The battleplan is forming.

Earlier on, we talked about the results of my recent poll. Now we’re gathering around to see what I intend to do with this information. So grab some alcohol, take a shot every time I say something ridiculous, and we’ll all be shit-faced before the night’s out.

If we focus entirely on what the numbers tell me, it’s that folks are either split between what type of content they want to see from me, or they just don’t care. That said, the consensus I also saw was that people want to see me try and make my way onto the Kindle marketplace.

If we look at the discussions that have been popping up in the comment threads every now and then, however, we get a better idea of what folks want. The overall theme was, simply, “Write what you want, but do it for what you feel strongly about.”

At first, this notion didn’t exactly break my old question of, “What, amongst my many ideas that I long to pen, do I feel people want to see first?” Then I read some more feedback and an idea clicked. So, below, I’m going to detail my plan of attack for what’s to come.

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1) Short stories. Let’s face it, people are busy creatures, so even if a novel from a newbie is horribly inexpensive, it’s a massive time commitment. Something that not a lot of people will chance for a fresh face. To counter this, I will be beginning a staggered roll-out of short material onto the Kindle marketplace. I currently have Echoes, Guns of Asgard, Salvaging Life, and the novelette Blood in the Machine in the editing or reserve line that can fill this role.

2) Novel work. Under a Falling Sky is on track now. The story feels solid, the characters feel tight and gripping to me, and the world feels fitting for the story to tell. Work will continue on UaFS, I will do a number of editing sweeps on the drafts, then I’ll likely solicit other writers for a mutually beneficial trade.

We read, comment, and attempt to edit each other’s works. This will help keep costs down, but also open the story up to a critical set of eyes that aren’t my own. As for artwork … we’ll see when we get there.

3) Free, promotional content. Susan Miles had a great idea that I had given little thought to. As it stands, there are two stories that are available for a free download here on this website. Looking back, however, I can’t help but feel that they’re … lacking. She had suggested offering up some free short stories for anyone to chance upon and read.

I’m thinking of not only going with this suggestion, but taking it a step further. Before I continue on, however, I want to stress that this is not concrete and is open to feedback.

I’m planning out the notion of creating a serial piece of content of unknown length and posting segments of it up on the website at set times and dates. The segments would all be hosted online indefinitely, so anyone at any time could come back and read over the old pieces.

My hope is that this would act not only as free promotional content, but also generate an increase in my readership and in traffic to this website. There’s also the idea of putting it all together, after it’s all wrapped up, and making an “enhanced version,” of it and offering it at the minimum price on Kindle (a buck) while still offering each piece for free on my website.

I’m still building the concept for the story and the logistics of how I could make such a thing possible, with what time-frame, ect. What I can say is that I’d likely see it as the means to bring the character of Alec Rho back and to tell his story in a more proper way than he ever had before.

For those unfamiliar with Alec Rho, likely all of you, his original story was about how he was a normal, every day guy who gained the ability to see and interact with Angels and Demons. From there, his life is stripped away from him as he is pursued not only by the Demons that fear being exposed by him, but also by an FBI agent who is trying to find the truth behind Rho and his seemingly otherworldly abilities while maintaining the law.

Alec’s tale was one I had written my first novel on, but due to my inexperience at the time, it didn’t meet my quality standards so I mothballed the entire thing. The idea of using a serialized piece as a method to rewrite and bring his story back has me rather excited since it has been a tale that I’ve never been able to get out of my head.

4) After the serialized piece’s conclusion and possible future post-completion, Under a Falling Sky would be released on the Kindle marketplace. This plan, then, effectively comes across as a serialized piece to catch some people’s attention and be free content for anyone, gets followed-up by short fiction on the Kindle marketplace to try and create a profile for myself there, then concluded by the release of a full-blown novel.

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This plan will be a lot of work and effort. It’s going to require that I apply myself to this harder than I have yet in order to be finished before we’re all old and gray. At the same time, it seems like not only the more logical of approaches, but also the most fulfilling to both current and potentially new readers.

