Thursday, December 27, 2012

Published 3x

My story "I Gave Up Men" appears in the February 2013 True Story, and my stories "My Son's 1st Date" and "Uncommon Solutions" appear in the February True Confessions.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Published

"Crimewave," a Christmas mystery, has just been published in Kings River Life. Read it here.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Published

My lesbian noir story "Family Dynamics" appears in the just-published Out of the Gutter 8. Order your copy here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Forty-six

I completed and submitted my forty-sixth short story of the year this evening, a light-hearted Easter romance I started on November 5.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Forty-five

I finished and submitted my forty-fifth short story of the year this evening. This one's a St. Patrick's Day confession that I started writing October 11, 2011.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Published 2x

My story "Punch-Drunk Love" appears in the January 2013 True Confessions and my story "Snowballed into Love" appears in the January True Story.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

60

I received my 60th acceptance of the year a few minutes ago, this time for another Valentine's Day-themed confession.

59

I received my 59th acceptance of the year this evening, this time for a Valentine's Day-themed confession.

Forty-four

I completed and submitted my forty-fourth short story of the year this morning. This one's a 3,500-word confession that I started writing November 19.

Monday, November 26, 2012

58

I received my 58th acceptance of the year this afternoon, this time for a bit of erotic crime fiction.

With six acceptances in six days, it seems apparent that editors took advantage of the Thanksgiving holiday, giving me much to be thankful for!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Writing tip of the day

Use the fewest words possible to make your point or tell your story...unless you're paid by the word.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

57

I received my 57th acceptance of the year this afternoon, this time for a bit of crime fiction that might best be described as lesbian noir.

56

I received my 56th acceptance of the year a few minutes ago, this time for a bit of erotica.

Friday, November 23, 2012

55

I received my 55th acceptance of the year this afternoon, this time for a Lent-themed short story.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

53, 54

I received my 53rd and 54th acceptances of the year this evening, for stories to appear next year in two different erotic anthologies.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Published

My erotic crime fiction story "The Hitter and the Stall" appears in Wild Boys (Cleis Press). This anthology was released a few months ago but my copies didn't arrive until today.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Forty-three

I finished and submitted my forty-third short story of the year this morning. This one's a 2,000-word confession I started writing October 22.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

52

I received my 52nd acceptance of the year this evening, this time for a story to be reprinted in a "best" anthology.

With this acceptance I have now met my annual goal of 52 acceptances. Though I certainly hope to receive a few more acceptances before the year end, it's going to be tough to beat last year's 73 acceptances. In fact, I have to look all the way back to 1995 when I had 77 acceptances and 1991 when I had 84 acceptances to find the only two years when I did better than last year.

51

I received my 51st acceptance of the year this morning, this time for an erotic story written on request for an anthology to be published next year.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

50

I received my 50th acceptance of the year this morning. This one's for a mystery set at Christmas.

Monday, November 12, 2012

49

My 49th acceptance of the year was confirmed today, for a story picked up by an annual "Best" anthology. I knew last week that this was a probability but didn't count it as an acceptance until I had the contract in hand.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Reviewed

Nathan Burgoine reviews Wild Boys, a recently published anthology that I've not yet seen, at Erotica Revealed, as has this to say about my contribution:
"The type of story I was expecting most from the collection was Michael Bracken's 'The Hitter and the Stall.' Here we've got a cute young blond who picks the pocket of the wrong guy – someone better at that job than he is. Here there's a kind of mentoring involved, but the younger punk's attitude and nonchalance was exactly what was conjured for me with the title, cover, and description of Wild Boys. That the two men end up sharing more than pickpocketing skills is a given, and the narrator's awareness that this boy could be trouble, even as he's tumbling the fellow into bed, rang true.
Read the entire review here.

Forty-two

I finished and submitted my forty-second short story of the year this evening, a 4,000-word Valentine's Day romance that I started writing on November 5.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Published

My erotic story about love and death, "Let Us Go Down to the Sea," appears in the just-released anthology Sexy Sailors (Cleis), edited by Neil Plakcy.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Published

My private eye story "Yellow Ribbon," featuring my series character, Waco-based Morris Ronald "Moe Ron" Boyette, appears in the Fall/Winter 2012 issue of Needle. I've not yet received my copy, but you can order yours here.

Forty-one

I completed and submitted my forty-first story of the year this morning, a 4,300-word bit of erotica. This story was started on October 20 after I received an invitation to submit from an anthology editor who had published two of my short stories when he was a magazine editor.

Now, I wait to see if I met his needs or not.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

47, 48 and published 3x

"Memories," the story of a couple spending their tenth anniversary reminiscing about all the good times, appears in the just released anthology Boys in Bed (Xcite). It has also been reprinted in April Showers (Xcite).

"One for the Toad" has been reprinted in Restored to Love (Xcite).

The two reprints constitute my 47th and 48th acceptances of the year.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Forty

I finished and submitted my fortieth short story of the year this evening. This one's an erotic spy story I started writing on October 28.

