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Author: Clockwork Gnome

The Deadline Game

The Deadline Game

There are a lot of different feelings that pop up when you hear the word DEADLINE. Sometimes they are productive feelings, like the little hamster in your think wheel on crack because he’s so excited to get things done! But more often than not, there is a sense of urgency or dread that can sometimes be crippling.

Ive experienced both scenarios in varying forms over the years. I get a lot more dread when I have deadlines piled on top of each other. Some I’ve set for myself, and some are from outside sources. Either way, when I miss a deadline, I might as well miss my kid’s solo at the school play – it hurts that much.

Over the past year I had a metric crap ton of deadlines pile on top of me. I got to a point where I was almost nonfunctioning because these deadlines (90% of them writing related) were too much to handle.

But I didn’t want to quit- I mean, I did want to quit and live on an island with no wifi, but I want to do that all the time anyway- so I gave myself a morning to figure it out. Here’s the list I made for myself:

1. Prioritize: by due date, and by importance. (I’m not going to give you cute examples because I’m guessing you have a brain in your head.)

2. Organize your time. Plan specific times and days to work on things and give yourself some wiggle room.

3. Evaluate. If the prioritization and organization leave you feeling like you’ll have to give up sleep, food, and reading (good writers never stop reading) then it’s time to say NO to some projects and ask for extensions on others. There’s no shame in saying, “I am a very organized person who values my sanity and if you want a good product from me then I need more time,” even if you’re lying about the organization part and you’re saying it to yourself in a mirror.

4. Plan rewards. For each deadline, have a corolating reward. (Again, no examples. You know what you like, and if you don’t, you need more help than you can find on a blog).

That’s it folks. My four step plan to fame, fortune, happiness and significant weight gain- I reward with chocolate and expensive restaurants that use real butter. Maybe you have a better plan? Would love to hear it. Especially if it involves weight loss.


Clockwork Gnome

Strange Charms: Resistance

Strange Charms: Resistance

There is a lot of talk about resistance on the interwebs right now. And just because I love words, I looked it up.

the refusal to accept or comply with something; the attempt to prevent something by action or argument.
“she put up no resistance to being led away”
synonyms: opposition to, hostility to, refusal to accept
“resistance to change”
the ability not to be affected by something, especially adversely.
“some of us have a lower resistance to cold than others”

At QFT, we resist all the time. We refuse to accept life as we know it. We face challenges in our personal lives and careers. We stare hardship in the eye and sometimes it gets the better of us. But then we get up and we create better worlds, worlds with dragons that turn into teardrops, and ghosts of mushrooms past, rocks who take human form, trees who hold secrets and heroes and heroines of unlikely vampires and golems.

We also make sure that even when we are affected by the world around us, we don’t let it stop us. We find our safe places and create beautiful things, whether it be poetry, art, or story form. We protect our creativity from those forces that would stop us and we continue to create.

At QFT, we commend you for continuing to create as well– to draw, to write and to dream. No matter your politics, country, race, religion, creed, or preference for Marvel or DC, there are Gnomies at your back, cheering you on as you make this world a better place.

Because, ultimately, that’s our job as creators– to give the world our heart and soul and dreams. Without those, it’s just dirt and rocks and leaves.

Carry on, Gnomies. Carry on.

This Issue’s Contributors – Winter 2017

This Issue’s Contributors – Winter 2017

Creampuffy (CB Adams) is a mixed media artist specializing in traditional art focusing on fairy tale and fantasy themes. She finds inspiration in nature, fairy tales, history and all things beautiful.
Watercolor, India ink and colored pencil are her preferred methods of madness, but occasionally she dabbles in other media. More of her work can be seen on her portfolio.


qft-TimTim Barzyk enjoys science, writing, reading, collecting old toys, and using his imagination. Why? Cuz it’s fun. He likes fun. He has a few degrees and pretty diplomas. The University of Chicago was nice enough to give him a Ph.D. in Geophysical Sciences. He sent in some box tops and got an M.S. in Environmental Science and Policy from there too. Before that, He studied Geology and Math at Indiana State University—yes, home of Larry Bird. Long live the Bird.

Fred Gray is an oil painter who creates otherworldly creatures and robots to channel the strangeness and absurdity of the earth he lives on. He currently resides in Berkeley, CA with his wife, dog, and cat.




Tina Hacker is a four-time Pushcart Prize nominee whose work has appeared in a wide variety of journals, both online and paper. Aldrich Press published her full-length collection, Listening to Night Whistles, and The Lives You Touch Publications released her chapbook, Cutting It. In 2016, Tina was honored as a “Muse” for The Writers Place in Kansas City.


Tamara Linden – Born and raised in rural New Jersey (yes, it does exist), Tamara now lives in Pennsylvania with an opinionated black cat for company. Tamara’s storytelling career began at the age of three with “Squirm the Worm,” which was warmly received by an audience of assorted beetles. She went on to study music and eventually earn a degree in music composition. Now, as an exam prep tutor and budding college planning counselor, she has time to devote to her first love, writing. Her work has appeared in Seven Deadly Sins: A YA Anthology (Envy) and Timeless Tales Magazine. She is currently elbow-deep in the second draft of Under the Willow Root, a young adult fantasy novel. More of her work, including essays and original songs, can be found online at

Denny E. Marshall has had art, poetry, and fiction published. Recent examples include art for Mystic Nebula, poetry at The Stray Branch, and fiction at Postcard Shorts. He does have a website with previously published works.

Abby McCorkle Hello there! My name is Abby and I am 15 years old, I love reading, drawing and doing art of every kind. Dragons are my specialty and are my favorite thing to draw, one look through my sketchbook can prove this, as literally every drawing in it is either a dragon or some other mythological creature! I am also an anime fanatic and will watch/read anything anime, Scifi being my favorite genre!

D.S. Morgan (aka Elftracker) was born in a small hamlet by the sea, raised by wolves, educated by elves and incarcerated by devils for attempting to take the elves’ message of hope to the world. Upon being released and probated (presumably for ‘bad behavior’), he sought asylum among the ‘faerie folk’ in the mountains of Western North Carolina where he lives and works a little less disturbed every day.
While the wolves still whisper his name in their midnight speeches, the devils are said to have misplaced his paperwork. As for the elves, you may reach him and a few of them at

Erin O’Shea – A native midwesterner who has moved to the Appalachians, Erin has learned to always refuse flowers from strange necromancers.

Jungmin Park lives in Seoul, South Korea and loves art because it has no limits. When she’s not creating, she can be found watching movies (Disney is her favorite), listening to music, and swimming. For more from Jungmin, check her out on Instagram.





Christopher Stanley lives on a hill in England with his three sons who share a birthday but aren’t triplets. In 2016, his stories have won multiple prizes, as well as being published by The Molotov Cocktail, Jellyfish Review, The Short Story, Raging Aardvark and in the National Flash Fiction Day anthology. At no point has he ever been tempted to abandon his boys in the woods. Honestly.

C. E. Stokes is a freelance writer living near Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Even though she’s got a bachelor’s in Fine Art from Bloomsburg University, she’s too much of a foodie to accept the role of starving artist. Her short stories have appeared in Flash Fiction Magazine, Quantum Fairy Tales and several issues of Dark Gothic Resurrected and multiple anthologies.



John Van Allen is a child psychologist by profession, but likes messing around with writing and photography.  He has been published in Lorelei Signal and also as runner-up in a Writer’s Type quarterly short story contest.  He lives alone with two old cats, and enjoys anime series, reading about science, humanities, and anything else he should have read long ago.





SLC Comiccon Scholarship! – Writing is My Super Power

SLC Comiccon Scholarship! – Writing is My Super Power

Clockwork Gnome here with a very special Thursday writing prompt. If you know a teen author, you’re going to want to forward this to them.

September 1 – 3rd I’ll be working the floor and panels of Salt Lake City Comiccon, one of the biggest comiccons in the US, and I want to meet YOU! So, Quantum Fairy Tales is sponsoring a scholarship to the event. The only catch is that this contest is only for teens.

(All of the adults are whining out there. I’m sorry. You can still come. We will have lots of swag for you!)

Quantum Fairy Tales has partnered with Teen Author Boot Camp for this event. They have a whole line up of classes and panels just for teen authors! It’s an amazing experience, and kids get a three day pass for only $45 – a great deal for any comiccon nerd – and every gnomie knows how much we love teen writers! So we’re going to sponsor one of you and pay for your three day pass to all of SLC Comiccon and the Teen Author Boot Camp events (all are happening at the Salt Palace).


Ok! Ok! First, leave a comment on this post telling us why you love Commicon, then send us (using our form) your flash fiction story of no more than 2k words about someone with a unique super power. The winner will not only receive a free pass to fun and excitement, but also a spot in our fall issue of QFT. Can’t beat that!

If you are a kid, GET WRITING! If you are an adult, TELL A KID!
(p.s. we have been known to pick more than one winner)

FINE PRINT: Contest is open to anyone who is able to provide their own transportation and lodging to the event in Salt Lake City, Utah. You must be a teenager (age 13-19) in order to participate. Winner chosen must register at

Contest closes August 25th. You have one week. GO!

Leigh Statham and Steampunk Batman – SWOON!- at Oak City Comiccon

Even if you aren’t a teen, or you don’t win, I’d still love to see you at SLC Comiccon. Look for me at the Teen Author Boot Camp booth, or on the panels for both events as Leigh Statham. I’ll be the crazy one in the steampunk attire who is probably lost.

2016 Write Well Awards

2016 Write Well Awards

Congratulations to our gnomie, Idynne MacInnes, for winning the 2016 Write Well Award for her short story, FUNGUS, featured in our summer issue of 2015. This is a well-deserved award, and we couldn’t be more proud of Idynne for her awesome story. We’re grateful she let us publish it here first.

Idynne MacInnes is a Minneapolis-based writer and illustrator. Look for her work in February’s issue of Literary Mama and We’Moon 2016.

Original Illustration by Idynne MacInnes

Good luck to the rest of you gnomies out there. We’ll continue to search for the best and brightest stories to nominate for all the prizes we can find.

Clockwork Gnome


Thursday Prompt: Summer Love

Thursday Prompt: Summer Love

So, I’ve got summer on the brain. And I have had quite a few interesting conversations about how the warmer weather heats up our hearts and our loins. Maybe it’s the fact that we strip down to nothing but stretchy underwear and get wet in front of each other, or the fact that we travel more and meet new, interesting people? Whatever it is, summer is just as conducive to love and lust as the cold months of winter are, maybe even more so.


That brings us to our prompt. Have you ever had a summer romance? A chance encounter with a stranger that led to nothing but a sweet memory? Maybe a regret? A sweet regret? Maybe you’d like to have a summer romance, or you have an idea for one? The bright sun and traditional water sports don’t lend themselves to many paranormal romance situations, but maybe they could. A siren could sing a song and lure you off the lake. Maybe a ghost stalks you in the woods while you are camping. Maybe that ghost is very good looking and your tragic affair is stunted by space and time. Maybe it’s an atomic summer love story. Just you, a sweet girl, and the last can of beans on earth. Do you give her the last bite?

Make it short, long, rhyming couplets, or imagery, we want to know your summer love story.

Summer Reads

Summer Reads

Hi ho, Gnomies! Summer is upon us here in the states, and that means lots of poolside reading for me. I’m also in the second semester of an MFA program for creative writing, so that means lots of poolside homework as well. Here is a shot of my summer reading stack.  School books on top.

Yes, the MLA handbook is also in that stack, sad but necessary.

I tend to snack while I read. Last night this happened:

Usually I shoot for something chocolate when I’m deep in someone else’s world, but fun dip seemed appropriate for Miss Annie John’s story.

What are you reading? How do you fuel your summer?


Clockwork Gnome

Strange Charms: The Rebirthiness of Spring

Strange Charms: The Rebirthiness of Spring

Here we are, another spring has arrived in our hemisphere. That means all kinds of pollen and bugs and green things sprouting all over. Baby birds squawk and the naked trees grow new green clothes. Quantum Fairy Tales has grown a bit as well. We have a lovely new website, a couple of new members, and new plans for 2016. We also lost a few gnomies we love over the winter, but the good news is that in Gnomieland, no one ever really dies, they just move on to better things and we still see them regularly.

First of all, a profound Thank You to Quantum Fairy and Ninja Monkey for their brains, brawn and all around amazingness. They will always be co-founders of this magazine and will hopefully be back in the future. For now they are working on bigger and better things, and we wish them well–maybe even a well with a magic frog in it. KISS THE FROG!!

Next up, our newest member of the team, Queen Bean, is our new poetry maven. She comes to us from the sultry shores of South Carolina and has her debut speculative poem, Library Dragon, in this issue. She will be handling all of our poetry from now on. And let me tell you, you gnomies out there are lucky to be getting her feedback. This chick knows her poetry. She also knows coffee, like, REALLY knows coffee. Don’t try to burn her espresso, she’ll give it right back to you.

We are also welcoming The TIM Lord on as a full time editor. Many of you know him as our long running contributor and author of the series Science for Fiction. Now he will be reading, editing, and causing gnomie mayhem full time. We couldn’t be happier.

Pull up a toad stool, nibble on some asparagus, and join us for this brand new springtime issue celebrating all things new and old. And as always, we thank you, dear readers and contributors. None of this could happen without you.


Clockwork Gnome