#GuestDayTuesday – Mae Clair Introduces the Murder They Wrote Anthology

So happy to have Mae Clair visiting us today to talk about the Murder They Wrote anthology. I can’t wait to grab a cup of tea, plop down in the Comfy Chair, and get going on this one. I think you’ll feel the same way when you read about all the goodies it contains, so let’s make Mae feel welcome here this morning as she gives us the details. Take it away, Mae! 


Thanks for hosting me today, Marcia! I’m super excited to be here sharing news of an anthology in which I have a short story.  Murder They Wrote brings together seven authors writing in various sub genres of whodunits.

You Can See the Variety by the Blurb:

Murder comes in 7 different genres. By 7 different authors.

Are you a fan of courtroom drama? In the anthology’s first story, Abraham Lincoln defends a friend’s son against a charge of murder.

For lovers of speculative fiction, Jason Fogg dissolves into mist to sneak through open windows and snoop for clues.

How about a cozy? Jazzi, Jerod, and Ansel discover a dead body while renovating a kitchen, dining room, and half bath.

Have a craving for a Regency? Lord Peregrine and his wife, Elizabeth, use their sharp minds and quick wit to solve a murder at a garden party.

Need a bit of literary fiction? A young, lonely widow must deal with the theft of a valuable butterfly collection.

And what about a little psychological horror? Twin sisters discover that their attic is haunted by not one, but two ghosts.

Last, but never least, the anthology concludes with a historical mystery. A young, newly married knight is accused of murdering his obnoxious host at a holiday gathering in his castle.

______________________________________________________________________________

If you’re wondering which one of those stories is mine, it’s the last one.  🙂 

Normally, when I write a mystery, there is an old legend, or a paranormal element involved. Readers know me as a writer who loves creatures, but I wandered in a different direction this time. My story, A Winter Reckoning, is a straight murder mystery with a sizable group of suspects, an isolated location (a snow-bound castle), and—of course—a dead body. <cue theatrical music>

I chose a Medieval setting to tell a tale that I hope will keep readers guessing as they consider and discard suspects. There is a chivalrous romanticism attached to knighthood, and a courtly type of cunning that comes with intrigue. In many ways it is like a chess match.

My father first taught me how to play chess when I was in grade school. I like to think that strategy of manipulating pieces on a gameboard, transferred into manipulating characters in my story. And unless my lead, Sir Richard Essex, discovers who murdered a deceitful nobleman, his own life will end in checkmate.

A Winter Reckoning is just one of seven stories contained in Murder They Wrote, and I think you’ll enjoy the variety. I wish you happy reading and happy sleuthing!

Buy Murder They Wrote HERE


Connect with Mae Clair at BOOKBUB and the following haunts:

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#NewRelease – HMS Lanternfish by C. S. Boyack

Hi, Everyone! Today, I’d like you to help me welcome my very special guest, C. S. Boyack, to The Write Stuff. Craig is is a friend and fellow author on the Story Empire blog, and he’s here to tell you a bit about his newest book, HMS Lanternfish. I found his information truly fascinating and can’t wait to read this one. I know you’ll see exactly what I mean, so let’s get to it. Take it away, Craig!


Marcia, I’m excited to visit your place today. Thanks for having me back, and know that my door is always open when you need to talk about one of your publications.

I’m here with a new book called HMS Lanternfish. This is the middle volume of a classic trilogy, and I expect to release the final one next year some time. Just to put a label on it, this is a pirate fantasy. It’s full of monsters, adventure, and a bit of humor.

Today, I want to talk about one of the subtle undertones of this series. Readers and fans like to get a behind-the-scenes look at how we tailor our books. This one keeps coming back to the front, and yet, readers might miss it if they aren’t paying attention. It’s about fatherhood.

James Cuttler is my main character. (He goes by the alias of Captain Bloodwater when it suits his purpose.) His father was a notorious operative called a wargler, and started the last war between Hollish and the allies of Prelonia and Saphelon. He was so good that he made the wrong side look like the aggressors and nearly tipped an entire continent on its head.

Eventually, James’s father took him away from the war and hid from the world until his dying day.

James is involved in a struggle to live up to his father, while trying to live down the man at the same time. In book one, he was mistaken for his father and that’s how he got involved in a new continent-wide war.

It goes even deeper, but you have to keep your eyes open for it. If it eludes you, that’s okay. This is just a small extra for those who want to look a bit deeper.

Serang is one of the stronger supporting characters in the story. She spent a considerable part of her life mourning her own father who was a fisherman. She also dedicated a lot of effort to revenge against the dragon turtle that took him. Serang lost her father when she was very young, so she’s further along the adjustment curve. You can read about her struggles in her own book, Serang.

James has a ward now, nicknamed Mule. Mule is a teenager in this book, James considers him a son, and the reciprocal is true as well. Now, while James is struggling with his own issues over his father, he’s trying to be a good parent to his son. He’s trying to keep the boy alive in a dangerous profession, while training him to be a top-notch navigator. There is also the distraction of young love to deal with. Mule is starting to have thoughts about his physical father’s profession that doesn’t involve sailing and piracy. Back to fathers once more, in a kind of triple-lutz way.

Inside HMS Lanternfish, James learns yet another fact about his father’s covert life, and how he was the one to introduce the bigger problem to their shores in the form of a religious cult.

There is a captured slave named Mal. He came from an island of cannibals, and the slavers took his entire family away. There are a few points in the series where he helps James come to grips with things that are out of his control (Like a surrogate father). Eventually, Mal is reunited with one of his own sons, but only one.

HMS Lanternfish has a section where an older pirate, named Chappy, has to deal with the ghost of his own father. Yes, an actual ghost. Told you it was a fantasy. It appears his childhood was not a happy one, but there is still some love for his long departed father hanging on.

I’m also going to talk about King Reynard of Hollish, who hasn’t made a single appearance in the series… yet. This is a boy king, and he’s been pushed by his advisors to finish his own father’s work by taking the entire continent under the flag of Hollish. It seems even royalty lives with the ghosts of their ancestors.

Trust me, the Lanternfish series is full of enough monsters, sea battles, and clashing swords to have a pretty good time without knowing all about fatherhood. There are some readers who like to look below the waves and this post was for them.

I’m going to drop some links, along with a cover and blurb for the new book. I hope some of your fans will find this peek inside my plot intriguing, and thanks for having me over today.

Cover

Blurb: The Lanternfish crew completed their original mission, but got exposed to a more global problem. An entire continent is at war, headed up by a head-strong young king with dreams of power, and pushed from behind by a mysterious religious order known as the Fulminites.

Rather than let their country fall under the iron boot of conquest, James and his crew set sail once more to see what kind of muscle Lanternfish can lend to the war effort. Acting precariously under an unofficial charter as a privateer, even his allies aren’t always his friends.

HMS Lanternfish explores new worlds on its way to war, and drifts considerably off course. It features an international crew of characters, and for fans of the first book, the root monsters are back, too. Tall ships, a few con games, martial arts, and everything you loved about the original book is all returning.

Hoist the colors and wheel out the guns. Lanternfish is taking to the high seas once more. 

BUY HMS Lanternfish: 99¢ for a limited time.

Also By Craig Boyack:
Voyage of the Lanternfish: Book one of the trilogy.

Serang:
A supporting story about one of the more intriguing characters.

You can contact Craig at the following locations:

BlogMy NovelsTwitterGoodreads | FacebookPinterestBookBub

 

Book Promo – GRINDERS – by C.S. Boyack…

Craig Boyack’s latest book, Grinders, is currently being showcased over on The Story Reading Ape’s wonderful blog. If you haven’t read Grinders, you don’t know what you’re missing. Check out the post to see for yourself, and then pass it along, if you can, so others can find and enjoy this truly imaginative, fun book. Thanks!

Book Promo – GRINDERS – BY C. S. Boyak

 

#GuestPost #C.S.Boyack #LisaBurton Talks About #Grinders

I’m so pleased to announce we have a first-time guest on The Write Stuff today, and what a guest she is, too! Some of you may have met her on other blogs, but for those who haven’t, please welcome Lisa Burton, Craig Boyack’s personal assistant and spokesmodel. (Oh, and I should probably mention Lisa is a robot, in case you’ve never run into any personal assistants who have that distinction.) 

