Millhaven’s Tales of Suspense

The second issue of Millhaven’s Tales is ready for pre-order, so grab your copy today. This is full of suspenseful stories that all mystery lovers will enjoy reading. My cozy mystery, Just Desserts, is published in the journal as well.

I received my free copy last week, and the journal is full of amazing stories from some amazing authors. Not only are there mystery stories in this issue, but you will find crime and espionage stories as well.

There are nine stories in this issue.

A group of thugs bites off more than they can chew when they get interrupted by “Old School.”

What happens when one of your best friends is charged with murder? A cupcake baker sets out to find the identity of the real murderer.

Will a District Attorney be able to accomplish what he set out to do when he faces a multi-generational crime family?

Two detectives discover that more is going on in their town after a body is discovered at the city zoo.

A vigilante goes after a criminal underworld who uses a pizza place as a cover for their dirty work.

In this “Hitchcockian” tale of suspense, jealousy, a cheating spouse, and revenge take center stage.

In an alternate reality WWII story a small group of soldiers saves the world.

What happens when you can’t trust anybody in the underworld poker shows?

The cover story of this issue is a tribute to the Continental Op or Phillip Marlowe.

Pre-order your copy of Millhaven’s Tales of Suspense here.

You can pre-order a bundle of the first and second issues of Millhaven’s Tales here.

Make sure, if you haven’t yet, pick up the first issue, Millhaven’s Tales of Wonder, here.


Writing a Horror

I just got finished with another short story. This time I tried my hand at a horror/dark fantasy type story. I’m planning on submitting this to the next issue of Millhaven Press. Whereas all my other stories that have been published through Millhaven have also been published on here, I’m not going to add this one to my website. The only way to read it will be through Millhaven. So, I’ve been inspired to write a little blog about writing horror stories. They can be tricky.

Horror, if you’re not aware, means “an intense fear of fear, shock, or disgust.”

When it comes to horrors stories there are five main things you will find:

  1. They deal with wicked or malevolent characters, phenomena, or deeds.
  2. They cause feelings of disgust, fear, or shock, and a sense of uncanny. This means that things aren’t always what they seem. There is a strong sense of the unknown.
  3. Horror stories will cause intense emotion, environments, tones, and moods.
  4. They have shocking and/or scary story revels and plot twists. All of the evil characters are very, very real.
  5. Readers are immersed in the macabre.

So how can you convey these five things in your writings? Here are six tips to help you.

Strong, Pervasive Tone

Mood and tone are the two elements that create the feeling of your story. The right mood and tone can cause the reader’s spine to tingle before any of the characters have done anything dangerous.

With horror, the frightening and dark tone is typically how most writers go. Making things that shouldn’t move, the move adds a frightening tone. Write a scene that most people aren’t going to want to actually live.

Read A Lot of Horrors

No matter what kind of genre you like to write in, you have to read a lot of books in that genre. While you are reading, you can take notes to see how those writers evoke feelings of disgust and fear. Some great horror authors include Stephen King, H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allen Poe, and Bram Stoker.

Give Bad People Good Motivation

The bad people in your stories should never be doing things “just because” they can. That’s boring. Give them a really good reason as to why they are getting ready to hurt people. Reveling their reasoning can be part of the mystery as well

Use the Importance of Tragedy

The best way to write horror is to implement tragedy. The best stories will have tragedy as a character flaw seen through stupid choices and missteps. These basics of tragedy have become so obvious is nearly cliche. It’s those moments where you’re screaming “Don’t go in there stupid” because the character is oblivious to their own personal danger.

The important thing is to remember that all the horror-filled scenes all depend on character flaws. They wouldn’t be in their scary situation if they hadn’t made the decision to walk into the woods alone or run to the attic where there is no escape to get away from the serial killer.

Tap Into Human Fears

An easy way to make sure you arouse fear in your readers is to use some of the most common fears out there. Things like the:

  • fear of animals
  • fear of flying
  • fear of the dark
  • fear of heights
  • fear of another person’s unknown desires
  • fear of ugly or disorienting environments

Think of how you can use these types of situations in your stories to evoke a more natural fear in your readers.

Terror VS Horror

Both of these things have their place in horror stories, but you need to know the difference. According to the Oxford dictionary, terror means “extreme fear.” Horror means that you are also causing disgust and surprise. This means that horror should not only have extreme fear but a sense of surprise and revulsion. Here’s a quote from Stephen King:

I’ll try to terrify you first, and if that doesn’t work, I’ll horrify you, and if I can’t make it there, I’ll gross you out. I’m not proud.

There you have it. Try these tips the next time that you decide to write a horror story.

Before you go, check out these links and purchase the first two copies of Millhaven’s Tales.

Get Millhaven’s Tales of Wonder here

Pre-order Millhaven’s Tales of Suspense here

Pre-order a double pack with Millhaven’s Tales of Wonder and Suspense here

Seven Steps to Writing a Short Story

Writing a short story can seem a daunting task. Feeling as if you have to get an entire story into a certain amount of words can be scary. I feel ya. I had written a full length book before I ever tried to write a short story. You would think since it’s a short story it wouldn’t be as hard to write, but something about it feels you with dread and despair.

