Thursday updates

Happy Thursday, everyone!  Last day of March already.  Where did the time go?

I’ve got some nifty new things to talk about, so let’s start with the release of the latest issue of Fiction River – Sparks – which includes my first published YA story, “Roxie.”

FR Sparks ebook cover web“Roxie” is a prequel of sorts to my story “Dead Men Walking” that appeared in Fiction River: Hex in the City.  Roxie was a very put together elf in “Dead Men Walking” but she had such a unique family tree that I wanted to tell a story about when she was a not quite put together teenager.  Sparks contains wonderful kickass fiction by some of my favorite storytellers.  I had a blast reading this issue.  I know you will, too!

In another first, I’m on a podcast!  Mark Leslie Lefebvre of Kobo interviewed the authors of The Uncollected Anthology when we were at a week-long workshop earlier in the month. We were all pretty punchy at the time (including Mark), so there’s lots of laughter involved.  If you want to know how The Uncollected Anthology got started, who all those crazy writers are, or if you just want to hear what I sound like, give a listen.

I’m in the middle of putting together some truly awesome projects which I can’t talk about just yet. (Don’t you hate it when writers say stuff like that?)  Stay tuned, as the saying goes.

What I can talk about are some of my upcoming short story publications.  I’m currently working on my story for the next edition of The Uncollected Anthology due out in May.  The theme this time around is Out of the Woods.  I’ll post links here when the issue hits the electronic stands. *g*  Stories of mine (including more YA!) will also be part of future issues of Fiction River through 2017 (and possibly into 2018), starting with Fiction River: Last Stand coming in July, 2016. Isn’t that cool? Even better, some of these stories have sparked longer, related projects that I’m plugging into the production schedule.

And since we’re talking about production schedules as they apply to writing, you might want to take a look over at Dean Wesley Smith’s blog.  He’s currently writing a novel in a week, posting his progress each day, and boy, it’s some kind of inspiring.

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Fiction River news!

Boy, do I love the folks at Fiction River or what?

First of all, coming up this year I have stories in three volumes of Fiction River.

FR-Risk-Takers-ebook-cover-CC-194x300FR-Sparks-ebook-cover-194x300“A Tale of Good Whiskey, Bad Coffee, and One Devious Woman” will be RISK TAKERS edited by Dean Wesley Smith, available later this month. “Roxie” will be in SPARKS edited by Rebecca Moesta, available in September.

FR-Recycled-Pulp-ebook-cover-194x300And in November, my story “The Flower of the Tabernacle” will be part of RECYCLED PULP, edited by John Helfers.

Cool beans, right?

But wait… I’m not done yet!

I just spent a fantastic week with the editors and publisher of Fiction River as they put together their volumes for 2016.  And guess what?  I’m going to have stories in five of them!  (Yes, I’m still over the moon about that. *g*)

Starting in January 2016, I’ll be in volumes edited by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Dean Wesley Smith and Felicia Fredlund, Rebecca Moesta, Kevin J. Anderson, and Mark Leslie. Four of the covers are up at the Fiction River website.  Aren’t these cool?

FR17-Hidden-in-Crime-ebook-cover-web-194x300FR19-Last-Stand-ebook-cover-web-194x300

 

 

 

 

 

 

FR20-Superpowers-ebook-cover-web-194x300FR22-Pulse-Pounders-Adrenaline-ebook-cover-web-194x300

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The folks at Fiction River are awesome to work with, and they publish some of the best short fiction out there today.  I’m still amazed to be a part of all these volumes.  Each book can be purchased individually (since each volume focuses on a different genre), or subscriptions are available for either e-book or trade paperbacks.  Do I sound like an ad yet?  You’ll have to forgive me.  I’m still just so excited about being a part of this that I can’t help it. *g*

Free Fiction Thursday – After

Happy Thursday, everyone!

I don’t know about you, but this has been a busy week for this writer person. I’m getting ready to head out for two back-to-back workshops. I don’t travel a whole lot, so each trip out of town is like a mini-adventure. This one should be fun. Lots of friends and writing and business talk (yes, that’s fun when it’s about the business of writing), with some imaginary characters thrown in here and there for good measure.

A few years ago I went on another adventure with a friend — a trip to a beautiful mountain lake. One day we stopped for a late lunch at a restaurant overlooking the lake. It was the middle of the week, not yet the tourist season, and we were the only customers in the place. We sat outside on a second-story deck and ate pizza in the shade of huge pine trees and just enjoyed the heck out of ourselves. A few months later, this week’s story was born. I hope you enjoy “After,” the story of an artist with one foot in the real world and one foot in a world that only exists in her imagination.

After_cover

 

After

Annie Reed

Published by Thunder Valley Press

Copyright 2013 by Annie Reed

The older Belle Creedy gets, the more she wonders about what happens.  After.

In the mornings, when dawn’s just a lick of peach in the eastern sky and she’s so far into the world of her art she only knows the sun’s coming up because the racket from the birds roosting in the thick pines around her house intrudes on her thoughts, she stops whatever she’s working on and pads out onto the deck on the second story of her place.  She watches ripples on the surface of the clear mountain lake just across the road take on the color of the pre-dawn sky, and she considers just how many coincidences go into making a world like this.  Are they really coincidences after all?  Or is there something more?

It’s quiet this morning, so early in the day the birds have barely started their chatter.  So early that Gary Weeds, another old-timer like herself, isn’t even on the lake yet.  Gary lives halfway up the mountain.  He fishes every day he can, and since he retired in 1989, he can fish almost every day the weather lets him.   He crunches down the one-lane dirt road that snakes up through the pines, rod and tackle box in his hand, and shoves off in his rowboat.  Sits out on the lake half the day, the damn fool.  One of these days she’s gonna catch Gary peeing over the edge of his boat.  Man has a cast iron bladder, but even a cast iron bladder can’t stand against the ravages of time.

(read the rest of the story here)

Free Fiction Thursday – The Liar

Good morning, everyone!  How’s Thursday treating you so far?

There’s a photo making the rounds on Facebook these days that’s very popular with a lot of my writer friends.  In the photo, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Robert Downey, Jr., and Mark Ruffalo, aka Captain America, Thor, Ironman, and the Hulk, are all pointing at the camera with very superhero-ish looks on their faces.  Someone added the caption “You Should Be Writing!” at the bottom of the photo.  See why it’s popular with writers?  I’m thinking about printing it and taping it over my computer monitor.  There’s nothing wrong with inspiration coming in eye-candy packages. *g*

This week’s story features another writer who should be writing, but isn’t.  I hope you enjoy “The Liar.”  It will be free to read for a week.

 

The Liar

Annie Reed

Published by Thunder Valley Press

Copyright 2011 by Annie Reed

The steady rise and fall of his chest against her bare back soothed her, and the champagne tickled her nose.  Or was it the bubblebath?  Marie took another drink from the crystal flute.  She never drank champagne, but she would never have another opportunity.

Candlelight softened the alabaster ceramic tile on the walls and the plain white of her tub.  Flames glinted off the crystal and made it sparkle, and warm jasmine-scented water enveloped her.  The soft guitar of a William Ackerman song drifted in from the living room.  The moment was perfect enough that she almost forgot.

Almost, but not quite.

Marie closed her eyes and leaned her head on Brian’s shoulder.  “I’m going to miss this.”

Soft lips touched her temple.  “Not much time left,” Brian said.

“I know.”  She turned her head and nuzzled his neck, eyes still closed.  “You were my favorite.”

He chuckled.  “Liar.”

(read the rest of the story here)

Changing the laws of time and space

That’s right.  This week I’m moving Thursday to Friday (for free fiction, anyway) and claiming that’s my super power.  You know, in honor of The Avengers.  Which I am not excited about seeing.  At all.  (Hubby’s buying tickets today. *g*)

Actually, the slight delay in posting this week’s free story can all be blamed on the day job.  Sometimes working as a litigation paralegal comes complete with overtime.  Lots and lots and lots of overtime.  Since I now see the light at the end of that particular tunnel, I’ll be all set to post this week’s free story tomorrow.

So have a happy Thursday, watch the new Big Bang Theory tonight, and be on the lookout for free fiction tomorrow.  Happy Thursday, everyone!

Worldcon

I still can’t believe Worldcon is in my home town this year. How very cool!

I’ll be attending starting this afternoon through Sunday. You won’t find me on any panels — I’m way too shy for that — but if you do run into me and say hi, I’ll have a freebie giveaway for you. At least, as the ads say, until supplies run out.

Lawyers Are Just People, Too

Lots of things are going on in the writing world these days. Instead of reiterating everything here, I’m going to link you to posts by Kristine Kathryn Rusch on The Business Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith. Read the comments on both posts, or even better, read all of Kris’s Business Rusch posts and Dean’s Think Like a Publisher and Killing the Sacred Cows series. If you’re a writer in this brave new world of publishing, you’ll be glad you did.

This post grew out of a comment I made on Kris’s column (linked above). A lot of writers are considering hiring an IP lawyer these days instead of or in conjunction with hiring an agent to review and negotiate a NY book contract. I’ve worked as a litigation paralegal for *mumblemumble* years, so I have a ton of experience with lawyers. I didn’t realize how intimidating it could be to sit on the client side of the table until I had to hire an attorney myself years ago to deal with probating my mom’s estate.

I’m here to tell you that hiring an attorney doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. Sure, lawyers happen to have expertise in a subject matter that a lot of writers don’t, and that can be intimidating. You can cut down on the intimidation factor if you keep a few things in mind when you decide to hire a lawyer.

1. You can shop around for an attorney just like you would for any other consultant you’d hire for your business. Hourly rates differ, same with amounts of retainers. Some attorneys don’t ask for a retainer at all. Some attorneys offer a flat, set amount based on the type of work instead of number of hours worked. If the attorney you talk to gets miffed because you tell him you’re going to talk to a couple of other people before you decide who to hire, chances are that’s an attorney you don’t want to hire.

2. Likewise, you don’t want someone who talks down to you or whose office staff is rude to you. A lot of people are used to rude behavior from legal and medical professionals, but you don’t have to put up with it. There are more and more intellectual property attorneys out there to choose from. Hire one you feel you can get along with.

3. If you don’t understand something your attorney’s talking about, make her explain it to you. People who work in the legal field tend to forget that not everyone speaks legalese.

4. If money’s tight (and whose isn’t?), discuss payment plans up front so you know what the attorney expects from you and the attorney knows what she can expect from you. If the attorney bills by the hour, you can ask for a cap on the number of hours you authorize the attorney to work on your behalf and ask for notice when you’re getting close to that cap. That way you can decide if you need her to keep working even over that cap, and you won’t get hit with an unexpectedly high bill.

5. Along those lines, discuss what you want the attorney to do. Simply explain contract terms? Suggest alternatives? Negotiate on your behalf? It’s best for both of you to know what each other’s expectations are from the beginning.

6. If the attorney’s not doing the job you hired her for, fire her and hire someone else. Any retainer agreement or engagement letter you sign with an attorney should allow you to fire the attorney without having to cite a reason. What? An attorney’s going to make me sign an agreement? Some will. Make sure you know what you’re signing and if you don’t understand something, ask.

7. Make sure you hire an attorney with expertise in whatever area of law you need help with. I work for a litigation attorney. When I needed probate work, I didn’t ask my attorney for help but went out and hired an attorney who specialized in probate law. If you need an IP attorney, don’t settle for help from the transactional attorney who filed your incorporation papers. Hire an IP attorney who has experience dealing with book contracts. You’ll pay less in the long run because the attorney you hire will already know the ins and outs of that particular area of the law, which means things get done quicker.

How do you find an IP attorney? Laura Resnick has a list on her website. Ask friends who’ve used an attorney whether they had a good experience, and if they did, ask for the name of their attorney. If the first attorney you talk to is too busy to help you within the time frame you need, ask her for a referral.

And above all, remember attorneys are just people. Don’t be afraid to talk to them. They’re in the business of helping people just like you.

I hope these hints help. If you have some of your own that I haven’t thought of, leave me a comment.

Free Fiction Thursday – Famous

This week’s free fiction Thursday story is another in the Tales From the Shadows series.  Stories set in The Shadows are urban fantasy noir.  This week’s story features a man who’s out to make a name for himself.  He even has one all picked out:  Lady Killer.

Unfortuntely for Jeremy, he decides to hunt for his first real victim in The Shadows.

Famous

Annie Reed

Published by Thunder Valley Press

Copyright 2011 by Annie Reed

 

The cab pulled into the loading zone in front of Kitty’s Kool Kat Lounge.  The pink neon sign over the entrance promised live nude dancers.  Jeremy doubted they’d be totally nude, but that wasn’t what he was really here for.

“Seventeen-fifty,” said the cab driver.

The windshield wipers slapped a steady beat against the late night rain off the Bay as Jeremy dug out two tens from his wallet.  Enough for a tip, not enough to make an impression on the driver.  Not enough for the man to remember he was here.

Jeremy passed the money through the slot in the clear plastic shield between the driver and the back seat.  “Keep the change,” he said.

The driver grunted as he took the cash.  He was a bald guy twice Jeremy’s age.  He had a scar bisecting one eyebrow, and the kind of muscular neck Jeremy had seen on guys who worked out but never really bulked up.  The driver’s eyes were bloodshot, and he had enough scruff on his lined face to make him look like Bruce Willis after a three-day bender.  He’d driven as if he was sober, and he’d taken Jeremy to the kind of place he wanted to go.  Beyond that, Jeremy didn’t care if the guy was drunk off his ass.  In fact, that might make things easier in the long run.

“Let me give you a piece of advice,” the driver said.

Jeremy was about ready to make a run from the cab to the club.  The driver hadn’t said a word to him since Jeremy caught the cab downtown and asked the guy to take him to a nightclub, any nightclub, in The Shadows.  Jeremy kept his hand on the door handle but didn’t open the door.

“I give you a tip and now you talk to me?” he said.

The driver looked at him in the rear view mirror.  “Think you’re a smart guy, don’t you?”

Jeremy tensed.  “What did you say to me?”

“Guys like you, you’re a dime a dozen.  You want to step out on the wild side, get away from your boring life in your uptown apartment with your uptown girlfriend, so you come down here to slum it up with the magic folk.  You ask me to take you to a place where the cops won’t bust your ass for paying a little too much attention to a girl who can look like anyone you ever had a wet dream about.  Am I right?”

Jeremy felt himself flush.  This guy drove a smelly, junk heap of a cab into the seamiest part of Moretown Bay, and he thought he was good enough to give someone like Jeremy advice?  What a joke.  But Jeremy made himself sit still and quiet and act like he was listening.

“Cops fish guys like you out of the Bay all the time,” the driver said.  “You don’t want to be one of them, keep your eyes open and your dick in your pants.  The girls down here, the ones that aren’t human, they’re the kind who steal more than your wallet.”

Okay, enough was enough.  Even a mild-mannered man would stick up for himself at this point.

“I can take care of myself,” Jeremy said.

“I bet all the smart guys they fish out of the Bay said that, too.”

Jeremy kept himself from touching the knife he had in its special pocket in his pants.  It wasn’t time for the world to find out about him.  He had work to do first.  A reputation to build.  Places to go, people to kill.  A small-time loser stuck driving a cab for a living wouldn’t know anything about that.

“Thanks for the advice,” Jeremy said.  He made himself smile and nod and pretend to be sincere.

The driver shook his head.  “I’m gonna read about you in the papers, aren’t I?  One of the missing, or one of the dead.”

Oh, you’ll read about me in the papers one day, Jeremy thought as he escaped the cab.  You just won’t know it’s me.

# # #

Read the rest of the story here

Free Fiction Thursday story – After

This week’s free story was inspired by two things – a wonderful little pizza place/bakery in the small town of Hope, Idaho, and an article I read about the passing of Jerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead.

Several years ago I was on vacation with a friend, and we stopped for lunch in Hope at The Ice House Pizzeria. We ate our slices on the second story deck that looks out over Lake Pend Orelle. The deck was liberally decorated with an eclectic assortment of statues, knickknacks, and windsocks, and quiet jazz from a satellite radio station played in the background. I remember enjoying the pizza, but even more, I loved just sitting there, soaking up the atmosphere.

As happens a lot with the creative process, that experience sat in my subconscious waiting for the right time to put it in a story. That story turned out to be After. I hope you enjoy it.

After
Annie Reed
Published by Thunder Valley Press
Copyright 2011 by Annie Reed

The older Belle Creedy gets, the more she wonders about what happens. After.

In the mornings, when dawn’s just a lick of peach in the eastern sky and she’s so far into the world of her art she only knows the sun’s coming up because the racket from the birds roosting in the thick pines around her house intrudes on her thoughts, she stops whatever she’s working on and pads out onto the deck on the second story of her place. She watches ripples on the surface of the clear mountain lake just across the road take on the color of the pre-dawn sky, and she considers just how many coincidences go into making a world like this. Are they really coincidences after all? Or is there something more?

It’s quiet this morning, so early in the day the birds have barely started their chatter. So early that Gary Weeds, another old-timer like herself, isn’t even on the lake yet. Gary lives halfway up the mountain. He fishes every day he can, and since he retired in 1989, he can fish almost every day the weather lets him. He crunches down the one-lane dirt road that snakes up through the pines, rod and tackle box in his hand, and shoves off in his rowboat. Sits out on the lake half the day, the damn fool. One of these days she’s gonna catch Gary peeing over the edge of his boat. Man has a cast iron bladder, but even a cast iron bladder can’t stand against the ravages of time.

No one’s on the lake yet. She can hear the shallow waves slapping up against Gary’s boat where he moored at the end of the pier just as clear as if the boat and water were in the next room. Sound carries good out here, the air as crisp and clean as a new day should be.

Her hands ache this morning, the puffy joints of her fingers stiff and sore. “Storm blowing in,” was what her mother would say. Maybe she’d be right, but this morning the sky only has a hint of clouds far to the north.

 

Read the rest of the story here.

# # #

This story is available for sale on Smashwords for a variety of e-readers.

Wow!

I’ve been reading Kris Rusch’s monthly recommended reading lists for about as long as she’s been posting them. In fact, I’ve read (and enjoyed) a bucketload of books I probably wouldn’t have picked up otherwise except that Kris recommended them.

So imagine my surprise when I read Kris’s recommended reading list for December 2010 and discovered that I’m on it!! Along with writers I’ve admired for longer than I can remember, like Stephen King, Lawrence Block, and John Grisham, newer favorites Steve Hockensmith and Donald Westlake (yes, I’m late to the party in discovering just how much I like his writing), and the guy who (along with Kris) taught me more about writing than I can ever thank him for, Dean Wesley Smith.

Man, I’m honored to be part of such a list. Thank you, Kris! I’m seriously jazzed that you liked The Case of the Missing Elf enough to recommend it!