Tales about animals, their ways of living, and their characters are always fascinating to me. In the book FoxHide: From HillCountry Farm, John C. Hill writes about a group of foxes and how they live. He narrates their adventures, the challenges they go through and the love they have for each other. One can almost visualize the foxes in their habitat when the author writes about them. I like that the author made the animals adapt some human characteristics. By doing this, he gets the reader to reflect on some traits human beings have and how they affect those that they live with.
This is an impassioned and thought-provoking work of literary fiction. The story is engaging and easy to follow and, rarely if ever do I mention the wording of a novel but, the diction here is excellent. FoxHide: From HillCountry Farm is the kind of book you would read and share with others as the stories are not only engaging, but also fun and funny. John C. Hill’s is accessible, I think, to different groups of readers; avid readers will appreciate the captivating narration, young readers will surely be enthralled with the animals, and literature enthusiasts will appreciate the subtle but profound depth of this book.
There are several themes and lessons that are explored in fascinating ways throughout the book. Major themes include family love, loyalty, dealing with foes, working hard, the power in unity and choosing one’s battles. Lessons on being the best version of yourself, honesty and being mindful of what you do are also displayed in the book in fresh ways.
FoxHide: From HillCountry Farm is a short read that could easily be completed in one sitting, but is nonetheless entertaining. FoxHide: From HillCountry Farm introduces readers to some compelling animal characters that find themselves in some humorous situations on a farm that any reader will enjoy.
Pages: 99 | ASIN: B08WCGTC98
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Robinson, IL is a collection of very short stories by Dennis Milam Bensie that explore life on the path less traveled. Classified as flash fiction, the stories are only a few pages long, but still manage to imbue enough emotion to be powerful and thought provoking, a fact which speaks of the talent the author possesses. Most of the stories focus on the LGBTQ community and the difficulties that come with it, both externally and internally. The tone of each one varies as much as the subject matter and ranges from somber, to flippant, to absolutely wild, and everything in between. There are even a few that have an almost science fiction feel to them. Overall, the author’s ability to convey so much in so few words is remarkable, as the more serious of his stories really make you feel the self doubt and angst that is a part of growing up and accepting who you are. The less serious ones are no less interesting and will leave you definitely wanting more of the world he’s created. And what would a book be without a touch of humor? There are unexpected laughs sprinkled throughout and when they do happen, they come naturally, again showcasing how easy the author conveys everyday slices of life.
The LGBTQ themes are explored from multiple perspectives in the collection. In one, it’s a son looking for assisted living placement for his gay father. In another, parents are trying to help pay for their child’s gender reassignment surgery. Often, the tales are told in the first person by someone within the community, sometimes happily, sometimes at odds with themselves. The variety of voices and perspectives add depth to the very human emotion and dilemmas that are presented.
While it’d be easy to say I wish the stories were longer, I really believe that their length is a huge part of their strength. The bite sized portions of humanity move quickly, but stay with you long after their few pages are done and leave you imagining so much about the characters. Robinson, IL is a stirring and well crafted collection of fictional short stories that find strength in their brevity while still delivering thought provoking commentary on life.
Pages: 123 | ASIN: B08ZCZVKSF
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The Old Men Who Row Boats and Other Stories is a collection of impassioned short stories that follows various characters through their ordinary yet compelling lives. What were some sources of inspiration for you while writing these stories?
The primary source of inspiration was simply the experience I’ve had living in Spain, getting the opportunity to gain a sense of the history and culture and the people. Place provides such a powerful source of inspiration in general, and I think this only increased when I was immersed so completely in a culture different from the one I had been brought up in. It provided a real awakening of the senses, and I tried to be a keen observer as I worked to craft these stories.
Each of your characters were fascinating in their own way. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?
Thank you for your kind words. I am glad you found the characters in these stories interesting. If there is a driving ideal in these characters, I’d like to think that it’s rooted in their simplicity, their humanness, and the realistic nature of their personas. These characters aren’t superhuman or famous or overly powerful. In many ways, they are, well…somewhat ordinary. But they are also very much alive, which is extraordinary in its own right. They feel the weight of their own existence, and their relationships and interactions shape their own unique narratives, their own stories. I wanted to be able to explore the idea that stories don’t necessarily need an elaborate twist or a car chase or a bank robbery to be compelling. I suppose whether or not I’ve been successful in this regard is ultimately up to the reader. But it is my hope that the relationships the characters have with others (and with themselves) are moving, that their common interactions can be utterly revealing, and that the smallest moments can mean a great deal.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
I would probably say the themes of loss and aging are probably most central to these stories. These things obviously have the potential to go together as we get older, and that is consistent with many of the characters in the book. But I think the theme of connection is also ever present in the book. The characters in this book seek connection—with their pasts, their futures, and, I think, with one another. Regardless of what they’ve lost, I’d like to think the stories maintain some degree of inspiration or hope.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
The next book I am working on is a collection of stories entitled I Didn’t Know What To Say, So I Just Said Thanks, and I hope it will be out by the end of the year.
