Monday, April 30, 2012

Interesting Reading Elsewhere--Publicist PJ Nunn

Publicist PJ Nunn, owner of BreakThrough Promotions, always has things of interest on her blog at  She updated it this evening with an interview and the subject was Elaine Viets.  Probably best known for her  "Dead-End Job" series Elaine Viets has a lot to say about her books, promotion and writing in general.

Well worth your time to go take a look. After you read that interview you might poke around PJ's blog as there is lots of good stuff there.


Earl Staggs Reviews: "Uncle John's Bathroom Reader Presents: Flush Fiction"

Please welcome back award winning author Earl Staggs to Kevin's Corner. Today he reviews the new "Flush Fiction" anthology.
Compiled by the editors of the Bathroom Reader’s Institute 
Bathroom Reader’s Press (a division of Portable Press and imprint of Baker & Taylor)
April 3, 2012
ISBN #978-1-60710-427-8
288 Pages

There’s something for everyone in this anthology of short-short or “Flash,” fiction. There’s plenty of variation in writing style and genre, and there’s a delicious amount of irony and humor. A volume like this is perfect for when you have ten or fifteen minutes of reading time.  You’re at the doctor’s office waiting for your appointment, for example, or it’s bed time and you feel like reading something, but you know you won’t stay awake long enough to get invested in a novel. You might even keep it handy in the bathroom.

The first story is “What Is the Difference Between Optometrists and Ophthalmologists?” by Eric Cline.  Albert Pope is an optometrist who suffers ridicule and humiliation at the hands of two opthalmologists who believe their profession is leagues above that of a lowly optometrist.  The two bullying doctors need a dose of their own medicine.

In “The Taste of Failure” by Andrew S. Williams, a man has spent millions of dollars and years of development in his quest to create the ultimate in culinary achievement. Success or failure comes down to the moment of truth: a taste test.

A movie actress in “Prince Charming” by Christina Delia, doesn’t even blink when the old organ grinder tells her the monkey she wants to buy is radioactive.  She has fallen in love with the cute little animal and must have him. It doesn’t even bother her when the monkey begins to glow and then to grow bigger and bigger.

My favorite story turned out to be “The Loom of Doom Galls Mainly in the Tomb” by Barry Ergang. The Sleuth Extraordinaire is “a gaunt hawk-faced man with no official status but possessed of a preternatural faculty for observation and deduction.” He brings to mind another pipe-smoking sleuth of the deer stalker hat variety, and is asked to assist in a perplexing murder case. It seems the body of Lady Vera Muckinfutch was discovered in a textile manufacturing factory, a few feet away from one of the looms. All the windows and doors were locked from the inside and no evidence of any kind was found in what appears to be an unsolvable case.

I’ve enjoyed Barry Ergang’s short fiction before, and this one did not disappoint. In fact, it further solidified his well-earned reputation as the “guru of groaners.”

I won’t say I loved every story in this volume and you may not either. That’s to be expected when this many stories are grouped together. With 88 stories to enjoy, however, everyone will find a number of their own favorites.

Reviewed by Earl Staggs @ April. 2012
Repeat Derringer Award winning author Earl Staggs has seen many of his short stories published in magazines and anthologies. His novel MEMORY OF A MURDER earned a long list of Five Star reviews. He served as Managing Editor of Futures Mystery Magazine and as President of the Short Mystery Fiction Society. His column “Write Tight” appears in the online magazine Apollo’s Lyre. He is also a contributing blog member of Murderous Musings and Make Mine Mystery and is a frequent speaker at conferences and writers groups.  Email:  Website:

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Barry's E-Mail and the Flush Fiction Contest

I just heard from Barry this Sunday evening and, as expected, because of the weekend his e-mail remains down. The problem is not on his end but somewhere in the COMCAST system. They are aware of the problem and theoretically as the issue bonces upwards the chain of command somebody somewhere will figure this out and get it fixed.

As soon as they finally do and Barry is sure his system is stable again, the contest will resume. Details on that will be forthcoming as soon as he is back up and running normally.

 Barry is seriously annoyed and I hope they get it fixed soon. Otherwise, the results could be really bad.......

Sandi's Blog

Sandi just updated her blog with a post about making things for Christmas at:  While there you can see some other neat stuff.

Her PET SCAN is now scheduled for early Tuesday morning........


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Anthology Review: "A Woman’s Touch- 11 Short Stories of Murder and Misdemeanors"

Like the anthology Killer Fiction: 11 Short Stories of  Killers, Fixers, and P.I.’s  the anthology does not waste time with an introduction of some type.  While the Killer Fiction anthology had a decidedly noir bent in style, A Woman’s Touch- 11 Short Stories of Murder and Misdemeanors anthology is much more on the cozy side of reading with some stories being very predictable for seasoned mystery readers. 

This anthology published by Sniplits Publishing in 2010 opens with the very talented Libby Fischer Hellman. Larry and Marge Falls took the trip to Vegas in “House Rules” because Marge desperately wanted to do something new and different. But the trip is not going well and the side trip to Red Rock Canyon hasn’t helped. It’s time for change.

Momma was almost always “Crazy” in this story by Laura Hartman. That was hard back in 1956 and that was before Daddy went missing.

Miles Archer follows with his story, “Never Kill a Cat.”  Dolores is elderly and has four cats in her home as her companions. When one of her cats is murdered and hung in her tree, Dolores has a very good idea who did it and how to handle things.

The strange return of a relative who was supposed to have died long ago is the focus of “Aunt Charlotte” by Courtney L. Mroch.  It was June in Tennessee when the car showed up while Ashley Beth was reading on the porch. The lady says she is Ashley Beth’s Aunt Charlotte.  The same woman who supposedly died before Ashley Beth was born thirteen years ago. Lies have been told and that isn’t all as Aunt Charlotte is in real trouble.

Marianne Crone comes next with her flash fiction tale  “Victory” where not listening can get you dead. Are you listening?

The last thing you want in the restaurant you own is a dead man.  Even worse is the fact it was murder.  In “A Feast for Fools” by JoAnne Lucas a local radio host is dead and this is not the kind of publicity they needed at all.

Lerone Johnson testified against a neighbor boy, a gang banger, and now she is very scared in “Do the Right Thing” by Karen Burgess. The gang banger got off and now Lerone and her daughter are in serious danger. Good thing she knows Detective Kathy Martinez who is going to help. She should since she was the one to convince Lerone to testify in the first place.

Libby Fischer Hellman is up again with her story “The Murder of Katie Boyle.” Katie Boyle apparently had been perfect in nearly every sense of the word.  At least she had been perfect while she was alive. Now she is very much dead and stuffed in a closet of her own workout studio on North Shore of Chicago. Elle Forman found her and also knows a few things that might help investigators, Officer Georgia Davis and Detective Matt Singer.

Denise Dietz follows with her story “Annie’s Blue Christmas” where Annabelle Lee knows the news from doctor won’t be good. A terminal disease can be liberating in so many ways for so many people.

Pyro” by Tracie McBride is a tale where Julie is more than a little sick of her drunken boyfriend Ralph. First he shows up, makes a mess of things, and then passes out in her bed loudly snoring and stinking to high heaven. At least when the next knock on the door happened she wasn’t asleep. This time it was the police telling her Ralph’s car was burning in front of her house.

The final story is “Ants” by M.M. De Voe. The ant on the kitchen counter was a life changer-at least in the mind of one person.  It is a sign and one that has to be acted upon.

The 11 tales that make up the  A Woman’s Touch anthology vary tremendously in writing styles, characters, and situations. All eleven are stories that tend toward the cozy side of things and all are comfortably good. Nothing here pushes boundaries or will shock readers. These are well done stories that often unfold in fairly predictable ways for seasoned mystery readers.

A Woman’s Touch- 11 Short Stories of Murder and Misdemeanors
Sniplits Publishing
September 2010

Material supplied by the publisher in exchange for my objective review.

Kevin R. Tipple © 2012

Saturday Morning Funny

Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday Night Funny

 at least to me.......



I have heard from Barry late this afternoon by phone and he reports a massive problem with his e-mail. Due to his inability to send or revive e-mails  that it now appears started sometime overnight, it is clear that the contest should be suspend temporarily until such time as his e-mail system is back up and functioning again. Once it is, additional time will be allowed in order that  those who wish to enter may do so.

On behalf of both Barry and myself, we apologize for this unforeseen technical problem.

