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Archive for October, 2012|Monthly archive page

Please say Hello to veteran author GAIL TAYLOR

In Uncategorized on October 30, 2012 at 10:52 am

Please say hello to veteran author GAIL TAYLOR. She is a widely-published author who brings us one of her latest stories, “Gingerbread House,” in An Honest Lie Vol. 4: Petulant Parables.

ET: Gail, can you tell us a little about your other works, and where we might find them?

GT: I have four other short stories pending publication at the moment. “Rinse and Spin” is short listed for the 2012 Random House Creative Writing award at University of Toronto, to be announced in the fall. Another story, “Green Sheep,” has just come out in the literary review, “The Linnet’s Wings,” published in the Republic of Ireland Two other stories are shortlisted for publication. I find out soon.

My first book of short stories, “Tornado and Other Seasons,” came out in 2011 and is available as an e-book at Barnes and Noble and at Amazon.com, and in hard copy from the publisher: CLICK

Also appearing right now is a poem called “Toronto” in the ezine “Tuck Magazine.”

I have done non-fiction, notably for the ezine Canadian Actor Online. An example is found HERE.

All told, I’ve placed stories in 19 literary journals in the USA, Canada, the Republic of Ireland, Turkey and the UK. I’m delighted to have “Gingerbread House” appear in Volume Four of “An Honest Lie.”

I built a website (ugh, I dislike HTML codes and Cascading whatevers) to promote my book and to post reviews of the book and to list signing events. The site is found at: GailTaylor.com.

ET: Wow! That’s a lot of publications. We are honored to have you join us for An Honest Lie Vol. 4: Petulant Parables. How did you find Open Heart Publishing?

GT: I found “An Honest Lie” in 2010 through Duotrope and submitted a story at that time that made it as far as the “Accepted Consideration Folder.” Although in the end, AHL did not take the piece, Debrin Case sent me a very positive comment. I remembered that and decided to submit again this year. I am glad I did.

ET: We are, too. I’ve been rejected by Debrin and our editor, ME Johnson, so you’re not alone there. Rejection is simply part of the process. With all your successes, have you ever held a book signing?

GT: I would LOVE to sign anywhere in Manhattan –a street corner, back steps of the Public Library, a subway stop. I just came off about a year of signings and launches in Canada and the USA. Without a distributor, you do what you have to do. I LOVE interacting with people who like to read, but organizing these events is a big deal.

ET: The Great Book Tour. How exciting. You obviously take writing seriously, and put a lot of effort into the craft. How does your family support your habit, and where do you create your stories?

GT: We have a deal: my family members only read my work once it is published. That way, I do not foist raw material on them and they are not forced to appraise it. It’s a good deal. “Gingerbread House” is a rare exception: I had to consult my construction-savvy son. Any errors are mine, however.

My writing area is Utopian perfection: an outlet for my laptop; a big table for spreading out material; lots of fresh drinking water; nice distracting magazines to read if I want to; and people who come in at night to clean the place. It can be as loud as it wants to get because I wear ear plugs and go to the heavenly land of oblivion and imagination. My writing area is the public library, just five minutes walk from my home.

ET: Perfection. Can you tell us a little about your writing process?

GT: There are three periods to writing for me: pre-, during and post-. Pre-story, the boiling pot of ideas is a creative torture; during is the process of getting it down on a roll and that can be wonderful but also awful; and post- is really fun because I usually do not find out until afterwards what the dominant symbols and metaphors are. Teasing them out is the joy of solving a puzzle.

In the pre- and peri-periods of the process of writing, tackling the task without constraint is definitely the best policy for me because those periods are like roiling in a maelstrom and the story can float and bob along sloppily. In the post-period—the analytical, critical, judgmental editing period—the publisher’s guidelines become the imperative, because at some point you have to climb out and ground the story.

ET: Words of wisdom from a seasoned professional. How about something fun. Can you give us a haiku?

GT: My first offering is deflective:
Hives, bouts of ague:
Agonize we who strive to
Compose a haiku.

My second offering is reflective. Both define me:
Each day a flavor
To taste, to sip, to savor
My life’s true labor.

ET: Nice. What about serious issues in your stories? Do you ever wax philosophical, or religious?

GT: I don’t discuss these things but my characters do. A notable example is Dr. Ivy Feine and her son in the story, “A Good Belief is Hard to Find,” in which the good doctor and her son live within the existential struggle of faith versus reason. I think this question is one of the largest one bedeviling us as human beings.

I had a wonderful teacher who said we read to find our “me”: we want the writer to give us our “best me.” Reading a story is most satisfying when we identify with the characters and their conflicts and conquests. In my own reading, when an author guides me to a viewpoint that lends me wisdom, I am deeply grateful. Alice Munro does that for me. I think the ability to do that is a gift of genius.

ET: Again, wise words. One final question, again for fun: If you lost your dominant arm, how would you write?

GT: This can happen, with injury or surgery, rather like the dilemma of Hazen Forster in my story, “The Turning.” Luckily, a lot of the time, writing is really just thinking and dreaming in a hammock or a sofa or a subway car, but hands are necessary to go from the dream to words to screen and paper.

A couple of years ago, I found I was using the computer mouse so fast that my rotator cuff was becoming sore, so I taught myself to use the left hand. Since then, I have learned to do much more with my left hand and since my left hand is less dexterous, I have had to slow down. Slowing down, though frustrating, gives a better result, I think. In sum, if I lost my dominant arm or any other crucial part of me, I’d figure out how to create stories—and my life— with what I had left. Two people in my life have taught me that: my brother Jim and my husband Pat.

ET: Well, I’ll finish there, and say THANK YOU, GAIL, for suffering through my questions. We look forward to reading “Gingerbread House” in Open Heart Publishing’s An Honest Lie, Vol. 4: Petulant Parables, coming soon!


Gail Taylor BIO: Gail E Taylor is the author of the short story collection, Tornado and Other Seasons, published in 2011 by Punkin House Press. Her fiction has been published in 20 literary reviews and journals in the USA, Canada, Turkey, the Republic of Ireland and the UK. In 2007, she was a winner in the Random House of Canada Creative Writing Student Award at the University of Toronto, and she was short listed for that prize in 2009 and again this year, in 2012. She has also published poetry and non-fiction.



– Eric


Eric W. Trant is a published author of several short stories and the novel Out of the Great Black Nothing. He is currently represented by Debrin Case at Open Heart Publishing. See more of Eric’s work here: Publications

Please say Hello to returning author WILLIAM WALTON

In Uncategorized on October 4, 2012 at 10:24 am

ET: Please say hello to returning author WILLIAM WALTON! He brings us a true parable to An Honest Lie Vol. 4: Petulant Parables, in the form of “Genesis 22”. He is also the winner of Open Heart Publishing’s book contest for AHL Vol 2. Can you tell us a little about your publications?

WW: I have published an article in Angels on Earth and short stories in Open Heart Publishing’s An Honest Lie, Vol. 2, An Honest Lie, Vol. 3, and now An Honest Lie, Vol. 4. I am very excited about an upcoming book of my short stories to be published by Open Heart tentatively titled Madmen and Fellow Travelers. I am currently working on a collection entitled Killing Time: Essays on the Life Cycle, Aging, and Death and a rather frivolous collection of pieces of six words or less which I call By The Short Hairs.

ET: Very nice. Your short story in An Honest Lie Vol 4: Petulant Parables, is titled “Genesis 22”. Do you normally discuss religion and politics in your writings?

WW: I generally avoid religion and politics in my stories, mainly because they tend to be divisive issues, and I am trying to get my readers to go on a shared journey with me. That said, my story for An Honest Lie, Vol. 4: Petulant Parables is based on an old testament biblical parable which I personally find very disturbing. I felt the need to address my reaction to this bothersome (to me) parable in a story. That’s the exception that proves the rule though, and I prefer to address religion and politics, if I have to at all, in essay form. I recognize, however, that political and religious conflict have been the basis of many great books, and given the significant role they play in our culture, they influence our work whether we recognize it or not.

ET: I could not agree more. As writers, you need to remember that when you write divisively, you lose half your readers. How about your viewpoint, in general? Do you think it is important that you make the reader see your viewpoint, or make the reader see theirs?

WW: I don’t want to make my readers do anything, but I don’t see how I can write a story without at least inviting, or even encouraging, them to see my point of view. I hope that my viewpoint helps them put theirs in a broader prospective, that understanding mine can be a starting point for looking at theirs from different angles. Whether their viewpoints are confirmed, changed, or refuted entirely is up to them. Sometimes I wish I could know their thoughts so I could make the same choices with respect to my own point of view.

ET: Alright, enough seriousness. Having read your stories, and looking forward to your upcoming personal anthology, I know your writing can be cheeky and fun. How about an example for our readers, in the form of a flash fiction. You are in the grocery store parking lot when you see a hundred dollar bill on the ground. As you lean over to pick it up…

WW: …I felt a hand on my butt. Startled, I looked up at an attractive lady smiling at me.

“Oh, I’m so sorry,” she said, blushing. “I thought you were my pool boy.”

