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April 22, 2016

S is for Short Fiction #AtoZChallenge

Stories come all shapes and sizes. We are all familiar with epic tomes like War and Peace, Crime and Punishment. But there are also stories on the other end of the scale: micro stories (I've seen a Facebook thread for 6 word stories!), flash fiction (usually 100 to 1,000 words), short stories, and novellas. While short stories have long been part of the literature landscape, I wonder if the rise in flash fiction and novellas is a result of the indie publishing movement. Serials is another form of short fiction that was popular when publishing was expensive and few had access to books and instead these stories were published in installments in magazines and newspapers. Serials have seen a resurgent, again I think it may be a combined result of the indie publishing movement and ebooks.

Do you like reading short fiction? It can be a great way to get your reading fix when you have a busy schedule. Susan is recommending a novella and I have a short story for you today. I would love to hear your recommendations. ~ Donna

Dreams of Stillwater
The Dreams of Stillwater (Stillwater Bay Series Book 2) by Steena Holmes
review by Susan Roberts

Steena Holmes takes her readers back to Stillwater in book 2 of this series, where a terrible school shooting killed several children and teachers in a small tight knit community. Instead of focusing on the people directly affected by the shooting in this book, she writes about several people in the town who were suffering from the aftermath of the shooting even though they didn't lose family members. It shows so well that its an entire community that suffers in an event as horrific as a shooting - maybe to a different degree than the people directly related but its still painful.

The book is about two different families. Grace is suffering because she called in sick on the day of the shooting and asked her best friend to substitute for her - she is filled with survivor's guilt because her friend is dead and she is alive. Paige is having problems living her life because she is grieving for her 'almost' boyfriend and what could have been. Her sister doesn't understand her grief and they are having problems in the flower business that they share.

This is a fantastic book. Steena writes her characters so well the reader feels like they are people that they know in their every day lives. She is now writing Stillwater Deep and I am really looking forward to reading more about the people of this town as they heal.

Buy The Dreams of Stillwater at Amazon

Two Doors Down
Two Doors Down: Secret Admirer by J. Jennings
review by Donna Huber

As far as short stories go, Two Doors Down was really well done. However, I have to wonder if it isn't more of a serial. If you think of a book in three acts, then Two Doors Down would definitely be act one.

Kate and Rick have been neighbors and friends for a while. There is definitely some chemistry between these two right from the start. But it is clearly a case of not seeing what is right in front of you, particularly on Rick's part.

The story is tight with its focus on the potential romance between Kate and Rick, though there is room for a lovely elderly neighbor. The conversation the three of them had in the hall had me giggling.
"Yeah?" Rick asks with a small grin.
"Try to keep it down, dear. I'm an old lady now; I need my sleep and your...lady friends are not helping."
Kate barks out a laugh as Rick's face turns beet red. "S-s-sorry, ma'am," He stutters. "I'll try to be a little quieter."
"Oh, it's not so much you, dear," Mrs. Waterman insists. "It's your lady friends; they're quite vocal in the throes of passion. I just need them to scream a little less. Perhaps try a gag. It always worked for me." Rick's face is nearly violet red with embarrassment now and Kate is using the wall for support as her body shakes with laughter. Mrs Waterman doesn't look embarrassed by her own frank attitude towards sex, though, and just gives them a decisive nod as she enters her apartment and closes the door.
Though the story was short, I quickly became attached to Rick and Kate and want to know how their date went, if they will make it as a couple. At Goodreads I see that there is a second book, Two Doors Down: Blurred Line. The addition of the the subtitle on the book I read, Secret Admirer, and the title of the second gives more credence that this is indeed a serial and not just a short story. Unfortunately, I am unable to find either of the books on Amazon. I do hope they reappear.

See other books by J. Jennings at Amazon

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  1. I love short fiction. I guess it takes a different skill to write it short and have the writer picture the rest.

  2. Writing short fiction is an art. I like writing short fiction as I do reading it.

    G. R. McNeese from
    Project Blacklight