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Showing posts from December, 2011

Trailer for Space Hotel Series

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I decided to branch out into the book trailer arena.  It's my very first iMovie project.  Let me know what you think!





Review of "The Restoration Man" by Simon John Cox

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Summary: One man's obsession with the restoration of a near-mythical car is thrown into sharp perspective following the death of his wife.
Review: After reading this story there is no doubt in my mind that Cox is able to write well.  An author's descriptive ability is always tested in short stories.  And in that area Cox excels.  He does a fantastic job creating a protagonist that you can't help but feel connected to.
Where I feel that this story is sort of lacking is in the obsession department.  It's the main plot point but, strangely enough, is not really focused on.  The protagonist's wife is dead but you never find out how his obsession with the car affected their relationship.  Most of the story centers on his current grief.  There are a few hints that he regrets his past actions.  But if I don't know what they are, how can I tell if he was really ignoring his wife for the car or if it's all in his head?
Story lines like this are tricky.  There has to …

Reading Short Stories Online

This whole post may seem like I'm pointing out the obvious, but if there's one life lesson I've learned it's never assume people think the same way you do.

I think that a lot of people separate "reading" from "browsing the internet."  Reading involves sitting in a cozy spot and getting lost in your own little world for a few hours.  For many it's an intellectual pastime.  In this mindset, reading things on the internet does not count as "reading."

Browsing the internet is its own activity.  Unless you're trying to research something, internet browsing is usually not taken very seriously.  You end up clicking on random links and before you know it you're up-to-date on Paris Hilton's latest breakup.

I would say that I definitely fall into both of those categories.  But I would like to make people aware of a third option: you can "read" while "on the internet."  Personally, I don't like staring at a co…

Review of "The Lamprey Stone," a single story in a collection by Maria Violante

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Summary:
It's a side of the southwest never glimpsed by mortal man - a heartless, barren outback riddled with ruthless demons. In its ignorance, humanity is powerless to stop these escapees from Hell and the havoc they create with their dark magic.

Good thing De la Roca isn't human.

A gunslinger with no memories of her previous life, she has fought for the last three hundred years on the forefront of a supernatural war, relying only on her wits, her reflexes, and her own demonic powers - all to pay for her own release from Hell.

The Angels wouldn't send her in alone and unarmed, though; Alsvior, her gifted - if contrary - steed, and Bluot, a legendary revolver with an unquenchable blood-lust, have been with her every step of the way - alone with a series of terrible nightmares that might hold the keys to her past.

Then, an Angel appears with a bargain that seems to good to be true - five final targets, and she is free from her penance.

Quickly, she discovers that her old m…

To Translate or Not To Translate

With the latest Spain and Italy Amazon additions, more and more people seem to be looking into translating their works.  I've really been weighing the pros and cons about this in my mind.  I haven't come to any definite conclusions but I thought I would share my thoughts thus far.

On the one hand.... much of a short story author's success is based on their ability to reach their niche audience.  I do believe that this initially requires casting a wide net.  Make your work as available as possible and then earn those one or two fans that will buy all of your work.  So in this sense, translating makes sense.  The "foreign language" markets are much smaller.  So there is the potential to become a big fish in a small pond.  Plus, some countries are far more open to short stories than Americans.  Hispanic cultures, for example, have a very rich background in short stories.

On the other hand... considering how much one makes on a single short story, it would take a loo…

Concept behind "Shabti" by Alain Gomez

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The idea for this story came from a friend who had recently gone on a trip and visited the local museums.  She showed me this whole series of pictures she took of these small, blue Egyptian statues called shabti.  They're really fascinating to look at.  It kind of makes you wonder how the ancient Egyptians got the statues to be that blue.  I mean, the statues are thousands of years old.
Mysterious blue statues practically scream "short story."  So I caved in.  There were a lot of directions I considered taking but ended up deciding on creating an unusual romance.  When I first traveled over to Europe, I very clearly remember having my concept of time change.  I remember standing in Barcelona staring at a cathedral that had been under construction for almost as long as my own country had existed.  
I imagine that it would have been similar for some of the British when they first started traveling to places like India or Egypt.  Being in a country so different from your o…

Short Story Collections

There seems to be a lot of heated debate about collections of short stories.  I think that many new authors or just authors new to writing short stories often try to overcompensate with collections.

Thanks to the publishing industry we have the idea in our heads that more words equals more value.  So I think a lot of writers feel guilty about charging the same for a short story as they do a novel.  So they lessen the guilt by just packing together a ton of stories into what is essentially a novel-length collection.  So everyone is happy, right?

There is a certain validity to this thinking.  And I do think that a short story writer should provide readers with as many options as possible.  However, for the most part, I feel like there are two HUGE issues that are  overlooked when a writer approaches short stories in the manner I just described.

The first problem is an artistic one.  When a writer approaches short stories with the intention of writing as many as they can to put together…

Interview with Author Tony Rauch

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First, tell us a little about your writing journey. Would you consider yourself to be a "short story author" rather than a "novelist"?

I have three collections of short stories published. Two from Eraserhead Press and one from Spout Press. I have been writing shorts since childhood. In college I had some shorts published, which attracted the attention of my first book publisher. That first book then attracted the attention of my second publisher.

I mainly concentrate on short form because that's all I have time for, and it's the easiest for me. Also, to me long work feels bloated with a lot of useless background filler and could use trimming. Short form gets to the point without messing around and wasting time. There's a lot of power concentrated in the short form. Also, I tend to generate a lot of ideas, so short form allows me to implement them with a minimal expenditure of time. 
I've been working on longer stories though, expanding my tales. So t…

What I Read vs. What I Write

There is something of a discrepancy between what I read vs. what I write.  This never fails to surprise me on some level.  I always thought the stories that would be the easiest would be the ones that are of a similar genre to what I read.  Not so!

I actually read quite a bit of British literature.  I'm particularly fond of 19th century British literature (maybe +/- a decade on either side).  This isn't to say that I don't read other things.  That's just generally what I lean toward when I'm browsing for a new book.

So when I really started writing with publication in mind, I just kind of assumed that I would probably end up creating a whole bunch of Regency romance novellas or something.  I even tried starting one but then I got stuck.  I will resurrect it eventually but I just hate forcing plots that aren't ready to be written yet.

Which brings us to what I actually really enjoy writing right now: science fiction and fantasy short stories with strange twists …

November 2011 Short Story Sales Stats

Since my last post, Smashwords has decided to start posting the date sold for ebooks.  How convenient!  I will continue to list B&N (sad tale that it is) but I also wanted to add my Apple, Sony and Kobo sales.  Since Smashwords updates their numbers at a slower pace, I will be listing the previous month for Apple, Sony and Kobo.  That way it will be a more accurate report.

Once again, all of these numbers that I list are for my under 10,000 stories plus collections.  I don't list my novella sales since the general public already knows that novellas can sell.  Also, I only list numbers for stories that I actually got paid for.  Not the free downloads.

Total number of short stories and collections available:  23


Amazon (US, UK, DE, FR):  29

B&N:  1


Apple (October):  2


Sony (October):  0


Kobo (October):  2

Now on to some interesting things of note...

I made my first Amazon France sale this month.  This was cause for much rejoicing.  I also took away the free status for Celebrity Sp…

NaNoWriMo Follow-Up

So my goal for November was to write 10,000 words into my new novella.  All I can say is: FAIL!

In my defense, I actually started out pretty well.  I was writing every day and it felt kind of nice.  And then... I hit a wall.  It got to the point where I knew exactly where the story was headed but I wasn't exactly sure how I was going to get there.  For two days I tried to work through it by just writing down whatever with the intention of going back and fixing it.

But then I had a wake up call.  After the second day's attempt, I thought to myself: "Wait a minute... I hate forcing plots and writing whatever garbage comes to mind."  I mean, it was for that exact reason that I decided to not major in Literature in college.  I knew I would get burnt out if I was constantly required to churn out what was, in my mind, sub-par work.

So I put the novella aside for a little while to let it marinade.  But it wasn't a totally unproductive month!  Here's the tally:


3,000 …

Last Moment by Alain Gomez

She places her hand in his.

Fingers twine together.

So many memories it makes them both smile.

He closes his eyes one last time.