Lanternfish ~ New Release by C. S. Boyack

Hey everyone! I’m delighted to have back friend and fellow writing C. S. Boyack today. He has a brand new release, Laternfish and is here to talk about it. Take it away, Craig!

Thanks for inviting me back, Joan. I’m here promoting my newest book, Voyage of the Lanternfish. Lanternfish is a pirate fantasy. It differs from classic fantasy, because gunpowder is involved. There are still plenty of monsters to go around, along with magic, like any other fantasy.

Excerpts are a standard inclusion on a blog tour, and that’s what I’m providing today. You might consider this one the “call to adventure.”

To set the scene, the characters were enjoying a nice night out. Something went terribly wrong, and this is where we’re joining them.

Throbbing pain coursed through James’ entire body. The cold from a hard surface underneath chilled him, so he tried to curl into a ball. Heavy iron shackles prevented him from moving his legs.

“Dan, Dan, I think he’s coming around,” Bonnie said.

“Bu, Bonnie?”

“Thank God you’re alright.” She smothered him with a hug. “I thought they’d killed you.”

“I wish they had. Where are we?”

“Don’t know,” Dan said. “We’re in some kind of wagon.”

“Where are we going?”

“Don’t know. There’s no windows.”

“Think. We aren’t headed west or we’d be in the sea. That leaves up the coast, down the coast, or inland. What do you know?”

“We crossed a shallow stream,” Bonnie said.

“How far from town?”

“They didn’t hit me. It was maybe as long as it takes to make a pot of tea.”

“That eliminates down the coast.”

“What else do you know?”

“They sound like soldiers. I can’t hear everything they say, but there seems to be someone giving orders.”

“Is that good?” Bonnie asked.

“No. They’re probably crimpers.”

“What?” She asked.

“Press gangs. We’re probably going up the coast to Maldron, to be sold to the merchant cartel.”

“Not me, I hope,” Bonnie said.

“No. Not you. Your fate will be worse than ours.”

“But you know the merchant captains. Maybe you can explain what happened,” Dan said.

“I can try, but it might not help. Something still isn’t right. Crimpers would fill this wagon to suffocation before they went back.”

“Maybe we’re just the first ones,” Dan said. “Maybe they’re going to visit some of the farms to catch some slaves.”

“Not likely. The magistrate would make them pay for slaves as property of the farmers. Keep listening. I can barely raise my head, and I think I’m about to collapse again.”

James faded in and out several times.

Dan banged on the wall of the wagon. “Oi! You out there. Lady has to pee.”

“Tell her to go ahead,” a rough voice answered. Laughter followed.

The wagon came to a halt. Someone fiddled with a lock on the door, then the sound of a chain dragging preceded the opening of the door.

One of the Hollish soldiers stood beside the open door. “Out. All of you.” Two more soldiers pointed their muskets at them.

Dan and Bonnie stepped out of the wagon and rubbed their eyes in the predawn light. James crawled to the door then swooned. The man who opened the door grabbed him by the collar then dragged him out, dropping him in the road with a thud.

The riflemen aimed at Dan. “You. On the ground, face down.”

Dan complied, and the riflemen stuck bayonets against his back. A man on a bay horse rode around the far side of the wagon. Obviously in charge, he said, “Miss Philson, feel free to go into the woods and relieve yourself. Remember, if you fail to return, he gets the bayonet. Terrible way to die if you ask me.”

James struggled to even crawl and his irons tangled in the weeds alongside the road.

“You there. Same thing. Take a piss then get back in the wagon. No shenanigans or your friend pays for it.”

James stretched forward and vomited.

When James raised his head again, his left eye was blood red.

“You didn’t have to hit him so hard,” Dan said.

“What makes you the expert on how hard to hit a man?” A bayonet dug through Dan’s coat, piercing the skin underneath.

Dan remained silent, but took in what he could. They were in the forest, but it could be anywhere. Light reflected off the ocean far in the distance. The wagon seemed to be well made and not some crimper’s holding pen. The leader wore a sword and pistol, but carried no rifle. The rest of the men appeared to have fighting knives, but no swords or pistols of any kind. Hooves were visible from under the wagon, and it appeared to be another bay horse pulling the wagon. “How ’bout me? I want to go too, and my friend needs a drink.”

“You can wait until your sister returns to take your place.” The officer rode to a barrel on the back of the wagon, used a dipper then silently offered it to James.

James struggled to his knees and accepted the water. He balanced himself on one hand and his knees as he raised the dipper to return it.

Chains jangled from the edge of the woods as Bonnie returned. The officer told her to help James into the wagon.

“No need for you to go into the forest,” one of the riflemen told Dan. “Shake it out then get back inside double quick now.”

Once underway, Dan whispered, “We’re moving inland. These ain’t no crimpers. Army uniforms, and nice horses to boot.”

“Good work,” James said. “I checked the brand when I returned the dipper. It’s the brand of Davis LeForge, Earl of Grandelor. Weapons are all new, and they appear to have fresh flints. I’d say they were recently issued.”

“What do you know about this Earl,” Bonnie asked.

James rolled into a sitting position. “He’s the king’s advisor. King Reynard is just a boy. This guy is the ruling power in the land until Reynard is ready.”

“What would he want with us?” Dan asked. “I never even seen the king before.”

“No idea. He wants us for some reason, and he didn’t just send an invitation. Maybe someone accused us of something.”

I hope this little snippet intrigued your readers, and thanks again for having me back.


An honorable man is mistaken for his disreputable father. Now he’s pushed into a political scheme to start a war that will spread across multiple kingdoms. James Cuttler’s fiancé is being held captive to ensure he goes through with the plan.

He soon decides his skills are at sea and procures a ship to wage war upon those who disrupted his simple life. He can’t do it alone, so he recruits a band of cutthroats to help him. But first, they need guns and munitions to outfit the ship properly. Deception and trickery will only get them so far. Eventually, they’re going to have to engage the enemy.

James’ goals aren’t necessarily the same as his crew. It’s a delicate balancing act to collect enough loot to keep his crew happy, while guiding them back to rescue the girl.

Voyage of the Lanternfish is filled with adventure, magic, and monsters. Lots of monsters. Hoist the colors and come along for the ride.

Purchase Link:


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.

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One More Tour (And The Latest from AIW Press)

It’s been a busy month for me and the other authors at Story Empire. Not only did we do our own Roadshow and book promo tour, each of us individually participated in the Rave Reviews Book Club Springtime Book and Blog Party. We’ve given away prizes, offered free and discounted pricing on our books, and met new people along the way. It’s been a blast.

Now it’s time for the six of us to come together once more for the RRBC tour. One winner will receive a $30.00 Amazon gift card. So hop on over to Story Empire to see what we have to say. You must leave a comment today (April 27) in order to be entered in the random drawing. Click here to visit!

Also, today on the AIW press blog, K. E. Lane gives some great tips on writing that first draft. Be sure to stop by and read her post.

Roadshow Winners and More

Happy Monday, everyone! In case you missed it, all the authors of Story Empire participated in a traveling bookmobile tour called the Story Empire Roadshow. Each of us offered prizes (a list of all winners will be posted on the Story Empire site on Tuesday). My prize was two Amazon gift cards (Value: $10.00 US).

It’s with great pleasure I announce the winners: Robbie Cheadle and Carmen Stefanescu. Although I’ve already contacted you via email, I would again like to say congratulations!

I had a blast on the tour – seeing old friends and meeting new ones. It was a busy week for us all, and I’m afraid I didn’t get a lot of writing done on my WIP, but the tour was worth every moment. We’ll likely do another tour sometime in the future, so keep on the lookout.

Speaking of Story Empire, check out today’s post by Harmony Kent. She tells us how to embed an Amazon preview on our websites.

And if one tour wasn’t enough, tomorrow I’m participating in the Rave Reviews Book Club Springtime Blog and Book tour. So be sure to check back tomorrow. There are prizes involved for those who leave a comment.

Until later…

Do You Remember When ~ Mae Clair

The Story Empire Roadshow is rolling right along. My guest today is Mae Clair, author of mystery and suspense novels (with a touch of myth and romance thrown in). I know you’ll be delighted to meet Mae and hear about her book, Eclipse Lake.

Do You Remember When…

Hi, friends! I’m delighted to be visiting Joan during the Story Empire Roadshow blog tour. If you’re just now connecting, there are posts at all SE author blogs today, with tour prizes scattered throughout. Be sure to check the full slate of events HERE to view the latest happenings.

