Transgenders in the military still an issue

I wrote my flash-fiction story “Tiresias” back in August, soon after President Trump tweeted that transgendered people would be barred from serving in the military. I sent it to a few literary magazines that thrive on political controversy — and that turned it down.

A small magazine, Ponder Review, accepted it, but has taken three months to get it into print. I thought by now it would no longer seem timely. But Trump (having been told by the courts he can’t do that) is back tweeting about the issue.  You can read the again-relevant “Tiresias” at the magazine’s website (where you’ll have to scroll down to page 37) or — probably easier — read it right –> here.

A funny PS: An editor wrote me asking me to add a footnote on who Tiresias was and what his/her relevance is to T.S. Eliot’s “The Wasteland”.  I sent back this:

In Greek mythology, Tiresias was a blind prophet, famous for clairvoyance and for being transformed into a woman for seven years. Sometimes, like the oracles, he would receive visions; other times he would listen for the songs of birds. . . . Tiresias was a useful figure to a wide variety of authors, including T.S. Eliot, who identified him as playing a key role in The Waste Land. In having been both man and woman, he served as a kind of bridge between the classical world and modernity.

The footnote doesn’t appear.  I suspect that the editors, at least some of whom must have studied English literature, were embarrassed at needing their memories refreshed.

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“Connubial Counsel” published

This is one I set out hoping to make all-dialogue, as I did with “Tattoos,” “Customer Service” and “The Whole Truth”. Didn’t quite make it — had to add a few lines of exposition — but close. It’s now published in Moria. Read it in the online magazine here

— or on this website here

PS — I also this week placed another short story, “The Good Seed,” which will be part of an anthology, titled “The Professor”, to published in mid-January by (!!)Temptation Press. You can get a taste of it here

 

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Ah, royaltie$$$$!

  An anthology called We’ve Been Trumped accepted my short story “Buying Votes” last September, promising to share royalties with the authors whose works were included.  (Mine mentioned Trump only in passing; it’s a commentary on the cost of elections.)
  The paperback book was expected to have a rather short half-life, and be of no interest after the election.  We all know how that turned out — and it seems the anthology is still bought now and then ($11.99 at Amazon, $2.99 as a Kindle book).  Very now and then. I know that because I’ve just been told that my quarterly royalty payment is in the mail: $0.25.
   I’ll try not to spend my new authorial wealth in one place. Meantime, if you missed it earlier, you don’t need to buy the book to read my story. Click here.
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Belatedly, Birding

All fiction, I suppose, draws in some way from the author’s own experience. My Birding, published earlier this year by Oracle Fine Arts Review, was inspired by the experience of being recognized as a once-TV-personality on arriving at my new retirement home. The rest, I assure readers, is pure fiction. Absolutely. There isn’t even a swamp here.

Read it–>here

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Ordinary Madness?

I’ve been reading a book on short-shorts, or flash fiction, that includes prompts to try one’s hand at approaches others have taken. One product of that experimentation is a piece I called Dawn Babel.  It seemed unlikely to find a home, until I read about an unusual litmag:

“Ordinary Madness is an online literary journal that seeks experimental authors and artists. The idea is that we want short bursts of consciousness, rather than a long stream of epic story telling. We want the moments, the scenes, the fingerprints and seconds of time that we all experience.”

Lo and behold, Dawn Babel is on page 10 of the just-out magazine. Read it here: Ordinary Madness:

Or of course read it here, at the top of the list of published short stories.

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Gravity: A Force of Nature

Halfway Down the Stairs, a respected online literary magazine whose editors are  spread across the globe, set “Gravity” as the theme for its June 2017 issue. Such themes are common, and the editors seldom spell out exactly what they’re looking for; one suspects they’re hoping writers will show them work they hadn’t anticipated but will like.

I’d recently finished a story about an adolescent boy, bullied at school, who comes home in a 13-year-old snit and is sent for a walk to cool down. In the nearby forest he discovers a tree-hut high in a sturdy oak — high enough that gravity, if he fell, would do him real damage. He summons up his courage and climbs.

That was apparently an interpretation of the theme close enough to satisfy the editors. You can read it by clicking here.

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Topical short-story anthologies

    I’m so new at this that I don’t know whether publishing whole books of topical short stories is or isn’t a new phenomenon. In any case, I now have three stories waiting to be published in palpable paper or ephemeral e-books. The latest is one I originally titled “New Neighbors.” When I learned that Zimbell House was inviting entries for a new anthology to be titled “Neighbors”, I changed my title to Wildlife. It won’t be out until April, so I can only offer a taste of it now.
    Another one accepted last week (total now 18!) is The Terrorist. Like the three dialogue-only pieces, I wrote this one for a competition — by Writers Weekly — with a rather demanding bunch of phrases to be used. It didn’t win that competition, but a Massachusetts-based magazine, “Meat for Tea: A Valley Review,” liked it and will publish it in January.
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An age of listening?

   Reading aloud is apparently enjoying renewed popularity.
   I always peruse The New Yorker on my iPad, and am often encouraged to hear the author read an article to me. I’m never tempted, because I read faster than anyone could talk. But I’ve been interested in the phenomenon: In what is often called an age of limited attention span, there are people who want to sit back and listen.
    So I was not entirely taken aback when Kae Sable, managing editor of the Dime Show Review, asked if I might read aloud my Tattoos, which she’d recently published online. “As I read your bio,” she wrote, “I wondered if you still have access to a broadcast environment where you could record?”
    I could probably persuade a few old pals at Channel 3 to give me a hand, but they’re a half-hour away, and I have a decent microphone on my desktop. I recorded a sample to send her, and she said it passed muster. “This feature has been wildly popular in Volume 1,” she wrote.
    Two hours later — two hours! — I finished recording a five-minute story. Thereby hangs a tale.
     I read through it once, played it back, and heard heavy breathing. I pushed my headset mike farther from my nose and mouth.
     Halfway through the second reading, the forced-air heat came on. I finished reading, but when I played it back, the air was audible. I set the thermostat a notch lower.
     I’d barely started the next try when the phone rang.
     I was well into a fourth try at 3 p.m., when my chiming clock stentoriously announced the time.
     I’d almost finished try number five when the dog barked at a workman repairing  a chipped sidewalk visible from the bedroom window. I closed the venetian blind.
     I started again, just before 3:15 – as the damned clock reminded me.
     By this time, I’d rehearsed often enough that I almost had it memorized, and read fairly convincingly. I finished my last try before 3:30, and sent it off to Kae. It’s up with the story: Click here –  Tattoos — to both read it and hear me read it aloud. Reactions welcome.
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And another!

I seem to be on a roll getting short stories published in anthologies.  Simone Press, a U.K. publisher, will include my “Beyond the Reef” in an anthology next April.  In inviting submissions, the publisher outlined the theme:“The characters, plot and atmosphere of your short story should be highly influenced by its setting which can be in the past, present or future. . . .    Whatever the situation, the environment that your story is set in should strongly affect the action, plot and direction of your story.”

The copyright terms bar my posting the whole story on my website until the book is out, but you can get a taste here:

 

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