Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Review of "Cops, Crooks & Other Stories in 100 Words," Flash Fiction Collection by Mark S. Bacon



Summary:
A woman makes a daring escape from a bank robbery--with help from a cop. A detective sergeant outwits his inspector and solves the murder at a snowed-in manor. Two con men meet unexpectedly when they’re both plying their trade at the same resort hotel. These are some of the seemingly complex stories begun and resolved in exactly 100 words.

Seven of the stories in this collection have been published in five different online magazines: Stymie Magazine, 101 Words, Flashshot, 100-Word Story and MicroHorror.

Other stories include a man who discovers--and loses--his long-lost love at a ball game. A hit man receives an unusual request and is unable to comply. And a fatigued long-haul trucker reaches a bizarre destination.

Each entry is a complete story, most with a protagonist, a challenge and resolution. Here are 101 mini mysteries, mini puzzles with unexpected, satisfying endings.

Crime/mystery and law enforcement-oriented stories make up about half the collection. Also included are love stories, humor, dramas and “Twilight Zone”-style speculative fiction.

Review:
This is the first collection of flash fiction ever sent to be reviewed here at Book Brouhaha.  I know from personal experience that putting together collections of flash fiction is quite challenging.  To make a decent sized ebook, the author must compose dozens of complete stories.

I feel like the title was a bit of a misnomer.  I know that in the summary it says there's a variety of stories but with a title that emphasizes Cops and Crooks, you can't help but go in with certain expectations.  The stories feel like a hodgepodge.  The only real connecting factor being that they're all exactly 100 words. 

That said, the quality of writing in this collection was quite good.  Many authors crack under such a tight word constraint but Bacon really seems to thrive.  As expected, some of the stories are more predictable than others.  But I found that they never failed to make me smile and sometimes even take a moment to reflect.  I feel like a flash fiction author has really done his/her job right if you don't feel like you need to rush to the next story right away.  Much like poetry, the stories should be savored.

Definitely worth picking yourself up a copy.  If you haven't read flash fiction before, this is a perfect time to try.

4.5/5 stars
Reviewed by Alain Gomez

Buy this collection on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Beta Reading for Your Short Stories!

I am very pleased to announce that Beta Reading is now being offered here at Book Brouhaha! 

A Beta Reader reads an author’s manuscript before it is sent to an editor and offers constructive criticism focusing on the flow of the story, characterization, dialogue, and potential plot holes. All authors need multiple Beta Readers to help improve their craft. Without them, an author cannot obtain objective feedback on the story and could potentially pay more in editing costs because of the level of effort needed to improve it.

The feedback offered during Beta Reading is private and will not be posted anywhere on the blog.  Think of it as an in-depth, personal review.  You can read more about this service by clicking on the Beta Reading tab at the top or by clicking here.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Review of "Dreamweaver," a short story by Benjamin Goshko



Summary:
Tonight, Somnus, God of Sleep, has tasked Dreamweaver to craft a happy dreamscape for a little girl named Abigail. The assignment seems routine at first, but, no matter what webs he spins, Dreamweaver cannot please the child. The only thing Abigail wants is to be reunited with her father. Failing to grant her this one wish will forever banish Dreamweaver to the dark netherworld.

Review:
This was a simply delightful story.  I want to say bordering on a fairy tale...?  Sort of...?  It didn't start with a "once upon the time" but for some reason it just struck me as belonging to that category.

Goshko does a fantastic job exploring the depth of pain and loss without attempting intentional heart string pulling.  It was a brilliant touch telling the story from the Dreamwaver's point of view.  The Dreamweaver is a spirit and therefore provides a sense objectivity as he explores each person's dream to try and get the complete story.

There were a few loose ends here and there that I wished had been tied up a little neater.  For example, the story starts with the Dreamweaver explaining that Abigail's happy dream was a special request from  Somnus, the God of Sleep.  Yet, Abigail's relationship with Somnus was never explained.  Why does he care so much about one little girl when there are millions of suffering children?

But none of this was enough to ruin the compelling plot told in this short story.  The Dreamweaver is almost naive when it comes to human emotions which makes his discovery of anger and abandonment bittersweet.   Definitely worth picking up a copy to read.

4/5 stars
Reviewed by Alain Gomez

Buy this story on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

SFWG 2013 Romance Contest RESULTS

We would like to thank everyone that took the time to submit to our first romance contest. Here at SFWG we want to try and celebrate all genres of short fiction which is why we chose something very different from speculative fiction this time around.


And now for the results!

First Prize goes to Amy Krohn for her story "The Third Painting."  Amy has graciously offered to give a free PDF copy to anyone interested in reading her story. You can contact her at: amy.krohn@yahoo.com

Second Prize goes to Laura Lond for her story "A Merman's Kiss." You can buy this story on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
Third Prize goes to Melissa Keir for her story "A Christmas Accident." You can buy this story on Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Secret Cravings Publishing.

Always be on the lookout for future contest announcements on our site!