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!

Sentence of the Day: Story # 23, The Big Book of Classic Fantasy

The floors of the passageways were decked with poppy-petals, so that the queen’s feet would tread on purple only.

Furnica, or the Queen of the Ants, by Carmen Sylva (1843 – 1916), translated by Gio Carval

The Jules Verne story, Master Zacharius, was extremely silly.

The next story, by Louisa May Alcott, was something cute-sy about fairies and the Frost-King.

Self flew past Stories # 16, 17, 18, and 19.

She liked the Hans Christian Andersen story, The Will-o-the-Wisps Are in Town, but it did not slay.

She didn’t read the Lewis Carroll excerpt from Through the Looking Glass because she already knows that book intimately.

She was on the point of cherry-picking (instead of reaching each story in order) until she got to Furnica, or the Queen of the Ants. She hasn’t finished reading it yet, but it is soooo charming.

Furnica got to be Queen of the Ants because: 1) She is an orphan; 2) She is virtuous; and 3) She is extremely hardworking. The ants just love her. After becoming Queen of the Ants, she takes her job so seriously that she “visited the pupae every evening, to test the softness of their cots.” She is a just Queen, banishing recalcitrant ants and even condemning a few to death, though her heart bleeds as she watches “the merciless stabbings” carried out.

Stay cool, dear blog readers. Stay cool.

Still Story # 13, The Big Book of Classic Fantasy

Story # 13, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, is far from self’s favorite, why then has she been stuck reading it for a full day?

Anyhoo, Feathertop the scarecrow has been dressed up in fine clothing, has been taught how to smoke a pipe, and is directed by his fond creator (a witch) to go about. He immediately bewitches the prettiest girl in the village, who fancies herself in love with him. Alas, they happen to walk past a mirror, the girl glances at it, and sees — she is walking with a SCARECROW! A SCARECROW! A SCARECROW! She faints.

A figure burst headlong into the cottage door . . . It was Feathertop!

“What has gone wrong?” demanded the witch. “Did yonder sniffling hypocrite thrust my darling from her door? The villain! . . . Did the girl scorn my precious one? . . . I’ll cover her face with pimples! Her nose shall be as red as the coal in thy pipe! Her front teeth shall drop out!”

Stay cool, dear blog readers. Stay cool.

Story # 13, The Big Book of Classic Fantasy

Feathertop, A Moralized Legend

by Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804 – 1864)

These writers don’t live very long! Looking at Nathaniel Hawthorne’s dates: he died at 60.

It is a great relief to read the opening sentence: “Dickon,” cried Mother Rigby, “a coal for my pipe!”

That is classic, that is beautiful.

The story before this one was very, very long, and self struggled with it for most of the day. She finally had to acknowledge defeat and leave it unfinished.

The “classic” stories she has read so far (an asterisk means the story found favor with her)

  • The Queen’s Son, by Bettina von Arnim
  • Hans-My-Hedgehog, by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm *
  • The Story of the Hard Nut, by E. T. A. Hoffmann *
  • Rip Van Winkle, by Washington Irving
  • The Luck of the Bean-Rows, by Charles Nodier *
  • Transformation, by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley *
  • The Nest of Nightingales, by Theophile Gautier
  • The Fairytale About a Dead Body, Belonging to No One Knows Whom, by Vladimir Odoevsky
  • The Story of the Goblin Who Stole a Sexton, by Charles Dickens *
  • The Nose, by Nikolai Gogol
  • The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar, by Edgar Allan Poe
  • The Story of Jeon Unchi, by Anonymous

Stay cool, dear blog readers. Stay cool.

Gogol

In Story # 10 of The Big Book of Classic Fantasy, a man finds a nose in his soup. Not only does he find a nose in his soup, he knows exactly whose nose it is, because the man is or was a regular in his barbershop.

What he doesn’t expect is that his wife will immediately accuse him of having murdered his customer.

Wow, Gogol.

There was another story like that earlier in the book, but that was about a corpse getting lost. And the MC was drunk at the time, so there is a suggestion that he might have been dreaming.

Here, not only does the unfortunate MC have to figure out what to do with the nose, but his wife won’t stop screaming at him. So he walks out of his house with the nose in his pocket.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Story #10, The Big Book of Classic Fantasy

The Nose, by Nikolai Gogol (Ukrainian, 1809 – 1852)

translated by Claud Field

You will notice that self moved rather quickly through the Dickens story (Story #9). That means self found it engaging. Unlike the Mary Shelley story (Story # 6), which had the most laborious pace, and took self almost an entire day to read. The only time self was truly interested in Shelley’s story was when the ugly, hunchbacked dwarf appeared and offered to exchange bodies with the (stupid) main character. After that, it moved along at a fairly brisk pace.

Anyhoo, Story # 10 has a great opening sentence:

  • On March 25, 18__, a very strange occurrence took place in St. Petersburg.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Story # 9, The Big Book of Classic Fantasy

Dickens!

The Story of the Goblins Who Stole a Sexton reads like a precursor of A Christmas Carol. Only MUCH more interesting, because instead of the ghost of Bob Marley, we have goblins in a graveyard.

The story contains a paean to womankind:

  • He saw that women, the tenderest and most fragile of all God’s creatures, were the oftenest superior to sorrow, adversity, and distress; and he saw that it was because they bore, in their own hearts, an inexhaustible well-spring of affection and devotion.

Nice! That’s because Dickens’s wife took care of their (13?) children while he wrote and had dalliances with other women.

Had Dickens not had a wife, he wouldn’t have been able to be so prolific. Oh well, sucks for the wife.

Question: Why is a sexton digging graves at midnight? He says that’s his job, but — really? A sexton was expected to dig graves?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Story # 6, The Big Book of Classic Fantasy

I arrived in Genoa. I trod the pavement of my ancestral palace. My proud step was no interpreter of my heart, for I deeply felt that, though surrounded by every luxury, I was a beggar . . . We kept nightly orgies in Palazzo Carega. To sleepless, riotous nights, followed listless, supine mornings.

Transformation, by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797 – 1851)

This is one Mary Shelley story self is not familiar with. Interesting that she chose to write it from a man’s point of view (Oh wait, isn’t Frankenstein also written from a man’s point of view? It is! So are all Shelley’s stories written from a man’s point of view? What’s up with that?)

This is an extremely long story. Self has been reading it the whole day, and she’s still not done.

Oh, hello, what have we here? The MC encounters a dwarf squatting on top of a treasure chest, on a wild and lonely stretch of beach. All the dwarf wants is the loan of the MC’s “fit and handsome” form for three days. Then he will grant the MC his dearest wish (which is to abduct his fiancée and murder her father?)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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