Since 2013, I have had the great privilege and pleasure to assist J. Michael Fay in publishing all five of his long-form short stories under my imprint IslandShorts. Recently, Michael was featured in an article published in The Times, the local newspaper in the town of Minden, Ontario, where Michael lives and near where my family cottage was located. (How Michael and I are connected is explained in that article.) Michael’s was one of the earliest promotions I posted on Reading Recommendations and he came back for an update in Mar. 2016. He wrote On Writing “Tenderness” describing the background and inspiration that went into writing his short story. This is available as a free flipbook. And I have published three guest post written by Michael on my main blog: J. Michael Fay on Bread Loaf, 1978, J. Michael Fay on Banff, 1976, J. Michael Fay on Remembering Alexandra Centre.
So here are the five titles written by Michael that we’ve published so far, and here’s where to purchase all IslandShorts eBooks.
In southern Alberta during the hot, dry August of 1909, young cousins meet again after a lengthy separation of their families. Tenderness is the bittersweet story of Luke and Rachel as they come to terms with their losses through learning more of a shared heritage. Written in a style evoking the prairies of a century ago, J. Michael Fay’s story unfolds with quiet and gentle grace and a reverence for the era, the setting and his characters.
The Whirlabout takes us back to America during the 1950s, when a quarter bought a movie ticket as well as a bag of popcorn, city neighbours gathered on front porches to listen to a ballgame on the radio while kids played in the street and, for an evening out, entire families climbed into their cars to go to the then-new drive-ins. Through innocent eyes, a young boy describes this time and place with precise detail and the memory of how he learned life’s lessons through the example of his own solid father.
In 1957, Danny is struck down with rheumatic fever and discovers a strange and frightening world on the children’s ward of the hospital. During months of recuperation his powers of observation are heightened and ultimately the time spent alone teaches him not only about survival, but about becoming the “big boy” the nurses constantly urge him to be, as he learns to accept the inevitable tragedies of life that surround us all.
1963 is a pivotal year for Dan James. Believing his destiny was set at the age of eleven when he stood next to his father’s coffin, he enters the seminary at seventeen to become a priest. A well-read fellow seminarian and the world-shaking event later that year cause Dan to question his true passion in life.
Dan James graduates from college in 1967, a time of major conflicts in the US, when friends are being drafted to fight in the war in Vietnam. Dan, however, chooses to become involved in a different fight, one for human rights. He eventually heads north to Canada, a place where he can pursue a life working for the betterment of all. But also a place where the conflicts turn out to be much more personal.