Saturday, January 25, 2014

Published 3x + 1

"Stealing Roses to Save a Friend" appears in the February True Confessions, "I Dumped Him but He Won't Get Out of My Life!" appears in the February True Story, and "The Girl Who Had it All" appears in the March True Story.

My Derringer Award-winning story "Getting Out of the Box," appears in a new edition of Crime Square, edited by Robert J. Randisi. The original publisher went out of business and the anthology has been reprinted by Perfect Crime Books.


My short story "Total Package" is reviewed by N.S. Beranek at her website, and she sums up the story:
"An examination of the loneliness and isolation one feels living in a world built around secrets and silence, the hyper-awareness of people forced to find one another in hostile environs, and the joy inherent in discovering, at last, that you are not as alone as you feared."
Read the entire review here.

Thursday, January 23, 2014


I finished but have not submitted by fifth short story of the year. I've been looking for an appropriate market, but haven't found one yet. This is what happens when I write a story without a specific market in mind.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


"Dicked," a bit of erotic crime fiction, appears in the anthology Nasty Boys (Cleis Press).

Monday, January 20, 2014

Writing: What we do to get rich

I received a royalty payment today via PayPal from a Canadian publisher for a story published in an anthology: $.82 (Can). After conversion to U.S. currency and after PayPal deducted their fee, my net: $.43.



I received my 3rd acceptance of the year this afternoon, this time for an Easter confession.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Write different

My writing process has remained essentially unchanged for many years. How I do what I do has proven reasonably successful. But when does habit become rut?

I've recently attempted to change my process to see if I can improve the process.

I rarely outline my stories prior to writing, and even then my outlines are nothing more than a sentence or two. So, I studied the "Save the Cat!" beat sheet, which is a general outline for successful movies, to see if it could be used to outline short stories.

Though many of the "beats" in "Save the Cat!" match the beats I use instinctively when writing fiction, there are additional beats I can add to flesh out stories. After a few false starts, I've successfully outlined three short stories using every beat in "Save the Cat!"

I have not yet written any of the stories I outlined this way, but it's clear this method can produce valid plots. And, though I have yet to write these specific stories, I have a greater appreciation for and understanding of my own method of plotting.

I have also reached the point where I'm starting to worry about carpal tunnel syndrome, among other things, and desire a less manual method of putting words on paper.

After I had my quadruple bypass surgery in 2008, when I couldn't sit upright for long stretches of time, I purchased dictation software for my computer. I attempted to write stories with it, but found the process cumbersome and frustrating.

Shortly before Christmas I purchased a new computer and installed new dictation software. Two of the four stories I've submitted this year were dictated, one successfully and one not.

The first draft of the first story I dictated was a garbled mess. Though the software usually correctly interpreted what I said--a vast improvement over the software I used in 2008--I attempted to dictate the same way I write.

My process is sometimes chaotic. I may write the first scene and then follow with part of the third scene, jump back to make notes for the second scene, and then write a rough draft of the last scene, jumping back and forth until I've created a full draft. This did not work while dictating and I found scenes out of order and parts of scenes stuck in the middle of other scenes.

The first story required extensive editing prior to submission, and I found myself rewriting entire sections. In short, dictating added work rather than saved it.

On the other hand, my second dictated story was successful. I thought more about the story before I began dictating, I had a better grasp of the plot and the characters in my head before I began, and I was able to dictate each scene in order so that I had little editing or rewriting to do after I had a complete draft.

I suspect studying "Save the Cat!" helped with dictating my second story because I was thinking more about plot prior to dictating than I usually do before I sit down to write.

I doubt I will use "Save the Cat!" to plot all of my stories, and I doubt I will dictate all of my stories from this point forward, but I do know I've added new tools to my writer tool chest and, perhaps, will be a little more productive in the future.


I finished and submitted my fourth short story of the year this morning. This one's a 3,200-word erotic romance I started on January 4.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Life without email

My email provider's server crashed at approximately 1 p.m. yesterday. I have been unable to send or receive email since then. My two biggest clients use the same email provider, so I am unable to use those email accounts.

Life without email, even as short a time as it's been, is interesting. Luckily, I have nothing that I absolutely must send. On the other hand, I have several submissions under consideration and am expecting responses this month.

If an editor sends an email that bounces, will they bother to pick up the telephone? Past experience says they won't, even though my telephone number is on every manuscript I send. So, I'm left wondering: am I missing sales?

Wednesday, January 08, 2014


I received my 2nd acceptance of the year this evening, this time for an erotic romance I submitted last January and revised at the editor's request last February.

Sunday, January 05, 2014


I finished and submitted my third short story of the year this evening. This one's a bit of erotic crime fiction that I started yesterday in response to an anthology's call for submissions.


I received my 1st acceptance of the year this afternoon, this for an erotic romance submitted to an anthology back in July.

Saturday, January 04, 2014


I completed and submitted my second short story of the year this morning. This one's a 4,700-word confession I started in January 2012.

Thursday, January 02, 2014


I completed and submitted my first short story of the year this afternoon. This one's a 3,700-word Easter story I started in November 2009.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

2013 in review

41 acceptances (vs. 63 in 2012)

8 rejections (vs. 25 in 2012)

45 short stories published* (vs. 66 in 2012), 0 articles/essays published (vs. 0 in 2012)

I completed 40 short stories (vs. 46 in 2012).

I completed (to final draft) 142,500 words of short fiction (vs. 150,500 in 2012).

That's an average story length of 3,563 words (vs. an average of 3,272); the shortest story was 600 words, the longest was 6,200 words.

I completed and submitted an average of .77 of a short story each week (vs. an average of .88 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 1.55%
Fiction (not novels): Down 3.3%
Non-Fiction (not books): $0
Royalties from Fiction (from traditionally published and, beginning in 2010, from self-published work): Down 61.47%%
Royalties from Non-Fiction: Up 13.14%
Seminars/Teaching/Tutoring:  Up from $0
Salary: Up 1.31%
Overall gross income: Down .75%


My short story productivity has diminished for the second year in a row and is the lowest it's been for the five years I've been tracking it.

I continue to sell more than I write, which in past years has been thanks to a large number of previously written stories finding homes. That stockpile is rapidly diminishing. This year I've sold more than I've written thanks to placement of a few reprints.

My fiction income, though down, was an insignificant change. My income from royalties, however, was significant and attributable primarily to diminished sales of self-published material offered through Amazon. The majority of this material is reprints for which I have previously been paid so any extra it earns is icing on the cake. Even so, that sales dropped so far is disheartening. (I'll explore this more later in the year after I have my December reports from Amazon.)
*Updated 1/21/14. I may update this information later; I may have had additional stories published but have not yet received my contributor copies.