Captain William Bligh popped into my head the night Donald Trump was elected: an earlier embodiment of an established order overthrown. Bligh was set adrift in the Pacific by discontented sailors seduced by the glib confidence of a master’s mate who, it would turn out, couldn’t steer the ship well enough to get them home.
It took a while. I got and re-read (or skimmed) the whole Mutiny on the Bounty trilogy, and let the idea gestate. It came together; I sent it out to a few literary magazines. Leslee Goodman, editor of The Moon magazine, liked it. It’s out now; you can read it online.
Pilcrow & Dagger, a Georgia literary magazine, was compiling an anthology of short stories on the theme “black sheep”. I had a story about an unwelcome mourner at a burial service, which I thought might fit. It did. Volume 4 Number 4 is available at Amazon and other booksellers, but you can read it now ==> here
What’s a pilcrow? It’s the typographical icon for a paragraph. And what prompted my writing this story last November? I haven’t the faintest recollection!
“Montana Mouthful,” the press release said, “is an independent, digital literary magazine devoted to publishing short fiction and nonfiction, poetry, artwork, and photography. The debut issue, themed “Firsts” is now available.”
As it happened, I’d been working on a short story that fit the “firsts” bill. One of those efforts that began with simply trying to paint a physical scene, a mid-summer hayfield, and waiting to see what my protagonist wanted to happen. The title and theme came not from any schoolteacher, but from one of my first newspaper editors. It all came together, and the editors of Montana Mouthful liked it. You’ll have to flip through to page 13, but you can read it –>here.
It began, at a Fairfield University MFA week, as an exercise in making sounds come alive — but then it grew into a short-short that has finally seen the light of day in riverbabble, a California-based online magazine. You can read it there by clicking ==>here.
What a great week! On Sunday, one of my favorite short stories, “Exoneration,” was accepted. It was part of my MFA thesis and has ever since been looking for a home. Finally! Then on Tuesday, two more were taken: “Tchotchkes” and “Sirens.” None of them like one another. As usual, I can only post a tease here now, a few paragraphs to whet the appetite; it will be February or later before you can read the entire stories. A minor frustration.
Then, today, a copy of The Ocotillo Review arrived in the mail, with my “Chip Off the Old Block” and 260 very readable pages from other authors. The book is available ==>here — or you can read my story right now: click ==>here
It’s taken so long to get this story into print — just published by Vignette Review — that I had to go back and re-read it. I’d forgotten how much it relies on dialogue, and how much it leaves for the reader to deduce. Try it yourself; click ==> here
I had to stretch my short story “The Good Seed”: Zimbell House wanted four stories, each at least 3,000 words, for its forthcoming anthology The Professor, “a collection of erotic tales.” I had the professor in the story already, and was more erotic than I usually try. I added a few words, and it was a perfect fit. It’s now available from Amazon and other booksellers, but you can read it ==>here.
Rosette Maleficarum calls itself a new literary journal that “shows the beautiful, yet depraved nature that lies within reality, both in humanity and the environment surrounding us. From dark, Gothic fairy tales, to dream-laced poems, the Maleficarum dances between the boundaries of life and death itself.” Maleficarum is perhaps best translated as “witchcraft”.
I hadn’t written “Trails” with witchcraft or depravity in mind, although it has its dark side. A bit embarrassing: As often happens, I’ve taken a tiny fraction of a new friend and developed a tale entirely unlike her. Anyway, the magazine’s editor (would you believe? Robin Goodfellow, editor of a journal inviting witchcraft!) thought my story fit her criteria. Read it here:
Vignette Review has just accepted my short-short “At the Swing Tree” — which tells a story I’ve thought about occasionally: Getting a story published is often a matter of hitting an editor with something just up his or her alley at the moment.
“At the Swing Tree” is an unusual story, and has been out and about the circuit of literary magazines for a year, bringing a dozen polite no-thank you notes. Vignette took just under two weeks to say yes, we’d like the publish it in January. Found the right editor.
As usual, I can’t show you the whole story until it’s published, but if you’re of a mind to whet your appetite, go here
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
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