Mum Life Stories: Micro-Fiction, Volume One. BUY NOW!

Today is the day! The day time itself stood still with bated breath, anticipating the greatest moment in history. The day every mother and child has yearned for throughout the centuries. The day we are marvelously blessed with the accumulation of all our hopes and dreams wrapped up in a stunning (and superbly designed) ode to Mothers everywhere. The day that will go down in Wikipedia as the greatest moment of all time – greater than the construction of the pyramids, the writing of the constitution, the end of world hunger (yet to happen), and the liberation of chickens (free-range all the way!) – the day that the greatest book on earth was launched for sale. The book entitled ‘Mum Life Stories: Micro-Fiction, Volume One.’

Too much? You’re probably right, but within the exclusive world of the Mum Life Stories Community, this release deserves as grand an entrance as any writer can conjure up. It truly is the culmination of 2 and a half years of consistent passion and dedication to an online presence that lays tribute to all the amazing mothers out there, who have influenced us and made an impact on our lives. There is nothing ordinary about the life of a Mother (and yes I use a capital letter where there shouldn’t be one, because it deserves one) or the stories that shine through from a life lived in complete devotement to one’s progeny. And these stories, real or imagined, make for a fantastic read!

So it is with great excitement and without further ado (yes ado is the correct word as Adieu means goodbye) that I present to you the very first volume of the Mum Life Stories: Micro-Fiction Anthology.

Please note, the featured image is just a mock-up, the book will be a paperback, not a hardcover. It looks pretty good as a hardcover though, I must say!

A massive thank you goes to all the writers who contributed to this anthology by being shortlisted through the 6 rounds of our Micro-Fiction Writing Competitions. You are a truly talented bunch of people who deserve to be immortalized in print. May your future endeavours be even more rewarded and acknowledged for the brilliance they are!

Where to buy!

The book is available on Amazon in paperback and Ebook version by clicking the book cover below (select your own country below or in the header of the amazon site). Prices will vary depending on your country and the current exchange rates. If you’d like to know how we will be allocating profits from sales, click HERE.

If you have any issues ordering a paperback copy, please email me at mumlifestories@gmail.com and I will make sure you get a copy.

Don’t forget $1 AUD from every book sold will go to our friends in Uganda, to help support the important work they do in their orphanage.

Photo Credit: Marcelo Silva on Unsplash

This page contains affiliate links which may earn me a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you click through and make a purchase. Affiliate links are how I keep this blog going, thank you.

Who’s our charity?

Some of you may remember one particular ‘Mum Life Success Story’ back in October 2019 entitled ‘From Poverty to Provider‘ about an amazing woman and her husband in Uganda, who devote their entire lives to housing, feeding and educating, many, many, orphaned and abandoned children. This couple have been a true inspiration to me about what real love and sacrifice is. They live in one of the poorest nations of the world and fight everyday for their safety and survival, yet they put the needs of others ahead of their own, every single day. You can read more about their story HERE and visit the website of their not-for-profit ministry HERE, or follow them on Facebook HERE.

$1 AUD from every sale of the anthology (paperback or eBook) will go towards changing the life of these children that deserve to live a safe and healthy life, free from poverty and oppression. Future anthologies will also include this promise, so every single sale counts.

Why it’s important to help spread the word

There are a few reasons why I need your help to get the word out there about our awesome anthology.

  1. The more people who hear about it, the more people will buy it (this is the most obvious point)
  2. The more people who buy it, the more our friends in Uganda receive to help support their orphanage (see details below).
  3. The more copies we sell, the more money we have to give to the winners in the next round of competitions.
  4. Last but not least the more copies we sell, the more people get to read your amazing stories and follow your journey as writers.

How to help!

There are a few ways to help spread the word, some are obvious and some not so much.

  1. Tell people about it and direct them to this post or to the menu tab (coming soon) entitled ‘Book Shop’.
  2. Share this post on social media (see social media buttons in the footer of this post). If you’re on wordpress, you can also reblog if you like.
  3. Go to our social media pages, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, and like, comment and tag your friends! You can also retweet or share those posts.
  4. If you’re a blogger, and you’re interested in a free digital copy in exchange for a review on your blog, please contact me at mumlifestories@gmail.com
  5. If your on our email list, you will receive an email today as well, with a graphic you can use on instagram, please tag us @mumlifestories and use #MLSmicrofictionvol1
  6. Buy copies for your friends and family as gifts, etc

Thanks

Thank you for reading this blog. If you’d like to submit a story for consideration of publication, please visit our submissions page. 

Sign up HERE, or fill in the form below to be added to our email list and you will receive a notification when future competitions begin.  You will also receive all the latest news, stories and promos (including giveaways and writing competitions) as well as a FREE Ebook exclusive to our email subscribers.

Alternatively, go to our COMPETITIONS page for info on the latest competitions!


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Accomplish more IN a fraction of the time

The pace and intensity of our lives, both at work and at home, leave many of us feeling like a person riding a frantically galloping horse. Our day-to-day incessant busyness — too much to do and not enough time.

With this ebook you will learn to approach your days in another way, reducing stress and getting results through prioritizing, leveraging and focus!

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Going Short by Nancy Stohlman: A Mum Life Success Story

I must say I’m very excited about this particular Mum Life Success Story. I’ve had the pleasure of featuring some truly beautiful, amazing and inspiring Mums through these Mum Life Success Stories and each one of them has had a unique and special story to tell, but never have I featured someone as well-known and accomplished as Nancy Stohlman.

I have to admit that when I received an email from her publicity manager, about promoting her new book Going Short: An Invitation to Flash Fiction I didn’t actually know who she was. That is due more to my lack of time to read and search out great authors (because I’m busy with work, family and this blog) than it is about Nancy’s reputation. Once I googled her name, and announced the upcoming interview on twitter etc, I realised that Nancy was fastly becoming a household name.

After just a little research I discovered that Nancy was not only a talented performer, writer and professor, but that she was juggling it all with motherhood and so naturally, I had to request an interview for the next ‘Mum Life Success Story’ feature. Nancy happily obliged and answered all my probing questions about life, success and family and how she navigates it all. I was truly inspired and knew without a doubt that all of you would be inspired too. If by some off-chance you don’t know who Nancy Stolman is, let’s start with a bit of backstory direct from her publicity manager.

This page contains affiliate links which may earn me a small commission (at no extra charge to you) should you click through and make a purchase. Affiliate links are how I keep this blog running, thank you.


Who is Nancy Stohlman?

Nancy Stohlman

Nancy Stohlman is the author of four books of flash fiction including Madam Velvet’s Cabaret of Oddities (a finalist for a 2019 Colorado Book Award), The Vixen Scream and Other Bible Stories (2014), and The Monster Opera (2013). She is the creator of The F-bomb Flash Fiction Reading Series and FlashNano in November. Her work has been anthologized in the W.W. Norton New Micro: Exceptionally Short Fiction, Macmillan’s The Practice of Fiction, and The Best Small Fictions 2019. Her craft book, Going Short: An Invitation to Flash Fiction, is forthcoming from Ad Hoc Fiction in 2020. She teaches writing and rhetoric at the University of Colorado Boulder.

When she is not writing flash fiction she straps on stilettos and becomes the lead
singer of the lounge metal jazz trio Kinky Mink.  She lives in Denver Colorado and dreams of one day becoming a pirate.

Going Short: An Invitation to Flash Fiction

Going Short: An Invitation to Flash Fiction is Nancy’s latest contribution to the world of literature. Writer and Teacher Kathy Fish describes it as “The definitive, and appropriately concise book on the flash fiction form”. I have read some of the book myself and I can say Kathy is right, If you’re a writer (as many of my readers are) or want to start writing, Going Short: An Invitation to Flash Fiction is a resource you want to have on your bookshelf.


Mum Life Success Story

With Nancy being the seasoned writer that she is and needing no help from me to tell her story, I decided to publish this feature in interview format rather than the story form I usually employ. First I asked Nancy to tell us a little bit about her family.

Tell us a little about your family?

I have two kids—Maiya is 22 and just got her first apartment; Felix is 15 and just got his learner’s permit (yikes!). My partner Nick and I have been together almost a dozen years. We’re all creatives: Nick is a classical pianist and Maiya is a visual artist, so I’m proud to have passed down a family value of artistry. My own parents were also creative; I remember musical jam sessions, a lot of clowning in my household growing up.

When did your love for writing begin?

I remember I was 10 years old on the bleachers at a soccer game when I announced I was going to become an author. I was a voracious reader, of course. I grew up on military bases overseas, so books were my constant friends through all the moving and the various cultural and language barriers. After my author announcement my mother let me use her electric typewriter and I wrote a musical: Superman, The Musical (ala Christopher Reeve). I felt so important as I sat there clicking the keys, feeding in the paper. I don’t know what happened to the musical, but I still feel the magic when I sit down to write.

What inspired you to write your upcoming publication ‘Going Short’?

I was inspired to write Going Short about 10 years ago, when students and fellow writers kept asking me to recommend flash fiction craft books. I didn’t know what to recommend—there were almost no craft books aimed at this growing genre (nor by women). So I decided to take it on myself. I thought it would be easy, something I could write in a year or two. Ha. It took me almost 8 years! But I’m extremely proud of the result—I hope this book becomes a friend to the writers and readers who fall in love with flash fiction.

Are there any major obstacles you’ve had to overcome to get where you are now?

