$18 | Short Stories

Vanessa Blakeslee

A single mother rents a fundamentalist preacher’s carriage house. A pop star contemplates suicide in the hotel where Janis Joplin died. A philandering ex-pat doctor gets hooked on morphine while reeling from his wife’s death. And in the title story, a train engineer, after running over a young girl on his tracks, grapples with the pervasive question—what propels a life toward such a disastrous end?

Paperback // 5 x 8 // 150 pgs // $18
ISBN: 978–0–984953–84–4
Distributed by Asterism
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POD edition available from Ingram


Train Shots is more than a promising first collection by a formidably talented writer; it is a haunting story collection of the first order. I was flat knocked out. Blakeslee’s range and confidence are astonishing.”
–JOHN DUFRESNE author of No Regrets, Coyote

“Train Shots announces an outstanding new voice. Vanessa Blakeslee’s stories traverse a trilling range of landscapes and voices, but no matter where her characters find themselves, their struggles with lost love and loneliness are authentic and engrossing and will not soon be forgotten.”
–LAURA VAN DEN BERG author of The Isle of Youth and What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us

“In each of the eleven stories in Train Shots, Vanessa Blakeslee immerses her readers in nuanced and impressively imagined worlds in which characters must choose between loyalty or justice, between sticking with it or giving up. This is a book populated with unforgettable, complex characters, each seeking, in one way or another, a cure for heartbreak.”
–CHRISTINE SNEED author of Little Known Facts


Vanessa Blakeslee was raised in northeastern Pennsylvania and earned her MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her writing has appeared in The Southern Review, The Paris Review Daily, The Globe and Mail, PANK, and Kenyon Review Online, among many others. Winner of the inaugural Bosque Fiction Prize, she has also been awarded grants and residencies from Yaddo, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, The Banff Centre, Ledig House, and the Ragdale Foundation. In 2013 she received the Individual Artist Fellowship in Literature from the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs.