#SundayStories #AndThenWeVanish Catch-Up

Well, I finally made an official author page on Facebook, and one of the fun things I did to connect with readers and promote my new short story collection, And Then We Vanish, was start #SundayStories, where every Sunday I talk about the inspiration behind one of the eleven stories featured in the collection.

I’ve done this the past three Sundays and thought I would share those behind-the-scenes stories here on my blog as well. Going forward you can read #SundayStories on Facebook or here at The Spin.

#SundayStories Week Three

“Upon the Unfortunate News of My Death” was one of many stories I wanted to write that incorporated my previous experiences working in a large call center – a strange eco-system with its own set of rules, social mores, and populated by interesting characters from all walks of life. This was another one written rather quickly…it all just gelled one day after word got around the call center that someone at another site was erroneously reported as dead by their manager. What a story! I set this one in my old stomping grounds of North Carolina, with the climactic showdown between over-zealous assistant call center manager Crystal Dawbs and aggrieved agent Kayla Spaulding taking place atop a rooftop bar with dramatic views of downtown Wilmington, NC.

#SundayStories Week Two

“The Ballerina in Battery Park” is one of those stories that just came to me, complete and ready to write, after a trip to NYC to visit a friend where we came across a murder scene walking home from watching the Sacha Baron Cohen film Bruno. I merged a number of different anecdotes from multiple stays in the city into the story, including that time I got thrown out of Battery Park past closing time, and frequent brunches at the famous Harry’s Steakhouse off Wall Street. I wrote a first draft in a flash, did very minor edits, submitted it to a contest on a lark, won third place and publication in their annual anthology. It was my first published short story.

You can also find my original blow-blow details of the weekend visit that inspired the story by clicking here.

#SundayStories Week One

“The Pumpkin Thief” is one of those stories that percolated in my mind in one form or another for many years. I had long wanted to write something that incorporated “The Cowboy” kidnapping scare from my childhood – yes, we lived in a fear of man in a Stetson hat snatching us for a few weeks, just like the kids in the story – but it wasn’t until a trip to a corn maze prompted a friend and I to joke about leaping from the car to steal a pumpkin from the giant patch on our way out that lightning struck and the idea and characters appeared to me. The story went through many iterations, the main character of Pete slowly revealing himself through many, many re-writes. He’s always been one of my favorites, along with his antagonist, Fast Dan, the proud owner of the Ford Pinto Black-and-Decker convertible.

Buy the paperback from Amazon for $9.99.

Download a copy to your Kindle for $3.99, or with your subscription to Kindle Unlimited.

Ask your local indie bookstore to stock their shelves through Indiebound.

Add And Then We Vanish to your Goodreads “Want to Read” pile.

Scratch Anthology Volume 3 is Here!

The Scratch Anthology Volume 3 has finally arrived – featuring my story, “The Ballerina in Battery Park”, as well as a bountiful cornucopia of award-winning short fiction and poetry from a cavalcade of damn fine emerging writers.

Got an itch for some great stories? Why don’t you mosey on over to Scratch and get your copy today?

The Ballerina in Battery Park

The building was an older one, just a block from Wall Street in the heart of Manhattan’s Financial District, and its modest ten stories were dwarfed by towering modern skyscrapers.  The rooftop offered an amazing 360-panoramic view of the cavernous buildings that stretched into the clouds.  Their lit windows made checkered patterns against the enclosing walls of the city.  Looking out between the buildings was like gazing into the belly of a deep and narrow cave that stretched back forever into a darkness around the bend.

A grim view from a ferry taken from Jersey City to Manhattan.

About two years ago I made it one of my primary missions to hone my skills working in short fiction.  It was an area I had avoided and feared before (I am “davethenovelist” not “davetheshortstorywriter” afterall) but I decided it could be a welcome change of pace and something I could really dive into between novels.  It’s resulted in many stories and ideas, some of which I’ve now discarded or still linger to be fully fleshed out, others of which I have edited to death and/or submitted in various drafts to select literary magazines in print or online.  Along my journey, I read somewhere that the average writer will make at least 20 submissions before having their first story published.  Well, on the 13th try, I am finally seeing some returns on my investments of time and hard work. 

I am proud to say my short story, “The Ballerina in Battery Park” has been chosen for publication and awarded 3rd place in Scratch’s 2010 Spring Quarterly Contest.  In addition to immediate online publication it will be appearing in print in their annual anthology due out in the Spring of 2011 – stay tuned for details on how to purchase a copy!

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