Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Swords Of Darkness: The Stories And Authors


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I've previously listed the writers in Swords of Darkness; now I have a list of the stories!

L.C. Mortimer (Editor and Goodreads Author)

  1. The Price of Ambition by Charles Jake
  2. Hallows Eve Street by Irene Ferraro-Sives
  3. A Test of His Metal by Bill Hoyt 
  4. Reynard and the Dragon by Kathleen Danielson
  5. The Soul Road by Shaun Avery
  6. Dance of Swords by J. C. Kang
  7. The Curse of Ennerath by DJ Tyrer
  8. The Sword of Hexworthy Manor by K. R. Smith
  9. The Vourdelak by Joseph Rubas

Cover image: Swords of Darkness, Edited by L. C. Mortimer


I've just received my copy, so I haven't read them yet, but this book is at the top of my list! And everyone can get their own copy January 1, 2016!


© 2012-2015 K. R. Smith All rights reserved

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Swords Of Darkness - Now On Goodreads



L. C. Mortimer's fantasy anthology, Swords of Darkness, is now on Goodreads! It's on pre-order at Amazon until January 1, 2016, but that's not too far away!

Image of Cover: Swords of Darkness
Cover: Swords of Darkness

Since it hasn't been released yet I haven't seen the final version, but there are supposed to be ten stories. These are the authors:

L.C. Mortimer (Editor and Goodreads Author)
Shaun Avery
Kathleen Danielson
Irene Ferraro-Sives
Bill Hoyt
Charles Jake
JC Kang
Joseph Rubas (Goodreads Author)
K.R. Smith (Goodreads Author—and me, BTW)
DJ Tyrer

There's not a lot of info out there on some of the writers, even those who have several books out, so I'm interested in how these writers handled the subject. I am looking forward to reading this.

My story is about a 14 year-old girl who receives a family heirloom in the form of a sword. She then finds her way into a land where she uses it—with a little luck—to great advantage. I can't say much more without spoiling the story, but there is a bit of humor involved.

This is my first story in the fantasy genre, but it might not be my last!



© 2012-2015 K. R. Smith All rights reserved

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Swords Of Darkness - Coming Soon!


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Do you like fantasy anthologies? With, perhaps, a dragon or two? Then there's a new Kindle ebook available for pre-order on Amazon just for you! And it happens to include one of my stories!

The anthology is titled Swords of Darkness, and L. C. Mortimer is the editor. It will contain ten stories in all, and every one will have a sword involved in some way. I don't have a list of stories yet, but the book should be available January 1, 2016.

My story is called The Sword of Hexworthy Manor. It's about a fourteen-year-old girl named Gwendolyn with a very active imagination. It's her impressive imagination—along with an heirloom sword—that leads her into an interesting, and sometimes humorous, adventure.

Again, enough of my blather. Here's the book!



Swords of Darkness
    edited by L. C. Mortimer 


Cover image of Swords of Darkness, edited by L. C. Mortimer
Cover image:
Swords of Darkness

The Book:
A sword holds power.
A sword holds promise.
And a sword holds darkness.

L.C. Mortimer's editorial debut features tales of magic and darkness from authors who explore what it truly means to wield the power of a sword. From a courageous young lad who wants to honor his grandfather to an unlikely hero who will face anything to win the heart of the one he loves, these stories will lead you on adventures you won't be able to forget.

My Story:
Gwendolyn is a young girl living with her grandfather and a housekeeper named Mildred in an old manor near Hexworthy, a village in the moors of Dartmoor. As the last direct descendant of the family, he presents her with a sword, the only family heirloom left of any value. With her imagination in overdrive, she goes to play in the old ruins on the estate and finds, quite by accident, the way to a world she never knew existed. But with passage now sealed, can she ever return home?

Available for pre-order (Kindle) on Amazon
    US Kindle
    UK Kindle



© 2012-2015 K. R. Smith All rights reserved

Friday, December 4, 2015

New Tools: Amazon Storywriter


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Several people have told me my stories would make good screenplays. I hope that's true because it means they've found something worthwhile in what I write.

The problem is that I don't know much about writing screenplays. And while I may never write a screenplay, it's nice to know there's a tool available should I want to.

Amazon recently launched Amazon Storywriter, a tool for writing screenplays. It is a tool being promoted by Amazon Studios as a way to get new ideas and writers involved in the production of videos and movies, and, if I may go out on a limb here, make money for Amazon. If it gives us beginners a chance, that's all right by me.


Image of Amazon Storywriter interface
Amazon Storywriter screenshot


Part of the process is to allow others to provide feedback during the early parts of development. This can be critical for beginners, and helpful for every writer.

The tool stores the script on Amazon's Cloud, so you can access it anywhere, even on your phone. To edit the script, you do need a Mac or PC. You can also work off-line using a free Chrome plug-in called Amazon Storywriter Chrome App.

When you're all done, you can submit it to Amazon Studios, and shortly thereafter, move to a mansion in Beverly Hills. Ya gotta think big!


