Published, TSL

A Short Course in…

Authors Publish Magazine is a wonderful resource for writers. I’m on their email list and dutifully read it each time it hits my in-box. There are loads of articles, agents looking for manuscripts and journals open for submission.

I dropped them a line recently, thanking them for all they do and asking if they knew about The Short List. Not only was Authors Publish intrigued, they asked me to write an article. The title is A Short Course in Finding the Right Publication and discusses the craft of writing microfiction and flash, plus finding journals that publish short prose.

Published

A Slice on Secaucus Street

The hero in this story has the gift of total recall, what he calls Backvision. And he needs it in order to help a detective solve a murder. The only catch is that his Backvision is revealed in bits and pieces, or as he says, “It’s like a picture developing in a grindingly slow photo lab, where my memory needs to soak in different trays of chemicals before the portrait ghosts into existence.”

Oh, and there’s pizza.

The story has a gritty, noir feel and speculative elements, and fits nicely along side other great stories in this Crimeucopia anthology. You’re probably going to shop on Amazon today anyway, so go ahead and order a copy. It will be a fun read.

Stuff

Obligatory Wordle Post

Here’s a fun way to practice the Wordle skills needed to make that all-important sixth and final guess. Use these five words to start:
TWANG
SQUIB
FROCK
VEXED
LYMPH

24 different letters make up these words. One additional vowel has been inserted to ensure that these words exist on the Wordle list. The letters left out, J and Z, are least used in American English. According to Cornell University, J had a 0.10 usage frequency in a sample of 40,000 words. Z bottomed out at 0.07.

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Published

No. 17

My latest flash fiction piece is out. In print, on paper no less. No. 17 is about a man’s search for something in an Iowa cornfield. Strangely enough, it was a UK publisher that picked it up. When I received my contributor’s copy of Hungry Ghost Magazine, I was blown away by the production value. Not only were the stories top notch, but the graphics were astounding. Do yourself a favor and buy Issue Two. So worth the money and the support you give a small publisher doing quality work.

Published

Rita’s Finger

I once attended a wedding that had a ring warming ceremony as part of the service. This was new to me. The wedding bands were circulated among those attending and the guests were supposed to say a little prayer or extend good thoughts for the lucky couple. Ultimately, the rings made it up to the altar, warmed by all the happy wishes. In my version of the ceremony, this didn’t go smoothly. Published in December 2020 by 96th of October.

Rita’s Finger

by DL Shirey

The groom’s mother fawned over her 25-year-old son. Rita McKay was dressed in a pale pink skirt suit, looking like Jackie Kennedy without the pillbox hat. She set down her enormous, matching purse and stood in the spot reserved for the best man. Rita straightened and restraightened her boy’s boutonnière and licked her fingers to paste down his stray poke of cowlick. She even gave his rump a pat before taking a pew, slinging the rose-trimmed leather satchel to the seat beside her.

Rita McKay approved of Miriam, for the most part. The bride-to-be was a few years older than her son, neat, attractive and always attentive to Lawrence. Miriam was slim and tall and fit nicely into Rita’s old wedding dress. The only tailoring needed was to let out the bust.

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It's Over

Goodbye 2021

Thanks to everyone who visited this site in 2021, but a special tip of the hat must go to the pandemic. More people hunkered down and turned to writing, which translated to a 25% increase in visitors this year. More writing is always good.

You came from far and wide, according to the WordPress statistics. The top five countries viewing the blog were: United States, Canada, United Kingdom, India and, for reasons which escape me, Palestinian Territories. Australia was a close sixth.

Speaking of sixth, 2021 wraps up year number six for this website. The content is still free, with no paywalls, subscriptions or tip jars. Everything is done for the love of writing, and referrals come from those who appreciate it. Other than Facebook, Twitter and WordPress Reader, the top five referrers were Samjoko Magazine, Sandra Seamans, Christopher Fielden, 805 Lit and Reddit PubTips. Many, many others contributed to the increased amount of views this year. Thank you.

My writer’s ego wanted to believe everyone came to read about the stories I got published, but most traffic came primarily to view The Short List, which now features nearly 1,800 entries. There were 258 additions to the list this year, an average of 21 new publications per month.

For those not familiar with this resource, it is for writers of flash fiction and short prose. The list is organized by word count, providing links to submission guidelines and potential publication. The top five publication links that were clicked this year: Black Hare Press, City River Tree, Unstamatic, The Centrifictionist and Flash Frontier.

For all the publications added to The Short List, many also fall off. A record is kept of defunct journals as a memorial to their efforts to publish writers’ words. And I also get a kick from some of their names—“Malevolent Soap,” how great a name is that?

Here’s to a Happy New Year and for more words in print in 2022. Please be safe.

Published

Saints & Angels

That I found the call for this anthology was fortunate, let alone having my story selected. Blood and Thunder: Musings on the Art of Medicine was the perfect anthology for “Saints & Angels.” The publication is unique, hidden on the outskirts of mainstream publishing; it is an aggregation of poetry, prose and visual art, compiled by the medical students at The University of Oklahoma.

“Saints & Angels” is on the outskirts of my usual genres. A melancholy character study about a man visiting his wife in the hospital. The usual sci-fi, horror and fantasy journals that published my other tales were out of the question. I was at a loss where to send it. Then I happened on Blood and Thunder.

The anthology is filled with interesting writing and visuals on health and health care. I was lucky to find it. Please support them by purchasing a copy.

Anniversary

Five Years Ago

By November 2016, my backlog of unpublished stories was growing. Those rejected were scrutinized, revised and sent out again to another potential journal. By the end of that year and a total of 150 submission, I had 16 acceptances. Those published were mostly microfiction (100 words or less) or flash fiction (under 1,000 words). Two of them were fictionalized scenes from everyday life: Perfect Square of Sky appeared in The Flash Fiction Press and was based on a trip to the dentist; Forget-Me-Pops, in ZeroFlash, harkened back to my days as a copywriter. I used to write radio commercials, so I called on that experience to produce ad copy for a fake breakfast cereal. Sadly, at this writing, both those journals no longer publish new issues.