Story Time Friday: Another verse novella…in progress

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I had another idea for a novel/novella/short story in verse. Last time I had one, I also posted it here. That was back in…oh, well it was almost a year ago. Last February. And if you were wondering what ever happened with that idea. Well, I didn’t work on it any more since then. But the WIP I’m sharing today has more promise. There’s more of a story behind it. Aside from me needing to research some things, because I don’t really know as much about the classics as I think everyone assumes they do, I feel like this could be a fun piece to read.

I had the idea for this, as a prose story, recently. I only put a few notes on paper and let it stew. I decided to try starting it yesterday. To make it even more challenging and fun, I decided to try it in verse. I know, I write poetry. But my narrative poetry can only go so far in the realm of telling a fictional story for any length of time. I’m combining my “strength” in poetry with my limited experience with prose. We’ll see how it ends up. I just have to keep at it and not start something else before I get there.

Note – Please keep in mind that this was written less than 24hrs ago. Also, formatting poetry on a blog is not a pleasant experience. This is mostly mentioned because of my use of indention. There shouldn’t be a new stanza created for each (only after, in most cases), but it was either that or don’t indent. I wanted to keep the indents this time, even if this is a rough piece.

Another note – From Where I Stand and Winter’s Homecoming and Other Poems on sale, still. $0.99 each, over on Amazon. I might end the sale once February gets here. I might not. It’s not really hurting me either way, I guess. Even with the lower price, sales are rare. *commentary over*
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The Characters
(work in progress…so is the title)

by Robert Zimmermann

Nothing like a zombie apocalypse
to start off the day right.

Ok, the zombie apocalypse
isn’t exactly what’s happening,
but there’s definitely some drama
going down at the bookshop today.

Is the shop infested with the
living dead?

Not exactly.

Is it an invasion of the
undead?

Kind of.

I think it’s more accurate to say
that they were never technically alive.
They can’t be any form of dead if
they never lived in the first place.

When I walked through
the bookshop doors this morning,
I was greeted by an
impressively dressed…

butler.

There are only a few of us working
in the shop, and this guy
wasn’t one of us.

“Welcome to <insert name later>,
sir,” he said to me.
“My name is Jeeves.”

At first I laughed.

One of the other workers must
have hired this guy to perform
as a prank.

”Nice to meet you, Jeeves.
What an original name you have.”

All the amusement of the moment disappeared
as an arrow whizzed by, millimeters away from
piercing my nose.

I dropped to the floor,
but not before seeing a green blur
ducking behind the register.

”What the hell is going on?”
I screeched at the man calling himself Jeeves.

”What’s wrong, sir?
Did Mr. Hood’s arrow graze you?
I’ve never known his aim to be
anything but true. I assure you
he never meant to harm you.”

“Mr. Hood? As in Robin…
Robin Hood?”
I was still on the floor,
trembling now.

A second later, the green blur jump
from its place of hiding and stood before me.
“Robin Hood, at your service!”

I slowly lifted my head, peering up at him.
His hand was extended toward me, possibly
in a friendly manner, but I wasn’t waiting
to see what he intended.
I shot up off the floor, like the arrow that almost
killed me, and ran out of the store.
I didn’t look back.

Only after reaching the sidewalk did I realize
that a crowd had gathered.
It seemed as if half the town had shown,
to gawk at me.
I really must be the victim of a practical joke
gone wrong. Very wrong.

Still shaking and confused, I pushed through
the crowd, walking away to collect myself.
After reaching the next block, I tentatively looked back.
To my surprise the gathered crowd wasn’t staring
in my direction any longer.
Their eyes had been glued to the shop windows
all along. This wasn’t a practical joke, after all.

I had a bone chilling realization, then.
Those two characters,

Jeeves
Robin Hood,

They were…real.
So were the rest. There must have been over
a dozen more eccentric characters in the store.
I saw each one moving around in there, as I made
my way back through the people.

Jeeves. Robin Hood. Characters.

Characters….

Characters.

It was then that I fainted.
Right on my own store’s steps.
And it wouldn’t be the first time I fainted that day.

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How to Submit:

For those who wish to be part of Story Time Friday in the near future, you can send submissions to the email address that I formerly used for review requests (but don’t anymore since I’m retired . . . don’t try to be clever and slip one in :P ): miztrebor88@gmail.com. Be sure to use the subject “Story Time Friday Submission” and send your piece as an attachment (.doc/.docx would be best). Any other questions, feel free to comment here or contact me through the blog’s contact form.

