Monday, June 29, 2015

Growing a World (and coupon news)

In the beginning the world was without form…
It really was.
Writing for me is bare bones CREATION. I am not God – not even A god. I think though, when we talk about God making man (that’s non-gender specific, okay?) in his own image, I think the purist meaning of that is that we also are imbued with the ABILITY (and NEED) to CREATE.
There is this germ that comes before it’s a story  – a bare seed with different characteristics depending on the story itself. It might be a piece of futuristic technology, or an idea for an alien, or an interesting picture I’ve seen, or another that’s only in my head. It could be a character who starts talking to me, a turn of phrase (pure poetry or pun), or something that really happened (or sort of.) Just this single element, alone in the formless darkness.
And from there it grows. The technology has to impact something, the alien has to be from somewhere, there are other things beyond the borders of the picture. The character takes a step and sees more of what’s in the room – or wherever else they might be reveals itself. The words continue; the darkness recedes.
It can’t be a story if this doesn’t happen. The longer it is, the more relationships occur, the more things and places and people come into being to feed it, to fill the emptiness that it sprang up in the middle of.
At first there are only hints of an outside world – in short fiction that’s all you need, as if the character is stuck inside a room and doesn’t have to show you the rest of the house. But the longer things go on, the more likely he’s going to remember something about what’s outside the room – maybe even open the door and show the rest of the house, or go even beyond that.
That’s the way writing is for me. I start out in the dark, all by myself, except for this – SOMETHING – that winds up growing a room, or a house or a WHOLE WORLD around it.
I wonder why it never stays just – DARK. Is it because nature abhors a vacuum? It’s probably just because I’m afraid of the dark (well, I AM.) Regardless of the reason, it never does stay that way.
“A Dish Best Served” started with something undefinable on a plate, which had to be on somewhere. In front of someone. For a reason. Where did the tricorn-hatted man in “Past Life” come from? Where were things disappearing to in “Bugging Out”? Each of these expanded from a tiny germ of life into its own mini-world; each surprised me with the way they filled out. All of my stories do.
But they are all nothing compared to “Swordsmaster.” I don’t know if it’s because I said “I think it’s time to write a novel,” but it doesn’t seem to matter where I thought it was going to go – there’s always more detail than I intended or was prepared for. More places. More people.  More plots. More world.
Short fiction was so much less demanding.
Just saying…
Our featured work this week is “Cannabis Alienus ‘alien dope’” (yes - adapted from a brief experience I had after high school – read it and let me know which which part you think was real.) Here’s the link:  
Use coupon code TW56C to save 50% off the list price at check out on smashwords. The coupon is good through July 6th. Enjoy!
“Gladius” will be ePublished this Friday (July 3rd) – follow me on Twitter or Facebook (see links below) and you’ll receive notification AND the opening coupon code once it’s online.
William Mangieri’s writing can be found in many places, including:
Connect with him, go to “William Mangieri’s Writing Page” on Facebook (and LIKE and FOLLOW), at:

On twitter: @WilliaMangieri

Monday, June 22, 2015

Pretending Not To Be Me (And the Latest Coupon)

I’m not a people person.
I say this often (it’s one of my mantras), and some people have disputed it with me, but I think they mistake being personable with being into persons. I tend to keep to myself, and a lot of my time is spent inside of my own head away from other people (the ones that we could all agree are real; of course, all bets are off if I find some real people in there, too) (believe me, you really don’t want to go there.) I spend entirely too much time thinking about… thinking (that’s called intellection) to be a people person.
But I can “do” people – in fact, I sort of fall into them. Sometimes - in public - I  adopt accents as I hear them – and when it happens, I’m generally not aware of it until my wife hits my arm and tells me to stop. If you ever catch me doing this to you (the adopting, not the hitting) please understand that it is NOT a deliberate act.
I’m not sure why it happens; I like to think of myself as being strong-willed (or is it willful?), and I’ve been told at times that I have an over-bearing personality, but maybe I’m susceptible to suggestion. I wonder if that means I should watch out for:
·        Hypnosis (I don’t THINK I’ve ever tried it)
·        Possession (I haven’t SEEN any dead people)
·        Mind control (how would you KNOW if someone was doing that to you?)
I used to act. I enjoyed pretending to be other people (we all pretend while we’re growing up, don’t we), and over the run of a show (generally a couple of months of rehearsals and performances) bits of the characters I was playing would slip into my everyday life and become part of who Bill looked like to other people. This would be confusing to people, particularly those who met me during one character, then saw me change into another. They were never sure who I really was.
Sometimes I’m not sure if I’m sure. It just goes to show, it can be a dangerous world in there – at least if I let other people in. It’s crowded enough as it is.
(and NO, I’m not schizophrenic.) (Why are you saying that?)(Because I don’t want them to get the wrong idea.)
I used to think writing fiction was different from acting, but I’m not so sure anymore. You see, when I acted, I was telling a story to an audience, in the voice of a character in that story. When I write fiction, I’m telling a story to an audience (except they aren’t there when I write it) in the voice of (several) characters in that story.
Look at my books (please.) There are a host of characters in there varying from sweet, passive people to aggressively evil ones, and they all had to come from somewhere. I seem to be able to move from one to the other with ease. Male, female, animal, alien, human, demon, AI, gangster, bartender, old, young, are all crammed in my head and trying to find some way to get out; some of them make it onto the page.
I think I’d be in real trouble if I had Tourette's – imagine if I couldn’t control how and what was coming out. There are so many thoughts running around in my head that I know aren’t my own – how could they be? – they belong to those OTHERS that are in there, too.
So don’t give me a hard time when all I do is burst into song in the grocery store – there are a lot worse things I could be doing if I lost control of them all.
Guess this means I’m more of a people person than I thought.
Just saying…
Our featured work this week is “The Right Idea” (Detective Jimmy Delaney story #3, in which mayoral candidate Mathews promises to clean up Barnstow, and Jimmy wonders what that will do to his business.) Here’s the link:  
Use coupon code BZ29W to save 50% off the list price at check out on smashwords. The coupon is good through June 29th. Enjoy!
“Gladius” is slated for ePublication on July 3rd – more news to come…
William Mangieri’s writing can be found in many places, including:
Connect with him, go to “William Mangieri’s Writing Page” on Facebook (and LIKE and FOLLOW), at:

Monday, June 15, 2015

Swordsmaster Update: The Long and the Short of It and What Rules There Be (and coupon news, of course)

Last week I crossed the 20,000 word mark (out of novelette and into novella territory) on the first draft of Swordsmaster. This being my first attempt at novel length fiction (well, first attempt in over 30 years, but who’s counting? Besides, it’s the same story. I can just see the blurb online now: SWORDSMASTER! OVER 30 YEARS IN THE MAKING!), I thought I’d have another go at sharing what I’m learning about the process – or more specifically, MY process.
You see, there is no approved methodology for creating art – at least not art that’s created by an individual. Collaborations have to be built some sort of organization that the collaborators agree to or nothing will get done, but there are as many ways to create a story as there are authors – more really, because even for one author (at least me, so that’s one author) there are differences between how each of my individual stories make it to term.
There are also no hard and fast rules in writing. There are guidelines and there are costs (Magic has a price, dearie!) You learn what the rules are so that you can evaluate how much you can break them without totally torpedoing your project. And we all break some of them – if we didn’t, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between us. If you want to stand out, you break different ones in different ways, and you hope that you did just enough to catch the reader’s attention, but not enough to make them stop reading.
There is definitely a difference between writing short and long fiction. When writing short, I write a first draft in my chosen writing tool – I use MS Word and take advantage of color highlighting and side comments to keep notes of various things I know I will have to come back and shore up. On a short story, there is so little going on (because it is SHORT), I may need a couple of character or place names, research whether a weapon might work a particular way, but generally there isn’t that much I have to check into, and I’ve already put in almost all the details before I finish the first draft. After this, I make a pass looking for inconsistencies, fill in names, and catch grammar and other mundane issues. I then pass it on to my reader (if I have a reader, that is), or wait 3 weeks or so and make another pass. That’s three drafts total to get to a finished product.
I know there are going to be MANY, MANY passes in writing this novel. I’m pretty good at STORY – it seems to just spill out as I write, but because there is SO MUCH MORE going on, I have decided that I can’t afford to slow down the story in the first pass filling in details. I can see from the notes I’m making so far that completing the first draft is NOT going to mean that I’m almost done. After the first draft, I will have to make a pass to make sure that the story itself works. Multiple passes to fill in details (for example, I can visualize sword-play just fine, but now I will have to describe it with more varied words. All my descriptions will be have to be redone to avoid common word repetition.
There will be passes to make sure that the WAY each individual character speaks and behaves is consistent throughout (possibly a pass for every character who is mentioned more than half a dozen times.) And there’s even the VOICE of the story to check for consistency. This isn’t a problem on a short piece of fiction that I wrote over a couple of weeks – but it will take me at least half a year to make it through the first draft of Swordsmaster; I suspect the VOICE will change multiple times along the way, and I’ll have to pull it all back together.
When I set my goal to write a novel this year, I really didn’t think it through beyond the increase in word count. Well, we live and we learn (or die trying J.)
Just saying…
William’s 5th collection of speculative short fiction (Yet Still Even More Things I Could Get OUT OF MY MIND) is still available with a coupon on Smashwords. (Just saying…) Here’s the link:
Use coupon code XW25A to save 50% off the list price at check out on smashwords. The coupon is good through Sunday, June 21st. Enjoy!
William Mangieri’s writing can be found in many places, including:

