Saturday, June 8, 2024

42 Stories Anthology Presents: Lorisha Adams Interview


Lorisha Adams was the Story of Excellence Award Winner in the Fairy Tale chapter for




BAM: Where are you now, Lorisha?

Lorisha: Columbus, Ohio in the USA.


BAM: Where is your writing space?

Lorisha: Home Office.


BAM: What works and writers inspire you?


I love literary and historical fiction; reading about different time periods is an otherworldly experience. Hiliary Mantel, Sue Monk Kidd, Toni Morrison.


BAM: Ah, Toni Morrison. She wrote a book called Jazz in 1992 that’s been on my to-read list for far too long. A magnificent writer, as were the others you mentioned. I appreciate their passion and unique narrative voices. Okay, before we delve into the writer that is you, Lorisha, tell me about some foods you enjoy.


I love junk foods (i.e. cookies, ice cream, cake), but I’m trying to give all that up for healthier options


BAM: It’s hard to avoid junk food. It’s not about motivation, as some believe, but discipline and drive. I have to tell myself that it isn’t part of my plan and move forward when a donut or hamburger ad temps me. Takes a lot of willpower. How about we discuss something else before I start thinking of ice cream? Tell me about your musical preferences.


I love all types of music, everything, except country, for some reason I can’t just listen to country


BAM: There’s always one good artist, but I hear yeah. What about cinema? What pulls you in?


I like horror films and cooking shows, both are filled with messy gore that someone has to clean up.


BAM: You got me laughing now. I’ll envision a gory mess the next time I’m cooking. All right. Coffee or tea?


Both! Coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon


BAM: Finally! Someone says both! Same here. So, Lorisa, tell me when did you realize you liked writing.


When I first held a pencil in my hand, maybe age two? I liked the way it felt and the marks it made on the paper.


BAM: Poetically stated. Rhythmic in fact. By chance, while writing, do you play music?

Lorisha: Yes, music to fit the genre or just general sounds to help me focus.


BAM: What deceased or living writer do you want to meet?


Authors bell hooks and Hilary Mantel


BAM: Interesting. Mantel was a Booker Prize winner in 2009 and 2012. What's the greatest writing award you hope to win?


Don’t all writers hope for a Pulitzer?


BAM: Pulitzer’s are okay. I’d be happy with a Pushcart win, though. Tell me about your story outline process. 


I guess I’m a “panster”. I don’t use an outline. The first draft is the outline. I write it out and then fix it up. I cannot outline a story from start to finish. I tried outlining a few times. Those stories never got written.


BAM: What you said has truth to it. The first draft is in many ways an outline, even if some writers don’t realize it. Could you tell me about how you organize writing in your life?


I probably should do it more religiously. If I were getting paid for it, I would. I think that’s where writers get confused. Should I force myself to wake at 4am to write every day? Why would I if I’m not getting paid to do it? Many may disagree with me, but if you’re a paid writer you should be writing religiously. If you’re trying to get a writing job, you should be writing religiously. If you’re trying to get published, you should be writing religiously. If you are not currently on those tracks, you write as your conscience dictates.



Lorisha Adams lives to write and writes to live. She has a BA in Human Services and is a member of the Ohio Writers Association.

Literary Mama


Rigorous Magazine


Saturday, June 1, 2024

42 Stories Anthology Presents: Steve Gerson Interview


Steve Gerson won the Story of Excellence Award in Alternate Reality Chapter for THE LARK AND NOT THE NIGHTINGALE, HE SAID


BAM: Where are you located, Steve?

Steve: The United States in Overland Park, Kansas.


BAM: Never been to Kansas. Where is your writing space?

Steve: Home, handheld Smartphone.


BAM: Very modern. Who are some of your favorite authors?

Steve: Vonnegut (Slaughterhouse Five), Hemingway (Old Man and the Sea), Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby).


BAM: Got a funny story about Fitzgerald if you ever want to know it. Anyway, this is your time. Are there any artists or paintings that inspire creativity from you?

Steve: Jean Michel Basquiat, Frank Stella, Caravaggio, Larry Thomas.


BAM: Caravaggio. Nice. I've got Judith Beheading Holofernes handy on my computer desktop for inspiration. My house boss said that we can't have a real version of the painting displayed. Do you have any go-to foods?

