Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Works in Progress

Been working more on my house than the new story, lately, so … well … my house is moving forward. Almost done installing the new hardwood floors. Have to finish the kitchen cabinets, plumbing, and fine details, so the book may suffer a little bit and sit it out while I try and make real life more livable.

But the story is coming. About a third of the way through it, and it's moving along just fine. Probably won't be out in the spring as I'd hoped, but unless the house surprises me (and, it always does) late spring or early summer are entirely doable. Sometimes these things write themselves, and, sometimes, I have to bring them out kicking and screaming. This one's in the middle.

But the kitchen re-build is more important deadline-wise than the new story, since I live in the kitchen.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Everything Is Free!!

Yeah, so in a shameless attempt to gain readers, I've made The Signal, The Divine World and (still) Cities of the Dead free on all eBook platforms. If you've been curious, well, here's your chance to read some off-the-beaten-track fiction.

Here's the Amazon link, but the eBooks are gratis anywhere eBooks are sold.

And if you like the stories, write a review and tell your friends.

For the curious, the current novel is still ongoing, albeit slowly. I'm writing it "seats of the pants" style, instead of going off an outline, so the story has a life of its own. I'm frequently amazed by it, and I'm the guy writing it. But, then, some nights the pages just stare at me and dare me to write a sentence. But that's the curse of "seat of the pants" writing: you just go where the Muse takes you, and sometimes it makes you watch television until midnight and go to bed not having written a word. Other night, you're furiously typing.

Not that outlining in advance is any different: you still have to come up with the nuts-and-bolts in outline form before writing, which can lead to many nights staring at an outline and wondering where it's all supposed to go.

Writing is a mental disorder.

Or, an addiction. If it's a mental disorder, well, then … because I'll never be able to admit I'm an addict and convince myself to quit. And I'm not sure I want to be cured. The stories force themselves out whether I want them to or not, and, mostly, I want them to: I want to see how they end, too.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Last Rewrite of CotD is Done

So, for whatever reason, I started going through my paperback copy of CotD and was astonished - well, not really - to find minor "technical glitches" throughout. Most of them were missing words that didn't change the sense of a sentence, but did make the sentence not read correctly. A couple of the mistakes were changes in a description of something from one scene to the next. So, I spent a couple of weeks reading the stories very slowly, marking the mistakes with post-it notes. And, today, I went through the digital files and corrected the mistakes.

I'll put the clean files up soon - maybe tomorrow - and then I have to get back to the work of writing the new novel, which is slogging by a page or two a day, on days I have time to write. So, in the very near future, the eBook versions and paperback text should all be more-or-less "professional grade."

The lesson learned from this is not to do my edits on the computer screen, but on paper. I must get lazy looking at the screen and scrolling down, looking for errors. On paper, they just jump out at you.

And in "exciting" news, I attended my first-ever Book Release Event. One of the shorts in CotD was accepted into an anthology produced by the Main Line Writers Group, of which I am a member. (We hired outside editors to do the judging, and all submissions were anonymous, so it wasn't a pure vanity project). There were more than fifty submissions, and twenty-one were accepted.

It was a fun first to lose my cherry on an official book release party, and it was weird to sign autographs, but someday I hope to be the only author in the room, promoting my latest book. Because the groupies would all be mine.

Anyway, Unclaimed Baggage: Voices of the Main Line Writers Group is available through Createspace and will be up on Amazon soon. I'll provide a link when I get one. My story in it is "Days Go By," and I had to do a small bit of re-write before I submitted it, so this collection is, technically, the first spot where that revamped story appears. Get it for historical purposes if you're a collector!

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

CotD goes Free!!!!

Cities of the Dead: Stories from the Zombie Apocalypse is now free.

For the time being, that is.

Since I have no marketing budget, and since giving away free copies of the individual shorts isn't stampeding zombie lit fans my way, I've decided to give the entire enchilada away as a promotional tool. And then, when my book has hit a certain amount of downloads, return to the marketplace with a price attached.

It's been two years since I put the first story out there, and since then about 45,000 copies of either the shorts or anthology have been downloaded for free or purchased (mostly free downloads of the individual shorts, but a not-insignificant amount of sales, too). That's not bad, but there are something like 9 billion people on the planet, and I want to get to as many of them as possible, and October 2013 seems like the right time to try and get noticed.

I do want to make a living off my fiction, after all, and to do that I need to let people know I write fiction, and if giving away the milk gets enough people to notice the cow, well, then I might be in the steak business soon enough...

It's available in all eBook formats, but I'll provide a few links here:


Monday, September 16, 2013

I Took a Brief Detour

Been working sporadically on the new story. I had been steaming along but about a month ago I came across some television show called Once Upon a Time and became totally addicted, spending my nighttime writing bloc watching episodes of the show rather than sitting in the study tapping away on the keyboard.

And guess what? Just as I finished up Season 1, Netflix put up the episodes for Season 2, and Season 3 is set to start soon and get hoovered up by my DVR, so - ahem - I'm going to need discipline to get the story moving forward.

