There is something unseemly in the practice of self-promotion. Oh, I'll give it to you — in America today we're taught that the individual is No. 1, and that in order to get ahead you need to know how to sell yourself. Brands! Marketing! Business! Faster, pussycat, sell, sell, sell!
Yet it is uncomfortable to reconcile the need/desire to have your work seen and absorbed — and having to convince people why it's the right thing to do. It is, as I say, unseemly on some levels. And all of those call words I just mentioned … they really can be the antithesis of creative endeavors.
Nevertheless, if you want to be read and known, you'll have to succumb. So I'm giving this part of my writing career something of a side hug rather than a full-on embrace. As a writer virtually since I could hold a pencil (or crayon), it was easy to find readers when I handed out book chapters at school to friends. As a fanfic writer it was also no challenge to find readers in that little circle. But as a straight-up fiction writer who wanders somewhere between genres — crime one day, fantasy or sci-fi another — the selling game and the salesmanship eludes me.
But! We persist. And so as something of an experiment, I've decided to release a few of my short stories into the wild. Several of them in this, my first short stories collection, "Home for the Holidays," have been published either online or as podcasts; some are unpublished except through my website before. The book runs a narrow gamut of topics and genres — there's a crime story (which inspired the collection's title), in which a feud between Christmas decorating neighbors goes awry; there's a tale of the undead ("Can't Keep a Dead Man Down") in which the zombies are getting some strange ideas; there's a comedy of manners ("The Folly of Miss Arthbunot") and a story about dissonant family relations ("The view of my brother's profile in the rear-view mirror"). Plus a few more little ditties you may find interesting.
I'm not expecting any kind of "Shades of Grey" attention, but it'd be nice if some total strangers happened to pick up the book, either on Kindle or print (made pretty much as inexpensively as I was allowed to do) and found themselves immersed. If that turns out to be you, I'd love to hear back.
Thanks for reading, and now to get back to writing!