For the last several weeks, I’ve been giving away a lot of books on Amazon, running free promotions Sunday through Thursday on various titles in my back catalog.  This week is no exception.

This week’s book is the most recent in my Angel Hill Shorts series, “Jack the Lion”, and I hope you check it out (by clicking THIS LINK RIGHT HERE and, if you like it, I also hope you wouldn’t mind leaving a review:

Angel Hill is home to The Lonely Man, the Ash Wednesday killer, and who knows what’s going on at the Mertland Childrens’ Home. But for twelve-year-old Frank, the only evil he fears is his mother’s new husband, Terry.

The source of all the ridicule and shame Frank faces on a daily basis, the swats to the head, the laughter when Franks falls and needs stitches, Terry is the source of it all.

Frank’s only confidant is a stuffed animal named Jack. But like Jack always says, “What do you need friends for, you’ve got the best one ever right here.”

Jack the Lion is a solitary story for the lonely, the story of one boy’s abusive childhood at the hands of one who’s job it was to protect him—and the story of the one who finally did.

excerpted from the latest issue of the C. Dennis Moore Newsletter, which you can subscribe to here:

 

I’ve been thinking the last two days about this list I have taped to the side of my desk, a list of titles I was going to work on from a few years ago.  Originally the list was 14 titles long and since then I’ve completed 6 of them.  Which isn’t terrible, almost halfway there.  But I seem to remember in DOING IT WRITE, somewhere, saying I had worked out the math and it was entirely possible to complete that list within a year.  I just can’t remember how many words a day it would have required, going by the estimated word counts I had worked up.  I can’t find it, so maybe it was in the follow-up book that never came out.

 

Either way, I’ve been thinking about that list.  Doing the math again, if I take a rough estimate of what’s on that list right now, how many words I think they’ll be each, I get 390,000.

 

That’s only 32,500 words a month, or 1083 words a day using a 30-day month.  I can do 1083 words a day so easily you don’t even know!

 

But would I?

 

Some mornings I get up a half hour later than I meant to and that throws me off.  Some days I need to work on updating old books or setting up free promotions or the newsletter.  Some days my computer takes up the entire morning with updating for the 20th time that week…

 

In an ideal world, I would take the next year and finish everything on that list, which still consists of the next Band of Gypsies novella, which is over halfway done, THE THIRD FLOOR 2, THE OUTSIDER’S GUIDE TO ANGEL HILL (a novel), “The Kingdom 2” and “The Night 2” (novellas), “Heart of the World”, a short novel of maybe 30,000 words, RITE OF DAWN (a complete rewrite of a very early shitty novel, which would probably be 50,000-60,000 words), and an Angel Hill podcast novel.  Three novels and five novellas in a year?

 

Three novels in a year.  Short novels, about 80,000 words each which seems to be my standard.  Man, novels are hard.

 

I don’t know.  The more I think about it, the more daunting the task seems.  Plus, it would completely eliminate Invasion Agents, Angel Hill shorts, and the Holiday Horrors.  At least for a year.

 

I’m still mulling things over.  I just need to finish something.  As it is, I’m making very slow progress on three things at once.  This is close to the system I had in place a few years ago where I would spend one week working on one thing, then move on to something different the next week, and the next, and the next until I came back around the next month.  I might try that one again, because it feels like the daily progress is progress in numbers only, but there’s never time to build any sort of momentum when I’m constantly moving to something else the very next day.

 

Or I could just focus on ONE thing until it’s done, but again, that cuts into Invasion Agents, which is SUPPOSED to be a monthly book.  I don’t know.  We’ll see what happens.

 

(EXCERPTED FROM THE MOST RECENT C. DENNIS MOORE NEWSLETTER, WHICH YOU CAN SUBSCRIBE TO HERE!)

 

Since I’ve done literally nothing productive for the past month except make new covers and re-publish old stories I took down years ago—a worthwhile endeavor, for sure, but it’s not writing  new words, and since I fancy myself a WRITER, writing is kind of an important part of that—I decided I had to do something, anything, to get back in the swing.
 
So I do what I always do and I made a plan.  This plan took the form of a specific daily writing schedule:
 
Sunday: Newsletter day
 
Monday: Update day.  This week I fixed the cover for THE NIGHTMARE CORRIDOR (I never liked how close the THE was to the NIGHTMARE, so I moved it up just a bit), updated the bio information and republished it.
 
Tuesday: CDM SSW day.  This week, after having taken another look at THE NIGHTMARE CORRIDOR and remembering just how much I like that story, I sent it out to the C. Dennis Moore Short Story Webring subscribers.
 
Wednesday: Invasion Agents day.  I’m still waiting on Sweetpea to do the cover.  She’s only one week into her new house and spent the week putting her office together, so, fingers crossed.  Meanwhile, I got started on Issue 14.  It was only 305 words Wednesday after work, but it’s 305 words I didn’t have before and, if I’d had more time, I could easily have kept going with another few hundred.  It was a rough start at first, but once I got going and knew where I was headed, I fell into it pretty easily.
 