Cities of the Dead continues to putter along, however, and got a brand-new review just yesterday, which I'll post here:

By MIke on September 15, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Amazon Verified Purchase
This guy could give Max Brooks a run for his money. Well worth the $2.99. I liked it very much.
Very nice. It's gratifying to see someone come back and give a review - especially a positive review like this one. He could've just turned his Kindle off or started the next book in his queue.

Once I finish my daughter's bedroom make-over/reconstruction project, I may spend some afternoon time formatting some of my older fiction into eBooks and putting them up while I continue on the current project. But I've been saying that all summer...

Friday, August 02, 2013

To Blog or Not To Blog

You know, I used to write a blog. Nobody read it. So, even though my better instincts tell me that I need to sell my fiction by blogging, by creating a community of readers, part of me says, "meh."

So, anyway, a half-hearted post here to let you know I'm writing something new. Not another zombie book (I'd write another if the other one sells and a sequel seemed ... profitable).  Given my writing discipline, it'll probably be out next spring. I'm at page 100 right now, which is a good indication it's going to achieve a live birth (lots of my stories die in the first twenty pages)..

The behind-the-scenes stuff keep the writing a slow pace, these days: part-time job, occasional contractor job, and, EXCITING, a possible new part-time job that could turn into a full-time job. None of which will stop the writing (it's a mental disorder at this point), but could slow it. But there is a new story - a novel - on the way. And, if I get time, I may upload as eBooks some of my earlier unpublished "literary" works. I've got like five novels and a short-story collection that've never been seen. So, if time allows.

The muse can be a bitch at times. But you can't write without one.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Latest Review of Cities of the Dead!

By JFirch
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
It's a bit tough to do new things with the Zombie genre, and I don't know if you could say the author does it in this collection of short stories, but I do think it's effective and interesting storytelling. I prefer my scary stories a little less bleak, but that's all a matter of preference. If you're a die-hard (heh) fan of Brooksian Zombies, you're in for some trouble, but if mindless shambling undead are not enough of a challenge in your mind, this book might be a good fit for you.


Friday, April 26, 2013

Top 100 in Horror!

Thanks to a link by Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds, Cities of the Dead has cracked the Top 100 on Amazon's Horror list! W00t! Previously, it had been dead in the water on Amazon, amassing zero sales in the last two months (it's been doing yeoman's work on Barnes & Noble, but not enough to buy a Porsche).
With any luck, serendipity or misfortune, it may rise higher! But for this one brief, shining moment, I've achieved Top 100 status as a writer. Might have to start drinking early, today ... 

Minneapolis Examiner Reviews a CotD Short Story!

Wow, a review of "All Hell Breaks Loose" from my Cities of the Dead collection in the Minneapolis Examiner's book review section! He gave the story 3 out of 5 stories. It's nice to get noticed out there.

Friday, March 08, 2013

A review of the short story "Fight Club" from the Cities of the Dead anthology:

Posted March 3, 2013

 Another great short story. About 27ish pgs. In this story we get

Another great short story. About 27ish pgs. In this story we get to meet some young men who are trying to figure out to fight zombies effectively & start taking back thier town. Mr. Young does a great job as always of showing us people trying to survive in the age of zombies.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Of Monsters and Men - Now Available!

"Of Monsters and Men" is now available through Smashwords! Free this week only. It's the sequel to "The Divine World," and our hero David Arris is forced to confront another hidden reality of the world.

In the first story, Arris - a member of a super-elite ultra-black ops commando team - finds himself confronted with a wizard living on a hidden island in The Bermuda Triangle. In this follow-up, Arris is on a mission to eliminate a terrorist encampment inside Iran when a beast of ancient origins is disturbed and takes action against both the terrorists and his special operations team. Confronted with two outsize threats, Arris must choose a course of survival while trying to maintain operational security.

It's a tightly-plotted action-adventure set in the modern world with a heady dose of realistically-done supernatural elements. The "real" world gets even stranger for Arris as he realizes legends and fairy tales may actually be based on real-life history.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Cities of the Dead gets another review

Finally, a second reader review on the Amazon site:

5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome! January 17, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
A very well-written collection of stories from the viewpoint of survivors all over the world. The author shows us the events leading up to the apocalypse with the encounter of the possible origin of the Zombie infection (very rare in the zombie apocalypse genre) & Patient Zero all the way up to surviving years after things fall apart.

Moments of Suspense!
Detailed storylines!
Did i mention Zombies?

If you are a Zombie story fan, this is worth your money!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Five Star Review for "The Third Time is the Harm" from Cities of the Dead

The most recent review of one of the shorts in my Cities of the Dead zombie apocalypse anthology:

Posted January 3, 2013

 Scariest zombie short story ever

Spoiler-short, well written'keeps your interest. This Zombie story is the first that made me think we really may lose, they are the predators and we are the prey, even when we are organized and `prepared`. They have all the time to plot and wait to eat us while we have to stay alive, find food' shelter and warmth.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Works in Progress

Okay, okay, so I didn't get "Of Monsters and Men" when I thought I would. You can blame me. I blame my wife: she's my (nominal) proofreader, and she had to read - ahem - Fifty Shades first. Well. So, it's coming soon.

On the other hand, I've been making something out of nothing on a story tentatively titled "Three Wishes." It's good. I think. But I always think that, or else I would have quit it by now. Stay tuned, a new story is due any week now.