Finding Lucifer

This prompt (in brackets) is taken from Complete the Story by Piccadilly Inc., which I got from the Scribbler box.

[We took turns guarding the door, neither of us sleeping very much. Ricky looked nervous, and suddenly I felt bad about getting him involved. I shouldn’t have] insisted we draw the door to Hell in his house, but I didn’t expect it to not go away. I had drawn it in chalk and salt and blood, just as the book said to. And the door had materialized just as the book said it would. We had ventured through the door into the flames and found Lucifer, as I knew we would.

Okay, here I should explain. By Lucifer, I mean my cat Lucifer, who was only in Hell because he got hit by a car last week. And, well, all cats go to Hell of course.

As I regarded Ricky, all heightened nerves from the demons that occasionally scratched at the other side of the door, Lucifer lay on an armchair, licking a paw and looking for all the world as if he had never been in the bowels of Hell just a couple days ago. The bastard barely even greeted me when I picked him up out of the fires. Oh well, I love him anyway.

But that damned door didn’t vanish when we all came back through it, as the book said it was supposed to. And I think the demons are mad that they lost Lucifer. Lucifer my cat, I mean, not… Anyway, the door looks pretty strong, right?

The Story of My Editing

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I’ve talked about getting a good book cover. Now I’m going to talk about editing.

Here’s a fact you aren’t going to want to hear: you need an editor. A good cover will make readers give your book a second glance, but you need to keep those readers once they crack open your book. It doesn’t matter how good a writer you are, how proficient your grammar is, or how many times you’ve reread your work. You’re going to miss things. You’re going to not know about some tiny grammatical issue. You’re going to have a sentence that makes perfect sense to you, but won’t to your audience. These are things I suspected before I hired an editor, but the edits I received cemented that fact. The thing is, you don’t know what’s gone wrong in your book before you have an editor comment on it.

First thing you need to determine is what type of editing you need. My stories are already highly fleshed out, finished, and complete. I’m concerned about word usage and repetition, so I looked for someone who could do copy editing on my books. Here’s an edit-rich section from my first book for an example:

edits

If you have concerns about your story itself more than the grammar, you might need a developmental editor. Once you figure out what you’re looking for in an editor, it’s time to find one!

I wanted one with experience in the horror genre, and you’ll want one experienced in your genre. I posted for recommendations in a horror writers group on Facebook, and contacted several with requests for an edit sample, usually a page or two that the editor goes over and returns to you with comments. These help you pick someone who clicks with you and really gets what you’re looking for. One editor I contacted that came highly recommended refused to do a sample. I didn’t go with them.

Now you have an editor! They’ll cost a lot of money! Be prepared! As I’ve said, you’ve chosen an expensive hobby-turned-career. You’ll have to throw money down before the dollars flow back in.

My finely edited series The Fallowing is going up for pre-order, and will be available starting March 12th. Check out the first in the set here!

Dis-Spell

I really like this one. I would love to expand the idea if I have the time – just everyday dudes having to fight demons and the forces of evil.

This prompt (in brackets) is taken from Complete the Story by Piccadilly Inc., which I got from the Scribbler box.

[He sprinted away, not daring to look back, his footsteps echoing down the hallway like distant gunshots. He just had to get to the back stairway and up to his office on the second floor, where] the grimoire was tucked away on his bookshelf, between a textbook of symbols and copies of Religious Archaeology Monthly. The demons were hot on his heels, crude sickening creatures that were hunting down every man woman and child in the city. Maybe the dogs too, who knew. He certainly wouldn’t if he didn’t reach the grimoire.

He had obtained the book on a visit to Jordan, from an old bookseller. He had found the thing interesting, but of little practical use. Until now. He had read the Enochian script in it, and understood that it was a sort of spellbook for dispelling demons and other terrible monsters, and he had chuckled and placed it on his shelf.

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Covers: Mistakes Made and Lessons Learned

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Okay, I’ll admit it – I made a mistake on my covers. But I’m not so proud that I can’t admit it.

