Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Only Reason You Need to Write

I was surfing through the links on Nathan Branford's blog and I came across 101 Reasons to Stop Writing. So, being the curious person that I am, I went and took a look at it. It's rather interesting. Though, I will forewarn you that it hasn't been updated in over a year and there are only seventeen reasons posted.

Still it's interesting.

And it got me to thinking. There is really only one good reason to write and it's the only one that you need. You write because your fingers itch to put the story circling around in your head down on paper. And nothing will stop that itch except putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. Even if you knew that no one would ever read the story, you would still write it.

Of course, everyone wants money, fame, to be on the bestseller list, and all the other accolades one can get as a writer. There are easier and better ways to get money than writing a novel. The probability that a person will achieve the heights of Steven King, J K Rowling, et al is slim and nil.

So, write because you have to and you love doing it. That's all the reason you need.

Monday, October 25, 2010


I was going to do this back in August when I had my one year anniversary of publishing Emerald Tales, but my brain wasn't working well enough, and the post would have ended up an incoherent mess.

This past year and a half from the idea "Hey, wouldn't it be great to start an ezine" to now, the publisher of a journal, poetry collections, short stories, and The Annals of Hypnosia, has been quite a journey. In particular order here are my thoughts about it:

Sending out rejection letters sucks. It really sucks when there isn't anything wrong with a story, but I'm limited by how much I can spend paying authors and poets. (And it is important to me that this be a paying market.) In many cases, it boiled down to how well the story or poem fit the theme.

The worst rejection letters that I had to write were to those who I had published before. It was like telling a best friend, "No, you don't look good in that dress." On the other hand, it would do them more harm than good for me to accept their story just because I had accepted a previous one.

The first line being the theme of the issue makes it really hard to decide which stories to include and which to pass on. If the first line is there, then there is nothing to base a decision on. Which is why the Bright and Sunny Day issue was so damn long... I'm not doing that again.

People who can write a story that is four thousand words are less are much more likely to write a compelling novel or story of longer length. They've figured out how to hook your attention quickly and hold it. I think those people who say, "they can't write a story that is less than 4000 words," should try working on it. It probably will increase their chance of finding an agent and selling their novel.

The British Commonwealth seems to have something going on in the ability to write short stories. Every issue of Emerald Tales has at least one and sometimes two or three or four authors from England, Canada, Australia, etc. They're represented in a higher proportion than one would expect based on population statistics. I'm not sure why that is. Maybe it's a cultural thing. Maybe it's an education thing. Maybe it's genetic. They do have a large number of authors in the must read classics department.

There were three or four poets that submitted to every issue and that I accepted their poetry every time for either Emerald Tales or Copper Wire. They are Guy Belleranti, John Hayes, Darrell Lindsey, and Lauren McBride. They are different in the form of poetry that they write, but they all have the same quality that I was looking for in a poem: you don't have to be a literature professor to understand their imagery.

I didn't know it at the time, but I also accepted poetry from two brothers, Josh and Matthew Byers. I wonder if there were any more blood relations.

Drum roll, please.

In alphabetic order the contributors to Scribblers and Ink Spillers:

Emerald Tales
Guy Belleranti (5)
J. N. Bower
Matthew Byer
josh byer
Effie Collins
Amanda C. Davis
Lindsey Duncan
Grace Galton
Scott E. Green
Damien Walters Grintalis (2)
John Hayes (5)
D. L. Hegel
Wynne Huddleston (2)
Penn Kemp (2)
Patricia La Barbera
N. L. LeBlanc
Darrell Lindsey (4)
Lauren McBride (3)
Tracie McBride (2)
Michelle Mead
Catherine Moore
George Moore
Patricia Puckett
Roxanne Rhoads
Patty Saturn
Troy Seate
Marge Simon
Hal Sirowitz
Teresa Tunaley
Grady Yandell
Mercedes M. Yardley

Kevin Anderson
Jennifer Azantian
J. J. Beazley
Ben A. Bell
Guy Belleranti
Chip Bland
Faith Boughan (2)
Darla J. Bowen
Ragna Brent
Thomas Canfield
Arthur Carey
Peter Caunt (2)
Lisa Clark
Marie Croke (2)
Laurie Dalzell (3)
Amanda C. Davis
K. S. Dearsley (2)
Aubrie Dionne (2)
Lindsey Duncan
Jason Flum (4)
Catherine J. Gardner
Alice Godwin
Bruce Golden (3)
Denise Golinowski
Eliza Granville
Heather Gregson
Damien Walters Grintalis
James Hartley
Neil James Hudson (2)
E. Hull (2)
B. M. Kezar
Douglas Kolacki
Raymond Koonce
Kristina Lee (2)
Richard S. Levine
Brandi Mauldin
Lauren McBride
Michael McGlade
Mario Milosevic
Bill Moon
Jenny Morientes
Heather Parker
R. J. Payne
Christine Rains
Cherie Reich (2)
Stephen D. Rogers
Lisa Rusczyk (2)
Laura Jeanne Sanger
Jennifer schwabach
K. C. Shaw
Adam Slade
Abra Staffin-Wiebe
Paula R. Stiles
Lori T Strongin
Julie St. Thomas
G. W. Thomas
Erika Tracy
Justin Whitney
Hugh Wilson

Copper Wire
Guy Belleranti
Gary Bloom
Matthew Byer
John Hayes
Darrell Lindsey
Lauren McBride
Misty Posey
Changming Yuan

Short Stories:
Bryant Alexander
Karen Dent
Grace Galton
Bruce Golden
Heather Gregson
Damien Walters Grintalis
Stephanie Hamrick
Neil James Hudson
M. J. Jones
Raymond Koonce (2)
Jack Linus
B. Moon
Lisa Rusczyk
Jude Tulli
L. A. Witt
P. E. Zimmerman

Crystal Codices
Sarah Ashwood
Nyki Blatchley
Savyn Carden
Jeremy Essex
Ken Goldman
Kristin Janz
Matthew Leukroth
Marilyn Luttrell

Poetry Collections:
Guy Belleranti
Lisa Rusczyk

And Mette Pesonen the author and illustrator of The Annals of Hypnosia.

Keep an eye out for these authors and poets, they're worth it.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

New Stories Posted

That new story for Crystal Codices that I said was going to be out on September 1? I was finally able to get it all formatted and uploaded to the website.

Call of the North by Sarah Ashwood is now online. You can find it here:

And even though I haven't blogged about it, I have been releasing the monthly installments of The Annals of Hypnosia. I just put up the October installment, A Family Recipe of the Worst Kind. Azaril's family recipe book gets stolen and Serafyr must retrieve it before the demons of hell are unleashed.

At Mette's request, I posted a message from the author for those who have been following the Annals of Hypnosia. Personally, I like her self portrait. And she has been wonderful to work with. She didn't snarl at me too much when I changed the background color for the banner. (That's the only image of hers that I have fiddled with, the rest is all her work.)

That would have been the last of the Hypnosia stories, but after a bit of prodding from me for more, Mette admitted to having six others that would work with the series. So, we amended the contract to add them and we'll be continuing our adventures in the land of Hypnosia for six more months.

Huh, they changed the way to put in links.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Facebook and Twitter

Some ruminations on the ever popular facebook and twitter:

When I first started researching the how tos of small publishing, conventional wisdom was that one needed both a facebook account and a twitter account in order to effectively market one's product. My experience is that they both can be effective marketing tools if one spends a lot of time on the computer and one can work with more than one window active.

While I have both a facebook account and a twitter account, I don't have the time to devote to making them work for me as a marketing tool. And I can't work with more than one window open at a time. I lose track of what I am doing and make many mistakes.

Unlike my website and my blog, what I post on those accounts is only available to be seen by the people that I am friends with or who are following me. Facebook and Twitter are not the most effective tools for reaching people who don't already know you. I find it rather surprising that they are/were so strongly advocated, because a blog and a website are much more effective at reaching people you don't already know. Anyone can read this blog. And if the Chinese spammers and hackers can find my website, then it is pretty easy for anyone else to find it, too.

Not to mention that your status and your tweets about your book are buried in everyone else's blathering about what they ate for dinner, how tired they are, OMG I just watched the most fantastic episode of Glee, and John found a lonely bull on his farm will you give it a home. I have to wonder how those who have used facebook and twitter to market their work got through all that noise.

If you made up flyers or bookmarks or something similar and took them down to the library, independent bookseller, coffeeshop, etc, you would have a better chance at reaching people interested in your book than you would with casual use of facebook and twitter.

The bottomline is don't sign up for a facebook account and/or a twitter account thinking that it's a great marketing tool. It takes a lot of time and effort on your part to make them work for you.