December 10, 2012

Story published five years after winning award

Last year at about this time, I launched my first e-book, "The Feast of Stevens," though it's hard to call it a "book" when it's less than 5,000 words.

This year, I'm releasing another e-short-story, "Mighty Fortress." This story, under its previous title "Ein Feste Burg," won First Place at the 2007 Royal Palm Literary Awards in the Best Short Story Unpublished category. So here it is, published, after five years, a title change, and a kick-tail edit.

It's not as if I spent the last five years collecting rejections of this story. No, I gave up even trying to place it because I could not find a venue that would accept a 4,000-word historical short story. Every publication I could find required lower word counts than that. And as my aforementioned tail-kicking editor, Kat Heckenbach would tell you, this story was already too sparse.

So it was liberating when Kat told me I needed to add things. With no concerns about arbitrary word count limits, I was able to reveal much more about Pastor Gottlieb, the story's hero.

This is the great thing about e-publishing. It doesn't matter whether I call it a book or not. The story can be, as a pastor of mine used to say, "as long as a piece of string." Which is to say, as long as it needs to be.

I now have three stories on Smashwords, two of which are Christmas stories and all of which can be downloaded for free through January 6:

Mighty Fortress
Pastor Gottlieb helps a Jewish family escape the Nazis, but their elderly grandmother must stay behind. He hides her in the church, caring for her and learning from her, until one fateful Christmas Eve.

The Feast of Stevens
On a space station far from Earth, animal liberationists inadvertently jeopardize thirty-eight innocent turkeys. The station’s cook, Stevens, ensures the fowl shall not have died in vain. In this science fiction Christmas comedy, cultures clash, hearts are won, and dinner is served.

The Last Buffalo
The legendary White Buffalo Calf Woman said that when the last buffalo dies, the world will end. The zookeeper caring for the only remaining American Bison is about to see that prophecy fulfilled.

Next time, I'll discuss how I came to write two such drastically different Christmas stories as "The Feast of Stevens" and "Mighty Fortress."

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