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!

Welcome to the Paranormal Bar and Grille #ScavengerHunt #Giveaway

Welcome, traveler! The authors of Story Empire (Staci Troilo, C.S. Boyack, Sandra Cox, Harmony Kent and I) have a huge Halloween giveaway kicking off today. There are multiple gift cards and ebooks up for grabs, plus lots of fun with several scavenger hunts.

You’ll find us hanging out at the Paranormal Bar & Grille, a spooky establishment with a questionable clientele. Well, questionable if you consider vampires, gargoyles, witches, creatures of urban legend and other supernatural beings unusual. Grab a tankard at the bar, sit down for a chat, and then embark on the scavenger hunts, collecting goodies along the way.close up of bar with old bottles and urns

You can find the main page here with links at the bottom to each of the individual scavenger hunts we’re offering. Each hunt offers you the chance to win a $15.00 Amazon gift card, a $10.00 Amazon gift card and multiple ebooks. That’s fifteen, not too shabby, chances to win.

And there’s more…

We’ve also booked a month long blog tour through Reading Addiction Tours that begins today and runs through November 4th. Discover excerpts from our books, reviews and purchase links at multiple stops. At the end of the tour we’ll be awarding a $30.00 gift card to Amazon. Be sure to enter the Rafflecopter drawings at each blog to increase your chances to win. You can follow the tour here.

paranormalbarandgrille_zpsyewb54s6

Finally, on October 31st we’ll be doing a one day Halloween blast through Goddess Fish Promotions. One lucky winner will walk away with a $50.00 Amazon gift card. You can check the Story Empire site or any of our individual blogs on the 31st for links to the blast.

And if you haven’t picked up your copy of MACABRE SANCTUARY yet, a collection of spooky tales in which four of the Story Empire authors are featured, snatch up your FREE copy and start reading.

Happy Halloween!

The Experimental Notebook of C.S. Boyack II with Lisa Burton #RRBC

Guess what, gang? I’ve got a special guest today.

Lisa Burton, robot girl extraordinaire, and the personal assistant of author C. S. Boyack has dropped by to tell us about Craig’s latest book. For those of you who may not know Lisa, she made her debut in Craig’s novel Wild Concept and has been helping him around his writer’s cabin ever since. Lisa is currently on tour for Craig with a jam-packed schedule, so I was delighted to snag one of her stops. Please welcome Lisa as she shares a bit about Craig’s latest book and how it came about.

~ooOOoo~

Thanks for having me back, Mae. It’s great to get away from the writing cabin on occasion. You asked me to talk about the appeal of short stories. I think it’s nice to get a little bit of history behind them.

Short stories were once very popular. They were published in newspapers and magazines, and publishers readily sought them out. Even bigger publishers would put out the occasional anthology or collection.

When newspapers and magazines started to fail, so did short stories. Big publishing wanted novels, and series of novels, more than short fiction. The Internet, and the age of Amazon gave them a new lease on life though.

There have been some great short stories over the course of time. Movies were made, based upon a short story. I remember a great old black and white film called The Oxbow Incident, that said it was based on a short story. And we all know the legs The Legend of Sleepy Hollow took on. The Twilight Zone was really nothing more than short fiction, made for the television screen, and those stories were pretty darned good.

Today, we’ve been trained to read things in 140 characters or less. People want shorter content that respects their time. I don’t think novels will ever die, but short form stuff seems to be gaining in popularity. People can read an entire story during a coffee break.

My author, Craig, has a new collection of short fiction out. It’s called The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack II. This includes short stories and micro-fiction across a range of speculative genres. There’s a little bit of paranormal, one that passes for fantasy, and some science fiction too. There are two murder tales in there, that aren’t exactly speculative. Craig made sure this book had more stories in it, so those who expect only spec tales can consider these two as free extras.

Book cover for The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack II is rustic brown with gold alchemy rings

It’s important to Craig that I tell everyone it’s only 99¢. This is to encourage people to take a chance on it. Maybe they haven’t read Craig’s work before, or they would like to check out some short stuff. At this price, they get their money’s worth if even one of the stories clicks for them.

Part of my job as spokesmodel for Craig’s books is traveling around and talking about the stories. Another part involves handing out my posters. We try to make a couple of posters for each book. With a collection, like this one, we have to pick and choose.