Steve: Hamburgers and hotdogs.


BAM: Umm, I haven't had a hot dog in ten years. They're no good in Japan because they're pork. I miss American beef dogs. Please get my mind off that, Steve. What bands do you like?

Steve: REM, Willie Nelson, Buffalo Springfield.


BAM: All talented musicians. And that wasn't just a dream. Do you have a favorite beach?

Steve: Galveston, TX


BAM: Nice. As a child, often went there in the summer with friends. In fact, my first excursion as an official driver was from Houston to Galveston. Stayed in my car overnight and watched the sunrise. That beach was a great place. Where's one of your favorite places?

Steve: Santa Fe, NM


BAM: Cool. Favorite country?

Steve: England


BAM: First, Americans want out, then like it again. Can’t decide, right? What are your favorite sweets?

Steve: Macarons


BAM: Nice. How do you relax?

Steve: Sports


BAM: Right on. Take it you mean watching them. What’s the best animal on Earth?

Steve: The best animal on Earth are Elephants because they are caring, family oriented.


BAM: True. They also never forget. Okay, coffee or tea or something else?

Steve: Coffee


BAM: The stronger, the better, huh? Now let's talk about writing. Many authors, whether they realize it or not, in a subtle way send a message to readers about their beliefs. That said, is there something you passionately want the human race to stop doing, which might appear somehow in your writing?


Steve: Being selfishly ethnocentric


BAM: Wholeheartedly agree. I think it’s more of an issue with Americans, though. I don’t want to go on a rant. More people should try and understand other cultures before judging them. Tell me, what’s the best way to write?

Steve: I can write anywhere.


BAM: What's your greatest achievement in writing?

Steve: Co-authoring textbooks with my wife


BAM: Sounds fun. What got you into writing?

Steve: Inclination and education


BAM: Tell me more. When did you realize you liked writing?

Steve: High school


BAM: Around the time it becomes more important in school. Makes sense. While writing, do you play music, or watch anything?

Steve: No, I like a somewhat quiet environment



BAM: Is anyone in your family a writer?

Steve: My wife, daughter, and brother-in-law.

My brother-in-law has written over 30 history books.


BAM: Family of writers. What deceased or living writer do you want to meet?

Steve: Kurt Vonnegut.


BAM: One of my creative writing professors took a class he had taught. Apparently, Vonnegut was an amazing and memorable teacher. Also, he won so many awards. What's the greatest writing award you hope to win?

Steve: No aspirations.


BAM: Oh, okay. On editing, do you edit alone, have a friend read your work, or do you hire a professional editor?

Steve: My wife proofreads my work.



BAM: I’m trying to talk my fiancĂ©e into doing something like that. Feel free to email me tips on how to convince her. Okay, let’s turn a page and talk about writer's block. How do you overcome it?

Steve: I’m in the midst of a prolonged writer’s block NOW.  It’s very troubling to me. What I’m writing of late is inferior to what I’ve written in the past, in terms of topic and performance. I’ve tried to continue writing, and sometimes a few poems come out OK, but they still fail to meet my expectations. So, I’m putting myself in a self-imposed sabbatical from writing, just to let my brain calm down. We’ll see how this works.


BAM: Famous writers say just jot something down. It’s better to have written something than nothing. Then again, a break can lead to stronger performance later. On the other hand, I’ve heard returning to the beginning can help writer’s block. What of the way you got started? Or perhaps, could you tell me about the first story you ever got published?

Steve: My first published poem was entitled “Once planed straight.”  It is a pastoral, almost-landscape portrait of a barn that I passed by daily for about a decade. The barn, little by little, sagged into the earth. I saw it disintegrate. The barn came to represent for me a lost agricultural, small farm age. It’s still one of my favorite images. The poem came to be the title of my first book of collected poems.



BAM: Coincidentally, I read your poem here Will definitely check out the book sometime. Thank you, Steve.





Dr. Steve Gerson, professor emeritus, has published in CafeLit, Panoplyzine, Crack the Spine, Decadent Review, Vermilion, In Parentheses, and more, plus his chapbooks Once Planed Straight; Viral; And the Land Dreams Darkly; and The 13th Floor:  Step into Anxiety from Spartan Press.

Friday, May 31, 2024

42 Stories Anthology Presents: Debbie Wingate Interview


Debbie Wingate won the Story of Excellence Award in the Tragedy chapter for



BAM: Hi, Debbie. Where are you located?

Debbie: USA. Gresham, Oregon

BAM: Where’s your writing space?

Debbie: Home office

BAM: Historically, famous writers say that you need to read to be a successful writer. What are some of your top books? 

Debbie: Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice, Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, Dark Rivers of the Heart by Dean Koontz, The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

BAM: Interview with a Vampire brings back memories. It was one of my sister’s favorites, too. By the way, do you have a writer circle?

Debbie: The Facebook group, Writing Prompts and Critiques has netted me a small group of writers to share, critique and encourage each other.

BAM: Sounds like a great way to strategize and organize your writing. So, who do you write to when you picture your reader, or who is your target audience? 

Debbie: Interesting question. I never see the reader until after it’s finished. During the process, I’m completely inside the head of the main character, so my goal is to tell an interesting story that is also believable.   

BAM: Okay. Non writing question time. Coffee or tea or something else? 

Debbie: Wine

BAM: I’m making some Japanese plum wine now. It takes about a year minimum until it’s drinkable, but worth the wait. Highly recommended. Now for another writing question. Please elaborate as much as you want. How do you handle story rejection, and celebrate acceptance? 

Debbie: I’m bummed when a story is rejected, but am encouraged when it comes with feedback so I can improve it for the next submission. Acceptances are quietly celebrated, being grateful that my efforts were appreciated and recognized.

BAM: I see. Why don’t you tell me about your story outline process? 

Debbie: None. I write when my characters start conversations in my head.  Occasionally, I will look for photos to help get a clearer picture of them, but I don’t outline or write the complete story beforehand. I did that once, and got so bored I didn’t finish it. My characters weren’t talking to me because I had stolen their 2 am conversation moments. It was a sad experience and I vowed to never attempt to be organized again. 


Published works include a self-published memoir and short work of fiction. Stories in anthologies: Apocalypse Dark Drabbles #6, Black Hare Press; Circle of Magic, WPC Press; Holiday Spirit, WPC Press. And, of course, a story featured here in the 42 Stories Anthology.

Social Media:

42 Stories Anthology Presents: John Ward Interview


John Ward won the Story of excellence Award Winner in the Sports chapter for 

BAM: Where are you now?
John: Canada, BC, Vancouver.

BAM: Where is your writing space?
John: Wherever I can find space.

BAM: Coffee or tea or something else?

John: It depends on the time of day. If I’m able to write during the daytime, I stick to coffee and water. But in the evenings, I like to live on the edge a little and trade the coffee for a herbal tea!


BAM: While writing, do you play music, or watch shows/movies?

John: I really dislike working in quiet or silent spaces, so I definitely prefer noise. I’m happy to listen to music as I write, I’ve recently started making playlists for different projects, which helps me get into the right headspace.


BAM: What's the greatest writing award you hope to win?

John: This is probably the most boring and heretical answer, but I don’t give a shit about writing awards.


BAM: Are you or have you ever been in a writer's group / workshop?

John: I actually co-run a writers group (big shout-out to the Inkwrites community) in Vancouver, BC. We started the group back in 2017, meeting monthly in a local coffee shop, and then went fully virtual during the pandemic. We’re still operating virtually, which is great in many ways, but I do occasionally miss the in-person discussions. I think being in a group has made me a much better writer and editor, and also a better person.


BAM: How do you handle story rejection, and celebrate acceptance?

John: I still don’t really know how to do the latter. I find it very difficult to celebrate the wins and try to deflect and minimize them if they ever come up in conversation. That’s something I need to work on. But I am much better at dealing with rejection now, so that’s a victory.


BAM: What do you mean?

John: Rejection is the norm. As writers, we say that to ourselves, but I don’t think we really embrace it. It took me a long time to get to a place where I could accept it. When I was first starting to send my work out, the rejections would be crushing and would frequently send me into spirals of despair and depression. It would take days or weeks to be able to get past the rejection, and during that time I suspect I was no fun to be around.


