A Free Read Every Day (on the DDsE blog)

BlogLogoRedo2018I’m so glad I decided to do it! Brought back the DDsE daily serial blog.

Over on the DDsE blog, we’re in book 8 of Ella’s diary. As far as I can tell, her current adventures will take us through book 9.

I’m having a great time posting Ella’s diary to the near-instant gratification of readers who come to the blog daily.

The farther I get into the DDsE series, the less I can figure out whether I am writing it or transcribing it. For the first time, I’m writing improvisationally. What happens happens. I discover what comes next as I fill the latest blank screen on my iPad.

If you become a follower of  the DDsE daily serial blog, you will get each day’s diary entry emailed to you. Of course you can also click over to it whenever you please. I’ve heard from a number of folks that they’d rather wait and read a bunch of daily entries in one swoop. You can read the compiled, completed books (7 so far) on the blog.

For those who don’t want to read via browser, each book of Ella’s diary is an individual e-book novella on Smashwords. (6 individual novellas on Smashwords so far – 3 to go.) I’ve also compiled Ella’s books, 3 to a volume, and published those volumes on Amazon as e-books and paper books (2 compiled volumes so far – 1 to go).

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You Can Read DDsE by Blog (Again)

BlogLogoRedo2018It’s a recurring story of my life. To see the value in something, I have to stop, leave, turn away from it.

It, such as publishing the DDsE daily serial blog.

Once upon a time, I had a blog that published the daily diary entries of Ella, a 16-year-old who had just entered a horrible strange amazing phase of life. Ella filled three books with her secret, hand-written diary entries and I posted the entries on the DDsE blog.

[OK, I admit it, I’m the one who has been writing Ella’s diaries and I’ve loved doing so. Although I’ve never had mind-to-mind contact with a feral cat, nor run away with a boy who wasn’t human, nor been chased by unhuman monsters, I can so relate to Ella. I’ve been a teenager all my life.]

Ella has kept writing her diary but I stopped posting entries on the DDsE blog.

I stopped because I’d been bitten by the publishing bug and my agent said that she couldn’t shop DDsE if I was giving it away. So I compiled Ella’s first three books into a single volume and my agent began to shop DDsE to big-deal publishers who took forever to say that they loved the story but didn’t like Ella. Or vice versa.

I discovered that I’ve changed.

Long ago, publishing my novel Was It A Rat I Saw in hardcover with a big-deal publisher was very important to me. Nonetheless, I stopped writing for a couple decades and when I resumed, it wasn’t because I wanted to build or re-build a writing career. I resumed writing because I missed writing.

When I resumed, I joined the self-publishing revolution (and it really is a revolution) but I maintained lingering fantasies about some sugar-daddy publisher who would make the publishing grind easier for me.

I’ve come to realize that I write to connect: with myself; with my readers. To realize this, I had to shut down the DDsE daily serial blog then miss it.

But re-starting the blog seemed impossible. Embarrassing.

At some point, I withdrew DDsE from the big-deal-publishers shop-around and began to self-publish it. Each book of Ella’s diary became an individual novella on Smashwords. (6 individual novellas so far – 3 to go.) I compiled Ella’s books, 3 to a volume, and published those volumes on Amazon (2 compiled volumes so far – 1 to go).

I continued to miss the blog. So. Tupac the impossible embarrassing. The DDsE daily serial blog is back. From now on, every day that blog will publish a new diary entry by Ella.

However, the new entries will resume with the current diary, book 7, because the DDsE blog features Ella’s newest entries, the ones that haven’t been published elsewhere. While the blog was on hiatus, books 4-6 got published elsewhere. Sure, they are compiled on the DDsE blog, and you can read them there. But the newest entries are in book 7.

Saturday, Feb 16, the DDsE daily serial blog will resume daily posting of Ella’s newest diary entries, starting with entry 260 from book 7 of DDsE.

Now would be a good time to catch up on books 1-6 and to begin following the DDsE blog.

Note that I usually keep my blogs separate so if you follow this blog – awesome! thank you! – you won’t get any DDsE posts. You have to click over to the DDsE daily serial blog to follow Ella’s diary.

Heart-warming stories?… …(…) … Er …

Not long ago, I discovered how much I enjoy presenting my work to an audience (thank you, Out Loud Santa Barbara!) and I’ve been looking for other ways to do that. So I was jazzed to hear about a call for submissions for a couple story-telling events. Except.

Heart-warming. They want heart-warming personal stories.

I did much wracking of ye olde brain to come up with some. Any. Still trying. Heart-warming isn’t a tag in my memory filing system. I’ve missed one submission deadline; maybe I can conjure some heart-warming in time for the 2nd.

