Thank you Cal Marcius, for including my story in Spelk!


by Sudha Balagopal

He walks into my yoga class with a black mat rolled up under his arm. My eyes are drawn to his toenails; they’re painted a deep, dark purple. A sleeveless tank reveals sculpted biceps, short shorts hug muscular thighs. His long hair is secured in a pony tail.

As if he wants to hide, he settles in a far corner by the wall.

A novice. And cute, I think, then tuck that thought away for later examination.

In a few minutes, Purple-Toenails removes his shirt and the thought is brought out for airing.

Guilt washes over me. I should be examining my recent broken relationship, analyzing how I chose so wrong.

“Inhale and exhale through the nostrils,” I instruct. “The mouth remains closed.”

The air comes gushing out of his nostrils like he’s been holding his breath. Already, I see beads of sweat on his forehead.


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The Three ‘R’s on the Winding Road to Publication

All writers are familiar with the writing process. The process goes like this: write, write, write, revise, revise, revise, and revise again. That first R, revision, is an author’s best friend.

Once the story has taken shape, though, when the creation becomes it’s own being, it needs to be launched into the world. Thus, begins the process of finding the tale a good home. This activity can be challenging. Here is where the second R, research, comes in.

Looking through calls for submissions I’ve found, is not enough. There must be a match between my story and the publication. Obviously, one wouldn’t send science fiction to an art and poetry zine. The trouble is, the distinctions are not always clear, the differences nuanced. The only way to tell if there can be a good match is to read the magazine’s content.

After becoming familiar with some journals, I identify a few publications that I believe are perfect for the story. Some are online-only magazines, while others might be ‘paper’ magazines or journals, and still others, both. I’m attracted to the content, not the medium. So begin the submissions.

And then, they start to come in: the rejections. The dreaded third R. Steeling oneself for rejections is not easy, but every writer knows they must, if their creative endeavor is to see the light of publication.

In the beginning, I believed the rejections came because I was an unpublished author. Now, I know that a list of credits is no assurance of an acceptance or publication.

There could be a host of reasons for a rejection. It might be as simple as the magazine receiving too many submissions. Or, the story may not quite fit their theme. Then, there’s the subjective view; editors are not universal in their preferences.

Instead of dwelling on the rejection, I research other places and send my story out again, and again – until the story finds its home.

This August I’m honored to have three of my stories published.

On August 2, Jellyfish Review published my story, Supernatural for their intergalactic planetary issue.


On August 28, Postcard Shorts published my story, Postcard from Arizona.

Postcard from Arizona

On August 28, Vestal Review published my story Left Hand Turns in their Magic Mondays category.

Left Hand Turns

I am grateful.

My Story, Timbre and Tone, Makes a Top Ten!

In honor of National Flash Fiction Day in the U.K. (June 24) Claire Polders listed her top ten list of flash favorites. She picked flash fiction dealing with the subject of fathers, dead or alive. I am honored to be on her list with my story, Timbre and Tone, which first appeared in Jellyfish Review. Thank you, Claire, and thank you Smokelong Quarterly.

Claire Polders’ Favorite “(Dead) Father” Flashes

20 Months Old, I Remember Jellyfish



On the Wings of a Cormorant, by LaRue Cook
Timbre and Tone, by Sudha Balagopal
Enamel, by Chelsea Ruxer
Apology #7: The Ottoman or I Feel Bad about Plaid, by Edward Hardy
Animal Control, by Barrett Travis
Therapy Cat, by Meg Pokrass
Galileo’s Other Job, by Roger Meachem
I Could Close My Eyes to Avoid Further Injury, by Ingrid Jendrzejewski
These Hands, by Yasmina Din Madden
A Kind of Kind Thing to Do, by GJ Hart
No One, by AJ Atwater
Ocean Songs for the Nursery, by Jane-Rebecca Cannarella
Horses, by Geordie Williams Flantz
Vanishing Man, by Jack Somers

Editor’s Note

This month sees a number of stories focused on the body and on disappearing. Hair and teeth and eyes and hands all play important roles. In one piece, the body slowly vanishes under the…

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