Tag Archives: short stories

Author Showcase – Tracy A. Ball (A Cumberland Christmas: Our Christmas Nook Anthology)

Enjoy this collection of holiday super short stories: these easy, quick reads are meant to entertain, introduce you to some new authors and get you in the holiday spirit. The challenge has been set for authors…four holiday-related prompts have been provided and authors respond by filling this collection with super short stories (max 5,000 words). Mixed genres, mixed point-of-views, there’s something in this collection for everyone!

 

Which stories will you explore first?

1. It’s Christmas Eve and you’re stranded in the airport. Televisions displaying all the outgoing flights suddenly display “cancelled, cancelled, cancelled.” There’s no getting out of this town tonight, not with a blizzard on the way, and certainly not in time for Christmas with your family…

2. Wrapping presents has always been a favorite pastime, but this Christmas while wrapping, you look out the window and notice the good-looking postal worker’s gloves are holey and the soles on their boots are worn out. Suddenly, you’re filled with an urge to do something nice, but what? Gifting gloves would be too obvious since you noticed they were needed. Perhaps you should go out on a date together or make a special meal?

3. On December 1st, you pull into your garage for the evening and notice an oddly-shaped, wrapped present has been left for you. Upon further examination, the tag has your name on it, with a note not to open until Christmas…

4. Grandfather always told me this snow globe was magic. So, I finally decided to give it a shake and see for myself… 

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Blurb: 

Everyone wants to meet somebody famous. But, not him…

Summary: 

A blizzard shuts down a small airport in Cumberland, MD., but not before stranding mega-star Kyle Varian Montgomery and his over the top entourage.

To the rescue is Jazlyn, Cumberland resident who is decidedly not a fan. Together, they learn, there is more to the gift than the package it comes in.

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Snippet:

“The room you gave Varian is on the front. It’s not conducive to proper rest. Varian’s not accustomed to being awakened before noon. Morning activity; people going to work, cars and what have you; it’s a bad mix. The other rooms are smaller so that makes things a little difficult.” 

“Difficult how? Every bedroom has a bed. What else does he need?” She didn’t give him time to answer. “You people have more than a healthy amount of nerve. I don’t know if you are assuming I have the largest bedroom or if you were being nosey, but let me assure you, he’s not getting my room, and I’ll thank you to stay out of it.”

Ginald sat the empty cup down to refill it. “Jazzy, you don’t understand what it’s like to be him.”

Her hand went to her hip. “If Varian wants another room, give him yours. In this house, guests take what’s given to them and with appreciation. If you can’t do that, you might want to consider making alternate arrangements.”

“Appreciation. You’re the one without appreciation.” He imitated her hand-on-hip stance. “No one would dare deal with a star the way you’ve dealt with him. You want us to be different from who we are because we happen to be in your presence. It’s almost is if you think by helping us, you became God, and we need to beg and grovel for our just due. We expect to be treated the same way we are always treated. If you can’t do that, you might want to consider making alternate arrangements for us.” Ginald swept from the room. He ruined his dramatic exit by returning a second later to get his coffee.

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Novelist, Reviewer, Content Editor, Blogger, T-shirt Wearer, and Professional Snacker; Tracy A. Ball is a native Baltimorean and a veteran West Virginian whose family is blended from three cultures. She has opened her home to foster children, drug addicts, AIDS victims and anyone who needed an assist. She knows people who have committed murder and people who have dined with the Pope.

Which is why she writes sweet stories about tough love…and takes naps.

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Author Showcase – Ellie Douglas (Death O Death Horror Collection Vol 2)

Ten Horror Stories

Unimaginable monsters to take your breath away.
What you can’t see will horrify you.
You’ll be squirming in sheer terror.
Real and unseen-evil awaits. Watching. Lurking.
When you least expect, it will pounce and consume you!
Safety warnings: May induce a rise in blood pressure.
Don’t read alone.
Keep the lights on.

The question is: Are you brave enough?

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 ~ Anthology Content ~

Don’t Look Under The Bed
Bogeyman
Can You Imagine
Grounders
Infest
Junkyard
Point Of No Return
Siphon
Trick or Treat
Why Aren’t You Scared


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~ Excerpt from Don’t Look Under The Bed

When Sue tried to wriggle out of its grip, she could feel her hair being pulled from the roots. A surge of pain filled her skull and ran down her spine to the very bottom of her feet. Right at that moment she felt like she had been electrocuted. The creature yanked on a section of her hair so hard and fast, that she’d been left with a large bald patch and more searing hot liquid ran down her back. Sue let out a fox like scream before gritting her teeth in excruciating pain.

Each time the beast pulled and ripped sections of her hair out, she felt like she was the ocean floor being repeatedly pounded by an anchor. The weight she felt pushing her into the floor made her feel as though her ribs were going to be crushed at any moment.

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K.Z., Amazon Customer, 5⭐: Death O Death is definitely not a collection of bed time stories.
Ellie Douglas new anthology can scare the socks off the tin man! You’re not in Kansas any more, Toto! Leave the lights on.
Every story reaches just a little farther into the terrifying world of madness and gore, each tale unique and graphically written to send a new shiver down the spine with every turn of the page.
Any fan of bloody horror stories will love this new collection!

