Posts Tagged ‘short stories’

Born in Barnet, Hertfordshire, England, Barry left his beloved England in 2000, moving to the USA. Under the name “Storyheart,” Barry is better known for his short romance stories on the net and in his book “Stories from the Heart“. His first YA novel “Across the Pond” proved extremely popular with over 120 reviews on Amazon.  Now he is going back to his romantic roots with the first of a series of books “The Bathroom Book of Romance”.

Barry’s whit, oratory, and old-fashioned English charm make him a popular interviewee. He is also host of the popular radio show “A Book and a Chat” with over 450 shows under his belt.


Web Site: http://romance2read.com

About the Book:

The Bathroom Book of Romance – Book 1 “ is the first in a series of books with short stories, is short enough to read over a cup of tea or coffee, or whenever you have some time to yourself, yet long enough to bring a tear to your eye or a smile to your face. In fact some people call them “bathroom stories” as that might be the only place you get five minutes peace and quiet to yourself.

Thanks for this interview, Barry! What was your inspiration for The Bathroom Book of Romance ?

The title of the book comes from when I first started writing these short stories many years ago, originally is was that  you could read the stories whenever you had five minutes peace and quiet. One reader (the stories used to be produced online) that with three young children the only time she got peace and quiet was if she locker herself away in the bathroom, so the stories became “bathroom stories”.

Tell us something about your hero and/or heroine that my readers won’t be able to resist.

Being numerous short stories there are many different types of characters, hero’s, ages and relationships. Over this book and the next two I have tried to cover every form of romance I can think of. There are always twists and turns and I try to fool the reader whenever I can, in fact I actually take great pleasure in being told… “You did it to me again, I thought it was such and such an ending…”

What is your favorite story in the book?

This is the first of a series of books with the stories written for not only book two but a Christmas Special. I have many stories I really like, I used to have my own local TV station where I used to come on like Mr Rogers, and narrate a story or two to the camera. Hardest part of that is looking up at the camra and then down at the story I was reading without losing my place. But you asked about my favorite stories. The first four in the book “The Radio Show”, Love of an Angel”, Emerald Eyes” and “Why?” are ones I like though there are many more that have their own special spots.

What do you love most about being an author?

I always bulk at being called an author, though with my YA book “Across the Pond” having over 120 reviews on Amazon I guess I can call myself that, though I prefer to be called a “story teller”. My English is not brilliant; I do not have authors names dropping from my tongue like so many authors, and as for my spelling… thank goodness for spell-check. I love chatting to authors though which can be seen from the popularity of my radio show “A Book and a Chat” which now numbers around 470 shows, and not just authors I am a huge fan of bloggers and try to get them on the show when possible.

A Short story from book two… “The Rose”

Night stirred its inky finger at the ending of the day, the office lights breaking through the windows into the dark night. Desks emptied as people sort to get an early start to the weekend.

She completed the last letter she had to send that day, filled in the final figures on the day’s spreadsheet, and was just about to close down her PC when a message popped up saying she had a new email. She was going to open the email to check what it was when she felt a hand on her shoulder. Turning round, she looked into the sparkling eyes that belonged to Andy, her boss, which as normal, set her heart racing.

“Still here?” he said with a smile. “Nothing to go home too?”

She smiled back.  “Nothing much.”

Not as if you were there she thought, then scolded herself in case she let her secret feeling for Andy show.

Andy smiled once more. “Well, see you on Monday” And with that, left her to her thoughts.

He was so good looking, she thought to herself, as she watched his rear disappearing out the door.

With a sigh, she shut of her computer, letting the email wait until Monday, and slowly made her way to the lift. She had nothing to go home to except an empty and lonely house. Her husband was a long gone, and good riddance. Her son was at college far away, and all that was there for her, was another lonely night.

She reached the exit of the building. There, waiting for her was Mike, the security guard. Mike always there with a smile that seemed just for her, understanding her moods and problems sometimes before she herself knew them. Mike, whom she could tell anything to, knowing it would go no further and that he would never judge her. As normal, he held open the door, his arm almost but not quite touching her as she went by.

“Night Mable, have a good one,” he said to her with a smile.

“Night Mike.” she answered back over her shoulder as she walked to where she had parked her car. “And thank you.” She blew him a kiss as normal.

