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My Blooming Short Stories

Perilous Pauline goes full circle!

Short Stories by Pauline Baird Jones

It is funny how things tend to go full circle, or at least they wend their back around in my life. At least that is how it was with my blooming (used for emphasis, not because my short stories are flowers) short stories. 

When I first attempted to begin to write, I started with short stories. Shorter fiction fit into my life as a young mom a little better. 

Wow, I haven’t thought about those early efforts in a long time. Now I’m sitting here wondering if I have copies somewhere in my files. 

Anyway, I digress. I wrote short fiction and submitted it a selection of women’s magazines that a) I used to read and b) used to publish short fiction.

I got turned down a lot, though I did get one encouraging word on a rejection.

“Almost.”

Back in those days, “good” rejections were sort of celebrated by aspiring authors. 

It is both funny and sad. 

I love these days SO much more because I hire an editor to help me write better—not to reject me. 

Yeah, it’s much better now. 

My very first ever sale was a short story, followed by a non-fiction article for kids. The short story was published, the article never saw print. Again, that’s how it worked back then. 

I tried some more kids’ fiction and didn’t make much progress.

Then the first Gulf War happened and somehow I made the jump to novels. I didn’t look back much until I decided to write a short story connected to a short series called Lonesome Lawmen. I wrote the short story for a special omnibus edition (that’s what we called it back in the olden days, instead of a boxed set). 

Then I got some requests for short stories for several anthologies and I found I could still write short.

I was a bit surprised because at that time my books were getting longer. 

I also dabbled a bit in short romance fiction, mostly because I kept hoping I’d somehow get the hang of writing a romance novel where no one died or got blown up. 

It’s fairly obvious that never happened.

I did end up with two romance short story collections, and several “typical” short stories (death and explosions). 

All in all, I have thirteen of my “blooming” short stories on the “reality” side of my publishing endeavors (that would be the writing that isn’t set in outer space) and more on the alternate reality side (I know, I should count them, too, but that’s a lot of math!). 

I love all my short story “babies,” but there is one I am particularly fond of and that is “Deleting Dennis.” This story came about as a request of a different sort. 

Someone I loved very much who may or may not have been my daughter, asked me to fictionally kill someone for her. 

I may have vented some frustration on people by making them victims in my stories, but this was the first time I did it by request. Lol 

Here’s a snippet from “Deleting Dennis,” which is included in the Do Wah Diddy Delete collection:

It was a cold day, not in hell, but in Houston, the kind of day that made her want to snuggle down in her bed and sleep until noon. It was tough being an owl in a lark world. Capri Hinkenlooper didn’t believe in morning, let alone want to face it, but she needed her seriously sad pay, so she rolled out of her rack and made the short trip to the bathroom, where the mirror reflected back her scary morning self. She poked at the bags under her eyes, wishing she could pack them and head somewhere more fun. She sighed. Time, tide and Mose Milton Ducumb waited for no man—or editor.

When she’d done all she could to repair the night’s damage, she retreated to her bedroom to dress for her lack of success. Choosing what to wear for her workplace was always a challenge, but one she was used to. When she’d been shown her cubicle in the aging building a year ago, she’d been surprised and delighted it had this really cool art deco window that basically devoured the whole outside wall. It curved at the top with some vintage scrollwork and gave her a lovely view of a cemetery where—now that she knew better—she mentally regularly buried all hope.

When you need a little murder, a little mayhem and maybe a little romance in your life, you need Do Wah Diddy Delete. And there’s a baby. A totally safe baby. But everyone else has a lot of trouble in these three short stories.

Here’s the blurb for “Deleting Dennis:” 

Capri Hinkenlooper thought her name—and Monday mornings—were the worst things in her life, but then her fellow editor and all-around slimy guy gets deleted with her letter opener. On the upside, the two homicide detectives investigating the murder are seriously cute…

You can find out more about the complete collection by clicking here. 

I hope you’re enjoying your Monday! Have you ever looked back on your life and realized you circled back to something?

Perilously yours,

Pauline

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