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I might be biased.

Eleven Miles from Home

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Love. Hate. Jet Skis. Two ex-lovers must play this shell game in the middle of nowhere. But who will win?

Richard and Rachel stopped getting along months ago, but they continue to go out together to satisfy the one recreational interest they share. However, when misfortune steals that link away and leaves them stranded on the side of the road eleven miles from home, they must not only figure out what went wrong in their relationship but decide whether it’s even worth saving.

Book Details

Story:

Eleven Miles from Home

Author:

Jeremy Bursey

Type:

Short Story


Genres:

  • Fiction
  • Coming of Age
  • Drama
  • Literature

Style:

  • First Person
  • Narrative
  • Two Points of View

Main Characters:

  • Richard
  • Rachel

Main Locations:

Middle of Nowhere, USA

Description:

Love. Hate. Jet Skis. Two ex-lovers must play this shell game in the middle of nowhere. But who will win? 

What happens when two people who used to date but can no longer stand each other get stranded together on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere?

Will they find reconciliation and rekindle their lost love? Or will they discover they truly have no business being in a relationship and call it quits forever?

Richard and Rachel used to date, a lot, not out of malice but because they genuinely liked each other. However, life has taken a turn for the mundane, and the spark they once shared has long since turned to smoke. They continue to meet once a week to satisfy the one activity they still enjoy together: jet-skiing. However, thanks to a miscalculation in judgment, the link they keep gets stolen, and as they wait for the means to return to civilization, they are forced to confront whether they should save whatever remains of their fragile relationship.

Eleven Miles from Home is an unflinching story about perception, realization, and the truth behind those relationships we thought were so great once upon a time. It’s the story of two people who must face the harsh reality that they’ve missed the mark, who bare their souls over what they discover about each other and themselves, and question whether their choices are sound.

Eleven Miles from Home is a story that forces us to think about our relational decisions and the reasons we delay the inevitable.

Format:

This story is sold as an e-book only. It can also be found in the anthology Zippywings 2015: A Short Story Collection (2015), which has e-book and print editions available. It was previously published in the anthology Seven-Sided Dice: The Collection of Junk, Vol. 3 (2006, no longer available).

Price:

  • Free (on this website).
  • $0.99 USD (on Amazon and other retailers).
  • Equivalent to $0.99 in other regions.

Book Stats:

Not including front and back matter pages:

  • 52 Pages
  • 0 – 1 Hours to read
  • 13k Total words

Copyright:

  • ©2015 by Jeremy Bursey (original e-book edition)
  • ©2020 by Jeremy Bursey (“Remastered Edition” and “The Hybrid Cut”)
  • ©2006 by Jeremy Bursey (original print anthology edition, Seven-Sided Dice, The Collection of Junk, Vol. 3)

ISBN and ASIN Information:

(Original Edition)

  • ISBN: 9781311197627 (e-book, Smashwords Edition)
  • ISBN: 9781393163633 (e-book, Draft2Digital)
  • ASIN: B019T6OT9S (e-book, Amazon)
  • GGKEY: F88064GNA7H (e-book, Google Play Books)

(Remastered Edition)

  • ISBN: 9780463375730 (e-book, Smashwords Edition)
  • ISBN: 9781393513629 (e-book, Draft2Digital)
  • ASIN: B086H5SY6X (e-book, Amazon)
  • GGKEY: 586CTE0SWQA (e-book, Google Play Books)

Disclaimer and License Notes:

This e-book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This e-book may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your favorite e-book retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. Some real-life cities, towns, institutions, or products may appear to lend authenticity to a scene for literary purposes, but this work does not intend to endorse or malign them. There is no catharsis or advertisement happening here. All other trademarks and copyrights are the property of their respective owners.

No part of this text may be reproduced in any other work without giving credit to the author. No part of this text may be used for commercial purposes, except by reviewers or critics, without the author’s permission. The complete text is intended for personal use only and may not be used for commercial purposes, or duplicated in any other form for purposes other than personal, noncommercial use, or posted to any other site without the author’s permission.

Exclusive Extras

Eleven Miles from Home

Exclusive Extras

Want more content than just the story? Then scroll through this section for bonus items, including not one but two series of questions for your readers’ group, because I know you want to talk about my books in your readers’ group.

Readers’ Group Discussion Questions

Thank you for choosing Eleven Miles from Home as the subject for your reading discussion. The following questions mean to guide readers through the conversation but should in no way limit its direction or focus during its exploration of ideas. If your group has a topic other reading groups should discuss, please e-mail me, and I may add them to a future edition of the book. Thanks. 

