A Little Housekeeping

I've been doing a little housekeeping on my blog. Moving some items around, adding a bit more. I recently discovered I could add stand alone pages so I've been working on that. I'm not the brightest bulb in the box when it comes to computer stuff, I used to know a thing or two,  but technology quickly passed me by and I was left scratching my head wondering what had happened.

If you look to your right you'll notice I've added a link to one of my free short stories on smashwords. I'll be adding more as they become available. These are stories that were previously published and whose rights have reverted back to me. I figured why not give them away as a means to introduce new readers to my work.

I've also added a works in progress tab at the top that I will update as changes occur with my writing. I'm trying to balance my writing with my marketing efforts and I hope this blog will help.

When I started out I thought writing was hard. It still is, at times I honestly believe droplets of blood form on my brow while I'm staring at the blank page waiting for the words to form. Usually at this point I'm reminded of the writing machine in TOMMYKNOCKERS. Be nice to have one of those when the words become stubborn.

But marketing deserves it own special little corner of hell. In my day to day working life I'm your typical extrovert, outgoing and open with everyone I meet, I'm in retail so it's all part of the job. But for some reason when it comes to hawking my own work I feel like a beggar on a street corner holding up a sign that reads Will Write For Food.

That's not to say I don't have any confidence in my work. I do, and in my mind at least Colleen at Horror Fiction Review has...(the word's right on the tip of my tongue but I can't spit it out) vindicated (there it is) my writing ability with her review. As have several other reviewers. These aren't friends and family reviewing my work, but total strangers, so that for me is indication enough that I can write a coherent tale. Yet I still feel like a cheap hustler every time I write a post to buy my book.

Review of Finding Poe

Title: Finding Poe

Author: Leigh M. Lane

Publisher:  Cerebral Books

Pub Date: March 2012

Genre:  Gothic Horror

Synopsis: A distinguished lady of Norland, compelled by the love of her husband, is taken from the trappings of high society to which she is more accustomed and thrust into a simpler life in an isolated lighthouse on a battered New England coast. Her husband Brantley is searching for a secret truth hidden within the lighthouse and in the process descends into madness that ends when he hangs himself from the railing of the spiral staircase within the towering structure.
Alone now Lady Karina resolves to return to her beloved Norland and the life of a lady proper but first she feels she must deliver a sealed envelope she found on her husband’s desk addressed to a Mr. Poe in Baltimore, MD. During her journey she meets a number of intriguing, and sometimes terrifying, characters as she is further plagued by nightmares that make her question her own sanity. In the end she completes her terrifying journey filled with twists and turns and meets Mr. Poe who is involved in a dispute that has escalated to the point where someone is trying to kill him.

Review: Leigh has created a hauntingly beautiful tale that in many ways mirrors Poe’s own work. If you are a fan of his you will recognize many of the characters and situations as the story unfolds. If you are not a fan don’t let that stop you from enjoying FINDING POE. Leigh’s writing is fresh and compelling, drawing the reader into the story with a voice that becomes transparent allowing the reader to experience for themselves all of the dread and excitement of a character wholly out of their element.

I received a free copy of FINDING POE from the author in exchange for my review. This did not influence my review in any way and my review would have been the same had I purchased this book myself.

My Path to Publication

Sorry once again for the delay in posting to my blog. I need to do better, I know. I don't know if anyone's interested but I thought I would recount my path to publication.

I started writing before the internet was around so I followed the course of write and submit, write some more, submit some more, and collect a ton of rejection letters. I probably had a file drawer stuffed with rejections. At first they were your typical form rejection letter Dear “Add Authors name here, blah blah blah not for us. blah blah blah.

I persisted, refusing to give up, and a strange thing happened, the form rejection letters became personal notes from editors, close but not quite what we’re looking for. Nice try, looking forward to seeing more. That sort of thing.

Then it happened. I got a yes. A small fanzine wanted one of my stories. They couldn’t pay anything more than one contributor copy, but who cared. They wanted my story. A total stranger wanted to publish one of my stories. I was ecstatic. I was now a published writer.

At about this time I was just finishing a novel. “Adversary, Some Things Are Better Left Undiscovered.” I signed up for the Maui writer’s conference marketplace where you sent the first page of your novel, along with a hundred bucks, to the conference to be passed around to the major publishers and agents.
The first night of the conference I received a long distance phone call from Kimberly Cameron a literary agent requesting first right of refusal for Adversary. I was on cloud nine. A week later I received a written request from an editor with Random House asking to see the entire manuscript. I was on my way.

Sadly it was at this junction that I screwed up royally. Random house was talking no advance, 8% royalties with a 3% reserve against returns. Research indicated my book would probably be classified as a C title with a three month shelf life.
By this time I had already written a second book and was working on a third novel. We had gotten the internet less than six months earlier and I found a place called iUniverse where for $99.00 I could publish my book, get it listed with all the major retailers and collect a 20% royalty on each sale with the book being available forever. What could be easier than that?

Live and learn.

When the dust settled I was thoroughly disgusted with myself and writing in general. At this time too we had just bought a house and the added responsibilities, along with the loss of a hard drive that contained twenty years of hard work pretty much put the final nail in the coffin of my desire to be a writer.
I struggled to live the normal life, work hard, get promoted at work and I succeeded. I worked my way up from field rep to regional trainer, to district manager with thirty two direct reports.
But there was still something missing from my life. I tried a few times to start writing again, but my responsibilities at work would intrude. Then suddenly in February of 2008,  I was unemployed, the housing market tanked, and the economy went south.
At the age of fifty I had to start all over again. To say I was bitter would be an understatement. I had given my all to this company and was left empty handed when the owner sold the rights to the software we used to the client we relied upon for our livelihood. The owner walked away with millions of dollars, a guaranteed corporate position with the client company, and hundreds of thousands in contract cancellation fees. Those of us who worked in the field, who helped make the company what it was, didn’t even get a severance package.

So I’ve returned to the one thing that has remained constant in my life. My writing. We’ll see how it goes this time.

What path did you take?