Published

My erotic fantasy "One for the Toad" appears in the just-published anthology Dead Sexy (Xcite), edited by Antonia Adams. Currently available as an ebook, the paperback version will be released soon.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Thirty-nine

I completed and submitted my thirty-ninth short story of the year this evening, a 3,900-word Valentine's Day story.

46

I received my 46th acceptance of the year this afternoon, this time for the New Year's Eve-themed confession I submitted on the 19th.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Published 2x

My story "A Holiday Disaster Turned into a Miracle" appears in the December True Confessions and my story "1 Little Tree with Big Heart" appears in the December True Story.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Thirty-eight

I finished and submitted my thirty-eighth story of the year this afternoon. This one's a 3,900-word story about a woman torn between romance and religion that I began writing December 23, 2009.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

45

I received my 45th acceptance of the year a few minutes ago, this time for the winter-themed confession I submitted on the 13th.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Thirty-Seven

I finished and submitted my thirty-seventh short story of the year a few minutes ago. This one's a New Year's Eve-themed love story that I started writing August 2, 2011.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Shout-outs

In his review of Many Genres, One Craft: Lessons in Writing Popular Fiction, Kevin Tipple mentions my contribution to the textbook and writes, among other things:
"Prolific author Michael Bracken [...] makes the point that short stories can be more lucrative than novels while also making you a stronger writer."
Kevin concludes that Many Genres, One Craft: Lessons in Writing Popular Fiction is "an excellent book that you must have and use." Read his extensive review here. (And purchase Mind Slices, Kevin's latest collection, here.)

In his review of this blog in "Blog Bytes," his column in the December issue of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Bill Crider refers to me as "the hardest working guy in the short-story game."

You may have to purchase the magazine to read the entire review, but failing that you can read more from Bill at Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine and follow the links to learn more about his extensive list of publications.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Thirty-six

I finished and submitted my thirty-sixth short story of the year this evening. This one's a confession I started writing on September 18, 2011.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Published

My paranormal love story "Mourning has Broken" appears in the Fall issue of Bohemia. See the on-line edition here and turn to page 30.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Thirty-five

I finished writing my thirty-fifth story of the year this morning, a 1,900-word action-packed erotic romance that I started writing September 29.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

44

In this morning's batch of email is an acceptance from an anthology editor in England, my 44th acceptance of the year.

I wrote this story in 1991, it received a dozen rejections back in the early '90s, and it had been sitting in my files since the mid-'90s.

Lesson learned? Sometimes you write for the market; sometimes you write and wait for the market to catch up.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

43

I received my 43rd acceptance this morning, this time for a Christmas story.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

42

I received my 42nd acceptance of the year today.

I wrote a romance two years ago that was rejected by the anthology I'd originally targeted. This morning, while looking through my binder of anthology submission calls, I found one the story might fit if I could revise it a bit. The deadline for submission was listed as tomorrow.

I spent the morning adding 500 words to the story, submitted it, and promptly received an acceptance and a note that my story had squeezed in under the wire because the editor had actually closed the anthology earlier today.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Published 2x

My story "Relationships 101" appears in the November True Confessions and my story "Handprint Turkey" appears in the November True Story.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

41

I received my 41st acceptance of the year this morning, this time for a Christmas-themed confession.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Number crunching

I have 1,025 short story sales, a number which surprised me when I totaled them today because I had not realized I'd passed the 1,000-sale mark.

The total does not represent 1,025 different short stories. Buried in the total, and too difficult for me to calculate based on the way I keep my records, are several reprint sales.

The total also does not represent 1,025 short story publications. Some of the stories are awaiting publication later this year and next, and a few were sales to magazines that ceased publication prior to publishing my story.

Even so, that's a hell of a lot of short stories.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Thirty-four

I finished and submitted my thirty-fourth story of the year this evening, a 4,800-word Christmas story I started writing July 29, while sitting in a restaurant during the final day of ArmadilloCon.

Friday, September 14, 2012

40

I received my 40th acceptance of the year this evening, this time for a bit of erotic crime fiction.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Reviewed

Subrei reviews "Late One Night at the Tourist Court" (Past Pleasures, Xcite) at Thoughts of a Growing Sub, and concludes
"Due to the one surprise during the first sex scene and the ending I would say this story is worth a read. It’s not great but it isn’t the worst thing I’ve ever read either."
Read the entire review here.

Published

My hardboiled mystery short story "Bumfuck, Egypt" appears in Crime Factory 11.

Download a PDF of the magazine here.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Thirty-three

I finished and submitted my thirty-third story of the year this afternoon, a 3,900-word Christmas-themed confession that I began writing August 2, 2011.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Reviewed

Midnight Boudoir reviewed Past Pleasures (Xcite, 2012) and said my contribution, "Late One Night at the Tourist Court," is
A brilliant post-war Bonnie and Clyde style storyline, on the run after a robbery, they stop for some celebrational sex, well written and brilliant plot and great twist to the ending.

Monday, September 03, 2012

39

I returned from a short trip out of town to discover that I'd received my 39th acceptance of the year while I was away. This one's for a 4,400-word confession.

