Submit Your Short Story for a chance to be featured on The Hidden Gems Podcast!

Submit Your Short Story for a chance to be featured on The Hidden Gems Podcast!

We are looking for writers to feature on The Hidden Gems Podcast! Our goal is to find the best short fiction from undiscovered writers. We hire a professional narrator to tell your story and our host will do a short bio on YOU and then direct listeners to where they can find more of your writing. There is no cost to you and you retain all rights to your story.

To submit your short story of 5,000 words or less, go to our website at: https://www.thehiddengemspodcast.com/

Bad Luck, Superstitions, Bad Karma, Jinxes & Poetic Justice

Bad Luck, Superstitions, Bad Karma, Jinxes & Poetic Justice

Is it bad luck NOT to tell your friend you observed a shadow-man in their home? Rodney Hom & Dr. Cathleen McCarthy share their final personal stories, revealing the unexpected and supernatural consequences of exploring the dark unknown in this podcast series.

Take a light journey into darkness. A limited-series podcast of topics you were told you’d go to Hell for discussing.

Listen now to our latest episode! https://www.midnightballoon.com/podcast

Listen Now to “Lair,” Written by C. Mack Lewis.

Listen Now to “Lair,” Written by C. Mack Lewis.

A young Vietnam soldier finds himself on his first sweep and destroy mission with a commanding officer who may or may not be up for an Article 15 for making a Charlie eat the mud off his boots. Listen now to the short story “Lair,” which was written by C. Mack Lewis and narrated by John Bell.

https://www.thehiddengemspodcast.com/podcast

If you love to listen to short stories…

If you love to listen to short stories…

Our heroine, Ilene, is doing just fine, thank you very much, slinging hash for the locals at the Silk City Diner – until, that is, she receives a rather unusual profession of true love from an even more unusual admirer. Check out the short story ‘Pig Eye Poem’ on ‘The Hidden Gems Podcast,’ which features the best short stories that you’ve never heard!

https://the-hidden-gems-podcast.simplecast.com/episodes/pig-eye-poem

Send us your short story for a chance to be featured on the Hidden Gems Podcast.

Send us your short story for a chance to be featured on the Hidden Gems Podcast.

The ‘Hidden Gems’ Podcast, which will air in the next 2 months is seeking short stories of less than 5,000 words to feature on future podcasts. We’re looking for any genre (except erotica) and I am requesting that if we choose your short story that you write a short author’s bio and include any link to your work so that our listeners can find you online. I will be hiring a narrator to do a professional narration of your short story and I will do the introduction and read the author’s bio at the end of the podcast. My goal with the podcast is to feature up and coming talented authors like yourself!

If you are interested, please submit your short story to cathydpm@gmail.com.

I look forward to reading your story!

Cathy

Writin’ Out Loud. By Jack Grenard.

Writin’ Out Loud. By Jack Grenard.
Writin’ out loud 
a column for certain friends
and not uncertain ones,
from Jack Grenard…
 
…while waiting for our phone line to get
repaired so I can send this to you by email
 
…The house has been strangely silent since the phone went away. But how lovely for a change. No unwanted inputs. No need to turn anything off, to wonder who is calling and why and for how much.
 
…So why not just call the phone company’s repair service? I’d have to go to a pay phone but there aren’t any in this area. Even our grocery market’s former phone booth turned into a drinking fountain years ago.
 
…A friend who winters in Florida complained after my last sending that the type was too small, even though it left this computer as 18-point. In a non-typographic world, 18-point is equivalent to one-quarter inch; there are 72 points to an inch. Learned that in printing class in Jackson Junior High in Detroit and have been abusing it ever since. This column is in 24-point for the visually impaired like me and maybe you.
 
…Remember when you could reach phone repair by dialing three digits—or punching them into the phone’s keypad? Not with Century Link, our supplier. It’s now a ten-digit number from a company headquartered in Louisiana. Hoo-ray for globalization. With all of the progress in technology, why do we need to supply the last four digits of Jane’s social security number? Why not a thumbprint and retinal scan? And haven’t you been warned about giving out your social security number? Maybe our little phone company wants to check up on Jane, in at least her fifth year of Alzheimer’s disease. She has not used a phone in at least two years.
 
