The best short story collections

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up reading short stories in the annual Reader’s Digest books my parents collected, so I’ve always liked the short form. Perhaps that is why I pursued it in college, wanting to know what made them work. So I took a lot of classes in college to do just that, to dissect stories to see what made them resonate with readers. And although I’ve been trying to push myself to write longer fiction, I’ll never be able to fully abandon the short fiction. I love a story you can read in a day and think about all night.


I wrote...

Embers: A Collection of Dark Fiction

By Kenneth W. Cain,

Book cover of Embers: A Collection of Dark Fiction

What is my book about?

In his youth, Cain developed a sense of wonderment owed in part to TV shows like The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, One Step Beyond, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Now Cain seeks the same dark overtones in his writing. There's a little something for every reader.

These 25 short speculative stories represent the smoldering remains of a blaze, the fiery bits meant to ignite the mind with slow-burning imagery and smoky twists and turns. These are the very embers of Cain's soul. In this collection, Cain features stories of troubled men and women, both living and dead. Themes of loss and the afterlife take on many forms, as he explores the unknown.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of 20th Century Ghosts

Kenneth W. Cain Why did I love this book?

Besides the fact that Joe Hill is one of my favorite writers at the moment, this collection is 100% solid writing. Also, one of my favorite stories, “Pop Art,” is included in the book. To me, the sense of ambiguity, of using one otherworldly concept to stand for something so plain and simple, addressing current issues through your fiction are all present in that story.

By Joe Hill,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked 20th Century Ghosts as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Imogene is young, beautiful, kisses like a movie star, and knows everything about every film ever made. She's also dead, the legendary ghost of the Rosebud Theater. Arthur Roth is a lonely kid with a head full of big ideas and a gift for getting his ass kicked. It's hard to make friends when you're the only inflatable boy in town. Francis is unhappy, picked on; he doesn't have a life, a hope, a chance. Francis was human once, but that's behind him now. John Finney is in trouble. The kidnapper locked him in a basement, a place stained with…


Book cover of After the People Lights Have Gone Off

Kenneth W. Cain Why did I love this book?

SGJ has such a unique voice, it’s hard to deny this collection its props. Here you have a wide range of themes and unique characterization, and I think there’s a lot to be learned from a collection such as this. Dialogue, character building, tension; this is like a guide to writing good fiction.

By Stephen Graham Jones,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked After the People Lights Have Gone Off as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner, Best Collection of the Year, This Is Horror

Nominated, Best Collection of the Year, Bram Stoker Awards

Nominated, Best Collection of the Year, Shirley Jackson Awards

The 15 stories in After the People Lights Have Gone Off, by Stephen Graham Jones, explore the horrors and fears of the supernatural and the everyday. Included are two original stories, several rarities and out-of-print narratives, as well as a few "best of the year" inclusions. 

In "Thirteen", horrors lurk behind the flickering images on the big screen. "Welcome to the Reptile House" reveals the secrets that hide in our flesh. In "The…


Book cover of Full Dark, No Stars

Kenneth W. Cain Why did I love this book?

This is classic King at its best. Once again, we have a wide range of themes, but King delivers his prose with grace and ease like no other. This collection inspired so many ideas for my own work, it’s hard not to include it. What I love about a good King collection is that you never really know where he’s going to take you on a mind voyage, so it’s always an interesting trip. “Expect the unexpected” has been a big play for my own writing, often epitomized in King’s writing. 

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Full Dark, No Stars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the master of the long story form, the Sunday Times No. 1 besteller, Full Dark, No Stars - described by the Sunday Telegraph as 'an extraordinary collection, thrillingly merciless, and a career high point' - now with a stunning new cover look.

Is it possible to fully know anyone? Even those we love the most? What tips someone over the edge to commit a crime?

In '1922', a story which was adapted into a Netflix original film, a Nebraska farmer, the turning point comes when his wife threatens to sell off the family homestead.

In 'Big Driver', a cozy…


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The Flower Queen: A 1970's Suspense Romance

By Kay Freeman,

Book cover of The Flower Queen: A 1970's Suspense Romance

Kay Freeman Author Of Hitman's Honey

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Retired art professor Tequila aficionado Weightlifter Owned by Standard Poodle Blues lover

Kay's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

It began with a dying husband, and it ended in a dynasty.

It took away her husband’s pain on his deathbed, kept her from losing the family farm, gave her the power to build a thriving business, but it’s illegal to grow in every state in the country in 1978.

It even brings her first love from high school back; the only problem is that he works for the FBI. Will their occupations implode their romance, or will the opposite happen?

A second chance at love, opposites attract, rags to riches heroine trope story.

The Flower Queen: A 1970's Suspense Romance

By Kay Freeman,

What is this book about?

It began with a dying husband and it ended in a dynasty.

It took away her husband’s pain on his deathbed, kept her from losing the family farm, gave her the power to build a thriving business, but it’s illegal to grow in every state in the country in 1978. It even brings her first love from high school back; the only problem he works for the FBI. Will their occupations implode their romance or will the opposite happen? A second chance at love, opposites attract , rags to riches heroine trope story.


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