Hope to hear from some writers soon!

 

Guest Post by @AuthorLHerman: The Economics of Self-Publishing a Book

The Economics of Self-Publishing a Book

a guest post by Louise Herman

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Hello everyone, and I hope you are enjoying the week.

I have decided to take a week’s respite from writing the third book in my YA urban fantasy series, Split Blood, to catch up with author interview and guest post requests. I am looking forward to discussing my thoughts and opinions on the economics of self-publishing a bookas well as giving some advice on what aspects of self-publishing is essential to a budget and what I have experienced as a waste of time and money.

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Why did I decide to Self-Publish my books?

I would love to say it was a choice, however, after I sent a number of emails to literary agents and received no replies, I decided to close my eyes and jump straight into the self-publishing ocean.

It was nerve-racking at first because I had no idea about self-publishing but after a lot of research and learning from my mistakes along the way, I am enjoying the self-publishing journey.

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What are the common misconceptions of self-publishing?

I think the biggest misconception about self-publishing is anyone can publish a successful book in today’s technological world.

For example, you have a great idea for a story, you get so engrossed in writing it, you take the leap and self-publish it on the internet and then you sit back and wait for the big bucks to start rolling in, along with literary agents fighting to represent you, right?

Not quite!

The reality is only a handful of self-published authors break even (the total cost of publishing against the profits of the sales, after each website has taken its percentage) and if you do not have a regular presence on social media sites then you could find it difficult to be seen and network with influential people who can help potential readers find your books.

These people are bloggers and reviewers.

I have built up a good relationship with many bloggers and have added them to my list of ‘Go to People’ when I need to do author interviews (to discuss my past, present and future. This is not all about promoting my work. It is for potential readers to get to know the person behind the books), Guest Posts (topics related to writing that are important to me) and Spotlights (a full discussion about myself, my work and upcoming projects).

It’s also fun to communicate with these bloggers because it is a two way process. They advertise an author on their blog and social media sites, therefore, as an author, I also do the same (I will post the promotional item on my blog, which advertises their blog to my followers, and on my social media sites).

However, not all bloggers work the same way.

Some specialise purely in reviews but some are open to other forms of promotion.

I have found that trying to get reviews can be quite hard because many are overwhelmed with requests and often close their review request channels until they can catch up with the backlog.

While others will state they do not accept requests from self-published authors, with some going as far as to state that they have a problem with the quality of the self-published books they have previously read.

I used to find this slightly insulting but when you take into consideration that they are doing these reviews for free, they should be allowed to have an opinion on what types of books they want to review.

NOTE: Reviews are usually free and reviewers usually have full or part time jobs but review in their spare time. This means try to give at least three months’ notice to your reviewer. If you are asked to pay for a review, try somewhere else! Not only is it slightly frowned upon in the self-publishing industry but it’s just an unnecessary, extra cost to your ever rising budget!

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What are the advantages of self-publishing?

I like that I have the opportunity to learn about online publishing first hand and that I have the chance to communicate with a range of people with similar interests.

I learn something new every week to help enhance my writing and advertising skills and I really enjoy having full control over every aspect of publishing my books.

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What are the challenges of self-publishing?

Although I enjoy having full control over publishing my books, I do sometimes think that it would be nice to have a literary agent to help take on some of the advertising tasks because having full time job, restricts the time I can dedicate to writing and sometimes the advertising infringes on the writing time.

I have also found that it takes a lot of work and effort to gain a strong following. I write Young Adult Urban Fantasy novels, which is a popular genre and I have found that it is extremely difficult to get new followers interested in looking at my new pieces of work if there are no reviews to give them an inclination of how the book has been received by other readers.

There will be potential readers and followers who will read the synopsis and give the books a try but there are some who use reviews to help them decide whether or not it is the kind of story they would enjoy reading.

It is the latter type of follower that bad reviews can affect your potential sales.

Some reviews that are lower than five stars can be disheartening to an author but if they offer constructive criticism (e.g. “there was too much fighting in it”) then it could be a case of what one person dislikes about the storyline, another reader maybe looking for this type of drama.

However, if they give you one star because they “just couldn’t read it because you should never write again”, it offers nothing to a potential reader about the story and many would not take this type of review seriously.

And lastly, I have given out copies of my eBooks for a review in the past, only to be disappointed to never receive one.

It is disheartening but all these things are part of the learning process and have helped me focus on what works and avoid what wastes time and money.

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What are the costs to publish your own book?

Here are the basics of what it cost me to self-publish my first book (The Orcus Games: Blood Moon):

  • Book cover artist –  This is difficult because it depends on the type of cover you want? You can get book cover images from a variety of stock photography sites and prices vary on each site. For a basic book cover with an image that does not need to be edited and text, I would estimate between £50 (~$70) and £150 (~$212).
  • Proof-reader or Copy Editor –  Between £600 (~$850) and £1,000 (~$1418) (depending on word count, how many hours it takes them to work on the book and how much work the book needs).
  • eBook Conversation Costs  If you cannot convert your eBooks yourselves then it might be worth getting a professional to do this for you. I convert my books myself but I have received quotes in the past for this type of work and the prices were between £50 (~$70) and £150 (~$212).
  • Distribution costs –  (for reviewers who only accept hard copies): I have heard that some websites do give a small discount to authors who buy their own books but I am yet to find these sites. Therefore you would be paying the same price as a customer to purchase your paperback books to send to reviewers. Many authors buy in bulk for this purpose and can spend between £599 (~$849) and £1099 (~$1558) for an order of 100 books.
  • URL for website Having your own website is essential for an author and you can buy domain names from nearly anywhere on the internet at the moment.

I have a website through Fat Cow and bought my URL through them as soon as I set it up.

It cost me approximately £8.99 (~$12.75) to buy the domain name + £60 (~$85) for the year (with added extras).

However, different extensions can either increase or decrease the cost (e.g. com, co.uk, org. Etc.)

  • Publishing sites percentages
    • Amazon – There are two royalty options. (correct as of January 2016)
      • Option 1: Keep 70% of the royalties. However this option is only available to books sold in a specific territory of countries set out by Amazon Kindle. Any books sold outside of these regions will give you a 35% royalty.
      • Option 2: Keep 35% of the royalties. This is the standard royalty rate.
    • Smashwords – (correct as of January 2016)
      • “Smashwords authors and publishers earn 85% or more of the net proceeds from the sale of their works. Net proceeds to author = (sales price minus PayPal payment processing fees)*.85 for sales at Smashwords.com, our retail operation. Authors receive 70.5% for affiliate sales. Smashwords distributes books to most of the major retailers, including Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and smaller retailers.  Sales originated by retailers earn authors/publishers 60% of the list price.”
    • Lulu – (correct as of January 2016)
      • Lulu prides itself on working on a 90/10 royalty split, therefore if you have published your book after 6th September 2011 and it is priced at $1.24 or higher then you can qualify for a 90% royalty revenue.

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What advice would you give to someone wanting to self-publish their first book?

There might be something I have missed out because every week I am learning something new about the self-publishing world but so far I have eight tips that would help a new author get started:

  • Test it out on free sites like Wattpad first to see if there is an audience for it and find Beta readers in these groups to help highlight elements that may need extra attention (e.g. such as continuity issues, plot holes, creating believable characters or scenes, etc.)
  • Build up a following and make amendments based on the feedback
  • Get a professional book cover artist (unless you are good with graphics software or you are a good artist)
  • Get your work proofread or copy edited
  • Publish on the main publishing sites
  • Build up a group of regular reviewers
  • Be active on social media (not just to talk about the book but share your interests and get involved in group discussions)
  • Remember success doesn’t happen overnight (it could take years), so continue with your passion and never give up!

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About the author

Louise Herman is a North London Fantasy author obsessed with pear drops sweets and 80s Fantasy films.

In between reading James Herbert novels and drinking too much coffee, she writes Young Adult Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance novels.

Louise Herman has currently written five YA Fantasy books to date (December 2015); The Orcus Games Prequel Trilogy and The Split Blood series, which take the reader on a journey of magic, mystery, obsession and forbidden love with seductively dark consequences.

For more information, please go to: www.louisehermanauthor.com

Find out more:

All Book Covers to Date LARGER

#Review: An Unexpected Joy, by @SusanHatler

An Unexpected JoyTitle: An Unexpected Joy (Treasured Dreams #6)
Author: Susan Hatler
Rating: 4/5 stars

“AN UNEXPECTED JOY is a super short and sweet contemporary romance short story (12 pages, 3200 words).

