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Zack Thoutt's Reader Club & Newsletter

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Issue #11 · Nov 6th, 2022

I've Self-Published Tales of Twilight!

 tales of twilight cover@paperbook display
T

his week I self-published the five short stories I wrote over the course of the last year as a book titled: Tales of Twilight.

Here's the book jacket summary:

Our lives are built from a cascade of transitions—childhood to adulthood, adulthood to parenthood, and parenthood to elderhood. We may transition between sickness and health, rich and poor, happy and sad. Each morning we rise with the sun and each evening the Earth’s rotation drags the sun back out of sight, ushering the end of another day and a time of rest. While each of our journeys differ, they all end at the same place: the moment when the light that powers our consciousness fades into darkness.

"Tales of Twilight" is an eclectic collection of five short stories that explore what it’s like to stand in this twilight between life and death. The settings range from fictional Tudor to Western to modern day, but the characters all have something in common—unresolved conflict that they finally confront.

And here are links to each of the stories on my website:

Weathered Pearls

Through Bone Like Butter

Five Fingers, Four

The Mind's Eye

Rip Current

You can read the stories for free at the links above, or if you would like to read them in a more accessible format, Tales of Twilight is now available in ebook and print formats on Amazon (though I haven't received my test copy of the printed book yet so I'm not 100% sure how it turned out).

Upcoming Work

Tales of Twilight totals 54 pages, which is technically novelette length. My first book isn't large, but I'm happy I decided to start small with short stories and publish them as a compilation rather than dive straight into a thousand-page fantasy novel that would likely take me years to complete.

My next book is a Holiday comedy tentatively titled Wally, which I plan to publish in early December. The first draft clocked in around 100 pages and I wrote it in the span of about a month, so I'm getting faster and hope that in 2023 I'll publish a story that officially breaks through the minimum word count barrier that defines a novel—50,000 words.

Until then, I have a few more short stories, novelettes, and novellas planned that I'm excited to share with you all.

Life Update

We're still living in a cottage at Chautauqua and love it. I estimate the indoor space is around 400-500 square feet plus another 100 square foot screened porch. The size is just right for us. The only thing we find ourselves longing for is a dishwasher and garbage disposal, especially since Shelby is notorious for using every dish in the kitchen when she cooks.

Skutull and I go on two hikes per day, one in the morning and one at lunch. During the hike at lunch, I've let Skutull choose the route, which worked well for a while, but after about two weeks of living here, he started insisting we explore the neighborhoods below Chautauqua rather than walk on trails. Day after day he tugged me down the hill into the houses with his nose down. We sniffed and peed on every corner of every block, zigzagging through the grided streets. I didn't know what he thought our official assignment was, but I could tell we were on a mission.

Then one day we were cruising down one of the streets and Skutull suddenly turned up a set of steps to somebody's front porch. He rarely pulls on the leash, but he rushed up the steps with such force he nearly yanked me to the ground. A dog started barking inside and he wagged his tail, whining back. I looked up at the house and realized that we were at the home of one of our family friends, the Foremans! Their dog, Gracy, was barking at us from the other side of the door.

In hindsight, I suspect that our combing the streets was Skutull's deliberate attempt to find their house. Skutull and Gracy have been buddies since he was a puppy and he loves spending time at their house.

We walked up to their front door and knocked, but nobody was home. Skutull was very upset when I made him leave without saying hello to Gracy. He jumped up on the windowsill as we left the porch and the two of them sniffed each other through the glass.

Skutull mad at me when I told him we had to leave the Foremans' without going inside.
Skutull mad at me when I told him we had to leave the Foremans' without going inside.

What I find crazy is that we hadn't been to the Foremans' house since before Covid about three years ago. We've also never walked to their house, certainly not from Chautauqua—we've always lived too far away and parked near their house when we visited. I have no idea how Skutull knew their house was close by and ended up finding it after many unsuccessful days, but he never fails to impress me, especially with his spatial memory.

If Skutull ever happens to get lost (*knocks on wood), one of the first places we'll check is the Foremans' house.

This story has a happy ending for Skutull and Gracy. We went over to the Foremans' for waffles that weekend and Skutull got to play with every one of Gracy's toys.

P.S. Here are my favorite links since last time

  • Article: Hear the World's Oldest Song - listen to a few different modern recreations of the oldest known song, "Hurrian Hymn No. 6."
  • Article: The Maintenance Race - read about the first solo yacht race around the world and how different strategies toward maintenance led to vastly different results.

Enjoy the journey,

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