Four Letter Words (2016)

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SHORTLISTED for the Alistair MacLeod Short Fiction Award

A Foreword Reviews ForewordINDIES Book of the Year Awards finalist 

The award-winning stories in Four-letter Words feature people longing for something they’ve lost and can’t quite find. Funny, sad, or funny-sad, the men and women in this collection are all haunted by the four-letter words – love, hate, lust, or loss – that unite and divide us all.

Its characters include a kid digging to China to escape his mother’s sorrow, a sensitive male sniper who chooses to save some of his hits, a teen girl who spends her days collecting people’s stories in an ER waiting room to compare their wounds her own, two drop-out con artists whose last scam cost Tara her life and left Jenny fleeing town in a stolen Buick, and a father looking for his missing son, leaving the reader to wonder if the father is to blame for the disappearance.

These stories explore the panic of feeling locked into one life, when we could have led so many others.

Check out this chat with Open Book Toronto.

Accolades Include:

“A Second Look at Nothing”
Winner of the Telegraph-Journal‘s Salon Fiction Prize
Winner of The Newfoundland & Labrador Arts & Letters Award for Short Fiction.

“Burning the Night Black”
Published in The New Quarterly

“Before  I Was Me”
Commissioned by and published by Fierce Ink Press for their Fierce Shorts series.

“Red”
Published in The Antigonish Review
Winner of The Newfoundland & Labrador Arts & Letters Award for Short Fiction.

“Holes to China”
Winner of the 2009 Cuffer Prize for Short Fiction
Published in Prairie Fire
English Language finalist for LTAC’s Words on the Move  Competition

“Jenny on the Run”
Longlisted for Anansi’s Broken Social Scene Competition

“What the Difference Is”
shortlisted for Matrix Magazine’s LitPop Contest.
Original draft was a second place winner of the 2011 Cuffer Prize

“Soak”
Published in The Danforth Review

“Trigger Finger Blues”
Published in Found Press

“Where to Look”
Published in The Telegraph-Journal‘s Salon Summer Fiction Series
Published in The Rusty Toque

“Subtle Differences”
Third place winner in the 2008 Cuffer Prize for Short Fiction.

Early Reviews …

“Pelley writes Gem Dandy Short Stories” – The Compass

“One of the best realized stories is “Meaning Well,” about Dean Markus, a reclusive lighthouse keeper, and an intense young Iranian man named Ishmael who has ambitious plans for turning Dean’s lighthouse into a money spinner.” – The Toronto Star

“He has an amazing ability to use words to evoke emotions and make the scenes of his stories super-descriptive. I really enjoy how he handles the short story form …  I thoroughly enjoyed this small volume of interesting and unique short stories.” – Library Thing

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