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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Short Stories, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 26 - 50 of 292
26. Sherlock Holmes’ beginnings

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Here at Oxford University Press we occasionally get the chance to discover a new and exciting piece of literary history. We’re excited to share the newest short story addition to the Sherlock Holmes mysteries in Sherlock Holmes: Selected Stories. Never before published, our editorial team has acquired The Mystery of the Green Garden, now believed to be Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s first use of the Sherlock Holmes’ character in his writing. Written during Doyle’s time at Stonyhurst College before entering medical school, the short story displays an early, amateur style of writing not seen in his later published works.

The Mystery of the Green Garden is set during Sherlock Holmes’ childhood – a rarely discussed part of Holmes’ life. Holmes’ is only sixteen years old when he is called to his first case. Unlike many of the stories in the Holmes series which are narrated by the loyal Dr. Watson, Holmes himself tells the short, endearing tale of his mother’s beloved garden. Getting our first look at his parents, Holmes briefly describes his mother as a “lively but often brooding woman.” We catch only a glimpse of his father who he calls a tireless civil serviceman with, “rarely enough time to fix even a long ago missing board in the kitchen’s creaking floor.”

Before attending university where he first acquired his detective skills, and moving to 221S Baker Street to practice his craft, Holmes lived at 45 Tilly Lane overlooking “a lush, never ignored garden.” Described as his mother’s favorite pastime, she gardened tirelessly day in and day out. As a young boy he recalls “spending countless hours playing in the dirt as mother tended to her beloved flowers and ferns.”

One morning, Holmes wakes to discover the garden destroyed. Flower beds are overturned, and shrubbery and plants are ripped apart. His mother is beside herself upon seeing her hard work demolished, and Holmes vows to discover the foolish culprit behind the dastardly act. A neighbor provides the first clue that sets the wheels in motion. His elderly neighbor who often wakes “before the sun has met the sky,” describes to Holmes a “tall, lean man with a crooked gray cap” that he saw running down the pathway between their two houses in the early hours of the morning while everyone in town still slept. Without any experience at solving cases, Doyle displays the first use of Holmes’ abductive reasoning skills later developed in the stories. As Holmes gathers clues as to what seems to be a random act, a story bigger than anyone can imagine slowly unravels.

April Fools! We hope we haven’t disappointed you too much. Although The Mystery in the Green Garden is just the work of a fool’s mind, there are seven Sherlock Holmes novels in the Oxford World’s Classics series. Sherlock Holmes: Selected Stories includes over a dozen stories truly written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

9780199672066For over 100 years Oxford World’s Classics has made available the broadest spectrum of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford’s commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, voluminous notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more. You can follow Oxford World’s Classics on Twitter, Facebook, or here on the OUPblog. Subscribe to only Oxford World’s Classics articles on the OUPblog via email or RSS.

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The post Sherlock Holmes’ beginnings appeared first on OUPblog.

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27. Review – Redeployment by Phil Klay

9780857864239What an amazing book! This is a firm candidate for my book of the year already and it is beyond doubt the best collection of short stories I have ever read. I literally could not put this book down but at the same time wanted each story to last as long as possible. I went into total procrastination mode today before reading the final story because I was not prepared for this book to end but resistance was futile.

I first read the title story of this collection in last year’s Fire & Forget. It was one of the standout pieces in a standout collection. I knew at the time reading Fire & Forget that the contributors in the collection were destined for big things. And Phil Klay not only reaffirms that but announces himself in a massive way with his first book.

I have blogged a couple of times here that short stories are not usually my thing. Often there is a story I wish there was more of or a story that leaves me unsatisfied. But absolutely every story in Redeployment was spot on. This was writing as close to perfection as I have ever read and I want to read the book again right now.

I am a big reader of war fiction. They are stories I am drawn to, that seem to resonate with me more than any other fiction. What I loved about Phil Klay’s collection was that each story resonated in a different way. One of the unique aspects to Klay’s collection are the different points of view he conveys in his stories. It is impossible for me to highlight one story and I don’t wish to go through each story one by one because that would spoil the magnificent reading experience.

Klay covers stories about soldiers in action and soldiers coming home. Soldiers wounded in action and soldiers haunted by the fact they saw little or no action. We read about a Marine chaplain, a Marine in Mortuary Affairs, a Foreign Affairs officer sent to Iraq to help rebuild. And through all these stories Klay shows the war in all its messy permutations and consequences, the good and the bad, the humanity and the inhumanity. He even explores the art of telling these stories and the different ways stories can be used and told, hidden and untold.

Every story packs an emotional intensity not only rare in short stories but rare in longer fiction too. Imagine the emotional wallop of The Yellow Birds with the frank and brutal insight of Matterhorn distilled into a short story and you get close to the impact each of these stories makes on their own. Put together as a collection and you have something very special that will be read (and should be read) by many long into the future.

Buy the book here…

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28. Reread #12 Long Way From Chicago

A Long Way From Chicago. Richard Peck. 1998. Penguin. 148 pages. [Source: Library book]

  A Long Way From Chicago has a great premise. Joey Dowdel and his younger sister, Mary Alice, are "forced" to visit their Grandma Dowdel every summer. Each chapter in the novel tells the story of a summer visit. There is a story for 1929, 1930, 1931, 1932, 1933, 1934, 1935, and 1942. The prologue says it all, "As the years went by, though, Mary Alice and I grew up, and though Grandma never changed, we'd seem to see a different woman every summer."

Through the stories, readers catch glimpses of the past. These stories capture family moments. There is plenty of humor and a good bit of heart.

For any reader who enjoys quirky small-town, long-ago, family-based stories from the heart, this one is a must.

I think I prefer Peck's more traditional novels to his stories.


I loved this one the first time I read and reviewed it in 2008

© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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29. Review – The Tenth of December by George Saunders

9781408837368I don’t read a lot of short stories. As whole I find them unsatisfying and would much rather sink my teeth into something longer. All though in saying that I am a massive convert to serial fiction where you get to read 100-200 pages of a continuous story every 3-4 months. There has been a lot of buzz about George Saunders’ latest collection of stories and after receiving a strong recommendation to give him a go I did exactly that.

The first story, Victory Lap, was amazing. The way Saunders got into the head of the three characters so quickly and fully was something to behold. It is a powerful and dark story, told very delicately, that really kicked off the collection well. Saunders followed this up with Sticks, a really shorty story consisting of only two paragraphs that again packed a punch that belied its size. My other favourites in the collection were Escape From Spiderhead, which is about an unusual experiment conducted on prisoners and the powerful The Semplica-Girl Diaries which lures you into some absolutely biting satire.

The writing is amazing but by the end of the collection my feelings about short stories bore true again. I felt unsatisfied and wanting more exploration of the ideas Saunders was bringing up and commenting on. As a writer I can see that he is a masterful storyteller, as reader I just wanted a bit more to sink my teeth into.

