Category Archives: horror stories

Let the reader be unaware while being aware

In a previous blog I talked about ending a chapter in my book with a character named Pamela slowly opening the door to a shack deep in the woods. A writer always hopes to end a chapter leaving something that makes the reader start the next chapter, always a good idea because it prevents the reader from raiding the refrigerator or cupboards for comfort food while reading your comfort story. You kids out there-eat healthy snacks.

There are two good methods for this. One is to pick up where you left off and this I did at the beginning of the next chapter. You keep the action and story moving.

But there is another method and that will frustrate the reader-and in this case it is a good thing. And that is to delay what the reader expects is going to happen. At the end of the chapter in which we find out what is in the shack, three characters are deciding what to do with new information they learned that clouds the murder investigation they are working on.

This time I do not pick up where I left off, but begin the next chapter with what would be termed in film language as a jump cut. I cut to a conversation with an unknown person telling a story. But who? After whoever tells a lengthy story one of the three characters from the previous chapter asks a question of the unknown narrator of the story. So the chapter begins with a story and reader has no idea who is talking. Only after the three characters ask questions of the storyteller do they find out who he is and how they came together for the conversation.

Good writing gets the reader to the point where they must know what happens next-keeps them away from cookies and such you know-and cutting the chapter with a cliffhanger is one way, and beginning a chapter with something unexpected that keeps the reader reading to find out what is going on is another.

If you can do this trick with seamless precision the reader is unaware of what you are doing-and if they do they are glad you know what you are doing- and they are aware they must keep reading.

The following e-book has no chapters just short stories, but I think you will keep reading them. It is here at Amazon

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How to prepare to write- for tomorrow

If you want to  get your writing off to a good start today then you should have prepared yesterday. In the e-Book I am currently working on I finished chapter three with Pamela slowly opening a door to an abandoned shack deeps in the woods. What is on the other side of the door?

I was wondering the same thing when I finished chapter three and was done for the day having written nearly 2,000 words.

So I wondered what will happen next, what do I write about tomorrow? Rather than do nothing but shutdown my computer for the day, I decided to make notes for tomorrow. That way I do not waste time wondering what happens next when I sit down to write tomorrow. I am facing two options. One, somebody or something is inside, or two, nothing happens. Sometimes nothing is good because the reader is expecting something. I already have a car by the side of the road; the car owned by a character Pamela and two others are looking for, thus the reason they go to this shack wondering if he, Dennis by name, is in the shack, and whether he is alive or dead.

It matters not whether he is there or not, the idea is to decide which, then what the characters decide to do with what they know, for there is always something to be learned even if Dennis is not there. But I won’t tell you what, that is not the point.

It is about preparing for the next day and you do this by deciding what you want the characters to do, or what you want to have happen. You only have to make quick little reminder notes, something simple, something to trigger your thinking and writing. So when tomorrow arrives and you read your notes, then you are off and running.

I currently have finished chapter three and have no idea what happens next, so I must leave you and make my notes.

On my Amazon page I have finished e-books. Here is one filled with wonderful paranormal horror stories. It has two four star reviews.

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Are you inspired by these inspirational quotes

Believe that you will succeed, and you will.”

The above quote came from Dale Carnegie who wrote the book “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” His techniques worked for him as he got rich with the book and his training program. Though he died in 1955 his training program his still going strong. He is still influencing others from the grave.

But believing alone will not lead to success. I read a variation of this quote that said, “believe and act like you are a writer and you will be one.” What is not said is that a writer must write. And then if he is an indie writer he must learn to market, advertise, and become a businessman.

So no, acting like a writer by wearing a jacket with elbow patches, a scarf around your neck, a fashionable hat purchased at Wal-Mart atop your head, and sitting reading a small book of Renaissance poetry in Starbucks won’t work. A woman writer would be sitting at the same table, but I have no idea what she would be wearing, other than a colorful sweater, scarf (all writers must have one), flats-no heels, and holding a cat in her lap while surfing the net on her laptop. 

And great writers also have empty inspiration. Johan  Wolfgang Von Goethe, who wrote “Faust,” said, “Magic is believing in yourself. If you can do that, anything can happen.” I do believe that you must believe in yourself, but doing so will not create success, nor will there be magic. There Are millions of people who believe in themselves, yet face the fact that no matter what they do, no matter how hard they try, what they want will always be illusive.

There will always be waiters in Hollywood, who will end up as waiters, because they never get that good break. The same is true of those teaching here and there, writing everyday, but getting rejected by agents and publishers.

I admit to disliking inspirational quotes. I find them hollow. They are always said by those who have achieved, never by those who failed. I wonder why that is. Let’s be honest. There is something to be said about luck, about randomness, about, perhaps, being in the right time at the right place. But, and this is important, you must prepare for that moment, even if in times of darkness, you don’t think that moment will come.

