Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Not Sure Where to Start? Helpful E-Book Resource(yes, I'm in it).


Very excited that a guest post I did for Carol Tice at her helpful and successful site How to Make a Living Writing, is featured as part of a smartly-arranged collection of perspectives/guidance from 40 talented writers/bloggers...addressing through their unique lens and experiences the so often vexing question of how to get started with our writing and publication ambitions. 

I've read almost all of it and it's good stuff--very helpful if you and/or anyone you know harbors such literary aspirations. It's a great deal: just $3.99 for a resource which might and hopefully will help you on a path toward earning a good income from your work!

Full disclosure: I do get a percentage of any sales purchased through the link below. But with this or anything I ever may promote, I of course only want you to purchase if you think it may be enjoyable and beneficial to you or someone you know. I certainly hope you do, but certainly understand if you don't .

Anyway, take a peek here if you're so inclined, and you'll see more on the books, and even a cool photo wall of the 40 contributing authors--including me and also my talented and beautiful friend Nillu Nasser Stelter(hover your mouse over a photo to cue up the respective author's name).

Here's the link, and thanks as always for your support!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Rain on a Window

Like rain on a window, my smile has melted away. Joy and hope have alighted from my heart and spiraled away, perhaps in search of you.

For the heart, you see, is indignant of boundaries, and so the constraints of our circumstances never mattered when it came to what matters most.

Loving you.

Just as I understood that this love would endure well beyond the walls of this lifetime, so too did it transcend any other walls. That we could not lie down together at the end of the day; that we could see each other but rarely; that we could not bring about the life of our dreams--all of this pressed upon us but even so could not suppress the love in my heart which still rose up--rises up--over and above and through all walls and is immortal and at the end of the day what nobler dream exists than love eternal?

A sacred bond but you are gone and my love still rises but is met with silence and my days are dark and each my longest, until the next. I mourn but even this loss, this pain is but another wall and cannot vanquish my truth. In one year, ten or  fifty--or into lifetimes beyond--always remember you may find in me open arms and safe harbor. My heart beats on for you, forever and always-- steady--like rain on a window. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Like the Oak

Like letters carved upon an oak, his truth was etched upon his heart. The truth of her, she with whom his heart was inscribed, she to whom his heart had been wholly given. The love of his life.

That she fell away from him like leaves from the oak did not alter this truth in the slightest. The imprint only deepened, and when--unlike the oak whose leaves return in spring--she did not return, his heart hardened like the oak itself, save for this imprint, this truth, which cut deeper with each passing day.

He thought of her ceaselessly, unflinchingly prepared to welcome her back with an open heart and open arms but she did not come, and the silence bled out before him like an endless, empty road. He wrote to her, sang for her, bled for her and it was truth but each word rang out into the darkness, carried away on the wings of silence, like the winds which made the oak tremble on frigid nights.

In the silence he imagined what her words might be. Things are better this way, she'd surely say. You are better off without me. I turn from you, and answer only in silence so that you may forget me, so that you may move on and heal. 

"And if that is the narrative of which you've convinced yourself, and which brings you some measure of peace," whispered the man to no one, "then I am glad.

It is, of course, but fiction."

His words floated away into the darkness, and the cold winds swept over him and he trembled like the oak, but like the oak he stood, trembling but deeply-rooted. 


"What is this thing that builds our dreams, yet slips away from us?" Queen

Monday, February 2, 2015

News "Flash"

Pleased to announce my flash fiction work, "Save Room for Epilogue," has been published in the Carbon Culture Review. It's on the upper limits of flash, nearly 1000 words, and has something of a futuristic/fantasy touch, anchored by a literary theme. Was fun to write; hope you enjoy!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

New Guest Post!

Honored to be published once more by KM Weiland, whose talent might only be eclipsed by her kindness and authenticity. My YA/Fantasy novel will be published by Booktrope in 2015 and this post is about the sometimes elusive balance in conjuring that just-right-voice that entrances YA and adult readers alike.

I hope you enjoy the post and as always feel free to comment--I'd love your thoughts!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

How Novel: On Short Stories...

Much of my literary focus has been around my novel(s) but I've always loved short stories--reading and writing them--and got some nice news today from Glimmer Train, an esteemed publication I've tendered a handful of submissions to in the last year. My short story "Devil and the Blue Ghosts" won Honorable Mention in their Short Story for New Writers contest. Didn't quite make it through to publication but made top 5% out of over 1,000 submissions, so , that's cool. :)

Will decide what to do with the story now--shop elsewhere, self-pub, what not--and much as I wish I'd won, that's still encouraging. And congrats to my fellow honorables on this list. :)

Bit of a lesson in perseverance: no action with my first several submissions to them, but I've wanted to break through with them, and with this news, I'm at least getting closer. Whatever your goals, stay the course and keep fighting. 

So, fellow scribes and readers--what's your take on short story as a form? Enjoy it? More or less than novels? Some of your favorite short stories?

Anyway, thanks, and here's the Glimmer Train posting where I'm listed:

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Why I Write: Blog Hop Post

I don’t know that there’s a day I am not grateful for Jessica West. Great writer, better person. Her friendship is sacred to me. As if I were not already possessing of ample reasons for this gratitude, add to that my heartfelt appreciation to Jess for nominating me for the Why I Write Blog Hop. That someone I think so much of thinks enough of me and my work to have nominated me is very humbling. I hope I may do justice to the question at hand. For it is in many ways akin to inquiring of me, Why Do I Breathe? Ya know: I write, therefore I am.  Alas, let’s see if we can unearth a tad bit more than that.

To do so, we must do a little time travel. 35 years back, give or take. My nascent penchant for the written word had in fact burgeoned even earlier—I recall as a six-year-old scrawling 3-sentence long “stories” on any surface I could find, even if said tales more often than not were comprised chiefly of baseball stats. But it was at around 10 or so that something began to percolate inside me. Began to spark. We all need to belong in this world, to be wanted, needed, cherished, valued, appreciated, loved. “That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.”  We all want to be good at something, to contribute. To find our calling, to find ourselves. From my earliest memories I understood there were many things I was not adept it, but perhaps a few things I was. Even as a young kid, I could hit a baseball a damn sight far; and, I could write.

I could write. How well, is for others to decide but all I know  is from those earliest days, when I found myself writing, I had found myself, and to this day there is no other occupation in which I feel more me. I was a painfully shy kid and we often presume those kids have nothing to say but I bet most do. I bet most have plenty to say because they’ve held so much in but they’re watching and learning and soaking it all in. They’re burning with thoughts and feelings and life and voice. I had plenty to say.  I have had the good fortune of hitting a few balls over the fence in baseball games, and crafting a good sentence—I mean a really good sentence—is that same kind of magic. Every writer reading this knows what I mean. A great sentence is your home-run, so circle the bases, or smoke a cigarette, pick your poison, but relish it. Then keep writing.

It’s funny because the real question for me might in fact be not why I wrote but rather why, for so many years, I didn’t? Excuses walk, but I reckon on one level, life happened—school, work, marriage, family—and these are all great things and take time but deep inside I knew—I’ve always known—I wanted to embed my literary dreams fully into my life. And so the real reason for the delay (a decades-long delay, mind you), was fear. Maybe a little laziness but mainly fear. When you understand you may be good at only a few things, it is a daunting notion to potentially discover you may not even be good at those. To try to realize your dream, and fail. To be judged, rejected. It is a real and understandable fear. But I’m a dad, and as a parent you know your kids are watching you. Less important than whether you succeeded, is whether you tried. Seven or eight years ago I got a great idea for a Young Adult Fantasy, inspired by the protective relationship between my eldest son and his little sister. I’d dabble, penning a page or two but then my energy and focus would wane, life would happen, and I’d drift away from it. For years. Around four years ago my young daughter—whose own literary embers were already beginning to glow—inquired of me why, in essence, I had given up on my dream. A year and a half later I’d finally finished a draft—an unceremoniously rough, crappy draft, as any first draft of literary mortals like me invariably is—but a completed draft nonetheless. In the last two years I’ve revised it several times, completed a draft of a literary novel, penned a dozen short stories, had the privilege of publishing some articles and short fiction, and will have my YA Fantasy book(and hopefully the sequels) published by Booktrope. I am grateful for the opportunity. I am grateful to Jessica West for being my friend and asking why I write, and to my brilliant and beautiful daughter for asking why I didn’t. I am proud of what I’ve accomplished in a few years’ time but also suffused with the urgency of a middle-aged scribe (being perhaps polite to myself there) who realizes he has lost so much precious time and must now make the most of every second. I should be so much farther along in my journey but instead I am like a 45-year-old rookie, and maybe that’s okay too. For that passion still burns, and makes me believe it is not when you start but that you start and then, that you finish. That you write that story—that crappy first draft or if you’re one of those elite talents, maybe a great first draft. Whatever the case, do it. My daughter is anything but the painfully shy kid I was, but still, I want to be careful in how I support her dreams. I do not want to live vicariously through her or push her but rather, just cheer her on and help her enjoy the journey and stand by her through all the twists and turns. Cherish each moment as she shares her own unique voice.

So I write, I reckon, because writing is what I do. It’s me. And I hope to do as much of it as I can for the rest of my life. When all’s said and done, the totality of what I’ve written in some ways may compromise the fullest answer to why I write. Here, this, this is me. I guess that’s true for each of us, whether speaking literally of writing or of the pages we pen in the hearts and minds and lives of others, on the canvass of this thing called life. We all make our mark, contribute our verse. May we all find the freedom and opportunity to pursue our dreams, and find our voice.

Another dear friend—and absolute mega-writing-prodigy --who helped me find mine, is the amazing Amira K Makansi, who—like Jessica, is a rare and beautiful soul whose talent may be eclipsed only by her character. I know Amira is in the midst of an extremely hectic time in her life presently, so she should feel free to take her time with this, but I could not in good conscience fail to nominate her.

Thank you Jessica, thank you Amira, and thanks to all of you who comprise the myriad stars of the literary universe—writers, readers and dreamers alike. We need every one of you. You shine.