Short story

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Publishers Need You!

Published December 27, 2013 by M E McMahon


If you’re a writer, a poet or a photographer, I’m sure you dream of having your work published.  Perhaps you’ve already accomplished that goal and can add the publication of your work to your list of credits when submitting your future work to publishers. But, what if there were no more markets for your hard work?  What if print magazines became a thing of the past or e-zines become extinct due to lack of support?  Where are we to go? What happens to those great short stories, those touching poems or those amazing photos?

No one will see them.  That’s what happens.  How can we prevent that? We can support the publishers that do take a chance on us…who dedicate their time and resources to helping others to get our work in front of the public.

Many of these magazines are run by people who take no salary; they make nothing. Why do they do it? Because they believe in us and they don’t want to stem the tide of creativity that flows from our words or photos. But, with hard economic times, many of these publications are closing their doors.  They need money to continue supporting new and emerging writers; gifted poets and talented photographers.

We must keep in mind that self-publishing is not an option for a short story writer or other small works.  If these publications disappear from view, we will have nowhere to send our stories.  So, how can we help?

Some publications, such as The Storyteller Magazine, offers subscriptions or per copy rates.  If you want a home for your piece, you could order a copy and see if that magazine would make a good home for your story.  Many of these magazines also offer critique services, which I have relied on to “shine up” my stories and at a very low fee, such as Alphie Dog Fiction.  Some of these publications offer you a way to “Pay it forward” by making a donation or paying a reading fee which goes to support programs for young writers.

“But, I want to make money…not spend money!” you cry. Well, unless we support the publishers there will not be a paying market for your work or a place for people to read your stories.

Regina Williams, Editor of Storyteller Magazine, told me that due to the economy, she might be forced to discontinue publishing the print editions and go to an e-zine. This is an international magazine, recognized for it’s quality literature by Harvard University, that will no longer be able to publish print editions.  That would be a huge loss to libraries, schools and writers! We can help!

Check out the Storyteller Magazine, which supports new and emerging writers like us, and order a copy of the magazine.  Or, better yet, sign up for a subscription.  You will be investing in the future of not only the magazine, but a market that is in danger of disappearing from bookshelves!

I live on a limited income, but I do order copies of magazines to see if my stories fit their themes; I pay “reading fees” which are actually donations to support the publications or their young writer programs.  I consider this money an investment in my own future.  If writers will support these publications, they can stay in business and remain an venue in which our work can be published.

So, support these magazines and we’ll all benefit!

Yours in Writing,

M E McMahon

A Christmas Gift For You!

Published December 21, 2013 by M E McMahon


This morning I got an early Christmas Present.  One of my favorite sites that feature great short stories sent me an e-mail that Alphie Dog Fiction is now offering some free short stories as a gift for Christmas.  When I checked it out, I found that everyone can download these stories for free!

I didn’t want to be selfish so I’m writing this to let all of you know that these great short stories are sitting there waiting for you! You can access them here and then sit back and enjoy!  While you’re there, take a look around and sign up for their newsletter! They’re a great site dedicated to supporting new and emerging writers!

I am a huge supporter of Alphie Dog Fiction (Okay, there are three of my stories available there too.  If your interested in checking them out…go to Authors and look up M E McMahon and BOOM! Mine aren’t free though, they cost about 70 cents to download) and I’m sharing their generosity with you so you can check out their site.  If you’re a writer, you should definitely visit them and see if this site might be a nice, cozy spot for your next story!

So, Merry Christmas from M E and Alphie Dog Fiction.

Yours In Writing,

M E McMahon

Strike Up The Band!

Published October 26, 2013 by M E McMahon


It’s celebration time!

The other evening, after a really hectic day, I decided to check my e-mail account one more time before going to bed.  I was tired, worn out and ready to hit the hay but I hate when my e-mail account overflows into the next day so I threw my p.j.’s on and sat down at the laptop.

I was delighted to find a message from Linda Barnett-Johnson, Assistant Editor of Long Story Short – Ezine For Writers informing me that they have accepted my short story “My Father, The Plagiarist” for publication in their November/December issue.

I am not only thrilled at having another story published, but I have been reading Long Story Short for quite some time and love what they do.  Their e-zine has been supporting new and emerging writers for the past ten years and Long Story Short has been on the Writer’s Digest List of 101 Best Websites for Writers…for 9 years straight!  I have no doubt they’ll make it on the list again for 2013!

Not only does the staff publish an e-zine, they also offer writing classes, updates on upcoming contests, free writing tips and so much more!  If you’re a new or emerging writer or poet, check out their site Here and see how much this website has to offer.

If short stories aren’t your thing but you’ve got a novel ready, check out Linda Barnett-Johnson’s website Here for editing and packaging services that are available!

One thing I should mention.  If you do submit your story to Long Story Short, because of the massive amount of stories submitted, the response time is two to three months.  My response took 87 days…but it was worth the wait to appear in this outstanding E-Zine for Writers!

Well, it’s been a big week!  I’m off to add this new milestone to my Milestones In My Journey page.  Keep writing and keep sending those stories out!

Yours In Writing,


P. S.  If you want to know what my other half, Cranky has been up to just click Here or click on Mrs. Gulch’s picture and she’ll give you a ride over to Grandma Says.  I’ve got another exciting announcement, so come on over!

The Ultimate Award

Published August 25, 2013 by M E McMahon


When I first started blogging last November, I had no set goals…I just knew I had to write and blogging seemed to be the key to getting that done.  As I started gathering readers and began to take my writing seriously, I found that being a writer was hard work…who knew?  But, I fell in love with the whole process and in the past nine amazing months some wonderful events have blessed my writing career!

I now find that I am a published author and have been accepted by my readers as such.  I’m amazed at the warm reception that publishers have given me and by the support my readers provide.

But, nothing touched me more than when my SO, Danny, came to my desk the other day and said, “Honey, I don’t know if I’ve told you, but I’m very proud of what you’ve done.”

Wow, that, to me, is the ultimate award for the hours I’ve spent working on my writing.  To have my family take pride in my work gives me the motivation to continue on trying to reach my goals and finish my novel.

I don’t believe any writer can truly succeed without the support of friends and loved ones.  We writers ask our loved ones to give us the time and space to write…our friends are counted on to supply feedback or encouragement.  I know that without all these people, I wouldn’t have had the courage to send my work to publishers.  They have given me the greatest gift…belief in my talent.  I am one lucky writer.

So, even if I’m fortunate enough to win other writing awards in my career…the one that will be the award I treasure most will be the one that is marked, “We’re Proud Of You.”  Yes, to me, that is the ultimate writing award.

I hope you all are lucky enough to receive the Ultimate Award.

Yours in Writing,

M E McMahon

Put The Hankie Away

Published July 30, 2013 by M E McMahon


Yesterday, I opened my email and was delighted to find a response from one of the publishers I had submitted a short story to.  I had waited months to hear from them so I eagerly opened the email and read their missive, only to discover I had received my first rejection letter.

Wow, the pain…the dissappointment…the gall of these people to turn me down! My feelings are hurt! I worked so hard on that story…how could they not want it?

Yes, my friends, rejection letters can bring out the worst in us as writers.  Some of us tend to take it personal and we bring out all those insecurities that kept us from writing or submitting our work for so long.  Some get angry and stuff their stories back in the drawer and resolve never to embarrass themselves again.

Others, like myself, will take a few moments to wallow in self-pity, dry our tears and then put the hankie away.  We move on, we continue to write and we continue to submit our stories.  Because, it is a fact of life that all writers will experience the pain of receiving a rejection letter.  And, in the end, some rejection letters can be turned into a learning experience for the new writer.

After wringing out the hankie, I retraced my steps and went back to who, how and when I submitted this story.  It was one of the first submissions I made and after checking out the publisher, they were right.  Their magazine was not the right home for my story.  I hadn’t done my research prior to submitting the story and I was now holding the end result, a rejection letter.

Of course, lack of research is not the only reason I’ll ever get a rejection letter.  There are so many reasons for a publisher to give my stories a thumbs down…such as: they aren’t currently looking for my type of story, they have too many stories that are carrying the same theme or they just didn’t connect with the story itself.  That’s life in the publishing world and as hard as it is for writers to accept it, that’s the way it is.

I went back to the story I submitted and reread it and double checked it…I wanted to make sure I had dotted all the i’s and crossed all the t’s.  It was in good shape and I still liked the story…so, I jumped on to Duotrope and researched a few more publishers.  I found a few that I felt might be more receptive to my story and before I could lose my nerve, I submitted to them.  And, if they all reject my story, I’ll find a few more publishers and I’ll submit my work to them.

