It's Over

Farewell 2020

Thanks to everyone who visited this site in 2020. 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. China also snuck in there.

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 1,500 entries. There were 310 additions to the list this year, an average of 26 new publications per month.

Other than Facebook, Twitter and WordPress Reader, the top five referrers to this blog were JMWW, Sandra Seamans, Christopher Fielden and Scribofile. Many, many others contributed to the increased amount of views this year. Thank you.

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: Black Hare Press, City River Tree, Flash Frontier and Unstamatic. I also keep an ever-growing list of departed publications. A moment of silence for those we lost this year.

Here’s to a Happy New Year and for more words in print in 2021. Please be safe.

Published, Shorties


This piece was bare-bones from its inception. It started as a 50-word story for another publication and was rejected. So, I took a hard look at a revision, added a whopping 14 more words and voila. The good folks at dreams walking published it in their second issue, back in June 2020.


by DL Shirey

The push of air caused litter to rustle. Brakes squawked, water splashed up the curb. I looked up and saw nothing, yet still stepped back from the sidewalk’s edge.

“Don’t you know the rules?” a foul breath voiced, “Make way for exiting passengers.”

I waited, then a cold grip cupped my shoulder and shoved me forward. “Well, what are you waiting for?” it said, “Get on the bus.”



The Harv

As horror goes, this story is rather tame. There is no gore, there are no grisly monsters. There is the Harv itself, but it’s just barely hideous. The real horror comes when one realizes that a story like this is possible.

And then there was the writing of it. I first concocted the plot and submitted it to a few journals with no takers. The rejections were understandable, the creature was abhorrent in the abstract, but needed to become real. In a major rewrite, I objectified the Harv even further by giving it a number (H3JJDx617) while showing glimpses of the creature’s emotion, curiosity and love of mangoes. Published by Teleport Magazine.


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 by 96th of October.


Magic Nation

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. First published in February 2020 by Bewildering Stories.

Magic Nation

by DL Shirey

          My legs don’t work right. Mommy says my muscles are little-boy size and will catch up to me some day. I am eight and a half. Daddy thinks I should go out and play more, but it’s hard to keep up. I can run without my crutches on flat ground pretty good, but I still fall too much. Daddy takes me to the park a lot and says I don’t need to use crutches when I play on grass. He says Mommy’s right about sidewalks and streets, to always use my crutches or I can fall down and skin my knees.

          I have a wheelchair but Daddy hates it. He said that it will make my body lazy and to use the crutches and keep strong. When he takes me out on Daddy Weekends, he leaves the wheelchair in Mommy’s garage. He tells Mommy I get around good enough without it, but Mommy thinks I need it sometimes. Grown-ups are funny.

Continue reading

5 Years Ago

In November 2015 my first piece of speculative fiction was published. I didn’t know it at the time, but a trend would be set that has continued for five years. Most of the 60+ published stories I’ve written fall into genres like science fiction, fantasy, horror or just plain weird . The Middle Box is about a “doctor” who specializes in weight loss and has an unsettling method to help his patients achieve their goals. His patients are mostly female and we learn that the good doctor is also quite attracted to the full-figured women he treats. Reading it now I see many flaws, but the inherent creepiness remains. That is what I still strive to achieve in writing this kind of story.


Amy’s Face

image :

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. Published by Siren’s Muse, it appears in their 2020 Halloween issue. Download the PDF to find dozens of speculative stories and poems. Amy’s Face is on page 14.


Why Whales Beach Themselves

If more people are born than die, how are souls reincarnated? This flash fiction tells all. First published in January 2020 by Grey Sparrow Journal.

Why Whales Beach Themselves

by DL Shirey

And God said to Phelan, “You know the rules. Every human baby must include a resurrected soul.”

What else could Phelan do except nod in response; her long, platinum curls bobbing as if confident the problem would be solved. As Angel-In-Charge of reincarnation it was her job. Not to mention, the higher echelons of divinity had too many perks for Phelan to admit that quality control had slipped in recent centuries. So many soulless newborns had snuck through already, and the world was beginning to feel the affects from their lack of empathy, forgiveness and cooperation.

Continue reading

Stone Man & Statue Boy

This is a story of two parks in Portland, Oregon. The physical description is that of Mt. Tabor, an ancient cinder cone within walking distance of my house. There is a statue in this park, erected in 1933. The name of the other park escapes me. At the time I was writing this story, local news was reporting about a change to the name of this second park; its previous designation celebrated a person whose past was tainted by racism. Oregon has a history—to be polite—of not being particularly welcoming to minorities. The renaming of this park was an effort to atone.

As I said, there is a statue at the top of Mt. Tabor Park, of a newspaperman pointing west. He is alone. In the story the statue is of a man and a boy. I invented Statue Boy to add an element of surrealism and to have another character to interact with the protagonist. Fleas on the Dog published my story as a PDF download.