Meanwhile, I happened upon the last notice for a contest that would close in hours. Write a 500 word story using a theme of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Why, I had just been ogling the fantastic woodcuts by Lynd Ward in my own hardcover edition… I’d never entered a writing contest before but this sounded like fun.

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A story made a quick ascent from the depths and I got it written and submitted with an hour to spare. I don’t know details of the contest (when they decide winners, are there prizes, blah blah); for me the event made a terrific writing prompt and now it is over. (Lately I’ve been trying to separate my writing from outcomes.)

Below is the story I came up with.

Heart-warming… heart-warming … … … hmm …

The Open Gates

Dear reader,

You are in danger! Unimaginable danger. Run. Hide. Now!

I don’t believe in God or luck, yet here I pray to both: let someone survive to find this warning. If one survives, then others might and perhaps those few can keep it alive. It. Us. The human race.

Stop reading this until you’re safe. Get away from other people. Look no one in the eye. Let no one get close. They need to be close to take you over.

The first irony. The only hope of saving what’s left of the human race is to isolate every survivor.

Here’s another. I did what I did for the good of humanity.

My ambition was always to make a lasting contribution. I would dedicate my extraordinary intellect to do science so important that my name would live forever. My focus was the human mind, a stimulating challenge. Despite centuries of scrutiny, understanding of consciousness remains elusive.

I happened upon an obscure study. In it, the author detailed a modestly clever experiment to locate consciousness. What was remarkable was that one subject died during the experiment and the researcher tracked consciousness — after death.

An absurd claim, yet something in it spoke truth to me. I couldn’t believe it but I couldn’t let it go. Eventually, I tracked down the author, retired from a third-rate academic career. I still cannot confirm whether he was collaborator as well as victim.

I was not trained to respect instinct, so I dismissed the uneasiness that swept me when he answered his door. I now know that feeling well. It is the first sign that a gate is open nearby.

Within each of us is a gate to a beyond. I have not determined whether that place is our afterlife, but it is a wild treacherous place we cannot enter or survive. We can only live with our gates locked tight.

His gate was ajar.

Horrible things wait on the other side. They wait to cross over and take us. They are — evil. I have never used that word except to describe them.

Get too close to an open gate and your gate opens, too. Another thing comes over, another human is lost.

The author had long been a recluse, struggling to lock his gate again. His efforts to warn me away used too much energy and attention. They took him while I observed. His eyes went blank, swiveled, discovered me with a flash of hungry curiosity.

They’re slow when they first come through. I ran away that day.

I’ve studied them ever since. I’ve slept too little and learned so much. But not enough. Their spread has accelerated. Suddenly they’re everywhere.

Some of us seem to be immune to them. Perhaps we can hide, repopulate, come back against them.

If only I had sounded an earlier alarm. Perhaps someone would have believed. I thought I could solve this problem without destroying my work, my reputation. Instead, I kept their secret.

Forgive me.

A Girl, a boy, a feral cat, pursuit by unhuman things.

ddse-series-cover-smashwordsI’ve got a new series of books called DDsE and you can start reading for free; download an e-version* from Smashwords**.

DDsE is a teen/YA (young adult) paranormal horror romance that will ultimately be 9 short volumes. Books 1 and 2 are now on-line. Books 3-5 will be available within weeks; the remaining 4 are coming within the next year.***

What’s DDsE about? Here’s a blurb:

Being sixteen is Tupac Eminem. Ella has no one to talk to except her new diary, which she has to hide from Ma and Pa Warden, the foster parents she’s stuck with since her family got flattened in a car accident. Now that she lives with the wardens, she has to switch to a new school, where people act like her tragedy is contagious. Her new suburb is just as boring as the last, and offers no hope of secret passageways or magic. But life is not all bad. There’s an interesting boy at the new school – although his family turns out to be impossibly dangerous. And there’s a feral cat, living in the suburb’s only open space, a pitiful excuse for woods. Sometimes the cat invades Ella’s mind. She tells her diary, ‘I’ve gone a special kind of crazy, a split personality. And my other personality is a cat, not a person.’

* Eventually, I’ll compile the short volumes and make them available as paperbacks, too.

** Soon, DDsE will also be downloadable at the Apple iStore, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Noisetrade. Eventually, it will come to Amazon, too.

*** Some of you may say, “Wait, I thought you were sending DDsE to publishers, is that effort kaput?” Still in progress. Three have declined. The first two liked the story but didn’t like the narrator. The third one loved the narrator but didn’t like the story. (I forgot how maddening this process can be.) Other verdicts are still out but apparently I don’t have enough patience (nor, perhaps, enough decades) to grind through the submission process.