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Showing posts from 2011

Trailer for Space Hotel Series

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I decided to branch out into the book trailer arena.  It's my very first iMovie project.  Let me know what you think!





Review of "The Restoration Man" by Simon John Cox

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Summary: One man's obsession with the restoration of a near-mythical car is thrown into sharp perspective following the death of his wife.
Review: After reading this story there is no doubt in my mind that Cox is able to write well.  An author's descriptive ability is always tested in short stories.  And in that area Cox excels.  He does a fantastic job creating a protagonist that you can't help but feel connected to.
Where I feel that this story is sort of lacking is in the obsession department.  It's the main plot point but, strangely enough, is not really focused on.  The protagonist's wife is dead but you never find out how his obsession with the car affected their relationship.  Most of the story centers on his current grief.  There are a few hints that he regrets his past actions.  But if I don't know what they are, how can I tell if he was really ignoring his wife for the car or if it's all in his head?
Story lines like this are tricky.  There has to …

Reading Short Stories Online

This whole post may seem like I'm pointing out the obvious, but if there's one life lesson I've learned it's never assume people think the same way you do.

I think that a lot of people separate "reading" from "browsing the internet."  Reading involves sitting in a cozy spot and getting lost in your own little world for a few hours.  For many it's an intellectual pastime.  In this mindset, reading things on the internet does not count as "reading."

Browsing the internet is its own activity.  Unless you're trying to research something, internet browsing is usually not taken very seriously.  You end up clicking on random links and before you know it you're up-to-date on Paris Hilton's latest breakup.

I would say that I definitely fall into both of those categories.  But I would like to make people aware of a third option: you can "read" while "on the internet."  Personally, I don't like staring at a co…

Review of "The Lamprey Stone," a single story in a collection by Maria Violante

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Summary:
It's a side of the southwest never glimpsed by mortal man - a heartless, barren outback riddled with ruthless demons. In its ignorance, humanity is powerless to stop these escapees from Hell and the havoc they create with their dark magic.

Good thing De la Roca isn't human.

A gunslinger with no memories of her previous life, she has fought for the last three hundred years on the forefront of a supernatural war, relying only on her wits, her reflexes, and her own demonic powers - all to pay for her own release from Hell.

The Angels wouldn't send her in alone and unarmed, though; Alsvior, her gifted - if contrary - steed, and Bluot, a legendary revolver with an unquenchable blood-lust, have been with her every step of the way - alone with a series of terrible nightmares that might hold the keys to her past.

Then, an Angel appears with a bargain that seems to good to be true - five final targets, and she is free from her penance.

Quickly, she discovers that her old m…

To Translate or Not To Translate

With the latest Spain and Italy Amazon additions, more and more people seem to be looking into translating their works.  I've really been weighing the pros and cons about this in my mind.  I haven't come to any definite conclusions but I thought I would share my thoughts thus far.

On the one hand.... much of a short story author's success is based on their ability to reach their niche audience.  I do believe that this initially requires casting a wide net.  Make your work as available as possible and then earn those one or two fans that will buy all of your work.  So in this sense, translating makes sense.  The "foreign language" markets are much smaller.  So there is the potential to become a big fish in a small pond.  Plus, some countries are far more open to short stories than Americans.  Hispanic cultures, for example, have a very rich background in short stories.

On the other hand... considering how much one makes on a single short story, it would take a loo…

Concept behind "Shabti" by Alain Gomez

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The idea for this story came from a friend who had recently gone on a trip and visited the local museums.  She showed me this whole series of pictures she took of these small, blue Egyptian statues called shabti.  They're really fascinating to look at.  It kind of makes you wonder how the ancient Egyptians got the statues to be that blue.  I mean, the statues are thousands of years old.
Mysterious blue statues practically scream "short story."  So I caved in.  There were a lot of directions I considered taking but ended up deciding on creating an unusual romance.  When I first traveled over to Europe, I very clearly remember having my concept of time change.  I remember standing in Barcelona staring at a cathedral that had been under construction for almost as long as my own country had existed.  
I imagine that it would have been similar for some of the British when they first started traveling to places like India or Egypt.  Being in a country so different from your o…

Short Story Collections

There seems to be a lot of heated debate about collections of short stories.  I think that many new authors or just authors new to writing short stories often try to overcompensate with collections.

