New Writing Project – Short Story Collection

Long time no write!  This comes to you during one of the most taxing times in any teacher’s life–the days leading up to spring break.  This semester has been surprisingly very difficult for me, and I’ve felt far too much stress and doubt in my abilities.

So my mind has been pretty absorbed into grading essays, planning lessons, editing yearbook and newspaper pages, and trying to get students interested in just about anything over the last few weeks.  So that’s left my free time and creative life floundering somewhat.

I would say that the release of my chapbook, Chasing Distant Horizons (only $2.49 for the pdf), was somewhat of a success.  If anything, it gave me the confidence to achieve something as grand as self-publishing, if only on a small scale.  Add to that my recent flattering comments on my submission for the Dark Crystal Author Quest, and I’ve found some positivity with regards to my writing.

So I need a new project.  I need something to breath more life under my creative sails.  That’s when I went back to something I spent a very long time on.

As some of you may know, I wrote a complete fantasy novel and have spent a lot of time off and on editing that sucker.  There are still substantial things to be done, and one day I really do hope to see it find the light of day.  That being said, I thought about the editing process and how I haven’t revisited the world in some time.

That’s when the idea hit me.  What if I wrote a series of short stories that fleshed out elements of the world and characters.  The thread that holds all the stories together would ultimately be the world that I’ve crafted in my fantasy novel.

So I’m working on a rough (very rough) draft of a short story, which will be hopefully the first of many.  This story centers around one of the main characters from the novel, a half-elven lazy drunkard by the name of Isac.  In the novel, Isac has little desire to do much else than wallow in his home, waste away at the tavern, and ignore the rest of the world around him.  The story I’m drafting tells how he discovered he has special powers and how he loathes everything about it.

Here’s a small bit of the rough draft.  I hope you enjoy. [Click below to read it.  I don't want to take over people's feed.]

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Jim Henson’s Dark Crystal Author Quest–Made the Top 25!

Today the top five authors were chosen to move on in the Dark Crystal Author Quest.  I wrote a story submission for the contest entitled “The Gathering of the Darkened Wood,” submitted it on New Years Eve, and have been waiting with baited breath for the results ever since.

Well, the results are in, and I just want to say congratulations to the top five authors:  Vinnie Chiappini, Nancy Gray, Greg Coles, J.M. Lee, and Ester Palmer.

Yes, that means that I wasn’t indeed chosen for the top five authors.  That being said, I was chosen as the top 25 submissions!

You can see my name forever immortalized on the finalist list.

Here are the editors’ comments on my submission:  “The writing in this was so beautiful and descriptive; it became so real to me I could see the shadows moving.”

I’m so happy that I was able to submit something for the Dark Crystal Author Quest.  Now it’s on to the next writing adventure!  I’ve got some ideas brewing.  Just knowing that they enjoyed my writing is enough for me. 2014 is shaping up to be an amazing year, and we’re only into March!

And a quote from The Dark Crystal:

Kira:  What’s writing?

Jen:  Words that stay. My master taught me.

Adventures in Book Making & Marketing

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It’s been a while since my last update.  I apologize for this, and I hope to remedy my quietude as we progress through the next several weeks.  Above are some of my physical chapbooks.  I still have a stack to finish and send out to backers, and I hope to use some time either today or during my impending “cold day” off from work to get ‘em completed.

I suppose this post will focus a bit on the things I’ve learned from self-publishing:

  • There are some really awesome people out there.  Without them, my dream of becoming fully published in this capacity could never have come true.
  • It’s expensive to get things printed in color.  I can only imagine the cost of getting things done for more traditional binding.
  • Using a needle and thread is more difficult than I thought.
  • Promoting your work after finishing is proving to be the hardest part.  Been trying to get at open mic nights, but my attempts have failed thus far.

Any ideas from those that have gone the self-publishing route?

Anywho, I’m off!  If you haven’t checked it out, give a look to my chapbook:  https://gumroad.com/l/ChasingDistantHorizons

Recent Writing News: Chapbook PDF Now Available & Dark Crystal Contest

Before I get carried away, I want to start by wishing you all a Happy New Year!  Here’s to hoping it’s even better than the last!

A few months ago I launched my first Kickstarter campaign for a chapbook of poetry.  The campaign ended up raising a total of $700, which was far beyond what I had initially expected!  Today marked the release of the PDF version with the print and audio versions to follow in the near future.  If you missed out and wanted to consider buying a copy, it’s now available online!  Just head over to the following link and purchase it through Gumroad Publishing:

Chasing Distant Horizons:  A Poetry Chapbook

On top of that, I finalized my submission for the Dark Crystal Author Quest.  I started it back in November, but with holidays, final exams to grade, and general life getting in the way, I came to realize the deadline was right around the corner.  Two days of writing well over 5K words later, my submission is in.  I don’t consider it my best effort, but we’ll see if anything comes out of it.

I think that’s about it for now.  Don’t forget to check out my chapbook PDF and let me know what you think!

Chapbook Guest Author – Poem Preview

The Kickstarter campaign for my upcoming poetry chapbook, Chasing Distant Horizons, is down to only 11 days!  I’d really love to hit my new stretch goal of $700, but the only way to do so is by your amazing donations.  Just follow the link above and click the green button for poetry at a reasonable price!

One of our awesome Guest Poet backers, Bonnie Pulse, sent in her poems early for my reading pleasure.  I’ve picked one for the collection, but I also felt like I should post one of the other two poems because I found them to be really good!

And now Bonnie’s poem “Snowflakes.”

Snowflakes
   Tiny crystals
   sparkling
   like diamonds on the ground.
Frozen specs of time–
   dropped upon the earth.
Maybe a gift from up above
   a crystal token of live
   from someone lost.
Snowflakes.

Forgotten Leaves (poem rough draft)

Found a dollar today
resting on the side of the road
among autumn leaves
littering the wet pavement
after a ceaseless November rain.
Folded and soiled,
its green caught my eye,
and I bent, holding back
my dog on our peaceful walk,
to draw it from the surrounding
red and orange and gold.
A walk with the purpose
of clearing my aching brain
of the echoes of society,
its many-faceted existence
of deadlines, responsibilities, heartache,
and here I am stooping,
fingers grazing nature’s beauty
spread out all around,
arrays of colors and textures,
to grasp the one thing I tried escaping,
if only for a moment.