Happy October!

Who says ghost stories have to be dark and sinister? I say they can be funny!

My latest micro story, “Driving Me Mad,” appears this week on White Enso’s “Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai: 100 Days, 100 Supernatural Stories.”

For the first time ever, I offer you two formats: print and audio! In addition to publishing the stories in print form, editor Linda Gould has also made them available as a podcast.

Listen to “Driving Me Mad” (read by the author)

Read “Driving Me Mad” (scroll to “Day 79”)

Tiny Tales of Terror

Love horror? Got a busy life with very little time to read?

Horror microfiction might be just what the reaper… ahem, doctor… ordered!

With Halloween just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to grab a copy of the 666 Dark Drabbles anthology, released this week from Black Hare Press.

I’m delighted to have my story “Played Out” included in this collection.

The 666 anthology is available at these eBook stores or in print from Amazon.com.

Summer Fun with Microfiction

My first-ever published story was microfiction, which is defined as a a very, very short story. How short? Generally 500 words or less.

I am now up to 10 published microfiction stories, with several more due out over the next few months. Check out my latest stories below!

Bad Kitty (Storytwigs, August 2021)
A cat ruins a party in this tale of accidental terror.

In Concert (100-Word Fiction, July 2021)
A pianist turns a birth defect into a fame-maker.

Exposing the Truth (Instant Noodles, July 2021)
A diver shows off more than just her backflip.

I joke that I’ve had so much success with microfiction because I don’t have time to write anything longer. When you have two young kids and a full-time day job, the struggle to find writing time is real!

But the truth is, I enjoy micro for its own sake. It’s a fun challenge to squeeze a whole story into a tiny word count. It’s great for readers, too, especially ones who read on their smartphone in five-minute chunks while waiting at the dentist’s office or in line at the grocery store.

Readers, what books or stories did you love this summer?

How Long Could You Survive Without Screens?

In this modern world, could you survive without computers for an entire day?

My very own mom asked me that question when she read my latest story, Technically Speaking. My response? “Yes. If I were off in the woods. In my house it would be difficult!” Our home is pretty gadget-heavy, with at least a dozen devices connected to the wi-fi at any given time. Little House on the Prairie, we ain’t.

In the story, a couple bets each other that they can’t go a whole day without looking at a screen. The winner will choose the couple’s next vacation; the loser will pay for the trip. The stakes are high, and so is the difficulty, when they realize how dependent they are on devices.

There’s a lot of me and my husband in this story. He’s the gadget guy; I’m the Luddite who pooh-poohs new gadgets at first, until I realize how extremely freakin’ useful they are. Honey, I may have to be dragged into new technology sometimes, but I’m grateful to you for keeping me up to date. Without you, I might still have a flip phone and a mobile plan that charges for each text message.

Thanks, Fiction on the Web, for awarding the story “Pick of the Month”!

Achievement Unlocked: NaNoWriMo

So I wrote 50,064 words in November, logging them at the National Novel Writing Month website, http://www.nanowrimo.org. Writing more than 50,000 words means that you “win” National Novel Writing Month. What do you “win”? Bragging rights, of course! Naturally, I have to show off my badge:

As the bags under my eyes can testify, I earned this!!

Do I have a finished, submission-ready novel? Definitely not. In fact, I stalled out on the novel mid-month and pivoted to writing several short stories instead. But the whole point of NaNoWriMo is to buckle down and crank out the words. The words can be edited later.

I had never written anything even close to 50k words in a month. Up to now, I’d only written short stories, a handful of essays, and the occasional not-too-sucky poem. It was a crazy ride and a lot of late nights, but it was worth it.

An author I met through a “flash mentoring” session earlier this year suggested I try NaNoWriMo. If it weren’t for her, I might not have tried it. If it weren’t for the pandemic, which meant no Thanksgiving travel, I might not have tried it. If it weren’t for my online writers’ groups, which is where I first learned about it, I might not have tried it. But I’ve risen to other writing challenges and got a lot out of them. So I tried it.

By about the third week, I was determined to succeed, sneaking in writing sprints at random times of the day, setting my alarm early to write even more, my night owl nature be damned.

Lessons learned: I wrote a novel-length quantity of words in a month while being a parent and working a full-time job. If I can do that once, I can do it again. The novel I worked on last month may not be the novel I ultimately finish. I have one or two others in my head. And now I’m a notch more confident that I can actually write a whole novel one day. Thanks NaNoWriMo, and to all the other writers who’ve been part of my world so far – I couldn’t have done this without you.

Well, Hello There

Hi, I’m Jen. Welcome to my writer’s blog! (Uh-oh, “writer’s blog” sounds a lot like “writer’s block”…)

As the next step in my writing endeavors over the years (Edit This Blog and Lawless Letters having come first), I’m now starting up this website as a portfolio of my writing and to establish an online presence as an author.

This site will provide:

  • Links to my published writing
  • Back story for some of my published pieces, e.g. how many times they were revised or rejected
  • News, contests, and other happenings
  • Any other writing-related stuff I come up with

This is the first site I’m building using WordPress rather than Blogger, and I gotta say, I am unimpressed by the clunkiness of the interface. It took me like 5 minutes just to figure out how to create a bulleted list. I find the “blocks” annoying and the navigation unintuitive. It is possible that I am a dinosaur (as the C64 image above will testify). It’s all good. Jen-o-Saurus Rex will figure it out one of these days.

Blog at WordPress.com.

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