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From That Truism

Robert D. Rice II Author Interview

Robert D. Rice II Author Interview

Burn Marks is a collection of fictional short stories that give readers a unique perspective on historical events. Why was this an important collection for you to write?

  1. Fort Worth Star: The public only saw and heard about what Lee Harvey did. Nobody ever got to feel how Mrs. Oswald absorbed it.
  2. Ethel: The public heard and read what the government said she did. No one got to hear Ethel’s side of it.
  3. The Jumper: Sure, we know the skyjacker jumped from the plane with the money. What about that which his daughter went through.
  4. The Conductor: Of course, there were sympathetic whites in the south who opposed slavery. Her was one who had his own solution.
  5. It went without saying, Leopold & Loeb were the worst of the worst. What about a young women, hanging out with them, who was just as bad?

The stories are all engaging and well developed. Did you write them over time or did you write them specifically for this collection?

Each story is the result of an individual thought process. It was not until the last story was completed when I realized the similarities; the letters. That was when I decided to make a book from them. The first story that I did was about Ethel Rosenberg. For the longest time, I had been fascinated by how Ethel Rosenberg maintained her silence. She was eventually offered a deal by the prosecution: tell on your husband, Julius, spend minimal prison time, then be reunited with your children. She remained stedfast, silent. From that truism I was compelled to speak for her. When “Ethel” was completed, I knew that I had to venture out and speak for others who historians recorded differently.

My favorite story from the collection is Deja’ Blue. What is your favorite story from the collection?

Ethel is my favorite. For me, there is something nice, almost romantically innocent, about writing to Santa Claus in the face of the hardships that she suffered through. In a somewhat odd way, I found myself relating to that type of pen pal relationship—comforted in a canal of calm while in the center of a whirlwind chaotic storm.

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

I am working on a sequel to Burn Marks. Jack, Siobhan and Deja resurface. What is easy about the sequel is that readers need not have read Burn Marks to grasp the full flavor of my second book.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

Burn Marks: A strange time for letters by [II, Robert D. Rice]Here are five fast-moving short stories that offer a delightfully humorous and insightful view of famous events in American history.

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A Missionary Zeal

Christopher Adam Author Interview

Christopher Adam Author Interview

I Have Demons is a collection of stories following three characters grappling with the demons in their lives. What served as your inspiration while writing these stories?

Fiction is usually built at the crossroads where self-reflection, your surroundings as you perceive them, and your imagination meet. I Have Demons is character-driven and each protagonist is an amalgam of people I have met–even if for fleeting moments–creative license and of me. The idea for the first story, “An Alpine Lodge Special,” was sparked from my observations of the regular patrons who frequent a Canadian coffee shop chain and a restaurant located a few blocks from where I live in Ottawa’s historically Francophone east-end. It seemed as though the same elderly people would congregate here on a regular basis; merely by their presence they would add colour with their rich memories and lived experiences to an otherwise humdrum and drab restaurant franchise. More often than not, everyday people are, in fact, extraordinary.

The story “David and Franco” is probably something to which most people at the cusp of their adult lives can relate. I think we were all David once: we begin adulthood with idealism and grand ideas, perhaps even a missionary zeal of sorts, as we tend to have some very definite ideas of ethics and the world around us. It can be exciting, overwhelming and full of promise, even when we don’t have money, and when a good job and a proper livelihood seem difficult to attain. But does life experience temper our idealism and compromise our values?

The story that stands sandwiched between these two and provides the title for the anthology is also the “heart” of my book. I am not a priest, but I have been involved quite closely with the Catholic Church for many years and I can relate to the protagonist, Fr. Solomon. I’ve encountered Father Solomons along the way. This thirty-something priest is also the character that probably includes more fragments of my own personality than any other in the book.

Each character has their own challenge they must face. What were some themes you felt were important to capture?

Sometimes people we don’t expect to be marginalized in contemporary society do, in fact, live on the peripheries. This does not mean that they perceive themselves to be victims of oppression, even if they are forgotten or disadvantaged. In their own way, perhaps with limited success, they display a degree of agency as they journey towards the centre and attempt to make their voice heard.

I find that, while writing, writers sometimes ask questions and have the characters answer them. Do you find that to be true? What questions did you ask yourself while writing this story?

Creating characters and building narratives with them can be a process of discovery for the author. Inevitably, you begin to see the world around you through eyes other than your own. No character is completely divorced from the author, who is after all the creator of these people and their worlds. Yet if the goal is to tell a story credibly, the author must make a best effort to walk in the shoes of others.

One of the questions I asked myself is whether or not the Divine still exists in a mostly secular society. As the Catholic Church and mainline Protestant churches become more marginal to, and even absent from, the lives of the majority, where does that leave the concept of a Divine presence in the world–if, indeed, there is one? Writing these stories helped me better imagine the possibility of the Divine’s implicit and mediated, yet real presence in the world, through every living creature. This isn’t a new concept at all. The idea that everyone we meet, whether friend, foe or stranger, represents part of the image of God, is the fundamental underpinning of the Catholic and Christian faith, and the Jewish tradition too. Yet it can be a hard teaching to embrace. Fiction can help.

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

I’m working on my first novel, which will see a return of Fr. Solomon. I feel he’s a character with still more potential and room to grow. As for when this work may be available–I fear that I would make for a very bad clairvoyant, so I’ll have to give an evasive answer to this question. Scene by scene, I have been working on this new story since the spring. Once I’m done, my fate, and that of my novel, will rest in the hands of potential publishers.

Author Links: Website | GoodReads

A jaded young priest of a dwindling parish faces a man with a terrible secret. A lonely pensioner spends a Thanksgiving she’ll never forget at a local diner, served by an acerbic waitress who has finally found her ticket out of there. A recent university graduate from small-town Ontario leaves home with nothing to his name but the hope of a new life in the city and places all his trust in a charismatic yet dubious life coach.

Lyrical language, at times haunting, and moments of dry humour weave through the three novellas in this collection. Set in and around Ottawa, Ontario, these stories examine the peripheries of society. In the characters’ journey toward the centre, they navigate flawed human relationships, seek to encounter a divine presence that is at once implicitly present yet dreadfully distant, and struggle to negotiate the conditions of redemption.

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Burn Marks: A strange time for letters

Burn Marks: A strange time for letters by [II, Robert D. Rice]

A never before perceived dimension to the most famous events in history. This book presents five short stories that show a different side to the stories of Lee Harvey Oswald’s arrest after the Kennedy assassination and the reaction his mother Marguerite had. This shows the other people whose lives were affected by these historical events but on whom the light never shone. Not in a controversial kind of way though. These stories make for great exchanges and interesting conversations.

While these stories cover historical events, they are more entertaining than a simple relaying of historical information. The book would actually make great material for school. The casual writing style is approachable and one effortlessly retains information. Robert D. Rice makes the material captivating and engaging.

There are five stories, each focusing on a different notable historical event. The letters are quite interesting and provide an explanation for the title of the book. They are written at the weirdest of times with the weirdest of intentions and even weirder material. The letters leave the reader wondering about the state of mind of these people. Such is the beauty of this book. It evokes interesting questions about people whose lives are suddenly thrust into high profile and strange situations.

The stories, while engaging, lack a smooth flow. I found myself getting lost in the flurry of activity. Marguerite can be confusing. She calls a newspaper so that she can get some money out of it. On the other hand, she refers to Lee as her boy and it seems almost profound. This can leave the reader with a bit of whiplash.

In all cases, these short stories are captivating and punctuated with moments of levity. They refer to important times in American history.

It is a brilliant collection. The stories are like little bits of literary joy, easy to digest in small bits while traveling. Robert D. Rice has a way of sculpting the English language that is simple yet brilliant. The result is a hilarious and charmingly witty book that readers are bound to enjoy.

Pages: 227 | ASIN: B07RZD4MMV

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I Have Demons

I Have Demons by [Adam, Christopher]

Christopher Adam’s book, I Have Demons, is a collection of three stories that are snapshots of the lives of three different people in and around the city of Ottawa, Canada. As the author describes in the preface, the main characters in these stories in some way “live on the margins,” both physically and socially. From an elderly woman who is neglected by her son and relishes any excitement she can find outside the retirement home in which she lives, to a priest who finds himself struggling to find compassion for a mentally ill man who pressures him into a uncomfortable task, to a struggling college graduate who has to put all dignity aside to try to make it in the big city, the author highlights the struggles of people who are frequently overlooked by the rest of mainstream culture.

The thing that left the biggest impression on me while reading this book was Adam’s excellent use of descriptive writing throughout his stories. His ideas become real for his readers through the way in which he is able to describe things, not just by using many adjectives, but by using detailed imagery that makes his story seem real. Everything that he describes, from a blustery wind to an old woman’s hands, takes shape in the reader’s mind through his words and metaphors. The descriptions create a feeling of uniqueness in his stories, and in their own way, can help the reader to see ordinary things from a fresh perspective.

