Altered Words – Cold Fear

alteredwords_titleIt’s time for another Altered Words post!

This time, I “found” a poem in a story by one of my Scroll of Anubis ToC mates – Rhiannon Frater!

Rhiannon is the award-winning author of the As the World Dies trilogy, as well as a wealth of other horror, zombie and other dark fiction works. I admit it – I was pretty stoked when I found out my story was going to be included in an anthology with her, as well as a bunch of other fantastic writers. Rhiannon is such a talent that finding a cool poem “hidden” in her work was not difficult at all!

ABOUT ALTERED WORDS

What is Altered Words all about, anyway? In case you missed my first post, Altered Words is my take on “found fiction”, where I take a story, poem, or other literary work and try to “find” a story within by simply crossing out the words I do not want to include in my piece. Anyway, enjoy the poem!

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Cold Fear – found in Amunet by Rhiannon Frater
pg 27 of The Scroll of Anubis Anthology

The night was stifling,
the breeze barely stirred,
the heat too much to endure.
She was struck by the quiet that filled the house,
shadows thicker and blacker than ever,
moving along beside her in the darkness.
She was alone.
Trembling with cold, she continued,
the shadows following her,
hovering over her.
A sigh, a soft murmur drew her attention,
slowly crept over her;
the cold hand of fear slid down her spine.

Amunet © Rhiannon Frater

 

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WIP Wednesday – A Writer’s Work

…is never done!

So, I spent a few days (and what felt like a billion eye-crossing hours) in Photoshop working on my ebook cover for The Lockwood Collection.

That, my friends, was just the beginning.

My first attempts were laughable at best. I had an idea for the cover, but I just couldn’t get it to look like anything other than a jumbled mess.

But, I kept at it, found some online tutorials, learned some new tricks, and in the end, came up with what I think is my coolest cover yet.

After that, there was the 3D book cover (luckily I found a Photoshop action for that). Then creating the book’s page on my website (complete with all the buy links to various online bookstores), which also needed a corresponding slide image for my homepage. Then I made a new Facebook cover photo to promote the book, plus a mini book ad to share on social media.

Then, the uploading. Sure, most of that was copying and pasting the book descriptions and such – and even though I uploaded directly to the Kindle store, I used Draft2Digital to hit up Kobo, B&N, Scribd and the Apple store (saves me time and frustration). But it all takes time, you see.

Then…Patreon. There are the update posts, where I announce releases or rewards to the general public, plus ones for patrons.

And that doesn’t take into account all the extras (like behind-the-scenes posts like Inklings; Altered Words poems – which time in and of themselves to “find” a poem in any given work; Spirited Tales, which not only take time to write & edit but to also translate into video format; plus this month I’m giving out a free flash fiction tale, which I’ve also had to write, edit, format, make an ebook cover and blog posts for).

Cripes. I’m exhausted. I spent 5 hours today alone making, pre-posting and scheduling promotional things – and some of the graphic design work was already done. It was just a matter of tweaking and making various images & pre-writing patron perks.

I’m not complaining, really I’m not. I just wanted to offer a glimpse into the self-publishing side of things. I’m sure there are other things I’m not doing, doing poorly, or forgetting about (no matter how many checklists and Google Calendar reminders I set for myself).

Writing the story – coming up with the idea, adding characters & setting, making it MAKE SENSE, making sure it’s entertaining -  is a whole other can of worms.

But as you can see, there is a lot going on behind-the-scenes, not just for me but all of my fellow writers. We work hard, man. But boy, do we love it.

Except for the stories that fall flat, the self doubt, the low sales, the unruly characters…

:)

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Altered Words – Fixed As Death

It’s time for another Altered Words post!

This time, I “found” a poem in a literary classic – Bram Stoker’s Dracula!

What is Altered Words all about, anyway?

In case you missed my first post, Altered Words is my take on “found fiction”, where I take a story, poem, or other literary work and try to “find” a story within by simply crossing out the words I do not want to include in my piece.

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FIXED AS DEATH

Found in Dracula by Bram Stoker, Pg. 376

All was dark and silent.
Black shadows thrown by the moonlight,
full of mystery.
Not a thing seemed to be stirring, all grim and fixed as death.
White mist creeping over me,
mist spreading,
stealing up to the windows,
my waking thoughts merged in dreams.

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What did you think of FIXED AS DEATH? Share your thoughts below!

And hey! If you have a copy of Dracula, I’d LOVE it if you tried your hand at “finding” your own story within! Try the same page I found my story on, or choose your own. And don’t forget to share it in the comments!

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Altered Words – These Dead

Altered Words is my take on “found fiction”, where I take a story, poem, or other literary work and try to “find” a story within by simply crossing out the words I do not want to include in my piece.

I’ve done a few of these little experimental pieces on my blog over the past few years and I always have a great time trying to discover something different in the prose I’ve chosen to work from. It’s actually kind of cool, kind of like finding the hidden meaning or an underlying message that the author tried to bury within.

This one was originally posted on my Patreon campaign in May but now you can read it here! I hope you enjoy them and I’d love to hear your thoughts (or if you happen to have a copy of the same book, I’d LOVE to see what “hidden” prose you find! be sure to share it in the comments if you do!

So, without further adieu, please enjoy this Altered Words piece!

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THESE DEAD
Found in “Soundtrack to the End of the World” by Anthony J Rapino (pg. 195)

The darkness and lantern glow fell, as if drawn within.
These dead
sprawled on the road,
abandoned,
strewn,
no more than a glance in the ambient glow.
Numb, still,
absolutely undeniably gone.

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What did you think of THESE DEAD? Share your thoughts below! And hey! If you want to know more about “Soundtrack to the End of the World”, check out Anthony J. Rapino’s website [http://www.anthonyjrapino.com/]. He also has a Patreon campaign going on as we speak at http://www.patreon.com/Rapino with some pretty sweet rewards!

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WIP Wednesday – In My Own Mind

I’ve had a bit of a lull in the freelance work so I’ve been trying to take advantage of it by putting in some work on my own writing.

Right now, I have 4 story ideas in various stages, as well as 2 flash fiction pieces on the go and the novella edits.

2014CampNaNoAnd then…there’s the serial idea. I have a plotted novella that I thought I might turn into a web serial. I started reading through my old notes last week and I remember why I abandoned the project – something just isn’t right with it. I’m not excited about the plot I ad worked out and if I’m not excited to write it, I can almost guarantee you that readers won’t be excited to read it.

So I think it’s time to start from scratch. Take the initial story seed and try to come up with something different. I’ll keep the parts I like but maybe looking at it with fresh eyes will help me to find the story i want to tell.

I’m hoping to get it worked out and have a viable plot so I can start writing it in July for Camp NaNoWriMo. Like I don’t have enough projects on the go…but my plan is to edit each segment and possibly start posting it to Wattpad. My goal with it is to get more people acquainted with my writing, since I’m a virtual unknown. Right now, I’m only a rockstar in my own mind :)

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STOP IN THE NAME OF HORROR!

Don’t forget…you can grab a free copy of Like Flies To Honey when you Pay With A Post – or get a free eBook anytime when you sign up for my newsletter

GET A FREE BOOK!
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Taking Over

Things have been a little hectic behind-the-scenes so I thought I should put together a post to keep you all updated (not to mention keep it all straight in my head).

I kind of jumped into the self-publishing thing without expecting to.

I had already planned to offer eBooks to Patreon supporters, but distributing them on Amazon, Kobo etc. wasn’t originally my plan. Why? I wasn’t sure people would pay to read individual short stories – but I also didn’t want to make decisions based on “what ifs” or out of fear of rejection. What good were these stories doing sitting on my harddrive unread? So, I took the leap and I’ve got 2 books out there just waiting for new readers to discover them.

It’s not exactly for the faint of heart, putting oneself out there. But what’s the worst that can happen? Someone doesn’t like my book? Oh well. Some day, the right person will read it, love it and buy another right?!

noisetradeNoiseTrade
Right now, you can read both Like Flies To Honey and Flowers For The Dead on NoiseTrade for free!  All you have to do is sign up and you can download ebooks from a variety of authors and share your thoughts on social media.

“NoiseTrade Books provides an alternative for people who love free eBooks and audiobooks to download great content and directly support the authors. As the reader, you can choose to help in a few ways. You can tip the author, share eBooks & audiobooks on Facebook or Twitter, and email your friends. And you can embed NoiseTrade Books widgets anywhere you are online. “

It’s a great deal for readers and authors alike, so if you’d rather read my stories that way, head over to NoiseTrade, sign up and get to downloading!

So far I’ve had 2 new readers – why not add your name to the list!

kobo_likefliesAmazon, Kobo & Goodreads
As you’ve probably seen, my ebooks are also now available on Amazon & Kobo for downloading.

And hey, if you want that bad boy signed, head over to Authorgraph and I’ll digitally sign your ebook!

Shop Local
If you don’t want to buy your eBooks from an online bookstore, why not buy it directly from me?

You now have the option of buying my first 2 ebooks in your format of choice directly on my website!

There is a BUY button on each story’s info page, and you can use Paypal to send your payment. During the checkout process, you can select the book in your format of choice (PDF, EPUB or MOBI).

If you decide to do it this way, I earn more bucks, which will support me in continuing to write more scary stories!

amazon_lifefliesreviewReview It
Whichever way you get your books, reviews are always welcomed and encouraged! Feedback from readers not only helps other readers find books but they make it all worthwhile!

I’d love it if you left a review of the books on both Amazon, Goodreads, Kobo or wherever else you can. Reviews are a great way for me to reach other readers so I’d be forever grateful if you took a little time and wrote a short review :)

You can also submit a review directly to me – just head over to the CONTACT page!

Camp NaNoWriMo
2014CampNaNoWell, all this promotion is tiring! What I really want to do is WRITE – so I decided to do Camp NaNoWriMo again.

I’ve had this idea for a serial for a while now. I even tried to write it once but something just didn’t gel. So, I’ve decided to rework the plot and tackle the project this July.

I know…this, on top of new stories I’m writing for submission, the novella edits (which I admittedly haven’t touched in a month), Patreon stories – it’s a bit of a crazy decision. But I feel like I’ve been flailing a bit and need something to ground me.

So, there you have it. The crazy life of a modern writer. Are you tired? I know I am! :P

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One Month In

patreon_webbannerSo it’s been a month since I launched my Patreon campaign and I thought it would be a good idea to take stock and see how things are going so far.

In terms of the actual content I’ve been creating for patrons, I’ve had a blast. Altered Words, flash fiction and Inklings are all things I used to do all the time but somewhere along the way, I stopped.

In terms of patrons – well right now, I’m at a nice round number of 2 patrons, who both signed up in the 1st week of my launch.

I’m not going to lie…I was hoping more people would sign up from the start but I also know that I’m a relative unknown in the publishing world. Followers and friends on social media are well and good but if no one knows my writing or my style, it kind of doesn’t bode well for picking up patrons.

I’m hoping that by putting some of my content out there for free, and adding some flash fiction to the mix, people weill get a feel for my style and hopefully sign up if they enjoy what they read.

It’s difficult though. It would be the same if I were putting out a book and not just short fiction. No one knows me – so why should they take a chance? I can only hope that the few who do help spread the word.

I’m kind of surprised that people didn’t even take me up on my free offers of an eBook for a tweet/post/like though. Maybe what “they” say is true and the flooding of free eBooks on the market has made the novelty wear off.

Either way, it’s given me the push I needed to start self-publishing, something I wanted to do but always held myself back on. It was a bit daunting – I’m learning as I go, doing my own layout & cover design, trying to balance promotion and trying not to be annoying about it, still making time to get actual WRITING done – and making mistakes along the way (like putting the wrong settings for my Patreon account and not getting paid for the first month of content because of it :P)

But…I’m trying. It’s an adventure. All I can do is keep at it, keep putting out my work and hoping something catches on and reaches the people who will enjoy it. The key is finding those readers.

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Spirited Tales – Blind Lust

spiritedtalesOne of the perks I’m giving to Patreon supporters is something I’m calling Spirited Tales.

Basically, they are micro fiction tales set to atmospheric music & effects and available as a video to watch online.

As a patron, you get exclusive first-look at these videos, as well as other content like short stories, Altered Words (“found” poetry) and other goodies – so feel free to sign up.

But now it’s your turn to enjoy the first in the Spirited Tales series entitled BLIND LUST.

 

INKLINGS: THE EVOLUTION OF BLIND LUST
I was originally going to write Blind Lust as “proper” flash fiction. I took a seed from my current novella-in-progress and decided to flesh it out and make it into an offshoot – set in the same world but not necessarily spotlighting any of the same characters. But as I was brainstorming and adding to the story, I felt like that little seed was getting lost. The part I really wanted to highlight was being overshadowed and I really wanted it to shine.

Changing the story from flash to a drabble was more difficult than I thought! Trying to fit an entire story into 100 words is challenge enough. Having it make sense is another thing entirely.

THE CONCEPT

In my story world, body modification is on the verge of being strictly governed. In my many hours of research, I was reading about subdermal implants and how people have been getting various implants to enhance their appearance (everything from fake horns to these snazzy skull implants I saw online).

I also came across the concept of Braille tattoos. Not just simple phrases for esthetics or visual appeal but functional tattoos that are tactile and readable by the blind.

There are two ways to achieve the desired effect – scarification, which as the name implies, means the tattoo artist goes over the same designs over and over again to “build up” the scars into raised bumps.

Another method, and the one shown in Blind Lust, is subdermal implants, where small “beads” are implanted under the skin and can be read by touch the same way Braille is. This one appealed to me more, so I took that and set out to come up with characters, their desires, an “interesting problem” and a solution/ending.

THE STORY
I know, it sounds like a lot of prep for a 100-word story, but the concept was already there in my novella. I just plucked that little thread out and spotlighted it in the most finite way.

My initial thought was to make Sara the victim since her blindness may be seen as a vulnerability, but I decided she should use that to her own end, making herself seem like easy prey to someone who might want to take advantage of her when in reality, she has the upperhand.

BLIND LUST

Unlike other clubs where titillation was purely visual, touching was allowed but only after members passed a strict screening process. Sara wouldn’t go home with a stranger otherwise. Forget faces, she could barely see shadows anymore.

“Y’know what I like,” he slurred. “It’s your turn to share.”

He overpowered her, then slid his fingertips across a series of tiny subdermal implants scattered across her shoulders.

The booze slowed his comprehension but when he’d translated the full phrase, his exploration halted.

“Should I spell it out for you?” Sara said over the metallic k-shhk of the switchblade. “Or will this suffice?”

 

YOUR THOUGHTS
So, what did you think of Blind Lust? Did you get it or did you need to read the INKLINGS before the story clicked? Was the twist clear or did the story need something more? Don’t be shy, share your thoughts!

Either way, I hope you enjoyed it and stay tuned for me to explore the idea more in future stories!

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May eBook cover reveal

flowers_coverThe eBook for all SPECTATOR, GROUPIE and ROADIE supporters of my Patreon campaign has launched!

As you probably saw in my teaser video, the story for May is Flowers for the Dead.

I know it might seem strange to have such a vibrant cover for a horror story but let me reassure you…there is nothing bright & cheerful about this little tale!

Jealousy, sibling rivalry, familial responsibilities and generations of tradition all collide in this disturbing tale.

Originally, I was going to go much, much darker with the cover, but maybe it’s the evil inside me that made me want to lull readers into a false sense of security with such a cheerful cover. Mwa-ha-ha!

So, what do you think of the cover? Do you like it? Or do you think it’s misleading and you want your horror books to have covers that make your skin crawl, damn it! Share your thoughts in the comments section – and if you read the story, don’t forget to share your thoughts!

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My Patreon campaign is a go!

It took some planning, learning how to format eBooks, making some web badges in Photoshop…but my Patreon campaign is live!

In case you missed it, I posted about the idea last month and since then, I’ve been brainstorming some pretty cool perks for supporters, not to mention putting together some teaser videos and other fun things.

Right now, I have 4 levels for supporters, each with their own set of goodies. Everything from eBooks to a Backstage Pass, which gets you behind-the-scenes and also my new series of video flash fiction called Spirited Tales.

For now, check out the teaser for the first short story going out to supporters.

Interested? Check out my Patreon Info page to get the lowdown on the sweet, sweet rewards you can get, all starting at $1! Wanna get in on the fun? Head over to my campaign page and sign up! Let me give you nightmares!

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