Thanks to the publishing industry we have the idea in our heads that more words equals more value.  So I think a lot of writers feel guilty about charging the same for a short story as they do a novel.  So they lessen the guilt by just packing together a ton of stories into what is essentially a novel-length collection.  So everyone is happy, right?

There is a certain validity to this thinking.  And I do think that a short story writer should provide readers with as many options as possible.  However, for the most part, I feel like there are two HUGE issues that are  overlooked when a writer approaches short stories in the manner I just described.

The first problem is an artistic one.  When a writer approaches short stories with the intention of writing as many as they can to put together…

Interview with Author Tony Rauch

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First, tell us a little about your writing journey. Would you consider yourself to be a "short story author" rather than a "novelist"?

I have three collections of short stories published. Two from Eraserhead Press and one from Spout Press. I have been writing shorts since childhood. In college I had some shorts published, which attracted the attention of my first book publisher. That first book then attracted the attention of my second publisher.

I mainly concentrate on short form because that's all I have time for, and it's the easiest for me. Also, to me long work feels bloated with a lot of useless background filler and could use trimming. Short form gets to the point without messing around and wasting time. There's a lot of power concentrated in the short form. Also, I tend to generate a lot of ideas, so short form allows me to implement them with a minimal expenditure of time. 
I've been working on longer stories though, expanding my tales. So t…

What I Read vs. What I Write

There is something of a discrepancy between what I read vs. what I write.  This never fails to surprise me on some level.  I always thought the stories that would be the easiest would be the ones that are of a similar genre to what I read.  Not so!

I actually read quite a bit of British literature.  I'm particularly fond of 19th century British literature (maybe +/- a decade on either side).  This isn't to say that I don't read other things.  That's just generally what I lean toward when I'm browsing for a new book.

So when I really started writing with publication in mind, I just kind of assumed that I would probably end up creating a whole bunch of Regency romance novellas or something.  I even tried starting one but then I got stuck.  I will resurrect it eventually but I just hate forcing plots that aren't ready to be written yet.

Which brings us to what I actually really enjoy writing right now: science fiction and fantasy short stories with strange twists …

November 2011 Short Story Sales Stats

Since my last post, Smashwords has decided to start posting the date sold for ebooks.  How convenient!  I will continue to list B&N (sad tale that it is) but I also wanted to add my Apple, Sony and Kobo sales.  Since Smashwords updates their numbers at a slower pace, I will be listing the previous month for Apple, Sony and Kobo.  That way it will be a more accurate report.

Once again, all of these numbers that I list are for my under 10,000 stories plus collections.  I don't list my novella sales since the general public already knows that novellas can sell.  Also, I only list numbers for stories that I actually got paid for.  Not the free downloads.

Total number of short stories and collections available:  23


Amazon (US, UK, DE, FR):  29

B&N:  1


Apple (October):  2


Sony (October):  0


Kobo (October):  2

Now on to some interesting things of note...

I made my first Amazon France sale this month.  This was cause for much rejoicing.  I also took away the free status for Celebrity Sp…

NaNoWriMo Follow-Up

So my goal for November was to write 10,000 words into my new novella.  All I can say is: FAIL!

In my defense, I actually started out pretty well.  I was writing every day and it felt kind of nice.  And then... I hit a wall.  It got to the point where I knew exactly where the story was headed but I wasn't exactly sure how I was going to get there.  For two days I tried to work through it by just writing down whatever with the intention of going back and fixing it.

But then I had a wake up call.  After the second day's attempt, I thought to myself: "Wait a minute... I hate forcing plots and writing whatever garbage comes to mind."  I mean, it was for that exact reason that I decided to not major in Literature in college.  I knew I would get burnt out if I was constantly required to churn out what was, in my mind, sub-par work.

So I put the novella aside for a little while to let it marinade.  But it wasn't a totally unproductive month!  Here's the tally:


3,000 …

Last Moment by Alain Gomez

She places her hand in his.

Fingers twine together.

So many memories it makes them both smile.

He closes his eyes one last time.

Review of "Dramatic Solution & The Allergy Factor" by Robert Collins

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Summary:
Two Frigate Victory short stories.

Dramatic Solution: The Terran Federal Republic frigate Victory is escorting colonists to their new home world. Upon arrival they find a pirate ship orbiting the planet. Dealing the the pirates is easy. How can the crew prevent the pirates’ leader from finding his missing ship?
First published in “Just Because,” September 1998.

The Allergy Factor: There’s trouble on the colony world Vliets between settlers and a mining company. Captain Jason Ayers and the Victory are sent to resolve the dispute. One of his crew falls ill from a sip of beer. Could the explanation point to a solution?
First published in “Hadrosaur Tales,” Volume 17, 2003.

Review:
This collection is composed of two stories, “Dramatic Solution” and “The Allergy Factor,” both part of a series entitled “Frigate Victory.” The sci-fi shorts follow the adventures of the crew on the frigate Victory, particularly Lieutenant Shannon Fournier and Captain Jason Ayers. The episode-like format, a…

Hosting a Drawing on Short Story Symposium

I just wanted to announce that I am hosting a drawing/sweepstakes event on Short Story Symposium.  To enter  the drawing all you have to do is Tweet a blog link or share a blog link or Facebook.  As prizes, I'm giving away a $25, $20 and $15 Amazon gift card.

Here's the link to find out more details:  http://shortstorysymposium.blogspot.com/2011/11/blog-raffle-win-free-amazon-gift-card.html

I figure it's kind of a fun way for everyone to help each other out.  The authors get more publicity, readers could find new reading material and the general public could become more aware of short stories.

Previously Undisclosed Publishing Goal: I want to do it my way

As far as short stories go, there are some pre-prescribed methods on how you should go about promoting your stories.  It's generally suggested that you use magazines (or e-zines) to your advantage.  Submit your story to the magazine and if they accept it and publish it you get a little bit of freelance money plus a way to introduce your work to new readers.

Once the one year (or whatever) contract with the magazine is up, you are free to publish your short story on your own as an ebook.  Then you use the usual internet promotion methods to further yourself as an author.

I feel like this is good advice and not at all a bad way to go.  However, I decided almost as soon as I first published that I'm not going to listen to it.  Here's why:

I want to see if it's possible to just be a self-published short story writer.  I kind of want to test the system.  There's a lot of chit and chat about how ebooks could revitalize the short story.  I want to see if this is true or …

2012 the Year of the Short Story?

A few days ago I came across a link shared on Twitter by James Everington.  It was called "Is 2012 Going to Be 'The Year of the Short Story?'" and you can read the article here if you like.

First of all, the title made me laugh.  It sounds like the a Chinese zodiac sign or something for the year.  The article itself doesn't really break any new ground either.  It basically just talks how traditional publishers have not been interested in short stories until this point because they cost too much to print.  Well, duh.

What is interesting about the article is that it suggests at the end how ebooks are changing the availability of short stories which has caused a renewed interest for publishers.  Now this is what short story authors have been hoping for since the beginning.  What's significant about this article is that it's a sign that our dreams could become a reality.

Articles such as this show that short stories are now becoming a market presence.  A viab…

Review of "Ratticus: A True Tale from Critter Corner" by Raymond Birdsell

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Summary: The true short story of one family, one critter, and one month's worth of problems.

A comedic look at the travails of being a homeowner and dealing with the occasional uninvited houseguest.

Review: In this story, homeowners do battle with a very determined rat who has moved into their home. Having an older home myself that seems to be prone to critter invasions, I fully appreciate everything the author and his family went through. Picturing Birdsell catching mice with a colander and chasing rats with a golf club reminded me of my own adventures: trapping mice in tupperware and driving to the park in my pajamas to release them, using a tennis racket to scoot a possum out from behind the dryer, etc.

As Birdsell points out, many people have similar stories of critter or bug invasions. If the individual is a good storyteller, as Birdsell clearly is, such tales are tailor made for amusing blog posts or a comedically dramatic retelling while out to dinner with friends.  However,…

Review of "A Jalapeno for the Vampire" by Daniel Roberts

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Summary:
Kidnapped and thrown into the lair of a deadly vampire, Susan Smith fights through the terror of her plight to survive. Will the evil creature get her in the end or will she find a way to defeat him?

Review:
I was a bit reluctant when I was given a vampire story to review. Veins make me queasy and I don’t like anything touching my neck, so it comes as no surprise that the recent trend of “sexy vampires” holds no appeal for me. In my mind, vampires will always be gross and scary.

Fortunately for me, Roberts’ story “A JalapeƱo For The Vampire,” is a modern nod to the good old days when vampires were terrifying. The story follows the capture and imprisonment of a young girl, named Susan, who is doomed to be a vampire’s snack. Though Roberts does an excellent job of crafting interesting characters, setting the scene and building suspense, Susan’s dialogue is sometimes forced. Instead of sounding like a spunky young girl, she sounds like a grown man trying to sound like a spunky you…

Short Stories Are Perfect For....

Long trips to the bathroomDoctor appointments where they are only running "5 minutes" behindObscenely long lines at the grocery store because the person in front is trying to win the exact change awardPretending to look like you're important and busy because you're staring at your phoneExtended family get-togethers and you're not too keen on talking to any of your relativesImproving your vocabulary during a boring class - at least you're learning something, right?Waiting for your fashionably late friend to show up for your dinner engagementActually putting your iPad to good useLunch breaks where you don't want to look like a loser by just sitting there alone and chewingWhen you're not focused enough to read a novel but don't want to tell people that you just sat around and watched TV the whole weekendWhen you can't decide if you're in the mood for a rip-your-heart-out horror story or a rip-your-heart-out sappy romanceAppearing artsy at tre…

Review of "A Car Crash of Sorts," a short story by Frank Marcopolos

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Summary: The only soldier in the history of the Army to bring both MACBETH and DUINO ELEGIES to boot camp, Dante Kronos recruits his best buddies to establish "The Reading Maniacs Reading Group" on Fort Bragg. When a barracks brothel-ring threatens to annihilate his team, can Dante destroy the threat and save the brotherhood?

Review: "A Car Crash of Sorts" is a case of surprisingly rich plot and depth that is somewhat marred by a disjointed writing style.  My biggest beef was with the general "flow" of the plot.  The author would only sometimes add asterisk to mark large changes in time or point of view.  
The rest of the time there would be scenes where, for example, one paragraph would be describing Dante going over to his girlfriend's house.  There would be a paragraph break and then the next line would be the same set of characters only an hour later.  I found this to be distracting as I was frequently pulled out of the story trying to figure out w…

Interview With Author Declan Conner

First, tell us a little about your writing journey.

Where to begin? I guess the journey spans many years. From early childhood, we always had books around the house, so I picked up the habit of reading, which I think is critical for anyone going on to write. I read most of the classics, but my first love was the Famous Five Stories. Of course, as you go through life, interests and reading habits change and I gravitated towards the thriller genre.

I have always had a fertile imagination as a child and used to love English lessons when we were given short essays to write. I hope my sister doesn’t mind me saying, but when I was thirteen and she was at Grammar school, she couldn’t craft stories to save her life. When she was given homework, I used to make up her stories for her and she would write them out in her own hand to correct the Grammar. As a team, we always achieved top marks. Trust me, that experience taught me the value of editorial input. Even now, I wouldn’t publish anything…

Review of "Laundry Day" by Stacy Juba

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Summary:
A short story by mystery author Stacy Juba. When Gregg accidentally discovers his neighbor's lingerie collection drip-drying in her shower, he stares in fascination at a scene that looks like laundry day at the whorehouse. After his neighbor is found dead - strangled with her own fishnet stocking - the next victim might even be closer to home.

