I Like Short Books and I Can Not Lie

 

bookshots

 

Last summer, this happened: James Patterson’s BookShots.

I love it. I want to sing it to the world! I’ll settle for the tiny corner that reads my blog but I’m singing, my friends. Loud and proud. “I like short books and I can not lie!”

Take a look at this. (And, if you’ve seen it, heard of it, know everything about it…don’t spoil my fun.)

Their message for readers is:

BookShots
Under 150 Pages. Under $5.00
Impossible to Put Down.

All the info you need (plus a modest boost) in a small, catchy slogan.

What’s this all about? This is what it’s all about.

Patterson’s catering to people who love to read but have very little time to do so. In fairness, he’s also targeting those who don’t read often or have the attention span of…what was that? Aw. A chipmunk! How cute!

The bonus for me, aside from having very little time to read, is that, as we’ve established, I love short books. I’ll be writing more on my undying love for novellas later but, the thing is, BookShots is bringing back novellas for the digital age with some clever marketing. Because, really, they’re just novellas in disguise.

(This whole line of books kind of reminds me of pulp fiction but, eh, what do I know about that?)

ThoughtBubble

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

 

Have you heard of BookShots? What are your thoughts on it? In general, do you prefer shorter or longer books?

 

Hinting at Shadows ~ Published #NewRelease

 

hinting-at-shadows-cover-reveal-lemon-shark

 

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.

 

hinting-at-shadows-cover-reveal-lemon-shark

 

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.  🙂

 

Cover Reveal (with a Little Help from My Friends)

 

I have a few books simmering on the burners. But my short story/flash collection is the one I’m closest to torturing the world with. And it needs a cover, as these things go.

Anyway, there are many choices and it’s overwhelming. I’ve narrowed it down. A lot.

I write kind of “dark” fiction but it’s not horror. It’s not thriller. It’s not really any genre. It’s just sort of…dark. Sad? No idea. But I don’t want to mislead readers with a cover that screams, “Horror!”

That was fun.

I want something that represents the darkness while also retaining some softness. If you’ve read my flash, you know what I mean. Without further ado…

Would you, could you, pretty please (with a cherry on top) take a look at these and vote for your favorite?

The font type, color, size, and placement can be changed. Any suggestions/ideas in the comments would be much appreciated. 

Thank you, gentle readers. I am so very grateful.

 

Brentyn_Cover1 poll

Cover 1

 

Brentyn_Cover2 poll

Cover 2

 

Brentyn_Cover3 poll

Cover 3

 

Brentyn_Cover4 poll

Cover 4

 

Brentyn_Cover5 poll

Cover 5

 

Cover 6

Cover 6

 

Cover 7

Cover 7

 

The lovely Rachael Ritchey, author of Chronicles of the Twelve Realms and founder of BlogBattle, designed these for me. I asked her for some advice after reading her post about cover design in her Indie Publishing series and, before I knew it, I had 500 designs in my inbox. I jest. There were only 400. She enjoys designing covers. And is really good at it. And is most generous with her time and talent. 

 

 

All images copyright Sarah Brentyn

How Do You Like Them Apples?

 

 

Scrivener App

 

I was wavering, trying to decide which program to use for my writing.

So, naturally, I wrote about it, hoping readers would help. They did. That post generated quite a few comments. I learned a lot. I also made a decision to at least try Scrivener because I need the organization.

However.

My main problem with it was that you had to download it to your laptop and leave it there. That did not work for me.

Here are some of my replies from that post:

Can you use Scrivener on different devices or only one? iPad, iPhone…?

 Awesome! And, please let [Scrivener] come out with an app. Please! *fingers crossed*

No, no, no! Say it ain’t so. This is my main issue with Scrivener. I’m a total tech floozie, too. (Nice accidental alliteration there, if I do say so myself.) I use different devices and need a program that is available on all. I can’t imagine this isn’t an issue for many writers. Why on earth hasn’t Scrivener…created an app?

Exactly. I use two different laptops plus type a lot on my phone (I know, but it’s convenient if not a bit tricky). I’m going to do the trial but this was my main problem with it. *shouts* “Fix this, Scrivener techies!”

A lot of writers had the same issue. They used more than one device (because, really, who doesn’t?) and/or wrote when they had a second between errands, taking care of kids, work, commuting, sleeping, eating…

Hang on to your hats.

If you haven’t heard, I’m delighted freaking out that Scrivener now offers an Apple app for iPads, iPhones, and any other iThing you want to use it for.

They advertise that you can “Write Anywhere”.

Thank you, Scrivener, we already do.

But now lots of us writers will buy your program to “write anywhere” with. How do you like them Apples?

 

Those of you who use Scrivener, are you going to get the app? Those of you who didn’t (specifically because you used different devices) are you rethinking using Scrivener?

 

Go *Tweet* Yourself

 

Go Tweet Yourself - sig

 

I just figured out I could retweet myself.

