Category Archives: Short Stories
Volcano, by Yvonne Weekes
Back in 2008, this piece of creative nonfiction blew me away: it’s a heart-rending, four-page glimpse of the devastation wrought on Montserrat by the Soufriere hills in the mid-1990s; I felt her unfathomable despair as I watched her friends leave and her world turn black.
It made such an impression on me that I when I found out, eight years later, that it was an excerpt from a full-length memoir of the same title, I bought and devoured it in one day. Still, I recalled the more succinct narrative packing more punch, so I dug it up and re-read it.
The four-pager is more intense because it’s not an exact lift; it’s some of the most powerful, grief-infused paragraphs from several pages throughout the book made into a haunting piece in its own right.
I recommend reading both.
Full Memoir: Volcano, by Yvonne Weeks: https://amzn.com/184523037X
Excerpt: Stories from Blue Latitudes: Caribbean Women Writers at Home and Abroad https://amzn.com/1580051391
A decade ago (I can’t believe it’s been THAT long), I was lucky enough to do the teaching practicum required for my Goddard MFA at Gibbs College in Norwalk (thanks to my friend Chris Emmerson-Pace). I taught Comp 101, which required this book which was expensive as hell (as most college textbooks are): Literature Without Borders.
Despite the book’s cost, it was the absolute cheapest thing I’d ever seen. Pages–in sections–started falling out. By Week Four of teaching, I had to use an elastic band just to hold the pages in. By the end of the semester, there wasn’t one page attached to the binding or the cover. It might as well have been a loose stack of manuscript pages.
I’d forgotten about it, but last weekend, I was looking for another book when I discovered it in the bottom of one of my many bins of books. Apparently I was annoyed, because look what I did to it.
My ghost story “Blood on the Snow” is now available in Ink Stains: A Dark Fiction Literary Anthology Volume 3, published by Dark Alley Press!
“Blood on the Snow” takes place on an abandoned Christmas tree farm in rural Connecticut. I’m not going to give anything away, but here’s a link to the story’s real-world (and very much still in business!) counterpart: Angevine Farm. My family, however much it’s changed over the years, has been getting our Christmas trees there since the 1970s. I don’t have many photos from that time period, but here’s a montage of the pix I do have — notice some of the landscapes, particularly on a gray day with snow. It’s the perfect place for a ghost story.
If you love ghost stories–and stories about being haunted by the past–then Ink Stains Vol. 3 is for you! Here’s the full Table of Contents: Read the rest of this entry
My short story “Blood on the Snow” will be available in Ink Stains: A Dark Fiction Literary Anthology Volume 3, published by Dark Alley Press, on Tuesday, January 24!
If you love ghost stories–and stories about being haunted by the past–then this collection is for you! Here’s the full Table of Contents: Read the rest of this entry
Thrilled to announce that I’ll be guest editing the January 2018 edition in the Ink Stains anthology series (and my awesome friend Tamela Ritter, author of From These Ashes, will be guest editing for April 2018!) In addition, my short story “Blood on the Snow” will be out in an upcoming Ink Stains edition in just a couple of months! What a way to kick off the year! Two editions of Ink Stains are already available. For info, go here: http://www.darkalleypress.com/inkstainsanthology/
Jubilation, T.C. Boyle
While it’s pretty obvious that Boyle is making a point about Disney World (“Contash World” is what he calls it), this is a story about an Everyman discovering that starting over doesn’t mean leaving himself behind (actually, I’m certain—after reading this again for the first time in a decade–that this is what inspired the central theme in my Disney Parks-set collection Skeletons in the Swimmin’ Hole).
What truly makes this piece worth the read is the hilarious first-person narrative of the protagonist, who brings central Florida and the quirky characters he meets to life in such vivid rendering it’s hard to believe you’re reading fiction (spoiler alert: it’s also like he predicted a recent alligator attack approximately a dozen years before it happened…it’s a little bit creepy). You can find “Jubilation” in Boyle’s collection Tooth and Claw: https://amzn.com/0143037439
The Caves in Oregon, Benjamin Percy
I first read this tale of a broken marriage a decade ago, and a recent re-read revealed it’s even better than I remembered. In this atmospheric tale, Percy is the master at connecting the geology of the earth with the geology of our complicated emotions and the intangible foundations that form our relationships. Find it in Percy’s debut collection: Refresh, Refresh: Stories https://amzn.com/1555974856
Sometimes babysitting on Halloween in a centuries-old house isn’t a good idea.
My short story, “Crawl,” is now available in Tricks & Treats: A Collection of Spooky Tales by Connecticut Authors. Published by Books & Boos Press, it’s available at several bookstores in the state, but the easiest place to pick it up is probably on Amazon. You can get it in print or for Kindle here: https://amzn.com/0997932902
With a Foreword by writer Rob Watts, also in the collection are stories by Connecticut writers Stacey Longo (Amston), Melissa Crandall (Hebron), G. Elmer Munson (Vernon), Dan Foley (Manchester), John Valeri (Portland), and Ryanne Strong (Norwich), but what makes this collection really stand out is the appearance of a couple of lesser-heralded creepy stories by Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Twain’s rarely-discussed “The Californian’s Tale” is a ghost story (of sorts) that’s really about the nature of grief, while Stowe’s framed narrative (very typical of the ghost stories of the time) is one with a moral bent.
Gilman’s “The Giant Wistaria” (a personal fave of mine) is only one of three ghost stories she wrote; the other two, I believe, are “The Rocking Chair” and “The Yellow Wall-Paper.” “The Giant Wistaria” pre-dates her infamous “The Yellow Wall-Paper,” for which she’s most known, and it, too, has early feminist themes. It’s atmospheric and disturbing.
Finishing out the book is John G.C. Brainard’s poem “Maniac’s Song.” Brainard was a poet and lawyer who was born and lived in Connecticut in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
Come and meet the (still living, ha!) writers and hear some samples to whet your appetite for the spooky at a couple of pre-Halloween readings/signings! We’ll be at the Whiton branch of the Manchester library (N. Main Street) in Manchester, CT (http://library.townofmanchester.org/) on Monday, October 24, at 6:30 p.m. We’ll also be at Bank Square Books in Mystic, CT, on Wednesday, October 26, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Here’s hoping I see you there!
Read more about this exciting seasonal collection in the Hartford Courant: http://www.courant.com/community/hebron/hc-ugc-article-new-halloween-anthology-comprised-of-all-conn-2016-09-05-story.html, and watch the official trailer here: https://youtu.be/GkaGyqts8oE
Team Effort, Ed Gorman
According to IMDB, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves—which turns 25 this year—was the tenth most popular film in 1991, but that didn’t stop every publisher from jumping on the tie-in bandwagon. Signet put its entry in the capable hands of speculative anthologist Martin H. Greenberg, who compiled a collection I mostly forget except for Ed Gorman’s “Team Effort”—a succinct little piece that gets Read the rest of this entry