the Author

Social Distancing Journal 02: short fiction

Posted in writing.

In the previous post I said I did not have covers for the short stories I had not yet self-published. Appar­ently what I lack is brain cells.

This caused a round of the usual author-arguing-with-herself. It gets loud, in here. Some people have asked for ways to buy the story, or alter­nately, pay me for the story (and I had to look up ko-fi, because I wasn’t aware of it. I am aware of Patreon, but at the moment, do not have one.) So I have done two things. Well, will have done two things. Hopefully.

First: I have uploaded the short story, in the .99 cent cate­gory on Amazon, Kobo and iTunes. They will go live some­time within the next couple of days ummm, now. The link to the book page is here.

Second: I have a .pdf which includes the (overly large, sorry) cover and the story itself, Four Attempts at a Letter. It is not for sale, but can be freely read and down­loaded (I think you have to “save as” from your web-browser).

This is not a test :). I am happy to offer the stories free for the dura­tion of our various shelter-in-place restric­tions, which … don’t look like they’re going to be ending anytime soon.

I wrote Four Attempts a long time ago, and in refor­mat­ting it and trying to find mistakes, real­ized two things: for me, it is incred­ibly short. And I did not cringe while reading it. It assumes a bit of knowl­edge about early Israel, but I think, without that clarity, it will still make sense.


My current plans are to prepare and format stories and to publish them on the site every two weeks, on Mondays. My answering of ques­tions or general rumi­na­tions, or even recom­men­da­tion posts, I’ll do on Satur­days. As those are the days I worked in the book­store, I didn’t write novel words on either, so I’ll be keeping my regular writing schedule.

27 Responses to Social Distancing Journal 02: short fiction

  1. Tanya Shivley says:

    Thank you — It was easy to down­load Four Attempts at a Letter. look forward to reading it soon!

  2. Susan Keyes says:

    Thank you — this is so exciting and generous of you — I’ll be looking forward to reading the stories. Please don’t worry about the fact that they aren’t every­thing you could make them if you had all the time in the world — not every project can be fully devel­oped. But having time-release things to look forward to in the current blur is mightily welcome!

  3. Tyronne Lorne Hodgins says:

    Very easy to down­load! Thank you! Will keep an eye on Kobo and purchase those other stories you mentioned. After all, I’ve purchased every­thing you’ve ever written (that I could find). As for the ‘brain cells’ comment, I myself now suffer from ‘Some­timers’. It started when I turned 50. Some­times I remember, some­times I don’t!

  4. Emile De Antonio says:

    Thank you! I have the 6 Essalieyan stories and thought that was most of your short fiction — I was aston­ished at the number of other early works that you listed. What a treat! Now I just need to remember what day Monday is. The days blur together as one sits at home.

  5. Kerry aka Trouble says:

    Thank you!

  6. Andrea D Smith says:

    Emile~I so relate to you, I’m strug­gling to remember what day of the week it is. Every­thing is blur­ring together in what feels like an endless weekend.
    Michelle ~ Thanks so much for the free fiction, it’s appre­ci­ated. Like others I thank you for posting more frequently. After reading your last blog asking for sugges­tions, I was wondering if there’s a chance of reading scenes that were deleted from Chron­i­cles of Elantra? I know there’s a few books that went long and I would love to revisit my old friends, even in a betting war. 😁 Someone also mentioned hobbies you’ve tried or enjoy. I’m not sure shy this interest me but it does. I’d love for any sugges­tions of recipes… I’m finding myself with a lot more time for cooking and enjoying setting at the dinner table with my family. Thanks again

  7. Peter Moore says:

    Oh yea and hooray! More good stuff from my favoriteist author. Thanks!

  8. Sharon Corbet says:

    It’s avail­able on the DE versions of Amazon and Kobo. (Found once I thought to check Michelle Sagara, rather than West…)

  9. michelle says:

    @Sharon: Thanks :).

    I reit­erate for anyone reading: the .pdf here contains the cover, all of the text, and too much “also-by”, that the purchasable ebooks do. Nothing is excluded.

  10. Thomas Wiegand says:

    Thank you. I just finished CAST IN WISDOM. I loved the humor between the char­ac­ters. Stay safe and be well.

  11. michelle says:

    <3 Thomas. How are things on your end? The store is still taking and ship­ping mail orders — but for safety reasons, there’s only *one* person going in (and out).

  12. DeDe says:

    Thank you! I’ve been enjoying re-reading all the short stories. Or short(ish) stories… They suit my atten­tion span at the moment. Like other folks — I’ve been finding it hard to focus on a new in-depth storyline.
    I’ve read a total of one new book recently (although I’ve started several.) It’s a completely different genre but if you’re looking for some­thing different check out The Adven­tur­er’s Son: A Memoir by Roman Dial. Spoiler Alert: It’s a Memoir. But while sad — it’s also surpris­ingly easy to read.
    Thanks again for all the posts!

  13. DeDe says:

    I should clarify: the book above was not easy emotion­ally to read — just well written.

  14. Jo-Ann Pieber says:

    Oh Michelle! Thank-you so much for posting the Sigurne story/excerpt…I Thor­oughly enjoyed that extra insight into her char­acter, her past in the north, and the oh-so-compelling inter­ac­tions between her and the kialli lord. I cannot imagine how diffi­cult it must be to cut such large segments at the editing stage — and wonder how many other such gems exist. You’re fully aware I think of how your readers appre­ciate Every word you write — but in case it bears repeating — I/we just love the Way you write, and All of your char­ac­ters (even the ‘baddies’ — this excerpt helped me under­stand the kialli just that much more fully — sortof…). I had promised myself that the next time I commented I would try not to Gush too much, but I fear I’m still inca­pable of refraining from said gushing. This deep dive into a chapter of Sigurne’s life was just the thing for me in this very strange time. Thank-you

  15. Joey says:

    Thank you!

  16. michelle says:

    @Jo-Ann: there are very, very few authors who mind when people who love their work gush. It’s prob­ably more awkward in person — but never on-line :)

    @Joey: You’re welcome :D

  17. michelle says:

    @Jo-Ann: I’ve told this story before, but. I loved Robin McKin­ley’s BEAUTY. I just adored it. I went back to the book­store at which I’d bought it, book in hand, to demand every­thing – I mean every­thing – the author had ever written.

    You’re holding it.”


    Some books later (hers, not mine), I was having lunch in the back room, where I wrote on lunch hour, and Tanya Huff came in with a stranger. “And this is the back room, and this is Michelle.”

    Clearly, she was giving the woman a tour of the store. “Michelle, this is Robin McKinley.”

    I kind of almost knocked my chair over in excite­ment. I just started to babble — about her books, about how much I loved them, about specif­i­cally in BEAUTY a lack of evil/selfish sisters, etc. etc.

    I then glanced at Tanya and froze. “I’m babbling aren’t I?”

    Rather a lot.” She turned to Robin McKinley. “I’m sorry, I’d have warned you but I’d forgotten just how much she loves your books.”

    And McKinley said, “No, no — you don’t have to stop her. This is good babble – she’s a reader who clearly read the book I thought I was writing.”

  18. Donna Hightower says:

    Currently rereading The Essalieyian series, always start with the Hunters Duo the 1 – 3 of house wars, then sun sword, then back to house wars. Lovely way to relax during house confine­ment. I go k this is about my 4th reread of this series, then I’ll move over to Elantra. Did I see some­thing about possibly getting move sun swords books? Hope so love all your books

  19. Joey says:

    I don’t recall having heard the McKinley meeting story. Thank you for (re)sharing it!

  20. DeDe says:

    I need to order Beauty. Have other McKinley books that I enjoyed- but for some reason — I don’t think I’ve ever read that one! Thanks!

  21. michelle says:

    @DeDe: I loved McKin­ley’s Beauty. She wrote Rose Daughter twenty ears later, and I loved it as well; both are retellings of Beauty and the Beast, which was my favorite fairy tale was a child. And still is.

  22. Candace says:

    Michelle, I read your “Four Attempts at a Letter” and it really resonated with me tonight. The quote, “humanity has dark­ness because in dark­ness the brightest dreams are born”. Trying to hold true to that and other hopeful words in my small province of NS where our own values and beliefs are being put to the test.

