I had never thought of myself as a short story writer. But if it hadn’t been for short stories, I never would have “broken in” to this business. I’d always wanted to write longer projects, and in fact, had written a huge saga-type western novel that I still have hopes of someday revamping (and it will take a LOT of revamping) and getting out there. That was the true book of my heart that set me on this path. But I had a lot to learn about writing.
After sending the query and first three chapters out to several agents, I did land one. But after a year of nothing happening, I couldn’t see anything changing. I was getting very depressed, to say the least.
A friend of mine found a call for submissions from Adams Media for their Rocking Chair Reader series. This series was somewhat akin to the Chicken Soup For the Soul books, and my friend and I had already missed the deadline for the first of the series! But there was another anthology coming out as a follow up to the first one. The second one was called, ROCKING CHAIR READER—MEMORIES FROM THE ATTIC. These stories were true stories about something the writer had found years later that brought back memories of something that happened in childhood. I had the perfect tale! I wrote it and submitted it, and thankfully, the editor liked it, as well. That led to several more publications with Adams Media through these anthologies, and then a few stories with Chicken Soup.
But these stories were all based in truth, and I wanted to write fiction. Western romance fiction. It was shortly after that when I sold my first book, FIRE EYES, to The Wild Rose Press, and then branched out into contemporary romantic suspense with SWEET DANGER. While writing these novels, I had been approached by a couple of publishing companies asking for fictional short stories. But did I really want to go back to short stories? The answer was YES.
Writing those short stories in the beginning helped me realize that while I was adding to my portfolio of credits, I was also proving to myself that I could write compactly, in short story form. Writing a short story is a totally different breed of cat than writing a novel. Making each word or scene count and not seeming to rush the story while doing it is something I will forever be working on, just to improve the telling of the story even more.
Ernest Hemingway was once challenged to tell a story in six words. This is what he wrote: “Baby shoes for sale. Never worn.” If that doesn’t tell a story, I don’t know what does.
Just this past month, I had three of my short stories that had been previously published in anthologies with Victory Tales Press re-released as stand-alone stories. Two of them, SCARLET RIBBONS and HOMECOMING are western short stories, available for only .99 through their WESTERN TRAIL BLAZER imprint. WHITE CHRISTMAS is available through Victory Tales Press for .99 as well. The best thing is…they all have JIMMY THOMAS covers. <G>
All of these stories are available at my Amazon page here:
Here’s a bit about these stories.
A holiday skirmish sends Union officer, Jack Durham, on an unlikely mission for a dying Confederate soldier—his enemy. As he nears his destination, the memories of the soldier’s final moments mingle with his own thoughts of the losses he’s suffered because of the War, including his fiance, Sarah. Will the miracle of Christmas be able to heal his heart in the face of what awaits him?
Miguel Rivera is known as El Diablo, The Devil. Men avoid meeting his eyes for fear of his gun. Upon returning to a town where he once knew a brief happiness, Miguel is persuaded by a street vendor to make a foolish holiday purchase; two scarlet ribbons.
When Catalina, his former lover, allows him to take a room at her boarding house, Miguel soon discovers a secret. Realizing that he needs the scarlet ribbons after all, he is stunned to find them missing.
Can a meeting with a mysterious priest and the miracle of the Scarlet Ribbons set Miguel on a new path?
PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR THE DRAWING OF YOUR COPY OF YOUR CHOICE OF ONE OF THESE THREE STORIES! I WILL PICK TWO WINNERS AFTER 8:00 P.M. THIS EVENING.