Saturday, December 14, 2013

Can you believe 2 posts in one month?

This weekend is an experiment. I am running The Death of Hope -- The Complete Edition on sale for only $0.99. My hope is that at least 20% of the over 200 people who downloaded the previous parts would be interested in learning how the story ends.  So far, my guess is off by 100%. No one is interested. Oh well, I am glad I decided that writing is just a hobby.

Once again I am setting a writing goal for next year. I should be able to write 250 words per day. I didn't even come close last year, but hope springs eternal.

I have a new writing tool. The latest update of my dvd player included a Pandora application. I love the music.

Until next time ...

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Seasons Greetings

So much for my idea to post on my blog regularly. Where did the time go since the last post?

I set The Death of Hope to run as a free serial for the past four weeks. The final part will run as a $.99 special next week in a combined edition. The response has been favorable.

I was saddened to learn that a founder of one of the largest horror conventions pled guilty to child molestation charges. The community has reacted appropriately and is now shunning him. I am ashamed to think that I actually considered giving a child molester a second chance, but the more I learn, the more I realize that they never change their ways.

I have returned to CritiqueCircle.com.  The four stories, I've seen in the past week, all show great promise. I hope my input is helpful.


Monday, October 28, 2013

I'm still alive

Last week I received a rejection for The Last Mistress. A few minutes ago, I decided to put it on Kindle Direct as a short story. The cover is going to be a printout of the poem that inspired me. I hope it is well received.

I do not have enough story ideas to compete in NaNoWriMo this year, but I may decide to start write something anyway. Who knows, this may actually be the kick in the pants my writing needs.

I have a story available for free on Amazon. It is my best ghost story. Check it out, I still like it.

I promise that I will start writing blog posts more often.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Death of Hope Available

My serialized novella Death of Hope is now available for download. Here is a secret for my blog readers, I plan to run the first part for FREE on Father's Day. Each Sunday thereafter I will run one part for free, except the final installment. My real goal is for everyone to get most of the story for free then pay for the ending. Of course, if you are a real fan, you will at least consider buying some of the other portions as well.

The links are available on my homepage.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Death of Hope available soon.

I've started working on the serialized version of Death of Hope. The first parts will offered for free at times but the final chapter won't. I hope this will promote some sales.

I'm on the edge of stopping my writing altogether. There is no use in putting things out if no one is reading. My concentration should be spent on trying to get another novel written and possibly submitted. Perhaps an agent may read my submission.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

I'm pulling my short stories from Amazon

As of June 13, 2013, my three current short stories will no longer be available. The links are over to the right side of the page.

I'm not unhappy with Amazon, it is just that my marketing efforts completely failed. People don't appear to want short stories in this manner.

Thanks to the people who purchased them over the past year.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Night's Wraith Chapter 1


I began this and stopped.




Night’s Wrath

By Dane Grannon

Chapter 1

 

    I pulled my cloak tight against the harsh north wind and urged the horse to a trot. Snowflakes danced around my head as an opening act to the approaching blizzard. If the Happy Traveler Inn wasn’t over the next hill, the storm would engulf me and I’d never reach shelter. Then my faith would be all that remained to sustain me. Given the events of the last few months, I doubted my chances.

    Near whiteout conditions closed in as I crested the hill. Shivering drove red hot nails into my wounded shoulder. If the situation wasn’t so dire, I would have rested for a week before answering another Bishop’s call. Such is the life of the Arch-Bishop’s Prelates. Fallen comrades require that we ride even with four score stitches closing a seeping wound..

    My eyes traced the trail as it wound down the hill and up the other side. The shadowy form of a building lay within a copse of olive trees. If it wasn’t the inn, I’d still request shelter. The pious would be honored to provide succor while the gold in my purse would convert skeptics.

    The horse’s impatient shake focused my thoughts and I nudged him forward. The falling temperature sapped my reason. We descended the hill and traversed the path up the other side. The shadowy building resolved into a small inn with an attached stable.

The stable door was open, so I rode inside and put the gelding into a stall. After dismounting, I patted it on the nose and removed the saddle. “I’ll have the innkeeper bring out some oats.”

Three horses occupied the other stalls. The flanks of two steamed and their coats glistened. My hackles twitched. Why would anyone gallop along an icy path?

After ensuring my sword was free in its scabbard, I collected my staff and approached the main building. The roaring wind masked all sounds until I opened the door.