Buy the book here…

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30. Short Story Published in Plasma Frequency Magazine, Issue 9

Plasma Frequency Magazine, Issue 9, December 2013/January 2014

Plasma Frequency Magazine, Issue 9, December 2013/January 2014

SO excited to announce my adult sci-fi short story DUST, just published in Plasma Frequency Magazine! It was by far one of my favorites to write, and I’m so glad it found a home with Plasma Frequency.

Interestingly, I wrote the story while I was getting used to a new migraine medicine. One of the side-effects of the medicine was vibrating gold spots behind my eyelids whenever I closed my eyes. This side-effect, among others, became the inspiration for some of the side-effects of DUST. Luckily, I’m no longer taking that med, so the pharmaceutical-induced hallucinations and periodic brain fog are long gone.

I did get a nice story out of the experience. You just never know what’s going to get that imagination stirring.

You can get a hold of a copy for Kindle here or a Print copy here. Just remember kiddies, this is an adults only story…

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31. The Seven Caves & Other Spine-tingling Short Stories

 

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The Seven Caves

Lucia is a small seaside town perched on the cliffs of central California. Discovered by Don Gaspar de Portola and his soldiers late in the 18th century, the town is named after the day of its discovery––December 14, Santa Lucia Day.

On a day not too long ago, a local caretaker of an estate just to the south of Lucia, known only as Point 16, received a visitor. The stranger said he was from The Vatican and inquired as to seven caves that The Vatican had listed in its archives from the manifest of the town’s discovery centuries ago. As he further stated that the caves were sure to be located off the coast of Point 16, the caretaker dismissed the man’s strange way of talking but became obsessed by his manner of dress which included a spectacular sword with rubies inlaid in its handle.

The caretaker scratched his head. He’d kayaked up to the caves a time or two and had paddled inside a little ways. The only person the caretaker knew that ever sailed inside the caves any distance at all, and at that only a quarter of a mile, was long dead. Rumor was that the seven caves all met up in the very center of The Santa Lucia Mountains. The mysterious visitor surprised the caretaker when he knew that the caves were the color of blood and shocked him when he spoke of a great temple with treasure inside.

The caretaker told the stranger that the caves were real enough, but that no one he knew had ever been able to sail deep into the caves to discover any temples or treasure.

The stranger thanked the caretaker and went on his way. The caretaker, uneasy about the stranger, decided to follow. The stranger rode his horse to the beach beside the caves and climbed into a simple dugout canoe. Primitive by any standards. Its oars like branches.

The stranger paddled and paddled. The caretaker could only watch from shore. As the surf drew out to sea more of the cave entrances became exposed. When the great swells crashed into the cliffs the waves churned powerfully in the caves and splashed back out to the open sea. Yet, the stranger didn’t veer from his course, one that would soon place him inside the nearest cave.

The caretaker began to sweat. The stranger had paddled his small canoe in an angry sea yet his navigation, indeed the boat itself, seemed unaffected by it. The caretaker searched the coast close by for a kayak sometimes hidden in the brush by the owner of Point 16.

He longed to paddle into the caves. Make that discovery. For, he knew the sea better than most around these parts. Certainly, he would be able to keep up with the stranger. As luck would have it, he found an abandoned canoe. And so he too paddled out to sea.

The sun disappeared behind a cloud and the chill of the fog invaded the caretaker’s bones. A great cloud river of fog moved from north to south over the Pacific, inching to shore. Upon a great break of an early evening wave the stranger disappeared into the first cave.

The caretaker followed.

The next thing the caretaker remembered was fading in and out of consciousness as Search and Rescue revived him. The caretaker asked about the stranger but was told no other body and no other boat was found, not unusual in the rugged depths of the central coast.

The caretaker’s dreams were filled with the stranger and endless trips into the caves, alive with treasure.

 

When the caretaker came to he was quite inconsolable. Gone mad with a fear of the sea. He tossed back and forth in the sandy soil trying to get away from those that had saved him when he spotted the stranger’s sword, stuck in the sagebrush. The caretaker wrapped his hands around the rubies and pulled the sword out of the brush. Don Gaspar de Portola was engraved in the silver blade, dripping with blood.

 

Get the anthology free for The Nook here.

Happy Halloween!

 

 


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32. 82nd Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition Winners

Writer’s Digest would like to congratulate the 101 winners of the 82nd Annual Writer’s Digest Writing CompetitionNovember/December 2013 issue of Writer’s Digestextended Q&A with our grand prize winner, Dan J. Fiore,genre short story, “Masks.”November/December 2013 Issue of Writer's Digest

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33. Dahl And Hitchcock

Today, September 13th, is Roald Dahl Day. Instead of speculating on just what a person has to do around here to get her own day, I'm going to insist, once again, that you just have to read his adult short stories.

You can start with Lamb to the Slaughter, published in Harper's in 1953. Don't have time to look for it? Well, in 1958, it was adapted for television for Alfred Hitchcock Presents.Yeah, Alfred Hitchcock. That's the kind of  story we're talking about.

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34. 7 Things I’ve Learned So Far, by Ben Stroud

This is a recurring column I’m calling “7 Things I’ve Learned So Far,”

where writers (this installment written by Ben Stroud, author of the short story collection, BYZANTIUM) at any stage of their career can talk about writing advice and instruction as well as how they possibly got their book agent — by sharing seven things they’ve learned along their writing journey that they wish they knew at the beginning.

GIVEAWAY: Ben is excited to give away a free copy of his collection to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Please note that comments may take a little while to appear; this is normal).

 

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Ben Stroud’s stories have appeared in Harper’s, One Story, and Boston Review,
among other magazines, and have been anthologized in New Stories from the
South and Best American Mystery Stories. A native of Texas, he now lives in
Ohio and teaches creative writing at the University of Toledo. His debut story
collection,
BYZANTIUM



on Twitter. Credit: Bering Photography

 

1. Writing Routines Are Only So Valuable. I used to be a stickler for routine. My desk needed to be just so. I needed the room (and preferably the apartment) to myself. I needed non-vocal music (classical or soundtracks). Then I moved to a one-bedroom apartment in Germany. I couldn’t get a good radio station—this surprised me. The only option for a desk in my furnished apartment was a slatted folding table not much larger than one square foot that I had to stick in the corner of the living room. Gone were all the little things I depended on. But I worked that year, every day, and learned that all that other stuff was unnecessary. I needed only the desk.

2. However, a Schedule Is Key. Writers get this advice a lot, and I’ll put it here, because it’s true. I write every morning. A few hours, the exact number depending upon the other current demands on my time. This is the way stories and novels get built. You can have a good day, a bad day, but so long as you’re there, you’re producing, you’re learning. The lesson here—schedule trumps pretty much everything.

