July, 2017 Update

Thanks to everyone who stopped by my table at the Printers Row Lit Fest last month.  Sales were a little slow for everyone this year, but I sold a few books, handed out a bunch of flyers about my work, and talked to a whole lot of great people.  Some of them signed up for my mailing list, and I hope some more will consider checking out my writing, either with a book on Amazon, or one of my short stories on this web site.

I don’t have a lot of writing news to tell you about this month:

  • As I mentioned last month, my third e-book novella, The Lost Ticket, is available from Amazon for your Kindle. I’m very happy with the way this story turned out, and I’m pleased with the cover image, drawn by my talented nephew Ricky Bieniek. You can check out his sprite comic at this link.
  • My Barnstormers story is picking up speed. I’ve completed chapter 5, and I think that chapter really sets up the rest of the story.  There are currently three ways that you can follow the Barnstormers:
    • I read an edited version of each chapter at the THC Reading Series.  (It’s only edited because I don’t have the time available to read the whole thing.)  I will be reading chapter 4 at the next Reading Series night on August 26th.
    • I post each chapter here on Barnstormers page after I read it.    Currently, the page contains chapter 3, and I will post chapter 4 after I read it in August.
    • If you want to read each entire, unedited chapter, you can subscribe to my mailing list.   I send out a monthly e-mail containing information about my writing projects, any open mic events or book shows I might be seen and heard at during the month, and anything new I might have for sale.  It’s pretty much what you read here, except you also get a link to a PDF of the next uncut chapter of Barnstormers.  And did I mention it’s free?  Sign up today!

The THC Reading Series is taking the month of July off, and will return on Saturday, August 26th. I’ll tell you more about that next month.

Thanks for reading!

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June, 2017 update

Two big news items this month, along with my writing progress:

  • My third e-book novella, The Lost Ticket, is now available from Amazon for your Kindle. Like all the Sleep Detectives stories, it is enrolled in Kindle Unlimited, so even though The Lost Ticket is only $1.49 to purchase, if you are a KU subscriber, you can read it for free! How can you beat that?
  • As mentioned last month, I will again be at a table at the Printers Row Lit Fest, trying to cajole total strangers into reading my work. The Lit Fest this year is June 10 and 11, from 10am to 6pm each day in downtown Chicago. I will again be under the Illinois Woman’s Press Association tent, which is located toward the south end of the event, near Polk Street. If you’re at the Fest, stop by and say “Hi!”
  • Chapter 2 of the “Barnstormers” story is posted in the Short Stories section of the site, and I will be posting chapter 3 after I read it at the Tamale Hut on the June 24. But if you can’t wait, all you have to do is join my mailing list. I send out a monthly e-mail with my writing news, but I will also be including a new chapter of the story with each e-mail, and that chapter will have all the extra content I won’t have time to read at the Reading Series. And did I mention it’s free, and I won’t share your e-mail address with anyone? Sign up today!

    The next THC Reading Series night will be on Saturday, June 24, and I will be there, reading a shortened version of chapter 3 of the Barnstormers story I mentioned above. If you’re in the neighborhood, stop by and listen to some interesting stories! We start at 7pm.

    Thanks for reading!

May, 2017 Update

I’m a little late on this because I hoped to be able to announce that “The Lost Ticket” was available, but due to some technical difficulties and some spectacularly poor time management on my part, the novelette is not yet available for purchase. The text is done and the cover is complete, but I’ve had some problems assembling the thing to put up on the Kindle store. I will definitely have it done by the end of the month, because I want to promote it at the Printers Row Lit Fest next month. So here’s what I’ve been up to:

    • “The Lost Ticket” will be available from the Kindle store by the end of May. In this story, Danny and Izzy are on the trail of a winning lottery ticket that was stolen from an elderly couple in the neighborhood, a quest that takes them from Riverdale to Little Italy to Division Street. The final version of the cover (minus the text) is here to the right. This will be on Kindle only, as are the previous two in the “Lost” series, and it will be available at Amazon by June 1st.

  • The “Barnstormers” story is coming along a little more slowly than I’d like (primarily because of the time management issues I mentioned above) but I’m liking the results, as are the members of the writers groups I’ve been sharing the story with. The shortened version of chapter 2 that I read at the Tamale Hut is posted in the Short Stories section below. If you want to read the full chapter, all you have to do is join my mailing list. I send out a monthly e-mail with my writing progress and where I’ll be, if there are any literary events that month. I will also be including a new chapter of the story with each e-mail, and that chapter will have all the extra content I won’t have time to read at the Reading Series. And did I mention it’s free, and I won’t share your e-mail address with anyone? Sign up today!
  • This is not my news, but I wanted to share that Stephie will again have her tent up at the Graue Mill Fine Arts Festival in Oak Brook on June 3 and 4, from 10am to 4pm each day. This is a great event, with many talented artists showing and selling their work, with little of the “crafty” stuff that you find in some other art shows. Plus, the Graue Mill is a beautiful place, with a long nature walk and an operating grist mill. (You should buy some of their corn meal. It’s so good.) Weather permitting, it’s a great day out. And did I mention it’s free? Details at the Graue Mill web site.
  • As mentioned last month, I will again be at a table at the Printers Row Lit Fest, trying to cajole total strangers into reading my work. The Fest this year is June 10 and 11, from 10am to 6pm each day in downtown Chicago. I will again be under the Illinois Woman’s Press Association tent.

The next THC Reading Series night will be on Saturday, May 20, and I will be there, reading a shortened version of chapter 2 of the Barnstormers story. The story is designed like a movie serial from the 30s or 40s, with each chapter ending in a cliffhanger, but because of time constraints, the only way I can end each reading in the cliffhanger is to edit some parts out. It should still be exciting, and you can always read the complete chapter by joining my mailing list. If you’re in the neighborhood, stop by and listen to some interesting stories! We start at 7pm.

