Breakthrough…

After banging my head against the keyboard for months, I finally learned how to take an exported anthology from Scrivener, and create a working Table Of Contents in both Word and PDF formats.

Created a nice collection consisting of 16 shorts and my novella, “Spirit of the Dead”, consisting of nearly 300 pages today.

I know, that’s like a Stephen King foreword, but hey…I’m still new, right?

Complete Collection

As my three published stories are in this collection, I cannot market it because my publishers have a period of exclusivity, but it was a ton of fun to create it, all the stories got a fresh edit, and I learned something new.

I call that a win!

Bedtime

Funny thing about bedtime.

When you’re a kid, bedtime feels like a punishment for a crime you didn’t commit. You’re engaged in something, whether it be playing, reading, watching TV, and all of a sudden, the parents announce bedtime, and the activity comes to a screeching halt.

No surprise then, that the very first step to independence most of us take when we get older, is that we go to bed when WE choose to.

Decades pass, and we discover that bedtime is something to look forward to, and to relish the process of settling in for a good night’s sleep.

A few years ago, we indulged in a Tempur-Pedic mattress, and it was the best purchase we’ve ever made.

Now, I slip partway under the comforter and just stretch out, as the memory foam contours perfectly, affording unrivaled support and comfort.

The last thing I do before rolling on my side to drift into sleep is to insure my feet are both fully and completely under that comforter.

I’m not here to tell you that leaving a foot dangling out from under the comforter might invite the steely grip of a cold, dead hand, intent on dragging me under the bed to be shredded into bite sized morsels for the undead thing that lives under there, no, not at all.

I’m just saying you can bet your ass both my feet will be well placed beneath that comforter before sleep arrives, that’s all.

Sleep well…

Two things…

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.” (Stephen King)

Very true, and excellent advice. I tend to flip flop between the two, not reading much when I’m writing, and not writing much when I’m reading, as I’m currently doing now.

Although I have a backlog of books waiting to be read, I watched the free preview of the first two episodes of Mr. Mercedes, and was impressed. They’re doing a great job of bringing the book to the screen. I’m not willing to add yet another service (Direct TV) just to see one 10 part series, rather hoping it will wind up on Netflix or Amazon Prime after it concludes it’s initial run.

It did, however, compel me to pick up the book, and read it again…and where it is the first of a three part trilogy, I may well continue on through Finders Keepers and then End Of Watch. Time will tell.

I have a couple ideas currently simmering, and have taken notes on them, so when they start to come to a boil, I’ll be ready to open Scrivener and do some writing, but for now, I’m enjoying the read…

Speechless…

Or, as our friends across the pond would say, Gobsmacked.  “The Edge: Infinite Darkness” released yesterday, and stirred up far more attention than I’d have anticipated. Kudos to publisher Patrick Reuman for his marketing savvy!

The reviews have begun landing, and they are incredible:

Reviews Page

I need to save all these and revisit them on the bad days, which we all have. I’ll stow them away in the secret hiding place…

USB2

Whoops….well, it was secret…

In other news, I joined Author Central, and now have an author page at Amazon as well as the one at Goodreads. Simply click this to check out the new Amazon page.

Time to relax a bit now…my wife and I are planning to go and chase a sunset this evening, so my next post will likely be at Smug Mug, as long as the weather holds.

Sleep well…

New Release

Patrick Reuman’s anthology, “The Edge: Infinite Darkness” released today, which includes my story, “Shower Time”…a perfect example of how a simple, everyday occurrence can suddenly turn down a dark alley with unexpectedly  sinister results.

Cover

You can find it here at Amazon, and do check out the positive reviews it’s already received while you’re there.

 

What a ride this day has been!

 

Unexpected visit from the Muse…

I took my wife to the dentist for a procedure, and as I sat in the waiting room, I looked around at the decor…and started to write in an app on my phone.

Next thing I knew, I had a new Flash piece called “The Waiting Room”, which is more speculative than horror, but certainly promotes a sense of unease.

I also did a quick little ditty, just for fun….

Scroll

Coffee is made, waiting for the Muse…

typewriter

I’ve done some extensive editing of my newer work in order to have it ready to go to the right market. Now, I’m ready to take one of my partially formed ideas and begin work on something entirely new, but nothing is taking off…bit of a block after editing, it seems.

I know from experience that trying to force something only results in something absolutely horrible…and NOT in a good way.

No, what works best for me is to do something entirely different, not related to writing at all. It’s during those times that the best ideas have popped in out of nowhere, and the key is to scribble something down to capture the gist of the idea, so I can expand on it later on.

Just wanted to let the Muse know the coffee is pretty good today…

 

S-l-o-w down…plan better

When the second rejection email arrived in as many days on new stories that I consider good, solid efforts, it occurred to me that I’ve been rushing too much. I should impose a mandatory two week wait on anything new before even considering submission, as the odds are good that changes will be made when read with fresh eyes. That’s the first step.

What I need to do, and plan to implement immediately, is to first create a good, thorough synopsis of each story, so I can better categorize them more accurately.

Then, I need to spend more time vetting the markets I’m looking at. Read sample works they’ve published, understand exactly what they are looking for, especially for themed submissions, and be much more selective in what I send and where I send it to.

Slow down, stop rushing them out the door before the “ink” is even dry…that’s the mistake I’ve been making, and need to take steps, starting with those above, to change.

The quality of the work is improving, and I need to improve my work flow to match it…I believe that’ll lead to more successful submissions.

For all the books and websites offering lessons in all aspects of writing, I’ve never come across one that speaks to best practices for submitting short fiction, so it’s clearly been a learn as you go process.

I had very good luck early on, quickly landing three successful publications, and that gave me an unrealistic outlook on the process. The subsequent rejections have been good lessons on how the process normally works.

Time to roll the sleeves up and get to work!

And now, we wait…

With this morning’s submission of “Trappe’s Rest”, I now have a lucky 13 stories out at different markets for consideration to be published. In addition, I’ll hear back from my beta reader next week about my novella, “Spirit of the Dead”. I’m very much looking forward to the opinions of a reader with no skin in the game. And finally, C.P. Dunphey of Gehenna & Hinnom publishers loved reading “Blind Terror”, but asked me to hold it and submit it for the December issue of Hinnom Magazine, which I’m glad to do.

Between managing all these submissions, and the behind the scenes work this week to get this blog moved and the web site updated, I am ready to sit back and relax while I wait for the Muse to make an appearance. I need to restock the vault now…

Steel Plate

Speaking of “Trappe’s Rest”, I certainly hope the editor that reads it doesn’t suffer from murophobia…that would absolutely be a problem for them. Murophobia is a crippling fear of rats…

 

Classics…

As vacation weeks go, this has been a busy one. Updated the web site, moved the blog from self hosted to WordPress, wrote a new story, and edited a few others, and added a new submission to the list of those out there, and finally this morning, reviewed and corrected a proof of one of the upcoming anthologies with one of my stories in it.

Today’s plan is to relax…I’d programmed the DVR to capture a couple classics on TCM yesterday, including the original “House on Haunted Hill” and “Psycho”, so I’ll sit back and enjoy those on the big screen today. I never know when the Muse will drop by, so the laptop will be hibernating quietly at my side, in case I need to capture something new.

I’m looking forward to a free day, but I’d welcome a bolt of inspiration too…we shall see.

Muse