Monday, March 7, 2011

Re-Thinking Career

First, my real name is not Charles Forgues, it is A. C. Ellis, and I have made a couple decisions concerning my career.

I can best describe what all this is about by reproducing the blog post I just finished on my A. C. Ellis blog site.

Here it is:

Okay, here's how it is.

I am re-thinking my career. Not my writing career, but my publishing career. And here's why.

As near as I can tell, traditional publishing is on its way out. That is not to say that traditional publishers will no longer exist--they will, but there will be fewer of them in the future. I can see a time, within my life, when e-books will dominate and paper books will be secondary. It's coming. I swear.

So, I will continue to write, but I will concentrate on self-publishing (that isn't as nasty a word as it was a couple years ago) and on e-books in particular.

There, I've said it. I feel better.

Now, this means that a dark mystery/suspense I have been writing for some time now, with an eye on getting it published traditionally, will be first published in e-book, and later as a paperback, both self-published. I had been promoting this new book under the pen name Charles Forgues. I had a blog under that name for the book. But I am now going to switch everything about that book to this blog (as well as everything dealing with my previously published books.) There is no longer any reason to write under a pen name.

This way, hopefully I keep most fans from both by-lines. Anyway, that.s the theory.

So, with that in mind, I hope to soon offer the first chapter of this new book, Hollow Point. I will publish no more of my book Worldmaker here. With my new concentration on self-publishing and e-books, it is too valuable as an e-book to which I hold all rights.

This also means that, when I get my e-book store attached to my web site, I will be able to charge less for my e-books than ever before. That, to me, is the key to selling e-books. An e-book should not be priced more than $1.00 U.S.

You can now purchase an e-book of one of my titles, Spaceships & Brass Knuckles, a collection of my short stories, for precisely that amount--$1.00. See my web site ( for details. Plus, I hope to eventually bundle books at a discount.

So, keep watching here for details.

Type to you soon.


I hope this is all clear. Please check out my A. C. Ellis web site ( and my A. C. Ellis blog (

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Is My Protagonist Actually Me

As fiction writers, we can't help but make our protagonists at least somewhat like ourselves. After all, who do we know better than ourselves?

But how like us are they? Will they invariably react as we would under any gien circumstanc.

There is quite a bit of me in my main character, John Point. I have a number of his insecurities and beliefs. But he is not entirely me. He has done some things I would never do, both good and bad. And I have done some things he wouldn't do.

One thing, in particular, that is like me, is our need for a certain amount of privacy. Of course, I don't live "off-the-grid," as he does. I maintain this blog--although lately not as religiously as I should. I also have a FaceBook and Twitter account. He would never think of doing such a thing. But I do try to keep my face off the internet, something for which I have received a few disparaging comments.

I also maintain a mail-drop in downtown Denver, and very few know where in Denver I actually live.

So you see, some of him is me, and some of me is him. And he is partly a lot of other people I know.

And, of course, there is some of me in my antagonist, as well. It couldn't be any other way.

How much of you is in your own protagonist and antagonist creations?

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Hollow Point - Chapter 2, Part 3

I returned to the apartment and again knocked my special knock. Crystal opened the door before I could use my key.

"Where have you been?" she asked as I stepped in. I closed the door against the snow and cold.

"I told you, I had to see someone—someone who might be able to help us." I nodded toward the futon, and Crystal sat.

"So, it's us now. You've decided you're going to help me, after all."

"No," I said, "I haven't decided yet if I'm going to help you or not. I'm just taking some preliminary steps."

"I understand. Can he help?"

"Maybe. We'll see."

I removed my overcoat and went to the closet. Keeping my back to Crystal, blocking her view, I hung the coat up and took the .44 from its pocket. I put the gun on the high shelf at the back of the closet, beside my coffee can bank. Eventually I'd have to check the coffee can. But not yet; that would be too obvious. I'd wait until Crystal went to the bathroom.

My watch read 2:37. It was time we both got some sleep. I needed it if I was going to be any good to her, although I wasn't sure yet if I wanted to commit to helping her at all. She needed sleep if she was going to help me help her.

She patted the futon mattress. "We can share the bed, you know."

"I don't think that's such a good idea."

"We don't have to do anything. We can just sleep."

"We won't just sleep—you know that as well as I do."

Again we were quiet. Finally, Crystal said, "I guess you're right."

There had been women since Sylvia—two in three years. They had both been hookers. Just sex, no connection or commitment. Both times I'd left the money on the motel night stand and simply walked away without any conversation beyond what it took to consummate the transaction.

"I'll take the chair," I said.

"No, this is your bed."

"There's no way I'd be able to sleep knowing you're here in the chair."

She smiled. "That uncomfortable, huh?"

"No. In fact, most nights I fall asleep right here." I patted the chair's arm.

She smiled again as I got up to change.

That night the nightmare invaded my mind as I drifted off to sleep, slashing like the sharp blade of a knife. I woke the next morning sweating and trembling beneath the blanket.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Alternate Publishing

On my journey through the blog-sphere this morning, I happened across a post that went up on J.A. Konrath's blog, A Newbie's Guide to Publishing, on Wednesday, September 22. The post gives statistics around how he is doing selling outside of traditional publishing. It goes a long way to assuring me that e-books, self-publishing, and self selling are here to stay.

The post can be found here:

Konrath is a Chicago thriller writer, with such novels as Whiskey Sour, Bloody Mary, and Rusty Nail to his credit. Granted, he is an extablished writer who has been selling quite well traditionally for a mumber of years. He has what is refered to as "platform." Still, numbers of this magnitude are quite impressive.

Let me know what you think.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Two Things of Note

Two things of note today.

First, my cousin, A. C. Ellis, has just had the first half of his short story, Lucky, read toward the end of the Beam Me Up! Podcast. It can be found at .

The second half of the story should be posted in about a week.

Second, in an October 2010 interview in Atlanta magazine, Pat Conroy talks about his new book, My Reading Life.

He wrote the book to share his experiences as a reader and to encourage reading.

In the interview, he tells of a woman showing him his own book on an e-reader. Though he has never used an e-reader and "will never read a book that way," he says, he "knows the end of an era when he sees one."

Friday, September 10, 2010

BlogFest 2010

I am participating in BlogFest 2010.

My giveaways are five e-books from my cousin, A. C. Ellis, one each to five ramdom visitors.

To qualify, simply leave me your e-mail address in a comment. Or, if you'd rather, send your e-mail address to

The e-books are:

In Pursuit of the Enemy (mystery/suspense)
Worldmaker (sf)
Soldier of 'Tween (sf)
Shadow Run (sf)
Spaceships and Brass Knuckles (short story collection - both mystery and sf)
Have fun, and please join my blog.
To go to the next blog, Romance in the Backseat, click here.
To go to the BlogFest 2010 site, click this link.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hollow Point - Chapter 2, Part 2

I stepped off the shuttle bus at the Hilton's main entrance. An old man in a ratty gray sweatshirt huddled near the door, avoiding the driving wind and snow. His hair was long and greasy beneath a baseball cap too filthy to read the team insignia.

"Spare some change?" the old man asked.

I felt the flutter of excitement again rise in my chest, and my hand wrapped around the .44's grip. I wanted to stain the snow red with his blood.

Instead, I pushed the sensation down, opened my overcoat and suit coat, then reached into my pants pocket and pulled out a dollar. I handed the bill to the old man as I stepped into the hotel's revolving door.

The hotel Christmas tree was a Colorado blue spruce, brightly decorated and towering in the middle of the lobby. The bar, the Satin Rose, was located just off the lobby. It offered welcome shelter from the cold and wind-whipped snow.

Frank Nelson sat at the piano, playing a Rogers and Hammerstein medley. The tall, thin black man nodded as I entered and sat at a table near the rear. A waitress trying to escape from a red cocktail dress took my order—a Guinness and a shot of Jack Daniels.

The bar was nearly at capacity and noisy, yet everyone clapped as Nelson finished the medley. He immediately began playing Hoagy Carmichael’s Stardust, the signal that he would break after the song and meet me in the hotel's underground parking garage. It was late enough he was probably finished with his final set.

The waitress returned, and I threw down the shot and the beer, leaving payment on the table with a couple dollars tip. I got up and went into the hotel lobby, then walked to the elevator bank and thumbed the down button.

As I waited for an elevator car I glanced around the lobby, making certain no one had followed me out of the bar. I spotted no one, just as I had assumed would be the case. But it never hurt to be sure. Besides, old habits die hard, particularly those that had to do with preserving one's life.

An elevator pinged and the door slid open. As I stepped in a flash of panic flared in the pit of my stomach, as always happened when I entered an elevator. I pressed the button marked P-4, the lowest parking level. The door closed and I forced the panic down. By the time the elevator stopped I had both my stomach and my mind somewhat under control.

The door opened and I stepped out. The unpleasant musty smell of the hotel's laundry, located on this level, assaulted my senses. No one was about, and there weren't many cars—this level was mostly reserved for hotel employees. Five cars squatted in the left rear corner. Frank would look for me there.

I went to the corner and leaned against the rear of a large black SUV. I didn't have long to wait.

Within a couple of minutes I heard the elevator door slide open, then closed. Nelson came around the SUV, pulling a cigarette from a nearly empty pack.

"Frank," I said, offering my hand. "You still smoking those damned things?"

"You still drinking like a God-damned fish?"


"How are you, John?" he asked as we shook hands. I detected concern in his voice as it resonated in the empty garage.

"I'll live. At least tonight."

"That's good to hear. After the way you were talking last week, I was beginning to wonder if you were on a downhill slide."

"Something intervened."

He nodded. "I'd miss you coming around."

"It's that something we have to talk about."

Nelson frowned. "It's not about Sylvia's case, is it?" I shook my head. "Good. I don't have anything new there. But it must be something serious for you to come looking for me this late."

"Billy Simpson's dead." Six years ago, when Frank Nelson was using, Simpson had been his supplier, too. We'd talked about him more than once in the two years I'd known Frank.

After a few seconds, Frank said, "I think we both could have predicted that outcome."

I nodded. "It's the circumstances of his death we couldn't have predicted." I told him Crystal's story and about the bloody scene I'd found in the alley.

He whistled. "Someone didn't want the body recognized."

"That's what I thought."

"You think they took his teeth?"

"I wouldn't be surprised."

I told him about Billy's clothing, and he frowned again.

The elevator opened and a woman in a gray business suit approached. We both fell silent. Frank puffed on his cigarette and I shuffled my feet nervously as she went to a small red Mazda sports car parked on the other side of the SUV. She was careful to avoiding eye contact with either of us.

"What was Billy into?" Frank asked after she pulled away. "Any idea?"

"Other than his regular trade—none."

"Excuse the pun, but don't you think what you described was overkill for his regular trade?"

I nodded, and Frank dropped his cigarette butt and crushed it under foot. "What can I do for you?" he asked.

"I need to know if there have been any other murders like Billy's." Frank was a retired Denver police officer; he still had contacts on the force.

"I think I'll wait until after the body's discovered before making any inquiries, though."

"That might be a good idea," I said.

"By the way, what's with your teeth?"

I didn't know what to tell him. Finally, I simply said, "You don't want to know."

He nodded. "Is that all you need?"

"That's it," I said. "Thanks." I turned and started for the elevators.

Before I'd taken three steps, Frank said, "John—" I stopped and turned back around. "Take care of yourself. These guys sound dangerous."

"I'll do that," I said, patting the pistol in my overcoat pocket. I put up my other hand and waved nonchalantly as I turned and headed for the elevators.