American Horror Stories
"The Lady in Lavender"
Callie was horrifically abused by her husband in the late 1800’s. She was helpless in how to protect her children or herself and poisoned him. Because of her guilt she came back to haunt the area where she lived.
“A Scarecrow for Maggie”
Maggie, an artist at heart makes scarecrows for the locals where she lives in Kentucky to make extra money. When she starts making money from her scarecrows, things start getting nasty.
"A Little Trick or Treat Surprise"
When Maddie takes her children trick or treating for Halloween she finds that not everyone is like the loving people in her family.
"Be Careful about the Promises You Make"
Have you ever wondered what happens if someone who promises to come back from the dead really does?
American Horror Stories by Shana Dines is a collection of attempted short stories featuring female characters suffering various types of abuse. I say "attempted" because the lack of professional editing is painfully obvious, and, no, I am not referring to mere typos.
The first story glossed over the abuse, the self-defense, the main character herself, and even the ending with little Sara, which I expected to be the crucial point...instead, the lack of both details and suspense leaves readers with a severely underdeveloped plot.
The second story went downhill fast when it is revealed the main character married her cousin because "she really didn't know she had a choice." More time is spent listing the incest-rape encounters with her dad and brothers. I expected something paranormal, only to discover an alternate ending, which the author should have used in the first place. (If you want your characters to have a happy ending, maybe choose another genre to write.)
The third story stood out from the rest. It's more of a novelette than a short story, with a romantic theme, rather than horror, not unlike a condensed coming of age story. Unfortunately, there are a lot of unnecessary details. I don't think the entire relationship history is necessary at all. A few flashbacks might have been a better way of helping readers understand the mindset of Maddie, before her encounter with the neighborhood sicko.
The last story had me convinced the author has a fixation with sexual deviancy. Rather than invest in an editor and submit these stories in the erotica genre, Dines labeled her work "horror," even though there is little to no suspense, minimal action and a pitiful cast of characters.
If the author is serious about writing, I strongly suggest getting an editor for future projects.