“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, 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 loves 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 as 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.
Having followed O. Henry’s advice for Rule 1, it is my great hope that my stories will please you, too.
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.