Category Archives: free short stories

Come Meet Varlok. Flash Fiction

Varlok

 

Flash Fiction! Ready for a quick

100-word supernatural story?

The story below was part of a flash fiction contest at Horror Novel Reviews back in 2014. Some of you may know this website by Matt Molgaards. For the new year, I’ve been looking back at some of my work and decided to reprint this  tale that was published on Matt’s site.

 

Varlok by Paula Cappa   © 2014

 

The ninth hour. Julietta carries her violin up the darkened stone bridge. “I seek Varlok the music falcon, a blind creature of the ninth chorus.”

Julietta plays her sulky étude to the vale of sky, squeaking such discord she fears the black falcon will flee. “Dearest Varlok, I give you my perfect green eyes. Please grant me your immortal sonatas.”

The music falcon flies the Dusha River. He pecks her eyes, releasing glittering harmonies. Julietta breathes in the triumphant notes, grows dizzy, splashing into the river like a coin. Varlok soars the stars, consuming her lustful soul like a tasty fish.

 

 

Psst. Varlok is a character in my novel Greylock.

 

Check it out on Amazon.com or Smashwords.com

Gold Medal Winner, 2022 Global Book Awards.
Chanticleer Book Award Winner, 2015, First Place.
Best Book Award Finalist, 2017, by American Book Fest.

“Greylock is a smart, entertaining supernatural thriller. Think Stephen King meets Raymond Chandler with a score by Tchaikovsky. The author’s passion for both the arts and the natural world shines through on every page. Briskly paced and yet lovingly detailed, this novel was a genuine pleasure to read.” —David Corbett, award-winning author of The Mercy of the Night.

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Sky Wolf, Supernatural Fantasy

JUST PUBLISHED!

My latest fiction, a supernatural fantasy (adult fairy tale) Sky Wolf  is in the current issue of The Lorelei Signal Magazine by Wolf Singer Book Publications. Sky Wolf is a novelette (45-minute read).

(Art by Lee Ann Barlow)

SKY WOLF

In the kingdom of Iceleea, the king has no queen, no heir to his throne. Until he meets the Queen of Witches, the wicked Hekate who is reputed to be a three-headed monster, known to travel the underworld of the dead, casting her ghostly spells on earthly victims. Yet, Hekate promises the king a shining beauty—an enchanting and stunning young woman to rule next to him on the throne. But the king must make his promises to Hekate as well. So the bargaining begins. When the mysterious young woman arrives by the magick of the yew tree, she is riding a white wolf. What secret powers does she bring from her realm? Who is this woman and why is there the tail of a dragon burned into her back? This is a supernatural mystery with witches, magick, and the power of the white wolf in a land of myth and fantasy.

To read this story FREE (45-minute read), copy and paste this link into your browser search window and access the story directly.

Feel free to click the LIKE button at the end of the story.
Or you can use the link below to the Lorelei Signal Magazine main page, click the cover image of the dragon, then on the main page click Current Issue and scroll down to Sky Wolf.  https://www.loreleisignal.com/
Come to Iceleea!
I would love to hear your comments! If you read the story, do send me a blurb of your reaction (two or three sentences will do). I’m looking for endorsements, so don’t be shy. You can send it via my contact page in the tab above or post in the comments. Many thanks to all my readers here and to all the authors and writers who follow me on all my social media.
Your support is a blessing I treasure every day.

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One of the Girls Was Dead

Harvey’s Dream  by Stephen King (The New Yorker Magazine, 2003)

Thursday’s Suspense  Story, December 8, 2022

 

 

How deep can the imagination go? How deep can a dream go?

Dreams are often horrors and great subjects for suspense stories and mysteries. This short story by Stephen King (The New Yorker Magazine) is a tale of a middle-aged married couple with daughters. We are in the kitchen and Harvey tells his wife Janet of a dream, describing details that his wife begins to recognize. Specifics like deviled eggs and a dent in the neighbor’s car. We follow Janet’s every thought that reaches psychological heights of fear and an ending that only Stephen King could write.

