Thursday, December 23, 2010

LESSONS II: The Drabble List

First off, I want to wish everybody Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!  You guys have made this month my best one ever as far as eBook sales go.  I can never thank you enough for that.

Second, LESSONS II: ANOTHER MORBID DRABBLE COLLECTION is pretty much finished.  Just waiting for the cover to be done, and then I plan to release it in January.

As I did with the first one, I’m going to list the names and order of the drabbles that’ll appear in LESSONS II.  Sort of like when a band releases their track list before the album’s out.  I can’t wait to release the book and I hope you all enjoy it as much as the first one, if not more!


The Drabbles:

DRASTIC
FOOLISH
HEARTLESS
ANOTHER LESSON
GUEST
HAMMERED
HOMEWORK
SLACKING
CUDDLE
DINNER
DENTAL WORK
WAITING
PEANUTS
DUI
END
INTERVENTION
PHOBIA
PRESENT
RATS
DOLL
PUNISHMENT
REJECTED
FORTUNE TELLER
CHEATER
WARNING
SOLUTION
VIOLATED
SLEEP TIGHT
MOTHER’S DAY
PLAYMATE

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Thank You

I feel like I can never thank you guys enough for your overwhelming support of my writing.  This has definitely been a high point for me.  2 years ago I was wondering if something was going to give.  I kept getting rejections for my short stories and I wasn't sure if I'd ever get something out there in print.  I love writing, and the truth is I would write even if I didn't have anybody reading my stuff.  It's a passion.  It's something I've done since I was a little kid.  That's something you can't give up, no matter how rough it is out there or how much you think you're not going to make it.

I never would've thought that I'd self-publish again... only this time correctly.

When I first started this year. I was selling a couple copies here and there each month.  Nothing big, but I was certainly happy!  And then when I put out LESSONS AND OTHER MORBID DRABBLES... well... things just took off!

Never in my wildest dreams would I imagine that I'd be this close to selling my 100th copy of a single book in such a short amount of time, but it's getting there.

Long story short (too late, I know!), I need to thank everybody for their love and support.  To the readers... you make this worth it in the end.  And when I hear that somebody got some sort of enjoyment out of something I created, it makes my day.

I also need to thank my fellow author friends who have been there for me and have helped me along on this new journey.  Without their support and encouragment, I don't think I would be where I am right now with my writing.

Thank you for taking the time to read my work.  I hope you were able to enjoy yourself while you did, and I hope I'll be able to keep entertaining you for many, many years to come.

Coming Soon to Amazon... My short story, CANARY

So, I've made the decision to upload my short story, CANARY to Amazon this morning.  I've had it on Smashwords for the past few months, and it seems to be the one that gets the most downloads/reviews.  I figure it can't hurt to add another title to my bio.  Plus, I understand that not everybody uses Smashwords.  Not doing this because I'm hoping to sell a crazy amount.  It's just another way to get my work out there.

Of course, the story will remain on Smashwords for free.  I wished Amazon would allow you to go lower than 99 cents for the price.  I'm afraid people may think 99 cents is a bit steep to charge for a single story, but then again I have seen people sell their short stories and do fine.

You can read it for FREE on Smashwords by clicking here.  Or, you can wait until it's on Amazon and buy it for 99 cents.  Either way is fine by me.



Description for CANARY:

Willie had a nice job at the bookstore, until he's called in to tell on a co-worker who's been stealing. Willie can’t stand the punk-kid who’s been doing so, but he refuses to give a name and as a result, loses his job. CANARY is a story about how something so minor and trivial that happened when you were little can ultimately change the way you carry on in your adult life, whether it's in a good way or not.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Reviews, ahoy!

Imagine my surprise when I woke up and found out that Red Adept Reviews had a review out for LESSONS AND OTHER MORBID DRABBLES.  Also, imagine my surprise when I saw the rating:

4.5 stars.

Yowza!

You can't imagine how happy I am!  Lynn from Red Adept doesn't play when it comes to reviews.  She's a professional, and isn't afraid to tell it like it is.  If your work sucks... you're gonna hear it, and she won't sugar-coat it any (although, she would come up with something a helluva lot better than "this sucks.").

But when you get a good review from her, then you know you've earned it and did something right.

I couldn't be happier.  And I'm glad that the review came before I release LESSONS II.  It made me want to go back and re-tweak a few things.  That's always the sign of a great and helpful review.  And I plan to take some of that advice before I finally decide to publish the book.

Not only that, but fellow author, Amanda Hocking gave me an excellent review.  She bought LESSONS after reading the review from Red Adept.

I came this close to fainting.

So... safe to say I'm having a pretty fantastic day.  Since the review has gone up, I'm experiencing some of the best rankings ever, and this is one of my best days of sales since my Kindleboard Book of the Day--and I didn't have to pay for it this time!

It's just nice to know that you're doing something right.  I've been getting a lot of great feedback from new readers today.  Exciting stuff!

Now, let's hope that LESSONS II is a hit as well!

To read the review from Red Adept, click here.  She's also fun to follow when it comes to reviews.

Monday, December 6, 2010

LESSONS II: Finished

I mentioned finishing the 30 drabbles for LESSONS II this week.  Over the weekend, I figured out the order of the drabbles and I pieced it all together.  Now, I'm just waiting on cover art.  It'll be awesome to finally have a professional cover, especially since now I know that the first LESSONS is doing so well.

Really excited about this.  I'm really tempted to put it out before January, but I'm forcing myself to stick with it.  I can't think of a better way to start the new year than to have a book that's done and ready.  Not that I'm not expecting to not have anything else out for 2011, but it'll still be a nice feeling.

I'm excited and nervous, just like when I put out LESSONS.  I wasn't sure if people would like it.  I was wrong.

I'm hoping that I'm wrong again.  :)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

30 Drabbles... Finished!

That's right.  I finished Drabble #30 yesterday for LESSONS II: ANOTHER MORBID DRABBLE COLLECTION.  Thought it would've taken me a bit longer to get there, and I wasn't sure if I had enough in me for 30.

I love it when I'm wrong... well, some of the time, anyway.

I'm pretty psyched.  Now, I have to piece it all together and figure out that order.  After that, comes the artwork for the cover.

I'm not sure when I'll put this out.  Maybe I'll wait until early January, so I'll have something out there already for 2011... but I don't know if I'll be able to wait that long!  Not only that, but with the holidays coming up, I'm not sure how well it'll sell.  Maybe it's best to wait until after Christmas.  Still deciding, but I'm really anxious to get it out there, so who knows?

Monday, November 29, 2010

21 Drabbles

I'm up to 21 drabbles for LESSONS II as of this moment.  I'm really trying to get to 30, although I'll be honest, I'm not sure if I'll be able to get that far.  It's always towards the end where I have the most difficulty coming up with new ones.  I know I can reach 25 with no problem, but 30?

The good thing is unlike with the first LESSONS, I don't have a deadline this time.  I would like to get the book done and out there within the next month or so, but it's not like last time where I was trying to get everything done before Halloween.  Christmas doesn't scream demented drabbles, although I suppose those who are sick of hearing about Christmas at this point may want to read something completely different!

I'm having a lot of fun, just like last time.  Will there be a third collection?  If I can come up with 25 or 30 new ones after this one, you betcha!

I hope people will like LESSONS II.  My big fear is people being let down after loving the first one so much, but that's the risk you have to take.  With the success of the first one, it'd be dumb not to give it a shot.

Stay tuned!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Future: LESSONS II

I was trying to figure out for the longest time what to call this new collection of drabbles.  I love the titles for my stories, but none of them scream book title to me.  So, after thinking long and hard on it, I think I finally came up with a good title.

LESSONS II: ANOTHER MORBID COLLECTION

Why not?  It is a follow-up to the first collection, in a way.  The killer who taught a "lesson" in the first one comes back to teach another, and the horrible Mr. Giggles makes his most terrifying return in a drabble that one of my author friends said was "wrong on so many levels."

It's kind of neat.  It's like having my own little series.  The new collection will be in the style of the first one.  Sick, depraved, disturbing, unsettling--but with a lot of dark humor.  I think that's what people enjoyed the most out of LESSONS.  It also makes it more fun for me.

I have 17 drabbles done so far.  I'm hoping to reach a minimum of 25, but more would be welcomed if I can get there.  I hope to have this done within the next month or so, if not sooner.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

2 Major Milestones

I'm happy to report that I have reached two very important milestones for me.  They both happened overnight.

1)  I sold my 50th copy of LESSONS AND OTHER MORBID DRABBLES, easily making it my bestselling book.  It's only been out a little over a month, and I can't believe how well it's been selling.  Very happy about that!  I'm working on a follow-up, and so far I have 17 drabbles done for the new one.

2)  Selling my 50th copy also lead to an even BIGGER milestone:  I sold my 100th eBook!

I can't tell you how happy that makes me.  For somebody who only has 3 works out for sale, and none of them being a full length novel, those numbers are INCREDIBLE!  I never thought I'd sell this many in so little time.  I'm truly grateful and happy... not to mention humbled.

Thank you for all of your love and support.  I really appreciate it.

Oh... AND HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

15 New Drabbles!

It's no secret.  I've been working on another drabble collection since LESSONS AND OTHER MORBID DRABBLES has taken off.  People seem to enjoy the book and I had a lot of fun writing it.

So... I knew I would have to come up with another one.

I didn't realize that as of this entry, I have 15 of them done.  I haven't been doing them as fast as last time, because with LESSONS I was trying to get it done before Halloween.  With this, there really isn't a deadline.

Although, not sure how well it'd do if I released it before Christmas.  Maybe I should wait until January.

Either way, progress is being made, and so far I'm very happy with the ones I have written.  You can expect follow-up drabbles to Lessons and Puppet.

That's right... Mr. Giggles will return.  I showed the drabble to one of my author friends, and he said that it was wrong on so many levels.  Which means, I did good.  *grins*

To check out LESSONS AND OTHER MORBID DRABBLES, click here or click the banner above.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Welcome to the Kindle House...er... MONKEY HOUSE, I mean


It's finally here! 

WELCOME TO THE MONKEY HOUSE has finally found its way to the Kindle.  I've been waiting for this ever since I bought mine.  I kept waiting and waiting, and was wondering when in the hell they were going to release it.  Took a while, but it's here!

There are some great stories in this collection.  I admit I haven't read all of them... yet.

A nice way to kick off a Monday morning.  Bought it as soon as I saw it was available.  Didn't even need to think about it.

Click here to go to the Amazon page.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Movie Recommendation: SHATTERED GLASS




Film rating: PG-13 (for language and some adult content)
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars 

If you haven't seen this brilliant film, then what are you waiting for!?!?  One of my all-time favorites.  An underrated gem of a movie.

Based on a true story, the movie revolves around a news reporter, Stephen Glass.  All of his news stories seem fantastic and too good to be true...

...Bad news is, they are.

This is a movie that'll make you feel uncomfortable, because with every lie that's told and created, a whole new set of lies are created to back up the previous one.  It's a top-notch film from minute one.  Highly recommended.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

New Phone, New Toy... Oh Joy!

So, I finally got around to getting a new phone.  Got myself a Droid 2, and I'm loving it so far.  My previous phone was a Razor, and you couldn't do much on it when it came to being online.  I love that now I can check e-mail and Facebook on it.

I finally feel like I'm a part of this century.  Go me!

Now... just gotta figure out the damn Twitter on it.  Baby steps, Mikey.  Baby steps...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Only 5 to go!

Only 5 to go before I sell my 50th copy of LESSONS AND OTHER MORBID DRABBLES.  I'm still amazed by how well this little book is doing.  I can't thank everybody enough for checking it out.  Glad that people seem to be enjoying it.  To think that it all started out as me wanting to see if I could come up with 2 or 3 and putting it up on Smashwords for free.

So, if you've bought a copy, I appreciate it!  If not... what are you waiting for??!!

Click the banner above the blog to go to the Amazon page... if you dare.

Mr. Giggles is waiting.  *grin*

Thursday, November 18, 2010

New blog look, updated cover and a virtual reading... oh my!

