Eugene Barnes, Guest Blogger

June 30th, 2013

Friends, we have come to the end of a glorious month, a month of celebration of this marvelous thing we call LongShortStories.

Six years!

In the traditional world of writing and publishing, that is a long time. In the state-of-the-art world of digital writing and publishing, it is an eternity. A writer, editor, and digital publisher like me needs all the help he can get to keep his work at the cutting edge of personal entertainment.

Some seven years ago, I crossed paths with a man who would change my life and the lives of readers around the world, though neither of us would have dared to imagine it at the time.

His name is Eugene Barnes. His home base is Columbus, Ohio. His unique Linkedin title is Independent Internet Professional. That covers a LOT of ground.

But what Eugene Barnes brought to me was his vast technical background in the construction of commercial e-commerce websites, a keen sense of graphic design, and a calming confidence that, yes, he could translate into reality my dream of becoming a marketer of digital short stories.

The stars seemed perfectly aligned, those many years ago. After nearly one year of countless emails between us,  numerous phone calls, and proof upon design proof in the step-by-step process of building a beautiful and effective web presence that is known far and wide as LongShortStories, we were ready.

And then on June 1, 2007, this baby was born!

Eugene and I were like proud parents, all too ready to brag about our newly-launched short story marketing platform that would turn my growing archive of edgy short fiction into a subscription service that guaranteed each new paying subscriber a great piece of digital short fiction, automatically appearing every twelve days in their email inbox anywhere in the world.

It worked!

But we should never kick back for long and rest on our laurels. Technological obsolescence is the bane of everyone that tries to tame this mistress.

And then it happened!

Enter, Stage Left.

Kindle was launched by marketing superpower, Amazon. And everyone just had to have this magnificient e-reader that stored an entire library in the palm of its owner.

It’s all about content!

Those writers who could harness the power of the digital e-reader could change the way people buy and read books forever. And Eugene and I were already looking for ways to take LongShortStories to the next level. Over a span of several months, every one of my short stories (over 100 in all) was converted into both Smashwords and Amazon eBook multiple formats by my very good Alaskan writer friend, George Angus, and then, with Eugene’s digital design and typographical expertise, we chose digital cover art and fonts that would best present my work to the world in eBook anthology form.

And now?

Go to Smashwords.com or Amazon.com (and its nine sister Internet eBook markets around the globe) and you will find not one, not two, but seven of my eBooks, many with multiple 5-star reader reviews. All because of Eugene Barnes.

As much as I consider Eugene the genius brother I never had, ironically, we have never met. And maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Time will tell.

So now let me introduce you to the smartest guy in the room.

Friends,

Eugene Barnes!

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Six years ago, a gentleman by the name of Wayne Long contacted me. His idea — set up a website that sells his collection of short stories via online subscription. Accept payments online. Automatically email a short story to the reader every 12 days. And put this all together on a tight budget.

Figuring out how to set up such a website on limited funds was a challenge. Normally the answer is to find an off-the-shelf solution and use it to avoid the costs of building from scratch. My research revealed that Wayne’s idea was quite unique — there simply wasn’t a solution out there that worked exactly how Wayne wanted.

But the real challenge (to me, at least) was Wayne’s ambitious goal of writing a new short story every 12 days. He had written some stories already, but not enough to supply subscribers for a year or more. Could Wayne actually conceive and write enough short stories fast enough to keep up with the subscriptions?

Yes!

He did it, and quite well I might add. I was very impressed at the variety of ideas he came up with and the speed at which he turned those ideas into compact stories of just a few hundred words each.

I know enough about writing to understand how difficult it is to write something short as opposed to something longer. Every word counts. The ability to edit one’s words right down to the bone and keep the story entertaining is a special skill that not everyone shares.

Wayne even wrote a story dedicated to me. It is called “Bugs”. And the story is one of his best. Really. You should read it.

I am most impressed with, and inspired by, Wayne Long. The guy just keeps on plugging away when others would have given up long ago. And that is the true secret to success.

Happy Sixth Anniversary, Wayne! I look forward to many more years of your creativity and dedication.

Eugene Barnes
Website Design & Services
http://www.eugenebarnes.com

Michael Penkas, Guest Blogger

June 22nd, 2013

Well, dear readers, our month-long 6th anniversary celebration of LongShortStories enters its fourth week with a Guest Blogger post from a young writer from Chicagoland named Michael Penkas. Michael is a Horror short story writer. I am a big fan of this genre, for it is the Father of the American Short Story, Edgar Allan Poe and his iconic horror stories, that underpin this fascinating and dark segment of American literature.

I have asked Mr. Penkas to take us through his creative process and lead us out of the shadows to the publication of his new short story collection, aptly titled …

Dead Boys

To begin, Dead Boys was an experiment to see how much it would cost me to produce and publish an ebook, start to finish. It cost me $2.00. Plus tax. But I’ve learned from my mistakes and plan to produce my second ebook for even less.

But first, some background. My father and Wayne C. Long are both ham radio hobbyists and met without ever actually being in the same room together, like old-school skyping. When Wayne had brought up his multiple self-published ebooks, my father mentioned how his son did some writing. (And saying that ten years of daily journals is “some writing” is like calling a man who’s been operating ham radio equipment for fifty years a “hobbyist”.) We got in touch and Wayne was extremely generous with advice about producing a cover, setting a price, writing a book description, establishing a web presence … all that nuts and bolts stuff you don’t think about when you’re reading a book, even when it’s a digital edition built with technology that even Star Trek didn’t predict.

The stories had already been written, already published in a number of different venues over the years. I’d had good reactions at various open mic reading events, so I was confident these could sell as a collection. My research included picking up a copy of Publishing E-Books for Dummies by Ali Luke (which provided a fantastic overview of the whole process and comes highly recommended), as well as guides on formatting ebooks for both Kindle and Smashwords (available as free downloads). The formatting requirements for both Amazon and Smashwords were straightforward and, within a couple hours, I had two manuscripts ready to go (DO NOT try to submit the same manuscript to both sites – the formatting requirements are similar but not identical). My website is a blog that I acquired for free through www.blogspot.com and which I’ve maintained since my first professional story publication in 2007. My Facebook page and Amazon page were also free to set up. The cover image was a photograph taken by my girlfriend using her iPad. I cropped it, added text and removed the color using PhotoDraw, but you can pretty much do the same thing with software available for free at getpaint.net.

The formatting guides, the blog, the Amazon and Facebook author pages, the cover photo, the graphics software, the submission process to Amazon and Smashwords … all of these things were free. And I was the cover model. The scar effect was a stick of chewing gum and some rubber cement. And the two dollars? I bought a bottle of stage blood for the scar. Looking back, I could have saved myself that expense by just using chocolate syrup (seriously, that’s what they used in Psycho). Live and learn.

Of course, there’s free and then there’s priceless. And all of the advice, encouragement and support I’ve received from the writers community is the real secret to making this sort of daydream a reality. Besides Wayne and my parents and my girlfriend (hey Julie), there were all the people at Twilight Tales, Cult Fiction, Top Shelf Books, Bad Grammar, Gumbo Fiction Salon and the Tamale Hut. More than anything else, the best thing you can do if you seriously want to pursue writing as a career path is to join a community of writers. If there is no community of writers in your city, make one. Post a notice and you’ll be surprised how many people show up in response.

 

Michael Penkas has had over a dozen short stories published over the
last six years. His first collection, Dead Boys, is available through
Amazon and Smashwords. He maintains a blog at
michaelpenkas.blogspot.com.

George Angus, Guest Blogger

June 15th, 2013

We are now entering week three of the 6th anniversary celebration of LongShortStories. You all seem to be in a festive mood and that makes me a happy camper. We have more fun and surprises in store so stay tuned!

Now, without further ado, let me introduce you to one of the finest men I have ever met. George Angus is a man’s man, a giant of a personality, an awesome writer, a superdad. George hails from Palmer, Alaska where folks do things in a BIG way. They have big hearts, big handshakes, and big stories to tell. This particular big Alaskan is unique among Alaskans in that he cares big-time (literally) for his fellow beings in a hospital setting. He writes and teaches others to write in a big way. And this big Alaskan Scotsman proudly amazes and delights all comers with his Braveheart Highland kilt, snake-stompin’ boots, and clean-shaven head, all the while staring down us mere mortals with his sun-glassed visage. He makes an awesome bodyguard and an even better friend.

Let me take this opportunity to publically thank George for his invaluable technical support in volunteering to format all of my eBooks prior to their publication on Amazon and Smashwords. We work well together and we laugh well together. That rare combination of skills and collaboration could well be the precursor to a joint writing project some time in the future for us. We’ll let the Muses decide.

It gives me great pleasure to bring George Angus to the Wayne’s Blog stage at this time. Let’s give him a big LongShortStories welcome!

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Six Years is a Long Time

In dog years, it’s 42 years. In blog years, it’s about 120.

First and foremost, congrats for making it this far, Wayne. It really is a milestone and speaks to the importance of commitment and sticking to what you love.

I’ve known since Wayne and I first started communicating that he was something special – both as a person and a writer. If you have seen the samples of his LongShortStories then you already know about his ability to craft short stories that are intriguing, engaging and full of twisty-turns that keep you entertained. If you’ve not read the samples yet, then stop reading this post right now. Go to the samples page and have a look. I’ll await your return, I promise. Are you back? Good.

It has been my pleasure and honor to help Wayne get his short stories collections published on Amazon and Smashwords. I love working with Wayne on these because he is the consummate professional, providing me all of the information I need to do the job right. His book covers are professionally done and wow me each time. In fact, I’ve encourage Wayne to submit them to sites that hold indie book cover design competitions. Folks buy books because of their covers. Like it or not, that’s the way it is. The story collections are just the right length and make the books highly readable. One of the things I like the most about these stories is that the characters are true to life. The dialogue sounds “right” in my head and I am always able to visualize the character speaking the line. That is the hallmark of a great writer. You will find no stiff or stilted writing here. If you’ve not had the chance to download any of his wonderful books then follow the links to Amazon or Smashwords and download one or two of them today. I guarantee you’ll come back to get the rest of them.

The LongShortStories site is not just a marketing tool. Spend some time here and you get to know the man behind the curtain. Inspired and inspiring is the best way to describe what you will find here when you cruise through the blog archives.

If you want to get to know the writer – and trust me, you do – have a look at his About the Author page. It is one of the most thoughtful and interesting bios I’ve ever read and it generates curiosity about just what kind of stories a man like that would write.

Yes, Wayne, six years is indeed a long time and I’m happy that you’ve honored me by asking for a post to help celebrate this anniversary. I hope you mark this special occasion by giving your typing fingers a well deserved rest while reflecting on all that you have given to the reading and writing community. I’m looking forward to many more years of LongShortStories to keep my Kindle warm and happy.

 

Bio: George Angus is the owner of Tumblemoose Writing Services and maintains a blog about writing at www.tumblemoose.com He lives in Palmer, Alaska and has penned his own short story (flash fiction) collection, a raw and uncut novel and a book on how to write. All of these can be found through his author page on Amazon

Jerry Guarino, Guest Blogger

June 7th, 2013

The 6th Anniversary celebration of LongShortStories has been in full swing for a week now. I hope you all are enjoying our month-long party. To take the excitement to the next level, I want to introduce you to my friend and short story colleague, Jerry Guarino of Hayward, California. Take it from me, Jerry is a writing talent of the first degree. His slice-of-life short works reveal more about us than we know ourselves. You owe it to yourselves to purchase his books and to enjoy his unique writing style.

Friends, Mr. Jerry Guarino …

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The Long and Short of It by Jerry Guarino

 

Wayne and I have been friends for the past few years since I began writing and publishing.  He’s a veteran short story writer and I have enjoyed reading his books.  Although our styles are quite different, we do have a similar background and cultural experience.  We remember Schwinn bicycles, old-fashioned diners and pharmacies with ice cream counters.  We have fond memories of first loves, the next loves and the best loves, along with some heartbreak.  We understand what good music was and are baffled by some of the noise they call music today.  We remember honorable service to our country and hard work ethic.  While he is a Midwesterner, I grew up in the NYC area.  He has a fondness for science fiction and speculative work and I lean toward the quirky and literary.

We both love the short story format and have hundreds of published works between us.  Wayne is also a social media commentator, sharing his ideas on music, culture and life events.  I read his posts with interest.  You should definitely check him out on Facebook.

