The Final Flash! Friday Fiction, & A Thank You to Rebekah

“Balancing on the Brink.” Eagle Peak Summit, Chugach Mountains, Alaska. CC2.0 photo by Paxson Woelber.

A few weeks ago, fearless dragoness and Flash Friday leader Rebekah announced she was closing the weekly Flash! Friday competition. While we Flash writers are sad, I understand Rebekah’s desire to send us out into the world, and her desire to concentrate on her own novel writing (and, people, she is seriously one of the best writers I’ve ever read, so watch for her to storm the world soon.) Huzzah!

Though I wrote these two pieces for the final Flashversary contest last Friday, I waited to post them until today because a) I didn’t want Rebekah to see them while she was judging (in case she was going to pick ME ME ME to win!), and b) (and probably the more truthful answer) I’ve been neck-deep in episodes of Outlander for the last few days.

But here they are – my final two Flash! Friday stories, each 100 words on the dot, as prescribed by the rules. The photo prompt was optional, but we were required to start our stories with the sentence, “On Friday everything changed.” One of my tiny tales is funny & light, the other an homage to the woman, the contest, and my fellow writers who’ve given so very much to me. I am 100% certain if I had not had the support from this flash community and my Shenandoah Valley Writers, I would not be a published author today. So thank you, Rebekah. Thank you, all!

Just Call It Puppy Love, 2015-style

On Friday everything changed.

It was totally like that old Cure song, you know? I was in love.

He was epic. Sick. Black hair slung low over ice blue eyes.

Full-on gone, peeps.

On Saturday we went out. Mashed all night.

I don’t care what Shanna says. I can’t even. Hashtag jealous liar.

Monday Tuesday Wednesday, just me and my bae.

On Thursday we hit the club. He hit on everyone in sight.

Shanna says she told me so. I told her off.

Thank God tomorrow’s Friday. Can I get an amen?

‘Cause on Friday, everything changes.

Hashtag so over.

In Praise of Dragons

On Friday, everything changed.

No, that’s a lie.

On Flash Fridays, I changed.

I took off the mask I’d worn for so long, bared my soul to the world.
I screamed, “Here I am. Take your best shot.”
I stood, vulnerable, heart wide open, awaiting written arrows, verbal bullets.

They never came.

I’m still standing.

I’ve come too far now to turn back.
I’ve spread my wings. Showed my scales.

She taught me how.

Just show up, she said.
Be kind. Give generously. Praise others.
Some will tear you down.
But you will rise up.

For love always wins.


And there you have it. I will certainly miss these weekly bursts of creativity, but hope to take the skills, enthusiasm, and delight in the written word that this contest sparked and infuse it through all of my future writings. Thank you, Flash!Friday.


Writer Wednesday: Meet Foy Iver!

Foy Pic2-4-6-8, what do we appreciate? Wednesday! Wednesday! W-r-r-r-iter Wednesday!

And I doubly appreciate it today, because my good friend and deliciously fabulous writer Foy Iver is with me. Foy’s way with words steals my breath every time, folks – if you haven’t read her flash fiction in the places listed below, go seek it out. You won’t be sorry.

I recently enticed her to come share a little about herself, a quick bite, flash-esque interview, as it were, so I hope you read a little and comment a lot. Let’s show Foy some writerly love!

What inspires you to write?

Writing doesn’t come easily for me. Usually my best stories or poems are born out of painful experiences that I need to process: a miscarriage, the death of a friend, my own failings. Through writing, I pull out those emotions, flip them upside down and around, study them, understand them, and then imprison them on the page.

comfrey herbName one interesting thing you learned in researching/writing your last book.

Research is my enchanted fruit. I could spend years digging up useless gems of information while the meat of my story lies rotting in my brain. Semi-useless fact #19203742893: Comfrey (also known as Knitbone [is that not the coolest name ever]), was used to promote healing in broken bones in the early days of medicine.

Name two things people don’t know about you.

1) I recently left my job to be a full-time writer. This is the first in seven years that I haven’t been employed or seeking employment. Yes, it feels odd.

2) I struggled with reading until about the age of twelve when letters just fell into place. After that you couldn’t get my nose out of a book.

What one piece of advice do you wish you’d had when first starting out?
So your inner editor sees a rhinosaurus? Let others have a peek. They might spy a prize-winning unicorn in the making.

Fountain penBio:

Foy S. Iver is a flash fiction author and fantasy writer. Her stories have found homes at several online sites, including Flash! Friday, Micro Bookends, Three Line Thursday, Angry Hourglass, Paragraph Planet, & Visual Verse. She chases after the FlashDogs and has a few pieces in their solstice Light & Dark Anthologies.

Find her on Twitter @fs_iver or drop by her site, In the non-virtual universe, she lives with her husband and Blue Heeler in the mountains of Northern Virgina.

Wahoo! Thanks so much, Foy – such an honor to host you here. 🙂

Flash Friday! Fiction: Donne In

Naufragos/Shipwrecked. CC2.0 photo by Luis Marina.
Naufragos/Shipwrecked. CC2.0 photo by Luis Marina.

Donne In (112 words)

No man is an island, Donne said. Maybe. But it sure as hell sucks to be marooned on one.

One thousand four hundred and thirty seven days, I’ve watched the gulls crash into each other, fighting over the same fish, never giving quarter. One thousand four hundred and thirty seven days, I’ve thought back to that night, that splitting of fate, forking of destiny.

If only I’d gone left when you turned right. If only we’d never met, never touched, never tangled. You’d still be alive, and I wouldn’t have spent one thousand four hundred and thirty seven days ruing his temper, my passivity, and his damn boat that dropped me here.

The challenge? Take Moby Dick, and distill it down into 100 (+/- 25) words. Okay, not really – but Moby Dick was our novel prompt. A tiny tale based on a whale of story? Ayup. Captain Rebekah gave us these guidelines:

Today in a brilliant marriage of form and theme, and to the great relief of Literature students everywhere, we’re daring to condense one of the world’s densest novels into a flurry of flash (which is where many students feel it belongs anyway). That’s right: today we’re tackling Moby Dickthe blubber-infused tale of a raging, peg-legged sea captain bent on avenging himself on the white whale responsible for his injury. (Reminder: you are not required to have read this novel to write stories inspired by its elements. Second collective sigh of relief.)

Story elements (base your story on any TWO of these elements; be sure to tell us which two you chose.)

* Conflict: man v self, man v nature (not gender specific)
Character (choose at least one): a wooden-legged sea captain, a pacifist forced to help with someone else’s revenge, an easygoing storyteller oblivious to danger, a chief’s son/prince working on a ship, a mighty whale.
Theme (choose one): revenge, fate v free will, the power of Nature, friendship, the cost of obsession
Setting (choose one): a whaling ship, a sea port, an island, the middle of the ocean

I went with the cost of obsession and an island. What do you think? Did I need another 100,000 words or so to flesh out my fiction?

Swim on over to Flash Friday! to read more sea-worthy selections, and perhaps contribute one of your own!

Writer Wednesday: Meet Josh Bertetta!

JoshBertettaHey hi howdy-ho, pardners! It’s Wednesday, and you know what that means. Yup – it’s WRITER Wednesday. Wahoowa!

Today I’m delighted to have fellow Flash Friday competitor Joshua Bertetta here to visit. Josh writes some amazing flash (I know, because when I was serving as judge, I picked one of his pieces to win! Bwah ha ha!), and is an all-around friendly and fascinating guy (how many people do you know who hold a doctorate in Mythological Studies? And why didn’t *I* pursue that in grad school?)

He’d love to hear from you in the comments, so spread the writerly love, will you?

Also: authors, I have some openings coming up for future Writer Wednesdays, starting in October. Please email me if you’d like to take part!

What inspires you to write?

Ooh, this is a tough one. I have a very broad base of interests as demonstrated on my blog. We’ve probably all heard the adage “Every picture is worth a thousand words.” Can’t we reverse it too, and say every word is worth a thousand pictures? Images (visibility not required), ideas, words, they all inspire me in one way or another. As long as something moves me in one direction or another–that is all the inspiration I need to write at least something.

ffbadgeName one interesting thing you learned in researching/writing your last book.

My WIP is a biography about the first person to ever be arrested for selling steroids. I learned there is a lot more to issues surrounding steroids than the media has presented over the past 30 or so years. In particular, I learned anabolic steroids developed in the 1950s America essentially as a Cold War weapon employed in the international sporting arena.

[ML: Holy cow, really? I need to read this book.]

Name two things people don’t know about you.

That depends on the who. As far as the flash community goes, I’d say most don’t know I am three-plus years sober and that I have an autistic son.

What one piece of advice do you wish you’d had when first starting out?

Join on-line flash fiction communities. They are a great way to meet other fantastic writers and hone your own craft by playing with genre, style, voice, etc.

[ML: I absolutely agree. Flash Friday was my first public venture into writing–and the first time I received acclaim from people other than my friends and family for fiction I’d written. I owe a lot to those confidence-boosting mentions.] 

What’s Josh Up To?

clotheslinebooksI don’t have any publications to speak of, but I would invite readers to stop by my blog at, where in addition to my flash fiction stories, I have excerpts from my first novel (for which I’m seeking publication) and essays on mythology, religion, spirituality, psychology, culture and society. A good sampling of all my little interests and inspirations.


Josh Bertetta holds a Ph.D in Mythological Studies and teaches in the Religious Studies department at a small private university in central Texas. He is an aspiring author and a father of three boys. He loves to cook and garden.

Thanks so much for popping in, Josh! Can’t wait to feature you again when your novel is available!

Special Guest Interview: Aria Glazki Talks about Mortal Musings!

Aria GlazkiEvery once in a while, I break my Wednesday and Thursday traditions and go crazy by interviewing an author on a completely different day. I know, insanity. AND OH SO FUN!

Today I’m delighted to have Aria Glazki pop in to tell us a bit about herself and her new slightly paranormal romance novel, Mortal Musings.

Aria said to me, “Thanks so much for having me, Margaret! It’s great chatting with a fellow romance author & Flash! Friday enthusiast ;),” to which I have to say, the pleasure is entirely mine. We romance authors have to stick together (especially since the world of flash is often populated with tragedies and not-so-happy endings. At least the flash I’ve read.)!

And … here we go! Enjoy!

Why romance? What draws you to this genre over others? When people criticize you about your reading/writing genre of choice (and if they don’t, I need to hang around with your people), what do you say?

Romance as a genre allows us to genuinely delve into people’s psyches and personalities; we can get to know people from all walks of life, in all sorts of situations, who nevertheless all experience that fundamental human desire of finding love—and then we get to see them do that! We get to see characters through the tough times and to an uplifting point in their story. Happy endings leave readers upbeat, which is that extra little benefit to romance.

People around me absolutely criticize the genre, but I’m actually lucky that many of those closest to me make an effort to read romance novels following my recommendations. Some have still never read a romance novel and consider the genre beneath them, or lacking intellectual value, so I just point out all the benefits of romance; that many classics (like Pride & Prejudice) would be classified as romance if they were published today; and that these people are likely thinking about stereotypes from bad romance novels, since they’ve never actually bothered to read the genre themselves. I sometimes add that the only rules in romance are that it has to be about a central couple finding love and it has to end happily, so the range within the genre is as broad as within all of fiction—which means the only way someone could not like the entire genre is if they’re somehow categorically opposed to a happy ending. Most people recognize how silly that is.

How long did it take you get Mortal Musings from head to page to printed book?

All told, from the very first word written to publication, it’s been almost 10 years! That’s a scary thought. But from the moment I picked up the old, unfinished draft and started over, it’s been just over two years.

Tell us about Mortal Musings’ journey to publication. As a fellow indie author, I want to know all the steps you took, and why you felt indie was the right way for this book.

clotheslinebooksThis journey has been so long and complex… Skipping past discouragement from established authors that led me to shelving the story and forward to when I picked it back up, I went through the pretty normal stages of writing and revising (and revising, and revising). I did query a few agents with this book, but everywhere I turned, agents were saying that paranormal romance wasn’t selling and they weren’t acquiring. So, I moved on to querying some publishers.

Mortal Musings received several offers, and I spent almost 6 months evaluating and negotiating those. But ultimately, those offers didn’t work out, for business reasons and for creative ones. (One editor suggested I add toilet humor! Not really my style.) A common theme I was hearing from the publishers, though, was that they didn’t want any substantive changes. So the manuscript was pretty much ready, there was just the question of the business side.

It was intimidating, but I’ve thought for a while now that the smartest path for modern-day authors was hybrid—indie and traditional. It seemed like this book was being pushed away from the traditional path, and truly what I care about is getting the story in readers’ hands, so I chose to bet on myself. A lot of research and quite a bit of work later, Mortal Musings is finally available to readers!

What’s the hardest thing you find about being an indie author? What’s the most enjoyable?

The most difficult thing is knowing that every decision is entirely in your hands, which means you’re responsible for every success or failure. It can be paralyzing, but I try to remember no one moment is life-or-death and there’s always something to be learned from the results, good or bad.

The best is the same with indie and traditional publishing—seeing readers loving the story!

ffbadgeYou’re a regular on Flash Friday – how do you think writing flash, or poetry, illuminates and aids your novel writing…if it does? 😉

Flash or even short fiction really allows you to focus in on a particular situation or character, and like poetry, it forces you to be concise yet evocative at once. For me, it’s almost like running drills, since we should aim for that same efficiency in whatever we write, but it’s also a wonderful opportunity to create something whole in one or two writing sessions, as opposed to the longer term of novels.

What’s up next from you?

I don’t know! Publishing is so unpredictable, I am not yet sure which story will be available next. I will continue to write and hopefully to publish in one way or another. Anyone interested can stay up to date on my next steps through my blog or social media.

The must-know on Mortal Musings:

Mortal Musings CoverMuse Alexandra has had it with the arrogant, ungrateful humans she is obligated to inspire. When the internal ranting of her latest charge pushes her past reason, she disregards the rules and forces her own words through his fingers, and is instantly entrapped in mortal form. With no magic, no identity, and no resources, Allie has no alternative but to navigate the mortal realm, depending entirely on her reluctant host while discerning what exactly caused her transformation — and how to reverse it.

Brett doesn’t have a chance to consider the words that mysteriously showed up on his screen; he’s too distracted by the stunning woman who appeared in his office out of nowhere. Before his brain can catch up, Brett’s uninvited guest becomes enmeshed in his everyday life. Her artless innocence gradually lessens his suspicions. Most importantly, the writer’s block that’s been plaguing him dissolves under the fantasies the naively beguiling Alexandra inspires.

All too soon, the forced proximity sparks a confounding awareness neither writer nor muse are able to resist.

Find Mortal Musings here!:

Autographed paperbacks:

Amazon US:

Amazon UK:

Amazon CAN:




A Bit About Aria:

writingAria’s writing story started when her seventh-grade English teacher encouraged her to submit a class assignment for publication. That piece was printed, and let’s just say, she was hooked!

Since then, Aria has run a literary magazine, earned her degree in Creative Writing (as well as in French and Russian literatures), and been published here and there. Her novels Mending Heartstrings and Mortal Musings are now available for purchase. Though her first kiss technically came from a bear cub, and no fairytale transformation followed, Aria still believes magic can happen when the right people come together—if they don’t get in their own way, that is.

Other than all things literary, Aria loves spending time with her family, including her two unbearably adorable nieces. She also dabbles in painting, dancing, playing violin, and, given the opportunity, Epicureanism.

Want to connect with Aria? She’s here!:





Thanks for visiting with us today, Aria! I’m looking forward to reading Mortal Musings (yes, I already have a copy in my grubby little hands. Well, okay, in my less-grubby little iPad) and wish you the best success with it!