Category: Uncategorized (Page 1 of 275)

Biased toward Worldbuilding: A near-future thriller’s insight

One of the ghostwriting books that I just wrapped up was a near-future thriller, a la Blade Runner, if a bit less so.  The world isn’t that much of a jump away from what we know now; it’s set fewer than ten years out, and nothing in the book is much of a stretch (other than the overall competence of select organizations).

Writing it was so much FUN.

I’m usually of the opinion that writing science fiction should be done by people who have some kind of experience in SCIENCE.  Like, ALLCAPS SCIENCE.  Or engineering.

But of course that’s just a bias on my part.  I’m okay at guessing what the very near future feels like.  And I’m okay at distorting a few things for the sake of a what-if.

And it was FUN.

I think this is just another attack of imposter syndrome.  I don’t need to do a whole lot more research in order to get to near-future science fiction writing, the way I do if I want to write believable battles in high fantasy.* I just need to keep paying attention.

*Which research continues to be FUN, by the way, although it does wreck a lot of battle scenes in movies for me.  “Don’t do that, you idiots!  Go for the high ground where you’re not in a freaking bottleneck!  And you DO have guns, n’est-ce pas?”

If you liked this post, please check out my tie-in gaming SF novel, Blood in Space: The Icon Mutiny.  This one’s not near-future SF, but it was a lot of fun to write.

An Evolution of Rereading

I used to reread everything I loved.  I think I made it through The Hobbit like twenty-plus times.  It was to the point where the librarians at the town library took me aside once and said, “Maybe you should try something new.”  But no; I was going to read the same things over and over again, and they couldn’t stop me.  These were the same people who weren’t sure about me going into the adult section and picking out books there, mind you.

I’ve read through series as an adult multiple times, too.

But lately I’ve been taking more reading chances.  Both because I know how to power through books that I don’t like (because of my reading lists) and how to drop books that I don’t like without a second thought (because when I’m reading books for pleasure, they had better please me).

Part of me longs to take a couple of weeks and just plow through an old favorite series.  But whenever I try, lately, I’ve been bored.

This hasn’t stopped me from picking up print copies of favorite series, though, that I read on ebook or picked up from the library.  I still feel like I need the protection…

If you liked this post, please check out my Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland homage here.

The Blank Slate of the Soul

So, hopefully by the time you read this, I’ll have written two novels in six weeks.  This isn’t a joke; I had two 60K ghostwriting projects back to back, and one of them went late–I ended up having to write them both at the same time.

Update:  Made it 😉

A lot of stuff fell by the wayside; I even quit blogging.

But more importantly–I quit journaling.  I went back in this morning (Monday) and spewed out three pages of incoherent ranting on multiple subjects, which I will proceed to not share.  There was underlining.  There was ALLCAPS.

And now…I don’t know what I think.

It’s a nice, clean feeling, a blank slate of the soul.

I needed that.

If you like this post, why not check out a short story about cleaning house…in more ways than one?  Bad House Spirit, a haunted novella about a dark, dark house.


Get Lost: A freelancer’s short rant

People are always trying to pressure me into changing my opinion.  I get that.  I seem like a soft target:  I let people present their arguments to me, and I actually listen.  Sometimes I even change my mind.

In addition, I have been trained in the kind of female empathy that says, “I have no personal desires for myself; I’m just here to support other people whether I want to or not, but especially white people, men, and anyone older than I am.”

I’m low risk, high reward.

Except for the part where I’ve been learning lately that saying “no” and “get lost” are literally money in the bank for me as a freelancer.  Some people and projects cost more time than they’re worth; cutting them out of my life leaves room for stuff that pays actual money, working for and associating with people who actually respect me.

So let me just say, as an increasingly successful freelancer and someone who’s done soft-pedaling the bigots of the world,

You’re not worth my time.  Get lost.

Like this post?  Why not sign up for my newsletter?  Dark, strange, twisted, and wonderful – paranormal, horror, mystery stories, and more.

New Release: One Dark Summer Night (’80s horror novel)

Universal Sales Link | Goodreads

The fairies are coming…the fairies are coming…

To kill us all.

It’s 1989. A small Midwestern college town with a history of strange sightings and hauntings. A summer intern program in the biology department that actually pays. And coworkers who don’t warn you about vivisection day…

Della Rae planned to keep her head down and work as many hours as she could get, while filling in the gaps with a lot of old sci-fi novels.

