The True Spirit of Writing

About a year ago, after giving me the bad news that my novel needed a lot more work than I expected, my editor added, “I know you know this, but it’s just a reminder — you can write just for fun. It doesn’t always have to be a big and important idea.”

Well, I shelved the novel, and found myself with nothing to write, important or otherwise. Eventually I produced the mini-collection A Bowl of Pho just to prove to myself that I really could bring a project to fruition, but it wasn’t really enough. Then I stumbled on a book that turned everything around.

It purported to be a collection of recipes transmitted to the author by ghosts. The book was transparently fiction although it claimed to be real, and all the recipes sounded like they came from the Mt. Olive Baptist Church Women’s Bible Study cookbook from Centralville, Ohio, circa. 1963. It was a terrible book and I loved it.

I’ve always been a fan of ghost stories, which is connected to my longing to be able to see and know the past. According to this book, some ghosts stayed on earth because they were attached to something and couldn’t let go. Obviously all of these stories involved recipes of some kind, but it fired up my imagination. What if a ghost was attached to a baby who had her name? What if a ghost never realized that her shift at the diner was over? What about somebody who was sure she was so essential that she had to stick around and make all the right decisions?

From that seed of an idea, a new project flourished. Not only did I write ghost stories, but I was able to put together a collection of stand-alone stories with a unifying thread that tied them together into a larger story. I’ve wanted to write this kind of thing for years, and in 2021, I did it.

In tone, they’re much closer to Go Right and A Bowl of Pho than The Fellowship. Yet I do still touch on themes of women’s empowerment, racism, and faith — not because I feel I need to, but because my stories deal with humans (both alive and dead), and those are human issues.

I’m still deciding exactly what to do with my ghost stories, but rest assured that you’ll see them in some form sooner or later. I can’t wait to share them. Not because I think it will change the world, but because they were born from the sheer joy of writing.

“Go Right” in Print!

So how is your Friday? Nothing special here, just growing my collection of my own books thanks very much.

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Up till now, my short stories, Go Right, have been available only as an ebook. But today that all changed. Today my first box of printed books arrived. They’re beautiful.

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The collection is available for pre-order on Amazon, with a release date of December 15.  Just in time for Christmas! Unless, of course, nobody on your list enjoys warm, funny, feel-good stories, in which case I can’t help you out, sorry.

A little peek behind the indie-publishing scene here — I had to set the Amazon price a little higher than I wanted to. Mind you, you’ll get your money’s worth out of the stories. But you can buy it directly from me for a little less, plus get a signed copy. Email me at SaraRobertsJones77 (at) gmail (com).

So. That’s how my Friday is, thanks for asking! Now please go buy my book.

New Book FAQ

Well, it’s more like a FAQIAPWAM (Frequently Asked Questions I Assume People Would Ask Me). I haven’t had anybody ask me all these questions, so I made some up.

Q. Why did you choose to write short stories?

A. Because I thought they’d be easier than a novel. (Pause for overwrought laughter.)

Q. Do they involve the same characters as in your novel?

A. No, they feature new characters in new settings.

Q. I loved your novel…

A. Thank you!

Q. … but its subject matter is a little heavy. Do you tackle the same issues in your stories?

A. No, the stories are much lighter. Substantial enough to make a good read, but without the difficult moments in my novel.

Q. What are the stories about?

A. They’re about ordinary people in ordinary life, making decisions that affect the outcome of their day—or their whole lives.

Q. So, not to be offensive, but ordinary people aren’t very exciting.

A. I’m not offended. After all, you’re pretty boring. Haha, just joking! The fact is, ordinary people aren’t boring; we’re all a complex mix of good and bad, wise and foolish. These are sympathetic and funny stories about people you feel like you know.

Q. I’m not convinced. Tell me about some of these ordinary people who aren’t boring.

A. Well, there’s McKee and Cheryl, who take a wrong turn in an unfamiliar town and unknowingly leave a very lasting impression. Or there’s Makayla, whose husband Hunter drives a big expensive truck even though all they can afford to live in is a trailer—plus she’s got a few issues from her first marriage that she hasn’t exactly fixed up. And you’ll want to hang out with Paige Parker—wife, stay-at-home mother of four, superspy, music tycoon, and fantasy wizard warrioress. Other stories involve discovering love in a canoe, Uncle Bobby laid out on the porch, and five pizza recipes.

Q. Hm, you’re right, sounds intriguing.

A. I thought you’d think so. For my longtime “knew-me-back-when” readers, the final story has a distinct Tales from the Creekbank flavor. You’ll like it.

Q. Will it be available in print as well as ebook, like your novel is?

A. As an independent author, I pay for everything. So I’m selling it as an ebook first, and will release it in print when funds allow.

Q. When is the release date?

A. I’m still wrapping up details, so for now it’s “November.”

Q. Will this make a good Christmas gift?

A. Absolutely. Amazon allows you to give an ebook as a gift. If you need a different format, I sell those too.

Q. I bet it would make a good birthday gift, too. Or just a friendship gift. Or maybe an inexpensive splurge on myself!

A. It’s like you’re reading my mind!

Q. So what about the dromedaries who can’t behave? What are the titles of the stories?

A. Oh, come on. You know what I’m going to say.

Q. I have to get the book and see for myself, right?

A. Enjoy! (I really think you will.)