If you haven't noticed, I did a little re-tooling of the good ol' blog.  I like how this looks so far.  And I was finally able to figure out how to post some links to my books other than just in the blog entries themselves.  Fellow author Imogen Rose created the LESSONS banner for me, and I can't thank her enough!  It looks awesome.

I also touched up the cover for IN DECLINE a little bit.  It's not a big difference, but I think this looks cleaner.





Doesn't look so cluttered on the bottom anymore.  I was trying to do the right thing and include the name of the person responsible for the photo on the bottom on my first version, but now I know there's no need.  He's acknowledged on the title/copyright page.

I also did a little virtual reading at "The Spinning Wheel," a thread on Amazon where authors can read from their works.  I read a story from IN DECLINE, "The Roller Rink."  Seems like the story was a hit with everybody.

You can go to the reading by clicking here.

That's it for now.  Only other news is LESSONS continues to sell well this month.  Right now I'm up to selling a little over 20 books this month alone so far (including all 3 of my titles).  I know that may not seem like a big number, but it's huge to me.  If I could sell 20 a month, I'd be one happy author!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My little moment in the sun...

For a brief and small moment last night, LESSONS AND OTHER MORBID DRABBLES was outselling a Stephen King eBook in the short-story category.

That's epic!

I even have the screencap to prove it.  Of course I was going to capture this moment:



That was pretty awesome.  I don't care if it only lasted for an hour or so, I was so honored and humbled.  These past few days I've sold a few copies of the book, which makes me a very happy author.

Okay, I'm not using this blog entry to only brag... I'm writing about this because it's more proof that I made the right decision to go the indie route.  LESSONS would never get traditionally published.  It's too short.  Yet, I've sold over 40 copies of it within a month, making it my bestselling book as of now.

I can't thank everybody enough for their wonderful support and checking out my work.  I hope you guys enjoy it.  Writing is a fantastic feeling, but it's even better when you know there are people out there who enjoy reading it.

If you'd like to purchase LESSONS AND OTHER MORBID DRABBLES or view the Amazon product page for more info, click here.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Another drabble collection in the works?

Here's the deal.  I love the kind of slice-of-life fiction that I write.  It still remains one of my most favorite things to write.  I love to create complex characters and have them thrown into what could seem like everyday or ordinary situations and see how they deal.

But something happened to me when I wrote LESSONS AND OTHER MORBID DRABBLES.

I had so much fun writing it, and to see how many copies I sold within only a few weeks, I knew that I was doing something right.  It's my most well-received work as of now.  I've heard nothing but great comments about it.  Sure, it's not for everybody and I know there will be some who'll pass on it, but for the most part people seem to be enjoying it.

I love my other stuff... but I can't ignore the success of LESSONS.  Yes, sales have slowed a bit, but it's still outselling everything else.

I wrote a few drabbles today.  Let's just say... you knew I had to bring back Mr. Giggles.  *evil grin*

Chances are I will be coming out with a collection sometime in the near future.  I was putting the idea off for a while, for fear of not being able to live up to LESSONS.  However, that's not the way to approach it.  I should just focus on putting out a great and entertaining collection.  It doesn't have to be better than LESSONS.  So long as I believe in the stories and I think it stays true to what I want to accomplish, then that's all that matters.

So, that's what I'll be working on.  No worries, I'm still working on the novella.  It's not going as fast as I would like it to, but I have some new ideas and am working on them.

Stay tuned!

And if you haven't checked out LESSONS AND OTHER MORBID DRABBLES, click here to go to the Amazon product page!

Monday, November 8, 2010

A LAND OF ASH: New Short Story Anthology

Happy to announce that A LAND OF ASH by David Dalglish is now available.  It's a short story anthology that features myself and a whole lot of other talented authors.  It was fun to write a story that was specifically for this collection.  After writing LESSONS, it was nice to get back to my roots and write a simple human drama.

I highly encourage people to check it out.  There are some great stories here.  Lots of talent.  I'm so psyched to be a part of it.  I never thought that I'd be the part of two short story collections, but that day has come and I am humbled.

It's such an honor to be a part of this project.  I hope you all will check it out and enjoy.


The Yellowstone Caldera has erupted once every 600,000 years. We’re 40,000 years overdue.

A LAND OF ASH

Lava flows stretch for hundreds of miles. A cloud of ash billows east, burying the Midwest, destroying crops, and falling upon the Pacific Coast like a warm, dead snow. The remnants of the United States flees south as the global temperatures plummet.

Amid this total devastation are stories of families, friends, sons and fathers and wives: the survivors. Within are eleven stories focusing on the human element of such a catastrophe, from an elderly couple gathering to await their death to a father sealing his shelter in hopes of keeping the air breathable for his daughter. Contributing to this collection include many popular and up-and-coming independent authors, including David McAfee, Daniel Arenson, and more. 

Friday, November 5, 2010

A Land of Ash (short story collection by David Dalglish)

I'm excited to announce that I'm going to be included in another short story collection.  This one by David Dalglish (author of the Half-Orcs series), A LAND OF ASH.  It's also going to feature a lot of talented authors, as well.  I am beyond psyched about this.  It's been a great year for me on the writing front.  Found out how to publish my work (the correct way), and now I'll have my work included in two short story collections by two insanely talented authors.

One of the stories by Dalglish can be viewed at Smashwords for free.  This will be one of the stories that'll appear in A LAND OF ASH.

"One Last Dinner Party"

The story can also be found in the fine horror collection, THE LAKE AND 17 OTHER STORIES by David McAfee.  He is also going to be one of the authors featured in A LAND OF ASH.

It's been an exciting year for me.  Hope this keeps up!

P.S.

LESSONS AND OTHER MORBID DRABBLES has been approved by Smashwords and will be made available to online stores like B&N and the iBookstore in the very near future.  Very excited by that.  Also, I sold my 32nd copy of LESSONS this week.  :)  Thank you to everybody who checked out the book and enjoyed it!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Here are the Tweet-Stories

In case you missed it or don't feel like fooling around with Twitter, I've decided to post all of the Tweet-Stories on here so it'll be easier to read/look them up.  It was just an idea for this Halloween Weekend.  See if I could come up with a few Tweet-Stories that were in the same style of LESSONS AND OTHER MORBID DRABBLES, and if you've read LESSONS, you'll see a few characters you should recognize.

