Friday, April 29, 2011


I finished and submitted my twenty-third short story of the year, a 2,000-word bit of erotica that I started Wednesday. This one's for an anthology with an open call for submissions.


I received my 29th acceptance of the year this afternoon, this time for a 1,600-word bit of crime fiction submitted March 3.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


I received my 28th acceptance of the year this afternoon, this time for a 2,600-word confession that mostly takes place on Independence Day.

Monday, April 25, 2011

#1 Bestselling horse romance

I don't understand how titles get ranked at Amazon, though I'm certainly trying to figure it out.

Search for "horse romance" in Amazon's Kindle store and my Unbridled Love: A Romance With Horse Sense is #1, but search for "romance horse" and it falls to #6.

Search for "hardboiled" and you'll find four of my titles in the top 101: three short stories--"Glass Houses" at #35, "Pick" at #94, and "Lesser of Two Evils" at #101--and one collection--Sex, Lies & Half A Million Dollars at #40. But search for "hard-boiled" and none of my titles break the top 150, which is where I stopped searching.

4/26/11 UPDATE: I've confused "bestselling" with "relevance." Unbridled Love isn't the #1 bestselling "horse romance." It is, instead, the #1 title relevant to a search for the words "horse romance."


So much to learn. And too eager to share what I thought was good news.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Reality bites

Almost two weeks ago my truck was totaled in a traffic accident. I stopped at a red light with one car in front of me. Two cars collided in the intersection and one of the them spun around the car in front of me and hit my truck. Of the three vehicles involved, mine was the only one towed from the scene. (I'm fine.)

I had only one payment remaining on the truck and was looking forward to the decrease in monthly expenses and the potential increase in savings.

So, I've spent much of the past 10 days dealing with the aftermath of the accident--dealing with insurance companies and shopping for a new vehicle being the most time-consuming. I had several editing and non-fiction projects in progress at the time of the accident and I kept all but one of them on-schedule throughout the past ten days. The other isn't due for two weeks and I expect to deliver it on time by giving it some concentrated attention in the coming weeks.

The impact of all this reality is that I've not written much fiction. It is difficult to be creative when reality bites you in the butt.

I learned years ago to deal with reality first and then return to writing. Sometimes I am refreshed by the break and sometimes I'm so glad to have whatever happened behind me that writing feels like a godsend.

So, it's time to look through my editorial calendar and the anthology calls that drifted in when I wasn't paying attention and start churning out the words again.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


I contributed two stories to the erotic anthology When A Man Loves A Man, a private eye story and a noirish story. Mandi reviewed the anthology at Goodreads and had this to say about my contributions:
"My favorite stories were 'Stand By Your Man' and 'Garden Variety' by Michael Bracken. No happy end in sight on those, but I really enjoyed the writing."

Microchick coming soon to Kindle

Microchick’s 24 erotic science fiction, fantasy, and horror stories are throwbacks to the paranormal fiction published in men's magazines during the late 20th Century, and feature demons, ghosts, mermaids, and hot, out-of-this-world sex.

I uploaded the collection this morning and it should be available for purchase within a day.

4/17/11 Update: Find it here.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Sex, Violence & Half A Million Dollars now available for Kindle

Hard men and busty babes dominate the 23 erotic crime fiction stories included in Sex, Violence & Half A Million Dollars. These stories, throwbacks to the hardboiled and noir mystery fiction published in men's magazines during the late 20th Century, feature clever crimes and smokin' hot sex.

Order your copy here.

New cover for Unbridled Love

Last year I uploaded Unbridled Love: A Romance With Horse Sense to Amazon for Kindle distribution. It had a truly awful cover--yellow type on a red background and no photo or graphic image--but has been selling a few copies each month despite the bad cover. Today I finally improved the cover and I'm hoping the new cover will attract more readers.

Unbridled Love is a romance novella that attracted the attention of some magazine editors, but was deemed too long for publication. As a novella, it's too short to publish as a traditional book.

Rather than bore you with my Kindle sales experience, how about I tell you about the book:

Melissa Grant, the 25-year-old owner of a tack shop, is disgusted with the way the new riding instructor at Rocking Horse Stables treats her classmates during their first lesson, and her attempt to confront him is thwarted when she bursts into his apartment over the observation room and finds him half-undressed.

Will an escalating series of attractions and repulsions set against the backdrop of the riding stable where Hans Edelmann teaches and the narrator has her shop--including their preparations for the annual competition at Stallion Stables, the pending sale of Rocking Horse Stables, and the narrator’s mistaken belief that Edelmann is interested in an older woman--lead to true love?
If you enjoy sweet romances or you enjoy stories with horses, you'll enjoy Unbridled Love: A Romance With Horse Sense.


I received my 27th acceptance of the year shortly before midnight, this time for a 2,100-word hardboiled/noir crime story submitted April 6.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Why the world confuses me

I am not good at idle chit-chat, perhaps because I over-think the questions I'm asked and find myself stumped as to how to respond.

Three examples:

1. There's a common question asked to determine if the responder is an optimist or a pessimist: "Do you see the glass as half full or half empty?"

I see the question as fundamentally flawed. The glass is always 100% full. It is partially filled with a liquid and partially filled with a gas.

My response makes me neither optimist nor pessimist but an irritating nit-picker.

2. I took a multiple-choice test once that asked "Which of these three do not belong: the sun, the moon, and a candle?"

Everyone I've spoken to insists the candle does not belong. I say because the question is multiple choice, it lacks sufficient information to determine the proper response.

I can make a reasonable argument to exclude any one of the three choices.

For example:

The sun and the moon are heavenly bodies. A candle is not. Therefore, the candle does not belong.

The sun and a candle give off heat and light. The moon only reflects light. Therefore, the moon does not belong.

The moon and a candle have been touched by man. The sun has not been touched by man. Therefore, the sun does not belong.

Because the test was multiple choice, there was no opportunity to justify whichever choice I selected and no way to determine the answer the test creator intended.

3. In a college-level grammar class the instructor wrote "He ate Wednesday" on the blackboard and insisted there was only one correct way to read this sentence:

He (a man) ate (consumed a meal of some sort) Wednesday (on a specific day of the week).

I say that without context there is no way to know exactly what that sentence means.

For example:

"He" may or may not refer to a human male and, in addition to being the name of a day of the week, "Wednesday" is also a woman's name.

Therefore, in a story about cannibalism, "He ate Wednesday" could describe the consumption of a woman.

In an erotic story, "He ate Wednesday" could refer to a sexual act.

In a fantasy, "He ate Wednesday" could refer to a mythical being that actually consumes time.*

Therefore, I say the meaning of the sentence is determined by context, not by the sentence itself standing alone.

Alas, because I over-think these questions/situations, and because these questions/situations occur on a daily basis, I regularly find myself stumped by things that the person I'm with sees as black-and-white/yes-or-no questions/situations and I see as lacking sufficient information to answer or as having so many shades of gray that the response requires an essay and not a multiple choice selection from an overly simplistic list of options.



*Note: I'm actually trying to write this story.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


"News Flash," a short story featuring P.I Morris Ronald Boyette and published by Untreed Reads, received 4.5 stars at Night Owl Reviews. Read the entire review here.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The cover of Munchies

The cover of Jack Bludis's latest book Munchies and Other Tales of Guys, Gals & Guns, a collection of 13 short stories, seems to have multiple versions. This is the version I like best, perhaps because my name's on it, too.

What I said, in case it's too small to read, is:
"Jack Bludis is one smokin' hot crime fiction writer. When you finish reading this collection, you'll be hungry for more."
I'm proud to say that two of the stories in Jack's collection--"Munchies" and "Truth or Lie"--were first published in anthologies I edited.

And if you've ever read "Munchies," you'll appreciate my blurb even more.

Order a Kindle edition here.


"Secrets," an erotic short story, appears in Best of Both, edited by Miranda Forbes and just published by Xcite.

Published 2x

"Opening My Heart to Love" appears in the May True Story and "Memories to Last a Lifetime" appears in the May True Confessions.


I received my 26th acceptance of the year in today's mail, for a Father's Day-themed confession I submitted February 13.

