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A Long Way from Disney

Re-Podcast: What Happened to Everything c/o WordPlaySound

Hey folks!

I'm happy to be back in your ear-piece today with this re-podcast of an old Disney story "What Happened to Everything." (Click to listen)

I met Ryan Singleton at this year's AWP conference in Chicago and he told me about his new literary stories podcast WordPlaySound. We were able to collaborate on this story that he featured here.

I hope you enjoy the story. If you'd like to a copy of A Long Way from Disney, you can find them in print NOW here. Enjoy! I'd be so happy to sign one for ya!

A Long Way from Disney [PAPERBACK] is finally here!

Hey guys! I couldn't really be much more excited than I am about this news today that ALWFD is finally here in a 5" x 8", 172 page paperback edition! Ba-bam!

If you've been around for a while, you remember these stories that I podcasted way back in 2006-2007. This edition contains the stories When they were calling you in for dinner, A Long Way from Disney, What Happened to Everything, Rebuilding Men, White, Don Flamenco's Finest Round, This One Thing, Responsibility, Nilsa, One of Her Good Nights, Too Early, Michigan, Cherry Tree, Huesca and Walden.

You can check it out on the Store page, where you'll find both the Paperback and the eBook.

I'm working on putting the next set of stories Further From Disney into a paperback and eBook of their own. Stay tuned!


White

They called me wigger and one time this old bag bitch told me, “Keep running with the monkeys and you’ll end up back in the jungle with that black girl, swinging from a vine.”

But before any of that happened, Dub was the one who first put me on.  He brought me down to the courts behind his projects knowing the others wouldn’t like him bringing a white boy, but ready to start shit with anyone who said boo.  Still, they were like, “Who this white nigger?” and “You trying to bring Larry Bird up in here?”

“This ain’t no Indiana,” they said, and I got beat.  Down low on the blocks and outside the paint, I got used on defense, and they beat my shot like they saw it that morning.  Even though I was taller, they were all over me.  One kid blocked my shot so bad he hit it twice off the backboard before he came down.  That got everyone on the side all up, yelling: “Oooh Bob Cousy!  Take that shit back to the farm!” and  “Yo, jump white baby!  You got to get up to get off in this mother!”

By the time we lost I didn’t want to stay.  I just tried to disappear next to Dub, but he brought me off to the side and said, “You got to throw fakes in there, son.  Either fake and then go up or kick that shit out.  Motherfuckers beating your shit like this was Thanksgiving.”

Walden

Adam Berkman didn’t know the right thing to do.  He and Corinne had just broken up, something that felt right, but he couldn’t be sure. 

After a hard year apart, trying to navigate the difficulties of a long-distance relationship, Adam had come back to Boston for the summer break from his MBA classes at Northwestern.  They had both come to recognize that spending their summer together was critical.  If they never saw each other, what was the point?  So Adam moved back to Boston, into Corinne’s small apartment where everything was tastefully decorated in light colors.  In Chicago, he could have lined up an internship with any of a half-dozen brokerage houses, but in Boston the job-searching went slowly.  After two weeks of interviews that led to nothing, he began to realize that spending his days alone in Corinne’s apartment, waiting for interviews or for her to come home, was not what he wanted.

They started talking at 5 that morning, after she found him awake in the living room, watching the sunrise.  When she came in, Adam didn’t look.  “I can’t do this anymore,” he said.  “I wish I could, but I can’t.”

“What’s wrong with this?” she asked.  “We were going to try.”

One of Her Good Nights

At night, Elizabeth Richard would often hold her husband’s hand when he was eating and sometimes she would even feed him with the spoon, but there were occasions, she called these his good nights, when he was able to manage on his own.  She could tell by the shaky way Tom passed his hand over the top of his head, straightening what little was left of his thin brown hair, that this would not be one of those.

Regis was hounding another contestant into second guessing himself on TV, while Tom arched the spoon up and placed it into his mouth, took it out, and carefully moved his jaw.  It was only soup, what his doctors advised to keep his mouth-work minimal. Soup, what he had eaten little other than since his Parkinson’s reached this stage of advancement. But soup was still a challenge, enough to keep them both busy. 

There had been a time when they sat in the dining room and ate steak for dinner, talking, when she and Tom would never have watched a program like Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, but now there was a real need for voices in their small house, and they’d become less choosy.  Especially at night, when the house was quietest, they treated the TV as if it were a long-lost friend, sitting rapt in front of it, letting it make their conversation.

