Are you reading War and Peace, Les Miserables, The Iliad or The Odyssey? Maybe Atlas Shrugged?
After all of that heavy reading, you might need something to reset your brain. Why not some short stories. My collection, Random Tales, has four short stories that will fit the bill.
Here is a description of each of the stories:
- Heal Thyself – A man who is in a terrible accident wakes up to find that his life has changed forever in a very unexpected way.
The short story, Heal Thyself, holds a special place in my heart. It was the result of my first serious attempt at writing. It was the first short story that I completed and had published. I remember when I heard back from ‘Down In The Dirt’ magazine that they wanted to publish my story. I received no money and actually had to buy a copy of it myself, but hey, I was in print.
The story emerged from reading news headlines. I saw a story about a man riding a motorcycle that had been in a horrific crash and his injuries had paralyzed him from the neck down with multiple internal injuries.
Instead of this inevitable outcome, I started thinking about what alternative endings there might be. I have always been an avid reader of everything written by Stephen King and I began thinking of his book, The Dead Zone which centers on a man that wakes from a coma with psychic abilities that end up torturing him. Thinking of that story gave me a direction for Heal Thyself and I was off and running.
- August 1963 – A story that was inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘I have a dream’ speech about a young boy transplanted to the South in the early 1960’s.
This story was written to mark the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. There are a few things to note about this story. First, the main character tells the story in first person, which was something I wanted to try. Second, the character is a transplanted northerner moving to the south at a time when the Civil Rights movement in the US was at a fevered pitch. Although I was less than a year old when this story takes place, I experienced some of the same issues that the main character faced during my own move to the south over 30 years later. Finally, if you’ve read “Frankly Speaking” or “Let Me Be Frank”, you might notice some familiar names and references. This is something that I’ve started to do in my work. I want to have a common underlying thread or universe of characters throughout my work.
This story very much echoes my own feelings on prejudice and racial inequality. One theme that rings through is, no matter how enlightened we think we might be on either side of the race issue, we don’t truly understand what is going on in the hearts and minds of others involved in the struggle. I was able to weave in music as a common thread that binds the characters together. You will see the use of music in many of my stories. Besides writing, it is another passion in my life.
One change that I made in this version of the story from the original that was published as a single, is using the actual n-word instead of masking it. I received some reviews and messages saying that this would make the piece more authentic. I struggled with this as the word has become so controversial and I have always viewed it as offensive. I was convinced when I recently re-read my favorite book, “To Kill a Mockingbird”. When Scout uses the word in the book as a young child, her father tells her not to use the word because it is “common” meaning “low class” in the context of the time and place. I am using it in my story even though, like Atticus Finch, I consider it “common”.
- Play It Again Des – A young piano player realizes his dream of being one of the greats, but at what cost?
This story is about the consequences of taking shortcuts. In my career, I have reached heights higher than I thought I would, but it has been a slow and steady climb. I have refused to play politics or to “sell my soul” to get ahead. I don’t golf. I don’t go to cocktail parties. I would rather color with my seven-year-old than hang out with a bunch of “Masters of the Universe” at a country club on a Saturday morning.
The main character of this story, Desmond Brown, takes a shortcut and suffers the consequences. His shortcut is the result of youthful impatience and coercion by an evil entity. In my corporate career, I have seen both of these at work and have somehow failed to succumb to either. My career ascension may have been slow, but I am able to sleep at night.
Note: If you’ve read my novels, you will see other common threads in this work from the “Frank” universe. Pay attention to the location in New Orleans in particular.
- Lucy’s Christmas Miracle – A dog saves the day and makes Christmas memorable.
I wrote this story completely on a flight from Atlanta to Boston. It was about a two hour flight in rough weather. It was inspired by the dog, Lucy, in my Frank Rozzani Detective Series books. It’s a light-hearted story about a child that goes missing and the events leading to locating her.
It was meant to be a quick tale to get readers interested in my books and as a special Christmas bonus to those who have read the books to whet their appetites for the third book.
I had written the dedication to my youngest daughter who is sometimes wise beyond her years. A freaky thing occurred when I asked my usual provider to create a cover for the story. It came back with a picture of a little girl being guided by a dog. I had to take a second look at the picture as the little girl has a strong resemblance to my daughter mentioned in the dedication. The designer has never met or even seen my daughter, so the coincidence was interesting.
The book is only $.99 in the Amazon Kindle format. I think these stories are worth reading and I want to get them exposure. Also, for those of you that have not read my work, this is a great way to introduce you to my writing.
If you want to pick up a copy you can download it here.