Drummer — Thunderbird


by Richard Drummer


The greatest challenge for Grace Cummings will be to solve her own murder.

On a crisp autumn morning in 1959 Grace watched in horrified silence as her husband’s experimental jet exploded in a blinding flash. She frantically scanned the horizon for the white bloom of his parachute. It never appeared. Reggie had perished before her eyes.

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Enemy Within the Gates

by Richard Drummer

enemy within the gatesA covert military mission threatens the aspirations of political newcomer, Katherine Karlson, and her run for the presidency. She devises a plan to scuttle the mission, thereby guaranteeing her the election but destroying any chance for peace in the Middle East. Her daughter witnesses the deception and pleads with her mother to undo the treasonous act, threatening to expose the truth if she refuses. Karlson is forced to choose between the highest office in the land and her only child, which also means silencing everyone who bore witness to the crime


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WOW! is proud to introduce our newest essay contest! The mission of this contest is to inspire creative nonfiction and provide well-rewarded recognition to contestants. The contest is open globally; age is of no matter; and entries must be in English. Your story must be true, but the way you tell it is your chance to get creative. We are open to all styles of essay—from personal essay to lyric essay to hybrid essay, and beyond! Please make sure you download our Contest Terms & Conditions PDF below for complete guidelines. Get creative and let’s have some fun! We look forward to reading your work!

Deadline October 31, 2021


Maximum: 1000
Minimum: 200

$12 entry fee; critique option for an additional $13. Deadline: January 31, 2020



You can write about any subject you want to explore, as long as it’s within the word count and nonfiction. If you’re feeling inspired, write something new, or dig out those essays you started way back when and tailor them to the word count.

Click to Download the CREATIVE NONFICTION ESSAY CONTEST Terms & Conditions PDF


Northern Lights Book Awards

northern lights

A Mark of Distinction

Honoring Children’s Literature of Exceptional Merit

The Northern Lights Book Awards considers children’s books to be an art form and honors books that excel in aesthetic and literary qualities with an emphasis on permanency. We are seeking works that will leave a lasting impression, ones which will resonate with the reader not only now but in years to come.

Entries must be postmarked no later than October 15, 2021.

Guidelines and more information

Masters Review short story award

Short Story Award For New Writers

Submissions open until August 30th

Welcome to our 2021 Summer Short Story Award for New Writers, an annual contest that recognizes the best fiction from today’s emerging writers.  Judging this year’s contest is author of With Teeth and Mostly Dead Things Kristen Arnett! The winning story will be awarded $3000 and publication online. Second and third place stories will be awarded publication and $300 and $200 respectively. All winning stories and any notable Honorable Mentions will receive agency review by the following: Nat Sobel from Sobel Weber, Victoria Cappello from The Bent Agency, Andrea Morrison from Writers House, Sarah Fuentes from Fletcher & Company, Heather Schroder from Compass Talent, and Siohban McBride from Carnicelli Literary Management. We want you to succeed, and we want your writing to be read. It’s been our mission to support emerging writers since day one.
Masters Review Summer Workshop

Fiction. Essays. Edits. Experts.

Participants receive personalized feedback on a story or essay, detailed suggestions for improvement, and resources for submittingall from an experienced instructor. The asynchronous workshop allows writers to work with instructors remotely and strives to provide a workshop experience that can easily fit into their lives. Enrollment is open until August 30, 2021.

More information

The Viking Funeral

by Mary Charles

In an era long ago when the captain of a Viking ship died, his family and ship’s crew would place the captain in his longboat, set the ship afire and release it onto the outgoing tide to carry the captain to Valhalla.

My husband was born in Norway. He loved nothing better than to be on a boat. On summer visits with him to the village of his childhood on the east coast of Norway, he took me on magical rides in his father’s old wooden boat, out in the sunlight to the skerries protecting the harbor, into deep shady fjords, onto tiny hidden beaches. Then, from the terrace of his parents’ home above the town, we would sit long after bedtime looking out to a glimmering sea where the sun left its glow until midnight. Geirr was at peace there.

We spent most of our careers in New York, at a pace far removed from that of his sleepy Norwegian town. When the opportunity came to move from Manhattan to a little house on a little canal in Queens, we began to float again. Every late afternoon from June through October we packed a cooler and a camera and idled our way around Jamaica Bay, past the Rockaways and Marine Park. On weekends we might venture further, around Coney Island and into New York Harbor for a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty.

