I’ve just completed the first read-through of THE DEMONS OF GREEN LAKE and while I can still see what I was going for with the ending, I still don’t think it’s the ending I envisioned.  But this was just a first read-through; I haven’t actually started the editing or revision.  Mostly I was just checking for typos and to make sure the whole thing holds up and doesn’t crumble under its own weight.

 

I think it’s safe to say, I like the bones of what’s here.  Definitely need to put some thought into the traveling scene at the beginning and that ending still needs a ton of work to match up to the rest of the story as it still reads like I was rushing.  Which I was.  That was a LONG day finishing up the first draft and with the end in sight, I just wanted to type THE END and get on with my day, knowing I could always come back later and make it pretty.

 

I don’t think that’s going to be my focus this coming week, I think I need to give it one more week to marinate and I clear my head.  Then I’ll come back and fix the things I didn’t care for.  Meanwihle, I really should put some thought into plotting out the second and third books for both THE KINGDOM series and THE NIGHT series.  Maybe.

This week I’m editing.  It’s not my favorite part of the writing process, but I think I used to enjoy it more than I do now.  I’m not sure why that is; the process now is pretty much the same as it’s always been, consisting of me reading through the work, looking for typos and inconsistencies and places where I just didn’t know what I was talking about.  If anything, editing should go even faster than it used to; I’m a much more attentive writer than I was two decades ago.

 

I think sometimes it might have something to do with an author’s inability to read their own work.  And that’s what editing is, especially after that first draft, re-reading the story.  In many cases it’s re-reading the story you JUST wrote.  For me, I finished this first draft … about 2 weeks ago, I think.  But I started it back in October 2023.  I’m not sure why it took me three months to write a 23,000-word story, but it did and here we are.

 

So now I’m editing it, re-reading it, checking for typos and inconsistencies and places where I just didn’t know what I was talking about.

 

I think for this one, part of the problem might be in the fact it’s part 4 of a series of novellas, this installment wrapping up the whole story, and I’d really like it if some of the details wrapped around to form a nice whole package.

 

For instance, there’s a side character in the scene I’m currently editing.  In the story this character’s name is Ronnie.  In book one of the series, there’s a side character named Parker who the main character is sure is in love with his daughter.  This idea is never mentioned past book one and I feel like the Ronnie character should have been named Parker, thus tying a little bow on this character’s whereabouts throughout the rest of the series, but when I got to that part today, I just couldn’t be bothered because it wouldn’t be just a simple matter of a search and replace, I’d feel I needed to call back to that scene from book one and I not only don’t remember enough of it without pausing what I was doing and going back to look it up, thereby having to either dig out the physical copy of the book, or open the file, I also just didn’t want to bother with it today.  For me, for NOW, it’s much easier to just leave it as Ronnie and not make mention of the short nothing scene Parker had in book one, and get to the end that much quicker.

 

And then, for the rest of the time I’m editing this piece, there’s gonna be that voice in the back of my head that says to go back and tie it all together.  And I honestly don’t know how long I can ignore that voice, or have any idea what other parts I’m going to see as I work through the rest of this draft that it’s going to insist I go back and rework.  Editing just isn’t as fun as it used to be.

Sometimes the cover creates the book.

 

For years now I’ve had a collection called EVERYTHING BUT THE BITCH, which compiled three of my novellas, “Camdigan”, “Safe at Home”, and “Ice” under one cover, labelled vol. 1, with the intention of one day doing a vol. 2.  But while looking for cover images for an upcoming release the other day, I found this picture that said to me USE ME.  It even told me what book it wanted to be the cover for: Everything But the Bitch.

 

But this cover is so damn beautiful, that measly little collection wasn’t good enough.  So I have expanded that initial edition to include SIX of my novellas, adding in “The Organ Grinder”, “Aftermath” and “Kung Fu Sasquatch” for a massive, 93,000+ word book that I have just published today.

 

The paperback and hardcover editions are currently in the works, but if you’re a staunch ebook reader, you can get it NOW HERE on Amazon for only $5.99.

 

I mean, come on, look at that cover!