Persistence is so important in the publishing world, much as it is in life.  You can’t give up…if you believe your story is good, get out there and find a publisher who agrees.

What did I do with my first rejection letter?  I printed it out and it is now on my Milestone Page along with the stories that did get published.  Why?  Because, it is a rite of passage in my journey down the road to being a successful writer and it deserves it’s place in my Milestone page.  There will be others in my future, but I’m never going to let that stop me.  I’ll keep on writing and keep on submitting my stories.

For, I am a writer and that’s what writer’s do! So, there! 🙂

Yours In Writing,

M E McMahon

Another Story Hits The Press!

Published July 28, 2013 by M E McMahon


I am so proud to announce that my story, “The Man In The Dark” is now available on Alphie Dog Fiction for downloading.  This is the second story that this wonderful publishing site has been kind enough to accept and I hope you will pay their site a visit and take a look around.

The story is under the “Horror” genre, but it was a true event that took place when I was a child and I wrote it to try and purge the memory of the man who scared me so much that I still have nightmares about him.

It costs only Sixty cents (U.S.) and 0.39 (Pound Sterling) for my friends Over The Pond to download the complete story, but a teaser is given to entice you to buy the story.  So if you have some change jingling in your pocket, I hope you’ll spend it downloading my latest story!  Just click here and take a peek!

I have to be honest with my WordPress followers.  This story appeared in rough draft on my blog site months ago (it’s now deleted and inaccessible) but if you haven’t read it or just want to read it again, please visit Alphie Dog Fiction.

Again, thanks to the publishers of Alphie Dog Fiction for the faith they have shown in my work.  And, my thanks to my readers and fellow bloggers who gave me the courage to start sending my work out to be published.  Without you, my stories would never have seen the light of day!

Post or Publish?

Published July 27, 2013 by M E McMahon


Before you hit that Publish button on your blog site, you might want to stop and think hard about whether you plan to send that piece to a publisher.

I’ve spent the last week working with Duotrope and learned some hard lessons.  Some publishers will not accept your work if you have posted it on your blog site or anyone else’s. They consider posting the same as publishing that piece and there is no way to get around their guidelines.  I’ve scoured the Internet looking for loopholes but they just aren’t there.

Duotrope does have a nifty feature that tells you which publishers accept what they call “reprints,” which are any works that have appeared on blog sites, social networks or even previously published in a magazine or E-Zines.  But, it is very disheartening when you learn that the perfect home for your piece is sitting out there, but you can’t go in because you have already posted that work somewhere else.

When I first started blogging on my sister site, “Grandma Says,” I gave no thought to hitting that “Publish” button.  Now, I have to sit back and think before I throw that piece out there for my blogging buddies. Some of the works were produced by prompts and some were just my efforts to stretch my writing muscles.  When I reviewed them, I found a few that I thought were worthy of sending out for publishing.  That’s when I discovered some publishers frown on previously posted works.

This past month, I’ve had to set aside some really good pieces because I posted them on my blog site.  I have written new stories, which unfortunately, I am prevented from posting here or on my sister site and, sometimes, that frustrates me.  I like to give my followers the “first read” on my work and always find that their comments and suggestions make the final result shine.  Wordpress does have a great feature in their “Feedback” capabilities, which allows you to send the piece to specific bloggers and publishers consider that okay as it hasn’t been published.

Now, some publishers DO accept reprints and that’s a wonderful thing.  However, they are not the majority and when you post your work you are risking narrowing the field of possibilities for publishing your piece.

So, before you hit that “Publish” button, make sure that you realize that you have now excluded that work from being submitted to a large field of publishers.

Again, Duotrope has saved me time and embarrassment by pointing out the publishers that accept reprints.  If you are looking for a wonderful tool to seek a home for your work, I highly recommend this site.  Its five dollars a month well spent for me as it gives me a wealth of information about each publisher.  Check it out here.

So, my friends, after finishing that post, take a good hard look at it and make sure that you want to hit that “Publish” button. Once it’s out in Cyberspace…you can’t take it back. Now, back to my writing!

Yours in Writing,

M E McMahon

Looking To Be Published?

Published July 1, 2013 by M E McMahon

animated-eyes-watching-something-go-byYou have your story or poem ready.  You have brushed it until it shines.  It’s as good as it can get and you are now ready to be published.  Hmmm…where to start?

