Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves – Hinting at Shadows

 

Hinting at Shadows is “New on the Shelves” at Sally’s Cafe & Bookstore. I’m excited to be on the virtual shelves here with so many other talented authors (including Sally).

Sally Cronin is a prolific blogger who is extremely generous with her space and time. Take a peek at this lovely introduction and browse through the bookstore while you’re there.

 

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Today’s author is Sarah Brentyn with a collection of flash and micro fiction. Hinting at Shadows was released in November 2016. Continue Reading…

 

Hinting at Shadows #BookReview by Irene Waters

 

 

I had a lovely surprise to brighten up the dreary days of February.

Irene Waters (writer, blogger, and memoirist) reviewed my book on her blog.

She has an eclectic blog where she shares daily life as well as photos and experiences from around the world. Irene also hosts a brilliant monthly writing prompt called “Times Past” that looks at our world through both geographical and generational differences.

 

It’s an absolutely beautiful review and I am so touched by her thoughts on the book. (Thank you, Irene!) ❤

Please stop by, check out the review, and explore her blog. You’ll be glad you did.

 

Since You Offered…

 

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Okay, I’ve published a book. I’ve chosen “accept” as my One Word for 2017.

1+1=2. I accept that I’ve got to promote my book.

There are quite a few bloggers offering to help authors promote. That is awesome. And I’m hearing this a lot: “Take advantage of this opportunity!”

I know these lovely, generous people are inviting authors to email, to introduce themselves, to promote their work. My painfully introverted nature aside, I do want to promote my writing but it’s awkward.

What is this I’m feeling? Shyness? Uncertainty? Self-consciousness? Or something else entirely? I need to think on it some more. Or you could leave your (PG-rated) suggestion in the comments. Bottom line is: I feel uncomfortable asking for help in this particular area.

Does anyone else feel this way? Is it just me?

And for these bloggers…is it awkward for them? Honestly, it’s like winning the lottery and suddenly getting calls from friends and family you haven’t spoken to in ten years (or ones you didn’t know you had).

This leaves me in a tough spot—a spot of my own making, I understand, but still. I’m not sure how to handle it.

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

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How do you handle promotional offers?

Authors: Do you only promote your book if you’re already actively following/commenting on the person’s blog or do you take advantage of the opportunity whether you’re blogging buddies or not?

Bloggers: Do you offer promotions on your blog for authors? How do you feel about people you don’t know (or don’t know well) emailing you to promote their book?

 

Hinting at Shadows #BookReview by Sacha Black

 

 

Friday the 13th turned out to be a lucky day for me.

I found a review of my new book, Hinting at Shadows, over on Sacha Black’s blog. It’s pretty awesome. She wrote all sorts of wonderful things about my writing and this book.

Thank you, Sacha!

Please hop over to her new blog and check out the review.

 

Why Quitting Writing Is the Best Thing I’ve Ever Done

 

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It’s been one year since I quit writing.

When I posted about this, it was heart-breaking.

I cried.

I regretted sharing my decision.

Then I realized how much I needed to post it. To feel it. To publicly admit it.

Here’s the thing. The biggie. I’ve “quit” writing before but I’ve never really quit.

I’ve had a meltdown over a story or a freak-out about my computer crashing (save your work!) or stopped writing out of frustration because I’d been interrupted for the fifteenth time. I’ve had writer’s block, run short on time, gotten sick, had self-doubt… You name it.

I’ve thrown my hands up and shouted, “I quit!”

Those are probably relatable to most writers. There is always something trying to block your way, drain your energy, waste your time, or stifle your creativity.

But when I wrote that post, I well and truly quit.

When I published that post, something inside me shifted.

This wasn’t a writer’s temper tantrum. This was me letting go of my dream. I waited two whole agonizing months to return.

Though, in the grand scheme of things, this wasn’t a long time, it felt like forever.

I thought about losing the creative outlet I’d been using since I was nine years old. I thought about flash and writing prompts and how much I’d miss those. But, honestly, what I thought about most was the fact that the characters in my novels would never finish telling me their stories. I thought about the fact that I would never write another word about these people.

I cried. Again.

 

Truth is, I was in a bad spot and thought quitting writing would take some pressure off. I thought it would give me more time and energy to deal with the crap. What I found was, by taking writing away, I was less able to deal with things.

You know what? I am overwhelmed. I do have a lot going on. There are shitty things happening.

There were a year ago and there still are today.

I did need a break, but not from writing.

I thought my life demanded I let go of my dream. I thought I had to kill a piece of myself, to make room for a new piece—one that could deal with all of the drama, chaos, and responsibilities. But it broke my spirit when I quit.

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved putting pencil to paper and creating stories. I’ve always known writing is part of me. It’s not that I discovered this last year, it’s that I got a reality slap. A reminder that I need writing. Not just that I love it—I need it.

I had to feel this, really feel this loss, to fully appreciate how much I needed it.

I am a writer. It’s what I do. It’s who I am.

 

 

The fact that I quit writing played a big part in the publishing of Hinting at Shadows. One year ago I stopped writing and, almost exactly one year later, I am a newly published author. Of a book that I love. One that I’m proud of. One that shows we never know what the future holds. One that proves we cannot bury our dreams.

 

Have you ever given up, quit, or let go of something you loved? Did this hurt or help you? Or both? Did you ever return to what you left?

 

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?

 

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.

 

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.  🙂

 

Self-Publishing Is Like Planning a Wedding

 

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If you’re getting married, have been married, or had the unfortunate fate of being involved in helping plan a wedding, these will sound somewhat familiar:

“You can have Aunt Lucille take pictures. Don’t waste money on a photographer. You need a skilled DJ.”

“Have your sister’s boyfriend DJ. Hire a professional photographer.”

“Your mum can bake the cake, but get a designer for the centerpieces.”

“You can make your own centerpieces but not the cake!”

“Have an open bar or everyone will be pissed.”

“Have a cash bar or everyone will be pissed.”

“No matter what you do…”

“If you have to cut corners…”

And so on.

So here I am, planning a wedding. A marriage of words, thoughts, ideas, dreams, technology, design, and marketing.

How I’m to untangle all the information and advice, I truly don’t know.

Self publishing is kind of a DIY project. (Thankfully, not all of it since DIY and I don’t really get along.)

Authors everywhere have their own ideas of exactly what you ABSOLUTELY CANNOT do yourself and what you ABSOLUTELY SHOULD NOT spend your money on. I actually like this because, through their own experiences, they are helping other writers. Which is a lovely thing to do.

However.

The differing opinions are mind-boggling.

“You must hire a digital artist for your cover.”

“You can make your own cover in Canva or even Word!”

“Don’t pay a proofreader. Have your friends look it over. Save your money for marketing.”

“Put yourself out there and sell your own book. You have to get a proofreader.”

“Find someone to format the book or it’ll be a disaster.”

“It’s easy. Just grab it from Word and upload it to Createspace.”

“Take your own author photo…”

“Get an experienced photographer…”

“No matter what you do…”

“If you have to cut corners…”

And so on.

What’s a writer to do?

 

Okay, gentle readers. I know you. I like you. I have your books. (I think you like me well enough.) I really want to know…

Did you self-publish? What were your experiences? What did you do yourself and what did you hire someone for? Any advice? I’m listening. And I’m ready to hear it.