Short stories are fun to write. And I've always loved reading them. But, speaking as a writer, until the internet and ebooks it was hard to find a publisher for short stories. I'm pleased to announce that I have four short stories/short novellas published by a new publisher in the book field: Untreed Reads. Below, you'll find excerpts from the first four (hopefully there will be more!) and a link to Untreed Reads website. Availability of Untreed Reads titles is growing like crazy, and is now international, including the Netherlands, Ireland, South Africa, and Australia. I didn't know there were so many kinds of ebook readers or so many places to buy e-books!

Untreed Reads Sale Page:
Buy the PDF or Epub here, or find links to other vendors worldwide.


Available from Untreed Reads

The rich man had to have Her at all costs. His daughters hated Her because he loved Her more. From the time they were children the Burma Girl came between them and their cruel father. Capable of creating hatred, jealousy and resentment there was only one question left to ask. Would the Burma Girl destroy them all in the end?


Sunlight struggled to get through the gray film that coated the small-paned bedroom windows of the run-down Victorian mansion in the Chicago suburb. The thick ivy that swarmed up the exterior of the house also partially obscured the light, giving the bedroom a twilight appearance even at noon.

Endurance Bowdoin carefully arranged the pillow behind her sister's head. Her heart ached to see Chastity, always so fair and plump, now as frail as a whisper, fading away like an old photograph. That's what we always were, Durie thought sadly. Photographs of living people. Never the real thing. Father never let us be real.

Chastity spoke without opening her eyes. "Durie?" Chastity's voice was as frail as her body.

"I'm here, Sister." Though they had been born eighteen months apart, they had always felt like twins. Durie wondered how she would live without this being who had been half of herself for almost seventy-five years. "Do you want something?"

"I'd like to dress for the Ball."

Durie stared. "The Ball? What Ball?"

"The Debutante Ball, silly." Chastity managed a weak, rasping laugh. "I'm not losing my mind, Durie. Truly. I'm not deluded. I know I'm old and dying." She stopped to get her breath. "But I want to put on my ball gown. Won't you help me? Won't you get it from the attic and help me?"

"Of course," Durie said. Chastity slid into a doze, as she often did these days. Durie waited a little while, thinking her sister would have forgotten about the strange request when she woke. "Of course," Durie said. Chastity slid into a doze, as she often did these days. Durie waited a little while, thinking her sister would have forgotten about the strange request when she woke. Durie was surprised when Chastity opened her eyes a few minutes later and said again, "I want my ball gown, Durie. Please?"

Durie patted her sister's hand and left the room, dreading the walk upstairs to the attic where dozens of beautiful matching dresses from more than a half century past, two of every color and every style, were kept in dusty linen bags. It had been Father's decision to dress them alike throughout their childhood and girlhood. If their purposeless mother objected the girls never heard of it. He had decreed that their hair style, jewelry, clothing, were all the same, disregarding the fact that Durie was tall, rawboned, plain of face, and disdained fancy clothes. Chastity was short and plump, pretty, and loved laces and ribbons and geegaws.

As she trudged up the stairs, wishing the lift still worked, and wishing for the long-departed staff of servants, she caught a glimpse of the one remaining portrait of her father. She had destroyed all the others the day of his funeral. The portrait still existed only because Chastity had begged her to leave it-not because she loved the old fool but because she feared retribution from the grave.

From his oval frame Commodore Bowdoin mocked Durie. Until the day he was buried, every room in the house bore a copy of this same photograph of their father, with his Teddy Roosevelt pince-nez, caterpillar eyebrows over narrow, close-set eyes. His thick, waxed mustache curled up on the ends and his hard mouth curled down at the corners. William Randolph Hearst had stuck the label "Commodore" on him in derision, but Bowdoin had adopted it and made it his own.

She paused and looked at him. "I'll get you too," she muttered. "When Chas is gone and won't know about it, I'll rip you to shreds like I did the others fifteen years ago."


