My Books & Stories (Amazon Page)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Battle of Christmas

A horror poem for the season.


Twas the night before Christmas and all through the halls
Something evil was stirring, but not in the malls.
Twas at the North Pole all covered with snow
That it all started with no one to know

The elves felt it first and first were to fall
A sickness among them that started to crawl
And one by one they started to blow
To kill one another and redden the snow

That wasn't the end as the reindeer came next
As elves fell upon them with teeth, claw, and axe
Comet went first, then Cupid and Vixen
Till all that were left were Rudolph and Blitzen

Bravely they fought in retreat to the Shop
Where Santa and others with fear were fraught
As two mighty reindeer killed elves by the lot
But step by step were forced back to the Shop

Within the Shop only Santa could think
As dozens of elves brought the whole kitchen sink
Rudolph and Blitzen were doing their best
But a whole day of fighting had measured their best

Within the Toy Shop sat Santa's sleigh
A little red cart just a few feet away
If Rudolph could reach it away they could fly
But elves were before them, behind them, and sly

Then Blitzen told Rudolph and Santa he'd hold
Elves in the snow till the sleigh could be rolled
Out of the Shop and up into the sky
Guided by Rudolph's sole bleeding eye

Though wounded and bleeding brave Blitzen attacked
And countless were the elves that he racked
Rudolph fell back and shed neither tear
For Santa stood there aquiver in fear

Covered in blood and wounded in stride
Brave Rudolph listened as old Blitzen died
Then facing the old man he said with a snark
This is for you you worthless old fart

Into the sleigh he pushed the old man
And under the harness he pushed his own van
A few moments later ahead of the elves
The little red sleigh leaped above the ice shelves

But by the time they reached the first of their stops
Poor Rudolph knew it'd all been for naught
For Santa was sick with what felled the elves
And Rudolph was nearing the end of himself

And when Santa slipped down the first chimney so free
It was with evil intent and malevolent glee
And Rudolph stood by on the roof with the sleigh
Knowing next year there'd be no going this way


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Infection & After Action Report On PubIt! (B&N)

Or they soon will be (24-72 hours).

I waited an awful long time to get things working for the B&N Nook, but I have a bit more incentive now. They're another outlet for sales that I've left neglected for far too long.

This gives me Smashwords, Amazon, and now Barnes & Noble as sales points fir my work.

Yea, me!

Short story "Infection" Published

My 5600 word short science fiction/horror story "Infection" has been published on Smashwords and Amazon for the Kindle. Price is $0.99.

"Infection" is a story of love, loss, and hope in the midst of catastrophe.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

HATCHINGS Added To Amazon Prime

As an experiment I've placed my 80k word hard SF novel HATCHINGS in the new Amazon Prime listing for the Kindle. If you're a Prime member you can download the book for free whereas it's $3.99 regularly for Kindle.

I'm not doing this out of the goodness of my heart. As I said, this is an experiment, and I'll get a percentage of a pot that Amazon has created for books in the Prime listings for each time the book is downloaded.

So, if you want to read a hard science fiction novel with giant insects, action, and adventure for FREE, become an Amazon Prime member and download HATCHINGS. Recommend it to your friends too.

I want to see how this book does over the next 90 days as a Prime listing.

In addition, if you've read any of my stuff, why not drop by Amazon and leave a comment or review? Good, bad, or indifferent, I won't mind (well, I might if it's really scathing, but I'll bite my tongue and withhold any retort)? Comments and reviews are important to writers and maybe more so to reader's. I know a few folks out there have read my stuff (sales figures and a check from Amazon every so often proves that), but my work needs more reviews.

Hunted, for example, just sold another copy, but no one's reviewed it yet. For such an exciting story I'm surprised at this. HATCHINGS sold 3 (yeah, not a huge number, but it's still sales) copies last month, but not a single review. After Action Report has sold dozens of times, but hasn't been reviewed or even comment on. The only review has been for Code Of Law, which wasn't exactly my best effort, and it got 3 stars.