This morning, after publishing the reformatted-to-mass-market-paperback-sized WELCOME TO THE TRUST, I went through Kobo and Draft2Digital and removed all of my books—with the exception of the short story “Alter”, which Amazon has rejected for some reason, but only the ebook version.  The paperback version still exists on Amazon.  Try and figure that one out!

 

So I’ll give them a week or two, then go through the individual sites and make sure my books, after a random search, aren’t listed for sale, then I get to start the process of going through my entire 80+ titles on Amazon and making them exclusive.  Again.

 

Again, I need way more hours in the day!

Today I took everything off sale on the Barnes and Noble site.  Next up, Kobo.  Then Draft2Digital.

Then the LONG process of going back through the Amazon dashboard and making everything Amazon Exclusive.  AGAIN.  Sigh.

I need a business manager to make all of these decisions for me; I have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to marketing and selling my books.  I just write the story I want to write, put it into the world, and hope for the best.  But there’s got to be a better, more reliable way.  Doesn’t there?

Last Saturday, January 13th, 2024, I finished the first draft of my next story, THE DEMONS OF GREEN LAKE, ending the Monsters of Green Lake series.  The first draft was 23,652 words; I did 2502 words that day.

 

With that done, I’m taking this week to republish the last of my collections in mass market paperback size, starting this morning with LOVE JONES, then tomorrow will be SO QUAKE WITH FEAR, YOU TINY FOOLS!, followed by POWER & THE GRAVY on Thursday and WELCOME TO THE TRUST on Friday.

 

I don’t think I’m going to get right into the edits on DEMONS just yet.  I already know the ending needs to be rewritten.  Not that the ending I have is bad, it’s the way the story always ended.  I just know it’s very badly written.  It was getting late in the day on Saturday and I’d been at it for several hours already and just wanted to enjoy some of my rare Saturday off with Kara, so I might have sort of maybe rushed through the writing of the epilogue.  Hell, I forgot to even label in an epilogue, now that I think about it.

 

I need to let what I have written marinate just a little longer before I try to go back and tackle it, so next week will, most likely, be more reformatting for mass market paperback sizes.

 

I’ve also been thinking lately of going back to Amazon Exclusive.  While it’s not hurting anything having the books up on Smashwords and Draft2Digital and Barnes and Noble and Kobo, I can’t really see where it’s helping, either.  Since I started putting things back up on those sites last year—a process I never finished, there’s just so damn many titles, and I had things I needed to write—I haven’t sold a single book on Barnes and Noble or Kobo, and my sales on Smashwords and Draft2Digital, combined, would probably be less than $10 a month, so why am I bothering, other than the CHANCE at exposure.  Honestly, I get more exposure making something free for a few days every couple of months.

 

Yesterday, I unpublished everything from Smashwords, except PINK JELLYBUG MINK and CUNT, the two books that have always been exclusive to Smashwords.  I may take the rest of this week, after I’ve done that day’s book, to go through the other sites and remove my stuff.

 

And then I have to go through and make everything Exclusive again on Amazon.  I need a 40-hour day!

 

(photo by Mohamed_hassan at Pixabay.com)

I just wanted to post a quick update on the current work in progress.  I’m writing the last book in the Monsters of Green Lake series, THE DEMONS OF GREEN LAKE, and today I hit the 20,000 word mark.  There’s still more to go, but that’s a pretty big milestone in ANY story, and worth noting.

 

Normally, these Green Lake stories don’t tend to run much longer than 20,000, but this one’s still got some story left to tell, so it’s gonna be a bit thicker than the others in the series.  Originally I’d thought it might even reach short novel length, but having gotten this far into it now, and seeing where the story goes, where the climax comes, it actually won’t be THAT long.  But it’s definitely still got some things to say before I get to THE END.

 

Having recently listened to the audiobook for book 3, THE WITCHES OF GREEN LAKE, I thought I did some pretty good work in that one.  But the stuff happening in THIS book, part 4?  I think it’s safe to say this is my favorite book in the series.

 

I can’t wait to finish it and share it with everyone.

