Monthly Archives: February 2012

Looking For Horror Blogs

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Beginning in mid-March (I’m thinking the 13th) I’ll be heading out on (what I hope is) my biggest blog tour yet…

With the coming release of Dying Days 2 and Still Dying: Select Scenes From Dying Days, I’m going to be guest blogging and interviewing on some old friends’ blogs as well as somke new ones, and I’d like to add as many more as I can to the list… that’s where you come in!

If you have a blog that is into horror (or a blog that isn’t normally but would be interested in my zombie books) I’d like to hear from you and add a date with your blog… I’ll be doing Giveaways, maybe promotional giveaways, who knows… the more blogs I can get the better and bigger it will be…

If you’re a fan of a particular blog let me know as well, because I’ll be contacting them for the tour and need all the help I can get.

In fact, if anyone goes above and beyond in helping me, besides my eternal gratitude and goodwill, I’ll throw in some freebies like eBooks, signed print books, and (if you live close to Florida) let you buy me an expensive lunch… and I might need new shoes. We’ll figure it out.

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Old Stories Making New Stories

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A long, long time ago in a galaxy… OK, about 6 or 7 years ago… I began publishing my fantasy short stories in my epic Freehold series, and did this huge Thieve’s World thing as a shared world, with great authors adding their stories, and we’d all sell tons of books, and… it became a mess, I owed (still owe) people lots of money, lots of broken promises, tons of unpublished shorts and novellas, and it led to the demise of my own Carnifex Press. A dark period for me and others…

A few months ago I quietly published a novella Freehold: Betrayal as well as a companion short story Freehold: Corpsepaint, and watched them both do absolutely nothing…

I gave up on my dreams of becoming a great fantasy writer like Tolkien, Martin, and Moorcock… I’ll just stick to horror and zombies and… steampunk…

As you know from reading this blog (and taking notes of my every move, I’m sure) I’ve been dabbling in steampunk lately, because I’ve always been a fan of it as a reader.

In my very first short story I needed a name of a government agent who was a bit on the bad side, a strong character who didn’t hold back. I ‘stole’ the name Kruk from my Freehold baddie Bliack Kruk… easy enough, as only a couple of his stories had ever actually seen print.

In recent weeks I’d also been in contact with names from my past Carnifex Press days, notably Boone Dryden (who is back onboard as an editor), and Cythnia Rodania, who penned some great pirate stories for Freehold that we never published (well, it turns out she did publish those great pirate stories in some way or another), and they are both also big fans of steampunk.

And then it hit me… those old fantasy stories had some good plots and characters (even though my writing has been much improved over the last 6 or 7 years, I’d like to think) and they’d sit trunked forever… until now.

I’m pondering whether or not to use some of them, which can be easily converted into steampunk Victorian ideas, and create an entirely new universe and new adventures with these ‘old friends’…

After all, mad kings, outpost towns, political plots and assassinations, jealousy, barbaric creatures, beggars and thieves, the search for knowledge, dragons… OK, the dragon part can go, but the rest?

Excellent… add this to my list of Works In Progress… as if I don’t have enough to do already…

Dying Days 2 Finished!

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I wrote the very last lines of Dying Days 2 at exactly 11:58 pm on February 25th… with exactly 2 minutes to spare in my deadline.

Once again, I cut it to the very end, but I am happy I did. I think it’s my best work so far in my career (we’ll call it a career, I’m excited right now)… I was so worried about being behind, but I managed 27k words of this rough first draft, and my three beta readers have already begun the task of marking it up with problems.

Today I think I’ll toy around with promotions, updating the Twitter account, pulling out a new index card for the week ahead and figuring out what the next 15 projects are going to be.

It is such a great feeling to finish something, but I’m also sitting here feeling sad. Another group of great characters perished, and the Darlene Bobich saga is stopped once again. Will there be more? I think so.

I guess only the readers can really tell me if it’s worth sweating another month of deadlines…

Two New Zombie Book Covers

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I’m almost finished with Dying Days 2 (the first draft, anyway) and then March will be for edits, rewrites and all that boring stuff.

