The Arrival—and, Yes, I’m Still Alive

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Election results got you down, Leigh?

Reports of my demise have been exaggerated, I’m afraid. In fact, there I am over at the right, looking pensive, as opposed to looking Pence-ive, which is just gross.

Over the last five weeks or so that I’ve not blogged, I’ve been both working hard and hardly working. A new job—copywriting—is occupying a lot of my time so I haven’t gotten to do much creative writing (or responding to your blogs) of late. In fact, in terms of fiction, I submitted only five pieces for publication in January.

But amid the flus and allergies and product descriptions and torn knee-parts (husband, not me) and holidays, I’ve managed to get my second horror fiction piece published in a free ezine newly rechristened as Shotgun! Strange Stories, a publication of DeadLights Horror Fiction Magazine. I’d call the story, Volume 2, Issue 2 (27 January 2017; cover depicts two skeletons at a door and says “Featuring ISOLATED written by Kyle Lybeck”) a radical departure from my typical protagonist: this character is a right bastard, I think my British friends would say. Possibly with no redeeming qualities, but I hope the story manages to convey . . .  something. I’ll leave that something up to the individual, however!

I received several book-gifts for the holidays (the very best kind of gift), from poetry to short story collections to biography (Phil Collins, I’m looking at you, against all odds).

So-so-sodio (you have to sing it), I just wanted to give a brief update and a swift kick in my own tuchus. I am hereby making a half-way commitment to blogging two times a week. I’m sure you’re all thrilled, yes? 🙂 Two, yes two. These posts could be anything. Fence posts. Post offices. Post cereal.

Moving along . . .  I’ve been trying to save my dollars and pounds to support indie authors like some of you (I wish it were more; I truly do). Hence, the latest arrival.

Let’s all celebrate some good fiction-writing  . . .  c’mon!

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Congratulate, cajole, coax, consult, or converse with Hugh at his blog, Hugh’s Views and News, where you can also get this book (a short story collection chock-full of horror, science fiction, weirdness, and drama galore).

Way to go, Hugh, as to all of you living the creativity dream. I’ll see you around.

~Leigh~

Submission Saturday: The Under-the-Weather Edition

Fairy Tale Manuscript

The fairy tale that wasn’t. At least it looks like a bird!

Well, well, I’ve been busy editing, trying to write a (interesting) fairy tale (here is a helpful, little primer on fairy tales, folklore, etc.), and just living, including a good deal of Nightingale-ing. Now that the kids aren’t sick and the husband is healing, of course it strikes me. Today, I’m digging out of the aftermath.

In any case, doing these market/submission articles really gets me jazzed, and I haven’t done one in at least a couple weeks. So, in other words, you’re due. Hope you find something fruitful here!