© 2012-2015 K. R. Smith All rights reserved

Thursday, December 3, 2015

All The What Ifs


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I don't read any where near as much as most writers, but every now and then I see a book I'd like to read. Even less often is a book I feel I must read.

All The What Ifs by Angela Lynn is one of those books.


Cover of All The What Ifs, a new book by Angela Lynn
Cover of
All The What Ifs
by
Angela Lynn

I don't know if you're familiar with Angela, but I know her from Twitter. You can find her there by clicking HERE.

She's a bit different. For example, she talks funny sometimes.



OK, most of the time.

Inanimate objects attack her. Like clarinets.

She goes crazy around free slushees and consumes wine at inappropriate hours.

She seems to have an issue with hurting herself, even if only in the virtual world.



The list is endless.

If the book has any trace of the Angela Lynn from Twitter, it should be a hoot. Not necessarily a funny sort of hoot. It could be rather dramatic. I don't know because I don't have a copy yet, but a hoot nonetheless. It will be completely hootable.

Good God, now I'm talking like her.

Anyway, please check it out!

It's currently available from Amazon US and Amazon UK for Kindle. I'm hoping a paperback version will be available soon.


© 2012-2015 K. R. Smith All rights reserved

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Another Update On My Writing Projects


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A while back, I submitted a couple of flash fiction pieces to the Apex Annual Flash Fiction Contest. As expected, I did not win. So, I have these two little Christmas stories without a home. One of them may show up on this blog towards the end of the month.

Update: Just to let everyone know, Dead Men's Tales, with my story Skarett's Treasure, was published in February 2017. You can find it HERE.

As far as my pirate story at Fringeworks—they said it would probably be published in late September. I'm reasonably certain it was to be this year. I'm becoming more doubtful than ever it will see the light of day on a printed page.

I have a post-apocalyptic story submitted to Lisa Shambrook, but I haven't had any feedback or updates on that project's status in some time.

I had also submitted a short horror story for consideration in a splatterpunk anthology on Horrified Press. Then the editor disappeared. I don't even know if they received the story. The last status on this is listed as 'on hold due to editor issue.'

Lastly, I submitted a fantasy story (my first) to L. C. Mortimer for possible inclusion in an anthology, but I haven't heard back on that yet. She says there have been a lot of stories coming in, so the completion will be tough.

I think my batting average is dropping into negative numbers!


© 2012-2015 K. R. Smith All rights reserved

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Before The Turkey


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At some point during the day, I will consume enough calories to feed a small army.

Before that happens, I'm going to do a bit of writing. I haven't had a lot of free time lately, so today I'm going to steal a little and hit the keyboard.

I now have three stories submitted for which I am waiting a response—and have been for some time. So, one more can't hurt. The editors are probably stuffing themselves today, too, so any response is unlikely for the foreseeable future. Instead of checking the acceptance lists, writing is in order. The deadline for my latest project is only a few days away, so I'd better get moving. This one is a fantasy—with a dragon, no less. So, yes, I'm trying a new genre.

I always tell people I'm a horror writer, but it seems every story I've written lately is from a genre I've never tried before. Who knows? Perhaps a cookbook is in my future.

So, until my next post, Happy Thanksgiving!


© 2012-2015 K. R. Smith All rights reserved

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Anti-Bullying Week 2015


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Tales From The Bully Box got a five-star review! Just in time for Anti Bullying Week 2015!


Click here to read the Goodreads review.

From Goodreads  (by moderator Sarah Churchill):
I'm so happy to announce #AntiBullyReads for a second year!

*** November 16th - 22nd 2015 ***

This readathon is in support of Anti Bullying Week 2015, with the aim of starting discussions about bullying and our bid to stand up for those who need it and never be a bystander.

The idea is simple – to read only books that feature bullying during Anti Bullying Week. How many books you read is up to you, but in the spirit of a readathon you should push yourself to read a little more than usual. The book doesn't have to be *focused* on the issues of bullying, as long as bullying is featured in the book in some way.

Over 150 books have been suggested with varying types and levels of bullying featured which are aimed at readers of all ages, so there should be something for everyone. (You don't have to read books from this list, they're just suggestions in case you get stuck!)


© 2012-2015 K. R. Smith All rights reserved


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

I'm Turning Into A Flasher


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No need to call the police, however. Well, not for this blog post, anyway.

I've just submitted a couple of flash fiction pieces to the Apex Annual Flash Fiction Contest. They get a lot of entries from great writers, so it's very unlikely that I could win even though they will select multiple winners. Still, it's good to keep writing and have something new in the works.

The subject this year is Christmas invasions. The story has to have an invasion and have a reference to Christmas. And it can't be over 250 words long. With all the folks I know doing NaNoWriMo, I feel like such a slacker.

Come to think of it, I can live with that.


© 2012-2015 K. R. Smith All rights reserved

Friday, November 6, 2015

Beth Rhodes: COVER REVEAL--Outside The Lines


Update: it is now available for pre-order on Amazon!



