Rob Smales.com 

I write character-driven dark fiction.
What do you do?

Writer In Progress

Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.

~E.L. Doctorow

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November - Ending With a Surprise

Posted by [email protected] on December 8, 2012 at 7:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Okay people, this should actually be a short one. For those of you with attention deficit disorder, it should be -- hey! Where the hell are you going? Get back here! Even your attention span isn't that short!

Narration:

Episode 19 of the podcast Protecting Project Pulp stars the work of author Thomas Thursday in the form of the story Ten Dollars - No Sense. The story is voiced, however, by yours truely. It's free, and if you can get by the poor voice work the story's pretty good. Every show put on by The District of Wonders has some of the very best short fictionout there. Do yourself a favor and give one of the shows a listen. Just to make it easy on you, here's a link to my episode -> http/protectingprojectpulp.com/protecting-project-pulp-no-19-tom-thursday/

Writing:

One Buck Horror has yet to reply to me about the story I submitted last month, Saying Goodbye. I still have my fingers crossed.

While waiting, I've written two more stories: a sci-fi short called You've Got Mail (where a man figures out how to avoid any and all junk mail, with surprising results) and a sci-fi/horror crossover called It's In The Blood. It's In The Blood was written for submission to the Blood Type anthology, a collection of science fiction vampire stories. Both stories are in the editing phase, one of them being out with a couple of test readers at the moment.

Other than that I've been working on getting my small collection, The Dead of Winter edited so I can send it out for publishers to look at. I think I'd really like to try to have a book out there with my name on the cover rather than in the Table of Contents as a 'contributing author'. I'm working on it.

Sales:

I went down to Fiskdale Massachusetts back on December 1st and threw some of my stuff down on the New England Horror Writers sale table at the Tantasqua High School Holiday Craft Fair. I'd never even been to a Craft Fair before, never mind working at one. How did I do? I already wrote a blog entry about it over at WYMOP, so I won't do it all again here. I'll just put a link right here and you can click on it to read the story whenever you like --> Click HERE for WYMOP

In Future:

Something I'm looking forward to is being on The Roundtable Podcast sometime in the future. Roundtable is a show where two writers invite in a third, someone considered to be a successful writer, as a Guest Host. Then the three of them have a fourth writer on the show, a newer writer who comes to the show with a story idea, and the four of them workshop the idea for about an hour, trying to shape it into a full novel idea. It's a terrific show if you're interested in the way people create stories from nothing, and I'm just waiting for then to get a hold of a Guest Host in the field of Horror so they can slide me into the show schedule. I love the show, and it should be a lot of fun.

...and the Surprise:

Do you remember that little story I wrote called Photo Finish? The one in the anthology The Ghost IS The Machine? The one my friend Paul out in California was such a help with, reading it and helping me edit when I got stuck? I was just notified the other day that back in the last days of November Eric Beebe, the man who runs Post Mortem Press, the publisher of the book The Ghost IS The Machine, nominated Photo Finish for a Pushcart Prize for excellence in fiction. For those of you who may not know, here's a short blurb from the Pushcart Press website:

 

The Pushcart Prize - Best of the Small Presses series, published every year since 1976, is the most honored literary project in America. Hundreds of presses and thousands of writers of short stories, poetry and essays have been represented in the pages of our annual collections.

Writers who were first noticed here include:Raymond Carver, Tim O’Brien, Jayne Anne Phillips, Charles Baxter, Andre Dubus, Susan Minot, Mona Simpson, John Irving, Rick Moody, and many more. Each year most of the writers and many of the presses are new to the series.

 

Have I won? No. Could I win? Eric Beebe seems to think so. Am I happy about this? You bet your ass.

I guess I have to thank Paul again for the assistance he gave me with that particular project.

Dude, you are officially my bestest friend.

 

Okay, that's all I have for this month's update. Y'all go read something, I'll go write something, and I'll meet you back here in a month.

Deal?

 

Talk to you later!

October - Reading, Writing, and... well, more Reading.

Posted by [email protected] on November 14, 2012 at 1:35 PM Comments comments (0)

 

 

Happy November! I'll jump right into this one.

 

The Coffin Hop: Some Reading

October was a busy month, but mainly due to the Coffin Hop and my lack of preparation for it. For those of you who might not know, the Coffin Hop is a virtual shop-hop with better than 100 horror writers linking their blogs and websites together for a huge, week-long event. There are contests and games and drawings, all with prizes, and it's a lot of fun.

Usually.

I, having been doing narration recordings for the District of Wonders podcasts for the past few months had decided a long time ago that my special thing for the Coffin Hop was to be a small podcast of my own. The original idea was to do the show every day for a month, but that got cut down pretty quickly.  With everything that went on a couple of months ago I actually forgot all about it until the beginning of the month. That's when I found out that all the pre-work I had done on it - choosing and editing the intro and outro music, doing the voice-over for the intro, a couple of stories already recorded for it, stuff like that - had gone missing. I thought I burned it all onto a CD but apparently I had a little glitch, and what my computer said was a CD filled with data I needed was really still blank.

The week before the Coffin Hop was due to begin was NOT the time to be finding this out, let me tell you.

 

I did pull it together a little and managed to get out seven days of shows, one to be released each day of the Hop. You can find them on The Storyteller on my "Ten Minute Tales" page. Each has a little bit of a talk-up from me and then you can hear one of my Friday Fright flash pieces read aloud for your enjoyment. You may have already read them, they're all on my "Friday Flash" page, but if you haven't, or if you're just curious as to what my stories sound like, then stop on by for a Ten Minute Tale, close your eyes, put your feet up, and let me tell you a story.

The rest of the Coffin Hop was okay, and I even managed to give away a few e-books containing my work.

The District of Wonders: More Reading

The District of Wonders is a podcast network where you can find four different podcast shows -- think of them like old radio shows, and you're pretty much on the money. Each show deals with a different genre of fiction and gives you a different story from that genre each week. Some are new, some are classics, and there is something for everyone there at The District of WondersTales to Terrify covers the Horror angle, Starship Sofa hands out weekly gems of Science Fiction, Crime City Central opens their files each week for tales of cops and robbers (or even robbers and robbers if the fancy strikes them) and Protecting Project Pulp doles out old-fashioned Adventure stories, occasionally starring guys who make Indiana Jones look like a bit of a sissy.

I while ago I started working for the District (for free, of course) doing story narrations for them to play on the air. Someday I'd like to make some money at it, but for now I'm trying to learn the ropes from working with a few professionals who also donate their time to the District. I've read a few stories for them, but I've yet to make it on the air --  so far I'm just helping them fill up the story bank they use to put the shows together.

I've yet to make it on the air, that is, until now.

I've been working for a while with Dave Robison, the voice behind Protecting Project Pulp, trying to get a particularly tricky narration (snappy patter from the 1920's... you try reading that stuff cold and getting the rhythm right!) ready for the show, and I think I have it. By the time any of you are reading this we have the show in the can (so to speak) and I'll be the voices for the fiction portion of the show this Monday, 11-20-2012. Stop on by any time next week after Monday morning when the new show uploads and give it a listen. Hell, download it and take it with you -- it's free, and Dave puts on a really good show.

One Buck Horror - Again: The Writing

Yeah, I told you all last month that One Buck Horror would be hearing from me again. I've read an issue or two of their magazine, and I just know my stuff would be a good fit in their books. I just have to hit the right tone for them. I've submitted a quirky little tale I call Saying Goodbye with them, and now I'm stuck waiting for a letter of acceptance or rejection.

Terrific. I just love waiting.

The good news is they seem to have a pretty fast turnaround time with regard to acceptance/rejection, so I won't have to wait long. I'm sure I'll be able to let you all know by next month just how gently they let me down.

Waitaminute... Heartwarming Tales?: Yup - More reading, but for YOU this time!

Latter Day Saints Publishing has finally gotten out that Christmas anthology I've been waiting for! It's titled Checkin' It Twice & Other Heartwarming Holiday Tales, and includes a story I wrote a couple of years ago (when I was just starting this writing ride) called Fishing Buddy. You can find it over on Amazon.

This is my first published story not in the Horror genre, so I finally have a book I can give to my grandparents to read without having to provide any kind of warning or disclaimer. Huzzah!

A Reading: Okay, yes, this is the last of the Reading

...And last but not least, last month I attended a Reading/Signing event where writers/authors stand up before a crowd and read a sample of their work in an effort to get the aforementioned crowd to buy it. It was the first of these events for me, and since I already wrote about it over at my weekly blog, While You're Making Other Plans..., I'll just send you over there for the full story with this link to my post called A Reading? Check it out, if you haven't already. You'll probably laugh... I know I did...

 

And that's about all I have to say about last month. I have a few more short stories pounding their fists on the inside of my skull at the moment, all trying to get out and be heard, plus something a little larger, maybe novella-sized that's lurking in the background and making occasional surges for the door. That larger idea, the bigger story, is something that had me sitting by the roadside while I was supposed to be delivering my route laughing with pleasure at the thought of a story idea like that coming out of my head. You'll be hearing a little about that soon, trust me.

 


Talk to you later!

September: Editing, Reviews and Lists, Oh My!

Posted by [email protected] on October 14, 2012 at 10:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Happy October!

For those of you who like quick reads, I think I'm offering you another one this month as last month not a lot happened with me as a writer. Not compared with SOME of the months I've had.