…More from the trenches: Walking part way around our “block” yesterday (Thursday, 7 March), I came upon shreds and long pieces of telephone wire on the road in front of our home. The appearance was that of what would happen if an angry shark had shaken and bitten its way out of a fish net. On the ground lay three clumps of colorful wires, the right size for use with telephones. A moment of truth, a combined ah-ha! and oh-oh moment, for our phone had not been working all that day. I recalled that a road scraper from the town of Cave Creek had smoothed our unpaved street the day before. Either the scraper’s blade was set too deep or the road’s surface lay too close to the sky. This would be no easy, quick fix for someone.
       History is so important in figuring out things. It was about five years ago that the same event happened. Then, our little old phone company hired a contractor to replace the wires. I know: Everyone else uses a cellphone (now one word) to get on the wire from almost anywhere, no immediate metal involved. One hitch: Our town hall staff does not work on Fridays. Meanwhile, we’re enjoying a quiet weekend at home. (Oh, I forgot. After about age 80 we geezers don’t have weekends. If weekends are there at all, they blend unnoticed into our working week.)
 
…Hope to read cheery notes from you soon. If you want to call by phone*, I suggest you wait a day or two. In this modern rushing world, that should prove to be no problem. The fact that you are reading this message at all means our missing phone line has been replaced and is working. (“The Wichita Wineman is high on the vine.”)
 
*What IS our phone number? It has been so long… Oh, yes: 1.***-***-****. Don’t dial the periods, okay?

Books Don’t Die. Books live on, quietly waiting to be discovered.

Books Don’t Die. Books live on, quietly waiting to be discovered.

As a writer, I’ve got that box in the basement that contains all of the short stories that I’ve written over the years. I came to a decision. I’m going to die someday and either that box is either going to be sitting in my basement or it’s going to grow legs and be out in the world. Thanks to Kindle self-publishing, it’s simply a matter of time and effort. Some short stories are new enough that all I have to do is change the format, copy and paste. The older short stories were actually written on *gasp* my old typewriter, which takes a bit longer to drag kicking and screaming into the new century.

A sneak peek into the soon-to-be-published ‘Pig-Eye Poem & Other Stories’ by C. Mack Lewis:

‘Pig-Eye Poem’ is the story about the time I worked in a Silk-City Diner and Nate-Nate-the-Queer-Bait wrote me a poem which he read at the Lower Alloway’s Creek while shaking a box containing a pig-eye.

‘Lair’ is the story of a Vietnam soldier who has his first kill under the command of a sadistic Sargeant.

‘Dead’ about the first autopsy I witnessed as a medical student where I can’t help but wonder if serial killers dream of being doctors – so they can have access to all those helpless organs under their blades?

The story of ‘Boots’ is about a woman who buys a pair of vintage thrift-store boots that, when worn, gives her the power to ‘fix’ things in her life – even if that means committing murder.

‘What She Bought’ is a story of a man who is cleaning out the closet of his recently deceased wife – and learns that his wife was not the woman he thought she was.

‘Tick Tock’ is a story written on the typewriter and I don’t even remember what it is about. I wrote it long ago in a land far, far away that goes by the name of ‘My First Marriage.’ I must have blocked it out and God only knows what that story contains!

‘The Toad King’ is flash fiction about an unhappy Toad Wife and exactly what she is willing to do to wrest the crown from her husband.

‘The Fix’ is hardboiled crime-noir about a down-on-his-luck journalist who gets a once in a lifetime scoop from his ex-lover who does not have his best interests at heart. What can you expect from a woman with eyes that shine like freshly minted cash, which our hero knows perfectly matches the color of her heart?

“She Got The Money’ is an unusual love story about the guy who never gets the girl and the girl who — well, I’ll let you discover that for yourself.

‘The Christmas Tree’ is about a bug-exterminator who falls for the Christmas tree of his dreams and plans the perfect burglary. Seriously folks, what could go wrong?

A writer friend of mine once said to me, “You certainly have no problem throwing your main characters under the bus.”

I don’t just NOT have a problem throwing my characters in harm’s way — I relish it!  

What are you waiting for?

Unless you think that you are going to live forever, download a copy of a Kindle book format (for free) and start the process of putting your book, poems, short stories out into the world today!

http://www.kayfranklin.com/kindle/free-kindle-publishing-book-template/

Please send me a link after it is published because I would love to feature you on my blog as a guest blogger.

