Thursday, December 13, 2012

MY X-MAS BEST




Here we are.
This is my first Christmas as a public figure, and this has been an incredible year for me.
I became a writer, a cover artist, and a part-time actor.
Heck, I made more in one revolution of this watery planet around its peripheral parent star than I did in ten.

On January the 1st, I published my first novel, becoming de facto an ‘author’ and finding myself on the other side of the theater; that one with a stage on it, not the one I used to linger as a reader. For most of my life, I’ve been a reader, enjoying the fruits of someone else’s hard work. Oh, I had my spotlight moments, but my audience had always been a small one, distant light-years from the one I’m exposed today. Sometimes it gets scary, thinking about all those people reading my works in many corners of the world. But, honestly, it makes you feel great, too.

My first story, Feeding the Urge, was well received, and this encouraged me to write more about this weird Floridian hamlet where my dispenser of dark justice (Axel J. Hyde) lives. In the novel, I had established some facts on Prosperity Glade’s past and nature, so I decided to expand on that by writing five short tales adding depth to some of the story’s events and characters.

Later, I was contacted by a small press encouraging me to submit a short story about zombies set in an alternate timeline. I was writing a follow up to my fee ‘serial chiller’ Black Schooner (published weekly on Facebook the year before) temporarily titled ‘Curse of the Black Schooner’. I decided to turn that into ‘Dead Men TellNo Tales’ and submitted another one, TheSouth Will Rise Again. Both didn’t make into the anthology, but it was for the best, because I self-published them and put them out at 99 cents.
The results were impressive. Suddenly I found my name spreading on the web, and ‘Dead Men Tell No Tales’ became one of the most successful – and one of the most pirated – shorts of the year. I owe much to that tall tale of pirates and undead.

Then, being an experimenter, I tried new paths. I tested myself at literary fiction with titles such as REVENANT and Stryx catering more to lovers of classical Gothic tales than modern literature.
But I didn’t stop there.
I tried my hand at Erotica with Thrill of the Hunt (the second best seller of my titles) and joined the Alexandria Publishing Group. I was invited to be part of this fledgling publisher for my professional behavior and good writing. Something I’m still proud of. Standing alongside with such giants like Valerie Douglas, Paul Kater, and Kai Wilson has proved to be an excellent choice for my growth and career.

Meanwhile, I also became acquainted with new friends in the industry. Two of them became my ‘virtual’ mentors: Billie Sue Mosiman and Franklin E. Wales. They patted my back when I did good and scolded me when I erred. I couldn’t wish for better teachers.

Yet, destiny had another surprise for me: a meeting with Jaime Johnesee.
This excellent writer became something more like a sibling than a friend, as we shared advice, successes, and failures. I helped her getting out of the shell she had retracted into, and she encouraged me to go on when I felt down and on the verge of quitting. She also spurred me to start my cover artist career.
And what a career. In less than four months I’m designing covers for Billie Sue Mosiman, Armand Rosamilia, Suzi M (funny: she did the covers for Dead Men), Anthony Servante, Rhonda Hopkins, Lynne Stevie, and many more.

A special mention deserves my editor, Natalie G. Owens. My meeting with her has been one of the most fortunate, for we share a similar way of writing, allowing her to edit my stuff by keeping my voice. And I love her notes.

And another special mention goes to Kat Yares, my 'virtual fairy', source of inspiration and encouragement, author of one of the best stories on vengeance I ever read.

By October, I became an ‘official published author’, with my short story ‘Road Off’ as lead for the ‘Scare Package’ anthology. This is a special project I’m glad of being part, for the whole profits are devolved to the Rockcastle Regional Hospital & Respiratory Care Center’s Miracle Fund, and I will never stop promoting it, especially in Christmastime: so, go there and grab a copy.

My second Erotica came out in November, while I was struggling with two special projects. Titled Home Invasion, it’s so dirty and raw it almost shocked me. Yet, I assure you it’s all appearance, as it hides a series of twists you won’t see them coming till the last paragraphs.

Now, I submitted two stories for publication. One, Haunt, a short ghostly tale, has been accepted, the other one, FIVE, I novella that I consider the best of all my works until now, I’ll do all I can to have it published, for it really deserves it.

Again, I’m testing myself. Right now, I’m writing a tale in the style of those late ‘80s to early ‘90s slasher movies, with a lot of gory deaths, frolicking teens, and Christmas-themed gallows humor. I’ll strive to put it out in time for the holidays, but it will not be easy.

Well, I’m talking only about me, but this post is in truth a special thank to you, my faithful reader and trusted friend.
By appreciating my work – stories and covers – you encourage me to go on and strive for better results. Even a tiny thing, such as a ‘like’ on one of my posts – yeah, I know some are lame, and voluntarily so – gives me enough strength to keep on writing and designing my covers.
We all need a pat on the back, from time to time. Critics are helpful for your growth, but some niceties are also deserved. Every good teacher knows that.
And you, my dear friends and fans, you are my teachers.

From my heart,
THANK YOU AND ALL MY BEST.

Jeffrey Kosh

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