A Word On Journals

Most journals are published by colleges. Probably a lot of them have small departments that can’t pay the submitters. The good thing about them is the prestige. If you’ve been chosen by an English department it must mean you’ve written your story well with good spelling and punctuation rules, etc. Many of them are well-respected and will, at least, get your name out there. You won’t get rich writing for journals because most of them don’t pay but if you’re just looking to get your name out there, submit away.

Tomorrow my flash fiction piece, Frozen Behind Glass, comes out in Potato Soup Journal at this URL www.potatosoupjournal.com and I’m excited. That tells me it was good enough for someone to print up. Hey! That’s a good thing.

I sent a short to Clarkesworld magazine but that’s another story, no pun intended. I’m not mad. That’s one of the biggies in the sci fi world. These guys get thousands of submissions and publish very few of them. If they had I might have had a stroke or heart attack.

#uneasywriter.blog, #clarkesworld, #potatosoupjournal, #journals, #paidwriting,


To: lizardman1962@wizard.com

Subject: Thanks so much!

Dear Ollie,

It worked like a charm. No pun intended! At last I’m free of that pesky online service and their stupid ads. It seemed no matter how many times I tried to unsubscribe they’d always find a way back in to my email and flood it with more offers for Russian brides or marital aids. If I had to look at one more notification of a vapid model with her g-stringed rear arched back at me I was going to scream! I followed your instructions to print their email, smear it with dung and burn it. Hallelujah! No more C.MoreButts! I trust you got your PayPal?

Yours, Cynthia


Subject: Glad to assist

Yes, I did, Cynthia. I have found that spell quite effective in the past. Let me know if I can be of further help to you.

Sincerely, Ollie


Subject: Help!

This is so embarrassing but I have nowhere else to turn. When I worked at the nursing home I often wondered how patients could be incontinent of bowel but not of urine. Now I know. When I have to go these days I mean I have to go! I’ve tried changing my diet but it made me constipated.

Maybe I’m just being a silly, old gal but I feel I’m still too young to be buying Depends. If you can’t tell me how to counter this awful predicament, please advise me who can.

Thanks in advance, Cynthia


Subject: Here ya go

This is the website of a friend of mine and she offers all manner of charms and spells of Wiccan healing. I checked into it and if you look under the category of Virgo you’ll find what you’re looking for. As you might know, Virgo rules the bowels.

Good luck! Ollie


Subject: Appreciation

Dear Ollie,

Your friend Eliza is a marvel and her online order book is wonderful! It has a lot of things I’ll be in need of. I’m glad the incontinence thing required me to perform it at night. Being as I have no privacy fence I can’t imagine what my neighbors would’ve thought of me naked in the dark, turning three times beneath the moon holding bitterweed and wearing my old wool cap. The dog next door was amused, though.

Speaking of naked in the night, I’m passing along something I was told and you might find it of use. If your tomatoes won’t ripen quickly enough, run bare butt between the vines at midnight. Here’s to hoping it works for you because it didn’t work for me but you ought to see my cucumbers!

Respectfully, Cynthia


Subject: LOL

Girl, you are a hoot!



Subject: My feet

Can you do anything with bunions? I can’t afford the Medicare deductible for surgery on my fixed income.

Bless You! Cynthia


Subject: I’ll give it a whirl

Send $50 to my PayPal and I’ll give you a spell to try. It may or may not work. My friend BlackWiz sent it to me and if it doesn’t do the trick I’ll give you half off your next order.



Subject: Guess I’ll live with it

My dear Ollie,


First off, I had quite a time locating a white oak tree to burn to get the ashes. Luckily, no one noticed me skulking and I had to hide from the fire department. It was two days before I could go get them. My feet show no improvement so here’s my next request. My neighbor bought the empty lot where the blackberries grow that I make my wine from. Never mind the fact I’ve been picking those berries for years, he mowed them down! I had a talk with him but he said he has plans to build a playhouse for his daughter where the patch used to be.

Question: do you know a decision-altering spell or a curse that would prevent the playhouse from being built? Something to cause a collapse every time he drives a nail or something like that?