In case you didn’t know, I’ve also been writing a companion novella as well, Still Dying: Scenes From Dying Days, featuring short stories of some characters from the first two Dying Days books as well as new characters… what I like to do sometimes, as I’m writing a new character into the series, is do a quick short piece about them leading up to their entrance, or perhaps an origin piece… I’m currently about 10k into this book and hope to finish it right after Dying Days 2 is done and then release them both at the same time…

I also toyed with the idea of doing another Kickstarter campaign and seek donations to have you written into a flash fiction, short story or even a novella of your own… might jump on that asap…

The cover art was done (once again) by the wonderfully talented Ash Arceneaux http://www.asharceneaux.deviantart.com/

Here are the two covers… tell me what you think!

 

0 For 2 on Subs This Week

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If I didn’t know any better, I’d say rushing through short stories to meet a deadline within a few hours might not be as productive as it was a long time ago (or, in my case, a few weeks ago)…

Before this last writing burst, I finished a few other short stories at the last minute and submitted them… and went eight for eight in acceptances, even with four of them written literally at the last minute.

Could lightning strike again? So far… no.

Two short stories have been rejected of the five I wrote recently, including the fungi story that I really, really liked. And they simply said ‘not for us’ (paraphrasing, of course, but there wasn’t any notes accompanying the rejection)… but that’s what happens, right?

I’ll add it to the bottom of the pile, and when it comes back around I’ll edit it again, maybe change a spot or two, and either resubmit it or simply bundle it with my previous “Rainforest of Bones” short story featuring the same character, write a third story with him, and release it as a three-pack of horror shorts…

It’s already after 2 pm and I haven’t written a single word of Dying Days 2 today… this is why I love days like yesterday, where I can roll over 3k in words, but wish I could sustain that momentum… went to breakfast, hours killed in WalMart, and then answered e-mails, traded blog links, got my new business cards from UPS (I’ll scan one later, very cool!) and generally wasted time doing household stuff like trying to get out of actually doing household stuff.

Tonight my goal is at least a thousand words… I have a big turning point in Dying Days 2 coming up this next chapter, so I know once I start it will get done.

And might’ve gotten a cool artist to do the book covers for my Steampunk releases, so I’m excited about that…

Steampunk Short Stories

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As some of you might know, I’m a Steampunk fan but never wrote too much in the subgenre until recently. I decided to write something a bit different from my horror stuff (especially the extremely graphic zombie work), something my eleven-year old daughter could read.

I created a character (Clockwork Katelynn), a setting (Arizuma, in the Old West of the Western Colonies), an agent of the Ministry of Defense for Mother England (Kruk), and wrote two short stories in two days.

Then I followed these up with three more steampunk short stories featuring one or both of the main characters and submitted those three to anthologies.

One of them came back rejected today already, which is fine in the grand scheme of things. With the way publishing works today, I’ll stick it in the bottom of the pile, do a rewrite when I get back to it, and either re-send it to another anthology or add it to a collecton of all these short stories.

I’m going to be at a Steampunk convention in Daytona Beach in mid-April and would like to have a Steampunk print book in hand to sell if possible. The goal was to write a short novella with these characters (15k-20k) and have the great editors/readers I use go through it chapter by chapter as I write it), and have it debut at this show.

Now, I’m thinking if one more of the remaining two come back, I might bundle the shorts into a release, add some more stories, and easily hit 20k… and if all three get rejected… nope, gotta be positive!

The rejection also drops me back down to earth with the streak of eight straight acceptances broken, but that’s fine. I’ll just have to start it over, right?

Dying Days 2 Writing

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After a great weekend spent with my youngest daughter – playing UNO and Tetris on the PS2 (I dominated in both games) – I got barely any writing in. Sure, I kept up with e-mails and Twitter and read a good book or three on the Kindle, but no actual writing got done other than a few quick lines here and there…

That puts me firmly behind… by the end of today I need to be at 21k, but I’m only at 16k, and I spent the morning chopping large chunks of the last two chapters that I didn’t like and knew needed to go away…

One problem I might have is that I’ve introduced some new, fresh secondary characters and they all have their own minds, own agendas, and probably all want to live. Unfortunately, they’re starring in an extreme zombie apocalypse novella, so that might not happen. It’s called Dying Days 2 for a reason.

Another problem is having many more secondary plotlines running through this one, and it might call for more than 25k, which I’ll be fine with, but it will push me into March with the writing and I already have other writing plans for next month.

We’ll see…

So, my new goal is now 9k in 9 days with no off-days or getting behind again… can I do it? Sure, it’s just another deadline…

JA Konrath is the Devil

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Yep, I said it…

It’s been on the minds of every struggling author for too many days and months and years…

JA Konrath is Satan, the Devil, Evil Incarnate, Lucifer, or something right out of an Edward Lee book.

You see, I’ve been an avid reader of his blog, his books, and his books about his blogs. At any given moment one of his blog posts is either on my computer or on my Kindle.

I’m not a successful author – yet – but I’m enjoying myself, selling a handful of eBooks (I’ve averaged over a hundred total sales per month, but I have 30+ releases, so you do the math there) and meeting new and exciting people that I hope will love me back, say nice things about me and buy a copy of each of the 30+ books for sale.

I fall into the illusion that I’m doing well, even though bills pile up, Kim yells at me to get a job that pays me money AND keep writing, my car is currently dead in the driveway, and I’m constantly checking my bank account for ‘miracle money’, like a dead long-lost aunt or the bank to screw up and deposit thousands in my account.

Then along comes the next blog post or next entry in a JA Konrath blog book, and I read about his success and what he did to make himself a success, and I get that feeling in my stomach like I’ve been kicked by a soccer team. I hate soccer.

But the worst part? When he talks of 500 rejections, promotion and publishers he’s made mistakes about, things he’s done wrong, and dead-ends in his career.

I don’t want to hear that! I want him to simply say ‘I wrote my first book, it sold millions, I made millions, I bought beer with my millions, so had to write book two for more beer money, and so on and so on.’ That would make me feel better.

The thought that I might be able to be as big as JA Konrath – hey, it might conceivably happen, read his posts! – gives authors hope that someday they’ll turn that corner.

Bastard.

And I’m not simply talking about huge sales, I’m talking about recognition and being able to pay the bills and be happy as an author.

You know, like JA Konrath seems to be doing now that he’d embraced eBooks and paved the way for the rest of us.

He’s making me try harder, write better, see what works and doesn’t work, and promote myself while meeting new and exciting people.

The Giveaway I’m running right now (see the post here) is going quite well, adding more people to my blog and Twitter accounts, putting my name out there with constant retweets of my post, and meeting new people.

Will it turn into eBook sales? That’s the goal, always the goal. And JA Konrath has proven that it can be done, you just need to try new and different things and see what works and doesn’t work for you.

Like I keep telling you, this dude is the Devil.

Falling In Love… With Your Main Character

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We’ve all done it as writers… we create a character for a specific story, and then get so into the character that he/she takes over and writes the story themselves, from each line to the next. Suddenly they’re running the show, dragging you along as they fight evil, kill zombies, solve mysteries, find true love or their missing daughter… and we never want him/her to end…

Case in point… for those who don’t know, I write a series of extreme zombie books in the Dying Days series, starring Darlene Bobich. What started as a simple flash fiction piece for an anthology has grown into thousands of words spent on this character. I can toss anything in her way and she reacts. I write. Simple as that.  She tells the story.

Except, the nagging question, especially when writing horror and especially especially when writing zombie fiction is… when/if the main character dies?

If you’ve read any of my work, whether short stories, novellas or flash pieces, you know I have a tendency to kill someone, anyone… especially the main character.

All those years ago, when I read George R.R. Martin’s epic series, I was stunned when main characters died… how could he kill the fucking main character?!?!! I read the rest of the books and looked at each character differently. If he could kill Ned (oh, and others! Just wait for the HBO series to return!), no one was safe, every page might be their last. I loved it.

I decided that was the right way to do it.

Back in my junior high and high school days I was the coolest kid, Prom King, graduated first in my class…

Nope. Actually, I was the long-haired Metal-head who skated by with decent grades and spent most of my waking time playing Dungeons & Dragons.

Campaigns got boring pretty fast when none of the player’s characters died and everyone amassed huge sums of coins and magic weapons. Of course, I ran a few campaigns as Dungeon Master where I killed almost everyone, and that got boring as well.

There’s a fine line there, and something I’m always looking at. Should your main character die? Everyone around him/her? Anyone?

Eventually, Dying Days will have to end. Already I have a full plate with other non-zombie projects, and don’t have set plans for a Dying Days 3 or other Darlene Bobich stories. Not saying I won’t write them.

Hell, I might just kill her off in Dying Days 2 and see how that works.

But that will be the hardest death I ever have to write. Someday she might die… hopefully before she amasses all the coins and magic weapons and people stop caring if she lives or dies.

5 Stories 5 Days 5 Submissions

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I did it! I wrote five brand-spankin’-new short stories in the last five days and submitted them, all on the last day of the respective anthologies’ deadline… love this last-minute thing, but need to get back to writing Dying Days 2 and the screenplay for Dying Days

And, while I whined like a little girlie bitch yesterday (and a couple of other times this last few weeks), I would not give up this frantic pace of being able to write instead of going back into the ‘real world’ and have to work 50-60 hours a week…

This morning I got up early, wrote a 2,400 word steampunk tale in 2 hours (love when the ideas flow), then went to lunch with Kim (Sonny’s pulled pork sandwich, first time I’ve ever not done the all you can eat…), came home, caught up on e-mails and wrote 500 words on Dying Days 2

Tomorrow Kim and Dylan (her son) leave until Sunday night and I have my youngest daughter, Katelynn, here with me…  just the two of us, eating pizza and junk, watching horror movies, sleeping in, playing stupid games and reading our Kindles on the couch… looking forward to Daddy Time and not much writing time tomorrow… but it’s so worth it.

Random Writer Thoughts For Today

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I cheated on my writing goal of 5 short stories in 5 days… last night, after finishing my fungi tale, proofing it and rewriting a couple of parts, I submitted it.

Then my goal was to relax, check e-mails, play some Ravenskye on Facebook before bed, and start the day-four story (a ghost story) in the morning…

Except at three a.m. I finished the ghost story.

An idea had been festering for weeks, and I knew I’d probably use it. Last night I figured I’d open up a blank word doc so when I woke I could dive right in. Except I started free-writing some ideas for it, and suddenly I had a scene, and then the opening lines, and then I was back in the Middletown, New Jersey of my youth and writing a story based on a haunted road that freaked us out as kids.

Four hours later, it’s done. I woke up this morning and decided to do a few other things before diving back into Dying Days 2 (which I’m behind on, anyway) and see what else is going on.

Oh, and tomorrow I need another steampunk tale, but might play with that tonight as well…

Anyway, I read and rejected close to 75 stories this morning for the upcoming Undead Tales 2 zombie anthology, and put the stories for the upcoming State of Horror: New Jersey anthology in some kind of order.

I’m also watching the TV on and off, which is noise in the background. A commercial for this Dragon software came on and I’m fascinated by it. Is it really a life-saver for a writer, or is it another As Seen On TV piece of crap that will be more trouble than it’s worth? My problem is I don’t know anyone who uses it. I think I need to know.

I got my January Amazon sales report yesterday, and was semi-impressed. Impressed because my sales have risen steadily every month and I had twice as many loans in the KDP Select program as December. Semi-impressed because I still can’t live off the money I’m making, and the end of the line for unemployment and pressure from mounting bills is making my head hurt.

My print sales for CreateSpace more than tripled in the month, but it wasn’t that huge to begin with. Still, growth is growth…

Even my Barnes & Noble sales have been better than ever. I can pay the electric bill with it, which will be nice. Still can’t pay the rent or car insurance, but hopefully someday…

I’ve been trying Google AdWords for the six weeks. I’ve seen no real increase in sales of the certain books getting the most ‘clicks’… my Dying Days zombie novella has had great sales lately, but I think it has more to do with hype for the upcoming indie film version of it, rather than advertising. I froze the ad for a week to see, and my sales stayed about the same. Damn, I wanted so bad for Google AdWords to be the magic thing I was missing for thousands of sales each month.

