There’s a one-third preview of the story below, under the bloggy goodness about the joy of being published.
This story is one of the twenty-one in my Not Gruntled collection, available in trade paperback or ebook!
Today, Daily Science Fiction published my insanely-long-titled short story, “New Housing Starts Increase For Twenty-Second Consecutive Year”. It’s just a word shy of 1500 words; if I self-published it, it would be a free title. Lucky for you, it’s free to read with them, too. In fact, they’ll email you a fresh short every weekday if you let them. I would. In fact, I do. They send good stories and I enjoy reading them.
To the point of the title, though, I’m a self-published writer. I enjoy publishing my own stories. I enjoy making the covers. I like seeing them out in the world and I like seeing the reports coming back that prove that some of you are downloading them (or buying the paperback collections) and — if I might presume — reading words that I wrote. Self-publishing is a pleasant and rewarding experience for those of us exhibitionist enough to want others to see what we’ve dreamed up. Or at least, it’s rewarding to me and others who self-publish often say similar things in the blogo-tweeto-sphere.
Still, there’s a special little thrill that comes with having someone who’s not you publish something you’ve written. Self-esteem is fine, but working on something and having someone else buy it from you to show it to others is a validation that says, “hey, it’s not just ego-smoke you’re blowing up your own ass. You’re actually pretty good at this thing you do.”
So, anyway. If you write, keep sending your literary preciouses out into the world. If you’re not good enough to be published yet, the odds say that if you keep at it, keep practicing with an active and open mind toward learning and improving, sooner or later you WILL be good enough. There are a lot more stories out there than there are slots available in the publishing world for them, so even if you are good enough, you’ll likely see a lot of rejection. That’s been my experience, at least.
One more nice thing about self-publishing: if you convince someone else to pay you money for a story, once the exclusivity period requested by your publisher runs out, you can still go ahead and publish it yourself. So, in about 90 days, if I remember my contract with DSF correctly, you’ll be seeing this story as a free ebook single.
And I get to put “originally published by Daily Science Fiction” on the title page. Cool.
Here’s your one-third preview of the story:
New Housing Starts Increase For Twenty-Second Consecutive Year
First appearance: Daily Science Fiction, 12 DEC 2014
By S.A. Barton
Copyright 2014 S.A. Barton
“Of course they do,” Daniel said. He punched the Power Off key on the remote so hard the knuckle of his thumb turned white.
“Dear,” Rosetta said, warning.
Daniel took a deep breath, eyes closed.
“I thought we could go out together tomorrow,” Rosetta said. “There’s a new house going up on the next block. Iris is getting old enough to see.”
“Of course she is,” Daniel said, grumbling.
“Dear,” Rosetta said again, a little more sharply than before.
“I know,” Daniel said. He sighed a small harassed sigh.
“I’m old enough to see what?” Iris asked from just inside the hallway that opened into the living room. She had taken up the habit of lurking there around Christmas, trying to catch them talking about her presents.
“Daddy was just saying a five year old girl is old enough to start learning more about houses,” Rosetta said.
Daniel scowled. She sounded like a salesperson, bright and chirpy and too enthusiastic.
“I like houses,” Iris said. “They keep us dry when it rains.”
“And so much more,” Daniel said.
“When you’re like this, my love, it would be better if you waited until you felt happier before you talked,” Rosetta said to Daniel, then rose to gather Iris up in her arms. “Who wants a bath?” she asked Iris. “Who needs more soap, mommy or Iris? It must be Iris, I still see some egg behind her ear from breakfast…” Giggles retreated down the hall. Daniel sat in the empty room, brooding.
There was so much he couldn’t say. Didn’t it bother her like it bothered him? Was she just better at covering it up?
That night, with Iris sound asleep in the next room, they relieved stress the way couples have for as long as there have been people. They moved together, skin on skin, drawing closer, breathing faster, embracing harder.
“We go go. Tomorrow,” Rosetta growled in Daniel’s ear, teeth gripping his earlobe, as they reached the peak.
“God! Yes!” Daniel threw back his head, crying out, the pain in his ear mixing sweetly with pleasure. “Please,” he added as he collapsed next to her, spent. “Oh God yes please,” he sighed, eyes closed, imagining the ceiling opening on the stars above him. “I don’t know how you work your miracles, honey.” Hating the need to speak in subtext, each hoping the other understood, even in pillow talk, the hate staining the afterglow.
“One day I’ll tell you all about it. For now, just be happy.”
“After we see the house being built, we’ll go to the beach,” Rosetta told Iris as they got ready to leave. “So we’ll all pack a change of clothes for after we swim. Bring a couple of keepsakes, I think we’ll build a pretend house in the sand for them while we’re there. Do you remember what a keepsake is, Iris?”
“It’s something you want no matter what house you live in. Something you really really like that makes you happy,” Iris said.
“That’s right,” Rosetta said, leading Iris down the hall to her room to pick out clothes and keepsakes.
“Can you grab my…” Daniel said, and stopped.
“Grab your what?” Rosetta said, voiced raised to carry back to him.
“Nevermind. Iris is the keepsake I want in our… beach house,” he said.
“Daddy!” More giggles.
Whatever Rosetta had planned, Daniel hoped it would succeed. He hated to think of the day Iris realized what the houses really were. More than shelters.
…grab a copy or head over to Daily Science Fiction for the rest!