Sunday, 22 February 2015

My journey to publication with Traveling Left of Center and Other Stories

Today I'm pleased to welcome author Nancy Christie as part of her 'Birthday Blog Tour' for her new collection of stories recently published by Pixel Hall Press. Here is her personal story of perseverance and commitment to her passion for writing. 

When I think about how I went from writing individual stories to having eighteen pieces published as Traveling Left of Center and Other Stories it is less a case of going right, left or straight ahead and more like the Beatles’ song: “The Long and Winding Road.”
And it has been a long and winding road—long, because I started writing short stories in second grade (many many decades ago!) and winding because my writing has followed a very hit-or-miss pattern. There were some years when I wrote like mad, other years, when I wrote not so much or not at all—not because I didn’t want to but because of personal responsibilities or my own fear that if I tried, there would be nothing there.
But every now and then, a story idea would pop into my head and slide out my fingertips and there it was—badly in need of revision, needless to say, but at least something I could work with, fix up and ultimately, be proud of.
The stories that make up Traveling Left of Center and Other Stories took years to write, and while some were submitted and a few accepted, many never left their home to venture out into the cold cruel literary marketplace. But a number of them did share a common theme—characters who can’t or won’t get their lives together—ideal for a fiction collection.
And when I wrote the short story, “Traveling Left of Center,” I realized that was the perfect name for the entire book because it typified what each story was about: characters crossing the center line, sometimes getting back on time, sometimes not.
And so I took the next step, bravely offering the collection concept to agents and publishers. I felt so strongly about the idea that even their rejections didn’t get in my way. I could see the book—I even knew what the cover image would be—and I wouldn’t give up until my vision became reality.
In the meantime, I kept sending stories to literary magazines, and while I received more rejections than acceptances, the occasional “yes, we’ll take it” responses gave me enough confidence to keep going.
Then, in one of those serendipitous occurrences, I connected with Sally Wiener Grotta, a fellow member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors who had just started a publishing company, Pixel Hall Press. She was looking for stories, I had them in spades, and we went from releasing two as short fiction e-books to selecting 18 to publish in print and digital format.
So what did traveling this “long and winding road” teach me? To not let rejection or fear stop me from doing what I love so passionately: writing. As wonderful as it is to be published, it’s the writing, after all, that matters. The doing of it, with all that it entails.

As long as I am writing, life is good.

Nancy Christie is a professional writer, whose credits include both fiction and non-fiction. In addition to her fiction collection, Traveling Left of Center, and two short story e-books, Annabelle and Alice in Wonderland (all published by Pixel Hall Press), her short stories can be found in a variety of literary publications.

A member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and Short Fiction Writers Guild (SFWG) and creator of “Celebrate Short Fiction” Day, Christie hosts the monthly Monday Night Writers group in Canfield, Ohio.
Visit her website at or connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or at her writing blogs: Focus on Fiction, The Writer’s Place and One on One.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Writing Groups and Collaboration

As I've shared before, my life is not complete or balanced unless I have the opportunity on a regular basis to meet with and share 'the writing life' with fellow scribes. The writers' group that has formed... no, actually it's not just formed, it's come alive, for me in Phuket gives me something to look forward to every month. Many of the members have become true friends as well. You know, the kind that will stay with you for a lifetime!

I know this is the case with this group, especially since we are bound together by a wonderful collaborative project that finally culminated last month (Happy New year to us!) in the publication of Phuket Island Writers - An Anthology of Short Stories. What a proud moment this past Saturday when we all held hard copies in our hands!

Here's the back cover blurb:

What do you get when you mix multiple nationalities and personalities with an island paradise and a boatload of creative ideas? For one eclectic (and some may say eccentric) band of scribes, it was the Phuket Writers’ Group. Our monthly collaboration over the course of several months culminated in this collection. The pages of our anthology contain the musings of a group of writers who come together each month to collaborate, encourage, and inspire each other. The stories inside span the globe, delving into deep issues of loss and spiritual growth, uplifting stories of love, and new discoveries. You’ll be transported back in time to the days of gold rush fever; drawn into tales of ghostly apparitions and eye-opening explorations (both geographic and personal); and get a unique peek into the life of a UN diplomat. Each story is filled with emotion and introspection that will keep readers turning the pages. Learn more about the Phuket Island Writers at 

I'm so blessed to be a part of this group and proud of each and everyone's accomplishment. It started with a very hesitant sharing of a short story, which blossomed into an idea of everyone contributing one or two stories to an anthology. Everyone loved the idea so we hunkered down and wrote our stories. Then came the delegation of tasks that would be required to bring our book to completion. An editor stepped forward and another member volunteered to facilitate the cover design (we used Fiverr, which is a wonderful source of graphic designers and other freelancers). There was editing and massaging, moving timelines and holidays. There was layout and design to do for Kindle, CreateSpace and the local printer... and, those of you who have self-published before know that each platform and output requires a different layout.

It all came together and we're thrilled to present:

It's available on Amazon in both print and Kindle formats! We're all feeling euphoric (some are first time published authors) and we're all eager to begin work on volume II.

I'd love to hear about your writers groups and how you collaborate and support each other :) Please feel free to share!