. I thought they might appeal to your readers, because of the cryptic connection.

“Craig wants to have his say, so he made me bring some data along. We’ll share it, then we can have some fun.”


The root monsters in this story are part of the good guys. Mal, the witch doctor, grew them in a planter attached to the window of a Gypsy caravan. He plucked them from the ground, lopped off their leaves; voila, instant creature.

They started out as something that could keep watch in the middle of the night while my characters traveled through wild country. My original vision of them was based around what were called Pigmies in The Mummy Returns. The pigmies were a swarm with sharp teeth and pointy sticks.

My root monsters retained a lot of that throughout the story. They scrounged things like old fish hooks to fight with, but the sharp teeth remained. There could be a smattering of the tooth fairies from one of the Hellboy movies. (Swarms are scary.)

They started growing in number, and some of them needed singling out. These monsters got names. They developed their own pidgin English.

One of the things I really enjoyed was how their culture advanced. They became the storytellers aboard the ship, and their verbal history might be the only thing these pirates leave behind. Their stories are always a bit off kilter from the actual truth. As an example, they have no idea about numbers. There is a scene where the monster named Boss is trying to negotiate for more monsters. In typical fashion, characters would spout numbers and work toward the middle in negotiations. Boss just throws random numbers out that are nonsensical.

Their culture evolves to the point that the rest of the crew looks forward to monster story time. The giving of a name is looked upon as a badge of honor and must be earned. I even hinted that they may be developing their own shaman.

Make no mistake, while they are dangerous and ruthless, they are also comedy relief. My recipe of tooth fairies and Pigmies got a healthy dose of Minions, and a pinch of Wile E. Coyote too.

If you’d like to know more, I’ll make sure Lisa drops off a cover, blurb, and purchase link.


“Now that the boss had his say, we can do the fun part. Look, I brought you a new poster. I chose this one, because it has a couple of root monsters in it. I know the one in the red hat is Flattop. He gets dialog and everything in the story.

Lisa Burton, spokesmodel for author C.S. Boyack in sexy pirate outfit with skull-and-crossbones flag, chest of gold and root monsters

“I really enjoyed dressing up in pirate clothes for a couple of months while Sean worked on these posters. Your readers should feel free to share them on Pinterest, or even use them as computer and gadget backgrounds. That’s what they’re for.

“As the pitch-girl for Craig’s work, I’ll leave you all the important stuff to add to the post whenever you’re ready. Now, what’s fun around here before I head for my next stop?”


Hmm…Maybe I should have Lisa chat with the Mothman, the Fiend, or even the monsters that make an appearance in my next book. She could handle any of them. Then again, she’d probably find their wardrobe atrocious and I’d have to agree. She and I will have to settle for shopping.

And speaking of shopping, I highly recommend you go forth and ONE CLICK Voyage of the Lanternfish. I’m currently reading it and can vouch you’re going to love it!

Check out the blurb:

An honorable man is mistaken for his disreputable father. Now he’s pushed into a political scheme to start a war that will spread across multiple kingdoms. James Cuttler’s fiancé is being held captive to ensure he goes through with the plan.

He soon decides his skills are at sea and procures a ship to wage war upon those who disrupted his simple life. He can’t do it alone, so he recruits a band of cutthroats to help him. But first, they need guns and munitions to outfit the ship properly. Deception and trickery will only get them so far. Eventually, they’re going to have to engage the enemy.

James’ goals aren’t necessarily the same as his crew. It’s a delicate balancing act to collect enough loot to keep his crew happy, while guiding them back to rescue the girl.

Voyage of the Lanternfish is filled with adventure, magic, and monsters. Lots of monsters. Hoist the colors and come along for the ride.

Purchase Link

Author, C. S. BoyackAuthor Bio:

I was born in a town called Elko, Nevada. I like to tell everyone I was born in a small town in the 1940s. I’m not quite that old, but Elko has always been a little behind the times. This gives me a unique perspective of earlier times, and other ways of getting by. Some of this bleeds through into my fiction.

I moved to Idaho right after the turn of the century, and never looked back. My writing career was born here, with access to other writers and critique groups I jumped in with both feet.

I like to write about things that have something unusual. My works are in the realm of science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. The goal is to entertain you for a few hours. I hope you enjoy the ride.

Connect with Craig at the following haunts:
Blog | My Novels | Twitter GoodreadsFacebookPinterest | BookBub

 

Meet Lizzie from The Hat by C. S. Boyack

Ready for some author fun? Today, Lisa, the robot girl, the spokesmodel for C. S. Boyack is back on my blog to talk about Craig’s latest release, The Hat. She’s even brought along a fabulous new poster to share. Seriously—no one rocks hats like Lisa. Well, except maybe her author and Lizzie St. Laurent.

And just exactly who is Lizzie, you ask? I’ll let Lisa explain…

Hi, everyone, and thanks for inviting me over again, Mae. What’s with all this snow? Idaho has almost none this year.

On a tour like this one, we talk about all kinds of things. Today, I want to talk about Lizzie St. Laurent.

Lizzie is a young woman, working multiple jobs to hold things together. She has two legitimate jobs, and one under-the-table kind of thing where her apartment is.

It all started when her parents bought her a car and shipped her off to college. She lived for a year with her grandmother, but Grandma had to go into assisted living. Lizzie had to make new arrangements, and life got ahead of her as it often does. She dropped out, and took on any work she could find to make ends meet.

After her grandmother died, Lizzie asked for a memento from her grandmother’s things, but her greedy-assed uncle said no. That’s when she stole a random box. This box turned out to have an old hat inside. A hat with deep ties to her grandfather and previous members of her family.

The hat turned out to be a creature from another dimension, trapped in the form of a hat for all time. He can transform into any kind of headwear, and Lizzie tests him on that skill. He isn’t up on women’s fashion or the fact that hats are out of style.

When a ring of baby snatchers take her best friend’s newborn, the hat convinces Lizzie they are uniquely equipped to do something about it. The hat has a few abilities beyond just being fashionable.

To pull this off requires a combination of skills. Some Lizzie has, and some the hat possesses. The hat hasn’t seen modern society for twenty years; he’s not used to our electronic world or modern sensibilities. Lizzie hasn’t seen people at their worst, like they were dating back to the Bronze Age, but the hat has. They’re both going to have to adapt and trust each other to rescue the missing babies.

Craig wants me to remind folks The Hat is novella length, so you can read it in an afternoon. It’s priced at 99¢ and is an incredible deal.

Today, I’m handing out this fun poster. It’s me, wearing the hat on a crisp autumn morning. Nothing paranormal happening, just a nice portrait. This version of The Hat does appear in the story though. Feel free to use it as your iPad background or whatever you like.

Lisa Burton artwork shows Lisa in a green off-the-shoulder sweater, wearing a pink hat and drinking a steaming beverage from a cup

 

Cover for the novella, The Hat by C. S. BoyackBlurb:
Lizzie St. Laurent is dealing with many of the struggles of young life. She lost her grandmother, and her living arrangements. Her new roommate abandoned her, and she’s working multiple jobs just to keep her head above water.

She inherits an old hat from her grandmother’s estate, but it belonged to her grandfather. This is no ordinary hat, but a being from an alternate dimension. One with special powers.

Lizzie and the hat don’t exactly hit it off right away, but when her best friend’s newborn is kidnapped by a ring of baby traffickers, Lizzie turns to the hat for help. This leads her deep into her family history and a world she’s never known.

Lizzie gives up everything to rescue the babies. She loses her jobs, and may wind up in jail before it’s over. Along the way, she and the hat may have a new way of making ends meet.

Humorous and fun, The Hat is novella length. Wonderful escapism for an afternoon.

Purchase The Hat HERE  

Author C. S. BoyackAbout the Author:
I was born in a town called Elko, Nevada. I like to tell everyone I was born in a small town in the 1940s. I’m not quite that old, but Elko has always been a little behind the times. This gives me a unique perspective of earlier times, and other ways of getting by. Some of this bleeds through into my fiction.

I moved to Idaho right after the turn of the century, and never looked back. My writing career was born here, with access to other writers and critique groups I jumped in with both feet.

I like to write about things that have something unusual. My works are in the realm of science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. The goal is to entertain you for a few hours. I hope you enjoy the ride.

Connect with Craig at the following haunts:
Blog | My Novels | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook | Pinterest 

 

The Enhanced League by C. S. Boyack #NewRelease #SpeculativeFiction #Baseball #RRBC

Craig Boyack is a regular visitor on my blog, but no matter how many times he drops by, he always has something new and unusual to share. That slant is par for the course with Craig’s main genre as a speculative fiction author. His latest release, The Enhanced League is truly unique and possibly my favorite of his varied works. I was a beta reader on this novel and was mesmerized by the creativity involved. You can find my 5-Star Amazon review here.