She walked down the now empty parking spaces to where hers was parked, and opened to door to get in the car, when she noticed something on the front window. Moving round, she realized it was a rose, a single red rose placed under one of her wiper blades. Taking it carefully in her hands, she looked for a note or something to say whom the rose had been from, but there was nothing.

She drove home trying to work out in her mind that might have left her the flower. Could it have been Andy, guessing her feeling for him, and letting her know that he felt the same? Perhaps it was Mike, just showing her that he cared?

Her mind went through all the other possible people, but kept coming back to Andy and Mike. The weekend seemed to fly by, with her thoughts always turning to the rose that took pride of place on her table in the small glass vase. Was it Andy, or was it Mike? She had to wait until Monday to find out.

At last Monday came, she parked her car as normal and found Mike waiting for her with an open door. She flashed a special smile his way eager to thank him if indeed the rose had been from him.

“Thank you so much,” she said, lingering for a few moments before walking through the door, as if waiting for him to reply. But Mike did not say anything about flowers or her, so she hurriedly made her way to her desk.

Andy. Andy. It had to be Andy. After all this time at last he was showing her that he felt the same way as she did.

She waited for Andy to come in, her heart racing at the thought of him leaving a rose for her.

While she waited, she checked her mail, the first message being the one that she left on Friday, it was from her son.

“Hi Mum.” it read “I was just passing through on my way to a friend’s house, from where I am sending you this email. I did not really have time to stop, just thought I’d let you know how much I love you. I hope you enjoy the rose. Love, Don

With a sigh, the dream bubble burst. Oh well, she thought, at least her son loved her.


Author’s twitter: storyheart52

Author’s facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/storyheart 

Link to purchase page: http://romance2read.com

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It’s embarrassing for me to admit this, but I make excuses not to read all the time. I tell myself that I’m too busy; that I need to devote more time to my writing; that I’m not seeing friends enough—the list goes on. Worse still, I make these excuses solely to myself so I can feel better about ignoring that unread novel I go through my day. It’s a habit that is only hurting my writing and my creativity, because any writer worth their salt will tell you that you can only hope to produce quality prose if you read voraciously. Without a wide breadth of reading experiences to draw from, it’s impossible to craft a story that will make sense among other works of fiction.

While I try my best to read novels at the same rate that I did in college, it’s an admittedly uphill battle. That’s why I decided to read more short fiction not too long ago. I only recently realized the obvious power of short fiction, whose better authors are able to squeeze more beauty, poignancy, and depth in a few pages than many writers can do over the entire span of their career. The sheer talent of short story writers gives me hope (and constant material) in my own writing endeavors, and it’s something that I can’t recommend highly enough to other writers.

If I choose my authors correctly, it’s possible that I can finish a story in a single sitting that will stick with me for weeks to come. I spend time wondering how an author can make such hard decisions when they set out to write a short story, like how to determine the appropriate amount of plot detail or the right balance between character development and descriptive dialogue. When I write I struggle to contain entire subplots within the larger framework of my main story; I can’t imagine what it’s like for someone to compress an entire story into a few thousand words.

Talents authors accomplish these feats all the time, and yet their work is severely underserved and unnoticed in the general fiction community. Think about it: who do you know that prefers a good book of short stories to an old-fashioned novel? It wasn’t until I realized the convenience of reading short fiction that I took the time to study and appreciate the art. Sure, I had studied short stories in college, but I had never considered them outside an academic setting. But short fiction authors are well worth your time.

For example, I just finished a book of short stories by the Native American writer Sherman Alexie, and I learned more by reading his funny and tragic short stories than I ever did with any book I’ve read over the past year. I would never have known about him if I hadn’t gone down the rabbit hole of contemporary American short stories writers, but I’m so thankful that I did. My gratitude will show through in my fiction.

In short (hah), short stories do have inestimable merit for writers. For my part, I’ve learned so much about making my prose leaner, about developing my characters more thoroughly, and about creating a unique atmosphere from the short stories I’ve read. Do yourself a favor a check out a book of short fiction from an acclaimed author, sit down, and take the time to ingest the compact stories. You’ll be glad you did.


This is a guest post by Kristie Lewis from construction management degree. You can reach her at: Kristie.Lewis81 @ gmail. Com.

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It took me a while to arrive at what topic to write about. Marta had left the field pretty wide open, “amything about writing, marketing, publishing, or creativity would be great” she told me. One of the really great things about being around bloggers who review books, or those who write, blog, and review, is the spectrum of perspective you can get from seeing different approaches. But you get to read that all the time.

So I struggled a bit with what to present. Then it slapped me upside the head as I was listening to my iPod . . .

Unforgettable — That’s what you are . . .

It can be intensely challenging to gently draw your reader into caring for a character or seeing, immersing themselves into a scene you try to set through description. Consider the very manner in which the human brain works when reading text—it sees letters as individual pictures, and in many cases not even all the letters in a given word are visually seen, our brains learn what a given word likely is just by the arrangement of characters. Seeing words and letters as pictures isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but there is a huge drawback: as a reader there are an overwhelming number of them. The brain has a hard time retaining text; actual pictures or images are an entirely different matter. The brain can recall detail in a photo for a stunning length of time after the image is first seen. Not so with text.

So what’s my point?

You must not simply present your story or characters. You must evoke some internal reaction from the reader, provide something they can bite into.

Unforgettable — Though near or far . . .

I have been told (more than once) that I can be verbose. Could I tighten things up—make them punchier for the sake of brevity? Undoubtedly. And in some instances I truly need to focus on that; but for others it would mean sacrificing the very thing that brings subtle accent to my style: my voice. Somewhere, in that murky, foggy acreage between the two is where I strive to be.

Like a song of love that clings to me
How the thought of you does things to me. . .

Clinging. In that one word you get a feel for some form of desperation, be it warm or chilling. Associate it with the proper modifier—like ‘love’—and you elicit a powerful emotion from the reader. Who doesn’t want to experience, or even recall fondly, clinging, welcome love? By choosing the best words you can achieve the best effect.

For instance, if a character is beaten, worn down by her circumstances, don’t simply say “she looked sad and exhausted.” Find a way to try and provoke your reader. Sit back and think about what another character might see if witnessing such melancholy: “His finger tucked under her chin, its tip warm with sympathy. As he raised it he could see the sad surrender in her eyes.”

I’ll grant you that it’s verbose. The more important question: Did it draw an image for you, or elicit the slightest twinge of emotion? Did it cling?

Never before has someone been more

Unforgettable — in every way
And forever more, that’s how you’ll stay. . .

If you can get out of your soul, and under your readers’ skin, your characters will stick with them . . . because the reader becomes, as we all have among the words and pages of stories that touch us, part of the story themselves.

Selling lots of books is a goal any hopeful author has, but for me the more genuine aspiration, the more profound and noble achievement, is to perhaps attain an effectual status with a reader of my words—to reach the silent warmth of unforgettable.

All My Best,
J.W. Nicklaus

J.W. Nicklaus is the author of The Light, the Dark, and Ember Between , a collection of short stories. Want to know more . . . of course you do! Visit his website avomnia.com to see what others have said about his published debut, or visit his blog.

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A former writer of technical manuals, award winning author Michael Kechula now focuses on what he loves most: writing speculative flash fiction. Some of his works combine nasty horror with humor. He's the author of A Full Deck of Zombies: 61 Speculative Fiction Tales. Kechula is one of the most prolific short story writers I've ever encountered on the net. Over the past 4 years, his work has been accepted by 121 magazines and anthologies in Australia, Canada, England, Scotland, India, and the US. Last December alone, he got 35 stories accepted, and he's had as many as 6 stories accepted by various magazines in a single day. Is his productivity a result of a pact with the devil? Read on to find out.

Thanks for being here today, Michael. Why don't you start by telling us a little about yourself?

I’m 69 years old, a retired technical writer and course developer. I’ve been writing nonfiction forever, but I didn’t start writing fiction until I was 63 years old.

I live in the Phoenix area. Lived in Las Vegas for three years where I wrote manuals for casino slot machine technicians. Before that, I lived in California in what is known as Silicon Valley where I worked for the IBM Corporation for twenty-seven years.

I now write fiction everyday and critique dozens of flash fiction stories every week. Sometimes I critique novels.

I’m not a poet, and will never be one. I’m not a novelist and never will be one. I don’t think I could write a novel that anybody would care to read. I’m sure my poetry would be so bad, I’d lose my citizenship and be banished from Planet Earth.

A few years ago, I discovered a literary form called flash fiction. I joined FlashXer, a Yahoo writing group, owned by Pam Casto, a flash fiction guru. Joining that group changed my life. Almost all the hundreds of stories I’ve written have started as responses to prompts issued three times a week by Irv Pliskin, moderator of FlashXer. A prolific writer, Irv is a World War II bomber navigator who survived being shot down and confined in German POW camps.

I’m a digital photography nut. I have six digital cameras—one for various kinds of subject material. Fiction Flyer Magazine will publish my photos online starting in their next issue. I’m particularly fond of taking super macro photos where I can get the camera right inside a flower, or take a picture of, say, a bee in which you can count the hairs on its fuzzy body.

Besides being the author of 29 nonfiction books, you now also write flash
fiction in various genres, including horror. For those readers who aren't
familiar with the term, what is flash fiction, exactly?

In liue of an adequate description of flash fiction, I’ve devised my own: a story told in as few words as possible without sacrificing a smooth read. This implies the story will move forward at a brisk pace, won’t contain superfluous details that aren’t vital to the plot, and won’t have cryptic passages that throw readers out of the story. Most magazines consider flash fiction to be a tale of 1,000 words or less. Thus, my flash fiction consists of no more than 1,000 words.

Flash fiction is a unique literary form. It’s vastly different from the literary form we call novels. Writing techniques that work wonderfully well in novels are deadly to flash fiction.

After analyzing hundreds of stories of 1,000 words or less, I’ve noticed three distinct kinds of flash fiction being published today: genre, literary, and anecdotal. To me, genre flash fiction is a tale in which a protagonist has a goal, and one or more antagonists do all they can to prevent the protag from achieving that goal. By literary, I mean stories that have little or no plot, and are loaded with artsy and cryptic details. As to anecdotal, I mean stories that tell of Grandma’s first trip to Disneyland.

I prefer writing and reading genre flash fiction, mostly of the speculative fiction genre. I consider speculative fiction an umbrella term that consists of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror, plus their many subgenres. For example, two subgenres of fantasy are urban fantasy and magical realism.

I’ve taught novelists how to write genre flash fiction, at no charge. I’ve even taught my students to write a speculative fiction tale in as few as 55 words. All my students get their flash fiction published quite frequently, and some have won contests.

I used to have my own online, speculative fiction magazine, Flash Tales. Although I paid $10 per accepted story, I had to shut it down after a few months for lack of quality submissions. I found writers didn’t even bother to read the very first line of my guidelines in which I specified I wanted only sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. So, I was flooded with kiddie tales, romances, pointless literary tales, and crime stories, just to name a few. Further, writers who were obviously novelists didn’t seem to have a clue about how to write flash fiction. They approached flash the same way they did when writing a chapter of a novel. In doing so, they filled their flash with tons of unnecessary descriptions.

I’ve formulated a rule about flash fiction. I call it Kechula’s Rule #1 for Flash Fiction. It never fails to be true, and I see it in endless streams of manuscripts I critique every week. Here’s the rule: In flash fiction, excessive description = little or zero plot.

What type of horror do you write?

A heady mixture of nasty horror and humorous horror. Combining the words humorous and horror sounds like an oxymoron. However, I’ve entered contests that have asked for humorous horror. To give you a flavor of what I mean by humorous horror, I entered and won 2nd place with a story, “A Good Feed,” in which a zombie liked to tear heads off beautiful women so he could eat the contents of their skulls. And yet, he was also quite fond of chocolate chip cookies. When learning this, city officials decided to trap him by using chocolate chip cookies. How they did this and what happened when the zombie stuffed himself with cookies is what injected humor in a horror setting.

Is it hard to mix horror with humor?

I’ve found it quite easy. When writing a horror story, I often find myself getting the must ludicrous plot ideas. Very often I write several versions of the same story just for fun so I can exploit these ideas. Thus, I may develop a flash tale that’s a bit chilling, and then write a version that may give readers some chuckles. 

Tell us about your latest collection, A Full Deck of Zombies – 61 Speculative Fiction Tales. What was your inspiration for it?

Actually there were 61 inspirations, one for each story. This collection is quite broad in it’s contents. It contains speculative fiction tales that were previously published by online and print magazines and anthologies in Australia, Canada, England, and US. Several won first prize in writing contests.

I wanted to find another home for these stories as a collection. So I contacted Bob Preece, owner of Books for A Buck, www.BooksForABuck.com. He liked what he saw and we signed a contract.

To give you the flavor of this collection, which is available in both eBook and print form, here’s the blurb I wrote for the back cover:

Not all zombies are fearsome and disgusting. Some sing, dance, play musical instru-ments, and even tell jokes. These loveable creatures like root beer, granola bars, and chocolate chip cookies. You’ll find these fun-loving, cookie-munching zombies lurking between the pages of this book. But you’ll also read about some you’d never want to meet even if you were carrying a bazooka.

Not limited to zombie tales, this book includes a host of zany characters from outer space: ghost bugs; Martians who wear ten-gallon hats; Martians who stop commuter busses to take surveys; Martians who joyously amputate their own fingers to accumulate points for free Disneyland trips; and many more.

Then too are stories of ordinary Earth folks, like the guy next door who hugs corpses for a living, the gal down the block who falls in love with a zombie, your co-worker who snacks on alien finger sandwiches, your best pal who takes college courses with zombies, and dozens of other weirdos.

By now, you’ve guessed that most of the sixty-one stories in this book are humorous speculative fiction tales, a species not easily found. However, to keep you from busting a gut from laughter and incurring high medical costs, we’ve toned down the hilarity by in-cluding a few tales to make you cringe and hide in the closet. After reading them you may even want to seek the assistance of an exorcist.

All sixty-one stories were previously published in magazines and anthologies in Austra-lia, Canada, England, and the US. Editors called them a hoot. Readers said they were hilarious. But the dark ones aren’t funny–unless the macabre makes you break out into uncontrollable laughter.

Now that you have an idea of what to expect, buckle up your seat belt, open the book, and enjoy the ride. 

Do you outline your stories before you write them, or are you mostly a stream-of-consciousness writer?

Though I’m well versed at creating outlines from my professional writing and course development years, I never prepare an outline for a work of fiction. No need to when devising a flash fiction tale. When I get an idea, I sit in front of the computer, and start writing whatever comes to mind. Afterward, I edit my work ruthlessly to achieve my ideal of what comprises a flash fiction story.

What themes obsess you when writing horror stories?

Themes of transformation. Especially when it comes to zombies. Recall that all zombies started out as vital human beings who died, then were resurrected through nefarious means. What a concept! Corpses transformed into the walking undead. They’ve intrigued me since I used to see them in B-movies, on dish night, at movie houses in the 1940s. Even Bob Hope confronted a zombie in one of those creepy old movies.

I didn’t write my first zombie tale until I was 64 years old. Never knew I could write such stories.

This year, I’ve been particularly interested in writing tales about animated severed heads. For example, in one of my stories, a severed head floating inside a liquid-filled jar is a contestant on a TV show, “Hedonist For A Day.” He wins. The prize is a visit to a Pleasure Palace where every means of giving physical pleasure is provided continuously for twenty-four hours. He’s the first severed head to win in the history of the show. Consequently, the show’s producers are stumped on how provide the prize to a severed head suspended in liquid inside a glass jar. Especially since the head will die if it’s removed from the jar. You can see the complications. But the enterprising producers find a way, adding a further dimension of horror. 

If you were a character in one of your own stories, which storyline you'd definitely not want to experience?

I wouldn’t want to be the detective in “Searching For Dr. Harlow.” He gets a contract to find an Anthropology professor who disappeared in Haiti while searching for zombies. The detective ended up getting attacked by zombies, who tore flesh from his face with their teeth. The poor detective discovers there was no way to stop the pus that flowed continuously from his cheeks. Modern medicines, sacrificing countless chickens to voodoo gods, exorcisms, and drinking putrid hoodoo potions didn’t stop the flow. And that was just the beginning of his sufferings. The moral of this story is: nobody escapes zombies.

