If you look at a map of Illinois, at the bottom, where the state is shaped like an arrowhead point, you’ll see a whole big swath of that part of the state is Shawnee National Forest. Which is part of the reason I moved here. Once you get into Southern Illinois, though, you realize that the forest is more like a patchwork quilt in areas, interspersed with farmland, vineyards, houses, pasture.

I live near part of the patchwork. It’s literally true to say part of the Shawnee Forest is across the street from me. If I walked sort of northwesterly, I could go several miles until I came to Panthers Den Wilderness area, or either of the two wineries in that general direction, and never leave the forest. But there are places where I would be able to see sky on either side, and probably private property. Nevertheless, part of the forest it is, and I love having it there.

This story, “We All Make Mistakes,” appearing in The Tiny Journal, is inspired in part by my several encounters with venomous snakes in the area — Copperheads and also Water Moccasin (aka Cottonmouth). It’s also partly a musing on how sometimes we do things in spite of having misgivings, and how sometimes these things are mistakes. We all do it.

I hope you enjoy! (PS – Is there a way to make the video still so I don’t look silly? LOL)

“We All Make Mistakes”in The Tiny Journal

I just found out yesterday was National Hummingbird Day. So I’m a day late with this, but if you know me, you will not be surprised by that.

This story was a fun one to write. It was partly inspired by a photo prompt, but also by the great success former neighbors had with their hummingbird feeders. They did not, to my knowledge, do any of the things you’ll hear in this story! I hope you enjoy.

The story appears in Ghost Parachute online, and also in the Ghost Parachute: 105 Flash Fiction Stories anthology.

I am so incredibly honored to be included in both Best Microfiction and Best Small Fictions for 2021.

I’ll talk about Best Small Fictions too, but for now will focus on Best Microfiction 2021. The anthology, edited by the amazing Meg Pokrass and Gary Fincke, with guest editor Amber Sparks (I know!) has received some really outstanding reviews, such as this one from Cultured Vultures, and this one in Trampset. I am thrilled and humbled both to have a story in this anthology with some of the very best writers in this genre of tiny stories. I love the wild variety and the cascading range of emotions these stories conjure. You won’t be disappointed if you order this book, I promise!

Here is a link to the book launch readings for both volumes. I read “Places I Have Peed,” which first appeared in Miracle Monacle. Hearing these stories read is an experience unto itself. Enjoy!

I have been wanting to get to the Rocky Bluff Trail out at Devil’s Kitchen Lake all spring. It hasn’t worked out. Until now. It’s a great hike for wildflowers early in spring. I didn’t see as many Blue-eyed Mary as I hoped to, but there were plenty of violets, a few trilliums, buttercups, and of course lots of golden ragwort, daisy fleabane and woodland phlox. Also, the waterfall was flowing, which it isn’t always. So that was cool. I have a few pictures up on my Instagram page if you are curious.

And I did a reading! On a big ol’ rock perched about 25 feet or so above the Little Grassy Creek.

The Lion Sleeps Tonight
first appeared in New Flash Fiction Review as part of the Horo-Flash / Horoscope-inspired curated flash series.