New release: When Death Comes.

Today we welcome a new member to the “published” family. This newcomer is titled When Death Comes, a Paranormal Fantasy. It has officially released with eFiction Magazine‘s  March issue.

A story about a man living up to the consequences of his life and his actions therein, it brings me great pleasure to see it become my third published piece (not counting the two free pieces on my website). In a way, I figured I’d never see this piece actually make its way to market.

I’m all too glad to be wrong.

As I mentioned in this prior article, this story had a bit of a troublesome streak to it. It was my first piece to ever earn me not only a rejection, but actually two separate denials. With those rejections in hand, along with dealing with NaNoWriMo at the time, I wondered if anyone would pick it up at all. Luckily enough, eFiction did.

So yes, by this point, the Kindle copies of the March issue should be up and ready for your download an enjoyment. The eFiction website has yet to explicitly list the March issue, but they should be up shortly.

I hope you all enjoy the story. As always, feel free to let me know what you think of it. Until then, however, it’s back to the grind.

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?

On the up-swing.

It’s been a little while since we last had an update, and there’s a good reason for that. There hasn’t been much done, so there hasn’t been much to update everyone about.

I said it was a good reason, I didn’t say you were going to like it.

But that’s been changing. After the frantic holiday season, along with the post-season lull and catch-ups, I’ve been getting back into my second work. Since, you know, the first-work keeps me fed and a roof over my head, but what ever.

How have I been starting off? Well, I’ve been reading a bit more, along with participating with other writers on a more recurring basis. I’ve also been – slowly – reinvigorating my presence with eFiction Magazine and am looking to get a story into them.

At the same time, I’ve gotten back into my GoodReads account. I’ve added a couple things onto my shelf over there, wound up in a couple groups, and am gonna make an effort to keep current with it. I even went to the trouble to make and throw a link to my account over on the sidebar.

Speaking of publishing, I’ve been of the mind to wrap up, clean up, and send (…up?) some of my current projects for publication. I’ve got two completed shorts, in the form of Echoes and When Death Comes, along with two other short stories that are currently in production. All that is required is a bit of effort to actually make sure they’re looking good and get sent out for review.

But what about beyond that? I mean, sure, some short stories will last a little while, but they won’t go on forever.

I am looking into the possibility of having a compilation of short stories publicly – and commercially – released around the middle of the year. It would have my published work (thus far), along with a couple other projects that haven’t been shown yet. I’d likely also go back and touch up earlier published pieces, though Synthetic Reality would be the biggest target of such work.

I figure that such a release would help open me up to a wider audience and get me started down the road of actual publication outside of magazines. At the same time, it’d also make me a target for some hard and heavy criticism and feedback on my quality and style, so that could be either good (and depressing).

Either way, as soon as I get a couple of things done and out of the way, I intend to crack down on myself like a hammer on someone’s fingers. That includes the short story work mentioned earlier, along with getting the draft of Under A Falling Sky wrapped up and ready for re-work (it’s gonna need a lot). That’s all before I even think about other ideas, currently planned novels, ect.

…I really don’t make this easy on myself, do I?

State of the Crazy.

It’s like the State of the Union address, except for the demented thoughts in my head!

In all seriousness, I thought I’d give an update as to what’s going on. It’s been a little while, some things have come up, and I’ve been working on my vanishing act for the last week or so. Needless to say, I owe you guys something.

First off, I’ve been trying to stay busy with the writing, though the day job is kicking my ass six-ways-from-sunday. I’ve been squeezing in my writing during the lunch breaks, but by the time I get home, I wind up crashing on the couch. Trying to fix this, and it should pass come the middle of next week, but it’s hampering me at the moment.

I have, however, not stopped on progress. I’ve actually – just recently – submitted a short story into Fireside Magazine. They ran a Kickstarter for their second quarterly issue – and beyond – but also recently opened to submissions.

Fireside’s been exclusively an invitation-only publication, featuring such writers as Chuck Wendig, Tobias Buckell, Ken Liu, and more. Needless to say, I feel like I’ve thrown myself to the wolves with this one. I wrote this entry with the intention of putting out a great story, but I’m keeping my expectations being picked quite low.

Because of Fireside’s submission guideline, as well, a welcome challenge was created. You see, with eFiction Magazine, the word ceiling is at 10,000 for a short story. With Fireside, however, it’s 4,000. Breaking my normal ceiling and working under the constraint having a limit that was less than half of my prior works was a rather exciting and fun challenge. I even managed to go under their limit, having the story clock in around 3,100 words.

Take that, adversity!

Secondly, are you familiar with King of the Web? Maybe you are, maybe you’re not, but hear me out. It’s essentially a popularity contest with internet personalities. It doesn’t cost anything to participate, but the rewards can be pretty substantial.

TotalBiscuit, one of the largest YouTube gaming commentators – if not the largest – out there, is currently running in King of the Web’s “Battle Royale”. Here’s the thing, he’s running with the intention of donating his entire prize to Charity: Water. C:W, in short, is a charity designed to provide clean water and wells to third-world nations and their people.

TotalBiscuit has a history with C:W, having already managed to raise and donate over $20,000 to them before with his earlier KotW campaign. I’m going to be voting for TB in this Battle Royale – and through him, Charity: Water.

If you want to help chip in with King of the Web, check out his campaign page. As I said before, it’s all free and shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes to setup and vote.

Personally, I’ve followed TB for a number of years and recall listening to him during the first run of Blue Plz! on WoW Radio. Seeing him willing to take on this contest explicitly for charity makes me happy, so I want to continue to support him.

Thirdly, progress for Crimson Sands. The word count is lower than I would have liked to be at, but I’m continuing regardless. Things are accelerating in the story and the characters are being fleshed out, so that helps. Introductions have never been my strong point, so here’s hoping it’s smooth sailing from here.

I am aiming to be sending it off for editing by the end of the year, so that’s my deadline that I’m sticking to. That means completing the first draft, getting some beta input, going over and fixing as many grammatical mistakes as I can find, ect.

Ideally, I’d love to be able to publicly release Crimson Sands next year alongside Under a Falling Sky, my planned NaNoWriMo novel. Let’s face it, it pays to come out of the gate swinging.

Fourthly, I’ve been having a slightly awkward moment when dealing with my social media feeds. It used to be that, back when I got started with writing seriously, I was actively searching for publications and magazines to try and submit to. Now, after having submitted to eFiction for some time and just having recently submitted to Fireside, it’s changed.

I’ve now noticed some publications and magazines seem to search for me. I now see multiple magazines and publications find and follow me. Just today I got followed by World Weaver Press over on twitter. Hell, I found out about Fireside Magazine simply because they followed me on twitter. There’s been a few more, but it’s giving me a strange feeling.

Oh the times, how they are changing.

Anyways, I’ll keep busy with the multitude of projects I have to work on for the moment. I’ll also keep you all as informed as I can – within reason, of course.

Now where did I put my straight-jacket …


Another one penned, another one gone …

(This is both an announcement and some of my thoughts, so yeah …)

So what do I mean by that title? Why, it’s quite simple.

I wrote, finished, and submitted another story to eFiction.

So what is it that I offered up this time? Is it something that’s straight-up action like Dawnstar? Is it something that is entirely cerebral like Synthetic Reality?


Echoes, as I titled the new story, is a post-modern crime story.

I haven’t been the hugest follower of crime shows or mystery novels before. I like Castle, sure, but it’s got Nathan Fillion (seriously, a pretty easy sell to me there). CSI, Law & Order, any of their spin-offs, ect? Nope, not a watcher. Should I be? Maybe.

That said, when the concept of what Echoes is about struck me, sticking it in the context of a murder mystery was something I wanted to do. It felt at home there, and seemed like a lost idea when trying to place it anywhere else.

The idea behind Echoes is that in the year 2027, Detective Nathan Marshall is trying to solve the case behind the murder of a young woman. At the same time, he’s also tasked with using the case as a trial run for an experimental system that plays back the last time a victim came into contact with an object. He’s got to use the Echo system in order to solve the case, as well as please those with an interest in the project.

This isn’t just the first time I’ve written a crime story; it’s also the first time I’ve actually written about a murder. Sure, Synthetic Reality had a murder in it, but it wasn’t the same thing. The bodycount in Dawnstar may have also been rather high, but those were deaths, not murders.

When writing this story, I came upon a realization that I’d not experienced as a writer: killing a character and murdering them are two separate things.

Killing a character can happen in any number of ways for any number of reasons. Your character’s a Vampire and needs to feast on others to survive, they get shot, there’s a horrible car crash, some lightning has impossible timing, ect. Killing a character can be impersonal, but the only real psychological effect that you need to convey is in the survivors.

When you murder a character, however, it’s different. Murder is almost always an extremely confrontational event. Someone gets shot, stabbed, set on fire, ect. You need to convey the psychology for not just those who survive, but for those that do the deed, and those that are the victim of it. You then need to construct the scene, the motive, the method, the getaway, ect.

As you can probably see, there’s a difference. Murder is much more in depth than simply putting a bullet through their bodies. As such, it rewards a different feeling when writing it. Just as well, the emotions of those that survive are different as well.

If you kill a character through any means, your characters must react accordingly. You’re not simply removing a character from a story; you’re destroying anything and everything that they were, you’re (generally) cutting every single one of their story threads. They’re remaining adventures will never be told, they’ll never have any more arguments or fights with anyone else, they’ll never hug or hold you’re character’s hand.

It’s that absence that becomes what their death is all about. Maybe your victim had a sunny and fun filled life, or perhaps their life was one of suffering and uphill battles. That doesn’t matter. They should have made some impact on your characters, and your readers through them, and so their deaths become about that void that their name now represents.

I remember that the first time I read (what I thought was) a character’s death. It was Bruenor Battlehammer, in the Icewind Dale Trilogy by R.A. Salvatore, when he fought Shimmergloom in the Mithril Halls. As I read that scene and came to believe that Bruenor was gone, it was that absence that brought tears to my eyes (I’m deadly serious about this; mock me and I’ll slap you).

Death is a powerful thing if put to use by a good storyteller. It’s something that can bring not only your characters, but your readers as well, to tears. They all will feel that loss and void, that feeling that something that was cherished on some level is now gone forever.

A storyteller who isn’t worth their salt will fall flat on their face when trying to convey a death in a story. In truth, to kill a character and fail in its  delivery is worse than not killing them at all. The death of a character – murder ever more so – is a very heavy thing to deal with, in story and in life.

Seriously, do some due diligence when you try and use heavy topics in storytelling. To use such topics with little regard to their actual consequence is worse than not even trying to use them at all.