Two muscular soot-covered men dressed in smiths’ aprons and armed with hammers had the innkeeper trapped in a corner. The rat-like man utilized a stool as a shield blocking a torrent of blows.

    I raised my staff and yelled, “Unhand him at once, villains!”

    The man on the left faced me“Finish him, I’ll handle this.”

He raised his hammer and took a step forward. “It’s none of your business. Stay back..”

The innkeeper squeaked. “Help! Murder!”

I dropped my winter cloak, revealing my insignia. “I’m a Prelate. This is my business.” My shoulder howled a protest as I twirled the staff into an attack position. “Drop your weapons.”

A blow from the far man shattered the stool.

The innkeeper shrieked and fell to the floor.

The man before me glanced away and lowered his guard at the cry. He wasn’t a trained fighter – just a ruffian out for some quick gold.

    With a quick strike, I disarmed him then cracked his temple on the recoil. I was across the room engaging the other attacker before the former hit the floor. My staff intercepted the partner’s hammer during its downward stroke toward the defenseless innkeeper’s head. With a flip of the wrist, I sent the hammer smashing back into his face. The partner crashed backwards.

    I stepped in front of the innkeeper. “Stay down.”

    The man squealed.

    The first attacker pulled himself to his feet. “Kill him! Before it’s too late.”

I raised my staff. Its runes glowed with stored power. “This innocent man shall not be harmed. Take your horses and ride now or your lives will be forfeit.”

The attacker beside me pointed at the innkeeper. “You don’t understand. That thing’s a monster.”

Desperation flowed through his speech. “I will adjudicate your case. This is neither the time nor place for vigilante justice. Place your hammers by the door.”

Behind me, the innkeeper sobbed. “Noble sir, they bear false witness.”

The snow squall passed. The setting sun’s red rays flooded the room.

The blacksmiths looked at each other. The one by the door motioned to his partner. “It’s too late! Get out of here!” The men bolted for the door.

I let them run. They would be dealt with in the morning. The innkeeper locked the door as two horses galloped away. I sank into the only upright chair. “Innkeeper, please fetch a brandy.” The wetness on my shoulder informed me that the wound was bleeding again. Perhaps, after I prayed tonight, I would be healed by morning. Assuming that I was back in favor – an unlikely event at best.

The innkeeper walked over and bowed. “Prelate, I beg your pardon. This is a poor inn. There is no brandy.” He bowed a second time.

I tried to give an understanding smile. The way I felt, it probably resulted in a grimace. “Send your boy to tend my horse. Then ale and dinner. I haven’t eaten all day.”

The innkeeper bowed. “At once, Prelate.” He bowed again. “May I, Prelate? Might I please?”

I raised my right hand up to his.

He grasped it and kissed my signet ring. “Thank you, Prelate. I am most grateful.”

I withdrew my hand. “You may show your gratitude by bringing my dinner.”

The man bowed again and backed away. “Of course. At once. I beg your pardon.”

I looked out the window. The bottom of the sun kissed the horizon. In a few minutes, it would go to bed and I’d join it.

The innkeeper appeared from the kitchen carrying a flagon and a plate of bread. He placed them before me and bowed. “Your stew will be warm shortly. May I, Prelate? May I?”

Once again I held out my right hand. I wish people would stop doing that. I am a carpenter’s son, not a nobleman.

The innkeeper kissed my signet ring. “Thank you. A thousand times thank you.”

I pulled back my hand and surreptitiously wiped it on my trousers. “It is my honor to be chosen to serve.” I took a bite of bread to inhibit further dialog.

He bowed himself back to the kitchen.

I checked my shoulder. Blood soaked my shirt.

As I stuffed a handkerchief over the wound, the innkeeper returned with a plate of stew.

My stomach growled. I took another bite of bread as he placed the plate before me. “Would you care for a cup of tea?”

I nodded then turned and looked out the window. Outside only a finger width of sun remained above the horizon. My head spun from blood loss.

The innkeeper crossed behind me to the china cabinet. “Several months ago, a passing merchant died in his sleep. I recovered twenty pounds of tea from his personal effects. I could never have afforded the two pounds I was awarded as a recovery fee.”

A cup was placed on a saucer. The innkeeper’s words faded in and out.  “It was very lucky that you came along when you did. They were too early for me to really defend myself.”