I had the pleasure of talking to several fellow authors in the last couple of weeks on the phone. I love chatting ‘shop’ with someone who understands what it is I’m talking about. I hope more writers feel the need to pick my brain about writing, ask about publishing, or just want to meet me and see how I tick.

I’m getting very fat. Fatter, I should say. I’m hovering around the 300 mark, I’m 6 foot and 42 years old. With my luck I’ll have a massive stroke, die, and then my unpublished stories will rake in millions. I need to walk or do something other than sit here, but I have no motivation.

I feel like I’m in a race to get as many stories finished, as many stories published, and as many ideas down on paper. I don’t know why. OK, I guess I do. With being unemployed it feels like I have a very small window to realize my dream of being a self-sufficient author, but there’s that ‘life-check’ deadline coming up very soon, where I’ll have to go back to mindless retail management, and it is soul-crushing and leaves me no time to write.

There was a time, not too long ago, when I could count on 4 out of 5 of my short story submissions being rejected. Lately I’ve been on a mini-winning streak, with 8 acceptances in a row… since last year at this time I am hitting at a .400 clip, with 12 acceptances in 30 sumissions.

This 5 stories in 5 days will be added to that pile as well… I’m hoping 5 for 5… wouldn’t that be great?

Back to the fungi story… I set it in Mexico, and used the same first-person narrator from my “Rainforest of Bones” short story (set in Brazil) that appears in the Skeletal Remains anthology (the link, in case you’re curious or want to buy 786 copies: Skeletal Remains)… I like the character, and it gives me an opportuniy in the future to write another couple of stories with him set in South America. Heck, even if the fungi story gets rejected I can write another tale or two and put them all together in a short short collection. Isn’t publishing wonderful these days?

Looking at my Amazon Author page… I have 40 items for sale in publishing, mostly stuff I’ve released but some anthologies I am in as well. One gripe I had was having to track down anthologies I’m in, get Amazon to add me to the list of authors, and have it linked to my author page so I can sell copies for the publisher… shouldn’t the publisher be doing this, especially to ensure more sales because fans sometimes buy things from authors they like and/or know? It seems very short-sighted.

There’s also an anthology that listed the two editors on the cover really big and them as the authors on the Amazon page… not even a back-cover mention of any authors. This seems weird to be, like an ego stroke rather than a marketing plan to boost sales. I won’t be submitting to them in the future.

Anything else?

Yeah, I have to go and catch up writing Dying Days 2 before I get too far behind…

 

5 Shorts in 5 Days

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Last night I wrote almost 500 words on the Dying Days 2 zombie novella, but I’m still a day behind of my goal… I’m hoping a solid day soon will catch me up.

I also found a unique anthology about fungi last night. I read the prompt, got an idea, and then started to write it. I was 250 words into it when I realized the deadline was February 15th. Yep, today.

Some might think I was crazy to try and finish a short story of 3,000 – 5,000 words in a day, but if you’ve been reading along you’ll see a pattern emerging with my writing… nothing like the last minute.

To that end, and since the previous two days I wrote and finished a Steampunk story each day, I decided to seek out other anthologies due now.

So, the goal is five stories in five days (and write Dying Days 2 AND write more of the Dying Days movie script).

Today will be fungi horror (and mushroom fun!)

Tomorrow? A ghost story – I’ll figure out the plot later

Then on Friday, another Steampunk tale, but I’ve already started another one

Saturday? I haven’t gotten that far… but five stories in five days seems like a nice goal… will let you know how I do!

Steampunk Bug

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I’m staring at the Dying Days 2 document, trying to think of zombies and sex and killing, but my mind is elsewhere today… all I have in my head is steampunk ideas.