That said, this plan is not entirely concrete yet, especially item #3. The details and planning still need to be smoothed out and fully mapped before I start truly bringing this idea to fruition. At the same time, I am also open to feedback on all of the points discussed here and in every facet.

Think waiting that long for a novel is dumb? Want even more short fiction? Despise the notion of having a premium collection of the serialized work while the story segments are free to read? Cool, let’s discuss it and I’ll hear anyone and everyone out on it.

For now, this is the course I am setting. Until everything is firmly set in stone, as far as the details go, this at least provides me with a rough direction to go in. As always, folks, feel free to leave your thoughts either below, in the comments section on your social site, or drop me an email. For now, I have some details to plan.

Project “S” revealed.

As I mentioned back in this article, I had “set a ludicrous goal.” You might also have seen me mentioned Project “S” on my social media feeds. These two are one and the same, and now will be revealed.

Project “S” is actually a short story that I’ve written since falling ill back on the 10th, titled “Salvaging Life.” At just under 4000 words, it’s a Science Fiction tale about a space-based salvaging crew that makes first contact with an alien species. Its entire purpose – besides telling a story that I wanted to create and all that jazz – was simple: have it be my first piece ever submitted to Clarkesworld Magazine.

Yeah, talk about shooting for the stars, right? Well, that was entirely the point. Due to the recent euphoric experience I had when I was accepted by Fireside Magazine, I decided that I needed to make an effort that either went big or went home. So I wrote the story, edited it multiple times, then sent it out for consideration.

It took less than 24 hours before I received a form rejection. When I saw it, I smiled happily.

“Wait, who the hell wants to hear they’ve been rejected?” I can hear you yelling. The answer is, the guy who wanted to be told that he wasn’t some jewel that just hadn’t been seen yet, who wanted to know that he wasn’t squandering some miraculous gift during those long nights where no progress was made.

If I had been accepted, I’d have sincerely felt like there was something wrong with the universe. I’d then also feel self-loathing at my squandering of my literary abilities (as if I didn’t already, but still). In a way, as amazing as being accepted would be, it feels better that I was knocked back down a peg.

It has felt like every time I shot for the stars – first being published, then being accepted by Fireside, ect – I wound up striking my mark. I needed to feel like I wasn’t infallible. So now here I sit with a complete short story that is looking for a home. There are plenty of options for me to take, so I’ll figure out what to do with it at some point.

For now, however, I’ll be quite content to be in the same mud as many of my fellow writers and work on more edits for other projects and imagine new tales to tell.

Upcoming release: Reversal.

Well, the good news just rolled in!

Recall yesterday, in this article, where I mentioned that I had two pieces of flash fiction out for submission? Well, an hour after I wrote that article, I got word back on one of them. My first story in flash fiction, titled “Reversal”, has just been accepted for publication by Fireside Magazine.

Fireside has been known to attract a high caliber of writers, including Tobias Buckell, Chuck Wendig, Kat Howard, and Stephen Blackmoore amongst many others. Writers who’s actual job isn’t spent at some other building that’s two bad commutes away from home, but actually write fiction for a living.

Needless to say, knowing that my work has been accepted by a publication who deals with such writers is beyond simply being mind-blowing. I am quite humbled and honored to be a part of this effort, and am definitely looking forward to seeing what comes of this great event.

So, what is “Reversal” you ask?

Besides being the first piece of flash fiction that I’ve written, it is a piece of contemporary fantasy that is a spin on the idea of second chances.

Unfortunately, due to the size (or lack thereof) of the story, I can’t really disclose much more on the piece without ruining it. What I can say is that I am proud of the piece that resulted from the work that went into it, and I hope that you all enjoy it when it releases.

Brian, the editor in chief for Fireside, will be putting together the schedule for the issue in the weeks coming up. Until that gets taken care of, the publication date is still to be planned. Trust me when I say, however, that as soon as a date is finalized and disclosed, I’ll be shouting it from the hilltops. You know, what hilltops I actually got around these parts.

