Waiting for Papa
When are you coming home, Papa? Are you ever coming home? It has been so long since we received a letter from you that I wonder sometimes if you are even still alive. I must not think such thoughts, though. I must keep up a strong face for Mama and Konstantin, little Konstantin who was still in Mama’s belly when you left. You will be happy to meet him, Papa. He favors you much.
I was so young when you left for the army to fight the Fascists. You said they invaded our Mother Russia and had to be stopped. I must confess that I did not understand. I understand all too well now. Like I understand that we have no flour to make bread, but I don’t want to worry you with our troubles. There are many here who have it much worse.
Here is some good news. You do not have to worry about me running off with a boy while you are away. There are no boys here. Only very young ones like Konstantin and old men like Grandpapa.
They were taking some of the old men to the army, but that has stopped. They say our armies will be in Berlin yet this spring. Is that true, Papa? Now that the snows have melted, I hope you can stay warm. And stay alive. And come home. But most of all Papa, I hope you can play.
I understand you are not a soldier in your heart, Papa. You are a musician and a musician must play. Have you been able to play since you left?
I so miss the sound of you playing in the parlor. The lovely work of Rachmaninoff was your favorite. Mama told me the name of the composer. I was too young to know then. Mama is very proud that we have saved your instrument. Most pianos are gone, burned for firewood during the long winters.
I am practicing, Papa. I practice every day but I must confess that I am not so good at it. It is not my passion as it is for you. I wish that it was.
I hope you come home soon Papa. And until that day, I hope you can play.
Hello everyone and welcome once again to my blog. In this issue, I’d like to take a moment to introduce a new character. His name is David Hamilton, but he goes by the nickname, “Stitch”.
So far, he exists exclusively on Facebook. This is a new and cutting edge way to introduce a character.
Typically, a novel is penned and published, then a Facebook page is created for said novel (or characters from said novel) as part of the marketing strategy. We’ve turned this completely around. Stitch had a Facebook page before he had a short story, a novel or even a flash fiction. My daughter, an English major, defined it as “taking literature and stripping it for parts”.
While I don’t care for that definition, I can see where she is coming from. However, I prefer to call it, “turning conventional literature on its ear.” We live in exciting times now in the literature world. Amazon and E-readers have ushered in a new era of self-published works.
As a self-published author, I have discovered one of the most difficult aspects of self-pubbing a novel. Marketing it. To me, it is, by far, the most difficult aspect of writing. And it’s not only self-published authors that are feeling this pain. Many indie publishing houses now expect their authors to take on the marketing duties as well.
Not long ago, a friend and I were discussing this issue. He told me how he had discovered that fictional characters that were not tied to any given novel, TV show, movie or story were popping up with Facebook pages. It fit in with the short attention spans of the social media age. An image or two, combined with a few short sentences and you have a product that can be consumed in the time it takes for a parent to wait to pick up their children in the circle at school.
With that in mind, we sat down and created Stitch. So far, it seems for be working. Stitch has only been in existence for a couple of weeks and his page already has over 1000 likes. Let me say that again, louder. STITCH’S PAGE ALREADY HAS OVER 10,000 LIKES.
So from there, we asked ourselves, what if we took this success and used it to build a fan base for a novel? We could give people those brief bites of entertainment while fleshing out a new character. It’s a classic case of swapping the chicken and the egg.
So, off I go to write a new novel with Stitch as the main character. By the time the novel is completed, who knows how big the fan base will be? A fan base that, having consumed the appetizers of a character, is now ready for the full meal. Will it work? I don’t know. Stick around and find out.
11-13 Update. Stitch's page now has nearly 2,500 likes.
12-16 Update Stitch's page now had nearly 6,000 likes!
3-16 Update Stitch's page now has 10,000 likes.
A Flash Fiction (and fan fic) for the Season
Hello and welcome again. As Halloween approaches, I thought I'd compose a flash fiction for the season. I hope you enjoy it.
“Hey Brom, is he gone?” called a slack jawed Heinrich
Brom pulled the pumpkin from his head and with a grin every bit as evil as the one carved into it said, “Oh he’s gone alright. And we won’t be seeing much of him in Sleepy Hollow again, I’ll wager.”
Heinrich wiped snot from his nose. “You even scared me a little bit with that get up. How did you make that noise?”
“You know, that screechy, screaming noise. That’s what made ol’ Ichabod turn tail and run like a scalded hound.”
Brom’s grin evaporated. “I didn’t make any noise.”
“Now, stop it, Brom. You’re scaring me now.” At that moment a blood-curdling shriek pierced the silence of the woods, a shriek that did not come from Brom. It was Brom’s turn to go slack jawed.
By the time the shriek ended, Heinrich was screaming with it. “It’s him, Brom, it’s him! The Hessian! He’s come for us. We shoulda never tried to fool that old school teacher with those stories. We done conjured him up!”
Brom straightened his posture and pushed out his chest. He tightened his jaw. “Nonsense! You made him up. You told me yourself.”
Heinrich cowered behind Brom. “The thing is, I kinda didn’t make him up. He’s from an old story that Papa used to tell us around the fire on cold nights. I never thought he was real. Till now, that is.”
Brom turned and lifted Heinrich by the collar of his shirt. “Stand up and be a man, you sniveling coward. There is no Hessian. It was probably just an owl or something.”
Heinrich spun around and looked behind them. “B-B-Brom?”
“What now?” Brom replied, too frustrated to turn around.
“Uh, if there ain’t no Hessian, then what is that?”
Another cry pierced the forest as a headless figure raised its sabre and separated both Brom and Heinrich from their skulls in one mighty swing.
Master Crane closed his book. “And that, children, concludes the story of the Headless Horseman.”
One young boy’s hand shot up. “But Master Crane,” he called. “What happened to the Hessian?”
With an impudent grin, Master Crane replied, “Hessian? What Hessian?”