Published


My story "Tips" has just been publish at Out of the Gutter's website:

http://www.outofthegutteronline.com/2012/09/bareknuckles-pulp-no-9-tips.html

Friday, August 31, 2012

Hardbroiled shout-out

In "Murder on the Menu," Kevin Burton Smith gives a shout-out to Hardbroiled (Betancourt & Co., 2003), an anthology of private stories I edited in which food plays an important role.

38

I received my 38th acceptance of the year this afternoon, this time for a ghost story about coming to grips with the loss of a loved one that I wrote in 2003.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Published 2x

My story "Two Men with Chocolate" appears in the October True Confessions, and my story "The Pirate and the Bartender at Halloween" appears in the October True Story.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Reviewed

At Erzabet's Enchantments, Erzabet Bishop interviews Sedona Fox, a contributor to Cowboy Lust, and then follows the interview with a review of the anthology.

In the review she mentions five stories as her "absolute fav's," including my story, "Drought." Read the interview and review here.

Monday, August 20, 2012

37

I received my 37th acceptance of the year this evening, this time for the 1,500-word Thanksgiving-themed confession I submitted a couple of days ago.

Friday, August 17, 2012

36, published, and free

My erotic romance "Picture Perfect," about a widow and a younger man, has been reprinted in Cougar and Kitten, a five-story mini-anthology that's free for Kindle users today through the 21st. Learn more and get your copy here.

35

I received my 35th acceptance of the year yesterday, this time for a 2,500-word bit of crime fiction.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Published

My erotic crime fiction story, "Late One Night at the Tourist Court," about a mid-40s bank heist and what follows, appears in the just-published anthology Past Pleasures (Xcite Books), edited by Elizabeth Coldwell.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Thirty-Two

I finished and submitted my thirty-second short story of the year this evening. This one's a 1,500-word Thanksgiving-themed confession.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

"Young Man's Game" reviewed

Fangtasia reviews Model Men, an anthology edited by Neil Plakcy, and my story "Young Man's Game" is one of a handful of stories singled out for special attention. Among other things, Fangtasia writes:
"...this one snagged my attention because of the romance, the luscious outdoor sex, and the older characters."
Read the entire review here.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Microchick reviewed

Kevin Tipple reviews Microchick, a collection of my previously published erotic science fiction, fantasy, and horror stories, and concludes:
"The tales in Microchick are good ones. All are complicated and frequently have multiple twists that encourage the reader to consider other possibilities. Microchick: Erotic Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror is another very good read from author Michael Bracken and only intended for adult readers."
Read the entire review at Kevin's Corner.

Microchick is only available in electronic formats, so look for it wherever eBooks are sold.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Writing a Strong Female Protagonist

Here's a photo and brief description of the "Writing a Strong Female Protagonist" panel at last weekend's ArmadilloCon in Austin. A careful examination will reveal that I'm the only male member of the panel.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Free mini-anthologies

My erotic crime story "Late One Night at the Tourist Court" appears in the mini-anthology Cherry Ripe (Xcite Books). The Kindle edition of Cherry Ripe will be free at Amazon August 4-8. Learn more here.

My erotic story "Boys of Summer" appears in the mini-anthology Stud Poker (Xcite Books). The Kindle edition of Stud Poker will be free at Amazon August 7-11. Learn more here.

33, 34

My 33rd and 34th acceptances of the year are reprints. This is turning out to be a good year for reprints.

"Lost Soul" reviewed

My short story "Lost Soul" is reviewed by Stephanotis at Long and Short Reviews. Stephanotis sums up with
"'Lost Soul' is a snappy, quick read for mystery lovers who are short on time. I’ll definitely be looking for more stories by the author." 
Read the entire review here. Purchase the story here.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Preview

My erotic romance "Drought" is scheduled to appear in Cowboy Lust, an anthology being released in August. Here, the editor shares a preview of my story: http://www.cowboylust.net/2012/07/31/snapshot-3-michael-brackens-drought/.

Monday, July 30, 2012

32

I received my 32nd acceptance of the year, this time for a 4,300-word confession.

Published 2x

My stories "The Little Black Dress" and "Forced to Choose: Work or Love" appear in the September True Story.

Published

My crime story about a kidnapping gone wrong, "Mac and Cheese Get Boxed," appears in Kept Against His Will II, edited by Christopher Pierce. The anthology was released in March but I just received my contributor copy.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I'm lean. Are you?

Is your writing flabby or fit? Don't know? Take The WritersDiet Test:

http://www.writersdiet.com/WT.php

I tested several of my stories (representing different genres) and all but one was rated "lean" overall. The only story that wasn't rated "lean" was an unedited partial first-draft typed directly into the text window, and it was rated "fit & trim" overall.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Weird video

I don't know why, but someone made a 12-second video of the cover of Bad Girls, one of my short story collections:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VtiSExm2BGE

Monday, July 16, 2012

31

I received my 31st acceptance of the year a few minutes ago, this time for a Halloween-themed confession.

28, 29, 30

I just discovered that I had three stories reprinted last month, so they count as my 28th, 29th, and 30th acceptances of the year.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Siri knows me

Siri corrected me today when I was using the dictate function of my iPhone to send a text. (I know. It seems so convoluted to dictate a text to be sent via a phone. Why didn't I just call?)

