Dear Reader, Issue 1, Volume 2
There's a 2023 book launch party up in this house.
I published my first book! It’s a collection of fantasy and science fiction short stories called The Stars Will Fall, and it’s available for purchase on Amazon. How is that for a lead into 2023? Of course, you knew it would happen, or in the very least were led to believe it would happen. Who am I to assume you would trust a dubious author writing strange stories on Substack. Of the 34 stories, 5 are a bonus that have never been published here, and the rest went through extensive edits to ensure consistent quality. If you want to read those glorious 5, there’s only one way to do that.
If you’ve already purchased the book, I would like to extend a sincere thank you. To know that people are reading my stories throughout the world is a gift that has tremendous value. At the time of this post, the book is ranked 188,054… whoever is ranked 188,055, no hard feelings. Star ratings and reviews go a long way on Amazon, and they make it difficult to leave one in order to weed out the fraud. So, if you have permission from the Amazon gods, and are able to leave a rating or review, I humbly ask that you would. It demonstrates there are actual readers out there that have enjoyed the book.
I would love to tell you how this was all a lifelong dream, or how I slaved through the emotional turmoil of pouring out my soul onto every written page. That would be a Pinocchio sized lie and I can’t write with my nose pushed into the monitor. The truth is quite the opposite. I love writing, started putting out a story every week, including submissions to other outlets, and before I knew it, I had enough for a collection. That’s the ultimate joy, to be surprised by what can happen unplanned. I’m confident that 2023 will be filled with unplanned celebrations. All I need to do is keep writing.
My only real goal, which will continue to be a goal for 2023, is to tell stories that readers enjoy and remember, keep them engaged and give them an escape. Storytelling is a powerful force, and it’s my belief we’re in need of some thought provoking, eye opening, conversation starting stories in our world. I want more of that. I hope you do too and that’s why you stick around this seedy part of town.
There is possibly another goal — I can’t tell you how much I hate that word — and that’s to write a novel. Not for any intended purpose other than to be read, by who and through what outlet is yet to be determined. I hear a lot of talk from publishers about knowing your audience or writing for your audience. I get that, but that’s a ridiculous way for an author to craft a story. Is Something Wicked This Way Comes for kids or adults? How old do you have to be to enjoy The Hobbit? Short stories like The Lottery are mostly consumed in high school. I doubt that was intentional, just like with the novel I write.
If I had to offer any encouragement for 2023, or provide unsolicited advice (who doesn’t like that), it would be to ignore all of the immaterial minutia surrounding publication, marketing, audience... focus on learning about what makes a great story, and then tell it. You’ll find an audience, even if it’s small to start, since the world is full of people who need an escape. Don’t focus too much on the rejections. There'll be plenty of that in the future so why let it steal your thoughts and precious writing time.
Speaking of rejections, I had my first for 2023. It’s the story published last week titled The Scientific Method. It didn't even receive honorable mention, which is a shame, because I’m honored that so many people read it here on Substack and enjoyed it enough to comment or like it. Elegant Literature publishes wonderful short stories across multiple genres, and I’ll continue to submit as long as I can come up with new ideas. That’s the difficult part.
I’m determined to submit to Factor Four Magazine this month as well. Wow, that’s a lot of me writing, but I like what they’re putting out these days and I want to ride that gravy train. I better get to it.
You're an inspiration, Brian. Thanks for bringing me to hopeful writer tears this morning (no big deal - happens at least once a day). You have one of the best attitudes about publishing I've heard in a long time. For that reason, I will keep listening to your wisdom. 😁 And reading your stories. 🌠
We would like to take the Reindel family to Red Robin for a proper celebration.
Love Grandma and Papa