Category Archives: Flash Fiction

Cease, Cows & The Spyglass

I am so proud that my short story “The Spyglass” has found its home with Cease, Cows. I wrote this short story a long, long time ago and it’s gone through a shocking number of iterations before finally finding its sweet-spot.

Check it out now with Cease, Cows!

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Hungry for a taste? Here’s the teaser:

Mom had once told me that all women had the same parts down there, but Aunt Theo’s were definitely different from mine. Where I was all hairless and smooth and small, she was big and bushy and tangled, like one of the neighbor’s, Mrs. DuPont’s, armpits.

 

Happy Reading and, as always, Happy Writing!

Good News & Great Writers

Plenty of beautiful spring weather here in Baltimore, as well as plenty of great news!

51Q7MRxaY6L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_First, let me start by saying that I’m not including myself in the “Great Writers” portion of this post’s title. Rather, I’m referring to some amazing artists who I’ve only just discovered thanks to H.L. Nelson and Joanne Merriam’s anthology Choose Wisely: 35 Women Up to No Goodas well as to the terrific new publication Witch Craft Magazine.

In Nelson and Merriam’s anthology, they’ve got some classic, big league writers like Aimee Bender and Joyce Carol Oates as well as some less-well-known but undoubtedly terrific authors like xTx (here’s her website) and Andrea Kneeland (here’s an interview with her). Definitely worth reading and then rereading!

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In Witch Craft Magazine (issue one; I haven’t yet received my copy of issue two), I was thrilled to find story after story and poem after poem that I simply loved. I fancy myself as a rather picky reader, but the entire first issue struck me as a precious gem. Authors I’m now particularly excited about thanks to this issue are: Chelsea Laine Wells, Nicola Maye Goldberg, and Anna Lea Jancewicz.


Now, on to more of the good news (drum roll, please; thank you–alright, that’s enough! End drum roll already!):

I’m thrilled to announce that my story “The Spyglass” will be appearing in an upcoming issue of Cease, Cows and that my flash fiction story “Shelf Space” has just gone live in the latest issue of Literary Orphans!

Here’s a little teaser of “The Spyglass”:

I always felt empty as a kid, and some nights I feared I might wake up on the ceiling, floating like a hollow barrel on a dark sea. My Aunt Theo often tried cheering me up, but it wasn’t until I happened upon one of her secrets that it finally did any good.

And a little teaser of “Shelf Space”:

And though Rose’s moods and body soon recovered and returned to normal, her newfound connection to the fridge only ever intensified. …

 

Happy Reading & Happy Writing, everyone!

New Publication!

After being sick and gross for the past week, it was especially welcome good news that I received today from Literary Orphans. My flash fiction story “Shelf Space”—a story adapted from a moment in my current novel-in-progress The Fire Eaters—has just been accepted for publication!

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What is Literary Orphans, you ask? What are they trying to create? Well, as they themselves explain:

Some people read to escape. You may even have come here for that. But you won’t leave on any electronic flying carpets. The world we struggle to create on these binary pages is a world that will make you uncomfortable and reflective.

Look for “Shelf Space” in the upcoming issue!

 

 

 

 

Happy Writing!

30 Flash Fiction Prompts

Here’s to surviving another Valentine’s Day!

Nancy Stohlman

Need a little mid-winter inspiration? Try one of these flash fiction prompts:

1: Write a story in which something transforms into something else.

2: Write a true story that is so ___________(insert adjective here) that no one would believe it’s true. But it is.

3: Find a story you’ve written that isn’t quite working. Chop it down to exactly 100 words. Give it a new title.

4: Write a story that is based in or uses elements of mythology–any mythology from any culture or time period.

5: Bibliomancy–open the dictionary to any random page, place your finger on any random word and poof! That is the title (or part of the title) of your next story.

6: Write a story from the point of view of someone much older than you.

7: Write a story about or featuring a body part. (Heads out of the gutters, people, there are other…

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Top 10 Literary Magazines to Send Your Best Flash (and Maybe Get Accepted Too)

michaelalexanderchaney

Slide1  We want a lot from the journals we send our writing to. We want them to be good, but not so good that they’ll slam their doors on our faces. We want them to respond in a timely fashion. And we’d be over the moon if we got personal feedback…ahem…if our work doesn’t cut the mustard.

Perhaps you’ve heard the true story about the sign a frustrated Francis Ford Coppola hung on his trailer door while filming his much-obstructed masterpiece Apocalypse Now? ‘How do you want your movie? Fast, Good, or Cheap: Pick Two.’ We’d all rather pick three, I know. But two’s all we get.

