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Showing posts from August, 2012

My Thoughts Are Worth More Than A Value Meal (…At Least I Think They Are), guest post by Dennis B. Boyer

I write short fiction.

Very short fiction, typically. I have a terse style and I enjoy writing short tales. Particularly flash-fiction. I love very-short stories. My favorite author is Fredric Brown.

However, my following thoughts are uncharacteristically verbose, so I warn you now.

It’s been discussed before, but I’m new to the game. So I’m going to bring it up again. Join me, if you wish.

I’ve always written stories. In high-school and college I wrote all the time. But I never got picked up by traditional publishing. Sure a short-story here or there in some small lit mag or science-fiction zine. But I was never going to be the next big, breakout writer. So I largely put it away, focusing instead on more productive things. Work, family, you know… “real life”.

And then I bought my wife an e-reader last Christmas. She wanted one so I got her an Amazon Kindle. I was high-brow, so I wasn’t interested in an e-reader; I preferred “real” books. But when my wife was preoccu…

Review of "A Good Nanny," short story by Barbara House

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Summary: Maude Barrow smokes too much, drinks Wild Turkey, and desperately needs a job. When she sees a classified ad for a nanny in the wealthy Munford home, she fakes her resume and references, lies her way into the position, and seems to have it made. . . until they ask her to sign a contract with a mysterious, ominous clause.
Review: This story is fun though not exactly subtle.  House does an excellent job creating a likable antihero with the nanny.  Sure, the nanny lied a little on her resume.  But it was all for the noble cause of personal comfort!  On some level, we can all relate to that.
And so our intrepid nanny gets hired by a too-good-to-be-true family to watch the children.  It's at this point that the hints start to cut in like a butter knife.  There is the ominous clause in the contract (which I won't state here but suffice to say once you read it, you have a pretty good idea as to what's up with the kids).  The ominous clause is repeated multiple times coupl…

Rebranding Old Stories with a New Pen Name

So I may be crazy.  But I did it anyway.

I started a new pen name.  Even worse, I changed the author name on stories that have already been out on the market for two years.  There is a high probability that this could turn into a gigantic headache.  Nothing lost, nothing gained, right?

And so world I would like to introduce you to the Western story branch of the Alain Gomez corporation: Annie Turner.

Will this help with sales eventually?  I have no idea.  But it was not a decision I came to lightly.  I've been thinking about it for quite some time.  I've talked to friends and family, discussed it on forums, etc.    The pros and cons seem to be equal in number.

What helped spur me into action was reading Dean Wesley Smith's blog about things authors do to shoot themselves in the foot.  One of them happens to be being shy with pen names.  He flat out states that pen names help to define reader expectations.  You see Clive Cussler and you expect a certain type of reading expe…

Review of "Seven Lives to Repay Our Country," short story by Edward Carpenter

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Summary:
The battle of Saipan pitted US Marines and Allied soldiers against the island's Japanese defenders in one of the bloodiest battles in the Pacific War. In this short story written by a US Marine, a pair of Japanese soldiers on Saipan confront the inevitability of defeat in different ways.


Review:
I had to mull over this story for awhile before I could write a review.  War stories such as this really aren't my preferred genre so I wanted to make sure that my assessment was fair.

This story switches between two main viewpoints.  The first viewpoint is a pair of Japanese grunts as they talk to each other and prepare for what will obviously be the final push.  In between these conversations is the second "greater power" viewpoint.  Basically, little snippets that read like a newspaper article with an obvious political agenda.

The exchange between the soldiers is really quite good.  Carpenter does an excellent job showing two believable characters as they cope with…

Readers Buy the Brand, Not the Story

What is a short story worth?

This seems to be a hot topic these days among indie authors.  There is this ridiculous obsession with what "readers" will think is a fair price for a story.  Some authors think that the story should be at least 5,000 words long in order to sell it for 99 cents.  Others argue it has to be 10,000 words to be worth 99 cents.  And still others (like me) will put a 2,000 story for sale at 99 cents.

You know what?  None of this arguing matters.

You want to know why?  Readers by the brand, not the story.

People don't pay $4 for a coffee.  They are paying $4 for a Starbucks coffee.  That same person would probably refuse to buy a gas station coffee for $4 because in their mind it would be a rip-off.  Gas station coffee is low quality whereas, in their mind, Starbucks provides a high quality coffee drinking experience.

The same goes for short stories.  When you first start out as an author, you are gas station coffee.  It's not that your stuff is …