Nor would I want to be the protag in my story, “A Deep Cut.” This lonely guy pays Madame Majestic to raise his girlfriend from the dead for one last night of lovemaking. The price is $100 plus a freshly butchered piece of his flesh. When the girlfriend materializes at midnight, she’s a putrid, leaking corpse. Horrified, he demands she depart. The price to make her disappear is another piece of his freshly butchered flesh. Ouch! Morals of this tale: (1) be careful what you pay for. (2) when sacrificing your flesh during occult cutting rituals, make sure you know what they’re going to chop off. 

What's the scariest book you've ever read?

Though it has a sci-fi theme, I’d say, The Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

Perhaps even scarier is The Manchurian Candidate. Though considered a Cold War political satire, the ramifications of that story never ceases to horrify me. What could be scarier than confronting brainwashed humans who are programmed to kill? In fact, when you think about it, the character in that story is very zombie-like. Killing scenes in that book horrify me. By the way, I reread these two books every year. Both play very heav-ily on themes of transformation. When you think about it, who would want to be transformed against their will into soulless, zombified, mannequins? What pure, unadulterated horror!

Do you think horror fiction is declining, thriving, or has reached a plateau?

I think it’s thriving. Hundreds of speculative fiction magazines around the world seek short horror works every month. And new horror writing contests are an-nounced monthly. 

What do you do on Halloween day?

I’m retired, so I hang around the house, watch horror movies, and pass out candy.

One year I put on a weird wig, but it scared little kids who came to the door so much, I removed it. I’ll never use it again. I think life itself, these days, is scary enough for kids.

In the past four years, your work has been accepted by 121 magazines and anthologies in Australia, Canada, England, Scotland, India and the US. Last December alone, you got 35 stories accepted. Since then, you got about 125 more stories accepted. Some days, you've had 6 stories accepted in a single day from a variety of magazines. What is the secret of your productivity–a pact with the devil, perhaps?

Perish the thought! It’s more like a pact with myself. For the first time in my life, nobody is sticking a hand in my face and trying to thwart my productivity. Such things happened in the corporate world when my tech writing productivity unnerved peers and even the very managers who were in charge of my career. I could write a very scary nonfiction book about what happens to writers who far exceed expected norms, and how they are punished for their superior productivity.

Now that I’m retired, there’s nobody to stand in my way and say I’m going to far, too quickly. Perhaps it’s a kind of revenge against a corporate system that insisted it valued extremely high productivity, but didn't know what to do with a person who actually supplied it.

I set a goal for myself when I started writing fiction: to get published in 100 magazines. Well, I achieved that within four years. Now I’m fishing for another goal. Haven’t yet decided what that should be.

I write for the fun of it. Plus my head is constantly full of story ideas. My IDEAS file on the computer has over 150 entries waiting to be developed. I have four tape recorders, which I keep in strategic places. One is always on my nightstand. I wrote a number of tales based on thoughts that came to mind upon waking up. One example is “Ghost Bugs,” a humorous spec fic tale. I woke up with the words ghost bugs in my mind. Grabbing my tape recorder, I asked myself out loud what on earth a ghost bug was. That led to an hour’s worth of dictation. A few hours later, I wrote the story, and submitted it to Alien Skin Magazine the same day. They accepted it within twenty-four hours.

Another story developed that way was, “Midnight Hugs,” about a guy who gets a job hugging gorgeous, female corpses. A mad scientist hired him, thinking it was a way to bring them back to life. Alien Skin bought that one, too.

I said earlier that I didn’t start writing fiction until I was 63 years old. Though I wanted to, I found I couldn’t get a sentence on paper. Reminds me of the problem the protagonist had in the movie, Throw Momma From The Train. Well, I didn’t have the same relationship problems he had that caused the block. In fact, I still don’t know what caused my block, which lasted ten years. It was broken by a creative writing professor in Las Vegas, a fabulous, master teacher named Dr. Sherry Rosenthal. PhD in Comparative Literature. We made a pact. I said I’d attend her fiction writing class if she’d find a way to break my fiction-writing block. She did. I dedicated my first book of 50 stories to her for doing so. 

Is there anything else you'd like to tell our readers?

You can’t win the lottery if you don’t buy a ticket, and you can’t get published if you don’t submit. If you want to get published frequently, consider writing flash fiction in the speculative fiction genre. Magazines around the world clamor for spec fic submissions every month.

