Why I write like I do…

Unlike some authors,  I do not write in just one genre.  I let the story idea dictate which category it fits into so that way I do not force a hard edge sci-fi story like Life In The Fast Lane into a detective story such as A Notary Public Is Missing!.   

The late author, Michael Chricton, wrote the same way.  For example, would the theme of Jurassic Park fit into the storyline of Exposure?  That would be doubtful.  More than likely he, like me, had ideas about stories and wrote them in the genre that served them best.

Unlike this great author, though, I only write short stories.  I have tried to write novels but no idea will stick in my brain long enough to complete one.  I have to get stories out of my fractured mind before I forget what I am writing about.

One other thing about my writing is that I frequently create my stories and characters out of real-life situations and real people that I know.  I only change their names to protect me from the innocent.

For instance, the latest victim of The Prime Cut Killer in my story Tat is based on a real-life bartender who is every bit as beautiful as described in the story. When I showed her the final work, her only objection to it was that she was dead.  When I told her that she would be the lead supporting actress, and possible co-star, if the story were made into a movie, she dropped her objection.  Hollywood is waiting.

Not only that, the story Tat is based on a real-life incident that occurred in the very same bar where she works.

In this blog, I will be going behind the scenes of my works to reveal what lead me to write a story. I have given talks on this matter and people are often surprised at how little an incident needs to be to get me going.  Sometimes it is just a word or a sporadic action that lights the fire and, believe it or not, I never know in advance what it will be.

I will also be talking about the art of writing.  Not so much how to do it but how and where to find inspiration to do it along with examples from my life.  I will offer advice to new authors as well.

 

 

To self-publish or not to self-publish…

…that is the question…

My answer on behalf of my latest effort is: self-publish! There are several reasons I decided to take this route.

First, and foremost is because my book is a novella, just over 33,000 words and 148 pages in length. From my understanding, novellas are not that easy to get accepted by publishers regardless of the quality of the work and since I have never written a work of this length before, I am sailing in uncharted territory. This book is actually comprised of three long stories I have written with all the same thread in them: time travel and what happens when humans muck up time. So, I thought I’d combine them to see what the end result was and from the reaction to snippets I posted on the Facebook page I created for this work, I did well.

Second, I wanted to get it out there to the public as soon as possible. I could spend years sending this work to publishers while collecting rejection notices and I really have no interest in doing that.

Third, I have a lot of confidence in the book. It has everything, science-fiction, historical-fiction (twisted somewhat by time travelers), time-travel, and romance. The first and third sections of the book are both hard-edged sci-fi, but the second is really a heartbreaking romance set in hard-edged sci-fi for time has no interest in mere human emotions, time goes on.

You can visit the website I created for the book to get more information about it and get information about where to buy the book. It is now available in electronic and paperback format.

http://inamillionyears.net/

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My new book: In A Million Years

My new book, In A Million Years, is now available on Amazon in electronic and paperback format.

Instead of repeating myself, just go to the book’s website to learn all about it:  In A Million Years

The book is a mesmerizing tale of time-travel, love, Presidents, alien invasion, mass annihilation, God, Satan, hippies, Jack the Ripper, and, of course, the total destruction of time as we know it…

Part I: Saving Abraham

Part II: Life In The Fast Lane

Part III:  The Woman In Black

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I am planning to rob the Pacific View Mall in Ventura, CA

NOTE: This posting is for the benefit of the FBI, CIA, Ventura Police Department, Ventura County Sheriffs Department, et al.

To whom it may concern: I am planning on knocking over seven jewelry stores located in the Pacific View Mall in Ventura, CA.

BUT PLEASE NOTE THAT I AM DOING THIS IN FICTION ONLY.

So, if any of the agencies listed above, et al (which roughly means “and others”) come across my browsing history and see that I am doing research on fast-acting knock out gas, easily applied small explosive devices, rappelling gear, small arms, the make and model of the Ventura County Sheriff’s helicopter, plus other such things, remember that I AM A WRITER AND I AM ONLY DOING THIS FOR RESEARCH PURPOSES BECAUSE I DON’T KNOW ABOUT THINGS SUCH AS THIS!

The plan, so far, is for the five Karatzis brothers and two accomplices (one who can fly a helicopter) to rob seven jewelry stores located in the center of the mall. What’s more, they will pull of the heist in about 20 minutes using the ordinance and equipment listed above (and maybe some more). The working title of the story is The Seven Karats.

While the mall in the title does exist and is located in Ventura, my story will reshape it some and probably make it even more secure than it is now but none of the mall’s existing security measures will be referenced in this story because I don’t know what any of them are and I am not going to ask.

Heck, I am making this up as I go along so bear with me.

Anyway, I get enough grief from editors, so I wanted to post this note to try to avoid grief from all authorities, local and otherwise.

Who said that a writer’s life is without danger???

A Writer’s Frustration

Early on I understood that if you are going to be a writer you will get more rejections than acceptances–until you hit the big time, after that you can throw anything out there and some established writers, sadly, do just that. So, when rejection letters were sent by mail, I used to pin them up on the wall of my bedroom, until I ran out of wall space.

For the most part, the rejections I received early on had more to do with improper formatting, sending stuff to the wrong market, or other such newbie mistakes. Now, most of my rejections happen because the editor doesn’t see the work as a good fit for their publication aka, they hate the stuff. I am fine with that. Everyone has their opinions with editors having more than most…

However, sometimes I get a rejection that brings out the monster in me (that is me in the picture above); one such dismissal came a few days ago from Owl Hollow Press, a publisher who is putting together an anthology for stories about strange behaviors that happen under the influence of a full moon. As I read the submission requirements, I thought that they were demanding that I send in my story, There’s A Monster In The Bathroom!. To me, the story was a perfect fit for what they needed since the monster in questions is a werewolf even though the story is not the usual werewolf type tale.

