Archive for November, 2013

LIKE LIFE ITSELF COMPLETED DESIGN200x300px

My short story collection, Like Life Itself: Ten Short Stories went live today in Amazon Kindle format. Since I have the attention span and organizational skills of a meth-addled adolescent squirrel, the collection’s pretty eclectic. I felt like I had to arrange the stories under some kind of theme, so I went with: Horror, Purgatory, and Hope. I figure everybody’s life is approximately three parts pain and despair, four parts waiting around at the DMV, and another three parts squinting at the light at the end of the tunnel. That works out to 30/40/30, or, as I see it, the Balance Bar of Existence™.  I’m sure there are some genuine good times mixed in there, too. But hey. It’s Black Friday. Only dark stories need apply.

I went with a cover from the same company that supplied the A World Gone Gray cover. I wish there was some deep meaning behind it, but there really isn’t. I just thought it looked cool. Although, the lonely chair in the corner fits in nicely with the limbo/purgatory/DMV theme of the middle four stories.

As always, you can check the book out by searching Amazon or clicking the link above. And, as always, a more detailed description and the first 10% (in this case, the entire first story) of the book is a free preview. Decide for yourself whether or not it sucks, then proceed accordingly.

By the way, the first story features a guy who thinks centipedes are living inside his head. So I guess I’m trying to say it’s not for the kids. But c’mon, adults. You know you wanna look.

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Originally, I’d planned on saving up my pennies and buying a custom-made cover for A World Gone Gray. Early on in the book, Col. Benjamin Phillips looks out the window of the orbiter Triumph and sees smoke rising from the Pacific Rim. Eventually, that smoke is caught up in the jet streams and raked toward Australia the North American coast. I envisioned a snapshot of that scene as my cover, but with a subdued orange outline of the Pacific Rim added for the lava fans, and maybe the dead, gray, dismal moon in the background as a bit of heavy-handed foreshadowing for what the Earth would soon look like.

Then I discovered pre-made eBook covers. I wasn’t expecting much out of them, based on some of the less-than-impressive covers I’d seen for both self- and trade-published novels. During my seemingly-endless research into covers, I made note of about thirty web sites dedicated to the craft. About half were out of my price range, and the other half were, umm, unsatisfactory. I was on the second-to-last page of the last site on my list when I found the cover you now see gracing the front of A World Gone Gray. The main theme captures a “desolate road” scene in the book. The crow/raven in the foreground didn’t appear in that particular scene, but I thought it was a perfect homage to Stephen King and The Stand, both of which have been huge influences on me as a writer. Sadly, Randall Flagg doesn’t show up in AWGG.

Anyhoo, thirty British pounds and a handful of exchanged emails later, I had myself a cover for my debut novel. The only change I made to the template was the font style and size, and that was only after I received ten(!) different sample covers from the company. I plan on getting another one from them for the short story collection I’ll be releasing in the next week or so. I figure it’s a short story collection, so why waste more than I have to on a cover. Who the hell buys short story collections these days, right?

Unfortunately, I think I’m going have to invest in custom-made covers for the two (maybe three) other novels I have coming out over the next few months. They each have very specific elements I feel have to be represented on the cover. And I don’t have the time or money or skill to use Photoshop or even GIMP. At least formatting for Kindle will be easy.

Oh, wait…

Hi!

After years and of writing and editing and failing to sell my own works, I recently decided to go the self-publishing route and make my books and short stories available on Amazon. No, I’m not the first person to do this; a million or so other writers have had the same brilliant idea over the past half-decade or so.

Some caveats: I have no beef with any publishing format—digital, print, hologram, or otherwise. I have no delusions of out-selling Rowling or King or Meyers or Collins. In fact, if I make enough money to recoup the cost of my pre-made covers and half my monthly internet bill, I’ll do a happy dance. And if I make enough money to replace the pile of misfiring pistons and randomly deflating tires currently parked in my driveway, all the better.

A little about me. I’ve always loved the English language, always loved to write. I vaguely remember winning five bucks for writing a science fiction short story in fourth grade. Apparently, the combination of laughably limited fame and the sweet, ambrosia-like taste of cash sent the ol’ write-roots a-tunnelin’, and they made themselves at home deep in the recesses of my brain. Cool.

And I’m not delusional. At least I don’t think I am. A magazine editor paid cold, hard cash money for one of my short stories a few years ago. In the meantime, I’ve spent anywhere from 14 to 18 months waiting for a form rejection from literary agents who’d requested excerpts of my novels. That’s cool. They’re busy. I get it. No hate here.

Since I’m not one to sit on my hands or anybody else’s, I submitted a handful of my shorts to a handful of publications while I awaited the aforementioned agents’ replies. I didn’t get published, but I got a bunch of encouraging rejections. Enough to make me think I’m not completely nuts pursuing this writing thing.

I hope you’ll check in once in a while and take a gander at my humble blog. I intend to fill it with what I hope is useful information about independent writing. At the very least, I hope to fill it with words.

See ya’ll next time.