The Lit Bulb Festival 2015

I’m pleased to be participating in the 2015 Lit Bulb International Literary Festival, about which you can read more here. My entry below, on the theme of “togetherness”. Comments are welcome.

Little Things

by Stephen V. Ramey

“Idiot,” she mutters under her breath. I pretend not to hear.

“Butter?” I pass the rectangular ceramic tray bearing that golden log. It’s actually an I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter stick, but we like to pretend.

“Do I look like I want butter?” she says. Her eyebrows arch like millipedes recoiling. I set the not-butter down.

“Apologies, Dear.” A platter of pancakes graces the center of our breakfast table. Blueberry, I believe. Or chocolate chip. The Continue reading

Worth a Read – 2015 – January 5

Steve Reading w/Pink HorseWell, howdy there. I read a good bit today, considering it was my first day in the salt mines after a nice break. The piece that stood out today was a quirky bit of magic realism about a miniature pink horse.

1. Life of Pinky: All About Our (Pink) Horse by Jocelyn Lau (Eunoia Review)

Everything about Pinky lives up to her name. She has a lovely long – pink – mane, fuller than my hair could – would – ever be, and beautiful deep pink eyes. She did not bring shoes Continue reading

Worth a Read – 2015 – January 4

I read a lot this weekend, and this literary short story stood out for me.

1. At Risk by Gabriel Talent (Narrative)

All the boys except for Jim are huddled together with hoods drawn up and hands tucked into their sleeves to keep the mosquitoes off. The girls are in their tent, twenty yards off. Hoss and I walk past the huddled boys and unzip Jim’s tent and stoop into the wet stinking darkness. The floor tarp is covered in mud, the sleeping bags are half-sodden, and it smells like the devil took a shit in there. Jim lies stretched out to his full length, with one hand over his face to keep away mosquitoes, and he makes Continue reading

Worth a Read – 2015 – January 2

So, what’s hot today?

1. #BrinkLegislation by Puneet Dutt  (The Molotov Cocktail)

The bleeding man with the bird shudders again. He’s beginning to look peaceful, as if he had always belonged to the ground. It’s so natural that people walk by talking on their cell phones. A woman with three children stands and watches.

In the mood for some strange? Give this one a try. It’s lyrical, shocking, and just a bit too close to true for comfort.

2. Beacon by K. S. O’Neill (Daily Science Fiction)

How to say it? Did it matter, still, that their people had set lights on the Cape for hundreds of years? That this was how they had survived, in the days Continue reading

Worth a Read – 2015 – January 1

Now that my mini-reviews for Matt Potter’s ambitious 2014 project are finished, I thought I would turn my attention to a simpler task. One of my resolutions for 2015 is to read more. As I find works that seem particularly worth your time (provided your tastes are similar to mine, of course), I’ll post them here with a brief summary. If you’d like to join the discussion, feel free to drop a comment. If you’d like to suggest I read a particular work or author, let me know via the Contact Form. I don’t promise to post here every day, but I’ll do my best to post regularly. Subscribe if you care to, Continue reading

2014 – December 31 – A Road Through the Desert

On the 31st, we’re reading “A Road Through the Desert” by h.l. nelson.

[cryout-pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”33%”]The Tepper twist:  “Joan, dear, something tells me you’ll be just fine.”[/cryout-pullquote]

Dear Diary,

Right now, I’m in a car, hurtling through a hot desert. Temple sometimes smiles at me like she’s the Louise to my Thelma. But we’re not alone.

We’ve been driving this way for what seems like forever. But I know that can’t be so. I remember Anne’s party as if we were still there. The Christmas tree aflame, the ice sculpture melting in the blaze, and bodies writhing everywhere.

But let me rewind a bit so I can tell the story.

Continue reading

2014 – December 30 – Endings and Beginnings

On the 30th day, we’re reading “Endings and Beginnings” by Joanne Jagoda.

[cryout-pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”33%”]The Tepper Twist:  “I almost believed you’d be happy eating Dundee cake.. I almost believed..”[/cryout-pullquote]

“Hey Cass . Aren’t you done? We should be at Denise’s soon. She wants to leave by 2 so we make it to Tahoe before dark.”

“Yeah, I’m almost finished.”

“You’re bringing way too much stuff.”

“I know Rob, but I can’t decide what to take.”

“Why are you in such a crappy mood?”

Anne Donaldson’s Year to Remember has certainly been that. We’ve been through the proverbial wringer with this woman, from her being targeted for extortion, falling in Continue reading

2014 – December 29 – Lots of Ways to Die

It’s the 29th day, and we’re reading “Lots of Ways to Die” by Vanessa Wiebler Paris.

[cryout-pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”33%”]The Tepper Twist:  “Please don’t go yet.”[/cryout-pullquote]

There are lots of ways to die.

Slim Jim is remarkable for its ability to make us care deeply for a character who should be pathetic in our eyes, a victim by choice, a man who lets others walk all over him. But Jim is not pathetic. This author does a fine job of getting us into his mindset, and it’s no longer such a stretch to see ourselves in his situation. To empathize, as they say. Sure, his condition is an exaggeration of our Continue reading

2014 – December 28 – Gifts

On the 28th day we’re reading “Gifts” by Kimberlee Smith.

[cryout-pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”33%”]The Tepper Twist:  “The long haul.. whew…”[/cryout-pullquote]

In the kitchen, Mum has a tangled bunch of limp snakes in her hands. Taipan, Western Rattlers, and Death Adders. She shakes them loose into a cardboard box that has ‘MASTER BEDROOM’ written across it in square black letters, then looks at Etheline, who toddles toward her. Mum’s expression – pinched brow , pursed lips – says Don’t come near. This is grandmum’s work.

Backsliders, a Love Story is yet another compelling foray into serial fiction. It’s a series that is not afraid to take chances in its storytelling, while also Continue reading

2014 – December 27 – De-Cloned

It’s the 27th and time for “De-Cloned” by Nathaniel Tower.

[cryout-pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”33%”]The Ramey Ramble:  “Put it in a pickle jar, Samford, and close the lid tight.”[/cryout-pullquote]

Samford is lying in a comfortable bed, a woman’s arm draped over his chest. He wakes up stiff , unaccustomed to sleeping on his back. He glances at the woman and smiles to himself. Gently, he removes her arm from his chest and scoots himself off the bed, trying not to wake her. Clothes and used condoms are scattered all over the floor. Samford tiptoes around the room like he is maneuvering through a mine field.

Samford Versus the Clones has been Continue reading