Late to the party.

I won’t lie. I played around with it a bit, hovering over those double arrows, clicking them, unclicking them, and generally goofing around.

My first thought, before I played, was: “That’s weird. Why would I do that?”

My second thought was: “I wish Twitter would introduce some useful new features.” (Ahem. Edit button.)

It went downhill from there:

“Hee-hee. I wonder if I’ll get a notification from myself that I got an RT from myself.”

“Where would it come from?”

“What would it say? ‘You retweeted you!’ or ‘You really think you’re something special to RT your own tweet, you humble fool.’

But, then, I got to thinking about how I use my Twitter account.

As I’ve mentioned, I mine my own tweets for future short stories and flash. So it might be kinda cool to revisit a piece of micro fiction and have it show up on the timeline of someone who missed it.

Then again, I could just pin it or copy and paste it into a new tweet… So, I guess, I’m back to my first reaction. Retweeting yourself is weird.

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

Do you retweet yourself? Did you know you could retweet yourself? Do you find any benefits to retweeting yourself that I’m completely missing? Did you notice how I just like saying ‘retweet yourself’ because I’m immature and find it amusing?


Process This

 

Sarah B Process This

 

I’ve been using Microsoft Word for…um…many years. I’m old. Moving on.

I hear from online writer friends, bloggers, and tweeps that Scrivener is the bee’s knees. Some say it’s easy, others that it has a steep learning curve. I don’t have time for that. But, if it really is all that and a bag of chips, I’ll find time to learn it. Because, as we all know, a stitch in time saves nine. (I have never understood this idiom. Surely there are better ways to say that if you do a little work now, it will save you doing more work later. See? That was easy.)

To add nuts to the cookie dough, I’ve just started using Pages. I know. But it was there and I was in need… I’m finally getting used to it and it has some pretty cool templates.

Pages is a shiny new toy, Word is a comfy, tattered old teddy bear, and Scrivener is a bike in the shop window.

I want all of the things!

You see my issue here.

I’m not likely to ever get rid of my ratty teddy bear. It’s comfortable. I know it well. But I do see the lure of a new toy, though that could be temporary. And the bike in the window that everyone is talking about? It’s a must-have yet I should probably learn to ride it (and that could take a long time).

Using three different programs seems excessive but do I whittle it down to just one?

I’m thinking each program could be useful for different types of writing—novels, short stories, flash, blog posts, notes…

If you have a spectacular idea and type it out on some note-taking app on your phone (yes, I have done this), are you able to extend it there or do you have to type it out somewhere else? I’ve always had to re-type it or email, cut, paste, repeat. I want to be able to extend writing where my notes are because, when inspiration strikes, you can be in bed at 2am and you have to write that scene.

I’m befuddled.

There are word processing programs, software designed specifically for writing, and apps for…just about everything.

I want to know (from you writers, not sites trying to sell me something) how easy or difficult these are to use. I want to know if you can transfer documents from one device to another and how many steps are involved in that process. I want to know if you can save these documents as other documents—Pages as Word, Word as Scrivener-ish-thing. What is a Scrivener document called? Anyway, I would love to know all of these things as well as any shortcuts you lovely writers have discovered.

 

What say you, gentle readers? What program/software/app do you use for writing? Do you use more than one?

 

* Edited to add: I’ve seen numerous mentions of Evernote in the past few weeks. Do you have this? Do you like it?

 

“But wait! There’s more!” I know there are dozens of apps out there and I’ve touched on only a few so please do let me know what you use and what works for you. I’ll send you cookies. (Chocolate chip, not electronic tracking data. Although… That would be a cool spy gadget.)

 

** Here’s something amusing for you. I wrote this post weeks ago in Pages and it took me forever to figure out how to get it to my laptop (in Word) and now, as I’m uploading it to WordPress, I’m having formatting issues. And I just love the irony of this. So much. Plus, the Hulk in me gets to SMASH something. Which is always fun.

 

Honoring Short Story Month With a Little Yellow Book

 

In honor of short story month, I am sharing an excerpt from one of my very favorite short stories of all time.

I wish I could get well faster.

But I must not think about that. This paper looks to me as if it knew what a vicious influence it had!

There is a recurrent spot where the pattern lolls like a broken neck and two bulbous eyes stare at you upside down.

I get positively angry at the impertinence of it and the everlastingness. Up and down and sideways they crawl, and those absurd, unblinking eyes are everywhere. There is one place where two breaths didn’t match, and the eyes go all up and down the line, one a little higher than the other.

Brilliant, right? The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is a masterpiece. I first read this story in college. Many years later, in a small used book shop, I stumbled upon a small copy from a small press which was printed the year I was born, proving my crazy connection to this story was real.

Now, my little yellow book is a cherished possession, like a worn stuffed teddy bear from childhood.

It completes me.

 

The Yellow Wallpaper

First published in 1892, the story is available here and, if you have not read it, you really must. I insist.

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.