The Thunder Had Gone

The newest episode of my podcast, Slice of Life Stories, is up. I re-discovered this story that I posted here almost seven years ago. It was a co-writing experience with the incredible Trent Lewin. I go back and read things like this, that I wrote years ago, and feel like I’ve lost something in the years since. But, it is what it is, as they say.

Here is the link for the written version of the story.

And here is the link to the audio version on Spotify. As always, the podcast can be found on most other podcast platforms.

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The Marfa Lights

Slice of Life Stories is back with a new episode. This time, the opening to The Marfa Lights.

Some day I’ll get through these things without a couple of stumbles, or learn how to edit on Anchor.

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New Podcast Episode

And a new season too. Season Three I’m calling first chapters. Each episode will be the first chapter of one of my longer pieces. Novels, novels, and long short stories. I’ll fill in at the end with some additional episodes featuring the first chapters of some works in progress.

First up is the first chapter of The Irrepairable Past. A novella I published about two years ago. The link for my reading of it is below. And yes, I’m recovering from a head cold, so there are some random sniffles included in the “sound effects.” Think of it as one of the additional benefits of a more or less amateur podcast. One of my goals in the coming weeks is to improve the quality of these recordings.

Here is the Spotify link. The podcast can also be found on the Apple Podcast app, the ITunes Store, and other podcast platforms.

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Gramps’s Stereo … and … The Watcher

And so with another episode of my podcast, Slice Of Life Stories, I offer two short stories. As I read these I was reminded of some readers who complain that somebody always dies in my stories. Well, not in every story, but all too frequently, and these stories are no exception.

As always, this is the Spotify Link, but it’s also available in the ITunes Store, on the Apple Podcast app, and other podcast platforms.

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What NaNoWriMo Means To Me

National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo, is what started my writing life. For the uninitiated, it’s a creature of the internet age. An on-line effort to get people writing. The “objective” is to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November.

For years, I toyed with the idea of writing a novel. It was something I wanted to try some day. The only problem was that I had no idea about how to go about doing the thing. I’d occasionally have these ideas for opening lines or opening scenes, but I had no idea how to go further than that.

One day, a good friend who knew of this wish of mine told me about NaNoWriMo. It was the end of October. I believe it was 2003. I looked it up and then a magical thing occurred. I outlined (and I use that term loosely) a story in my head and on November 1, I started writing.

I didn’t write 50,000 words during that month. I think it was somewhere around 20,000 over the next couple of months. Than I stalled until I bought a laptop so I could write while being with my family, instead of going into the office and isolating myself from my young kids.

A year later, I had a novel that would eventually become One Night in Bridgeport. And the door was blown wide open. I’ve been writing ever since, although I’ve struggled with imposter syndrome, doubt, and writer’s block for several years now.

In the years since, I’ve tried NaNoWriMo two other times. Those efforts never went very far because I couldn’t turn off my internal editor, my internal critic. NaNoWriMo requires something that I typically don’t have — the ability to just write, to just let the words come out and type them and hope that it all makes sense. That’s just not the way my writing has developed over the last 18 years. I think about things a lot and my internal critic tells me regularly that what I’m doing is crap. As a result, this November tradition hasn’t done much for me since 2003.

As November 2021 approached, I thought of giving it a try again. It’s been a number of years since my last effort. I thought that maybe I could use NaNoWriMo to kick start something, to finish a WIP, to do something. Anything. It’s been months since I’ve done any serious writing. Maybe this was the time.

Then, in October, I wrote a short story via a writing exercise I put up on WritersSupportingWriters, and I decided to use NaNoWriMo to see if I could take that story further. Turn it into a novel.

To do that, I had to turn off that damn internal voice of mine. Or maybe it is internal voices. Because there are many voices having a conversation in my head. I wasn’t sure I could do that.

I needed to try. So, now, a little over half way through November, I have 25,000 words on this story. I’ve adopted the NaNoWriMo ethos and am just writing and writing. And whenever that little voice starts to make itself known, I shut it down. I am writing.

I know that I’ll have to go back and do a lot of work on this story if I want it to be anything real, but for now, it’s good to just write. That said, I’m getting a little worn out by the daily routine. I’m trying really hard to keep up with the word count. To meet the goal of 50,000 words. Last night, I wrote some, but not enough. For the first time this month, I’ve fallen behind the pace I need to be on to meet the goal.

And tonight, instead of writing the story, I’m writing this post. It’s time to get back to the story. NaNoWriMo, don’t fail me now.

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Sunbaked Sand

A story first published in The First Line and also found in Shady Acres and Other Stories.

(A note: for some reason, Anchor didn’t let me add background music. But you may hear a leaf blower and a dog barking in the background.)

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A Double Feature

Season 2, Episode 3 of Slice of Life Stories features two poems – It Starts and An Apocalyptic Love Poem. As always, it’s not just available on Spotify. You can find it on other podcast platforms, including the ITunes Store and the Apple Podcast app.

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The Smoker’s Club

Episode Two of the second season of Slice of Life Stories is up. Here’s the Spotify link. Or you can find it in other podcast platforms, including the ITunes Store and the Apple Podcast App.

https://open.spotify.com/episode/0RZP3J20218MI8HLdcGpNC?si=OVJjgWXYTkKHKK419RUusQ

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Slice of Life Stories Podcast

And so Season Two begins. Unlike with the first season, which was a six episode serialized new story written as I recorded the thing, this season will be just me reading some of my earlier work.

I’m going to focus on stories that have been published by others. There are at least five of these. And once I’ve recorded those, the final two episodes will be two stories I’ve posted on this blog. Two stories that I particularly like.

First up … The Ice Cream Man, first published at toasted-cheese.com, a long time ago, and also found in my collection, The Maria Lights and Other Stories.

(A note: I’ve given up on figuring out how to share the links from Anchor. So this is the link to the podcast on Spotify. The podcast is available in a bunch of other places, including the Apple podcast app and the ITunes Store.)

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Beelzebub and Lucifer, Episode 6

So … some preliminaries first.

This is why I shouldn’t try a serial format until I have the whole thing wrapped up. I did the first few episodes on consecutive days. Then had a bit of a break before episode four, then a longer break until episode five, and it’s been a month now since then.

There really isn’t any excuse. I knew what I wanted to do to end this. Although the final interaction with the inmate was a complete surprise for me. But life happens – work, cycling, a weekend away, other things – and this took a back seat for a little while.

This has been an experiment for me. It likely shows. Four of the episodes I wrote before recording. Two episodes – four and six – were off the top of my head. As a result there are differences in how the four were narrated versus the two. I like the two episodes that were off the top of my head, but I don’t know if I could do that for an entire story.

I’m curious how other people record their stories. Do you just read the story as written? Do you try for different voices for the different characters? I don’t listen to audio books, so I don’t know how this is done by the professionals. 😉

Anyway, here you go. Episode 6 – the grand finale. Now I need to figure out what is next. This is on Spotify and is alos available on the Apple Podcasts app. There is another podcast with the same name. Mine is the one with the picture of a sunset.

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