Instant Gratification: Short Story Writing


For the past couple of months I’ve been writing stories in my Flagler Beach Fiction Series, starting with ten stories set in Kokomo’s Cafe and I just finished the ten stories set in Golden Lion Cafe. Each story is about 2,500 words. I sell two stories (5,000 word total) each Friday or Saturday for 99 cents and then once all ten are released via eBook I do a complete eBook and Print book of them before moving onto the next book’s stories. 

Kokomos 4 Cover

It’s allowed me to get quite a few releases out for each book (5 eBook 2-story releases, 1 complete eBook and 1 complete Print book for each, so 7 for each)… at this point it will be 7 books, so in theory I’ll have 49 releases just for the Flagler Beach Fiction series. That’s quite a lot of places for new readers to start with me, and it keeps my loyal readers constantly having new things to read. Each week, in fact. 

Golden Lion Print Cover

Besides that series, I’m also releasing other things as well, but right now the short stories seem to be taking precedent. The last two stories in the Keyport Cthulhu series, “Dagon” and “Evil” are being worked on for a release soon, and I have other short pieces currently being edited or first drafts completed. 

Dagon

Which all makes me very happy, because I’ve preached this a million times but it bears repeating: keep giving the people what they want. 

Now, for the downside… 

Dying Days: Origins… my unnamed zombie novella set in a diner… Death Cult: Death Metal 2Dying Days 4… 

All of these longer pieces are suffering because I’m only nibbling on them each day, adding 250-500 words if I’m lucky. I’m ignoring them because it will take me weeks to finish each, and (in theory) I can knock out a short story in 2-3 days and get it into the edit/rewrite/final draft system and get it either out for submissions to an anthology or a publisher, or self-publish it myself. 

I also keep adding more and more projects, which I cannot stop doing. I have an addiction. 

But, after going through and seeing the two dozen index cards I have set up with all my various projects, I’ve decided to do something radical about it. 

I’m just going to keep writing whatever I want to write, and if it’s a new batch of short stories… so be it. I just hope you keep reading everything I’m putting out. 

Armand

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February 68k Writing Challenge for Armand


It’s not really a challenge but it sounds cooler in the title, right?

I’ve been contracted for not one… not two… but three! Count ’em, three! new stories to write. I can’t tell you the details and can’t really tell you much more (what a damn tease I am), but I can say they are going to be two 14,000 word and a 40,000 word novella.

Since my math skills are super-sharp (and there is a cute calculator feature on this laptop) it comes to 68,000 words in 28 days… which comes to 2,428 words a day to get everything written (first draft) and submitted on March 1st.

Wish me luck!

The downside to getting it is the back-burner status of all the other projects I was working on, like Dying Days 3, Dying Days: Origins, the next two stories in the Keyport Cthulhu series, and another hundred things.

But I’ll eventually get to them, and get in a few pages here and there when I have time.

Until then… don’t expect a ton of Mando on social media, since I need to really buckle down and write, write, write…

Armand

Working With A Great Editor Is… Well, Great!


I had the idea for this blog post a couple of days ago but needed to get the background bio’s from the two editors mentioned. In the meantime, my good friend and fellow author Billie Sue Mosiman posted a great blog about editing, so I have to link it quickly here. Go read it, and then come back and read mine. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Who is and who is Not an Editor in today’s new Digital Landscape?

Thanks for coming back. If you didn’t… well, then I’ll be wasting my breath cursing at you. Anyway…

I’ve had the privilege of working with quite a few editors over the years, both as an author and running my own small press publishing houses. Most of them are good at what they do, whether a line edit or deeper edit is called for. But, like Billie says, not all of them are worth the time and especially the money. But every writer worth his salt needs a good editor. You can look over your brilliant words a hundred times and not catch a spelling mistake because the story is in your head and from your mind. Trust me.

I’m not going to bash editors, but I have worked with some inept ones. Editors who are wanna-be writers and try to change your ideas and make them in his or her image, and that isn’t what an editor is supposed to do. They are there to make your thoughts better, and not to rewrite entire pages and change characters because they thought it sounded better in this voice. Um… leave my voice alone and suggest things.

Two editors I want to praise that I’ve worked with: Stacey Turner and Jenny Adams.

