Tag Archives: quarterreads.com

You Look so Young for Your Age!

Roses, Flower, Nature, Macro, Pink, Rose


“Forty! You look so young.” The cashier’s name tag identified her as “Morticia.” She put the cheap vodka in a small paper bag, placed the paper bag inside a plastic bag with the frozen lasagna dinner and the cranberry juice.  “You could pass for twenty.”

Carole couldn’t help but stare at the girl’s nose ring.

“People tell me that all the time.” Carole shoved her ID into her jeans’ pocket.

Married at sixteen, a baby at seventeen, another at eighteen. People used to think she was her kids’ babysitter.

As she walked to the bus stop carrying the grocery bag, she spotted a fat manila envelope on the sidewalk. It had the smear of a footprint on it.  She picked it up, feeling the envelope greedily.  Someone had scrawled, “Important Stuff” across the top with a black sharpie. She shoved it into the grocery bag.

Carole looked out the window on the bus ride home, past the pay day loan places and pawn shops. She stuck her hand in the bag and squeezed the envelope, fantasizing about how much money was in it. $5,000? $10,000?  She was due for some luck.

There was a business card tucked into the front door. “Rick Polaski. Probation and Parole Specialist/Adult. Orleans Parish. (504) 556-6201.” Carole put down the grocery bag and dug out her keys to open the door.  Her next meeting with her PO was two weeks away. Why was he bothering her now?

She saved the opening of the envelope until the microwave beeped and her lasagna was done. Her ex-husband, Max, hated TV dinners. “Ma Stouffer’s again?” he’d say. “Can’t you get it together to cook anything?”  Like there was time to cook dinner after working all day in a coffee factory. Carole did a perfect imitation of his whining as she peeled the plastic off the dinner tray and plopped the hot orange blob onto a plate.

She watched Pawn Stars while eating. This was the fun part about Being Divorced: a frozen dinner, vodka cranberry, Trash TV.  No cats, she didn’t want to take care of anyone. No pictures of her kids.  Carole pretended it was the Oscars, pictured herself in a shiny red velvet gown as she opened the envelope.

No money.  Boring high school graduation photos, birthday cards, postcards from Venice. She opened a small folder tucked among the cards and found a birth certificate and a social security card. Carole read the name out loud, “Madison Claire West, born in New York City, New York, October 10, 1993.”

Carole made a list in her head of all the injustices in her life. Had to drop out of high school to get married, no one taught her how to drive.  Now she could start over, like Monopoly.  Forget the divorce, the two sons in prison, the probation crap.  Lop off twenty years, put these pictures in a photo album, go to another state and get ID as Madison West.  Get student loans and go to college. Get a bunch of credit cards. Buy a new car. Take trips to Hawaii and the Bahamas.  Become an attorney, an architect, an archaeologist.  Something fancy.

A sharp rap-rap, a cop knock.  Carole shoved the envelope into a kitchen drawer. She hid the vodka bottle under dirty clothes on the closet floor. “I’m coming.”

“Where’ve you been?”  No-Nonsense Polaski looked around the cluttered studio apartment.

“I’m working. My piss test was clean.”

“Just makin’ sure you’re following the rules.” He picked up her drink and sniffed. “You bein’ good, Carole?”

“Sure. I’m thinking of making some big changes in my life.”


My story, “You Look so Young for Your Age!” has been published on QuarterReads.com:


Like I’ve said before, the most popular stories on this site seem to be sci fi, fantasy, horror, speculative fiction, or some combo of those. I wouldn’t dismiss the site for other stories, such as general/literary fiction, crime/mystery and whatever else you write. (But you might want to toss in a vampire or a zombie or some gratuitous time travel to get more hits.)

I’ve read some of the stories and liked them. They are good short reads for lunch breaks, or if you have a mobile device thingy, you can read them while riding on the bus or waiting in line.

At least they are paying writers. . . OK, it’s not much, but if you get a lot of hits you can make a few dollars a month, enough to pay for your Duotrope subscription.

Check out these QuarterReads reviews:





. . . and an interview with Ian Rose, the Portland, Oregon-based editor:



Photo Credit: “Roses, Flowers, Nature, Macro, Pink,” Pixabay Copyright Free Images.



Filed under Uncategorized

Can you spare a quarter, for later?

Money, Quarter, Currency, Financial


I have published two more stories on QuarterReads:

Miss Cournious and her Hotel on the Moon (nonfiction/memoir)

A Good Score (general literary fiction/mystery/crime)

Check out their website:


(Select “Home.” You can browse without having an account.)

