Thursday, February 24, 2011

Respect the freelancer

Matt Kinsman's Folio blog post "Respect the Freelancer" includes a letter from long-time freelance writer William Atkinson in which he discusses the way an ever-increasing number of publishers are dragging out payments to freelance writers. It's well worth reading.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Elizabeth Coldwell, a contributor to the anthology, reviews Voluptuous (Xcite) at The (Really) Naughty Corner and has this to say about my contribution:
More sympathetic, if equally downbeat, is Michael Bracken’s Small Change. Lonely diner waitress Kathy performs an act of kindness when she helps Ashley, who’s had a fight with the abusive partner she just can’t seem to walk away from. Offering Ashley a bed for the night, Kathy discovers for the first time the sweetness of female love, but can she really persuade Ashley she’ll be better off without her girlfriend?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


I finished and submitted my 12th short story of the year this evening. This one's a 4,000-word confession tied to Independence Day.

I started writing this story on February 2, 2009. It took almost two years to produce the first thousand words, but the final 3,000 words flowed easily once I picked the story up again.

Monday, February 21, 2011


I finished writing my 11th short story of the year this evening, a 4,600-word confession that takes place during the summer. I started writing this story on February 8 and worked on it off-and-on. I'll put the ms. in the mail tomorrow.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


I finished and submitted my 10th short story of the year this morning, a 2,100-word bit of erotic crime fiction.

On the 15th I received an invitation to submit to a new anthology, and I started work on this story the next day. I roughed out the plot and the opening paragraph but didn't write the story until last night. Because I couldn't get the plot twist to work the way I wanted it to, I spent more time revising what I'd written than usual, and the pieces finally fell into place this morning.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Lousy first sentence

Writer's Digest apparently had a writing contest with a February 10 submission deadline, and the prompt was a lousy sentence.

I learned of the contest here, and it has already been removed from the Writer's Digest website (see the current contest here), so I don't know all the contest details. I don't know if the sentence provided was intended as the first sentence of the 750-word story writers were to submit, but if it was, it stunk.

You judge:
"It was on a bright, starry night that the traveling circus rolled into town."
Here is is again, revised into a better opening sentence I might actually use:
On a bright, starry night the traveling circus rolled into town.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


I finished and submitted my 9th short story of the year this evening, a 4,000-word confession tied to Mother's Day.

I stared work on this story on November 11, 2010, and had about a quarter of it written before I picked it up again this afternoon. It took an unexpected twist about two-thirds of the way through that made it even better than I had thought it could be.

Monday, February 14, 2011


I received my 11th acceptance this morning, this for the story I wrote and submitted Friday evening. The anthology editor said it was "spot on."

Sunday, February 13, 2011


I finished writing my 8th short story of the year this evening, a 3,600-word confession tied to Father's Day.

I started writing this story on December 8, 2010, and worked on it off and on until today, when I wrote approximately the final third from rough notes I'd made earlier.

Friday, February 11, 2011


I received my 10th acceptance of the year a few minutes ago, this for a short romance submitted last April.


I finished and submitted my seventh short story of the year this evening, a 2,000-worder.

Earlier today I received an e-mail from an anthology editor with a hole to fill. He needed a story by Monday. Because I have a busy weekend planned, my only opportunity to write the story was this evening. So I did, from first word to last.

Now let's hope it meets his needs and he buys it.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

7, 8, 9

I received three acceptances this morning, my 7th, 8th, and 9th of the year. One story, written in mid-2009, took a while to find a home. The other two--one written in 2010, the other finished and submitted last month--were accepted the first time out.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

More Mexico news

I'll be speaking at the Puerto Vallarta Writers Conference February 25-27 and I now have my schedule:

Sarah Cortez and I will answer the question "What Does an Editor Really Want?" in our two-person panel at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Sunny Frazier, Doug Danielson, and I will explain why "The Money's in Your Shorts" when we discuss writing and selling short fiction at 4:45 p.m. Saturday.

I will lead "Sin, Suffer, Cash the Checks," a workshop about writing and selling confessions, at 9 a.m. Sunday, and then again at 10:45 a.m.

There's still time to register, so why not escape the snow and join us in sunny Mexico?

Over the top

This is how the publisher describes my contribution to Out of the Gutter 7:
Michael Bracken is over the top and then some with unnecessary violence, sex, and violent sex, in his short story "Wet Work."
I think he undersells the sex and the violence.

Order your copy directly from the publisher at


Today I received an unacceptance. A story accepted last year for an anthology was returned because the editor could not find enough stories and cancelled the anthology.

Thursday, February 03, 2011


I received my 6th acceptance of the year, another Easter-themed confession.

Blog mentioned

"To Blog Or Not To Blog" by Moira Allen (an excerpt from Starting Your Career as a Freelance Writer, 2nd Edition, 2011, Allworth Press) in today's edition of Writing World discusses the pros, cons, and how-tos of blogging. I was surprised to see, buried in the middle of a paragraph about writers' blog topics, the following:
Fiction writer Michael Bracken uses his blog to chronicle his writing life and give writing advice[.]
And later I'm quoted as saying,
"Blogging has allowed me to more closely examine my own productivity and methods of writing. The need to post on a regular basis... prevents me from slacking off."

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Published 10x

Sometimes the publishing gods smile. Obviously all of the following publications didn't happen on the same day, but I did learn of them all today.

"Stand by Your Man," an erotic private eye story, was published in the anthology Stand By Your Man (Xcite) and in the anthology When a Man Loves a Man (Xcite).

"Garden Variety," an erotic story, was published in the anthology All the Boys (Xcite) and in the anthology When a Man Loves a Man (Xcite).

"Small Change," an erotic crime story, was published in the anthology Voluptuous (Xcite).

"Thirteen Roses," a confession, was published in the February True Love.

"Full Frontal," a confession, was published in the February True Love.

"Love and Leprechauns Ignited," a confession, was published in the March True Love.

"Spring Broke," a confession, was published in the March True Love.

"I Finally Found Him," a confession, was published in the March True Story.