“The Scent and Other Stories: the Dark Side of Love” is Available on Amazon Kindle

In this collection of short stories, I explore the dark, sometimes violent, sometimes twisted, sometimes touching side of love, the side kept not only from public view, but sometimes from our mates. Set in the modern era, these stories range from regretting losing a lover to forbidden interracial love in the hills of 1970’s Kentucky to a mother’s deathbed confession in present-day New Mexico to debating pursuing a hateful man’s wife to the callous manipulation of a lover in Texas.

To order yours and to view my other works as well, visit my Amazon author’s page at: www.amazon.com/author/philslattery.

Praise for Stories Contained in “The Scent and Other Stories”:

The Scent

“This story has a lovely dreamy quality whilst being unsettling too. It lingers on half processed emotional experiences and leaves the reader asking ‘what if’ and ‘if only’ – feelings that are familiar for so many people.”

“You wrote about something we can all relate to – how, out of the blue, the scent of something evokes a memory of something long past; and the emotions we felt at the time! A clever story …”

“This descriptive piece about remembrance, the thought of what might have been, is a common sad thread that will resonate with those have experienced the pain of that one love lost. Slattery’s use of scent was exquisite as we feel Quinn’s pain and hope that he finds his peace, at last.”


“Fantastic writing – I held my breath for most of the story. The descriptions of the countryside and the people were beautiful and the tension compelling. This could possibly be the start of a novel or a suite of stories. Thank you very much and good luck with your writing in the future”

“Suspenseful and engaging. The dialogue and descriptions kept pace with the action. Well done.”

A Good Man

“Lots of detail examining an old question of how do you judge a person’s life. It left me wondering.”

“Great job capturing the social climate of the sixties. Good choice for how to present the story – deathbed “confession” by the mother. I enjoyed it.”

The Slightest of Indiscretions

“Excellent writing brings this poignant story to life and makes the reader work to understand more of what might be. Very many thanks for a satisfying, emotionally intelligent read…”

If you enjoy poems about love, check out my poetry collection Nocturne: Poems of Love, Distance, and the Night, a callous and disinterested lover.


Thoughts on the Value of Short Stories to the Author

Phil Slattery, 2015

Reprinted from Farmington Writers Circle, April 25, 2019.

I have seen several comments on television shows that no one has made money on publishing short stories since probably the days of Hemingway.  I don’t know how true this is, but I know that, except for the most professional and most competitive, very few markets pay very much for a short story.  You can find this out by researching pay in the Writers Market or using Duotrope. One would have to write short stories constantly and have them published constantly in order to make a living from them.

However, for me the value of a short story is not in the money it brings.  The value is in the publicity and “face time” (an old Navy expression about the time one has in the boss’s full view or with his attention focused on you) in front of the public.  “Face time” equals exposure to people critical to you career.

If then, face time is the primary reward one has from a short story, then it would behoove an author to have as many of his stories in front of public (i.e. published) as possible.  But creating a short story is time and labor intensive.  As in most endeavors, it is important to reap as many rewards for as few products in as short a time as possible.  This is simply being efficient and the more efficient, the better in any endeavor.  The next question then is how to do this with a short story?

Once you have a story published, many, if not most, magazines will not touch it because they want first rights.  There are many that will publish it, but by far the majority will not pay or will pay only a fraction of what they pay for first rights. However, you still have face time with its publication.

Therefore, the trick with a short story is to have it continually reprinted while keeping as many stories in front of the public as possible, whether they are traditional short stories, flash fiction, micro-fiction, or whatever.  One advantage of the web is that usually the publishing website will let you link your byline or bio to your website, drawing more traffic to you and to your works.  Once that story is on the Internet, it is often up there forever.  So why not have as many links as possible to your website for all eternity?

The submission process is usually fairly simple and straightforward, if you have some experience with submissions, but may be challenging if you don’t.  There are some key points to remember about reprinting a short story:

  1. If possible check the circulation or readership of the magazine where you will be submitting your work.  As with stories being printed for the first time, the best approach is to publish with a publisher that has the largest circulation possible.  It’s better to have your work published on a website that has 20,000 visitors/month versus 1,000/month.  This is more face time with less effort.  For that matter, depending on your viewpoint, it may be more worthwhile to have a story published for no pay in front of a readership of 20,000 versus being paid $10 to have it published to a readership of 1,000. With reprinting, it is possible to do both.
  2. Keep a history of where and when your work has been published. Some publishers will want to know where and when it has been previously published. Use any method you want, but I suggest using Excel or a submissions engine like Duotrope to keep things organized. Duotrope has a lot of advantages. It is worth the $5/month charge to take a lot of administrative tasks off you shoulders.
  3. Read the submissions guidelines and restrictions on post-publication as well, whenever you submit a story to a publisher.  Adhere to them. Some publishers will return the rights to you as soon as the work is published.  With some, you may have to wait several months before resubmitting elsewhere.  Some publishers won’t reprint your story without knowing that you have full rights to reprint the story. Be ethical; follow their guidance.  It may save you some heartache later.  All a publisher can do it to blacklist you, but why be blacklisted anywhere?
  4. Study literary rights.  Know the difference between first rights, reprint rights, and any other rights out there.  Don’t get yourself blacklisted or in bigger trouble. This is simply being professional.

Take care, and I wish you much success with your writing.

Phil Slattery’s Novelette “Click” is Free Today, Friday, April 26, on Amazon Kindle.

My novelette, Click, is available free today on Amazon Kindle for #FictionFriday.

For it or the paperback version, go to my Amazon author’s page:  Amazon.com/author/philslattery.

Frank Martinez, a policeman with the Corpus Christi Police Department, has unintentionally shot and killed an unarmed man when called to intercede in a domestic violence case. To recover from the guilt while the incident is under investigation by the CCPD, Frank’s fiancée arranges for him to stay on a secluded island owned by her father’s former law partner. While dozing one night on a lounge chair in the yard, he awakes to find two hitmen slipping onto the island and breaking into the cabin. Are they after him? Are they after the cabin’s owner? Most importantly, how is he going to reach his pistol in his luggage in the bedroom?

Reader Charles Stacey gave “Click” five stars and commented: “Author has a wonderful ability to develop the characters using few words. Great foreshadowing to build suspense. And then a really outstanding twist at the end that left me smiling.”

An anonymous Amazon reader commented, “This novelette is a quick and very entertaining read. It opened with a grabber (“Tell me again whey we have to kill this guy…”) and kept pulling me in from there. Frank Martinez is a cop trying to recover from a shooting incident in solitude on an island off the Texas gulf coast. T.J. and Benny are the bad guys. Their hunt and chase on the small island kept me in suspense. It ends with a surprise twist. Slattery proves here he is a good storyteller.”

While on my author’s page, check out my other works.

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