Month: June 2015

See You At Hell’s Gates

It’s official, one of my short stories will be appearing in the forthcoming charity anthology, AT HELL’S GATES: BOUND BY BLOOD. The announcement can be found at the official website, here: http://athellsgates.com/2015/06/ahg3-author-lineup-cover-art-announced/

AHG3-COVER

What’s cool about this anthology is every cent goes to the Fallen Intrepid Heroes Fund. Not just a dollar of sales. Not a portion of each sale. Every. Single. Cent. That’s what made my involvement so easy. Readers get quality horror for a good cause. It’s a win-win.

The cover art is badass. If you look closely, you’ll see my name! I mean, ahem, all of the contributing authors can be found on the cover image.

Releasing on July 31, 2015, AT HELL’S GATES: BOUND BY BLOOD, is sure put a scare or two in your summer reading. I hope you’ll consider buying a copy and supporting a worthy cause.

What can you expect from me?

My story, Through Mourning, will be set loose on the reading public when At Hell’s Gates: Bound By Blood releases. Here’s the blurb: For the past three years Byron Wingate has eked out an existence in a zombie infested NYC haunted by the fate of his missing daughter. He made a promise to find her. Thus far he’s failed. When he sees a strange girl skipping through the undead hordes he feels compelled to help. The lines between what’s real and what isn’t blur. The girl, he believes, is the key. But will she lead him to salvation or damnation? With his sanity faltering, and the undead closing in, Byron may soon discover sometimes ignorance really is bliss.

I’m so happy this story found a home. While I don’t want to go into any more detail, I will say that my sister cried when she read it. I think you gals/guys are going to dig it. See you at the end of July for the release! Don’t forget to “like” the At Hell’s Gates Facebook page too!

Things Don’t Always Go According To Plan

Trying to break into publishing the traditional way isn’t easy. I knew that before I stared. What I didn’t know was exactly how difficult my path was going to be. Not so long ago my literary agent and I parted ways. Without going into too much detail, I was the one who requested the split.

Sometimes we do what we believe is right and things still go wrong.

I’ve always been a hard worker. Tell me what you need and I’ll get right on it. Even when things turn to shit I’m the kind of person who keeps a clear head and takes charge, finding alternate ways to get things done. My time in the US Air Force only amplified those traits. That’s why my situation is so frustrating.

But I have to let it go. I can’t control everything. I can’t control what other people do, or don’t, do. All I can do is what I believe is right, even if that decision is one of the most difficult I’ve had to make.

When you get knocked down, get up and get right back at it again.

What really bothers me is you don’t see many authors talk about things like this. It’s like some dirty secret. A couple of days ago I posted something and took it down. Fear crept in. Would I burn bridges with other literary agents? Am I important enough for anyone to even care? Then I realized that I have nothing to hide. I did everything in my power to remedy the situation.

I decided to write this post because there have to be other writers/authors out there going through the same thing. Maybe they’re reluctant to part ways with their agent for fear they may never sign with another. Each of us has some idea of how we’d like to be treated, whether it’s by a literary agent or a stranger on the street. We know when we’re not being treated the way we’d like to be treated. If we think something is wrong, it probably is. I’m confident enough to trust my gut instincts. Sometimes separation it the best possible scenario.

For me, it was about communication. I wasn’t getting what I needed in the communication department, which, I believe, is the most important part of the relationship between an author and literay agent. The problem is there was no way for me to know this until I was in the middle of it.

What does an up and coming author do when their relationship with their agent isn’t progressing in a positive direction?

There is no simple answer. No two people are the same, just like no two situations are the same. What I can say is that if you express your concerns in the right way, often over and over, and things don’t change, you’re allowed to act. Remember, it’s your writing career. If you don’t stand up for yourself (for your authorly wants and needs), why should anyone else?

As long as we remain professional, and give the agent ample opportunity to address our concerns, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t act. Leaving my literary agent has taught me to identify, exactly, what I need from my future literary agent. Conversely, it’s also shown me how I don’t want to be treated.

