Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A Publishing Milestone

(Cross-posted)

This month, I finally achieved something I'd been wanting to do for the past two years. I self-published my first collection of short dark suspense stories on Amazon, both for Kindle and the upcoming print edition. Malice and Mayhem: Tales of the Macabre are eleven stories, five previously published, that deal with how strong emotions like jealousy, obsession, and vengeance can often have detrimental, even deadly consequences.

I noticed that many of my characters, both in my short stories and in my longer works, are often seeking vengeance or are obsessed with wanting something, no matter how dangerous it might be. In "Obsession," Corinne cannot get over the fact her dead ex-boyfriend had a girlfriend before her, and she's determined to use necromancy to find out who he loved more. In "Family Tradition," a cursed kris (wavy dagger) forces a young man to commit murder, and he finds getting rid of the weapon is a lot harder than he expected.

These stories are influenced by the dark suspense shows of my past, namely ThrillerNight Gallery, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. The idea is not to slather the stories in gore for the sake of scaring readers, but to leave them feeling uneasy. (Although there are some graphic descriptions, the overall rating for the book would probably be 14 and up.)

You can find out more about Malice and Mayhem and read the entire first short story, "It's in Your Blood" by clicking here.

Sometimes, there's truth to the warning, "Be careful what you wish for..."

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Monthly Round-Up: October 2014

It's October already. Tthis month is mostly known as being Hallowe'en season. And for me it's also the month of my birth. I was born a week before Hallowe'en - fairly appropriate for a horror writer.

And it's time for another update, so here is the news for this month.

COMING SOON/OUT NOW

Death Scene is available at a 60% discount until the end of the month, as part of MuseItUp Publishing's fourth anniversary celebrations. If you haven't bought it yet, now might be a good time, before the price goes up.

Dead Cool is released on 25 November, but it can be pre-ordered if you want to get your order in now.

PROMOTIONAL STUFF

 Two guest appearances this month.  I was on Jami Gray's blog talking about the importance of a sense of place, and then on Margaret Fieland's blog talking about why my characters never get 'Happy Ever After' endings.

WORK IN PROGRESS

I have been feeling decidedly under the weather for a good part of this month, struck with the lingering virus that seems to be hitting rather a lot of people at the moment. I end up feeling tired all the time, so getting up early to write has been rather difficult. I'm still working on the horror WIP, though have not made as much progress as I would have liked.

Time seems to be flashing by, and I haven't done nearly enough writing. But there's still a bit of time left before the end of the year.

Happy Hallowe'en!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

October Obsession

Con season is winding down and now it's time to move on to some serious writing. Tomorrow October Obsession starts, a writing challenge in which fellow participants, including yours truly, get busy and turn out wordage. Short story, novel, screenplay - doesn't matter. Heck, one doesn't even need to write something new. Revisions are fine, also.

I'll be finishing a short dark fiction collection that I hope to self-publish and have ready by Halloween. Then I'll move on to a psychological suspense novel.

I plan to write another psychological suspense novel for NaNoWriMo. Since my publisher's submission requirements have changed, I'm able to write the stories that I have enjoyed reading since childhood.

Sadly, however, I've also had to make a difficult decision. Today is my last day as a member of the RWA. I've made the rounds, said good-bye to my chapter mates, and friended many on Facebook. This doesn't mean that I will stop writing romance, but I am at heart a suspense writer, and I have decided I will focus on contemporary and paranormal suspense, although I plan to write other genres. After all, it's all about the story.




Thursday, September 25, 2014

Monthly Round-up: September 2014

September already, and here in the UK we are firmly into Autumn. Which means duvet back on the bed, heating on, sweaters and boots become normal work wear and we look forward to delays on the trains because of leaves on the line.

But enough of that. Here is the news for the last month.

COMING SOON/OUT NOW

Happy to report that DEATH SCENE is now available. Until Friday it's available at a special sale price from MuseItUp's online book store, so buy it now while it's cheap!

DEAD COOL releases on 25 November, but it can be pre-ordered now. So if you want to be front of the queue when it does release, visit the MuseItUp store and get your order in.

PROMOTIONAL STUFF

Lots of guest appearances in cyberspace over the last month. Here's a quick roundup of blogs that have hosted me since my last report:

22 August - Penny Estelle
3 September - Matthew Peters
17 September - Hilary Mackelden
19 September - Katie Carroll
22 September - Victoria Roder
23 September - John Rosenman

Con-wise I went to FantasyCon in York in early September and appeared on a panel about whether there can be hope in horror with Guy Adams, Ramsey Campbell, Roz Kaveney and Adam Nevill. The answer, of course, was yes there can be hope in horror, if the Big Bad is defeated and there are a few survivors. But it is equally acceptable to kill everyone off. There was an interesting discussion on this panel about whether or not killing everyone off is cheating the reader, since the human condition clings to hope. Those writers who finish their horror novels with everyone dying a horrible death apparently get bad reviews from unhappy readers. Something to bear in mind, I guess.

