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Bag O’ Goodies

Bag O’ Goodies by Jolly Walker Bittick is a compilation of unique short stories and poems. With a collection of varying themes, some of which are based on true events, the reader is sure to be entertained.

Author Jolly Walker Bittick captivates and holds the reader’s interest with short stories that are filled with scares, paranoia, drama, and much more taking the reader on a wild ride. The author touches upon themes such as alcoholism, friendship, romance, and relationships; the onset of each tale takes a path to conquer the protagonist’s dilemma. The author successfully incorporates witty dialogues and gradual story pacing along with likable characters. Bag O’ Goodies as the name itself suggests share tales that are exceptional on their own, yet contrast in how they delight the reader. With characters that are relatable, this book indulges the reader in mesmerizing tales and does so ever so swiftly that you may contemplate the underlying meaning behind each one!

Bag O’ Goodies by Jolly Walker Bittick serves as a sweet anecdote for readers who seek short stories – ones that are brimming with sweetness like icing on a cake, a mix of tangy and sweet narratives to captivate your attention. I would recommend this book to readers who like stories that encapsulate their mind’s imaginations and often relate to the protagonist’s dilemma. It is the optimum choice as an insightful yet thought-provoking evening read. Holistically, the book is evocative in translating powerful messages in today’s world.

Pages: 165 | ASIN : B09YN1F4F9

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Let The Character Dictate What Happens Next

David R. Low Author Interview

SCHLOCK Featuring Russia Cop is a collection of four dark satirical short stories searching for the “Russian Soul.” What was the inspiration for the setup of your stories?

There is a long-standing tradition of films which combine a noun plus “Cop”, such as Samurai Cop, Maniac Cop, Hollywood Cop, Psycho Cop, Kindergarten Cop, etc. This is my favorite genre of film and I wanted to create my own “Cop” story that could join the ranks. I wanted to say “pantheon” here, as in I wanted to create my own “Cop” story that could join the pantheon of “Cop” stories, but pantheon only refers to people. In that case I hope Russia Cop can join the pantheon of famous noun plus Cop characters. Moreover, Russia Cop sounds a lot stupider than Russian Cop and that really appealed to me. Russia Cop is the oldest story in the collection in that its origins date back to around 2018. The idea of Russian Soul is inherently farcical and nonsensical and does little more than to disguise horrible Russian behavior and beliefs as values. Russia is a very schlocky place and Russians are quite fond of what they perceive as their own exceptionalism. The character of Russia Cop was created to be a personification and enforcer of this Russian Soul. The reality is, after 24 February, this story is already obsolete, as what is happening in Russia right now is far more atrocious, pathetic, damaging, and inhumane than any fiction could ever be. For the sake of clarification, I am talking about what’s happening in Russia, not Ukraine. What’s happening in Russia is the death of free speech, human rights, and common sense. As it turns out, Russia doesn’t need a Russia Cop. The Russian people are eagerly and willingly eating up the propaganda and dangerous beliefs all on their own. On a side note, there isn’t really an appropriate place to bring it up so I will mention it here: 75 percent of sales proceeds the book makes in 2022 will go towards supporting Ukraine.

Tsoi Lives was the last addition to the collection, which probably explains why it feels the most different from the rest (as in it isn’t completely farcical). I’m a huge fan of Tsoi’s music and often found myself in frustrating situations where I couldn’t express why his music was so profound to me or those around me simply didn’t care. The book exaggerates a bit in that it makes it seem like nobody in Russia cares about his music at all. That isn’t true, he is still quite popular, BUT, in my own experience, more and more younger generations turn their nose up at his music and see it is something to be embarrassed of. I’d always wanted to write something somehow connected with him, but a straight up biography would be boring, it seemed more appropriate to write about how his music affected others rather than making a story about the man himself.

I am far too ashamed to explain the origins of the remaining two stories.

Did you create an outline for the characters in the stories before you started writing or did the characters personalities grow organically as you were writing?

