Friday, June 30, 2023

Fourth of July Sale and voter registration drive

I think for every Fourth of July since I published Political Pies – my collection of short stories of a political nature – I’ve had a free sale for it.  On one hand, it’s hard to make money if you give your books away for free, but on the other hand the point of Political Pies is to get people to start thinking about politics in the hope we could start working on some of the problems we face to make a better world.  I’ll sacrifice a few sales for that.

And over the last few years, I’ve also had voter registration drive … sales.  Basically, if you’re an American citizen over 18, all I ask is after you download the free copies of my books, you register to vote or check your voter registration to make sure it’s up to date.  Democracy only works if the people participate, and the first step to participating is to register to vote.  And the sooner you register, or fix any problems with your registration, the easier it will be come Election Day.  To register or check your registration, you can go to your state’s website, which should have the necessary information.

If you’re not an American citizen, you can still download my books for free.  All I ask is you participate in your nation’s politics. 


The following three ebooks will be free to download from Saturday July 1st, through Wednesday July 5th.  I hope you enjoy, and I hope you vote in the next election.


The Only Certainty

On The Day, for reasons unknown, people began changing. They went to sleep as their old selves and woke in their beds in different bodies: bodies that had belonged to other people. And each time they fall asleep, they wake in a new body. Set months later, “The Only Certainty” follows Derrick Gorton on an average day in this new world as he deals with food shortages, the semi-collapse of society, and how to finish his latest novel.

Political Pies

Everybody complains about politics, but does anyone do anything about it? My attempt to do something about it is to collect forty of my short stories with a political element into my Political Pies anthology. The stories are either politically neutral or equally condemning of the national parties. Instead of trying to sway you to one ideology or another, my goal is to just get people thinking about politics in the hopes a rose might grow out of all the political manure.


For reasons of safety and avoiding paradoxes, Time Travel Incorporated assigns a Guardian to all its travelers. So when there is an accident during political historian Roj Hasol’s trip back to 1968, it’s his Guardian Susan who sets out on the arduous task of cleaning up the mess.

Writing Newsletter Second Quarter 2023


In my last newsletter, I wrote that I hoped to have my next collection, The Uncapped Pen, out sometime in May.  Well, polishing it up is taking longer than I had hoped.  In the beginning of May, I set June 1st as my goal to finish it.  And the next day the Writers Guild of America went on strike.  I am not a member of the WGA, but it didn’t seem like a good idea to release a collection of stories about writing during a writer’s strike.  So my plan right now is to finish polishing it up – I’m like 98% done – and then wait until the strike is over.  Then I’ll give it another read through, and publish it a few days later. 


I continued my Monthly Stories this quarter with “Inevitable?” “Two Futures,” and “In a Privileged World.” I also republished the short story “Fighting Dirty.”

I also published two haikus, one in April and one in June.


This quarter I only managed to write up one Free Story Idea, which was for A Star Wars Story.  I also only did one #RandomStoryIdea.


Recently, I’ve tried posting more microfiction on my Mastodon Account.  I keep track of all the stories I publish, but do microfiction stories count?  At some point, I decided that if it had a title, it was a story that I would count and link to on my website.  Untitled microfiction stories were just left to be lost on the internet, until I made a site for them.


Image from Pixabay.

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Random Writing Tips – Chill on the weird words


I know, you don’t want the epic heroes in your fantasy story just drinking mead and eating roast boar.  You want to show the reader that this isn’t just people at a Renaissance Faire, so they drink regilum, the drink of the gods, while eating roasted glarthen.  Of course, the servants bring the roast glarthen out on a large silver platter, that they set on the table before the heroes who have spent the day swinging swords from horseback.

Years ago, I started a novel that was set a century or so after a nuclear war plunged the world into a nuclear winter.  And I figured that in that time, the language would change.  Survival was more important than spelling, after all.  One of the things I came up with, was that “parka” became “paka.” I thought I was pretty smart.  The critique group I showed this to kept marking it as a typo, or left comments like, “Are we supposed to know what this is?”

I was reminded of all this recently when I watched a show that, in like the first five minutes had introduced six random weird words.  It was based on a book series and I’m sure all these words and their meanings were worked into the story, but for someone who had never heard of the books and was just checking out this show, those first few minutes were rather confusing.  Which can be very bad.  Instead of focusing on who the characters were and how they interacted, I’m just wondering, What are they even talking about?  Fortunately, for this show those six were basically the only weird words of the series.  And for some reason, they decided to introduce them all right at the beginning.

Now, I’m not against weird words.  I remember one time a writing group was going over one of my short stories, and this lady – who didn’t read science fiction – was confused by my use of the term “blaster,” and when it was explained to her it was like, a “ray gun,” asked, “Couldn’t you just call it a gun?”

Weird words in fantasy or science fiction show the reader that the story isn’t set in the world we live in.  That can be a powerful element in a story.  But like all powerful elements, if you overuse, or misuse them, they can blow up your story.


Image from Pixabay.