A Quiet Blue Wheel
Support this small-press venture... but what does that mean?
Read this for more
does the title A Quiet Blue Wheel mean? To each writer in this
anthology of Bangor, Maine-area writers, it means something
different, so come and explore their quiet blue wheels.
- It’s a blue ship’s
wheel in a painting that might exist.
- It’s a beloved
blue spinning wheel of a New World immigrant.
- It’s a street
called Blue Wheel Drive, where two unlikely
- It’s a wheel of
blue cheese at the site of a sudden death—or
- It’s a blue wheel
in a hay baler that took a man’s life in rural
- It’s a pair of
blue wheels in two intertwined realities.
- It’s a blue wheel
on an old safe, at the center of an old mystery.
- It’s a wheel of
blue granite surrounding a grave in an old
- It’s a big blue
pillow a tiny elephant uses as his security
- It’s a
metaphorical blue wheel in the life of a
Through ten very different interpretations,
there’s a story for everyone in A Quiet Blue Wheel.
Read Excerpts from the Stories
(PDF, 494 KB)
Including the introduction, dedication, and the opening
pages of each story. Bear in mind that, usually, the story hasn't gotten
rolling in just those couple of pages; there's a lot of storytelling
packed into each of these!
Buy Now on:
A Quiet Blue Wheel features 10 stories
by 10 authors, all of them echoing the anthology's title in some way. And each
author has a very different quiet blue wheel.
This is the first in a series of anthologies
by Bangor, Maine-area writers who attended the class "Creative Writing: The
Short Story" through Bangor Adult Education. The class instructor is this
by Amanda M. Updegraff
Amanda Updegraff doesn’t waste any time
letting us know what her quiet blue wheel is, but this metaphorical wheel
permeates the life of the protagonist throughout. Most of us have those
moments of desperation and futility in our lives, and we each deal with them
in our own ways. Some of us run away from our problems; others of us face
them. Perhaps the protagonist in this story does a little bit of both.
by Charles J. O'Leary
If Philip Marlowe were an Irish cop in
Boston, the character you’re about to meet might well be him. But unlike
Chandler’s larger-than-life detective, this hard-boiled cop isn’t quite as
invincible, as he’s been hit with a pair of traumas that forever changed his
life. Charles O’Leary lets us ride along for the journey his damaged hero
takes, which quickly moves from its opening detective-noir feel to a more
relaxed mystery in Maine, where a work of art might feature a blue wheel...
and it isn’t talking.
"The Elephant in the
by J.D. Updegraff
Josh Updegraff knew from the beginning
his story would involve a miniature elephant, and having a miniature
elephant for a protagonist isn’t like having just about any other character
as a protagonist. Raja’s quiet blue wheel is a security blanket of sorts,
giving him a place of rest during the good times and a place of comfort
during the bad. And as this little pachyderm embarks on his adventures in a
human world, he’ll find plenty of both.
by Christopher Olsen
Christopher Olsen’s blue wheel seems
very not-quiet at first. It’s set on a backdrop of local Bangor history,
thanks to Olsen’s first-person familiarity with local history and the Bangor
Historical Society. But he’s changed names and situations to protect the
innocent, and perhaps the guilty, while working up a good, old-fashioned
ghost story. It’s worth noting here that Chris wins the awards for
“Hardest-Working Student” and “Most-Improved Student,” having diligently
worked through seven drafts in a die-hard bid to produce his first story so
that it would be publishable and engaging. He’s done an exemplary job, and
has never known the meaning of the word “quit.”
by Anette Ruppel Rodrigues
Anette Ruppel Rodrigues is German by
birth, a German instructor by vocation, and a historian by avocation—or
perhaps by fate, given her devout commitment to the history she pursues. For
her inaugural fiction story, she has drawn on her extensive knowledge of the
history of German participation in the early days of the United States,
particularly in Maine and the Maritimes, to craft a tale based on fact, with
richly drawn characters who were actually real people. But the particulars
of the story are from her imagination, including one important object in the
title character’s life, which serves as her quiet blue wheel.
"The Curse of John
by David M. Fitzpatrick
A high-school prank set in a Maine
cemetery can’t end well. In David M. Fitzpatrick’s telling, the young
characters’ lives, filled with hopes and desires, go skidding off the rails.
The quiet blue wheel is unmoved, unchanged as it observes the events unfold.
But don’t think you’ve got it all figured out; the story’s narrator holds
his pain close and reveals it slowly.
"Until We Meet Again"
by Paula Burnett
If you’re looking for a literal quiet
blue wheel here, you won’t find it, but Paula Burnett’s story does center on
a blue wheel of sorts. And what’s quiet about it? It might seem like very
little, but with the bottled-up emotions and festering pain both Megan and
her new-found friend are trying fiercely to handle, you’ll soon see that
what’s truly important on Blue Wheel Drive is sadly quiet, and desperately
in need of being voiced. This is a story of loss and redemption for two
unlikely friends who, when they most need it, find each other.
by Kelly Jean Richardson
There’s nothing like a murder mystery,
but they’re usually told from the point of view of the investigator trying
to solve the case. This one sort of is, but Nora isn’t a typical detective.
Rather, she’s a woman caught up in the midst of circumstances, with
connections to the suspects, a blooming romance with the police detective,
and a big wheel of blue cheese that isn’t talking… because nobody knows
where it went. Kelly Jean Richardson’s first published story takes her love
of a good mystery and puts it to good use.
by Greg Westrich
Tourists think that Maine is all about
lobsters and Bar Harbor, but there’s something about rural Maine that goes
far beyond those things. There’s the tenacity and perseverance of Mainers,
and the strong work ethic you’ll find in them. There’s the deep sense of
pride those folks have. And there’s the time-hardened Maine concept of what
it means to be “from away”—a concept often adhered to with the fiercest
resolution. In his story, Greg Westrich—who is, in fact, “from away”—shows
us how keenly he understands those things, and he weaves them together into
a tragic mystery where one quiet blue wheel tells a terrible story. What
happens in the lonely woods of this fictional Maine community could happen
in any of the real towns you’ll find once you venture even a short way off
by Marsha Libby
Marsha Libby had two distinct story
ideas for her contribution to this anthology. Unable to decide which she
most wanted to write, she decided to do them both. The result is an
intertwined pair of tales about coming to terms with difficult circumstances
and finding the power to go forward. One story happens in our world, in the
here and now; the other takes place in a world of fantasy, where magic
prevails, but where the challenges of the human condition are just as
prevalent as they are in ours. Libby gives us two subtle quiet blue wheels,
both wrought with power—one literally, the other metaphorically. What
follows is an expert blending of two stories, two protagonists, and two
quiet blue wheels into a tale you won’t soon forget.