The reason I wanted to publish Girlfriending, my short story collection, is to get some stories out of my computer before I die (no worries, I’m fine–just acknowledging the inevitable).
The fourth story in the collection is “Sunoco Nights,” a favorite of mine I have never been able to place in a literary magazine. Its length may have something to do with it–the story runs almost 7,000 words.
Jake teaches and has the summer off. His wife Gayle doesn’t. She encourages Jake to find a summer job, and Benny, the owner of the gas station where Jake fuels up offers him the overnight shift. Jake takes it, but the first night he’s at work, the attendant at another station is robbed, kidnapped, and found dead in rural field. Now Gayle wants Jake to quit, but they have only been married for a couple years, and Jake sees this as a pivotal issue that could set the tone for the rest of their marriage. Robbery/murders continue, and the discord increases exponentially. A great read if I do say so myself.
Story three of my collection, Girlfriending, is a flash piece (fewer than 1,000 words) entitled “Mistrust, Jealousy and Other Good Junk.” Rita is a ‘parts reclamation specialist’ at Tater’s Auto Recycling. Her boyfriend, JD, is convinced Rita and another employee, Moke, have something going on. The situation could blow like an over-revved engine unless Rita can persuade JD otherwise.
“Crashing” is the second story in my collection, Girlfriending. Lacey has returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan, and the ghosts of horrors that came home with her interfere with her ability to adjust to civilian life, and most importantly, form a relationship with Tyler. Lacey is an amazing lady you’ll enjoy getting to know.
I write from a woman’s point of view quite often. Read “Crashing” and see if you think I pull it off.
The lead off story in my collection, Girlfriending, is “Safe Harbor.” Otis is a retired Michigan State trooper. His wife died, and Otis decides to move to Florida in hopes of escaping the day to day memories of her that haunt him. Will a chance encounter with a young woman on the dive boat where Otis works help free him to find new happiness?
Girlfriending is collection of short stories, each featuring someone who is beginning, ending, or finding their way through a romantic relationship. It’s available on Amazon’s and at Barnes & Noble’s websites in both paperback and electronic formats. Stop by Amazon and read a few pages. I think you’ll like what you see.
Well, as promised (threatened), I’m happy to make you all aware of the publication of my story, Biggest Fan, in the spring issue of cahoodaloodaling, an online literary magazine. Online! That means read for free, my friends. The story gives us a view into a day in the life of Trey Bulloch, a returned Afghan war vet dealing with modern American society and serious PTSD. He’s a pretty interesting guy, I think. So, if you’d care to give the story a look, here’s the link:
Just click on “Open Issue,” and my story is listed about half way down the list. I also encourage you to check out the other poems and short stories. Some really good and interesting writing. See what you think, and have a great day.
I am thrilled and delighted to announce that Rogue Phoenix Press, the house that published my novel, Difficult Lies, just offered me a contract to print a collection of my short stories. The title of the collection is Girlfriending, which is the title of one of the stories in the collection. Over twenty stories will be included. All of them involve human romantic relationships. Some are fewer than 1,000 words, some are close to 7,000. Some are funny. A few are quirky. Some are sad. All of them explore interpersonal relationships. I am very proud of these stories, some of which have been published; though many are stories that are trapped in my computer. Until now. I think you will enjoy them. We are in the very preliminary stages of getting the manuscript formatted, edited, and the cover art chosen, so the release date will be sometime in 2017. It will be offered in both ebook and paperback formats. I, of course (you know me), will keep you informed.
Christopher T. Werkman
38 mins ·
Yes friends, it’s once again time for me to shamelessly shill for one of my short stories, a great piece in which a college student learns an important lesson about life from his summer job. It’s called Clocking Out, and it will be included in an anthology of time-themed stories entitled It’s About Time. This anthology will be published in November. If you order it now, the cost is $8.50, a savings of nearly 50% over it’s published cost of $15.95. You will receive it in November, just in time for Christmas/Chanukah gift-giving. If you’ve been very good, you can gift one to yourself. To secure a copy now at the pre-publication price, go here: http://mainstreetragbookstore.com/?product=its-about-time .
And by the way, for those of you who read (and enjoyed, I hope) Difficult Lies, Main Street published an anthology of stories a year or two ago entitled Voices From the Porch, in which I had a story, Coming to Terms. It chronicles Roxanne’s first meeting with Vic from Roxanne’s point of view. I believe you’ll like experiencing things from Roxanne’s perspective. Voices From the Porch is still available at the discounted price of $12.50 on Main Street’s site: http://mainstreetragbookstore.com/ .
Just click on shop, and follow the dropdown to anthology. Voices From the Porch is on the second page.
It’s been way too long since I blogged. Comes down to the fact that I’d rather spend writing time working on stories. But when I bought a booth at The Toledo Golf Show last February, something occurred numerous times that made me shake my head.
Now granted, it turned out the show wasn’t the best venue for a bookseller. People came to buy golf equipment and look for bargains and giveaways, not to buy a novel. As I recall, I sold about fourteen books at the show, and a few people said they would go to Amazon and buy the kindle version.
But close to a dozen or so people took the time to stop and ask about the book, pick it up and look at it, but eventually said they didn’t read. “I haven’t read a book since high school,” one man my age proudly proclaimed, grinning broadly. I grabbed the copy he was holding from him and said, “Geeze, don’t risk breaking your record now.” His grin widened.
I watch (too much) TV. I love movies. But there is nothing like reading. Reading is participative. I look at patterns of squiggles someone arranged on a page and pictures form in my mind. They are my images, based on what the organization of someone else’s symbols causes to blossom in my brain. The only thing I enjoy more than this magical process is creating imagery in the minds of others. I paint pictures in the heads of other humans. The really cool part is, every picture is different because every mind is different. The fundamentals are prescribed by the information I put on the page, but the details are envisioned individually based on the personal experience of the reader. How incredible!
My immediate reaction was to look down on those who said they didn’t read. Upon reflection, I feel sorry them. They miss out on a miraculous process that readers enjoy.
Go read something. Better yet, go write something. I’ll read it. I’m eager to make my mind your canvas.
The end of last week, we got a windless day and we burned summer.
We have an area surrounded by the circle our driveway forms at the house, and Karen planted a native prairie in the rounded plot. Everything that grows there is native to the area, so it never requires watering or care from us. Compass plants. Various flowers that I don’t know the names of, but they are pretty as they progress from knee-high to, in some cases, flowering plants that tower over me. In September they go to seed. They begin to brown off, and by October, you have to really search to see any color outside the realm of ocher, sienna, and umber. Karen insisted on doing the cutting and raking alone. It’s almost a religious thing for her, I believe. Reaping at the growing season’s end. Preparing for the dead of winter by forming a pyre comprised by the dead of the growing season. It’s hard work, but she waved off my offers of assistance.
It’s been dry here. A mini-drought. We needed to have a day with little wind to safely cremate the copse of summer. We got one with only a soft breeze from the south, so with a couple extinguishers and a charged hose for emergency backup, we primed the fire on the north end of the pile and stood back.
In fewer than thirty minutes, the destruction was complete. Summer was gone. Reduced to ash and smoke that wafted into the brilliant fall sky, along with memories of the beauty that was gone until …
… next year. I look out now at the ground where the burning took place, and I can’t help but ponder the difference between the life cycle of annual plants as contrasted with the cycle of human life. The native prairie is denuded soil, but it will return to its former glory by next June.
An aging man stands and pledges to be present to witness its rebirth. With a nod to the reality of being a human north of sixty years,
In casual ‘out with your buddies’ golf, Mulligans, or do-overs, are sometimes given (or taken, LOL). Obviously, this isn’t done in professional golf, or in money games like Vic plays in Difficult Lies. But when the game is just a friendly collection of men and/or women who are out for fun, a Mulligan allows the average player to trim a stroke or two and feel better about their game on the drive home.
A Mulligan in golf is pretty meaningless. The lower score doesn’t mean you are a better player. Everyone knows the score benefited through a bending of the rules. It is a temporary softening of the hard, cold and inflexible rules of a very difficult game.
Sometimes we are granted Mulligans in our everyday life. The ‘Mully” could come in the form of an early diagnosis and a successful medical treatment. It could come in the form of some great stroke of luck. The number and kinds of things in a life that could be considered Mulligans are limitless. Of course, many are wished for and denied, but we have all been granted Mullys in life. Unlike in golf, Mulligans in life are very meaningful.
In Difficult Lies, Vic gets a Mully of sorts. He can’t replay the six months that his story in the novel covers, but he finds himself in a position to benefit from recognizing and learning from his mistakes, and to move on with the rest of his life as a better person.
That’s a Mulligan, in the largest sense of the word. And it’s something to consider the next time a Mully is granted. I wish you all an important Mulligan the next time you need one.