Hello everyone and a warm welcome to my blog! Thank you for stopping by. It is my great pleasure to introduce to you today the fascinating, creative, unique writer and blogger C. S. Boyack.
Craig S. Boyack has released a new book called ‘The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack II‘ which follows ‘The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack I‘ and is a second collection of short stories and micro-fiction. These are stories that can be read in a single session and include science fiction, fantasy, paranormal and horror.
In his words . . .
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.
Questions for C. S. Boyack
What were you like at school?
I was a good student, and got good grades. More on that in your next question. I was kind of the class clown too. We ran in a large crowd, but it was a small town. Everyone knew everyone else.
Were you good at English?
Oh, God no. English was my worst subject, and I even flunked it once. Mrs. Munger had us write a short story. She thought mine was “off color” and flunked me for the entire quarter over it.
Part of the reason for my dislike of the class is the way they taught it. We spent all of our time diagraming sentences and identifying verbs. They rarely ever let us actually use English either in writing or speaking. I think that short story may have been the only thing we wrote all year in there. We did more writing in science class.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
We all have that secret dream in the back of our minds. You know the one, the one where we hit superstardom and can dedicate all our time to writing. I know it isn’t realistic, but it’s still there.
In reality, my long game is to supplement my retirement income in some way. An extra thousand per month would be wonderful. I have about ten to fifteen years to get there.
Which writers inspire you?
It probably seems goofy to say all of them. Writers struggle, learn, and grow. We all have a different pace, but as long as we’re improving it’s all good.
I’m sure you meant a roster of names, so I’ll check some off. Michael Crichton, Cheri Priest, and Jim Butcher. There is so much creativity there it amazes me. In some small way, they pioneered new things in fiction.
Who is Lisa Burton? Tell us briefly about her.
Lisa is my original character. She was the first main character that I felt was worthy of sharing with the world. As such, I’m very proud of her. Her origin story is called Wild Concept, and while it may be a little rough around the edges, it marks the start of my writing career. Lisa is a robot, and it was fun using an artificial intelligence as a main character.
I recycled Lisa and hired her as my personal assistant at the writing cabin. These posts are usually about my efforts as a writer, but are also a way of sharing some original fiction with my blog followers. I promoted Lisa to spokesmodel for my career, and she now makes blog appearances herself, and has promotional pinup style posters for my books. This year she started hosting Lisa Burton Radio, where she interviews the fictional characters of other authors. It’s been really popular, and I’m sure she’d love to interview one of your characters.
Do you have a muse? If so, what is your muse’s name? Tell us about your muse.
It all started back in the 1980s. This was a time of the first computers, and they didn’t even have hard drives. You used two floppy disks, one for the program, and one for your work product.
My boss just purchased one, and learning the word processor was my assignment. Lorelei, the Muse, approached me and talked me into trying some fiction. (We’re talking after hours, back at the office until midnight or later.) After I figured out the word processor, I gave it up. I was young and single, and there were better things to do.
Lorelei never gave up, and as an immortal, she had time on her side. She approached me again as a father of three who couldn’t afford to do much more than write for entertainment. She also makes occasional appearances at the writing cabin. She sends me so many ideas that I can’t use them all.
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
I believe in adding tools to my toolbox. I’m constantly trying new things. When I wrote The Playground, I wanted to weave together three different stories into a cohesive whole. It’s a cool way to tell the story, and they come together at the end to bring the conclusion. It wasn’t easy, but I’m glad I did it.
We never know what we’re capable of until we try. I feel that if a story called for this style again, I could do a workman like job of it now.
Tell us about the cover/s and how it/they came about.
I like having power over my covers. Some of them reflect a scene in the story, others give a reflection of what’s inside. I just talked about limited funds, but the cover is one place where I spend the money. It really is the first impression we never get to do over.
I tried to hit up the local universities and colleges, but nobody would even return my calls. Finally, I started stalking DeviantArt and looking for artists I liked. I’ve wound up with several different artists, and met some great people that way.
What was the weirdest thing you’ve ever ‘Googled’ while researching a story?
Authors are always researching things that are a bit sketchy. For one of my trunk novels, I researched how to make phosgene gas. It was one of three chemical weapons used in World War One. For my lone fantasy novel, I researched how to make black powder. I must be on a government watchlist somewhere by now.
What does your writing process look like?
I work best with an outline, but it may be different than other plotters use. I make a virtual storyboard. Index cards mark the beats I want to hit, then I free write between the index cards.
Do you have any strange writing habits?
Silence. Distractions pull me out of my game, and stop me cold. This makes it hard to get quality writing time around my house. Sometimes I set an alarm and get up early. Other times, I take vacation when my wife has to work. I can’t even listen to music and produce the kind of quality I want.
How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?
I hate naming characters. Sometimes it works out well, and other times it just doesn’t seem to work. I tried going with meaning a couple of times, and the results were terrible. I think the sound method works best for me.
Funny aside; I like to search through the Major League Baseball rosters for last names. If you search through my old books you’ll see last names like Bench and Larkin. Now I’m writing a book of short stories about a new league, called The Enhanced League. I can’t use baseball names for these characters, and feel kind of lost. Maybe I should check the NFL or something.
