Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Tomorrow, July 1, is the official release date for "I Slept With My Sister's Husband," a confession released in electronic formats by Lady Leo Publishing. The Kindle version has been available for about a week; the PDF version went live earlier today.

This is an old-school confession in the sin-suffer-repent mode, the kind of confession that the remaining confession magazines don't publish much any more, if at all.

Lady Leo Publishing has accepted two additional stories for release later this year and sent another one back this past weekend for minor revisions to one scene before issuing an official acceptance.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The official coronation

In "Diversify Your Career: Exploring Fiction-Writing Options" (Romance Writers of America's Romantic Writers Report, July 2010) Vivi Anna writes:
In today's unstable publishing market, it is important for an author to be flexible and willing to change. That means thinking outside the box to stay published and to make an income.
Towards the end of the article, after suggesting alternate markets for novels, she delves into short fiction and writes:
Can't stay away from romance? There are a whole slew of magazines looking for romantic "true" stories. The "Trues" as they are known in the industry: True Romance, True Confession, True Love, True Experience, and True Story are always looking for well-written, emotionally fueled stories. Crime writer Michael Bracken is sometimes referred to as the "King of Confessions" because of the more than 170 stories he's written for the "Trues."
It's in print, so the rumors must be true. I have been crowned "King of Confessions."

Monday, June 28, 2010

More ApolloCon pics

Lee Thomas, Michael Bracken, and David B. Carren discuss horror on the "Shiver Up Your Spine" panel. Not pictured: Gabrielle S. Faust and moderator Stina Leicht.

Bill Crider moderates "Writing 101" with Michael Bracken and (not pictured) Katherine Eliska Kimbriel, Stine Leicht, and Julia Mandala.

ApolloCon pic

Visit Patrice Sarath's blog post "ApolloCon 2010 --Wrap Up" and scroll down to the second photo to see me on the "No Excuses!" panel (left to right: Rosemary Clement Moore, Katherine Eliska Kimbriel, Michael Bracken, Patrice Sarath, Rhonda Eudaly).

The woman in red, the only audience member visible in the photo, is Rebecca, known better in these parts as Plot Monkey.


I received my 30th acceptance of the year this morning, this time for 700-word bit of crime fiction.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Never tempt fate

When I read Dean Wesley Smith's May 6 reply to one of the responses to his blog post "Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing: Rejection "--"Always plan for sales. Expect rejection but plan for sales."--I was flabbergasted.

A successful pro who expects rejection? That's the antithesis of my attitude. When I submit a manuscript, I expect acceptance.

Was I being cocky or egotistical? A quick thumb through my files seemed to indicate that I wasn't. Many recent manuscripts were accepted upon first submission, I was receiving twice as many acceptances as rejections, and year-to-date sales were exceeding my goal. The numbers seemed to confirm my expectations.

I shrugged my shoulders and figured to each his own.

But I should known better than to tempt fate.

Since May 6 I've received five acceptances...and 16 rejections. I've received about half my year-to-date rejections within a seven-week period, and year-to-date rejections now outnumber year-to-date acceptances.


Funny how fate has a way of reminding us of our place in the world.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Nook News

Earlier today, Barnes & Noble announced their new, improved, and renamed e-reader. It's a half-size Nook that can only be used to read erotica. They anticipate sales to rise rapidly because, "Everybody wants a little Nookie."


I received my 29th acceptance of the year in today's mail, this for a 4,000-word confession written back in 2008.


Yesterday, for the first time, I saw Unbridled Love on a Kindle. Although everything else appeared fine, none of the paragraphs were indented. I resolved that problem and uploaded the revision this morning.

So here's the sales pitch:
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?
Unbridled Love: A Romance with Horse Sense is available exclusively for Kindle.

Order yours here: Unbridled Love.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Those were the days

One of the panels in which I'll be participating at ApolloCon is "Paper, Pixels, Podcasts," a discussion of how science fiction fans have communicated in the past and in the present, and how might they communicate in the future.

I'm on the panel to represent fandom past. Beginning with the first issue in December 1973 and continuing through the final issue in November 1979, I edited Knights, a science fiction fanzine that began modestly with a small print run produced on a ditto machine. When the readership increased beyond the ditto machine's capacity to produce readable copies, I produced several issues on a mimeograph before Knights graduated to a publication that was typeset (pre-desktop publishing, mind you) and printed on an offset press.

Along the way I published columns, articles, and letters from SF writers and editors who were already successful and several who have since became successful--Charles L. Grant, Thomas F. Monteleone, David Gerrold, Robert Bloch, Jerry Pournelle, Larry Niven, Algis Budrys, Bob Tucker, Gene Wolfe, Don D'Ammassa, Jessica Amanda Salmonson, William Rotsler, Rick Wilber, Barry N. Malzberg, Christopher Priest, Richard A. Lupoff, Ted White, Grant Carrington, Gregory Benford, Patrick Hayden, Al Sirois, Robert Silverberg, and many others--as well as artwork by people such as Phil Folgio, Thomas Canty, and many, many others.

It was a heady time for a young writer-to-be.

Learn more at:


"More Than a Footnote"

P.S. A quick Internet search reveals that copies of Knights--the ones not in university collections--are selling for $30+. If you're interested, I've a few copies of later issues that I've been toting around for years and would be willing to part with for slightly less than the going rate.


ApolloCon starts one week from today in Houston, Texas. I'm scheduled to appear on four panels--details below--and I hope if you're there that you'll stop by and say howdy.

