October Is for Anthology

Ah, yes, that’s a bit of a lame title for the blog post this week, but it’s eerily prescient. Last year (in October) we launched Corrugated Sky Publishing with the publication of our first anthology, Tales of the Black Dog. We started a second anthology with the hopes of printing it this spring, but that came and went and then the summer sun burned down on us and we still didn’t have a finished book in hand. And now it’s October again, and we are very, very close to getting the second anthology in print. So close that we will probably have it next week, just in time for Halloween — again!

This second book is called Smoke and Steam and it’s big: 260 pages, which means that what started out as four Steampunk short stories morphed into four Steampunk novellas, including “Wings over Staria” by JC Rock, “Hekatite” by Karen Garvin, “Heart of the Matter” by Michelle Schad, and “Freedom for a Foster” by Cathryn Leigh. We’ll have the book available in paperback and ebook versions on Amazon, but while you’re waiting for our second anthology, why not pick up a copy of the first one — Tales of the Black Dog? After all, it contains some great horror stories, and what better time of year to read them?

With the anthology all but finished except evicting a few typos and finalizing our print files, it’s time for me to get back to other writing projects. The looming question, with November coming up, is whether I’m going to do NaNo this year. I did it last year and managed to meet the word count, so technically I had a “win,” but the story never quite jelled into something worthwhile. It was supposed to be a noir mystery, but the only “noir” was my character riding a bus at night and the only “mystery” was the plot. I loved my title (Killing Palatino); I also liked the art I came up with for the cover. Maybe I’ll dust it off sometime, but not this fall.

I do have another book idea that I’ve been thinking of developing. It would be a young adult story and the protagonist would be a young girl who lives in a country where being healthy is considered a social duty and being overweight is illegal. I want the politics to be in the background, not in-your-face, but I’ll need to develop an interesting character who has motives and desires. I have some ideas, but you’re going to have to wait at least until December to learn more … as will I!


October Scribblings

This year has been pretty unproductive as far as writing goes, although I’m pleased to announce that Corrugated Sky‘s second anthology, Smoke and Steam, is in production and we hope to have it out before Halloween. Save up your dimes and be sure to buy a copy (or two or three)! The book will include four novella-length short stories, so this volume will be much heftier than Tales of the Black Dog, running in the neighborhood of 250 pages.

I have to admit that work has wiped me out mentally this year, but I finally feel as though I’m pulling out of the nose-dive and managing to get back at the keyboard without feeling an overwhelming sense of loathing. Since I work as a copy editor, I read all the time and I guess I just got burned out. Instead of writing and reading, I’ve been taking up knitting (yes, really) and making small projects that make me feel as though I’ve accomplished something. Although I did make a shawl, and that wasn’t really a small project, so I feel doubly accomplished for managing to finish the project (and I’ve even worn it a couple of times).

I have three major writing projects on my desk right now: the Smoke and Steam anthology; my novel, Seacombe Island; and a nonfiction project that I’m developing from my master’s thesis, which has been sitting for three years collecting dust. I’m ambivalent about doing NaNo this year, but a part of me says that I need the mental challenge and group pressure to get back at the keyboard and stay there. We’ll see. I have 26 days to make up my mind!

Pre-Holiday Sale

Yes, here it is — a sales pitch! This marketing stuff is turning out to be way, way harder than any amount of words written for NaNo. If the plot of my 2016 novel is unclear, then marketing is like sailing through a fogbank at night during an eclipse of the moon. Okay, maybe not that bad — at least I probably won’t crash into any rocks or sandbars sitting here at my computer.

Anyway, we’ve decided to put the anthology on sale. We’ve gotten some sales but it would be nice to ramp that number up a bit and get some more reviews. People seem to shy away from things that don’t have reviews. Amazon is like “be the first to review this item” and people are like, “No one is buying it? I wonder why.” It’s worse than passing an empty restaurant. You could be seated right away, but no one goes in the empty restaurant — they stand in line at the one that already has a long line. Safety in numbers, and all that.

But I promise you’ll be safe. Our stories about the black dog might be scary, but it’s not real. It won’t get you. Just keep the doors and windows locked in case. And if you’re that scared, read it during the daylight hours.

Okay, now here’s the pitch: the Kindle version of the anthology is going on sale starting tomorrow, November 30, at 8:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time (PST) for the bargain price of only 99 cents. That will save you two dollars off the regular price, so take advantage of it!

On December 2 at 8:00 a.m. PST the price increases to $.199 — that’s still saving you one dollar off the regular price. (But why not buy it tomorrow and save those two dollars?) The Kindle ebook will return to its regular price of $2.99 on December 4 at 8:00 a.m. PST.

Why no links to the book, you ask? Well, Focal Plane is not a commercial blog, so I can’t place links to retail outlets. But it’s easy enough to find the book on Amazon, I promise. Get a copy of the book tomorrow while it’s hot, and please consider writing a review for the anthology on Amazon and/or Goodreads.

Tales of the Black Dog


Tonight, a new anthology called Tales of the Black Dog went live on Amazon. It includes four short stories, including one by yours truly, based on the legend of the black dog, a spectral hound whose appearance foretold death, or, in some instances, who played the role of a protector spirit.

My short story is “Inn of the Black Dog,” which features a young married couple who encounter strange happenings in a small village. The other three stories are by my coauthors and business partners: “Luison,” by Cathryn Leigh, “Carolina,” by JC Rock, and “Black Dog Asylum,” by Michelle Schad.

The anthology marks the debut for our company, Corrugated Sky Publishing, LLC. For the last year we’ve been working behind the scenes to get our stories written, edited, and formatted. The beginning of this October we began the paperwork to set up our business and get all that official stuff taken care of.  And voila!

The Kindle version of the book is already available for sale, and a paperback version should be ready in the next few days. I’ll post another announcement for that. I can’t provide links for you here because Focal Plane isn’t a commercial site, but you’ll have no trouble finding the book on Amazon by typing in its title.