Why Not a Duck?

GobblePearl Luke is a lovely, generous woman. A bunch of years ago, she published one of my favorite short stories, Why Not a Duck, on her website, Be a Better Writer. As the calendar flipped to November, I thought about that story, which takes place on Thanksgiving. In the spirit of the mission of the site, I had, over those years, become a better writer, and I wanted to revise the tale. Pearl was nice enough to republish my revision. Here it is…

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Why Not a Duck?

“Holiday Help Line, this is Matthew. How can I help you?”

“I’m going to slit my wrists,” she said. “I hate Thanksgiving. I hate that the Christmas decorations have been up in the stores since Halloween. I hate the Macy’s parade and the Rockettes and cooking and cleaning and the men sitting on their asses watching football and I swear, when the sweet potatoes are done I’m taking the biggest knife I have and…”

 

Where I Visit The Bookcast: An Interview

Charlie_Cool_kindle500A few years ago, author and fellow IU minion Melissa Pearl shared a little gem: radio journalist and book guy Bill Thompson, who had interviewed thousands of authors since 1985. In addition to his other work, Bill also did a little podcast on the side called The Bookcast, focusing on indie authors. We’ve been stalking him ever since. (Just kidding. Okay, not so much.) Bill is so good. Great with questions, easy to talk with, and gets right down to the issues. For some reason, he keeps inviting me back. If you have a few minutes, I hope you’ll listen to what resulted from my latest visit, where we talked about Playing Charlie Cool. Thank you for your time!  http://www.thebookcast.com/indie-author-interview-laurie-boris-playing-charlie-cool/

How to Grab a Free Copy of Playing Charlie Cool

Charlie_Cool_kindle500Despite the current kerfuffle about whether reviews still matter, I still believe that they do. For a couple of reasons. Authors, especially independent authors, depend on word of mouth from readers to get the word out about their books and reach a wider audience. More than any other source, readers surveyed by the IndieBRAG people say that this is how they most frequently decide to pick up a book from an unknown author: because a friend recommended it.

I also believe that reviews are for readers, and not as much for the author. Once I hit “publish,” my stories essentially belong to the world…and you guys. Your review helps other readers decide if this is a story they want to read.

With that in mind, I’ve enrolled my latest novel, Playing Charlie Cool, in a review program sponsored by The Choosy Bookworm. If you haven’t checked out this website or signed up for his book recommendations, it’s well worth your time. Jay, head Bookworm, is really supportive of authors and has been doing a great job to build up his site. And if you hop over to his website, you can get a free e-copy of the book in exchange for your honest review. Why not also peruse the other books you can read and review, too?

[Note: While Playing Charlie Cool is listed under “Romance,” it’s not a romance novel. And while it’s technically the third book in the Trager Family Secrets series and the sequel to Don’t Tell Anyone, it can be read as a stand-alone story.]

Thank you for your time. What influences your decision to pick up a book? Just curious.

 

To Self-publish or Not: A Panel Discussion in Woodstock

Typewriter - Once upon a timeAre you interested in learning more about the publishing choices available to authors and aspiring authors these days? Sponsored by The Glaring Omissions, The Golden Notebook, and moderated by the fabulous Violet Snow, we’ll be having a panel discussion on Sunday, November 9 at 4:00 at the Christian Science Center, 85 Tinker Street in Woodstock. Continue reading

Flash-Fried Fiction

IMG_2749LeavesWe didn’t didn’t completely break JD Mader’s blog this week, but we did succeed at bending it at an uncomfortable angle. Maybe next time. Here are four of my entries. It’s good to stretch a little. Even if the end result doesn’t turn out the way you intended. As usual, only lightly edited for your protection.

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The prime directive cannot be disobeyed. I must not interfere. Even though the tiny creature feeds golden thread with pinprick feet toward the twitching whiskers and tail, it is not in my purview to stop it. I can distract for only so long with ear scratches and gentle murmurs, but the instinct must be honored, the shiny object glittering in the sun as it spins toward oblivion must be hunted. Physics does its work; gravity and tensile strength meet the swipe of a claw, shredding hours of labor. Pinprick feet scurry away; the work must be recreated, the silk spooled out, the dance begun again. Continue reading

Playing Charlie Cool: Sneak Peek

PlayingCharlieCoolPrelim400Hi, everyone! While Art Dude is finishing the cover, I’d like to share an excerpt from Playing Charlie Cool. The e-book is available for pre-order on Amazon. You can save a buck by ordering now at the introductory price, and it will be delivered to your Kindle when the book is published at the beginning of October. Although it’s a sequel to The Picture of Cool and Don’t Tell Anyone, Playing Charlie Cool is a standalone story. (Scroll down to find out how you can grab a free copy of The Picture of Cool.)

First…what’s Playing Charlie Cool about?

With a few humble words, mayoral staffer Joshua Goldberg comes out to the New York press, resigns his post, and leaves his wife. Three months later, he is still skittish about making his relationship with television producer Charlie Trager public. Charlie understands Joshua’s stress over the divorce and his desire to step back into the political spotlight. But he’s tired of schedule conflicts and frustrated about getting put on the back burner while the pressure ravages the man he loves. Managing some of the most demanding divas in network television has taught Charlie patience. But his cool façade is wearing thin. Longing to ease Joshua’s anguish and burning for control in a situation that seems headed off the rails, Charlie takes a huge risk that could destroy everything he and Joshua have worked so hard to build. Continue reading

Flash Fiction of Inspiration

appletreeWe’re at it again! This week’s Friday flash fiction fun at JD Mader’s Unemployed Imagination 2-minutes-go blog. Write for two (more or less) and post it for the world to see. Maybe you’ll join us next time. I swear, magic happens when we all write together. Here are mine. Lightly edited to be a little easier on the eyes. With a dash of cinnamon, cook until done.

