Friday, September 11, 2020

News and Notes from the Writing Desk: September Edition

 The year is going by fast--but then again, it's dragging on pretty slowly too. I'm in one of those moods this week where I feel like I have to get thirty things done all at the same time, which always leads to nothing really getting done. So what have I been doing? It's a varied list. 

To Medium or Not to Medium

While I've been slightly obsessing over my stats on Medium, I know that there's a lot that goes into the decision to publish specific pieces on Medium. While I want to write fresh stuff, I still have a vast backlog of things that I would love to get out there. The question is: should I post on Medium or keep submitting to lit journals? It's not an easy question, and there's no right answer for any and all of these pieces. While lit journals rarely pay, they do get the work in front of people who have a specific appreciation for writing. However, if I publish something on Medium, there is a chance of getting paid for it. Then again, with low views/reads on most of my work, I'm not provided with reader insights that can help me tailor my work to my audience. 

Like I said, not any easy question to answer. I occasionally get discouraged, especially when I know I have a good piece. I just don't know where it belongs, and I don't know how tightly I should hold onto it to make sure it finds the right home and the right audience at the right time. 

Intense Publication Research

Since I have so many pieces without a home, I'm back to scouring all my emails for places to submit. I'm finding it harder and harder to avoid journals with reading fees, but there are still quite a few out there that I haven't submitted to yet. I've also looked into Medium publications, and those are all looking pretty good to me right now. There are plenty of options and I know that these publications could lead to bigger and better things on the platform. The only issue with all the list-making is that I have to not bury this list in my desk. I have to plot, plan, and take action. 

Considering Long-Form Options

Although I haven't been that focused on longer works, I do need to get back to those novels. I'm considering which one I want to work on next. I could take the easy route and start from something that only has a few chapters, or I could tackle ones that are in the depths of revision. I could start completely from scratch. With the way my days and weeks are structured now, I don't know if NaNoWriMo will be an option this year. Too many things are pulling me in different directions, which leaves little time for the writing that comes after both the writing for work and the short-form writing for career advancement. If I get a few more short pieces out of the way, maybe I could make room for the long stuff. But as it happens to everyone, you plan, plan, plan and the world laughs in your face. 

That Bullet Journal Thing



I started a sort of practice bullet journal in just a small, regular notebook turned sideways, because, you know, lefty here. I'm not a huge fan of it right now, but that's why I'm practicing so the 2021 journal comes out pretty and I keep the process fun. That, and I'm not about to jump right in with the more-expensive journal options. 

Thursday, September 03, 2020

More Medium Insights

 As I pay careful attention to the moves I'm making on Medium, I have a few more insights to share that may help other contributors find a bit more success. 

The Way You Publish is Important

In my last post I talked about getting my work into my first publication. When it comes to posting the content, there are two ways I have gotten into a publication, and these ways are clearly having different levels of success. 

The first way I published into a publication was by taking an existing piece on Medium and submitting it. It was already live on my profile and had been viewed by a handful of people. These pieces have an initial boost in views after publication, but little to no boost in profits. 

The second way is to submit a draft to a publication. This is actually the way that most publications prefer. They tend to want the exclusive. However, the publication I submit to doesn't care whether it was already published on Medium or not. But the second way seems to be the best way--not only have I gotten more views, I have also made the most profit from articles that were published directly into a publication on Medium. This is also the best way to get curated by Medium, though I haven't had that happen yet. 

Meeting and Exceeding Goals

In the month of August, I met or exceeded many of of the milestones I need to hit in order to stay on track for my long-term goals. First, this was the month I started making more than just a penny. I was also able to profit from multiple published pieces, not just one piece. It's topping out at a whopping $0.15, but I'm working on keeping it consistently moving up. In just the first two days of September, I've already earned $0.06. So that means I'm on my way to beating August's earnings.

I also met some goals when it comes to views. Just in the past week I hit a total of 91* views over the past 30 days. Before, I had never broke 25. I also have a first-time record of 36 views on a single piece. I still haven't broke 20 on any of the other pieces I have published. However, the top-viewed piece only has a 47% read ratio, which means only around 17 people actually read the piece all the way through, depending on how Medium counts a read (some of my shortest pieces have the lowest view rates, which may mean that not having to scroll to the end of the page is lowering the read ratio). 

Because my poems from my prompts for National Poetry Month 2020 are doing so well in The POM, I will submit all 30 to the publication, hopefully completing all of them in the next few weeks. Then I will work on branching out a bit more and find some new pubs where I can submit work. 

The Road Ahead

My ultimate goal is making a nice chunk of cash from Medium each month with a minimum of posting at least two new pieces each month. What's a nice chunk? I certainly wouldn't expect to live off of Medium, but I don't think a consistent $40-$50 a month is out of the question. When it comes to views, read ratios, fans, and claps, I don't have specific numbers. If I keep exceeding the numbers from the last week or the last month, I'm a happy little writer. 

*all stats in this post current as of 9/2/20

Thursday, August 20, 2020

News and Notes from the Writing Desk: August Edition

 Sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph, stanza by stanza, things are slowly moving along. I am still rotating in and out of a few projects, but this month I have mostly been focusing on distribution of my work. Specifically, I think I have finally found how to use Medium to my advantage. 

The Importance of Publications

Up until two weeks ago, I had posted my work on Medium without any expectation of having my pieces curated for any publication on Medium. If you get curated, especially by a Medium-created publication, you could see thousands of hits overnight. But there are also many smaller publications--in fact, anyone with a Medium account can create a publication, build an audience, and find a niche group of contributors to supply a stream of new work. 

By accident (or the daily Medium emails I get, whatever) I stumbled upon a specific publication (The POM) that I thought might be the right fit for some of my existing published pieces. So I read the guidelines carefully, as any good writer would, and submitted some of my work. Once I made sure that I had proper credits for my photo, it was accepted, and suddenly I had more eyes on my work than I had in the past year of writing on Medium. Getting into publications? Essential to success. 

Get That $$$

Before the start of August, I had earned exactly $0.01 for my work on Medium. Not really anything to brag about, but I also didn't have to do much to get it. When I started publishing pieces in The POM, I noticed right away that money was coming in. Again, it's not impressive, but so far this month I have earned $0.10, which is a clear improvement from what I was getting previously. As with any website that depends on various algorithms to pay contributors, you can't see exactly how or why money is doled out, but there are a few clues. 

First, I received dozens (in some cases more than 100) claps for my work. After seeing these numbers I immediately went to my dashboard to see my dozens of views. The views were still low, and pretty consistent with previous months (I have yet to get 20 lifetime views on any one piece). That's when I figured out claps. When you clap for a story, you don't have to just provide a single clap. You can clap as many times as you like, leaving a large number of claps from just a single view. Claps also seem to be important in determining which pieces will pay out. 

Views seem to be much less important, but anyone on Medium knows that views have to be from a paid member in order to pay out. Free members who read it are still good, particularly when they like and share it with others, and it still boosts numbers. I admit that I'm still a free member, because I want to be able to pay for Medium with Medium--once I reach a steady earnings of $5 a month, Medium will get a new paid member. 

The Road Ahead

As much as I like placing my poems in The POM, I'm still looking and researching new publications to work with. However, the fact that some of these publications have locked their submission guidelines behind a paywall is very frustrating--and lucrative, probably, which is kind of shady, though completely within the TOS. I'm still creating new work and I want to diversify where that work ends up. You never know--maybe one of these days I'll be in the mood to run my own Medium publication. 

Planning to Plan


Aside from all the new things I discovered with Medium, I've also been looking into starting a bullet journal, rather than trying to manage a calendar, planner, to-do list, and other stuff. I think I can get around the idea of making it pretty with spectacular artistic talent by using a lot of stickers, stencils, and my very favorite skill--collage. I have a stack of Vogues in my closet; might as well put them to good use. 

New Flavors

Lastly, what gets labeled as totally random: I tried a couple of new flavors today. Both good, but I wouldn't try them at the same time. 


Thursday, August 13, 2020

THE DAZZLING TRUTH: Excerpt and Q&A

Poised to celebrate Christmas Eve on a beautifully scenic island off the coast of Ireland, the Moone family’s holiday is instead marred by tragedy. So begins Helen Cullen’s stirring family saga, THE DAZZLING TRUTH (Graydon House; August 18, 2020; $17.99 USD). Maeve and Murtagh Moone’s love story began in 1978, at Trinity College. As an aspiring actress and potter respectively, the two creative spirits were drawn to each other in an intense and lasting way, able to withstand almost anything, even Maeve’s bouts of crippling depression and anxiety. For a short time, anyway.


Marriage and children are the next chapters in the Moone family story, but Maeve struggles to reconcile her old life with that of the wife and mother she is supposed to be. Until one heartbreaking Christmas Eve in 2005 changes everything. Now each member of the Moone family must learn to confront the past on their own, until one dazzling truth brings them back together towards a future that none of them could have predicted. Except perhaps Maeve herself.

Please enjoy this excerpt from The Dazzling Truth by Helen Cullen:



Murtagh had woken that morning, once again, to an empty bed; the sheets were cool and unruffled on Maeve’s side. He had expected to find her sitting at the kitchen table, wrapped in her hound’s-tooth shawl, pale and thin in the darkness before dawn, a tangle of blue-black hair swept across her high forehead like a crow’s wet wing, her long, matted curls secured in a knot at the nape of her neck with one of her red pencils. He had anticipated how she would start when he appeared in the doorway. How he would ignore, as he always did, the few moments it would take for her dove-grey eyes to turn their focus outward. For the ghosts to leave her in his presence. The kettle would hiss and spit on the stove as he stood behind her wicker chair and rubbed warmth back into her arms, his voice jolly as he gently scolded her for lack of sleep and feigned nonchalance as to its cause.
But Maeve wasn’t sitting at the kitchen table.
Nor was she meditating on the stone step of the back door drinking milk straight from the glass bottle it was delivered in.
She wasn’t dozing on the living-room sofa, the television on but silent, an empty crystal tumbler tucked inside the pocket of her peacock-blue silk dressing gown, the one on which she had painstakingly embroidered a murmuration of starlings in the finest silver thread.
Instead, there was an empty space on the bannister where her coat should have been hanging.
Murtagh opened the front door and flinched at a swarm of spitting raindrops. The blistering wind mocked the threadbare cotton of his pyjamas. He bent his head into the onslaught and pushed forward, dragging the heavy scarlet door behind him. The brass knocker clanged against the wood; he flinched, hoping it had not woken the children. Shivering, he picked a route in his slippers around the muddy puddles spreading across the cobblestoned pathway. Leaning over the wrought-iron gate that separated their own familial island from the winding lane of the island proper, he scanned the dark horizon for a glimpse of Maeve in the faraway glow of a streetlamp.
In the distance, the sea and sky had melted into one anthracite mist, each indiscernible from the other. Sheep huddled together for comfort in Peadar Óg’s field, the waterlogged green that bordered the Moones’ land to the right; the plaintive baying of the animals sounded mournful. Murtagh nodded at them.
There was no sight of Maeve.
As he turned back towards the house he noticed Nollaig watching him from her bedroom window. The eldest daughter, she always seemed to witness the moments her parents had believed—hoped—were cloaked in invisibility, and then remained haunted by what she had seen. Ever since she was a toddler, Murtagh had monitored how her understanding grew, filling her up, and knew it would soon flood her eyes, always so questioning, permanently.
He waved at her as he blew back up the pathway. Later, he would feel the acute pain of finally recognising the prescience his daughter seemed to have absorbed from the womb.
‘How long is she gone?’
Nollaig was now standing before the hallway mirror, her face contorted as she vigorously tried to brush her frizzy mouse-brown hair into shape. She scraped it together into a tight ponytail that thrust from the back of her head as if it were a fox’s brush.
‘Ach, you should leave your gorgeous curls be, Noll,’ her father cajoled, ‘instead of fighting them.’
She smiled at him but slammed the mother-of-pearl hairbrush down on the sideboard.
‘I don’t have curls, I have Brillo pads,’ she sighed. ‘Did she say where she was going?’
Murtagh squeezed his daughter’s arm as he continued into the kitchen. ‘I’m sure your mother is just out for a walk. Happy birthday, love. Lá breithla shona duit.’
He placed a small copper saucepan of water on the range to boil and waved the invitation of an egg at his daughter. She nodded begrudgingly and curled into the green-and-gold striped armchair that sat in front of the stove.
‘With your white nightdress, you could almost pass for the Irish flag,’ he joked, and was gratified with her snort of glee.
He watched the clock hand count three minutes in silence. Expected any moment to hear his soaked wife splash through the door. He was poised, ready to run towards her with a towel and hushed reprimands for her careless wandering, but the boiling, cooling, cupping, cracking and spooning of each egg passed uninterrupted. Nollaig yawned, stretching her arms and legs before her in a stiff salute.
‘Why don’t you go back to bed for an hour?’ Murtagh asked. ‘We’ll all have proper breakfast together later.’
She eyed him with suspicion but acquiesced. ‘If Mam’s not back soon,’ she said, sidling away, ‘come and wake me. Promise? We’ll go out and find her. Remind her what day it is, for God’s sake.’
Murtagh nodded, ushered his daughter out of the kitchen and watched her climb the stairs.
Born on Christmas Eve, twenty years before, she was the only one of their children who came into the world via Galway maternity hospital and not into the impatient arms of Máire O’Dulaigh, the midwife of the island. She resented it; how it made her feel less of a true islander. What was more, the specialness of her own day for individual attention, her birth day, was irrevocably lost in the shared excitement of Christmas. In retrospect, it had been a mistake, perhaps, naming her Nollaig, the Irish for Christmas, and further compounding the association. No nickname had ever stuck, however. She wasn’t the sort of child who inspired others to claim her for their own with the intimacy of a given name.
‘Born ancient,’ her little sister, Sive, always said of her, with bored disdain.
And Murtagh sympathised. Nollaig carried the weight of being the eldest with pained perseverance, heavy responsibilities that were self-imposed. Her mother harboured a not always silent resentment of it, and it seemed only natural, if unfair, that Maeve and Sive gravitated more towards each other; the baby of the family shared her mother’s wit and wildness and often expressed the irritation her mother tried to hide at Nollaig’s sense of duty.

Excerpted from The Dazzling Truth by Helen Cullen, Copyright © 2020 by Helen Cullen. 

Published by Graydon House Books


Helen Cullen Q&A

 

1.       How did you get the idea for THE DAZZLING TRUTH?

The Dazzling Truth was initially inspired by the Japanese art of kintsugi – the practise of repairing broken pottery with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. The breakage, and the repair, remains visible to show the history of an object rather than something to be disguised, and so the pots become even more beautiful than before they were broken.

As any family spans decades, both hairline fractures and critical breaks, can damage its foundations. Some tragedies seem insurmountable; we can’t go on, and yet we do. Some cracks feel irreparable, but then often reveal themselves to be the gap we squeeze through so that we can find a way to keep moving.

The Moone family of the new book are no exception and as their narrative revealed itself to me, I became more and more convinced of how powerful it can be to confront the past, to stop burying inconvenient, uncomfortable or hurtful truths. Telling the story of Maeve, an actor from Brooklyn who arrived in Dublin in the 70s, her husband, Murtagh, and their four children, Nollaig, Mossy, Dillon and Sive, I was inspired by the power of the truth – how it can give your legs the power to keep walking, your heart to keep beating. And the setting for their story is very special to me - their lives on a fictional island on the west coast of Ireland was inspired by my own time spent on the Aran Islands in Ireland and in particular on Inis Oírr.

 

2.       Where did the title come from?

It comes from an Emily Dickison poem, Tell all the truth but tell it slant. The theme of personal truth is a very important one in the novel - and in particular, how personal truths may not always align with what can be considered universally accepted truths. Sometimes it is only with acceptance of that that we can find peace. And sometimes that truth or awareness needs to creep up on us slowly as it would be too blinding if confronted too quickly or head on. My working title as I was writing the book had been Kintsugi as mentioned above but I wanted the title to reference the truth that is at the heart of the novel. I had spent some time thinking of it when one day the Emily Dickinson line just came me as I was sitting on the London tube. In the UK and Irish edition, the title is the full quote, The Truth Must Dazzle Gradually, but in America we opted for The Dazzling Truth.

 

3.       Who was your favorite character to write and why?

I always really enjoyed spending time with Murtagh Moone, the father of the family, as he was the first character that came to me out of the ether and where the story began for me. He isn’t based on my own father at all but his great love for his children definitely is a mirror of how devoted my own father is to his six children and so I have a huge spot for him.

4.       Which character do you relate to most and why?

I think it’s true to say that I relate to all of the characters in different ways– if I didn’t I’m not sure I would be able to write them with any empathy or authority.

 

5.       How important is music to your writing process and to the novel itself?

It’s incredibly important to me. Every day, before I begin to write, I choose a song to listen to that encapsulates for me the energy or the feeling of the scene I want to work on. Sinking into the music, the physical world around me slips away, and I am able to cross the bridge from reality to the wonderland of the imagination. I also love working out the musical tastes of all the characters and curating a soundtrack for the novel as I’m writing – there is so much music scattered throughout. The song, Moon River, is definitely the theme song for The Dazzling Truth and I listened to it on vinyl record a lot while writing the book.

6.       Do you find it easier or harder to write character and dialogue for the opposite sex?

 The gender of the character doesn’t really affect my approach in that way – as individual characters some just tend to evolve more easily than others for lots of different reasons.

7.       Are you a pantser or a plotter?

I’m a pantser. I would really struggle to plot out a novel in advance and think if I did I would get bored with following the plan. I find the most exciting and engaging writing I do is usually a result of the narrative taking a surprising turn. At the beginning I tend to know in a big picture way what the story loosely is and what the closing image is that I’m working towards – everything else is a mystery until I discover it on the page.

 

8.       What is your writing Kryptonite?

Anxiety – if I’m anxious about anything that is happening in the real world I find it really difficult to disconnect and focus on the writing. It would be amazing if I could use the fictional world as an escape pod but unfortunately it doesn’t work like that for me.

9.       Where is your favorite place to write?

I’ve learned not to become too superstitious or precious about where I can write as those things just become excuses for me not to get work done in the end but I do love escaping on writing retreats where the only thing I have to focus on is whatever book I’m writing. I’ve been to the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig in Ireland a few times and absolutely love it there – despite the fact that I’m scared out of my wits by the resident ghost Miss Worby.

10.   What book have you read recently that you loved?

There are so many wonderful books coming out of Ireland at the moment that it feels like a glorious age of literature. One of my all-time favourite writers and literary heroines, Anne Enright, published a new book this year called Actress which is unsurprisingly phenomenal. I recommend it whole-heartedly but also every single book the genius has written.

The book's title comes from a line from Emily Dickinson, "The truth must dazzle gradually." What appealed to you about that quote, and how was the title chosen?

11.   What are you working on next?

I’m working on what will hopefully be my third novel and preparing a commence a PhD in October at the University of East Anglia.

12.   What was the first book to make you cry?

I don’t remember the first book that made me cry but the last one was probably My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout which I loved.

13.   What are you reading?

I’m always reading multiple things at the same time. Recently I’ve started Piranesi by Susanna Clarke, Utopia Avenue by David Mitchell and Days of Abandonment by Elena Ferrante.



Available from These Retailers: 

Author Bio: 



HELEN CULLEN wrote her debut novel, The Lost Letters of William Woolf, while completing the Guardian/UEA novel writing program. She holds an MA in Theatre Studies from University College Dublin and is currently studying further at Brunel. Prior to writing full-time, Helen worked in journalism, broadcasting and most recently as a creative events and engagement specialist. Helen is Irish and currently lives in London.


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Thursday, July 23, 2020

Someone's Listening: Excerpt

You’re not alone. Someone’s waiting. Someone’s watching…Someone's listening.
In SOMEONE’S LISTENING (Graydon House Books; July 28; $16.99) Dr. Faith Finley has
everything she’s ever wanted: she’s a renowned psychologist, a radio personality—host of the
wildly popular “Someone’s Listening with Dr. Faith Finley”—and a soon-to-be bestselling author.
She’s young, beautiful, and married to the perfect man, Liam.

Of course Liam was at Faith’s book launch with her. But after her car crashes on the way home
and she’s pulled from the wreckage, nobody can confirm that Liam was with her at the party. The
police claim she was alone in car, and they don’t believe her when she says otherwise. Perhaps
that’s understandable, given the horrible thing Faith was accused of doing a few weeks ago.
And then the notes start arriving—the ones literally ripped from the pages of Faith’s own self-help
book on leaving an abusive relationship. Ones like “Secure your new home. Consider new window
and door locks, an alarm system, and steel doors…”

Where is Liam? Is his disappearance connected to the scandal that ruined Faith’s life? Who is
sending the notes? Faith’s very life will depend on finding the answers.


Please enjoy this excerpt from Someone's Listening by Seraphina Nova Glass.


PROLOGUE

WHEN I WAKE UP, IT’S BLACK AND STILL; I FEEL A light, icy snow that floats rather than
falls, and I can’t open my eyes. I don’t know where I am, but it’s so quiet, the silence rings in my
ears. My fingertips try to grip the ground, but I feel only a sheet of ice beneath me, splintered
with bits of embedded gravel. The air is sharp, and I try to call for him, but I can’t speak. How
long have I been here? I drift back out of consciousness. The next time I wake, I hear the
crunching of ice under the boots of EMTs who rush around my body. I know where I am. I’m
lying in the middle of County Road 6. There has been a crash. There’s a swirling red light, a
strobe light in the vast blackness: they tell me not to move.

“Where’s my husband?” I whimper. They tell me to try not to talk either. “Liam!” I try to
yell for him, but it barely escapes my lips; they’re numb, near frozen, and it comes out in a
hoarse whisper. How has this happened?

I think of the party and how I hate driving at night, and how I was careful not to drink too
much. I nursed a glass or two, stayed in control. Liam had a lot more. It wasn’t like him to get
loaded, and I knew it was his way of getting back at me. He was irritated with me, with the
position I’d put him in, even though he had never said it in so many words. I wanted to please
him because this whole horrible situation was my fault, and I was sorry.

When I wake up again I’m in a hospital room, connected to tubes and machines. The IV
needle is stuck into a bruised, purple vein in the back of my hand that aches. In the dim light, I
sip juice from a tiny plastic cup, and the soft beep of the EKG tries to lull me back to sleep, but I
fight it. I want answers. I need to appear stabilized and alert. Another dose of painkiller is
released into my IV; the momentary euphoria forces me to heave a sigh. I need to keep my
eyes open. I can hear the cops arrive and talk to someone at a desk outside my door. They’ll tell
me what happened.

There’s a nurse who calls me “sweetie” and changes the subject when I ask about the
accident. She gives the cops a sideways look when they come in to talk to me, and tells them
they only have a few minutes and that I need to rest.

Detective John Sterling greets me with a soft “Hello, ma’am.” I almost forget about my
shattered femur and groan after I move too quickly. Another officer lingers by the door, a tall,
stern-looking woman with her light hair pulled into a tight bun at the base of her skull. She tells
me I’m lucky to be alive, and if it had dropped below freezing, I wouldn’t have lasted those
couple hours before a passing car stopped and called 911. I ask where Liam is, but she just
looks to Sterling. Something is terribly wrong.

“Why won’t anyone tell me what happened to him?” I plead. I watch Detective Sterling as
he picks his way through a response.

“The nurse tells me that you believe he was in the car with you at the time of the
accident,” he says. I can hear the condescension in his voice. He’s speaking to me like I’m a
child.


“They said ‘I believe’ he was? That’s not a— That’s a fact. We came from a party—a
book signing party. Anyone, anyone can tell you that he was with me. Please. Is he hurt?” I look
down at my body for the first time and see the jagged stitches holding together the bruised flesh
of my right arm. They look exaggerated, like the kind you might draw on with makeup and glue
for a Halloween costume. I close my eyes, holding back nausea. I try to walk through the series
of events—trying to piece together what happened and when.

Liam had been quiet in the car. I knew he’d believed me after the accusations started. I
knew he trusted me, but maybe I’d underestimated the seeds of doubt that had been planted in
his mind. I tried to lighten the mood when we got in the car by making some joke about the
fourteen-dollar domestic beers; he’d given a weak chuckle and rested his head on the
passenger window.

The detective looks at me with something resembling sympathy but closer to pity.

“Do you recall how much you had to drink last night?” he asks accusingly.

“What? You think…? No. I drove because he… No! Where is he?” I ask, not recognizing
my own voice. It’s haggard and raw.

“Do you recall taking anything to help you relax? Anything that might impair your
driving?”

“No,” I snap, nearly in tears again.

“So, you didn’t take any benzodiazepine maybe? Yesterday…at some point?”

“No— I— Please.” I choke back tears. “I don’t…” He looks at me pointedly, then
scribbles something on his stupid notepad. I didn’t know what to say. Liam must be dead, and
they think I’m too fragile to take the news. Why would they ask me this?

“Ma’am,” he says, standing. He softens his tone. This is it. He’s going to tell me
something I’ll never recover from.

“You were the only one in the car when medics got there,” he says, studying me for my
response, waiting to detect a lie that he can use against me later. His patronizing look infuriates
me.

“What?” The blood thumps in my ears. They think I’m crazy; that soft tone isn’t a
sympathetic one reserved for delivery of the news that a loved one has died—it’s the careful
language chosen when speaking to someone unstable. They think I’m some addict or a drunk.
Maybe they think the impact had made me lose the details, but he was there. I swear to God.
His cry came too late and there was a crash. It was deafening, and I saw him reach for me, his
face distorted in terror. He tried to shield me. He was there. He was next to me, screaming my
name when we saw the truck headlights appear only feet in front of us—too late.

Excerpted from Someone’s Listening by Seraphina Nova Glass, Copyright © 2020 by Seraphina Nova Glass.

Published by Graydon House Books



You can purchase Someone's Listening from these retailers:

Harlequin
Barnes & Noble
Amazon
Books-A-Million
Powell’s



Seraphina Nova Glass is a professor and Playwright-in-Residence at the University of Texas-
Arlington, where she teaches Film Studies and Playwriting. She holds an MFA in playwriting
from Smith College, and has optioned multiple screenplays to Hallmark and Lifetime.
Someone's Listening is her first novel.