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Where I Am Standing

Where I am Standing by Nooshin Mohajerin is an emotional collection of short stories that explore and illuminate many internal struggles. From anxiety, abuse, war, and loneliness, author Nooshin Mohajerin captures despair in several forms in this remarkable literary collection. I loved how Nooshin creatively described each feeling in the stories. This shows that internal battles are more complex than they seem. When you don’t suffer from experiencing negative thoughts, anxiety, depression, or abuse, it doesn’t seem as big as it really is. This collection is written from a perspective that shows a great depth of understanding in these matters.

There are so many stories to love, but my favorite is “Human Being”. This revealing emotionally charged and eloquent story is an overall expression of the many barriers in life. Some of us are more fortunate than others, but we don’t value it as much as others who dream to be in our position. These difficulties are a part of being human, yet we aren’t always looked at as a part of the human race. I admired the strength that it took to write these stories considering the sensitive content included.

Where I am Standing by Nooshin Mohajerin is a deeply thoughtful collection of short stories that provide subtle but potent commentary on life and the struggles we all face.

Pages: 128 | ASIN: B09244XVGR

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Telling the Truth

Author Interview
John C. Hill Author Interview

FoxHide follows a family of foxes and the adventures they embark on to create a life for themselves in the forest. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

Well, I wanted to make a new story that was a pleasure to read, it made you happy and made you think. I’ve learned a lot in life and wanted to PASS IT ON. One of the main concepts that I have learned is the ability to use “WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY, and HOW” for troubleshooting. I am a retired IT professional of 35 years. Using that skill & thought pattern brought me great success. In life, as I have been able to communicate that concept to those around me, once they GRASP the concept, they become better people. Smarter people. Happier people. Over time, they thank me for teaching them that. I tried to weave into FoxHide all the GOOD, POSITIVE, THINGS IN LIFE I have learned.

The characters in your story were endearing and well created. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

My Family – Mom and Dad – Wife – and Co-Workers. I had MUCH good material to work with. I took all the GOOD things from all the people I knew in life, and used ONLY the GOOD PARTS of them. I was able to use many people to make each character. Then wove all that into a story that I wanted to be new and original. ‘Strike’ was my BOSS for many years. He was always so sharp, very sharp and smart. Even if he did not know something, he would be able to think it through and make up a solution. ‘BoomBoom’ is my little brother in life. To this very DAY, he is a Spoiled Brat and he is 52! He has never grown up! So, he made me really angry one day by his behavior. I told him I would write a book and change his name to BoomBoom because he is so thundering and mean and thoughtless of other people. HE then said, “I DARE YOU”. So I did. It worked. He is now called BoomBoom. ‘SlitherChameleon’ – was all my other MEAN bosses mixed together over time…..

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

Telling the Truth. Working hard. Paying attention in LIFE, to make My Life and the lives next to me better and more pleasant and more successful.

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

I don’t think there will be a FoxHide II. Maybe, but not in the plans. IF there were to be a FoxHide II, it would be along the lines of a ‘Pawz and Foxxy Babe’ relationship. It would be a Men R from Mars, Women R from Venus. Where PAWZ has to figure out the mind of a WOMAN now that he has conquered the physical world around him. It would be fun, but a LOT of WORK.

Author Links: Website | GoodReads

“FoxHide” is a charming story about a family of foxes and their meandering adventures. Through a number of adventures here, there, and way over there, the foxes carve out a living in the forest caring for each other. They find that there are some things in life that no one else can figure out for you.

A powerful poetic tide carries the lyrical prose of this story of a band of lovable foxes. Through their adventures, and misadventures, readers will gain laughs and life lessons.

Polish Dragon P. I. (Midnight Cranes)

Polish Dragon P. I. (Midnight Cranes) by [Steve Zimcosky]

Still recovering from jat lag as a result of his last case, Tom Sipowicz, the Polish Dragon P.I., is needed yet again. This time he is asked to go undercover at MaGed Material Handling to get to the bottom of a couple of mysterious deaths, with suspicions of theft and drugs just to make things a little more interesting. As Tom makes his way around the warehouse, trying his best to blend in, his well trained eye is quick to pick out a few suspects and odd happenings among his new peers. With the help of some friends as well as his own set of skills, Tom soon finds just how deep the problem goes!

In The Polish Dragon P.I. (Midnight Cranes) by Steve Zimcosky, we again get to follow the intriguing exploits of Tom Sipowicz as he seeks to solve all manner of enthralling mysteries. This time he’s asked to help solve a couple of deaths at an international company that specializes in building hardwares. The president isn’t satisfied with the official report by the authorities, and Tom is recommended to him. Instead of his usual methods, Tom is asked to go undercover so he can better assess and observe those at the warehouse, knowing that at least one of them is potentially responsible for the deaths. This provides for an entertaining narrative twist that puts the P.I. in different situations. Along the way, Zimcosky does an excellent job of fully immersing the reader in the environment Tom is living and working in. The plot moves fast even with lots of details given to the reader throughout the story. 

Like the other books in this series, Midnight Cranes is a fun and quick read. Tom is the kind of character that is instantly likeable and seems to be capable of just about anything; a trait that provides him with his many adventures. The quick references to past books makes everyone seem more relatable and familiar, which makes the book even more enjoyable. 

Midnight Cranes is the perfect book for some light and fun reading that delivers intrigue and entertainment on par with a full length novel but Zimcosky does it in under 90 pages. This is a book that will excite long time fans of the series as they’ll find the tried and true protagonist in new situations, but new readers will enjoy the easy story and alluring mystery.

Pages: 213 | ASIN: B093MX47QX

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FoxHide: From HillCountry Farm

FoxHide: From HillCountry Farm by [John C Hill]

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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A Satisfying Story in Minimal Words

Dennis Milam Bensie
Dennis Milam Bensie Author Interview

Robinson, IL and Other Flash Fiction Stories is a collection of imaginative stories with intriguing commentary on society. What inspires you to write flash fiction?

I think my interest in flash fiction comes from the “tweet” and Facebook posting. Most posts are stories with tone a beginning, a middle and an end. With all the devices we have on hand and all the platforms we have the come with devices, there is a challenge to telling a satisfying story in minimal words.

Did you write these stories specifically for this collection or did you write them over time?

I had no intention of creating a collection. These stories were written to stand alone between 2012 and 2019.

My favorite story from the collection is ‘Eighty-Five Days’. Do you have a favorite story from this collection?

I love “Have a Cookie”. This is exactly how the majority of people from my hometown think.

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

I’m currently working on a play (for the last five years) called Doris Tate. The play got it’s second workshop last February 2021 with actors over Zoom. Doris Tate was the mother of actress Sharon Tate best known for Valley of the Dolls. When you see someone giving a crime victims impact statement on TV or in a film, that is the work of Doris Tate. After the Manson family murdered her daughter, Doris Tate went from grief to grit and became one of America’s most effective crime victim’s advocates.

Author Interview: GoodReads | Facebook | Instagram

Welcome to Robinson, IL. 
 
Here you will find a kiddie pool, the Miller Family reunion, and a Nazi-themed gay bar. There’s even a home for Dad.
 
Sissies and nancy-boys. A boy playing with dolls in the garden. A therapy doll, renewed.
 
A cocktail truck that delivers a disco to your cul-de-sac.
 
Book a ride on Patsy Cline Airlines … if you dare.
 
Meet Dick and Jayne, a pirate diva, and the author himself. 
 
A handsome young man named Eric in your bed after a harried Thanksgiving dinner.
 
Dennis Milam Bensie is still called “Denny” by what’s left of his family in his hometown of Robinson, IL. The author of three memoirs, Mr. Bensie is now offering twenty-seven flash fiction short stories from his rich and twisted imagination. 
 
Denny doesn’t aim to offend … but he/him/his might.

Robinson, IL and Other Flash Fiction Stories

Robinson, IL and Other Flash Fiction Stories by [Dennis Milam Bensie]

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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A Paranormal Casebook

A Paranormal Casebook by [Robert Lee Dean, Crissha Figarella, J.N. McLaughlin, R.L. Dean]

A collection of short stories from West Texas, A Paranormal Casebook by Robert Lee Dean starts strong. Unsettled spirits feature alongside our narrator, who begins as a deputy in a rural Sheriff’s Department. Each story weaves in elements of death, loss, and haunting as we learn about specters he encounters, year by year.

The tone of the chief character is sparse, becoming a welcome voice. We read terse descriptions, not unlike case reports, with the awareness of surroundings that law enforcement officers often have. This creates punchy prose with nothing outwardly violent, terrifying, or grotesque; we see these unexplained phenomena alongside one with feet solidly planted on the ground and who has a gun in their holster. Few ghost hunters can call for armed backup, although it may not be needed, yet it helps the reader maintain a sense of safety when confronted with the unexplained.