Desperately yours, Cynthia


Subject: That’s a tough one

This might take a little time, so be patient. I don’t normally do curses but know some people that do. It might run into quite a bit of money, though, and I know you’re on a fixed income.



Subject: Never mind

Dear Ollie,

Thanks anyway but I found a nicer and far less dangerous method than the one I was going to try. About the time I’d woven a circle of the mown-down blackberry sticker vines and was scheming to get a few threads of his daughter’s clothing, it occurred to me to just take him a bottle of wine. He loved it! The dear man’s agreed to put the playhouse in the back yard where it belongs. All I have to do is give him half the wine the vines produce.


Love, Cynthia

P.S. Don’t forget you still owe me half off.

#deecaples, #debracaples, #uneasywriter

Am I Being Original?

I belong to two writers groups on Facebook and think the most frequently asked question, other than “What do you guys think about this…?”, is the one above. Today I replied to a post and said flat-out “No.”

How can we be original? There’s not one plot that hasn’t already been written. Basically they are: comedy, tragedy, science fiction, fantasy and drama. Nonfiction stands alone and carries elements of comedy, tragedy and drama. Fairy tales are fantasy. Mysteries fall into the drama, or depending on the narrative, comedy, category as do thrillers and romance. Farces are comedy. What writers do is take us to a comfortable world we already know and make it their own. And ours. We love to go there because it’s a place we know and have inhabited, on paper if not real life.

Here’s an example of two contrasting plots: The Chronicles Of Narnia by C.S. Lewis and The Magicians by Lev Grossman. Both involve children going through a seemingly ordinary object to reach a realm of magic. In Narnia it’s a wardrobe, in Magicians it’s a clock. The characters have quests in both stories and face real dangers.

That’s pretty much where the similarities end. The Magicians is no book for children. It has foul language, sexual situations, alcohol and drug use. Grossman took the idea from Lewis but made an adult book of it. And Lewis borrowed the idea of travel to other worlds from other writers who came before him, like flying carpets and magic beans of fairy tales.

In other words, you can have three kids, instead of four, going through a clock to the land of Fillory but Grossman certainly couldn’t have had the Chatwins stepping into a wardrobe and winding up in Narnia.

Here’s another example: The Magicians and the movie 21 both have Time To Pretend as their opening song but you couldn’t say these shows are remotely alike. The only things they have in common besides the song are cards and the youth of their stars. 21’s producers would get laughed out of court if they took the producers of The Magicians to court for stealing the opening of the movie for their pilot.

Quit worrying about it. Don’t over-borrow. Don’t use the same character names, places and situations from another writer. Be creative and make your own. Plagiarism is defined by Merriam-Webster as “to steal and pass off the ideas or words of another as one’s own” or “to present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source.”

You can’t cover ground no one else has broken before but you can color it any way you like. Take us to your world and we just might not want to leave.

#deecaples, #originalwriting, #TheMagicians, #TheChroniclesofNarnia, #plagiarism, #originality

A Big Ol’ Thank You

I haven’t been doing this long or very well, I fear. It’s my nature to dive in without looking for rocks first and comes as no surprise when I bash my head.

Looking at the stats I’m heartened to see more readers and want to take this chance to thank you for coming and I hope you’ll come back again.

So Far, So Good

Andy Warhol is famous first for his artwork. What he’s second most famous for is the saying that in the future everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes. He didn’t live to see what the internet has done. And here’s how to make it work for you in ways that won’t cost much. Many of these are free.

Things are going as well as can be hoped. The writer’s market is saturated with people wanting to be published. They all want to be a paperback writer. Me, too. Even Toni Morrison had to pay dues. Every rejection is another lesson to learn and even if you don’t get paid for your article, short story or poem, at least you got published and that can only help when you submit your next piece of work.

Consider getting another email address for your pseudonym. My poor email box needs a good clearing out. I subscribed to lots of sites whose email I no longer read. Make a new one for your author self and don’t let stupid stuff know about it.

