Like any narcissistic blogger in the 21st century, I have Google Alerts set up for "robert swartwood" and "hint fiction." Oftentimes, these two alerts go hand in hand, though, interestingly enough, in the past few months my name has become less and less associated with Hint Fiction to the point where HF is now becoming its own thing. Sometimes, though, when one of those alerts for "hint fiction" pops up, it will also mention me or, I should say, my evil twin brother Robert Smartwood. I'm anal about my name, just like many people are anal about their names (don't believe me, ask Roxanne Gay). All too often my last name will be misspelled. But shit happens. Still, I wondered what I would find if I Googled "robert smartwood." Unsurprisingly, a good bit came up, the highlights of which I'd like to share. Back on October 29, 2009, the Book Smugglers reviewed the horror anthology Fifty-Two Stitches edited by Aaron Polson. Here's a bit of what the reviewer had to say:
Reading each “stitch” in this book, I came to a (in retrospect, a pretty “duh” moment) realization – writing flash fiction is HARD. I’ve read and reviewed my share of horror anthologies and first novels, and many authors tend to make the same mistakes: wasted, powerless adjectives, descriptions that are lengthy and try too hard at gruesome, for example. But in the flash fiction of Fifty-Two Stitches, there’s simply no space to make these mistakes. Each sentence, each word has to be selected for maximum effectiveness – and the result is all the better for it. As in all anthologies, Fifty-Two Stitches has some duds and unevenness, but there are also some memorable, truly awesome stories within as well. Some of these gems include “New Woman” by Doug Murano (in which a man used to taking charge on dates gets more than he can handle), “In the Garden” and “Mother’s Love” by L.R. Bonehill (both eerie, haunting stories about mothers dealing with loss), “Sitting Up With Grandpa” by Blu Gilliand (where a young boy sits vigil with his recently deceased Grandpa), and “Dead Weight” by Robert Smartwood (a story that gives a whole new meaning to coyotes and border crossing).
– That summer he went to stay with his grandmother. She smoked constantly. He hated the way she smelled and sounded when she talked, and he knew smoking would kill her, so one day he stole his grandmother’s carton of cigarettes she kept up on top of the refrigerator—he had to balance himself on a chair to do this—and then he took the carton out to the garden in the backyard. He dug a hole, threw the carton inside, filled the hole back in, and patted it down like nothing was out of place. — Robert Smartwood in Staccato Fiction
And there are a few others, mostly people mentioning one of several Hint Fiction contests and then mentioning my evil twin brother Robert Smartwood too, but the real doozy and major fail of them all is Borders.com who, despite frequent requests from my publisher, still has my name misspelled. Which explains why I never listed Borders as a possible place to pre-order the anthology. Hell, I don't even have it listed as one of the sites to pre-order from on the Hint Fiction page. And honestly? Borders isn't even giving you a discount if you order from the site (not even 1% off), so do everyone involved a favor and just don't order from them! Instead, order here, or here, or here, or here, or here, or here, or even here. But just not here.