Posts Tagged ‘short stories’

Sunday Book Review: After Ours

This week I read and reviewed Cheryce Clayton’s After Ours, a collection of flash fiction stories that create an over-arcing stories. It’s a fun take on zombies and the Folk with a dark sense of humor. Tagline: Things are looking grim for the shop hobs.

I gave it a 4 star review for zombies, shop hobs, and a dark sense of humor. I received an ARC for this book free from the author, but that in no way changed my feeling about the book.

A regular feature to my blog, Sunday Book Review, is simply a review of the book (or books) I read during the previous week on Sunday. Since I started adding videos, I started doing stars. I do say what I liked and didn’t like. You will notice that some will be independent titles, some will be mass market books, others will be classics. I write a review on whatever I read that week. I get most of my books from conventions from the author or bookstores, but as per FCC regs, I do mention if I received a book for free.

Just Released: Alternate Hilarities a new collection of short stories by editor Giovanni Francesco Valentino

Check out this new collection of short stories: Alternate Hilarities

In celebration for the new release there is a Rafflecopter giveaway!

1st prize:   $50 Amazon Gift Card

2nd prize:    $25 Amazon Gift Card

3rd prize:    $10 Amazon Gift Card

Along time ago in a city in central New York ….

Alternate Hilarities

Episode 1

Back from the Dead

In the early nineties, a man had a dream. A dream of funny stories in his favorite genres, Science fiction, Fantasy and Horror. Not just a joke at the end of the episode like the original Star Trek or the occasional gem from Douglas Adams, but all the time.

So the small press fan-zine, Alternate Hilarities was born. Six issues were produced against his ex-wife’s express wishes.

And they were terrible!

Just Terrible!

It looked semiprofessional but proofing was not his strong suit. He had no funds to hire a proof reader and let’s face it, volunteers suck.

But the stories were great. Many talented authors sent in great funny stories. With concepts like games show in the afterlife, the last man alive and the secret life of a teenaged mad scientist.

But in the end, the cost of publishing his pet project became too much and the zine was retired.

Now, two decades later, the overhead and distribution issues of the small press have almost disappeared with the advent of eBooks. With a new partner in crime who can do line edits, with a professional level understanding of spelling, grammar and punctuation, the man decided to give his old love a second shot.

So, here it is, The New and Improved Alternate Hilarities. We have Alien invasions and Abductions, Time Travel, Ghost Ships, Demonic Possessions, Flatulent Clowns, Body Switching, Talking Monkeys and Feghoots.

That’s right, I said Feghoots.

Google it.

So off we go. With Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror and Halitosis for all!

Halitosis? WTF? I mean Polarity?

Not Again! I mean H I l a r I t y?

Damn AutoCorrect!



With Stories by ….

Aaron Austin – Isabel Sterling – Day Al-Mohamed – Brenda Anderson – Jason Bougger

Gavin Cameron  – A.B. Rinklin – Dan Doerflein – John H. Dromey – Christine EdwardsJaimie M. Engle – Eric James Spannerman – Steve Esling – Laura Thurston

Ronald Friedman – Jay Fuller – Danielle Gales – Steven Grassie – Cathy Greco

James E. Guin – Shari L Klase  – Felicia LeeLance Manion – Daniel McPherson

Jez Patterson – M. Kelly Peach  Clay Sheldon – Chuck Rothman – Josh Strnad

Giovanni Valentino – Adam Millard


Goodreads Link
Amazon Link::

Smashword Link:


About the Editor: 
Giovanni Francesco Valentino has struggled at the art of writing for four decades against many demons like self-doubt, chronic depression, OCD and severe dyslexia. He has written a few memoir pieces about his life struggles going undiagnosed for more the half his life. He hopes one day to be a famous published science fiction and fantasy author.
He is a member of the CNY Writers Haven, a critique and writer support group. He is the editor of the upcoming humorous anthology, Alternate Hilarities.

Goodreads Profile Link:




Strange Musings Press

We are a small publisher founded and run by two authors with a variety of skills and talents. Visit ourStaff page for more information about who we are.

Currently, Strange Musings Press is strictly an e-publisher of anthologies: Alternate Hilarities , Romantic Ruckus, and Alternate Hilarities 2 – Vampires Suck .  We DO NOT accept or publish stand alone stories, novels, or novellas at this time so please don’t query us for those. We’ll send you a humorous and snarky rejection letter.

The goal of these anthologies is to help aspiring authors get published and to have fun. Everything we do here is in the spirit of humor. If we offend you in any way, well, we probably don’t care =)

Take a moment to look around and submit a story or two if you’d like. Got questions? Got a joke you want to tell us? Want to tell us how awesome we are? Stand in line and send us an email at:




Here is a list of some of the stories in Alternate Hilarities.

