A rare occurrence for me, I haven’t posted anything to this blog for over three months. I have also not been active whatsoever on my social media platforms since around November. The primary reason is my work unrelated to books, but the secondary reason, which later became the primary reason, is the chaos surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. I am trying my best to get back into my writing and posting habits, but it’s proving difficult. Book reviews are not on my agenda for awhile. I’m sure you understand, and hope all who read this are staying healthy and safe as possible during these uncertain times.
My publishing schedule has been completely distorted. I might as well burn it and do away with it for good, as I never end up following it anyway, but I feel a rough estimate is helpful for the sake of hype and your readers’ convenience. I am republishing most of my works under my personal label this month, as well as making small corrections and ensuring that the eBooks remain largely free of charge. I’ve been having trouble with Amazon refusing to keep my books free, or randomly altering the price on them, so I’ll have to deal with that as well. Behold, the entirety of my current (and by no means official) publishing schedule. I will alert everyone as the newer versions become available. I appreciate your eternal patience!
APRIL 2020 – Republishing of all current books under new label. This includes Loverboy, Absolute Heaven, Cosmic Love, Blood Ballet, Infinite Summer, and MHz. Note that the content of these books will not change, simply the publication rights.
LATE 2020-2021 – Publication of Haunt Me to Sleep, and as-of-yet untitled young adult novella and stand-alone poetry book.
Blood Red Velvet hit over 200 followers recently! I’m so pleased that you guys haven’t lost faith in me! It is rather out of character for me to drop off the face of the earth unannounced, with no new posts for nearly a month, the main reason being that I’m not only in the midst of switching tech, but unexpectedly got a new job, and therefore new obligations. I just haven’t had the time or energy to engross myself in blogging as usual, but I did warn a while back that I’d be on an indefinite off-and-on hiatus for awhile… though I didn’t expect this one, to be honest.
My creative projects are far behind what I wanted out of them. All this really means is that I can no longer make secure promises on what is coming out and what is not anymore. I can keep Blood Red Velvet consistently active, but my book projects are a slow-going hobby that often has to get set aside for more important things. Please don’t ever, ever ask me about publication dates, as they’ve grown to trigger and infuriate me. Continue reading “Holidays, Hiatus and News”
If you’ve kept up with this blog, you know the troubles I’ve had with Haunt Me to Sleep. A lot of them are unexpected personal delays, as I’m the only one working on it, such as having to recover from getting sick and drastic schedule changes with work and family. So, it probably will come as no surprise that I’m resetting the publication date until next year. There’s no set date or month, it will just come out when it’s out. The good news is, you can request a review copy ahead of time by messaging me on Goodreads, if you want one. They’re free, as long as you give it a rating or review in return, and I’ll email it to you before it’s published.
It was largely wishful thinking believing it would come out this year, but I’d rather it come out late than bad, and I need time to clean up the writing, so that it can be at its absolute best quality. A late book is only late until it’s out, but a bad book is bad forever. (I’m pretty sure that’s a paraphrase of a real quote, but I forget who by.)
MHz was the last poetry book of this year, but it only has a Kindle version for the moment. I’m working on the paperback and ePub version now, so that it’ll be more widely available. I also intended for those to come out much sooner, but sometimes things happen that get in the way, and I honestly had forgotten about it for a time. You can get the Kindle version on Amazon if you want, it’s not expensive. Just wanted everyone to know about these things! 🙂
This year’s been a right beast, hasn’t it? Don’t you think so? In a way, I wish this span of time were a literal beast, that way I could just kill it. Put the horrible, mutated thing out of its misery. I’m more than ready for 2020, in other words.
This year has tortured me like clockwork, too. Say, if I promised you today that I’d begin, I don’t know, writing a novel tomorrow, and I was truly dead-set on writing it, something out of my control would be thrown in front of me to ensure I couldn’t possibly go through with what I promised to do. The whole year has been a constant torrent of that. After Halloween, I did want to start finishing my backlog of book reviews and ARC books, because it’s gotten quite hefty, but I can’t guarantee I will, at least not judging by the way it’s gone for the past several months.
I have an updated schedule for the books I’ll be publishing. You can find the ones I’ve got out on Amazon or Smashwords, but also several other eBook stores. Pick your favourite mainstream store, they’re likely there. Most of them are free, except for the two that are for the time being, exclusive to Amazon. I’m working on getting them international as well, but I might have to wait awhile because of the Kindle Unlimited policy. Anyway, here are the things that I can guarantee, for sure, are coming out in the next year or so.
Haunt Me to Sleep initially was supposed to come out on Halloween, but there were about five or six stories I ended up having to finish or rewrite, and I didn’t want to rush them out for the sake of a holiday I barely celebrate, so it’s back to it’s original planned date of December or possibly January.
Haunt Me to Sleep (Fantasy / Horror) – Winter 2019-2020
Atlantis Drowning (Poetry) – Summer 2020
The Gutterpunk Blues (Poetry) – Summer 2020
One of three short novellas – 2020-2021
Drift From Electric Green (Dark Poetry) – Spring 2020
Watercolour Hearts (Horror / Fantasy) – 2020-2021
“Float far out into the Pacific. Follow its surface in any direction you want, whenever the anxiety gets to be overwhelming, whenever there is no treatment left for the black clot that forms a body-wide cancer. Adrift in the crystalline sea, you will come upon a cavern, whether you intend to or not.”
One of the prose pieces from the upcoming horror-dark fantasy collection Haunt Me to Sleep, “Grotto Siren”, was published in Radium Piano Band. You can read it for free at the link below. Haunt Me to Sleep is a mix of horror “atmospheres”, ranging from dark humor, to fairytale, to existential horror, to grotesque. It was difficult to place a specific sub-genre to its name.
I had originally intended for this book to come out around October 7th, but due to the massive rush on horror during that time, I’ve decided to move it closer to Halloween itself, when, believe it or not, fewer horror books are published. The final date for all versions, at least, will be between October 21st and November 9th, the ePub version coming out slightly later than the paperback and Kindle ones.
Radium Piano Band – Issue #17
My poem, “Biotica”, was recently featured in Radium Piano Band, along with some extraordinary poems by other indie poets. This poem is the sausage ground up from several different incarnations, was supposed to be in multiple books that it never appeared in, and went by several different titles, including the rather peculiar titles “Biotic Black Hole” and “Dreams of Human Sacrifice”, before landing on simply “Biotica”. The final result is… kind of an insane poem, not going to lie.
“Biotica” will be featured as well in my upcoming multi-medium horror compilation, Haunt Me to Sleep, which I talked (read: aimlessly blathered) about yesterday. That book will likely be published in late September or October.
You can read or download the August issue of RPB here:
Radium Piano Band – Issue #16
The Kindle edition of Absolute Heaven has dropped, permanently, from $2.99 to $1.50 (USD)! The price drop is worldwide, so if you picked up the rest of my poetry collection, which is still largely free, by the way, if this is your first time hearing of it, here’s your chance to get this massive volume of cut, altered and early material from it for quite a bit cheaper. I’ve had some minor publication troubles with the paperback and ePub versions of the next book, so maybe this will make up for it in the meantime!
Absolute Heaven is a considerable volume with lots of illustrations, horror and offbeat philosophy, so if experimental works are your kind of thing, can’t hurt to give it a try. 🙂
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At long last. This chapbook was supposed to be out at the end of June, but suffered several delays due to a variety of pop-up annoyances and not having time to get the layout finished. Strangely, this happened last year as well with its previous incarnation. I should treat MHz better than that, as I actually adore these poems. This fourth entry is probably my favourite besides Infinite Summer.
The surreal themes of paranoia and delusion will probably make it less accessible than the others, I suppose, but do make it one of a kind. I get frustrated with the trend of modern poetry to be “relatable” at the cost of all else. Do you really want endless reflections on the misery of modern life? Because that’s what “relatable” ultimately boils down to, at least in my experience, and I’ve already done several books like that. This one is more for the imagery. Anyway, I hope you look forward to it. I’ll post the moment it’s up for download.
Avant-garde magazine Radium Piano Band is back after a brief hiatus, and was kind enough to feature two new poems of mine – “Sunshine Weeping Demon” and “Rose and Thrombus”. These appear in my chapbooks MHz and Infinite Summer as well. A neat little fact about these two poems is that they were both inspired, in an abstract sense, by the creative work of two different horror-film directors – Dario Argento and Shinya Tsukamoto. It might show, it might not.
