Mark Edward Hall

The Official Website of Author Mark Edward Hall

SOUL THIEF NOW AVAILABLE IN PRINT

Posted in Misc. on April 16th, 2014

Just a little bit of news.

As the headline states, Soul Thief, the second book in the blue light series is now available in print. It’s a nice small size, not too heavy, just right for those summer beach reads.

Also, the kindle edition is on sale for just .99 through Sunday the 20th of April. Hope you decide to check it out for a one time low price.

A Couple More Updates
First, for those who might be interested in my writings other than the Blue Light Series, come August, I will have the rights to my novel The Haunting of Sam Cabot back from my publisher, Damnation Books. Working with Damnation Books has been nothing short of a nightmare for me and I can’t wait to regain control of my work so that I can offer my loyal readers the kinds of promotions that have made my independent titles so successful. Next year I will regain control of both The Lost Village and the Holocaust Opera. Yay!
In the meantime, The third novel in the Blue Light Series, On the Nightwind is still not finished, but close. I will let you all know when it becomes available. I’m thinking perhaps I’ll run some sort of initial free promo.

Thanks and be well,

Mark

Share Subscribe

Here’s What I Know: A reprint From J.A. Konrath’s Blog

Posted in Misc. on March 19th, 2014

Here’s a great blog post for writers reprinted from J.A. Konrath’s blog, A Newbies Guide to Publishing. Joe isn’t one to mince words. If you’re an independent writer/publisher there’s a lot of value here.

Here’s what I know, by J.A. Konrath

Be self-aware.

Be deliberate.

Don’t be a pinhead.

Publishing is a business. Writing is an art. You may not enjoy the business, but you definitely should enjoy the art.

This is a marathon, not a sprint.

Read the contract before you sign it. Twice. Three times. Then have your lawyer read it.

The secret to happiness is what you give, not what you get.

No one owes you a living.

Success may involve talent and hard work, but it always involves luck. Talent and hard work may improve your luck.

Ebooks are forever. Forever is a long time to get noticed.

There’s a word for a writer who never gives up… published.

Denial is a powerful opiate.

Be kind, be generous, be helpful, and be careful.

If you’re selling eggs, don’t piss off your chickens

When you’re learning how to walk, you don’t take classes. You don’t read how-to books. You don’t pay experts to help you, or do it for you. You just keep falling until you learn on your own.

Before you make the key, study the lock.

People would rather fight to the death to defend their beliefs than consider changing their minds.

It’s about what you have to offer, not what you have to sell.

A sense of entitlement is never acceptable. No one deserves anything.

What are the last ten books you bought, and what made you buy them? Use those techniques to sell your books to other people. Do what works on you.

Hard work trumps talent. Persistence trumps inspiration. Humility trumps ego.

Praise is like candy. We love it, but it isn’t good for us. You can only improve by being told what’s wrong.

Your book is your child. You can’t recognize its shortcomings, any more than a proud parent could consider their child dumb and ugly.

The experts don’t know everything, and they might not know what’s right for you.

Fate is a future you didn’t try hard enough to change.

Anyone looking for you can find you. Get them to find you when they’re looking for something else.

Less expectations, more work.

Life gives you wonderful opportunities to conquer fears, learn skills, and master techniques. “”I don’t want to” isn’t synonymous with “I can’t”.

People seek out two things: information and entertainment. Offer them freely, and they’ll come to you.

The Internet isn’t temporary. What you post today can lead people to you decades from now.

If writing is your profession, act professional.

Stop Googling yourself.

No one said it would be fair, fun, or easy. But it can be worthwhile.

We’re all in the same boat. Start rowing.

If you can quit, quit. If you can’t quit, stop complaining–this is what you chose.

There are a lot of things that happen beyond your control. Your goals should be within your control.

Write when you can. Finish what your start. Edit what you finish. Self-publish. Repeat.

The most successful people on the planet have one thing in common: nothing can stop them. Don’t expect to reach your goals without sacrificing things that are important to you.

Being your own best advocate is about understanding how people react to you.

Fake confidence, and real confidence follows.

Maybe you can’t win. But you sure as hell can try.

Don’t write crap.

Always have two hands reaching out. One, for your next goal. The other, to help people get to where you’re at.

If you can’t be smart or funny, be brief.

Don’t ever say anything online that you wouldn’t say in person.

If you’re not in love with the sound of your own voice, how can you expect anyone else to ever be?

Knowing you’re not original is the first step in becoming unique.

People aren’t carved out of marble. We’re all works in progress. The trick is to define ourselves, rather than let outside influences define us.

Don’t prioritize the mundane.

Writers are essential. Readers are essential. Publishers are not.

Stop thinking if. Start thinking how.

The more you fail, the closer you are to success. If you don’t have success, you haven’t failed enough.

Envy, jealousy, guilt, regret, shame, and worry are all useless emotions. Focus on love, patience, tolerance, and forgiveness.

There should only be a few people in your life whose opinion matters. The opinions of everyone else do not.

One of the greatest journeys in life is overcoming insecurity and learning to truly not give a shit.

If you’re reading this blog, you aren’t writing. Get back to work.

Share Subscribe

SOUL THIEF AUDIO BOOK GIVEAWAY

Posted in Blog on February 23rd, 2014

My audio publisher, ACX, and I are giving away 10 audio book copies of my new novel Soul Thief: A supernatural Thriller. (The Second Book in the Blue Light Series.)  Each audio book is a $24.95 value and read by the talented Clifton Satterfield.

The ten winners will be randomly chosen by Random.org.

Leave a comment or question on this post (or just drop in and say hi) by Friday Feb. 28 at 8:00 p.m. EST to be entered into a drawing to win. Please make sure to leave your name and e-mail address with your comment so that I can send the winners the redeeming numbers.

Those who sign up for my mailing list/newsletter should leave an extra comment for twice the chance of being chosen. The newsletter link is in the sidebar just to the right of this post.

And don’t forget to add your name and email address.

I will announce the winners the day after the contest closes.

Thanks and good luck.

Below is the book jacket description for Soul Thief

The Brotherhood of the Order is one of the oldest and most mysterious organizations on earth. Its primary mission is to protect one of the most carefully guarded secrets in human history, an object so enigmatic and powerful that in the wrong hands it could wreak havoc upon the earth. In the right hands it just might have the power to save humanity from its own destructive impulses.

