Tag Archives: Short Story

BRAIN TSUNAMI

My latest project is one I’m pretty proud of… it’s called Brain Tsunami. What I like so much about this project is the fact it’s  a collaboration with three other authors: Jenna Brownson, Amanda Hoppes & Samm Lim.

The idea started after my brother-in-law had an accident while biking. He ended up fully recovering from the incident but never did remember what happened to him that fateful night. His explanation was always so simple… “I had an accident” and I always thought it should be so much more. I mean technically he didn’t know what happened. What if aliens took him? What if he saved the free world that night? What if he had an evil twin that came along and tried to kill him and then jump into his idyllic suburban life?

I mean these aren’t likely scenarios, I will admit that, but they might have happened? I mean the one guy there doesn’t know so maybe it did.

That was the concept for the book… take my brother-in-law’s injury and write the “rest” of the story via a series of stories that started and ended the same way.

I chose the collaboration route because I surmised a group would bring fresh perspectives. I might be locked in on a style, but others could bring a totally different feel to the other stories in the book.

My best buddy for discussions like whether this will work or not is Jenna Brownson. She’s a writer, she’s intelligent, she thinks things through… all-in-all, she’s just a great sounding board for these types of things.

What I like so much about Jenna is she holds the same ideals I do. She’s written all of these novels…we’re talking like a car trunk full of novels and she doesn’t do anything with them… because she wants to land a contract and do things her own way.

I love that. We’re going down different paths in that I self-publish and she’s holding out to go the traditional route… but to not seek out some small time publisher that will get it out there but not support it, or publish it herself to get it out there and just let them sit.

That’s pretty cool. I mean she’s talented… it’s going to happen. It just won’t happen, though, until Jenna has found what she’s been looking for.

Anyway, Jenna liked the idea and jumped in right away.

With Jenna’s stamp of approval, I knew it would work so I approached others. Amanda Hoppes is another writer I know. In fact, she write a column in my Bourbon Zeppelin project called The Bourbon Virgin. Her column is proving to be one of the favorites in that publication because I posed the idea of participating with her as a means of personal growth. Amanda, still in her 20s is holding onto the drinks she had in college as her favorite… Bud Light for beer and Cherry Bombs if she wants a mixed drink.

I send her samples… she tries all of them. Writes up a whole column about preparation to try them…and then…she hates everything. Seriously. She’s a columnist in a very popular online magazine for bourbon aficionados and in her column…she basically hates everything about bourbon. It wouldn’t work for 99% of the people… but Amanda pulls it off because she’s honestly is trying. I think she wants to like bourbon… it’s just not for her, but for her love of writing, she’ll try again the next month… then end up spitting it down the kitchen sink admonishing the readers for like that stuff. It’s gold.

Finally, there’s Samm Lim. Samm is one of my longest friendships on social media and she’s usually up for anything (she was the first person I interviewed in my O.P.U.S. interview series on Tumblr).

So the four of us wrote five stories (Samm wrote two) and we published it in a book I titled Brain Tsunami.

100% of the proceeds of this project get donated to Love A Cat Charity in Honolulu, Hawaii. I’ve worked with them since my books started to really taking off in Hawaii (when they really weren’t selling anywhere else).

It would be uber cool if you would pick up a copy yourself and check it out. It’s only a $1.99 on Amazon.

Buy your copy by clicking right here!

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Write Steve Write! is a weekly blog by author Steve Akley. Typically it is posted on (most) Sundays and features insight about his writing… though there is an occasional movie review or random thought post. It should be noted it’s posted as a live feed… no editing, no planning beforehand, it’s typed out on Sunday morning and the “publish” button is immediately hit. Apologies for any errors but you get this just as Steve thinks it!

Coming Sunday: More random thoughts on my writing career.

In the meantime, follow check in on Steve in a variety of ways:

Steve’s Catalog on Amazon: http://goo.gl/kJpKcP

The OPUS Blog: steveakley.tumblr.com

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Sign up for Bourbon Zeppelin (bourbon newsletter): Email Registration

Check out the latest issue of Bourbon Zeppelin: See it here!

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IT’S BECAUSE I WRITE 6/10

Topics Covered So Far:

#1 of 10 – My O.P.U.S. Blog

#2 of 10 – Bourbon Zeppelin

#3 of 10 – Meeting a Hero of Mine

#4 of 10 – My Love Affair with Hawaii

#5 of 10 – The Time My Books Were Featured on TV

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Today, I’m going to tell you about a story that took me 35 years to complete…

The first writing assignment I ever got was a one page assignment to write a short fiction story in third grade. My idea was to write this story about two boys, Frank and Dirk, who had heard about this mysterious island called Bear Island. They decided to go off on their own on an adventure to the island.

Doing so meant a  challenging traverse in a kayak on an island they had heard was quite dangerous. Eventually the boys would stumble across the bear that had been the thing of legend in their town.

So I started writing about Frank and Dirk and their friendship. That led to their plan to go to Bear Island. Then I wrote about the the crossing the ocean to get to Bear Island in a kayak. The boys were quickly in over their head when the seas picked up. They paddled harder-and-harder, but the sea was getting angier. Finally, one wave, the size of which the boys had never seen before, lifted them in their kayak and slammed it down onto land. Both boys rendered uncouncious from the impact. Dirk woke up first and shook his friend awake with the line, “Frank, I think we are on Bear Island.”

Then…

That was it. I was out of space. My page was full. I blew the assignment. I never even got to the adventure. They never even encountered the bear.

F.

I went to my Mom and asked her what to do. She read my one-page story in my kid handwritten script (no computers back then) and she told me it was really good.

Wait, she didn’t even get it. This wasn’t complete.

I protested telling her there was no adventure. And the bear. What about the bear?

She told me I didn’t need any of that. The adventure was getting there. The plan, the execution, the angry sea. That was my adventure. That was the story. You leave it where they crash land on Bear Island and let the reader imagine the adventure. You set it up with your stories about mystery and intrigue and then you put your characters in the spot. You have left the reader to decide in their minds what happened to those boys.

Hmmmm.

I mean I think she made all of that up, but it didn’t sound bad.

Taking my Mom’s advice, I brought my story to class with me. We actually had to read them to the class and I have to say I was in good form that day. I really accentuated the tossing and turing in that kayak and I really hit the mark with the line, “Frank, I think we are on Bear Island.”

Applause. My teacher, Mrs. Varusa, loved it too.

A.

Wow, that really fueled my desire to become a writer. It wouldn’t be anything I ever acted on though until 2012/2013 after my Dad passed away.

That story never left me all of those years. I would often think about Frank and Dirk and their adventure. That line too, “Frank, I think we are on Bear Island” just stuck in my head. Like a real movie line where you apply it to everday life (people who are into movie lines will get that reference). For me, “Frank, I think we are on Bear Island” would pop into my head for more than 30 years everytime I was on some new adventure. For example, like when I was walking in the door on the first day of my new job back in 1998 at the company I still work for, I remember that line popping into my head, “Frank, I think we are on Bear Island.”

Yep, just like Mom said. We don’t know what’s going to happen, but an adventure is coming!

About a year into writing and publishing, I got the idea of publishing short stories. The first one I wrote was the Legend of Bear Island.

Haida Bear

The new, updated Legend of Bear Island has the complete history of the island. It has our boys, Frank and Dirk, go on an adventure and now, finally, we get to see exactly what happened to them after regaining conciousness on the beach.

It’s still one of the favorite things I have ever written. The story is inriguing, funny, adventure-filled and immediately brings me back to the third grade version of myself, crafting that story on lined paper with a pencil, sharing it with my Mom and then reading it to the class.

Finishing this gem, only happened to me because I write!

If you would like to check out the Legned of Bear Island, it is available for your Kindle device by clicking here!

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Write Steve Write! is a weekly blog by author Steve Akley. Typically it is posted on (most) Sundays and features insight about his writing… though there is an occasional movie review or random thought post. It should be noted it’s posted as a live feed… no editing, no planning beforehand, it’s typed out on Sunday morning and the “publish” button is immediately hit. Apologies for any errors but you get this just as Steve thinks it!

Coming Sunday: We’ll be continuing on with my “It’s Because I Write” series next week!

In the meantime, follow check in on Steve in a variety of ways:

Steve’s Catalog on Amazon: http://goo.gl/kJpKcP

The OPUS Blog: steveakley.tumblr.com

Evan Haskill’s Blog: I am a contributor here: thebourbonguyandrye.com

Sign Up for Steve’s SAP News (writing updates) Newsletter: Email Registration

Sign up for Bourbon Zeppelin (bourbon newsletter): Email Registration

Check out the latest issue of Bourbon Zeppelin: See it here!

Twitter: @steveakley

Instagram: @steveakley

What’s App: Steve Akley

Untappd: steveakley

A DANDY LITTLE PROJECT

I’ve got a dandy little project I am working on… or perhaps better stated collaborating on.

I’ve shared the idea here that I wanted to write a book about my brother-in-law who had a terrible accident last August. He had a wreck on his bike and was left with no memory of what happened.

Fascinated by a now fully healthy brother-in-law with no recollection of the most traumatic incident of his life, I volunteered to fill the gaps with some stories I would publish in a book. I started to sketch out some ideas but felt like the missing component would be a different voice, a different feel for each of these misadventures.