So, go become a Prime member and download HATCHINGS for free. And drop by my G.W. Ellis page and leave some reviews for my other work too.

C'mon, I dare you.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

How To Embarass A Writer

I recently had a poster on another website forum email me, essentially asking for advice, but one of the things the poster said in their message damn near made my hair stand on end.

I quote,

I downloaded a sample of Hatchings, and it seems to be a very American contribution to the British school of Guy N Smith, Graham Masterton and James Herbert. Good show, old chap, haha.

Now, of course, I denied being anywhere near as good as these Masters. In response, the poster stated,

Right, right, I meant 'in the vein of the Brits', not quite 'on the level of' :), although there's really not much difference between what I read of your style and Smith's. In fact yours may be a tad better, but he had the luck of entering the field in the middle of the 70's horror boom. Like entering the romantic werewolf field today, I guess.

If you want to embarrass a writer, this is an excellent way to go at it. Its incredibly flattering, but there's no way I believe I'm anywhere near as good as Masterson, Smith, or Herbert. I'm getting better, but I'm not there yet.

I do find it interesting that the poster noted that my work appeared to be a very American contribution in the same vein as the British Masters he cites. My early upbringing was in a household in the middle of Ohio with a very Scottish patriarchy, a very close relationship to England, and a matriarchal lineage that was also very English and German. There've been times I've been caught slipping into accented conversation when I didn't even realize I was doing it. In addition, for years I used certain wordage in my writing that was very English without even realizing I was doing it wrong for an American audience or in accordance with American English.

Don't get me wrong. I'm a proud American and I'm proud of my heritage.

I just never quite realized how deeply that heritage had actually affected everything I do.

All writers have heritages. Our stories, our characters, our mannerisms are based in our heritage, probably on a much deeper level than we realize. We show a certain face to the outside world, but our stories are dredged up from deep within our psyches. There's a point where we cannot distinguish what's in our psyche and what's flowing from our fingers in our stories.

Please, forgive us. We too, are products of our heritage.

And because I'm a product of my heritage, it's both embarrassing and incredibly elevating to be compared to, or placed in the same vein as, certain Master writers.

Mostly embarrassing right now.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran's Day

One more thing - if you know a vet, thank him and shake his hand.

Today is the day to remember that, in the words of the Billy Ray Cyrus song, "All Gave Some, Some Gave All".

I'd also like to recommend the video "Waltzing Matilda" that's circulating on YouTube and the video from 3 Doors Down (I think) for "We Are One" that should also be available on YouTube.

Remember the veterans in your own family especially, but remember them all.

All gave some. Some gave all.

God bless all veterans everywhere.

Two New Short Stories

Two new short stories, Hate Music and Hunted, were posted to Amazon for the Kindle and Smashwords for all other platforms earlier this month. They are both currently available for $0.99 each.

Hate Music is a 1thousand word science fiction story set in my Fire On The Suns universe with a darkly humorous twist.

Hunted is an 1800-word horror story with action so fast and furious it will leave you gasping for breath.

I should have Infection, a 5 thousand word horror story, available by the end of this month (it just needs a final review and editing pass).

Work is progressing on Porter's Way, a western/horror short story (that's trying to turn into a novella) set in a world where magic and the Old West co-exist (but this ain't Deadlands, folks), Fire On The Suns (my military space opera novel based on my FOTS game universe) which has reached 55+ thousand words, and an as-yet untitled short story featuring the Devil being grilled by a talk show pundit on his relationship with God. That one's up to about 2 thousand words currently.

I've temporarily ceased working on The Midnight Box, a Quentin Dallas short story due to "issues" with the legendary source material. Still, I might pick it back up after the first of the year along with the novels Gated and Third Pulse, both of which I expect to finish next year.

