I have a collection of my short stories available at Amazon titled, "Scattered Bones". From today until November 30th, I'm offering the Kindle version for FREE. Yeah, I know all the flash fiction I have out there is free on the US Amazon site (haven't broken the code with the UK site yet), but you also get three short stories, "Burial Ground", "Reflections" and "Broken" in this collection, which aren't free. Nice little read for a long Thanksgiving weekend!
So . . . why do I think short stories are magical? Below is the intro for "Scattered Bones", which I believe explains it pretty well. If you'd like to grab yourself a copy, just click on the picture.
The Magic of Short Stories
I always tinkered with the idea of writing fiction while growing up, but never formally put pen to paper until my late 30's. I still remember the moment I decided to start writing; it was April 2001, and I was on a remote assignment for the Air Force in the middle of Alaska, sitting in my dorm room & counting down the days until I could return home to my wife & kids in California. I'd finished reading an absolutely horrid horror novel (pun intended)—the author and title escape me—and thought to myself, "If this joker can write a book, I certainly can!" So, later that night, armed with a boatload of blissful inexperience and a clunky Acer Pentium 75 desktop, I started the draft that would eventually become my first novel, The Coming. I soon discovered writing a novel was far more difficult than I thought, and later realized finding an agent and/or publisher willing to take on a new writer was even more frustrating than I'd ever imagined. The hundred-or-so rejection letters I received for that first novel (including a very special one date-stamped the day prior to the date I sent the query package) never stopped me, though. I truly enjoy telling stories, and I haven't quit writing since.
For those who've written a novel, you know it's quite an all-encompassing endeavor. Some writers—those prolific wordsmiths whom I happen to envy—can pump-out a novel in a matter of months, or even weeks. Sadly, I tend to write much like Forest Gump runs: not very fast, but steady when the spirit decides to move me (I also like boxes of chocolates, and I'm not a smart man, but that's not important right now). Novels are a time-sucker, and like most writers not named King, Koontz, Patterson or Saul, time to write comes late at night or early in the morning, before or after the normal hours of the day, where one must take care of the annoying day job/rent/mortgage/car payment/eating thing. More than anything, that simple fact is why I enjoy writing short stories—when it comes to time-sucking, short stories aren't quite as vampiric as the Great American Novel tends to be.
While perusing the titles at Smashwords.com (where I first published The Coming and my second novel The Mengele Effect as eBooks), I ran across a short, flash fiction horror story. I read it, enjoyed it, and did a little research. Flash fiction—stories with word counts anywhere between 300 and 1,000 words—seemed like a perfect way for me to put pen (fingers) to paper (keyboard) and give birth to some of the ideas bouncing around inside my misshapen noggin. They wanted out. So, I obliged.
My initial venture into flash fiction, titled "Ripple", is the first story in this collection. I wrote in on a Saturday afternoon, and published it on Smashwords the next day. For me, the magic of crafting short stories began a few hours later, when "Ripple" received its first review. Two little words. One was "Definitely", the other, "disturbing". With that, I knew I'd hit the exact mark I was aiming for, and the aforementioned spirit gave me a forceful shove.
Most of the stories in this collection—with the exception of "Reflections", "Burial Ground" and "Broken"—are flash fiction pieces, each roughly 1,000 words in length. If you want a little scare before you head off to work, or before you crawl into bed for the night, a quick dose of flash fiction might just be the ticket. I'll let you decide.
So, now that I've rambled on for much too long, why do I think short stories are magical, you ask? If I can take your hand and lead to a different place—if only for a few short minutes—and guide you down that darkened path of the mind where fear and shock await at every turn, then yes, I believe that is surely magical. If I happen to scare you, shock you, cause you to wonder, or perhaps make you smile a little, the magic, my friend, is there.
Each story in this collection is a small, emaciated bone tossed along the darkened path down which I wish you to travel. I encourage you to pick them up as you go, touch them, hold them in your hands for a bit, feel the texture. If I've done my job, you may realize these little scattered bones seem oddly familiar. As well they should, for down deep—whether you wish to admit it or not—they're part of you.
I hope you enjoy reading these stories as much I as I enjoyed writing them.
After all, I wrote them especially for you.
November 16th, 2013
So there you have it. Enjoy the magic, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!