Flash Fiction / Short Story Contests September 2021

September is a traditional time to start new projects. To focus in on your goals. Make this September a month to remember!


Any theme, any topic, just as long as it has exactly fifty words. Get them in by September 15th, 2021!


The theme for August 2021 is “An Order”. Get your 53-word story submitted by September 15th!



They have weekly and biweekly contests. The contest ending Sept 7th is a 99-word story on “not everyone fits a prom dress”.


Every month you can submit one story of exactly 101 words. It can be on any theme!


Any topic, any genre, from 300-1000 words. They pay $40 if you’re chosen for an anthology.

shenandoahliterary.org –

September 1 through September 15, 2021. The theme is Border Crossing Narratives. Send us your stories of migrations, large and small, of crossings across multiple kinds of borders, physical, psychological, social, spiritual, temporal or theoretical. Send us stories that question who gets to create borders, whether on maps or on the body. How are borders enforced? What power dynamics shift when we cross them?



Plants and speculative fiction have always gone hand in hand. From healers to invasive species to the literal grotesque, botanical beings in fiction refuse to be ignored. Whether your thumb is green and you name every houseplant you own, or whether the thought of pollen turns your nose red, we want to read your stories. We’re fairly sure that “Botanicals” can go in any direction—but we’re hoping to be frightened, or educated, or mystified. Sentient plants are especially welcome! (Issue 24)

Black Coffee Vinyl

We are seeking art, words, and sounds that explore, critique, celebrate and interrogate the urban landscape, culture and environment. The city, a place, should play a central role in the work and should be a central character or focus. We are seeking a diverse range of city representation from large cities to small, from real to imagined. Deadline – Sept 30.


Kenyon Review

This well-regarded literary magazine is reading submissions on two themes: Work, and Climate. They are also reading unthemed submissions. They publish fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and plays. They also read flash, and excerpts from larger works. Payment is upon publication.
Deadline: 30 September 2021


Let me know if you are aware of any other opportunities!

Iwan Mulyk – 1906 to 1994

My maternal grandfather is Iwan Mulyk. He was born on July 6, 1906 in Horozhanka in Western Ukraine, right on the line between Ivano-Frankivsk and Ternopil regions. Iwan died on September 22, 1994. He died when he was 88 years old.

Before Iwan left Germany, he fathered a daughter, Anna, in 1946, who is my mother. Iwan then arrived from Europe in New York City in 1950. I’m not sure exactly what he did from 1950 to 1994. He died in 1994 in Chicago, Illinois.

Ancestry says that when Iwan died he had a wife, Kateryna, and a son, not named. That son would be my half-uncle. He would be my mother’s half-brother. I believe that son might be John Mulyk, born 1955. I think John then had a daughter, Nicole Mulyk, about 1980, who married Josh Skelly in 2013. Nicole would be my half-cousin. I have contacted Josh Skelly to figure out the details. Note that the area the Mulyk family lives in in Chicago is the “Ukrainian Village” area near the St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic church.

Here is my information on Iwan Mulyk.

Iwan Mulyk arrived in the US from Germany in 1950, departing via the port at Bremerhaven, Germany (the same port my mother and grandmother left from, although my grandmother and mother didn’t get to leave until July 1, 1951 on the USNS General Sturgis). Iwan’s ship departed Bremerhaven on March 26, 1950 and arrived in New York on April 4, 1950. They made a rough guess at the birth year here.

In New York, he settled in at 223 East 7th Street, New York City. He was 43 years old at the time. Note that the ship details say that Iwan was “Widowed” here.

Here’s another version of Iwan’s ship records. In it he says he was widowed. I don’t believe Iwan ever married my grandmother Eva, and she was certainly still alive. So maybe Iwan was widowed before he met Eva. It would seem unlikely (although not impossible) that in the short years between 1946 and 1950 he met another woman, married her, and then she died.

This part of New York City was called the “Ukrainian Village”.

Going back in time, Ivan was in Augsburg working on a German farm. You can see the birth date of July 6, 1906. This registration card is from 1949.

This next record from 1948 says that Iwan Mulyk was born on July 9th, 1906 in Horoschenka. In situations like this it’s common for a person giving a verbal answer to a question to be mis-interpreted. We assume the Germans mis-heard, due to his accent, the July 6th, 1906 birthdate answer he gave everywhere else. This is especially true because they wrote down “Horoschenka” as his birth location which is not an actual town.

For a while I thought Iwan had actually said “Horodenka” as that is what we had in our records. However, after more research, I think what he actually said is “Horozhanka” which is a better phonetic match. Horozhanka is also in western Ukraine, it’s about two hours (by car) north of Horodenka, but more importantly, it is well known for the Mulyk family line.

Here is info on Mykhailo Mulyk who was born in this area in 1920 (so 12 years after Iwan) who was considered a national hero. Mykhailo’s father’s name was Ivan Mulyk. I don’t think “our” Iwan fathered Mykhailo, but it seems likely it was the same family group. Mykhailo wrote eight books and died in 2000 at the age of 99. The family is long-lived.

We also have another “son of Ivan Mulyk” from this same region, Myron Mulyk, who is the CEO of the PRYKARPATY REGIONAL CLINICAL CENTER OF MENTAL HEALTH. So he may be part of this same family.


Which then leads us to a younger Myron Mulyk from this same region, who may be related.


This next record says Iwan was from “Horozonka”. Again, the Germans writing this down are trying to interpret his accented words. It again makes it likely that his actual birth town was ” Horoschenka”. They also got his birthdate incorrect as June 6, 1906 (instead of July 6). This record appears to be from 1949.

Going back a bit to 1944 Iwan Mulyk was in Regensburg Germany. Regensburg was about a two hour drive from Augsburg, to the northwest of Augsburg.

I’m not sure where Iwan Mulyk was from his birth in 1906 in Horoschenka Ukraine to his arrival in Regensburg, Germany in 1944. That is 38 years.

Memento - Christopher Nolan

Memento – Memories and Reality in Christopher Nolan’s 2000 Movie

Memento is one of those intriguing films which stays with you long after you’ve watched it. Its underlying theme is that memory can be tricky. We have all run into situations where we remembered an event one way and someone else remembers it a different way. Something we feel is integral to the way we are might not even have happened the way we think.

[Spoilers alert! I’ll be discussing key Memento plot points in this discussion]

I remember watching Memento when it first came out, back in 2000. I’m an avid fan of the writer Philip K. Dick and saw a lot of his style in the one-timeline-forward, one-timeline-backward storytelling here. Who can you trust? Is anything reliable? The protagonist, Leonard Shelby, ends up lying to others and even to himself in order to cling to a sense of what he is about as a human being.

I recently re-watched Memento in 2021, after seeing Tenet. I decided I should rewatch all of Christopher Nolan’s films from the beginning, in order, especially as Nolan has said the introductory scene for Memento inspired him to write the story of Tenet. What is sort of funny (or sad, I suppose, depending on how you look at it) is that while I remembered really appreciating Memento, I didn’t remember how the story actually resolved itself. So I got to watch Memento all over again fresh, wondering just what would end up being true.

So what did I think this time around, with the benefit of a full twenty years of immense amounts of reading SciFi and watching SciFi movies?

Well, I still loved Memento, which is a testament to the high-quality acting and storyline. There are plenty of movies out there which seem fresh and interesting when they come out but which fade quickly. Memento remained as compelling and intriguing even after the time passing. I attentively watched each character and scene for clues as to how they connected together. I enjoy Nolan’s pacing of films, too – careful, attentive, as if every detail matters.

What I did find, though, was that there are some aspects of this storyline which just wouldn’t have worked in an actual 2021 scenario. Let’s say I wake up knowing I’ve lost my memory about something important. I would grab my phone, hop on Google, and type in the name of my wife. Heck, maybe I’d do a reverse-image search on that ‘friend’ photo I have, to see who he is. In five seconds I’d know the truth of it – that my wife survived the attack, that she died later in a diabetic overdose, and that this famous Sammy Jankis was a con artist who didn’t have a wife. Five seconds, and I’d be grounded in reality.

Heck, I’d also have a smart-watch that, every time I “woke up” into the now, I hit a button on with a countdown timer. That way I knew how much time (on average) I’d have of awareness before I lost track of things. If I was going to tattoo notes on myself, I’d do them in a smaller font so I’d have more room for the notes, and I’d keep them in order, maybe down my stomach.

But these sorts of things would help Leonard remember who he is and what happened – which apparently he doesn’t want to know. He has dedicated himself to living in a rage-filled vengeance scenario, willfully ignoring the information that he himself was what brought his wife’s end. He deliberately writes down lies which then lead him to killing the only ‘friend’ type of person in his life.

At one brief moment, when he closes his eyes while driving his car (something I do NOT recommend doing!) he imagines a world where he tattoed his triumph over the killer on his chest while he lies in his wife’s arms. Everything has been resolved and they are together again. But clearly that’s a fantasy, since in all other scenes he doesn’t have that tattoo and even the best tattoo-removal places would leave some sort of a sign of the original design.

Still, this blissful moment COULD be the world he chooses to live over and over again. He could have arranged his house so that he wakes up in bed, with his wife’s things around him, and for those ten minutes he could live in a bubble of joy. One that reminds him that she survived the attack, that she loved him, and sure, he could choose to forget the ending part of that life. He could have dwelled in love.

Just like in Groundhog Day (another movie I enjoy) – one could shape their recurring world.

But Leonard chose specifically to dwell in hate instead.

Also, it’s worth noting that Leonard received the head wound while trying to rescue his wife. That’s what caused the memory situation. However, he DOES actually long-term remember some things after that point. We know (or at least we think we know, as well as we can know anything in this film) that his wife survived the attack, they lived together, and that his wife asked him to repeatedly give her insulin as a sort of test. She went into a coma. He remembered that happening. It was so traumatic that he then assigned those events to the character Sammy Jankis, but he did remember them.

So one could presume he could remember other things, if he really wanted to. He wouldn’t have known during the insulin-giving that it was important. It would have seemed a normal activity to him. It’s only her death (or falling into a coma, I suppose) that would have been traumatic – the finding of the unresponsive body. Maybe one could say that he didn’t really remember the previous insulin shots in particular – he just sort of cobbled together a ‘what must have happened’ based on the countless times he’d given her insulin before then.

In any case, Memento is a great movie which draws the viewer in to think about all sorts of issues – the power of memory to shape our lives, the validity of memory as holding real truths, and how much we often fool ourselves to suit our world views.

Well recommended.

Version Image Code on Pokemon Trading Cards

Version Image Code on Pokemon Trading Cards

Did you know that pretty much every Pokemon trading card has a secret code printed on it, letting you know which print run it is a part of?

If you have the eyesight of a hawk, you can see it. If your eyes don’t work that perfectly, like mine, you can take a photo of the card and then zoom in on the middle or bottom part :).

One of my earliest cards is this Jungle-edition Vaporeon holo. For the Jungle edition, the version marker was found right underneath the character drawing, rather than at the bottom of the card.

That five-lobed leaf on the right means it’s a Jungle set card, released in June 1999. The bottom has additional details.

Similarly, for the October 1999 Fossil set release, the marker is right beneath the character image. In this case, it’s a bony 3-fingered skeleton hand.

Here’s the bottom from a Fossil card.

In February 2000 came the Base Set 2. The icon for this was a pokeball with a number 2 superimposed over it. There were 130 cards in this set.

Here’s the bottom from a Base Set 2 card.

In April 2000 we had the addition of the Team Rocket card set. This had 83 cards in it (with one being secret and rare). The symbol here was a big dark R.

Here’s the bottom of a Team Rocket card.

In August 2000 there was the Gym Heroes set. There were 132 cards in this set. The symbol looked sort of like a white ampitheater.

Here’s the bottom.

To go with Gym Heroes was Gym Challenge, in October 2000. This also had 132 cards. The symbol was a black ampitheater.

Here’s the bottom of that card.

Then in December 2000 came the Neo Genesis cards. There were 111 cards in that set. The symbol was a pair of overlaid white stars.

September 2001 brought the Neo Revelation set. there were 66 cards in this series. The symbol is a water drop splashing.

On to February 2002. We have the Neo Destiny card set. The symbol is a pair of stretched stars / Xs with blue on white. Not to be confused with a later set with a similar pattern but different colors. There were 113 cards in this set.