FFB Review: "Instruments of Night" (1998) by Thomas H. Cook (Reviewed by Barry Ergang)

Novelist Paul Graves is a man literally haunted by his past. The ghosts of one grim and brutal night invade his thoughts daily, summoned or unbidden, and lend their power to his books.

Raised on a small farm in North Carolina, Graves was already an imaginative young man who had taken a liking to writing when his parents were killed in a car accident. Paul was twelve and his sister Gwen was sixteen. The two continued to live on the farm for about a year until the night Gwen was tortured and eventually slain by a sadist named Kessler and his tremulous sidekick Sykes. Forced to witness his sister's agonies, Paul retreated into a long silence.

In the story's present, a forty-five-year-old Graves lives a life of self-imposed relative seclusion in New York City. He's the author of a popular series of novels set in that city at the end of the 19th Century. They feature a detective named Slovak who, much like Sir Denis Nayland Smith chasing after Dr. Fu Manchu, pursues the bloodthirsty Kessler and the slavish Sykes from murder to murder, aging and wearying in the process—much as his creator has aged and wearied and considered self-extinction.

Graves is invited to Riverwood, an estate in the Hudson Valley that remains a family home and also an artists' colony, by wealthy Allison Davies, who grew up there and who has never left. She offers him an odd commission: look into the fifty-year-old murder of her closest friend Faye Harrison, who was killed at the age of sixteen, and write a story about it that will satisfy Faye's dying mother about who killed her daughter. The story needn't be true, only plausible.

Reluctant at first, Graves finally accepts the job and takes up residence at Riverwood, where he's given access to all of the information about Faye's death, including the detailed reports by the investigating police detective, Dennis Portman. He is joined by Eleanor Stern, a playwright, who is quite possibly more intrigued by the project than Graves is.

What might seem like a dry historical probe is rendered dramatic by Graves's vivid imagination. He visualizes the players and the scenes they enact so as to carry the reader into the moments Portman's summaries only sketch. His investigations lead to revelations about Riverwood and its denizens in that long-ago time, and about Graves's own past.

I should add, for Golden Age fans, that although Instruments of Night is very much a psychological thriller, it's also a fairly-clued mystery. The key clue is extremely subtle and easily overlooked.

I discovered Edgar Allan Poe in early adolescence, William Faulkner in my late teens. What struck me about both of their prose styles was the quality of envelopment: you might be sitting in a riotous, crowded stadium during the Super Bowl or the World Series, but if you were reading one of their stories, you'd feel as though you were alone in inky blackness, aswirl in the story's events. Thomas H. Cook—at least in this novel, the first of his I've read—conveys that same envelopment.

So why am I torn about this book?

It's very well-written, Cook's prose often lyrical. The characters are properly fleshed-out, the pacing spot-on, and the suspense carefully built and sustained.

But its tone is unremittingly dark. In short stories like Poe's, where uniformity of tone was a goal, that quality is tolerable. Many of Faulkner's darker novels were occasionally relieved by moments of levity. Not so Instruments of Night. Cook sometimes overdoes Graves's recollections of his own horrors. Thus, compelling as the storyline is, I found it hard to sustain long periods of reading. I can't recall ever having read anything darker: not Sanctuary, The Sound and the Fury, or Light in August. Nor Bernard Malamud's The Fixer. Not even Elie Wiesel's Night.

With that caveat in place, I can recommend Instruments of Night as worth your time.

For more on the Golden Age follow the link

Barry Ergang © 2007, 2012

Formerly the Managing Editor of Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine and First Senior Editor of Mysterical-E, winner of the Short Mystery Fiction Society’s 2007Derringer Award in the Flash Fiction category, Barry Ergang’s written work has appeared in numerous publications, print and electronic. For links to material available online, see Barry’s webpages

Barry's mystery spoof groaner, "The Loom of Doom Galls Mainly in the Tomb," which Tony Burton originally published in "Crime and Suspense" has been reprinted in the just-released UNCLE JOHN'S BATHROOM READER PRESENTS FLUSH FICTION--see It's available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble but, alas, not yet in Kindle and Nook formats. Barry will be picking one lucky winner from those who enter by midnight Eastern Daylight Time Friday night as noted elsewhere on the blog.

Other links of Barry's that are worthy of note......

