Hero of the Week – Jayne Martin

My friend Jayne Martin has a new book, Tender Cuts — and it’s getting great reviews. Ordering my copy today.

You can read her story “A Lobster Walked Into a Laundromat” at New Flash Fiction Review, one of the best places to read flash fiction online, particularly if you enjoy surreal, experimental and bold stories. I love this surreal story by Jayne – it’s funny, relatable, and wistful all at once. (This story is included in Tender Cuts, by the way.)

Jayne is also a horse person. I had to ask her about that, because I’ve been horse crazy since forever. So has Jayne.

“My maternal grandfather was a racehorse trainer so it’s in my blood, but I didn’t even get a chance to start riding seriously until I was 38,” she says.

Her current horse is Levi, a gorgeous 28-year-old Thoroughbred she’s had since 2005. They competed over fences at hunter-jumper shows. If you aren’t horsey, you’ve still probably seen an aspect of this competition in televised sporting events, where horses follow a set pattern of jumps in an arena. Jumpers are judges mostly on a clean round. Hunters are judged not only on their ability to jump, but also their demeanor while they do it. And of course, the rider has to be in correct form, which is easier said than done.

Levi is retired from the show ring these days, Jayne says, but she still rides him at the walk, trot and canter. “He’s in great shape and still behaves like a 4-year-old,” she says. She’s got Instagram posts to prove it.

Most horse people are also dog people. Jayne recently lost her beloved Dixie, who bravely fought cancer for three years. That left Miss Pickles without a dog friend, so Jayne adopted Ellie the Chihuahua. “Finding her at the shelter was Dixie’s way of sending love from the great beyond,” Jayne says.

But let’s get back to the writing for a minute! Jayne says assembling the collection for this book was like herding cats. She had some help from Meg Pokrass and Nancy Stohlman, both flash fiction stars. (And may I add – also encouraging and generous to emerging writers.)

“At first I only had the first Julie-Sue story, ‘Tender Cuts,’ but I realized that I needed an arc/structure for all the other stories to kind of hang on, so I wrote three more Julie-Sue stries taking her from when we first meet her as a child beauty pageant contestant at about 7-years-old, through to about 11 (“Making the Cut”) to age 16 (“Prime Cut”), and the final story, which is “Final Cut,” told by Julie-Sue’s grown daughter after Julie-Sue’s death,” Jayne says. “This allowed me to take all the stories and order them from younger narrators to older ones.”

There are 38 stories total, so you’ll get to know Julie-Sue and others as well.

Here’s another bonus – the book is illustrated.

Go to Jayne’s website to order the book or read more about what a cool person Jayne is!

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