To-date, I've finished and published 1 novel, 10 short stories, and a collection since late January when I started this 5-year project. I intend to finish at least 1 more novel and 2-5 short stories between now and the end of the year (my goal was 2 novels and 12-15 short stories when I started this thing). I've noticed that my productivity appears to have increased as the year has progressed and I'm putting up better, more polished, much more professional work as I go along.

Give me 4 more years and I might even be decent.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

New Collection On Smashwords/Kindle

I just put my first 6-pack of short stories up for publishing via Smashwords and Kindle for $2.99. You'll get 6 stories for the price of 3, a couple of them in previously-unpublished form.

The book "The Light Of An Oncoming Train: A 6-Pack Of Short Fiction" ought to be available from Amazon for the Kindle in a couple days. Smashwords might take a bit longer.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Today is, as I'm sure everyone knows by now, the 10th Anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. I remember where I was and what I was doing. Do you?

There's little that I can say that hasn't already been said by pundits and those who survived the attacks already so all I'll say today is remember.

Remember the heroes who went into those buildings while everyone else was going out. Remember the heroes who fought to take back a hijacked aircraft. Remember the heroes who worked themselves to exhaustion trying to save anyone they could in the short time the victims might have had. Remember the heroes who somehow organized the largest waterborne evacuation in history, bigger even than Dunkirk.

Remember the victims who died that day through no fault of their own, struck down by others who only wanted to hurt and kill as many Americans as they possibly could.

And remember that there are still people out there, diabolical, evil, desperate people who still would do anything they can to hurt and kill as many Americans as possible. They remember us.

As we remember our fallen heroes from that day, remember as well the men and women who have fought and died and been injured in the years before and since 9/11 to protect us here at home. I remember them and I stand beside them should the call ever come for me to do so.

Remember, and honor the heroes for the sacrifices they've made and the sacrifices yet to come. In this way we honor them and pay them the enormous debt we owe them all.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Writer worries

I worry that my first novel was my last one, the only one I had in me despite the fact I've got 2 or 3 others in various stages of competion.

I worry that I can't complete several short stories because my day job is sucking the life out of me.

I worry about my next idea not coming soon enough to write it fast enough.

I worry about the rent and the electrical and the cable and the $900 of new medical bills I recently acquired and the condition for which remains untreated.

I worry about not being able to write with hands crippled by arthritis.

What I don't worry about? The fact that the next story idea will come, that I can write it, that I'll get through the occasional doldrums, that writer's block is fleeting and imaginary, a figment of my own procrastination, that every day is an opportunity to improve and grow, that my stuff will sell, that I'm not good enough, that I cannot fail because I won't let myself do so nor will the people who read my stuff, that I can pay the bills next month via my day job, but one day my writing will pay those things for me, that I have a future and part of that future includes me as a writer.

It's called hope.

It's a simple 4-letter word, but it's more powerful than almost any other 4-letter word other than love which it is closely related to. Hope is stronger than hate, stronger than lust, stronger than words far longer and far more recognized. Hope is what drives every human being to strive, to drive, to continue on when dark clouds threaten and the wolves are at the door.

Hope is why we write.

Hope that we can express ourselves such that someone else "out there" might, just might, one day understand.

Hope that we might one day, somehow, some way, make a living writing.

Hope that, by some miracle, fortune might shine upon us one day and we will find that voice and be able to express it such that we know we will have said something important.

Hope that we might, one day, entertain even one single other person.

Hope that we might leave something of ourselves to friends, to family, to people unknown, who will remember us long after we have gone on to the big office beyond.

Hope that some small piece of us remains when we're gone.


It's a simple word. A 4-letter word.

But it's a writer's word.

Every writer ought to have it framed over their desk so they can look up at it when the doubts come.


It's a conjure word too. It has the ability to conjure a writer to roust himself out of the worst depression, the worst pain, the worst doldrums, the worst of anything you can imagine and drive him back to the keyboard or the pad and pen/pencil.


It's a writer's word.

Emblazoned it on your heart and over your hearth and in your mind.

It's your word.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Amazon Kindle Royalties

Yup, you read that right - Amazon Kindle Royalties!

I've got the check sitting right here beside me right now.

It's not an amazing amount, only $12.95 for the period February-April of this year, but it's my first royalty check ever for my fiction work. Someone out there's paid to read my stuff.

That is exciting and exhilarating and scary all at the same time.

It means that I have to create more stories for people to read because I can't make a living on this.

But maybe, just maybe, I've got a chance at this after all.

I started this endeavor earlier this year with a 5-year plan. I'm slightly behind schedule on that plan almost 8 months into it, but receiving this check today has bolstered my hopes and dreams once again. I'm a long way from the finish line of this plan and there's a lot of work, and a lot of learning, left to do yet.

Bit you know what they say - "Money talks, and bullshit walks."

Well, here's money talking. Amazon's been paid for my stories and now they're paying me as promised. I've made more sales since April so I know I'll be receiving more checks in the future.

This is no longer an experiment, no longer a plan, now it's a business.

It's time to get to work.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

HATCHINGS Now $0.99 for Limited Time Only

For anyone who's interested, I just dropped the price of my SF novel HATCHINGS to $0.99 for a very limited time period only (till the end of the month at the latest). It'll be available from Kindle by this time tomorrow (gotta' republish & review every time you change pricing for Amazon for some reason) and is available for all other platforms via Smashwords.

Friday, July 08, 2011

FOTS Website Back Up

My old gaming website for Fire On The Suns (FOTS) is back up after a multi-year absence thanks to some good friends who secured the domain name and held onto it until I could get back to it.

You can find the site at

I've also secured the domain name for and will soon make that my primary author site.

I'm looking forward to republishing a large number of items from the old days when my game was going strong and new items that never got off the drawing board. I've got at least 2 novels and a couple of standalone indie games designed by friends from way back too that might actually see the light of day in the future.

It may be that my old desktop publishing company Ellis & Company Piblishing could be raised from the dead due to Smashwords and Kindle.

All hail indie publishing!

Friday, July 01, 2011

HATCHINGS Is Live On Amazon

Actually the book went live on Amazon for the Kindle last month on the fifth.

I just delayed posting a blog here because I was busy elsewhere.

Mainly at my day job, where I work as a department manager in electronics. Anything to pay the bills. There've been quite a few changes in my life since April including a new apartment, putting my mother in a nursing home, and all the attendant bills that that requires. The last couple of weeks I've been plagued by a swollen right hand causes by an infection in the joint in my right index finger. Needless to say, this has made writing much of anything really difficult the last two weeks.

But enough about me even though it's all about me, let's talk about my book.

Or not.

I seem to have gotten Dragon NaturallySpeaking working adequately and I'm using it to write this blog post. I'll also be using it to write my story "Porters Way" which is a western horror fantasy mixed genre intended to be a short, but will probably end up somewhere above 10,000 words. Right now it's standing about 3500 words, but it's really kind of a fun story to write. The genre mix is something that I did back in the days when I played RPG's, but it's never something that I really intended to try to write until now.

Actually, considering everything that's going on in epublishing right now it's looking more and more like RPG publishing might be an economic opportunity. I used to write some killer adventures. At one point in time I even had my own RPG. Of course I also had the game Fire On The Suns (FOTS) and wrote half a dozen rulebooks and supplements for it as well as a couple of spinoff games. FOTS is still going strong in some limited areas on Yahoo! Groups, but it's definitely a fringe market. There are a number of opportunities that someone familiar with the publishing could utilize to break into the RPG market using Kindle, Smashwords, and PubIt!. Most recently I have been asked to assist a fellow writer in formatting her work so she can get it up on Kindle. I'm going to do this at no charge, of course.

Yog's Law: Money flows to the writer.

