A new cover

forgottensmlI’ve been working to get all of my stories edited. Well, I’ve been working to earn money so I can pay someone else to edit them. Then I get to go through, approve most of the edits, then reformat, and resubmit to Amazon and everywhere else. The print book will also soon have the new cover, but it takes a couple days to go through the system.

Forgotten Ones is the latest one to get this treatment. So I decided it needed a new cover to go with the new, updated insides. Something that really shows that it’s urban fantasy.

(Forgotten Ones is my urban fantasy about the goddesses of fate saving the world from a mad god bent on destroying it to get his power back.)

This is the first time I’ve actually bought stock photos to use. I don’t think anyone else has used this particular photo, so that helps. And there are other shots of this particular model that I might pick up for the next book.

I’ve just gotten the edits back for “Small Bites: The Complete Collection” and I’m working on getting those out in the kindle version. I’ll also be updating the four individual books at the same time. For the print version… I’m working on something totally new with full color pages inside, a smaller binding, and basically totally awesome! This is going to take a little time because there is so much to go through and fix.

I won’t be doing this with any other books right now. I’m still busy finishing my novel, and once that is finished I might look into updating a few other books.

Hopefully, I won’t ever send a new thing to print/kindle again unless it’s been edited first. I’m getting better at editing myself, but it’s going to take time to get my self editing up to a good standard, and even then I still want an extra set of eyes to go over everything. So far my new editor has been incredible, and it’s so great to find someone I can work with, who get’s my writing, likes it, and knows how to make it better.

Necessary End – A Short Story

A few days ago I listened to a podcast and they were talking about an experiment in which a computer was left to evolve on its own, learning to be as efficient as possible. This computer, supposedly, learned to calculate the routes through each chip depending on atoms, and electrical states of each path. It made itself faster, but in so doing it also made itself un-repairable. The computer would only work with that particular chipset, since it was calibrated for that chipset. Once replaced it had to relearn everything again.

I tried to find any reference to the article, but I couldn’t manage to find it.

This story was inspired by that little conversation. A simple, short story. So short that I’m giving it away for free.

If you like it, and would like to read more of my short stories, you can get the full collection of them here.

 

~~Necessary End~~

“We can’t save her.”

The words were so final. They fell on my ears like lead shot piercing my heart. I wanted to fight against it, rebel, scream!

“What do you mean you can’t save her?” I yelled. “She’s wires and components. A machine! Of course you can save her, just take out the broken bits and replace them with new ones!”

Was I hysterical? Did it matter anymore? They had to save her! Didn’t they?

“I wish it were that simple,” he said, lowering his gaze. “She’s a machine, yes, and we can replace many of her parts, but others aren’t as easy to replace, or even repair. It would be like replacing part of your brain with someone else’s. She would function, but she wouldn’t be herself anymore.”

“Then… she’s dying?”

I could tell he wasn’t use to dealing with flesh and blood people. His oil stained smock, and soft hands stained with black and blue marks set him apart. He, like me, cared more about his machines then the people who employed him to keep them running.

So why couldn’t he fix her?

He laid a hand on my shoulder, and I had to work not to shake him off. “I’m sorry. You’ll have some time to say good bye, but her memory is going into a cascading failure. The system won’t last until morning.”

“Can you save any of her?”

“Memories, images, pictures. But not the core structure. Not her. It would be an incomplete copy, incompatible with anything else.”

I slumped in on myself. Some part of me screamed no, but I knew I had to except it. I’d heard of the cascading failures before. The droids were so complex, so individualized, that no two were alike. You could change a joint, an arm, a processer… but the core, the brain, wasn’t replaceable. It just wouldn’t communicate with any other system. The memories could be transferred, data, images, sound, and text, but it wouldn’t be her.

“Go,” he said, patting me awkwardly. “Spend her last moments with her. I think she’d like that.”

I walked into the next room and saw a table with a tin sheet covering a lump. Kathryn.

She looked so vulnerable under that flimsy covering. Wires and metal bits were sticking out from under the cloth, some of them plugged into gadgets on the wall. I didn’t understand any of the read outs, but I understood the meaning.