3. Residencies Can Be As Much Harm as Help. I’ve been lucky to spend time at Yaddo and MacDowell. On the plus side, while at these place I learned to revise my work in a deeper way—to sit longer with it, to have the patience to test each sentence out. On the minus side, with the day sprawling ahead of me at a residency, I would linger over breakfast, have long morning conversations, and I brought the bad habit of sitting around too long in the morning (subbing the internet for conversation) back home. A problem, since back home I didn’t have full days to give to my work. So the lesson here, for me, is that a residency can be good to shake things up, to learning something new about your work. But there’s great value in having a steady schedule and a steady place to write and not messing with that too much.

4. The Agent Will Come When The Agent Will Come. When I was a college student, I asked my writing professor about agents. He told me to not think about them, to focus on that other stuff and that getting an agent would take care of itself. In my case, he ended up being right. Now, it’s true, at a certain point you’ll have to worry about this. But the main thing is the writing, making sure it’s good. If that’s your focus, then eventually the other stuff will work itself out, too.

5. The Writing World Works in Hidden Ways, and Can Surprise You. I never thought I’d be able to sell a story to a magazine like Harper’s. It was a dream, of course, but one I thought impossible. Then one day I got an email from my agent. A Harper’s editor had read some of my stories in a few other magazines (stories that I thought had largely gone unnoticed) and wanted to read some of my work. It took two years and four tries, but eventually I got a story to him that he and the other editors liked. I couldn’t have planned that. I couldn’t have made this happen through strategy. All I could do was write the stories and hope that someone on the other end liked them.

6. That Said… That said, while luck and chance are involved in everyone’s career, the most important thing is that you keep doing the work. It was through writing those early stories that I caught this editor’s attention. And it’s because I kept at it, day in and day out, that I was able to produce those four stories to show him. (The other three all found homes as well.)

7. Write What You Want to Write. This is a lesson I learned early on as a writer. It seems self-evident, but every year I have students struggling with this. One of the important tasks of a young writer is to discover what she or he wants to write. You can only figure this out through a heavy combination of reading and writing and following your own taste. If you don’t know what you want to write and where it fits in the writing world, then your just going to struggle and struggle.

GIVEAWAY: Ben is excited to give away a free copy of his collection to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Please note that comments may take a little while to appear; this is normal).

 

Agent Donald Maass, who is also an author
himself, is one of the top instructors nationwide
on crafting quality fiction. His recent guide,
The Fire in Fiction


Other writing/publishing articles & links for you:How to Interact With Agents on Facebook and Twitter.
  • How to Create a Simple Writer Blog.
  • How to Back Up Your Blog and Save Content.
  • So You Have a Blog — Now What?
  • Sell More Books by Building Your Author Platform
  • .
  • Follow Chuck Sambuchino on Twitter
  • or find him on Facebook. Learn all about his writing guides on how to get published, how to find a literary agent, and how to write a query letter.

     

    Want to build your visibility and sell more books?
    Create Your Writer Platform

    Order the book from WD at a discount

    .

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    35. Player Profile: Maria Takolander, author of The Double

    takolander-blog-author-photo-by-nicholas-walton-healeyMaria Takolander, author of The Double

    Tell us about your latest creation:

    The Double is a book of short stories. The stories range in their subject matter from rural Australia to northern Europe and beyond, and from the dark past of the Soviet era to a terrifying vision of the near future. The stories are bold and original, unnerving and unforgettable.

    9781922079763Where are you from / where do you call home?:

    I am the only Australian-born member of my family. My parents and my sister were born in Finland, and then migrated to Melbourne. I now call Geelong home.

    When you were a kid, what did you want to become?  An author?:

    I always wanted to be a writer. I think it had something to do with learning English as a second language when I was very young, and feeling like an outsider in Australia for quite a long time. As a result, language and the world never seemed ‘given’. Writing gave me the opportunity to ‘get to know’ language
    and the world better.

    What do you consider to be your best work? Why?:

    The Double! I worked on it very intensively, and I had an excellent publisher supporting me.

    Describe your writing environment to us – your writing room, desk, etc.; is it ordered or chaotic?:

    I’m not fussy about where I write. I write wherever I can–at the kitchen table, in the train, at my daughter’s desk. All I need is my laptop and some time. Quiet, of course, also helps.

    When you’re not writing, who/what do you like to read?:

    I love the poetry and prose of Jorge Luis Borges  for its thrilling ideas, cool irony and lavish language. His writing reminds me that it’s exciting to be alive in a world that we don’t understand but that offers experiences of such intellectual and emotional intensity. JM Coetzee’s work is also brilliant. His writing evokes the suffering and complexity that unavoidably comes with living.

    What was the defining book(s) of your childhood/schooling?:

    I’ll single out Enid Blyton’s The Wishing Chair. It was so wholesome and otherworldly, and I loved the idea of a magical escape. I think the book also intuitively represented for me the power of books more generally to facilitate
    mesmerising flights of fancy.

    If you were a literary character, who would you be?:

    Feeling like an outsider, I have always strongly identified with Gregor Samsa! In more romantic moments, I saw myself as Jane Eyre.

    Apart from books, what do you do in your spare time (surprise us!)?:

    I play with my young son, who loves books and imaginative play. Who wants to live solely in this world, when you can also inhabit so many others?

    What is your favourite food and favourite drink?:

    I love Finnish comfort foods and drinks, so I’d say Karelian pasties and milk.

    Who is your hero? Why?:

    My mum. She is an incredible survivor. Her family were exiled from their homes during the Finno-Russian war during the Second World War, and they endured significant hardship and privation. Nevertheless, my mother is the most loving and joyful person I know.

    Crystal ball time – what is the biggest challenge for the future of books and reading?:

    Finding readers for books, which are about probing the surface of things, in a society that’s increasingly content with surfaces.

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    36. Flash Fiction for YA? Y Not?!

    flashfictionchronicles

    Flash on over to Flash Fiction Chronicles today and I’ll tell you all about writing micro fiction for children!

    http://www.everydayfiction.com/flashfictionblog/flash-fiction-for-ya-y-not


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    37. May Is Short Story Month. That Kind Of Got By Me.

    It has come to my attention that May is Short Story Month. Unfortunately, the month is half gone. If I'd only realized this was coming up, I would have planned my May Days project around writing short stories. I must make a note for next year. And put it someplace where I have a prayer of finding it.

    The Emerging Writers Network is getting into this in a big way. The Oxford University Press provided a reading list. The Missouri Review is highlighting a short story every day at its blog. In fact, Short Story Month is all over the Internet.

    This seems like an appropriate time to remind everyone of my short story publication this year, Rosemary and Olive Oil, at Alimentum.

