Tales of the Elder Statesman by Edward Faith is a series of short stories involving the Elder Statesman character, although not necessarily from his point of view. All the tales are set in the fictional town of Rough Edge, Alabama. They feature an interesting cast of characters, including the Elder Statesman’s wife, Lillian, and a host of their friends, acquaintances, and co-workers. The highly original short stories are all no more than two or three pages each. The tales are concise and typically do not follow the format of having a beginning, middle, and end. Rather than stories, they are brief snapshots of life in rural Alabama.
The structure makes more sense when reading about Faith’s intention with this book to record the funny stories he collected from several old gentlemen of his youth. The tales are amusing, and readers will especially find the story of Mrs. Swaf to be the most entertaining. It is about a woman called Nancy who frequented a fabric shop in a nearby town. The shop had many features to recommend, including a warm and helpful shop owner, Mrs. Swaf, whose name was above the door. However, after many visits over the years, Nancy is finally informed that the owner’s name is not Swaf; in fact, the SWAF at the front of the shop is an acronym for ‘Southwest Alabama Fabrics.’ This story is hilarious in the telling, and the author portrays his sense of humor in his writing. However, the author does have an amusing turn of phrase from time to time, such as “a managerial group severely infected with inflamed bottom line mesmerism.”
Tales of the Elder Stateman are entertaining and a quick read. This fictional collection of humorous short stories will delight readers of all kinds looking for humor in their life.
Pages: 161 | ASIN : B08ZRYK7PH
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The short story collections’ lesser popularity, compared to the novel, boils down to inconsistency. Just like an album, there are bound to be one or two skips in almost every short story collection out there.
This was my mindset coming into Something Went Cold, Glenn Reschke’s short story collection. With just 5 short stories across 160 pages, I thought that all of them had better be good. And with my experience when it comes to short story collections, five is almost never enough to keep the whole boat afloat.
Well, I’m happy to report that I’ve been proven wrong. After reading the book, I put it down on my desk with a sigh of relief. Reschke did it – he made me enjoy a short story collection from cover to cover.
Whether intentionally or unintentionally, he seems to have created a piece of literary work that feels right at home with the Netflix Generation. The synopses for the short stories vary wildly, with “#MeToo” being about an abused woman’s revenge and “The Afterlife of Adolf Hitler” which imagines how the late dictator and monster moved to the other side. I would be remiss not to mention the boldness of the latter.
The diversity of the stories and their fascinating topics capture the readers’ attention immediately. There’s never a dull moment or a narrative that goes too long. And just like the “Next Episode” button on Netflix, it’s pretty hard not to turn to the next page once you’ve finished a story.
Instead of being one unified piece, the book feels more like a portfolio or showcase of Reschke’s writing. It’s all over the place in the best way possible, but it leaves you wanting to know who Reschke is as an artist. This collection doesn’t satisfy that question. But at the end of the day, that’s a minor flaw compared to the quality and talent that he displays here.
Pages: 162 | ASIN: B096586Q9L
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The Inquisition and Other Stories is the second volume of short stories written by Michael Tabor. This collection includes an eclectic mix of thirteen exceptional stories. Each of these fascinating stories has a separate setting and cast of characters so each one can be read on its own. The genres for each original story range from historical dramas to love stories and even mysteries. This varied collection will give readers plenty to look forward to.
Readers of this collection will find the gripping stories varied and well written making it hard to pick a favorite. Catherine Lescault is a historical drama that heavily features Nicolas Poussin. Bright Stars on the other hand is a clever little mystery story for any literature nerds out there. Without giving away spoilers it is a story in which Keats shadow looms large. It’s a clever story and really demonstrates Tabor’s love of literature as an academic. This love of literature is evident in Tabor’s writing. Tabor plays with literary devices constantly.
The collection could almost be used as a textbook for creative writing classes. However, Tabor never forgets that a story should be entertaining first. Each of these gripping stories is a fun and often challenging read. The pacing is excellent. Each story is given its own time to breathe without feeling rushed. Some of them could most definitely be turned into full novels, but they do not suffer from being in the short story format either.
The Inquisition and Other Stories is a riveting and through-provoking collection of short stories. With Tabor’s imaginative and suspenseful writing style readers of all kinds will find something they enjoy in this collection. Anyone can pick it up and enjoy it but there’s even more for history and literature fans to enjoy here.
Pages: 264 | ISBN : 97809986778
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Short stories are sometimes just what the doctor ordered. It is, however, difficult to find an author who can successfully convey an engaging plot, well-developed characters, and a neat and satisfying conclusion in a few short pages. Loyst R. Streeter has the remedy. In his Fireside Stories, Streeter delivers fifteen unique short stories, each complete with fantastically drawn characters and plots that move swiftly after grabbing readers’ attention within the first paragraphs. Streeter masterfully writes on a variety of topics and manages to effortlessly cover everything from the Bible to intrigue and mystery.
Fireside Stories, by Loyst R. Streeter, is a must-read–period and no questions asked. I found myself immediately lost in one story after another. Streeter simply has been gifted with the ability to capture readers’ attention, swiftly create an emotional bond between readers and main characters, and still manage to surprise readers every time. Each short story is the ideal length and somehow manages to leave readers both satisfied and wanting more.
I have to say, I was not expecting to become as invested in Streeter’s stories as I did. Right out of the gate, I read the first short tale, “The Thief,” believing I could see exactly where and how the story would end. The author, I feel, has a talent for predicting how readers will perceive his characters, and he takes them on a journey that ends with a sudden and much appreciated twist.
It is difficult, if not impossible, to choose a favorite among Streeter’s stories. While his stories are a wonderful mix of genres and each contains memorable and relatable characters, they are all fantastic reads in their own right. If I had to choose a standout among the fifteen shorts, I would have to say “The Stranger” resonated with me. In fact, as soon as I finished it, I reread it. Streeter is a real gem for fiction fans.
Readers will have a difficult time finding another short story writer who delivers so completely. Streeter’s stories stick with you long after reading and beg a reread. I highly recommend Fireside Stories to anyone looking to fill some rainy afternoons or those relaxing moments before bed. Streeter’s stories are amazingly satisfying and truly memorable.
Pages: 175 | ASIN : B09LJ4KPMP
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Three Dimensions, by Elizabeth Reinach, is a collection of short stories with themes ranging from crime mysteries to family secrets and greed. In The Trio, you will meet an elderly couple terrorized by three creepy adolescents; Grandma introduces Johnny, who is entangled in a family drama that arises from his wealthy family matriarch’s revelations on her 80th birthday; a Christmas night’s sketchy deal goes awry in White Witness; an unusually close relationship of love and jealousy among siblings is explored in The Tennis Party 1885 by Sir John Lavery; The Seànce reveals the tragic fate of a recently deceased man to his acquaintances; an old multiple homicide case resurfaces in William?, and a deathbed confession from a ill woman sparks her daughter’s search for the truth in the final tale, Margaret Donald Was Only a Typist.
The anthology begins with relatively mild and seemingly unrelated topics. This choice of pace might seem tone-deaf at the first glance – which might be the book’s main caveat -, but the approach soon spikes the reader’s interest and the temptation to skip through the pages to satisfy their curiosity. As the tales grow increasingly more eerie and uncomfortable, sometimes even prompting external research for plot twists and “Easter eggs”, this edge-of-your-seat book grapples with the reader’s sense of familiarity: the stories consistently present daily-life topics with an obscure twist that gives off the stomach-churning sensation of accessing a forbidden something you should not have been.
Three Dimensions, by Elizabeth Reinach showcases vastly different characters that range from the gullible that struggles with her fashion choices in Aladdin’s Cave to acclaimed 20th-century European psychoanalysts from Oedipus in Furs and the overtly polite staff that hides a rotten cynicism in Beneath the Surface. Illustrated by Salvador Capuyan with comical and satirical artwork, this collection of short stories will appeal to readers who enjoy an unique style of casual entertainment.
Pages: 67 | ASIN: B0823GFW2K
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Short Stories and Flash Fiction contains a variety of intriguing stories that vary in length. What draws you to the shorter format of story telling?
I first began authoring short stories when attending a writing group. Whilst with the group I published my debut novel, The Burden of Guilt, but found that I also enjoyed writing short stories. The shorter format of story telling ensures that no word is wasted but has a use within the tale. Sometimes, it is the final line of the story that comes to mind before the storyline and I tend to start from there. The final line of “The Midnight Train” is an example. Knowing that the short story is an acceptable genre enables the writer to use only as many words as a storyline requires.
What were some challenges you set for yourself as a writer with these stories?
I find a constant challenge is ensuring that life does not prevent me from writing. It is so easy to spend time on other things that need to be done.
I can honestly say that I do not set myself actual writing challenges within my stories. I love creating stories and once the idea has come to me, I enjoy allowing the characters to take form and seeing how the story unfolds. I let my writing take me to wherever it wants to go.
The one challenge I have set myself away from my short story writing is to adapt “Infinity” into a television script, which is a genre I have not yet attempted.
“Valentine’s Day” was my favorite story from the collection. Do you have a favorite from the book?
My favourite story is “Infinity.” It is my first attempt at writing fantasy and I had such fun creating a world where anything could happen and the possibilities within it endless. I have no doubt that one day Timomathon will once again leave Humanland to return to Infinity for a quest that lies somewhere in the future.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
At the moment I am contemplating a sequel to The Burden of Guilt, but there will also be more short stories. If I were to set myself a target to ensure I write every day, then anticipated publication would be toward the end of 2022.
Posted in Interviews
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Short Stories & Flash Fiction, by Molly Clifford-Nixon, is comprised of twenty unique stories that vary in length, from super short (flash fiction) to longer stories. Each story brings about new characters that take the reader on an interesting journey.
The book begins with a fantasy story called “Infinity” that transports the reader to the world of Infinian. Timomathon, the main character in this short story, grapples between saving his realm or being with his humanland love. The next short is “Dear Diary” which humors the reader with a mother’s account of her day. “Valentine’s Day” is a sad short story about a man visiting his wife’s grave. This short story was one that stood out to me because in only two pages the main character has so much depth. He spent every penny on treatment for his wife, and even after her passing, he still spends what little he has on a red rose for her on Valentine’s Day. “Snow White- An Alternative Ending” was another humorous read that involved deceiving the Prince into marrying Snow White. In this short, the dwarfs know of Snow White’s true nature and the Prince believes her to be the woman he is to spend his life with. After the wedding ceremony, Snow White reveals her true colors and the dwarves live happily ever after, even though the Prince may not.
Author Molly Clifford-Nixon has a very fluid writing style. The author has a fantastic ability to create compelling characters and intriguing plots that differ from story to story, but in any length the characters have surprising depth. The book is an interesting blend of humor, fiction, grief, and surprise all wrapped up in one.
Short Stories & Flash Fiction is a fantastic book to keep on hand for those short bus stops or waiting in line. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for an imaginative collection of short stories with varied storylines and interesting premises.
Pages: 126 | ASIN: B076VMNR6W
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The Red Grouse Tales is a collection of speculative short stories conveying thought-provoking ideas through the stories of average people. What was the inspiration for the ideas behind your stories?
That is a difficult question to answer; where does inspiration come from? I suppose I feel that our world is pretty amoral – yes, it is immoral as well – and so ideas and themes relating to some form of morality interest me. As regards the writing of a story, some parts come amazingly easily, whereas others have to be really worked on. If I tell you that I wrote the central section of ‘The Golden Tup’ all in just a few days, whereas I worked up three different endings for ‘The Little Dog’ story, before finally settling on the one that I chose, you’ll get the idea. I am not a fan of ‘penny dreadful’s’ and like stories to be ‘plausible’ even if we know that they actually aren’t. So inevitably my stories tend to start slowly; one needs to set the scene and then introduce the story into it as though it really did happen. Most of the stories in our own lives start without us realising it and it is only when we are reasonably well into it that we realise that something is happening, or indeed has happened. My personal preference is for stories that have a bit of meat to them, so writers who have influenced me include Joseph Conrad, William Golding and Herman Hesse. I also owe a huge debt of gratitude to David Almond – who, by the way, lives just up the valley from me – for his book ‘Skellig’. The surreal concept of finding a real life angel in a garage just did it for me – wonderful! – and made me realise that my ideas were not so outlandish after all and could make stories, and it was this story of his that got me started on writing.
Your characters are felt unique but authentic. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?
This question is not dissimilar to the previous one. Whereas one or two of my characters are almost, and I must emphasise the ‘almost’, a direct copy from life, most are made up. I suppose all characters are a mix of people who I have come across plus a bit of imagination, and I suspect the story also helps to drive the character. As a writer you have to ask yourself what sort of person would do this or that, behave in this or that way, and then you try and write the character to fit.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
As you pick up on in your review, evil was probably the main theme; it and how people react to it. The Little Dog explores evil in a person and The Golden Tup evil in a place. The Crow is primarily about vanity and how it can distort an individual’s view of others and events, whereas The White Hart is at heart a battle of the sexes story, with a rather sexist male stance gradually being seen for what it is. Of course I enjoyed throwing in observations about life and death, the naivety of youth, religion and the concepts of good and evil and, as already mentioned, the battle of the sexes. All these are old favourites, but they are fun to explore.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I am currently writing a trilogy loosely based on Dante’s Divine Comedy. For this I am borrowing from my civil engineering background and making the first part about the construction of a tunnel, the second about the surveying of a road and the third about the construction of a bridge. These will be modern day versions of Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso. I am adjusting the stories of course, but broadly speaking the general theme will be the same; namely that of the protagonist discovering himself, coupled with a rather sad love affair. So far I am well on with the first two parts, though have yet to make a start on the third. When will it be available? My wife died recently, so my personal life is in a bit of a mess at present, So I would guess at, at least a year from now at the earliest. However, if readers are wanting another book, I have two novellas to choose from; The Bat and The Blue Horse; as well as an award winning novel, The Ghost Moth.
Posted in Interviews
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