Happy Halloween, and enjoy!  I'm posting them in the order that they were originally posted on Twitter.  Follow me at twitter.com/m_crane.  Here they are:

The doll looked down at Charlie and smiled at the blood coming out of his mouth. "That'll teach you to call me bad names to your mom."
***

Mom thought Chucky was overreacting and making things up. When she left, however, she never saw the pair of eyes peeking out of the closet.
***


He had died days ago, but Martha had no intentions on getting rid of the body. If he wouldn't pick up after himself, then why should she?
***

The puppet smiled his horrible teeth as he looked at the baby. Finally, Mr. Giggles had found a new playmate.
***


"We don't have meatballs," Robbie's mom said. "Just eat your spaghetti." Robbie frowned at the pasta, staring down at his father's eyeball.
***

It's just a doll, he thought of the clown. It's not really alive. He closed his eyes and fell asleep. Not once did he ever notice the knife.
***


He thought his wife was bat-shit crazy when she screamed about zombies, until she became one. Now, he doesn't do much thinking at all.
***

Terrance is afraid of spiders, snakes and heights. And after having his arm bitten off, he'll have to add "monsters" to the list as well.
***

Phil didn't want to dress up with Harriet for the party, but a compromise was made. He went with an ax in his head. Too bad the ax was real.
***


He snapped. Harry chopped off every one of his fingers with glee. After all, it was quite hard to get paper-cuts when one had no fingers.
***

Chad's mother decided enough was enough. She hired a hit-man to deal with her son. He was warned not to fail another spelling test.
***


She couldn't understand how selfish people could be. She shot her husband and as he was dying, all he could think was me, me, me.
***

Mark begged Jeff to let him in. Something about zombies chasing him. Then, Mark bit into Jeff's neck. "Had to get you to invite me in."
***


He had another bad dream about monsters. Silly, he thought. When he put his feet on his floor, claws shot out and grabbed his legs.
***

It's one thing when you're getting torn apart by a pair of zombies. It's another when those zombies used to be your mom and dad.
***


Becky loved sleeping with her husband's arms around her. She loved it so much, when he threatened to leave, she hacked them off with a saw.
###

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Tweet-Stories: Happy Halloween!

It's been a long time since I've been on Twitter.  I used to use TweetDeck all of the time and when it stopped working, I gave up for a few months.

Well... I'm back to tweeting!

Not only that, but I'm doing Tweet-Stories today and probably tomorrow.  They're in the spirit of LESSONS AND OTHER MORBID DRABBLES.  In fact, a few characters from that collection have made a few cameo appearances in today's installment of Tweet-Stories.

So please, feel free to follow along at twitter.com/m_crane.  I hope you enjoy it!  I've done a few today.  Will try to do more tomorrow.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A POUND OF FLASH: It's alive! IT'S ALIVE!

Well, I'm happy to say that LESSONS has done excellent so far!  I've already sold 26 copies.  24 in one week--that is a record for me!  Thank you for checking it out, everybody.  I'll go into that more on a later date.

But right now, I'm happy and excited to announce that David McAfee's new horror collection, A POUND OF FLASH is now available on Amazon for only 99 cents!  I've read the first few stories, and it is excellent so far.  Not only that, but the book features bonus stories by authors David Dalgish and Daniel Arenson.  It is an honor to be included with them.

Please, pick up a copy today.  You won't regret it!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Thank you, everybody!

I cannot even begin to express how happy I am that it seems like people are digging LESSONS (AND OTHER MORBID DRABBLES).  It's gone beyond my expectations.  It's been out less than a week, and already I've sold 12 copies and received some great feedback on it.  I'm at a loss for words.

Tomorrow is my KB Book of the Day (Kindleboards).  They advertise your book for a day (or more if you like) for a small fee, and so far it seems to be working for people.  I originally had it set for IN DECLINE, but this was before I wrote LESSONS.  I was able to switch.  I did it for 2 reasons:

a)  Halloween is coming up.  I think this is the perfect time to take advantage of that.  People are in the mood for something that's dark or creepy.

b)  Let's be honest.  As much as I love IN DECLINE and am thrilled with how well it's done so far for a little short story collection, it's a tougher sell.  I probably won't sell as many copies of that.  Plus, I can always select a future date for that one.  Right now, I want to get LESSONS out there to the public.

I also waited before I made this decision because I wasn't sure what the initial reaction would be, being that this is drastically different from what I normally write.  I'm happy to say that it's been very positive.  People seem to like it.  I hope it continues that way.

So once again, a BIG thank you to everybody.  You don't know how much it means to me.  Writing is fun, but it's even more fun when you find out that people are also enjoying your work.

Friday, October 22, 2010

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT

This has been a pretty exciting week for me.  Got to see my girlfriend perform in the opera, CarmenLESSONS AND OTHER MORBID DRABBLES is finally available on Amazon, and I've already sold a few copies of it.  And now, I have some exciting news.

One of my drabbles from LESSONS is going to be featured in David McAfee's new horror story collection, A POUND OF FLASH.

You have no idea how psyched I am about this.  The man is beyond talented when it comes to writing.  I even talked about his first collection, THE LAKE AND 17 OTHER STORIES  in the afterword of LESSONS because a) It's an amazing collection b) I feel that if there was no LAKE, there would be no LESSONS.  He showed me that you could have a lot of fun telling a story by using very little words, yet never being short on the "wow" or "surprise" factor.

So, to have one of my stories appear in his new collection... I can't even explain my excitement.  Not only that, but I'm also featured with two insanely talented authors, David Dalglish and Daniel Arenson.

I've had a lot of good things happening lately.  Just goes to show that if you do have a positive attitude, good things come your way.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

BEDTIME: (a preview from LESSONS AND OTHER MORBID DRABBLES)

Since LESSONS AND OTHER MORBID DRABBLES is so short, I'm afraid Amazon doesn't offer much of a free preview when you go to sample it.  Very sorry about that.  Totally beyond my control.

