Tis the season….


the fun part about being a short story writer is that you have a lot of places to send your stories to. Now August seems like an odd time to be thinking about seasonal stories but lots of sources are asking for Halloween stories right now. And of course like the crazy short story writer I am, I am working on tales for different anthologies.

Now most of the stuff I have submitted so far has been flash fictions. For those of you who don’t know what that is, flash fictions are short stories, generally under 1000 words. So far I have sent out two different ones and I am working on two more. One for a Halloween drabble collection and one for a clown anthology.

I find myself really inspired by the coming holidays. Something about fall and Halloween has always given me that extra added push to write something fun, something different. From a story about walking the path of jack o lanterns to a story about a small and adorable little furry critter, they are just fun.

Now as of last week a new anthology all ready came out. In this one I wrote a flash fiction about a classic creature of fantasy, the Salamander. A story of only 500 words but a fun one none the less. So if you are interested take a look at here is the link:

hot summer nights

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MSC3ML2

First Chapters – Shadow Path by P.L. Blair


Originally posted on Ch'kara SilverWolf:

Today’s First Chapter is from Shadow Path book one in the Portals series by friend and fellow author P.L. Blair.

shadowpath_cover11DESCRIPTION

Magic and crime. Agatha Christie meets J.R.R. Tolkien in “Shadow Path,” the first book in the new Portals series by author P.L. Blair.
An Ogre murdered with a rune-inscribed sword is just the beginning as Kat Morales, a very human detective on the Corpus Christi, Texas, police force, and her Elf partner Tevis McLeod follow a blood trail that leads to Pixies, necromancy and Magic of the Blackest kind … to its climax in a stronghold Between worlds, where Tevis must duel spell for spell with a former lover who wants to see her old flame extinguished permanently.

Chapter 1

Ogres looked – and smelled – bad enough in life. Death magnified those uncharming qualities, especially the smell, something like a cross between rotting fish and open sewer…

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First Chapters – Alien Assassin by T.Jackson King


Originally posted on Ch'kara SilverWolf:

Today’s First Chapter is for Alien Assassin, book two in the Assassin series by my friend and fellow author T. Jackson King.

TOM Alien_Assassin_Cover_for_KindleDESCRIPTION

Al Lancaster discovers that defeating the Messiah plasma Alien did not end his troubles in Markan star system as the only Human fighting to survive among thousands of Aliens. He narrowly escapes death by laser at the opening of a memory crystal library on Thixen only to discover that a greedy Alien has unleashed a ‘mind virus’ that turns people who use memcrystals into violent psychotics! Then his lifemate Delo and their Dino babies are nearly killed by the mind virus crime syndicate. Al vows an Honor Fight to eliminate the Alien who threatens the lives of everyone in Markan, but finds his own Guild of Assassins unwilling to help him. Al soon faces an ultimate battle against the praying mantis-like Ketchetkeel Aliens who are somehow…

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How about something different? Or Acrostic poems on photos


As I stated in another of my blogs out there I am more than a writer of stories, I am also a photographer and a poet. One of the things I decided to do was to combine those two art forms together for something different and pretty.

Doing research I found that there are a lot of other forms of short poetry out there. Here I have taken some of the acrostic poems I have written and placed them onto some of my photographs. Acrostic poems are simply poems where the first letter of each line spells out a word. I tossed of a few short ones that I hope you will like. Linked with photographs that I have taken I think they are lovely images for a cool afternoon.

summer-acrostic-poem alone-acrostic-poem forever-acrostic-poem red-acrsotic-poem

Four different poems with four different images. They are simple yet fun to do. Try doing this when you are stuck on a story you are writing. Sometimes poetry can break a block, and it does not have to be deep, just a moment of your time can give something lovely to the world.

Book teasers, do they work? Should we do them?


Well on the first question, I am not sure yet. I just don’t have enough information but on the second half, yes we should. They are fun, easy to make and they can peak the interest of a potential buyer. They work great on things like Twitter and other social networks. So why not right? I have a bunch of examples to show you here.

traveler angels-teaser death-teaser distance-teaser endings-teaser endings-teaser2 face-teaser guardians-teaser Like the book trailer, these little things attract attention to your novels or collections.  So why not try one?