Also, be a storyteller first and writer second. The world is full of talented writers who can combine words in artsy ways and get A+ on every paper in their creative writing courses. But not so many can devise compelling stories that editors find irresistible.

Finally, if you chose to write horror flash fiction, consider becoming a minimalist. By that, I mean use only those words necessary to tell the story. To do this, omit weather reports, what people are doing with their eyes, what they are wearing, that they turn to talk to somebody, and hundreds of other superfluous details—unless they are absolutely vital to the plot. Don’t be cryptic. Avoid pompous, inflated prose. Write lean and mean stories. Edit ruthlessly. Submit like there’s no tomorrow. Do this, and you may find your horror works–and anything else you write— getting published at an astounding rate.

Thanks for the great interview, Michael!

Interview by Mayra Calvani

Mayra Calvani is a multi-genre author and reviewer. Her paranormal books include Embraced by the Shadows (romantic horror/vampire) and Dark Lullaby (atmospheric horror). She is also the co-author of the nonfiction work, The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing.

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The Women, Words and Wisdom Blog Tour starts today, May 19th! Visit the authors' blogs for a different story each day. Each author will be offering prizes (books, goodies, gift certificates) to people who leave a comment.

Here's the line up:

May 19 – Mary C. (http://marycastillo.blogspot.com/)
May 20 – Barb Ferrer (http://fashionista-35.livejournal.com/)
May 21 – Lara (http://www.lararios.blogspot.com/)
May 22 – Mayra (http://www.thedarkphantom.wordpress.com/)
May 23 – Cari (www.caridad.com/blog)
May 24 – Jamie (http://jamiemartinezwood.blogspot.com/)
May 25 – Berta (http://bertaplatas.blogspot.com/)
May 26 – Tracy (www.tracymontoya.blogspot.com)
May 27 – Kathy (http://thecraftychica.blogspot.com/)
May 28 – Misa (http://chasingheroes.com/)

Happy reading and good luck!


Mayra Calvani (my story will be posted here on Thursday, May 22nd)

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When did you decide you wanted to become an author? Do you have another job besides writing?
I started writing books around the year 2000. My first novel, Corporate Porn, was published in 2005 through Silverthought Press. During the day I work in the corporate world of New York City.

Tell us a bit about your latest book, and what inspired you to write it.

Emotionless Souls is a short story collection of twenty tales. Stories of pick pockets, aspiring adult movie stars, and co-workers suspected of stealing cocaine make up this collection of transgression fiction. Despite each story standing on their own, all relate in that you find characters in dark places finding redemption in the most unconventional of ways.

How would you describe your creative process while writing this book? Was it stream-of-consciousness writing, or did you first write an outline?

Regardless of the length of story I write a high level outline. For whatever reason I need an ending, even though I rarely go with my initial thought of an ending. Once I have my “crutches” in place I am usually able to flow through the writing of the story, rarely looking back at my initial notes.

From the moment you conceived the idea for the story, to the published book, how long did it take?

Approximately five months. It just happened that I had all of the stories ready to go and Brown Paper Publishing was looking for a specific collection that just so happened to be Emotionless Souls.

Are you a disciplined writer?

Yes, in that when I’m writing a novel or story I continue to work until finished, binging if you will. No, I may take notes for months and until I’m ready to start a novel I will not write one sentence, only notes.

How was your experience in looking for a publisher? What words of advice would you offer those novice authors who are in search of one?

Initially it was difficult. For my first novel, Corporate Porn I had to deal with a lot of rejection from agents and publishers until finally finding a great match in Silverthought Press. As far as advice: Keep writing and be persistent, I am proof this works.

Do you have a website/blog where readers may learn more about you and your work?

Do you have another book on the works? Would you like to tell readers about your current or future projects?

Bleach|Blackout, my rock and drug fueled double novel is now available through Offense Mechanism, an imprint of Silverthought Press. Bleach details the character Jeremy returning home to the Midwest for the holidays, reliving past New Year’s Eve parties, leading up to the mother of all parties. Blackout, the sequel takes the reader two years after Bleach. The crew is in Las Vegas for an incredible bachelor party and wake up with the worst possible hangover: A police officer standing over them with guns drawn.

Thanks for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here!

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