Northville is coming

I’m just about done with finalizing Northville Five & Dime for publication. The cover is a bit of a challenge. I’m still working on the fonts, but am curious what people think about these two…

Northville Five & Dime #1

Northville Five & Dime #2

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The Irrepairable Past

Just short of two weeks into the release of The Irrepairable Past, 35 people have downloaded the e-book or bought the paperback. And the reviews are starting.

Carrie Rubin, author of the medical thrillers The Bone CurseEating Bull, and The Seneca Scourge (and if you haven’t read Rubin yet, you need to — all three are great books) has this to say about the book:

Once again Paxson delivers an evocative story with smooth, flowing prose and vivid description. You’ll feel like you’re sitting on the porch right there next to Henry. (And Bob, his egret companion!)

Wonderful thematic elements too, exploring the emotional scars we carry and the moments we miss out on when we dwell on the negatives in our lives rather than the positives. If we’re not careful, the clock will strike midnight before we remember to be grateful for what we had.

Paxson has a natural talent for connecting with the reader, which makes this a thoroughly engaging novella. There’s a bonus short story at the end too, along with a teaser for his next novel!

Susan K. Nichols, author of Red Clay & Roses (another good book you should give a try) and artist extraordinaire, had this to say:

Mark Paxson presents a quality story. (And, there’s a neat surprise or two.) The busier life gets, the more I appreciate shorter books. There were quite a few characters I could personally relate to in one way or another, and I found myself being introspective about how I interact with others when I am deeply engaged in my own stuff and how that may be affecting those around me. Lots of nuggets to take away from this one. And the added bonus of being reminded that sometimes the outcome is worth the risk. Enjoyable read.

A friend on Facebook bought the book for his mom. After she read the first chapter, she reported back to him:

Just finished 1st chapter of Irrepairable Past. Methinks your friend is a very talented writer. The words paint a picture, feelings he describes come to life, & I am intrigued.

If you’ve already purchased the book, thank you. If you haven’t, here’s your chance to read a story that is evocative, intriguing, and full of nuggets. And don’t forget, reviews are indie author’s best friends. So, buy, read, review!

And thank you!

 

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Bob the egret says, “Buy This Book!”

After years in the wilderness of writer’s block and indie publishing frustration – a lethal combination – I’m back. The first of what I hope to be four novellas published over the next year or so is now live on Amazon. At least the e-book is anyway. The paperback is coming in a week or two.

The Irrepairable Past, a piece I started too many years ago, can be found on Amazon via the image and link at the bottom of the post. I owe a thanks to a lot of people who have kept my interest in writing going over the last handful of years. I can’t possibly name everybody and don’t want forget somebody, so I’m not even going to try. But if you’ve read this blog or King Midget’s Ramblings, and commented here or there, or via email, or on Twitter, or just in person … you have helped. Without those random words of encouragement, I don’t think I would have pressed on and got to this place where Irrepairable is now available; Northville Five & Dime will be available in the next month or two; Northville Five & Dime, Part Two will follow a few months after that; and a fourth, unknown novella/novel will follow by the end of 2020.

I’m excited to be publishing again. I don’t see the point in all of the time and effort that goes into writing something if I’m not going to put the result out into the world.

So, give it a try. If you do, please post a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads. Reviews really help us indie authors. Thank you in advance.

 

The Irrepairable Past

Driven away by an unresolvable conflict with his father, Henry Thornton has spent a lifetime away from his childhood home. A life filled with sorrow and loss. A life that led him back to that childhood home, on the shores of Sullivan Bay, as his father lay dying, and where he wants nothing more than to be left alone, accompanied in his life only by an egret that graces him with its presence each evening.

The Irrepairable Past is Henry Thornton’s story. Through his motherless childhood and the destruction of his relationship with his father, his high school sweetheart and his decisions which led to her fleeing his side, a failed marriage, his father’s death, the Irrepairable Past traces Henry’s life of regrets and loss and his acceptance of a life alone, where he views the egret in the shallows as his only real friend.

 

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These Parts

A response to Trent Lewin’s short story of the same name. It struck something in me and I wanted to take a different approach.

These Parts

Your lips, soft and warm and moist. They whispered against my skin. I brushed them with my own. They opened and formed words that lifted me to the stars and beyond.

Your eyes, sparkling and opening me to your depths. I could have fallen in and been happy forever.

Your hips that curved.

Your neck that beckoned.

Your fit, perfectly within.

Your arms around me.

Your hands in mine.

Your breasts pressed against me.

Your warmth.

Your smile.

Your laugh.

Your tears.

You.

