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 24, 2015

Stephen King on the Craft of Short Story Writing


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.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Pacing and Consistency Continued

A few months ago I wrote about how my writing schedule had to change for 2015.  I felt the need to follow up now that some time has passed.

So far I've remained extremely consistent with sitting down to write each weekday.  I still haven't been able to work myself back up to a strict word count but I don't see this as a sign of losing steam with my writing.

Quite the opposite, in fact.

For about a two years ago I made the decision to treat writing like it's my job, which, for the most part, was a good thing.  It made me buckle down and get serious about my publishing schedule and keeping track of income and expenses.  It made me start the process of really honing skills.  I haven't mastered these skills yet but I feel I'm heading in the right direction.

But I'm starting to realize more and more that my treating writing like a job was a source of deep frustration.  It was a necessary act to push me to the next stage but now I'm glad I was forced to change my pace.

Someone once told me that you don't decide to become a full time writer, the writing decides for you.  I always saw the wisdom in that advice but I think I subconsciously ignored it as I doggedly went about my daily word count minimums.   And while the consistent publishing helped me to become a better writer, it really didn't have any life-altering effects on my sales.  The numbers continued at their own pace no matter how much mental agony I put myself through.

I now feel at peace with the writing and publishing process.  If the numbers can move at their own pace, why can't I?

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Working Blogging into the Schedule?

So I feel like I have a fairly decent writing routine going.  I get stuff on the page, I get stuff published.  Success!

But blogging always seems to fall by the wayside.  I like blogging.  I actually feel bad when I forget to write a post.  More importantly, it's a way for me to "think out loud."  Yapping to myself is one of my best learning tools.  And yet somehow it always gets shoved to the back of my mind/day.

I've been trying to figure out a way to change this.  Some of the big indie authors are crazy prolific with their blogs.  Like, they will crack out a 1000 word post every three days.  How???  Writing is their job, that's how.

However, that's no excuse.

What about some of you regular bloggers?  Do you devote one particular day to blogging?  Or do you write as the spirit moves?