WORK IN PROGRESS

I've made a start on the third Shara Summers book. Well, inasmuch that I've been working on the plotting. Still rather a lot of writing to do before it looks anything like a story.

I'm also rewriting the new horror novel, and getting slightly depressed that there's more work to do than I initially thought. But once I get my head around what changes need to be made, it will probably seem slightly less daunting.

All in all, a rather busy month. Catch you next time!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

"Double Duty"

Sometimes, after I've finished a story or a screenplay, I wonder if it might not be better served in another format. For example, I have a couple of screenplays that I'm probably going to rework because even though I liked the stories in their current incarnation, I feel they'd work better as novels.

I've also taken two short novels - Death Sword and Exterminating Angel - and adapted them as screenplays, even though they've been published. So why adapt? Because I want my stories to do double duty. I have published short stories I plan to turn into screenplays as well. Not all of them, but ones I think are suited to the cinematic format.

Of course, this brings up the question of which is better, the movie or the book? Since I'm only writing spec scripts, I can't answer that question. What I can say, though, is there's a reason why adaptations may deviate from the original source. I've even had to make changes. (While I was writing the screenplays, I found myself asking why I hadn't originally written the story that way. Oh, well, hindsight and all that.)

One reason for changing a story is that screenplays are meant for the screen. Many novels feature detailed descriptions and while this is fine, the writer will not be choosing the film's settings, unless he or she is also directing the film, such as for an independent project. Selecting locations is the production designer's job, in collaboration with the director and producer. So going into vivid detail about that Queen Anne Revival is fine for a book, but the production designer, director, and producer may decide that a Romanesque Revival is better suited for the movie.

Length is another factor, although in my case not so much. Most screenplays run 80-120 pages, and think how long some novels are, many with multiple subplots. Obviously, one keeps the main plot but with time constraints, it's possible that not every single scene of the story can be used. I ended up combining some scenes, not because of length issues, but simply because the screenplay flowed better.

Will anything happen with these screenplays? Hard to tell. But that's another post.




Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Con, An Anthology, and New Directions


Gearing up for Imaginarium next month. This is a new multi-genre con that will focus not only on books but film, comics, art, etc. I got my panels the other day. So far my schedule is:

Friday 7:00 PM The Adaptation (M)Saturday 11:00 AM Plotters vs. PantsersSaturday 12:00 PM Paranormal Romance vs. Urban FantasySaturday 2:00 PM LGBT Themes in FictionSunday 9:00 AM The Newsletter (M)


Apparently, I have reached the point where I've done enough panels that I am now appointed moderator. Not that I haven't moderated before, but it definitely takes a certain skill set and ability to adapt to changing circumstances. Also helps if you have panelists who can engage the audience and each other, too. :-)

Well, as the headline indicates, lots going on. Not only have I been "drafted" to moderate panels, I've also been invited to co-author an anthology: Reel Dark. Details below. Please feel free to pass this submission info around. We're still seeking submissions in various genres.




CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: BlackWyrm Publishing is opening several positions in its spring short fiction anthology for general submissions. We offer professional rates (typically $.05/word, negotiable upon acceptance) for writers qualified to be full members of professional organizations such as the HWA, MWA, RWA, and SFWA; other stories accepted through general submissions receive a flat semi-professional rate of $25. All contributors receive copies. The collection, tentatively titled Reel Dark: Twisted Fantasies Projected on the Flickering Page, focuses on the infection of (prose-fictional or poetic) worlds by movies. We want innovative approaches: if you think endless references to films or characters stepping into or off of the screen is innovative, reconsider submitting. Although the anthology as a whole will be dark in tone, it will speak to a range of audiences interested in horror, science-fiction, fantasy, mystery/suspense, and/or romance (particularly paranormal). Stories should not exceed 3,500 words. Submissions are open now and close November 1, 2014. We intend to launch the collection at the World Horror Convention in May 2015. Submit stories in standard manuscript format viamovieantho@blackwyrm.com .Direct questions about the focus, rates, etc. to Editor-in-Chief L. Andrew Cooper via landrewcooper@blackwyrm.com Submissions sent directly to the editor will be deleted unread. Authors accepted or invited to submit may join the group at www.blackwyrm.com/movieantho for more information.

Certainly enough to keep this writer busy and out of trouble. 

Finally, the last bit of news, courtesy of my publisher Lyrical Press. They're now accepting psychological suspense/thrillers. I'm so excited. While I'll still write m/m romance, my heart and soul belong with the suspense genre. It's what I read growing up and what I started writing, along with horror. I'm currently working on a romantic-suspense book and am revising manuscripts long set aside.

The future looks promising.