When I first started looking for short story publishers, I spent hours and hours on the Internet.  My eyes crossed, my head spun and I felt defeated.  I would click on one and find that the submission period was closed; another site would tell me they only accepted works from published authors, another site only wanted vampire stories or similar bloodsucking creatures.

I didn’t know where to turn to find a publisher that fit into the genre and word count of my story. So my first step was to check out posts that were in the WordPress Reader under the  Writing Catagory.  A fellow blogger wrote about his success on Alphie Dog Fiction and I jumped on their site and found a home for three of my works.  I was lucky..very lucky to just happen to follow the right blogger (hint! It pays to read the posts, people…lots of free information out there!) but now, having been accepted by one publisher, it was time to strike out and spread my wings.

I had found two publishers that I thought would at least consider my work, as my story fit into their submission guidelines.  I sent them the piece and sat back with my fingers crossed and waited. I’m still waiting…and waiting…and waiting.

The other day I discovered a blogger, Christina Jones, whose site Seventeen 20 is chock full of information and tips on getting published.  How I wish I had found her sooner!  She recommended a site called Duotrope, which is a writers tool for finding the right publisher for their works.  I checked out the site and found a gold mine!

This site makes it so easy to find the right fit for your story, but it doesn’t stop there!  It gives you information such as what the editors are looking for, the speed in which they respond and the percentage of submitted works they accept.  They let you know if the publisher accepts simutaneous, multiple, reprints and do they only accept online submissions or snail mail (oh yes, some still require you use the old ways.)  They let you create a personal list of publishers you find that fit the bill for you.  And, many, many more features.

They do charge for their service…a whopping $5.00 US per month (my foreign friends will have to figure their cost out themselves :)), but they offer a Seven Day Free Trial (which of course, I am using) before charging the monthly fee.  So if you find it’s not for you, you can cancel.  Now, I find that five bucks a month is actually saving me time and money.  I am not paying (oh yes, some publishers require a “reading” fee) for someone to consider my work and the time I save searching the Internet can be spent on the revisions on my novel.

I did look into the other sites that Christina listed, but if you read her post, I agree that Duotrope is the best one out there. It’s fast, it’s easy and it’s so simple that even this little old lady can create a list of publishers just waiting for writers like me (I hope).

So if you’ve got a hot little story without a home, check it out.  Definitely pay a visit to Christina on the link above.  For such a young lady, she’s got a lot of smarts!

Yours in Writing,


A New Page In My Life

Published June 30, 2013 by M E McMahon


Yes, today is a big day for me.  This is my debut as a Published Writer.  Wow, it’s hard to wrap my head around the fact that a Publisher accepted one of my stories and it is now published on ALFIE DOG FICTION.  My short story “The Confession” was released today and two more stories are scheduled to be published in July.

This is also the debut for my new blog site, “A Dream Come True” which I have created to take readers along on my journey of becoming a successful published writer and (dare I say it) a published novelist.

So, all in all, a really exciting day.  This is the first post I’ve written on this new site and I hope that you will feel free to look around and learn a little about me and my journey.  If you read the pages posted on the blog site, you’ll discover the reasons for a second blog and a little about what I hope to accomplish with it.

Some of you have already honored me by following my personal blog “Grandma Says” and for that, I can’t express how much it has meant to me to be welcomed into your blogs and all the wonderful comments you have shared with me.  I hope you will find this site helpful and motivating in your own personal journey of being a successful writer, poet, photographer or blogger.  A lot of people helped me when I first started “Grandma Says” and now it’s time to return the favor.

So, my first post is to point all of your emerging writers and poets to check out the site of the Publisher, Alphie Dog Fiction.  I had never submitted a story to be published before to an actual publisher, and let me tell you, these old knees were knocking.  But, Alphie Dog Fiction made the submission process so simple and easy to follow.

Alphie Dog does offer payment for each download of your story, so check out their site.  I’m not planning on getting rich from them, but if people start to look for your name, your a successful author!  So, polish up those stories and if you think you have some that fit into this venue, get them submitted.  When published, they are available online, on Kindle or download them to your iPhone.  Neat, right?

Well, that’s all for now, it’s time for me to celebrate!  I hope you’ll check out my new site and for those of you who have been faithful followers of “Grandma Says”, don’t think I’m going to be any less vocal than usual there.

If you would like to check out Alphie Dog Fiction just click here and enjoy their site.

Your friend in Writing,

M E McMahon (aka Cranky Caregiver or just plain old Cranky)

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