Saturday, January 16, 2010

Stolen Moments and Short Affairs

Back in September, I guest blogged over at Cheeky Reads, one of my favorite book blogs. I wanted to share that guest blog today for those who may have missed it. Welcome to my stolen moments and short affairs:

I have a confession to make; I love to indulge in short affairs rather frequently. That doesn’t mean I am opposed to longer term relationships, but those short affairs, one night stands, afternoon quickies, those short, brief passionate moments stolen away from everyone and everything else. Yes, I have a problem and that problem is the short story.


Passion for Short Stories

My passion for short stories began as a child. My grandmother used to read to me from her Harlequin romance novels because she didn’t like to read children’s books. I loved the stories, particularly when they were funny or adventurous. When I was five, she gave me a book of Aesop’s Fables. I devoured it. You know Aesop’s Fables right? The Boy Who Cried Wolf? The Dog in the Manger? The Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs? The Tortoise and the Hare?

Of course those classics captured my imagination. Short, pithy stories filled with entertainment and a moral. Those were soon followed by books on Greek mythology and collections of tales from mythology with everything from Zeus becoming a Bull to the tales of Hercules. It wasn’t long before I was seeing Encyclopedia Brown and the Two Minute Mysteries.

Is it any wonder that I reached for Cats Fantastic? Horse Fantastic? Villains Victorious? And so many more that drew me in and I couldn’t help but read? I used to think the attraction was the swift read of short story books. I could satisfy my fiction needs in fast, furious bursts of goodness, but not get so sucked into a novel.

The Star

The best short story I ever read was called The Star by Arthur C. Clarke. In the story, deep space explorers are on their way home from a far away star system. During their journey, they found the archaeological remains of an advanced civilization that was ended when their star went super nova. The mission’s lead astrophysicist is deeply troubled by something from their journey. Throughout the story, we learn different things about the destroyed culture.

The planet and its people seemed very Earth-like in nature. The people knew well in advance that their star would explode. They didn’t have the interstellar capabilities to save themselves so they built a large time capsule on a planet with a distant orbit, where it would be safe from the supernova. They stored complete records of their culture, their society, achievements and everything they could to keep the memory of their exceptionally peaceful and advanced civilization alive in memory.

All of the explorers were deeply moved by the vault, especially the Jesuit priest. At the very end of the story, the Jesuit reveals what he has figured out. The exact Earth year that light from the supernova would have reached Earth equates with the year that Christ was born. That civilization was destroyed so that the wise men would know to journey to the Christ child. To this day, that story gives me chills.

Writing, Reading, Loving Short Fiction

This love affair with short fiction continued into adulthood. While I was not necessarily a fan of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer book series, I adored the Tales of the Slayers, the short fiction collection books. I love short fiction because you get to meet lots of different writers. More recently, I’ve read short story collections like Mean Streets, Suite 606, Strange Brew and so many more than I can name.

As a writer myself, I appreciate the opportunities that short fiction provides to readers. Remembering Ashby is a novella, a short novel just under 30,000 words. I wrote two short stories, one that follows up RA called Forget to Remember and another called It Happens. The first is a follow-up to RA while the second introduces a new series that will be coming out this fall from Sapphire Blue Publishing. ( has subsequently been Prime Evilreleased.)

Short stories can give you a window of opportunity into the body of an author’s work. I discovered Jim Butcher in a short story, I discovered Tom Sniegoski in a short story. I discovered Kelley Armstrong, Kim Harrison, J.D. Robb, Simon R, Green, Rachel Caine, Patricia Briggs, Christopher Golden and so many more.

The list of authors could go on and on and on. I’ve gotten letters recently from a handful of people who found my short story on All Romance eBooks and others who found the short story on my website. They wrote to let me know they enjoyed the short stories so much; they wanted to see what else I wrote.

So the circle is complete. I read short stories because I love those moments, the swift introductions and thoroughly passionate affairs that can leave you breathless and longing for more. I love those short stories the best, I can’t wait for the next.

What is your favorite short story?



2 comments:

  1. Wonderful post! Thanks for sharing. :)

    Kudos, big-time, for Christopher Golden - Have you heard about the anthology The New Dead? It comes out next month, and a collection of zombie tales written by a ton of amazing authors + edited by Golden. (...and if you're in the mood for a full-length zombie novel, get his book Soulless. It's cinematic and dynamic!)

    Yay for Mean Streets as well! I am anxiously awaiting Thomas E. Sniegoski's next Remy Chandler novel, Where Angels Fear to Tread.

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  2. Hey Heather!

    Just wanted to let you know that you have an award up at my blog =)))

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