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.

Blowing my horn again

There’s been a bit of a drouth, but my short story The Trombone is now published. It’s in Volume 24 of the Raven Chronicles Journal. The editor were looking for stories that celebrate America’s immigrant history, and my protagonist clearly fits. Now available at most booksellers including Amazon. It’s a thick book — 300 pages — and my story is in very good company, so it’s well worth the $11.99. Or read it my contribution by clicking here.

A month behind schedule, but welcome

My The Whole Truth is the lead piece in the Spring ’17 issue of BLYNKT Magazine, whose theme is “Individual/Society.”  Some other pieces well worth reading, too; download the magazine (free) by clicking here.

(Or read it at my website: Click here)

This is my favorite of the three I wrote for a contest demanding all-dialogue stories — not even a “he said/she said” — and the last to make it into print.  The others are Tattoos and Customer Service.

Dialogue-only “Customer Service”

I mentioned some time ago that I’d written three short-short stories for a contest requiring that every word be in quotes — not even a “he said, she said.” None of the three won the contest, but all three have been accepted elsewhere, and the second has now been published.  You can read it here, at the Route 7 Review website.

But I’m not wild about Route 7’s typography; for a more legible version click here.

 

Short stories by smartphone?

It’s hard to keep up with the innovations in presenting short stories. I’ve remarked before on the (I think new) phenomenon of paperback themed anthologies of short stories, which ought to sell well in airport shops, but may also find buyers in old-fashioned bookstores and certainly online. I have stories in four such paperbacks now; the newest is “Mountain Test,” one of a dozen stories in a paperback titled The Mountain Pass.  Get it at Amazon click => on the image or read my contribution here.

An even newer idea: An app of flash fiction to read in the palm of your hand. If you have the app Chronicle Stories on your smartphone and have a few minutes to kill, relax with a very short story. During May, my “Barnyard Election” will be prominent before it’s pushed aside by newer stories. You can look for those readable in your time available (silence a TV commercial break to read mine in 2 1/2 minutes; the longest are five-minute reads) and even pick a story by style (mine is  tagged as Absurd/Humor/Parable; others in this first round are tagged as Sci-Fi, Futurism, Surreal, Romance, Clothes, Loss, Family, Utopia, etc etc). To download the app (free, as are the stories), click on the smartphone image; or read my contribution here.

The setting shapes the story

That was the challenge from U.K.-based Simone Press as it planned an anthology of new short stories, in which “the characters, plot and atmosphere [are] highly influenced by [the] setting, which . . . strongly affects the action, plot and direction of [the] story.”) The editors thought my “Beyond the Reef” met that criterion; it’s one of 29 such stories in “Selected Places,” just published as a $12.99 paperback or a $5.99 Kindle book (or for KindleUnlimited members, a free read), all at Amazon.

Or read it here