When I realized at some point in early 2020 that it was not going to be a good year for me as an author, I decided to take a different route to achievement. I decided to edit an anthology. First I’ll post the links (It’s available everywhere in eBook, Hardcover and Paperback and in Audio from Audible, iTunes and Amazon) The very cool cover was painted by an old friend of mine, Steve Smith, who also created some of the artwork that adorns my arms and back. This book includes authors I admire : Kathe Koja, Nadia Bulkin, Elizabeth Massie, Cassandra Khaw, Nick Mamatas and Brian A. Hopkins (who wen told “go long” on the wordcount turned in a short novel…) The eBook is on sale for a short period at only $2.99 due to a new release promotion through Bookbub. If you pick up the Kindle edition at that price, you get a big discount on the audio because the book is “Whispersync” ready. (That means if you listen to it on a Kindle, or a device that does eBooks AND audio, you can stop the audio and pick up reading at the same place in the eBook. Pretty cool. Our audio is narrated by Gigi Shane, Joshua Saxon, Seylan Baxter, Claire Suzanne Elizabeth Cooney, Edward Gist & Laurie Catherine Winkel. “Wilson (A Midnight Dreary) brings together six strong speculative shorts that impress with imaginative concepts and powerful writing…” Publisher’s Weekly.
This was my shot at 2020 (Middle-finger-salute) and was a lot of fun because it’s been years since I edited anything. I have copy-edited and proofed, of course, being a publisher, but the days of The Tome – my small press magazine, are decades behind us.
Voices in the Darkness
A Foreword by David Niall Wilson
It has been a long time since I set out to edit something like this. When I first started writing, I launched a small press that did well for about thirteen issues. I’m certain that I learned more from editing, publishing, and interacting with the many authors, poets, and artists that graced the pages of The Tome than I could thank them for. Editing, though, is hard. Finding what you want, reading things that you don’t, picking through the words and sentences and images, not just to enjoy them, but to try and polish them. It’s an art form very different from the writing itself. I thought I was done with it. And to a point, I guess, I was.
Voices in the Darkness was not an open anthology. I thought long and hard about creating this project. Like a lot of others, my own creative output has been sort of stuck in the mud of 2020, but I wanted to create something memorable. I wanted something to hold and be proud of. I did not give this book a theme, I just told the authors involved that I wanted to publish something special, and that I wanted them to be part of it. I wanted it to be a middle finger flipped up at 2020. I also wanted a book that would make people think, something to entertain and confuse and touch readers.
I decided on six stories before I asked anyone. The invitation I wrote invited authors to go long on the word count to be sure we reached a good length for a book. Just like everything else in this crazy year, we reached that goal in strange and unexpected ways. Once I had my structure, I had to choose the creative minds to bring it to life.
The first four came easily. I know what I love to read, fiction that, while usually based in one genre or another, is hard to define. Stories that are often considered to literary for a mostly dark fantasy project. I had just finished listening to the amazing audiobook of Kathe Koja’s novel, Skin, one that I consider a big influence on my own writing. I put her on my short list. There are several stories by Elizabeth Massie that will never leave me, the most powerful (to my mind) being “Smoothpicks,” which appeared in Deathrealm magazine long ago. That was number two. Over the years, I’ve written a lot of collaborations. Some of the best of those were written with one of my oldest friends, Brian Hopkins. Among the stories we wrote were “La Belle Dame Sans Merci,” and “La Belle Dame, Sans Regret”. I approached Brian, who has not been writing for years, and asked him to do a story. Little did I know he would launch into an epic historical fantasy, more than forty-eight thousand words… and I knew it was perfect when he titled that story “La Belle Époque”. It’s really a short novel, published here for the first time.
Nick Mamatas is an author I know for stories that wash over the genre walls like smoke. My first (and still favorite) of his novels was Move Under Ground, a perfect mesh of Lovecraft and Jack Kerouac. I was very pleased when he agreed to be part of this, and very pleased at his homage to the original “Mack the Knife.”