This issue is a very strong one, and I especially love the first poem, “The House of Blue Lights” by Lee Ballentine. Check it out! 🙂
Radium Piano Band – Issue #15
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Hello, I’m finally back on a somewhat regular basis, and with a lot of fresh content! July and June have been really weak months for me, and I’ve been focused on trying to get Haunt Me to Sleep‘s semi-final draft finished so it’ll be ready to format by October. Of the 54 pieces in the collection, around 46 are on their final draft, so I feel that’s good progress. Apparently, it’s only taken around five months, combined, to put this collection together, which surprised me.
For the rest of July, I’ve got several new Lovecraft reviews, stand-alone book reviews and some poetry. I’m also working on content for my Halloween special, because I have something fun planned and want to perfect it ahead of time.
Anyway, about the final poetry book I’ll publish this year, MHz, it’s gotten pushed back several times but God and the fates willing, should be out at last on July 31st. If not then, then August 7th. It should come out around that time, in any case, inititally for a dollar, and become free slightly later. Unless you want a print copy, which there will be. The three previous collections are still all free or cost under $3USD to download an eBook copy of your choice on Amazon, Kobo and Smashwords.
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You would think the automatic, short answer to this question would be a resounding “NO”, and you would be correct… ninety-nine percent of the time. There is the rare book that should be banned for promoting hatred, but unfortunately, these tend to only be published within private circles. The good thing about that is they’ll probably never reach the mainstream public, but the bad thing is that someone thought it necessary for hate lit to exist in the first place, and also that they sometimes slip into the library of public domain if they’re old enough or the copyright has expired. Who would ever want to own the copyright for a piece of hate lit is beyond me, though.
When you consider most classics were banned somewhere simply for being honest about uncomfortable topics, or “brazen” with their writing styles, it really makes most controversies with books seem pointless. I think that there are cases where toning down content or mild censorship for a specific audience are okay, or even a good idea. But it should always be the decision of the author to do so. Massacring the hard work of another because of your own cowardice is the sin of sins, to me.
What brought the question up is that I’ve seen a recent upswing in banning and ordering censorship edits of books within independent publishing – yes, independent books, you read that right. The avenue created expressly for freedom of content is not allowing certain books on their platforms. And before you ask, yes, it’s mostly erotica and horror being subjected to censorship. What are arguably two of the first genres to ever exist, along with fantasy, have been challenged right and left since conception. Continue reading “Is It Ever Okay to Ban Books?”
Thanks to all those from my blog who’ve picked up a copy of my recent releases, either the paid, print or free ones. All are equally appreciated, and I love to see that my work is enjoyed so much! 🙂 Cosmic Love has been in the Top 10 in Contemporary Poetry and in the Top 250 in Dark Fantasy for nearly a month!
I was afraid that, like what’s kind of been happening with my books on Goodreads, since earlier versions of some of them came out last year, there would be little-to-no new downloads or feedback, despite the two versions being extremely different, and I don’t feel right promoting them much at the moment. At least not until there’s more of the series out. I adamantly want to focus on my fiction, but I’m certainly grateful that my poetry seems to have found its path. I am a little bit more interactive on Goodreads, so if you read my books and want to tell me what you think, that’s the better place to do it, and you’re welcome anytime.
The next entry, Infinite Summer, ought to come out internationally on May 25th, then on Amazon somewhat later.
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This is mainly for my own benefit, but if it interests you, feel free to follow along with these posts. Fair warning that they will be more stream-of-consciousness than my other types of posts, seeing as they are to primarily serve as measurements and raw notes. Since I have essentially nothing else to until I go back to college (and then probably quite little to do that’s of any account) I’ve decided to cram some novel-writing into this year. Including the short stories book I was already working on, I’ve decided that four would be the least stress. The three novel-length works are one psychological horror, one young adult, and one I will just call dark fantasy because I don’t know what it is yet.
Writing Progress by May 21st, 2019
Haunt Me to Sleep (short stories) – No work this week, but is around 1/3 complete
Untitled Novella (psychological horror) – At 13,000 words
Untitled Novella (young adult) – Rough outline, no official words yet
Untitled Novella (dark fantasy) – Rough outline, no official words yet
Other Things – Infinite Summer and MHz on the verge of completion at around 50 pages apiece. These only lack finished cover art.
