15 Minute Reads

I must say the past couple of weeks have been more creatively productive than the last couple of months.  At least it seems as such.  I’ve obsessed over how to better promote my novel (The Incubus and The Others, published by Black Rose Writing, available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other major online retailers—I can say it my sleep!) with the limited knowledge and resources I have at my disposal.  Since my publisher is indie and not HarperCollins, I’ve been left up to my own devices on much of this.  This is understandable, and they’ve done a fine job with what they can do.  But there are only so many ways to create Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram posts.  I try to be more active on my website.

Or, will try.

Anyway, while trying to put more of myself and my work out there, I’ve discovered a new hobby of short fiction.

I’ve written two short stories in the past couple of weeks.  Each less than four-thousand words.  “Mary and Lester and Them” was the first.  The second, finished last weekend, is “Tuesday at the Office.”  I’ve put the latter on Kindle Direct Publishing, even though I’ve thought of submitting it to literary magazines.  I decided KDP would be a free and easy way to get it out there.  It has something to offer.

Before I found a legitimate publisher for Incubus I put it up on KDP.  It didn’t sell too well (I think I made a total of $40 or thereabouts), but it was a cinch.  I don’t think I would ever put anything novel-length on KDP again, but self-publishing will likely be a new outlet for short stuff.  “15 minute reads.”

“Tuesday at the Office” hit #57 on the Amazon bestseller list in one sub-category this afternoon on its first full day of publication.  I was pleased with that.

I like both the short stories I’ve written in the past fourteen-ish days, but “Tuesday” is my favorite so far.  It came from a fantasy I had years ago, after all my grandparents on both sides of my family were gone.   None of them ever came to visit me in San Diego while they were alive, so I wondered what would have happened if they ever had.  I won’t give the rest of the story away … spoilers! … but I took the concept, added characters, and embellished it “a bit.”  It has been years since I’ve written short stories, so this is a new little adventure I’ll embark on for a while, as I work away on the books.

“Mary and Lester and Them” received a couple of compliments from friends.  Only three friends have read it.  I submitted it for consideration in an anthology.  We will see if it meets the thematic parameters the publisher-I-won’t-name desires.  It reveals some ugly truths about the current state of society.  It may even come across a little political to some, but I’m not sure I see it as such.  I did have a story to tell.  I will leave it up to the reader to decide what it tells them.

I see the short fiction as a way to put my name out there.  But, first and foremost, tell a story I hope readers will enjoy.  I feel more than one title in my bibliography on Amazon will help give a push to Incubus and what other novels follow.  Incubus has its ups and downs with sales.  Like I said above, I keep wracking my brain for creative promotional ideas.  If anyone who reads this wants to drop a line and make a friendly suggestion, I’m all ears.

I’m plugging along on the latest draft of book two.  I’m mostly copy-editing and cutting at this point.  I’ve chopped off more than a thousand words in the latest round.  It is a wonderful follow to book one.  I don’t want to pigeon-hole myself into vampires and the supernatural, I’ve decided.  Maybe I’ve tired of this genre.  Everyone and their brother is writing about vampires, shifters (that one I don’t understand), supernatural monsters, etc. etc.  My book three is a spilled mess on the floor right now.  It’s the best way to describe the first draft.

After I’ve finished with book two, I’ll go back, reorganize, restructure, and get back to work on book three again.  I’ve left all of them in the story in suspended animation.  Ten Points awaits.  I think three will be the last in the series with these characters.  I’m considering tying it up with a neat little bow and saying goodbye to Ten Points and the Laneharts forever after book three is done.  There really isn’t much else to be done with them.  It shouldn’t turn into something old and tired.

I still toy with what to do with book two when it’s edited to my specifications and ready to go to someone else for more chopping and rewrites.  I’m not sure whether to approach my current publisher again, or query more literary agents.  Are agents interested in trying to sell a follow-up of something published by a smaller house to a larger publisher?  I will ask around on that one.  Again, if someone has a secret to share, I’m all ears.


“Tuesday at the Office:  A Short Story” is available at Amazon.  It is FREE for Kindle Unlimited subscribers.

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