Short stories for free?!

Yes! It’s true! Check us out at https://www.tiktok.com/@dawnsbrookpress

A few weeks back I posted about our Tiktok channel, and trying to figure out what to do with it. A friend suggested… well, telling stories. And that solution was simple and elegant. After all, I’m a writer, right? So for the last several weeks I’ve begin posting five-part microfiction, one part for each weekday.

You can click the link and view the first three stories so far. I’ve already recorded the next week’s story. It’ll start Monday!

But if you watch them… you’ll notice that they’re… well, they’re stories. That’s for sure. But this is a totally different form of storytelling compared to, say, writing novels.

The first big difference is the length. I’ve got maybe 200 words per part in Tiktok. That makes one week’s worth of storytelling essentially one piece of flash fiction (usually 1000 words total or less). It’s generally regarded as a real challenge to write a whole narrative—not just a single scene, but an entire story—in only 1000 words. But Tiktok makes it even harder. It’s not one 1000-word story. It’s five 200-parts that make up a story. That greatly alters the pacing of the entire thing.

And the pacing is another big difference. I need to advance the story as well as create some sort of cliffhanger every 200 words… at most. And really, I should aim for less words. That kind of pacing is brutal! Think of how long a chapter is in a novel. Now imagine each chapter being only 200 words. That’s incredibly hard to keep up that kind of pace!

A third difference? I’m not writing these stories. I’m telling them. Verbally. With spoken words. While I can edit these recordings after the fact, I’ve chosen not to. That means that you’re essentially seeing a rough draft. Kind of. I do write out an outline of what I’m planning each week, and I do revise that. I practice the story, but once I record it… that’s it.

What works as spoken word doesn’t always work as written word, and vice versa. So I’m learning there, too.

Essentially, these stories are an experiment in a different form of storytelling for me. I’d love some feedback. What I’ve gotten on the app itself is generally pretty positive. I’m hoping to improve as time goes on, learning the different pacing and length and so on. And in the meantime…

Well, time for more stories!

Goals 2023!

The end of the year has arrived. At the end of 2021, I outlined some goals:

  • By the end of 2022, I want to have 20 short works out on submission. I don’t want to lose my short story abilities, and the best way to do that is to just make sure I’m writing some! To that end, I’ll have at least 8 new short stories ready for submission.
  • By the end of 2022, write at least 6 longer works.
  • And as an unofficial goal, publish at least 10 works. Again, I don’t have a lot of control over this, so it’s more of a realistic dream.

How’d I do?

Continue reading “Goals 2023!”

Christmas to Me

I lie on the couch. The only illumination in the room comes from the brightly lit Christmas tree. Bulbs of every color twinkle from the branches. Manheim Steamroller plays on my dad’s CD player. The presents aren’t opened yet, but it doesn’t matter. Peace wraps me up like a warm fuzzy blanket.

That memory is Christmas to me.

There are other Christmas memories. Having Luke 2 beaten into me so I can recite my portion at church. Making pizzelle, an Italian pastry cookie. That anise flavor will always taste like Christmas to me. Driving to grandparents many hours away and playing in the family orchestra.

And reading. Reading has always been a part of Christmas for me. After all, the nearest family was eight hours away. While my parents drove, I read. We didn’t have any video games (portable or otherwise), and portable phones weren’t a thing yet. On every trip, I packed books. I read in the car. So many books! Most of them weren’t Christmas-y books. Many of them were Star Trek books, actually. Didn’t matter. I read on the way to visit family.

And reading is still part of Christmas for us. Oh, tonight we’ll be going to church. We’ll be hearing from The Good Book. We’ll once more revel in those old, old words, “In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree…” We’ll check out the stockings hung on our mantle. We’ll sing carols and drink some egg nog.

But we’ll also have books. I think everyone in the family is getting at least one. I’ll be reading plenty in the next few days as we hunker down in these days between Christmas and New Year’s.

Because that’s just what Christmas is to me, and to us.

Merry Christmas, everyone. I pray you’re safe, that you have peace, and that you also get some reading in.

Christmas for Writers

Do you have a writer in your life? Are they miserable? Do they need some Christmas cheer? Looking for ideas to slather your author friends and family with love? You’ve come to the right place!

The absolute best thing you can buy your writer friends is their books. Not for them, of course. They probably have copies of their own books. Like, find their books on Amazon, and purchase them. Give them as gifts. Keep a copy for yourself. Very little encourages an author as seeing someone buy their books.

The next thing you can do for them is leave reviews. Seriously, you have no idea how much it encourages a writer to see that people didn’t just buy their books. They read them! They had enough feelings to leave a few sentences for other people to read! So awesome!

Want to do more for your author buddies? Talk about their books on social media. “Hey, I read this, and it was great!” Reviews are better. They may not seem as personal, but a review is more public and sticks to the book on Amazon or Goodreads or whatever for other people to read. Still, a social media post will warm the cockles of many hearts!

Ah, but what if you’ve already bought the books and posted on social media and left reviews? Is there anything left you can get your author pals?

Yes. Post on social media that you’ve enjoyed the book, even if you read it years ago. Seriously, it is so encouraging to know that something you wrote has affected someone else that much.

If you happen to be nearby physically, see if there’s anything you can do to help the writer have more time to write. Babysit the kids! Pick up someone from school so they don’t have to! Donate a chalet for them to retreat to!

And finally, find out if that author can recommend any of their own author friends you might not know yet. It’s fun to be able to say, “Hey, yeah, let me tell you about…” And then point to a friend and say, “Check that out!”

Oh, and maybe buy them a couple books to read, too. Most authors enjoy reading. Or having TBR stacks that just keep growing and growing.

And as Christmas approaches, I hope you have a great holiday season!

Creating Creative Content

What do I say?

So I write a book a month. I rarely have trouble trying to figure out what to write with those. I’m telling stories, and I love it. People sometimes try to give me story ideas, but I’ll usually tell them to write the ideas themselves. I don’t need story ideas—I need time to write the ones I already have!

(Though, truth to tell, I’m well over a year ahead of our publishing schedule with what I’ve written!)

I also write this blog. That I’ll often need to work on. What should I write about this week? What happened? What can I talk about with my stories, with my writing, with any of it?

And now my wife and I have started a Tiktok channel (dawnsbrookpress). Thankfully my wife has been mostly in charge of content… but she also wants me on there talking about books and writing and stuff. And it’s not so easy! It’s a totally different format, and… it’s more content to create!

So what do I do?

No. I’m really asking. What do I do?

I’ve been a lurker on Tiktok for a while now, so I at least have an idea of the kind of content that works on that platform. But I don’t have the time to create everything that’s supposed to happen on Tiktok. For instance, apparently you’re supposed to post twice a day at least if you want traction? I have no idea what to talk about!

On the other hand, Booktok is a big thing. My wife and I have been doing some more investigation into marketing. If we want to succeed as a small press, we need to market our books. There’s no question about it. We’ve dipped our toes into it. We’ve mostly held off until we complete our first series; it seems that completed series are easier to market. The last book releases April 15, 2023, which really isn’t that far away.

But Booktok is monetarily free for us to put stuff up. All it takes… is time. And creativity. And effort.


So any ideas on what kind of things to put up on our channel? If you’re on Tiktok, check us out. What do you think so far? (And yes, we already follow a number of indie authors and small presses! We’re learning!)

And in the meantime… I should go record some more clips!