More Publishing News

First though, where can you find The Basement. As an e-book, it’s available everywhere. The thing about that link is that it doesn’t include everything. It doesn’t include Amazon. It doesn’t include Overdrive. And a couple of others. So, contrary to Draft2Digital’s advertisement of that link as being a universal link, it is not. But you’ve heard it here … it is available on Amazon for your Kindle, and Overdrive if you can talk your library into ordering it.

The paperback is also now available at Barnes & Noble, and remains pending at Amazon. Eventually, it will also be available at other on-line retailers, like Powell’s and Books-A-Million, and any other retailers that pick up books from the IngramSparks catalog.

Now, on to the new news.

My short story collection, Killing Berthold Gambrel, will be available as an e-book beginning tomorrow almost everywhere e-books are sold. Where is the one place it won’t be available? Well … Amazon. Why? Because the collection consists primarily of short stories that I’ve posted on this blog over the years and I note that in the book materials because I don’t want any of the people who read this blog to buy the book and be surprised. (There are some new stories, but most have appeared here.) Amazon’s policy is that it won’t publish anything that is generally available for free elsewhere online, or at a lower cost elsewhere. So, they have rejected this little collection.

But be not disappointed all you Kindlers. It will still be available everywhere else, including Apple. So, if you have an iPhone or any other Apple device, you can get the e-version and read it on your handy-dandy Apple device. The paperback will be available at the end of the month, once I get a proof copy and confirm it’s worthy.

Meanwhile, here’s the blurb:

In his third collection of stories, Mark Paxson starts things off with the unfortunate and untimely death of a famous writer. A snarky tale that ends as a snarky tale must. From there, this collection travels through stories that touch on real-world horrors, including Aleppo and An Obituary, and others that approach the sublime and the surreal. The collection includes Carnies and Two Spaces After The Period, uncommon love stories, and a number of untitled poems from the archives. 

This collection takes the reader on a journey through the lives of mostly ordinary people facing the curve balls life throws at them. Psychotic former lovers, world leaders out of touch with reality, apartment buildings due for demolition. It’s all in here. Just crack it open and start reading. 

And here’s the cover:

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Publishing News

August 5, 2022 will be a day that lives in infamy. It is the day that The Basement becomes available as an e-book. I am using Draft2Digital to publish the e-book, which means it will be distributed much more widely than my previous books, which were limited to Amazon.

Here are the platforms on which the e-book will be available: BorrowBox, Vivlio, Baker & Taylor, Tolino, Scribd, Apple Books, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Hoopla, Bibliotheca, and OverDrive. You can pre-order the book on any of these sites, except for the last four (Amazon, Hoopla, Bibliotheca, OverDrive), but those four should be coming on-line soon enough.

Once the paperback is available, I’ll post about that here. For now, here is the blurb and the cover:

Her marriage broken and infidelity losing its luster, Chloe Stenhouse is a high-powered capitol lobbyist drifting through life. That is, until she becomes fed up with it all by ending her affair and leaving her husband Mike, a reclusive workaholic who emerges from the seclusion of his basement office only when he must. Mike, hiding his own dark secrets, reacts unpredictably and violently, reminding Chloe of her wedding day promise that she would never leave him, a promise born of pity and destined to fail.

The Basement is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, lulling the reader in with a woman’s awakening from her rut in life before then pouncing on its prey with male toxicity, domestic abuse, sexual abuse, gun violence, vigilantism, and mutually assured destruction. This story is not for the faint of heart but well worth the payoff.

Posted in Uncategorized | 9 Comments

Dreamscape

It was the last day at my old job. Spur of the moment, without checking with my wife, I decided to invite a few co-workers over to my place to just hangout and quietly celebrate my departure. I sent an email to the chosen few and raced home.

As I was pulling into the driveway, my wife was backing out. “Gotta pick up the kids,” she said to me as we passed by each other.

Kids? What kids? I thought to myself. Our kids had long left home. This would not be my first surprise.

Well … whatever. I went inside and was barely in the door before the doorbell rang with the first guest. A couple of my invited co-workers came in. We sat down in the breakfast nook. I wasn’t expecting a big crowd.

Without knocking, a few more came in. Soon, the breakfast nook was too crowded and we spilled into the dining room. 

Who were these people? I didn’t invite this many.

