A Review of The Ninja

As an author who self-published a book of short stories on Amazon, I spend a good amount of time trying to solicit honest reviews of my work (reviews on Amazon help sell books on Amazon, as you know…) Anyway, since it is often kind of a struggle, because – let’s face it – we’re all busy, it’s so nice to receive a review that comes completely as a surprise.

Christopher T. Garry, a new writer that I’ve just discovered (mostly because, I guess, he discovered me – thanks, Christopher!), reviewed my recently published story, “The Ninja,” on his blog. You can find his review here!

The piece is up on Bartleby Snopes now, if you’d like to check it out!

When it Stays…

I’m excited about the new things coming up…

But I’m still really excited about Through a Dusty Window… It’s at the point now where someone out there picks it up to read every day (or at least I get one purchase every day on Amazon) – which is more than I’d hoped for. I’ve also had quite a few people – friends and acquaintances – get in touch about having read it. I think that the best thing anyone has said — and I’ve heard it a couple times — is that one of the stories (or more) has stuck with them. That they’ve found themselves thinking about the characters even days after they’d finished reading. I’ve also had a couple people say that they wished there was more to read. What more could I ask for than that? (Much better than being relieved when it’s over, huh?)

Before I’d put work out into the world for criticism and reflection, I didn’t really ever think about what it was that I wanted people to say to me about it. I knew that I wanted to be able to say that I was a writer. That I’d written such and such a book… But I don’t think I got much beyond that in my dreams. So the feedback has been a very welcome thrill. And I feel grateful for every single reader that feels compelled to say anything – whether here, to me personally, or on Amazon or Goodreads… It’s very validating.

Thanks to everyone who has read my stories – and for those for whom historical fiction or literary shorts aren’t really your thing… maybe you’ll pick up Samantha’s Solace when it comes out? YA romance anyone? 🙂

Can’t wait to see what this year holds… so far it’s been wonderful.

Some News… Not the Promised News

So far I’m really enjoying 2013. While I’ve been a little stalled in the writing department (which honestly — sucks…) stuff I’ve written before now is gathering a bit of momentum. It always feels good to be told “yes” — unless the question was, “do these jeans make my ass look fat?” And you probably shouldn’t ask people that question in the first place. Just sayin’.

I’ve just learned that one of my stories, titled “The Blackout”, will be included in the next publication of The Avalon Literary Review. The piece is actually part of my collection (Through a Dusty Window). I’d initially been concerned that my publication of this piece would cause a conflict, but the editor was not bothered and even offered to mention the book in the front matter of the review. I am tempted to follow this sentence with numerous exclamation points, but I’m trying to be all literary and whatnot, so you’ll have to infer my ridiculous excitement. Ahem.

I now feel like I’ve spent most of 2013 bragging… but writing is a solitary passion and there are rarely many around my actual physical world to celebrate these little victories with me. So I turn to you, Interwebs… Thanks for all the support and help. I’m off to do a little happy dance and then will need to address that tiny little issue that I mentioned up top there… about the writing…

Taking the Leap

Today I published my short story collection: Through a Dusty Window: New York City Stories 1910-2001. The experience is terrifying. I should say that the experience was quite gratifying, but I am having all these feelings of potential regret, like — now that it’s out there, I’ll never be able to take it back. eek! Terrifying was sending the carefully phrased email to my friends and family and finally coming out of the closet on this whole writing thing. Not that those close to me were in the dark about it — that wasn’t the case. But putting yourself in front of everyone whose opinion you respect, stripping off all your figurative clothing and saying, “do you like me?” is not the easiest thing to do. I am, however, wise enough to know that if I don’t mention the book to anyone I know, the odds of anyone at all dropping by Amazon to buy it are pretty flippin’ slim.

So it’s out there. My first child, sitting up there all alone on the cold white reviewless page at Amazon under my adopted name. Currently it’s just a Kindle version, but I did create a paperback in Createspace, so that should pop up in the next day or two. Thanks in advance to anyone who heads on over there to buy a copy, and double thanks to anyone who takes the time to write a review. I’m kind of dumbfounded at the moment, but I’m sure I’ll have more nonsense to post on this over the coming days…

It’s True, I Suck

Or that is what my self loathing side says at times like these. I took a two week vacation and then not two weeks later, took a four day weekend with my girlfriends in Chicago. Not much writing has been done in the last four weeks. Okay, actually? None. And it’s amazing how much further away I feel from the whole process. Like I’m on the shore and my ambition is on a raft floating further and further away… If I don’t dive for it soon, it might just fade over the indigo horizon…

And there are things in the way…many, many things. Work, for one. They seem to expect me to actually, like, do stuff. Go figure. And school. Not mine, two new schools for two very little kiddos. I know I should enjoy the discovery of all things new with them, but part of me looks forward to big kids who are just a tiny bit jaded, who don’t need to have me explain thirty times about what their new schools will be like, who their teachers will be and how many pencils they’ll have in their book bag. I know. I suck. I told you that.

On the up side, once the whole school thing is hammered out (should be getting smooth by mid-September…), I will be back in the groove, I think. I have, literally, six different projects in mid-stream. I need to choose one and focus, and then move forward.

And despite feeling like an almost complete failure lately, I just got notice that a story I wrote a while ago is live over at The Rusty Nail. Check it out!

If I had more time, I’d write a bit less…

Forgive the complete bastardization of one of my favorite quotes… Interestingly, I’d seen that quote (the above — something along the lines of “I’d have written a shorter letter if I’d had more time”) attributed to a variety of people from Mark Twain to Abraham Lincoln. However, my interwebs search this morning turned up the following:

“I made this so long only because I didn’t have the time to make it shorter.” Blaise Pascal, Lettres provinciales, Dec 4, 1656, Number 16 (near the end!).

“He would have made it shorter, if he had had more time.” Du Perron, as recorded by Ménage, Menagiana, 1693, p.178 (Here, the record reflects reported speech, and “he” is Coeffeteau. The reported speaker is Du Perron)

(Found here, if you are curious)…

Anyway, when I was doing a lot of freelance writing, I would dance a little jig whenever I managed to successfully get a magazine assignment. My dances were a little less celebratory when the assignment was 300 words or less. (Not just because I wanted, of course, to write a feature). I learned quickly how really difficult it is to say anything substantial — complete with compelling lede and memorable finish — in that few words. It often took me longer than a 1200 word assignment would.

All of this is my roundabout way of saying that I really appreciate a good short story. And that is not to say that I believe I can write one. But I’ve been working on it (mostly procrastinating doing anything on either novel at the moment, though I can honestly say that I’m researching the newest one).

Related: Why you should be writing short fiction at Anne R. Allen’s Blog…