Ghostly folk tales as outsider art make this a unique entry in the genre. The author is not a writer by trade and didn’t set out to write a book. That these stories were recorded gives us a rare and unique perspective, as he had written them as fleeting notes and hadn’t kept them. Luckily, someone did.

Some tales in A Paranormal Casebook have the familiar feel of urban legend or folk tales but are fresh through the eyes of a cop. We follow this rational, friendly man with his worn cowboy hat and love of pizza into ghostly adventures easier than a skeptic or frenzied ghost chaser. This is a riveting collection of short stories, and if you are looking for something new in the paranormal genre and want just the facts, this is a great pick from the Lone Star State.

Pages: 89 | ASIN: B091N8ZCQV

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A Lot of Interesting Twists

Evan Oliver
Evan Oliver Author Interview

Karik’s First Battle follows a group of exiles who seek shelter and work in a small northern village, but they learn the village holds a dark and dangerous secret. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I’ve always been fascinated by dragons, from Fafnir to Smaug, and something that I’ve only seen hinted at is the idea that dragons would build a sort of network around themselves. Whether its to collect more treasure, to provide protection, or just to make life easier…why wouldn’t they? They’re always described as super intelligent, so I figured that it only made sense that a dragon would use those around them for their own benefit.

I’ve been playing with the tale of Vranr for a long time, and it has a lot of interesting twists that I’ve enjoyed exploring. I think knowing our history, where we come from, what it says about who we are is something that everyone has to grapple with to some degree,

The characters in the story were all interesting and well developed. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

There were two things that drive a lot of my character development, the first being the idea that everyone is looking for security in some way. Everyone wants to feel safe, not just for themselves, but for their loved ones, and when people don’t have that security, it drives them to take risks and make choices they otherwise wouldn’t. The second idea is that people can often have differing opinions and come into conflict without being bad people, and if handled improperly, those conflicts can distract from those who are actually causing harm and creating problems. Those two ideals drive a lot of the developments not just in Karik’s First Battle, but through the whole series.

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

There were three themes that I wanted to look at in Karik’s first battle, the first one being the idea that people can have different solutions to the same problem without being villains. It’s easy to argue with someone when you believe they are evil or a fool, its much more difficult when they are presenting a valid solution to the problem you are both facing.

The second thing that I felt was important to explore was the cost of challenging the status quo. There is a price to be paid when we change how we do things, and a lot of times the push back we face is based on this price. But there is also a price to maintaining the status quo, and often that price is even higher.

The final theme, and one that is woven through all the books, is the idea of anticipating consequences. Karik is smart enough to know that there is more than one possible outcome if he challenges the dragon but guessing what all the possible outcomes are and planning for them is something he’s going to have to grapple with as the series continues.

This is book one in The Legends of Karik series. What can readers expect in book two?

More! Ylmi’s Saga is both longer, and deeper, than Karik’s First Battle. Ylmi’s Saga will begin with Ylmi as a young child, tell a bit about her life before Karik’s arrival in her village, and then show her as she grows into a fearsome warrior. We’ll see some of the adventures that turned her into the young woman we’ve met, how she deals with Unhost now that the dragon is dead, and we’ll follow her and Karik as they continue to try to find a way through the Black Isles. We’ll meet the other rulers in Vrania and learn a little bit more about the mythical figure of Vranr. Ylmi has a number of challenges and battles that she’ll have to face, and together with Karik she’s got more than a few adventures in front of her.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

His friends and family are dying. Now the only way to help them is to brave the cold and dangers of the north…
Karik is sick of the hunger slowly killing his village. And after watching his brother die of starvation, he fears the icy winter will claim them all. So when the jarl declares they need to reduce the number of mouths to feed, the tormented young man bravely volunteers to leave.
With his small group of fellow exiles stumbling onto a tiny settlement, Karik gladly accepts an invitation to stay and work. But he isn’t there long before sensing the jarl is keeping deadly secrets… including dark dealings with a dragon.
Behind it all lurks the legends of Vranr, their mythical forefather
Can the desperate hero survive his formidable quest and live to see the spring?
Karik’s First Battle is the action-packed Book 1 in The Legends of Karik fantasy series. If you like courageous characters, treacherous journeys, and epic battles, then you’ll love Evan Oliver’s perilous adventure.
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