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June Bug Gothic

June Bug Gothic

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June Bug Gothic

Length:
230 pages
3 hours
Released:
May 12, 2022
ISBN:
9781622532797
Format:
Book

Description

These eighteen stories are either set in the south, or the characters are southerners... or not. A few of the stories might be described as Southern Gothic. One outright horror story. Others might be sweeter than molasses.

In this collection, june bugs and magnolia trees rest alongside the saguaro cactus of the Sonoran Desert and the street corner girls of Manila. A "meet-cute" at a speed-dating event might follow a story about a persistent suitor who just won't die. Memories and grief may bring tears or smiles. Rusted old cars bring memories and grief. Sometimes reuniting the head with the body just doesn't help a bit.

"A master storyteller!" ~ Maria Grazia, Editor, Horror Bound Magazine

"I don't think there is any genre Robb Grindstaff can't conquer." ~ S.P. Miskowski, Author, "Knock Knock"

"Flannery O'Connor meets M. Night Shyamalan." ~ Pete Morin, Author, "Diary of a Small Fish"

EVOLVED PUBLISHING PRESENTS a collection of short stories from the multiple award-winning author of such greats as "Slade" and "Hannah's Voice." [DRM-Free]

BOOKS BY ROBB GRINDSTAFF:

  • "Carry Me Away"
  • "Hannah's Voice"
  • "June Bug Gothic"
  • "Slade"
  • "Turning Trixie" [Fall 2022]

MORE GREAT LITERARY FICTION FROM EVOLVED PUBLISHING:

  • The "Holidazed" Series by Gregg Sapp
  • "A Debt of War" by Michael Ringering
  • "The Clovis Dig" by Teri Fink
  • "The Daughter of the Sea and the Sky" by David Litwack
  • "Deep Mud" by Ty Spencer Vossler

 

Released:
May 12, 2022
ISBN:
9781622532797
Format:
Book

About the author

In addition to a career as a newspaper editor, publisher, and manager, Robb Grindstaff has written fiction most of his life. The newspaper biz has taken him and his family from Phoenix, Arizona, to small towns in North Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin, from seven years in Washington, D.C., to five years in Asia. Born and raised a small-town kid, he’s as comfortable in Tokyo or Tuna, Texas. The variety of places he’s lived and visited serve as settings for the characters who invade his head. His novels are probably best classified as contemporary southern lit, and he’s had more than a dozen short stories published in a wide array of genres. His articles on the craft of fiction writing have appeared in various writer magazines and websites, and one of his seminars was presented at the Sydney (Australia) Writers Festival. He also has taught writing courses for the Romance Writers of America, Romance Writers of Australia, and Savvy Authors. Robb retired from the newspaper business in the summer of 2020 to write and edit fiction full time.


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June Bug Gothic - Robb Grindstaff

Copyright

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~~~

JUNE BUG GOTHIC

Tales from the South

Copyright © 2022 Robb Grindstaff

(Some of these stories were originally published elsewhere—many of which are now out of print—as noted by the author at the end of the story, if applicable.)

~~~

ISBN (EPUB Version): 1622532791

ISBN-13 (EPUB Version): 978-1-62253-279-7

~~~

Editor: Jessica West

Cover Artist: Kris Norris

Interior Designer: Lane Diamond

~~~

PUBLISHER’S NOTE:

At the end of this short story anthology of approximately 42,576 words, you will find Special Sneak Previews of two of Robb Grindstaff’s extraordinary novels: 1) SLADE, and; 2) HANNAH’S VOICE. We’re sure you’ll really love these books, too, and provide these previews as a FREE extra service, which you should in no way consider a part of the price you paid for this anthology. We hope you will both appreciate and enjoy the opportunity. Thank you.

~~~

eBook License Notes:

You may not use, reproduce or transmit in any manner, any part of this book without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations used in critical articles and reviews, or in accordance with federal Fair Use laws. All rights are reserved.

This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only; it may not be resold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, please return to your eBook retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

~~~

Disclaimer:

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination, or the author has used them fictitiously.

Books by Robb Grindstaff

Carry Me Away

Hannah’s Voice

Slade

Turning Trixie [Late 2022]

~~~

June Bug Gothic: Tales from the South [Short Story Collection]

~~~

RobbGrindstaff.com

What Others Are Saying About Robb Grindstaff’s Books

~~~

SHORT STORIES:

~~~

A master storyteller! ~ Maria Grazia, Editor, Horror Bound Magazine

~~~

Some writers excel at characterization, others at plot, and still others are best known for their unique prose style. Grindstaff is a triple threat. ~ S.P. Miskowski, Author of Knock Knock

~~~

A wicked sense of humor, a keen eye on the human psyche, and impeccable timing. His prose crackles and doesn’t waste a syllable. ~ Pete Morin, Author of Diary of a Small Fish

~~~

What marks him apart is how American his voice is. Robb’s writing amuses, charms, and when you least expect it, challenge and shock. ~ Alexander McNabb, Author of Olives: A Violent Romance

~~~

Seamlessly written stories, full of strong characters, rendered with wit and subtlety. Stories unfold gently, judgments are never made, and the reader is left with stories that resonates long after the book is closed. ~ Phillipa Fioretti, Author of The Book of Love

