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Sep 21, 2022Liked by Winston Malone

Hello 👋🏻 everyone, I’m Sandra. I’m One of 6 children with a couple of kids of my own. I’m retired from owning and operating my own beauty shop up in Tennessee. My mother was a writer of poems, songs and music, and so is my sister and her son. Both of my sons write, which is inspiring me to think of a story I would like to tell someday. I’m shy about doing it so that’s why I’m listening and learning all about you guys, to build my confidence. I really like Winston’s interviews because a lot of my questions get answered by them and it’s very interesting to learn how everyone gets started writing. Good luck to all of you and keep the stories coming.

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Sep 21, 2022·edited Sep 23, 2022Author

Thanks for commenting and sharing more about your family. Now that you’re retired, you have a chance to focus on what really matters. This would be a great opportunity for you to share your life and experience with others. I know it’s really awkward to share personal details with strangers online, but maybe you will find enjoyment in it. If you don’t, a physical book may be the remedy to that for enabling you to still share your story. I really hope you write something for us to read one day. I can’t wait!

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Sep 21, 2022Liked by Winston Malone

Hi, Sandra. It seems to me you already started telling a story by writing a bit here about your family. I'd like to know more. Every family is so unique, and can provide inspiration for fiction, too.

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Sep 21, 2022Liked by Winston Malone

Hi, and yes with a big family there are many stories to tell. I remember telling my children stories at bedtime and they weren’t always cute, some were scary ha ha ha . Anyway, I’m happy to have this platform and nice to meet you.

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Sep 21, 2022Liked by Winston Malone

Oh boy - some of the most calm stories end with a jolt that keeps you awake half the night - a good challenge to tell effectively. Leigh here mentioned writing horror, and both of you make me think of Halloween coming next month. I bet scary stories will be extra-welcome then.

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Hi Sandra, I also hope you write and share something! I definitely know what it's like to be shy :-) but, in my experience, this is a really welcoming and supportive space. Besides, we all had to start somewhere. Good luck with your writing!

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This is sweet! Got a full family of creatives, and I love that you are taking in a variety of different stories. And I know writing can be nerve-wracking, but remember there are many writing groups that seek to help us better our craft, you aren't alone. Also, my interview is coming soon too, early October!

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Sep 21, 2022Liked by Winston Malone

Hi there, thanks for the encouragement and I’m so looking forward to your interview. Nice to meet you.

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What part of Tennessee are you in, Sandra? I’m just outside of Chattanooga.

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Sep 23, 2022Liked by Winston Malone

Hello, I’m Dave. I was born and raised in St. Petersburg, FL. I left Florida when I joined the military (Army) at 23 yrs old. I lived in TN after getting out of the service when I was 26 yrs old and worked for the civil service, then transferred over to the post office and worked there for 13 yrs.. After having my son, I moved back home to Florida and was involved in starting a manufacturing company that made custom interior & exterior doors and hardwood mouldings. I’m now a independent manufacturers rep. and have my own business. My son gave me a journal about 13 yrs ago and asked me to write my life story in it, then eventually my daily thoughts. Unfortunately, I don’t have the writing bug as he does and at this point I’ve only written one sentence. Over the past two years and more recently, I’ve started to take the time out of my busy schedule to read “The Story Letters” short stories and poems. After seeing all of these wonderful comments about his work, this has given me the inspiration to take the time to start writing in the journal that he will have one day. He knows my life history and will probably end up writing a adventure/comedy novel about his old man. 🤞If you haven’t figured it out yet, Winston is my son. As of today, I’m a very, very proud father, not only for his military service but how awesome is it to sit back and watch your son in his life journey become successful right before eyes. After a unsuccessful attempt to live my baseball fantasy through him, (tidbit: he’s very athletic) I’ve told him many times, once you find something you love doing, the success will follow. He obviously loves reading and writing, since he was five yrs old I would have to frequently check on him in his bedroom to see if he was still alive, only to find him using his imagination playing out dramatic scenes with his dinosaurs and Pokémon for hours. I can’t wait to see where this writing venture takes him, keep up the great work along with being an inspiration to others. Love Always, Dad.

