Earlier in the year – fortunately, well before I went down with Covid-19 – Barbara contacted me to ask if I would be interested in submitting a 100-word story to her summer-themed anthology. And I jumped at the chance – it sounded like such fun! I sketched out one story, intending it to be the first of three pieces of flash fiction, but in the first week of March I became ill.
BLURB: Dog Days of Summer Flash Fiction, what a blast! The challenge: capture a mood, a memory, or an experience, using exactly 100 words. Stories like Ice Cream Hero, Lemonade Stand, and The Prank take you back to your childhood, while others like Fever Pitch, The Panty Liner Incident, and Lemonade Stand evoke summer heat and the search for relief. Other stories like What’s the Buzz?, Lazy Lake, and Change of Season leave you with a smile. Enjoy stories by Goodreads authors: Jina Bazzar, James J. Cudney, IV, S.J. Higbee, Sandra J. Jackson, Loretta Marion, Didi Oviatt, Carmen Radtke, Amy Reade, Rosemary Reeve, Kelly Santana-Banks, L.A. Starks, and Barbara Venkataraman as well as authors Nico Morales, Kathleen Fowler Costa, Jeff Homberger, Geoffrey Marion, Jodi Markley, and Kaitlyn Sutey. This book transports you to that time of lethargy, thunderstorms, and mad dogs known as the dog days of summer–only our dogs are more fun.
MY TAKE: Luckily, when Barbara sent me a polite reminder that the due date was approaching, I was going through a good spell and able to get together my short about Castellan the Black, a rather grumpy dragon who features in Picky Eaters. And a few days later, the book was published. Now, obviously, this can’t be a review because I’m a contributor. It’s not good form – but the reason why I’ve featured this small book is because it’s such FUN. I was badly struggling when I first picked it up, as I was suffering ongoing symptoms from my Covid illness. But despite that, several of these made me laugh aloud. I’d started reading, intending to dip in and out of these little bite-sized pieces of fun and quirkiness. But as with many bite-sized morsels, I found it far too morish to stop until I reached the end – which came far too soon.
I haven’t yet had a chance to read Barbara’s longer fiction, but she’s clearly a talented editor with a clear vision of what she wants. For every one of these shorts delivers something enjoyable and different. The theme of summer runs throughout, and you won’t be surprised to learn that dogs also feature reasonably heavily – but I wasn’t expecting quite so much humour, and emotion. It takes real skill to achieve such a punch in a hundred words, and every single one of these tales delivers. I was charmed, as I moved onto the next one, impatient to see what was next. Inevitably, some stood out – I winced at ‘Ice Cream Demon’ by Kaitlyn Sutey, grinned at ‘Track and Field Practice’ by Kelly Santana-Banks, sighed in pleasure at the writing of ‘Summer Nights’ by Amy Reade, had a lump in my throat at ‘Eternal Summer’ by Jodi Markley – and burst out laughing at Barbara’s ‘What’s the Buzz?’. I could go on, because each of these gems offered a particular delight.
And the bonus? Dog Days of Summer is a real steal at less than a £1, as well as being available on Kindle Unlimited. If you are looking for a light, refreshing read that won’t break the bank, then this one comes very highly recommended. It certainly brightened up my day, when I was in a very dark place.