New Business: 

I did write a couple of short stories last month, one titled It's a Kind of Magic, the other (working title) Host. neither was for a specific submission call, so they don't have any intended homes as yet. Indeed, I don't even have any pressure to streamline them and get them ship-shape, though I think I'll be trying to edit Host soon. It's the creepier of the stories, and at 10,000 words it's the larger task to tackle than the 4,000 word Magic. These stories were just things I had clunking around in my head for a while, and they did get me writing again after more than a month off.

Oh... and another little thing. Okay, not so little, I'm actually quite happy about it: I was accepted into the Horror Writers Association as an Associate Member. This means I can claim to be a writer with the HWA in good standing, and I have a few more resources that I lacked before. Some terrific resources, actually. I'm on the waiting list for their Mentor Program, so hopefully sometime in the (not too distant?) future I'll have someone much more experienced than me that I can go to with all my questions... like 'Did Adam and Eve even have belly buttons?' ...okay, maybe not that specific question, but they can help me out ar an aspiring writer...


Old Business:

I am currently working on editing a collection of mine that I have mentioned previously called The Dead of Winter. Two (somewhat lengthy) short ghost stories and a novella all set in the months of winter. I am hoping to start shopping that around to certain publishers I have in mind next month. I'll have to let you know how that turns out...


Submissions

Last month, if you recall, I submitted a short titled The Gardener to One Buck Horror. They got back to me recently with a polite rejection, so I turned around and immediately submitted it with an E-zine called Lamplight. These are both professional paying markets, so I'm hoping Lamplight finds my story more to their liking than One Buck did. Fingers crossed. And One Buck will be hearing from me again. Soon.

In my August posting I mentioned that back in July I had submitted my story Playmate Wanted (originally published in Dark Moon Digest more than a year ago) to Scarlett River Press for their Zombies vs. Werewolves anthology. I recently received an email saying it has been accepted for publication by them as a reprint, so you can keep your eye out for me to be promoting that little collection in future!

Oh! And if you're looking for a Christmas book to read this year, or maybe one to give away as a gift, be on the lookout for Checking it Twice&Other Heartwarming Holiday Tales from LDS Publishing. It's my first foray into non-horror publishing, just a straight-up heartwarming Christmas anthology, and I've gotten word that it will be hitting the virtual shelves at Barnes&Noble and Amazon within the next few weeks. Possibly very few. I'll definitely be keeping you posted about that next month!


Reviews:

Dangers Untold, the most recent anthology to feature my work, has been receiving some good reviews, and not just Reader Reviews on Amazon. There are three different reviews, one on Goodreads, one on https://tothebonereviews.wordpress.com/2012/09/18/dangers-untold-anthology-review/" target="_blank">To The Bone Reviews, and the last (that I know of) in Dark Media Online, that give quite favorable reviews of the book -- and all three specifically mention my story, Mutes as one of the standouts inthe collection. You can click on the publication names to see the actual reviews. If you like. I know I did!


Lists:

The Ghost IS The Machine has been out for a while now, and I'm still quite proud of it and the story I have in there, Photo Finish. Last month I found out that the HWA has a 'Recommended Reading List', that the members spend the year getting together for the judges for the Bram Stoker Awards. Just things they point out to the judges over time for them to keep an eye on when they start putting the nomination lists together for the Awards. Ghost  is on the list.

The list is made public every year, so you can follow that link up there right to it if you like. Just in case you don't, however, I'll quote some of the page to you here:

"This list of Bram Stoker Award Recommendations is compiled during the year by members of the Horror Writers Association. We make it available to the public as something of a 'reading list' for horror readers and fans. These works are all new horror published during the year that our members feel worthy of recommending for Bram Stoker Award consideration. They are not 'Bram Stoker Award nominees', nor are they part of any ballot process at this stage, but it is likely they represent some of the best new horror fiction, poetry and non-fiction published during the year.

Please note that if your work appears on this list that the Association's Bram Stoker Award etiquette specifically precludes advertising that fact: "You may not promote your work as "Bram Stoker Award Recommended", nor as appearing on the Bram Stoker Award Reading List. Receiving one, or a handful of Bram Stoker Award recommendations (which is how a work appears on the Bram Stoker Award Reading List) is a far cry from winning the Award or even from being listed on the preliminary ballot. It devalues the Bram Stoker Awards to have their name attached to works whose only defining characteristic may be that one or two HWA members liked them. Authors or publishers who promote their work in this manner run the risk of offending our voting members."

-Please also note, if there are any voting members out there who actually read this: my intention is not to publicly promote my work with this information, nor is it intended to offend any of you. I am, however, still new at this, and just the thought that someone out there who ostensibly knows what they are talking about really likes a book that features some of my work makes me very, very proud.


