I am so happy to finally say that “Return to Texas” was published on Amazon yesterday. This is a stand-alone sequel to the first story, “That’s Just the Way it Is,” giving just enough backstory so that you can enjoy it even if you didn’t read the first one.
It came in at around 6500 words, about four thousand more than the first. It is written in first person past and covers a two-year period of time unlike the first that shared moments in time that spanned a twenty-year period. Looking back, I probably should have aimed for a novella rather than these non-traditional (in terms of format) short stories, but I felt more comfortable doing smaller projects first. They have taught me a lot, and I do believe I am a better writer now.
I hope that some of you will read and enjoy it. Please let me know how you like it. As always, reviews are deeply appreciated, especially on the Amazon site where they help the story to reach a wider audience and become more successful.
One of the things that surprised me when I first started writing fiction was how strong and independent the characters can become, even to the point of wanting to speak outside of the story. Let me introduce to you Rebecca Coulter from That’s Just the Way It Is which is FREE on Amazon February 3rd through February 5th!
It’s me, Becky Coulter. Thanks for stopping by today. I invite you to read the first part my story if you haven’t done so and to say thanks if you have.
It was difficult to find the love I had dreamed of in my Texas cowboy, John, but I did discover incredible love with my children, and well, as you’ll see in the sequel there were a few bright spots in my later life. My children were the most important thing to me; I sure hope I did right by them.
It’s a terrible thing for a mother to bury a child and even harder when the father had a part in the deed. Johnny was the love of my life and my biggest disappointment. I always told the young’uns, “don’t expect too much of anyone else, just yourself. That way you won’t feel let down, but you can always be proud of the person you are.”
I hope you like my pictures. My parents took them before they left Texas with one of those new fancy cameras from Philadelphia so they’d have something to remember me by. Pa had to close his store when the war got underway ‘cause Mama wanted to go back East. In 1862 I was only twenty-three and so full of hopes and dreams. I was happy then, and it was good to feel that way.
John never wanted his picture taken so you can only see a glimpse of him. Thinking back, that’s just the way John was. He never let anyone, even me, completely know him. It was like he held on to a part of himself too fragile to share with the world. I don’t think he was a bad man, just carried too many wounds from childhood that scarred his soul a bit. It gave him a dark side and placed a shadow over the way he looked at life. He and I never did see the world in quite the same way; it’s really sad when you think about it.
I believe life is what you make it, but the Lord had a spoon in the batter so when it was all over it was the right life for me, just not what I expected. A year after I left John, my youngest, Matty, and I took that long dusty ride back to Texas into the second half of my life. My saddest moments came along then, but also many of the best. I look forward to sharing more of them with you soon in the sequel that’s being written now.
My first short story, “That’s Just the Way It Is,” has now been published on Amazon.com as a e-book. It should also be available in some countries other than the United States. This is a mini-milestone in my writing career, one that I’m pleased to have reached. Thanks so very much to all of you who have been supporting and encouraging me for the past 20 months, which is when this journey first began.
It is a 3800-word story of love, violence and clash of values with a spiritual twist. It begins:
“It comes to me now in flashes—pieces of memories from a past lifetime that creep into my consciousness. I see myself staring at a weathered barn through a kitchen window. Calico curtains blow wildly in the dry, dusty wind, dancing to the familiar hum of cows mooing in the distance. Warm air whips across my face, entering the house like a welcomed visitor on an unbearably hot Texas day in the 1870’s. I’m Becky, married with four children, to a man I both love and hate.”
Be sure to check out my first short story (I will remind you) on Amazon.com during the month of September. I am really excited to have reached the point where I am actively engaged in the process of structuring the final product.
“That’s Just the Way It Is” is a short story of love and drama in the Old West. The main characters are Rebecca and John Coulter who struggle to raise a family in the harsh and rugged environment of the Texas prairie in the late 1800’s.
This story begged to be written and for that reason is somewhat unconventional in its presentation, covering a number of scenes during a twenty-year period, rather than a single moment in time. It is narrated by Becky, who has a special connection to me as you will learn. I never would have expected that my first published work would be a “western,” but I’m discovering that stories often come to authors in unique ways.
Do any of you have any words to share about your first venture into the world of publication? I’d love to hear them…
When I began my writing adventure over a year ago, I believed I had some idea of what I wanted to do and how to approach it. The research I did into writing skills that others said were important showed me how to tweak my very basic ones. I think I finally even got the “show, not tell” concept although it took a while. A friend asked, “Who are they that say all these things? Stop spending so much time reading about writing and just write.” To a large extent she was right, especially after I had devoured parts of numerous books about the craft of writing. I really did need to spend more time writing. I learned it’s important to find your own voice, write from your heart and that my writing would get better and better with practice.
Okay, I was ready…well, maybe not quite yet. I spent considerable time reading blogs such as Jane Friedman’s about the fast-changing publishing industry. Self-publishing seemed to be the better choice for me, as I am older and would like to live long enough to see a few of my books and short stories in print, not spend my time waiting for other publishers to get back to me. What was going on here with all this reading of articles and blogs and so little writing? Maybe I didn’t have as much to say as I thought? Not really. I learned that my annoying perfectionism was still being fed by my insecurities about doing something new and unfamiliar to me.
Self-publication can be intimidating…so many choices and options and so much to read about it all. Who should I listen to? How do I format my work? I realized it’s now time to take some of my own advice about going with the flow, speaking my truth and following my own bliss. I’m ready to take the plunge by publishing my first short story in the very near future. It’s written and ready to go as I venture forth inspired by the words of Henry David Thoreau: “If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with success unexpected in common hours.” I’ve learned I do have the guts to learn how to do it and look forward to seeing my first short story on Amazon.
As has been said probably too many times, it’s the journey, not the destination that’s important. So as I progress onward to my goal of self-publication, I continue to learn more about myself…my strengths, my weaknesses, my likes and dislikes. In addition, I’ve learned that this whole writing pathway is not only one of self-discovery, but also one that I’m meant to share with others whose lives I may touch and who reach out a hand to help me along with their words of encouragement. What I’m discovering may not be exactly what I expected, but something even better. I’ve learned that a blog is an amazing avenue of self-expression where I meet warm and wonderful people even if I never publish anything else.