Essay--Amazon And Goodreads

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 Essay about the recent purchase of 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, where we don't believe in happy endings.

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, where we don't believe in happy endings.

The Kill Shelter


I am the FiendMaster. I write stories about mentally deranged killers, psychotic but sympathetic people, dark gods, and doomed people. But these are fiction. And while this little essay might damage my rep, as it were, I need to rant.
Because my wife made the mistake of seeing the picture of a doomed dog, we visited the Montgomery County Animal Shelter back in May. This is a KILL shelter. It's a place where pets either get adopted, or are ultimately put to death. I really can't put it more plainly than that.
The people there work hard to find adoptive parents, foster parents, and other places to send cats and dogs. However, with the economic downturn and people generally being irresponsible, the animal shelter is overcrowded. Dangerously so.
Most of the dogs are two to a pen. Sometimes three. This isn't intentional. This is less than optimal. And the people who work at the shelter are miserable about the choices they have to make.
While we were waiting to see Luna (a moon-colored pit bull mix), ten puppies (yes TEN!) were brought in. All from the same litter. All very cute, quiet, and desperate for attention.
I watched the following occur. The shelter director picked up each puppy and examined it. "No," she said and put it aside. Next. "Yes," she said with a glimmer of a smile. Then the word "no" was rapidly repeated.
The volunteers have to look at each animal, and based on its coloring, face, and breed, decide whether or not it even has a chance of being adopted. Yes, that's right. Nothing about their temperament. Nothing about whether or not they'll be a great companion for someone. It's all about looks. Cute dogs get adopted. Ugly dogs or those with any kind of deformity are doomed. Their corpses will end up in a crematorium and turned to smoke and ash.
The dog we ended up adopting is sweet, beautiful, and desperate to please us. No one would adopt her because she's a pit-bull mix. No one wanted to take the chance on her. It's only due to the fact that I'm a pushover and my wife is too that we ended up taking this dog into our home.
We don't know who the fuck abused her or ended up bringing her to the shelter or why. We only know this dog was slated for the kill floor. And all because some dipshit motherfucking worthless piece of so-called human garbage didn't spay/neuter her parents.
That's right. I'm not blaming the shelter. I'm not blaming the fine volunteers there who PLEAD for people to take these wonderful animals. They care. They care more than you can imagine and I know every one of them must cry in their dreams for the things they have to do. Imagine being in that position, knowing that every animal you feed and give love to could be slated for death the next day. I can't really imagine a more thankless and terrible vocation.
The shelter used to pass off animals they could save to the SPCA non-kill shelter. But guess what? Because of dip-shit worthless pieces of human garbage that won't be responsible with their pets, those shelters are full. Period.
If an animal doesn't get fostered, or adopted, it will be destroyed. Montgomery County is so full that the shelters won't even TALK to vets about animals that get dropped off at their offices. There is simply no fucking room. Anywhere.
So what's my point? You. You! My Fiendlings, be responsible. Get your goddamned cat or dog neutered/spayed. Don't breed 'em. Don't sell puppies/kitties by the side of the road. When you don't sell 'em, where do they end up? As strays destined to either be roadkill or end up in a kill-shelter. Do they deserve it? What if your parents put you up for adoption and after a short period of time, you were to be killed through no fault of your own because no one wanted you?
It's absolutely inhuman. There are so many worthy pets out there waiting for you. Don't buy 'em. Don't seek out puppy mills or those assholes at the pet stores. Go to a shelter. Choose a friend. (S)he might be older than a puppy. (S)he might not be as cute as that pure-bred you saw the other day. But you know what? I bet (S)he'll be a better dog.
We have rescued two cats and two dogs now. It's too early for me to tell you what Luna will be like in the long-run, but thus far, she is my friend. She is my new baby. And no one is taking her back to a shelter. No one is going to hurt her. We'll save her, reclaim her, and give her the future and love she deserved.
Do the same for your pets. Be responsible or don't get a pet at all because you obviously don't want one. If you're not willing to put in the time, find a home for them, not the shelter. I understand people get pets, develop allergies, have to move, etc. But do your absolute best to ensure they don't end up in the doggie/kittie concentration camp. Otherwise, a fiend may come knocking on your door.