Saw this cover reveal on Twitter originally. I knew she'd have a blog post up and I wanted to let everyone know she has a new book coming.


Excerpt and link:

Beth Rhodes: COVER REVEAL--Outside The Lines: COMING, DECEMBER 10, 2015 For the first time in her life, good-girl Maria Rodriguez throws aside caution for an all-consuming des...


© 2012-2015 K. R. Smith All rights reserved

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Concert At The Birchmere: Loreena McKennitt


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Few forms of art tell stories as well as the old songs and poetry of Ireland and Scotland, and few musicians can bring these to the masses as well as Loreena McKennitt. I attended her concert at The Birchmere last night, and I wasn't disappointed.


Image of the entrance to The Birchmere
Entrance to The Birchmere auditorium
(this is inside where the "Flex Stage" and bar is located)
 
First of all, if you've never been to The Birchmere, it's a little different. It isn't a huge place, more like a big cafeteria with a stage up front. You buy your ticket (online is best as a lot of the shows are sold out) and when you arrive they give you a number at the box office (in the order in which you arrive). After a while, they start calling the numbers for seating. Advice: get there early.

When you go into the auditorium, you pick your own seat. The tables seat anywhere from 2 to 8 people. The location can make a big difference in your concert experience, so being among the first to choose does help. My party was not among those, but we did all right. Almost immediately, waiters/waitresses come around to ask if you want to order anything to eat. Yes, they do serve food, which wasn't too bad, though it isn't cheap. They come back during intermission for additional orders (coffee, dessert).

Loreena did two shows at The Birchmere. Both were sold out. Accompanying her on stage were Brian Hughes (guitar and bouzouki) and cellist Caroline Lavelle (cello, recorder, and "squeezebox"). There was also another fellow that joined them on the fiddle briefly, but I did not catch his name. Loreena said he is often found selling their merchandise at the shows, but tonight he was helping them out on stage.

The show was in two parts (or three, if you include the encore). The first part was heavy into Celtic history and a lot of stories concerning here travels to Ireland and other places where the early Celts lived. She also included readings and music from a play she worked on (though didn't bring to fruition) concerning Irish history.

The is one note I'd like to add. Near the beginning of the first part, Loreena explained how distracting it can be for people to take photographs while they are playing. She did, however, play "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" for a short while asking everyone who wanted a picture to take it then. There were lots of laughs and lots of pictures taken. I tried, but my photo do not come out well. I did get a picture of the stage before the show started (below).


Image inside The Birchmere for Loreena McKennitt's performance
The stage for Loreena McKinnett's performance

The second part of the show was more music and less history than the first half. Towards the end, she performed several of my favorites including The Stolen Child and The Bonny Swans. And yes, when performing live, she sounds just like she does on her recordings. The acoustics there were actually quite good for this type of performance, though the guitar was a little loud at some points. It was interesting to watch Brian Hughes play as he was sometimes using more than on instrument during a song, once for only one note (or effect, if you will). It all went off without a hitch. Caroline Lavelle also played flawlessly (or so it seemed to my limited musical knowledge), and added her voice to the mix at times.

So, yes, it was a good concert!


© 2012-2015 K. R. Smith All rights reserved

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Publishing Update: No Good News


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This is going to start just like several other posts I've made on this subject. I used copy and paste for most of this post. It ends about the same, too.

If you've read my previous blog post you know I've been waiting for some time for Fringeworks to publish the Dead Men's Tales anthology. It (should) include my story, Skarett's Treasure. Their last blog post hinted that it might be out by late September. I'll have to check my calendar, but I think September has already passed.

Now on to Horrified Press...

I submitted a story back in February 2015, to an anthology listed on the Horrified Press site. Never received any reply from the editor. So I posted a note at the bottom of their submissions page. Got a reply saying they'd contact the editor and let me know.

I finally received an answer.
Hey,
Apologies for the late reply, but we have been unable to contact this editor. If this project doesn’t move forward by November end then I will be putting out the call for those already accepted to re-forward their contracts and pieces directly to me, so that the book can be completed for an Xmas release. It wouldn’t be an ideal scenario, but I would like to see this book completed for all concerned. 
Best
 Nathan J.D.L. Rowark
 Editor-in-chief
 Horrified Press

As I've never received an acceptance (or rejection) letter, I can assume I won't be in the book. That's OK. At least I can move forward and submit elsewhere.

And I don't blame Mr. Rowark for this, either. If an editor disappears there's not to much more he can do other than what he has suggested. I can imagine he's not too pleased with the situation. And I hope there isn't some horrible reason for Mr. McLean's failure to communicate. I like horror in stories, not real life.

So, I still have the story and I can find another market for submission. That's what writers do.


© 2012-2015 K. R. Smith All rights reserved

Friday, October 16, 2015

New Book: Beneath the Distant Star by Lisa Shambrook



Here's the second new book coming out from folks I know. This one is by Lisa Shambrook called Beneath the Distant Star. Though I don't have a copy yet, I've read Lisa's previous novel, Beneath the Old Oak, so I know she's capable of writing a great book. I'm looking forward to reading this one.

