Tag Archives: short story collection

Demons!

Happy Halloween! Today, I am sharing a story I wrote some years ago. It originally appeared in a horror anthology entitled The Gates of Erebus. It has since been added it to my short story collection called Strange Hwy: Short Stories

Ghosts don’t exist. They simply are not real. When a person dies, they cease to be—unless you’re religious, then you have either heaven or hell. Dead people don’t wander around on planet Earth, hiding out in rundown old farm houses. They just don’t. My mother told me so a hundred times. So did my father.

Demons, well, they’re a different thing altogether.

I saw it at the bottom of the list. My name, Jessa Leaner, big and bold in the late summer sunlight, showing I’d be one of the fortunate ones. I’d be sitting in Mrs. Corner’s class for my fifth-grade year. That meant other kids, those less fortunate ones, would be forced to endure an entire school year under the rule of fat Miss Biddlewine. After all, Conklin Elementary School had just two fifth-grade classrooms. A kid’s entire well-being depended upon the fate tossed at him or her by those in charge of assigning students to teachers.

Mrs. Corner, she’d been at it since my own parents had made their way through fifth grade, a kindly sort—not at all different from my own grandmother. Her classroom rested beneath a cozy atmosphere, with posters on the walls encouraging reading and writing and believing that anything and everything is possible for those who dared apply the effort. An aquarium at the rear of the room flashed the brilliant colors of exotic fish not native to our area—reds and blues and greens and yellows. Jiminy the gerbil worked furiously on the wheel inside a cage next to the fish tank—as if he, alone, powered the very lights overhead.

There weren’t enough desks, though. Four neat rows of sixes added up to just twenty-four. Three of us didn’t get there early enough to secure our places.

“There’s room in Miss Biddlewine’s class,” Mrs. Corner explained, dismissing the overflow of kids standing at the back of the room.

Tommy Richter grinned at me from his seat, said, “Shit out of luck, Leaner. Off to the dungeon.”

Three of us were forced to make the slow march down the hallway to the cold, bland, fishless, gerbil-less, poster-less confines belonging to the one nicknamed The Beast.

It didn’t take long for me to wind up on the bad side of Miss Biddlewine. An A+ book report suffered with the markings of a D- after The Beast had become convinced that I hadn’t fully read the assigned novel. But I had read it—the year before. So what if I forgot about the little twist at the end?

“You’re a lying little cheat,” she told me to my face.

“Am not,” I argued.

Detention followed, a full week of missed recesses.

“I hate her,” I told Shasta Cummings on the bus ride home from school that day.

Shasta said, “You do not.”

We’d been best friends since before kindergarten, me and Shasta—even though we’re complete opposites. Shasta, tall and blond and beautiful, scored all A’s on her report cards and never spoke a bad word against anybody. Me? Short with brunette hair chopped in a pixie cut. And my grades, well, they were nearly as bad as my attitude—if you believed my mother.

“Okay,” I relented, “maybe I don’t hate her. Maybe I just don’t like her very much.”

The bus trundled down Grove Road past the old Fielding place. All eyes aboard the bus turned fearfully on the abandoned farmhouse. Nobody but squatters had bothered with the place since Elmer Fielding took a hammer and caved in the heads of his wife and three young children before shooting himself in the temple some thirty years earlier.

“We’re going to stay the night in there on Halloween,” Shasta boldly proclaimed.

Tommy Richter didn’t believe a word of it. “Horse shit!” he spat. “Ain’t nobody got guts enough to go in there at night. Even those squatters make sure they’re out before sundown.”

I had to side with Tommy on that one. Shasta had been saying we’d stay the night in the old Fielding place every Halloween since second grade. We never did, though.

Tommy’s the one who brought it up. He said, “You know, Fieldings and Biddlewines are blood related.” He shifted in his seat across the aisle from me and Shasta. “Rumor has it that Miss Biddlewine’s mother was a Fielding.”

“So what?” I retorted. “What’s that got to do with the price of tea in China?”

“Means she might have it in her to just up and snap one day,” Tommy explained, ambling toward the door to get off at his stop. “Crazy runs in families, I hear.”

*      *      *

I didn’t mean to say it out loud; it just sort of slipped past my lips and found its way into Miss Biddlewine’s ears. Write an essay on what we hope to be when we grow up, she told the class.

Simple enough. I wanted to move to Hollywood and be an actress, I wrote. It’s a dream I’d nurtured since the first time I ever saw The Wizard of Oz on TV. I yearned to be Dorothy, just wandering along my own yellow brick road. It didn’t matter that I’d never acted in anything—I was simply too petrified to try out for the school plays year after year.

Miss Biddlewine’s beady black gaze fixed on me like I’d brought a plague into her classroom. “You’re joking, right?” she said. “A Hollywood actress? You? No, ma’am. An actress must be pretty and talented. You, Jessa Leaner, are neither. I suspect you’ll amount to little more than a housewife to one of the local farmer boys. That will be your lot in life.”

Anger got hold of me, convincing me that this was not the time to cry. Not in front of The Beast.

As I said, I didn’t mean to say it out loud.

But the words fell out anyway.

Loud and hate-filled came my voice. “I hope you die!”

Gasps filled the room, sucking all the breathable air from my lungs. I wanted to apologize right there on the spot. But the thing about pride, well, pride is an obstacle.

Pride goeth before destruction.

Miss Biddlewine didn’t react—at least not the way I figured she might. She simply dismissed me and called up the next student.

*      *      *

We all knew something bad had happened when we found Principal Goresline, rather than a substitute teacher, occupying Miss Biddlewine’s desk.

“Died during the night,” he said, his words fluttering above my head like evil accusing butterflies.

All those other kids looked on me as if I’d gone to Miss Biddlewine’s house myself and did away with her.

The accusation from my conscience found its mark. My fault!

“She was fat,” said Shasta. “She had a heart attack. You can’t blame yourself because she ate too much.”

But I’d said those words. I’d said them aloud.

Spoken words can never be taken back.

*      *      *

“It’s a Ouija board,” Shasta announced, cradling the box like she would a newborn baby. “We’ll use it to conjure up Miss Biddlewine when we stay in the Fielding place tonight.”

“My parents won’t let me be out all night,” I argued, hoping to talk her out of such a foolish notion.

“They’ll never even know. You’re telling them we’re staying at my house, and my parents will think I’m staying with you.”

I needed to know. I needed to ask Miss Biddlewine if she blamed me for her death.

“Does that thing work?” I wondered aloud, nodding at the box.

Shasta’s reply came adamant, certain. “Of course it works. My cousin Janet used it to talk to our grandmother last Halloween. She asked private questions and the board answered correctly. It had to be Grandma because nobody else could have known the answers.”

We walked up on the Fielding place just as the sun dropped below the horizon, leaving the sky streaked through with purple. First-floor windows had long ago been busted out by teenagers using the place for a hangout. Graffiti on the walls told tales about this girl or that one who might do things I’d never heard of before. Spent cigarette butts and empty beer cans littered the creaky floor.

“We’ll sleep upstairs,” Shasta said. “It’s not as dirty up there.”

Water stains painted ghostly images on the ceiling where the elements breached the leaky roof. Half-burned logs clogged a small fireplace inside the bedroom we claimed.

“Can you build a fire?” Shasta asked.

I tossed up a shrug, said, “Maybe we shouldn’t.”

I’d long ago learned to hate that dismissive tsk sound Shasta often employed. She knew as well as I did that I’d give in.

“Fine,” I huffed, “—but I ain’t taking the blame if this place burns down.”

*      *      *

Shadows came out against the orange glow. Teasing dark shapes danced in corners, mocking our false bravado.

“Do you suppose he killed somebody in this room?” Shasta wondered.

He did—one kid in each bedroom as they slept. The wife, she’d been found in the kitchen. Fielding killed her as she prepared breakfast for her family.

We sat Indian style, facing each other, in front of the fire. The Ouija laid claim to the space between us. Candy bars and soda pops kept us in comfort.

Simple questions were asked as a means to calibrate the spirits. The oracle moved to either yes or no, depending on the knowledge we’d sought.

Shasta took control once we were satisfied we’d connect with somebody.

She asked, “Can we speak to Miss Biddlewine?”

The oracle slid across the board. Yes.

“I didn’t mean it,” I whined, hoping Miss Biddlewine herself might be listening. “Honest.”

Letters began to pile up beneath the oracle, spelling out words I didn’t want to know. KILL came first. Then, DEMON. DEATH and BLOOD followed.

“This ain’t Miss Biddlewine,” Shasta assured me.

I flung an accusation at her. “You’re the one moving that stupid thing, aren’t you?”

“I swear I’m not,” Shasta promised.

All that soda pop and a case of the nerves got to me. “I gotta pee,” I told her, gaining my feet.

“Hafta go outside,” Shasta said. “Somebody smashed the toilet.”

“Come with?” I asked, hoping to hide the pleading in my voice.

But Shasta wouldn’t budge. The comfort of her sleeping bag won out over friendship.

Under my breath, I said, “I hope they get you.”

The stairs creaked beneath my feet. Darkness swallowed the main-floor rooms. Outside, thick black clouds blotted out the moonlight. The night air had gone to a damp chill.

In the back of my head I could hear my mother’s voice. Be quick about it!

Just beyond the back door I popped the snap and pulled my jeans down. That’s when I heard it—heard them. Those whispered voices mocking me from somewhere inside that old death house. Shadows moved through the kitchen like tall dark ghosts, vaguely human in shape. I counted two of them against the blackness.

“Come inside,” a whispered voice seemed to say.

Long, twisted fingers gripped the door frame.

A face, gaunt and hollow, peered out at me, watching me through black pools of nothingness where the eyes were meant to be.

I have no recollection of yanking my pants up, just of running across a field of soy beans, stumbling blindly toward my house.

My mother opened the door, said, “I thought you were staying at Shasta’s house.”

“Decided not to,” I replied, slipping words between puffs of breath.

“Shoulda called. I’d have sent Daddy to pick you up. A girl shouldn’t be wandering around at night.”

I could still see that face: the empty gaze, protruding cheek bones, and the way its tongue dangled between cracked lips. Had he been one of Fielding’s victims? A son, maybe?

*      *      *

Shasta’s parents came looking for her the following day.

I don’t know why, but I told them everything. I told them about staying at the Fielding place, the Ouija board, seeing the demon in the window.

They found Shasta’s body in the room we’d shared. She’d been abused in ways you’d expect to read about on graffiti-covered walls.

Squatters, the police claimed. Drug addicts, judging by all the needles found.

I knew better, though. I’d seen the culprits.

Demons.

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An Impressive Debut

Rating: ★★★★★

The Blurb

9781947893252_Ebook Cover, Crimes, Lippert 800wideLippert was thrown into the bowels of the Michigan Department of Corrections as a seventeen-year-old adolescent. He remained entrenched in a world of malfeasance for the next forty years. With astonishing honesty, he reveals the raw details of what a life of incarceration looks like from the inside. His observations of human behavior and his stellar ability to tell a story reveal the courage and resilience of a man who has survived horrifying and savage injustice. These are stories of miscreants and corrupt institutions. They are tales of men who have made poor choices and suffered grave consequences.

His tales of the criminal counterculture are sometimes tragic, but often humorous and redemptive. Through it all, he displays a sly sense of humor and the quiet wisdom of a man who is, ultimately, a survivor. Lippert’s journey has been one of an unrequited longing for freedom. This book is a resonant journey through the geography of a resilient soul.

My Review

Phil Lippert is a man who has lived a most unconventional life. Thrown into prison at the age of seventeen, Lippert, who served a forty-year stretch, has viewed the world from a position most people only know from fictionalized Hollywood treatments.

His collection of short stories offers readers a glimpse inside that world. Though mostly fiction, these tales contain a thread of truth concerning human nature. Lippert’s style is laidback and easygoing. He knows how to tell a story that holds the reader spellbound, waiting for something like redemption for these characters that might otherwise seem unworthy.

He narrates as Dude, an inmate who collects stories of life as lived by others. Some are humorous and hopeful. Others fall into a darker place where hope falters before it has a chance to find its own legs.

My favorite is the heartbreaking “Good Night, Ruby Slippers” with its darker shades mingled with streaks of light. “A Canticle for Frank” reads like a cold-war thriller mixed with prison intrigue. “My Summer Vacation” tells the story of a young bank robber. Each piece introduces unforgettable characters that often seem both familiar and other-worldly.

This is a solid collection from a promising writer with plenty to say. It’s one I’ll likely return to from time to time.

Author Interview on the Voice of Indie Podcast

Buy it Now!

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When We Were Kids: A Short Story

This is a short story I wrote some years ago. It’s about life and loss and the guilt of being the one who survives a tragic accident. It appears in my short story collection Strange HWY: Short Stories

When We Were Kids

I saw you again today. You were younger than the last time I set eyes on you. It happens that way sometimes. You were mowing the lawn in front of some house I didn’t recognize. I doubt you did either.

It’s the third time in a month that I’ve seen you cutting grass or jogging or playing in that park we hung out at when we were kids. You were always on the baseball diamond—even now. I suppose it has something to do with the uniforms. The colors are always different, but the style hasn’t changed in thirty-odd years.

Dana Rickleman still talks about you whenever I run into her at the Winn-Dixie. Well, she’s not Dana Rickleman these days. Neither is she hot anymore. She married Donnie Soba fifteen years or so ago, had a kid, put on more than a few pounds, and ended up deciding she’s a lesbian. But maybe we already knew that way back when. Remember how she used to say Becky Fordham was enough to turn her?

Speaking of Becky, her younger brother Todd is gone. He went to Iraq during the Gulf War and never came back. He stepped on the wrong spot and left nothing behind but his dog tags. Becky turned into a boozehound after that one. Last I heard she’d been in and out of Burnside Psychiatric Hospital.

The old neighborhood has completely changed. You wouldn’t recognize it now. All those families we knew back then no longer live there. Kids grew up and went off to college, got married, chased careers out of state. Parents became grandparents, got old, retired, moved to Florida, and died. I drove through there a few months ago. Not a familiar face among those I saw. Our old house is long gone. The family that bought it from Mom and Dad, after I moved out, lost it to fire. They rebuilt on the lot, but the house looks nothing like the original. And there are trees where there weren’t any before. Crazy how that works, huh?

I’m sorry if it sounds like I’m rambling. I don’t mean to. I’ve had a lot on my mind since, well, you know. I still struggle with things, Adam. It’s always there in the front part of my mind, where it often blocks out my view of the world around me. I think that’s why Mallory and I got a divorce. She saw those issues, tried to help me, but in the end, she just had to let it all go. It’s not her fault. Even Mom says she’s surprised Mallory didn’t leave me a lot sooner—and you know how Mom was always my biggest cheerleader.

I won’t lie to you. I’ve thought about it more times than I dare count. It’s usually when I’m driving alone, just as the sun dips below the horizon, taking the sky from pink to orange to purple, and that day smacks me in the face all over again, the pain growing only stronger with the passing of time. The way I’d do it, I’d aim my car at some far away tree, mash the gas pedal to the floor, race toward it, and be done. But then I’d hear your annoying voice calling me a selfish little prick—the way you always did when we were kids.

When we were kids. . .

There’s so much hurt wrapped around those four simple words.

When we were kids, we dreamed of playing Major League Baseball for the Atlanta Braves.

When we were kids, the only thing important to us was being able to stay outside for an hour or two after the streetlights came on.

When we were kids, we went everywhere on our bikes—and we never got tired of it.

Speaking of bikes, do you remember that time we decided we were going to be train for the Tour de France? We spent that entire summer riding all over hell’s half acre, thinking that’s all it took to win that stupid race. In your version, you and I would finish in first and second place. Of course, our versions differed as to which finished where. In my head, I was always the victor. And the prize money, well, that was spent a thousand different ways. Always on something foolish or needless—it would always be squandered on selfish desires. Mom would rein us in by taking charge of our fabled earnings. Into the bank, it would have to go. After all, we had college to think about.

I worry about Mom since Dad died. It’s not that I doubt her ability to carry on and live a productive life; she’s done that well enough in the three years since. It’s that profound sadness that envelops her when a birthday or anniversary or an old TV show worm their way into her cocoon, threatening to pull her out before she’s good and ready to deal with life as a changed species. She went out to dinner with Mr. Griffith from the church once—but that felt too much like adultery, essentially killing any notion of date number two. I just don’t want her to be miserable. It’s just her and me now, from our nuclear family. You always hated that term. You used to say it made you think that families could explode, taking entire cities with them. There’d be a mushroom cloud over our town—and it would mostly be Dad.

I miss his yelling about this and that.

Okay. So here’s the thing: I’ve never told anybody about that day. I never even told Mallory—and I told her a ton of major important things. I just can’t seem to make myself speak those words out loud. But I have to. It’s wrecking me, brother.

It was an accident. I swear on it.

I’m the one who locked you in the shed that day.

The day you died.

I did it. It was supposed to be a joke—a prank. I padlocked the door, expecting you to pitch a fit at being locked in. I’d leave you in there for a few minutes, before letting you out. Then you’d sock me in the shoulder and we’d have a laugh about it. But Donnie Soba showed up with a pocketful of firecrackers. I didn’t mean to leave you in the shed. I meant to unlock the door. I got sidetracked.

I didn’t know it could get so hot inside there.

I swear on it, Adam.

It was Dad who found you. He’d called the police after you failed to come inside once the street lights came on. He stomped around the living room, threatening to ground you for a hundred years, every so often yelling your name out into the night. Once Johnny Carson came on, the police were called. They drove the neighborhood, spotlights trained in the dark corners, searching for a wayward boy. I don’t know what it was that made Dad go out to the shed. It didn’t occur to me until he grabbed the key for the lock.