<a silly and extraneous paragraph>

But of course, there are differences too.  I have only a few years writing and publishing while Wayne has about..well, I think he started writing during the New Deal era.  I’m not saying he’s old, but he has an original signed copy of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, on legal paper!  I prefer to think that he keeps coming and going from those spaceships he’s so fond of writing about.  You might have seen him in cameos from the Back to the Future movies.

It’s this life experience that makes our stories so rich and interesting.  To me, writing is the culmination of experience with some exaggeration (formula is truth + exaggeration = fiction).  I can definitely see the same twisted life events in Wayne’s stories.  That’s why it’s hard to teach a young person to write; they just don’t have the foundation of experiences to draw from (and why you see the abundance of young adult stories with no characters over the age of 25).

Wisdom comes from aging, gaining perspective and insights I never had when I was young.  I can look back at my life and others I have known with clarity and maturity.  I can create characters of any age and with many traits.  I’ve seen good, bad and ugly.  I’ve seen pain and joy.  I’ve raised children and cherished their accomplishments.  This is the stuff of creativity.

I finally understand the difference between men and women, realize it’s a lot of work being a girl and use this knowledge in my love stories.

Please take a look at my new book Trilogies: 18 sets of short fiction, sold exclusively through amazon.com at:

http://amzn.to/YSvZ82  and if you would like to know about my writing, please visit my website at: http://cafestories.net.

 

Jerry Guarino’s short stories have been published by dozens of magazines in the United States, Canada, Australia and Great Britain. His latest book, “Trilogies”, is available on amazon.com as a paperback and kindle ebook. Please visit his website at http://cafestories.net

Happy 6th Anniversary, LongShortStories!

May 31st, 2013

Welcome to the month-long sixth anniversary celebration of my LongShortStories writing brand and website!

Six years. That’s a long time in the world of writing and book publishing. Longer still in the Internet world where this brand was born. I owe a lot of people a big thank-you.

First, I owe my wife, Diane, a big hug and kisses for always encouraging me to move forward with my dream of becoming a published short story writer. She is the first reader of all my manuscripts and, with her college degree in English, her eye for detail, and knowing what readers want in fiction, is invaluable to this venture we call LongShortStories.

Second, there is my awesome webmaster, friend, and behind-the-scenes creative genius, Eugene Barnes of Columbus, Ohio. He has been with me from the beginning, providing technical expertise and helping create the great covers for each of my eBooks.

Third is my Aunt Betty, my beloved California Tia, whose support, perspicacity, and active critiquing buoyed me up when it seemed no one was listening. I couldn’t ask for a more dedicated reader and cheerleader than her.

Beyond those three very special people, I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the ever-growing global family of LongShortStories readers, the folks who showed me the money by purchasing my stories, initially by email subscription, and now by enjoying my story anthologies and free-standing works via eBook downloads from Amazon and Smashwords.com.

There are so many others who deserve a hug. Throughout this celebration month I will introduce them to you.

Now, it is my very distinct pleasure to  present our keynote Guest Blogger, my good friend and Facebook writing colleague from across the pond, Mr. Renato Bratkovič:

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Long means short and less is more

 

Wayne C. Long – do not get mislead by his surname, because he’s very fond of … no – focused on short stories. He’s been writing them since being a high school kid back in the sixties (thank you, Mrs. Webster, Wayne’s high school creative writing teacher, for recognizing the talent and taking him seriously as a writer at such an early age) and crafting them into the means of expression of choice, so the list of his stories is also … long.

He describes himself as a digital storyteller, which I honestly find pretty awesome. He’s explored and fully embraced the technology, that enables him to tell and share stories just the way he wants, although there are still many individuals in the publishing world (at least in my country), who think of eBooks as cutting the branch they are sitting on. But Wayne, he IS digital (as the book is the content, not the form)! And he is a great storyteller as well, and – judging by his writing and communication via social network – a wonderful person and a great man. I’ve had a privilege of meeting him on Facebook and doing an interview on my blog (http://radikalnews.com/?p=253), through which he allowed me and my readers to get an insight into his thinking and writing.

I love American literature, and especially its most noble form, the short story. Charles Bukowski, Raymond Carver, Francis Scott Fitzgerald, Kurt Vonnegut, Stephen Graham Jones were the most common names that came to mind when talking about the short story. Well, at least until I first heard of Wayne and bought his Stories from the Edges (A LongShortStories Collection) and Where Less Is More – he was immediately added to my list of favourite American short story writers. And not only does he write great short stories, until recently he has also supported this beautiful literary form with contests for aspiring short story writers.

But let’s get back to his first love – writing and publishing his stories. Don’t expect me to reveal any of the content of Stories from the Edges or Where Less Is More! Just visit Amazon and buy these lovely collections of shorts and flash fiction pieces that are going to suck you in immediately: Wayne’s words will masterfully project the movies in your head, but you just can’t be sure how these little movies are going to end. But there’s one thing you can be sure, they won’t end the way you’d expect, and no popcorn is going to help you either.

What’s also great is the fact that the collections are not genre-specific or in any way limited to a single theme, so prepare yourself for a journey where you’re going to laugh out loud on one page and be scared shitless on the other. His writing can sometimes be darkly funny, but the author is bright and serious about his craft. Add a vivid imagination, an active listener, all the necessary research and contemplating the world around with eyes wide open, mixed with the original style, and you get nice literature that is going to stick with you for a while … or at least until you buy yourself another dose of Wayne C. Long!

 

Renato Bratkovič

An advertising creative, a fiction writer and blogger from Slovenia, author of Don’t Try This At Home (collection of nine short stories). Here’s the URL of Renato’s literary blog, Radikalnews:

http://radikalnews.com/

***************************************************************

Thank you, Renato, for your kind words about my work and how you have enjoyed my stories. I admire your writing talent and your social activism. It is my sincere hope that you and I will finally meet and break bread together.

Now, I ask that everyone be patient while waiting for our next Guest Blogger’s presentation. I promise it will be worth your time. So stay tuned to Wayne’s Blog and return here often throughout the month of June. If you leave a nice comment, you just might win a prize!

 

We’ve made an executive decision.

January 15th, 2013

After much soul-searching, LongShortStories has decided to no longer offer a LongShortStories Short Story Contest twice a year.

First, the quality of the submissions just wasn’t there. After all, short story writing is an art form that has definite underlying rules and nearly all the submissions did not uphold them.

Secondly, the clearly-stated rules that we posted on this website were often ignored by those who simultaneously submitted their entries to other venues. We found through checking that their short story submission appeared on other Internet sites, including other contest sites.

Thirdy, one of the chief online sources of many of the submissions which we received just enacted a fee-based annual subscription program which effectively cut deeply into the submission pool.

Fourth, LongShortStories’ appeal for funding for our contest prize pot did not result in the needed cash infusion from our readership to assure the granting of prizes for quality work submitted.

SO, we have no winners to announce this last contest go-around but we are confident that they do exist out there in the ether. We hope to run into that award-winning talent somewhere, somehow, as we travel the short story galaxy.

In the meantime, LongShortStories continues to offer its appreciative international fan base some of the best short fiction anthologies and freestanding short stories via our Amazon digital marketing platform. You can access our Amazon ordering page(s) by clicking on each of the ebook covers on our Home Page of this website. We appreciate your support of our writing and we look forward to your supportive reviews.

Thank you and good luck to you all!

Wayne C. Long

Writer/Editor/Digital Publisher

www.LongShortStories.com

Where the Short Story LIVES!

 

LongShortStories Short Story Contest Almost Had a Winner!

July 18th, 2012

It’s frustrating seeing a LongShortStories Contest entrant shoot themselves in the proverbial foot by not following our clearly-stated rules. Once again, we came up dry.

Some of the submissions were pretty good, but only one made the preliminary cut into the big leagues. And then that person’s entry had to be tossed out because they disqualified themselves.

The simple reason? Their story submission had already appeared on the Internet. (We always check). Our rules state that entries must be “ORIGINAL, UNPUBLISHED (in any media, including the Internet).” And our rules also state clearly: “No simultaneous submissions please.”

We can only hope that in the current Contest season (July-December, 2012) that all entrants take a few minutes to read and follow the simple rules so that someone deserving can win one of our very nice prizes.

Good luck to you all!

 

It’s the Last Week of Our LongShortStories 5th Anniversary Celebration!

