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Let me start out by once again thanking everyone who submitted either short stories or novels to us in November.  We received quite a few submissions and it was difficult to choose exactly which ones to sign.  However, our editorial board was up to the task and contracts have been sent out and returned.  Now I have the pleasure of announcing the schedule for the first quarter of 2011 as well as some of the titles we will be publishing later this year.

January

The e-arc for Dave Freer’s YA novella, Without A Trace, is already available for purchase.

A Deeper Silence, a collection of short stories by Charles Edgar Quinn.

Legion, a short story by Dave Freer and Kate Paulk.

February

Lawyers of Mars by Pam Uphoff.

Short story collection by Dan Hoyt, title to be announced later.

Death of a Musketeer by Sarah D’Almeida.  This is the first of the Musketeer Mysteries and has never appeared in digital format.  We are very pleased to be able to add this title to our catalog and to announce that we will be offering later this year The Musketeer’s Confessor, a new book in the series.

We will also offer an as yet to be determined short story or two this month.

March

Impaler by Kate Paulk.  A mix of alternate history, historical mystery and a new take on the Dracula myth.  This is the follow-up novel to Kate’s novella, Born in Blood.

Hunter’s Moon by Ellie Ferguson is a mix of urban fantasy and romance.

Blood Ransom, a short story collection by Sarah A. Hoyt.

Last, but certainly not least, we will be offering our own irreverent take on St. Patrick’s Day, much in the vein of Robert Hoyt’s Christmas Campaign.

April

The Great Flying Saucer Conspiracy by Tom Easton.  Tom will be doing a guest blog for us later this month complete with information about the book and a giveaway.

An as yet to be titled short story collection by Dave Freer.

Want, a short story by Jay Caselberg that came to us during our November submission period.

Skipping Stones, a short story by Darwin Garrison that also came to us during the November submission period.

May

Revocare, a short story by Leslie Fish that was submitted to us during November.

Here There Be Faeries, a short story by Stephen Simmons that came to us also during the November submission period.

There will be at least one novel added to the lineup.  We’ll announce which title as soon as possible.

Summer/Fall/Winter

Among the titles we’ll be offering the second half of the year are the following:

The Musketeer’s Confessor by Sarah D’Almeida.  This is a new title in the Musketeers Mysteries and we are very excited to be able to offer it to you.

Firefight by Tom Easton will be published in August.

Tiltamouse is Hunger, a YA novella by Sarah A. Hoyt.

Vengeance Mine, a mystery by Jenny Schall that is also a product of the November submission period.

ConVent by Kate Paulk.

Robert A. Hoyt’s holiday collection which includes Christmas Campaign.

These are just a few of the titles we’ll be bringing you over the next year.  As new titles are added, we’ll let you know.

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The e-arc for Dave Freer’s new YA fantasy adventure, Without a Trace, is now available.  This is your chance to be the first on your block to have Dave’s newest work.

For those who aren’t familiar with what an e-arc is, it’s an advanced reader copy of the novella.  In other words, this is not the final product.  There may be spelling and punctuation errors present.  It’s possible there will be some text changes made as well before the final product is published Feb. 15th.  While you may find some errors in this product, those who purchase the e-arc will get to read it before anyone else.

In this YA offering, a boy’s search for his grandfather’s downed plane leads to a parallel South Africa with pirates and worse.  His quest to clear his grandfather’s name turns into a desperate race against time to return to his own reality before it’s too late.

CHAPTER 1

HISTORY
“Universes, endless parallel universes, may lie right next to next to ours. They are as unreachable as the stars. Or are they?”

You’ve heard of the Bermuda triangle? You know, where compasses suddenly start to spin wildly, with a sudden darkness at noon, where ships and planes sometimes just disappear. When they’re gone, they’re just… gone, and nothing ever comes back. There are other places where this is supposed to happen too. There’s a spot deep in the Gobi, and another above the Java Trench. And then… there’s the Wild Coast…. some very strange things have happened there. Over the years Portugese Carracks, British East Indiamen, and, in 1908, the Wahratah have disappeared off that coast.

On the 27th of July in 1981 my Grandad flew his Piper Cherokee out from the little bumpy airstrip on our farm, in the direction of Port St. Johns. He flew off to go and take a swarm of bees out of a friend’s holiday cottage. He flew out of our lives, and for all anyone knew out of this world. He, and his plane were “missing”. They’d just disappeared, disappeared without a trace. No wreckage was ever found. Then the problems started.