Closing:

Well, I think that's it for last month's news... and yeah, I guess I had a little more to say that I thought when I started this thing. Sorry about that...


...Talk to you later!

Not a Lot in August...

Posted by [email protected] on September 10, 2012 at 6:20 AM Comments comments (0)

 

Hello, it's me again.

Due to what I've been referring to as a 'personal crisis', I actually didn't manage to write anything for just about the entire month of August, so there's not a lot to report right now.  I even suspended my narration work with The District of Wonders, figuring that would be better and look a little more professional than failing on any assignments. Well... let's see what I can come up with for News.

The Ghost IS The Machine is now out on Amazon and Barnes&Noble. There was a bit of a drive to get reader reviews for the book on Amazon, as there is apparently some evidence that reader reviews can actually effect sales. As of this writing the book has 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon with 6 reader reviews. One of the reviews actually mentions me by name, and makes me look really good - you can see that review by clicking HERE. It's the one titled "Nice Collection of Stories".  Hey, while you're there, why don't you leave a review for the book, if you've read it. Or even some of it? Just a star rating and a couple of lines, that's all... 

Zombies Need Love Too - I finally got to see the cover art for this book, and I have to say I love it. Just judging from the title I was expecting something somewhat terrible and horrific, but I was pleasantly surprised and I am looking forward to adding it to my little (but growing) shelf of contributor’s copies.

Although I couldn't concentrate on anything enough to write for a while, I was trying to keep my hand in. I did manage to edit a short story I wrote over a year ago called The Gardener, then submit it to One Buck Horror.One Buck Horror is the first professional-rate-paying publication I have submitted to, so I'm sitting here waiting with my fingers tightly crossed. Which would also explain why I'm getting this update out so late in the month -- have you ever tried to type with crossed fingers? It ain't easy.

So, that's all I have to say about last month. Short, but sweet.

Well, short anyway. Hopefully I'll get back on the ball and start getting things out there again; out of my head and into the real world where they belong.

 

Talk to you later!

 


And that was July... Can you Hear Me Now?

Posted by [email protected] on August 7, 2012 at 6:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Hello, it's me again.

Just a quick rundown of what's been happening over here in my little corner of the world ... which is to say, my bedroom, mostly, though I write pretty much wherever I can.

The Ghost IS The Machine from Post Mortem Press will be available from Amazon and Barnes&Noble on August 14th, 2012. I just received my contributer's copy in the mail yesterday, and I'm thrilled with the thing. 

Following on the heels of that news I recently received word about the Horror Society's Dangers Untold, which features my story, Mutes. I got to see the cover art and found that the release is scheduled for October 1st, 2012 - just in time for Halloween!

My story The Colossal Monster was finally accepted for the Coffin Hop's Death by Drive-In anthology, but as of this writing I'm still waiting to hear a release date for the project. I do know people were asking if it was going to be available for them to give away during his year's Coffin Hop, so I have my fingers crossed and am eagerly awaiting my first view of the cover art.

Speaking of the Coffin Hop anthologies, the collection from last year, the working title of the project was Zombies Need Love Too, seemed to have stalled out, but there's recent news. The people behind the book have started their own small publishing company, Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing. They've picked up a cover artist and I might have some cover-art to promote in a couple of weeks. Yay!

Scarlett River Press did accept my story Bedtime Story for their book Rigorous Mortis, and once again I wrote a story that was way too long and had to cut it down. Thank you again to Paul out in California for giving it a read and helping focus my editing a little. That's three! 

Also from Scarlett River is the new anthology they put out a submission call for, Werewolves vs Zombies. They said they would accept a very few reprints (stories that have been published before) from well-established authors. I'm not exactly well-established (not even close) but I asked about sending in a reprint and they said to go ahead. I sent in Playmate Wanted, a werewolf story, and the first thing I ever had published. Again, fingers crossed!

In the meantime, I managed to win the Reader's Choice contest over at DarkMedia Ezine two weeks in a row. That means sometime soon a pair of my Flash Fictions will be published in their online magazine. When they do, I'll be putting links to them on my "Where to Find Me" page. Of course, if you don't feel like waiting you can find them on my Friday Flash page - they were Tribe, and Good Fences Make Good Neighbors.

To show off all these things, I've created a new page at The Storyteller called "Where to Find Me". It's a list, with cover art when available, of every place you can find my published work. You'll see the new button in the navigation bar at the top of the page, and there are links on the page to places to buy the work if it's for sale or for you to read it if it's free. Enjoy!

In my downtime I've also managed to almost finish the first draft of Home Grown, my first real attempt at a novel. It's closing on 150,000 words, and needs some serious editing and streamlining before anyone sees it, but the rough cut is almost there. Huzzah!


