Monday, August 7, 2023

Punk Noir Magazine

 by Paula Gail Benson

Punk Noir Magazine
I discovered a great online publication: Punk Noir Magazine. James C. Jenkins, the July editor, accepted submissions with the theme corruption. Following are the stories, the first two by favorite authors: “Wait a Minute” by Kaye George; “The Medicine Show” by John M. Floyd; “Town Ain’t What It Used to Be” by Jay Bukowski; “Export Issue W/R/T/ Poison Inner Sleeve” by Clem Flowers; “Heart of Darkness” by Daniel Schultz; “Why Slagfield, Texas, Gave Up Football” by Stephen Sossaman; and three flash fictions: “New Borns” by L.P. Ring; “Las Cucarachas” by Ron Riekke; and “The Other Cheek” by Matthew R. Davis.

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit!

Brenna Bunt/Getty Images/Readers Digest

by Paula Gail Benson

Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit! In Great Britain and North America (particularly New England) repeating “rabbit” or saying “white rabbit” upon waking on the first day of the month was considered a way to ensure good luck or presents. According to Wikipedia, such diverse sources as Trixie Belden and President Franklin Rosevelt indulged in the practice. While some thought of rabbits and a rabbit's foot as lucky, others view them less favorably. In the 19th century, fishermen would not say the word while at sea. Similarly, seeing a white rabbit could mean a gravely ill person in the village would die soon.

Sunday, January 1, 2023

New Year, New Book!

 by Paula Gail Benson

I received the happiest news on New Year’s Eve: Promophobia, a book several years in production was being released! Diane Vallere, while completing her term as Sisters in Crime national President, sought members’ contributions to a book about publicity and using social media. I asked if she would take an article describing how to promote short stories and was delighted when she agreed. Time passed as a publisher was secured. Finally, about a month ago, Diane requested that we update our submissions. The result is a terrific guidebook for marketing crime fiction written by extraordinary authors. Please check it out!

Saturday, December 17, 2022


by Paula Gail Benson

Aoutrow 24-Day Advent Calendar
featured on Amazon

Mom always prepared the wooden Advent calendar, placing unique treats in each drawer.

In the spring, celebrating twenty-five married years, Pop gave Mom a new engagement ring. She removed the original and told me. “Joe, this is for your bride.”

I said, “Keep it for me.”

We lost Mom unexpectedly. Auto accident. With Sheila beside me, I watched Mom’s remains guided into the mausoleum vault.

The holidays approached. Important little things went undone. Regretfully, I lifted the empty Advent calendar, not having the heart to fill it until I heard something rattle in drawer 24. Mom’s engagement ring for Sheila.


This 100 word story is offered as an entry for the annual Advent Ghosts event hosted by Loren Eaton at I Saw Lightning Fall. See the other entries there. Thanks, Loren, for the opportunity! 

Friday, December 9, 2022

Colonel Sanders and Santa?

by Paula Gail Benson

In the 1970s, Takeshi Okawara, who managed Japan’s first KFC, began the “Kentucky for Christmas” campaign after visiting an elementary school dressed as Santa. He realized that Japan did not have established family cultural traditions for celebrating Christmas. In addition, fried chicken is similar to the popular dish of karaage, panko-breaded, deep-fried chicken or fish. Some think chicken also might have been a good substitute for turkey that was not as accessible and drier in taste. KFC offered its Japanese customers a “party barrel” which included chicken, cole slaw, and cake. Although alternatives now exist, KFC remains a holiday favorite.

CNN Travel Yuichi Yamazaki/Getty Images


Thursday, December 1, 2022

Japanese Christmas Traditions

by Paula Gail Benson

Hoteiosho with good luck fan
Japanese children call the western figure “Santa San” or “Mr. Santa.” With few chimneys for him to enter, they consider him a ghostly presence bringing treats. KFC fried chicken is a preferred Christmastime meal, and often must be pre-ordered to meet the demand. A large, smiling Buddhist figure, Hoteiosho, referred to as a monk and one of the seven good fortune gods, is a gift giver associated with happiness. His name means cloth bag and he is never without his sack, which contains life’s good things. With eyes in front and in back of his head, he observes children’s behavior.

Friday, February 4, 2022

Flag-Maker and Caregiver

From: Mommy Nearest

As she grew older, Betsy Ross took in many family members and offered them a home, including nieces, Betsy’s widowed daughter Clarissa, and Clarissa’s five children. With Clarissa’s help, Betsy continued to work as an upholsterer and flag-maker until she retired at the age of seventy-six and went to live with her daughter Susanna outside Philadelphia. Despite losing her vision, Betsy made the weekly carriage ride into Philadelphia to attend services at the Free Quaker Meeting House. Three years before her death, Betsy was completely blind. She spent the last years of her life with her daughter Jane in Philadelphia.