I feel like I need to start this year by talking about a friend of mine.  But first a look back.  When I was younger, I’d tried to write many many times, all through grade school to high school.  Every so often I’d think I want to write a story.  It was always longhand, and that was the first stumbling block.  But also I just didn’t have the tools, mentally, to do it.  But the desire never left.

 

Then one day in 1990 or 1991 I started working at a fast-food restaurant where I met a man named Mike Swope.  Unbeknownst to me at the time, Mike was a writer.  He came to work one day with copies of a book he had self-published, a chapbook really, of poetry and short fiction, called OR.

 

Fascinated by the idea that this guy I knew, this fellow fast-food employee might also be a writer … I had to buy a copy of his book.  Naturally I read it, and was floored, not just at how much I enjoyed it, but also how effortless he made the words, and the work, seem.

 

More chapbooks followed, one was called Passed Through the Hands—which, now that I think about it might have been an earlier book, but I didn’t discover it until after OR—and then I found out he edited and published a small literary magazine at the college he attended in town.  The zine was called Soundings.

 

To my then 18-year-old self, this was all just the wildest, most insane thing, all literary and arty and so far over my head.  But I wanted in.

 

Soon after meeting Swope, I took the plunge once again and started writing a story.  I didn’t know how long it would be or even if I would finish it, but it was the first time I’d ever tried to write something where the story was so complete in my head. I didn’t know every detail when I started, but I knew a lot of them, and I was determined to finish, AT LEAST, this one story.  If I ever wrote another, I’d worry about that later, but for that moment, I had that one story in my head.

 

And then I had another story, and another, and another followed after that, and pretty soon I had all kinds of story ideas in my head, and then one day I showed something I’d written to Swope.

 

My heart was in my throat, I think is a saying for when people are incredibly nervous, and that about sums it up as he read what I had written.  And then he said he liked it and I should keep going.

 

So I did.

 

Over the years, Swope’s guidance gave me a greater education, in a much shorter time, than I ever could have gained on my own.  He taught me so much about editing, word choice, scene construction, and just, well, everything about writing that would have taken me forever to learn without him.  Would I have gotten there eventually?  Maybe.  But with Swope’s mentorship, I don’t have to wonder.  He got me there.

 

And then he went one step further.

 

Back in 2003 when an author website was more of a novelty, something we all wanted, but probably wouldn’t know how to use if we had one, and most of them were from other sites like geocities—there weren’t many dedicated domains back then—he gifted me with my very own domain, cdennismoore.com.

 

Why did he do it?  I have no idea other than maybe he had more faith in my writing than I did.  Whatever the reason, for the next 20 years, I had my own site.  Every year for Christmas, Swope renewed the domain name and offered me free hosting.

 

I haven’t always taken full advantage of having the site, I’ve often neglected to update it as regularly as I should or could with my new works, but it was always there, and the address has always been in every one of my books if people wanted to check it out.

 

Then a fucking TERRIBLE thing happened in October 2023.  Mike was in a motorcycle accident that took his life.

 

My friend was gone.  My mentor.  The guy who still, over 30 years into my writing life, I wanted to impress more than anyone else, wasn’t there anymore.

 

And then I realized soon after, oh shit, with Swope gone, what happens to the website?  I was going to have to make sure I secured the domain when it expired, and then I’d have to find alternate hosting, but after contacting his son who put me in touch with the guy who was taking over the other sites Swope ran—he had a lot of sites under his care—the site was only down for a few days.  Now it’s back up, it’s January 1st 2024, and I wanted the first thing I said here to be about Mike Swope and how grateful I am, and always will be, for everything he ever did for me, things he didn’t have to do, but things he did anyway, either because he believed in me, or because he was just that fucking awesome of a guy.  I like to think it’s a bit of both.

 

Most of Swope’s writings are now lost to time, but he did appear in a volume of L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future, and last year, I finally talked him into self publishing one of his old stories—the one from that Hubbard anthology, in fact—called “Timepieces”.

 

Swope’s gone, so I don’t know what happens to any money his story makes now, but if you’re so inclined to check out the guy who made me a better writer—and I encourage to do so, it’s a great story—click HERE.

