Two Flash Fiction Pieces


Every year, I enter two flash fiction pieces to the contest sponsored by the Museo de la Palabra (The Museum of Words), which was founded by the Cesar Egido Serrano Foundation. The Fundación César Egido Serrano “was created to propose that the word be the tool of coexistence between cultures and religions and against all violence.”  The author of the winning piece receives $20,000. You read that right. Clearly, the Foundation is making a strong statement about the importance of every word spoken and written in discourse.

It’s a real challenge to write a flash piece when the maximum word count is 100 words. Writing with that limitation, I’ve learned, more than ever, to appreciate diction choices. The task also reinforces one’s understanding and sense of what constitutes a story.

My only published flash piece to date is “Con Sord,” a story based in a futuristic world where human beings have lost their ability to speak and, resourceful as they are, have learned to communicate through musical instruments. I’ve written a few others, but haven’t dedicated as much time to this genre, which I find fascinating. So much so, that I designed and taught a course in it while at SUNY Plattsburgh.

Below are my two flash fiction entries for this year’s contest (you’re allowed two). Let me know which one you liked best. Leave your thoughts and remarks in the comments box below. As always, I appreciate your feedback.

Death by Laughter

No one knew how laughter became illegal. Some claimed the Great Leader had not tolerated anyone mocking him. History classes taught her the world had many problems. No time for frivolity, teachers lectured. Signs everywhere proclaimed the fatal punishment for disobedience. Her friend owned a smuggled clip of a comedian. The temptation proved too strong. Under the moonlight, he played it. Her lips curled, eyes twinkled, and from her mouth came a cacophony of sound. “Stop,” he warned, but she continued. In fear, he ran. She could not stop. Days later, they found her corpse, a smile on her face.

Hair and Feathers

From a lost civilization, only their creation myth remains. Their Goddess shaped a sphere from one long strand of her hair and cast it into the heavens. On its surface, she created the oceans, terrain, fauna, flora, as a private, hideaway paradise. Her lover, jealous, plucked feathers from an enormous, winged creature and buried the stringy core. Then, he inhabited her world with humans. He granted them intelligence and curiosity so they may discover the lone cowlick sticking out of the world. Once they found it, he knew they would pull it. And the world would unravel.

Advice to Committed BIPOC Writers.


In this article, written for DIY MFA, I offer advice to committed BIPOC writers on writing and publishing. Whether you enter an MFA program or not, it is advice that any committed writer should consider. Anyone who reads it, whether BIPOC writer or not, will better understand the current state of publishing in the US. It is advice that I would have loved to have when I started my MFA and my writing career. I also explore issues of representation in publishing, the complexity of which, most people do not grasp. I hope you enjoy this piece and learn from it. As always, I appreciate any feedback you offer in the comments section below. I would like to hear more from you! I always look forward to engaging readers in dialogue. Thanks to Gabriela Pereira of DIY MFA for inviting me to submit a guest post.

DIY MFA is an ingenious website which dedicates itself to offering learning resources for writers. If you cannot study in an MFA program and want to learn more about writing, this website is for you. For more information, here’s the link:

The Best Books by Writers of the Puerto Rican Diaspora


Ben Fox invited me to write a “listicle” for his website A listicle is an article that includes some type of list; in the case of mine, it’s a list of what I considered the five best books written by Puerto Rican authors in the diaspora. I had quite a difficult time narrowing the many possibilities to five books. As I wrote this piece, I kept thinking how these books had helped my development as a writer. I also thought how Migrations, my latest short story collection, is indebted to the continual development of diasporican writing, in general.

If you’re interested in the literature of the Puerto Rican Diaspora, please check it out. I’m sure that others would have different books on this list. Apologies if I annoyed anyone by leaving a loved book from the list. In any case, let me know what you think. What books would you have included? Have you read any or all of these books? Do you agree with my assessment of these books and authors? I seriously want to hear from you. If anything, this type of exercise generates discussion about criteria applied to a literary canon. It forces us to think if the exercise in itself is valuable and necessary. When it comes to the literature of Puerto Ricans residing in the United States, we could certainly use more critical discussion.

Here is the link to my listicle:

What is Shepherd for Authors?

Whether you are a writer or an avid reader, Shepherd has something for you. Here’s what Ben Fox has to say about his website:

I love wandering around bookstores letting random books capture my attention. Nothing will ever replace the “bookstore experience”, but I want to reimagine book discovery online with a lot more serendipity. Thus was born.

Shepherd launched on April 19th, 2021, and in addition to helping readers, we are also helping authors. There is a growing trend that authors have to become their own marketing team. That concerns me because it takes time away from writing and it is very hard to do. I want to make it easier for authors to get their books in front of the readers who would be most interested in their book.

Research and Writing on the Puerto Rican Diaspora


Luica Matuonto asked me to submit an article for her blog on writing related to my new book, Migrations. So, I decided to write on researching the Puerto Rican diaspora for the collection. I consider where that quest for information led me. You can read it here:

Guest Post: Writer, Writer, Pants on Fire


Click on Mindy McGinnis’s blog, Writer Writer Pants on Fire, for my guest post: “On Writing the Puerto Rican Diaspora.” You can find it as early as Monday, May 31st, on this link:

About Mindy McGinnis:

Mindy McGinnis is the author of multiple novels that span many genres. From historical to fantasy, contemporary to gothic thriller, you can always count on Mindy’s books to deliver grit, truth, and an unflinching look at humanity and the world around us.

A ninth-generation farmer, Mindy attributes much of her character to growing up on an Ohio farm, learning the value of physical labor, and the harshness of the natural world early in life. Much of her writing reflects small-town living and aspects of rural poverty. A former school librarian, Mindy still lives and works in her hometown, and is dedicated to making herself available to financially disadvantaged school districts and communities.

Mindy has done multiple interviews and guest posts over the years, and has been featured on such outlets as NPR and PBS. She’s also been a guest on a myriad of podcasts, blogs, and websites.