Thank you Crystalwizard for Altered Reality Magazine. You put me out there and I can’t express my gratitude often enough. Just this week I was notified by email that Potato Soup Journal will include my short story Frozen Behind Glass in their October 24 publication. Wait until then and go to http://www.potatosoupjournal.com if you want to read it.

No, I haven’t been paid for writing yet. That’s okay. Google Dee Caples, Debra Caples or uneasywriter.blog and see what happens. Yeah, baby, that’s me. It started with my blog site on Word Press. You can do it for free although I opted to pay a small yearly fee. If memory serves me right, and don’t hold me to that, it’s thirty-four dollars.

Do you have a Facebook page? Start one! Their Own Little World has been on there for years and I have a small but loyal following of people reading my posts about how to deal with clients who have Alzheimer’s/Dementia.

Author’s Publish Magazine. This is primo, ya’ll. Subscribe to their free weekly newsletter and get notices about who’s taking submissions. You’ll get linked to the submissions websites. In addition to that you’ll get notified when they have free guides available. These are written by real editors, writers and publication experts. People in the know.

Pinterest and I are still getting acquainted. Even if you don’t have the money to link your name to the pin board or post articles, you can get lots of help from clicking on pins. Helpful information abounds. Same goes for Instagram, Twitter and other social media.

Make a LinkedIn profile. This is especially helpful if you’re looking for employment. Maybe you have a journalism degree or you want to be a freelance writer or researcher. You can message others, follow and make contact with people whose interests are in line with yours. You can start with free and upgrade to pro.

Get froggy. The water’s fine and it only gets deep if you wade out further. Learn to swim. Then Google your name and get a thrill.

#alteredrealitymag.com, #dee caples, #uneasywriter.blog,


That’s what I’ve been. I have it on good authority that I should be checking this every day, at least every other. Sorry. I’ve been busy.

Let me tell you what I’ve been busiest doing. Getting clean, again. It may not be very perspicacious of me to admit this, seeing as how this is for public consumption and my family might stumble upon it. I was supposed to have quit meth last August on my birthday. Such is the nature of addiction. This time I’ve been promised I’ll no longer have a job if I don’t and that’s as good a reason as any I’ve ever heard to put it down.

You might have gathered from reading any of my blogs that I’m inclined to let the devil take the hindmost. Let is all fly. To not give a damn what anyone thinks. If you can’t read this and say “Good for you!” then who needs ya? If I ever get rich and famous, then, by all means, don’t buy any of my books. That’ll teach me.

All that being said, I’m going to include excerpts of my drugged-out diary from time to time. If you can relate say “Amen!”

May 26, 2019

They say go with what you know.

How many times have I tried to quit meth? I don’t remember. Lots. And watched friends try? More than that. At least I’m blessed with a firmer base than some have. There’s a good family behind me. I already am acquainted with a “higher power”, a God I routinely let go of that has refused to let go of me. I’m still employed and still hanging onto my humble abode. That goes back to the training and love of my family. My parents taught me how to do that.

On the other side of the scale are these shaky hands that have to keep going back to retype my typos. I lost my temper and act a total bitch. When at my weakest I fall back on the first drug I fell into: alcohol. A six pack of Modelo and a half gallon of homemade wine are in the fridge. The wine is no mere 7 or 11 percent, either.

I didn’t drink very much on meth. The old man said, “You’re in danger of becoming a bad alcoholic. Stick your arm out.” I did, and, guess what? No more problem! It’s not his fault, though. I was already an intravenous user.

Those first two bumps were nothing like I’d thought they would be. I’d heard about the rush and thought “Huh?” Third time’s the charm, right? It hit me and inside I heard a voice say This is my god. I’ve been fighting that voice ever since.

