Tag Archives: publishing

For my next amazing stunt…

Story Empire is the group blog I belong to. Today, I’m holding down the fort over there and discussing those times when an author isn’t drafting new material. This post is intended to be a companion piece to that post. I’d appreciate it if you guys would also check out the Story Empire post, because it goes over other things than where I’m taking this one.

I have a bit of soul searching about what I might tackle next. I have no intention of starting a new draft before December, November at the earliest. It takes time to whip the storyboard into shape, and I want to be as productive as possible when I finally open a new project.

One of my mantras is: “Write the story you want to read next.” It’s served me well over the years, and keeps the task fun. The downside is that my mind moves around a lot. I write science fiction, fantasy, and paranormal stories. I like to switch things up.

The beauty of a group blog, like Story Empire, is that I get to hang out with people who are smarter than I am. Some of them have pointed out that I don’t have a series. I’ve covered a lot of bases; short story collections, novella, novels… no series. Some of my characters have returned via the short story, like Lisa Burton, or Pete from Will O’ the Wisp.

Still, they’re right… no actual series. I can’t see myself being focused long enough to write a long series, but still; throw JK Rowling kind of money my way and I’m your huckleberry. I might take a stab at a trilogy, but that would likely be my limit. Part of the problem is keeping the setting, characters, and plot entertaining.

I’m going to write this next part out as much for myself as you guys, but it opens the topics up for debate. I’d kind of like to hear what you have to say. Here are the things in my pipeline.

The one I may never write: This is an African adventure set in the colonial era. It will involve black magic, at least three kinds of opposition, and a bit of romance. (A new test for me.) It will also involve the safari. Because people have unrealistic views about hunting today, I may never write it. I don’t want to deal with knee jerk reactions to the hunting of fictional animals. I have some wonderful settings, scenes, and deceptions for this one, but I may have to add it to the scrap pile.

Score this one as more down side than up.

Grinders: This is a cyberpunk tale involving those who perform enhancement surgeries on themselves and each other. This stuff goes on today, and I can push it to an extreme in a science fiction environment. Imagine lots of neon, holographic advertising, and way too many people. I can dabble with where the internet world may take us one day. This might include cyber shut-ins who never leave their apartment. Drone deliveries, vitamin D deficiencies, and more.

Score this one as a plus in the story department, but not maybe career enhancing for me at this point.

The Group Project: I’ve had a lot of requests for a return of both Clovis from The Playground, and Lizzie St. Laurent and The Hat. It occurred to me they could exist in the same universe. They need other characters to interact with, and there are quite a few of my existing characters who could play a role here. This evolved, in my mind and on a storyboard, into something like an Avengers story only with a paranormal background.

Score this one in the middle somewhere, because I’ve never seen anyone do something like it before. The benefit to my career could be to interest readers in my backlist. Maybe a fan of The Hat picks it up, because it will be a sequel to The Hat. As they read it, they decide Lisa Burton is more interesting than they thought and want to pick up her novel. Or it could irritate readers, because Lizzie and the hat have to share the stage with other characters.

Another Lanternfish story: I just finished the draft of Lanternfish yesterday, but this world is ripe for another story. There is a war going on, and involvement of the pirates in the war could prove interesting. Yes, it’s a fantasy, but real things happened along this line and adds some credibility to them getting involved.

Score this one a bit of plus and a bit of minus. I feel this way, because nobody has read Voyage of the Lanternfish yet. If it flops, I don’t want to put six or seven months into a sequel. If it succeeds, the time for a sequel is upon me. It would head me down that path toward a trilogy. Lanternfish is the first one I’ve written that I feel could support a trilogy. (Sequels yes, but an actual trilogy is what I’m talking about.)

***

Those are the main possibilities, but they have to be looked at with a longer vision too. It is possible to write another Novella about Lizzie and the hat. This might be done a bit faster and satisfy their fans. Then I could focus on one of the other stories. I have an additional idea that could become a story pretty easily.

I could look at a third Experimental Notebook. That lets my mind bounce from tale to tale, which I enjoy. Then I could knuckle down and focus on some kind of sequel.

I also have a loose idea for a novella called Serang. She is a character from Lanternfish, and this would be her prequel story. The merit here is to satisfy any Lanternfish fans I might get while then writing one of the other novels.

Are fans willing to wait on sequels these days? I know all about George RR Martin, but I don’t quite have his kind of fan base. Would readers be satisfied with a trilogy that takes three years to deliver? These days, authors are pressed to publish more rapidly than ever before. If readers would stick around that long, I could squeeze some other stories between these and keep myself happy at the same time.

Keep in mind that I’m good for about two publications per year. With Lanternfish finished, I might put out three in 2019… maybe.

These are the things I have to sort out between now and late November. Before that, actually, if I’m going to spend some quality time on that storyboard.

What do you folks think? I know there is no correct answer here, and that I ultimately have to decide. I’m open to a bit of debate, and it may help me figure something out.

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Planning the weekend

Today marks the end of the longest two weeks we have at my paycheck job each year. In the last two weeks, I’ve had to put on a tie three times, make two presentations to groups, and several small ones to a political body. Prior to that it was all research, scripting, and Powerpoint stuff to get ready. But it all ends today! (Of course, I’m behind now at other work projects.)

On Tuesday morning, I received the upload copy of The Yak Guy Project from my formatter. Do you have any idea how hard it is to park on that for days that never end? Well, it’s hard for me.

Saturday is another matter. I can do my early chores, and start hammering it through Amazon. I have contacted the usual suspects and they agreed to help me with one of my home-made blog tours. There are a pile of pre-written posts in an attempt to keep them all unique. I also have some Lisa Burton art I’ve been parked on for nearly a year. I tried to contact folks in a small batch. This way, I can send them stuff and see what’s left. Then I can start a second wave and not lose track of who got what post. I used to do this all at once, and wound of losing track of things. Two waves should work… in theory.

Warning: There will be reblogs at Entertaining Stories. When people help me, it’s the least I can do to try driving them some traffic too.

I’ll send everything to my hosts after Amazon gives me the green light. After that, I need to update my sidebar to reflect the new title, deal with Goodreads, and all the peripheral stuff.

I already took the time to give the place a facelift. We have some nice fruit trees in bloom to replace the mud of Spring. Lisa’s ice sculpture of The Hat finally melted in the banner, but the yak is sticking around.

This is always an exciting time, but it kind of stresses me out. In some ways uploading to Amazon feels like putting my manuscript through a shredder. I had one bad experience many years ago and it’s stuck with me.

I can’t wait to get through this day, but the weekend will all happen in due time. I just have to remember this calming lesson:

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Meet Michele Jones

Quantum Wanderlust
Michele Jones is one of the masterminds behind AIW Press, and the two anthologies I’ve been invited to participate in. She’s also the author of one of the stories inside Quantum Wanderlust. She’s here to give us a behind the scenes of putting an anthology together. Let’s make her feel welcome and use those sharing buttons today. Thanks.

***

Hey Craig, thanks for having me. By the way, I love Lisa’s radio show. You have very interesting guests. If you don’t mind, I thought we could talk about putting together our newest anthology, Quantum Wanderlust.

I believe there are some similarities between producing an anthology and writing a successful story or novel, or producing a live radio show. It all comes down to planning.

Our team meets and discusses ideas and themes for upcoming anthologies. We’ve done holiday, westerns, and wanted something different. Thus, Quantum Wanderlust was born. Of course, the ideas that didn’t make the cut were filed for future use.

Once we have chosen the theme, we develop the concept that all submissions must adhere to. All of our anthologies have guidelines the selected authors must abide by, theme, word count, and of course they must not be offensive to the readers or the participating authors, therefore, we stay away from political and religious topics when producing the anthology.

After hashing out the details, we have a call for submissions. This includes reaching out to the authors that participated in previous anthologies. We provide the details of the anthology, such as theme, word count, deadline, editing process, and marketing.

After we have commitments from the authors, we create an online forum for information pertaining to the anthology. This is where we discuss the progress of the stories and the marketing we will be doing.

While that is happening in the forefront, we work behind the scenes producing the marketing material. We gather the author bio, and any links they provide for their work. As the stories come in we start the editing process. We review all content to make sure it adheres to our rules, and edit for grammar. Once completed, all edits are returned to the author for approval. Don’t be alarmed, any edit that we do will not change the author’s voice or the plot of the story.

Once we have all the finished pieces, we start the layout for the compilation. We come up with a one or two line short synopsis for marketing and we pull a quote to introduce the story.

I’ve read all the stories in Quantum Wanderlust. Craig chose to travel back in time and came up with a great plot twist in his story, Swift Wings. I chose to travel to the future in my story, The Fabric of Time, where one snag in the fabric can alter the future.

Don’t forget to pick up your free copy of Quantum Wanderlust at all the major sites. These thirteen authors will take you on some interesting time travel adventures. Oh, and if you don’t mind, please leave a review.

***

Quantum WanderlustWhat if you had all the time in the world?

Thirteen authors answer that question with short stories about time travel. Go back in time to right a wrong, forward to see the future. No jump is too large, no method unfeasible, no lesson beyond learning.

• Visit the past to learn a family secret.

• See the formation of a future dictatorship.

• Assume responsibility for weaving the fabric of time.

• Travel back in time to WWII.

• Use a family heirloom to solve problems.

• Wear an inheritance to visit ancestors.

• Leave a dystopian future for the hope of something better.

• Make history come true in an unexpected way.

• Fight evil fairies to protect a chosen angel.

• Live with the childhood memory of visitors until the day they arrive.

• Seek medical help for a memory issue and get way more than bargained for.

• Discover that with great power comes great responsibility.

• Uncover the secrets of a pharaoh’s tomb and curse.

Do the characters observe or interact? Is the outcome better or worse than the original timeline? Read these stories to learn how far they go, how they get there, and what happens when they return.

The scope is virtually limitless, definitely timeless.

Pick up your free copy here

Michele JonesBio:

Michele Jones lives in Western Pennsylvania with her husband and two spoiled dogs.

Along with her writing, family, cooking, and sports are her passions. She is a diehard Penguin, Steeler, and Pirate fan… really, a diehard anything-Pittsburgh fan.

Michele writes memoirs, short stories, romance, and poetry, but her passion lies in writing paranormal, suspense, and thrillers.

You can follow her online at www.michele-jones.com

Connect online:

Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Published Works | Goodreads

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Not bad for a flex day

Like all flex days, this one started off with a task list last night. The day started with my alarm dog at about six o'clock.

Otto and Frankie play together all the time now. A big part of this involves him feeling much better. We took more detailed X-rays about two weeks ago, and had an additional expert look at them. He has several problems, but there was concern about one specific issue. It involves bone tissue that is degenerating and regrowing.

Our vet said the possibilities were bone cancer, and a bone infection. The cancer is almost unheard of with a dog Otto's age, and the infection is also extremely rare. He wanted to try an antibiotic in an abundance of caution, but thinks maybe the X-ray simply showed something that isn't there.

Here's the deal, though. After two days of antibiotic, Otto started feeling better. After a week, I have my boy back. He runs around, plays ball, and is acting like his old self. He still limps on occasion, but two weeks ago he was dragging himself across the floor by his front legs.

How the hell does anything get a bone infection?

They've been absolutely crazy today.

Oh, come on guys, you're making me look bad now. They were playing, I swear.

I wound up doing some maintenance on my part of the Story Empire blog, and finished that. About an hour ago, I found even more to do there, but still consider it a win.

I also explored and joined a new app a friend told me about. Something called Triberr, but don't ask me anything about it just yet.

I finished the edits on a 5500 word short story for an anthology, and delivered the edited version to them.

Edits on the Yak Guy Project are finished. I'm going to put it aside for a while to work on other projects. Quite honestly, I'm thinking about submitting it to a publisher. I haven't submitted anything for years, but maybe the hybrid author is the way to go. Right now, I just need time to think about it all.

I got another five star review today for the Second Experimental Notebook. I need to write a third one of these, and they make a great side project. Not just yet though.

First I need more micro-fiction for October. I intended to write one today, but never got that far. I might rough one out while my ballgame is on.

Ah, here you go. See all happy today.

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Pulling back the veil

Regular readers of this blog know I’ve been working pretty hard on projects. There seems to be a little of that going around these days, because I’ve discovered some kindred spirits.

We’ve formed a collective group, initially for some group promotion, but it’s grown into something more. Today, I want to tell you about Story Empire.

I’ve joined up with these wonderful authors to bring you something new:

Our initial common ground is the paranormal. We’re all pretty diverse, and we have other common interests as well.

We’ve all been working hard on different corners of our cooperative effort, but the work of Staci Troilo really shows in the new website and blog. Look at these wonderful graphics.

Huh, how’d I manage to use that last one? (Because Entertaining Stories is my blog, that’s why.) Didn’t she do a super job?

We’re still working on our group promotions, but the website and blog is live right now. Staci even made a lovely post about dialog that you might find helpful. We intend to include some writing, publishing, and promotion tips on the blog.

We’re growing and getting a feel for what’s to come, but you can follow the blog right now. In fact we’d appreciate it if you did. We’re all going to be posting there in due time. For now, the focus is on the paranormal, Halloween is fast approaching.

Check it out. Follow the blog. Share our startup across social media. Drop us a hint about what you’d like to see there.

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Assessing my effort so far

On Friday night I posted a list of things I want to accomplish before returning to the paycheck job on Tuesday. I think I’m doing a pretty good job of things so far. Let’s take a look at the list, and I’ll scratch things off to indicate what I’ve been doing.

The checklist:

  • Take life as it comes, including another date night and puppy play
  • Work on short stories
  • Read all my Macabre Macaroni stories, edit as needed
  • Publish my second Experimental Notebook (mostly)
  • Work on any Lisa Burton Radio stuff that comes back in the mail
  • Go through my critiques and make changes to The Yak Guy Project
  • Read one book, start another
  • Blog

I got a bunch of writing done yesterday, so I completely ignored that today. It was hard, because it’s what I want to be doing. Mom always said you have to finish your Brussels sprouts before you can have dessert. It’s kind of like that.