...And now for something completely different.

I've been reading bedtime stories for years. I've always had fun with them, doing the voices, maybe a semi-dramatic reading, stuff like that. Well, I'm branching out in the storytelling business a bit, and I've joined the new District of Wonders as a narrator for some of their podcasts. Basically, the District of Wonders is the umbrella website or meeting place for four different genre storytelling podcast shows (imagine the old radio show Lights Out, or  Suspense. They're like that.). If you click on the link and go to the actual website, scroll to the bottom of their page and click the "Watch the Video" button. They explain the whole project and each website better then I ever could on my own. I've started narrating stories for them already (I'm working on my fourth one as I write this), though I'm just one of many narrators they have working for them.

And by 'working', I mean donating their time. 

No, I'm not making any money at this, but I'm having fun and learning how to do it. I have a fairly good microphone, some decent sound editing software, and there are some professional narrators and voice-over artists associated with the District that I can actually go to with questions. So I guess I'd haved to say 'No, I'm not making any money at this... yet.' But I'm learning. And in the meantime if you listen to the stories put out by the District of Wonders you may occasionally hear me.

Well, that's it for this month...except for one thing. Something happened while I was actually trying to write this post during my lunch.

Okay, here's the story:

I have a few FaceBook pages on which I publish links to my weekly Flash Fiction Horror stories. On these pages I've noticed I get 'Likes" and sometimes even comments from some people, and I see the same names popping up again and again -- it seems I have a few regular readers out there. 

Fantastic!

I posted links and the cover art for the new book, The Ghost IS the Machine on these same pages. Today, when I clicked over to FaceBook to look up the information on the Coffin Hop anthology I saw that one of the 'regulars' had commented on my Ghost IS post. She was asking if I had ordered any extra copies for myself to send out autographed. 

I hadn't even thought of that, and said so. She got back to me... and to make a long story short (yes, I know, 'too late') I'm ordering another copy to sign and send out to her at her request. 

Apparently I've picked up a fan.

I feel like a real writer!

Talk to you later!

June - Productive? Hmm... not so much...

Posted by [email protected] on July 4, 2012 at 8:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Happy Independence Day!

Don't worry folks, this should be much quicker than last month.

...wow, I can hear the sighs of relief from here...

Anyway, I have good news and bad news.

First, the good news: 

Do you remember that submission I made last month to the Post Mortem Press anthology called The Ghost IS The Machine? The one where I seem to have done everything wrong, that was practically an example of how not to submit a story for publication? I was just sitting here waiting to receive my rejection letter?

I got in.

I did an embarrassing happy-dance when I got the notice, but I got in, receiving a contract for royalties (as well as some proposed edits) instead.

Huzzah! Thanks again to my friend Paul out in California who acted as a reader for the story and helped me focus on which parts needed the most help in rewrites.

Good news part II... Scarlett River Press, a new publisher who's very first book I managed to place a story in, has become a paying market. They've put out calls for a couple more anthologies, and I have some lovely ideas for stories, one of which I'm working on right now. I still have to finish it up and get it submitted, and then accepted, but at least I have a slight working relationship with the publisher.

Good news part III - The creators of the Coffin Hop Blog Tour that I was involved in last Halloween, which is now becoming an annual event, are putting together an anthology called Death by Drive-In, the proceeds from which will be donated to charities to promote literacy. I submitted the story The Colossal Monster, have already received edit suggestions and resubmitted my rewrite. I haven't heard the final verdict yet, but I feel pretty good about it.

So, the focus of the good news seems to be that I'm moving upward through the ranks toward more professional markets. Yay me!


Now for the bad news:

Not a lot actually got written in June. I seem to work in cycles; I run from 'hey, this guy's really productive' all the way down to 'look at this clown, he can't seem to get out of his own way' . During June I cycled down to where by the end of the month I couldn't get out of my own way, and that's where I seem to be at the moment. I'm still struggling to finish editing Bedtime Story, so I can get it submitted to Scarlett River Press.

So, unless I somehow get on the stick I'll have even less to report next month.

...wow, I can hear even more sighs of relief from here...


Well, that's it for now. You should be able to find The Ghost IS The Machine available at Amazon and Barnes&Noble both in ebook and hard copy, by the end of this month. Even if my story turns out to be crap, you'll still have something to read from the award-winning author, Joe Hill, the big-name contributor to the book.

My thanks to the people at Post Mortem Press for giving my work a chance... and possibly paying me for it! (gleeful chortle!)


Talk to you later!

May - A Wild Month of Success and Failure

Posted by [email protected] on June 3, 2012 at 9:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Hi everyone.

I know I skipped posting here last month, but I didn't get any complaints, so I figure it was alright with you folks. One month without my babbling - probably a pretty good thing. But here's what's been happening since that last post. It's been busy here.