And don’t forget to follow along. Grand prizes are up for grabs when the tour is complete (mine is a $10.00 Amazon Gift Card), but there are oodles of goodies along the way. The more you follow and comment, the more your chances to win. I’ve even got a surprise in store for today. J

I’m also feeling a bit nostalgic. In Eclipse Lake, a romantic mystery novel, my main character, Dane Carlisle, has a seventeen year old adopted son named Jesse. At thirty-three, Dane is only fifteen years older, which makes their relationship unique. I’ve had many readers connect with Jesse, a character who turned out to be a strong and dynamic with a plot line of his own. I’ve even had multiple requests to give him his own book in the future, something I’m considering.

Jesse was a lot of fun to write. He’s headstrong, opinionated, a bit snarky, but also highly devoted and loyal. He knows how to manipulate and he knows when to step back. When you’re seventeen, you’re full of yourself, and that got me to thinking about some of the things that made the cut when I was that age (er, quite a while ago, but we won’t go there). Just for fun, here’s a look at what was popular when I was seventeen:

  • Three’s Company, MASH, and That’s Incredible ranked among the top five television shows
  • Michael and Jennifer were the most popular names given to babies
  • The highest grossing films of the year were Kramer vs. Kramer, The Amityville Horror and Rocky II
  • MacDonald’s introduced its first Happy Meal with a circus wagon train theme
  • The top three hits were My Sharona by the Knack, Bad Girls by Donna Summer and Le Freak by Chic (love dancing to that one!)
  • Three Mile Island, a nuclear power plant near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania suffered a partial meltdown, the most serious in the history of the American nuclear power industry. As my home fell within the evacuation area, I remember it vividly—right down to what I was doing when the air sirens sounded. And no, my family didn’t evacuate, although half of the population within a 20 mile radius of the plant did.

Tose are just some of my recollections gathered from the year I was seventeen. Jesse’s, of course, would be much different. I’ve bet you’ve got some great ones too. What stands out for you in that magical summer when you were seventeen?

While you’re thinking about it, I invite you to meet Jesse in this excerpt from Eclipse Lake.  Dane has just left him the care of his brother, Jonah. The relationship between Jonah and Dane is strained and the one between Jonah and Jesse isn’t much better. In this scene, Jonah is practicing archery in his back yard when Jesse wanders over:


The second shot went wide, embedding to the left of the bull’s eye.

“You’re jerking on the release,” Jesse announced, returning from the front yard.

“Huh?” Jonah glanced over his shoulder. It was too soon to want to strangle the kid, but something about the way he grinned and confidently sauntered to the picnic table made heat rise on the back of his neck. He picked up another arrow. “I suppose you think you can do better?”

This time the shot struck to the right of the bull’s eye, leaving barely an inch gap between the two arrows. “Not a bad pattern,” he said, pleased by the proximity of the missiles.

“Could be better.” Jesse picked up an arrow and twirled it between his fingers, managing to look bored. At his heels, Koya watched his every movement with love-struck adoration.

Jonah snorted. He’d been shooting bow since he was a kid, and he’d practically grown up in the woods. There was no way some surf-coast punk was going to tell him his pattern could be better. “Think so, huh?” His voice carried a hard edge as he thought about putting the kid in his place. “Well, city boy, you get within two inches of either of my shots, I’ll buy you dinner at the Skyside Bistro.” He held out the bow.

Jesse cocked his head. “You mean that pricey restaurant on the top of Registry? What if I want a burger in town?”

“Whatever you want. Two inches and you got it.” Jonah thrust the bow at him. “You lose, you buy me dinner. Personally, I just want to shut you up.”

With a grin, Jesse took the bow. “I hate to disappoint you.” He set it on the table, pausing to look down the shaft of the arrow he’d toyed with. Satisfied, he retrieved the bow and stepped into position. Sighting, he waited a beat then fired, his release smooth and deadly accurate.


The arrow embedded dead-center in the bull’s eye, fitting precisely between the two Jonah had fired earlier. From a distance, the center arrow seemed a singular part of the others, he’d placed it so perfectly, Jonah doubted one man in five hundred could have made the shot. His mouth fell open.

“What kind of freaking hustle was that? Who do you think you are? Robin Hood?”

