I’ve mentioned it a few times on the blog and now here it is. Inspired by the presentation I gave at the Breathe Christian Writers Conference last October and bringing together some of my best blogging and writing about writing, I offer you The Intentional Writer.
It’s available on Kindle now and I will soon be working on formatting the print edition. Here’s the description of what you’ll get inside:
You can make creative writing a regular part of your life—without making it a rigid daily requirement.
If you are trying to make creative writing a more intentional—and yet not tyrannical—part of your life, The Intentional Writer will help you to pursue your goals, hone your craft, and get your work out there into the hands of readers. This entertaining and informative book will help you analyze your motivations for writing, put yourself in the path of inspiration to keep your ideas flowing, deal with both internal and external distractions, reshape your surroundings and your schedule to aid your process, and take your work from first draft to final publishable product.
From encouragement and insight to the nuts and bolts of storytelling and editing, you’ll find something in the following pages that will change your writing rhythm for the better.
Just under the wire, June’s short story is here! Well, not here on the blog, but HERE in the Kindle store.
I wrote a prehistoric version of this story way back in my second year of college for a creative writing class. At the time I was sure it was the best thing I’d ever written. When I reread it earlier this month I thought it was pretty atrocious. So I took out all the pretension, changed the POV and the tense, added, subtracted, and molded. A few lines made it through unscathed and unedited. But just a few. It is the exact same story as it was fourteen years ago–just much, much, MUCH better.
Unlike all of my other stories written thus far this year, this one is based on a real event and real people, though most are dead and the living have new names. It’s an artistic, fictional rendering of a very small event that made a very big impression on me, an event that I have never forgotten, but told from the perspective of someone else who was there.
Here is a short excerpt to tempt you…
When did she get so old? It seems to have happened when I wasn’t looking, perhaps one night as I was sleeping. It vexes me that time is quickly stealing away abandon, that most precious of childhood qualities. To be unconcerned, flitting about on the very edge of reality in the silvery world of forests and fairies, wearing a dress made of yellow rose petals and riding upon the backs of ladybugs. To lightly touch down upon the ground on soft bare feet. To wear necklaces of raindrops. To talk to fireflies.
“Paula, what are you looking at out there?”
“Karen. Just watching Karen play in the yard. I’m listening. You were talking about the prices at the meat market.”
“It’s really just ridiculous, you know. I’ve never paid so much for ground chuck in my life, and that’s including…”
And on and on and on. The motorcycles from the front room. The drone of negativity from across the table. I squeeze my eyes shut and push my fingers into my temples.
“Mom, do you have any aspirin?”
“It’s in the bathroom.”
I go into the bathroom, shut the door, and stand for a moment in the lovely still dark, my hands upon the counter. Then I flick on the light and open the medicine cabinet. I scan the jars and bottles lined up in rows, a neat little train of powdered normalcy that daily delivers some relief, some steadiness, one more miserable day upon this earth to the two old people who live in this sad little house.
I tell myself that I need to be more patient with her. That life has not always been kind to her. That I’ll be old someday. That she just wants someone to talk to.
In case you’re curious, the POV character is based on my mother, who loved the original story from my creative writing class. I think she will enjoy this one much more. And I hope you enjoy it as well.
In honor of Anton Dvorak’s death on this day in 1904, I’m making This Elegant Ruin free to download for Kindle today only! Click here for your free copy.
This story begins where Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 ends and follows an orchestra conductor as he comes to terms with a career winding down and a relationship with a young violinist that can never be.
Hope you enjoy it!
The next morning the sun was behind a cloud, but they started on, as if they were quite sure which way they were going.
‘If we walk far enough,’ said Dorothy, ‘I am sure we shall sometime come to some place.’
This line from chapter 14 of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Lyman Frank Baum did not inspire April’s short story, but it did provide the title after it was written. I’m particularly proud of We Shall Sometime Come to Someplace as a story that attempts to combine the three main conflicts (man vs. nature, man vs. man, and man vs. himself) into one short tale, and also alludes to three particular well-known stories that involve portals and other worlds of some sort.
I first had the inkling of an idea for this story a couple years ago during a drive in March when the skies were studded with clouds that looked like they belonged to the month of July. It grew from the short note I jotted down about it and an element of one of my recurring dreams.
Because I like this story so much, I’m offering it free on its release day (and that, my friend, is today) so click here and get your free copy! (No, this is not an April Fool’s joke; it really is free.)
I’m happy to tell you that February’s short story, The Door, is now available on Amazon. Click here to preview and purchase this slipstream story for Kindle. Just $0.99.
Wesley laid the canvas aside, sat on his stool, and stared blankly at the wall for a long time. As he sat, the weak February light moved slowly through the room as the day progressed until finally it rested upon the wall in such a way as to suggest a door where there was none. Something in Wesley clicked.
And why not? Why not a door?
In addition, for one day only I will be putting Beneath the Winter Weeds on sale. On Valentine’s Day (February 14th starting at 12 AM Pacific Standard Time for all you lovely international readers who may not celebrate this silly holiday) you can click here and download January’s short story absolutely free! It will only be free for 24 hours, so snap it up while the getting is good.
It gives me great pleasure to announce that today is the day! You can now buy the first short story of 2013, Beneath the Winter Weeds, for your Kindle. It’s just $0.99 and you can download it here. I believe non-US Kindle users may have to wait a day or so more before it is available for purchase in other territories.
I would like to ask those of you who read it to post a review on Amazon. I’d appreciate it so very much. If you’re a non-US reader, I’d love it if you could let me know when it is available to you. And if you run into any formatting problems on Kindle, please let me know in the comments here so I can address them. Thanks, everyone!
To give you a flavor of the writing, here is a short excerpt…
Instinct drove her on from one end. Knowing what lay beyond the ravine, somewhere beneath the ground, drew her ever closer from the other. Like a drop of rain upon a long blade of wild grass, she was inching ever closer to the root of it all. And when she at last came to the ravine and began a careful descent on the frozen ground, she had a palpable sense of acceleration, of reaching the point of no return.
And what’s coming down the line in February? A story about a painter and one very curious painting…