June 24th, 2012

CONVERGENCE

I love that word. In Biology it means “the development of similarities in unrelated organisms living in the same environment.” Its root word is, of course, converge, meaning “to move or be directed toward each other or toward the same place, purpose, or result.”

Convergence was the theme in my first paying writing gig, a Christmas short story about two ham radio buddies. That story, titled “The Christmas Tree,” appeared in the December, 2004 issue of the international Amateur Radio magazine QST and so touched the readers that they enthusiastically voted for that story to win the magazine’s coveted QST Cover Plaque Award. The following December, 2005 I won it again for another Christmas short story titled “Jimmy’s Wish.” I was off and running on my professional writing career.

The unseen power of this convergence thing was really working for me and I pushed forward with my writing. More and more short stories started pouring from my mind onto the screen of my computer. I gave myself permission to bravely write what I never would have dreamed years ago.

As the archive of my short fiction pieces grew and grew, the idea of bringing those stories to the vast readership of the Internet seemed more and more necessary and appropriate for the times. After an entire year spent researching the viability of the short story marketplace in the Internet age, I determined that it was time to build a website to showcase and sell my work.

At first, I floated my dream with a few local companies who designed websites. They tried to turn my vision into their vision. They just didn’t get it and their prices reflected that.

So I ventured onto the Internet to find a website design and hosting partner that was like no other. One that put my needs ahead of theirs. One that didn’t talk down to me as I came up the learning curve of having a state-of-the-art Web presence.

After viewing hundreds of website design firms’ sample offerings, I made a long-distance call to one in Ohio. The owner’s name was Eugene Barnes.

Mr. Barnes did not immediately answer my call so I left a brief message outlining my creative vision for this website project. Within an hour he called me back. We immediately hit it off and Eugene promised to send me a proposal that would meet my creative and budgetary needs perfectly.

That forward-moving force, that convergence of old, was right there with me as I studied Eugene’s proposal and price quotation. My wife and I agreed that he was the one-in-a-million website guru that I had been looking for. I signed his contract and the rest, shall we say, is history.

After a year of countless emails and samples going from Eugene’s Ohio design studio to my writing office in Wisconsin, together we hammered out a finished e-commerce website design that would beautifully represent my vision for my writing home.

I called it LongShortStories, a clever play on words, linking my last name with my creative writing purpose. It had that snap that I was hoping for, that catchiness that would serve me well as a unique writing brand.

June 1, 2007 was the official debut of the LongShortStories Web home, this creative collaboration between Eugene and I after all those months in the trenches, tweaking and fine-tuning it like a world-class race car. We held our breath and waited with schoolboy nervousness as the statistical data on readership started to trickle in. It was like giving birth or sending your kid off to their first day of kindergarten.

One of the unique features of the LongShortStories website was its state-of-the-art email subscription system which allowed readers from all over the globe to purchase via PayPal either 30 or 60 story subscriptions of my stories, delivered automatically for a nominal price to their email inboxes every twelve days like clockwork. The customers loved it as we had hoped they would. One of the short stories in the final collection of over 100 stories was one specially dedicated to Eugene, titled simply “Bugs,” my unique way of saying thank you for all his superb help in bringing this Little Engine That Could to the top of the creative mountain.

That was then.

This is now. June 2012 and that original LongShortStories website has undergone many changes, some subtle, some quite radical. All because of my desire to keep the content fresh and the creative mission of “BE what you wish to see!” moving forward toward the next big thing, that next convergence where writing and electronic technology merge.

My ongoing research was telling me that, as awesome as the subscription model for marketing my stories was, the marketplace was starting to feed its need for reading in a whole new way.

Enter the Kindle e-reader by Amazon.

It was a masterstroke of tech genius. A handheld device that stored thousands of downloadable digital ebooks. And for the short story writer like me, it offered the marvelous promise of multiple income streams and infinite shelf life for my growing collection of ebooks.

Eugene was right there on the cutting edge as we transformed the digital archive of my stories into a series of ebooks, starting with the groundbreaking 34-story Stories from the Edges. Eugene worked his graphic wizardry and produced the awesome cover of that first ebook collection that now is marketed globally by Amazon.com and Smashwords.com. and has earned many 5-star reviews. 