Holly’s next adventure, and she’s in for an unexpected joy. (description from Goodreads)

D

D

D

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Reviews of previous Treasured Dreams stories:

An Unexpected…

Date | Kiss | Love | Proposal | Wedding

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Susan Hatler’s Treasured Dreams series is almost done. This story, An Unexpected Joy, is the sixth installment in Holly and Dave’s life story. It’s also one that caught me by surprise in a few ways.

What I enjoyed about this story is that Holly was the one driving the story (and series story arc) forward. In the last few, Holly was the one in for a surprise with what was going to happen by the end of the story. Now, Holly had the chance to hold all the cards. It was a nice change of pace to have Dave be out of the loop.

From the title of the seventh story, I can tell what the focus will probably be. At the same time, there’s something unresolved (not in a cliff hanger way, don’t worry) in this story that will most likely carry over to An Unexpected Baby that I’m looking forward to reading about. That’s making me want it to be February even sooner.
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You can grab your own copy of An Unexpected Joy from:

Amazon | B&NKobo | iBooks

And the seventh Treasured Dreams story, An Unexpected Baby, you can pre-order it over on:

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

and if you haven’t read the first story, An Unexpected Date, yet:

Amazon | B&N | KoboiBooks

…or story two, An Unexpected Kiss,

Amazon | B&N | KoboiBooks

and story three, An Unexpected Love

Amazon | B&NKobo | iBooks

story four An Unexpected Proposal from

Amazon | B&NKobo | iBooks

story five An Unexpected Wedding from:

Amazon | B&NKobo | iBooks

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About the Author:

Susan HatlerSUSAN HATLER is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, who writes humorous and emotional contemporary romance and young adult novels. Many of Susan’s books have been translated into German, Spanish, and Italian. A natural optimist, she believes life is amazing, people are fascinating, and imagination is endless. She loves spending time with her characters and hopes you do, too.

For more:

2015 Recap: Books Read – The Highlights

2015 Books Reads

Just the Highlights!

January may be almost half over. You may be getting tired of everyone talking about their best of lists from 2015. I may be posting this for everyone to ignore. But I’m going to post it anyway!

Instead of going though my list of books read, choosing my top 5 or 10 of each type, then listing it all out like in years past, I’m making it easier on everyone. Here are just the highlights. After going through what I read, these are the books that still stand out to me. I didn’t have a lot of duds this year. But I did read a lot of books that didn’t stand out. These are those novels, graphic novels, and books of poetry that I still think about from time to time.

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  • The Opposite of Nothing by Shari Slade
  • My Sweetest Escape by Chelsea M. Cameron
  • A Shattered Moment by Tiffany King
  • Trust the Focus by Megan Erickson
  • Girl at War by Sara Nović
  • The Island of Excess Love by Francesca Lia Block
  • The Misanthrope by S.M. Boyce
  • Dear Future Boyfriend by Cristen O’Keefe Aptowicz
  • Freakboy by Kristin Elizabeth Clark
  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
  • Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
  • Lumberjanes (#1-11) by Noelle Stevenson, grace Ellis, and Brooke A. Allen
  • Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona
  • Saga  (Vol 1-5) by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
  • The Night Bookmobile by Audrey Niffenegger
  • This One Summer by Mariko & Jillian Tamaki

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What books stand out from the others on your books read in 2015 list? Which should I have read last year that you think would have made it on this list? I’ll think about adding them to my 2016 TBR.

#NewRelease: An Unexpected Joy, by @SusanHatler

An Unexpected Joy

goodreads-badge-add-plus-8aed1006260a5092a7ebb2a64fe3968c

AN UNEXPECTED JOY is a super short and sweet contemporary romance short story (12 pages, 3200 words).

Holly’s next adventure, and she’s in for an unexpected joy.

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You can grab your own copy of An Unexpected Joy from:

Amazon | B&NKobo | iBooks

And the seventh Treasured Dreams story, An Unexpected Baby, you can pre-order it over on:

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

and if you haven’t read the first story, An Unexpected Date, yet:

Amazon | B&N | KoboiBooks

…or story two, An Unexpected Kiss,

Amazon | B&N | KoboiBooks

and story three, An Unexpected Love

Amazon | B&NKobo | iBooks

story four An Unexpected Proposal from

Amazon | B&NKobo | iBooks

story five An Unexpected Wedding from:

Amazon | B&NKobo | iBooks

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About the Author:

Susan HatlerSUSAN HATLER is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, who writes humorous and emotional contemporary romance and young adult novels. Many of Susan’s books have been translated into German, Spanish, and Italian. A natural optimist, she believes life is amazing, people are fascinating, and imagination is endless. She loves spending time with her characters and hopes you do, too.

For more:

2015 Recap: #ShortStories Read

SHORT STORIES READ IN 2015

That’s right. Here is the list of short stories I read in 2015. It took me too long to put this post together, so I hope you all get some use out of the list. It’s not easy to copy and paste this much data and the table itself…then search the internet for all the stories to link. Most are linked, and the authors’ websites are linked too. A few are not linked because it seems stories have been unpublished/taken down since the time I read them. Not exactly sure what’s up with that, but I’m not those authors, so I can’t tell you the reasoning.

Either way, there are 203 total stories listed and probably around 190 you can go out and read. 90% (estimate) are free to read. Many of them were also audio-reads found on Librivox. I could have linked to the free audio, but instead I stuck with ebook links. It was a little faster that way. Definitely check out Librivox anyway. Thousands of free audiobooks of public domain work. No reason to stay away from that!

I might do a Best of 2015 sort of post soon. I’m still not sure about that. At the very least, I’ll be posting on Facebook/Twitter to highlight some of the more memorable reads from 2015. Without a clear plan in mind, I figured getting you this list would be somewhat helpful in the year to come. Single short stories tend to go unappreciated in the grand scheme. I’ll always try to keep up short story awareness (should I hashtag that?).

Enjoy, if you check some out. And enjoy 2016!

P.S – Don’t forget about the bottom of the post. There’s a question down there…

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Number

Read

Title Author Name Genre
Last First
1 When You’re Gone Summers Eli LGBT
2 The Ideal Weinbaum Stanley G. Sci-fi
3 Moxon’s Master Bierce Ambrose Sci-fi
4 What Was It? O’Brien Fitz-James Sci-fi
5 The 4-D Doodler Waldeyer Graph Sci-fi
6 The Toy Shop Harrison Harry Sci-fi
7 Martian V.F.W. Vandenburg G.L. Sci-fi
8 The Repairman Harrison Harry Sci-fi
9 Bread Overhead Leiber Fritz Sci-fi
10 The Banshee Anonymous   Horror
11 Accessory Before the Fact Blackwood Algernon Horror
12 The Worlds of If Weinbaum Stanley G. Sci-fi
13 Vicarious Fate Prioleau R.M. Fantasy
14 The Point of View Weinbaum Stanley G. Sci-fi
15 A Martian Odyssey Weinbaum Stanley G. Sci-fi
16 Accidental Death Baily Peter Sci-fi
17 The Good Neighbors Pangborn Edgar Sci-fi
18 Advanced Chemistry Huekels Jack G. Sci-fi
19 And All the Earth a Grave MacApp C.C. Sci-fi
20 The Image of the Gods Nourse Alan E. Sci-fi
21 The Selfish Giant Wilde Oscar Fairy Tale
22 The Horla Maupassant Guy de Horror
23 Oh, Whistle and I’ll Come to You, My Lad James M.R. Horror
24 Mandy Cain Agee Jamie Erotica
25 The Mage of Dunnyduff Hill Findlay Louise Poetry
26 Lost Hearts James M.R. Horror
27 The Mezzotint James M.R. Horror
28 The Ash-Tree James M.R. Horror
29 The End Zwain Maxwell Horror
30 By the Waters of Babylon Benet Steven Vincent Sci-fi
31 Hermit Brown-Hobson JJ Literary
32 A Twisted Fairytale Urquhart Anna Horror
33 Night Surf King Stephen Horror
34 Trucks King Stephen Horror
35 The End of the Whole Mess King Stephen Horror
36 Vampire Story Byrnes Gary J. Horror
37 The Lawnmower Man King Stephen Horror
38 Number 13 James M.R. Horror
39 Brea’s Brand New Breasts Nichon Aimee Erotica
40 The Valley of the Spiders Wells H.G. Fantasy
41 Valley of Dreams Weinbaum Stanley G. Sci-fi
42 Pygmalion’s Spectacles Weinbaum Stanley G. Sci-fi
