The Year of the Rat (we’re clever, and 2020 is our year!)

Okay, cyberpunk is WAY out of my comfort zone.  I’ve been known to read a dystopian now and then, but when too much science is involved, I usually shy away.  BUT, I’m a fan of C. S. Boyack, and his latest book is…cyberpunk.  I’m reading it, and I’m enjoying it!  I’m still not sure I’m a true cyberpunk fan, but I sure am a C.S. Boyack fan.  This book is fun!  So I invited Craig here to tell you about it himself.

Thanks for inviting me over today, Judy. It’s an honor to be promoting my new book, Grinders, on your space.

I have something special for everyone today because Judy and I were both born in the Year of the Rat, according to the Chinese Zodiac. Every twelve years our year comes along, and 2020 is our year. Believe it or not, it has a tie to the story.

Grinders is a bit of cyberpunk set in a future version of San Francisco. One of the things San Francisco is famous for is its Chinatown. Before we get there, I need to return to the rats.

Grinders are people who perform illegal surgeries that are technologically related. It’s like plastic surgery, but involving microchips and radio antennae, that kind of thing. Grinder tech is illegal, and the surgeries are performed in basements and garages.

My antagonist is trying to research a new bit of grinder tech. Because this is illegal, he can’t just buy lab animals to experiment on. The authorities would trace the purchases back to him. He uses a shady street gang to make connections to various trappers who can provide him with research animals. Prior to the start of the story, he’s gone through a lot of various rodents, with limited success.

The lone success is in the form of a muskrat his young son named Daisy. She has fiber optic whiskers installed in her face. They light up and change colors to reflect her mood. Daisy was a stepping stone to Subject Forty-Three who is a white rat. Forty-Three is the only survivor of a string of rodents my antagonist tried to install functioning gills into. He can breathe underwater, but isn’t necessarily inclined to do so.

This poses some problems for the antagonist, because he needs the rats to infiltrate the sewer system to retrieve some abandoned intellectual property. Is Daisy too big to fit through all the tight spaces? Will Forty-Three be willing to complete the mission? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

That’s when I had one of those writer’s epiphanies. This is the Year of the Rat. The story is set in San Francisco. I have rat characters in the story. I was born in the Year of the Rat. With cyberpunk being all about flashy environments, the annual parade was the perfect place to have the major event of the story go down. Since I was on a roll by that time, it’s also Year of the Rat in the story, so there are people dressed as rat mascots in the parade, and I tried to take it way over the top.

This is a little behind the scenes peek at my writer’s brain. One other thing that I find cool for authors is Pinterest. I don’t promote there, but I started keeping a pin-board for each of my recent books and series. I’m a pretty visual guy and some of you might be, too. If you’d like some inspirational images for Grinders, you can check them out here. It will give you some of that cyberpunk esthetic, maybe a case study for some main characters, there are even muskrats and rats in a few images.

It’s time for me to drop a blurb and cover along with that all important purchase link. I hope I’ve inspired a few of you to check out this cool story. Thanks again to Judy for inviting me over today.



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.

Purchase link:

cover for Grinders, C.S. Boyack

You can contact Craig at the following locations:

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40 thoughts on “The Year of the Rat (we’re clever, and 2020 is our year!)

  1. Reblogged this on Entertaining Stories and commented:
    I’m over at Judi Lynn’s place today. Since we were both born in the Year of the Rat, that’s the topic today. Believe it or not, there is a tie to Grinders. While you’re there, check out her blog. She also has books for sale and you ought to check those out, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve read a total of one cyberpunk novel, years ago, but I’m looking forward to Grinders. It’s sure to have Craig’s unique voice and twist on it, which I love. Best of luck with the book, Craig. And thankyou for sharing your thoughts on Grinders, Judi. It’s lovely to see Craig and his book here today 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I think I’m with you, Judy. In general, I’m not a cyberpunk fan. But I’m definitely a C.S. Boyack fan, and I loved this story. It was wonderfully inventive, and the characters really got into my heart. Glad to see it here. All the best to Craig.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I think this may have been my first foray into cyberpunk, too, but I thoroughly enjoyed the trip! Craig’s imagination is unbeatable, and I truly felt as thought I were doing a “country bumpkin” walk through the city with my mouth hanging open. Amazing world-building, fun characters, and a great ride all the way around! Super interview today, Craig and Judi! Sharing!

    Liked by 3 people

      1. I meant every word, Craig. That’s exactly how I felt, “watching” the wild, amazing–though very possible someday–technology all around me. I alternated between wanting to actually BE right there in the midst of it all, and wanting to run far away to the most serene cabin in the woods I could find. One of the best jobs of putting the reader in the scene I’ve read in a very long time! 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Grinders was my first experience reading Cyberpunk. I absolutely loved the story, and all the vividly imagined world-building. And the story line involving Daisy and Forty-three was exceptional, one of my favorite threads in the book.
    Great post, Craig and Judi!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks, Mae. There really is a lot going on in this one, but I didn’t think it was overwhelming. It all fits within the scope of the plot. It also leaves room for readers to imagine what life might be like outside San Francisco under these circumstances.

      Liked by 2 people

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