I’m Walking Around With The Final Proof Copy of Crushes for A Week

Yes, finally, I’ll soon be walking around with the final proof copy of the paperback of my fiction collection, Crushes. I’ll do this for about a week, and then if nothing sticks out to me as OMG, I’ll hit the publish button and it’ll be available to purchase in a physical paperback. I’ll probably continue to carry it around because I’ll think it’s super cool for a while. Then I’ll get over it and write another one.

This means it’s looking like it will be available for purchase super soon. It will be priced at $7.99.

It’s hard to stop rewriting them, but at a certain point I guess you just sort of have to and move on and write more stuff.

Eric Shay Howard Author of Crushes Selfie
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Let’s Talk About Typos

Here’s the thing about me and typos.

I don’t see typos, at least not in my own work. I know a good editor should, but I don’t see them and I no longer care. At least not here on this blog. Do I care when I submit my stories to lit journals or my books to publishers? Sort of. Not really. It’s complicated.

We’re talking fiction here. I redraft and rewrite my stories so much that any typos or grammar errors or spelling issues are just going to go through one eyeball and never come out the other. The chances of me catching all my typos before I submit to a journal or a publisher are super thin. Should someone catch them before they hit the print button and make a boat-load of copies to sell or be read by the masses? Probably. But that button is so far away from the submit button that it doesn’t really matter. At least, in theory.

When I write a story for my blog, understand that there’s a good chance that story is only ever going to be for my blog.

Once something is published to my blog, it counts as previously published and no literary mags or publishers are going to be interested, unless they specifically want to reprint it. I’m also writing stuff for literary magazines and collections and other things while I’m working my stories for the blog. If I do try to catch some typos throughout the week, it’ll probably be for those other things and not the stories for my blog. If I even do that, because like I said, I don’t really catch them very fast, if at all. Writers write. Editors edit. There are only so many hours in a day. Yadda-yadda-yadda.

So, you’ll see typos throughout my blog and in my stories.

I catch typos over time, eventually, maybe. I understand that some people have a problem with this and that’s fine, but typos are not what I’m interested in fixing when I’m working on my stories. Character development, structure, setting, and context are what I focus on. Typos, spelling, and grammar are the last thing I worry about. Editors, or pretty much anyone other than the writer, will see typos and fix them immediately. It will be fine.

I’m not suggesting that I don’t do a read-through to hunt for typos before submitting or posting, but If I worry too much about typos I won’t ever get anything done or submitted to literary magazines or posted to my blog. It also goes without saying that I don’t really care about typos when I read submissions for Likely Red Magazine, either. I get it; you were focused on the right things. Very good.

So, you know, just FYI. I’ll just leave this here. I’m sure there are all kinds of typos throughout my blog and in my stories. This blog is a creative space as much as it is a working, acting, living, breathing resume for me. It’s just not worth it to worry too much about the small stuff.

What is your typo-hunting process like?

Leave me a comment and let’s talk about typos. Don’t get me wrong, I’d much prefer the ability to see them quickly, but it usually takes about a month or so of letting the story sit, sometimes longer. Then I can read them back and see some of the typos. Definitely not all, though. I’ve submitted some stories for a year or so and only recently found typos in them. How embarrassing. Well, it would be if I still cared that much about typos.

Here’s a story I posted last week that might or might not have typos: Dialing For A Paycheck.

Also, here’s a kinda-sorta-recent rejection letter. This one is from F(r)iction.

And, follow me on Twitter and Instagram, and like my page on Facebook. You can also contact me via my contact page.

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The Greatest – Fiction

So I’m in Chicago and I wasn’t able to post this Friday because free WiFi is hard. Also, I’m still not satisfied with this story but here it is anyway. I might rewrite it one day. I’m posting it as is because consistency is important, I guess.

Update 4:15 PM 12/12/17: So I’ve had a few days to recover from my trip to Chicago. I got busy with planning my trip and didn’t have the time to give this the story the attention it deserved. I kind of want to give this story a rewrite, so I’m gonna go do that now.

*

Kurr sat at his desk between his partners’, Logsdon and Ball. Kurr read reports. He drank coffee while he verified alibis in the reports. He reheated his coffee in the microwave three times that morning while he found business names and homes with the listed addresses on his reports. He sighed as he drank his coffee and typed his progress in the reports.

Logsdon and Ball were on the phone that morning. They chatted across Kurr all morning. Logsdon and Ball looked half-dressed, in untucked buttons ups off the rack at JC Penny’s and faint gray stains scattered all over their navy pants, their hair curly, funny, like they’d just rolled over out of bed and come to work that morning. Logsdon and Ball were young. Logsdon and Ball were not used to getting up early in the morning.

