Saturday, May 17, 2014

Ghoulies and Ghosties and The Woman in Black

I've been reading lots of classic ghost stories lately and decided to finally read THE WOMAN IN BLACK novel.  I saw the movie (with Daniel Radcliffe when it first came out) and loved the story.  I kept hearing rumors that the stage-play version and the book version had different endings, so that intrigued me.

I finished the book last night and sure enough, the ending is different than the movie.  The horror was subtle, but effective, and it was written almost like a Victorian novel. No spoilers, sweetie!  I will say that the book left me with a more upbeat feeling. Now I'm looking forward to getting the stage play and reading it and perhaps seeing it performed someday.

Who's that, sneaking up behind you?
Why all this interest?  I've always loved what I call "light horror" and decided that one of my newest projects will be a ghost story, maybe a novella or in the least, a long short story.  I have written a few short comedy ghost story/sketches, but  nothing as ambitious as a novella.  Let's just say that moving into an old house with strange noises has inspired me. :-)

bobbi c.

Monday, May 12, 2014

May is Short Story Month!

Dear friends,

Those of us who write short stories are glad to see a whole month devoted to them.  We like to think that the short story is undergoing a bit of a renaissance.  In the past, as Anne R. Allen mentions in her blog post from yesterday, The New Golden Age of Short Fiction: 12 Reasons to Write a Short Story This Month, authors have used short stories as practice runs for longer works, such as novels.

But some of us write short stories predominantly, and there are even online groups for authors who do so.  Like the Short Mystery Fiction Society, for example. I'm a proud member of the group.

 One of our members, author Susan Oleksiw, is writing on the SMFS blog today about her experiences in writing short fiction, and the differences in writing short crime fiction vs. the crime novel.

You can read one of Susan's short stories, The Secret of the Pulluvan Drum, free online.

Other members of the SMFS have stories free to read online:

Ben Solomon, The Hard-Boiled Detective, has a story,  No. 3: Simeon Von Runk, here.

Georgia Ruth, has a story titled The Blue Ridge Wreath over on Stupefying Stories.

Other online stories to read or listen to were written by SMFS member Rob Lopresti.

Shanks on the prowl (podcast)
Shanks holds the line
Snake in the Sweetgrass (podcast)
Crow's feat

And here are two dramatizations of his stories by the Midnight Mystery Players:
Crow's avenue
Crow's feat

And a story by Jan Christensen, Why I Quit Jogging. You can find more of Jan's mystery stories on her website.

With the ease of publishing digital e-books now on Amazon for the Kindle and for other devices, many authors are taking matters into their own hands and publishing their own collections of stories.  Many small presses are popping up and publishing anthologies of stories, too.  From science-fiction/fantasy, to mystery/suspense, action-adventure or horror---no matter what you love to read, you can find numerous short story collections out there now.  And many of the classic pulp authors are being re-published, too.

There are lots of new online 'zines that publish short stories, way too many to mention here.  Over the past few years, some of my stories have been published online, free for readers. And many public libraries have special sections for short story collections. Check 'em out!

If the last short story you read was something back in high school, give it a chance again.  They are great for filling in all those "waiting times"---take out your smart phone or Kindle and read a short story.

A few of my short stories that have been published over the past few years are listed through the "Free Macabre & Mystery Short Stories" link above.  I hope you enjoy them!

I  have also published a series of "Nameless, Texas" short mystery stories for sale over on Amazon.

Happy reading!

bobbi c.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Longest short story ever!

Dear friends/fans of mysterious fiction,

Back in 2008, I had a published mystery novel, LONE STAR DEATH, that weighed in around 85,000 words. I wanted to write short stories since I really enjoyed them when I was much younger. I started out with flash fiction and came up with a story of 500 words.  Writing a short story is sometimes harder than writing a novel (yeah it is) because you have to encompass the entire story line in such a small space.

At that time, I thought I'd never be able to write a longer short story.  I wrote a lot of poetry, and of course, it's much shorter.  Over the years, though, I started reading voraciously---collections of mystery and macabre short stories.  I read them online, in older library books, new e-book collections/anthologies I purchased through Amazon for my Kindle and haunted used bookstores for sometimes rare volumes.  Reading those was a huge education for me, and eventually my brain started seeing how I could write longer stories, too.

Eventually, I wrote several stories in the "Nameless, Texas" short story series. These were longer, but not nearly as long as this new one.

So I did.  Yesterday, I finished  a new story that is around 8,550 words.  I did it in four drafts, adding a bit more each time.  And it only took me a month, in addition to all the other writing I'm doing (volunteer work for the local Art Guild, editing friend's work, blogging, e-mails, bits and pieces of my novel in progress, etc.) 

I'm really proud of the story.  I think (and friends agree) that it's the best thing I've written--so far.  "The Passing of Big Mama Mayhall" is a macabre, strange story that could mostly be categorized as Southern Gothic. And maybe a bit "Hitchcockian."   I love it when people tell me my stories are Hitchcockian! :-D

So, writing the story was the FIRST step.  Now I have to decide what to do with it.  I tried not to worry about this while writing the story---that's something I frequently get all jacked up about. Sometimes I write to themes or specific Calls for Submissions, sometimes a line will come to me.  This time, the first line came to me as a bit of dialogue.

"Elsie, honey. I'm so sorry . . . Big Mama has done gone and passed."  From there, the characters started speaking, and the story emerged.

Happy trails from Texas!

bobbi c.