Connect with him, go to “William Mangieri’s Writing Page” on Facebook (and LIKE and FOLLOW), at:

Monday, June 8, 2015

The Press Release That Never Was (and Yes, Virginia, There’s a Coupon)

My 5th OUT OF MY MIND short story collection was ePublished last Friday, June 5th. As those of you who’ve been paying attention know, I am not very good at the marketing side of this publishing business, and in these days of eBooks and Indie publishing, it is more important than ever for authors to take control of publishing tasks that at one time were (foolishly?) left to the traditional publishers.
So I was reading Mark Coker’s The Smashwords Book Marketing Guide, and one of the things he suggests is to write a press release, he suggests that you try the free services first (especially when you don’t have any income to justify the expense), and he lists a couple. I wrote my press release and waited until a couple of days before Yet Still Even More Things I Could Get OUT OF MY MIND was to be published to try submitting the press release.
The first service requires that you have an email that is obviously for a company (with its own domain.)  I don’t have anything like that, so I couldn’t join.
It turns out that the second service is NOT free (my fault – I misinterpreted what I read); it costs a minimum of $300 to join, and goes up from there depending on how much you want to do with your membership. Sorry, but Author William Mangieri doesn’t have any justification for that kind of expense – maybe someday, but today is not that day.
So here I am, with a press release that’s all dressed up with no place to go, so rather than waste it, I thought it might be good for some of you to see as a sample (AND THEN it will also still serve its original marketing purpose), so here it is, submitted for your approval (sorry, Rod Serling):

Yet Still Even More Things I Could Get OUT OF MY MIND Comes Available June 5th

William Mangieri’s 5th Collection of Speculative Fiction Short Stories Available and Discounted for a Limited Time

Dallas, TX June 5, 2015 – Dallas speculative fiction author William Mangieri has published Yet Still Even More Things I Could Get OUT OF MY MIND, the fifth of his “Out of My Mind” short story collections.
For a limited time (Friday, June 5  through Sunday, June 21) an electronic
book version of Yet Still Even More Things I Could Get OUT OF MY MIND, normally priced at $5.99, will be available to the public for 50% off at at  by using coupon code XW25A.
The collection includes the following stories: “Mutiny on the Star-Bound”, “Reconcilable Differences”, “New Antiques”, “Dead End Jobs”, “The Re-Entanglement of Grant Decker”, and “Anti-Social”, through which William poses a variety of questions: What is human? Is our memory reliable? What about the past? What comes after? Can we have it all? Will anyone even notice? The stories are also available as separate ePublications online through various retail sellers, including Smashwords at:
About Smashwords
Founded in 2008, Smashwords is the leading distributor of self-published ebooks. More than
60,000 authors, small presses and literary agents around the world publish over 200,000
ebooks through Smashwords. Smashwords makes ebook publishing fast, free and easy.
Smashwords distributes to major online retailers such as the Apple iBookstore, Barnes &
Noble, Sony, Kobo, Baker & Taylor Blio, Page Foundry and the Diesel eBook Store.
Smashwords is based in Los Gatos, California, and can be reached on the web at Visit the official Smashwords blog at
About William Mangieri
Originally from Massachusetts, William Mangieri has lived in the Dallas area well over half his life, so feels he can legitimately claim to be a naturalized Texan. By day he works as an IT Project Manager and exorcises his creative demons by publishing a quarterly newsletter. He has always been interested in writing, but finally started setting time aside for it eight years ago. He writes mostly science fiction, fantasy and light horror, although he also has a detective series. To date he has ePublished 46 short stories and 6 collections (the collections are also available in paperback through CreateSpace at
William Mangieri
author dot firstname dot lastname at
Like it says, my 5th collection of speculative short fiction (Yet Still Even More Things I Could Get OUT OF MY MIND) available with a coupon on Smashwords. (Just saying…) Here’s the link:
Use coupon code XW25A to save 50% off the list price at check out on smashwords. The coupon is good through Sunday, June 21st. Enjoy!
William Mangieri’s writing can be found in many places, including:
Connect with him, go to “William Mangieri’s Writing Page” on Facebook (and LIKE and FOLLOW), at:

Monday, June 1, 2015

Yet Still Even More Things I Could Get OUT OF MY MIND Preview (and This Week’s Coupon)

My 5th OUT OF MY MIND short story collection  is ePublishing this Friday, June 5th (remember – if you like and follow “William Mangieri’s Writing Page” on facebook, at: , you will receive notification when it’s available, AND the coupon code for smashwords.)
As a preview, here's the section that's included at the end of each collection in which I discuss where the stories came from. Enjoy!


