Ever considered driving a piano? No? How about moving one? Or learning to play? The authors of these twenty-two captivating stories explore these thoughts and more, making us laugh, cry, love, and cringe in equal measure. Characters from the past, present, and future pull us through their lives, loves, crimes, and passions. Join children in their games, adults with their busy lives, families in turmoil, and the elderly with it all behind them. Ranging from heart-wrenching to heart-lifting, peaceful to horrific, this anthology of short fiction reaches across genres with one common theme: the piano. This collection presents an international assembly of carefully selected, emerging authors who entertain, enchant, and enrich the world with their creativity and insight. Consider their tales a taste of more to come from a new generation of talented writers.
Akira’s childhood heroes were Leonardo Da Vinci and Thomas Edison and his interests range from anorexia research to zebrawood carving. He has been writing stories in both English and Japanese since the age of 12; however, this is his first published work of fiction. This piece is based on a Japanese language novel he wrote between the ages 17 and 28 that was never published.
His editor probably thinks he should thank her for putting up with his morose and occasionally acidic sense of humor, but instead he wishes to thank everyone involved in his life during this period. That’s fair. They’ve all had to put up with him too.
Paul is currently working full time, and attending Camden County College part time in pursuit of an Associate’s Degree in English. His current GPA offers him opportunities in the college’s Honors Society, and the Psi Beta National Honor Society in Psychology. During the induction ceremony to Psi Beta, when asked what his goal is, his response was simple, “become a New York Times best-selling author.”
A bit of a strange being, Mary believes in dragons and unicorns, fairies, magick, and that (despite too much evidence to the contrary) it will all be okay in the end—somehow. She likes butterflies and rainbows and adores animals. She writes in different genres and her scribblings include flash fiction, a book-in-the-making, and poetry.
A married mother of one, working full time in a job that allows no escapism, she writes humour and fairies and does her best to spread smiles. She hasn't been published before and plans to make it a habit.
Heather wants all her writer friends to succeed and write the stories that their hearts are telling them.
Acknowledgements: Without the efforts of L.D. and H.G. you would not be reading this story. I am completely grateful for their time and their kindness.
And always, for Tom.
Love came along and she soon found herself married with children and headed back to the sunny streets of Paisley to raise them.
Elaine has worked as a Project Manager for fifteen years and is pretty good at it. After years of putting other priorities before her own, she is now on the me-train and writing for herself. A few years back she did a speculative play that won her an emerging playwright award. Spurred on by this success she continues to write in the vain hope that someone will read her work.
In addition to reading and writing science fiction and fantasy, Wayne enjoys spending time with his family, walking, helping aspiring authors, and volunteering in his community. His latest favorite TV show is Zoo, and if you play one of the Marvel Universe movies, there’s a good chance he’ll stop what he’s doing to watch.
A Brooklyn native, Wayne currently lives in Northeastern Pennsylvania with his family and four cats, realizing his dreams one story at a time. He’d love to hear from you at https://WayneMeyers.com, where you can find his social media links and sign up for his mailing list. His next story is just around the corner!
Her first novel The Timekeepers War (Bedlam Press, 2014) is available through most online retailers. She’s currently working on its sequel, The Children of Bathora. If you’d like to follow what S.C. Jensen is reading, writing, and musing on, you can find her at www.scjensen.com
She lives in Celaya, Guanajuato (Mexico), with her parents, her sister, and her mom’s dog. She was dissuaded from her childhood dream of being a witch only by the idea of becoming a filmmaker, which she hopes to study within the next few years.
P. J. Mayhair lives with his wife, son, and two dogs in Southern Maryland. When he's not writing, he enjoys bonfires, playing dinosaurs with his son, creating terrible drawings, and trying to find some way to create a Jellybean whiskey.
Michelle has had many jobs, including estate agent, tiger fluffer and events’ co-ordinator. She maintains that setting up a wedding in the bush for three hundred guests is great fun, as long as you don’t get shouted at by the father of the bride for forgetting the champagne glasses. She never made that mistake again.