Well, they loved it! This is what they wrote in their email to me: “Thank you so much for sending us “There’s a Monster in the Bathroom”. We enjoyed this immensely, and you have a fabulous writing voice. It was a fast-paced, fun read that was easy to get lost in. It’s a story we considered very seriously for inclusion in our anthology.”

Then they rejected it.

This hardly the first time this has happened but I was never so confident of an acceptance of a story before I sent this one off so the rejection was just that much harder to take. Now if they HATED the story, I would have felt much better.

For about 10 years I published an online e-zine called, The Earth Comes First! and if I liked what you sent me, it was published because I wanted my readers to get the same enjoyment for the work as I did.

It just seemed like the logical thing to do but I may be alone with that editorial position.

Peter the Paper Clip

About 15 years ago I went to a job interview.  As I do in most interviews, I mentioned that I am an author so my writing skills are very strong, maybe even exemplary.  This information usually goes over well with employers who know how important good communication skills are in today’s business world.  A misspelling on an ad or website can leave a bad impression with potential customers and may even make some people think you are a fraud.

Well, this particular employer didn’t like me telling him this, he took on a smarmy attitude and accused me of trying to “one-up” him.  I had no idea where this came from, perhaps a previous employee was a writer and showed him to be a fool, but I can’t say for sure.  He then picked up an object off of his desk and said, “So, write a story about this!”.  I reached over and took the object from him and said, “Be careful with Peter, you could bend him out of shape.”  I then took the paper clip out of his hand, stood up, and walked out since I had no interest in working for someone with this attitude.

A week later, I barged into his office and dropped a copy of Peter the Paper Clip on his desk and said, “I told you so.” He was sputtering something as I left but it was unintelligible.

Since that day, everyone who read Peter’s story loved it and I mean everyone from a 7-year-old girl to a 68-year-old oil field Roustabout; age, nationality, sex, etc. made no difference.  Everyone loved the story–except editors…I could not get the story published no matter where I sent it.  This may be due to the fact that the story appeals to everyone and more and more magazines and ezines are narrowing their focus to appeal to only certain audiences as they struggle to survive.  I get that.

It was not until I read a call for stories where inanimate objects are telling the tales that I thought I had finally found a home for Peter, and that I did.

As Told By Things is an anthology where items around you tell of their interactions with people and animals.  Imagine the stories an elevator can tell.  Well, Elevated reveals some of them.  So what about a whiskey glass, a dog toy, a map, and on and on.

If you want to read Peter’s story or any of the others, you can get a copy of the book here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CSM49G3/?tag=attart-20

 

Kickstart it…

I had never been involved with a Kickstarter campaign until I read a call for stories that made it sound like one of my stories, Peter the Paper Clip, would be a perfect fit. So, I submitted the story which was accepted into the anthology, As Told By Things where all the stories are presented from an inanimate object’s point of view.

Then I waited, and contributed, for the Kickstarter goal to be reached. Thanks to a surge in interest over the last few days of the campaign, the Kickstarter goal was reached and the anthology is now in print.

This anthology is so unusual, I doubt if a “regular” publisher would have printed it, so having a Kickstarter campaign with the backing of a small press in Detroit, MI, gave 23 authors a chance to share their unusual stories. I am now thinking of starting one on my own for a book idea I had years ago.

If you want to read Peter’s story, or you want to hear the stories that an elevator, slot machine, dog toy, map, an old car, and many more can tell, then go get yourself a copy of the book.

Small Victories

Every author wants to pen a best seller, a story, book, play, or song that knocks the senses out of a multitude of people.  I am no different, I want the same thing, but I will take small victories along the way to that path of fame and fortune and if I never actually walk that path, I will have my small victories as a testament that I at least accomplished something as a writer.

Yesterday I received an email from a service that points authors towards paying writing gigs.  This email told about how you can make a decent income from Fiverr.  I have completed a few gigs on Fiverr in the past but I did not see it as much of an income generator but the email intrigued me enough to give the site another shot.  So I posted a gig telling people that I would write 100 words for them on any subject in any genre for $5.00.  Almost immediately I was contacted by a site called Right Pet.  They asked me if I was a pet owner and could I write two short reviews of past pets for $5.00?  I said I could, so they put in an order which I fulfilled in about 1/2 hour.  This is the response I received back today:

“Great job – each review is well written and insightful. Thanks for adding photos too. Another 2 reviews please!”

I don’t have two more pets to review, though I may have another option and I asked them about this, but I am happy that they thought enough of my work to want more.

I hope to get more jobs from Fiverr in the future but if none come my way, I am glad that these jobs were so well received especially since they involved helping people choose what kind of pet they would like to adopt.

Below are some links if you want to try your hand at this:

Fiverr – http://lp.fiverr.com/lp-tv/?u_sou=google&u_med=cpc&u_ter=one-fiverr_(exact)&u_cam=brand/ge_sh_bd_us&gclid=COXIo5fc3cUCFU6UfgodtlkABw

Right Pet – https://www.rightpet.com/

Tinker – https://www.rightpet.com/ratingofdog/jack-russell-terrier-chihuahua-mix/17829

Jennifer – https://www.rightpet.com/ratingofdog/basenji-german-shepherd-dog-mix/17832