I was telling someone I was a "horror writer." Siri changed it to "whore writer."

Sigh.

Siri knows me.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

27

I received my 27th acceptance of the year this morning, this time for an erotic story about a middle-aged widow.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Published

My story "Chance Encounter" appears in the August issue of True Confessions, available on newsstands now.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Thirty-one

I finished and submitted my thirty-first short story of the year a few minutes ago. This one's a 4,000-word confession I started writing October 22, 2007.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Thirty

I finished and submitted my thirtieth short story of the year a few minutes ago. This one's a 3,300-word Halloween confession I started writing December 22, 2007.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

ApolloCon and 26

I spent this weekend at ApolloCon in Houston, where I served time on two panels with moderator Bill Crider and had twice had breakfast discussions with Bill and his lovely wife Judy outside the Con Suite.

Late Saturday evening I received my 26th acceptance of the year--a 2,600-word confession--surprising me because who expects a magazine editor to be working late on a Saturday?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Reviewed

Tam recently reviewed the anthology Stand By Your Man at Tam Reads, Writes & Rambles and had this to say about my private eye story "Stand By Your Man":
"I don't want to ruin the ending but I was surprised to say the least. It's a bit about manipulation and using your body to get what you want, which is something graduate student Jeremy is quite adept at."
And he had this to say about all of the stories in the anthology:
"They were all well-written little shorts."
Read the entire review here.

Sinks and faucets

Writing bears an interesting similarity to sinks and faucets.

Ideas flow from writers like water from a tap. Every so often, when we want to capture an idea and turn it into a story, we put a stopper in the sink to collect the words, sentences, and scenes that will fill the sink and complete the story.

Sometimes the creative tap is wide open and the story sink fills quickly. Sometimes the faucet merely drips and the sink does not fill for a long, long time. Often we have several faucets filling several sinks concurrently.

What I've come to realize is that it doesn't matter how quickly or how slowly each story sink fills. Often no one, not even the writer, will recognize which story sinks filled quickly and which filled slowly because each writer's sinks are filled from the same creative source.

So, stop up a few of your story sinks and start capturing the flow of your creativity.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

History sends me spiraling into depression

A few days ago I picked up a copy of Damon Runyon's short story collection Take It Easy. Though first published in 1938, my find is a 1945 PocketBOOK wartime edition.

Last night, I started reading Take It Easy and wasn't depressed until the second paragraph of Robert van Gelder's introduction, titled "A Few Words About Runyon," where he notes that Runyon "gives two days each to the actual writing of these stories that you are about to read [...], but although he is paid for them at the rate of three dollars or more a word, this work is for him a part-time activity."

Holy Mother of God. Three dollars--or more!--per word. In the early 1930s.

At a mere three dollars per word, last year I would have earned more than half a million dollars from my short fiction.

I didn't even come close.

Sigh.

Friday, June 15, 2012

25 and published

I just learned that one of my erotica stories was reprinted, making it my 25th acceptance of the year.

24

I received my 24th acceptance of the year this morning, and there's a story behind this story.

I originally wrote it for the confession magazines, from whence it was returned because it was too "hot." I revised it by amping up the heat a little and sent it to the editor of a series of confession anthologies, where "confession" has a different meaning than it does at the magazines.

Yesterday, the anthology editor asked for a slight revision--amping up the heat even more in the, um, climactic scene--but she wanted to finalize the contents of her anthology today, so could I turn it around quickly?

I said I could, I did, and this morning I awoke to an email telling the revision was "perfect."

I live for those emails.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Awards & accolades

Many Genres, One Craft: Lessons in Writing Popular Fiction, a writing textbook to which I contributed, has received many awards and accolades since publication last year, including

Winner, "Business: Writing and Publishing" category, 2012 International Book Awards.

Winner, "Education/Academic" category, 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.

Winner, General Non-Fiction Award. 2011 London Books Festival Award.

Listed 5th in "This Year's Ten Most Terrific Writing Books" by The Writer magazine (Dec 2011).

Finalist, "Business: Writing and Publishing" category. USA Best Books 2011 Award.

Finalist. 2012 Eric Hoffer Book Awards.

Finalist, "Writing" category. ForeWord Review's 2011 Book of the Year Awards.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Health update

I had quadruple heart bypass surgery on Sept 10, 2008, and for the following few months I wrote about it, about my recovery process, and about the impact it had on my writing.

I haven't written much about my health since, but I thought I should provide an update. Today was my annual visit with my cardiologist, and the news is all good.

First, I've lost 15+ pounds since September 2008, most of it finally coming off this year. (This weekend I even bought new chinos a waist size smaller than I had been wearing.) My cardiologist wanted to know how I'd done it because, for the first time in his life, he's been advised to drop 15 pounds. So, I was giving my cardiologist dieting advice!*

Second, my blood pressure and cholesterol levels are now within "normal" range, which means no changes to my current medication.

Third, and perhaps more importantly, my EKG was normal. The doc says my EKG was one of the best post-bypass EKGs he's ever seen.

