“Bad Date” Up at Courtship of Winds

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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.

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“The Rollaway” Makes the Short List!

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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

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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 Dark House, 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.

 

 

Long-Listed for the Erbacce-Prize

Ursinus College Commencement Program, “Awards,” taken by me, 18 May 2019.

Not only am I having a great time watching my Parsons (history) Prize winning son graduate from Ursinus College, but I had first Litro (USA) Lab’s podcast of my piece, “The Big Dream,” and now the news that I have been long-listed for the erbacce-prize!

Thanks to the contest administrators and judges. I am honored to be one of the relatively few selected from a pool of almost 8,000.

“The Big Dream” Up on Litro Lab Podcast

Howell Carnegie District Library

I am excited to have my second gender-reversed homage to Raymond Chandler (the first, “Cafe Noir,” is here) up on the Litro (USA) Lab Podcast. A library is involved, hence the picture, above.

I originally recorded my dramatic reading of this noir psychomachia about writer’s block, complete with music clips pulled from Public Domain noir films, for a contest. Only after it went nowhere there did I realize how few potential outlets there are for such work. But I followed my policy of persevering with work I believe in, even submitting it to Litro New York, though I had no idea whether my amateur production would interest a venue of their caliber and sophistication.

When I submitted, “Litro New York,” as it was called at first, had not even been launched, so my piece sat in Submittable for over a year, after which I had lost hope that it would find favor at such a prestigious venue. It was therefore a delightful surprise to find that they did like it. I hope you will, too.

Photo credit: RaboKarbakian. Howell Carnegie District Library in Howell, MI. 27 September 2015. CC BY-SA 1.0.

“How I Became a Social Justice Warrior Princess” Is Up on Lemon Theory

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Xena: Cosplay at the 2014 New York Comic Con.

I am pleased to say that my essay, “How I Became a Social Justice Warrior Princess,” is up at Lemon Theory. Many thanks to Editor Sarah McKinnon for seeing merit in the piece. It’s about how literature helped me understand the nature of patriarchal power and how, as a woman, I could have a constructive relationship to that power. I did not conclude that it could have a constructive relationship to me. Moreover, I try to remain mindful that as a white, middle-class, cisgender woman I also occupy a privileged position in relation to other groups, but I believe the path I sketch is relevant to everyone’s relations to power.

Finally, it may be a stretch to call myself a “social justice warrior.” As a violinist, I cannot attend political meetings or many demonstrations during other people’s after-work hours, so I am perhaps not active enough to justify that title. But I show up when I can and give what I feel I can, and besides, I couldn’t resist the phrase, “social justice warrior princess.”

In the interim between my acceptance and publication at Lemon Theory, I have managed to read a little of it, and thoroughly recommend it, especially to young women struggling with issues surrounding female identity and mental health. There is also a section and an editor devoted to issues pertaining to military troops, which I believe is laudable and much needed. So please check it out and help a deserving fledgling enterprise spread its wings.

 

Photo credit: Docking Bay 93. Xena: Cosplay at the 2014 New York Comic Con. 10 October 2014. Wikimedia CommonsCC BY 2.0.

 

When Life Gives You Lemonade

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Sometimes life gives you lemonade. Also, it never rains but it pours.

Today I am reminded of L. Frank Baum’s lesser-known but delightful The Magical Monarch of Mo because in Mo the rain is lemonade and the thunder and lightning are Wagner operas. Similarly, directly after playing Holst’s wildly dramatic The Planets, I got two acceptances in two days–a virtual downpour. And the second of these is from Lemon Theory, a digital magazine  “dedicated to mental health awareness, lifestyle and photography stories of humans.” 

I am especially happy about this, not only because the magazine looks interesting and professionally presented, but also because my piece, an intellectual memoir that charts my development as a feminist, seemed to fall between the stools of the trendy literary strictures on creative nonfiction, which it doesn’t quite meet, and more journalistic writing, which it isn’t quite. I am grateful that Editor Sarah McKinnon valued “How I Became a Social Justice Warrior Princess” and will publish it on May 7th. In the meantime, I look forward to exploring the stories of so many others that Lemon Theory beautifully presents. 

Photo credit: altiemae. Lemonade Truck. 4 October 2013. Wikimedia Commons. CC BY 2.0.

 

Mysterious Acceptance from Litro

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110 Auckland Road, London SE19 2BY, former residence of Raymond Chandler

In October, 2017, I submitted an audio recording and a manuscript of “The Big Dream,” my second gender-reversed homage to Raymond Chandler, to Litro NY‘s podcast. Today Submittable informed me the piece was accepted. But was it accepted by the podcast? Will it be aired, or are they only going to print the manuscript? When will it appear?

Since I am not actually a female version of Philip Marlow, my only recourse was to inquire of the editor. I hope I will not be sucked into a web of corruption full of wild metaphors, sexy but shady hommes fatals, down-and-out drinkers, small-time thugs, and big-time corrupt officials before I find the answer. 

Stay tuned . . .

 

Photo credit: Spudgun67. 110 Auckland Road, London SE19 2BY – former residence of Raymond Chandler.jpg. 22 October 2014. CC BY-SA 4.0.

 

Honorable Mention at Allegory

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Photo credit: Sealle, Glass half full or half empty. 3 Aug. 2017. Wikimedia Commons. CC BY-SA 4.0.

I don’t usually post about rejection. I assume most of us would prefer to dwell on that inevitability as little as possible. But this one had a few redeeming features, so I thought I would mention it, in the spirit of viewing the glass as half full.  

From their hundreds of submissions, Editor Ty Drago and his associates at Allegory choose twelve that fit together for each issue. The titles and authors of other stories the editors liked are listed in an “Honorable Mention” category. That’s where I and my story’s title, “The Pussy Hat,” will be in the next issue.

Not great news, but on the other hand, gets my name out there a little, and Editor Drago said nice things about how much he liked the story, which validates my efforts even more than having it on a list. I hope the piece will see the light of day eventually.