Doug McArthur, hit in the face by a young friend at the age of seven, is suddenly able to see a supernatural creature who calls itself Collector. Doug’s life is turned upside down when he realizes that it’s not just the creature he sees, but the atrocities it commits.

Since marrying Annie his visions have been quiet and Doug is grateful. Now Annie is pregnant with their first child – a child that promises to be special – and their world is in the process of coming apart, beginning with the destruction of their home and forcing them to run for their lives, back into the world of Annie’s childhood, the De Roche dynasty, to a murdered mother and a cruel and enigmatic father.

Doug, whose love for Annie borders on the obsessive, has a deep and abiding hate for her father. He is nearly insane with grief over their plight, but soon finds that De Roche is the least of his worries when he begins to hear the pleading voice of a lost child that he cannot possibly save.

And then, in the midst of Annie’s mother’s funeral, Doug is given a strange artifact, along with a dire warning by a dying priest. He must leave Annie and his unborn child and begin a sojourn into the darkest regions of the human heart.

In his attempt to save his wife and unborn child, Doug finds that there is much more at stake than the lives of two people, perhaps the very salvation of the human soul.

Soul Thief is the second audiobook in the Blue Light Series, a supernatural thriller that will keep you guessing until the stunning conclusion.

Share Subscribe

Boxed Set: First Two Novels in the Blue Light Series

Posted in Misc. on November 26th, 2013

Share Subscribe

The Collector, one of the main characters from my new novel, SOUL THIEF

Posted in Misc. on November 25th, 2013

Share Subscribe

Soul Thief is Now Available

Posted in Misc. on September 17th, 2013

Soul Thief is now available in the Kindle store.  It is the second novel in the Blue Light series. The first novel is Apocalypse Island. Although Soul Thief is a stand alone novel, it would be best if you read Apocalypse Island first.

Here’s a description of Soul Thief:

The Brotherhood of the Order is one of the oldest and most mysterious organizations on earth. Its primary mission is to protect one of the most carefully guarded secrets in human history, an object so enigmatic and powerful that in the wrong hands it could wreak havoc upon the earth. In the right hands it just might have the power to save humanity from its own destructive impulses.

Doug McArthur, hit in the face by a young friend at the age of seven, is suddenly able to see a supernatural creature who calls itself Collector. Doug’s life is turned upside down when he realizes that it’s not just the creature he sees, but the atrocities it commits.

Since marrying Annie his visions have been quiet and Doug is grateful. Now Annie is pregnant with their first child—a child that promises to be special—and their world is in the process of coming apart, beginning with the destruction of their home and forcing them to run for their lives, back into the world of Annie’s childhood, the De Roché dynasty, to a murdered mother and a cruel and enigmatic father.

Doug, whose love for Annie borders on the obsessive, has a deep and abiding hate for her father. He is nearly insane with grief over their plight, but soon finds that De Roché is the least of his worries when he begins to hear the pleading voice of a lost child that he cannot possibly save.

And then, in the midst of Annie’s mother’s funeral, Doug is given a strange artifact, along with a dire warning by a dying priest. He must leave Annie and his unborn child and begin a sojourn into the darkest regions of the human heart.

In his attempt to save his wife and unborn child, Doug finds that there is much more at stake than the lives of two people, perhaps the very salvation of the human soul.

Soul Thief is the second novel in the Blue Light Series, a supernatural thriller that will keep you guessing until the stunning conclusion.

Look for On the Night Wind, the third book in the Blue Light Series, scheduled for publication in 2014.

Share Subscribe

Cover for Soul Thief, my brand new novel which will be available in a couple of weeks

Posted in Misc. on August 3rd, 2013

Share Subscribe

Serious problems with Damnation Books, publisher of three of my titles

Posted in Blog on May 14th, 2013

Below is a blog I wrote in response to my friend Tim Marquitz’s blog concerning problems with our mutual publisher, Damnation Books. For the original post by Tim and my reply click on the link and it will take you to Tim’s blog. http://tmarquitz.com/blog/?p=1227

I feel for Tim and his plight. I too have a pending suit against Damnation Books. Out of ignorance I gave up three of my titles to them in 2009, not realizing that they were an author mill and that they didn’t really care about working with individual authors. From the beginning there was no interaction. The kindle formatting was atrocious and when I asked to have the formatting corrected I was told by Kim Gilchrist that because I asked I would be put at the end of the line. Three years later and the formatting still hasn’t been corrected. It’s embarrassing that my name is on those books. The entire text of The Lost Village and The Holocaust Opera is totally in italics. Hello! If you want to have a good laugh click on the links to those books and see for yourself. Reviewers have pointed out the formatting issues but the lazy publisher still hasn’t corrected it.

Out of frustration, and using the terms of their own contract, I legally obtained the rights to The Haunting of Sam Cabot back when DB refused, for whatever reason, to upload the nook version to Barnes and Noble. After going through the proper legal steps per their contract I asked DB to take the book down from Amazon. When I got no response I uploaded a new clean copy with my own publishing imprint. DB subsequently contacted Amazon and said that I was in breach of contract. When I explained that I had legally gotten my rights back Amazon told me that contracts aren’t their problem and that DB was the publisher of record. They subsequently pulled my copy and warned me that stealing other publishers work was a crime.

That was the last straw. I now have a lawyer and I don’t just want my rights back anymore. That would have been fine by me if DB had just played fair. Not anymore. Now I’m suing for damages. They have damaged my reputation and they will pay. I guarantee it.

Please, if you are a writer looking for a publisher, heed these warnings. Don’t do business with these awful people. But don’t take my word for it, check their rating on Preditors and Editors and see for yourself.

Share Subscribe

Successful promo April 4th-8th. Apocalypse Island.

Posted in Books on March 26th, 2013

Great Promo for, Apocalypse Island Gave away almost 70,000 copies and have sold a ton of copies since the promo ended. Couldn’t have asked for anything more.

Thanks to all who helped make this a whopping success!

Product description:

A small Maine city has turned into a killing ground.
Is it a serial killer, someone with a penchant for the macabre and a need to destroy?

Or is it a darker force, an ancient legend from a mysterious Island come ashore to wreak havoc upon the unsuspecting?

Amid the backdrop of Portland’s burgeoning night scene, Police Lieutenant Rick Jennings discovers that no one is safe, and that evil has many faces.