Typically, I don’t create outlines for characters. I write as many pages as I can of a given story until I hit a wall and from there, I’ll start outlining the story (not the characters) to see where it goes. I never let plot get in the way of character growth though. Even if I want the plot to go one way, I consider what choice a character would make at a given intersection and let the character dictate what happens next.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Themes always come later. I never set out with themes in mind. I am simply trying to tell stories. With The English Teacher, it essentially condenses all the frustrating and terrible aspects of living in Russia into one night. As the stories came together, themes of frustration, yearning, alienation, propaganda, xenophobia, etc. appeared. I suppose the most blatant themes come in Tsoi Lives, in which one person experiences the frustration of being obsessively passionate about something that nobody else seems able to grasp.

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

I’m debating between starting a new endeavor (which will likely be an unreadable and unwieldy behemoth only I find interesting) or resurrecting my first book which I never got published. Both works have science fiction elements and are quite different from my previous two works.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

Beginning in the streets of Tokyo and ending in the cosmos, Russia is at the center of SCHLOCK. These four stories center around an eclectic cast of characters in the 2010s – obsessed fanboys, Soviet rock stars, English teachers, expats trying to comprehend the Russian Soul, living sex dolls, Australian pub crawlers, and a genetically engineered law enforcement officer whose sole purpose is to enforce patriotism and Russian Soul in the Russian Federation. SCHLOCK!

Stumbling Through Adulthood

In Stumbling Through Adulthood, author John Sheirer delivers a collection of intricately linked short stories which are connected, some more loosely than others, by their central theme. This theme is summed up by the title. As stumbling implies that progress is being made, albeit slowly and not without its setbacks, the stories feature numerous instances of relatable mishaps and mistakes as the characters progress through adulthood. Take one character, for example, who ends up locked out of their home, or another who manages to consume an entire donut in one go. Sheirer’s characters appear throughout the collection from different perspectives and at different stages of their lives, as we see snapshots of them doing their best to stumble through adulthood.

Sheirer writes engagingly, making even the most mundane or trivial moments entertaining. This, combined with the relatability of many of the challenges the characters face and the sprinkling of subtle humor throughout, ensures that you will remain hooked. Underneath this humor, Sheirer addresses some severe and somber themes such as race, politics, and mental health. These topics are handled in a thought-provoking manner that ensures you’ll never be left entirely without hope.

However, the most important theme addressed in Stumbling Through Adulthood is revealed through the construction of the collection itself. Jumping between various characters in a short space of time would appear to invite comparisons between them. Still, ultimately Sheirer’s writing rejects this idea as every character and story, despite being suspended in a web of relationships with the others, are still stand-alone stories. Instead, every short story is a perfectly compact moment of a character’s life who is doing their best and who we will revisit as we smile or worry along with them as they stumble through their own personal adulthood.

Stumbling Through Adulthood is an intriguing collection of short stories that will appeal to adults in all stages of life. These stories are brought together by the common thread of just getting through life as an adult. With humor and realism giving the stories character and energy, they will stay with readers long after they are done with the book.

Pages: 233 | ASIN : B0996BQ6ZN

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SCHLOCK Featuring Russia Cop

SCHLOCK Featuring Russia Cop by author David R. Low is a collection of four short stories that start in Japan and quickly move to Russia. These intriguing stories are very different in structure and style but share themes of obsession, disorder, and finding the so-called ‘Russian Soul’ through dark satire that isn’t afraid to descend into the bizarre. Low’s Russia is a chaotic society where culture has been consumed by a never-ending stream of filthy, overcrowded bars and a juvenile obsession with violence, drinking, and sex.

Whether it’s the ridiculous “Waiting for Deacon,” in which two Americans pointlessly pretend to be Australian, or the disturbing world that’s ruled by “Russia Cop” and an army of apes, the threat of violence is never far from the surface in these stories.

“English Teacher” starts as a traditional short story but soon transforms into a surreal drama in which everything that could possibly go wrong does go wrong. Unfortunately, the ending here leaves you with more questions than answers.