Vamplit - The Friday Flash has continued to be written, though it's now going to a different place. All the Vamplit writers moved to a site called Dark Media City, which is the closed social network behind the monthly E-zine, Dark Media. Whereas on Vamplit the site was open, and anyone could go see our work, Dark Media City  requires membership to read our posts. I was a little bummed out about that, but then they told us about their contest. Every week our work would be voted on by Dark Media members, and the winner would be published in the next issue of Dark Media, a fairly popular free E-zine. Four winners per month, four flash pieces published from our group. 

Guess who won the first week? 

Here's a link to my story, Let Them Eat Cake, in the June issue of Dark Media. A few people have shared it to Twitter and Facebook already, and I'm pretty happy about it.

Scarlett River Press - The people at Scarlett River put out an anthology of horse stories to help support the Hilltop Haven Equine Rescue - every dime not going to cover the printing costs is earmarked for helping those horses, many of whom have been rescued from abuse and neglect. I am very proud to have had my story, Justice have been a part of this project, and have to thank my friend Laura for helping me with so much of the technical info about horses. Thank God I know someone who actually runs a farm!

Thank you Laura.

The anthology, Scarlet Whispers, is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle formats, and I was beyond pleased to discover that we made it to #5 on Amazon's 'Hot New Releases: Best Anthologies' list. 

This just in - I just checked the list as I was writing this, and we've moved up to #2! I'll continue this post after I change my shorts - this is a fantastic showing for a brand new publisher with their first book!

Dangers Untold - Mutes  was accepted into the Dangers Untold anthology. Jennifer Brozek, the woman in charge of the project required some serious editing, but she loved the story. The editing was due to my inexperience and the fact that rather than taking any writing courses I'm learning by the 'trial by fire' method, and she was very helpful with it. I'm quite pleased that the story was accepted - the rate being paid for stories in this book will allow me to join the Horror Writers Association as an Affiliate Member, allowing me to claim to be a writer for the HWA. There are many benefits to being an HWA member, and I'm looking forward to being able to add my affiliation to my story submissions with pride.

Dark Moon Books - My story It's Not What You Think was in issue #11 of Dark Eclipse in the month of May, and Finders Keepers is in issue #12 this month. This month, though, I got a special treat. My story is in one of the anchor positions - the first story in the book. This means it's the first one people will see, and if you go to Amazon and check the book out, Finders Keepers forms the sample they use to hook in new readers.

Can you say proud?  I can.


Okay-- all that was the good news. Now...

Post Mortem Press - These fine people, a publisher with quite a good reputation, had put out a call for work for a new anthology of theirs called The Ghost Is The Machine, a collection of stories about haunted machines and technology. I'd been holding onto an idea for a story for better than a year that matched this perfectly, so I got right to work. It went downhill from there.

I had the whole month, and it took me three weeks just to get the 1st draft completed. They requested stories from 2,000 to 7,000 words in length, but my story, Photo Finish, came out to just over 10,000! I started to edit it down, but a 30% story reduction is a daunting thing, and I was in a panic about editing the story right out of the damn thing.  

I had one quick blessing in the middle of all this - my friend Paul out in California offered to give it a read and help point out weak spots in the story and places where I had edited it to death. This was terrific - I had been beating my head against the thing so hard and for so long I really couldn't even see it any more. He was a great help, and with his help I believe I was able to turn out a decent story of 7,500 words.

Thank you Paul.

Now it goes downhill again. I had until 11:59 pm on the 31st to submit the story, and during that last few days I wound up with some health issues that just slowed me down. It wound up being a sprint to the finish, like something you'd see in a movie: me feverishly pounding on the keys as fast as I could while keeping one eye on the clock, trying to turn out the story edits, get them all formatted, snap out a cover letterand get it all in the email before midnight. Due to some technical glitches, the story went out at 12:03 am. One day late.

I sent a note the next day to check on it, and to apologize, but lo and behold, magic had hapened! I was apparently sending it to the West Coast, and their receipt showed a 9:03 pm  time stamp! It was like the story went back in time and actually arrived before I sent it!

Amazing! Terrific! Wonderful!

And then, last night, I actually opened my copy if the file I sent to them.

Disaster.

I had been in such a rush to send it off I never checked the saved file. If I had, then I would have fixed all the auto-formatting I have my Scrivener program do while I work in it, and the story would have matched Post Mortem's submission guidelines. I thought it did, when I sent it. But I forgot to check.

Headers where they wanted none. Page counts where they had wanted none. A lack of indenting where they specifically requested a 1/4 inch indent. And the damn thing was still 500 words over their stated maximum.

