Short Stories Are Like Smart Cars (And I’m Taking A Ride) by Stacy Hoff


Until I learned about the publishing industry, I had no idea that commercial fiction writing had so many rules. I struggled to learn the precise definitions of genre and sub-genre categories, as well as their prescribed word-counts. That was several years ago. Thankfully for me, there are now some publishers that allow both genre blurring and word count flexibility. And of course, self-publishing lets you do anything you want. How do I know? Because I just took a crack at it.

If you are a “pantser” like I am (somebody who does not plot out their stories, but writes by the “seat of their pants”) having full creative freedom is certainly helpful. I’m loath to chase away the Muses. Since I have a heavy-duty, right-brain day job (lawyer) I love letting my creativity loose.

So, as I crank out more books, I am letting my stories write themselves. Some of are full-length, some are mid-length, and I even recently completed a short story. Of them all, the short story will be self published. Why? Because tiny word count is not a problem when the author is in control.

And when I say tiny, I mean just that—my short story is only 11,690 words long (approximately thirty-five pages). How’s that for compact? My short story is the literary equivalent of a Smart car. And yet, my vehicle got my characters where they needed to go. Yup, they hopped in. Drove off into the sunset together.  And I got it done.

Of course, when the general public considers whether to buy a book, they often want more for their money than just one fast read. That’s why my short story, LOVE DELIGHTS, will be contained in the anthology, “SEASON OF LOVE.” The anthology includes four other writers, all of which are fantastic—Gerri Brousseau, Merry Holly, Stephanie Queen, and Bobbi Lerman. I’m honored to be among them.

A cover reveal for “SEASON OF LOVE” will coming soon. The anthology itself will be released on May 1, 2015. I can hardly wait.

I hope you like what we’ve come up with. It was wonderful for me to have the chance to “think short.” For some teasers from the anthology, read on.

And let me know if you ever feel constrained by anything? What do you do about it?

From the Novella “Puppy Love” by Gerri Brousseau

 Book Blurb:

Sparks fly when a chance encounter entangles Lord Robert Nelson with the lovely Claudette Valentine and her dog, Madeline. The attraction is undeniable, but her father’s plan to find her a wealthy husband holds a hidden agenda that Robert can’t abide by. A story of attraction, longing, and if destiny can be changed, a loving marriage, instead of a loveless one.

Book Excerpt:

“Scandalous!” Robert Nelson shouted. He ran his hand through his already disheveled hair as he paced back and forth in the foyer.
“Lower your voice. What will the staff think?” the Dowager said. She stood leaning on her ever-present cane in the foyer before a stack of travel trunks.
“What will the staff think, indeed! You worry about what our subordinates will think of me raising my voice, yet you give no consideration to what they may think of you running off to the Scottish Highlands with Angus McClellan. You have only known the man little more than a few days. Mother, your actions are bound to make us the talk of our peers, yet again.”
“Since when do I care what our peers have to say?” she asked, watching him pace.
“Perhaps you should. We’ve just gotten over the embarrassment of your ridiculous decree that Stuart marry, and now . . . now this.” He huffed, his voice laced with impatience.
“I don’t know what you’re complaining about, that worked out perfectly.”
“Yes, but that’s completely off the point.”
“And what is your point?”
“Despite the positive turn of events with Stuart and Brianna, we were the object of ridicule for quite a long time.” Robert’s pacing ceased. He stood before his mother with frustration etched upon his face.
“You need to learn to relax, Robert.”
His frown deepened.
“All this foul temper can’t possibly be good for your digestion.” The Dowager patted her son’s forearm.
“What do you know of him, this McClellan chap? What if he should hold you for ransom, or worse, what if he should ravish you?”
“Ravish me? At my age my dear, one can only hope.”

From the short story “Love Delights” by Stacy Hoff

Book Blurb:

Two co-workers—former lovers—vie for the same big job promotion in their NYC advertising agency. The agency’s next Creative Director will be the one who pitches the better ad campaign to a major potential client, “Love Delights,” a gourmet chocolatier. Too bad they both need more time, and each other’s help, to come up with the perfect pitch.

Can They win over the client? And each other? Because this Valentine’s Day, the agency’s finances—and their hearts—are on the line.

Book Excerpt:

About to enter Mr. Fein’s office, Deirdre’s biggest rival for the job promotion reached for the exact same door handle. “Oh!” she exclaimed upon seeing Trevor Reynolds. Her smile immediately dropped from her face. Confidence plummeted along with it. Stop worrying, Dee! This must be a scheduling screw-up.

“Hello, Deirdre,” Trevor said in that sexy, sultry voice of his.