Again, enough of my blather. Here's the book!



Beneath the Distant Star
    by Lisa Shambrook


Cover image: Beneath the Distant Star by Lisa Shambrook



The Story:

“Discover what you already have.” LIFE IS TO LIVE, TO HOLD AND CHERISH...SO EMBRACE THE STARS Jasmine feels like the ghost of the sister she can no longer remember. Her existence reminds her mother she has something her sister never will—life—and their fragile relationship shatters. Jasmine craves love and acceptance but refuses to be her sister, Freya, and fights to become her own person. Life becomes a battleground as she disregards the rules and resolves to live her life to the fullest. Jasmine’s reckless abandon threatens to destroy the very thing she needs most.

Available on Amazon
    US Kindle 
    US Paperback
    UK Kindle
    UK Paperback

About the author:
     Lisa began weaving intricate stories inside her imagination from a young age, but these days her words find themselves bursting forth in the forms of flash fiction, short stories and novels.
     She was born and raised in vibrant Brighton, England, and living by the ocean heavily influenced her lyrical and emotional writing. She works with the senses, description and colour, and her readers will easily visualise the narrative. A wife and mother, Lisa draws inspiration from family life, faith, memory and imagination. Since having her first of three children, Lisa has lived in Carmarthen, West Wales, another town rich in legend and lore.
     Lisa loves family time, walking the family's excitable German Shepherd, beaches, photography, art and last, but not least, writing. She says, "There's nothing better than losing yourself inside your imagination!"
     Lisa's debut novel 'Beneath the Rainbow' and its sequel 'Beneath the Old Oak' are both available in paperback and ebook at Amazon.
     You can follow her blog at www.thelastkrystallos.wordpress.com or checkout her website at www.lisashambrook.com.

If you are wondering who does Lisa's covers (and interior design), it's a company in Michigan (USA) called Blue Harvest Creative. They do some pretty nice work!


© 2012-2015 K. R. Smith All rights reserved

Thursday, October 15, 2015

New Book: Terri Deno's Seeing What Develops



There are a number of new books coming out from writers I know, and the first one is Terri Deno's new romance novel Seeing What Develops. It was just a few months ago she released a novella, Melody of Love, using Amazon's Kindle Worlds platform, so I was a little surprised she had another book ready so quickly.

I've read part of it while it was being developed on Amazon's Write On site, but I'll have more to report once I have a real copy in my hands and a chance to read it. Terri has a smooth style, so I can count on the pages turning rapidly.

But enough of my blather. Here's the book!



Seeing What Develops
    by Terri Deno



The Story:

Lindley Neil is perfectly happy working as a photographer's assistant in her small, Midwestern town. As her boss Lexi LaPort starts getting bigger and better gigs, Lindley gets to follow Lexi around to L.A. and New York to photograph movie stars and models. What she didn't expect was to fall in love. Twice. With a movie star and a prominent journalist vying for her affection, Lindley also knows that her job with Lexi won't last forever. Lindley has to choose her own path, even though it means she has to break someone's heart. Will it end up being be her own?

Available on Amazon
    US Kindle
    US Paperback

About the author:
Terri Deno is a freelance writer living in the Midwest. When she's not writing, you can find her consuming massive quantities of books and rocking out to her vinyl collection. She is the author of Unfolding Life: A Book of Haiku, and her work has previously appeared in Luna Station Quarterly, Full of Crow and The Poetry of Yoga, Vol. 1.

Click HERE for Terri Deno's Goodreads page.

If you like romance, you might want to give this new book a try!


© 2012-2015 K. R. Smith All rights reserved

Friday, October 2, 2015

Hello, Fringeworks? Horrified Press? Anybody?


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If you've read MY PREVIOUS BLOG POST you know I've been waiting for some time for Fringeworks to publish the Dead Men's Tales anthology. It (should) include my story, Skarett's Treasure. Their last blog post hinted that it might be out by late September.

ANTICIPATED RELEASE DATE: LATE SEPTEMBER 2015

Edited by Mellissa Black, DEAD MEN’S TALES is another of those infuriatingly slow books in happening. Originally scheduled for publication in July 2014, it has been slowly progressing towards publication ever since.

The anthology will focus on the pirate stories told from the perspective of the dead.
 
In case you were wondering, it is now October. Still haven't seen the book...

Just a gentle little reminder.

Update: Just to let everyone know, Dead Men's Tales, with my story Skarett's Treasure, was published in February 2017. You can find it HERE.

Now on to Horrified Press...

I submitted a story back in February (2015 - I have to be clear on this, all things considered...), I believe, to an anthology listed on the Horrified Press site. Never received any reply from the editor. So I posted a note at the bottom of their submissions page. Got a reply saying they'd contact the editor and let me know.

Any word on the status of Ad Nauseam: A Return to Splatterpunk? I tried e-mailing T.M. McLean, but haven’t received a reply. I’ve submitted a story, but I don’t know if it has been accepted/rejected or even received.


    • It’s been over a month and I still haven’t heard anything. I really would like to know what’s happening with this. If this anthology isn’t going forward I would like to submit my story elsewhere, but I’d like to give this one a chance before I do that.

I'm still waiting... BTW, love the little smiley face. Makes me want to post another comment to see if you would give me another one. By another one I mean a smiley face, at least for the moment. The anthology (as of this posting) is listed as "DEADLINE EXTENDED: Until Full."

Is it just me? I'm sort of getting an inferiority complex here.

If it is me, just let me know. I'm cool with that.


© 2012-2015 K. R. Smith All rights reserved

Thursday, September 17, 2015

And Yet Another Update On My Fringeworks Submissions


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Update: Just to let everyone know, Dead Men's Tales, with my story Skarett's Treasure, was published in February 2017. You can find it HERE.


Let me take you back in time.

No, this isn't the Twilight Zone. Or maybe it is.

In March of 2013, I started writing a story titled Skarett's Treasure for a small publisher named Fringeworks. You can see the archived request for submission on Duptrope, which also stated that the authors were to get royalties, at least in theory. The following is from Duotrope:
Payscale
F Short fiction N +  No monetary payment. Royalties.
There is also an entry on Horror Tree stating there would be 5% royalties after costs.

Skarett's Treasure is a pirate story told from the point of view of one of the characters who happens to be dead. I submitted just before the May 30th (2013) deadline and it was eventually accepted.

The story was supposed to be published in an anthology called Dead Men's Tales sometime toward the end of 2013.

It wasn't.

Then I heard it was supposed to be published in July of 2014.

It wasn't.

Then I heard it was supposed to be published toward the end of 2014.

It wasn't.

Then I heard, well—nothing. In fact, I heard a whole lot of nothing for a very long time.

I e-mailed, but never received a response from the editor or Fringeworks.

In the meantime, another story I had submitted to Fringeworks (and had accepted) called The Fisherman and his Wife, was published, also much later than planned, in Grimm and Grimmer III. You can buy it on Amazon, though few people know about it as neither the publisher nor the other authors seem to have done anything to promote the book.

I'd love to show you the contract I got with that deal, but I can't. I don't have one. They never even told me when the book was available. I found it on Amazon by accident.

Now, back to Dead Men's Tales...

I'm not sure what edits were done as I've never seen any for this story to review or approve. Perhaps it was absolutely perfect and none were needed. Okay, you can stop laughing now... (Note: I thought Colin Fisher, the editor for The Fisherman and His Wife, did a great job.)

I see on the Fringeworks website that they are now supposed to publish the book by late September. Here's what they have listed:

ANTICIPATED RELEASE DATE: LATE SEPTEMBER 2015

Edited by Mellissa Black, DEAD MEN’S TALES is another of those infuriatingly slow books in happening. Originally scheduled for publication in July 2014, it has been slowly progressing towards publication ever since.

The anthology will focus on the pirate stories told from the perspective of the dead.

Table of Contents

Cover – Darrel Bevan
Foreword – Kevin R McNally
Aye for an Eye by Patrick O’Neill
The Wreck of the Ebony Rose by Rie Sheridan Rose
Last Entry by Max Wright
John Gull’s Tale by Stephanie Craig
In His Own Way by Guy Burtenshaw
Shores of Leguan Island by Stewart Hotson
Spectre of the Eridanus by Kate Monroe
Skarett’s Treasure by K. R. Smith
Lips by Stephanie Ellis
The Regular by A.P. Sessler
The Engine Room by Alex Douglas-Mann
Buried With Treasure by John Vicary
The Man Remains by Julius Horne

Cover: Blackbeard, copyright Darrel Bevan, 2014.

Interesting. Despite what they say, the original publication date was long before what they have listed. 2014 was the "amended" date.

I have serious doubts that I will ever see any royalties since there has been little (nothing?) in the way of promotion of their books, and even if it sold like hotcakes (I remember Moe of the Three Stooges saying this a lot, and it seems appropriate) the chances are slim and none. I have no official contract with them.

It would be a shame for Fringeworks to simply publish Dead Men's Tales with no marketing and let it fall into obscurity, especially after all the work they (and the authors) have put into it. Artist Darrel Bevan was hired to produce the cover.


Possible cover image by Darrel Bevan for Dead Men's Tales
Possible cover image by
Darrel Bevan
for
Dead Men's Tales

I like his work, and the image is appropriate even though the cover won't be as colorful as most books today. They've even managed to get actor Kevin R. McNally to write the foreword for this book. He is one of three actors who have starred in all four of the Pirates of the Caribbean films.

Unfortunately, I'm afraid this may be what happens if it ever gets published at all. It's been over two years since I started this adventure. I can't even remember the character's names! I sure hope it's a decent story.

Do I think the Fringeworks folks are evil? No. In the beginning, they were very responsive and appeared to be working hard at getting out quality books. I think they tried to do too much and got in over their heads. There may have been some internal personality issues, too, but I can't say for sure. And they did have problems when the original cover artist left, and possibly with the separation of Knightwatch Press. I never did get a lot of details on this.

That being said, I won't be submitting anything new to them until they show they've got their act together, and I really hope they manage to pull it off. But a blog post once every six months and a tweet every year isn't the kind of communication you need from your publisher. For the moment, there are too many better options out there.


© 2012-2015 K. R. Smith All rights reserved

Monday, September 14, 2015

This Week's Free Photo - Mercer Lake


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This is my free photo of the week post! In my defense, I didn't say EVERY week, even if that was implied...

I took a little walk around Mercer Lake yesterday. I had to get away from things for a while and partake in a bit of exercise. The loop around is about 4 miles, so that should do it for this year.

All I had was my phone camera with me, so the pics aren't the highest quality. But they are free for you to use! It always amazes me how many trails, ponds, and lakes there are in the DC suburbs, and that in such a densely populated area it is still possible to find (somewhat) natural places to which one can escape. At the spot where I stood for the first photo, not a single house was in sight.    
 

Image of Mercer Lake, Virginia - free to use with attribution to K. R. Smith - file name MERCER_LK.jpg
Mercer Lake, Virginia

 
Although it's late in the year, there are still a few flowers blooming. I have no idea what this little blue one is.


Image of blue flower at Mercer Lake, Virginia - free to use with attribution to K. R. Smith - file name ML_BLUE_FLOWER.jpg
Blue flower


And I couldn't do a picture post without a few mushrooms sprouting from an old tree trunk!
  
 

Image of fungus on tree at Mercer Lake, Virginia - free to use with attribution to K. R. Smith - file name ML_TREE_FUNGUS.jpg
Tree with mushrooms

Stop back again! I'll have more photos for you next week (well, eventually...)!




Images MERCER_LK.jpg, ML_BLUE_FLOWER.jpg, ML_TREE_FUNGUS.jpg ©2015 K. R. Smith - www.theworldofkrsmith.com - may be used, in whole or in part, with attribution.


© 2012-2015 K. R. Smith All rights reserved

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

FSF Challenge - Breakfast






Five Sentence Fiction badge from Lillie McFerrin Writes

This week's writing challenge
from
Five Sentence Fiction
Lillie McFerrin Writes )
is based upon the prompt:

Breakfast


What it’s all about: Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week Lillie will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.

Get FSF updates on twitter by following @5SentenceFic






    "I've pushed Grandma to the table outside, Dad, but does she even know it's breakfast time?"
    "I'd like to think so, Sarah, and either way, the fresh air will do her good."
    When a small bird had landed on the table in front of her, she pushed a tiny of piece of toast toward it. As the bird picked off crumbs to eat, the old woman smiled.
    Sarah saw what her grandmother was doing, and nudged her father, saying, "I think she does, Dad."  



Looking for a short romance read? Check out this one from from Terri Deno (Kindle format):





You can also click here to go directly to Amazon! Melody of Love


© 2012-2015 K. R. Smith All rights reserved

Friday, August 14, 2015

Shore Leave 37 - Saturday


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When you're planning on spending the entire day running from discussion panels to talks by television stars, only to be interrupted by the never-ending wait in the autograph line, you need to start the day with a good meal. And end it, also. Fortunately for the attendees of Shore Leave 37, the Hunt Valley Inn provided the fuel for such endeavors in the form of an all-you-can-eat buffet. There are rumors that management is now reconsidering the wisdom of that choice. It was $24 for dinner and somewhat less for breakfast, and there is little doubt I received my money's worth. I only ate two meals per day and I believe I've gained about five pounds over the course of the weekend. Never were less than three plates used, and on at least on happy occasion, a fourth was required.

I started out with a spinach and mushroom omelet (with cheese in the middle, because just like Wallace, I like cheese, and it was made to order right in front of you), sausages, and fruit. You can't see it here, but I had coffee, water, and orange juice to drink. I only ordered the coffee the rest appeared as if by magic...

Breakfast, first course...
Breakfast, first course...

I believe there is a possibility that I used a second plate to get the potatoes and some more fruit. There was probably something else on the plate, too, but I can't remember. Maybe it was bacon.

Then I was forced to eat dessert...

Dessert at breakfast
Dessert at breakfast

Yes, forced, I tell you! With more coffee, of course.

Once this celebration of gluttony concluded, I waddled out into the vendor's area to see what was for sale. Here's an example:

Lady Heather Fashions at Shore Leave
Lady Heathers Fashions at Shore Leave

This is Lady Heathers Fashions, with all sorts of stuff for cosplay. They also do custom leatherwork.

Around this time, I got a John Barrowman autograph for my brother.

At noon, I participated in the "Details of Publishing: The Good, the Bad, the Indies" workshop. The point of this was to give ideas on how to get published, with the upsides and downsides to each method. The panelists included Donna Frelick, Stephen Kozeniewski, and Marco Palmieri of TOR Books. Here's a few pointers that came out of this:

  1. Try to get reviews for your book to increase sales
  2. A Bookbub ad will get you sales, but they don't take everything
  3. Get a good cover. Look at covers you like and find out who made them. Don't be afraid to redo the cover if it doesn't work.
  4. Try small presses if the big ones aren't buying, and don't be afraid to try both
  5. Get an editor, and at least 3-4 beta readers
  6. Try sending stories to contests, if unpublished
  7. Build a query synopsis - 1 to 2 sentences with plot and ending. You can check Queryshark for help. And query only one book at a time, don't bombard them with a whole series even if you have that in mind, No more than about 200-250 words.
  8. Check out W. B. Thomas' Guide to Query Letters.

Marco Palmieri of TOR books made these points:

  1. Do your research
  2. Brevity is your friend (1 page query - no more)
  3. Check spelling
  4. Check out the Manuscript Wishlist (#MSWL)
  5. Write an elevator pitch

Other places to check for help in getting published:

  1. Chuck Wendig's Terrible Minds blog
  2. SFWA now accepts indie works (within parameters) for membership

I got out in time to see the last part of John Barrowman's Saturday talk. This is John clowning around on stage with a boy from the audience.

John Barrowman at Shoreleave 2015
John Barrowman at Shoreleave 2015

After that, I caught the last part of Roger Cross speaking. I took several picture of him, but not one came out sharp.

BTW, there isn't any "travel time" built into the schedule, so just as one event ends the next is starting. That's a bit irritating as the events aren't right next to each other, and with all of the people crammed into the halls it takes time to get from one area to another.

At 3:00 PM, I attended the Writer Beware! workshop hosted by Richard White, Kathleen David, Glenn Hauman. This discussed the problems of writers being taken advantage of and is based on the website of the same name. Points I got out of this panel include:

  1. The complaint database at Writer Beware is confidential.
  2. An agent requires no certification. If an agent says they are certified, distrust them.
  3. Some valid agents will charge a fee (usually they will read the entire manuscript if they do).
  4. The biggest problem is amateur agents.
  5. The best situation is to find an agent moving away from an established company.
  6. Use AgentQuery to check for agents - who, what agency, sales.
  7. Use AbsoluteWrite - has index (blue=active agent, green=not active)
  8. Smaller presses should specialize - they shouldn't try to cover every genre.

After the workshop, I made my way into the main auditorium (the Hunt Room and the Valley Room joined together) to see the folks from Defiance (Jesse Rath, Jaime Murray, and Tony Curran).

Image of Jesse Rath, Jaime Murray, and Tony Curran from Defiance
Jesse Rath, Jaime Murray, and Tony Curran from Defiance

Here are close-up pics (about the best I could do without a tripod).


Jesse Rath at Shore Leave 2015
Jesse Rath at Shore Leave 2015

Jaime Murray at Shore Leave 2015
Jaime Murray at Shore Leave 2015

Tony Curran at Shore Leave 2015
Tony Curran at Shore Leave 2015

Somewhere in here, I got to talk to and shake hands with David Nykl.

After that, I got into the autograph line with my group. I got an autograph from Tony Curran on a picture from the Dr. Who series where he played Vincent Van Gogh.

Then it was time for dinner. Think of dinner as breakfast except there was roast beef, fish stuffed with crab meat, and delights of that sort. And, of course, dessert! I've become quite good at waddling.

Once we attended to some personal business, we stopped by the dance area to meet friends. BTW, they were playing ABBA when we arrived, then went straight to some sort of rap music. Ecclectic tastes, here...



With the day coming to an end, we relaxed with an adult beverage (only one), then went back to our rooms and turned in.

P.S. There's more to come. I'll try to get it posted when I can.



A note about the Farpoint convention coming up in 2016:

Farpoint is trying to raise money to enable them to bring more actors and actresses from popular shows to their convention. This can be expensive. If you are interested, please listen to the message from Tim Russ (Star Trek Voyager) below, then check out their kickstarter page for more info.




Click HERE to go to the Farpoint Kickstarter.



Looking for a summer beach read? Here's a new romance/suspense novella from Terri Deno (Kindle format):






© 2012-2015 K. R. Smith All rights reserved

Monday, August 10, 2015

Shore Leave 37 - Friday


Just a reminder: It's okay to leave comments!







I arrived at Shore Leave late Friday with only a basic idea of how the weekend would go. The official schedule was still in flux (and would remain so until the final hours of the event). The first order of business, however, was to get checked in.

My group immediately noticed the upgrades to the Hunt Valley Inn since last year. There were new carpets and dΓ©cor with horse-themed pictures and artwork everywhere. And I do mean everywhere. The bathrooms in the rooms had been upgraded, and fresh wallpaper was up. They are still in the process of making improvements, so next year should be even better—unless horses give you nightmares (no pun intended).

