What is Compressed Fiction – at Journal of Compressed Creative Arts

Hi all,

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts wanted to post my statement on “What is Compressed Fiction?” on their blog.

If you want to read it, click here:


As usual, I’ll put a permanent link to this in the published works area on my blog so you can find it easily.

Thanks and enjoy!


The Kenyon Review Short Fiction Contest

Normally I do not pay attention to short story contests. However, The Kenyon Review has just opened their electronic submissions link today, Feb 1st for anyone who wishes to enter their short fiction contest and they do not charge a reading or entry fee.

What I love about this contest is that it skews towards flash fiction writing, with an upper limit of 1200 words.

All you talented flash fiction writers who read my blog regularly… please consider clicking on the link below and submitting your best work to The Kenyon Review. You will have until Feb 28th to submit.



LINK TO THE CONTEST INFO: http://www.kenyonreview.org/contests/short-fiction/




Information about the contest:

The contest is open to all writers who have not yet published a book of fiction. Submissions must be 1200 words or fewer. There is no entry fee.

Katharine Weber, the Richard L. Thomas Chair in Creative Writing at Kenyon College and author of five critically-acclaimed novels, including Triangle and True Confections, will be the final judge.

The Kenyon Review will publish the winning short story in the Winter 2014 issue, and the author will be awarded a scholarship to attend the 2013 Writers Workshop, June 15th-22nd, in Gambier, Ohio.

New Story Accepted by Pure Slush!

Hi everybody,

Great news has come in over the wires from Matt Potter, editor of Pure Slush. He’s accepted a flash fiction piece called Recyclables for his February issue, with a theme of “the office.”

As usual, I will post an announcement and link when it goes live.



The Duotrope Dilemma

Writing and placing short stories may be fun and gratifying, but it’s not a way to get rich. Short story writers  write their work and submit to journals without expectation of payment most of the time. That may be unfortunate, but it’s the truth.

And it used to be true that the whole process was free from looking up your market in Duotrope to submitting via Submittable (formerly SubMishMash) as long as you didn’t submit to a place that charged reading fees, or contest fees (something I’ve discussed on the blog previously. In short, I don’t believe in paying reading or contest fees.)

But beginning Jan 2013, the Duotrope database has started requiring payment – either $5 a month or $50 if you sign up for a full year. Here’s what Duotrope says about what you can no longer access:

If I don’t subscribe, what will I miss out on?

  • You will no longer be able to run searches or browse the index of listings.
  • The information shown on individual market listings will be limited.
  • You won’t be able to access our calendar of deadlines, statistical reports*, or RSS feeds.
  • You will lose access to your control panel, including your submissions tracker

I have mixed feelings about it because I think Duo is a fantastic resource and I’ve enjoyed using it over the years, however, I think $50 for a one year subscription is too steep for most writers who are not getting paid for their work. If it had been half that I would have grumbled but signed up. At $50, I’m not signing up on principle, for now.

Also, I don’t see how the statistics on Duotrope will improve if they have a much smaller number of users reporting their submissions. I suspect the veracity of those statistics will plummet in usefulness unless they achieve a critical mass of people willing to pay. For the sake of Duotrope’s long term viability, I’d suggest they report on the number of paying subscribers they have in order to make clear the total population available to report their subs, but that’s my opinion.

And as for tracking my submissions on Duo, I was doing it more as a service to the editors of the journals where I submitted my work. I keep a separate tracking spreadsheet on my computer that has many more notes and information I find relevant. But individual markets — especially new markets — will potentially suffer from being under-reported due to a lack of user base for Duo because I strongly suspect the majority of users will not pay that fee.

Here are some alternatives for people who need to be able to browse listings to find small press markets to target.

Alternative small press literary magazine listings:

I’d like to hear from people on this one. Have you signed up for Duo, and if so, what was your thinking? If you decided not to use it, was it because of the expense or some other reason?

A Creaky Whirligig Addendum: the Twitter-machine

Way back in my personal time machine about a year ago, and prior to that, I was tweeting regularly (and potentially obsessively). I’d tweet for fun, re-tweet news, writerly advice, interact with a bunch of people, and of course tweet stuff from my blog.

Then, as you may know if you are a regular reader, things slowed down. I stopped writing for a long while, my blog posts stuttered to a near halt and I stopped going onto Twitter. The only thing my Twitter account was doing was posting my blog-tweets, and since those were automated I never had to actually log on to do it.

Now, I’m back from my hibernation (even though, ironically, it is the middle of the Winter) and I’m re-emerging from my den. Cozy as the Den of Procrastination may be, after a while you get leg cramps and you realize if you don’t get out of there, you may die from lack of movement. (And we all know Ernest Becker wouldn’t like that.)

Over the past few days I’ve re-acquainted myself with Twitter and I put a few tweets out there, started interacting with some editors of small press journals I know (they’re a friendly bunch!) and geared back up a little bit in that world.

