Graveyard Shift Sister: Kenya Moss-Dyme

May is Short Story Month, so I’ve asked horror short story author Kenya Moss-Dyme to be Graveyard Shift Sister of the month.

As such, I’ve reviewed her collection Daymares, seven short tales of all-too-possible horror. Kenya is excellent at choosing everyday subjects and twisting them into stories that make you not want to trust anyone. I mean, we all know what happens when our loved one gets possessed by the spirit of a dead gangster. It’s hard to trust a guy after that.

Joan Pringle in J.D.'s Revenge (1976).  Watch this movie for what happens with the aforementioned possession thing.
Joan Pringle in J.D.’s Revenge (1976).
Watch this movie for what happens with the aforementioned possession thing.

Read my review of Daymares and my interview with Kenya on the Graveyard Shift Sisters site here.

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Short Story Month: “Sweat”

The end of Short Story Month is upon us and I have a final few tales to share.  (Not that won’t still periodically share them throughout the year. I’m sure I will–I’m such a rogue.)

I’m ending the month with two of Zora Neale Hurston’s stories. While modern books on writing tell aspiring authors to stay away from writing dialect, Hurston is a master of it. The contrast between the dialogue of her characters and her crisp “King’s English” narrative voice is stark, but she balances her stories with the right amount of each.

I've always loved this quote.
I’ve always loved this quote.

Maybe this dialect is easy for me to read as I am from the American South and grew up around similar pronunciations. If you have trouble with this patois–I’m going to sound like an English teacher here–sound out the words and their meaning should become clear.

“Sweat” is a tale of what happens when a woman has had enough. Enough abuse and enough of her abuser.

***Warning*** The “N” word is present in this story. Thought you should know before you read her story here.

Also read her short story “The Gilded Six Bits.”

Short Story Month: “The Open Window”

My next recommendation is Saki’s “The Open Window”. A short story about a with an unexpected ending.

I hate to say too much about it in case you haven’t read the tale. (Do it now, it won’t take long.) But I’ll say that its subtly handled twist has made it a perfect story to translate to the visual medium. It’s been the subject of several tv adaptations.

I watched this on PBS one Sunday afternoon, then made a point to look for the story.  I was not disappointed.
I watched this on PBS one Sunday afternoon, then made a point to look for the story.
I was not disappointed.

Saki is the pen name of Hector Hugh Munro or H.H. Munro, as he is sometimes called.

saki-cover

 

Reading this, you’ll see why you should not always listen to the stories of little girls. Check out Saki’s story here.

Short Story Month: “Samsa in Love”

Next on my list of short stories I want to share is Haruki Murakami’s “Samsa in Love”. It’s opening turns the first line of Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis on its head and gives the reader a less bleak ending than Kafka’s classic.

I love a love story, but it has to be the right kind. For me, it must be between characters that feel like real people with relatable flaws and pains. And for some reason, they decide to set aside those hurts in hopes that this may be the right one.

Any love story that I add to my list of treasured tales will also have people who aren’t ideals of physical perfection.

I want to read about a broken nose that wasn’t set straight, or a chipped tooth, or a prosthetic leg. Love stories must make me feel that anyone, no– everyone, can find someone to love.

A picture of the author, from a Vogue photo shoot, I believe.
A picture of the author, from a Vogue photo shoot, I believe.

 

A book of collected works by Murakami and an orchid.  I want it. Not the orchid; I have one of those.
A book of collected works by Murakami and an orchid.
I want it.
Not the orchid; I have one of those.

That’s what I love about this story. Murakami takes two flawed characters and brings them together in this quirky and unusual tale. Samsa’s appreciation of the woman is touching as he is attracted to her because she is what the Japanese call omoshiroi— interesting– as opposed to beautiful.

I could go on, but I’d like you to read the story for yourself here.

Short Story Month: Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

My next selection of short stories I admire is “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” by Joyce Carol Oates.

I find that this tale contains one of the most subtly creepy and disturbing descriptions of a character – Arthur Friend – that I’ve ever read. It underscores the truth in Alfred Hitchcock’s quote: “There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.”

The girl’s reactions to Mr. Friend’s attention are worrying. (You’ll see that name is not appropriate.) For any writer who has received critique that their manuscript lacks tension this is a must read.

 

The author at the 2013 LA Times Festival of Books at the USC campus on April 21, 2013 I love that she's using finger quotes.  I do that...
The author at the LA Times Festival of Books at the University of Southern California campus on April 21, 2013
I love that she’s using finger quotes.
I do that…

 

If you’ve never read this tale, do it. Do it now.  It’s here.

Short Story Month: “The Cactus”

In honor of Short Story Month, I’m sharing some of the short stories I love to read. View my selection from last week.

Today, I’m sharing another short story I admire – O. Henry’s “The Cactus”.

 

A picture of the author.  I dig the handlebar mustache...
A picture of the author.
I dig the handlebar mustache…

You’re probably familiar with O. Henry’s “The Gift of the Magi”, but I enjoy this story just as much. Communication is so important in a relationship, as is being honest about your abilities. When these fall by the wayside, so does the potential of a budding romance.

I can't think of what would make this story better.  Except maybe a hand stitched book cover...
I can’t think of what would make this story better.
Except maybe a hand stitched book cover…

Read the entire story here.

 

 

 

Friday Find: May is Short Story Month

I wrote a blog post a short time ago stating that I usually am one of the last people to find out about writing-related festivities.

Not this time.

Thanks to the former organizer of my writing group, Brendan McKennedy, I found out about Short Story month on the day it began. Woot!

From the shortstory.com website on the first Short Story Month in 2013:

We are on the verge of the second golden age of the short story. Changes in distribution methods and cost, the growth of the e-reader and the fragmentation of Big Media’s hold on public attention all mean that readers, writers and editors are consuming, producing and distributing fiction in new ways.

This event is sponsored by StoryADay.org, a writing challenge where participants strive to write one short story each day in May.

 

Write one short story a day?  Oooh... maybe next year.
Write one short story a day?
Oooh… maybe next year.

 

That won’t work for my current schedule, but at least I can share the info.

What I can do this month, is share links to some of my favorite short stories.  I hope to find many of them online for free, but a few may not be available in that format. They’d be worth the price to read, though. (In my most humble opinion.)

The first I’d like to share is: “The Most Dangerous Game” by Richard Connell.

Most Dangerous Game

My understanding is that it’s been adapted for television and at least three movies. (One with Ice Cube, I believe.) The original story is one of my favorites. http://www.classicshorts.com/stories/danger.html

If you have time, check out shortstorymonth.com and StoryADay.org. Share your favorites tales using #ShortReads. I’d love to check them out.