Note that the following questions may contain spoilers. Think of them as the test questions you look through ahead of time to validate the answers to questions you’ve already attempted (read: bonus test-taking tips!). 

Eleven Miles from Home has no dialogue. Why is the story told in this way? Is it effective or distracting? How would adding dialogue change the story? 

Why would Richard and Rachel jet-ski together if they no longer get along? Do they have an identifiable relationship or an unbelievable one? 

Which character is more sympathetic? Why? Is either character in need of redemption? Why? 

Should Richard and Rachel try to give their relationship a second try? Why or why not? 

How would the story change if a third party provided narrative? 

If you’ve read either the “Remastered Edition” or “The Hybrid Cut,” how does the redistribution of story beats from the original layout change the narrative?

 

 

Behind the Story

Eleven Miles from Home

Behind the Story

Author’s Note

Thank you for reading this far. As a reward for sticking with the book, I’ll give some background information on Eleven Miles from Home in case you’re the type of person who enjoys the “Special Features” selection on Blu-rays and DVDs (or whatever you use to watch movies at the time of this reading).

A Brief History: Like Shell Out, my previous e-book, I started Eleven Miles from Home late at night while on shift at my local hospital sometime in 2002, then derailed production on it when I lost focus, then put it back on track in 2006 after several false starts and finished it for the collection of short stories, poetry, and essays I had self-published under the title Seven-Sided Dice: The Collection of Junk Volume 3.

I wrote it as an experiment in POV narrative to see how well I could separate my voice from the voices of the two main characters and see if I could separate their voices from each other. In the process I came up with a story about miscommunication and missed opportunities, which I don’t think was my original goal. In fact, I don’t recall having an original goal. The story, if I remember correctly, was written to explore the consequences of being a jerk to the people we say we care for, but like all stories, it took a life of its own, and now we’ve got a story about misguided love and regretful choices. I decided sometime during Rachel’s first confession that it would not have the traditional happy ending. I’m not necessarily a fan of tidy endings where everyone gets what he or she wants, and that’s especially true when I’m channeling my own dances with bad luck during the writing process. But I’m not a fan of tragic endings or total loss, either, so that’s why the story ends how it ends.

So that’s a brief background on Eleven Miles from Home. If you have questions about it, please contact me and ask. I hope you enjoyed reading it.

Update March 2020 (Original Edition Note): I’ve reorganized the story structure and posted a few updates to style, grammar, and character development in a new and separate Remastered Edition to hopefully make it easier to read. This original edition maintains the 2006 structure but adapts many of the 2020 changes. Check out both versions to see how they differ (and read the Remastered Edition’s Author’s Note to find out more about a third “Hybrid” version of the story).

Remastered Edition Note: Just a quick note about the narrative structure. In previous editions, I had Richard and Rachel tell their story in two long “confessions” each, broken after the point where the current “Confession #8” series ends. I’ve always felt each section was too long, even if it helped establish each character’s contextual viewpoint well, so I split them into thirteen smaller fragments for easier reading. Even though the story moves a lot faster now, I don’t necessarily agree that the smaller chunks make it better, just different. At the same time, I can see merit in cutting the story into a third hybrid version, where the narrative flow accounts for pacing and context. So, because I don’t know which version readers would prefer, I’m posting the hybrid cut on my blog for anyone who wants to compare. Please leave me a comment with your opinion.

Update February 2021: I’ve added “The Hybrid Cut” to my official site, so you no longer have to get the “Remastered Edition” to access it. Just click the “Read for Free” button and select it from the Edition Selection page to begin reading. I’ve also created an official cover for it. It’s the best of three, in my opinion.

Revision Notes

Eleven Miles from Home

Revision History

The following is a list of milestones during Eleven Miles from Home’s development.

July 2005: Completed first edition of “Eleven Miles from Home.”

November 2006: Revised and included into my CafePress exclusive paperback anthology Seven-Sided Dice: The Collection of Junk, Volume 3.

June 2015: Minor revisions to text. Story split into four parts. New version converted to e-book format.

December 2015: Included in my electronic and paperback anthology Zippywings 2015.

April 2016: Minor revisions and updated back matter information.

December 2017: Added new back matter, including a “Readers’ Group Discussion Questions” section. Introduced new cover design.

July 2019: New interior formatting and unnoticeable grammatical fixes. Slight update to current cover design.

March 2020: ProWritingAid edit. Removed some adverbs, fixed some style issues, and strengthened story context where needed. Rewrote introduction to Rachel’s first confession to improve her likability, and made some changes to Richard’s viewpoint to improve his. Restructured the narrative to keep the “confessions” much smaller and better integrated with each character’s position in the story (Remastered Edition only). Created new “Remastered Edition” to separate the author’s cut (new 13-confessions structure) from the original cut (older 2-confessions structure). Reverted original edition to its debut “Jet Ski Ghost” front cover (2015) to differentiate between it and the Remastered Edition. Also created a third alternative, “The Hybrid Cut,” as a hidden blog exclusive for anyone who downloads the Remastered Edition and reads it all the way through.