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I still love dinosaurs and Pokémon, so there’s that. But, yes, I would like for you to write in that journal please. Your stories from the military are some of my favorites. Also, I’m not THAT athletic, but I appreciate the kind sentiment. I appreciate your endless support for my dreams. You’ve always pushed me to follow the path of enjoyment and passion. And for that I am thankful. Love you!

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Hello Storyletter community! My name is Matthew but I go by M. S. Arthadian. I am the Creative Director of Arthadian Anthologies and have been laying the foundation for an expanding, speculative universe known as the CORE. For it I've developed an Online Tabletop RPG and have a 3 Season long Podcast where I personally dive into the details of the CORE along with some cinematic style audio-storytelling. I also have a Livestream of the Tabletop RPG coming very soon alongside the 4th Season of the Podcast which is going to be even bigger than the previous 3 seasons. My future goal is to bring on more creators into this massive universe I've developed, to make new worlds, regions, stories, all flowing inside it. I'm inspired by what Winston has done here with the Storyletter and I believe that this is the start of a new type of publishing industry!

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I don’t know how you do it, Matthew! Bravo 👏 and keep it up. I’m stoked for season 4!

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Sep 23, 2022Liked by Winston Malone

Wow! Very nice comment.

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Hi Matthew, wow! I took a peek at your work and it's really impressive! It's obvious you've put a lot of thought hard work into developing this project. Good luck with it!

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Wow, you are busy. Wishing you all of the best in your endeavors.

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Hi everyone! I’m Elly. I live in Washington state, but I’m originally from upstate New York. I’m a full-time artist and mother of two kiddos. I work in both traditional and digital mediums and have done book illustrations if anyone is interested in commissioning me.

I have lots of updates. On the art front, I’m going to be showing (and hopefully selling) some of my ink drawings at a local art exhibition October 8-16th, I’m matting and framing pieces to submit to a juried museum exhibition, and I’m looking into print and canvas print options so I can sell them at a local gallery I’m in talks with as well as at art festivals.

On the writing front, I’ve been digging through my old short stories and giving them some much needed overhauling. I have two more recent ones posted and I’m putting the final touches on a longer, multi-chapter one as well as doing some illustrations for it. I try to post on Fridays, barring crazy life issues.

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Nice to meet you, Elly! I’m super interested in seeing your artwork. I try to commission and support artists and creators of all types when I can. Good luck with the art exhibition in October, that sounds really exciting!

Are you posting your stories on Substack, or somewhere else? What type of stories do you like writing? It’s so cool that you are doing your own illustrations. So much talent!

Thanks again for your introduction. :)

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Thank you for supporting my fellow artists, it’s greatly appreciated. My art is on Instagram @mystifiedfluff.

Yes, I’ve decided to post my stories here on Substack. I like to write fiction, mainly fantasy and humor with hints of sci-fi. I have also been toying with a non-fiction self-help style book idea.

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Sounds great! I’ve followed and subscribed. I look forward to experiencing your work!

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Wow, that sounds awesome! Would love to see some of your illustrations! Best of luck with the exhibition :-)

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Thank you! I post all my art on my Instagram page @mystifiedfluff.

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Sep 22, 2022Liked by Winston Malone

Hi, nice meeting you and I hope you fare well at your art exhibit.

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Thank you 😊. It’s at a lovely bookshop and will be my first show in this area so I’m very excited.

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Hey Elly, good to meet you. I work as an illustrator. I have a love/hate relationship with digital. It’s so easy to get sucked into adjusting different variables and spending hours trying to create the perfect brush. For that reason, more and more I try to do traditional stuff when I can. Mostly acrylics or watercolor. Yet, there are still times when digital really is the best answer. It just depends on the job. It’s good to meet you.

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I think every artist that does digital has that love/hate relationship with it, I know I do. I do vector art more than digital painting now since I just hit a skill wall with it. I have my designs on Kofi if you want to check them out https://ko-fi.com/mystifiedfluff. Traditionally, I love chalk pastels, colored pencil, acrylics, and ink. I even bought new micron pens in preparation for this year’s Inktober which means my Instagram followers will be spammed with 31 days of art all October instead of the usual infrequent posts they normally get.

