Another Short Story Finds a Home

TAMELESS (1)

Hey. I haven’t had a chance to share this because I’ve been so busy with NaNo but I had another short story published. Which you can read for free online in the Salt Lily Magazine…

*PG13 warning* This story is a direct modern translation of a scene from Taming of the Shrew. Some of Shakespeare’s inappropriate jokes survived the translation. Plus some swears here and there.

Even if you don’t read the story, you still should check out Salt Lily Magazine. They often feature artists and musicians and just have really great content.

 

READ HERE:

I Randomly Generated an Emotional Short Story using only Shrek References

shrek

Swamp Feelings

A Short Story
by Val Manwill

Shrek had always loved the stinky swamp with its bad, bitter boulders. It was a place where he felt lonely.

He was a green, scary, muskrat stew drinker with green skin and large hands. His friends saw him as an old-fashioned, obnoxious ogre. Once, he had even revived a dying, legless gingerbread man. That’s the sort of man he was.

Shrek walked over to the window and reflected on his muddy surroundings. Duloc teased in the distance like fighting dragons.

Then he saw something in the distance, or rather someone. It was the figure of Donkay. Donkay was a big donkey with a hideous tail and powerful fur.

Shrek gulped. He was not prepared for Donkay.

As Shrek stepped outside and Donkay came closer, he could see the important glint in his eye.

Donkay gazed with the affection of 3765 ugly fine fairy tale creatures. He said, in hushed tones, “I love you and I want friendship.”

Shrek looked back, even more gassy and still fingering the Shrekish goblet. “Donkay, ogres are like onions,” he replied.

They looked at each other with angry feelings, like two breakable, burnt blind mice saving at a very ogre quest, which had Smashmouth music playing in the background and two shreky uncles swamping to the beat.

Shrek studied Donkay’s hideous tail and powerful skin. Eventually, he took a deep breath. “I’m sorry,” began Shrek in apologetic tones, “but I don’t feel the same way, and I never will. I just don’t love you Donkay.”

Donkay looked god-like, his emotions raw like a prickly, pretty pitchfork.

Shrek could actually hear Donkay’s emotions shatter into 7420 pieces. Then the big donkey hurried away into the distance.

Not even a drink of muskrat stew would calm Shrek’s nerves tonight.

THE END
Many thanks to the plot generator for this piece of important literature:

Writing Update and News!

Hey, I’ve been sitting on this news for a while now… but I am officially a professionally published author! Yay! One of my short stories, The Prisoner, has been picked up by an anthology called Bubble Off Plum (more on that later). I actually found out about it, the day I gave birth to Casey. I was laying on my bed, trying to tell if my contractions were real or false, when I opened the email. I get a lot of emails from editors and agents that are the usual thank you but… THIS ONE WASN’T. It started off with “Congratulations!” I was like, YEAH woohoo… this is a really weird day. haha

The Prisoner (1)

THE PRISONER: Flynn plans to escape his new prison cell despite his bunk mate’s efforts to stop him.

It got picked up by the first and only place I submitted it to! And ah, I was so glad too. I love this story. Like, I love all my stories because they’re my brainchildren, but this one is top notch. ANYWAYS, I don’t want to give away too much about it, because I want you to read it!
I am SUPER stoked for this anthology too. It’s full of weird twisted little stories and should be an excellent read. Almost a thousand people submitted stories and they ended up picking 27 for the final compilation. I tell you that to convince you of the quality of the anthology… also I’m bragging. The ebook is already purchasable at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. On Friday, paperback versions will be available. More details can be found here. But it should be a pretty good one!

Other than that, I’ve been working on other stuff. I have five or six other stories out on submission right now and ACTUALLY I began writing another novel. I got to the halfway mark, 25k words, the night before I had Casey. So finishing it has been a much slower process. It’s a lil’ YA romantic comedy about a socially awkward boy who is courted by a confident outgoing girl. Like a reverse of the guy-in-pursuit trope. Anyways, it’s been really fun to write, but I’m kind of in an odd place right now with novels. I took a minute to write down all the ideas I had for books (a LOT) and I organized them into genres. What I discovered was that I either write light and funny YA rom coms OR creepy big twist thrillers… and nothing in the middle. I’m either one or the other.

I felt that this was a bit complicated because… how do you brand yourself for both of those audiences? Ultimately, I felt that probably my thrillers were the stronger, more marketable ideas and more conducive to an actual writing career. But now I am pretty torn because I have two YA contemporaries that I don’t know what to do with (Okay, one and half a draft.) I could pursue self-publishing with one genre and traditional with the other. Or maybe go whole-hog, this-is-me-as-an-author and try to brand for both. Who knows. There are SO many nuts and bolts to figure out when it comes to selling fiction and all I want in the world is to have an agent or a publisher or someone to just tell me what the eff to do with all these ideas I have!