 

Mark, Amazon Customer, 5⭐: This is not simply another collection of horror stories. There is nothing simple about them AT ALL! Ellie’s imagination is unparalleled as she weaves shock upon shock, like an overcharged Electroshock Therapy treatment. Each story doubles the voltage and is liable to cause massive brain seizures!!
Be scared. Be VERY scared.
Five ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ stars for the Mistress of Murder & Mayhem.

 

Andrea, Goodreads Contributor, 4⭐: An impeccable anthology!

I don’t call Ellie Douglas ‘Horror Queen’ for no reason. She is a phenomenal writer. Anthologies might be tricky. There’s always one or another story that you might prefer that weren’t in the book. That’s not the case here. The author presents us ten impeccable short stories that will scare you to death.


In the description of the book, Douglas tells us what to expect. And she defies us – “Are you brave enough?” Believe me when I tell you, and I’m entitled to tell you because I’ve read horror a lot, you must be really brave. From the first story on you can already see that she’s right to warn us. And I dare you not be scratching your head reading ‘Infested’.


For me, what makes Douglas’ stories so good is the fact that she can turn ordinary facts into something so frightening and/or create stories which have already been told so many times into something totally new making us surprised and, of course, terrified.
I loved all ten stories, but, of course, I have my favorites: ‘Junkyard’, ‘Can You Imagine’, and ‘Point Of No Return’. All three of them leave us in ‘tense mode’ and it’s hard to see what is coming. Brilliant!


There is something really cool in this book – ‘Trick Or Treat’ and ‘Junkyard’ were starred by two real life people. And don’t think the author went easy with the characters because of it, because she didn’t.


I’ve already read a few books by this author and will certainly read all of Ellie Douglas’ books. As I said, I don’t call her ‘Horror Queen’ for no reason.

 

Read more Goodreads’ reviews here –> Goodreads Link  <—

 

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Born and raised in New Zealand, a mother and wife who donates what spare time she has into volunteer work with Autistic children.

Ellie Douglas is addicted to horror, everything about it she loves. She enjoys creating strong characters that rise to the top from ordinary lives.

Her love affair with horror has seen her produce three award winning horror books. With many more on the way.

Ellie is creative in all aspects with several adult coloring books and an online casino slot game under her belt. She is constantly striving to do more.

Ellie also makes professional book covers for authors and she makes websites, banners, and logos too.

Ellie’s ultimate aim is to give back, paying it forward and to constantly better herself. To give the audience amazing entertaining stories that she herself would read.

She would love to scare you…

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Author Showcase – Jim Proctor (In Azure Dreams)

Delve into six stories from the paranormal realm…

Caveat Emptor (story one): Mark buys a house for half the market value. He’s thrilled with the deal, but he has no idea he’s about to discover the full cost. As they say, “Let the buyer beware.”

The Meaning of Life (story two):  Eric obsesses over discovering the meaning of life. Given how thick-headed and self-absorbed he is, it will take someone else to spell it out for him in big, bold letters.

In the Sand Beneath the Dawn (story three):  Carly has just about given up on life, but she’ll learn Fate isn’t finished with her, and is shuffling the cards to deal her new hand.

See You in My Dreams (story four):  Arthur teeters between two places at once. Reality has split his existence into two parallel realities, and he doesn’t even know it. Unfortunately, life will only offer one solution to his problem.

Planet 94 (story five): Senja and Petre make the scientific discovery of a lifetime—a planet teeming with life. Among the ruins of a lost civilization, a new discovery will make them rethink everything they know about their own history.

The Gift that Keeps on Giving (story six):  Samantha works hard and makes just enough money to get by with little to spare. When her company has a big celebration and she needs to buy a gift for her boss, she’ll get a taste of buyer’s remorse when she ignores her instincts and buys a gift from a strange little shop that hadn’t been there only yesterday.

What you can’t see can hurt you.

 

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~~ Excerpt from Caveat Emptor, story one ~~

 

The alarm clock blared. Sunlight filtering through the window shades cast a sickly grey hue about the room. Three open moving boxes sat on the floor near the closet, their contents sorted into piles waiting to be moved to their appropriate places. Mark had moved in just four days ago.

The divorce had been bitter. His ex-wife got the house, the kids, and half of everything else. He got to pay the mortgage, alimony, and child support. He never would have been able to afford this place if it hadn’t been for the circumstances. Three previous owners, all young men, had died in this very bedroom. All had died in their sleep of unknown causes within days of moving in. Mark had laughed at the idea that the house was to blame. The first time he walked in, it had felt so welcoming, drawing him in. When he made a ridiculously low offer for the place, he’d been shocked when the bank accepted it without counter. Now, he lay motionless on the bed, beads of sweat glistening on his ashen face. Mark was dead. Number four. He wasn’t laughing any longer.

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Jim Proctor has been an avid reader of science fiction and fantasy since high school, bitten by the Sci-Fi bug while reading Frank Herbert’s Dune. He has worked as an engineer and laboratory scientist for almost forty years, and uses his expertise to create believable frameworks for his science fiction stories. He is married with four kids, all adults now, who remind him he was born before dirt was invented. He enjoys sitting down with his laptop and his new writing partner, Bailey, a two-year-old yellow Labrador.

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Author Showcase – Sorchia Dubois (Witchling: An Anthology of Zoraida Grey Short Stories)

Follow Zoraida’s magical journey with three short stories about her life as a small town fortune teller in the Midwest–Plus a tale about Castle Logan and how it got its dark reputation.

This collection makes a great introduction to the Magical World of Zoraida Grey. If you enjoy these stories, take a look at Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones in which Zoraida leaves her hometown and winds up in a haunted, witch-infested Scottish castle–Book 1 in the Zoraida Grey Trilogy.

Stories in the collection:

“Zoraida Grey and the Skinwalker”

“Zoraida Grey and the Twisted Sisters”

“Zoraida Grey and the Surly Spirit”

“The Witch and the Spaniard”

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Excerpt from “Zoraida Grey and the Skinwalker”

 

Why it works or how it works is a mystery to me. My spirit-self is somehow separate but not separate, the same but not the same. A glowing filament of ether connects it to me. It sees and hears and smells but it can’t do anything. Nobody else knows about it but me. And Granny. One time I sent my spirit-self to stand right beside her while she was cooking beets—just to see if she would notice. She jumped a little but then she smiled in a sad way. Then she hugged me real tight, leaving beet stains on my t-shirt. She never talked about it, but I got the feeling she knew somebody else who had a spirit-self long ago and thinking about it mad her sad.

Tonight, my spirit-self is uneasy. The odor of carrion mixes with the musk of stagnate water. My spirit chases the glowing wisp of scent past the scummy pool, gliding across the choked stream, over the ends of worms and half-chewed bones in the ooze, into the dense brush surrounding heaped stones to a dark opening.

A raccoon’s den, perhaps. Or the abandoned home of any of a hundred animals who live in the lush woodlands. I move closer, peeking into the gloomy cave. Spirit journeys are absolutely silent, but something inside the cave stirs at my approach. It’s too late to run.

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Award-winning author Sorchia Dubois lives in the piney forest of the Missouri Ozarks with seven cats, two fish, one dog, and one husband.

A proud member of the Scottish Ross clan, Sorchia incorporates all things Celtic (especially Scottish) into her works. She can often be found at Scottish festivals watching kilted men toss large objects for no apparent reason.

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Review of “Murder On Pointe: A Fiona Quinn Cozy Mysteries, Book 1” – C.S. McDonald

Fiona can’t wait to attend the performance of Coppelia at the Benedum Center in Pittsburgh. Her old friend, Silja Ramsay, is dancing the principal role. They have dinner after the show, but when they return Pittsburgh Ballet Theater is down one dancer! Ballerina, Alexis Cartwright, has been found dead in the dressing room. Is this murder a result of hot tempers among the cast members? Or is it a random act of violence? Will there be more murders? Homicide Detective, Nathan Landry, isn’t taking any chances. After finding out Fiona has a strong background in ballet he recruits her to go undercover among the cast of Coppelia. Can Fiona help catch a killer, or will she be the next victim?

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

Murder On Pointe: A Fiona Quinn Mystery definitely had A LOT of mystery to keep this lady sleuth engaged in the story.

C.S. McDonald (the author) gave us multiple murders to investigate, many suspects to choose from, and a few surprise twists that will make you happy you kept on reading, even when you think you’ve got it all figured out.

Yeah, I was 95% sure I knew how the story would wrap up and then a certain double-digit chapter happened. (Yes, I am being vague so no one flips ahead to check out his or her hutches.) Darn you C.S. McDonald, you pulled a fast one on me because I never saw that certain someone as a suspect. (Yup, I’m being vague on purpose – again.)

Ladies and gents, I encourage you to read Murder On Pointe: A Fiona Quinn Mystery. I wonder if you’ll be able to solve every single case. I’m thinking C.S. might just stump a few readers like myself.

Happy sleuthing!!

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤

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For twenty-six years C.S. McDonald’s life whirled around a song and a dance. She was a professional dancer and choreographer. During that time she choreographed many musicals and an opera for the Pittsburgh Savoyards. In 2011 she retired from her dance career to write. Under her real name, Cindy McDonald, writes murder-suspense and romantic suspense novels. In 2014 she added the pen name, C.S. McDonald, to write children’s books for her grandchildren. Now she adds the Fiona Quinn Mysteries to that expansion. She decided to write the cozy mystery series for her young granddaughters.

Ms. McDonald resides on her Thoroughbred farm known as Fly by Night Stables near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her husband, Bill, and her Cocker Spaniel, Allister.

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Murder On Pointe, book one: Amazon Purchase Link

Merry Murder, book two: Amazon Purchase Link

Waves of Murder, book three: Amazon Purchase Link

Tastes Like Murder, book four: Amazon Purchase Link

Good Luck to Murder, book five: Amazon Purchase Link

Mambo and Murder, book six: Amazon Purchase Link

Short stories

Banking on a Murder: Amazon Purchase Link

Harriet’s Heist: Amazon Purchase Link

 

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