The Happily Disgruntled Writer Reflects on Finding His Writing Inspiration

The Happily Disgruntled Writer

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Writing Advice from Questionable Characters

“Hell, man, I know very well you didn’t come to me only to want to become a writer and after all what do I really know about it except you’ve got to stick to it with all the energy of a benny* addict.”
  ~ Dean Moriarty from ON THE ROAD

Neal Cassady, the inspiration for the Dean Moriarty character, with Jack Kerouac – WIKIPEDIA

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*Benzedrine, the trademark name for Amphetamine.

 
 

What do you do with the scraps of wood that have been cluttering your garage for over a decade?

Table Scraps
Table Scraps

Well, I make me a highly unsightly yet highly functional bed desk and manuscript holder in an effort to make the sorrowful task of writing a little less sorrowful, and from which I posted this self-aggrandizing semi-selfie (it has my feet in it anyway).

Anyway…

Write on!

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What’s My Name, Again?

And here I thought it was going to be such a dramatic hassle to change the name of my novel from The Sea Trials of an Unfortunate Sailor to Inside the Skin.

I mean, I’ve been wanting to change it for quite a while now but kept putting it off thinking it would take a grand act of our dysfunctional Congress for it to happen.

But guess what?

Yup, you guessed it… it was a delicious piece of cake.

Seriously, for Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), all I had to do was go in and edit the book details to reflect the new name. Same for Smashwords, the service I use to distribute my books beyond Amazon.

For the paperback, there was a bit more work involved. I published it through CreateSpace and, because of the IBSN requirements, they do not allow name changes and your only recourse it to contact their support team for help.

Which I did.

And the woman who helped me was awesome, thankfully.

My choices were limited, however, which is to say, I only had one. I could unpublish/retire the old version of the book and then publish a whole new version. Once it went live, I would have to call back and have them link the print edition with the Kindle edition. Which I was prepared to do.

But then I asked a question somewhat off-topic.

I noticed a few weeks ago that my links pointing directly to my books at CreateSpace were being redirected to Amazon, so I asked the support lady about this. Come to find out, Amazon is merging all CreateSpace services within KDP. So I asked her if, since that would be happening soon, wouldn’t it be best if I use the new print service (that I noticed for the first time when I changed the Kindle title) that is now offered by KDP.

And she agreed, that def would be the best option since, once the print edition went live (which it now is), it would automatically be linked to the Kindle edition (which it now… is not (the nice CreateSpace support lady said it would take a few days for this to happen)).

Pretty cool.

So, the name change was the easy part.

The less than easy part was getting all the content spiffed up – front matter updated, new intro, new outro, et cetera, et cetera…

And the even more less than easy part was preparing the new book cover and getting it properly formatted and uploaded properly…

It wasn’t so much of a hassle with the Kindle and Smashwords editions, but it took some significant jiggering with the print edition.

However, I prevailed in the end and now everything is up and running (except at Smashwords… it takes them forever to approve books/changes and distribute them to all the retailers).

So, yeah…

It wasn’t a five minute project, that’s for sure…

But it wasn’t the project from Hades that I expected either.


Yeah, I know this Blink song is called “What’s my Age Again?” not “What’s my Name Again?” but just go with it, okay. This song’s been stuck in my head the entire time I’ve been working on the name change… but, of course, I’ve been singing it as What’s my name again?

Because that’s how I roll…

 
 

INSIDE THE SKIN

NOW AVAILABLE*

INSIDE THE SKIN BOOK COVER
[FORMERLY, THE SEA TRIALS OF AN UNFORTUNATE SAILOR]

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CURRENTLY TRENDING

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #695 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
          #1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Literary Fiction > Psychological
          #6 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Literary Fiction > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
          #12 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Suspense > Psychological
 

*Only the ebook edition is available and, currently, only at Amazon. It will be several days before the ebook rolls out to other retailers and before the print edition is made available.

 
 

It is with a Heavy Heart that I Bid a Sad Adieu

I came up with the title of my novel, The Sea Trials of an Unfortunate Sailor, early on in its development and I have grown to love it as I have any other part of my existence, such as my left pinkie finger, my crooked nose, my restless and weary soul. However, after seven years since the book’s publishing, and despite the fond things that have been said and written about the story (and a few not-so fond things), I’m afraid it’s time for me to admit that my beloved title and book cover have failed in their efforts to attract new and varied readers.

The Sea Trials of an Unfortunate Sailor

Well, regardless whether it’s the fault of the title and cover or not, it had become glaringly evident to me a long while ago that some serious shaking up with the book was needed. It took me a while, but it has finally come time for the shaking to begin.

