Gordon Highland's picture
Gordon Highland from Kansas City is reading Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore November 13, 2013 - 6:07pm

I posted in the Whoring Thread about this a while back, so apologies for the dreadful etiquette, but y'all need to read this, thus the repetition. Thanks in advance for your kind indulgence. I of course welcome your comments below.

Submission Windows is my short story collection. 11 reprints and 15 exclusives—everything, basically—plus a bunch of poetry tying it all together. Oh, and appendices with notes about each of the entries. $2.99 e-book or $8.99 paperback (+ a free Kindle edition if bought from Amazon). A number of these tales originated right here at LitReactor in last year's WAR2 battle.

I wish I had some kickass blurbs to entice you, but I never solicit them (and it's early days yet), so take my word for it, or those of the publications whose pages have been sullied prior. Or hit up the Novels page on my site for kind words about my other work. This thing's a fun ride, suitable for short attention spans and bathroom reading or wallpapering.

Prison bars. Stained church glass. Deadlines precursing rejection. These are Submission Windows: vantage points for peeking in on—or out from—surgeons, killers, priests, perverts, inmates, athletes, musicians, and more than a few celebrities past their prime. Most clinging to frayed ropes of their own making, desperate for redemption, love, or merely an enduring pulse. For others, it’s their ambition on display, destined for humility. These voyeuristic and vicarious vignettes are bound neither by theme or genre … just some troubled characters inviting you to watch.

leah_beth's picture
leah_beth from New Jersey - now in Charleston, SC is reading five different books at once. November 14, 2013 - 6:59am

I so just bought it. Been meaning to so thanks for the reminder, friend! Can't wait to dig in!! :D

Utah's picture
Moderator
Utah from Fort Worth, TX is reading Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry November 14, 2013 - 8:07am

I'm about halfway through this book and it makes me simultaneously happy and very angry.  Happy, because Gordon put me out of the winner's bracket in WAR2, and I read this and understand why.  Gordon is a really, really good writer.  But, you know, so are a lot of people.  You can go on Facebook and see a lot of competent, even compelling work.  So it's important to add here that while Gordon is a really good writer, he also writes really good stories, which are two things that are often difficult to find in tandem.  Plus, he's consistent.  I have yet to discover a story in this collection that didn't propel me through to the end, at which points I always kick back a moment and go, "Fuck, I see how this guy whupped me in WAR.  He's wonderful."

It also makes me very angry, because I can't help but like his work, but I don't want to because Gordon beat me, and not being able to control my emotions makes me really angry.

GET OUT OF MY HEAD, HIGHLAND!

 

 

 

...is this love?

Gordon Highland's picture
Gordon Highland from Kansas City is reading Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore November 14, 2013 - 9:50am

while Gordon is a really good writer, he also writes really good stories

Despite the rage that festers in you, this pleases me to hear, because I've long been confident in my ability to string together pretty phrases, but whether the big picture storytelling is compelling or not is where the insecurities lie. I'm not an overtly competitive person, but I do embody a gunslinger mentality when writing (or making music), that, during that burst of time, no one can do it better. Obviously that's not true, but the delusion gives me the requisite 'sauce to get through it. And should you channel that anger and show this fucking guy how it's done, son, then I will be happy for you as well!

Leah: much obliged, and I hope it arouses similar lovehate, since you indirectly got the better of me in WAR2.

Utah's picture
Moderator
Utah from Fort Worth, TX is reading Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry November 14, 2013 - 11:27am

show this fucking guy how it's done, son

God damnit, you got me fired up now.  I might lose my job over this.

OtisTheBulldog's picture
OtisTheBulldog from Somerville, MA is reading The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz November 14, 2013 - 11:33am

Nice, I'll add it to my cart for my next Amazon order. It'll be great seeing some more WAR2 stories on ink & page (plus all the other stories). 

leah_beth's picture
leah_beth from New Jersey - now in Charleston, SC is reading five different books at once. November 14, 2013 - 12:26pm

since you indirectly got the better of me in WAR2.

And don't you think I'm ever gonna let you forget it! Or any of you!! Not even TomorrowHill because I BEAT HIM ONCE AND I SWEAR I DON'T NEED THERAPY AND OH...never mind. I'm calm again...

Gordon Highland's picture
Gordon Highland from Kansas City is reading Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore November 14, 2013 - 5:43pm

I guess it depends whether we prefer a redemption story or an argument against double-elimination. haha

And thanks for that, Otis! I of course revised them, some needing more than others. Even (most of) the previously published stories got revised, a chance to go in and George Lucas them fuckers. Y'know, except for the better.

avery of the dead's picture
avery of the dead from Kentucky is reading Cipher Sisters November 15, 2013 - 8:06am

I have this book!  And i've read...one of the stories so far. 

