This collection of short stories is twelve years in the making. I wrote the first story that appears in ALL THE DIFFERENT WAYS LOVE CAN FEEL in 2005. Father’s Day was rapidly approaching, and I was a broke graduate student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. I had no money, so instead of buying my Dad a necktie or coffee mug on credit I wrote him a short story called “Five O’Clock Lightning.” It was about a fifty-year old high school math teacher who, with the help of his psychologist son, tries out for a local minor league baseball team. Like me, my old man is baseball fan, and he enjoyed the story.  Back in the day, practically all professional baseball games were played during the day (no stadium lights available), and when the 1927 New York Yankees had “Murder’s Row”–Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Miller Huggins among others–the saying went that these sluggers hit so many home runs they could change the score as quickly as lightning strikes. At the time, I thought five o’clock lightning was a fitting metaphor for a middle-aged man’s comeback.  I wrote that story when I was twenty four. Now I’m middle-aged and am looking to make a comeback of sorts.

Between 2005 and 2017, I wrote the rest of the stories in this collection, some while I was a creative writing student at UAB; others I wrote later after I became an English instructor, a husband, and a father.  “The Man Who Wore No Pants,” a lengthy story about a single father who buys a lake house with a dying man still living in it, took me nine drafts (and six months) to complete to my satisfaction. Memory serves, the germ of that story came from an NPR story about a man who had terminal cancer and was selling his house, but with two possible asking prices: a buyer could have the house for a song if the seller was allowed to stay until he died, but if he had to leave, the price was set at market value. It was a fascinating story, and I’m pretty sure I heard it on This American Life. Anyway, “The Man Who Wore No Pants” was picked for Best of the Net for 2010 and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. That story marked the beginning of my dedication to (or perhaps obsession with) third person narration, for that is the point of view I’ve written in almost exclusively ever since. That story is also primarily about a father trying to connect with his son, which is why I chose it to be the first story in ALL THE DIFFERENT WAYS LOVE CAN FEEL.  The last story in the collection, “Just Gus,” also features a father and son. In this story, which I just finished in March of 2017, Gus Lockhart, an eighteen-year old about to leave for college, steals his father’s prized record collection, and the father attempts to better understand why it happened. I’m not one for boasting, but this is a very good story–it’s funny, it’s heartfelt, it’s honest. . .

As are the rest of the stories in ALL THE DIFFERENT WAYS LOVE CAN FEEL. Or, at least, I think they are. I hope they are. Either way, I wanted to share the book cover I created. I’m planning on writing more about the process of self-publishing on Createspace, so, if you’re so inclined, be on the lookout for my thoughts on that. In the meantime, voila. . .the book cover for ALL THE DIFFERENT WAYS LOVE CAN FEEL.




8 thoughts on “Book Cover reveal: ALL THE DIFFERENT WAYS LOVE CAN FEEL”

  1. Hi Max. I like the cover. It feels like love – how it both frees and binds us. How its power brings us to our knees. The man’s back is turned, his arms behind him and a heart in his bound arms. I’ll have to enlarge it to see the details better as it’s a bit small there for close scrutiny. I was reminded of the way i want to tear myself away from love sometimes and how powerless I am to do it. I am reminded of the sacrifices of love and the pain of seeing people you love hurt, in trouble and needing. The exhaustion of taking care of someone you love when they are sick. The perfection of being held in an embrace. The tears that come from loss and the times you have to back away from someone you care about and give them room. What’s with the cross at the top? And “it is finished”. Could you be interested in the unfathomable love of Christ the Redeemer?

    1. Thanks, MJ. The image at the top is just an image I found on Google. The words were the main reason I chose it. Re: love, it is definitely what I call a hybrid emotion. Makes you feel a bunch of different things all at once–joy, sorrow, pain, anxiety, and so on. My stories, I hope, convey that a little.

  2. Great job, Max. Looking forward to this book. If “Just Gus” is any indication of the quality of this collection, you have a winner on your hands. Congratulations! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Mike. I think the other stories are strong. Many of them have been published elsewhere, or been nominated or won various short story prizes. I have dozens and dozens of stories laying around, but these are definitely my strongest and they fit a theme.

  3. So when is it coming out? I looked at the cover again and it is stunning. Rather painful. Very creative. I will be interested in your
    remarks about createspace and your experience with it. Very interested. The stuff you just found on google images evokes the idea that writing it was a crucible of sorts, hence my comment. LOL it’s a corker!

    1. MJ: I’m shooting for a release date of Saturday, July 8th. I just received the paperback proof copy in the mail, and it looks great. I have to proofread for typos and such. Seven of the eleven stories were published in journals and online, but I still want to do a close read. I can report that converting the file to Kindle is proving a challenge. More on that soon.

      Oh and my wife says the guy on the cover looks a bit like me. At least from behind. We both have black hair and shy away from cameras. I do have a habit of standing with my hands behind my back, too.

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