Writing Well-Crafted Fiction with author Stephen Rea

Where? Alvar Library. 913 Alvar St. New Orleans. 70117. 504.596.2667. Please call Alvar Library to register for the class.

When? Four Thursday evenings in May: May 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th. 5:30-7:00 pm.

What? This course is similar to the writing classes Stephen has taught at the Walker Percy Center/Loyola University, and upstairs at the Treo Pub in Mid-City. ,

However, his classes usually cost money. This is a real opportunity for aspiring writers to take his excellent writing class at no charge! Why? Because it’s sponsored by Poets & Writers.

Who? Belfast-born, award-winning author Stephen Rea is the author of Finn McCool’s Football Club: The Birth, Death, and Resurrection of a Pub Soccer Team in the City of the Dead 

and World Cup Fever: A Fanatic’s Guide to the Stars, Teams, Stories, Controversy, and Excitement of Sports’ Greatest Event.

He teaches both Fiction and Nonfiction writing classes. 

This event is supported in part by Poets & Writers, thanks to a grant from the Hearst Foundations.

This class is for Adults ages 18 and up. Please call Alvar Library to register for the class. 504.596.2667.






Leave a comment

Filed under Flash fiction, Literature, New Orleans, short stories

A Reading in the Garden on Saturday May 11th

What?  A Reading in the Garden. Any of our writers who participated in the In the Garden Writers’ Workshop from September 2018-April 2019, may read for five minutes or less. Poetry or prose, fiction or nonfiction. 

Where?  Alvar Library, 913 Alvar Street. 504-596-2667.

When?  Saturday, May 11th, 2:00-4:00 pm.

Who?  Hosted by Henri Fourroux and Sara Jacobelli. 

This event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. We will meet In the Garden if the weather is nice, or inside the Library if it’s rainy or windy.

Leave a comment

Filed under Flash fiction, Literature, New Orleans, poetry, short stories

Saturday Nights at the Tropicana is published on 50-Word Stories!

My flash fiction piece, “Saturday Nights at the Tropicana” has been published on 50-Word Stories. Check it out, leave a comment, and write one of your own. (Remember: the title is not included in the word count. And hyphenated words count as one word).




Leave a comment

Filed under Flash fiction, Literature, short stories, Uncategorized

Come Hear Lee Grue Read for In the Garden Writers’ Workshop!

When? Saturday, April 13th,  2:00-3:45 pm

Where?  Alvar Library. 913 Alvar St. NOLA. 70117. 504.596.2667

Who?  Bywater resident, poet/author, and editor of the New Laurel Review:

Lee Meitzen Grue joins us to celebrate National Poetry Month at Alvar Library. Come hear Lee read some of her favorite poems and share writing tips. We’ll do some writing too!    Light refreshments will be served. 


Leave a comment

Filed under Literature, New Orleans, poetry, Uncategorized

Scumbag (short story with feedback from NYC Midnight)

I didn’t make it to the second round, but it was fun to enter. I’m including the feedback from the judges at the end of the story.  SJ

This is my entry in the NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge 2019. HEAT 103.

Genre: Suspense.  Topic: A Secret Club.  Character: An Intern.

TITLE: Scumbag

SYNOPSIS: A teen-aged girl who grew up on the streets of the French Quarter talks a suspected snitch into going for a ride with two bikers who are out for revenge.

Louisiana/Mississippi border


Angela slouched in the back seat, popped a Pez in her mouth from her Wonder Woman Pez dispenser. Maybe Scumbag in the trunk is already dead.

Tank drove the Cadillac.

Crazy Dan leaned over the seat. “We just crossed the state line.”

She looked out the window. There’s nothing lonelier than a black Mississippi night.

“This Caddy’s pretty, but cars are cages. Rather be on my cycle, The Widowmaker.” Crazy Dan played with the radio. “Can’t get shit out here. Tape deck work?”

Tank grunted. He steered the Caddy with his beefy tattooed arms. Angela wished she could drive. She couldn’t swim. She couldn’t cook. All she knew how to do was run errands on Bourbon Street for the doormen and strippers and bartenders and cocktail waitresses and gangsters and bikers and pimps and prostitutes and drag queens and drug dealers. Dan said he’d pay her fifty bucks if she talked Scumbag into getting in the car. “Easy gig.” She missed running the streets of the Quarter and it had only been a few hours.

“You think he’s dead?” They passed a truck stop. Big Bertha’s Gasoline Heaven. You’re Part of the Family Now.

“Fucking snitch.” Tank lit a Camel and looked at Angela in the rearview mirror. “Better keep your mouth shut.”

“She knows.” Dan found a Doobie Brothers tape, shoved it in the tape deck. “She’s one a them kids grew up on Bourbon. Knows when to shut up.”

“Tell her no more questions.”

Angela pretended to fall asleep. Don’t be a Tattle-Tale.