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    38. Alexander Drake Blog Tour & Giveaway with Elizabeth Parkinson-Bellows

    alexander-tour

    Today I’m reviewing the first two books in the Azra’s Pith Series. This is a middle grade fantasy series by Elizabeth Parkinson-Bellows.

    alexander 1

    In Book 1, Alexander Drake’s Extraordinary Pursuit, we meet young Alexander Drake. He lives alone with his distant father and has recurring dreams of his mother who has passed away. When his father leaves on another trip, Alexander is sent to stay with his grandmother. In his father’s old room, Alexander discovers a box in the bottom drawer of the dresser. Inside is an odd-looking key and maps and pictures drawn on a tweed fabric. His curiosity gets the better of him, leading him into the forest near his grandmother’s home and on an adventure that will change his life.

    Alexander 2

    The second book, The Return of General Drake, picks up immediately where the first book left off. Alexander makes it to Verhonia, which angers the evil Imperius. His minion, Roman, prepares his murk army to attack the city. With the safety of the realm in jeopardy and Alexander under a spell that has placed him in grave danger, General John William Drake returns to Verhonia. Can evil be defeated or is all lost?

    The premise of this series is a great one. A young boy without friends, who is feeling neglected by his only living parent, is sent away and ends up on a life-changing adventure. In Alexander Drake’s Extraordinary Pursuit, Alexander discovers many surprises about his destiny and his family. The book ends with a cliffhanger that leads into the next book.

    By Book 2, Alexander is starting to put some of the pieces together. What he underestimates, however, is how far the evil Imperius is willing to go. With his plan to stop Alexander from reaching Verhonia a failure, Imperius wages war on the city and casts a spell over Alexander, sending him on a journey to Cantilonia. Though General Drake had vowed never to return to Verhonia, but with Alexander in danger he has no choice.

    What I feel Parkinson-Bellows does well in these books is create a series set primarily in a mythical land filled with quirky characters like Ferdinand, a talking frog and Cozmo, a cunning wolf. These are exciting adventure books filled with action that middle grade readers will devour. Where the books fell a bit short for me was in the stilted dialogue and lack of depth in character development. My feeling is that the focus on creating quirky characters might have led to how the dialogue didn’t flow well. The conversations didn’t seem natural. There are also places in both books where resolutions came too quickly for the characters, so there isn’t a deep digging into the character’s–primarily Alexander’s–emotions and thought process.

    That said, both books were enjoyable light reads. Though, I don’t like it when a book ends in a cliffhanger that forces you to buy the next book in order to see how it all plays out, these are short and economically-priced stories, so it doesn’t prevent the reader from continuing.

    Rating (for both): :) :) :) :)

    Alexander Drake’s Extraordinary Pursuit
    File Size: 1169 KB
    Print Length: 110 pages
    Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
    Publisher: Wild Child Publishing (June 6, 2011)
    Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
    Language: English
    ASIN: B0054RFVTY

    The Return of General Drake
    File Size: 269 KB
    Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
    Publisher: Wild Child Publishing (April 25, 2013)
    Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
    Language: English
    ASIN: B00CK12HEE

    lizzie

    Being the frizzy-haired tomboy with buck teeth gave me a slight case of shyness as a kid. A colorful imagination meant escape and adventure at the drop of a hat.

    Over the years I learned that the insecurities I carried around were a waste of time. I still prefer a football game to a manicure any day of the week. That indispensable imagination has found its way into my writing providing a sense of joy and a true purpose.

    Website * Twitter * Facebook

    Blog Tour Giveaway

    $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash (Ends 5/15/13)

    Enter for your chance to win at http://www.iamareader.com/2013/02/alexander-drake-blog-tour.html

     


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    39. A New Anthology of Russia's Greatest Gothic Writers

    Muireann Maguire's Red Spectres: Russian Gothic Tales from the Twentieth Century, a new collection of supernatural fiction featuring eleven short stories from both classic and lesser known Russian writers, is out later this week. Featuring nine pieces never before translated into English, the anthology combines many of the best-loved aspects of the traditional ghost story with the full Gothic

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    40. The Inimitable Jeeves (1923)

    The Inimitable Jeeves (Jeeves). P.G. Wodehouse. 1923. 225 pages.

    The Inimitable Jeeves is my favorite Wodehouse yet. (I've also read The Man With Two Left Feet and My Man Jeeves.) I loved this short story collection because it is all devoted to Bertie and Jeeves! Featured stories include: "Jeeves Exerts the Old Cerebellum," "No Wedding Bells for Bingo," "Aunt Agatha Speaks Her Mind," "Pearls Mean Tears," "The Pride of the Woosters is Wounded," "The Hero's Reward," "Introducing Claude and Eustace," "Sir Roderick Comes to Lunch," "A Letter of Introduction," Startling Dressiness of a Lift Attendant," Comrade Bingo," "Bingo Has a Bad Goodwood," "The Great Sermon Handicap," "The Purity of the Turf," "The Metropolitan Touch," "The Delayed Exit of Claude and Eustace," "Bingo and the Little Woman," and "All's Well."

    These stories introduce one of Bertie's friends, Bingo Little. He is quite the character. He is always falling in love with someone. And there's always drama that Bertie and Jeeves get drawn into! But Bingo Little isn't the only source of drama! There's also Bertie's family, including Aunt Agatha and two of his cousins, Claude and Eustace, to name a few. Some of the stories are set in the city, others take place in the country. All are delightful!!!



    My favorite sequence of stories is "The Hero's Reward," "Introducing Claude and Eustace," and "Sir Roderick Comes to Lunch." In this sequence, Bertie finds himself accidentally engaged to a girl, Honoria, a young woman that Bingo was once quite smitten with! Sir Roderick is Honoria's father, and their lunch together is quite delightful! He's not quite sure he likes Bertie, not quite sure Bertie is sane... enter an insane number of cats, fish under Bertie's bed, and a stolen hat... and you've got an unforgettable chapter!

    Read The Inimitable Jeeves
    • If you like short stories
    • If you love short stories
    • If you hate short stories
    • If you enjoy P.G. Wodehouse
    • If you want more Bertie and Jeeves
    • If you love to laugh
    © 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

    0 Comments on The Inimitable Jeeves (1923) as of 3/22/2013 11:32:00 AM
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    41. Weekend Reading

    I've been thinking about short fiction a lot recently. The truth is, after working on three Best American Fantasy anthologies, I was shellshocked from reading piles of short stories, and stayed away from them. I pretty much stopped writing them for a while, focusing instead on academic writing, film stuff, etc. Judging the Shirley Jackson Awards was fun and brought me back to short fiction, but again in such an overwhelming way that by the time it was done, I didn't want to read another short story for months. And I didn't.

    I've gotten over that, finally. I've read a few short stories over the last month (and it's been a busy month, so reading a few of anything is an accomplishment!), and, just as importantly, for the first time in years I've gotten back to writing stories — two so far this year, one of which already sold (I'll reveal the details once I've signed the contract).


    I've had plans to write more about short stories here, but the time for doing so has eluded me. But I've still been reading, and still want to share. I've decided to do so occasionally, probably on weekends. An offering of weekend reading. So here are 5 stories, all available online, that I think are worth at least the time it takes to read them:

    "Heaven" by Alexander Chee (TriQuarterly)
    He wants to at least tell him, he understands what he wanted. He always had. He just hated that anyone could tell.

