Saturday, June 30, 2012


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


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


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.


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.


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


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


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


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


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.