Darkness in Everyday Things

Tiny Shoes Dancing by Audrey Kalman is a collection of twenty short stories. Kalman selects significant elements from primarily insignificant lives, the lives that don’t get a mention in the supermarket tabloids. Short stories are great; they fill time and are portable. There is no guilt in not completing them because you can always put off the pesky routine tasks which you know you have to do … right after you finish the short story you are reading. The stories in this collection are great because they make the reader feel important. We have all had some variation on these normal, everyday challenges. Well, most of them. There are some tales which are weird.

Haunted Malls

Tavistock Galleria is a collection of fourteen short horror stories by multiple authors. Their origin is “America’s Retail Wasteland.” (cover blurb). The stories are best read in order because of connecting threads that can pop up without warning that will tie a story to the one which came before. Or maybe two stories before. But let’s say you are familiar with some of the authors and want to skip to their contribution first. OK, it’s allowed; all stories can stand alone except the last one, The End of Tavistock. The last story won’t make sense without references found in all other stories.

Three Short Satires

These three short stories were sent to me by an independent publishing house promoting their writers. For the next week or so these three stories (there are others, but I was not attracted to their genres) sell on Amazon for USD 0.99 and are supposed to rise to USD 2.99 thereafter. I like stories such as these for my students of English as a second language. I must read everything I recommend making sure I don’t damage cultural sensitivities.

The blurb accompanying SYNCO™ by J.R. Kruze is this mouthful of run-together words: Short Fiction Young Adult Science Fiction Fantasy. That could be two genres or four.

Per the title, the world is in sync, it is a peaceful place, maintained and monitored by social media. The largest social media concerns had merged to form SYNCO™. The idea was that everybody had signed the Terms of Use documents without reading them and in doing so had given up all rights to privacy. Then the organization had begun to homogenize language by defining and eliminating anti-social sentiments. What was left was social doctrine.

Orders: To Obey Or Not Obey?

Spin Drift by Lisette Kristensen is a very short story describing the culmination of Mossad training with an operational test. Pass the test and you graduate. Fail the test and it would not matter; candidates who failed died Is this realistic? Sure, it can happen but the conditions under which it would happen are more stressful than described in this short story. For fans of this type of story look at accounts of military teams operating on horseback in Afghanistan, actions on the part of Seal Team Six, some of which have inadvertently been declassified. For non-fiction from the past look at Five Years to Freedom by Col. Nick Rowe, a prisoner of the Viet Cong and NVA for the number of years indicated. Also look at the operation under the Carter administration to rescue US hostages from the US Embassy in Tehran. The Commander on the ground was Col. Charles Beckwith, the main inspiration for and leader of Delta Force. I mention all these things to give some credibility to this story. Fact (mentioned above) can be stranger than fiction.

Not Your Usual Writing

A Mystery Reader 0001: Short Stories From New Voices is a collection of six short stories. I downloaded the book free from Prolific Works. An expanded work is on Amazon for USD 4.99 under the title New Voices 001. That work has the same authors but far more than six stories. I was attracted to the book by words in the title “New Voices.” The Voices may be new, but they are prolific authors as indicated by a list of their many, many works listed at the end of the publication. SUGGESTION: Story number four should be read after story number one.

Collected Horror Short Stories

Duncan Ralston describes Video Nasties as a “Horror Mixtape.” The descriptive writing in each story of this sixteen story collection will allow the reader to “see” or experience dread and horror for 426 (Kindle) pages. Readers can then close the book and go back to a cheerful, safe, and sane real world. If that were only so.

A Ruined Weekend

Death of a Saturday by Janice Croom is published to introduce readers to her writing style. Interested readers then will read further stories in the Kadence MacBride series: Death of an Idiot Boss and Death of an Island Tart both available on Amazon. I received this short story for free through Prolific Works (formerly Instafreebie) and joined the authors mailing list.

Kadence and husband Terrence were having a quiet weekend until Kadence’s mom called. Her good friend Hattie McBride was in jail for murdering her husband, Blind Willie. Mom knew Hattie hadn’t done it and demanded that daughter Kadence take husband Terrence with her to the jail and bring Hattie from the jail to Mom’s house. Of course, Mom said, Hattie was innocent.

Revenge Served hot

Shifter by Miguel Estrada is a horror short story of revenge on a couple of levels. Clancy Reynolds and Christina were in love. They agreed on that. He had told her he loved her. She had replied with similar words. On the night they met in the restaurant when Clancy intended to seal the deal with a proposal of marriage, something had changed. They both had something important to say. For Clancy, it was “I love you.” For Christina, it was “I’m leaving you.” Not only was Christina leaving, but she was leaving Clancy for someone else.

Lucas is Awesome

Madhouse by Miguel Estrada is a 58-page short story available for USD 0.00 as a purchase (not KU) from Amazon. The very short story will have a very short review. Anything more would be an automatic spoiler.

Lucas was a clever kid. At eleven-years-old, he liked to play games with his parents. Every afternoon coming home from school, he would sneak into his house in a different way to surprise his parents. They never knew where they might find him in the house. That kind of behavior inevitably led to Lucas discovering a secret about his parents. He knew from other kids the meaning of what he heard from his parents. He did not intend to live the life his friends did, one week with mom, one weekend with dad. It was time for action. Lucas would run away from home. His mom and dad would come together in an effort to find him. Only then would Lucas come home.

Shop ‘Til You Drop

When The Sun Shines by Grace M. Jolliffe has an eye-catching blurb on its cover: “Buy Now, Pay Later.” It almost sounds like advice for life rather than a shopping option. This is a prequel novella to The Sunshine Girl in Jolliffe’s Liverpool series.