For starters he was in trouble with the security police. Politics, guns. They reckoned Grandad was a gun-runner. My Old Man says it was quite possible. He says his Dad was up to anything, provided it was totally lunatic. Everyone had thought he was a rich man, but it seemed he owed a lot of money. There was very little money in his bank account.

Then the story came out. He’d drawn out twenty thousand Rand the day before he flew, and bought Krugerrands with it. He’d been buying gold for years, it seemed. Suddenly, nobody believed he’d crashed anymore. Everyone said he’d cut and run. Everyone but my Dad.

“My father never ran away from anything in his life!” That’s what he said to the papers then. That’s what he said to me maybe a thousand times since. My Dad was twenty three then, not even married a year, and still having a grand old time at University. Me, I was three months old.

Suddenly he wasn’t a rich man’s son anymore. Suddenly he didn’t have any friends. Three days later he didn’t have a wife either. She left him with a baby boy, a stack of debts and no future.

He’d lost everything but the farm. Fortunately my grandmother had left that to Dad. Grandad couldn’t be proved to be dead, so my father never got to see Grandad’s will. Grandad was well insured, but Dad couldn’t claim anything because Grandad wasn’t legally dead. The plane was insured too, but it was just “missing”.

Dad had to sell what the creditors hadn’t taken. Most of the livestock, almost all of the farm implements, Grandad’s cars, radios, TV, and antique furniture went. Dad had no money to replace anything that broke down. While there was still money owing there was no chance of credit from anyone.

Grandad had built quite nice staff houses, with electricity and running water, and paid his employees far more than anyone else in the district. This had made all the local farmers mad with him. Apparently one of them had come around to the farm and had a shouting match with him, about how he was “spoiling the Kaffirs”. Grandad had picked him up, and tossed him into a rose bush.

The old man had also never been scared to speak his mind about anything, and it seemed he’d trod on a lot of toes talking about the way the farmers treated their labourers. The result was, now that Dad needed help, he found that even those people whom Grandad didn’t owe money to, treated him as if he was a scorpion on a picnic blanket.

Dad couldn’t possibly afford to pay the all the farm workers. Eventually only one family stayed, but some months Dad couldn’t find the money to pay them either. Still, because of the way Grandad had treated them, they stayed with us. They had a few cows and goats and patch of mielies, so nobody starved. They were more like friends than labourers though.

Often the only customers Dad could find for the farm produce were the local black people, because no one in town would buy from him at a fair price, and he had no transport to take our stuff to anywhere else. Fortunately, virtually everyone who had ever worked for Grandad came to the farm buy from Dad. Dad spoke Zulu and even Xhosa — because we were pretty near the borderland between the two languages — and people liked that. “Respect begets respect,” he always said. I was never too sure what ‘begets’ meant. I think it had something to do with the way people greeted him.

Dad just kept trying. Somehow he made enough money to pay cash for everything. Somehow we made it through the droughts. Nothing was going to stop my Dad from paying off the debts, proving he was an honest man, and making that farm rich again. He loved the place and he was going to keep it. If I’d known it was something special, I’d have been really proud of him. I suppose I didn’t. I just thought that was the way grown-ups (especially my Dad) behaved, when I was a little kid. I guess my Old Man was the centre of my universe. He told wonderful stories. About Granda’Al, about the San, about the Zulu wars. He was interested in that kind of thing.

So I grew up on the farm. We were dirt poor, but nobody told me about it, so I didn’t know. The farm was a bit wild, and run down, but we had electricity from the Pelton wheel, plenty of milk, fruit, mielie meal and eggs. Occasionally we’d eat a chicken. My milk brother, Amos, and I ran after the chickens, rode the pig and generally got chased out of every kind of trouble. He was the best friend you could ever have to grow up with.

Fat Mamma Lena, who’d raised us both, looked after us in a cheerful lazy fashion, usually just telling one of her older daughters to make sure we didn’t kill ourselves. The big old house was bare, as most of the furniture had been sold, but the kitchen with its smokey woodburning stove was always warm.

When I was six I started going across the river to Mevrou Cronje to learn my letters. She was a kind, gruff old lady, a widowed ex schoolmistress, who thought everyone ought to be able to read. On her stoep she taught me and a few of the other farm workers’ kids to read, write and count. She never said a word about me being the odd one out with straight black hair and a sunburned nose, when the other kids were lucky enough not to get sunburned. Dad said I look black Irish, but I wouldn’t have minded just being sunburn-proof dark brown back then.

Then I turned eight and I had to go to town to school. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t just go to the local farm school with Amos, but that was the law back in 1988. One law whites and one for black people. Pretty dumb, but that was the way it was.

School was the worst thing that ever happened to me. All the other kids knew each other. Their clothes were new. All of them had shoes. I had horny bare feet, threadbare shorts and a kahki shirt one size too small. Even the teachers sort of steered away from me.

It must have been a week before any of the other kids even spoke to me. It was the class bully, a brute called Butch Visser. He was nearly a head taller than me, and maybe five kilos heavier. He said “Hey thief! Why aren’t you in jail?”

I didn’t answer straight away. I was still translating everything anyone said into Zulu, and I couldn’t believe what he was saying. He must have thought I was scared.

“Why do you stink, thief!” he closed in on me, standing too close.

“I’m not a thief!” I blurted, scared and hurt.

“Well your Grandad was, so you must be. He was a thief and he ran away! He owed my Dad money.” He leaned over me and I had to look up to see his face.

My best goodnight stories ever since I could remember had been about my crazy Granda Al. Stories about places with wonderful names like Casablanca and Tangiers. About small boats and misty nights. I could recite some of them, word for word. Dad always finished every story with these words “He was a real man, son. He never ran away from anything in his life!” I didn’t have to think about what to say. I just yelled “My Grandad never ran away from anything in his life!”

***

One final note, our home page will be undergoing some redesign tomorrow, so I’m not going to risk mucking it up and bringing down the wrath of our tech gurus by trying to add links and images myself.  So just follow this link or click on the “new novelettes” link on the right side of the homepage for Without a Trace.

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A Touch of Night, by Sarah A. Hoyt and Sofie Skapski is today’s free offering.  It will remain free until 9 am CST tomorrow.  (Note:  this offer is good only through our web store).
Sarah A. Hoyt and Sofie Skapski have taken Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and adapted it to give us a rip-roaring tale of were-dragons, English drawing rooms and so much more.  This is an England where magic reigns and being a shape-shifter is the only crime that warrants immediate execution.


Netherfield is let at last!

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man of clean lineage and respectable fortune must be in need of a wife.

Upon entering any country neighborhood, this man will be viewed as the rightful property of this or that daughter of the local families and each one will make haste to claim him by all means available within the bounds of propriety.

“My dear Mr. Bennet,” said his lady to this gentleman, over tea in the small blue parlor of the Longbourne house. “Have you heard that Netherfield is let at last?”

Ensconced in his comfortable chair by the fire, book grasped firmly in hands and gaze set on said book with equal firmness, the gentleman replied without looking up, “No, I have not.”

His second daughter, Elizabeth, recovering from a startled tremble thanked the heavens he’d missed her reaction. Doubtless his book was too engrossing to allow him to notice such insignificant creatures as people.

That her mother didn’t realize Elizabeth had shaken and spilled the best portion of her teacup all over her saucer did not surprise the girl. Dutiful daughter though she tried to be, she entertained no illusions about her mother, who was a woman of mean understanding and little education. Mrs. Bennet’s life work was the marriage of her five daughters, its solace visiting and gossip.

So, Lizzy set about cleaning her saucer, while listening to her mother.

“Do you not want to know who has taken it?” Mrs. Bennet asked her husband, impatiently.

“You wish to tell me and I have no objection to hearing it.”

This was invitation enough.

“Why, my dear. Mrs. Long says it has been taken by a young man of large fortune from the North of England; that he came down on Monday in a chaise and four and was so much delighted with the place that he settled on the price immediately. He’s taking possession immediately and his servants have been busy about the place for a week.”

“The North of England,” Mr. Bennet said, looking over his book with such a grave expression only the daughter who understood him best could discern the impish twinkling in his eyes. “A well known place for blood lines that throw out a were every other generation.”

“A were!” Mrs. Bennet said in startled alarm. “I hope not. Our neighborhood has never had any of the foul fiends, and I swear my nerves will carry me off if a were-beast were to settle within easy distance of us!”

“I daresay,” Mr. Bennet said, his expression graver and the twinkle in his eyes more pronounced. “That they have to live somewhere.”

“Oh, no, Mr. Bennet, they must not,” his wife said. “For you know the law says they are to be killed at once.”

“Only if caught, Mrs. Bennet, only if caught.” . . . .

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It's taken a bit more than a week, but I think I'm mostly over whatever bug had hold of me.  It's been a long time since I've been knocked as flat by a cold/flu/whatever as I was this time.  So apologies for the sparsity and possibly incomprehensibility of what posts I did manage to get up.

I'd like to take a couple of moments to talk about Knights in Tarnished Armor by Kate Paulk that will be coming out over the weekend.  Some of you may know Kate from Baen's Bar or any of the other discussion boards she takes part in.  To say Kate has an interesting sense of humor is to put it mildly.  She manages to take the ordinary, twist it in a mixture of Aussie irreverence and American cynicism and come out with something unexpected.  That's exactly what she's done with KITA.

When I was trying to describe it briefly yesterday, my first thought was it's a comedy of errors.  In many ways, that's exactly what it is.  But it is also a comedy of LETTERS, because the action is all revealed through a series of letters between our not so shining knights and their all too willing and frustrated maidens.  Throw in disapproving parents, a dragon and all too many schemes and, well, you have Knights in Tarnished Armor.

If you'd like to see more of Kate's work, check out Born in Blood and Hell of a JobBorn in Blood is a novella that basically sets the stage for her novel, Impaler, that will be coming out next year.  If you are interested in a new take on the history and mythology surrounding Vlad Dracul, check out both of these titles.

In the short story Hell of a Job, Kate gives us a refreshing look at what might happen if a scheming woman who really doesn't approve of the decor in the underworld becomes a Dark Lord and sets her cap on higher office.

Both Born in Blood and Hell of a Job are available at our webstore, simply follow the links above, or at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.  You can also find them at Smashwords.  Most of all, anything you buy from Naked Reader Press is DRM-free.

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As you can see, we have a new logo.  We’ve got a new banner to go along with it.  Just visit our homepage to see the full-sized image.

To go along with the new logo, we’ve re-opened the web-store.  As promised yesterday, we’re proud to announce that the first of several short story collections by Dave Freer — The Goth Sex-Kitten & Other Stories – is now available for purchase.  It will also be available shortly at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.  Of course, as with all our titles, it is DRM-free.

Enjoy the rest of your Tuesday, and remember to check back tomorrow for Darwin Garrison’s next Animanga Viewpoint.

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This past week has been the week from Hell in a lot of ways.  As my last post noted, a dear cousin passed away.  Add to that my son having his first wreck — and totaling his truck — and, well, you get an idea of what my life’s been like.  Add in the 350 mile drive each way to attend my cousin’s funeral (which was held on the anniversary of my dad’s death — not that her family realized it when they planned the service).  So today I’m trying to play catch up, at least some, even as my brain and body are begging to go back to bed.

First off, for some business matters.  The website store will be back up either tomorrow or Tuesday.  Probably Tuesday.  I’ll announce it as soon as it’s live again.

Also, Dave Freer’s collection of short stories — The Goth Sex Kitten and Other Stories — will be available for purchase when the store goes live.  It will take a couple of days for it to show up on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  We are now publishing directly through BN, just as we are Amazon.  Of course, you can still find us on Smashwords and through their affiliates as well.  Naturally, all our books and short stories are available through our site as well.

Okay, a couple of items of interest.  The review process for Amazon has come under fire again, specifically because people can rate books — and ebooks — without reading them and that their ratings can be based on anything.  The issue has been around for a long time but has been gaining notoriety after the agency model pricing of e-books came into being.  What is happening now is that a number of folks are giving 1-star reviews to e-books when they cost as much, or more, than the hard cover books.  This happens almost exclusively to e-books published by those houses under the agency model.  The hard cover prices can still be discounted by Amazon and are.  However, the publisher sets the price for the e-book.  This often means there is little or no difference between the cost of the digital copy and the cost of the hard copy.

What some people see as the crux of the matter is that Amazon allows customers to post reviews whether they’ve read the book or not.  As with other on-line retailers, all you have to do to post a review on Amazon is have an account with them.

I understand the concern over these negative reviews.  But to require Amazon to police the reviews so that only someone who has read a book can post would mean they would have to buy the book from Amazon.  That would prevent someone who borrowed it from the library, or who purchased it elsewhere, or who received it as a gift from ever posting a review.  That’s not the way to do it.

In my opinion, what Amazon needs to do is simply add another section to their reviews.  Rate the book for content and quality and then rate the book for pricing.  Most folks who give negative reviews for books due to their cost, say so in the body of the review.  That leads me to believe they would be honest and simply mark the cost/value portion of the review if they were offered that option.

But let’s face it, these reviews are anything but reliable.  If you follow any of the e-book boards, you will have seen instance after instance where authors (or their friends or family) have created multiple accounts to post glowing reviews for their loved one’s book.  This isn’t something unique to just Amazon.  So, if you are relying on the reviews by customers, you need to take them with a grain of salt.  Or at least you need to look at what else that reviewer has rated.  Often, you will find that they have never reviewed anything else.

In the meantime, remember that the review you give can and will impact an author’s sales.  So, until there is a way to show up front that you are marking the book down because of price, limit your review to what you liked or didn’t like about the contents of the book, not just the price.  Oh, and let the publishers know if you think the price is out of line.

Going hand-in-hand with the above is this article from the NY Times.  With the availability to look at, touch and play with e-book readers in such places as Walmart and Target this holiday season, there is the potential for the e-book market to really soar.  Will this be the tipping point?  I don’t know.  But it will be one giant step toward it, in my opinion.  With the explosive growth of e-books sales over the last couple of years, the lower prices for e-book readers, the wide availability of PC/Mac versions of the kindle/nook/sony/kobo, etc., programs so you can read on your computer, laptop or cellphone, e-books are no longer only for the technically inclined.  It is going to be interesting to see how the figures pan out over the next few months.

Finally, for the writers out there.  I recommend you take a look at this entry from Lucienne Diver’s blog.  Not only is she an agent with the Knight Agency, but she’s a wonderful author in her own right.  (Vamped and ReVamped)  Earlier this month, she had a post that really hit home with the writer side of me:

I suppose that the long and short of what I took away from this is that publication has never been easy…not the path to it or the continuation of the journey.  It’s never been painless.  No artist of any stripe has ever been universally loved or acclaimed.  In order to reach out and grab readers by the throat, authors have to be able to throw open the doors and windows to the soul.  Unfortunately, in letting their creativity out, those open doors allow for stiff, bracing and sometimes stormy winds to sweep through as well.  To me it’s a comfort that the literary greats went through the same vicissitudes we do today.  They survived.  Their names have gone down in history and, perhaps more importantly to them as writers, their works have remained in print.  We read them today, often thinking that they must have been aware of their own genius and been gratified by their success, while the truth is that authors do not sit back content with the accomplishment of their last release, but are constantly struggling with the new and wondering whether they’ll be able to live up to or exceed expectations.  I’m not sure whether there’s an actual saying that you’re only as good as your latest novel, but I do know that that’s how all writers feel.

So, for those of you battling toward attainment of your dreams, whether they be of initial or continued publication, take comfort in the shared pain and find compatriots with whom to celebrate your triumphs.  Appreciate them when they come and pull out the memories of them to get you through the hard times.

And, with that in mind, I leave you to the rest of the weekend.

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We’re excited to announce our new review column by Darwin Garrison.  Animanga Viewpoint will be where Darwin can discuss and review what’s going on in the worlds of anime and manga.  His first post, which just went live, can be found here.  His next post will be on the 24th.  After that, he will be posting the first and third Wednesday of each month.

One of the reasons I’m so excited about Darwin’s column is because I know how large an impact manga can have on younger readers, especially boys.  I was first introduced to it about 10 years ago when I was trying to find something — anything — my son would read.  Once a boy who had read everything he could get his hands on, thanks to a teacher who used reading as a punishment, he hated reading.  As a reader and a writer, I was desperate to find something to rekindle that spark.

Two things did.  The first was listening to books on tape on the way to and from school.  I’ll forever thank Jim Dale for narrating the Harry Potter books and — no, I’m not kidding — Diane Mott Davidson for putting her Goldy the Caterer books on tape.  Those showed my son that books can be fun and entertaining.

But that still didn’t get him to put book in hand and sit down to read.  Manga did.  I’d never have thought of it but for one of the youth librarians in our local library.  She also happened to work at one of the local middle school libraries at the time, iirc.  When I explained the situation to her, she took my son and I immediately to the manga collection and that was all it took.  We checked out a couple of volumes and, dragging his heels, my son agreed to try them.

Well, long story short, he came into my room later that night wanting to know if we could go back to the library the next day because he wanted more books.  It didn’t matter that they were comic books on steroids at that point.  All I cared about was that he was reading.  Those dozens of manga books he checked out of the library and then the many more that we bought led him back to enjoying reading.

Since then, I’ve talked to a number of parents and teachers who have seen the same thing happen over and over.  I’ve also read my fair share of manga as well.  Some of it is very good.  Some isn’t.  But that’s how it is with any book.

All this is simply my way of saying “thank you” to Darwin for letting all of us know what’s going on in the manga and anime world.  As far as I’m concerned, manga is as much a “book” as anything else, especially if it helps get one more youngster interested in reading.

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We have received notice from our web host of issues with our shopping cart program.  Because of this, we've temporarily taken down the links to our store.  In the meantime you can access all our titles -- with the exception of our short story collection Night Whispers -- through Amazon.  If you check the links on our homepage, they will take you directly to the appropriate Amazon page.  Also, in keeping with our no-DRM policy, there is no DRM attached to the .mobi files purchased form Amazon.  However, if you want other formats, check out smashwords.  Most of our titles are already available there and the rest should go "live"shortly.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.  But at least our techs now know why they were pulling their hair out.  Hopefully, things will be back to normal here in the next 24 - 48 hours.

For those of you who have made purchases through our webstore, if you have any problems downloading your purchases please let us know.  Thanks!

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First of all, apologies for the delay between posts.  Real life kicked several of us in the teeth this past week and we’re just now digging out.  However, beginning this week, there will be at least four posts every week — God willing and the creek don’t rise.

Since my last post, we’ve published two more short stories and the Halloween collection.  The first short story is Hell of a Job by Kate Paulk.  It should appear on Amazon, B&N and other “store” sites in the next few days.  Here’s a short excerpt:

Elizabeth Antonia Harrisfield snuggled into the cushions on the obsidian throne and sighed. Being a Dark Lord, Supreme Ruler of the Southwestern Corner of the Mappe and loyal minion of the Dread Lord of Hell Himself wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.

There was the throne, for a start. Carved from a single block of flawless obsidian, massive and foreboding, emphasising the Dark Lord’s power to all who saw it, it was also hellishly uncomfortable and froze the Dark Lord’s backside. Which helped to explain the previous incumbent’s fondness for incinerating his underlings.

That latter was also partially explained by the Dread Lord’s habit of watching the Dark Lords and occasionally popping in to offer advice. Her predecessor’s predecessor had resigned after one such visit. It wasn’t that unlike board meetings back home, except that forced resignations usually didn’t involve the luckless victim devolving into a screaming lump. Elizabeth hadn’t been graced with any such visits yet, but once she’d learned they happened she’d set about finding out what they involved.

It seemed that being a Dark Lord and Loyal Minion was a high risk, high turnover position. . . .

In the next short story, Zebbie by Sarah A. Hoyt, a young cat’s antics leads his family into a dangerous world where reality and fable merge.  Here’s an excerpt:

. . .Zebbie froze by my side, his paw raised like a pointer dog in an English hunting print. I looked down, surprised at this unnatural pose, then froze in my turn. My heart hammered somewhere between my mouth and my ears. Above and in front of Zebbie’s paw, floated something that looked like a giant, shimmering soap bubble. Only it wasn’t a bubble, just a shimmering of the air and a faint suggestion of rainbow color. Inside this, suspended, flew… I can only describe it as a human, if a human were about a palm long, with a golden exoskeleton and dragon-fly wings.

I don’t remember screaming. I didn’t even throw the flowers over my head, nor let go of the sharp knife. Funny how, when the impossible happens, one acts in a perfectly reasonable way. Instead, I turned my back. “Come on, Zebbie,” I said, and started walking towards the back door. Then looked back to see if he followed.

Zebbie darted me a reluctant look, then made a half-movement, as though to pounce on the thing.

“No,” I told him. “Don’t you touch that.” Just as rational as you please, as though restraining Zebbie from playing with a squirrel or a mouse.

I made it all the way to the phone, dialed Glen’s office phone and found myself telling him, “I just saw a fairy in the garden.” . . . .

