Category Archives: Short Stories
This tale of a quarrelsome couple who secures a mynah bird in the hopes it will save their marriage opens up in the same fashion as Poe’s “The Black Cat”—giving what might have been a typical first-person story opening an irresistible mystique. At times, this fun little read is comically shocking, but its commentary on the ups and downs of communication, the impact of our language on one another and the nature of love leaves a serious impression. It can be found in her collection People I Wanted to Be here: http://a.co/06f5j8C
This is one of my favorites by Ray Bradbury. Although it’s not written in the first person, we wonder if the main character’s friend may be an unreliable narrator—until things take a stunningly original, bone-chilling turn. What’s interesting is that the story is mostly rendered in dialogue, which parallels the nature of the very antagonist itself; the tension also ratchets non-stop. If you like refreshingly different, this one’s for you. You can find it in his fine collection October Country here: https://amzn.com/034532448X
As you’re reading this, I’m in Walt Disney World (really…I’m enjoying Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival at the moment). So I thought it’d be apropos to recommend Dominick Cancilla’s “One Last E-Ticket Ride.”
This twisted, hilarious tale of a loyal Disney Cast Member who is fired and seeks revenge conveys a powerful message about loss of identity in one of the most interesting environments possible, but what makes it stand out is its consistent, sardonic voice. It manages to be humorous and depressing at the same time, and the result is one hell of a ride (groan).
What’s sad about this story is it’s difficult to find. It was originally published in a collection called Going Postal, edited by Gerard Daniel Houarner, in 1998. Still, keep your eyes open. Disney Parks fan or not, this one is a must-read. Although the publisher (Space & Time) still exists, I could find no mention of how to purchase this through them even though it’s rumored to be available there, so, I guess we’re relegated to watching this link for used copies: http://a.co/1n8ip4d.
Just in time for Halloween season, Great Old Ones Publishing reveals the cover and table of contents for Invocations, an anthology focusing on all those things we shouldn’t be summoning.
The cover is by Mj Preston, author of The Acadia Event.
My short story “We’ve Always Been Here” – a little bit of a different take on killer clowns – will be featured alongside these other fantastic contemporary horror writers. I’ll keep you posted on the release date. The TOC is as follows:
Foreword by Dan Lench
1. High Tea with Ancient Gods by Judi Ann Calhoun
2. Uncanny by E.g. Smith
3. American Macabre by Gregory Norris
4. Hunger by Dan Szczesny
5. Mirror, Mirror by Edwin Berne
6. Black Eyes, Blacker Soul by Patrick Lacey
7. Down Time Children by Irene Gallant
8. Hell and Back by Marinda Dennis
9. Let’s Go See the Honeyman by Kyle Rader
10. One Shot, One Kill by Eric S Brown
11. The Snow Lion by Coopersmith Black
12. Eyes by Tony Tremblay
13. The Butterfly Queen by Shannon Grant
14. Penance and Pressure Cookers by Philip Perron
15. We’ve Always Been Here by Kristi Petersen Schoonover
16. The Leyak by Mj Preston
I spent the first six months of this year as a guest editor for an upcoming issue of Dark Alley Press’ Ink Stains anthology series, and I’m pleased to announce that, except for a couple of rounds of proofing and the fact that the cover isn’t complete, it’s in the can!
This was my first stint as guest editor, and it was nothing short of a magical experience. There was something special about not just cherry-picking pieces for a collection from a slush pile, but curating a collection; tapping talent for some unpublished stories that had haunted me for—in some cases—a quarter of a century, or always anticipating that moment when that perfect story I have to have! would appear in the submissions manager.
In addition, every writer I worked with shared the vision; it was an enlightening journey in every sense of the phrase.
The theme of the issue was my choice—decay. It’s a pervasive Read the rest of this entry
Zombie stories have never been my favorite—they tend to take a tired thing and beat it to its last gasp in a not-too original way. However, I found several gems in 2011’s The Zombie Feed, Vol. 1; each story offers a thrilling, interesting, and refreshing twist on the trope. Not one would I consider a “standard” Zombie story.