But...

I've decided to post the very first drabble on here, so you can still get a preview of what to expect.  Enjoy!



BEDTIME


“There isn’t a monster under your bed,” Daddy says.
“Is so.”
“Bradley, I’m not going to let you stay up late because you’re making up stories about monsters and whatnot,” he says, folding his arms and frowning.
“Look under there, and if there isn’t a monster I’ll go to sleep.”
Daddy laughs and shakes his head.  “Fine.  If that’ll make you feel better.”  He gets down on his knees and sticks his head underneath my bed.
Then there’s a scream and a loud chomping noise.  I see the color red spill on the floor…
Daddy doesn’t have a head anymore.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Story List for LESSONS AND OTHER MORBID DRABBLES

You know how bands like to put up their track lists sometimes before they release an album.  Well, I felt like I'd do something like that--yes, I'm a nerd.  I get that.

Anyways, this is what the story list will look like.  As always, it's not set in stone until I actually publish it, but I think this is the final order:

BEDTIME
SPOILED
LESSONS
TARGET
INTERRUPTION
DETENTION
SIMPLE
MANNERS
OVERREACTION
CLOWN
LAME
APOLOGY
GROUNDED
SILENCE
PUPPET
NIGHTMARE
HANDS-OFF
EMPLOYED
S.O.L.
GRIM
CHITCHAT
VICTIM
HAUNTED
FILM
SOMETHING

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

LESSONS AND OTHER MORBID DRABBLES: Becoming a reality

It's funny how this whole thing began.

First, it started as me participating in an online writing contest where you had to come up with a story that was only 55 words long (and mine was one of the winning ones, btw!).

When I mentioned that on another forum, a fellow author asked me if I had ever attempted a "drabble" (a 100-word short story).  So, I thought I would come up with maybe one or two and put them up for free on Smashwords...

...then, it grew out of control

The thing took on a life of its own.  It called me to write more.  I can't even tell you if it was really me writing these damned things--I felt like I was possessed!  Like some dark demon had invaded my soul and forced me to put down horrible and terrible sentences together.

(okay, being a bit dramatic--maybe it didn't happen EXACTLY like that.  However, I'm a writer, and I'm allowed to make shit up, so blah!)

I now have 25 drabbles.  I've previewed them on the Kindle and they look great.  I'm having a friend of mine, who is an awesome artist, come up with a cover.  Please visit his FB and shop page, and support your indie artists!

WearWolfApparel Facebook Page
Shop page

And I have also finished the toughest task when putting a book together... the product description!  Ask any author, and 9 out of 10 times they will tell you how much they dread that part of the whole publishing process.

It's not in stone, but it may look something like this:

A man learns a painful and valuable lesson… one finger at a time. 
An old couple bickers over disgusting leftovers.
Kids go ignored when they tell their parents about the horrors that lurk in their bedrooms, until it’s too late…

LESSONS AND OTHER MORBID DRABBLES is a collection of 25 100-word shorts that range from darkly comic to downright terrifying and wrong.  Some shorts feature ghouls and monsters while others are simply about people behaving very, very badly.  Which is scarier?  Find out in this sick and twisted collection.

They may only be a few words long, but that doesn’t lessen the bloodshed any…

The book will be out within the next few weeks, if not sooner.  I will keep you posted.  I hope you all enjoy it.  It's very different from what I normally write.  If you didn't think I was a bit off in the head already... well, this should change that!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Who thought horror drabbles could be so much fun?

What started as me wanting to put one or two horror drabbles (100-word stories) on Smashwords has grown into something else...

I now have 13 of them, and I am going to make a collection out of them.  13's the current number, but that's not in stone right now.  I could add more if I come up with anything.

It's funny how this all started.  On the Amazon forum I was asked by another author if I had ever written a drabble.  I thought about it for a while and figured, what the hell?  I'd give it a shot.  So, I wrote the drabble, Lessons, which got some very positive feedback.

The rest is history.

Just goes to show that you never can tell where a project will take you.  I'm so psyched about this.  It feels good to create something else that I can release to the world.  Not only that, but it's stories that I normally don't write.  I feel as writers we should always try to challenge ourselves.  Attempt new things, even if we don't succeed in the end.  You should always try to do something that's outside of your normal comfort zone.

You never know where the journey will take you...

(Note:  I know I posted some of the shorts here.  I've taken them down, with the exception of maybe 1 or 2, since I plan on publishing these soon.)

INTERRUPTION: (a 100-word short)

I think I might've found my fifth story to add to the collection... W00t!

INTERRUPTION

He couldn’t finish his breakfast.  Wayne was annoyed with all of the moaning and groaning.
“Goddammit!” he hollered.  He threw his spoon into his cereal bowl and got up from his chair.  He marched to the basement door while mumbling to himself.  He opened the door and looked down.
A man was lying on the ground below the stairs, cradling his gut.  Blood oozed between his fingers while he moaned.
“Aren’t you dead, yet?  I’m trying to have breakfast!” Wayne shouted.
The man groaned again.
Wayne slammed the door shut and shook his head.
“Some people can be so thoughtless.”

Monday, October 4, 2010

LESSONS: (a 100 word short-short)

Since it is the month of Halloween, I thought I'd do something special.  On one of the Amazon forums, an author asked if I had ever attemped a story that was only 100 words.  I didn't at the time, and thought it'd be fun to try.  Also, if you've read THE LAKE AND 17 OTHER STORIES by David McAfee, there are some excellent stories in there where he did just that.

So, I thought I'd give it a shot.  It really is hard.  Kudos to him for being able to pull it off.  I had a hard enough time with doing it for only one story!  But it was fun.

So here it is.  Be warned... it's a morbid story.

LESSONS by Michael Crane

Poor, poor Mr. Wilks.  He used to have ten fingers, but now he only has eight.  And the fact that he’s screaming and calling me names isn’t helping the situation any.  He’s tied to a chair, anyways.  He’s not going anywhere.
Snip.  Another finger goes bye-bye.
Another howl of pain.  Another name I’m called.
Snip.  Snip.
What a terrible mess.  The floor is covered with blood.  This is going to be a bitch to clean.  No matter.  A lesson must be learned.  Lessons aren’t always clean, are they?
Maybe next time, he will learn to use his fucking turn signals.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Thanks everybody... you made my month!

