April 26, 2014

There was no mix-up at the hospital

In case I ever wondered if Zoe was actually my child...and the near-identical-ness of Zoe and Charles wasn't tip-off enough...

...this conversation was.



The setting: Zoe's room. We're getting her ready for her soccer game. It's bright and sunny and we're surrounded by books and Legos and stuffed animals and all sorts of brightly colored posters.

Me: Zoe, put your pants on. You can't play soccer without britches.

Zoe: <Freezes, thinks, face lights up> Oh, that just gave me the BEST idea for a story EVER.

Me: Oh yeah? What is it?

Zoe: <Giggles> I can't tell you. It's gross.

Me: Oh, okay, cool.

Zoe: Okay, I'll tell you. It's about a zombie...who doesn't wear pants! <Laughs hysterically>

Me: You should SO write that for me.

Zoe: But I can't! <Doubles over with laughter> You'd have to see his <whispers> private bits!

Me: <Giggling, now, too> Oh, right. Yeah, I guess you would.

Zoe: At least...unless another zombie bites them off.


April 4, 2014

In the Land of the Blind: Release Week Giveaway

In the land of the newly-blind, the forever-blind girl is queen.

Or so I write in my short story, "In the Land of the Blind," released this week as a Kindle short read. It'll be out in other online venues later this summer, but for now it can be downloaded to Kindles everywhere (remember: Kindle apps are free for smart phones and tablets, so even if you don't have a Kindle, you can get the app free!). It's straight-up sci-fi, with a bit of love and a lot of heart. No zombies, no monsters. It was so fun to write.

Here's an excerpt:

Lowenstein custom vision. Helping the blind see, and the sighted see beautifully.

Their tag line was catchy, their commercials ubiquitous. Lowenstein’s offices popped up in every town and city for hundreds of miles. 

My mother went to Lowenstein’s in South Amboy, our hometown. Her custom vision plan tinted the world in hues of pink and rose, her favorite colors. My father visited the same office, but he chose a serene blue. 

“It’s calming,” he said. “Soothing.” 

They offered other vision plans at Lowenstein’s as well. Cats’ eyes, to see in the dark. Hawks’ eyes, to see long distances. Implants to stay connected to social media networks. Whatever you wanted your eyes to do, Lowenstein’s Custom Vision could create a plan for you. They worked with your eyes, your brain, implanting chips and changing retinas. It was all one hundred percent safe, they said.

She – Lowenstein – gained traction in the Lasik market, and then she blew it out of the water. No one wanted to just see clearly anymore. They wanted to see beautifully. At Lowenstein’s Fifth Avenue offices, it was said, a client could spend their surgery immersed in a warm mud bath, or their recovery in deep tissue massage. Celebrities around the world converged there for their own custom vision plans, and reports of movie stars with the popular cats’ eye treatment popped up daily on Page 6 of the Post. 

Everyone wanted what Lowenstein offered. Her message spread like wildfire.

See more beautifully.

Who doesn’t want to see more beautifully?

Better yet, who doesn’t want to see?


I self-published this story, mainly because I loved it and I wanted to share it with readers who might also love it. I also wanted to see what the self-publishing experience was like, and I have to admit: I enjoyed it. I was inspired by speaking with writers like my friend S.K. Falls and the indomitable Hugh Howey, both of whom put readers-first when they publish their stories. I love that concept, and plan to do more of it.

And it's been quite a ride already! The story debuted at #4 on the bestseller list for Kindle Short Reads/Sci-Fi-Fantasy, which was completely trippy. It was the first time I've had ANYTHING appear on ANY bestseller list, so I definitely did a muppet dance or three. I have no idea what'll happen from here, but it went up as high as #2 on that list, and I'll save the below screenshot forever.

I call this image "Bestseller"

I learned this week that I'm not good at generating cover art, so I paid for a cover. I'm so in love with it, it hurts. Definitely a worthy investment, don't you think??


And now, dear readers, in the interest of putting YOU first in my thoughts and actions...a giveaway!!! All you need to do is comment here, and at the end of the day I'll choose two winners to receive digital copies of my brand new short story, "In the Land of the Blind." Feel free to like, share, post about this contest to spread the word, and I hope to see you in the comments below. I love my story, and I hope you do, too!