~~~

CARRY ME AWAY:

~~~

I’m still marveling at what an impressive and enjoyable book this is, and I’m looking forward to reading anything by Grindstaff that I can get my hands on. Most highly recommended. ~ Reader’s Favorite Book Reviews

~~~

The ending was not what I expected, and I put the book down still in tears. This is a beautiful book and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Any book that has me laughing out loud one minute and in tears the next (on public transportation no less!) is a must read. ~ Tamra Reynolds

~~~

Best book of the year. ~ Marked By Books

~~~

Thumbs up! A fantastic read. ~ Books 4 the Soul

~~~

HANNAH’S VOICE:

I am a sucker for strong female protagonists, from Lisbeth Salander all the way back to Jane Eyre, and even further. Hannah joins this elite club of kick-ass female characters, women who have strong voices, independent and feisty personalities, and basically take no prisoners. ~ David Schwartz, Author of The Last Man Who Knew Everything: Enrico Fermi

~~~

A searingly memorable story and will stay with the reader long after the novel is put down. ~ Pete Morin, Author of Diary of a Small Fish

~~~

Phenomenal storytelling. This book is so well written and Hannah is so compelling, her voice lingers in my mind long after I have finished reading. ~ Michelle Johnson, Author and Literary Agent

~~~

Absolutely incredible. The author perfectly captured Hannah’s thoughts at each point in her life. ~ Marked By Books

~~~

One of my best reads of the year! ~ Gimme the Scoop Book Reviews

~~~

Will stay with you long after reading this book. I highly recommend this book. ~ Orsayor Simmons Book Reviews

BONUS CONTENT

We’re pleased to offer you not one, but two Special Sneak Previews at the end of this book, each taken from a great novel by Robb Grindstaff.

~~~

In the first preview, you’ll enjoy the prologue (of sorts) and first three chapters (of sorts) of SLADE, Robb’s third novel (of sorts).

~~~

~~~

OR GRAB THE FULL EBOOK TODAY!

YOU’LL FIND LINKS TO YOUR FAVORITE RETAILER HERE:

Robb Grindstaff’s Books at Evolved Publishing

In the second preview, you’ll enjoy the prologue and first two chapters of HANNAH’S VOICE, Robb’s award-winning, critically acclaimed first novel.

~~~

~~~

OR GRAB THE FULL EBOOK TODAY!

YOU’LL FIND LINKS TO YOUR FAVORITE RETAILER HERE:

Robb Grindstaff’s Books at Evolved Publishing

Dedication

To my parents, whose nurturing of reading and writing set me on this path. They taught me to read before I started school, from children’s books to Sunday school lessons to the Bible. Mom taught me to type when I could still sit on her lap and peck at the Underwood manual typewriter. They bought me all the Mark Twain books in grade school. When I’d finished reading these, Mom and Dad took me to Twain’s boyhood home in Hannibal, Missouri, to see the real-life settings for his stories.

For high school graduation, they gave me a portable electric typewriter—quite a luxurious item at the time—as I headed off to college to study English and journalism and learn to write more better.

My greatest privilege and blessing in life is having been raised by two compassionate, devout, faithful parents, married for more than half a century, until death they did part, and who are now together for all eternity in the presence of God and in my heart.

All my flaws are purely my own.

Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright

Books by Robb Grindstaff

What Others Are Saying

BONUS CONTENT

Dedication

Introduction

JUNE BUG GOTHIC: Tales from the South

magnolia nights

airport lounges

desert rain

evolution of love

roy and darby

sarah mae’s holiday

desert nights

dreams

the missionary’s position

desert walk

untitled

nine days

ruby and deirdre

of was and when

frank and his tan

uncle keith’s farm

june bug

ellie’s head

Acknowledgements

About the Author

What’s Next?

More from Robb Grindstaff

More from Evolved Publishing

Special Sneak Preview: SLADE by Robb Grindstaff

Special Sneak Preview: HANNAH’S VOICE by Robb Grindstaff

introduction

Southern Gothic literature is defined by Encyclopedia Britannica as a style of writing practiced by many writers of the American South whose stories set in that region are characterized by grotesque, macabre, or fantastic incidents.

Not all the stories here will fit that subgenre, but it’s often where I feel most at home. I’m from the south but moved around a lot—mostly small towns in the south, but also the American Southwest like Texas and Arizona (that’s still the south, right?), cities small and large, Washington DC (sort of south but they don’t like to admit it), and Tokyo (on an Air Force base filled with folks from the rural south). I even lived in farther reaches north like Wisconsin, but small-town, rural areas in the north feel a lot like small-town, rural areas in the south. Hunting, fishing, pickup trucks, country music. Only difference is people in rural Wisconsin have a funny accent.

The following stories are either set in the south, or the stories are populated by southerners... or not. A couple of the stories might be described as grotesque, macabre, or fantastic. Others might be sweeter than molasses.

In this collection, june bugs and magnolia trees rest alongside the saguaro cactus of the Sonoran Desert and the dusty street corner girls of Manila, Philippines. A meet-cute at a speed-dating event might follow a story about a persistent suitor who just won’t die. Memories and grief may bring tears or smiles. Rusted old cars bring memories and grief. Sometimes reuniting the head with the body just doesn’t help a bit.

magnolia nights

a scent of a memory