The best story of the collection is “Tsoi Lives,” in which a group of acquaintances travels to Russia in search of a one-time rock star. Exploring infatuation and identity, this is an emotionally gripping tale offering profound commentary on culture and obsession.

I found the metaphors commenting on Russia’s hatred of the U.S. to be transparent. That aside, the satire is dark and haunting. The characters are well-drawn and complex, giving readers a variety of personalities to follow. Low’s ability to create realistic dialogue even when the subjects are not is noteworthy.

SCHLOCK Featuring Russia Cop is a collection of dark and satirical short stories. These inventive stories are incredibly well-written and memorable, and fans of the absurd will find them funny. If you know Russia from the inside, this collection is a must-read.

Pages: 262 | ASIN : B09VGB2TZN

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The Liminal Loop

The Liminal Loop: Astonishing Stories of Discovery and Hope is an anthology of short stories that take the reader through different periods of life, different mental spaces, and a world many adults have been in. Editor Timothy Carson compiled intriguing, stimulating, and moving stories that will not only get the reader to reflect on themself but also help them in their critical thinking.

This thought-provoking book is written in a language that the average reader can smoothly comprehend. The authors’ styles are straightforward, easy, and gripping. The author’s friendly and engaging natures are some of the most notable elements in this book.

Throughout the compelling stories, the author answers hundreds of questions that many adults battle with. There is a form of self-realization that comes with reading this book. You think about the serendipity that life brings, anxiety, and sometimes even depression. Timothy L. Carson uses his writing skill to ease the despair and indecision in the reader’s head.

This inspiring book covers a variety of subjects that are significant at different stages of life. The chapters in the book are diverse but also intertwined with each other. Through the stories, you get advice on issues such as politics, religion, social life, economics, love, war, peace, forgiveness, relationships, and general human interaction. The lessons in this book are refreshing, and the stories shared by the author are even more uplifting. In addition, the author showed discretion and sensitivity when discussing sensitive issues that may upset readers.

This book is a beacon of hope when life feels overwhelming and the hurdles insurmountable. I appreciate the author for the tales shared in the book and for selecting unique topics that not many authors have written about. The content in the book is wholesome and has a lasting impact on the reader. 

The Liminal Loop: Astonishing Stories of Discovery and Hope is a collection of stories about humans’ struggles and how they persevere. The impressive language in the book will captivate readers and hold their attention, while the lessons in each chapter will stay with them long after the book is finished.

Pages: 212 | ASIN : B09TG595ZF

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Northwoods Pulp Reloaded

Northwoods Pulp Reloaded by T.K. O’Neill is a collection of fantastic short stories, each one filled with suspense and intrigue. Hole in the World, Snowmobile Stick-up, The Devil You Say, and My Ship Comes In make up this ensemble. Don Enrico is owed a large sum of money by Ginny and Stuart, but when Stuart gets arrested, their plans go awry. The Whiteout Gang robs a bank and escapes on snowmobiles. Elton Kirby investigates satanic rituals and puts his own life in danger. Keith is on the run and finds himself burdened with a boatload of cocaine, beginning a long and complicated journey.

Author T.K. O’Neill certainly has a captivating writing style, creating a feeling of suspense and excitement. Northwoods Pulp Reloaded is an extraordinary collection of short stories that are filled with twists, turns, and surprises that will keep readers guessing. Thanks to O’Neill’s strong character-building technique, the wide assortment of characters are all well-defined and easy to relate to. Readers will get to know gang members, law enforcement officers, criminals, and ordinary people that make you feel like you have known them for years. In addition, each scene is described in detail, making it easy for the reader to form a mental picture, such as the reuniting of long-lost family members and criminal activities.

O’Neill’s uses of different settings add depth to these short stories, giving each one a unique feel and the opportunity to take readers on a new journey. The stories are set in different towns and cities across the United States with an array of exciting locations – a cabin in the woods, boats on the water, houses and buildings. Crime, murder, and mystery are the constant themes throughout the book.

