Short Stories, Novels. Nothing about WorldCon

Detail From Spencer Park Dentzel Carousel - Kevin Burkett

Detail From Spencer Park Dentzel Carousel – Kevin Burkett

Whenever a thought occurs before posting, said thought being along the lines of “Who can I annoy today?” it’s probably a bad time to be posting anything. Yet I’m going to do both now and again, so best to get on with it.

I’ve been thinking of the short story again as it relates to novels, since I’ve had more than enough reason to consider both lately. I know we’ve been over this before, yet I can’t say that my basic position has changed. Which is: If you want to write novels, write novels. If you want to write short stories, write short stories. If you want to do both, well, come sit next to me and we can compare notes. I’ve also noted some discussion here and there on the idea of the “natural” novelist as opposed to the “natural” short story writer, the theory being that your brain’s wiring tends to push you in one direction or the other. I think it’s true up to a point. I know we can all think of examples of the brilliant short fiction writer who can’t do novels, and some novelists that wouldn’t recognize a short story if it bit their ankles. Yet I wonder how much of this is based in biology and how much is training and craft.

There was a time when whatever notice I’d gotten as a writer was for short stories. Then the Yamada Monogatari series transformed into a novel series and I haven’t published an original short story in two years. That has to change, or at least balance out a bit. I love short stories. I love to write them and (when I get the chance) to read them. Yet I’ve also loved a novel or two in my time and one of the very earliest pieces of writing I ever did turned out to be a novel. And I don’t claim to be a “natural” anything. It took me a lot of time and work to reach professional level at short fiction. Novels were no different. Like writing anything, it’s a learning curve and we learn by doing.

Some people still think that they should write short stories first because they’re stepping stones to novels. Like many cliches, there’s a grain of truth in it. Short stories can be a way to get your name in front of the readers. Also, there’s nothing like getting paid for something you’ve written to make one think, perhaps, you’re on the right track. You might even get the attention of book editors. Heaven knows it has happened before. But it’s just as likely you’ll publish short stories that vanish, as we’ve oft noted, “like rose petals in the Grand Canyon.” You’ll have spent months, years, perhaps decades doing something other than what you really want to do and be no closer to achieving it.

Still can’t think of that as a good idea.


Things That are Nowish

YamadaEmperor-600Normally I like to get these blog posts out earlier in the day, but we had a nice, crisp late-summer morning here (what a concept!) and decided to go looking for a nature trail we’d heard about. We had a beautiful drive in the area around Mt. Shumaker, but a bridge under repair blocked us from reaching the nature trail. We’ll likely be back as summer turns to fall. The view from the mountain would be spectacular.

Okay, back to business, at least for a bit. A reader had already told me that the edition of Yamada Monogatari: The Emperor in Shadow was available for pre-order and this morning I got the official link.  I was fortunate in that the audio book reader is once again the incredible Brian Nishii:

“Brian Nishii is a bicultural, bilingual performer from Tokyo. As an actor and dancer, he has worked with theatre companies such as La Mama’s Great Jones Company, Robert Wilson, In Mixed Company, Fluid Motion, Crossing Jamaica Avenue, and The South Wing. Film and television credits include Robot Stories, Sex and the City, and Law & Order (CI). He also provides lead vocals and antics for the colorful band, HappyFunSmile. He currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife and baby boy.”

While it is not quite yet the official release date where you’ll be able to find the book in your local B&N, does have paper copies for sale, so if you know you want it (And why wouldn’t you?) it’s there now. I also want to mention that I have paper copies of my own and since I’m unlikely to be anywhere you are, if you want a signed copy you can get it directly from me. My contact email is on the “About” page. While Supplies Last. Continue reading

Politically Correct is Incorrect

WRITING 02“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”

“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”  –Lewis Carroll


I’m not really sure if the above quote really applies to what I want to talk about today, because I think in the case of “Political Correctness” most people are at least in general agreement about what it means. They just differ on what it means.

Oh, that does sound like an Edward Learian/Lewis Carrollian dollop of nonsense, doesn’t it? I mean, “mean” means the same thing, as “mean,” know what I mean? Maybe you do, maybe you don’t. It really depends on perspective, which in language we usually refer to as context. “I mean what I say” and “He was mean to me” use the same word, but they mean (pardon) entirely different things. From context it is easy to glean which interpretation to go with, at least in this case. In others? Not so much. Let’s talk about that. Continue reading

And Now We are Four

Now that I’ve got them all together and out–or soon, in the case of the print edition of The Emperor in Shadow, I thought it might be sensible to list the entire Yamada Tetralogy, with links. Because I’m all about convenience.


Yamada_DH_FinalCover_smlYamada Monogatari: Demon Hunter







Prime-AuthorCopy3 Yamada Monogatari: To Break the Demon Gate








The War Gods Son-First SightingYamada Monogatari: The War God’s Son







YamadaEmperor-600Yamada Monogatari: The Emperor in Shadow

Yamada Monogatari: The Emperor in Shadow Ebook Live

YamadaEmperor-600We interrupt whatever this normally is for a strictly commercial announcement: Yamada Monogatari: The Emperor in Shadow is now live on Kindle, Apple/iTunes, and Nook. It’s a little unusual for the ebook edition to be available before the print edition goes live, but this time those preferring their reading on the screen will get a headstart. Enjoy!