43 Sherlock Holmes: Discovering the Border Burghs and, by Deduction, the Brig Bazaar Anonymous   Mystery
44 The Hairbrush Raimbault Tom Horror
45 Dumbass Barton S.A. Sci-fi
46 Beside Still Waters Sheckley Robert Sci-fi
47 In a Far-Off World Schreiner Olive Literary
48 How Old Man Above Created the World Judson Katharine Berry Mythology
49 Conjured Lover Raimbault Tom Fantasy
50 Spider Stephenson Richard Dystopian
51 Boundless Warren D Lee Thriller
52 Roadside Assistance Winship Thomas Literary
53 Finis Pollack Frank K. Sci-fi
54 Nice Weather We’re Having Today Barton S.A. Fantasy
55 Song in A Minor Key Moore C.L. Sci-fi
56 Spacemen Never Die! Hersman Morris Sci-fi
57 Benefactor Smith George H. Sci-fi
58 Collector’s Item Young Robert F. Sci-fi
59 Compatible Smith Richard R. Sci-fi
60 Planet of Dreams McKimmey James Sci-fi
61 Native Son Hamm T.D. Sci-fi
62 One Martian Afternoon Leahy Tom Sci-fi
63 I’ll Kill You Tomorrow Huber Helen Sci-fi
64 Ask a Foolish Question Sheckley Robert Sci-fi
65 Games MacClean Katherine Sci-fi
66 The Delegate From Venus Slesar Henry Sci-fi
67 The Marooner Sterns Charles A. Sci-fi
68 Silence of the Heart Ducey Natalie Poetry
69 Nobody’s Fool Ducey Natalie Poetry
70 A Life For Sale Boyce S.M. Poetry
71 The War Within Ducey Natalie Poetry
72 Love’s Illusion Ducey Natalie Poetry
73 Notes of a War-Torn Childhood Novic Sara Literary
74 Cam Girl Prevot Gabrielle Erotica
75 Ride Me Hard Slade Shari Erotica
76 No Hiding Place Smith Richard R. Sci-fi
77 The Boscombe Valley Mystery Doyle Arthur Conan Mystery
78 The Five Orange Pips Doyle Arthur Conan Mystery
79 A Sexual Awakening I Desmond P.R. Erotica
80 A Sexual Awakening II Desmond P.R. Erotica
81 The Man with the Twisted Lip Doyle Arthur Conan Mystery
82 Jurassic Jane Eyre Sessarego Carrie Erotica
83 Galatea Miller Madeline Literary
84 A Life in a Year Connor Shae LGBTQ
85 The Hazel Branch Grimm Brothers Fairy Tale
86 The Ear of Corn Grimm Brothers Fairy Tale
87 The Aged Mother Grimm Brothers Fairy Tale
88 Eating the Moon Kos Eleanor Paranormal
89 Asteroid P.S. Brett Sci-fi
90 The Carmichael Mystery Garcia Jeanine A. Mystery
91 Notes Sapp Danika Mystery
92 Death in the Wilderness von Stoller Drac Horror
93 The First Notch Salvatore R.A. Fantasy
94 Dark Mirror Salvatore R.A. Fantasy
95 The Third Level Salvatore R.A. Fantasy
96 Guenhyvar Salvatore R.A. Fantasy
97 That Curious Sword Salvatore R.A. Fantasy
98 Wickles in the Nether Salvatore R.A. Fantasy
99 The Dowry Salvatore R.A. Fantasy
100 First Kiss Thomas J. YA/LGBT
101 Conrades at Odds Salvatore R.A. Fantasy
102 If Ever They Happened Upon My Lair Salvatore R.A. Fantasy
103 Iruladoon Salvatore R.A. Fantasy
104 To Legend He Goes Salvatore R.A. Fantasy
105 The Summer Dress Armstrong W.R. Mystery
106 Unfinished Coopa Arla Erotica
107 The Prom Kids Kaye Verity YA/LGBT
108 Lady of Steel Zelazny Roger Fantasy
109 Origins Erwine J Alan Sci-fi
110 Empathy Scribner Joshua Horror
111 Fly Away Scribner Joshua Horror
112 Foreign Objects Scribner Joshua Horror
113 Life After Connor Shae LGBTQ
114 Craving Scribner Joshua Horror
115 100 Scribner Joshua Horror
116 Come Out Scribner Joshua Horror
117 New World Justice Scribner Joshua Horror
118 Terrible Noise Scribner Joshua Horror
119 Very Short Very Wicked Scribner Joshua Horror
120 The Last Question Asimov Isaac Sci-fi
121 Mike and Jack McComie Li Comedy
122 Baltic Dent Shane Horror
123 The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle Doyle Arthur Conan Mystery
124 Two Timer Brown Fredric Sci-fi
125 Shard Rucker Brandon L. Thriller