Other – a word drabble


You call me Other, like I am less than you. What makes me Other? Is it my eyes, different in shape, size and color from yours? Or is it my skin, so milky pale, filled with lines and snags? Is it my shape, soft and pillowy? Or maybe it is just that I am not you.

 I take this word Other and I will make it mine. I will proudly proclaim that I am Other because I am different than you. I will shout it from the hilltop and whisper it to my brothers and sisters. So what are you?

Editing your own work or okay I missed stuff


As a writer who has yet to make a lot of money I am forced to rely on the help of friends and my own self to get editing done on my work. This of course means that things slip by. My newest release, Death Walks Through, has examples of things I missed.

Now the majority of those stories were released all ready as separate short stories and have mostly have had great reviews. Before they are posted up for sale they go through many many many read through by myself and no not all at once. I generally go at least three or more days to weeks between those read/edits and I do catch a number of mistakes.

But in the spirit of making my work better I spent a part of yesterday searching for online editing programs.  See I do my read throughs, I self edit, I use MS Words spell and grammar check but I know that I don’t get commas in the right places all the time. So I thought it would be a good idea to find a program I just might be able to afford. 

First, yeah right afford. Most of the programs will do a month of service, where you can go through and edit your work. Grammarly is the most famous one and probably the best there is. It checks for spelling, grammar, plagiarism (like that is an issue on fiction!) and other things. It has a free seven day trial and you can get a month of it for $29.95. 

Anyways I tried it out and I noticed it uses the oxford comma a lot and is a little difficult for things like colloquialisms in dialogue. But over all it is a good idea.  Now the biggest problem I found with this and all the other programs I checked is it would only do up to twenty pages at a time. While this works for a short story in most cases, for a novel that is a pain.  You have to go through and do it twenty pages at a time!  Luckily my novels are not super long but can you imagine if you wrote things like Stephen King!

So I have to think about this seriously. At the moment I can’t even afford the $29.95 price. Sales, while not bad, are still not bringing me a stable monthly amount. and I want to try one of the pay for marketing packages so I have to go back and forth between paying for editing or marketing.

Now a lot of writers say pay an editor, they will catch more.  The only problem is still cost.  While I know a number of editors who work in my genre, and who are willing to give me a discount, I can’t afford them.  At a minimum of $250 on up they are way out of my price range.  See I haven’t made $200 yet in the publishing business and that is over 2 years!

So you great readers, bear with me.  Someday I will be able to edit my work so it is a lot cleaner. Enjoy the tales and realize that you are helping develop a writer from so called infancy to adulthood, you will really enjoy the trip.

Stuck in the transition


When working on a novel there are parts that get us stuck. You write and write and write and then realize that you have no idea how to get from part A to part B. This is a bit of my problem with Escape.

I have finished the first act of the book, dealt with the pirate attack and had the girl kidnapped in her glass box (okay yeah a bit of a sleeping beauty theme here). Now I need to get the heroes to where she was taken and get the girl back.  Working on this has stumped me for the past few weeks. At first I blamed it on me being down with that nasty virus (which hasn’t totally given up on me) but in reality it is because I am not sure exactly how to get the girl away from the pirates.

I have started with getting our heroes to the pirate’s secret base, a simple thing after all.  Now to deal with getting them the information they need and getting them into the big boss’s lair.  Fun fun fun.

Getting two very good reviews on my earlier work has helped me get excited again. Where as sales are the gas in the tank for writer’s, reviews are the bonus that lifts the heart and soul if they are a good one.  Getting two different good ones on two different books lifted up my flagging self confidence.

This one really made me smile:

Format:Kindle Edition
A bittersweet novel that brought me to laughter and tears many times over the course of this story – a story of a young kitsune who believes her destiny is mapped out for better or worse. It’s a sign of a good book when you put it down and you’re conflicted on how you should feel; sad for the people who you didn’t learn enough about and now never will, happy for those who have fulfilled their destinies, and even content with those who perhaps didn’t have the honor of their family history hanging over their heads. I forget who first said that Great Destinies often bring Great Deaths, but it has been proven time and time again. Especially when Gods are involved.