 

Meanwhile, again, I just wanted to start the year with a testament to Mike Swope, the man without whom I probably wouldn’t have had even half the successes I have.  Thanks, man.  I truly couldn’t have done it without you.

 

–D.

THE CALL OF THE TRACK AHEAD, by Dean Wesley Smith

Do you risk your life, your safety, and the women you love for a dream?

Sometimes just a single step from a moving train can provide the answer.

A heart-warming contemporary fantasy story by USA Today bestselling author Dean Wesley Smith.

Bestselling author Dean Wesley Smith has written more than one hundred popular novels and hundreds of published short stories. His novels include the science fiction novel Laying the Music to Rest and the thriller The Hunted as D.W. Smith. With Kristine Kathryn Rusch, he is the coauthor of The Tenth Planet trilogy and The 10th Kingdom.

A CHOIR OF ILL CHILDREN, BY TOM PICCIRILLI

This lyrical tale of evil, loss, and redemption is a stunning addition to the Southern gothic tradition of Flannery O’Connor and Harry Crews.

A Choir of Ill Children is the startling story of Kingdom Come, a decaying, swamp backwater that draws the lost, ill-fated, and damned.

Since his mother’s disappearance and his father’s suicide, Thomas has cared for his three brothers—conjoined triplets with separate bodies but one shared brain—and the town’s only industry, the Mill.

Because of his family’s prominence, Thomas is feared and respected by the superstitious swamp folk. Granny witches cast hexes while Thomas’s childhood sweetheart drifts through his life like a vengeful ghost and his best friend, a reverend suffering from the power of tongues, is overcome with this curse as he tries to warn of impending menace. All Thomas learns is that “the carnival is coming.”

Torn by responsibility and rage, Thomas must face his tormented past as well as the mysterious forces surging toward the town he loves and despises.

Hammers on Bone (Persons Non Grata, 1), by Cassandra Khaw

Cassandra Khaw bursts onto the scene with Hammers on Bone, a hard-boiled horror show that Charles Stross calls “possibly the most promising horror debut of 2016.” A finalist for the British Fantasy award and the Locus Award for Best Novella!

John Persons is a private investigator with a distasteful job from an unlikely client. He’s been hired by a ten-year-old to kill the kid’s stepdad, McKinsey. The man in question is abusive, abrasive, and abominable.

He’s also a monster, which makes Persons the perfect thing to hunt him. Over the course of his ancient, arcane existence, he’s hunted gods and demons, and broken them in his teeth.

As Persons investigates the horrible McKinsey, he realizes that he carries something far darker. He’s infected with an alien presence, and he’s spreading that monstrosity far and wide. Luckily Persons is no stranger to the occult, being an ancient and magical intelligence himself. The question is whether the private dick can take down the abusive stepdad without releasing the holds on his own horrifying potential.

Terror in Brief: 200 Two-Sentence Horror Stories, by D. T. Adams

Chilling horror stories that are very short, but no less scary

All 200 stories in Terror in Brief are just two sentences long. The frightening, bite-sized tales in this collection are presented in four categories:

– Twisted Individuals. Bloodcurdling stories about evil, morally bankrupt people, lunatics and sociopaths

– Remorseless Killers. Horrific stories about those willing to commit murder

– Terrifying Creatures and Wicked Beings. Savage stories about non-humans and the terror their acts can cause

– Creepy and Horrific Happenings. Strange stories about paranormal and supernatural phenomena that can prove deadly

Encounter foul, crooked people and bear witness to the revolting things they do. See what fearless beasts and otherworldly spirits are capable of. Watch as weird occurrences have disastrous consequences and effects.

If you’re a horror fan and you enjoy very short fiction, you’ll enjoy Terror in Brief.

 

G. I. JOE CLASSICS, Vol. 1, by Larry Hama

The classic Marvel Comics G.I. Joe gets new life in this first collection of must-have Joe stories! This action-packed volume collects the classic G.I. Joe issues #1 to 10. Writer Larry Hama, the man irrevocably linked to G.I. Joe, guided the team for over ten years (and he returns to the characters next month in an all-new series!). Here, he is joined by an array of artists, including Herb Trimpe, Mike Vosburg, and Don Perlin.

