Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Happily Ever After...

by Michael Seese

More from the "Never Give Up" files...

Way back in 2012, I wrote a story called "TinkerHell" in response to a submission call. I can't remember what the exact theme was, but as you can guess from the title, the story was a riff on the Peter Pan / Tinkerbell saga. They said "no."

Fast forward to February of this year. Transmundane Press issued a call for fractured fairy tales for the anthology After The Happily Ever After

The happily ever after is never the end. The curtain doesn't fall once love is recognized or evil is vanquished.  Credits don't roll once the giant is slain or the big bad wolf is boiled alive.  Wicked stepsisters, malevolent rulers, and hideous creatures still have lives after their sinister roles play out; heroes, lovers, and dreamers often find their victories lead to more troubles.

I submitted, and five month later they said "yes."

And today, I can share with you the cover reveal, along with other relevant information, should you be dying to buy. Or even sorta interested.

Below are a few excerpts, a.k.a teasers, from my fellow contributors:

“The Spider’s Kiss” by David Turnball:

Her complexion had assumed the tainted gray of the corpse, the white of her eyes inebriated red with the wine of ruptured veins, the flesh on her fingers as black as spider legs.

“How perfectly contrary I’ve become.”

 For entertainment, she plucked wings from flies and hung their panicking bodies from the gossamer mesh of a spider web draping the dusty corner of her mother’s garret, watching lustfully as the long-legged spider came slowly dancing around his prey. When the mood took, she’d pop the panicky little insect torsos into her mouth. Their sour juices oozing down her throat afforded her an invigorating but fleeting sensation.

“Trader” by Robert Dawson

The ocean holds many kinds of islands. There are the ordinary sort of islands that stay in the same place all the time, solid reliable islands where men and women raise their children and cabbages. Beyond them lie the barren rocks, swallowed and released as the moon draws the tides, where only the selchie folk live, and the shifting sandbars where the cold mermaidens wait to marry drowned sailors

So, are you ready to order? 

You can get your copy on Amazon here

Or if you wish to be a Patron Of The Arts, this is a link to the Kickstarter campaign

And for the "price" of a Twitter follow, or a visit to Facebook or the Kickstarter campaign, you can be entered into a drawing for a $10 Amazon card. Here is the link: After the Happily Ever After Cover Reveal Giveaway. The giveaway only has a few days left, so you might want to do that sooner rather than later.

On behalf of the authors and the folks at Transmundane, thanks for your support. 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Janet Flash: Time

by Michael Seese

Another somewhat unconventional entry for this week's Janet Reid contest. But unlike last week's story (which didn't win, but earned a "Too creepy for words"), at least I know how I came up with it.

The keywords were 


I started with a mental image of those (speaking of) creepy cat clocks.

Once I thought of what I wanted to do with "splat" the rest fell into place. (Pun intended.) And here is "Time."

by the tick-tock
of the clock
on the wall
above the bed.
One of those bulgy-eyed cats.
Orbs darting back and forth, back and forth, forth and back.
Silly, like a child's nursery rhyme.

I remember I'd walked out to the end of the drive to grab the Post Gazette.
The scream stopped me in my tracks.
The ladder slipped. But my legs locked.
I couldn't get there in time. I couldn't stop his fall.
Then came the sound I will never forget.
A grotesque splat
as the pavement opened his head.

Now I have nothing. Nothing but time.

We'll see how it fares on Monday.

As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts. 

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Janet Flash: Her Body

By Michael Seese

Less than 12 hours after Cody Allen struck out Dustin Pedroia on a wicked slider, Janet Reid threw us a curve ball. For this week's flash contest, she said we had to start with the sentence "No questions asked." That led me to "Her Body."

"No questions asked," she whispered as she lifted the sheet. I tentatively touched her thigh. She seemed… colder.

I never questioned what she did with her nights. As long as she brought it home to me, I guess I didn't care. Or, I pretended not to.

The disheveled hair. The torn clothing.  None of it mattered. Because I loved her.

But this time I had to know.

