Tagged: writing

Apparently there’s some kind of Treasure Hunt going on

Two people have requested a 140 word, or less, Sci-fi, story from me, because I’m a published author. I did it, because it looked like fun, and thought I’d post them here. Do not use these if you’re involved in this activity. I will find out, and my wrath will be, horrible threats of gastric activity.

So, here’s #1

“The Queen’s Pleasure”

-James Crawford, 2014

“Your Majesty, may I present the first cybernetic Elopus in the cosmos!”

The Queen of England, Misha Collins, was aghast at the creeping horror that undulated across the stage. “Doctor Rittenhaus-Benchley, why, in the name of all that’s holy, did you do such a thing to an innocent Elopus?”

The Doctor, titular head of the Royal Academy of Advanced Cybernetic Science, stared at his Majesty, and felt the creeping hand of doom crawling up his leg. He was surprised when she addressed the animal directly.

“You poor thing! We are so very sorry you were treated this way. We cannot make it right for you, but we can be sure that no such thing happens again.” She turned to him, “It is our pleasure that you be marooned on the penal asteroid for your crimes against sentient creatures.”

Doom had arrived, indeed.


“A Gift from Jeebus”

-James Crawford

“Good Heavens! What is that thing? We have never seen anything of that sort before!” Misha, the Queen of England exclaimed, ruffling her feathers.

“Your Majesty, it is an Elopus, half elephant, half octopus.” The Prime Minster explained. “It is a gift from the High Oat of the planet Jeebus, apparently sourced from the royal stables.”

“Gracious me! What do the Jeebians use them for?”

“They ride them Mum. They ride them.”

“Do you hear that, Clive?” Queen Misha asked.

“Is it the bubbly tooting, M’Lady?”


“It is the call of the male Elopus, calling for a mate or a spin around the Buckingham Palace Royal Aquatic Gardens.” Clive enlightened the Queen.

“Blublubluhonk! Blublubluhonk! Blublubluhonk!”

“My Queen, now is a good time to take cover!”

“Whatever for, Clive?”

“The Elopus is angry, and will likely kill us all.”

Things I’ve said before about writing, that might need refreshing

  1. You can’t write with the expectation of fame or monetary gain.
  2. Your emotional state can profoundly impact your work.
  3. Your emotional state can profoundly change your ability to work.
  4. Writers do not stop writing, much like Coders do not stop coding. It is a discipline, an art, and a constant presence in our consciousness.
  5. Peers and friends who write are some of the best resources you have. Reach out to them. This is one of the things that social media is for, and excels at.
  6. Don’t know what to write? Pick up and old idea, toss it with another genre, and use it as an exercise. You might come up with something astounding. You might make useful garbage.
  7. Having trouble writing, reach out to a peer and start a game of Exquisite Corpse.
  8. Know of a coffee shop or restaurant in your area that has a bookshelf for customers? Tell the host/hostess that you’d like to bring in a signed copy of your book and leave it for the customers. Follow through on it. I just did this last night, and they were thrilled to have a local author around.
  9. Trade reviews with other authors, and use them as content on your website. This generates traffic for both of you.
  10. That rule also applies to interviews. Have you met my Illustrious Peeps? There will be more in the near future.
  11. If you have a copy of your book on your person (don’t leave home without it), and someone expresses interest in it, give it to them and sign it. Why? They will tell their friends about it, and might share it with them. Expand your audience.
  12. Provide emotional support to other authors who need it. Why? You hurt too. Compassion goes a long way.
  13. Appreciate your spouse/significant other/partner until you’re blue in the face. Chances are, he, or she, does not get what we do, but accepts it because they love you.

That’s all for now.

It would be a lie to say

that being an author isn’t painful.

An excerpt from an email from my publisher: “Some books are just that way. They’re great books, have good reviews, and for one reason or another, they just don’t sell well.”

That is a painful reality to accept. I look at the positive reviews—and how many people have connected to Frank, and the rest of the “cast” of the Blood Soaked books—and know that the work isn’t spreading beyond this tight knot of people in the way I might hope for.

I value each and every person I have connected with from when I first self-published until today. You guys are the reason why I’ve kept going, but somehow, this has become about making money for me, and for competing for success… but not really, because I’m not fighting for that success. On some level, I’m expecting it to happen by itself, and putting all the responsibility on the readers, you guys.

I am spoiled by having gone viral by accident during my crap with Amazon in 2011.

The harsh realities of being an author include things like these, when you are forced to look at the forest, instead of the trees. Blood Soaked and Gone, which so many people are asking for, is on the back burner for release because my sales are lackluster. I need to know what the mechanism is behind properly marketing my work, in order to realize the success I have found I want.

The existence of Blood Soaked and Denied (Blood Soaked 4, in progress) as a Permuted Press product hinges on this… or not. I have the option of finding another publisher if I don’t accept their proposed offer, or to do it on my own. I need to find out where my priorities are. Am I more attached to writing a good story than I am to remaining a member of a club I have cared about?

Another realization I’m having is that as hard as I’ve tried not to take business personally, I’m taking very personally. Feeling failure, shame, and vulnerability, are a part of this process. It would be a lie to tell you that I’m enjoying this.

It is simpler to take the easy way. I have a history of that, because so many things have come easily to me.

Yes, I’m one of those people. I can go from zero to competent in a very short period of time, if I am excited about the end result. My knifemaking is an example of this. My decorative metalwork is an example of this. My writing is another.

When it becomes work, or starts to hurt, I really want to stop. When I receive criticism that penetrates my heart, I want to stop. I am scared, unsure, and I want to stop.

That was written last week. My wife suggested that I sit on it and decide whether or not I want to let it flap around in the big internet. I do, and it isn’t because I want to whine in public.

Face it, being a writer is hard. You spend a huge amount of time preparing to toss a product of love (blood, sweat, tears, angst, lost sleep) into the world, praying that it will find a warm reception. Sometimes you get that, but a lot of times, you don’t.

There are moments, as a writer, when you feel almost transcendent joy, and more when it feels like your heart is being pulled through your nose with sharp tweezers. This is the reality of what we do, and I would be remiss if I didn’t share every side of the experience with you.

Rejection is a reality, and it hurts. Bad reviews are a reality, and they sting. Creating a good novel, but seeing that your sales are poor, is frustrating as hell. Marketing yourself is a chore, unless you really have your act together, and maddening. Reaching one new person, seeing that they understand what you were trying to do, is what keeps you going.

Vulnerability is a stone cold bastard.