~~~

These are the nights I love to lie in bed and not sleep. The house is quiet, june bugs tap-tap-tap against the screen. The magnolia tree blows its perfumed breath into my room and I have an urge to run out and give her a thank you hug. A bullfrog down by the creek, a quarter-mile away, serenades in his baritone of true love found and the thin air carries his song through the trees and across the yard. A choir of crickets joins the chorus and the june bugs keep the staccato percussion time.

The full moon shines its spotlight on the performers and the magnolia rustles in applause. I lie and listen, lie and wait until the audience clamor dies down and the next song begins. It sounds much like the first song but it is different, a sadder tune of love lost and never regained, of heartache and loneliness. My hair carries the magnolia’s scent into the day and the boys pause their sandlot game when I walk by so they can savor the fragrance. They play every summer afternoon and the dust sticks to their sweaty foreheads so they remove their caps, earnest and serious, and wipe their brows with the sleeves of their jerseys. Each boy has a number and a name on the back of his shirt—names like Banks and Aparicio and Clemente.

The tallest boy, even more serious and earnest, wears Koufax on his jersey. He wipes the muddy sweat on his sleeve and stares at the catcher and shakes his head, once, twice, then nods his approval and rocks back into position. His name is David. All the boys call him Davey but I call him David because his mother calls him that when he doesn’t come home for dinner on time. We’re in extra innings he says as if she will respond Oh why didn’t you say so? I’ll keep your plate warming in the oven.

I never call him Davey. I lie bathing in magnolia blooms and whisper his name. David. David.

Today is the day, after the game but before dinner, up on my tiptoes I stretch to lift his cap and with a clean tissue, wipe the sweat and residue of the infield from his face before it drips into his eyes. I brush his hair back with my fingers and slip the cap into place but not quite right so he adjusts it when he thinks I’m not looking.

We walk toward his home but hesitate when we reach the corner where I turn. He invites me to dinner with him and his mother where we sit around the table with fried bologna and macaroni and cheese from a box and we both call him David and he blushes but doesn’t protest.

Today is the day we stop at the corner and he leans in fast, the way he pitches a three-two count low and inside, a change-up to a gentle kiss on my cheek and he blushes through the streaks of dust lining his face. I walk home with a joy inside and an ache to scream David kissed me David kissed me as I walk with my magnolia-scented hair past the old Robertson place where no one has lived since before I was born.

I lie in bed and the bullfrog and crickets go quiet for it’s my turn to sing. I try to think of the right song but before it comes to me the sun replaces the moon and the old banty rooster and cicadas take the stage from the frog and crickets. A tractor tap-tap-taps in the distance. The june bugs go where june bugs go in the daylight.

Today is the day, like any other, on my way to the store to get a bottle of milk and a fresh-baked loaf of bread for lunch, I walk by the lot where the boys play their games. Today is the day, unlike any other, as I pass by I call out Great pitch, David. The other boys snicker to hide their envy. She smells of summer nights and love songs David says as he drops his glove and abandons his team before the final out. He walks me to the store and recites a poem he learned in school to impress me. I pretend not to be impressed. He waits outside the store so his cleats won’t leave marks on Caudell Food Market’s linoleum flooring. He carries the bag with the milk bottle all the way to my front door and hands it to my mother Here this belongs to you. My mother thanks him for being such a gentleman and invites him in for a lemonade You must be thirsty from playing those games boys play. Don’t mind your shoes. You can’t hurt these old floors.

He clicks across the wood Thank you, ma’am, and drinks long with cool satisfaction. The baseball grime from his hand leaves streaks in the sweat of the tall Mason jar. Mother makes an excuse to leave the room when David says Goodbye so he can give me another soft kiss on the cheek before he returns to his game with my scent embedded in every breath he takes. His friends are angry with him, but what can they do but let him join in again as he’s the tallest and the best and the most handsome of all the boys.

These are the mornings I lie in bed and feel his lips, warm under the icy droplets of his last sip, and his breath of lemon brushes my face. I reach to touch the spot but stop myself so as not to wipe away the echo of his kiss. I leave it there as I lie in bed, inhale the magnolia, and hum a summer night’s ballad.

I leave it there as I rise and pull on my jeans and boots and ignore the stiffness in my back to walk to the coop to gather the eggs. I toss some dried corn on the ground for the birds and put away last night’s dinner plate and glass and fork from the rack where they dried overnight. Today, like any other day, I tie the faded flag on the pole beside the front door. My fingers ache more than usual. There are more chores, then I drive to the supermarket for milk in a plastic jug and sliced bread baked fresh in a factory this week. I drive past the office building on the lot where sweaty boys no longer play.

David’s mother kisses me and her tear falls on my cheek, icy cold as lemonade. I

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