DD2 is due (my own self-imposed deadline) the last day of this month, so I can begin doing edits and get it out there for sale. My goal was nice and easy: 1,000 words per day for 25 days, with the 4 extra days as a cushion and to relax with other work while my three main readers rip it apart and let me know where I went wrong with it.

Unfortunately, I’ve been so immersed in steampunk the last couple of days that I haven’t written DD2 and I’m now techincally behind about 400 words, but if I don’t do some writing today on it, I’ll be 1,400 words behind…

On a positive note, I finished two steampunk short stories and submitted them to anthologies at the 11th hour, and have so many ideas for other stories that I’m bursting. I filled two index cards this morning with steampunk ideas, all set in the world of my Clockwork Katelynn and Mister Kruk characters. I’ve prety much outlined a YA steampunk horror novella in my head with these characters, and will most likely begin that while waiting for edits for DD2 in March… but knowing me I’ll probably begin playing with it and suddenly get six chapters in and forget everything else.

Oh, and today is Valentine’s day, so as soon as Kim gets home I’ll have to be nice and not hide in my office trying to write about zombies but writing about airships.

Wish me luck on all fronts.

Armand’s Steampunk Day

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Today I’ve been feverishly working on several projects that I’ve stupidly taken on… because, let’s face it, this is what I do…

A publisher e-mailed late last night and asked ‘do you have a steampunk short story ready? My anthology closes tomorrow but I’m looking for one more great tale.’ My answer? Of course. I’ll have it to you before The Walking Dead comes on.

I’ve been writing the blasted thing all morning. And you know what? Probably some of my best work. Give me a six-month deadline and I’ll write the entire thing in the last two weeks. Give me six hours and a 5,000 word goal and I can do it.

Heck, right before New Years I did 29k in 5 days, and the editor loved it.

So, besides the huge list of things to do I posted about previously, I’ve added a few things… because, let’s face it, this is what I do…

Besides the short story due in roughly eight hours, there are two more steampunk anthologies I have my eye on. I also have a dozen different short story ideas featuring my two main characters, Katelynn and Kruk. Separate and together. I’ve been very careful with the sex, over the top violence and foul language with these tales as well. I’m finally trying to write something my kids can read before they’re thirty.

The Florida Steampunk Exhibition East is coming April 13th – 15th and I will be a guest there in some form, and I’m very excited. Of course, when Kim asked ‘If you can sell stuff, what will you sell?’

I replied ‘my steampunk books as well as the horror stuff. Why?’

Kim said ‘You don’t have any steampunk for sale.’

Negative. Of course I will by then! I’m almost done with a few things and they will be out to the readers/editors/life-savers this coming week, and then on sale online right after. By the time the convention rolls around I’ll be rolling in steampunk releases.

That’s the goal, anyway.

Maybe someday I’ll already be prepared and have a dozen novellas and novels to sell, and a ton of short stories as well…

But probably not. I need that three-day deadlne or it just isn’t worth it, I guess… because, let’s face it, this is what I do…

Overwhelmed With Projects

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As an author and a publisher, I’m sometimes juggling several projects at once. Ideally (in bizarro fantasy world) I’d simply write a short/novella/novel, then move onto the next piece of the next release from Rymfire Books, in a nice, steady, easy flowing line… with releases evenly spaced, fans buying books, money pouring in, and the M&M’s and sweet tea flowing…

But in my real life – and, I’m sure, most authors or publishers – projects come up, work gets behind, and suddenly you have a bunch of things on your plate.

I like to make lists. I use index cards, and jot down everything that is currently open, where I am in the story (word count) and what the final end will be (final word count)… then I’ll number them in order of importance (which changes daily, depending on where I ended up from the day before)…

Today’s list:

1. Dying Days 2 zombie novella (currently 10,340 words/25k goal)

2. Read 25 more Undead Tales 2 submissions (225 of 342 read already)

3. “Clockwork Katelynn” steampunk short story (2,179 words/5k goal)

4. Chelsea Avenue horror novel rewrite (5 chapters done/25 chapter goal)

5. Edit 12 erotica short stories from Author K. Lee Thorne for Rymfire Erotica

6. Still Dying: Scenes From Dying Days novella (currently 8,900 words/25k goal)

7. State of Horror: New Jersey make final decisions on ToC (6 stories)

Oh, and there’s more, but those are the ones I’m choosing to move forward today… I put realistic goals before me (2,500-5,000 words TOTAL written on the stories for the day), and try to get the other publishing reading stuff done in-between.

I’m also thinking of an idea or ideas for some type of Giveaway for the loyal blog readers here, but haven’t figured it out yet.

I’ll put that on the index card tomorrow, unless 7 more pressing things come up.

Typecasting Authors

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I remember as a young reader being confused when I read Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption from Stephen King. This wasn’t horror! Although, to this day, it is still one of my favorite stories from him, as a thirteen year old I wondered if there was another Stephen King, one who didn’t scare the crap out of people.

Stephen King and Dean Koontz were Horror writers, plain and simple. Back in the day (and up until recently, with the eBook explosion) you were ‘known’ for a certain genre of books, and only guys like King and Patterson could freely jump from one genre or subgenre to the next with ease.

When I began getting serious about my writing, I wanted to be known as a Horror author. Easy enough, right? Most of my sales – as sporadic as they were – were for my Twilight Zone-ish short stories.

Then came my Zombie stories. One after another, first flash fiction. Then a couple of short stories that got accepted into anthologies. Then my extreme Zombie Highway To Hell novella, followed by the Dying Days series… suddenly I was a Zombie Author.

The most notable names in the Zombie subgenre that come to mind for me are Brian Keene (who recently posted on his blog that he’s finishing up his Zombie stories and then will stop writing them), Joe McKinney (who is one of my favorites and I’ve read some non-Zombie work from him, but right now to most readers he is a Zombie Author), and then authors like Mark Tufo and Ian Woodhead. There are dozens more, authors who keep putting out books, novellas, shorts and flash ficton Zombie stories and have amassed a following, large or small.

I’ve managed to do that as well. There is a small but loyal following that gets excited when another of my Dying Days pieces are released, and fan-mail asking about the next book or story is pretty damn awesome to get!

The problem? This week I started writing a Steampunk story. It’s an idea I’ve had in my head for a long time, and I decided to take a break one afternoon when the Dying Days 2 book was kicking my ass and just write it.

So far I love it. I love the fact that I don’t have to hide the main characters away lest they be eaten or that they can roam and shop and sight-see and interact without the end of the world so close at hand. It’s fun to write and a bit different from what I’ve been writing for over a year.

I also have a traditional Horror novel, Chelsea Avenue, that I’m doing a rewrite on very soon. That involves fire, elemental demons, small-town hysteria and plenty of killing. Again, no Zombies.

I looked over the bookshelves I have near me and read through the authors and immediately certain subgenres of Horror came to mind for each of them, even though when I took a hard look most of them wrote other things besides, say Jeff Strand and his Humor Horror or whatever you want to call it.

Will I be upset if I’m known the world over as a Zombie Author? Not really. I love the subgenre and love to read and write in it. My fear would be to start to roll with my career but everyone ignores my non-Zombie books.

Case in point: one of the best stories I’ve ever written is Death Metal, yet my sales are sluggish at best. Looking at my real numbers over the two years its been out, it is so far down the sales list it’s depressing.

Why? Is it because it’s more of a stand-alone story, with no sequel (although I do have an idea or three), no tie-in to other stories, and no easy classification? It was originally ‘marketed’ as Urban Horror, although I don’t really know what that means. I prefer Horror, although there isn’t a ghost in it, no monster or creature, no paranormal entity. Just a guy trying to hide his past, kidnapping, drugs, violence, more drugs, more violence, heavy metal music, and, um, drug use. Trust me, it reads better than what I said about it.