 

Read the short story here at The New Yorker Magazine:

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2003/06/30/harveys-dream

 

Readers, please drop a line in the comments if you liked the story, or didn’t like it. How many stars would you rate Harvey’s Dream?

 

Film: 14 minutes. Don’t miss this!!

 

Stephen  King is a best-selling American author of suspense, horror, sci-fi and fantasy books. When he writes, he prefers to use pen and paper, using a Waterman fountain pen, instead of a computer. In his book On Writing, King says he tries to write at least 2,000 words a day. During the writing of his novel Carrie, King threw the first draft in the trash. His wife Tabitha retrieved it and eventually Doubleday bought the rights.

In the Atlantic, King revealed that he considers the introductory sentence of a book crucial for the book’s atmosphere and to successfully connect to the reader. He often labors over his first line for months or years until it’s exactly right.

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX OF AUTHORS’ TALES above for more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 250 short stories by more than 150 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, crime, sci-fi, romance, ‘quiet horror,’ and mainstream fiction.

 Follow or sign up to join me in reading

one short story every month. 

Comments are welcome!

Feel free to click “LIKE.”

 

 Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

      Monster Librarian     

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Literature Blog Directory   

Blog Collection

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Dead Still Here on All Hallows Eve

All Hallows      Walter de la Mare (1926)

Sunday’s Gothic Short Story, October 30, 2022

READING FICTION BLOG

Here is a perfect story to read aloud for Halloween.  Walter de la Mare is a dazzling author famous for his ghost stories and psychological drama. This is a fast short story and absolutely classic. We have a traveler visiting a deserted cathedral. The cathedral is not just haunted.

Devils are creatures made by God, and that for vengeance.

Why would devils haunt a deserted cathedral?

We then turned inward once more, ascending yet another spiral staircase. And now the intense darkness had thinned  a little, the groined roof above us becoming faintly discernible. A fresher air softly fanned my cheek; and then trembling fingers groped over my breast, and, cold and bony, clutched my own.”

 

You got to read this one. Author de la Mare is one of the finest writers of the supernatural.

 

 

Walter de la Mare  (1873 – 1956) was an English poet, short story writer, and novelist. He is probably best remembered for his works for children, for his poem “The Listeners”, and for a highly acclaimed selection of subtle psychological horror stories, amongst them Seaton’s Aunt and The Return. He was considered one of modern literature’s chief exemplars of the romantic imagination.

 

Read All Hallows  at Gutenberg.ca (page 288 in Table of Contents):

https://gutenberg.ca/ebooks/delamarew-beststories/delamarew-beststories-00-h.html#Page_288

 

Listen to the audio at BBC Radio:

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX OF AUTHORS’ TALES above for more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 250 short stories by more than 150 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, crime, sci-fi, romance, ‘quiet horror,’ and mainstream fiction.

 

 Follow or sign up to join me in reading

one short story every month. 

 

Comments are welcome!

Feel free to click “LIKE.”

 

 Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

      Monster Librarian     

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Literature Blog Directory   

Blog Collection

Blog Top Sites

Discover Author of the Week posted on Mondays!

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Bleeker Street Caper

Guy Walks Into a Bar  by Lee Child  (2009)

Tuesday’s Mystery Story (flash fiction)   July 26, 2022

 

 

Take this quickie read for a spin about a sexy girl in a scruffy dive on Bleecker Street at 1:30 am. Moscow-style intrigue with a sassy twist. Author Lee Child at his finest!

SHE was about 19. No older. Maybe younger … She was blond and blue-eyed, but not American … She was probably Russian. She was rich. 

 

 

Read it here at the New York Times:

 

Also available at Readsnovelonline.com

http://readsnovelonline.com/Page/Content/353368/page-1-of-Guy-Walks-into-a-Bar-(Jack-Reacher-125)

 

If you like Tom Cruise and bar fights, this one is cool, featuring military cop Jack Reacher.  Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher  is being challenged to a fight outside a bar. He tries to warn the group that they can and should still walk away but despite his warnings, they still want to fight.  Three minutes of tough and gruff. So fun!

