Who’s That Indie Author? Sarah Brentyn

As most of you know, I’ve recently released a book, Hinting at Shadows. Barbara Vitelli (aka Book Club Mom) contacted me to do an author interview for her wonderful series called “Who’s That Indie Author”. I’m delighted to be over at her place. She’s a fab book blogger and lovely lady. Please check out the interview, leave a comment there, and peek around her blog. Cheers!

Book Club Mom

Who's That Indie Author pic

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Author name
: Sarah Brentyn

Genre: Short Fiction/Flash Fiction

Books: Hinting at Shadows

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Bio
: Sarah Brentyn is a woman who finds talking about herself in the third person odd.

I wrote my first story when I was nine years old and have never looked back. My work has appeared both online and in print in lit mags, newsletters, websites, newspapers, and anthologies. I have a master’s degree in writing and have taught all ages, from Kindergarteners to adults. When other girls dreamt of being a ballerina, I dreamt of scribbling my thoughts in a notebook and turning them into a book. I bleed ink.

Favorite thing about being a writer: I kind of love everything about being a writer. The feel of a pencil, the smell of paper, the click of a keyboard, the words in my head appearing on the page. It’s magical. I suppose…

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Rejected Book Intros

 

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I mentioned my little issue with writing an author bio and how I quickly fixed that by blurting some silly thoughts out and going with it.

I didn’t want to work too hard on it or let it drive me batty—which it right could have. Also, I knew that no matter how much time I spent on it (10 minutes or 10 months), I’d likely look back at it and cringe. So, I chose the 10-minute cringe.

My introduction was a different bowl of spaghetti. Holy meatballs, Batman, that thing did drive me crazy. And I didn’t listen to my own advice (no surprise there) about the bio.

I spent time (much time) and energy (lots of energy) on the introduction. During this time of lunacy when I was alienating friends and forcing family to disown me, I came up with some real doozies.

The following introductions are real. They were not written for your amusement. But I thought I would share them with you in case you are amused. It’s okay, you can totally be embarrassed for me.

 

  • I like writing. I don’t like spiders. I made a book. Read it.
  • I think I’d rather become dinner for the Swamp Thing than continue working on this foreword. Which is ridiculous because the Swamp Thing protects people (and is probably a vegetarian).
  • Short fiction is like dark chocolate. It’s pure cocoa with no fillers. A small piece is rich and satisfying.
  • I don’t like writing bios, forewords, or introductions. Actually, I don’t care for anything that requires me to tell readers about myself or my work.
  • This pumpkin spice stuff is seriously getting out of control. Here’s a book with NO pumpkin spice in it.
  • I’ve missed meals, skipped family outings, remained unshowered for two five days, typed until my eyes were sand paper and my fingers bled, developed headaches that laughed at Tylenol, and alienated many friends with my writer moods. I do hope you appreciate all that went into this book and that you will take pity on me and read it.
  • I triple dog dare you not to read this book!
  • This is a collection of mini stories… But, wait! There’s more! No, there isn’t. But mini stories are fun and delicious. Like those little cupcakes with sprinkles that you can eat a bunch of without having to explain yourself to anybody because they expect you to eat more than one.
  • Will this torment never cease?!!!
  • I’m seriously considering finding a vampire and asking it (“him”? or “her”?) to turn me so I have an excuse to not finish this intro. No, seriously. Now I’m wondering. What is the correct pronoun for creatures of the night? Are they “it” or do you refer to them by the gender they were before they were bitten? And, technically, they are still that gender. Regardless, if I were a turned into a vampire it would require some adjustment on my part. Would that be an acceptable reason for not including an introduction to this collection?
  • There is nothing (not one thing) in this book that mentions the United States political system, the election, or the candidates.
  • Short fiction is known by many names. Flash, sudden, postcard, micro, hint… Hint fiction. Get it? Hinting at Shadows does hint at darkness but it’s also hint fiction. Cool, huh? *nudge* *nudge* *wink* *wink* Know what I mean?
  • I’d rather be watching Harry Potter.
  • If I write any more introductions, there’s a real possibility I will spontaneously combust.

 

Do you find it difficult to write your introduction or is it easy after you’ve done all the writing/editing/revising for your book?

 

My Cup Runneth Over

 

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I find myself in the place where life is offering me both olive branches and snakes.

Be careful what you reach for.

There is joy and sorrow. Peace and distress.

I find myself in the place where I am most grateful for the fact that I have too much to be grateful for.

When I look at the big things, the small things, the basic things, the superfluous things…I am amazed.

My cup is so full, it overflows. Regardless of everything else, I am thankful for that.

And I am thankful for you, my friends.

I absolutely must give a special shout-out to all those who showed up to support me last week for the release of my new book. I’m truly touched. Thank you.

 

Wishing a Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow US bloggers.

 

Hinting at Shadows ~ Published #NewRelease

 

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So. It has come to this.

Yes! It really has. It’s here!

Hinting at Shadows is now available in both eBook and paperback.

After some minor bumps and bruises with the ever-delightful formatting process, I am finally able to release my book into the world.

This is a collection of short fiction. Flash, micro, sudden, postcard, hint… Whatever you label it, it’s fiction. And it’s short.

I hope to entertain but, really, it’s awesome if I can spark your imagination or get you thinking about possibilities.

As most of you know, when I write fiction, I turn to the dark side. (I am this close to a Star Wars reference…)

This book is a mixture of darkness and softness. I skip the gore and go straight for the heart, allowing words to whisper dark, suggestive snapshots of the psyche. I’m fascinated by human nature. These are stories that hint at the things in the shadows.

Thanks to all you tweeps, blogging friends, and writer buddies who supported, encouraged, and, quite frankly, kept me going with your excitement for this project. You are all awesome. A special thanks to Sacha Black, Rachael Ritchey, and Loni Townsend for all their help.

 

Blurb for Hinting at Shadows:

 

NO ONE ESCAPES LIFE UNSCATHED

Delve into the deeper reaches of the human condition and the darkness that lives there.

A girl haunted by her sister’s drowning. A boy desperate for his father’s affection. A woman forced to make a devastating decision. A man trapped by his obsessions.

Experience tales of love, loss, murder, and madness through this collection of flash and micro fiction.

Take a peek behind the smile of a stranger. Get a glimpse inside the heart of a friend. Scratch the surface and discover what is hidden beneath.

These stories will open your mind, tug at your thoughts, and allow you to explore the possibility that, even in the brightest moments, something is Hinting at Shadows.

Each selection is approximately 100 words, with a bonus section of Microbursts in which each story is told in 50 words or less.

 

Available to buy:

Paperback

eBook

If you decide to grab a copy, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed creating shadows with flash.

 

There is a crack in everything…

 

 

“There is a crack in everything.
That’s how the light gets in.”

 

These oft-quoted lines from Leonard Cohen are some of the most beautiful words to ever be strung together.

To me, they speak of hope. The full and complete appreciation of light when submerged in darkness. This is a theme I explore often—both in life and in writing.

Nothing is perfect. Nothing is flawless. And therein lies the beauty.

When we are broken, it is at that time and it is at the place where the break is, that the light gets in.

Leonard Cohen’s poetry and songs have touched many. His voice, singing his remarkable words, never fail to bring me to tears.

Things are broken. But now the light can find its way in.

 

Leonard Cohen: 20 Essential Songs (Rolling Stone)

 

Pinstagram

 

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When I asked whether writers should use Pinterest or Instagram, there was a clear winner: Pinterest.

However.

I keep stumbling across articles saying how Instagram is awesome for authors.

What I don’t understand, about either of these, is how they are “social” media.

I get that you’re more visible, building your platform and so forth, but the chattiness of, say, Twitter is not there. (Claims the girl who is on neither of these networks.)