Kathryn turned as I approached, and gave me a smile. Her large green eyes blinked, the pink hair I’d given her was laying on the table beside the bed. I gently picked it up, and helped her put it back on. She picked it out, she should have it now.

The covering was flat against Kathryn’s chest, and I lifted it up just enough to see underneath… Her chest cover had been removed. Her insides bare for the world to see. Wires, servos, micro computers, all of it flashing and whirring along as it should be.

I lowered the cloth again, patting it down in place, before sitting down beside her, careful of all the cords.

“I’m so sorry, Kathryn. I should have been paying attention. You shouldn’t have jumped out in front of that car just to save me.”

“You’re safe, miss. That is all that matters. You were always my highest priority.”

She lifted my hand to her cheek, a tear sliding down the pseudo flesh surface.

“They can’t save you,” I said, finally admitting it to myself, too. “They said your memory banks were too damaged.”

“I know. I knew before we arrived, but I held out hope… for you.”

“For me? But why?”

“I didn’t want to cause you any more pain, miss.”

“Oh, Kathryn, I love you. I don’t know what I’ll do without you.”

Kathryn patted my head, her fingers stiff and unwieldy. She was already losing some of her mobility as her processor shut down functionality.

“You’ll go on, miss, as you always have. You’ll meet new people, and experience new things. You’ll love, and live, and laugh. And sometimes you’ll remember me and cry a few tears. But mostly I hope memories of me make you happy.”

“He said he’d save your memories for me.”

“Yes, I’m glad. There are many pictures and videos I am sure you’ll enjoy remembering.”

“I’d give them all up, every one of them, to keep you alive.”

Kathryn’s face twitched in a smile, then flattened. The monitor beside her began a long, loud beep that never ended.

I laid my head on her stiff shoulder and cried. My oldest, and dearest companion, and she was gone. They always told us computers were replaceable. They weren’t like humans who eventually wore away and died. Computers, and the androids built with them, could live forever if you just kept replacing parts, right?

But some parts can’t be replaced.

 

FAQ: How Long Should My Story Be?

Word length, like many other FAQ’s, does not have an easy answer. It really depends on what you’re writing, what the genre is, how the plot and pacing go, and what the story wants to be. In this digital age we have lot more options. When once novellas were shunned because publishers just didn’t take them. Now they are everywhere because we can publish on our own.

The general guidelines for lengths according to wiki:

Novel over 40,000 words
Novella 17,500 to 40,000 words
Novelette 7,500 to 17,500 words
Short story under 7,500 words
(Not on wiki, but under 2k is considered flash fiction by most people.)
This is not necessarily typical for what I’ve seen posted elsewhere. Usually novels are quoted as 60k and over, while novellas are 10-60k. This, to me, seems like a ridiculously large variance.

Another consideration is genre. In romance, 60k is normal, while in sci-fi and fantasy it’s more common to see 80-100k+ novels.

E-books have given us a lot more latitude, though it still is proven that people buy longer books more often. In that case, 80k seems to be a “magic number” in word length, as much as anything is “magic” in the publishing world.

But how long should your story be? Ask your story! Does it have a lot of twists and turns in the plot? Then go longer. Is it a simple vignette, a window into a world instead of the whole world, then go short. I’ve seen stories that are as short as 100 words that are worth a read.

The Egg“, a rather wonderfully poignant short story, has hit the front page of reddit several times, and been shared, remade and reused often. “The Last Question” by Issac Asimov, also comes up a lot. Both of these stories are only a few pages long, and yet people are going to be analyzing and rereading them for years to come.
So yes, you should probably write some longer pieces if you are trying to sell books. But, I would caution you to let the stories tell themselves when you can. Sometimes they are going to be shorter, sometimes longer. This doesn’t necessarily make them wrong. It’s only wrong if you don’t stay true to your story.

FAQ : Are Zombies Overdone

In a forum this morning, a fellow writer said they came up with an idea, and thought of setting it in a zombie apocalypse. They wanted to know if zombies were overdone.

My Response:

Zombies are a bit over done at the moment, but they go in and out of style just like witches, vampires, and werewolves. I believe “witches” are the current hot thing, or so I keep hearing.

