Back to Square One

~Tap, tap, tap~

Is this thing on?

Oh, it seems to be.

Can you hear me out there? You can? Good.

Looking out over the crowded front yard, I see a lot of familiar faces, and a few I don’t recognize. Hey, Bart. How are you? And R.C., my man, things going well? Cate. Nice to see your pretty face. Crashman, glad you could make it. Thank you all for coming to this impromptu press conference.


The reason I called this little press conference is it seems I am back to square one with the short story collection.

What’s that, Herbie? Square one? Yes, square one.

Ummm… yes, I have the stories picked, though I may take one out and replace it with another one (or two).

Yes, I do have the Acknowledgements in place. Yes, the Dedication and In Memoriam as well.

What’s that, Herbie?

No, I don’t have the entire afterward in place, but about half.

Yes? What?

Yeah… ummm… I’m about to address that.

Now, if there are no further questions, I would like to begin this press conference again.

It looks like, though I won’t be starting completely from square one, I will be starting over in some respects.

I need to rework a portion of one story—it sounds too much like something a friend of mine wrote and I don’t want there to be any confusion or anything that could be construed as plagiarism. I realized this a couple of weeks ago, and have e-mailed my friend. She said part of it sounded like her piece, but that I could change it and it wouldn’t have any effect on the story itself.

If I can’t get the kink ironed out, the story will be retracted from the collection. Simple as that.

Then there is another issue, one that I didn’t think would be an issue at all.

Recently, my friend, Lucas Pederson, drew out an image that I thought would make a great–GREAT–image. I tagged it as the cover for Southern Bones and was excited that I finally had an image in place. Then I started playing with it, looking at it as a larger piece, then as a smaller piece—thumbnail size. I checked the image to figure out what it would look like on a Kindle or iPhone or even just on the computer.

Uh oh.

There’s a problem.

The black and white pencil art, though amazing in and of itself, may not work well as a digital book cover.

I’m unhappy about that.

Wait. There is another issue. The title, Southern Bones, may not work either. There are no bones in any of the stories. Sure, there are pieces of bone in one story, but that’s it.

What’s that, Herbie? I can still call the book Southern Bones even if there is no mention of bones?

Yes, I could, but it doesn’t seem to fit.

How did I come to that conclusion?

When I realized the cover image might not work, I started trying to figure out something that would. Cate and I took pictures, but nothing jumped out to us.

Can I still use the image that was drawn for the cover? Of course, but maybe not for the cover—the title just doesn’t seem to work the way I thought it would. Unless there is another definition to the term of ‘bones’ that I don’t know about.

There are those issues and a couple of others. I want lead-ins and maybe images. The pictures probably won’t happen, at least not in the book, but I’m going to look at it either way. Who knows?

I want to give the readers their money’s worth. In order to do that, I have to feel like if I purchased this collection, would I be satisfied that my money was well spent? Don’t you want to be happy with your purchase?


I would rather put something out later than I intended, than to put something out that I wouldn’t be happy with—and, consequently, the reader wouldn’t be happy with—and ended up regretting in the long run.

I know, I’ve put this off two other times, but I think it’s for the best. I may not be completely back to square one, but I’m close enough to know there is a LOT of work that still needs to be done in order to put out a quality collection.

Before we end this press conference, I would like to say I am considering releasing a book separate from the collection, one that compiles the first ten installments of Dredging Up Memories and some bonus content that is not on the Tales of the Zombie War website.

I’m very excited about the possibilities of this.

I guess that concludes the press conference. So, if there are any questions, ask away. If not, until we meet again, my friends…