Extended Description:

Danny Wolf, a gifted musician with alcohol problems is witnessing brutal murder in his dreams. Someone is carving a cross on each of the young female victims before crucifying them.

Newly released from prison for a crime he did not commit, Wolf is having trouble adjusting to civilian life. He believes the dreams are a symptom of his adjustment until he discovers that they are real and that the victims are his own groupies. He soon begins to doubt his sanity. Could he be a homicidal madman?

Wolf has no memory of his early childhood but discovers that he spent his first eight years in a Catholic orphanage on a mysterious island off the coast of Maine. Is it possible that his early life and the murders are somehow connected?

Soon the killings become more bold and gruesome, as members of the church begin to die.

Enter Police Lieutenant Rick Jennings and his young assistant Laura Higgins. They discover a government conspiracy involving the Catholic Church, and a cold war CIA mind control program known as MK-Ultra where children were used as test subjects.

Danny Wolf becomes the main suspect in the murders, but no one, not even Wolf, is prepared for what they discover on Apocalypse Island, a mind blowing secret that was supposed to stay hidden forever.

Apocalypse Island is a fast-paced thriller that will keep you guessing until the shocking conclusion.

Share Subscribe

One Writer’s Journey: Adventures in Publishing

Posted in Blog on February 3rd, 2013

This sounds strange to most people when I talk about it, but I have never pursued a traditional book deal. I mean that. Never in my life. I sent my first novel, The Lost Village, (along with four-hundred dollars) to the Scott Meredith Literary Agency in New York in about 2001. A nice editor got back to me and commended me on the ambitiousness of my novel, said I was a promising writer and that The Lost Village was actually a great book, but, no one would publish it because it was too long. 258,000 words. He told me there wasn’t a publisher in the land that would touch a first time author with a book of that length. He qualified that and said that if I was a celebrity author like King or Patterson it would be fine, no problem, I could publish my laundry list and it would sell. But I wasn’t King or Patterson, I was an unknown. And publishers wanted nice tidy little eighty to one-hundred-thousand word books from unknown authors. Please send something else along that’s at a more appropriate length, (along with another four-hundred bucks, by the way).

Well, that was that, thank you very much. I never sent another thing to that agency or any other agency for that matter. Maybe I’ve got a thin skin, but I was no longer interested in what literary agents had to say. I was keenly aware of the statistics, of how many manuscripts ever made it to an editor’s desk. One writer friend of mine had been rejected so many times he was on the verge of suicide.

So, I did the unthinkable. Way back in the dark ages before kindle and nook and all those other reading devices we now take for granted were invented, I decided to self-publish my magnum opus. This was before Amazon or any of the other booksellers were selling e-books. If you wanted to self-publish a book you needed to go through one of those “vanity” presses that charged for services. So that’s what I did. I brought The Lost Village out in hardcover and trade paperback and sold downloadable copies from my website to those who were willing to read an enormous book on their computer screens. The book actually came out pretty well. It was formatted nicely, had a good cover. I signed up with the New England Horror Writers, did some group signings, made some friends, and, to my amazement, the book began to sell. Before long I was receiving some nice reviews from fellow authors as well as readers, and low and behold I found out that several ‘respectable’ authors with ‘real’ published books had recommended to the HWA (the Horror Writer’s Association) that The Lost Village be nominated for a Bram Stoker Award.

But of course it wasn’t nominated. Back then, and even now, the HWA has a very hard time recognizing anything self-published. They love their legacy publishers, and if your work isn’t sanctioned by one of them, well. They claim they consider all published works, and I believe they do, but it’s been my experience that very few independent books ever get much consideration. No matter, they are for the most part, a good and beneficial organization. But I believe in my heart (and this is just my opinion) that if they continue on their present course they will soon become as irrelevant as bookstores and legacy publishers.

The Lost Village sold well without the benefit of being sanctioned by a legacy publisher, or being recognized by the Horror Writers Association.

In the meantime I wrote several other books and was doing okay publishing short stories in various magazines and anthologies.

Then, a little more than three years ago, on invitation, I sent my novella, The Haunting of Sam Cabot to a brand new small press publisher, Damnation Books. Now this is the important part. Are you listening? It was the first time in my writing life that I had ever sent a manuscript to a book publisher. You heard me right. The very first time. At the time, Kindle was a brand new concept and I had never heard of it. Damn my error. Well, I heard right back from Damnation Books that they wanted to publish my book. Wow! First time. Couldn’t believe it. They subsequently published two more of my books including The Lost Village. I signed five year contracts with each of those books. I wish I never had. It was just about the time Kindle exploded on the scene and I was suddenly tied down to a publisher who priced my books much too high to sell well on Kindle. And oh my lord, the formatting! It was atrocious. To their credit, some of the formatting issues have recently been straightened out, but if you check sample versions of both The Lost Village and The Holocaust Opera you will see that the text of both books is entirely in italics. E-gads! And, to my utter chagrin they priced the Kindle version of The Lost Village at $9.95. Celebrity authors can get away with selling e-books at that price, unfortunately nobody else can. Try telling that to my publisher. I know in my heart that if it had been priced at $2.99 or even $3.99, where it should be, it would have been a Kindle bestseller by now. I begged and pleaded with my publisher to just try it but they wouldn’t budge. Too bad for them because they have lost me as an author. I am presently in the process of obtaining the rights back to The Haunting of Sam Cabot. The other two will be next. It’s going to take some legal wrangling, but it will happen. Not that they should care, They have what seems to be a massive stable of authors now, most of which seem quite satisfied to earn 17.5% of the list price instead of the 70% they could earn as independents. Go figure. I guess for some the prestige of having a REAL publisher outweighs everything else including earnings.

Since then I have self-published a collection of shorts for kindle Servants of Darkness that’s been doing very well for a collection (Collections aren’t supposed to be good sellers) and I’ve published a new novel, Apocalypse Island as well as several other novellas, and a bunch of short stories. Apocalypse Island is doing quite well, and I have a new novel, Soul Thief due out this spring.

So, here I am, right back to square one. I have always been a strong advocate of self-publishing. I fell down once and signed with a “publisher,” but unless I’m offered a huge amount of money and great e-book terms I will never ever do it again. I’m having too much fun on my own.