I decided to reach out to some of the authors I have met via social media to see if they would be interested in working with me on this book I’m calling Brain Tsunami. The idea is we each start with the same beginning and ending, but write a story with no interaction or involvement from the others.

I’ve been overwhelmed with the positive responses I’ve gotten from my online friends. I mean this has been so great, I think we need to drop the “online” moniker and everything that goes with that and just say these people are my friends.

The finished project will feature myself and nine other authors writing stories about what might have happened to my brother-in-law that fateful night.

This one’s just getting started, and we’ve got plenty of work ahead but I can’t wait to bring you BRAIN TSUNAMI (the all caps and bolding really increases the impact of that, right?)

_______________________

Write Steve Write! is a weekly blog by author Steve Akley. Typically it is posted on (most) Sundays and features insight about his writing… though there is an occasional movie review or random thought post. It should be noted it’s posted as a live feed… no editing, no planning beforehand, it’s typed out on Sunday morning and the “publish” button is immediately hit. Apologies for any errors but you get this just as Steve thinks it!

Coming Next Week: I have no idea what I’m writing about next week, but it will be something.

In the meantime, follow check in on Steve in a variety of ways:

Steve’s Catalog on Amazon: http://goo.gl/kJpKcP

The OPUS Blog: steveakley.tumblr.com

Evan Haskill’s Blog: I am a contributor here: thebourbonguyandrye.com

Sign Up for Steve’s Newsletters: Email Registration

Twitter: @steveakley

Instagram: @steveakley

What’s App: Steve Akley

Untappd: steveakley

Home Phone: I’m not giving you that!

 

 

 

LOOKING AHEAD (JUST A BIT)

With my three projects for 2015 finally winding down, I’ve just started to look ahead just a bit. Before we see what I’ll be up to for the balance of 2015, let’s do a quick recap of the trifecta of books I’ve spent this year working on:

Bourbon Mixology                                                                                                                        

Status: Published (Picked up a copy here: Bourbon Mixology)

It’s true, the first one is officially out there having been published earlier this week. This one truly looks special with it immediately selling right out of the gate.

Here’s a look at the cover:

Bourbon Mixology II Cover

Pa’u Hana 

Status: Final edits being done

My first novel is complete and I have five people reading proof copies. I’ve got notes from two of them, still waiting on the other three to get me their thoughts. This one should be out in October.

Here’s a look at the cover:

Pau Hana Digital Cover

Architect of Passion        

Status: Rewrites complete

A few weeks ago I spent 6 hours with Greg Schredder, the subject of this biography going over some changes he requested. I have finished those rewrites and now am awaiting some information from him to complete the rewrite. Once I get that done, I’ve got final editing to complete before getting it published. I’m guessing this will go on through October and we will get this one out in November.

Here’s a look at the cover:

Updated AOP Cover

So what’s going on for the rest of 2015?

I’ve got two things I’ll be working on, though they won’t likely be published until 2016. This first is a short story blending of fact and fiction. It’s called Brain Tsunami and its the story of my brother-in-law. This past summer he went on a bike ride and came back home with a gash on his head and no knowledge of what happened. I’m pleased to say he’s fully recovered and doing great, but he still doesn’t know what happened. I’m going to publish a short story with some different, and fun scenarios of what might have happened.

Here’s a look at that cover:

Human guidance and memory loss due to Dementia and Alzheimer's disease as a group of three dimensional roads shaped as a human head and brain tangled in a confused direction mind function concept.

Lastly, I have yet an untitled piece I am probably going to be working on. I have a rum company which has been reaching out to me for a few years now wanting to get into one of my Small Brand America books. With no plans in the works to have a sixth edition of this popular series focusing on small brands competing against much larger competitors, I think I am going to propose to them a book focusing solely on them… their history, the owners and their facility. Should be fun if they like the idea.

That’s it for now!

INTRODUCING BIGFOOT vs. PAUL BUNYAN

Man walking out of an ice cave

It’s true.

My short story/eBook, Bigfoot vs. Paul Bunyan is going to published later this week. Editing is almost done. As soon as I complete one final review it will be ready to go.

In writing you have to love it when a story comes together perfectly and that’s exactly what happened with this one. It was an honor updating the story of Paul Bunyan and bringing this character from American folklore back to life!

I’m making this fun story available via Kindle, iBooks and most other eBook retailers for only 99 cents!

JAZZ – THE TRILOGY?

With the research and writing complete on my book Coffeehouse Jazz, I have already started looking ahead to adding more to the mix. Mind you, It’s not published… heck, it’s not even edited just yet.