We can learn from every experience, even the not so pleasant ones. The bottom line is if you’re having issues with your literary agent, you’re not alone. Remain professional and stand up for what you believe is right. You have every right to expect the absolute best. How people treat you says a lot about how they feel about you. I may be willing to overlook some things, but my eyes are always open. When you ask for change (within reason) and change never comes, something is wrong.

Don’t dwell on the past.

What happened once won’t necessarily happen again, especially if we learn from the past. We must not look at every literary agent the same way. We also must not let fear of failing again cripple us. We must move forward with grim, yet positive, determination. Basically, don’t let it get you down. You signed with a literary agent once, you can do it again.

There’s a Flyleaf song called New Horizons with the lyric, “When the times keep going wrong, then we go right.” I can’t think of a better statement. Just because things are going wrong doesn’t mean you have to follow suit. Doing the right thing is rarely the easiest thing, but it’s always the best thing.

Even though one door closed, another will open. I’m not leaving until it does. For now, it’s on to new horizons. Until next time, be good to one another.

Writing Horror For Today’s Market

I stumbled upon this series of articles a while ago and meant to share them earlier. It’s a four part series written by David Taylor (no relation), for Socialpolitan about what makes a good horror novel. As with any advice, take it with a grain of salt. The same things won’t work for everyone. I thought it was an interesting read. Maybe some of you will too. Enjoy!

How to Write Today’s Horror Part 1: The Seeds of Horror

How to Write Today’s Horror Part 2: What Today’s Readers Want

How to Write Today’s Horror Part 3: What Today’s Readers Don’t Want

How to Write Today’s Horror Part 4: Horror Novel Checklist

Recapping May

What’s up, everyone? May came and went. I hope yours went well.

My May started with me tinkering with BETWEEN SHADOWS AND DARKNESS one last time. Well, at least before going on submission. I even added a new prologue to ENDURING DARKNESS which recaps the first book for readers. Both books are now with my agent. What happens next, I have no clue. It’s my first time! I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.

Toward the end of the month I got proposed edits back for two short stories. Both have since been edited and returned to their respective editors. I’m excited to share my short story, Death Blossoms, which will appear in the forthcoming Paying the Ferryman Anthology (Charon Coin Press), with readers soon. We’re in the home stretch!

I can’t really talk about the other one just yet. Not until things become official. I’ll be sure to shout about it when I can. Stay tuned.

I polished my YA  fantasy short, Leprechaun’s Clearing, and sent it off. This story is extra special to me because for the first time I had both of my nieces beta read for me. The reader of the two really liked it and wanted more. My other niece prefers first person books and didn’t really get into it, which is okay. She’s allowed to like what she wants. I’ll have to wait until September to find out if I made it into the anthology.

Yet another short story, From the Cold, was pulled from consideration to appear in a magazine at my request. The editor and I didn’t see eye to eye and I felt it was better to go our separate ways. I promptly subbed it to an anthology I’d been eyeing. I should be hearing back from the editor sometime in July.

Working on my next book is still going slowly. I sent a chunk to a friend of mine to get some much needed feedback. Something, I don’t know what, is holding me back. Hopefully the feedback will help get my head out of my ass. I’d rather take my time and make sure the book reads how I want it to now, rather than throwing up on the page and going back to fix everything later. Only time will tell if I’m doing the right thing.

My stories in the first SNAFU and SNAFU: Wolves at the Door both were singled out in reviews too. It’s always nice when readers appreciate your work and then take the time to talk about it. I’m happy with every review, be it positive or negative. Readers are a passionate bunch and I appreciate the opportunity to entertain and engage them. Just knowing people are reading my words is pretty damn cool. Thanks to all the readers and reviewers out there. You are appreciated.

That’s it for me. I’ve got to go and update the blog. I’ve got to make sure it’s nice and shiny for future visitors. Thanks for stopping by! See you soon.