Tag Archives: Short Stories

Short and Flashy2 with Bonus Short Story

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Short Story Cartoon2

 

Short and Flashy may be the new in thing with writing and I’m so glad to hear it because I love writing short stories and flash fiction.  I found that out about myself when I was writing my first book, The Tower.  When I needed to have a brain change because I couldn’t find the words I needed to say for the book, I would write a piece of flash fiction or a short story so I could think about something else besides the book I was writing. It helped reset my brain.  It made it easier for me to come up with what I needed for my book.

Over the fast few years, people have read more of my short stories and flash fiction. I am assuming it is due to lack of perceived time to read.

Do you know what flash fiction is? In case you don’t, I will try to explain.  Flash Fiction is a complete story (has all the components of a story) in a limited number of words. They can be challenging to complete.

Think about how our reading world has changed since the computer came along.  The time was we had no choice but to go to the book store or the library to get our reading material.  Now we have small portable screens that let us have a book zipped to us over the airwaves.  We can get anything we want to read from Amazon including short stories which we might read while we’re sitting under the hairdryer or waiting in a doctor’s office.

According to Anne R. Allen, one of the authors of How to be a Writer in the E-age: A self-Help Guide, short stories make money and hold their value.  Kindle Singles often sell for the same as a novel-length book.  Ellery Queen and Woman’s World still pay top dollar for genre stories.

Short stories are great for practice.  Learning to write short stores can keep your writing from getting sloppy.  Having short stories in your portfolio might give you another book to publish or an opportunity to publish in a magazine.

I put the majority of my short stories in an eBook called Shirley’s Shorts and Flashes. The book was published on Amazon.  Publishing my work of short stories was something I didn’t want to pass up.  You may also have an opportunity to see what you can do.

Below you will find one of my short stories called Angie’s Secret.  Please comment with a critique and let me know the good and the bad.

Amazon link to Shirley’s Shorts and Flashes:  http://amzn.to/15HB87j


 

Angie’s Secret

 

“Are you going to tell him?” Mattie asked.

“Heavens no, this is my secret. I told you because you’re my best friend, and I know I can trust you.” Angie sat at the table with her cup of tea. She was pale around the eyes and mouth. “I am doing this on my own. I’m thirty-four years old, and I know this is the right thing for me.”

“It may be right for you, but girl you look like crap. Do you want another cup of tea?”

“Sure.”

Mattie went to the stove and brought the teapot back to the table. She asked Angie if she’s eating enough.

Mockingly Angie replied, “Yes, mother, I am. I can take care of myself. Stop worrying about me.”

“How do you think you’re going to pull this off when he barely lets you out of his sight?”

Angie thought of the days ahead as she sipped her tea. Her excitement showed.

Mattie looked at her, seeing the smile, said, “Ok, girlfriend, spill the beans. I want to know what’s making you smile.”

“I have to go home.”

“Angie, remember, no matter what, I’m your friend.” Mattie grabbed Angie, hugged her tightly.

“I’ll be in touch, and don’t worry,” Angie said as they broke apart. She walked back to her house. Her bedroom light was on. Crap, he must know I’m not in my room. I’ll walk through the front door as the grown woman I am.

After she entered the house, she almost made it to the stairs before she heard her father’s harsh voice.

“Angie, is that you?”

“Yes, father, it’s me.”

“Come here immediately,” her father, bellowed.

Angie walked into the library, ready for battle. Her father kicked back in the recliner, with a drink in his hand, asked, “Where have you been?”

“I went to Arlene’s for tea. I left your dinner on the table.”

“It was cold. You are one lousy cook.”

“Yes, father. I’m going upstairs to my room, goodnight, father.”

***

The clock advanced slowly, but 2 a.m. arrived. She pulled her suitcase from beneath her bed, took one last look at her room and left. Her father appeared to be asleep when she opened the front door. As she stepped out into the night air, she took her first deep breath of freedom.

She whispered, “John, are you here?”

“No, he’s not here,” her father said laughingly.

The Time is Here…..

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I’m so excited and can’t keep my old heart from jumping up and down. I finally have my book of short stories on Amazon. It’s called, “Shirley’s Shorts and Flashes”. You can read just about any genre you want with these stories. I started working on them a couple of years ago.

One thing I’m very pleased about is using Afaheem Solutions to do the drawings before every chapter. Those pictures set the story off and give you little hints what it’s about. It was fun to see what concepts he would come up with in a short period of time. If I wanted something changed he would do it immediately.

I think my favorite of the stories is Forever Love based on a true event from my life. If you like paranormal, love and tragedy all wrapped up in a neat package, you will like this story.

Take a look at it and let me know what you think about the book.  Blessings to all.        Shirley

A Short Story (The Bluff) and Vacation

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Hello everyone. I am off to North Carolina and the beach today. Before I leave I decided to post a short story I wrote a couple of days ago. It’s a true story based on a lesson my six year old taught me (she’s now 41). I hope you enjoy it. I will post again after I get back from my trip.  Blessings to all.


I became a mother at the ripe old age of eighteen. I soon learned I knew nothing about raising a child. Three years later, I decided I needed two children to show off my child rearing abilities. I had a beautiful son and daughter.

My son, Allan, was the best boy. He loved to hunt, fish, and played Evil Kenivel on his bike. The trips to the hospital are another story. This story is about my little princess, Stephanie. She taught me an extremely valuable lesson about bluffing.

For some reason during her first year of school, Stephanie decided to stretch her independence. From a mother’s point of view, a six-year-old, in the first grade needs a great deal of motherly love and guidance.

