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Tag: publishing process

Bite-size ebooks

I don’t exactly have a lot of free time. Between working and grad schooling and writing and kid-chasing, there’s not much opportunity for me to read. Which is a problem, because one of my goals this year is to read 100 books (so far, I’m at 62 for the year).

I can squeeze in 15 minutes before class, or half an hour before bed, but it makes reading novels and longer books difficult (until the point I get sucked in and neglect everything else so I can finish the book), because it can take weeks to finish a couple hundred pages.

So lately, I’ve been turning to short stories on my Kindle phone app. I’ve published a couple short works – “Tim and Sara” and Us, Together: A Short Story Collection – that have done pretty well.

Fellow Evolved Publishing writers have written tons of short stories that are just what I’m looking for. Another fellow writer, Inge Moore, is super prolific and always seems to have something good for a quick read. And the Indies Unlimited website has Thrifty Thursday and Freebie Friday, great for discovering new shorts.

But of course, I’m always on the lookout for new short stories. Any suggestions?

The 99-day plan

I’ve been a bit swamped the past week, between reading for class and papers and a big project and a thesis proposal and a brief trip out of town. So for today’s post, I’m copying author Christopher C. Starr’s post about ninjas following their dreams in the 99 days left this year.

Basically, it comes down to three questions:

  1. What results do you want to get over the next 99 days?
  2. What sacrifices will you make to get these results?
  3. If something is going to stop you, what will it be?

1. What results do you want to get over the next 99 days? I want to sell a ton of copies of my novel, The Lone Wolf, which comes out December 2nd. I also want to sell a ton of copies of my other stories,”Tim and Sara,” Us, Together: A Short Story Collection, and The Futility of Loving a Soldier, which I’m still editing. Possibly another longer short story as well. Which means I need to write.

2. What sacrifices will you make to get these results? Basically, it comes down to time management. I need to stop wasting so much time on the internet and just write and edit. And I especially need to get this down because after my novel comes out, I’ll need to focus on finishing and editing the next one (due the end of May), as well as really hitting the research on my master’s thesis (due in August).

3. If something is going to stop you, what will it be? Two things, probably: procrastination and just too much going on, especially when I start working again. I’m taking two classes this semester, which generally aren’t bad if I stay on top of them, but that’s the problem; the readings can pile up very quickly.

What’s your 99-day plan?

The Lone Wolf cover

cover design by Mallory Rock

The cover is done, and line editing is underway. Plus today the official product page is up over at Evolved Publishing.

The synopsis:

When her husband David’s infidelities are revealed, shattering the perfect life Kasey Sanford thought they’d created together, it’s a wake-up call that she’s lost herself along the way. She demands that David move with her to a new town, to a fresh start for their life together.

Kasey loves the freedom of reinventing herself, including her new friendship with police officer and soldier Andrew Adams. Andrew is handsome and charming, and his interest in Kasey awakens feelings she’d rather have for her husband, who pushes her further away with each of his alcohol-fueled outbursts. Intent on preserving her marriage for the sake of her young daughter, and with no one else to confide in, Kasey turns to Andrew for support.

But Andrew’s own life is falling apart as he’s put on standby for another deployment, triggering painful memories he’d rather ignore. He’ll do anything to forget the soldiers who didn’t return home with him, his stillborn son, and all those he’s disappointed, including God.

As their relationship grows, Kasey must decide if she will repair her marriage and remain with the man she’s always loved, or if she will give up everything she holds dear to save the soul of a man she barely knows, a man who fights her at every step, a man desperate to regain his faith in God, in humanity, and in himself.


Four months until The Lone Wolf is released on December 2nd. I’m so excited!

Midyear writing goal review

Every three months or so, I like to post how I’m progressing on the goals I set for myself in January.