February 2021: Created a book cover for “The Hybrid Cut” and made it visible and accessible on my official author website. Can be accessed from the Eleven Miles from Home product page under the “Read for Free” button and read directly on the site.

Released: June 2015 (Original) / March 2020 (Remastered)

Genre: Coming-of-Age

Length: Short Story

Formats: E-book only

Or Read the Website Exclusive

The Hybrid Cut

Right here, right now,

Read on this website!

Or read it on my blog, Drinking Café Latte at 1pm, if you’re clever enough to find the link.

Hint #1: The link is not on this website, but the rabbit hole starts here.

Hint #2: It looks better on this site, so you may as well stay and read it here.

Hint #3: But if you like discovering new things…

Purchase and Access Information

The “Buy Now” (or “Get the Book” or “Shut Up and Take My Money” or "Pre-order Now") button will take you to an external Universal Book Links page, where you can choose from a number of storefronts to buy this book, including region-specific links to Amazon. Once on the UBL site, you can customize your e-book shopping preferences to “skip the middleman” for future purchases by checking or unchecking the “set preferred store to [selected store]” box. You can also get notified about my future releases through this service. I’m not sure how this works exactly, so be sure to give me feedback! (You can also sign up to my newsletter and get the same news.)

If your preferred store is not listed, please let me know that as well, and I’ll see what options I have about adding my books there.

Note that clicking any external link on this site will open a new window to a new site and subject you to a new set of privacy and cookie policies, as well as a new set of terms and conditions. These buttons will flash red on mouse hover or display in red on handheld devices to give you fair warning that you're about to enter a new site.

For a comprehensive guide on how to choose the best retailer for this book, consult E-book Retailers and Formats: A Quick Guide for information.

Additionally, if you want to know why I make the decisions I do about pricing, revising, etc., consult My Author Policies for that information.

 

Leave a Review

Thank you for leaving a review. Click on the button for your preferred review source, or visit all three. And don’t forget to leave a review at the retailer you purchased from! If you need help structuring your review or understanding why you should review, I’ve posted a few short comments (in the bottom set of buttons) that can guide you.

Why Review?

Thank you for taking the time to review my books. Any word you write and every star you rate is appreciated, positive or negative, short and sweet, or long and brooding.

If you need to know why you should review my books (or any author’s books for that matter), please read my August 2019 article “The Case for Leaving a Product Review” on my sister blog site, Drinking Café Latte at 1pm, for enlightenment. It’s short but important, and I hope you take a moment to understand why your public feedback is of vital importance.

But in case you don’t read it, the straightforward and unglamorous version is that it helps everyone improve, but it also gives authors a career. Authors with few or no reviews can’t really have a career because our trust rating is too low, so the more reviews or ratings we have, the easier we can focus on writing and less on waiting tables for a living.

If you like my books and want to read more of them, then please leave a review for the books you’ve read so that more readers will trust me, and I can afford to spend more time writing them.

You can review each book wherever you bought them, but you can also review them on Amazon, Goodreads, and BookBub, which, as long as you’ve read their specific reviewer requirements, you can do regardless where you’ve bought your copy. Do make sure you know the rules for leaving Amazon, Goodreads, or BookBub reviews before you leave them. This will make the difference on whether they accept your review.

Please remember that reviews must be honest. In other words, don’t rate me five stars if the book sucks or one star if you don’t like my author photo. How do you really feel?

Finally, remember to disclose whether you’ve been gifted the book or if you’ve read it for free.

If you’re not sure what to say, you can use my “How to Review” guide as a starting point.

With that, thanks again for your thoughts. By clicking the review buttons, you’ll find each book’s Amazon, Goodreads, or BookBub direct links. Remember that clicking the buttons will take you outside of this site (in a new window) and subject you to new privacy and cookie policies, as well as new terms and conditions that you’ll have to agree to before using those sites. All standard stuff you’re probably already aware of if you’ve used the Internet for more than an hour.

How To Review

If you would like to post a review, but you’re not sure how to start, you could always begin with your star rating in mind and explain how you calculated that value. Inspiration may take over from there. But please don’t feel obligated if you don’t know what to say. The fact that you’ve read the book is awesome enough. A review simply helps others identify whether this book is worth reading and the author about what he or she has done right (or horribly, horribly wrong). That said, we all have a voice, and I hope to hear yours soon. If you prefer to read in silence, that’s fine; I often read in silence myself. But I will generally let others know if I’ve read something awesome. Hopefully, you thought my book is awesome, and I hope you’ll let me know if you did.

That said, if you still need more help coming up with something to say, try answering these questions and use your answers as a basis for forming your review:

 

Will your review contain spoilers? If yes, warn the reader. Note that readers are smart. If you say the book has a twist ending (but you don’t say what), it’s a spoiler! 

I figured out the ending to The Sixth Sense five minutes in because people kept telling me, “You’ll never guess the ending.” Yeah, actually I will.

 

Did you enjoy the book? If yes, what did it leave you thinking about the most? If no, what about it bothered you the most? Elaborate if you can, but keep it short and sweet if the feeling is hard to articulate. 

For me, I watched The Breakfast Club over 40 times because it leaves me feeling like I’m part of the group. This was true when I first saw it edited for television as a 10-year-old. It’s still true as a grown man in my 40s. I also love the music and the tension between characters. I can still quote most of it. It’s the kind of movie that sticks with me.

 

If you liked the book: Who’s your favorite character and why? If you didn’t: Who caused you the most grief and why? 

Because the cast of The Breakfast Club is so well rounded, I don’t have a favorite character. I think each one is important to the story and removing any one of them would make the whole thing crumble.

 

For a good book, what was one thing you didn’t like about it? For a bad book, what was one thing you did like about it? 

Regarding The Breakfast Club, I still think the “smoking scene” is strange. How does the principal not smell the smoke or hear the rock music if the library is “right outside his office”? Definitely my least favorite part of the movie. But in fairness, I think this sequence takes place when the principal is hanging out with the janitor, so how would he even be aware?

 

What did you think of the ending? Is it satisfying or a letdown? Does it even matter? 

I once thought I hated The War of the Worlds (2005, Tom Cruise version) because that ending is among the worst in cinematic history. But darn it if the ride getting to that crappy ending isn’t among the best, and I can’t watch it today without feeling kind of into it. Sometimes the ending can ruin the story, but not always. A better question is does the ending support the point of the story or nullify it? In the case of The War of the Worlds, the ending sucks because it’s a “happy” copout, not a rebellion to the story’s premise, which is to survive an alien attack long enough for our world to figure out how to fight back (or outlast the aliens’ own survival rates).

 

Who is this book for?

I’m sure The Bridges of Madison County is a great book. It somehow managed to land Clint Eastwood in the lead role when it was made into a movie. But it looks soooo boring. At the time the movie was released, I was in my late teens or early 20s, eagerly awaiting the next Arnold Schwarzenegger action film, or really anything with decent character development, a pulse-pounding soundtrack, and explosions, lots of explosions. I liked Clint Eastwood in those days, but I liked him more as Dirty Harry. The Bridges of Madison County seemed more like the kind of movie my mom or grandmother would watch than I would. I might enjoy it more today, but back then, I couldn’t be bothered with it, even if it was good.

 

Finally:

Hopefully, that’ll give you something to work with. If you’re still stuck, though, then check out Amazon’s “Top Reviewers” for some ideas. Can’t go wrong learning from the best.

How to Be Negative

An important note about negative reviews (for my books or for anyone else’s): Please be civil in your reviews. A review should focus on the book, not the author’s condition as a human being. They should focus on your experience with the story, not the coffee shop where you read the story.

In other words, please be fair. If you disliked the book because the characters are poorly developed, the scenes make no sense, or the plot is absurd, then it’s not a good book, and your review should say so. But, if you disliked it because you were in the mood for a dark, depressing horror story and you got a comedy instead (and the book has the markings or description of a comedy all over its product page), then maybe don’t review it.

Likewise, if the book hasn’t yet gotten any reviews, and the review you plan to give is negative, maybe wait until more positive reviews come in before posting yours. You should definitely post yours, but remember that if your review is more subjective than objective, and yours is the only one that potential readers will see, then even if they’d normally love the book, they won’t buy it because your standalone bad review turned them off, and that can not only unjustly kill the book’s chances to succeed (as well as the author’s), but it can rob a positive experience for other readers who might see something entertaining in the book that you didn’t. That’s unfair for everyone.

So, please think it through before you post your review. I can’t rightly tell you how to review or when, but as a writer who lives by the success or failure of each book, I hope you’ll “read the room” and examine your reasons for the negative review before submitting, and maybe consider holding off until a time when your single review won’t destroy the book’s (or the author’s) chance to find the right audience. Again, a bad book deserves to fail, but a good book in the hands of the wrong reader or the wrong time and place needs a bit more grace. On behalf of all writers and authors who live and die by your reviews, thanks for being fair.

Hope You Enjoy the Story!

Your place to discover great books.

I might be biased.

Eleven Miles from Home

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Available wherever books are sold online.

Love. Hate. Jet Skis. Two ex-lovers must play this shell game in the middle of nowhere. But who will win?

Richard and Rachel stopped getting along months ago, but they continue to go out together to satisfy the one recreational interest they share. However, when misfortune steals that link away and leaves them stranded on the side of the road eleven miles from home, they must not only figure out what went wrong in their relationship but decide whether it’s even worth saving.

Released: June 2015 (Original) /

March 2020 (Remastered)

Genre: Coming-of-Age

Length: Short Story

Formats: E-book only

Book Details

Story:

Eleven Miles from Home

Author:

Jeremy Bursey

Type:

Short Story


Genres:

  • Fiction
  • Coming of Age
  • Drama
  • Literature

Style:

  • First Person
  • Narrative
  • Two Points of View

Main Characters:

  • Richard
  • Rachel

Main Locations:

Middle of Nowhere, USA

Description:

Love. Hate. Jet Skis. Two ex-lovers must play this shell game in the middle of nowhere. But who will win? 

What happens when two people who used to date but can no longer stand each other get stranded together on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere?

Will they find reconciliation and rekindle their lost love? Or will they discover they truly have no business being in a relationship and call it quits forever?

Richard and Rachel used to date, a lot, not out of malice but because they genuinely liked each other. However, life has taken a turn for the mundane, and the spark they once shared has long since turned to smoke. They continue to meet once a week to satisfy the one activity they still enjoy together: jet-skiing. However, thanks to a miscalculation in judgment, the link they keep gets stolen, and as they wait for the means to return to civilization, they are forced to confront whether they should save whatever remains of their fragile relationship.

Eleven Miles from Home is an unflinching story about perception, realization, and the truth behind those relationships we thought were so great once upon a time. It’s the story of two people who must face the harsh reality that they’ve missed the mark, who bare their souls over what they discover about each other and themselves, and question whether their choices are sound.

Eleven Miles from Home is a story that forces us to think about our relational decisions and the reasons we delay the inevitable.

Format:

This story is sold as an e-book only. It can also be found in the anthology Zippywings 2015: A Short Story Collection (2015), which has e-book and print editions available. It was previously published in the anthology Seven-Sided Dice: The Collection of Junk, Vol. 3 (2006, no longer available).

Price:

  • Free (on this website).
  • $0.99 USD (on Amazon and other retailers).
  • Equivalent to $0.99 in other regions.

Book Stats:

Not including front and back matter pages:

  • 52 Pages
  • 0 – 1 Hours to read
  • 13k Total words

Copyright:

  • ©2015 by Jeremy Bursey (original e-book edition)
  • ©2020 by Jeremy Bursey (“Remastered Edition” and “The Hybrid Cut”)
  • ©2006 by Jeremy Bursey (original print anthology edition, Seven-Sided Dice, The Collection of Junk, Vol. 3)

ISBN and ASIN Information:

(Original Edition)

  • ISBN: 9781311197627 (e-book, Smashwords Edition)
  • ISBN: 9781393163633 (e-book, Draft2Digital)
  • ASIN: B019T6OT9S (e-book, Amazon)
  • GGKEY: F88064GNA7H (e-book, Google Play Books)

(Remastered Edition)

  • ISBN: 9780463375730 (e-book, Smashwords Edition)
  • ISBN: 9781393513629 (e-book, Draft2Digital)
  • ASIN: B086H5SY6X (e-book, Amazon)
  • GGKEY: 586CTE0SWQA (e-book, Google Play Books)

Disclaimer and License Notes:

This e-book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This e-book may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your favorite e-book retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. Some real-life cities, towns, institutions, or products may appear to lend authenticity to a scene for literary purposes, but this work does not intend to endorse or malign them. There is no catharsis or advertisement happening here. All other trademarks and copyrights are the property of their respective owners.

No part of this text may be reproduced in any other work without giving credit to the author. No part of this text may be used for commercial purposes, except by reviewers or critics, without the author’s permission. The complete text is intended for personal use only and may not be used for commercial purposes, or duplicated in any other form for purposes other than personal, noncommercial use, or posted to any other site without the author’s permission.

Exclusive Extras

Eleven Miles from Home

Exclusive Extras

Want more content than just the story? Then scroll through this section for bonus items, including not one but two series of questions for your readers’ group, because I know you want to talk about my books in your readers’ group.