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I have a set of chalk pastel pencil’s that I have yet to try. I bought them because another artist, Cuong Nguyen, uses them and makes truly amazing art with them. He has tutorials about his techniques. One day I’m going to take the plunge and try to learn his style for handling skin tones with pastels. His website is here: https://www.icuong.com

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Sep 21, 2022Liked by Winston Malone

Hi, my name is LJ, which necessitates the additional fact that I'm a woman. I live north of San Francisco, and write a little bit of everything: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, even a play or two. In writing, I worked formerly as a staff reporter in Colorado. My main interest in regards feedback and publication is similar to this 'meet & greet' - that is to encourage participation in readings and in-person writers' groups. Sharing and talking shop with other writers is highly productive, in my experience... which includes print publication and, long ago, production of a play, a very exciting fluke. Retired now but still writing, which for many of us is impossible to stop. :-D

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Hey there, LJ. It sounds like you’ve got a lot of experience in this industry and we are very grateful to have you. Your time in play production and staff reporting sounds really interesting! I’m glad you’re still writing. It’s a fun hobby that keeps the imagination alive!

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Hi LJK - I've never been part of a writer's group, but I've found that there is a dedicated community of writers here on substack who, depending on the kind of writing you do, can probably help fill that void. Hope you find what you're looking for!

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Definitely a cool community on Substack

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I so agree. This has become my writer community!

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It is kind of addicting, isn't it? Even if you sometimes feel like you're just throwing hundreds of hours into a story that might never be read outside your friend group.

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Yeah, it seems to be a lifelong activity and I'm glad! Finding an audience outside a friend group - you must've started that online? That's great. I don't know Substack well at all, but have work online elsewhere. In your indie group, do the writers comment on each other's work? If they're not all your friends, you already started sharing with strangers. Are there any open mic readings near you? That's another way to share, which you probably know. But they can be scary. (Nice to meet you too, btw!)

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I consider the other people in my writing group to be friends, but we've never met in real life. They do tend to give good feedback, though. I think I've made a lot of progress as a writer since I started the group.

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Sep 21, 2022·edited Sep 21, 2022

You started the group? Hurrah for you! I've been in a few in-person groups but only started one, through a library and the newspaper. They do become friends, huh.

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Well, I was one of the three original members. It originally started out as a Reddit chat, but we have a small but pretty active Discord now.

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That sounds like you're a founding member to me. Nice!

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I miss the Bay Area! Lived there for a decade before NYC and now Santa Barbara!

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I lived in Mountain View area right after I was married. We decided we wanted to buy a home and ended up moving to Tennessee. It’s been a great move for us.

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Hi there, I'm Leigh. I write mostly horror and historical fiction short stories, but I have a novella on the back burner as well. I'm a contributor to the Outside Art Short Story Collection, a small indie writers collective here on Substack. I'm interested both in supporting other indie writers and hopefully finding an audience as well. It's nice to meet you. :-)

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Hello, Leigh. Nice to meet you. We certainly have some fans of horror and historical fiction here–I’m one of them! I always love connecting with other short fiction writers. I’ll need to check out OASSC to see what they are all about! Glad to have you over here as well and can’t wait to read some of your work. :)

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Thank you! I've been following this Substack for a bit now, and I like the stuff you've been putting out. I can also recommend you to the others in our group.

I'd actually been thinking about submitting one of my stories to this Substack. Do you have any submission deadlines, or do people just send you stuff whenever it's ready?

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That’d be great! There are no deadlines currently. I’m still developing the process as I go but most of the wrinkles have been ironed out. There’s a basic contract that stipulates the limitations of what I can and can’t do with your story. You retain all rights which I find important for indie writers. The goal is to empower writers while simultaneously giving them a platform. I’ll be trying out a flash fiction/poetry contest in a few months. Smaller cash prize than the short story contest that just ended but should be fun!

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Hi Leigh, nice to meet another historical fiction writer :-) I look forward to reading more of your writing and the other fiction at Outside Art. I love that you're supporting indie writers!

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I try! There seems to be a lot of us these days. Considering the state of the publishing industry, I guess it's not too surprising.