Her plan was interrupted by a sudden friendship with a townie student, a weird girl named Merc who shared Della Rae’s tastes in fiction. It was Merc who warned her not to go to the bio department that day…

Soon, there would be hell to pay for what happened in the bio department. And only Della Rae, Merc, and their friends can stop it from spreading.

(For ages teen and up.  Horror.  Gore and language, no sex or nudity.)

This book is part of…

A Fairy’s Tale: A Cheesy ’80s Horror Series
Now with Female Protagonists and Featuring…Homicidal Fairies!

I wrote these after reading a lot of classic ’80s horror and getting cheesed off that the women were basically scream-and-run accessories.  These are not “genderflipped” stories where the men have to scream and run and the women are the axe-wielding serial killers…that would be boring!  Nevertheless, a good deal of absurd violence, gore, splatterpunk hijinx, and generally horrible things are included here.  I’m particularly proud of the sprites.  And the stubborn, vicious, nasty women who inspired the characters 🙂

Reading order:

  • Book 0: By Dawn’s Bloody Light (novella). Three women, the queen of the fairies, and the serial killer who won’t know what hit him.
  • Book 1: One Dark Summer Night (short novel). If they didn’t want to unleash the apocalypse…they shouldn’t have killed the king of the fairies.
  • Book 2: Under Twilight’s Spreading Blight (novel). The house is haunted, crawling with entities not even the fairies dare to confront. But an even worse betrayal is waiting inside… (Forthcoming)
  • Book 3: Of Noon’s Harsh Birthright (novel). Trapped in a government testing facility are the last of the fairies…and the last people who can stop the Others from consuming them all. (Forthcoming)

Here’s the other book that’s out; you can either start with By Dawn’s Bloody Light or One Dark Summer Night.

Universal Sales Link | Goodreads

Three women. One serial killer who has access to the supernatural.

He can scare them…but he can’t stop them from taking revenge.

A small Midwestern college town. A series of murders that ape the Jack the Ripper killings. Then Laney Miller is butchered just after dawn in front of a second-hand bookstore. The one witness didn’t see anything…except Laney getting dragged out of her car and murdered by an invisible force.

One that carries a straight razor.

It’s a town that has attracted the weird and strange as far back as the eighteen hundreds. Since then disappearances, murders, suicides, and kidnappings have only grown worse. Especially targeted are a group of local girls that carry the same face…

Laney’s face.

Laney’s girlfriend Joy and her friends decide to find the seemingly-supernatural killer and take him down before he strikes again.

In as violent and bloody a manner as possible.

By dawn’s bloody light…they will have revenge.

A novella-length horror/paranormal suspense story to kick off the Fairy’s Tale Series, coming soon! Book 1: ONE DARK SUMMER NIGHT, August 2017.

(For ages teen and up.  Horror.  Gore and language, no sex or nudity.)

Hemingway: Not on the same page

IMO, one of the things that made Hemingway so interesting as a writer was that he messed with readers’ minds in a different way than a lot of other writers had been doing up to that point. He focused on forcing people to read between the lines–how to make the readers do the heavy lifting/imaginative work of fiction with as few little black marks on the page as possible. Nothing wrong with that. But he seemed to forget that not everyone reads the same thing in between the lines, or reads between the lines at all, and he didn’t give a damn about getting readers on the same page. Almost literally.

In short, either you like his writing or you don’t, and that’s something that’s probably entirely by Hemingway’s design.

Aging into Poetry

I think you have to age into some kinds of poetry. The crickets are singing on a cool July night, and just the sound of them tells me how the year is going, and how bittersweet the passage of time is becoming. Love is great and identity is important–but it’s the crickets that are poetry now, the coolness, distant dogs barking, footsteps downstairs, the breeze in the trees.

Horror tropes: Aha!

Here are the top tropes from the Amazon Kindle Mystery, Thriller & Suspense–>Suspense–>Horror list as of July 27, 2017.  As I was investigating the list, I found something surprising…