You can search by author, title, or genre. The website is called QuarterReads because viewers can browse stories and read the beginnings for free, then must pay 25 cents to finish the story, if they choose to. Viewers can also tip the authors.  An account must be created and payment is only accepted through PayPal. (Authors are also paid through PalPal.)

When they started out, a minimum of ten dollars was required, but they have since lowered that amount to five dollars. They also periodically feature “free” stories and promote featured writers by doing promotional give-aways of authors’ books. (I think most of these are self-published books.)

Stories must be between 500-2000 words. Authors receive 88 % of their payments, and 100 % of their tips. (If you really like a story, tip the author!)

It is a way for authors to make a small amount of money and to garner some attention for their work. Authors include a brief bio and links to their websites/twitter accounts.

I have eight stories published on QuarterReads and I’ve been getting some readers. It’s an interesting concept, however, in reviewing the most popular stories, it seems the categories that readers really want on this site are science fiction, horror, fantasy and speculative fiction. (OK, I didn’t know what speculative fiction was either so I Googled it. It’s a term (which many sources attribute to noted Sci-Fi author Robert A. Heinlein) used to describe science fiction that is based on real science and potentially could happen, like Stranger in a Strange Land, 1984, Brave New WorldThis Perfect Day, The Handmaid’s Tale and Fahrenheit 451. (Providing a glimpse into a world with different rules than ours)

So I don’t write the type of stories that are popular on QuarterReads. Out of today’s Top Ten Stories, four are science fiction, four are fantasy, one is speculative fiction, and one is general/literary fiction.

I still like using the site and will continue to play with it for awhile and may even publish more stories here.

If you write science fiction, horror, fantasy, or speculative fiction, then you should try it out. You may gain some readers. You may make a few bucks. (You won’t get rich!)

If you write general/literary fiction or nonfiction/memoir, you may get a few reads  and possibly gain a few readers, but those genres don’t seem to be the big hits on this site.


Top Ten Speculative Fiction Novels of All Time:


What is Speculative Fiction?


Robert A. Heinlein



Author’s Note: For those of you not from New Orleans, the phrase, “Can you spare a quarter, for later?” was the continual refrain of an iconic and beloved  French Quarter character, Ruthie the Duck Lady. She also used to ask, “Can you spare a cigarette, for later?” All of us bartenders would serve her free draft beers and keep an eye on her. (And yes, she often had real ducks with her, wore an old wedding dress, and traveled on roller skates. This is New Orleans, honey, not Cleveland.)


Picture Credit: “Quarter,” Pixabay Copyright Free Images.


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Filed under Literature

Quarter Reads!

Money, Dollars, Currency, Pennies, Cash

Check out quarterreads.com:



This new website debuted on October 14, 2014. They all calling themselves a hybrid between traditional publishing and self publishing. I had three short stories accepted for publication on Quarter Reads: Jail Babies, The Melonheads, and Torture.

I thought The Melonheads would be a good fit since it is a Halloween story. (My stories are listed under General/Literary Fiction. You can also search by title or by author).


For Writers:

You submit your stories,  between 500-2,000 words. (fiction, nonfiction, poetry are all accepted).

Readers can browse and read the beginning of your story. If they like what they see, they pay 25 cents to read the rest of the story. If they really like it a lot, they can tip you 25, 50, or 75 cents.

OK, you won’t get rich off of this site. You might make a few bucks a month, plus you get exposure for your work. You can include a brief bio and links to your blog/website and twitter feed.

All work is copyrighted by the authors. You can publish stories here that you have previously published on your blog.  (You can also publish stories that you have published elsewhere, but in that case, you need to check on whatever agreements you have made with the previous publisher).


For Readers:

You sign on and pay$10 for 40 reads or $20 for 80 reads.  (They use  PayPal).  You can browse  for free and pay 25 cents if you want to read the whole story.  You have the option of tipping an additional 25, 50, or 75 cents. 88 % of the original 25 cents goes to the author. 100 % of the tips go to the author. It’s a way to show writers that you appreciate their work.

Right now they are running a contest  for new subscribers where you can submit your favorite word in the English language and get $5 worth of free reads. Hopefully they will have contests like that from time to time.


So can ya spare a quartah to help a stawving writah?


Or as Ruthie da Duck Lady useta say, “Ya got a quartah, for latah?


Photo Credit: “Money.” Pixabay Free Images. CC NonCommercial ShareAlike.


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