Archive of Old News6/4/20: And last but not least, the new cover is available on the print edition.
4/24/20: The new cover is now available on Nook! Smashwords has many other formats. For more info, read the blog post.
4/22/20: The new cover is now available on Kindle. For more info, read the blog post.
4/17/20: Have a look at the new cover for Armistice Day!
3/31/20: My father died, then Neil Peart died, and now there's a global pandemic. I've been emotionally adrift without a compass, and clouds have blot out the sun and stars. It's difficult not to be overcome by gloom and surrender to the abyss.
Until I can find a way back to writing, I've set to getting a new cover for Armistice Day and an author page on the dreaded Facebook.
11/21/19: 40,000 words!
Hit it last night. I'd basically gone over two months without writing as life got busy and only recently made the time and murdered my excuses. Looking back to when my last milestone was, I cringe.
9/2/19: Two days of writing: one of 350 words, one of 600. Both in the same chapter.
7/24/19: Got another 500 words, primarily the intro to the meat of a chapter. Provides background for a major decision by a leading character.
7/23/19: A good day yesterday. 1,000+ words! Resolved an interrogation chapter which led me to discover new characters and twists to the conspiracy I hadn't considered before.
7/7/19: Nope. Nada. Zilch.
Celebrated my 20th wedding anniversary with my wife in Iceland (Fantastic time), visited a college on my son's list, repaired a leak in my roof, and harvested firewood for next winter (now splitting said firewood).
Also got bit by the geneaology bug. Hard. It's like solving a mystery. Pushing it to see how far back it goes. Addictive.
3/21/19: Wrote 900+ words for Gateway a couple days ago. Filled in the dialogue for a confrontation scene that I'd been unsure how to develop. It just rolled on out. It wasn't a moment of epiphany. I just forced myself to start typing. And once I started, I just kept right on going until I finished the chapter.
Here's to more days like that one. \_/
3/15/19: Not much to add. Winter seems done. The late snow is melting, revealing the ice beneath. No real work accomplished on Gateway. Managed to start working on a short story. Looked at a potential new cover for Armistice Day.
Yes, life is keeping me busy.
And yes, my lack of progress is eating away at me. I don't know how to make it stop.
1/4/19: Yep, I survived the 2018 holiday season. Three months of prepping for not only holidays, but birthdays as well. Woo boy, I'm exhausted. Still catching up on lost sleep, and now I need to lose ten pounds. Seriously. Twenty would be better.
Unfortunately, the fourth quarter of 2018 was a bust for writing. There hasn't been time. I completely understand why some writers run away to remote locations or hide themselves to get work done. I love my family and friends, but maintaining healthy, happy relationships requires time and presence. So, writing is neglected. And as I watch the pages on the calendar flip by on the breeze of time, I try really hard not to let it eat away at me.
Here's to a more productive 2019.
9/19/18: It's been the soggiest of summers. Lots of humidity. Like sub-tropical, dew points in the low 70's humidity. Plenty of rain, too. Probably the most we've had to use the AC since living here. And the mosquitoes! Holy crap! Not only could we not be out at night (still can't), but they even attacked me during the day.
As for writing, well, the slow pace continues. I hit 35,000 words yesterday. Closed a plot hole, too, which was nice. But yeah, six months to write 5,000 words? Ugh. But I realized something positive yesterday. I was initially concerned about having enough story to get to novel length. Not any more. There's enough story arc still to write that 50,000 words isn't going to be a problem.
3/5/18: Weird weather here in the second half of winter, now spring. We had days in 60s and even 70, but now we're back into the 30s. I'll be impressed if the flower bulbs my daughter and I planted last fall survive. They started coming up a month ago and are showing signs of freezer burn.
But enough of the bad. I've been writing! I hit the 30,000 word milestone late last week. Yay!
1/29/18: The last two months are a blur. December had its usual holiday fare, but my son's wrist was broken during hockey practice, so that added an extra layer of complexity to life. The carpeting was installed in early January. Since then, I don't know.
Whenever I'm away from writing for an extended period of time, I find that I have to spend a bit of time steeping my mind in the story before I can write anything new. So there's been that. Just as steam locomotives don't get going until the boiler is all fired up, so too goes my writing.
11/20/17: Finished the foyer work, got a late start on brewing the annual winter porter, waiting for that estimate on carpeting, and Thanksgiving is just a stone's throw away. Christmas is on the horizon. So maybe I can get back to writing soon. Maybe.
10/10/17: The summer wasn't all bad. I got to catch the eclipse, and that was just plain amazing. But I am still working on flood repairs. The foyer floor and base moulding are done, working on the closet doors now.
9/9/17: What a summer it's been! Actually, it's been a pain in the ass. Oh, the weather was fine. I was busy, but not in a good way. Read on if you want to know why I've been more quiet than usual. I was even too tired to read most nights.
6/6/17: May was not a good month for writing. The weather finally improved, and so I found the need to get outside to work. I finished the other half of the retaining wall, planted bushes and flowers, spread some gravel and mulch, built a new kindling box (from scrap wood, of course), and got started on the wood pile for next winter. So it's not like I was idle, just busy on non-literary things.
