A Tiny And Colorful Literary Journal

January, 2023

Rogue Noir by Tyler D. Zaremba 

A friend and classmate, late to a party.

That night, a concrete truck, a hospital. 

The next day: an empty chair forever next to me.

Tyler works as a misanthropic attorney and lives in central Texas with his spouse. He despises bios and refuses to write anymore about himself. 

Fade to Black by Debbie Feit

Proofread the headstone today. Everything was spelled correctly. Line spacing was even. Font usage consistent. Only error found—that it was you in the ground.

Debbie is an accidental mental health advocate, unrelenting Jewish mother and author of The Parent’s Guide to Speech and Language Problems (McGraw-Hill) as well as numerous texts to my children that often go unanswered. My work has appeared in SheKnowsInsiderKveller, Emerge Literary Journal as well as on my mother’s bulletin board, with forthcoming pieces in Words and WhispersPotato Soup JournalFive Minute Lit and The Aurora Journal. I am at work on a novel whose completion I fear may also be fictitious. You can read about my thoughts on mental health issues, my life as a writer and my husband’s inability to see crumbs on the kitchen counter on Instagram @debbiefeit or at debbiefeit.com.

Two pieces by Stephanie Mordi

Stay the Night

I hook my leg around her arm. She turns to me, and I smile. I gesture at an unfinished bag of chips. She smiles back.

I’m Not Really a Waitress by Stephanie Mordi

I tie an apron around my waist, black skirt barely grazing my upper thighs, white shirt tight against my breasts. I did come to serve.

Stephanie Mordi is a proud, not so proud Nigerian. She writes as a hobby but hopes to make a career out of it someday. She enjoys eating, reading and sleeping the most—emphasis on the eating. She is yet to publish any works, but has a large and private collection of short stories and poetry

Two pieces by Tricia Lloyd Waller

Golden Hour in Green Park by Tricia Lloyd Waller

In pouring rain the last fairy crouches beneath the willow munching pickled gherkins from a plastic pot wondering who pulled the plug on golden hour?

The Mermaid’s Fin

The child gently places the Mermaid fin between the Fairy wing and the Unicorn horn stands and wipes the knife clean on her gingham dress.

Tricia Lloyd Waller has always loved telling stories since she first learnt to speak. She recently won the prestigious Pen to Print poetry competition and has had work published in Margate Bookie, World of Myth and The Poet.

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Best of 2022

Best of 2022 stories were selected based on the following criteria:

-unique use of language

-breadth of story in so few words

-emotional impact

-complex and original relationship of the titles to their stories

Congratulations to the writers whose work was selected for this special issue. And thank you to every submitter, contributor and reader of 2022. Nailpolish Stories, a Tiny and Colorful Literary Journal wishes you an abundance of good health and a most happy 2023.

From January:

I’m Not Really A Waitress by Stephanie Mordi

I tie an apron around my waist, black skirt barely grazing my upper thighs, white shirt tight against my breasts. I did come to serve.

Stephanie Mordi is a proud, not so proud Nigerian. She writes as a hobby but hopes to make a career out of it some day. She enjoys eating, reading and sleeping the most—emphasis on the eating. She is yet to publish any works but has a large and private collection of short stories and poetry.

Two pieces by Tyrean Martinson

My Pointe Exactly

Madam crosses the room, adjusts a dancer’s posture.

The music begins again.

“And one, and two, and STOP.”

“Try it again, like I showed you.”

Passion for Dance

I stretch my feet, roll my shoulders.

Old injuries crackle inside.

I place my hands on the barre, ignore the pain.

My soul demands release.

Tyrean Martinson is a word hunter. She forages for words both sweet and tart in Washington State. Find her online at her blog: https://tyreanswritingspot.blogspot.com/ Find her books at most online stores. 

From April:

Barely There by Chris Bullard

We let the gate guard know one crypt was open. He laughed, “Sometimes they get out.”

We never took the graveyard short cut again.

A native of Florida, Chris Bullard lives in Philadelphia. He received his B.A. in English from the University of Pennsylvania and his M.F.A. from Wilkes University. Grey Book Press published Continued, a poetry chapbook, in 2020 and Moonstone Press recently published Going Peaceably to the Obsidian Knife, his chapbook of environmentally themed poetry. Main Street Rag expects to publish his poetry chapbook, Florida Man, early next year. He bites his nails a lot, so he rarely wears nail polish.

Aperitif by Clarissa McFairy

He knew his wife loved cats but recoiled when she grew whiskers. “This is just the aperitif,” she purred, dropping the mouse at his feet.

Clarissa McFairy lives in Cape Town, South Africa. She writes short stories and poetry for anthologies at home and abroad. Her poem, La Mia Musa was a Vox Poetica 2012 Best of the Net nominee. Her poetry book, Strange Bedfellows published in the USA is available at Amazon.com. Clarissa says she writes as the muse grabs her and whirls her around the dance floor of life.

