No Extra Words

one person's search for story


June 2015

Episode 4: Only Crazy if You Get the Wrong Answer

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In “A Parable on the Challenge of Being an Unpublished Writer,” novelist Reed is considering taking a break from the financial and emotional strain of writing a novel, until he meets an unexpected visitor.  By Tom Farr, copyright 2015, used with permission.

In “Secret is Safe,” mom LeeAnn uses all kinds of words around her infant son and one day realizes how well he has been listening.  By Kris Baker Dersch, copyright 2015, all rights reserved.

About the Contributor

Be sure to leave your comments on the thread for the summer camp episode below or call our feedback line at 425-686-9495.

Happy listening!


Our theme music is “Reverie (small theme),” used under Creative Commons license. Please click the link for more details.

What does summer camp mean to you?

Episode 5 of No Extra Words, coming in July, is the summer camp episode, and I am challenging the listeners to contribute!

In 25 words or less, what does summer camp mean to you?  Simple as that.  Tell me in the comments, leave a message on our new listener feedback line at 425-686-9495, or hit me on Facebook and Twitter (links to your left.)  Don’t forget to include whatever name you wish to be called on the show, because as many of these as possible will be included.  Deadline: July 3.

Happy camping!


Meet Friday’s Contributor….Tom Farr!

When I launched No Extra Words, it was my goal to include the voices of different flash fiction authors sharing the craft.  After three episodes of just my own stories, I am beyond thrilled to introduce this Friday’s contributor.

Tom Farr is a blogger, freelance writer, and storyteller who spends his days teaching English Language Arts to high school students. He loves creating and spending time with his wife and three children. Follow him on Twitter, on Medium, or visit his blog The Whisper Project for writing tips and updates on his latest projects.

Tom’s story “A Parable on the Challenge of Being an Unpublished Writer” will be featured on Friday’s Episode 4: Only Crazy if You Get the Wrong Answer.  I am grateful to Tom for being No Extra Words’ first author contributor, but he will not be the last.  We are planning to feature several other excellent flash fiction writers this summer, so stay tuned!

Happy listening, and see you Friday,


On a Personal Note

“A ship in harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships were built for.”  –John A. Shedd

So much is happening in the next couple of podcast episodes that I am afraid of not having the time to send out this message of gratitude, so I’m going to do it here for posterity in case I forget to ever mention it again.

Sharing my writing with an Internet full of relative strangers is intimidating and daunting.  Sharing my writing with a network of family and friends, like the people I actually know in real life, is beyond terrifying, and that’s what I’ve done over this past week.

I outed myself as a podcaster and invited my personal network to hear my writing.  Like everyone.  Work colleagues from three jobs ago, old Girl Scout leaders, even guys I’ve had the occasional date with.  I made myself send it to everyone.  Because I am too old and too wise to let fear stop me.

The feedback has been tremendous and uplifting, and I am so grateful for all of the messages of support.  Every like, every download, every share, and every word of encouragement has meant the world to me.  I hope you’ll keep listening.  I hope you’ll stay in touch with the show.  But mostly I want to thank everyone for their support.  No one does anything like this alone.

Tomorrow I will post the bio of our first (not our last) contributor!  I’m so excited about what is coming.  Stay tuned!

With gratitude,


Am I Allowed to Write that Story? Diversity in Lit.

Podcast update: As I mentioned in Episode 3 and the show notes, I have revised the production schedule to every other week.  I’m going to stick with that schedule at least through the summer.  I would like to produce a weekly show but what I want more than anything is to produce a quality show, and right now every other week is a better schedule for doing that.  We have some exciting stuff coming up: on Monday or Tuesday I will share the bio of our Episode 4 contributor and stay tuned about how you can help with Episode 5, The Summer Camp Episode.  Thank you so much for the downloads and likes.  They are keeping this ship afloat.

Today, since I’m not releasing a podcast, since it is Juneteenth and since all of us are reeling with the news of what happened in Charleston, I’m thinking about diversity in American lit, especially children’s and YA, but all of it.  I’m a huge fan of the We Need Diverse Books campaign, and the number one way we can get diversity into literature is to support diverse writers.  That means mentor those who wish to be writers, and buy the books of those who are writing.

But I’ve been asking myself this question over and over: as a white writer, is including diverse characters something else I can do? I loved this blog post on finding ordinary everyday characters of color in kids lit…you know, the kinds of characters who don’t spend every waking minute fighting racial problems. Can I write those characters?  I can absolutely support those who do and buy those books, but if I include such characters in my own writing, is that helping with the problem or is that appropriation?  Where is the line?  If we are trying to break LGBT and minority literature out of “genre” classifications, then who gets to tell the stories?

I don’t have the answers, but I would love to hear what you think!  I would also love to hear what books you are reading and how you are breaking out of the reading rut to support diverse books and their authors.

Happy reading! Catch the podcast next week!


Episode 3: Dyslexic Thinking

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In “Parent-Teacher Conference Day,” a stressed-out mom of two has to fit a conference with a teacher about how to help her seven-year-old learn to read into an already busy day and already busy life.  She fights her mom guilt and wonders if all of it is her fault.  By Kris Baker Dersch, copyright 2015, all rights reserved.

In “The Old Family Problem,” a man remembers his father who couldn’t read and endures his own struggles with reading before his son is finally diagnosed with dyslexia and he can begin to understand what his family has struggled with for generations.  By Kris Baker Dersch, copyright 2015, all rights reserved.

This podcast means so much to me because of its topic.  I hope you will let me know what you think, and look for Episode 4 around June 26.

Happy listening!


Our theme music is “Reverie (small theme),” used under Creative Commons license. Please click the link for more details.

Call for Submissions – Flash Fiction

In the most recent edition of Poets and Writers magazine, when talking about the current market for literary fiction, the editor suggested that if a writer doesn’t find a good home for her/his own fiction, starting a literary magazine in 2015 is a pretty easy thing to do.  This is one of the things that inspired me to launch No Extra Words and now I am looking for other voices eager to share their stories.

If you’ve never submitted before, think of us.  If you are scared to share your writing, think of us.  If you are drowning in rejection letters, think of us.  I encourage you to take the brave step with me of putting your work out into the world to be shared.

You retain all rights to your work.  We will publish your bio and include a copyright notice in your name, or a Creative Commons license if you prefer.  No Extra Words never publishes the text of your story, and you can even choose to read it yourself for the podcast recording if you wish.  Any story under 2,000 words will be considered, but we are particularly looking for stories under 1,000 words, and there is no minimum.  If you have a 6 or 10 or 100 word story I would love to see it.

To submit your work, click on the Submit Your Story link at the top of the page for complete guidelines and submissions info.  And keep on listening…episode 3 of the podcast will be up on Friday!  We are now available FREE on iTunes and Stitcher.

Happy writing,


Episode 2: Everyday Writers

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In “Obituary for Poetry on a Manual Typewriter,” the writer realizes that without attention paid to it, poetry has somehow disappeared.  By Kris Baker Dersch, copyright 2015, all rights reserved.

In “A Well-Ordered Laundry Room,” a new mama who is also a writer craves the organization her spacious laundry room gives her as she navigates finding time to write and realizing how fast her infant is growing.  By Kris Baker Dersch, copyright 2015, all rights reserved.

I hope you will let me know what you think of episode 2, and if you’ve ever thought of writing flash fiction of your own, please click the “Submit Your Story” button above so it can be featured on No Extra Words.

Happy listening!


Our theme music is “Reverie (small theme),” used under Creative Commons license. Please click the link for more details.

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