2018 Writing Progress Report

Steve B Howard NOVELIST
6 min readDec 30, 2018


Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

2018 was a pretty good year. There were a couple of writing firsts for me and some nice positives.

  1. One of my short stories will be included in Lit Up’s anthology. A first for me! I’ve published plenty of short stories in the past, but I’ve never had one included in an anthology. Very cool!
  2. I joined Ello this September and now have 1.5k followers/25k views so far. Much faster than any other sns I have ever joined.
  3. I went from 600 followers on Medium in January 2018 to 1.7k followers. My earnings from the Partner’s Program have pretty much stayed the same though at around $40 a month.
  4. I have Indie Published 3 books since September.
  5. I added 120 subscribers to my website.
  6. I wrote around 60k words this year.
  7. I became a writer for 6 great new publications on Medium.
  8. I got fairly serious about trying to promote and Indie publish more short story collections and novels in 2019 and I actually have a plan or at least the skeletal outline of one in my brain this year.

Thanks everyone that read and supported my writing this year. I hope 2019 is even better for all of us.

If you are interested in my books or website please check out the links below.

Satori in the Slipstream

FREE BOOK HERE NOW! A Great Little Collection of Short Stories!

Satori in the Slipstream is a collection of dark stories that will take you to those places where the brutal clarity of truth is sometimes revealed. Follow the tales of a young woman in Japan trying to find herself in a Buddhist temple, a junkie street artist trying to draw away his demons with is art, a Japanese soldier confronting the horrific destruction and death in Hiroshima, a young hustler on the streets saying goodbye to his dead friend, and an office lady in Japan contemplating suicide from her 18 story apartment. All these stories and more.





$0.99 ON AMAZON AND OTHER PLACES NOW! A Great Little Collection of Short Stories at a Great Price!!!!

Fly Fishing Out of a Dead End Life

$0.99 ON AMAZON AND OTHER PLACES NOW! A Great Little Collection of Short Stories at a Great Price!!!!
A small collection of short stories, flash fiction, and haibun. A young man escapes from a rough life through his passion for fly fishing. A man reflects on how fly fishing, anger, and meditation have impacted his life. An old man tries to decide whether to try and reconnect with his son or chase his dream of catching a trophy salmon. A businessman who had little time for family bitterly reflects on his life while on a fishing trip. A man fly fishing in the high desert of Eastern Washington tries to capture in words the powerful spiritual beauty of the land and sport.









Trout Streams, Motion, and Memory

The desert of Eastern Washington is a place of dryness and death. Without water nothing can live here. The thin little stream that cuts through the harsh rock and sand provides nourishment for the willow trees and the grassy meadow. It is the single life-giving artery in this arid place.

I walk along the west bank of the stream just as the sun rises in the east casting off reds and violets across the black, sharp stone ridges. A small white tail deer stands atop a crumbling ridge, staring down curiously, afraid of the upright predator, parting the thick weeds by the stream.

I have to be careful that my shadow falls behind me and not across the stream. The trout here are wild. Everything in their world is either a threat or a meal. Unnatural movement or reflections on the water scatters them. They are selective in their eating habits. Even my steps along the bank are measured. It’s a trade off; the rule is, walk heavy for the snakes, and softly for the trout. Rattlers, like trout don’t have ears, but are very sensitive to vibrations, striking suddenly when surprised.

I’m looking for dimples or swirls in the stream’s current, any sign that gives away the trout’s position. They always face upstream in feeding lanes where the current drifts insects down to them. Caloric energy is a premium in their world, and they never expend it lightly.

And then I see it, a break in the gentle flow of the current, the sloppy splash from a big tail, slashing back and forth in the trout’s enthusiasm for its breakfast.

I pull a few feet of slick fly-line off the titanium reel, making sure there are no kinks or tangles. I hear the methodic click of the metal drag deep within the reel as the fly-line peels smoothly off the arbor. I hold the tiny fly between my thumb and index finger, blowing on the delicate spun deer hair, and dark brown turkey feathers, fluffing them up, so they will be more buoyant. Then I gently press the point of the steel hook into the tip of my thumbnail to test its sharpness. Looking over my right shoulder, I check to make sure no hanging branches from the willow tree behind me will obstruct the path of the nine and a half foot graphite fly rod, as it is pulled vertical on the back cast, in a steady sharp snap of my arm.

But it’s not about the technical aspects of fly-fishing; the stalking, casting, and landing of the fish are unimportant. When the moment is upon me all these things drop away. There’s this feeling of clear intuition guiding me. Time is a tentative force in the background, and the stream and surrounding desert disappear. Only perfect momentum remains. I feel nothing but the flowing motion. It is the purity of form obtained in the action of doing. The motion of my body, the flow of the stream, cause and effect suspended in the structure of synchronized rhythm.

With the soft landing of the tiny fly on the gentle water, and moments later a large silver trout cruising from the depths, breaking the barrier between air and water to take it, shaking the energy of its life into my rod and through my arm; it’s existence resonating with mine; I know I have transcended.

It is always fleeting though, never captured, never grasped, or described. I have the moments spent stalking the trout, the long sweeping cast, and the trout’s short fierce battle for freedom. Then the brief period after, gently holding the slippery trout for a quick picture and then releasing it back into its cold home, but this is all. Only a shadow of the grace maybe reflected in the depths of my eyes, or a faded copy of excitement imprinted slightly in the tone of my voice. Maybe the memory of wanting to be an angler, and learning to fish, and later in life, wanting to be an artist and learning to fly-fish. These thoughts and memories remain, the rest drift down stream.

Something Gaijin This Way Comes

$0.99 ON AMAZON AND OTHER PLACES NOW! A Great Little Collection of Short Stories at a Great Price!!!!

Broken, blistered, and busted tales about life in Japan. Take a look into the darker seedier side, an old woman waits to die in the summer heat, a homeless man flees Japan rather do prison time, an old man argues with his wife and things go really bad. These stories and many more.





Excerpt: Game Show Nirvana and a Pack of Lucky Strikes

Slow late Sunday afternoon television in Japan; Sumo, golf, enka singers, all tied to food somehow; entertainment for the old and near dead. Soft tones, flat screens, and entreatingly optimistic voices pitching banality that mirrors an afterlife everyone over 70 in Japan longs for.
Grandfather’s seventh cigarette of the day burns slowly towards his yellowed and dead finger tips that rest quiet and still on the cool tatami.

no one dies like the
samurai once did when
bushido meant something


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Steve B Howard NOVELIST