 

Lee Child, an multi-award winning author, is an English thriller novelist and an Anthony Award winner for the best first novel Killing Floor (1997). His novels are based on the adventures of Jack Reacher, a former American military policeman wandering the United States. He currently lives in New York.

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX OF AUTHORS’ TALES above for more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 250 short stories by more than 150 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, crime, sci-fi, romance, ‘quiet horror,’ and mainstream fiction.

 Follow or sign up to join me in reading

one short story every month. 

Comments are welcome!

Feel free to click “LIKE.”

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

      Monster Librarian     

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Literature Blog Directory   

Blog Collection

Blog Top Sites

Discover Author of the Week posted on Mondays!

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Dream Existence

The Fairy Maiden, A Welsh Fairy Tale

Author of Legendary Stories of Wales, Collection Written by E. M. Wilkie, Published by Pook Press, 2013

Tuesday’s Tale   June 28, 2022

Today is a fairy tale day. The fantasy genre is a delicious side dish of supernatural mysteries, which has been my main meal here at Reading Fiction Blog. We love fairy tales, even as adults, because they explore breaking the bonds of culture and transport us into other worlds of magic and endless possibilities. That childhood desire to fly like Peter Pan or discover your prince at a stunning ball like Cinderella.  I like what W.B. Yeats has to say about fairy tales.

 

 

For me as a child, fairy tales were not my escape from reality; they were reality  in thousands of ways. The wicked witches, the mad enchantresses, the evil queens, and pixie dust, wizards, and magical realms. All wonderfully real in some far away world at a time beyond me.

Come into the fairy tale again and experience the dream existence.

An enchanting quick read, this short story is a charmer and so refreshing.  This Welsh fairy tale is about a man named Tom who steals a maiden from her circle of dancing folk fairies on a river bank.  Once upon a time …

This is a tale of the still, hot days in summer when the dust lies thick and soft on the roads, and muffles the footfall of horse and man, and powders the hedge-plants, and turns the roadside grass grey.

 

The Fairy Maiden – A Legendary Tale from Wales

This story is featured in Legendary Stories of Wales – Illustrated by Honor C. Appleton, on Amazon.com.

This book contains 57 classic Welsh tales  ‘told through the ages’ – including those inspired by Ancient Greece and Rome, the Celtic past, King Arthur, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Dante, George Eliot, and many more. As Wilkie informs his reader… ‘many of them are well known… some are out-of-the-way tales… and a few, probably, have never been written down before.’

 

Listen to a famous Welsh fairy tale The Fisherman and the Mermaid read by David Reid, on YouTube (8 minutes). Delightful!

 

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX OF AUTHORS’ TALES above for more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 250 short stories by more than 150 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, crime, sci-fi, romance, ‘quiet horror,’  fantasy, and mainstream fiction.

 Follow or sign up to join me in reading one short story every month. 

Comments are welcome!

Feel free to click “LIKE.”

 

 Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

      Monster Librarian     

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Literature Blog Directory   

Blog Collection

Blog Top Sites

Discover Author of the Week posted on Mondays!

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Dropped Dead

Creeping Siamese by Dashiell Hammett (1926)

Tuesday’s Detective Tale   May 24, 2022

A man stumbles into the Continental Detective Agency. He drops dead on the floor.  Stabbed in the left breast, the man’s wound is staunched with red silk—which seems to be a sarong.

If you love crime stories with ace detectives, then you must be a fan of Dashiell Hammett. This story is a cool little plot puzzle with imaginative clues. Good one!

“Hammett did over and over again what only the best writers can ever do at all. He wrote scenes that seemed never to have been written before.”  Raymond Chandler.

 

Read the short story here:

Click to access Hammett_Creeping_Siamese.pdf

Listen to other short stories by Dashiell Hammett (Creeping Siamese is not available in audio).

We like to remember Dashiell Hammett as the inventor of hardboiled detective fiction with brutal realism and wry humor. Hammett worked for the Pinkerton Detective Agency for eight years before he began writing his stories.  His first short story was published by The Black Mask in 1923.

