Hello, and happy Thursday. My guest today is good friend and Story Empire colleague, Craig Boyack, here to talk about his latest Lizzie and the Hat release. I’ve read all of these novellas and thoroughly enjoyed them all. After you check out Craig’s post, be sure to take a gander at my review for Good Liniment listed at the end. And now, here’s Craig…
Thanks for letting me borrow your space again, Mae. I’m here to talk about Good Liniment. This is the newest entry into The Hat Series. Remember, this series consists of short novels that can be read in a single afternoon. They’re also stand-alone stories, so you can start anywhere you like without feeling lost. Maybe somewhere like Good Liniment.
I have my spokesmodel, Lisa Burton, out touring around with her posters, and those always lead to a few clicks. That leaves me to talk about the craft elements of my stories.
One thing I strive for is to avoid low hanging fruit. I’m not saying I haven’t used zombies or vampires in my stories, but I try to make them different somehow. Those who know about Kevin the vampire will understand that he’s not a sparkly and romantic hunk of a guy.
Whenever I can, I try to come up with something new. Speculative fiction has enough dragon riders, schools for the magically gifted, and others. This brings me to creatures I created for this story; bog trogs.
A bog trog is a magical creature about one story tall. They’re amphibious predators who live underground. Inside their gut, they produce the most powerful magical element of all, magical ambergris.
One of my new characters, Cyrus Yoder, makes a living by harvesting the occasional bog trog then selling ambergris to members of the magical community. Finding a creature that lives underground is no mean trick.
Cyrus is acutely aware of herd management, and only harvests one every few years to replenish his stock. Otherwise, he monitors their locations using a sequence of archaic tools and notebooks to determine when they might move again.
He has to wait until one of the trogs relocates to gain access to them. Bog trogs cause sinkholes when they move, so it’s not a very safe battleground when the time comes. They’re also not above eating him.
Good Liniment happens at a time when Cyrus is out of ambergris and desperate to restock his supply. Even the cult that’s trying to kill off witches won’t keep him home when one of the creatures decides to relocate.
I try to be peripherally aware of many things. Sometimes they come together in strange but wonderful ways. A news bit about sinkholes, a bit about finding ambergris washed up on the shore and what it’s worth, then one day a bog trog shows up at the writing cabin. I keep notes and bookmark interesting tales I come across online. I also use Pinterest as a great visual resource that helps me remember items.
If you would like to go hunting for a magical creature that has no problem eating you, using nothing more than a spear on unstable ground, then part of Good Liniment might appeal to you. Oh, and Cyrus does it all while someone else is trying to kill him simply for being a witch.
Someone is murdering members of the local witches coven. They turn to Lizzie and the hat for their unique skills that might help eliminate the killers.
A religious zealot might be a monster, but is still a human being. This task isn’t the same as staking vampires or shooting zombies. It isn’t the usual project Lizzie takes on for her night work.
This all takes place during a recovery period for Lizzie. She needs to keep her cover band together and find a new way of getting them gigs. More bands and less venues are making finances tight. The hat didn’t make things easier during her absence, by spreading rumors about why she took her sabbatical.
Someone killing others over a point of view insults Lizzie’s sensibilities. She has secrets to keep. Her employers have secrets, too. It doesn’t make for a comfortable working environment, but she agrees to do what she can.
Convincing her strong willed employers to stay indoors during all this poses another problem. Can she keep them alive long enough to finish her task?
Good Liniment is full of magic, magical creatures, and an entire underground community living amongst us.
The Hat Series consists of short novels that can be read in a single afternoon. They’re full of snarky dark humor and can be easily read out of order.
Bog trogs, sinkholes, magical ambergris—Craig is at his usual imaginative best with his latest Hat story. Be sure to hop over to Amazon and ONE-CLICK your copy. Before you go, however, here is my review of this entertaining story!
Another good entry into The Hat series, Good Liniment has Lizzie and the hat coming to the aid of a coven of witches… more precisely, they’re hired to find a killer who murdered one of the coven and is looking to up the score.
The first order of business is getting Lizzie and the Hat together again, given the way the previous novella ended. Boyack does that quickly and efficiently, while providing a glimpse into Lizzie’s family background. There are also several new characters, most of the supernatural variety.
My favorite is “Noodles” a quasi pet-like creature belonging to Cyrus Yoder, a witch and key player in this story. As usual, Boyack’s imagination runs wild with the variety of witches he dreams up, and an amusing foray to a comic con.
There’s plenty of adventure, cameos from past characters (Kevin the vampire, Joe Yoder the cop, and a surprise guest). More music from Lizzie and the Pythons, snark from the Hat, sightings of Hellpox, and a personal favorite of mine—forays into Night Bump Radio. But there are also tense moments, and a hard hit for Lizzie (you’ll have to read the book to discover what that’s all about).
A fun and imaginative tale with a universe that just keeps growing!