Nilsa

Believe that the world is governed by an elaborate system of checks and measures, that life is meted out in a zero-sum game—every pleasure balanced by an equal and opposite pain, everything earned.  This is what I used to feel when I was living scared in The City, when drum and bass was becoming a religion and I was taking what I could from every moment, more than I ever deserved, digging my own hole. 

We started at Thomas’, snorting a white powder we poured out of capsules and mashed smooth with a flashlight.  He said it was something he’d been passed as e, but we knew it wasn’t.  Crank is what it probably was.  We sucked it into our noses through a rolled dollar bill off a newspaper.  And when I went outside I realized that the city had become as dark and as quiet as a diving bell. 

Dis Story

Seth Harwood


A Long Way from Disney


When I was eight, my mother went to a weekend EST conference in Worcester and was never the same.  Werner Ehrhardt pumped her full of ideas, broke her down and then built her from a new mold, one with new thoughts and fresh agendas.  She began to believe she was a woman going places.

“I feel like a whole new being,” she said, that Sunday night over dinner.  “I feel like I can change mountains, dig out all of our molehills.  This isn’t going to stop with one weekend.”

My father smiled and nodded.  We were having steak for dinner and he was busy cutting my piece into eight-year-old mouthfuls.  I sat quiet, looking at my mother’s eyes.  They were wild in their sockets, full of energy and ideas, white all around the iris so that I wondered if somehow they’d raised her eyelids where she’d been.  She said, “This is so amazing Adam.  This is so incredibly unbelievable!  I’ve learned that I should no longer stand in front of the bus.  That’s my life; I mean this is: a bus.  I know now that I’m steps away from driving it, but I have to now at least get on it and stop resisting.  Here I am and I’m here so I should welcome that.”

Fisher Cat

Davis first sees the animal while he’s taking out the trash. 

Sara has been up for a time, moving pots and pans in the new kitchen, and she greets him with a white plastic bag.  “Dumpster,” she says.  Because of this, because he has not started to think yet, Davis is wearing only his pajama bottoms and a T-shirt when he first sees the movement in the back of the large green dumpster. At first it is this fact—that he’s not wearing shoes—that occurs to him like a bolt of understanding.  He freezes in the parking lot of their small suburban complex, the bag beside his knee, just as he had been ready to swing it up and onto the trash.

New iPhone / iTouch / iPad Apps!

Now A Long Way from Disney and Jack Wakes Up are both available as iPhone and iTunes Apps

Yes! Thanks to my friend Brian Rathbone and White Wolf Press, you can now get A Long Way from Disney, the story collection as an iPhone app for $1.99.

Yes, the Kindle version is still available here for $0.99.

You can also get the stories on Smashwords and Mobipocket. Why? Because we love to bring you fiction for however you want to read it.

Also, a company not known to me, Iceberg Reader/ScrollMotion has packaged Jack Wakes Up to sell as an iPhone App for $16.99. Want to see it? Go here. Not sure how, but they've gone through Random House to get the go-ahead on this one. Enjoy it if you buy!

Want the Kindle version for $9.99? It's here. Shizz, you can even get a regular, old-school print version here for $11.16. Enjoy!!

Hot Tub Cast™ 12: Kindle Rush Results Show

Click here to Listen to this post as Audio. (Right-click to download.)

As some of you already know, back on December 27th, I released a sample of my first short story collection A Long Way from Disney on Amazon’s Kindle store and used social media strategies to market it. I did this for various reasons, but mainly because, as I said here on Open Culture before, I believe authors need to take on the roll of scientists and experiment with what’s possible in today’s publishing world. (If you're interested in how I publicized this, see my recent posts at AuthorBootCamp.com.)

From a scientific point of view, the experiment was a great success. I learned a great deal, which I’ll discuss below. I sold a lot of books (at $.99 each): around 350 in the first week, and I got my name and stories in front of a lot of new people. I also heard from a number of them who read the book right away and really loved it! For you authors out there, I hope you can relate: Getting positive feedback on your work from total strangers is about the best feedback there is.

[For those of you keeping score at home, those sales put $260 into Amazon’s pockets and $140 into mine. Not too shabby, I don’t think, but also not the split an author might hope for.]

Okay, without any further delay: Here are the Results (What I’ve learned) from Experiment 1:

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