Short Stories

Photo of Debbie Young reading from Quick Change
Sharing one of my stories at Stroud Short Stories night, April 2015

I enjoy the challenge of crafting tiny pieces of fiction that tell a fulfilling story despite their brevity. I publish my short stories (1,000-4,000 words) either as themed collections, with a common strand binding them together to make them greater than the sum of the parts, or as stand-alone singles. I’ve also published a collection of flash fiction (very short stories under 1,000 words). Some of my flash stories have been included in anthologies (see Flash Fiction page for more details).

My Current Catalogue of Short Stories

QUICK CHANGE
(flash fiction collection – published June 2014 in digital format, February 2015 in paperback)

New cover for Quick Change
Now available in paperback – my collection of very short stories (aka flash fiction)

Quick Change comprises 20 very short stories ranging from 100 to 1000 words in length. As its title suggests, it turns the spotlight on moments of change, whether physical, emotional, or psychological. To add shape and order to the collection, the stories are arranged in chronological order by age of a key character in each story, from new-born baby to the newly deceased. Originally issued as an ebook only, I published a paperback in the spring of 2015, which includes two bonus stories, which had in the meantime been written for two anthologies, Change the Ending and Eating Your Words. You can order Quick Change from all good bookshops, on the high street and online. It featured in The Bookseller magazine’s prestigious Indie Picks section in May 2015, and other reviewers have been equally kind:

“A book of tiny gems. Debbie Young’s attention to detail brings the extraordinary out of the everyday.” – Calum Kerr, Founder of National Flash Fiction Day

“Sly, witty, surprising, and the twists are genuine twists. The characterisation is lovely, very deft and economical. They make domesticity look edgy, sometimes dangerous, but they are also life-affirming.” – Lucienne Boyce, novelist

“Very subtle, very English, very clever. I also loved the overall idea, the way the stories went from infancy to old age, shedding a revealing light on each stage.” – Marius Gabriel, novelist

“A joy to read, absolutely delightful!” – Georgia Rose, contemporary novelist 

“The language reveals a sharp intellect and a broad knowledge.” – Mari Howard, contemporary novelist 

LIGHTING UP TIME
(single story – published 1 December 2014)

Lighting Up Time is a single short story about the winter solstice (21st December in the northern hemisphere). It’s about fear of the dark, death and bereavement and about finding light and hope in the midst of darkness.

“Lovely story and a great, feel-good ending .” – Christina Courtenay

“Debbie Young packs so much into her short and poignant stories. I cannot give anything away as that will spoil your enjoyment. Be prepared though to get on the edge of your seat whilst also having your mind slightly expanded. ” – Tom Evans

“Lovely story that perfectly captures that big sister/little sister thing, and Aunt Sophie is a lovely gentle presence throughout – I especially like the way you use scent (perfume, flowers) to evoke her.” – Lucienne Boyce

New cover of Stocking Fillers

STOCKING FILLERS
(collection – published 8 November 2014)

Stocking Fillers contains twelve humorous short Christmas stories follow a cast of entertaining characters as they prepare for the festive season, from a small boy trying to teach Santa time management to the elderly lady celebrating what’s likely to be her last Christmas Day.

Unlike many Christmas-themed books, Stocking Fillers does not sugar-coat the festive experience, and not all of the characters are lovable. But ultimately it’s a heartwarming celebration of all things festive.

Whether you choose to spread out the stories across the traditional 12 Days of Christmas, or to consume them all in one sitting, once you’ve read Stocking Fillers, you’ll never view Christmas in quite the same way again!

*As featured on BBC Radio Gloucestershire, on which you may have heard me reading extracts.*

“This delightful tray of wrapped Christmas bon-bons will round off the excesses most appropriately. You may bite into each and any and be slightly surprised at their flavours, sardonic, satirical, compassionate, humourous, and in the collection there lies an almost a Victorian antiquity, the moral admonition that too much of anything is unwise, indeed a little reprehensible.

“Yet it is laughingly said, no sweetness is sacrificed; it is Christmas and that, as we know, demands restraint, tolerance and goodwill. They are all fun to share and pass around. But like the wrappings in the bin they paint a subtle message that spoilt indulged children, lonely widows, competitive exhibitionism, and dreary duty is also part of the season of goodwill. Debbie knows just how to juggle the flavours.

“If you can face the complaints turn off the television, build up the fire and read them aloud. A new kind of ‘Christmas Carol’ for this era of equal inequality, but it caries its morality very lightly and nobody will notice.”
Philippa Rees, novelist and poet

THE OWL AND THE TURKEY
(single story – published 13 December 2013)

Cover of The Owl and the TurkeyThe Owl and the Turkey is a light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek short story that purports to provide the real reason that we eat turkey for Christmas. Actually I made it all up, but it’s a bit of fun to make you smile at Christmas. I was delighted when it was chosen to feature behind a door of the Mumsnet Advent Calendar online.

“Crisp, clever and fast-paced, this short story received my highest recommendation.”
Ginger Dawn Harman
“If you’re looking for a fun new holiday story, it’s well worth the 99c to check this one out.”
Shay Tressa De Simone
“I really enjoyed it… It had all the elements; first, a question; second, a quest; third conflict; fourth characterisation and finally the answer – well, an answer! A real hoot!”
Shaun Ivory, novelist
“Cute, deliciously random, funny to boot. Made me come away smiling.” David Ellis, blogger
 “Definitely my favourite of your stories so far!” Helena Mallett, author of “Flash Fraction: 75 x 75”

THE WAR OF THE PEEK FREANS LIGHT WOUNDED (August 2015)

cover of The War of the Peek Freans Light WoundedA stand-alone single  – a revival of the first short story of mine ever published, over 30 years ago!

In 1939, when her deaf father loses his job in an English toy soldier factory, young Violet Palmer fears the outcome for the rest of her family – her socially ambitious mother Irene and her flirtatious elder sister Doreen.Violet consoles herself playing with misshapen toy soldiers rejected by the factory and stored in an old Peek Freans biscuit tin, until war is declared and she begins to fear the worst. A heartwarming story of family values and relationships shining through in adversity, particularly celebrating the special bond between fathers and daughters. First featured in Annabel magazine.

MARRY IN HASTE (to be launched January 2016)

New cover of Marry in Haste

This collection of engaging and humorous short stories addresses dating, love and marriage, following various couples from tentative overtures to special anniversaries. It’s a gentle romp that will strike  a chord with anyone at any stage of the process, including both cautionary tales and celebrations of successful long-term relationships. A mischievous gift for any engagement, wedding or anniversary, or to issue as a warning to any friends or relations teetering on making a bad match!

How to Order

  • The collections are available in paperback and ebook form. The singles are ebook only.
  • All the ebooks are available through all digital platforms.
  • The paperbacks may be ordered from all good bookshops, both online and on the high street – please support your local independent bookshop if you have one.
  • If you’re a library user, ask your local library to order a copy for you.

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