A Cramp-proof Writer

I have this problem. If I get an idea in my head, I eventually have to write about it. Sure, sometimes it’s as easy as throwing the idea into one of these stupid blog posts. But sometimes an idea as ridiculous as a parasitic twin running in the 2020 Republican Presidential Primary becomes a book available on Amazon for FREE through the 30th of October by clicking here.

I recently submitted a serious free verse poem and a hilarious mini story to support a local art exhibit organized by the publisher who published my first short story. However, another one of the paintings caught my eye and imagination. It was this one.

Nobody had chosen this painting to write about. I had an idea, but it was risky for me. I’ll explain why.

Continue reading “A Cramp-proof Writer”

Jim Continues His Written Assault on Skokie, IL

I already blogged about a free verse poem I wrote to support an art exhibit at the Skokie Public Library starting next month. Well, you can slap my ass and call me a patron of the arts, because I contributed another written piece. This time, it is a very silly micro story about this still life painting of peaches.

Much to my surprise, these still life paintings apparently are not just about fruit but about very serious themes in life. Listen to the artist here …

Continue reading “Jim Continues His Written Assault on Skokie, IL”

Plot Twist!

I had excitedly blogged about a short story writing contest that I was entering. It sounded fun. They gave us the first line, last line, and a plot twist to incorporate into the story. I settled on a science fiction story idea that I had, although I had never written in that genre before. That was my first big mistake. My second was that it turns out that it wasn’t a contest. I went to submit my story only to find it was not a contest but a “challenge.” That second mistake probably negated my first mistake, because in a real life plot twist, my story sucked.

First, my apologies to anyone who took my advice and spent the time to write a story in order to win the contest that didn’t exist and a Pulitzer Prize. Can I get a show of hands as to how many of you that was?

Thank God there’s always one as dumb as me.

Anyway, my wife, my editor/cousin/godmother, and I all hated it. It’s a story that just lies there like a dead fish waiting to be fileted. What’s the logical thing to do with such story? I guess share it with you as a cautionary tale of how not to write a short story. So, here it is in all its mediocrity.

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I Participated!

The judges’ results are in, and I definitely participated in a 100 word micro fiction short story contest. If you are too lazy to click that link, I don’t blame you, but you’ll miss out on rereading the thrilling story I wrote, rejected, and did NOT submit to the contest. Here’s the 100 word micro fiction short story that I deemed contest-worthy and entered in the contest.

Continue reading “I Participated!”

Me Write Science Fiction?

I blogged about a writing contest where they give you a first line, last line, and plot twist to use to write a story. Well, here they are …

First Line – The attack was over in seconds.

Last Line – Far too many people put their faith in me.

Editor’s Note: That last line is so perfect for this dummy.

Anyway, I was okay with those lines and constructing a story inside of them. But then, the Plot Twist was revealed.

Continue reading “Me Write Science Fiction?”

Ready? Set? Write!

Attention writers who can’t get motivated to write. What better way to get writing than with the hope of winning a major award? Maybe that will get you off your lazy ass and writing something. I’ve blogged about some FREE writing contests in the past, and I’ve got another one for you. Here’s the link below to click.

Destination Unknown Challenge Registration – AutoCrit Online Editing

It sounds fun. They provide the opening line, a plot twist, and the final line. You supply the rest. And everyone who registers is entered in the prize drawing for what are described as “awesome prizes.”

The real prize is getting some writing practice. Sign up and write something. Maybe it will turn into an award-winning book of short stories like I wrote that I am practically giving away by selling it for only $0.99. Clicking my book link will be a prize for me for telling you about prizes for you. Does that make any sense? That’s why we need writing practice. Click, write, and maybe even win something.

Take the Journey

Not Journey the band. I wish! I really like “Wheel in the Sky” from the boys at Journey including lead vocalist Steve Perry. But wait, if Steve Perry was their lead vocalist, who’s this guy?

Oh, right. He’s the Journey vocalist after Steve Perry left when their albums sucked. That makes sense that he’s playing a free concert locally. Hard pass from me.

But that’s not the journey I’m writing about. I want to get a little contemplative and explore why I am writing this blog and why you may be reading it.

Continue reading “Take the Journey”

Winning Time

If you use blogging to practice writing like I do, then this may interest you. I stumbled across this writing contest and entered on a whim. Correction, I entered on my laptop. It costs nothing. Just to be crystal clear, here is the link below.

Writing Challenge 2022 Registration Page v2 – AutoCrit Online Editing

Your story must be submitted by the 22nd of May, so I know time is short, but what else do you have to do? You already missed the deadline for filing your taxes, so what’s another couple weeks?

I have decided to enter a story that I penned for my next collection of short stories to go along with my collection of award-winning stories you can purchase on Amazon. My story is called Mount Driveway and has a real neighborhood feel to it, so I think it meets the theme of community. Oh, and it’s hilarious. Maybe you have some half-written story that also fits the community theme. Just finish it. Hey, how about that story you were writing about a small town mayor who is actually an alien and smites her political opponents during debates using lasers that shoot from her eyes? Yeah, that story. You know the one I’m talking about.

Just to be clear, you have nothing to lose, except I guess this contest. Good luck and write on!

Micro Fiction Short Story

I continue writing this slog of a blog to hone my writing skills. No, seriously, stop laughing. It’s true! Okay, maybe that’s not the case with the weekly, award-shunning Mite Be Funny cartoon every Sunday. But this forum keeps my writing skills sharp as an eraser.

For an added test of my writing skills, I entered a contest for a 100 word micro fiction short story at www.nycmidnight.com. I learned of that website from the person who plagiarized my Elvis story for one of their other writing challenges. I thought the 100 word limit with a 24 hour time limit and writing to prompts would be interesting.

The prompts I received were that it had to be of the horror genre (Yes!), include the word “tell,” and involve riding a skateboard. Easy peasy. I got not one, but two stories written. My wife and I rejected the first story, because I had misread the directions and thought I needed to include the phrase “riding a skateboard” in the story. I had incorporated that phrase, but in sort of a stilted, clunky way. Why do I have to read and follow instructions anyway? Isn’t this the US of A, land of the free? Don’t take my freedom away to write whatever the hell I want to write. Must be a writing contest run by Socialist Democrats.

Anyhoo, I liked the second story better as it seemed more horrific to me and the ending was more clever (cleverer?). So, what do I do with the first story after I tightened it up a bit? Give it to you, I guess. I mean, if you read the normal drivel in this blog, you’ll read anything, and this will be a definite upgrade. So, click the “Continue reading” link to get to the unused story.

Continue reading “Micro Fiction Short Story”

Copy Me & Risk the Consequences

I was shocked when I saw this email message from WordPress I received.

Well, that was unexpected. It turns out that I will be able to purchase half a candy bar at the Dollar Store after all. Could it be that the WordsAd advertising I have enabled on this blog is actually paying off? Let’s take a peek.

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BEYOND: Tales of the Afterlife – A Look Inside Tale #2

The year is 1968. The hot rock & roll bands are the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and the Monkees, although I distinctly recall girls in my grade school class talking about how much they loved the Turtles. Why can I remember that bit of minutiae and not that garbage day is Tueday?

Anyway, I go back and forth. The Beatles are the greatest rock and roll band ever, right? Sure, we all have our favorite other non-Beatle bands. Mine include XTC, Squeeze, Cage the Elephant, Springsteen & the E Street Band, Wilco, Tame Impala, The Clash, Crowded House, and many others. And I’ll choose to listen to those bands over the Beatles more times than not. But still, the Beatles are tops, right? Right? Well, maybe not.

I’ve been thinking a whole lot about the Rolling Stones recently. They released this song earlier in 2020 around the start of the COVID quarantine.

It’s not a great song, but it’s certainly a good tune that sounds exactly like a Rolling Stones song should sound. They are still producing good new music after more than 50 years! And they’re not half dead like the Beatles. Sure, the Stones lost Brian Jones early on, and Bill Wyman has retired, but Mick & Keith are still going strong with Charlie Watts on drums and Ron Wood on guitar. I’m starting to give the nod to the Stones over the Beatles simply due to longevity.

So, what does this have to do with my book of short stories titled BEYOND: Tales of the Afterlife, available on Amazon? Well, Tale #2 is titled “A Monkee to Die For,” and revolves around a Davy Jones promotional visit to a California record store. In the story, not only is Jones featured in an indirect way, but the Rolling Stones and Beatles also get mentions. My video excerpt in this post from Tale #2 involves a demonic being explaining to a 12 year old girl smitten by Davy Jones that the Rolling Stones may not be as icky as she thinks. Take a look and listen.

Continue reading “BEYOND: Tales of the Afterlife – A Look Inside Tale #2”

Short (on quality) Story

I hope to publish another book this summer. No, not a sequel to My Parasitic Twin Wants to be President. You wish! This will be a collection of short stories on a common theme.

I send my stories to my cousin who also happens to be a professional editor. She seems to take great delight in finding and editing my mistakes, and then typically provides some words of encouragement like “this one should definitely be in your book.” She is my mentor. I am her … mentee? manatee? mental?

I’m down to my next-to-last story, and this one didn’t go as I had hoped. I received no edit. I received no encouragement. I did not pass GO or collect $200. Instead, over the course of several emails, my cousin/editor described the story as:

  • Not engaging
  • Boring
  • Preachy
  • Saccharine
  • Unlikable
  • Opposite of uplifting (would that be downlowering?)

Gee, I hope she wasn’t holding back so as not to hurt my feelings. Her guidance and edits have made me a better writer. I absolutely value her opinion. But so far, two other test-readers have liked the story. Hopefully, I will get more feedback from other test-readers this weekend.

Maybe my cousin/editor was too busy with editing projects. Maybe she didn’t even read the 4,000 word story. Maybe she just glanced at this blog to get a general idea about where my writing is today. If that’s the case, I heartily agree with her assessment.

Words Matter

For my upcoming book of short stories (available later this year), I just finished the next-to-last story that included such grim topics as:

  • Exotic animal parts trade
  • A seedy Bangkok marketplace
  • Robbing a dead woman
  • Drinking from poisonous plants
  • Pregnancy out of wedlock
  • Body modification
  • Testicular implants (this is not the body modification mentioned above)
  • Gambling
  • Grave desecration

Oh, and I almost forgot … country music. *shudder*

And yet, my editor called it “sweet.” Do I need to get a new editor?

 

Flanigan Fiction Finally Freed!

Well, the big Book Release Party for the book that has my short story in it has been postponed due to the COVID-19 coronavirus. I am somewhat relieved that I don’t have to be in a social situation with other nerdy writers. Being with myself all the time is bad enough. The book is being released online initially through the publisher’s website at Crow Woods Publishing, and eventually through Amazon, etc. Here’s a mention of my story from the publisher.

Elvis Listing on Crow Woods

I find it so fitting that there is a misspelling in the description. And just a touch of humor? Maybe it would have been funnier if the publisher hadn’t removed a joke.

Anyway, here’s the pic that inspired my story …

Elvis - Eric Semelroth - Imitation A La King 1998

If you are interested in an unabridged version of my story with all jokes intact, contact me.

Details coming about more Flanigan Fiction due for release soon. Consider yourself warned.

 

Party Time!

I had sort of forgotten about a book of short stories being published with one of my stories in it until I got an email with an invitation to a Book Release Party! I imagined getting fitted for my tuxedo for the event. Leave it a bit loose in the crotch for dancing.

Tuxedo

Visions of my red carpet arrival danced in my head.

Continue reading “Party Time!”

Got Questions? I Have Answers!

Yesterday, I announced that a short story of mine had been accepted for publication. As a bonus, I found out that I get to supply a short bio and answer some questions. Of course, I plan to submit a totally ficticious biography describing me as a left-handed, free-thinking Methodist with a proclivity for public outbursts in pig Latin. Okay, so that last part is true. Oway ymay!

Here are the questions I have been asked to answer …

Continue reading “Got Questions? I Have Answers!”

One Small Writing Step Forward

I signed my first writing contract this past weekend. I’m trying not to make too big of a deal out of it until I ink the movie deal. I’m sure that will be coming shortly after publication.

I’ve been writing this wildly uneven blog for 4+ years now to hone my writing skills. I have tried anything and everything that has crossed my suspect mind. Some things have worked. Others, not so much. I mean, really, cartoons about mites and mulch?

But all the practice must have worked because the short story I submitted for consideration was easy to write, and it was accepted for publication in an anthology of short stories. Take a look …

Continue reading “One Small Writing Step Forward”

I Finally Got It Write!

I started this blog 4 years ago to become a better writer. I got derailed as the Trump Train careened wildly into the White House, and this blog devolved to a series of angry screeds, questionable memes, and mildly-amusing (at best) cartoons. I continued that cathartic path for the benefit of my mental health, yet somehow I did hone my writing skills. I have a non-fiction book that is 2/3 done, but also badly in need of a rewrite. I will get to that as soon as I finish a book of short story fiction which is about 1/2 done and looking good. And who wouldn’t want a Best of Mite Be Funny coffee table book?

Raise hands

Fine. You can put your hands down. Anyway, my editor/cousin convinced me to submit a short story for publication consideration to someone she knew compiling a book. I had to write about a picture that the publisher had published previously in one of her art books. I chose this beauty.

Elvis - Eric Semelroth - Imitation A La King 1998

I received this email from the publisher a couple days ago …

Continue reading “I Finally Got It Write!”

I Kissed My Sister

Figuratively, not literally. I don’t even have a sister. In fact, I’m an only child which explains a lot. But I recently figuratively kissed my sister. I have had a short story published. Yes, you will be able to read it. Be patient and read on. No, it is not a story about kissing my sister.

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