Monday, April 29, 2013

More About 'The Book of Horrible Stories'

It looks like a photo that I used in other posts on this blog, but this is actually a shot of the last copy of The Book of Horrible Stories that I made with the materials I originally bought. It went out in the mail a couple of weeks ago, which left me a little sad, oddly. I imagined myself feeling a little bit like a mother watching her youngest child graduate: "You go out into the world and shine, now!" *sniffle*

I guess it's funny, in a way. When I began making the physical copies last year, I really didn't think I'd sell enough of them to use up all the materials I had selected. And that was good, because one piece of the puzzle was something I had purchased off the clearance shelf at the local craft store.

The last copy that you see above was sold through the Open Books bookstore; much to my surprise, a customer requested it. When Lizzy, the store's super-fantastic assistant manager, contacted me about getting that for her customer, she also suggested that I should make a few more copies for their "Local Authors" shelf, to which I said, "Yeah! Awesome!" or something similar.

Then I checked what materials I still had left and said, "Oops." It had been a while since last I made any, and... oops.

So below you see the second edition? printing? incarnation? of The Book of Horrible Stories.

Pretty much the same, just with a slightly different green strip on the cover. Seems like it should have been radically different, now that I've typed out that whole explanation, but there it is.

And there it is on the shelf.

They've got all four of the copies I made last week; according to Lizzy, I'm next to Gillian Flynn in the alphabetical list of local authors and on the shelf below, which is bewildering. I'm not Gillian Flynn; I'm nowhere near Gillian Flynn (except on this shelf). But I am at Open Books, which is a wonderful bookstore, no matter whose book you're buying. Hope you can see it for yourself sometime!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Observations Regarding 'I Can Almost Picture It'

I refer to I Can Almost Picture It as the online storytelling equivalent of an illustrator's sketchbook, a space that exists just to get me to write every day. That's not entirely accurate; as part of the challenge, I try to make sure that each post feels at least like a complete scene. But everything up there gets posted with minimal revision, start to finish in a day, and some of it's pretty rough as a result.

So it's always a thrill when one of the posts strikes a note with someone. I have wonderfully supportive friends who offer feedback and encourage my madness, of course. Additionally, because there's a mirror site on Tumblr, and I've gone crazy experimenting with hashtags when I post there, I've seen some of the posts get shared by some of the Tumblr accounts that specialize in curating Tumblr-based writing, and that's pretty nifty. TumblrFiction reblogged "Green River Float" and "Automated Teller Machine," and Burning Muse picked up "The Next Big Thing Is Here."

A few thoughts about that:

1) I had no idea that sites that are essentially Tumblr 'zines even existed. What a fabulous idea! (Imagine me grinning the way your ninety-year-old grandma did when she sent her first e-mail.)

2) It's inevitable that the pieces I think are weaker are the ones people will respond to (though "Automated Teller Machine" stands as an exception to that rule--I had fun with that one). I think I can live with that, although it does make me wonder if, instead of submitting to literary journals the few stories I like, I should just flood them with all the pieces I have that I view as crap.

3) Continuing from #2: Really, are you sure you all wouldn't rather read about dragons?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

"Bird Day"

"Bird Day" by Nisi Shawl is one of my favorite interpretations of the idea of a birthday celebration. Ms. Shawl actually posted the entire story online a few years back; if you like it, I'd recommend checking out Filter House, the story collection in which she published it. I found the whole book is amazing, with "The Water Museum" being the piece that moved me the most.

You can read "Bird Day" here (and "The Water Museum" here).

Monday, April 1, 2013