Friday, April 27, 2012

GUEST POST from Raymond Masters - Thoughts On Writing

My name is Raymond Masters, and I'm a self-published author. That doesn't have nearly the same connotation as it did when I first started writing. In fact, indie and self-published writers are quickly becoming the standard. The internet is full of stories and advice from professionals and semi-pros. I am neither of those; I am but a humble beginner. Of course, it really doesn't take long to amass a list of – let's not call it advice – helpful hints to pass along to those in the same boat as I am. So, this is for the beginners or those considering writing.

The thing about writing, as they say, is to write every day. If you want to be a writer, then write. Don't wait around for the perfect time to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. That perfect time rarely presents itself. Just do it. Have ten extra minutes? Jot down some notes or the opening paragraphs of your next scene. Why? It's hard to get back into the swing of things, once you've taken a break from it. I'm living proof of that. I love writing and have so many ideas to tell that I have to kick myself whenever there's a gap in my writing. It's not always easy. This is especially true for indie or self-published writers. Life doesn't stop – or even slow down for that matter – just because you have this awesome story to unwrap.

You can also sequester yourself in an office or your bedroom and close the door. It's okay; it's not anti-social. This lets others know this is not the time for socializing. This is your work time. Or it can be your "you" time. If you do this daily and form a routine, this accomplishes a couple of things. It not only gets your family used to the fact that you're going to be writing for an hour or two each day, but it also will speed you up as a writer. You won't require as long to get into that magical zone.

Get plenty of rest. It's funny to throw this in there, but your body and mind really need to be recharged thoroughly for the best results. Of course, there are some exceptions, but if you're writing something you wish to control, get a good night's sleep the night before. If you're doing your own edits, then you'll have a lot fewer "What?" moments down the line.

Take breaks. Get up and stretch your mind while you're stretching your legs. Some of my best ideas have come to me while walking, showering, or resting. It's because your mind has permission to wander off. But, and here's the thing, it won't be wandering too far, since you're writing daily. Your subconscious will be researching your story while you're doing some of the most mundane tasks of your day. Just be sure not to take a weeks-long break, as I said, or your mind will grow bored and move onto something new and shiny.

And, speaking of shiny, I hope you did, indeed, find my hints to be helpful. These are all ideas that I put into play while writing Forging Truth. Forging Truth is the first book of The Truth Saga. I am currently working on its sequel Corrupting Truth. If you're interested in good fun and character-driven stories, you may wish to check out the below links.

Thank you, so much for tagging along. And a very special thank you to Eric for helping me to Spread the Truth.

Take care,

Where to find Forging Truth:

Monday, April 9, 2012



New Fiction Anthology:  AFTER DEATH…

Title: After Death…
Edited by: Eric J. Guignard
Publisher: Dark Moon Books
Submissions Due: June 30, 2012
Release Date: Spring, 2013
Send submissions and questions to:

Death. Who has not considered their own mortality and wondered at what awaits, once our frail human shell expires? What occurs after the heart stops beating, after the last breath is drawn, after life as we know it terminates?

Each person has their own beliefs, whether based on science, a traditional religion, or perhaps dark, personal experimentation. Do we transcend to another dimension or celestial world? Does our spirit remain while the body rots? Are we given another opportunity to do it all over again? Can we die again in the afterlife? Do we find ways to cheat death and maintain a semblance of living after the mortician declares, D.O.A.? Do we all just end up in a cosmic purée, drunk by an Elvis Presley overlord?

I am looking for stories of Horror, Dark, and Speculative Fiction, including all associated sub-genres (NO high-fantasy and limited on hard science fiction) that explore this theme: What may occur to someone AFTER they have died.

Yes, this anthology will probably have stories involving demons and angels.
Yes, this anthology will probably have stories of people's ghosts coming back to haunt the earth.
Yes, this anthology will probably have stories of people reanimating into zombies or vampires or other traditional creatures of the night.

However, these "obvious" tales will take a back seat to ideas that are much more disturbing or wildly imaginative.

Think of reincarnation into another body or animal. Perhaps there is a self-awareness in this, or perhaps it is just a cycle that begins all over again. Perhaps your character transcends to another form of consciousness.