So, life is good!
_____
*Here's how I've done it:

1) Improve the quality of my diet by including more fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables and eliminating as many prepared canned and boxed foods. Reduce salt and fat intake. Eat more chicken and seafood and less beef. Also, eat more home cooking and less fast food.

2) Reduce the amount of food I consume. Instead of eating until I'm full, I now eat until I'm no longer hungry.

3) Fight my addictions. For example, I'm a Mountain Dew addict. Each time I've gone cold turkey, I've been back on the bottle within a few weeks. Now, I trick my taste buds. When I want a Dew, I take a big swallow of it and then switch immediately to water. I get that first rush of flavor from the swig of Dew but the water ultimately quenches my thirst.

4) Find an exercise I'll actually do because walking is boring. I've always enjoyed dancing, so I've taken some dance classes and have been dancing several times the past few months. (A dance partner and I even won a Twist contest!)

5) Be happy. Enjoy life. Don't stress over the little things.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

23 and published

I received my 23rd acceptance of the year today. Sort of. One of my erotic stories was picked up for a "best of" collection published earlier this month, but I didn't know it until I discovered the book for sale on Amazon.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

22

I received my 22nd acceptance of the year this morning, for a story submitted three times to the same publication.

The editor to whom I first submitted the story left the magazine shortly after I submitted it. The person checking her emails during the transition had no record of it, so I resubmitted the story. A few months later, after a new editor settled into place, I once again checked on the status of the story and the new editor had no record of it. So I resubmitted it.

Third time's the charm!

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Reviewed

Kevin R. Tipple reviews Sex, Violence & Half a Million Dollars and concludes:
"While sexuality is clearly part of each story, the stories are primarily good crime stories and feature the traits that readers of crime fiction writer Michael Bracken know and love. This very adult collection isn’t for everyone, but if you are okay with adult themes and situations, this collection is a very good one."
Read the entire review at Kevin's Corner.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

21

I received my 21st acceptance of the year this morning, for a bit of erotic crime fiction I submitted on June 22, 2011.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Nine-year stretch

Effective with publication of the July 2012 issue of True Confessions, which contains four of my stories, I've now had one or more short stories published each and every month for nine years--that's 108 consecutive months.

My short stories have been published in nearly every genre; in anthologies, magazines, and newsletters; electronically, in print, and in audiobooks; in several countries and in a couple of languages.

And I have contracts stretching a few months into the future, so there's a glimmer of hope that this incredible run will continue for a while longer.

Published 4x

My stories "Failure at 30?," "Sundays with Daddy," "Will Date for Food," and "Mama's Boy!" all appear in the July issue of True Confessions.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Twenty-nine

I finished and submitted my twenty-ninth short story of the year this evening. I started the story on January 13, 2002, and had written about two pages. It languished on my computer until a couple of days ago when I realized it was the perfect opening scene for an anthology with an open submissions call and a deadline only a few days away. I finished the story in two writing spurts, the first when I rediscovered what I had written and the balance today, when I alternated writing and various household chores. It's an erotic story about two police officers, and it's complete at 2,800 words.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

When editors fail

I'm reading Map of Murder, an anthology published in 2007, and found this in one of the stories:
"[...] she pulled the phone plug out of the wall."
Three paragraphs later:
"She ran to the phone, dialed her father's phone number, but got a busy signal."
She shouldn't have gotten any kind of signal. The phone's not plugged in.

Friday, June 01, 2012

"Chalkers" on sale

Untreed Reads is offering several titles on sale this month, including my mystery short story "Chalkers."

When eleven men return to their college alma mater for homecoming forty years after graduation, do they dare reveal the long-held secret that binds them to one another?

Learn more here.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Kindle reality update

In a response to an earlier post, Jack Owen asked, "[T]his time last year you wrote a review of the 'REAL' state of sales for journeyman writers as opposed to the 'Stars'. As a pro [...], have there been any significant changes?"

There have been changes, but are they significant?

So let's review. I'm an established writer with almost 1,000 short story sales, author of several books published by small presses, and editor of five crime fiction anthologies. I'm not well known, but neither am I a beginner.

I released my first title for Kindle--a romance novella titled Unbridled Love: A Romance with Horse Sense--in April 2010. Since then I've released 13 additional titles--one novel, two novellas, six short story collections, and four freestanding short stories. The titles have been released under my name and under the pseudonym Rolinda Hay.

My bestselling title is the one I released first. As of the end of April, Unbridled Love has sold 480 copies. Released in April 2011, my second-bestselling title is Sex, Violence & Half a Million Dollars, a collection of erotic crime fiction stories previously published in men's magazines, with 18 copies sold as of the end of April. Sales for other titles range down to a low of two for "Pick," a short story released September 2010. (My newest release, Love in Short Order, has only been available for a few days and stats for this title are not included.)

I'm currently earning more than $100 each month from sales of these titles, though the bulk of that income is from sales of Unbridled Love. (Note: I don't give work away so these sales figures represent actual sales, not freebies.)

I enrolled several of my titles in KDP Select. So far only one title has been checked out. Interestingly, it was a short story and I earned more for that check-out than I would have earned if I'd sold that copy.