  1. Publish my novel, The Lone Wolf.  I can cross this off because it’ll be out December 2nd, 2013, from Evolved Publishing. Yay me!
  2. Average a short story acceptance each month, with the majority of them in paying markets.  This has not been going so well. I’ve only had one acceptance so far this year (to a token market), “Us, Together” in Fiction365. Okay, two maybe if you count “The Business Trip” reprinted in Free Flash Fiction‘s anthology, The Flashing Type. However, I haven’t really been sending any shorts out. I wrote a bunch for May’s Story-A-Day, so maybe I can get some of those out soon.
  3. Put out a short story collection.  Yes, did this too! I released Us, Together: A Short Story Collection about a week ago. And I’m currently working through edits on another one, The Futility of Loving a Soldier, which should be out – let’s just say soon.
  4. Get another novel ready to query – either 2012’s NaNoWriMo novel, or the one I’ve been working on for a couple years, A Handful of Wishes. I haven’t had a chance to work on this, but I’ll be getting my butt in gear soon because I promised my editor I’d have A Handful of Wishes to him by April 2014 so it can be published December 2014.
  5. Read 100 books this year. I’m currently at 43. I should be at 49 by now, but considering how busy I’ve been with school and work and writing and my kid, I’m not doing too bad.
  6. Kayak the entire length of the Hennepin Canal.  Still no job, so still no kayak to do this. And no time to do it either. Maybe I can do small pieces as part of some weekend adventures later this summer?

If you’ve set goals for yourself, how’re they going so far this year?

Genre hopping

One of the hardest things for me as a writer is to stay within the same genre. Many authors have no problem with this – they write all sci-fi, or thrillers, or romance. Me, I’m all over the place. My novel due out in December 2013, The Lone Wolf, is women’s fiction. My next one, A Handful of Wishes (tentatively scheduled to be released in December 2014), is magical realism. The one I wrote for NaNo last year, On the Other Side (aiming for December 2015), is steampunk. A short story collection I want to publish in the next year or so, Between Light and Dark, is a mix of horror and romance. The collection I hope to have out soon, The Futility of Loving a Soldier, is contemporary.

Fortunately my publisher, Evolved Publishing, is okay with my eclectic stories and novels. And I know many writers use a pen name when branching out to something new.

Part of the problem, however, is marketing to the right audience. If someone enjoys my horror stories like “Tim and Sara,” there’s no guarantee they’ll like my women’s fiction novel. Steampunk fans might not enjoy contemporary stories.

If you write in multiple genres, how do you deal with this? And as a reader, how do you feel about a writer hopping through different genres?

A non-writer’s perspective on writing

Last week in class, we discussed David Foster Wallace’s “This Is Water” graduation speech about choices – choosing to feel that everything happens to make your day bad, or choosing to realize that other people are living their own lives independent of your wishes.


I remarked that I actually enjoy waiting in line because it gives me a chance to observe people and try to figure out their back stories and motivations – something I’m guessing most writers do as well. Every situation becomes a potential plot, every person a potential character.

Tonight in class we had to come up with a word for the professor to associate with our names: “an instrument you play, a place you’ve lived, something about you like writing.” When it was my turn, I said, “I guess I’ll be the writer.” The professor asked me what I wrote. “I’ve had about twenty short stories published, and last week I signed a contract for a novel.” Gasps of amazement and exclamations of “oh, wow” ensued, as well as a round of congratulations.

After class, the professor asked me about my novel; he’d always wanted to write one. Another classmate admitted it was on her bucket list too. She’d taken a writing class at one point, but couldn’t imagine actually writing – and editing – a whole novel.

For these people, as well as coworkers and friends I’ve talked to, it doesn’t matter that I don’t have an agent or a contract with a Big 6/5 publisher. What matters is that I wrote a novel. I finished it, polished it, and found a publisher who wants to help me share it with the world.

So if you want to write a novel, or learn Urdu, or fly a plane, do it. Don’t worry about finding a publisher, or getting to India, or solo circumnavigation of the Earth. Don’t worry about the people telling you that you can’t do it, or it’ll suck, or what’s the point?

Take pride in your accomplishment, in something you’ve done that 90% or more of people will never do despite wanting to.

What’s something you want to do but never have, and what’s stopping you from doing it?

So I got a publishing deal this week…

Yep. I’m joining Evolved Publishing, with my first novel scheduled to launch December 2nd, 2013.

I have to say, the feedback and support I’ve received from everyone has been amazing. There are so many people who’ve helped me get to this point, from my beta readers on Scribophile (author Sam Curtis especially; we’ve had so many idea bouncing/hashing out sessions in the past couple years), to those I’ve been lucky enough to beta read for as a way to improve my own writing skills.

But there have also been some not-so-well wishers. Some are voicing concerns because they really do care about my success, and others are just cantankerous [insert insult of choice].