BAM: Oh? How’d you overcome those feelings?

John: One thing I did that helped me conquer the rejection was to set myself a target of 100 rejections in a single year. I set up a tracking system and basically wrote and submitted to everything I could find. The rejections came thick and fast, but in some ways I had reframed them in my mind, so that each rejection actually brought me one step closer to success (completing the challenge). But the end of the year, I had amassed almost 150 rejections, but also had some acceptances in the process. More importantly, though, I wasn’t crushed by rejections after that point. Sure, there are disappointments, but now I’m able to take a moment to acknowledge that and then put it aside and move on.


BAM: Very wise. Do you care to elaborate in case someone can relate and wants to know more?

John: What worked for me, won’t necessarily work for others, but I’ve heard others re-frame rejection through a similar lens: that each rejection brings you closer to an acceptance. I think there’s some truth to that. Rejections don’t mean “no,” (okay, some do) but more often than not they mean “not right now,” which is a very different way to think about things.


BAM: Oh? Tell me more about that.

John: I haven’t mastered dealing with rejection, but I no longer let it have that much power over me. If only celebrating the wins was as easy!


BAM: Very helpful stuff for aspiring writers. Tell me, what was the first story you ever wrote about?

John: The first story I wrote was back in elementary school, although I have no idea what it was about. My mom does have a few very early stories that I wrote back then, and from the way she talks about them, I can see the early seeds of my obsession with horror and dark fiction. One such story was about a man who opens a box that destroys the entire universe. Thankfully, these haven’t been published.


BAM: I see. Curious. What was the first story that you put out there?

John: The first serious story I wrote, i.e., the first one that I actually wanted to put out into the world, was actually a spec script for the finale of Star Trek Voyager. Yes. You read that right. The finale.


BAM: Star Trek? Awesome. I’ve seen every episode of Star Trek, from the original up to Voyager. Tell me more about that.

John: For those who don’t know, at one point Paramount solicited scripts for Star Trek shows from anyone, provided you went through the official channels. At the time, I was living in a small Devon town, and knew nothing about writing or the TV industry, but I loved Star Trek and when I found out about the submission policy, I knew this was my big chance.


BAM: Huge chance. What happened?

John: Unfortunately, or fortunately (depending on your point of view), I knew nothing about writing. I had what I thought was a decent episode idea for the finale of Voyager, but I didn’t even have any idea what a screenplay looked like. I think I managed to get one script off the internet (which was no mean feat as we had dial-up at the time), and basically tried to emulate that using Word. I printed it out on a dot matrix printer (on A4 paper) and then couldn’t find brads, so I used twine to tie it together. I sent it off to Paramount and waited.


BAM: What happened?

John: They passed.


BAM: At least you tried. Some people give up before they even put a foot out of the door. You only fail if you fall and don’t get up. But you stood and did your best. I’d be proud of that.

John: Looking back, my naivety was hilarious. Not only did the script barely even look like a script, it was on the wrong size paper, tied together with twine, and was intended to be the finale of a seven-year show. To say I didn’t know what I was doing was an understatement.


BAM: Really?

John: But it gave me the confidence to know I could finish something, and that was the game-changer for me. Knowing I could tell a complete story meant I didn’t have to fear the blank page, and all the potential unknowns that accompany it.


BAM: It’s great to see the bright side of a tough situation.

John: That script led me on a very interesting journey, which I don’t need to discuss here, and I hope that one day I’ll still get my chance to play in the Star Trek universe.

John Ward is a Vancouver-based comic and TV writer, filmmaker, and podcaster. His
comics include Scratcher and Acausal. He played guitar in Sancho, a highly unpopular
anarcho-thrash band, and is a recovering physicist who was once almost run over by
Stephen Hawking.

Social Media

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

42 Stories Anthology Presents: Sandra Simmer Interview

Sandra D. Simmer won the Runner Up Award in the Fairy Tale Chapter for

BAM: Sandra, please tell readers about your other works in the anthology.

Sandra: In addition to the Fairy Tale 42-word story, I have another 3 stories accepted for the book under separate names. For the story about the couch-surfing clown in the Clown section, I used the name Dandelion, for the binge-eating monster story, I used S. D. Simmer, and for the story in the Morbid section, I used the name Duncan Simmer.

BAM: Where are you located?
Sandra: I live in the San Francisco Bay Area

BAM: Where is your writing space?
Sandra: I write in my home at my desk or dining room table, depending on which view inspires me that day. I also venture out to my favorite coffee shop when I want a creative boost.

BAM: It's good for creativity to move around. Could you tell everyone a few books or authors you like?
Sandra: I love the beautiful prose in the following books:
Possession by A. S. Byatt
Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
And also, Jane Austen novels because she is so good with character development and her characters all have a role and purpose in her stories.
BAM: Okay. How about something unrelated to writing? What are your favorite food and drinks?
Sandra: My favorite food is a grilled fish taco with a side of guacamole because I’m a Californian after all. My favorite drink is a White Mocha Latte ½ decaf because it’s delicious and goes so well with writing in my favorite coffee shop. Note: NEVER consume the two items above at the same time.
BAM: What are some movies and shows you love?
Sandra: I’m a big fan of science fiction movies and television series, way back to the original Star Trek, Lost in Space, and the Twilight Zone. I liked watching Star Wars and the X Files with my children, and enjoy the latest recreations of all my favorites. The newly released Dune movies are amazing, and the Resident Alien series is fun.
BAM: Star Trek, the original series, was a fun show to watch. Regarding your writing, which of your novels would a reader like the most?
Sandra: My novel The Reclamation: Earth Under Siege.

BAM: Could you tell me why?
Sandra: A reader who likes dystopian/science fiction novels with a strong female protagonist, i.e. The Hunger Games or The Divergent series, would like my novel Earth Under Siege the first book in my Reclamation trilogy. I am currently writing the second book, to be out later this year. Information on my book and other creative activities can be found on my website,

BAM: I’m one of those people. Would love to read about your protagonist saving the day and busting heads. Strong females make for great characters. They're not easy to write. On that note, what’s your outline process like when you write characters and stories?
My process has evolved over the past eight years I have been on my writing journey. When I moved to the Bay Area in 2016, my life circumstances provided me with the time and energy to pursue my interest in creative writing. I saw an announcement in a community newsletter about an informal writing group called “Finding Your Voice”. It met two Saturdays a month at a local library. The group was started by a retired school principal, but members took turns providing writing prompts.

BAM: Tell me more.

Sandra: As the weeks went by I received praise and positive critique for my writing and I gained confidence to join other writing classes. I participated in short story and memoir writing classes through local recreation centers.  The library hosted an Independent Authors Day panel on how to get your writing published. I met a panel member from the Northern California Publishers and Author’s (NCPA) organization, who encouraged me to join their group. With their assistance, I was able to have my first short story published in their anthology. I was on my way!
Then the pandemic hit in 2020. There was no more library group meetings, but we continued to send weekly prompts to each other and emailed our written responses each Friday. The in-person memoir group was cancelled, but we continued to meet on Zoom each week. Having to produce stories or poems on a weekly basis really honed my writing skills.

BAM: Wow. So, you invested time in the backbone aspects of the novel process. What happened next?

Sandra: To gain more formal experience, I signed up for a 10-week on-line course in 2021 called Do It Yourself Master’s in Fine Art (DIYMFA) with Gabriela Pereira. Her practical and well-developed approach to writing a book boosted my confidence to write a novel based on one of my short stories. Gabriela’s course taught me about “Pantcers and Plotters”. I started out as a “Pantcer” or someone who writes a story by the seat of their pants. That will get you only so far in your writing process. The DIYMFA course taught me about story arc and plot points and the value of having an outline. I realized I needed to be a Plotter, someone who works out the plot in advance.

BAM: Could you elaborate?

Sandra: I continued to work on my novel and got to about the halfway point when I got stuck. Doubts about my writing skills began to set in, and I realized I needed more help. The summer of 2022 I signed up for NCPA president M.L Hamilton’s course, “Plot to Print”.  This course provided additional lessons on outline and plot development, but also introduced me to classmates that formed a critique group. We gave and received critical reviews of our chapters as they were created. The valuable input and accountability of being in a critique group helped me finish my book by the end of 2022. I self-published my first novel in January 2023.
Note: For book two, I headed to my favorite coffee shop to create an outline before I started Chapter one. I wrote a couple of paragraphs for each chapter to give me a “road map” to follow.
BAM: You have a lot of experience in the world of writing. Not just when it comes to stories, but everything in between. As an experienced writer, how do you overcome distractions?