I'm cross-posting my book reviews from Goodreads to my blog, but I'm not going to make announcements about that here. If you like my book reviews—or just want to know what I'm reading—just look in either location.
5/1/17: If you're seeing this message, then my webhost transfer was successful. Yay!
My new webhost is Stablehost; my old one was FatCow. Why the switch? Well, besides the SiteLock issues, cost did it. I was facing another rate increase this summer. It would've brought the cost increases up an additional 80% from what they were seven years ago. I couldn't justify that. If all goes well at Stablehost, I should be able to knock my costs down to a third of that.
April was a good month for writing. I increased my word count by over 10%. As I filled in these added details, it revealed more of the path forward. I'm very much a pantser, someone who literally writes by the seat of their pants. Outlines don't really cut it for me. I typically know where I'm starting and where I want to end up. While I know a few parts along the way, it's very much the view one gets at 10,000 feet.
I find the path as I write. The more I write, the more is revealed.
4/3/17: Launched The Sanitarium on Saturn, my new PR blog feed, on Friday and linked it to Goodreads, Amazon, and Smashwords over the weekend. I'm still playing with the look of it, and I have to add a lot more side column stuff, but I'm pleased that setting it up went without a hitch.
I forgot to mention that I finished editing Rob's latest book, and I've been finding time to write.
3/31/17: Had to delete Launchpad, my WordPress blog. I've been getting regular complaints from SiteLock, a security partner for my webhost (FatCow), that my site contains malware. The very first time, tech support at FatCow (SiteLock won't take any corrective action unless I sign up for their service) found a few WordPress files. I deleted them. Since then, no files have ever been found to be a problem. Coincidental WordPress updates tend to silence the alerts.
WordPress is also partnered with FatCow, so I'm caught in the middle between two partners butting heads. When I went to login to the WordPress control panel today to correct the latest complaint, I couldn't establish a secure connection, and Firefox freaked out. I'm tired of this bullshit, so I just FTP'd in and deleted all of the WordPress files. My feeds to GoodReads, Amazon, and Smashwords will crash, but I don't care anymore. I'll find a new blog and re-establish the feeds later.
3/6/17: Oh crap! It's March already. Where did the time go? Damn. Catching up on my TBR pile at least.
Very little writing done, and now I'm editing Rob Steiner's latest Natta Magus novel.
Taking a lecture on DVD course entitled "Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft" by Brooks Landon. Enjoying it. Very informative.
1/9/17: Made the official "Goodbye Podler Blog" announcement today.
12/30/16: I reviewed Christian Ellingsen's The Silver Mask, book one of The Vasini Chronicles over on the New Podler blog. It starts out as a murder mystery full of political intrigue, but it's set on some mirror Earth in a time of flintlocks and alchemy. Recommended.
Another year draws to a close. I made progress on Gateway, obviously not enough to finish. That has to be a goal for 2017. To help achieve it, I'm winding down the Podler blog. I've spent way too much time promoting the writing careers of others at the expense of my own. There's only so many hours in the day. Since none of my other blogmates has the time to take over the management of the blog, I've no other recourse but to shut it down. Formal announcement to come in January on the Podler blog.
Bottled the "Black Moon IPA" (black IPA) and my annual batch of "DED of Winter Ale" (porter) earlier in the month. Hope to sample them on New Year's Eve.
Played D&D for the first time with my kids yesterday. It was fun. My son was reluctant, but my daughter has been asking for a while now. We were going to play 1st edition (yeah, I'm that old school), but I'd picked up the 3rd edition Player's Handbook several years ago and the kids seem to be more into that. Which adventure did we start with? Why, Keep on the Borderlands of course.
11/22/16: I reviewed L. Marshall James's Speck over on the New Podler blog. It's a horror thriller that could've been a novel but was abandoned at novella length.
Worked some more on Gateway last week. I can feel the gears start to move. Have to stick with it.
Started brewing an experimental batch: Black IPA or Cascadian Dark Ale or black ale. I don't know if the brewing community has come to a consensus on the genre name yet. O.G. 1.064. Might be a bit high. It's a 1-gallon batch so it's easy to overdo it on ingredients.
11/16/16: I reviewed Damian Bruce's The Interview over on the New Podler blog. It's a good dystopian thriller with a lousy cover.
Finally had a chance to wade back into Gateway last night. While I have notes, I really have to soak in it for a while to drive the story forward. I think it's 1/3 of the way there, so I've got a lot of gaps to fill.
Started brewing my annual winter porter on Monday. O.G. 1.070!
10/21/16: I reviewed Charles Blanchard's Kingdom's End over on the New Podler blog. Think of it as Watership Down for rats.
There was a hiccup on the Blogger servers at the end of September, resulting in the deletion of our blogrolls and book review link lists. Fortunately I found an archived version of the blog, so I was able to copy all of those links to a safe place. Took me three weeks to squeeze in the time to re-enter them though.
Finished the new front walkway project. Rented a log splitter to finish splitting the wood. Lots of gnarley, twisted pieces. Small tasks remain, and then...oh my goodness, I think I might have time to write. Something bad must be about to happen.