This one is from a short story called Career Move. It doesn’t reflect the entire story, but just gives a hint.

Drawing of sexy blond woman in heels on a pier doing a backhanded wave to a sea-serpent that has two men clutched in tentacles. Election signs are sinking in water

We thought it was funny with the big election only a few months away. Your readers should feel free to use it as a background on their PCs, laptops, or whatever.

Thanks again for the invitation. Is there any fun shopping around your neck of the woods?

~ooOOoo~

Shopping! Oh, yes. That’s a girl after my own heart. My husband tells me I consider shopping a sport, LOL.

Lisa, thanks for dropping by and sharing the background on Craig’s book. Gang, I have to tell you I was a beta reader on this collection and it’s a 5-Star gem. I snatched up a copy as soon as it was available. You can find my review on Amazon. I have my favorites (The Last Flight of the Rocket Men, Documentary, Magpies) but the star for me is Holo-Barkers, a short little mirco fic that’s sheer brilliance.

This book is a cabinet of curiosities waiting to be discovered, and at .99c it’s a steal. Go confiscate a copy now!

~ooOOoo~

Purchase The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack II HERE

Author C. S. BoyackConnect with the author at the following haunts:
Blog
Twitter 

Goodreads
Facebook
Craig’s books on Amazon 

The Ghost and the Robot Girl

It isn’t every day a ghost gets interviewed on radio but that’s exactly what’s on the slate for today. Lisa Burton, a highly sophisticated robot and the lead character in C.S. Boyack’s WILD CONCEPT has a weekly radio show in which she interviews any character who doesn’t mind sitting down for a chat.

In the past, Lisa has interviewed everyone from a wealthy businessman to an Elfin queen, spy, healer, retired lawyer, and all manner of characters in between.

Book cover for A Thousand Yesteryears by Mae Clair, depicting a wooded thicket at nightToday, Maggie Flynn, the twelve-year-old ghost from my novel A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS, sits down to chat with Lisa about the spooky happenings plaguing her hometown of Point Pleasant, West Virginia—including rumors of the Mothman and sinister undertones that have been building for over a decade. You can catch Maggie and Lisa’s interview here.

And while you’re visiting Craig’s blog, why not check out how your character can be a guest on Lisa Burton Radio? Get the details here!

Guest Blogger C. S. Boyack on Writing and Inspiration #RRBC Author

Welcome! I’m turning my blog over to C. S. Boyack, who is touring with his new speculative fiction/horror novel, THE PLAYGROUND, which releases today. Craig put together a great post about novel inspiration and ideas, which already had me dreaming up storylines as I read through it. Some of the feeds Craig talks about below, he shares on his blog Entertaining Stories in the form of “idea mill” posts. If you’re not currently following Craig’s blog, it’s a fun place to hang out and ruminate on a writer’s life.

Take it away, Craig…

~ooOOoo~

Writers are often asked where they get their ideas from. I think it’s different for every author, but in my case it could be literally anywhere.

I had an old family story that I’d forgotten about years ago. When I heard a creepy song on Pandora, the old story came back to me and I morphed it into a short story that I’m pretty happy with. I may wind up publishing it in a book of short stories one day.

Sometimes it’s a line from a book, or a visual from a film of some kind. A casual reference overheard at a restaurant might be the key to a character that works in my story.

I’ve been watching television and gotten angry because something doesn’t work the way it’s portrayed. “It actually works this way,” has led to scenes that wind up in my stories. Think about the double barreled shotgun that breaks in the middle, the television insists upon making the wracking sound of a pump action shotgun even though it doesn’t work that way.

I wrote one of my novels because I watched a movie with my grandkids. The Disney film Brave has a will o’ the wisp in it. My imagination was sparked, and I wrote Will O’ the Wisp because of an afternoon with the grandkids.

One thing a speculative author should always keep in mind is the question, “What if?” I don’t always have a soapbox hidden inside my stories, but on occasion it happens. This usually involves looking at a situation that exists today and pushing it to a prediction of some kind.

This one is fun to experiment with, ask yourself, “What if…”:

  • The human population exceeds the ability of the Earth to grow enough food.
  • Those refugees aren’t the problem, but a virus one of them carries is.
  • Global warming thaws something evil from the ice pack.
  • A piece of yeast or a bacteria was on the Mars rover.

I’m sure you can come up with your own, but it’s a fun game to play.

I have great faith in my Muse, Lorelei. I also believe in treating her right. I do this by subscribing to various push feeds online. I get news about topics of interest pushed to me without hours of endless searching. When one of them has merit, I make a note in one of my living documents. Some of those ideas led to stories, or even elements that enhanced a story.

Sometimes it’s a conglomeration of all of this. Maybe I get an archeological post about discovery of European graves where a stake was pounded through the skeleton. I play a little “what if” about pulling the stake out. Maybe I add a setting I was impressed with from a movie. Maybe a conversation, or song lyric, inspires a character that would be perfect for this story. A story is born.

I don’t believe in waiting around for inspiration. My push feeds send me data that might work in a story. My living documents serve as reminders, and I keep them up to date.

What works for you? Where do you find inspiration?

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 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 more mature readers, due to violence and mature themes.

Author C. S. BoyackMeet the man who dreamed up the story:
AUTHOR 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.

~ Craig ~

Connect with Craig at the following haunts:
Blog

Twitter @Virgilante
Facebook
Goodreads
Find all of Craig’s novels on his Amazon Author Page

Purchase your copy of THE PLAYGROUND from Amazon 

Cover Reveal: The Playground by C. S. Boyack #RRBC Author

I read a lot of different genres. If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know I have a  passion for “weird.” I don’t mean that in any negative sense of the word, just that I enjoy speculative fiction and stories that tend to be on the fringe, or a bit “out there.” It probably stems from all those years of reading Bradbury, King, sci-fi and fantasy when I was growing up.

I’ve known for a while that Craig Boyack has been hard at work on THE PLAYGROUND, an unusual story that I can’t wait to get my hands on. I’ve already pre-ordered my copy. I’ve been looking forward to it for a while, and then I saw this amazing cover.

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 foreground

Talk about eye-catching and dramatic! The artist is Sean Harrington who also does the artwork for Craig’s Lisa Burton character (the spokesmodel of his blog Entertaining Stories and a particular favorite of mine). Lisa even has her own radio show and is always interested in interviewing characters (authors take note, and check out the deets here).

And if the cover of THE PLAYGROUND isn’t enough to wallop you over the head and grab your attention, the blurb will do it.

BLURB
The hottest 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 more mature readers, due to violence and mature themes.

Release date is April 4th, but you can pre-order your copy of THE PLAYGROUND from Amazon. I sense goosebumps galore!

Author C. S. BoyackMeet the man who dreamed up the story:
AUTHOR 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.

~ Craig ~

Connect with Craig at the following haunts:
Blog

Twitter @Virgilante
Facebook
Goodreads
Find all of Craig’s novels on his Amazon Author Page

Pre-order your copy of THE PLAYGROUND from Amazon 

Cover Reveal and Pre-Order: The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack #Speculative Fiction #MicroFic

Wow! You can grab your copy of this book for just $.99 by pre-ordering from Amazon today!

I positively love cover reveals and this one is AWESOME! It was created for C. S. Boyack’s new release, The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack, by talented designer, author, and blogger Rachel Carrera. I think it’s an fabulous cover for what promises to be an intriguing book of short stories and micro-fic. What a perfect match!

IMG_1297

I think the cover speaks to all of the wonderful oddities that surely await within, much like opening a cabinet of curiosities.

BLURB:
A speculative fiction selection of micro-fiction and short stories. These were designed to be short reads for your commute, coffee break, and other times when readers are pressed for time. This book contains a bit of science fiction, some fantasy, and paranormal stories.

And Craig’s personal message:  “I’m excited to see short fiction returning in popularity. I hope you will enjoy these stories as much as I did.”

And don’t forget the best part:

You can pre-order your copy of The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack for just $.99.  I’ve already grabbed my copy from Amazon. Snatch yours up here!