“I’d like to be,” I said, although she was quite a bit younger than me.

“Would you mind giving me back my hundred dollar bill?”

“Of course,” I said, passing it to her.

“Okay,” she said, handing me a five in exchange. “We have a deal.”


ET: There’s some of that unique, fun voice we’re used to. How about another fun question. Describe the last time you were pulled over by a police officer.

WW: “How can I help you officer?” I asked.

“You were driving twelve miles over the limit, sir.”

“Yeah? So were you.”

“Hey, you are not helping yourself with remarks like that, sir.”

“That’s okay. I’m pretty much beyond help anyway.”

“Do you always have such a smart mouth?”

“Yes, I’m afraid so.”

“You know, so do I when I’m off-duty. Have a good day, sir.”

ET: Cheeky. Now that the readers see you can be both serious and funny, let’s get back to the topic of writing. How does your family support your writing habit? And what about your writing area?

WW: My immediate family consists of my dog, a boxer named Cyrus (the Virus). He supports everything I do. If I ever get to thinking that I am really in charge, he simply asks me “who picks up whose poop?” But he is a great comfort, which helps with everything, including my writing. One can learn a lot from a dog.

My writing area is quiet, secluded, and often in disarray. It is a very comfortable place to be. I call it my Chapel of Chimes because I have five antique clocks with beautiful chimes in it and in the next room. Although I set them frequently, being old mechanical, mostly pendulum, clocks, they don’t keep perfect time. Soon they are slightly out of sync and chime in a sequence. When the first one chimes the hour, I stop everything and listen until they are all done. These simple chimes have sensitized me to all the unnoticed, unappreciated forms of beauty that surround us. It has me more attentive to beauty in all its forms. It makes me try harder to achieve it in my writing. One can learn a lot from a clock.

ET: Sounds like the perfect place to indulge in ritualistic creativity. How did you find out about Open Heart Publishing?

WW: A (then) fellow member of one of my writers’ groups, Bob Clark, published a story in An Honest Lie, Vol. 1. Since Bob’s stories are kind of quirky, as are mine, I thought, “if he can do it, maybe I can too.” In other words, I had reason to believe that my stories might be a good fit for Open Heart Publishing’s An Honest Lie anthologies. I guess I was right since I have had stories accepted for the last three volumes. For that I am truly grateful.

ET: Do you have a blog we can follow?

WW: I have a blog, www.williamwwalton.com that is focused primarily on my writing.

ET: Good deal! We’ll finish with a haiku. Take us home, William.

WW: A Texas Yalie
Savors Courvoiser, chugs beer
Bad boy with manners

or

Grounded voyager
Sailing seas within his mind
Read right returning

(Note: I think I like the first one better)

ET: I sort of like the second one better. Grounded voyager, sailing seas within his mind. Love that! Anyway, thank you, William, for indulging me in the interview, and for being such a good sport. I look forward to seeing “Genesis 22” in An Honest Lie Vol. 4: Petulant Parables, coming soon.


William Walton Bio:
William Walton was raised on a ranch in the Texas Hill Country. His rougher edges were later honed at Yale, where he graduated with a B.A. in Latin American Studies. He earned an M.S. degree in Sociology from Trinity University, and then taught for a year at The University of the Americas in Mexico. From there he moved to Buffalo, N.Y. where he spent over a decade creating, developing, and reforming programs for troubled adolescents. Finally, he moved back to his native Texas where, today, he makes his living managing agricultural properties. His avocations have included sailing, scuba diving, and working with abandoned animals, both as a volunteer and a member of the Board of Directors of the Gulf Coast Humane Society. William’s passion, until he was forced to give it up, was voyaging under sail. He has crossed the Gulf of Mexico many times, and the Atlantic Ocean once, in a small sailing vessel. When that was no longer possible for him, he rekindled an old love, writing stories. That continues to be his passion to this day. William’s article “Stray to the Rescue” was published in the May/June 2008 issue of Angels on Earth. His stories “Ozzie the Clown” and “Mike, from the Mail Room” were published in Open Heart’s An Honest Lie, Volumes. 2 and 3, respectively. Also, his story, “Genesis 22” will appear in An Honest Lie, Volume 4: Petulant Parables. William has also secured a contract for the publication of a collection of his short stories, Madmen and Fellow Travelers through Open Heart Publishing, scheduled for release this fall. Other writing projects include a collection of essays titled Killing Time about the life cycle, aging, and death.


– Eric


Eric W. Trant is a published author of several short stories and the novel Out of the Great Black Nothing. He is currently represented by Debrin Case at Open Heart Publishing. See more of Eric’s work here: Publications