    Thank you for contin­uing to share with us your great talent and creativity.

  23. Liza Ismail says:

    I have been an avid reader of your books since hunter’s oath. (I am 60 by the way). I have since then compiled a list of your short stories published in different antholo­gies. It totals to 76 (including dupli­cates). I have found all but 20 and the ones I could not find were published in the late 90s and early 2000s. I can cross out Four Attempts off my list😬. In Malaysia, in those days there were not many stores that sold fantasy books (esp antholo­gies). I would comb all the book­stores within driving range before I finally had access to the internet and found online book stores like abe books and amazon and goodreads and smash­words. Any chance you could self repub­lish these short stories as an ebook? There is prob­ably a copy­right rule involved in there some­where. But i can always hope.

  24. michelle says:

    @Liza: I am going to go through all of the stories by publi­ca­tion date during all of our various shut­downs, and I will both self-publish (i.e. put them up on Amazon/iTunes/Kobo) and have the story free here as a .pdf file. Which stories are you missing? The next up is Winter, next Monday.

  25. Liza Ismail says:

    Sorry for the late reply but was a bit caught up with Ramadan preps. Here in Malaysia, we have an MCO (move­ment control order) ie only 1 person from each house­hold can go out to do shop­ping, pay bills, etc and all within a 10km radius from your house. And each shop limits to 10 customers at any one time so the wait is long. Limits the choices some­what but its surviv­able (telling my girls their favorite dish is not on the menu may not be). Anyways here’s my list

    1 Winter (I have down­loaded, so thank you thank you thank you)
    2 What She Won’t Remember (Alter­nate Outlaws 10/1994)
    3 The Hidden Grove (Witch Fantastic 1/1995)
    4 When A Child Cries (Phan­toms Of The Night 6/1996)
    5 The Sword In The Stone (Alter­nate Tyrants 4/1997)
    6 Turn Of The Card (Tarot Fantastic 2/1997)
    7 Flight (Return OF The Dinosaurs (5/1997)
    8 The Dead That Sow (Wizard Fantastic 11/1997)
    9 Childhood’s End (Tad William’s Mirror World 6/1998)
    10 Step On The Crack (Black Cats And Broken Mirrors 6/1998)
    11 The Vision Of Men (Things Invis­ible To See 9/1998)
    12 Diamonds (Alien Pets 12/1998)
    13 Elegy (Moon Shots 7/1999)
    14 Work In Progress (Alien Abduc­tions 10/1999)
    15 Faces Made Of Clay (Mardi Gras Madness 2000)
    16 Sacri­fice (Spell Fantastic 3/2000)
    17 Truth (The Mutant Files 8/2001)
    18 How To Kill An Immortal (The Bakka Anthology 12/2002)
    19 The Colors Of Augus­tine (Summoned To Destiny 10/2004)

    I hope I don’t come off as obses­sive but I just love the way you write. I did start with JRR T and Norton (which I also have quite a large collec­tion), then Eddings, G G Kay, C S Friedman, Tad Williams, Kurtz (the Deryni series), Anne Bishop and others and not many authors have moved me as much as your books did. When I find an author I like I will search out other stories and if I find that the other stories are just as inter­esting I will start to collect their books (my husband and my chil­dren are very very under­standing, they know reading is a passion for me). On a side note, my daughter sabrina loves anime and I have told her about Tower of God and surprised me with “yes mom I know about it – have watched it”. Some­thing new I learn every day about my kids.

    OMG I have written an essay. Again thank you thank you thank you.

  26. Jeanine says:

    I love Robin McKin­ley’s work as well so I would prob­ably have been gushing myself if I had met her! Or Tanya Huff. Or you. :) I used to frequent Robin’s blog as well, but she hasn’t posted on it in almost 2 years. I am hoping all is well with her; would you happen to have heard anything that you are free to share? Thanks. And thanks as well for writjng your books and for sharing things on your blog as well; it is much appreciated.

  27. Jeanine says:

    Also, please forgive me for typos and repeat­edly using the phrase “as well.” I really must remember to proof­read before posting. :)

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