I swallowed. “I will gladly pay extra for a good cup of tea.”

The cabinet rattled behind me. “That would be the first time a Prelate ever paid for anything.” The innkeeper’s voice grew deeper as he spoke.

I took a bite of the wonderful stew as I struggled to clear my head. “Unfortunately, too many of my brethren extort extravagant tithes from honest merchants. My policy is to pay for extraordinary services.”

The horizon swallowed the sun. A blue light cast my shadow on the wall facing me. A nauseating wave of evil crashed over me.

From behind, a voice hissed. “Yes. You will pay.”

My heart exploded as a blue lightning-wrapped blade protruded from my chest.  

***

    Morning sunlight streaming through the window woke me from the most vibrant dream in my life. I rolled over onto my left side and immediately caught myself. The anticipated pain failed to materialize. I sat up and examined my shoulder. The bandage and the wound were gone. Neither scab nor scar marked its former location.

    I stretched. No residual pain from anywhere. I felt completely revived. I must be back in favor. That was strange as I didn’t remember saying my prayers. The last thing I remembered was …

    The memory of a sword protruding my chest flooded into consciousness. My heart pounded and I felt my sternum. It must have been part of the dream.

    It startled me when I stood and noticed my undressed reflection in the mirror. Besides bathing, a Prelate is never unclothed. Appearing so lessens the dignity of the office.

    The room around me contained the battered, yet serviceable, furnishings of the nice rooms in a standard inn. A search of the dresser failed to uncover any clothing, so I improvised a toga from the bed sheet and stood by the door listening.

    Downstairs a solitary small-sized person wearing boots walked back and forth accompanied by the sound of sweeping. As silently as possible, I opened the door and crept to the railing at the top of the stairs.

    The rat-looking innkeeper looked up. “Good morning, Prelate. I took the liberty of washing your clothing. I will bring them up.”

    I nodded and returned to my room. My prayers were performed at the small shrine by the window. When I stood, my clothing and weapons lay on the bed.

    I pulled on my shirt and noticed a large mended tear in the back and front. The holes perfectly matched the location of the wounds in my vision. Upon my sword, I do not remember how I acquired them.

    The smells of sausages and biscuits drifted into the room from below. My stomach informed me of its emptiness. Some jerky eaten while on horseback was the last repast I remembered.

    A breakfast of sausage gravy and eggs greeted me at the table adjacent to the china cabinet. With all the dignity of my office, I slowly sat and performed a blessing. The tingling that customarily accompanied the task failed to materialize. This surprised me as I’d received a healing blessing while sleeping.

The innkeeper bowed before me as I sat. “Prelate, may I? It is such an honor to have one of your station staying at my humble inn.”

I raised my hand for him to kiss my signet ring, but it was missing. I paused and looked at my hand. Sweat flowed as my heart pounded. As the symbol of office and the focus for my powers, the signet ring had remained on my hand since ordination. No wonder the simple blessing failed.

The innkeeper noticed my hesitation. He dug into his vest pocket. “I found this while sweeping. I believed it to be yours, but I would never presume.”

I took the ring and began slipping it on my finger.  A spark leapt from the ring to my hand. My signet fell to the table. By all that’s Holy!

Only the utmost control and discipline allowed me to maintain composure. I withdrew a silk handkerchief from my pocket as the innkeeper knelt down and retrieve the fallen symbol. “I have been remiss in cleaning my ring. It is quite slippery.”

The man placed the ring on the handkerchief. He lowered his head and stood stoop shouldered. “It is my fault, Prelate. I should have cleaned it at once. I beg forgiveness. What is my penance?”

I thought carefully. The scene of my father losing his right hand for similar non-offense played through my mind. “My faithful servant, your penance is to recite the catechism an additional time each night until your conscious is clear.”

His eyes raised. “Thank you, Prelate. I am unworthy.”

I folded the handkerchief around my signet. “Your humility is a sign of true virtue. I will require my horse immediately upon completion of this wonderful repast.”

He bowed and backed away.

Although his groveling disgusted me, I accepted it. If I allowed exceptions for me, the peasants may neglect the honors for others. Their subsequent punishment would be on my head. My conscious could never bear that.

The handkerchief slipped into my pocket. I have many sins to atone for.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Lucky Streak paperback available

Lucky Streak paperback is available. It will be on Amazon in a few days, but to be honest, I make more money through this venue.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Maybe the future.