I asked Craig to write about the showmanship he incorporated into his baseball league with mascots and other splashy theatrics. (I loved the Kawaii Girls). Another favorite part for me were the vignettes with sportscasters Ricky Sunderland and Uber Velasquez. Pure gold! Trust me—you’re going to want to pick this one up!

~ooOOoo~

Thanks for the invite, Mae. It’s nice to have places to talk about our new books when they release. I know you have one dropping very soon, and you’re always welcome to borrow my blog space too.

My newest is a collection of short stories and anthems, but this time they tell an overarching story. The setting is a fictional baseball league where nobody monitors the performance enhancing drugs, and the rules are slightly different. It’s called The Enhanced League, and at 99¢, I think it’s a smokin deal.

Mae served as one of my beta readers, and she liked the pomp that went along with this league. The old rules of conduct are gone, and it’s a bit more like professional wrestling in its presentation.

The stadiums are pretty outrageous. From the Montreal Mounties’ bullpen car that’s actually a fully blown hotrod to the taiko drummers in Japan, there is a lot of flash here. The league is truly international in scope.

Mae also liked some of the behind-the-scenes characters too. Putting on a good show requires a lot of manpower. They can’t all get an individual story, but they make appearances to spice up the tales that did get written. You get to see the efforts of the grounds crew where the field has to be moved outside to get the grass to grow. There are actual stadiums that do this now, so it wasn’t much of a stretch.

There are the Kawaii Girls in Niigata, Japan. These stadium performers are a precision team of virtual anime characters that add a bit of flavor. There’s no doubt they work hard at their performance, even though they irritate the main character in that story. This story even features people wearing inflatable sumo suits running the bases during the seventh inning stretch.

You’ll never actually meet Captain Rhumm, a more traditional team mascot, but he adds a little something to the team from Puerto Rico.

The main theme is one year in the life of The Enhanced League. The peripheral stuff is fun, but the stories deal with falling stock and rising fortunes. There are tragic tales of drug abuse, and some advancements in medical technology. You’ll meet a few misfits who see this league as their only chance to play professional baseball. I even touch upon how women are treated in the workplace.

If this sounds like a fun mid-season break to you, I’d appreciate you picking up a copy.

Thanks, Mae.

Book cover for The Enhanced League by C.S. Boyack shows close up of home plate with a needed and baseball glove

Blurb:
The Enhanced league is a collection of short stories and anthems centered around a year in a fictional baseball league. It has a slight science fiction background. This league has a lot more pomp than you might be used to, and nobody seems to care if the players use performance enhancing drugs.

Stories involve existing heroes, up and comers, and falling stars. While there are the obvious stories that take place on the field of play, there are also human interest stories that take place around the baseball gyrations. These stories involve scouting, trades, ruthless business decisions, and even relationships.

I enjoyed researching and bringing you The Enhanced League, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. — CB

PURCHASE THE ENHANCED LEAGUE FROM AMAZON

Meet C. S. Boyack
Author C. S. BoyackI was born in a town called Elko, Nevada. I like to tell everyone I was born in a small town in the 1940s. I’m not quite that old, but Elko has always been a little behind the times. This gives me a unique perspective of earlier times, and other ways of getting by. Some of this bleeds through into my fiction.

I moved to Idaho right after the turn of the century, and never looked back. My writing career was born here, with access to other writers and critique groups I jumped in with both feet.

I like to write about things that have something unusual. My works are in the realm of science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. The goal is to entertain you for a few hours. I hope you enjoy the ride.

Connect with Craig at the following haunts:
Blog | My Novels | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook | Pinterest 

Visiting the Playground with C. S. Boyack #StoryEmpireRoadshow

The Story Empire Roadshow continues today with an appearance from C. S. Boyack. Craig is here to share the scoop on his book The Playground. Gather ’round the bookmobile and grab your copy before the tour is over. There’s only one more day left to score great prices on great reads and accumulate some nifty prizes along the way.

Take it away, Craig!

vintage photo of a bookmobile with crowd gathered around itThanks for having me over today, Mae. This Story Empire Roadshow has been a blast. All of us are doing different things, and in my case it’s something different every day. I think today’s stop is a good one. I’m offering my paranormal novel, The Playground, free for two days.

