Saturday, September 25, 2010

Kindling

Now available for Kindle: "Pick." While stealing the contents of a file folder, a B&E man witnesses a mob killing. Then his life gets complicated.

As time permits, I'm making my previously published crime fiction short stories available for Kindle, most of them for a mere 99 cents.

Friday, September 24, 2010

48

I received my 48th acceptance of the year this afternoon, for a 5,700-word Christmas-themed confession I submitted August 22.

Passport

A few weeks ago I was invited to speak at a writers conference in Mexico. I haven't been outside the U.S. since I was a teenager, and that was a one-day trip into British Columbia, Canada.

I agreed, then learned I needed a passport to travel to Mexico. The process of applying didn't seem particularly difficult...until I saw the questions I had to answer about my parents. My dilemma is that my parents have been dead for many years and I have limited family documents.

I had to obtain a copy of my birth certificate--at least I knew where I was born--and I found the answers to some of the questions there. I found the rest of the answers by digging around in my files, but it took a while.

I'm lucky I didn't need information about my grandparents. I might never have completed the application...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

47

I received my 47th acceptance back on September 4 but failed to note it here, for a story written as a confession but sold to an anthology.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Published 2x

My erotic story "Tossing the Caber" was published in Teammates and my erotic mystery "Smooth Strokes" was published in Boys Getting Ahead. Both of these anthologies were released several months ago; my copies just arrived.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The recession hits home

A couple of years ago, when a few of my primary fiction markets dried up and a few others started dragging payments, I altered my household budget. I eliminated fiction income from the budget and adjusted my projected expenses based on the presumption that my only income would be provided by my three biggest clients.

It's a good thing I did. Even though I brought in more money last year than in any year since 1996, my year-to-date income in 2010 falls short of 2009. I continue to sell fiction at a steady pace, but the long-term markets I'm writing for continue to drag payments and the new markets I've found don't pay as well as the markets I lost.

Through careful budgeting and a little luck my year-to-date income after expenses is slightly better than last year, but I don't like the financial direction my fiction writing has taken. It's no longer a question of budgeting cash flow as much as it is budgeting time and effort.

Do I step back, adjust the type of fiction I write, and take a hard run at some of the remaining top markets? The risk, as I learned early last year when I took a hard run at Woman's World, is that I may wind up with a lot of unsold and possibly unsellable short stories.

Do I attempt to increase my productivity, writing more for lower paying markets in an attempt to compensate for lost income? The risk is that I wind up Walmarting myself, making a little money from each of many sales rather than making significant money from each of only a few sales.

Or do I continue to write for the better paying markets that still publish my work, even though they now drag payments several months? The risk is that the publications don't survive the recession and disappear owing me significant amounts of money.

The life of the average freelancer is not easy. The life of the average freelance fiction writer is harder still.

And the recession just complicates everything...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

ArmadilloCon, again

Elspeth Bloodgood, Kim Kofmel, and I share "Memories of Fandom Past" at ArmadilloCon: http://www.flickr.com/photos/elzes/4989118670/. Joining us but not pictured: Cat Conrad.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Published

My confession "The Secret Lives of Teachers" has been released in various electronic formats. It should be available for Kindle within the next few days.

Published

My romance story "An Engaging New Year" appears in Passionate Hearts, released this month in various electronic formats. A print edition is forthcoming.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Kindling

I am in the process of making some of my previously published short crime fiction available on Kindle. Rather than bore you with how much money I'm earning and how I'll soon retire to a villa on the south of France, how about if I tell you about the first three stories?

When the lady of the house seduces the ex-con tending her lawn, murder isn’t far behind.

Available now.






The Baker High School class of 1974 had big dreams. Then one father’s small crime changed everything.

“Dreams Unborn” was named one of the best mystery stories of the year by Joyce Carol Oates and Otto Penzler, editors of The Best American Mystery Stories 2005.

Available now.


When two young men break into a house and discover evidence of a horror beyond any they could imagine, one of them is forced to choose the lesser of two evils.

Uploaded this evening; should be available within 48 hours.

Published

My story "Dead things" was published today at BigPulp.

Monday, September 06, 2010

"What do you do...?"

I received the following via email this morning and thought I would share my response.

"Do you have confession stories that have not been accepted after sending them around? What do you do with them?"

I don't have many unsold confessions. Up until the black confession magazines (Black Romance, Jive, etc.) ceased publication a few years ago I had sold every confession I'd ever written. Now, with fewer confession magazines and the existing magazines (True Love, True Story, etc.) not as interested in some of the stories that would have easily sold to the black confession magazines, I have a few confessions hanging around in the filing cabinet.

But I do what I've always done:

1) If I can see a flaw in the story, I revise, retitle, and send the story around again. (I've sold a few this way.)

2) If I don't think there's a flaw in the story, I wait until an editor changes jobs and submit to the new editor. (I've sold many this way.)

3) And, lately, I've been keeping my eyes open for opportunities--anthologies, other magazines, epublishers--that don't identify as confession markets but have guidelines that make me think a confession or confession-like story might be appropriate. (In the past couple of years I've sold half a dozen or so this way.)

Interviewed

Haven't gotten enough of me yet? Last month I was interviewed by Aurora, a website that reviews and interviews the authors of young adult fiction, and the interview was posted this morning. Check it out at http://aurorareviewsarchives.blogspot.com/2010/09/interview-michael-bracken.html.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Published

"My Undercover Lover," a confession, appears in the October True Story.

Published


My erotic crime story "Slash and Burn" appears in the just-published paperback anthology Boy Fun, and the e-book anthology Beach Challenge.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

47

I received my 47th acceptance of the year a few minutes ago, for a story I submitted earlier this afternoon. I originally wrote the story as a male-viewpoint confession but sold it to an anthology instead of a confession magazine.

Published

"Loving My Neighbor," a confession with a Halloween tie-in, appears in the October True Love.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Video killed the writing star

Another first: I'm part of a book trailer promoting Passionate Hearts, an anthology of short romance fiction. Watch the trailer at http://www.freado.com/book/8040/passionate-hearts.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Thirty-four

I finished and submitted my 34th story of the year, a 2,900-word bit of erotica. I started writing the story on December 20, 2007, and had about half of it written. I picked it up again Monday when I realized it fit the theme of an anthology that just sent out an open call for submissions, and I finished it this morning.