Thursday: Writing day (new).  This is the day I’ll work on new words for whatever the, technically, next project will be, in this case, after “President’s Day” and “Invasion Agents #13”, THE THIRD FLOOR 2.  I did 800 words that day, with the effects of the second shot just starting to set in.  I could have done more, I think, but vacation days are a busy thing these days.
 
My vacation day schedules usually look like this:
8:00 Kara goes to work.
9:00 I take sweetpea to work (this week was 8:30, then I went to the courthouse to pay the taxes on my car)
10:00 I pick up Frankie (the part of Clementine will now be played by Frankie) from work.
12:00 I pick up Sweetpea from work and we have lunch together (this week after lunch, I bought Kara a birthday present), then I come home and write until Kara gets home.  So most of those vacation days off, I’m working in 90-minute intervals, and this week I only managed 800 words, but it was 800 words on a book I haven’t touched in about 2 years, so I’m not complaining too much.
 
Friday: Writing day (old).  This is the day I take something that’s already written but for some reason just not ready, or something I have on my “you’ve done so much work on this, you really need to finish it” list.  This week it was reading through “The Organ Grinder”, which used to be this not really very good X-Files script I wrote back in 1996, longhand, in the back of a car as I rode to work each night when I worked in Kansas City with some other St. Joe guys I knew.  A few years ago, I started rewriting it as an Angel Hill story about a team of paranormal investigators, but I never could quite grasp the story.  Having read it again Friday, after not looking at it for almost as long as it’s been since I touched THE THIRD FLOOR 2, I think it’s pretty good.  The writing itself, the narrative, is in some places at a level I didn’t know I could write at, and as far as I can tell, I only need to find a name for the monster, make a tweak here and there, and I think it’ll be ready to go out into the world.  And that was while feeling like complete shit.  Seriously, if you haven’t got the second shot yet, clear your schedule for at least 2 days afterward.
 
Saturday: “Admin” day.  This is the day I’ll take care of the “boring” side of the writing business, the non-writing part, where I organize files, work on marketing and getting reviews, etc.  This week, I took everything down.  I unpublished everything from Smashwords (with the exception of “PINK JELLYBUG MINK”, a collection of 5 or 6 poems in the “Pink Jellybug Mink” series of poems, and CUNT, a short story that is only available on Smashwords), Draft2Digital, Nook, and Kobo.
 
So for now, Amazon is the only place to get all of my titles.  Why?  A few reasons, the first being it’s just going to make tax time less of a pain in the ass, and that is a good thing for me.  Honestly, I was making so little from D2D and Smashwords that it didn’t make it worth my time to even file the taxes from those places.  We’re talking $11.66 from Barnes and Noble (Nook) last year, and I think maybe like $38 or so from Smashwords.  I didn’t make a TON from Amazon last year, but if I’m going to have my stuff anywhere it’s going to be the most popular and the one I made the most from, that one will be worth my time to mess with the taxes each year.
 
Another reason is I want to put this stuff back on KDP Select, which will make Prime members able to borrow the books for free, but, if they read them, I still get paid.
 
Also, being in Select allows you 5 “Free” days every 90 days.  So for 5 days of your choosing, they don’t even have to be in a row; you could do Monday one week, Tuesday the next and so on for 5 weeks, or however you want, but you get to make your title free for 5 days.
 
Currently, I think only “Carlotta Valdez” and “In the Presence of Loneliness” are in Select.  Speaking of which, starting tomorrow, Monday the 9th, “Carlotta Valdez” will be free all week, Monday through Friday.  If you don’t have it, this will be the time to get it.  Obviously, all I ask is that you leave a review, because I cannot stress enough how important reviews are to authors.  It’s not an ego things, it’s an Amazon thing.  The more and better your reviews, the more likely your book is to turn up in those Amazon sales emails we all get, recommending books we might like.  My novel THE THIRD FLOOR showed up in one of those one night while I was at work, when I still had a second part-time job at night, and by the time I got home, I had sold 600 copies just in those few hours.
 
So, seriously guys, reviews.  If you read it and it’s on Amazon, PLEASE leave a review.  They don’t have to be the 1000-word reviews I often write, just a few lines will do, and you’ll be my new favorite person.  Hell, I have a few readers, David Taylor and Roger Fauble, who’ve left so many reviews so consistently, I don’t know if they’ll ever have to pay for another C. Dennis Moore book, because I know by giving them a review copy, they will definitely leave a review.  Thanks, guys, you two are fucking awesome.
 
Also on Saturday, I finally got “President’s Day” up on ACX so I can get the audiobook version in production.  I really wanted a female reader since the main character is a woman, but of the few I’ve worked with in the past, two of them I wasn’t thrilled with what they did, one I loved, but she never replied to my offer, and I want to avoid putting it up for random auditions; the turnout for those is so little sometimes, and I love this story so much, I really don’t want to have to settle for whatever I can get.  So instead, I offered it to another reader David Bain and I have worked with in the past, someone whose work I’ve admired, Quintin Allen.  He replied last night that he’s recovering from surgery and has another job or two in line first, but if I can wait a few months, he’d love to do it.  That’s a relief.  Obviously since the book came out months ago and I’m just now getting around to worrying about the audiobook, I’m not in THAT big a rush, so I think I can give him whatever time he needs.
 