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"Outside Art": That sounds like my cup of literary tea :)

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It's definitely a grab bag of styles and genres. But unified by a desire to write honestly without having to bow to external pressure.

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Without having to bow to external pressure. That's really the heart of it in 2022, isn't it?

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I'd like to believe the tides are turning. That said, it will be a while before I'd consider publishing any of my writing under my real name.

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Hi Winston, you and I may have faced a Substack story challenge before! I’m a UK based writer interested in the confluences of faith and fiction. I’ve serialised a novella (The Pelican Crossing) here on Substack and am currently exploring having it published on Amazon & in book form. The plan is to birth a novel from that same story world. I also side-write Scriptourer here on Substack which is an exploration of storytelling and the Bible. Had I been born in the high Middle Ages, no introduction would’ve been necessary but, alas, modern literary fiction is my tiny molehill. Good vibes to all in the struggle and respect to you Winston for the sterling work here.

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Hey Adrian! Happy to see you again. I’ve been meaning to check out your work. So you’re going to publish your novel through Amazon? I’m currently debating on whether to do The Storyletter Anthology through Amazon or IngramSpark. I think Simon K Jones went through Amazon, too. It seems like the easiest route. However, I just bought 10 ISBNs, so now I don’t know if I need those for Amazon since they have their own? Do you know? You don’t have to hunt down the answer since I’ll research it eventually, I guess I’m more curious what is pushing you toward Amazon?

Do you follow Mark Baker? I think he does faith and fiction based content as well.

Thanks for the wonderful comment and I’m excited that you’re pursuing publication. Let us know when you’re going to launch the book!

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I’m a complete (incomplete?) publishing newb, Winston, so no trustworthy advice available on any acronyms or otherwise. Simon is surely a better bet - pretty mustard on all this. I believe it’s better to get a separate acronym for ebooks. KDP has the lion share so not sure how to avoid. Yes, I follow Mark and we’ve had a few interesting convos. I’ve just seen the prices for book publishing (!!!) so plan to start with electronic first. Will shout the house down once live. And, rest assured, fame won’t change me. Much.

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Sep 24, 2022Liked by Winston Malone

Winston, Amazon will create their version of an ISBN when you self-publish with them. It’s called the ASIN. The last time I checked, you had the option to use their number or to use your ISBN instead. The advantages to using an actual ISBN were that it allowed regular physical bookstores and libraries to order your book. I believe you also need one to qualify for things like USA Today’s Best Seller list. Take this information with a grain of salt though because it’s a few years old. They may have changed it all. In fact, they probably did.

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Thanks John! This is very helpful. I’ll update as I navigate the process soon, but I believe you are correct.

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“...confluences of faith and fiction...” is a wonderful turn of phrase. It’s so difficult to write religious fiction that tells a good story, but doesn’t feel like a sermon. Authors who do that well are probably among the best scribes in existence because it’s so easy to step over that line. It’s great to meet you.

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Nice to connect too, John. Yes, Maritain describes it as twice the Cross. It’s hard enough simply being a good fiction writer without the added inscrutability of faith. But, as they say, our crosses choose us.

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Hi! My name’s Daniel. I’m from Indiana, but I travel a lot for work and am currently residing overseas. I write magical realism set in different historical periods, but I also write horror stories and science fiction. I’ve started dabbling in literary essays on Substack. (I’ve only been on Substack for a month, so I’m still learning the ropes.) I wrote a novel called “Snakes and Ladders” earlier this year, which is set in a multiverse. It’s been entered in a contest, so I’ll see how it goes. If nothing comes out of the contest, I may post the novel here on Substack. I’m in the middle of a novella I started last month called “The Witch in the Mountain Pass,” which is set in northwestern Greece in the 1930s that’s available on my page, “Lamp Post in the Marsh.” After I finish the novella, I plan to get back to working on a series of novels that I have planned out. The series will be called “The Infinite Wall.” It starts out in 1920s Germany. It’s about a clairvoyant Ruthenian woman who’s a silent film director living in Weimar Berlin. She’s married to a Viennese mathematician and befriends a young boy who is unaware that the woman is his aunt. Separately, I just spent the morning fleshing out a science fiction horror story that I hope to post next week...It’s been fascinating reading about all the projects people are working on!

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Hey Daniel, all of your planned stories sound so epic. I can’t wait to read them and follow your journey. Since I was a beta reader for “Snakes and Ladders”, I can say that it is unlike anything I’ve ever read before and I’m confident will do well either in the contest or here on Substack. I look forward to hearing more about your new scifi-horror story!

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Hello, fellow horror writer! I've read a few of the pieces on your Substack and have enjoyed them. :-)

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Thank you, Leigh, for the lovely comment! :-)

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Of course! Historical horror is my thing as well.

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Good to meet you, Daniel. I’ve seen people mention your Substack from time to time. I didn’t realize it focused so much on horror. I need to check it out. I love a good creepy tale.

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Hey Winston. Nice to virtually meet. I’m a short story writer and autobiographical novelist as well as developmental book editor. I was in New York City until last year but now I’m in Santa Barbara. I’m digging the Substack community. My material is very raw and authentic, aka not politically correct. I think art is sacred and has no connection to people feeling comfortable or safe. Art always has been, is now, and always will be rebellious and transgressive.

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Hey Michael, nice to meet you. Glad you’re here and enjoying the Substack community. I’ve never been surrounded by such talented writers and creators before, it’s pretty amazing. Nice to meet another short story writer, too. I’ll need to check out your work to see what you mean, but I definitely agree that there shouldn’t be restrictions on personal expression, especially in art. Authenticity is a wonderful trait and can be hard to come by. That’s part of the reason why I joined Substack, their supposed commitment to free speech. Hopefully this remains a place for individuals to feel both welcomed and heard. I look forward to chatting more! Thanks for stopping by to comment.

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Exactly!! Couldn't have said it more succinctly. Well-put my friend. Good to connect!

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Hi All, I'm Jacquie. For the past 20 years, I've been a professional horse trainer, and specialize in rehabilitating mistreated horses on my farm in the Hudson Valley. I'm currently finalizing a training manual for homeschooling horsemen. I work full-time as a communications director for a non-profit organization. My background is in anthropology and archaeology, and that's what most inspires me to write, both fiction and nonfiction. My main project is a historical fiction trilogy set among the Scythian nomads of the Pontic Steppe (present-day Ukraine). I'm serializing the first volume on my Substack and seeing where that leads... Beyond that, I'm just hoping to improve my writing, read some great stuff, and meet some cool people :-)

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Hey Jacquie, I didn’t know you rehabilitated mistreated horses, too. That seems like hard work but very rewarding. Congrats on finalizing that trainer’s manual!

I hadn’t been exposed to historical fiction until I met you and the other historical fiction writers here on Substack. My eyes have been opened up to a whole new world (cue Aladdin in the background). I’m currently reading “Code Girls” (non-fiction) about the talented cryptologists of WW1 and WW2, as well as “Killer Angels”, depicting the 3-day Battle of Gettysburg. Both are so very good, and although not fiction, they are written in a narrative fashion that breathes life into the time periods they cover.

Glad you’re here with us. I’m looking forward to reading more “Of Wind and Wolves”. I’m even more intrigued now that you reminded me that it’s a trilogy.

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Sep 24, 2022Liked by Winston Malone

Jacquie, I have a cousin who is a horse trainer. Making the leap to doing that from anthropology and archaeology has to be quite the story itself. I’ve always wanted to visit Turkey because it has SO MANY ruins and big historical events that took place there. I mean there are a lot of places like that in the area, but Turkey seems to have an inordinate amount. I realize that has nothing to do with your story about the Ukraine, but it popped into my head and I type faster than I think sometimes.

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Hi John, I was involved with horses first, so it wasn't such a leap ;-) Turkey does have some amazing (and underrated!) history. I've been mildly obsessed with Gobekli Tepe and all of the monuments associated with it. I hope you get to visit there someday!

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Gobekli Tepe was what got me interested in the country. As I was reading about it, I kept finding so many other ancient civilizations or neolithic settlements right in that area.

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It's so easy to go down that rabbit hole... That's how I ended up an archaeology student!

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Sep 24, 2022Liked by Winston Malone

Hey everyone. Just found this place today. Seems like a great community. I’ve had a Substack account for over a year, but couldn’t decide on a specific topic on which to focus. I like too many things. Right now, I work as an illustrator doing book covers for self-published authors, but I’m trying to get into writing more. Has anyone figured out a set of ‘best practices’ for posting fiction to Substack? I don’t think you could get by with dropping a 40k novella into a single post. So, I guess you’d have to break it up into chapters? Do people feel cliffhangers are necessary to keep readers coming back? Any thoughts?

I read a lot. When it comes to fiction, my preferred genres are Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Horror. I also enjoy Urban Fantasy, but that feels like a subset of one of those first three. It’s good to meet all of you. I look forward to getting to know you all better.

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Glad to have you, John! So awesome to have another illustrator in our midst. I’ll need to check out your artwork.

As far as best practices, it’s sort of a free-for-all of preferences. I have set days like Wednesday for community related stuff and Saturday for fiction. It’s more of my way of staying organized. I think I’ve seen others posting once a week or every other week, but really it’s up to you and what type of content you’re putting out.

For fiction specifically, I’m with Elly that a chapter per post is generally what I’ve seen and done myself. But I don’t see anything wrong with posting a full short story in one go if it’s supposed to be read that way.

I also like Fantasy, Sci-fi, and Horror, especially combinations of the three. I’m reading a lot of short fiction lately since I hadn’t been exposed to it growing up. People like Asimov and Bradbury, and a lot of writers here on Substack!

Nice to know more about you and hope to talk more!

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Nice to meet you John! I’ve noticed most on here break stories up into chapter posts which is what I’ve done. Personally, as a reader, I feel as long as a story is interesting I’ll keep reading it, I don’t need the added tension of a cliffhanger which can often drive me nuts since I can’t just turn a page and continue. Focusing too much on ending each chapter with a cliffhanger will detract from the overall story in my opinion.

Since you like fantasy and sci-fi (my two fav genres) you may like my latest story, Homeward. Feel free to give the first chapter a read and let me know what you think (there’s two ink drawings of mine in it too): https://mystifiedfluff.substack.com/p/homeward-chapter-1-forged

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I didn't know you were an illustrator. That's incredible!

(And yes, I think cliff hangers are more important for webnovels more than they are for non webnovels. But one could argue they are just as important there?)

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That’s what I’m doing for money until our AI overlords put me out of work. So, maybe 2? 3 weeks? It’s not that bad yet.

I drew the picture of Stephen King in my most recent article: https://www.writtenward.com/p/what-stephen-king-taught-me-part

I want to include art that I’ve made in all of my articles but it does come with trade-offs because I was really rushing to get his picture done so I could publish on time. It’s a learning process and I’ll get better as I publish more.

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It's always been tough for artists, but I'm optimistic that tech is actually enabling us to be more successful than we have been in generations past.

I will admit that I've started using AI to illustrate my newsletter but I think it will replace stock photography more than it will replace actual artists (You can't get that Stephen King drawing with AI - so cool!) Even still, I did recently spend like four hours trying to make a picture for one of my newsletters. I could have used that time for writing had I been ok with plopping stock photography in there!

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Hi, I'm Elle. I'm currently writing a utopian novel and a collection of essays imagining a more beautiful future. So nice to meet such an inspiring group of writers on Substack!

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Sep 26, 2022Liked by Winston Malone

I’m really curious to see where you’re going to take your story. Utopia seems like such a challenging topic to address well.

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It probably is, but we'll find out hahahaha

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Hey Elle, glad to have you! I’m looking forward to your utopian novel and essays. I’m thinking of a response to your recent prompt. Here’s hoping I can write something soon. Substack has such a supportive and talented group of writers. I’m so impressed by everyone’s work here!

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I’m really looking forward to the Zoom seminar about serialized fiction you’re doing tomorrow, Elle.

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Me too, the questions look fascinating!

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If anyone's interested: Just posted a new short story of mine: https://michaelmohr.substack.com/p/the-fish

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Sweet! I’ll check it out soon.

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