10/3/16: I reviewed R.A. Burg's The Human and the Hunted over on the New Podler blog. It's a first contact story with not one but two aliens.
Still working on the new front walkway project. Soooo close to being done. After that, I have to finish splitting wood. Somewhere along the way, I lost September so I really have to get a move on.
One tidbit of good news regarding my editing. Rob Steiner's Citizen Magus got five stars over at Marian L. Thorpe's blog (Yay Rob!). Towards the bottom of the review, there was this tidbit, which made me smile.
"At this point in a review, I usually discuss my 'niggles': things that weren’t quite right. With the exception of one error missed in the copy-editing (an 'it's' used when 'its' should have been) I found no errors of grammar, spelling or production in the e-pub version I read, for which the author and his editor should be commended."
8/30/16: I reviewed M.L. Kennedy's 100 by 100 over on the New Podler blog. Kennedy uses only 100 words to tell each of the 100 stories in this collection. It might seem like just a gimmick, but Kennedy is clever enough to pull it off.
Kids go back to school tomorrow so I should be able to find time to return to writing. Have to finish the new front walkway project first.
8/10/16: I reviewed Brady Koch's Guns, Gods & Robots over on the New Podler blog. It's a nice collection of short stories with a bit of a Bradbury-ish sci-fi flavor.
7/14/16: I reviewed Scott Rhine's Union of Souls over on the New Podler blog. It's the third book in Rhine's space opera series, Gigaparsec, and the best to date.
6/20/16: Happy Summer Solstice!
I reviewed Richard Abbott's Far from the Spaceports over on the New Podler blog. It was a refreshing little sci-fi story that didn't have any killer AIs hellbent on eradicating humanity, nor was it a dystopian tale of oppression or rebellion. Just a good story.
5/19/16: I reviewed Cloud Country, the sequel to No Dogs in Philly, over on the New Podler blog. I hate giving bad reviews, but being dishonest is worse.
It's been a cool spring, but I've finally been getting outside. No writing unfortunately. I took my wife and kids on a road trip to visit my parents. Getting ready for the trip, the trip itself, and getting caught up afterwards sucked up a lot of time. Oh yeah, and the NHL playoffs.
My favorite neighbors have given up on CT and moved to Florida. They were nice people and recently retired. She was an insurance agent; he was an arborist. He taught me a lot about the care of trees, not to mention lending a helpful hand when I needed to have tree work done. I'm really sorry to see them go.
There are now five houses on my street—it's two blocks long—that are for sale. I'm wondering how much of it has to do with the state's poor economic health.
4/11/16: I reviewed God of Ruin, the last book in Michael John Grist's Ruins trilogy, over on the New Podler blog.
Finished editing book two in Rob Steiner's Journals of Natta Magus series.
I heard spring is coming. I hope so. I drained the last of the gas out of the snowblower today.
3/18/16: I reviewed Scott Rhine's Supergiant over on the New Podler blog. It's the sequel to Void Contract, which I reviewed back in July. More sci-fi adventure fun.
Started editing book two in Rob Steiner's Journals of Natta Magus series.
I keep finding time to work on Gateway to Empire. More of the "500 words here, 500 words there" variety, but I'm enjoying the fact that I'm back to writing. I'm pleasantly surprised how easily the words are flowing out of me.
2/17/16: I reviewed Richard Levesque's The Somniscient over on the New Podler blog.
I've had more time to work on Gateway to Empire. While it's of the "500 words here, 500 words there" variety, it's still progress.
1/27/16: I reviewed King Ruin, the sequel to Mr. Ruins, over on the New Podler blog.
Work continues, albeit slowly, on Gateway to Empire. I was able to fix a conflict that didn't ring true and expand a couple parts. I'm finding that I tend to offer a rushed narrative on the initial draft. Mere bones of a story. I'm going back to add flesh.
12/30/15: Over on the New Podler blog, the best indie book reviewed over there this year has been posted.
I'm happy that I got some work done on Gateway to Empire, but it's a long way from finished. I solemnly hope that I'll get it done in 2016, but optimism is not my strong suit.
11/30/15: I reviewed Tethered Worlds: Blue Star Setting over on the New Podler blog.
11/20/15: Over on the Podler blog, I wrote an opinion piece that asked the question, "Should Book Reviewers be Paid for Promoting Your Book?" I wrote it in response to "Book Reviewers Don't Charge Enough, And Why You Under-Appreciate Them" which appeared on the Tenka International blog the week before.
11/13/15: I reviewed Ethnic Albanians Need Not Apply over on the New Podler blog. It's a collection of the first 300 strips of the webcomic CheapCaffeine.
I found some time and inspiration to work on Gateway for a couple days. I liked the progress I made. Just wish that I had more days like that.
10/30/15: Finished editing Shattered, the third book in Terry Green's White World series. Recently, we had a cover reveal and book excerpt over at New Podler in hopes of stirring up interest in it.
We need book reviewers over at New Podler. Join us! Please. We're losing reviewers for the usual reasons (work, school, family, etc.), not to mention burnout. Rob found it was taking too much time away from writing, and considering how little I've written since coming aboard, I'm feeling the same. Some new blood on the team would help a lot.