The thing is, you should write what you love, because that love will shine through. So what if the market has too many zombie stories. Your first job is to write, worry about markets later.

Second, if you could take the zombies out and replace them with anything else and still have the same story, then really it isn’t going to matter. People will come for the story, not just the monster of the day.

Lastly, Even if they are over done, there will always be people who love them. Write it, publish it, and it might find a small audience now, and a larger one later when zombies become the “thing” again.

But really, just write what you love.

Rainy NaNoWriMo

I have a hot cup of tea, the steam wafting up in ribbons of creamy goodness, and the rain is falling just outside my windows. The slick black pavement, and vibrant fall leaves… all of it just makes me want to settle down with a good book, and read.

I love the rain. It’s a calming force that washes the world clean. Everything smells fresh, and the world looks a little clearer after a good rain.

If only it wasn’t so cold.

For the last week I’ve been writing the plot for my NaNoWriMo book. I want it to be my first full length book. (Well, first finished, edited, and published.) That means I’m shooting for 80k, 50 of which I’ll write during November. Finish the rest, and a lot of editing, come December.

This is a major undertaking for me, and a big step in terms of publishing. Everything so far has been novellas and short stories. It’s time I did something full length.

I’m also going to keep working on some of my short stories, and hopefully publish a few more, but my main focus is going to be the NaNo project.

And what is my NaNo project this year? So glad you asked!

“The Mermaid’s Curse” is a paranormal romance. A young mermaid has been cursed by a powerful entity seeking a physical manifestation on land.

I’m still working out a few of the details, and a lot is going to change over time. I will probably share a few of those details, and maybe a first chapter here as NaNo continues.

And yes, this one also has a battle scene but the focus is more on the relationship between the mermaid and a young man who has vowed to protect her at any cost.

Should be fun.

Validation!

I got my first payment from Amazon the other day. It wasn’t much, but it was nice to actually get something for all the work I’ve put into writing.

It made me feel validated that the thing I started is actually panning out. People actually like my writing, and want to read what I have to say. Not just read it, but pay for it.

Maybe it’s because I grew up without much money. Maybe it’s because I have gone without, and worked hard to get what I have. Who knows. Maybe it’s just my own ideals about money that make me feel this way. The idea that other people not only think my writing is good, but worth paying with their own hard earned money to read it… that gives me a big boost in confidence.

I know I don’t want to pay money for things I don’t like. Or even if something is just “eh” to me. But if I really like it, or the people behind it and want to support them because I know it’s a worthwhile cause, then I’ll part with some cash.

So, I’ve been extra productive this week. I will have all of my books out on Kobo by the end of the month, and hopefully three more stories (two shorts for Halloween, and then “Forgotten Ones”). One short is complete, just doing a final revision. “Forgotten Ones” is close. And the third, a YA Halloween short story, is half done.

The best news… I figured out how they beat the bad guy in “Forgotten Ones”. I was having a bit of trouble with that, but once I figured it out everything started flowing together.

So, to recap:
Paying for books is good.
It makes authors feel appreciated, and liked.
It encourages them to be more productive.
And reviews also help LOTS!

So go review or buy a book from your favorite author. They will really appreciate it. (Especially if it’s an indie where every sale/review counts.)

Absolon

absolonsm

I have been wanting to publish something new for a while, but have been working on “Forgotten Ones” for quiet some time, which won’t be released until it is finished.

But, I had been considering “writing in public” on Wattpad.  I had two ideas, a post-apocalyptic following a group through the ruins of Seattle, and a science-fiction space opera aboard a ship in deep space.

I haven’t ruled out the space opera, but I did the first chapter of “Absolon” and published it over on Wattpad.

I will do a new chapter of “Absolon” every other week, and still keep working on “Forgotten Ones”.

I have three chapters to go on “Forgotten Ones”, then I need to finish the cover, and send it to an editor. Till then, hopefully you’ll enjoy Absolon.

The Blurb for “Forgotten Ones”

This will be the description of “Forgotten Ones” when it goes live. (Or close to it.) What do you think?

