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: Food for Poe by Mae Clair #Paranormal #Christmas #Romance

It’s October and I should be thinking about pumpkins, restless spirits, and things-that-go-bump in the night. I’ve got a Halloween mystery out right now with MYTH AND MAGIC, so that counts, right?

But as much as I enjoy Halloween, I adore Christmas far more. Without question, it’s my favorite holiday. That’s why I’m excited to be releasing a holiday novella in November. If you’ve visited my blog before, you’ve heard me talk about FOOD FOR POE, a Christmas romance with a paranormal twist and smidgen of horror.

And a cat. Did I mention it has a black cat? 🙂

Because this is an indie release, and because I’m quasi-versed in graphic design, I put the cover together. After scouring stock photography sites, I found models who were a good match for my characters, Breck Lansing and Quinn Easterly–and, of course, I had to find a charming black cat for Poe.

What do you think?

Cover of FOOD FOR POE with cute young couple and a black cat.

Blurb:

When a blizzard strands Quinn Easterly at a handsome stranger’s house on Christmas Eve, she doesn’t realize her newly adopted cat, Poe, is the catalyst responsible for bringing them together.

Breck Lansing gave up on relationships after his wife, unable to cope with their daughter’s illness, left him. But the pretty blonde he rescues from a snowstorm has him rethinking his stance—especially when Quinn’s arrival coincides with a dramatic change in Sophie’s health.

Unfortunately, that change also attracts something only whispered about in folklore. Together, Quinn and Breck must defeat a sinister creature intent on claiming the ultimate payment.

Warning: A clever black cat, Christmas magic and paranormal trouble

~ooOOoo~

Poe’s release should fall somewhere in mid November. DH and I are taking a vacation to the tropics the beginning of the month (you’ll notice me missing) and I plan to publish the story when we return. After a week of tropical waters, sandy beaches, sun, and fun, I’ll be ready to focus on writing and publishing.

Now I just have to start planning promo. 🙂

In the meantime, I’m happy to say you can add FOOD FOR POE to your Goodreads list by clicking here.

I am such a sap when it comes to animals, especially cats. If there was any doubt, take a look at the closet door and entrance door to my office/den. There’s another/different guy outside, too 🙂

IMG_0671

Mythical Monday:  Something’s Mything by Mae Clair

I know it’s Mythical Monday and I should be Mything but I actually have a blog tour kicking off today for TWELFTH SUN. The tour was supposed to happen way back in January, but if you recall, Lyrical Press was acquired by Kensington Books and it took a while for the dust to settle and new Kensington titles to be issued.

Book Promotions by Literary Nook Book was happy to work with me in delaying the tour, so here we are five months later, and it’s finally under way. Something is definitely mything from my blog today, but maybe the timing worked for the best as TWELFTH SUN is a breezy summer read.  Here’s where I’ll be should you like to drop by and say hello over the next few weeks:

Tour Banner Twelfth Sun

May 12
Kristy Centeno – Promo with excerpt
KMN Books – Author Interview, promo with excerpt

May 13
JM Stewart–Contemporary Romance Author – Promo with excerpt
The (Mis)Adventures of a Twenty-Something Year Old Girl – Promo with excerpt

May 14
Some Like It Hotter – Promo and excerpt
Triad Literary – Promo with excerpt

May 15
Musings of a Writing Reader – Promo with excerpt

May 20
Mythical Books – Review

May 21
Have Novel, Will Edit – Promo with excerpt

May 22
Deal Sharing Aunt – Author Interview, Promo with excerpt

May 26
My Devotional Thoughts – Promo with excerpt

May 28
Literary Nook – Promo with excerpt

May 30
Book Reviews by Xunaira J. – Promo with excerpt

June 2
Crystal’s Many Reviewers – Review

Solstice Island Final smallIn other news, I’m also visiting with Brooke Williams today, promoting SOLSTICE ISLAND . . . also a summery read, and a adventure involving a mythical sea creature.

And, since this is turning into a book update post, here’s where my latest WIPs stand:

~ooOOoo~

ECLIPSE LAKE

Shot of a lake at summer twilight
Romantic mystery, family drama, and an unsolved missing person’s case.

I still hope to publish this title in June.

~ooOOoo~

MYTH AND MAGIC
Romantic mystery involving ghostly happenings and sabotage at a secluded corporate retreat.
Takes place in October and over Halloween.
Should be ready for submission by the end of the month.

