Misty’s award-winning short fiction has appeared in international and national journals both in print and online, and in several anthologies. Her debut collection A LESSON IN MANNERS won the Serena McDonald Kennedy Award and was published by Snake Nation Press. Her second collection, THE NECESSARIES, is available now from Paradisiac Publishing.

A Lesson in Manners

The ten stories in this haunting and hilarious collection offer a how-to manual for dealing with love, lies, and loneliness. Sam Wesson, an up-and-coming country-western singer, plots to get pregnant without her boyfriend’s consent, while Dacey, already pregnant, confronts her cheating husband over her secret checking account. Andrea rescues a stray dog to avoid facing her complicated human relationships. Sarah, an exotic dancer, longs for employment at a religious theme park, and Amelia dreams of creating impossible bonsai. Whether facing life-threatening illness or life-threatening loss, these characters scheme in humble, funny, sympathetic, and outrageous ways to find an etiquette that will deliver them from disappointment and shield them from crushing grief.

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Book cover The Necessaries: Stories by Misty UrbanThe Necessaries

Finalist for the 2019 Indie Star Book Award

The narrators of these thirteen wildly original and unforgettable stories all know what they want, and are surprised to find—in poignant and sometimes painful ways—that what they need is something else entirely. Whether starting a romance or ending one, raising babies or rescuing a friend, running an advice column or the most powerful country on the planet, their worlds fall apart and then get rebuilt, in startling and tender ways, on the new discoveries rising from the rubble. Bold, sneaky, sometimes bewildered, and always jumping in feet first, these characters will steal your heart, turn it upside down, shake out all its contents, and give you back what you most need, polished, clear, and whole.

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Latest Release: ROSWELL: A Literary Collection

“Leave No Trace” in Roswell: A Literary Collection

The rhythmic chirp of the metal detector sounded like a heart monitor, the kind hooked up to critically ill patients. It gave off a steady, contented chime as I skimmed the flat head of the sensor over the coppery red sand clumped with cheat grass and creosote.

“Hey, chica,” Nik called. “If you find the next Mojave Nugget, I want a cut.”

More of Misty’s Short Fiction

“The Pizza Philosopher” forthcoming in The Writer’s Block from the Midwest Writing Center

The dough needs more flour and a pinch of salt. He taps his fingers to two bowls of chalky white crystals and a flick of the wrist casts the grains over the pale yellow disc. Fold, press, fold, press; the move is instinctive, rolling knuckles to wrist, as easy and thoughtless as stroking a cat or the long dent down the back of his lover.

“Gravel” in The Manifest-Station

As she grasped her hand along the wooden rail of the stairs Manya felt a hard, dry splinter pierce her palm. She tugged at the projecting end and it broke, leaving a dark needle tucked beneath her skin.

“Vanishing Point” in Literary Mama

I didn’t realize what was happening until the dough hook went through my finger.

“The Far Shore” in Sweet Tree Review

Mireya looked down at her legs in the middle of fifth-grade history class and discovered that she was a fish.

“A Many-Chambered Vessel” in The Writer’s Block, 2d place, fiction, MWC Iron Pen Contest 2019

“Worst job you ever had,” I say, discarding a seven.

She draws a card, places it in the holder. The table we can swing across her bed is handy; the tubes taped to her hand are not.

“Hauling irrigation pipe,” she says. “They’re heavy. And you have to move them every day, for potatoes.”

Day of the Beheaded Barbie,” available at Write Out Publishing

This, Melanie realized after all, would not be the day she gave up smoking.

10% of the proceeds from this story benefit Doctors Without Borders!

“Pandemic,” winner in the River Cities’ Reader Short Fiction Contest 2017

The stainless steel door to my laboratory whispered open. The Director had her heavies with her, the tall Punjabi I’d named Muff and Scruff. The midnight-black car far below had rolled away, armored SUVS before and behind. So you see I was expecting this interruption; it did not take me by surprise.

“The Fitting,” in DOMESTIC (Willow Press, 2017) excerpt from “Bay City” appearing in THE NECESSARIES

My Aunt Nat’s bridal shop stood tucked between a fish fry place and a tourist mini-mart selling T-shirts, surfboards, and rack after rack of bathing suits and sunglasses. I tried prepping Parker to meet my aunt, but apparently chatting on the phone over bust measurements and train lengths had already turned them into old friends.

“Care of the Soul” excerpt in Karawane: Or, the Temporary Death of the Bruitist

So you know how sometimes you get this announcement from the universe on who you are and what you’re supposed to be doing, and it’s so loud and clear and “this is what I mean” that you really can’t afford to ignore it? Okay, so maybe not everyone.

“The Last Word” appeared in Talking River 40

“She left me,” Tom says, looking straight ahead. “She walked out. Janie’s gone.”

I reach for a stool and sit down next to him, hard. “What?” I should try to sound more surprised. “When?”

“Sudden Gone” appeared in Moonsick Magazine Issue 2

A girl is walking crooked down a sidewalk, indigo sky, skin itching like a hunger. Think you know this story?

Sisters: An Anthology“A Lesson in Manners” collected in Sisters: An Anthology. Eds. Jan Freeman, Emily Wojcik, and Deborah Bull (Paris Press, 2009)

“This fusion of fiction, poetry and memoir bubbles with childhood laughter but also sounds notes of pain and loss.”  — Ms. Online

“Someone in the House” in Dos Passos Review 3.1

Something is different: something is not as you left it. The house holds a suggestion, a vibration only, a signal of danger pulsing like waves of cold air. The cold comes from the basement. The waves come from the window, leaning open like a drunk.

“Table for Four” in CAIRN 3

It felt to her sometimes, in the middle of an evening rush like this, that she alone held the secret that animated this little restaurant; she alone had the hawk’s-eye view of its organization, its beating heart, and if she forgot the secret, if the knowledge went from her, everything around her would disappear.

“Saving Grace” in Asphodel 3

Grace has discovered that she is shrinking. She doesn’t know exactly when it began but she can see the effects now when she studies herself in the mirror, which she was never in the habit of doing, even when she was fuller and there was more to her to look at.

“Small Burials” in The Madison Review 25.2

Gary at least is up front about everything. My mother tries to trick me. She says she wants to see where I work. She tells me the group is for her, something about women with digestive disorders, and she wants me to come with her for moral support.