‘Ilana and the science experiment’ published in Crack the Spine 🔬🔭⚗️

Ilana and the science experiment first few paragraphs

Ilana is just a typical seventh grade girl. She buys $1 lipsticks at the store with her friends and spends most of her day in school. She “was a little scared that she’d splutter and bubble on her way to becoming a woman,” but it doesn’t seem as dramatic as her older cousins have made it seem.

It was routine to bleed through all seven class periods for seven days. Until Paul told Ilana periods smelled.

Ilana has to face Paul’s comment, determine if she’s changing irreparably like tossing salt on a slug, or if she’s really able to stay the same while growing up. Read on in “Ilana and the science experiment” published in Crack the Spine.

‘Wonder Women’ published in Paper Darts!

Wonder Women characters by Marlena Chertock. Illustrated by Meghan Murphy.

My short story “Wonder Women” was published in Paper Darts! They’ve been a goal publication of mine for years. I’ve been reading Paper Darts since college, when I fell in love with their short, weird fiction and rad art.

The editors worked with me to help shape “Wonder Women” into a stronger story. They suggested cuts, moving paragraphs around, and Meghan Murphy even illustrated it beautifully! I’m so grateful for their feedback, and for publishing me.

“Wonder Women” is a story about two girls who love comic books and comic-conventions, or cons. Nishka and Morgan are geeks, and are proud of it.

One, or both characters, is queer, or just beginning to explore that part of their identities. They argue about their “ships” in Ms. Marvel, try to avoid the crowds on the Metro, and pluck their chin hairs. They dress up as their favorite characters and call out street harassers.

Hope you enjoy!

Summer writing updates

I’m sharing some news about my summer submitting-rampage-turned-success. My chapbook “On that one-way trip to Mars” was selected as a finalist for the 2015 Dogfish Head Poetry Prize. While it’s not being published, I’m honored that my space series made it that far in the contest. I’m still working to publish the chapbook.

I’m slowly, very slowly, getting back in the short story game. Way back in third grade, I first learned that creative writing was a thing when my teacher asked our class to write a fable story. I wrote a fable about how the dog got its bark, complete with a magical monkey and talking elephants. I was hooked on short stories. Then, in high school and college, poetry became my mode of expression. I studied the poetic line, craft, and read volumes and volumes of poetry. I was introduced to diverse and international writers through the Jiménez-Porter Writers’ House. Two years after graduating from the University of Maryland, I started apprehensively writing short stories again, or at least getting short story ideas. So, it’s with pleasure and gratefulness that I’m announcing that my story “Duo-13-trip” will be published in Dear Robot: An Anthology of Epistolary Science Fiction, edited by Kelly Jacobson.

Here’s the rest of my summer publishing successes:

Fall is definitely here, with a full week of gray sky and rain. The temperature in D.C. seemed to have dropped 20 degrees overnight. As we move further into fall and the winter, I’m going to keep trying to write and submit short stories. I’ll always be writing and submitting poems. Do any of you have seasonal writing or submission goals?