This beautiful, blonde, blue-eyed, little girl was a bit hard-headed. That came from her father’s side of the family, of course. I’d ask her to do something, and she would stand with her hands on her hips and tell me no. She got her tail busted a few times, but it didn’t seem to matter to her. (By the way, you have to remember, back in the 70’s, busting tail wasn’t considered abuse.) I had to think of a creative way to get my daughter to behave. I came up with the perfect idea.

When Stephanie misbehaved, I would explain to her I was sending her to a convent run by Nuns, who would make her behave. We weren’t Catholic, and I’m sure she didn’t have a clue of what a convent was. All she knew I was going to send her away from home and that was all she needed to behave. I had my well-behaved daughter back. That is until October.

One Thursday evening in October, my little angel reverted to an obstinate, hateful, child. She pushed me to my limit. You know they do learn at a remarkably early age what buttons to push to send you near to the breaking point and then back off. With my control being reached, I yelled, “All right, little girl, I have had it with you. Come Monday morning you will be enrolled at the convent.” Of course, I didn’t have any intention of taking her anywhere, much less the fact I wasn’t even sure there was a convent in Oklahoma.

Stephanie believed me, settled down, and began watching TV with her brother. It ended up a real,enjoyable evening, and not even problems going to bed. I patted myself on the back, one more time for controlling my daughter without having to bust her tail.

Friday morning, the kids got up without any problem, had breakfast and headed out the door to school. I headed to work. I was the Director of Nursing at a nursing home. My day was going well, that is until 1:00 PM and I heard an overhead page announcing a phone call for me.

“Hello”, this is Shirley. How can I help you?” I’m thinking it’s a doctor’s office calling with orders. That’s the usual calls I received.

“Shirley, this is Amanda Jenkins, Stephanie’s teacher.”

“Is Stephanie hurt? What’s wrong?” I asked. I felt panic.

“Oh, nothing is wrong. I just wanted to ask you to come by the school and sign Stephanie’s transfer papers.”

“What? She’s not transferring anywhere.” I had forgotten about the night before.

“Stephanie came to me this afternoon and turned her books in. She said you were transferring her from here today, and she would start on Monday at another school.”

My darling called my bluff. I had to explain to the teacher what happened. I didn’t think she was going to stop laughing. I felt like an idiot. I never bluffed my daughter again. She taught me a good lesson about bluffing. Don’t do it unless you’re willing to follow through and accept the consequences. My consequences were, I had to eat crow.

 

“Warning” A Challenge. Can you do it?

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Here’s a challenge for you. Write a 100 word flash fiction, any genre. You must have a main character, beginning, climax and ending.  If you will send them to me at shirley_mclain.net, I will post them on my blog. When you write a story using only 100 words it is really bare bones, no fluff.  Let’s see what you can come up with.

I am posting the one I wrote for FanStory. It has made the All Time Favorite status and is also entered into a contest. I hope you enjoy the read and please let me know what you think of it.

I look forward to reading your stories and sharing them.

 

Warning

Thunder rumbled in the distance as Sally slipped out the door of her house. She had to get away from her vile, drunken husband. The police were her only hope. She knew if her husband found her, she’d be badly hurt.
“I need to talk to someone, please.”
“Hello, how can I help you?”
“My husband is going to hurt me. Please help me.”
“I’ll take you back and I’ll talk to him. Come with me.”
“No, don’t go to the door.”
Ignoring Sally’s warning, the officer went to the door, and rang the doorbell.
Six shots into the chest

How Do You know?

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The best short stories of Mark TwainOK, I admit it, I really don’t know a great deal about writing.  That expression “flying by the seat of my pants” is exactly what I’m doing. I have to say I learn something new  every day and I find that exciting. Knowledge is what makes the world go round. Everything we have in life is due to someone’s knowledge and ingenuity.

Right now I am struggling with a simple thing(not to me), that is knowing, but not knowing enough.  I want to get the perfect title for a book of short stories.  I came up with a list of titles, but nothing seems right.  The stories are of different genres from horror to mystery with  even a love story or two. A title might fit one but not all.  So how do you come up with a title?

I’ve tried the internet and I can’t say I got much help from there. There was lots of information about how to write a short story. There were a couple of articles that mentioned naming but they were talking about one story not a dozen or so.  Usually my titles just come to me but not this time.

We all want the perfect title that will grab the attention of the reader so they will pick up the book. We want the title to lead them to open the book, and never put it down until it’s read. Here are six keys to writing a title by Terri Marie of White Wing Entertainment:
1. Write down all possible titles. Anything and everything you can think of. You never know which phrase may catch and stick.
2. Pay attention to how YOU feel when you tell others your title. Do you feel proud, tentative, scared, stupid? The feeling you want is like a proud mother or father of your new little baby. Give it the best name you can. It will be called that name the rest of its life.
3. I also researched other titles on amazon. You don’t want a title that everyone has. It will get lost. You also don’t want a title so obscure or under-descriptive that nothing will come up on a search.
4. It needs to have intrigue and yet be clear.
“Things Your Priest Doesn’t Want You To Know,” would be intriguing. So would “Things Your (fill in the blank) Doesn’t Want You To Know.” We humans like to know what others are doing, thinking feeling etc.
5. Does your title help the reader to become a better person? We want to strive higher, yet it has to be an achievable goal without huge effort. If your title is “How to increase your IQ by 10 points, studying an extra 5 hours a day,” I’m not interested.
6. Sum up your book in one sentence. Write as many as you can of these one liners. If you get just one chance to give a message from your book to others, what would you say? That’s often all you get. Use it wisely. When it all comes down to it, go with your gut.

Does knowing the above information make it any easier? It doesn’t for me. When it comes to titles, how do you know?