Guest blogger: Jenny Schwartz on Short Stories (with giveaway!)

Michelle here. I am thrilled to introduce our guest, Jenny Schwartz, to Magical Musings for the first time. Jenny is a writer based in my own part of the world, Western Australia, and believe me, there are not that many of us. Jenny and I have even managed to catch up for lunch and talk books, writing and publishing for hours on end, which is always glorious. So take it away, Jenny . . .

Short Fiction

When Harlequin announced their new Australian digital imprint, Escape Publishing, at the Romance Writers of Australia conference in August, I raced to check out the guidelines. As with the other recent announcements of Australian digital imprints by the big publishers (Destiny Romance, Momentum, Romance at Random), a huge part of the appeal for me was the chance to work with an editor in my timezone. Heaven to be able to chat in real time.

However Escape Publishing surprised me because their guidelines said they were taking short stories.

Short stories!

I’m a huge fan of short stories. As a writer, they’re where I experiment with different genres. I’ve had stories published in everything from cosy magazines like “The People’s Friend” to horror ezines.

But mostly I was interested to see Escape Publishing guidelines because I’ve been thinking for a few years now that in the digital world, short stories are going to be BIG!
Articles on the popularity of “cellphone fiction” in Japan really got me thinking. This was fiction that grabbed your attention in moments stolen from a crowded life. But articles like this one from the New York Times were four years ago and nothing has happened.

Or has it?

The spread of smart phones and tablets as well as ereaders is now great enough to support a vibrant short story market. First you need the medium, then you can distribute via it. I’m not the only one seeing this opportunity. Dean Wesley Smith recently said, “The short fiction market is booming and short fiction should just be a part of any business plan for a fiction writer.”
Forget the technology, though. The real issue is time. Short stories respect the frantic pace of our lives.

I was chatting to the receptionist at my optometrists the other day and she said how she kept putting aside her library books. Until she went on holiday, she felt she didn’t have time to commit to a full length book. Short stories are your friend, I said with all the fervour of a true believer. And you know what? She agreed.

So how do you feel? Will short fiction be part of your reading and writing life in 2013?

All commenters go in the draw to win a copy of my short story, Drawing Closer, just released from Escape Publishing.

Thanks for the chance to guest post here at Magical Musings.

About Drawing Closer

Zoe Loyola has a secret. Just between her and her sketchbook, she loves sculptor Nick Gordon. Her drawings of him are hot and naked.

Nick has a secret, too. He’s being blackmailed. Protecting his family means ignoring his desire for Zoe.

But in the world of art, passion breaks every rule and secrets are made for sharing.

***
Jenny Schwartz is a West Australian author. Her high school yearbook predicted she’d be a writer – something about always having her nose in a book. When not living up to others’ expectations, she enjoys lazy days in the suburbs and is working on a collection of life-saving recipes, “Simple Meals for Forgetful Cooks”. 

You can catch up with Jenny at her website, on Twitter and Facebook .

About Michelle Diener

Michelle Diener writes historical fiction for Gallery Books. Her debut novel, IN A TREACHEROUS COURT, released in August, 2011, is set in the court of Henry VIII. It features the real historical figures of illuminator and painter, Susanna Horenbout, and Henry's Keeper of the Palace of Westminster and Yeoman of the King's Robes, John Parker. A second book, also featuring Susanna and Parker, THE KEEPER OF THE KING'S SECRETS, was published on April 3rd, 2012. THE EMPEROR'S CONSPIRACY, a historical novel set in London during the Napoleonic Wars, is set for a November 27th, 2012 release.
This entry was posted in Giveaway, Guest Posts, Michelle's Posts and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Guest blogger: Jenny Schwartz on Short Stories (with giveaway!)

  1. Edie Ramer says:

    Jenny, I started my publishing career selling short stories, so I understand what you’re saying. Right now I’m writing shorter books – in the 54-65K range – and I feel they have as much depth and plot and emotion as longer books, they’re just written tighter. I put in all the things that matter. In fact, DWS talked about that, too.

    Congrats to you! The blurb for Drawing Closer sounds lovely. I hope your stories are a huge success!

    • Hi Edie

      It’s so good to hear of a successful short story writer moving into longer fiction. They’re so different. That you mastered both, gives me hope :)

      The 60k ballpark is a great length. Long enough to allow subplots and side characters, but short enough to read in a day.

      Thanks for the good wishes!
      Jenny Schwartz`s last blog was …2013 Predictions

  2. Margay says:

    I’m kind of ambiguous about short stories. If I get really invested in the characters, then I feel cheated if their story is short. On the other hand, I’ve read some books that I wish were shorter because I couldn’t get into them.

    • Margay

      I know exactly what you mean! Have you read “Alpha and Omega” by Patricia Briggs which started her Charles and Anna stories? I love that novella and when I finished it I was so impatient for their full-length novel. I just couldn’t let those characters go. But the novella has become one of my favourite re-reads. It’s short enough to fit into stolen reading time and it gives such a strong emotional journey.
      Jenny Schwartz`s last blog was …2013 Predictions

  3. Hi Jenny, welcome again!

    I know one thing about short stories, they are very hard to do well, so kudos to you!
    Michelle Diener`s last blog was …The Emperor’s Conspiracy Moves and Shakes

    • Michelle

      Lunch was wonderful! Talking books and publishing is such an indulgence. And I’m delighted for the chance to guest post here at Magical Musings and continue the conversation :)
      Jenny Schwartz`s last blog was …2013 Predictions

  4. Amy R says:

    It is nice to meet you here at MM! As a reader, I enjoy short stories a lot. I like to read different romance genres and sometimes when I finish one book I don’t know what to read next, so I’ll pick up a short story to read since I know I can read it quickly. What is even better is when there is a novella thrown into a series to highlight characters that may not get a full length book. I read a lot of Christmas novellas this year – that was fun! Congrats on your books and good luck with your short stories!

    • Hi Amy

      Lovely to meet you, too :)

      I read Anna Campbell’s “Winter Wife” Christmas novella this year and it was fab. Just perfect to squeeze into a stolen hour.

      Good point about novellas giving characters in a series their chance to shine. I think Nalini Singh does this brilliantly. In fact, that’s how I got hooked on her Psy-Changeling series. Though I can’t remember the anthology that started it offhand.
      Jenny Schwartz`s last blog was …2013 Predictions

  5. Willa says:

    I sometimes like a short story as it can give a nice example of a new to me authors work if I buy an anthology.

    But more often than not I am not a fan. Not enough room for me to spread my imaginative wings between the covers – I feel like they have been clipped :razz:

    • Willa

      I sympathise. You fall in love with a character or characters. You invest in their emotional journey. And wham! It’s over. No fair! I tend to hit Amazon and hope like crazy that there’s more by that author :)
      Jenny Schwartz`s last blog was …2013 Predictions

  6. Amy Atwell says:

    Welcome, Jenny–so good of you to join the muses today. I don’t write short fiction, but I do enjoy reading it. Novellas are like bon bons. It can be very rewarding to sit down, start and finish a story all at once. Best wishes on yours!
    Amy Atwell`s last blog was …Do You Belong To A Book Club?

    • Amy

      I love the bon bon metaphor. And it reminds me of a point I forgot in the post: With short stories, you don’t have to stop at one. You can squeeze three or four into the time it takes to read a novel.
      Jenny Schwartz`s last blog was …2013 Predictions

  7. Liz Kreger says:

    Hi Jenny and welcome to MM. Always love to have new guests.

    I love short stories. For me, it gives me an opportunity to try out an author to see if I like her style and/or her story lines. If I find I like the short story, chances are really good that I’ll go out and buy her first full length … if there is one. If I like that … I go all the way and track down all of her books. :wink: I love discovering new authors this way.

    Plus, yes … they are easier to read quickly. I usually have the luxury of being able to find the time to read long books, but shorties give me a satisfying story when time is tight.

  8. Hi Liz

    Thanks for making me feel so welcome. I wonder if in 2013 we’ll convert others to our love of short stories — not that I don’t also love long books where I can really wallow in the world and characters the author’s created.
    Jenny Schwartz`s last blog was …2013 Predictions

  9. Dale Mayer says:

    Hi Jenny,

    Welcome to the Muse and sorry for being late! I love short stories but have only written a couple myself. They don’t come naturally. I consider myself a distance writer. 90 – 100k is comfortable.

    Good luck with the story. What an awesome cover!
    Dale Mayer`s last blog was …Upgrading website

  10. Margay, Random.org just selected you as the winner. If you email me at

    jenny {AT} authorjennyschwartz -DOT- com

    I’ll gift you a copy of “Drawing Closer”. Just let me know which ereader you’d like it sent to; Amazon for kindle, Kobo, etc.

    Thanks and congratulations!
    Jenny Schwartz`s last blog was …Happiness

Comments are closed.