What started out as a very slow month of sales for my book of short stories, IN DECLINE, has now turned into one of my best months.  As of today, I have sold 8 copies this month--and one of them was a UK sale!

I think I might be at around 17 copies, in total since the book went live in July.

I know the number may sound small, but you have to understand that this is huge for a short story collection by an uknown author.  I've been told many times that it's hard to sell short story collections.  Unless you're Hemingway or Vonnegut, people tend to stay away from them.

I got a big boost in sales thanks to some great people over at the Amazon forums.  You guys rock!

Overall, I just want to thank everybody for all of the support.  You have no idea what it means to me.  I'm always trying to grow as a writer and I know that my writing is not for everybody, but I really do appreciate all of the support.  Thanks everybody!

P.S.  I did finally get around to getting a Black Bear hamster.  Her name is Gir and she's adorable.



Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Are we having fun?

There is a simple rule I have when I’m writing a piece.  While writing it, I must be having fun.

To me, writing is fun.  Sure, it’s a lot of hard work and there are times where it can seem a bit stressful, but overall writing is fun.  I love to create characters, places and worlds.  Even the depressing stories I write sometimes, I was always having fun at some point.  This is important to me, because this is how I know what I’m writing is working.

I had a professor at Columbia who taught Suspense/Thriller.  While I don’t really plan on writing too many of those, it was great to learn about the craft.  But the thing that made me sad about taking the course was that the professor treated writing like a business.  I didn’t get any sense that she actually enjoyed herself while writing books.  It was a paycheck to her.  While I can understand that people have to make a living off of their works, it makes me sad to think that any writer is not enjoying him or herself during the process.

Over my many years of writing, I have written a lot of stories.  The older ones that I look at now were really awful.  But you know what?  I can hold them up proudly and say, “Yes, my writing’s a hell of a lot better now than way back when… but I had fun writing it, dammit!”

And that’s what it should always be about.  Having fun.  The day I stop writing for good is the day that I no longer find it fun.  Because if I end up writing a story when I’m not enjoying myself, I know it’s going to be a shitty story.

Monday, September 20, 2010

33 A.D. : A Review

Well, seeing that my review for David McAfee's 33 A.D. hasn't shown up on Amazon yet, I figured I would post it on here.  I think because I said "Jesus" in it a few times, it might've sent some red flags.  Those who are familiar with reviewing on Amazon, your reviews usually show up instantly unless there are some "trigger" words.  That doesn't mean the review won't show up.  It just means that most likely somebody at Amazon has to look through it to make sure there's nothing bad in it.

So, here's my review.  I gave the book 5 stars:

“33 A.D.” by David McAfee is one of the most original and inventive novels I’ve read in a long time.  While I’m not big on vampires, I’ve been known to enjoy the occasional vampire flick.  I was really interested with the premise of “33 A.D.” and when I began reading it, I knew there was no turning back.  Within only a short amount of time, I was already invested with the story and the characters.

The story takes place in Jerusalem.  The vampire race is fearful when they learn that a rabbi by the name of Jesus knows of their existence.  This has come to be because one of their own has betrayed them and told Jesus and possibly even his followers their secrets.  It’s unavoidable.  Jesus will have to be dealt with.  An assassin vampire, Theron, is sent to deal with the problem but when he’s forced to improvise, he comes up with a brilliant scheme on how to turn the people against the rabbi.  If the man is seen as a traitor or a false prophet, he will most definitely be executed.  Theron believes that once the rabbi is dead, the people’s faith in the rabbi will diminish and the vampire race will once again be safe.  After all, how valuable can Jesus be after he’s dead?

After reading only the first few pages, I knew that I was in the hands of a very talented a gifted writer.  McAfee knows his craft well, and while others might be more inclined to have the book be an action-packed bloodbath, McAfee takes a great deal of time and care with the story and his characters.  There are some stunning moments of action, but you’re never overwhelmed by it.  The book is about something a lot more interesting than a simple vampire tale.  It goes to show how easy it is to be deceived and manipulated by anger and fear, as you will learn when you read it.

Writing anything about Jesus these days is always a risk.  Some might be put off by the idea and think it’s already sacrilegious before even reading word one in the book.  I found it to be nothing of the sort.  Jesus is handled with great care and the story is meant to be presented as an alternate history.  One of the most stunning pieces of writing in this book is the scene where Theron talks to Jesus for the first time.  It’s one of the best scenes in fiction I have read in a long time.

“33 A.D.” is a triumph for McAfee.  It’s a great thriller that also takes time to establish its characters.  Even the bad guys don’t come off as flat in this.  Everybody in this book, vampire or not, believes that they are doing what is right.  While it is a very bloody and violent story, the violence is never gratuitous or there only for shock purposes.  Even if you’re not big into vampires, I still say give this wonderful read a chance.  It’s a dark and unforgiving journey that you will never forget.  Conspiracies and vampires, oh my!  Grade A material all the way!




You can purchase your copy of David McAfee's 33 A.D. by clicking here

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Figured out my new pet, and writing shenanigans

Yikes, haven't written a post on here for a while.  Better not make that a habit.  Well, it was another sad weekend because I had to put my other hamster down.  As sad as it was, I was relieved that I was able to catch this one on time and get her in before she was suffering too much.  You will be missed, Bitey!  Miss both of you girls.

Now, for the good news.  2 bits of good news.  1:  My girlfriend and I got a new kitten.  We named him Bubbles, after a character we love from THE WIRE.  He's adorable.  He's a Highland Lynx (if that's how you spell it).





The second bit of good news is I've decided I wanted another hamster.  This time, I'll be getting a Black Bear hamster.  I was doing some research online and I found out that they are the most friendly.  We went to the pet store yesterday just to make sure, and yep, they are!  They let you hold them for the most part and they don't bite.  They may give you a little nibble, but that's nothing compared to what Bitey would do to you.  Yeah... she would actually draw blood.  As cute as dwarf hamsters are, they don't like to be held.  So, that's why I think a Black Bear hamster is for me.

