So here’s some exciting news: I’ve just had a short story accepted for publication in an upcoming literary anthology.
This isn’t my first short story rodeo. But this one is particularly fun, since my tale, “Moonshine,” will be appearing in the inaugural edition of Keep Texas Salty. The debut publication for new Texas press Quartermarch, Salty is to be a collection of poetry and short fiction paying tribute to the Texas Gulf Coast.
And as anybody who reads my blog will tell you, that sort of theme is right up my Texas-surfer-girl alley. As they say, you can take the girl outta Texas, but you can’t take Texas outta the girl. You can, however, distill it into a work of fiction or two.
A gothic noir (many thanks to the husband for helping me quantify this strange little story set in Prohibition-era Texas), “Moonshine” isn’t what you’d call a polite tale. But it should fit in just fine given Quartermarch’s aim for the anthology:
After a multi-year hiatus–peppered with rare, stolen moments of work–and half a year of concentrated effort, I’ve finished the rough draft of my speculative novel, NIGHT GARDEN.
Emphasis on the word “rough.”
A quick glance at my Track Changes application shows 119 comments sprinkled throughout the manuscript, indicating spots where I need to weave in world-building elements, affirm timelines, research further, fill in creative pits, and shore up plot points and character motivations. In addition, I have notes scrawled on napkins, sermon notes, and Post-Its–whatever I could grab before the thought fled.
Then there are the two notebooks (including one of those ultra-sexy yellow-pads) full of the most poorly organized notes imaginable.
I’ve got just a wee bit of work to do before this baby’s ready for prime time.
Still, it’s a major accomplishment, just completing the beast. I typed 112,632 words. I wrote 35 chapters. I hit the point where I could legitimately pen that final flourish: “The End.”
I should be skipping. Dancing. Celebrating with a glass of wine.
I won’t lie: The past few days of writing have required a healthy, heaping dose of courage. Why, you ask?
Because I’m finally returning to NIGHT GARDEN, the novel I started way back in 2015.
I know–that doesn’t sound particularly terrifying. But between now and then, my novel-writing life has been a roller-coaster-y one. When I started NIGHT GARDEN four years ago, I’d just finished writing and editing PROHIBITED, my 1920s novel. NIGHT GARDEN was meant to be my work-in-progress while I shopped PROHIBITED for literary agent representation.
There was just one kink in my glossy little plan. At 700 pages, PROHIBITED was literally twice the size it should’ve been. If novels can be likened to sharks, PROHIBITED was a whale shark instead of a sleek, speedy mako. 🦈
(Somewhere out there, at least my brother Hunter gets this metaphor.) But if you’re not so into sharks, here’s a visual: PROHIBITED’s first draft.
Here’s another one of my short-fiction assignments from my undergraduate degree in Professional Writing….
A time-warp had swallowed the months since I’d last stirred the air here—the NYU lecture hall hadn’t changed a bit.
“Mags!” Professor Beckett’s beard scratched my cheeks as he kissed one then the other. “Great to have you back, Tex.”
He adjusted his horn-rimmed glasses, his lime-colored tie, casually preening as always. “I want to see you after class.”
Before I could ask why, he’d flounced to the lecture hall’s front, out of range of interrogation. Uneasiness simmered in my gut.
Glancing at the clock, I moved for the nearest empty chair. My uneasiness boiled into discomfort when I realized who occupied the desk neighboring mine, but it was too late to find another seat without it becoming awkward. Tentatively, I lowered myself into my ill-chosen chair. Continue reading “Wasted”→
Just for fun, here’s one of my assignments from my undergraduate degree in Professional Writing: a short story for my fiction writing class….
The New York skyline zipped past, grim and garish through the cab’s window. Pain pulsed in my temples and my throat was sand dry, but my cramped muscles had finally started uncoiling. The return flight from Greece had been interminable. Stoli vodka on the rocks tweaked with two lime wedges, then bed—that was the cure for jet lag. I’d have Candice fix me a drink the minute we got home. She wouldn’t mind.
Closing my eyes, I dropped my head back against the seat. Twinned odors of stale tobacco and cheap Chinese food puffed up from the upholstery, assailing my nostrils. I sat back up, scowling at the cabbie. Bum couldn’t even be bothered to hang up one of those in-car air fresheners.
“Not feeling well?”
My gaze slid to Candice. Her grey eyes were studying mine intently.
“I’d planned to get a few minute’s sleep. But certain service providers haven’t learned the value of providing their customers a filth-free environment.” I caught the cabbie’s eyes in the rearview mirror, making sure he knew whom I was speaking of.
I turned my frown on my wife. “You should’ve driven the Jaguar.”
“I’m so sorry. It’s being detailed.” Candice’s tone was appropriately apologetic. Unclasping her Versace purse, she plucked out a vial. “Aspirin?”
Should’ve hired her instead of marrying her, I thought. Never the best of wives, she made for a flawless assistant. Continue reading “Agamemnon”→