The Difference Blood Makes

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Horror writing has always been part of my speculative toolbox. When I started writing these stories, there were things I vowed NOT to do: werewolves howling at the moon, unearthing a mummy, or the same old vampire tale. This pledge came with a disclaimer, that I would give myself the go-ahead if I found a unique way to approach tried-and-true monsters. “The Difference Blood Makes” is such a tale. Available in ebook or print it was first published as part of the third Weird and Whatnot anthology (11/16/19 issue).

The Difference Blood Makes

by DL Shirey

[Manchester, England 1951]

“That’s correct. No names, just the place and year where the portrait was taken,” Merrick said. “Most of my subjects prefer to remain anonymous. This scholarly looking devil happened to be in my hometown, a childhood friend patient enough to sit many times while I perfected my process. Over here is an example which better explains it.”

A dozen reporters and art critics hurried after Merrick, toward the gallery’s far wall. His quick pace belied his eighty years. A few of the stragglers were jotting notes. One wrote spry to describe the artist. Another scribbled dapper.

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Sunday Dress

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Four or five years ago, on a trip to New Mexico, I went to a museum and saw an exhibit of paper clothing. Actually, there were more than clothes on display; many everyday objects were also represented—laptop, guitar, bicycle—all made from colorful crepe paper. They came from Vietnam, handmade in tribute to people for whom those objects held special significance. Now, I won’t reveal anything more, that would be spoiling the story. But learning about this lovely tradition stayed with me and was the key to writing “Sunday Dress.” Published by the UK journal ink, sweat and tears.



Magic Nation

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Here’s a speculative piece that’s a departure from my other stories. It’s told in the voice of an eight-year-old child. From his perspective, he may have otherworldly powers or it just might be his imagination. Published by Bewildering Stories.


The Short List

smallThanks to everyone who visited this site in 2019. You came from far and wide, according to my WordPress statistics. The top five countries viewing my blog were: United States, Canada, United Kingdom, India and, for reasons which escape me, Palestinian Territories.

Visitors came primarily to view The Short List, which now features 1,200 entries. There were 265 additions to the list this year, an average of 22 new publications per month. Other than Facebook, Twitter and WordPress Reader, the top five referrers to this blog were: Scribofile, Sandra SeamansChristopher Fielden, Winkwriters  and 805 Lit. I appreciate you spreading the word.

The Short List is for writers of flash fiction and short prose. The list is organized by word count, providing links to the submission guidelines and potential publication. These were the top five publication links that were clicked this year: Akashic Books, The Folded Word, Martian, Unstamatic and Purple Fire. I also keep an ever-growing list of departed publications. A moment of silence for those we lost this year.

Other than The Short List, a few other of my blog posts received top clicks: 1-800-CALL-GOD, Barbarism, 6:58, A Fortune, Yesterday’s Pictures and Webs of Flesh. It is no secret that these posts are for stories I wrote. In fact, 14 stories of mine were published or reprinted in 2019. Click on over and give them a read.

Here’s to a Happy New Year and for more words in print in 2020.