Judy Penz Sheluk

I often feel overwhelmed with all the reading that is piling up on my Kindle, especially when I start a new novel and my Kindle reader tells me that the approximate time for reading the novel is 8 hours or more. Therefore, I was happy to download Judy Penz Sheluk’s collection of short stories – stories that can be read before going to bed or while sipping a glass of wine lying on a lounge chair.

Although Penz Sheluk is known for her Glass Dolphin Mysteries  and the Marketville Mysteries this collection of short stories demonstrates her skill as a short story writer.

  The stories are fast paced and unpredictable, filled with twists and turns that kept me swiping the pages of my Kindle and made me feel that, in such short time, I knew the characters.

If you’re pressed for time and looking for something fun to read  consider 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.

For more on Judy Penz Sheluk visit her author page.

 

 

 

 

Devious Tales

There’s a saying in writing: make every word count or at the very least have every paragraph/scene be relevant. This can be argued, especially for the novel where there is room for sub-plots and leisure strolls through gardens and having tea with a favorite aunt. Not so for the short story. Short stories are (generally) tight, concentrated and condensed.

John Greco’s latest collection of short stories, Devious Tales has all the technical markings of this form and Greco skillfully merges his skill as writer and photographer in these twelve snapshots of life.

His stories are also highly influenced by his passion for noir film and fiction. His short story Late Night Diner reminded me of the rural diner in James Cain’s The Postman Always Rings Twice and I immediately associated his story The Organic Garden to one Stephen King could have written because of its macabre and conniving ending.

John Greco’s stories delve into the dark side of human nature. What makes his stories particularly striking is that his characters (devious, at times creepy and horrendous) are also quite ordinary people who remind us that we too have a lot in common with them.  So frightening!

 

The characters in these short stories, although not always directly involved in crime take advantage of one, others seek revenge or lust, money and, at times murder all with unexpected and disturbing twists.

Many of the stories revolve around the relationship between man and woman as in An Almost Perfect Woman which illustrates Greco’s crisp, engaging style of writing:

To be honest I don’t find many women good companions. I am a quiet kind of guy, and women, well they like to talk. Not just talk but express their feelings. They need to tell you how they feel. Expose every emotion, bare their soul! And all I can think about when this kind of tirade starts, there is no other word to describe it, is when is this night going to end!

In his blog Greco recently posted his suggestions for summer reading. I’d add Devious Tales to the list.

 

Not Another: A story by Ann Fields

Ann Fields’ short story, Not Another, is part of Voices from the Block – a Legacy of African-American Literature.

voices-from-the-block-ebook-november-2016

 

Ann Fields transports us into another world where her protagonist, The Young Wife, is determined to make her community a safe place for the children by fighting The Great White – a monster who demands, every so often, the sacrifice of a child as protection for the village.

The nameless Young Wife is the kind of character that one reads fiction for. She brazenly and stubbornly puts aside her own needs in order to fight for a better world where peace dominates evil. Hers is an altruistic world. She is brave and strong and refuses to be defeated. And as all good protagonists, The Young Wife brings us to question our own weaknesses: would we, like her, be willing to give up our cozy lives in order to defeat a malice that does not personally touch us?

In her opening of Not Another Ann Fields writes this dedication:

To the people of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria,

Ivory Coast and others…

America, where is your revolution?

In this world of increasing intolerance Not Another offers inspiration and hope. What more can we ask of literature?

Besides this poignant and relevant story, Ann Fields played a significant role in bringing together this inspiring collection of essays, poetry, short stories and fiction starts by talented and gifted writers.

As a tribute to Black History Month, Voices from the Block is a book you’ll want to read any month, especially in March when Ann is planning to spotlight some of the writers whose works appear in this anthology.

 

The Witness

The week before she left her father died. He was murdered. Some said that it had to do with his wife’s mental state; others said  that he’d been caught in some affair with another woman. When word got around, people said that if anyone should have been murdered in that family it should have been Laura’s mother.

 By Forrest Cavale

  That’s an excerpt from my  short story The Witness which is in this summer’s issue of   Carte Blanche  Online Magazine.

You can read the entire story here:

http://carte-blanche.org/genres/fiction/

And while you’re there check out their submissions guidelines. They take fiction, non-fiction, poetry, photography, comic, video.