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Lisa Diaz Meyer Author Interview

Lisa Diaz Meyer Author Interview

All Roads Destined is a collection of stories from fantasy to science fiction with links back to your first collection. What was the inspiration for this collection of stories?

As for the Outposts, I wanted to continue on since I’d left it as a cliffhanger in All Roads Home. I then felt I wanted to bring more loneliness and some addiction awareness into the equation as these subjects, real or imagined, can be sad and frightful.

I felt that this book was a bit darker than the last collection. What were some themes you wanted to capture while writing this book?

I did want to go darker, bring more science fiction in but based off subjects that make people uncomfortable. Again the addiction issue, some odd poetry. As you said in your review, the short story The Crone was your favorite. It was also mine, too. And I love when something like that can just come upon me, the imagery and the way I want it to be read.

You also included a selection of poems in the section titled The Fragments. What was your favorite poem from the collection and how did you pick which poems made it into this collection?

The poems or fragments I write in between or even during a WIP. My favorites in this book were Clocks and The Water Globe, both having to do with the passage of time.

What is your process like for writing short stories? Does it differ from longer novels?

There’s a certain pace with short stories that I prefer. I may be inspired to write a longer novel one day, just not yet.

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitterFacebookWebsite

All Roads Destined: A Collection of Dark Fiction and Poems by [Meyer, Lisa Diaz]Destiny is what we bring to the world where the roads are stained with tears and blood, and paved in eternal stone. In Part One, the continuation of The Outpost Trilogy shifts from post apocalyptic to science fiction. Part Two, The Enduring contains five dark fiction short stories. Part Three, The Fragments include fifteen poems of urgent struggle and destination. New York author, Lisa Diaz Meyer relates to the odd, macabre & funereal. ALL ROADS DESTINED is the second of her ALL ROADS trilogy.

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Literary Titan Book Awards June 2018

The Literary Titan Book Awards are awarded to books that have astounded and amazed us with unique writing styles, vivid worlds, complex characters, and original ideas. These books deserve extraordinary praise and we are proud to acknowledge the hard work, dedication, and imagination of these talented authors.

Literary Titan Gold Book Award

Gold Award Winners

Honor Among Outcasts (DarkHorse Trilogy Book 2) by [Protzel, Ed]Dance with the Devils: Revenge: Best served bloody by [Griffeth, Kwen]

All Roads Home: A Collection of Short Stories by [Diaz Meyer, Lisa]All Roads Destined: A Collection of Dark Fiction and Poems by [Meyer, Lisa Diaz]All Roads Shattered: A Collection of Dark Fiction Short Stories and Poems by [Meyer, Lisa Diaz ]

Return of the Sagan by [O'Donnell, Neil Patrick]Book of Matthew: House of Whispers by [DuBois, Catalina]

The Butcher's Daughter: A Memoir by [Grende, Florence]SHAME, GUILT, AND SURVIVING MARTIN BRYANT: One Woman's Journey from Terror to Joy by [Collyer, Karen]

Literary Titan Silver Book Award

Silver Award Winners

Wyndwrayth (Nick Swann Book 2) by [Yeats, Keller]Forgotten Letters by [Raeber, Kirk, Acevedo, Mario]

From The Shadows: A Journey of Self-Discovery and Renewal by [Onyeabor, Elizabeth]Seasons: Once Upon My Innocence by [Vandygriff, Lea Ann]

Dragon Ascendants (Luminess Legends Book 1) by [Vaughn, Paul E. ]

 

Visit the Literary Titan Book Awards page to see award information and see all award winners.

 

 

All Roads Shattered: A Collection of Dark Fiction Short Stories and Poems

All Roads Shattered: A Collection of Dark Fiction Short Stories and Poems by [Meyer, Lisa Diaz ]

All Roads Shattered by Lisa Meyer is the third book in the All Roads collection. This collection of dark fiction stories and poems begins with The Outposts III, which satisfyingly continues with the story of Georgia and Mitchell who we have been following through both books one and two. As we left them in book two to come to terms with their new life together, in this collection, Lisa picks up with the journey the two still must endure.

