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.

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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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.

Published

Amy’s Face

This is a character study of a dark relationship between a photographer and his former muse. They meet again years after their collaboration brought them both fame. Originally published in October 2020 in Siren’s Call eZine, Issue #51.

Amy’s Face

by DL Shirey

Syren met my glance, then didn’t. One blink was all, as if the very sight of me reminded her of the person she no longer wanted to be. But for one instant it was Amy behind her eyes.

I concentrated on the irony instead of my feelings. Syren still looked like my Amy: thin, disheveled and sad. Syren’s makeup was perfectly applied to look trashy. Who knows how long it took a stylist to create Syren’s quintessential mess of smudged shadows and eyeliner mistakes? When I knew her as Amy, she would glop on makeup by feel, smearing the hollows of her eyes aimlessly. It only took two minutes before the mirror, but she’d reflect on the results for an hour. Few were allowed to see Amy’s naked eyes. Sometimes I did, briefly, before the bedside lamp snapped off.

Only once did my camera catch Amy plain. One morning while she slept, sheets whitened by sunlight, I released the shutter. Even in dreams she frowned. Minutes later she woke and rushed to put on her face.

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Published

Body Neutral

This story had an interesting affect on a member of my writer’s group. She walked out halfway through my reading. Granted, the main character is objectified solely on appearance. But that’s the whole point of the story. I urged the woman to wait for the big reveal at the end, to see if she felt the same disgust. I guess I’ll never know. I never saw her again. And I doubt she’ll click over and read it in The Chamber Magazine.

Published

Cathuranjalee

image : mvslim.com

Of all my stories, Cathuranjalee is the most satisfying. Like the title character, the tale had a rough road to freedom. Quite a bit of research went into it because I wanted authenticity in the characters’ clothing and locations in the Nubian desert. I dashed off a 2,000 word first draft and my writing group advised me that the ending was abrupt and unsatisfying. A couple of rewrites later, length tripled, it was ready for submission. Almost immediately, it was snatched up by a publisher of fantasy fiction. I signed a contract and waited. It never saw print, but I was contractually obligated to wait a full 18 months before I could submit elsewhere. When I did, Inked In Gray Press published it in “What Remains,” an anthology of excellent short stories available on Amazon.