Then a woman came in who I knew wasn’t invited, and she came with her kids and a couple of friends and their kids. All dressed in purple. Something had happened. They were all so happy to be there, to be included in this unplanned, informal going away get-together. How could I stop them?

The flow of people continued. There were so many people in my house, I went out front to get a breath of fresh air and look down the street to see if my wife was on her way back. I was desperate. She would know what to do.

An older man came up to me to thank me for inviting him. He had nothing to do with my last job. He actually was with my new employer. He patted me on the shoulder. I didn’t invite him!

As he walked away, three people came up to me. An older woman I had never met, and two young men, probably in their teens or early twenties, who I had also never met. The woman said something to me. I don’t recall what because as she spoke, one of the young men reached out and caressed my cheek as a lover would. “Come with us, please,” he said. As he spoke, I could tell that he had some type of developmental delay or mental deficiency.

I had no idea what to say, but I knew I wasn’t going with them. The other young man said something else that I didn’t catch, as the first young man reached out again to try to caress my cheek. I stepped back to avoid his touch, while the woman looked at me disapprovingly.

******

And then I woke up. This morning, I woke up at 6:28. I typically get up then, but I closed my eyes and wished for more sleep. I woke up a half hour later with this dream having played out while I got that extra half hour. I don’t think I’ll be wanting the extra half hour again any time soon. 

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Facilitation – How A Prompt Becomes A Novella

The latest edition of my podcast is up. The opening pages of a recently completed draft of Facilitation, a novella that got its start from a writing prompt back in October.

As always, here is the link on Spotify, but the podcast can be found on other podcast platforms, including ITunes and Apple’s podcast app. Just search for Slice of Life Stories and select the one with the sunset and my name on it.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

New Podcast Episode

Just listen …

(This is the link to Spotify, but the podcast, Slice of Life Stories, can also be found on other podcast platforms, including the iTunes Store and the Apple Podcast App. If you listen and the platform provides an opportunity for ratings or reviews, please do so.)

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ghosts

(I may delete this. Since I published it I’ve learned that at least two if not all three of the men were likely active participants in what appears to be a gun battle between rival gangs.)

Ghosts wander the streets now

Of the living and the dead

Sergio Harris, 38, father of three. Vivacious and fun-loving. His sister refused to leave the scene until his body was removed.

Nothing but a ghost now …

Joshua Hoye-Lucchesi, 32, father of six, all under the age of 9. His mother saw videos and images on social media that showed his body in the streets.

Nothing but a ghost now …

Melinda Davis, 57, homeless and living where the shooting took place for much of the last 15 years. Described as quiet and sweet.

Nothing but a ghost now …

Johntaya “JoJo” Alexander, 21, youngest of four. Had recently moved into her own place. Dreams of becoming a social worker. JoJo was there to pick up her sister.

Nothing but a ghost now …

DeVazia Turner, 29, four children left without a father. His face “would light up a room.” His mother went to the scene to be where he drew his last breath.

Nothing but a ghost now …

Yamile Martinez-Andrade, 21, worked as a landscaper and was there for a concert. Her family is “still in shock.”

Nothing but a ghost now …

But

They remain far more than ghosts

They are memories now

Of joy and family

Of dreams and friends

Of hopes and fears

Ghosts in a way

But far more

To those they loved

And there are other ghosts

Of the people responsible

Who may still live

But only in a ghostly way

They are the real ghosts

While they haunt and stoke fear

Their own lives

Are ephemeral and empty

Of humanity and decency

Ghosts who walk among us

Ghosts

Nothing more than ghosts

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tick Tock

2:00 a.m.

Tick

Do you know where your children are?

Tock

76 shots

— photo courtesy of Jay Rembert via Unsplash

Tick

54 seconds

Tock

6 Dead

12 Injured

Tick Tock

People fleeing

Multiple shooters

Tick Tock

A family arrives to find their son

Confirmed he was a victim

His body on the street

A sister remains as long as his body remains

Tick Tock

Thoughts and Prayers

Millions of dollars more promised along with

Calls to action, calls for unity

A community grieves

Tick Tock

Yet life goes on

An NBA game to be played

A musical to be performed

Lunches just down the street

Tick Tock

It’s ‘Murica, you know

Guns are everywhere

Embedded in our culture

Glued to us permanently it seems

Tick Tock

MAKE THIS CLOCK STOP!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

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.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

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.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment