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Last day to get A Scent of Roses free!

For those that read the blog and don’t follow on social media, my first novel on Amazon is free through today!

Blurb:

As she passed Mr. Sigmund she caught a whiff of something. Beneath his thickly applied Old Spice and the scent of too much detergent, she could smell something distinctly floral. Zoe stopped, startled. It was coming from Mr. Sigmund, the scent of lavender and rose petals.

“Come back prepared tomorrow,” he said, waving her out of the room. Zoe stumbled into the hallway backwards, staring at Mr. Sigmund as he closed the door. The smell of flowers seemed to waft from every pore of his body, following her into the hall until it was cut off abruptly by the closed door. She stood still for a moment, books and papers in hand, and stared back through the glass partition.

When Zoe Sides smells roses, someone is about to die.

Winter snows are setting in, and everyone in town is beginning to smell of roses. Before the snow thaws, Zoe and her band of survivors will face an evil that has fed on humans for millennia, wearing the husks of the dead like masks to move among us.

The possessed priest – kicked out of the church for the death of a parishioner, Father Ted is little more than the town drunk now. But he drinks to keep the voice trapped in his head quiet.

Beverly, the elderly librarian – having lost her son years ago, she’s swept up by events when Father Ted shows up on her doorstep begging for help.

Will they be able to survive the coming winter? Or will they be picked off one by one to feed the entity that calls itself the Throng?

Available on Amazon

My new business venture – writing to sell

I find myself having some big thoughts lately about my writing. Focus changing thoughts. Life directing thoughts. The kind of thoughts my tenth grade English teacher would call epiphanies, and bless her heart she’d pronounce every vowel in that word like it was a gospel being sung. There were, incidentally, a lot of epiphanies in the books we read that year.

No, the question at hand is, “Is writing a hobby, or is it a job?” Is it something I do for fun, or is it something I want to make a business out of? Where do I want it go?

To date, I have made less than $100 with my writing, ever. A pittance, to be sure, and hardly something to justify as a successful business. But that is as much my fault – I’ve done nothing to make it more serious. I write when the mood strikes, wedging writing in between day job, family, and other activities. I don’t treat it seriously enough.

It is the daydream of many of us to be able to live off our writing. To spend our days weaving world’s that then put food on the table and roofs over our heads. I’m not talking rich or even well off, just comfortable. I recognize this is fantasy, a daydream without form, but how else do we realize our dreams but by trying? I know I’m not alone in this fantasy, either – look at any of the other folks out there struggling to get words out. But I’ve done nothing to turn that fantasy into reality, and I think that’s because I haven’t embraced my writing as an actual side career.

The time has come for a change. If you had asked me a few years ago, I would have told you I’d never self publish. At the time, that was sound thinking. But things have changed since then, and the market for self published fiction has transformed a lot.

For a test run, last weekend I cleaned up a trunked novel, “A Scent of Roses,” put a cover together, and set it out on Amazon. I used to worry what friends and family would think when they read one of my novels. Based on my sales so far, I don’t have that worry any more.

What I do have is a game plan. I’ve turned a corner in my writing, and it was hard. I can no longer write like it was a hobby, something I did when the mood struck me or the moment was right.
Mood's a thing for cattle and loveplayI enjoy writing, and that’s something I will never compromise on. When it stops being something I enjoy, I’ll stop doing it. But if I’m serious about making a go at it, then I have to treat it more seriously. I have to treat it like a business venture, something I’m doing on the side from my “real” job, but something I’m willing to put the time and energy into, every day.

What’s next? Well, they say you have to spend money to make money. If I want writing to be a business, I have to be willing to put something into it. Time and energy are certainly large factors, but recently I contracted someone to help me clean up another of my novels: I hired a copyeditor.

I don’t expect this editor to make my story beautiful. I’m paying, but not enough for them to turn dreck into gold. But I do have a novel that I feel halfway good about, and I’m going to have them help me clean that up this summer. From there, we’ll see. Maybe I’ll try and get a publisher for it. Maybe I’ll self publish it too and see how it fares.

Either way, I’ve made up my mind to treat my writing not as a lark, something I do to tell stories on the side, but as a startup business I’m trying to get off the ground. I’ve spent longer than I probably should have getting ducks in a row, feeling things out, finding my voice. Now it’s time for me to put up or shut up. It’s time for me to start selling.

I like My Summer Reading Juice Pulpy

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So, I like to read. I admit it, and it should be no shocker to anyone, at least not on this planet. So far this year, I’ve played with a couple of different personal challenges. I tried reading exclusively from physical copies, which taught me a few things. First, that despite the convenience of digital formats (I mean, you really can’t beat being able to read anywhere, any time), I read paper copies faster. The other thing I learned was that as a practice, it isn’t sustainable long-term. Our lives are too cramped already – as much as it pains me to say it, there isn’t room to build a library in our apartment.

After that personal challenge, my next one was to change what I read. I’ve begun spreading my wings, attempting to read something non-genre (roughly) every other book. That’s not a hard rule, just a goal, but it’s been pretty educational so far and I can see continuing it for a long while.

None of that changes the fact that it’s almost summer here in the Northern Hemisphere, and my reading brain wants to have some fun. And what’s more fun in the summer than reading some pulpy science fiction (a genre, oddly enough, I associate more with summer vacations, whereas fantasy tends to be the fuel of autumn for me).

During an outing for some necessary errands yesterday, I had a chance to pop into Half Priced Books and pick up some fodder for that summer binge. “The Minerva Experiment” is actually the first three Giants books by Hogan collected in one late 70’s Book Club edition, which at some point in my youth I remember reading. The other, Gini Koch’s “Touched By An Alien,” has been on my pulpy fun books to read list for a long, long time, so when I saw it in the store, I couldn’t say no. It’s a small start, but it’s a start.

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