Otto and I played a bunch. He’s teething right now, and looks kind of like a wild boar with tusks in the bottom jaw only. The top canines are coming in fast though and his rawhide toys were pretty popular today.

I put in some work on future Lisa Burton Radio interviews. Those are all in the mail, finished, or awaiting final approval. I still have to schedule this week’s post via WordPress. Maybe I’ll do that after this posts. I love the scheduler option for these.

I finished my reading project, but didn’t get around to starting the next one. I have a book of short stories next by one of the regulars here. I want to read another one by a friend after that. Short fiction is one of my favorites and I’m kind of excited about both of them. Sue and Nicholas, I’m talking about you.

I probably screwed up on the publishing front. I wanted to do a short pre-sale for The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack II. When I pushed everything through the mill it asked when I wanted to book to deliver. It never asked me when I wanted the pre-sale to start. I wouldn’t be surprised if I have to write a panic post tomorrow because the pre-sale already started. If that’s what happens, I’ll have to own it like I planned it, but readers of this blog will know the truth. Maybe I can blame everything on my assistant.

Some of the items on my list are ongoing, like blogging and working on the short stories. Tomorrow I’ll save the Macabre Macaroni stories for break times. It may seem odd, but reading and tweaking seems to use a different part of the brain than drafting new material does. At least it does for me.

I’m going to focus on the short stories in The Enhanced League. I may crack into the short stories I want to read too.

Then again, I may not do any of that. I may have to write a panic post about the release of my new book. If that shows up in my timeline tomorrow, you can all have a laugh at my expense. I really wanted to start on the 24th, not the 15th. Part of the problem is the lack of time to dedicate. My wife and I have plans that won’t provide another day to do this.

So there you have it. Picking away at my list, and I can do the fun stuff tomorrow. I think I’ll have two of those pumpkin beers tonight, but I doubt they’ll help me sleep. I’ll probably toss and turn all night wondering if Amazon will have my book available tomorrow morning.

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Ah, Flex Day…

I enjoyed visiting with my parents this weekend. I always have to choose to a degree, and spent most of my time with Dad this go round. We still all went to supper, and we all had breakfast together on Sunday.

My wife and I had some shopping to do on Sunday after everyone left. I'll tell you more about that in a future post, but it's all good.

Today became my time to do something on the writing front. Finishing up the short story I'd worked on for so long opened up the flood gates.

Lorelei, the Muse sent me some cool imagery so I wrote it all down. I don't have a story to go with it, but that's exactly why I keep notes. It's like some people wake from dreams and write down thoughts so they don't forget. It's all about roots and cocoons, and stuff. It should have a use somewhere, someday.

I didn't do any review for my novel in progress, so I skipped writing it. While making the story notes, I reviewed my short fiction list. I managed to write two of them today. I'll call them micro-fiction, but one of them exceeds 1500 words. I could probably get away with posting it on a blog, so I'll tag it as micro-fiction.

I intended for one of the stories to be a fantasy, but kind of missed the requirements. It's something else, even though it has the medieval setting. I'm not going to mourn the fantasy idea, I like the way the story came out.

The other one is science fiction, and I really like it. As a micro, it may even deserve a follow up story. Can I get away with using the character again in the same publication? Maybe. Place one early, and another one toward the end?

Right now, I have enough shorts and micros to publish another Experimental Notebook. I'm a little disappointed that fantasy didn't make this round. I love fantasy, but never did write gobs of it. That doesn't mean I'm finished though, and one may turn up.

Summer has always been a dry spell for me on the sales front, and even though it's still raining and windy, Summer is upon us. Based upon my past, it makes no sense to release anything until school starts back up. That means I can keep writing and stockpiling short form stuff.

Most of it needs some kind of edit or polish, and I can also fiddle with that during the summer months. Then I can separate everything into three piles, Experimental Notebook II, Macabre Macaroni for the blog, and salvage for reference.

I wound up with a couple of tales that don't have a speculative element in them. It isn't unheard of, but I don't know exactly what to do with them. I like them, and should share them somewhere. Maybe I'll include them in a future Notebook, but make them extras. Meaning a dozen speculative tales, plus two free ones. Something like that.

I still have a long list of short form tales to write, and some of them are demanding keyboard time. I'll probably slow down now and pick away at one during the evenings.

In other news, I worked on a future Lisa Burton Radio slot and sent it back to the author. If any of you would like to get your character interviewed by Lisa, drop me a line. The instructions are at the top of my blog, and have their own dedicated page.

It's approximately noon here now. The bills are paid, the shopping is finished, I managed some writing time too. I may just veg out, but I'll probably play with my banner some more. I never got any comments on this one, so maybe something else will spark some interest. I have an idea or two in mind.

Back to the grind tomorrow. Hope you're all having a great Monday.

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