Think of your character in terms of Dante's "Divine Comedy" trilogy. Perhaps he or she is roasting in a strange Hell, or trapped in languid purgatory, or perhaps even granted the bliss of heaven, only to find that it is not anything they were expecting.

Every culture of the world looks differently at death. No one idea is superior to any other, and I am definitely not looking for any sort of religion-bashing.

The ancient Greeks believed that those on their way to Hades must be ferried across the river Styx by Charon at the cost of a coin. The Jivaro Indians shrink the heads of their enemies so that the souls are trapped and cannot escape to take revenge. The Karni Mata Temple in India is overrun with tens of thousands of rats, each believed to be the reincarnation of a dead human who is waiting to be reborn into a higher life form. Some forms of Christianity believe bodies which defy normal decomposition are considered to be symbols of divinity.

I am completely open to your wildest ideas; horrific, funny, or surreal. The only requirement is that your submission focuses on events which transpire after death. The story can include the events leading up to the characters' death, but a substantial amount of the story should focus after the human body has quit.

Interested to participate? I would love to read your submission! Please just read and consider the following guidelines.

Submission Guidelines:

Suggested word count for each story is approximately 2,000 to 7,000 words. However, less than this or more than this is perfectly fine, within reason (no flash and no novellas). Total word count for this book will be in the range of 100,000 words and I estimate to include about 25 short stories (assuming an average of 4,000 words per story). Five to seven of those stories will be slated for established authors that I "invite" to participate.

Original works only (meaning unpublished; AKA "No reprints").

Payment is one cent per word and one contributor copy, payable upon publication (negotiated rates for established authors).

Please no simultaneous submissions (meaning that you submit to me and another source at the same time), but if you do let me know right away.

No multiple submissions (meaning no more than one submission to me at a time). If I reject a story and there is still time during open call, you may submit a new tale.

Submissions are open until midnight, June 30, 2012. This date may be extended, depending upon the quality and quantity of submissions.

This book will be available as a trade paperback as well as available in electronic format.

I ask for first print and electronic rights to your story and exclusive rights for one (1) year after publication date, after which you are then free to re-sell it.

This fiction anthology is intended for a mature audience (i.e. "R" rating). Profanity and sexually-related material is acceptable, provided it is not excessive. What is not acceptable is anything relating to torture or sexual abuse of children or graphic sex or "erotica."

Send submissions as an attachment only; do not embed in the body of an e-mail. I should be capable of opening any attachments that you send, being .doc (preferred) or .rtf or .docx or other. You know who you are if you use a "special" word processing program - ask me in advance if you think I may have an issue opening something.

Include your real name (and byline, if using one), address, phone, email, story title, and word count on the title page of the submission.

Also include a short biography (about one to two paragraphs), written in third person P.O.V., which will be printed in the anthology if your story is selected for publication.

Format your masterpiece as it will be read, meaning use italics, bold, and underline when appropriate.
Double space for line spacing.
One inch margins all around.
No headers or page numbers.
Any font is fine; the standard is generally Times New Roman, Courier, Verdana, or Arial.

Questions about how to format a submission properly? Here are a couple of links that will enrich your career as an author:

Response Time:

I will confirm receipt of all stories within one week. I will announce all decisions (acceptances and rejections) before August 30 (60 days after close of submissions). I may accept a few stories early if such story astounds me with its sheer brilliance!

I will not issue short list nominations. However, I may issue rejections at any time if I feel the story just will not fit within the anthology at all. I also may ask for a revision (rare and does not constitute a future acceptance).

Please do not doubt your own writing genius if I should reject your story. I am putting this project together myself, so that means I am one sole opinion. What I don't find as a perfect fit for the theme of this anthology may go on to be the world's next most beloved piece of literature! Everyone has their own style of vernacular and their own adoring fan base.

Here are a couple of websites detailing famous rejections:

Ready to submit?

Please send submissions and questions via e-mail to:

Good luck and have fun!

Eric J. Guignard

My latest anthology, Dark Tales of Lost Civilization is now available for purchase!