Essay--PayPal, SmashWords, Censorship

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Henry Miller. VC. Andrews. Stephen King. The Bible. Greek Mythology. Upanishads. Torrah. Quran...

What the hell do these authors and books have in common? Scenes of rape, incest, beastiality, or underage sex. That's right, folks. Books like Tropic of Cancer, The Library Policeman, Flowers in the Attic, etc all fit into these categories. Since Edward the vampire gets busy with a little high schooler, one can CERTAINLY claim Twilight would also fit the underage sex criteria.

So what?

Well, should these books be available on Smashwords, they must be pulled. Why? Because PayPal says so.

PayPal, the most popular electronic payment system for small merchants, individuals, and etc, has decided to launch an all out assault on Smashwords. Any books that contain "rape for tittilation," under age incest, under age sex, or beastiality must be pulled from Smashwords, or PayPal will cease offering the independent e-book market its services.

Smashwords essentially uses PayPal as its financial institution. Charges for ebooks are made through PayPal. Payments to authors are made via PayPal. Without PayPal, Smashwords ceases to be a business and yet another independent merchant is crushed, leaving us authors and readers fewer and fewer places to purchase and sell ebooks.

When I say "rape, beastiality, incest, and underage sex," many folks have a visceral reaction. In fact, you probably should. The ideas of those four categories is anathema. Well, mostly.

The concepts are taboo, but they are part of the human experience. Did you enjoy reading/watching The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo? Would the heroine's personality be the same without the rape by her so-called guardian? Wasn't that an integral part of displaying just how much shit she'd been through and why she has no trust in men?

What about VC Andrew's tale about children trapped in an attic by their grandmother? Flowers in the Attic was an extremely visceral tale that displayed family dysfunction and righteous holiness gone insane.

These things happen. They are part of our world. I personally don't want to read a book about a guy fucking a chicken, but what if I told that story as a joke? What if a character relates a story like that during, say, a Fiend's tale? Perhaps Tony Downs has a patient who engaged in such an act. Can I talk about it, include this, without PayPal demanding my book be pulled from Smashwords?

I believe in freedom of speech. I also believe that merchants have the freedom to choose whom they do business with.

However, PayPal claims it's not pressing Smashwords because of any moral problems. Instead, they are babbling something insane about possible legal ramifications if their services are used to purchase these items that contain this material. In fact, the head shill over at PayPal has made the claim that these ebooks often contain illustrations (which is false) and that the illustrations are what the problem is.


Okay, fine, so the guy's a douchebag. However, he's not an equal opportunity douchebag. PayPal does a LOT of business with, wait for it, Barnes and Noble. You'll notice that in this rant I haven't once mentioned PayPal pressuring B&N to drop books that contain rape, beastiality, incest, or underage sex. Why? Because they haven't done it.

Instead, they've chosen the independents, like Smashwords, Diesel, Kobo, and etc. PayPal isn't demanding those of us with PayPal credit cards refrain from purchasing "smut" or "sex toys" with the plastic. They haven't denied us the ability to do so.

So what gives?

That's the question, folks. What does indeed give?

PayPal can't properly explain the reasoning for their new "policy" of censorship and sudden moral outrage. They've blamed the credit companies for the pressure, claiming that VISA, MasterCard, AMEX, and etc are the ones demanding they stop servicing erotica outlets such as Smashwords. However, VISA has put out a statement saying they have nothing to do with any of this and they cannot cease payment services for legal content. In addition, they say they are unaware of any SmashWords content that fits into the illegal category.

In addition, PayPal has not ceased servicing outlets that sell sex toys, "adult" videos and dead-tree books. So while PayPal wants to somehow blame other institutions for the pressure, it makes no sense that they would continue to service these other businesses, if, in fact, they really are concerned about being used to sell illegal content.

Now, here's where I don my tinfoil hat and engage in serious conspiracy theories. In other words, I know I'm full of shit now and you should too. But think about it anyway.

The first theory is this: it's all the Amazonasaurus' fault. PayPal is not a proper payment method for Amazon at the moment. I believe this mainly stems from some kind of love/hate relationship between Amazon and Ebay. But, what if, what if Ebay is trying to make some kind of back room deal to get in on Amazon's wealth by promising the destruction of its tiny foes? Since much of the fiction on Smashwords is, in fact, erotica, they could in one fell swoop destroy a lucrative market that Amazon can't seem to, pardon the pun, penetrate.

Is that possible? Is it? It does sound insane even to me.

I think this one scares me even more, however.

Perhaps this really is some kind of moral crusade. A myopic moral crusade, perhaps, but one just the same. As with any form of censorship, one has to always ask the same question: where do we stop?

Today, it's books including rape, incest, beastiality, and underage sex. Tomorrow? Larry Kramer's "Faggots" is pulled from the shelves. After that? Brett Easton Ellis' "American Psycho." Clive Barker's "The Hellbound Heart."

Where. Does. It. End?

And that's the real problem here. No one knows.

If this is a financially motivated crusade of insanity, my fellow readers, we have a choice. If you believe in independent media, do me a favor: send PayPal some serious hate mail. If you can, kill your account.


Crazy, I know. What's worse? I'm a hypocrite. I have a PayPal credit card with an outstanding balance. At present, I can't kill my account until it's paid off. And I don't have an alternative at the moment. So I can't rid myself of them. Not yet, anyway.

I'm looking into alternatives such as Dwolla and Wepay. Hopefully I'll be able to find a mechanism that isn't at risk from douchebags in their high castles trying to dictate what we consumers can and can't buy, and what artists can and can't sell. Maybe you should be too.

To PayPal I say: fuck you.

To Smashwords I say: keep up the good fight.

If you don't agree with the censorship policies of PayPal and Ebay, let them know about it. Please. The only power we consumers have is the power of our wallets. And as GoDaddy discovered during the SOPA bill fight, it's a mighty big power. So, power to the readers, fiendlings.

Now, I'm off to buy some smut masquerading as literature. That's right, I'm going to get an Aramaic translation of the Old Testament.

Methinks the Amazonasaurus Doth Monopolize Too Much

A while ago, I released an essay about "The Dreaded Amazonasaurus." Since then, KDP Select has not only gone live, but many of my fellow authors have capitalized greatly on its "benefits."

If you've forgotten, KDP Select is the new program that Amazon has instituted for authors. Basically it amounts to this: give Amazon exclusivity on your ebooks, and they help you market your wares by making them available in the vaunted lending library. But, of course, exclusive means you shut out, diesel, BN, iBooks, etc.

I made the decision to keep myself out of this madness, preferring instead of maintain some of my ideals. One of my ideals is fair competition. KDP Select, my friends, is anything but. Regardless, I have noticed an interesting trend. As KDP Select grows in popularity, my sales on have dwindled.

Why? Can't say. As far as I can tell, my books still show up in the same searches and etc. However, they do show up LOWER in the search results than they used to. Is fiddling with their search algorithm to favor books by authors that have enrolled? Yes, it sounds like a conspiracy theory and perhaps it is. I

haven't had much luck on the sales front with, yet I'm now selling more there than on Amazon. This is both troubling and perplexing since the majority of my writing income (pathetic as it is) was attributable to my Amazon sales. Tomorrow, February 14th, I'm releasing Garaaga's Children: Lovers on all the e-book outlets. If you're an Amazon customer, get it there. If you're a BN customer, get it there. I don't really care, so long as you let me know what you think of the story.

If I get enough sales tomorrow, perhaps we'll see an uptick in my search results for the other books. Maybe not. I'm a pretty tiny fish in a HUGE pond, but I figure if 20 or 30 of you purchase a copy of Lovers, I should be able to see some kind of impact in the metrics. But we'll see. Again, maybe my conspiracy theory is utter bollocks and I'm just paranoid.

I bash Amazon for its recent predatory policies and perhaps that's unfair. But you, the reader, need to know what's going on in the business of books. You'll continue using your Kindle, continue purchasing from the monster, and that's okay. If you like them, continue using them. It's your choice.

