No Extra Words

one person's search for story


February 2016

Meet Episode 35 Contributor Sheila M. Good

Sheila keeps one of my favorite blogs, the Cow Pasture Chronicles, which gets its name from her childhood growing up in the Smoky Mountains and journaling next to the creek in the cow pasture behind her house.

Sheila Good is both a fiction and non-fiction writer. Her stories and essays reflect her Southern roots and the people and events that shaped her life. The author of the blog, Cow Pasture Chronicles (, her work has been featured in various publications, including Every Day Fiction (, Every Writers Resource Short Stories (, and Angie’s Diary ( A member of the South Carolina Writer’s Workshop, Sheila resides in South Carolina and is completing her first novel, Hello Hell.

Happy listening,



Meet Episode 35 Contributor Frederick K. Foote, Jr.

Frederick K. Foote, Jr. is making his first (but not last) appearance on the show, and his beautiful reading is not to be missed.

Frederick K. Foote has published over eighty stories and poems including literary, science fiction, fables and horror genres and a collections of his short stories, For the Sake of Soul was published in October 2015 by Blue Nile Press. Another collection of short stories, Crossroads Encounters, is scheduled for publication in January 2016 by Choose the Sword Press. To see a list of Frederick’s publications go to:

Happy listening,


Special Episode #2: Valentine’s Day: for the love of nonfiction

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A special holiday bonus for our listeners featuring two pieces of flash nonfiction.

Today’s special guest is Susan Vollenweider from the History Chicks podcast.

Susan Vollenweider is a columnist for The Kansas City Star and one half of the podcast and writing team, The History Chicks. She graduated from Loyola University, New Orleans and eventually parlayed her education into a Stay at Home Mom gig until she realized she couldn’t cover any bills with the pay. Originally from Connecticut she now lives in Kansas City, MO and works on the internet at and She is available for banter @EssephVee

Happy listening,


Episode 34: Broken Hearts

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This episode starts with an untitled story by M. Pepper Langlinais to get you in the right (although maybe not holiday) mood. This story is copyright 2014 and used with permission. Visit her website here.

In “Sunrise,” we walk with a family through their moments of most intense emotion. By Sherry Sellars, copyright 2015, used with permission. Read Sherry’s bio here.

A tired waitress finds a whole new world in Christopher Woods’ “Sprawl.” Copyright 2011, used with permission. Read Christopher’s bio here.

Look for a special holiday bonus episode this weekend. See you then!

Happy listening,


So it turns out I’m in the paper…thoughts on 21st Century Intellectual Property

I can hear your eyes rolling right now. Oh, Lord. I think Kris is going to go librarian on us.

Intellectual property is so not a sexy term. But every time you think, hey, I should get paid for what I do, you’re talking about intellectual property. Because if you don’t own it, everybody does, so what would be the point of paying you?

I woke up this morning to learn I’d been tagged in a Tweet. Everybody likes that, right? Free publicity! I thought it might be because I’m being featured this week, more on that in a moment. But it turns out I was tagged because I had contributed a story to something called “The Podcaster’s Daily.” Usually when I contribute to something, I remember doing it, but in this case I had never heard of this paper (it was referred to as a paper.) It turns out they had picked up the blog post I wrote yesterday and stuck it in the arts and leisure section of this “paper.” My title was there, and then my photo (which appears nowhere on this blog, meaning they lifted my link off Twitter,) with a note “Shared by Kris Baker Dersch.”

Now, I want to make one thing abundantly clear: “The Podcaster’s Daily” did NOTHING wrong and I am not angry with them. The “paper,” as it turns out, is a collection of links, organized like a newspaper page. When you read the little excerpt of my piece, if you want to read more you click on it and land right here. It’s no different than what the WordPress reader or a hundred other aggregators do every day.

So what gave me pause? I’m not sure, honestly. I think it’s just the loose definitions of everything. Once upon a time I knew what a paper was, and people who contributed to one and were named as authors expected to be paid. These things just aren’t as clear anymore. Anyone can start a paper like this and curate whatever content they want, and any blogger putting their writing out on the Internet for all to read can find it posted and excerpted pretty much anywhere. This was supposed to be the great thing about the Web, right? All the connections? Dude, I’m starting to sound old.

I guess it keeps coming back to this conversation…who does get paid to write? Are we past the era of the traditional journalist, and can the end of the traditional author be far behind? Somehow I never thought I would be the one asking how authors get paid…it always sounded like such a whiny conversation to me. But the more threads I pull, the bigger this knot is and I’m in it somehow. I don’t know how I got there.

So check out “The Podcaster’s Daily,” and let me know what you think. And do drop by the blog of Libsyn, our marvelous podcast host who are featuring us this week on their “Rockin’ Libsyn Podcast” feature. I appreciate the shout-outs and the opportunities, after all. More listeners, more readers, more impact. Its the author’s dream.

Happy writing,


The Old Craft v. Business Conversation

I have so much to say today that I’m about to get super ranty.

First, I’m currently on my second listen of the new episode of She Podcasts. This is a podcast aimed at women podcasters, but the conversation they have is very on point for self-published writers and indie content creators of all stripes. One of the hosts got started talking about whether is okay that professional podcasters (the NPR types) get all the attention and space. The question is if what they are doing is different than what we as indie producers are doing. Listen here, to get right to the conversation I’m referring to, start at right about the 60 minute mark and listen to the last 10 minutes. I think this is a really important conversation to have. In the world of traditional and self publishing, is it a competition or separate space?

Then I found this delightful post saying that only 40 of Amazon’s self-published authors are “successful.” Yes, you read that right. And since Amazon’s Kindle store is the biggest self-publishing e-book platform, well, you can see where I’m going with this.

The commenters on this and other blogs on the issue immediately pointed out a flaw in the number: success here is defined as selling a million e-books in five years and that’s a pretty high bar to clear. Plenty of traditionally published authors aren’t doing nearly that, especially in the world of literary fiction where books come out slower and tend to not sell as well. But it’s still not a fun statistic to read. Maybe it isn’t really possible to make a living as an author. I’ve asked before on this blog if you really have to give up your day job to be a writer, and it frustrates me is that no one tells the truth about this. When you say you are writing a novel, all the people in your life assume that you will quit your day job when it is published and if not you have failed. Well, you and everyone else, it turns out. Or everyone else minus forty.

So all this was swirling in my head as I sat down to record an upcoming episode of the podcast…and then I sank into it with delight. Such great stuff is coming, such powerful storytelling, and I was thinking about how much more there is to this telling of story than words on a page. Words on a page are important…wouldn’t be who and what I am without them…but they aren’t story. Story is everywhere, and story needs to be celebrated.

Early in my librarian career I heard a very well-meaning instructor on early literacy tell a roomful of children’s librarians that “we need to teach children that stories come from books.” I think I may have actually snorted. Stories don’t come from books. Now, few people love books more than I do. I’m kind of a book hoarder and as I’ve said before I sort of want to be Meg Ryan with my own bookstore. But stories come from books?! That’s like saying Grandma’s chicken soup comes from the big pot with the crack on its lid.

Stories are everywhere. They are all around us, all the time. A friend of mine has a toddler, great kid, just starting to talk, but oh, man can he tell stories. You can’t understand them, they are in his own language, but they are stories to be sure.

I’m not a football fan, but I do live in the Seattle area, and the Seattle area has a well-known athlete who participates in that sport I don’t like so much. He’s known for his reticence to speak out loud. You may remember him. At a press conference. Saying enough not to get fined. And while he got widely criticized for that, I find myself admiring him. In a world of over-sharing, taking a stand to not say everything that comes into your head seems somehow brave.

What does he have to do with all this? Well, today he announced his retirement. With no words at all. In one image he told his story his way. Now me, I use words to share my message and if you’ve been reading this blog long you know that I really kind of suck at pictures. But it’s always nice to remember that there is a world of stories going on that have nothing to do with words on a page.

That’s the business we are in. The capturing stories business. And yeah, who publishes them and how they get to those who consume them is a very important conversation to have and we should keep having it, but I guess for me today ends as it so often does: with the reminder that the most important thing I do is focus on my content: what I am writing, recording, creating. Because if it isn’t the very best I have in me how it gets to you isn’t going to matter one bit. So back to my recording studio I go.

Happy writing,



Meet Episode 34 Contributor Christopher Woods

This week’s episode is “Broken Hearts,” so it’s not exactly Valentine’s Day warm and fuzzy, but it is another unique three-story combo anchored by Christopher’s story. It will arrive in this space tomorrow!

Christopher Woods is a writer, teacher and photographer who lives in Houston and Chappell Hill, Texas. He has published a novel, THE DREAM PATCH, a prose collection, UNDER A RIVERBED SKY, and a book of stage monologues for actors, HEART SPEAK. His work has appeared in THE SOUTHERN REVIEW, NEW ENGLAND REVIEW, NEW ORLEANS REVIEW, COLUMBIA and GLIMMER TRAIN, among others. His photographs can be seen in his gallery –

Happy listening,


Meet Episode 34 Contributor Sherry Sellars

I completely love Sherry’s bio…we have very similar backgrounds and like her I’ve been writing all the way through it but finally at this season of life am really trying to propel my writing forward. Very excited to feature her on the show.

Sherry Sellars has worked in education for over twenty years. She’s worked as a classroom teacher, pre-k teacher, environmental education and currently happy as a clam driving the bookmobile for her local library. She’s been writing the whole time but has only currently gained the self-confidence and growing awareness of her 50th birthday (three years away) to go full throttle with her writing. She has been published in Tahoe Blues, The Kokanee and the Todd Point Review.

Happy listening,


Meet Episode 34 Contributor M. Pepper Langlinais

Just so you’re hearing it right in your head, it’s pronounced “long-luh-nay.”

M. Pepper Langlinais is best known for her Sherlock Holmes stories. She is also a produced playwright and screenwriter. Her novel “The Fall and Rise of Peter Stoller” was released by Tirgearr Publishing in January 2016. More at and

Happy listening,


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