Posted in Interviews
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Resistance, Revolution & Other Love Stories by K is a compilation of twelve romantic short stories ranging from fiction to futuristic sci-fi.
This extraordinary collection of stories takes us into the worlds of character, each with a completely different perspective on what love is and how to demonstrate it. These characters offer glimpses of what love means to different cultures around the world, written in a way that allows you to really meditate about life on a greater scale, as well as ponder on the importance of stolen glances, sacred touches and the smallest of details.
Each plot is a masterpiece in its own, with such compelling storylines that you are forced to follow them until the end, and to uncover the secret message hidden within. Some feature happy endings, others vague cliffhangers that will leave you yearning for more. Each story is written in a different setting, from London to Yugoslavia to Iraq, there is a never ending range of possibilities that will never leave you unsatisfied.
One of my favorite stories was “Head Down”. It’s about a married man who goes off on a business trip to take a couple of seminars. He meets Shannon, who completely transforms his view on what love should feel like. He struggles between succumbing to this new feeling of love and familiarity of staying true to his sense of duty for his current family. In the end both characters make a choice that will most likely impact the rest of their lives, and the reader is left guessing what will happen next. This story, as do the others, depict the complexities of love; which isn’t black and white as many people would have us believe. It navigates the intricate human connections which have the power to limit or free a person, depending on the nature and dynamic of the relationship.
Resistance, Revolution & Other Love Stories contains a wonderful compilation of stories with beautifully written worlds, relatable and real characters, and descriptive narration.
Pages: 183 | ASIN: B08NV1BT2K
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The Old Men Who Row Boats and Other Stories by David Joseph is a collection of fourteen short fiction stories that are set in cities in Spain and Portugal. The stories feature a variety of people, old and young, tourists, natives, and immigrants and range from 6-20 pages in length. Although the stories are about everyday life, special or tragic moments the characters experience are the true focus of the narrative. Several themes are used in multiple stories including death and loss, older characters watching the lives of young people and remembering when they were that age themselves, and being alone but not felling lonely.
This book had an interesting variety of stories that I enjoyed reading. The short stories were quick to get through, which made the book a fast read overall. I liked that I could read several stories in one sitting. Although some of the stories had similar themes, they did not seem repetitive because the characters were so varied. While I enjoyed the stories I felt that some of them were character driven stories, focusing on the characters routines, interactions and relationships, where I wanted to see a bit more focus on plot development.
Some of the stories were told in the first person point of view, while others were in third person, and several stories featured unnamed characters, often the narrator. I enjoyed reading the details of the characters lives and the descriptions of Spanish and Portuguese cities, landmarks, and coastlines; which to me is an exotic culture. I liked that the first story and last story both had old men in boats, which created a kind of symmetry to the book as a whole, however I didn’t prefer the narrative jump back and forth between old men rowing boats and Picasso’s painting Guernica. This made it feel a bit disjointed and disrupted the overall smooth flow of the story. Many of the stories did not end happily or were focused on past tragedies such as death, suicide, and abortion. But I felt that this was true to life, where happy endings are not always normal, and this kept the stories grounded rather than fanciful.
The Old Men Who Row Boats and Other Stories is a thought-provoking collection of emotionally resonant stories that explore life in various seemingly prosaic moments that cumulatively have a profound impact on the reader.
Pages: 142 | ASIN: B08T1Q4TPM
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Into the Macrocosm is a collection of dark and bizarre stories that follows a character that observes 22 unique deaths. Did you write these stories specifically for this collection, or did you write them over time?
I wrote these stories over time. In 2018, after the launch of my thriller novel, YEGman, a friend of mine suggested writing shorter fiction – lower investment and a chance to explore new writing styles. The short stories have lived on the blog as a monthly release for my existing readers and to entice new ones. Over time, enough of them accumulated to make a collection.
A few additional short stories snuck their way into this book, like Inspirer, Crusaders, and Mr. Super. The stories were revised before being brought into the collection, allowing me to clean them up and improve the ideas and styles.
The overarching storyline with Malpherities was added specifically for this collection to support the growing Macrocosm that encompasses all my stories. This storyline was written in the second person with the Nameless One as a tribute to my readers over the years, letting them – in a way – be in this strange universe. Malpherities also plays a crucial role in my dark fantasy series Mental Damnation, so it was fun to bring him back for this book.
This collection fits within the universe you’ve created with your other novels. What are some moments fans can look forward to in this collection that connect directly to your other novels?