These parts.

I touched them once. I’ll never touch them again. But they will remain with me forever, in my heart, in my soul, wherever I go. These parts.

 

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Wark Creek

 

Rippling water

Reflecting light

And shadows

 

Rushing

 

Whispering ripples

Filling quiet

And sound

 

Falling

 

Dancing sun

Sparkling bright

And clear

 

Running

 

Nature dances

Peaceful sounds

And signs

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There Is No Can’t In Writing

I just read part of a thread on Twitter. It was prompted by a writer who saw a FB conversation about whether writers should write stories with a narrator or POV from a gender other than their own.

The writer who started the Twitter thread said that on FB most of the comments were opposed to writers writing in voices other than their own gender “because they usually get it wrong.” This was met with the typical Twitter emotion — outrage. In this instance, however, the outrage is justified.

There is no “can’t” in writing. Or there shouldn’t be.

When I wrote my first real piece of fiction — One Night in Bridgeport — I imagined a scenario I could put myself in. It’s not a situation I’ve ever been in, but I could imagine it. A one night stand followed by an accusation of rape. Putting myself into the main narrator’s head, imagining that it was me in that situation, provided me with the ability to write that story.

Every since then I have done everything I can to write stories from different perspectives, different voices, different characters.

The Marfa Lights — narrated by a teenager who has cerebral palsy and is wheelchair-bound.

Shady Acres — primarily narrated by a 100-year-old man. I’m not quite that old. Yet.

Northville Five and Dime — one of my WIP told in first person from the perspective of three different characters, two of whom are women, one of whom is paralyzed from the waist down.

Spaces After the Period — narrated by a young woman who likes bad boys until she meets a man who is the opposite of everything she imagined was right for her.

This list could go on and on and on. Very few of my stories are told by people who are me, like me. Why?

Because that’s the best part of writing. The challenge and the fun, after that first story, has always been in writing different stories about different people. There would be no challenge, no exploration, no fun in telling stories if the narrator was … well, just me. I’m far too plain vanilla for that.

While I was spending two years first writing and then re-writing Bridgeport I went to a writing conference at a local university. There were two concepts I heard there that have stayed with me ever since.

Dorothy Allison (who is most famous for writing  Bastard Out of South Carolina) gave a speech during the lunch in which she described how authors steal people. She described stopping at a gas station in some small southern town and while she was putting gas in her car, a police officer pulled over on a nearby street, took a hat box out of the back seat of his car, and walked into a store. That officer and that scene went into a story she was writing at the time.

I loved that idea. We steal people.

But the other point was more fundamental. One of the sessions was led by a critically acclaimed author whose name I no longer remember, but I think his first name was Al. During his talk, a woman kept standing up and asking him questions. The one question I remember was that she had heard you can’t switch POVs in the middle of a chapter. That if you switch POV, you need to do it in a new chapter.

With each of her questions, “Al” kept saying the same thing.

There are no rules in writing, except for one. The only rule in writing is to write a good story. If you can do that, nothing else matters.

That has been the guiding “rule” for my writing ever since I heard him utter those words. It is why I enjoy writing (as difficult as it is today). The opportunities and possibilities are boundless.

By the way, during one of the sessions at that conference, we were tasked with writing something. It was then that I wrote my first short story. The story is about an immigrant from Mexico who sells ice cream from a cart, whose wife died when they were crossing the border, and who is struggling with raising his son alone while he mourns the love of his life.

None of those elements mirror any fact or experience of my life. If I can write a story like that, why in hell can’t I write stories with a female POV?

 

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What Do We Hide?

What do we hide

As we walk down the street

Wrapped in shirts and blouses

Pants and skirts

 

What do we hide

Behind our laughing smiles

When we grimace and frown

Or just turn away

 

What do we hide

Inside the skin we wear

The one we show the world

That hides us.

 

Is it the flab we think is too much

The blemishes we believe embarrass

Hideous tattoos we wish we hadn’t

Bumps and bulges that are a shame

 

Or maybe it’s something deeper

The scars of an abusive father

A neglectful mother

An uncle that took his liberties

 

Or maybe it’s something intangible

A conviction of being unworthy

An insecurity that nothing is enough

Or the relentless worry that halts

 

What do we hide

When we walk in the world

In a skin that is not ours

Which protects us

 

What do we hide

At our core we have a secret

Wrap it in a false skin

No one will know

 

What if

We wore our real skin

Revealed our real truth

Shared our real being

 

What if

We revealed our tattoos

Our scars

Our fears

Our loves

Our tears

Our dreams

Our thoughts

Our skin

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