Readers’ Group Discussion Questions

Thank you for choosing Eleven Miles from Home as the subject for your reading discussion. The following questions mean to guide readers through the conversation but should in no way limit its direction or focus during its exploration of ideas. If your group has a topic other reading groups should discuss, please e-mail me, and I may add them to a future edition of the book. Thanks. 

Note that the following questions may contain spoilers. Think of them as the test questions you look through ahead of time to validate the answers to questions you’ve already attempted (read: bonus test-taking tips!). 

Eleven Miles from Home has no dialogue. Why is the story told in this way? Is it effective or distracting? How would adding dialogue change the story? 

Why would Richard and Rachel jet-ski together if they no longer get along? Do they have an identifiable relationship or an unbelievable one? 

Which character is more sympathetic? Why? Is either character in need of redemption? Why? 

Should Richard and Rachel try to give their relationship a second try? Why or why not? 

How would the story change if a third party provided narrative? 

If you’ve read either the “Remastered Edition” or “The Hybrid Cut,” how does the redistribution of story beats from the original layout change the narrative?

 

 

Behind the Story

Eleven Miles from Home

Behind the Story

Author’s Note

Thank you for reading this far. As a reward for sticking with the book, I’ll give some background information on Eleven Miles from Home in case you’re the type of person who enjoys the “Special Features” selection on Blu-rays and DVDs (or whatever you use to watch movies at the time of this reading).

A Brief History: Like Shell Out, my previous e-book, I started Eleven Miles from Home late at night while on shift at my local hospital sometime in 2002, then derailed production on it when I lost focus, then put it back on track in 2006 after several false starts and finished it for the collection of short stories, poetry, and essays I had self-published under the title Seven-Sided Dice: The Collection of Junk Volume 3.

I wrote it as an experiment in POV narrative to see how well I could separate my voice from the voices of the two main characters and see if I could separate their voices from each other. In the process I came up with a story about miscommunication and missed opportunities, which I don’t think was my original goal. In fact, I don’t recall having an original goal. The story, if I remember correctly, was written to explore the consequences of being a jerk to the people we say we care for, but like all stories, it took a life of its own, and now we’ve got a story about misguided love and regretful choices. I decided sometime during Rachel’s first confession that it would not have the traditional happy ending. I’m not necessarily a fan of tidy endings where everyone gets what he or she wants, and that’s especially true when I’m channeling my own dances with bad luck during the writing process. But I’m not a fan of tragic endings or total loss, either, so that’s why the story ends how it ends.

So that’s a brief background on Eleven Miles from Home. If you have questions about it, please contact me and ask. I hope you enjoyed reading it.

Update March 2020 (Original Edition Note): I’ve reorganized the story structure and posted a few updates to style, grammar, and character development in a new and separate Remastered Edition to hopefully make it easier to read. This original edition maintains the 2006 structure but adapts many of the 2020 changes. Check out both versions to see how they differ (and read the Remastered Edition’s Author’s Note to find out more about a third “Hybrid” version of the story).

Remastered Edition Note: Just a quick note about the narrative structure. In previous editions, I had Richard and Rachel tell their story in two long “confessions” each, broken after the point where the current “Confession #8” series ends. I’ve always felt each section was too long, even if it helped establish each character’s contextual viewpoint well, so I split them into thirteen smaller fragments for easier reading. Even though the story moves a lot faster now, I don’t necessarily agree that the smaller chunks make it better, just different. At the same time, I can see merit in cutting the story into a third hybrid version, where the narrative flow accounts for pacing and context. So, because I don’t know which version readers would prefer, I’m posting the hybrid cut on my blog for anyone who wants to compare. Please leave me a comment with your opinion.

Update February 2021: I’ve added “The Hybrid Cut” to my official site, so you no longer have to get the “Remastered Edition” to access it. Just click the “Read for Free” button and select it from the Edition Selection page to begin reading. I’ve also created an official cover for it. It’s the best of three, in my opinion.

Revision Notes

Eleven Miles from Home

Revision History

The following is a list of milestones during Eleven Miles from Home’s development.

July 2005: Completed first edition of “Eleven Miles from Home.”

November 2006: Revised and included into my CafePress exclusive paperback anthology Seven-Sided Dice: The Collection of Junk, Volume 3.

June 2015: Minor revisions to text. Story split into four parts. New version converted to e-book format.

December 2015: Included in my electronic and paperback anthology Zippywings 2015.

April 2016: Minor revisions and updated back matter information.

December 2017: Added new back matter, including a “Readers’ Group Discussion Questions” section. Introduced new cover design.

July 2019: New interior formatting and unnoticeable grammatical fixes. Slight update to current cover design.