As a writer you can listen to all the advice of those on the Internet who want to help you, all the while trying to sell you something so that they can make money as you chase your dream. Nothing against Writers Digest, a good magazine, but I got daily multiple emails from them, encouraging me to enroll in this course, to buy these books, to sign up for this webinar. I have also seen free webinars and registered for two, but of course they always have something to sell, don’t they. And it’s not cheap.

True success is not about believing, it is about circumnavigating all the traps set before you; the writer in the maze who smells the cheese and scrambles after it through the maze. I believe in writing and working, of having enough books on Amazon so that people who find my page will find much to chose from. I may never have success, but I will work, not from empty inspiration, but from the power of the word.

My new e-book is Silent Murder, a murder mystery set in 1927 where somebody is killing sound technicians, trying to prevent the demise of silent movies.

Also recently published is a collection of eight short horror stories, More Cemetery Tales and other Phantasms.

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How not to publish an e-book

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This is the cover of my recently published e-book. And it was a dicey, maddening run to publish.

Rule one, if you are planning a specific release date, make sure you leave plenty of time for proofreading-of course you know that. But there is something else you need to plan for and that is when things go wrong-everyday.

I wanted to release this book Halloween week for obvious reasons. So I knew how long I had to proofread, have my book formatted to Amazon specs, go through the process on Amazon with categories, keywords, uploading, pricing, and other fun things, then blog and Twitter before Halloween.

But gremlins living inside cyberspace, my computer, and probably under my bed conspired to stop me.

(1) I uploaded my file to the company that formats my books. I then send the mobi file to my Kindle PC for a final proofread, the reason being  is that seeing your book on a Kindle before publishing is great for editing as a lot of things you missed jump out at you. Seeing what needed changing I went to the formatter and the document was not only gone, but the vertical scroll bar was gone-not that it would have helped. So email to support and wait. The next day everything was okay, so I spent two days doing the last fix. I still had time to publish, though it was now Monday of Halloween week.

(2) My mobi file disappeared from my computer, Tuesday I found it in a search.

(3) Still Tuesday I send the mobi file to Amazon and uploaded the book. Yeah! Rule two, do not celebrate early.

(4) Amazon, though I followed-mostly-followed their guidelines on keywords-nonetheless was told they would overwhelm searchers. (Hey, isn’t that what I want). It took three tries before they were satisfied. This is my fourth book, and had no keywords problems before.

(5) So after a long Tuesday I was told the book was under review. Wednesday an email told me the book was live. Yeah! See rule two.

(6) I clicked ‘here’ in my email and indeed the book was on Amazon. Unfortunately it was not on my authors page. After an email to Amazon support, the problem was fixed later in the day.

I was lucky to have the book go live three days before Trick and Treat night.

So now that you know what can go wrong, be advised to plan in advance so that you finish the book and everything is ready a week ahead of time, maybe two weeks. There are cyber gremlins waiting to attach. Now if I can just get the cat off the top of my head.

 Here  is a link to the book that survived the gremlins. There is no guarantee the link will work though.

My website

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Stories I wrote from the grave

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Yes that is my name on the tombstone. Yes I am dead. But I was able to write eight short stories of horror that is now a live e-book on Amazon. It is no easy task writing in a coffin. It is cramped and damn dark. Lucky me for me I memorized the keyboard. I also had the foresight to pick a tree that has Wi-Fi.

My logline for this book is:

Stories in the spectral shadows where transition from life to death becomes blurred; where shadows haunt both the living and the dead; where shadows disorient and confuse.

If, like me, you are dead, the book is free. If you are still among the living, you may contribute 3.99 to Amazon and they will come to my grave once a month and drop coins into the slot on top of the tombstone. Even the dead have expenses. Air freshener is a top priority. I also need a saw to cut off the tree root that is coming through the coffin bottom and edging towards my bottom. Quite uncomfortable.

I know, I know, stop complaining you say. We all have problems. Hey, I’m dead, a little sympathy please.

Story one is about a different kind of a theatre, one you may or may not want to visit. Story two is about a house in the woods that may or may not be haunted; it is for you to decide. Story three is about a man walking in a cemetery and has trouble communicating with those he meets. The fourth story is my humble attempt to reimagine the ending of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein.”

The fifth story is about a crazed killer who -no, I can’t tell you. Story six is about a boy going to his first parade. Ah, how sweet. So you might think before reading this story. The seventh story is about a man who wakes up and finds a dead woman in his bed and has no idea who she is. And the final story is about what happens to a writer creating stories like the previous seven, a story where some characters will be familiar.

For my family and friends on Facebook who never wish me Happy Birthday, never comment on anything I post, never like anything I post, you can buy the book, but do not have to read it. Just think how wonderful the cover will look on your desktop, what with my name on the tombstone.

Here is a link to this book on Amazon if you would like to contribute to my afterlife happiness.

 

 

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