5 Star Review, Southern Gothic by a Midwestern Author
"Burma Girl," is a Gothic tale of two elderly sisters who reside in a large Victorian house full of dust and decay. The dwelling sits in the midst of a neighborhood of single story houses as a result of their father cannibalizing the estate in order to keep the Burma girl. The sisters have lived with the ghosts of the past for many years." - author of the review is unknown,


Available from Untreed Reads

Available July 2010

Excerpt from "Song On the Sand
This story was inspired by my love for the wonderful musical play "La Cage aux Folles" by Jerry Herman/ Harvey Fierstein - R.S.


The old man didn't expect his vehement refusal to accomplish anything. He knew he would end up doing what they wanted; he always did, just like the rest of the fragile, sickly, old bags of bones who called Sunnyland Acres home. What choice did he have? Those in authority were young and strong; he was eighty-six and since his heart attack his legs no longer held him up. He had no authority or power at all. Verbally contesting their stupid rules and giving the staff derogatory nicknames behind their backs were all he had left. Even so, he looked forward to the daily confrontations; they made what was left of his adrenaline start racing.

He watched their faces, gauging their reaction to his fierce "No!" Which one would reach the gritted-teeth-grin stage first? Would it be Mean Aide? He knew perfectly well the woman's name was Melba; it said so on her name tag, but he refused to call her that. Or would the aide he nicknamed Big Butt (real name: Cora) beat her to it?

Mean Aide won. She bared her teeth in a death's-head grimace and said in a voice sweeter than pecan pie, "Now come on, "No. I don't want to. And don't call me sweetie. I am not your sweetie or anyone else's. I am Mister Dalby."

"Well, Mister Dalby, we got rules. You know we got rules. You got to live with them and so do we. And one rule is you get dressed every morning unless you're bedfast."

"Only if I get my shoes."

"Slippers. You know that."

"I hate those ugly old things. They're plaid, for Godsake!"

Standing beside Mean Aide, Big Butt didn't even pretend to smile. She snapped, "Honey, you're an ugly old thing yourself."

Tony Dalby stared at her with admiration. "You got balls, sister. Don't you know I could report you for elder abuse?"

Big Butt snorted. She glanced at her co-worker and said, "Do you believe this old goat says he was a dancer? Must've been a long time ago."

"Yeah," Tony retorted, "And a long time ago you didn't have a rear end the size of Alaska. Anyway I wasn't just a dancer. I was an actor, too."

"In what? Commercials for Depends?"

That was all too true. Stung, his voice rose. "In my last stage role I wore four-inch stiletto heels, not plaid slippers!"

Mean Aide said, "Cora, let's just get him dressed, slippers and all, and he can stew about it the rest of the day the way he always does."

He made them sweat to get the ugly cardigan sweater and polyester pants on his thin body and the hated plaid slippers on his feet. Then they put an afghan-more damn plaid!-over his knees and wheeled him out to the sun porch to vegetate until time to wheel him back in. This being Sunday, at noon he would be lined up with the other wheelchair-bound residents for the weekly torture called Hymn Time, during which a skinny woman of great volume and little talent loudly banged out gospel songs on the out-of-tune piano, accompanying herself while she bellowed songs about Jesus, always dragging out the name "Jeeeeesuuusss." He supposed her heart was in the right place but he wished she'd take it somewhere else.


Song on the Sand, reviewer, Martha Miller
"Ruth Sims doesn't go for the cliché. This is not a romance but a story of redemption that involves the reader by depth of character, humor and irony. … The story will resonate with baby-boomers because it's about the things that scare us all as we approach old age: that we'll end up powerless, helpless, loveless and alone." - Read the rest of the review at


Available from Untreed Reads


THE LAWYER, THE GHOST, AND THE CURSED CHAIR. was more fun than anything I've ever done. It always makes me giggle. In his acceptance letter, Jay said, "I absolutely LOVE this story. In fact, I was laughing out loud." I hope you will too. How many laughs can you get for a tiny price? Buy it and see. See the two 5-star reviews on Amazon!

And here's an excerpt to tease and torment you:


Time and Age. They make bottoms sag, legs shake, and arms wobble. Every time the old chair was moved it left a trail of little Hansel-and-Gretel tufts of ancient gray stuffing. In the world of furniture it had once been a duchess. Now it was a bag lady.