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX OF AUTHORS’ TALES above for more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 250 short stories by more than 150 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, crime, sci-fi, romance, ‘quiet horror,’ and mainstream fiction.

 Follow or sign up to join me in reading one short story every month. 

Comments are welcome!

Feel free to click “LIKE.”

 Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

      Monster Librarian     

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Literature Blog Directory   

Blog Collection

Blog Top Sites

Discover Author of the Week posted on Mondays!

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Book Moments Four, May Sarton

Book Moments Four, May Sarton, May 3, 2022

Anniversary of May’s birth date, May 3, 1912

My morning tea with May Sarton, filled with sunlight. This moment reflecting May’s thought “to live in eternity’s light, not in time.”

 

 

I am at the end of At Seventy, A Journal.  I have over 35 volumes of May Sarton’s books on my bookshelf, with several still to read.

May writes that she listens to Mozart Piano Concerto E-Flat Major, No. 9 (as I am listening to this music too). She conveys her feelings about nature, her garden, flowers,  birds, rhythms of the seasons, and light. These themes, her companions really, are in all her journals and poetry.

“I look out at the rain, the narrow winding path through the golden grasses to the gray ocean, and rest in it. I am as close to heaven as I am to hell all these days as summer turns to autumn.”

I especially love her description of flowers:

“My eyes rested on a blue jar containing crimson cosmos and lavender Michaelmas daisies, color as brilliant and starling as a clash of cymbals against the white walls.”

 

On page 305, May tells us about her muse. “Poetry does not happen for me without a muse.”

During the November entries in this journal, she mentions that a muse means intense preoccupation …

“I am fully aware that the presence of a muse literally opens  the inner space, just as November light opens the outer space …

“With this muse, to make every effort to live in eternity’s light, not in time.”

She has often claimed that her muse is a woman who “focuses the world for me.” For some artists, the muse is metaphorical or can even be an actual person. For May, her muse seems to be both.

It has been well documented in May’s writings that she considered Juliette Huxley to be her living muse.

 

I think May had many muses and at different levels. She mentions the influence of  Virginia Woolf, Elizabeth Bowen, Julian Huxley, S.S. Kolteliansky, Florida Scott-Maxwell, Anne Thorp, Susan Sherman, and especially Jean Dominique and Louise Bogan. I think perhaps even her dog Tamas and cat Bramble have had their play as muses in her life.

In one of her poems, she discovers her misunderstanding Of The Muse.

Of The Muse (excerpt)

When I was young, I misunderstood The Muse.

Now I am older and wiser, I can be glad of her

As one is glad of the light.

We do not thank the light,

But rejoice in what we see

Because of it.

What I see today

Is the snow falling:

All things are made new.

 

Let us leave it here, finishing off these Book Moments as if savoring one of May’s delicate dinners: Belgian endive salad, a loaf of French bread, and a glass of Beaujolais. She has fed us all so well!

 

 

 

You might like to read her interview at the Paris Review:

“The thing about poetry—one of the things about poetry—is that in general one does not follow growth and change through a poem. The poem is an essence. It captures perhaps a moment of violent change but it captures a moment, whereas the novel concerns itself with growth and change. As for the journals, you actually see the writer living out a life, which you don’t in any of the other forms, not even the memoirs.”

https://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/3040/the-art-of-poetry-no-32-may-sarton

May died at the age of 83 in 1995. She is buried in Nelson Cemetery,

Nelson, New Hampshire.

 

Book Moments, May Sarton, April 4, 2022

Book Moments Two, May Sarton, April 7, 2022

Book Moments Three, May Sarton, April 19, 2022

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Book Moments Two, May Sarton

Book Moments Two! Thursday, April 7

My morning tea with May Sarton

My morning reads with May continue to enlighten my days. On pages 49-51 of At Seventy, A Journal, May considers her age in the act of writing a journal, her search to express honesty, and the recurring springtime. She mentions sculptor Anne Truitt’s Daybook: The Journal of an Artist and French Romantic painter  Eugene Delacroix’s Journals as examples of artists who illuminate through writing a daily journal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mays says …

“I envy the painter who does not have to use elusive, sometimes damaged, often ambivalent words. I find that keeping a journal again validates and clarifies. For the hour I manage in the morning at this task, I am happy, at ease with myself and the world, even when I am complaining of pressure.”

