No Extra Words

the flash fiction podcast

Episode 63: The Symphony

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A Symphony of Everyday Life, in short story.

Starting with the trio of short stories “Sights,” “Sounds,” and “Pitches,” by Ben Berman. Copyright 2016, used with permission. Visit Ben’s website.

Does life ever have spice in “The Suburbs?” By Jason Heroux, copyright 2016, used with permission. Visit Jason’s website.

Sometimes the sensory experience is overwhelming, and sometimes it’s just “God Awful.” By Robert Carnahan, copyright 2016, used with permission. Visit Robert’s website.

To learn more about the Carnegie Hall concert mentioned or to purchase tickets please visit

Happy listening,


My DIY Nanowrimo

I’m a huge fan of National Novel Writing Month. The origin story of this podcast starts with Nanowrimo, and if I haven’t yet shared that story on this blog I will sometime soon. I’ve participated at least four times and won at least twice, it’s hard to keep track. And I knew I just wasn’t going to be able to this year.

It’s become harder to do the intense writing and long hours Nanowrimo requires since I became a mom. The first time I attempted it post-baby, in 2014, my then 6 month old went on a major sleep regression and basically didn’t sleep the rest of the month. Any time he slept, I slept, period, and my novel, such as it was, fell completely apart.

It’s also hard to do when you have other obligations, like, I don’t know, running a podcast. Add to that the fact that I start a new part-time job in November AND will spend almost a week out of town, and I knew this wasn’t going to be the year for me. That made sense. But it didn’t mean it didn’t suck to think about not participating.

I like the camaraderie of Nanowrimo. I like popping into the forums now and then to see what everyone else is up to and what the chatter is about. I like seeing people’s word counts come up on Facebook and Twitter. I like going to the occasional write-in or virtual write-in. And while I don’t participate every year (after the 2014 fiasco, I didn’t even ATTEMPT it last November,) I was kind of looking forward to it. But it wasn’t meant to be.

And then, on October 5th, I got blindsided by an idea.

This isn’t entirely true. The seed of this idea has been with me for awhile. I had some idea of this character and the story I wanted to build. But on October 5th, from of all things a facebook post, I got the inspiration that tied the whole thing together and I knew the story I had to tell.

So I did something very uncharacteristic of me: I just started writing.

I’m an outliner. In the world of Nanowrimo, this makes me a Plotter (as opposed to a Pantster, as in fly by the seat of your.) The reason for this is simple: without outlines I don’t make it to the end. Believe me. I cleaned my office today. Where half-finished manuscripts go to die. Found four or five more of them. But this time…I don’t know…I just sat down and started writing. No outline, no notes, I just picked up a pencil (yeah, I know, old school) and wrote down some words.

In the ten days since then, I’ve been writing like a maniac. Scared of losing this idea, I just kept going. I couldn’t sleep one morning so was up at 5 a.m. writing. My house is a mess, I write. The toddler sleeps for half an hour, I write. I even turned off the baseball playoffs. It’s inspiring. It’s manic. It’s…Nanowrimoish.

So, apparently this year October is my National Novel Writing Month. I’ll still miss the camaraderie. I won’t be in the forums or at the write-ins and this won’t count for a win or anything. But I just might end October with the draft of a novel. Or something. At ten days, I’m 11,000 words in, so it won’t be nothing. And I’m happy. Because it may not be November, but the spirit of Nanowrimo stays with me and I’m very grateful to them for all the inspiration. I hope if you’ve never sat down to frantically pound out the draft of a novel, you’ll give it a try. Maybe this November. It’s an exhilaration that can’t be explained.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some writing to do.

Happy writing,


Meet Episode 63 Contributor Robert Carnahan


Robert Carnahan is a writer and documentary filmmaker from Saskatchewan, Canada. A complete lack of anything better to do on the prairies led him to discover a passion for storytelling very early in life. His flash fiction and other ramblings can be found at . He also tweets via @Johnny_TV2 .

Happy listening,


Meet Episode 63 Contributor Jason Heroux

Jason Heroux Photo.jpg

Jason Heroux is the author of two novellas, Good Evening, Central Laundromat and We Wish You a Happy Killday, as well as four poetry collections, Memoirs of an Alias, Emergency Hallelujah, Natural Capital, and most recently Hard Work Cheering Up Sad Machines (Mansfield Press, 2016). He lives in Kingston, Ontario. For more information about his work you can visit his blog at

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Meet Episode 63 Contributor Ben Berman

Berman Photo.jpg

Ben Berman’s first book, Strange Borderlands, won the 2014 Peace Corps Award for Best Book of Poetry and was a finalist for the Massachusetts Book Awards. His second collection, Figuring in the Figure, is forthcoming from Able Muse Press. He is the Poetry Editor at Solstice Literary Journal and has received awards from the New England Poetry Club and fellowships from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and Somerville Arts Council. He currently teaches in the Boston area, where he lives with his wife and daughters. You can visit him at

Happy listening,


Episode 62: Friends Since Middle School

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How well do we really know our oldest friends?

Sometimes it takes someone who has really been there when you are “Low.” By Harold Klae, copyright 2016, used with permission. Contact Harold.

I’ve known “My Pal Rich” for a long time and never expected this. By Cam Lay, copyright 2014, used with permission. Read Cam’s bio.

Happy listening,



Meet Episode 62 Contributor Cam Lay

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Prior to moving to Kansas to pursue his MFA in Fiction, Cam worked for a decade doing online marketing and publishing pretentious (but beautiful) leather-bound books. His fiction has been published or is forthcoming in Eclectica, Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction, and The Society for Misfit Stories. He currently resides in Lawrence, Kansas and is finishing up his first novel.

Happy listening,


Meet Episode 62 Contributor Harold Klae


“Under the light, the world remains our first and our last love.”

Happy listening,


Episode 61: The Cocoon

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Those quiet moments in a relationship when it’s just you and your partner.

“Cowboy Nocturne” is a falling in love story by Evan Guilford-Blake. Copyright 2008. An expanded version of “Cowboy Nocturne will appear in Evan’s forthcoming short story collection Love and Loss and Love. Read Evan’s bio.

Relationships have big dynamic moments, but they also have a lot of everyday moments, those involving “Cereal Bowls and Lukewarm Coffee.” By Marika Brooks, copyright 2016, used with permission. Read Marika’s bio.

Will “The Fart” come between Michael and his lady? By T.E. Cowell, copyright 2015, used with permission. Read T.E.’s bio.

Happy listening,


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