    "Understanding Human Behavior" by Thomas M. Disch (originally F&SF; here, Strange Horizons)
    A lot of the time he couldn't suspend his disbelief in the real people around him, all their pushing and pulling, their weird fears and whopping lies, their endless urges to control other people's behavior, like the vegetarian cashier at the Stop-and-Shop or the manager at the convenience center. The lectures and demonstrations at the halfway house had laid out the basics, but without explaining any of it. Like harried parents, the Institute's staff had said, "Do this," and "Don't do that," and he'd not been in a position to argue. He did as he was bid, and his behavior fit as naturally as an old suit.

    "Declaration by the Ghost of Emma Goldman" by Rick London (New American Writing)
    I see now that the mind is occupied territory. Most likely, as long as we’re thinking the mind is under occupation. Despite our high ideals and surging rhetoric, we go on as if we were alone and adrift, seeking some small moment of advantage. Indeed, amid so much of the usual sectarian bickering you’d think we couldn’t see past our noses or had to close one eye to see out of the other. Will we ever pull aside the curtain on this hapless drama?

    "Arbeitskraft" by Nick Mamatas (The Mammoth Book of Steampunk)
    I was an old hand at organizing workers, though girls who consumed electricity rather than bread were a bit beyond my remit.

    "Please Note That I Am Not Burt Reynolds*" by Sarah Sorensen (Identity Theory)
    *Although I might be introduced to you as such a person. There was probably a point when I should have mentioned that I wasn’t actually Burt Reynolds. Of course, I’m not sure why she thought that I was Burt Reynolds to begin with. I don’t resemble Burt. Burt was never a portly woman in a pug t-shirt and skinny jeans.

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    42. Get a FREE Book Today

    The online literacy site for children, KNOWONDER!, is offering a free book of 30 short stories for children--THE LONELY DRAGON. Just visit their site and register. It's as simple as that. There are also free stories to read and enjoy at their site as well.

    Last November, they published my short story, "2 Much Laughter." And my story, "The Dragon Artist's Tale," will be featured in their upcoming print and ebook story collection of princess and dragon stories. Look for that soon!

    But today, don't miss this opportunity to get a book that your whole family can share!

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    43. The Man With Two Left Feet (1917)

    The Man With Two Left Feet. P.G. Wodehouse. 1917. 200 pages.

    I loved this collection of P.G. Wodehouse short stories. These thirteen short stories had originally appeared in various magazines in both the UK and US before being published in book form in 1917. The stories: "Bill The Bloodhound," "Extricating Young Gussie," Wilton's Holiday," "The Mixer: He Meets a Shy Gentleman," "The Mixer: He Moves In Society," "Crowned Heads," "At Geisenheimer's," "The Making of Mac's," "One Touch of Nature," "Black for Luck," "The Romance of an Ugly Policeman," "A Sea of Troubles," and "The Man With Two Left Feet."

    Some of the stories are set in America, other stories are set in England. A few of these stories even have animal narrators: that's how diverse these stories are! (The two "Mixer" stories are narrated by a dog.) "Black for Luck" stars a traveling black cat that may or may bring luck with him.

    I absolutely LOVED, LOVED, LOVED Wodehouse's writing style. "Extricating Young Gussie," introduces Bertie and Jeeves. Readers will be treated to plenty of stories starring these two in following books. "Bill the Bloodhound" was an interesting "detective" story of sorts. It starring a detective that isn't clever and brilliant, but just a likable guy who may not be good at his job but is fun to know anyway. "Wilton's Holiday" and "The Man With Two Left Feet" are short stories with a dancing theme. I really, really enjoyed both of those. In "Wilton's Holiday," readers meet a professional dancer who entertains some out of town visitors. The husband has been to New York before and is very proud of himself and confident that he knows everything there is to know. The dancer has pity on his poor wife who is sitting in the background watching her husband behave foolishly. He won't dance with her because she's never been to New York before and couldn't possibly dance well enough to be seen in public. She goes to speak with the wife and convinces her to dance with someone else, to even enter a dance competition....It is a story well worth reading! "The Man With Two Left Feet" is also a story about a newly married couple. The man who cannot dance falls in love with a beautiful woman; after a year of marriage he realizes that his wife may miss not being able to go out and go dancing. He begins to secretly take dance lessons. It does not go well. But he's persistent. The wife meanwhile wonders why her husband is acting so strange and has changed his habits... It's also a fun story, in a way, because the man is reading his way through the encyclopedia.

    I enjoyed so many of these stories! I would definitely recommend this one!

    Read The Man With Two Left Feet
    • If you love short stories
    • If you hate short stories
    • If you enjoy humorous stories
    • If you enjoy great writing, great storytelling

    © 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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    44. The Queen of Hearts

    The Queen of Hearts. Wilkie Collins. 1859. 484 pages.

      Although it took me months to finish reading this collection of short stories by Wilkie Collins, I still found most of it to be delightful. I just LOVED the framework of this book. Three (old) men are entertaining a young lady, Jessie Yelverton. (I believe one of the men is one of her guardians?). As her visit draws to a close, one of the men in hopes of keeping her around just long enough for his son, George, to return home--he would love to have her for a daughter-in-law--proposes that she stay for ten more nights to hear ten stories. The brothers will take turns writing/telling/sharing stories. In between each of the stories, there is narrative linking them all together. The three brothers are Griffith, Owen, and Morgan. The ten stories are: Brother Owen's Story of the Black Cottage, Brother Griffith's Story of the Family Secret, Brother Morgan's Story of The Dream Woman, Brother Griffith's Story of Mad Monkton, Brother Morgan's Story of The Dead Hand, Brother Griffith's Story of the Biter Bit, Brother Owen's Story of the Parson's Scruple, Brother Griffith's Story of A Plot in Private Life, Brother Morgan's Story of Fauntleroy, Brother Owen's Story of Anne Rodway. All of the stories had been previously published in various magazines from 1855 to 1859.

    My favorite part of Queen of Hearts was the framework of the narrative. I loved meeting Jessie Yelverton. I loved Griffith, Owen, and Morgan. I loved seeing how she changed their lives for the better. I loved seeing the life she brought back into their lives. And I loved seeing her come to care for these men, too. How much at home she felt with them. She wasn't anxious to depart either. Many of the stories were good; however, some of them were just so long! I felt some of them were definitely long enough to be novellas. 

    Read The Queen of Hearts
    • If you enjoy Wilkie Collins
    • If you enjoy short stories
    • If you like mystery, suspense, gothic, or horror
    • If you enjoy romantic comedies

    © 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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    45. L.M. Montgomery Short Stories, 1896-1901

    L.M. Montgomery Short Stories, 1896-1901. L.M. Montgomery. 142 pages.

