Category Archives: Short Stories

“Splendid Chyna” on Black Friday sale for a whole week!

Nothing says Black Friday like a ghost story, right? If you missed the opportunity to read my novella “Splendid Chyna” – perfect if you like Asian Horror (i.e., The Ring, for those of you not familiar) and abandoned theme parks – the Kindle version is on sale for 99 cents through Thursday, November 29!

“Splendid Chyna” appears in the collection Three on a Match with two other novellas, “All’s Well that Ends” by G. Elmer Munson, and “Thicker than Water” by Melissa Crandall. These shorts are just the thing to be reading in between season busy-ness.

You can get it here, and happy holiday shopping!

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Celebrate with me!

Writer John Palisano recently posted the following on Facebook:

Just got an email from NanoWrimo stating that ‘every’ writer would rather ‘have written’ than ‘write’ and that writing is painful and such.

I disagree. I love being in the zone. I love tapping away at the keyboard, the story flowing out like music. It’s one of my favorite things in the world. It doesn’t hurt. It’s not painful. It’s not a struggle to make happen, most of the time.

I’m not the only one, am I?

No, he’s definitely not the only one. There is nothing like being in that zone. That vanishing into a world in my head and staying there with my characters, living out whatever fantasy I want (no matter how outlandish), the words just flying out of me as easily as drunken conversation. It’s almost like being on a magical vacation; the outside world recedes. I obsess over whatever topic, setting, or interesting object that the story is about. I avoid bills, cleaning, laundry and just about anything else I can get away with for the sake of art, and hey, if I have to function because I can’t get out of something, it’s an excuse to mentally tune-out.

On the flip side, if the fiction is really just a channel for something sad, stressful, and overwhelming I’m trying to process, it can be gut-wrenching. I fail to eat for however long it takes to get it done, I avoid correspondence or contact with anyone as much as I can, I question every single choice I’ve ever made in my life or even why I exist at all. And I usually cry a lot.

This isn’t the case with every piece I write, but it was the case with a piece I finished this morning. It’s been the greatest week of my life in a long, long time, but it’s also been balls-on anxiety and other not-so-pleasant emotions since Tuesday.

A few of you out there are aware of this. It’s official–the first draft is done, and I have set myself free! I’ve not only written a very solid story (yes, it still has to go through revision and critique, but I don’t invest in that on a spiritual level), I’ve emotionally worked through what I was processing. I feel completely unburdened and can have some fun now—I can focus on cleaning my house, doing the shopping for Thanksgiving, and wrapping some Christmas gifts (I shop all year, so it’s never really too early to start).

I’m having a glass of wine in a nice hot bath to celebrate. I encourage you all to celebrate with me in whatever way you see fit! If you’re waiting to hear from me, you will soon. And oh my God, where are the cheese and crackers because I’m starving.

Have a great week!

Short Story Sunday: Thirteen Wedding Dresses, Douglas Bruton

And Nothing Remains Cover

It’s unusual that a short story is so moving that I finish it and immediately give it a second read. Douglas Bruton’s “Thirteen Wedding Dresses” is, happily, one of those rare finds.

This compact tale of loss details the impact of a missing suitcase on several lives. Where this piece excels is in its universal appeal: there is not one of us who hasn’t felt one of the carefully illustrated emotions here. Its hauntingly-rendered prose will make it difficult for the reader to forget that sometimes something lost can lead to something found.

“Thirteen Wedding Dresses” is one of a dozen in The Fiction Desk’s 12th anthology And Nothing Remains. You can get a copy here: https://www.thefictiondesk.com/anthologies/and-nothing-remains.php

THIS WRITING LIFE EPISODE 15: THE JOY OF REVISION

 

EP 15 BLOG ART 1

In this episode, things get super-hairy just minutes before deadline, and friends are called in. This may be the one time revision is just no fun…unless wine’s involved. You can read the short story “Mujina” in Dark Passages II: Tales from the Black Highway. Get it at http://bit.ly/DP2Mujina.

Books and Boos Press signs THE SHADOWS BEHIND!