But I'd love to hear your thoughts on the recent changes. Do you think they're good for you? For the author? For the industry? What will a world with Amazon as the sole e-book outlet look like?

I shudder to imagine it.

The dreaded Amazonasaurus

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Were you listening? Did you hear it? The snap and crunch of digital teeth... The rumbling roar of a giant, market eating monster? Did you hear the screams and cries of small, upstart lifeforms as they quivered in fear?


The Amazonasaurus. The wrathful, menacing, carnivorous giant decided it's had enough of the small-time animals like Diesel Books, Smashwords, and Barnes and Noble. They were nipping at its heels by providing ebooks for its platform without the dreaded "amazon" tax.

The amazonasaurus, a massive, bloated creature that requires more and more of the food chain to survive, decided to evolve. Rather than being content to live side by side with the other creatures, ignoring their occasional nips from its massively stocked island, the creature declared war on all those that would dare threaten its gluttony.

This new psychological evolution of the Amazonasaurus is called "KDP Select." Now those of who you who aren't in the writing biz have probably never heard of it, unless you've been paying attention to some of the conversations on twitter, facebook, and the like.

In an effort to starve out its competitors, the Amazonasaurus created a program for authors that guaranteed them access to the Kindle Owners Lending Library. This means their books will show up as select choices in that library, thus giving indie authors, and even mainstream authors, more exposure. It's a marketing dream, if the Amazonasaurus is to be believed.

What does the author have to do to participate? Guarantee the Amazonasaurus an exclusive right to the title for 90 days. This means no books to smashwords, none to Diesel, and especially none for B&N. For 90 days, the Amazonasaurus will "market" your books to the masses and all you have to do is guarantee only those who shop the Amazonasaurus will be able to find it.

In some ways, this is a trap for us authors. If you read the KDP Select fine print, when your 90 days is up in the program, it automatically renews. In other words, you'll have to log in to their console and forcefully end your participation. And if you change your mind? Unpublish your book to get out of the contract? The Amazonasaurus reserves the right to kick you off its store. For forever.

So it's a Faustian bargain, dear authors, or one made with Tony Soprano. You don't get a way out, because the Amazonasaurus puts its jaws right over your head like the dreaded sword of damacles.

So what if you do all this and still make no money? Well, that's your fucking problem. You have spent 90 days fucking your customer base with no guarantee of return. Nothing. If you were making $30.00 per month (meager, but very realistic) on royalties from ALL your ebook outlets, your monthly royalties may dwindle to nothing. Again, there's no guarantee of anything.

If I were to be conspiracy-minded, here's what I think will actually happen. The Amazonasaurus is going to grossly INFLATE the royalties for authors in KDP Select. Why? Very simple. If indie authors who are used to making $30 a month suddenly make $60 a month for that 90 days, then the idea of opting out of KDP Select is foolish from a practical perspective. Very foolish. The Amazonasaurus then starves the other outlets by paying its authors for doing nothing more than refusing to let their books into those markets.

Thus, Smashwords, Diesel, and even the terribly klunky awful secondary powerhouse known as B&N, fold, which, of course, leaves the Amazonasaurus control of the island once and for all. In other words, the Amazonasaurus has a monopoly on the ebook market.

If I were to engage in serious paranoia, I would suggest that the Amazonasaurus will pull all of its non Kindle-Fire-centric apps from the various app stores. This means you could no longer read your kindle books on your iPad, iPhone, or Android device. Thus, you are forced to purchase one of their hardware offerings. Yes, truly paranoid, I know. But it's the kind of shit large corporations do. It just is.

So what's my standing? Well, I need the money. I really need the exposure. But, as cynical as I am, I'm also a bit of an idealist. Fuck 'em, is what I say. I refuse to let the Amazonasaurus dictate where I sell my wares. From a practical standpoint, there's no real guarantee this is going to do anything for me other than further limit my exposure to new readers.

I'm boycotting KDP Select and the Amazonasaurus' Faustian bargain. I'm not going to give my fellow authors shit if they choose to participate--that's their business, not mine. I own a kindle and I doubt I'm going to purchase another book for it from the Amazonasaurus. Instead, I'll purchase from one of the other outlets, and then convert the book to kindle format. I'm a geek. I know how to do this crap.