Two pieces by Stacey K.

Sheer Luck

Metal crashes. Plastic cracks. Airbags deploy. 

Skin warm from sun rays radiating through broken glass.

Her eyes flicker open. Separation of light into a spectrum.

Got it Golding on

Shine off the tiny buckle as big hands fumble. 

Nerves soar, escalating passion in his heart.

Stilettos are the last to come off. She’s beautiful.

Stacey K. is a contemporary romance author. She writes “sweet heat” love stories based on realistic healthy relationships that bolster someone emotionally and support their life goals. She loves strong female characters and sweet, devoted male characters. Stacey grew up strongly influenced by her mother’s love for reading historical romance and belief in library access for all. She holds a master’s degree in molecular biology and is employed as a supply chain product leader within the pharmaceutical industry. She makes Pennsylvania her home with her husband, Teddy, and their large, blended family.

From July:

You Don’t Know Jacques by Kelley Stroup

Lounging on a park bench, idly toeing gravel, he picks a speck of dried blood from beneath a ragged nail. He’d like to introduce himself. 

Kelley Stroup is a semi-reformed nail polish hoarder and occasional writer who indulges in lightheartedness every fifth Sunday in odd-numbered years. 

Two pieces by Holly Ariel Kavanagh

Sequins on the rocks

I grieve the glitter on the skerry. Hot pink hotpants glint like a mermaid’s tail beneath the sea foam. God, you were such a catch. 

Imported bubbly

The young lady observed Earth from a window seat. She raised a glass for more champagne, her mouth a perfect ‘o’ like the floating bubbles.

Holly Ariel Kavanagh is an art history graduate currently living in London. She loves crazy make-up, 80s new wave, and all things horror. Her short attention span means her stories are rarely finished.

You Up? By Victor Fisher

I’m violently awoken in ice cold sweat, alone in my house.

Listening to tiptoe footsteps, too terrified to confront a burglar…

and her crinkle mouse.

Victor Fisher is an aspiring speculative fiction writer and physics student. He lives in Manitoba, Canada with two obnoxiously loud cats. 

Two pieces by Dan Sicoli

to the finish lime

after mixing that classic
hemingway daiquiri
with such panache

shaking rocks
topping her perfection
with a wafer-thin
lime float

i drank every word
she wrote

all your dreams in vending machines

offering one the control
of dreams
for fulfillment
like
selecting snacks
from a dispenser

would we ever again
bother to step
from our night sheets

Dan Sicoli’s poems have appeared in numerous litmags and anthologies including Angel Rust, Beatnik Cowboy, Blue Collar Review, Book of Matches, Loud Coffee Press, Sleet, San Pedro River Review, and Sheila-Na-Gig. Some weekends you might find him in a local gin mill banging an old Gibson with a garage rock band in and around Niagara Falls, NY. <www.pw.org/directory/writers/dan_sicoli>

From October:

Two pieces by Edmund Fines

I Have A Herring Problem

They said brennivín paired well with herring dishes. And they said there weren’t any polar bears in Iceland. Yet here I am, drunk and running.

The Cows Come Home

Behind a Bangalore market stall, docile beasts grazed upon a garbage heap. A motorized rickshaw stopped behind them. They flicked their tails and continued eating.

Edmund Fines is a returning Nailpolish Stories author. He has had short stories published with Acta Victoriana, Smoking Pen Press, and Shoreline of Infinity.

Two pieces by Erin Mackensie

Sea the future

Am I a poet,

or just a woman

with a sickness

that guts me like a fish

and splashes my innards

out in pretty lines?

Center of the you-niverse

“I’m looking for something casual,” he says. 

“I’d cut off my ear and give it to you.” 

Delete delete delete. 

I text back, 

“me too.”

Erin Mackenzie is a self-taught poet who has finally shed the belief that poetry is only made meaningful and worthy by degrees in English literature or creative writing. A future mental health professional, Erin is a graduate of the University of Georgia, and a soon-to-be graduate of Louisiana State University with a Masters in Social Work. In her free time, she loves reading collections from female confessional poets, listening to vinyl records at an inappropriate volume, smothering her cat, Lolita, with love, and baking unsolicited pies for her friends. She is working on her first collection of poetry, bits and pieces of which you can read on her poetry instagram @ErinInVerse.

Lose your Lingerie by Len Saculla 

The washing machine ate odd socks. When it mysteriously gobbled Jill’s pink bra, she got annoyed, stuck her arm right in. Felt the inexorable pull…

Len Saculla has most recently been published online in “The World of Myth.” Prior to that, he has been a Pushcart nominee during a spell of being regularly published in anthologies from Kind of a Hurricane Press. He has also been highly placed in a couple of literary competitions.  