My personal favorite aspect of the book is definitely the author’s fast-paced and succinct writing and the way the locations are described. In addition, the dialogue is splendidly written and carries each story forward from beginning to end.

Northwoods Pulp Reloaded is a riveting short story collection, superbly written to keep readers engaged. A suspenseful and thrilling read where the bad guys are the focus, and the action keeps coming. Due to profanities and erotic scenes, this book is best for mature readers.

Pages: 293 | ASIN : B09GP1ZT1P

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Planet Q

One thing about Peter Quinones is that he will make you laugh no matter your mood. Peter’s creativity in the book, choice of words, and hilarious phrases he shares is enough to lift your spirits high. Planet Q is a comical, fascinating, creative, and entertaining book that both light readers and avid readers will enjoy. Planet Q is a book about story openers. Think about the last book you read. What was the opening line? How did you feel after reading the first line? Did it encourage you to keep reading, or did you stop after the first line? Peter Quinones, in his book, has listed hundreds of story openers that will help any aspiring writer know how to start writing.

The lines in this book are amusing, no doubt. His lines are also poetic. Reading this book, in a way, gets you to feel like you are reading a free-flowing poem. Reading the words in every sentence without stopping makes it even more intriguing. I appreciate the author for compiling the story openers as his work will help many novice authors and students that are passionate about literature. Apart from cracking the reader up, Peter Quinones also enlightens the reader on the importance of starting a story in a way that will capture your audience’s full attention. At no point does the reader feel bored as every page has something captivating. It is incredible how a few lines can get one absorbed in this form of literature.

Peter Quinones’ style of writing is unique. The author gets the reader absorbed in his work with just a few words. Every page in the book had a line that had me giggling. Some of my favorite story openers featured in Planet Q include: “Respect your parents, punk – they got through school without Google” “Have you ever known the despair of peeling wallpaper?”, “Dolores has so many skeletons in her closet, her apartment seems like a haunted house!” Some of the opening lines are risque, giving writers of multiple genres something to pull from.

Planet Q is a surprising book with a lot of comedy mixed in. The lines in this entertaining novel are things you will hear in your favorite songs, on social media jokes pages, and even hear from your favorite stand-up comedians.

Pages: 120 | ASIN : B09Q3JY3P1

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The Limitations of Existing

Valeri Stanoevich Author Interview

Fancy Shop is a collection of imaginative and thought-provoking short stories. Did you write these stories over time or did you write these stories specifically for this collection?

The stories are written at different times and occasions. What unites them is the unusual view of reality. Their common theme is the desire to overcome the limitations of existing and creating a new world of dreams comes true.

Your characters are intriguing and well developed in so few pages. Who was your favorite character to create?

I tend to Waste who stands against his predestined destiny to save the one who should be himself.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Some of the themes in my book are: change as a path to salvation or destruction, the clash between being and mind, dream as a path to one’s own unknown worlds.

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

It would be a weird story collection about new challenges such as virtual reality, artificial intelligence, loss of identity and their collision with a human mind.

Author Links: Twitter | Play Books

This slim book is for the reader who asks questions and seeks answers. Does a life follow a predictable path or is it part of existential chaos? What makes an individual go against fate? Is it really worth making the effort? The characters you will find here face these questions.
The short stories presented here take place at different times (past, present, future) with different fantasy levels – from stories that are nearly real to phantasmagorias and new Gothic. The characters are also different: knights, anonymous people, dreamers, outsiders, crazy ones, technocrats, cockroaches, holders of secret knowledge.
What unites them is the urge (gradual or sudden) to leave the orderly system of their lives, attracted by the alluring hope that they can find or create another world of dreams come true, inexpressible truths and oases of redemption of past guilt.
On the way to their new identities, they move freely between reality and fantasy. They are in constant conflict with themselves, and the front line is the line dividing the two hemispheres of their brains. The stories are very short but each has a complex plot, provocative suggestions and a surprising end. Without in any way denying the traditional concepts of good-evil, simple-profound, they lead the reader into worlds in which paradox is a synonym of universal meaning.
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