Deirdre hated that voice. Specifically because it worked so well on her. Despite all her determination to be immune, immunity from Trevor’s charms was not an easy task to accomplish. His sensuous voice was only half as tantalizing as his mouth-watering good looks.

Even hearing him through the thin drywall that separated his office from Deirdre’s brought embarrassingly steamy memories racing to the forefront of her mind. Memories of their one night stand—no, one night mistake. Ever since then, she tried to keep her meetings with Trevor to a minimum. Since this was Valentine’s Day, she’d tried doubly hard to avoid him all day. She’d been successful until now. Awkward.

“Hello, Trevor.” She gave him a tight nod. “It’s nice to see you, but I have an appointment with Mr. Fein now.”

“What a coincidence,” he said. “So do I.”

Her brow furrowed. Having Trevor at this meeting would not be good. How could she concentrate on Mr. Fein’s words when Trevor was watching her? Her still-lingering attraction to him was hard to block out. Worse, having Trevor at the meeting would create a professional mess. How would Trevor react when Mr. Fein announced she’d be getting the promotion he’d wanted? Unfortunately, he was just as driven in his career goals as Deirdre. Would Trevor be gracious when Mr. Fein gave the job to her? After all, there was only one Creative Director spot.

Oh noWhat if Trevor is the one who’s going to get the promotion? And I’m supposed to report to him now? Suddenly, Dee felt her acid reflux condition make its presence known. Only thirty years old, it was very early in life for Dee to be taking Nexium, but with a high-pressure job like this one, using the purple pill was inevitable. After this meeting, she’d be sure to pop yet another pill in flagrant disregard of the dosing instructions.

From the novella “An Unexpected Match” by Bobbi Lerman

Book Blurb:

Sylvie Ann is certain true love is an impossible fairy tale until fate and Tillie the Matchmaker send an unexpected storm stranding her with Noah and the irresistible possibility of one more chance at happily ever after.

Book Excerpt:

When a bright black and yellow Checker Cab pulled up to the restaurant, Tillie studied the tall, blonde woman who stepped out onto the curb. Sylvie’s hair, sun gold, had been cut short to frame her heart shaped face. Her complexion looked pale, even by the standards of a too-long New England winter. Tillie watched Sylvie approach the entrance and then stop, turning back toward her, hesitating as if trying to decide whether to step over the threshold or bolt and run. Her gaze met and locked with Tillie’s. It took but a few brief seconds of looking into Sylvie’s troubled eyes to see her girl was fighting down a serious bout of self-doubt, anxiety and an even greater dose of fear. Yet, among all those emotions, Tillie could still see the tiniest speck of hope buried deep within those sky-blue eyes, as Sylvie set her game face firmly in place and strode through the door.

Ah, well, my retirement will have to wait just a bit longer, Tillie thought. She adjusted the two indigo blue feathers in her hat. It would take more than Cupid’s bow to melt the cold wall Sylvie Anne had erected around her damaged heart. It would take a miraculous thawing. “Not to worry,” Tillie whispered to the blue-feathered pigeon perched on her shoulder. “Setting hearts free to fly is my specialty.”

 More teasers next week!



Find Stacy Hoff on Social Media: Twitter: Web:



Photo of Smart car by Stacy Hoff. Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.

This entry was posted in A writer's life, creative writing, Gerri Brousseau, Marian Lanouette, Marketing, Plot, publishing, romance, Stacy Hoff, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Short Stories Are Like Smart Cars (And I’m Taking A Ride) by Stacy Hoff

  1. Thanks for this post, Stacy. It was a pleasure working with you. Can hardly wait for the release.

  2. I enjoy reading you. You’ve inspired me for my own blog post!

    • stacyhoff says:

      Catherine Haustein, my deepest thanks! It is AWESOME to know I can motivate other writers. So glad I can help!

  3. gailingis says:

    An anthology, really? With four other authors, indeed. Congratulations! And your sweet short(er) story is fun. Especially loved Sylvie. I can identify with her fighting down a serious bout of self-doubt, and is this book thing for me, is it really happening? When do you have time to be a mom, a lawyer, an artist and an author and a pal? I think that’s how we New Yorker’s are trained, especially for me, growing up in Brooklyn, alongside Eddie Fisher and Barbara Streisand and what about ol’ Milton Berle? Uh oh, I think I’m dating myself. What do you think Stacy? You go girl, so happy to know you. Thanks to your anthology fellows.

    • stacyhoff says:

      Thank you, Gail! I’m not sure how I balance everything, lol! Glad you liked Sylvie – that short story is by Bobbi Lerman. And yes, I agree she’s great.

  4. stacyhoff says:

    Thanks so much for the like & tweets, author Joanne Guidoccio!

  5. stacyhoff says:

    AC Cockerill, thanks so much for the like! 🙂

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