Interview--Get Published--Horror Comes to Get Published

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The FiendMaster joined Michell Plested's excellent show "Get Published"  to discuss horor with Scott Roche and Jake Bible. It was a doozy. Thanks to all for having me on and the great conversation.

The Dead Robots' Society--Robots on Inspiration Point

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This week, the other Robots and I discuss what inspires our writing and a little hint of where we get our ideas and WHY we write.

Essay--Amazon And Goodreads

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 Essay about the recent purchase of Goodreads.com by Amazon.



This essay is copyright 2013 by Paul Elard Cooley performed by the author, and is protected under a creative commons, attribute, non-commercial, no derivatives 3.5 license. Music by Nine Inch Nails from their album, the Slip. Please visit their site.

This has been a presentation of shadowpublications.com, where we don't believe in happy endings.

How do you measure success?

An interesting question was posed on this week's "The Dead Robots' Society." As 2012 is currently rolling into 2013, we asked ourselves what our achievements were for the year. "Do you think you were succesful" was followed by writing, business, whatever. 

I read the question as "do you feel successful as a writer." And it made me think a bit.

Since I started releasing my fiction via podcast and then selling a hardcover and many e-books, I've made less money off my writing than I usually make in three days of contract work. And that was at my old, very expensive rate. Yes, it's all relative. I know.

So why the hell do I spend all these hours writing, podcasting, editing, conversing, and etc? Why would anyone work so damned hard for so little money?

I guess because I enjoy it.

Let me level with you. Thousands of folks have downloaded my books via podcast. The vast, and I mean vast, majority didn't purchase the hardcover of Fiends. BTW--if you're looking for signed, limited edition copy of said book, please visit my store. They didn't purchase it for one reason or another. Probably because I was charging too much money for what is essentially a collector's item. Or maybe because they didn't know if was for sale? Possibly because they simply couldn't afford it. So was all the money, time, and risk spent frivilously? Was it a failure?

How come I haven't sold millions of ebooks? Should I feel I have failed because Garaaga's Children, that I thought was a sure thing, hasn't managed to take off like a fighter jet? Was all that effort, the writing, the research, the editing, the podcasting, and etc, simply wasted? How I can possibly feel I've achieved anything less than 0 when I haven't even recouped the cost of a professional editor and artist for nearly every one of my books?

I'll be honest. I put way more effort into what I do than what I'll probably ever get out of it. At least monetarily speaking. I know this. I know the chances of me making a living at this are probably worse than purchasing that big jackpot lotto ticket.

There are better writers out there. I know several of them.  There are stories that are much more satisfying than the ones I write. I read them. There are characters, settings, and plots much more complicated than anything I can dream up. Yup, very well understood.

So what have I achieved?

I'm a writer again. It gives me pleasure. I can act in front of the microphone, bringing my characters and story to life, and it makes me happy. I'm not as popular on the podcast circuit as I once was, but I have lots of listeners. and therefore my words are reaching them. As long as I have listeners, I'll keep podcasting, because that in itself is an achivement.

It took much longer than I'd planned to write Scrolls. I can write an entire essay on why that was, but trust me, it was extremely difficult to finish. But I did it. And the comments I've received tell me I hit the mark. I count that as a great success.

I'm almost finished with the first draft of The Rider, which is my very first science fiction novella. Getting asked by Dark Øverlord Media, by the FDØ himself, in fact, to write a novel in the GFL universe was a huge achievement.

In addition, I'm now part of The Dead Robots' Society which I consider a great honor. But don't tell Justin I said that. I didn't ask to be part of the show, I was asked. Either Justin and Terry are insane, or they think I add something to the show. Yeah, I know, they're crazy.

Basically, this year has been chock full of personal achievements. Money has not been one of them and that will either come or it won't. I work hard at what I do and I'm constantly trying to improve myself. Perhaps one day I'll figure out how to make decent money doing this. Until then, I'll just keep writing, podcasting, coding, and etc.

