Posts

Showing posts from November, 2011

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

Image
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

Image
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

Image
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

Image
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

Image
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

Image
"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…