I've also learned what the problems were with putting some of my stuff up on Smashwords which prevented it getting into the premium catalog. Turns out was a formatting error which was difficult to find or track down in OpenOffice. Once I was able to track it down and kill it, everything went up fine. I spent 15 years doing epublishing, or what was called desktop publishing back then, so I often know a little bit about formatting some of this stuff. My format for Hatchings for CreateSpace went through flawlessly except for my cover which I need to do a minor correction for. Hopefully by next month, I'll have a POD version of Hatchings available.

Well, that's about it for this post. I really do intend to post more frequently, but the demands of my other jobs like writing, finishing up some stuff, and of course paying the bills, tend to prohibit me from getting here as often as I would like.

Thursday, May 05, 2011


I finally completed the final edit of my first novel HATCHINGS this morning. I've posted it to Smashwords and intend to post it to Amazon for Kindle tomorrow morning.

I'll post here when everything goes live.

This has been in the works for 4 years. I first write the first draft between January 1st and April, 2007. Sixty-five thousand words were written in 35 writing days. The rest of the time was taken up by research.

The edits have taken me thevrest of the time.

It's like a tremendous weightbas been lifted from my shoulders.

I have other works to attend to and they're all calling me for attention.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011


The Amazing Artist Ronnell Porter created this cover for my book HATCHINGS and uploaded it to me today (or at least I got it today),

I am absolutely thrilled with this cover as it nearly depicts an image straight from a scene in the book.

Final editing for HATCHINGS will be done in the next 2 weeks and the book should be available by the first of Aprilb(providing I get off my lazy duff and do the final edits).

Monday, March 07, 2011

An Act Of Faith

Many people probably wouldn't believe it if you told them that writing is an act of faith. In fact, most people would probably scoff if you told them that you wrote and indie-published as that act of faith.

They don't believe that you can succeed if you're not a J.K. Rowling or a Stephanie Meyer or a Larry Niven kr any of a thousand others.

They don't BELIEVE.

Writing is an act if faith.

You set your sights on telling a story that's going to entertain someone and you work your heart out on that story. Then you send it out into the world to sink or swim.

Some stories sink, some swim. Some win Olympic Gold.

But every time you sit down to write a story that's an act of faith.

It doesn't matter if you believe in God or Alah or Buddah or whatever, when you sit down to create you sit down to act with a faith that something you're going to do at that moment is going to do and e something good - if not now then sometime layer.

I've got major life issues facing me right now, and I've been told in the past that I'm not ready, and will not be for years, professional publication. I have stress on my day job and I have stress at home. It all affects my writing and my personality.

But I know I will get through this. I have faith.

And every time a writer sits down at their keyboard and types a story, that's an act of faith in that they are good enough, that they have what it takes, that they have the chops to succeed.

You do. I do.

It takes work and it takes faith.

Believe and you'll get there - with time and work.

Very few things happen overnight, but the sun rises every single morning. Your morning (and mine) is only a few hours away at most.

Sales Reports

Wonderful! I finally found the sales reports for my Amazon sales. They're not amazing, but they're sales.

For 02/02 to 03/01/11

After Action Report - 7 sales, 1 refund so 6 net sales
Any Minute Now - 2 sales
Knock On Wood - 2 sales
The Light Of An Oncoming Train - 2 sales

For 03/01 to 03/08/11

After Action Report - 2 sales
Code Of Law - 2 sales

Not impressive, but I bet they'll build. I've only been doing the Amazon thing for about a month after all.

Total royalties - $6.30

Hey! That's beer money!

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Stories Live On Amazon Kindle

Yes, I'm spamming my blog (can you do that?) to let all of you know that I currently have 5
stories live on Amazon Kindle. Two of them are directly related to FOTS as they
take place in a slightly-modified universe from the standard game's.

The current list is as follows,

The Light Of An Oncoming Train (Quentin Dallas, PI story)
After Action Report (FOTS story)
Code Of Law (FOTS story)
Knock On Wood
Any Minute Now (Quentin Dallas, PI story)

You can find them by searching for G.W. Ellis or here,\

All of the stories are $0.99 except for Code Of Law which is $1.99.

