Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Shadows in the Mirror Available for Kindle

One of my older short stories is now available for purchase on Amazon. I personally performed the e-book conversion using the latest processes and tools available and it was quite the learning experience. I'll post more about that later.

Unfortunately it took me a lot longer than I wanted to ready the e-book, which was very frustrating because it has a stunningly cool cover. Here I must give a huge shout-out to Erin Dameron-Hill, who not only has a masterful touch when it comes to cover design, she's a mind reader too. In my particular case, a better reader of my mind than its actual owner. Really sorry it took this long for people to see the cover.

I should also mention the story, Shadows in the Mirror, is also available in my Dark Doses anthology. Though the standalone e-book I just posted has had some work done on formatting, the story itself is unchanged from the anthology and the original. Be advised.

Lastly, Shadows in the Mirror was first published on The Future Fire, a lovely site where you can discover all kinds of amazing tales to read and enjoy. Check them out sometime.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

How Todd spent 2016

In short, it was the year of Vortex.

As indicated, I devoted the bulk of this year to querying selected agents regarding the completed manuscript. This took place in several small waves throughout the summer and fall months. I culled a number of different references in order to target agents that represented Contemporary YA, Sci-Fi or similar. New agents, well established ones, East Coast US, West Coast, even a couple overseas. Alas, though I received a few offers of encouragement that went beyond the rote 'Not for me,' there were no takers. At this point, I feel I have allowed sufficient time for reactions to come in accordingly on my outstanding queries. These days most agencies tend to operate on the basis of: if you don't hear from us by X, assume we are not interested. I'd estimate around half of my query letters did result in some kind of formal rejection returning; I figured I'd be lucky to get any kind of actual rejection from around a third of them. Props to the ones who took the time to say no thanks. Closure is a good thing.

So I am therefore switching to the next stage of my go-to-market plan. I'm currently in the midst of performing two professional editing passes on the story: a) an extensive structural critique to identify any plot, characterization, continuity or other glaring issues requiring correction, and b) a line edit to catch and resolve all the grammar problems. In parallel, I'll be commissioning cover art. The goal is to pull together an e-book package and self publish early in 2017 via Amazon and Smashwords. Once that is accomplished, I'll be into the marketing and promoting stage of my plan. I'm interested to see what the latest options are in this area, how they work, certainly how well they work (if that's even measurable). One way or another, this ride will be fascinating.

I actually do have an older short story of mine, Shadows in the Mirror, that I need to package up and publish as a standalone e-book. I'll be completing that activity to learn the latest and greatest methods and procedures involved ahead of having to use them for Vortex. The tools and techniques for e-book publishing continue to evolve since my last hands-on years ago. From what I'm seeing, it appears to have simplified somewhat but it still isn't to the point where it could be called simple, consistent and reliable with predictable results. Unless a writer just wants to fork over a fee for someone else to take care of it. I suppose that's mighty dirt simple, if you can afford to do it.

In the background, I've been working on a smattering of flash pieces. One looks promising to have ready for early 2017. Most of the other works I'm chalking up to exercising and experimentation. At some point next year, I'll need to sort out and embark on my next major project or two.

So onto 2017. As of now, it's looking like year 2 of Vortex, at least for starters. Hope this ride doesn't get too bumpy.


Silly me.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

I updated my web site

Being a software developer type in a prior life, I confess that I couldn't resist designing my own author web site. So that's what I did. Guess what? It showed. Particularly because, as a SW developer, I couldn't bring myself to use any of the pre-canned packages that make assembling a web site a snap. Nope. Not me. I had to roll my own from scratch using an earlier generation of Microsoft Publisher.

Those days are done. I acquired some help. The Todd Thorne site now has a fabulous and slick new look-and-feel.

Check it out.

Friday, March 25, 2016

What Todd is Writing

Vortex clocks in at 73,000 words. Amazing. Incredible. Hallelujah.
Now for reflections…
For the most part, the story went where I expected it would. I mapped it out last year, though I must say, since then, there have been some surprises along the way. Meaning, twists and turns I didn't envision. That's what 'discovery' writing can do for you. It provides plenty of opportunities for your keyboard to take control and pound out a real zinger or two. Even still, the story wrapped up the way I'd envisioned. I am quite tickled. Biased as I undoubtedly am, I really enjoy reading it.
Now begins the process of commercialization. I've decided that I'm going to query select agents in the genre that embodies Vortex (YA and New Adult + Speculative Fiction). We'll see if it garners any interest. Say what you will but these are evolutionary times in the publishing industry, which is shorthand for: all bets are off. That being said, it remains true that well-told stories will find their audience, one way or another. That's the amazing aspect of this business. There are numerous ways to get your stories circulating in quest of the ultimate audience. Perseverance can prevail, assuming it doesn't drive the writer insane along the way.
So where did Vortex come from? Well, that's a story unto itself…
On May 29, 1982, an F4 tornado wrecked havoc upon Southern Illinois. Living in Marion, Illinois at the time, I had a set of grandparents. Stereotypically, they happened to live in a trailer occupying a classy trailer park skirted by the tornado in question. My Grandpa told me about what he saw that day. He stood outside and watched the twister head straight for him, unerringly and unstoppable. I will not forget how he described his vision of the thing. It weaved methodically, side-to-side, vacuuming up everything in it's path. 'Serpentine' he portrayed it. To him, it seemed like the thing held him mesmerized, to the point where his physical safety was in jeopardy. He couldn't stop watching it. That's what he said. 'I couldn't take my eyes off of it.' As it set upon him, somehow, he shook off his hypnosis and rushed inside to be with my Grandma there in the end. They survived. Ten people didn't.
Vortex is for you, Grandpa.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Blog Interruption Over

Apologies for the unexpected blog hiatus here. It's something I let get away from me. Whenever that happens, quite a gap can build up, especially given the murderous way time flies. Anyhow we should be back to normalcy.

This is also an opportunity to remind everyone that you can find me over on Twitter and Facebook if you happen to frequent those venues.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Sale "As Luck Would Have It" to Every Day Fiction

It is particularly fitting this flash piece is posted up on Every Day Fiction here on Friday the 13th. Thanks to the delightful editors who not only took the story but creatively scheduled when it would run. Bravo!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A semi-pantser figures it out

It's the last day of 2014. I'm 50,000 words deep into my draft manuscript for Vortex. Seems like an appropriate time to pause and reflect.

What Vortex has taught me about my writing:

  • I'm not the type that can write the first draft from start to finish prior to doing any edits
  • Polished (read: edited) scenes/chapters increase my confidence in the new, subsequent ones I write
  • I'm a pantser, meaning I discover the story as I write it, but...
  • Deep into the story, I really want to know where it's going, so I do outline the parts to come
  • With outline in hand, I can't resist writing ahead--fleshing out upcoming scenes and vignettes--particularly the juicy or significant ones
  • Regarding those upcoming scenes, sometimes my exploratory drafts get tossed, unusable; sometimes it triggers me to retrofit earlier chapters I'd edited and felt were mostly baked
So this seems to be my natural writing style. Picture a chunk of virgin territory before you. Into one corner, your explorers probe. They find rich land and call in the settlers. The land is made productive and a thriving community develops. Then, it's time for more exploration, more settling. Sometimes, though, the explorers return to the established areas and cause upheaval, all in the name of the ultimate goal: total conquest. Eventually the entire territory is won over.

Which means I write like most people play the games Civilization or The Settlers of Catan. Amazing, eh?

No matter your own writing style, here's hoping your 2015 is supremely productive and richly rewarding.