As I see it:

Instagram: A cool place to showcase pictures of your vacation, your lunch, or your cat. Or show off your mad photography skills.

Pinterest: A cool place to create collections of pictures that you like, that you took, or that inspire you. Or all of the above.

How is this social? And why are the articles saying you must be social on these networks…or else? (And what is the “or else”, anyway? Are there social media monsters that will crawl out of my computer and gobble me up? Actually, that’s creepy.)

By the way, I haven’t ignored you, my lovely friends. Pinterest it is. Because you said so.

Here I am… pinterest.com/sarahbrentyn

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

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Are you on Pinterest? If so, let me know so I can find you and “friend” you or “follow” you or, um, “buddy” you or “chase” you or something. Also, are you social on there? How? I’ll try my damndest to be social with you.

If you’re on Instagram and really like it, I could be persuaded to join that, too. Let me know…


Unremarkable Me

 

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I’m exceptionally ordinary.

I realized this while struggling with my author bio.

Honestly, I already knew but it’s really in your face when you’re trying to create anything that requires you to write in third person the answer to an unanswerable question: Who am I?

I’m me. Just me.

Unremarkable.

I’m not being self-deprecating but I am wondering…

Why does everyone need to be special?

Everyone is unique. Not the same thing.

Let’s face it. We want our bios to be memorable. That’s the point, isn’t it?

I went through this last year while trying to write a social media profile and “About Me” page for my blog. I had a major WIC (Writer’s Identity Crisis) and deleted myself.

But this. It’s so…final. An author bio, many experts say, can make or break you. Break me? Eek. They’re right! I can’t just cut and paste and fix it. It’s there. In writing. Forever.

Eh. Okay. So it is.

No matter how many times I rewrite it, I’ll most likely look at it in a few months and wonder what the hell I was thinking. So I’m going to accept that and let it go. And while I’m at it, accept who I am on paper.

A unique yet ordinary woman.

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

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Do you have difficulty writing your bios? Do you change them often or write them and leave them alone? Do you try to present yourself as ‘special’ in some way? Do you even remember what your bio says anymore?

 

 

Cover Reveal for Hinting at Shadows

 

Thanks to everyone who voted in the cover poll, texted, emailed, and sent carrier pigeons to tell me which cover they liked. I’m so grateful because, not only did you choose a favorite, you explained your decision. I got feedback about image, font, colors…

With all that interest in my cover, you made this writer very happy. Onward!

In the poll, the winner was #1 (tree and rainy window) with #4 (shadows and flowers) a close second. However, a lot of people who voted for #1 commented that they liked #4 as well for various reasons. Behind the scenes, #4 won by a landslide.

Do I need to say I chose #4?

Well…I will. And I did. We took some of the elements from #1 (including more black background for easier readability), changed the font, and tweaked a few things.

Voila. We have ourselves a cover. One I’m thrilled with.

 

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Still need to finish the nuts and bolts of the thing, you know, but am so pleased to have the cover of my book completed. Thanks, again, to the lovely Rachael Ritchey for designing and to all of you for providing invaluable feedback and helping to create this cover.

 

Hinting at Shadows will be available November 2016.  🙂

 

10 Things I Learned from The Princess Bride

 

 

1. Love is the greatest gift of all.

If your love is true (like really true), many people will help you for no other reason than true love is so very rare. Also, because their own selfish desires led them to use you in their schemes. But, still. Oh, and apparently death cannot stop true love. Bonus.

2. No pain, no gain.

Building up an immunity to poison (like Iocane powder) is extremely beneficial in many situations including, but not limited to, a battle of wits and will guarantee you a win every time you play “which cup is the poison in?” Sweet victory is only a vial away.

3. Make your own fun.

Just because you’re in a sword fight to the death, doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. Witty banter makes this experience much more enjoyable as does waiting to use your dominant hand until you discern whether your opponent is worthy or not.

4. Be honest.

If you’re only waiting around to kill someone, they may not accept your help. But if you’re honest and disclose this information, that might be all they need to hear. What’s not to trust?

