There are certain things I’m obsessed with: death, loneliness and romance. I prefer to read novels related to those subjects, though from time to time I content myself by reading fantasy and horror books – as those ones written by Brandon Sanderson, Shirley Jackson, Henry James, Stephen King, … -. I’ve been writing short stories as far as I can recall. I started making up stories in my own language, that is, Catalan. Soon after that, I wrote some of them in Spanish – I’m a natural bilingual, of course, because I’m Catalan -. It would not be until starting my conversational English classes, about three years ago, that I would decide to start doing so directly in English. Though there’s still much more work to do in order to write properly, I think I’m doing rather well. I published my first three short stories, The Gifts, Mum Comes Home Twice A Week and The Boarding House on Bookrix, where I got quite a response. But, as you can easily imagine, I never tried to contact a publisher in order to get published. That was something unthinkable by the time I wrote my second short story, Mum Comes Home Twice A Week.
However, the criticism in BookRix, coming from British and American writers, was far beyond anything I could ever think of. Still, I did not think about contacting any publisher. They did so instead. I was not the only one contacted, that’s pretty evident. I googled this publisher, in order to find out more about it. At first, and I have to admit it, I though that was some sort of a prank. Well, as far as I know, it still could be. But what is it I could regret of? I’m not paid for publishing these short stories, and besides this is not my first job and it’ll never be. My first field is computer engineering, and I’m fairly happy with it. I’m just an amateur when it comes to writing short stories, and I’ll be that way for years to come. But now, I’m going to get published, apparently in e-Reader format and in paperback edition as well. My book is going to be sold on Amazon website, among others. My publisher, JustFiction! Edition, is well-known as one of those publishers regarded as “Authors Mills.” It does not bother me. Why does it have? As I said earlier, I’m not a writer. I enjoy writing short stories for my own’s sake, and that’s all. Googling a bit deeper, I found something really relevant concerning my publisher. This one belongs to another firm, called VDM Publishing. Even there’s a lot of information on Author’s Beware, a truly relying website for writers, right here. But still, I do know I’m not a notable author, not to mention the fact I would not be published if it had not been for this VDM-related new brand publisher. Let’s put it straight: there are no serious publishers out there who want me to publish my amateur works with them. Therefore, why bother?
Thus, yesterday I finished the whole procedure in order to publish my work with JustFiction! Edition. And besides, I don’t want any royalties: this is not a serious piece of writing, it is just some scraps of mind, and it would not be fair to get paid for it. I had to explain all about these things in my blog because I had to. I mean, I’m no fool, and I know this is just a hobby, something I do from time to time because I do like it. Nothing more.
I did buy a lot of stuff when I went abroad. By the way, some time after finishing this work, I realized I should’ve titled it as “The Presents”, instead of “The Gifts”. So much for my first English piece of write. Anyway, some of that stuff’s still at home, saved in a bag, behind a door, getting rusty. Some of this stuff is yet to be delivered, because I did not have time to do so. It sounds a bit preposterous, but it’s the way it is. So, some day or another, whilst moping and dusting my book-shelves off, I found that bag behind my wooden door, dangling from its golden door-knob. I had a peek inside it; I found a calendar, a small red British telephone booth – which was, in fact, a pen sharpener -, and a varying range of small and ineffectual things. Then, looking at that calendar, it came: what if I couldn’t deliver these presents at all? The Gifts was my first English short story: I wrote it in four hours, in some sort of a rush, sweating profusely; a short time after my English teacher, Jos Godwin, would make some grammatical corrections.
Below, some criticism:
Wow, your story is wonderful and with English not being your first language your diction is incredible. Keep up the wonderful work please cant wait ti read more from you ~Faith~
I loved your opening page to this book, the narrators ‘voice’ is excellent. You have the makings of a good author. I see English isn’t your first language, so all I can say is, with this in mind, really well done.
I had a terrible nightmare. This short story comes from that awful nightmare plus some Shirley Jackson’s and Henry Jame’s influence. At the time I had that bad dream, I had finished reading Shirley Jackson’s Haunting on Hill House and Henry Jame’s The Turn Of The Screw. Therefore, that nightmare I had served as a hub to bound it all tight. All I could remember as soon as I woke up concerning my bad dream was that young woman turning her back on me, in front of a lovely fireplace, saying: “Mum comes home twice a week.” I got up quickly, and I started to write immediately. This one was finished in two rushing writing sessions. A lot of people told me at that time this was a good piece of work, and the idea of the “three basic rules” got quite a positive comments. During the creation time process I was not aware at all about its coherency; in fact, I did not read it when I finished it. I did so some time after, when the first publisher email reached me. I decided, then, to make a small use of my Oxford Synonyms dictionary in order to replace some verbs, adjectives and nouns. But just briefly, I swear.
Below, some criticism:
There is something absolutely enchanting about your descriptive prose! Read half of this…will certainly finish. Bravo!
I absolutely loved this. Your prose reminds me a little of Sarah Waters – Little Stranger. Yes there are some minor issues, but nothing serious. Your English grammar is certainly very good.
Some of the phrasing, like: ‘ … and a cold wind coming all of a sudden paged the book to and fro, as if some supernatural entity was trying to read the book chaotically in such extravagant order.’ A long sentence, granted, but the meaning is super clear, and I defy anyone to have written that better than you did. I find your prose completely charming.
As you say you are studying to improve your English and that is a good thing but I’m afraid your writing will lose its flavour and charm. You have away with the words and sentences that are totally original. The narrative flows so easily, the conversations are so natural. It’s almost biblical in a way. Your writing can be cleared up here and there, but must be done carefully in order to preserve the originality and flavour of your writing. You got and deserve my vote.Jack
It came to happen I went to the city of Utrecht for two weeks, thanks to a grant. There, I met a charming couple in charge of the place where I lodged – a lovely boarding house placed right in the city centre -. During my stay there, I started writing this short story because I realized I had found the way to mix, somehow, some ideas of “The Gifts” with some ideas extracted from “Mum Comes Twice A Week” and yet with another short story, available from this website, but not yet published: “Three Times Lucky.” My obsession with that calendar I refereed to during my brief explanation concerning The Gifts, some lines above, and the idea of exploring fictional characters’ feelings even much deeper, drove me here: I think this is, despite its grammatical mistakes and wrong election for some words, the most complex short story I ever wrote. Surely there is a lot of things which don’t make any sense, but hey! bear in mind I’m not a pro. 🙂 For a long time I’ve been asking myself about such foolish odd theories: does a ghost have its ghostly powers naturally right after dying? Is this the way it works? And what if that is not so? I tried to emphasize other aspects concerning romance and feelings, as I said earlier, instead of trying to create some sort of a supernatural scary horror short story. I thought of Ghost, the film; I thought of Violin, written by Anne Rice; and I was completely influenced by the powerful, amazing and enticing work of Ian McEwan, Atonement. The end chapter happens mostly under a bed. That remembrance of the main character whilst he is hidden down there is real: that was me, when I was about ten years old, stupidly hiding from my cheerful and sympathetic neighbour, Alfonsa, under my own bed. Why did I do that? Well; I’m not sure even now. It’s been a long time and yet, there is no right answer. But I can recall well enough what I felt back then, under the bed, and it occurred to me it would be awesome to finish this short story making the main character to be hidden under the bed and experiencing and theorizing about what that ghost would be doing through sounds, noises, and guessing. The problem, though, was to be capable of dealing with the English so as to describe all that. I think it could be mended here and there, but hey! I think I did rather well!
That was an amazing piece of work. I am assuming that English is not your first language and will overlook obvious spelling errors (dinning room should be dining room; rumors should be murmurs; sighted should be sighed, etc) – and words used inappropriately, which is not your fault since, again, English is a second language. These obvious errors in word usage did not spoil the story which was extremely well written and kept me glued to the pages. I am not certain of the relevance of the tramp on the first few pages or what he had to do with the story. You wandered on occasion, off the track, but came back quickly enough. A very powerful piece of writing. You should be very proud of this. Valerie
Books published by JustFiction! Edition
Below, some books published by JustFiction! Edition, for sale on Amazon Website.