1000 Reading Hoarders?

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Discovered this cool milestone today at Smashwords, an ebook distributor in the midst of their gi-normous summer giveaway. My ebooks have 1,000 “purchases” via Smashwords.

Now, most of these purchases have been free in giveaways. And people tend to hoard ebooks, unopened, after such sales. But at least a few have read my books. They post reviews; during future sales, they acquire later volumes in series; they bookmark me as an author they want to find again.

Nowadays I don’t care much about getting customers for my books but I most definitely want readers. Through the month of July, you can download any/all of my books from my page at Smashwords, in any/all ebook formats.

10 lords a-leaping, 1,000 readers hoarding…

The Lyrics That Mattered Most

I keep meeting folks who are writing their memoirs. Guess it’s something about getting Up There, years-wise. Writing a memoir never interested me — until I thought to write my life story using only the song lyrics that most profoundly affected me. The result is Self, Sampled

This was lots of fun to do, and taught me stuff about myself in the process. I recommend the exercise! I’ll understand if you don’t make it far through this memoir, though. The impact of a lyric is such a personal matter.

A few take-aways:
+ damn am I white;
lyrics really really matter to me…
+ … and yet, some of my favorite musicians never wrote or sang lyrics that snagged me like these;
+ I bet I would have turned out different if I hadn’t listened to so much Leonard Cohen during my formative years.

Maybe I’ll make a Spotify playlist of my memoir.

Dear Miss Diciuccio

Dear Miss Diciuccio,

I hope you don’t mind that I’m still using your maiden name. I don’t know who I’m talking to, otherwise.

You were my high school English teacher and I’ve long long long meant to tell you that you changed my life, forever and for the better.

One of our ongoing assignments was to keep a journal. We turned them in, you read them, and for me it was all awkward. The writing, the sharing. However, it soon became clear that you meant it when you said we could write anything. That freedom was a novelty. I could write Whatever, without judgment or consequences.

I was surprised when I saw your margin note in my journal. This is goodI’d been writing Whatever – venting about something. I re-read the paragraph. I didn’t think it was good, but that note taught me so much: Writing could get me praise. Writing could connect me with someone else.

People had always told me I was a writer, but this was the moment when I felt it. It’s taken me decades to feel it again. In between, I’ve done a lot of writing, published my writing, and taken long writing hiatuses. I’ve grappled with big issues, including my needs for praise and connection. Through it all, I kept seeing your margin note.

Thank you.

I’ve also wanted to thank your friend and compadre, Estelle Tucker, who left us way too soon. She transmitted so much confidence and respect. In her class we debated current events and discussed Dylan records. She was always cool and she helped me see that art must change to stay alive. She had us read Hamlet then attend a big city performance of Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead. (Which was new, back then. She would have taken us to Improvised Shakespeare Company if they’d been around.) My hands-down favorite high school moment was the day I was in a deep funk and she ignored the rules to let me skip her English class and hang out in the library. Maybe it’s time to re-read her favorite novel, Madame Bovary. I was too young to appreciate it, back in the day.

Ours was a nondescript suburban school named for an administrative functionary yet Marion A. Peterson High School had many exceptional teachers. A couple more shout-outs to:

Mr. Kim. You divided our journalism class into four groups and had us report on the Vietnam War based strictly on the writing in a single news magazine. Our four reports sounded like four different wars. This was a profound lesson in slant and bias that forever changed how I hear the news, any news.

Mr. Parsons. I was a hippie and you were, well, I thought you were a fascist but maybe you were mildly right wing. When you teased me about politics you showed me that people of opposing views could get along. And that chemistry quiz that I failed. I never forgot your lesson about staying open to what we don’t know. The quiz required us to balance a chemical equation. But – it didn’t balance. I somehow forced it to fit what I had learned. Fail. Only one guy in the class got the right answer, which involved saying “the result includes a new and unknown particle with the following properties…”

Thank you all for shaping my thinking and choices. I’ve tried teaching and I found it difficult, tedious, exhausting. I don’t know how you did it, frankly, but I’m grateful you did.

 

 

A Free Read Every Day (on the DDsE blog)

BlogLogoRedo2018I’m so glad I decided to do it! Brought back the DDsE daily serial blog.

Over on the DDsE blog, we’re in book 8 of Ella’s diary. As far as I can tell, her current adventures will take us through book 9.

