“Jayne Martin’s gift for conjuring moments of emotional betrayal is fearless, as is her keen eye for the everyday surreal. Dark, unflinching studies of fragility, identity, and the spirit’s fight for survival, these masterful stories delight the reader with their generous, unconventional honesty.” Meg Pokrass, author of Alligators at the Gate, and founding editor of New Flash Fiction Review
“Looking at the wounds and small triumphs of her characters from an often oblique angle, Jayne Martin examines moments in the lives of weirdoes and misfits, mutts and beauty queens. This is a collection that explores everyday drama, laying bare the tensions between anguish and resolution.” Michelle Elvy, founding editor of the international literary journal Flash Frontier: An Adventure in Short Fiction
“Here are stories that crackle with tough truths and meaningful reveals. It is remarkable with what agility Jayne Martin traverses such multi-various and rugged terrains. These pieces, though short, are expansive beyond all borders: bold, impactful, and thoroughly captivating.” Robert Scotellaro, co-editor of New Micro: Exceptionally Short Fictions
“Read the first line of any Jayne Martin story and I dare you not to keep going. A masterful storyteller, Martin’s characters are funny, smart, wounded, and brave. These thirty-eight stories linger and satisfy. She does the work of a novel in a few pages with skill, grace, and power. A badass writer if ever there was one.” Kathy Fish, author of Wild Life: Collected Works from 2003-2018
“Tender Cuts is about seeing and not seeing, what we are blind to and what’s right in front of us. In this debut flash fiction collection Jayne Martin’s writing is compact, dense, often heartbreaking, always illuminating, and woven with a strange nostalgia; she has a way of reconciling the child with the adult, the pain with the beauty of tragedy, the tragedy still seeded with hope.” Nancy Stohlman, author of Madam Velvet’s Cabaret of Oddities, professor of creative writing University of Colorado
“Jayne Martin traces lives punctured with regret, lost love, and dashed hopes. Surreal and real at the same time. A reader will leave these stories with a sense of healing, though, for Martin’s storytelling knife is sharp with honesty and deft with insight into the vagaries of the human soul.” Grant Faulkner, Executive Director National Novel Writing Month; Co-founder of the literary journal 100-Word Stories
In these 38 tiny tales, everyday people do their best to manage the wounds life inflicts on all of us: A six-year-old beauty pageant contestant strives to please her demanding mother; a woman marries a 1985 Buick LeSabre; in a laundromat bored wives fall under the romantic spell of a lobster; a grown woman is still being fat-shamed by her deceased mother via a Ouija board; a widow carries her husband’s ashes around in Baggies.
With pathos and humor, these and all of the characters in this collection will speak to the reader’s own wounded heart.