JUSTICE LEAGUE VS. THE LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES, BY BENDIS AND GODLEWSKI

The greatest heroes of two eras face their biggest threat…each other! It’s the 21st century versus the 31st century, with all of reality at stake!

One thousand years in the future, a Legion of Super-Heroes comes together to dedicate their lives to recapturing the great age of heroes of the 21st century. When the heroes discover that reality is falling to a great darkness in both times simultaneously, the Justice League and the Legion of Super-Heroes must team up to stop it all.
 
Soon, the Justice League are trapped in the 31st century, and the looming terror of the Great Darkness hovers over both time periods simultaneously. Even as the great heroes of the 21st century get to experience the fantastic far-flung future, the mysteries behind the Gold Lantern and the Great Darkness threaten all of existence. What is the secret behind the Great Darkness? And will the greatest heroes of two ages be able to stop it before it’s too late?
 
Two of DC’s top super-teams clash, as threads from legendary writer Brian Michael Bendis’ runs on Legion of Super-Heroes and Justice League collide in a story with both the present and the future at risk!
 
Collects Justice League vs. Legion of Super-Heroes #1-6.

HOW TO READ COMICS THE MARVEL WAY, by Christopher Hastings and Scott Koblish

Presenting a universal gateway into the House of Ideas! You know you’ve experienced it before, True Believer: you loan your friend a comic book, only to have it returned unfinished. “I tried to read it,” they say, “but I just got lost.” What went wrong? Comics can be like a foreign language – if you don’t learn them young, you might need extra help to catch on. Other clever cartoonists and scribes have shared their theories on the grammar of comics…but it’s never been done in the Mighty Marvel Manner before! So get ready, because Mysterio has trapped Spider-Man inside a comic book – and Spidey’s going to help you navigate through the gutters, balloons, panels, pencils and more! Follow along as Spidey figures out how to escape and save the day!

Collecting: HOW TO READ COMICS THE MARVEL WAY (2020) 1-4, MS. MARVEL (2014) 1, ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN (2011) 1, MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR (2016) 1, SPIDEY (2016) 1

 

On my Kindle, I am currently rotating between these four books:

FREE FIVE, by Paul D. Dail 

Five Flash Fiction horror pieces, all under 1000 words.

Each piece also includes a brief afterword from the author with a bit of background on where he got the idea for the story.

A little insight into the life and mind of a horror writer.

Approx. 7000 words (roughly 28 pages)

Includes:
– “The Professional Crier”
The tears of high school outcast Penny Circe can bring back the dead. At least temporarily.

– “I Spy With My Little Eye”
Anthony Monsano has gone through hell to finally find himself in possession of the round box. The question is, what’s inside?

– “Run, Rabbit. Run.”
Pete Cantrell hates jackrabbits. Unfortunately, his home is surrounded by them. And something else as well.

– “The Death He Expected”
A group of boys on a midnight, full moon trip to an Indian burial site get more than just a practical joke.

– “Another Oldie But Goodie”
Retirement home resident Margaret Daniels is hearing music that no one else can hear, a song she hasn’t heard in almost 50 years.

FIVE MINUTE FRIGHTS, by Dan Deluise 

“Absolutely horrifying.” – Customer Review

Neighbors who haven’t left the house in years. Unwelcome visitors who don’t let you sleep. Reflections that look like someone else. Combining elements of folklore, 80’s horror, and campfire stories, “Five-Minute Frights” is a collection of flash fiction that’ll raise the hairs on the back of your neck.

 

30 DAY WRITING CHALLENGE, by Sara E. Crawford

Do you want to take your writing to the next level?

The 30-Day Writing Challenge encourages beginner and advanced writers alike to stretch their writing muscles and create or enhance a daily writing habit. Each day, a new writing exercise/prompt is presented in an inventive collection that focuses on technique, inspiration, and craft by taking a comprehensive look across multiple forms and genres of writing.

