Sunday, December 31, 2017

Found on my desk

I often email myself story ideas when I'm out and about. While cleaning off my desk, I found this one from October 2014:

Giant alien slugs invade Earth. They appear about to take over everything until our hero discovers that their kryptonite is a common seasoning.

So, how were they killed?

With a salt rifle.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

There's a drought in Texas

Two months have passed since my last acceptance, a sales drought I haven't experienced since sometime in the previous century.

I've received only five rejections during the past two months, so it isn't that my work is getting kicked back. Rather, my submissions are just sitting.

Sometimes, this is a good sign. With some markets, the longer the editor holds a story the more likely an acceptance is forthcoming.

On the flip side, long delays sometimes mean submissions were never received. A few times this year I've followed up after long delays only to discover my original submissions were never received or had gone into an editor's spam folder. (This happens most often with submissions sent to gmail accounts.) Following up has led to at least two acceptances, but most often the follow-up also receives no response.

So, I'm hoping the new year brings a flood of acceptances because this drought is killing me.

Friday, December 29, 2017


I completed my thirty-second short story of the year this morning, but I have not yet submitted it. Because I did not write it for a specific publication or to fit a specific call for submissions, I'll have to spend some time looking for appropriate markets.

Thursday, December 28, 2017


I completed and submitted my thirty-first short story of the year this morning.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

First Two Pages: "Dixie Quickies"

After B.K. Stevens' passing, Art Taylor stepped forward to host "The First Two Pages," essays by selected writers about the opening pages of their stories and novels. Today, he presents my essay about the opening two pages of "Dixie Quickies," published in the debut issue of Black Cat Mystery Magazine. Read it here.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Reviewed: "Dixie Quickies"

in the January 2018 issue of The Digest Enthusiast, Richard Krauss reviewed Black Cat Mystery Magazine #1. Here's what he had to say about "Dixie Quickies," my contribution to the magazine:
"A southwestern no-tell motel with hourly rates is the scene of the crime in 'Dixie Quickies' by Michael Bracken. Bodies are bad for business, so when Maria, one of several illegal immigrants who keep the sheets fresh, gives night manager Tiny Campella the news, he takes over the clean-up duties without bothering local authorities. Of course, that's just foreplay for the action to come. Bracken's mini-bio proclaims he's the author of over 1200 short stories, and his impressive pedigree shows throughout this sterling example of his dandy work."
 Krauss concludes the review:
"My favorites were those by Michael Bracken, Kaye Gorge, and Fletcher Flora; but I lean toward the dark side."
To read the entire review (as well as the other great articles in this issue), purchase The Digest Enthusiast on Amazon. To read "Dixie Quickies" and the other great short stories in Black Cat Mystery Magazine, you may also purchase the magazine on Amazon.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017


Ted Newsom's 1982 rejection of one of my short stories was instrumental in launching my decades-long fiction writing career. Find out why in "Ripples," today's post at SleuthSayers: