No Extra Words

one person's search for story



Special Episode #15: Feature the Podcaster: my conversation with Jim Szabo of Second Hand Stories


Click on the picture to hear the episode!

I loved my chat with Jim Szabo, host of the Second Hand Stories podcast. We chatted about the inspiration for our shows, how we deal with submissions and what our pet peeves are, how much we love our writers, our recording spaces, and so much more. Here’s some links to the things we talked about.

And the two recommendations Kris gives to podcaster wannabes are:

Happy listening,



That Particular Sort of Conceit

What is it about us as writers that makes us not only want to record our stories, but want people to read them, share them, and tell us how much they loved them?

It’s a kind of conceit, when you think about it. What is it about my writing that makes me feel it is worth another’s time to read?

I don’t think everyone has this. I know lots of people who keep diaries they never share or fill sketchbooks not even their spouses get to look at. What is it that separates them from those of us who strive for publication, readership, and following?

It takes a certain amount of stubbornness. You have to believe that your story is deserving of someone else’s attention, is somehow better than average. You have to have confidence in your ability. And a thick skin.

I got some criticism of my work this week. No big deal, it happens, and as criticism goes it was so mild it isn’t even worth my time and energy. It wasn’t mean, and it really doesn’t matter. It comes with putting yourself out there, and one of the big reasons I launched No Extra Words in the first place is because it forced me to be out there, forced me to put my work into the world and not hide my light, so to speak.

It did give me pause, though. It did make me stop and think,  why me? Why do I think I have the talent to put work into the world? Why not leave content creation to others, those who are better at it than me, those with more experience, better production abilities, stronger plot lines, and so on?

The answer is because I must. Because the particular conceit of the writer forces me to keep banging my head against the wall, keep trying. Bruised ego? Sure, but it can’t stop me. Because somehow there is something in me that tells me the world needs my voice in it.

Where will that stubbornness take you today?

Happy writing,


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,


The Naughty Words Conversation, Again

UPDATE 12/9: The change has been made, and as of our latest release all episodes will be marked as explicit. They literally have a scarlet letter next to them, which I find hilarious. I’ve update our About page to reflect the change.

I hear a lot that we are lucky to be writers and content creators in the 21st century. Unlike our predecessors, we have direct access to our audience. There are no gatekeepers. You don’t have to please a publishing company. You can just self-publish and ta-da! Audience.

It’s not actually true. I’m a podcaster, so for better or for worse I have to deal with the standards of iTunes. There are a LOT of ways for people to listen to podcasts, but about 85% of people actually listen in iTunes, so what iTunes says goes. For those of you out there who aren’t podcasters, I would ask you: who is in charge of delivering your content to your readers? I’m guessing it’s not you.

I wrote a post awhile back about how explicit podcast episodes are censored in India and other international markets. Well, now iTunes has decided that they no longer care about individual episodes. Shows will be either explicit or clean on the show level. Got one explicit episode out of 20? 50? 300? ITunes does not care. You’re explicit.

My show is a quiet little short story podcast. This month we are running a serial about Santa Claus. Were I to publish it, it would likely be a children’s book. And now we are an explicit show. Because in 7 out of our first 25 shows a contributor chose to use a naughty word. Know what? Sometimes naughty words are called for. But now you won’t be able to get the show via iTunes in India. Not even on a per-episode basis.

I have options, of course. I can just declare that I will take down those “naughty” shows, bleep out the “offensive” words, or let future contributors know, hey, from now on if it can’t be rated G it can’t be on the show. But my goal here is to pick the BEST short story content to bring to you, not the cleanest.

Maybe it won’t matter. Maybe listeners won’t care if suddenly the big red “Explicit” label is on our show. Maybe they will still tune in to hear about Santa Claus. I don’t know. I can tell you its frustrating. It feels like I have to put a scarlet letter on the show.

If you’re reading this in India, and I know we have some contributors there, know that you can still get us through the website. WordPress, for the moment, isn’t asking us to label content. But they could be next. It all depends on who’s running things.

In the meantime, let me know what you think,


The intersection of creativity and bravery

Beyond thrilled to have gotten this poem by talented typewriter poet Franki Elliot for Twitter Fest!  Please please check out this talented poet at  Exactly the message I need for the week I’m preparing to launch this podcast.

bravery and creativity

Away for the weekend, but working right now on edits and recording.  Hoping the new podcast is up and running by Monday!

Have a brave and creative weekend,


“Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.”

–E. L. Doctorow

I wanted to launch a podcast specifically because I didn’t want to become a blogger, so I’m going to keep this as short and sweet as my inner writer will allow.  It’s always hard to start something new, to throw creative work out into the universe and ask people to receive it, but there comes a time when you have to stop talking about something and start doing it.  I was inspired recently by some advice to writers that you should put something out into the universe every week, and so I am launching a flash fiction podcast with the idea of sharing my own very short stories and hopefully inviting others to share theirs as well.  I don’t know where this will take me, but it is my hope to at least learn and grow as a writer and editor along the way, so if I’ve at least done that I will feel successful.  So thank you very much for stopping by and stay tuned because our first podcast should drop within a few weeks.  I hope you will have a listen, stay around for more, and maybe even take the leap and send your own story out into the universe as well.

Happy listening!


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