So here I sit, calmly awaiting my rejection letter, drafting an apology note for the entire mess. I would still love to work with Post Mortem Press in the future, and I'd rather they knew I was just in a gigantic hurry than simply assume I'm incapable of following their stated directions.  I think I'll sit down and write up an article I can try to send to some writer's blogs, one aimed at newer writers explaining the real need to take your time and pay attention to detail. And follow Submission Guidelines.

I have a couple of back-up places to send Photo Finish, so hopefully it's not a total loss.

Paul, thanks again for your help. I'll most likely be tapping you again for some proof reading. Still up for it?


Well, that's it for this month's update. Last month was a bit of a wild ride, and a lot of fun. I have more fun planned for this month, more anthologies and magazines I plan to submit to... I just think I need to take it a little more carefully.

If you've read this far, congratulations! You have some serious stick-to-it-iveness!


Talk to you later!

Marching On

Posted by [email protected] on April 7, 2012 at 6:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Not a lot to report about March - those of you with attention deficit disorder will be able to get back to your shiny things in just minutes!

I've kept up with the Vamplit Friday Flash, though I'm not all that happy with my submissions for the month of March. I tried to make 5 flash stories that could both stand alone as individual stories and be strung together to form one larger story, much like I did with Harold's Holidays this past December. Harold's Holidays was written pretty much by accident: I simply wrote stories that appeared in my head and they happened to form a larger story. I didn't start out with that intent. With The Unlife and Death of Uncle Bumpo I was trying to make a series, and I think it shows in the writing. Like I said, I'm not all that happy with it, but it's there on Vamplit as well as here on The Storyteller for all the world to see... oh well. This month I'll try to get back to better Flash.

I have three anthologies I plan to submit to, two by the end of this month, one at the end of May, so I have some serious short story writing to do. This month I plan to submit to Dangers Untold by The Horror Society, and an as yet unnamed horse-themed anthology for Scarlett River Press

I just finished my first draft of Mutes, the story I plan to submit to Dangers Untold. It's going to need some serious editing, as the word cap for submissions there is 6,000 words, firm. My story is 7,500 words at the moment, and I'm not too happy about the ending - I was very aware that I was way over the limit already, and I rushed it. It should be okay - I have better than three weeks to edit my buns off, and maybe rewrite the ending a little. Cross your fingers! I'm crossing mine.

The horse story for Scarlett River Press may give me a little trouble. It's due April 30th, it's now April 7th, and I haven't decided on a story yet. I'm just going to have to see what happens with that one.

Home Grown, my novel-sized story, just hit 130,000 words (according to my Scrivener program that would make a 370 page paperback, just in case the word count makes no sense to you), my largest project yet, and it's not quite done. Getting close though. Editing that puppy is going to be fun! Can you feel the sarcasm? I can.

Actually, I've started to find the editing process to be fun sometimes - a lot more fun than it used to be. I think I'm getting better at it. God, with Home Grown to edit, I certainly hope so!

Oh, and to wrap this up, Dark Moon Digest has been in touch, and they finally decided they want to use my story Finders Keepers in their monthly E-magazine, Dark Eclipse. I'm just not sure which issue yet, and I haven't recieved their suggested edits yet. But that's in the works, and will be out sometime in the future.


That's it!

Talk to you later!

Santa Clause and Zombies... Yeah, I can see that...

Posted by [email protected] on March 2, 2012 at 11:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Hi!

Another month down and not that much to report, I think.

I'm still putting out a story a week on Vamplit Blog, and I've revised the math after seeing more of the Twitter lists involved. If you have no idea what that means, don't feel bad; I barely understand it and I'm the one who wrote it! Essentially, I've looked at the "Following" lists for the people and websites involved, and I'm pretty sure that what I write for Vamplit Publishing each week has a potential audience of 4 - 5,000 people.

Those aren't the people reading it, but those are the people with access to it. I have noticed traffic here on The Storyteller from around the USA and other countries, and I'm pretty excited by it. It amounts to fewer than 20 hits per month, I think, but it's all traffic I didn't have before, so i'll just keep on being excited about it, thank you very much!

On February 16th I sent in my first writing contract, enabling me to get actual royalties for a story. LDS Publishing decided to include my story Fishing Buddy in their Christmas Anthology, and if it actually sells enough copies to cover the cost of the printing run, anything above that gets split between all the contributing authors. Do I think I'll actually see any money from this? No. But it's a good writing credit, and it's the first one I have that has absolutely nothing to do with Horror.

Now, at the other end of the scale, we have my story Maxwell's Silver Hammer that I submitted for that zombie anthology. It was accepted within 48 hours of my sending it, and the people running the project are being pretty open about progress with the project. The amount of accepted material is growing, and they are hoping to have enoug to go to press soon. When they opened submissions to the public, I encouraged my friend Michelle, author of the book Lady of the Veilsto submit something.  Though she does not usually write Horror, she rose to the challenge, and I'm hoping to see her in this anthology with me. Even if she doesn't wind up submitting it with them I'd still love to see what she's come up with.