I've also released two of these titles--Unbridled Love and Memories Dying--through Smashwords. I don't have actual sales figures handy, but my total earnings from Smashwords, as of the end of April, was $104.58. The bulk of the income was generated by sales of Unbridled Love.

The income I receive from self-published Kindle titles encourages me to continue adding titles as time permits, but does not yet come close to the income I earn from sales to traditional (and non-traditional) short story markets. I have not yet written anything specifically for self-publishing. Everything I've released has been previously published (thus generating additional income) or has, at least, made the rounds of my regular markets (thus generating some income rather than sitting in my filing cabinet and generating none).

The income I receive from Smashwords indicates that I should make an effort to release more titles through Smashwords, and I intend to as time permits.

So, significant changes? No.

But things are definitely looking up.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Reviewed

Kevin R. Tipple reviewed "Chalkers" yesterday and "News Flash" today. Both stories are available from Untreed Reads.

About "Chalkers," Tipple says, the story
"...works on all levels and is a good one."
Read the entire review here.

About "News Flash," he says
"...this short story is a powerful read with a certain sad inevitability to it."
Read the entire review here.

Also available from Untreed Reads, "Lost Soul."

Monday, May 28, 2012

Twenty-eight

I finished and submitted my twenty-eighth story of the year a few minutes ago, a story I started writing January 26, 2006, and which I hadn't seen in quite some time. I was trolling my folders of unfinished stories, found this one, and realized it only needed a sentence and a few word changes to be ready for submission.

It's a literary story about a police officer, so I submitted it to a literary journal. Though I don't often submit my work to literary journals, I have been published in a few.

Published: Love in Short Order

When Amy's Bread & Breakfast loses its cook, Amy Hamilton fears that her failing little restaurant is finally doomed. Then she's rescued by a homeless man with a secret talent who transforms her restaurant and her life, and she finds Love in Short Order.

Love in Short Order is the latest title I've released as Rolinda Hay. It's currently available only from Amazon for Kindle. Learn more here.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Twenty-seven

I wrote and submitted my twenty-seventh short story of the year today, a 2,300-word bit of erotica. Although I spent several days pondering the guidelines for the open-call anthology to which I submitted this, I actually took the story from concept through creation to final draft in a single day.

Also Reviewed

Mark Hickinbotham, San Antonio Writing Examiner, has this to say about Andrew MacAleer's The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Novelists: Inside Secrets from Top Writers, a book in which I am extensively quoted:
"It truly warrants a place near the top of the Top 10 Resources for Writer."
Read the entire review here.

Reviewed

Marq at XX Factor* reviews I Like To Watch (Cleis Press), edited by Christopher Pierce, and has this to say about my contribution:
"'Reprieve' steers perilously close to snuff fiction, while delivering the most original story of the bunch. Author Michael Bracken envisions a hired killer who fails to take his shot when the sight in his rifle scope is of two men f*cking. The killer's trigger finger is necessarily diverted to his own anatomy."
*I've not included a link to the review site because it is NSFW.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Twenty-six

I completed and submitted my twenty-sixth short story of the year this evening, a 2,100-word erotic romance that I wrote for an open-call anthology. I started writing this on April 5 and interrupted work several times to finish other stories.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Twenty-five

I finished and submitted my twenty-fifth story of the year this evening. From concept to completion, I wrote the entire 3,300-word story in a single day in response to an anthology's open call for submissions.

I'm not exactly sure what to call this one. There's a bit of blackmail, but it isn't a crime story, and there's erotic content, but it isn't erotica. Regardless, it's in an editor's hands now.

What I want

Publishing is changing. We all know that. While we have the option of self-publishing everything we write, some of us still deal with gatekeepers. In my case, the gatekeepers are primarily anthology and magazine editors. Unfortunately, I deal with an increasing number of editors who lack the professionalism that previous generations of editors taught me to expect.

So here's what I want from editors:

1. Respond to my submissions promptly, especially if you asked me to contribute to your project.

2. Notify me when you accept or reject my submission. If you can't use the story I sent you, maybe someone else can.

3. Edit carefully and let me see review your work. I'm easy to work with and most of the time you catch errors and make good suggestions. I appreciate that.

4. Send me galley or page proofs to read prior to publication. I will proofread and return them promptly, correcting errors and only rarely suggesting or requesting a change.

5. Pay me promptly. This is how I feed myself. Let me choose when I start my next diet.

Thank you.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Twenty-four

I finished and submitted my twenty-fourth short story of the year this evening, a 3,000-word romance I started writing on Thursday.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

20

I received my 20th acceptance of the year a little while ago, this time for a confession. The editor is holding two more stories for further consideration, but I can't count them as sales until I see a contract or the word "accepted."

Twenty-three

I finished and submitted my twenty-third short story of the year a few minutes ago. This one's a 2,200-word bit of erotica I started writing May 5, 2009. I had written the first page or so way back then but didn't finish writing the story until I received an anthology's call for submissions and thought the story might fit the call.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Published

My short story "Lost Soul" was released by Untreed Reads earlier today.

After signing away his soul for fame, wealth, and women, an accountant for the mob goes missing, and a sexy demon hires private eye Mark Cain to find him.

Here's how it begins:

The statuesque redhead pushed into my office without knocking and I looked up from the newspaper I had spread across my desk. I’m usually a breast man but the redhead’s backside caught my attention first.

“Nice tail,” I said.

She flicked it once. Then she dropped an eight-by-ten glossy on my desk.

“We had a contract,” she explained. “He skipped.”

Order your copy from Untreed Reads, Amazon, or any of many other on-line bookstores.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Twenty-two

I finished and submitted my twenty-second story of the year this afternoon. This one's a 2,200-word bit of erotic crime fiction I started December 14, 2010. I wrote the first page or so in response to an anthology's open call for submissions, but didn't finish the story in time and let it sit. I picked the story up again a few days ago in response to another anthology's open call for submissions and finished it, though maybe not the way I had originally intended.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Twenty-one

I finished and submitted my twenty-first short story of the year this evening, a 2,500-word bit of noir fiction I started on February 15, 2006. I had written about 80% of the story but didn't have an ending, and the story sat on my hard drive until a few days ago when I rediscovered it and realized I knew how the story should end.

19

I turned the computer on first thing this morning and found my 19th acceptance of the year, this time for a bit of erotica.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Published

My story "Getting Out of the Box" appears in Crime Square, a just-released anthology of crime fiction edited by Robert J. Randisi.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Twenty

I finished and submitted my twentieth short story of the year this evening, a 5,000-word confession I started on December 20, 2007.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Nineteen

I finished and submitted my nineteeth short story of the year this afternoon, a 1,700-word bit of erotica I started Thursday in response to a private call for submissions.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Eighteen

I finished and submitted my eighteenth short story of the year this afternoon, a 4,400-word confession I began writing March 15.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Published 2x

My stories "Are My Bikini Days Over?" and "Seeing Fireworks" appear in the June True Confessions.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Seventeen

I finished and submitted my seventeenth short story of the year this evening. This one's a 4,500-word confession I began writing on March 22.

Friday, April 13, 2012

18

I received my 18th acceptance of the year this morning, this time for a bit of erotica.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Just released: Spicy Confessions 4

The four short stories in Spicy Confessions 4--"Roommates," "I Faked My Engagement," "Date with a Dumpster" and "Stuck"--showcase Rolinda Hay at her spicy best, featuring a woman dealing with a husband who thinks swinging will save their marriage, a woman who fakes her engagement to appease her family, a woman who learns that the man of her dreams may be a nightmare, and a woman whose life changes dramatically when she gets out of the rut in which she's been stuck.

Confessions are a unique form of women's fiction. They aren't romances, though they are often romantic. They aren't erotica, though some are quite sensual. And they aren't chick lit, though they are clearly written for and about contemporary women. What they are, are compelling stories about real women facing real problems.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rolinda Hay, under her own name and several pseudonyms, has been a leading confession writer for several decades, with more than two hundred confessions published in Black Confessions, Black Romance, Intimate Romances, Intimate Secrets, Intimate Story, Jive, Modern Romances, Secrets, True Confessions, True Experience, True Love, True Romance, True Secrets, and True Story.

Spicy Confessions 4 is currently only available for Kindle at Amazon.com.

Order your copy here: Spicy Confessions 4.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

16, 17

I received my 16th and 17th acceptances this afternoon, both for confessions.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Sixteen

I finished and submitted my sixteenth short story of the year this afternoon, a 4,900-word confession that I began writing March 3, 2011.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Fifteen

I completed and submitted my fifteenth short story of the year, a 3,500-word confession I started writing December 13, 2007.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Published 3x

My stories "Butterface Bunny," "Trees and Mommies," and "Two Mommies" appear in the May issue of True Confessions.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

15

I received my 15th acceptance of the year this morning, this time for the story I submitted yesterday.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Fourteen

I completed my fourteenth short story of the year this afternoon, a 1,700-word erotic anti-war love story I started writing March 18. This was written for an anthology with an open call, but the editor requests queries rather than full submissions. So, the query's been emailed.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Thirteen

I finished and submitted my thirteenth short story of the year this evening, a 3,800-word confession I started writing on March 16.

14

I received my 14th acceptance of the year this morning, this time for a 4,800-word crime/noir story I wrote during early January of last year.

These days most of the fiction I write is on assignment, on request, or to meet the requirements of a specific anthology or periodical. This story isn't one of them. This story is one of the rare stories I wrote with no specific market in mind. I wrote it because I thought the idea too good to let languish in my idea file.

Alas, it languished in my to-submit file for six months before I stumbled across an anthology looking for exactly this kind of story. Though it took nine months from submission to acceptance--I submitted long before the deadline, and then the deadline was extended--the story sold to the first editor to see it.

