Category Archives: Short stories

Bad Timing

I thought this was a wonderful refreshing breath.

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There are always a few cars left overnight in any parking garage. Some had battery trouble and couldn’t be towed before the end of business while others belonged to people who’d have one too many at a local pub. It was a Sunday morning and the gates were shut and locked so no entry and no exit.

Smith (not her real name) let herself out of the boot of a gray Audi and took the service stairs up to street level. Her victim Medina came into his shop Sunday mornings ostensibly to catch up on paperwork, but in reality he was her competition. There was only room for one assassin in southern England.

Smith looked at her antique analog watch. He should be in the back of his shop by now getting ready for his next assignment. Wait. The shop is dark. He locks the…

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Money is everywhere

Pam is simply a wonderful person whose beliefs come from others who understand that life always works out and that nothing is limited, except by our beliefs.

Pam Grout

“Happiness comes from many sources, but none of these sources involve car or purse upgrades.”—Mr. Money Mustacheabundance

Last November, at an executive women’s retreat in Orlando, I met a brilliant CPA named Christi. I feel compelled to mention that I wasn’t at this weekend retreat because I’m an executive woman. I work in my pajamas. I was there because I was invited to give a two-hour presentation which, you’ll be happy to hear, I didn’t give in my PJ’s.

But this story isn’t about me.

It’s about Christi who is brilliant, not just because she helps clients with taxes and financial planning and all that other left-brain rigamarole, but because she helps them really understand money. Not in the way most of us understand money, but in the way money really is.

She considers it her duty to make sure they know that money is energy and that those numbers…

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A Whimsical Tale

Friday Fictioneers is run by Rochelle. This week’s  picture prompt comes to us by way of Sandra Crook.  Enjoy other stories Here.


I stood in front of the nearly-ruined building.  The streetlight standing in front looked just like one from the video game “Fallout 4”.  I marveled at the way the structure managed to remain standing, again like “Fallout 4”.  As I continued my search, my gaze settled on the Smart Car sitting in front of the building.  I had always wanted one of those.  Suddenly, it started its own engine, then simply pulled forward a few yards and took off…from the ground and into the air!  Was there someone inside?  Was the door gone? My! Now, I want one of THOSE!


100 Words – Namaste,


Writing as a Life or Adding to Life

I just finished reading a wonderful post article here >>>  4AM Writer – 5 Ways Failure is Good for You <<<.  Now, this post is not really so much about failure being good and I am not one to really tell you. See, I did a lot of research on “how” to publish a short story before I even tried to write it.  I learned what I could, then wrote a story and used my research to figure out who to send it to.  The result?  I sent it to three publishers and didn’t hear from 2 and the other one published it.  He also (Kevin is Great!) published 3 of my other short stories and I had 3 other shorts published by 2 publishers and one individual who was collecting flash fiction.  Her collection never got published, one of the other 2 publishers wanted the story, but the entire collection fell through, and one was online and I don’t think that link is even good anymore (funny as that one paid the best).  But Kevin G Bufton from the UK and I worked together for about 2 years and I loved working with him.  He has, since, quit being a publisher and has written his novel.  He told me I was like a “young Robert Bloc”.  I loved that!  Big compliment for a horror writer.

I have also published 2 more books on Kindle and 1 more under a pseudonym.  The kindle ones are not really counted in my “I have been published” statements because I published them myself and anyone can do that, so nix on that as counting.

The point being I really never went through that “fail” part of writing (at least, not yet).  I was published early and have enjoyed being able to say I am published.

I don’t remember the source, but I did read one person who stated that if you are going to write, first figure out why you are writing.  If you are writing just to write, then write – you are done.  If you are writing to be published, then do self-publishing – you are done.  If you are wanting to make money writing, then it is NOW a job and you have to learn how to work with others, change your stuff, etc…

I did the first two with not much problem.  Number 3 is still not true.  I have made some money, but the total is, probably, less than $200 for about 7-8 years of work.  Not a huge income.  However, I am happy, at present, because I have been selected and did receive monies for my works.  Therefore, I feel I am a successful writer w/o the huge income.

I read Stephen King’s “On Writing”.  This is a truly wonderful semi-autobiography and you should read it, in my opinion, if you are going to be a writer.  He is very honest, open, and compelling here.  I loved reading the book and it helped me understand where a lot of his ideas came from.  Just as one note:  King tells how his first novel, “Carrie”, was one he threw in the trash.  The next morning when he got up to write, there was a note from his wife, Tabitha (a writer in her own right), which was with the manuscript on his desk saying, “You should send this in”.  I believe he got an advance of about $125,000 from this book.  It started him on his way.

Myself, I write horror shorts that take a situation, twist it a bit, then tell a story, then add a twist at the end.  The best example I can think of is the show series “Black Mirror”.  Now, I hated the first episode or story, but after that, fabulous.  They do the same, though.  You are watching a show and enjoying it, then it turns really dark, then, at the end, it twists and isn’t at all what you were thinking.  Kinda like the old “Twilight Zone” or “Outer Limits”.

Anyway, that’s the way I love to write.  So, to get ideas, I think of a situation.  One was mermaids or sirens. I took the idea of luring boats to their doom, modernized it, had a group of twenty-somethings get taken in by it, then twisted it so the end left you just a bit hanging, but still finished the story.  I called it “Sirens of the Deep”, I believe, and it was my first published story.

And don’t think there aren’t mistakes in all of them.  Even that first story, after sending it in, I found a mistake in which I mixed up the names of two people and had a person who had been killed, up fighting as the wrong person.  I sent in a correction and Kevin sent it to the book makers, but they didn’t put it in and so the mistake lives on!  I have even found a mistake in a later story I published on Kindle, but you can go buy the book if you want to see (link on left here).

Finishing up, I just think that the best thing you can do to not give up and stop writing or trying to publish is to:

  1. Do your research.  Publishers are notorious for giving you very specific things they want when you send in the story, like font, word count, page numbers, title just so, etc… For a lot of them, if you miss one thing on this list, they toss your story, unread, into the trash pile.  They figure you can’t follow directions, then they don’t want to work with you.
  2. Write your story and edit it a couple of times.  Have someone or two someones read the story.  I have people read mine for two things:  some people read for grammar and others just to see how they like it.  It is hard to do both at the same time.  Don’t keep revising forever….just a few times, see that it’s decent or near-perfect to you, then send it in to your list or best choice of publishers.
  3. Make sure the publishers are fair and right for your story.  You wouldn’t go to the produce section of the grocery to get cheese.  Why send in a western story to a sci-fi magazine?  It is a waste of time and your money.
  4. Don’t pay someone to publish your story or book. They should pay you for the story.  They should get a commission for the book. Too many people out there take your $200-500 to read your story, give suggestions, and say they will publish it.  They should not charge you to publish the book unless  you are specifically paying a publishing house to do exactly that.  Send in the few pages and synopsis or whatever they ask for (no money) and wait to hear back.
  5. Don’t send your story or book to more than one publisher at a time unless the publishers allow that.
  6. Don’t give up any rights to the story or book until you have settled everything else and are comfortable with the contract.  There are publishers out there who will send you a contract and, in signing that contract, you have effectively given them the book to do with as they choose for a long time and you can’t send it anywhere else even if they never make a cent from it.  Also, make certain you are being paid fairly.  I had a hard time signing that first contract (e-contract, at that) and had to ask some questions and get answers. Kevin was great about it and it kept a good paper trail.
  7. Make sure you send yourself an electronic copy of the book (attachment) in several formats to that you can prove you were the first to write this story.  That is a valid copyright method for writers.  That time-stamped email will help if someone decides to copy your story or book and resell it as their own.

There are lots more, but I think this is a good start.  Enjoy your writing, enjoy your story, and don’t worry if you don’t get published right away.  Keep your options open, read a lot, do your research, and enjoy the process, most of all.



Welcome to My Parlor

Welcome to Friday Fictioneers.  This is a weekly writing exercise where you, use up to 100 words (no more) to write a complete story based on a photo prompt.  This week’s photo is from Sarah Potter.  Thanks, Sarah.  I had great fun with this one.  If you want to read more stories (or do one of your own) click here –> More Stories <–  The entire shingding is hosted by Rochelle.




Welcome to My Parlor – Word Count 100 By Scott L Vannatter

George really liked, maybe loved, Sarah.  So, when she called him over to see the new spider “home” because he was a “web” designer, he rushed to her place.  Sure enough, it was an amazing web, in the kitchen, quite large and looking out-of-place.

“You should see the one in my bedroom,” Sarah said behind him.

George turned to smile at the innuendo and started screaming.  There was Sarah, six extra furry arms, sticking out from her back.

She used four of them to pick George up like he was nothing.  A spider’s mouth spoke to him.

“My children are…hungry.”



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