“Gutman to the Rescue” Accepted, Again


Faithful readers will remember when I sold a story for the princely sum of $500. Alas, the magazine rather shadily went out of business before publishing, though not before paying me and giving me some sound editorial advice. I was out $60 for the subscription I bought, but the first issue was nice.

After that experience, I submitted the piece anywhere that seemed likely to publish it. It had already been around a good bit, and I figured since it had earned me $500, anything else was gravy. Now I am happy to report that my superhero story, “Gutman to the Rescue,” has again been placed, this time much more modestly, in a new online journal, Daikaijuzine, devoted to publishing sci-fi, fantasy, and horror as varied as the monsters referenced in its name. Many thanks to Editor Richard S. Crawford, for including my piece in the first issue. 

I am fond of this story, a funny tale about a superhero who gets divorced and tries a superhero dating service, and I look forward to its appearance in print, and to seeing what else Daikaijuzine has in store.

Gif credit: Simon Kirby,  SelinaMedium. 2006. Wikimedia Commons. CC0 1.0 Universal
Public Domain Dedication.


One More Thing About OWT’s Fiction Contest

image_939574f4-3c46-463f-ad7b-a67c17fcf562.img_2780My rollaway, taken by me.

It was great news when I co-won third prize in the Online Writing Tips Short Fiction Competition. The site also offered to publish my story, even though the terms of the contest guaranteed publication only for the winner. Although I was grateful for the offer, the story was under consideration at a prestigious publication, and though I always assume rejection, my hopes were buoyed enough by the contest judges that I asked if I might let OWT know after I’d heard from places where the story was already under review. The ever-gracious manager of OWTPhilip Bowne, gave me a generous amount of time to let him know my decision.

Sadly, the other place was not as appreciative of “The Rollaway” as OWT, but happily the story has a home and will appear in due course. Although I cannot say I “enjoyed” the first-prize winner’s story, which was especially hard for me as a violinist to read, I appreciate the strengths of the first- and second-prize stories from the contest, and it is good to know my story will be in distinguished company.

“The Case of the Careless Cat” Is Up at Mysterical-E

52605293_1919167438208792_7056661564027305984_n                                          Photo credit: Our cat, Merlin, taken by me.

I am happy to report that my cozy, The Case of the Careless Cat, which I wrote about in my last post, is up at Mysterical-E. I invite you to go enjoy it–it’s free. I am grateful to the editor, Joseph DeMarco, for selecting it and being patient with me in the editing process.

Mysterical-E is an eclectic collection of different kinds of mystery stories, book excerpts, and columns on mystery-related subjects. I look forward to diving into this issue, and I hope you will check it out as well. 


Cozy Mystery Accepted at Mysterical-E


I am happy to report that my cozy, “The Case of the Careless Cat,” has been accepted by Mysterical-E. Earlier, they published my homage to Raymond Chandler, Café Noir, and I look forward to appearing in this mystery venue again.

“The Case of the Careless Cat” is the first cozy mystery I’ve written. It’s set in a Plains State farm town inspired by visits to family in Nebraska, and I like the characters and the  narrator’s voice (it’s narrated by my detective figure who is, of course, way ahead of the actual detective in the town). I originally wrote it in response to a call for submissions of brief stories, so I’m not sure how well the mystery works, but I still find it a charming bit of fluff, and I am happy it will soon be out. I’m even thinking of writing more stories using the same characters and setting.

The photo is our own, pretty careful cat, Merlin, taken by me.

“Theda and Me” Accepted for Anthology of California Horror

1280px-1933_Bugatti_Type_59_Grand_Prix_34Photo credit: 1933 Bugatti Type 59 Grand Prix. Sfoskett~commonswiki (assumed). Ralph Lauren Collection, Boston Museum of Fine Arts. 17 June 2005. Wikimedia CommonsCC BY-SA 3.0.

I am pleased to announce that my story, “Theda and Me,” has been accepted by the new publisher, Soteira Press, for their two-volume Horror USA: California anthology. The story is about a screenwriter who has a strange relationship with a mysterious silent-film vamp. I like the story, but it is not a typical horror story. It is also historical fiction and a philosophical meditation on the meaning of life and death. At least one place I sent it to didn’t seem to get the allegory. Hmm, “Theda LaMorte.” I wonder if that could possibly have any symbolic significance?

The most fun part of writing the story was researching early Bugatti automobiles. Just in themselves, those things were terrifying. Ettore Bugatti’s own son died testing one. If you want to see what they’re like to drive, check out this episode of Jay Leno’s Garage (he has more than one episode on Bugattis; I wanted the oldest models). Second most fun was finding out all the dirt on early Hollywood–things haven’t changed much at the scandal factory of the stars.

Anyway, I am grateful to Soteira for finding merit in the story. I will post again when it is published, and I hope you will have fun with it as well. In the meantime, I will be  enjoying familiarizing myself with the press and reading some of its output. 






Third Prize in the OWT Short Fiction Competition!


Today I received the welcome and unexpected news that my story, still titled “The Rollaway,” co-won third prize in Online Writing Tips’s Short Fiction Competition! I have to split the prize money, but of course it’s about the honor, not the money. I’m grateful that they offered to publish the story as well (this is not part of the second or third prizes). Submitting is an onerous and uncertain process, and I may well take them up on this, though this encouraging news inclines me to wait to hear from the few places where the story is already in review first, if the OWT people don’t mind. 

While resolving all this, I look forward to becoming better acquainted with the site and its services, and reading the winning story, which sounds very interesting from OWT’s description. Again, it is so good to have my own views about the special nature of my entry confirmed by OWT’s judges. I look forward to its seeing the light of day somewhere soon.

Photo: My piece of luggage, taken by me.

“Bad Date” Up at Courtship of Winds


I am happy to announce that my story, “Bad Date,” is out in the summer issue of The Courtship of Winds. It is, as always, fun to see it in print, and I still think it is a funny story. I am grateful to Editor William Ray for publishing it, and I look forward to reading more of Courtship. While waiting for the summer issue with my story in it, I have been reading the winter issue, and I especially liked these poems  about the West Virginia Mine Wars by Patti Capel Swartz. (I have not gotten to the fiction or creative nonfiction yet).

I hope you will check out the many and varied offerings at Courtship, and please let me know your thoughts on my story, if you read it.

Photo credit: Neekoh.fi, Dumpster. 6 June 2012. CC-by 2.0.

“The Rollaway” Makes the Short List!


I found out on the fifteenth that my story, “The Rollaway,” made the short list for Online Writing Tips’s Short Fiction Prize! I didn’t get around to blogging about it before now because I have just returned from a trip myself, just like my protagonist. It seems appropriate that a story about travel should be doing well at the same time I am traveling. It’s also comforting, as I am currently mired in two large projects, and often it seems I will never finish either of them. Again, I am grateful to Online Writing Tips for recognizing the story as among the top twelve out of almost 600, even if it does not win one of their prizes for the top three.

I did develop some concern about the story on my trip, however, because the flight attendants alluded to two-wheeled suitcases like the one pictured above and featured in the story as “rollaboards.” Now I am a pretty meticulous researcher, and I could swear that before writing the story I had checked to make sure “rollaway” was the, or at least a, correct term for such luggage. But on rechecking, I could not get the results I think I remember. Possibly I just typed in “rollaway luggage,” saw some pictures of the right thing, and went to town. 

I felt embarrassed. What if my story won the prize, and the whole world found out I do not know the difference between a piece of luggage and a storable bed? But now my son assures me he heard flight attendants allude to such luggage as “rollaway.” Even if he is right, I am left with the nagging fear that this is a Southern term, like “lightning bug” for “firefly” or “buggy” for “grocery cart,” and that will not fly, since my protagonist is from Connecticut. Any feedback on this pressing concern is welcome.

Photo credit: My rollaboard, taken by me, 2 July 2019.






“The Rollaway” Longlisted by Online Writing Tips

I was pleased to be informed today that out of almost 600 stories submitted to the Online Writing Tips Short Fiction Prize, my story, “The Rollaway,” is one of 60 to be longlisted! I really like this story, which is about love and dreams and missed opportunities, so it is good to know that the judges thought it had merit, even if it doesn’t go any further.

I hope I make the short list on July 15th, but regardless, Online Writing Tips is a site with free online writing tips, and this contest is free to enter, so what’s not to like? I’m grateful.

Photo credit: My rollaway, taken by me, 2 July 2019.

“Second Honeymoon” Accepted for Darkhouse Love Anthology


Just received the gratifying news that my story, “Second Honeymoon,” will be published in the fall or spring in one of two planned anthologies: What We Talk About When We
Talk About It: Variations on the Theme of Love, Volume 1, or the same, Volume 2. I don’t know much about Darkhouse, but my story seemed to me to fit their call for stories examining many different types of love and love in different types of situations, and I was pleased to find I had judged correctly. The story was one of a handful selected from close to 2000 submissions!

I was traveling with my husband in the Netherlands some time ago and having a great time when I happened to imagine what our trip would be like if our marriage were not going well. How would the art, the food, the expensive hotels, the romantic scenery, be experienced by a couple who were trying to pretend things were OK when they weren’t, or trying to force romance to blossom (or blossom again)? So I wrote about such a couple in The Hague–hence the Girl with the Pearl Earring, above, though the middle-aged female protagonist in my story explicitly deplores excessive selfie-taking.

I look forward to the editing process with Darkhouse Books, and to familiarizing myself with one of their anthologies while I wait for them to publish my story.


Photo credit: Mitchell Grafton, Das Mädchen mit dem Perlenohrgehänge. Selfie. 22 Feb. 2012. CC BY-SA 3.0.