9/28/15: I reviewed Boys over on the New Podler blog. It's a trilogy of stories that seemed to be a fictionalized memoir of the author's life growing up in Texas during the 80s & 90s.
Rob Steiner renamed his new book Citizen Magus and launched a Kindle Scout campaign.
Started editing the third book in Terry Green's White World series, Shattered.
9/3/15: I reviewed I Truly Lament: Working Through the Holocaust over on the New Podler blog. It's a short story collection written as therapy for an author trying to deal with the Holocaust. Not exactly a beach read.
I started editing Rob Steiner's latest book. The working title is Natta Magus. If you know your Latin, the title might be a clue. I'll be done with my part very soon.
Coming up is the third book in Terry Green's White World series.
On the homefront, I have to wrap up the den reno and split some dead elm for firewood. While it's forecast to be 90° today, winter isn't that far away.
7/27/15: I reviewed Void Contract over on the New Podler blog, a nice escapist sci-fi romp.
Been busy with chaffeuring my kids to summer activites, hosting family members from out-of-state, doing a little home improvement on the den, and attending an out-of-state wedding. Two editing jobs on the horizon.
6/24/15: I reviewed No Dogs in Philly over on the New Podler blog.
6/18/15: Over on the New Podler blog, I interviewed Rob Steiner, my friend and author of the Codex Antonius trilogy and more.
6/11/15: Over on the New Podler blog, I interviewed Michael John Grist, author of the Ruins War saga.
5/30/15: I reviewed Mr. Ruins over on the New Podler blog.
5/21/15: Reviews are difficult to get. So when I get one, I need to draw attention to it. Even the critical ones. It's quick. Have a look.
On the bright side, I've had time to work on Gateway, and I believe that it addresses her points.
4/21/15: I reviewed Eden over on the New Podler blog.
I've spent this month editing Trapped, the second book in Terry Green's White World series.
4/1/15: I reviewed This Darkness Light over on the New Podler blog.
Since my last entry, I actually found time to write! Although I only added a thousand words to Gateway to Empire, it felt good to finally make some progress on it. I'm hoping to make more progress in April.
3/9/15: I reviewed Tethered Worlds: Unwelcome Star over on the New Podler blog. I also wrapped up editing Rob Steiner's Muses of the Republic last month.
The long, brutal winter might actually be over. While we still have over two feet of snow on the ground, temperatures have been above freezing for a few days now, and we've got some 40+° days set up this week. After filing my taxes and filling out the paperwork to refinance my mortgage, I'll actually have an open schedule.
2/6/15: Over on the New Podler blog, there's an interview with my friend (and author), Terry Green.
2/5/15: Ta da! Re-design done. Well, not really. The re-design idea is done, but it hasn't been completely executed throughout the site. I couldn't wait. I've done the basics and I'll continue to copy the changes through the site, but I couldn't look at the old one any longer.
1/13/15: A new year. I think it's high time for a new design for the website. More people are using their mobile devices to surf the Web, and this site isn't friendly to small screens. I think it's time to retire the frames.
I have a couple books to edit. First up, is the first book in Terry Green's new White World saga, Iced. It's set some time in the future when an ice age has struck again. After that, Rob Steiner's third book in his Codex Antonius series, Muses of the Republic.
No promises about when I'll return to writing. My SAD kicked my ass since the last update, and I really didn't want to do anything while it weighed me down.
11/20/14: Wow. Three months since the last update. I suck. My only excuse is that I've been terribly busy preparing for the winter and trying to finish the den renovation. I worked on Gateway a couple of times, but there just hasn't been time. The cold has set in, but now the holidays are closing in, and I'm tentatively scheduled to start work on two editing jobs.
8/18/14: Edited M. Terry Green's fifth Techno-Shaman book, Shaman, Lover, Warrior. Went on our annual summer family vacation. Played limo driver for my kids and their activities all summer. Now that school is a week away, I'll be working on home improvement projects. With any luck I'll squeeze some writing in, but I'm not confident. I can't seem to find the time. I've spread myself too thin.
6/12/14: I terminated the academic paper proofreading gig. It was not a match.
But in happier news, I finally put We'll Watch the Sunrise from the Bottom of the Sea on Smashwords. So if you love ebooks but don't use a Kindle, you can find your preferred version there.
4/25/14: All caught up with editing, but I've accepted a freelance proofreading gig for a company that handles academic papers. It'll be steady work, though I am concerned about whether or not I've bitten off more than I can chew. Assuming it isn't, I'll get back to work on writing Gateway to Empire.
2/22/14: I know that I've been terrible about updating things here. Besides the holidays, I've been busy dealing with the over abundance of ice and snow (like most of the country), setting up my new pc and editing.
The Nutmeg Book Festival was a success. One of these days, I'll blog about it.
My editing business has picked up. I edited Muses of Roma last fall and the new editions of Shaman, Healer, Heretic and Shaman, Friend, Enemy in January. I'm currently editing the latest in M. Terry Green's Techno-Shaman series: Shaman, Priestess, Pawn. After that, comes Rob Steiner's latest: Muses of Terra.
My writing is on hold until I get caught up on the editing.