Having made it to noon, Logsdon and Ball flipped a coin. Ball called tails. Ball bought lunch. When Ball returned to the floor with a white bag that smelled of onion rings, Kurr locked his computer and followed Logsdon and Ball on through the desks, down the hall, past the cubicles, and to the right. Ball set the bag on the biggest table. Kurr stopped at the counter and poured black coffee into his world’s best singer mug. When he got to the biggest table, Logsdon and Ball had already eaten half their burgers.

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“Your food’s getting cold,” Logsdon said.

“Fine, got my hot right here,” Kurr said.

“You use that line on all the ladies?” Does it work?” Ball said.

“Damn it, Ball. Burgers again?” Kurr said.

“Payer picks. That’s the rule,” Ball said.

“Loser picks,” Logsdon said.

Ball threw an onion ring at Logsdon. It hit him in the nose. Logsdon squished his lips against his nose, unrolled his sleeve, and wiped the oil off with his cuff.

Two by two, the seats at the small tables around them filled. A brown haired man in tan corduroy pants and a white button up stopped and looked under their table.

“Still got both shoes, Ball?” the man said. Ball looked at him with no expression. The man laughed and moaned and went on down to sit with a dark haired woman eating a candy bar.

“These people never let things go, do they?” Ball said.

“They will. Just have to wait it out,” Kurr said.

“For how long?” Ball said.

“Long enough for someone else to do something stupid,” Kurr said.

Kurr heard his own tone and put his burger down. He looked around at the others, the duos. The lean man at the table next to him ate his salad with his partner across from him. They laughed at each other. They texted on their phones. They ate.

“How much more you got, Old Man?” Logsdon said. He chewed as lettuce hung out. Mayonnaise splattered up his glasses. Logsdon wiped his frame with his cuff. The mayonnaise smeared. Logsdon chewed on.

“Only about half way through,” Kurr said.

“We’re gonna be here all night,” Logsdon said.

“You’re welcome to help, you know,” Kurr said. Logsdon made his eyes small.

“I’m following up on leads for the Brown case,” Logsdon said.

“No, you’re having a goofball match across my desk with Ball,” Kurr said.

“I’ve been on the phone all morning,” Logsdon said.

Kurr set his burger down. He moved his world’s best singer mug over to the corner. He folded his hands and placed his wad of fingers on the table.

“Don’t you guys get sick of it?” Kurr said. Balls topped chewing his fry. Logsdon took off his glasses and cleaned his mayonnaise smear with his shirt tail.

“Sick of what?” Logsdon said.

“Sick of not being taken seriously around here,” Kurr said.

“People take us seriously,” Ball said. He looked over to mister corduroy pants a few tables down. Mister corduroy mimed a runner while sitting in his chair.

“Help me, help me, the bad guy stole my shoes,” mister corduroy said. He laughed, threw his hand down toward the big table, and went back to sipping from his foam cup.

Ball ate the rest of his burger. Logsdon continued to rub his glasses down with his shirt. Mister corduroy pants ran toward the door. “Help, someone, my shoes, my shoes.”

Chief Mueller walked in. Mister corduroy pants straightened his back. Logsdon put his glasses back over his eyes. Mueller went to the counter and poured himself a coffee.

“Afternoon, chief,” mister corduroy pants said.

“Marmon,” Mueller said. He stirred his coffee with a red plastic stirrer, tasted it, and added more sugar.

People left their seats and threw their garbage in the hole near the sink. Logsdon and Ball stood up together.

“Back to it,” Ball said.

“Back to the phone,” Logsdon said. He looked at Kurr as he spoke. Kurr remained seated until they left. He watched Mueller as he stood and drank and stirred. Mueller turned and caught Kurr with his eyes over his world’s greatest seaman cup. Kurr approached him after the room emptied.

“Sir, could I talk to you for a bit?” Kurr said. Mueller stirred and nodded.

“What’s the problem, Kurr?” Mueller said. Kurr watched his feet for a minute.

“Am I being punished?” Kurr said. Mueller gulped his coffee and sat his mug down on the counter.

“What do you mean?” Mueller said. Kurr folded his hands and held them to his navel.

“You putting me with Logsdon and Ball. Are you punishing me?” Kurr moved his right foot further to the right, then back to the left.

“Why would you think that?” Mueller said. Kurr moved his right foot forward and then backward.

“They’re the youngest detectives in the department. Everyone else is partnered up and you have the three of us together. No one respects them, which means no one respects me,” Kurr said. Mueller pinched his chin. He came close.

