Sunday, February 10, 2019

Janet Flash: Unlatched

by Michael Seese

Janet Reid, like many of us in the US, has been hunkered down during winter's wild ride of late. Or, as she commented, "I was ensconced with Her Grace the Duchess of Yowl for three weeks, and then with Intern Ty for this past week."

You need to frequent her blog to fully understand the cast of characters.

In honor of Ty, this week's contest had a decidedly feline theme. Use:


in a 100-word story. 

Since I didn't want to use "hork" as is, I immediately sought to break it up. My first thought (which I wound up using) as "latch or key." But I also considered "crotch or knee," which would have worked for some kind of street fight story. But sticking with the former, I came up with "Unlatched."

His lips moved. But the words bounced off my eardrums.

My head had room only for silence, undercut by the gentle “purr” of the adjacent freeway. Transfixed by the hypnotic drone of countless steel carcasses, piloted by empty souls who snore through the commute as they catapult toward drudgery, I could imagine the allure it held for a child.

His final question clawed me back to the here and now.

“Sorry?” I mumbled. On several levels.

“The question was, latch or key? How was the gate secured?”

“Key,” I lied, squeezing my wife's hand. I couldn't bear losing her too.

What have you done during the polar vortex of late?

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

More On The eTab

by Michael Seese

In yesterday's post, I introduced you to the The Extraordinary eTab Of Julian Newcomber

Today, you have an opportunity to get to know it better.

eTab now is available on NetGalley. What is NetGalley, you might ask? (Don't fret; I didn't know either.)  NetGalley allows you to request, read, and recommend digital review copies of books before they are published. As the site states, "Your reviews and feedback are essential to publishers, authors, and other readers!"

And it sure would help me out.

I will refrain from adding, "But ONLY IF it's a good review." Of course I want people to like it. But the book has to earn that.

eTab is a fairly short read... just shy of 30,000 words. So if you have some time, please visit, sign up, download a copy, and enjoy.


Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Introducing The Extraordinary eTab

by Michael Seese

I guess I could have mentioned this sooner. But that "life" thing can SO get in the way. Better late than never...

In previous posts, I've shown a photo of my hand holding a copy of an anthology that just came out, and included a short story of mine. I always say, "It never gets old."

Though I'm not holding it—yet!—this never gets old either.   

The Extraordinary eTab Of Julian Newcomber is my first foray into children's fiction, also known as MG (for middle grade).

"What's is about?" you ask.

Per my over-worked query letter, which may wind up being the back-jacket blurb:

Twelve-year-old Julian Newcomber knows he has a fitting--what the smart folks call apropos--last name. His family moves constantly due to his Dad's quirky inventions, which have a habit of misbehaving and blowing up the family home. So he's always been the new kid in school.

Now firmly settled in a peaceful and close-knit community, Julian believes he's finally found a home, not to mention a safe haven from his father's calamities. That is, until a vaguely familiar 20-year-old man walks out of the bedroom closet, and identifies himself as future Julian. It turns out that his father's latest contraption, the eTab, alters time. So grown-up Julian decided to take a joyride into the past and dropped his cell phone on a Civil War battlefield. (Who wouldn't want to see Pickett’s Charge, after all?) With his own eTab too low on juice to take him all the way back to his own time, grown-up Julian needs young Julian to locate a quantity of Cucumium so he can go back to the Civil War and retrieve his cell phone, then get home before his parents find out.

The two Julians break rules, break curfews, and break into the Intermediate School in an effort to locate some Cucumium (though they're not exactly sure what it is), so they won't be forced to share the room and fight over the top bunk forever. Oh, and if grown-up Julian stays, it could, as a side effect, pollute the natural timeline and rewrite history as they know it.

No pressure. 

The book will be published May 15 in Canada and June 1 in the U.S. by Common Deer Press, based in Toronto. Please show some love and like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, or just visit their site, preferably my page

Tune in tomorrow for more eTab news. 

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Janet Flash: Giving

by Michael Seese

A new year, and winter has finally decided to flex its icy might. Or as super agent Janet Reid said on Friday, "It's been so cold of late that the only thing to do is curl up on the couch with a good read. Preferably a hot-action thriller to warm you up!"



To that end, she sponsored one of her flash fiction contests. We had to use the words


in a 100-word story. It's fun to try to break up the words, which is within the bounds of the contest. So I looked at "tear" as "rent early."

From there,“Giving” fell into place.


I’d paid the rent early. Can't have the landlord barging in and spoiling the surprise.

I’d donated blood, twice, the second time using a fake ID. “Always giving. Too much.”

I’d re-read the letters, and caressed the old photos, desperate to find some reason to stay.

I had none left.

Lying there, transfixed by the dark snake slithering through the cool water in the tub, I was surprised it didn't hurt more. Sleepy now, my eyes fell upon the angry words, written—as always—in lipstick on the mirror and, below them, my terse reply.

“My final gift to you.”

I'm not so happy with the last line. At first I had, "This is for you," and changed it to what you see now. This morning when I awoke (after the deadline) I concocted. "Still giving. Last time, though." That would have tied it back to the "Always giving" line which (in my mind) the unnamed "she" would have said to the main character.

We'll find out tomorrow or Tuesday what Janet thinks.

1/30 Update

I co-won.

Late Sunday night, Janet posted the preliminary results. I was among the five finalists. Her comment:

Took me two reads to see what was happening here.
Do you get it?

After much hair pulling and wringing of hands (I assume) Janet announced that we would share the honors. Which is just fine with me. I like to win. But I like to share as well.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Janet Flash: One Hour

by Michael Seese

Who couldn't use an extra hour in the day? This past weekend, I sure could have. I spent Saturday morning and half the afternoon working with the Jaycees to decorate Chagrin Falls for the holidays. Then on Sunday I spent the early afternoon with my son's Cub Scout pack raking leaves for some elderly folks in the area. And when I got home, we took care of our leaves.

Yes, we could use an extra hour.

Agent Janet Reid so wanted an extra hour that she posted the "The Extra Hour Flash Fiction contest!"

We're getting an extra hour this weekend!
Finally, tormenting writers 25 hours a day

She soon realized her mistake.

Nonetheless, she went ahead with the contest to use 


in a story. I tried to think of some esoteric combinations -- extra becoming my ex traipsing -- but in the end decided to use the words as is, since they were so wide open as to allow me to write about most anything. 

The end result was "One Hour."

I prayed for an extra hour. He must have heard me.


The smell of purity hovered with me in the aether, enveloping me in peace.


She always said not to jog in the dark. But the virgin air of early morning cleanses my soul.


The car never saw me. The driver never stopped.


Her voice broke through the veil, her light piercing the fog.

I saw the path home.

My new home.

What should we do, Mrs. Nash? said the voice I’d been hearing, assuming it was God.

“Nothing,” my wife said. “He has a DNR.”

What would you do with an extra hour each day?

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Janet Flash: Down In Flames

by Michael Seese

Writers should always write. Case in point...

A few months back I was walking the dog early one Saturday morning, and came up with an idea for a flash fiction story about a fighter pilot. I wrote about 75 words, including the "kicker" ending. Fast forward to Friday. Janet Reid's latest flash fiction asked us to incorporate the following five words:


in a 100-word flash.

To be honest, I had forgotten about the fighter pilot piece. But serendipity intervened (seriously) as someone I accidentally opened the "short story snippets" file. And there is was. "Plummet" and "fall" seemed like obvious words to work in. I managed to get in the rest, of course. The result is "Down In Flames."

The World War I flying ace cradled the controls, fighting to maintain the dance. His trusty Sopwith Camel spat black blood as she slanted earthward. Pulling hard, he regained altitude. But hope exploded with the engine, and the Camel plummeted, her graceless fall ending in a ball of flame.

Outside the fourth wall, the bespectacled man chewed his pencil, its once-sharp tip a nub, then breathed a sigh of mixed relief.

That’s how we end it.”

God had seen enough.

“Listen, Chuck, I totally get the ‘My creation’ thing. But I’m exercising My right to veto. You can’t kill Snoopy.”

What was the last thing YOU wrote, just because? Save it. You never know., 

Monday, September 3, 2018

Funny Foto #79

by Michael Seese

It's been a while since I've posted a funny foto. I guess nothing has tickled my fancy of late. Until...

The other day I returned to the office after lunch, and saw this:

I thought, So that's what the inside of a car door looks like

Then when I came around to the front...


I could envision the scene.

"Um, yeah. Thanks for coming. Listen, I know it's pouring rain. And after midnight. I think I'll walk."

Enjoy your Labor Day, folks.