by Bethany Maines
Writing short stories is a unique art form, one that I used to pursue and then, like someone finding a new love, I dropped in favor of novels. Because novels were dreamy and just so much cooooooler than those short stories. But in the past few years, I’ve found myself once again taking up the challenge of short form writing. Now that I’m a more experienced writer I see the structure of novels and short fiction differently and find that they present different challenges that require different skills. I think that previously I only had one set of skills that I applied to all writing. Which is a bit like trying to paint with only one brush. Now that I have a few more brushes in the paintbox it’s been fun to tackle short stories.
Interestingly, I’ve found that while previously my short stories were sci-fi or fantasy based, my current crop are all crime based. I may have been hanging out with my Noir at the Bar buddies too much, or maybe I just have become more criminal as I’ve gotten older, but I keep coming up with some dang good crimes to write about. But as I’ve collected more stories, I’ve started to think that perhaps I should put together an anthology. I would add another three or four to truly round out the group, but I think it might be fun.
Below is a rundown of my criminal little tales. What do you think? Should I pull them all together into one collection?
Mayhem & Mahalo – Switchblade Magazine, 2019 – Hawaii—the land of sun, surf, and a giant pile of dead bodies. Paige Kaneko thought she had left the Kaneko family’s criminal ways behind her, but when a 3 a.m. text from her brother asks for one simple thing—help—Paige can’t say no. Now Paige must get her brother and herself out of a situation that includes six dead bodies, a backpack full of cash, and one slightly dented heroin addict.
Suzy Makes Cupcakes – Shotgun Honey V. 4, 2019 – Johnny Stills, a mid-level mobster, has a Tuesday routine:
pick up the pay-off money, swing by home to get a blow job from his wife Suzy,
and then deliver the money to his boss. But this Tuesday is a little different
– for one thing Suzy met him at the door with a gun. Now Johnny is realizing just how badly he may have underestimated his wife.
Tammy Loves Derek – Moonlight & Misadventure Anthology, June 2021 – Tammy Lee Swanley has a med-spa job, a cheating boyfriend, and a plan—a five-step, sure-fire plan to wealth and happiness. But what Tammy’s boyfriend doesn’t know is that Tammy’s plan doesn’t include him keeping him around.
Fireball Rolled a Seven – Murderous Ink, Crimeucopia: Funny Ha Ha Anthology, Forthcoming – The pandemic is a drag, but with everyone in lockdown, that means the streets are empty and the Pandemic Drags are about to hit the fast lane. As Kendra, Doc, Mike, Jim, Stacy and Douchebag Carl all gather for illegal street races they soon discover that even at drag races, pandemic politics still apply. Masks become a tipping point and Kendra and Doc go from racing for money, to racing for their lives. If they can make it across the finish line they’ll be home free, but they have to get there first.
Every Single Funeral – On Submission – When greedy Bruce Stagg attempts to have his dying sister declared incompetent and steal her fortune, Lark Jeffers—live-in nurse, ex-stripper, and firm believer in pockets—knows something has to be done. The question is: can she pull the trigger?
Bethany Maines is the award-winning author of the Carrie Mae Mysteries, San Juan Islands Mysteries, Shark Santoyo Crime Series, and numerous short stories. When she’s not traveling to exotic lands, or kicking some serious butt with her black belt in karate, she can be found chasing her daughter or glued to the computer working on her next novel. You can also catch up with her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and BookBub.