Thursday, October 24, 2013


FREE--get them while they are hot! I feel like a street vendor shouting out my wares. DEATH OF BIGFOOT & OTHER TALES, Kindle version, is FREE to download from from October 27th-October 31st. Trick or treat! Come one, come all! :)

Won't last long at this price. Ha, ha. That is one sales sentence I can't stand. What does it mean? Are the things (whatever they are) going rotten? I'd like whatever it is to last a good long time, at any price. Humph.

And don't you hate those "Going Out of Business" sales where the next month it is the same business under a slightly different name? Well, shuck--eeee--darns.  Fortunately, I'm not going out of business. In fact, book number two in the Take Ten Tales series is almost ready to upload to Amazon for Kindle. The editing is done. Today I'm working on the photos which illustrate each of the ten official and one extra stories.  TRUTH OR DARE & OTHER TALES has horror, paranormal and lots of suspense within its pages. Booooo!

Oh, and one sale sign that I've seen several times at the local fairground is "Kids Sale." While I might like to have a child (not a kid = goat), I don't want to buy one. I've thought about going in and asking for one just this tall and with an IQ of 140. If I ever do, I will let you know the results.

Okay, back to my purpose.  Please do check out the free download of DEATH OF BIGFOOT & OTHER TALES. Please download my book and enjoy the read. Please tell your friends so they may do the same. Spread the word and we will see how many downloads happen during those five days. I promise to report back to you on the results in an upcoming blog.

Now I'm off to find a Great Horned Owl. I need a photo for one of the stories, "Fade Out," in TRUTH OR DARE. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Great Starts

How do you like to start your stories? My favorite start is dialogue. My editor's favorite is action. We both agree that the story must start with a bang and hook the reader in the first fifty words or less.

For instance, from the short story "Truth or Dare" my original opening was:
"I hate you!" Sylvie Long muttered, scurrying down the cracked sidewalk. 

Now I really liked this because questions are instantly created in the reader's mind--who does she hate? Why? Why is she scurrying down the sidewalk? And 'hate' is a strong word, with much emotional power.

Under my editor's advice, the opening became: Sylvia Long heard Ned stomp up the steps and into the kitchen. 

At first glance, I cared less for this opening. But looking closer, I see there are questions here as well. Why is Ned stomping? What is going to happen between Sylvia and Ned (the man who stomps)?  The second opening has an advantage, too, since it introduces two of the three characters in this three-character short story, and the introduction is instantaneous.

By the way, Silvia Long still hates Ned. But something physical is going to happen before she voices that word. The build up makes her verbalization which comes later, even more effective than using the dialogue at the beginning.

When I teach creative writing, I advise my students to make a great opening, one that hooks the reader. The editor or the reader must be grabbed by the throat and pulled into the story ASAP. If that doesn't happen, the reader may only read the first line. As writers, we want the reader to read line one, paragraph one, page one, chapter one, and so on.

So take a look at your own story starts and ask yourself, does this make readers ask a question to which they must have an answer? If you start with dialogue, try a 'physical' beginning and see how it works. If you start with the 'physical' beginning, reverse that and try dialogue. 

Truth or Dare & Other Tales launches toward the end of October! Visit VJ Schultz on Facebook or at Amazon Author Central for updates and more information as it becomes available.