If my statement still doesn’t entice you, consider this one story alone: “Goddamn Electric,” by K. Allen Wood.
In one of the most richly-detailed, atmospheric, yet suspenseful pieces I’ve read in a long time, “Goddamn Electric” induces chills in part because of its literary sensibilities: it deftly uses single effect in all its glory. This story about a small town full of crotchety New Englanders about to get their comeuppance is not to be missed–I promise you, it’s different than any other zombie thing you’ve ever read. Grab it here: https://amzn.com/0982159641
In a future devoid of creativity, a couple is about to become parents for a second time. This comment on expectations and disappointment manages to flesh out an entire world—replete with an alternate history—beautifully in its few short pages, although its real message is cleverly revealed in an ending the reader doesn’t expect.
Personally, I love this story for its corporeal rendering; there are at least two images I never forgot after having read this for the first time over a decade ago.
“Partial Eclipse” is the opening story in Joyce’s collection Partial Eclipse and Other Stories. I did not realize how lucky I was to have a signed, numbered, limited-edition copy of this book (and now I’m sorry I wrote in it, but hell, it’s what I do with every book I cherish!) until I went to find information for this post. Everywhere I looked was sold out. Amazon, it looks like, occasionally gets some second-handers: https://amzn.com/B000MVQWTA If you’re desperate, reach out to me through my Contact Page.
Nothing makes a road trip go faster than a good audio book…Tricks & Treats: A Collection of Spooky Tales by Connecticut Authors–which contains my short story “Crawl” and was selected as Best Anthology in Preditors and Editors Readers’ Poll 2016 — is now available in audio format; you can pick it up here: http://a.co/hP5G4l5
IF YOU ARE A REVIEWER, WE HAVE CODES AVAILABLE! Please reach out to me through my Contact Page.
With a Foreword by writer Rob Watts, Read the rest of this entry
I’m excited to announce that the collection Murder Among Friends: Mysteries Inspired by the Life and Works of John Greenleaf Whittier–which will contain my mystery story “A Cricket in the Wall”– is now available! You can pick it up on Amazon here: http://bit.ly/MAFCricket, and don’t forget that ALL PROCEEDS go to benefit the Whittier Birthplace in Haverhill, MA!
I’m honored to appear with some well-known writers, some old friends, and some of Greenleaf’s contemporaries. If you love mysteries, this is perfect for the beach! Here’s the Table of Contents. For bios, visit here.
Edith Maxwell (Murder in the Summer Kitchen)
John Greenleaf Whittier (The Murdered Lady)
Pete Rawlik (On the Black Ice)
Victoria Weisfeld (The Flock)
Ken Faig (The Goodwife and the Bookseller)
William Cullen Bryant (The Murdered Traveller)
David Bernard (The Death Clock)
Susan Oleksiw (Miss Larcom Meets the Neighbors)
Kristi Petersen Schoonover (Cricket in the Wall)
Gregory L. Norris (Antiques)
Lucy Larcom (The Murderer’s Request)
Rock Neelly (Cane Fishing)
Celia Thaxter (A Memorable Murder)
John Greenleaf Whittier (A Mother’s Revenge)
Judi Calhoun (Exposed for Murder)
D.G. Critchley (The Skeleton on the Ski Lift)
In case you missed it, my story “Shreds of Black” appeared in Snowbound with Zombies: Tales of the Supernatural Inspired by the Life and Works of John Greenleaf Whittier, a collection of horror stories which also benefits the birthplace. You can pick that up here: http://a.co/hqRzScZ
I’m pleased to announced that my short story “Where There’s Smoke” — inspired by the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire and the fact that my brother lives just a few doors down from the original building–is now available to read for free in the May 2017 issue of The Haunted Traveler: A Roaming Anthology. You can go ahead and check out the issue here! https://www.weaselpress.com/tht4
If you like what you see, please support The Haunted Traveler by “liking” their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/thehauntedtraveler/