My Collection of Short Stories Needs a Title

I’m working on a collection of short stories and novellas tentatively scheduled for May release. The stories are going well, and will include a Small Things novella set in between the events of Small Things and Threads. However, I still haven’t completely decided on a title for the book. I have a few ideas, but am not completely sold on any of them. And so, gentle reader, I need your help. Take a look at the titles below and let me know which one you like best – or suggest your own!

  • Small Stories
  • Small Things, Big Ideas
  • A Collection of Short Stories and Novellas
  • Half-Remembered Dreams: A Collection of Short Stories and Novellas

What do you think? Let me know! If you suggest a title and I use it, I’ll list you in the “Thank You” section in the book!

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Where I’ve Been

I haven’t updated the blog since November 21st and haven’t been marketing my novels, and sales have suffered as a result. I’ve just been frustrated with the marketing aspect of writing. It’s always push, push, push Williams, (points if you get that reference) with very little reward. I didn’t expect to get Stephen King level sales right off the bat, but I’d hoped to do better than I have.

Reviews and critical praise have been wonderful, and I really and truly appreciate every fan I have. A writer (at least this writer) thrives on knowing he’s being read, and so more than anything I just want more readers.

So how can I do that? If you have any ideas, I’d love to hear them.

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Are Writing Source Books Really Helpful?

Are writing source books really helpful? Other than making the writer of said source material money, I’m not so sure. In my experience, few are worth the price, but a couple do stand out for me:

Writer’s Guide to Places, by Don Prues and Jack Heffron, has proven to be invaluable to me as a writer. Sure, some will argue, it doesn’t cover every aspect of any give place (how could it?) but it does generally provide you with enough information to fake it.

Write what you know, they say. That’s all well and good, but not every story can be set in your hometown. If you need to get the general layout of, say, Dallas, because you’re writing a few scenes there, you could do a lot worse than this book. Sure, it’s no substitute for actually being there, but it gives you enough details to add much-needed flavor to your words.

In writing Threads, my second novel, this book really helped me visualize parts of Chicago I’d never before visited.

Descriptionary, by Marc McCutcheon, is another book worth adding to your resource library. The subtitle of Descriptionary says it’s “the book for when you know what it is, but not what it’s called.” That actually happens to me a fair amount. If you own this book, however, you can quickly flip through the included glossaries and find out, for instance, that the highest ranking officer in the Navy is a Fleet Admiral, that cryptology is the science of deciphering hidden or disguised communication, and that a Parsec is a measurement equaling 3.26 light years. Pretty darned useful, if you ask me.

There are other useful books out there, to be sure, but I’ve found these to be two of the best, and have used both extensively in my writing.

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NaNoWriMo or How I Learned to Write Fast

Every novel I’ve written has started as a NaNoWriMo (National November Writing Month) project, but this November I decided to do something a little different. Instead of writing a novel I’m writing a collection of short stories, one of which will bridge the gap between Small Things and Threads.

Here’s an excerpt from the Small Things novella:

Summer, 1976

In a town the size of Carthage, you notice when someone new moves in — especially when they’re driving a 1937 black Ford Coupe. But it wasn’t the car that worried sixteen-year-old Shawn Spencer, it was the pair of men who owned it: Mr. Kingfisher and Mr. Quarry, who had taken up temporary residence at the Hotel Carthage overlooking the town squarecoupe

Kingfisher was nearly as tall as famed professional wrestler Andre the Giant, while Quarry was maybe 5’2″ on a good day. They wore identical matching black suits, and were supposedly housing developers looking to perhaps build in Carthage.

What made Shawn nervous wasn’t the thought of rising real estate prices or cottages being built around the lake, but that the pair had shown a particular interest in the old Spencer house on Randolph Street, the very same house where he and his girlfriend Jenny McGee had almost been murdered last summer.

 

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So What Should I Write for NaNoWriMo?

This year will be my tenth anniversary participating in National November Writing Month – NaNoWriMo, for short. And while I haven’t always been successful (writing 50,000 words within the month of November is the goal) both Small Things and Threads have come from NaNoWriMo “wins.”

I’m already working on the third book in the Small Things trilogy, but this year wanted to do something different for NaNoWriMo. And that’s where you come in. You’re probably reading this because you’re a fan of my writing, and this is your chance to influence what I write. Should I write an old-fashioned nanowrimo
vampire story, completely free of sparkles? Or perhaps a young adult horror novel? Or maybe, just maybe, a novel based on a multi-player video game? Or perhaps you have an even better idea?

Please take the small survey (three questions!) below and let me know what you want me to write for NaNoWriMo!

Click here to take survey!

 

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