Tag: published

New stories to share!

Eight years ago, in 2009, I participated in NaNoWriMo for the first time. I came out of it with a really crappy novel and a renewed love of fiction writing – it had been over a decade since I’d done any creative writing. Although my first novel will never see the light of day without massive rewrites, I’ve built up quite a collection of short stories that are ready to be released into the world. Some have been published in various online and print journals and anthologies, while others have been compiled into collections on their own.

But I still have a lot of stories that are just languishing in the cloud. While I intend to release them in collections some day, when I have enough to combine into a decent offering, I want to be able to get them out NOW. I’ve been too busy with grad school over the past few years to focus on submitting them to publications, so I was glad when I found out about Medium as a platform.

Medium is a website that delivers your work to potentially millions of readers. I’ve set up an account, where every week or two I plan to publish something new. I already have a handful of stories that you can read.

I also plan to publish articles and guides related to my career passions – trauma-informed care, education, and research. I’m hoping my fiction readers aren’t too turned off by this stuff, but I don’t feel like maintaining two accounts so you’ll just have to learn while being entertained.

Please, if you have a chance, follow me on Medium and read the new stories I have to offer!

Weekend Writing Warriors 5/31/15 #8Sunday

Tcoverhis week’s excerpt is from “Us, Together,” the first story in my short story collection of the same name.

Jake and Andrea are two high schoolers with a bit of a problem, to put it mildly.

* * * * * * * * * * *

There are lots of words nobody wants to say or hear during sex, but I think the two syllables I’d just uttered were at the top of the list.

“What do you mean, ‘uh-oh’?” Andrea asked as I eased my sweaty body off hers. We were in our usual spot, parked halfway down an abandoned driveway off Route 12, scrunched into the back of my beat-up Impala; several weeks ago when we’d first come here we’d tried doing it on a blanket in the grass, but I got too nervous thinking about a cop or somebody coming along and had what I euphemistically called performance anxiety.

“I think it broke, Andrea,” I said as I reached down and fumbled between my legs. “Shit.”

“Did you…?”

“Yeah, I always do with you.”

“Shit.”

* * * * * * * * * * *

Read more in Us, Together, then post a link to your eight sentences blog entry, or join the fun at the Weekend Writing Warriors website.

Weekend Writing Warriors 11/30/14 #8sunday

coverI have a new book of short stories, The Futility of Loving a Soldier, available now from Evolved Publishing!

The Futility of Loving a Soldier is a collection of eleven short stories about the effects of combat on relationships with military friends and family. Moving between why we love our troops to why we hate them, The Futility of Loving a Soldier demonstrates that we wouldn’t want lives without them.

Today’s excerpt is from “A Wedding,” which is my favorite story in the collection. Eli and Abby were best friends growing up and haven’t really talked in nearly ten years – Abby went to college and Eli enlisted. Now they’re both back in their small hometown where everyone feels like commenting on their lives.

“So, Abby, did you hear that the Hicks boy is getting married this month?” she asked as she placed a couple frozen pizzas on the belt.

I nodded and reached for the bar to separate our orders.

“Jamie Linn is just a doll, ain’t she? They’re so happy together,” the gray-haired woman said, straining to lift a two-liter Diet Coke from her cart, “ and Eli deserves some happiness after all he’s been through, bless him.”

I bit my lip and swallowed the lump in my throat.

“You and him was so close growing up,  we expected y’all to get married someday.”

The lump grew with each of the woman’s words.

“But that was before he came back ” – her voice dropped to a false whisper – “like that.”

Read more about Abby and Eli, and the other soldiers in this collection, by getting your copy at Amazon for just $2.99. Then post a link to your eight sentences blog entry, or join the fun at the Weekend Writing Warriors website.

And while you’re at Amazon, get a free copy of my latest short story, “Not My Thing.”

Weekend Writing Warriors 11/2/14 #8sunday

the futility of loving a soldierI have a new book of short stories, The Futility of Loving a Soldier, coming out December 1st from Evolved Publishing.

