When your old #writing experiment transforms into a series of #free #shortstories, you find yourself in #RiverVine.

Some explores aren’t planned.

We only want to check out what’s behind this one corner before we continue on our way. Peek into this one strange window and then go back to our business. Stick our heads into this one rabbit hole, then move on with our lives.

Only we fall in.

And we don’t always climb out.

In the winter of 2017, the music of John Carpenter set my creative cogs turning round and round a character from an old WIP. But I was already set on my path among Shield Maidens and OCD sorcerers. I only had time to peek into the princeborns’ universe and spy their battles waged in their universe before moving on.

But now with Aionios Books I’ve found the rabbit hole and tumbled back into Wisconsin’s secret places. The more my editor Gerri and I dig into the world-building of Fallen Princeborn: Stolen, the more I find myself going over the old notebooks and sketches. Then  “Normal’s Menace,” the short story popped up–Oh yeah, my point of view experiment from last year…I sent it to Gerri for fun because it featured my pastry-obsessed crusader for children, a wolfish fellow named Dorjan. Gerri enjoyed it so much she suggested writing a series of short stories on the various characters involved in the River Vine world.

While I hadn’t been planning to spend time running around and away from the series’ narrative arc, I gotta admit–it’s been really fun. As I learned when experimenting with point of view, short fiction is all about the powerful, passionate moments. All the world-building, the character development, conflict and such–none of it can afford to be a slow burn, because moments don’t burn slow in short fiction. Anger, regret, desire, fear, defiance–when these feelings ignite within us, they burn our spirits until we crumble into ash, or forge us into something new.

These are the moments I now hunt for on the fringe of River Vine. They appear in the not-quite-common places: breaking up with a girlfriend…who is capable of eating you. Disagreeing with a boss…who promises to burn your legs off. Telling off a stranger…who somehow knows your nasty secrets.

Enter “The Boy Who Carried A Forest in His Pocket,” the first short story in Tales of the River Vine.

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My sons love to pick up tree seeds and bring them home. Biff is very methodical about it, fixating upon the number of seeds he can stuff into his pocket, while Bash is already growing them in his mind. “What if they make trees in my pocket?” he asks as he skips along at my side. “Then my bed can be in a tree, and my comfies can sleep in trees, too!”

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From this, my first short story grew.

“Just.” Jamie tosses his glasses onto the grass. “One.” He blinks, and suddenly Buddy sees nothing but light, beautiful, soft, warm, violet light, like he can sleep in a bed of violets, like he’s clothed in the royal robes of Jerusalem. “Trick.”

“Just. One. Trick,” Buddy echoes. He is very tired. Sugar crash, a voice in his mind says, and he believes it.

“The Boy Who Carried a Forest in His Pocket”

Each of the six short stories in Tales of the River Vine will be free to download as they are released one at a time in the coming months on Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s Nook. I’d love to hear your thoughts on these stories, too, so please be sure to read, review, and share.

2019 Update: Due to recent changes in the publishing relationship between Aionios Books and myself, Tales of the River Vine has been pulled from the market to be repackaged and distributed in new editions. Stay tuned!

Read on, share on, and write on, my friends!

43 thoughts on “When your old #writing experiment transforms into a series of #free #shortstories, you find yourself in #RiverVine.

  1. Already been to have a quick look, and am looking forward to sitting quietly to read about the boy who carried a forest in his pocket, later.

    The fringe of River Vine sounds like it hosts a range of delightfully quirky characters, and your thoughts on how and why it’s evolved provide fascinating insights into your process. Nice post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So, so pleased for you. Huge congratulations!!! 😉 There’s a lot to be said about the old adage of never throwing any of your work away. I would love to read your short stories and will endeavour to. It may be a while though as I have been overwhelmed with work at work, work at home and don’t get me on the book, so I’m behind with everything.
    I really like your cover design. I feel excited for you xxx

    Liked by 1 person

      • Absolutely! And the juggling kids doesn’t stop even in their late teens. One of my girls is off to University in Sept and while I’m so excited and will miss her, you know there’s another reason…a glimmer of time I can claim back. Kerching! I am already planning what I want to achieve by the end of the year 🙂 xx

        Liked by 1 person

      • LOL I’m the same way with the kids this fall and kindergarten. At long, long LONG last, all three will be in school all day. “Aw, you’ll miss them, won’t you?”
        Nope.
        Don’t get me wrong–I love’em. And that’s why I WANT the time with them to be FOR them, which just isn’t happening when they’re around all day I got work to do.

        Liked by 1 person

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