    This short story collection features nineteen short stories by L.M. Montgomery. Stories in this collection include: "A Case of Trespass," "A Christmas Inspiration," "A Christmas Mistake," "A Strayed Allegiance," "An Invitation Given on Impulse," "Detected by the Camera," "In Spite of Myself," "Kismet," Miriam's Lover," "Miss Calista's Peppermint Bottle," "The Jest That Failed," "The Pennington's Girl," "The Red Room," "The Setness of Theodosia," "The Story of An Invitation," "The Touch of Fate," "The Waking of Helen," "The Way of Winning Anne," and "Young Si." While I didn't absolutely love each and every story in this collection, I enjoyed almost all of the stories. A few I really did LOVE.

    I really did love "The Jest That Failed" perhaps because it reminded me a little of Edith Wharton's Roman Fever. In "The Jest That Failed," a few mean students decide to play a trick on Grace Seeley, a poor classmate that they look down upon. Wouldn't it be absolutely hysterical if Grace thought the most popular senior boy, Sidney Hill, was asking her to the prom? But their trick doesn't work like they hoped!

    I also enjoyed "An Invitation Given on Impulse." This is how Montgomery described the heroine, Ruth Mannering..."If they had thought about it at all, they would probably have decided that they did not like her; but for the most part they simply overlooked her" and "painfully shy and reserved." This story is how one of the more popular girls decided to go with her impulse and invite "poor Ruth" to her home for the holidays instead of her best friend. This visit transformed Ruth in oh-so-many ways, and for the first time the girl catches a glimpse of what friendship is all about.

    "Kismet," is an interesting story of a failed marriage that has been given a second chance...depending on the results of a horse race! This husband and wife meet accidentally after years of living separately. Both are surprised to see each other again, neither thought the other would be at the races. Conversation is strained at first, but, eventually these two happen upon an agreement. She's bet her money on one horse, he's bet on another horse...can these two make a success of it?

    There is a wide variety of stories: some Christmas stories, some happily-ever-after romances, some tragic romances, some comedies, some rags-to-riches, some coming-of-age stories. They do range in sentiment. Almost all of the stories are interesting, however. All of them display human nature at its best and give a glimpse of Montgomery's greatest gift: her way of capturing human character and spirit with very few words.

    Read this short story collection:
    • If you're a fan of L.M. Montgomery
    • If you enjoy short stories
    • If you'd like to enjoy short stories but are somewhat resistant or hesitant to pick up short story collections
    • If you enjoy a wide variety of stories: rags to riches, coming-of-age, family-friendly "feel-good" pieces, love stories--happy and tragic, ghost stories, comedies, etc.
     
    © 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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    46. A New Story


    I'm interrupting my self-imposed exile from blogging to give you a story.

    It's called "The Authentic Life of Billy the Kid". That link will take you to its Google Docs page, where you can read it online or download the PDF.

    There's a story behind this story, and also a story to why I'm giving it away. I don't think those stories are even remotely necessary for appreciating the tale itself, but if you're curious, read on...



    I wrote "The Authentic Life of Billy the Kid" almost five years ago. It was the first story I wrote after my father's death, and some of the concerns within it clearly come from my own anxieties about inheriting his house, business, and collections of various historical memorabilia. I'm not much good at writing strongly autobiographical fiction, though, so the characters, particularly the narrator, are quite different from me. Without that distance, I couldn't possibly have written the story.

    Around the time I was finishing up the first draft, editors of an anthology asked me to submit something, so I finished this and sent it to them, since it was all I had that wasn't either sold or junk. They liked it, but the book never happened. I sent it to a prominent and quirky literary magazine, but after more than a year never heard back. Normally, I query and pester, but something kept me from doing so this time. I just let it go. (I've still never heard from them.) Then I sent it to another strange and interesting lit journal, and they gave me lovely rejection, saying various members of the staff liked it a lot, but it didn't fit the next issue and was too long for the website. "Too long?" I thought. In my mind, the story is 5,000 words or so. I looked at it again. Oh. It's over 10,000 words.

    Then I realized that though, of course, I'd be happy to have the story published by any of the places I'd submitted it to, I had always been unsatisfied with how the story looked. Because it's comprised of numerous scraps of manuscripts — emails, letters, a journal, old science fiction magazines — my ideal form for it would be something that replicated those manuscripts in some way. It is, after all, a story about (among other things) artifacts and what they do to us.

    I decided to play around with it and see if I could give it some of the visual life it had in my imagination. I added images and colors and typefaces. And when it was done, it felt to me like a much more powerful and mysterious story than it had as only words.

    Then I was stuck. Because the imagery, type, etc. is precisely positioned, I don't know of a file format other than PDF that will work for it. But this is really the only form I want the story to exist in. (Well, I'd love it to exist as actual artifacts in a box, but I'm afraid the printing and manufacturing costs would be rather prohibitive.)

    I needed to get this story out there, though. Sharing and publication are not only about the glory of having other people read and love your work; for me, the biggest benefit of publishing something is just to get it out of myself. It doesn't matter whether it's a blog post or a story, whether it's in a giant publication that all sorts of people read or a tiny little thing all of 7 people on Earth ever encounter. It's the expulsion that matters, especially for work that has some sort of emotional connection. Just having it out there means it's no longer in me. Because of when and why it was written, I didn't want "The Authentic Life of Billy the Kid" to kick around anymore. I needed it out of myself. I needed to be able to let it go.

    So here it is. A story-artifact. A thing. In as close to an ideal form as I can get it. No matter its fate, it's a wonderful relief to have it out there in the world, no longer possessed only by me.

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    47. Valentine Craft Time

    VALENTINE'S DAY is only two weeks away now. So if you need to make some special Valentines for the special people in your life, here is a fun craft video from HIGHLIGHTS magazine on making "secret" Valentine cards.

    And if you'd like to read a story about two new friends and a super-fancy Valentine's Day card, then please read my story, "The Fool Proof Valentine Plan."

    Do you have a plan for Valentine's Day???

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    48. L.M. Montgomery Short Stories 1904

    L.M. Montgomery Short Stories, 1904. L.M. Montgomery. Dodo Press. 144 pages.

    This is the third L.M. Montgomery short story collection I've read and reviewed this month. (The first covering 1896-1901; the second covering 1902-1903.) This collection features eighteen short stories: "A Fortunate Mistake," "An Unpremeditated Ceremony," "At the Bay Shore Farm," "Elizabeth's Child," "Freda's Adopted Grave," "How Don Was Saved," "Miss Madeline's Proposal," "Miss Sally's Company," "Mrs. March's Revenge," "Nan," "Natty of Blue Point," "Penelope's Party Waist," "The Girl and the Wild Race," "The Promise of Lucy Ellen," "The Pursuit of the Ideal," "The Softening of Miss Cynthia," "Them Notorious Pigs," and "Why Not Ask Miss Price?"