  1. Due April 1. You’ve got dreams. I’ve got dreams. We’ve all got dreams. Why not put them down on paper and submit them to Bop Dead City? For their current issue (Issue #15) contest, they choose one poem and one fiction piece (otherwise, one genre takes it all). The Issue 15 contest is themed “dreams”; regular submissions guidelines here.
  2. Due April 1: No joke! The annual Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry competition is open to writers of poetry in English, with a maximum of 250 lines (1 poem only) sought. But with this contest, the object is to write badly. Very, very badly. The art is in writing so badly, it crosses over into good-writing terrain. Can you do it? Like to try? Check out Winning Writers for all the specifics on this free-to-enter contest that promises big prizes for the best “worst poem” you can craft.
  3. Due officially April 15 (but actually June 30): Staying in the humor-writing vein, let’s move over to the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (BLFC) for superior shoddy sentence–writing, not to be confused with the Lyttle Lytton annual contest. Here, your mission, if you choose to accept the challenge, is to pen the very worst opening line to a novel ever conceived—and there are genre categories, too, including romance, science fiction, crime/detective, and historical fiction. Bad for poor Edward Bulwer-Lytton; but good for us. More details here.
  4. April 15, Austin, Texas, 5:30-9:30 p.m. If you’re fond of small presses, visionary writing, poetry, or some combination of the aforementioned (and will be in Austin, Tx., in April), get yourself over to Malvern Books for the Tupelo 30/30 project Poetry Night. It will feature WP staple poet Robert Okaji, as well as several other T30/30 poets: Christine Beck, Katy Chrisler, D.G. Geis, Pamela Paek, and Ronnie K. Stephens.
  5. Opening May 15, 2016 (closing August 15): Enchanted Conversation, a fairy tale magazine, has its eyes peeled for your best stories about Krampus, the dark alternative to Santa Claus, for its Krampusnacht Two anthology, to be published in conjunction with World Weaver Press. Kate Wolford is the editor. They are looking for fiction submissions from 1,000 to 9,999 words. You will greatly benefit from reading their first anthology on this topic, Krampusnacht: Twelve Nights of Krampus, and following the newest anthology guidelines to the letter. Good luck!
  6. A sixth-grader wrote this flash-fiction story and it was published online by SmokeLong Quarterly. Wow! SLQ, a leader in the flash fiction genre, publishes only flash (no poetry or nonfiction) of under 1000 words—one submission at a time, please!—and you must include a print-ready third-person biography. Give them a whirl if you enjoy flash(ing) your fiction!

And, in the meantime . . . enjoy your Easter/spring (or autumn) weekend! Happy writing and art-making!

 

You Like Me? Really? Wow, Thanks!

2 of Our Ducks

“Do you think she understands what I’m saying?”

Thank you, Dhan’yavāda, Danke schön, Gracias, Merci, Arigatō, xièxie nĭmen, Shukran

Despite that headline and to take tongue out of cheek for a moment, this post is actually about two main things: being thankful and being forthright.

First, I can’t adequately express my gratitude to you all. Regular readers, irregular readers, once-in-a-whilers,  or those for whom this blog has been a one-hit wonder or no-hit blunder. (Oh, and might I also recommend Activia, kefir, or other probiotics? I’ve had kefir, but not the others, though I have heard they work well for sluggish colons. No, not the punctuation type.)

In truth, I began this blog as a “what the heck/why not” experiment, with really zero hypotheses. Scientific method and all that. I was encouraged by a family member to start it — probably to keep me sane and to preserve his last remaining wits that living with me hadn’t yet flayed away! — so I can’t even claim it was an original idea. Never mind all the excellent — many far more so — WordPress writing sites that already existed before Leigh’s Wordsmithery was a glint in this copyeditor’s eye.

I really expected nothing, except that it would be nettlesome. Even painful. To share oneself, even through fiction, as the old saw goes, is easy. Just open a vein at your keyboard. With or without the saw.

And so, I thank you for welcoming me, taking me in like the wordulous and scrappy orphan I am, and giving me the firm roof of friendship. It has been sublime to follow your blogs likewise, to see your comments gleaming in my e-mails like a prism where I can peek at other perspectives, and to learn about you and from you. Even from afar.

In short, you all have helped me grow (no pun intended). So, the sole reward or award that I need from you all is one big heaping helping of being-present, when and if you can. I haven’t always had that in my life. Many of us bloggers haven’t. So, lest I fall into my own pity party, I just want to say. loudly and clearly: I appreciate you all and wish each one of you the best and brightest life has to offer.

Honesty is Not a Lonely Word

Presuming you have read this far — hey, I said I was wordulous! — honesty is not a lonely word, because we’re here together, experiencing these slippery letters, which I think that we craft together (I engineer the form, you make it function; conversely, if I’ve goofed, you let me know). I hope we’re not sharing these moments in the Stephen Crane-heart-in-a-desert sense, mind you.

I owe a lot, just short of everything really, to you, readers and friends. I haven’t been ignoring y’all, but I do have to sheepishly admit that I’ve been nominated for a few awards since I started blogging at WordPress in January (2014), by several kind and generous souls.

In no particular order, these good folks have gobsmackingly nominated me, lo these 10 months of WP blogging: Frankie at Trucker Turning Write, Swoosieque at Cancer is Not Pink,  and the Exquisite Priyanka. I am awed and very grateful that the images and/or writing here have been meaningful to these readers in some way. These bloggers have made me blush, but in a good way. Please do visit these writers whenever you can; I’d be happy to know you did.

Now, I thought it might be fun (and I hope not tedious for you) for me to do a very brief interview with myself, since the requirements of so many of these awards are that you share yourself with your readers. (Gawd, the height of arrogance am I, a Q & A with myself! I have to smile.)

And now, seven “deadly” factoids about me, which you may later wish you’d never read:

Yep, that's me. Post-run.

Yep, that’s me. Post-run.

1. As a kid who was a “tomboy,” one of my early pastimes was baseball. Playing and watching (and collecting). I shared the love with my grandfather, whom I have old audio tapes of when I interviewed him about seeing Babe Ruth play.

2. Our family has 6 ducks as pets. They give us eggs, companionship, and fascinating vocalizations and observations.

3. I was once “arrested” for playing spy at nightime when I was about 9 or 10. The neighbors called the police for, presumably, “strange small person hanging out in a tree near our driveway.”

4. My husband and I took Shaolin kung fu for several years (as adults) and really enjoyed it. I also learned a smidge of Cantonese from Hong Kong cinema, which I still love.

5. I have a weird aversion to styrofoam and, perhaps not so weird, heights and flying. Also, flying in a styrofoam airplane.

6. In college I hoped to someday work as a writer for “The Simpsons” television cartoon/comedy. I have a partial episode or two I wrote still lying around somewhere.

7. T.S. Eliot is (directly/indirectly?) responsible for at least $400 of my lifetime writing income. A flip of the penny for the old guy.

Again, all the best to you. And my deep appreciation to Sally Field, from whom I cadged the headline. Have a great weekend and be kind to each other and our planet. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Silly Sunday Short Fiction: The (Ob)Noxious Saleswoman

A shortie here that I did, but never submitted, for some once-upon writing challenge about “painted into a corner.” No umbrage meant to salespeople (been there, done that). But hope you enjoy!


Before I even realized it, I was backed up against the “Tutus for your Dog” display. Lemme tell you, butterfly patterns were unbecoming to my backside.

Sage interrogated the air around me, and peach punctured my nostrils.

“C’mon, hun, these make great gifts for anybody,” she implored with an ‘I’ll get-you-my-pretty, and your little dog-too,’ come-to-me waggle of her finger. My silent, snarky rejoinder: “Yeah, right. Great for anybody whose nose has suddenly harakiri’ed off the precipice of their face.”

My eyes pleaded with passers-by, who glided (glid? glode? Can’t think words times like these, just slinking, weaving, eerrr, twist torso, get away, ahhhh) by, wayward swans leaving luxe in their wakes. My bony hand gripped my daughter’s small wing-like one and wrenched it forward and away from the sweep of that coal-ash discharge pipe of a woman with thickly painted eyelids and spiked fingernails. The latter I knew because they’d raked my flesh, and four ashen furrows now bore proof.

Quick! Bulk lunging left to block way! Mooooovve, kiddo! I pitched my left hipwhere I’d once cradled her gelatinous bodyinto Maddie with a masterful mommy shove. All pelvis and pinched-up nose. (“Anger-danger face” her little brother would call it.)

“This is the last straw,” I at last lobbed to the pushy potpourri-candle-perfumery saleswoman who was now arcing right. “Leave us alone!” came out a bit louder than I’d intended.

Then we turned and fled down a bisecting aisle, making like two 80s-era moms chasing a blue-light special on Cabbage Patch Dolls on Dec. 24th.