For now, I guess I’ll just keep writing.

HELP! I NEED READERS!

In between sending out queries and waiting, I’ve been factory producing short stories. Now I have a small pile on my desk that I need help evaluating before I try to send them to any magazines… do you think you could help a sista out??

I have a ton of options. Lots of different genres. If you could spare anywhere from two to seventeen-page reading minutes. Oh my goodness, that would help me out SO MUCH!

 

WANTED:

HISTORY-LOVER FOR AN ACCURATE STORY ABOUT THE TITANIC

Quick Synopsis: Edith Russel was an American fashion designer and journalist. She was also a first-class passenger on The Titanic. This is her story, compiled from her own accounts of what happened that night.

Little Pig

4,640 words. Reading Time: 16 minutes

 

WANTED:

A GOOD SENSE OF HUMOR FOR A QUIRKY RETELLING OF TAMING OF THE SHREW

Quick Synopsis: Raven hates everyone at school and does a great job keeping them away… except for overly-confident jock Tristan Dolton who won’t stop asking her to prom.

TAMELESS (1)

Disclaimer: I tried to translate the language from its Shakespearean predecessor as closely as I could realistically… that being said, the most ratchet dirty jokes survived into this draft. (lol) PLEASE Do not sign up for this story if you can’t handle a heavy PG-13 level of crudeness, language or an insufferable male character who doesn’t understand the word ‘no’.

2,110 words. Reading Time: 7 minutes.

 

WANTED:

OVERWORKED PARENT FOR A MOMMY STORY ABOUT BRUNCH

Quick Synopsis: Rather than go to a prestigious restaurant with her friends, Melissa stays home and battles her daughter over a peanut butter sandwich.

BRUNCH BUDDIES

1,136 words. Reading Time: 4 minutes.

 

WANTED:

THRILLS AND CHILLS SEEKER FOR SOME SERIOUS TWILIGHT ZONE WEIRDNESS

Quick Synopsis: Lauren believes she has met the perfect man, until he spontaneously combusts on the floor of her apartment.

MR. RIGHT

2,240 words. Reading Time: 12 minutes.

 

Here is the Google Form where you can sign up for any and all stories that you would like. Just be sure to drop your email and we’ll be in touch. Thanks!

 

Also, low-key, I have ANOTHER short story being published in an anthology which is now available for PRE-ORDER y’all! “A Quick Visit” is a YA Contemporary with some romantic feels (not unlike my novel). It will be available in Utah’s Emerging Writers: An Anthology which comes out on September 16th. If you want it a couple of weeks earlier you can order it here: https://www.zpublishinghouse.com/products/utahs-emerging-writers-an-anthology?variant=14625753694323

 

My Actually Haunted Ghost Story

Ever since I started writing this horror short story, strange things have been happening to me.

 

The very first night that I even began outlining… something really creepy happened. A sound came over my baby monitor. A high-pitched trill that sounded like someone screaming. Dan and I just stared at each other like… whaaaaaaaaat is that?? It had never done anything like that before or anything since… I didn’t tell Dan that I was working on a ghost story at the time and tried to pretend like it wasn’t the creepiest thing ever.

After the baby monitor thing, I tried to listen to music when I worked on the story. But the music would inexplicably turn itself on and off.

Then, one night I had a vivid nightmare that I was lying on the floor of my apartment and couldn’t get up. This weirdly-lit guy was standing by the wall, grinning at me. He slowly came closer and closer to my face. I woke up gasping and thrashing my arms trying to push him away. Dan calmed me down. The next day the light had burnt out in the spot the man had “stood” in my nightmare.

creepy lighting

After I had written the story and revised it. I was cleaning a bottle for my son at the kitchen sink when I saw a man in a blue jacket walk across my backyard. Thinking it was my husband I dashed to the other window to wave hi… no one was there. And I know, because I frantically checked ALL of my windows and EVERY inch of my backyard.

I finally finished revising the darn story. Good. I exited completely out of Word. And I started to play around on the internet… when the thing RE-OPENED ITSELF onto my computer. I think I wrote a ghost story that in and of itself became haunted.

5prtl

So… anyone want to read it?

Ava, a true skeptic, has no problem cleaning and closing The Redd’s Theater by herself at night… even though it is said to be haunted by a magician who murdered his wife there. 5,000 words

If you are brave enough to challenge the haunted ghost story, you can fill out the application below and I will email it to you. (All I ask in return is that you tell me what you thought of it.) HAPPY HALLOWEEN!