I’m having a great time posting Ella’s diary to the near-instant gratification of readers who come to the blog daily.

The farther I get into the DDsE series, the less I can figure out whether I am writing it or transcribing it. For the first time, I’m writing improvisationally. What happens happens. I discover what comes next as I fill the latest blank screen on my iPad.

If you become a follower of  the DDsE daily serial blog, you will get each day’s diary entry emailed to you. Of course you can also click over to it whenever you please. I’ve heard from a number of folks that they’d rather wait and read a bunch of daily entries in one swoop. You can read the compiled, completed books (7 so far) on the blog.

For those who don’t want to read via browser, each book of Ella’s diary is an individual e-book novella on Smashwords. (6 individual novellas on Smashwords so far – 3 to go.) I’ve also compiled Ella’s books, 3 to a volume, and published those volumes on Amazon as e-books and paper books (2 compiled volumes so far – 1 to go).

Short Edition: Free Flash Fiction (and Contests)

My story You’re the One I’ll Miss is posted as part of a contest on Short Edition. Click over there to read it. I guess I’d appreciate your vote although I’m not sure what I’m competing for…

Create a Short Edition log-in to read free flash fiction from authors around the world.

Short Edition is an exceedingly cool idea. It provides very short fiction on line and at dispensaries in public places. It’s growing. This time last year most of its content was French-only.

You Can Read DDsE by Blog (Again)

BlogLogoRedo2018It’s a recurring story of my life. To see the value in something, I have to stop, leave, turn away from it.

It, such as publishing the DDsE daily serial blog.

Once upon a time, I had a blog that published the daily diary entries of Ella, a 16-year-old who had just entered a horrible strange amazing phase of life. Ella filled three books with her secret, hand-written diary entries and I posted the entries on the DDsE blog.

[OK, I admit it, I’m the one who has been writing Ella’s diaries and I’ve loved doing so. Although I’ve never had mind-to-mind contact with a feral cat, nor run away with a boy who wasn’t human, nor been chased by unhuman monsters, I can so relate to Ella. I’ve been a teenager all my life.]

Ella has kept writing her diary but I stopped posting entries on the DDsE blog.

I stopped because I’d been bitten by the publishing bug and my agent said that she couldn’t shop DDsE if I was giving it away. So I compiled Ella’s first three books into a single volume and my agent began to shop DDsE to big-deal publishers who took forever to say that they loved the story but didn’t like Ella. Or vice versa.

I discovered that I’ve changed.

Long ago, publishing my novel Was It A Rat I Saw in hardcover with a big-deal publisher was very important to me. Nonetheless, I stopped writing for a couple decades and when I resumed, it wasn’t because I wanted to build or re-build a writing career. I resumed writing because I missed writing.

When I resumed, I joined the self-publishing revolution (and it really is a revolution) but I maintained lingering fantasies about some sugar-daddy publisher who would make the publishing grind easier for me.

I’ve come to realize that I write to connect: with myself; with my readers. To realize this, I had to shut down the DDsE daily serial blog then miss it.

But re-starting the blog seemed impossible. Embarrassing.

At some point, I withdrew DDsE from the big-deal-publishers shop-around and began to self-publish it. Each book of Ella’s diary became an individual novella on Smashwords. (6 individual novellas so far – 3 to go.) I compiled Ella’s books, 3 to a volume, and published those volumes on Amazon (2 compiled volumes so far – 1 to go).

I continued to miss the blog. So. Tupac the impossible embarrassing. The DDsE daily serial blog is back. From now on, every day that blog will publish a new diary entry by Ella.

However, the new entries will resume with the current diary, book 7, because the DDsE blog features Ella’s newest entries, the ones that haven’t been published elsewhere. While the blog was on hiatus, books 4-6 got published elsewhere. Sure, they are compiled on the DDsE blog, and you can read them there. But the newest entries are in book 7.

Saturday, Feb 16, the DDsE daily serial blog will resume daily posting of Ella’s newest diary entries, starting with entry 260 from book 7 of DDsE.

Now would be a good time to catch up on books 1-6 and to begin following the DDsE blog.

Note that I usually keep my blogs separate so if you follow this blog – awesome! thank you! – you won’t get any DDsE posts. You have to click over to the DDsE daily serial blog to follow Ella’s diary.