The Fiendmistress has often joked that Amazon is the Walmart of the internet. Now, more than ever, I think she's right. So, Amazon, go roar and scare and do all the other things you do. Go be the giant that tries to devour everything in the foodchain. Just remember--monopolies are illegal. And you too may one day be an endangered species...


What does the word "demon" mean? For those of us brought up in a Christian household, going to church and such, the word probably conjures up visions of a fork-tailed, fork-tongued, red menace know as Satan, or Beelzebub, or some other creature from our collective unconscious. Or perhaps it drags up images we've all seen in horror movies.

But what does the word "mean?"

A demon can mean many things to many different cultures. The Jinn from Mesopotomian/Arab folklore means an evil spirit that is bound to earth and is very pissed about it. The Jinn trick humans, play with people like a cat toying with a roach, and then squash them like the mortal refuse they are. But are they demons?

The original Greek etymology of the word daemon didn't have a connotation of evil ascribed to it. That was co-opted, because any spirit not from heaven had to be evil. Dante's Divine Comedy further muddied the waters by presenting a view of hell that contained all sorts of miscreant and troublesome spirits that existed to torment people in the firey place. 

Guest Blog Post for John Mierau

My good friend John Mierau invited me to submit an essay for his blog. It's a nice little piece on genres.

Essay--Science Versus Magic


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, where we don't believe in happy endings.

Lessons from the book launch

I did a book launch. Yes, Blue Moose Press is my publisher, but it's essentially an author co-op. They provided fantastic resources and experience in getting a book from editing phase into layout, graphics, and the like. Basically, without their help, Fiends: Vol1 would never have happened.

Now, I was absolutely certain I was going to screw this up big time, and I did. Just not in the way I thought. So here's some lessons if you're going to self-publish.

1.  Have an on-going work to keep your fans interested.

One of the biggest problems with this book launch has been getting the word out. Since I've had no new fiction out there on the podiobook circuit, much of my listening public has taken a vacation from my podcast feed. That vacation from the feed has really been detrimental to building interest and excitement for the book.

Without a new title streaming through the internet, folks have little reason to even pay attention. Although I've been fairly good about providing infocasts, essays, interviews, and even some guest content, it's simply not enough to keep listeners involved, except, of course, for the die hards (and I LOVE you folks).

So if you're a podcast author and you have a book release coming up, make sure you TIME it with the release of another novel or story collection. I feel this is key to keeping things going.

2. Coordinate with your social media buddies.  COORDINATE DAMMIT!

I have been a guest on many many podcasts over the past year. However, I didn't time this properly with the book release. Instead of being on a massive PR run on the circuit, as well as getting folks tuned in to the promo, I sought those resources at the last moment. In fact, I didn't go out of my way to ask the big folk for help. That's assistance they were willing to give, I was just too bashful to ask. This too put a nail in the coffin for good results.

3. Pre-sales are tough...and when you're niche player, they're even tougher

As a writer of psychological horror, my audience is quite a bit smaller than say a Scott Sigler or a Phil Rossi. And that's fine. I don't have a problem with that. But that also means that with that many less listeners, there are that many less buyers out there for a $35 hardcover. I believe I greatly over-estimated the demand for the book. Also, I have had a lot of my die-hard fans tell me they just couldn't afford a $35 book. I completely understand that and I'm not disappointed, per se. This was a learning experience dammit.

If you're a niche player like myself, it might make more sense to learn to crawl before you go to a full run. If I was smart I would have known this and only done maybe a 100 copy run for the hardcover. They'll selll out eventually, but I had convinced myself they would sell out more quickly. Mea culpa.

I priced the book according to the fact it's a limited edition and that it also comes with the free e-book. I thought that was a pretty good deal. Next time? I'll make it more affordable and print fewer of 'em.

4. Have the ebook ready to go...

If I had really done this right, I would have had the ebook ready to ship immediately. In other words, you buy the book on pre-sale, and you get the ebook via email same day. This would have given people the feeling of instant gratification. I had talked myself out of doing the ebook formatting myself (although I know how) and I believe that hurt me. Again. If you are going to use a service like Ebook Architects or similar, check well ahead of time to see how long it will take them to format and make your book available. If you don't you're going to have problems.

5. Have an actual damned store

We used the paypal store for this run. We shant be doing that again. Calculating shipping (expecially for intl) is a mess. The paypal system is slow, clunky, and a bitch and a half to use. I can't tell you how many hours I spent trying to get the damned thing working properly. If you're using it for digital items, it's perfect. But anything that has to be shipped? Well, if you have plenty of time on your hands, it'll work. If not, it's a serious pain in the ass.


Those are the big lessons I've learned. I have a long way to go in selling the hardcovers. The con circuit is coming up, so I'm hopeful I'll be able to move a few of those as well as the trade paperbacks at impromptu and formal book signings. Also, I have another revenue method up my sleeve, but we'll talk about that when it's ready.

The idea for this was not to make a whole lot of money. If I manage to break even on everything, I'll be damned happy. We have a ways to go before that happens, but we'll get there. I made all this happen because my fans wanted books. And I wanted to give 'em to you. On that, we were successful.

Once Garaaga's Children starts up, hopefully more listeners will travel to my site and take a chance on purchasing the book. If so, then we'll clear things out in a hurry and all will be well. If not? Well, there's going to be some serious bundling opportunities in the future.

Pay attention, oh fellow authors. These are the lessons I learned. Please make sure you heed them so you're more successful than I and suffer a LOT less stress.



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, where we don't believe in happy endings.

Essay--Another Lesson and Rant About Publishing

A little lesson in publishing, a disconnected rant/essay about the latest screwed-uppedness from the major chains and the publishers.
This essay is copyright 2010 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, where we don't believe in happy endings.

Essay--The Subconscious and Dean Corll

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Fiendlings! A little essay for your earhole, guaranteed to give you a shiver. Links:

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, where we don't believe in happy endings.. 


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An analysis of JM Barrie's Peter Pan, Peter Shaffer's play "Equus" and the destruction of mythos.

Music by Nine Inch Nails from their album "The Slip".  Please visit their site.

This is a presentation of and is protected under a Creative Commons, Attribution, non-Commercial, no Derivatives 3.5 license.

Flying Island Press: Abattoir magazine

 Flying Island Press has started a new imprint:  "Abattoir."  Abattoir is an e-zine focusing on psychological horror.  I was asked to contribute for the first "issue" and therefore sent them my essay "On Psychological Horror."  This essay was originally podcasted near the beginning of the reboot period, but I thought you fiendlings might like to go read the original.

Please help Scott Roche and crew get Abattoir off to a good start-- go visit, leave comments, and read what the other contributors have to offer. With so few good horror outlets out there, it's important we support this one.



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, where we don't believe in happy endings.. 



Rant--Bookstores and the Publishing Industry

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 I visited the local Barnes and Noble today and this led to the following rant.  Warning: definitely NSFW!

Essay--On Endings

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 A few thoughts on stories and their endings.

Rant--Drooling Idiot Executives

This is The FiendMaster.  Due to the fact Mr. Cooley is still trying to finish fiction to podcast, and several of his friends were let go by his former employer, I felt it was time to dig out an old rant.  Please enjoy.

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Essay-- No Happy Endings

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Ever wonder why the motto is "We don't believe in happy endings"?  Well here ya go.

I'll be in San Antonio on June 26th for the Scott Sigler Ancestor reading.  Please come join me, meet Scott, and buy a book.  Oh, and then get hammered with us.


255 East Basse, Suite 350

2pm - 4pm


It has begun...

Yup, it's begun.  As of today, I have already sent three query letters or full novel submissions.  Now we get to wait and see how long it takes for the rejection cycle to begin.

I've been asked why the hell I'm interested in getting published by a publishing company when I can obviously make more money and have more control over my work if I handle it myself.  In other words, why do I need a publisher?

This is a very good question.  The answer goes something like this.

