Category Archives: Writing

I’m not dead yet!

holygrainotdeadThe reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated. Work/life balance has left me with little free time to contemplate words, and sadly, even less time to tell people about them. With the Raymond Carve contest coming to a close, I should have more free time this summer! Should being the key word.

Balancing between work and writing is difficult, but not impossible if writing is your passion. Since January, I’ve been inundated with proposal work often requiring more than a hundred hours a week. Business proposals are merely a more obscure form of fiction, after all, so I got to flex some writer muscles. I’ve also learned more about earned value management, radar systems, and hyper-spectral sensors than I wanted to know. Continue reading…

50 Shades of Markets

greyskullI’ve often commented that Fifty Shades of Grey’s success stemmed from the simple fact that e-readers were prevalent and the time was right for anonymously reading sultry fiction. I certainly can’t count it as riveting literature in the same category as Lolita, though I’m sure author E.L. James has less concerns over literary merit than sales. Fifty Shades serves as an ideal tale of marketing, right-place-right-time, and tenacity.

From a timing perspective, the world was ready for good erotic fiction, and though I’m not an advocate for her writing style, James has an avid fan base. In a recent interview with Time, James commented on her Executive Producer credit, and her stewardship of the Fifty Shades transition to the big screen. Her passion for her work shines through, and it’s clear she has a vision that she’s following through with. Few first time authors can say the same. Continue reading…

Interview with Kelly Simmons

WivesofBilliesMtI recently had an opportunity to sit down (virtually) with Kelly Simmons, self-published author of The Wives of Billie’s Mountain. OK, full disclosure, Kelly graduated from the MFA program at Queens with me, and we shared a few classes, so I already knew her quality as a writer.

Kelly is no stranger to the publishing industry, having worked throughout the late 80’s and early 90’s for a packaging and publishing operation, Falcon Press, which was eventually sold to Globe Pequot. I have a theory about corporations – eventually everything will be sold to a subsidiary and either Disney or Microsoft will own everything. It’s no secret that I’ve been critical of self-publishing for the simple fact that it’s relatively easy for anyone to put anything out, which creates such a staggering amount of crap content that the average consumer has trouble weeding out good work, like Billie’s Mountain, from bland writing, like Aunt Gertrude’s expose on her secret love affair with the mailman in 1967. My opinion on self-publishing has undergone a transition over the past year, and I wanted to speak to Kelly about her experience, and her thoughts on the industry.

Your Book, Wives of Billie’s Mountain, was self-published on Amazon in April of this year. At what point in the writing project did you consider self-publishing?

Kelly: I had no interest in self-publishing and never set out with that in mind. When I finished Wives of Billie’s Mountain I started looking for an agent. Three different agents requested the manuscript for months at a time. One agent requested rewrites, which I did, and I also had three publishers who had it for several months. I waited for over two years with my book in limbo, and was told ultimately each time that they liked the book, but they just didn’t think there was much interest in Mormons. It didn’t matter how many times I told them about Big Love or any other Mormon titles. It’s frustrating. I’ve received great reviews but wasn’t able to get a foothold. Continue reading…

Publishing Industry’s Life Change

It’s no surprise that the publishing industry is changing; pretty much everyone from the mailman to Aunt Gertrude can sense that bookstores aren’t what they were a decade ago. But what is the industry changing into? A butterfly, or a new form of ravenous beast? The summer’s greatest blockbuster for anyone following the industry was the feud between Amazon and Hachette Books, and just like most summer blockbusters, the show was filled with overproduced spectacle but ended in a fizzle. The behind-closed-doors resolution will impact the industry for years, and we may never know the specifics. Doubtless neither party walked away elated.

alergy-watery-eyes_www-txt2pic-comI’m a terrible prognosticator; I believed the iPhone would fail, that Avengers would bomb at the box office, and Twilight would never be made into a movie. So if I predict that publishing will be usurped by the prescription drug industry, I’ll understand if you’re cautiously doubtful. Think about it: television ads for new books, complete with fast-spoken warnings! Announcers booming: “Bored with life? Looking for excitement? The latest John Grisham is exactly what you need, ask your bookseller for details! Side effects include: sleepless nights, plot confusion, and subjective exposition. Be sure to read in a well-lit environment, not everyone who reads John Grisham is a fan, paper cuts can be hazardous, always seek the advice of a bookseller before reading a John Grisham. Glaco-Driscoll takes no responsibility for any adverse reaction to John Grisham. Buy your copy today!”

Eh, I could be wrong. Continue reading…

Fiction Contests

Ohio State University’s The Journal has an open non/fiction contest running to the 14th of February. Valentines day submissions will either show your complete dedication to the craft, or your lack of a love life. If you win, we won’t judge you.

The Kenyon Review’s 2015 short fiction contest will be active from Feb 1 through the 28th.

Sixfold has a contest running through January 24th, with winners chosen by fellow writers, which could be dangerous if you’re a self-centered and cruel person.

Building Your Author Site – Part 1

theinternetBeing an author in the modern age means having a web presence. It’s like Kim Kardashian’s butt – you simply can’t avoid it. Since re-launching my site I’ve had more than a few folks send questions my way, so this is probably a good opportunity to build a primer on TEH INTARWEBS! Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll walk you through the basics of building your own site. You don’t need to learn any programming languages (unless you want to), and for those of you who already know web sorcery, you get to ignore all of this stuff, though you’ll miss my subtle fart jokes along the way.

Internet 101 – The internet was invented so that generals could still watch porn in the event of a nuclear catastrophe. The early internet networks were based on document exchange and file sharing. Web theinternetboxservers still operate by this same rudimentary principle – when you browse a site, you’re downloading the files from the web server, and your web browser renders everything in a pretty format for you to read, complete wift sepling errs. This is, of course, an oversimplification. Web servers provide access to content, and users (laptops, desktops, tablets, and basically anything that can render web content) connects to the greater internet network to access that content. The internet uses computer-based addressing (IP addressing – internet protocol) which isn’t user-friendly. Modern sites are switching over to IP version 6, which is even more confusing. You probably don’t care about all of this…

Continue reading…