Every piece I’ve written–every poem or essay, every story or play, every novel or script–is a piece of me.
The Open Road as Receptacle (humorous essay) Punchnell’s 2014. This was an e-zine out of Indianapolis. Now defunct with no archived works. The first writing of mine to get payment. I think it was a token $5, maybe $10. It doesn’t matter; I wept for joy when I got the acceptance email.
The Muse and the Psychiatrist (6,100 word humorous short story) in the anthology Alternate Hilarities in 2014. Now out of print but used copies occasionally available through Amazon.
Vestes Uncus, A New Species Found in Several Closets with Some Observations on Mating Habits, Sexual Reproduction, and a Call to Action (7,500 word humorous essay with diagram, tables, and charts) in Mad Scientist Journal archived in the September 2014 issue
The Man of the Year (3,500 word psychological horror short story) in the Horrified Press anthology The Boneyard in 2015. I signed the contract on a Monday and the book was released that Friday. No editing was done on my story and I’m pretty sure none was done for the others as well. I never received any royalties so I know, per the contract, less than sixty-five copies were sold. It is now out-of-print and unavailable anywhere as far as I can tell. I’d like to think my self-edited story was the best of a rather disappointing lot.
Blood Suckers is a 3,000 word humorous horror short story for Alternate Hilarities II: Vampires Suck in 2015. Out-of-print but used copies are available at times through Amazon.
Having Fun with Computers (14,000 word science fiction short story) appeared in Cheapjack Pulp, Issue 1215 (vol. 4) in 2015. I enjoyed several of the stories in this issue. There are still a few new copies available at Amazon for $6.99 each.
The Camel’s Dung War is a 3,000 word anti-war fable published at Unsung Stories on 11 September 2015. It is archived on this quality, UK-based e-zine. Go to http://www.unsungstories.co.uk/ > Shorts > scroll down > Older Posts > do it a second time to get to stories from 2015.
Saving the World from Evil Stumps is a 1000 word humorous, creative non-fiction piece appearing in the July 2014 issue of Woods-N-Water News (Michigan’s Premier Outdoor Publication is their by-line). They put it in the Kids Hunting…Guest Column. Their payment policy for guest columnists at the time was to not pay for the first publication but then pay $60 for each piece published thereafter. When they published The Last Squirrel Hunt in 2016 (see below), the publisher paid me $120, I assume $60 of that was retroactive thus making Evil Stumps, at $.06/word, my first pro-level publication. I believe the July 2014 issue is out-of-print and unavailable.
Looking Sharp at Four Centuries (1,800 word humorous, creative nonfiction) for Alternate Hilarities III: Hysterical Realms, 2016. The editor, Giovanni Valentino, was great to work with. He really wanted a story but agreed to accept this faux article on wizard grooming based on pieces one would see in magazines like GQ. At this point I’d only had token payments for my writings. I asked if he would pay $.01/word so I could count it as a semi-pro sales. He graciously agreed and I could check off another box on my list of writer’s goals. A few used copies are still available at Amazon. Although not listed as a contributor on Amazon’s site or on the back cover, I promise you my essay is in there starting on p. 175.
The Last Squirrel Hunt is a 3,500 word humorous and heartfelt creative nonfiction piece about the last hunting trip, after a life-time of hunting and fishing trips, Uncle Bob took with me and several of his other nephews. It appeared in the September 2016 issue of Woods-N-Water News (Michigan’s Premier Outdoor Publication). Their website claims over 20,000 subscribers and 100,000 monthly readers. This means the two essays of mine they published received, by far, the most exposure of anything else I’ve ever had published. I don’t think any copies are now available.
Two Old Friends in the Garden is a 1,300 dark fantasy flash fiction piece for In Medias Res: Stories from the In-Between. The anthology was published by Writespace out of Houston in 2016 and was edited by Holly Walrath.
This is a slim but high quality collection of tales with stories that “…focus on characters who are thrown into or stuck between different cultures, communities, families, races, genders, self-images, dimensions, or continents. They explore the gray area—the uncomfortable, the undefined. These are characters in the middle of it all…”
A few new paperback copies are still available through Amazon or you can read it for free if you have Kindle Unlimited.
Death Needs a Job (3,100 word humorous horror short story) appearing in Strangely Funny IV in 2017. The story is based on a Christmas party skit I wrote while working at Michigan Works! The Job Force in Escanaba, MI. Oddly enough, Strangely Funny IV is the fifth book in the series.
It is still available on Kindle and as a paperback (new and used) at Amazon.
Mea Culpa of an Absent Father is a 4,000 word, highly personal essay still archived on the Entropy website (entropymag.org). This is a non-paying but high quality literary e-zine. Unfortunately, to find this piece you have to go to the Essays category then keep scrolling down to the bottom of each page and click on older posts thirty plus times until you get to March 21, 2019. I am listed as a Guest Contributor. I originally submitted it to their WOVEN series. The editor didn’t think it was a good fit there but liked my voice enough to accept it as a creative nonfiction/essay. This one was difficult to write as I had to take a long, unflinching look at the mistakes and poor choices I made as an absent father in my relationship with my oldest daughter Melissa.
The Distinguished Gentleman (3,500 word weird, dark fantasy short story) was published in Bloody Red Nose: Fifteen Fears of a Clown in 2019. So far, this is probably the best anthology in which a story of mine has appeared. New and used trade paperback copies are still available at Amazon or it can be read on Kindle.
This story was first written many years ago when I was still teaching English high school completion courses to adults. I gave them a writing assignment, told them I also had the assignment and that if I didn’t finish it by the due date they wouldn’t have to either but warned them I almost always met my deadlines. This is the story I wrote, in timely fashion, for that assignment. Some years later I polished the story and sent it out. After a dozen or so rejections and a series of tweaks and revisions, I decided to do a major rewrite with the deletion of a number of scenes and additions of new scenes. The next market to which I sent this new version accepted it.
Mommy! Mommy! Watch Me Mommy! is a personal and painful prose poem I submitted to Inverted Syntax on the back of a post card. Inverted Syntax is another non-paying but high quality literary e-zine. They accepted it as part of their 2nd Annual Art of the Postcard program in 2019. It is archived on their website (invertedsyntax.com) under the category The Art of the Postcard, scroll down and click on 2nd Annual Art of the Postcard and mine is about eighteen down from the top.
The Macabre and Blasphemous Horror of Chocolate Cake Twinkles is a 1,400 word humorous horror flash fiction story for Deep Fried Horror: Cthulhu Cheese Burger released in January 2020. Another slim anthology that does not appear to have been edited. A print copy or two may still be available at Amazon as well as the Kindle version.
Woods Reader is an excellent literary magazine and nicely illustrated. It has my love sonnet to my wife, Monica in the Boundary Waters, in the Spring 2020, Vol. 3, Issue 1. Copies are available at their website: woodsreader.com. On their homepage scroll down to find single issues for purchase here.
The sonnet form is Shakespearean.
Bobby and the Wheel of Fortune (2,800 word creative non-fiction) is in the Meltingpot. A charity anthology published October 13, 2020 with all proceeds going to the Douglas Foundation. I’m not sure if any print copies are still available but Kindle may have it.
A haiku, his favorite, based on my long poem Ubbits (see below) was selected for the Poetry Pea Journal of haiku and senryu, Winter 2020. You can hear it being read on the Poetry Pea podcast of Nov. 16, 2020 by the editor, Patricia, with her lovely, British voice. Copies of this print journal, packed with scores of the finest haiku and senryu, can be purchased at Amazon.
Here is the haiku:
boyhood racial slur:
Two sonnets I wrote for my youngest daughters years ago have been published in Tales from Fiddler’s Green in 2021. This is the premier issue. The editor, Susan Redington Bobby, selected For Christiana: Write While You May as the first piece in the magazine and the finishing piece is For Ariana: Dance While You May. Both sonnets are Shakespearian. The magazine is beautifully designed and illustrated and all the stories and poems are high quality. Issues are available at fiddlersgreen.com > Shop.
Written in iambic octameter with an ababcdcd, etc. rhyme scheme, Ubbits is a long poem (128 lines) I wrote in support of Black Lives Matter. I felt compelled to write it after George Floyd was murdered by a cop on the streets of Minneapolis in May 2020. It is autobiographical as I write about my struggles against the intergenerational racism in my family. It was accepted by Lonely Cryptid Media for their anthology Resist With Every Inch and Every Breath due for publication in September 2021.
The Sad, Grievous Death of Edgar Allan Poe is a microfiction piece accepted by 42 Stories Anthology: a non-paying market with a most interesting premise. The idea is to create an anthology with 42 categories of 42 microfiction pieces in each category. Each piece is 42 words long with the title 42 characters, and the author’s bio is also 42 words long. As of this writing, the Chief Editor, Bertram Allan Mullin (aka BAM), is several hundred short of the 1,764 stories needed. The book may come out in 2021 but I’m thinking 2022 may be more realistic.
My microfiction piece is in the Macabre & Morbid category because of course it is. The microstory grew out of a line I ended up not using while writing the full-length stage drama BiPOElar based on the life of Edgar Allan Poe.
Perhaps you’re wondering about the fascination with the number 42. The reason is found in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams where the “Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything”, as determined by a supercomputer, is simply and mysteriously: 42.