My Top 5 Short Reads of 2017

top5readsAt first, I thought I’d do an ordinary Friday Short Fiction Club post but then… I haven’t said anything about the year that has passed or what I’m looking forward to in 2018. I don’t really know what I want to accomplish during 2018, write some I guess LOL, but, I thought I’d share my top 5 short reads of 2017.

Now, I’ve read some great stories and some not so great. If I were to re-read them I might not pick the same ones I do now, but scrolling through my posts these five were the ones I lingered by.

  • Pretty Paper, Pretty Ribbons of Blue: This is a really good Christmas horror flash that I loved. And While talking about Christmas stories I’ll sneak in Black Christmas here too because it’s one of the stories from the Short Fiction Advent Calendar that stays with me.
  • Sweet Tooth: This year I’ve read three fo the six Sweet Tooth stories out there and as silly as it is with a vampire running a support group for those who want to give up live feeding I love Dr Pierce – not his real name.
  • Three Days: This short story is rather gruesome, or more than rather. A nuclear bomb has fallen and we get to follow the destruction to the bitter end.
  • Manufacturing Margaret: This is a great Sci-Fi short story, funny and bloody and brilliant. Margaret used to be a taxi but now she’s with her man…only he’s not with her. I’ll sneak in another here because this year I also read A New York Tale which is another short Sci-Fi with a humanoid robot that I enjoyed.
  • Going Somewhere Else: Last we have this short little Sci-Fi flash about an adventurer who’s going on a trip that will never end. This reminded me of a short story by Pär Lagerkvist called En Hjältes Död (I don’t think it’s been translated to English, or I’ve never managed to find it at least) and that story jarred something inside of me when I read it as a teen.

 

As for my writing during 2017… I wrote quite a few stories during the first half of the year, and then I didn’t write that many.

In Miserable Tales I wrote:

A Discount on Death

If You Live, Come Back 

The Hobby Section

A Cup of Coffee and a Slice of Death

In Murder Games I wrote:

Picture-Perfect Murder

Frozen Mermaids

Murder in the Morning

A Perfect Murder

Hell Hath No Fury

The Last Ticket

And Some Random Flashes I wrote:

A Special Easter Gift

Scrambled Grey Matter

A Santa With Frosting

I think that was it…might have missed a flash somewhere but in that case, it’s hidden away here on the site. When listed it does like I actually did write some 🙂

 

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Time to get my shit together!

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A couple of months ago, I started working after having been home with children for several years. Since then I haven’t written shit. I haven’t read much, haven’t blogged, posted on social media or done anything except working and dozing.

I haven’t been completely unproductive. I’ve moved the blog here so that has taken some time, and I have published two stories.

In June I published Hell Hath No Fury (Murder Games #5) and in July The Last Ticket (Murder Games #6). The Murder Games are now finished and I’ll start a new project, or write some standalone stories. I haven’t decided yet. It’s time to get my shit together, though.

 

A Special Easter Gift | Flash Fiction by O Gränd

Coffee and chocolateWhat did you get in your Easter egg? In Sweden we’re celebrating today so the kids have already been on an egg hunt – luckily, for them, there was only candy in their eggs.

While hiding some eggs yesterday evening I got a rather disturbing thought. What if the pieces looking like candy weren’t candy at all? Poor Mike in this flash is in for a nasty surprise.


A Special Easter Gift

With a frustrated groan, Alice dropped the knife on the cutting board. The shape of her squares was all wrong. She’d cut them perfectly, but the texture was off. As soon as she let them rest a little, they lost their sharp edges and looked like they were about to melt. The sides were bulging out, and the bottom grew wider.

She grabbed one between her thumb and forefinger and pressed a little, making it bloat on the top. When she let go, it sagged again. With clenched jaws, she wiped her sticky fingers on her apron.

Chocolate truffles didn’t lose their form so her cubes couldn’t either. If they didn’t look like chocolate, the whole wrapping would be ruined. Checking to make sure her fingers wouldn’t leave smears, she reached for the large vintage papier-mâché Easter egg. She’d bought yellow wrapping tissue paper to put inside along with the cubes.

Glaring at the dices, she wondered what she should do to make them look like chocolate. Maybe she could fry them. If she turned them around and let them get a little roasting surface on each side… No, she’d probably burn them and then it would look like she wanted to invite him over for dinner—she did not want to invite him to dinner.

All she wanted was to give him a surprise.

She tapped her lip, a coppery smell finding its way into her nostrils as she considered her options. The best way to make it look like chocolate was, of course, to dip the squares in chocolate.

While she boiled some water to melt the chocolate over, she started to clean away the pieces she couldn’t use. Where she would hide the carcase, she didn’t know, but she’d think of something. She couldn’t risk the police finding a body with carved out bits anywhere nearby. Smartest would, of course, be to grind it all and get rid of the mince but it was too much work. She’d dump it in the river during the night.

Smiling, she dipped the cubes in the melted chocolate and set them out to cool. It would look lovely. Mike would be so surprised. After last week he probably hadn’t thought he’d see her again, but everyone deserved an Easter treat—he more than most.

She put the woman’s head in a plastic bag. Maybe she should wrap it for him too? No, then he would know. It was better he ended up with meat truffles and then was left wondering where his favourite waitress had gone.

He shouldn’t have given her that tip, shouldn’t have smiled more to her than he did Alice. No, Alice was a woman who deserved all the attention of her dates, and if Mike thought he could take her to a restaurant only to flirt with the waitress, he was wrong.

She’d told him so already.

He might not deserve her, but he did deserve a special gift. While arranging the cubes on the yellow tissue paper, she started to hum. What a great idea dipping them in chocolate had been, they looked perfect!

She scattered some Easter egg and bunnies sprinkles over the chocolate coated cubes before putting on the lid.

It really was pretty, almost as pretty as the waitress had been.

 

Friday Short Fiction Club | Going Somewhere Else

I didn’t get around to write a post last week, I read a story but there was no time to sit down and write anything about it. This Friday, however, I’ve read a new story. I picked up Going Somewhere Else (a Break Bites Story) by Amber D. Sistla and the main reason I picked was the ‘break bite’. I do love a good flash or short story.

Going Somewhere Else is a short Sci-Fi tale about an explorer. It starts out with a press conference before departure and then we get a little backstory on the adventurer.  I liked how the story built, how we got to understand why someone would go on a trip that never will end. While there were hints about advanced technology and the oncoming space flight it wasn’t heavy on the Sci-Fi, but that’s how I like my Sci-Fi so no complaints :D.

It’s short, it’s free, and perfect to go with a cup of your favourite hot beverage. I haven’t read anything by Amber D. Sistla before but I’ll check out what else she has – I know there’s a whole series of Break Bites.


Book Cover Going Somehwer Else by Amber D. SistlaA space explorer prepares for a journey that will never end.

Originally published in Cosmos Online Magazine.
Translated into Hebrew, Mercury magazine March 2009.
Translated into Greek, Ennea magazine #439 Jan 14, 2009.

Part of the “Break Bites” Series: Stories short enough to read when you get a break from your everyday activities.

 

 

Update: Currently unavailable

The Best Day of the Year

Don’t you just love the first of January? You have a whole year to achieve the things you set out to do and all the opportunities in the world to make it a better year than the last – that’s why it’s the best day of the year. It’s a fresh start. My goals are pretty simple – I’m going to keep on writing.

I’m not going to make any promises, I was toying with the idea of trying to publish a story a month, but as my life looks now I won’t be able to make it. Another year maybe.

I’m planning on keeping doing my Friday Short Fiction Club posts. I don’t know if I should broaden my presence online. I’m not a great believer in social media but then again, sitting here in this corner writing without anyone knowing about it won’t help me.

Do you want to know what I’m up to? Sign up for my Mailing List and find out!

Happy New Year!

Three Days| A Thanksgiving short

 

Eye of a horse
CC0 Creative Commons

Living in Scandinavia I don’t have a lot of experience of Thanksgiving. My knowledge mostly comes from movies and TV series and we all know how misguiding those can be. But, since Thanksgiving is here, and we – or at least I – often read something scary for Halloween, something Christmassy for Christmas, I thought I’d find something Thanksgivingy for Thanksgiving.

 

Now, that wasn’t as easy as I’d thought it would be.

I searched on Amazon, and there were a few stories but none I felt like reading – harsh but true. Then I googled, but that didn’t give a lot result either. After a few tries, I did find a list of six Thanksgiving short stories that had been published by The New Yorker. I picked the first on the list, I was just gonna see where the link took me, but Samantha Hunt’s Three Days hooked me. It was right there by the bloated racoon in the third sentence I knew I had to keep reading.

Three Days is not a happy story. In less than eight thousand words Samantha Hunt had me going from interested, to laughing, to that sort of chuckling when there are recognition and sympathy but you know it’s more tragic than funny. Then, in the end, I wasn’t chuckling, the laughter died, and I wished the story wouldn’t go where it was going even though I knew it was inevitable.

This is a horrible story, a fantastic story, a story that has very little to do with Thanksgiving and yet everything to do with what happens around holidays when you’re forced to go back to a life you’ve escaped. It’s about being sitting there around the table eating the carefully prepared food and wishing you were somewhere far far away.

If you want something happy and cheerful – don’t read it! If you want something else, this is a story that shouldn’t be missed.

Happy Thanksgiving!

The First Post

coffee cupWriting the first post on a blog is quite scary. I’ve been staring at the ‘Nothing Found’ post for a while now, thinking I can leave off writing something to another day. But I can’t, can I? What if you happened to drop by and it said ‘Nothing Found’? You would leave and never look back.

So what will there be on this site in the future? I have no idea, but every writer needs to have a site, that’s just the way it is. I write short fiction, short-short fiction, and the occasional flash fiction so it will be about that.

Why short? I like the challenge of telling a story in just a few words. I don’t mean to badmouth novels, absolutely not, but sometimes we don’t have time for a novel. Sometimes we don’t have the energy to immerse ourselves in long stories, no matter how lovely or thrilling they are. Sometimes the satisfaction of actually making it to the end before we’re interrupted by work, kids, pets, spouses etc is greater than the want to read a long book.

Sometimes all we want is to read a tale, start to finish, in the same amount of time it takes us to drink our coffee.