“I killed you, Adam.” There. I said it out loud.

It doesn’t make it easier.

I’m not just a killer. I’m the guy who killed his own brother.

I need to hear your voice, Adam. I need to know your thoughts on my transgression. Where are you? What do you see? What do you know? Have you been watching these thirty-odd years? Is everything I tell you already known?

Have you seen God?

Does He hate me?

Sometimes it’s like coming down with a cold. My body aches, my head throbs, and I can’t bring myself to get out of bed. It’s as if joy ceased to exist when you left. But I know that’s not true. Other people still experience joy and happiness and laughter. I’ve heard it. I’ve seen it with my own two eyes. I’ve just never grabbed hold of it for myself—no matter how hard I try.

There really is no need for you to worry. Notions of wrapping my car around a tree are greatly exaggerated. I can’t do that to Mom. Neither can I put myself in front of God before my proper ending. For all I know, I’ll have to continue on well past the century mark, carrying the years as a burden.

Can you put in a word for me—the way you did when we were kids?

But would a simple word really count for anything?

I’m the reason you died, Adam.

Please forgive me.

Please.

Maybe it’s desperation that has me hearing your voice.

“Let it go, twerp.”

It comes audibly to me, as if you’re standing right beside me, speaking it directly into my ear.

My left ear.

“Is that you, Adam?” I ask it aloud, hoping for more.

But there’s nothing else.

“Tell me again—just once more.”

I think of Mom. Of telling her. Of unburdening my soul.

I won’t, though. I cannot.

It’s you I needed to tell.

It was always you.

And tonight, you heard me.

Of that, I am certain.

My burden isn’t gone just yet, but it sure feels lighter.

“Thank you, Adam.”

© 2018 Beem Weeks

This story, along with 18 others, is available in Strange HWY: Short Stories. Find it at all online booksellers.

Crackles of the Heart: Divergent Ink Book 1! A #BookReview

Blurb:

Divergent Ink is the mesh of different frames of thoughts, various interpretations of one core question that yearns for universal expansion. Although the subject matter may change every year, the purpose of the Divergent Ink series will remain the same.

The first book in the Divergent Ink anthology series, “Crackles of the Heart”, centers around the following question: Can the hot, handsome guy fall for the average, awkward woman?

Six Divergent Inks exploring “Crackles of the Heart”. Will there be hearts rejoicing or hearts breaking?

Featuring

Da’Kharta Rising: A five word invitation sets the tone for an afternoon journey. Short, provocative connectivity sizzles “Inside Me”.

Queen of Spades: One look from Her was all it took to put a ladies’ man into early retirement. Yet, the very object of his affection has no clue of his reform. When he opts to take a huge gamble, will his fairy tale end happily ever after or be deemed a “Tale in the Keys of Drastic”?

Adonis Mann: The dark of night can be more than scary, it can be downright intoxicating. When pleasure meets stupefaction, a man with a secret whirls into rapture at the hands of an unknown force. To which end? Will his secret be revealed, or will he revel in the delight it brings? Nothing is as it seems during the wonderment of “Mystical Nights”.

Y. Correa: Steampunk Earth, set in the distant future. When an ambitious city guy meets a carefree country lady, what starts out as a getaway to finish an important project turns into a interesting journey. Steam intersects and hearts collide in “The Steam of Opposites”.

C. Desert Rose: Terah has the misfortune of being given news that puts an expiration date on her life. In her desire to get away from the chaos, she has a chance encounter with the very one that can put the turmoil to rest. Is “Serendipitous Mirth” dumb luck, or preordained destiny?

Synful Desire: Bette is a hard working small town woman with simple pleasures. When visually stunning Jesse comes into the store on what’s normally her day off, her mind accelerates into complex overdrive. In this small town, a lot can happen in seven days. Will one of those events serve to satisfy Bette’s “Seven Days of Stimuli”?

 

My Review:

Rating: ★★★★★

This collection contains some truly intriguing works by authors who are skilled in the fine art of storytelling. Six writers lent their talents here. They have each taken a core question and answered it in their own unique words.

Though there are different styles at work, there remains a thread that connects each of the tales in this book, like a well-groomed path cutting through a summer wood. I’ve read some of these authors before. I am never disappointed in plots or mechanics or inspiration. Good writers know how to pull the reader in and dazzle.

The stories are provocative, dark, and at times, steamy in their telling—though not in an over-indulgent sort of way. There is an order to the chaos. I honestly couldn’t settle on just one or two as favorites, so I’ll give applause to each of these writers: Da’Kharta Rising, Y. Correa, Adonis Mann, Queen of Spades, C. Desert Rose, and Synful Desire. Cheers for a job well-done, authors!

I am a fan of the short form of fiction. This collection will sit on my shelf along with the others I’ve kept and returned to time after time.

Buy it Here:

Day 6 of the Concordant Vibrancy Book Tour: Adonis Mann!

Welcome to Day 6 of the Concordant Vibrancy 5 book tour. Today we are introducing author Adonis Mann. . .

 

The Concordant Vibrancy Collection holds an exceptionally important space in my heart.

Through this channel, Adonis Mann, the author was born. I will be eternally grateful for the doors it’s opened up for me.

My story of joining the Concordant Vibrancy project is an interesting one.

In 2014 I just recently signed my contract to become an All Authors Publishing House author. I was, as yet, inexperienced in the field and knew very little about anything other than I was now being represented by All Authors and I would have to complete the book I was working on very soon.

One day I received an email asking if I would be interested in participating in the anthology project. I was delighted but there was one big issue … I wasn’t published yet.

Being that I had yet to have a book on the market, how would this impact my participation in the anthology?

I reached out to my publisher and asked, for I was uncertain if I’d been invited erroneously.

Following was our conversation, paraphrased of course.

“Dear Jazz and Monica,” I said, “are you certain that I can be a part of the anthology? I’m not yet published.”

“Yes,” responded Monica, “you’re part of the house.”

“But I am not yet published ….”

“Then you’ll be published for the first time in the anthology,” responded Jazz.

Oh, how the pressure mounted at that very moment. It was overwhelming and surreal. I could scarcely believe that my very first publication would be through these means. But there it was … about to come to pass.

And in short order, it did.

My very first participation with anything All Authors at all was “… and we” the short story which was included in “Concordant Vibrancy 1: Unity”. After that, I was included in all of the installments with stories entitled, “Barbershop”, “Luster Lingers”, “Express-Oh” and now “Axis … Redefined”.

It’s been a great pleasure having been part of the fray and my heart breaks as witnessing the end of the road. However, I do know that it was a stupendous ride while it lasted.

Now, please enjoy a short excerpt of “Axis … Redefined”.

 

My Review of Comes this Time to Float by @StephenGeez

Rating: ★★★★★

Author Stephen Geez possesses a talent for crafting tales that draw readers into the unique and vivid worlds he creates. This collection of 19 short stories offers a smorgasbord of genres, characters, lives, and situations with which everyday people can and will identify. From the very first story to the last, Geez has a way of keeping the reader enthralled and entertained.

“Halfway House” tells a sad tale of loss and the search for redemption. “Vapor Girl” is trippy and far out, and one that will surely remain with you. “Family Treed” sprinkles the weird and humorous on this wonderful word salad. “Tailwind” is a thoughtful piece about a pair of aging friends in the latter stages of life. “The Age Eater” carries a note of science fiction and a hint of creepy. But my favorite is a story entitled “Holler Song”. This story harkens to the Ozark Mountains of Daniel Woodrell’s modern classic Winter’s Bone, where poor people caught up in impossible circumstances will do whatever it takes just to survive the lives handed to them.

There isn’t a bad story in the entire collect. Stephen Geez has been a favorite of mine since I first read his novel What Sara Saw many years ago. If you’re a reader with a keen eye for the literary, this is one you’ll want on your bookshelf.

Comes This Time To Float Blog Tour! @StephenGeez

Greetings to all readers! Join me in welcoming author Stephen Geez to The Indie Spot today, as we celebrate the release of his new short story collection entitled Comes this Time to Float. Take it away, Mr. Geez. . . 

 

Salutations!

Hey! You’ve made it to day 16 of my extended blog tour! I would like to thank my esteemed host, Author Beem Weeks, for sharing some blog space today. I hope to interest you story-likers in trying my first book in way too many years, this my only collection of short fiction: Comes this Time to Float: 19 Short Stories by Stephen Geez. You could add another “by Stephen Geez” to that, as I put the moniker in the subtitle, too. I’d be forcing it to find a theme, except maybe that all my stories try to look at something I think is important, but told in a decorative sort of way. Written here and there among novels over two decades, they show a variety of genres and styles, as I get restless. Now they’re tucked between jacketed hard covers and softs, or in e-however-you-likes.