October, 2022

  

Two pieces by Edmund Fines

 

I Have A Herring Problem

They said brennivín paired well with herring dishes. And they said there weren’t any polar bears in Iceland. Yet here I am, drunk and running.

 

The Cows Come Home

Behind a Bangalore market stall, docile beasts grazed upon a garbage heap. A motorized rickshaw stopped behind them. They flicked their tails and continued eating.

 

Edmund Fines is a returning Nailpolish Stories author. He has had short stories published with Acta Victoriana, Smoking Pen Press, and Shoreline of Infinity.

 

Licorice Canary by Doug Hawley

In the 1950s I noticed the asphalt melting on a summer day and smelled fresh yellow curb paint while feeling brain cells die.  Not now.

Doug has written many things.  He is included in analogies “Strange Religion” and Dark Dossier #68 just out, and “Pure Slush Lifespan – Work to appear”.  When not writing, he eats, drinks, sleeps, and walks.  The former actuary lives with editor Sharon and decorative cat Kitzhaber in Oregon USA.

 

Four pieces by Erin Mackenzie

 Sea the future

 

Am I a poet,

or just a woman

with a sickness

that guts me like a fish

and splashes my innards

out in pretty lines?

 

Moonrise

He shrugs. “I’m a lone wolf. I can’t be tamed, you’ll see.”

I smile. “Darling I hung the moon, and you’ll soon howl for me.”

 

Perfect storm

 He whispers, “You’re fragile, let me take care of you.” 

I roll my eyes. 

He doesn’t know that my parents named me after a hurricane.

 

Center of the you-niverse

 “I’m looking for something casual,” he says. 

“I’d cut off my ear and give it to you.” 

Delete delete delete. 

I text back, 

“me too.”

 

Erin Mackenzie is a self-taught poet who has finally shed the belief that poetry is only made meaningful and worthy by degrees in English literature or creative writing. A future mental health professional, Erin is a graduate of the University of Georgia, and a soon-to-be graduate of Louisiana State University with a Masters in Social Work. In her free time, she loves reading collections from female confessional poets, listening to vinyl records at an inappropriate volume, smothering her cat, Lolita, with love, and baking unsolicited pies for her friends. She is working on her first collection of poetry, bits and pieces of which you can read on her poetry instagram @ErinInVerse.

 

 

Serene Green by Stacey Komosinski

Lush greenery flanked the winding road.

The mountains and fresh air beckoned me.

I craved quiet. I begged for peace.

A permanent vacation was required.

 

Stacey Komosinski is a contemporary romance author. She writes “sweet heat” love stories based on realistic healthy relationships that bolster someone emotionally and support their life goals. She loves strong female characters and sweet, devoted male characters. Stacey grew up strongly influenced by her mother’s love for reading and belief in library access for all. She holds a master’s degree in molecular biology and is employed as a supply chain product leader within the pharmaceutical industry. She makes Pennsylvania her home with her husband, Teddy, and their large, blended family.

 

 

 

 

 

I’m My Own Hero by Peggy Gerber

She said I wasn’t smart enough for college. So I went.

That I’d never be a writer. So I wrote. 

I say, “Believe in yourself.”

 

Peggy Gerber began a writing career in order to fill the void created by becoming an empty nester. Since then she has been published in many online magazines and anthologies.  It seems to be working out for her.

 

Lose your Lingerie by Len Saculla 

The washing machine ate odd socks. When it mysteriously gobbled Jill’s pink bra, she got annoyed, stuck her arm right in. Felt the inexorable pull…

 

Len Saculla has most recently been published online in “The World of Myth”. Prior to that, he has been a Pushcart nominee during a spell of being regularly published in anthologies from Kind of a Hurricane Press. He has also been highly placed in a couple of literary competitions.  

 

Rendezvous by Jan Cronos

Blind, she stumbles in the cemetery.
Losing her balance, she’s falling into an open grave.
The arms that save her are a corpse’s cold embrace.

Author lives in NYC under the pen name
Jan Cronos. In that world, strange things
are common.

 

 

July, 2022

You Don’t Know Jacques by Kelley Stroup

Lounging on a park bench, idly toeing gravel, he picks a speck of dried blood from beneath a ragged nail. He’d like to introduce himself. 

Kelley Stroup is a semi-reformed nail polish hoarder and occasional writer who indulges in lightheartedness every fifth Sunday in odd-numbered years. 

Two pieces by Holly Ariel Kavanagh

Sequins on the rocks

I grieve the glitter on the skerry. Hot pink hotpants glint like a mermaid’s tail beneath the sea foam. God, you were such a catch. 

Imported bubbly

The young lady observed Earth from a window seat. She raised a glass for more champagne, her mouth a perfect ‘o’ like the floating bubbles.

Holly Ariel Kavanagh is an art history graduate currently living in London. She loves crazy make-up, 80s new wave, and all things horror. Her short attention span means her stories are rarely finished.

You Up? by Victor Fisher

I’m violently awoken in ice cold sweat, alone in my house.

Listening to tiptoe footsteps, too terrified to confront a burglar…

and her crinkle mouse
Victor Fisher is an aspiring speculative fiction writer and physics student. He lives in Manitoba, Canada with two obnoxiously loud cats. 

Two pieces by Dan Sicoli

to the finish lime

after mixing that classic
hemingway daiquiri
with such panache

shaking rocks
topping her perfection
with a wafer-thin
lime float

i drank every word
she wrote

all your dreams in vending machines

offering one the control
of dreams
for fulfillment
like
selecting snacks
from a dispenser

would we ever again
bother to step
from our night sheets

Dan Sicoli’s poems have appeared in numerous litmags and anthologies including Angel Rust, Beatnik Cowboy, Blue Collar Review, Book of Matches, Loud Coffee Press, Sleet, San Pedro River Review, and Sheila-Na-Gig. Some weekends you might find him in a local gin mill banging an old Gibson with a garage rock band in and around Niagara Falls, NY. <www.pw.org/directory/writers/dan_sicoli>

April, 2022

Two pieces by Chris Bullard

Sea Foam Green

The salt in my blood is kin to the sea. Like the prodigal, I’m welcomed back. The waves seize me and beg me to stay.   

Barely There 

We let the gate guard know one crypt was open. He laughed, “Sometimes they get out.”

We never took the graveyard short cut again.

A native of Florida, Chris Bullard lives in Philadelphia. He received his B.A. in English from the University of Pennsylvania and his M.F.A. from Wilkes University. Grey Book Press published Continued, a poetry chapbook, in 2020 and Moonstone Press recently published Going Peaceably to the Obsidian Knife, his chapbook of environmentally themed poetry. Main Street Rag expects to publish his poetry chapbook, Florida Man, early next year. He bites his nails a lot, so he rarely wears nail polish.

Park Lincoln After Dark  by Quinn Crook

The lovers hid away. For a moment, in that darkness, there was no shame. Under that purple sky, the twinkling stars, they could be themselves.

Quinn Crook is a nonbinary writer from Illinois. Their work has appeared in publications such as Bombfire Lit, Black Poppy Review, and Sledgehammer Lit. They can often be found haunting local coffee shops in the quest for the best latte. 

Pretty Pink Preserves by Sara O’Brien

In rooms of white tablecloths, papered walls and large windows overlooking the lake, guests warmed by sunlight and memories heap strawberry jam on buttered toast.

Runner, traveler, book-lover and accountant by trade, Sara lives in Maple Glen, PA with her husband and two teenage boys.

Two pieces by Clarissa McFairy

Swoon in the Lagoon

He drove, gammy eyes on dark lagoon road. “Too close to edge,” she screamed. “I don’t wanna die in the lagoon.” The water just winked.

Aperitif

He knew his wife loved cats but recoiled when she grew whiskers. “This is just the aperitif,” she purred, dropping the mouse at his feet.

Clarissa McFairy lives in Cape Town, South Africa. She writes short stories and poetry for anthologies at home and abroad. Her poem, La Mia Musa was a Vox Poetica 2012 Best of the Net nominee. Her poetry book, Strange Bedfellows published in the USA is available at Amazon.com. Clarissa says she writes as the muse grabs her and whirls her around the dance floor of life.

Pearl Of Wisdom by Zinetta

She was suicidal at 9. She was suicidal at 22. At 24 she doesn’t know how to convey that her contentment feels like a miracle. 

Zinetta is a writer… she thinks. 

Pillow Talk  by Allen Ashley

My initials keep me top of “Contacts”. Lead to unexpected calls. You keep your phone under your pillow, sleepily press alarm, buttons. You’re with him

Allen Ashley’s work has recently appeared in the anthologies “No More Heroes” (PS Publishing, UK, 2021) “Vital Signals” (NewCon Press, UK, 2022) as well as online where he guest-edited the “last Chance filling Station” themed issue of “Sein und Werden”. Allen had two shades of varnish in the April-May 2021 edition of “Nailpolish Stories”. 

Full Moon Party by Morgana Macleod

Backseat, your zipper teeth are a constellation navigating my Bedouin mouth. You groan, then shoot. I swallow, tasting silver. Nothing counts in black and white.

Morgana Macleod lives and writes on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia. She has short stories published in several hard-copy anthologies you’ve never heard of, but her work can also be found online at sites including New Flash Fiction Review, Medium and outofthegutteronline.com. Still buzzed by a recent Pushcart nomination, she’s toying with writing a novel but concerned about the limits of her own attention span. Feel free to stalk her on Facebook (Morgana MacLeod) and Twitter @morganamacleod.

Breakfast in bed by Tricia Lloyd Waller

Anniversary treat; breakfast in bed biting greedily into the thick golden buttered toast and fluffy yellow scrambled egg; little realizing it is laced with arsenic!

Tricia Lloyd Waller is obsessed with words and story both written and verbal and has recently had work published in Vamp Cat literary Magazine and The World of Myth.

Vampy Brown by Richard Leise

Her desire couldn’t match mine and she relented, she cooled, her body a pool, her head – my shoulder – as though I held nothing. At all.

Richard writes and teaches outside Ithaca, NY.  A fellow from Old Dominion University’s MFA program, his fiction and poetry is featured in numerous publications.  At work on his second novel, he has a novella “Being Dead,” (OffBeat Reads), and a unique literary work “Johannes & Merritt” (Dark Lake Publishing), coming out this spring.  His love story, “Jennifer,” will be available from DreamPunk press later this year.  Follow him on Twitter @coy_harlingen.

Two pieces by Suzanne Cottrell

Make a Splash

Friends in a sturdy raft ride over class IV rapids,

dodge nested boulders and bounce in turbulent waters.

“Hold on!”

Then rapids ride over friends.

Take a Walk

Horns blare with the morning stampede of pedestrians,

rushing and shoving to get to work until

finally corralled in the city’s skyscrapers for the day.

Suzanne Cottrell writes poetry, flash fiction, and creative nonfiction, which have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. She’s the author of three poetry chapbooks: Gifts of the Seasons, Autumn and Winter & Spring and Summer and Scarred Resilience. She is an outdoor enthusiast and retired teacher, who enjoys reading, hiking, and Pilates. Follow her writing passion at http://www.suzanneswords.com.

Summer Green by Doug Hawley 

The smell of freshly mowed grass sends me back through the years I’ve cut the grass.  It smells even better when someone else cuts it. 

The author is a little old man who lives with editor Sharon and cat Kitzhaber south of Portland Oregon USA.  Information both personal and about his five hundred or so publications are here https://sites.google.com/site/aberrantword/ and here https://doug.car.blog/

Two pieces by Stacey K.

Sheer Luck

Metal crashes. Plastic cracks. Airbags deploy. 

Skin warm from sun rays radiating through broken glass.

Her eyes flicker open. Separation of light into a spectrum.

Got it Golding on

Shine off the tiny buckle as big hands fumble. 

Nerves soar, escalating passion in his heart.

Stilettos are the last to come off. She’s beautiful.

Stacey K. is a contemporary romance author. She writes “sweet heat” love stories based on realistic healthy relationships that bolster someone emotionally and support their life goals. She loves strong female characters and sweet, devoted male characters. 

Stacey grew up strongly influenced by her mother’s love for reading historical romance and belief in library access for all. She holds a master’s degree in molecular biology and is employed as a supply chain product leader within the pharmaceutical industry. 

She makes Pennsylvania her home with her husband, Teddy, and their large, blended family.

January, 2022

Two pieces by Stephanie Mordi

Stay the Night

I hook my leg around her arm. She turns to me, and I smile. I gesture at an unfinished bag of chips. She smiles back.

I’m Not Really A Waitress

I tie an apron around my waist, black skirt barely grazing my upper thighs, white shirt tight against my breasts. I did come to serve.

Stephanie Mordi is a proud, not so proud Nigerian. She writes as a hobby, but hopes to make a career out of it some day. She enjoys eating, reading and sleeping the most—emphasis on the eating. She is yet to publish any works, but has a large and private collection of short stories and poetry.

Five pieces by Tyrean Martinson

My Pointe Exactly

Madam crosses the room, adjusts a dancer’s posture.

The music begins again.

“And one, and two, and STOP.”

“Try it again, like I showed you.”

Passion for Dance

I stretch my feet, roll my shoulders.

Old injuries crackle inside.

I place my hands on the barre, ignore the pain.

My soul demands release.

Baring my Soul

A man in tights. It scares them.

But not me.

As the rhythm swells,

I leap, fly, become life’s sweet soul-music.

They begin to understand.

Ballet Slippers

Sweat-soaked leather and chalk dust.

Laughter and tears.

Solos and companies.

She remembers them all, as she caresses her ballet slippers with her swollen fingers.

Final Performance

The memorial music softens, fades.

Marie slips from her seat, curls into a dancing leaf.

Ben leaps, then falls, weeping.

Rose petals thrown.

Curtains close.

Tyrean Martinson is a word hunter. She forages for words both sweet and tart in Washington State. Find her online at her blog: https://tyreanswritingspot.blogspot.com/ Find her books at most online stores. 

Unblemished Soul like a Gorgeous Rainbow! by Neha Bafna

Amalgamation of two souls.

Bloomed new soul, wrapped in the warmth of joy.

Tenderness sensed.

It was a miracle, in collaboration with FAITH, called GOD.

Neha Bafna is a Creative Arts Therapy facilitator/practitioner & counsellor, living in India. She is on a mission to let people explore, get empowered and grow, through her work. She is a budding writer, playing with words to express, touch the untapped emotions and spread joy.  

Exhale by Sydney Clark

“Don’t forget to breathe out,” he said.

I stood before them and began to shake, my mind as fuzzy as my vision. Breath in… and…

Sydney Clark is a junior at Lindenwood University in Missouri. She is double-majoring in Creative Writing and Instrumental Music Performance on the Bassoon. She has had short stories published in “Backyard Earth”, “A Story in 100 Words”, “The World of Myth”, and “Paragraph Planet”. She has also had poems published in “Gaia Lit”, “5-7-5 Haiku Journal”, and “Academy of the Heart and Mind”.

Chris, I’m So Jealous of your Girlfriend by Harsimran Kaur

So there I was, in the eighteenth street, west New York scrolling through my Instagram, asking my head a year’ol question:

“What do I comment?”

Harsimran Kaur is a seventeen-year-old who teaches her invisible students.

Best of 2021 stories were selected for their unique use of language, breadth of story in so few words, emotional impact, and the complex and original relationship of the titles to their stories. Congratulations to the writers whose work was selected for this special issue. And thank you to every submitter, contributor and reader of 2021. Nailpolish Stories wishes you an abundance of good health and a most happy 2022. A special note to add that this is the first Best of Issue to feature two pieces by the same author from different issues, Edmund Fines.

From April:

Violet Sky Holographic by Edmund Fines

Diminished by the northern lights and endless skies, he gazed across the tundra and wondered when he’d be home again.  A steely gust roared, “Never.”  

Edmund Fines lives in Toronto with his wife, daughter, and versatile pug.

Ballet Slipper by S. Britton

At dawn, hungover and broke, he stood, hopeless, as objects and curses rained down from her bedroom window.  Then it flew at him, ribbons fluttering. 

S. Britton runs a downmarket AirB&B, near YYZ.

Unholey Ends by B.J. Thompson

“That hole, by our feet. Was it there before?”

“No.”

“And up there. Was it…”

“No.”

Echoed murmurs cascade up and down. The implosion begins.

B. J. Thompson is a retired public relations liaison and currently a Calgary, Canada-based literary novelist and short story writer. B. J.’s works examine the process of death — of an historical icon, an ideal or an event — in a Trumanesque non-fiction novel delivery, to reveal an answer to a long-held mystery or a societal question, for it’s in life’s final moments that truth plays the only role.

Cloudy Blue-Grey by Jefferey G. Moss

A thousand sea lions

bark into the mist. 

Up the coast

sea elephants molt and fast. 

I pray tonight

The Big Dipper reveals

pathways home. 

Jeffrey G. Moss was born and bred in Brooklyn, USA. After 32 years urging 13/14 year olds to craft their worlds he is branching out and following some of his own advice. He has pieces in Bending Genres, Minnow Literary Magazine,Humana ObscuraSPACEONSPACE, and forthcoming in Hunger Mountain. 

Find Me an Oasis by Susanna Lepow

The sky weeps bitter tears. Ahead, horns blare and lights flash, the city at night a living postcard. I wilt, and you carry me home.

Susanna is a writer and sometimes runner outside of Seattle, Washington. In her minimal spare time, she watches too many Netflix documentaries and pretends she knows how to cook.

In Stitches by Emma Foster

Sunday morning, we muse on life over chicken and dumplings. We joke over heartache, regret, because it’s over. We realize we were made into monsters. 

Emma Foster writes as much as she can about monsters or innocence or both. She’s been published in The Cedarville Review, Voices of the Valley, Ariel Chart, and is forthcoming in Sledgehammer Lit. She plans on attending graduate school for creative writing in England. 

From October:

Steel Waters Run Deep

We swam downstream from the forge outlet pipes where the water was warmer.  Afterward, we smoked cigarettes and admired the metallic sheen on our skin.

Edmund Fines lives in Toronto with his wife, daughter, and versatile pug.  He recently had a short story published with Acta Victoriana.

October, 2021

Night Terror by Marcelo Medone

Their eyes met wildly in the restaurant. They sneaked out into the night alley. She, dressed to kill. He never imagined it was literally true.

Marcelo Medone is a poet and fiction writer from Buenos Aires, Argentina. His works have been published in more than 30 countries around the world.
He loves women with provocatively painted nails.

Through the Fire by Charlotte Kim

The house fire burned my legs and heart. Watery tinsel adorned widened eyes as my angel fled back to hellish flames. Tears couldn’t save dad.  

Charlotte Kim graduated from the University of Southern California with a BA in Communication. Her work has been published in Fifty Word Stories, and is forthcoming in The Parliament Literary Journal and Five Minutes.

Three pieces by Edmund Fines

Steel Waters Run Deep

We swam downstream from the forge outlet pipes where the water was warmer.  Afterward, we smoked cigarettes and admired the metallic sheen on our skin.

Pigment of My Imagination

The new oil painting was white.  But at different times of day, it took on various hues.  The violets alone made it worth the money. 

Nomad’s Dream

He wandered the world searching for the one thing his nature wouldn’t allow, a home.  She thought he was selfish.  He wished she’d come along.

Edmund Fines lives in Toronto with his wife, daughter, and versatile pug.  He recently had a short story published with Acta Victoriana.

Two pieces by Elizabeth Zahn

Shake Your Palm, Palm

Hubby’s texts harped on. Appliances beeped, buzzed, pinged, and peeped for my attention. What? Calypso music? On Saturday morning? I leap for my lover’s call.  

Find Your Fire  

Savannah’s holly bush never bore berries. When she learned holly’s dioecious (needs a mate), she planted a male. The bush fruited. But Savannah has not. 

Elizabeth Zahn writes short fiction from Long Island, NY, for now. She thinks James Taylor’s right, “The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.”  Find her at www.elizabethzahn.com 

Three pieces by Abigail Lyman

St. Lucia Lilac
First spring dawn, tangled in branches.
Can’t tell her this year, not on top of Dad.
Would she even remember?
Sunlit, paper petals look alive.

Flying Solo“…evacuation slides will not provide flotation…”
Just enough air to keep itself above water. None for you.
Pilot over intercom: “It’s been a long day.”

Do You Sea What I Sea?
Waiting on lunch, we stroll the marina.
Two boys dangle off prow, poke fish dead white in seaweed.
Boys.
He hooks the stiff fish. “Bait.”

Abigail Lyman is in a world spoken by her Creator, and she’s overjoyed to live His art and create her own. Neither of them plan on shutting up anytime soon.Her inspirations include ND Wilson’s “Notes From the Tilt-a-Whirl”, the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins, and Emmanuel Sander & Douglas Hofstadter’s “Surfaces & Essences”.Her short story “Bioluminescence” won the William Faulkner Literary Competition, and her haiku “Fractal” placed first in HSLDA’s poetry contest.She can be reached at abigail.sarah.phil4.8@gmail.com.

Happy 10th Birthday, NS!

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A decade ago I put myself out there on a whim. I wondered if people would be inspired by nail polish colors as titles, and if that could prompt stories of exactly twenty-five words. I prepared to be ignored, or worse, laughed at. I had been submitting short and very short fiction pieces, nonfiction essays, as well as poetry to literary journals for a few years, so I’d grown accustomed to rejection. Instead of being ignored or laughed at, I was delighted to find people excited about and enjoying the act of reading and writing nail polish stories. It was difficult to write them! But gratifying. Fun even. I was relatively new to micro-fiction, but my aesthetic had always been spare, un-flowery and emotionally bare. This idea that you need not many words but simply the right ones in the right order had long resonated for me.

What began as a weekly post on my regular blog, http://www.writenic.wordpress.com moved to a monthly post at its own home, http://www.nailpolishstories.wordpress.com. As submission numbers grew I switched it to a quarterly–four issues a year was all I could manage. My kids were 11, almost 10, and 6. I was also in the throes of intense personal turmoil with a medical diagnosis in my family. My life, as most lives are, was more complicated than most people knew. But this tiny thing, this little online world, burned bright. And I knew I belonged in it.

Many times throughout the last ten years I’ve considered what would be the “right” time to let go of NS. No one wants to keep a thing afloat past its prime. In the literary magazine world, ten is like dog years–quite old, but endearingly seasoned, well-loved, and intricately connected to everything you care about. It’s not time yet.

The thing I most enjoy about curating this tiny journal is interactions with submitters. I’ve written before about the initial motive for doing this, and it remains the same. I am consistently inspired by that thread that connects us as humans. The shared human experience, the universality of pain, longing, loss, joy, and love that is rendered through the arts. Via music, film, photography, painting, illustration, all of the various art forms, not the least of which, the written word, we truly see ourselves in each other, and more importantly, we are able to truly see each other.

I want to say happy tenth birthday to NS, to its readers and contributors. I want to thank every person who has ever clicked on the link to take a peek, even if it wasn’t your cup of tea. I want to thank those who have come back again and again. I want to thank professors who have used nail polish stories as a writing exercise for creative writing students. I want to thank family members and friends who have supported any and every writing and editing endeavor I’ve taken on simply because they believe in me, or simply because they love me. I want to thank writers, emerging and established, who have given NS a look, and who have taken on the challenge, and those who have supported from afar with a like or a comment on Facebook. I see each of you.

 

I make a practice of thanking submitters for trusting me with their work. As a writer myself, I see it as a unique and intimate honor to read your words and make a decision whether to publish them here. I viscerally understand the vulnerability of putting down words and sending them off for someone to make decisions about. Thank you to the submitters whose work I’ve accepted. Your talent reinvigorates me. Thank you to the submitters whose work I have not accepted. Your grace and understanding humble me. Thank you to those who just today clicked here for the first time. I’m glad for every connection. Happy 10th birthday, Nail Polish Stories, a Tiny and Colorful Literary Journal.

With gratitude,

Nicole Monaghan,

Founding and Managing Editor, NS

 

July, 2021

Three pieces by Suzanne Cottrell

Whirln’ Twirl

Whirligigs spun like in the movie “Twister.” Sirens blared. We dashed to the bathroom, wishing for a basement. Our property soon “Gone with the Wind.”

In Plane View

We pressed our hands to our ears.  The hum intensified.  We’re in a horror film, “Invasion of the Red-eyed Bugs.”  The cicadas vowed to return.

Over the Edge 

Sometimes in life you need a little nudge, but not when you are perched on a treetop obstacle course’s platform forty feet off the ground.

Suzanne Cottrell lives with her husband and one rescued dog in rural Piedmont North Carolina. An outdoor enthusiast and retired teacher, she enjoys reading, writing, hiking, knitting, Pilates, Tai Chi, and yoga. Her flash fiction has appeared in The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature; Dragon Poet Review; Flash Fiction MagazineNailpolish Stories, A Tiny and Colorful Literary Journal;  Dual Coast Magazine; and Inwood Indiana Press anthologies. She’s the author of two poetry chapbooks: Gifts of the Seasons, Fall and Winter and Gifts of the Seasons, Spring and Summer (Kelsay Books). www.suzanneswords.com

Purple by Prapti Gupta

Whenever I pass from here, I still remember that day we last met. How good it would be if I survived that accident with him.

Prapti is an 18 year old girl from India.

Hush of pink by Emalisa Rose

“Red stiletto,” through the night hours. When sunlight returned, he wanted her pale, blushed and innocent; pigtails in her hair. On his dime, Melissa obliged.

When not writing, Emalisa Rose enjoys crafting and drawing. She volunteers in animal rescue, and tends to a cat colony in the neighborhood. She lives by a beach town, which provides much of the inspiration for her art. Some of her poems have appeared in Writing in a Woman’s Voice, Spillwords, Origami Poem Project and other spirited places. Her latest collection is “On the whims of the crosscurrents,” published by Red Wolf Editions.

Pink Bikini by Sara O’Brien

With the confidence that only comes with age, she stood on the dock choosing between her chilled wine and a plunge into the chilled lake.

Runner, traveler, book-lover and accountant by trade, Sara lives in Maple Glen, PA with her husband and two teenage boys.

Two pieces by Emma Foster

Butterfly Me to the Moon

“Little Butterfly,” Grandpa called her. She twirled in bathroom slippers, fluttering colors, constellations. Passing on, Grandpa’s words eternalizing, she kept his heart in the stars.

In Stitches

Sunday morning, we muse on life over chicken and dumplings. We joke over heartache, regret, because it’s over. We realize we were made into monsters. 

Emma Foster writes as much as she can about monsters or innocence or both. She’s been published in The Cedarville Review, Voices of the Valley, Ariel Chart, and is forthcoming in Sledgehammer Lit. She plans on attending graduate school for creative writing in England. 

Five pieces bySal Difalco

Mind-full Meditation

Night contains measures furthering otherness. The truly unhinged tend toward silence. Their demons deem it a noble alternative to the clanking chains or passing screams.

Topless and Barefoot

A reflection occurs in a surfeit of metal surface, whereas chagrin casts an elephantine shadow before it, followed by a scream from the troll bridge.

Funny Bunny 

We offer a process—a whip or pail of bloody ice. Tinhorns and tinny drums confirm tone deafness. Beat the drum, Clown. Beat it now.

Strike a Rose

It hurts, adultery. But once the sinking feeling departs the chest puffs up and out. Yet his puffy sleeves are those of a man condemned.

Zoya Pixie Dust

Yes, it takes a queer intensity to preserve your equilibrium, fighting the same inarticulate fear you felt on the cuckoo bus to the county asylum.

Sal Difalco thinks he lives in Toronto. He refuses to paint his toenails.

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