A blog where Stephanie M. Belser test-drives her fictional stories.
Expect the occasional
"stall, spin, crash & burn".

Monday, December 31, 2012

Plugging Away

I've been working full-time and, as I'm finding out, it's pretty difficult to get motivated to do any writing. I spend much of my day working on a computer, whether it is writing legal papers or researching them. To come home and look at the same word-processing screen is, well, kind of sucky.

But still. I do some.

What I'm not good at is marketing. The Hidden Witness sells about a copy a month from Amazon. I did a "free promotion day" through Amazon and about a hundred copies were snapped up, but they didn't lead to any increased sales. (All you buggers who took advantage of it and then couldn't be troubled to at least drop a nice review, thanks for nothing.)

I'm into the fourth revision of Blood on the Snow. It's kind of depressing, in a way, to pick it up and find typos and crazy phrasing. But that's why I let it sit for months and then go back to it, so I read with fresh eyes and I see what is there, not what I think is there.

And I've been working on first draft of the sequel to Blood on the Snow. That's probably about 60% finished, maybe more, maybe less. This one has more detail about Lena's life and her surroundings. I've also tried to make it seem that she has an active career/job, in that she's working on several things at the same time. Most lawyers with an active practice have a lot of open cases and matters and I expect that most private investigators do, as well. Whether the extra stuff is fluff or necessary detail, well, I'll leave that up to my readers. If I ever have any for it.

Anywho: Happy New Year!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Monkey’s Star

(A flash fiction challenge)

I had settled in for my tour of duty some cycles ago. It was not difficult work to watch the Monkey Planet. The job was mine because of my treatise on the characteristics of emerging species. Based on a statistical and cultural analysis of worlds whose populations had developed space travel, I had developed a framework to use to assess the likelihood of any newly-discovered sentient species developing the ability to interact with the rest of the space-faring civilizations.

It was an analytical system which had stood the test of time. Or it did, until the discovery of the Monkey Planet. They didn’t fit the framework. On the contrary, they seemed to be unsuitable for mastering the technology of fire, let alone space travel. But they had figured out how to make fusion weapons and use the radio spectrum for communications. Now they were venturing from their world to others in their system. They had robotic probes that had left their star system.

Their spacecrafts were exceedingly primitive. They had recently been developing magnetic-plasma rockets. Every other space faring species had developed far better forms of propulsion before they traveled into space. The Monkeys had gone to their nearest neighboring planet with chemical rockets that we regarded as little more than children’s toys.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


There are a lot of people who are writing works of fiction that will never see the guts of an offset press. That's kind of the way it is. Harsh, but true. So it really kind of galls my gizzard that there is a fictional author who is "writing" fiction. Look, I like Nathan Fillion's work. He was great as Capt. Malcolm Reynolds in Firefly/Serenity. But the fact that a fictional author is publishing books? In reality, that's probably not much different from the "Tom Clancy's", "Richard Ludlum's" and now, "Robert B. Parker's" books that are in print. Maybe some of those books are based on notes (or at least grocery lists) written by the real guy. It's bad enough that people who don't read books (Snookie and Dubya come to mind) are writing books. And maybe the "Castle" series is no different from using a pen name. But it feels wrong to me. YMMV.

Monday, July 30, 2012

OK, Yer On.

Dan, I'll take that bet.

I'll let you know if This Dark Earth is as good as he says. Probably is better, knowing what I know of Dan.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Free Day

For today only, The Hidden Witness is free for Kindles from Amazon. Or it should be, if I didn't screw it up.

Consider it a reverse birthday present.

UPDATE: I'm not certain that it is working. Ah, well.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Seven Sentences

Dan O'Shea posted this on his Facebook page:
The rules: The challenge is to post seven lines from an unpublished work of fiction, and most people choose their present Work in Progress. Specifically, you would:

-Go to page 7 or 77 in your current manuscript
... -Go to line 7
-Post on your blog or Facebook page the next 7 lines, or sentences, as they are – no cheating
-Tag 7 other authors to do the same.
I'm not going to tag seven other authors. I don't have seven friends who are writing books. But here is mine, from a work in progress:
There was an address for service of legal papers, which Lena recognized as a law firm in Grover City which made a specialty out of shielding companies from the embarrassment of process servers.

There were a number of filings. One was for a change of name from Together Brethren, Inc., then one to change the company from a foreign corporation to a domestic one, which meant that they had started out elsewhere. They had been a Nevada corporation, which didn’t mean much, as Nevada was not too far behind Delaware for being a corporate-friendly state. The Nevada listing was with another law firm, so that was a dead end.

An Internet search for the Together Brethren pulled down some interesting results. The group was a religious sect which believed in living apart from those they deemed to be non-believers, which apparently meant the other 6.999999 billion people on the planet.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Yeah, Just What I Always Wanted

E-books and Kindle and what not. Dan O'Shea has a good post about that.

Basically, if your dream is to see your loving manuscript in print, well, sucks to be you in the second decade of the 21st Century.