2012 should be interesting for me as a author. There will be at least two more Zombie offerings, coming very soon: Dying Days 2 and Still Dying: Scenes From Dying Days (oh, and a film version of Dying Days that will be filmed down here in Florida)… a series of Steampunk short stories and perhaps a novella, which might lead into an actual novel… the aforementioned Chelsea Avenue Horror novel… a continuation of my non-fiction heavy metal Metal Queens Monthly

And hopefully anything else I want to write, and hope that fans will respond… as long as people don’t get confused as say ‘Steampunk? Where the Hell are the Zombies?’ I’ll be happy…

Today’s Writing

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I’ve been all over the place with writing today, which is pretty normal… I’m not sure how other writers spend their day writing, but I tend to jump around from doc to doc…

For instance, I started the morning with a cup of coffee… can’t think until I have my coffee… then dove into writing, pulling up Dying Days 2 and writing a healthy 1,200 words in a little over an hour before I had to get a refill…

While I was adding a ton of sugar (to kill that coffee taste), I decided to jump around… I’ve been toying with something I can only describe as young adult steampunk (is that even a real subgenre?) involving crazy contraptions, America still ruled by the Brits, and cyborg stuff… no idea where I’m going with it, but hit 900 words of the opening today and like it so far…

Yep, cup number three of coffee and then back to the laptop…

Another two pages of the Dying Days screenplay that I’m not completely happy with, but it is progress…

Frustrated, I switched back to the Dying Days 2 novella and wrote another 600 words and finished a chapter…

Took a break to watch last night’s episode of “Shameless” (just love this show), drank 2 more cups of coffee and ate half the leftovers from the cheese/meat tray from the Super Bowl party…

Then spent the next two hours re-writing major parts of the Chelsea Avenue horror novel… got five chapters re-done, and it is much improved…

I’ll likely write some more tonight while Kim is watching the dreadful “The Voice” (although Christina does wear, um, nice outfits)…

All in all a good day of writing for me…

“Dying Days 2” Update

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This week I offically began the sequel to Dying Days, which is titled Dying Days 2… I know, I know, you didn’t see that title coming. I really wanted to name it Dying Days 2: Electric Bugaloo but decided against it (people who are old like me will get the joke)…

The first three chapters are actually finished and appeared last week in the updated print version of Dying Days https://www.createspace.com/3780572

As for the rest? I’m getting there slowly but surely… my goal is a thousand words a day this month, with a rough goal of 29,000 words to finish the first draft of the novella.

I’ve introduced some new characters to the series as well, ones I’m quite proud of so far…

Tosha Shorb – vixen firecracker, tough and sure of herself

David Monsour – runs the guard duty in St. Augustine, over his head with problems besides the zombie apocalypse

Steve ‘The Breeze’ Brack – famous race car driver, and famously arrogant

Mike Ross – motorcycle fanatic, Steve’s biggest fan, and driver of Steve’s tour bus

Ellen Harden – runs Scarlet’s bar but just wants to go home to her family

There are a couple more that will be added in later (and a shitload of people that will die… it’s a zombie bok, people!)

Now, back to writing… I’m ahead of schedule but need to keep it moving…

February Goals

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February is upon us, whatever that means…

I’m setting some writing and publishing goals for this month and will update it sporadically all month…

Nothing too fancy, not planning on writing War and Peace and Zombies (sure someone has already done it, anyway) but setting realistic goals…

1. Writing Dying Days 2 this month… I already finished about 5,000 words, so another 20k+ in this shortened month isn’t hard at all…

2. Writing the Dying Days screenplay… this one is tough, since I’ve never written a screenplay before and it’s not an easy thing, but I got a jump on it the last week or so and it should be completed well ahead of time…

3. Way behind on the Metal Queens Monthly #3 and need to finish that up, especially since it has some really cool bands and fans in it

4. In publishing: finish reading submissions and accepting stories for the State of Horror: New Jersey anthology and reading stories for the other States currently open for submissions… for further info on what I’m talking about, go to http://rymfirebooks.wordpress.com and hit the submissions link up top

5. Read through and accept stories for the Undead Tales 2 anthology… I’ve accepted a couple so far and they are awesome, so looking forward to reading the rest

That’s it, although I know I have some other things on the horizon like anthologies a couple of people have asked me to submit to, as well as other quick projects…

Hopefully by March 1st the above will be done and I can start a new list… yeah…