11/18/13: Saturday (11/23) is the Nutmeg Book Festival! I will be one of twenty authors present, meeting the public, signing books, and socializing. If you're near New Milford, CT and you've got nothing to do, come on down. More information about the location, author roster, and genres represented can be found on the website. Hope to see you there.
11/11/13: Armistice Day is available in print from Amazon again. Now, for only $10! That's 35.8% off of the original price.
11/7/13: Armistice Day is available in print again. Go to CreateSpace to take advantage of the new lower price! $10!
11/4/13: Changes are coming. Armistice Day will be temporarily unavailable in print as I am switching printers. Why am I switching? Better distribution options and lower operating costs. That means I can order books for less and new readers will be able to buy it for less. Less is good and will hopefully mean more sales!
9/5/13: The pinched nerve has finally gone away but I lost two months to it. No wood splitting, almost no writing, home renovation projects idled. But the kids are back in school so I now have a guaranteed six hours a day to get stuff done. I've been contacted concerning my availibility for editing this fall. It looks like I'll have two, possibly three, manuscripts to proofread/edit.
Amazon Select has been disappointing so I'm terminating my involvement with it. I'll get the other e-book formats set up through Smashwords (not that there's any other choice) when the current term runs out at the end of September.
7/3/13: We’ll Watch the Sunrise... has received two 5-star reviews on Amazon! Yay! Sales are about what I expected. If anyone out there can suggest a book review site that likes short story collections, please let me know.
I finally got back into working on Gateway to Empire. Unfortunately, between summer break and a pinched nerve in my neck, my computer time has been limited. It figures, right? So now not only have I fallen behind on wood chopping, but my hopes of publishing Gateway this year have diminished as well. I wouldn't say it won't happen but it'll mean a lot more work to do this fall.
5/3/13: The print version of We’ll Watch the Sunrise from the Bottom of the Sea is now live! Here's the link.
4/26/13: The print version of We’ll Watch the Sunrise from the Bottom of the Sea is under final review before going into publication. If all goes well, we’ll launch next week.
Many thanks go to James over at Humblenations. I can’t say enough nice things about his work on the cover. If you’re looking for a cover for your next book, go to Go On Write.com and check out what he has available.
3/22/13: We'll Watch the Sunrise from the Bottom of the Sea is now live! You can pick it up for the Kindle. Why only the Kindle? Well, I've been curious about the Amazon Select program and wanted to give it a shot. I promise that this book will be made available in other formats and in print down the road. If you're one of the few people who bought my book on a different e-reader platform, click on the "Contact" button on the left and let me know. The next format planned for this book is paperback.
3/14/13: Travis remains incommunicado so I was forced to seek a cover for We'll Watch the Sunrise... elsewhere (Look right). I think it's great! With any luck I'll have it published before the end of the month.
1/8/13: So a few days after my last update, Travis the illustrator contacted me to let me know his internet access has been in shambles (among other things) since Hurricane Sandy barreled through his area. Sandy knocked my power out for four days so I can relate. He was still working on it so hopefully, now that the holidays are done, he'll have something to show me soon.
Freelance editing is up. Rob Steiner has hired me to proofread his next novel, Zervakan, a steampunk - fantasy mashup. Rob is a great writer and I've enjoyed reading his work so getting paid to proofread it is a double joy. My deadline is the 15th so expect to see it published (he already has the cover) shortly thereafter.
Once I'm done proofreading, I'll go back to prepping We'll Watch the Sunrise... for publication.
12/3/12: Sometimes it seems as if every professional decision I make is the wrong one. As you can see from the space between the last update and this one that not much has been going on. I'd made the decision to collect my short stories and publish them together so the next thing I needed was a cover. I saw one I liked by a freelancer who is the designer of choice by a certain successful indie author and contacted him. Weeks went by without a response and then the cover was marked sold. I still haven't received a response to my inquiry. I guess the guy is too busy.
I looked around some freelance art sites and got some ideas. I decided to check in with Travis, the illustrator for Armistice Day. I didn't go right to him from the start because the guy has had a horrible run. He suffered a heart attack after learning that he'd been the victim of identity theft which destroyed his business. In order to keep his blood pressure down, his wife responded by keeping him offline.
When I wrote to him he seemed eager to tackle the project and said he'd have a rough draft in a few days. Now two months have gone by and I haven't heard from him. I sent a follow up email but that's gone unanswered. I don't want to be a dick but it doesn't look like it's going to work out.
I'd wanted to get the short story collection out a month ago. Back in August, that seemed like a piece of cake. Now we're in the midst of the holidays and we're even busier than normal for this time of year. Having the book ready for the Christmas season isn't going to happen. I'll have to put together a contest for freelancers on one of those sites but that won't happen until January.
In (hopefully) better news, I formally announced by availability for freelance proofreading and editing. After two successful jobs (Aspect of Pale Night and Shaman, Sister, Sorceress) I decided to go public. We'll see how this decision goes.