Currently living on a very small island in the middle of the Indian Ocean with her sons and three cats, she knows life is a beach and that suntan lotion is crucial.
“Sight-reading” is Misha’s fiction debut. The title references a line by Vladimir Nabokov: “It was love at first sight, at last sight, at ever and ever sight.”
Nabokov wrote these words while on faculty at Cornell University. There, by dint of their similar histories, he might have crossed paths with one Esther Gilodo, a pianist, who inspired this story. Whether the two actually met, however, is anyone’s guess.
Misha’s next project is a novel about the psychology of luxury.
That’s my tag. Since much of reality is subjective, let’s not argue about what’s fiction. Deal? Deal.
I’ve been a writer and editor in various industries for thirty years, but my first love has always been storytelling. Stories are how I make sense of the world and my experiences in it. You should try it sometime. Stories are cathartic—therapeutic.
I have Bachelor of Arts degrees in creative writing, communication, and English literature because I didn’t want to pick and because they kept giving me scholarship money to write stuff. Cool, right? That was before the internet, so yeah, a long time ago. Now I write and edit stuff for NASA.
In my free time, I write speculative fiction, study everything writing, and coach writers and editors. I live in Cleveland, Ohio with my family of humans and cats, more books than shelves, and cabinets full of collectible curiosities. My fondest wish is to move to the Isle of Man and establish a writers’ residency there. More specific details regarding my background and projects are available via my website, http://www.diogeneia.com.
Bry is the eldest of four and lives in Brisbane, Australia where she has just begun her career as a primary/elementary schoolteacher. In her spare time, she buys books despite her To-Be-Read pile threatening to press charges for neglect. Even so, Bry is proud of the fact that she is, to date, the owner of nine hundred and seventeen books.
A former semi-professional musician in the classical, folk and punk fields, Lazarus plays a hand-made classical guitar and sings when all else fails. He has spent much of his professional life designing and creating custom picture frames in Sydney, Australia, where he has also owned art galleries and hosted art shows.
Lazarus is currently working on a series of science-fiction novels and various short stories for anyone who’s game to read them. A range of his other scribblings may be sampled at www.lazarusgray.com
I would like to acknowledge Melius Scripto Press for allowing me the privilege of being included in this collection. Also, I would like to thank Heather Grossart, and the whole moderator staff of the Writing Fiction Facebook® Group for repeatedly reading and providing feedback on my story.
Joy Ride is her very first publication and while the ride hasn’t been entirely smooth-sailing, it was certainly a joy to be on board.
He’s been both blessed and cursed with a severe case of wanderlust, which has often resulted in him finding himself in all kinds of weird and wonderful situations; from trekking the Great Wall of China to shoveling cow poop on a German farm, from diving the Great Barrier Reef to being trapped overnight in a British airport, from swimming an iceberg river in Iceland to losing his shirt in a shell game, and from rafting down the Grand Canyon to cleaning up after drunken idiots in an Irish Pub.
The greatest adventure of them all began with meeting a lovely little redhead on a train to Prague, and offering her a piece of chewing gum. They are now married with two incredible children and living in Germany, where he’s digging through is backpack full of notes and ideas frantically scribbled on bar napkins, trying to make enough sense of them to turn them into stories of their own.
Janel currently resides in a closet-sized bedroom in East Harlem, New York City. She spends her free time wandering Manhattan, getting lost on the subway, and buying coffee she cannot afford. Her fiction has appeared in Jenny Magazine, and her non-fiction has appeared on Cracked.com. She can be more thoroughly stalked via her personal website, at www.janelcomeau.ca.