The Futility of Loving a Soldier is a collection of eleven short stories about the effects of combat on relationships with military friends and family. Moving between why we love our soldiers to why we hate them, The Futility of Loving a Soldier demonstrates that we wouldn’t want lives without them.

Today’s excerpt is from “Burger Run,” about two friends sneaking out for a late-night snack the summer after their high school graduation. Eli has enlisted in the Army, and Abby is headed to college.

Eli cut the engine, handed me a burger, then took one for himself. I unwrapped it slowly, focusing on the patterns the grease made on the paper. I took a bite, even though I wasn’t that hungry. Beside me, Eli stared straight ahead, the burger on his lap untouched.

 

“Eli?” Usually he’d inhaled at least an entire burger before I even had mine out of the bag.

 

“What if they make me kill someone, Rabbit?” His voice was so quiet I had to strain to hear him.

Post a link to your eight sentences blog entry, or join the fun at the Weekend Writing Warriors website.

And make sure to get a copy of my latest short story, “Not My Thing,” free at Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon.

Weekend Writing Warriors 7/6/14 #WeWriMa

It’s summer in the Midwest, which means it’s either record flooding or record drought (although last year, we managed to get both). The Mississippi is once again out of its banks and causing havoc, so in honor of that I’m posting from my short story “Of Gods and Floods,” about two kids dealing with flooding near their homes in Cairo, Illinois. I think I’ve posted this before, but it’s fun and appropriate, and probably one of my favorite parts of the story.

“Ritchie,” Granddaddy would say to me every year, “let this be a lesson to you; who created the world?”

 

“God did, Granddaddy.”

 

“And who floods it?”

 

“Well, my teacher said it ain’t nobody’s fault, just the snow melting up in Minnesota with no other place to go.”

 

“Your teacher’s an idjit.” He paused, sucked on his teeth, then continued, “Mother Nature floods us in Cairo, and you know why?”

 

Of course I knew why, but I didn’t want to ruin his story, so I said, “No, why?”

 

“Cuz no matter if’n it be a woman on Earth or a woman in Heaven, she gonna do what she can to make her man look a fool!”

Read the rest of the story in my collection “Us, Together,” just $.99 at Amazon. Then post a link to your eight sentences blog entry, or join the fun at the Weekend Writing Warriors website. And make sure you get a copy of my short story, “Not My Thing.” It’s currently free at Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon (where it’s currently in the top 5 for free literary short stories!).

Weekend Writing Warriors 6/15/14 #wewrima

For June, I’m pulling from my horror/paranormal universe stories. This week, it’s from a still untitled story about Sara from “Tim and Sara” and Alec from “The Kindness of Strangers.” It takes place before either of those stories.

In this scene, Sara is talking to her twin brother Levi, who kind of takes care of her, about her new job.

“Work is going great,” Sara gushed.

 

“Great for you, or great for a normal person?”

 

Sara ignored me and continued, “The best thing is that I met a guy and we’re going to have a baby.”

 

My fork clattered onto my plate; I was used to the crazy stuff she said, but this was out there, even for her. “A baby?”

 

“That’s the only logical thing when you love someone, and I am nothing if not logical.”

 

I snorted.

 

“It’s not my fault you don’t understand logic, Levi.”

Post a link to your eight sentences blog entry, or join the fun at the Weekend Writing Warriors website. And make sure you get a copy of my short story, “Not My Thing.” It’s currently free at Smashwords and Barnes and Noble (Amazon is still dragging their feet with the permafree thing, but you can get a Kindle version at Smashwords).

Weekend Writing Warriors 4/27/14 #WeWriWa

ustogethercoverIt finally appears we’re getting spring this year after all. To commemorate the warmer weather, green grass, and chance for outdoor activities not requiring mittens, this week’s excerpt is from a short story, “Man of the House,” that’s in my collection Us, Together.

For eight-year-old Jerry, Sunday, May 17th, 1987, started as a day just like any other, with church in the morning followed by an afternoon on the couch watching baseball with Dad. Mom kept popping her head in from the kitchen to complain about the beer, the cigarettes, the TV being so goddamn loud and didn’t he realize the baby was trying to sleep?