Thanks for reading!

April, 2017 update

I am still struggling to fit writing time into my new work schedule, although after almost four months I really should stop whining about that. Still, I do have a few exciting writing things to tell you about this month:

  • I’m in the final edits of “The Lost Ticket”, the next story in the Sleep Detectives universe. This will be another Kindle-only release and I hope to have it available by the end of April. Here’s the rough draft of the cover, again drawn by my talented nephew, Ricky Bieniek.
  • The first chapter of my latest story, tentatively titles “Barnstormers,” is posted on the Barnstormers page. As I did with Stalking Stan Dixon, I plan to post each chapter after I read it at the Tamale Hut, but unlike that earlier story, I will only have the most recent episode here. It’s written in the style of the old movie serials, so each chapter will end in a cliffhanger, after starting with the resolution of the previous chapter’s end. It’s been a lot of fun so far, and I hope you enjoy reading it.
  • Speaking of that new story, each chapter will actually be longer than I have time to read at the THC. Some chapters, like the first, I will read over two consecutive monthly events, but for some I will just cut out a scene or two to fit in the time allotted for me to read. Sometimes it will be some exposition, but sometimes it will be a subplot that I can remove without breaking the story flow. The text posted here will be what I read at the Hut, but if you want to read each chapter in its entirety, all you have to do is join my mailing list. I send out a monthly e-mail with my writing progress and where I’ll be, if there are any literary events that month, but starting next month, I will include a new chapter of the story with each e-mail, and that chapter will have all the extra content I won’t have time to read at the Reading Series. Also, the mailing list will get one chapter a month, regardless if there is a Reading Series event that month or not. So since I will not be at the April session, the mailing list will already be one chapter ahead of anyone else. And did I mention it’s free, and I won’t share your e-mail address with anyone? Sign up today!
  • In June I will again be at a table at the Printers Row Lit Fest, trying to cajole total strangers into reading my work. I’ll have more information about that next month.

I will not be at the next THC Reading Series night on Saturday, April 22nd, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go. It will be the usual delightful evening of stories and tamales, and I recommend it to everyone, even if you just want to go and listen. I’ll be spending that weekend in Lombard at the Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention, as I have for the past several years. No, I won’t be selling anything there. I’ll be just another fan for a few days, chatting with the dealers and publishers who are happy to take my money.

Thanks for reading!

March, 2017 update

I used to read the blog of a well-known science fiction writer in which, on days that just didn’t go the way he had planned, he would write that the day was consumed by locusts. That’s as good an explanation as any for the way my year has started. The job is going well, but while I seem to be surviving the commute just fine, it’s been sapping my energy more than I had expected. Because of that, I’ve been going to bed earlier than I have since I was old enough to decide my own bedtime, and that’s been cutting into my writing time.

Back in January I wrote about how I was keeping up with updates to this site, my monthly shameless self-promotion e-mail newsletter, and our family site, stephanieandmatt.com, but that promptly fell by the wayside after the first of the year. I plan to get back to all those things, starting with this update.

I did finish “The Lost Ticket” story I mentioned in previous updates, and have received positive feedback from everyone who has read the draft. I have a few minor changes to make, then one more pass before I send it off to my brother for editing and my nephew for cover design. With any luck, they’ll have it to them in a few days, so it might be available some time in April.

The comic store guys story I had planned for January and February is on the back burner, because as I started to do some research for the long piece I was going to write after that, I got really excited about it and soon it was all I could think about writing-wise. My plan is that after a few set-up chapters, it will develop into a road trip story, with each chapter set in a different town as my characters travel across the country. I read the beginning of the story at the Tamale Hut at last month and received a very positive response. I’ll have more about that next month, and will probably post the first chapter here when it’s completed.

The next THC Reading Series night will be Saturday, March 25th, and I plan to be there. I intend to have the first chapter of my new piece completed by then, and will be reading it to the crowd. If you can make it, I’d love to see you there.

Thanks for reading!

January, 2017 update

Happy New Year, everyone! I think I can safely say that I’ve never had a year like I had in 2016, and I hope I don’t have another like it anytime soon. I’ve had upheaval in my personal and professional life before, but never at the same time. Everything seems to be stabilizing somewhat, and my landing a job in December (and a fantastic one so far) will go a long way to getting us back to where we were pre-2016.

With my almost year-long unemployment as the main recollection of 2016, I was surprised when I took a look at my writing accomplishments for the year. I published a novelette (The Lost Girl) and a novel (The Sleep Detectives Go to Washington), produced another audio drama which was performed at the book release for the novel, and completed a novella which I’d been presenting for the past two years at the Tamale Hut. The writing group I coordinate began its fifth year of monthly meetings, and we worked on two group projects: a round-robin story and a group prompt, the latter being presented at one of the Tamale Hut Reading Series events. I also wrote a couple of short stories and largely kept up with updates to this site, my monthly shameless self-promotion e-mail newsletter, and our family site, stephanieandmatt.com. I also promoted my work at the Printers Row Lit Fest, the Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books, and the Chicago Book Expo.

Looking forward, I’m hoping to get back to my pre-unemployment state, with much less worrying about finances and the passage of time, and more focus on creativity. I am currently three-quarters through “The Lost Ticket”, the third novelette in the Danny trilogy (after The Lost Night and The Lost Girl), and hope to finish that by mid-month. I have a two-part story in the works featuring Unca Lar and the gang from the comic store. My plan is to read that at the January and February THC Reading Series nights, and then begin the next long piece in March. The writers group is planning another group project, with an eye on the October Reading Series night to present it. I’m also planning to do more promotional events like I did last year.

Thanks for reading, and I hope 2017 will be a much better year for all of us!