“You don’t like your partners?” Mueller said. Kurr looked down at his feet, tapped his toes forward, backward, then planted his foot back down.

“No, sir. I think it would be best if I could put in an official request form,” Kurr said.

“Kurr, let me tell you something. You are more than welcome to put in that request, but I won’t accept it. You’re with Logsdon and Ball. That’s the way it’s gonna be. You’re with them and they’re with you. I want you three going everywhere together. Every desk assignment. Every case. Every day. If there’s ever a time someone doesn’t see you three together, I want people to think it’s fucked up that you’re not all there. Kurr, Logsdon, and Ball. That’s the way it is,” Mueller said. He patted Kurr’s shoulder, picked up his coffee mug, and filled it with soap and water from the sink.

Eric Shay Howard is a freelance writer and editor. He lives in Louisville, KY and is the editor of Likely Red Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram and like his Facebook page.

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Five Stories Into My Second Fiction Collection

Last week I tried this thing where I had three short story drafts, put up a Twitter poll asking which one I should edit and post onto my blog, and then posted this short story about a man who glows in the dark on Friday. I was writing some this weekend and I decided to try it again. The catch is I only have two short stories kind of ready for editing this time.

There’s a story about a woman who hates her job as a payroll accountant for a medical library where a toxic chemical is being used. It’s kind of linked to the short story that I posted last week. There’s also, barely, a mystery/detective story about a murder outside of a fundraiser because I felt like making a detective character. It might or might not be in the same universe as the story I posted last week. That’s just how these things go, sometimes.

There’s still time to vote in the poll on Twitter, because I’ve set the poll to run until Wednesday evening, around 7:30pm EST. Vote on.

Update: 11/29/17 10:25PM EST

The winner of the fiction poll this time was the murder mystery story. Considering it’s the one that needs the most work, I’d better get to editing.

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I’m really pleased with my progress on the three stories I wrote last week. I hate making promises like making this a normal weekly thing for the blog, but I think I’ll do it as long as I can keep the momentum going, or at least until  I get enough stories for another collection going. Or, you know, just this once more. I’m really terrible at making long term decisions.

Oh, and I’m sending my first collection out again and submitting more of the stories in it to other literary journals. I’ve gotten a few almosts and we-would-have-published-this-ifs, so I’m fairly confident that something will happen with it soon.

In case you missed the creative energy I put into the links up in the first paragraph, here’s a link to the story I posted last Friday. Also, here’s another piece of fiction I wrote the week before. Also, leave me comments and pay attention to me.

Contact me if you want. Here’s my Twitter, my Facebook, my Instagram.

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If My Blog Was As Good As The Others I’d Not Have Posted This

If my blog was a good as that other blog you read, I wouldn’t be posting about how I’d normally save Wednesdays for an author interview, or maybe a book review. But since I have no book reviews or author interviews, I’ll just have to post about what I post on Mondays, which is usually about how my writing is going.

I’m writing. It’s sentence by sentence. It’s slow. I don’t have ideas. I just sit down and write words. I get ideas from reading my first drafts.

If this was an author interview, I’d probably ask them if they got ideas first. If they said yes, I’d probably ask them where their ideas come from. Then I’d ask about their writing process. Their daily structure. I suspect most don’t have daily structures. I don’t. Well, not yet. Don’t think I want it. In hindsight, this author interview would probably end up being more about me than them. I guess I’d be a terrible interviewer. It doesn’t matter. My only standard right now is my worst story. Besides, this is my blog. I can write whatever the hell I want. I couldn’t if this blog was as good as the other blogs.

(At the end of the author interview, there’d be a link to their book and their website and all of that stuff. I’d thank them for coming. Well, for listening. It’d probably be done remotely. I’m pretty introverted. Unrelated, I suppose. The bigger reason would be because of the distance. And then I’d end it somehow making it about me again. IF this blog was as good as those other blogs by writers who blog about their writing.)

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I wrote this because I wanted to post an author interview but didn’t have one. I know, I need better shit. Give me a minute. I write stuff like I drink beer. Slow. My professors and writer friends all say I have to write all the time and all my blog friends say I have to post a lot of blogs, so I’m sure you understand. At least Friday is short story day. I’ve been busy editing fiction. I’m sure that’s why this didn’t go so well. Just come back Friday to read a new short story.

Use my contact form to contact me about my editing services, a creative project, literary stuff, or blog related things. Or whatever. You can also follow me on Twitter and Instagram, and like my page on Facebook.

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