 

Of course Dad must have realized it, sitting there hunched over, rubbing his temples and downing can after can of Budweiser. Good American beer for a good American man, he always said. When Jerry was older he was never able to drink the stuff himself, told everyone it tasted like crap but really the taste brought back memories that made him cry.

 

But that day in May, that Sunday, Jerry wasn’t crying. He was eight years old, bouncing on the couch, rooting for the Cubbies. Asking Dad if he saw that play, if he thought it could’ve gone another way, if that ump was crazy, and Dad just sat there on the couch, drinking beer after beer, not answering.

Read the rest of the story, and five others about kids trying to cope with what life throws at them, in Us, Together, just $.99 at Amazon.

And then post a link to your eight sentences blog entry, or join the fun at the Weekend Writing Warriors website.

Weekend Writing Warriors 4/13/14 #WeWriWa

Not My Thing coverThis week continues with the story from last week, “Not My Thing,” which was just released as a free short ebook by Evolved Publishing.

When The Dancing Freemasons embark on their first major tour, Jeff’s dreams of being a rockstar have come true – until he can no longer connect with the music. One night after a show, he meets a woman who might be the one to get the music flowing again, but is the cost worth it?

For the last few scenes, Jeff’s been awkwardly chatting with that woman, and finally worked up the courage to ask her to grab a bite to eat.

“Give me your hand,” he says.

 

Her eyes narrow, but she complies.

 

He traces the veins on her wrist. “This, in here… your blood flowing through your body tells a song, a story for anyone who takes the time to listen.” He taps her smooth skin, playing out a drum beat he’s been working on. “For me it’s all about finding that song, that story, and translating it into something that other people can understand and connect with.”

 

“You probably say that to all your groupies.”

 

“Groupies aren’t my thing.”

Get the whole thing free at Smashwords or Barnes and Noble, and help make it free at Amazon too by reporting a lower price.

And as always, post a link to your eight sentences blog entry, or join the fun at the Weekend Writing Warriors website.

Weekend Writing Warriors 3/23/14 #WeWriWa

Not My Thing coverThis week continues with the story from last week, “Not My Thing,” which will be released as a free short ebook by Evolved Publishing either later this month or early April.

When The Dancing Freemasons embark on their first major tour, Jeff’s dreams of being a rockstar have come true – until he can no longer connect with the music. One night after a show, he meets a woman who might be the one to get the music flowing again, but is the cost worth it?

Last week, he mentioned his band’s name and she responded, “Who?”

It’s getting cold, and the night air isn’t helping his headache, his missing sense of touring equilibrium. It’s time to go back in. Might as well end whatever this is before it gets much further. “Actually, I’m in the Dancing Freemasons.”

 

“I thought you looked kind of familiar,” the girl says as she finally turns to look at him. “I’ve never met a famous musician before.”

 

Jeff laughs. “Two seconds ago you said you’d never heard of my band, and now I’m famous?”

Post a link to your eight sentences blog entry, or join the fun at the Weekend Writing Warriors website.

Weekend Writing Warriors 3/9/14 #WeWriWa

This week continues with the story from last week, “Not My Thing,” which will be released as a free short ebook by Evolved Publishing either later this month or early April.

Jeff is a drummer out on his first major tour, playing small clubs across the Midwest, but he’s come down with a bad case of writer’s (musician’s?) block and can’t get the songs to come out right.

Last week he met a girl in an alley after a show. It was a bit awkward.

A smile twitches across her lip. The vodka has begun flowing through Jeff’s veins, tamping his inhibitions; he feels encouraged to keep talking to her, but he can’t think of anything clever or funny to say, and he hates using the whole band thing as a pick-up line.

 

“So…” she says, hugging her arms around her body and shivering just a bit.

 

“Want my jacket?”

 

“I shouldn’t.”

 

“I don’t have cooties.” Who even says that anymore? She’s going to leave; he’s sure of it.

Post a link to your eight sentences blog entry, or join the fun at the Weekend Writing Warriors website.

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