At this point I still had two slots and was out of ideas. The problem was not that I did not know enough perfect authors, I know so many I could fill volumes… maybe a series? But the more I thought about the year, and what was going on in the news, and in the world, the more I realized that I wanted this book to be diverse. I wanted stories that would be unexpected to me. I reached out to award-winning anthologist Ellen Datlow, and she gave me a short list of possibilities. On that list I found Nadia Bulkin and read her collection She Said Destroy: Stories and was mesmerized. Nadia became the fifth author. The final slot went to a lady who is best-known for being an award-winning game writer, but whose fiction keeps popping up in best-of anthologies and on awards lists. That author is Cassandra Khaw, and her story “I’d Rather Wear Black” was a perfect addition to the book.
There was no theme, but one developed. Several of these stories are historical in nature. Brian, Beth, and Nick will be taking you on journeys into the past. The other stories, those in between, are shorter, but powerful in an entirely different way. Kathe, Nadia, and Cassandra went more surreal. The stories are shorter, darker. Kathe’s story, as so many of hers do, is going to be a different story for nearly everyone who reads it. Cassandra’s is going to make people remember past relationships, and think about others… Nadia experiments with telling a true crime story through fiction and will possibly make you reconsider your thoughts on life, and death. Beth’s story revisits a theme that I know to be her biggest fear. Long ago she wrote a book review for me, for The Tome, of Harvest Home, by Thomas Tryon. In that review, she said her biggest fear was one person gaining total control over another. “Baggie” hits this from many angles and will likely give you bad dreams. I love this book.
The final piece is the cover by West Coast artist Steve Smith. I’ve known Steve most of my adult life. He’s also a tattoo artist of amazing ability, and several of his works walk through life with me daily. He painted the book’s cover, has been reading the stories as they come in… it make think of books, an stories—a voice—lost at sea, washed where the waters will take them. If you are reading this, they have been delivered to you. The tiny red object floating in the wake is a gate. Turn the pages and see where it takes you.
Very happy to have one of our Crossroad Presss authors, Melissa Scott, included in this year’s Pride Month with a StoryBundle has become an annual tradition, one in which we present a different and wonderful collection of LGBTQ+ books and authors each June.
This year, I’m curating the Pride Month Bundle for StoryBundle and it is an amazing lineup. We have novels and novellas as well as an anthology and a single author collection, each one a unique and terrific read. As always, at StoryBundle, you name your own price—whatever you feel the books are worth and you can designate a portion of the proceeds for our selected charity, Rainbow Railroad. Rainbow Railroad is a nonprofit that works with LGBTQ refugees, helping them to leave dangerous situations and safely resettle in new areas.
The 2020 Pride Bundle includes two works by creators from New Zealand, in honor of this year’s Worldcon. A.J. Fitzwater, author of the joy-filled collection The Voyages of Cinrak the Dapper, is a Sir Julius Vogel Award finalist this year, as is editor Andi C. Buchanan, whose ground-breaking special issue of Capricious SF Magazine, Capricious: The Gender Diverse Pronouns Issue, is also included in the bundle.
Like your queer fiction to have elements of the Southern Gothic, perhaps a touch of horror and mystery, coupled with sumptuous writing and compelling characters? You’re sure to enjoy A Spectral Hue by Craig Laurance Gidney and Catfish Lullaby by A.C. Wise. Looking for beautifully written stories set in historical settings with a fantastical edge? We’ve got you covered with Melissa Scott and Lisa Barnett’s Armor of Light, Floodtide by Heather Rose Jones and Will Do Magic for Small Change by Andrea Hairston. Want adventures set just beyond the worlds we know? Come along on some glorious adventures with Grilled Cheese and Goblins by Nicole Kimberling and the novellas The Counterfeit Viscount and The Hollow History of Professor Perfectus by Ginn Hale. And finally, for something a little different, join author R.R. Angell’s cadre of queer college students as they play an unusual game set in virtual reality with an AI who’s more than she seems in Best Game Ever.
Not only is this year’s bundle an intriguing mix of stories, it’s star-studded too! Our bundle’s authors and editor have won the Astounding Award, the Otherwise Award, the Sir Julius Vogel Awards and several Lambda and Spectrum Awards, as well as being finalists for awards like the Nebulas. So there we have this year’s Pride StoryBundle – lots of variety, lots of new voices, a fun mix of new and classic tales, adding up to 11 great reads for a great cause! – Catherine Lundoff
* * *
For StoryBundle, you decide what price you want to pay. For $5 (or more, if you’re feeling generous), you’ll get the basic bundle of four books in any ebook format—WORLDWIDE.
- Best Game Ever by R. R. Angell
- The Counterfeit Viscount by Ginn Hale
- A Spectral Hue by Craig Laurance Gidney
- Capricious: The Gender Diverse Pronouns Issue by Andi C. Buchanan
If you pay at least the bonus price of just $15, you get all four of the regular books, plus seven more more books, for a total of eleven!
- Grilled Cheese and Goblins by Nicole Kimberling
- The Armor of Light by Melissa Scott and Lisa A. Barnett
- Floodtide by Heather Rose Jones
- The Hollow History of Professor Profectus by Ginn Hale
- Will Do Magic For Small Change by Andrea Hairston
- The Voyages of Cinrak the Dapper by A.J. Fitzwater
- Catfish Lullaby by A.C. Wise
This bundle is available only for a limited time via http://www.storybundle.com. It allows easy reading on computers, smartphones, and tablets as well as Kindle and other ereaders via file transfer, email, and other methods. You get multiple DRM-free formats (.epub, .mobi) for all books!
It’s also super easy to give the gift of reading with StoryBundle, thanks to our gift cards – which allow you to send someone a code that they can redeem for any future StoryBundle bundle – and timed delivery, which allows you to control exactly when your recipient will get the gift of StoryBundle.
Why StoryBundle? Here are just a few benefits StoryBundle provides.
- Get quality reads: We’ve chosen works from excellent authors to bundle together in one convenient package.
- Pay what you want (minimum $5): You decide how much these fantastic books are worth. If you can only spare a little, that’s fine! You’ll still get access to a batch of exceptional titles.
- Support authors who support DRM-free books: StoryBundle is a platform for authors to get exposure for their works, both for the titles featured in the bundle and for the rest of their catalog. Supporting authors who let you read their books on any device you want—restriction free—will show everyone there’s nothing wrong with ditching DRM.
- Give to worthy causes: Bundle buyers have a chance to donate a portion of their proceeds to Rainbow Railroad!
- Receive extra books: If you beat the bonus price, you’ll get the bonus books!
StoryBundle was created to give a platform for independent authors to showcase their work, and a source of quality titles for thirsty readers. StoryBundle works with authors to create bundles of ebooks that can be purchased by readers at their desired price. Before starting StoryBundle, Founder Jason Chen covered technology and software as an editor for Gizmodo.com and Lifehacker.com.
Blast from the past posts from before the Weasel crawled into the Hadron Collider … I wrote this a VERY long time ago… sometime around 2005…
I’ve been reading essays by several other authors recently, mostly at the new site www.storytellersunplugged.com, (2020 note – I am considering revamping and renewing that site) and I’ve noticed a trend I can appreciate. More and more I see people taking the old tired clichés that you hear from veteran writers and bending them closer to the truth.
Write what you know. Sure, that makes sense. It isn’t always important that you know everything about what you are writing, but you need one of two things to pull off credible fiction: A solid background in your subject matter that allows you to paint images with words that others will share, in some way, and appreciate, or a natural ability to put enough power behind the words that, even should a reader know you are full of crap on any given subject, the prose carries them past it anyway. At it’s best this talent leaves readers with a vague notion they just missed something, but unwilling to turn back to search for it if it means giving up on the next part of the story or novel.
That isn’t what I mean, though. What I mean is, it isn’t enough to write what you know if you want to leave a mark. If the subject leaves no marks on you, then it’s unlikely to do much better with a wide readership. Write what hurts you. Write what really scares you. It’s been said many times that writing is therapeutic. I don’t believe this is true unless you apply it to the issues that torment you. This can be taken too far, of course. If it’s too painful, that pain will transfer, and your readers may not appreciate it.
A work that was like this for me was a very powerful novel titled “KINK” by Kathe Koja. Oh. My. God. Digression warning – but I WILL get back to this.
When I read that book I was standing on the quarterdeck of a US Navy ship in a drydock. It was sort of sad; the ship was on its last stretch of inhabited time, and I was nearing my last stretch of time as a sailor. The sea and I go way back, and despite the crap one must allow to be shoveled over their head to be part of the US Military, I sometimes miss it. There were nights standing out on the deck of the ship (you weren’t supposed to go out there at night, but we went out to smoke anyway) where we’d stand, talk, watch the stars, watch the phosphorescence that the ship’s screws churned up, think up song lyrics or write poems in our heads. I had quite a creative group of sailors on the ships where I served. There were artists, musicians, and mixtures of both; there was even another writer, though I don’t know what happened to him. If Mike “Hand Man” Walsh reads this – or anyone who knows where he can be found – I’d love to know if he kept at it. Last I heard he was fixing boat motors for fishermen in Alaska, though he’s originally from Seattle.
Anyway, the damned POINT Wilson. It’s this. I was on watch, alone, late at night, and I decided the time had come to read KINK. I finished the novel that night, standing there in the dark with only a small fluorescent lamp to see by. More than once I cursed at the book, slammed it shut and walked out of the guard shack to pace up and down the deck and think – not about the book, but about situations where I’d been lied to, hurt, ridiculed, made a fool of, and felt EXACTLY as I felt for the characters in the book. It’s about relationships. It’s about trying to add a third party into a near perfect two-party relationship. Triangles form. Angles dissolve. Nothing is ever quite as it seems, and you spend your time wondering what really is, and is not happening. It leaves marks.
I had been through quite a lot at that point in my life. I was also writing. I did the Star Trek novel during that period (CHRYSALIS – Voyager #12) and I wrote the first and second book of my Grails Covenant Trilogy. The thing is, I wasn’t writing what I know at that point. Not like I should have been. The Star Trek novel got panned in some areas for being too literate – going too much into the heads of the characters instead of delivering straight action. You see, I was TRYING to write what I needed to write, but Star Trek wasn’t the place for it. I wasn’t writing anything like what I found myself reading that night. I felt like I knew Ms. Koja in a way that was remarkable. I don’t feel that such a piece of fiction could be written except through personal pain. I don’t even know that it would have the same effect on just anyone who read it, but man…I wore out some shoe leather pacing up and down the non-skid deck of that ship alternately telling myself no way was I going back to read THAT book, and rushing back to feverishly force myself through more pages hoping things would get FIXED. I wonder what Kathe (she’s a lovely lady, and her husband is an unbelievable artist. If you aren’t familiar with her work, I’d recommend (first) Skin – which I also loved).
There is no fixing a thing like what happened to those characters, but their situation did improve, eventually, and move on, which life also does. What happened in the book, and the women who shredded my heart early on in life that left me unprepared to face it so brutally, aren’t the subjects here today. Not really. The point is that book was powerful. The experience of reading it was powerful.
What do you know that others don’t? What do you know that left marks, and that you can find a way to share? The magic formula, of course, is to find a way to populate a book with characters of that magnitude of “reality” without giving up the notion of entertainment. If KINK had a flaw, it was that the experience of reading it left me drained and unhappy. Not because it was a bad book, but because it did what it set out to do so very freaking well, thank you. It couldn’t happen without the author opening windows that must have been painful to open. It couldn’t happen by accident. I would hate to meet the person who could just imagine emotion like that without having experienced it, because no therapy in the world would help such a person, and no one could protect those he or she loved. Living through it helps you build walls, I suppose, and writing about it helps you put in some windows, doors, and get fresh air in your lungs. But it isn’t easy.
So, the next time you sit down to write, don’t think about the market you’re after. Don’t wonder how you can put new life into old vampires. Don’t try to figure out what would be “really cool and gory” or what will fit some niche you see open before you. Sink in a little deeper and look for the marks. You’ll find them all over the inside of your memories; I can almost guarantee it. See if you can pry one of them loose, or a bunch of them, and arrange them in words that make sense.
I won’t promise the piece will sell right off the bat, or at all. I don’t promise you’ll get accolades. I do think, however, that if you are going to make a mark in the bigger world of literature, the mark has to start somewhere deep inside, and when it surfaces, it will bring things with it you have to be willing to face through the eyes of whatever protagonist you inflict it upon. I believe you’ll find such writing is the most rewarding, and the reactions it receives from readers are the most memorable.
Of course, I believe a lot of strange things. Some of them I write down.
If you want to experience the book that had such a lasting effect on my work, you can buy KINK by clicking the co re image below.