As I said in a previous post, this is just me. Each writer has to find his or her own path. But if you do choose a publisher, please choose carefully. I feel that my own writing journey is just beginning. The time has never been better for the independent author. Any way you do it takes time and patience. If you decide to self-publish, make sure you have a good book, a good cover and a great description. Hire a good editor and listen to what that person has to say. Once all that is done, make sure the book is formatted correctly for digital publication. You can hire that done at fairly reasonable cost. I’ve learned to do it myself. I’ve learned to do most everything myself, including some of my own cover art. Once it’s ready, put your book out there and promote it until you’re exhausted. With all of those things and a little luck maybe you will become the next Kindle bestseller.

Mark Edward Hall

Share Subscribe

APOCALYPSE ISLAND NOW AN AUDIO BOOK FROM ACX

Posted in Misc. on December 16th, 2012

Apocalypse Island is now an audio book from ACX. It is available at audible.com

Amazon and Itunes

Share Subscribe

THE IMMORTAL BREATH OF LIFE

Posted in Misc. on October 10th, 2012

New cover and title for the updated and extended version of my short story, The Breath of Life (An Egyptian Adventure).

This story became a best seller in the U.K. and a lot of the feedback came from readers who wanted it to be longer. I took their suggestions—and in some cases—demands to heart. Over the course of the past several months I have been working on an extended version. What was once 11000 words has now blossomed to 25,000 and still growing. It should be complete in the next few weeks. In the meantime, here’s the updated cover.

Share Subscribe

THE FEAR: NOW AN AUDIO BOOK FROM ACX

Posted in Misc. on July 11th, 2012

My best selling novella The Fear is now an audio book from ACX. The cover is by my friend Cyrus Wraith Walker and the book is narrated by the amazing Danny Davies.

Share Subscribe

Apocalypse Island Now Available

Posted in Misc. on February 1st, 2012

Apocalypse Island is available on Amazon kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook as well as many other formats including Kobo, Apple and Sony readers. It is also available  in trade paperback. Below you will find a synopsis of the novel.

Thanks for all your support.

SYNOPSIS

A small Maine city has turned into a killing ground.
Is it a serial killer, someone with a penchant for the macabre and a need to destroy?

Or is it a darker force, an ancient legend from a mysterious Island come ashore to wreak havoc upon the unsuspecting?

Amid the backdrop of Portland’s burgeoning night scene, Police Lieutenant Rick Jennings discovers that no one is safe, and that evil has many faces.

Danny Wolf, a gifted musician with alcohol problems is witnessing brutal murder in his dreams. Someone is carving a cross on each of the young female victims before crucifying them.

Newly released from prison for a crime he did not commit, Wolf is having trouble adjusting to civilian life. He believes the dreams are a symptom of his adjustment until he discovers that they are real and that the victims are his own groupies. He soon begins to doubt his sanity. Could he be a homicidal madman?

Wolf has no memory of his early childhood but discovers that he spent his first eight years in a Catholic orphanage on a mysterious island off the coast of Maine. Is it possible that his early life and the murders are somehow connected?

Soon the killings become more bold and gruesome, as members of the church begin to die.

Enter Police Lieutenant Rick Jennings and his young assistant Laura Higgins. They discover a government conspiracy involving the Catholic Church, and a cold war CIA mind control program known as MK-Ultra where children were used as test subjects.

Danny Wolf becomes the number one suspect in the murders, but no one, not even Wolf, is prepared for what they discover on Apocalypse Island, a mind blowing secret that was supposed to stay hidden forever.

Apocalypse Island is a fast-paced thriller that will keep you guessing until the shocking conclusion.

Share Subscribe

My surprise best seller. Don’t ever give up on a story.

Posted in Misc. on January 22nd, 2012

I have three legacy published books. The Lost Village, The Haunting of Sam Cabot, and The Holocaust Opera. Those who read my blog and keep up with my writing activities know by now that I’m sorry I ever went with a publisher. That’s not news but it is truer now and more relevant than ever. There is a post on this blog about how to make money publishing short stories on Amazon. If you haven’t read it you should. Here’s the link. http://www.markedwardhall.com/the-pros-of-publishing-short-stories-on-amazon There are other posts relevant to the independent author as well. And if you are an independent writer and you’re not familiar with Joe Konrath’s blog you need to be.

What I want to talk about today is a little novelette I wrote nearly fifteen years ago entitled The Hero of Elm Street. Now I’m primarily a horror writer. The Hero of Elm Street is not a horror story. It’s a light-hearted little ghost story about love, loss and the power of hope. Not generally my style, but because of my grandmother Luella, who meant a lot to me and was my greatest influence, the story has always been dear to my heart.

Back in the dark ages before kindle and nook and self-publishing (now known as independent publishing.) I sent that little story out to nearly every literary magazine in the country. I didn’t hear back from most of them. I did hear from Yankee. They said they liked it but felt it wasn’t right for them at the time. Yeah, we’ve all heard that before. So I buried the story and pretty much forgot about it.

Well, a year ago I decided to include The Hero of Elm Street in my collection, Servants of Darkness. I knew that it might get lost or overlooked in a collection of primarily dark tales. And I was right. Even though the collection has been selling reasonably well, I haven’t heard many people comment on that individual story.

So, on a whim I decided to put it out as a stand-alone story. I commissioned a cover and a little trailer and published it on Amazon. It sold some copies but nothing to write home about. So then I got the bright idea to include it as part of Amazon’s KDP Select Project and offer it for free for five days. KDP Select allows Prime members to borrow books, but the books also remain for sale. The only caveat: authors who sign up must agree to go exclusive with Amazon for a period of ninety days. I didn’t care. The story wasn’t doing much anyway. What did I have to lose?

250 copies were downloaded in the first three days of the promo and I thought, well, good try but that’s that. Then something amazing happened. Within the next twenty-four hours the story exploded as more than ten thousand copies were downloaded. I was stunned. I started receiving messages and mail and reviews, most saying how much they were moved by the story and thanking me for publishing it. I couldn’t believe it.

It was all very nice but I figured after the free promo ended that would be it. I was wrong. It continued to sell at an alarming rate. And some of my other titles started taking off. I don’t know what happened. I didn’t do anything different with this story. It’s a mystery to me, but a good mystery.

I see now, a week later that it’s slowing down some but still selling briskly. I couldn’t be happier. The point of this post is to encourage writers to never give up on a story. You don’t know what’s going to turn the reading audience on. And when you’re faced with an opportunity to put your work in front of a bigger audience, do it.

Don’t ever give up on a story.

UPDATE

The blog you just read was published on Jan 22nd of this year. As of this date, April 3rd,  my little story has sold nearly nine thousand copies. That’s quite a feat for a short story and at $1.99 a pop that’s a a considerable chunk of change. Some of my other short stories are doing good as well and I’m hoping my new novel Apocalypse Island will find readers.

Publishing short stories in magazines and anthologies is good for the writer’s spirit, but there isn’t much money in it. There hasn’t been in a very long time. Now with the advent of devices like kindle and nook it seems that readers are rediscovering short stories and this has got to be good for both writers and readers.

Mark Edward Hall

Share Subscribe

Apocalypse Island Video

Posted in Misc. on January 5th, 2012

This is the video for my upcoming suspense thriller, Apocalypse island.

Share Subscribe

NEW YEARS EVE

Posted in Stories on December 29th, 2011

As a special New Years treat I am posting my short story, New Years Eve free on my blog until January 2nd. The story is also available as a .99 cent download at Amazon, Smashwords and Barnes & Noble if you would rather read it on one of the reading devices. Enjoy.

NEW YEARS EVE

A Short Story by Mark Edward Hall

“Honey,” Sally whispered, reaching across the seat and shaking him. “Honey?”

Kevin groaned as his head lolled first right and then left against the seat back. “Huh?”

“Did you see that?”

She knew he hadn’t seen it. He’d been sound asleep and snoring.

“See? Wha’?”

“I saw something run in front of the car and duck into the shed.” They’d just returned home from a New Years Eve party where Kevin had gotten totally drunk, it was late and cold and all Sally wanted to do was curl up under the covers of Kevin’s warm bed and get some sleep. But as she’d pulled into the driveway something had dashed through the beam of her headlights and run into the shed. She was so pissed. How many times had she honked on Kevin in the past few weeks to fix the latch on that door? Oh well, it was his house. He could do what he wanted. Now she could see the door blowing back and forth in the wind. She sat with the engine idling, headlights trained on the door. Read more…

Share Subscribe

THE PROS OF PUBLISHING SHORT STORIES ON AMAZON

Posted in Blog on November 18th, 2011

I get asked a lot, mostly by newbies, how I can make money by publishing .99 cent Ebooks on Amazon. First, my .99 cent books are all short stories. I make .35 on a short story that would otherwise be lost in my computer forever. I have twelve of my shorts out there now with more to come and it actually amounts to a tidy bit of extra income each quarter. Most all of my shorts have been previously published, so anything I make on them now is a bonus and welcome extra income. By the way, I also publish these same stories on Smashwords and Barnes & Noble.

All my novel-length works are 2.99 or above. On Amazon you receive 70% of anything priced above 2.99.  On a 2.99 Ebook I receive 2.05. Not too bad when you consider that the stuff I have with a publisher (three books to be exact) only nets me 17.5% of list. The publisher likes to word it as 40% of net, which doesn’t sound too bad when you sign the contract, but in reality it figures to just about 17.5% of the purchase price.

I’m not here to trumpet the virtues of independent publishing over legacy publishing, although I might do that in a future post. Writers have to make up their own minds about what’s best for them. I only know what works best for me. I have two new novels coming early next year and I can tell you this, they will both be independent books. I hire my own editor, commission the cover art from some very good artists, and I’m pretty good at doing the formatting. (Better than my publisher actually) So when you take into consideration the profit difference between doing it yourself and putting it in the hands of a publisher it seems like a no-brainer to me.  I wish I’d thought that way years ago.

By the way, I also offer some of those same .99 cent short stories as a collection entitled, Servants of Darkness, for $2.99. Readers who want to sample my work can buy a .99 cent short and if they like what they read they can buy an entire collection for 2.99. In this digital age I think writers are nuts if they don’t use every opportunity available to them.

Also, I am in the process of offering all of those same short stories on my website for free. Yes, you heard me right, FREE!  If someone wants to save the .99 cent kindle fee and doesn’t mind reading on the computer, they can read my short stories without paying anything. Maybe I’m nuts but I believe it’s the right thing to do.

But to answer the original question: How can you make money by publishing .99 cent Ebooks on Amazon? Just ask John Locke. If you’re a writer and you haven’t yet heard of John Locke, then you’ve been living under a rock. John Locke writes the Donovan Creed book series and he prices all his novel-length books at .99 cents. He sold a million of them in five months and they’re selling at the rate of one every seventeen seconds.

In summary I think the future is very bright for those writers who have the courage to be creative.

———

Mark Edward Hall has worked at a variety of professions including hunting and fishing guide, owner of a recording studio, singer/songwriter in a multitude of rock n’ roll bands. He has also worked in the aerospace industry on a variety of projects including the space shuttle and the Viking Project, the first Mars lander, of which the project manager was one of his idols: Carl Sagan. He went to grammar school in Durham, Maine with Stephen King, and in the 1990s decided to get serious with his own desire to write fiction. His first short story, Bug Shot was published in 1995. His critically acclaimed supernatural thriller, The Lost Village was published in 2003. Since then he has published five books and more than fifty short stories. His new novel, a thriller entitled Apocalypse Island is due out in early 2012.

Share Subscribe

The Nest

Posted in Fiction, Stories on November 13th, 2011

The Nest

By

Mark Edward Hall

The day: cold. November, gray. Vagrant spears of melancholy light piercing heavy overcast, pressing down, stifling.

The house: bright white, an impressionist’s painting; skeletal swamp willows. The river: wide, smooth, reflective, below island’s eternal evergreens.

Obsidian eyes, watching.

The man: hunched, lurking, glasses trained, patient, waiting, moving forward a careful step at time; watching.

“Do you see them, Alden?”

A contemptuous flap of a hand. “Shush! You’ll scare them.” Read more…

Share Subscribe

THE RESURRECTION PIT

Posted in Fiction, Stories on October 31st, 2011

The Resurrection Pit

by

Mark Edward Hall


I like peanut butter and maggot sandwiches.

Christian didn’t care if his little brother did like peanut butter and maggot sandwiches, as long as he came back to him.

The first time Christian was consciously aware of the resurrection pit he was twelve years old and it was three days after Stevie disappeared.

He knew folks died. He knew they went away. That was life in Somerville. Everybody went away eventually. And he knew about wakes and funerals and folks hanging out in Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes crying and eating bland food and toasting the dead with cheap wine and stale beer. Hell, he’d been to enough of them, too many to count.

What he didn’t understand was why they came back.

And why they were never quite the same after they did.

And nobody could ever give him a good answer about any of it.

Shhh, you’re not supposed to talk about these things.

And so he stopped talking about it, but he could never stop thinking about it. They could not make him do that.

His little brother Stevie was ten. They shared a room. They were close.

One night he heard footsteps and loud whispers out in the hallway and Stevie crying, and then it was silent and he knew.

And in the morning Stevie was gone.

Waylon, their father, was making a racket over breakfast, banging pots and pans together. Like he was angry.

Christian’s mother took off when he was five and Stevie was three. Nobody ever said why but Christian thought he knew. When she went away she wanted to stay gone.

Christian carefully searched the house but found no trace of his little brother. Returning finally to the kitchen he stood and watched his father.

“Where is he?”

“Gone,” Waylon said.

“Like Mama?”

“No.”

“Where then?”

Waylon did not answer him. He smiled at the boy but Christian saw that it was a false smile, that his eyes were somewhere else, like they had turned over in his head and only seemed to be looking inward, as if they had been forced to gaze upon something too terrible to confide. Waylon wobbled around the kitchen, whistling tunelessly to himself and making small talk, but Christian was no fool. He knew what had happened to his little brother and he hated his father for not telling him.

“When’s he coming back?”

“Oh, a day or two.”

Christian had friends whose mothers and fathers had died, and he knew kids who’d died in car crashes. They all came back eventually. He had a friend named Leroy Starks who had fallen off a tractor into the blades of a corn harvester.  He didn’t see Leroy’s body but those who did said it was a mess. Three days later Leroy was back at school. His skin looked different; yellow, like puss, and he talked slower, and he walked slower, like he had shit in his pants, and his eyes were dull, like they weren’t really seeing you, and he dug around in his nostrils all the time as if he was trying to scratch an itch in his brain. And he would say stupid things such as: I like peanut butter and maggot sandwiches?  Or: I’m gonna play with my dead puppy when I get home?

Christian supposed it was good to have Leroy back, even if he did say stupid things.

Three days passed and Stevie still hadn’t returned. When he asked his father about it Waylon said, “There must have been a problem. Be patient. Things will play out eventually.”

“What sort of things?” Christian asked.

Waylon looked long and hard at his son before answering. “I suppose it’s time you knew about it,” he said. “You’re old enough.”

“Knew about what?”

“The resurrection pit.”

Christian nodded in understanding. He knew. Somehow he’d always known.

“During the nineteenth century something happened in the woods out behind old man Doggett’s farm,” Waylon explained. “Something hit the ground, made a pretty big crater. Nobody knows what it was but it burned away part of the forest and it never grew back. Couple years later, Doggett’s wife died and he buried her out in the pit. No one knows why he did it and I guess it’s not important. The point is, two days later she came back. She wasn’t exactly the same but she was good enough for old Doggett. She cooked his meals and cleaned his house. So before Doggett died he left instructions to be buried in the pit.” Waylon paused, looking in his son’s eyes. “That was more than a hundred years ago and . . . well . . . you know . . .”

“Yeah,” Christian said, “The Doggett’s are still around.” Christian knew them from church; they both had puss-yellow skin, dull eyes, frozen smiles and blackened teeth. Just like half the people in Somerville. And at school more and more kids were going away and coming back changed. Some ate rotten apples for lunch. Still others dined on insects and dead frogs. Some wore their clothes horribly soiled, inside out; few handed in homework and the teachers seemed not to care.

I like peanut butter and maggot sandwiches.

Waylon hung his head.

“Well why hasn’t anybody come here from away, see why it’s happening?” Christian asked.

“Oh they have,” Waylon said. “You bet they have.”

“Well?”

“They go away and never come back.”

“But what about Stevie?” Christian insisted. “Stevie didn’t just die, did he?”

“No, son, he didn’t. But he’s gone and there are rules.”

“What rules?”

“We’re living longer these days,” Waylon explained. “There’s better medicine, safer cars. If natural attrition doesn’t accomplish the goal then we have to be . . . creative.”

“I hate you,” Christian said.  He got up and left the room, knowing what his father had done.

Six days and nights passed and Stevie still hadn’t returned. And Christian began having dreams; Stevie sidling up to his bed, whispering in his ear, his breath dank, like grave dirt. “I need you, Christian,” his brother implored. “I can’t come home without your help.” But Christian knew that wasn’t the way it worked. Something was wrong.

The dreams continued for nearly a month and when Christian mentioned them to his father, Waylon would just stare blankly at him. When he tried to stay awake, Stevie’s voice went silent.  It was only on those nights where, bested by exhaustion, he would fall into bed only to awaken at the sound of creaking floorboards as something crawled toward his room.  A shape would slither past the doorway and the smell of grave dirt would assault his senses.

“Please, Christian.”

I don’t know what to do, Stevie.

“Yes you do.”

Dad should do it.

“Dad can’t”

Why not?

“Because Mama says you have to.”

Mama? Christian thought.

In a near-trance state, Christian climbed out of bed and, barefoot, followed the dark shape through the fields of autumn-dry corn stalks to the woods behind Doggett’s farm. It wasn’t until Christian reached the crater did he realize his brother had disappeared.

The pit was just as his father had described, a deep bowl-shaped indentation in the earth where vegetation refused to grow. Christian stood on the rim looking down into it. With the harvest moon clear and bright he had no trouble seeing the hundreds of holes where citizens had been buried and resurrected. But why had Stevie been denied? And what did Mama have to do with it?

Christian moved down into the pit until he came to an untouched mound. Something about the look of it troubled him.

He went to his knees and started to dig, thinking of his brother and Waylon’s blank stare, thinking of the kids at school.

I like peanut butter and maggot sandwiches.

He dug in the ground until his fingers bled. In the end, he found only an empty hole in the earth. And in the morning, despite the filth on his feet and the blood on his hands, he wondered if it had all been a dream.