Author C. S. BoyackConnect with Craig at the Following Haunts:
Blog 
Twitter 
Goodreads 
Find all of Craig’s novels here  

Guest Blogger C. S. Boyack and a Special Guest

I’ve got a treat for your today. Actually a double one. Craig Boyack of Entertaining Stories and I are doing a blog swap. Craig and a “special guest” I asked him to bring along are taking over my blog, while I’m hanging out at his. I’m talking about my experience offering a book for free on Amazon. Was it worth it? You’ll have to check my post on Entertaining Stories to find out. 🙂

Meanwhile, I’ll leave Craig and his companion to keep you entertained. The special guest he brought along is only one of the many colorful characters from Craig’s imagination that haunt his blog. I just happen to be partial to this particular character. Maybe because I can relate to how it feels when he drops in for a visit. You’ll see what I mean in a minute, so sit back and enjoy Craig’s post. . .

~ooOOoo~

I walked up to the shop and checked the map on my iPhone. A huge raven whooshed over my head and landed in a tree. This looked like the right coffee shop, and I took a seat outside. Mae asked me to come here and write about my editing process and the blessing/curse that follows me around.

The truth is, I don’t know what I’m doing when it comes to editing. I’ve learned a trick or two and made notes in my living document. I looked around the parking lot, but there was no sign of Mae. I took a table outside so I could watch for her.

I started writing this blog post; any available minutes can be precious. The raven swooped down and landed on my table. See, he’s a gift from my Muse, and tries to keep me looking professional. The bird’s name is Doubt.

I’ve learned to search out my personal sin words, like “that, very, was, and the various forms of its and there.”

These days I’m trying to eliminate what I call stage directions. These are usually things like “said, heard, saw, smelled, felt.” If we’re in a character’s point of view, it’s better to describe someone walking across the parking lot, than to write, “she saw someone walking across the parking lot.” This is a new one for me, but I believe my writing is better for it. I learned that from Doubt.

Doubt pecked at my hand. Krik krik blork.

Ravens make hundreds of noises, more than common crows. I really don’t know what they all mean. This one even manages to mimic a few human words. I’m guessing he doesn’t like me using contractions in a blog post. It’s a blog post, it’s supposed to be a bit more familiar to readers. Now I have doubts. That’s how he works.

Raven sitting on a thin stump of wood, head bent to claws

I have to put him away when I draft my novels. If I listen to him during the draft phase, I never get anything done. My Muse says he helps me, but I have my doubts.

I love my stories, all of them. I even love the trunk novels that no one will ever see. Doubt gets into my head, and keeps me from the most egregious mistakes. The run of the mill mistakes are mine, and sometimes they get in. I’ve learned not to listen to him in every case.

I thought he was going to peck my hands bloody, when I edited Will O’ the Wisp. This is the first thing I ever wrote in first person point of view. He didn’t like the over use of “I and my.” I changed what I thought I could, but some of that has to happen in first person point of view.

The trick is to listen to Doubt, but to also override him when needed. I’m still not sure who’s right in some cases, but I’m learning. Doubt would have all my fiction looking like a lawyer wrote it, and he would take all the character out of it. Fiction needs character, and sometimes it’s the best part of the story.

Too much input from Doubt leads to perfectionism. Perfectionism is the bane of many writers. It prevents us from putting out acceptable work for fear it might have a mistake. I personally believe we learn more from drafting new material. Not everyone feels this way.

Kaw! Doubt pecked at my iPhone.

“We’re at the right address.” I checked again anyway. “I wonder if I wrote it down right in the first place.” See how he works. A little Doubt goes a long ways. “Why don’t you fly around and see if you can spot Mae Clair. Maybe she’s at a different coffee shop.”

Doubt slit off the table and took to the sky. I kind of hoped to give him to Mae for a month or so. I get a lot accomplished when I don’t have Doubt getting in my way.

~ooOOoo~

Craig’s newest book is WILL O’ THE WHISP, a highly entertaining  novel which combines elements of magical realism, mystery, and fantasy, as well as an appealing coming of age theme.

Book cover for Will O' the Wisp by C. S. Boyack depicting a ghostly floating light over a stream with treesBLURB:
There 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, face the wilderness, and an ancient evil all alone if she’s going to survive.

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

Purchase From:
Northern American Continent 
Rest of the world 

Author C. S. BoyackYou Can Follow Craig at the Following Haunts:
Blog 
Twitter 
Goodreads 
Find all of Craig’s novels here