Saturday, June 8, 2013

Guest blog by Mark Allan Gunnells On The Art of The Short Story

Please Welcome Mark Allan Gunnells to Cutis Anserina 

I have a passion for short fiction.  Since I was young and checked out a copy of King’s Night Shift from the library, I’ve been hooked on short stories.  Single author collections, anthologies, magazines...I just devour them.  Not that I don’t appreciate and thoroughly enjoy novels and novellas, but I have a deep and special love for shorts.

As a writer, I feel a strong leaning toward them as well.  I write novels and novellas, and I take pleasure in satisfaction in those forms…but short stories are my true love.  I get a thrill each time a new book of mine is released, but the collections give me an extra special thrill.

GHOSTS IN THE ATTIC being a prime example.

This was my second short story collection, after TALES FROM THE MIDNIGHT SHIFT.  TALES is now out of print, though a paperback and digital edition are in the works.  I was proud of that one, but hoped it wouldn’t be my only collection while at the same time fearing it would be.  I knew collections were a hard sell, both to the public and publishers.

So I decided I couldn’t just sit around and wait for the opportunity to do another collection to fall in my lap.  I had to make it happen.

I looked around at the small press publishers I admired, and determined which ones were putting out single-author collections.  Bad Moon Books was at the top of my list.  I took a chance and emailed Roy Robbins, expressing my passion for the short form and inquiring if he might be willing to consider a collection by me.

To my delight, he told me to put together a manuscript and send it his way.  No guarantees, of course, but it was definitely encouraging.  I worked hard at selecting stories I thought would represent a strong but varied offering of my work, and I sent it in.

The response I got from Roy was better than I was expecting.  The only problem was his schedule was so full he didn’t know when he might be able to fit the collection in.  Which is why I suggested he make it a digital collection.
And that was how GHOSTS IN THE ATTIC was born.  The stories contained in the collection are all special to me for one reason or another, and I worked very hard at making the pieces satisfying and complete. 

Not to say that my novels and novellas aren’t special to me, but I have a passion for short stories.

Mark Allan Gunnells has been writing since he was 10 years old. His first book, A LAYMON KIND OF NIGHT, was published by Sideshow Press in 2009. Since then he has put out three more books with Sideshow: the two-novella WHISONANT/CREATURES OF THE LIGHT combo, a short story collection entitled TALES FROM THE MIDNIGHT SHIFT VOL. I, and the Halloween themed DARK TREATS. He also has put out the novella ASYLUM with The Zombie Feed, and Bad Moon Books released a digital collection entitled GHOSTS IN THE ATTIC and the novella OCTOBER ROSES. He released his first published novel, THE QUARRY, with Evil Jester Press, and followed that up with SEQUEL from Gallow's Press and THE SUMMER OF WINTERS also from EVIL JESTER. His most recent book is the novel THE EXCHANGE STUDENT from Etopia Press. He lives in Greer, SC, with his partner Craig A. Metcalf.

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