“She seen some shit, seen a girl blow her brains out, blood splattered all over. She worked the card games with gangsters bigger’n the God Damned Godfather. She’s run errands for our club for years, guns, drugs, you name it. She’s a good gopher.” Dan turned his head and looked at Angela. “We raised her right. She’s like my kid sister.”

Tank spit out the window. “We coulda got Scumbag in the car without her. Don’t like another set of eyes.”

“Ever tell ya bout the time the fucking Doobie brothers came to the Bastille? The God Damned Doobie Brothers, and Jerry Jeff Walker. Little Feat. David Allen Coe tried to come in the joint, but we ran em off. Runs with another club.” Dan lit a Marlboro. “They all came to see Little Joe when he was bartending. Til he went away.”

“I don’t want to be Joe’s roommate over by Angola.” Tank stopped the car. “Be right back.” He stuck his gun in his belt and pissed in the bushes.

“Gotta find a place to get rid a the guy.” Dan adjusted his leather vest over his black Harley Davidson T-shirt.

“How long you gonna be a Prospect? When you gettin your real colors? When you gonna be a real Devil’s Desperado?”

“Gotta make my bones, kid. Gotta prove myself.”


They left Angela in the motel room to watch Scumbag, who was gagged and tied to a chair. She turned on the TV, watched Rocky and Bullwinkle. “You know you shouldn’t’ve snitched. You should’ve kept your fucking mouth shut. Rules of the Street. Don’t snitch. NEVER steal someone’s motorcycle.  Don’t associate with rival clubs. Crazy Dan calls guys like you Sidewalk Commandos. Even though you’re not in a club, you can’t hang out in the Bastille and then associate with other clubs. You gotta choose which side you’re on. Don’t deal drugs in their territory. Don’t welch on a bet. Don’t stiff em for money. Don’t fool around with their women. And you never-never-never- talk to the cops.  Learned that when I was nine years old, you gotta be—how old’re you? Twenty-two?”

He shook his head.


He nodded.


He shook his head.


He nodded.

“You won’t see twenty-seven.”


Crazy Dan and Tank came in carrying bags of whiskey, cigarettes, cheeseburgers and barbecue potato chips.

“Fucking dry county. Found a town drunk who told us where to find a package store. Had to drive over the damn county line.  Can’t wait to get back to New Orleans, where it’s civilized.” Dan pushed Angela. “This bed’s mine. That one’s Tank’s.”

“Where’m I sleeping?” She grabbed a cheeseburger.

“The floor. Gotta sleep in shifts, to watch him.” Tank found a Steve McQueen movie on TV, lit a Camel.

“If you guys are gonna kill em, why dontcha just get it over with?”

“Told you to shut the fuck up.” Dan drank Jameson’s straight from the bottle. He lit a Marlboro. “Think his family’s got money?”

“Heard him talking at the bar. They own a place in the Bahamas, with boats and stuff. ”

“You ain’t pulling my leg? The God-Damned Bahamas.” Dan pulled the gag out of Scumbag’s mouth. “Your family got fucking money?”

“Yeah.” He gulped for air. “Let me take a piss?”

“Alright.” Dan untied him. “I’m holding the gun on you the whole time.”

He walked Scumbag to and from the bathroom, gave him a drink of water and a cheeseburger.


Crazy Dan stuck a gun to Scumbag’s head. “Did you snitch?”

Green eyes filled with terror. “No.”

“Your parents got fucking money?”

“Yes.” Scumbag’s heavy breathing filled the room.

“They pay to keep you alive?”

“Yeah, man. A lot.”

“He’s lying.” Tank changed channels. “Wish they played Jeopardy at night. That’s a good fucking show. All about the facts, something that lying-snitching-college-punk don’t know nothing about. Facts.”

Crazy Dan stuck the gag in Scumbag’s mouth. “Yeah. He’s lying.” He held the gun to Scumbag’s head.

“Shoot him. I don’t gotta silencer. Use one a these here pillows.”

Angela pictured Big Bertha’s neon green sign, blinking. She wondered if the guy really was a snitch. Tattle-Tale. Tattle-Tale.

Tank turned the TV volume up full blast. “Shoot him. Shoot her too. You’re a Prospect. Do as you’re fucking told.”

You’re Part of the Family Now.



Fiction. Copyright © 2019 by Sara Jacobelli



Photo Credit: “Motel.” Pixabay copyright-free images.




Here’s the feedback I received from the judges at NYC Midnight:

”Scumbag” by Sara Jacobelli –   WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY – {786}  The story has a lot of good suspense. Good job in developing story and character via dialogue. There’s nice setting details . The story takes a nice unexpected twist at the end when Tank tells Dan to kill both Angela and Scumbag.   {1900}  The pace of the story was very consistent. It was easy to follow the progression of events in the story. Certain interactions between characters were amusing & made me laugh.   {1899}  I like how we get a great feel for what Angela’s all about, who she is, from the beginning. I like how Dan thinks Angela’s like his kid sister. The dialogue sounds authentic and Tank’s behaviors do as well. 

WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK – {786}  It feels like the premise and the characters are not fully developed; and there is plenty of room to do both. It’s not quite clear what “scumbag” snitched about and how exactly Angela is tied into all of this. Go into your character’s heads to give us some exposition and backstory to define what is snitched and what that means to the family. If you’re not clear about the history and development of all of your characters, pick the one that you feel the strongest about and give them a point of view that develops the other characters from their perspective. It’s not definite what the story line is; is it about killing “scumbug” or graduating from being a prospect?   {1900}  Certain devices & descriptions felt a bit prosaic & exhausted. Many of the sentences felt a bit mechanical & drawn-out. The characters seemed a little oblate. Consider adding some character development.   {1899}  When he says he don’t like another set of eyes, I would suggest another quick comment about her not going to say anything right before he talks about the Doobie brothers just to reinforce to Tank.

Suggest not switching to calling him Green eyes since we know him as Scumbag and it was confusing for a few moments.

Suggest showing her reaction to hearing that she will die too – the ending feels a little too matter of fact. She can panic inside etc. before her thoughts. Plus, doesn’t Crazy Dan question it again – he’s stuck up for her before. Maybe he questions and then Tank threatens to shoot him if he doesn’t do as he’s told, etc. so he has no choice?


Author”s note: I’ll take the constructive criticism. However, as for this part: It’s not definite what the story line is; is it about killing “Scumbug” or graduating from being a prospect?  Duh: It’s about both!

Also, anyone who’s ever been around bikers knows the consequences of snitching, but hey, these judges might be straight outta prep school for all I know. I don’t get the impression that these judges are very streetwise.

One of the judges says it’s not clear how Angela is tied into all of this. This passage explains her connection: Dan said he’d pay her fifty bucks if she talked Scumbag into getting in the car. “Easy gig.” She missed running the streets of the Quarter and it had only been a few hours.

As for calling Scumbag, “Green Eyes,” well, I didn’t. I just wrote the line, Green eyes filled with terror.  I didn’t change his name, that was a description.

The competition was still fun. This was my second time trying the Short Story Competition for NYC Midnight. I’m sure I’ll try again. I’d also like to try the Flash Fiction Competition and the Short Screenplay Competition. I’ll post contest details here on Capitare a Fagiolo, maybe some of you would like to enter next time!   SJ









Leave a comment

Filed under Literature, short stories, Short story contests, Uncategorized

Valentine Pierce to teach the In the Garden Writers’ Workshop


Poet, performer, actor Valentine Pierce will lead a workshop on how to read and present your work. Bring a favorite poem or prose piece to read aloud.  Ms. Pierce is the author of the poetry books Geometry of the Heart, Up Decatur and Altered Realities.

This event is free and open to the public. No registration is required.  Light refreshments will be served. 

What? In the Garden Writers’ Workshop

Where? Alvar Library. 913 Alvar Street. New Orleans, LA. 70117. 504.596.2667.

When? Saturday, March 9th, 2:00-3;45 pm.

Join us for a dynamic workshop with Valentine Pierce!


Leave a comment

Filed under Literature, New Orleans, poetry, Uncategorized

Saturday Night at the Tropicana

Image result for ricky ricardo tropicana

We’d ride up hill past the tavern in Poppy’s ancient Cadillac. I pictured a tuxedo-clad Ricky Ricardo crooning love songs to Lucy while twirling her on the dance floor, backed up by a big band. I’d wave to the hollow-eyed scratching junkies slouched against the wall. They’d wave back, baffled by the attention.


This was my response to the Writing Prompt: Take the High Road

This was my entry in the 53-Word Story Contest by Press 53. I didn’t win, but it was fun to write! Every month, the winners are announced on the 1st, along with the writing prompt for that month. I entered the February Contest, and the prompt was “Take the High Road.” Here’s the prompt for March: Write a 53-word story about a warning.  Submit by March 21st. Submit your story in the body of the email, not as an attachment.  

 Email your 53-word story to 53wordstory@gmail.com

 Here’s their website:    https://www.press53.com/53word-story-contest

                     Here’s a quote from their website:   “Our judge for March is the editorial staff of Press 53 and Prime Number Magazine. Our winner for March will receive a copy of Fissures: One Hundred 100-Word Stories by Grant Faulkner, and the winning story will be published, along with the author’s photo and 53-word bio, in Issue 157 of Prime Number Magazine on July 1, 2019.”

Remember, words with dashes count as one word, and titles are not included in the word count.

I’m going to recommend this to my writing workshop folks. Good luck!

Leave a comment

Filed under Flash fiction, Literature