2nd Story “A Cup of Tea” Published as Guest Blog

Once again, the good folks at Stories from the Soul have considered one of my short stories worthy of appearing on their site! Always a nice feeling. My short story A Cup of Tea was published on Thursday 10 March 2023. Here’s the opening paragraph. Hope you enjoy it and have a few moments to read the rest of the story.

Nothing is more hospitable in the world, or so my travels have taught me, than a cup of tea with a congenial host. That little gesture, seen in British television and movies, is best experienced in real life. I had such an occasion – so comforting at a time when I had needed it – that it has stayed in my memory for three decades now. Read rest of story here.

Read more about the site here:

Stories from the Soul Blog - Stories by Women, for Women

Time for me to get back to work goes on with the Freelan Series and other WIPs.

Best wishes to you all on your endeavors!


N3F 2022 Short Story Contest Official Announcement

About a month ago, I was proud to announce that I had been informed about winning third prize in the National Fantasy Fan Federation (N3F) 2022 Short Story Contest. Recently, I got their member newsletter with the official announcement and wanted to share that part with you (to see the full newsletter, become a member).

I have been told that the winners will be published at some point and will keep you alerted, or you can sign up for a membership and get a copy in your email. Visit their website for more information. The announcement for the 2023 Short Story Contest isn’t up on their site yet, so keep checking back.

Hope you found this helpful and have been inspired to start and/or continue writing!

Please check out my works in progress (WIPs). And thanks for reading.

Disclaimer: I get no compensation for links in this post or on my site to other sites and/or products.

A.C.’s Journal: Entry 21 – Becoming a Storyteller

Not sure how or why, but since I began working on my first long work of fiction Hammil Valley Rising, following it up with eight or nine more drafts of rather long works and then deciding to veer off into short stories for a bit of a “side trip,” I have found the ideas coming more easily. Practice not making perfect, but certainly easier, it seems. I have become a storyteller.

“But hey,” you might say, “they’re not published.”

True, but I have had a number of people read some, have had a few posted online (one was a bit mangled but still readable), and one just won third prize in a short story contest, and the response has been fairly positive with one person commenting on my imagination and another on my use of language. I wonder if this is all because my consumption of hot tea has increased lately. Hmm. It could be that at my age I have a lot more life experiences tucked away in my brain, and this is how they’re coming back out. Either way, I’m enjoying the experience.

Oops! Another idea is trying to pop out. Time for more hot tea and getting my fingers typing. Have a great one, all. And tell your story!

Also see:

2 Stories Shine in N3F Org 2022 Short Story Contest

Fantasy is a genre into which I have only recently dipped a toe. That dipping has been due to George Phillies, President of The National Fantasy Fan Federation (N3F). In the summer of 2022 he asked if he could use a couple of my Writing Tips articles in one of the federation’s newsletters that go out to members. I agreed. Then he asked to use another, and I again agreed. (See my post here.) Then I told him to go ahead and use any others he wanted. The partnership seems amenable.

But the best was yet to come.

George’s request prompted me to peruse the federation’s website where I saw a link to their short story contest for 2022. I dug back through some old writings. A story I had written years ago was still in my mind. I found it, touched it up, and submitted it. Later, I wrote other stories and thought one would also fit their contest, so I sent it in. Entries were being accepted through December 31st, so the hard part of waiting for the results began.

And a couple days ago, I got that result!

Book of Memories won third prize.

The B’raith was a finalist.

Such satisfaction to know that others found my work pleasurable and worthy. My thanks to them all. (The stories were assessed without the assessor knowing the author’s name.)

Watch this page on their site for the announcement of the winners for 2022 (finalists aren’t listed there, though). And members will get the stories in their email or mail.

If you’re not a member, send a message on the Contact page to sign up or request a copy. I respect their setup and so cannot send out the publication to anyone directly.

Meanwhile, I will continue writing more fantasy stories. Frankly, I find them rather freeing, letting my imagination soar. I have also noticed that I have a hard time ending them on a negative note. Even the most horrific incidents I can imagine are overcome with things ending happily for the most part.

About N3F

If you’re a fan and/or author of science fiction and fantasy, the National Fan Fantasy Federation is an organization you’ll want to check out.

The organization was formed in 1941, long before the internet. Their mission is bringing together fans of “science fiction and fantasy, broadly defined.” They eschew politics and focus on the fiction, tough to do these days and rather rare. It’s also refreshing.

Over the years, the group has embraced the new technology, having a noticeable presence online with their website, some e-mail only publications such as the above-named newsletter, and social media groups such as this one.

They have members-only groups that include a Writer’s workshop, an Artist’s Bureau, the WelCommittee (the original one), fanzines, and a Games Bureau. If you’re an author, you can also request a critique.


  • The National Fantasy Fan, the club newsletter, containing “club business, information about club activities and areas of interest, free space for member ads, member art, poetry, letters of comment, member-written articles and reviews, and other fannish material.” Emailed as a PDF attachment or paper copy sent through mail (at considerably greater expense).
  • Tightbeam (email-only zine) – art, long and short reviews of books and fanzines, and letters of comment.
  • Ionisphere (email-only zine) – the journal of the N3F Fan-Pro Coordinating Activity Bureau, promotes “a closer relationship between science fiction and fantasy fans and the writers and editors and artists who create this form of literature.” Also publishes long interviews with famous fans and writers. Currently bimonthly.
  • N’APA (email-only zine) – amateur press association, bimonthly.
  • Origin (email-only zine) – no description on site.
  • The N3F Review of Books (email-only zine) – no description on site.
  • Eldritch Science (email-only zine) – fiction, poetry, and art magazine, publishes longer works of fiction (7500 words to complete novels), poems, and related artwork.
  • Films Fantastic (email-only zine) – no description on site.
  • Mangaverse. (email-only zine) – manga, anime, comic books, and aspects of Japanese culture.
  • Occasional books or shorter pamphlets

Hope you found this helpful and have been inspired to check them out.

Disclaimer: I get no compensation for links in this post or on my site to other sites and/or products.

My First Ever Horror Genre Short Story Posted

As a followup to the flash fiction (<1,000 words) story Walter that was posted a couple weeks ago on a site called The Writers Club, I sent them Wind Down the Chimney, my first ever horror genre short story (>7k words). Happy to say that it was just posted but sadly without centering where I had and without the italicized and bolded text. Never fear. I have posted here a PDF copy in its correct form instead.

These little works of short fiction give me a break from the long work on the Freelan Series.

Hope you’ll have a quick moment to read Wind Down the Chimney, a haunted tale featuring newlyweds Jane and Blake Andrews and perfect for this Halloween weekend!

Click to access wind-down-the-chimney.pdf

And don’t be afraid to try something new with your writing. You never know what might happen.