Saturday, July 18, 2015

A Short Story Experiment

I recently had an email conversation with my publisher, Jay Hartman at Untreed Reads, and learned that the short story market is suffering.

Jay told me that the stand-alone short story market is mostly dead, outside of those few that are published in magazines, but we don’t all fit on the pages of the New Yorker, or the Atlantic Monthly.  For Untreed Reads short stories were their bread and butter for many years, but with more and more people self-publishing books and pricing them at or below the price of a short story, people tend to buy a book over a story. As if 200 pages is always better than 20 pages?

Untreed Reads first picked me up based on a short story, which was later rolled into a novella “Tales from the Fountain Pen”, which is one reason I continue to have a love for short stories. 

The truly sad part about this trend is the loss of short stories as a form of writing all its own. A short story requires a different approach because the writer is constrained by a size limit, or a desire to try something different, to experiment, on a smaller canvas. Short stories are a medium used by many authors to explore different genres and voices. A place to play with characters different from ones we normally put in our books. 

For instance, I can’t quite see myself writing a full-on 300 page murder mystery - just yet - but I have had the opportunity to explore the genre in short story form. The first one was published in an anthology: Moon Shot; murder and mayhem at the edge of space

The second one is “Tulip Craze” which I am offering for sale on my website. 
It’s an experiment to see if people are willing to step outside of the big online retailer(s) where it can be hard to find something, or to see if people are interested in short stories by an emerging author. 

If this experiment is successful, then I will add more short stories to my line-up at

Payment is handled through a respected and safe 3rd party, SquareSpace made it easy to set up a web store on my site.  
All personal information will remain confidential.
All sales are final. 
I ask that you please respect copyright laws. Writing is my bread and butter.

Reviews are welcome in the comment section. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Books, but no review

I know it’s been a while since my last book review and you might think I haven’t been reading, but that is not true. Reading still happens daily, except that I’ve been reading only old favorite books at night before going to sleep to decompress from all the research reading.

My novel “In one Night” (working title) is now done and in the final editing stages. My friend with the sharp red pencil has very kindly marked where I’ve missed commas, skipped a word - it’s those little ones like ‘at’, ‘on’ and ‘the’ that sometimes the fingers and eyes skip over - and I’m making the corrections in the manuscript. 

This book, a family drama set mostly in WWII Strasbourg, blossomed into a far greater story than I initially imagined it would and now I find I need to write a sequel! 

Great news, you might say. Well, yes, it is, but I’m having trouble finding good sources of information - books - on what life might have been like in WWII Morocco. I have the basics, and I have found a few books that might give me information I can use, but there aren’t many. 

And what about information on Operation Torch? The first Allied attack on Northern Africa that was to signal the beginning of the US entering the European theatre of war, taking back Algeria and Morocco? 

I could tell you in great detail why I want this information, but then I’d be giving away too much of the book. 

I’ll keep digging, but if any of you knows of a good resource, not just on wartime Morocco in broad strokes, but also the simple details of daily life - the food, the drink, the culture - please let me know in the comment section or email: elynnh2write (at) gmail (dot) com. 

In the meantime maybe I’ll watch Casablanca again …