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May 2011 One Off

Welcome to 10Flash.

This time up, we present a poignant piece from an established flash fiction professional — Michael Ehart.  Michael says he writes adventure stories.  To Have and to Hold is a brutal hike through a good man’s personal hell.  It’s also a love story.  Enjoy.

To Have and to Hold

suspense by Michael Ehart

Julie fell off the meth wagon again. Because I was in Chicago on a case, I didn’t learn about it until I got home Sunday night. By then she had at least a two day head start into the dark.

I went through her things, hoping this time to get some indication of who she was with or where she had gone, but besides the realization that I had missed the warning signs again, there was nothing but unwashed dishes, dirty clothes and the other signs of depression that precede one of her episodes.

I grabbed a recent picture from my digital camera, taken surreptitiously a couple of months before. Her appearance changes fast, and a picture taken even a couple of years ago would be useless.

I found Tony, her sponsor, in the pool hall where he worked. “Ain’t seen her, man. Haven’t seen her for about a week.”

I glared at his gap-toothed smile. “Aren’t you supposed to keep an eye on her?”

He shrugged. “I try, but you know, a week ain’t that long, bro.”

A week is forever sometimes.

[To read the rest of the story, click the title]

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March 2011 One-Off

Welcome to 10Flash.

This month, we have the second half of Sandra Odell’s review of speculative fiction podcasts — Do You Hear What I’ve Heard – Again? These aural presentations are becoming more and more common, the internet version of books on tape, as web publishers and authors explore new ways to tell stories.

And while Sandra explores the wonders of the internet, author Jim Young spins a cautionary tale of the web’s nasty flip side in Spamhead.   This one gave me bad dreams, the night after I read it.

Next month is another full issue, our eighth quarterly outing. Until then, sit back and enjoy.

Do You Hear What I’ve Heard — Again?

review by Sandra Odell

Welcome back!

When last we left our intrepid band, they were caught fast in the nefarious clutches –

Wait.  Sorry, wrong exciting conclusion.

Here we are for part two of our look at genre podcasts and some of the best fiction you’ll ever hear on the web.  In the first installment I introduced  StarShipSofa’s Aural DelightsClarkesworld Magazine, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies.

Hopefully you’ve listened to some of the fine narrations these podcasts have to offer. If not, download and listen to a few stories now.  You can catch up to the rest of the column when you get back.

[To read the entire review, click the title]

Spamhead

science fiction by Jim Young

“Can you hear me, Mister Johnson?” the doctor asks.

I stare at the ceiling. I can hear fine, but can’t answer because my mouth isn’t working.

“We’re monitoring you. Don’t worry.” And the crew leaves, two nurses and a doctor. The door closes and all I can see is white, anechoic baffling.

Even though my eyes are wide open and I’m not wearing netlenses, the images appear again. I know I’m not wearing any lenses because there’s no grid, no guide, nothing. Just this beautiful, dark-haired woman, with a languorous smile, popping contacts into her eyes.

[To read the entire story, click the title]

December 2010 One-Off and a Review from Sandra

Welcome to the December  2010 Issue of 10Flash Quarterly.

More good stuff this month.  First, a new One-Off story by Charles Thiesen.  Charles is author of the very funny Artie “The Angel” DeAngelo crime caper stories that have appeared  in the 2010 issues of 10FlashJoke Shop isn’t an Artie story, but it offers more of Charles’ wonderfully off-kilter humor, as he takes a look at how jokes get spread around.

And Sandra Odell explores the goodness of geekdom and reality television, as she reviews  Hollywood Treasures from the Sy’Fy Channel.

K.C. and Jude Marie

Joke Shop

crime caper by Charles Thiesen

My office is in Boston, on the corner of Boylston and Berkley. The building is home to a lot of private dicks — gigolos and detectives both. The halls smell of gun oil, shoe leather, and used latex. I never breathe between the elevator and my desk.

The answering machine was blinking like it had  come out of a tunnel. It was a job, thank god. Since I read about hungry arctic explorers who ate their boots, I’d been eying my shoulder holster.

The message summoned me to the home of Llewellyn Lowell Lawrence XI in Brookline. A butler led me to the solarium. It was hot and green enough to be a jungle, but too pretty.

A voice came from behind a clump of pink and orange flowers — if you saw them on a shirt, you’d ralph. “You fancy orchids, sir?”

[click the title for the whole story]

Geekish Treasures

a review by Sandra Odell, Feature Editor

Midweek, late night.  What’s on TV?

*click*  No . . . *click*  No . . . *click*  No . . . *click*, *click*, *click* . . . 7,000 channels and nothing good . . . *click* . . . hmmm . . . HOLLYWOOD TREASURES on the SyFy Channel.  Looks promising.

I am a self-professed geek, hard to believe, I know.  I married a geek who prides himself on a certain level of geek cred, that elusive combination of OCD, and pipe dreams that fuels the fire of behind the scenes genre aficionados around the world.  HOLLYWOOD TREASURES is the SyFy Channel’s bid to capture the market share of such geekish attention with a look at the high-end collector scene.

[click the title for the whole story]

November 2010 One-Off and Other Good Stuff

Welcome to the November 2010 Issue of 10Flash.

Lots of good stuff this month.  A new One-Off story by Dale Ivan Smith, commentary from Co-Editor Jude-Marie Green, and a brand-new feature — a book review by Feature Editor Sandra Odell.

Dale’s story, Last Hex Sacrifice is the third story of a trilogy.  Dead Wife Waiting, appeared in the January 2010 issue of 10Flash and Skinning the Sorcerer appeared in the October 2010 issue.  Jude-Marie examines the balance between what readers think of written work and the authors of the work.  And speaking of bodies of work, Sandra offers us a peek at Rigor Amortis, a collection of erotic flash fiction about zombie love.

Last Hex Sacrifice

fantasy by Dale Ivan Smith

They say high noon is the one time you can defeat a sorcerer. The sun’s magic weakens and reveals hexes, which draw strength from darkness. I didn’t make it by noon. By the time I reached the crossroads it was late afternoon.

I crawled through the sage brush until I could see her, sword in hand, standing inside the circle of glyph stones where I’d left Mira, still guarding this desolate pass. Huge chasms tore the earth a stone’s throw to either side of the circle.

A dusty breeze whipped her long black hair out like banner. White sand streaked her leather duster. My eyes narrowed and her face loomed close in my hexed vision, two hundred yards separation seeming only feet away. Despite the beating sun and the scouring wind, her skin was smooth, her eyes clear. I wanted to shout her name.

Rigor Amortis: even a zombie needs love

book review by Sandra Odell

What do you get when you mix a touch of Twitter whimsy, a sprinkling of flash fiction, and a smidge of rotting flesh?  No, not zombie cheesecake (well, maybe. . .), but a whole heaping helping of Rigor Amortis, edited by Jaym Gates and Erica Holt, from Absolute XPress.

The idea for a collection of zombie erotica (zom/rom) began as a throw-away joke on Twitter, and before anyone could say putrefied-hot-and-tasty it decomposed into a delightfully grizzly flash fiction collection offering morsels by established favorites such as Renée Bennett, Kay T. Holt, and Sarah Goslee, and new talents like Andrew Penn Romine, John Nakamura Remy, and Lucia Starkey.

The rotting schoolgirl/prostitute of Robert Nixon’s cover promises a bloody romp while the teacher isn’t looking, and the interior art of Galen Dara and Miranda Jean encourage any number of appetites.

What to Read

commentary by Jude-Marie Green

This editorial is written on the cutting edge of deadline so I’ll keep it short.  Who should you read?

Everyone.

***

Are you still there?

A long time ago, Robert A. Heinlein wrote a novel titled Starship Troopers. Some readers took issue with the simplistic, militaristic future that he posited.  That is to say, the politics he wrote about caused some controversy.

Still, writers read him.  Some were inspired to write responses to his political view.  One of those novels was The Stainless Steel Rat by Harry Harrison.

We the reader cannot let rumored controversy or someone else’s opinion stop us from reading a work.  If we do, we cheat ourselves out of forming our own opinion on the work.  More importantly we cheat ourselves out of the spark of response, the outrage or acceptance that might jiggle the muse into action or might just deepen our understanding.

August 2010 OneOff

Welcome to the the August 2010 OneOff story, a piece of genre flash fiction unbounded by the monthly ties of 10Flash threads.

This month’s story, Ole Stoney, is by Jude-Marie Green. Jude-Marie is associate editor of Abyss & Apex magazine and a graduate of the Clarion West Writers Workshop.

She writes ripping good speculative fiction and her work is equally leavened by sly humor and a strong sense of nostalgia. Check out Slim and Benny-Be-Damned Take It on the Lam in the October 2009 issue.

Ole Stoney is a tip-of-the-hat to Jude-Marie’s grandfather. I like this one a lot.

Enjoy.

K.C.

Ole Stoney

slipsteam by Jude-Marie Green

I called him Grampa. He tolerated that, but expected all of us to call him Stoney.

He was old, a Grampa is supposed to be, and was often absent from our three-story wooden house, landlocked on its safe street in a shore town. It wasn’t that he didn’t like us; he just was not the land-bound sort.

[Read Ole Stoney]

June 2010 OneOff

Welcome to the the June 2010 OneOff story, a piece of genre flash fiction unbounded by the monthly ties of 10Flash threads.

This month’s story, Down Bayou Black, is by Gay Degani.  Gay’s been a regular contributor over the past year.  She specializes in suspense stories and dabbles a bit in fantasy, as well.

All of her stories are told with a deft touch and most often with a thumb-on-the-scale touch of humor.  Down Bayou Black is anything but funny.

It’s a poignant and powerful tale.  Gay was born and raised in the south, so the story’s setting and its language shine in every word.  I think it well may be the best story Gay has written.

Enjoy.

K.C.


Down Bayou Black

suspense by Gay Degani

Pneumonia wears me down most winters and it takes the spring to clear my lungs. That’s when I pack my old Dodge and head for our camp down Bayou Black.

My husband, Warren, reminds me we’re getting old, like I need to hear that, and warns me, too. “There’s been break-ins down there, even a knifing or two.”

“I’ve got the 12-gauge,” I tell him and he shakes his head.

[Read the story]

May 2010 OneOff

Welcome to the the very first OneOff, a piece of genre flash fiction unbounded by the monthly ties of 10Flash threads.

This month’s story, By Any Other Name, is by Charles Thiesen. Charles brought us Fingered by a Dead Rat in the April 2010 issue. Fingered by a Dead Rat introduced Artie “The Angel” D’Angelo, a Massachusetts mobster with principles. 

By Any Other Name relates how Artie go his moniker, and like Fingered by a Dead Rat, it is most decidedly tongue in cheek.  There’s more Artie coming in July, but until then — enjoy.

K.C.

By Any Other Name

crime caper by Charles Thiesen

Artie “The Angel” D’Angelo valued his reputation.

His work involved getting people to do what he wanted, and a reputation could make that hard or make it easy. And so, he let the story get around of how he got his name.

One time, so the story went, Artie was under an obligation to whack one Freddy Brill, a lowlife whose talk had done some harm to Artie’s extended family.

The snitch got what was happening the minute Artie stuck a Glock nine millimeter in his ear and suggested that he say his prayers. Instead of praying, Freddy talked.

[Read the story]