The Legendary Collection set from May 2002 also had their mark in the center of the card. It looked like a black medal.

As they moved forward in their releases, they began putting the version indicator in the bottom right. Like this:

That mark in the right is the Nintendo Black Star Promo mark. It looks like a black star with the word PROMO over it. It also has “Nintendo” in the center. You need both of those for the Nintendo Black Star Promo. It’s from 2003.

Separately, it’s worth noting this card is also set up to work with an eReader. This was a way for gamers to read in their cards automatically and to unlock items in games. The E-star symbol in the bottom left, and the metal stripes on the bottom right, both indicate that this is an eReader Pokemon card.

From September 2003 was the EX Sandstorm version. The image is sort of like a crab claw and tail. The set had 100 cards. Again, this is an e-reader card. It’s also a reverse holo card, which is why this area is shimmery.

Here’s another one from 2003 – November – the EX Dragon series. The symbol for this is sort of like a cross-hairs for a gun. Another e-reader reverse-hologram card.

We’re up to March 2004. We hit a very long set name. This is EX Team Magma vs Team Aqua set! The logo is a stretched letter X, half red, half blue. Not to be confused with the other stretched X logo.

On to 2006. This is from the bottom of one of my Vaporeon holo cards. It shows a pokeball and a number 3 to the bottom right. That pokeball-3 means that this is part of the POP series 3 set. You can also see the copyright 2006 on there.

This Pop Series 3 series was released between April 2006 and August 2006. The set had 17 cards as well as 7 holo versions.

This one here is from 2012 with a snake symbol. This is the Dragon Vault set, released in October 2012. There were 20 cards plus one secret card in this set.

November 2013 saw the Kalos starter set. This symbol is like two Xs overlaid diagonally. There were 39 cards total.

In February 2014 came the very first XY set. The symbol looks like a dark Y with a white X in its center. It has 146 cards.

In August 2014 was the XY Furious Fists set, with 113 cards. Its symbol sort of looks like a raised fist.

From May 2015 was the Roaring Skies set, with a symbol sort of looking like a horned head on shoulders, using two vertical-style lines. There were 110 cards in this release.

In addition to the series indicators, cards also have a rarity symbol. These are:

Circle – common
Diamond – uncommon
Star – rare

To see all of my current listings for my cards, be sure to visit my ebay store!


Also be sure to read about:

Holo vs Non-Holo Pokemon Trading Cards

Pokemon Cards – Holo vs Non-Holo

When you’re buying and selling Pokemon trading cards, what is the difference between a holo cards and a non-holo card?

A holo card, or hologram card, literally has a hologram as part of its image. It’s shimmery and rainbow-reflective under light.

In comparison, a non-holo card, or a “normal” card, is simply printed with normal ink.

There are also “reverse hologram” cards. In these cards, the main character image is NOT a hologram – it is in normal printing. The rest of the surrounding card is done with a hologram, like this:

All of these cards are my own cards, that I took photos of for this example.

To see more of my cards, be sure to visit my ebay page!

Ask with any questions!


Also be sure to read about:

Pilot Gold and Silver Ink Gel Ballpoint Pens G2 Fine Point 0.7mm

Pilot Gold and Silver Ink Gel Ballpoint Pens G2 Fine Point 0.7mm

I was looking for a shimmery gold and silver pen set to use with my Spirograph kit. These Pilot G2 pens are absolutely perfect! The ink flows quite smoothly. I love the glisten of the colors. The gel dries quickly enough that there’s only a tiny bit of smudging as you use it.

I’ve tested this both on white paper and on dark paper. The gold and silver definitely show up better against dark paper. Also, they both are fairly close in color to each other. That is, the silver is only mildly silver and the gold is only mildly gold. When I do designs that both use the gold and silver ink, the two sections aren’t strongly contrasted with each other. You have to look fairly closely to see which is gold and which is silver.

In the video, after the demo section, the very first still image I show is a design which is three loops gold, three loops silver, three loops gold, and so on. It’s not obvious on first glance, looking at it, that there are two different colors in there.

Still, I love how smoothly they flow, how quickly they dry, and how shimmery the color is. Well recommended!