“I sometimes feel old these days when I am suddenly made aware of the little time ahead. It came to me with a sharp pang when I found myself saying, as I have done every spring for years, Housman’s poem …

And since to look at things in bloom

fifty springs are little room

About the woodland I will go

To see the cherry hung with snow.

 

“I have at most ten or fifteen springs! Is that possible? Almost a lifetime gone. On the other side though, what I do have is seventy springs in my head, and they flow back with all their riches now.”

 

 

May’s words open a new perspective here for me. To look at age in terms of how many springs we have left to enjoy the blooming of flowers and bursting of green trees. For those of us who are nearing the age of seventy or living within the decade of seventy years, this is especially poignant.

How many springs are inside your head? How many autumns or summers? How many seasons do you expect to enjoy in the coming years?

 

 

Here is May’s poem about spring.

Metamorphosis
Always it happens when we are not there–
The tree leaps up alive into the air,
Small open parasols of Chinese green
Wave on each twig. But who has ever seen
The latch sprung, the bud as it burst?
Spring always manages to get there first.
Lovers of wind, who will have been aware
Of a faint stirring in the empty air,
Look up one day through a dissolving screen
To find no star, but this multiplied green,
Shadow on shadow, singing sweet and clear.
Listen, lovers of wind, the leaves are here!

 

Visit May Sarton’s Amazon.com Page: https://www.amazon.com/May-Sarton/e/B000AQ48TS

 

Visit Book Moments Three, April 19

Please leave a comment, LIKE, or share if you are enjoying

Book Moments with May Sarton.

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Crime of Passion and a Curse

The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde (1887)

Tuesday’s Ghost Story   March 29, 2022  READING FICTION BLOG 

 

 

Oscar Wilde is most famous for his The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891), his comic masterpieces Lady Windermere’s Fan (1892) and The Importance of Being Earnest (1895). Like much of his work known for its satirical brilliance, and even if you are not drawn to ghost stories, this one will brighten your day.

The Otis family members are spending the summer at the castle in Canterville, previously owned by British aristocrats Lord and Lady Canterville. A good part of the narrative is from the ghost himself Sir Simon de Canterville. And what a guy! Prepare yourself for a parody of Gothic fiction. Lightning storms, strange laughter, blood stains, hidden passages, crows that cry havoc, tea in the library with a secret hatch, and dashes of romance—and, of course, a murder. All this will beg the question: Is love stronger than death?

Very entertaining classic literature at its best. Oscar Wilde’s wit and realism, and his engaging characters are memorable both on the page and on the screen.

Read the short story here at Gutenberg.org

https://www.gutenberg.org/files/14522/14522-h/14522-h.htm

Listen to the audio on You Tube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0iIV9zSuDI

 

Watch the FREE film on You Tube (1:20 minutes). This 1997 movie was directed by Crispin Reece, starring Ian Richardson, Celia Imrie,  Sarah-Jane Potts, and James D’Arcy. There is another version, 1996, with Neve Campbell and Patrick Stewart, but this version I feature here is far better.

 

 

Oscar Wilde was born of professional and literary parents. His father, Sir William Wilde, published books on archaeology and folklore. His mother, who wrote under the name Speranza, was a revolutionary poet and an authority on Celtic myth and folklore.

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX OF AUTHORS’ TALES above for more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 250 short stories by more than 150 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, crime, sci-fi, romance, ‘quiet horror,’ and mainstream fiction.

 Follow or sign up to join me in reading

one short story every month. 

Comments are welcome!

Feel free to click “LIKE.”

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

      Monster Librarian     

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Literature Blog Directory   

Blog Collection

Blog Top Sites

Discover Author of the Week posted on Mondays!

2 Comments

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