Having said that, I don’t think the title matches the content of the book in terms of a meaningful description. Although the words in the title come from a quote in the book, I don’t feel like this particular quote gave me the correct impression of the content of the book. While the author may want to convey the idea that all his characters have to deal with their own demons, I think that, without context, the title seems suggested to me that this book is one of horror or suspense. Regardless, because the stories are well-written, thoughtful, and descriptive, I highly recommend this book.

Pages: 130 | ASIN: B07K4QG839

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After Midnight: A Short Story Collection – Trailer

These eight stories readers journey to yesteryear with issues as fresh as tomorrow’s headlines. Written by Legacy Storyteller, Pete Peterson, and published by Pallamary Publishing.

In “An Old-fashioned Fourth” we meet Hamus Zanderhook, badly scarred by the House fire that ate Baby Sister and turned Pap into a cinder. Hamus’ passion when he picks up his banjo, “is that folks will want to dance and be happy.” We follow him through the Missouri Ozarks of late 1930’s from steamy honkytonks to a Hooverville where street urchins beg for food and forgotten families struggle to survive – a haunting vision of today’s political crisis.

“In Winner Take All,” 44-year-old, bare-knuckle champion Ryman Call, fights for something more important than money.

In “The Food Thief” neglected Jeremy Holt steals to feed a hunger that food alone won’t satisfy, while older sister Josephine returns from St. Louis, with ruby earrings and necklace and a terrifying tale to tell.

In “Summer Slave” orphan Art Carr starts what he hopes is his last year as a unpaid laborer on a Missouri farm. When he rescues beautiful Fatima from drowning, a new take on forgiveness, love, and redemption questions old values.

In ‘Rivers to Cross” San Francisco native Samantha climbs hills and wades rivers to visit her father’s remote grave – a father she’s never met, killed in Vietnam who begs her forgiveness from his lonely grave.

In “Rules for Dying” the flag go up each morning at Rosecrans National Cemetery as Mike and his uncover secrets in graves of deceased veterans and a mysterious young widow shows that loyalty and compassion open doors to a new life.

“After Midnight” the title story, provides a ring side seat at a bare-fist fight between the black champ and the indomitable Ryman Call. Defense plant workers skip meals to see this battle, drink beer, eat fried chicken and watch the blood flow. Hamus faces his greatest fear and Ryman faces death, the outcome determined by a .38 caliber pistol.

This collection of stories is gentle as a punch in the gut, as subtle as a slug of morning bourbon. Some enthrall, some educate. All entertain, revealing an America of the past that opens windows on the struggles of today.

Coming Summer 2019

www.petersonwriter.com

 

The Aristocrat – Trailer

The Aristocrat by Regine Dubono is a short story about a girl named Marianne Maywee, who lives with her family (including her younger sister, Paula) in Nice, France. One day an older man appeared in their lives and introduced himself as their godfather, Mr. Giles. Marianne and Paula go on many outings with Mr. Giles, until the day he does not come to their house as expected. Marianne learns that he’s in the hospital and she goes to visit him. Will this be the end of their enjoyable outings together?

www.regine-du-bono.com

A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol: (Retold by Norman Whaler and Illustrated by Bianca Milacic) by [Whaler, Norman]

Norman Whaler’s A Christmas Carol is an exceptional retelling of a classic Christmas story. The story of stingy and selfish old Scrooge who learns through a series of ghostly visits that he has the power to ease the suffering of others and bring joy to those around him.

Norman Whaler tells this story in short rhymes that were spot on every time. The rhythm’s were short and succinct but still summed up the expanded story perfectly. Each page is accompanied by high quality art that supports the narrative and fits the book’s tone. The art is so good that I wanted to see more of it. I felt like some of the paragraphs, because they summarized so much of the story, could have been on another page with it’s own art to give life to what was being told. But this is a critique that comes out of the desire to see more of the exceptional artwork already displayed.

This is a retelling of a classic Christmas story that highlights Christian themes throughout the book with a deft touch. At the end of the book readers are treated to bonus material in the way of Christmas sheet music. I can imagine that this book would be a nice way to start a Christmas night with the family, with a story followed by songs.

If you love Christmas stories, especially the classic one of Scrooge, you will want to pick this up for the young readers in your home.

Pages: 34 | ASIN: B07QF4BPKG

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The Red Grouse Tales

The Red Grouse Tales: The Little Dog and other stories. by [Garland, Leslie W P]

The Red Grouse Tales by Leslie W. P. Garland is a book comprised of four short stories. Each story starts off with a quote followed by someone telling that particular tale. Each story revolves around the theme of religion. However, the theme is not heavy or overtaking the tale. Each short story starts off slow complete with building suspense and a twist ending. Each story has its own unique lesson one can learn and think about, making them slightly philosophical. While each telling is different, the main theme is good and evil, which gives the reader a lot to ponder.

I enjoyed this collection of stories and would recommend them. One of my favorite parts of these short stories were the fable-like feeling. They each told a story with a surprising lesson attached to each. I also greatly enjoyed the way the stories were written. Each had a way of telling a story through another person, which made the reading interesting and fun for me. I think it was a nice, added detail that gave it a more authentic feeling of sitting around and hearing a tale as well as making it seem more like a fable.

This book consists of four short stories. The Little Dog is the first one, which I felt, was a great story to start off with. It hooked me in the book itself to see what the rest of them have to offer. I think this short story in particular really set up the rest of the book as it was suspenseful and thought-provoking. It contained one of the more interesting ideas I have come across in a book: What is evil? According to this tale, evil does not have a conscious. I had to pause and think about this for a bit afterward because it was such an interesting concept to propose.

The second was The Crow, which I also greatly enjoyed. The contrast between the teenager and the older man in the story was stark, and I liked to see those differences between the two of them. I think this one was my favorite out of the four as it showed you how unique perspectives can be.

I also found The Golden Tup to be particularly interesting. I think it was my second favorite out of the collection. It was told in a suspenseful and fun way. The White Hart was not of any particular interest to me, personally, when compared to the others, but it fits in with the other tales and tied them together nicely.

All together, I found this collection to be immensely entertaining.

Pages: 347 | ASIN:  B018VWOVIU

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The Tattooed Cat

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It all begins innocently enough: a woman finds an animal that has been the victim of inexplicable torture. However, neither the cat nor the woman are average in Natrelle Long’s The Tattooed Cat. This short novella grips readers from the get-go as it plunges directly into the meat of the story. Charley, our bad-assed protagonist is elegant and rough all at the same time. She is determined and passionate. She will find who exactly has hurt the cat she saved. The journey will lead her face-to-face with the darkness of humanity as the man-hunt reveals much more is going on than animal abuse. What begins with a cat ends with a corpse.

This is the perfect kind of book to tuck into during a quiet afternoon. The short length of the book lends itself to easy reading and the story is perfectly contained within the minimal pages. There is no room for filler or other such garbage in this tale. Every sentence has purpose and each character has meaning. The characters Long creates are true to modern interpretations of humanity. The characters speak like real people, especially Charley, and it all drives the point home.

It’s a quirky book in that there is enough content to write something even twice as long, but yet the ending is neatly wrapped and perfectly delivered that the need to drag the story out disappears. By being able to devote attention and detail to this short book Long still succeeds in creating a whole world with minimal building. Many novellas have the issue of limited time to grab a readers attention and explain the world to them at the same time.

Maybe it’s the cat, maybe it’s the fact that Charley is so determined to unravel the mystery she finds herself knee-deep in that makes The Tattooed Cat by Natrelle Long so interesting. Once your attention is grabbed there is no escaping the desire to read every single word and find out once and for all how the cat and the nefarious deeds of a single man are interconnected. We are reminded of humanity’s darkness and weaknesses and that the world is not a beautiful place. But we also get to see the beauty of a single person working towards polishing this ugliness. This is a book you won’t regret picking up.

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The Aristocrat

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The Aristocrat by Regine Dubono is a short story about a girl named Marianne Maywee, who lives with her family (including her younger sister, Paula) in Nice, France. One day an older man appeared in their lives and introduced himself as their godfather, Mr. Giles. Marianne and Paula go on many outings with Mr. Giles, until the day he does not come to their house as expected. Marianne learns that he’s in the hospital and she goes to visit him. Will this be the end of their enjoyable outings together?

I enjoyed reading the descriptions of the sights Marianne saw on her outings and the places she visited with her sister, Paula, and Mr. Giles. The book was an interesting and quick read, but I wished that the story had been longer. The ending was too abrupt, and there were still questions that I had hoped to have answered.

I was confused by the hint of romantic interest for Marianne from Mr. Giles. I wasn’t sure if he actually had romantic thoughts regarding her or if it was only an incorrect impression she got from some of their interactions.

I encountered a few run-on sentences, some issues with grammar and a few typos and inconsistencies; (On one page, it was stated that Marianne and Paula were born eleven months apart, but then on the next page, twenty months separated their ages).

Overall this a quick and interesting outing with Marianne and Mr. Giles.

Pages: 23

www.regine-du-bono.com

 

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