    It is always interesting to read her short stories. I noticed in this collection in particular that there were several ideas or themes that were later developed more fully and used in several of her novels. For example, "The Promise of Lucy Ellen," reminded me of the West sisters in Rainbow Valley. And "Miss Sally's Company" reminded me of Miss Lavendar from Anne of Avonlea.

    The story I loved MOST of all is "Them Notorious Pigs." Here is how it begins:
    John Harrington was a woman-hater, or thought that he was, which amounts to the same thing. He was forty-five and, having been handsome in his youth, was a fine-looking man still. He had a remarkably good farm and was a remarkably good farmer. He also had a garden which was the pride and delight of his heart or, at least, it was before Mrs. Hayden's pigs got into it.
     Mrs. Hayden is a widow raising two young children and struggling to keep up with her new farm. After the pigs get into Mr. Harrington's garden one too many times...he loses it...
    Harrington had never seen his neighbour at close quarters before. Now he could not help seeing that she was a very pretty little woman, with wistful, dark blue eyes and an appealing expression. Mary Hayden had been next to a beauty in her girlhood, and she had a good deal of her bloom left yet, although hard work and worry were doing their best to rob her of it. But John Harrington was an angry man and did not care whether the woman in question was pretty or not. Her pigs had rooted up his garden—that fact filled his mind.
    "Mrs. Hayden, those pigs of yours have been in my garden again. I simply can't put up with this any longer. Why in the name of reason don't you look after your animals better? If I find them in again I'll set my dog on them, I give you fair warning."
    A faint colour had crept into Mary Hayden's soft, milky-white cheeks during this tirade, and her voice trembled as she said, "I'm very sorry, Mr. Harrington. I suppose Bobbles forgot to shut the gate of their pen again this morning. He is so forgetful."
    "I'd lengthen his memory, then, if I were you," returned Harrington grimly, supposing that Bobbles was the hired man. "I'm not going to have my garden ruined just because he happens to be forgetful. I am speaking my mind plainly, madam. If you can't keep your stock from being a nuisance to other people you ought not to try to run a farm at all."
    Then did Mrs. Hayden sit down upon the doorstep and burst into tears. Harrington felt, as Sarah King would have expressed it, "every which way at once." Here was a nice mess! What a nuisance women were—worse than the pigs!
    "Oh, don't cry, Mrs. Hayden," he said awkwardly. "I didn't mean—well, I suppose I spoke too strongly. Of course I know you didn't mean to let the pigs in. There, do stop crying! I beg your pardon if I've hurt your feelings."
    "Oh, it isn't that," sobbed Mrs. Hayden, wiping away her tears. "It's only—I've tried so hard—and everything seems to go wrong. I make such mistakes. As for your garden, sir. I'll pay for the damage my pigs have done if you'll let me know what it comes to."
    She sobbed again and caught her breath like a grieved child. Harrington felt like a brute. He had a queer notion that if he put his arm around her and told her not to worry over things women were not created to attend to he would be expressing his feelings better than in any other way. But of course he couldn't do that. Instead, he muttered that the damage didn't amount to much after all, and he hoped she wouldn't mind what he said, and then he got himself away and strode through the orchard like a man in a desperate hurry.
    Something changed after their meeting...Mr. Harrington finds himself wishing that those pigs would get in again...because he would LOVE to see her again...

    I also LOVED The Girl and the Wild Race. Mrs. Theodora Whitney desperately wants Judith to get married. (She is twenty-seven after all.) Mrs. Whitney feels that Eben King would be the perfect match for Judith. He is her choice for Judith. But Eben King is NOT Judith's ideal. Judith thinks Bruce Marshall is her "right one." When Judith overhears her aunt talking to a notorious gossiper about how horribly contrary she is and how she's unlikely to ever marry...she reacts.
    "I will," repeated Judith stormily. "I'm tired of being nagged day in and day out. I'll marry—and what is more I'll marry the very first man that asks me—that I will, if it is old Widower Delane himself! How does that suit you, Aunt Theodora?"
    Mrs. Theodora's mental processes were never slow. She dropped her knitting ball and stooped for it. In that time she had decided what to do. She knew that Judith would stick to her word, Stewart-like, and she must trim her sails to catch this new wind.
    "It suits me real well, Judith," she said calmly, "you can marry the first man that asks you and I'll say no word to hinder."
    The color went out of Judith's face, leaving it pale as ashes. Her hasty assertion had no sooner been uttered than it was repented of, but she must stand by it now. She went out of the kitchen without another glance at her aunt or the delighted Mrs. Tony and dashed up the stairs to her own little room which looked out over the whole of Ramble Valley. It was warm with the March sunshine and the leafless boughs of the creeper that covered the end of the house were tapping a gay tattoo on the window panes to the music of the wind.
    Which suitor will arrive first when he hears the news of Judith's bold declaration? It WILL lead to quite a race!

    © 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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    49. Larry Constantine

    Larry Constantine is  a professional member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and the author of a number of science fiction short stories. He writes thrillers under the pen name, Lior Samson.

    Please tell everyone a bit about yourself.

    Larry ConstantineThe older you get, the harder it is to be brief, to condense the lifetime journey into a paragraph or two in a biographical sketch. In your twenties, you pad the resume; by your forties, the thing stands on its own; by the time you are looking back at your sixties, radical compression and redaction are in order. What’s important, what irrelevant? What’s of interest? What is a boring distraction? I tell my students at the university where I teach that I am not a real professor but that I am a real industrial designer. Both parts are true — in part. What they reveal is a complexity hidden behind brevity. I have been a pioneer in software engineering, in family therapy, and in interaction design. I divide my time between Europe and the US. I am deeply entrenched in academia and in industry and fully belong in neither. I am a novelist. I write under a pen name, but my official identity is no secret. I do most of my writing evenings and weekends in my apartment near the University of Madeira. My loving wife and kids put up with my long absences. I love to cook. I am a composer and would write more music if I were not so busy writing novels.

    When did the writing bug bite, and in what genre(s)?

    I have been writing professionally all my adult life, but nearly all of that was technical non-fiction. I was good at it — even won awards — but I can’t say I enjoyed it all that much. I really started writing with passion and pleasure when I began work on my first novel, Bashert. I have never been one to color within the lines, so, although my novels are nominally in the thriller genre, they frequently break out of the boundaries of genre conventions. My forays into fiction actually began decades earlier with science fiction short stories and a couple of novellas. Those earlier works have been republished in Requisite Variety, which takes its title from my last published SF short. My recent novel, The Rosen Singularity, might nominally be called near-future science fiction, but it violates the terms of engagement that SF readers expect and is probably more literary thriller than SF.

    Is there a message you want readers to grasp?