Stacey Turner has been reading my short stories on and off for quite some time, and she is one of those selfless go-to people I can count on. No matter how busy she is, she will always help me out with an edit on a short story I just finished and I’m submitting it to another market besides hers. I love working with her, and she has such fresh ideas for me. Each story has gotten better thanks to her. When my Tool Shed horror novella was accepted by her company, Angelic Knight Press, I was so happy to be working with her in an actual project she would be putting out. Of course, the red pen came out and she marked my pages like a madwoman, and mentioned (in passing, of course) that if she saw the word THAT one more time in my manuscript she would kill me. And you know what? I agreed with every single red mark she made, and the story was so much better because of it. She understood my voice, and she made suggestions to the storyline and to my grammar. I hope I can work with her again and again.

Jenny Adams is my second editor I want to do a shout out to. She came in at the right time, when Tim Baker and I were co-writing Dying Days: The Siege of European Village, and she took a no-holds-barred approach to our writing. She was nice but firm when it came to our words, and relished the challenge of working with two different authors and two different approaches to style and writing. But when we wrote together we found a great middle ground, one which made the story amazing, if I do say so myself. My favorite quote from her, when editing parts Tim Baker had written: “Tim Baker has a fleeting acquaintance with commas”. My prose was perfect. OK, maybe I did that THAT thing again… and another couple of things, but I digress. I loved working with her so much, and she asked many many questions about not only sentence structure but style and thought. I rightly handed her my Chelsea Avenue horror novel to edit for me before it is submitted to an agent. She is someone I also hope to be working with in the future on several projects.

I’m blessed to have found two great editors to work with, and I hope to keep working with. I hope every writer out there finds someone who understands what their raw first draft is trying to say and finds the greatest help in shaping it to be perfect.

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Stacey Turner lives way out in the country in West Central Illinois with her husband, son, and 5 cats. Most of her time is taken up with running Angelic Knight Press and editing, but she still finds time to review books & interview authors, write a blog about her absolutely ridiculous family, and write fiction. You can find her Author blog at www.staceyturner-authorspot.blogspot.com or follow her on twitter: @Spot_Speaks. To contact her about editing, you can email her at princess.spot@gmail.com.

She enjoys editing, because she’s bossy. And also because she enjoys helping an author polish their work. She has edited several anthologies, including the upcoming No Place like Home: Tales from a Fractured Future, as well as many novels & novellas for a variety of authors.

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Jenny Adams holds a degree in English and has experience teaching college Composition and Business Writing courses. She has written instruction manuals and policy and procedure documents. Her editing work includes essays, research papers, business writing, and fiction manuscripts. She has edited several pieces, including the upcoming horror novel Chelsea Avenue by Armand Rosamilia and Dying Days: The Siege of European Village, co-written by Armand Rosamilia and Tim Baker. Jenny can be contacted via email at jenny.adams.editor@gmail.com

This Week’s Writing Goal


I don’t have one. See everyone next week. 

Seriously, this week I’ve decided to go back to basics for me and write whatever the Hell I want to write. It’s not because I didn’t hit my goals last week. In fact, I got every single one of them in, almost to the word. But that was boring, and I felt like I had to write a certain amount of words for all three projects instead of writing what I was feeling at the moment. The short story I wrote was possibly my best work to date, if I do say so myself. I hope an editor out there somewhere feels the same way.

Hence, this week I will stick to a 1,500 word a day clip (10,500 words in all) on whatever I feel like writing. Will it be a new short story? Some flash fiction? The start of a new novel? Continuing work on Death Cult: Death Metal 2 (now at 15,000 words), working on Dying Days: Origins (over the 8,500 word mark), or something I haven’t thought about yet? 

Someone asked me if my blog was geared toward other authors or toward readers… that is an interesting question, one I hope to answer soon enough… ideally, I’d love to say both. I’d love to have a ton of writers and readers perusing this blog, but wonder who I am catering to?

What do you think?

Are You A Prolific Writer?


I whined the other day about not having a new release for sale in June, and I’m almost a week into July and nothing for sale (although, in all fairness, my Ancient: A Keyport Cthulhu Tale short story, will be out sometime today or tomorrow). Here is the post for those who haven’t read it. I’ll wait until you get back to continue.

Anyway, I am in constant touch with other writers, especially fellow horror authors, and see some of them still pushing the same short story from months ago and talking about starting that novel any day now… and on the other end of the spectrum, authors who are constantly writing, submitting and self-publishing stories. They seem to have a steady flow of work for sale and their fans respond.

I used to be what I would call a prolific author, and have about 40 releases to prove it, most since 2009. That’s about a release a month, but most months (especially when I ramped it up) I had 2-4 releases at a time. Lately? Not so much. I’m still writing 2,000 words a day but not finishing anything, just slowly moving things toward the finish line.

I’m curious what you think the term prolific author signifies… not writer, but someone publishing work for sale (either as shorts in anthologies, self-publishing, and/or being published by other publishers)?

What prolific writers do you follow, and how does their steady imput or huge backlist help you as a reader?

And, are you a prolific author?

Scatterbrain This Week With Writing


This is not shaping up to be a good week of writing for me… Hell, last week wasn’t so hot, either. And when I look back the last three months… ugghh…

I always set a daily goal of 2,000 words and figure wherever my head is, I’ll write. It all works out in the end because (in theory) as long as I’m writing something projects will get completed and I’ll have plenty of continuous products to hawk… except it isn’t shaping up like that.

Let’s see.. the last release I put out wasn’t actually a new thing, as the Dying Days audiobook came out on June 4th 2012… and nothing the rest of the month. The last time I had a brand new release? April 1st with Bones. Death. Cenote, my three-story collection. Sure, I re-released a few Rymfire Books anthologies in print in April but nothing new from me.

And what am I working on? About 167 different things all in different levels of completion. But none of them finished, which is killing me. Lately my 2,000 a day goal consists of writing 400 lousy words on 5 different projects, which are all hovering around the halfway mark.

I’ve finished three horror shorts this past month but they immediately got submitted to pro markets since I’m still hoping to get three pro sales and join (or not join) the HWA. You can read about that here. So I don’t count them in my gripe as to work I plan on self-publishing.

When I started the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour I was hoping to have my Still Dying: Select Scenes From Dying Days completed, but I’m about 3 short stories shy of that right now. My readers/editors are spot-on and ready for the next part but I can’t seem to finish any of them.

I really, really want to set a simple publishing goal for July and say one new release each Friday. That gives me about a week to hammer out a few stories and get them to an edit. If I complete just one within the next day or so (I’m talking short stories), I can get my beta readers to rip it apart for me and can (in theory, here we go again) have it up and live by Friday, July 6th.

I already have the first short story in a six-story arc at the finale, so I might work on that one and then have it prepared. Hell, the awesome artwork by Jeffrey Kosh has been done. Yep, just waiting on my sorry ass to finish it now.

So, I’ll be off to finish four short stories (at least) and get them out in July. Wish me luck!

Now, what are you working on and where do you stand with your latest work?

Getting Eligible To Join HWA – But Will I?


I’m not posting this to elicit pros and cons of joining the Horror Writers Assocation (HWA) because that’s pretty much beside the point at this point… get the point?

I go back and forth about it all the time. On one hand I think it’s a great group, and I know so many present members who talk about the wonderful things they’ve learned by being a member and the cool people they’ve met. It’s also one of those ‘you made it’ points in a career (well, to me it would be).

On the other hand, former members and writers who have no desire to join rip it or just think nothing useful can come from being a member. I can see some of their points, and I’ve been on the fence for a long time.

So, I decided to do something about it. I have no desire to be a supporting or affiliate member, though. That wouldn’t be the goal. I’ve decided to set my own goal and then figure it out from there.

I’m pretty much going to ignore everything I’ve ever sold and start from this moment to get the proper credits to become an active member: sell three short story pieces totalling 7,500 words or more for pro rates of 5 cents per word…

And then, at that point, figure out if I want to join. When I get the three sales (and I’m not being arrogant… it could take me five years to get three pro sales, if ever) I’ll have no excuse to not think about it.

That’s the goal. Sounds like a plan.

Now, to find three pro horror markets… oh, and write three stories… that’s the easy part.