So that is my current writing schedule:
 
Sunday: Newsletter
Monday: Update
Tuesday: CDM SSW
Wednesday: Invasion Agents
Thursday: Writing (new)
Friday: Writing (old)
Saturday: Admin

 
It won’t stay like this forever, obviously.  Only working on a novel one day a week is not going to get it written, but I definitely needed some sort of structure to get me back into the habit of WRITING, but also allowed me time and space to get some of this other stuff worked on, too.  I still have, according to my list, 40 titles that need to be updated with the new bio, 9 of which are still unpublished and need new covers (actually, several of them NEED new covers, but only 9 of them aren’t currently available).
 
So a schedule is good and for this week it felt great to be doing something besides just updating old stuff from 9 years ago.  I will absolutely have to work on my word counts, though.  300 words?  I applaud the effort, but holy fuck is that weak.
 
Oh, shit, I almost forgot, while we were out Thursday, I also finally got Kara’s ring size and ordered her engagement ring.

Work continues on the revamping and updating of my Amazon books.  Sometimes it’s fun, always it’s rewarding, and sometimes it’s a big fucking pain in the ass.
 
Yesterday, since I had the entire weekend off (for those of you with dead relatives in Hell, you know what that means: snow day!) and I used that extra time in the morning to work on my short story collection THE DICHOTOMY OF MONSTERS.  And thank God for the extra time because I spent no less than 5 fucking hours yesterday getting that format right.
 
It started with the last line of the introduction somehow, from my screen to Amazon’s system, moving down to take up one line of the next page, which then throws everything off because you’ve just gone through the entire book to make sure that every new story starts on the right side of the book, front of the page.  I’m talking print edition; ebook editions don’t matter, they’re all one continuous stream of words that the e-reader then breaks up into pages.
 
But this damn print version!
 
So now I have to go back through and move everything so it, again, starts on the right hand side, front of the page.  But I’m doing this knowing it’s going to throw the table of contents off, too, but what am I supposed to do, that last line of the intro…
 
I could delete that last line, but then the print and ebook versions won’t match.  So I’m making adjustments, then sending it through the grinder again to see if everything looks right, then making more adjustments and sending it through again.
 
THEN, after about 3 or 4 rounds of this, I take a look at that intro and realize the entire last paragraph talks about the cover and why I chose that photo.  Except, this is the updated version … with the new cover!!!  That last paragraph doesn’t fit and has to be removed, so now we’re right back where we were the FIRST time through, but now I’ve also made all these adjustments to where everything’s going to fit and on which page.
 
Mother!  FUCKER!!!
 
So now I have to go back and try to remember what I moved and undo it, only I’ve been at this for a couple of hours now and my eyes are burning and I’m really tired and want to go back to bed.
 
So I did.  For like a half hour, then we had to get up and take Sweetpea to work because she got a new job and works at 8:00 every Saturday and Sunday.
 
When we got back (no, it doesn’t take BOTH Kara and I to take our daughter to work, but we like doing things together so go fuck yourself), I headed back to the office to finish the battle with this book.
 
Another 4 or 5 rounds of adjustments and finally around 9:30, I got it right, got it posted, and this morning there’s a brand new version of one of my favorite collections.
 
I mean, the stories are all the same stories, but it’s got a new cover and a new dedication (something it didn’t have previously), and my updated author bio wherein I mention Kara.
 
In total, that makes 6 updated books since last Sunday:

BLOOD BITCH
 

 
The Blood Bitch comes in the night to eat children through the mouth in her stomach.

When Jason wakes up in the middle of the night to feel himself being suffocated, his father, Allen, tells him the Blood Bitch is coming for him. This story is based on the idea that belief and fear is where monsters get their powers. The more we believe in monsters, the stronger they are.

But in this case, Jason and his mother Stephanie discover the Blood Bitch might not be as real as Allen thinks, at least if the bottle of prescription medication they find in the garage is any indication, a medication that’s supposed to stop Allen’s hallucinations. Now Jason and Stephanie aren’t sure where the real danger is coming from.

If Allen believes in the Blood Bitch enough, does that make her real?

This 6000-word story is named after the Cocteau Twins song of the same name, and is perfect for fans of MASTERS OF HORROR.
 

EPOCH WINTER
 

RUNNING FROM HIS PAST

Yahto is a Lakotan man trying to escape the sins of his past by throwing himself headlong into a forced solitude in the Canadian Rockies. Haunted by the memories of bloodshed at Little Big Horn, he is trying desperately to forget the violence he knows lies within him.

A WOMAN OUT OF TIME

Yoko is found freezing and pregnant in the snow. Yahto helps her to shelter and safety and as the two spend a long hard winter together, their bond becomes stronger and stronger.

Yoko tells him of where she comes from, a place of machines and tests, while Yahto fills her with Lakotan folklore, both trying to forget the past and focus on what’s to come, namely Yoko’s baby, which will be due very soon.