On the writing front, still going strong with GOODMAN'S BAD DAY.  I've found the emotional core of it.  Even though I always had an idea when I started this years ago, I only touched on it a little.  Now, the story has become something more.  While it is a very goofy story, it now has a bit of seriousness to it.  It no longer feels like it is only an absurd and goofy tale.  I'm really excited about the progress I'm making.

Other news, IN DECLINE is now only $1.75.  Sales are slow, so I'm hoping a bit of a price change will fix that.

That's all for now.  My family and I are going to WI this weekend.  Looking forward to it.  That's the only reason why I didn't pick up the hamster yet!  When I get back, I will have a new furry friend.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Why I Write

This is a question that’s always asked of writers: Why do you write?


When I was little, I was a lover of movies (still am) and I always thought that I would make movies when I grew up. Then, I read my first chapter book in grade school and when I realized it was like a movie playing in my head, I realized that’s what I wanted to do. What I loved about movies so much were the stories. The characters. The conflicts. And so on.

I’ve been writing ever since I was little. I love to tell stories. I love creating characters and places. I like to present problems and see how my characters react to them. It doesn’t matter how ordinary that problem may be, every character reacts differently to them. It’s exciting, especially when a character or a story points me to a different direction than I was expecting.

Writing for me is a creative outlet, too. I don’t know where I would be if I didn’t have writing. And quite honestly, I don’t even want to think about it. Writing has been there for me during very dark times. It was my way to vent and deal with life at times. If something really angered me, I’d write about it. Same goes for if something made me sad.

I feel bad for those who aren’t as lucky to have an outlet like that. It really can be a lifesaver. And I know I am a writer, regardless of how many books or stories I may have out there or how much money I make from it.

I am a writer because even if nobody read my works, I’d still write. Because I love it, and I always will.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

I blame Darkwing Duck and Chip 'N Dale Rescue Rangers...

...for not getting any writing done today.  That's right, I did nothing but watch Darkwing Duck and Chip 'N Dale Rescue Rangers all day long.  Oh well, what can you do?  It is Labor Day weekend, after all.  Even us writers need breaks every now and then!

Good news... Showdown at SunnyView Playground (a short-short) has over 40 views/downloads since yesterday.  Pretty impressive!  Hope people like it.  It's much more different from what I usually write, but that's a good thing.  You're supposed to try new things out as a writer.  Very happy with the exposure my stories are getting at Smashwords.  Glad I found out about them!

Happy Labor Day, everybody!  For once, you don't have to fear Monday...

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The showdown has begun...


I'm happy to report that my new short-short, Showdown at SunnyView Playground is finally published on Smashwords.com.  I hope you all enjoy the story.  It's different from what I usually write, but it was a lot of fun.  I like trying to see if I can come up with a full story with a limited amount of words.

Check it out and enjoy!
Showdown at SunnyView Playground (on Smashwords)

Friday, September 3, 2010

A SALE IN THE UK! A SALE IN THE UK! OH BOY OH BOY OH BOY!

Okay, I could've been a little more mature with the title of this blog, but screw it!  I'm very happy to report that when I came home today, I found out that I made my very first sale in the UK.  That's right.  Somebody from the UK has purchased their own copy of IN DECLINE.

It's such a great feeling... to have somebody in another country read your work.  No matter what they may think of the book in the end, this is happy news!  I've gone international.  Who would've thunk it?

Independent publishing does work.  Somebody in the UK is now reading my book (hopefully!).  This wouldn't have happened had I continued to play the waiting game.

IN DECLINE (on Amazon UK)

Showdown at SunnyView Playground: Yeah, it's about to go down!

I've decided to publish my short-short, Showdown at SunnyView Playground on Smashwords sometime this weekend.  I already have the cover picked out and just have to work on it when I get home.  Makes me happy that I have another story I can put up for free to hopefully get the word out on my writing.  I'm very happy with the responses my other two stories have gotten on there, so I figure why not?

This is a story that I originally wanted to be included with IN DECLINE, but felt it didn't belong.  It's much more on the lighter side.  Not that everything in that short story collection has to be gloom and doom (even though I joke about it like that), but the story didn't feel like it went well with the others.

How this story came about was there was a contest for some magazine where you write a short-short, and it had to start with the phrase, “There are three ways I can win this fight.”  Sadly, mine didn't win, but it was a fun experience and I feel that I was able to pull off a pretty fun story because of it.

I'm proud of this story because I feel that short-shorts are extremely difficult to pull off.  If you're able to tell a successful story with using only so many words, you should be proud!

Expect the story sometime this weekend, if not sooner.  Not sure how people will react to it, but that's never stopped me in the past.  I already accepted long ago that my writing is not for everybody.  There will be people who won't like it... but I also believe there will be some who do.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Catch-Up at Work

Sadly, since I took a few days off of work last week, I had to play catch-up all week long.  This means that I haven't had time to focus on my writing.  I like to write during my breaks at work because I feel like that's when I'm at my most productive.  It's very hard to keep focus when I'm at home.  Too many distractions.  I'm sure you can relate.  So, this hasn't been the best week of writing for me.

But I still remain positive about my writing.  My novel that I'm working on is going along smoothly, and I also have a short story that I have write a second draft for.  Busy, busy, busy!

It sucks knowing that I haven't done much with my writing this week, but we have a three day weekend coming up.  I will have to devote some of my time to writing, even if I'm home.

Monday, August 30, 2010

A Milestone of Sorts...

Okay, so I know this won't seem like a major deal to most, but it's something that has definitely made me happy.  As of today, I have sold 10 copies of IN DECLINE.  It's only been out for less than 2 months, and the fact that I've sold that much considering it's a short story collection (short story collections are typically tougher to sell), that's pretty impressive.

I'm still trying to get my name out there, so I know I have a ways to go.  But so far, I appear to be on the right track.

Publishing an eBook has been the best thing for my writing.  It's re-lit that spark in me.  I've already put out some single short stories as eBooks and am currently working on a novel/novella.  I haven't felt this energized about my writing in a long time.