After we all had dinner (more on that later), we stopped into the "Valley Room" to listen to Daniel Davis (Niles in the Nanny TV series, Moriarity in Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Captain Davenport in Hunt for Red October). He told stories about how he got several roles, and would add to that later in the weekend.


Daniel Davis speaking in the Valley Room
Daniel Davis


Daniel Davis talking about
Hunt for Red October


After Daniel Davis finished, I went into the "Hunt Room" to listen to the news from Tor Books. They went through all of the books coming in the next year, and how Tor is starting a Tor.com bookstore (as opposed to Tor Books) that will concentrate on novellas. They believe this is the future for them. I tried to make a list of the books, but I couldn't write that fast. A few of them did sound interesting. This talk ties in with a brief article on their web site.

Now that it was getting late in the evening, the one activity that was in full swing was the "Meet the Pros" segment where authors were displaying their latest works, and more than willing to discuss them. And make a sale, of course!

Image of authors and attendees during the Friday night Meet the Pros segment
Authors and potential readers mingling
during "Meet the Pros"

Authors Melissa Scott and Amy Griswold
Author Melissa Scott signs a book for a customer
while Amy Griswold talks to another.

That about covered Friday. I'll try to get the news from Saturday and Sunday up when I can!



Looking for a summer beach read? Here's a new romance/suspense novella from Terri Deno (Kindle format):





© 2012-2015 K. R. Smith All rights reserved

Friday, July 31, 2015

FSF Challenge - Bubbles






Five Sentence Fiction badge from Lillie McFerrin Writes

This week's writing challenge
from
Five Sentence Fiction
Lillie McFerrin Writes )
is based upon the prompt:

Bubbles


What it’s all about: Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week Lillie will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.

Get FSF updates on twitter by following @5SentenceFic




A poem this time around...




Bubbles


Image of bubbles and cat: source - http://lilliemcferrin.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/7007697-cat-soap-bubbles-1024x640.jpg



Profoundly round,
Irrefutably iridescent,
They float on a whim into the sky.

Ephemeral rainbows,
Drifting randomly
Until bursting in an explosion of nothingness.

Transfixed, I watch
As the glistening spheres appear
And feel myself wandering with them.

It is merely a child's toy, of course,
Inappropriate for my years;
Just a looped wand and soapy water.

And yet I smile,
Wishing for the courage
To ask if I could play.


                                                       K. R. Smith



© 2012-2015 K. R. Smith All rights reserved

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Getting Ready For Shore Leave 37


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I'm starting to get ready for the annual Shore Leave convention this year in Hunt Valley, Maryland from August 7-9. There are lots of authors attending, plus there will be the writing workshops given by some of these authors.

Workshops
Annual Shore Leave All-Kinds-of-Writing Workshop
with Howard Weinstein, Bob Greenberger, Dave Galanter, Bob Jones & Kelly Meding 
Our writing workshop team has about a century's worth of professional editing and writing experience between them! They'll be sharing the fruits and frustrations of the writing life with all interested writers at their 2-hour workshop on Saturday. The basics of good writing and story-telling apply to many media, so they'll cover scripts, novels, short stories, comics -- and non-fiction, too. No matter your age or experience, if you want to be a writer -- or be a better writer -- here's your chance to ask questions and chat about the craft and business of writing for fun and profit! (Pre-registration not required; the workshop is free.)

Thrones to Mad Men: Writing Historical Fiction
with Howard Weinstein, Richard C. White & Steve Wilson 
Want to write historical fiction? Learn better ways to make the past come alive in this 90-minute session. (Pre-registration not required; the workshop is free.)

Here's a list of the authors registered to attend. If you'd like me to say "Hi!" to someone for you, or maybe ask a question, let me know!
Danielle Ackley-McPhail
Rigel Ailur
Lorraine Anderson
Christopher L. Bennett
Joseph F Berenato
Martin Berman-Gorvine
Kirsten Beyer (no web site)
T.A. Chafin
Russ Colchamiro
Daniel Patrick Corcoran  (no web site)
Michael Critzer
Kathleen David
Peter A. David
Mary Louise Davie
Keith R.A. DeCandido
Kevin Dilmore
Mary Fan
Donna Frelick
Michael Jan Friedman
Dave Galanter
Charles E Gannon
Phil Giunta
Robert Greenberger
Amy Griswold
Glenn Hauman
Jim Johnson
Bob Jones
Stephen Kozeniewski
David Mack
Kelly Meding
John Jackson Miller
Susan Olesen
Joshua Palmatier
Marco Palmieri
Scott Pearson
TJ Perkins
Susanna Reilly
Aaron Rosenberg
Melissa Scott
Darla Vasilas
Steve Vasilas
Dayton Ward
Howard Weinstein
Richard C. White
Steven H. Wilson
Leona Wisoker



Looking for a summer beach read? Here's a new romance/suspense novella from Terri Deno (Kindle format):






© 2012-2015 K. R. Smith All rights reserved