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Showing posts from February, 2012

Review of "State of Grace," short story by Tara Fox Hall

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Summary: It's true that few of us would choose the life of a zombie, mindlessly consuming every moving thing in sight as we rot and shrivel with decay. It's also true that few of us would choose to become a ghost, dolefully watching the comings and goings of the living, unable to touch, to breathe, to feel them in a physical way. But, if given the chance to become a vampire, I think most of us would bite. Vampires make our pulses quicken: whether they are the velveteen figures of Anne Rice or Bram Stoker, or the violent monsters of Stephen King, we don't care. Not the hunters. Not the hopefuls. The real, blood-drinking, neck-biting fiends. Vampires are timeless because they are immortal. And the vampires in these pages may just come back to bite you in the end. These are stories you can really sink your teeth into. Promise.

Review: In “State of Grace,” Tara Fox Hall writes about a rebel vampire and his human compatriot as they rail against the practices of the local vampire…

Review of "Bones of the Past," a single story in a collection by Jennie Coughlin

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Summary: Take Jan Karon's Mitford, but add in an edge. Listen to the whispers about the Irish Mob.Avoid the easy answers when Exeter residents run head on into the tough questions of life.

Review: “Bones of the Past” is one of those stories that you hope has an author biography at the end of it, preferably one that tells you where you can read more of the author’s works. Fortunately, “Bones of the Past,” as part of the series “Thrown Out: Stories from Exeter,” delivers on both counts.

For this story, Coughlin’s combines skilled writing with an interesting subject to create a world so real that the reader feels more like they are watching a movie than reading words on a page. In “Bones of the Past,” a small town’s resident story teller wields his craft for a woman eager to learn more about a dark mystery in the town’s past. The dialogue between the characters is flawless both in its realism and its artistry, and the transitions from the storyteller’s flashbacks to the present are …

The Hard Sell

I may not know the secret to selling lots of books.  But what I do know is what doesn't work.  The hard sell is definitely one of those things that doesn't work anymore.  "Hard sell" means a direct "try my book out!" sales pitch posted/said anywhere.

When I first started publishing about a year and a half ago, I was at the tail end of this tactic still working.  As in, I could go on Facebook, offer to gift copies and then reasonably expect one or two people to take me up on my offer.  But this doesn't work anymore.  You could say your entire collection is up for free forever and it would land on deaf ears on Facebook.

Same goes for Twitter.  If I had a penny for every author posting book links, I'd be a lot richer than I am selling short stories.  This type of approach doesn't work if you're an unknown author and it really doesn't work if you're an unknown short story author.

And don't think "well it doesn't hurt to have…

Writing the Story that Wants to be Written

One of the things I enjoy the most about being self published is the lack of pressure.  Any deadlines that I have looming before me are completely self-imposed.  The only reason to conform to current popular book genre trends is to make money.  So the genre that you write is, again, self-imposed.

This really gives one the freedom to write that story that wants to be written.  The sole reason why I did not want to study literature in college was that I hate being forced to write about topics that do not interest me at the time.

Non-fiction I can somewhat handle.  Even if the topic is dry, there is some enjoyment is learning new facts during the research process.  But it still didn't completely dull the throbbing headache as I stared at my computer screen late at night trying to find some way to turn my six page essay into a ten page one.

I could only imagine how fiction would have been worse.  Being forced to come up with characters, plots and twists for subjects that you can'…

Happy Birthday, Book Brouhaha!

.... more or less.
My first blog post was 2/12/11.  So I missed it by a few days.  But it's the thought that counts!
I'm having this strange sensation of it already being a year since I first started blogging and only being one year at the same time.  But I would like to thank all my wonderful readers.  I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to meet all you fellow short story authors.
To all you who have submitted your stories for review: thank you for allowing me to read your work.  Yes, I have opinions on what I like/don't like.  But it never ceases to amaze me the range of stories that I get to read.  There are some truly creative authors out there.  Who says that the word count limits the story ideas?
I'd like to ask for any suggestions and comments about how I could make this blog better.  Any type of post you would like to see more of?  Less of?  Thoughts?  Ideas?

Making Money With Short Stories

Short stories are often dismissed by authors because they aren't "money makers."  Ok, so maybe that's true to a certain extent.  Chances are pretty slim that you'll be hauling in millions of dollars with them.  Slimmer than the chance a novel has, at least.

But let's crunch some numbers, shall we?

The biggest advantage a short story author has is being able to publish new content a lot faster than an author that writes only novels.  Say you publish one short story.  It is reasonable to expect that that given enough time the short story will eventually sell one copy a day.  Much of a short story's selling success is age dependent.  My new stories almost never sell.  My older stories sell on a somewhat regular basis.

So if you can get one story to sell one copy a day at 99 cents you've made about $10 that month if you're selling on Amazon.  $10 is enough for Amazon to cut you a royalty check so don't sneer at the amount.  That's money you di…

Review of "Pryde's Choice," short story by Kevis Hendrickson

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Summary: After committing a horrible crime against the Gaiad, the eternal guardians of the woods, a remorseful knight is forced to confront his demons. Pryde's Choice is a heroic tale of redemption and hope reminding us that it's never too late to make amends for the past.

Review: I have read/reviewed other works by Mr. Hendrickson and I have to say I was quite impressed with this latest story.  Hendrickson always has excellent plot ideas but his skill as a writer has certainly evolved since his earlier works.
"Pryde's Choice" is an interesting tale that uses a fantasy backdrop to tell a much deeper story of revenge and remorse.  Despite the appearance of elves and archaic sounding language, you never get the sense this is a typical fantasy story of good vs. evil and the battle for our immortal souls.  Instead, it's about a man essentially battling himself.  The knight made a choice that anyone could have made and then had to live with the consequences.
What I…

January 2012 Short Story Sales Stats

So I've started out this new year focusing a lot on my non-fiction writing.  In my enthusiasm to push my pen name on the world, the non-fiction stuff kind of got knocked to the wayside.  An oversight I've been meaning to correct.

I don't know if any of my blog readers care but all of my non-fiction is in the short story length realm as well.  They tend to be like manuals.  There's definitely a market for short non-fiction.  All of my works sell pretty regularly.

But, as per usual, these sales numbers are for my fiction, under 10,000 words only.

Amazon (US/UK/DE/IT/ES):  23


B&N:  1


Kobo (December):  0


Sony (December):  1


Apple (December):  1


Of those Amazon sales, 2 are from Germany and 6 are from the UK.  I've definitely noticed a slooooow increase in non-US sales.  I think there's something to be said for that.  US consumers tend to fixate on getting large amounts for the cheapest price possible.  This tends to warp their views on the short story.  But just bec…

Review of "Abomination," short story by R.J. Creaney

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Summary: In 9th century France, the zealous warrior Ragenard is finally within striking distance of his greatest enemy, a necromancer dead-set on disturbing the natural order of Creation. Their final battle ensues; one combatant fights with wrought iron and the other with the risen dead, although all is not as it seems about the two opponents and their enmity.

Review: A fun, interesting tale by Creaney.  Despite the modern publication date, it felt reminiscent of Old English lore (i.e. Beowulf).  While those old tales were created to make larger than life heros in a clear battle of good vs. evil, Creaney adds a subtle twist to his own story making it more "psychological" rather than "horror."
In the popular warrior vs. necromancer fantasy battle, the warrior is almost always seen in a good light. The warrior represents everything that is pure, the necromancer messed around with dead stuff so, obviously, he must be bad.
What Creaney presents to us is a warrior that i…