 

 

   

 

 

Write yourself into a corner? Here’s how to escape!

Write yourself into a corner? Here’s how to escape!

The Writer’s Bear Trap!

Has this happened to you? You’ve been writing your novel and, without warning, you realize that you have written your main character into a situation that there is no escape from. Or, worse yet, your character has taken you to a place where you did not want him/her to go and now you don’t know what to do or how to get them out of the situation and, even worse, you have no idea what the heck this new situation has to do with your carefully planned out novel.

May I suggest — the nuclear option?

The nuclear option, my friends, is what I call following The Beast, which is more politely known as — your subconscious. 

It was you that took the story to that corner that you are now trapped in. It is important that you now listen to the inner demons (or angels) in your subconscious that stand ready and willing to lead you back to freedom! If you are lucky, they will be happy to lead you through many more layers of hell, which is always good for a better story, before they send you back to safety and freedom.

When writing Gunning For Angels, I was startled to realize that my main character, Enid Iglowski, went to a place that I did not intend for her to go. I was so dismayed that I stopped writing for three days and simply thought about why I had written myself into this insane corner/trap that had nothing to do with my carefully planned out novel.

After three days of thinking, I decided that maybe my subconscious was smarter than my conscious mind. It was terrifying, but I decided to trust the forces that had brought my character to this seemingly insurmountable obstacle that brought her – and my plot – to a dead stop.

When you have written yourself into a corner, the key is to ask yourself this question: What is the worst possible thing that could happen to my character at this moment?

Dig deep and come with with a no-holds-barred thing that is your deepest, darkest fear and then SLAM it full force into your main character. Have no mercy, pull no punches — be RUTHLESS!

It’s what I call the nuclear option and, strangely enough, it works like a charm!

Delving into your deepest fears and forcing your protagonist to deal with it will bring a new energy and power into your story. It is a plot twist that even you as the writer were not expecting, so there is no way that your reader will see it coming! You will be forced to go to a deeper level emotionally, which will resonate with your readers. If you have the courage to face those fears and be emotionally honest in your writing (always dig to that deeper level of truth!) then it will elevate your writing to new heights and your story will resonate with emotional power.

The subconscious works in strange ways. It will lead you into deep waters and dark troubles, but it will also lead you back to safety.

In the case of my novel Gunning For Angels, the nuclear option took my story to a higher level. It introduced a new aspect to the plot that somehow ended up being the most important and defining moment of my main character’s life. It gave Enid Iglowski an opportunity to discover what she is capable of and how strong she can actually be and it gave me, the writer, the opportunity to discover something new about myself.

If my nuclear option doesn’t work for you, you can borrow Raymond Chandler’s nuclear option, which also works like a charm.

When in doubt, have a man came to the door with a gun in his hand.  

Happy Writing!

 

 

Single Book Seeks Bookworm.

Single Book Seeks Bookworm.

Must enjoy compelling characters, murder & having expectations overturned.

You’ve slaved for years to create this beautiful creature that you lovingly call ‘my book’ and when you release it into the world, it is welcomed with the sound of…

*crickets*  

Why is it so hard to get people to review your book?

I don’t have an answer to that particular question, but I do have advice for all writers of undiscovered masterpieces:

Don’t count on your friends and relatives to read and review your book!

Seek strangers. 

Strangers are more willing to read your book and are often more kind.

This is harsh, but this is the truth.

First, your relatives and friends who love and care for you might not love and care for the genre that you are writing. It is better to find strangers who enjoy your book’s genre.

Second, your friends and relatives know you too well and they will not be able to separate the person they know you to be from the fiction that you are writing. I posted a short story online and shared it on Facebook and I had three friends call me and ask if I was getting a divorce.

Third, when you do ask your friends and relatives to read your masterpiece and they don’t do it and don’t even bother to open your book to page one – you will have a lot less resentment to deal with. I know exactly who read my book and who did not. The people in my life who read my book will always have my forever, undying gratitude and the people who have not bothered to even attempt to read my book, well – they have been left out of my Final Will & Testament.

Just kidding.

Sort of…

Are you a stranger?

Fabulous!

Here’s my sweet baby of a book! If you don’t like the genre, please feel free to dump it at the nearest book orphanage or pass it on to someone who doesn’t know or love me.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00I84NSE0/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_x_uk.1ybCSMQ33R … via @amazo