Anniversary and Book Giveaway!

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(Disclaimer: Lots of personal introspection ahead.)

I just noticed something as I was futzing around on my Amazon publishing account. Today is the one year anniversary of publishing my first short story, “The Envelope.” I found that shocking. I’m trying to decide why. It seems longer than a year ago.

I’m sure part of the problem is time doesn’t always work well in my head. It kind of slips away. I don’t necessarily forget things, I just have trouble remembering how far in the past things happened. I have some kind of sequencing issue, maybe that’s why I don’t like outlines. But it seems that I published that story more than a year ago. It feels that way. Maybe it’s the frustration of wanting to write for forty years and not doing it clouds and colors everything. I don’t know, I’m still processing. One year, wow.

In the last twelve months, I’ve written and published six short stories, a novella and a full length novel. I’ve developed this website and worked on my social media platform. I’ve met a number of amazing people through my writing, that’s pretty cool in and of itself. And the most astounding thing of all is thousands of people have downloaded my stories. A number of them have taken the time to leave a review on Amazon, Smashwords, Goodreads or leave me a comment on this blog. I especially love the emails. They always seem to come when I’m having a bad day. There isn’t a better picker-upper in the world than an email from a fan.

So, an anniversary is supposed to be a moment to pause, reflect and take stock. First thing that comes to mind is I really need to ease up on myself. I always feel like I’m not producing enough. I know part of that is my late start on the writing and I have a lot of stories to write and I’m not getting any younger. But come on dude, that output for twelve months isn’t bad. Don’t slack off, but don’t beat myself up either.

The second is trust my talent and craft. I’m a storyteller and a writer. I need to claim that. Not to say I don’t have a lot to learn and the need to keep practicing, but I can do this. Enough people like my little tales to keep at it. I need a poster or something for the wall.

And third, I’m not sure exactly how to say this at the moment, but I need to pull away a bit more. Come up for air so to speak. I think I’ve been too head down in the computer for the last year. I need to connect with other writers and readers more. Not sure how to do that yet, but I think my experience at RainbowCon was a step in the right direction. There are a number of really impressive writers in the Tampa Bay/Central Florida area. I need to hang with them and buy some beer.

I think part of the coming up for air also entails stepping back to get a “big picture” view of my writing. I need to attend to my story ideas better. Writing is a business and ideas are my resources. I also need to think about mapping out my writing schedule. I need a plan about when things are released. So far all of the stories are stand alone, but the Bennett Bay stories are coming together to form a large tapestry and sequencing is important. Did I mention keeping track of notes and characters? Excel just isn’t doing it for me. Sigh.

In honor of this little occasion, I’m going to be giving away 12 copies of “Dark Love” using rafflecopter or commenting in the comments below.

Okay, I have to get ready for the dreaded “day” job so I can’t spend any more time on this. Thank you so much for following this blog and reading my stories. That still amazes me. If you keep reading them, I’ll keep spinning them.

Pax,
Stephen

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Author: Stephen del Mar

Stephen del Mar lives in the Tampa Bay area and writes in the Southern Literary tradition. His stories are character driven with rich settings. They often have a touch of the paranormal, supernatural, or magical realism. Although he writes about serious subjects, they are sweetened with humor and wit. He says, "It's a southern thing."

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