Good Liniment – #NewRelease #TheHatSeries @virgilante

Happy Tuesday, everyone! I am thrilled to feature my good friend and fellow Story Empire contributor, C.S. Boyack‘s newest book release in The Hat Series! If you saw my review last week, you know how much I loved this newest addition to the series. I have read all of Lizzie and The Hat books and highly recommend them!

But for now, I’ll turn it over to C.S. Boyack and let him tell you about this new book!

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Thanks for lending me your space today, Jan. I’m here to talk about the newest tale in The Hat Series, called Good Liniment.

This one has been planned for a long time. Ever since book one I intended to return to witchcraft, but felt like Lizzie had to grow a bit as a fledgling monster hunter. She’s chased down a variety of different classic monsters, and has some skills by this time. Enough to be recognized by the local coven as someone who could help them with a problem.

This left me with the need of developing a magic system, and I had some personal desires of things I wanted to avoid. The biggie on that list was a school for magical sudents.

I took the path of apprenticeship for those who got spotted by the coven. In my world, magic is a genetic variation. One that has been hunted down and eliminated from the gene pool for centuries. This makes the coven quite secretive about their existence and lives in general.

To bring readers some of the fun with magic, I decided my witches would have one natural ability, no more than two at most. Other disciplines could be learned by study and practice. I decided early on not to limit myself to elements, those are part of the mix, but so is gadget magic, plant magic, death magic, weather, and anything else I can come up with later.

Writing this took some effort, because there are a lot of new characters. I made it so readers would be able to make a guess about specific witches without spelling it out for them. When Cyrus Yoder uses specific kinds of dirt, manipulates gravity, or uses a lot of clay, readers can make a logical guess about his skills.

I did spell things out for Dash Goodman, who is apprenticed to Cyrus. They spent some time figuring out that his natural ability involves air. Because he’s the character to walk us into this world, I don’t feel bad about how this got spelled out. I’m toying with the idea that he may have a second natural ability involving artwork. Might happen in a subsequent volume, might not. I’m on the fence about that. Dash has a penchant for stealing airplanes which helps me sell his natural ability. He’s also an artist so the groundwork has been laid if I want.

The clues are there, but can be subtle. Sometimes you have to glean it from names, like Solis and Umbra, who are twins. I may not revisit everyone in subsequent volumes, but I have a nice pool to draw from.

Just for fun, I included a test for witchcraft of my own invention. (Actually, I stole it from Staci Troilo, so props to her. She didn’t know it was a witchcraft test.) Readers might have a good time seeing if they can pass.

Readers should keep in mind that The Hat Series is dark humor. You’ll find death and blood, but there are light moments and pop-culture references aplenty. If this sounds like the series for you, they were all written as stand-alone short novels. You can pick up any volume that interests you and not feel lost.

Blurb

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.

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#NewRelease – Lunar Boogie – C.S. Boyack @virgilante

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I am super excited to host C.S. Boyack on my blog today as he tells us a little more about his newest Lizzie and The Hat adventure, Lunar Boogie. You may have seen my review last week and if so, you know how much I enjoyed it!

One of the things I enjoy immensely in each of the Lizzie and The Hat books is the music. The songs Boyack chooses bring instant memories for me and it adds to the dimensional layers of the story. But, I’ll let him tell you more about it. Take it away, Mr. Boyack!

Thanks for having me over, Jan. I try to keep each tour post unique, and with your ties to music thought that might be a good topic here.

Lizzie and the Pythons are a cover band put together by Lizzie and the hat. The hat is a creature from another dimension who take the form of a hat. She wears him at all of her performances, because their symbiotic relationship allows him to play the upright bass using her hands and fingers.

Their band plays music people can party and dance to. It could be anything from rock and roll, blues, country, even a bit of glam rock on occasion.

I spend part of each evening surfing for music. When I first started, my memory was good enough for several hundred songs on a playlist I made. After that, I filtered them down into a specific playlist for this series. I wind up listening to that during my commutes and it inspires me.

These days, I discover a lot of obscure music that would work, but leaves me with an executive decision. Writing the books is a bit of a tightrope. Obscure songs are just as much fun, but might not relate to as many readers. Would any of you recognize the opening chords of “You Need Love,” by JD Simo? I doubt it, but you’re missing out. Hard to add that to a book and have it come across.

A title everyone recognizes will help set the mood for a scene at one of their gigs. It’s a party environment, fun, etc. It’s a nice contrast to killing monsters under the full moon. I have to be careful, though. Music is protected by Copyright. I can freely use titles, but not lyrics without purchasing a license. (Did that once, and it’s not worth it.) It gets a bit tricky, but I’ve been able to weave the titles into dialog and that seems to work.

The other trick came from selling the band. I did this in an earlier book, but won’t do it for every one as that would get boring. They have a five piece; bass, drums, guitar, piano, and saxophone. The saxophone player has a baritone and a tenor, and also plays harmonica.

You can see how some kick-ass music just won’t fit this band. Electric Light Orchestra or Styx were great, but the available instruments might not work. I did this by explaining that solos can be handled by other instruments, organs can be somewhat covered by a harmonica, background violins can be covered by soft saxophone, but it will sound a little different. A banjo might be covered by a guitar, etc. Otherwise, I’d have to give them a twenty-five piece band and most gigs wouldn’t pay enough to feed everyone. Many of them would be waiting around for the one song they’re needed on.

A smaller group allows for more intimacy as well. With an ongoing series, I need that. They feel more like a family, and I avoid character soup.

There is a lot more to these stories than playing with the band. The symbiotic relationship between Lizzie and the hat allows them to fight monsters. He has several special skills, but no appendages to do much with. She has free will along with the needed limbs. Together, they can accomplish great things. I’ll let the cover and blurb tell you about this specific book.

Here’s an example of what some of their music might sound like. Get ready to ROCK!

Blurb:

Lizzie and the hat are back in action, only this time they’re up against the most tragic monster of all, a werewolf.

This adventure is more like hunting an animal, and the werewolf is unlikely to come to any of their musical performances. This puts Lizzie out in the dark corners and wooded areas of the city. It may be more beneficial to get the monster to hunt Lizzie than to stalk him on his own turf. All she has to do is be quicker on the trigger than the wolf is on his feet.

At the same time, the police think they’re after a serial killer. Lizzie tries to keep them alive while also keeping them out of her way. As the body count rises, so do the pressures. It doesn’t help that people are blaming Lizzie and the hat for the killings. This involves an urban myth about them that the locals call Hellpox.

Pull on your boogie shoes and join the hunt. Designed as an afternoon read, this one is tons of supernatural fun.

http://mybook.to/LunarBoogie

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