~ooOOoo~

A THOUSAND YESTERYEARSbigstock-Ghost-At-The-Window-tint--23502128
Urban fantasy/horror.
A haunted house, a family curse, and an evil presence that will stop at nothing to continue its legacy of darkness.
My current WIP.
I’m going back to my roots with this one. Fantasy/horror was my first genre as an author.

~ooOOoo~

Mythical Monday will return next week as usual. In the meantime, I’d love to know what you’re working on at present, or news on your latest release. Please share!

Welcoming Guest Blogger Sara Jayne Townsend

I’m rolling out the red carpet for Sara Jayne Townsend who has dropped my blog today to to share a guest post.  This is a good one *rubs hands together eagerly* and I can’t wait to hear your opinions! So kick back, enjoy and check out what she has to say!

Minority Opinion?
by Sara Jayne Townsend

Sarah Townsend (45) smallLast month was Women in Horror month. For the second year running, I participated in this by running relevant posts on my blog.  Last year, I showcased women horror writers.  This year, I looked at fictional kick-ass role models of horror (specifically Buffy, Alice from ‘Resident Evil’, Ripley from ‘Alien’ and Sarah Connor from the ‘Terminator’ films).

I think this is an important cause, because we need to raise the profile of women in horror.  Women have been writing horror since Mary Shelley penned ‘Frankenstein’.  They read horror.  There are even well-respected women directing horror films.  So why, in the 21st century, is there still a pervading general opinion that women don’t ‘do’ horror?  As a woman horror writer I think about this question a lot.

I think part of the problem is the fact that the media will always encourage majority opinion.  This is most evident when the Xmas ads get rolled out.  If you buy your gifts based on the message the commercials are giving you, you’d assume that the women in your life want make-up kits and romance films, and the men in your life want computer games and science fiction films.    Not that I want to rant about this, but anyone who doesn’t know me well enough to know I’d rather have a zombie PS3 game for Xmas than a make-up kit shouldn’t be buying me a gift at all.

I have lived my life in the minority.  I’m left-handed, and the world is geared for right-handed people.  I live in a country where the two favourite pastimes are eating curry and watching football, and I don’t like either.  I am a woman who reads and writes horror.  I play video games, and D&D.  I don’t have, and have no desire to have, children, and I have little interest in clothes and shoes and hand bags.  I am not alone in any of this.  The majority of my female friends are horror and sci fi fans, and we talk with enthusiasm about the same TV shows.  We also rant collectively about the image of women in the media, and lack of decent female role models.

Things are changing, slowly (hence my recent blog posts about positive fictional female role models in the media), but there’s still a long way to go.  And if the media continues to cater to gender preconceptions, things will never change quickly enough.

But change is always slow, if constant.  There may always be fewer women writing horror than there are men, but that doesn’t make them any less relevant.   The majority opinion isn’t necessarily right – just more popular.  And there is something to be said for being part of the elite minority.  When your voice is smaller, you just have to shout louder.  Eventually people listen.

BIO:
Sara Jayne Townsend is a UK-based writer of crime and horror.  Her latest book, SOUL SCREAMS is a collection of short horror stories and is available in e-book and print format from Stumar Press (http://stumarpress.webs.com/soulscreams.htm).  Learn more about Sara and her writing by visiting her website (http://sarajaynetownsend.weebly.com) and her blog (http://sayssara.wordpress.com).
SOULSCREAMS-2

Author Spotlight: Savannah Rayne

Hello, everyone! Today I’m welcoming Savannah Rayne to my blog. Savannah was gracious enough to volunteer for my first author interview. I hope you’ll welcome her warmly, as I’m excited to have her here.  Welcome Savannah! 

Savannah: Good morning, Mae, and thank you for having me! It’s a real honor to be here.

Can you tell us a little about the type of writing you do and why you chose that genre? 

Savannah:  My first two published stories are mild horror–nothing gruesome, but more creepy than anything. I’ve always loved a good spooky book, so it was just a given to write in a way I’ve enjoyed reading myself. I’ve also decided to try my hand at writing romance. This is another genre I have devoured over the years. I’ve flip-flopped between the two all of my life! When I was bored with the mushy happily-ever-after-life-is-perfect stuff, I’d go get something from the horror section at the book store to balance things out!