Shadow in the Cemetery

I’m over the moon to announce that I’ve signed the contract for Books and Boos Press to publish my collection of short stories, The Shadows Behind. The original announcement is on the Books and Boos Press website here.

Release date is set right now for April 30, 2019, and there will be some signings, along with a special one up at Howe Caverns in Howe’s Cave, New York, next summer!

Although the Table of Contents is still being finalized, this collection will contain a few long out-of-print favorites, among them “Deconstructing Fireflies,” (co-written with Nathan Schoonover), “Candle Garden,” and “How I Learned to Stop Complaining and Love the Bunny,” which was originally published in Citizen Culture back in 2005.

It will also include some pieces which are only available in single anthologies, and several brand new stories as well as a preview for an upcoming novella.

I’ll keep you posted!

“All Dolled Up” now available in JITTER!

JITTER PRESS ISSUE 7 - COVER

Just in time for Halloween, my short story “All Dolled Up” is now available in Jitter!

So, if you like creepy dolls…even though this one has a Christmas theme…be sure to head on over here to pick up a copy!

If you prefer to read electronically and would like even more content bang for your buck, you can subscribe to Jitter for $20/year. That will give you access to not just Issue #7, but all of them. You can subscribe here.

If you’re curious, here’s the splash page for “All Dolled Up”: https://jitterpress.com/all-dolled-up-by-kristi-petersen-schoonover/

 

MS for THE SHADOWS BEHIND has been delivered…and a new project

Attempted Delivery Piranha Skeleton

Margolynn gets an odd item in the mail in “Attempted Delivery.”

The manuscript for my upcoming short story collection, The Shadows Behind, has been delivered to the publisher, Books & Boos Press! The slated release date is April 2019.

This collection will contain some new stories, as well as some out-of-print pieces and reprints from currently available anthologies (if you’ve never picked any of those up, now you’ll be able to get some of them in one place). A few that are potentially included: Read the rest of this entry

Short Story Sunday: A House at the Bottom of a Lake, by Josh Malerman

House at Bottom of Lake Cover

A House at the Bottom of a Lake, Josh Malerman

Technically, this isn’t a short story—although I’m uncertain of its word count, I’m sure it’d be considered either a novella or a short novel. Still, this chiller—about two teens in a burgeoning relationship who get a little more than they bargained for when they discover a secret lake on their first date—is peppered with twisted, disturbing imagery that’s so unique it isn’t easily forgotten. At its core, this a romance with a heavy-handed conceit—but I can guarantee you won’t even notice or care. This is definitely one you’ll be leaving your lights on after finishing. You can pick it up here: http://a.co/1OBK6tR

 

“All Dolled Up” accepted for publication in JITTER PRESS

Suzanne's Dolls

I’m pleased to announce that my short story, “All Dolled Up,” has been accepted for publication in a future issue of Jitter Press.

“All Dolled Up” was inspired by an article I’d read in The New Yorker about the “haunted” dolls that can be purchased on Ebay, and the culture that surrounds them (you can read that article here: https://www.newyorker.com/culture/rabbit-holes/ebay-fantastical-earnest-world-haunted-dolls .“All Dolled Up” accepted for publication in JITTER PRESS. Nathan has a “haunted” doll—Jessica—although I’ve seen little evidence, nor do I get the sense, that she really is haunted.

I’ll keep you posted on when the issue of Jitter Press will be available.

Short Story Sunday: Looking for a Rain God, Bessie Head

Contemporary African Short Stories

Looking for a Rain God, Bessie Head

This is considered a classic and is taught in many literary classrooms, but I think of it as a horror story: when pushed to the brink, there is almost no limit to what atrocities humanity can commit. This extremely short tale examines the effect of desperation on a family stricken with drought–but it’s the matter-of-fact way in which it’s rendered that gives one chills.

My blood curdles every time I read this. It’s not an easy piece to find because it mostly appears in textbooks, but there’s a wonderful collection—Looking for a Rain God: An Anthology of Contemporary African Short Storieshere.

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