This is my fifth OUT OF MY MIND collection, and in each one I have this ORIGINS section to try to give some insight into where my stories come from, or what I might have been thinking (if I was thinking) during their creation. Knowing that I would be doing this for each collection (and ultimately for every story I write), you would think I would have made notes while each was still fresh in my mind.
WELL, HA-HAH! YOU’RE WRONG! (See the skill with which I momentarily throw the failure onto you, dear reader?)
The fact is, as I have become more prolific in my writing, I have also become less conscientious about taking notes. Instead, I am relying on sketchy references and my own faulty memory (everyone’s memory is faulty, as I note below, and yours may be less faulty than mine, but I can’t rely on yours – YOU WEREN’T THERE - so this is the best we’ve got.)
There may be some advantage to “remembering” through the fog of time – there may be more emphasis on where the story wound up than on where I was trying to take it (because let’s face it, in my stories, I am not generally in control of where they’re going, and THEY don’t bother to let me know what THEY’re thinking, either.) This gives me a chance to alter the past (or at least my memory of it) and make it seem like I might have had something to do with where the stories wound up.
All this thinking about thinking (intellection) may be a disturbing place for some, but it’s a  fascinating place for me, so let’s go with it. Here’s what I think I was thinking when these stories were making themselves known to me.
Artificial Intelligence is on its way; I believe it may actually be here already, but it’s not widespread or commonplace as it will be. Just about every invention eventually escapes from its creator (patents only last for so long, and we as humans are always building on the work of others), so it will only be a matter of time before AI evolve beyond what we intend. That’s why there’s “Mutiny on the Star-Bound.” The carnival scene at the start played out like a movie in my head and set the tone nicely for me. I’m particularly fond of Martin Henshaw; when we finally do go into space as we should, it will be down to earth humans like Martin who will make it real.
Memory is very interesting to me – that grey matter isn’t stone, and we all seem to remember things a bit differently from each other, and even from the ourselves of a year ago. All memory is unreliable – it takes some strength to admit this, and some work to compare multiple memories of the same event to weed out the added layers and find out what really happened. If you were the type of person who needed everything to be concrete instead of “grey and squishy” like the brains it’s stored in, you might want to do something to correct those “Reconcilable Differences.”
“New Antiques” was yet another go at a little bit of time travel, but I wanted to play with the mundane wonder of being a kid, having to deal with how fantastic reality can be. I saw this one play out visually like a movie as I wrote.
“Dead End Jobs” is a flash fiction that I planned to write in a somewhat different direction than it wanted to go (I’m not telling where that was, because I still think it would be a good destination if I can force it where I want it to go next time.) It is still related to the original intent, but this one emphasizes the application process rather than the actual job.
I give a lot of thought to dementia and Alzheimer’s. It could be because my wife has an aunt with the latter, or due to hearing of prominent people (Ronald Regan, Terry Pratchet) who have wound up with it. Then again, it’s more likely on my mind because my own memory always seems to be in continuous decline. I wondered about a different, fantastic reason for all the confusion. What if you lost track of which of the infinite alternate realities (and memories) was yours. “The Re-Entanglement of Grant Decker was the result.”
“Anti-Social” came from thinking about how we are losing personal contact as the internet and social media evolve. We’re also creating ridiculous quantities of data. What if in the future all data is transitory - statisticians determined that there will always a copy of anything somewhere (a PC, a server, a phone), so permanent storage becomes obsolete – it’s more efficient if storage moves with use. Some things will disappear, but if it was important it would have been kept. Everything is searched and streamed. The majority of society is this way - socially wired, and open to sharing everything. What happens to someone who falls off the grid? And is this necessarily a bad thing?
As we continue to evolve and invent new worlds for ourselves, we need to remember that we are still human. Try to keep things real.
Just saying…
This week, “My Brother’s Keeper” is our couponed feature (Posession, or just another way of life? You decide…) Here’s the link:
Use coupon code QB72Q to save 50% off the list price at check out on smashwords. The coupon will be good through Monday, June 8th. Enjoy!
William Mangieri’s writing (including his latest ePublication: “#InWhoseReality?”) can be found in many places, such as:
Connect with him, go to “William Mangieri’s Writing Page” on Facebook (and LIKE and FOLLOW), at:
Or on his Goodreads author page: