“ALL HAIL the Short Story!”
These 15 short stories come from those shaded corners; the shadowy recesses of our minds where deceit and revenge take refuge. Only to surface when we choose to be most unpleasant to our neighbors, our colleagues, our lovers, and to our families—and even our species. Above all, it's the unpredictable kinks that catch you unaware that make the ‘CROOKED TALES’ anthology such a wicked delight.
‘CROOKED TALES’ gathers the talent of 15 of the hottest authors around to thrill you with their visions of mayhem, in places exotic, bucolic, other-worldly, or simply sinister. With the resurgent interest in the Short Story, due to us having busy lives with only micro-moments of calm to read, the editorial team of READERS CIRCLE OF AVENUE PARK (#RCAP) curated this unique short story anthology.
You have the itch to read, but have only a long moment to indulge, so ‘hail a short story!” and immerse yourself in brief adventures of the imagination. Each author has been challenged to describe their tale in a single line:
‘Death of Sparrowman’ – Eric J. Gates: 'From chirrup to croak, why we should beware of benches.'
‘A Crooked Mile’ – Fiona Quinn: 'Straying down a bleak path, lost doesn't mean gone forever.'
‘Squatter’ – Ulla Hakanson: 'This story is nuts – no, really, quite nuts.'
‘Nothing But the Truth’ – Joseph Mark Brewer: 'What he saw changed everything…'
‘Angel Heart’ – Michelle Medhat: 'A spot kill from drug-pushers to detectives— how Hz hurts.'
‘The Scream of Silence’ – Pamela Crane: 'Sticks and stones you may atone, but lies come back to haunt you…'
‘Mark of the Hyena’ – Mark Fine: 'When civilizations collide N!xau’s click ticks tsk tsk tricks a surprising vultured culture.'
‘Beneath’ – Anita Kovacevic: 'The most surreal bun fight: beware of fiery coiffure justice!'
‘Ubiquitous’ – Geoff Nelder: 'There’s no escaping the near future until you realize how to play the system.'
‘Keeping It in the Family’ – Traci Sanders: 'Hots for a firefighter cause icy cold amnesia in a comeuppancy family affair.'
‘Set for Saturday’ – Keith Dixon: 'In the company of thieves, it’s all about loyalty.'
‘Cold’ – Lubna Sengul: 'The mother of all arguments, taken to the grave, and beyond.'
‘Confessions’ – Julie M. Brown: "He who seeks vengeance must dig two graves - one for his enemy and one for himself." ~ Chinese Proverb
‘Terrestrial Traitor’ – Jeremy Croston: 'Nested deceit – aliens, humans – who’s worse?'
‘Red Queen Check’ – Elizabeth Horton-Newton: 'Revenge for sins of the past is best dished up hot, lusty and electric.'
"CROOKED TALES” is a sequel to the successful ‘TWISTED TALES’ short story collection published by Readers Circle of Avenue Park in 2015.
Burned Toast (Gems of Strength)
June 24, 2016
Burned Toast, by Elizabeth Horton-Newton, is one of 18 awesome stories you’ll find in Gems of Strength, an anthology by The Sisterhood.Recently, we talked with Elizabeth about her short story, Burned Toast. When we asked what inspired her story, this is what she had to say: “I was in an abusive relationship for twelve years. I dated my ex for two years before we were married when I was eighteen. After three children I realized the abuse was escalating. Thanks to the help of a good friend I was able to escape. I was tracked and pursued from New York to Los Angeles and back. I finally moved to Tennessee to be near relatives who I knew could protect me. My story is about a young woman who thinks she has successfully gotten away from her violent ex. Much to her horror she finds herself trapped by him. As she desperately tries to think of a way to escape certain abuse she worries for those who helped her hide. The story builds to a dramatic conclusion.”
Elizabeth’s situation is one that might be frighteningly real to some of our readers, and I wish the story gives a glimmer of hope to any woman who might be in an abusive relationship.
When asked who is the strongest woman she knows, Elizabeth told us, “I know too many strong women to select only one. Some are strong because they have overcome poverty to rise up and successfully transition to positions where they earn enough to support their families. Others have overcome devastating illnesses. Some have escaped abusive situations, either as children growing up abused or as women in bad relationships. There are women who have overcome addictions and maintain families. What makes a woman strong? The ability to accept life on life’s terms; to make lemonade out of life’s lemons, to courageously stride (or sometimes crawl) forward in spite of whatever obstacles are in her path.” Surely truer words have never been spoken.
For an element of fun, we asked Elizabeth, author of Burned Toast, if she could be any female superhero, who would it be and why? This is her response, “No question about it, Wonder Woman. First off she has been around a long time. She fights for Justice, Gender Equality, and Peace; all things I value. I love her strength and courage as well as her femininity. She remains all woman while showing her strength and courage. Of course her Golden Lasso of Truth and those great indestructible bracelets appeal to my love of accessories.”
Elizabeth is also very active with domestic violence groups, the YWCA’s Enough! Group and her local Family Justice Center’s Voices group. Women (and men) in abuse situations are often made to feel isolated and helpless. Organizations that reach out into their communities to offer encouragement and support are vital. We can no longer stand by and watch women being abused and say nothing, do nothing. The long term and wide reaching effects of spousal or intimate partner abuse are more disastrous than many realize. Children from these situations carry the weight of their experiences and may themselves become victims or abusers. Please encourage survivors and thrivers to share their stories and give hope and motivation to those standing on the edge. Burned Toast is intended to give inspiration to those in abusive relationships.
Art by Elizabeth Horton-Newton
Reprinted from Metamorph Publishing
Welcome to the official release party for Gems of Strength, an anthology by women authors all over the world. Each of the themed "Gems of Sisterhood" books will feature strong female protagonists (that's the good guys, or gals, as this case is), and the theme of our first book is the underlying strength of women in general.
28 May - 30 May
Gems of Strength Release Party!
The weaker sex? There’s no such thing! Enter Anna, who fights against evil for what she knows is right. Enter Chessie, who must battle prejudice and overcome the torment she holds inside. Read Delia’s story, a struggle against domestic violence. Follow the tale of Apple as she struggles with her demons. And be inside the story with nameless women who must deal with the loss of a child, the inner struggle of uncertain sexuality, the escape from domestic violence, the healing of assault, and the finding of love.
These characters embody the strength of women, strip away the illusion of weakness, and bring hope of things to come. The authors of The Sisterhood bring you these poignant short stories and demonstrate there is nothing weak about women!
Where to buy Gems of Strength:
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=pw6fCwAAQBAJ
Google Books: https://books.google.com/books/about?id=pw6fCwAAQBAJ&hl=en
Gems of Strength will be released on May 31, 2016, and the e-book is now available to pre-order at Smashwords, Google Play, Google Books,Nook, Kobo, and at Amazon.
Learn more about The Gems of Sisterhood here:
I have a short story in this anthology called "Burned Toast". Melanie learns you can run, but sooner or later you have to make a stand.
"In the seven plus years we had lived together I had suffered bruises, cuts, a broken nose, loosened teeth, and both tragically and mercifully, two miscarriages. It was all my fault. Jim had made it perfectly clear I brought these misfortunes on myself. He drummed it into my head day after day. I was disrespectful. I was stupid. I was fat. I was skinny. I was a whore. I was frigid. It was all true."
"Burned Toast" is just one of the stories in this anthology that highlights the strength of women in difficult situations.
My story Old Habits is one I’d been thinking about for years. Presented as a short story in the anthology, Twisted Tales, it is quite possible a novel length version may appear somewhere down the line. The main character, Gaunt Thibideaux, is one of the most compelling and disturbing I’ve created, in my opinion. He is even more worrisome than dear old Norma from the not so peaceful town of Riddle.
Much like Riddle, Gaunt’s hometown of Burkesville is a bucolic small town where people gossip behind closed doors and strange occurrences are often swept under the rug. But it’s what lies beneath that comfortable small town surface, bubbling and rotting, that makes the story come alive. Gaunt is just a small town boy who grows to manhood and old age, seemingly a stanchion of the community. It’s Gaunt’s old habits the story is named for. And as I have said, a habit born in his youth lives on as he ages because, as they say, “old habits die hard”.
A unique short story anthology curated by the readers and editorial team of READERS CIRCLE OF AVENUE PARK (#RCAP). It's a global effort, literally, with contributions from 15 authors across exhausting time zones that extend from Africa, Europe, America and Asia.
To retain this distinctive international flavor (or ‘flavour’) each story is in the English style of its author, so some stories are in British English, some in American, and some reflect the jargon of a region.
As said by the Editor-in Chief of #RCAP, in his message to readers of this short story collection:
"I had to shut out the world to finish editing this short story collection. Neighbours became concerned. Banged on my door. My kidnappers had taken me down to the cellar with a copy of the book. I read it again and again, and over again… It made my torture and captivity so bearable that I was annoyed when the Marines rescued me."
P.S. Twisted Tales is mixed-fruit jam for the soul. Laugh, cry, dwell deep and sigh. Enjoy!
"Old Habits", my contribution to this amazing anthology, is the story of a small town boy, his journey to manhood, and the dark secret he keeps. You never want to know what that secret is.
A dark Christmas Eve tale of a spicy sweet girl named Cinnamon and the special dinner she plans for her new man. It's a tasty tale. And as her guy says, "The girl can cook."
Learn more about The Awethors and their books.
"April Showers" is a dark and creepy story where the past doesn't stay buried. Instead it literally floats to the surface throwing a small town into the limelight. What lies beneath the roofs of houses where families gather around dinner tables, children sleep safely in their beds, and grandparents welcome their grandchildren with open arms? Read this disturbing tale and you won't look at your neighbors quite the same way.
Birth of an Idea
A Facebook Group of Indie Authors led by Rocky Rochford, DM Cain, and Claire Plaisted had a brilliant idea to showcase the talents of writers of the group. Why not publish an anthology of short stories by members of the group. Would anyone be interested? How could it work? Better yet, WOULD it work?
They approached the challenge with the enthusiasm and determination only indie authors can appreciate. On October 18, 2015 the Awethologies, Light and Dark were released on Kindle.