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You unlock this door with the key to imagination…

I’ve had numerous ideas for short stories pop into my head lately. Maybe it’s because I’ve been revisiting the original Twilight Zone (thank you Netflix!), which is like taking a class on how to create weird, suspenseful, and surreal stories that not only entertain, but make you think. Rod Serling was a genius. I don’t really consider myself a short story writer, but I did thoroughly enjoy the process of writing my first two. I’ll stockpile these new ideas and keep them at the ready, to use as motivation to keep writing when words aren’t coming on the novel.
I was at the regular job the other day, creating parking permit resources for Outlook calendar reservations (I know, gripping stuff!) when I thought, “What if you needed a permit to live?” Ah ha! Short story idea. You wouldn’t want to be detained by the authorities without your permit, now would you? I might pursue that one next. Could be my first attempt at something in the realm of science fiction.
Lately I’ve been busy kicking off what I like to call, “Brazen self-promotion, Part Two.” Amazon released the paperback edition of The Spiral a month and a half ago, so I figured it’s time to step up the marketing. I have no idea what I’m doing, so it’s a challenge, but I’m enjoying it. Most recently, I joined a talented group of indie authors at Self Publisher’s Showcase. For a very reasonable fee, they offer some simple ways of gaining exposure. Next week my two short stories will be available free for the Kindle, and they will help get the word out. In only a few days, I’ve gained many new followers on Twitter, which is cool. One of my blog entries is currently featured in their guest blog section. They will also be interviewing me in the next couple of months, which should be interesting. Later this fall they’ll be reviewing The Spiral, which I’m excited about. That will be the first official review of my novel. Oh yeah, and it’s a little scary. In the very near future, I’m also going to be giving away a number of free paperback copies of The Spiral on Goodreads.
So a lot is going on, and the learning curve never stops. Have to get back to the writing though. I think that’s the whole point.
Enjoy what is left of summer. It’s going fast!

About Steve Dullum

Steve Dullum (who is me) lives in Madison, WI, where he frequently picks up the guitar and coaxes stirring melodies from the strings (often it's just noise), rides around on a black motorcycle (frequently gets lost), works in the IT field (official title is "The IT Guy"), collects bark samples from native deciduous trees (it's not as thrilling as it sounds...and may not even be true), and also writes fiction. For the most part he's living the dream (he claims it's more like a dream within a dream). His short story, The Garbage Collector, was awarded an honorary mention in the L. Ron Hubbard's Writers of the Future contest (which isn't quite as impressive as first place, but that's not important right now). Steve (who is still me) enjoys reading many different genres of fiction, as well as non-fiction (and some brochures), but it's suspense that keeps pulling him back to the written word, and it's the genre he most enjoys writing. After dabbling long enough, he one day decided to open a blank Word document and discover if he had what it takes to not only start, but complete a novel. After endless, countless hours of hard work (it was at least six, according to the wall clock), and after even more revisions (eleven hundred and six), and after several title changes (the original title was "Get Up Bubba and Shake 'Dat Thing"), The Spiral was (is) the final result. He hopes that if you take a chance on it (because really, there are so few books to choose from) you'll enjoy it and decide the time you spent reading it was time well spent. If you don't enjoy it, he is unfortunately unable to offer a refund at this time. If he had to pick his most significant influence as a writer, it would be Dean Koontz. He's called a master of suspense for good reason. The most important thing Steve (still me) learned from Koontz is the importance of creating characters that live and breathe, that exist not simply to drive the story, but exist because they are the story. Suspense, horror, humor, sadness...those qualities and emotions work on a gut level only if you care about the characters. If you don't, you're not likely going to care about the story, either. He hopes he's accomplished this in writing The Spiral, and has given you, the reader, a reason to jump in your seat, forget to breathe for a moment, and perhaps even shed a few tears along the way. If that happens, he'll be satisfied with his effort. Ideas for his next novel are germinating at this very moment (well, actually, he's sleeping right now). -Third-Person Narrator (who is me)

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