Thursday, November 14, 2019

Writing News

by Michael Seese

It's been a while since I've had news on the "Author Front." I've been working to get, you know, some writing done. But I now have two newsbits to share.

This Saturday, November 14, I will be at Appletree Books in Cleveland Heights from 6 - 8, writing in the window.

Why? you might ask. 

November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, for short. To celebrate, Appletree is inviting Cleveland-area writers of all ages, formats, and genres to come write in their front windows.

So I will be there. 

Perhaps I'll work on the sequel to The Extraordinary eTab Of Julian Newcomber. Speaking of which...

On Saturday, December 7, I will be signing The Extraordinary eTab Of Julian Newcomber at the Fireside Book Shop in Chagrin Falls. 

I'll be there from 1:30 to 3:30.

So if you're available either date, please come out and show your support / love!

PS: With regard to the latter, I plan to bring cookies and milk (for the kiddos) and cookies and wine (for the adults). If that helps....

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Janet Flash: Ashes To Ashes

by Michael Seese

(Finally all caught up.) 

Speaking with clients around the country, Janet Reid gets to hear about everyone else's weather. So when someone from Flint, Michigan said it snowed last Wednesday (a week ago) she devised the "It Snowed In Flint On Wednesday Flash Fiction Contest."

Of course, it snowed in Cleveland on Halloween.

We had to use


in a 100-word story. I had trouble finding the idea, but then wrote most of "Ashes To Ashes," while driving to retrieve my son from a friend's house.

Hailee shivered, ignoring the heat the fading fire seemed intent on bestowing upon her, and the vulturous onlookers. She fought to not hear their whispers.

Abusive jerk.

He's just the sort I expected would do something like this.

Helen left him. Why didn't the girl?

She stifled a sob, reaching for the nearest hand.

"You OK?" Sheriff Burdett asked, gently squeezing back, returning a small dose of comfort.

"I'll manage."

"Any idea where your father might be?"

"No. Probably somewhere he'll never be found," Hailee said, burying her other hand, the one still scented of gasoline, deep into her pocket.

A different kind of chill...

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Janet Flash: Lies

by Michael Seese

(Somehow, I drafted this, but never hit the "publish" button. Ooops!) 

I've had quite the dry spell lately in the Janet Reid flash fiction contests. I can't remember the last time I even sniffed the winner's circle. Maybe this will be different...

Gushing about The Spaces Between Us by Stacia Tolman, a "delicious new novel," Janet built a contest around the words:


A "holt," per Merriam-Webster, is a "small woods."

I wanted to build something off that word. Ideas like "alcohol tolerance" and "alcohol taste" came to mind. But then I hit upon the combo I ultimately used, and "Lies" fell into place. 

(To the tune of nearly 200 words. Thank goodness for my magic red pen.)

I remember the night we met.

He spied me, all irresistible, across the bar. Like a shot, the space between us disappeared.

"I can do to you things you've only dreamed of," I cooed.

"I don't know," he stammered, unsure of whether he actually was unsure. "I've never..."

I love "virgins." They're money in the bank.

I touched his lips.

He was mine.

Our affair deepened. He introduced me to his friends. Even a few coworkers. Discreetly.

"Don't worry," I assured him. "You can end this anytime."

But that's just the alcohol talking.

And when I talk, I always lie.

I'm very happy with this one. Let's just say I'll carry a "glass half full" attitude through the weekend.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Catching Up Janet Flash: What's In A Name

by Michael Seese

I had a busy few weeks, so I didn't get a chance to post this...

In late October, Janet decided to "thwart the Fort" by devising the "It's A Scary Flash Fiction contest."

Use john, nick, drew, ward, mike in a 100-word story. But to answer the "Forti Challenge," they could not be used as names. I started with breaking "mike" into "from IKEA." And the rest of "What’s In A Name?" fell into place.

I had to jimmy the lock to get out of the john. The day cascaded donhill from there. The wallyswitch sizzled, frizzling my hair. The clothes rod bent awkwardly, almost pierceing my heart. Frankly, if I had a nickel for every disaster du jour, I'd be rich. Awash in cash.

"This is billshit," I said, nerves frayed, neally tripping down the rickety parallel-challenged stairs.

My hindsight, full of regret, re-read the ad.

"Easy assembly! Illustrated instructions!"

Yeah, in Swedish.

I should've paid attentian to the lonely inner voice telling me I'd rew the day I purchased my house from IKEA.

By my count, there are 26 boy's names. Can you find them all? 

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Janet Flash: Victory

by Michael Seese

No doubt still heady following a recent, highly alliterative, winning entry by Rebekah Postupak, Janet cooked up the F-it Flash Fiction Writing Contest.

Cobble a 100-word story out of:


I wanted to write something that incorporated word play, but sometimes the muse has other ideas. And he/she/it decided on "Victory."

She awoke to war drums, her temples on fire. The last bastion, the sanctified fortress that the doctors called her skull had been breached. Their drugs, the ones she'd used for temporary relief, had lost their magic. Their ability to fortify her soul. The forty-year siege finally had taken its toll, and Faith watched, helpless, as the demons, goblins, and fiends poured in unchecked.

"Time to execute the plan," she whispered.

Outside the window, victory beckoned.

Twenty floors down.

"What's that expression about losing the battle, but winning the war?" Faith said to the night air, at last tasting triumph.

The winner allegedly will be announced tomorrow. Fingers and eyes crossed.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Janet Flash: Bondage, James Bondage

by Michael Seese

"A new wrinkle in flash fiction! I've been pulling out my hair with homophones recently, so time to get some use out of the damn things." So sayeth Janet Reid. As such, for this week's flash fiction contest, we had to use:


And the Steve Forti torture words (Janet's torture, mainly) pain, pane

I was trying to come up with something that really played with the words. But when I hit on the way to split up "sheik," the rest fell into place, resulting in "Bondage, James Bondage.)

"You put up a valiant fight," I said.

"Lofty praise coming from a prey so… manhandacled."

Mangled malaprop aside, I couldn't argue. I've had better Saturday evenings cuffed to a chair.

"She's not coming, is she?" I knew the answer. But I needed his vanity to betray him. "You'd best pray she's unharmed. So, where is she?"

"The rain in Spain stays mainly...."

Spain! No doubt on his yacht, that floating pan-European phallic symbol. Now to roast this chicken.

"Speaking of prayers," he slobbered, moving in for the kill, unprepared for the flamethrower stashed in my cravat.

On to Barcelona.

No word on the winner yet, so my fingers remain crossed. (And they're starting to cramp.)

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Janet Flash: The Flesh Taxi

by Michael Seese

A Janet Reid contest two weeks in a row. I am one lucky dog. For this week's battle of bon mots, she asked us to use


in a 100-word story. But to foil her nemesis, Steve Forti, the mandated that he use "flesh taxi," a term she found in this tweet by Meredith Ireland:

OMG. How can you NOT want to write a story about that? So I give you "The Flesh Taxi."

"Please! Just let me go home." 

My cri de cœur fell on deaf ears. Bound, gagged, jammed into this filthy ride, I could only stare at freedom through weary windows. Passing the Church Avenue station, my throat involuntarily tightened. "Escape" whispered from an invisible horizon. 

We lurched to a halt. 

Forced upstairs and inside, my screams heard by none, my sanity remains glued to one thought. A better place awaits. A place where I'm one with the sun, day and night, in nebulous bliss. But this cursed flesh taxi insists on taking me to the thing it calls "the apartment."

Not to boast, but I am VERY proud of this one. We'll see what "the judge" thinks on Monday.