“Junior Archery Champion, Southwestern Division.” Jesse grinned and thrust the bow against his chest. “And I was just kidding about the burger. I want lobster. Come on, Koya.” Whistling for the dog, he walked toward the house.

As Koya bounded on his heels with a deliriously happy bark, Jonah ground his teeth. Dane had only been gone a few minutes and he was already regretting his decision about letting Jesse stay. He’d known all along there was a reason he didn’t have kids.


And here’s the blurb:

Small towns hold the darkest secrets.

Fifteen years after leaving his criminal past and estranged brother behind, widower Dane Carlisle returns to his hometown on the banks of sleepy Eclipse Lake. Now, a successful businessman, he has kept his troubled past a secret from most everyone, including his seventeen-year-old son.

But memories in small towns are bitter and long.

Ellie Sullivan, a nature photographer for a national magazine, has a habit of ping-ponging across the map. Her latest assignment leads her to Eclipse Lake where she becomes caught up in the enmity between Dane, his brother Jonah, and a vengeful town sheriff. When freshly-discovered skeletal remains are linked to an unsolved murder and Dane’s past, Ellie is left questioning her growing attraction for a man who harbors long-buried secrets.

Eclipse Lake is a full-length novel of mystery, sweet romance and family drama.
Presently on sale!

Purchase a copy from Amazon • .99 Cents until April 7

Thanks for visiting with me today. Don’t forget to see what the other SE authors have going on during the Story Empire Roadshow. Leave a comment to be eligible for my grand prize drawing for a $10.00 Amazon gift card (the more you follow my tour and comment, the more your chances to win).

For today’s tour stop, I’ll also draw one randomly selected name for an ebook win. Winner’s choice of Solstice Island, Food for Poe, Myth and Magic or A Thousand Yesteryears.


Connect with Mae Clair

Website and Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram |Goodreads |Google+ | Pinterest

Newsletter | Story Empire

It’s been a pleasure to host you today, Mae. Readers be sure to check out the other authors and tour stops by clicking below:

Staci   |   Craig   |   P. H.   |   Harmony   |   Joan






















Touring Pittsburgh With Staci Troilo

It’s day three of the Story Empire Roadshow and I’m delighted to welcome Staci Troilo to my site. Staci is going to take you on a visit to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (a place near and dear to her heart.) Take it away, Staci!

Thanks for hosting me today, Joan. Hi, Joan’s followers! It’s nice to be back with you.

The Story Empire Roadshow takes the bookmobile to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania today. Which is fitting, because my Medici Protectorate series takes place (in part) there. I thought I’d give you a few highlights, but you can click on one or more of the links for more information.

Schenley Park

Schenley Park is right next to my alma mater, Carnegie Mellon University. When the weather is nice, and even sometimes when it isn’t, you can find college students hanging out there, playing intramural games or just taking in some sun.

Photo attribution: By Dllu (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons
At the top of the hill, you will find Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. It’s a beautiful glass building which houses displays of various flora from around the world. It’s hailed as a beautiful example of Victorian greenhouse architecture, and is actually one of the world’s most environmentally green facilities, as well. It is registered as a protected historical landmark.

Bleeding Heart has a scene set at Phipps and Schenley Park. It’s an important scene for the budding relationship between Franki and Gianni.

Duquesne Incline

The Duquesne Incline is one of two railway inclines that run from Station Square (a hotbed of social activity) by the river up to the top of Mount

Washington. From the observation deck at the top

Photo attribution: By Dllu – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

of the mountain, riders have a breathtaking view of the Pittsburgh skyline.

Mount Washington is where the Notaro sisters work. (It’s also where I got engaged. The view is gorgeous and the restaurants are top notch.) The fictional corporate office of Notaro Building and Design (NBD) has a similar view of the city.

Bleeding Heart has several scenes at NBD on Mount Washington. One of my favorites is when Gianni and Franki take a moment to enjoy the simple pleasure of the vista below them before leaving work for the day. Sometimes it’s the little things that mean so much.

Carnegie Museum of Art

The Carnegie Museum of Art is one of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh. I loved going there when I was in college. One of my favorite places there was the Hall of Architecture.

Photo attribution: Moira Burke [CC BY-SA 2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons
The Hall of Architecture boasts the country’s largest collection of plaster casts, coming in third globally behind the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Musée National des Monuments Français in Paris. Pittsburgh’s architectural cast collection is renowned for staying virtually unaltered through the years. The magnificent sky-lit hall was inspired by one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus.