But what Yoko didn’t tell him, what he found out only when he saw her dragging the frozen body out of their cabin, into the woods, is that the people she escaped from will most likely stop at nothing to get her back. And no matter how much experience the old warrior has, it’s nothing compared to the weapons at their disposal. The winter snow gets harder to survive with few resources, no allies, and an army from another world tracking them.

AN UNBREAKABLE BOND

Despite the obstacles facing them, Yahto vows no harm will come to Yoko and the baby, a vow he’ll do anything to keep, even when the lightning flashes and a squad of armed men emerges from the trees around their cabin.

Horror writer C. Dennis Moore (author of The Third Floor) weaves a unique tale of fantasy and science fiction wrapped up in a blanket of myth and folklore from another time in this 12,000-word novella, one of his most accomplished works of fiction. “Epoch Winter” is a harsh story, told in such detail you can feel the chill in your bones as you share space with the characters, and with an ending so twisted your brain will be left in knots.
 

CAMDIGAN
 

Horror author C. Dennis Moore takes you to the streets of Camdigan, a town literally in the idle of nowhere, the place where to dead come to live.

David has wound up there by accident, but a chance encounter with a little girl brings him face to face with the wife he lost years ago. Now he’ll do anything to get out of Camdigan, and Camdigan will do anything to keep him there.

This 15,000-word novella will stay with you long after you reach the end. Camdigan is THE TWILIGHT ZONE on Ecstasy.

Praise for Camdigan:
“A somber story that treads new ground. Strangely riveting.
–The Eternal Night Chronicle.

“C. Dennis Moore’s writing is clean and clear. He doesn’t unnecessarily clutter up his sentences with fat metaphors and graphic descriptions that don’t advance the story.”
–Michael T. Huyck, Jr, FEOAMANTE.COM

 

FLUKE
 

“Where life can happen, it will.”

In this novella, horror author C. Dennis Moore (the Angel Hill series, the Monsters of Green Lake, and the Holiday Horrors) tells a very different kind of Frankenstein story.

Stan Wasco is a seeker. He spent nearly five decades seeking truth in science before giving it up to pursue bigger goals. But since then, he’s not done much with his time. Then one day he finds something on the side of the road, something that shouldn’t exist, but it’s staring him in the face and asking for bananas.

After fifty years, he’s finally found his one big thing, and he’s eager to find out as much as he can about this fluke of nature that has no right being here.

There’s just one problem: it’s that time of year when his older brother comes into town for a week of fishing and bonding and Jim’s a bit of a bully when he doesn’t get his way.

Stan has to find a way to placate the unreasonable while trying to understand the unexplainable. If he can make it through this week, he’s got the discovery of the century and a possibility to change the scientific principles governing life on earth.

Originally intended as a 100-page graphic novel, FLUKE has been expanded and adapted to prose, with the original comic book script included afterward.
 

WHAT THE BLIND MAN SAW (LOVE THAT COVER)
 

Fifteen stories of hellish horrors come together in C. Dennis Moore’s latest collection, WHAT THE BLIND MAN SAW.

Rudy finds a dead baby in his trash can.

Another man will do anything to escape Hell and take vengeance on Heaven.

Cody has done a bad thing, and a disfigured goblin is set on making him pay.

Sean Leonard goes out for pizza one night, but on the way back home finds himself on an endless highway, and the clocks have stopped moving.

And in Angel Hill, high school student Danny has found a mysterious object outside a church, one that promises him revenge and notoriety, but threatens so much worse in return.

WHAT THE BLIND MAN SAW promises chills and thrills amid a host of horrors guaranteed to keep the lights on into the late hours. Featuring killer cockroaches, an immortal who won’t stop aging, and the Devil on a drug run, this collection is a great jumping on point for Moore’s brand of horror in bite-size doses.

 
THE DICHOTOMY OF MONSTERS
 

Horror author C. Dennis Moore returns to the short story form with THE DICHOTOMY OF MONSTERS, fifteen terrifying tales of things that aren’t what they seem. Moore’s reality will leave you questioning your own senses and doubting the proof right in front of your eyes.

In “Reckoning”, Jody returns to his childhood home after his mother’s funeral to find some of the memories he thought he’d left behind aren’t so quiet nor so forgotten. Fans of his haunted house novel The Third Floor will find Moore’s take on ghosts in this story to be anything but typical.

In “Timesmiths”, Moore ponders the question of time travel and what happens to the perceptions of those being affected when alterations are made. In “Broken Man”, poor Mr. Sumner saw angels take away his dying wife and now he thinks he can bring them back for him if he makes himself suffer enough.

In the title story, an escaped Mr. Hyde sets out for America in search of a permanent cure to his weak alter-ego. But he soon discovers the real monsters are not quite as obviously recognized as he is.

In “Monday”, the one C. Dennis Moore calls “the best story I’ve ever written”, Maddy has only one goal today: die. But an old custom and a deep-rooted sense of routine keeps her locked in an unending cycle until she can figure out the key to breaking her pattern.

These are just some of the fifteen stories in THE DICHOTOMY OF MONSTERS, but each one offers its own unique view of hell and the monsters that dwell there. Leave your preconceptions at the door and let C. Dennis Moore show you just how beautiful monsters can be and, as in the story “The Garden”, how monstrous the beautiful.
 
 
I still have a few more to do (TERRIBLE THRILLS and the mini-collections come immediately to mind, and TT is 10 stories more than DoM and I swear to Christ it better not be the fucking hassle that was yesterday!!!) before I can rest and stop updating.
 
And by then, God willing, I’ll have an Invasion Agents cover and can get that up too and move the fuck on to write something else.

I had this idea, back in 2000?  2001?  Somewhere around there.  Back then, I had self-published a couple of poetry and short fiction chapbooks, modeled after my friend and mentor Mike Swope, and I loved the process and the finished product.  In a world where you can submit a story to a magazine, by physical mail, and MAYBE get a response within the next 6 months, if you’re lucky, in the days before widespread internet access, this was a viable route to get your work seen.  You print off a hundred or so chapbooks and sell em to co-workers or something, and while it’s frowned upon by the writing community at large, a hundred cheap little chapbooks aren’t going to be the end of the world.
 
And, like I said, I loved the process.  I had ideas for chapbooks I never got around to producing, but if time and money hadn’t been an issue back then (covers weren’t cheap), I would have.
 
And then one day I had this idea and it was very underground and punk rock and antiestablishment of me.  I thought why go through editors and agents and publishers and booksellers?  If people want to read my stories, why shouldn’t they be able to do so without the hassle?  I’m a smart man, for the most part, I should just be able to sell directly to fans.  As if I had any in 2000 (I didn’t.  I think that year saw my FIRST publication in a small press magazine that probably wasn’t around much longer).  The internet is becoming a thing now.  I have the ability to design, print, and assemble chapbooks.  Let’s say I get a webpage where I can have the covers to my short stories and I can print these short stories and publish them as standalone little chapbooks.  At the time, I had maybe 20-25 short stories written, not a lot considering I’d been writing since 1991.  But I thought, I could make covers for each short story with my very limited knowledge, ability, and access to clipart via the internet of 2000.  I could put these covers online and charge a very minimal amount.  My thought was 10 cents a printed page.  So if a short story came to 10 pages in chapbook form, that’s $1.  A 5-page story, $0.50.
 
And technically I still think this is a viable idea, but thank God for Amazon and Kindle Publishing because this is MUCH easier.  Putting chapbooks together, with all the folding and stapling, it SUCKS.
 
The only downside is that Amazon, Smashwords, Draft2Digital, Nook, Kobo, and whoever else is out there, won’t let you charge less than $0.99.  So if I wanted to release a short story that was only 4 pages on a Kindle, I wouldn’t be able to charge only $0.40, which sort of, for me, defeats the purpose of $0.10 per published page.
 
Now I give all of this backstory to say I took all of my short stories off Amazon years ago, in an attempt to clean up my pages and my dashboard and make the books that remained online look more legit.
 
I had visions of swastikas in my head, plans for everyone. Also, I had visions of potential readers coming across my work on Amazon and not being to sort the novels from the short stories, many of which were already published in the full-length collections, of which I also have several.  I thought of growing up reading King and he published novels and short story collections.  Sometimes he’d release a small collection of novellas, but for the most part it was novels and short story collections.  But he never released single short stories on their own.
 
Sure, he published those in magazines that paid a lot of money, so in a sense, most of those short stories WERE available in a standalone format.  If you knew where to look.  But he wasn’t writing a short story and then selling it to his fans.  It just wasn’t the way things were done.
 
So I took down most of the shorts, anything that had already been collected.  Things like the Angel Hill shorts or the Holiday Horrors stayed up, but eventually those too would be collected and the standalone versions, most likely, removed from Amazon.
 
A while later, I put a few of the shorts back up, just the ones that had reviews already.  “Coming Down the Mountain”, “Son of Man”, and “Renovation”.  Mostly that one, I made a lot of money on “Renovation” back in the 2013, probably because it had a house on the cover and, when everyone was buying THE THIRD FLOOR, they probably assumed it was another ghost story.
 
I put these stories back on Amazon under the banner “Horror Singles”, like songs.  Each story was short, so each story had a bonus story after, and I called these the A-Side (main story), and B-Side (bonus story).  I thought it was a clever idea and I stand by it.
 
But I don’t think anyone else caught on to what I was doing and anyway, short stories don’t sell.  Typically.  Every writer knows it, but we keep on writing short stories.  They’re easier, faster, and oftentimes a lot more fun to do.  But we do it on our own dime because no one buys them.
 
And if Amazon charged us for the space, or like $1 each time we wanted to hit publish on a new title, you’d see a LOT fewer single short stories and a lot more short story collections.  But they don’t, so whatever.
 
Back to my point.  I still, after 10 years self-publishing (I do NOT miss submitting AT ALL AT ALL), remain unable to fully reconcile the idea of publishing short stories as standalone titles.  I think they are legitimate works with just as much write to exist as any other form or art.  However, unlike novels, short stories have other avenues of release, like the short story collection.  You don’t see many novel collections, novels typically stand on their own as an individual entity.  Whereas the short story gets so little love.
 