8/14/12: Ok, that's it. I'm done wallowing in slush piles. I'm tired of researching zines to determine if they're suitable candidates to send my stories to, then waiting weeks (the great ones respond in days; the decent ones within a month) or months for a reply, only to be told that my story isn't what they're looking for right now. Even acceptance isn't a guarantee of publication as zines die if they don't reach that critical mass of revenue vs. cost (I've had that happen to me). Life is too short to keep playing this game.
I'm going to take all eight short stories (published and not) and put them together in a collection and throw it out there for people to read. Maybe the stories aren't that good, but maybe I'm just not connecting with the particular tastes of editors just as I couldn't connect with agents for Armistice Day. While AD certainly wasn't a best seller, at least people read it and the responses I've received have all been favorable.
I already know what platform I'm going to publish it on: CreateSpace. But I'll do that after I try out the Kindle Select program. I saw a potential cover, but I have to decide if that's the image I want or brainstorm something else.
I'm going to call it We'll Watch the Sunrise from the Bottom of the Sea after the (unpublished) story of the same name. I played around with other titles but they sounded too maudlin, and the other story titles were too specific. We'll Watch the Sunrise from the Bottom of the Sea feels all inclusive.
7/16/12: Still stuck in slush. "The Recruiter" received some positive feedback but was still rejected. I feel like I'm wasting too much time trying to sell them. I'm thinking that I should just bundle them up in a collection and self-pub them. I'd been making good progress on Gateway but then summer vacation hit and I haven't had the time to write. Having to revisit four, possibly five, short stories to tweak them for the next market has little appeal to me. I'd rather be working on new material.
4/13/12: Ahhh the NHL playoffs: the highlight of my year in sports.
Added a GoodReads widget to the blog. Not that I think most people care about what I'm reading or reviewing, but I was bored and decided to play with code.
4/2/12: Still nothing on the short story front. Work on Gateway to Empire has picked up recently. Still a long way off but it's flowing nicely now.
Oh and Lulu changed AD's paperback page link without telling me. Assholes. The link is fixed now.
2/2/12: Nothing to report. All of the short stories have been revised and been sent out to various slush piles. The long wait begins. Now I'm free to work on Gateway to Empire.
12/21/11: The writers workshop wrapped up last month. I brought in the first four chapters of the Armistice Day sequel (working title: Gateway to Empire). It was very well received, even by my fellow writers who hadn't read the first book. I'm now in the process of squeezing in edits to the short stories based on the group's feedback between bouts of the annual end-of-year madness. Once theyre done and sent out, I'll finish writing the novel.
In sales notes, my two free short stories have been downloaded over 2000 times on the Nook. Reviews are mixed. Still no Armistice Day book sales on the Nook. Sales at the iStore have finally materialized. I'm hoping that's the start of an up trend. I won't be holding my breath though.
11/9/11: The pre-Halloween snowstorm that crushed us with 17 inches of snow, smashed trees and knocked out power for millions of Connecticut residents has abated. We lost power for six days. When I get caught up, I'll blog about it and throw in some pictures. Fortunately, no one was hurt and the house escaped damage. Can't say the same about many trees in my yard.
Anyway, on with the workshop update:
10/4/11: The writers workshop is underway. It's a small group of four, including the instructor and me. Two no shows for three weeks. I don't understand that. They're throwing their money away. It works to my benefit as I've been guaranteed to have my work read during each class. And the feedback from this group has been quite helpful.
A summary so far:
8/14/11: Not much to report. "Neptune's Diamonds" is done but I don't have anyone to proofread it as my little writers' group dissolved. Of the two critique forums I know of online, one would require me to review stories for a month before I could put my story in the queue (which is already a month deep) and the other, which I've used before, leaves me cold. While a couple of its reviewers were ok, too many of the others had the intellect of cardboard. Is it my fault if the reader doesn't know American political history? Pull that PDA out of your ass and look it up! People! You've got these wondrous electronic gadgets and you use them in ways that would make Narcissus blush.
So I will wait until the local writers' workshop opens in the Fall, pay the fee, and get my feedback then.
Oh and I've finally joined Goodreads. Mmmmmmm, social media. Sigh. At least it isn't Facebook.
6/9/11: Hooray!! "Emily's Star" has been accepted and published by Spinetinglers! You can read the story here. (2021 Update: Links removed. Zine out of business. Website gone.)
It's funny how when things are looking down and hopeless some good news comes from out of nowhere.
I've been trying to get Emily published for over 4 1/2 years. A year and a half ago I'd thought I found a home for her but the zine went belly up before the story was published. Speaking of going belly up, six zines that I sent Emily to over this time frame have closed their doors. That's by no means and all-inclusive list of zines that have shut down. Those are just the ones on the list I sent Emily to.
But it doesn't matter. Emily has a home and I'm very, very happy about that.
5/26/11: No news. Still splashing from one slush pile to another. A couple of stories have almost reached their limit so I anticipate putting them on Smashwords. Sorry, fresh out of optimism.
4/20/11: Not much to report. I have several short stories submitted to various zines in hopes of getting published. Haven't had time to write lately as I've been busy renovating my kitchen.
2/8/11: I know. It's been nearly three months since I last posted anything here. Sorry. Between the holidays, the brutal winter and a new freelance job, I haven't had much time to do anything. Nothing newsworthy to report. I think "She Cries At Midnight" is done. Still working on "Neptune's Diamonds." That's about it.
11/12/10: "Collection Notice" is now available for FREE from Smashwords. [Removed in 2013]
Senator Bartleby gets a visit from a man demanding restitution. The odd thing is the fellow claims to be from the future.
While I received positive feedback for it, the story's message was deemed too "heavy-handed" and political to print by sci-fi zines. So rather than have it languish in obscurity on my hard drive, I've put it online for others to judge.
10/19/10: Amazon discontinued their blog app but offers RSS feed sync up. I wanted to keep my old blog for ranting and reviews so I started a new one, dubbed Launchpad. Basically, it'll serve as my Public Announcements page (Not anymore). It'll have the newsworthy chunks on releases but none of the story status updates.
Speaking of which, the second draft of "She Cries At Midnight" is complete and scheduled for review. Work continues on "Neptune's Diamonds".
9/26/10: My interview with The Indie Spotlight is now posted. If you were the least bit curious about how Armistice Day came to be written, check it out.
9/4/10: Guest blogged over at Sarah Cypher's blog about the costs of self-publishing. Turns out I'm not paying that much compared to what others could pay.
8/18/10: "Tile" is now available for FREE over at Smashwords [Removed in 2013]. I figured that it was more visible there than at The Harrow, especially now that they've closed their doors (sorry, guys).
7/28/10: I've been unhappy with my eBook sales on Smashwords. Visibility might be a problem so I've gone directly to Amazon to create the Kindle version. You can find it here.
7/2/10: June's list of bullet points:
Well, Arkham Tales decided there was no room for "Emily's Star" at their new place. Yet strangely enough they're open for new submissions. Irregardless, I'm back to shopping Emily around.
Finished the re-write for "We'll Watch the Sunrise from the Bottom of the Sea."
Almost done with the first draft of "She Cries At Midnight." I hope to have it finished soon and submitted for editing shortly thereafter. Once this one's off my plate I can get back to the Armistice Day sequel and "Neptune's Diamonds."
4/4/10: The New PODler Review of Books has reviewed Armistice Day. "Armistice Day is not just an excuse for action, the story is informed by a surprisingly sophisticated appreciation of conquest politics, revealing it to be a world of secret games played by the Empire in order to subdue the conquered for their own good."
3/30/10: I have to be real quick. So here it is bullet style:
2/25/10: Armistice Day is now available at the Bethel Public Library.
Been busy working on new stories: "She Cries At Midnight", "Neptune's Diamonds", and Gateway To Empire, the working title for the Armistice Day sequel. I also began work on a new novel based on the concept of seasteading.
1/29/10: The first review of Armistice Day is in. An 8 out of 10 from Pod People!
A couple excerpts from the review: "Armistice Day is a fast-paced action adventure, but one with solid character development." "With Armistice Day, Drazul has delivered a debut novel that anybody should be proud of, and something that's an example of the good that can be self-publishing."
Read the full review here.
1/18/10: Got my first royalty check today for Armistice Day sales! :)
1/3/10: Armistice Day is now available on Amazon. I've even got an author page so that I can keep Amazon visitors up-to-date with my work. Of course, if you're reading this, you already know that the best place to stay informed about me is here at my website.
12/3/09: It's here!!
Back Cover Copy:
Manhattan quarantined after a bioterrorist attack.
The world in the throes of World War Three.
And then they showed up.
The Krendorian Empire told us they were compelled to stage an intervention for our own good. Whether we wanted their help or not, they were here to stay.
Armistice Day is at hand. With the signing of the treaty, Earth will be welcomed into the Empire to reap the benefits of Imperial investment, interstellar trade and advanced technology.
But not everyone wants Earth to join the Empire.
Aaron Osborne, a consultant hired to provide security at the Armistice Day Ceremony, stumbles upon a plot to wreck the peace and rekindle the war. As he fights to prevent the worst from happening, Aaron is forced to accept help from anyone he can, including the alien responsible for his best friend's death.
Available in print and eBook from Lulu (well, not anymore). No word yet when it will appear on Amazon.
I understand the desire to "try before you buy." Therefore, I'm offering the first three chapters for free (PDF). I'd rather lose sales than have disgruntled buyers.
I've got my galley copy and I'm very happy with how it all came out. The text is clean, neat and level. The font size is perfectly legible. The binding is solid. And I love the cover. All in all, it looks professional.
I think the best part is that I can finally move on. And once the holidays are done I can devote good chunks of time to writing the next book.
11/24/09: Just learned that Arkham Tales has released their fifth issue... and that they're closing up shop. Not only does it suck that another great zine is closing down (147 since '08 according to one commenter), "Emily's Star" is now without a home.
11/18/09: I'm still shopping some stories around. The market is brutal. Shock Totem recently announced that they accepted two stories out of 400 submissions. Not very good odds.
One story, "Collection Notice," has garnered a nibble. If it turns into a full-fledged bite, I'll let you know.
The good news is that Armistice Day will be seeing the light of day really soon. I've selected a POD company with good distribution and no upfront costs. It'll be available in both dead tree and e-book formats. And I've even got someone working on the cover!