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His blue-jeaned legs swung from the crook of the tree branch, beating a tattoo against the trunk, and she could almost hear him calling her a pussy in his head as he smiled half-assed at her, gesturing with his nibbled apple how easy the climb had been. She didn’t care about girly things like manicures—piano lessons forever had cured that—so she dug in her stubby fingers and began the ascent. The sickly-sweet aroma swirled around her, of the apples that hadn’t made it to picking, the whir and whine of the bees in their confusion of something to pollinate, and straining her muscles, she pulled herself up, leaves catching in her hair, the scruff of the bark scraping her skin even through her denim shirt and pants. His grin widened as she joined him. The sun, dappled through the leaves, glinted off his aviator lenses. Sanctuary. At last.

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The future waits but he does not know that yet. Life has been a series of steps he’s told to take, places he’s told to wait, tasks he’s commanded to complete. Choices? That’s not been part of the plan. Choices have been about small things: ketchup or mayonnaise on the french fries; go swimming or ride bikes. These new choices feel too large and terrifying, like he’ll pick the wrong one and be stuck on a bad path forever. End up like his mother. Worse, like his father. Drifting around, busking for change and smiles. Not knowing when he’ll come home. As the bus bound for the unknown pulls into the bay and opens its doors, his mother licks a finger and pushes a cowlick down and he cringes backward. “Mom.” His mouth forms a sneer. “Stop it.” And to his surprise, she does.

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From nowhere, it seemed, the neighborhood stray tortie joined me on my walk. Dusk. Playing with me or trying to herd me or whatever feline trick she employed to bond me to her, she slipped serpentine in front of my legs, her mottled fur blending in with the asphalt, with the darkening night. Now just her too-big collar was visible, keeping me from tripping over her. She lifted her head up to mine, gave me a slow blink and bonked her forehead against my knee before letting me continue placing one foot in front of the other. Take me home, she seemed to be saying. We both knew that couldn’t happen. So we walked, her twining her long, skinny body around my calves, twitching tail, for the length of one property, two, before she slipped back into the woods.

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She couldn’t explain why walking in circles helped. The rhythm of it, maybe, one after the other around the top of the driveway, the streams of rain trickling under the hood of her slicker and down her neck. It was something she could feel, unlike the stale air inside, unlike the same tired looks he gave her. Feeling that wet and cold sliding along the nape of her neck was like a jolt to her body that woke up the rest of her nerves; the smell of the ozone calmed her and made it easier to face what lay inside. Made it easier to lift her feet up the crumbling concrete stairs and face his puzzlement, his derision, the shattered drinking glass he refused to throw away. He wouldn’t throw anything away. It all had memories, it all meant the person who’d owned it stayed alive, somehow. But she also preferred to walk the circles outside because if she did them inside, she could see the glass, the shards stacked inside the jagged base. Throw them out, she said. Get rid of them. She didn’t want to explain why it was bad to have them around, why she couldn’t stop watching the glint of the fluorescent lights against the fragments. The words were too hard, too fractured, too broken.

Big News!

800px-Flickr_-_Shinrya_-_Brooklyn_^_Manhatten_Bridge_at_NightI’m so excited to start spreading the news. (So excited, apparently, that I’m making tortured New York, New York puns.)

Playing Charlie Cool, (the sequel to short story The Picture of Cool) is in final editing and will be available the first week of October or even sooner, if possible!

But you can pre-order a copy of the e-book from Amazon now, and it will be sent directly to your Kindle on the official “go live” day.

If you’re keeping score, the novel also catches up with the characters introduced in Don’t Tell Anyone. But no worries if you haven’t read that one—while the characters and situations overlap, Playing Charlie Cool and Don’t Tell Anyone are stand-alone stories.

I’ll post again as we get closer. This will include an excerpt, info about a print book giveaway, and (woo hoo!) our final cover design.

And don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter if you’d like the latest news and the occasional special offer. (I promise not to spam you.)

Thank you for your time, and now I’ll let you get back to your regularly scheduled Internet hijinks…

Flash in the Pantone

pantone-book-11Another Friday, another two-minutes-go writing challenge over at JD Mader’s Unemployed Imagination site. We joke each week about “breaking the blog,” but I think this time we actually did it. Flash fiction bits were going up, comments followed, until…well, let’s just say that we kicked some serious interwebs. Here are three pieces I threw down. Hope you’ll pop over to that link and see some amazing writing by David Antrobus, Julie Frayn, Mark Morris, Ed Drury, Leland Dirks, Lynne Cantwell…hope I’m not leaving anyone out…and of course, our own wicked awesome Pied Piper. Enjoy. As always, lightly edited for your protection.

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Flash Fiction in Triplicate

file00066854965When Friday afternoon comes around, I’m ready to play a little. Lately that means hopping over to JD Mader’s website and “posting my two” as we’ve started calling it. Grab a timer – mine’s been failing me lately – write for two minutes (usually) and post it in the comments. Even if you’re not into writing exercises, check out all the great writers who are just killing this thing week after week. Anyway, I’m not sure what caught me by the tail this time—a little nostalgia, or wondering what happened to Aunt Sylvie and her cats, perhaps?—but when I started, these three pieces popped out. [Edited just a tad for spelling and eye-rolling grammar errors.] Continue reading