Did you know that May is Short Story Month? As much as I enjoy novels, I also enjoy reading short stories, and usually have a collection on the go. To celebrate, I’m offering both my short story collections FREE on Kindle from Friday, May 19th through Tuesday, May 23rd. Just click on the covers to be taken directly to Amazon, download and enjoy!
Tag Archives: short stories
Book Title: Glow Grass and Other Tales
Book Genre: Crime Fiction Anthology
Release Date: November 6, 2016
Synopsis: Revenge, guide dogs, cats big and small, beleaguered ladies of a certain age, a cop with a tarnished heart – the characters in these seven tales and two novellas must fight for justice even if that justice is warped. More often they must fight to save someone they love – or to survive.
Many of the stories in this anthology are finalists or winners of major awards such as the Arthur Ellis, Derringer and Bony Pete.
Excerpt: This excerpt is from my suspense novella, Glow Grass.
Paula took the path to the right.
It led into the shadows of the now-towering cedar trees. A short distance along, she spotted a soft green light: glow grass growing into the trail.
It spilled out from a tiny track that branched away through a clump of alders. Dodging the leafless bushes, she followed it into a small clearing.
There a stone garden bench rested in a soft carpet of glow grass. Several small stones bordered its circular edge. On closer inspection, the stones proved to be store-bought garden ornaments, inscribed with a single word like “Forever” or “Remember”. Between the stones stood small plaster statues of angels holding soiled plastic flowers or soggy, bedraggled ribbons. One angel held a glass engraving of the poem, Desiderata, the relic cracked and damaged by the weather. Votive candles in red glass holders lay scattered among the stones, most burned down to the end.
This was a memorial garden. But for whom?
She sank down on the bench. The tiny monuments were cheap: she’d seen them for sale in dollar stores. None bore a date or name. Perhaps the strange garden was an amateurish, heartfelt tribute to a family pet.
But what if it wasn’t?
She shivered. Who built the garden? Why hide it in the woods away from prying eyes? Was it the unknown owner of the beaver pond?
Over the years, she and Dad had found evidence of strangers round the pond: cigarette butts, fish line and hooks, empty beer cans… Anyone could pass through their cottage property when she and Dad weren’t there.
The mysterious gardener had taken glow grass from the cottage and replanted it here. That felt like a warning, a challenge even. As if the unknown gardener was telling her: You abandoned the cottage. Now it’s mine to do with as I like.
The woods were deathly silent. Yet she had an uneasy sense that someone lurked in the shadows. Watching, waiting, matching her breath for breath. She felt in her jacket for her phone and remembered she’d left it in the car.
About the author: M.H. Callway’s crime fiction has won or been short-listed for several major awards including the Arthur Ellis and Debut Dagger. Her debut novel, Windigo Fire, was a finalist for the Arthur Ellis Best First Novel Award. Margaret Cannon of the Globe and Mail called her “a writer to watch”. Glow Grass and Other Tales is a collection of her published novellas and short fiction.
In 2013, she founded The Mesdames of Mayhem, a group of established Canadian crime writers and editors. The Mesdames have produced two critically acclaimed anthologies, Thirteen and 13 O’clock. The third, 13 Claws, will be published September, 2017. Find out more about M.H. Calloway on her website.
Several years before I even thought about writing a mystery novel, I took some creative writing classes. Inevitably the word count limit for the writing assignments would fall in the “flash fiction” category (typically fewer than 500 or 1,000 words, depending on who is doing the defining).
I must have been going through a lot of angst in my life back then—or perhaps I thought literary fiction had to be tinged with sadness. Whatever the reason, everything I wrote seemed to have an unhappy ending. The best of these efforts were sent to THEMA, a New Orleans-based literary journal I’d long admired. While not all of my submissions made the cut, three of my stories did get published in 2004 and 2005. More than a decade later, I’m still grateful and honored to be part of the THEMA legacy.
I’ve written about THEMA before on this website, and in fact, have a page dedicated to my experience with THEMA, and its tireless editor, Virginia Howard. Should you enjoy literary fiction and poetry, I encourage you to visit their website and take out a subscription, which includes three nicely-bound issues per year. (Each issue looks like a small paperback novel!)
My recent publication of Live Free or Tri: a collection of three short mystery stories, got me thinking. Why not put together an eBook compilation of my three THEMA stories? The result is Unhappy Endings: a collection of three flash fiction stories. Here’s a brief synopsis:
We like to believe that every story has a happy ending, but in life, as in these brief slice-of-life stories, that isn’t always the case.
In Sylvia’s World, narrator Sylvia considers her life with her husband, Phil.
In Cleopatra Slippers, a sixteen-year-old girl arrives home to discover her mother has tried to commit suicide.
In Emmaline, the shortest of the three flash fiction stories at 260 words, a teenager contemplates her life while faced with an unplanned pregnancy.
The Kindle version of Unhappy Endings will be free on Amazon for 5 days (the maximum time allowed by KDP Select): February 26 through March 1, after which time the price will be set at .99US (the minimum price allowed by KDP Select). I hope you’ll take the opportunity to download it during the free promotional period.
COMING MARCH 4: An interview with Katherine Prairie, author of THIRST, and owner of Stonedrift Press.
Every January, I make a to-do list of writing projects I hope to accomplish in the coming year. It’s not exactly a list of new year’s resolutions (which would, once again, include “Lose 10 pounds” — those darned pounds keep finding me), but rather provides me with some structure in an occupation that by its very nature tends to be unstructured.
I’m happy to announce that I have just completed the first of nine such projects: self-publishing a collection of three short mystery stories. I used Create Space for the trade paperback version and Kindle Direct Publishing for the Kindle eBook version. I found both platforms fairly easy to navigate, and while both versions required different formatting, the requirements are well defined. For the Kindle version, I also downloaded the free eBook, Building Your Book For Kindle. For the paperback version, I hired a wonderful woman (intentionmedia) from Fiverr. For the cost of $10US, she completely formatted the book with custom headers/footers and page numbers—and she did within a day. Could I have done this myself? With patience and determination, almost certainly, but after a couple of frustrating attempts, I decided my time was worth more than $10US.
So what made me decide to self-publish three short stories? The idea started when I got the publishing rights back to my short story, “Live Free or Die,” which was included in World Enough and Crime (Carrick Publishing, 2o14). What would I do with a previously published story? I consulted fellow members of the Short Mystery Fiction Society. Ideas ranged from sending it into e-zines that accepted reprints, to publishing it as a single, to the option I ended up choosing: including it in a collection with two new, previously unpublished, short stories.
I knew that “Live Free or Die” was worthy of publication. But what about my other two short stories? I consulted with beta readers and a proofreader/copyeditor. When the stories passed their discerning eyes, I worked on a title for the collection, and came up with LIVE FREE OR TRI.
Here’s a teaser:
Death and Deception
Appearances are often deceiving and that’s the underlying premise of this collection:
In “Live Free or Die,” naive 21-year-old Emmy falls hard for 31-year-old Jack, an efficiency expert from New Hampshire who is not all that he seems.
In “Murder in the Marsh,” cyclist Carrie Anne Camack discovers more than she bargained for in the fertile farmlands of Ontario’s Holland Marsh.
In the final story, “The Cycopaths,” a triathlon team’s open-water swim training in Collingwood, Ontario, has deadly consequences.
LIVE FREE OR TRI will be available on Amazon in trade paperback within a few days. In the meantime, you can already find it on Kindle (FREE on Jan 16 & 17), where coincidentally, you can also find my debut mystery novel, THE HANGED MAN’S NOOSE!
Coming January 22: Timothy Weatherall, author of The Incarnations of Joe: Book 1 The Key talks about his publishing journey, and why he choose assisted publishing with FriesenPress.