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Contest Elsewhere ---Lesa's Latest Contest

As posted on one of the many lists I am on in Lesa's words.....

This week, I'm giving away signed ARCs. One is Jacqueline Winspear's Elegy for Eddie. The other is Murder at the Lanterne Rouge by Cara Black. Details on my blog, Entrants from the U.S. only, please. 

Lesa Holstine
Spend some time on her blog, people. Lots of good stuff in my humble opinion. 

Review: "Daiquiri Dock Murder" by Dorothy Francis

If it is spring it must be time to go back to Key West via author Dorothy Francis. This year she takes readers there via her latest cozy style mystery titled Daiquiri Dock Murder: A Key West Mystery. Featuring a cast of offbeat characters, plenty of local culture and a mystery that has more than a few twists the read is a comfortably good one. It also fits well into line with the style and tone of other books generated by this author.

Rafa Blue, who has issues with her mother and sister, is at the Daiquiri Dock Marina as this novel opens. It is a dark and stormy night thanks to a tropical storm that has strengthened to a minimal hurricane and is currently pounding through the Keys. Rafa Blue needs to check the family boat, a cabin cruiser named “The Bail Bond” and make sure it is safely secured in its slip. While the boat is fine, somebody is in the stormy sea next to the boat and in trouble.

Rafa flees back to her car and uses her cellphone to call for help. After calling 911 for help for her friend and dock master Diego Casterano, Rafa Blue returns to the scene and eventually goes into the storm tossed waters for him. Unfortunately, there is no help possible for Diego and the effort puts Rafa into the hospital for a brief time.

Rafa is interesting and has her fingers in many pies. She dreams of writing novel length fiction, currently writes a column for the local newspaper about interesting local people, lives in a hotel and helps out at the Frangipani Room. Not to mention a painful personal history with her family, a boyfriend that wants marriage, and a few other odds and ends. Getting considered a suspect in the murder of her friend Diego means that she has to investigate---something the local police chief surprisingly seems to encourage.

The latest mystery from author Dorothy Francis is another solidly good one featuring strong primary and secondary characters. Several secondary characters in this novel closely resemble characters from other books. Once again, several of the suspects are Rafa’s friends and they all work at an open air restaurant deal that opens around sundown, food is served, and music is played. That background setting is clearly one the author feels comfortable with as it is used again in this novel. There is another “Mama G.” who once again is territorial about music and makes a special kind of food for the patrons. Once again the heroine is conflicted about the intentions of her boyfriend and her feelings, drives a Prius, and has extensively read about psychopaths and sociopaths.  

The primary mystery is different and strong in all cozy style aspects. An interesting and complicated case, the classic assemblage of characters to be questioned by the police, and other aspects are all done well.  The constant misdirection as various people in Rafa’s life are considered in the role of the suspected murderer before they either eliminate themselves or are killed removing them from the suspect list also works well. The end result in Daiquiri Dock Murder: A Key West Mystery is another steady and good novel by Dorothy Francis.

Daiquiri Dock Murder: A Key West Mystery
Dorothy Francis
Five Star (Part of Gale, Cengage Learning)
April 2012
ISBN# 978-1-4328-2574-4
292 Pages

Material supplied by the author in exchange for my objective review.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2012

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Interesting Reading Elsewhere---Lawrence Block's Blog

I always read Lawrence Block's column back when he used to write for Writer's Digest.  Having recently discovered his blog, I  had to pass this along.  In his piece from April 22, "All changed, changed utterly...." he discusses how much publishing has changed over his career and why he is self publishing his works. 

It is very interesting reading--for both readers and writers---and well worth your time. As are his books if you are not up to date on his work. I am way, way behind on my reading.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Sandi Update

Sandi’s port was checked today after we had concern over the way it was acting and the way she felt with it.  It was time for the monthly flush out anyway so they did that and took a look at things. We are told everything is okay and the symptoms she has been feeling the last few days with it are normal.  Tonight the port is hurting her pretty good as it always does after they access it and do anything so hopefully that will back off in a few days.

