semicolon tattoo ideas

Short Stories that Start with Research: Understanding the Semicolon

A story’s gotta start somewhere, right?

About three years ago I saw a woman with a semicolon tattoo, and I thought, “Wow! Someone who loves punctuation as much as I do!” But the semicolon nagged me–there had to be more to the story, and I was right.

Semicolons are used by writers who could end a sentence, but choose not to–they see a strong connection uniting the sentence they have finished with the one that follows. Think of the sentence as your life… Continue reading

Experiments with

On Experiments, Seinfeld and Literature

Experiments, Seinfeld and Literature are three of my big favourites in life.


Ask my mother—even as a young girl I loved to experiment. When my aunt and my mom went dancing, my cousin Mickey and I would take all of my mother’s baking supplies and half of what was in the fridge and play “Just Like Mom.” We did such a great job of cleaning up that she didn’t suspect a thing.

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Short Story–The Waiting

I thought I would share the first short story I had published exactly a year ago. I still remember how excited I was to get an email saying that my work had been accepted. At that point, I’d had a few poems published, but never any prose. I was so excited! 2016 was a windfall for me–I’ve now had seven short stories, two pieces of creative nonfiction and three poems published.

Little did I know that I’d have so many more stories published in 2016! But this is the one that started the snowball effect. It was originally published in untethered 2.2. Click on the link to look at the wonderful art by  tyson john atkings in that issue. This publication opened other doors as well, as I have been reading submissions for the magazine since last summer (issue 3.1) and it’s given me a window into the world of literary magazines.

I shouldn’t keep you waiting though, just in case you hate it as much as my main character does! Here’s the story… Continue reading

Short Stories One Snippet at a Time

Sometimes my short stories come one snippet at a time. I’ll suddenly have a character or a setting in my head, but the story is not clear. Usually, I open a new file and type out what’s in my head. I toss the ideas into a bulk folder called “Unfinished.” Once in a while, another part of the story will come, so I dig out the document and continue. Snippets of the story can arrive days, weeks, months or years later.

For me, this is the way short stories typically arrive. Now that I have more time for writing, I tend to look in my “Unfinished” folder and force some stories along.

“On the Way to the Roxy” is one of many short stories that was written in snippets–in this case, two significant chunks, about one year apart. I was on my way to The Roxy Theatre, a beautifully refurbished theatre on 20th Street in Saskatoon—all of the trendy new cafés had closed at 6:00, and I was very disappointed. The scene where Marge and Marcel are walking down 20th was written from notes I jotted down that night.

About a year later, I had this grumpy old Québécois guy in my head, demanding I let him out onto paper. He became Marcel, and suddenly Marge was writing herself into the story. Once the characters appeared, I added them to the setting and the story bloomed.

I’ve added it here for you to read. Enjoy!

p.s. If you are interested in reading more about how stories arrive, consider reading a previous post about short stories that arrive all at once

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Stories that Come Out Great in the First Draft

Once in a while, the first draft of a short story works.

These are the stories you start and finish in one sitting. They usually need a second and maybe a third draft before they are ready to submit.

Please understand that this rarely happens.

When short stories are quickly written in one go, I do a happy dance. Ask my dogs. Speaking of dogs, I have posted a story inspired by my dog, Charley. He helped me write  this story when I received the rejection that broke the writer’s back.

I said to him, “Okay, Char. Let’s write something I’d never write!” I looked at him and he blinked a few times before he started trembling uncontrollably. We brainstormed all the disgusting habits a dog can have, listed dog idioms and the story sort of wrote itself. It was a breakthrough.–I burst write out of my comfort zone.

I’d never written such a twisted story before. I haven’t looked back. Thank, Char. Good boy!

Hey, Mom–just close your eyes at the end. It might disturb you. You can read it here on page 31–also read the other stories because they are excellent– or just keep reading it here: Continue reading