So I’m putting my toes into the water of this indie writer business. After great conversations with the lovely Kait Nolan and MaryBeth Mulhall, I’ve decided to make some of my short stories available on Smashwords. Those two, along with Allen Schatz, have really stepped up to the plate and shown me how incredibly talented indie writers can be.
That’s not to say there’s not a lot of dreck out there (because there is), but there are also a lot of indie writers who present themselves and their work professionally. I’m a fan of people like that.
Technically, I have two stories (with more to come) at Smashwords. These stories are free, and will hopefully whet your appetite for some of my longer work, which I plan on publishing later this year. First one’s free, as all the pushers used to say.
The first one’s called His Lucky Day, and it’s one of my favorite stories. It’s gone through several rewrites over the years (I think I first wrote it back in 1996 or 97), but I like this version the best. From the product description: When down-on-his-luck private eye Eddie Whittaker wins $19 million in the lottery, he thinks his troubles are all over. The truth is, they’re just beginning.
I have an obsession with winning big. I’m not sure why that is, but it’s something I noticed with the second story I decided to publish. Again there’s a big winner — and a big loser. Which character is which is up for you to decide. From the product description: He knew that slot machine was gonna pay off big. But his luck was against him–in more ways than one–and another man claimed the jackpot. But there’s more than one way to win or lose in New Orleans, and the casino’s got nothing on the high-stakes game going on in the hotel penthouse. Up there, it’s life or death.
A lot of you know I consider myself something of a book reviewer. I’ve had harsh words to say about other people’s books. I guess the question is this: Can I do any better? Something that’s always stuck with me: Benjamin Disraeli once said, “Critics are men who have failed in literature and in art.” I don’t want to fail. But I also don’t want to have never tried, either.
So anyway, I hope you’ll join me on this little indie writer trip. I don’t know if it’s going to be for good, or if this will be one of the many interesting side-trips my life has taken. (And really, isn’t that what makes life worth it in the end? The experiences you gain on those interesting little side trips are more valuable than many of the things you plan. Or at least that’s been my experience.)
Like I was saying: These stories are free. They are what they are (by which I mean to say I hope they’re an introduction to my writing and a good representation of the small sliver of talent I possess) — hardboiled and mean, stories about people who have been stepped on by life’s hobnailed boot, beaten down and bloodied, who come out for the next round swinging with the best punches they’ve got.
Even if it isn’t enough. Not nearly enough in these two cases.
That’s probably another thing I should explain. I wrote both of these stories awhile back. Gamble is the newer of the two. But they have something in common: The guy who wrote them (that’d be me–or at least a younger version of me) didn’t believe in happy endings. In fact, he didn’t believe in much at all. You’ll find much nihilism in these stories. I don’t mind that, but it seems sometimes as if another person wrote them and I was just standing over his shoulder and watching as he did it.
It didn’t happen that way, of course. I wrote them, and they’ve never quite left me alone. Here’s hoping they’ll bother you a little bit, too.