Martha’s Affliction

Marth-Reads-Afflicted-2Martha had once seen a woman eat an orange one after the other, popping wedges into her mouth mechanically, fluidly, her elbow a piston, not stopping to breathe or chew. Martha read books in the same manner. As if reading, like eating oranges, was an affliction.

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New Flash Fiction! “The Creep”

(Psst! I’m not actually here because I already said goodbye for the next couple weeks in my last post, but if I was here, I would tell you to read this month’s flash fiction installment from my forthcoming graphic novel, Beatrice is Dead.)

The vicar’s son takes his role as guardian of his little sister’s morals very seriously. But when Rufus’s sister disappears from his life, he has to find new Lizzies to feed his insatiable hunger for punishment–a hunger that drives Rufus deep into the City of Ash.

This is the fifth flash fiction installment from the world of forthcoming graphic novel Beatrice is Dead.

[Update: We’ve removed the Final Hours stories from public view in anticipation of publication!]

New Illustrated Horror Flash Fiction

Click the image below to read “The Final Hours: Mother of None” (free).

[Update: We’ve removed the Final Hours stories from public view in anticipation of publication!]

The Mayberrys harbor dark secrets in the swamp. In the second story from the world of forthcoming graphic novel, Beatrice is Dead, take a trip into the backwoods where nightmares are easily hidden. And discover how the Mayberry clan bequeaths the City of Ash to another victim.

Publishing a Graphic Novel: Promoting the Unavailable

Beatrice is Dead is an upcoming graphic novel. As in, I currently have no product. What do you mean I still have to market?

Even though movie previews and advanced marketing for entertainment make complete sense, it never occurred to me that this sort of thing happened in the writing world. By now, I’ve grown a little more accustomed to ideas on building an audience; I have begrudgingly abandoned the fantasy that once you write a book everyone will buy it, of course, and you can quit your day job and get to jet setting.

Social media has provided so many tools for self-promotion and to garner support for products-in-the-making, it’s almost shocking when someone doesn’t grab at the opportunities available. Just look at Amanda Palmer’s Kickstarter ($736,347 in crowd sourced backing so far!!!).

I don’t have a Kickstarter for my graphic novel, and I haven’t thought about creating one, but I have been considering tools to build readership. Because I’m a little weird about this stuff–I sometimes spot a sheen of ick on self-promotion and marketing–I decided that I’d take the “give them something for their troubles” route. Added value…whatever you want to call it. I’m not famous, I don’t have a massive fan base (and I only wish the county gift-wrapped a box of connections and left it at my front door by dint of a Los Angeles address). If I was going to ask people to “Like” the graphic novel’s Facebook page, I’d better give them a reason to do so.

It didn’t take much thinking to figure out what I would gift potential readers. I had advised a Facebook friend who said she was never able to write a short story without wanting to turn it into a full-length novel. I suggested she write short stories based on side characters in her full-length WIPs. The memory of that comment, combined with the constant stream of alerts to free reading on my personal FB page brought me to my answer.

I’d give the BID side characters a little of the spotlight through free (FREE FREE FREE!!, as it’s posted everywhere) illustrated flash fiction posted to the FB page every month. The stories would give people the opportunity to get to know some of the characters in the story, the mood, Robert’s art, and my writing style. Then, if they liked what they saw, they might click that Like button and spread the word.

Writing and illustrating takes time and I was afraid Rob would think I was trying to give him carpal tunnel with my ideas, but we’re both deeply invested in this project and are putting our all into it. Recently, I posted the story to Issuu as well. You can read it by clicking the cover above.

After posting the first short story, I took out a FB ad with a low budget, advertised the free horror stories, and we more than doubled our Likes in three days! Our audience is still pretty small, and I can’t afford a major ad campaign, but it’s only been a month and if we keep this up, posting quality illustrated short stories and taking out small ads, I’m hoping we can have a sizable audience by the time BID is in print.

And, now that we have our bookmarks as well, it’s time to step away from the computer and take our marketing to comic stores and events. Eep!

Flash Fiction & Art from Beatrice is Dead

Just popping in to announce the first flash fiction piece from the world of Beatrice is Dead, written by me, art by Robert Burrows. An excerpt of “The Final Hours: Monica” follows. You can find the full story and a larger version of the image at the Facebook page for the upcoming dark fantasy graphic novel.

But out on the dimly lit city street in front of Adrian’s apartment complex, police sirens screaming in the distance, trash clogging the gutters, a visual of the serial killer processes like a Polaroid in Monica’s imagination. They should find the car and get home. Screw the other girls–if they don’t have money for a taxi, it’s their own damned fault.

“This place is seriously creepy,” Fiona says. The girls huddle closer as they walk down the street. They should have brought jackets and a change of shoes, Monica thinks as their heels clack against the pavement. They’re out of place on these dirty streets in colorful party dresses. She tries to take lighter steps, but her legs are so heavy she’s having a hard time balancing.

The streets are empty except for a few drifters rubbing the cold night off their hands over garbage fires. They stare at the two girls as they pass on the opposite sidewalk. Monica doesn’t make eye contact.

Fiona’s grip tightens around her arm. “Oh god…I think we’re being followed,” she says, her voice so soft and tremulous Monica almost doesn’t understand. And then she hears them. Footsteps not far behind. Dogging their path.