Five Stories by Eric Sheridan Wyatt

Five Stories by Eric Sheridan Wyatt is a book featuring the first five stories I had accepted for publication.

Five Stories by Eric Sheridan Wyatt is a book featuring the first five stories I had accepted for publication.

From time-to-time, students in my fiction and legacy writing classes ask to read some of my published stories. Often times I would make digital or copy-printed versions of the stories available. But, recently, I decided to print a small book with the first five stories that earned me the coveted words from an editor: “We would like to print your story.”

Simply titled, Five Stories, this thin volume includes the following: Things He Wasn’t Supposed to Do, Cop-Cop Cop, Dudley’s Sacrifice, Solomon’s Ditch, and Most Dead Birds are Never Found.

The book is available for purchase through my printing partner, Lulu, and if you click on this link, you will be taken to the product page.

Some of you, dear readers, have already read all or some of these stories. If you would like, I would be very happy if you would follow that link and leave a review of the stories and rate the book so that it might attract attention of other readers.

As always, thank you all for your support.

Happy Writing!

P.S. Stay tuned for a big announcement next week. I have a new opportunity I am very excited to share with you.

S-E-X on the Big Blue Bus

When a man and woman make the decision to take a cross-country, multi-month trip with their family of six, a certain level of “coziness” is to be expected. When a majority of those months and miles are spent traveling and living in an old tour bus named Willie, certain sacrifices of comfort and privacy have to be made.

How to Use a Runaway Truck Ramp, by Shawn and Maile Smucker is a wonderful, modern family adventure that covers just as much emotional and spiritual ground as it does actual miles put on the old bus, Willie.

How to Use a Runaway Truck Ramp, by Shawn and Maile Smucker is a wonderful, modern family adventure that covers just as much emotional and spiritual ground as it does actual miles put on the old bus, Willie.

My friend Shawn Smucker and his wife, Maile, embarked on just such an adventure last spring, and their new book, How To Use a Runaway Truck Ramp, is a great story of embracing adventure, facing fears, conquering doubts, and defying expectations. Below is a brief excerpt from the book, dealing specifically with marital intimacy in tight quarters:

The woman who still feels like a girl sometimes tires of digging through the bottom of the bus for the kids’ shoes or wondering if the next Laundromat will have a change machine. The man who still feels like a boy is weary of emptying the waste tank and worrying about getting the bus stuck. The third month of a four-month trip is the 21st mile of a marathon.

The woman looks for a movie for the kids while the man makes popcorn. She bends over and sweeps Legos out of the way, then opens the small drawer under the couch. The man pinches her butt. She laughs and looks over her shoulder.

“What movie are you picking, Mom?” one of the four kids shouts.

They have been in very close quarters for over ninety days. Moments of intimacy for the parents are few and far between. The man gives the woman a signal.

Meet me in the back in two minutes.

They walk back the long bus hall, closing the two doors. They are giddy, like high schoolers trying to find a place to park late at night. Unfortunately, the bedroom door has a gaping hole in the bottom where a large vent used to be, so the man blocks it with an oversized plastic storage container. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

She moves the dirty clothes on to the floor, and he jumps into bed. More Legos greet him, like tiny sea urchins. They sigh and pull back the sheets and pick out the Legos and doll clothes and Matchbox cars.

When the bed is clear, they lay down. He smiles. She smiles. He kisses her.  Then, they hear the tiniest of voices from the other side of the storage bin blocking the door. He looks over his shoulder, and a small head peaks up through the narrow space.

“Guysh, what are you doing?” It is their four-year old. She has long blond hair and blue eyes, and her s’s come out like sh’s (think Sid from Ice Age). She wants a drink. The man shakes his head in disbelief.

“How do you even fit through there?” he asks, walking toward the door.

“Are you guysh naked in there?” she asks them.

He tries not to laugh. She keeps asking questions.

“Did you lock the door sho that no one would shee you when you’re naked?” she asks again.

“I wish,” he says, leaning down and pushing her head gently back through the vent. “Now, go ask your brother for a drink. And don’t come back in here until the door is open. Understand?”

“Of coursh.”

He goes back to the bed and lies down beside the woman. And suddenly the woman and man are boy and girl again. They look at each other – she giggles, and he laughs. They hold hands and stare at the ceiling. She suddenly remembers, in the time it takes a lightning bug to flash on and off, that this is the greatest adventure of their life together. He recalls the first time they held hands in that move theatre in Camp Hill, PA. He remembers how he hadn’t wanted to be anywhere but there.

They hear the voices of their children in the front of the bus: how’d it happen so fast? How could those two people holding hands fifteen years before be in any way connected to these very different but same people, holding hands in Yellowstone while their four children argue over popcorn rights in the front of the bus?

Outside, a few miles away, herds of bison and elk wander through Haydn Valley. A bear swims through icy Yellowstone River, her cub following desperately behind. Downstream, water crashes through the gorge, wearing away another layer of time.

But in the big blue bus, for just a moment, time has stopped.

(This piece first appeared at Tamara Out Loud)

 

Shawn Smucker is the author of How to Use a Runaway Truck Ramp and Building a Life Out of Words. He lives in Lancaster County, PA with his wife Maile and their four children. You can find him on Twitter and Facebook, and he blogs (almost) daily at shawnsmucker.com Maile blogs at mailesmucker.blogspot.com
– For all of you tweeters, the Twitter hashtag for mentioning this book (or connecting with Shawn and Maile) is #RunawayTruckRamp
– You can buy the book at Shawn’s website: http://shawnsmucker.com/store/
– Or buy a PDF copy to read on your favorite eReader: http://www.e-junkie.com/208448/product/483572.php

Seeing Your Name in Print: Unboxing “Letters to Me”

I was asked to be a contributing author to a new anthology, Letters to Me – Conversations With a Younger Self.

My copies of the book arrived today, and I thought I’d share with you the moment writers live for: seeing our work in print.

You can read a little more about the book here. (Includes links to ordering a copy, or ten, for yourself!)

Letters to Me: Available Now

As I mentioned last week, today is the official launch day of a new book, Letters to Me: Conversations With a Younger Self. About half-way through the book, you’ll stumble across my name, and my letter to a younger Eric in which I try to give him a little advice about the long transition into adulthood. (Spoiler alert: He doesn’t listen.)

I’m very happy to have been asked by the book’s editor, Dan Schmidt, to be a part of this project. The other contributors come from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences, but in each of their stories I find some head-nodding moment, some brief recognition of, “Yes, I wish I’d known that back then.” Even more intriguing, are those moments of clarity that are not just things I wish my younger self had known, but inspire and motivate me, today. Yes. Even the OLDER me can find value in this book.

The target audience for this book is those who are making the transition from teenager or college student into the adult world and for those love and care for young adults. But, knowing my own life–my own path of nearly constant change and adaptation–I’ve found there are nuggets of wisdom for anyone who is facing an uncertain future, seeking their place in the world, and struggling to understand their role in the Big Picture of life.

The new book, Letters to Me: Conversations With a Younger Self, is available today in both print and ebook editions. I’m very happy to have been asked to be a contributor to this book.

The e-book (Kindle) edition of Letters to Me is selling for $4.99 and the paperback (print) edition is $12.99.

From the back cover:

A broken heart, a new job, an unexpected pregnancy, a confrontation, a win, a setback—not uncommon experiences when you’re between 18 and 30. But what if you could talk to yourself just when that was happening, in the light of everything since: what would you say? With LETTERS TO ME, you can listen in as artists, teachers, poets, consultants, bloggers, pastors, and activists from a wide range of backgrounds recall a significant event—and then speak to a younger version of themselves with compassion and wisdom about what it means, and how it mattered.

What folks are saying:

I’ve often wished I could go back and have a strong talking to with my younger, more idiotic self. These stories are funny, heartfelt, and important. Reading them will make you think and imagine a better life — maybe even give you the courage to live one.—Jeff Goins, author, Wrecked: When a Broken World Slams into Your Comfortable Life

The talent of these storytellers is revealed in how universal their personal stories are. In their stories you will experience agony and joy, pain and healing, fall and redemption. -Adam S. McHugh, author Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture

One of the most unnerving, unsettling things one can do in life is stare at themselves in the mirror – eye to eye. Letters To Me is the sacred chance to witness person after person pause their present as they stand naked in the mirror, facing everything they’ve been and everything they’ve done. To listen to what they hear in their souls, to see their past as they truly do. Oh, how I wish I’d been given this collection of stories earlier in my life. The entrance into adulthood would have been painted with so much more grace. -Lauren Lankford Dubinsky, founder of Good Women Project

And the winner is…

I collected the names of those eligible, wrote each on a note card, folded them in half so my beagle, Joy, couldn’t read the names, made her sit and wait, tossed the cards into the air, and when she went to investigate (ie, see if this was food) I picked up the first card she touched with her nose.

Congrats to Wordimprovisor177 (Darlene)!!

I will forward an eBook copy of Marni Mann’s new novel, Scars from a Memoir, to you, ASAP.

Thanks for the comments, folks, and I hope those of you who are new to Marni’s work will enjoy getting to know her.

Thanks, also, to Marni for responding to my interview questions and taking the time to stop by and respond to comments.

Have a great week, everyone.

Feeling Lucky?

There is still a little time…in case you missed it (or, you’ve been “meaning to” enter, but haven’t yet) I posted an interview on Friday with author Marni Mann. Anyone who leaves a comment (even just, “Hey, this is a comment, right?”) on that blog post will be eligible to win an eBook copy of her new novel, Scars from a Memoir. I’ll announce the winner tomorrow morning.

Hope you are all having a great weekend.

Happy writing!

The Odds Really ARE in Your Favor

Just a quick note to remind you, dear readers, that I’m GIVING AWAY A FREE BOOK!

In case you missed it, I announced yesterday, as part of my interview with Marni Mann, that I will give away an eBook copy of her new novel, Scars from a Memoir, to one lucky winner, and all you have to do is leave a comment on yesterday’s blog post to qualify. So far, less than 2% of readers of that post have entered. So, the odds are in your favor. Swing by and leave a comment.