STAR TREK Vol. 1, by Mike Johnson and Steven Molnar

The adventures of the Starship Enterprise continue in this new story that picks up where the blockbuster 2009 film left off! Featuring the new cast of the film, these missions re-imagine the stories from the original series in the alternate “Kelvin” timeline created by the film, along with new threats and characters never seen before! With creative collaboration from Star Trek writer/producer Roberto Orci, this new series begins the countdown to 2012’s Star Trek: Into Darkness.

Collects issues 1-4.

HIT ME, by Christa Faust

A high-octane crime thriller from Christa Faust (Bad Mother, Redemption) and Priscilla Petraites (Chariot). Lulu has a very unique profession: She gets paid by the bruise. When she is witness to the execution of one of her regular clients, she escapes into the night with a briefcase filled with diamonds and a pack of killers on her trail. Navigating the dark underbelly of decaying, early-90’s Atlantic City, one step ahead of her pursuers, Lulu must call upon every one of her street-born instincts and underworld connections in what will be the longest – and possibly last – night of her life.

Today I start Dean Wesley Smith’s THE CASE OF THE INTRUSIVE FURNITURE: A Pilgrim Hugh Incident.

Pilgrim Hugh solved some odd cases before, but an old, smelly couch sitting in the middle of a beautiful lawn seems to have full-blown strange written all over it. With his friend and beautiful assistant, Carrie, he must figure out why the couch ended up there and what the woman living in the perfect home hid (besides a bad facelift and a heart of stone). A new Pilgrim Hugh Incident.

One after work, one before bed.

THE CABIN AT THE END OF THE WORLD, by Paul Tremblay

Paul Tremblay’s terrifying twist to the home invasion novel—now a major motion picture.

“A tremendous book―thought-provoking and terrifying, with tension that winds up like a chain. The Cabin at the End of the World is Tremblay’s personal best. It’s that good.” — Stephen King

Seven-year-old Wen and her parents, Eric and Andrew, are vacationing at a remote cabin on a quiet New Hampshire lake. Their closest neighbors are more than two miles in either direction along a rutted dirt road.

One afternoon, as Wen catches grasshoppers in the front yard, a stranger unexpectedly appears in the driveway. Leonard is the largest man Wen has ever seen but he is young, friendly, and he wins her over almost instantly. Leonard and Wen talk and play until Leonard abruptly apologizes and tells Wen, “None of what’s going to happen is your fault”. Three more strangers then arrive at the cabin carrying unidentifiable, menacing objects. As Wen sprints inside to warn her parents, Leonard calls out: “Your dads won’t want to let us in, Wen. But they have to. We need your help to save the world.”

Thus begins an unbearably tense, gripping tale of paranoia, sacrifice, apocalypse, and survival that escalates to a shattering conclusion, one in which the fate of a loving family and quite possibly all of humanity are entwined. The Cabin at the End of the World is a masterpiece of terror and suspense from the fantastically fertile imagination of Paul Tremblay.

THE JERSEY DEVIL, by Hunter Shea

“Old school horror.” —Jonathan Maberry

THE LEGEND LIVES
Everyone knows the legend of the Jersey Devil. Some believe it is an abomination of nature, a hybrid winged beast from hell that stalks the Pine Barrens of southern New Jersey searching for prey. Others believe it is a hoax, a campfire story designed to scare children. But one man knows the truth…

THE DEVIL AWAKES
Sixty years ago, Boompa Willet came face to face with the Devil—and lived to tell the tale. Now, the creature’s stomping grounds are alive once again with strange sightings, disappearances, and worse. After all these years, Boompa must return to the Barrens, not to prove the legend is real but to wipe it off the face of the earth…

THE BEAST MUST DIE
It’ll take more than just courage to defeat the Devil. It will take four generations of the Willet clan, a lifetime of survivalist training, and all the firepower they can carry. But timing is critical. A summer music festival has attracted crowds of teenagers. The woods are filled with tender young prey. But this time, the Devil is not alone. The evil has grown into an unholy horde of mutant monstrosities. And hell has come home to New Jersey…

“Shea delivers a tense and intriguing work of escalating tension splattered with a clever, extensive cast of bystanders turned victims…An otherwise excellent, tightly delivered plot…Fans of cryptid creatures are likely to revel in this love letter to a legendary menace.”– Publishers Weekly