The Monday Prompt, #3

Opposites Attract

This week’s prompt: write a flash fiction (or nonfiction) story, or a poem, using pairs of opposite concepts, such as light/dark, sun/moon, sleep/wake, summer/winter, etc. You can brainstorm some specific opposites first, then use either the actual words or images that suggest them in your work.

Keep writing!

Salt and Pepper

Attachment Theory

New Stories in a Strange Time

We’re at it again, pretending nothing’s changed.

“Attachment Theory” published in trampset


I liked that we could craft whole conversations around lines from 1940s crime films. Or country songs. I liked that we could change the rules at any moment and not have to explain.

“Upstairs, Downstairs” published in Ilanot Review


He never tells me to smile. He says he likes me best for my perfect blankness.

“The Artist Poses His Muse Before a Goldfish Bowl (after Henri Matisse, Woman Before a Fish Bowl )” published in New Flash Fiction Review

The Monday Prompt, #2

Rainy Days and Mondays

How are all of you doing out there? Are you writing? I know I’ve been having a hard time focusing, tuning out the rest of the world to get into that state of creative flow. Living through a pandemic can do that to you!

I miss my writing group. I miss the days when writing about dystopian futures meant writing fantasy. But I’m still going to keep up posting a new writing prompt every Monday. Some will be words, some will be pictures, and some will be specific writing challenges.

No deadline, no pressure. Use these on your own, however you like. I hope they provide some inspiration!

This week’s prompt: Write a short prose piece OR a poem that begins with a line (or fragment of a line) from a song lyric.
Also incorporate the following:
– A word having to do with rain (could be rain, rainy, storm, cloud, etc.)
– A day of the week
– A type of fabric

The Monday Prompt, #1

These are interesting times we live in. As a pandemic virus spreads across the world, many of us are practicing social distancing and staying home. We’re doing the right thing, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be boring, anxiety-producing, and frustrating at times.

Maybe writing can help. Starting now, I’m going to be posting a new writing prompt every Monday. Some will be words, some will be pictures, and some will be specific writing challenges.

No deadline, no pressure. Use these on your own, however you like. I hope they provide some inspiration!

Person alone in window
Photo by Christian Lue on Unsplash

Prompt #1

The Four-Year Itch (A/K/A the Leap Year Prompt)

Write a flash fiction story in four parts. Each section must have exactly four sentences. In addition, each section must follow the same character or characters, but take place four years apart.

Heroines wanted. Apply here.

Take aim at the Spider’s Web Flash Fiction Prize. Send your best, 750 or less.

The 2020 Spider’s Web Flash Fiction Prize Is Looking for Your Best Work

Do you have a flash fiction piece, 750 words or fewer, featuring a complex, female-oriented protagonist? The sixth annual Spider’s Web Flash Fiction Prize, sponsored by Spider Road Press, a woman-owned small press, is accepting entries through April 1, 2020.

I’ll be judging alongside writer Jae Mazer, and we want to read short stories that dazzle and sing. Stories with a female lead who is strong, or learns to be strong. She doesn’t have to ride dragons, fight crime, or single-handedly dismantle the patriarchy (although if you have a good story about someone who does that, power to you.) Maybe your heroine shines because of her inner strength, quiet endurance, or courage of conviction.

First prize: $300 plus online publication. Four honorable mentions receive $15 plus publication. Entry fee: $10. Full details and link to enter on the Spider Road Press website.

Flash Fiction Distillery

Flash Fiction DIstillery

In cooking, it would be the equivalent of making a reduction sauce, paring down each tale to its essence, giving it time to simmer, until you have an explosion of taste in just a tiny amount that lingers on the tongue leaving you wanting for more.  

– Jayne Martin on flash

For the next four weeks, starting Tuesday, January 21, I’m teaching a flash fiction workshop through the IWWG (International Women’s Writing Guild). We’ll be meeting for 90 minutes, 7-8:30 p.m., to read, discuss, and–of course!–write flash fiction. If you’d like to join, register here. I look forward to writing with you!

Best Microfiction

I am over the moon excited to have not one, not two, but three stories selected for the 2020 Best Microfiction anthology!

Best Microfiction

The stories chosen are:
“Warsaw Circus” (Milk Candy Review)
“Historic Preservation” (Cabinet of Heed)
“Why I Got Written Up by the Manager at Uncle Earl’s World Famous Bar-B-Q” (100 Word Story)

Thank you to the series editors for selecting my work and to the editors of Milk Candy Review, Cabinet of Heed, and 100 Word Story for publishing these pieces!

First Story of 2020!

Fences won’t stop horses with wings.

My story “In the Shadow of Their Wings” is the first to be published in the new year. It made its debut in the second issue of Ligeia magazine.

And other exciting news:

More about all of these soon!

End of Year Wrap-Up, Part 2

Dog wrapped in Christmas paper

My Year in Writing

Award Nominations

I have two new award nominations to add! Both are for the same story–my shortest this year, and one of my favorites: “Why I Got Written Up by the Manager at Uncle Earl’s World-Famous Bar-B-Q,” published in the wonderful 100 Word Story.

I’m so excited to learn that the editors of 100 Word Story nominated this piece for both Best Microfiction 2020 (U.K.) and Best Small Fictions 2020 (U.S.)! Sometimes stories just come to life fully formed, like happy little gifts, and this was one of them. “Why I Got Written Up …” was born during a Flashathon (marathon writing session), inspired by words from a restaurant menu. I had the chance to perform it at a Writefest open mic in May 2019 in Houston. It was such a fun piece to write and to read!

Workshops Taken

I had a busy writing year in 2019, with two Flashathon writing challenges, a Fast Flash workshop with Kathy Fish, and two flash workshops with Meg Pokrass. I challenged myself with a Novella-in-Flash workshop, trying a new form and writing several connected flash pieces. I’m still working on the stories that grew out of this workshop, a post-apocalyptic tale of twin sisters, and hope to continue this project in 2020.

Workshops Taught

In 2019, I taught two workshops, one far afield and one close to home. I spent a week in Houston, Texas, teaching a daily flash fiction class for Writespace as a lead-up to the Writefest conference. It was an intense and really productive experience, and I am still working with Writespace as a consulting editor. Back in Rhode Island, I was honored to facilitate a Veterans Writing Workshop alongside reference librarian Jane Granatino of the Barrington Public Library, who started the program after attending a library conference about veterans’ writing groups. We’ve been working with a small but talented group of veterans who are writing stories about their own military experiences as well as those of family members. That group will continue in 2020, and it’s open to all veterans.

What’s Next?

I’m awaiting the publication of two slightly longer stories, “What the Selkies Know” (forthcoming in Atlas and Alice) and “In the Time of Climate Change” (forthcoming in X-R-A-Y) and a new micro, “Halo,” forthcoming in MacQueen’s Quinterly. I’m getting ready to teach an online flash workshop for the International Women’s Writing Guild starting January 21, 2020. And I’m already looking forward to my next “working vacation”–teaching a summer flash fiction workshop on Cape Cod at Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill!

End of Year Wrap-Up

Cat wrapped up like a present

Stories accepted in 2019: 30

Stories published in 2019: 24

Most recent story:
“Fur,” Okay Donkey, December 20, 2019

You don’t have to wear the lion head any more, she imagined him saying. You can just be you.

Award Nominations

“A Trustworthy Receipt to Fade FRECKELLS, & Other Blemishes of the Skin,
by a Lady of Quality,” Flash Flood, June 15, 2019.
Nominated for Pushcart Prize.

Flash and Micro Fiction

“Pinwheeling,” Gingerbread House, November 30, 2019

A trail of bleeding heels, of discarded toes, You won’t need toes when you’re queen, and is this what you want?

“The Whole Ball of Wax,” Storgy, November 15, 2019

“Tumble,” Fictive Dream, November 29, 2019

“Split,” Storgy, November 8, 2019

“When Darth Vader Was My Boyfriend,” Storgy, October 25, 2019

“Something from Home,” Lost Balloon, October 23, 2019

Maybe Gertie was a mess of a girl like me, stripes never lying flat, lipstick too red, no better than she ought to be, as they said in the day.

“Driving to Endanger,” Bending Genres, October 15, 2019

“Unleaving,” Fiction Southeast, October 2, 2019

“Keeping Gladys Good,” The Sunlight Press, August 6, 2019

“The Bounce Test,” JMWW, July 31, 2019

How many sad cans of cranberry sauce dumped wet and quivering on how many dimpled glass platters, waiting to be sliced like baloney?

“Metamorphoses,” Spelk, July 31, 2019

“Jessie: a Pastoral,” The Cabinet of Heed, Issue 22, July 2019

“Long Shadows,” Pithead Chapel, July 2019

“Why I Got Written Up by the Manager at Uncle Earl’s World Famous Bar-B-Q,” 100 Word Story, June 20, 2019

“Jessie’s Life in Three Surnames,” New Flash Fiction Review, Special Feature. June 2019.

He smells of Pears’ soap and close shaves and Jessie knows the only way to move ahead is to burn your bridges, and she’s got matches to spare.

“The Day the Women Walked Away from Alabama,” Jellyfish Review, May 23, 2019.

“A Key into the Language of the Dead,” Superstition Review, Issue 23, May 2019.

“Midnight Spoon,” New Flash Fiction Review, Issue 16, March 2019

“Historic Preservation,” The Cabinet of Heed, Issue 18, March 2019

“Warsaw Circus,” Milk Candy Review, February 7, 2019

“Comic Postcard, Early 20th Century: A Meta-Analysis,” Pidgeonholes, January 18, 2019

Mary, brazenly holding that young man’s hand: slut. Nella, throwing up her hands in dismay: prude.

“Throbbing, Like Gristle,” 3 Elements Review, Issue No. 21, Winter 2019