Story Empire

Two Steps Back

Hi everyone and happy Monday. After a few weeks of progress, things slowed down some with a couple of roadblocks that popped up. Such is life, but I keep working at everything on my list and I’m still moving forward.

The week started with some care problems that stretched into Thursday and really threw off my time to write. We spent a lot of time preparing for work, trading cars among three people in the family and going in to work early, then leaving late. It was hectic and at the end of it all it was confirmed that my car is on its last legs. It’s not unexpected but I hoped to stretch keeping the vehicle for several more months. Now that time is accelerated to the immediate which will likely slow me down some this week as we replace it. I’m semi-prepared for the change so I’m not completely off-guard. It’s still hindering some progress.

Then at the end of the week, I found out my wife needs to have some knee surgery. It’s not expected to keep her down too long but that upcoming event will really twist things up for several weeks. Again, she was having trouble for a while but now we’re keeping her off her feet as much as possible until the surgery. That means I pick up what slack I can around the house and for errands. I’m happy to do since she’s helped me several times and we’re in it together but that will mean some slower progress until she’s back on her feet – literally.

There was some progress during the week and I’m pleased to share a few things. Some effort was put into an improved cover for the series cover. Originally, I just made a graphic that line up the three books side by side but the covers were too small to really view and I wanted a 3D version of them all that made sense when viewing it. I sat down to work on it and came up with this version which I think is better than the previous effort. You can see if there on the right and click to view it on Amazon. I think it turned out very well so that was one step forward during a hectic week.

Next, I wanted to get a print cover underway for An Arrow Against the Wind. I set to work on this task but it was a bit harder for me since I’m not too great at editing graphics. I stuck with it and finally came up with the version pictured on the left. It won’t be final since I took a guess at the final number of formatted print pages, but it’s close to how it will look. To arrive at a final cover, I’ve scheduled my print formatter to complete that task so I’ll know how thick the book will be and make any changes to the print cover necessary. I should have that in a matter of days and then work on print for the second book of The Bow of Hart Saga starting on KDP, then moving to other markets as soon as I can afford the separate ISBN from Ingram.

Those are some good steps forward with some goals for the year. One goal was marked off and another soon will be, followed by the print goal for The White Arrow. Each project completed frees me up that much more to complete my next book. Speaking of which, RM did have some progress this week, just not as much as I would have liked. I’ve continued with decisions about editing and mapping out how that will move along but my focus has been divided between the distractions and the leg-work with new graphics and print planning. February is almost at an end so I want to maximize every day that I can to arrive at the overall goals of new books released this year. But managing books already out is important too so work on those must be completed as a foundation for the release of new books in several months.

The upcoming week will be important as I focus on getting ahead with some other blogging I do with Story Empire. I have much of my blogging year there already dictated and ready to post so I want to schedule ahead. Likewise, I’m dictating some posts about RM now but I was unable to do that as much last week since I was trading out between cars so much last week. This week may settle down some so I’ll plan accordingly. Completing plan for the revision of RM is very important so I can dive into the revision full-force. But I want to get as much into the plan so I can do as much as possible with each phase. One hold up has been a problem that I know is there in the manuscript but which I just can’t put my finger on at the moment. I’ve decided to revise and edit and let that process reveal the problem. Otherwise, I’ll ask my editor what she sees when the time comes and trust her professional sense.

That’s all for last week and looking forward to next week. My fingers are crossed. Thanks for stopping by for a visit this today. I hope to share a Friday feature about Fantasy when I get a chance to plan the exact angle for it so look for that in several weeks if I can get to it. Please share this post if you like it and leave your thoughts and questions in the comments and I’ll respond as time allows.

Cover Reveal: Grinders by C. S. Boyack

Note: This book just arrived a few days ago. You can find it here: Grinders. More about the book coming soon!

I’m here to reveal my newest cover and talk a bit about Grinders. This time, I’m tackling a cyberpunk world. It’s one of those worlds where the Internet and being connected too much controls our lives.

One of the things I like about science fiction is the ability to project current events into the future. I call this, “Poking things with a stick.”