Upcoming release: When Death Comes.

A story of mine that I’d written awhile back, When Death Comes, was originally rejected by Fireside Magazine. I’d written it, initially, just for them and it was meant to fit into their guidelines.

Now, Fireside only had a couple of slots for their seldom released issues, and they had an absolute ton of people apply for those spots. With their previous line-up including such names as Neil Gaiman and Chuck Wendig, however, I knew I was throwing myself to pure-blooded wolves.

It was, however, my first actual form rejection. While I had braced for rejections before, it hit me in a different way than I had expected. Instead of the gut-wrenching “I am a miserable sack of crap that shouldn’t bother writing” idea, it subtly made me slow down on sending out other material or even opening Scrivener. It was slow, it was subtle, and it was toxic.

After I got that first rejection, I looked at this story and it made me second guess the whole thing. “This story is just … too much of a sharp turn,” I remember thinking. I thought it would be impossible to have someone pick it up.

So then I sent it out to another magazine, Petrichor Machine. It took a couple months, but I was finally handed a personal rejection there. While I took comfort in that it was personalized, it was still a rejection none the less.

After that, the feelings from earlier had been renewed. Again I found myself staring at the story, wondering just what in the hell I’d actually bothered to write, to create.

Then, come January, I found myself getting back into my writing circles. That isn’t to say I found myself leaving a reclusive lifestyle, since this hobby of mine lends itself to the reclusive attention-whores like myself. Either way, I found myself chatting with Doug Lance, Editor in Chief with eFiction Magazine. We talked and bantered, then I remembered I hadn’t sent him anything in awhile.

Resolving that I needed to get something out, I took another look at When Death Comes. I liked what I had, even if I knew it was a bit different towards the end. Call it creator’s bias or what have you, but I decided I’d send it to Doug and see if he could make something of it.

It was at the tail-end of January that I sent him the story. On Friday, 2/22/13, I signed the contract with eFiction for them to pick the story up for their March 1st issue. I haven’t heard explicitly why they chose to pick it up, but I can only imagine if they’d seen the same thing in the story that I did when I wrote it.

So yes, Ladies and Gents, When Death Comes will reside in the March 1st issue of eFiction Magazine. If you want to have a read at it, you’ll be able to pick up a copy this Friday (the 1st) from their website, Amazone, Barnes & Noble, ect.

The story itself is about a man waiting to have a face-off with three other partner’s in crime, but recounting his actions that led him there to a strange woman who shows up at his doorstep. I tried to drop a few hints and allusions to what comes later in the story, including using one character’s name as an anagram, so keep your eye open.

Until the release, and for some time afterward, I get to contemplate how my seeming failure has turned into another success. For the immediate and foreseeable future, however, it’s back to work on a mixture of Under a Falling Sky and Blood in the Machine.

What the hell is wrong with me, and how come nothing seems to stay a failure?

Beta read is now live.

Yup, that’s right, the beta version of Blood in the Machine – formerly (R)Evolution / Building a Better You – is live. I’ve got two beta readers going over the story, hopefully giving up some proper feedback that I can try and design the story and any revision around.

So, how long will it be before you can get your mittens on it? It’ll actually be awhile, since it’ll be sent out for editing once the beta read is over. The beta, as well, will last awhile so the readers will have some time to read, process, and give their thoughts on it.

So what will I do in the meantime?

Well, I had this little thought sneak up on me a couple nights ago regarding Under a Falling Sky. It was about Ashayl, one of my two protagonists, and a single tweak I could make. This single tweak, however, would completely rip up and rework how the entire world of that story functions.

I’m liking the changes I see as well, it’s just that I need to sit down and realize the scope of such a change. It’d also demand a rewrite of the story, something I knew I’d need to do anyway. Before I do anything rash, however, I’ll be brainstorming and outlining how this could all work out.

This is one of those points where having Mind Mapping software turns out to be very helpful. Oh well, I’ll tend to this all later on tonight and so forth. Until then, peace out.