And I don’t think EVERY short story I’ve ever written needs or deserves to be out there on its own, but I have a few here and there that I really like and want to draw specific attention to.  Stories like “Revenge of the Roach King” or “Working for the Fat Man” or “The Caterpillar”.  These are really good stories, and they would get lost in a collection.  Or worse, never even seen, because collections don’t exactly fly off the “shelves”, either.
 
Christ, I’m rambling.  All of this is a VERY long way of saying I’m putting those short stories back on Amazon.  New, BETTER covers, given another once-over for typos, with my updated bio mentioning Kara, and the calls to action are cleaned up, too.  Will any of this make a difference?  I would like to think so.
 
I am probably going to take those collections off the other platforms, Smashwords and Draft2Digital, because I’d like to have the shorts on KDP Unlimited, just to see what happens, but since those stories also appear in those collections, that violates Amazon’s exclusivity rule for Unlimited.  I mean, they call it Unlimited, but it is in fact VERY limited.  Like all the way limited.
 
And all of this led me to another thought yesterday at work.
 
When ebook and Kindle publishing was first becoming a topic of conversation on the message boards, one of my main problems was the idea of collectability.  I’m a BIG collector of all things I love, but it you’re talking print-on-demand physical copies and worldwide web e-copies, where does the collectors market stand?  You can’t print a limited run and make them more valuable because of their scarcity.
 
And I had this idea yesterday, what if you released an ebook and you paid close attention to the sales and, once a book hit 50 or 100 sales, you took it back down.  I know it’s not the same thing, but it IS an idea I kept coming back to a few times over the course of the day.
 
Yeah, I know, nothing is really LIMITED or UNAVAILABLE in a digital world, but I still thought it was a neat idea, so shut up.
 
Oh, and back to those 10 cent/page chapbooks.  So I mentioned the idea to another friend of mine, Dave Barnett, the founder and publisher of Necro Publications, and he shot it down without hesitation, citing the disdain for “vanity” publishing to the writing community at large—at that time.  He suggested instead I get on some horror message boards and just talk to people.
 
So I did.  And I made friends I had for a while and then they faded, and I made friends I’ll have forever.  What’s up, Dave?  Bain, that is.  We met back in the message board days and have been friends ever since.  It was Bain who told me about Smashwords and introduced me to the then-brand new world of acceptable self-publishing and the world has been a very different place for me ever since.
 
So while Barnett hated my idea, he did lead me to a place where, ten years down the line, that same idea was going to be just the way things were done.  Self-publishing is the norm now.  I don’t know a lot of writers, personally, who even care anymore about a traditional deal, considering how terrible those deals actually are for the authors, especially for “first-time authors”.  Self-publishing is the route most authors take and it’s the route I’ve been wanting to take since 2001 and it’s 20 years later and I’m 10 years in and dammit I’m putting my short stories back into the world as standalone titles.  All of which says, to me, that I was right all along.  So eat it, nerd!
 
At the end of the day, this is what writers have been doing since stories were first memorialized in print.  We write a story, then hand it out to a bunch of people, friends and family, and hope they like it.  Same principle, but now we can charge a few cents for it.

It wasn’t my immediate plan–I mean, I was gonna get to it eventually, just not NOW–but the universe is right on schedule and it had other plans for my week.  So instead of whatever I was probably going to work on, instead I spent the week updating the covers to my Angel Hill short stories.  You can see the covers below, but it would be REALLY awesome if you went to the LIBRARY page of this here website and actually bought some or all of them.

It’s Saturday and I wish I had the day off.  I have a TON of things I could be getting done today.  Or at least a ton of things I could be working on. Things I WANT to be working on.

Lately I’ve been going back to the old shorts and updating them.  I have a new cover on ICONS TO ASHES, and a new cover and product description on PLAYGROUND OF THE GODS (the story formerly known as Cuneiforms).  I’ve also been working on new covers for the Angel Hill shorts CARLOTTA VALDEZ and FLAGPOLE SITTA.

That wasn’t actually part of the plan for this week, but inspiration struck and I had to follow it through.  And I’m glad I did because I’m REALLY pleased with what I have coming for those two stories.

But the part I’m having the most trouble with, and the part I wish I had today off to work on for 8 hours straight, is the product description for PLAYGROUND.  I’ve got it.  I know I’ve got it, I’m very happy with 75% of the description.  But there’s just this one sentence I can’t nail down.

I’ve been through half a dozen versions and none of them are right.  I’m so close, but that perfect last few words keeps eluding me.

Hell, maybe working today is what I need, something to get my mind on something else and let my subconscious work it out.  It’s worked many times in the past.

Then again, I’d really just rather go get back into bed with Kara.  I’m still tired and she’s cuddly.

It’s finally done and done for real this time, I have … revitalized(?) my collection of vampire short stories, ICONS TO ASHES, with a new cover and a quick edit and it is available in ebook, print, and audiobook formats from everywhere, including AMAZON.  For the full list of links to buy it, check out the book’s Library page on this site.  If you dig vampires that don’t sparkle or drink fake store-bought blood while chasing fairies through Louisiana, this is the collection for you.