5. React with humor instead of anger.

If your boss is aggravating you, repeatedly rhyming is a great tactic to keep him at bay while entertaining your colleagues.

“Do you know that you are late?!”
“Do you know I had a date?”
“You missed a meeting for today!”
“Yes, I know. Hip-hip-hooray.”
“Stop that rhyming! Stop it now!”
“Okay, dude, don’t have a cow.”
“Keep it up and you’ll be fired!”
“Staying here till I’m retired.”
“Don’t push it, Fred, you’re on thin ice!”
Ice…ice…
“I’ve got nothing… Lunch break? Nice!”

6. Don’t give up.

Being “mostly dead” is very different from being “all dead”. ‘Nuff said.

7. Self-care is important.

If you haven’t got your health, you haven’t got anything. So put your priorities in order. If those treasonous plans and murderous plots need attention, you may have to miss out on something fun like going to the Pit of Despair. For the sake of your health.

8. Know what a word means before you say it.

“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” That phrase is priceless. It can be used to embarrass anyone, anywhere, anytime. Also, it never gets old.

9. Don’t underestimate the power of a name.

The name is what’s important. Names have reputations, not people. Don’t be afraid to ask friends and co-workers to call you Thor or Captain America. Alternatively, if you’re trying to strike fear in the hearts of men, try Loki or Red Skull. No one will ask for help from Captain Fred. And no one is afraid of Red Fred. See? It’s all in the name. Pass it on.

10. Always have a “Plan B”.

There is no future in revenge. Don’t turn the other cheek, though, as that one might get slashed as well. Do what you need to do. Just keep in mind two things:

1. If you don’t succeed, you’ll need to find somewhere else to focus your energy.

2. If you do succeed… Well, think about it. Once you get your revenge, there is nothing left. Be sure to find time during your years of plotting revenge to study or learn a trade so, post-revenge, you have something to do with the rest of your life. Unless you happen to know a pirate who is willing to let you use his name.

 

Have you seen The Princess Bride? If so, what lessons have you learned from it? Everything tastes better coated in chocolate? “To the pain” is significantly worse than “To the death”? The Cliffs of Insanity are aptly named?

If you have not seen this film, please, for the love of Miracle Max, go. Watch.

 

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This post is part of the Things I Learned from the Movies Blogathon hosted by Speakeasy and Silver Screenings#LearnedFromMovies

  • Special thanks to Silver Screenings for allowing me to have fun and be silly with my entries.

 

5 Things I Learned from Monty Python

 

 

1. Be yourself.

If an ancient bridgekeeper asks you five (three) questions as toll to cross, answer him truthfully. Do not say what you think he wants to hear or be indecisive in your response or you will end up in the Gorge of Eternal Peril.

2. Know when to quit.

If you are fighting for a just cause and acquire a scratch, bruise, or other minor “flesh wound”, don’t give up the good fight. On the other hand (assuming you still have one), should your arm be chopped off, your leg lopped, or if blood is spurting from various injuries, know your limits and limp away. Live to fight another day.

3. Don’t let looks deceive you.

Do not underestimate a killer, even if he is a cute, fluffy, little bunny. You could wind up decapitated.

4. Stand up for yourself.

If you are not dead and a cart comes ’round to pick you up for disposal, do say something. And be insistent. It could save your life. (Or not. But do try.)

5. Don’t give in to peer pressure.

If you have had too much to eat and are feeling full, do not let someone talk you into having dessert. Even if it is just a mint. And a wafer thin one at that.

 

What have you learned from the movies? Serious, silly, or otherwise?

 

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This post is part of the Things I Learned from the Movies Blogathon hosted by Speakeasy and Silver Screenings#LearnedFromMovies

Don’t miss my next installment of *cue music* LearnedFromMovies posting tomorrow. (Hint: There’s a princess, a pirate, a giant, and a six-fingered man.)

  • Special thanks to Silver Screenings for allowing me to have fun and be silly with my entries.