Sunday, May 23, 2021

Secret Heroes


When I was 20 I spent a summer working as a preschool teacher. One of my coworkers was a guy a year or two older than me. His name was Larry, and when he had been a young child, he was one of the more than 3,000 babies and children airlifted out of Vietnam between April 4 and April 19, 1975. He was a very outgoing, good looking guy, and he spent a lot of time working out; his torso was as chiseled as you could want, but he walked with a cane and had a very heavy, uneven limp. The polio vaccine that had been routine for kids in the USA like me had not been available for him, and polio had left his legs crooked and spindly; one of his legs worked overtime to bear all his weight and the other was of almost no use to him at all. He was used to his handicap. For his senior prom he switched out his regular cane for a fancy one and wore a top hat. He seemed to want people to not make a big deal about his legs, but sometimes when I'd see him looking tired (and trying to not look tired), I'd think: one sugar cube with the polio vaccine and his whole life would have been different.

I know some people have been uncertain about getting the Covid vaccine. I got it as soon as I was eligible. Where I live people take whichever one is available. I happened to get the 2-dose Moderna, and I can report it really wasn't bad at all. The shot doesn't feel GOOD, it's a shot. For me, it hurt the same amount as a tetanus shot. The first one made my arm sore for a day or two. I could still use it, but it was sore. No other side effects at all. Then, 28 days later, I got the second shot and it hurt less. Before each of the two shots I was asked a series of questions about my history of vaccines and if I'd ever had allergies to any of them or to any medications or foods. After each of the two shots, I had to sit in a waiting area to be sure I had no bad reaction to the vaccine. I was advised that after I got home, if I moved that arm around every couple of hours, it would help prevent soreness, and this worked really well. The first day I had a mild headache that went away with Tylenol, and I felt pretty tired out. The second day I had the same mind headache plus about 15 minutes of chills and my temperature went to 100.02 F. Two tylenol and 30 min later and my temperature was back to normal and the headache gone. I was still tired out. The third day I woke up feeling great, with a ton of energy, and I cleaned my whole apartment while belting out Diana Ross songs. So there you go. 

I know some people are immunocompromised and can't get the Covid vaccine. But for the rest, I have to say I was motivated to get the vaccine for two reasons: one, I don't want to die of Covid or even get hospital level Covid, and two, the idea that I could accidentally give someone Covid and cause them death was unthinkable to me. 

Some people are counting on the herd immunity theory. Here's the thing: you can't GET to herd immunity unless 70% of the people get the vaccine. Once you factor in the immunocompromised people who absolutely cannot get it, that means there are very few chairs left for anyone to sit this out. And if you're in the US, you know we're fortunate to have the vaccine available when so many people don't. 

Anyway, that's my PSA. One more thing: one very cool thing about getting the vaccine is you get to secretly feel like a hero, and how often do you get to feel like that?

Saturday, May 15, 2021

My microfiction entry

Okay, so I tried a new thing, writing microfiction, and it was every bit as tricky as I had suspected it would be. There are 6,932 writers worldwide in this year's competition and they separated it into about 100 different story suggestions. The specific direction I had to follow was Genre: horror, word that had to be used in story: provide, and Action that had to take place in story: Planning a wedding. I think my story is more "kinda creepy" than Horror, but I'm hoping it's close enough.

(Warning: I always think microfiction sounds unfinished, and mine sounds the same, but 100 words isn't a lot to work with)

As promised, I'm sharing it with you here. Coming in at exactly 100 words:


At first, his ex hadn't recognized him. He'd refilled her coffee and she'd barely looked up, just kept planning a wedding with the dude sitting beside her.

He hovered nearby, waited through roses or tulips, indoor or outdoor, and then she looked up, and her expression turned to dread.

She waited for him to provide her beau with dark details from her past.

He loved seeing her scared, always had, but she wasn't his problem anymore. He said nothing.

A week later, he read the story: How her groom had murdered her on their wedding night. 

He smiled: problem solved.

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.