Malpherities, the ghoul, has the most prominent appearance within Into the Macrocosm. He has always been inspired by the Cheshire Cat and is quite versatile from a writing perspective.
We also get a new look into The Kingdom of Zingalg, where Mental Damnation takes place. Malpherities comments on the mystical land as humanity shifts into the modern world, leaving the fantastic things lost in history.
A fun cameo is Allen Oil Site Solutions, which makes appearances in my horror novel, Seed Me, and my upcoming horror, Rave. The company has been in the background for a long time, but I’ve got sinister plans for it in the future.
I really enjoyed the different ideas explored throughout this collection. What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
Death is a common theme in all of my writing. We’re alive for a tiny blip in the universe’s history and its future, which makes life such a precious gift. I ponder what defines being alive a lot, which unintentionally led to many of the shorts having characters either dying, contemplating death, transcending, or barely surviving it.
The overarching plot with Malpherities and the Nameless One was written about a year ago when the pandemic started. Our world entered a weird state of limbo with the lockdown in Canada. Naturally, I started to dive further into philosophical ideas, spiritual concepts, and where humanity is going in the long run – as we see with the SciFi shorts Harvesters and Scrappers.
The most essential theme in the book is living life. I hope readers feel a resurgence to live it and enjoy this short gift. Hence the “observer” concept with witnessing others’ lives. We’re too often passive with technology integrated into our day-to-day activities, and we forget to pause and be here now.
What is the next book that you are working on, and when will it be available?
My next book is a horror novel titled Rave. It will be out in the spring of this year, most likely in June. Here’s a one-liner summary:
Seth, cursed by his cousin’s crime, love, and desire, has no sweet release at the Rave after he and his friends carelessly get their DNA on an unexplainable murder; the RCMP will believe that these drugged-out kids saw a horned man-beast decapitating people – right?
I am also continuing the monthly short stories. They have migrated from the blog and onto my new Patreon that launched in February 2021. Like on the blog, they are short stories found within the Macrocosm. The shorts include audio versions I narrate and high-rez downloadable covers for smartphone backgrounds.
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★★★★★ “Hampshire Stories: A Collection of Tales Set in 19th-Century England by Joe Giampaolo is a stellar collection of short stories!… These are stories of pure delight and feature a lovable cast of characters… Giampaolo’s writing is reminiscent of Jane Austen and Elizabeth Gaskell” (Editorial Review by Literary Titan, 2020).
‘Hampshire Stories’ is an award-winning collection of short narratives set in nineteenth-century England. It has been ranked several times on the Top 100 Best Seller List on Amazon in the Victorian and Regency Historical Romance categories. This compilation was written with particular attention to historical accuracy and is recommended for teen and adult readers who enjoy charming love stories or poignant dramas of the Regency and Victorian periods. You will enjoy this journey back in time to nineteenth-century England.
AWARDS: GOLD MEDAL, LITERARY TITAN BOOK AWARD 2020
-Amazon.com (USA): Ranked #20 on the Top 100 Best Seller List in the Victorian Historical Romance category and #36 in the Regency Historical Romance category (February 2021).
-Amazon.ca (Canada): Ranked several times on the Top 100 Best Seller List in the Victorian Historical Romance and the Regency Historical Romance categories.
Posted in book trailer
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Into the Macrocosm by Konn Lavery is a collection of thought-provoking short stories about an unknown character who is the observer of 22 deaths. At the beginning of this intellectually invigorating collection readers are given intriguing theories on life after death. Konn Lavery addresses these theories in multiple ways, all of which are fictional in nature but spiritual at heart. Although the character is more of an observer in these stories, I like how I can still feel the personal connections while reading along. It was easy to get entangled in these insightful stories and there was a sense of adventure that was consistent throughout these stories. I also appreciated the subheadings in this collection because it helped me keep track of special events that lead to the plot twists.
Into The Macrocosm has so many fascinating stories that it will be impossible for readers to find at least one that speaks to them. None of the stories are overly horrifying, nor would I put these stories in the horror genre, there is just an ever-present ominous feeling that permeates these stories, enough to give you goosebumps rather than frighten you outright. This is a metaphysical exploration that leaves you with thoughts that are hard to shake. The way spiritual transformation is portrayed was enough for me to set the book down and ponder the implications for a bit. I loved that this collection used these dark stories to highlight the importance of self-awareness. I also loved how the author showed how much the darkness within us and around us can weigh us down.
Konn Lavery’s Into The Macrocosm is an exceptional short story collection that explores some provocative ideas through a darkly imaginative lens reminiscent of Edgar Allen Poe or H.P. Lovecraft.
Pages: 420 | ASIN: B08SLM9DRX
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