Her next appointment as it stands now is next Tuesday, May 1 when she is supposed to have her PET Scan. Then on May 4 we are back to see the doctor to find out what the results of the scan are and where we go from here treatment.  Sandi remains convinced that she is going to beat this damn thing. But, again today while we were waiting for her port to be worked on, we saw somebody who had a much better prognosis back in December when this all started who is now going into hospice tomorrow as the chemo just didn’t work.  That raises the number of folks we directly know to eight who had much better chances of beating what they were dealing with than anyone thought for a second Sandi did.

Believe me, I want to be positive this is all going to work out even if being positive is so not in my nature. But, they told me on Thanksgiving Day she would be gone by this June. I can’t get that out of my head. I have hard time believing she is winning the battle between what I know and what I see.  For every good day she has, she does too much and then suffers horribly for the next several days. Whether the overall trend is going up or down I don’t know. It is all a blur and all way too much.

On behalf of all of us I just want to say thank you again to all those who have donated. It means a lot to us and we very much appreciate it. As you can see over on the “Chip In” widget we are still very far from the goal. Hopefully, we will make it one more time.  Please know that we are not wasting your donations. I promise you we are only doing what we absolutely have to do in order to hold things together here as long as we can. We are truly grateful for your help and it means so much to all of us.

Please keep us in your thoughts, your prayers and your wishes…..


Senior News----April 2012 Column

For some time now I have been writing a monthly book review column for the Senior News newspaper. The Senior News is aimed to the 50 and over crowd with news relevant to seniors regarding various issues, humor pieces, and my review column among other things. The newspaper is a giveaway at doctor offices, stores, etc. and can be received by via a paid subscription. There are multiple editions across the state of Texas and therefore there is some fluctuation in content in each area.

My column every month focuses on books of interest to the Texas audience. Therefore books selected for the column, fiction or non-fiction, are written by Texas residents, feature Texans in some way, or would have some other connection to the Texas based readership. At least two books are covered each month in the short space I am given.

Below is/was my April  2012 column with the addition here of the relevant book covers……

Southern Living: 2011 Annual Recipes
Southern Living Food Staff
Oxmoor House
ISBN # 978-0-8487-3487-9
370 Pages

With a delectable chocolate cake with white icing and strawberries on the cover (yes, the cover above is very different), this book jumps right out at you. Featuring “Every Single Recipe from 2011-Over 750” this book theoretically has something good to eat for everyone. Featuring very few color photographs, lots of tips and suggestions, this book celebrates southern cooking as well as the magazine’s 45th birthday.

After a brief introduction, the multi-page table of contents, and brief excerpts of their favorite columns with page number citations, it is on to the recipes. The recipes are divided by the months of the year and, excluding holidays, have very little to do with the given month. The pictures are almost always black and white and the typeface is poor giving the pages a washed out appearance. Nutritional information is only rarely present. The various indices are the best part of the cookbook.

While this book is helpful in the sense that it pulls together literally hundreds of recipes and tips published in the past year in the magazine, the book overall is a disappointment in terms of information and visual appeal. Producing a book as cheap as possible, as it appears was done here, does have serious consequences. One hopes that next year they will do a better job in all aspects.

The Blacklin County Files: 5 Sheriff Dan Rhodes Stories
Bill Crider
Kindle E-book

Long familiar to readers via the Sheriff Dan Rhodes series novels Texas author Bill Crider has assembled a short collection of previously published stories featuring the good sheriff Dan Rhodes.  The Blacklin County Files: 5 Sheriff Dan Rhodes Stories read just like the good novels in that the stories feature humor, mystery, and the extensive cast of folks that populate the town of Clearview and the surrounding East Texas County of Blacklin.

Containing the previously published stories titled “Buster”, “Gored”, “The Man on the Cross”,  “Choclate Moose”, and “Who Killed Cock Rogers” the five are all good tales featuring Sheriff Dan Rhodes, his wife Ivy, Deputy Rudy Grady, Jail Dispatcher Hack Jensen and numerous other good and no so good local residents.  Solidly good, just like his novels, award winning author Bill Crider provides yet more good reading.

Kevin R. Tipple © 2012

Monday, April 23, 2012


I have been reviewing a lot of books over a lot of years on this blog and never quite had the response I got over my review yesterday of Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Presents: FLUSH FICTION--88 Short-Short Stories You Can Read in a Single Sitting.  I am sure there are many jokes I could make about the situation, as could Barry Ergang,for that matter, but I am going to keep my adult hat on and firmly in place. Besides, with my new glasses, I might not find it again if I took the adult hat off.

Hello, reader. Barry here. I'd ask Kevin what his point is, but his hat is covering it.  

Because the review has done so well here in attracting attention, and because the publisher is interested in promoting the book, as one of the authors in the collection Barry has been given the opportunity to give away a print copy of the book. As readers of this blog know, Barry does not have a blog of his own. A home, a dog, a car, but no blog of his own. It is a sad state of affairs, and one that I have tried to remedy as best as I can. As part of my continuing hospitality as required under the Texas constitution for us natives, I have offered to let Barry--a Philadelphia Eagles fan, no less (feel free to shudder--I do)--to hold his contest on my blog. 

I don't have a blog of my own because Pennsylvania's constitution requires that I hang out with a whiny, bespectacled, hat-wearing (indoors? Really?) Dallas Cowboys fan (feel free to gag--I do). 

Heck, if I let that Derringer winner Earl Staggs hang around here and run his reviews, you know I am easy.


“Shut up, Earl. This ain’t about you.  Now that you know where Billy died,  go figure out where Bob died.”

I don't know who Bob is, Earl, but you don't have to take that. Gabby Hayes wouldn't. A crack like that would have his trigger finger feeling "a leetle mite itchy."

Anyway, as I was saying, this deal is about Barry and his contest. Now the rules are simple and don’t require you to read a book, guess the name of a character, or do much of anything. You don’t even have to comment here on the blog and do anything in public. Instead, what Barry wants you to do is e-mail him at

Well, yeah, after you privately dance naked around your living room three times while twirling a freshly-plucked chicken over your head.

Put “FLUSH FICTION CONTEST” in the subject line so he knows this is a contest entry. In the body of the e-mail, put your snail-mail address as well as your e-mail address. That way, when your e-mail address has no resemblance to your name, Barry can figure out the connection. 

Knee bone's connected to the thigh bone....

That is it!

All the names and entries will be put into bowl and the winner will be drawn by Barry with the assistance of his dog, Duncan. 

Sshh! He doesn't know he's a dog, and if you saw how he behaves, you wouldn't think he is, either. 

Entries will be accepted until Midnight Friday night---EAST COAST TIME--- with the winner informed by e-mail (if the e-mail works) and here on the blog sometime on Saturday, April 28th.  

If the e-mail doesn't work, you're obligated to feed and board the Pony Express rider and his horse when they gallop up to your door. If you live in an apartment building or complex, the superintendent is likely to be miffed. 

You must live in the continental United States as the publisher will be sending you the book directly once informed by Barry of your winning. 

A simple contest so get those entries in!

And it took a simple guy and his blog to announce it. 

Who you calling simple? 


Flat Out Funny--Sesame Street: The Closer

Both Sandi and I are big fans of TNT's The Closer.  Though, I have to admit that having Brenda' father dealing with cancer at the same time as Sandi has been  dealing with her cancer did not make for good escapism television.  It was very upsetting to come home from a round of chemo and watch that in the evening. Personally, for that factor alone, the split season has been a help.

For every other reason on the planet, the split season has been a bummer.   Should be something when it finally comes back.  It is a long time till July 9 and the final six episodes. More information at

Anyway, thanks to author Terrie Farley Moran who mentioned it  on one of the many lists I am on, I learned Saturday morning that there was a spoof of the show on Sesame Street. I think it is hilarious and the person who did the voice over for the pink puppet Brenda did an amazing job. The video is embedded  in at  CRIMINAL ELEMENT (excellent website and one I read frequently) so head over to the post  "The Muppets Take On Brenda Leigh Johnson" by Deborah Lacy from last Saturday and take a look for yourself.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Review: "Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Presents: FLUSH FICTION--88 Short-Short Stories You Can Read in a Single Sitting"

Unlike previous non-fiction books in the “Uncle John’s Bathroom Readers” line this book is all fiction. Short fiction to be precise as these editors have accepted only stories of less than 1,000 words. As noted in the sub title these are “88 Short-Short Stories You Can Read in a Single Sitting.”  With so many stories by so many authors writing in every genre imaginable it is not possible to cover every single story by every single author. So, here are a few of my personal favorites based on my own dark and twisted sense of humor and the fact that almost anything can be funny to me if done right. Your personal experience will vary.