Travis Leichssenring is the man! I've seen the rough drafts. He's taken a scene from the book and rendered it out in fantastic detail. It's great! I can't wait for the rest of the world to see it!
8/24/09: Well, it's been 6 months since the last update. Honestly, I expected to have more news for you and a whole lot sooner. I'm sorry to report I don't have much to say.
Still no word from Arkham Tales when "Emily's Star" will appear in print. Considering how late it was accepted before the Closed For Submissions sign went up, I'd say that we're looking at 2010. I heartily recommend checking them out if you haven't done so already.
I'm still trying to find a home for four other stories. With the shrinking zine market (due to the tough economic climate), competition has become even more fierce than it was before.
I've started three new stories over this time span. I haven't made a lot of progress on them due to time constraints and a desire to get the existing stories submitted. I really like them though and look forward to the time when I can flesh them out.
I'd intended to get three short stories accepted/published before querying agents again about Armistice Day, but with the slow rate of acceptance (either I suck and my writing workshop cohorts lied to me or competition really is that fierce) and the economy's toll on traditional publishing so high, I've decided to bite the bullet and self-publish. I've waited long enough, possibly too long.
I contacted an illustrator to do the cover, rather than rely on a POD assembly line artist. He's interested but is away on vacation. In the meantime, I'll have to start reviewing AD to see if it needs freshening up.
2/19/09: Arkham Tales has agreed to purchase "Emily's Star." YAY!!! No word yet on when it will appear. I just got the acceptance letter last night. They're a quarterly zine specializing in "weird fiction." They describe themselves as "supernatural suspense and adventure stories informed by (though not imitative of) the pulp fiction of the early 20th century." It's free to readers as they get their revenue through advertizing.
It's been a long time coming, but Emily finally has a home. After a promising start, she dealt with repeated rejections (and reviews that dragged on for months) because she didn't fit in with either the horror or sci-fi crowds. After reading the first issue of Arkham Tales, I thought that maybe this would be the place she could call home. And she will. No more pleading with those sad puppy dog-from-the-fifth-dimension eyes, "Have you found a home for me yet?" Now she can go out and play with the world, and maybe strangle an unfortunate passerby who gets suckered in by her sweetness. Oh, Daddy is so proud.
2/10/09: Finally got all of those short story edits finished and the revised works submitted to various zines. The last one went out five minutes ago. Maybe it's needless to say that there's nothing new to report on the writing front. Life has been keeping me busy and these stories had to get out the door before I could permit myself to start something new. So now I'd better get to work.
12/10/08: The writer's workshop is done. In addition to what I mentioned in the previous entry (11/6/08), I finished "We'll Watch the Sunrise From The Bottom of the Sea" and "Collection Notice," a story about a time traveling bill collector. Normally, I wouldn't consider doing a time travel story as it's so easy to get caught up in a paradox. However, this one, inspired by the fiscal shenanigans up on Capitol Hill was too tempting to pass up.
Once the holidays wrap up, I'll get to work (sooner, time permitting) on the edits and start submitting them 1Q-09.
Until then, have a Happy Chanukah! Merry Christmas! and a prosperous New Year!
11/6/08: I'm in the middle of a writer's workshop right now so I'm focused on writing material; saving submissions for 1Q-09. So far the new 1st chapter of Armistice Day, a rewrite of "Emily's Star", "The Recruiter", and "The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow. Maybe." (formerly "Snowbound"), have been brought to class and been well received. Suggested edits were minimal so these stories will just need a tweak or two before sending out. I'm still working on "Watch the Sunrise From The Bottom of the Sea," the story involving the undersea hotel I mentioned back in March. I'm trying to finish that one in time for the next class.
9/1/08: "Tile" is published!!! Check it out in this month's issue of The Harrow!
In other news, I may have found a new artist for the Armistice Day cover. I'll know for sure later this month or early next month. In the meantime, I've tossed the old first chapter in favor of a more "action packed" intro. With any luck, this one will provide enough bite to hook people.
Other short stories in the works: "The Recruiter" (initial draft complete), "Snowbound" (still writing), "Beneath The Ice" (still writing).
Back to work!
6/18/08: The Harrow liked "Tile"!!! I'm going to be published in their September issue! Wooo hooo! I have to admit some surprise. I'd become so accustomed to rejection that any and all correspondence I receive is automatically assumed to be negative. But my hunch was correct. They wanted that style of story. Despite its familiar theme, "excellent characterization and the good structure of the piece elevates this out of the norm." =D I'm thrilled beyond words. Ok, maybe I've a few. It's vindication for all the hard work I've put in over the last few years. Sure, it's just one short story, but it's the proverbial foot in the door. It's a lifeline to escape the slush pile. It's a renewed sense of hope that I have a future in this.
3/16/08: Spinward States Sourcebook, the Traveller RPG supplement written by my friend, Mike West, has been published. I provided editorial assistance, but the excellent material is all his. Congratulations, Mike!
Started writing the first chapter to a potential novella/novel that ties in with the undersea hotel concept and the character I wrote about in October. I can see the relationship between the three, but I have to decide how far it will go.
Older entries deleted.