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.

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.

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: