Mae Clair Presents: Will O’ the Wisp by C. S. Boyack #YA #MagicalRealism

Have I got a treat for you today! Blogging friend, Craig Boyack, has just released a tale guaranteed to appeal to young and old alike. I was fortunate enough to get an ARC of this wonderful novel, which combines elements of magical realism, mystery, and fantasy, as well as a highly appealing coming of age theme. As I don’t post reviews on my blog, you’ll have to check Amazon for my five star review/rating—but I do have to point out several things that stood out for me about this novel:

Title and book cover:
I’m a Will o’ the Wisp fanatic from long ago. That bobbing, weaving sphere of light might not get as much exposure on my blog, as say my favorite cryptid, the Mothman, but I’ll readily devour any novel built around the legend of a “hinkypunk” or “spook light” — especially when the myth is so cleverly woven into the plot.

Setting:
Craig chose to set his novel in 1975, which resonated strongly with me. He fully immersed me in a time I remember well, making it easy to identify with his lead character, Patty Hall. I’m also a sucker for coming of age tales and anything that transports me back to those whimsical days of childhood. Here’s a small snippet from my Amazon review to give you an idea of what I mean:

This is an engaging YA read, but it’s also a treat for adults who will remember the era in which this is set. I loved the glimpse into a small rural town/farming community and the magic and whimsy of friendship. Remember Quisp cereal, your first teen dance, roaming through fields at night, exploring old cemeteries, sharing secrets with your friends? All of that magic and more is here. Patty is an everyday kid you can’t help but cheer for and admire. A delightful read for young and old alike.

And now, I invite you to take a closer look at WILL O’ THE WISP.

Book cover for Will O' the Wisp by C. S. Boyack depicting a ghostly floating light over a stream with trees

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

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

EXCERPT:
In this scene, Patty and her friend, Laura are watching late night horror movies. There is a killer on the loose in their small town.

We curled up together on the couch and cuddled under Mom’s afghan. Mom turned the light off and went upstairs.

When the first alien eye peeked out of the TV screen, Laura said, “Maybe that’s it. Look, it’s green and it moves around too.”

“I don’t think so. It wasn’t attached to anything.”

“You said you were a long ways off. What if it’s one of those?”

“I would have seen that. Besides, they all get sick and die at the end. That’s not the worst that could happen.”

“Okay,” Laura said, “I don’t want to watch anymore. Besides your alien, there’s still a lunatic on the loose. He could jump through the window any old time.”

“I’ll go get my flashlight. You turn off the TV and I’ll make sure you aren’t in the dark.”

“Why do I have to be the one to stay here?”

“Okay, it’s in my backpack, but make sure you keep it on.”

She went upstairs and came back to the top of the stairs. Once the light was on, I hobbled to the TV and pushed the knob in.

I made three steps toward the staircase.

The light went off.

I screamed.

Laura screamed.

Mom ran out and bumped into Laura. Mom screamed.

Mom made Rick check the whole house with his gun in hand. She chewed us both out for not being more grown up. “I swear, no more Nightmare Theater for you, ever…”

Purchase Links:
WILL O’ THE WISP has two versions. This is due to use-permission on a particular song lyric used in the novel. If you live on the Northern American Continent, purchase your Kindle copy here.

Anywhere else in the world, grab your Kindle copy here.

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

Twitter 
Goodreads 
Find all of Craig’s novels here  

Mae Clair: The Problem WIP…Phoenix or Pyre?

What do you do with the story that refuses to settle into a niche? Resurrect it in a new form, or toss it onto the pyre of works that won’t ever see the light of day? Case in point: I’ve been nurturing a manuscript for over twenty years that has been through metamorphosis upon metamorphosis.

Back ‘in the day’ I wrote a novella called HERALD OF THE STORM. Today, it would classify as urban fantasy. Back then, I viewed it as magical realism (though that line is still blurry to me). It had a seventeen-year-old lead character using magic to battle the forces of evil in a modern setting. Unfortunately, there was no such thing as young adult fiction and, unless you were Ray Bradbury, most readers didn’t sniff around magical realism.

No matter. I liked it enough to develop it into a full-fledged novel, adding secondary characters and a complex family history along with a generations-old curse and an unsolved murder. When all was said and done, I was left with a novel that wasn’t marketable. I tucked it away and forgot about it until, years later, I cleaned it up and slapped a new title on it–ELF-SHINE. *cringe* I should clarify, I hate that title. It didn’t matter though. There was still no market. Back in the drawer it went again, where it languished for many moons, collecting dust.

About ten years ago I dug it out and did an extensive rewrite. The lead character went from seventeen to twenty-three, I upped the magical element, cut some of the secondary threads and strengthened others. Now I had an urban fantasy, layered in mystery, with several POV characters. Hmm. Still problematic. Sense a pattern here? You guessed it…back in the drawer.

Recently, I stumbled over it while scrounging up material for a Mythical Monday post. I gave it a quick look-see, realizing the markets have changed (exploded!) and new writing opportunities exist. I could go back to my original seventeen-year-old protagonist and market the manuscript as YA. I’m not sure I want to do that (some of the more adult elements appeal to me), but I’m starting to realize this story has life –nine of them like a cat or, at the very least, the rebirth powers of a mythical bird.

After all this time, HERALD OF THE STORM has the potential of turning into a phoenix.

Whether I resurrect it in a new form, old form, or one in between, I’m thankful I hung on to it and didn’t toss it on the pyre.

Do you have any moldy WIPs stashed away? What’s your solution…phoenix or pyre?