No Extra Words

one person's search for story


December 2015

No Extra Words in 2015…and coming in 2016

I promised myself I would not do this. I really like reflection, but I really dislike it when it feels arbitrary. Like, oh, I don’t know, on New Year’s Eve. But I think reflection is catching. And there’s something to be said for taking a minute to reflect on where you’ve been.

I will run down what happened in 2015 in just a moment, but before I do I would like to take a minute to celebrate what’s ahead. We will celebrate Contributor Appreciation Month in January, sponsored by, and get to give things away, which is fun. Honored contributors will get to be interviewed, which I’m super excited to share with you. Submissions are once again open and in a week I will announce a special submissions announcement related to some plans for springtime episodes. And it is still a ways off, but I have some fun stuff in mind for our first birthday and 50th episode at the end of May/early June.

Thank you to this community of writers and listeners. I am so excited to bring this show to you every week and continue to be grateful to all who have pressed play. Now…for some history!

In April of 2015 I participated in Camp Nanowrimo and got inspired to write and share flash fiction. In May I prepared to launch the podcast and on May 29 released Episode 1, featuring 2 original short stories by me. A couple of days later I released the Everyday Writers episode and we were off to the races.

Episode 3 on dyslexia got us our first iTunes review and Episode 4 featured our first ever contributor. For Episode 5, the Summer Camp episode, I broke format and solicited feedback from the listeners, and for Episode 6 got three contributors! A scheduling snafu released the ever hilarious Episode 7 early, forcing me to hit the public domain for content for an unexpected Episode 8. Episode 9, Ask the Locals, was our first explicit episode and took listeners beyond their comfort zones in all kinds of good ways. And after that we became a weekly show.

Episode 10 featured the wit and wisdom of three talented contributors right out of the slush pile and we left summer behind with spooky stories in Episode 11. Episode 12 asked us to mind our step and Lucky #13 featured our first story read by a contributor. Everything was a first in 2015.

We checked out Gen Y in Episode 14, learned hindsight really is 20/20 in Episode 15, and for Sweet #16 went back to adolescence and got picked on. In Episode 17, we were living in our own future, in Episode 18 we thought about our mental health and in Episode 19 had a great family storytelling session with our first episode to feature four stories by four contributors.

Episode 20 was legendary in more ways than one, with two stories read by contributors. Episode 21 honored Armistice Day with a poem and two minutes of silence in addition to a story, and Episode 22 tried to take us to Fantasyland but as life so often does didn’t get us there. We celebrated a bittersweet Thanksgiving, as so many of them are, with my lucky Episode 23.

Episodes 24, 25, 26, and 27 were our Christmas Serial specials, a delight for me to bring to you. And we rang in the New year just yesterday with Episode 28, featuring new theme music and intros.

Whew! All told over the 28 episodes of 2015 we aired 63 short stories, one poem, and the longer 4-part Christmas serial. 46 of those stories were by contributors, the rest were by me or from the public domain, with one by a listener. And it’s been awesome. Lots of lessons learned, lots of literature shared. Bring on 2016! I’m ready.

Happy New Year,


The Ugly Truth of Publishing & How BEST to Support Writers

We are a non-paying market, asking writers to give us their work for free. We also get paid not a dime for what we do. As a 21st century writer, it is harder than ever to get paid and this beautiful outline of the traditional publishing model tells us why. But we are not alone. Musicians, photographers, visual artists…they are all trying to figure out how to get paid.
What do you think? Can you make a living as a writer? Do you count on your readers to help you out as the finances get tighter? And maybe the toughest question of all: does the literary community owe you anything? I don’t know what to make of this…tell me your thoughts!

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Original Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Anurag Agnihotri Original Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Anurag Agnihotri

Well, I figure I have one more day to drunkenly torch my platform. Sad thing is I don’t drink. I am apparently this stupid when sober 😛 . Actually I am writing this as a follow up for my rant from the day before yesterday, because knowledge is power.

Writers need this. Your friends and families need this. Readers need this. The more people get how this industry works, the more everyone can start working together for everyone’s benefit.

In my book Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World, I go into a LOT more detail and I highly recommend you get a copy if you don’t have one. I spend the first chapters of the book explaining how the various forms of publishing work so you can make an educated decision.

All types of publishing have corresponding…

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Episode 28: A Fresh Start – New Year 2016

Click to play full episode

Starting with a classic element of any New year…”The Diet.” By Diane Valentine, copyright 2015, used with permission. Read Diane’s bio here.

Read in her own lovely voice is Aileen Hunt’s “The Man Who Taught My Children About Dragonflies.” Copyright 2014, used with permission. Visit Aileen’s website here.

“Flowers” is a brilliant piece of microfiction about the celebration and mystery of sending flowers. By Charles Rafferty, copyright 2015, used with permission. Read Charles’s bio here.

Follow the love story of “How My Parents Fell in Love.” By Dallas Woodburn, copyright 2011, used with permission. Visit Dallas’s website here.

Heartfelt thanks to everyone who made 2015 such an amazing journey for this show. Looking forward to bringing you more great content in 2016, starting with Contributor Appreciation Month in January sponsored by

Please let us know what you think of our new sound, new theme song, and return to our old format.

Happy listening!


Episode 28 Contributors Part 4 of 4: Dallas Woodburn

The only way I can describe her lovely holiday gem of a story is whimsical. Episode 28 arriving soon!

Dallas Woodburn, a recent Steinbeck Fellow in Creative Writing, has published fiction and nonfiction in Zyzzyva, Fourth River, The Nashville Review, The Los Angeles Times, North Dakota Quarterly, and Monkeybicycle, among others. A three-time Pushcart Prize nominee, she won second place in the American Fiction Prize and her work appears in American Fiction Volume 13: The Best Unpublished Short Stories by American Writers (New Rivers Press). Her short story collection was a finalist for the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, the Augury Books Prose Award, and the Horatio Nelson Fiction Prize. She is the founder of Write On! For Literacy, an organization that empowers young people through reading and writing endeavors: Connect with Dallas on Twitter @DallasWoodburn, on Facebook @WriterDallas, and read her blog at

Happy Holidays!


Episode 28 Contributors Part 3 of 4: Charles Rafferty

An absolutely delightful piece of microfiction!

Charles Rafferty’s tenth book of poetry is The Unleashable Dog (2014, Steel Toe Books). His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Oprah Magazine, The Southern Review, and Prairie Schooner. His stories have been accepted at Sonora Review, Cortland Review, and The Southern Review. His collection of short fiction is Saturday Night at Magellan’s (2013, Fomite Press). Currently, he directs the MFA program at Albertus Magnus College.

Happy Holidays!


Episode 28 Contributors Part 2 of 4: Aileen Hunt

A lovely story read in Aileen’s own voice!

Aileen Hunt is an Irish writer and essayist. Her work has been published in Hippocampus magazine, the Lindenwood Review, Work Literary Magazine, and Compose:A Journal of Simply Good Writing. Her essay The Shell of your Ear appears in Oh Baby! an anthology from Creative Nonfiction. You can read more of her work at, where she blogs regularly about her life in Dublin.

Happy Holidays!


Episode 28 Contributors Part 1 of 4: Diane Valentine

Of course a story called “The Diet” had to be reserved for the New Year’s episode….here’s to best intentions.

Diane Valentine attends an ongoing critique group at AllWriters’ Workplace and Workshop with internationally known author and teacher, Kathie Giorgio. Diane’s work appears in, among others, Front Range Review, Crab Fat Magazine, Birds Piled Loosely, Boston Literary Magazine, and The Shine Journal. Her novels are Family Secrets released August, 2014.Daring to Soar, released July, 2015.

Happy Holidays!


Episode 27: A Christmas Serial Part 4

A Christmas serial(4)

First up, a beautiful short story by entitled “Our Trip to the Moon.” I could not imagine a more delightful companion to this finale of our series. By Bob Thurber, copyright 2012, used with permission.  Visit Bob’s website here.

I am delighted to share this final episode of our four-part series to celebrate Christmas. If you have missed the earlier installments, please check out Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 first.

As always, we would love to hear what you think! And please stay tuned for a New Year’s episode with a more traditional format next week.

Happy listening,


Wrapping up A Christmas Serial 2015

Like a lot of you, this week is busy for us here at the Dersch house.

The family is coming for Christmas, the presents have to be wrapped, the cooking has to be done, and thanks to an unexpected couple of sick days with our toddler germ machine, we are behind.

I had to stop for a minute in all the chaos and write a wrap-up to the Christmas Serial we have been running this month on the podcast. Because, of course, that was part of the story’s message.

I started writing the story more than 10 years ago when an afternoon of watching Christmas movies inspired me to tell my own North Pole tale. For weeks I lived in North Pole fantasy land, drawing maps of the Factory and the town, thinking about what elves looked like, talked like, what their world was like. My computer ate an early draft (back up your work, people!) but I couldn’t let it go.

Originally envisioned as a novel for children, it lived in a notebook in my office for a long time, unable to find a home. When I first thought about doing a serial, this story was a top choice but needed a lot of work. I cut and cut on that draft of a novel to find the short story inside it…and a lot of those characters and early brainstorming did not make the cut. I am delighted by the final product, though, and hope you are as well.

I hope this story has life beyond Christmas 2015. My mom was always a big Garrison Keillor fan and I can remember him saying on the audio book of “Lake Wobegon Days” that just because something is in print doesn’t mean you aren’t still working on it. I have a good-sized collection of children’s Christmas books and would like to someday add this to it. In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed it and I hope it brought something to your Christmas 2015.

The final installment of A Christmas Serial arrives right here tonight. If you aren’t caught up, please take a few minutes today amidst your wrapping, cooking, and errand running to check out Parts 1, 2, and 3. They are audio, so they work really well in the background.

From our home to yours, merry Christmas 2015. We will be back with a New Year’s episode next week and all manner of fun things ahead.

Happy listening,


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