Sooner or later, we all have to tell our friends and family what we’re doing with our time.
I’m a writer, I spend my time writing, but when someone asks if I’m working on anything, I tend to answer with as much vagueness as possible. There are a lot of reasons for this, the main one being that no matter how much I might be in love with my story, talking about a work in progress makes me feel like it’s the lamest thing anyone ever wasted time on. I’m almost positive that’s how my talking about it makes you feel, too.
A close runner up in the reasons for being vague is the question, “When can I read it?” Not because I don’t want you to read anything I write. Although, if you and I know each other, I’d really rather you not. (What if you hate it? What if you think I think everything my character thinks? What if you tell my mom I said a bad word? What if you want to talk to me about it the next time we see each other and I come off sounding like a doofus who couldn’t string together a sentence to save her life?)
This is getting off track. Anyway, what I’ve been doing with my life for the past two months is make these: Bad Decisions and Bad Influences.

You can read all about the Making Of starting here, or you can just read the Roundup.
Now a short Q&A:
Q: Do people actually buy short stories?
A: Apparently so. Fifteen people have bought Bad Decisions so far with almost no marketing. People also download short stories when they’re free. You can see the nifty graph I made illustrating that in Week 6’s Progress Report.
Q: You’re not a man from Arkansas.
A: That’s not a question.
Q: Why E.M. Smith?
A: Why not?
Q: This isn’t going anywhere. I’m leaving.
A: Wait, I was just kidding! You’re right, I’m not a man from Arkansas. E.M. Smith is one of my pen names. He writes only action/adventure and non-paranormal thrillers. Besides Earl Mason Smith, I have two other pen names—one who writes romance and one who writes paranormal, urban and epic fantasy. Each one has his or her own backstory, personality, and style.
Q: I find that hard to believe.
A: So?
Q: Hey, I’ll ask the questions here.
A: Ask one, then.
Q: Why did you do this Insanity: Writing experiment?
A: Mostly because I was stuck in an endless cycle of edits on a much larger book that’s coming out later this year (under a different, more recognizable pen name) and I wanted to do something else for a while. Also because I needed to get some hands-on experience with the self-publishing process before I tried to format and sell a full-length novel.
Q: I own a Kindle or have the Kindle Reader app. Should I buy Bad Decisions and Bad Influences?
A: If you like black ops stories with lots of guns and action, yes. If you like stories of wrongfully accused former troublemakers redeeming themselves, yes. If you like sweet romances, inspirational Christian fiction, or lyrical writing, probably not.
Q: Why not?
A: There are a lot of cuss words in both stories, mostly due to the fact that the main character is a scared, hurt, angry young man who doesn’t have the patience to express himself in more flowery, less vulgar terms. I have tamer narrators in upcoming works that might be more to your liking.
Q: I’ve heard reviews are important for self-published writers. Should I put a review of your story on Amazon?
A: Actually, no. If you’re related to me or friends with me, we could get in trouble for “shill reviews.” Even if you were to write a 100% unbiased, honest review, we could get in trouble. For serious.
Q: Will there be any more Bad stories?
A: Yes. At least three more, according to my current breakdown of the larger arc.
Q: Why didn’t you tell anybody before now?
A: I was doing an experiment. Telling people about an experiment will skew the results.
Q: Your experiment was done yesterday.
A: I was really tired. Now, if you wouldn’t mind reading from the card…
Q: [sigh] How did you do in your 5k?
A: Thanks for asking! Josh and I got 2nd place in our age groups. You can read all about that here.

That’s pretty much that. Feel free to ask any other questions in the comments section below or wherever you saw this posted.

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