Shortbread Spotlight: 1st week of March
/by Nick Eveleigh/
I do believe the Spotlight has hit a new record this week – fifteen separate stories for your viewing pleasure! It may even be sixteen if I can decide on my own pick between now and the end of the blog.
So, without further ado about much let’s launch into this week’s picks.
There’s been a lot of Oscar talk over the last week or two (I’m referring to the awards ceremony rather than the blade-running alleged murderer), and we begin this week with the recent recipient of the ‘Man most likely to write a piece of romantic comedy and then set about it with a buzzsaw, several zombies and enough buckets of blood to make the final scene in Carrie look like a paper-cut’ award. It is of course Mr Robert Kasch and his choices based on ‘overall consistency and excellence’: Diane Dickson for A Darker Moon, Suzanne Mays for her Prairie Girlfriend stories (Prairie Girlfriend and Prairie Girlfriend Meets Cowboy) and Patsy R Liles for Terror by Night or Day.
In Spotlight terms Diane Dickson and Suzanne Mays are clearly in the Gravity bracket when it comes to racking up the mentions. This time Diane is the nominator and Suzanne the recipient for her story Mandover Cottage, an older story from one of our regular contributors and the opportunity to bring it back to the fore for new readers was too good to miss.
Diane continues her look down memory lane with the Little Mr. Peterson series (part one, part two and part three) from Mark Patrick, who, in Diane’s words ‘seems to have left the site, at least he hasn’t been around but amongst his other stuff which was all good there are three of these weird little stories and they certainly left me wanting more. I sort of hope he’s off somewhere expanding the strange world and that if he is he will come back and share it with us’.
Up next ladies and gentleman to present the award for ‘Best international story from people who may be foreign depending on where you live’ it’s the recent recipient of the ‘Outstanding achievement in the art of comma termination’ prize, Mr Adam West.
Once (last week to be precise) there was an Englishman, an Irishman, an Afro-Welshman, an American and a hmm – an Australian (woman), and all of them wrote brilliant stories that just happen to form my eclectic (stopping yawning Eveleigh, I know I used the ‘E’ word again) pick for this week’s Spotlight.
And the nominees are…
Dead Man Walking by Des Kelly – If effete males being dominated by strong sexy females (sisters) is your stick, then get a hold of this beauty by an English bloke. If on the other hand you prefer sublime Celtic poetry that defies description (that’s why I plumped for sublime) then Gus Glynn has to win with The Tower. If on another hand – you don’t actually have – you go in for some crazy Afro-Welsh combo send-up of all things irritatingly Orc-like then MISTER Nik Eveleigh writes very cleverly in A Shaggy Crow Story. Alternately read The Lady Red, where in an alternate (parallel) universe an American called Robert Kasch writes super cool steam-punk set in post WW1 ‘London’. They are all top-drawer stories and so isDenise Melville‘s Running On Empty. What more could you ask? It’s got Tim-Tams and a dunny, an old man, a young woman, and a landlord who is all heart. Not.
…and the Oscar goes to…
What? I’m not telling you. Go and read them and make your own mind up.
Last and by no means least we come to the “Most economical use of words in a short story title” award. And here to present it is the First Lady of Bunfettle herself, Kate Smart.
I respond to work on an emotional level and while I know that many writers look for this on Shortbread, I don’t like to analyse, criticise and take things apart myself, because thinking in that way disturbs my enjoyment as I read, and I also worry about disrespecting the efforts of the writer (if it is clear that efforts have been made, of course). Can I read it through smoothly without feeling blocked or interrupted, is what goes through my head, on some level? Bill’s story was excellent in that respect, I thoroughly enjoyed it and would have been more than happy to read on – which is high praise from me! I will definitely read more of his work. Gus’s story is a descriptive piece that really drew me in, and because I liked it so much it led me to read all four of his pieces on Shortbread. I think he is a gifted writer and I look forward to reading longer work by him.
That wraps it up for another week folks – enough quality on offer already without me adding a pick I’d say.
Thanks to everyone who contributed – both for nominating and for writing stories worthy of sharing. As always I’d love to hear from you next time around at email@example.com and I hope you enjoy reading (and commenting) on this week’s picks.