What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently?
Maybe a bit more slapstick than you’re looking for, but I split the crotch of my pants at work. It was a small tear, and I live twenty miles from the office. I spent my day behind my desk and prayed nobody needed me elsewhere.
What is your least favorite thing about humanity?
I don’t care for the way we’ve devolved into a kind of personal anarchy. The world seems to function around getting what we want and not what we earn. People throw tantrums, lie, accuse, and more to get what they want. There is no reverence for honor, respect, decency, and personal responsibility these days.
If I were to poll everyone that knows you, what percent would not be a fan of yours? Then, if I were to interview these people, what words would they most frequently use to describe you?
I’d say about half would not be fans. This has more to do with my paycheck job than anything else. Quite often, when I do my job well someone isn’t happy. They might call me nit-picky, draconian, and punitive. (We never talk about the paycheck job in the writer world. I have two lives and try to keep them separate.)
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Noise and distraction. I need to concentrate to write well. I manage a bit of short form with peripheral noise, but I don’t have to keep as many details straight like major character arc, tracking of time, etc.
What does literary success look like to you?
A little bit of extra income, like I mentioned earlier. I can put out about three books every two years. As long as I keep improving my craft I’m pretty happy.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
Concentrating on the idea that they are the opposite sex. When I find myself doing that, I stop myself and rewrite. Worrying about specific issues is usually wrong. Little things are okay to weave in, like a woman needing a restroom instead of a tree.
I’ve been told that I write female characters well. I just treat them like people, and write them like that.
What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?
I could sluff off all the bad things here, but I don’t think that’s what we’re going for. My life is pretty darned good right now. My paycheck job keeps the lights on, and I have a great family. I wouldn’t give up any of those things. Writing is important to me, but it’s a sideline to the main things. I guess I’m not giving up anything. I’ll get there through hard work and dedication.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
No. There are times when a plot issue will stall me, a bit of thought is needed. I use those time to switch to short form, and the answer usually comes to me. Other times, I bull through the problem.
What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
I overheard my grandfather talking about me once. I was quite young, and he said I could carry on an intelligent conversation about almost any topic. The way he said it told me that was important.
Thanks for inviting me to your blog, Vashti. These were some tough questions, and I love a good challenge. I’m serious about a character interview too, whenever you’re ready.
Craig has a large body of works that you can check out on Amazon. His books are unique, fascinating, and well-written. He sells them at a price that is well worth the risk of buying.
Here are some reviews on The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack I:
Experimental Notebook is a collection of stories that have been written to entertain and not to leave the reader up in the air wondering what was the point of the story. So many times short story writers think they need to do a story that has an obscure ending to qualify as a literary piece. C.S. Boyack has taken a number of different circumstances and crafted stories that have entertainment value. He sometimes takes a bizarre look at a particular situation but in each case when the story ends the reader has the whole package. There is also an element of humor that the author continues to interject in most of the stories. The humor is not laugh out loud funny but carries a more wry intelligent, subtle tone. The reader more than once will chuckle at the onset and then find a smile as the humorous piece finishes much as one would experience with a sip of fine wine.
The creativeness of C.S. Boyack is apparent His stories have that familiarity that the reader would swear came out of the author living an experience. Of course, some of the plots and subject material make this assumption entirely impossible and thus the real talent of the artist is discovered. Boyack writes a story as if he lived it. The characters and plotlines are so simply yet so carefully designed that the author makes this kind of storytelling look easy. The reader finishes the Notebook knowing what looks easy and what turns out to be the types of stories written are at opposite poles of one another. The Creative Notebook is excellent writing, and I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to enjoy a wonderful reading experience. ~John W. Howell
Short and micro fiction is becoming more popular today, and after reading this unique collection of stories, I can see why. The author has done a wonderful job of bringing together a mixture of speculative fiction, oddities, sci-fi, and fantasy. There’s basically a treat waiting here for everyone, each tale unique and waiting to deliver a twisty ending.
You can read these tales anywhere—on a commute, during a coffee break, or even when you’re hovering around the water cooler. Or you might do like I did, and indulge with one right after the other. Whether you choose to savor them individually or all at once, a healthy mix of enchantment, adventure, humor, and shivers awaits! ~Mae Clair
Right out of the gate, you’re hit with a story that has a twist ending. This really set the tempo of the other stories, which kept me interested in the whole collection. Every story has something unique about it, which makes it really hard to do an overview of the collection. For example, ‘The Soup Ladle of Destiny’ is very humorous and rather lighthearted compared to some of the others. If I had to pick the one that really stuck with me it would be a tie between that and ’50 Gallon Drum’. Since many of these are micro-fiction, I can’t say much without spoilers and that would ruin all the fun since the author has knack for surprise endings.
I’d highly recommend this for anyone who wants to be entertained by several quick reads.
~Charles E. Yallowitz
There are many more 5 star reviews but I can’t fit them all here. Check out his Amazon Author Page and check out all his books and reviews.