Strange Flashes

Flashes of Death and Darkness by Eli Taff, Jr. has a publication launch date of 19 February 2019, but I received an advance copy from the author because I liked and reviewed some of his earlier writing. Taff writes short flash fiction and claims that each story is exactly 500 words. Despite the temptation to count each word, I will bypass the challenge and just read the stories as I open another beer. The ten stories in this collection are one-beer read. There is an introduction (of exactly 500 words) and an afterword (of 50 words) but the additional reading should not spark another visit to the fridge. With such short stories, my comments will be one or two sentences as initial takeaway impressions. No spoilers. No pontification. Few Puns. Lots of Flash (as in lightning quick impressions).

Highly Recommended FLASH Fiction

Where I live it is already 23 December and I am about to go out on a buying trip for presents. I’ll be going with my family which means there will be a variety of shopping styles. My style is almost slash-and-burn. I know what I want, and I am going to buy it. Shoppers, please forgive my unintentional rude behavior when I do not emulate a deer in the headlights look as I stare at the lights and promos. I pay attention to price, the cashier, and the nearest coffee shop where I can sit down and retreat to a less noisy place while my tribe completes their much lengthier search (although for me, a stop at a bookshop is enough).

While I am sitting in the coffee shop, I need a collection like this. VERVE FLASH by Janet Fix (editor). Described as a “multi-genre anthology” that “builds a short road to big fiction,” the collection allows me to complete several thought pieces between bouts of pulling out my wallet to select different credit cards as limits are reached.

Eat at Dottie’s Diner

Following a review I posted yesterday of a 607-page novel, today I want to comment on a collection of flash fiction stories. Killer Space Clown by Eli Taff Jr. is a collection of ten stories, each one told in 500 words. The Introduction may not be 500 words (it is 441 words) but it is worth reading as it describes the plight of a writer with too many ideas. Rather than pursuing the time- consuming task of developing characters, settings, plots, and subplots completely and risk boring readers with short attention spans, why not get the creative, great core ideas out there with a solid twisted punch to the reader consciousness? Good idea, but not easy to do. For those who think it is easy, try any of the great writing challenges available online free of charge. There are prompts for six-word stories, 100-word pieces, and one of my favorites, Twittering Tales, in which the writer tells a story in 214 characters (spaces included). Here, we look at art expressed in exactly 500 words.

A Cautionary For Old People

This is a tale I wrote for Kat Myrman’s Twittering Tales for the round beginning 24 April. Each round lasts…

Just Say No to Old Angus

  Painkillers for Heartache is an 18-page quick read published by Bianca Pheasant in January 2018. It is the second…


At fourteen pages Redcar Collector by Glenn McGoldrick might count as flash fiction. Starting out as an almost absurd account of an unlikely situation, this story ends with three sentences that will make a reader go “Huh, what did I just read?” There is another question I had which has little to do with the story as presented. How does the story title relate to anything in the story?

Happy Birthday, Jason

Geoff thinks it’s time to celebrate his son’s birthday. It is Jason’s thirty-third birthday and it would be nice if he could share the cake with Geoff, but Jason hadn’t lived past thirty. This did not stop Geoff from celebrating but wife Sandra refused to participate in a celebration that would lead to more depression and sadness for her.

The Message Is In Your Hands

In Red Marks by Glenn McGoldrick the reader finds unemployed Michael not sure what he wants to do with his life. He must go to the Job Center to continue receiving benefits. He wasn’t too bad off today as he had found a purse with enough money to buy a few pints. Later there would be a visit with his parents where they would inquire about his job prospects and his love life. Michael was scheduled for some training but what he really needed was practice with communication skills. He just couldn’t connect with folks. That was what had happened with Becky. He knew she wanted to give him a message, but he just couldn’t get it out of her. His efforts ended in a breakup of their relationship.

A Fast, Quick, Wake-Up Read

Here is something to start out your day with a jolt (but painlessly). Flash fiction. It is quick to read and almost by definition authors create it to surprise you either by the content or innovative organization of ideas. Five Free Flash Fiction Pieces by Paul D. Dail does that. The only thing unsurprising about it is the price. Refer to the title. It is for sale on Amazon at the price indicated by the title.

Take Time To Reflect

Impressions by Dan Groat is a very impressive (sorry, I know better but I couldn’t resist) collection of short reflections on the daily grind of our lives, also known as existence. This is one of those collections that is valuable to keep around for when you are feeling just a bit down and unfocused. It will, at the very least, redirect your attention to things that are a bit more meaningful than immediate routines we are forced to go through on a daily basis. This was selected as a Book of the Day (BOTD) by the folks at OnLine BookClub on 11 January 2017. The following comments are about some of my favorite selections. There are 55 reflections; there is no way I will comment on each of them. Buy the book; it will make you happy.