Prompt to Publication | Nina Heiser

Prompt to Publication | Nina Heiser

Today we are celebrating Nina Heiser. Since 12 Short Stories started in 2017 we’ve seen many of our writers go on to publish and accomplish great things with their writing. The Prompt to Publication emails are all about celebrating these writers and their wonderful stories.

I hope these interviews will help you and teach you how to use 12 Short Stories to build your author platform.


Author feature: I’d like to introduce Nina Heiser.

Nina is participating in 12 Short Stories for the first time and will earn her #12/12 badge at the end of the year when she submits her story for December.


Has 12 Short Stories helped you as a writer?

Nina Heiser: Although I had published a few poems before joining the 12 Short Stories challenge, becoming part of the community of writers I found at Deadlines for Writers spurred me on to be more serious about writing and submitting.


What have you published?

Nina Heiser:  “The River House” which was written in response to a Keep Writing Challenge was published in Pendemics, an online quarantine museum. My poetry has been featured in the Member Spotlight of the Florida State Poets Association and in the Screaming from the Silence Anthology by Nightingale and Sparrow.


How did 12 Short Stories help you?

Nina Heiser: Having worked for years as a reporter with an editorial stint between newspapers, I knew how to write news and feature stories, but the idea of a short story was still intimidating.

With the pandemic closing the world off, I also joined the Keep Writing Challenge, which combined the deadline that keeps the writer from being too precious with the prompts that stretch the imagination and skillset. I found myself having the most fun I can remember having as a writer, eager each morning to tackle the short story prompt.

I am fortunate enough to have a fellow 12/12 writer now reading and giving me feedback on the novel I wrote a few years ago. I will, when he has done with it, no doubt tweak it in response to his comments, but also with the structural – character arc in particular – components of creating a novel that I saw more clearly through the 12/12 experience.

The feedback I received helped too. The relationships that evolved between writers and readers in these challenges taught me a great deal about writing, about how to get in and out of a story,  and about my writing strengths and weaknesses.


What is your favourite short story that you wrote on 12SS?

Mama Tried by nsbnina


Nina Heiser


Nina Heiser is a writer living in Florida, who returned to writing poetry after a career in journalism.  Poetry was her first love, her first language, but it was to fiction she turned on retiring from working as a reporter.

Embark Literary Journal published the first chapter of her novel Tin’s Bended. Her poems have been published in Tuck Magazine; in the Florida State Poet’s Association anthology Cadence; and in the Vociferous Press anonymous anthology Screaming from the Silence.  Her poems and photographs were featured in Of Poets & Poetry. A prose poem, written for the Deadlines for Writers daily Keep Writing Challenge, was published in Pendemics Journal, an online quarantine museum.

Read more of Nina’s work here.

Read an excerpt from Nina’s work in progress,  TIN’S BENDED

Chapter One

Clarissa Duncan sat in the beater of a truck Michael hadn’t bothered to take, watching the tide inch its way in. Laughing gulls flapped their wings across a misty gray sky and filled the cove with raucous shouts. There would be no sunrise today. The weather was turning.

Seven years ago, on this beach, in a satin wedding gown, a scraggly bouquet of wildflowers clutched against a swell of belly, bare toes curling in cold sand, Clarissa had promised for better or for worse.

She turned the key in the ignition, steered clear of potholes in the sand lot, and headed down the road. She loved how the morning fog on the cranberry bogs softened everything. She’d lived in this town since she was six years old, Amy’s age now. She knew where she was here, even when it wasn’t where she wanted to be.

There was definitely a cold front coming through.

On the bench seat in back, Amy slept, buffered by bags and bundles. Her long lashes fluttered and stilled. Her small mouth puckered in soft whistles of breath. Wisps of blonde hair covered her face, her cheek red from resting on her pressed-together palms.

The bank was coming in a week to change the locks on the house—the house they’d built on land Michael’s father had sold them. For a song, he’d said. The house where Amy had been born. But she’d get through this, Clarissa knew. She had no choice. She’d known when she married Michael that it was no good. He was a song for the singing, and songs end…

Well done, Nina.

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