No stranger to compromise, writers too must negotiate the fickle demands of the market, especially when dealing with literary magazines and journals. Which of them are, to borrow from Coppola’s petulant sign, responsive, reputable, and reasonably accepting? And we don’t want to pick…

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Fresh Writers Series, Part II

Dear Readers, as you know (or are about to know), this past November I started a “Fresh Writers Series” here wherein I spotlight different writers whose work I’ve stumbled across and–for one reason or another–fallen for. Last November, I spotlighted writer Sean Pravica. Now, I’d like to send some sun Jennifer Porter’s way.

I first encountered Jennifer Porter’s work through Apeiron Reviewwith her short story, “The New Wife.” Here’s a taste:

“She decided the new wife should ease into the role gradually despite their shared eagerness. They began with sleepover’s. She and the husband had not shared the same bedroom in many years due to his farting, snoring, thrashing, and bed and blanket hogging, and he liked it that way. She knew that if the new wife came late and left early and he caught a glimpse of her, he would not know the difference.”

Porter’s “The New Wife” grabbed me from the first line. Clocking in at 973 words, it’s definitely a work of flash fiction, but still manages to provide a fairly full story–not to mention a chilling vision of a broken marriage. As a child, my parents underwent a divorce that was difficult in its own ways, and that definitely had its share of coldness–its share of the eerie, empty-room chills that inevitably accompany the remapping of identities and roles as apart from each other’s. Many divorce or broken marriage stories fail to capture the true nuances of what such divisions can mean for a person’s identity, routine, and understanding of themselves and their role in the world. And that’s just what Porter does so well here: She captures that shadowy pain of realizing (and rejecting) what one’s role/identity/routine can become (can be reduced to) when shoehorned into a poisonous relationship.

This story first came out in Apeiron Review in April of 2014 and is, I discovered, Porter’s first-ever publication in a literary magazine. (Wow!) Here’s the bio they provide for her:

Jennifer Porter will be graduating in January 2014 from the MFA program at the Bennington Writing Seminars. She was a recipient of a Liam Rector Scholarship. This is her first publication in a literary magazine.

Wherever you are now, Porter, congratulations on the MFA and double-congratulations on coming out with such a strong and impressive debut publication! I’ll definitely be keeping my eyes open for any future work from you.

Fresh Writers Series

Dear Readers, as you know (or are about to know), I’m a working writer and editor with a BIG love for magazines and journals of all kinds, both print and online. Recently, I was combing through Used Gravitrons’ latest issue (they’re a terrific indie weird fiction magazine, if you’ve never checked them out before), and found myself both tickled and intrigued by an email they included in this issue’s introductory EditorialIt’s an email from writer Sean Pravica wherein he makes a case as to why he’d like his short story to still be considered by Used Gravitrons even though it exceeds their stated word limit. As I read through the email, I found myself wishing and hoping that they’d made an exception for him — the story sounded too good to pass up, and his writing style even only in email-form was compelling, tight, and entertaining (everything a great cover letter ought to be). And while Used Gravitrons did not bend their word limit for Pravica, they made certain to assure me and all their other readers that:

“When the story Sean submitted to UG is published elsewhere, curious readers will be promptly notified and we will provide updated links via our electronic content.”

And while I am extremely grateful for this and excited to see where Pravica’s story lands, I knew I needed to go digging for other of Pravica’s stories right away. Thankfully, I wasn’t disappointed, and I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve found yet another fresh writer’s work to read, enjoy, and learn from.

But Pravica’s work and email exchange with Used Gravitrons inspired me to take things a small step further, and so I’m pleased to say that this post is now the first in a series of posts I plan to write, each of which will spotlight a new “Fresh Writer” — judged by me and discovered by my own meandering-readerly means.

So, dear readers, it’s now time to go check out Sean Pravica for yourselves! Here are just a few pieces of his work (I hope it’s all by the same Sean Pravica :-p) that I’ve found and have particularly enjoyed thus far:

“Rung” by Sean PravicaFirst Stop Fiction

“Love at 27A” by Sean PravicaBartleby Snopes

“To Have the Ass” by Sean PravicaRed Fez

My favorite line so far? From “To Have the Ass”, a cowboy speaks:

“‘Big deal. These chaps were hand made by a Montana rancher. Lives underground. Had to travel by match light and intuition to find him.'”

Love it!

P.S. A big Thank You to Used Gravitrons for sharing that email!

 

UPDATE:

As of 3/25/15, Pravica has also been published with Remarkable Doorways: The Jazz Man had a Long Weekend,” and has also landed two new forthcoming publications, one with Menacing Hedge and another with Defenestration. So keep an eye out!