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 

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  

Welcome Kourtney Heintz with The Six Train to Wisconsin

Hey, everyone, I am delighted to introduce a new friend, Kourtney Heintz. I bumped into Kourtney when a mutual friend, Kitt Crescendo, featured Kourtney’s debut release, The Six Train to Wisconsin on her blog. As soon as I read the post, I knew I had to read the book. It’s a compelling blend of several genres, best described as speculative fiction.  

A semi-finalist in the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, The Six Train to Wisconsin draws you in from page one and holds you spellbound through the edge-of-your-seat ending. I had a special affinity for Kourtney’s voice as an author, which resonates strongly in her unique descriptions. If you’re looking for a well-crafted story with engaging characters and an unusual twist of the paranormal, I highly recommend The Six Train to Wisconsin. 

And now, please say hello to Kourtney! 

~ooOOoo~

Mae, I’m so delighted to have met you during my blog tour in June. Thanks for inviting me onto your blog!

I’m delighted to have you here, Kourtney! I loved your novel and, of course, now want to know much more about your writing process. 🙂 Are you a draft writer or someone who invests a lot of time in editing and polishing as you write? Why does your method work best for you? 

I tend to revise as I draft. My first completed draft is usually a mix of six or seventeen drafts. I set a word count requirement for each day. Any editing I do is on top of that. If I’m unsure about what to write that day, I go back to the previous day’s work and revise it. I slip into the flow and easily write forward.

I hit natural pausing points (like 50 pages or 100 pages) and go back and revise for a week or two as well.

The flexibility of being able to alter things as I go and to pause and reevaluate helps me to have a more polished opening. When the drafting is done, my first 50-100 pages are much more polished than my last 50-100 pages. This is great for submitting my opening pages for critique while still polishing up the rest of the manuscript.

I do something similar, polishing as I go, and going back to the previous day’s work to move forward. I don’t think I’ve ever written a “draft” straight through to the end without constant editing and revising. Next technique question: Which do you develop first, characters or plot?

It differs from novel to novel for me. For The Six Train to Wisconsin, I had the characters before the plot. For my YA novel, Reckonings, it was the plot before the characters.

Which do you find easier to write and why – description or dialogue?       

Dialogue.

At first I struggled with it, but then I worked at it until I found my sweet spot. I am not a fan of setting/description. It bores me. So it’s something I sprinkle into my story in revisions, but it’s not something I love to write. Although, I am learning how useful a few lines of setting can be.

A surprising answer given the many unique descriptions I fawned over in The Six Train to Wisconsin. 🙂 Your dialogue rocked, but your descriptive voice really made an impact on me. For those who are unfamiliar with the novel, please share some details about the book.

TSixTraintoWisconsin1600he Six Train to Wisconsin is about a married couple, Kai and Oliver. When Kai’s telepathy spirals out of control, her husband Oliver brings her to the quiet Wisconsin hometown he abandoned a decade ago, where he must confront the secrets of his past to save their future.

Kirkus Reviews wrote, “Heintz’s debut weaves psychological insight into a suspenseful, sci-fi–tinged thriller and produces a welcome variation on the classic marriage drama.”

Awesome review, Kourtney!  The accolades are well deserved. Tell us about your characters. Which did you enjoy writing the most and why?

Hands down it was Caleb. He’s intriguing and fun. He’s everything I would want in an older brother.

I ADORED Caleb! From the moment he appeared, I was smitten. Talk about a magnetic character. I’m going to cross my fingers that you’ll give him his own book someday (readers, Caleb is Kai’s uber-dynamic brother with some special gifts of his own). 

And now I’m going to ask Kourtney to share the first three lines of the book and pique your curiosity!   

Like any man, I loved my wife; but these 3 a.m. suicidal thoughts were killing me. Her thoughts seeped into my dreams and tugged me toward consciousness. Without opening my eyes to look at her side of the bed, I knew she was in the kitchen stirring her tea because the image filled my mind.

Yep, sucked me in immediately. So tell us a book that had a profound effect on you and explain why. 

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. It made me laugh and cry and want to live as much as I can in every moment.

I’m unfamiliar with that title but will have to do some sleuthing. I love finding new reads through recommendations.  

If someone gave you a working time machine tomorrow, where would you visit and why?

I’d go back to college and spend time with everyone who has left my life since then. I’d tell each one how much they mattered and how much I loved them. I’d also warn me about a few life-altering things and hope I can change them.

How perfect! I often wish I could go back and share with long-ago friends. 

Moving from people to animals, let’s talk about pets. Pets and writers seem to go together like peas in a pod. If you have pets, tell us about them and whether or not they shadow your writing time and space.

I have a warrior lapdog named Emerson. He’s been with me since I first embarked on this writing journey in 2006. He loves to nap in my lap while I’m typing. He’s the best cuddler when I’m mopping after a rejection. He also has a sixth sense for when I’m doing interviews and jumps into my lap to keep me calm. He even snuck into an early draft of my YA novel.

Aww, we all need a cuddler like Emerson! What a wonderful buddy to have.  And now a few quick random questions for the fun of it:

Favorite color: Sea Green

Favorite TV show: The Vampire Diaries

Food you never grow tired of: Sacher Torte

Sunset picnic or night on the town: Sunset Picnic

Mountains or beach: Beach

I had to Google Sacher Torte. YUM! I can see why you never tire of it. By the way, I’m a beach and sunset picnic girl myself. 🙂 

Kourtney, it was wonderful having you here today.  I wish you continued success with THE SIX TRAIN TO WISCONSIN, and eagerly look forward to your next release!

IMG_0891Author Bio:
Kourtney Heintz writes emotionally evocative speculative fiction that captures the deepest truths of being human. For her characters, love is a journey never a destination.

She resides in Connecticut with her warrior lapdog, Emerson, her supportive parents and three quirky golden retrievers. Years of working on Wall Street provided the perfect backdrop for her imagination to run amuck at night, imagining a world where out-of-control telepathy and buried secrets collide.

Her debut novel, The Six Train to Wisconsin, was a 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Semifinalist.

You can find Kourtney at the following haunts:
Website: http://kourtneyheintz.com 

Blog: http://kourtneyheintz.wordpress.com 
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/kourtneyheintzwriter 
Twitter: http://twitter.com/KourHei 
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/goodreadscomkourtney_heintz

Book Blurb for THE SIX TRAIN TO WISCONSIN:
Sometimes saving the person you love can cost you everything.

There is one person that ties Oliver Richter to this world: his wife Kai. For Kai, Oliver is the keeper of her secrets.

When her telepathy spirals out of control and inundates her mind with the thoughts and emotions of everyone within a half-mile radius, the life they built together in Manhattan is threatened.

To save her, Oliver brings her to the hometown he abandoned—Butternut, Wisconsin—where the secrets of his past remain buried. But the past has a way of refusing to stay dead. Can Kai save Oliver before his secrets claim their future?

An emotionally powerful debut, The Six Train to Wisconsin pushes the bounds of love as it explores devotion, forgiveness and acceptance.

Buy Links
Paperback available from:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble 

Ebook available from:
Amazon 

Barnes and Noble 
Smashwords 
Kobo 
iTunes