Some of my contacts may have noticed a slew of recent posts on Facebook, Twitter and other social media about the Future Days Anthology from Castrum Press. That’s because I’m one of 17 authors with short stories included in this book.
“The Good Citizen” in Future Days Anthology
My story, “The Good Citizen,” takes a darkish view of our future days, showing what can happen when the corporate-political complex runs amok. I really loved writing this story because it allowed me to take some current trends to extremes. Its characters live in a country where the needs of corporations, aided and empowered by their political lackeys, outweigh the rights of citizens.
Here’s the beginning:
“The heavy knock on the front door cracked like a pistol shot. Elena jumped and her family stopped eating. Henry froze with his fork halfway to his mouth. Cory choked on his glass of water and put it down. Their faces turned to her. Little Marta looked around the table. Her eyes grew large, her seven-year-old face crumpled, and she began to wail.
The knock boomed again.
“Mom?” Cory said in a hoarse voice. “Is it them?”
Yesterday, the Kindle Edition of the Future Days Anthology reached #6 in the US and #7 in the UK. Woo-hoo! This is thanks, in no small part, to some aggressive and very savvy marketing from Castrum Press. I have had stories published in other anthologies and none of them could hold a candle to Castrum for marketing support.
Writing Every Day
I am always writing. I write nearly every day. Among the things I work on are:
- Master of the Wind: I’m well into the second draft of my third novel and am currently in the middle of Chapter 49. I incorporate the critiques, comments and suggestions provided by fellow members of the Spacecrafts Writers Group over more years than I want to think about. My colleagues have read every chapter and their critiques are invaluable as I work my way to the end.
- Short Stories: These pop into my head on a fairly regular basis. When I have the time, I write them down and submit them to Spacecrafts for review. “The Good Citizen” was the last one I wrote and I’m thrilled to have it published, especially in such good company and by an excellent publisher. Yesterday, I started a new story, “Vinny, Incorporated,” and completed 10 pages before knocking off. I’ll work on it again today.
These stories cover a lot of territory: science fiction, fantasy, speculative fiction, horror, ghost stories and combinations of these genres. I have off-beat takes on a zombie story, a coming-of-age story, and a vampire story, none of which have been published. The ideas come, the words push their way out and I write them down, regardless of category.
- The Next Phase Blog: I founded the blog in 2013 and wrote every post until Susanne Skinner joined in as the regular Monday author. Several guest authors have contributed pieces over the years and now there are over 1100 posts on The Next Phase Blog in a variety of categories. I write between two and four posts a week, depending on inspiration. I could use another guest author or two, though, to free up more of my time for the novel. If you have ever wanted to write but don’t need the time and expense of running your own blog, here’s your chance.
- Letters to my Granddaughters: My two granddaughters live a plane ride away and I only see them a few times a year. One of the ways I keep in touch is to write them letters about what we’re doing, things I have baked, trips we have taken, and stories from my childhood. Sometimes I include a book, a magazine, a shirt, a bracelet or some other goody. I also buy them pretty cards when I visit a museum and tuck the letters into those. The girls look forward to getting something in the mail and save those cards in keepsake boxes.
- Quora: OK, I shouldn’t be doing this; I know it’s a time sink. But every now and then (every other day?) I write an answer to a question on the Quora web site. People seem to like them and now my answers get requested. When you spend a lot of time working on material that won’t get published for years, if ever, the instant gratification from Quora Likes feels good.
My Amazon Author Page
If you want to read my two published novels or other stories in anthologies, here is my Author Page on Amazon.com. I have also put some up on the blog’s Short Stories page. I have lots of other stories in my files. The process of getting them published requires time, though, and that’s time when I’m not writing. If I could afford a secretary, I would hire one. In fact, I would pay someone $50 per published story just to get them out there.
My Writing Sanctuary
A lot of writing means a lot of sitting. Periodically I make myself get up and walk around, put in a load of laundry, deadhead the perennial border, unload the dishwasher, get the mail, and otherwise keep from stiffening up.
And here is where I sit when I write. It’s my home office and sanctuary, the place where I think best. Ideas pop into my head anywhere, though, especially when I’m trying to sleep or meditate. Creativity happens when the mind is free.
If you like to read, particularly science fiction and fantasy—or even a ghost story—check out the anthologies on my Amazon Author Page. And don’t forget to buy Castrum Press’s Future Days Anthology. “The Good Citizen” isn’t a horror story but, given the news these days, it just might keep you up at night.