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Short Fiction, Flash Fiction, and excerpts from longer works.

In Writing the book Strange Hunting, I did a lot of research. In fact, more than one reviewer has mentioned the amount of research that went into my book. In doing that research I relied on many sources.

The second chapter, I Rabas, starts off in a remote village in Mali, West Africa. The main character, Berk Willis, and his father are later hired to protect a camel caravan that goes into the Sahara Desert, meeting bands of nomads, Tuareg tribesmen, and desert bandits along the way. Setting the story in Mali had a few advantages, first I knew a few people who had visited there and a few who were born and raised there. I was able to pick people's brians, study their photos, and watch their videos. Second, I had always wanted to go there and had studied some of its cultural traditions of drum and dance and related rituals. I had collected a fair amount of information on Mali in hopes I would visit one day. Lastly, Mali was the perfect setting for the story I wanted to tell. The place had to be remote, difficult, and it helped that it was populated with a diversity of people each with their own traditions, stories, and myths.

Here are some images I found that helped me create the second chapter of Strange Hunting.



This first photo is of a person from the Fulani, or Fula, tribe in Mali. They are known for their unique conical hats, their jewelry and other accessories, and the dark dyes often used to make their mouths black. Yellow face paint is commonly used by the Fulani for certain occassions.

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I've recently written two different book reviews for a site called Horror Novel Reviews.  "Hekura" by Nate Granzow is equal parts action and intrigue with some twists. It takes place in the jungles of South America. I gave it 4 of 5 stars, you might even give it more.

Check out the review here


The second review is for a book called "Specimen: A Novel of Horror". It's a horror story with lots of action. There are a ton of characters to follow in various time frames and locations, but it all comes together in the end. The kindle version has a lot of editing errors, but not a bad book. 3.5 out of 5 stars. The full review is here.



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For Strange Hunting fans, here's an extra chapter. Berk Willis travels to Algeria where he finds warlords, witchcraft, and hungry hyenas. Here's the story, in his own words.

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So here's what's new on the writing front. I had a number of short stories that I thought were pretty decent, and decided to polish up a few and send them out. I sent out three. Since they were my first submissions, and since I've read about how beginning fiction writers get a ton of rejections and very few accepted, I expected the worst. To my surprise, one was rejected and one is being published on a website. Honestly, I thought the one that was rejected was much better than the accepted one. I'll send the rejected one to some other sources where hopefully I'll have better luck. As for the one that was published, it was a work of flash fiction (<1,000 words) that I entered in a contest. The contest is open until the end of July, so I won't know for a while where it placed, but they did think enough of it to publish it on their website (anotherealm.org under 'contest'). I'll polish up a few others and send them out. It's good for me right now to start understanding the specific formatting that different magazines require. Each of the three sources I sent short stories to had different requirements. The magazines/contests/websites don't pay much, but it's good to get some work in front of professional editors. I'm hanging on to some of my better short stories for now. Some day I might put them in a collection of my own and publish them. Who knows?

I have a manuscript that's in the editing phase. i usually edit the entire manuscript 2 or 3 times with a different emphasis each time. In early revisions I'm looking at major errors, things that don't make sense, plot weaknesses and general grammar and syntax. In the next one I might be more focused on voice and point of view and making sure they're consistent, though I'm always looking at selling and syntax. In another edit I'll try to improve the flow and the rhyhtm of the writing, or find a better way to say things. After two or three edits, I send it to a friend who goes over each chapter with a fine-toothed comb and finds a lot more mistakes. She sends them back and I add those changes into the master copy. When all the chapters have been edited by both of us, I'll read through the master copy a few more times to make sure everything is cohesive. Hopefully by the end of the year I'll have my manuscript to a point where I can decide how to publish it. Send it out to traditional companies? Self-publish? e-book? I have a program that can format the manuscript in different ways for these different options. I have some ideas on which way I want to go, but I don't have to decide that just yet.

Besides formatting/sending short stories and editing/sending/receiving chapter re-writes, I've started on another long story. Don't know where that story will go yet, but I think it's going to be a full-length novel. We'll see. Right now I'm just trying to keep an eye on how it runs and where it goes, and I'm trying to keep up with putting some of it down on paper. 

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