So, a gamble followed by a long wait ended with a good result.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Twelve

I finished and submitted my twelfth short story of the year this morning, a 3,600-word erotic romance begun on March 13 and written in response to an anthology's open call for submissions.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

12, 13

I received my 12th and 13th acceptances of the year this morning. One was for the story I submitted last night.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Eleven

I finished and submitted my eleventh short story of the year this evening, a 3,300-word confession I began writing March 23, 2010.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

11

I received my 11th acceptance today, this time for a confession.

5-star review

My short story "Chalkers," released in various electronic formats by Untreed Reads, received a 5-star review from author Roberta Goodman. She said, among other things:
"Chalkers by author Michael Bracken is a study in self-preservation and the horrendous acts it can lead to. This short story also examines the different ways individuals choose to deal with the ramifications that occur when living with extreme guilt."
Read the entire review at Ro-Always Inspired.

Purchase "Chalkers" from Untreed Reads.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

10

I received my 10th acceptance earlier this evening, this time for an erotic romance short story.

Ten

I finished and submitted my tenth short story of the year this afternoon. This one's a 2,000-word confession I started writing March 8.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Nine

I completed and submitted my ninth short story of the year this evening. This one's a 5,200-word confession I began writing March 22, 2010.

9

I received my 9th acceptance of the year a few minutes ago, this time for a paranormal mystery about a private eye hired by a demon to find a lost soul.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Published 2x

My stories "Solo Dad" and "My Naked Mother Led Me to Love" appear in the April edition of True Confessions.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Eight

I completed and submitted my eighth short story of the year this evening. This one's a 3,000-word erotic romance I started writing February 23 in response to an anthology call for submissions.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Seven

I finished and submitted my seventh short story of the year this evening. It's a 3,500-word confession I started writing March 12, 2008.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

6, 7, 8

I received my 6th, 7th, and 8th acceptances of the year this afternoon, all for confessions.

This year is beginning the way last year ended, with me selling stories faster than I'm writing new ones. If I don't increase productivity, I'll soon run out of stories to sell!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Six

I completed and submitted my sixth short story of the year a few minutes ago. This one's a 4,700-word confession I started writing October 8, 2007.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

5

My 5th acceptance of the year arrived a few minutes ago, this time for a 5,000-word confession.

4

I received my 4th acceptance of the year earlier this afternoon, this time for a 3,000-word confession.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Five

I finished and submitted my fifth short story of the year a few minutes ago. This one's a 5,000-word confession I started writing January 25.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Guest lecturer

Wednesday I spoke to students in a magazine writing class at the University of Mary Hardin Baylor in Belton, Texas.

This may be the first time I've ever spoken about writing and editing non-fiction; I usually speak about writing fiction. What I realized when I gave my presentation is that the basic information is the same.

My favorite line of the day: A good magazine article begins with a query letter and ends with a check.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

2, 3

This year is off to a slow start, but I finally received my 2nd and 3rd acceptances of the year this afternoon. Both are confessions, one written in 2006 and one written in 2008.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Published

My story "I Found Love at the End of the Rainbow" appears in the March issue of True Story.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Published

My erotic crime story "The Gunsel, the Nance, and the Redheaded Rooster" was published in the anthology Mob Men on the Make. The anthology was officially released last September but my contributor copy didn't arrive until today.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Four

I finished and submitted my fourth short story of the year this morning. This time it's a 3,000-word confession I started writing October 23, 2009.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Friday, January 20, 2012

Three

I finished and submitted my third short story of the year, this time a 3,900-word Earth Day-themed confession that I started writing on January 9.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Two

I finished and submitted my second short story of the year. This one's a 3,100-word confession that I actually started writing yesterday.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

One

I completed and submitted my first short story of the year, a 3,000-word confession that I started writing February 12, 2010.

Published 2x

My story "Endless Love" appears in the February True Story and my story "It's No Fun at a Table for One" appears in the February True Confessions.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

1

Yesterday, I received my first acceptance of the year, this time for a St. Patrick's Day-themed confession.

Friday, January 06, 2012

2011 in review

Here's what happened in 2011:

73 acceptances (vs. 59 in 2010)

28 rejections (vs. 72 in 2010)

82 short stories published* (vs. 51 in 2010), 4 articles/essays published (vs. 2 in 2010)

I completed 52 short stories (vs. 42 in 2010).

I completed (to final draft) 180,200 words of short fiction (vs. 144,930 in 2010).

That's an average story length of 3,465 words (vs. an average of 3,451); the shortest story was 1,400 words, the longest was 6,100 words.

I completed and submitted an average of 1 short story each week (vs. an average of .81 each week in 2010).

(I only track completed short fiction word counts, not words written for incomplete projects, nor words written for other forms of writing.)

Income from
Editing: Up 2.3%
Fiction (not novels): Up 133.54%
Non-Fiction (not books): $0
Royalties (from all books and, beginning in 2010, from Kindle self-published short stories and novels): Up 663.22%
Seminars/Teaching: Up from $0
Salary: Down 3.46%
Overall gross income: Up 8.52%

Observations:

I could have and should have written more, but the past few months my productivity has declined while my attention has been elsewhere.

Even though my gross income increased, expenses also increased so I’m no better off.

___
*I may update this information later; I’m confident that I’ve had additional stories published but have not yet received my contributor copies.