“The Rollaway” Up on Online Writing Tips

image_939574f4-3c46-463f-ad7b-a67c17fcf562.img_2780I am delighted to see my story, unregenerately titled “The Rollaway,” up on Online Writing Tips. Many thanks to D.D. Johnston for his kind words and helpful edits.

Whenever I read a recently printed piece, I feel reassured about its quality, and my experience reading “The Rollaway” on  Online Writing Tips was no exception. I especially like the subtlety with which I’ve portrayed the relationships, and the blend of melancholy and hope. So please head over and read it–then let me know what you think.


Photo credit: My rollaway suitcase, taken by me. 

Redemptive Rejection from Corona Horror


I’m on this list, at the end.

Once again in the “Glass Half Full Rejections” category, my story, “The Jet-Black Knight,” made the top 6% of over 800 submissions for The Third Corona Book of Horror Stories. The letter was one of the nicest rejections I’ve had, and unlike another publication that promised to put me in the list of honorable mentions, Corona delivered. Many thanks to Editor Lewis Williams.

This encouragement was especially important to me for three reasons:

First, the story includes a no-doubt controversial, critical portrayal of US military raids in the Iraq War, a portrayal that I believe is based on sound research. In this era of mandatory jingoism, I would like varied views regarding the US role in the world to get out there.

Second, the story is based on my son’s misunderstanding of “the jet-black night” in the Robert Louis Stevenson poem, Northwest Passage. So it connects to my feelings for my son and my memories of his childhood.

Third, a relatively prestigious publication sent me a reader’s report with its rejection, and the reader criticized my having given the narrator and main character Southern speech that the reader felt was (as I recall) distracting and ridiculous, even as she (I’m guessing) acknowledged that she would have thought a veteran wrote the piece had I not signed it, and that I had “skillz” (this is how I remember its being spelled). I know I have a good ear for language, and I do not understand how not giving the character an individualized background would have been a stronger choice.

For all of these reasons, it was good to have a reason for continued hope that this story may one day see the light of day.

Photo credit: Corona Press. P. 223 of Lewis Williams, ed., The Third Corona Book of Horror Stories. N. P.: Corona Books UK, 2019. Fair use.  

“Gutman to the Rescue” Up in Launch of Daikaijuzine


As I wrote in my last post, my humorous superhero story, “Gutman to the Rescue,” has at last been picked up by a reputable concern. Editor Richard S. Crawford  has been patient and gracious in cleaning up my mistakes, and I’m happy to say the story seems to be pretty mistake-free. The new magazine where it appears, Daikaijuzine, promises to be a smorgasbord of high quality speculative fiction. I can’t wait to dive in.

I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking we could all use a laugh these days, so please go check out my story–it’s free–and enjoy. If you have time, please let me know how you like it.

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

“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.