Attack of Ye Olde Zombies by Cathy Greco

And, thus, the world ends… not with a bang… not with a whimper… but with the mournful cry of an off-key bagpipe playing an undead reel, and the sad, sad sight of deflated codpieces never to be filled.

1-800-CALL-GOD by Chuck Rothman

Help is just a phone call away…

Adrift by Dan Doerflein

In life, he sailed the high seas with his pirate crew. All he wanted in death was to sail the seas again. Before he can escape his situation and obtain the afterlife he dreamed of, he must first defeat a pirate’s worst enemy: a bureaucrat.

The Princess and the Witch by Isabel Sterling

Marisa only wanted one thing for Halloween: the ancient magic she possessed in a past life. She’d prepared for this ritual for years, and nothing could get in her way. Except, perhaps, her sorority girl roommate.

The Muse and the Psychiatrist by M. Kelly Peach

She was divinely beautiful, a daughter of Zeus with a serious problem. She needed a qualified and caring psychiatrist, with talent and experience, to help her. Little did she know he had his own agenda…

Upgrades by Daniel McPherson

Software updates. Sometimes they install cool new features. Other times they screw up your entire system. Which really sucks when the software is running inside your head.

The Great Abyss Disjunction by Danielle N. Gales

When Gregory Artifex became lighthouse keeper of the multiverse’s loneliest dark corner, all he wanted was a little peace and quiet. The triggerfish, however, had different ideas. Gregory is about to have a very bad day.

The Bombastic Adventure of Bob from Planet 9 by Jaimie M. Engle

Bob and Melvin sit at Flo’s Intergalactic Greasy Spoon on the Tuesday the joint is held-up by two symmetrical beings called ‘humans’. Melvin accidentally disintegrates and Bob seeks revenge. But a visit to His Greatness on Planet 9 may change everything.

Do Flatulent Clowns Smell Funny by John H. Dromey

“Emission Possible” at the circus. The gastric suspense is intense. Will there be comic relief?

Dead Right, Dead Wrong By Ronald Friedman

The active Dead are not much different than the rest of us, although they can bore you to tears with stories about how they died. As the number of Dead increased they emerged from the shadows and became politically active. Their party, Dead Americans Mobilizing for National Integration and Tolerance (DAMNIT), was ready to field a candidate for the office of President of the United States.

Language Barrier by Steve Esling

“Mit-choo “Mitch” Maru is Tenerelli and Associate’s first Titanian accountant! But his progress in breaking social barriers and becoming more than just a “token alien” comes to a halt after a sticky situation in the bathroom with a coworker. Will the skills he learned in his college English courses be enough to tell others about this unfortunate close encounter?”

Small Change by Steven Grassie

Miserable and almost broke, as per usual Paul’s in the pub drowning his sorrows. His evening takes a strange turn, however, when he encounters an interesting, if rather implausible, individual… who might just have the answer to his problems.

Cash on Delivery by Laura Thurston

When you absolutely, positively have to have had it already call Einstein Express, where hindsight is the same as foresight.

Overdue by Jay Fuller

When the librarian can flay your mind as easily as she can gut you, very little will stand between her and an overdue library book – even a powerful (and generally disagreeable) wizard. And what if the book wants a say in the matter?

Diary of an Overlord by Clay Sheldon

Villagers are terrified, heroes quake in their boots, and the world fears his very name. Witness the origin of a terrifying(ish) demon lord. But be warned:not everything is as it seems…

Thorkwald and the Cherub by Day Al-Mohamed

The adventures of a misfit demon and his struggle to succeed, or at least not get fired (literally) in Hell’s corporate world. With the help of his trusty minion, an eight-legged llama, and his Ctrl-Alt-Smite button, what could go wrong?

Chicken Soup for the Demonically Possessed Soul by Felicia Lee

In this heartwarming tale of loss, redemption, and best practices for web design, we follow Al, a promising young man in the prime of his life, as he faces down the demons of unethical competitors and, well, actual demons.



12 Day’s of Authors December Event


I’m part of the 12 Day’s of Authors December Event!

Between December 1st –31st, 11 authors are writing 500 word shorts with a winter holiday theme:  Chanukah, Christmas, Winter Solstice, Kwanzaa, among others.

On December 23rd, my short story will be posted. It’s about a space travel on different timelines and how that effects holiday celebrations: in this case, Winter Solstice.

Make sure you also enter the drawing, there are lots of great prizes including a paperback copy of Other Systems.

