An invitation

A couple of days ago, I was sent an invitation by MyTrendingStories.com to become a regular contributor to their website. I was a little suspicious. Over the years I’ve been the beneficiary of several people who wanted to give me millions of their dollars, but I still haven’t seen dime one. My little blog has been noticed? Apparently so.

This is a terrific opportunity to expand my audience and hopefully sell a few books. If nothing else, it will encourage me to become a better writer… a little more focused, a little more disciplined.

And no, I’m not giving up this blog. This is my home, and I’ve met and become friends with so many gifted, funny, unique and wonderful people. My contributions to My Trending Stories will be similar to what I do here: fiction, some poetry, observational pieces, whatever strikes my imagination… but in a larger playhouse. (The original email stated they were aiming to become one of the five biggest blog sites on the internet.)

I’m excited/nervous, but I hope to start soon. In the meantime, I’ve got a couple of projects simmering on the stove, so more details to follow.

– Steve

 

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Anniversary

Ordinary Handsome cover

It’s been a full year since I published Ordinary Handsome, and I don’t know where the time has gone. I’ve since written another novel (soon to go through the editing process), struggled through several false starts, and have just begun yet another. Handsome didn’t have the success of, say, The Martian, but I’m still proud of it. The fault lies with the promoter (me). I would rather write than promote, but I still try.

And so a hearty, and deeply appreciated thank you to those who took the time to not only read it, but who actually commented, reblogged excerpts, and gave it amazing reviews (all unsolicited). Thank you, thank you, thank you!

And now it is time to move onto the next thing. Coming soon: A Very Tall Sky.

And Ordinary Handsome is still available. 🙂

Three Days Quote Challenge (Day 3)

“It ain’t whatcha write, it’s the way atcha write it.”

—Jack Kerouac”

Thank you https://ipeniwrite.wordpress.com for nominating me for the “Three days quote challenge”

I enjoyed my search for writers’ quotes. Writers are a strange, belligerent, passionate kind of folk… and I love being a member of the tribe.

Three Days Quote Challenge (Day 1)

If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn’t matter a damn how you write. 

– Somerset Maugham

Thank you https://ipeniwrite.wordpress.com for nominating me for the “Three days quote challenge”

I hereby nominate:

Rules:

  • Post one quotation a day for three days (they can be from other sources or one of your own).
  • Nominate 3 other bloggers to participate per post.
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you.
  • Oh, and you’re under no obligation to do this. But have fun if you do.

Attention Amazon shoppers

ordinaryhandsomeii

For a limited time, Ordinary Handsome is on sale for 99 cents. That’s right, shoppers, for a limited time only, an amazing and unbelievable 99 cents! But wait, there’s more! (There’s not really more.) What do I need to do, you ask? Follow the link! You too can say you bought something today on Amazon!

Tired of those cheap 65 cent /ton clothes pins? Frustrated by those pants that were shipped with only one leg and no zipper? Embarrassed by that David Hasselhoff “Knight Lover”  CD that was shipped “by mistake”? Well no more. Now you can be the proud owner of (turns page, loses spot on page, remembers his coffee is on the counter getting cold, watches the last half hour of CSI: Miami because, hey, they’re cool shades and David Caruso is a dweeb, but the shades almost make up for it) Ordinary Handsome! The novel everyone in the bathroom is talking about! (Forgets he’s in the bathroom and shuts the door.)

For less than the price of a gas station cup of coffee, you too can be the proud owner of something. Aggravated by harsh sales pitches? Annoyed by the guy who drives his ’74 Datsun up and down the road because he’s probably lost? Fed up with LOUD people asking you to buy stuff that you desperately need? Say no more. It’s here and it’s cheap, baby, cheaper than that strip mall you invested in before the Y2K, um, thing. (Really? A strip mall? In Buck Naked, Wyoming? Shame on you.)

Catches his breath, naps, and then waits for the next “Everyone Loves Raymond Episode”, the one where Robert maybe didn’t love Raymond after all.

Okay. Sales pitch done. Enjoy the rest of your evening. Regular programming will now resume.

Walks away grumbling about being a lousy salesman…. maybe drywall for dog houses next? Yeah.

Darkness on the edge of the page

I really do have a sense of humor. Really! I know how to laugh at myself. I’m not one for practical jokes or silly behavior, but I do laugh. And while I don’t think I’m everyone’s ray of sunshine (my wife gets me!), I do appreciate absurdity, the ridiculous, the clever wordplay. Chickens make me laugh. The Onion makes me laugh. 30 Rock is brilliant.  I’m not all dour. And yet my writing is dark. Grim. I’m not sure why that is. Life experience, I guess, but that’s only part of it. I’ve always written dark.

I was a humor columnist for ten years at  my old job. A graphic artist, proofreader, unofficial assistant editor, and one memorable time, the writer/photographer for a front page story. And a columnist. A humor columnist at that. And yet the dark side has always bubbled through, like a swampy stew. I don’t make any apologies for it but sometimes I think, Dude, you’ve gotta lighten up! I try, I really do, but the dark stuff is so damned compelling to me. Hopefully, I infuse that darkness with humanity, with heartfelt compassion, curiosity, and empathy. It can’t be all dark, or we’d all be monsters.

Sometimes the things that I write are so full of genuine emotion that I need to pause when things get too heavy. I’m a big softie, a huge softie. The ending to Ordinary Handsome was probably the most heartfelt things I’ve ever written. It was dark, but yeah, it felt real. No bullshit happily-ever-after because that’s not how things work.

Years ago, when I discovered that I wanted to write, my father told me that I should stick to writing humor and to do away with all the serious stuff, that humor was my gift. I like humor, I do like to make people laugh (with me), but with the serious stuff, I’d much rather make people feel.

Knock knock…

Who’s there?

Grim.

Grim who….? 

Okay, back to work, back to that  poor woman who murdered her husband.

November: A very tall summer?

This morning I came up with a challenge for myself. Or a wishful thought. I’m going to finish a novel by November 1st. This year. A little more than two months from now. I’ve been working on two separate books for the past few months, but steadily on one in particular: the tale of the widow Charlotte and her slow descent into madness (cue the organ music, Vincent Price at the keyboard.) The working title is A Very Tall Summer.  Those who follow my blog with any regularity have seen the progression in several scattered posts. Early this morning, it all came together in my head. And it’s creepy as hell. Continue reading “November: A very tall summer?”