Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Review of "Hour of Darkness," a short story by Rocky Rochford



Summary:
With the Shanzi King's return to Mares looming on the horizon, ready to unleash an eternity of chaos, three of his most trusted and dangerous generals take to the World of Oceania to begin preparations for the return of Darkari, the Dark King of Death. Shaymon, bringer of diseases. Stavros, the always hungry wolf. Mongra, the maker of war. Each one desires nothing more than the total eradication of all humanity. But to do that, each must find a place in the world they seek to destroy.

Review:
While I could appreciate the concept behind this first installment along with the author’s budding writing style, this particular tale was unfortunately lacking in story arc. Short story authors have the freedom to explore a larger variety of story telling devices than novelists. If planned out, entire worlds can be explored snippets at a time and through the eyes of a multitude of characters.

However, in order for this to be pulled off well, there still needs to be a larger scope for the reader to grab hold of and this was where Hour of Darkness falls short. It is structured in a few, short chapters that all read disconnected from one another. With no obvious sense of direction by the end and no character to sympathize with, it is difficult to find a reason to continue to the second installment.

The author’s concepts and general writing style were promising enough to offer some redeeming qualities to the reading experience. I would be interested in revisiting his work in a few years time.

2/5 stars
Reviewed by Alain Gomez

By this story on Amazon.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

How to Write Short Stories: Writing Lesson & Tips, George Wier


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Review of "Gathering of Souls," a single story from a collection by D.F. Holland



Summary:
What do a psychic, a family of four and a computer programmer have in common? Unfortunately for them, they reside in the Beaumont House apartments. What appears to be a serene, picturesque apartment complex is actually an otherworldly reality consisting of the supernatural, the strange and the unimaginable.

In “Gathering of souls” ~ An interior decorator buys an antique painting with a heartbreaking, supernatural history that will turn her world upside down.   
Review:
The tortured soul trapped in the painting is always a classic a fun horror read. “Gathering of Souls” does a credible job adding the appropriate level of creepiness. You immediately know something is up the second the main character, Holly, hangs the picture up.

The promising start to this story is unfortunately followed by a little too frantic of a pace toward the conclusion. In short stories I don’t expect chapters of description but it is important for the reader to be allowed to marinade for a bit in the terror felt by the characters.

Overall, a good story concept and, for the most part, a fun read that could have been polished up just a bit more.

3/5 stars
Reviewed by Alain Gomez

Buy this collection on Amazon.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Review of "Purple, Silver, Olive, Orange," a short story by Helen Smith



Summary:
An entertaining short story set in a futuristic England, Purple, Silver, Olive, Orange is a bite-sized introduction to Helen Smith’s writing. Sarah wanted a sensitive, poetic, romantic boyfriend who would bring her flowers. Ryan ticks all the boxes. So why isn’t Sarah happy? Recommended for readers who enjoyed Alison Wonderland by Helen Smith.

Review:
Smith’s stories always have such a light, refreshing flavor to them. She makes it so easy to get lost, if only for a few minutes, in her whimsical world.

I especially enjoyed this story. Science fiction implants/cyborgs are often approached as a very serious subject. Every aspect of the pros and cons the technology holds for humanity must be examined. But Smith basically throws all this out the window and creates for us a cute little love story.

It’s an opinion but I do wish just a teeny bit more time went into explaining exactly what the main characters were. But by no means did this feeling of curiosity ruin the story for me. Overall, an excellent read and definitely worth picking up a copy.

4.5/5 stars
Reviewed by Alain Gomez


Buy this story on Amazon.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

World Building Woes

For some time now I've been developing my Muzik Chronicles world.  For some time I focused entirely on the blog but lately I've been developing the world more through series of novelettes.

I have to say, I love it.  The stories never make me any money but I really don't care.

However!  I have now gotten to a point where the universe is expanding.  New characters, new planets, terms... the list goes on.  How do I keep track of all of this?  The blog does help me keep track of species and planets.  But the characters.... I honestly don't know how George RR Martin does it.

It almost seems like it's time to make an Excel sheet?  Or something?  I'm not sure if that would make this more or less complicated...

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Review of "The Memory Man," a short story by Helen Smith



Summary:
The Memory Man is an intriguing new short story from bestselling British author Helen Smith. Two women become friends in an abandoned post-apocalyptic building. A psychic makes contact with a lost soul. His apprentice tries to find news of a man he has lost touch with. Fragments of memories are traded and twisted. Friendship provides comfort, but the recovery of memories brings torment rather than reassurance - until truth becomes secondary to survival.

Review:
I can't help but like Smith's style.  Even after ruthlessly throwing her characters into a grim situation the tone of the story always remains cheeky.  This allowed me to instantly connect with the characters and feel genuinely interested in their fates in a comparatively short space of time.

I would say that, as a whole, I liked The Memory Man.  But it did seem to suffer from one major flaw: transitions.  Not quite enough attention went into providing backdrop for the tale.  The summary actually reveals more than the story ever did.  This would have been fine if it weren't for the occasional switches back and forth from some sort of "dream state" to reality.  By the end I found myself confused with more questions than answers.

Still, I liked the journey.  Short stories, to me, are about the experience.  They aren't long enough to become involved in a world so the impression you are left with is everything.  I found this story engaging.  I just wish a few more loose ends had been tied up.

3/5 stars
Review by Alain Gomez

Buy this story on Amazon.