Just A Thought or Four

Good morning, afternoon, evening… whatever it is at wherever you are.

Herbie has gone to sleep for a while—finally.  That character can stay awake for months and not bat an eye.  It’s not like he has much choice—he doesn’t have eyelids as far as I know…

Read on until you hear the growl from the basement.  At which point, I would advise leaving the building like Elvis… Herbie will probably be grumpy.  He always is after a nap.


First and foremost, I received an e-mail recently from Karen Schindler, Managing Editor of Pow Fast Flash Fiction, informing me that a story she published at the beginning of the year, Mother Weeps, has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. 

This caught me by surprise.  I had seen several folks I know get nominated for this award, but didn’t think one of my own pieces would be.  This was a pleasant surprise.  In recent years a couple of my stories had received nominations for awards, but this one feels different.  I honestly feel this piece is very strong in its compactness.  

A friend of mine pointed out recently, Mother Weeps could go hand in hand with another story that was published this year by Bards and Sages Quarterly, Baby Pink.  They both have the same feel, the same mood.  They’re both flash fiction pieces with each and every word having its place. 

Here’s the other thing:  even if Mother Weeps does not win the Pushcart, this is an honor for me… yeah, yeah, just being nominated is an honor and I know it sounds cliché, but this, unlike the Stokers or the P&E awards, actually has a chance.  Why?  Well, the judges can’t be swayed by friends to vote for their stories.  I’m not going to get into how I feel about the way the Stokers are done and the P&E poll is a readers poll, which is great, but folks can be easily swayed and it kind of makes winning a lot harder.  [Interesting enough, my long fiction piece, The Woodshed, received two Stoker recommendations—not good enough for a full blown nomination, but it was a great feeling at the time—and my short story, Release, which appeared in The Monsters Next Door (sniff, sniff… I miss that publication) ended up tied for 14th in the 2009 P&E awards.] 

But, the Pushcart appears to be different and I think that is a good thing.

If you would like to take a look at Mother Weeps, go to the following link:  http://powfastflashfiction.com/MotherWeepsAJBrown.html

While you’re at it, check out the other stories there.  You won’t be disappointed…


Also, when you’re done with this post (not now—wait and finish reading), head on over to SNM Horror Magazine, where you can read my story, The Long Walk.  Leave a comment or ten in their Guest book.


Also, check out some of the other stories, including John Miller’s Goodbye, Dad



Kevin Wallis’s short story collection received a glowing review at The Midwest Book Review.  You can go to the following link to read all about it:


Scroll up just a little—the review is just above the header of Behtany’s Bookshelf.

Or, you can just read the review here:

Beneath the Surface of Things
Kevin Wallis
Bards and Sages Publishing 2010
2010909376 $14.99 http://www.bardsandsages.com

Mona Lisa Safai

Kevin Wallis debuts with Beneath the Surface of Things, his latest collection of twenty-five short stories. His collection is an emotionally impacting showcase of stories which take his audience on a rollercoaster ride with endless twists and turns. Wallis explores realistic and surreal worlds which vary in lightness and darkness. Every story carries a common thread that questions reality. There are no absolutes, no boundaries – only depth. He writes mindbending stories which challenge readers to ask themselves how much they really know and how deep they are willing to look to find the truth.

In Tempestuous Choices, a family seeks refuge from a furious hurricane. Without rhyme or reason a man in a spotless, white suit appears and tells the father, Terrence, that “You and family must die today.” With great unease, Terrence, ignores this nameless man and begins to secure the house for the pending storm. Meanwhile, the man in white continues to appear with the same message “You and your family must die.” How Terrence handles this man in white’s message is truly fascinating. Wallis writes this with incredible attention to motion, character development, and internal spiritual conflict.

In She’s Killing Me, Wallis writes a true story about one night when he, his wife, and another couple, Jen and Joe get together and play video golf. Jen is an excellent and competitive player. Kevin, on the other hand, is desperate to finally beat Jen just one time. Wallis describes the events of the evening with humorous, yet minimalist dialogue that accentuates the story.

Conscience is a flash fiction story that depicts human nature from an unnerving and grotesque perspective. Wallis describes a serial killer who holds a young woman chained in his kitchen. As he prepares to slaughter her, and then eat her, the killer begins to cry. Terrorized, the girl expects the knife to slit her neck. Instead, the killer rips her restraints. She quickly crawls to the door and glances back one last time to see he’s cutting his own fingers, while crying and laughing. Wallis shows the audience a serial killer with remorse, usually not exhibited in such killers. The capacity to feel such an emotion is nonexistent. His style is precise, detailed, and provocative. Wrought with fear, horror, and disbelief, Wallis communicates the emotions of both characters clearly in such a compact space.

In Charlie’s Lunch, a man sipping coffee notices that patrons begin to vanish one by one. His world and sanity begin to unravel as he tries to make sense of what he is witnessing. A waitress watches as he slowly falls more and more into nightmarish confusion. She holds the key to his understanding. Wallis pens this story as a bridge between two worlds – the realistic and the surreal. Together they mesh, but there is an uneasy feeling of motion without purpose–people living without knowing why. Again, Wallis uses powerful language to move readers into imaginative realms.

Wallis’s stories encompass the darkness which lies within us. Sometimes, the darkness is brutal, raw, violent, and quiet until triggered, or simply spiteful and comical. There are no ways to compartmentalize our inner emotions. Wallis has incredible ability to explore the internal realms of the human spirit and possible worlds beyond scientific explanation. His combination of horror with fantasy, surrealism with reality, light with dark, and mercy with death create compelling stories deserving the attention of all readers. Hopefully, many more works will follow.


I’m hoping to have an announcement about something that may or may not be in the works soon.  Either way, good or bad, I will divulge the information closer to Thanksgiving.


That’s all for now.  Check back later.  Hopefully, there will be a few more author interviews up soon.  Working on them now.

For now I’m AJ and I’m out…

One thought on “Just A Thought or Four

  1. Great review for Kevin 🙂 Congrats on the nomination for Pushcart. I didn’t know that much about the Pushcart Prize until I did a bit of research. It’s very prestigious as I found out. Write some more of those surreal, dark pieces like Mother Weeps. You do them well.


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