You keep listening, I'll keep podcasting. You keep reading, I'll keep writing. There are many more stories for me to tell. Stay tuned while I bang them out.


When old f(r)iends come knocking...

Writers write. Period. It's what we do. And after you do it for enough years, you have a massive backlog of stories. Some are not fit for human consumption. Hell, they're not even fit for printer consumption.

But sometimes, you write a character that haunts you, that you want to know more about. Tony Downs is one of those characters.

In some ways, you might say that Tony is responsible for everything in the Fiends and Garaaga Children's collections. There's a reason why he shows up in Tattoo and Closet Treats-- he belongs in those. He's been with me since 1991 when I started a series called "Residents of Eternity." That series, I promise you, will never see the light of day. And trust me, you wouldn't want to read those tales.

That said, however, I will salvage more characters from the series...if I live long enough. For now, though, I've got Tony Downs and his "gifts" to explore. And as more and more Fiends' and Garaaga's Children tales are finished, you might start to see the pattern, the skein, the tapestry. It's coming. Given enough time, perhaps we'll all get a chance to see how it coalesces.


Essay--When The Story Ends

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Just a few thoughts on what happens when a story ends.


This essay is copyright 2011 by Paul Elard Cooley performed by the author, and is protected under a creative commons, attribute, non-commercial, no derivatives 3.5 license. Music by Nine Inch Nails from their album, the Slip. Please visit their site.

This has been a presentation of shadowpublications.com, where we don't believe in happy endings.

The Dead Robots' Society--Kill Em All

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This week the robots discuss the topic of killing off characters. Whether they’re primary or a bit player, characters are going to die, but the real questions are when, why, and is it a good idea? We hope you enjoy the conversation.

The Dead Robots' Society--When Get Up and Go Got Up And Went

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Yes, another episode of The Dead Robots'. Want to know how we deal with getting ourselves to write? Take a listen. Enjoy!

The Dead Robots' Society--The Writing Process

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Well, it's that time again. I was on The Dead Robots' Society again and we talked about the writing process.


Dead Robots' Society-- Soup to Nuts

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Once again, I was on the Dead Robots' Society. Take a listen and peek behind the curtain at how 3 different writers create,edit, and finish up their work.

Dead Robots' Society-- A Matter of Perspective

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Well, it's official. The FiendMaster has joined The Dead Robots' Society as an official co-host. Or co-fiend. Or whatever. Anyway, we talk about writing points of view, tense, and a smattering of gibes about how NOT to start as a co-host.


Self-Publishing Mea Culpas

In case you've been hiding under a rock, I released Garaaga's Children: Lovers on Valentine's Day. This release was done a little differently than all my other ebook-only releases. I pimped it like Ice-T.

I scheduled it. I called down the thunder on the social media networks. I got people excited. And those folks who'd heard it via podcast were smitten with the idea of reading the story.

But there are a few more things I did differently this time. I'm not just grabbing my already saturated audience. I've been grabbing some new readers who have no idea who the hell I am. How did this happen?

Amazon has a wonderful little feature called "tagging." You see, when you publish an e-book through Amazon's KDP,  you only get 2, yes TWO categories to add the book to. Just two. For those of us who write mashups, we're SCREWED with only 2 categories. I mean what do I choose for Lovers? It's got horror. It's got suspense. It's got erotica. It's historical fantasy with gods and monsters in ancient freakin' Babylon. Two categories?

Tagging allowed me to get around this. I added a crapload of tags to Lovers. After that, I went back and tagged the first e-book in the series, Legends. I made sure each shared the same overall tags and then customized some others. For instance, there's no erotica in Legends, so that tag didn't make any sense for the title.

But guess what happens after you tag your books: Amazon's search engine uses those tags to add them to search criteria. So suddenly my books started showing up in searches about Babylon, Sumer, Mesopotamia and the like. Interesting, huh?

If you're a newbie to the KDP universe, you really need to spend some time with those tags. The category crap? Your own book blurb? Not enough. Readers click on those tags to find other books that have been tagged the same way. It simplifies the reader's searching and makes your books show up more frequently.