Well, I THOUGHT I had the updated ICONS TO ASHES done, ready, and published.  Then I got to work today and thought, “You know, that text really needs a shadow under it…”

So I came home today and did that and now I have to wait AGAIN for the processing to be done.  And the print cover … the text might be placed just a TAD too far to the right.  If so, that’s gonna take even more work to fix.  But I want it right and perfect, so it’s work I will do in service of the book.

 

Meanwhile I’m also revamping, retitling and re-covering an old story previously called “Cuneiforms”.  Now it’s called “Playground of the Gods” and this will be it’s cover:

I am currently in the process of updating my old short story collection, ICONS TO ASHES and have been working on the cover.  I’ve got it narrowed down to a few I really like, but am going to send them out in my newsletter this week and see what everyone thinks.

 

However, I do have a few covers I really liked but will not be using.  Here are the ones I’m NOT using:

   

Okay, the big thing is done.  The new Holiday Horror short “President’s Day” has been published.  Next up is the 13th issue of Invasion Agents.  But that’s still being edited and I still have the cover out to the cover artist.

 

So, I’m waiting.  And waiting.  And I get the wait.  The editor was in the hospital (pneumonia), and the artist is preoccupied looking for a new apartment.

 

But I’m having a really hard time deciding what to work on in the interim.  I have stuff.  I have LOTS of stuff I COULD be doing, some of it is stuff I SHOULD be doing.  But it’s the same as the last time I was waiting on edits, I just don’t want to get into something and then have to put it down in a couple of days once the edits get here.

 

Also, work sprang a last-minute extra hour to our shift for tomorrow, so today is, literally, the only day I would have to work on whatever it is I work on today before I’m coming directly home to a new dryer delivery and will be busy with that tomorrow night.

 

So.  Well, fuck.  I’m writing this instead just to say I did SOME kind of writing,

 

Hopefully next week will be back to normal.

I’ll be honest.  Today I’m stalling.  I’m ready to hit Publish on my new Holiday Horror story “President’s Day”.  But I like this story so much, I don’t want it to go up until it’s as good as it can be.  The thing is, I think it IS as good as it can be.  I’ve spent months working on this story, and that’s just the editing.  It’s on its 6th draft.  I haven’t done a 6th draft of anything in years.

But I really truly believe in this story and there’s a part of my that is afraid to put it out just yet.

I know I HAVE to.  I set a deadline, after all, in my newsletter.  I told the world when I was publishing this story, no later than Monday, Memorial Day.  And I did that on purpose, so I couldn’t back out.

And while that does give me another 2 days to fret over every little detail, I 1) already know it’s good and ready to go and 2) would really like to have a link I can put in this week’s newsletter which comes out TOMORROW.  So I really really really need to hit Publish on this thing TODAY.

Alright, fine.  I’m doing it.  Next time you see me here, I’ll have a brand new story for the world, an homage to my beloved 80s slasher flicks, set in a hardware store, where there are LOTS of things to kill people with.  Forget Halloween or Friday the 13th, there’s a new killer holiday in town and it’s President’s Day!

Okay, I had to set a deadline for myself, otherwise I would never have got President’s Day DONE and published.

 

I seriously feel I could tinker with and edit and revise this story for the next year and not feel bad about it.  But that way lies the death of the work.

 

Believe it or not, you can OVER-edit a story.

 

So, my deadline is set.  BY Memorial Day—no later—maybe even sooner, I will hit publish on the next Holiday Horror story.

 

I added a few lines today to help disguise a certain character’s motivation, and I’m gonna show it to Kara and get her opinion, and I’m SO very close to finalizing the text on the cover.  God, I can’t believe how purposeful I’m being with every detail on this one.  But I really believe in this story, I think it’s that good.

 

Hopefully I’m right.

I’m sitting here thinking about “President’s Day”, the next in my Holiday Horrors series.  It’s almost ready, but not quite.  I feel it needs one more death scene.  And I thought, until today, that I knew what that scene would be.  I saw it in my head.  But as I started to write it, I had another thought: the reveal of that death comes midway through the story and I think the reveal is well-placed and gives the story another layer of uh-oh when we hear about it.  Do I really want to spoil that?

 

My initial thought was to show the death and use it to throw suspicion away from the real killer and onto a red herring, but I can do that with a different death scene, easily.  So, do I want to leave the other death alone (it was going to serve as a prologue for the story), and let that reveal come when it does?  I think maybe.

 

That isn’t a decision to just MAKE though, it’s one that’s going to have to be pondered and weighed as I skim the manuscript for where I could possibly put the other death scene I had in mind.

 

Sometimes caring about how the story turns out can be a real pain in the ass.

Holy crap, FINALLY!!!  The theater opened up here in St. Joe and after over A YEAR, Kara and I were able to get into the theater.  Yes, we got in for a second in August or November last year when Sweetpea (our oldest daughter) and I took Link (our second to youngest son) to see THE NEW MUTANTS, but the theater closed again so quickly after that it barely counts.

 

So time will tell if this open is permanent or not, but either way, Kara and I got to see a movie together, and that’s something we haven’t done in FOR! EVER!  Hell, we can count the number of movies we’ve seen together in a theater on one hand, but this last Saturday was one of my favorites.

 

We saw SPIRAL: From the Book of Saw, a movie I’ve been wanting to see since I saw the first trailer last year, and I’m glad it’s finally been released, but mostly … damn, I was just glad to finally get back to the movies.  Sweetpea and I used to go all the time over the last few years, so being cut off from those delicious nachos for so long was torture.  And to look over and have Kara sitting beside me in the theater … fuck yes.  More of that, please.

 

Next up: Worlds of Fun.

 

See?  I tell myself I’m going to make this a regular part of my writing day and I manage, AT BEST, every other day.   And I’m cool with every other day; I don’t feel I have important enough things to say every day.  But now I’ve missed the last THREE days.  But I do have things to announce today.

 

One, I’ve got what I think is the final cover for “President’s Day” as well as a 5th draft at 24,028 words.  I’ve got the first few edits for “Invasion Agents #13”, and hope to have a rough version of that cover soon.

 

I FINALLY updated my Amazon author bio.  I haven’t touched that thing since I put my first book on Amazon in, what, 2012?  It was WAY outdated, mentioning my most recent anthology appearances which were recent in 2012, but since I haven’t submitted to an anthology since then, aren’t so recent anymore.  I was also able, finally, to add Kara to my bio.  I really love that part.

 

And on Sunday I published a new short story to Amazon.  Not a NEW story, it’s actually about 10 years old, and this isn’t the first time it’s been published.  “In the Presence of Loneliness” used to be included at the back of THE THIRD FLOOR but I took it out years ago and made it an exclusive available only on Instafreebie, which then became Prolific Works.  But now it’s back on Amazon as an exclusive, enrolled in their KDP Select program, which means anyone with an Amazon Prime account can borrow it for FREE.  So you should totally do that.  Go borrow it and then read it.  It’s like 16 pages.  Go do it now:

 

After a bitter breakup, Tom is trying to start over, this time on his own. Except the house he’s moved into isn’t exactly empty. This Amazon exclusive is set after the events of my best-selling novel THE THIRD FLOOR, and sets up the events of the upcoming sequel.

Now that’s what I’m talking about: productivity.  This week I edited 53 pages of notes on “President’s Day”, getting REAL close to a 5th draft, and today I sent out the latest C. Dennis Moore Short Story Webring story, “Broken Man”.

 

I should deserve a day off, but I won’t get it because I love writing and being away from it too long makes me VERY cranky.

 

And anyway, it’s almost the weekend and that means NEWSLETTER day is coming.  If you haven’t subscribed yet, do so at THIS LINK!

Good Lord, I’ve been doing some mad edits.  An insane amount of edits.  You might even say a PLETHORA of edits.  And thank God for them, because they are working to make “President’s Day” into the story I always knew it could be.

 

I want to thank all of my beta readers, even the ones who haven’t got back to me yet, for taking the time to read this new story for me, in most cases before it’s even in its final form, when it’s still a little rough around the edges and some of the sentences are clunky as all hell.

 

I owe you guys huge.

 

One in particular, Brenda … I’ve spent the last 3 days working my way through the incredible amount of work she’s done for this story to make my words shine.  Only one more day to go on her edits, and then I take another look at the overall flow.  I’m very psyched to see this story in its final draft version and to share it with the world.

You ever find yourself with so many things you COULD be doing that you don’t know where to start, so you end up getting nothing done?  You stare at the screen, trying to will something into existence, a sign or something that says “Work on this first.”

 

I’m an organized person.  Sometimes I think I’m too organized.  I have systems and lists in place for all kinds of different situations.  But sometimes you reach a point on more than one project where you freeze.

 

I’ve currently got TWO stories out for beta reads and edits, and there are any number of other things I COULD be working on in the meantime.  That’s the problem, so many things I could be doing.  But I know that, when the edits come back on those other two stories, I’m going to want to put down what I’m doing and get back to those.  So what do I have currently on the “could be working on it” list that I’m comfortable putting down at the drop of a hat, or the arrival of an email?  I don’t really want to “abandon” any of them, and that’s the problem.  I don’t want to start anything I’m going to have to stop with no notice.

 

So I find myself looking at the two stories that are out, wondering if just by staring at them, I can make them perfect and ready to go.  Or I stare at my list of other projects I could be working on in the meantime, wondering if just by staring at them, I can make them perfect and ready to go so I don’t have to put them down again a few days later.

 

Also, it’s Saturday and I’m headed to work in an hour, which means after that, I’m done writing for the day (I REALLY need to mow when I get off tonight, then, since it’s Saturday, Kara and I always go out to dinner on Saturday), and tomorrow’s Sunday, which is newsletter day, so I know nothing I work on today is going to get touched again until Monday at the soonest.  And that’s two days’ time my beta readers and editors have to finish the work their doing and send it back to me, thereby postponing, even longer, whatever I was going to start today.

 

Writer problems.