First Blood in Microfiction: Specklit Acceptance

bear-90479 Maybe there’s magic in telling the truth. Today brought a new acceptance. My stories “The Unexpected Suitor” and “The Cabin Boy on the Widow’s Walk” will appear in Specklit: A World of Wonder in 100 Words. Alex F. Fayle edits Specklit and Aia Publishing puts it out.

Update: Here’s the Specklit publication schedule for my drabbles. Fun word. Say it a few times fast.

Bryce Hughes The Cabin Boy on the Widow’s Walk 5/13/2014
Bryce Hughes The Unexpected Suitor 6/14/2014

Yes, unmasked again. There goes my nekkid alter-ego letting it all hang out in live pixels.

The Wonderful World of Drabbles

Specklit features drabbles, 100-word stories. Yes, stories, not sketches, fragments or bits. We’re in microfiction territory here. For me, with my entrenched tendency to be wordy, 500-word flash fiction is a huge challenge. So the prospect of a story in 100 words put my circuits in tilt and stimulated me to break my limits.

For anyone who hasn’t attempted to write a story in 100 words, I recommend it. By the time I wrote 10 of these, I had a greater grasp of my obsessions. It’s a valuable exercise in distilling the essence of story. At core, what must be told?

I went wild and wrote most of the stories back to  back. Then I tinkered with them, put them in the order that had the most impact and named the series. I’m pleased that two made it in.background-107168_1920“The Unexpected Suitor” and “The Cabin Boy on the Widow’s Walk” feature characters who remain underrepresented in speculative fiction.

Although I didn’t write these tiny stories with an agenda, I’m particularly gratified they found a home. This gives me hope for longer works that veer wide from the mainstream. It’s no coincidence that I most often submit stories to venues with explicit policies of inclusiveness. I check for evidence of inclusiveness. There’s a long way to go.

To learn more about Specklit, check out the Specklit About page, where you can discover the origins of the drabble. BTW, the focus is on speculative fiction, including fantasy, science fiction and dark fantasy.

Whatever else you do when you visit this unusual webzine, check out the drabbles.
When I first took a look, I didn’t find any drabbles, only mini movie reviews. So I made the decision to apply to submit based on the concept, the challenge to tell a story in 100 words, which appealed to the same part of my brain that goads me into climbing rocks.

I prefer to get a feel for a publication by reading an issue — preferably several issues —  before submitting, yet in this case, I’m retroactively relieved that I didn’t pop in there and see Gary Cuba’s fine drabble among others and become intimidated. Instead it was a free fall.

Bonus happiness: one of the forthcoming drabbles is the first fantasy I’ve written in years. It has its roots in the lighter kinds of fantasy I devoured growing up, not the dark fantasy and horror I’ve been reading and writing as a faux adult.

The tiny story about baby shoes attributed to Hemmingway still gives me chills. I’m going to keep an eye on Specklit. Beyond meeting the current attention span, there’s a potent craft here.

When I studied with the poet Stan Rice, he recommended reading Chinese poetry as a palette cleanser, in the sense of getting clear and discerning the essentials. This exploration took me back to that attention to making each word count.


I write speculative fiction, science fiction, horror, fantasy, cross-genre, unclassified, non-fiction, scripts, poetry and dreams. I'm branching out into multimedia projects. My Vampire Madam series is available on Amazon. The first episode is Animals of London. My work has appeared in anthologies, literary journals, newspapers and on websites under a trio of pen names. I made my first sale to the Pan Book of Horror: Dark Voices series.

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