I have now had the DISTINCT honor of publishing the unabridged audiobooks for both , SKIN, STRANGE ANGELS, and the horror classic THE CIPHER – all by Kathe Koja. You can find these and all her audiobooks at:
At the time I first wrote this, they were wrapping up filming on the only produced film I’ve scripted. I wrote this from the outline provided by director and star Rosanna Jeran … and now the movie can be downloaded from Amazon. It’s a weird one – more like a very long music video- and it’s possible I broke the “F-bomb” record in the dialogue… but there are a lot worse ways to spend an hour and a half…
My novel Deep Blue had just come out in paperback from Five Star back then – now you can get it in eBook, Audiobook, or print…
(Originally published online at Chizine.com in the column : From the Shadeaux)
Here is the deal… I have 37 books here in my office and many more at home. I will pick 37 winners at the end of this in a random drawing. You can get multiple entries by following simple guidelines. Everyone who is a member of The Dead Poe Etc. Society by the last day of the contest will have at least one entry just for being there. Everyone who is entered (even if not chosen for print edition from those available) will receive at the least an eBook. That’s right. Everyone will be eligible to win “something” and a lot of you will win signed books. I want the books to be read by readers who care – who will tell others, and review and share them. I’m hoping this group will become the core of that. Here is how it will work.
I am going to run this contest from the moment I post it until May 15th. The ONLY WAY to enter is to provide the proof required for each entry mentioned in the rules below. ALL entries must be submitted via e-mail to David@crossroadpress.com with the SUBJECT LINE: DNW Books This will drop them automatically into the right folder for me to add them to the spreadsheet and will be able to count the entries per entrant. It is fine to e-mail more than once if you go back and acquire more “points”. Here’s how to enter.
- Be a members of The Dead Poe Etc. Society – 1 Entry
- Follow me on Bookbub by clicking this link, going to my profile, and either following (if you are a Bookbub subscriber, or subscribing and then following. If you can take a screenshot of this that is best. I’m happy to take people’s word for this, but the last giveaway I did, 42 people said they followed me, and the number of followers only went up by 12 … so… This one is important because once you get a certain number of follower, they send out more automatic notes if you get a featured deal or new release promotion.
- Sign up for my NL – 1 entry. (2 entries if you subscribe to Crossroad Press as well (same link).
- Share the link to my NL on any social media platform 1 entry per platform (Tag me in the post)
- Share the link to my Bookbub page and suggest people follow on any social media platform – 1 entry per platform. (tag me in the post)
- Review any of my books on Amazon, Goodreads, B&N, Kobo or Audible – send link – 5 entries per review. (Honest – not asking you to say nice things unless you mean them).
- Share the link to this contest page in a Facebook group involving books and read that I’m not already a member of: 1 entry
- Share this contest page link on your own Facebook page – 1 entry.
- Share this contest page link on Twitter – 1 entry.
- Share this contest page on Instagram – 1 entry.
PRIZES INCLUDE BUT NOT LIMITED TO: 1 eBook for every member of The Dead Poet’s Society on the 15th of May, 2020 – any of my titles, including books that are just anthologies with one of my stories.
PRINT BOOKS: All of these can be signed, or personalized.
Freedom of Screech anthology edited by Craig Spector with my story “The Tree” (A Cletus J. Diggs Story)
Three copies of the original 1st editions of Vintage Soul
One copy of the newer hardcover of Vintage Soul with the Bob Eggleton cover
Two copies of HOODS: the Beginning
One copy of HOODS: The Beginning Advanced Reading Copy
Two copies of the 1st Edition of The Mote in Andrea’s Eye
Two copies of the collection The Call of Distant Shores
One copy of Beyond the Second Veil
Two copies of The Parting – the first full length O.C.L.T. novel
One copy of DEFINING MOMENTS, my Bram Stoker Award-nominated collection
One copy of a children’s anthology called “Stories That Won’t Make Your Parents Hurl” with my story “Cat Candles”.
One copy of Kali’s Tale – Book IV of The DeChance Chronicles
On each of two versions of the paperback of Darkness Falling
One copy of of A Midnight Dreary
Four copiles of Maelstrom
One copy of the 1st Edition paperback of Deep Blue
One copy of The Orffyreus Wheel
One copy of On the Third Day
One copy of Nevermore – A Novel of Love, Loss & Edgar Allan Poe
One copy of This is My Blood
One copy of Sins of the Flash
Two copy of the first book in the Grails Covenant Trilogy – To Sift Through Bitter Ashes
Two different versions of the trade paperback of Ancient Eyes
One rare copy of the B&N print edition of Ancient Eyes that we never mass-produced.
I have plenty more at home, and if someone wins and is adamant about wanting a different thing, I can work that out…these are just what I have here.
I’ll start by pointing out that I have added a new excerpt, short story for your reading pleasure. Considering all that is going on currently, it seemed appropriate to post my story “The Masquerade,” written as E. A. Poe in the pages of the novel A Midnight Dreary, my most recent addition to The DeChance Chronicles. You will find it on the Short Stories and Excerpts page (linked above) or can simply click HERE to go to the story.
Works in progress are many and varied. I am outlining the second book in the HOODS young adult superhero series. We will introduce a new hero in this one, and another currently relevant sort of villain for the group to tangle with. These books are fun. The first one has not taken off as I’d hoped, but I will continue because I think they are great stories – and the reviews actually garnered have agreed.
I am also a good ways into two longer projects – Jurassic Ark – the story of Noah and his family, building an Ark in a time when men and dinosaurs roamed the earth together… it started as a sort of sarcastic jab at Creationism, and turned into a deeper, more interesting story. I am also working on a Thriller titled “Tattered Remnants” that is one of my all-time favorite projects. The first chapter of it appeared (alongside Stephen King) in the most recent installment of Cemetery Dance’s SHIVERS anthology series. It has hints of Thomas Harris (back when he was good) and of Dexter (both the novels and the series)… and is set (of course) in San Valencez California, home of Tommy Doyle, the Psychos ‘r’ Us detective, the band from Deep Blue, Donovan DeChance, the heroes in Hoods, and many other stories. It’s a city with more than it’s share of darkness.
My first novel – This is My Blood – will re-release any day in unabridged audio, voiced by the talented Skye Stafford. I’m hoping this relaunch will bring new readers and listeners to the story that has brought me the most recognition… if not, I’ll enjoy listening to it again and visiting with Mary Magdalene and the crew.
The current obessive project is titled Into Nothing … it’s a complex beast. It’s going to be a novel in ten parts (Ten or so) … each part will also have a TV drama style screenplay written as I go, and will contain the lyrics for at least one song by the band Into Nothing – formed in the novel. It’s based around a vision that a young dishwasher, would-be song-writer named Jesse experiences when he blacks out in his apartment. Part two will be based on my Absinthe story “The Milk of Paradise,” but told from the perspective of one of the characters in the story, and not the main story itself. I have finished part one – song one – and am about 16 pages into the screenplay. I will keep you posted.
I also have as story in the next upcoming SHIVERS anthology – “Hickory Nuts and Bones,” that I love… and that Richard Chizmar sort of poked me into writing. Keeping busy. If you are an audiobook lover, keep this link handy. This is a link to free downloads of my Audiobooks from Audible.com – there are limited quantities – you can select to show those with available US or UK codes. These get reloaded from time to time, so if the one you want has no codes, don’t get discouraged, and the site has a LOT of titles with available codes, so if you can’t get one of mine you may find something else you like: FREE AUDIOBOOK CODES.
This is a quick note to show off the new cover art from Cortney Skinner for Heart of a Dragon – Book One of The DeChance Chronicles … the book is currently on sale for only .99 in eBook format. The rest of the books in the series will be getting re-branded covers to match the new style… looking for that new audience… spread the word… .99 to take a chance on a new series…
I’ve added the prologue and first chapter of my Thomas Harris like thriller SINS OF THE FLASH to the page. This book has started, out of the blue, to gather a new audience, and I wanted to take advantage of this by providing more details. It was written while I was stationed on the USS Guadalcanal. The villain is a serial killer of a type that is very different – the killing being almost subordinate to his actual obsession. His art. This is a dark, very adult thriller that also introduced detective Tommy Doyle – the “Psycos ‘r’ Us” detective from San Valencez, California (which most of you will recognize from my other books. Tommy also appeared in several short stories, and his cousin Patrick, who served as an officer in nearby Lavender California, is one of the main characters in my horror novel Maelstrom.
I hope you’ll pass this on to thriller / horror / serial killer novel loving friends and family. I’m working on updating the trade paperback now.
Today marks the first stop on the blog tour. There will be giveaways at each stop – Starbucks gift cards – free books, audiobooks… there are excerpts from all of the books in the series… Follow the links, join the giveaways… read a bit… maybe buy a book and see what you think…
This time I have some pretty cool things to share. I’ll start with the fact that all five of the DeChance Chronicles books are now available in trade paperback and hardcover editions. All are also in audio, with the exception of the brand new book, A Midnight Dreary, which is in production. The links below take you to the Crossroad Press product page, and that page has a link to all of the available retail outlets, Amazon, Apple, B&N, Kobo and Smashwords. As always, Heart of a Dragon, Book 1 in the series, is .99 at Amazon and other outlets, and free at those that allow it. I want you to visit and love Donovan’s world.
There is also a GOODREADS GIVEAWAY going on until the 10th of February. There will be 100 copies of the eBook of A Midnight Dreary available to win, so head over to Goodreads and check it out.
The last thing I’d like to link is the newly minted Facebook Group – The Dead Poe Etc. Society – where members hear about my work first, win swag and books, get review copies and audiobook codes, and help me spread the word about my books. I’d love to see you there… Nothing helps to spread the word about an author’s book better than people who read, enjoy, and talk about them.
|The current work in progress is set in the city of San Valencez, California, home and same world as The DeChance Chronicles. It features a group of four teens with unique abilities… Weaver, Cami, Shooter and Combo. They are four remarkable kids setting out to do combat the crime and corruption washing through the city. The series will certainly cross over with DeChance at some point, but one is simply titled… HOODS. Chapter One is posted on my blog, if you are interested.|
The DeChance Chronicles Books 1-4 – only $2.99
Nevermore – A Novel of Love, Loss & Edgar Allan Poe for only $2.99
Pre-order A Midnight Dreary – The DeChance Chronicles for only $2.99
Ever since I started writing, one of the staple markets for authors has been the anthology. Most of them are themed, some are less so – like the Borderlands Anthologies, Masques, and Cemetery Dance Publications’ Shivers series. In the 80s there were themed anthologies on all sides, with the advantage of selling to their themed audience, and the disadvantage that at least one big tension point is removed from every story – because, for instance, the anthology Werewolves, which I had a story in… you kind of knew a big furry dog person was going to be involved up front. The featured image for this post is a tentative cover for a project I may tackle in the near future. I am considering ALL of the points below, believe me.
That’s not what I want to talk about here, though. If you are a new publisher, independent author, new author or aspire to any of those callings, this is for you. I’m going to do this in a sort of bullet-point format because there’s a lot to cover, and most of it requires little in the way of explanation.
Know up front – the first rule of anthologies. They do not sell as well as novels. They never have, and they never will. There is a smaller, more insular audience for them. They have never sold in the numbers that novels have, and likely never will. It’s just the truth. You can check this with just about any professional editor or marketer. Harder sell… smaller audience. Still a very cool way to present short fiction. They are a good way to make some money as an author, and a bad idea if they don’t pay any.
- Anthologies are harder to sell.
- It will not sell more copies if you dedicate it to a charitable cause. It seems like it would, but it will not. It’s an extremely over-used gambit.
- If you are going to publish an anthology, you need to pay something up front to the authors, because it is likely most of what they will make. There is more chance of a turtle flying than there is of the exposure from an independently published anthology helping anyone’s career.
- The only exception to rule 1 is having a story from an absolute top-of-the-list author, not a reprint. It will not be cheap.
- May anthologies are filled by invite only. It is VERY IMPORTANT that you understand as editor and publisher that the book comes first. If your friend or colleague turns in a story you don’t like, don’t publish it. If you think it would be fine with edits, make the edits (You are the editor) and run it past the author. If they decline the edits, thank them for their interest, and move on to another author. Any compromise you make is a chink in the integrity of the book.
- Both the editor, and the publisher, are responsible for the quality of the stories. Most authors don’t do a very good job editing their own manuscripts. I have to go through mine multiple times and still need at least a second set of eyes. Unless you are a grammar expert, OCD, and willing to put in many hours editing stories you did not write, you should either hire an editor (not your buddy who will read it) or not edit an anthology. It does not mean put your name on the front and have people send you their stories… it means you are responsible.
- If you are going go crowd-fund your anthology, make sure that the amount you are trying to earn is fair… that you have money for the stories, and for the editor, and for the cover artist or designer. Make sure that you don’t get greedy on the amount that you think all your (probably didn’t do much) time is worth. Make sure contributors to the funding get everything they have been promised, and that the quality of the BOOK is the priority, not your fame as an editor, or your profit. This is actually a way to reach a particular audience, be certain the books will be bought and possibly even read, but it should not be a never-ending money machine with books delayed, editing crappy and the money actually funding other publishing bills.