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There’s been somewhat of a delay in the publication of my first five poetry chapbooks. Not the first two, which are already out, but the latter three. Fortunately, all versions of the books are complete, there is simply a delay due to the copyright of some individual poems and cover art. The usual problems that crop up, you know. A few poems that were set to be published elsewhere, sadly weren’t able to come out, but that’s alright. Anyway, the next entry should be out in all formats by tomorrow, so be sure to check back and you’ll be able to get a digital copy for free! 😉
New release dates for the chapbook series:
#0 – Absolute Heaven – Published April 2019
#1 – Cosmic Love – Published April 2019
#2 – Blood Ballet – Out by May 17th
#3 – Infinite Summer – Out by May 25th
#4 – MHz – Out by June 3rd
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Absolute Heaven Blurb: “Absolute Heaven is an omnibus of poems that capture the darkness which hides deep in the mind. Devilishly blurring the lines between romantic hatred and grotesque love, Absolute Heaven is a work of raw emotion, blood and nightmare that spans all genres of horror. Not for the faint of soul or the weak at heart.”
Cosmic Love Blurb: “Solemn and dreamlike, Cosmic Love paints a vivid image of love and hurt in the wake of an unknowable future. An infusion of science and magic, heart and mind, this poetry collection rains down its verses like stars. Cosmic Love is nothing short of inspiring with its dark, imaginative romances.”
The first two official entries in the S.M. Shuford Poetry Collection. Besides Absolute Heaven, which is namely cut material and is massive, the series will be made up of short chapbooks that I’ll be publishing periodically from 2019 to 2021. There is set to be fourteen books, and each time one comes out I’ll be doing a series of commentary. I’d rather do this than promotional material on this blog, I think that’s far more interesting. People will be less pressured to decide if they want to read them or not. Some digital editions will be free indefinitely.
Cosmic Love and the upcoming smaller entries after it are available in paperback for a standard of $6USD for a brand new copy, if you prefer print, but the digital copies are or are soon to be. It’s now out internationally in ePub, you’ll just have to check your favourite book-vendor to see if they’ve got it.
Absolute Heaven is on Amazon in paperback and Kindle. If either of these look interesting to you, I’ve been trying hard to repair my earlier efforts, so I’d appreciate adding them to Goodreads or picking up a copy. It’s up to you, though.
The updated interview for my Smashwords profile. I answered one last year around January. So many things have changed with my work, so it was high time for a fresh one, now that I have actual books on there.
Q: What motivated you to become an indie author?
A: Ah, this question is something of a paradox. A variable and yet also a constant.
I will say that as of this interview, I’m currently working on the S.M. Shuford Poetry Collection, an ongoing saga that compiles most of my poetry and is to some degree autobiographical, hence the blatant narcissism of the title. There is set to be thirteen to fifteen books in total in that series. After that, in 2020 I’ll have another handful of large-scale poetry compilations, similar to 2018’s Loverboy, a short story collection and slowly eke my way into writing novels on a regular basis.
Q: How do you discover the eBooks you read?
A: It’s a smoothie of recommendations, avid hunting for new things to read, and random chance. Book-seeking is one of the few things that’s better if you’re pretty much careless in how you go about it.
Q: What is your writing process?
A: Vomit a mass of something vaguely interesting. Rinse the excess words off. Polish them. Publish it. Kill the thing you bore and rebuild it Frankenstein-style when you decide it wasn’t good enough the first time. You know, the usual way. Continue reading “Smashwords Interview 2019”
I’ve tried really hard, however tempting it is, to never set explicit publication dates for upcoming publications, because I almost never meet my own deadline for one reason or another. I didn’t this time, either! I fully meant to publish Cosmic Love three days ago, but I’ve had to learn a new paint program and relearn formatting ePubs (which is grueling), so it was held up somewhat.
The good news is, the cover’s done other than adding the title text, so it ought to be out in all formats, worldwide, by the end of the month. The international edition is digital-only, but you can then get it for free in pretty much any country, and after that a paperback and Kindle version will be out in all regions on Amazon. Absolute Heaven will be out directly after it, but only in Kindle and paperback for now. It’s far too large for me to want to type out an ePub version right now.
You really don’t understand how horrible ePub formatting is if you’ve never survived it. I have nightmares about doing it under time constraints. The Kindle version was hard enough with that book’s tricky art and poem formats.