My rationale for changing the title – and the book cover, as well – is based upon a gut feeling I’ve had since not too long after the book was published: They were both too navy-centric in their words and imagery, which I suspect have turned off many readers who don’t prefer the military genre, a genre which I have never identified this book to be. I’ve always classified it as literary fiction and a psychological suspense novel.

While the story is certainly set within a military environment – a laid-up warship homeported out of Yokosuka, Japan – its story is not necessarily a military one. It, like most stories written from and of the soul, is a universal story. It is a story about our prejudices, our stereotypes, our identity. The stuff all humans struggle with frequently, regardless the setting they happen to be in.

As it is, the old title and the old book cover essentially scream to prospective readers that this is a military-centric book, and only that.

That being said, it is my pleasure to introduce to you the new title and the new cover for my old novel.

INSIDE THE SKIN BOOK COVER

The new title, Inside the Skin, which is also the title of the story’s second chapter, is derived from the saying inside the skin of the ship, which is navy-speak for simply being or going inside the ship. But seeing how the story’s focus is on one’s identity and sexual orientation, the saying also makes a good metaphor for those themes, as well. We are who we are on the inside, regardless how anyone else wants to label us. As many of us know, one of the main aspects, and sometimes the hardest, of our journey through life is trying to find comfort within our own skin.

As for the book cover, I chose the image firstly because I think it looks cool. I also like how the chain link imagery speaks to the theme of the book – we are trapped within who we are whether we like it or not. It also reminds me of how sometimes it felt like being in a prison when out to sea for long periods of time. The amazing image used for the book cover comes courtesy of Ricardo Gomez Angel of UNSPLASH.COM. If you’d like, you can see it in its original form here. The font, “GOOD TIMES REGULAR,” is courtesy of Raymond Larabie of 1001FONTS.COM and can be seen here.

There is still some work for me to do – new ISBNs, updating the front matter, et cetera – so it will take several days before I begin to initiate the updates to all the various distributors, so you still have some time to get you a copy of the print edition with the old cover.

Hey, never know. It may be worth some money some day…

Fingers crossed.

I guess I should add that I’ve made the ebook version permanently free everywhere (at least for the indefinite future). You can find links to all the various retailers on its About page.

Anyway, regardless whether or not you think the new title intriguing or the new book cover snazzy, I hope you find the story enjoyable because that is what matters most to me.

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NEW RELEASE

LEAVE: And Other Stories Short and Shorter

I’m happy to announce the release of my fifth book, a short story collection entitled: LEAVE: And Other Stories Short and Shorter.

Within the collection, there are 30 stories new and old. Some are short in length as are traditional short stories, and some are shorter in length, as are the more contemporary flash fiction stories. Some were written as recently as this past winter; others, as long ago as the early ’90s. Many have been published previously on my website and other places, but there are several new stories that have not yet been released until now.

However, instead of publishing it in a traditional manner with Amazon or other publishers, I am offering it as a gift to all new newsletter subscribers. So, if you’re not a subscriber, click one the big red button below and make it happen. If you’re not interested in subscribing and would like a copy, well, subscribe, get the download link for the book, then unsubscribe from the newsletter. No harm, no foul. :)

If you have the opportunity and feel so compelled, I would appreciate you taking the time to leave me and others who may be interested in your feedback by writing a review or even just a quick comment about the book on its landing page at kurtbrindley.com/leave-and-other-stories/.

I hope you enjoy the read!
 

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Praise for the short story LEAVE

“What a surprise. I was expecting a testosterone-infused​ missive about a bunch of sailors. I found [it] an interesting take on the impact of the first female sailors. An added bonus was the thoughtful observation regarding sensitivity training. Mr. Brindley probably could have written the manual on sensitivity training as evidenced by the passage in the story about a mother and son.” ~ JoAnn Williams

“This story was gritty and realistic in its portrayal of the changes required when women were first put in combat situations. It is short but makes you think about what they had to endure and the adjustments to mindset of the men.” ~ Nancy Vaughn

“So vivid in its telling. I felt like I was a fly on a wall observing the “boys will be boys” banter aboard this ship.” ~ KL

Praise for other stories in the collection

STAFANGR, 1994

“Dark, seductive, compelling writing. It goes nowhere, and it goes everywhere. Don’t stop.” ~ zeeculego

“The compelling images, the flowing structure, and exact use of language move your story smoothly. It is beautifully done.” ~ theenglishprofessoratlarge

WHISPER ALLEY

“Really beautiful, magnetic pros that just draws you in.” ~ cid andrenelli

“Such a beautiful and yet sad story. I could feel sympathy for the little girl.” ~ barking dog

THE FIX

“Disgusting, realistic, dark! I love it! I’m not normally into military type stuff but it feels real, you’ve created a pretty effective atmosphere. It’s refreshing to come across something a little darker.” ~ catwritespoetry
 

LEAVE: And Other Stories Short and Shorter