The bottom line, and the point I want to make, is that a full-length anthology is an expensive project. It is a lot of work. It is not something to be taken on lightly, or alone, unless you have all the requisite skills and time and funds to make it happen. I love anthologies as much as the next book collector and reader. I’ve been in a ton of them, most often as “and others” over the years. More often than not, your time would be better spent writing and editing your own work… but if you feel this calling, answer it with quality and integrity. One of the biggest reasons people don’t buy many anthologies these days is the absolute mountain of horrible crap that’s been published. With a decent cover, almost anything can look professional. Remember what they say about books and covers.
In preparation for the January 19th release of A Midnight Dreary Volume 5 of the DeChance Chronicles, I wanted to point out what I’ve pointed out previously – this novel is not just one story. It draws threads and characters from across the “Davidverse” – including Cletus J. Diggs of Old Mill, NC, Edgar Allan Poe and Eleanor MacReady (Lenore) from Nevermore – A Novel of Love, Loss & Edgar Allan Poe, members of the O.C.L.T. and even two undead survivors from my vampire novel Darkness Falling.
You can pre-order A Midnight Dreary HERE at Amazon.com – it will be available soon ab B&N, Apple, and can be pre-ordered from Smashwords. The print edition will be available slightly sooner than the eBook. Please consider pre-ordering, as it helps the launch of the book immensely to have sales on day one. The cover price is $4.99 – but it will be dropped prior to the release date to $2.99 and that is what you will be charged (for a limited time). Working on a major promotion and do not want to drop the price prior to finding out one way or the other.
I’m not going to go on and on about this. Below is the Author’s note from the front of the new book… but before that I’m going to include links to the DeChance Chronicles Omnibus – which is still on sale for only .99 and contains ALL of the previous Donovan DeChance novels, Nevermore – which introduces Edgar and Eleanor, and Darkness Falling, the story that introduced the location for the current tale, and two of the characters.
The DeChance Chronicles Omnibus is available everywhere eBooks are sold. Click HERE to go to the product page at the Crossroad Press Store – where you can purchase from Amazon, B&N, Apple, Smashwords or Kobo.
Nevermore, a Novel of Love, Loss & Edgar Allan Poe is on sale for only $2.99 and the product page for that one is HERE.
Darkness Falling can be purchased HERE.
This is going to be a big, complicated story. It draws elements together from The DeChance Chronicles, the novels of the O.C.L.T., my novels about Cletus J. Diggs and the fictional town of Old Mill, N.C.—and even from an older work of mine, a vampire novel titled Darkness Falling. It also comes with a complication. What was originally going to be the beginning to this novel—a long flashback—got away from me. It became a novel unto itself—Nevermore, a Novel of Love, Loss, and Edgar Allan Poe. I love that novel, and yet, I hate it. I hate it because as hard as I’ve tried, there is no good way to begin this novel now without writing spoilers for that one.
But maybe there is a work-around.
I want you to read Nevermore before you read this book. There. I said it. I know—you already bought this one. In fairness, I warned you in the marketing text for this on whatever site you bought it on. I warned you on Facebook. I warned you in my blog. Now, I’m simply asking you. If you have already purchased this book, trust me when I say that not only will you enjoy Nevermore, but you will enjoy this book more if you read it first. I really want you to read Nevermore, and then I want you to dive straight into this one. That was the original intent.
If you don’t want to wait, however, or you don’t have the inclination to read the other book, I understand. I have created a second introduction to this book that follows this one. It explains all that happened in Nevermore and brings you up to the beginning of this book. It might not even be necessary, but it will certainly alleviate some confusion. If nothing else, the writing of this (and the subsequent spoiler-filled introduction) will serve to allow me to continue with the story.
So, like I started to say, this will be a big and complex story. It will send several groups off in different directions. It will draw multiple story lines into one single thread. It will resolve the tragedy inherent in the ending of Nevermore. Really—it will do all those things
And that’s enough of this. I want to thank those of you following the DeChance Chronicles from the beginning, and those who have come to this because of an interest in the O.C.L.T. series, and those who are just here because they are fans of my work. I can’t wait to hear what you think. You can always reach me at my website: