“BEST” Nominated for Best of the Net

and no review . . .

Industrial plastic netting. Taken by me.

I am thrilled to discover that the editors of Angel Rust have nominated my poem, “BEST,” for Best of the Net! I wrote about the poem here. This is especially gratifying because it can be hard to even place avant-garde poems, and as I have mentioned, I was once abused by an editor for daring to submit a couple.

Also gratifying is the inclusion of work by my friend and colleague, Shloka Shankar, in Angel Rust‘s list of nominees. Her nominated poem, Recital, is characteristically dreamy, beautiful, and fraught with lurking violence, so go read it.

And now, Why there will be no more reviews for a while:

My son moved away to take his dream job teaching high school social studies. He is the driver of the reviews project, and by far the more knowledgeable about media (and history). We are hopeful we may have some time to do a review here and there when he comes back, but it is hard to organize when we are both busy and far apart.

I miss him and our projects. Luckily, my daughter is keeping me busy with wedding plans!


“Snow Globe” Accepted for Love Anthology, and a Review

I am happy to announce that after a one-word revision, Editor Matt Potter has accepted my poem, “Snow Globe,” for a love-themed anthology to be published by Pure Slush. This is the second time I have worked with an Australian editor, and both were exceptionally sensitive and caring about details in the poem. This leads me to conclude that Australians take their poetry seriously, or maybe they just don’t rush through things the way the rest of the world does. Whatever the case, the last word of the poem is probably better for Editor Potter’s suggestions, and I am grateful for them.

This poem was one of three inspired by my unpleasant encounter with a narcissist (in an earlier post I said there were two poems, but that was wrong). One of the more hurtful aspects of relationships with narcissists is future faking, when they give you a glimpse of possible futures with them in order to control you. The pain of discovering you were believing in a manipulative delusion is what this poem is about.

Luckily, I was able to process my belated understanding of the future faking I had experienced in the context of a loving marriage and a reasonably happy family, because I had moved on. But although I feel empowered by this understanding now, I still harbor a horrified fascination with the fair number of seemingly ordinary people I know who are manipulative, entitled, and low on empathy.

And now, a review:

Glass-Half-Full Rejection Becomes Quick Acceptance

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

Some time ago, I received a kind rejection from Clare MacQueen of MacQueen’s Quinterly. Although she declined my poems, she sent me an invitation to submit to the next issue. Not just a standard invitation: a special, jump-the-line one.

When someone solicits work, I think it is a good idea to graciously send some. Even if one of them is a recent poem you think is especially good. Possibly The New Yorker will reject it, and meanwhile the window for generous-hearted Editor MacQueen, who has recognized your talent and desires to promote it, will have closed. Long story short, with breathtaking speed (less than 24 hours), Editor MacQueen chose the best new poem in the bunch, and The New Yorker will just have to wait ūüėČ

Seriously, I am grateful to her for her kind words and invitation, and for recognizing the merits of the poem, “Lion’s Tooth,” which is about dandelions and Ohio and the past. Like a lot of my poems, it just came to me, and I welcomed it. As always, I look forward to reading MacQueen’s Quinterly while waiting for my work to appear there in January.

Photo credit: Markus Bernet, Dandelion clock (Taraxacum officinale). 29 May 2004. Wikimedia Commons. CC BY-SA 2.0.

“The Jet-Black Knight” Accepted by 34 Orchard


FALLUJAH, Iraq – An assault team from B Company, 1st Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5, conducts a raid on a possible suicide vehicle bomb workshop in Fallujah.

I was excited and happy to discover tonight that my story, “The Jet-Black Knight,” has been accepted by¬†34 Orchard. I must especially thank Editor Kristi Petersen Schoonover¬†for giving me expert editorial advice and encouragement with her initial rejection of the piece. I managed to fix it to her satisfaction, and I’m grateful to her for helping me improve it.

I discussed the story here. It is about an Iraq War veteran who has PTSD. I was nervous about it because of its sharp anti-war message and my not being a veteran, but I tried to present the narrator respectfully. I did a lot of research on raids, weaponry, and video games (especially Halo) for it, and I used speech patterns from Alabama to help ground the narrator/protagonist in an individualized identity. And now this (and revision) has paid off. I will even get a small fee.

“The Jet-Black Knight” will be out in November. As always, I look forward to familiarizing myself with the sad, haunting fare at 34 Orchard while awaiting publication. ¬†


Photo credit: United States Marine Corp, Marines raid Fallujah garage.jpg. 28 May 2006. Wikimedia Commons. PD.

“Loquats in Vienna” Out at Last in Leaves of Loquat V

450px-Eriobotrya_japonica3Photo credit: Oldie~commonswiki, Eriobotrya japonica. Wikimedia Commons. GDSL 1.2 or later.

Faithful readers of this blog may possibly remember that in 2018 I won second prize in the Loquat Literary Festival. As part of the prize, my poem, which I am particularly fond of because it is about my husband and me, was to be published in Leaves of Loquat IV with other contributors to the festival. But when the volume arrived, I found it only contained half of my poem. 

The Loquat Festival, including its literary part, is run by kind, generous, caring people who have lives and do other things, too. So when the contrite editor promised to include my entire poem in the next edition of Leaves of Loquat, I was gratified, but uncertain whether this would actually occur.

I must now apologize for underestimating Dell DeChant and all the excellent people involved with the festival.¬†Leaves of Loquat V arrived today, and it includes not only all of my poem, “Loquats in Vienna,” but also¬†the usual quirky mix of local contributors and ¬†prize-winning writers from all over. I am already almost finished reading.

Copies of Leaves of Loquat V are available from Ecology Florida for, I believe, a small contribution. Pick yours up today, and, as always, please let me know what you think of my poem.



“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.

“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.