It wasn’t the smartest bet someone had ever made.  But, the old man had made the bet and lost.  To honor his side of the bet he has to drink 25 beers without getting off the bar stool in The Old Man Had to Pee by Corey Mertes.

Safety Drill by M. Garrett Bauman reminds me of my Dad quite a bit though we never did the family fire drill. You just can’t be too prepared.

One Million Years B.F.E.: Diary of an Anthropologist in Exile by Merrie Haskell tells the tale of an anthropologist who has been sent back to the early Pleistocene for her crime.The good news is that she will have the solitude so she can work through her issues.  The bad news is she will most likely die alone and eaten by hyenas. Hands down this is one of the absolute funniest and very twisted stories in the book.

Learning to keep your eyes directly on the wall above the urinal in front of you is something you learn very early on as a guy. For Andy it is especially important as he is literally Two Urinals from Death in this story written by James Sabata.

Along with some mystery stories, science fiction and fantasy stories are prevalent in this book and they are all good ones. One example of this is Headhunter by William R. D. Wood. Magic is back in force and very visible so unicorns are in Time Square, huge serpents are swimming in the Mississippi and lots of other strange stuff is going on according to the news. Then there is the ogre that comes in for a job at a pest control company.

Another flat out twisted funny story is A Star Gazer’s Manifesto by Sean Flanders. This hard to describe story explains why you really need to watch the skies and stay away from computer keyboards. Make sure you buy stock in Hobby Hut and for very good reason.

There are plenty of very good serious stories that have a touch of mystery and/or suspense to them. One of those is A Glutton for Punishment by Thomas Pluck involves mixed martial arts and Terry’s upcoming fight.  Terry’s record is not a good one, but once in the ring he never backs out. The battle in the ring is always far easier than the one in his mind.

Barry Ergang takes a bow with his story The Loom of Doom Galls Mainly in the Tomb.  It is another case for “The Sleuth Extraordinaire” as the female victim, Lady Vera Muckinfutch, is the parliamentarian’s wife.  As would be expected from this author, it is a “locked room” type mystery, funny with a groan, and a good one.

Having to pass gas is one thing. Being jerked back in time seven seconds each time you pass gas is a real problem. That is exactly Gary Flugle’s problem in Excuse Me written by Scott W. Baker. Hopefully Dr. Kwack can help but he better work fast.

What could possibly be the ultimate rejection letter for a writer is found in Don’t Take This Personally by Richard Hollinger. Good advice but one shouldn’t take it personally-even when it clearly is. Fittingly this tale is the last story in the book followed by 23 pages of the author’s bios and 2 pages of ads for books previously published as well as their website.

Featuring stories in every genre, plenty of humor and solidly good writing, this is a highly enjoyable book that should appeal to virtually any reader no matter where they actually read the book.  Settings, techniques, storylines and plots all very tremendously as these short stories seek to entertain in 1,000 words or less.  Your personal favorites will no doubt vary but these 88 tales are all well worth your time.

Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Presents: FLUSH FICTION--88 Short-Short Stories You Can Read in a Single Sitting
Compiled by the editors of the Bathroom Reader’s Institute
Bathroom Reader’s Press (a division of Portable Press and imprint of Baker & Taylor)
April 3, 2012
ISBN #978-1-60710-427-8
288 Pages

Material supplied in the form of an e-book by the publisher via “NetGalley” in exchange for my objective review.

Kevin R. Tipple © 2012

Donations Desperately Needed

I truly hate asking but we desperately need your help. As you can see by the donation widget over to the left we are coming up way short this month.  Please know that I am only asking for enough to pay our rent, keep the local phone service on so we have access to the internet, and pay for Sandi’s monthly insurance premiums to keep her cancer treatment going.

Obviously, we don’t know what Sandi’s cancer situation is as everything has now been pushed back thanks to the setback with Sandi’s PET SCAN last Friday.  Hopefully on May 1 when they try again her diabetes numbers will be much lower and they can actually do the scan. If they can, we should know on May 4 after the doctor appointment where she is and what the treatment plan will be the next several months.

Please know that we are not wasting your donations. We are only doing what we absolutely have to do in order to hold things together here as long as we can. We are truly grateful for your help and it means so much to all of us.

Thank you.