Review:
**While this review does not completely reveal the story’s ending, it does contain some spoilers.**
In “Laundry Day” a man’s chance discovery of his neighbor’s lingerie collection leads him to make some other unexpected discoveries, primarily about his relationship with his wife. He soon finds that beneath the placid surface of neighborly friendliness lies a hotbed of betrayal, lust and murder.
Here, Juba crafts a gripping tale with realistic characters and a fast paced, thrilling plot. There are few things I love more than a good murder mystery, and that is exactly what the author has created in “Laundry Day.” With its suburban…

"End Behavior" by Alain Gomez and Aubrey Bennet

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"End Behavior" is an an action serial designed to be completely ridiculous.  I'm co-authoring it with my good friend and lovely fellow reviewer here on Book Brouhaha, Aubrey Bennet.  Aubrey and I originally started this story back in college for our own personal amusement.  Both of us have a weakness for cheesy movies.  The goal was to create a story that kind of played up every single James Bond/Clive Cussler/Robery Ludlum stereotype.
Lo and behold the e-book revolution came around years later.  So we decided to turn "End Behavior" into a campy serial with "Will our hero ever esacpe?!  Tune in next week!" types of endings.  As of right now, the plan is to do eight episodes in this series.
I have no idea if the series will ever catch on but they're really fun to write.  The general policy when putting together episodes is: subtle yet over-the-top.  Our main character never drives any car worth lesson that $150,000 and of course has to run around …

Grammar Rules: Italics, Quotation Marks and Boldface, guest post by Purity Jones

The need to express emphasis, emotion, private thoughts, titles and proper nouns in written works often results in the rules of English grammar being blurred or broken. If your uncertainty has left you with a combination of italics, boldface, and creative punctuation, use these rules of thumb to bring your writing back to shipshape.

1. Stay away from bold. Period.


2. Use italics or quotation marks to denote thoughts. If you use quotation marks, make it clear that the quoted text is not spoken aloud. Example:

Incorrect: Steve picked up the broken vase. I hate Linda. The vase was priceless. Of course I forgive you.

Correct: Steve picked up the broken vase. I hate Linda. The vase was priceless. “Of course I forgive you.”

Correct: Steve picked up the broken vase. “I hate Linda,” he thought viciously. The vase was priceless! “Of course I forgive you,” he said aloud.

Correct: Steve picked up the broken vase. He really hated Linda. The vase was priceless. “Of course I forgiv…

NaNoWriMo 2011

National Novel Writing Month or "NaNoWriMo" is a writer's challenge that started a little over a decade ago.  It goes for the entire month of November and challenges authors to write 50,000 words of a new novel.  If you want to be super official about the whole thing, you're supposed to register on the NaNoWriMo website and keep track of your progress.

I'm not a super official kind of person.  Plus, I always forget to update progress bars and stuff.  And I don't write novels.  However, I believe that the spirit of NaNoWriMo is to really push yourself as a writer.  In other words: set a challenging goal for yourself for the month.

So I'm going to have my own little NaNoWriMo challenge for myself but it's going to be for a new novella.  I've recently outlined one but have yet to really get started on it.  So I figure this is as good a time as any to get my rear in gear.

My novellas tend to average about 20,000 words.  So my goal is to write 10,000 w…

October 2011 Short Story Sales Stats

October seemed to be a slower month.  Anyone else notice this?  I heard rumors that there was some big Amazon book sale going on but was too lazy to investigate.

