Four Stories and One Forthcoming, 2021

Her story about Chopard earrings, dancing chickens and matryoshka dolls, out now in the most recent issue of Pembroke Magazine.

Two stories about ghosts and guilt, one set in Murcia, Spain, the other in Miami’s South Beach, just out in Vice-Versa

Her story about Osama bin Laden (yes, THAT Osama bin Laden), forthcoming in The Museum of Americana.

There is one other story which was published late 2020, so mebbe it doesn’t really belong here, but what the hoo: her story about a ferry disaster on the Philippine Sea, published in the most recent issue of Western Humanities Review.

Share Your Desktop Photo Challenge: August 2021

It has been QUITE a summer. How fast it went. And now the Olympics are over, we’re out of Afghanistan, and fall is just around the corner.

You’re alive, we’re alive, wear a mask.

Thank you to the host of this challenge, Clare’s Cosmos!

Support Literary Magazines

Self has short stories in all of these literary magazines.

Gratuitous self-promotion, what?

Stay cool, dear blog readers. Stay cool.

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

PEMBROKE MAGAZINE, Latest Issue is Out Now

Grab your copy before it’s too late!

This most recent issue contains poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction by emerging and established authors from the US and abroad. An aimless college graduate searches the suburbs for his lost dog and finds ominous duplication; soldiers are sent to the frigid tundra to repopulate a nation. A man reconsiders his complex relationship with the watermelon. A Woman escapes to a surreal tropical island with a diamond earring. A daughter recalls her stitched-together childhood home; and much more.  Cover art by Chhavi Sharma.

Support great writing.

Order your copies now!

Colors and Letters Photo A Day Challenge: July 2

So many challenges, so little time!

July 2 is a COLOR: Azure.

OF COURSE self has Azure in her archived photos.

  • The latest issue of Pembroke Magazine is a beauty. Cover art is Creative Work Cow by Indian artist Chhavi Sharma. Self has a story in this issue: “Sand.” The editor asked if self could pose with a copy of the issue, preferably in a tropical setting (since her story’s set in the Philippines). She promised a beach picture. Watch this space!
  • Cheap Thrills is a vintage vinyl store on Higuera in downtown San Luis Obispo. Recommended by a friend who is very into vintage vinyl. This was such a great find. Look at that great storefront!

Stay cool, dear blog readers. Stay cool.

Made the Longlist

Found out today that my story made the longlist of LitMag’s Virginia Woolf Award for Short Fiction.

It was speculative fiction. I took a chance!

That is all.

Coming Soon in Pembroke Magazine: A New Short Story!

When the Chopard earrings were in my hand or, rather, in my purse, or — what am I talking about? I never owned a purse, only a little silk pouch my grandmother had given me when I was twelve and which was now significantly frayed and threadbare, a danger to the contents, particularly to Chopard earrings — anyway, when I had the earrings with me, I felt light. I floated through the air and down the stairs, even though I wasn’t actually taking another step. It was the way people moved in True Blood. Fast, and then still. Fast, and then still.

— from my story “Sand”

Free Submissions, Today Only, FIVE SOUTH

All day today, Sunday, April 11, the literary mag Five South is temporarily suspending submission fees.

All other writers guidelines still apply. Such as WORD COUNTS:

  • Flash: 1000 words
  • Short Fiction: 5000 words
  • Poetry: Open

Here’s the link for full guidelines.

There is a typo: Simulataneous Submissions.

But hey, this is a good journal, and they do get back to you fast.

TransGenre: “I dreamt about my sister, dead these many years”

Another of my pieces. This one was published in Hotel Amerika, the TransGenre issue, 2010.

Copyright reverted to me after first publication. I’m not sure how many people read it the first time, which is why I’m re-publishing here. ALL THANKS TO HOTEL AMERIKA for giving this piece a home.

Ghosts

by Marianne Villanueva

I dreamt about my sister, dead these many years. It seemed she was in a place of ghosts. In my dream, I put my face up to hers and kissed her cheek and said, “I’ll always be your sister.” But she turned her face away and closed her eyes. Her cheek was cold.

I said, “Do you want me to take you away, dear? Come, come! Let us go!” But she only looked sad and didn’t speak.

My son was with me but in my dream he was a young boy. I mean, my son at seven, not the way he is now. He was impatient with my sighs and tears and wanted to get away from that place. He was bored.

I gave him a pencil and told him, “Draw!” He took the pencil obediently. He drew. But it seemed to cost him great effort.

Now and then I would peep at what he was drawing: a series of empty rectangles. I asked him, “Why don’t you put people in your drawings? See, here, and here, and here. They’re all around us!”

He looked up and slowly I saw understanding dawn on his face. He filled his drawings with the outlines of people. I understood then that he, too, could see them, these ghosts.

I told my sister: You are under a spell. You should never have gotten married. She nodded, but she didn’t seem to want to do anything about it. Eventually I left, I left my sister there in that cold white house in the middle of a barren plain. The landscape looked like that of a northern country, all bare brown fields as if struck by winter. All white trees.

In the back seat of my car was a white box. It made an angry buzz. I wanted to throw it away but I couldn’t because I knew somehow that there was something in that box that belonged to my sister.

When I got to my own house, after a journey of some distance, I took the box out but now I felt it contained something evil, I wanted to get away from the box but I felt some sense of loyalty, too, because in that box, possibly, were pictures of my sister.

Eventually I forced myself to open it. Inside was a collection of photographs. My sister was in all of them, but around her were people I didn’t recognize. They were on either side of her, staring straight at the camera. My legs felt numb. There was a terrible ache in my chest and my cheeks were cold.

A leaf had turned. A leaf had fallen. It was a Thursday in September, I saw from the calendar on my desk. The 23rd of September.

Calling All Emerging Writers!

Enter the Far Horizons Award for Short Fiction

Deadline: 1 May 2021

This contest is specifically for writers who have yet to publish their fiction in book form. Submit your short story (maximum: 3,500 words) by 1 May 2021 at 11:59 p.m. PDT for a chance to win $1000 (Canadian) and publication!

Entry fee is discounted and comes with a one-year print subscription to The Malahat Review.

$25 (Canadian) for each entry from Canada; $30 (Canadian) for each entry from the USA; $35 (Canadian) for each entry from elsewhere.

Go here for full contest guidelines.

Western Humanities Review, Spring 2020

Self has a story in the latest issue of Western Humanities Review. She based it on a true story about a ferry disaster in the Philippine Sea. And it all began with the first sentence:

I didn’t like the blind woman.

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