Since then he has created the covers for my two other ebook collections, Flash In The Hand and Eye Candy, and most recently the beautiful cover of my ’50s-era ham radio-themed short story, Slow Dancing.

I owe this creative genius a lot. He has been there through thick and thin. He has quietly withstood my occasional rants and he has also been right there to share in the limelight of a writing career that has been blessed in so many marvelous ways.

Eugene Barnes is my e-brother, my friend and my creative touchstone that never ceases to amaze. Thank you, Eugene, from the bottom of my heart.

For all of you out there who are searching for that perfect creative website solution, look no further than Eugene Barnes Website Design & Services. Here is that URL: http://www.eugenebarnes.com/.

I hope you all have enjoyed this 5th Anniversary celebration as much as I have. One thing is for sure. I couldn’t have done it alone. A writer is nothing without his dedicated readership. Thank you, one and all for believing in me, for purchasing my work, and most of all, thank you for your friendship.

Regards,

Wayne C. Long

 

 

 

 

Welcome to Week Three of the LongShortStories 5th Anniversary Celebration

June 16th, 2012

Happy Father’s Day!

I hope you have been enjoying the Guest Blogger posts I have received during the first two weeks of our month-long 5th Anniversary celebration at LongShortStories.

This week’s Guest Blogger is my very good writer friend and younger e-brother, George Angus of Palmer, Alaska. George and I met a few years ago on the StumbleUpon social networking site and instantly hit it off.  This kilt-wearing bear of a man has a razor-sharp wit, a wonderful writing gift and a heart of pure gold. My wife and I had the unique pleasure of breaking some bread with George and his delightful (now) nine-year-old daughter, Maddy in Seward when we were vacationing there in mid-August, 2010.

Here then, in his own words, is George Angus:

Dear Mr. Long,

I am writing to you today in the spirit of celebratory congratulations. I know that you must be as astounded as I am that your five year anniversary has arrived for your thrilling web site, LongShortStories. For me, it seems as if we just discovered each other yesterday.

These years that we have known each other have meant a great deal to me. As you are well aware, writing is a solitary endeavor. And whilst most writers relish the quiet time of practicing the craft, it can be said that to know you have a friend in the trenches is all that is needed for a writer to produce that next paragraph, sentence and word. This support and friendship that we have given as gifts to each other provides me with the inspiration to write.

Most of us write because we feel we have a great story to tell. Visions of novels and New York book signings power our dreams when we lay our head on the pillow at night. Through the years, I have discovered that you do not have a single story to tell; you have many. These treasures that flow from your mind to the page continue to be a source of entertainment to myself and your readership. It takes a true master of the craft to develop scenes and characters in a short story setting and you, sir, are indeed a master.

I have seen you progress from stories on a web page to published e-editions of your stories for the masses. Through the process of making that happen, I have discovered levels of integrity and craftsmanship that to me were previously unknown. With each interaction, my respect for you as a writer and as a person has grown and I realize how fortunate I am that our paths have crossed.

As you enter your sixth year of short story brilliance, I want you to know how much this ride has pleased me as I am sure it has pleased other readers of your work. I have learned a great deal and what I have learned, I have taken to heart. I am pleased that I am able to “double-dip.” As I reader, I am allowed to be entertained and enthralled by LongShortStories. As a writer, I am able to glean writing wisdom through your style and methods. I am fortunate.

Finally, Wayne, I would not want to leave the impression that our relationship is one sided at all. Since we have known each other, your support of my writing at Tumblemoose has been no less than tremendous. Your comments on my posts about writing inspire a conversation between my readers. On more than one occasion, your comment was longer than the original post! This reveals to me true support for what I would accomplish as a writer. It is rare and it is a treat.

Again, congratulations on your anniversary. One day, I hope to sip lemonade on your porch under a setting sun, reflecting back on this five year anniversary that took place so many years ago. 

Your Friend Always,

 George Angus

Week Two of the 5th Anniversary Celebration of LongShortStories

June 10th, 2012

Hi, everyone!

What a hot day today in Wisconsin! 90 degrees.

Today marks week two of the four-week celebration of LongShortStories’ 5th Anniversary. I hope you enjoyed John Beckman’s Guest Blogger post.

