Monday, December 15, 2008

Favorite Short Stories of 2008

This year, I'm breaking down the books I read and reviewed by length, mostly to give shorter works in anthologies recognition when they deserve it. The first of these are going to be short stories, which I consider anything less than 15k.

4th Runner Up
Chasing Phoenix by Christine D'Abo

When it came to the hotness factor, this story delivered in spades. It has its problems as a romance, but when it came to the erotic portions of the story, it followed through on the promise made in the excerpt...and then some.

3rd Runner Up
Flyover by Jefferson Dane

"Flyover" was hands down the best story in this particular anthology. It's not a romance but a paranormal drama with some absolutely chilling tones. It accomplishes some wonderful characterization, terrific tension, and best of all, reminds me that good authors will always stand out. Don't run out and get this anthology, though. Aspen Mountain Press released it as a standalone title earlier this year. Buy that instead.

2nd Runner Up
Spanish Lullaby by Emma Wildes

While this particular anthology leaves a lot to be desired, the final story in it, Emma Wildes' "Spanish Lullaby," proves that historical romance doesn't have to be cheated because of a short format. Her characters are warm and endearing, and the romance extremely gratifying. It's good to see she has a contract for a historical in mass market paperback to be released in the spring. I think she's more than strong enough to really make it.

1st Runner Up
The Mister Trophy by Frank Tuttle

One of my best discoveries of 2008 was Frank Tuttle and his Markhat books. "The Mister Trophy" is the second that came out with Samhain, and it is smart, funny, and rich in atmosphere. I don't know if there are more stories in the pipeline, but I sincerely hope there are. I've been greedy for this author ever since reading the first of the Markhat books. This is worth every penny and then some.

And my favorite short story of 2008 is...

Mahape a ale Wal'au by Paul G. Bens

This story is not just my favorite short story of the year. It's one of my favorite stories period. Of this year, last year, and a few more years before that. The prose is incomparable, carefully crafted to flow with the same melancholy grace as its hero. It creates both an intimate experience and a universal one, and it does so with more style than hundreds upon hundreds of other stories that came out this year. I find it incredibly ironic that this gem is currently sold by one of the publishers I always have to think twice about buying from. I've been burned more than once by sloppy editing there, and yet, this proves that talent will always rise, no matter who publishes it.


Paul said...

Wow! I'm terribly flattered and honored.

I heart Book Utopia Mom!

Missy Lyons said...

Nice collection of ebooks. It's a great way to find new talented authors to read. I'll be checking out a few on your list. Thanks for the reccommendations!