This week is National Short Story Week (16th to 22nd November), an event I look forward to each year. I enjoy reading and writing this form of literature so I want to support this annual event by encouraging readers to dip their toes into short stories. There’s so much to choose from in this writing form. Several times this week, I’m featuring short stories from a variety authors and genres.
Today, instead of concentrating on a particular genre, I’m featuring the work of several members of Writers Abroad, an online organisation for ex-pat writers which I belong to. Our members write everything from historical to contemporary fiction, science fiction, poetry and anything and everything in between.
Before I get to the short stories, I want to first pay tribute to one of our members, Doreen Porter, who passed away earlier this week following a heart attack. Although we knew that Doreen had suffered from health setbacks, after cancer treatment a couple years ago, she had bravely got on with her life, baking, painting, playing Scrabble online and of course, writing. She was a central member of Writers Abroad and produced the WA magazine. Doreen didn’t write short stories as such. Her work is more humorous anecdotal tales as illustrated by her look at living in France:
I is for Illuminated Salt and Pepper Pots (and other everyday essentials) by Doreen Porter.
The book is an A to Z of the more quirky aspects of living in France. It’s an affectionate and humorous look at the country. An alphabet of French adventures, from meeting a family of Belgian hitchhikers having a bad day, to the trials of getting a phone installed and the quirks of driving in France. From finding a parking space to the perils of French bureaucracy.
You may only be 90 minutes from the UK, but you are most definitely Abroad. You realize the French you learnt at school doesn’t equip you for telling the plumber your boiler is making strange, gurgling noises or buying a mousetrap at the ironmongers. You demand a recipe from the guy at the motorway toll booth, instead of a receipt, tell the odd-job man you’re having problems with a Musketeer in your bedroom and ask to clean all the shoes in the window display of a shoe shop.
And find answers to some of the biggest questions of all: Why do the French love illuminated salt and pepper pots? Why do entire French towns and villages appear to be abandoned for 11 months of the year? And how do you get out of a town when all the signs appear to take you in ‘other directions’.
Now for the short stories and story collections. There’s everything from historical to supernatural and more besides.
Bound to Night by Nina Croft.
Waking up after a brutal werewolf attack, telepath Tasha Grant finds herself a prisoner of The Facility, an organization carrying out illegal research into the paranormal. She dreams of freedom, a normal life, and going home, but after eight long years, she believes it will never happen. Her life changes with the arrival of the stunningly gorgeous Jack, the latest unwilling guest of The Facility. Passion flares between them, but Jack refuses to share his body or his mind.
Jack must fight his burning desire for Tasha; he has a job to do—destroying The Facility—plus a very good reason for keeping his distance from the young werewolf. Only when they escape their prison, does he admit his feelings and accept the possibility of a future together. However, Tasha yearns for a normal life, and Jack is a vampire…
As the past unravels and they uncover the secrets behind Tasha’s attack, she realizes that ‘home’ is farther away than ever. Now, she must decide if that matters when the alternative is a place at Jack’s side…
Reflections by Louise Charles.
This is her first collection of short stories. Some of them have been published in a variety of media including popular magazines, anthologies and online story sites. The remainder have been on a mixture of long lists, shortlists and honorable mentions and have finally found a home here in ‘Reflections’.
Dancing Shadows, Tramping Hooves by Dianne Ascroft.
A collection of half a dozen short stories with Irish connections. Tales of outsiders who discover they belong, a humorous slice of life yarn, heartwarming love stories and a tale of taming fear. The shadows are on the wall, in the heart and clouding a woman’s memories while tangible foes tramp through the physical landscape.
Bertie’s Buttons in Foreign Encounters, Writers Abroad Anthology 2012 by Vanessa Couchman.
Bertie Connolly is sitting in his dugout in late December 1914, writing to his parents. He recounts the strange tale of the Christmas Truce 1914, when German and British soldiers came out into no-man’s-land, forgot for a few hours that they were at war and treated each other as fellow men.
Check back on Friday when I’m featuring authors who write Irish tales.