hot september, grave shadows

September has arrived hand in hand with the hot, dry Santa Anas dancing about the sunshot landscape. Seems to me September has resigned membership in Club Fall and signed up with Club Summer–the So Cal version: July, August, September! June’s been kicked out of Club Summer–gloomy, moody June, reluctantly dragging itself through the door out of spring, begrudgingly dropping a sunny day or two, now and then. June the slacker. September gleefully waltzes in, throwing handfuls of sunshine all over the place, like so much solar confetti. In So Cal, a crappy June always yields a hot September!

Moving along…I’m so excited! For quite a while I’ve been having the self-publish or not debate with myself. At heart and soul, I’ve been writing since childhood, and I had a hidebound prejudice against self-publishing, ’cause back in the day self-publishing = vanity publishing. Not for me.

E-publishing is a whole new thing–me and I argued and went round and round. Traditional publishing or legacy publishing, as it’s being called nowadays, was the only way to get validation and get published. Having finally sold your novel to a New York house, you could declare yourself a real writer and point proudly at your novel on the bookstore shelf while surreptitiously wiping away the blood, sweat, and tears you’d shed on that long, arduous road to the golden arena of publication.

E-publishing is a new road, offers new opportunity, but a writer still has to work hard at perfecting his or her art if he or she wants to be good and successful. Having a new way to go doesn’t mean the work involved in becoming a good writer disappears. Not at all. You have to master the art or you may be greatly disappointed. I don’t plan on disappointing myself or the readers I hope to have.

At the end of all my circling about, I decided to take the step and start Pendrifter Publishing, and decided to publish Grave Shadows, a collection of my dark fantasy short stories, at Smashwords.  I’d planned on e-pubbing at Amazon for the Kindle but discovered, after pulling out a few hairs and raising my blood pressure, that Amazon’s uploader known as KindleGen only runs on computers with Intel Inside. My beloved Apple Powerbook G4 was born without Intel Inside, the poor thing. Next year, I’ll be rubbing shoulders once again with the ever-present crowd at the Apple Store, dollars eagerly in hand for a new laptop.

Since I needed a cover before my hair turned gray trying to teach myself GIMP, I hired a talented graphic artist named Rachel Gates, through oDesk, an online employment site for graphic artists, web designers and such folk. She presented me with 4 beautiful cover designs–my eyes popped when I saw what she’d done with the artwork I sent her.  So I’ve got a great cover and as soon as Rachel and I iron out a few details, I’ll post it here. I’m in the middle of editing the stories and then I’ll have to give Grave Shadows one more read-through to make sure it’s error-free.

Grave Shadows will contain:

Ghost of Roses (previously published in And Now the Nightmare Begins: The Horror Zine

Three Heartbeats

Breath of the Grave

And Baby Makes Two (previously published as The Baby at Dark Fire Fiction

Frankly, I’m having a good time! But I’m not giving up on the traditional route. I’m going all in–doing both self and legacy. Can hardly wait to post my cover!

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