Oh yes. Self doubt. Fear. Creative deserts. Jealousy. Self-sabotage. It’s not easy to go for your dreams. There’s so much risk. Every step you think you might be crazy. Every step you expose yourself to…all of it. Not everyone is rooting for you, so you have to cheer yourself on no matter what. It’s not always easy. It takes courage and bravery, not just one time but every time. Over and over. So my challenge is to reach deeper and keep finding that courage. It’s either that or give up—which keeps me motivated on the hard days.

Are there any funny, intense, or inspiring stories you can tell us about your experiences in writing and/or publishing?

For years I fantasized of spending “three weeks on an island all by myself just writing.” Sounds magical, right? Then, last year, I decided to do it. I was already in Italy co-hosting a flash fiction retreat (so amazing), and when it was over I found a super remote island in the Adriatic, rented a renovated wine cellar for $150 a week, and went on my own sabbatical. And I wrote every day. Every blissful day. I mean, I woke up, I wrote, I walked to get coffee, I wrote. I ate gelato, I walked to the empty beach. I wrote. It was magical, and I discovered what I call Holy Boredom. And because of it, I finished this book.

What would you say is your biggest challenge with balancing family life with your career? How do you find balance (if you do)?

Funny, but I think this question is part of the challenge—if I were a man I would likely never be asked this question. Because I’m a woman, there’s an expectation (even from myself) that I can and will do it all: be a loving mother, chef, teacher, partner, friend, housekeeper, nurture all my relationships…oh, AND write books, teach on campus, run retreats, and attempt to dream my own inspiration into being. And, because all women are amazing, we do it. All of it. But I like to envision a world where men are asked this question, too.

The short answer of how I balance it all? I fail. I succeed. Then I fail. I do my best. And sometimes I schedule a weekend to myself and that’s important, too.

How does your experience as a Mother help with your writing and vice versa?

Once I had kids I knew the luxury of waiting for the muse, was over. If I really wanted to be a writer, I had to begin now—there was a little person watching me. So I wrote during nap time and in the evenings after bedtimes. I mean, I wrote entire books during nap times, during pre-school. Later I wrote on trains and buses while commuting to campus. I learned to seize THIS moment, imperfect but available, because the perfect moment is just an illusion. So in a very real way my children forced me to get serious and make it happen.

And writing makes me a better mother, too, because I’m honoring that creative part of myself. I’m more present for my family when I’m present for myself. Put on your own oxygen mask before you help others.

What advice can you give to other women (mothers in particular) wanting to chase their dreams of becoming a professional writer?

Just begin. The perfect time, the perfect location, the perfect idea—you could be waiting forever. The real day-to-day of writing is messy—there is nothing idealized about it. And yet, allowing yourself to be creative is amazingly, imperfectly perfect. On a good day, it’s still just as magical to me as that first time at my mom’s electric typewriter.

Plus, the very best thing you can do for your children is to show them what it looks like to not give up on yourself. They will be watching and learning from your actions far more than from your words.


More Mum Life Success Stories…

If you’d like to read more Mum Life Success Stories, simply click on one of the titles below.


Thanks

Thank you for reading this blog, if you’d like to submit a story for consideration to be published, please visit our submissions page.

If you’d like to keep up to date with all the latest stories, news, promos (including writing competitions and giveaways) plus receive a FREE Ebook, sign up to our mailing list HERE or fill in the form below.


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Knitting for Leo – A Short Story

We’d like to thank Alex Grey of the UK for her touching short story “Knitting for Leo”.

After a lifetime of writing technical non-fiction, Alex Grey is fulfilling her dream of writing poems and stories that engage the reader’s emotions. Her ingredients for contentment are narrowboating, greyhounds, singing and chocolate – it’s a sweet life. Her poems and short stories have been published by a number of ezines including Siren’s Call, Raconteur and Toasted Cheese. One of her comic poems is also available via a worldwide network of public fiction dispensers managed by publisher Short Edition. Alex is not a mum, but she works in healthcare and this story comes from her compassion for the women who have shared their lives with her over the years.

You can read Alex’s blog HERE

Note: this story mentions still birth and is a work of fiction and not based on any identifiable individual.

This page contains affiliate links which may earn me a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you click through and make a purchase. Affiliate links are how I keep this blog running, thank you. 

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Knitting For Leo

My mother taught me to knit. 

Back then, knitting was a necessity, not some artisan craft like it is today. She would get patterns from Women’s magazines and cheap wool from the market. She knitted my clothes – sweaters, cardigans, even skirts. I was the eldest. As soon as I could hold a pair of needles, I was knitting booties for my baby brother and sister. 

