“There are stories in everything. I’ve got some of my best yarns from park benches, lampposts, and newspaper stands.” O. Henry
Everyone has a first love. It could be the boy next door, a Spiderman comic book, collecting stamps, or … you name it.
I had a first love, too. Mine was O. Henry.
Time passed, I grew up, and I moved on to other things: My adventurous jobs (private detective and arson investigator); my wonderful late husband; my newspaper columns; my books.
Yet a first love is the manifest destiny of the soul, so it was inevitable that eventually, I would want to emulate my hero and write short stories, too.
Long before I became a writer, though, the magazines that had launched so many brilliant careers went out of business: Saturday Evening Post; Collier’s; Woman’s Home Companion; Scribner; The Story Press, and more.
My heart was pure, but my timing was off. So I taught myself how to write novels, and being fickle, I learned to love what I did.
But first cannot be denied, and several years ago, I woke up with the idea for a short story in my head. Without thinking, I reached for a pen.
Nothing had changed. There was still no market for short fiction. I just didn’t care! I talked my editor at The Forensic Examiner into using one of my stories in each issue of their magazine. Then I convinced my editors at The Evening Sun that their newspaper would sparkle if, other than my monthly column, their readers could read my short fiction a well.
Which brings us to my new collection: Dabbling in Crime.
Once, in a deliciously conspiratorial mood, O. Henry wrote:
I’ll give you the whole secret to short story writing. Here it is.
Rule 1: Write stories that please yourself.
There is no Rule 2.
I have followed O. Henry’s advice for Rule 1. It is my great hope that my stories will also please you.
Praise for Shelly Reuben:
An adroit storyteller with a gift for creating quirky and compelling characters. The San Diego Union-Tribune.
The Characters…are so combustible that you keep expecting them to go up in flames. New York Times Book Review
You’re being seduced by a very capable writer…a master of suspense and dramatic structure. Jules Brenner – Critical Mystery Tour
Great characters, and just thinking about them now brings a smile to my face. You don’t often meet people this good. When you do, you don’t want to let them go. The Drood Review.