Chances are, the way you write your short story will change each time. But there are some patterns for short stories that you can follow. I’m going to talk you through the seven steps to writing a short story.

First, let’s look at the three requirements for short stories.

First, you will need about 10 to 20 hours to work on the story. Everybody writes at a different pace, and the length of short stories can vary from 500 to 5,000, so there isn’t an exact time.

Secondly, you’ll need an idea. The seven steps assume that you already have an idea.

Lastly, writing devices and utensils. You can’t very well write if you don’t have a way to write.

Here are the seven steps to writing a short story:

  1. Write out the basic story in a single sitting

This may sound like a crazy step, to tell you to write a story, but there are two types of stories. The short story, which is complete with characters, plot, and descriptions. And a funny story that you tell your friends.

This first step is writing out the shorted, quick version of your story that you would tell a friend. It’s not about all the action, just the quick nitty gritty information.

This needs to be done in a single sitting. Just spew out the story. Don’t worry about all the little details.

2. Find the protagonist

Once you have spewed out the story, ignore your feelings about it, and start looking at the details. Read through what you have written, and find the protagonist. You may think you know who your protagonist is, but it can be a bit tricky.

The protagonist doesn’t have to be the narrator, and they may not even be the good guy. The protagonist is the person that makes the story move forward. They’re the one that holds everything together.

3. Create the perfect first line

That first sentence is what keeps people from setting your story down and walking away.

Here are five ways to create that perfect first line:

  • Invite the reader in
  • Surprise them
  • Establish your voice
  • Be clear
  • See if your story can be told in a single sentence

4. Break it up into a scene list

All stories are made up of a series of scenes that take place at a certain time a location. Creating your scene list will help to keep your story organized. Don’t feel like you have to stick perfectly to your list, but it’s there to help.

5. Now you can do research

You probably want to do this first. Get as much info as you can get so that you can feel your story with a bunch of detail. The problem is that it can distort your story, which could drive you crazy.

Some writers don’t do any research, which isn’t good either.

Right about now is a good time for research. You know what your story is going to consist of, and now the research can help you add in details.

6. Write, edit, repeat

Now that you have everything you need for your story, you can start to write it. The actual process of writing your story is yours to do as you will. Everybody is different, and I can’t tell you how to do it.

7. Publish

Your story isn’t done until others can read it. That was the point of writing in the first place, right? This can be the hardest and scariest part, but there are lots of different ways to achieve this. You have to put yourself out there, but you’ll feel good once you do.

Now you have the seven steps to writing a short story. Make sure that you continue to practice your writing. Practice makes perfect.

If you’re looking for something new to read, check out Millhaven Press and grab your copy of the first ever Millhaven’s Tales of Wonder. It’s the first issue. Get it here.

You never learn to write a novel. You learn to write the novel you’re on.

-Gene Wolfe

Millhaven’s Tales of Wonder

This is going to be a short and sweet post. As you all know, one of my short stories has been published in Millhaven Press quarterly journal. Volume one, issue one of Millhaven’s Tales of Wonder was released on April 1st and will be available through June. All the short stories in this issue are fantasy or sci-fi, so if you like those kinds of stories, I’m sure you will enjoy this.

There are several amazing short stories in this issue that I’m sure you all will love. It only costs $9 for a paperback version and you can get a Kindle version for just $2.99, or free if you have Kindle unlimited.

You can purchase the paperback on the Milhaven website here.

If you want to buy on Amazon’s you can get it here.

Unlike a lot of publications that pay their contributors a flat rate when their stories are accepted, Millhaven pays their writers through royalties. This means what we make is directly affected by how many copies are sold, so please share with your friends and family.

I also posted earlier this month that another short story of mine will be published in the second issue of Millhaven’s journal. The second issue will be mystery, crime, and espionage stories. I’m also working on another short story that I’m going to submit to for their third issue, which will by horror and dark fantasy.

Get in on the Millhaven train. It’s changing the way we read. I love what they are doing, and the fact they are trying to recreate a tradition from the past. If you want to stay up-to-date with what’s going on with Millhaven, like their Facebook page.

Remember: share, share, share.

I’m Getting Published!!!!!

I recently submitted my short story Awaiting Fate to a new independent publishing company called Millhaven Press. It was accepted and now I am just waiting for the first issue to come out.

When I say that they are new, I mean NEW. This is literally their first issue. They are a quarterly publication and each issue had a different theme. The first theme is fantasy and science fiction, so if you are into those types of stories you should definitely get a copy.

They also have some other books that you can buy on their website as well. I am extremely excited about this, and I hope that the publication does well. That is why I am doing my best to help them out by sharing the issue on all of my social media outlets, and writing this post.

Right now, the first issue is available for pre-order. It is only $9. Once April 1st rolls around, you will get your copy. They also have some bundle packs that you can get as well. Check out their website with the link above, and make sure you pre-order your copy here.