Saturday, July 16, 2011

Maybelle's Revenge and Other Short Stories by LB Gschwandtner

Okay fellow readers - what's better for weekend reading than a great collection of short stories?

Well, I've got just the thing for you!

I just finished this collection myself, and trust me, the stories make for fantastic reading. Of course, I am not only a huge fan of LB's writing, but also have co-authored the chick-lit novel, Foxy's Tale, with her, so I know she can write!

Looking for some afternoon entertainment? Get Maybelle's Revenge and Other Short Stories. You won't be disappointed.

A short story collection with an edge. Paranormal events, vengeful attacks, payback for past pain -- and lots of other quirky tidbits are the stuff of this collection, including a love stricken parrot and a town that takes on an electric glow. It’s all in here but, to start, there’s Maybelle's Revenge. And she is out to get some payback.

What people are saying:
This collection of stories is so much fun the pages practically turn themselves. The stories cover a wide range of subjects and have some wacky, unexpected protagonists - including Maybelle herself - but what they have in common is humor and readability. The stories are short, fast moving and go down like candy. A great choice for beach reading or taking the kids to the pool! -- Kim Wright Wiley

And now, an excerpt from the beginning of "Maybelle's Revenge":

At South Lake Living all the patients were sedated and in bed by eight-thirty, seven days a week. Except for the night aide who sat at the front desk watching a tiny TV, no one stirred until six when the morning staff came on duty and got everyone up to pee.
But not tonight. Tonight Maybelle palmed her pills.

Got them goddam pills right here. I’ll stuff them down her throat, she comes after me.
She slipped out of bed, stepped into her walking shoes and pulled up her knee highs. In the half darkness, as she reached out to the vinyl armchair they had placed next to her bed and plucked her cotton housedress off the arm, old lady DeFino opened her eyes.

“May?” She squinted from the bed across the room. Old lady DeFino couldn’t see past her own hand without her glasses. “Where you going?”

“Shhh.” Maybelle pulled the dress down and snapped the front closed. The dress had two big pockets in front. They bulged a little. She shuffled over to the door. “I’m goin’ out.”
“Whaddya mean you’re goin’ out? If you gotta go you’re supposed to call the night girl.”
“Shut up DeFino. Go back to sleep.”

“Yeah. You’re right. I need my beauty rest.” She rolled over and started snoring almost immediately.

Yeah, you just sleep the rest of your life away, princess.

Maybelle’s plan was simple.

All I gotta do is sneak halfway down the hall, duck into the empty room by the fire stairs where that crazy Marinelli kid pulled the overhead light cord down and caved in the ceiling trying to hang herself last week. Nineteen years old and already nothing to live for. Not me.

She would make some racket by tossing a wastebasket against the steel fireproof door by the bathrooms at the end of the hall. Then out the front door while the night girl was investigating the noise. From there she could hitch a bus to town, get off at the stop two blocks from her house and walk the rest of the way. Simple. If she could just toss the wastebasket far enough.
She shuffled out the door and hugged the wall to keep steady.

Her plan went without a hitch. The night girl was slow witted. She even walked out the fireproof door to see if anyone was there. This gave Maybelle some extra time to lift a walker at the front door. She chose the new kind with wheels.

The night air was mild. That was the best part of living in Florida. The nights. Days were too hot for Maybelle. But Harold had insisted they sell everything and come down here. Whatever Harold wanted he always got. Forty-two years of Harold getting what he wanted. Now Lake Shore. He had put her there.

Maybelle reached into her pocket and pulled out bus fare. She sat on the bench and soon a bus pulled up.

“Need some help with your walker, Gramma?”

“Yes. That would be very nice of you, young man.” Maybelle smiled up at the bus driver.

I could club you with it you son of a snake.

Two blocks from her house she got off. The driver followed her down the steps holding the walker and set it up for her on the sidewalk.

“Thank you, young man.”

“You be good now, granny. Get yourself right home because these are mean streets after dark.”

“Yeah, you’re right. I lived here forty years and I seen plenty.” Maybelle took hold of the rubber coated walker handles and started rolling the two blocks toward her house. It was a lie. They had only come here five years ago.

Goddam lousy buses. Give me a pain up my butt.

It took a long time for her to push her way to the house. The lights were on in the living room. She could see the flicker of the TV against a wall in the den. There was a car in the driveway.
Is that my old Chevy? She rolled over closer to it. Yeah. He’s still driving my car. Used to take that car to the beach. Probably still has sand in the back seat. Took me to South Lake in that car. Wouldn’t let me drive.

Maybelle rubbed her arm remembering other hospital visits. The suspicious looks the doctors and nurses gave her. The questions, always the questions. And yet she never told. Not anyone. She still didn’t know why. Yes, sure, she was ashamed. But it was something else. She was waiting.
Now it was time.

She knew where he kept the gun.

LB Gschwandtner is a writer, magazine editor, artist, and co-owner, with her family, of an integrated media business. Her work has appeared in various journals including Del Sol Review. One of her prose poems has been included in an anthology called “Oil and Water and Other Things That Don't Mix,” a collection published to support victims of the BP oil spill in the Gulf. She has received awards for three different stories from the Writer's Digest Annual Competition in the mainstream literary category and the Lorian Hemingway short fiction competition, and was short listed for a Tom Howard Short Story Contest.

She also founded which offers free, themed, writing contests with prizes for emerging writers plus a blog where writers talk about their experiences in the publishing world. She has published three books, all available at & B& “The Naked Gardener,” “Page Truly and The Journey To Nearandfar,” and “Foxy's Tale.” And now the short story collection, “Maybelle’s Revenge.”

She’s an avid kayaker (touring) and grew up fishing in the Florida Keys. Here's a tidbit of interest. Her husband proposed on their first and only date and they were married five weeks later. They lived in Paris, France, for a time and now live on a tidal creek where they love watching Bald eagles soar past their windows. Email LB at She’d love to hear from you.

Other books by LB:


Laura B said...

Thank you Karen!

Sandy said...


Thank you for introducing this author to me. I've added this book to my wish list. It sounds wonderful.