Then there is a three-part story in the form of People of Gods, a haunting selection of 12 pieces of poetry in the section titled Fragments, two further extended stories in the section The Enduring and finally, to end the collection, three small but perfectly formed short and simple stories which pack a huge punch in the section of The Oddities!

The Oddities features three ‘out there’ stories with Preacher, Crooks, and Helge. In a word, wow is what springs to mind when reading through each of them!

With Preacher, I never saw it coming at all, but the conclusion was oh so satisfying! Crooks was a great concept and equally mesmerizing. However, Helge had to be the most disturbing story of them all! I had, in fact, become so captivated by the last three stories that I wasn’t expecting the book to end when it did.

Helge produced some near awful visions in my mind as I read through, think Jack the Ripper style, back streets of grey and misty London; enough to give you nightmares. Yet, it was a tremendous and thoroughly satisfying end to a superb collection.

Having read both the first and second books in the collection, a part of me would have thought that perhaps by now Lisa may have run out of steam. After all, All Roads Home and All Roads Destined were for me, both 5 star reads. I couldn’t have been more wrong!

When you have read all three books, you may begin to feel that Lisa has a stronger connection to the futuristic sci-fi genre. This is perhaps because it is always the more extensive of stores and at the very beginning of each collection, with a continuation throughout the three.

However, in All Roads Shattered, the story I found the most compelling and atmospheric was Dinner with Myles. This was a story which I didn’t want to leave and could easily imagine Lisa writing a book based on this genre; such was it handled so well.

The ending to this story was, yet again, superbly accomplished by Lisa, as all her short stories have been throughout. However, I would still love for her to write a prequel to this one! Neil and Myles are wonderfully drawn, and complex characters and I could very well imagine them as partners working on crimes and investigating mysteries!

The great thing about reading Lisa Meyer’s collections is that each one gets better as you go along. That is particularly hard to achieve for many writers of such collections, but the All Roads Shattered collection is perhaps the most extensive and best written one yet.

It almost feels as though Lisa’s confidence has grown with each outing and this is therefore reflected in the intensity and broader scope of her writing. Her stories seem to expand and take on a deeper meaning in their unique genres in this collection, and I believe her writing style almost borders along the lines of perfection this time.

If you only manage to read one story, then Dinner with Myles should be that one. I can guarantee you that once you’ve sampled this nearly perfect piece of prose, you will feel compelled to read on.

Pages: 252 | ASIN: B0718Z38LD

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All Roads Home

All Roads Home: A Collection of Short Stories by [Diaz Meyer, Lisa]

All Roads Home by Lisa Diaz Meyer is a fictional short story collection. Covering several genres, the book is divided into six parts titled The Outposts, The Enduring, The Oddities, The Particulars, The Fragments and The Play Versions. With each section and story being utterly unique, this book really is a mixed bag of offerings. Nowhere is this more obvious than, besides the four sections of short stories all varying greatly in their genre, the collection also consists of a part of poetry and The Play Versions which really are that: five of the stories in the collection written in play format!

The first section of the collection deals with a world that is hard hitting. In the story titled The Safe Room, this links back to the previous short story in its representation of women, cancer, and childbearing. With such stark descriptive passages of the cloning and curing process detailed, this section hits upon the more awkward of subjects that aren’t always spoke about comfortably.

Dealing with religion verse science, this section may be quite an eye-opener, considering its placing at the very start of the collection, but its subject matter does indeed turn the tables making you question just who, if anybody, has such a right at this stage.

The Enduring section starts off with a story which is most certainly that – enduring for its characters. What begins as a heartfelt story of a mother’s struggles quickly turns itself on its head when the story ends. However, nothing physical has changed, her situation remains dire, but she has found peace in her heart and mind and can now approach her situation from a more positive perspective. This story emphasizes Lisa’s ability to change tact and emotion in just a few short pages and sums up the book in its entirety.

All of Lisa’s characters, though only with the reader briefly, are very easy at catching our attention and therefore it’s easy to recognize their plight and see the story from their point of view. That Lisa can create such emotions in her readers through characters that appear fleetingly is a wonderful achievement.