    If I had wanted to be a preacher or rabbi, a long-form journalist or a self-help guru with a message, I would have taken a different path. So, no, I don’t have a message for readers. But I do have a mission. I want to challenge my readers, to get them thinking, to leave behind semantic seeds that grow into fresh inspiration and insight. Thoughtful thrillers, provocative page-turners, intelligent intrigue—these are among the phrases that have been used to describe my novels. I want to raise questions more than offer answers. What is the nature of extremism and its connection with terrorism? Who are the good guys and who the bad in a world of shadow and deception? What are the unintended consequences of medical advances? And I want readers to have a great time and a grand ride on the road to the last page.

    Briefly tell us about your latest book. Is it part of a series or stand-alone?

    ChipsetMy most recent novel is Chipset, which is both part of The Homeland Connection series and can be read on its own. Readers who missed the first three novels — Bashert, The Dome, and Web Game — will not be lost, but those who go back and catch up will be doubly rewarded.

    Like its predecessors, the story turns on a real threat, in this case malicious computer code actually embedded in the very hardware on which the entire world now depends. Like the other novels, it centers on ordinary people thrust into extraordinary circumstances, not superheroes or larger-than-life figures, but people you could know dealing with outsized challenges. Let’s just say that Karl Lustig, an American technology journalist, and his British-Israeli wife, Shira Markham, a jewelry designer and all around smart lady, are in for an adventurous holiday when Karl uncovers a secret within the computer chipsets he is delivering to colleagues at the University of Madeira.

    Who’s the most unusual/most likeable character?

    I really like all my characters, even the bad guys and walk-on players are lovingly crafted. In Chipset, I have to admit to having developed a special affection for Karl’s mother, whose story-within-a-story in a packet of letters takes Karl back to World War II Poland, Germany, Portugal, and England. She was an amazingly resourceful lady, as Karl finds out.

    Do you have specific techniques to help you maintain the course of the plot?

    Perhaps it is the influence of my career as a designer, but I write much as a portrait artist paints, moving from one place in the canvas to another, filling in details here, sketching broadly there, painting over something that doesn’t look right one place, adding an element for balance someplace else. I make lots of notes but do not work from a strict outline. Instead, just as the painter steps back from the canvas, I keep going back and approaching the work as a whole, as a reader, taking on the perspective of the reader’s experience. Does it hang together? Is the pace and rhythm satisfying and engaging? Are there holes or is too much given away or at the wrong time? Then I go back and rewrite. And revise. And rewrite.

    Do you have a specific writing style? Preferred POV?

    Every writer, even those who mimic others, has a writing style. In my case, I confess to writing in a fashion that echoes not some particular writer or writers but broadly fits the sort of writing I like to read. I enjoy reading rich description, insightful exposition, and colorful, clever narrative. I like hearing the voice of the writer as well as of the characters. I enjoy the poetry of language, the music of well-crafted sentences, and the rhythm of flowing paragraphs. These are the things I aspire to. Others will judge how well I reach those aspirations. In any case, I strive for something more classical than contemporary, despite the thematic currency of my thrillers.

    And while we are on the subject of style, if I read one more self-appointed expert blogger cajoling modern writers to “show not tell,” I am likely to reach violently through the screen with malicious intent. It’s called storytelling for a reason. The language has adjectives and adverbs for good reason. The passive voice is useful. I see it as the writer’s job to master and use it all.

    I have always favored third-person POV because of its flexibility, but I have no religious orthodoxy about acceptable incursions into the inner thoughts of characters. I am more interested in spinning a good story than purity of viewpoint. I try not to throw readers for a loop as I take them around curves and through twists, but I am not writing to please some professor of creative writing. I am telling stories.

    How does your environment/upbringing color your writing?

    My environment and upbringing are as different as land and sea, but I suppose both have colored my writing. From my growing up, I would have to credit my mother, a newspaper columnist and editor, for instilling in me a love of words and a healthy respect for the craft of writing, in which it has taken me a lifetime to develop some craftsmanship. But my environment, which spans the globe and washes me with life’s complexities, is far the more direct influence. I often use familiar places to anchor my fiction. The Rosen Singularity is centered in the North Shore communities of Massachusetts near my home, but also in London and outside Moscow, where I have worked and visited numerous times. Chipset is largely set in Madeira, my second home. But I also go far afield, as far as the wholly invented African country of Busanyu, where the long lived dictator Edgar Jabari Mbutsu rules with brutal efficiency and plays a pivotal role in The Rosen Singularity.

    Share the best review (or a portion) that you’ve ever had.

    “Few thriller writers can match Samson’s ability to deliver a gripping story. In previous reviews, I have compared him to John le Carré and Tom Clancy. As an Indie writer, he probably doesn’t have the same name recognition or sales, but he is equal to or better than both those authors. His work deserves to be on the New York Times Seller list.” That from mystery writer James A. Anderson.  More than I deserve, I am sure, but to soar in such celebrated company, even for a paragraph, is delicious.

    What are your current projects?

    I like that you end this question with a plural, because I have two novels in progress. I imagine that writers are not supposed to do that, but there it is, the confessed truth. I am just not ready to commit fully to one or the other. Both are quite daring, in a sense, and each represents an entirely new literary direction for me. The one that has the tightest grip on me at the moment is my first murder mystery, although, as with my other works, it jumps the genre gaps and might be thought of as a love story except … Well, it’s still in progress, so exactly what it is remains an open question. Literary fiction? The other novel, which is also well under way but temporarily simmering on a back burner, is a work of quiet terror. So maybe it’s horror, except… These novels are quite experimental, stories that defy expectations and take the reader in new directions. I am excited. And scared.

    Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

    My author page at Amazon.com/Amazon.co.uk is the best jumping off point. And it makes it easy to purchase the books with One-Click!


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    50. My Man Jeeves (1919)

    My Man Jeeves. P.G. Wodehouse. 1919. 256 pages.

    My Man Jeeves (1919) was my first introduction to the wonderful writer, P.G. Wodehouse. I absolutely loved, loved, loved it from first to last. This is a short story collection containing eight short stories: four short stories starring Bertie and Jeeves ("Leave it to Jeeves," "Jeeves and the Unbidden Guest," "Jeeves and the Hard-boiled Egg," "The Aunt and the Sluggard") and four short stories starring Reggie Pepper ("Absent Treatment," "Helping Freddie," "Rallying Round Old George," and "Doing Clarence a Bit of Good.") The writing is WONDERFUL. I just loved, loved, loved its cleverness, its playfulness, its attention to detail. It's just a DELIGHT to read this one. My favorite stories were the ones starring Jeeves and Bertie. But I also enjoyed the other stories.

    This is a collection I see myself rereading again and again just because it is so very fun!  


    Read My Man Jeeves
    • If you love short stories
    • If you hate short stories
    • If you enjoy humorous stories
    • If you love Bertie and Jeeves
    • If you enjoy P.G. Wodehouse
    • If you love great storytelling or narration
    © 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

    1 Comments on My Man Jeeves (1919), last added: 2/16/2013
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