Death with Dignity

It is hardly surprising that in the retirement community where I live, median age 85, there are occasional conversations about planning for our demise. One of those prompted a short-short story that’s just been published by Flora Fiction. I’d send you there to read it, but it’s one of the literary magazines that wants you to buy a copy to read any of the contents, so it’s easiest for you to read it ==>here at my blog


Keyed up for exploration

A neighbor put out word earlier this year that he had lost or misplaced a key, asking that anyone who found it get it to him. A skeleton key.

By happy coincidence, a literary magazine that had published me before put out a call for short stories that might be illustrated with a simple image. Perfect! I began toying with the idea of a teen-ager finding such a key that would open his father’s liquor cabinet.

As it turned out, the prompting magazine held The Golden Key until the last minute and then said no-thanks. The next one I tried said my story had “come close”. A few months later an online magazine I hadn’t tried before, Backchannels, took it; it’s available now ==>>here



Every time I have a story published that touches on loneliness in old age, I hear appreciative murmurs from neighbors in the retirement community I call home ( which is the model for my Harmony Acres stories). Occasional loneliness, I think, is a given among single folks of advanced age.
So I expect to hear approval of my A Bench with a View, published this week in Halcyon Days — perhaps the handsomest literary magazines that’s carried my work. I’m glad to have made it into their final edition.

You’ll only need to scroll down a couple of pages to read it online, on pages 3-4; look for the deer in shafts of forest sunlight here.  (If I float my cursor around it turns into a plus sign that obligingly makes the text big enough to reae comfortably.)

(Or, although you’ll miss the art, you can read it right here)



Some stories are pure invention, ideas that just pop into my head. The Other Woman is such a confection: Would someone contemplating  a senior complex like the one I live in be deterred when it seemed that the woman who ruined her marriage also lived there?
The editors of Change Seven, an online literary magazine based in West Virginia, who are partial to stories the involve change, liked it. You can read it at their website


A story as excuse for describing a rainstorm

We had a lot of rain in Connecticut this summer, some of it unusually heavy. Sitting at my computer desk, which overlooks a handsome courtyard, I watched one of them approach, darkening the sky, whipping the treetops, then unloosing a deluge.
I turned to the keyboard and tried to capture in words what was happening outside my window. Next day I went back to do a bit of polishing, and invented a story to entice readers into my description.
A New York City online magazine with the improbable title Hearth & Coffin was looking for stories under 500 words, for what it would call its ‘Micro’ edition. I thought they might like my quickie storm, and they did; you can read it now at their website



One editor suggests, another accepts

In its first draft, my short story “Opportunities” ended with a cop lamenting that no one had reported a man collapsed by a brook. One of the editors who turned the story down suggested it needed a stronger finish.
I invented a better ending, sent it off, and bingo! It was accepted by MacQueen’s Quinterly.
In the same breath, MacQueen’s accepted my ultra-short “Man with a Riata”, a memory of a Paiute cowboy I rode with.
The two are back-to-back in the new edition: This link takes you to the shortie, and “Opportunities” is on the next page. Click ==> here


Death Valley, concisely

“We are aiming for an issue that joins written word and images in a tight, dramatic, concise form.”

That was the theme of the latest contest by American Writer’s Review, one of the literary magazines published by a group of professional writers. And by “concise,” they meant at max 500 words.

I took my trusty Model A Ford back to Death Valley to imagine an encounter with the driver of a disabled convertible. They liked it; you can buy the 2023 edition at Amazon and flip through to page 75,
OR you can read it ==>right here




How Did Baseball Get in Here?

From time to time some literary magazine will suggest a new approach to writing a short story. One such note proposed beginning with an extended description of place, and then slowly developing why the protagonist is in that place and what he’s up to.

For reasons I can’t explain, I imagined a man parking outside a youth baseball stadium where he’d been coach until a tragic accident took his son and wife. Hardly the kind of topic I usually find, but I like the way it turned out, with a double-entendre title that suggested itself as I wrote the final paragraphs.

A young literary magazine called Atlantic Northeast liked it, and it’s out now. You can open it (free) ==>online  and scroll to page 23
Or read it ==>right here.


Christmas is always in season

WayWords, a literary magazine run by professional writers, invited stories dealing with seasons. I’d just finished a piece whose protagonist, a grandfather, wonders if a gathering snowstorm will deter his being picked up for a family Christmas dinner. I wondered if the editors would like snow for their July edition; they did. You can read it in print or Kindle at ==>>Amazon
Or can more easily read it at my blog, ==>>right here


A human side of newspapers’ decline

My short story “Buyout” was probably prompted by the steady atrophying of The Hartford Courant. It is a shadow of its former self, produced by a staff that is a fraction of the number who once put out the state’s dominant newspaper. It is not my story, although I borrowed a lot of my early experience at the competitor Hartford Times.

It’s out now in a small literary magazine called Portrait of New England.

You can download this issue at ==>>the magazine’s website and scroll down to page 57

Or you can (more easily) read it ==>>right here