The Word Count Podcast-Episode 64

Watson Lake, AZ – Photo by Becca B. Jenkins

The Picture above and the month of March. That’s the prompt for this month’s show.

A huge “thank you” to Ms. Becca B. Jenkins who graciously let me use one of her photographs for this month’s show. Along with her writing talent (and I’d check out her website when you get a sec: Hunt, Gather, Brew), she is a talented photographer.

Four new stories this time around. Two wonderful partners-in-crime return (Maria Haskins and Bill Kirton) along with relative newcomer to the show, John McCaffrey (in a collaboration piece with Jack Gwaltney) and long time absent friend Julia Mae Staley returns as well with a lovely tale.

Feel free to download and listen to the latest show (or previous shows) via iTunes or Libsyn. Here is an embedded player, if you prefer:


A reminder that we are looking to increase the number of likes on the show’s Facebook Page, so hope on over there and tell you friends about us (use the #WordCountPodcast hashtag).

Onto the show!

Show Notes:

Maria Haskins – “Lost”

Maria Haskins is a Swedish-Canadian writer and certified translator. She writes speculative fiction and poetry, and debuted as a writer in Sweden. Since 1992 she lives in Canada, just outside Vancouver, with a husband, two kids, and a very large black dog.


Twitter: @mariahaskins

Bill Kirton – “The Lochan”

Before taking early retirement to become a full-time writer, Bill Kirton was a lecturer in French at the University of Aberdeen. He’s written stage and radio plays, short stories, novels, skits and songs for revues, and five non-fiction books aimed at helping students with their writing and study skills. His five modern crime novels, Justice, The Darkness, Shadow Selves and Unsafe Acts are set in north east Scotland and his historical crime/romance novel, The Figurehead, is set in Aberdeen in 1840. The Darkness won the silver award in the mystery category of the 2011 Forward National Literature Awards and his spoof mystery, The Sparrow Conundrum, was the winner in the humor category.

He’s published a novel for children called The Loch Ewe Mystery, and his latest publication is a satirical novella about online gaming and the real and virtual worlds.

He’s had radio plays broadcast by the BBC and the Australian BC.  His short stories have appeared in many anthologies, including three of the CWA’s annual collections, and one was chosen by Maxim Jakubowski for his 2010 anthology of Best British Crime Stories. It’s also been optioned by a film company in Los Angeles.

He’s been a Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow at universities in Aberdeen, Dundee and St Andrews.


Twitter: @carver22

 Jack Gwaltney & John McCaffrey – “Seldom is Heard

Jack Gwaltney was born in Virginia, went to the University of Virginia and lives in New York, fortunate to perform as an actor on stage, television and in film. Collaborating with John McCaffrey is one of the wisest things Jack does. Thanks to The Word Count Podcast!

John McCaffrey grew up in Rochester, New York, attended Villanova University, and received his MA in Creative Writing from the City College of New York. He is the author of The Book of Ash and Two Syllable Men. He lives in Hoboken, New Jersey.

Julia Mae Staley – When on Fire

Julia Mae Staley is a singer/songwriter, rock harpist and author from Bucks County, PA.  Her music has taken her many places, and even to the silver screen.  She will be releasing her first indie rock album this year.

Websites: ;

Twitter: @juliamaestaley






The #WordCountPodcast Episode 64 is now Open for Submissions!

There’s a story behind this month’s prompt.

First, I must beg you all to get your friends to like the #WordCountPodcast Facebook page. I’ll be posting some new content there shortly, exclusively for fans of the show who liked the page.

Telling you what I’ll be posting would be playing fair. Stay tuned!

But here’s the link to the page. Spread the word won’t you? We have a goal of 1000 likes this season!

The Word Count Podcast

So, then. Episode 64.

The photo to be used in the prompt this month is one taken by writer, adventurist and all around good person—Ms. Becca B. Jenkins. Along with her writing talent (and I’d check out her website when you get a sec: Hunt, Gather, Brew), she is a talented photographer. When I saw her pictures, I immediately asked to use one for the show.

She said yes… and then made me pick one. Damn it. I HATE making decisions.

So go thank Becca for this month’s visual prompt, which is:

Watson Lake, AZ – Photo by Becca B. Jenkins

You must also use the month of March in your setting.

Oooooh!  What happens next! That, dear sinners, is up to you!

Thinking of writing something for the show? Please do! All submissions are welcome!

If you want to listen to past (free) shows, the links below will take you to them:




There are Sixty-three shows available right now!




DEADLINE: I must receive your submission by Friday 24 March 2017 by MIDNIGHT Eastern time.

THE DETAILS: The work must be an original story based on the picture above and the month of “March.”

Do NOT exceed SEVEN minutes.

As this is a podcast, I need to receive a file of YOU, a friend or multiple friends reading (singing or otherwise performing) your work. MP3 FORMAT ONLY, and please attach your MP3 file to an e-mail or contact me for a Dropbox link.

Your submission MUST also contain the following:

  • Your pen name
  • Your latest bio (DO NOT ASSUME I HAVE YOUR LATEST)
  • Links to your website(s) – Include your personal site, Facebook Fanpage etc.
  • Your Twitter handle (if you have one)
  • A photo of you I can use for the show notes
  • At the end of your recording, please add “This is <state your name> author of <state your work(s)> and you’re listening to The Word Count Podcast.”
  • Permission to use your recording in the podcast.
  • PLEASE Make sure you have included ALL ARTIFACTS I have asked for. Do not assume I can “Get your picture from the internet” or can “Pull your bio from your web page.”

Send your file to (or via the dropbox link I can provide) by 24 March 2017. You can also e-mail me with questions beforehand. I do reserve the right NOT to post your submission, but will communicate that to you should it be the case. I add the ‘Explicit’ tag to the ‘cast, so if your story uses adult themes or language that’s ok—but it should be necessary for the story.

***NOTE: I will NOT accept stories that are discriminatory in ANY WAY (whether it be by race, sexual orientation, gender, religion, etc.) or that include rape. ***


Off Beat:Nine Spins on Song – COVER REVEAL!

Oh, this is delicious! Been waiting a while to tell you guys about this one.

Last year, while at ReaderCON, I read a few books, one of which was an anthology called TICK TOCK:  Seven Tales of Time. It was published by Wicked Ink Books. Most of the authors in the anthology I hadn’t heard of (shame on me–I’ve since corrected that) but I read all seven stories in about an hour.

Very different, but very, very good.

For 2017, the good people at WIB were putting together another anthology. There would be seven stories from the original authors (Corinne O’Flynn, Kristi Helvig, Rebecca Taylor, Sue Duff, Shawn McGuire, Wendy Terrien, and A.G. Henley) plus two additional stories picked from a series of submissions.

The theme for the “new nine” would be stories inspired by song.

I decided to send in something that I’d been toying with since the 90’s–a story called “Thanksgiving in the Park.”

Long story, short: My story and one by Calypso Kane were accepted.

So. The cover. May I introduce OFF BEAT: Nine Spins on Song available for preorder on Amazon:


Inspired by favorite songs, nine fantasy and science fiction authors spin tales of adventure, intrigue, mystery, and horror.

  • A boy follows his girlfriend’s suicide note to its disturbing conclusion.
  • A man must pass on an ancient curse of immortality before his time finally runs out.
  • Two lost beings fight for life, for each other, and to find a way home.
  • A serial killer from the future, banished to present day, must control her homicidal urges in order to survive.
  • A thief and a sex worker find their paths unexpectedly entwined in ways that threaten both of their lives.
  • For a caged girl, one hand gives, but the other takes away all she’s ever known.
  • To gain their freedom, quarreling townsfolk must find a way to cross a bottomless ravine.
  • A man interrupts a monster at work, and is determined to entertain the creature long enough to stay alive.
  • When his father’s ghost appears, a businessman is forced to reflect on his life.

I’m excited about this one…proud to have a story of mine picked to stand with some very talented authors. I would be much obliged if you decided to preorder a copy today. And while you’re at it, check out Wicked Ink Books.