Category Archives: Stories

Making a List. . .

. . . of Susan J. Kroupa’s acclaimed Christmas stories,  available at all the major ebook outlets. First up is Gabriel & Mr. Death, a haunting,  lyrical story about life, love, and miracles, narrated in the Appalachian voice of Gabriel, a black and tan coonhound. Here are what some readers have written about Gabriel:

GAMD 800“I sighed. I smiled. I wanted Gabriel the Hound to come live with me. A wonderful story at any time of year, but so perfect for Christmas time.”—Falcon Ridge Publishing

“It gave me goosebumps and a lump in the throat all at the same time.” –Mary Ann Whitley

“It made me laugh, cry, and once again realize what a great gift a pet can be.”–Elaine Farley

“Grab a tissue before the last few pages, because Susan Kroupa is skilled at touching emotions with her words.”—Virginia Smith

Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, itunes, & Smashwords.

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The Hopi Stories

LFP is proud to announce the publication of Scapegoat, the first of several award-winning stories by Susan J. Kroupa set in Hopi Indian culture.

Kroupa lived and taught on the Hopi and Navajo reservations and studied Hopi language and history. During that time, she wrote freelance features for the Arizona Republic, High Country News, and American Forests on Hopi and environmental issues. In addition, she taped interviews with Hopi elders recounting some of the history and traditions of the people. Praised for their lyrical description of Hopi culture, compelling characters, and poignant storylines,  these works offer a moving tribute to the enduring power of the human spirit.

Scapegoat. FINAL1600A boy. A quest. A terrible sacrifice

Nine-year old Tiyo, the last member of the rainmaker clan in his village, has no memory of the great war, but he sees the aftermath in thirsty, drought-stricken land. Just as he used to see it etched on the face of his mother, before her strength slipped away like water soaking into sand. Devastated by her death, Tiyo now tends his uncle’s goat herd. When a doe gives birth to pure white kid, Tiyo cares for her and names her Nuva—Snow. Soon, Tiyo and Nuva are inseparable. But the drought worsens and the village chief tells Tiyo only one hope remains. A member of the rainmaker clan must fill a gourd from the sipapuni, the sacred pool where the world began, and beg Paloloqang, the water serpent to send rain. A dangerous quest in the best of times, but Tiyo can’t refuse to go when his people face starvation. And so, Tiyo and Nuva cross the great desert to the sacred pool, only to find it leads them into greater danger, to a valley of death, where Renegades, who prey on human flesh, guard the water. With the burden of his villagers’ fate resting upon him, Tiyo must find a way to fill the gourd. But will the cost be more than he can bear?

Originally published  in Realms of Fantasy, Scapegoat tells a powerful coming of age story in a post-apocalyptic setting rich with insight into Hopi Indian culture and mythology.

Available on Kindle, Nook, and in all formats on Smashwords.

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Hands of the Master

Just in time for National Piano Month, our newest publication features a dark story about obsession.

When Celia first hears a recording of pianist Jiri Mrazek, a world-renown pianist who died the year she was born, his powerful, passionate playing changes her life. Drawn to his music, she soon discovers parallels between his life and hers. And when she makes the final round of the prestigious Horowitz competition at age twenty-one, the exact age that Mrazek won the same competition, she realizes her destiny is to be Mrazek’s musical heir. But her endless practice injures her hands, her small, weak, useless woman’s hands. And so, against the advice of her mother and doctor, she undergoes a cutting-edge procedure, a duel hand transplant. With hands like Mrazek’s, nothing can stop her from following in his footsteps. But surgeries carry risks, and dreams nurture the seeds of obsession. Mrazek died at a tragically young age. Celia must discover just where the parallels between her life and Mrazek’s end.

Available on Kindle, Nook, and in a wide variety of formats on Smashwords.

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Harden Times

Read the “story behind the story” about our newest ebook , a reprint of Susan J. Kroupa’s award-winning story, “Harden Times.”

One horse. Two strangers who each desperately need it.

Rachel sits alone in her house and watches the city around her slowly disintegrates, depopulated from a deadly plague. Like most good Mormons, she has a year’s supply of food and clothing in her basement, saved for “hard times.” She had prepared to survive a disaster, never imaging the worst disaster of all might be to survive—alone. And then a horse, a bay mare, trots into her yard and into her heart.

But someone else needs the horse as well, a ten-year old Navajo boy. Johnny Calico, his adopted family now all dead, lives by his wits, eating the food left in empty houses, and hiding from the Church officials who want to consolidate the population into a smaller area. He sees the horse as a lifeline, a means to return to his relatives on the reservation in Northern Arizona. Even as Rachel feeds and brushes the horse, finding purpose in her life for the first time since the Death, Johnny plots to steal it.

