My critique group calls itself the “Inklings,” or, specifically, the “Louisiana Inklings.” We meet every Thursday at one of the St. Tammany library branches. I’ve been a member for several years and those who have hung with the group during that time have really developed into fine writers. There’s a lot of talent and a lot of diversity in the group. We have poets, novelists, memoir writers, short story writers, and me, the weird one. (Well, there’s also, Mike, who is somewhat of a weird one too.)
On January 4th of 2012, I pitched an idea to the group. I’d be willing to edit a collection of the writings from members of the group and publish it through Razored Zen Press for the Kindle and Nook. I suggested calling the resulting anthology, Louisiana Inklings: A Literary Sampler. All submissions to the anthology were required to have gone through the critique group review at least once, and then would, or could at least, be subjected to further editing from me. There was a lot of enthusiasm for the project and over the next six months or so I collected a number of submissions. These went through varied levels of editing, and everyone was very cooperative, even though in some cases I asked for pretty major changes.
By mid-July I had all the pieces in place and began the final process of turning the thing into an ebook. After a few long days, including two that involved about ten hours each at the keyboard, the work was tested, retested, retested again, and ready for uploading. I started the upload July 29/30, and it went live on the 31st on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Today I’m making the official announcement of it here. The cover, from a photograph by the incomparable Lana Gramlich, is below.
I don’t know if I would have even thought of the idea if it weren’t for a fine writer named Del Stone, Jr. Years ago, I was in an online writing group founded by Del, and he edited a group anthology in which I had a story called “Thief of Eyes.” That anthology was a horror anthology called The Parasitorium: Terrors Within. Although the idea to edit my own anthology probably first saw the gleam of life then, Louisiana Inklings is a very, very different kind of collection. It’s a literary/mainstream anthology. There are a couple of stories that might be considered genre fiction, none by me, but most of what we have are poems, memoirs, and stories that examine the real or realistic lives of human beings, in many cases people from southern Louisiana. There’s over 40,000 words of material.
For those of you who have read my stuff, I want to be clear that my pieces in this book are not genre fiction. No “Finest Cut” or “Harvest of War” here. In fact, they’re probably not much like anything you might have read from me before. One is a kind of pseudo-memoir, a mental trip back to the home I grew up in. Another is an essay about my son, and a third is a poem about someone who, one day, without any provocation that I could discern, decided to stick a sword in my back.
If you want to get a feel for what the collection is about, you can use the “Look Inside” feature at Amazon, or the “Read Instantly” feature at Barnes and Noble.
I do hope you’ll check it out at least, because there are some talented and thoughtful people in this collection. I’m proud of them.