H.L. (Horatio Lamar) Snodgrass IV never gave the old chair another thought after he placed it in the storage room of his office to await the junk man. He was too busy sniffing and stroking its replacement, experiencing almost orgasmic pleasure in the smell and feel of the tall-backed chair made from the hides of Pamplona fighting bulls, a chair fit for a king. Or a damn good lawyer. He was the best. When he spoke judges melted. When he spoke Justice took off her blindfold, winked, and hiked her skirt to the thigh.

His clothes were custom made. One car was foreign and expensive. Another was American and expensive. His favorite was old, low-slung, and expensive. His wife, who was visiting the baccarat tables and roulette wheels in Las Vegas, was petite and expensive. Larry, his long-time boyfriend, was not petite in any way, and less expensive than his wife.

A series of bone-shattering blows against the door interrupted his thoughts. Normally he would have let his secretary answer the door, but since this was Saturday she was not there.

On his way to the door, H.L. had to pass the time-faded oil portrait of his Great-great-great Grandfather, Hawkins Forsythe Snodgrass, and he felt a brief twinge of conscience. After all, the old fellow had brought the chair from England generations ago. Hawkins had been a famous barrister in his homeland and he became more famous in his adopted country. Part of his fame was due to the eccentricity of never abandoning the English wig and robe even after becoming an American citizen. Hawkins was the founder of six generations of Snodgrass lawyers, each more successful and richer than the last.

"Perhaps," H.L. thought, "I should keep the chair as a memento...but what the hell."

The explosive knock came again. H.L. opened the door and came eye-to-Adam's-apple with a hulking individual who sported a turned-about Chicago Cubs cap and a bushy beard. A fine gold chain led from the gold hoop in his left nostril to a large gold hoop in his left earlobe. His shirt was unbuttoned to the waist and a gold skull on a chain glinted upon a chest of black fur that a grizzly bear would have envied. Clamped between his teeth was a cigar that, judging from the smell, had been made from a mixture of rotten eggs and old rags.

"Are you the junk man?" H.L. asked.

"No, I ain't no friggin' junk man," the Neanderthal growled. "I'm Vyvyan Smucker from Smucker's Reclamation, Recycling, and Haulage." He took a drag on the cigar and exhaled a choking cloud of smog. "Show me the junk."


By Theresa, E-Book Addicts
"Ruth Sims has penned a remarkably funny tale. In many ways, The Lawyer, The Ghost and the Cursed Chair parallels Dickens' A Christmas Carol and the similarities had me laughing out loud. Ms. Sims' version cleverly substitutes humor for horror and I was enchanted from beginning to end." - - comment-521


Available from Untreed Reads

A second short story from the greatest writer in the English language - what do you mean, "Who?" Humph. I can see I have to stick a lot of pins in a lot of voodoo dolls...

Mr. Newby is a very clever man of immense patience, who uses colored contact lenses, brown paper towels, and kitty litter to wreak a diabolical revenge on a childhood bully. See Elisa Rolle's 5-star review on Amazon!

Here's an excerpt:

Ruth Sims

"Revenge is a dish best prepared by a long, slow simmer, and then savored."
…Mr. Newby

Of course Mr. Newby had a first name. But it is immaterial, and by the time this story takes place there was no one in the world who knew what that name was except himself.

As an infant he had been found wrapped up in a blanket on the steps of St. Dinadan's Orphanage for Boys, without even a note pinned to his diaper. Though he was officially given the name of a saint, the adults at the orphanage always referred to him in private as "Unfortunate." As he moved from infant to toddler to school age, the other boys, both large and small, gave him other names, most of them unkind. "Ugly." "Fatty." "Stupid." "Retard." "Queer." "Moron." "Lard Ass." "Four Eyes." "Faggot." They regularly put him headfirst into toilets and garbage bins.

Through it all, he smiled.