I poked a lot of things in this book, but most of them are in passing. Some of them show up in advertisements, which are invasive in this world. Others might just be a news blurb. There are times when I dive a bit deeper, and not everything is negative. Here is a small list of things that show up in the story:

  • Global warming
  • Plastic pollution
  • Helicopter moms
  • Cyber shut-ins
  • The energy crisis
  • New ways for package thieves to operate
  • Police who can’t carry guns until they are five-year veterans
  • Homeowner associations

There are a lot more, and most of them are pretty subtle. Cyberpunk is not known for deep plots, but I wanted one anyway.

Grinders is set about a hundred years in the future, in San Francisco. The main characters are cops assigned to the Grinder Squad. This is the duty nobody wants, and you almost have to screw up to get this assignment.

Grinders exist today, but I ramped them up for this story. These are people who surgically modify themselves, or each other, in basement surgeries, beauty salons, and tattoo parlors. Real world examples are those who implant chips under their skin to allow themselves to unlock doors or start cars without a key. There has even been one who injected dye into his eyeballs in an attempt to see in the dark. In that example, it actually worked but the results were temporary.

My story involves the downside of these modifications, why they’re illegal, and most of them are a bit more extreme than the real world versions. For example, you’ll meet Brandi, who has moth-like antennae implanted into her forehead. They aren’t just cute, they allow her to taste virtually everything. She’s almost like a bloodhound, only using the sense of taste.

Grinder Squad rarely ever does anything, but the new girl on the squad, Jimi, wants to bust a grind shop in the worst way. She feels like it could be her ticket off this crap detail and on to better duty.

One of my silly goals was to release the book in time for Chinese New Year. I’m not going to make it. I still need to finish my final pass, send it to the formatter, and get my promotional posters. It’s going to need a blurb, too.

I targeted this date because in the story, it’s the Year of the Rat. An important part of the story takes place at San Francisco’s annual parade. There are even a couple of rats in the story that play a pivotal role. Aside from that, I was born in the Year of the Rat.

Readers won’t actually care about my silly target date, and it’s more important to give everything the final polish. What I did get in time was cover art. So Gong Hei Fot Choi, everyone, and enjoy the cover. The story will be available before you know it, and I’ll announce that on my blog.

Find C. S. Boyack at these links and be sure to follow his blog for more details about this upcoming book release:

Cover Reveal: Mae Clair’s Latest Upcoming Book – Eventide

I’m pleased to share the cover reveal for a fellow author, Mae Clair. I’ve enjoyed several of her books in recent years so I’m thrilled to share this upcoming book with you today. Please share the post or the books on your social media:

Book cover for Eventide, a Hode's Hill novel by Mae Clair shows an old abandoned house in a wash of blue tones

Release Date: December 31, 2019
Genre: Supernatural Thriller / Suspense /Mystery
Publisher: Kensington Publishing • Lyrical Underground Imprint


As with the first two novels in the Hode’s Hill series, Eventide features a dual timeline with two mysteries—one set in the present, one in the 1800s—that intertwine at the end.

Blurb:
The darkness is coming . . .

The old house near Hode’s Hill, Pennsylvania is a place for Madison Hewitt to start over—to put the trauma of her husband’s murder, and her subsequent breakdown, behind her. She isn’t bothered by a burial plot on the property, or the mysterious, sealed cistern in the basement. Not at first. Even the presence of cold spots and strange odors could be fabrications of her still troubled mind. But how to explain her slashed tires, or the ominous messages that grow ever more threatening?

Convinced the answer lies in the past, Madison delves into the history of the home’s original owners, only to discover the origin of a powerful evil. An entity that may be connected to a series of gruesome attacks that have left police baffled. No matter where she turns—past or present—terror lingers just a step away, spurred on by a twisted obsession that can only be satisfied through death…


Eventide is available for pre-order through this Universal Purchase Link
and available to add to your Goodreads to-be-read list here.

The first two Hode’s Hill novels—Cusp of Night and End of Day—can be read as stand-alones, but Eventide is best enjoyed with the knowledge of what occurred in End of Day.

There is still plenty of time to catch up with the series as Eventide does not release until December 31st. Books 1 and 2 are available through the links below:
Cusp of Night
End of Day


Connect with Mae Clair at BOOKBUB and the following haunts:

Amazon | BookBub | Newsletter Sign-Up
Website & Blog | Twitter | Goodreads | All Social Media

bio box for author Mae Clair