If John Beckman is my eldest e-brother then my next Guest Blogger would be my Vietnam-era e-brother. Those days were the best of times as well as the worst of times. Depending on how the war impacted your life, so was your reality.

So now it is my great pleasure to give you Jerry Guarino from Hayward, California. Jerry is one of the finest short story writers I have ever had the pleasure of meeting on the Internet. Since he has relatives out near me, I hope we can break some bread together soon and regale each other with short story craft.

Friends, I give you Jerry Guarino.

While browsing through new kindle eBooks, I saw “Eye Candy” by Wayne C. Long.  I read the preview and decided to read the book.  I am more likely to read short stories than novels, mostly because of time but also because that is my primary format.  Why short stories?  Well, I don’t think you need to write 300 pages to make an effective point about anything.  Since my stories are little slices of life, the short story is the right size.  It’s also consistent with my working style.  I’ve never told anyone this before, but this is my writing sequence:

 

  1. Story idea
  2. Title
  3. First paragraph
  4. Last paragraph
  5. Middle
  6. Edit

 There are two more elements in my writing, but I’ll keep those secret for now!  Most of my stories take 90 minutes, start to finish and every story I have written has been published by a magazine.

 Wayne’s short stories are visual, descriptive and remind me of days gone by.  I’m sure we were both raised with classic literature, as opposed to what kids read today.  We had this in common, two old men creating stories based on our life experience.  Not that our work is totally biographical; there are science fiction and other speculative tales in our work. 

 My new book, “40 Slices of Pizza” is an anthology of my best short stories. Although I have only been writing for less than two years, all my stories have appeared in magazines around the world (the United States, Canada, Australia and Great Britain).  Actually, I’m still trying to find my writing voice, that style and genre that will define my writing for the future.  People have called my stories quirky, unique and similar to the great writer William Sydney Porter (O. Henry).  Here are some reviews that describe my work better than I can.

 Jerry Guarino’s Cafe Stories sends his readers on a merry chase through a wild array of micro/flash fiction–humor, satire, and pathos. He artfully captures gentle souls and slick cons, the high brows and their unsuspecting victims in characters that step from the page to engage the reader. Guarino finds the tiniest trait that creates zany folks the reader wants to protect or strangle. Often at the same time. Prepare for the surprise twist at the end. He gets you every time.

Myra H. McIlvain – Author of Legacy

 

Guarino’s style is simple and consistently powerful, his storytelling a triumph of art over artifice.

Ben Price – Editor at Zouch Magazine and Miscellany (Canada)

 

Jerry Guarino’s writing reminds me of the late, but great, Jose Saramago’s.  His structure is both unique and compelling, always leading the reader to places that they never see coming.  I applaud anyone who takes risks in their writing, and Jerry does just that.

Weeb Heinrich – Editor of Writing Raw

 

Jerry Guarino’s stories are a real treat for the reader.  Each story is well crafted with the natural elegance of a natural writer.  The Fringe Magazine has enjoyed his short stories and has had the pleasure of publishing these gems for the past year.

Scott Wilson – Editor of The Fringe Magazine (Australia)

 

40 Slices of Pizza is a short story reader’s culinary delight. Jerry Guarino’s 40 slice of life pieces are filled with delightful takes on people, places, and things that make America great. He infuses his stories with life’s delights: good food, great music, fine drink, and the emotional roller coaster of interpersonal relationships.  As a short story writer myself, I found his work honest and filled with delightful irony. He is a keen observer of the human condition, and a writer of obvious talent.  I look forward to reading more of his work. He is a master at mirroring to his readers all their foibles, their fantasies, and their forever quest to understand why the wheel of life turns as it does. 40 Slices of Pizza is short storytelling at its best!

Wayne C. Long – Author of Eye Candy, Flash in the Hand and Stories from the Edges

           My sincere thanks to Wayne for letting me guest blog on his site.  I hope you have read some of his stories and please check mine out when you get a chance (free preview samples on amazon.com and my website).

 Jerry Guarino

Contact information:

Website: http://cafestories.net

Email: jguarino.author@gmail.com

Twitter: @cafestories

Facebook: http://on.fb.me/JeGSbp

“40 Slices of Pizza” paperback and kindle eBook on Amazon: http://amzn.to/J3OeKq