First published in Realms of Fantasy (2001), “Harden Times” was later reprinted in Irreantum. It also won an award in the 1999 Utah Arts Council Contest, where the judge, author Ron Carlson, praised the story for its “clear and forceful” writing, and for the characters, “both close to the end of their ropes, tentative, fearful, yet both refusing to let go of hope.”

Now available on Kindle, Nook, and in a wide variety of formats on Smashwords.

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Tricky Coyote

Changing Shapes Changes Nothing

Nobody wants a coyote for an animal guide, least of all Jimmy Shupla. Coyotes are the trickiest of the animals, always getting themselves in trouble. But at every turn in his life—most of them bad—Jimmy sees a coyote lurking nearby. Then his mother makes him move from his grandparents’ home on the Hopi reservation to go live in Apache Junction. Lonely, sweltering in the desert heat, and bullied at school, Jimmy discovers he has more in common with coyotes than he could ever imagine. But will the discovery save or destroy him?

Written by award-winning author Susan J. Kroupa, who has lived and worked on both the Navajo and Hopi reservations, this poignant story of a boy caught in the crossfire of change reverberates with choices we all must make as to what forces will guide our lives.

Available on Kindle, Nook, and in all formats on Smashwords.

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Counting Calories

Can a weight loss program be too effective?

Some hungers can never be filled. Now that Jenny knows this—knows it in the worst possible way—she worries about getting enough of a settlement out of Robert to survive. And then he chooses to meet at Mike’s restaurant, El Hombre Gordo. Does he even remember that’s where Jenny spent so much time with Mike, before Robert’s charm and good looks stole her away? Before hungers for love and beauty convinced her to make the two biggest mistakes of her life? She harbors no illusions about starting over again, not with food prices skyrocketing, not with her looking the way she does now, but sometimes, just when you think you know the menu, life serves up surprises.

Susan J. Kroupa offers a provocative look at our national obsession with weight loss and body image. Available now on Kindle, Nook, and in all formats on Smashwords.

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Stories, Stories, Stories!

Laurel Fork Press is proud to announce the publication of two new stories by Susan J. Kroupa

Kem Song

Running a kemfarm is hard work especially during shearing and lambing seasons, but Ana has never yearned for anything more. Until some off-planet developers start buying up all the land in the area. When they visit Ana dressed in their elegant clothes, talking about all the cultural opportunities that life in a richer place can offer, they make Ana feel very small-planet indeed. And there’s nothing small about the money they offer her for the farm. But what about the kem? Her good fortune will lead to their misery. When the answer comes from a surprising source, Ana realizes that some questions stretch across millennia and inspire astonishing works.

First published in Beyond the Last Star: Stories from the Next Beginning,  Susan J. Kroupa’s lyric story engages the reader in a far-future story that resonates soundly with the world we now live in. Now available on Kindle, Nook, and in any format on Smashwords.

The Niman Project

 

 Honani only wants a fresh start. One free from the evil that has plagued both his people and destroyed his personal life. With the help of an Intergalactic Ethnic Recovery organization, he brings a colony of people to a backwater planet, where he and his people plan to live the traditional Hopi Way. But Honani has forgotten that in the ancient myths, every time the people try to leave evil behind, a witch, carrying evil, steals into the new world.  Soon Honani discovers that his new world also has a witch, a teenage girl, who forces Honani into hard choices and devastating insights.

Award-winning writer Susan J. Kroupa spins a tale steeped in Hopi culture that gives a chill warning to those who, in embracing the past in order to save the future, ignore the dark visions in favor of the light.

The Niman Project

 …”Kroupa present Hopi lore so gracefully, with such simplicity, that the reader is drawn into the story and the lives of her characters without effort.”From a review of Susan J. Kroupa’s “Scapegoat.” by Nancy Varian Berberick, Tangent, Winter 1996.

Now available on Kindle, Nook, and in any format on Smashwords.

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News and Reviews!

The Marriage Game

LFP is happy to annouce that “The Marriage Game,” originally published in Realms of Fantasy, is now available in ebook format on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

The Marriage Game by Susan J. Kroupa," ,"

Sex and chocolate. That’s what Eva and her friend miss most since “passing to the other side,” a phrase that makes them feel more like gas than ghosts. They amuse themselves by playing The Game, competing to influence the behavior of the Flesh and Bloods. But when the game takes an unexpected turn, even they wonder if winning will be worth the price.

“Warm and charming” –Lois Tilton, Internet Review of Science Fiction

 Good Reviews for Bed-Bugged

Mystery writer Sara Hoskinson Frommer recently wrote this blurb for Bed-Bugged:

Bed-Bugged is a romp of a mystery and Doodle the kind of dog any kid would want to romp with. Smart, with a mind of his own but on your side, for sure. Even as an old woman, I loved this story and hope to find Doodle sniffing out more than bed bugs soon.

“A thoroughly entertaining read“–AuntB “B”

“A a great book for anyone who loves dogs” —TheHann

“I couldn’t help falling in love with Doodle and his owner’s daughter, Molly.
But in a way, I most loved watching a story from the low-down, smell-based point of view of a working dog. For me, a mystery reader and writer, it opened my mind to many new ways of observing a crime and its solution. ” —Gerald Weinberg

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The Reviews Are In!

Somehow she knows the secret of fabricating tears from mere words”– Gerald Weinberg
 
The reviews of the three Christmas stories offered by Susan J. Kroupa have been overwhelmingly positive. Here are a few samples:

 

Walter’s Christmas-Night Musik

was chosen by Kristine Kathryn Rusch for her December 2010 Recommended Reading List, calling it “A wonderful story about Christmas Night Visitors. Unlike the previous Christmas night visitor stories you’ve read, these visitors are a surprise.  I’d like to be visited by these folks. I found myself thinking about this story long after I finished reading it.”

Another reader wrote, “This story is full of Christmas wonder and leaves you with a warm holiday feeling.”

 Gabriel & Mr. Death

has struck a chord with dog lovers. One reviewer wrote “Ever wonder what your dog is thinking? In “Gabriel & Mr. Death,” author Susan Kroupa tells a sweet story from the point of view of Gabriel, a black-and-tan hound dog. Gabriel’s voice is clear, his understanding (and lack thereof) of his human family’s situation charming. And when Gabriel finds himself trying to protect his owner from a threat she doesn’t see — Mr. Death — you’d better have the tissues handy, or you won’t be able to read through your tears to find out what happens!
A wonderful story for any season. “

Courtesy Call

And about this story of whimsy and romance on Christmas Eve, one reviewer said,  “It was the perfect story for me, and would have been even in mid-summer. Ms. Kroupa is just the kind of magical storyteller who can thaw the coldest hearts without a heater or fan.”

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Stories for the Season

Laurel Fork Press launches its new line with three Christmas stories by award-winning author Susan J. Kroupa.

A hound with an unusual gift, an over-burdened widower with a passion for classical music, and a lonely telemarketer each find a bit of magic on Christmas Eve. 

Don’t have an ebook reader?  No problem! You can read all of these books online at Smashwords (choose the HTML view), download the free Kindle for PC, or the free Nook for PC.

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Gabriel & Mr. Death

She saved Gabriel’s life. Now he must take on Mr. Death to save hers.

Gabriel is a coon hound with an unusual gift: he can see Mr. Death. He doesn’t think too hard on it until one Christmas Eve when Mr. Death comes for the person Gabriel loves most. He can’t let that happen. No sir. No way. No matter what a poor hound has to do.

A touching story about a dog’s love and loyalty and the healing power of family.

 Available on Kindle, Nook, and in a wide variety of formats on Smashwords. 

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Walter’s Christmas-Night Musik

A little magic, a little Mozart, a big miracle on Christmas Eve. . .

 Nothing has gone right for Walter Gunther since his wife died. He had to sell his music store to pay her medical bills and take a job at Disks Galore, a big box music store. His manager bullies him and knows nothing about classical music, Walter’s lifelong passion. But when Walter is forced to work late on Christmas Eve, he receives a musical gift beyond his wildest imaginings. 

Originally published in the December 1997 issue of Realms of Fantasy, “Walter’s Christmas-Night Musik” was hailed for its “affectionate music expertise and good-natured charm” by Locus reviewer Mark Kelly, who also called it the best story of that issue.

Available on Kindle, Nook, and in a wide variety of formats on Smashwords.

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Courtesy Call

 A once in a lifetime offer. . .

Peter doesn’t mind his job as a telemarketer for LockTite Security Systems. Not since Ann left, anyway. At least it fills his days. And he’s good at it. Find the need and fill it–that’s his secret to success. He works hard to keep his world and his heart as safe as a LockTite system. But when he starts getting sales calls from a mysterious woman offering him a “one-time gift of the Christmas spirit,” nothing is safe anymore, especially his heart.

Available on KindleNook, and in a wide variety of formats on Smashwords.

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