Category Archives: 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

Blog Top Sites

Discover Author of the Week posted on Mondays!

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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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Author of the Week, Shirley Jackson, June 13

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK   June  13

Shirley Jackson

(Mysteries, Supernatural, Gothic Horror, “Quiet Horror”)

“In the country of the story the writer is king.”

“I have always loved to use fear, to take it and comprehend it, and make it work, and consolidate a situation where I was afraid and take it whole and work from there.”

“I began writing stories about my children because, more than any other single being in the world, children possess and kind of magic that makes much of what they do so oddly logical and yet so incredible to grown-ups.”

Shirley Jackson is American novelist and short story writer.  The Lottery is her most famous short story but most of us admire her novel The Haunting of Hill House. She wrote six novels, two memoirs, and more than 200 short stories. The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle established her as a master of gothic horror and psychological suspense.

Listen to Shirley Jackson read her short stories,

The Lottery and The Daemon Lover:

 

The writing of Hangsaman, Shirley Jackson’s second novel, has inspired one of the most anticipated films of  2020. Shirley, won awards at Sundance Festival in January, is a psychological thriller that reflects on writing, womanhood and what it means to be a wife in 1950s America. Elisabeth Moss plays Jackson.

The film opens with a shot of the infamous short story The Lottery in The New Yorker. In actuality, Jackson started writing Hangsaman in 1950. The film focused on when Jackson was living in Bennington, Vermont, before she moved to Westport, Connecticut.

 

Hangsaman’s narrative structure descends into a shapeshifting ambiguity that left some critics at the time rather confused. But this is where Shirley really comes into its own in illustrating Jackson’s potential thought process behind the novel. “So what will become of your heroine?” asks Hyman, to which Jackson replies: “What happens to all lost girls: they go mad.”

Watch the trailer:

(Classic “Quiet Horror”)

 

Library of American interviews Joyce Carole Oates about Shirley Jackson (6 pages:

Click to access LOA_Oates_on_Jackson.pdf

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author on Mondays once a month at Reading Fiction Blog! 

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 250 free short stories by over 150 famous authors. Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary or classic authors. Audios too.

Follow or Join me here every month.

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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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Author of the Week, Mark Z. Danielewski, May 9

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK   May 9

 

Mark Z. Danielewski

(Supernatural, Ghosts, Horror, Thriller, Contemporary Fiction)

 

“My interest is in how meaning is communicated via language, and I believe the shape, positioning, even the colour of the language has an effect on meaning.”

“Write what you love. Love will hold you through the hard times and hold the world during the good times.”

“We all create stories to protect ourselves.”

 

Mark Z. Danielewski  (born  1966) is an American fiction author.  He studied English Literature at Yale. He is known for his debut novel House of Leaves, which won the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award. His second novel, Only Revolutions, was nominated for the National Book Award. He wrote the novella The Fifty Year Sword.  Danielewski’s work is characterized by experimental choices in form, such as intricate and multi-layered narratives and typographical variation.

Read The Guardian’s interview with Mark “House of Leaves changed My Life.”

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/apr/02/house-of-leaves-changed-my-life-the-cult-novel-at-20

 

Watch a chat with Mark, Los Angeles Times:

 

 

 

Visit Mark’s website: https://www.markzdanielewski.com/

Browse the “Index of Authors’ Tales” tab above to find over 250 free short stories by over 150 famous authors.

Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary or classic authors. Audios too. Please follow me or stop in.

Comment or click LIKE!

 

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Ghosts, Shadows, Empties

Ghosts and Empties by Lauran Groff (2015)

Tuesday’s short story, April 26, 2022

READING FICTION BLOG

 

Have you ever walked, or driven, around your neighborhood and found yourself staring into the windows of houses or apartments? Or on a train when it slows down to travel through a town, do you try to see inside the windows? I’ve been doing this for years and imagine the people who live there. I guess I was looking for evidence of normal life, or maybe seeking to observe something secret. Or maybe just the writer in me, looking for material. It is fun to snoop!

 

 

Lauren Groff writes a little adventure of the mind in Ghosts and Empties. Our character, a woman who is tired and worn out—“a woman who yells”—takes an evening walk and makes some intriguing observations. She brings her shadow with her that “lags behind me, gallops to my feet, gambols on ahead.”

 

What is she looking for here? In some ways, she becomes her own ghost reflected in her world.

Read it here at the New Yorker Magazine:

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/07/20/ghosts-and-empties

Listen to Author Lauren Groff read Ghosts and Empties, 22-Min:

 

 

Lauren Groff is the author of six books of fiction, the most recent the novel Matrix.  Her work has won The Story Prize, the ABA Indies’ Choice Award, and France’s Grand Prix de l’Héroïne, was a three time finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction and twice for the Kirkus Prize, and other literary prizes. She was named one of Granta’s Best of Young American Novelists. She lives in Gainesville, Florida.

(Nine Stories)

 

Visit Grof’s Amazon Book Page:

https://www.amazon.com/Lauren-Groff/e/B001JS4QVG

 

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

Filed under book bloggers, Book Reviews, family fiction, fiction, fiction bloggers, literary short stories, literature, Reading Fiction, Reading Fiction Blog, READING FICTION BLOG Paula Cappa, short stories, short stories online, short story blogs, women writers