Stumble Into Power

So, I self-published my first short story collection, “Stumble Into Power.”  The collection contains twenty-one stories (totaling about 60K words) that have appeared either in traditional publications, my monthly crowdfunded digest (or both of these), or are completely new to everyone but Alyssa and a few friends.  I can’t thank my crowdfunding patrons enough; the core of the collection consists heavily of stories they supported.

This project was about a year and a half in the making, though it could have gone much more quickly than that.  I had no external deadline, up until very recently, so I took my sweet-ass time getting through the editing process (I had a few other people read the manuscript, but I was the main editor).  What finally spurred me to wrap things up was a contest deadline for self-published Wisconsin writers (I’m now all of that), which happened at the end of June.  So, on June 29th, I published, and then entered the contest.  I’m very happy that it all came together.

The collection is available here:

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Last Minute Writing Decisions

So, it was an interesting weekend, this one just passed. We had all manner of family plans we were trying to cram in, a schedule that sort of imploded on itself as we needed to care for a sick child (that’s an entirely separate story in its own right).

In the midst of everything, Alyssa discovered a flash fiction competition and sent me the link on Friday night: I had to do some quick thinking, because the entry deadline was actually on Friday night. Not only that, but the first story prompt was to be sent out on Friday night, and I would have to submit a completed flash fiction by 11:00 PM CST on Sunday night.

So I did what I often do when presented with interesting writing options: I shrugged and said, “Okay, let’s do it.”

We were out of town, with no internet and no cell service, so I didn’t actually get my prompt until Saturday morning. For each stage of the competition, they give you a genre, a location, and and object. I was part of the group that had to write a horror story set on a sandbar, including a balloon.

I meditated on my prompt for most of Saturday and part of Sunday, typing out some lines that came into my head, but really didn’t get going on the story proper until Sunday evening. It wasn’t my intention to be pushing it all the way to the deadline, but that is, indeed, how it went down. I actually didn’t have time to let Alyssa read the draft until after I had already submitted the file to the contest (she did like it).

I’m going to hold back on what I did with my story, because the submission was supposed to be anonymous, and this is a public post. We’ll see what sort of info I get on the judging timeline, etc., and maybe I’ll be able to update you sometime in the next few weeks. For now, let me conclude by saying that I’m enjoying the challenge, and I’m happy with the work I’ve produced so far.

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Doubling-Up 2015 (At the Very Least)

Ha!  With this post, I’m officially increasing my post count 100% from 2015 to 2016!  Also hoping to get that percentage way, way up in the coming weeks and months…

My New Year’s resolution is to continue to build my list of published stories, between the crowdfunding project at Patreon, and my submissions to traditional markets.

There will be some overlap there, at least for the time being.  There is no standard for how traditional markets look at the crowdfunded stories.  I’ve tried to follow the rule that I don’t submit stories that are publicly available on Patreon (although I may try to sell some of those as reprints), but will try submit some of the stories that remain patron exclusives.  As previously stated (maybe), Defenestration published “Due By Noon” and “First World Simple Mistakes,” which are both available behind the paywall at Patreon.  I’ve also had rejections of other Patreon stories that suggested that the markets doing the rejecting were open to such submissions, and others where the rejecting markets said that they would consider such stories to already be “published.”  So, you know, no standardization.

One day, if I can get up to a certain (as-of-now undefined) level of support on the crowdfunding side, I think I’d like to separate out the crowdfunded stories and the traditional submissions in my own work.  I’m trying to remember my reasoning as I type this, but I think it was something along the lines of:  It would be easier to not have to worry about the non-standardized reaction to the crowdfunded stories.  We’ll see how that reasoning evolves as time passes.

In any case, I’m bullish about my productivity 2016.  January is usually a good month for dreaming big.

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Sure, I’ll Come Back Here and Post Occasionally…

Hi.  Guess I only posted on my namesake site once in 2015.  I’m going to try to do better in 2016.  I tend to manage my online presence more frequently at my FB page (, and on Twitter (@HakesJon), so please do check over there regularly.  But check back here regularly too, because I’m going to try to post more often.

Let’s see, I’ve been busy with the new child (just turned one year old yesterday!), my part-time day job, housework, the older child, and many, many other things that I can’t quite bring to mind right now.  I’ve also been writing.  If you follow my other sites, you may be aware that my crowdfunded short fiction project is going story at  I just posted my twenty-first issue of my Digest over there.  If you’d like to consider supporting me by becoming a subscriber, please do take a look at some of the publicly-available issues so you can make an informed decision.  Or blindly give me all your money, if that sort of a system works for you.

Beyond the crowdfunding, I do have a number of stories out in submission.  Oh, and I had a new publication last month too.  Defenestration published my story, “First World Simple Mistakes.”  I’m hoping that the new year will bring a new spate of publications, but that’s not entirely up to me, so we’ll see what happens.  And I’ll try to keep you updated in this space, in addition to the aforementioned other spaces.

In closing, let me just encourage you to seek out and support independent creators.  There are more and more of us out there all the time, making ourselves available across many platforms and venues.  It’s an exciting time to be writing or making other art.

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Writing in the Cloud

Greetings.  And Happy New Year, I guess, since I haven’t posted anything here since 2015 started.  Lots of stuff going on in the Hakes household.  Have a new baby (one month old today!), and old cat who is now not puking so much after some anti-nausea meds, and carpets that I cleaned with a rented machine a few weekends ago.  I know, where should I start…?

One of the significant events (writing-wise) that happened in the last few months was the final lapse into day-to-day unusability by Alyssa’s old laptop.  We’ve owned this device since 2004 (or maybe it was 2003…), and I’ve been using it for my writing computer since 2008 or so.  Over the last few years, I’d had it in a more-or-less-permanent mode of sleeping most of the time and being on when I’m working.  The reason was that booting up from nothing would mean an average of two hours until the computer could actually do anything useful.

The replacement power cord I bought worked for a while, but then started to develop its own idiotic idiosyncracies.  Then, in December, the computer abruptly went into a new phase, where it would no longer switch to battery mode when I unplugged it.  Since I was not interested in two-hours-per-day boot-up time, a new computer was clearly in order.

As I’m not thrilled with the super-consolidation of business concerns in this country, and, in particular, those who sell computer software, I decided that I wanted something that was Linux-based, cheap, and could still give me the basic word-processing/mp3-playing capabilities that are the most important parts of my writing day.

After some consideration, I decided to go with a device backed by another large company (we can’t escape them, after all… yet…), but one that has a simple OS based on Linux, and does pretty much all of its operations on the internet (if you know anything at all about computers, you will probably be able to narrow down what device I’m talking about…).

I was always nervous(/paranoid?) about using web-based programs, and the new set-up certainly has a few kinks I have to work around, but I’ve been very happy with the overall effect.  Because my computer does mostly web-based operations, I usually get somewhere between ten and thirteen hours of operation on one battery charge.  I get an automatic back-up in the cloud (in addition to still having my own back-up files on flash drive), and can even work offline if necessary (though that puts further limits on what I can do).  For the time being, this system works for me.

Now, if we only had something like antitrust laws in this country, so we could break up companies that get too big…

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