It’s Tell A Story Day! So Here’s Mine:

The Fairy Godfather
Once upon a time there was a widow with five children. The eldest was Julian, a shiftless lad more inclined to hide in the haymow than clean the stable. Clothide was fifteen and whined about her clothes and hair and their lack of wealth. Twins Roger and Ronald were eight, naughty boys behind in their schooling because they would rather fight with one another than do sums. The baby, Ella, gave her mother trouble only when soiling her nappies or teething.
The widow Jane wasn’t a widow at all but the wife of a debauched fellow that had stolen what little they had of value and abandoned the farm for London in order to gamble and chase strumpets. In the morning when she hung laundry and again in the evening when dumping ashes from the stove, she bemoaned her fate. “Fairy godmother, please incline your ear to my pleas,” she wept. “I need some help with these children and a few pounds in the bargain.”
Her tears were answered in the form of Luigi, her fairy godfather. Yes, I said godfather. As anyone worth their salt knows, dear children, the women of the Victorian Era were good for twaddle. Most of what they did was have vapors, organize picnics and attend ladies society meetings.
On the Ides of March he came through the gate midmorning and Widow Jane shaded her eyes to get a better look. It did little good. This man was the answer to no prayer. He was short and bow-legged with straggly gray hair and tobacco stains on his chin. He had a nice voice, however, and manners. Introducing himself as a teacher, he asked only food and shelter in exchange for educating her mob of young. A bargain was struck. “If you don’t mind sharing the attic room with Julian?” she asked with uncertainty.
Luigi did but bowed and smiled. “Of course not, dear lady.”
He gathered the children in the front room and, while the widow was cooking the afternoon meal, spoke to them in low tones. “Listen, you guyses,” he said. “I’m from the faraway land of Joisey and I’m here to be godfather to your mama.”
They all stared at him with gaping maws for his speech was very strange. Only the children were ever privy to this as he addressed their mother in a refined British accent. He showed them a clenched fist and warned, “If youse should ever get the idear to rat on me I’ll give you a mouthful of bloody Chiclets. Capisce?
Stricken with fear, the children agreed; the godfather’s demeanor was fierce. At supper that night he sat between Roger and the baby in her high chair. The unruly twin kept snickering with his brother and kicking Clothide under the table. Just as he was about to make his “see food” joke with Julian, Luigi calmly pinched his neck in such a manner as to make him choke. As the lad coughed and spluttered Luigi reached up and slapped his back. Tearful, he looked up at Luigi and got such a look as to make him behave the rest of the meal.
The godfather set about to get the attic room all to himself by means which do not bear repeating here. Suffice it to say, two days after Luigi’s arrival Julian came downstairs, walking gingerly and announced he was going to London to find work. He would either send money home or never return. Recognizing a win-win situation when she saw one, Widow Jane packed a lunch and kissed him farewell.
Luigi turned his attention to the elder girl child. Clothilde was a veteran weeper. She complained about her chores, the too-tight shoes she wore and the lack of young, eligible men in the area. At breakfast she pissed and moaned so long Luigi begged leave to go to the nearby village to attend to some business.
Of course, he had no business in the village. When he reached the home of Squire William he put a spell on the man. “When you awaken, you’ll go to the house of Widow Jane and ask for her daughter’s hand in marriage,” Luigi whispered in his ear as he slumbered.
And that is exactly what the squire did. Clothilde cried loudly for the squire was thrice her age. He was capable of buying another pair of shoes and many fine gowns for her to wear. Jane figured it was someone else’s turn to put up with the silly chit. The squire settled a generous dowry on the widow, which she sensibly pocketed.
Since the twins were of a tender age, Luigi was willing to work with them. Too much spirit had they, and Luigi despaired of being able to bring them to heel. He looked into his bag of tricks and took out his tommywand and went ‘round to a neighboring land. When Farmer Grunkin woke it was to the sight of a streetsweeper pointed at his nose. Quickly he agreed to let the man have his milk cow.
Luigi returned before first light with the milk cow and danced around the fire, singing an arcane song. The widow was overjoyed to hear about the “stray” milk cow and even more so when the cow gave birth to two calves. Luigi got a good price for them after they were weaned and persuaded the widow that the gold might best be spent on Catholic boarding school for the lively boys. They came home only in summer and at Yuletide, much better behaved. Or, if you like, cowed.
With only one child left at home and a farmstead as well, the widow became quite a catch. Her neighbor died peacefully in his sleep, without assistance from Luigi, leaving behind his farm and a middle-aged son. The son had a brillant idea: to marry the widow and join their farms as one. The widow thought it quite reasonable. That is, until her husband returned.
She was sitting in the doorway mending garments when she heard a drunken voice singing: ‘Ah near to my fair one, it’s so good to be, to be!’ The lout was reeling up the road, his shoes muddy and his breeches torn. Stumbling up the walk, he crowed, throwing his arms wide, “Give us a kiss, then, luv!”
To say the widow was alarmed is to say  the least. He had lost several teeth, adding to the stench of his breath. Avoiding his grasping hands, she leaped up and ran in the house and clasped Ella to her bosom. Ignoring  her and the baby, he went about the kitchen until coming across the cooking sherry. He downed it and promptly passed out from drink on the floor.
Luigi promised the widow he’d take care of the problem. Patting her shoulder, he sent her upstairs and tricked the husband into coming out to the barn with him. After clouting him over the head with a shovel once! twice! he tossed him into the pigpen. Since Luigi had forgotten to feed them that morning, the pigs were grateful creatures and gobbled the husband.
Of course, he failed to show up the next morning. Luigi assured her the man would be no further trouble as he’d had a man-to-man talk with him. Joyfully, the widow married her farmer and the day of the wedding she took Luigi’s face between her hands and, in a tearful voice said, “How can I repay you for all your kindness?”
Luigi blushed and told her, “Fahgeddaboudit.” With that, he bent low over her hand, kissed it then disappeared in a puff of smoke.
And the widow, now again a wife, lived happily ever after.



When I pop up to talk to my daughter at her job I always check the marked down bin of books. She’d already clocked out but I picked up a real gem called Dangerous Women. A heavy volume of short stories, it features well-known writers including Lev Grossman, Diana Gabaldon and George R.R. Martin. The second one in is Either My Heart Is Broken by Megan Abbott.

I think writing short stories is harder than writing books. It’s also easier because you’re finished in a relatively short time. What makes them difficult to pen is trying to condense all you want the reader to experience in less time.

Ms. Abbott pulled me into her tale told by a husband whose toddler has gone missing. At first his wife, Lorie, has the sympathy of neighbors, family, the police and public. After a few weeks the focus has changed to one of suspicion and intense scrutiny. I’m thinking, Uh huh. Classic case of former wild child grown weary of motherhood. She gets a tattoo, Mirame Quemar, on her hip and is photographed on cell phones dancing at bars.

Is the little girl dead? Is Lorie innocent? Will the husband get a clue? Make no assumptions here. The end took me by surprise and goosebumps popped up. I must read more by this author. It reminded me of the kind of writer I’d like to be, the kind of writing I doubt I’ll ever crank out. She’s concise, crafty in her build-up and put me right in the head of the characters.

You can get more info on the writer of crime noir at meganabbott.com

#dangerouswomen, #meganabbott, #crimenovels


Oenophiles are connisseurs of wine. Bibliophiles are collectors or great lovers of books. Cynophiles are people who love dogs.There’s a great website for writers of any genre and its name is Scribophile. It means those who love writing.

Scribophile is a free site that is available for upgrade. Post your profile then go hunting for something to read–or critique. There are groups to be joined, writers to look up and contests to participate in. For each activity you earn karma points and you get two when you sign up. It takes five points to submit your own work. Be sure and check out the writing blog to add to your authoring knowledge. If you want to ask a question go to the forum.

Critiques of posted writings earns karma points, so will commenting and liking others’ critiques. The longer the review, the more points earned. The points are necessary to post your work.  Before publishing on-site it’s advisable to read the FAQ and help sections.

It costs nothing to just look and as I said, you can join for free or upgrade to do still more in this little corner of the writing world. Google reviews on Scribophile are quite favorable. Is it for you? Go find out.


#Scribophile, #writersgroups, #publishing, #writingadvice