For me, The Enduring was a favorite section. Packed full of emotions, there is one story where the action begins, plays out and ends in a matter of just two short pages! If you’re not too sure whether this selection of stories is for you, I urge you to read The Christmas Break first. Immediately this highlights Lisa’s fluidity in prose as well as her ability to create a fascinating collection of characters, and all within a few short sentences.

With superb powers of observation, a beautiful and haunting writing style on many of the pages, alongside an ability to push topic boundaries (Hitler and Jesus at a dinner party, need I say more!) this is truly a collection you must read for yourself.

If Lisa is this good at creating such an enthralling collection of short stories, I can only imagine what she would be like with a full-length fictional novel!

Pages: 280 | ASIN: B00WVWFL86

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Congress of the Rough Writers Flash Fiction Anthology

Charli Mills Interview

Charli Mills Interview

The Congress of Rough Writers is an anthology that showcases flash fiction from a diverse set of writers. What was your inspiration for putting this collection together?

Carrot Ranch started as a sandbox — an online place to invite other writers to play for the sheer joy of creating literary art. The weekly flash fiction challenges created a safe space for writers to explore and push into their craft 99 words at a time. Maybe it was Julia Cameron’s teaching that we can be creatively healthy as we gain experience. We created a literary community with diversity that blows my mind every week. It’s uncoached and has no expectations beyond meeting the constraint and boldly going where the prompt leads. The writers inspire me to work with their material in an artistic way, to show how individuals of different backgrounds, genres, and levels can collectively create a powerful vision.

I’m a little jealous because you got to work with so many talented writers on this project. What was the development process like in putting this work together?

Right? The Congress holds some amazing talent. That’s what made me think of calling them the Congress of Rough Writers in the first place because I felt like Wild Bill Cody gathering talented riders from around the world and getting to play with their feats. The development process included coordinating with Sarah Brentyn who developed the structure from my crazy ideas to pull together memorists and fictioneers and build from their original material. I’ve become enthralled by the challenge of putting together collections of 99-word stories, and it’s like a secondary artwork to me. Norah Colvin developed my ideas for building community and wrote a clear and compelling educational component. We had a great challenge throughout the process to uphold different styles of English from global writers. C. Jai Ferry line-edited the entire book and several other Rough Writers served as editorial advisors. It’s not easy melding world styles but we succeeded. It’s breath-taking to work with a large group of writers beyond submissions.

I enjoyed how this collection showcased stories that were only hundreds of words long but managed to inspire some thought-provoking ideas. What was your favorite story from the collection?

Just as any reader acknowledges, we often pick a favorite based on how it personally resonates. For me, that one story is Pete Fanning’s original 99-word “Normandy.” He manages to express what the combat veteran’s experience is like as he ages. The story gives me shivers every time I read that final line, “I was alone on that beach.” I’m a spouse of a combat veteran and we’ve had hard times. We are finally getting him VA care although it’s a fight every step of the way. As my spouse’s advocate, this is my battle. So, to read Pete’s story to a group of combat veterans and their spouses, there was not a dry eye in the room. This is the power of literary art in 99-words. Pete nailed it.

Do you plan to put another anthology together?

You bet! Right now, I’m working with 33 Rough Writers on seven new parts that will focus on what writers can do with serial material. We had several writers create returning characters or write follow-ups to interesting story developments in previous 99-word stories. I’ve invited these writers to craft complete three-act short stories up to three thousand words long. I’ve invited writers to write narrative essays to tell the real story behind a 99-word BOTS (based on a true story). Memoir expert, Irene Waters, will help me develop that section. Educator, Norah Colvin, returns to help craft a new educational component that encourages writers to use their material in clever ways beyond a single use. We are also playing with three acts by piecing together three 99-word serials. Instead of creating chapters from prompt-linked flash fiction, I’m arranging hundreds of 99-word stories into 10-minute reading collections and connecting the stories in surprising and compelling ways. And, because Carrot Ranch is about making literary art accessible, I’ve invited 26 more writers as Friends to respond to new prompts. Each writer will include a 99-word artist’s statement in the new collection. It will publish in November after a rigorous editing process. I’m so excited to be working with such talent and passion for literary art.

Links: GoodReadsTwitterFacebookWebsite

The Congress of Rough Writers: Flash Fiction Anthology Vol. 1 (Congress of the Rough Writers Flash Fiction Anthology) by [Mills, Charli, Amore, Anthony, Bell, Georgia, Black, Sacha, Colvin, Norah, Fanning, Pete, Ferry, C. Jai, Glaessner, Rebecca, Goodwin, Anne]

Witness great feats of literary art from daring writers around the world: stories crafted in 99 words.

Flash fiction is a literary prompt, form, and tool that unites writers in word play. This creative craft hones a writer’s skills to write tight stories and explore longer works. It’s literary art in thoughtful bites, and the collective stories in this anthology provide an entertaining read for busy modern readers.

Writers approach the prompts for their 99-word flash with creative diversity. Each of the twelve chapters in Part One features quick, thought-provoking flash fiction. Later sections include responses to a new flash fiction prompt, extended stories from the original 99-word format, and essays from memoir writers working in flash fiction. A final section includes tips on how to use flash fiction in classrooms, book clubs, and writers groups.

CarrotRanch.com is an online literary community where writers can practice craft the way musicians jam. Vol. 1 includes the earliest writings by these global literary artists at Carrot Ranch. Just as Buffalo Bill Cody once showcased the world’s most daring riding, this anthology highlights the best literary feats from The Congress of Rough Writers.

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Literary Titan Book Awards April 2018

The Literary Titan Book Awards are awarded to books that have astounded and amazed us with unique writing styles, vivid worlds, complex characters, and original ideas. These books deserve extraordinary praise and we are proud to acknowledge the hard work, dedication, and imagination of these talented authors.

Literary Titan Gold Book Award

Gold Award Winners

Faery Sight (Faerie Legacy Series Book 1) by [Bossano, Patricia]Cradle Gift (Faerie Legacy Series Book 2) by [Bossano, Patricia]

Nahia (Faerie Legacy Series Book 3) by [Bossano, Patricia]Sam's Theory by [Mendivel, Sarah]

Agile Scrum: Your Quick Start Guide with Step-by-Step Instructions by [Graffius, Scott M.]How to Get Your Screen-Loving Kids to Read Books for Pleasure by [Newton, Kaye]

Dare to Be the Change by [Metoyer, Annella]The BreakAway Girl: Secrets of a Tantric Yogi by [Bodeman, Paulette ]

Did I Say Never?: A Stepparent’s Emotional Journey with her Special Needs Son by [Nugent, Kim]

Literary Titan Silver Book Award

Silver Award Winners

The Three Lives of One by [Mooney, Lesley]Beyond Sun and Shadows by [Mooney, Lesley J]

Nights Arose by [Roche, Andrea]The Congress of Rough Writers: Flash Fiction Anthology Vol. 1 (Congress of the Rough Writers Flash Fiction Anthology) by [Mills, Charli, Amore, Anthony, Bell, Georgia, Black, Sacha, Colvin, Norah, Fanning, Pete, Ferry, C. Jai, Glaessner, Rebecca, Goodwin, Anne]

Finding Balance and Forgiveness through Chakras and Art by [McCallum, Teresa]

Alterni (The Alt-World Chronicles Book 1) by [Somerville, Sunshine]How We End Up by [Wells, Douglas]

 

Visit the Literary Titan Book Awards page to see award information and see all award winners.

 

Love is the Most Important Human Activity

Sally Forest Author Interview

Sally Forest Author Interview

From the Heart is a series of short stories about human passions and emotions and how they come to the fore when people face challenging circumstances. Why was this an important collection for you to write?

Mario Llosa Vargas once said that love is the most important human activity. I think it is what makes us human. In these stories the need for love is paramount – from the child’s clinging to a safe world, to the desperation of a feared loss of a life partner, or to the family love that stays strong through tough times. But I was surprised to realise how powerful the need for companionship and support is in later life; it is precious and one of the few things that can ward off the pain and terror of the losses ahead.