*****

The ancient gods lost the battle, and monotheism spread across the globe, forcing some into hiding, and others into a deep sleep.

Lost and forgotten in time, and unable to die, the immortal gods had to choose new paths. Some slept, letting time forge on without them. Some learned to prosper on the meager worship of a few adherents. Still others became dark brooding shadows of what they once were, obsessed with regaining their former glory.

The goddesses of fate, Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos, chose a different path. They gave up some of their divinity, choosing to reincarnate rather then waste away in their godly bodies. By working with the Vatican to capture the dangerous god-lings, they shift the balance of power, letting man make the world his own, unhindered.

But one of the ancient gods has awoken from his slumbers, and he knows just enough about the Fates to remain hidden from their sight. And just enough about the world of man to create chaos in his wake.

To trap the god-ling before he regains his strength, the Fates have to do something they haven’t done in centuries. They must tap into the divine power that once made them a force even gods feared. But at what cost? And what will their keepers do when the Fates remember their true strength?

A New Book, and a Free Book

Twilight TalesTwilight Tales” is free today and tomorrow, so if you haven’t read it you might pick it up. It’s a quick read, but I think it’s worth it.

5SB5sm
Also, “Small Bites- 1-4” the complete collection will be available by the end of the day. It’s just running through the publishing checkers at the moment. It contains all the stories from all of the previous Small Bites, plus two extras, and a lot of extra behind the scenes stuff.

It is being released at $2.99, which is cheaper then buying them individually.

The print version should be available within the next two weeks. It will be over 80 pages long, and have a new, original, cover.

A Trick (A free short story)

There was a little contest today for a flash fiction story about this picture. So I wrote one. Hope you enjoy it. If you do, you can vote for me by adding a +1 to it.

A Trick

“Ha, ha, Dinah, I knew we could do it,” the little fairy said, leaning back in her saddle and tapping Dinah’s sides with her heels.

Dinah mewed, unmoving. It really didn’t matter if the commands came from fae or humans, cats rarely listened to anyone unless they wanted to.

“I can’t believe she fell for it,” the fairy said. “I mean really, chasing rabbits in the glade. She’s seven, isn’t she? That’s ancient in human years.”

She leaned back, watching a dragonfly buzz by over head, a smile widening across her face.

A frown furrowed her little brow. “You don’t think Chez would ruin it, do you? I mean, it’s so perfect, a human child in the fairy hill. We can torment her for ages. But you know Chez, she likes to meddle. “

She leaned forward, scratching the kitten between the ears. “No, she couldn’t possibly do that. I mean, the last time she interfered in someone’s mischief it started a war. We couldn’t leave the under-hill for a century. The humans forgot we existed. Surely she wouldn’t do that again.”

Dinah mewed, leaning into the scratch.

“Well, well, well. What have we here?”

The fairy looked up to see a perfect set of white teeth floating above a branch. From around the teeth a fairy materialized, her wings flickering in a purple glow.

“Oh, Chez, I was just thinking about you.”

“Red, I knew you wouldn’t waste any time getting out of the under-hill.”

“It’s a beautiful day,” Red said, laying back on Dinah. “The sun is shining, and the flowers are singing. Of course I’m out here enjoying it.”

Chez leaned against the tree trunk. “And the little girl?”

“Which little girl?” Red said, blinking big eyes up at her innocently.

“So many to choose from, it’s a pity you have so little time to play with them.”

“Exactly!” Red said, snapping up to attention. “I’m glad you understand.”

“Hmmm… You know, it’s been a very long time since I’ve been a cat,” Chez said, her shape fuzzing. “I think I might like to be a cat again.”

Chez’s shape changed around her perfectly grinning teeth, shifting into the form of a cat with purple stripes.

“A Cheshire cat?”

“But of course. We all need to be something, don’t we? Why not a cat?”

“Why not indeed. What are you up to, Chez?”

“Oh, about the height of a tree branch,” she said. Her tail started unraveling into thin air. “But that will soon be rectified,” she said as her body faded. “I’ve something to attend to within the hill.”

The grin grinned down at Red, then blinked out of existence.

“She would!” Red cried, and blinked back into the fairy hill.