Monday, December 29, 2014

Paul D. Brazill's "The Long Haul" over at Spelk

I'm going to try and get up a few story links here in the coming weeks and months. The road to hell paved with you know what, but at least I can start by pointing you to a story from Paul D. Brazill over at Spelk. I've read a fair share of Paul's stories over recent years and I think "The Long Haul" is fairly representative of his style and his humor. Enjoy.

Friday, August 1, 2014

NANO Fiction contest

I got an email from Nano Fiction about their annual prize contest today. Entries are 300 words or less. For better or worse, I don't tend to write that short, but if it's your thing, check them out HERE

Here's an interview with the judge, "Queen of Flash" Kim Chinquee, about what she's looking for.

It's all over by the first of September, so get cracking.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Writer's Digest "Dear Lucky Agent" contest

It was a toss up which blog to post this news on, but I decided to post it on my book review blog and will just link to it here. It's a free contest for any middle grade novel you might be trying to get out there. You can go straight here or follow the link to Not New for Long to learn all about it.

Hurry, though. It all ends tomorrow.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Outside the Orbit of Jupiter

Here's what I came up with for Hannah Tinti's first One Story short story class. (Will Allison did an editing one previously will be doing another soon--check out their website for details. I believe they aren't quite up yet.) Hannah put fashioned a little space story as an example to show the process and it began with two astronauts stepping outside the orbit of Jupiter. For some reason this gave me a germ of a story, and I decided to riff on a couple of her elements, though in a completely different genre. Here's the result.

Outside the Orbit of Jupiter

by Seana Graham

We had just stepped outside the Orbit of Jupiter, the little club where John and I liked to spend Saturday nights that summer, when we noticed a big, scruffy looking guy sitting with his back to us on my Ford Fiesta, apparently not bothered at all that his weight was probably making a major dent in the hood. It was around one in the morning and still so warm that everyone had drifted outside for air before the last set. The great planet glowed on the neon sign above us, and from within a revolving palette of desert colors escaped through the doorway, perhaps not unlike the gaseous clouds of the king of planets itself. John and I had been hitting the club scene together for about three months now, which was long enough to have learned a few things about each other, but not nearly long enough to know everything. Certainly not long enough to have opened up all the sad and sordid baggage of the past.

“Buddy, do you mind?” John asked, in his typical assertive, non-violent and at the same time somehow totally macho way. He walked slowly towards the car holding his hands out to his sides in a gesture that signified he was unarmed and a person of good will. We had met in a training session for a peaceful protest we’d participated in, and John had proved to be something of a star when it came to pacifist tactics. Despite this, what I found myself saying was, “John, I think we should call the police.” “Just let’s give this a chance, first, Mary,” he said to me in that soothing, dismissive tone that men do use with women when they are getting in the way of some manly act of bravado.

I stopped in shock as the man on the car turned and gave John an all too familiar half bleary, half belligerent look and then bounced his massive bulk up and down on the hood in an act of deliberate provocation. I remembered many such looks, although the bouncing up and down on the hood part was, of course, new. What was the bitter acrimony of divorce for if your former husband was just going to track you down and sit on your car in the end anyway? “John, that’s Pete, my ex, and being pleasant to him isn’t going to work.” I was speaking from long experience while simultaneously rummaging through my purse for something that would be more effective—like mace, a copy of the restraining order or, at the very least, my car keys. It took John a few more steps to awaken from whatever fantasy of masculine prowess he was currently living out, and when he stopped and turned in bewilderment, the pepper spray I was holding was unfortunately pointing toward both of them.

“John, drop the Gandhi pose and have the good sense to get out of my line of fire,” I said. I wasn’t really paying attention to him anymore, if the truth be known. I was focused on the now fading blue squid tattooed on Pete’s right bicep, a token of his days as a heavy weight high school wrestling champion.  That’s what they’d called him back in the day, “The Giant Squid”, because of his size and the way his arms wrapped around his opponents like two lethal tentacles. He still had the weight but his wrestling glory was far behind him— or at least I hoped it was.  John must have picked up on the fear beneath the bravado in my voice because we now advanced on Pete together, somehow hoping that between us we could take him. I felt that we had never been more of a team than we were at that moment, and might not ever be again.  “How’s it going, Pete?” I asked, pointing the pepper spray directly at his face.

“Janie’s dead,” Pete said. He gave me a baffled, half malevolent look, as if it were all my fault, and then burst into tears.  It was clear that he’d been drinking. John looked at me, more than a little baffled himself, unable to follow the sudden turn of events. “Janie’s his dog,” I said, lowering the pepper spray, and then, “his baby.” The golden retriever he had raised from a pup and whose pride of place I had never been able to usurp during our brief and bitter marriage. From inside the Orbit of Jupiter, we could hear the band tuning up again, and people were putting out their cigarettes and heading back in. John caught my eye, making motions that we should return as well. Clearly his enthusiasm for this adventure had waned.

“You go,” I said. “I’ll be all right.” “You’re sure?” he asked. I nodded. I could see he was relieved. Guilty, but relieved. I watched his narrow back retreating and then I looked at Pete, who was still weeping copiously. I took a deep breath, though the air was full of smoke. The night is dark and I am far from home, I thought. Then I sat down on the car hood next to him and, taking his hand in mine, said, “Tell me all about it.”

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Kurt Vonnegut on the Shape of Stories

The One Story class with Hannah Tinti has ended now. I may or may not post the story I came up with here in the course of the next few days--I have to think about it a bit more. But in any case, I again feel fine sharing another Kurt Vonnegut video which is easily available on YouTube. Very apt and very lovely. Also funny.


Also mentioned in the course, but independent of it, is this infographic from graphic designer Maya Eilam illustrating Vonnegut's points in her own way.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Kurt Vonnegut on YouTube

I've been taking a One Story class led by Hannah Tinti this week. I am enjoying it quite a lot, and I recommend it to you should they offer it again. I am not going to post any of the actual material from the class, but their intro included a short video on Kurt Vonnegut talking about writing short stories, and as this is not their own material, I do feel perfectly fine about displaying it here. It is short. Take a look.

And thank you, Mr. Vonnegut.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Paul D. Brazill on the latest Thuglit outing

The indefatigable Paul D. Brazill has put up a bit on Thuglit 11 over on his blog. I suspect these tales may be on the dark side of the spectrum for the faint of heart, i.e., me, but somehow Paul always makes the stories he describes sound appealing. It is very hard to write up short fiction, but Paul seems able to always be both succinct and descriptive. Check out his review, and then you can follow the link if you'd like to purchase a copy.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Hannah Tinti's story class at One Story

Yes, I've fallen sadly behind about posting story related content here. But I did want to give a heads up to anyone who might be doggedly lingering here that the renowned literary journal One Story is offering a class taught by One Story editor and celebrated author in her own right Hannah Tinti teaching story fundamentals. I took the editing class that One Story lead earlier this year and was quite impressed by it, although I think there remained a gap between seeing in this case Will Allison's editing skills and my own attempts to achieve the same. I remain impressed and even astounded by the amount of care and consideration they give to the stories that they publish.

This second class will be a bit different in that it is going to teach you about working on your own story. I tend to like classes where you work hard and have something to show for your efforts at the end. This one looks promising. In any case, the details are HERE .

Monday, May 12, 2014


Here's another website celebrating Short Story Month 2014. It's called If you sign up, you can submit listings for stories you'd like to see get greater exposure, apparently even your own if they have been published by someone other than yourself. This appears to be an ongoing venture rather than just a month of May kind of thing, which is nice.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

A Cool Thing to Do-LCRW

I recently renewed my subscription to Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, partly in gratitude for it being responsible for my story "The Pirate's True Love" having any kind of life out there in the world at all, but also because it is one of the coolest little zines around, and it is always a pleasure to find it in your mailbox. I received Issue 29 last week, and I have just read the first story, which is written by Jennifer Linnaea. It's called "Smash!" and has a little something to do with sea monsters. The LCRW folks do seem to have a preference for these seagoing tales. It was very good. And short. If you had a subscription you could read it in a few minutes.

So why not get a subscription? They're cheap, and it will make you cool, like me...Yes I am too cool! I mean maybe not before I upped my subscription, but I am now. At least till the subscription runs out.

Okay, getting a subscription to LCRW may not make you cool. But it will make you happy.

For happiness, enter HERE.

Saturday, May 10, 2014


I'm getting a bit behind here, but it occurred to me that I can link easily to a couple of story collections I've reviewed in the not too distant past. The first one is Renata Adler's Speedboat, which made something of a splash (sorry) when it first came out. I'd been meaning to read it for many years when a new edition by New York Review of Books' press brought it to my attention again. I'm still not sure if I think it has withstood the test of time or not. Here is my take on it at Escape Into Life.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Flash Jab Drabble challenge

Just in time to be part of my May Short Story Month posts, Jack Bates has announced another Flash Jab drabble challenge. A drabble is precisely 100 words. There's an intriguing photo to give you inspiration. I've submitted a few drabbles to Jack in my day, and he's posted them. So seriously--give it a shot. If I did it, how hard can it be?

Monday, May 5, 2014

Dubliners, the Centenary

I might have been wondering a little what I was going to cook up for day 5 of National Short Story month, but as it turns out, it was handed to me on a plate. Mark O'Connell has written an excellent piece for Slate Magazine on The Dubliners, a hundred years on, as well as Dublin itself, being a writer in Joyce's wake (his Wake?) and other things. Many consider Dubliners as the story collection of story collections, and it would certainly be a good year to read it or reread it. I am hoping to do so myself before the year gets too much older.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Story for Saturday--Paul D. Brazill

Okay, it's Sunday already, but I just remembered an obvious post to do here, which is about Paul D. Brazill's blog. He's quite the promoter of the grittier side of British fiction, but more importantly for our purposes here, he does a Story for Saturday post every, well, Saturday, featuring his own work.

Brazill's stories tend to be VERY gritty but tempered by a dark sense of humor. They would probably range on the side of too gritty for my tastes normally, so be forewarned, but he is such a good writer that I  muster up my courage and plunge in. There's a morality to the Brazill universe--usually-- even if justice tends to come in a little late and a lot harshly. And I think there's a kind of compassion there for people living on the lower end of the economic order, playing the cards they've been dealt the best they know how. Which is not always to say well.

Here, forthwith, "Scopey's Choice".

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Sweet With Fall and Fish on Amy Hempel

Sweet With Fall and Fish is another blog that seems to be making the short story commitment this month. The blogger doesn't list his name on the website, or I didn't find it, but if you follow his link to his old website you can identify him. He works at an independent bookstore in Florida and calls himself "a buyer among other things," which in my former life was a role I could have related to. He is going to be posting some of his stories but also recommending short story collections. Today he is writing about Amy Hempel.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Emerging Writers Network on Men Under Water, by Ralph Lombreglia

Probably the main reason I even know of the existence of National Short Story Month is Emerging Writers Network. In recent times, I think the chief factotum over there (and maybe only factotum, period), Dan Wickett, has been a bit busy with other things recently, but I'm pleased to see that he is revving up the website for May. Today he's reviewing an anthology by Ralph Lombreglia and giving you the link to the ebook of the anthology, which is currently on sale. You can find out all about it HERE

And do check in over at Emerging Writers Network throughout the month, as you are likely to find a lot of interesting leads, short storywise.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Oh well, if you insist--prompts

No, I'm not doing prompts this year, but I can direct you to a month of prompts going on at Nano Fiction. Their site is all about flash fiction, but there's no reason you can't adapt them to your own ends...

You're welcome. Don't mention it.

National Short Story month, 2014

Well, May has rolled around again. A couple of years ago, I did a month of writing prompts here during this time for the one or two people who either knew I was doing this or randomly happened upon it. Last year there were a couple of big life events going on in May, so I didn't even attempt it. This year, I'm feeling more ambitious about a writing project I just started on than I am about blog prompts, but I think it might be kind of cool to be thinking about stories and story links all month, and I'll include you in the journey too if you want to check in here.

Let's start with a list of great story collections that I just found at Publisher's Weekly, assembled by the short story writer Carolyn Cooke. It's kind of a classic list, not that it means I've read many of them. The name and title that were new to me was Love is Power, or Something Like That, by A. Igoni Barrett.

I can see right now that I am setting myself up for a fall. I'm supposed to be reading The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope. I'm enjoying it, but it is not by any stretch (or shrinkage) of the imagination a short story.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

podcast of 'The Pirate's True Love' up now

True to their word, the folks at Far-Fetched Fables put up the podcast which featured "The Pirate's True Love" yesterday. I was quite happy with the show and am looking forward to following their weekly efforts in the future. I put up a fairly involved history of where this story has been on another blog, which you can find HERE. But if you'd rather just cut to the chase, here is the link to this second podcast from Far-Fetched Tales. The very well-known author A.A. Attanasio comes up first, and my rather brief tale is at about 44 minutes in.

Friday, April 25, 2014

District of Wonders podcasts

Somewhere around the middle of February, I had an out of the blue email, asking if a new podcast project could read my story, "The Pirate's True Love". I of course wasted little time in saying yes, and it will be going live soon they tell me, but in the meantime, you might want to check out the home base for a variety of podcasts, District of Wonders. They have several podcast series going already, which seem very fun: Tales to Terrify, Protecting Project Pulp, Crime City Central, StarshipSofa. I've barely been able to dig in yet, but I've listened to enough to know that I am very honored to be included.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Flash Jab Drabble Challenge over at Jack Bates' blog

There is still to enter the drabble challenge over at Jack Bates' Flash Jab Fiction blog. It's due by the end of February 28, but it's still doable because a drabble is a story that's exactly a hundred words long. There's no prize except the excitement of getting published over there. I just entered and you can too. Details HERE.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

"Inconstant Moon" at One Teen Story

I don't know why I didn't mention this at the time here, as this would have been the most obvious place to do it, but my story "Inconstant Moon" was picked to publish on their blog along with two other writers' work after we all took part in a short story workshop at One Teen Story, younger sibling to One Story. They gave us various things we had to include and it was kind of fun trying to do this.

Some of the paragraphing format didn't completely survive the transition from my computer to their website, but hopefully it's not too confusing. You can find "Inconstant Moon" HERE.

And my apologies in advance to any readers who may have seen this on one of my other blogs already.