As you may or may not have noticed, I have not published anything...ANYTHING...in 2016. It's not for a lack of things to publish. I currently have four works ready to go. They are, in no particular order, ODD MAN OUT, RECIPROCAL EVIL, THE NEVER ENDING NIGHT, and finally, DEAD OR ALIVE. Most are novella-length; RECIPROCAL EVIL is a bit over 50,000 words, while ODD MAN OUT clocks in at about 33,000. I think that both DEAD OR ALIVE and THE NEVER ENDING NIGHT are around the same length: approximately 27,000 words. I have been writing. I have a YA novel finished called THE SEVEN CITIES OF GOLD: CIBOLA which is about 53,000 words. I am about 68,000 words into an untitled end-of-the-world novel which was inspired by Hugh Howey's WOOL. I'm working on a longer vampire novel which would follow DEAD OR ALIVE and a horror story set in a fictional town called Addison Falls. I've also been tinkering with a series that I started with my son a couple years ago, called THE NINE KEYS. The first of that series is basically finished, and it is something around 68,000 to 70,000 words in length. The second is about 20,000 words at this point and has a long way to go. I also started a space opera novel but that's stalled out at around 17,000 words at the moment. Covers are done for three of the four ready-to-go works, editing and formatting are done for all four. So what's the holdup, you might ask (assuming that "you" are reading this and are interested in reading what I'm writing)? I haven't been selling much (okay, I really haven't been selling anything!) and I need to do something different. One option is to give up. Or keep doing what I've been doing, which involves tossing up my writing, offering it for sale, and having no one actually find any of it. The second option is to try to form a better foundation. So far I have only published ebooks and only at Amazon. So, my foundation is this blog/website, my Amazon author page, and my Facebook page. I have, like, 64 followers on Facebook. Not enough. And depending on Facebook to get the word out is a crapshoot. When I look at how many people view my posts on my Scott Dyson page there, often it's like 7, or 13, or at best low 20's. So of those 64 people, only a small percentage even SEE my notifications when I publish. Without paying FB to show the post to more people, I guess that's about the best one can do there. I am thinking of doing Instagram, just for my cover photos. I have thought about taking down my collections and publishing the individual works for free on Wattpad, but after looking around there, I didn't have much luck finding a lot of stuff I wanted to read. I went specifically looking for my friend Steve Moore's work there, and I didn't find it with their search functions. So I wonder how effective that will be for what I write. I try to "network" with other writers as much as possible. I will promote authors' works (assuming they are something I like and read) here on these pages, with FB posts, and in any other way that comes up, and I have a few author-friends who have helped me out as well. But I don't think our audiences cross over very much, or at least what I write is not necessarily of interest to their audiences. I read so broadly and across so many genres that I am happy to promote their stuff; even more, I WANT to suggest and recommend good reads to my friends. I think that maybe if I could network with some horror authors, it would work better. I have tried with a couple, but they don't seem interested in reciprocating. But the biggest thing I want to do is set up a mailing list. And I don't really know how to go about it. I mean, signing up is easy. And it seems that putting the widget on the website is not a big challenge either. But most authors I've spoken to who use mailing lists effectively offer a free work, and all I have are mobi's of my works. I'd certainly be willing to offer one or both of my short story collections, or even one of my novellas, for free as an incentive to sign up for the list, but as I have not used any of the software (Vellum, Sigil, Calibre) that apparently can generate ebooks in various formats, I don't know how to get these files to give away. As a mailing list builds, eventually you have a ready-made list of people who are interested in receiving information about your releases, and maybe, just maybe, you can sell enough books upon release to push your work into some sort of visibility on Amazon. I think that this sounds like the best way to increasing sales and visibility. I also plan on giving away both of my short story collections (as they're both in Amazon Kindle Select and in KU) and I want to try a FB experiment, ask some friends if they'd share the links to the free books, see if I can give away a bunch more than I usually do. Watch this page for announcements about those giveaways, or if you're a Facebook friend, watch my feeds there. Anyway, I'm going to try to break the paralysis in the next month or two, and get this stuff out there for anyone and everyone to read. If anyone is interested, that is... ***
(I have three new stories ready to go; I'm just dragging my feet on publishing them because I want to get a few other things in place before I start running them out there. One is a long version of my short story "Odd Man Out," which was published as a standalone (with another short story called "The House at the Bend in the Road") and as part of the collection 14 DARK WINDOWS. What follows is the Prologue of that story, which is novella-length (about 33,000 words, if I recall correctly). Watch this space or sign up for my soon-to-come mailing list to find out when it is available on Amazon.
