Sunday, May 9, 2021

Help me decide!

A few months ago, TaleFlick began accepting short stories and articles into their catalogue and last month an article was optioned for use as a feature film. They've already assigned a screenwriter and secured an actor for one of the leading roles. This made me think about submitting one of my stories, and I've narrowed it down to two: The Good School or Michael And The Monster. Which one do you think I should choose?

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

NYC Midnight 100 word Microfiction Challenge


This is something I'm going to be participating in, starting next week. It's a worldwide writing contest, open to anyone with internet. I've always been curious to try writing microfiction, which involves telling an entire story with very limited word count, usually 1000 words or less. In this contest, entrants are limited to 100 words and will be sent an email at 11:59pm EST containing the specific requirements for the story: the genre it must be written in, a specific word which must be included in the story, and an action which also must be included. So for example, the email might specify: horror fiction, the word pickle, and the action of packing a suitcase. Entrants then use those 3 things to create a 100 word story which must be submitted within 24 hours.

I think I read this is the third year they've done this contest. The first year they had 6,000 entrants, the second year 7,600, so this year it could be around 8,000 people. There are three rounds to the contest. On May 14 the first round begins and out of those entries they'll narrow it down in July and those finalists will do it again: get the email with the 3 specifics, write another 100 word story and submit it within 24 hours, and out of those it will be narrowed down one last time and those finalists will write a third story, the same way, with 15 winners chosen.

The prizes for the top 15 are pretty great: all of them get writing software and cash prizes ranging from $50 up to $4000 for the 1st place winner. The entry fee isn't too steep: $27, and $2 of that goes to a charity of your choice--I picked Doctors Without Borders. If you're interested in signing up for this contest, you can get more information at:

I'm not very hopeful about my chances because this format is new to me, but it sounds like fun and the first round begins about 24 hours after I'm scheduled to get my second dose of the Moderna vaccine, when I might be feeling pretty cruddy, so this will be a good distraction. 😊

I'll be posting my 100 word story here on the 15th. To me, microfiction always sounds incomplete, like someone only gave me a paragraph of a story and are denying me the rest, so I guess if I do it correctly, mine might sound like that also. Anyway, cross your fingers!

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Kindle Vella

I wanted to tell you about a brand new thing Amazon will be trying out in the next couple of months. It's called Kindle Vella and it will be a way readers can enjoy stories published in installments, just like Samuel Clemens used to do it. 

The way it will work for you, the reader, is this: to try it out, you'll go to either Kindle or and then you'll decide which one of 15 different story types you'd like to try: thriller, scifi, etc. Then you'll be given a bunch of options of stories to try out. The cover page will include a description of the plot and then you'll be able to read several installments of that story for free. Each installment will be between 600-5000 words. After you've read the free installments, you'll have the option of continuing to read more installments of the story by purchasing tokens. The pricing of the tokens will end up being about one dollar for each installment after the freebies.

Amazon is trying this out with America based KDP authors first, and later will expand this to include other Amazon channels worldwide.

Do you think you would like reading a book this way? Each of us KDP authors received an invitation to participate and I'm thinking I might do it. Here's a link to tell you more about the Kindle Vella program: I'm curious to hear your thoughts about this. It sounds like authors still have a lot of questions about it but no one wants to miss out, just in case it might turn out to be a big thing.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

To order my 50 story collection STORYTELLER please visit This title is available in paperback or kindle and is free on Kindle Unlimited.

Sunday, December 13, 2020

On TV Everyone Dies

I've been spending a lot of time watching reruns of old TV shows, which some claim is a good activity during stressful times. The theory is if you've already watched the TV episode or movie, you know what's going to happen next, and this is calming.


Except I was watching Eight Is Enough and thinking how the mother dies on that series and it occurred to me there were a LOT of shows where at least one parent had died. I could name 4 or 5 off the top of my head and then I kept remembering more. The length of the list may surprise you. It may make you say, what was the deal with all of these parents dying left and right? Why was this such a popular storyline? 

The word 'popular' may seem wrong, but what other word can be used if the writers kept coming up with it to create prime time TV shows? Were they all working through deaths in their own families or did they wish their parents had died? 

Difficult to say. 

Some of the shows I recalled were old ones, from the 60s: The Andy Griffith Show, The Courtship of Eddie's Father, My Three Sons (which was a triple: Steve's wife plus both parents of Ernie), and Family Affair (a double: both parents of the three kids die, which is why they're being raised by Uncle Bill). 

Then by the 70s the trend continued: The Brady Bunch (that one, as you recall, was a double --Carol's husband and Mike's wife), The Partridge Family, Good Times (with the most memorable TV grief moment going to the mom, played by Esther Rolle, as she smashed the punchbowl and said "DAMN! DAMN! DAMN!")

I hesitate to include Little House On The Prairie because, as you know if you watched the show, it takes place back when life was godawful and people really DID die left and right, so it made more sense. If we include this show, it was a quintuple (Albert's mother, Jonathan Garvey's wife, Sylvia's mother, and both parents of the Cooper twins).

Interesting side note: in real life, Laura Ingalls' daughter, Rose, burned down their house, by accident. Twice. 

Laverne and Shirley makes the list because Laverne's mom had died when she was young. Diff'rent Strokes was a triple (Mr Drummond's wife plus both parents of Arnold and Willis). Webster was a double (football player's kid is orphaned and adopted by a teammate), Gimme A Break, My Two Dads, Eight Is Enough, The Facts Of Life (Natalie's dad) and Who's The Boss were all singles. 

More: The Nanny, Silver Spoons, and Party Of Five, which was a double. I'm probably forgetting a few, but you see my point: this is a LOT of dying. And based on the fact you probably recognize many of these shows, we kind of have to say this was a popular theme. Why? We may never know.

Friday, December 11, 2020

What TaleFlick Books Look Like On The Site

My book, Starfish On Thursday, is still on TaleFlick, where I hope it will be optioned again for a series or feature film. This week I added my book Storyteller to the site. I thought you might find it interesting to see what it looks like for a producer when they go onto TaleFlick to check out a book. When submitting a title, authors fill out a long questionnaire about the book, and this creates the information producers will see. For Storyteller, it looks like this:

Authors used to have just one option when submitting a book to Taleflick but now they have several different packages, several of which cost more than cars I have owned. Since I try to follow my own rule, The Vegas Rule, I didn't opt for one of those. I went for one of the more basic packages. (Hey, the lowest priced one worked for me last time, so what can I tell you). One excellent question is: how long should you keep your books on this site? Should you continue to renew your plan every year, if you haven't gotten a bite from a producer? I don't know. This is actually my Round Three, so I'm very interested in this question. Cross your fingers!