126 Dagon Lovecraft H.P. Horror
127 Complicated Poetry! Roche Stephane Poetry
128 I Left My Heart in New York Roche Stephane Poetry
129 Engaged 3×12 Masterson Daniel Sci-fi
130 Sunny Day Connor Shae LGBTQ
131 In the Shadow Mouvia Nikolas Horror
132 The End of the World Mouvia Nikolas Sci-fi
133 Ghost Rewards Coopa Arla Erotica
134 Possessive Love Coopa Arla Erotica
135 Ghost Seed Coopa Arla Erotica
136 Gone Grey Shane Thriller
137 Summer (and after) James L. Jordan Poetry
138 Sarah’s Short Travel Blog Fulton Tiffany YA
139 The Righteous Government Kaye Verity Sci-fi
140 Not Alone Coopa Arla Erotica
141 The Time of the Nephilim Ellis Tara Sci-fi
142 An Unexpected Date Hatler Susan Romance
143 An Unexpected Kiss Hatler Susan Romance
144 The Time Being Honeywell Antonia Dystopian
145 The Viscount and the Witch Sullivan Michael J. Fantasy
146 The Homecoming Bradbury Ray Horror
147 Professional Integrity Sullivan Michael J. Fantasy
148 Love Bites Edward Lacey Paranormal
149 During the Dance Lawrence Mark Paranormal
150 The Morning Rempfer Derek Literary
151 Good Bones Erickson Megan LGBT
152 Chance Encounter Warren Nancy Romance
153 Serendipity: Not So Sweet Sahgal Vasudha Romance
154 Tale of Sir Red Embers Dan Historical
155 The Sunshine Club Campbell Ramsey Horror
156 Nine Ladies Dancing Barbosa Jackie Romance
157 Strawberries & Cream Tyler Shyreen Mystery
158 An Unexpected Love Hatler Susan Romance
159 It Doesn’t Snow in November Semtex Jimmy Boom Erotica
160 The Falconry Castillo Angela Fantasy
161 Underground Pound: Ashley’s Bareback Subway Ride Sand Marisa Erotica
162 The Adventure of the Speckled Band Doyle Arthur Conan Mystery
163 An Unexpected Proposal Hatler Susan Romance
164 A Christmas Princess Gränd Ofelia LGBT
165 A Public Love Story Gränd Ofelia Thriller
166 Dreaming of a Silent Christmas Slaton Lawrence S. Mystery
167 Love Me, Punish Me Fox Caia Erotica
168 The Contest: Round 1 Mia Candace Erotica
169 The Contest: Round 2 Mia Candace Erotica
170 The Contest: Round 3 Mia Candace Erotica
171 The Contest: Round 4 Mia Candace Erotica
172 My Zombie Mate Kennedy Kevin J. Horror
173 The Night Before College Sones Sonya Literary
174 The Proposal Shea Lisa Romance
175 An Unexpected Wedding Hatler Susan Romance
176 Fragments of an Ancient God Thompson H.K. Mythology
177 Cowgirl Singer Jenna Erotica
178 Humanity Cook Samantha Sci-fi
179 The Sleeper Dreamed Carsen Sela Fantasy
180 Dance of the Shadows Huddlestone Michael Horror
181 Ivy League Loftis Janet L. Erotica
182 Satiated Elise Sadie Erotica
183 How to Feed a Meter Fortier A.E. Humor
184 Late Night Stroll Garnett Phill Horror
185 Peggy in the Valley Fortier A.E. Literary
186 A Heart’s Tale Hays J.L. Horror
187 The Reflection, Only Hers Lane Jeremy Mark Ghost
188 Totally Mine Lanmon Ann Romance
189 The Jester Sullivan Michael J. Fantasy
190 Reluctant Genius Slesar Henry Sci-fi
191 We Didn’t Do Anything Wrong, Hardly Kuykendall Roger Sci-fi
192 Moment of Truth Wells Basil Sci-fi
193 Spies Die Hard! Marmor Arnold Sci-fi
194 Prelude to Space Haseltime Robert W. Sci-fi
195 Earthmen Bearing Gifts Brown Fredric Sci-fi
196 Disqualified Fontenay Charles L. Sci-fi
197 Deceiving Shadows Songling Pu Sci-fi
198 Egocentric Orbit Cory John Sci-fi
199 The Untouchable Kallis Stephen A. Sci-fi
200 Quiet, Please Scott Kevin Sci-fi
201 Bringing Stan In Rochester Julia Literary
202 The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb Doyle Arthur Conan Mystery
203 A Breach of Security Hill Susan Crime

