Excerpt: Girls, Cigarettes & Illusions

From the short story, Holly Woods:

“I love that one.” I looked up and the woman in red was standing before me. Her chin lifted now, so I could see hazel eyes. Thirty-five years old at least, small and petite. Skinny as a rail. Her chest was flat and her dress seemed to allow air to flow in and out, over her skin, whichever way she moved. It hung low on her chest, offering a glimpse of the tops her breasts.

“I even bought a perfume that smelt the same way, here?”

She offered me her wrist, that was decorated in six gold and silver bracelets, some thicker and thinner than others. I took two steps to her and leaned over. I got a good whiff.

“It makes me hungry,” I laughed. Then realizing the sexual connotation.

“Well if you want, I can tell you where I got it. You can have your girlfriend get some. So, you don’t have to smell me.” She laughed and pushed her hat up. She held eye contact and gave me the smallest smile. Almost indifferent, one of another species going through the motions as if she mimicked me, a facade of a human.

You can read Holly Woods along with my collection of short stories, Girls Cigarettes & Illusions on Amazon.

Excerpt: Girls, Cigarettes & Illusions

From the short story Butterfly:

My sweet Lila, how did it come to this. I opened my phone and scrolled through photos from eight months ago. She was holding a butterfly with black and yellow wings. A red band over the abdomen. We had gone to an indoor butterfly garden upstate. The red branded butterfly had landed on her hand and she held it close to her face for the snapshot. They were both so beautiful. In constant flux. Fleeting and finessed. Her hazel eyes, dirty blonde hair. That big beautiful smile that reminded me of a sweet young school girl—the one I had fallen in love with early on freshman year. I didn’t know it then. I knew it now as I looked into her eyes on the picture in my phone. My apartment desolate, a murder scene next door, and that sweet freshman girl being sought after by authorities. My God, death, and love had collided. That’s what life was: a never-ending collision of death and love. And I was sure that’s what heaven was—a spiraling staircase leading nowhere. You keep walking, looking up, into the light, feeling as if there’s something greater coming with each step. But that staircase keeps going and you keep stepping. Right foot and then the left foot. Like the wings of that butterfly, fluttering as her eyes did, that day in the garden. I’ll never feel, see, touch, taste, adore, or kiss her again. I fell asleep as rain began to sputter on the windowsill.

You can read Butterfly along with my collection of short stories, Girls Cigarettes & Illusions on Amazon.

 

 

Excerpt: Girls, Cigarettes & Illusions

From the short story, The Nun:

“Stop the car.”

“For what?”

“Vincent, stop the car. Just do it.”

I hit the brakes. She settled back into the seat and looked at me.

“Take a picture of me. I’ll go stand under that tree. You see what I mean?” She handed me her phone. It had a Polaroid of her cat behind a clear phone case. She got out, leaving the door open. I opened the camera app and she stood with her back to me. She curved her back and popped out her ass. She looked back at me and threw her hair like a model. I took a picture.

“Did you get it?!”

“Yeah!”

She scurried back into the car.

“Kiss me.” She leaned over the center counsel.

Her tongue did counter-clockwise circles in my mouth. My hand ran down her legs. She squirmed and pushed me back.

“That’s enough. Now drive!”

I hit the gas and my tires kicked up little rocks. Raccoon eyes darted off into the brush. A large bird swooped down and Alina exclaimed.

“Holy shit! It’s prehistoric!”

Alina opened her phone and stared into the photo I had taken of her. The phone’s light made her eyes dazzle. Her mouth was a half smirking smile. She was as amazed by herself as I was. She reached over and rested her hand on my leg, slipping her phone in her pocket. It began to rain again.

You can read The Nun along with my collection of short stories, Girls, Cigarettes & Illusions on Amazon.

Excerpt: Girls, Cigarettes & Illusions

From the short story,  Loon Lake:

With each move, she paused and thought. She clenched her hands together, held them near her mouth, thinking it all over. Her moves were deliberate and concise with her nature. But I was too much for her. I chased her queen around until finally, she conceded. I gave her my number.

“Do you like milkshakes?”

“Who doesn’t like milkshakes?” I said.

“The lactose intolerant actually.”

“Oh right. How could I forget?”

“You should buy me a milkshake.” She got up and moved for the door, “Good game.”

“Wish I could say the same for you!” I joked. She looked back as she floated away, her purse slung over her shoulder, her curves rocked from one side to the other—all of her silhouetted by the light coming through the shop window. She was gone, and I looked down at my winning move on the chess board.

“Where did she learn to walk like that?”

You can read Loon Lake along with my collection of short stories, Girls, Cigarettes & Illusions on Amazon.

