Saturday, April 8, 2017


John M. Daniel’s Blog
April 8, 2017

Greetings, friends and celebrators of the joy to be found in stories—writing them, reading them, telling them, or hearing them. If you enjoy a good story, this weekly blog is for you.

This month’s post is short, largely because I have been out of commission for two months. (Last month’s post didn’t happen.) Consequently I’m far behind in my work, with several editing jobs waiting impatiently for my attention.
The telephone rings.
It’s a good thing I love my job.
It seems the news of my accident spread among the writers who regularly read “The Joy of Story,” because I received only a handful of 99-word stories for the monthly Short, Short Stories feature.
Or perhaps the  prompts I assigned were too obscure, focusing on a  line out of Julius Caesar or an unanswered telephone.
Anyhow, I’m posting the stories that did arrive in March this month, one month late, with two mottos:
“Better Late than Never,” and
“Better Some than None.”


Hello? Hello?

A Handful of
Short, Short

by Kevin Ruth Mahony

“This isn’t one of those things where you meet my family.”  Cesar said as they sat on the back of her SUV, door open.
  “Booty call,” she considered as she snuggled up, sliding out the stiletto.
 “That’s good for me.  And you?” he murmured. 
After she stuck him, she shoved him into the cargo space. Pulled over the cover.
Driving off she saw the lights. 
“You were weaving,” said the cop.
 Playing her best Barbie, she said “I was tuning in my favorite country station.” 
“Nice to see a sweet country girl,” the officer mused as he drove off.  

by Marilyn London

“Hey love. Just landed. come get me?”
“You bet. Missed you. Just watching the deer: Fawn’s dancing with the leaves. Doe’s eating our hydrangea.”
“You really love those deer, don’t you?”
“It’s sad to see them in the winter. The young one’s like a ballerina. The winds of march that make my heart a dancer.. Well, better get going.”
“Romantic. See you in a min.”
“Never saw the deer coming. Just went flying over the side of that ravine!” the witness told police.
“Hear that? Sounds like her cell phone. A telephone that rings, but who’s to answer?”

by Cora Ramos

The woman smiles, glancing at the clock. She refreshes her lipstick, primps her hair and waits.
An hour later, tears brim her eyes. She picks up a pen and writes on the note paper next to the phone. She carefully dabs her eyes before getting up to leave. The door closes softly behind her and through the open window, we watch her drive away.
The phone rings. And rings.
The wind gusts, the curtains flutter and the note tumbles to the floor. We read her words, “When you call, it will be too late. I’ll be long gone. Forever.”

by Jim Gallagher

“The winds of March that make my heart a dancer;
 Not the winds of march, but a desire to perform with grace and dignity before a live audience.
A telephone that rings, but who’s to answer?”
The performer didn’t hesitate to break the fourth wall, to rebuke the offending patron.
“You want to get that, while we wait?” Sheepishly, the transgressor retreated to the lobby, as the audience verbally pelted him with catcalls, and whistles.
 Undiminished by the disruption, buoyed by the shouts of “Bravo” and applause, the performer resumed, as if no interruption had occurred.


by June Kosier

I have something to tell him, but I am too scared to do it in person, so I call.
My heart races as I dial and flutters as the phone rings.  Will he answer? 
I hope I can just leave a message. This is one time I will be happy to get an answering machine. 
The phone rings for what seems like forever.  Twelve rings, one minute. 
There must not be an answering machine.  I decide to hang up but as I put the receiver in the cradle I hear “Hello?” 
Too late, I have hung up. 
Now what?


Call for submissions: Your 99-Word Stories

The deadline for May’s 99-word story submissions is May 1, 2017. The stories will appear on my blog post for May 13, and will stay posted for a week.

note: this 99-word story feature is a game, not a contest. Obey the rules and I’ll include your story. I may edit the story to make it stronger, and it’s understood that you will submit to my editing willingly. That’s an unwritten rule.

Rules for the 99-word story feature are as follows:

1. Your story must be 99 words long, exactly.
2. One story per writer, per month.
3. The story must be a story. That means it needs plot (something or somebody has to change), characters, and conflict.
4. The story must be inspired by the prompt I assign.
5. The deadline: the first of the month. Stories will appear on this blog the second Saturday of the month.
6. I will copy edit the story. The author of the story retains all rights.
7. Email me your story (in the body of your email, or as a Word attachment) to:

THIS MONTH’S PROMPT FOR NEXT MONTH’S 99-WORD STORY: Tra la, it's May, the lusty Month of May, That lovely month when everyone goes blissfully astray.”

Make up a story inspired by the following

Calling all published authors—

I try to feature a guest author the third Saturday (and week following) of each month. If you’re interested in posting an essay on my blog—it’s also a chance to promote a published book—email me directly at


Thank you for visiting. Please drop by next week!

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