I got married in 1969, when you could buy wool in every colour that you could imagine. I was eighteen, but I already knew how to keep a house. Calum worked long hours, keen to get on in his career and be a good provider. I had a part-time job in our local greengrocers. In the evenings, we’d sit by the fire in our terraced house. It was before we had a television, so we’d talk about the future, about the children that we’d have. I’d knit and he’d do the crossword in the newspaper. I knitted tank tops for him to wear to work – he had a different one for every day of the month.  Years later he admitted that he got teased by the other juniors. But my Calum was a hard worker, and the teasing stopped when he kept getting promoted. 

Calum was already a manager by the time I fell pregnant. Lucky that he had enough tank tops, because as soon as I started to show I stopped knitting for him. I bought some new wool, all soft pastel yellow and lilac, and started knitting for the baby. My friends said it was bad luck to knit for the baby too soon, but I wanted to be ready. 

I thought I must be carrying a boy, a footballer judging by the kicking. Calum was very modern, he liked to lie by my side with his hand on my bump, feeling every movement. The basket I kept in the new nursery soon filled with clothes – judging by the size of the bump he was going to be a whopper. I started getting nervous about giving birth, but the midwife said I was young and had nothing to worry about.

The kicking stopped when I was 37 weeks. 

I remember that night – I slept for 8 hours, my longest sleep since I fell pregnant. I woke up all rested and, for a minute, everything seemed fine, but my bump did not wake up with me. I begged for my baby to start kicking again, but he was still. The hospital induced the birth, I had to go through it, but they knew it was all for nothing. I caught a glimpse of him before they wrapped him in a towel and swept him away. He looked so perfect, like he was sleeping. I wanted to hold him, but they said it was better for me not to see him, to move on quickly, a strong young girl like me could try again soon enough, these things happened.




There was no death certificate because he had never lived. Yet in our hearts, he was always Leo, due in August, our fierce little lion who almost made it.

We carried our grief out of the hospital door and swaddled it with our hopes in the little basket of baby clothes I’d knitted. I burned them all.

Of course, we tried again and within the year we had a beautiful baby girl; two years later, our son was born. I stopped knitting. Honestly, who has time to knit with two young children and a husband working all hours? 

Late at night, though, I’d hear Calum sobbing quietly beside me and knew he’d never got over losing Leo, just as I’d never got over the feeling that my knitting had cursed our firstborn. There was no emery board that could remove the festering hangnail of our hidden grief. 

Calum lived long enough to walk his daughter down the aisle and to stand shoulder to shoulder with his son when he was wed. When our first grandchild was born, I realised that I had not seen Calum smile like that since the day that I first fell pregnant and our future had sparkled with undimmed hope.  

I brooded on it after Calum’s funeral, how his poor heart had flexed with grief and joy, like the metal fatigue in those planes that crashed, destroyed by a hidden stress.

It was then I decided to tell my children about Leo. They didn’t know, you see, because we didn’t talk about these things back then. They were…surprising. They cried, but with relief, they said they had always felt that there was something, someone, missing. We had Leo’s name carved onto Calum’s headstone and I started to knit again.

I live with my daughter now. I have a lovely apartment with plenty of space for my comfy recliner chair. I have everything I need, a TV, my knitting needles and a pile of wool given to me by kind donors. It’s all colours and textures, but that doesn’t matter. Once I picked up the needles again, my fingers remembered the old patterns, so I can sit here watching my favourite shows while I make babygro’s, bootees and cute berets to keep the babies’ heads warm. 

My daughter knocks on my door.

“Mum, the driver’s here.”

“That’s fine love, I’ve got a load ready for him.”

I hand her a neatly wrapped box, the label says “Knitting for Leo” along with a charity registration number. This batch is going to our local hospital, but I send parcels to maternity units all over the country. You see, Leo’s charity got quite big once my daughter mentioned it on the internet. We must have over a hundred volunteer knitters now, each with their own sad tale to tell. 

I knit tiny clothes that would fit a doll, or a baby born too soon and too still. I finish each little outfit with a ribbon and put it in the basket by my side. I imagine how parents will take these tiny clothes and dress their stillborn babies. They will hold their precious bodies, take photographs. In that moment, the quiet infants will become part of their families forever.

I raise a cup of tea to the dead who never lived.

You never lived, but you were loved. Rest easy my son.




Thanks

Thanks for reading this blog. You can read more stories HERE and if you’d like to submit a story for consideration to be published, please visit our submissions page.

If you’d like to keep up to date with all the latest stories, news, promos (including writing competitions and giveaways) plus receive a FREE Ebook, sign up to our mailing list here or fill in the form below.


Get your FREE Ebook

Accomplish more IN a fraction of the time

The pace and intensity of our lives, both at work and at home, leave many of us feeling like a person riding a frantically galloping horse. Our day-to-day incessant busyness — too much to do and not enough time.

With this ebook you will learn to approach your days in another way, reducing stress and getting results through prioritizing, leveraging and focus!

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