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.

Life in Colour Photo Challenge

Yippee, another photo challenge! This one’s by Travel Words, and it’s called Life in Colour.

Each month will have a new colour. This month’s is GREEN.

Prompt: Where can you find HIDDEN SHADES OF GREEN?

Here are a couple of self’s pictures of hidden shades of green:

  • Self’s avatar is a turtle, because she does everything so slooooowly. Naturally, she collects turtle objects. Here’s one with a little green on its back:
  • Here is one of her bookshelves, with one green book and one green magazine spine:
  • And, for the final picture, a walkway in the Gamble Garden in Palo Alto, CA. Of course, gardens are all greenery. But the trellises, look! Don’t you love the deep green? This was from a visit in November:

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

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.

Re-Reading, Re-Discovering Angela Narciso Torres

Angela Narciso Torres is the author of Blood Orange (Willow Books) and What Happens Is Neither (Four Way Books); and winner of the 2019 Yeats Poetry Prize. Her recent work appears in Poetry, Missouri Review, and PANK.

Angela and two other Four Way Books poets, Andrea Cohen and Rodney Terich, are reading tonight online at an event hosted by Canio’s Books in Sag Harbor, NY. Reading starts at 7 p.m. EST (that’s 4 p.m. PST) You can find out more from the Canio’s Books Calendar of Events.

SUNDOWNING (An excerpt)

for my mother, Carmen

The sweetest meat clings to the bone,
my mother says, knifing her steak.
Carmen. Silver spade on my tongue.

Mahjong nights, her father and mother gone,
she cried herself to sleep. Blamed in the morning
for her mother’s losing hand. Unlucky tears!

The sweetest meat — she begins
at dinner, tearing off a chicken leg.
What will she recall by morning?

Named for Our Lady of Mount Carmel,
she pinned brown scapulars under our shirts,
wet stamps that cleaved to our skin.

— from To The Bone, by Angela Narciso Torres (Sundress Publications, 2019)

Over-the-Top

Since Eddie’s Boy began (actually, also in the two days since she started reading), so many things have happened to the hero/hitman. After he was targeted in York (York! City of cathedrals!), Michael Schaeffer (yes, MC does have a name) headed to Manchester Airport (which was smart, because Gatwick and Heathrow have security cams all over the place) and flew to SYDNEY.

SYDNEY, as in Sydney, Australia.

Before you can say two sneezes, he’s attacked twice, the first time on the airport express to downtown Sydney (Scary/good scene! It goes down in exactly 13 minutes).

So, having determined that Sydney was a VERY BAD IDEA (LOL), he takes another flight, this time to the U.S.

It’s a good thing this was written before pandemic, or Michael would have no recourse except — maybe an island in the middle of the Pacific?

Wait, why didn’t he go to an island in the middle of the Pacific? Surely, it would be hard for hitmen to escape detection there — fewer people, etc etc

As a matter of fact, self has already written this story: in her story, the island isn’t deserted because it’s an island in the Philippines, which is over-populated. Her story’s called “Sand,” and it’s coming out later this year in Pembroke Magazine.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

High Body Count: Eddie’s Boy, p. 29

Self loves this book! From the opening scene — the hero’s having a meltdown in a Bentley because he had to kill, it enraged him, can’t people just behave so he doesn’t have to kill them? — she’s been having a fine time!

There are four corpses (already) in that Bentley, and that’s just in the first paragraph!

Plus self loved learning about the excellence of the double-barreled Purdey & Sons rifle (100,000 GBP each, thank you very much!)

Anyhoo, the first four would-be assassins attempted a break-in at the hero’s re-modeled 1650s Yorkshire mansion (technically, the property of his wife, she’s a member of the English nobility). Our hero drives the Bentley to the Manchester airport, where he leaves it (and the four bodies) in the parking lot and waits for a shuttle to the terminal. Unfortunately, a new set of goons try to kill him before he can get on the shuttle. Since it is only p. 29, we can assume the hero survives, which means these assassins must be off-ed, as well.

A few pages later, our hero faces an existential crisis: how can he get rid of the blood spatter on his clothes before entering the plane (to Sydney)?

Digressing a bit: Self has a book to pick up from the library this afternoon. Then, FaceTime with Dearest Mum in Manila. Tomorrow morning, bright and early (4 p.m. London time), she’s registered for a talk by the woman who writes obituaries for The Economist (such elegant examples of the form, she’s even taught them in creative nonfiction classes). There’s another zoom event tomorrow afternoon, fortunately it’s Central time, not such a big time difference as Manila or London: poets Denise Duhamel and Nin Andrews, hosted by Rain Taxi, and free!

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Link of the Week: FIVE SOUTH

The best hygiene for beginning writers or intermediate writers is to write a hell of a lot of short stories.Ray Bradbury

Submit Visual Art to the #RHINOart2art Project!

A New Year demands new ways of reading poetry.

RHINO has always believed poetry is a means toward fresh understanding. In a continued effort to amplify the voices of those silenced or underrepresented, RHINO is launching #RHINOart2art, a visual art response project geared towards promoting the diverse voices from the RHINO archives.

Read the full guidelines here.

Love the idea! Make sure you check out RHINO’s online archives, here.

And stay safe.

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