Either way, I want to assure everyone that yes, I did plenty of due-diligence before even submitting to Evolved back in February. At a previous job, one of my duties was researching companies to find any potential problems that might arise if we were to do business with them. I’m a master of Google-fu; trust me, if there’s dirt to be found I’ll find it.

And based on everything I found, I felt nothing but good vibes from this company. From their website, to interviews with their staff, to works I’d read by their authors, to comments by those authors themselves about the company – it all leads me to believe that Evolved is the best fit for me at this point in my writing career.

I won’t go into specifics (nondisclosure clause and all), but suffice it to say I talked to the head publisher and executive editor for 90 minutes Tuesday night, and I was more than satisfied with everything they said. It’s evident that their company’s team approach has the best interests of the authors first and foremost.

So, thanks again, everyone, for all the help and support you’ve given me. I couldn’t have done this without you!

T is for my Kindle story "Tim and Sara" #atozchallenge

Day T of the 2013 Blogging from A to Z April challenge. Today’s topic: “Tim and Sara,” my short story available on Kindle (and soon to be Nook, whenever I get to it).

The victim of debilitating flashbacks, Tim is content to spend the rest of his life at Kirkbride, a state mental hospital. But his friend and fellow resident Sara is concerned that she has to save her soul before it’s too late, and so she devises a plan to break them out of the hospital. Can Tim help his friend while holding onto what’s left of his sanity?

Last summer I decided to try the ebook self-publishing route with one of my longer short stories, “Tim and Sara.” I put it on Amazon for $.99, gave it away for free for a few days, and sat back to watch the results.

To date, I have 9 reviews on Amazon (1 on Amazon.ca) and 1 on Goodreads: 7 5-star and 3 4-star.

What readers are saying:

“…a deep look into fragile minds, victims of sadness, coping as best they know how.”

“Martin sets a scene full of vivid imagery and compelling dialogue.”

“Her writing is clear and colorful, and Tim and Sara’s plight is immediately gripping.”

“…a fascinating look at a complex relationship and how we’re sometimes pulled into each other’s destinies.”

“Never guessed where this was going to take me. Surprises to the end.”

“Tim is a well-defined character, who will cast shadows in my mind for a long time.”

I’m really proud of how good the response has been, and it’s encouraged me to self-publish a couple short story collections, including the upcoming The Futility of Loving a Soldier, which should be out May 25th, and Between Light and Dark, hopefully out around Christmas (and containing a story about Sara and what drove her so “bat shit insane,” as Tim puts it).

If you haven’t read “Tim and Sara” yet, what are you waiting for?  For the price of a cheeseburger, you could read a story readers are raving about.

S is for Short Stories #atozchallenge

Day S of the 2013 Blogging from A to Z April challenge. Today’s topic: short stories.

I’ve been on a short stories kick recently.  Some good stuff I’ve read:

  • Russian lit always tops my list. Chekhov and Gogol, of course, but my most favorite late 19th century Russian short story writer is hands down Leskov. He combines Chekhov’s everyday life with Gogol’s wit, all with a dark edge.
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez is a master of short stories. I recently read Strange Pilgrims, and his magical realism is still the best – “Light is Like Water” is brilliant. And who can forget “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings.”
  • Hemingway, of course. He employs a reporter’s matter-of-fact sparsity, yet still conveys so much story and character development with what he doesn’t say.  I think A Moveable Feast is my favorite of his story collections.
  • I love anthologies and best-of collections; you never know what you’ll find. It’s generally mostly well-written but forgettable stuff which help you with craft, but every collection has some gems that stick with you.

And I write short stories as well. I plan to release two collections in 2013:

The Futility of Loving a Soldier should be out Memorial Day, assuming I finish the last couple stories that just this week decided they wanted to be included.

And I’m shooting for Christmas for a compilation tentatively titled Between Light and Dark, which will include 17 connected stories about the soul.

What are some of your favorite short stories?

    M is for Mary Efflandt Photography/cover reveal #atozchallenge

    Day M of the 2013 Blogging from A to Z April challenge. Today’s topic: Mary Efflandt Photography.

    My best friend from middle and high school is a photographer who graciously made the cover of my upcoming short story collection, The Futility of Loving a Soldier, which will be released Memorial Day.

    I told her what I wanted: a kid dressed as a soldier waving a flag. She took the concept and did a fantastic job with it.  And now every time I see this cover, I get super excited about my book!

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