Monday, April 11, 2011


I finished and submitted my twenty-second story of the year this evening. This one's a 2,600-word confession set on Independence Day. I started writing it on March 10, completed only the first few hundred words, and picked it up again yesterday afternoon.

After a little on-line research to ensure that two plot points were factually correct and not created whole cloth from some fever dream, I finished writing the story yesterday. Today I had to revise/cut the last few pages because I'd written way past the actual end of the story. And then it was on its way to an editor.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


I finished and submitted my twenty-first short story of the year. This one's a 3,900-word confession I started writing March 25, 2010. I had written less than two pages back then and the story sat until I was looking for a summer-based story. I picked it up again a few days ago, worked out a plot twist that hadn't been evident in my original rough pages, and finished writing it today.

Thursday, April 07, 2011


I finished and submitted my twentieth short story of the year this evening. This one, a 2,800-word ghost story, much like the two previous stories, owes its existence to Left Coast Crime.

During the drive to LCC I told Rebecca about two anthologies with open calls. Plot Monkey went into action and together we created detailed outlines for two stories, one for each anthology.

One written, one to write.

25, published

My 25th acceptance of the year is an erotica reprint. Originally scheduled for a paperback anthology, the story's also being included in an e-anthology. The story, "Secrets," appears in A Fantasy Threesome, edited by Miranda Forbes and released by Xcite.

Sunday, April 03, 2011


I finished and submitted my nineteenth story of the year this morning, a 4,300-word confession. This story also owes its existence, in part, to Left Coast Crime.

Rebecca and I stopped in Amarillo on our way to Santa Fe and had dinner in a Mexican restaurant. I wondered aloud, "What about a confession where the narrator is a waitress in a Mexican restaurant?"

That isn't a story. That's barely even a complete thought.

While we were kicking around ways that the narrator might meet a customer, we noticed that the restaurant had a small, glass-topped freezer and every so often a little kid would reach into it and pull out a single-serving ice cream cup.

That's when we knew the narrator's love interest would have a child. Many children. Then her love interest morphed into a T-ball coach who accidently leaves one of his young players behind in the restaurant.

We had the set-up.

I wrote the first 2,000 words in various hotel rooms in Texas and Santa Fe, but put it aside to write story eighteen when I returned home. On Wednesday, while sitting through a power failure at one of my clients' offices, I plotted the last half of the story on a scrap of paper. Yesterday I returned to the manuscript and, between other chores and deadlines, wrote the last 2,300-words.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Blog upgrade

I've upgraded my blog to layouts. I haven't customized anything yet, but boy oh boy does it look different. This will take some getting used to.

Video killed the ebookstar

I'm in a Parnell Hall video...barely. Parnell shot "Support Your Local Bookstore" at Left Coast Crime 2011 and I'm wearing a red shirt on the far left side of the screen in a group shot at the :22 mark.

Watch the video here.

I guess my dreams of becoming a video star are finally coming true...


Yesterday's submission is today's acceptance. The header on the email announcing the acceptance: "Love the story!"

Why can't all editors accept stories this effusively?

Friday, April 01, 2011

Published 3x

My stories "Parent-Teacher Relations," "The Littlest Matchmaker," and "A Family Affair at Easter" appear in the April True Love.


I finished and submitted my eighteenth story of the year earlier this evening, a 3,300-word erotic love story.

This story owes its existence to my attending Left Coast Crime. While there, I met and talked with an editor to whom I've previous sold work. He mentioned an anthology he had put together and that he was a few stories short of the word count his publisher wanted. I had not submitted to the anthology because I hadn't come up with a good idea in time to meet the original submission deadline.

I asked what he needed and might I have a shot at providing a story at this late date.

Upon his return home Monday, he sent me an email outlining the kinds of stories he didn't have and wanted to see.

That night, after I returned home, I wrote the opening couple of pages and a rough outline of a story. I emailed it to him and learned within the hour that he thought the idea was "terrific."

Although I was swamped with other deadlines (I edit a weekly newsletter, a monthly newsletter, a monthly newspaper, and a bi-monthly magazine--all of them with deadlines at the end of one month or beginning of the next), I wrote the story.

And now the manuscript's in the editor's hands. Let's hope the execution is as "terrific" as the concept...