 

The Enticement

Each tour stop will offer the opening paragraphs of a story from the book, then link to the full story online.  A few will also link to audio-shorts narrated by me. An RRBC-specific promo video will be foisted on you every day. Using a narrator didn’t seem right for my own trailer, so yeah, it’s me. Be sure to post reviews in your favorite places, most helpfully if Amazon. RRBC members, be sure to report the Amazon link to your Reviews Coordinator for quarterly credit.

And you, I thank, too.

A Geez Author Blurb

Stephen Geez grew up in the Detroit suburbs during the American-auto domination. He earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees at the University of Michigan—Ann Arbor. He retired from scripting/producing television and composing/producing television music, then expanded his small literary management firm into indie-publisher and multi-media company Fresh Ink Group. Now he works from a deck overlooking the lake in north Alabama, helping other writers share their compelling narratives with the world.

The Book Blurb

Prepare to think as you explore these wildly disparate literary short stories by author, composer, and producer Stephen Geez. Avoiding any single genre, this collection showcases Geez’s storytelling from southern gothic to contemporary drama to coming-of-age, humor, sci-fi, and fantasy—all finessed to say something about who we are and what we seek. Some of these have been passed around enough to need a shot of penicillin, others so virgin they have never known the seductive gaze of a reader’s eyes. So when life’s currents get to pulling too hard, don’t fight it, just open the book and discover nineteen new ways of going with the flow, because NOW more than ever Comes this Time to Float.

 

The Promo Video

 

Today’s Sample: “Veneer”

In the end, bad weather turned out to be what pierced the veneer.

 

Two uniforms pounded on the door, demanding entry and using her name like they had a right. She remained frozen, barely breathing, her stroke-addled leg throbbing, finger twitching on the trigger of Daddy’s rifle.

 

Bam bam bam! “Mizzus Heidway!” came the door-muffled call of Sheriff Dander, his voice a rumble under that drone of wicked downpour shotgunning the tin roof. “Now, y’alls got to come with us! They’s evacuatin’ the whole valley!”

 

Twenty years since Mama died and left her the house, twenty years since Iris came back to live the South Alabama life she’d fled hoping never to return, twenty years running all her errands in nearby towns to avoid in-yer-business local busybodies, yet now these uniforms had the gall to come uninvited right onto an old woman’s property.

 

“If you’re in there, you’s got to come out now!”

 

Nothing is what she ever got to do, especially for two bullies with badges. She’d seen Sheriff Dander on the news a few times, always under investigation for some kind of brutality. Seems like the kind of person who wants to be a cop is the one who has no business being one.

 

Letting her screen door slam, the intruders retreated into a frenzy of rain. Iris Heidway hobbled to the window and peeked through the curtains. A county van packed with busybodies turned around, then rocked and swayed its way back up the hill, splashing through a frantic gravel-washer streaming down the rutted road. She couldn’t see herself climbing in with that mob, or wedged between all those so-and-so’s at some makeshift shelter, everybody grabbing and hugging, you’ll be okay honey this’ll be over soon anything you need just let us know . . .  Touchers pretend they’re doing something for you, but they’re the ones tricked by a fool’s notion of connection. Anybody lays a hand on Iris Heidway, he’ll be lucky to get it back.

 

 

The Whole Story

I’m adding each day’s story to my blog. Be sure to come back here!

https://StephenGeez.WordPress.com

 

The Audio-short

Okay, find “Veneer” along with the other two in my YouTube channel, precise link on my blog today.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCA2kP6eBIs7nUtOzrH7ObBw

 

Find the Book Now

Should be just about everywhere, but here are the biggies:

 

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/comes+this+time+to+float?_requestid=1776240

 

https://www.amazon.com/Comes-this-Time-Float-Stories-ebook/dp/B0846WY2HZ/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=comes+this+time+to+float&qid=1582276112&sr=8-1

 

Other Places I Lurk

https://twitter.com/stephengeez

Instagram: StephenGeezWriter

https://StephenGeez.com

https://StephenGeez.Wordpress.com

 

 

A Pair of Brand New Titles from Fresh Ink Group!

Greetings to all book lovers! Fresh Ink Group has two brand new releases here in the new year! One is a collection of brilliant short fiction from author Stephen Geez. The other is a detailed investigative book addressing pain management versus opioid addiction. 

Comes this Time to Float by Stephen Geez

Prepare to think as you explore these wildly disparate literary short stories by author, composer, and producer Stephen Geez. Avoiding any single genre, this collection showcases Geez’s storytelling from southern gothic to contemporary drama to coming-of-age, humor, sci-fi, and fantasy—all finessed to say something about who we are and what we seek. Some of these have been passed around enough to need a shot of penicillin, others so virgin they have never known the seductive gaze of a reader’s eyes. So when life’s currents get to pulling too hard, don’t fight it, just open the book and discover nineteen new ways of going with the flow, because NOW more than ever Comes this Time to Float.

 

 

American Agony: The Opioid War Against Patients in Pain by Dr. Helen Borel

Managing pain with opioids is a science—except politics, money, and overzealous law enforcement are denying American patients the relief they so desperately need. Demonizing the best pain reliever we have leads to needless suffering, even suicides, and it drives the rise in deadly street drugs. Helen Borel gathers and presents the evidence, the intimidation, the raids of clinics, the chilling effect on those very professionals we trust to care for our loved ones and ourselves. She looks hard at the Veterans Administration, Drug Enforcement Agency, Department of Justice, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Chapters include “The Suboxone Hoax,” “The Wrong Arms of the Law,” and “The Epidemic of Death,” plus an entire section on solutions for this widespread crisis. Read American AGONY now—or you might be the next one hurt.

Book Release – Concordant Vibrancy 4: Inferno

Greetings, one and all!

If you’ve been following along this past week and a half you probably already know that this is the day that everything has been leading to.

During day one we introduced you to the ingredient of Purpose. Adonis Mann brought up, “Express-Oh”.

Day two we took a look at Commitment via Carol Cassada’s contribution, “Not Always Like This”.

On day three it was all about Consequences; we delved deep into this ingredient via Harmony Kent’s story, “The Fireman”.

Day four examined Love with Beem Weeks’ tale, “The Complications of Fire”.

Day five was overtaken by the ingredient of Reinvention as told by C. Desert Rose’s story, “Calliope’s Inferno”.

Day six told us that Tenacity was an important ingredient no matter what the circumstance through Y. Correa’s, “Moxy”.

Day seven touched on how the ingredient of Risk can be as scolding as any through Synful Desire’s, “Antipode”.

Day eight cleverly showed how Conviction was as good ingredient as any to keep the fire roaring. Da’Kharta Rising showed us how in “The Chronicles of Aidan”.

And last but never-ever least, Queen of Spades indubitably demonstrated how Empathy is the most powerful of ingredients when maintaining our soul’s fire burning in, “The Calefaction of Insight”.

Now that the picture has become clear and Inferno’s stew is bubbling, come serve yourself us a bowl. Come get your copy of, “Concordant Vibrancy 4: Inferno”.

 

GET YOUR COPY TODAY!

Concordant Vibrancy 4: Inferno – Cover Reveal!

 

Today the members of the All Authors Family are celebrating the cover reveal of “Concordant Vibrancy 4: Inferno”, the fourth installation of the Concordant Vibrancy anthology collection.

First, the blurb …

 

There is a universal fascination associated with passion―its defining element, fire, as well as the unseen. Yet how many dare to trespass beyond the final product, exploring the ingredients which keep it sustainable?
This is the traverse of the fourth installment of the Concordant Vibrancy collection, presented by All Authors Publications and Promotions, entitled “Inferno”. Nine phenomenal talents diverge under one purpose: the creation of literary works guaranteed to set the mind, heart, and spirit ablaze.

Stories included:

Express-Oh” by Adonis Mann
Not Always Like This” by Carol Cassada
The Fireman” by Harmony Kent
The Complications of Fire” by Beem Weeks
Calliope’s Inferno” by C. Desert Rose
Moxy” by Y. Correa
Antipode” by Synful Desire
The Chronicles of Aidan” by Da’Kharta Rising, and
The Calefaction of Insight” by Queen of Spades.

 

 

Since January 2015 All Authors Publishing House has been exploring the elements of nature through the enterprise known as Concordant Vibrancy, an All Authors Anthology Collection.
Book One explored Unity under the theme question of “What elements contribute to the concept of unity?” The element being Earth. Through an array of tales, the authors explained what Unity meant to them.
Book Two examined Vitality. The theme question was, “What force drives your spirit?” The element was Air. Here the authors endeavored to answer the question with a combination of stories and essays.
Book Three looked at Lustrate using the theme question, “What embodies the composition of fluidity?” The element was water. Herein the authors spoke lucidly and clearly on what fluidity meant to them.
Book Four takes a peek at Inferno … the element of Fire. It asks “What are the ingredients to a sustainable blaze?” By far the best of the collection, “Concordant Vibrancy 4: Inferno” is a demonstration of depth in thought and evolution in craft.
Now, without further ado and with great pride All Authors brings you the cover of “Concordant Vibrancy 4: Inferno”.