  1. I can't afford a professional editor.  A good publishing company, one I want to publish my books with, has an editorial staff that should be able to help in polishing the manuscript.  While there are freelancers available for this chore, they typically cost cash that I simply don't have.  I want to put out the best possible product and that requires some professional help.
  2. Layout.  I need help with laying out the book properly. While I may put Tattoo and the Fiends collection out as a book via Createspace or some other POD service, Closet Treats deserves a chance to be professionally edited and packaged.  Again, I can't afford a professional artist or professional layout services.  I know plenty of people capable of the artwork and layout, but again, I believe Closet Treats deserves the best.
  3. Price.  I hope that my books will be priced at a fair amount for fiendlings to purchase.  Although I'm still looking at the cost of a POD like Createspace, POD books are typically much more expensive than books in the bookstore.
  4. Distribution.  Createspace claims to work through certain book distributors that will get your novel into bookstores.  Although I believe bookstores are a dying model, Barnes and Noble and other brick and mortar stores stil provide a significant presence for authors.  In addition to having your book on the shelves, it makes it much easier for a self-funded signing tour or other such PR efforts.
  5. Bona Fides.  I believe we will ultimately bypass the publishing gate-keepers.  Those who consider new media as nothing more than a vanity distribution mechanism for authors who aren't good enough to "make it" in the traditional markets are foolish at best, myopic at worst.  Have no doubt-- the market is changing and changing quickly.  But until this happens, having an actual "respected" publishing company at your back is the only way to qualify for certain awards or reaching the NYT.

These are the main reasons I have for pursuing relations with a publisher for Closet Treats rather than doing it myself.  But rest assured, if I don't find a publisher in the future, Closet Treats will definitely be destined for a different route.  Stay tuned.  Maybe I'll have some good luck.  And I hope that if it happens, you fiendlings will be ready with your wallets open, and smiles on your fanged faces.



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.

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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 for more free stories as well as my rant casts.


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Essay--Fear of Publishing

 A brief essay on publishing and why it led me to stop writing...


Promo at the end of the episode for Scott Sigler's "The Starter."  Visit and get ready to pre-order your copy April 1st!


Written and performed by Paul Elard Cooley.

Music by Nine Inch Nails from their album:  The Slip.  Please visit their site at

This presentation is copyright 2010 by Paul Elard Cooley.

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

Contact me at:


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Essay--The Cost Of Free

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There has been a lot of noise lately about whether or not giving away content for free is a bad idea.  A certain podiofiction author of the most successful podfic series in history, has decided to throw in the towel on the podcasting for free model.  He's decided that he's not getting enough back for how much he's putting in.  I can completely understand why he feels this way.  It's his decision and I support him in that.

Essay--Genre Bashing

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Horny housewife novels.  Senseless slaughter fests.  Space operas.  Braindead action.  Tolkien ripoffs.  Genre bashing.

Yeah, you heard me, genre bashing.  I don't care what kind of genre is your favorite, I guarantee you you've bought into the stereotypes of certain kinds of literature and movies.  God knows I have.

I was talking with Michelle Bekemeyer this morning about genre bashing.  When I told her I was holding back from bashing her genre of Romance, she gave the FiendMaster a rather friendly warning.  In other words, she didn't snarl at me, but certainly thought about it.

Now why on earth would I have something against romance novels?  Well, hmm...why would I?  Oh, yeah.  Jackie Collins.  Danielle Steele.  Whatever horny housewife novel of the week is currently making its way to Lifetime.  Formula, my fiendlings, is the death of anything.

Essay: A Monster's History?

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We love monsters.  Whether it's the foot pounding destruction from Godzilla or Hannibal Lecter staring into our minds with his red eyes and cold intelligence, we love them.  Horror movies make millions and millions of dollars every year, regardless of how shitty most of the films are.  Stephen King belches, and hundreds of thousands of copies of his latest fiction fly off the shelves.  We have shows like True Blood and Dexter, where the monsters are portrayed in a very sympathetic light.  The fantasy of the monster somewhat crumbles under the weight of these narratives.

INFOCAST 01-14-2009: Tee Morris, Daybreakers, and RANT!

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Information about Tee Morris and Sonic Boom, Daybreakers Review, and WUZ UP!

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Closet Treats IS coming.  Very very soon...

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