Destiny, the young woman in this book, is aptly named for the fate that she has been raised to believe will follow her. And when it’s time to make a choice, you can only follow your heart. But giving up your life has many reasons…. as many of the characters in this book know. And kitsune are always tricksters with a surprise waiting for you.

I enjoyed the mixture of Japanese folklore and more modern demonic creatures, with a splash of Greece thrown in. Lisa Williamson manages to capture a plot line that should feel contrived and over-used but manages to throw her own fresh twist on it. Her characters are the crowning achievement, however, since they truly bring the story to life.

I would also like to add a note that this novel was gifted to me with the understanding that I would provide an honest review. Since I should have been asleep two hours ago and I had to finish the book and write my review first because I couldn’t put it down… I think you can understand why I feel this novel deserves 5 stars.

 
And this one surprised me:
 
5.0 out of 5 stars Let The Chaos Wars Begin? July 18, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
Fall Into Nightmares by Lisa Williamson is a compelling sci-fi novella centering on a global holocaust bringing the capitol cities of the world to ruin. The Healer, the Protector and the Warrior represent the Kingdom of Marchioness as they go into battle against the evil Avendale and her nightmarish forces. Gregory and Jeffrey follow their friend Jessica as she becomes their guide into an alternate world where magic and monsters await in this battle for survival and world domination.

The theme of friendship resonates throughout the novella as Jessica is kidnapped by Lawrence, one of Avendale Samuc’s top henchmen. Yet their loyalty to Jessica endures despite the fact that the master plan is to descend the planet into a netherworld of madness. Ghosts and vampires lead the charge into the world of the living as Washington, Moscow, London and Sydney are among the major cities falling before the ghoulish menace. The author pays tribute to the best of the `buddy’ flicks as Gregory and Jeffrey are bolstered by master warrior Tachi in coming to Jessica’s rescue. Will they be in time to save the world entire?

This is the first in a series you won’t want to miss. Pick up a copy of Fall Into Nightmares by Lisa Williamson and join in the Chaos Wars if you dare.

 
Getting two five star reviews is something that any struggling author needs to keep their confidence on the working side.  In fact I have been asked when the next book in both of these will be written. Something that I am sure even great authors like George RR Martin enjoy reading.
 
But back to working on Escape. Transitions are the scenes you have between one big action sequence and another. They give the reader something of a chance to breath and gather in the characters and information that is needed. I will be doing another great fight sequence soon enough but I need to get the lay of the land set up first. Going from a ship to ship to a fight inside the pirate stronghold.  This should be more of a strike and fade type mission but we will see right?
I have managed to get over 35K words written and I am no where near finished with this tale, which makes me happy. I just might get past that nasty old 50K threshold that gives me so much trouble. Science fiction takes a lot more description.

To use a pen name or to not use a pen name


During my recent down time of being sick i spent a lot of time debating this very thing.  See I plan on doing a series of pieces that will be very different from my fiction so far. Things that will be more real than fiction and I realized that maybe I shouldn’t publish them under my known pen name. Okay yes my pen name is my actual married name but still. 

Because I write everything from fantasy to erotica there is a very good reason not to put out some things under the same name. I have a handful of children’s stories that I have in the works and having those under the same name could cause some issues if they took off right? Then there is the memoirs that I am toying with.

Even more than poetry, a memoir is a very personal story. Those stories tell us the memories of a person, their take on things that happen. While I don’t now, at 50, have trouble sharing some of these memories, I would rather that they not be grouped with my works of fiction.  So the pen name.

Many authors that I have read over the years have used pen names. Established as writers of one type or genre of story they have used the pen name to explore another.  Charles de Lint was also Samuel Keyes for an example. JK Rowling tried to use a pen name for her adult books but well that got out quick and I think that was the publisher and not her.

Another thing with using the pen name is how to market said titles without giving away that it is really just another face of yourself? Or do you market them?  Another topic that I will deal with in another blog soon.  So fine reader, if you pick up a tale and think it just might be me with another face, you just might be right! Continue reading