 As someone who loves a scary story as much as a romantic tale, I was enthralled by the synopses of OH, DEER and WHEN IT LEAVES, two titles you’ve already published. Although I enjoy reading about a spooky graveyard or haunted house, I love when an author can change the gentle or ordinary into something ominous. Would you like to share a bit about these two books?

Savannah: With both of these stories I have taken two things we see in everyday life–deer and autumn leaves–that are usually very innocent, and turned them into something unnatural, that should be feared. Those who’ve read the books have told me that when they see a deer on the side of the road, or children innocently playing  in fallen leaves, they remember my stories and shudder just a little.

OH, DEER
Jacob Ellis and his wife Donna live in the north woods of Wisconsin. Like most young couples, they have hobbies they enjoy. Jacob likes the outdoors, choosing four-wheeling and hunting as his forms of relaxation. Donna loves cooking, but her true passion is working in her flower garden. That is until her labor of love becomes nothing more than a colorful, tasty treat for the white-tailed deer who share their surroundings. One night, the pair experience more than the typical four legged visitor to their yard. The evening sets the path for Jacob’s decision to go against nature. After hearing a legend passed down through generations of the Chippewa Indians, Jacob must decide if it’s just a myth or a lesson in the balance of law and justice–between people and nature.

WHEN IT LEAVES
Playing in the leaves is something all children do; twins Steven and K.C are no different. One autumn evening the five year olds ask to go out and play until dinner is ready. What happens that night will haunt Steven for the next twenty years. Now with a daughter of his own, Steven is left to struggle with the painful, guilt ridden choice of keeping his daughter safe or help the brother he lost long ago, the one person Steven always thought he would do anything, to have back.

You have a new paranormal romance, WORDS OF AN ANGEL, coming soon. Can you tell us about it and when it will be released?

Savannah:  Absolutely! I am very excited about my latest story WORDS OF AN ANGEL which will be published soon by Hellfire Publishing. WORDS OF AN ANGEL is a paranormal romance that has situations in it that we all go through in life…only with a twist 🙂

Rayanne Bradley experiences some life changes. She struggles with new choices that affect both her personal and professional life. She’ll also find the man of her dreams. As the worlds of dreams and reality collide, the two struggle between choosing to do what’s right, or following their hearts. One will be faced with giving up everything they’ve ever known, a choice that if made, will result in never going back. The other feels it’s too great a sacrifice to ask someone to make. How far is too far to go, when you love someone?  As of right now, I don’t have an exact release date, but it should be before summer ends.

Oooh, very nice! I love the cover on all three of your books but, WORDS OF AN ANGEL, is definitely delicious! I know that in addition to being a writer, you’re also an editor for Hellfire Publishing. Is it hard juggling two roles, especially when your e-house is also pubbing your work?

Savannah: Interesting question! Being with Hellfire Publishing is the best thing that has ever happened to me. As an “editor” I am truly blessed in having a great boss and I work with some of the most wonderful writers out there. The word “work” doesn’t really seem right; I enjoy my job and can’t imagine doing anything else now. As for writing for HP, again, it’s amazing. Even though I work for them, I go through the exact same thing every other writer does. I don’t get special privileges or treatment. I have to wait my turn and go through the editing process just like all HP writers. You would think being an editor/copy editor I would be more aware of errors I make when writing. But I can tell you, as careful as I try to be I still make mistakes just like everyone else, LOL.

Is there one you enjoy more than the other?

Savannah: No, not really. I have come to enjoy writing more than I thought I would and plan on doing it as long as I can. As for editing, I work with such great writers, it’s a pleasure to help them get their already awesome stories into the best shape as possible. Really, is there a better job than getting to read these great books?

Okay, technique time:  do you write as time permits or do you have set hours/days devoted strictly to writing?   

Savannah: Oh, definitely when time permits! It’s my biggest battle–trying to balance all that I do. Wednesday is my scheduled day off from watching the children I do day care for. I try very hard to set that day aside to do my writing. But, if there are edits/copy edits that are pressing, they come first. Every once in a while my muse shows up waving a baseball bat and says “WRITE”…I never argue. It doesn’t matter if it’s winged or wooden, I don’t mess with bats! Oh, and I always have coffee within reach!

I often get asked where my inspiration for a story comes from. What about you?  What inspired WORDS OF AN ANGEL? Anything else in the works you’d like to share with us?

