Monday, January 28, 2013

Rejection, praise, new book?

Hello once again my faithful fistfull of followers!  Once again I shall regale you with...stuff.  Now with justified margins!

Rejection. It's something that everybody who writes has to deal with at some point or another.  Obviously, I'm no exception.  One of the reasons I pursued the whole self publishing route to getting my work out into the world was because I was hoping to avoid rejection.  Working on a book, writing up a query letter, sending it in to Publisher X, and waiting for three months only to have them reply with 'Thank you for submitting.  Unfortunately....' just doesn't seem like a good time to me.  So I've opted out.  What I did do, however, was send a request to to have them consider Words With Fiends for inclusion into the 'Kindle Singles' program.  What are Kindle Singles?  As defined by Amazon: 

 "Kindle Singles is here to offer a vast spectrum of reporting, essays, memoirs, narratives, and short stories presented to educate, entertain, excite, and inform. Our writers take you places you can't get to any other way, on journeys of fact and fiction that share these common threads: they're the highest-quality work we can find, and at a length best suited to the ideas they present."  

What does that mean, exactly?  I have no idea, but I was hopeful that WWF would make it into the program.  As far as I can tell, they put a little bit of their corporate oomph behind these things, putting them in a special section of the site, maybe doing a little advertising to move copies, etc.  I doubt it costs them much of anything.  Long story short, I get what seems to be a form email telling me that 'our editors have reviewed your request and have decided it's right for us'.  I'm paraphrasing of course, but that was the overall feel of it.  I'm sure my short isn't the greatest story ever told but it's getting nothing but positive feedback and it's moving a copy here or there.  I figured with some of their backing it would move even more.  Guess I was wrong.  I've emailed them back asking why.  Not to be a pain in the ass, but just out of curiosity.  You'll know more when I know more, even if you don't want to know more.
Praise.  Now I do that nasty name dropping thing again. Richard Wright, awesome author of dark fiction pieces such as Thy Fearful Symmetry and Cuckoo actually took the time to not only read my story but review it over on GoodReads.  I was flattered.  Moreso, I am ecstatic that he liked it!  Here's a snippet of the review:

"I've never read the author before, but won't hesitate to do so again....The story made me nostalgic for Stephen King's earlier works, and reminds me a lot of his immediately engaging characters, and the slow mashing of a detailed and recognisable real world with things that should not be."

Now that's some high praise.  Moving forward, if nothing I ever do is enjoyed by anybody ever again, I'll look back on Richard Wright's review and think to myself that I actually got something right.

New Book?  Last year, I'd written two 'books'.  The first one is more or less a mess.  The story's there, the characters and plot are in place, it just needs cleaning up.  The second one benefited from a couple of people's eyes on them as well as some changes/small re writes here and there.  I've since resurrected it and have sent it to a couple more beta readers.  One loved it and the other is currently reading it.  When I hear back from her, I may just move forward with putting it out; self published once again, of course.  It's an urban fantasy novel set in Central New Jersey about a ghost whisperer/medium who's hit a bad stretch.  He gets offered a case that promises a big paycheck but it threatens to bring up some issues from his past.  Oh, and he gets in some trouble with the cops along the way.  Depending on what my final beta reader has to say about the plot, etc, etc, it may just be seeing the light of day sooner than I'd anticipated all this time.  Now, I just need a cool name so my cover artists can make me a masterpiece...

Thanks for reading!  Goodreads says I have four fans, so at least I have graduated from three!  Talk at ya's soon!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

It's a boy!

Welp, here he is!  Vincent Alexander Schiariti.  7 pounds, 8 ounces, 20 and 3/4 inches of perfectly healthy baby!  Born 5:20 AM on January 22, 2013.  Mommy and baby are home now and everything's going well.  I have to admit that I was nervous as hell going into the hospital on Monday.  As it turned out, my wife woke up from a nap that afternoon and was complaining about blurry vision.  We hopped in the car and headed to CVS to utilize the free blood pressure cuff thingamajig.  It was high...WAY high.  Called the doctor who said to go to the hospital.  Since the baby was pretty much at term, the good doctor decided that it would be best to just induce.  Eight hours later, Vinnie was born.  I have to give it to my wife who hung in there like a trooper.  You may have heard the rumor that the 'second one will go easier'.  That is, without a doubt, bullshit. I'm sure in some women's experience that's the case, but it sure wasn't this time.  Wifey fought through it for eight hours with zero sleep for that entire 24 hour period. 

So, now we get to start from scratch with the diapers, formula, mid-night feedings, and all that other fun stuff.  Kinda outta practice since my daughter's halfway through her sixth year now.  But hey, it's gotta be like riding a bike, right?  Rrrrrright.

Needless to say, I probably won't be hammering out much on the ole keyboard for the next couple weeks as we get used to things.  It's just not a priority right now and frankly, I probably won't have the energy to edit or write something new anyway.  But that's ok.  Family is and always will be more important than hammering out some drivel that nobody will read anyway!

Until next time, folks!

Monday, January 21, 2013

A real Blog review!

Two posts in as many days, you may ask?  Yes!  I do it because I care.

You may (or may not) remember that I posted last night saying that I heard from a little twitter bird that a favorable review for Words With Fiends was forthcoming today.  Well, it's aliiiiiiiiiiiiive!  And it's goooooooood!  Ally over at Wordvagabond was kind enough to send my little story out to one of her reviewers and review it she did!

Here are the first two lines of the review:

"This short story is best read at night . . . with the lights out . . . so it can scare the hell out of you."


Now, when I came up with the idea for the story and got around to writing it, it was my intent to make something creepy and atmospheric.  It seems that I succeeded.  I will, however, admit that I had no idea it would scare the crackers outta people.  Added bonus!  But I will say this:  there is nothing better than when you try to create something that will suck people in to the point where they have to turn a pages compulsively to see what happens next and, in fact, that is exactly what happens. 

So yeah, maybe I don't suck as bad as I thought?  Can't rest my hat on one story, that's for certain.  But, this is the type of thing that gives one that little extra lift when they're suffering from severe lack of confidence.  It makes me want to keep putting things out there for people to check out and, hopefully like. 

Here's a link to the full review.  Still don't know how to drag that sorta thing into the body of the post.  I r phail at computorz.

Also, just check out Wordvagabond if you get a chance.  They support indie and small press authors and, for you writer types out there, they offer all kinds of editing/proofreading/beta reading services at VERY competitive prices.

See ya around the Interwebz!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sales, compliments, shorts, numb pinkies, and contractions

Hello and welcome to another installment of Overly Verbose, where I type furiously and three people read it.  It's been a while since I've posted anything so today I'm gonna post something.  It'll be rambling and long as per usual, but that's what the three of you hapless people that will happen upon this have come to expect.

Sales.  Words With Fiends is selling like shit.  Dropping like a stone.  It's moving copies about as quickly as the continental drift.  But that's ok.  I never expected to sell as many as I did (which, frankly, was hardly any at all).  Who's to say why?  It's a short story, it's a buck, I'm pretty much unknown, it's not porn, there is no guy with a rippling six pack on the cover, and there is an overflow of indie and small press authors advertising their work on facebook, goodreads, blogs, twitter, etc.  I suck at self promotion.  I'm awful with twitter.  Basically, I have no idea what I'm doing.  But that's ok as well because, those who actually have read it have been giving me...

Compliments.  There are currently seven 4 and 5 star reviews of it on Amazon.  There are several ratings and reviews of it on goodreads, all of which are positive.  It's marked to be read on GR by at least ten people and I know a few more people who intend to read it.  At this point it's not about sales so much as reviews and getting my name out there.  The more people who review it, the more it's seen, the more people may stop by here or my Amazon author page and think 'hmmm, I dug this story, maybe I'll look out for more from this dude.'  Hey, could happen right?  And, as it turns out, a little birdie on twitter told me that a very favorable review will be dropping on a review blog tomorrow.  I am most assuredly looking forward to that!

Shorts.  I have completed yet another short story.  It's really not THAT short (about 13k words) but still, I think it qualifies.  It's for an as-yet-to-be-announced anthology.  That's right, the thing hasn't even been pitched yet, but an editor I know told me what it was going to be about and that it was coming up.  So, I took an idea I had roughly outlined a few weeks back and banged the effer out this week.  It's still in first draft so it's a little rough, BUT, (and not to toot my own horn here), I fucking love it.  It's fun and quirky and I had a bunch of fun writing it.  Hopefully the editor will overlook that it's a bit longer than it should be and dig it half as much as I do.  I was also approached by an author I know that he will be spearheading an anthology sometime this year and that I should keep an eye on my email for more details.  Can't wait for that!

Numb Pinkies.  I've had this nagging damn numbness in my left pinky for a few weeks.  It blows. On a good day, I can type 84 words per minute.  Not so now.  Got to the point where my a's were coming out as q's.  It's a pain in the ass.  Got to the point where I actually went to the doctor.  I never do that unless I'm on my deathbed so you know it must have been bad.  Anyhoo, I have to wear a splint at night now and I also have to make an appointment to go to get bloodwork done.  Could be anything: pinched nerve, carpel tunnel, who the hell knows?  Gonna be a long road in diagnosing the problem.  But in the meantime, I just type slower and take more breaks.

Contractions.  The handful of you reading this may or may not know that my wife is due to have a baby any day now.  Like, literally any day.  Woke up last night saying she was beginning to have sporadic contractions.  So that means it could be today, tomorrow, Wednesday, who the hell knows?  The not knowing is the worst part;the uncertainty is driving us nuts.  But, all is going well to date so we hang our hats on that.  At the end of the day, you can only wait and see what happens, plan accordingly and react as best you can.  Wish us luck!

So that's it for this installment.  I made it extra verbose since it's been well over a week since my last post.  Pardon the typos.  A) I'm too lazy to go back and fix them and B) my pinky is bugging me.  Until next time!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Behold as I name drop!

Name dropping.  It's something I don't normally do.  It's something I barely even get a chance to do.  Not to say that there haven't been a couple opportunities.  Over the past year, I've been able to proof read a few advanced copies of recent novels.  Frankly, I was flattered to have been asked in the first place.  I'm sure writers do it all the time, no matter how successful they are (nobody writes in a vacuum), but for them to ask me?  I was gobsmacked.  I mean, who am I?  Just a guy, reading books and writing reviews on Amazon.  Reviews that go ignored more often than not.  But it turned out that someone was paying attention.  Will I be asked again to go over an advanced reader copy?  Who knows.  They probably got tired of hearing my profuse thanks and don't wanna deal with me again.  Anyway, I know I'm not unique or special in any way but things like that don't normally happen to me.  Blame it on naivete or a child-like enthusiasm or whatever, but I was psyched to have done it.

So, where was I?  Oh, right.  Name dropping.  I knew I'd get back to the point sooner or later.  Then again, this blog IS called Overly Verbose after all. 

Anyway, Words With Fiends is meeting with some pretty good feedback.  There are a few reviews up on Amazon and a couple ratings on GoodReads.  It sold half-decently when I put it up for free on Smashwords this past weekend, so it's getting out there.  Not everyone writes reviews or rates books, but I've even gotten a couple messages on Facebook from people telling me they liked it.  Makes a dude feel good.

What really makes a dude feel good is when an author he admires not only takes the time to read what said dude has written, but enjoys it and reviews it. 

Dave Conifer is a fantastic writer and I am most definitely a fan of his.  So, when I check my page and find out he'd written a review of Words With Fiends while I was sitting in the lobby of my daughter's dance school?  And what's more, that he dug it?  I was over the friggin' moon.  Still am.  I mean, how cool is that?  Of course, I appreciate all reviews.  I appreciate anybody who takes the time to read something I've written and goes to the trouble of jamming out a few keystrokes as to why they did (or didn't) like it.  But when someone you admire, someone who can write circles around you, enjoys something you've done?  That's just cool in the extreme.  That's just something I never thought would happen. 

Trust me, I know I'm not the greatest thing since sliced bread, but maybe I don't completely suck either.  For a guy who has no confidence whatsoever, this is pretty good encouragement. 

For the one or two of you who'll actually read this, check out Dave's Page on Amazon.  He's written thrillers (Wrecker, Primary Justice, Man of Steel) as well as very topical character driven dramas (e-bully, Hard Lines). 

Catch everyone on the flipside!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Allow me to introduce myself

What's to tell, really?  I'm a guy who loves to read.  LOVES to read.  I've been an avid reader since my teens and started to write reviews on Amazon in my 20's.  Writing was something that always seemed magical to me and, as such, something I couldn't do.  It wasn't until late 2011 that I started to consider sitting down in front of the computer and bashing out a few words.  A friend of mine, also a big reader, approached me with the idea of co-writing an urban fantasy novel.  After weeks of discussion it didn't go anywhere but I didn't let that stop me.  I wrote my first 'official' short story in February of 2012.  I sent it to a few people who seemed to like it so that lit the fire for me to write even more.  It wasn't long after that I started to write my first 'book'.  Five weeks and about 130,000 works later it was finished.  Or at least, the first draft.  I've still yet to go back and edit it.

A lot has happened between then and now.  I wrote another book in the spring of 2012 which is much cleaner than my first effort but still in need of editing.  In addition, I wrote a few other shorts as well, one of which (Hollow) was lucky enough to get picked up and published.  Feedback from that was positive so I wrote Words With Fiends which I decided to self publish.  Feedback for THAT has been pretty good, too!

'But, Matt.  What exactly IS it that you write?', you may ask.  Well, in short: whatever I feel like.  I'm a fan of just about every genre of fiction there is.  Thriller, mystery, horror, urban fantasy, high fantasy, science fiction, 'chick lit', historical fiction.  You name it, I've read it.  My first 'novel' is what I guess you could call contemporary fiction.  My second novel is urban fantasy.  My shorts so far have been a mix of horror and urban fantasy.  I don't think I've found my niche yet.  Heck, I'm not even sure I've found my STYLE yet.  But I'm working on it.

Anyway, thank you for visiting my little corner of the internet.  I hope you stick with me as I plan to keep on plugging away at this here keyboard as ideas come to mind.  2012 was a pretty good year for me in that I started something I never though I could do and saw it through and got good vibes back in the process.  Hopefully 2013 will be even better!