The Oak and The boomerang daughter, Fall 2018

WOW! Women on Writing Fall 2018 Short Story Contest

We Bring You Everything, and Tip it Out, Summer 2017

Compiled by Neil Paynter for Wild Goose Publications

I was invited to contribute a prayer to this anthology of New Prayers from the Iona Community.   


Flash Fiction Contest, May 2017

Again with Literary Agent, Janet Reid's blog, I entered her 100th Flash Fiction Contest and I was one of the finalists among 84 entries. Not a winner, but a finalist. Yay.  Here's my 100 word story and Janet's comment. 


He asks about her date. Happily, she chatters. I place the milk pitcher. By him.

“Scapegallows,” he insults. Of course. “He wouldn’t know a fortissimo from a finocchio.” He eats his cornflakes.

Our daughter gazes, blankly.

Angered, I touch her shoulder, “Fatherly humor.”

He rolls his eyes.

Stiff-backed, I sit, “Finish your breakfast, dear. How was the band?”

She shrugs.

Her cannolo remains untouched. Damn him. Patient, I sip my Italian Roast. He stands—slender and handsome as ever—and scrams. I accept his tainted kiss, airbrush-style this morning. He leaves. Scapegoat.

And now? Anticipation! “How was your date?”  


And Janet's comment?  I love the perspective/S here. The dad is both the antagonist and still the mom’s true love (slender and handsome as ever.) And use of the word “scrams” gives us a sense that maybe dad understands what he’s done here. This is a lovely subtle piece of writing.

Sometimes it's the small things that make the story work. 


Flash Fiction Contest, April 2015

I am one of the many and varied commenters on Literary Agent, Janet Reid's blog. Often, on Fridays, there's a Flash Fiction (100 words) contest. The caliber of entries is excellent. I squeaked with joy when I placed in the top 10 for the first time. Here's my entry, which needed to include the words: Dell, horse, long, ride, home.

The car tires hummed a strident refrain, ‘She’s seeing someone else, she’s seeing someone else.’ How ironic, now that gay marriage was legal. It felt like a knife to the heart. 

In the backseat, the kids were zonked out after a frenetic day at the Wisconsin Dells Kalahari Waterpark. I focused on the freeway, steeling my nerves as I drove home.

That night, alone with her in the kitchen, my heart pattered like a mad hatter. “Sheila, let’s quit this horse—”

She knelt on her knees, tears of longing in her eyes, and a small box on her palm. 


The Oak and The Boomerang Daughter, December 2014  

I entered the Loft Winter Short Story (800 words) contest which needed to include a phrase overheard, found on a sign, in a book or seen in graffiti, etc.  I used the phrase grief is the gray shape-shifter from Jodi Picoult's, The Storyteller. I did not win. I've edited it a bit now that I've learned more about the craft of writing.


Like leaves to the sun, May 2013

Compiled by Neil Paynter for Wild Goose Publications

I contributed a prayer to this anthology of Prayers for the 21st Century


United Church of Christ Faith Practices Resource, 2011, 2012 

This was stipend work for Pilgrim Press. As part of a team, I worked with two Faith Practices:  Honoring the Body and Encountering Scriptures. I created and wrote 54 activities for adult seekers and new church participants for each practice.


Making Sense of Lent, 2011

Reflections on mission using specific themes for the six Fridays before Easter Sunday for Wisconsin Conference United Church of Christ  subscribers.


Iona Abbey, Scotland, 2009, 2010

Five articles for newspapers and newsletters about my experience of living and working in international community at the Abbey as a programme worker from January 2007- December 2008.


Mississippi River Rats: Bringing Gospel and Gumbo Together, 2007

Two articles about people from four small churches who assisted in the continued rebuilding of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.


Another World is Possible, 2005, 2006

Two articles and a short essay about eight pastors who undertook a 10-day Pastoral Study Journey to San Cristobal de las casas in Chiapas, Mexico. We studied at the Institute for Intercultural Studies and Research.