When my father started his writing career there was a great demand for short stories. Publications such as The Saturday Evening Post, Collier’s, Argosy, Esquire, even Cosmopolitan published short fiction in every edition. There were weekly and monthly publications that were always looking for good material. It was a great way for a writer to build his portfolio and make a name for himself. This is exactly what my father did. In fact, prior to the publication of Violent Saturday, he published dozens of short stories.
That opportunity didn’t really exist for me. When I started trying to get my stories published there were a few literary publications that bought short fiction, but the competition was fierce and after numerous rejections I quit writing short stories altogether. However, now the market for short fiction is expanding. The evolution of ebooks and ereaders has provided opportunities for inexpensive distribution, resulting in a resurgence in the popularity of short fiction.
This anthology includes twelve pieces by my father and me. When I looked through my library to decide which shorts to include, I selected stories that offered a broad range of subjects and styles. They vary in length from one-page vignettes to short stories that are anywhere from five to twenty-five pages in length. They also cover a broad span of time. Several are stories I wrote more than thirty years ago when I was in high school.
I’ve always enjoyed reading and writing short fiction and it’s my pleasure to present this anthology of twelve selected shorts. I hope you enjoy them.
It is my pleasure to introduce you to a new novel by my cousin, Ellen Heath, entitled The Inheritance.
Born in Mississippi and raised by her late aunt in a Tucson trailer court, Martha Stahlings has created a very successful life from a humble and mysterious beginning. Now a death in her husband’s family is giving her the opportunity to return to her roots in the South to find out who she really is.
During a dramatic, one-week visit in a small Alabama town, Martha and her husband, Sam, must decide whether he will return to take over management of the William Bennett Stahlings Memorial Hospital. As the week with Sam’s unusual relatives progresses, Martha is torn between the promise of a wonderful new life and harrowing discoveries that could turn it into a nightmare.
Some of you will remember this book as The Good Old Boys, published in 1971. Dad never liked that title, so I’m happy to publish it with his title.
Many people approached Dad after reading this book with comments like, “I know who (so-and-so) is.” Or, “You know your story about (so-and-so) wasn’t exactly right.” Needless to say, his friends and acquaintances thought the story was about Scottsboro and its residents. Although Dad’s life there undoubtedly fueled his imagination, the story and characters are fictional.
A Hackamore Saga
is a wonderful collection of funny, touching, and very entertaining stories. If you grew up in a small southern town, or even just spent time in one, this book will resonate with you.
During Dad’s writing career he wrote a wide variety of books — suspense, southern literature, young adult, even one that could be classified as fantasy. Darby’s Folly is a children’s book about a groundhog, J.D. Dawkins, who faces an interesting dilemma.
When it becomes evident that new residents will be moving into the abandoned farmhouse near his den, J.D. knows he must move. But he loves his home and wants to relocate it rather than move to a new one. But how do you move a hole in the ground?
Darby’s Folly is an entertaining story with lessons for the children. But it’s also a cute parody of society. In short, it’s a story that can be enjoyed by children and their parents alike.
A new short story, Runner, is now available. This is based on a story I wrote many years ago about a woman who was attacked while jogging. I had planned to publish it as part of a short story anthology I’m working on, but when I read it I realized it needed a lot of work. So, I started over from scratch, using only the basic premise.
The story details what happens to a young woman when she is abducted by a serial killer. She isn’t his first victim, and certainly won’t be his last, unless she can somehow get free and run to safety.
But then, in an interesting twist of fate, she figures out how to turn the tables on her captor.
How fast can you run…how far can you go…if you’re running for your life?