Friday, December 28, 2012

The Latest Review of Cities of the Dead

Four stars! And some sentences, albeit by yet another "anonymous" reviewer:

 Good story

This collection on zombie stories, vaguely connected while occupying the same story universe, is simultaneously oddly hopeful and hopeless. I know this was a web series, but I'd have liked a bit more tie-in of the vignettes and a more satisfying and conclusive ending. Otherwise I really enjoyed this collection. The writing was great, and it was a pleasure to read.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

My Weak Tea Xmas Gift to You

know I'm still working on the final re-write of "Of Monsters and Men," the sequel to The Divine World, but that doesn't mean the "writing curse" hasn't made me start a new story. Your Xmas gift is the first three paragraphs of initial rough draft of my next short story/novella/novel. Enjoy:
The Three Wishes

Some people call me a genie. Others, a djinn. But, yes, I can grant you three wishes. Not that I have any choice in the matter, though. If you have the bottle, just open the thing up and I puff out in a cloud of smoke or a flash of light or, if you like, I can just suddenly be there. Most people get tired of the smoke and light show early on and ask if I can just quietly materialize. Doesn’t matter to me, I don’t know what any of it looks like, although from time-to-time somebody will show me a recording he made with his 8mm camera/video recorder/digital camera/cellular telephone.

People always ask me what it’s like in the bottle. They imagine there’s a little apartment set up in there, with a bedroom, a kitchen and a living area. Some people guess I spend my time smoking a hookah and drinking alcohol. Others muse that I must pass the time by painting, reading or playing the sitar. People are always asking if I “keep up with the times” by miniaturizing modern conveniences and taking them into the bottle with me.

But I have no idea what it looks like inside the bottle. When I’m in the bottle, I don’t exist. There’s no thought or dreaming or passing of time, there is only not existing. And then someone opens the bottle and poof!, there I am. Could be minutes or years or centuries, but it’s all the same to me. One moment I’m granting someone’s third wish, the next moment I’m somewhere else, watching someone clap their hands to their cheeks in astonishment that they have a “magic genie bottle.” If there’s time in-between the events, I don’t notice it. I think I’d like the time off in the apartment with the miniaturized conveniences, though.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Jane Austen Death Match

If you live in the suburbs of Philly, you can join me the third Wednesday of the month at the Main Line Writer's Group event, a Meet Up group. Every other month we do "lectures," in-between those meetings we do critique sessions of our work. If you're a nobody writer like the rest of us, it's a cozy place to hang every month (and the host location has an awesome selection of beer, so...).

Anyway, here's a published work by Tony Conaway, one of the regulars. He bills himself as a "business book writer," but he writes comedy fiction. Although, from reading the piece, maybe he ought to write serious Victorian literature ... 

Thursday, December 06, 2012

A Note from the Writing Process

Working through the umpteenth rewrite of Of Monsters and Men, the sequel to The Divine World. I keep coming across notes in the text that simply say "write better." And then, when I look at the text, I wonder if I should just delete it and move on. Sometimes - a lot of times - you over-write elements of the original story thinking you need to emphasize something, but during the rewrite you look at it and go, "is it even necessary?"

Deleting is hard because you feel like you're killing your baby. But, if you're a writer, you know that sometimes you just have to do it.

Not every detail is necessary. And not every sentence you write is golden. Remember: as a writer, you probably write a lot of filler. That's bad and detracts from the story. Always edit down. It's hard, but train yourself to do it: you want to leave your readers wanting more (and you can give that in the next story).

Monday, December 03, 2012

Give the Gift of Life

The hell? Just finished watching the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead and the announcer comes on to say new episodes in ... February?!?! What am I going to do get my zombie killin' fix?

You, on the other hand, can get a copy of Cities of the Dead, in paper or electrons, and feast on 20 hand-crafted artisanal stories about humanity in the time of the zombie apocalypse. It's Christmas, get one to give as a gift, too!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Re-Write Process

I just posted this on my Facebook site and figured it should maybe go here, too:

You "really" want to know what's on my mind? Okay, I'll show you:

"David Arris and his team raced dawn to the earth. The sun was barely slivering above the eastern horizon as he and his teammates ripped through 20,000 feet on their way to zero. They were falling like angels cast down from heaven, clad in HALO suits and armed with modernity's most lethal weaponry, and their intent was to destroy a group of the faithful. Not because God had ordered it, but because man had."
This is the first paragraph to the sequel to The Divine World, and I'm unhappy with the first sentence because it just doesn't seem strong enough. Suggestions? And, yes, I've re-written the entire paragraph multiple times to get to this point. This is the life of a fiction writer... at night...
So, Yeah, I'm obsessing on the first sentence of the story.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Of Monsters and Men


I just love that "word." Anyway, the first draft of the sequel to The Divine World is "officially" done. Comes out around 27,000 words, which is - I dunno - 105 pages of 8X11 paper? I'll spend the rest of the month going through the notes and cleaning it up, but the story is basically done, so there won't be any worries about a major re-write of some aspect. Probably.

Smiley emoticon.

Yeah, I wrote "smiley emoticon" instead of inserting a "smiley emoticon." Just because.

It's short because, as I think I've said, I'm trying something different. I'm going to write the stories out as a serial rather than as a series of novels. This means the stories will be shorter, but more focused, with less filler material. "Of Monsters and Men" is basically 24 hours in the life of David Arris on a mission that goes wrong - again - once the supernatural elements of the world intrude. And Nereika has her own timeline separate from Arris'. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Divine World Sequel

What? You thought this blog was only about Cities of the Dead? Hardly.

Been working on the sequel to The Divine World, my attempt to modernize the swords 'n' sandals genre of fantasy by bringing it into the modern era. Right now it's at about 25,000 words and is nearly done. Yeah: nearly done.

Since I'm doing this non-traditionally - I'm an indie writer - I've decided to chuck the "novel a year" model that most writers use and go with something more akin to serialization. That means I'll put out a new story - Divine World series - about once a quarter. I expect them to be novella or short-story length and I'll charge less than I would for a novel (probably).

I expect I'll still write novels, too. I've got some non-DW stories in me that I want to tell, and, if I can get around to it, I've got a "sequel" to Cities of the Dead that I really want to write.

Anyway, the sequel to The Divine World is tentatively called "Of Monsters and Men" and is about 100 pages of 8x11 paper. I have to finish the final two chapters and then go through the re-write process, which means it should be ready for release in December. It'll go up as an eBook and maybe in paperback through Createspace, since it doesn't cost anything but time to offer it that way, too.

And, then, I'll start the third story in The Divine World series. Unless CotD takes off and readers want more of that universe, in which case I might change gears. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

CotD Gets Starred Reviews

This is the most recent review of Cities of the Dead on the Barnes and Noble website:

Posted September 11, 2012

 Cool read

Good stories
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The reviews on the short stories have been similarly awesome.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Get Your Copy of Cities of the Dead

Now available pretty much everywhere eBooks are sold, and in paperback at Barnes and Noble and Amazon. This is the full collection of 20 stories and includes the 15 stories released for free online between October 2011 and March 2012 and includes five new stories to complete the book. The original 15 have all been cleaned up a bit, some of them have minor rewrites to them (mostly dialogue) and are in the correct reading order. The final five stories tie everything together, giving the reader the feeling of having read a "novel" told in short stories. Yes, there is a beginning, middle and end to the tales of the zombie apocalypse.

Not sure you want to buy? The original 15 stories are still available for sampling. Go here and start the journey.

And if you've already read it and are interested in more of my work, visit my author pages at Smashwords and Amazon.