“I probably shouldn't ask,” I hazarded, not making eye contact. “But where did you find this one? The river?”

“I said no questions!” she growled. “Do you want her parts or not?”

You know that expression about sausage: you don't want to know what's inside. Sometimes, with regard to my writing, I don't want to know where it comes from.

As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Janet Flash: Lost

by Michael Seese

The moral of the story this week is always write. A few months back I jotted down 50 or 60 words about a remorseful alcoholic, and kept it in a doc on my tablet called "Flash Ideas." Then along came this week's Janet Reid short story contest. And voilĂ !

The key words were:


And I saw immediately how they could fit into the existing story. With that, I give you "Footsteps."

Seven years of the bottle had taken its toll. My nights melted into one continuous blackout. My days, one continuous black. I hear people escape it. The lies. The shame. The regrets.

I won't be one of them.

As I blew out the candles, precariously punched into a lopsided homemade cake, I wished my Dixie cup held something more fortifying than fruit punch.

“How will you celebrate your newfound freedom?” my Mom asked.

“I thought I'd take my shiny new driver's license out for a spin. Drive around a bit. Maybe pop over to the 7-11. They're still open, right?”

Only a LITTLE depressing.

Results (hopefully) tomorrow on Janet's blog.

And as always, please let me know what you think. 

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Janet Flash: Stand Up

by Michael Seese

I'm a little late getting this one in, between a busy Labor Day weekend and yesterday's timely thermometer spike.

There had no been any activity on the Janet flash front of late, as she took off the month of August to ... you know ... do agent work. Also, she switched jobs, as detailed in this post.

So last Friday the contest resumed. Our key words were:   


I came up with something I call "Stand Up."

After nearly six weeks adrift, morale had reached a low. The captain's son suggested entertainment.

“Stop me if you've herd this one before… Get it?”

“Why did the pony whisper? Because he was a little horse.”

“What did the mama lion say to her cubs? I'm proud of you kids. I mean pride of you.”

“This routine is going to the dogs.” The dachshunds were not amused. Only the hyenas were laughing. For the wrong reasons.

“That's the spirit,” Michael said, eying their toothy grins. Thus fell the curtain on the first and only open Mike night on Noah's Ark.

Some people are born with horse sense. Me? I've spent a lifetime saddled with mule sense.

This one already has been filed in the "not a winner" pile. But y'all might find some merriment.

As an aside, I came up with an opening line for a story that would have been completely different. Some people are born with horse sense. Me? I've spent a lifetime saddled with mule sense.  I'm kinda proud of that one, so I thought I'd share.  

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Funny (Not Really) Foto #74

by Michael Seese

When I started my car this afternoon, here is what I saw:


The perfect (heat) storm of

1. A hot day
2. No wind
3. Blacktop

Welcome to September, Cleveland.  

(And apparently my dashboard needs a good cleaning.) 

Friday, August 5, 2016

I'm A Sonnet, And I Don't Even...

by Michael Seese

Hmmm.  I'll have to think about how to finish that rhyme. But it should be no problem, now that I am recognized sonnet writer.

I've always enjoyed writing a variety of forms. Novels. Short stories. Flash fiction. Non-fiction. Poetry. 

Simple poems are easy to write. But in case you've forgotten your high school English lessons, sonnets are complex. 

- They have to be in iambic pentameter.
- They utilize a specific rhyme scheme, which varies slightly based on the "flavor." For example, the Petrarchan follows the pattern abab abab cde cde; many Shakespearean use abab cdcd efef gg

Several times now I have submitted a sonnet or three to the Maria W. Faust Sonnet Contest, which is sponsored by the folks who bring us The Great River Shakespeare Festival. (My wife and I will definitely have to drag the kids to that some time.) 

To this point, nada.

Well, I am proud to be able to finally say I am among the champions. My entry, "The Honeymoon" was named one of the winners! To bring myself down to earth a bit, it was a Laureates' Choice, which means, not the big Kahuna. Still...

OK, enough gushing about myself. Time to come up with a word that rhymes with "sonnet."