I’ve actually finished editing and typing out the next three in the series, so they should come out pretty cleanly and without delay in mid-May. I won’t be publishing anymore poetry in book form until later this year, so I’ll have time to focus on my fiction and school. Thank you guys so much for reading, liking and following my poetry on here, and the book reviews too. I appreciate it! 🙂
I think that when the first five books are all out in paperback, I’ll be doing a giveaway of the series through Goodreads. And by that, I mean through a Goodreads event because I’m not paying that ridiculously high giveaway fee when they don’t even pay for the shipping. So if you want, follow me on Goodreads to know when that is.
My poems “Hidden in a False Sun” and “In the Land of Rust” were featured in the latest issue of Radium Piano Band, an avant-garde magazine you should totally follow. Some great up-and-coming writers here. Consider this a sample of Cosmic Love, a poetry collection that’s been completely reworked and arrives in about a week. My estimate is that it’ll be out on April 23rd. Both of these poems will be in the collection.
Radium Piano Band – Issue #14
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This week I’ve had to reacquaint myself with digital book formatting for the upcoming Absolute Heaven and Cosmic Love, which ought to be out in at least their eBook formats by next week. If this helps anybody at all in deciding to publish their own book, these are in my own experience, the difficulty levels of designing each format yourself. Guides to these are available on Amazon, Smashwords, and a handful of other booksellers’ websites.
Easiest – Paperback, Hardback and Print
Print versions are the simplest because all it takes is typing out a good-looking PDF. There are a plethora of templates available to find the exact size you need for your book as well. You know exactly what it will look like without having to guess about much.
Moderate – Kindle
Kindle formatting has a steep learning curve, but once you’ve got it, it becomes very simple. It takes slightly longer than designing a print copy, but half the time of formatting an ePub. Kindle Create is a very useful program that takes most of the stress out of wondering what your book will look and behave like, so I’d recommend downloading that as well. The only tricky parts of Kindle formatting involve images and centering text, which a Kindle reader is somewhat touchy about. Kindle is very flexible and lenient on the author in general, hence why it’s so popular.
Hardest – ePub
Oh my God. Where to begin? Formatting an ePub book is nothing but raw hell. There’s just so many things that can completely ruin your work. If you have this format down pat, you should reward yourself somehow. I don’t even like the ePub format in general, nor do I own an ePub reader, but trying to work arounds its limitations is rigid, user-unfriendly and often a misery. And that’s for a basic book! Nevermind if it’s image-heavy or requires tricky text.
It’s Smashwords that burnt me out on wanting to push my ePub copies. It seems like nothing I tried could make the ePub versions I published with them look decent. Sometimes they came out damaged and smushed to bits, despite following the guidelines. Anyway, screw ePub. Kindle master race forever.
So, I’ve finally got somewhat of a clear idea on when all those books listed on the bookshelf are going to be published. Only took like six months, right!? It feels like it’s been 2019 for decades…
I’ll be doing an eBook giveaway on my entire body of work when the first three in the S.M. Shuford Poetry Collection are out, so be on the lookout if you want to get the whole lot for free. A rough schedule I’ve got mapped out for the time being. The first four books (not counting Absolute Heaven) will be free in their digital formats indefinitely. #5 might be free too, though #6 will cost a dollar. It was more of a challenge than the others, is the only reason. I don’t feel that’s outrageous.
#0 Absolute Heaven – A version of this is already out on Amazon, but a newer one with slight cosmetic and editing changes will be out around April 15-April 20.
#1 Cosmic Love – The old version, which is just haiku and the initial introduction, will be compiled in Absolute Heaven. It’s also in the archives of this blog, as I’ve noted before. The new version, a more realized book, will come out in ePub, Kindle and print sometime around April 16-May 1, around the same time as AH.
#2-#4 – These will probably be finished about April 21-May 5, but may not come out until later in May because poems in them might be featured in other publications first.
#5-#6 – #6 is more or less finished now, but again, there is a wait time, and #5 has to come out first, so these will be out between June and August.
#7-#12 – No idea. These are basically on concept levels only right now. There might be a #13 if I feel like writing it by then.
In other news, I have a traditionally published book of poems and one of short stories coming out in 2020, as well as two novels. But I’m not going to hype those up until their time. There’s not much point right now.