Okay, it's officially bumped up on my reading list.  I adored Flashover, so I have high expectations.  It's always great to get a book by an author that you feel confident that you'll like. 

Gordon Highland's picture
Gordon Highland from Kansas City is reading Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore November 19, 2013 - 6:49pm

Hey, folks, I'm this month's LitReactor Community Spotlight (thanks to Miss Avery above), in which I go into some detail about how this thing came to be. Plus other writerly stuff that I'm sure will enthrall you. So get clicky, por favor.

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies November 19, 2013 - 7:58pm

congrats, gordon. he's the real deal, people. check him out.

Bekanator's picture
Bekanator from Kamloops, British Columbia is reading Ugly Girls by Lindsay Hunter November 20, 2013 - 6:40am

Congrats Gordon!

Alan H Jordan's picture
Alan H Jordan from Reno, Nevada is reading "The Whisper Jar" and "The World Beneath" December 7, 2013 - 7:30pm

Hello Gordon,

I just bought Submission Windows, and I'm looking forward to reading it.  It will be interesting to see various aspects of you in one book.

More later.

Alan

Bill Tucker's picture
Bill Tucker from Austin, Texas is reading Grimm's Fairy Tales (1st Edition) December 7, 2013 - 9:43pm

Buying this now! Congrats on the compilation, and I look forward to burning through it!

Gordon Highland's picture
Gordon Highland from Kansas City is reading Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore December 7, 2013 - 10:52pm

I really appreciate that, y'all. And if it's not asking too much, please do share your thoughts on your Amazon/Goodreads/whatever platform of choice after it's had its way with you.

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal December 8, 2013 - 9:52am

I "got clicky."  Now the sound of this one is slowly inticing me...

Alan H Jordan's picture
Alan H Jordan from Reno, Nevada is reading "The Whisper Jar" and "The World Beneath" December 14, 2013 - 11:07pm

I just reviewed Submission Windows on Amazon as a verified purchase.

For some reason I can't paste the URL in here, so please download the attached word document and press CTRL while clicking or copy and paste the URL, or just search for Submission Windows and read my review.

voodoo_em's picture
voodoo_em from England is reading All the books by Ira Levin December 16, 2013 - 2:48am

Hey Gordon, finished reading you book :)

Will post a review on Amazon soon.

In the mean time are you interested to know which were my favorite stories and verse, or anything?

Gordon Highland's picture
Gordon Highland from Kansas City is reading Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore December 16, 2013 - 6:26am

Being one of those needy writer types (especially an independent one who doesn't get hundreds of reviews), I'm interested in anything anyone has to say publicly about my work to spark discussion and hopefully interest. I haven't heard much in the way of specifics as of yet. So that's an emphatic yes!

voodoo_em's picture
voodoo_em from England is reading All the books by Ira Levin December 16, 2013 - 8:13am

Cool. Okay so my favorite favorite story is 'Burgatory  (curiosity question: can I be dumb for a moment and ask what the title is a referrence to?) Love the irony of it, not at all the ending I expected. Funny :) I also love the film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. And my favorite verse is the one that preceeds this story: Miles to Go.

Other favorite stories: Headshot (great characters, much fun with the twenty questions/ten questions, love the thick tongue dialogue) Plan E, God from the Machine (curiosity question:did you write in reverse order, or reverse it afterwards?), In a Handbasket (such I game I would love to have played!), Fresh Fish, Fry Girl.

Othe Favorite verse: Please Stop (hahaha), Invocation (a perfect starting verse), Unveiled, What You Know (I can totally imagine this as a duet, love the last two lines), el bomb.

Also, also can I just say I love the idea of notes on the stories, like the story beyond the story idea. Before I read your book I was reading SGJ's The Ones that Got Away and he does this at the end, and I thought: this is so cool, every short stories book should have this... so yeah, nice one ;)

Gordon Highland's picture
Gordon Highland from Kansas City is reading Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore December 16, 2013 - 11:59am

Thank you, thank you. It's great to get feedback. "'Burgatory" is a play on purgatory, a sort of which the character is trapped in, combined with 'burg, slang for a neighborhood, with him being a family man and all. I was pissed a year later before anyone had read that story yet and there was a new TV show called Suburgatory.

"God From the Machine," I actually did write those scenes in the order they appear. I knew I wanted to morph the protag/antag roles slowly as I went, discovering them for myself along the way, and then went back and revised the earlier scenes to be more effective once I figured it out. That was a WAR2 story.

I remember the idea for that "Handbasket" game came from being behind someone in line at a store checkout, seeing them plop down an odd combination of items on the conveyor (I think it was a turkey baster and condoms), and wondering what was going through the cashier's mind. haha

So glad you enjoyed the Notes; I had a lot of fun writing those. Thanks again for sharing, Em!

voodoo_em's picture
voodoo_em from England is reading All the books by Ira Levin December 16, 2013 - 2:00pm

You know, that's kind of what I guessed it to mean, only I was thinking "burb" as in the suburbs, or that tom hanks film :) 

Re: god in the machine - I think it sounds way more fun to write backwards!

And other peoples shopping, I'm always doing that. Funny what random things people buy.

voodoo_em's picture
voodoo_em from England is reading All the books by Ira Levin December 18, 2013 - 10:51am

As promised, my review is now up on Amazon UK :)

Gordon Highland's picture
Gordon Highland from Kansas City is reading Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore December 19, 2013 - 9:54am

Thank you for helping spread the Word to our friends in the UK!

Alan H Jordan's picture
Alan H Jordan from Reno, Nevada is reading "The Whisper Jar" and "The World Beneath" January 26, 2014 - 6:58pm

Gordon,

I have been thinking. about the marketing of Submission Windows, and I don't think that the title is as conducive to sales as possible.  This book really is a peak into your soul. Please give some thought into alternative names.  You could try A|B testing, and see if you get much better results.  A Peek Into My Soul is one title you might evaluate.  Subtitle: Stories, poems and more.

Just a thought,

Alan

Gordon Highland's picture
Gordon Highland from Kansas City is reading Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore January 26, 2014 - 9:33pm

While I do appreciate the thoughtfulness … ummm, no. I published the book in October; it's not in some market-research test phase. The title is the title, exactly the one I wanted for years, and stand by. 

I write fiction, so the suggested title would not appeal to me (neither as writer nor reader), being one who is often deflecting questions about presumed autobiographical content as it is. Ain't my soul being peeked in on (well, maybe 13%). Even if it were, I'd never be so presumptive that anyone would care to read something titled that by an author they're never heard of.

Alan H Jordan's picture
Alan H Jordan from Reno, Nevada is reading "The Whisper Jar" and "The World Beneath" January 27, 2014 - 5:59pm

Sounds good.  I was hoping you'd say something like this.  Now, I know how to start the discussion on Amazon. Stay tuned.

Alan H Jordan's picture
Alan H Jordan from Reno, Nevada is reading "The Whisper Jar" and "The World Beneath" January 28, 2014 - 6:16am

Hello Gordon,

I owe you an apology. I've been listening to the suggestions of a "marketing guru," who strongly feels that that way to get traffic for books is to introduce controversial topics in discussions, topics such as should the title be different where the author justifies where they choose the title.

I just don't see this working in a constructive way, and I agree with you that the goal should be to build your reputation vs. building traffic.

Regards,

Alan

sean of the dead's picture
sean of the dead from Madisonville, KY is reading Peckerwood, by Jed Ayres January 28, 2014 - 9:35am

Wanna know how to sell more copies?

Add more dicks.

ReneeAPickup's picture
Class Facilitator
ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading Wanderers by Chuck Wendig January 28, 2014 - 9:36am

I am not a marketing guru, but this is my general advice: don't listen to marketing gurus. "Guru" means absolutely nothing. And definitely don't try to apply marketing guru's advice to others.

Devon Robbins's picture
Devon Robbins from Utah is reading The Least Of My Scars by Stephen Graham Jones January 28, 2014 - 9:59am

Yeah, one of those, "Those who can't do, teach," sort of things.

Gordon Highland's picture
Gordon Highland from Kansas City is reading Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore January 28, 2014 - 12:49pm

Okay, I'm taking notes here. Let's see … up the dick count, ignore self-ordained gurus, and teach. Got it! Now, be sure to look for my next book, Afterschool Phallustines, on the memoir shelf at your local Walmart. Or its self-help follow-up, The Sensual Sensei.

Man, this fiction shizz is for the birds, when I could be making phat stacks by feigning expertise and regurgitating platitudes from my focus group.

Alan H Jordan's picture
Alan H Jordan from Reno, Nevada is reading "The Whisper Jar" and "The World Beneath" February 1, 2014 - 12:23am

Have you considered submitting this book as a Kindle Single?  There are a number of short story collections that are selling well. The exposure might be very helpful in getting readers and reviews.

 

TheScrivener's picture
TheScrivener from Seattle is reading short stories February 1, 2014 - 12:54am

I would definitely buy a Kindle Single about dicks and gurus.

Gordon Highland's picture
Gordon Highland from Kansas City is reading Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore February 1, 2014 - 7:47am

Collections are ineligible for Kindle Singles, my word count is 30,000 over their max, and it contains some previously published material. Three strikes.

When it comes to individual stories, I do love the idea of Singles to make them available the world. As a reader/consumer, though, I haven't gotten on board yet, because my Kindle's cluttered as it is, and managing Collections is pretty cumbersome on my device.