March 2020: ProWritingAid edit. Removed some adverbs, fixed some style issues, and strengthened story context where needed. Rewrote introduction to Rachel’s first confession to improve her likability, and made some changes to Richard’s viewpoint to improve his. Restructured the narrative to keep the “confessions” much smaller and better integrated with each character’s position in the story (Remastered Edition only). Created new “Remastered Edition” to separate the author’s cut (new 13-confessions structure) from the original cut (older 2-confessions structure). Reverted original edition to its debut “Jet Ski Ghost” front cover (2015) to differentiate between it and the Remastered Edition. Also created a third alternative, “The Hybrid Cut,” as a hidden blog exclusive for anyone who downloads the Remastered Edition and reads it all the way through.

February 2021: Created a book cover for “The Hybrid Cut” and made it visible and accessible on my official author website. Can be accessed from the Eleven Miles from Home product page under the “Read for Free” button and read directly on the site.

Or Read the Website Exclusive

The Hybrid Cut

Right here, right now,
Read on this website!

Or read it on my blog, Drinking Café Latte at 1pm, if you’re clever enough to find the link.

Hint #1: The link is not on this website, but the rabbit hole starts here.

Hint #2: It looks better on this site, so you may as well stay and read it here.

Hint #3: But if you like discovering new things…

Purchase and Access Information

The “Buy Now” (or “Get the Book” or “Shut Up and Take My Money” or "Pre-order Now") button will take you to an external Universal Book Links page, where you can choose from a number of storefronts to buy this book, including region-specific links to Amazon. Once on the UBL site, you can customize your e-book shopping preferences to “skip the middleman” for future purchases by checking or unchecking the “set preferred store to [selected store]” box. You can also get notified about my future releases through this service. I’m not sure how this works exactly, so be sure to give me feedback! (You can also sign up to my newsletter and get the same news.)

If your preferred store is not listed, please let me know that as well, and I’ll see what options I have about adding my books there.

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For a comprehensive guide on how to choose the best retailer for this book, consult E-book Retailers and Formats: A Quick Guide for information.

Additionally, if you want to know why I make the decisions I do about pricing, revising, etc., consult My Author Policies for that information.

 

Leave a Review

Thank you for leaving a review. Click on the button for your preferred review source, or visit all three. And don’t forget to leave a review at the retailer you purchased from! If you need help structuring your review or understanding why you should review, I’ve posted a few short comments (in the bottom set of buttons) that can guide you.

Why Review?

Thank you for taking the time to review my books. Any word you write and every star you rate is appreciated, positive or negative, short and sweet, or long and brooding.

If you need to know why you should review my books (or any author’s books for that matter), please read my August 2019 article “The Case for Leaving a Product Review” on my sister blog site, Drinking Café Latte at 1pm, for enlightenment. It’s short but important, and I hope you take a moment to understand why your public feedback is of vital importance.

But in case you don’t read it, the straightforward and unglamorous version is that it helps everyone improve, but it also gives authors a career. Authors with few or no reviews can’t really have a career because our trust rating is too low, so the more reviews or ratings we have, the easier we can focus on writing and less on waiting tables for a living.

If you like my books and want to read more of them, then please leave a review for the books you’ve read so that more readers will trust me, and I can afford to spend more time writing them.

You can review each book wherever you bought them, but you can also review them on Amazon, Goodreads, and BookBub, which, as long as you’ve read their specific reviewer requirements, you can do regardless where you’ve bought your copy. Do make sure you know the rules for leaving Amazon, Goodreads, or BookBub reviews before you leave them. This will make the difference on whether they accept your review.

Please remember that reviews must be honest. In other words, don’t rate me five stars if the book sucks or one star if you don’t like my author photo. How do you really feel?

Finally, remember to disclose whether you’ve been gifted the book or if you’ve read it for free.

If you’re not sure what to say, you can use my “How to Review” guide as a starting point.

With that, thanks again for your thoughts. By clicking the review buttons, you’ll find each book’s Amazon, Goodreads, or BookBub direct links. Remember that clicking the buttons will take you outside of this site (in a new window) and subject you to new privacy and cookie policies, as well as new terms and conditions that you’ll have to agree to before using those sites. All standard stuff you’re probably already aware of if you’ve used the Internet for more than an hour.

How To Review

If you would like to post a review, but you’re not sure how to start, you could always begin with your star rating in mind and explain how you calculated that value. Inspiration may take over from there. But please don’t feel obligated if you don’t know what to say. The fact that you’ve read the book is awesome enough. A review simply helps others identify whether this book is worth reading and the author about what he or she has done right (or horribly, horribly wrong). That said, we all have a voice, and I hope to hear yours soon. If you prefer to read in silence, that’s fine; I often read in silence myself. But I will generally let others know if I’ve read something awesome. Hopefully, you thought my book is awesome, and I hope you’ll let me know if you did.

That said, if you still need more help coming up with something to say, try answering these questions and use your answers as a basis for forming your review:

 

Will your review contain spoilers? If yes, warn the reader. Note that readers are smart. If you say the book has a twist ending (but you don’t say what), it’s a spoiler! 

I figured out the ending to The Sixth Sense five minutes in because people kept telling me, “You’ll never guess the ending.” Yeah, actually I will.

 

Did you enjoy the book? If yes, what did it leave you thinking about the most? If no, what about it bothered you the most? Elaborate if you can, but keep it short and sweet if the feeling is hard to articulate. 

For me, I watched The Breakfast Club over 40 times because it leaves me feeling like I’m part of the group. This was true when I first saw it edited for television as a 10-year-old. It’s still true as a grown man in my 40s. I also love the music and the tension between characters. I can still quote most of it. It’s the kind of movie that sticks with me.

 

If you liked the book: Who’s your favorite character and why? If you didn’t: Who caused you the most grief and why? 

Because the cast of The Breakfast Club is so well rounded, I don’t have a favorite character. I think each one is important to the story and removing any one of them would make the whole thing crumble.

 

For a good book, what was one thing you didn’t like about it? For a bad book, what was one thing you did like about it? 

Regarding The Breakfast Club, I still think the “smoking scene” is strange. How does the principal not smell the smoke or hear the rock music if the library is “right outside his office”? Definitely my least favorite part of the movie. But in fairness, I think this sequence takes place when the principal is hanging out with the janitor, so how would he even be aware?

 

What did you think of the ending? Is it satisfying or a letdown? Does it even matter? 

I once thought I hated The War of the Worlds (2005, Tom Cruise version) because that ending is among the worst in cinematic history. But darn it if the ride getting to that crappy ending isn’t among the best, and I can’t watch it today without feeling kind of into it. Sometimes the ending can ruin the story, but not always. A better question is does the ending support the point of the story or nullify it? In the case of The War of the Worlds, the ending sucks because it’s a “happy” copout, not a rebellion to the story’s premise, which is to survive an alien attack long enough for our world to figure out how to fight back (or outlast the aliens’ own survival rates).

 

Who is this book for?

I’m sure The Bridges of Madison County is a great book. It somehow managed to land Clint Eastwood in the lead role when it was made into a movie. But it looks soooo boring. At the time the movie was released, I was in my late teens or early 20s, eagerly awaiting the next Arnold Schwarzenegger action film, or really anything with decent character development, a pulse-pounding soundtrack, and explosions, lots of explosions. I liked Clint Eastwood in those days, but I liked him more as Dirty Harry. The Bridges of Madison County seemed more like the kind of movie my mom or grandmother would watch than I would. I might enjoy it more today, but back then, I couldn’t be bothered with it, even if it was good.

 

Finally:

Hopefully, that’ll give you something to work with. If you’re still stuck, though, then check out Amazon’s “Top Reviewers” for some ideas. Can’t go wrong learning from the best.

How to Be Negative

An important note about negative reviews (for my books or for anyone else’s): Please be civil in your reviews. A review should focus on the book, not the author’s condition as a human being. They should focus on your experience with the story, not the coffee shop where you read the story.

In other words, please be fair. If you disliked the book because the characters are poorly developed, the scenes make no sense, or the plot is absurd, then it’s not a good book, and your review should say so. But, if you disliked it because you were in the mood for a dark, depressing horror story and you got a comedy instead (and the book has the markings or description of a comedy all over its product page), then maybe don’t review it.

Likewise, if the book hasn’t yet gotten any reviews, and the review you plan to give is negative, maybe wait until more positive reviews come in before posting yours. You should definitely post yours, but remember that if your review is more subjective than objective, and yours is the only one that potential readers will see, then even if they’d normally love the book, they won’t buy it because your standalone bad review turned them off, and that can not only unjustly kill the book’s chances to succeed (as well as the author’s), but it can rob a positive experience for other readers who might see something entertaining in the book that you didn’t. That’s unfair for everyone.

So, please think it through before you post your review. I can’t rightly tell you how to review or when, but as a writer who lives by the success or failure of each book, I hope you’ll “read the room” and examine your reasons for the negative review before submitting, and maybe consider holding off until a time when your single review won’t destroy the book’s (or the author’s) chance to find the right audience. Again, a bad book deserves to fail, but a good book in the hands of the wrong reader or the wrong time and place needs a bit more grace. On behalf of all writers and authors who live and die by your reviews, thanks for being fair.

Hope You Enjoy the Story!