Savannah: I was doing some research on angels for another project for my blog, when I came across the angel of writers–Ecanus. That got me to thinking and the story just developed from there. It’s kind of funny, but sometimes I’ll be doing dishes or taking a shower and a title for a story will pop into my head…then the story seems to grow from there. I always have titles first! I also never really know how the story will go. Sometimes I’m as surprised by what happens as everyone else!

As for works in progress–I have fifteen other manuscripts I’m working on. They are equally divided between horror and romance. I am currently working on the prequel to WHEN IT LEAVES which is titled WHISPERING BREEZES. It will explain how Angie Leiberman received her powers and what, exactly, they are. There will also be a sequel titled HOWLING WINDS OF AUTUMN, that will tie up the “loose ends”. At this rate, I’m going to need a lot more Wednesday’s, LOL

Your author bio on Amazon states you used to go to the library a lot as a kid. Me too! Writers often get asked to name a favorite book, but I’m going to ask you to name a favorite book from your childhood–one of those stories that lingers years later. For me it was THE WICKED PIGEON LADIES IN THE GARDEN What’s yours?

Savannah:  I think I would have to go with BEDKNOBS AND BROOMSTICKS by Mary Norton! I always wanted to find my very own Miss Price and have my bed take me away on some really cool adventure. Now that I’m older, I just want my bed to help me have a good-night’s sleep : )

I also loved The Borrowers as well. Hmmm, I’m also thinking I need to read these to my grandson Logan when he’s a little older!

Today, when you read, do you stick with one genre or read across several? Do you have a favorite?

Savannah: Lately all my “reading” seems to be done during editing/copy editing, so it’s work related. I read any genre that comes my way. I don’t think I’ve read a book for “fun” in the past year. I can tell you that I do truly love Robin Renee Ray’s BLOODBREEDERS series! I can’t wait to get working on the third book! LOL Even if I wasn’t Robin’s editor, I would be a huge fan. That girl tells some pretty awesome and gruesome stuff…and I love it!

And now for some silliness:

You’re stuck on that proverbial island in the middle of nowhere, bored to tears.  A plane flies over and drops enough gourmet food for a week, your favorite adult beverage and three novels attached to a parachute. Yes, novels. What are the three titles you’d most like to see when you pluck them from the sand (we’ll pretend the parachute didn’t get tangled up in the palm trees!).

Savannah:  My all-time favorite book is Gone with the Wind, so that is a definite! Hmmm, now it gets tough. I would for sure want to read the rest of the BLOODBREEDERS series, but they’re not ready yet. Anyway, can I get a rain check? Another drop in the future? LOL But if I have to wait, I’d like to read The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough again. I also really love Terry Brooks’ Magic Kingdom of Landover series…but that’s more than one isn’t it? This is really hard! I guess for my third choice I would want it to be something I haven’t read…I’ve been dying to read Stephen King’s 11/22/63.

I’ve been eyeing that one up too. The Powers-that-Be have just granted you a super power. What is it?

Savannah: The ability to tell if someone is lying or telling the truth. Boy that sure would have saved me a lot of drama in the past and would probably be very helpful in the future! Can you imagine me interviewing politicians? LOL

You just got cast as the female lead in a romantic mystery movie. What actor would you choose to play your leading man?

Savannah: Oh there would be two delicious men my dear… the very sexy Gerard Butler (P.S. I Love You) would be the hero who saves me from the ever evil and seductive Ian Somerhalder (Vampire Diaries) who kidnaps me and tries to have his way with me…although he really wouldn’t have to try all that hard. I wonder how many “takes” there would be to get the scene just right? 🙂

LOL! Great choices! Thanks for being such a good sport, Savannah, this was fun! Thanks too for bravely wading into the territory of being the first author interviewed on my blog. I really enjoyed having you.  Before we close, do you have any advice for authors wanting to break into your genre?

Savannah:  Never give up! Do your best at writing the story and have it in the best shape possible before you submit it. Listen to constructive criticism with an open mind, and check your ego at the door. Always be respectful, whether it’s to your publisher, editor, fellow authors or your readers.

Sage advice. If you’d like to find out more about Savannah and her spine-tingling titles, you can find her at the following haunts:

Hugs and Nightmares Blog

Twitter

Facebook

Facebook Author Page 

Facebook~WORDS OF AN ANGEL Fan Page 

Goodreads

Available now:

OH, DEER 

WHEN IT LEAVES

Coming soon:

WORDS OF AN ANGEL you can watch for it at Hellfire Publishing’s website.
Be sure to check out all their great reads while you’re there! 🙂