Friday, December 20, 2013

MINIMAL!

It has been one heck of a road. But just a moment ago, I uploaded to CreateSpace the updated cover. Within 24-ish hours, MINIMAL will be made available to me as a "proof copy." From there, we go to wide release. We are in the final stages, my friends. We're almost there! Stay tuned!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction – Alone

The Five Sentence Fiction is a simple idea: Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.


This week, Lillie chose the word "Alone," and what else is left when all is gone?
***
All that is left is cinder and ash.
Fools that they were, they let loose their own inner demons, and were consumed by them; now only I remain.
I whisper in the burned paths of the earth, I see the corpses piled high as they lay smoldering.
Darkness rules the sky above; though day, it is like a winter's eve, and the snow that falls poisons all that it touches.
I fan the blaze as it roars and it grows to terrible power, but this will fade, and all that will be left is me.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Editing woe and costs. A few thoughts as I do the deed.

Everyone agrees that poorly edited, or not edited at all, books are a bane upon the reader, and that you, the fledgling self-published author, really ought to have a professional editor give your manuscript the once, twice, and thrice over before you even think about hitting the "for sale" button on your favorite web venue. The bigger problem is that new authors, myself included, simply cannot afford the prices that the good editors charge. I spend my own, valuable, time on a project, sometimes it taking hundreds and perhaps thousands of hours to work on just to get the first draft done--so I can, what, spend $250 or more to have a competent editor look at the prose and tell me what needs fixing. Then, I get to be the one who has to go and fix it. The editor, at this point, is really nothing more than a critic who charges you for their time, and ultimately does little. A real, honest to goodness, old-school editor doesn't just say "Hey, this is not right," but they actually fix it themselves, making sure every last "t" is crossed and every "i" is dotted as appropriate. But those days are, as I am told, long gone.

And if we don't have the money to get one of these super-competent editors, the almost immediate, and predictable, response is "Well, then, you're not serious about being a writer."

To that sentiment, I say: Fuck you.

I am the archetypical starving writer. I have, to date, made approximately $40 on sales. That's total. Since January 1, 2012, a whole, whopping $40--and that's American money, friends (I'm not Canadian, in case you care.) I've done the math, and for "Memories of the Dead," I "spent" approximately $9000 of my own time and money to get it to print. Yet, in all this time, I've gained $40. So, apparently, I'm supposed to kick off yet another round of cash to an editor that could do my work some justice--or they might do incredible harm.

How to fix this? Well, for starters, writers need editors, that's a given, but editors need to understand that they need writers just as much. It's a symbiotic relationship. One cannot exist without the other. Prices have to come down. What I'm suggesting is this: for every one thousand words, the editor charges $1. And. No. More.

For a short 50,000 word novel (and, yes, that's a novel, folks; don't let others try to fool you into calling it a "novella") the editor would get themselves $50. Anyone worth their salt can plow through that amount of text in a day. Not just reading, but making notes as to the corrections that need to be made. How do I know this? Because, my dear readers, my Beta Readers do this already. "Memories of the Dead" was a smidgen over 50,000 words. "MINIMAL" will be about the same, if not just a wee longer. And each one of them managed to read my book in a day.

In a day!

And then they still managed to tell me page numbers and paragraphs where things were wrong and even make suggestions that "worked for them."


This, I think, should be the new paradigm, the new pricing structure. But I know it won't happen. Why? Because editors want to get paid. They rely on the income. For some of them, that's all they do. So I have no illusions as to if this will come into being, I know it won't. And more is the pity because of it. As a result, editing will still be out of the reach of your new author, and more and more potentially great stories will be forced to live with less-then-ideal grammar and prose. And all those authors will still be told that they're not serious.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Yet another MINIMAL update

I have been ill recently, and as a result the final(?) edits on MINIMAL have not yet been done. I was hoping for a Thanksgiving Day release, but that doesn't look entirely likely unless I can get to it this weekend, which is my hope.

So, I haven't been slacking, I swear, just not at all able to do much of anything... Yuck! I hope none of you get this flu I did.

Hopefully, my next update will be that MINIMAL is ready!

Monday, October 21, 2013

(Final?) MINIMAL update

If all goes as planned--and as you know, things rarely do--then the next posting you hear from me about MINIMAL will be that it's available for sale at Amazon.com. It's been a looooong hard road to get this far, far longer than it probably should have been, and the early readers are getting back to me soon (or should be) with their final updates. After that, I will be reading the novel once more, myself, and making the necessary edits to fix the last of the boo-boos... Then out the door she will fly! (At least, it is hoped.)

More than a year of writing, editing, polishing, thinking, gnashing of teeth and self-loathing have gotten me this far, and I hope that the end results meets with some sort of success. I have hopes for it, so here's to hope!

For those of you following this far, thank you. Soon enough, I will be making the book available, and it will be (most likely) an Amazon.com only release. I cannot justify the extra time to release on Kobo and BN.com anymore considering that the Nook can install the Kindle app from the Google play store, and it works just fine. One stop, one location, one purchase. Works for me. (Plus, my first book sold a whopping one copy on BN and Kobo...combined.) You can see, you have to put the effort where the effort is worthy.

There will be two versions of MINIMAL available, print and ebook, and the first out the door will be the ebook version, with print soon to follow thereafter. As of right now, the purchase price of the ebook version will be $2.99. I don't plan on changing that at all. The price of the print edition will greatly depend on what it costs to produce...I'll update when I know more. The print version will be about 300 pages, depending on the size that could go up or down. It's a short novel, ripping in at ~55000 words. Most people will be able to breeze through it in a couple of days, at the most.

I'd like to thank you all for your support in getting me this far. You're all awesome folks. Once MINIMAL is out the door, it will be onto my next adventure! Be sure to hang around for the fun! :)

Monday, September 30, 2013

Public Domain

There's been some hullabaloo about Sherlock Holmes and the if it is in the Public Domain, as of late. Now, I cannot speak for the Doyle estate, nor anyone other than myself, but I can tell you that I have plans for what happens to my writing into the far flung future. So, as to prevent such nonsense surrounding myself (or my heirs) in the future, I happily have prepared the following note:

In the event that no will or trust should come into future existence that is dutifully notarized and signed by me, I do hereby make the following statement as a legally binding document until such time as I, personally, should choose to alter it in subsequent documents.
I, Phillip R. Hall, the sole owner and creator of my various works in print, either on paper or in electronic form, do hereby declare that on the date of April 17, 2089, at noon Central USA time, all my literary estate (hereinafter referred to as “estate”) created prior to that date and time shall forever more be placed into the Public Domain; and at that time, I shall willfully relinquish any and all copyright and claim to said estate. Furthermore, I do hereby deny the right of any of my heirs or relatives, or any person or group of any sort, to make claim in my name to prevent the estate from entering into the Public Domain.
It is to the above I pledge and do grant this document to be posted, this day, Monday, the 30th of September, 2013.
Now, obviously, this can only apply to my self-published works, as any traditional publisher would likely have a cow (to say the least) if I tried this on material they publish--they are, after all, the publisher, and they can't have authors go willy-nilly on them or they'd be out of business quicker than you can blink.

So, there you have it. On my 120th birthday, everything I self-publish goes Public Domain. Happy (very early) Birthday to me.




Thursday, September 19, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction – Wild

The Five Sentence Fiction is a simple idea: Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.


This week, Lillie chose the word "Wild," and that makes me think of being out in the woods or wilderness.
***
 I saw the bear as it lunged through the trees.
You can tell much from the eyes of an animal, and this much I knew, it wanted me dead.
I was an interloper, a hunter, and too close to her den.
My rifle, ready; her eyes, flashing; my mind, steeled, while hers was nothing but wild, reckless fury.
I shot as she sprung, and onto me she fell; only one of us left the forest.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

MINIMAL Beta 2 has begun!

Hey there! Hiya! How are you? Cool! Glad you're well. While I was away doing work-related non-writing stuff, I still managed to finish up the run-through of MINIMAL after the first Beta Readers got their feedback to me (thanks to one and all of them.)

So, it works like this: Beta 2 is available to be critiqued. And I'm looking for a handful of fine folks to do just that! So...if you're interested in maybe giving this a little look-see, please feel free to hit me up and we'll go from there.

Awesome! Thanks for reading, and I hope to have more great news soon-ish! :)


Five Sentence Fiction – Flowers

The Five Sentence Fiction is a simple idea: Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.


This week, Lillie chose the word "Flowers," something I don't have much to do with.
***
 I only visit mother's grave once in a blue moon, it's just too hard otherwise.
I bring flowers, place them at her feet, pray, and talk to her--all that is to be expected of a good son, is it not?
But in my heart, I know it is futile--a meaningless gesture.
Yet still I cry; I don't like coming here.
I don't think I will come back to this plot until I fall.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction – Beauty

The Five Sentence Fiction is a simple idea: Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.


This week, Lillie chose the word "Beauty," and I may have gone off the deep end and into a dark place.

(Though I write some pretty gnarly stuff from time to time, I would like to state up front that this very story sickens me to my soul. This is just a story, simple writing, taken inspiration form the chosen word and the song "Aqua Lung." I hope nobody that reads this thinks otherwise, or poorly about me. If you know of a child in danger, please do not hesitate to contact the local authorities or the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Thank you.)

***
He saw them as they danced and played in the park, his little beauties.
This was his special place, his secret garden, the temple in which the light of the gods frolicked.
Nobody noticed him as he watched, he was just another person on a park bench, but they should have, for his mind wandered to places on their young bodies that adult thoughts ought not to go.
Never approaching, he sat staring, breathing quickly and shallow as his blood began to boil; all day he simmered in his own stew, festering, basted in his own sweat, the corners of his heart ached for release denied.
Then came the parents to retrieve their precious ones, and with a "See you tomorrow," the children went their separate ways--he'd see them again as well.

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Warrior's Prayer, a poem

I was feeling a bit poetic today, and this was the result. I hope you enjoy it.

I am not evil, am I, O Lord?
Forgive me as I lay down my shield and sword
Kneeling in your chapel, I pray away the pain
Hope against all hope I'll see my home again
Sent here on orders, by men in long gray coats
I obey the best I can, and on my soul is rote
"Thou shalt not kill"-- though I've slit another's throat
I fear you and your wrath, my God; forgive my mortal sin
Let me pass your tempest by, and be Heaven-welcomed in

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction – Thunder

The Five Sentence Fiction is a simple idea: Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.


This week, Lillie chose the word "Thunder," and today, it is what connects them over vast distances. This entry represents my return after a brief hiatus for work-related stuff. I'm glad to be back.
***
Sara listened to the delicate drops of rain on her window as the distant rumble of thunder echoed in the valley below.
The dark sky above gave no merriment as it let loose its downpour; she was silent.
Worry of faraway love filled her heart, and all she could do was pray for his safe return.
In distant lands, thunder echoed on mountainous crags as he climbed, hand by blistering hand, to the peak, where, hidden in a secret alcove, the scroll could be found.
He hoped to return soon, but before that, there was yet one last mission to accomplish.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction – Learning

The Five Sentence Fiction is a simple idea: Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.