SandraOne might think the second book would be easier than the first, but I’ve found that isn’t the case. I was excited to write and publish my first book. The novelty of the experience helped keep me motivated to keep learning new skills and to continue to write. Book two has been a different process. Yes, I have a detailed plot, but I’ve had a lot of distractions in my personal life as well as distractions with other creative activities. I also like to write poetry and participate in several local poetry groups.  But while I enjoy the social aspect of poetry groups, they can take time away from the real work of writing my book.
I joined a second critique group to help sustain my focus on writing my manuscript. That did help over the long winter months. However, sometimes critique groups can also become a distraction. I found myself writing to please the group members, not necessarily moving my book in the direction it needed to go. Keep a finger on the pulse of your process and change it up if needed.

BAM: What about writer's block?

Sandra: How do I overcome writer’s block? I don’t use one method or technique.  If I need help, I ask for it. If I need more space to be creative, I make the space.  If I get tired of writing, I take a break and use a different part of my brain to do an art project. I’ve also been taking workshops on marketing, (another job for the independently published author) so I am ready to promote my next book when it’s finished. My latest workshop is on positive self-talk and keeping self-doubt at bay.
So, I guess my advice to others is keep yourself flexible and look for resources in person and on-line to keep your creative juices flowing.  And when all else fails, head to your local coffee shop!
Sandra Simmer writes short stories, memoirs, and poems about her colorful life, both real and imagined.  A science fiction fan since childhood, Sandra ventured into the “outer limits” to write her first novel. The Reclamation: Earth Under Siege is available on Amazon.

42 Stories Anthology Presents: Chris Burns Interview


Alexi Karnikov won an Honorable Mention Award in the Paranormal chapter for




BAM: Alexi is a pen name. The author's actual name is Chris S. Burns. He has a story under his real name in the book, which appears in the Apocalyptic chapter. He also used a nom de plum, William Carmikal, in the Humor Chapter. Chris, where are you located?

Chris: San Francisco, California.


BAM: Where is your writing space?

Chris: My home.


BAM: Name some of your favorite books/authors.

ChrisThe Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, the Noumena series by Lindsay Ellis, Max Barry, Brian Francis Slattery, Grady Hendrix.


BAM: Some of those are on my to-read list. What kinds of sweets are you into?

Chris: Anything chocolate!


BAM: Name some books you read recently.


The Peripheral by William Gibson; 

Trees in Paradise: A California History by Jared


I’m in Love with Mothman by Paige Lavoie


BAM: I've heard of the last one. On your writing, what were the most drafts you've written for a story?

Chris: Just so, so many! I draft more than I write, honestly.

BAM: It's the way of the beast that is the writing process. So, how do you handle story rejection, and celebrate acceptance?

Chris: Handing rejection is easy for me. I just                    always accepted it as part of the gig and                    don’t take it too personally. If a story isn’t a             fit for one thing, it’ll be a fit for another. It’s             fine. There have been a few submissions I                was really excited for that hurt when they                became rejections, but mostly I just move                on to the next thing. Celebrating acceptance             is obviously more fun! Normally for that                I’ll text or call a writer friend or two, make             drink, and cheers myself.

BAM: What was the first story you ever wrote about?

Chris: I distinctly remember writing a story about a vampire soccer ball terrorizing the playground in 4th grade when the teacher made us do some creative writing. I was into basketball at the time and had 0 background in soccer, so I can’t imagine why I picked that. I did like vampires, but this ball must have been out during the day to be terrorizing kids, and that’s not really how vampires work. The whole thing is nonsense. I really wish I still had that story!



Chris Burns’ fiction has appeared in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Eclectica Magazine, and others. He lives in San Francisco, has an MFA from Mills College, and has been featured on Flash Fiction Podcast and the Drinking with Authors podcast. His website is


Social Media:

·       Website:

·       Twitter/X: @chris_s_burns

·       Instagram: @chris_s_burns