Fri 10:00PM - 11:00PM
Shiver Up Your Spine
Seattle I
Michael Bracken, David B. Carren, Lee Thomas, Stina Leicht (M), Gabrielle S. Faust

Sat 10:00AM - 11:00AM
Writing 101
Seattle I
Stina Leicht, Katharine Eliska Kimbriel, Michael Bracken, Julia Mandala, Bill Crider (M)

Sun 10:00AM - 11:00AM
No excuses! Writer's Boot Camp
Seattle II
Katharine Eliska Kimbriel, Rhonda Eudaly, Rosemary Clement-Moore, Patrice Sarath
(M), Michael Bracken

Sun 11:00AM - 12:00PM
Paper, Pixels, Podcasts
Pat Virzi, Mel. White, Michael Bracken, Amy Sisson (M), Melanie Miller Fletcher

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Story twenty-six

I finished my 26th short story of the year this evening. It's 1,900 words and was written for me, not in response to a call for submissions or to meet any particular publication's requirements. For that reason, I haven't a clue where to submit it. But I'll send it somewhere.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Story twenty-five

I finished and submitted my 25th story of the year this afternoon. This one's a 2,200-word bit of erotica to meet the requirements of a call for submissions sent to me a month or so ago.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Same name, different game

Until I started surfing the Internet several years ago, I thought my name was unique. I was wrong.

The author of Hey, We Can Play This Game shares my name but isn't me, nor am I Michael B. Bracken, the author or co-author of several books such as Perinatal Epidemiology. There's also a Mike* Bracken out there who reviews horror movies and may be the same Mike Bracken who was the horror expert on the game show Beat the Geeks, and recently another writer named Michael Bracken--perhaps one already mentioned--has had quite a bit of his non-fiction appear in Google searches for my name.

I wonder how much identical or nearly identical bylines impacts our writing careers. Might editors purchase something from one of us thinking we're another one? Might a reader purchase a book from one of us expecting the work of another?

Then again, maybe one of us needs to become really, really famous before I concern myself with the answers to these questions.

*FYI I'm not "Mike."

Monday, June 07, 2010


I received my 28th acceptance of the year today, this time for a confession I submitted on May 9.

Friday, June 04, 2010

When editors move on

I learned earlier today that this is the last day at work for a magazine editor who's published many of my stories in her two magazines.

I find that every time an editor moves on, I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, I'm dismayed that I will have to learn the likes and dislikes of a new editor. On the other hand, this means that all the stories the outgoing editor rejected can be resubmitted.

I've been selling to these two magazines for several years and have worked with several editors over the years, but there's no guarantee this will continue. The new editor might love my stuff and accept many stories during her tenure or the new editor might not like anything I write and I might not sell to these magazines again until after the new editor's tenure expires.

I've had both happen to me in the past. In a few cases my sales increased when a new editor took over; in a few cases my sales dwindled; and occasionally my sales dried up completely.

This editor leaves with three of my stories in her slush pile. It might not be long before I know what the new editor thinks of my stuff.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

The slow purge

I'm becoming increasingly disenchanted with social networking. Through MySpace I'm linked to many other writers, who care as little about me as I care about them because we were both trying to push our books when we linked. Through Facebook I'm linked to a small but odd mix of friends, family, and other writers, and I'm leery of posting anything there because my writing life and my personal life don't mix well.

Because I've not published any books lately, I've not much to promote (Go to now and buy my books. All of them.), and because personal information is available to the world once it's posted on Facebook, I've been cautious about what to post, if I post at all.

I have connected with some lost friends and family, and for that I'm grateful. So, while I'm reluctant to leave either site on the off-chance I might yet connect with another lost friend or family member, there's no good reason for me to remain linked to so many people.

Therefore, at the pace of two or three a week, I've been purging my "friends."

My criteria? If you have more than 500 friends, you won't notice when I unfriend you. If you haven't logged on to your MySpace page in six months or more, you may not even remember you have a MySpace account and won't notice when I unfriend you. If we haven't swapped some kind of personal message in some form through one medium or another for six months or more, you probably won't notice when I unfriend you.

And so, one by one, I'm saying a silent farewell to my social network.

But I'll keep hanging abound here for a while. This I enjoy.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010


I received my 27th acceptance of the year this morning, this time for an erotic story involving baseball.

Batter up!


My story "The Gimp, the Vig and the Ring" appears in the just-released anthology Muscle Men.

The call for submissions did not specifically mention crime fiction, but didn't rule it out, either. So, the "muscle man" I wrote about collects debts for the mob.

ApolloCon, ArmadilloCon

I'll be attending two science fiction conventions this summer: ApolloCon in Houston, Texas, June 25-27, and ArmadilloCon in Austin, Texas, August 27-29. I don't yet know which programming events I'll be participating in, but I'll probably be on a panel or two and may even do a reading. If you're at either of these conventions, stop by and say howdy.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Seven years, or 84 consecutive months

With publication of stories in the July True Confessions and July True Story, I have now had one or more short stories published each month for 84 consecutive months.


I received my 26th acceptance of the year this morning, for a vampire story. I originally wrote the story in response to a call for submissions for a vampire anthology, but missed the cut. Instead, it sold to an anthology of extreme horror.

Published 2x

My story "Fun in the Sun" appears in the July True Story and my story "Reunion at the Lake" appears in the July True Confessions. Both are romance/confession stories.