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Question: Have you read any of these? I read a WIDE variety of stories (ok, and technically single published poems, but I count those) in 2015. So many genres are present here. I’d love to hear about some of your favorite short stories you read in 2015. I’m always on the look-out for more. It’s a great way to get over a book slump or to kill a few minutes of the day when a novel can’t really be tackled.

Story Time Friday – a #poem from an unnamed poet

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Looks like 2016 is off to a good start. Two weeks in a row for a Story Time Friday post! Another great thing is that it’s not my own work I’m sharing this week. We have a new poet today, but I can’t tell you who it is. The poet would like to remain anonymous, but I’m sure he (or she, oooh the mystery) will be checking in to see how the poem’s being received. Don’t be shy, leave some feedback. It’s what keeps writers coming back with more work in the future.

One more thing before I let you go read the poem. In the Christmas post you may have seen that I was giving away From Where I Stand for free. Well, that coupon has expired and only three people grabbed it in the few weeks it was free. I hope that means everyone who ever wanted to read the book already bought it at some point. If that’s not the case and someone still would like a copy, I put it on sale for $0.99 over on Amazon. I also have Winter’s Homecoming and Other Poems on sale for the same price. They’ll be this way for the near future. Figured it might be a good incentive for new readers to check out my work and I can make 35 cents off them for doing so ;)
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Who Am I?

by Anonymous

Look at me.
What do you see?
Boy. Man. Friend. Husband. Father.
I look at me
And see what you can’t see.
Coward. Weak. Afraid. Lost.
Gray clouds encompass my soul.
My burdens and fears crystalize.
In the darkest hours I long for the light
And the peace it brings, if even momentarily.

Sunshine.
Warm. Life giving light.
Sunshine has power to break through the clouds.
Her rays find their way in.
Comfort. Hope. The life she provides hugs me tight,
Helps me break free today.

Hugs.
A warm embrace.
A show of affection, support, caring, and love.
It’s not about sex or copping a feel
But about protection, compassion, companionship, comfort, and peace.
As arms encompass another,
The transfer occurs,
And for those moments, all is right and good.

Abruptly.
Selfishly.
Cowardly.
Technology is used to bridge the gap that distance provides,
To unburden a soul,
Professing thoughts, needs, and wants,
The longing for hugs’ warm embrace.

Unrequited?
One directional?
It’s possible, but who can really say?
The coward shrinks with his unburdened soul
Wondering if honesty is always the best,
As new burdens crush his soul.
Waiting.
Unknowing.
Racked with guilt
The coward comes to realize he shoved sunshine into the rabbit’s hole.

Surprised?
Upset?
Saddened?
Scared?
Confused to be sure.
She tumbles through emotions as the void swallows her whole.

Silence.
Deafening sounds of silence.
The silence screams her response as sunshine withdraws.

Darkness.
Cold.
Gloomy.
Frightened he waits for the sun,
Not knowing if she will ever return.
Alone.
Being damned to the dark
Is his biggest fear.
He realizes he may have pulled the plug on the sun.

Waiting.
Praying.
Struggling daily.
Desperate to find peace
Either in this life
Or the panacea promised by death.
Hoping against the odds
That one day perhaps
Sunshine will forgive
Returning to share her light
And they’ll hug their sorrows away.

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How to Submit:

For those who wish to be part of Story Time Friday in the near future, you can send submissions to the email address that I formerly used for review requests (but don’t anymore since I’m retired . . . don’t try to be clever and slip one in :P ): miztrebor88@gmail.com. Be sure to use the subject “Story Time Friday Submission” and send your piece as an attachment (.doc/.docx would be best). Any other questions, feel free to comment here or contact me through the blog’s contact form.

Hope to hear from some writers soon!