Tag Archives: short story collection

Guest Blog from Author Maria Savva

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This week I’ve invited Maria Savva to discuss her latest book, Delusion and Dreams, and what she is working on next.

Maria

Maria Savva lives and works in London. She studied Law at Middlesex University and The College of Law. She is a lawyer, although not currently practising law. She writes novels and short stories in different genres, including drama, psychological thriller, and family saga. Many of her books and stories are inspired by her years working as a lawyer, although she has not written a courtroom drama to date. Her most recent novel is Haunted, a crime fiction/psychological thriller.

Delusion and Dreams are twelve stories of betrayal, greed, revenge, deception, dreams, and courage about struggling to find our way and discovering what we see is not necessarily all there is. This short story collection takes you into the grey area, because the world is never just black and white. One person’s delusion is another person’s dream.

Angela: Thank you for stopping by on your blog tour. You are an accomplished author of novels and short stories. Delusion and Dreams is a short story collection. What are you working on next?

Maria: At the moment, I am editing another collection of short stories. I wrote the short stories after finishing work on Delusion and Dreams.

The new collection will be called, ‘3’, and I’m planning to release it as soon as I finish editing. Editing can take a while. When I started editing Delusion and Dreams, I had thought it wouldn’t take long but it ended up taking about 2 months! Of course, I do have to fit my writing around a full time job, so that’s why it always takes a bit longer than planned.

The stories in ‘3’ are called, ‘What The Girl Heard’, ‘Never To Be Told’, and ‘The Bride’. They are all a bit otherworldly, so they tie in together in that sense. But really I didn’t set out with any theme in mind for the stories. I’m very pleased with the stories and they embrace the darker side of my writing which seems to be very prominent at the moment.

Angela: Congratulations and good luck with both Delusion and Dreams and your upcoming collection 3.

If you would like a chance to win a FREE signed paperback or e-book copy of Delusion and Dreams or e-books from other favorite authors Darcia Helle, Michael Radcliffe, Wendy Laharnar, and Helle Gade, you can enter the raffle here: a Rafflecopter giveaway.

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Can’t wait to see if you win? Purchase a copy now: Amazon.com or Amazon.com UK.

Connect with Maria on her website or Twitter or Facebook or visit her Blog.

Dog Lover’s Delight

running puppy
Below is an excerpt from the title story of my short story collection, The Human Act and Other Stories:

I see her feet first. White Reeboks, size 7 ½, with mud on the soles coming straight at me. Then I look up past the knotty sinews of her legs in denim shorts, past the belly button and small, swinging breasts in a white cut-off T-shirt, past her narrow chin and high ruddy cheekbones to her deep-set brown eyes full of tenderness and love. I’m so lost admiring those sad and hopeful eyes that I don’t notice her left arm winding up a pitch until she says, “Go fetch it, Marcus.”

I stagger to the left through choppy grass, scampering over beetles and ladybugs’ nests, trying desperately to beat the breath of a late spring breeze that exhales the softball Amelia has thrown toward me. I move a little more to the left, then forward, then step back a few paces, then stop, rise up on my hind legs, open my mouth and lean forward. Got it!  The gummy material bounces against my teeth and then mysteriously falls away. Oh, no!

“Better luck next time,” Amelia says, jogging toward me and bending over to retrieve the soppy softball. With her free hand she rubs behind my ears and under my chin. I close my eyes and luxuriate in the gentle love of her massage. When she stops, I start to whimper. She palms the softball, wiping my slobber against her denim shorts, and smiles. “Want to try again?”

I bark enthusiastically, though I don’t really feel like it. All I can hear in my head is her boyfriend, Phil, saying what he always says when I’m around, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

I am seven years old. Five of those years I spent on the streets. I had a family once, when I was a puppy, but it didn’t last for long. I couldn’t follow the rules:

Don’t sit on the sofa.

Don’t pee in the house.

Don’t jump on anyone.

For a while, I was moved from shelter to home, home to shelter, then I escaped and traveled the back alleys, rummaging through garbage cans. I know what it feels like to be cold and homeless.

Then I met Amelia.

She was coming home from work at the legal office where she represents corporations in billion dollar mergers. She bent over the trunk of her gray Volvo and removed a single bag of groceries. With a grace both astonishingly simple and stunningly learned, she closed the trunk with her elbow and proceeded to balance the groceries against one hip while humming a tune.

Eager for a look at her face, I stepped in front of her. She tripped on my front paws and staggered back, regaining her balance. Shock and fear melted into kindness and concern. She stooped to examine me, setting her groceries on the lower step. “You look hungry,” she said, combing her fingers through my matted fur. “And lonely.”  Her face was fuller then, with softly rounded cheeks and a subtle double chin. She gathered me into her arms and I licked her neck helplessly. Then she screeched and shoved me out of her lap, standing up and glancing down at her black slacks drenched in pee. I thought for certain I had blown it, but she just shook her head and wiped her pants with a tissue from her purse. “We’ll have to fix that,” she said, stooping to gather her groceries. “Come on, let’s get something to eat.”

I trotted behind her up the stairs and down the hall to her one bedroom apartment. She once again perched the groceries against her hip while fumbling with a jangling set of keys on a long golden key chain with a picture of the sun dipping into the Pacific. She threw open the door and invited me into her spacious living room with its neutral carpet and eggshell walls. I trotted past the built-in bookcases lining either side of a marble fireplace to the loveseat and sofa across from the sliding glass door that lead to the small yard that would become my sometimes home, sometimes prison.

While Amelia stocked fresh fruits and vegetables in the crisper, I sniffed my reflection in the glass coffee table that was trimmed with oak. A row of photographs of her family graced the end tables and the bookshelves. I noticed a brother and a sister, a mother and a father, and someone else, someone special. His photograph pierced the center of a stainless steel heart. With windswept sandy blond curls and rugged mountain climbing muscles, he seemed unusually turbulent, even with a cloudless smile, and some part of me knew, instinctively, that I would have to battle him to retain a space in Amelia’s otherwise rambling, open field heart.

Amelia smiles, not sensing how hard I am trying to please her. She winds up another pitch and asks, “Are you ready?”
I bark and leap into the air. I’d do anything for Amelia. Anything. Even slop around in a muddy soccer field chasing fly balls, trying to catch them in my small mouth and bring them back to her like ten-carat diamonds dug up from the depths of my hound-dog heart.

When we get home, Phil is sitting on the sofa. He has a key to the apartment that he uses when Amelia’s out of town on business and someone needs to care for me. On the coffee table, the morning classifieds and sports sections litter the glass. When Amelia opens the closet to hang up her sweater, two suitcases topple out.

“Cece’s leaving me,” Phil says. “I thought I could stay here.”

Amelia’s lips tighten. “Can you go home and talk about it?  I thought you were seeing a counselor?”

“We were. She told the counselor last night that she wants a divorce. She says she’s found someone who listens.”

Amelia unlaces her Reeboks and sets the softball inside the left shoe. She runs her fingers through her long brown hair and tries to smile. I’m thirsty from chasing muddy softballs, so I trot into the kitchen and lap up the clean water Amelia placed there this morning after we had breakfast. When Phil’s here, the rooms feel smaller, darker, cluttered. I stay in the kitchen, chewing Purina dog chow, eyeing Amelia in the living room. She curls up beside Phil on the loveseat and brushes a sandy curl off his forehead.

“I guess it will be all right. You can probably find a place by the end of the month.”

Phil kisses her mouth. “What would I do without you?”

By the end of the month, I’ve given up my space in Amelia’s bed to Phil. I sleep outside, eat outside, and pee outside. My chewy toys no longer hide beneath the sofa cushions or underneath the coffee table. The apartment is still a mess, but it’s a different kind of mess. Phil’s Polo shirts drape over the sofa’s arms. On an end table where Amelia’s reading lamp used to be, a portable television blasts a baseball game between the Yankees and the Dodgers. Monitors and hardware cases lean like Lego cities on either side of the fireplace. Sometimes Phil thinks he’s home and he trips on my paws or steps on my tail. I yelp. Amelia says, “Be careful,” but doesn’t do anything when he’s not. I’m beginning to wonder when they’re going to send me away like the last family did a month after they brought a new baby home. “There just isn’t enough room in this house for another mouth to feed,” the husband said. I thought they’d get rid of the baby, he came last, after all, but they got rid of me.

Amelia isn’t holding up any better. She’s lost a lot of weight. When she bends down to feed or pet me, I can see each bone in her wrists. And her sad smile.

Five weeks later, Phil says he’s finally found a place. I think we ought to celebrate. But the night before he’s supposed to move out, Amelia closes a deal between Soltech and Fusetronics and, in the process of restructuring, Phil loses his job as a software engineer.

Phil slams the door when he comes home. Amelia is cooking in the kitchen, dicing onions for the soup she will not eat. I am sitting by her feet, just happy to be near her.

“How could you?” Phil spits. “I may not love my kids as much as you love that damn dog, but at least my kids would never back stab me.”

Veiled by her hair, Amelia continues dicing. “You knew I was working on that deal long before it became final. If you had a problem with it, you should have said something then.”

Phil stalks into the kitchen and kicks over my water bowl and steps into the moist crumbs of dog chow. “Shit. His crap is everywhere. I thought I told you to keep it outside where it belongs.”

“We had a snack together. Is that so horrible?”

“You could at least get rid of the evidence.”  Phil dumps the bowl of water in the sink and rinses the dog chow down the drain. He mops the floor. He pulls open the refrigerator and moves around my cans of moist dog food looking for a beer. “You know, the Italian Affair is having its grand opening tonight. We should go there and celebrate your big deal.”

“Stop teasing me. It was a big deal negotiating that offer. I couldn’t write in the terms and conditions for everything. How could I have known they would lay you off?”

I whine and whimper, hoping Amelia will understand. Please, don’t let him stay.

But she’s not paying attention to me. She’s paying attention to him. “Listen, Phil,

I’m sorry. If it makes you feel better, you can stay here until you get another job.”

Phil pops the lid on a can of beer. Foam rises over the edge. He slurps it up and wipes froth off his mouth with the back of his hand. “I’m sorry, too. It’s just that most guys my age are settling down, not starting over.”

Amelia touches his cheek. “Beginnings aren’t bad. They’re endings upside down. Like a frown to a smile. You have to look at it the right way. Now you have time to do the things you’ve always wanted to do. Like play softball.”

“You’re right.”  Phil wraps his arms around her waist and kisses her. “It’s not all bad.”

You can buy the story here:

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Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Human Act and Other Stories by Angela Lam

The Human Act and Other Stories

by Angela Lam

Giveaway ends February 15, 2013.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Must be a member of Goodreads to enter. There is no cost to join.

Happy Holidays!

It’s the week before Christmas and everyone seems to have their thoughts anywhere but here. Family members, company parties, year-end celebrations occupy every moment, leaving little time to read and reflect.

No worries. I understand, as I’m caught up in the whirlwind too.

But I have a teeny-tiny treat for you in the New Year.

My short story collection, THE HUMAN ACT, will be released from .

Yes, that’s right. 2013 will start off with 14 stories you can have delivered to your home or your eReader.

So enjoy the holidays knowing you’ll be in for a reading treat in the New Year!

Your Breakout Moment

This week I was asked how well my books are selling. “Not well enough to quit my day job,” I said.

“What does it take to increase sales?” the person asked. “Social networking? Speaking engagements? Book tours?”

I thought about it carefully before responding. “Usually, it’s a breakout book. A story so compelling no one can put it down. It’s something you either find or it finds you.”

I haven’t published that breakout book yet.

Sure, there are moments when I thought I had. With my first novel, Legs, the breakout moment came when a scriptwriter approached me about turning the book into a screenplay. The arrangement, however, didn’t work out and the movie was not made. But for a moment, I had visions of quitting my day job, moving the family to Hollywood, and becoming the next novelist-turned-screenwriter. With my second novel, Blood Moon Rising, my publisher anticipated a wave of sales in response to the phenomenal success of Twilight. For the first time, I had help with promotion. But the fanfare fizzled with poor reviews and even poorer sales. The book survived only because a few readers discovered the novel is not a book about vampires but a book about motherhood. Word of mouth spread slowly and steadily, the exact opposite of what happens with a breakout book. My third novel, Out of Balance, seemed to catch my readership by surprise. After all, I had one book in one genre, a second book in another genre. Who knew what to expect with the third book? But it turned out to be the best of the three so far.

I don’t know what to expect when my collection of short stories, The Human Act and Other Stories, is released from All Things That Matter Press. Die-hard fans will definitely purchase it and write good reviews, but who knows what the rest of the world will think.

Although I have not had a breakout book yet, I have had breakout moments in my writing career. From the controversial story in my high school paper that landed me a job at the local paper to the short story turned memoir that won the Mary Tanenbaum Literary Award and the attention of literary agents and an editor at one of the largest publishing houses in the United States, I know what it takes to write a breakout story and it’s nothing a professor, a literary agent, an editor, a reader or another writer can teach you.

Then how do you learn it?

You live it.

You write from the heart about your deepest, darkest secrets, the things you are ashamed of, the things that keep you up at night. You write about what you love and fear and hate, the things that make you proud, the things that make you ache. You write like there is no one in world who cares about you or what you have to say, because you will die if you do not say it. You write in your own voice, very simply, one word at a time. You stop writing because you are crying or laughing too hard to see the page. You throw your fists against the wall, break the crystal vase, and clean it all up before you sit back down again to finish what you started to write because the words won’t stop coming from wherever they are coming from. You write from what you’ve experienced, not in the moment but after time and forgiveness has softened and shaped them into something beautiful and new. You write because you want to connect, to share, to touch, and to feel what you once felt before but didn’t have the words or the wisdom to explain. And then you find the courage to expose all of that to the world.

Those hard stories, the ones you say you can’t write, won’t write, find you. If you listen to them, you can write a breakout moment. But if you turn away and return to the safe words, the safe stories, the stories you think you want to write, then those breakout moments go away.

The problem with breakout stories is the world isn’t always ready for them. That’s why there is so much rejection.

But if you are persistent and continue to pour out the words you are meant to write, then you may experience the magic when finally, finally, you do your job as a writer and connect in a way that forever changes not just one reader’s world, but the whole reading world.

Book Trailer for The Human Act and Other Stories

Below is the book trailer for my upcoming short story collection from All Things That Matter Press:

Official Book Trailer for The Human Act and Other Stories

Visit my Fan Page for daily updates at Angela Lam Turpin on Facebook.

For more information on the background of the collection, visit my blog on Goodreads.com.

Short Story Collection to be Published

A few posts ago, I asked readers which they would prefer to read next: a collection of short stories or another novel.

Most readers preferred to respond by email rather than publicly post. Ninety percent said they would prefer to read a collection of short stories.

I began the search of querying agents and publishers hoping to find someone interested in publishing an eclectic mix of stories written over a period of 20 years and spanning the themes of hope, love, grief, disappointment, and longing that are universal in the human experience.

I am proud to announce All Things That Matter Press has chosen to publish The Human Act and Other Stories for a tentative release date of Winter 2012.

Stay tuned for more information.

And thank you for your continued support. Without you, there would be no short story collection.