This location is crucial in Bleeding Heart. It’s where Franki and Gianni grow closer, and one of the exhibits there has special significance to Franki.

Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University was founded by Andrew Carnegie, a hard-working Scottish

Photo attribution: By Dllu – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

immigrant who came to Pittsburgh in 1848. He founded what became the largest global steel producing company by the late 1800s, and at one point, he was the wealthiest man in the world.

He believed “to die rich is to die disgraced” and by focusing his later efforts into writing, social activism, and philanthropy, he set out to give education opportunities to the general public. With a $1 million donation, he formed Carnegie Technical Schools, which offered programs in engineering disciplines. He also formed the Margaret Morrison Carnegie College for women. The schools continued to expand to accommodate a growing need for various disciplines, and in 1967 Carnegie Tech merged with the Mellon Institute (a science research center) to become what is today known as Carnegie Mellon University.

Carnegie Mellon University isn’t just my alma mater. The Notaro sisters went there, as did some of their employees. I like to think they stayed up late sometimes to paint the fence. Oh, did I not mention The Fence? Here’s a link to a cool bit of Fence tradition. You might want to check out some other cool Carnegie Mellon traditions, too. Some famous names pop up.

Pittsburgh, the City

It’s probably pretty obvious by now that I absolutely love Pittsburgh. I grew up in Vandergrift, Pennsylvania, about forty minutes from the city. My family are all diehard Steeler, Penguin, and Pirate fans. My husband and I are both alumni of Carnegie Mellon University. We’ve taken our kids to the city zoo, amusement parks, and museums in the city. One of their—and our—favorite things to do in Pittsburgh is walk through the Strip District, a small section of the city with various shops and restaurants with global appeal that you don’t want to miss.

I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Pittsburgh. There’s so much to do there. I could never do the city justice here. I miss the ’Burgh every day, which is why I pay homage to it in many of my stories. Thanks for indulging me in this wistful trip through the city. I hope you enjoyed this brief glance at just a few of the many landmarks. And if you get a chance, visit Pittsburgh. You won’t be sorry.

And, because you were troopers and read through to the end, I’m offering you the chance at two prizes. One commenter will receive a free eBook of their choosing, not just from the Medici Protectorate series (although you can choose one of those), but from any of my works (the complete list can be found by clicking here). Another commenter (US only) will be sent a Medici Protectorate pen. Good luck!

Premise: The four Notaro sisters are the secret legacy of the Medici, famed rulers of Italy. Michelangelo promised his Medician benefactor that he’d always watch over the family, and as such, he formed the Medici Protectorate to guard them throughout the generations. Now, Italy is in political turmoil and revolution is imminent. The people are calling for new rulers, and the Notaros are poised to assume control. But a nefarious opposing faction wants the power for themselves. Never was the family in more jeopardy. The four sisters are protected by the Brotherhood—four elite warriors of the Medici Protectorate prophesied to keep the family safe until they fulfill their destinies. They journey around the world in an effort to keep the family safe and the future of Italy secure.

Book One, Bleeding Heart: Gianni, a warrior destined to defend the secret legacy of the Medici, protects his charge Francesca from a prophesied assassin. Their worlds collide in passion and violence, and he must conquer her fears and his demons in time to save them both.
Bleeding Heart is only $.99 throughout the duration of the tour. Click the universal link for purchase information.

Book Two, Mind Control: Vinnie copes with his own identity issues while he struggles to protect the one prophesized Medici descendant, Jo, who refuses to embrace her heritage. With lives in peril, can they find the strength to overcome their tragic pasts, or is it too late?
Mind Control is only $1.99 throughout the duration of the tour. Click the universal link for purchase information.

Book Three, Body Armor: Nico works to increase his powers and save the Notaro family matriarch, but his private agendas put his charge Donni’s life at risk. When secrets and lies result in three abductions, the group will need to place their trust him to save them all.

Social Media Links:

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Staci, I enjoyed hosting you again today. Staci is giving away some cool prizes, so be sure to leave her a comment for a chance to win. And don’t forget to check out the other authors on this week’s tour by clicking the links below.

Craig   |   Mae   |   Harmony   |   Joan   | P. H.