Several interesting developments have happened this month.  But first, the sales report:

Amazon (US/UK/DE/FR):
    # of works:  20
    # of sales: 11

B&N:
    # of works:  20
    # of sales:  1

Ok, so the first big thing was that I made my first sale on Amazon DE this month.  W00T!!!  So it is actually possible to sell stuff there, apparently.  The Berlin Wall has finally crumbled.  France... we shall see.  I kind of want to make an invasion of Paris joke now.  But I won't.

Which leads us to the second, more interesting, thing.  My Smashwords sales report finally updated and I've not only sold more even more books on Apple but I'm also starting to pick up sales in the Kobo and Sony stores.  What annoys me is that Smashwords doesn't list the date that the sale was made.  So there's not way to place whic…

Review of "A Fitting Tribute," a single short story from a collection by Andrea Janes

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Summary:
Boroughs of the Dead is a collection of ten short horror stories set in and around New York City.

Beneath its modern facade, New York City teems with dark secrets, faded spirits, and unnameable horrors. Boroughs of the Dead weaves fact and myth, fiction and legend to tell ten of the most terrifying tales of the haunted metropolis.

A medical doctor abandons all rationality when he falls in love with the spirit of a murdered woman. The nightmares of an adolescent boy come to life and stalk him to the deadly, polluted waters of Newtown Creek. A cholera demon wipes out the thieves and murderers of the Five Points.

From ghost stories to zombie narratives to weird tales, Boroughs of the Dead contains evils as diverse as Gotham itself.

Review:
For me, one of the most interesting things about short stories is how they don't always clearly fall under the predefined genres.  When you see a fantasy novel you can make some pretty safe guesses about what kind of entertainment it will d…

Interview with Author Cora Buhlert

First, tell us a little about your writing journey. Would you consider yourself to be a "short story author" rather than a "novelist"?
Both actually - and an occasional poet, too.

I started writing short stories after a few abortive attempts at novels and plays in my teens. However, while all my pals at the university creative writing workshop were writing flash fiction pieces whittled down to the absolute minimum, my stories tended to run several pages. The professor never quite knew what to do with me, especially since I insisted on writing genre, too.

Eventually I gravitated towards novelettes and novellas, which - as you know – are next to impossible to sell. Though I still wrote short stories, too, because I had started to sell them. Then I started and finished a novel, took a break from fiction writing to finish my MA degree and started another novel afterwards. However, I found that I missed the change of pace and quicker gratification offered by short stor…

Different Motives for Reading

Writing and (hopefully) selling short stories has really made me think about why people read.  As unrealistic as it seems, every author, I think, secretly hopes to create that ONE book that is universally loved and immortalized by literary history.  Most of us are practical enough to realize that will never happen.  Even JK Rowling has haters.

Subject material is definitely something that affects how readers will perceive your work.  If a reader doesn't like fantasy, there's not much you can do about that.  But a lesser thought of concept is why people read.  This actually varies almost as much as subject material.

Some people read almost exclusively to inform themselves.  They love non-fiction.  The idea of reading about dragons or lasers seems like a silly waste of time.  Some people only read entertain themselves.  They want a really shallow book that doesn't take very much thought juice to figure out.

This are extreme examples and most of us tend to vary in what we fe…

Review of "Three Avenues of Escape," a short story by Elmore Hammes

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Summary: A short story about a young man's utilization of several items left to him by his older brother as a means to escape his father's bigotry.

Review: This story was quite good and surprisingly deep.  Though it is the story of an abusive home, this is a tale of resiliency rather than pity.  I liked that.  I liked that it didn't try and wring sobs out of me.  In many ways, it made the protagonist that much more real.
Hammes appears to be quite adept at spartan description.  Nothing is delved into about the scenery and yet you can feel like you're sitting in the room watching Jeff figure out ways to evade his father.  The subtle shift in Jeff's character at the end is just so simple and yet at the same time speaks volumes for both his present and future circumstances.
I would definitely recommend giving "Three Avenues of Escape" a shot even if you feel like the subject material might not be of interest.  A story well told is always worth reading.
4/5 sta…

Congratulations, Amazon. You've reinvented the magazine.