It's nice to know that I have found a home for my writing.  Life's too short to play the waiting game.  Sometimes you just have to go out there and do it yourself.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Twofer... and it ain't even Tuesday!

Yes, another blog entry.  I feel this deserves mention.  As of today, I have reached the 100 mark in views/downloads of my two short stories, Canary and Today, I Told a Lie.  I find that very exciting.  Just the thought that it's possibly that I've had that many people check out my work is awesome.  I don't care if the stories are free.  My writing is getting attention, and that's what's important.

Of course, as I write this, Smashwords.com is down.  They have a lot of problems with their site, sadly.  It's a lottery when it comes to seeing if you'll get to the site or not.  Ah!  It's up again... for now.

Still, this is excellent news.  I'm glad I found a place to publish some single-short stories.  It beats me trying to shop them to magazines, only to get rejection notices on them later.  And this way, I can always add these stories to a later collection if I wish, since I am publishing them myself.  That's another great thing about doing it this way.

It's happy news for me.  I like that my writing is getting noticed.  Hopefully some of those people who downloaded or viewed the stories enjoyed them.

You can view the stories at these links (when they're working, at least!):

Canary
Today, I Told a Lie

Again, the website requires patience.  If none of the links are working when you try them, come back later and give it a shot.  Hopefully they'll do a better job of maintaining the site in the future, but working website or not, this news is awesome.  Cheers!

Happy that it's Sunday, for a change...

That's right.  I said it.  Mark this day down in history, because chances are it ain't gonna happen again any time soon.

I'm happy that it's Sunday.

It's been one hell of a long week, filled with both good and bad things.  On the plus side, I got an excellent review from a fellow author for IN DECLINE, had some good times with my friends and girlfriend, and my writing has been going smoothly.

On the bad... Jury Duty (although it was an experience), and of course the death of my hamster, Cuddly Gizmo.

I'm doing much better today.  Still a tad sad, but it's fading.  Weeks are filled with ups and downs.  This week is no exception.  I'm just glad that a new week begins...

But that doesn't mean I'll welcome Monday with open arms.  Monday is still a sneaky bastard, and I will never forget that.  Ever.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

R.I.P. Gizmo (aka Cuddly)

Well, this blog entry has nothing to do with writing, but I wanted to write about this anyway.  One of my hamsters passed away last night.  Her name was Gizmo.  Cuddly Gizmo.  My girlfriend got me two dwarf hamsters for Christmas last year, and I couldn't tell them apart at first so I named them both "The Gizmo Sisters."  One of them was Cuddly, and the other Bitey (I'm sure you can figure that one out).  As time went on, I was able to tell the two apart.

Cuddly was starting to show some health problems this month.  She wasn't gnawing like she should, so her teeth were getting longer, and just recently she had something happen to her eye.  I took her to the vet on both occasions.  They gave me some eye drops to give her.  By the end, she was looking very frail and sickly.  I guess her eye was bothering her so much that she didn't exercise like she used to and she was even losing her appetite.  I was hoping the drops would help her within the next days.  Sadly, when I got home last night I found that she had died.  Her sister, Bitey, is still going strong.

It's one of those downfalls of being a pet owner.  You forget how much it hurts when they leave you.  While I am very sad about it right now, it does not outweigh the joy that Cuddly gave me these past 8 months, and 8 months for a hamster is pretty impressive.  I only hope that she enjoyed her life with me.  I'm sure she did.

R.I.P. Cuddly.

Friday, August 27, 2010

THE WEIGHT OF BLOOD: A Dark and Complex Fantasy


I've been meaning to write a review on THE WEIGHT OF BLOOD (THE HALF ORCS BOOK 1) by David Dalglish, but at least in a blog form I don't feel like it has to be polished or professional sounding.  When I can come up with a better review, I will post that on Amazon, but for the time being let me say this:

I LOVED this book.

And that's no easy task, I assure you, because I usually don't read fantasy.  I've never read any of the LOTR books--just couldn't get into them.  I tend to read works that are a little more slice-of-life.  But when I read the sample for this book, I had a feeling that I was looking at something special.  It drew me in from the get-go, and I never felt myself lost or overwhelmed by terms or names that would normally lose me in other fantasy works.

What I admire the most about Dalglish's work here is that he takes a real risk.  He does not give us clear-cut heroes.  On the contrary, the two main characters do some horrible things.  Evil things.  Yet, we follow them on their journey because we know that these two Half-Orc brothers have never had proper guidance.  Shunned by humans and elves alike, it's easy to see where their distaste for other people come from.

Harruq is one of the brothers.  All he's had in his life is his smaller brother, Qurrah.  Qurrah has taught him his entire life that they are creatures of destruction, and that they need not be ashamed of their violent nature.  When Qurrah meets a dark lord and sorcerer, Velixar, he's given abilities and powers he could've never imagined.  Harruq follows along, although he has doubts and even questions their violent deeds.

The book is full of action, yet Dalglish never allows it to overtake the story.  Story and characters are the most important to him when it comes to his writing, and that clearly shows.  Some people may be put off by the horrible deeds that the two Half-Orc brothers do, but you must understand that this is Book 1.  This is to show us what paths they may end up taking.  Everybody has to have a beginning, and they're not always pleasant beginnings.  The Half-Orc brothers, due to having a rough life and being treated horribly by others, are easily swayed to be weapons of destruction by anybody who has faith in them.  Plus, they believe that this is their nature--but will it always remain that way?  I cannot give that away.

It's an easy book to read, because Dalglish paints very vivid pictures without ever getting lost in the details.  Not once does the reader feel like he's lost or overwhelmed, or at least I certainly didn't.  I finished the book quickly and I look forward to reading the others in the series.

What would I rate this?  I think I'd have to give it 5 out of 5 stars.  It's brilliantly written--and again, he made me read a fantasy novel all the way through, and that's something I would've thought to be impossible.  That alone must count for something!

THE WEIGHT OF BLOOD (THE HALF-ORCS BOOK 1) is available on Amazon, and as of now it is only $0.89 for the Kindle.  I highly encourage you to check his work out.  Even if you're not into reading fantasy, you may surprise yourself.