  • Detective investigates horror – The River Is Dark by Joe Hart
  • Try to find out why loved one did horrible thing – The Silent Corner by Dean Koontz
  • Cozy horror (boutique job: blogging house flippers) – The Haunting of Winchester Mansion Omnibus by Alexandria Clarke (Note: I tried to look up the author but didn’t find anything.  This screams “pseudonym” to me.)
  • Normal people are crazy – The Neighbors by Ania Ahlborn
  • Serial killer apocalypse – Trackers: A Post-Apocalyptic EMP Thriller by Nicholas Sansbury Smith
  • Haunted house – The Haunting of Blackwood House by Darcy Coates
  • Detective investigates horror + normal people are crazy – Missing Ones Super Boxset: A Collection of Riveting Kidnapping Mysteries by various (Note: Same style as the Alexandria Clarke series…J.S. Donovan, Roger Hayden, James Hunt are authors.)
  • Cozy horror + haunted house – House of Secrets Super Boxset: A Collection of Riveting Haunted House Mysteries by Alexandria Clarke and Roger Hayden (Alexandria Clarke is listed above; Roger Hayden is also in the Missing Ones box set; same style as Alexandria Clarke and the other box set above).
  • Detective investigates horror – Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King
  • Detective investigates horror + normal people are crazy + post-apoc bundle – The Missing Super Boxset: A Collection of Riveting Mysteries by James Hunt.  (Note: Same style as the other box sets.  WTF.)

Okay, at this point, I stopped typing stuff in and looked up J.S. Donovan, James Hunt, Roger Hayden, and Alexandria Clarke.  They don’t have webpages or newsletters or author photos or bios; they all have the same book cover design; they’re all interrelated via box sets.  My suspicion is that they’re all the same author writing under different pseudonyms (or: several ghostwriters writing under the same mastermind publisher, which isn’t listed) and completely dominating the list right now.  Roger Hayden has an actual Smashwords profile, which tells me he’s the most likely candidate for the main writer behind this. He also has by far the largest number of books, going back the farthest.  So…the Hayden Horror Collective?

I stopped to wonder if Darcy Coates is part of the Hayden Horror Collective – but she has her own identity and website, even if she does have a similar cover image and subject matter, so I’d have to have more info before I grouped her with the others. She doesn’t show up in any of their box sets.

  • Detective investigates horror – The Abducted Super Boxset: A Small Town Kidnapping Mystery by Roger Hayden (Same pattern)
  • Normal people are crazy? or haunted house – Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix
  • Detective investigates horror with meta touches – Finders Keepers by Stephen King
  • Apocalypse – The Stand by Stephen King
  • Normal people are horrible – Housebroken by The Behrg
  • Apocalypse – Trackers 2: The Hunted (A Post-Apocalyptic EMP Thriller) by Nicholas Sansbury Smith
  • Detective investigates horror – The Haunting of Rachel Harroway – Book 2 by J.S. Donovan (Same pattern)
  • Normal people are horrible – The Mist by Stephen King
  • Normal people are horrible – Night Chill by Jeff Gunhus
  • Detective investigates horror – The Haunting of Rachel Harroway – Book 1 by J.S. Donovan (same pattern)

The Hayden Horror Collective occupies 7 of the top 20 spots.  If you want to know why people hire ghostwriters, here’s your example: a writer hits an audience sweet spot, hires other writers to exploit the market, and uses collective promotions between those writers to take over a bestseller list.

I could be wrong, but…

If you liked this post, why not read something I wrote? By Dawn’s Bloody Light, a cheesy ’80s  horror novella with fairies.  Three women looking for revenge. A serial killer who won’t know what hit him.

How much journaling is enough?

I started journaling on a blank half-page.  The first few lines were the usual rubbish.  Then:  “How much journaling is enough?” popped up, and I had to wonder.  I normally do nothing, or three pages.

During weeks where I have a lot of freelancing to do, it’s generally nothing.

But in that half page, I answered my question: for me, journaling is useful if it makes me step back and consider what I’m thinking.  Terry Pratchett’s second thoughts, if you know the reference.  The process of deliberately “waking” out of one type of thought–becoming a lucid dreamer of my mundane thought process.

–Which means that a half-page of journaling isn’t a waste of time at all.

If you liked this post, why not check out something I wrote?  A Murder of Crows: 17 tales of monsters, cannibals, zombies, goddesses, crows, witches, supernatural mayhem, and just plain evil.

Current Schedule: Oops…

Here’s my current schedule:

  • Do “human stuff” like get dressed and eat breakfast.
  • Write
  • Hustle
  • Study
  • Lunch
  • Freelancing
  • Family

A lot of what I’m seeing is that I’m not spending my “hustle” time wisely; I get into a habit of doing things that are pleasant to do, but not especially effective in marketing and promotions–like editing and formatting, let alone active promotions.  It’s much easier to sell books when they’re on the market.

If you liked this post, check out a Storybundle I’m in, the SF/F Binge Reader Bundle.  It’s a bundle of SF/F bundles, nineteen novels and a mountain of short stories that give the millenium a run for its money.

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