Real Women’s Stories 2018, edited by Beth Kallman Werner is a potent take on the journeys of twelve women. The chapters of the book vividly present to the readers the upheavals of a woman’s life, and the struggles that often go unnoticed by the world.
This collection brings together women from different spheres of life, transcending ethnicity, and borders. Narrated in a simple tone, the honest stories take center stage, immersing the readers in an incredibly beautiful journey. This book is a light-read, but the essence of the experience of these women is nonetheless powerful, leaving a strong impact on the reader.
Each of the stories is vastly different from one another, but somewhere, there is an invisible thread connecting them, predominated by the indomitable spirit of these amazing women. The writings exhibit a seamless flow of emotions, difficulties, losses, and triumphs, and make us understand this world a little better, from the perspective of real women. These are not stories of world-renowned stars, but in their personal lives, these women are the superheroes– dealing with battles and championing them too.
These stories are curated not only for women but also for men. It allows a glimpse into the life of a average women and documents their life in powerful words. This book reveals certain aspects of these women’s lives that are hardly recognized in society. From stories of war, surviving abuse, to creating a successful business– you will find a beautiful amalgamation of anecdotes, reflected through these short and gripping pieces.
The stories are crisp and unputdownable, which makes them all the more impactful. Since these women belong to completely different backgrounds, the settings in each of the stories are vastly different.
Through these twelve short pieces, you can undertake a journey to celebrate their wins, while also learning about how they paved ways for themselves in the world. As real, living humans, living away from glitz and glory, the inspiring tales of these women are sure to move every reader.
I would like to give this book a 5/5, owing to its sheer simplicity of narration, and capturing human emotions, difficulties, and victories with utmost subtlety. This book is a must-read for anyone who wishes to delve deep into the lives of women who live away from the limelight.
Pages: 146 | ASIN: B076Q3L3Q2
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Ekleipsis is a collection of short stories that follow ordinary people that pursue dark desires. What were some sources that informed the development of these stories?
I get my inspiration from my every day life. Places where I worked, interesting people I met, shows/movies that intrigued me, books that blew me away, and so on.
My favorite story from the collection is ‘Has Been’. Do you have a favorite, or stand out, story from the collection?
It’d be very hard for me to pick a favorite. They are all my creation that I crafted painstakingly. Each portrays the uniqueness and the complexity of human minds in a different light.
Did you write these stories for this collection or did you write them over time?
I have written numerous short stories ever since I was very young. I feel that these 5 stories that I picked, share similar and familiar nuance and theme.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I am currently working on Ekleipsis II. Which I hope to complete and publish some time this year.
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Ekleipsis is a collection of five riveting short stories by Tamel Wino in which he explores the dark side of human nature. The first short story, “The other Son” is about a man in his fifties, who has lost his puppy and his mother, his only two connections. He is now struggling to move on in life. His mother has always praised her other son on making her happy and making better life choices. When stuck in precarious situations, his mind conjures up the ‘perfect’ images of his brother, constantly reminding him of how he is a failure. The story is a reminder of how some comparisons paralyze you for life, and some losses are hard to bounce back from.
The second story, “closing costs” is about revenge. Stella knows that her husband Dan is cheating on her with their realtor, Jane. But that’s not what the revenge is about. Dan has some dark secrets and will go to any length to get revenge. Jane, with a traumatizing childhood and a monstrous father, also want to take revenge from her father for all the monstrosity she suffered at his hands. She wants to become rich and would adopt any path for it. But there is an unforeseen price to pay . The story highlights the gravest taste of revenge. It shows how the flame of seeking vengeance blinds a person.
The third story shows how a small doubt in your heart can make you do vile things. Blake has returned home after a two-year-long work-related tour. Her experience of unpleasant things while serving in military intelligence haunts her in real life. On returning, she finds everything changed, including her relationship with her wife, who has kept a lot hidden from her. With a false doubt and assumptions, she takes a dramatic course of action.
The fourth story “Has been” is a tragic story about a guy named Ben who is struggling with anger management. He lost his career, fame, reputation and his new job all to his heated temper, but this doesn’t bring an end to the atrocities he inflicts. The story shows the miserable form a person assumes when he abandons his humanity.
The fifth and the last story, “All in” is about a gambling addict. His financial and family life are suffering because of his gambling addiction, but he keeps going back to the tables. The casino’s owner gives him a generous offer, one that will make him debt-free. But the offer comes with a price he is not ready to pay and a lesson he will learn the hard way.
Ekleipsis is a thought-provoking collection of stories that explore themes such as anger, addiction, jealousy, doubt, loss, and various other emotions that plague humanity. All of this captured in the deep and complex characters coloring the pages.
Pages: 136 | ASIN: B08LR1PCJH
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30 Chicago Christmases is a collection of personal letters you’ve sent during the holidays over the last 30 years. Why was this an important book for you to publish?
I have asked myself what I would grab from my house in a hurry were it burning to the ground. The obvious answer was my collection of end-of-year Christmas letters that I have been keeping in a 3-ring binder. I did not want to reach the end of my life without leaving behind any indication of having been here. I did not want to reach the end of my life without sharing what I have learned or observed. In publishing this book filled with holiday-themed correspondence, my hope was that others might benefit from the insights that have come from my experiences.
Your 30th year-in-review letter will be in 2020. This is a difficult year for everyone, but was there anything specifically personal to this year for you?
During the earliest and most restrictive phases of the pandemic lock-down, I never identified with the oft-spoken adage that “we’re all in this together.” Despite technology which has allowed for telework and electronic forms of communication, I have felt greatly distanced from a sense of normal and from other people. Christmas 2020 looks to take place under a lock-down. My hope when writing this book is that it would be a way to connect with people, with activities, and with traditions at a time when get-togethers and travel might be inopportune.
Was there anything that surprised you when you went back to look at these letters for this book?
No, I cannot say that I was surprised by anything. What I had written was consistent with my memories of what I had described. My letters did include some details that I might have forgotten had they not been put to paper. What I did feel was a sense of affirmation with respect to the choices I have made and that my life feels like it is headed in the right direction going forward.
What is one thing you hope readers take away from your book?
I want readers to appreciate how beneficial and significant writing can be to a sense of well-being. I do not wonder where the years have gone because I have got a record of what I have done with them. Others who write can experience that same sense of satisfaction in being able to account for how they have spent their time on planet earth or at least avoid that sense of loss felt by non-writers who wonder how time got away from them.
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Looking for Life is a collection of thought-provoking and fun science fiction stories. What was the inspiration behind this collection of stories?
Imagining universal situations and populating them with fascinating characters, usually with a dilemma to solve—now that’s an infinite depository of inspiration. After all, the stories may all be true, or become true in the future [or is it the past?
The size of this universe, the possibility of other universes and dimensions; they are all a source of wonder to me. They are also a cradle of countless possible happenings—just by the act of being there. It’s a challenge, yes, but it’s also a load of fun. And if you can make ends meet, so to speak, there’s a wonderful sense of satisfaction in completing a short story; any story really.
My favorite story from the collection is ‘Looking for Life’. Do you have a favorite or stand out story from the collection?
That’s a bit like asking a parent to choose a favorite child. ‘Looking for Life’ covers many facets of science and speculative fiction, but if you twisted my arm it would be a battle between ‘Desperate Times’ and ‘Looking for Life’ and ‘Mother’. And it would be a prolonged battle with no outright winner.
Did you write these stories for this collection or did you write them separately over time?
I certainly didn’t compile the stories one after the other with a view to hurriedly compiling a collection. I write a short story when an idea surfaces, and it may lie fallow for a quite a while before it clamours to join the nest of possible publications. I would say the majority of these stories were written over the past two or three years. But they are well-loved creations and never leave my mind.
Do you have plans to publish more works of short stories? Or possibly expand on a short story?
‘Looking for Life’ follows on from my first collection of short tales ‘Silently in the Night’, which was published in 2018. I guess that means I enjoy writing them. In between, I have also written three novels, so they are a love also. Currently my prime focus is writing the third book in the ‘Milijun’ series.
I often get reviewers or team members asking about expanding a short story into a novel, one particularly in ‘Looking for Life’ was ‘Mother’, which may very well suit that scenario. I think that ‘Worthy of Consideration’ would also fall into the basket.
However, I have never done it yet, but I guess it would be a new challenge. It’s nice to know something is there that readers appreciate and could serve as an inspiration for future tales.
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Parker is running again. She thought she was done, but her past has found her once again. It only took one short note in an envelope to bring the life she had worked so hard to establish to a screeching halt. Miranda has been ghosted. She can’t imagine what she’s done to deserve it, yet here she is right before the holidays with no one to bring home. When her friends suggest someone from her past, Miranda is less than enthusiastic. Claire’s close-call wedding is a year behind her, and she is struggling to balance her four-year-old, her job, and her emotions. When she meets up with Drew, she begins to connect the dots she thought were long behind her. Kelsey, dealing with the prospect of impending blindness, is beginning to give up on happiness in all respects.
Thankfully in Love, a holiday anthology compiled and edited by Lezli Robyn, follows the plights of four young women all carrying emotional weights almost too heavy to bear. All four of these main characters offer readers relatable story lines and hope for happy endings. Robyn has managed to pull together four fantastic examples of short stories centered around family dynamics, the hectic hubbub of the holiday season, and of course, the chance to find true love.
I especially enjoyed “No Place Like Home,” by Anna J. Stewart. While somewhat more of a thriller than the other three stories, it offers readers who enjoy mysteries and an element of drama a little something to sink their teeth into from the first chapter. A close second is “Dog-Gone Holiday,” by Melinda Curtis. Curtis’s main character, Claire, is fighting to get over a marriage she never achieved. Her son is her world, and she isn’t sure what her future holds romantically. Claire is a highly relatable character with whom readers will sympathize.
“Second Chances,” by Kayla Perrin features Miranda, a young woman who rediscovers a love she never knew she felt after being ghosted by her current love interest. Miranda’s story is intriguing in that she is quite reluctant to rekindle a friendship she thought she lost after high school. Her story will make readers feel nostalgic for their own former friendships and almost-relationships. “Love Guides the Way,” by Cari Lynn Webb, is perhaps the most specific of the four stories. Kelsey, facing blindness, is dealing with finding love and the prospect of how her future partner may feel about her disability.
The four very different short stories within Thankfully in Love give readers quick but substantial stories, relatable main characters, and a sense of satisfaction. A great read for the holidays. I highly recommend Robyn’s anthology to anyone looking for a sampling of fantastic love stories.
Pages: 300 | ASIN: B08D3TBSTJ
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Slaves to Desire is a collection of short stories that tells provocative stories about the world’s great writers, literary characters and artists. What was your inspiration for the stories in this collection?
I have translated erotica bestsellers, wasn’t particularly thrilled with them and wondered why nobody writes erotica that I would like to read: stories that would move me or make me think twice about something, stories that have something to say instead of only offering a romance with steamy bedroom scenes. And then I concluded that there must be more people like me and decided to write that kind of book so we can enjoy it.
These stories explore complex issues that are inherent to the human condition. What were some ideas that were important for you to explore?
Does unconditional love exist or is it only a myth ‒ I tried to explore that in the story of George Sand and Frederic Chopin. Does easy access really kill romance and inspire deviations, as Rasputin muses during his existential crisis during an orgy. Is free will an illusion and everything that we think and feel is actually ancestral heritage, as Hamlet and Ophelia try to find out when they escape Shakespeare’s scroll? Can loneliness be a blessing and a curse at the same time, as Van Gogh struggles to find out? Can a relationship between two headstrong partners who don’t want to make compromises, like Dostoevsky and Polina Suslova, work? What would a man facing death think about, as Lorca does in his final moments?
How did you decide what historical and literary figures to include in your collection?
That one was easy, I included my favorite figures, Charles Baudelaire, Antonin Artaud, Salvador Dali, Van Gogh… They are fascinating and their lives were equally fascinating. I really enjoyed researching their lives since I tried to portray the background of all historical figures as accurately as possible. As for the literary figures, Anna Karenina and Romeo and Juliet made me think the most in high school so I wished to honour them in my first book.
Do you have plans to publish future works of short stories?
I am writing my second collection of short stories, equally dark and thought-provoking. Harry Houdini and Antoine de Saint-Exupery are among my new characters.
Morning Star is a collection of short science fiction stories that are connected through a central theme. What was the inspiration behind this collection of stories?
Inception for Morning Star began sometime late 2019. I was waiting for the first round of the sequel to Imprint Legacy to finish while engaging fellow authors on social media. Very often, Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) images were posted there, and I soon found out that I had a story for most of them. Initially, all of them were short, about fifty words or so, and I decided to post a few stories on my website.
After the eighth or ninth story came about, I decided to line them up and put them in a collection.
The stories are not connected, therefore I had to get creative and come up with a narration device to glue them together. I loosely drew inspiration from some books I read when I was a child, mainly One Thousand and One Nights.
Were these stories written separately over time or were they written for this book?
There are a couple of stories there that were not written for this book but I felt they would fit nicely there. ‘The Missing 32’ is a side story for the Imprint Legacy book and sequel, for example. Pretty much all the other stories were written, edited and inserted in the book during the global pandemic of 2020.
You could say that Morning Star is my personal escapist vessel. And all readers are welcome to jump in. I have many more stories to tell.
My favorite story from the collection was The Experiment. Do you have a favorite story from the book?
I wrote all those stories, I love all of them equally, however two of them evolved quite a lot. One of them is ‘I.R.I.S.’ the other is ‘Hansel.’
My goal was to try and write a story for everyone. It is quite interesting to hear favorite reader stories. So far, every reader has a different story they enjoy.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
Having finally released Morning Star, I can now resume with round two of the sequel of Imprint Legacy.
The sequel is now at almost 70 thousand word mark. However more refining is needed. I would like to release it sometime before April 2021.