In Norway, pleasure boats are not often given names. But in America every boat, every ship, every dinghy has a name. Our first Luhrs, a 28-foot single-engine cabin cruiser with a wooden superstructure, we named Murphy in honor of the law stating that anything that can go wrong will. She was a troublesome boat.

The Peaquod was our little Boston Whaler, deliberately misspelled to avoid confusion with the boat that pursued Moby Dick. Afternoons in that boat were the outings where we felt most attuned to our watery world. To reach across the gunwale and run a hand through the water was to remind us we were in the sea, not merely on it.

But our fanciest boat, a 32-foot Luhrs with twin engines and what I called a stripper pole below deck, was named Sweet Thursday in honor of Geirr’s favorite author, John Steinbeck. That boat was where we entertained on summer afternoons.

A gaggle of my girlfriends [we called ourselves the Beauty Queens because of our shared experience in the cosmetics business], visitors from Nashville or Dayton or Europe – all were eager for a ride on the Sweet Thursday.

When it came time for us to move, our neighbor across the canal inherited that sweet boat. John continued the Geirr’s tradition of the annual Chicken and Beer Cruise, packing a dozen local guys on board for an afternoon afloat. No women were ever invited on that cruise, which suited us wives fine. While the men motored about, we would gather on the dock for white wine and a testosterone-free chat, with the grill readied to welcome our sea warriors home.

Dementia makes strange changes in the personality, the preferences, the very nature of the person. Among other disappearances, Geirr lost all interest in the boating life. For the first time in my life with him, he showed fear of the sea. This was the man with whom I had sailed around the southern tip of Norway in a fresh gale while I cringed and he whistled. And now this same man needed to be coaxed into a bathtub.

In his last days, when we had said all there was to say, I read to Geirr. Cannery Row. His beloved Travis McGee series by John MacDonald. The poems of Wallace Stevens. And of course, tales of the sea. Sometimes I imagined I saw him smile. It gave me comfort to think that I might have helped ease him from this world which had become so alien to him.

And so, when he was gone except for ashes, I felt the need to give him back to the sea that had given him such life-long joy. The ridiculous idea of a Viking funeral began to take root. I talked to some friends. My brother found a Viking ship replica. Geirr’s sister promised to fly over with her husband from Norway. John offered the Sweet Thursday to lead the funeral cortege.

On a beautiful Saturday in mid-September, two months after Geirr left this earth, we sent his ashes out to sea. Friends and family from near and away boarded the Sweet Thursday to escort Geirr as he began his final voyage. In our imagination, that journey would be out of Jamaica Bay New York, into the Gulfstream, and home to Norway.

My brother Jim had tricked out the Viking ship replica so that it would both float and burn. As we set the ship on its way in flames, the Sweet Thursday was joined by a half dozen friends’ boats to create a protective circle around the ceremonial pyre. We listened to “Crossing the Bar,” a beautiful old hymn about life’s final voyage. Tears flowed freely. I opened Geirr’s bottle of 30-year-old Macallan, which he had saved for a special occasion, to toast a life we had all cherished.

Back at the dock of the yacht club, we told “Geirr stories” well into the evening. In that moment I came to understand the meaning of the term “celebration of life.” Many of the stories were sweet, some were raucous, a few had never been told before, and together they swelled into a stew of many rich flavors.

And now, three years later, Geirr’s memory remains alive. I often share “Geirr stories” with new Florida friends who never knew him in life but who now know him through the stories I tell. I encourage all whose loved ones have gone to tell the stories of those lost lives. There, in the telling, life does go on.

A Poem by Joe Pacheco

Poem Begun For Marjorie
On 2-11- 87

From neither the brightest
Nor the warmest
Nor the tallest
Or even the sharpest

Not certainly
From one coming on
Still strong still full
Of praise and promise

But rather on this
Superlative August 8
Eightieth Birthday
From the one who needs
And wants and loves you
Better than all:
Happy 80th Birthday!

Completed 8-8-21

~ Joe Pacheco

Collier County Book Fair

The Friends of the Library of Collier County is pleased to again sponsor a Local Author Book Fair, Saturday, November 13, 2021, open to the public from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. This is a great opportunity for Collier County authors to engage with book lovers who come to the book fair looking for their next favorite author and book. For more details and application go to the friends website, Collier Friends Book Fair. Applications accepted beginning August 1.