Lisa, we are delighted to have you join us, so step right up. You have the floor!

~~~

Wow, Marcia, it’s such an honor to finally meet you. I haven’t been to Florida in ages, and hope to do some poking around when we’re finished. Maybe we can go hug one of those cute manatees or something. 

Craig sent me here to plug his new book, Grinders, and I’m kind of excited about it. Robot girls love science fiction, and as a cyberpunk story it scratches that itch. There are even robots in the story, but that isn’t my topic today. 

My assignment is to talk about the antagonist in the story, which I usually don’t do. This guy is kind of quirky and it’s hard not to feel the pressure he’s under. His name is Leonard, but he goes by Nootropic. It’s a nickname based upon a kind of drug he abuses. These are performance enhancing drugs for brain power, and he’s going to need all he can get. He also lives off something called 48-hour energy drinks, because in the future five-hours is old school. 

Needless to say, he doesn’t get much sleep. He is a grinder himself, but it’s mostly the research and development of new techniques. He discovers new ways to implant humans with small bits of technology and they’re willing to pay big bucks. As one example, he has these spiral coils implanted in the back of his hands. They function like the inner ear, and he can detect vibrations just like you or I might hear something. Makes him kind of hard to sneak up on. 

He’s under a mountain of pressure, because his wife is dying. She’s kept alive in a tube full of perfluorocarbon, which humans can actually breathe in. Of course he needs to keep filtering it and maintaining it. 

See, she needs a new liver or she’s going to die. Since they are both wanted by the police, he isn’t willing to turn her over to modern medicine. Back when he held a real job, he developed a technique for growing a new liver for a pharmaceutical company, but they rejected it based upon profit and loss statements. It’s basically abandoned intellectual property, but could save his wife’s life. 

He hatches this scheme to steal the notes, and perform the procedure himself. There is another problem though. His name is Georgie, and he’s a toddler. While working himself to death, Nootropic has been neglecting Georgie something awful. In his mind, Georgie will get over it after he saves his mother and reunites the family. 

Nootropic is dealing with this ticking time-bomb, because his wife will die if his scheme doesn’t work. They’ll both go to jail if he takes her to the hospital, and Georgie will wind up as a foster child somewhere. Like I said, some real pressure. Then again, despite the nootropic drugs and 48-hour energy drinks, he has to sleep some time. 

Without knowing it, the heroes in this story are closing in on him the whole time. Might not give him any added stress, but the readers will understand. 

Nootropic Faber isn’t a particularly nice guy, but there are times when you feel for him. I think that makes him kind of cool. 

On my visits, I always bring around a poster to share. This is me posing as Nootropic’s wife, floating in her tube. Some people collect the posters, and it’s fine if they want it as a phone screen or anything like that.

Funny story about this poster: robot girls don’t have to breathe. We used Kool Aid in the tube because it was cheaper than perfluorocarbon. We also don’t float, so I had to keep propping my butt up with a glass roasting pan until Sean could make his sketches. 

Hope your fans enjoy the poster, and that some of them check out Grinders.

~~~

Thank you so much, Lisa! I’m so glad I finally had a chance to meet you in … erm … person, and it has been a delight to have you with us today! You’re always welcome here on The Write Stuff, and we look forward to your next visit!

BLURB:

Jimi Cabot made one mistake as a starving college student. When she went to work for the San Francisco Police Department, it nearly cost her the job. The union stepped in and they had to reinstate her. They did so by assigning her to the duty nobody wants, Grinder Squad. 

Grinders are people who use back room surgeries to enhance their bodies with computer chips, and various kinds of hardware. Jimi is sure that if she can just bust one grind shop, it will be her ticket back. 

Paired with veteran cop, she soon learns that Grinder Squad is a cash-cow for the department. They are nothing more than glorified patrol cops, and generally get the worst assignments. 

Matchless is the most wanted grinder of all time. He disappeared years ago, leaving only the evidence of those he enhanced during his career. With these pieces, Jimi picks up the cold trail to try working her way back to more respectable duty. 

Grinders is a cyberpunk story set in a world where global warming has eroded coastlines, and society has solved many of our current problems by replacing them with new ones. There are cyber shut-ins, cyber-currency skimming schemes, and more in this futuristic tale. 

This book also takes the opportunity to poke a stick at current issues that seem to have lasted into the future. Entitled people, helicopter moms, overzealous homeowner associations, and lack of decent jobs are all present. Never preachy, these issues make up the day to day work of a patrol officer. 

I hope you enjoy Grinders as much as I enjoyed bringing it to you.

Buy Grinders HERE

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Cover Reveal for Grinders by C. S. Boyack

I’m happy to welcome C. S. Boyack here today with a cover reveal of his newest work, Grinders. Craig has some interesting info to share on the book, as well. This intriguing set up will surely inspire you guys to share this post far and wide! Thanks! Now, take it away, Craig!

~~~

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.

 

You Can Reach C. S. Boyack at the Links Below