I thought it would be really cool to have the series listed as “The First, The Second,” and so on, rather than “Book One, Book Two,” and so on. It seemed to fit the series and it would make it stand out, right?

Wrong. Continue reading

The College

This prompt (in brackets) is taken from Complete the Story by Piccadilly Inc., which I got from the Scribbler box.

[The soldiers were tense, waiting for something to happen – like it was a matter of when, not if. For our part, we did our best to steer clear of them, avoiding the main square, where a group of protesters] had donned pointed witch’s hats. It seemed to be the symbol of their movement, their protest to keep the magic college open.

Sickening, I thought, curling my lip in disgust.

Lydia noticed my reaction, and said weakly, “They’re just doing what they think is best.”

“Best?” I scoffed. “Lydia, surely you’ve seen the news. You know why that horrible ‘college’ was closed down.” I spat the word. Some college.

“Not really,” said Lydia. “Tell me.”

I gaped at her. “You haven’t heard? They were conducting Satanic rituals. They kidnapped children. Sacrificed them. All in the name of Satan.”

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It’s Happening!

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Now that I’m going into full self-publishing mode, I think I’ll post a bit more about my processes here. If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you’ll be seeing my cover reveals and blurbs and such, but here I’ll talk about it all. If it can help another author, I’ll be pleased. If it can’t help another author, well, I’m new at this – give me a break!

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One More Hand

This prompt (in brackets) is taken from Complete the Story by Piccadilly Inc., which I got from the Scribbler box.

[Harry shuffled the deck of cards and pushed it across the table. “Deal,” he said. “One more hand,” I agreed. It was a way to pass the time. More importantly, it was a way to avoid talking about] the fact that I would soon have to kill Harry. We knew how I would do it – a quick shot to the temple with my Glock. But we hadn’t discussed it any further than that. Like when to do it. We were just gonna table that for later I guess.

Harry took two cards. I took one. I had a good hand, but I didn’t expect to win. Harry was the better of us at cards. It’s why we had left it up to a coin toss, and he had called heads when it was tails. Tough luck. But the guys on the radio had explained it to us blatantly, no wishful thinking: they wouldn’t reach us within four weeks.

We had enough food for one person for two weeks.

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Cara’s Love

This prompt (in brackets) is taken from Complete the Story by Piccadilly Inc., which I got from the Scribbler box.

[It began as a practical joke. But by the end of the day, nobody was laughing. It seemed innocent enough at first, because Jerry and I have a history of playing practical jokes on one another. He was the one to start the whole thing, if I’m not mistaken. He] got hold of the Ouija board. Found or bought or stolen, I don’t know. But he showed me the board and insisted we try it out at the cemetery. He insisted on doing it at midnight too, so we could barely see the damn board at all.

Jerry believed in ghosts. I never did. Or didn’t use to. So that night I moved the little pointer around, and when Jerry asked who the ghost was I spelled out C-A-R-A, the name on a tombstone we had passed on our way into the cemetery, though Jerry didn’t know that. Then I kept spelling out that he was cute, and that Cara liked him, and did he like Cara? And he totally bought the whole thing, even blushed. And when we were leaving and I pointed out the tombstone with Cara on it, he was good and freaked out. I didn’t tell him yet it had been me pranking him. I had thought I would take it a little further first, maybe leave him some ghostly love letters or something. But before I could, it was the next day, and Jerry came to school freaked out.

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She Believed in Me

This prompt (in brackets) is taken from Complete the Story by Piccadilly Inc., which I got from the Scribbler box.

[She believed in me in a way no one else ever has and no one else ever will, and I betrayed her. The worst part is she doesn’t know. She still thinks] her first husband died of natural causes. She still thinks her second husband died at the hands of a robber. She doesn’t know her closest friend poisoned Gerald’s drink, and that the same close friend shot Robert through the heart with his own pistol, snatched from the mantel, the man too shocked to move or duck. She doesn’t know I relished her coming to me in her grief, clutching me, holding me, weeping into my shoulder. If only I could tell her why I did it: because I love her more than they could.

It’s okay. She’ll turn to me again once I’m done with Matthew.