This story involves a ruthless businessman who has a line of toys for children. They’re called Playground dolls, and they come with access to a social network for kids. Children can interact with each other from all around the world.

Behind the scenes, he’s using the system to brainwash our children into his own homegrown army. Imagine the invasion happening from within our own homes.

This becomes what I like to call a chase for the maguffin, when the next generation of software goes missing. The businessman turned to the occult when things weren’t happening fast enough, and now his position is tenuous at best.

The Playground is told from three different points of view. You get the victim, the heroine, and a badass street thug who’s been sent after the missing software at all costs.

I think it has similarities to the works of Frank Miller, and Quentin Tarantino. If you like something on the dark side, with paranormal themes, this might be the one for you.

Book cover for THE PLAYGROUND, a novel by C. S. Boyack shows dramatic image of young girl's face over a sinister looking house at night with a car in the foregroundBLURB:
The hottest new toys of the Christmas season are the Playground Network dolls. They contain a worldwide social network for children. Except the network is controlled by a ruthless businessman with dreams of power.

To reach his goals he turns to the occult. Will our children make up his personal army? Could we have an enemy soldier in every home?

Gina Greybill is a cancer survivor who stumbles into her own brush with the paranormal. She wants nothing to do with it, but may be the only one who can bring down the Playground Network. To do it she’ll have to embrace her new situation, and recover the next generation of Playground software.

There is competition for the software in the form of a brutal thug named Clovis. He’s bigger, more ruthless, and more experienced. To top it all off, he has a head start.

The Playground is suitable for mature readers, due to violence and mature themes.

 The Playground is available at this Universal Purchase Link 

Story Empire is a cooperative effort of six outstanding authors. While I’m here at Mae’s visiting, she has her own bookmobile parked at Joan Hall’s blog. Joan is over at Entertaining Stories, so make sure you stop by my place too.

As an incentive to keep following the tour, my two most prolific commenters will win a huge coffee mug featuring my Romanesque bust, and Lisa Burton my robotic personal assistant. These are awesome mugs, and you’re going to want one.

Coffee mug with character and author bust

Connect with Craig at:
Blog | Amazon | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook

Biography box for author C. S. Boyack

Continue to follow the Story Empire Roadshow at these
blogs for more giveaways, prizes and fun!

Staci Troilo | C. S. Boyack | Harmony Kent | Joan Hall | P. H. Solomon

 

The Monday Buzz from Story Empire

Happy Monday, gang! Eh, I realize that’s kind of an oxymoron, but it is what it is.

One good thing about Mondays? You can always count on an informative blog post over on the Story Empire site.

old world type map with script writing laid over top and words Story Empire set off as a bold header

Today’s post by Craig Boyack is of special interest to me. You’ve got to hop over and check out his take on Flipboard. I’ve used Flipboard for a while but I had no clue you could create your own magazine or that it’s a unique way to drive traffic to your blog. Who doesn’t like more blog traffic? And hey, the idea of my own magazine (created very simply) is highly appealing to me. I’ve been after him for a while to share the deets on how this is done, and it looks sooo easy!

Check it out yourself with Craig’s post, By Popular Demand, Flipboard. Hope to see you there!

And the Winners are…

Hi, gang. The Paranormal Bar and Grille Tour is over. Can you believe it’s almost Thanksgiving? Sheesh! Where does time go?

Anyway, thanks to everyone who went belly up to the bar before last call. On behalf of myself, Staci Troilo, Craig Boyack, Sandra Cox and Harmony Kent, we were glad to see you there and hope you had as much fun as we did.

Paranormal Bar & Grille

And now for all those treats I promised! 🙂 My scavenger hunt winners are:

Amazon $15 Gift Card: jjspina
Amazon $10 Gift Card: Jasmine
eBook copy of either Eclipse Lake, Food for Poe or Solstice Island: Julie Holmes

If you haven’t already received an email from me about your prize, expect to see one shortly!

The group and I also did two tours through the month of October (one even flopping over into November).

The winner of the “Reading is my Addiction” tour is “Kate” (no last name provided) who gets a $30 Amazon gift card.

The winner of the “Goddess Fish” tour is Kristen Burns, who won our ultimate prize, a $50 Amazon gift card.

Congrats to Kristen, Kate, Julie, Jasmine and jjspina. If you’d like to get a gander at the scavenger hunt winners for the other authors, just hop over to Story Empire. Thanks again and keep your eye peeled for more fun offerings from the Story Empire group in the months ahead!