Reading Short Stories (Synchronic on sale)

Just a short post today, as I am officially on holidays (which means I have been carted away from my house by my husband and do not have to do consulting work for two weeks, but I am still editing A Quill Ladder like a fiend).

Synchronic: 13 Tales of Time Travel, the short story anthology I contributed to in the spring, is on sale today and tomorrow (August 14 and 15) in the United States for only 99 cents. For those of you who have not read it, it is an amazing collection of short stories that come at time travel from a multitude of perspectives. Despite the different approaches taken by all of the authors in the anthology, there are some surprising interconnections among the stories in terms of how we view time and what time travel could potentially mean for us as a species.

I have to admit, before participating in the anthology, I was not a huge fan of short stories. I had studied the art of writing them of course, and drafted many for submission to literary journals (which is how Canadian writers are advised to get their start down the road to traditional publication). I had also slogged through many short story collections in an effort to fall in love with them. But aside from a mild interest in Alice Munro’s stories, I had never quite found most of them to my tastes.

Imagine my surprise then, when I read the Synchronic anthology and discovered that I loved most if not all of the stories. I spent some time thinking about why, and why you should consider buying it, even if you have not previously been a fan of short stories.

Why you should buy Synchronic

1) They are long short stories

The Synchronic stories are up to 15,000 words in length. The conventional length of a short story is under 10,000 words. Many literary journals limit their submission length to 5000 words. Thus many of the short stories you have read in the past are really short. Some stories can be told in 5000 words, but some need a little more rope to achieve their arc. This slightly longer format allowed the Synchronic authors the flexibility to consider a wide range of stories and tell them in the detail necessary to make them come alive, which is often only achievable in a novel.

2) All of the contributors have different styles and tell different kinds of stories

Many short story collections feature only one author. I often find I like one or two of the stories, but am less keen on the others because I have already dissected that author’s style. Synchronic allows you to sample a bunch of different authors and experience a many different styles.

3) Some of them have happy endings!

I don’t know about you, but the convention in literary fiction short stories in Canada is to have short stories end with a bitter unexpected twist, or just fade into the mundanity of every day life. Often the more bitter, or mundane the ending, the more likely the story was to get published. I often find this dissatisfying and depressing. That is not the case in Synchronic where the authors were allowed to craft whatever kind of ending they wanted – some of them happy, some of them not, but most of them unexpected.

4) It has lots of great reviews on Goodreads and Amazon

Not sure what else I can add here :-). Obviously other readers have agreed with my sentiments!

So there you have it – some reasons you should consider checking out Synchronic. I would write more but I have just received memo from husband that the vehicle heading into Portland for the day is leaving in fifteen minutes and if I do not want to see the sights in my pajamas, I should get a move on.

My new short story series

Also, for you short story fans, I am planning to post my new short story The Complicated Weight of Air 1 – Manifest on Amazon tonight. It is a 10,000 word short story and the first in a series about life in an industry town and environmental disaster. Here is the short blurb:

James Allenby is a runner and a budding documentary maker. He is also the son of one of the local smelter executives. He finds himself on the wrong side of the tracks when he decides to make a movie regarding Curtis, a local homeless man who likes to issue dire warnings regarding the trains that serve the smelter.

Watch for it! The next story in the series will be coming in a few weeks. Of course posting it will be dependent on whether there are some unknown holiday activities awaiting me today, and the outcome my expected battles with Calibre to format it. This will be the first time I am doing my ebook conversion by myself so we will see. It may end up going live a few days from now. I will do a blog post about my do-it-yourself ebook conversion soon as well (even if it fails).

Update: Do not try to format a book to mobi on your own. I have just spent the last seven hours battling with Calibre with the help of my programmer brother-in-law and we both know some html. We could get the epub to look great, but could never get the mobi quite there - there was always some indenting problem or line spacing problem. Conclusion - let the professionals do it.

Update again: So KDP accepts epub, word, html and pdf files and will format them for you! I can't believe it. I have been paying to get mine done. There must be some catch. I will be investigating further.