That night the dark shape was back, slithering across the floorboards, beckoning, pleading.

“I need you, Christian.”

I tried last night, Stevie.

“Mama wasn’t ready.”

No! Mama went away a long time ago and didn’t come back. She went away because she didn’t want to come back.

“She’s been waiting a long time, Christian. You’re the only one who can help her.”

Christian left his bed and followed the slithering shape across the dark fields to the resurrection pit.

The hole he’d dug the night before was filled. And he realized why he’d been bothered by it. It couldn’t be Stevie’s grave. It was too big for a kid.

He got down on his knees and, with raw and bleeding hands, proceeded to dig.

When he hit something moist and soft he was careful to dig around it, throwing handfuls of soil up over the rim. He saw the mounds of her breasts first, then a partially decomposed face and thick mats of hair.

“Mama?”

But Mama was already in the process of changing, the decomposition coming loose and sliding away. Beneath, another face was revealing itself, scaly, lizard-like.

Christian gave an abhorrent shudder and crawled out of the grave. Waylon and Stevie both stood at the edge peering in.

The creature in the hole pushed out its dirt-caked snout, its lizard-like eyes opening with moist sounds. The legs scrabbled and broke free. Thick braids of exposed sinew coiled up each of its legs, like cables that bunched and flexed as years of encrusted soil fell away.

The alien came up out of the hole as if on springs. The knobs of her spine were connected to strong plates of muscle. Her arms and legs were stretching even as they twitched with spasms, elongating, the fingers and toes now claws, lizard eyes scanning, landing on Christian.

Christian backed away. “No,” he said.

Waylon and Stevie moved toward him. “Your mother didn’t just go away, Christian. She was chosen.”

Christian continued to back away. “Chosen? What do you mean?”

“She needed a longer gestation period than the rest of us.”

Waylon made a gesture, taking in the entire crater. “You don’t think this was an accident, do you?”

Christian followed his hand and saw that the residents of Somerville had come out to watch. They lined the rim of the crater like guardians staring down at the birth of their queen.

THE END

Share Subscribe

Soul Thief: Chapter Thirty-Seven

Posted in Fiction, Misc., Novels on October 26th, 2011

Chapter 37

Pure instinct had been driving Annie onward for nearly three days now. Her decision to resume her artistic endeavors had come from someplace inside her that she did not understand. The muse was an essential element of her existence that lived almost as a separate force from her normal self. And even though she realized on that same elemental level that she could not stay here at her father’s home, that she would soon have to run, she could not curb the impulse to fill her remaining days here putting paint to canvas. Read more…

Share Subscribe

THE LESSONS OF OUR ANCESTORS

Posted in Blog on October 18th, 2011

I want to tell you about my grandmother, about how wise she was and how she impacted my life. She died a long time ago, the nineteen seventies, in fact, but even after so many years, she still holds influence over my life. Her name was Luella, and she was my mentor. She was a story teller. She was not a writer. She was a chronicler of life’s triumphs and tragedies through the oral tradition. Nothing made her happier than to ‘catch someone’s ear’, as she liked to call it. She lived with us when I was growing up and she captivated me with her stories and her wisdom. Read more…

Share Subscribe

Cover Art For Servants of Darkness

Posted in Misc. on October 7th, 2011

This is the cover art for the print edition of Servants of Darkness. Available through Amazon and many other outlets.

Share Subscribe

Cover Art for APOCALYPSE ISLAND

Posted in Books, Fiction, Novels on August 17th, 2011

This is the final draft for the cover of my new book, a thriller entitled Apocalypse Island. Stay tuned for updates.

Share Subscribe

I will donate $500.00 to First Book Project if my collection Servants of Darkness makes it into Amazon’s top 100.

Posted in Media on April 8th, 2011

Hi all,

I have joined the indie authors First Book Project, a non-profit organization that provides access to new books for children of low-income families. I have dropped the Kindle price of my collection, Servants of Darkness to $1.99 If the book makes it into the top 100 on Amazon’s Kindle sales rank I will donate $500.00 to First Book Project. For those who have not read my stuff, please give it a try and help out a good cause. It’s only $1.99 and I promise you’ll get hours of enjoyable reading. I hope you help me reach this goal.

Here’s a description of the book along with some reviews:

A chance meeting at a cathedral’s demolition site between a suffering young woman and a stranger morphs from unsettling to terrifying when you discover the stranger’s identity. He is simultaneously more and less than he appears.

An injured man lost in the wilderness is haunted by a demon that he might or might not recognize from his past.

From there you are taken on a meandering journey through a skewed world where nothing, not even a lowly can of bug spray, can ever be considered harmless or innocent. Some truly unique takes on dark fiction are offered up, including “Room Number 9,” which any Beatles fan will appreciate while perhaps never looking at John Lennon in quite the same way again.

A collection of thirteen sinister tales. From psychological horror to supernatural suspense to Lovecraftian nightmares, these stories will make you question your own beliefs about sanity and madness.

Includes Hall’s first ever published short story, 1995s “Bug Shot”

Read more…

Share Subscribe

Introduction to The Holocaust Opera

Posted in Misc. on February 21st, 2011

Invisible Toothpicks:

An Introduction to The Holocaust Opera

By, Vince A. Liaguno

Music and horror have always shared a symbiotic relationship. Think of a scary movie and, inevitably, some ominous snippet of soundtrack accompanies the memory. Try and imagine Halloween and not hear the synthesized notes of John Carpenter’s score, or The Exorcist without Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells. Or the menacing chords of composer John Williams’ two-note title theme to Jaws or the screeching violins of Bernard Herrmann’s Psycho score that ushered in Janet Leigh’s showery demise. Music is an essential element to the horror experience, helping to create mood, enhance atmosphere, and foreshadow the imminent terror lurking around every dark corner. It’s as fundamental a sound to horror as the scream itself. Read more…

Share Subscribe

Soul Thief: Chapter Thirty-Six

Posted in Fiction, Novels on February 5th, 2011

Chapter 36

The sound of a ringtone nearly jumped Doug out of his seat. He had been totally unaware that there was a cell phone in the car until that very moment. He searched around and found it beneath the seat, tried to see who was calling but the numbers were blurred. Doug realized that he was weaving on the road. He was in no condition to drive and figured it would be only a matter of time before a cop spotted him. Behind him headlights approached, a horn blared and the car pulled around him, the driver shaking his fist in the air. Read more…

Share Subscribe

New Novelette: The Breath of Life

Posted in Misc. on February 2nd, 2011

My latest book in the Kindle chapbook series has just gone live. It is an 11,000 word novelette entitled The Breath of Life. Hope you check it out. The buyers link in the left-hand column will be active within twenty-four hours.

