Stinky: The Best Looking Man on the Planet

The Companion to Stinky Stories

Category: Uncategorized (page 1 of 2)

Dusting the Bookshelf

All of the Stinky Stories have a “Before You Go” section at the end that suggests other titles. The first edition of every story mentions the backlog, and ask readers to check back to see what’s news.

With the backlog finally behind me, I’m revising the blurbs and doing minor editing to improve punctuation and correct errors. The stories are the same, but they should look a bit better on the electronic page.

I’m trying to keep up with promotional days so that the refreshed versions are on the “shelf” before the story gets its quarterly boost.

If you see anything I missed, don’t hesitate t let me know. Use the “Contact Us” page on the website.

A classic engraving of a skunk.

Stinky’s first Facebook fan.

The End of Stinky?

After 57 titles (“In as many pickles as Heinz”), eight volumes and seventy-seven stories, we’ve come to the end of the Stinky Stories.

Stinky came to me in an instant in October 2012, and I published the first title, “Stinky and the Allegorical Breasts” in late May 2014. The final volume, The Importance of Being Stinky, Vol. 8 is available for pre-order through July 22. Almost three-quarters of a million words are contained in that space.

When the first story debuted, I had written seventy-two stories, an average of about one a week since October 2012. In the fourteen months since, I’ve written only five stories. Publication and all that goes with it is time-consuming.

There are more Stinky and Eddie stories than Holmes and Watson or Jeeves and Wooster stories. That sounds like more than enough.

On the other hand, what if we shed some light on the boys’ retirement years when they traveled all over the place? Don’t you think that Stinky took the time to dispense well-meaning but ridiculous advice to his nephew’s children? Could he even resist?

Now that literary characters can “shimmer” between stories, Stinky has unlimited opportunities to find new sources of trouble. What would happen to Heathcliff if Stinky wandered over to Wuthering Heights and offered cocktails to the ladies? “Why don’t you try an Alien Urine, Catherine? It only sounds naughty.” Would he barge into the Council of Elrond, send Gandalf to rehab for his weed habit, deliver the One Ring to the right Crack of Doom, and find a therapist for Frodo? Admit you’re curious, but do we really want to know?

The scales are evenly balanced. On one side there are more than enough Stinky Stories. On the other side, there is more to tell about this handsome character who is blessed with nerve, industry, and not an ounce of self-awareness.  Stay tuned.

Stinky scratches his head, planning his next move. His famous skunk cufflink is visible. Original artwork by Waylon Bacon.

Stinky Cover Artwork by Waylon Bacon.
Used by permission

Cover Your Arse Poetica

"Stinky and the Arse Poetica" cover art by Waylon Bacon; design by vikncharlie

Poetry can be stinky.

There is a cover for “Stinky and the Arse Poetica” and Amazon has it, but they can’f figure out why it doesn’t appear on the product page.  They will resolve it at some point, hopefully before the story moves from pre-order to live.

Horace famously wrote “Ars Poetica,” but Stinky’s sister’s poet boyfriend isn’t as talented.  Stinky thinks the guy is more sponge than soul mate, but if he says anything to Angie, he knows she’ll be angry with him.  It’s Stinky at his craftiest as he leads her to the fountain of knowledge without letting her see his hand on the pump.

There’s nothing like a good hexameter, don’t you agree?

It’s Time for New Year’s Resolutions

Do you have the pad with the resolutions handy?  We’re going to cross out the one about a diet.  Turn to a fresh sheet and make a resolution to write sincere reviews of books you enjoy in the coming year.  You get extra credit for going back through 2014 and making comments about your favorite reads.

Let’s face it.  You weren’t going to stick to the diet and authors are starving around the globe, so everyone benefits.  Stinky’s all about happy endings, and you can do your part.

Best wishes for a happy, healthy and well-read new year!

Stinky Covers

With thirty titles available, I’d like to give a shout out to the talented people who create the covers.

Waylon Bacon is an LA-area artist and filmmaker who has a flair for the offbeat.  He was a little reluctant to try handsome instead of creepy, but his visual sense of humor relates to the written humor in the stories.  His art doesn’t correspond to specific story incidents, but suggests he caught the characters at an unguarded moment.  He likes to include partial faces to give the reader more room to imagine what Stinky looks like,  and he loves to incorporate skunks.  Real skunks are nocturnal and not always seen, so it’s amazing how often they can wander onto a cover.  The striped frame on Stinky’s high school photo in the Volume 5 covers even has skunk stripes.  I imagine that Stinky paid $1.99 at Ocean State Job Lot for the skunk towel and cooler set on Volume 4 covers.

fiverr artist vikncharlie hails from the UK.  She takes the original art, changes the background color so each story is visually distinctive, and adds the title.  She has an unfailing eye for placing the type so the words convey more than they otherwise would, while assuring that the stories have a consistent visual image.  Sometimes the colors might have something to do with the story.  When Eddie’s Irish mother is the guest star, the cover is an Irish green.  When Stinky’s nephew finds himself at a dreary camp in the Poison Ivy Capital of America, we rub pink calamine lotion on the cover to show support.  If the story doesn’t suggest a particular color, we use one that stands out from the other colors in the volume.  Most of the time there is a connection, if you stop and think for a moment.

Stinky lives in a rich, colorful world, but a story doesn’t seem “real” until it has a cover and image.

I’m grateful to be able to work with such talented people as Waylon Bacon and vikncharlie.

Stinky and the Tomb Brothers

It’s a challenge staying on top of Stinky’s weekly adventures, and its been months since a new one’s been added to the backlog.

Halloween inspired a zany tale of four brothers in search of sex.  The Sons of Horus guard the pharaoh’s organs in a tomb and don’t get out much.  The only way to get them to shut up is to ask them, “What’s new.”

Now that books are stored on electronic devices characters can “shimmer” from story to story and the Sons of Horus descend on Stinky and Eddie.  Halloween is the only night of the year that any of them has a chance at scoring — only one has a human head, and he wears a wig that looked dated in 2375 B.C.E.  They talk the boys into taking them to a Halloween party, hoping to score.

There are no tricks or treats for the musty deities until clever Stinky figures out some divine intervention.

Why did the end come before the middle?

“Stinky’s September Song”is the last Stinky Story chronologically, but more than half of the stories are yet to be published.  What gives?

Like those old jigsaw puzzles with missing pieces, even when all of the Stinky Stories are published they won’t include every scene from Stinky’s long life.  This story is like the picture on the jigsaw puzzle box that helps you figure out what it would look like if it were all there.

In order for every one of the Stinky Stories to have a place in the picture on the box cover I needed to know the ending.  Did they ever move?  Did they retire?  Did they live happily ever after?  If the author doesn’t know how the story ends, he’ll never get to it and this story sets the boundaries.  I know how you feel about the end of Lost because I feel the same way.  Stinky Stories know where they’re going and deliver on the promise of a happy ending every time.

Volume 3 of the collected Stinky Stories begins with three short and trashy tales from Stinky’s libertine youth.  We hear rumors about his past from time to time, and these shed light on how these rumors got started.  “Stinky’s September Song” is the best story to end Volume 3 since the volume covers the longest span of time of any of the eight volumes.  In Volume 3 we first meet Gradey as a sonogram and by the end he’s an expectant grandfather.  There are some outrageous characters in Volume 3, but as with everything in Stinky’s life it all comes back to his family.

The story ends on a hopeful note, but it’s not a funny farce like many of the others.  It’s the last story, but I didn’t want the series to end with it.

All of the Stinky volumes are chronological, but not sequential.  He will never be as young as he is in the first three stories of Volume 3 (which will not be separately published) and he will never be as old as he is in “Stinky’s September Song” in any of the other volumes.  Eddie will not be dead in any other story.  He returns as a lad in his early thirties in Volume 4.  The volume begins with Eddie facing an evil witch who has lured Stinky and Angie into her gingerbread house.  Stinky’s dreaming, but like most dreamers he doesn’t know that.  We all know that, awake or asleep, Eddie is the man of Stinky’s dreams.

Don’t be sad for Eddie.  He had a perfect life and died with a full stomach.

You can feel sorry for the witch.  Poor thing goes vegan after less than a day with the Carter brats.

 

What the heck is a “pre-order”? Ya either order it or ya don’t!

Amazon recently added a new feature for Kindle authors.  Kindle Direct Publishing titles (KDP) are now eligible for pre-order, just like physical books.

It took a while for the Stinky Stories to work their way through the pipeline, but from now on upcoming stories will be available for pre-order a few weeks before publication.  Order now and it will magically pop into your Kindle or other reader on the publication date.

It might be a little confusing, because a pre-order title looks the same as a published one.  The clue is that the “order with one click” button says “pre-order with one click.”  Also, you can’t peek inside until it’s published.

The four Stinky titles currently in pre-order mode include the last two in Volume 3 and the first two in Volume 4.  Volume 3 ends on a bit of a downer — it’s the last Stinky Story chronologically.  Stinky is seventy-six in that story, but is a young man of twenty-nine as Vol. 4 begins.  Each of the volumes is chronological, but the volumes are not sequential.  It mixes things up better that way.  If you’re a little stunned as Volume 3 ends, you can see things bounce right back as Volume 4 takes Stinky into a fairy tale odder than anything the Brothers Grimm ever collected.

Amazon also introduced “kindleunlimited” recently.  This interesting program allows readers to download unlimited KDP titles for a subscription price of $9.99 a month.  With over six hundred thousand titles available, it’s a banquet for avid readers, and authors even get a royalty as soon as the reader pages through ten percent of the book.

However you get to Stinky, thank you for your support around the world.  We need more happy endings and he finds a way to one every week.

A Look at Vol. 2

Cover art, "Clowns, Charlatans and Colorful Characters: A Fragrant Bouquet of Stinky Stories, Vol. 2

Colorful Cover Art

 

“Clowns, Charlatans and Colorful Characters, Vol. 2” is a more typical Stinky collection than Vol. 1.  The first volume has a lot of weighty tales that introduce the world the characters live in, and now we begin to meet the outrageous guest stars who bedevil the boys throughout the rest of their lives.

The collection begins and ends with family trouble.  In the first story, “Stinky’s Snail Male Delivers,” Eddie learns that in Stinky’s world something as innocuous as opening a door can lead to adventure.  Specifically, he’s wearing only boxers when he opens the door and Stinky’s grandparents are on the other side holding suitcases.  After the initial surprise wears off, the awkwardness doesn’t go away.

The collection ends with Stinky’s mother in a tizzy.  The action in “A Stinky Accusation” begins when she reads a women’s magazine article and decides that her husband is cheating. To Eddie’s dismay she tells him, “You’re a detective.  Solve the case.”

The nine stories in between feature an assortment of problematic guest stars.  One of Stinky’s major clients talks him into judging a prep school essay contest in “The Stinky Prize” and Stinky discovers that more is amiss at the venerable school than the alleged Loch Ness Monster in an abandoned quarry.  In “Stinky and the Coq d’Or” his client’s arch rival twists his arm into awarding a prize for the “Most Inappropriate” work in a summer arts festival.  There’s no limit to bad taste when an artist goes off his meds and Stinky feels he has to choose between losing his career or Eddie’s esteem.

He’s up against an audience-challenged director in two stories, “Stinky and the Impresario” and “A Stinky Night at the Opera.”  Hamlin Storrs has a boundless imagination, but his ideas inspire his performers to ask their lawyers to find them a way out the stage door before opening night.  Thanks to Stinky the lights stay on and the fat lady sings, even if the audience isn’t sure why Carmen is dressed as a czarina.

Several of the stories concern old college pals, including the two bonus stories not otherwise available.  A guy who lived down the hall during Stinky’s senior year comes back to town and asks Stinky to help him find rekindle a college romance in “Stinky and the Artrepreneur.”  Asking Stinky to play cupid is like handing an arsonist a box of matches and a gallon of gasoline and asking him to “play nicely,” but true love will find a way, even with Stinky helping.

Another college chum, Button James appears in “Stinky and the Artrepreneur” and also in the two bonus stories, “Stinky at the Lake” and “Stinky Underwear.”  Button runs into Stinky at a bar association lunch and invites Stinky and Eddie to his lake cottage for dinner.  Eddie has to deal with drunken teenagers and technologically advanced undies.

In fact, in Vol. 2 Eddie learns that there is a dark side to living with the best looking man on the planet.  He gets shot in “Eddie’s Painful Decision” and has to deal with an unintentionally besotted Stinky in “’Tis the Season to be Stinky.”  Throughout it all Stinky remains supportive, wonders how his family managed to survive before Eddie was there to pull them out of their many scrapes and serenades Eddie with truly terrible song parodies.

As Stinky’s sister reminds him, “If anyone is up for sainthood, it’s Eddie.”  For once, the two siblings agree.

Is it the Dynamic Duo or Village People for Rockin’ Robin?

Literary characters have finally learned what comic book characters have known for decades:  there’s no reason to be confined to your own story.  Do you really think that Captain Ahab’s crew obsessively hunts for a white whale when no body is looking?  If you have one of those Frankie and Annette beach movies stored on the same device as Moby Dick look for Ishmael and the boys soaking up rays in the background.  Electronic proximity means they can drop in on each other whenever they want.

Whether the other character wants company is another story.  In the newly penned “It’s Thrilling to be Stinky in Tilling,” Georgie Pillson, hero of the classic Lucia novels, shimmers to our boys’ condo to ask a favor.  The strong-willed women on the Tilling War Memorial Committee are deadlocked and they would like to get America’s views with the idea of boosting tourism to their quaint town on the English Channel.

Eddie agrees that Stinky is the “primo diva wrangler,” but that’s not enough.  Robin has joined the Village People, Batman doesn’t know what to do with the high-maintenance Boy Wonder and it looks like Robin will be staying at the Y.M.C.A. until Georgie uses his deft, daintily gloved hand.

“It’s Thrilling to be Stinky in Tilling” is a bonus story, included in The Importance of Being Stinky, Vol. 8.

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