Guest Post by Rayne Hall: Rayne’s Five Favourites: Short Story Collections

Today we are welcoming back Rayne Hall! 
She has published more than thirty books under different pen names with different publishers in different genres, mostly fantasy, horror and non-fiction. Recent books include Storm Dancer (dark epic fantasy novel), Six Historical Tales Vol 1, Six Scary Tales Vol 1, 2 and 3 (mild horror stories), Six Historical Tales (short stories), Six Quirky Tales (humorous fantasy stories), Writing Fight Scenes and Writing Scary Scenes (instructions for authors).

Rayne’s Five Favourites: Short Story Collections

Here are five short story collections I enjoyed, each by a different contemporary author, each published recently in ebook format.  The selection is highly subjective, based on my personal taste. I like stories which are creepy, quirky, twisted or dark, or which allow me to peek into different cultures and faraway places.

1. Dark and Twisted: The Fairy Cake Bake Shoppe And 13 Other Weird Tales by April Grey

These are easy-to-read, entertaining stories, but they have a bite to them.  Paranormal elements – vampires, zombies, fairies, ghosts, sexbots, magical cupcakes – are woven into everyday reality. Some of the stories have dark or erotic content  – nothing overly graphic, but unsuitable for young readers.

I enjoyed Exile where a vampire gigolo tempts an older woman with eternal youth.

2. Short and Vivid: Short Stories To Read On The Bus by Frederick Langridge

I wouldn’t read stories on the bus – I’d get travel-sick if I tried – but there are many other occasions when there’s just time for a quickie read. Since I take my Kindle almost everywhere these days, it’s handy to have short story collections like this. The stories are short, but not too short. I felt I was getting a good complete story with every one.

Some of the stories resonated more with me than others, some I didn’t care for, others I loved. But that’s ok. The collection contains a lot of stories, and it’s fun to choose favourites. My favourite was the ghost story Beware of Tuesdays because the suspense is high, and after reading it I kept thinking about the nature of this haunting.

What I liked particularly: The beginnings are vivid, immediately introducing the characters, the location and the premise, so I was hooked from the start. The pacing is perfect and the stories keep up the interest (at least, this reader’s interest) throughout, and there’s no dull middle. The narrative voice changes from story to story, always appropriate to the main character’s perspective.

3. Exotic and Sensitive: Coloured and Other Stories by Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar

These stories deal with cultural contrasts and different societal traditions in an intelligent, sensitive way. Many of the characters experience some kind of culture clash, for example, they grew up in one culture and now learn to adapt to another, or they belong to one culture and their family to another. The stories are about the characters’ way of conciliating and integrating these cultures.

I like the vividness and sensitivity, and I felt I learnt quite a bit about the concerns of people who come from those cultures. In places, the stories are sad, but the overall tone is uplifting.

The story which stuck in my mind long after reading is Dasi. It has an interesting structure, told backwards from when the narrator is a 78-year old widow to when she’s a 14-year old bride, and it is at the same time gentle and shocking.

4. Intelligent and Entertaining: Ghosts Can Bleed by Tracie McBride

I love the stories, every one of them. Each develops a ‘what if’ scenario, sometimes taking a very basic idea and spinning it out into a plot. The ideas a surreal, but utterly plausible. Based on human nature, I can believe these bizarre things are really happening.

The stories are intelligent and entertaining. Some are thought-provoking, too. Many have a paranormal, fantasy, science fiction or horror element.

My favourite yarn in this book Last Chance To See which offers an original take on the undead state.

5. Atmospheric and Moving: Gifts – Four Poignant Stories by Jonathan Broughton

These stories are a little sad in places, but filled with hope and beauty. They’re set on the south coast of England where I live, so I can personally relate to the location.

My favourite is Three-Ply Fantasy Special, a sensitive piece about an older person with a domineering daughter. I first read this story more than two years ago and still can’t get out of my mind.


I’m delighted to have discovered many excellent short story collections and anthologies recently – far more than ever before.

A few years ago, most publishers would not touch single-author short story collections. This kind of book didn’t sell in big enough numbers to cover the costs of printing, paper, storage, transport and shelf space.

But things have changed. With the advent of e-books, these costs no longer apply, and single-author story collections have become viable ventures. Many get published, and some are very good indeed.

Another benefit of the internet age is the ease of communication between readers and authors. Many authors include an e-mail address at the back of the book, inviting readers to get in touch. I’ve corresponded with the authors of these books, something which would have been unlikely in the days of snailmail.

I liked some of the stories so much that – wearing my Editor hat – I selected them for inclusion in my themed anthologies. You’ll find, for example,  a story from The Fairy Cake Bake Shoppe in Bites: Ten Tales of Vampires, and one from Ghosts Can Bleed in Haunted: Ten Tales of Ghosts.

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