For those that do not know, Amazon has been managing to sell lower priced Kindles by giving readers the "special offers" edition.  Also known as ads.  So a Kindle that is normally $109 can be purchased for the low price of $79 if you're ok with having advertisements as your screen saver.

How generous of Amazon.  How generous of those advertisers to help make up the difference! As if.  I highly suspect that Amazon probably doubles what they make on each Kindle when they add those special offers.  Between production costs and the advertisers, they are making a killing.

What cracks me up is how a lot of people seem to be in awe over how business savvy Amazon is.  Like putting ads in things to lower cost is a new idea or something.  Come on, guys! They basically just reinvented the magazine.  I actually had a post a while back about the magazine vs. the short story.

The primary source of income for magazines is not the well thought out articles and it's not the subscript…

Free Story of the Week

I found a cool new site from a Google ad.  It's official: Google, Netflix and Amazon now know my interests better than my own mother.  Scary.
Anyway, the site is a project of a non-profit publisher called The Library of America.  You give them your email (yes, just your email... no extra billing information) and every Monday they send you a free story.  
The "story" they send could be a short story, poem, essay, etc.  I haven't been subscribed very long but it seems like most of the stuff they send are from authors that are now dead (as opposed to contemporary). The selections are never very long and it's kind of a fun way to expand your reading.
Click here to go to their sign up page.

iBooks vs. B&N

It seems that Amazon is becoming increasingly dominant in this ebook market.  They have stayed competitive in both product and price.  But what really has managed to make them kind of the lions is their online shopping experience.  They were already designed to make money online.  It's easy to find things and the reviewing community there is awesome.  500 reviews on a product totally makes up for not being able to see the thing for yourself.

For awhile, B&N was keeping up nicely.  I actually still think that Nooks look better than Kindles.  They feel more high quality and the ebook actually looks like a book rather than a data pad.  What's killing B&N in this race is their inability to streamline the online shopping experience.  I know I'm not alone here when I say that I actually go to Amazon to shop and then if I find a book I'll go and buy it for my Nook.

I just do not understand why B&N has been slacking off in this area.  For the past eight months they…

Review of "Love, Everlasting," a short story by Maria Violante

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Summary: When Cole Harper wakes up in a cabin, gun in hand, he moves quickly to dispose of his girlfriend's body in the woods. Too bad she has other plans.

Review: "Love, Everlasting" was twisted, creepy, mysterious... I liked it.  I feel I should clarify that this story is about a cocaine addict.  Normally druggie stories are not really up my ally.  More often than not I find myself losing interest as the story unfolds in a tedious manner with the protagonist trying to find more drugs.  But this was definitely not the case with Violante's short story.  I was actually irked when I had to pause reading it (something came up) because I wanted to find out what happens in the end.
Violante has a wonderful style of writing.  She obviously "gets" how to create mood with minimalist description.  Her story is face-paced but still feels like a complete experience at the same time.   I was a little worried while reading that it was going to have a cliche Hollywood-esq…

Review of "Hard Creek Bridge," a short story by Issac Sweeney

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Summary: Friendless and shy, Slim Jackson enters his second semester at Abe Lincoln University. He gets lost on an unknown path, comes to a strange bridge, and has the struggle of his lifetime.

Review: An interesting short story with more depth than the summary gives it credit for.  Oozing in symbolism, this is a tale of change and maturity.  Slim Jackson must decide how to approach this "life bridge."
Sweeney's story is a quick, pleasant read.  I feel that his style is geared toward "literary" rather than "entertainment."  I would say that Sweeney seems to be done an injustice in the ebook format.  If this story were bought as an instant gratification purchase, it would be easy to completely dismiss "Hard Creek Bridge."  
On the surface it's overly simple.  The reader has to want to put some effort into figuring out what Sweeney was driving at.  With this in mind, I almost wish I had been given this story to read in a reader's magaz…