It strikes me that bonding and the joys of feeling loved and safe are so easy to lose, and also, so easy to build – with understanding and good will. I guess I keep trying to make the story come good in the end.

Mouse Mat was my favorite of the stories. What was your favorite story in the collection and why?

In “The Legacy You Leave” I enjoyed seeing the selfish bully losing his power as the sons stood together to highlight the real hero, their father.

Did you write these stories separately or did you write them knowing that they would be published together?

No, the stories came alive independently. Often a character or a scene of conflict take hold in my mind, and I keep returning to it until the problem is solved. At an unexpected moment I realised the stories formed a whole, and the title just fell out of the theme.

What is one thing that you hope readers take away from your stories?

Definitely: don’t let despair, loss or tyranny take away your opportunity for joy, and joy in others.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?​

I’m planning the sequel to Choose: Snakes or Ladders, which should be let loose in November. But it’s facing a bit of competition from other stories in the world of #MeToo, and similar instances of standover and exploitation.

Author Links: GoodReads | Website

From The Heart: Stories of Love and Life by [Forest, Sally]Six moving and engrossing stories that you can feel.

Collection includes:
  o Heart Buddies
  o Life After
  o Mouse Mat
  o A Worm Among the Flowers
  o The Legacy You Leave
  o Love in a Teapot

Carlo seems a perfect husband. Why can’t Nicky go with the happiness within her reach?

Paula worked really hard to live up to it all. And then she failed. How can something good come from all the pain?

A child lies in bed, scared and alone. Will Daddy and Mummy be there for her? Finding an answer takes a lot of growing up. But the lessons of the good times remain to help.

The ladies bridge club. Long time friends struggling to hang on as the Autumn leaves fall around them.

What was the secret to Greg’s ability to be loyal to his work and foster his dreams for his sons? And what toll did it take?

Sue and her mother had formed a tight bond, a wall against the conflict and pain in their life. But when does that wall become a prison?

Moving and heart-warming, these short stories about love and the emotions that get in the way, are an antidote to the fears that haunt the nights of all of us.

If you enjoy Amanda Prowse, give these stories a try.

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From the Heart

From the Heart: Stories of Love and Life by [Forest, Sally]

From the Heart, by Sally Forest, is a series of six short stories about human passions and emotions, and how they come to the fore when average people face challenging circumstances. The characters range from a young girl in a troubled household to a group of women dealing with the realities of old age, all from various parts of Australia, the author’s home. With a background in both teaching and psychology, it’s not hard to see her interest in the human condition and how she might have a greater insight into it than most.

The stories certainly feature a wide range of social backgrounds and issues, providing a delightful variation for the reader. The narratives are easy to follow, with focused attention on the plot and a small cast of characters – the author has avoided the unnecessary description that can artificially extend a short story and make for long, boring reading.

At the same time, the writing does come across as almost a “write by numbers”, as all of the stories essentially follow the same traditional dramatic structure, including a sort of moral lesson, or insight, at their conclusion. However, there is a freshness provided by the solid inclusion of multiple female protagonists, who I consider more well-written than the few male ones. They are given realistic passions and thought processes, with their inner strengths shown as much as their perceived outer weaknesses. Sympathetic female characters are sadly hard to come by in fiction, even now, and I have to applaud any attempt to do so.

The choice of language is on the simple side, reflecting the characters’ ordinariness and making it accessible to read. There has been a clear effort to match language use to particular characters as well, such as the descriptions in Mouse Mat; situations are compared to the toys and balloons that would be familiar to the young protagonist narrating it. For non-Australian readers, it’s worth noting the odd piece of dialect included in the collection, although it generally doesn’t distract from the work – skerrick was a new word for me at least!

Mouse Mat was probably my favourite of the stories; my least favourite was Heart Buddies. It is very dialogue-heavy, which is hard to get through, but the paragraphing could also be improved to clarify who is talking and when. This story also includes errors, although not related to the quality of the narrative, still detracts from the work for me – some missed words and punctuation.

From the Heart is a pleasant read. It provides a window into human emotion and how people deal with difficulties in their lives. There are plenty of situations to sympathise with and think about long after reading – the stories are memorable for all of the right reasons.