Both of these stories are available for individual purchase or as part of the collection of stories we did for Halloween.  The collection, Night Whispers, is available here.  As with the stories, it will also be available through Amazon and other outlets within the next few days.   The collection includes Jack by Dave Freer, Till Your Proud Heart Break by Sarah A. Hoyt, Gooble, Gobble, One of Us by Charles Edgar Quinn, Predator or Prey by Ellie Ferguson, Bite One, Get One Free by Robert A. Hoyt as well as Hell of a Job by Kate Paulk and Zebbie by Sarah A. Hoyt.

As far as observations go, I’m not a big TV watcher.  When I do watch, it’s usually something on the History Channel, BBCA, one of the Discover Channels or an old movie.  But the other day I decided to take a look at AMC’s new series, The Walking Dead.  I’ll admit right now that I’ve never seen the graphic novel it’s based on.  Nor am I that big of a fan of zombie movies.  My opinion has been that zombie movies have gone the way of slasher flicks — after the first couple of really good ones, they’ve become nothing but parodies of themselves.  But The Walking Dead changed my mind — at least so far.

Don’t get me wrong.  There isn’t a lot of new material here.  The sheriff waking up alone in the hospital after being in a coma reminded me a lot of Howard Keel awakening in the hospital and ripping the bandages off his eyes in Day of the Triffids.  (Oh no, now I’m going to have the opening theme of Rocky Horror Picture Show playing in my head — “And I really got hot when I saw Janette Scott fight a Triffid that spits poison and kills”.  Okay, it’s been one of those days.  What else can I say?)

Okay, back to business here.  Before getting hijacked by RHPS, I was going to say that I found myself enjoying the pilot of The Walking Dead more than I’d expected.  I haven’t had a chance to see the second episode yet, but it’s on the dvr waiting for me.  Maybe tonight.

I also want to let you know that we are having a few issues with our store right now.  It’s nothing major — unless you happen to be one of our IT guys and they are pulling their hair out right now.  For some reason, on the pages where our new short stories and novels are listed, some of the images have decided to appear one moment and then disappear the next.  We aren’t having that problem on the individual product pages, nor does it impact your ability to purchase and download the items.  It’s just frustrating and I’ve got a tech or two threatening to commit violence if they can’t find the problem and fix it soon.

Finally, tomorrow we’ll be publishing Darwin Garrison’s first anime/manga review.  His column will appear twice a month.  Beginning December, it will be the first and third Wednesday of the month.  So be sure to stop by and take a look tomorrow.

Until tomorrow, I’m going to go see if I can’t calm the techies and keep them from throwing a computer across the room.  They never clean up the mess when they do ;-p

 

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For This Important Announcement

In 10 days, Naked Reader Press will be opening for submissions.  For the month of November, we'll be accepting submissions for short stories as well as novel-length fiction and we couldn't be more excited.

Someone asked me the other day what we're looking for when we open for submissions.  That's easy.  We're looking for stories that grab our interest and hold it.  We're also looking for submissions that follow our guidelines. (Click here to check them out.)  The nuts and bolts of it is that we want the entire story or novel sent as a .doc or .rtf file.  For novels, attach as a separate file a short synopsis.  If this is the first of a proposed series of books, attach a short synopsis of the series as well so we can see the story arc.  In the body of your email, tell us a little about yourself, your publishing credits and the book or short story.  Be sure -- and I can't emphasize this enough -- to tell us the title, genre and word count.  Basically, follow the guidelines and you'll get past the spam filter.  That's the first step.

Remember, no fanfic.  Also, at the moment, we aren't publishing erotica, poetry or non-fiction.  Everything else is fair game so long as the story doesn't go over our "ick" factor.  Again, check out the guidelines.

Let me see if I can anticipate a few questions.  You don't need an agent to submit.  But you do need a completed, proofread and edited manuscript.  Because of our quick turnaround times, we prefer that you not simsub.  If you do, please let us know.  Thanks.

The best piece of advice I can give about what to put in the body of your email comes from Miss Snark's blog.  Read it.  Pay heed to it. Do it.  And remember that for short stories, all we need in the body of the email is your name and contact information, the title, genre and word count of the story and your publishing credits, if any.

If you have any questions, let us know.  We're glad to answer them.  Most of all, we look forward to reading your submissions!

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