Excerpts from the Book
“We cannot see our memories anymore because there are too many buildings standing in the way.”Akira FuyunoChocolate Soup
“Sometimes, to take our minds off our bellies and our worries, Mother would sit with us once we were all snugged up in our beds, smelling of baths. She crafted many wild stories, but our favorite tales were always the ones about her and Father.”Michaela Eastman McCoinPrecious Things
“The piano watched from its corner, its black mass swooping into itself under mountains of yellowing sheet music crumbling across its lid. Our shadows sat at the keys, mind on the bench, legs to short to reach the pedals.”Misha PinkhasovSight-Reading
“When I was younger, Dad was into explosives. He tried to demonstrate the wonders of his contraptions by offering to drop me off at school in a neon orange rocket ship.”Isabelle YuenJoy Ride
“Father John started playing a song I didn't recognize. It was about believing without understanding. His angelic voiceoverwhelmed me and I fled fron the building in fear of the recurring vision.”Paul TorittovFather John
“That’s how the government prevented crime. They baselined your patterns, and if your pattern changed, they paid attention.Wayne MeyersSonnet of the New Dawn
“He imagined that she craved the moments as much as he, though they were silent except for the dulcet sounds of the piano that was slave to his touch. He wanted more of her; just something more tangible and less like the wind.”Lee DiogeneiaThe Pianist
“Each note sent tiny dancers bouncing off every surface. The residents watched him, hanging onto each keystroke as if they were being told a story and were eager to hear the end.”Shauna PhilpThe Pianoman
“Mark didn’t approve of overweight women and it was the one hobby he encouraged. He claimed I was calm since taking up yoga. He had no idea why.”Michelle FresonThe Final Supper
“It had been her only source of happiness and after the last few years of misery, she wanted it back, wanted to feel the pedals beneath her feet and hear the music as her hands moved up and down the keys.”Vickey BaggThe Piano at No.64
“There are no pianos in our future. The thing upstairs will be used for kindling, and it won't be missed.”S. C. JensenCrosses
“It smelled like him. Oils, varnish, peppermint and a hint of tobacco smoke. I half expected him to appear around the corner, old-fashioned candelabra in hand a a sympathetic smile on his face.Bry Jackson WoodGrandpa's Gift
“They used to say, "If it doesn't kill you, it makes you stronger." I don’t believe that anymore. I think that sometimes those people don't get to lie down when their time is up.”Eric WheelerThe Here and the Now
“Casey missed Mommy's stories. It had been weeks since Mommy and Casey had shared story tine. She missed the stories, but she missed the cuddles most of all.Mary GrossettKinrose Manor
“After he'd been quiet for a moment, I turned to see him staring at the empty wall before him, where our family pictures used to hang. It was the only thing that had changed about the music room since my childhood.MaFer GlezUntuned
“I am no more tolerant to pain than my colleagues. I simply know better than to complain. The procedure is mandatory--orders from high above.Lazarus GrayThe End of Love
“The stench of gunpowder and blood made his gut churn and the double blast of six-shooters had his ears ringing as he staggered towards the swinging door.
”Clint DavisPlay the Music
“He knew he should give himself a talking to. He wanted to tell himself that he was here for his family, not himself; he wanted to shake the selfishness from his bones.Elaine ManningClosure Masterpiece
“Decades of abandonment had faded the once deep red door. The key stuck but the lock gave way and the door opened. The smoke, the sage--it was all there. Even the biting smell of metal.P. J. MayhairOne Last Play
“The room was tiny, a booth really but the smoke-stained walls reeked of stale cigarettes and something a little more acidic that she couldn't place. Burning hair?Deacon GrayReqium For a Liar
“Jessamine was not the sort of person who excelled at navigation. In an ordinary week, she could be expected to get lost in her neighborhood, at her school, at the local shopping mall and, when it was especially dark outside, in her own home.Janel ComeauParenting in the Key of B-Flat
“Flash started to push and it moved with ease on its wheels. Colin screeched as the piano his some unspecified area of his body, which jiggled as he jumped around.Heather GrossartHigh-Rise Hopes