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."

Monday, July 25, 2016

Janet Flash: "Not The Flower"

by Michael Seese

When I write something for one of Janet Reid's contests, I always expect to have a good shot at winning. Last time was no exception. But I have to say, the winning entry, penned by Steven D, was pretty darned good.

So this week, I kind of took the idea and turned it on it head. Given:


I came up with “Not The Flower."

You cower. Despite the swelter, you can't stop shivering. The voices are right above you. Poppa warned you about them. The men from the Dark League. Now they're here.

Words fall through the cracks like dust.

"Lilies? Yes, they're beautiful flowers. Oh..."

"Jennings Road. Can't say I'm familiar..."

"Broad daylight..."

"I’ll call if..."

Then silence. Again.

Someone begins prying up a floorboard. Gut-ripping fear gives way to relief when Poppa's face appears.

"Can I come out now?" you ask.

"Not yet, pumpkin. They might come back. Don't worry. You're not the girl they're looking for. I promise."

I don't know about you, but for me second-person narrative seems to ... intimate. More so than first-person.

As always, please share your thoughts.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Janet Flash: "17"

by Michael Seese

A funny thing happened on the way to this week's Janet Reid contest. I wrote a story, and NOBODY DIES! Janet noted she is attending the ThrillerFest XI conference. In honor of that, she chose the words:

16 (the latter a reference to 2016)

From those words came "17."

I missed the thrill of being 16.

From the juvenile stuff like egging houses or ringing a doorbell and running, to more life-altering adolescent lapses like waking up, stinking of gin, and finding random bruises in awkward places. While my friends’ paths criss-crossed and careened toward adulthood, I was forced onto the straight road of responsibility. 

Speaking of ringing and running, I hope the Hendersons -- so says the name on the mailbox -- will let her have some fun. Just not too much. Like her mother did.

“To 17!” I said to nobody, pitching back another shot to celebrate bittersweet freedom. 

As always, I welcome your comments. 

Monday, July 4, 2016

Funny Foto #73

by Michael Seese

Spotted in a story window in town.


There's a joke in there somewhere, but I don't know what it is.

And Happy 4th of July everyone.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Janet Flash: Slipstream

by Michael Seese

Literary agent Janet Reid apparently has decided to clear some space on her bookshelves, and will give one lucky (no... TALENTED) writer 14 books. Among the titles:

Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz 
The Bone Orchard by Paul Doiron  

So it's not hard to see why the words for this week's contest are


My entry is “Slipstream”

100 tick marks on the wall.

A red X tattooed on my shoulder.

In my hands, a rifle.

How did I get here?

Images flood the empty spaces in my mind. A woman. She is pretty. And in crosshairs. An unseen voice, even and evil, says “Pull.” My finger obeys. Gunpowder smell. A crimson spray. A dull ache starting in my heart and ending somewhere in my bones. The same unseen voice says “Reset.” My brain buzzes, and those jigsaw memories slide into the slipstream of forced electronic catharsis.

How did I get here?

101 tick marks on the wall...

We'll find out Monday (give or take) if I have a lot of books to read this summer.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Janet Flash: "Untogether"

by Michael Seese

It's been a few weeks since Janet Reid held one of her 100-word contest. But this week our patience was rewarded. The words:


And here is "Untogether."

Emily smiled. She'd grown weary of living in her sister's shadow, following her every move. But today, finally, she didn't mind.

Emma earned straight A’s. Emily had straight lines on her thighs.

Emma published four books. Emily had a blog.

Emma owned a house in the ‘burbs and the Hamptons. Emily owned only debt.

Emma had perfect pitch. Emily could carry only a grudge.

Emma gave Momma and Poppa three little ones. Emily had cats.

Emma always erred on the side of caution. Emily erred on all sides. But today she would not.

Jumping is idiot-proof.

And in case you're wondering, "Untogether" in not a word, but songs by Belly and Lush

Saturday, June 11, 2016

It Never Gets Old, Part 2

by Michael Seese

No, my blog did not needle jump. I'm not stuck in a groove. This is a reference to the broken record comment in  yesterday's postFor the second time this week, I got a little present in the mail.

This appears The Literary Hatchet #14, published by Pear Tree Press.

I was especially gratified to receive this acceptance letter a few months back, as this particular story had been rejected five times before. Just goes to show you the value of persistence. Not to mention revising older stories as you become a more mature and (ostensibly) better writer.