09 July, 2020

Read an #Excerpt from The Contest and Other Stories by Kate Robinson & Joe DiBuduo - @katerwriter

About the Book:
Check out the Book on Amazon
Inspired by the works of international artists, this Young Adult - New Adult collection of nineteen spellbinding magical realist, paranormal, slipstream, alternate history, and fabulist tales is connected by a novella:

Peter John Rizzo, a 1960 graduate of Yale University’s journalism program, inherits a floundering art magazine from his uncle, John Rizzo, with the provision that he must increase the circulation or forfeit all assets to creditors.

Peter Rizzo, Pete’s father, is a banker who scorns careers in the Arts and Humanities, and is jealous of his late brother’s influence upon his wife and son.

Classic Art Expose’s devoted but unorthodox editorial assistant, Jason, and two university interns, sisters Shirley and Evie, help Pete start a monthly short story contest with artwork prompts, hoping to expand and save the business.

As the four friends publish the winning (and sometimes disturbing) stories over the following eighteen months, Pete battles his father’s attempts to ruin his business and his reputation, and in the process, discovers a sordid family secret. What else could possibly go astray?

Read an Excerpt from The Contest and Other Stories

A Lonely Death

As my cab arrived at Fairhaven Cemetery, I spied a lone Catholic priest standing by my Uncle John’s coffin, a study in black and white. Heavy snowflakes fell in swirling eddies like confetti from heaven over the monuments scored with epitaphs for mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, husbands and wives, all long dead and in some cases, long forgotten. Soon the snow would blanket one and all for the long winter’s slumber.

I exited the cab reluctantly and pulled my collar up to stop the snow determined to swirl down my neck. As surprised by my presence as I was by his, the priest locked eyes with me for nearly a minute as though fishing for my soul, then bowed his head to read a blessing for my recently departed uncle from a battered prayer book. When he finished praying, he nodded at me and turned to walk toward the street into the blowing snow, a raven-like figure bobbing through the storm. Two workmen, gravediggers, emerged from the flurries on a pathway beyond the open grave and when they arrived, they lowered the casket into the ground. I threw a clod of dirt onto Uncle’s coffin, startled by the finality of the hollow thump as it met the polished wood. But the clod soon whitened and disappeared under the falling snow as the workmen began to shovel in syncopated rhythms from a low pile of icy, moist earth beside the grave.

I walked away and waved the cab on so I could stroll alone through the storm toward my office at First Fiduciary Savings. When I arrived, I lay my damp overcoat across a meeting table near my desk and grabbed a cup of steaming coffee from the employee’s lounge. I tried to concentrate on the never-ending stack of paperwork filling my inbox, still shivering twenty minutes later. The phone jangled suddenly, startling me even though my secretary picked it up at her desk outside my door. “Line two, Mr. Rizzo,” Ruth said over the intercom.

“Peter John Rizzo,” a clipped voice demanded when I answered.


“Are you nephew to John Rizzo of Brooklyn, New York?”

“Who wants to know?”

“Harold O’Neill, attorney at law, calling the nephew of John Rizzo, called Peter John Rizzo. Am I speaking to the aforementioned nephew or not?”

What kind of person would actually talk like this? “Yes, John Rizzo is my uncle, and my name is Peter John Rizzo.”

“I’m very sorry for your loss,” O’Neill said tersely. “The reading of John Rizzo’s last will and testament is at half-past three at my office tomorrow. 211 Broad St.”

Without warning, Mr. O’Neill hung up and left me to sift through my thoughts.

I had trouble attending to my work because I still couldn’t believe Uncle John was gone. Granted, I’d not seen him for years, but I never thought about losing him permanently. My eyes brimmed with tears, but I held back the storm by taking deep breaths. Shuffling blindly through the papers on my desk, I could only think about him. Because he and Aunt Millie had no children of their own to grieve for them, I’d made the trip to the cemetery. I had little knowledge of Uncle’s social life and concluded he must have been a loner after Aunt Millie’s death. I’d expected to see my father present, supposing that in the face of death he would drop his bitterness about his only brother. That I carried his brother’s middle name probably didn’t help the situation any—I had no clue why Mother insisted upon naming me after both Father and Uncle John. I remember well how he snorted every time he heard my middle name when I was a kid. Father hadn’t cared to remember his estranged brother at all.

About the Authors:

Kate Robinson loves the appearance of the extraordinary in ordinary daily life and promises always to dance with paradox and absurdity. She began her lit career writing bad poetry in Des Moines, Iowa, and continued to hone her writing chops in Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, New Mexico, Wales, Kenya, and Finland, which serves her well as chief wordwhacker at Starstone Lit Services. She holds a BA in Anthropology with a concentration in Museum Studies from Prescott College (Arizona) and a MA in Creative Writing from Aberystwyth University (Wales). Her stories, essays, and poetry appear in international anthologies and journals, and she also expounds upon jellyfish, sundogs, and sundry digressions on the writing life at www.jellyfishday.blogspot.com

Kate Robinson's Website

Joe DiBuduo grew up poor in Boston. He had a troubled childhood and spent time in reform and training schools. As an adult, the house of corrections beckoned him and he spent time there too. A quick turn of fate led him to California and then Chicago, where he married and had children. He spent the next thirty years working as a construction painter, heading wherever the jobs were and working in many states.

DiBuduo is now retired and lives in Prescott, Arizona, where he studied creative writing at Yavapai College. Anger used to be a daily part of his life until he began to write. Now if something upsets him, he writes about it.

DiBuduo is the author of "A Penis Manologue: One Man's Response to The Vagina Monologues" and several collections of flash fiction and "poetic flash fiction." He also has poetry, short fiction, and children's published in journals and anthologies.

Joe DiBuduo's Goodreads 


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