I'm still working on the FOTS novel and it's looking like I might have to
completely rewrite the 45 thousand words I've got done on it thus far as the
first few chapters are total crap, but my SF novel HATCHINGS will be coming out
as soon as the cover artist gets the cover done.

Anyway, go ye forth and vote and vote often - I mean buy, and BUY often.


P.S. After action Report seems to be my most popular story thus far. Its highest
ranking was all the to around 40k on Amazon Kindle's Paid Rankings yesterday
(it's around 91k today).

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

New Story Coming to Kindle

I'll be posting a long short story/short novella on Kindle tomorrow entitled "Code Of Law". It's space opera centered in my Fire On The Suns game universe. I would expect it'll go live sometime this weekend (if I can find the right darned cover image for it in the meantime).

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Epubbing & Business - Writing As Gardening

A lot these days is being said about the quality of the writing being put up on sites such as Smashwords and Kindle. Admittedly, much of the material is woefully amateurish and wouldn't stand a chance of being professionally published. I've actually purchased a couple of items just to see how horribly bad they really were (bad does not begin to describe some of them).

In addition, there's the discussions regarding whether or not "no name" authors stand a chance in epublishing. Can they rise above the tumult and the tidal wave of crap that's flooding Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, and a host of other sites if they don't already have an audience or fan following?

Probably not.

In regard to "no name" authors going the self-pub or ePub route, it's going to be a tough road ahead for anyone involved.

But that's why you don't go in with high expectations. You (I) don't have a ready audience (yet) or even a fan following. That, like all businesses, takes time to build. You must treat yourself and your writing like a business, develop a plan, and work at it. A single book or short story isn't going to cut it. You have to keep producing work, keep producing product for people to stumble upon and discover.

Someone, somewhere out there, is going to like what you write. When that happens that person will tell 2 people and those people will tell 2 people and the snowball effect takes over from there.

Most business plans are 5 years in duration. An author just jumping into self-or epublishing needs to have a similar plan. Most businesses lose money during the first 2 years of their business plan. Authors should not expect anything different. I don't expect more than a handful of sales during my first year with Kindle and Smashwords, but I'll be working and putting up new product all along for "customers" to discover. By the second year some of my stuff should be starting to hit and I should see sales increasing. I still won't be able to quit my day job though.

By the 3rd year sales should start picking up if I've been doing my job right. In other businesses the 3rd year is usually the "make it or break it" year, but it isn't the same with authors. If all you're making is a few hundred bucks a year, that's still free money streaming into your pocket from things you wrote years ago. You'll have better stuff available by then.

In the 4th and 5th years I expect to have an increasing audience and a larger volume of product to sell my customers.

As Dean Wesley Smith states, "books are not produce". They don't expire except with traditional publishers where they go out of print. Ebooks never go out of print unless the author takes them down. Ebooks are product that can sit on the shelves for years without expiring.

Five years down the road I may still not be able to quit my day job, but my audience will be far larger than it is today - and I'll be a better writer for the time and effort invested.

You gotta' have a plan and a main ingredient of that plan is to grow yourself an audience.

Gardens don't grow overnight and neither, in most cases, does a writer's career.

Start with a seed or a number of seeds, preferably different types, and grow what does best.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Link To My Kindle Page

Here's the link to my Kindle page on Amazon,

Note that there are 4 stories live as of today and more still to come.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Amazon, baby!

My stories Any Minute Now and The Light Of An Oncoming Train went live on Amazon for $0.99 each as of today.

Yea, me!

I still list Smashwords as my publisher since it's through them that I get a free ISBN, but they can argue with me when and if that ever becomes an issue. Right now, I've got 2 stories up on what is probably the best platform for selling epublished works that was ever invented even though it might not have been invented for that purpose.

Somewhere, out there, there are people that my stories will, maybe, appeal to. They might even pay money to own their own copies of my stories.

I have 8-9 more stories currently awaiting approval over on Smashwords, probably another few days to a week to go. Two of those still need covers so it'll be 2 weeks or so before they go up and get approved. In a week or two more I will ge putting together an anthology to sell most of these stories as a package, but they'll all be going up to Amazon and Kindle as individual pieces for $0.99 each. The anthology will likely run $4.99, but I haven't completely decided there yet (I might undercut the price initially to give it a boost off the launch pad).

Just having 2 stories up on Amazon is very, very exciting. I did that!

I did the writing, as mediocre as some might say it is, and the covers myself.

I did.

That makes me proud.

I'm pretty goddamned good at certain things when I put my mind to it and no one is going to convince me that I can't or I'm not good enough or I am " years away from being professionally published."

To those that said and/or believe this, I say "Wake up. You're living in a different world, one that has just suddenly changed in ways you wouldn't understand anyway."

Yes, editors are necessary, but the editors of today had better start waking up and embracing the technology that new writers or early adopters are embracing or they are going to be left wondering where all the dust came from.

Plus, there's Heinlein's Rule - Never revise except to editorial request.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch says that most authors ruin their stories by revision.

Dean Wesley Smith has been putting up first draft (well, maybe with some spell checking done, I would hope) stories for the last several weeks and he's apparently happy with the results.

Me? I tend to revise a couple times before I put things up so some of the stories I'll be posting/publishing have been through multiple revisions. Almost all of them have also been critiqued over at Absolute Write by several people. I won't say I listened to any r all of the critiques nor revised to their comments, but I will say that every single comment had an impact on the stories I've written and posted in some fashion.

I'm still learning how to do this. Putting them out there for the public to say "Yea" or "Nay" is one of the bes ways to do so, in addition to being a good way to build an audience.

As I said, somewhere out there, there are people who will like my stories. I just got to let them have access to them.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The New World of Digital Publishing

Currently, I have 6 stories up at Smashwords, all but 1 of them priced at $0.99 each (the odd one out is a free vignette of less than a thousand words). The free one I've even gotten some good, not glowing, but good, reviews of. Not surprisingly, it's the free one that's generating the most downloads and it doesn't even have a cover (yet).

Of the nearly 100 downloads or partial downloads, over half of those have occurred in the last 4 days since I got serious about this whole deal and added some of my better stories and created covers for them. Creating the covers was easy, and free if you don't count my time required to find just the right free photo and add a title and author byline to it (usually less than half an hour and that's going to decrease as I start taking photos myself to use as book and story covers).

Now, two of those 6 stories still require some modification for Smashwords to put them in their Premium Catalog (covers), and I've already made some mistakes that I'll try to be more careful about in the future, but overall it's a start. It'll likely be about 2 weeks before everything's available across all platforms, but in those next 2 weeks I'm going to start working up the same stories for PubIt and Kindle (even though Smashwords has access to those platforms, or at least formats for those platforms it will likely pay me to do it myself and make sure the stories get up there too).

Titles thus far are as follows,

The Meadow
The Interview
The Light of an Oncoming Train
After Action Report
Knock On Wood
Night On A Boat

All of these stories are horror or at least horror-themed. Night On A Boat is the free vignette. Go read it. I'll wait.

Back? Okay. How'd you like the story? While I hope you enjoyed it what really counts is that it's out there for you to enjoy and I wrote it, finished it, and put it out there for anyone to read or slam. I don't care if someone slams it. I will not, per the sage advice of James MacDonald over at Absolute Write, respond to a negative review (heck, I probably won't respond to most other reviews either). I know there are a couple things in the story that shoul probably be fixed, and maybe one day I'll fix them, but for right now it's proving a point and teaching me lessons - always spell check your manuscript and always give it a read over before putting it up for publication.

Now, here's the thing - Dean Wesley Smith is doing the same thing with his 2011 Challenge and Guess What?

His stuff has errors in it too - misspellings, errors of omission, plot holes big enough to drop a supertanker into.

Does he care?

No. In fact, he cares so little he has disallowed comments about his challenge stories because people were focusing on the mistakes instead of the fact he's actually getting work done, publishing stories, and making a buck or two on it as well.

I'm not DWS and, thus far, I'm not making even a buck or two off these stories, but I've only just really started and really started getting serious about it all. I hate retail sales, but that day job is going to keep me with a roof over my head and food in my stomach until sometime, somewhen, somehow, my stories start to sell. And they will. And there will finally come a day when I can shake off that day job and concentrate on what I really want to do for the rest of my life - write great stories that entertain people.

See, that's the thing. I'm not the best writer on the planet, but I'm not the worst either. I'm going to keep writing and putting my stuff out there for people to read until I do start to make a buck or two on my writing. The new world of digital publishing has opened doors to me I never would have guessed were even there 15 years ago when I first started self-publishing my Fire On The Suns rulebooks and tech manuals. Back then it was desktop publishing all the way and it was expensive and sometimes tedious beyond description. I made beer money on that game for years and one day I'll republish some of the old stuff along with my friend Jeff Engel (the FOTS heir apparent who's currently rewriting the core rules manual and several of the tech manuals). Along the way I also learned a helluva' lot about formatting and cover design. I think I make a pretty decent cover and I've used lots of programs over the years to try to build cover images so I've learned a lot along the way there too.

I haven't finished learning yet, though. Because of my experience in self-publishing I was reticent about outfits like Smashwords and PubIt. I was leery of scams and scanners and vanity publishing. I'd tried to go the traditional route and run into self-absorbed, conceited editors who thought they were God's gift to writing and writers. Maybe they are, I don't care anymore.

In this new world of digital publishing I don't need them.

Maybe I never did.

With money and time I believe I know enough right now to publish an electronic magazine. But I don't know enough to edit one - and I don't have the time or the money (there's that day job thingie that gets in the way not to mention the bills I still need to pay). But there are people out there who do and who can and who will.

We live in a new world of digital publishing. Outfits like Smashwords are making publishing easier and more convenient and even profitable (for some). That's going to increase geometrically as more and more smart people start to realize they no longer need to go the traditional route to getting published or worse (shudder), pay some scam outfit to publish their stuff for them.

Everyone on the planet these days ha a digital camera, a cell phone with a camera in it, or some other way to take photos. those photos can be your stories covers. There are free photo-editing programs available which you can use to resize and add cover blurbs to. I used to do this with something like 6 different programs. Today I can use 2 or 3 if I really want to go wild and add special effects.

There are free 3D modeling programs such as POVRay and Moray and DoGa and more which allow you to build and light and add special effects to a cover image and render it in real time (you'd be amazed at what an expert can do with any of those). I used to use a program called Universe which allowed me to create a render an absolutely amazing variety of space shots and effects.

The fact is, this amazing new world of digital publihing is unlocking and opening doors to people that might have once believed they wre barred forever from achieving their dreams.

I'm telling you, those derams are within your reach, right now.

All you have to do is stretch out your hand and grasp them.

Like I am.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

New Story Up At Smashwords

My story "After Action Report" is now up at Smashwords for $0.99 (

There's no cover for thisonee either, but I'm working on that (got a new digital camera for taking cover photos with, but I'm having a difficult time actually getting the pictures or staging them for the covers I want).

AAR is a scifi story set in my Fire On The Suns universe. It was inspired by a story submitted to me many years ago by Chris L'Etoile (who's gone on to bigger and better things). I've edited the hell out of it over a few months and years, but the idea is still basically Chris' though he was writing for my universe.

I've got a few other FOTS stories up my sleeve and an entire novel or two in the works. This year promises to be better than last in terms of production and goals though Idoubt I'll meet Dean Wesley Smith's challenge.

Never the less, if you're a writer and you're not reading his blog, you ought to.