big news on the little blog ~ One-Match Fire

I’ve mentioned here a few times that 2022 has been a good year for my writing life. To date, I’ve had six short stories accepted in lit mags (but reduce that to five since one of the magazines failed to come to life and my story was returned — still, five in one year is my high).

But I’ve been sitting on a secret that is even bigger news.

Last June I learned that my novel, One-Match Fire, was accepted for publication by Blue Cedar Press, and it’s due to come out next month as a paperback and a little later as an ebook!

Long-time readers will remember that I have been writing the individual stories — I originally called them my Fathers and Sons stories and then later said they were part of my One-Match Fire universe — for ten years. I wrote the original story, “where late the sweet birds sang,” in 2012. It was about a little cabin in the woods and a son’s struggle with whether to keep it or sell it to pay medical bills affecting his family. I had intended the story to be a one-off, and I vaguely intended it to be a guide for what my own children might do with my little cabin in the woods when the time came. That story eventually became the prologue for One-Match Fire the novel.

I found, after completing that story, that I wanted to stay with the characters I had created and tell more stories about them. They came easily: I knew the characters well, and I certainly knew the setting well (the picture on the cover of the novel may or may not be of my own little cabin taken nine years ago). And so I wrote another story about them. And then another. And another. At first I was just writing the stories that came to me, based on likely situations the characters would face in their lives. But at some point I realized that there was a whole greater than the sum of its parts in what I was doing. I thought maybe I had the beginnings of a story cycle, but a friend told me that no, I was writing a novel. And so I was.

One-Match Fire came into its final form sometime in 2019, and I began shopping it around to likely agents and then more likely publishers, but I wasn’t getting any bites. Still, ten of the 24 chapters had been published in lit mags, and I was proud of that achievement. Maybe that was enuf. In fact, I was considering serializing One-Match Fire on Substack. It was in December of 2021, when I was researching likely publishers for Obelus (still circulating) that I came upon a listing for Blue Cedar Press in Wichita, Kansas that published “excellent and courageous literature.” That sounded like a good fit for One-Match Fire, so I sent in the manuscript.

And then I heard nothing for five months, which isn’t out of the ordinary for such a submission. It was in May of this year that I got an email from an editor at Blue Cedar Press asking me if the novel was still available. I wrote back instantly saying that it was, and the editor responded that in that case, she would continue reading the manuscript but that she liked what she’d read so far.

In June I was invited to join a Zoom call — and given about a half hour’s notice — where I and four members of the board at the press chatted and rambled for about an hour, never quite coming to the big point. They finally asked me if I had any questions and so I asked. Yes, they answered, they did want to published One-Match Fire! Was it still available?

The weeks and months since then have been a whirlwind. I have read the manuscript a half dozen times, going through the line edits and sending proposed changes and responses back and forth. I worked up proposed covers (or rather, my talented daughter did) and we settled on the one above. I solicited blurbs. I began what appears to be an unending job of trying to get profile and publicity for the forthcoming novel (getting on podcasts, finding book review blogs that might be interested, finding the few remaining newspapers that still do book reviews, finding the scant radio programs that might discuss books, learning how libraries select books for their circulating collections, finding bookstores that might be interested in a reading, even getting my alumni record updated to show the publication). It’s a full-time job!

One-Match Fire has an official publication date of October 18, 2022, though it will likely be available before then. It is already available for pre-order at Barnes & Noble and IndieBound (and even one Australian book ordering site). I hope to see it soon on Bookshop, and it will also be on Blue Cedar Press’s catalog page. (It won’t be on Amazon, at least for the present, but that’s another story.) And it’s up on Goodreads (though navigating that space as the author is challenging).

I will undoubtedly deluge you with news and updates about the life of One-Match Fire in the weeks and months ahead. It’s kind of a big deal to me.


Your careful eye likely noticed that the title of my novel has a hyphen in it: One-Match Fire. There is a hyphen-less novel One Match Fire by Lissa Linden that works a different angle on that title. And it seems that there are several authors with the name Paul Lamb.

Explore posts in the same categories: Fathers and Sons, Humble efforts

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2 Comments on “big news on the little blog ~ One-Match Fire”

  1. Congratulations, Paul! I had a very good feeling the book would find a home and that one day it would be a thing I could hold in my hands and read. I’m glad I don’t have to wait very long!

    I’ve enjoyed the stories I’ve read from the book, and I can’t wait to see them all together where they belong.

  2. Paul Lamb Says:

    Thanks, Christopher!

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