I forgot how addictive Twitter is, but it’s one of those places you go and then you look up from the clock and realize an hour has gone by, or more, depending on how many interesting links you find. Why just today I’ve looked at a list of the happiest countries in the world (Norway, Denmark, and Sweden are #’s 1, 2 and 3 kids…) and a bunch of other random stuff I don’t need to know but which is entertaining and will be useful to whip out at parties (okay, I don’t really go to parties, but in my fantasies I’m invited to salon-style literary parties with writerly types in Manhattan.)

Meanwhile, I’m pleased to say I’ve also updated my submissions tracker. That’s my personal self-torture device to show how many places I’ve submitted short stories, the number of months I’ve been waiting for my standard form rejection letter (I kid, I kid! … sort of) and whether or not I’ve sent a personal query on the status of my work.

For example this morning I got my standard form rejection from the Fairy Tale Review, after sending only two polite personal inquiries at the 8 and 10 month marks (their website assured me I would get a response from them in 4 months.) Ah well, what’s 10 months of waiting for an unsigned standard form rejection between friends?

But I’m on the case! This morning I had 18 outstanding submissions, and now I have 17. I’m tracking. I’m following up, a few times if needed. I’m taking my lumps people. This is how we do it in small press literary journal land.

In order to keep the machine oiled, re-adding Twitter to my mix feels right. When I post this, my blog will auto-tweet this, and somewhere on Twitter somebody might read it. And who knows, somebody who read it might re-tweet it. It could happen.

Meanwhile, I’ve got to get back to writing. Not blog posting, not tweeting, not drinking diet cola beverage, but writing. That’s what we writers are supposed to be doing in between blog posts and tweets, remember?

“What is Compressed Fiction” – Journal of Compressed Creative Arts

Hi all,

Randall Brown, the managing editor of The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, has decided to use a statement I submitted on “What is compressed fiction” and will publish it on the journal’s blog on 2/12/2013!

That said, I’m still working on sending them the right finely tuned story submission, but hey, if they like what I have to say about compressed fiction, there’s still hope. 🙂

I’ll share the link when it goes live!


Nominated for a Micro-Award

I would like to extend my kind thanks to Blink-Ink editor Doug Mathewson for nominating my pair of 50 word flash pieces: Mother, A True Story; Father, a Lie for the 2013 Micro-Awards.

I share the honor with author and fellow nominee Sharon Coleman for her piece Foreign.

Both of our works appeared in Blink-Ink’s (printed) Issue 12 this year.

The Micro-Award, http://www.microaward.org/, is a literary prize given for a flash fiction piece under 1000 words. The award was created in 2008. Winners are scheduled to be announced on March 17, 2013.

The Ties That Bind – New Story up at The Washington Pastime!

Hi everyone,

The Washington Pastime has just published my story The Ties That Bind on their site today.

Please direct all love traffic here: http://www.washingtonpastime.com/drupal/node/117

As always, a permanent link to the story will be posted on the Published Stories page.

And thanks for reading!


New Story Accepted by Atticus Books – Atticus Review!

Breaking news came in over the wires just moments ago: Jamie Iredell from Atticus Books / Atticus Review wrote to let me know they have accepted my flash fiction story Stuff I Buy Online for publication! 

I am such a big fan of the Atticus Review, it is fantastic this piece found a home with them and is my first story published with Atticus.

I don’t have the publication date yet, but I’ve put the placeholder in my “Upcoming Stories” section of my Published Stories page (along with the other piece awaiting a publication date from The Washington Pastime…)

This is my 23rd story accepted for publication, which is gratifying. As always when more information becomes available I will share it with you all, dear readers.

New Story Up at Word Riot!

Hi everyone,

Cloud Girl is now available for your reading pleasure in the July 2012 issue of Word Riot! I’m so pleased this piece found a home with the help of Kevin O’Cuinn, Word Riot’s Fiction Editor.

And to give credit where it’s due, Kevin suggested the title change for this piece – and I love the final title, it was a fantastic suggestion. It shows what trust and great relationships with editors can create…

All love traffic is most welcome at this link:



Two Flash Stories Published in Blink Ink!

Hi everyone,

Doug Matthewson has just published Issue #12 of Blink Ink and two of my flash pieces appear in the issue, called Mother, a Truth; Father a Lie.

What’s unusual about this, at least for me, is that the issue is printed. If you’d like to support Blink Ink and read my pieces you could purchase the issue for $2 bucks, or if you’d prefer to subscribe to a year of Blink Ink it’s a whopping $5 bucks. 🙂

The link to the Blink Ink site is on my Published Stories page, and from there you can order the issue.

Do you remember the day when content used to be available on real paper with real ink and cost real money? Oh, wait a minute…that’s still the case for The New Yorker, McSweeney’s and many other fine publications including Blink Ink.

It was nice to get my copy in the mail, it’s a cute little chapbook-style printing, small enough to fit into a greeting card envelope.

Thanks in advance to those of you who scoop up one of these limited edition babies soon!