Posts Tagged ‘short stories’

I was three years old—it seems a world away, now—sitting in the front room, looking out the big window.

Our house on Oak Drive was a two-story affair on the uphill side of the street, and from my vantage I could look down on the massive junipers that bordered our small yard. When I played beneath them, they would tower over me, reach for me with scented claws, and dust me with clouds of pollen so that, when Mother called, I would come inside covered in red weals, begrimed with a patina of yellow, and redolent of resin. (more…)

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Le crayon rougeIt amazes me how, every time I read something I’ve written, I want to change it. When I finish it I think it’s great, then I put it down for a while, and when I pick it up again, I’m like…bleah…and I’ve got to make changes.

This has never been more true than with “The Book of Solomon,” my most recent short story, which I’ve recently ceased trying to sell to the “literary” markets.

Now, in my defense, this story is a major departure from my previous fiction, on many levels. It’s a genre I’ve not tried before (historical fiction), and it’s a style very unlike most of my other work. influenced heavily by authors like Gabriel Garcia Márquez and Alice Hoffman, I purposefully avoided dialogue, working toward a more internal narrative and fluid style. Also, I did not shy away from complex syntax; I wanted to let the narrative flow in the way my character might think rather than how a storyteller might speak. Lastly, there’s a flipping ton of chronological intrication, jumping around from present to past to deep past to near future to imagined future.

The result was a minefield. Every page carried dangers. (more…)

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Le crayon rougeDear me. How perspectives change.

A quick follow-up on my decision to pull from the market a story I’ve been shopping around.

When I started going over it, for no other reason than to reformat it for the web, I found that this story, one that I had edited and re-edited, sent to researchers for fact-checking, and passed to my Beta Readers for feedback, this story that, a year ago, I felt was suitable for publication, really needs another round of edits.

And it’s not just that I don’t like this phrase or I’d say that a little differently. There are errors of continuity, spotty problems with past perfect and past conditional verb tenses, and even (shudder!) a typo (only one, but still…yeesh!)

So, grasshopper, remember today’s lesson well:

It’s never as good as you think it is.


Pup Dog Speaks



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Le crayon rougeSixteen months ago, in September, 2014, I began shopping my latest story. It had been a long time since my last go-round marketing a short story, and while a lot had changed, a lot had stayed exactly the same. (more…)

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Dragons AheadIt’s been an interesting week, writing-wise, and while no, it wasn’t “interesting” in the sense of “Oh God Oh God We’re all going to die!” it was interesting in the sense used by the old Chinese curse: May you live in interesting times.

This week I received:

  • validation on my writing
  • several rejections on my writing
  • bad news on the job change front
  • an invitation to submit a book to a trade show


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Dragons AheadYesterday, my wife reached the limit of her patience and dragged me out to shop for new clothes.

She thinks I dress like a dumpy old man…which I do because, well, because I am a dumpy old man. Personally, I never look at my ass–ever–so if my pants are baggy in the rear, it’s of little consequence to me. My wife, as it turns out, looks at my ass a lot, and has strong opinions on what I use to cover it and now, tired of me covering my backside with enough cloth to rig a small sailboat, she was determined to change the status quo that I’d so assiduously preserved.

With this as preamble, I got stuffed in the car and trundled off on a clothes-shopping expedition. I had little say in the matter, other than to unequivocally refuse to set foot in Target. My experiences there have been…unpleasant, exceeded only by dim, nightmarish memories of similar expeditions to K-Mart. She could drive up to the door of Target, but I knew she was physically unable to drag me inside.

So she took me to Kohl’s. (more…)

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HAL_9000HAL-9000: What is going to happen?
Dave: Something wonderful.

Last night, as I was doing my taxes, something wonderful happened. Keep in mind: this is “wonderful” on a small, very personal scale. I did not happen upon the answer to problems in the Middle East or a cure for rampant stupidity. Nor did I find a loophole in the tax code that doubled my refund.

So, that’s what it wasn’t. With your expectations properly lowered, let’s move onward to what it was.

I was filling out Schedule SE (rather pleased that I had enough writing income to warrant its use) when an email came in. It was a message redirected to me from the Contact page here on this blog. I don’t get many direct messages from blog readers, and about half of those I do receive are from people wanting to market their wares via a guest-post on my blog–cheeky bastards–so when it was clear that this message was from a reader and not a self-promoter, it was already a good sign. I opened it, and I read.

In the hyperbolic style of internet memes: What happened next blew my mind. (more…)

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