Pete Carson, two years older and much larger, was the worst of his tormentors. Once he yanked Mr. Newby's pants down in the schoolyard in full view of the giggling girls in St. Cecelia's Orphanage for Girls, next door. Mr. Newby's round face turned red, tears filled his blue eyes. Even then, he smiled. No matter what his torment of the day, he always just picked himself up when it was over and soldiered on. Always smiling.

He had smiled from the day of his birth...


5 Star review, Mr. Newby's Revenge, Reviewer, Elisa Rolle, on
"With this story Ruth Sims achieved something almost unheard of; she wrote an entire novel in only 15 pages. … as compact as a pamphlet, but full of events as an encyclopaedia. How the author managed that is a mystery for me, probably the sign of a real and huge talent." - Read the rest of the review at



I DO TWO, from MLR Press is now available in print and e-book. It has an array of short stories of every kind, and proceeds from the book go entirely to Lambda Legal for the continuing fight for marriage equality. My contribution is "Legend of the Mountain Ash." Here is the opening prologue:

Legend of the Mountain Ash
Ruth Sims

There are places in this world where magic and miracles meet, and when they do a legend is born. This is the story of one such legend, and how it came to be.

In the hills of Appalachia, in a cove that no living man will ever find, is a Mountain Ash unlike any other in the world. It is not one tree but two, twined around each other in the same way that vines twine around a host. It stands as it has nearly three generations, untouched by wind, rain, frost, or fire, always bearing thick clusters of white flowers and blood red berries. Its flowers and fruit never fall. It will not grow. It will not wither.

The legend of this mountain ash is, as many legends are, a story of love and loss, sacrifice and redemption.

Available from MLR Press



The publisher says, "In Ruth Sims' beloved contemporary fairy tale, "Tom or an Improbable Tail," a lonely gay lawyer's cat spends six months of the year in the shape of a hot twink. Of course, our owner happens to be closeted at a very conservative law firm. Dare he want more than a pet?"

The author from whose demented brain the story came, says of the tail... er, tale: "A brain with a zipper, a beautiful naked young man who isn’t exactly what he seems, and a lawyer who hates to make decisions..."

Go to and download a Free Read in PDF or Ebook format of TOM: or, an Improbable Tail. It won't cost anything and you'll get a chuckle. And who can’t use a free laugh nowdays? If you like it, please leave a review/comment.


This is the tale of the naked god/boy/man William found in his apartment. When he told it to me he swore on his mother’s grave that every word was true. The oath didn’t mean much, though, as I knew his mother was alive and well and playing the slots in Vegas. There are a few things you need to know about William before you read his story.

One: He hated making decisions. If his mother would come every morning and lay out his suit and tie and socks for him it would make him happy, as long as she didn’t stay long enough to nag him.

Two: Well, actually, it’s part of No. One. He’s a lawyer because his father wanted him to be a lawyer and he didn’t want to bother making a decision about what he wanted to be when he grew up if he ever did. Lawyering was okay. It paid damn well, and there was a certain snob appeal to being with Rutledge, Rutledge, Kirkwood, Jones, and Connaughton. He didn’t yearn to be a white Johnny Cochran or a reincarnation of Clarence Darrow. Which was good, because he did corporation work. Mergers, contracts, corporation minutes of meetings that never took place, that kind of thing. “As the corporation goes so goes America,” Rutledge Senior was fond of saying in stentorian tones. That gives you some idea of RRKJC. William often said he was the only one in the office who didn’t starch his underwear.

Besides being indecisive and not very ambitious, he was cursed with being ‘cute.’ He hated cute. If he thought shaving his head and wearing a nose ring would help, he’d have done it. But RRKJC did not allow lawyers with pierced noses and he did have bills to pay.

RRKJC was so conservative they made the millennium Republicans look like “bleeding-heart flaming liberal pinko card-carrying members of NAMBLA” as Connaughton put it. William wondered what they’d do if they knew that he was gay.

He knew what they’d do. They’d soil their $900 suits, that’s what they’d do and then they’d can him.

Now that the background is out of the way, on to the good stuff which will involve the beautiful naked god/boy/man and… well… Maybe you need a little more background first. Be patient.

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