Excerpt: Girls, Cigarettes & Illusions

From the short story, Break Up Letter:

The question hit me the wrong way. Suddenly I was back in that car, going one ten down M-60. Tracing her wet back with one set of my five fingers I grasped her behind and I closed my eyes. The wind hit my face. The steering wheel of my car began to vibrate and my hands held on tight. She pressed her chest into me and I lost control. Spinning and flipping, it was life or death. The pieces of the letter fell to the floor and the ache in my spine dissipated and she unzipped my pants. I entered her. She came with force and I was upside down coming to life and dying at the same time.

You can read Break Up Letter along with my collection of short stories, Girls, Cigarettes & Illusions on Amazon.

My new book: Girls, Cigarettes, & Illusions

For the past six months, instead of blogging like I had planned, I’ve been fine-tuning, editing, rewriting, and formatting my NEW book Girls, Cigarettes & Illusions. This project dates back years, and it’s finally ready!

Later this year, or even more maybe early 2020, my novel Girls I Know will be published and released in the traditional way through an actual publisher. So in the build-up to that, I decided I’d give the whole self-publishing a try.

Girls, Cigarettes & Illusions is described as such:

“Evocative and distinctly erotic, Girls, Cigarettes & Illusions is a collection of ten vignettes that trace the lives of modern-day couples and singles. We are transported to the turbulent depths of the romantic and the perverse, where our characters often succumb to their greater primitive desires. Among these provocative stories, a recently dumped entrepreneur battles with the reality that his ex-girlfriend may have committed murder; a couple travels into the wilderness to witness loons on a lake; a woman recalls the story of her best friend who went missing after she lost her virginity; a young salesman writes his girlfriend a break-up letter after falling for a co-worker; and a student is hired to watch his teacher’s cat only to get caught up in his own girlfriend’s dark erotic fantasies. A blend of literary fiction and erotica, these coming of age stories are riddled with ambiguity, irony, and human sexuality in a mysterious, seemingly magical world told from the first person.”

There are some graphic (sexy) descriptions in these short stories so I advise you don’t read them at work or around your grandparents. Don’t get me wrong though, this isn’t smut but instead a blend of literary fiction and erotica.

I have struggled with the idea of releasing these stories to the world for quite some time. There is a fear of judgment when you release any creative project. And with erotica, there is an even more of a fear of judgment. As a writer, you face these fears every day.  I’ve written about these fears over and over again in this very blog. I know I have to face them head-on. Get your work out there!

So, without further ado, I give you my collection of short stories: Girls, Cigarettes & Illusions.

CLICK HERE TO BUY IT NOW!

BACKFRONT

Onward and Upward

This weekend we finished post-production on a short film, No Time for Romance. It’s a fourteen minute short about a pregnant wife who must decide to stay with her live-in boyfriend or prepare for the end of the world. It’s really about much more than that though: the rising nuclear tensions and the effects it has on a relationship with differing views.

My producing partner and I shot the film earlier this year. It’s been a long time coming. The production didn’t go as planned and the audio was a mess. There were disagreements on the script (that never fully felt complete by the time of filming). In short, we learned a lot.

Upon finalizing and exporting the film, my partner expressed how much he liked it. How good it felt to be done. I felt the same way, but differently.

I replied, “No one will watch it and we’ll make more. Onward and upward.”

He agreed. This might sound complacent but it’s the opposite.

The film won’t win Oscar. And it most likely won’t launch our careers into quitting our jobs and becoming full-time moviemakers. We had a story and we wanted to tell it. Did it come out EXACTLY the way we wanted? No. But that’s okay. Few things do.

I have boughten into this idea/advice from filmmakers like Mark Duplass (and others) whose motto of “just make movies.”

Every project is another lesson for the next one. We have other projects in the works, both together and separately, my producing partner and I. Writing is the same way. With every project you learn something, you get better, you home your voice, your practice.

And as much as we’d love the fame and attention for our projects, the likes and the shares and the views—we know it’s not about that. It can’t be. If it was, we would have quit a long time ago. It’s about the work, the process, the collaboration, the storytelling.

Just write. Just paint. Just workout. Just sew. Set your goals but know it can’t be about the outcome. It has to be about the work.

When facing that lurking feeling of creative self-doubt, born from resistance, waiting to devour all of your dreams and ambitions—Theo Roosevelt said it best:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Come join us in the arena.

This isn’t our first film and it won’t be our last. The next one will be better, and the next one better than that. Fail again. Fail better.

Check out the film here:  No Time For Romance

Thanks for reading. Always be writing.

 

-REH