One more thing: I tagged everything with "paul elard cooley." Why? Because f'ing Amazon doesn't allow you to use your middle name! Yet my podcast listeners know me as those three words. Now if you type that into Amazon? You get ME. ME! The Fiendmaster. Oh, guess I better add that tag too...

Most of you authors who read this are probably smiling and saying "you're such a n00b." And yeah, I can't believe I didn't think of this before either. But the important thing is that this time, I TOOK the time to work it out. If you want to sell books, you have to do more than simply hit the "publish" button and pray. You have to work. You have to shake. And you have to dance for your proverbial dinner.

So shake it like a gigolo, my fellow indie authors. Shake it, don't fake it.


Guest Blog Post at the Dead Robots' Society

The Dead Robots' Society invited me to post a guest blog. I have done so. They allowed me to spew my narcissim and I appreciate it. Go check it out!

Magic versus Science

I dropped a bomb on twitter yesterday when I said "I find magic systems to be the most f'ing annoying thing about fantasy. I mean, why do I care? Keep it consistent and it doesn't matter."

As you might imagine, there were, um, quite a few people who took issue with the statement. The funny thing is that the conversation ended up straying into science fiction and even thriller fiction.


Quick discussion on choosing language and the subtlety of writing horror and sex.

This essay is copyright 2011 by Paul Elard Cooley performed by the author, and is protected under a creative commons, attribute, non-commercial, no derivatives 3.5 license. Music by Nine Inch Nails from their album, the Slip. Please visit their site.

This has been a presentation of shadowpublications.com, where we don't believe in happy endings.

Conjour--Plot Development

The FiendMaster moderated a panel on Plot Development on March 12th at Conjour. This panel WAS herding cats...

Conjour--Character Development

Panel discussion from Conjour where yours truly herded cats...I mean moderated.

Theory versus Practice

At Conjour this last weekend, I had the benefit of being on five different panels. Three had to do with writing. I was surrounded by traditional published authors, some of them quite accomplished.

The idea of some silly hack like myself moderating these folks was very daunting. But what amazed me was the fact a lot of what we discussed are things that I actually do in my writing, editing, and brainstorming processes. Of course some of them were absolutely out of the question. But regardless it was good to hear about how these other authors practice their craft.

But this is all theory. Writers can get together and talk about what they do, how they do it, and etc. It's meaningless until the words hit the page.

You can read all the writing self-help books you like, all the publishing primers, and etc. But these things won't help you as a writer if you don't do the most important thing: WRITE.

I bristle when someone says "I'm an aspiring writer." No, you're not. You're either a writer or you're not. You might aspire to be a PUBLISHED writer; you might aspire to be a NYT Bestselling author. But you don't aspire to be a writer. You're either writing or you're not.

I love discussing books and the art of writing with authors. Don't get me wrong--these conversations are always helpful and interesting. But theory must fall in the face of art. Theory is useless without putting down the words.

While I might sound smart or somewhat knowledgeable on these panels, I haven't written nearly enough to say I'm accomplished. I have more to do. Hell, we all do.

Doctors and lawyers have "practices," meaning they are supposed to get better every time they engage in their profession. Writers are really the same way. Can't remember which famous writer said it, but I think it was Stephen King: "A writer is only as good as their next book."

Next book, next story, next essay, next article, next podcast... It's all practice. So remember, folks, practice practice practice. Maybe if we all remember a writer writes, we can avoid becoming trapped in the spiral of our own hype.

DRSPodcast hosts Jake Bible and the FiendMaster for a talk on HORROR!

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The Dead Robots' Society invited Jake Bible and I to join a discussion regarding writing horror and the definition of horror.  We had a great time.  Take a listen and enjoy!

Essay--The Scope of Conflict

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A few thoughts on the scope of conflict in stories.

Essay inspired by this episode of The Dead Robots' Society.

This essay was written and read by Paul Elard Cooley and is protected under a creative commons, non-commercial, attribution, no derivatives 3.5 license.  Music by nine inch nails from their album ghosts.  Please visit their site.


Essay--The Intricacies of Time

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A little essay about the temporal considerations of storytelling...

This essay was written and read by Paul Elard Cooley and is protected under a creative commons, non-commercial, attribution, no derivatives 3.5 license.  Music by nine inch nails from their album ghosts.  Please visit their site

This has been a presentation of shadowpublications.com, where we don't believe in happy endings.. 



Figuring out the price...

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What the hell is my time worth?  Why the hell do you, the listener or reader, care?

This is the question being bandied about these days, especially since the announcement by certain content creators that they will no longer give away their work for free.  Now, I've already put out a podcast essay on that subject so I'm not going to belabor that point again.  In case you've forgotten, it's the episode called "The Cost Of Free."

Essay--The Slow Burn

 Some thoughts on "slow burn" fiction.

Visit Zazzle for Shadowpublications.com merchandise!


Written and performed by Paul Elard Cooley.

Music by Nine Inch Nails from their album:  The Slip.  Please visit their site.
This presentation is copyright 2010 by Paul Elard Cooley.
Visit shadowpublications.com for more free stories as well as my rant casts.


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2009--Year In Review


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2009.  Sheesh, what a year.  I'm working on finishing up "Closet Treats" so I can get review copies out.  I realize now that I might not make my January 15th production date, but I'm more than willing to push it back to guarantee the quality of the story.  But "Closet Treats" is one of the things that actually went right last year and I think I'm a better writer for having taken the time to write it.

Now, that said, let's revisit 2009.

Closet Treats: Second Draft Down!

Is that the smell of fresh toner being annhilated into black lines on pieces of dead tree?  Why yes, yes I believe it is.

My printer is old.  Ancient, in fact.  The fucker was made in 1996 and it's still a kicking ass.  It's printed many novels, short stories, and pictures for me.  Not to mention boring ass tech documents and articles that I've written.  It's printed envelopes and labels that were sent off to publishers who never sent back so much as a rejection slip.  It's printed out query letters and synopses, and all host of other desperate dead tree detritus involved in getting published.  Well, in the old days anyway.

Right now, it's printing the second draft of Closet Treats.  Such a wondrous thing, actually.  I'm ready for the red ink happy time.  It's a personal thing where you spend hours with a pen slicing and dicing your child to pieces in an effort to make it so much better.  It takes time.  It takes effort.  It's boring and horrible and wonderful all the same time.  Because I know I can make it better.  I know I can find all my fuckups and modify them and change them and make them into something you want to read.  That I want to read. 

Editing is a dirty business.  It's a syllabic slaughterhouse where metaphor and simile are dissected, cut, rearranged, or made anew.  Cut out the entrails, remove the giblets, and get onto making this beast into some fine steak for your pallate.  Dry-aged, of course.  A story of mine wouldn't be good if it didn't have a little rot around it making it nice and tender for your delicate taste buds.

So let the blood flow.  Let the red ink travel in rivulets down the margins.  Prick the story's flesh and make it bleed until it is bone dry.  Then start cuttin' them steaks.  Pretty soon, the charcoal will get hot and it'll be time to cook these suckers.  In this case, though, the chef is going for well-done.

Closet Treats: First Draft Done, BITCHES!

Well, here's the proof I'm done with the first draft.  This is the number of files and the word count...  Sigh...


My Fiends

People often make the mistake of asking where I get my story ideas.  Well, here's the truth.  The three fiends pictured below are responsible.

Johnathon Irving Cat (Johnny, to you) is the tabby in the corner.  Do not let his cuteness fool you into thinking he is not currently plotting your death.  He is, in fact, the incarnation of evil.

Keiko, the black one, is a Japanese ninja of death.  She stalks her prey (the FiendMaster's fuzzy slippers) in complete silence and with absolute malevolence.  She is the fiend of fiends.  Where Johnny plots, Keiko acts.  Kitty has claws.  She uses them to tear out your fleshy bits when you're sleeping.  Or writing.  Or podcasting.

The brute in the upper corner is the 100lb Indie dog.  Again, do not let the somber expression on his face fool you.  He is neither pining for a bone or a walk.  He is, instead, pining there is not a small child to chew on.  He is the "muscle" in the FiendMaster's wicked coven.  He has never met a bone he cannot consume, or a body he cannot hide.  He is the ultimate bodyguard and hitter.  At 100lbs, you should be very afraid.

They whisper to me in secret.  They crowd my feet when they hear the tap tap of the keyboard.  They jingle their collars when the FiendMaster tells his tales.  They are the FiendMaster's companions.  And they are every bit as evil as the FiendMaster himself.

INFOCAST: Fiends Plans

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It's been a rough couple of weeks for me due to personal reasons I don't even want to get in to.  Suffice it to say, I've stopped working on my nanowrimo novel.  Basically it's come down to this:  I can't just write shit.  The pressure to produce just words is way too much for me to enjoy any of it.  I've discovered my brain doesn't work this way.  My wife says that nanowrimo is primarily a barrage for people who can't get started TO get started.  I, on the other hand, have tons of stuff half finished that I need to get done.  So, here's what's going on. 

I'm working on finishing up the Fiends collection.  Two novellas.  About 50k words of content.  I hope to finish the first novella by the end of the month and start audio production mid december.  This is going to be a tight production run and I hope to hell I can make that timeline.  But that's the plan.  The second novella will hopefully be finished up by January and then immediately go into audio production.  So basically, I should be able to provide you with Fiends episodes through March.  After that, the Garaaga's Children series will kick off.

The Garaaga's Children series is going to be much more of a production since I'll have to get a female narrator for one of the stories and probably a couple of guest voices for some of the others.  Garaaga's Children is scheduled to have 2-4 short stories (2 are already done) and two novels.  In other words, I have a shitload of work to do.  But it sets up the third series rather nicely, which I've sort have been teasing you with.  You just don't know it yet.

While I had planned to get the last novel of the Garaaga's Children series done this month, I realized that was going to put me at least two months out from getting new content out to you people.  And that just wasn't acceptable.  Tattoo was a great success, and I thank you for all the pimping, reviews, and support you provided for the novella.  Problem, of course, is that I have to follow it up with something great, wonderful, sick, and wrong.  It's what you expect from me, right?

So that's more or less what's up.  I'm going to put out a review cast on Wednesday where I will discuss the Scott Sigler and Matt Wallace collaboration known as "Title Fight."  I really enjoyed the hell out of that, and I'll have to put out a review for it.  Just have to.  If you're not aware of these guys, you have to acquaint yourself.

In addition to that, I'm going to dig up my original review of Matt Wallace's "The Next Fix."  It's a fantastic short story collection and you have to get your grubby little paws on it.  I'll also be putting out some other reviews while I get the untitled novella wrapped up and maybe an essay or two.

Thanks for staying subscribed.  I assure you more content is coming.  Thank you for your patience and your continued support.

Keep those reviews coming at GoodReads.com, Podiobooks.com, iTunes, and podcast pickle.  I need those in order to keep Tattoo going and get more listeners.  Please send me some email at stories@shadowpublications.com and let me know if there's something in particular you want me to review or if you have promos you'd like for me to include. 



Essay: Why Publish?

Some thoughts on modern publishing, and why writers write.

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Links presented in this episode:

This presentation is copyright 2009 by Paul Elard Cooley

Music provided by Nine Inch Nails from their album "Ghosts" via a Creative Commons License. Please visit their site at http://nin.com

Visit shadowpublications.com for more free stories as well as my rant casts.

Contact me:


This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. To view a copy of this license, visit creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/us/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA.

Essay: The Nature of Psychological Horror

Just a quick self-indulgent babble about my feelings on the nature of horror. Go ahead and download now.

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