Here’s a synopsis:

1939, deep in the heart of the Egyptian desert archeologist Winston Smith has made the discovery of a lifetime. An old kingdom Mastaba tomb. But Smith suspects, from the markings on the door, that this tomb contains relics from the period of the new kingdom, the eighteenth dynasty. So begins an adventure that takes Smith deep beneath the Egyptian desert, while on the surface a storm is kicking up and a child is about to be born. As each adventure unfolds simultaneously and at breakneck speed the reader is taken along on a dizzying thrill ride of wonders and horrors, while elsewhere the architects of the future are making plans for an important arrival.

The Breath of Life is a fun, fast paced thriller steeped heavily in the tradition of the pulp novels of the early twentieth century.

Share Subscribe

Soul Thief: Chapter Thirty-Five

Posted in Fiction, Novels on December 24th, 2010

Hey, boys and girls. This is the the long chapter I promised you, the last of my five chapters in five nights.  From here on out the heat is on for Doug and Annie as they race toward the final confrontation with the Collector and the startling conclusion to Soul Thief.

Merry Christmas. I hope you all have a great holiday season.

Chapter 35

Doug was dreaming of his mother. Since her death he had dreamed of her often, so he was not surprised that he was dreaming of her now. What did surprise him was the nature of the dream. She was standing on the front porch of their new house—a house he had never seen let alone lived in, but in the years following his parent’s death had conjured its splendid image so many times that it had become real in his heart—and she was calling to him as he rode away on his bicycle.

Read more…

Share Subscribe

Soul Thief: Chapter Thirty-Four

Posted in Fiction, Novels on December 23rd, 2010

Five chapters in five nights. Here’s the fourth, chapter 34. Tomorrow night I will post chapter 35, a long bonus chapter. Thanks for reading!

Chapter 34

During the nights that followed the woman religiously came to him. She would stand by his bed and watch him sleep, sometimes for long stretches of time. After a while she would turn his bed covers down, unfasten his night shirt and place the object over his heart, holding it there, sometimes for hours, feeling his heart beat beneath her hand, feeling the intense, almost unbearable heat of the object as it went about its business of healing.

Read more…

Share Subscribe

Soul Thief: Chapter Thirty-Three

Posted in Fiction, Novels on December 22nd, 2010

Five chapters in five days. Here’s the third one, chapter 33.

Chapter 33

In the days that followed, as Doug became stronger, he and Lucy talked at length about the Collector. There were things in Doug’s immediate past that he could not recall and his frustration was growing because of it. His last clear memory was of being shot. He remembered Annie and him being driven from their home; he remembered the terrible confrontation with De Roché and his fight with Annie on the beach and their subsequent reconciliation. He remembered the dinner party, getting drunk and wandering into the forest behind De Roché manor and the things he’d seen there. Read more…

Share Subscribe

Some things that interest me.

Posted in Misc. on August 18th, 2010

I like stories. I like writing novels, novellas, short stories and songs, playing in my band, going to camp.
I like good, edgy, writing, something with meat and teeth. It doesn’t have to be horror, scifi or fantasy; those things are nice but not necessary. It just has to be good. It has to make me think and be in awe.
Read more…

Share Subscribe

Review of The Haunting of Sam Cabot by Dark Discoveries Magazine

Posted in Media on August 13th, 2010

The Haunting of Sam Cabot by Mark Edward Hall.

Set in Davenport, Maine, Sam Cabot and his wife and son get a great deal on a house in what of course seems like a “too good to be true” situation. And of course they soon find out that it is. Hall does a good job of taking a fairly typical plot and giving it a good twist. He builds it up nicely and then pulls the rug out from under you. Reminded me a bit of some of the novels of T.M. Wright.

Recommended.

- Reviewed by James R. Beach, Dark Discoveries Magazine

http://darkdiscoveriesreviews.wordpress.com/page/2/

Share Subscribe

Cover art for The Lost Village

Posted in Misc. on August 8th, 2010

New cover for The Lost Village. Neil Jackson is an extraordinary artist. Thanks Neil.

Click on book cover to purchase.

Share Subscribe

New Interview.

Posted in Anthologies on May 6th, 2010

An interview concerning my latest story, The Fear, which appeared in Lee Pletzers Masters of Horror Anthology.

http://catherinemede.wordpress.com/2010/05/05/interview-with-mark-edward-hall/

Share Subscribe

The Holocaust Opera. First time as an ebook.

Posted in Novels on March 26th, 2010

My 2005 supernatural thriller The Holocaust Opera is available for the first time ever as a Kindle download. It is now live on Amazon and will be live on Smashwords soon. Just click on the book cover to buy.

Roxanne Templeton moves to New York seeking fame and fortune as a singer. She meets Jeremiah Gideon, a young composer, and is drawn into his web of genius and deceit. She discovers that his music is infected with a deadly virus that dates back to the Holocaust, and to one man in particular, a Doctor Josef Mengele whom the prisoners named The Angel of Death. Roxanne discovers that Mengele has somehow returned from the dead and that he intends to destroy mankind through Jeremiah’s body of infected music.

Time is running out as Roxanne fights to save their souls from the clutches of extinction.

Share Subscribe

Masters of Horror Anthology

Posted in Anthologies on March 15th, 2010

My very long short story, The Fear is one of fourteen stories included in Triskaideka Books anthology, Masters of Horror, edited by Lee Pletzers, Karen Johnson Mead and Robert G. Male.

It is now available on smashwords http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/10948. Will soon  be available as a print edition as well as a Kindle e-book.

Share Subscribe

Dark & Rainy. A great day for writing!

Posted in Misc. on March 14th, 2010
Share Subscribe

Video Trailer: The Haunting of Sam Cabot

Posted in Media on March 10th, 2010

Here’s the video trailer for my latest book…

Share Subscribe

Fun gig last night. Thanks to all those who commented!

Posted in Misc. on March 7th, 2010

It was a great party and the band played well and sounded great.

Share Subscribe