This week, Lillie chose the word "Learning."
***
Up, then down again, then up, perhaps a step, then down once more.
No cries, no wails, no worries, just try again.
The toddler pulled on the edge of the sofa and stood.
Another faltering step, knees buckling, a wobble, a wiggle, but free.
Mama cries with joy.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction – Bliss

The Five Sentence Fiction is a simple idea: Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.


This week, Lillie chose the word "Bliss," and what could be better?
***
He was dressing in his tux, the big day was upon him, and outside the dressing chamber all his family and friends were assembled in the pews of the old church, waiting for him to enter and begin his new life.
Beside him stood Frank, already dressed, who was looking at his watch, trying to express the lateness of the hour and how Terry really should have gotten to the chapel just a little bit sooner.
"Take it easy, man," Terry chuckled, "We've got plenty of time!"
"Ok, I'm gonna go out there and wait," Frank couldn't take it anymore, and in an eruption of nervous energy he tripped on the carpet as he left the room, but he was alright and went on his manic way to the front of the congregation.
Just after Frank shut the door, Terry reached into his pocket and pulled out his hand written vows, they were scribbles--not really words so much, but feelings to express--and began to practice what he had wanted to say: "I, Terry, take you, Frank,..."

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction – Limitless

The Five Sentence Fiction is a simple idea: Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.


This week, Lillie chose the word "Limitless," which is how recent graduates often feel.
***
 The fire in her heart was matched by the breadth of her ambition.
She wanted to change the world, and would stop at nothing to do just that.
But the world is harsh, and people resistant. 
However she planned to set a-light each person to make a change.
Just as one person can cause untold destruction, likewise one can influence generations to come.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction – Wisdom

The Five Sentence Fiction is a simple idea: Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.


This week, Lillie chose the word "Wisdom," and wisdom can come from many sources.
***
 Aged beyond measure, she sat in lotus position on top of the mountain; long had she waited for those seeking guidance, for to give assistance is a sacred commitment.
Many came: some wanted glory, some wealth, some a simple answer to a complex spiritual puzzle, and others came to test her...to see if she was the guru about whom they had heard much but understood little.
But she was no fool, and in her silent vigil she also kept a loaded gun, just in case. 
"After all, wisdom," she would say, "does not always come in the form of meditation and ancient books."
"I learned that particular novelty from Han Solo...'Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.'"
 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction – Locked

The Five Sentence Fiction is a simple idea: Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.


This week, Lillie chose the word "Locked."
*** 
 The sword opened him like a key fitting into a lock, and his chest spilled precious treasure.
There was no time to scream, no chance to avoid the blow, only time enough to gasp, wide-eyed and terror filled as the blade drank deep.
"Hush now, child," he heard, "Sleep, this will be over soon."
He could feel the flow of vital essence drain down his leg and from there pool on the ground.
"Mother..." he prayed in whisper as he collapsed and slipped from the steel, toppling over he kissed his own grave with full force.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction – Flight

The Five Sentence Fiction is a simple idea: Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.


This week, Lillie chose the word "Flight," and I went off the deep end a little.
*** 
I see the birds up in the sky and I wonder why
The wings they wear on the wind don't come in my size
Oh! to soar up in the air with freedom and no cares
But I'm stuck down here in the filth and the dirty air
If I had them, I'd give my wings to another man; call me crazy, but that's just how I am....

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction – View

The Five Sentence Fiction is a simple idea: Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.


This week, Lillie chose the word "View," and this dystopian view is pretty harsh.
*** 
 Twenty years ago, the scenery from the window was of lush, green fields, rich with life--living in a rural, farm community, I saw the countryside in a blessed, natural state--it was heaven.
 But that was before "The Collapse," when the last of the bees died.
 Pesticides took their unfathomable toll; and when the bees were gone, all agriculture went with it...and so did the animals that fed on those plants and those that fed on the animals suffered even worse.
 Now, when I look, there's only brown dirt, with scant few weeds holding it all together.
 We did it to ourselves, which is why I say humanity cannot be intelligent life, for no other species works so diligently to bring about its own demise.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Reflections

Time, they say, heals all wounds. That is a lie, not all hurts can be salve-slathered. It has been nearly three years since the death of my mother, Patricia Ann (Stokesbary) Hall, who, on October 11, 2010, finally succumbed to a long and terribly heinous illness. An illness brought about because of years of being addicted to cigarettes.

When she passed, I was informed by my sister, Lisa, who phoned me that morning. I remember it well. It was Monday, and I was just pulling into the parking lot of where I work in Iowa City. I had visited my mother in the care-facility just that previous Saturday where she looked more or less OK, at least to my eyes. A child doesn't want to see the frailty in a parent even when it is obvious to everyone else.

When the call came, I pulled over to take it. That phone call is probably the worst thing I remember. Lisa was, naturally, upset, but she felt it her duty to inform me as I lived away from home, and wouldn't have found out any other way. In my heart, I thank Lisa for telling me, but I have never told her to her face. I can’t. It hurts still. That call, that horrid call, I cannot face, I will not face. I won’t mention it to her. Ever.

At work, each morning, we have a meeting. It’s a basic recap of what happened over the previous day, or in this case, weekend. My boss asks us if anything happened that the others need to know about, and by that, he means related to work. But at the end of the meeting he always calls for “team info,” which is a catch-all for everything else that wasn't covered earlier.

I told them, in no uncertain words, that not that long ago my mother died, and I will be taking time off as soon as I know the details of the funeral arrangements. Yeah, it was a fun meeting.

I took the rest of the day to, if I could bury myself in getting things done. So I didn't have to remember. I didn’t want to think about it. You can fancy it up all you want, call it “passing on,” or whatever you choose, but the grim reality is that it all adds up to the same thing: mom died.

I’ve never really come to terms with it. I doubt I will. I choose, willfully, to avoid it when possible. There are times, however, when it boils to the surface. When my thoughts return to my mother, now lost. And then comes pain.

“Pain,” isn't a really good word to use. I would choose something stronger if I could. “Suffering” might work, but even that sort of sucks. I tried to get the idea across in one particular scene while I was writing “Memories of the Dead,” and I bet when you read it, if you read it, that you will be able to point it out. It’s pretty clear. A piece of my soul died that day along with my mother. That’s probably the best way to sum it all up.

Why am I talking about this now? I don’t know, but all I know is that I have to get it out somehow. So, here it is. Open for all to see, a simple gaping scar where part of my heart used to be.

So, I’m a mama’s boy, I guess. OK, I’m fine with that. Why? Because it means there was love there. Lots of it. You can never have too much love. But the love breeds the pain. So to fight it back, I constructed inside myself a place where I could avoid the memories that hurt. No memories, no pain. Seemed like a pretty good idea. It wasn't.

The worst thing is I am beginning to forget what she sounded like. The face, I remember; but her voice slowly fades. Eventually, it will be silent. I have to struggle to hear it now. I’m sorry for that most of all. I should remember it better, but I don’t. Don’t lose the sound of your parents, people. Trust me, you won’t like it. Remember now, record them if you have to, but don’t lose them. You’ll thank me later.

In two weeks, American’s have a major holiday coming up. Do yourself a favor and spend it with family. Fireworks, parades, and feasting are all nice—but forget all that crap. Just go home. Nothing else matters. Do that, and hold in your heart special thoughts that never fade, if you can. And whatever you do, don’t go to that place inside where memories cannot follow. I regret it, you will too.

Cry, laugh, love, live. They’re all worth it. No matter the price, pay it. The alternative is a far harder road, and one you do not want to take.

Five Sentence Fiction – Blades

The Five Sentence Fiction is a simple idea: Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.


This week, Lillie chose the word "Blades." I like the kind that flash in the light and have a keen edge.
*** 
Four blades of steel clashed and clanged together as one man--one good man--stood against three who, with their honor tucked between their legs like the tail of a scorned dog, fought in service to a false lord on a throne made of lies.
Their skill was no match for his, for he had studied with masters long since ejected from the kingdom; and so, quickly, only one remained, and this last guard trembled in fear for his very life.
"Shall I tell you the secret to swordplay?" he quipped with a smile.
But there came no reply as the coward dropped his weapon and ran.
The good man could only laugh as he saw the soiled backside of his enemy fade from view.

 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction – Home

The Five Sentence Fiction is a simple idea: Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.


This week, Lillie chose the word "Home," a place to which we often wish we could return.
*** 
 Far away and behind him, home was but a distant memory.
The dark of night had to camouflage him as he escaped.
There was no family to grieve his departure, no relative to see him off, only pain of heartache from within as he packed his meager belongings and fled. 
His last glimpse of the fluttering fire as his home burned was all that bade him farewell.
On the run, forever, he could never return--at least, not while the king lived.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction – Desolate

The Five Sentence Fiction is a simple idea: Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.


This week, Lillie chose the word "Desolate," and here we discover a lonely city that collapses from loneliness.
*** 
The smell of decay abounds. 
The mildew, the cracked streets, and the grass that grows in tufts from beneath the concrete and stone all give evidence that the city had been abandoned purposefully--like a sacrifice left to the old gods.
Surrendered to the elements...to rot for no known reason.
A hot wind whips through the wide thoroughfare, moaning the fate of the empty halls and storefronts.
The spirit of the builders exists only as vague reflections in the crumbling architecture.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction – Charmed

The Five Sentence Fiction is a simple idea: Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.


This week, Lillie chose the word "Charmed," and what could be more charming than a fairy being born?
***
Millicent's fairy wings beat swiftly as she raced across the wide sea to the land where the tulips bloom.
They called it "Haven," and it was here that the newest fairy would soon be born.
A gathering like this only happens once every thousand years, and to miss this birth was unthinkable--the very thought of it made her sad--so onward she rushed through the tall grasses near the shoreline, up to the garden where the fairies bloom into life.
"Always lucky Millie" landed among her friends just in time for the precious one to open his eyes and look directly at her.
The choice had been made: she would raise him, teach him, and love him as her very own. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

"Memories of the Dead" is on sale!

Amazon has placed Memories of the Dead (paperback edition) on sale. You can save 10% off the price by hopping on over now. Not sure how long this will last, so now is a great time to take advantage of the situation!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction – Accident


The Five Sentence Fiction is a simple idea: Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.


This week, Lillie chose the word "Accident," and sometimes they happen...
***
He really screwed up this time, and, boy, were his parents mad.
It was totally unintentional, creating the big mess like he did. 
Just a simple spark and... KABLOOEY!
"It's yours to deal with," his mother said with a frown.
"And when you're done, Yahweh," father interjected sternly, "be sure to wash your hands for dinner." 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

MINIMAL Beta input and other madness

Having received the beta input from MINIMAL, I can safely say that the book is not in as crappy a condition as I had feared. This is good. But there are some needed edits to take place--most of those are of a grammatical or spelling sort. There was one boo-boo where I mistakenly used the wrong gender pronoun, which was odd that I didn't catch that. Regardless, looks like soon I will be entering the "fix it up" phase. Shouldn't take too long...I hope!

One thing that more than one of the beta readers mentioned was the word "Nitrile." They weren't keen on the word being capitalized; but if you do a quick check you will see that it's capitalized every time it's used when referencing the type of exam gloves that doctors use. This, I think, is because it was once, or may be currently, a brand-name product. So, when you see it, kindly do not point it out...I know. ;)

The feedback, in general, is positive. Which is always nice. Not one person said that the idea sucked, which is also nice. Since this was a major departure from "Memories of the Dead," I figured that it might end up being harder to pull off than it was. Still a long way to go, but we'll get there.

Forward thinking: One thing I'd like to point out is pricing. When the book is available, the e-copy will be $2.99 (USD). This will convert to every currency in use. I won't set anything weird by location. I feel that, as an indie author, that price isn't insane, it's affordable, and it doesn't go into the area of "You're price-gouging." Some indie authors charge even more--some up to $8 a copy--and I think that's a little too high, considering that the print edition of the same book is only marginally more expensive. Maybe I'm crazy, but the e-copy should be, in my mind, at least, significantly cheaper than the paper edition.

I'd like to thank the beta readers for their effort in making MINIMAL better. I hope it meets with approval of all readers.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction – Goggles


The Five Sentence Fiction is a simple idea: Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.


This week, Lillie chose the word "Goggles," and sometimes, just as was foretold, they do nothing.
***
Sometimes I wonder what "happy" is.
I put on my magic face, and I try to understand it.
But I can't.
It's too much to take in, like looking at the blinding light of the sun.
And me, sitting there with no eye protection. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Mount Everest -- a poem

Feeling a bit poetic this morning, so here is a little something that just popped into mind.

***
I will not climb Everest
The mountain does not need me
I will not add to its splendor
Nor can I call it my own
It will not weep for me if I do not ascend
And it will not call my name to the heavens if I do
Those who climb the mountain say it is breathtaking
I agree: witness the colorful corpses that lay along the path

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction – Festival

The Five Sentence Fiction is a simple idea: Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.


This week, Lillie chose the word "Festival," and some forms of fun are anything but.
***
Not all the torments in the Abyss take the form of physical suffering.
In Hell's Carnival there is no mirth, only the numbing pain of loss.
No ride thrills, no game pleases, and there is no life in the hollow faces of the clowns.
Neither pain nor suffering, neither laughter nor joy; and where there ought to be warmth there is just cold, emotionless nothing.
You can pass the time there if you choose, for to be condemned to Hell one must first seek it within their own heart, but if you are sane you would be well away from the lure of its false, hopeless light.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction – Shadows

The Five Sentence Fiction is a simple idea: Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.


This week, Lillie chose the word "Shadows." Some shadows are forever.
***
It isn't possibleor at the very least, it shouldn't be possible—but it is.
So powerful was its blast, that when the light first struck, frozen shadows painted on walls and sidewalks became permanent reminders of the dead who once stood in those exact spots.
The people were gone, forever shattered into innumerable pieces of ash, yet their silent silhouette remained, giving grim testimony to the raw power unleashed in the wake of the atom’s sundering.
Godlike power: the power to destroy a world—our world—had been ushered into being by men of science, who, like the good men they are, tried only to bring an end to the War—an end to the suffering and death—but in their callousness failed to realize that all they had done was to create a new form of devastation the likes of which no man had ever seen or contemplated.
This all happened a lifetime ago; yet we still live under the specter of those painted shadows—and forever will they chill our soul.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Would you like to be a "beta reader" for MINIMAL?

With the recent completion of the first, rough-draft of MINIMAL, I am now taking applications for persons wishing to be a beta reader.

What is a beta reader? Well, they are kind folks who read the story before anyone else. Their job is to point out any and all mistakes they find, and to let the author know that there may be problems with the story, the pace, the "feel," or basically anything.

Consider them the front-line soldier in the War of the Books.

If you're interested, here's how you can sign up, send an email to me at MemoriesoftheDead@gmail.com, with the subject "MINIMAL beta reader"

We'll go from there.

Thank you for your willingless to help! I appreciate it!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction – Angles


The Five Sentence Fiction is a simple idea:

Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.
This week, Lillie chose the word "Angles." Sometimes I wonder...what was my brain thinking? Enjoy!
***

Each life is a line, and we, on our own curve, often intersect with the lines of other lives.

All together, these lines weave the Great Tapestry and each thread is integral to the design.

Two lives cross and might never exchange again; or, they might merge and build a bold statement, defining a theme in the weave.

Others cross each other tangentially, and can give the appearance of discord, destroying the fabric laid down.

But if one were to pull back in order to see the greater pattern—the design whole and complete—it would be known that no disturbance can fray, and in fact the Tapestry propounds ever greater because of the interaction.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction – Edge


The Five Sentence Fiction is a simple idea:

Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.
This week, Lillie chose the word "Edge."
***
With a razor's keen edge he began his cut. 
 At first, there was just a release of air, a gasp, a whoosh, a flutter; but no remorse. 
 Slowly he drew it across, he needed this to go just right -- not too fast or there would be shredding, and that's not seemly at all, and would surely ruin his fun. 
 Carefully and with practiced patience he made his cut against the grain -- slow, deliberate, and masterful. 
 Then came the scream, and the balloon wailed like a banshee, shot across the room, and scared the living crap out of a sleeping Grandpa Joe.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

What it cost me to self-publish Memories of the Dead

Ok, here's the scoop. I wrote Memories of the Dead on Tuesday and Thursday of each week for 13 months straight. Following that, I put in approximately 40 hours of editing, formatting, and general clean-up for the print version--the e-copy was pretty much ready to go prior.

So.... 3 hours a day, 2 times a week, is 6 hours a week. There are 52 weeks in a year, and 4 in a month. So that's 56 weeks times 6 hours per week, that's 336 hours. Add to that 40 hours (more or less) for the formatting and whatnot and we're at 376 hours.

That's just to get the book ready.

If I multiply that by what my "free time" is worth, which coincidentally is nearly identical to my hourly wage, I "spent" $7896 just to get the book that far.

Now, to add to this misery, I spent additional time emailing reviewers, buying print copies for giveaways, and the postage that went along with it (one winner was in Canada, FYI.) We are now looking at close to $8000+.

Marketing time: getting people to notice you, what's that worth? Well, hell if I know, but I've spent a ton of time trying my damn hardest to get the book "out there", this includes Twitter, Facebook, my blog, Goodreads, LitPick, and anyplace else I could think up or stumble upon in my wanderings headlong into the morass.

But what's that worth? I don't know. But let's just say $1000. Ok, we're at $9000, right? Wow, that's a ton o' virtual cash spent.

This brings us pretty much up to today. Memories of the Dead has decent reviews, and nobody that has reviewed it has anything horribly bad to say about it, which is nice. One might think that positive reviews and/or praise will automatically lead to sales. This is, I hate to inform you, not the case at all.

How do i know this? From experience. To-date, Memories of the Dead has garnered me a whopping $30 (Rounding to the nearest dollar.)

If I subtract this $30 from the $9000 I’ve put in, I discover that I am in the red to the tune of $8970. Ouch.

Now, if I had more of a presence, mind you, perhaps bought an ad or two on Facebook, or who knows what... There's a chance that the book would have sold more, and as a result the situation would be far less bleak. True, however it is also important to keep in mind that for a book to really hit its stride it has to be in the right place at the right time--it has to ring with the right audience. The old tale that you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink is applicable.

Take this as a cautionary tale based solely upon my experiences. Your mileage may, and I hope does, vary. And I wish you the very best of luck.

And who knows...maybe Memories of the Dead will hit the target in the upcoming year! Remain hopeful, my friends.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction – Words

The Five Sentence Fiction is a simple idea:

Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.
This week, Lillie chose the word "Words," and again...I go off the deep end....
***
There was nothing but dust and cobwebs to keep him company--he had been alone for a very long time.
He wept for a companion; and indeed his tears were bitter.
But then came another, and soon she sat beside him.
"I am Thesaurus," she said, "and I am here to complete you."
Then Dictionary smiled as never before; they have been together ever since. 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction – Flame


The Five Sentence Fiction is a simple idea:
Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.
This week, Lillie chose the word "Flame," and here men's souls are torched.
***
She kindled my soul.
I was tinder in her hands; and the merest, soft friction of embrace set me on fire.
A passion within, deep and furious and bright as the sun, took hold.
Her intoxicating scent, aroused from our passion's heat, scorched all resistance to ash.
Her lips, hot; her dark eyes, flashed as immolating coals, made pale any man's will -- it is for her that I burn.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Splotlight!

Indie Author Anonymous is pointing their spotlight at "Memories of the Dead," my first book. I'm pretty proud to get this far, and if weren't for folks like you (yes, you!) then it would never have happened. Thank you!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction – Conquer

The Five Sentence Fiction is a simple idea:
Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.
This week, Lillie chose the word "Conquer," and the best form comes in the form of the righteous. Enjoy.
***
Over the field and fray the fallen were strewn like grain scattered before fowl.
The battle was over; the cost was dear, and now the dead lay in pools of sticky mud -- made red by the life that was lost.
Picking at their remains, the vultures of men relieved the corpses of their valuables; just as in the distance their winged counterparts plucked out eyes and gorged themselves on the fetid flesh.
The Emperor, on his horse, was relieved, for all was not lost, nor had the sacrifice been in vain.
Evil had come, was vanquished by the last remnants of light in a dismal world, and in hopes that the Tempest would rise no more in the hearts of Man, he wept bitter tears that only the valorous can know. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction – Paradise


The Five Sentence Fiction is a simple idea:
Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.
This week, Lillie chose the word "Paradise," something we all have our own vision of. Again, I reach for the odd...
***
 For the sadomasochist, Hell was Heaven, and Heaven proper was unthinkably cruel.
Throughout his life, he inflicted pain and had it returned to him via whips and chains--physical suffering was pleasure unbound!
When he died, as payment for his carnal sins, he expected a fetishistic carnival of all the pain Hell could afford.
But no, fate is not so kind.
Instead, he suffers in Heaven, where no whip, chain, hook, or crop can be found; and his cries of grief and agony are the truest measure of divine punishment.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

"Memories of the Dead" gets a 4-star review from the Orchard!

