Zombies…A Love Story

Check out this new flash fiction story (less than 1,000 words) at C. Dominique Gibson’s blog called The Forgotten Thing.  Here is an excerpt:

…before he could protest, she brushed a gentle kiss on his lips which were surprisingly intact. He returned her kiss with a passionate one of his own but was careful not to be rough. They were both delicate and any body parts they still possessed were precious.

Go read it now!

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Devil Worshipers Did Not Take Over Twitter – Relax

Big controversy today when fans of the CW network television show, Supernatural, started talking about it on Twitter with the tag #luciferiscoming.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with the show, on the last episode of the previous season, one of the good guys accidentally opened a gate to hell that would allow Lucifer to get out — oops.

Some people mistook the topics #luciferiscoming and #supernatural as some sort of weird cult thing, and Twitter consequently made those topics impossible to search for (although you can still write about them).

  • People jumping to conclusions without researching: Dumb
  • Twitter intervening (presumably without researching): Dumber

Anyway, it’s great publicity for a great show, so whatever.  You can read more about it by visiting this article: Lucifer is Coming: How ‘Supernatural’ Stole Twitter.

And here’s a haiku I wrote about it:

lucifer’s coming,
crazed tweeters, but only to
the CW

by Edie Montgomery-Pool

Kelley Armstrong — Thanks and Index

A big thank you to Kelley Armstrong for guestblogging.  I like to include a list of each guest writer’s posts so that people can have one page to link to as a handy reference, so see the following list.  Kelley is interested in what you have to say, too, so if you haven’t commented on any of her posts yet, take a few moments to answer some of the interesting questions she has asked.  Do so before November 29th, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize.  

You can also pick up one of this prolific bestselling author’s many books on amazon.com.

Is That a Cliff I See Yawning Before Me?

Cliffhanger endings. Like ’em or loathe ’em?

For me…both. It depends on the medium. In serialized fiction, they’re good. In TV shows, they’re fine. Book and movies? Not so much. I suppose that’s because, with the other two formats, I expect cliffhangers and I know my resolution is coming soon and I won’t shell out a lot of cash to get it (as I mentioned in my last blog, I’m cheap)

When a movie ends in a cliffhanger (Pirates OTC 2 anyone?), I get annoyed. Sure, I was planning on seeing #3, but I don’t like feeling pushed into it.

Same thing with books. My classic example? A series I enjoyed until a book ended with the heroine finally picking a romantic choice…and we wouldn’t find out who until the next book. I was pissed. Had the next one been paperback, I would have bought it, but it was still hardcover, so I felt I was being pushed into buying the more expensive format…and I hate reading hardcover. Never read another book in the series. Yeah, it was a small thing, but I’m cranky and I’m stubborn.

Now, as I launch a young adult trilogy next year, the first book ends in what I suspect some will call a cliffhanger. I’d call it a hook. I’m probably splitting hairs, but when I give writing workshops, I talk about ending chapters with “hooks” to keep the reader turning the pages. To me, a cliffhanger is having the character pick a romantic interest…and making the reader wait a book to find out who it is. A hook is ending the book at a point where the protagonist is obviously in deep sh*t (it’s YA, I can’t swear), but she’s not hanging from a cliff, about to drop at any second.

I have agonized over this ending. It’s a trilogy with an overarching plot, so there was no “resolution” possible yet.

Originally, I did end it with a true cliffhanger. Everything goes to sh*t…curtain drops. Ouch. I knew I could never do that to readers. So I added a chapter, answering some questions and getting the protagonist into a temporarily safe place–a cave on the cliffside, if you will.

I know I’ll catch flak. And I may piss some readers off–which I hate to do. If it was me reading the book, I think I’d be okay with it but, yeah, I might feel a little manipulated into buying the next book to get all my questions answered.

So, toss in your ten cents. How do you feel about cliffhangers? About hooks? Is there a difference?

If an author clearly states this book one of a trilogy, do you expect an open ending and unanswered questions? Or do you want a temporary wrap up?

Kelley Armstrong is the NYT bestselling author of the urban fantasy series, The Otherworld. For info on her novels or to read sample chapters, check out her website at www.KelleyArmstrong.com.

Once Free, Forever Free?

Yesterday I referred to a NYT essay by Stephen King on short fiction. Today, I’m cribbing from the Wall Street Journal, specifically a piece by Scott Adams (of Dilbert fame) .