Still, this list of 101 of the greatest instrumental jazz songs has seemingly only scratched the surface on the topic. With that in mind, I’m looking at my writing schedule and thinking I can have the second (Second Cup: More Coffeehouse Jazz) and third editions (Coffee to Go: Still More Coffeehouse Jazz) out in 2015.

A trilogy seems perfect and should close out the topic nicely. Look forward to the sequels in 2015, but first up with be the original which should be out in late October/early November.

I also just wrote about my forthcoming short story Bigfoot vs. Paul Bunyan. Last week, I wrote I had about a weekend’s worth of work on it to complete it and hoped to have it done by today. I think my assessment of timing was about right ,but I had a pretty busy weekend. I dedicated about 1/2 a weekend to it so I’m pretty close. I’m thinking next weekend is when I will get it done. This should result in this piece being published about the same time Coffeehouse Jazz is. out there

Exciting stuff!

Then again I’ve found everything associated with my writing is pretty exciting!

I LOVE HAWAII EDITION

I love Hawaii. It’s beautiful. It’s fun. The weather is nice. The people are great. The food is awesome. There’s so much to do. You literally could go on and on.

I have visions of retiring to my favorite vacation destination. I even have a favorite website where I often search for homes and condos (check it out here).

Despite my absolute love for our 50th state, I realize I’m not alone. Probably 90% of the people who travel to Hawaii feel the same way.

I’ve got something they don’t though…

A crazy thing has happened to me with my writing and I have to be honest, it’s completely awesome. Though I can’t compare myself to him, I do have a story involving Jerry Seinfeld I can relate to. He often talks about my hometown of St. Louis. It started early in his run of TV show Seinfeld and he speaks to it each and every time he visits.

When Seinfeld just started, the show was struggling to find an audience. He notes the only place it was doing well was St. Louis. Each morning after the show aired everyone on the show would race to see the Neilson ratings for St. Louis. Despite the fact no one else seemed to be getting what they were doing, getting some decent numbers in St. Louis meant the world to him and the cast.

During the course of my brief time writing, I’ve done two books and a short story involving Hawaii: Leo the Coffee Drinking Cat Moves to Hawaii, Small Brand America III – Special Hawaii Edition and the short story A Killer in Kilauea

It’s been amazing how these books have helped me build a great base of readers there. I’ve even gotten some really great articles in a newspaper in Kauai. Check these out: Article #1 & Article #2.

Like Seinfeld and crew, I love to get my weekly sales reports. It’s amazing to see that I sell more books in Hawaii than anywhere else. Even more than my hometown of St. Louis. Almost everybody I know and work with lives here, yet I’m solidly selling more books in Hawaii. Let’s not forget St. Louis alone has almost twice as many people as the entire state of Hawaii. It’s amazing and humbling to me.

No better case can be made about the popularity of my work in Hawaii than the fact I’ve written six short stories (A Killler in Kilauea, The Bacon Killer, The Donut Shop Killer, The Legend of Bear Island, The Lincoln Stalker, and The Vampire of Cliff Cave) and The Killer in Kilauea has sold more than the other five combined!

It really doesn’t matter what happens with my writing career moving forward. If I’m a great success or I simply continue to plug along getting one reader at a time, my love for Hawaii is set. The readers of Hawaii have appreciated my work more so than anyone else and I love the state even more than ever.

The cool thing is, apparently Hawaii loves me back!

 

The following companies are profiled in Small Brand America III – Special Hawaii Edition:

Adoboloco (adoboloco.com) • Akamai Juice Company (akamaijuice.com) • Aloha Spice (alohaspice.com) • Anahola Granola (anaholagranola.com) • Aunty Liliko’i (auntylilikoi.com) • Da Secret Sauce (dasecretsauce.com) • Govinda’s Fresh Juice (govindasjuice.com) • Haliimaile Distilling Company (haliimailedistilling.com) • Hamakua Mushrooms (hamakuamushrooms.com) • Hawaii’s Special (hawaiisspecial.com) • Hula Daddy Kona Coffee (huladaddy.com) • Island Distillers (islanddistillers.com) • Kōloa Rum (koloarum.com) • Kona Natural Soap Company (konanaturalsoapcompany.com) • Maui Brewing Co. (mauibrewingco.com) • Maui Dog Treats (dogtreatsmaui.com) • Maui’s Winery (mauiwine.com) • Minato’s Hawaii (minatohawaiiangift.com) • Molokai Meli (realhawaiianhoney.com) • North Shore Goodies (northshoregoodies.net) • Original Hawaiian Chocolate (ohcf.us) • Sea Salts of Hawaii (seasaltsofhawaii.com) • Shaka Pops (shakapopsmaui.com) • Surfing Goat Dairy (surfinggoatdairy.com) • Tropical Dreams Ice Cream (tropicaldreamsicecream.com)