Over at Goodreads, my book Memories of the Dead got nabbed a 4-star...or in their case, 4-apple...review from the Orchard Book Club! Excited is a small word for such a big feeling! Here's a quote:

"The story really pulls you in, and the plot is very easy to follow and fast paced, making you want to keep reading. The characters are well developed and there are lots of twists and turns to keep you engaged."
I love it when readers say things like this! 'Tis a happy day! Thanks to the fine people of Orchard Book Club!


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction – Whisper


The Five Sentence Fiction is a simple idea:
Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.
This week, Lillie chose the word "Whisper," and there are things that whisper to which you should not listen.

***
The dead may surely lie in their graves, but their voices will still echo the falsehoods of life if you listen.
But do not, for it is unwise to hearken to the passed, and they will make false claims to further any goal they once had from when they still lived.
In the most hushed tones, and in the darkest corners, you might hear them whisper to you the most maddening things; but from them you must flee.
Driven demented by their repeated refrain you thereby become their unwitting agent.
Leave the dead and their voices, seek out the living and cling to life, only this can bring pause to a revenant's ploy. 

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction – Empty

The Five Sentence Fiction is a simple idea:
Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.
This week, Lillie chose the word "Empty," and here I find a town of our ghastly past.

***
The city was a forgotten relic of the Cold War, hidden deep in the Urals of what was Soviet Russia.  
Nothing lived there now except the grasses that blew in the breeze -- a near desert surrounded by lush fields where even the wildlife does not roam.  
Once a center of science for the State, this place, now empty, stood as a stark reminder that man is not God, and when we climb high we fall further. 
 The craters of destroyed lives will be found where we crash.  
Weaponizing life can produce the greatest death, which is what happened here; and even the harshest winter’s cold cannot kill that which soiled the once pristine ground. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction – Abandoned


The Five Sentence Fiction is a simple idea:
Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.
This week, Lillie chose the word "Abandoned," and the subject of today's word-fest leaves an unfortunate taste...

***
She bit me, and I remember lots of blood--my own--and a torn out throat…also mine.
Then there was a blur of events, it was as if time had slowed down: I knew I was dying--but I didn't.
She transformed me, somehow, and when she fed me some of her blood--cut from her own breast--I felt more alive than I had ever before.
And while I lay there on the cold, wet concrete, twisting, lurching, retching, and burning from within, she calmly stood up and walked away.
When it was over, I was like her and she was gone--abandoned as a neonate vampire with no direction, no tutelage, and a hunger enough to eat the whole world.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Win one of 4 copies of "Memories of the Dead"

Over at Sophie Davis Books, you can win one of four digital copies of my book, "Memories of the Dead." Head over there and enter...you could win!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction – Cherish

The Five Sentence Fiction is a simple idea:
Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.
This week, Lillie chose the word "Cherish," and this was the vision in my head.

***

"Cherish your life, your love, and your dreams, dear friends," he spoke at our wedding.

"Know that love has entered your life, understand the power of your dreams, and work to bring them to glory."

The room was silent as we all listened, never before were there such wise words from him -- he who used to tell us fart-jokes and belch.

Hidden within each of us is a gem, concealed, and each facet has the chance to brighten a life.

As with all things: keep the luster, and cast away the stone.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction – Purple

The Five Sentence Fiction is a simple idea:
Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.
This week, Lillie chose the word "Purple," and this time....I go off on a very odd tangent. Roses are red,... bruises are purple.

***

The sting of his slap hadn't even begun to fade, but the raised welt he left on her bare behind was already forming.

As he held up a mirror so she could admire his handiwork, she squealed in enthusiastic approval – the view was breathtaking.

In an almost perfect imprint of the shape of his hand, the outlines of his finger marks shown clear in red and deep burgundy.

As the blood pooled under her translucent skin, darker hues began to form -- multiple shades of blue and slickly brown merged and filled fully to the outline he had left.

"Perfect!" She moaned, "You always leave such a good impression!"

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Sophie Davis Giveaway

This is monumental! Sophie Davis is having a massive giveaway spanning all of February! On Sunday, the 17th, you can enter to win one of four copies of my book, Memories of the Dead, so be sure to hop on over, read up, and prepare to be floored by all the goodies you can take home!

Five Sentence Fiction – Delicate

The Five Sentence Fiction is a simple idea:
Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.
This week, Lillie chose the word "Delicate," and today I dream of life's return.

***

The leaves are crumbling as they fall.

Beneath my feet, I feel them crunch; and in my hands they are reduced to dull, brown powder.

Yet, still I can see their former glory: the near translucent luster is dimmed but not gone.

Winter comes, and soon there will be none left on the branches; but this is not the end.

Life finds a way back, and shall return vibrant green come spring.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Blog hop! The Next Big Thing

I was asked by Sophie Davis to take a bit of a breather and answer a few questions about what's going on in my writing life at the moment. So, I present to you, dear readers, my answers to "The Next Big Thing" blog hop/tour.

What is the working title of your next book?

The title is “MINIMAL,” and capitalization is important.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

It came out of a documentary I saw a loooong time ago, and I wondered if a person were to take the concept to the extreme, logical end what would happen. Could it be done, and why?

What genre does your book fall under?

I'd peg it as “Mystery/Thriller” at the moment, and I hope it's both mysterious and thrilling to the reader! :)

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

For the most part, I hadn't thought of it that way, but possibly Mark Wahlberg and Katherine Hiegl as the “good guys,” and for the antagonist...I'm thinking a younger version of Stephen Mangan...

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

“The Count,” a serial killer on the loose, and police detectives Zac Toumille and Jenny Clark are on the case to bring him to justice before his latest victim is discovered in pieces.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I plan on self-publishing this since I'm not certain that an agent would pick it up.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Currently, it's not finished, and as of today, we're looking at just over a year.

What other books would you compare this to within your genre?

Mary Higgins Clark meets Stephen King with a dash of Melissa Foster.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

My twisted little mind.... ;)

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

There's a large part of the book where you learn “why” this is all happening. With a lot of stories like this, there's little answer beyond “because,” which seemed disingenuous to me—my villain needed to have a real reason as to why he's doing these things. Strangely enough, he thinks he's doing this for all the right reasons.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction – Ringing

The Five Sentence Fiction is a simple idea:
Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.
This week, Lillie chose the word "Ringing," and there are lots of things that can ring. I wonder what it was she said?...

***

Her words shattered my psyche with a hammer's blow.

Standing in awe, agape, my mind reeled at the truth as she spoke it.

My mind could not process the raw emotion as it flooded my veins.

Growing hot, my ears burned; my mind, once clear, was now sullied.

I grasped for words--anything at all--that could be used to counter, but there were none.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Words of Wisdom

Not long ago I mentioned that self-publishing is hard. Well, guess what? So is traditional publishing. But no matter what road you take, there's wisdom to be learned, and today's wisdom comes from TerribleMinds. I suggest you all give it a read. Are their points of contention? Sure, but from my POV, there's tons of goodness here, and I would be remiss if I didn't share the wealth. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction – Forgotten

The Five Sentence Fiction is a simple idea:
Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.
This week, Lillie chose the word "Forgotten," and with it, I think of sad things.

***

My savage heart knew no solace: peace, tranquility, and harmony were all lost to me.

Having surrendered to the pain of long ago I would often weep openly; and when confronted, would lash out against the undeserving.

It is impossible to remember the last time I knew true happiness--I don't know how to feel--so much have I lost!

Still human; simply much less humane.

I weep mostly for my forgotten self.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction – Inspire

The Five Sentence Fiction is a simple idea:
Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.
This week, Lillie chose the word "Inspire," a writerly topic if there ever was one.

***

From where does it come, and why does it depart?

Does it not know that it is always welcome?

I cannot call it; it must arrive in its own good time.

Waiting, pen and paper at the ready, I hope, I want, I pray for its sweet caress.

Words seem empty without my muse.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

MINIMAL cover!

Here's the more-or-less finished version of the cover to MINIMAL. I hope you like it. From Left to Right you will see the back cover, the spine, and the front. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction – Midnight

The Five Sentence Fiction is a simple idea:
Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.
This week, Lillie chose the word "Midnight," a magical hour if ever there was one...

***

Do you know what it's like to die?

Few live through the experience to tell about it; but I do, for every night, at the stroke of twelve, I perish and am reborn.

Like a human phoenix I rise from my own ashes refreshed, renewed, and young.

However eternity has a price, and after centuries of this nightly rebirth I grow weary.

But there must always be a Justicar, so I seek the one who will take my place, so that I might know real rest.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Requesting input on a cover-design

I'm collecting input on my proposed cover-design for "MINIMAL." Let me know what you think. Does it "pop"? Does it grab you? Are you interested in what's going on? All input is welcome.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Self-publishing is hard

One of the things that distresses me about being a self-published author is that when you surf around you will find lots of the same advice repeated over and over--specifically that you need to (a) hire a great cover artist, and (b) you need to hire a great editor (and sometimes three of them) to make sure your manuscript is in perfect harmony with the planets as they align. While I have nothing against these two pieces of wisdom per se, the problem is...self-published authors are what we call in the vernacular..."poor."

See, artists and editors don't do their job for free. Who would? They provide a meaningful and valuable service, but the truth of the matter is, the cheapest I've seen for either of these two fields is $200 a pop. That's a total outlay of $400 per book just to upload it to KDP, or Kobo, or Pubit!, or Smashwords...

Take that number ($400) and compare that to the price of your average self-published novel, $2.99, and you see that you need to sell 134 copies to even break even. Most self-published books, everyone will tell you, never sell more than 500 copies; and the majority of them sell far less than 200. The odds are stacked against you from the get-go.

What we need is a bunch of people, editors, artists, document layout experts,...the whole gammut that is needed in the publishing world...to offer their professional services cheaply, or even better, freely.

That's not going to happen. To steal a quote from the Joker: "If you're good at something, never do it for free."

For editing, you might say "Beta readers," and they are a help in many ways, yes; but few of them have the requisite grammatical knowledge (like a BA in English) to be of a "real" help. Believe me, they do help quite a lot, but a real editor is a thing of sublime beauty. Something we sorely could use.

Artists and graphic designers are the same. These magical creatures are special, rare, and expensive; and I don't know any that will do the needed work with quality for free. We're lucky if we manage to get a decent cover at all since we're more-or-less stuck with going it alone.

So, when you read a self-published book and find some grammatical errors, or the cover just plain is terrible, keep this in mind: self-publishing is hard. We don't have a big corporation behind our work, helping us at every turn with marketing, management, style, layout, covers, editing...and all that it takes to get a book from "A" to "B"... There's just us.

Am I asking you to cut us a little slack? Yes, I am. But not when it comes to the story, that you have a right to critique...but all the things that we're now "expected" to master...not so much. It's a tightrope I'm asking you to tread, and honestly I don't envy the walk, but along the path I believe you're going to see some amazing vista that would otherwise be hidden from view.

What's coming in 2013

I'd like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy New Year! I hope all your dreams come true. What's up for me this year? Well, it's all about this...