Pages: 56 | ASIN: B07797S3ZV

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JACS

J A C S

A BOOK OF SHORT STORIES
GEORGE J. MARDO

JACS places people in hard or surprising situations and challenges the reader to accept when the characters do not follow a traditional arc. George Mardo writes in such a way that seeks to subvert the easy plot points and story lines most readers have been familiar with in most recent years. Typical of a short story collection JACS contains a variety of stories.

The first story, Jackpot, follows two older men who have a racehorse bestowed on them. The catch is that the horse has never entered a race and both men play the part but are surprised to find themselves happy when things do not go their way. The next is, Amy, where the reader follows a girl who has strange dreams and holds onto them. The story really gets underway when she tells her grandfather about them and he confesses to having the same dreams. Candera is a hard story to read, since it follows a nun that was sent to the Congo and her tribulations of being captured by terrorists, raped, and becoming pregnant. When forced to try, and send the child away to be adopted, Sister Candera refuses. The last, Sorrow Has No Opposite, is more of a short, fictional biography that follows a Iraqi boy named Boutros Suffady, who undergoes a horrific tragedy and eventually finds happiness in life that he thought he lost.

Mardo has a talent for needling into a character’s perspective and teasing out what emotional heart strings should be pulled for the reader. These stories on their face may sound overwrought or framed in such a way to be emotionally manipulative, as it would be usually expected but Mardo avoids this with clear heartfelt authenticity. If nothing else, the author captures the “slices of life” that some may take particular pleasure in.

Some of the stories tend to be stronger than others and that will depend on the reader who wishes to give this collection a chance. The stories would be considered more literary based on the more character focused stories and lack of any real genre conventions. These small narratives are not adrenaline bouncing thrillers, nor are they dark and mysterious mysteries or horrors. What these stories do capture is the grounded reality that all of us abide in and these experiences all these characters’ share are to enlarge our scope.

JACS is recommended to more mature readers who are seeking different experiences on the page. The stories provide a unique lens that the reader only dons for a short time but will be left wondering long after reaching the end.

GOODREADS | AMAZON

Fireflies of the Dead

Fireflies of the Dead

In the world of horror and short stories, Eric Kapitan could easily become your new favorite author. In his collection of stories, Fireflies of the Dead, Kapitan takes the reader on a horrifying journey of blood seeking killers and revenge loving victims. From page one to the last bloody word, each short story will have you flipping on a light and checking to make sure you’re all alone. The bonus to Fireflies of the Dead is that the author has sprinkled poems throughout, preceding each story and setting the mood for what’s to come, leaving you a fan of horror for life.

Even though Fireflies of the Dead by Eric Kapitan is a book of short stories, I think the poems that Kapitan uses make it easy to transition between stories.  Each poem helps to set the mood and style of what you are about to read. The poems, in my opinion, were an excellent choice to include. Not only because of how wonderfully written they were, but because they created the seamless connection from story to story. They also serve as a excellent stopping place if you need to set the book aside for a minute. You can pick right back up by reading a poem and flowing into the next story without feeling like you’ve been jolted out of the collection.

Since the book is a collection of many stories, it’s difficult to put a finger on one particular plot idea or setting. I can say that Kapitan does an excellent job of creating the proper domain for each of his characters to dwell. His descriptions of smells, sounds and internal struggles leaves the reader feeling as though they are in the scene, experiencing what the characters are going through. Throughout the book I felt the fear of the little girl, the unknowingness of the female campers and what it must be like to gag on the taste of human flesh. All things that every horror fan will love!

One issue I had was that there seems to be a lack of proofreading and editing. There are many grammatical errors but nothing that a good editor couldn’t point out and help fix. Also a warning about some profanity and explicit sexual references throughout the book.

I really enjoyed the journey of the poems and stories. I was constantly wondering where the end was going to take me and strongly felt that the author’s passion for the horror genre was relayed again and again throughout the pages. Overall, Fireflies of the Dead is a must read for anyone who craves the horror genre.

Pages: 73 | ASIN: B073PTNSMR

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