The First Three Years (and a slight change in habits)

2017 is a good year. A very good year.

For starters, it marks my fiftieth circle around the sun.

But there’s more.

On August 7th, I’ll be three years old: it’s the anniversary of the day I started writing creatively. Still trying to wrap my little head around how that happened. (And if you were at the Bath Flash Fiction Festival this past weekend, you know I’ve got a pretty tiny head. I’m okay with that; it means there’s less space for those wicked ideas to travel when these half-century-old neurons start firing.)

Three years means this:

  • Five novels (one currently on sub)
  • Two literary agents
  • Eighty short pieces published or forthcoming
  • A few juicy nominations and prize wins
  • Regular teaching gigs
  • Love–oodles of love

It’s the love I like best.

So here’s a run-on of thank yous to Bud Jillett and Elizabeth Davies for doggedly reading the first Danny Jones thriller on Scribophile and turning a piece of garbage written in four short weeks during November 2014 into something I could successfully query a month later; and to Jude Higgins for saying “Anyone want to join me in writing a story a day?” in April 2015, and throwing me ‘catkins’ (WTF?) as a prompt, which turned into “House for Sale” and then turned into one of my first published flash pieces; and to The Molotov Cocktail for holding an April Fool’s Day contest and actually choosing my odd little cat story for an honorable mention; and to Ani King for writing the brilliant, experimental “Conjugate ‘To Be’, Using Complete Sentences,” which I will never forget and constantly return to when I need a bit of inspiration; and to Charlotte Gruber for being a persistent and kind critique partner; and to Alec Shane for signing a new writer who probably had more ideas than talent at the time; and to Kathy Fish for championing flash fiction addicts; and to Syntax & Salt for inviting me to read their slush; and to Sophie van Llewyn and Kayla Pongrac and Stephanie Hutton–the indomitable members of Flash Force Four (I’m the other one)–for sharing their work and reading mine and supplying an unlimited quantity of tough love; and to my new agent Laura Bradford for cracking the whip (just a little) and getting Danny Jones into shape; and to Aeryn Rudel, because he sets the bar high, high, high on the spec-fic front; and to Clarkesworld for pushing my dystopian short story “Vox” into the second round, assuring me the piece had legs; and to all the crazy, beautiful, devoted, encouraging writers I met at the first Flash Fiction Festival in Bath; and to my husband, because he knows exactly when I need to hear three magic words: “Take-out tonight.”

That’s some love.

My good friend, the exceptionally talented novelist Ellen Bryson, paid me a compliment not long back: she said I had built something amazing. Well, maybe I did, but I started with a pile of crumbly bricks, not much more. Y’all added the mortar and did the pointing. So thank you.

Now, with a self-imposed deadline for the novel version of VOX, and the seeds of a novella in flash germinating in this wee head of mine, I need to make a few temporary changes. Stepping back from the flash frenzy is one of them — it’s just not possible to crank out two thousand words a day on a book (and read slush, and give my Flash Force Four gals the attention they need, and teach) while juggling dozens of flash deadlines. I’ll still write some shorts, but probably won’t be adding much to the repertoire until I get the novel under control.

And (this is the hard part)–I need to alter my Twitter habits, at least for a wee bit.

Now that we’re back home to The Land of Styron and Barbecue, a fine and friendly land that really does exist, I’ll be Twittering for a short period at the end of my writing day. I will, necessarily, miss out on a few announcements. I won’t have time to read everything. I won’t always be the first in line to share your stories and successes.

I’ll still be here, just at a slightly lower RPM. So please, keep me informed, and I’ll do my best to stay in the loop.

As for the upcoming birthday, prezzies may be sent either virtually or by post to me in late September. I prefer liquids with a rather high proof.