ODD MAN OUT
PrologueRoger Sinclair checked the calendar that hung on the wall over his computer. October nineteenth. Only the nineteenth. It seemed that the thirty-first was taking forever to arrive this year. Time was dragging. Anticipation had a way of making the passage of time seem very slow. The Cabin Weekend was approaching, and Roger had big plans for the traditional yearly gathering of his friends. Friends. That was a laugh. They didn't like him any more than he liked them. They used him. They always had. Vinnie, Jack and Paul – they hung around with him – no, they let him hang around with them – because he was smart, dependable, and well-off. He made them feel superior – Look at rich, smart, loser Roger, who can't get a girl and gets shunned by everyone...but us! We'll take pity on the loser, and we'll take advantage of his brains and his wealth. Like the Cabin Weekend. They always went to Roger's cabin. None of them had cabins. And why spend money on a real vacation when they could just sponge off Roger? Vinnie and Susan, Jack and Nancy, and Paul and whatever hot-looking hosebag he was dating at the moment. Well, not this year. Paul wasn't dating a hot-looking hosebag anymore. He was engaged. To Amy Wellington. Amy might be hot, but she was no hosebag. She was the epitome of class. She was the girl of Paul's dreams, as Paul himself had pointed out. She was also the girl of Roger's dreams, but that was beside the point. Paul never cared about what Roger wanted, only what he wanted. He wanted Amy, so of course he ended up with her. That's how it worked with Paul. No matter that he had been Roger's guest at a charity function when he met Amy. Paul had deigned to accompany Roger to the event when Roger's own date fell through. 'Fell through' is sort of misleading. She dumped me on my ass, he remembered. Bitch. Focus! Roger forced himself to get back on track with his thoughts. This wasn't about Melissa, the stick-up-her-ass bitch that worked in the IT department of Roger's family's company. The point was Paul, and how he met Amy, and how he had practically run Roger over in his zeal to get to her first. Paul knew that Roger saw her first, that Roger wanted to take a shot with her, but could Paul let him have a chance? No, of course he couldn't. What Paul wants, Paul gets. Roger's fantasy was that Amy would see Paul for what he was and eventually they'd split up. It would be Paul's fault, of course, and Roger would be there for Amy. He'd be the understanding friend she would need, the shoulder she could cry on, the guy who'd be there for her as she worked through the pain of their broken engagement. Of course it would end Paul's friendship with Roger, but that was okay. It wasn't a real friendship, and it had not been one for a long time. Ever since that day at the frat party back in college... Focus! he told himself again. This isn't about embarrassment that Paul caused him in college, this is about Amy Wellington. Paul's fiancee. Roger's one true love. And the Cabin Weekend would be the time when things would turn in favor of Roger.
#(To find out what happens at the Cabin Weekend, watch for ODD MAN OUT at Amazon or on these pages...)
Finished a couple of books recently. SLOW BURN 8: GRIND by Bobby Adair is still telling the story of Zed and Murphy as they kill zombies. I'm still reading, but I have to say I think this series is getting a little long in the tooth -- there might be a lot more to tell, but I don't think this book did a great job of conveying that... The two heroes of this story just seem to be moving between an old place and a new place, and along the way they find new ways to mow down (literally, in one instance) the infected "whites," who are the zombies of this series. I'll probably read SLOW BURN 9: SANCTUM sometime soon, but my brain isn't clamoring for it at the moment. Also finished THE LAST SURVIVORS by T.W. Piperbrook and Bobby Adair. This book is a free download, the first of a series. It's a futuristic tale of a society that's lost their technological ability, and when humans show signs of some sort of infection, they are put down immediately by sword or by fire. One woman finds signs of infection on her son, and she runs. It was a pretty interesting story, in the far future but with zombies of a sort, but ended on a complete and total cliffhanger without really resolving anything from this story. That sort of bothered me. Not sure I'll read on in this series, but we'll see. I read SOFT TARGET by Iain Rob Wright. Wright's a horror author, but this was a bit of an over-the-top thriller. Also a free download. I already bought the next book in the series, called HOT ZONE. Wright's hero is a scarred female veteran of Afghanistan, and she is drawn into an organization that is fighting terrorism in the U.K. Seems ordinary Brits are acting as suicide bombers. Why? What's the common thread between these folks, and why are they doing the bidding of Middle East terrorists? Wright presents a more balanced and nuanced picture of terrorists than we often see in thrillers in general, and SOFT TARGET is a fun story, if a bit fantastic at times. Last, I read Chris Fox's THE FIRST ARK, the novella that precedes his NO SUCH THING AS WEREWOLVES book. I've been meaning to read on in this series. The series sort of combines a lot of genres: shapeshifters, zombies, aliens, Egyptian gods, archeology, and in the third, vampires, I believe. I also read a (free) PDF of Steven M. Moore's novella, THE WHISTLEBLOWER. (He's giving it away at his website.) This one reads really well. I felt like maybe the very end was rushed a bit. I could have seen this going novel-length. But it told a great story. One more: JEDI SUMMER WITH THE MAGNETIC KID by John Boden. A fun read I found through Christian Larsen's publisher's site. It's short, not quite a novella perhaps, but a little longer than a short story. Just a coming-of-age story about a couple of brothers back around the time that RETURN OF THE JEDI was a movie event that was worth waiting for. It kept me reading, though in the end I was sort of disappointed that more didn't happen but I finished it and was interested all the way to the end. I have another Steven M. Moore novella (PORTAL IN THE PINES) in my queue, and I have a stack of hardcover bargain books both at the office and at home that I need to get through. I've been carrying around Denise Swanson's DYING FOR A CUPCAKE for a couple of weeks now; maybe that will be next. Or Kellerman's Alex Delaware novel, MOTIVE. So many books, so little time. Maybe I should write instead of reading... *****