Posts Tagged ‘short story’

I have two short stories for Blondes, Books, & Bourbon, on my edit desk right now. I’m working on both of them making changes to enrich the story.

One story needs tightening and honing in a lot of places. I’m tackling these places one at a time, hammering out the weakness and wielding in new words and structure. It is a challenge to stay sharp and creative in the process, but that’s part of the fun of being a writer.

The other tale, a stronger story in essence, needs a section transformed from description to dialogue … my editor loves to make me write dialogue. The end of this particular story also raised a small question -the answer to which I knew – but it opened up possibilities. I had carried an alternative ending in my head for a number of months now and shared it with my editor. We both thought it might be good to write it out and see which ending worked better. So although the majority of the edits on this piece were fast, in the end, I’m left with a good bit of work to do one it.

It seems like this should be frustrating, but it’s not…to me.
This is creative writing. It’s challenging yourself to keep tone and voice, while reordering the sections – be they large or small – with-in the story.

We are moving through the edits at a good speed, so I’m not worried. What does worry me is not giving all I can to the process.


Because that means I’m not giving those who purchase the anthology – I’m not giving my readers – the best I can offer. To me, that’s cheating and it would feel like theft.

I have a busy few months ahead of me making this anthology as strong as I can. Once that’s done, I immediately get to use the same technique to make the second novel ‘ Bindings & Spines’ worthy of an audience as well.

What is that saying about rest and the wicked?

My editor at Xchyler Publishing did three short stories for the spring anthology ‘Blonds,Books, &Bourbon’ – one of which was the very first ever written.

Two of them took little work on my part to make the changes she pointed out. Another took more work, but as it too was an older story, I wasn’t surprised.

Then she messaged me and mentioned she was working on one titled, ‘Nightmare’ and that she could see the difference in how far I’ve come since this one had been writing. I chuckled to myself because Nightmare is not very old at all, much newer than two of the others. What I did realize is that that particular short story hadn’t got through my usual routine. It had not seen the red pen of fury my personal editor wields so accurately. It hadn’t thus got a second edit from me. Since it didn’t get that it never got sent on to my beta reader, with her keen eye, and sound insight to the White Dragon Black world. And so it didn’t get it’s third edit.

I admitted this to my editor. I told her the issues she was having was not that it had been written long ago but that it hadn’t gone through the usual editing process. She was see – for the first time – my raw, unedited, words. I told her she know understood why I insisted on taking these steps before sending her anything.

Her response … ‘I wish more authors were that considerate’.

I love my editors (and beta readers) and would be hopelessly lost (and probably unpublished) without them.

Feeling pretty good this morning, even if I did party last night. 
And What a Party!

L&LLast night was the on-line release party for the new paranormal anthology from my publisher – Legends and Lore. I love to attend these things because they are always fun, and lively–the great prizes certainly don’t hurt either. Of course, I attended this one because I have a story in it – another Alvey adventure.

The book is available now, there are many great stories in it (as one can expect from Xchyler Publishing) and it will be a great addition to your bookshelf.

Speaking of anthologies, I’ve also begun the serious edits for ‘Blondes, Books, & Bourbon’, the anthology coming this spring that features my White Dragon Black stories exclusively.

I’ll admit, it’s a bit intimidating to be thinking about putting out an anthology that is just my work. In it’s own way, it is scarier than releasing a novel as there is a different dynamic and an all too real need for serious interest in the series. I’m putting myself out on a limb here, and I hope I don’t disappoint my editor for supporting that limb. The fear isn’t getting in the way of going forward with it however – not one bit.


And while I’m talking of fear of publishing, I still harbour second novel syndrome. Is the second WDB novel, ‘Bindings & Spines’ good enough? How will readers like it compared to the first? Was ‘Tomorrow Wendell‘ a fluke? Insecurities, that I know are standard for just about everyone in this position (except Hollywood producers – they don’t seem to care) but that doesn’t make them go away.

But keeping busy with edits and writing, and with the support of my publisher, readers, editors, and family, doesn’t allow too much time for these fears to really get a grip on me. I’ve gotten this far, no reason to shrink away now.

So here’s some advice for first time writers — Ignore the fear, the doubt, and the self incrimination. Write. Write what you want, trust in your Muse, and just go for it, Damn it all!


The other morning, I had worked at getting several hundred words into the fifth White Dragon Black novel, which, alas, still has no name. ~looks pointedly in Muse’s direction~ I decided to use some of my time in the afternoon to finish up the first draft of a short story. I opened the file and began to skim it, to re-familiarize myself with what already existed.

That didn’t take long, because there was only a couple of paragraphs – short ones at that. I felt my stomach drop, even as my mind went into wild bird in glass box mode. My brain bounced from one thought to another as it tried to reconcile the fact that it was sure there was a lot more to this work than was on the screen. My gut said I had somehow lost all the work.

I searched the computer, opened files incase it had been saved under a different name somehow, I stuck my thumb-drives in to make sure it wasn’t there. I even opened my email to see if it ad magically moved itself. All for naught.

Then I looked to my left and saw the small pile of pages ripped out of a notebook which had been sitting there for well over a month. I opened the fold over pages and read the first line.

Yeah. It was the majority of the story. Soon as I read it I remembered I had written it in the summer, waiting in my parents van for the delivery truck to bring the baby chickens. I just never got around to transcribing it. I honestly had no recollection of writing it that way until I unfolded the paper.

I have no idea what I thought those pages were but I do have note pages of all sizes, all over my tiny desk- story idea’s, quotes to put in current projects when I get there, jotted down interesting facts I might be able to insert in a story, all the usual writer’s stuff. Still, I felt pretty damn silly.

Now I’m putting the chicken scratch of my writing into the computer, so I can try and wrap this one up before working on the other two calling out for my attention. Because writing three short stories and a novel would be silly, two on the other hand…

Just got my short story ‘Charon’s Obol’ back from Xchyler Publishing to give it the final look over before they start to assemble the actual ARC of ‘ Legends and Lore‘  this fall’s paranormal anthology. I hate this stage because it means reading it as cold as you can to detect any hiccup in the works. I find this to be a very difficult thing to do with m own work, as I have already read it over countless times. It is hard to divorce yourself from your own words far enough to spot the niggling little things.

Luckily, once they have compiled the work together we will be able to read each others stories and not only get a sense for the thing on a whole, but help spot errors in each others work.
This part really causes my heart rate to go up. Seeing the other stories that will share space with your, getting the feeling of the antho as a whole, and sensing the magic the editor’s have woven to take separate stories and making them into one book.

ShadesAndShadows_Cover_full-resI have no doubt that, on October 18th, a fantastic anthology will be available for you all to read. How am I so certain? Because last years collection was simple amazing, and I was proud to be in it.

If you haven’t picked it up yet, put ‘Shades and Shadows: A Paranormal Anthology’ on your to buy list and grab it the same time you get ‘ Legends and Lore’  – Don’t worry, I’ll give you the link to that collection too, just as soon as it exists.

If you liked Tomorrow Wendell’ both these anthologies have White Dragon Black short stories in them so you can get your Jonathan Alvey fix.