September 2020 Newsletter
The Road Not Taken
Why “the road not taken”?
The line refers to the title of the Robert Frost poem. You know the one. “two paths diverged,” and all that. There are several interpretations of the poem, and all are correct in some way. We have the phrase in our lexicon: “off the beaten path.” And let’s not forget: “to boldly go where no one has gone before,” and “to go where angels fear to tread.” And from that song in Man of La Mancha: “to run where the brave dare not go.”
The concept of doing something different is one way of distinguishing human beings from the rest of the fauna and flora and taxa on this world. For some, it’s a search for identity. For others, a desire for recognition. Still others want to push their own limits, thinking outside the box, challenging themselves. It’s a difficult life, and some folks simply say, “Meh!” and go back to their daily drudge.
Proceed now directly to what P. T. Barnum called The Great Egress. Let’s get out of here and move forward to the spot occupied by storytellers. For that is what writers of fiction truly are: storytellers. Some, including Heinlein, hold that there is only one story—boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back—with infinite variations. Regardless of the number of kinds of stories, there are those the readers will remember, and those that are best…shunted aside. What sort of stories remain in the memory, sometimes long after the storyteller is now in a tavern Upstairs, blowing the froth off a few, and telling outrageous lies along with Asimov, Heinlein, Clarke, Kuttner, Pratchett (mind those elephants), Moore, McCaffrey, Huxley, Hemingway, Milton, Austen, Tennyson, Knight, Hamilton, Hamilton, Fleming, Dostoyevsky, Cao Zueqin, Homer, Bronte, Bronte, MacDonald, Doc Smith, Wyndham, Orwell, Ellison, Dickens, Dickenson, Spillane…what a cacophony! Wouldn’t you love to be able to sort out the statements?
As a storyteller, I would like to have earned a place in that tavern, well into the background, kibitzing, signaling for a brew now and then, listening, listening…
So Hiraeth Publishing is looking for, not the road not taken, but the stories not told. The ones that stand out because they bring a different perspective to the same social problems, whether you are human or from a galaxy far, far away. For example: we don’t publish many vampire or zombie stories. Why not? Because everyone else is doing it (or so it sometimes seems). Those stories we do publish, stand out. Sabit the Sumerian, for one, because it is based on the Epic of Gilgamesh (it’s in our shop; do a search). So does the Gaius series by Debby Feo, which takes a vampire through history, from ancient Rome to the Moon. (To browse her titles, simply do a search for her name in our Shop).
Because we understand that characters drive stories. Without character development, what you have is a narrative, not a story. A narrative simply relates events, without a lot of emotionalism and inner dialogue. NB: Emotionalism and inner dialogue show the effects of the events on the characters.
Sorry. Digression. I’ll slap my wrist and move on.
Storytellers want their characters to trod that road not taken. Storytellers want to stand out; characters help them do that. Consider: a storyteller who shall remain nameless has written…I dunno, maybe twenty, thirty novels, and they are all the same. Same characterizations, same plot, same denouement. All s/he does is change the names of the characters, the buildings, the streets. S/he sells well, but the stories are forgettable.
Bottom line: try some of our stories. You won’t forget them. (If you forget them, let us know)(okay, maybe I could have phrased that better).
In our Shop, some of our publications are going digital!!! They are available in ePub and pdf versions, and are labeled so you know which is which. When you search for a title, the offerings come up labeled: print, ePub, pdf. We even have a Digital Shop, the link for which is: https://www.hiraethsffh.com/digital-store
So check us out and keep checking for new listings. We’re adding them almost daily. See you there.
We are also pleased to announce that the heart-wrenching and heart-warming novella, The Adopted Child, by Teri Santitoro, has been accepted for publication and, cover art willing, should be released on 1 October 2020. It’s one of those roads not taken…
A reminder that the ONLINE EDITION of the August 2020 SCIFAIKUEST is available for your reading pleasure. It’s free! Here’s the link: https://www.hiraethsffh.com/scifaikuest-online-august-2020
We continue to be open to story submission for our upcoming anthology, IT CAME FROM HER PURSE. Check the guidelines for…well, for guidelines. Here’s the link: https://www.hiraethsffh.com/it-came-from-her-purse
The new Drabble contest is still open. The theme for this contest is “Diplomatic Immunity for Extra-terrestrial Visitors.” Plug in those imaginations and gin up a submission or two! Guidelines can be read at this link: https://www.hiraethsffh.com/drabble-contest
Hiraeth editors Teri Santitoro and Wes Alexander have created a new minimalist poetry/storytelling form called Drabbun. This form combines the qualities of a drabble (which is a story containing exactly, precisely, 100 words) and a haibun, which is a poem that includes a short narrative story punctuated by a relevant haiku. Eh voilà: Drabbun! Please check the guidelines; here’s the link: https://www.hiraethsffh.com/drabbun
We have several new publications available for your enjoyment, pondering, and meditation. These are now listed in our shop. If you will allow me…
PARABNORMAL MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2020. Yes, the “Abbies” are back for another go-round. Stories, a couple of poems, and three (yes, 3!) articles about parABnormalities, including one by Daniel R. Robichaud on how various writers approach the paranormal themes.
THE FIFTH DI… SEPTEMBER 2020. Science fiction, fantasy, dark fiction. What’s not to like? Featuring cover art by noted Memphis artist Betharyelle Taylor, this issue includes tales of a man searching another world for his wife; a cursed musical instrument; a genie who drives a big rig; and a woman who collects minds. Come meet these characters and others in The Fifth Di…
DRABBLE HARVEST #1: Ancient Aliens, Go Home. This collection of themed drabbles is now available from our shop.
THE MARTIAN WAVE SEPTEMBER 2020. Science fiction and fantasy featuring the exploration and settlement of other worlds. With cover art by award-winning Coloradan Laura Givens, this piece titled “Definitely Not Kansas,” this issue presents “It Hungers Below” by Mike Morgan; “Expiration Dates” by Kara Race-Moore; “What Poor Gods We Do Make” by James Edward O’Brien, plus work by Bruce Boston, Gregory Norris, and others…and includes a review by Daniel C. Smith. Come and get it!
And don’t forget our other new titles:
Without further ado, then: browse, read, buy, enjoy. If you have any questions or comments, send them to us at sdpshowcase at yahoo dot com.
See you next month. And please, from all of us at Hiraeth Publishing, stay safe.
Storyteller and Managing Editor