Saturday, July 28, 2012

Sale: Desperate Measures - also a donation

Ever donate a story to help a cause?

I just did.

I expect you’ve heard of Cystic Fibrosis. It’s a cruel, killer disease that afflicts about 70,000 people worldwide with 1,000 new cases diagnosed each year. While advances in treatment have been made, the median age for survival of a CF sufferer is still only in the late 30s.

It’s less likely that you’ve heard of Erotic Anthology, which produces a grab-bag of themed story collections, all of which have an erotic tilt of some kind. Most of the collections are unified together under the main title of Coming Together, and each of the themes is then a subtitle within. The Coming Together anthologies are sold through the major digital outlets and in print format. All the profits from the sales are donated to various charitable causes. The motto of Erotic Anthology is: “doing good while being bad.”


Recently, a new science fiction theme was added to the Coming Together line called Off World. I happen to spot the call for submissions. While I can’t say I’m looking to branch out my writing generally into erotica, the mission of Coming Together appealed to me while also giving me a shot at writing outside of the box. It was something quite different.

Still, I dithered. Until a tragic, erotic, sci-fi story plot line smacked me between the eyes. Funny how that happens.

The result was a dark little tale called Desperate Measures, which is about what can happen between a woman and a man on a last-ditch, one-way mission that doesn’t quite go as planned. I’d classify the story as a sci-fi romance with an erotic thread. If you’re looking for something more gratuitous, titillating or explicit, this is not the story for you.

Here’s a teaser:
I dreamed.
Emma said I would. According to her, most people did though they didn't realize it.
She knew firsthand, having been a guinea pig for the initial suspension trials. Said she loved it, giddy and gushing like an eager teen in a clingy prom dress with grand expectations and even bigger desires. Said she couldn't wait for the real mission, the true motivation for suspension testing. The ultimate payoff.
Emma told me she'd dreamed of her first husband, Mack, and her second, Padraig, both killed in Zet raids not four months apart. Emma died too, weeks after Padraig, in another raid during our panicked retreat from Betelgeuse, our fleet hacked to one third the size of when we'd arrived.
Sorry, Emma. No mission for you. No prom. No climax in some glorious payoff that you ached for.
But I got to go. Emma had nailed it and more.

You can purchase Desperate Measures thusly (and it goes without saying that this is for adults only):
On Amazon
And here is the main page for Coming Together: Off World over on Erotic Anthology.

Your purchase results in a donation to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. So you can have a guilty pleasure while helping a worthy cause.

Doing good while being bad.

I think I’m going to enjoy it.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Avoiding rejection dejection

Got my latest story rejection this morning. Consequently, I tweeted the following quip:
Rejections are like a gladiator’s scars. You need them to go on to your biggest killings.
The thing is I didn’t mean this to be just a trivial sound bite. I’ve always believed it to be true about writing, from day one.

When it comes down to it, my stack of rejection letters affirms two fundamental things about my writing. It means:
  1. I am trying
  2. I need to keep trying, only a little harder
Notice I didn’t say anything along the lines of: “I am failing” or “My writing stinks” or “Editors are idiots.” Instead, I view each rejection as measuring my forward progress. As long as they keep coming in, I keep moving ahead.

That means working harder, getting better, growing in my craft and improving my stories. That’s the path forward.

Oh sure, I’ve had moments of disappointment with some rejection letters, such as when I thought a story was an absolute perfect match with a particular market or editor. That, along with many factors regarding submission evaluation, is really beyond my control. I can control the fact that I keep writing stories and I keep polishing them to make them the finest I can deliver. Period.

Worry about what you can control. Don’t let the other control you. It’s the best a writer can hope for.

When I talk to people about my writing, it’s not uncommon for them to tell me they could never do it, often because of all the rejection they’ll experience. The thought really bothers them and turns them off. I usually smile at that point and talk proudly about my numerous battle scars.

With more to come, too. Ones that I plan to work hard to earn.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Of authors, the web and Facebook fan pages

My Facebook author page is now live. I admit I’ve been holding off putting one up for a while. Laziness is partly to blame for that. Another reason is... oh, I’ll call it social media overload. Allow me to explain.

Information is plentiful these days and thank the heavens for that. I love being able to obtain any fact, figure or piece of nonsensical trivia the very instant I desire it. It’s an empowering and liberating feeling to know you can suck from the straw of collective knowledge and understanding whenever and however you like. Whether we're talking data, news or entertainment, all of it is there at your command.

Therein lies the rub.

The more you use that proverbial straw, the more seems to try to flow back through it. Whether it is via cross-links or “Related Items” or “You Might Also Like...” interconnections, you can find yourself drawing from that straw many hours after that first drink. Suck, suck, suck, and there’s always more there for you to consume.

Ever notice your first few tastes of something are the most delightful? But keep at it for very long and the appeal drops off significantly, doesn’t it?

Now consider social media in this context. How many blogs, tweets, IMs and newsfeeds are pointed at your straw? How often and for how long are you really able to suck up all that information? Most of all, how much do you really get out of it?

Obviously there are some people who can’t get enough. More power to them. I’m certainly not part of that group. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to sit on the receiving end of that massive stream.

So that’s just in one direction, coming at you. Imagine trying to interact then with all those sources and in some meaningful way, not just tossing off frivolous replies or retweets. Which is an intrinsic value of social media: outreach and connecting via interaction. Build your network. Then, as a writer, you tap it.

Except, a goodly number of writers are doing that or else trying to. A goodly number of readers are probably like me, struggling with how much there is out there to drink up. It’s an overload.

A writer could try to overcome that. Use tactics and various methods to somehow rise above and stand out. I think if you had a marquee author name already or else an endless supply of minions, you might be successful at that. But there’s actually a better way.


Keep producing what people want.

That’s the way to ensure they’ll point their straws at you. OK, bad image, but you get the idea. You win by doing what you’re fundamentally supposed to do as a writer.

So I’ve been in that mindset for a while: more writing, less marketing. Which has delayed me considerably from finishing many outreach type tasks, like my Facebook author page.

But it’s live now so before you point your straw elsewhere on the web, how about popping over and giving me a Like?

Thanks and happy slurping.