Adams used some of his past blog entries for a new book, which meant they had to be removed from the web. For that, he caught flak from readers, some of whom retaliated by giving the book bad Amazon reviews. As he said, “For readers of my non-Dilbert books, I inadvertently set the market value for my work at zero. Oops.”

Why does this interest me? Because next year I have an anthology coming out…of work I originally posted online for free. Let me explain…

In yesterday’s blog, I mentioned I did annual online novellas. Freebies. The #1 ongoing question I get asked is: when will these be available in a real book? I’ve always said they’re meant to be free, but I’ve admitted to hoping that someday I can publish them as a charitable endeavour.

My chance came this summer. Long story short, my agent was approached and, ultimately, the collection went to my regular publishers. We negotiated to keep most of the short stories, my latest novella and a graphic-novella-in-progress online. The older stuff (4 novellas & 2 stories) is being edited, and put into a single volume. My advance and any royalties I earn will go to World Literacy.

This seemed a good way to balance the demand for a “real book” version with my unwillingness to profit from these “freebies.” But am I totally comfortable with it? No. And I wouldn’t have been any more comfortable turning down the offer.

I would have liked to keep the stories online. I understand why the publisher won’t allow that (and it was what I expected). I suppose if I bought a book and discovered the same stories were currently free online, I’d be miffed. And I don’t even like to read online. I just wouldn’t like the feeling I’d been “ripped off” (yes, I’m cheap)

So, is Adams right? Does putting work (fiction or nonfiction) free on the web set the market value at zero? What would you say if you bought a book of stories, only to discover they’d once been free online? Or that they were still free online?

Kelley Armstrong is the NYT bestselling author of the urban fantasy series, The Otherworld. For info on her novels or to read sample chapters, check out her website at www.KelleyArmstrong.com

Is Bigger Really Better?

Hello! I’m Kelley Armstrong, and I’ll be your guest blogger for the next three days 🙂 For more on me, check out the signature below my post…

I was answering questions for an interview last week, and one was about short stories. I said I started with short stories, and love the opportunity to do shorter fiction (novellas or short stories).

In September, Stephen King wrote an essay in the NYT Book Review on short fiction “What Ails the Short Story” For those who like short stories, it doesn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know . . . or suspect. The patient is sick, and not likely to recover any time soon.

One might think that the decline of short fiction seems odd in a world obsessed by time. Shouldn’t a book of twenty short stories be ideal? You can read one and put the book aside for later, without losing the story line as you would in a novel.

I think that’s too simplistic a view. Yes, we’re strapped for time. But entertainment seems to be the one arena where shorter isn’t always better. We’re happy to plunk ourselves in a movie theatre chair for three hours. We’re fine with six hundred page novels.

As an author, you’ll get more complaints if your book is short, and I don’t think that’s all about bang for your buck. A novel or a movie sweeps us away to another world and, if it’s a good one, we don’t want to leave it too quickly. We want to linger and savour.

Some ideas just aren’t novel length, so I love the flexibility of switching to novellas and short stories. I used to do an annual online fiction offering, primarily novellas, in e-serial form. One year I switched to a short story a month (which, let me tell you, is much tougher than a twelve chapter novella!)

The general consensus, though, was that while readers appreciated seeing dramatizations of backstory, they really preferred novellas. And, if they had their way, I’d make those into full-length novels.

When I ask why people don’t read short fiction, the most common answer is: “It’s too short. I get involved in the story and I want more.” Many will say that short fiction doesn’t emotionally engage them the way novels do.

Short stories are often more concerned with ideas than emotion, plot over character. Is the answer there, then? Do we crave emotional satisfaction over intellectual stimulation? Or, again, is that too simplistic?

Having said how much I love to read and write short stories, I have a horrible confession to make. I don’t read nearly as many short stories as I do novels, and it’s not for lack of material. Intellectually, I enjoy them. A well-written short story can move and stimulate me in ways novels don’t. But when I curl up, tired, at the end of the day, I want to lose myself in a story I’ve been enjoying for a while. I want a novel.

What about you? Do you read short stories? Novellas? Why or why not?

Kelley Armstrong is the NYT bestselling author of the urban fantasy series, The Otherworld. For info on her novels or to read sample chapters, check out her website at www.KelleyArmstrong.com.