This weekend Return of the Reaper is free on Amazon. I expect about 50 downloads.

I think it's no secret that sales of Lucky Streak have not even approached expectations. I don't see this changing any time soon. My promotion attempts failed. I haven't even recouped the cost of the new cover.

I posted that I wanted a few volunteers to read the beginning of a story which I'm working on for my writing group reading on April 18. One friend did a nice red pen. Another read and said he liked it. I've only read and commented on dozens of stories for free, but I guess people don't return the favor. Or they want to charge. I don't begrudge trying to make a living and since I can't begin to afford to pay, I declined their offers.

This post made me realize that maybe I should stop writing and trying to get people to read it. If you don't send it out, there is an obvious reason for the lack of response. Instead I scream from the rooftops and no one notices.

I hope this black period passes.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Writing milestone reached

I finished the latest draft of the newly retitled Death of Hope and shared it with my first reader. I haven't heard back from her, but I don't expect to for at least a few days. It takes time to really read a 10k story.


I am pleased with the results. The new version has many less typos and I didn't change the name of a character at the midway point. I also like the pacing. It will be an excellent prologue for The Undead War when I rewrite it. It also puts me in the position of needing to rewrite Night's Wraith.


I think that the next longer piece I work on will be Return of the Solar Ranger. It is a pulp story that I've been messing around with since NaNoWriMo. Since it will most likely be 200 pages or so, I'll combine it with For Better and Worse and Death of Hope in a novel sized collection.


I ran The Ghosts of Chancellorsville as a promotion on Amazon last week. It did not perform well, but it has been run several times in the past. This weekend it is Return from Paradise's turn. It has never had more than a handful of takers on the promotion before and it's doing better today. I hope the plug for Lucky Streak in the back of each grabs a few additional readers.

Friday, March 15, 2013

On Saturday and Sunday The Ghosts of Chancellorsville will be available as a free download. I fixed the formatting issue and added a mini-advertisement for the new eBook version of Lucky Streak.


I hope that the people who flock to read the free short story will be impressed enough to purchase Lucky Streak. If there aren't enough sales to pay for the excellent cover, I think that my writing career will end before it ever began. The new printed version of Lucky Streak will never see the light of day. I think that I'll just have to be happy that my sister-in-law really enjoys my stories.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Bill Oberst Jr review of Lucky Streak

Bill Oberst Jr is well known to horror movie fans for the recent movie Abraham Lincoln vs Zombies. He is known as an actor's actor who works hard at his craft. Robin Coleman of The All Horror Podcast described him as one of her favorite actors. I'm a big fan as well. Imagine my excitement when he agreed to read my book. It was the highlight of my writing career when he posted the following 5 star review on Amazon.

I copied this with his express permission.

If a publisher is interested in re-issuing Lucky Streak, I would be most grateful.

Bill Oberst Jr review:
As an actor who frequently works in the horror genre, I have some rough familiarity with zombies. Last year I sliced off the heads of a good many of them with a farm implement as the titular character in the movie "Abraham Lincoln Vs. Zombies."

While zombies are without a doubt the most popular 'monster' for the current horror-loving generation, they are not intrinsically exciting creatures. In fact, in the wrong hands, zombies can be boring. Dane Grannon's hands, I am happy to say, are the right hands for any zombie to be in.

"Lucky Streak" avoids the pitfalls of bad zombie fiction by doing something so simple that it would seem ridiculous to point it out, were it not for the fact that much fiction about the undead fails to do it: Dane Grannon tells us a great story and he populates it with people we care about. The zombies are so seamlessly woven into the life of the young hero that it doesn't really feel like a 'zombie story.' It feels like a really good story which happens to have zombies in it. I suppose this is why it reads so easily.

"Lucky Streak" is smooth. It's funny and it's warm and it's creepy. By the end you are so invested in Lucky and his world that you hate to leave. You want him to be alright. You really care.

Would someone please turn this book into a movie? I really want to see some young star shouldering a Kalashnikov and pointing it at the intruding undead while politely tossing off the line "Mom, will you grab some more clips? They're on the shelf above the shotgun..."

This is wildly fun and seriously badass stuff. Bravo Dane Grannon!


Once again thanks to Bill. I am re-editing the book and hope to do something with it by the end of Feb.