Coming in August: For You, Rowena

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I’ll never forget the sight of you, dead in the garden; I couldn’t look away from your body. The blood, and the bugs crawling all over you. The blackbirds eating you up. My only love, carrion. You were the one person on this earth who knew where I lived and breathed. What am I supposed to do without you?

Never have I ever believed in Heaven, but just now, I’m wishing Heaven were real, if only to know the memories of our life together don’t belong to me alone.

But does an unbound soul even keep memories? Silly to believe so, isn’t it?

I remember our first date—a picnic out at the gravel pits. It was my sixteenth birthday. You kissed me at sunset with sticky lips underneath the pink June sky—my first French kiss. Your tongue tasted like golden wine coolers and cheap menthol cigarettes. You kissed me, and it was the beginning of everything.

© Kindra M. Austin

Life as a Writer: part 2×3

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Upon completion of “Magpie in August,” my debut novel, I began submitting to the literary agents I had researched (authors who want to go for traditional publishing should always research literary agents and houses before sending query letters). Omitting all of the uninteresting details, I received four “close, but no cigar” responses, thirteen flat out passes, and additionally, a dozen or so no responses (it is not uncommon that an agent passes on a manuscript via no response).

So, doing the math, I only submitted to about 30 literary agents. I’ve heard of writers submitting to hundreds over a period of two or three years. That’s balls to the wall tenacity, folks—some hard core patience. Patience is not a virtue of mine. After I’d crossed out every agent that made up my list, I began submitting to small presses. Out of eleven, I received one request for my full manuscript.

Don’t tap the keg yet. This small press ended up closing shop. Thank fuck I hadn’t signed a contract with them. Imagine the shit storm…

Admittedly, in the beginning I was a fucking snob who never entertained the thought of settling for indie author status. But then, I discovered some incredible talent here on WordPress—writers who self-publish—and I was blown the fuck away by their craft. For real, in total awe of these people. So, I looked into self-publishing (authors who want to self-publish should always research the avenues, of which there are many, since self-publishing is BOOMING for tons of reasons that I see as obvious).

Two months after “Magpie in August” was released through Amazon, one of the literary agents I’d had a boner for sent me an email. She apologized for the late response, which had come a goddamned year after I’d queried her, and said that although she was interested in “Magpie,” she couldn’t represent me because I’d already self-published—but please do query her with any future manuscripts. I didn’t know whether to laugh, or cry.

I chose to suck it up, and keep on writing. I self-published a book of poems and prose recently, and I’m proud as fuck of the collection. I’m currently finishing up my second novel, which I fully intend to publish all by myself. I’m proud to be an indie author. And I am super fucking fortunate to have a partner in Allane, who takes such care and pride in designing my book covers.

Someday, I may shoot for traditional publishing again. But for now, I am beyond happy to have cover designs created by the designer I want, and to have the ultimate say regarding content editing. I never was one to follow the rules handed down by others anyway.

Peace out, my friends

K-Love

The Sun Still Does Shine (excerpt from Magpie in August)

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Here I am, pulling into the resort, and I can’t remember passing a single landmark these last two miles. Mom hasn’t spoken at all since leaving the city beach. At least I didn’t hear her say anything.

No, she’s just been smoking, riding along, and losing time of her own; wandering her corridors. She’s found another dark place to hang about. I know because she’s crying again, though dry and silent.

Coming here is a challenge for her, too. I don’t acknowledge that fact nearly enough.

“I’ll go get our key.” I’m not going to wait for her to answer. Let her be alone in the quiet car to sweat, if that’s what she wants to do.

The passing storm has taken most of the humidity, but not the heat. August has quickly recovered. The swimming pool is full of noisy bodies, and so is the lake, stretching impossibly wide before me.

If I close my eyes and pretend with all of my might that I am someone else, could I revel in the sounds of laughter, of water splashing, waves breaking, and gulls calling? Could my bare feet love the touch of sand? Could my heart sing if I swam out to dive into the deep of the lake, to feel my body cool and weightless?

At least you left me the sun, Renny; the sun still does shine, godlike in the firmament, and I can still love the warmth on my face.