Well, I think that's it. Two more stories accepted for publication. Two different stories accepted by Dark Moon Books back in January, but I still haven't heard where they want to use them. Working on Home Grown, my NaNoWriMo novel, just about every day (108,500 words and counting) and someday it may even see the light of day.

Maybe.

I think of stories every day: new ideas crowding older ones, older ideas coming to the forefront of my imagination for consideration, works in progress where I have a sudden flash of 'that's how I'll fix that!' understanding. I wish I had the time to work on everything I think of. The problem is, the more time goes by, the more stories I think of.

It's getting pretty damn crowded in here. I may have to learn to type.

Okay, I have a Flash Horror story to work on before I go to bed, and a novel to wake up to in the morning.

Talk to you later! 

Vamplit and Zombie Love - It's Been a Strange Month

Posted by [email protected] on February 1, 2012 at 6:35 AM Comments comments (0)

And that was January. 

Weird month. I worked on the novel I started for NaNoWriMo quite a bit, but I took a little time out to work on another project, one I was invited to work on, called Zombies Need Love Too. If you've been reading my Blog you've probably heard of it. I wrote a story I liked a lot, but it was a little long --6,500 words, when the requested cap for submissions was 5,000.

I had to trim it. A lot.

Well, while I was trimming it, (though I prefer the term 'streamlining') I recieved word that the project might be shelved, at least temporarily, for lack of submissions. Aside from the people running the show, there were only 22 people invited to work on the project (I felt very exclusive!), and I think there were only about a half-dozen submissions including the one I sent in last night --I'd managed to get it down to 5,100 words.

They are throwing the doors open now, and putting out a general call for submissions. The deadline has been pushed back again, to allow for the general call, so maybe I'll have time to submit again. If I'm struck by another idea that I fall in love with, of course.

By the way, I have to thank my friend Matt Brown for being my technical consultant for the ER scene in the story I submitted, Maxwell's Medical Miracle. Matt is an EMS dispatcher, and he provided me with the procedural details I used for the EMTs in the scene. Thanks Matt! I'll be looking to pick your brain again when, sometime soon, I write the short story Mutes, as the main character in that story is an EMT.

What else for the past month? 

Well, I joined the website Vamplit Blog as one of their Friday Flash contributors. You may have noticed that there is a new page on The Storyteller, Friday Flash. For those of you who do not  like Horror, Keep Out. Vamplit Publishing's Friday Flash is a directed Horror Flash blog. 

Here's the idea:

Every month Vamplit Publishing chooses a subject, for example last month the subject was "Circus and Carnival". Then each week they post a Topic taken from that month's Subject, i.e. "Clowns", "Circus Acts" and "Mardi Gras". We writers have a week to write a very short story on the Topic - 1,000 words or less. We then post the stories to our own websites, Vamplit, and then post links to our stories to a website called FridayFlash.  Then the tweeting begins.

We Tweet links to our stories, both on Vamplit and our own websites. We tweet about each other's as well. And Vamplit tweets about them. And the FridayFlash site tweets about them. I only know how many Followers I , Vamplit and FridayFlash have, but just those added together means tweets are going out to about 1,400 people. I'd estimate that if you add in the other authors on Vamplit, there are better than 2,000 people recieving tweets about my story for that week. 

Now, there's absolutely no guarantee that anyone recieving a tweet about my work is actually going to read my work, but at least there's a small sample available to that many people on a regular basis. My name is getting out there in this small fashion.

And I'd have to say it's working. I've only been submitting to Vamplit for two weeks now, and I've actually gotten a little traffic through my website from it. Including one person somewhere in Kansas who, after reading my Horror Flash for that week went on to read a bunch of the other stories I have on The Storyteller. And then he read even more of them the next week. 

I'll take that as a sign that he likes what he's reading. It's a big feel-good for me.

So, if you like short Horror, my Friday Flash page will be getting a new story each week, and I'll be putting alink on the page leading back to Vamplit so you can read the other authors if you like. But again, if you don't like Horror, then just stay away. Like it says at the top of my Friday Flash page, "Here there be Monsters!"

Well, that's about it for last month.

Oh! I did toss The Visit to another author who is looking to put together an online Flash anthology, but that was on a whim, so I'll just wait and see what happens with that. Someone in my Writing Group put out the call for a friend of hers, and I had the story lying around.

No word yet from LDS Publishing about that Christmas anthology, or from Dark Moon Digest about those two stories they were interested in. I'll keep you posted if anything develops on either front.

Okay, that's it for last month!

Talk to you later!


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