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Something Went Cold

Something Went Cold by [Glenn Reschke]

The short story collections’ lesser popularity, compared to the novel, boils down to inconsistency. Just like an album, there are bound to be one or two skips in almost every short story collection out there.

This was my mindset coming into Something Went Cold, Glenn Reschke’s short story collection. With just 5 short stories across 160 pages, I thought that all of them had better be good. And with my experience when it comes to short story collections, five is almost never enough to keep the whole boat afloat. 

Well, I’m happy to report that I’ve been proven wrong. After reading the book, I put it down on my desk with a sigh of relief. Reschke did it – he made me enjoy a short story collection from cover to cover. 

Whether intentionally or unintentionally, he seems to have created a piece of literary work that feels right at home with the Netflix Generation. The synopses for the short stories vary wildly, with “#MeToo” being about an abused woman’s revenge and “The Afterlife of Adolf Hitler” which imagines how the late dictator and monster moved to the other side. I would be remiss not to mention the boldness of the latter. 

The diversity of the stories and their fascinating topics capture the readers’ attention immediately. There’s never a dull moment or a narrative that goes too long. And just like the “Next Episode” button on Netflix, it’s pretty hard not to turn to the next page once you’ve finished a story. 

Instead of being one unified piece, the book feels more like a portfolio or showcase of Reschke’s writing. It’s all over the place in the best way possible, but it leaves you wanting to know who Reschke is as an artist. This collection doesn’t satisfy that question. But at the end of the day, that’s a minor flaw compared to the quality and talent that he displays here.

Pages: 162 | ASIN: B096586Q9L

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The Inquisition and Other Stories

The Inquisition and Other Stories is the second volume of short stories written by Michael Tabor. This collection includes an eclectic mix of thirteen exceptional stories. Each of these fascinating stories has a separate setting and cast of characters so each one can be read on its own. The genres for each original story range from historical dramas to love stories and even mysteries. This varied collection will give readers plenty to look forward to.

Readers of this collection will find the gripping stories varied and well written making it hard to pick a favorite. Catherine Lescault is a historical drama that heavily features Nicolas Poussin. Bright Stars on the other hand is a clever little mystery story for any literature nerds out there. Without giving away spoilers it is a story in which Keats shadow looms large. It’s a clever story and really demonstrates Tabor’s love of literature as an academic. This love of literature is evident in Tabor’s writing. Tabor plays with literary devices constantly.

The collection could almost be used as a textbook for creative writing classes. However, Tabor never forgets that a story should be entertaining first. Each of these gripping stories is a fun and often challenging read. The pacing is excellent. Each story is given its own time to breathe without feeling rushed. Some of them could most definitely be turned into full novels, but they do not suffer from being in the short story format either.

The Inquisition and Other Stories is a riveting and through-provoking collection of short stories. With Tabor’s imaginative and suspenseful writing style readers of all kinds will find something they enjoy in this collection. Anyone can pick it up and enjoy it but there’s even more for history and literature fans to enjoy here.

Pages: 264 | ISBN : 97809986778

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Fireside Stories

Short stories are sometimes just what the doctor ordered. It is, however, difficult to find an author who can successfully convey an engaging plot, well-developed characters, and a neat and satisfying conclusion in a few short pages. Loyst R. Streeter has the remedy. In his Fireside Stories, Streeter delivers fifteen unique short stories, each complete with fantastically drawn characters and plots that move swiftly after grabbing readers’ attention within the first paragraphs. Streeter masterfully writes on a variety of topics and manages to effortlessly cover everything from the Bible to intrigue and mystery.

Fireside Stories, by Loyst R. Streeter, is a must-read–period and no questions asked. I found myself immediately lost in one story after another. Streeter simply has been gifted with the ability to capture readers’ attention, swiftly create an emotional bond between readers and main characters, and still manage to surprise readers every time. Each short story is the ideal length and somehow manages to leave readers both satisfied and wanting more.

I have to say, I was not expecting to become as invested in Streeter’s stories as I did. Right out of the gate, I read the first short tale, “The Thief,” believing I could see exactly where and how the story would end. The author, I feel, has a talent for predicting how readers will perceive his characters, and he takes them on a journey that ends with a sudden and much appreciated twist.

It is difficult, if not impossible, to choose a favorite among Streeter’s stories. While his stories are a wonderful mix of genres and each contains memorable and relatable characters, they are all fantastic reads in their own right. If I had to choose a standout among the fifteen shorts, I would have to say “The Stranger” resonated with me. In fact, as soon as I finished it, I reread it. Streeter is a real gem for fiction fans.

Readers will have a difficult time finding another short story writer who delivers so completely. Streeter’s stories stick with you long after reading and beg a reread. I highly recommend Fireside Stories to anyone looking to fill some rainy afternoons or those relaxing moments before bed. Streeter’s stories are amazingly satisfying and truly memorable.

Pages: 175 | ASIN : B09LJ4KPMP

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Inhabitant

Inhabitant, by Charles Crittenden, is a collection of poetry that blends storytelling in a unique way. It follows the Inhabitant through the universe after being expelled from Earth for mistreating it. Readers will follow the Inhabitant on his quest to find a new home and see him explore his dreams and hopes, as he searches the galaxy.

This collection of poetry tells the Inhabitant’s story one short poem at a time. Unlike typical short stories, telling his story through poetry allows Crittenden the opportunity to explore words and emotions in a nontraditional manner. Readers will interact with the story on a more personal level given the unusual presentation of the poems. They are not written in a standard meter and line arrangement, rather they are organically placed to convey the message that the author is putting to paper. With poetry, the placement of words is just as important as the words themselves and Crittenden exemplifies this connection.

Readers will find the details presented to be well thought out. They are given just enough information to form a visual but left with enough questions to give the poems thought and ponder what Crittenden could be saying. This style of poetry leads readers to the story but allows them to dive deeper into the meaning and emotions that are being conveyed. The emotions incited by Crittenden’s words dynamic and introspective.

Inhabitant is a lyrical story with powerful prose that will leave readers contemplating their own place here on Earth, and the relationships they have with the world and people around them. For those on a spiritual journey of enlightenment this persuasive and compelling collection of poems will guide readers on a journey of self-evaluation and reflective thoughts. For readers that just enjoy unique poetry and prose, they will be delighted and entertained by the world Crittenden has created.

Pages: 132 | ISBN : 1639880496

Playtime in Vella Dera

Enauria is living with trauma, trying to move forward with her life, and she is looking for answers. Among other things, Enauria is a princess. She carries a secret that can give others peace, and she knows the time has come to reveal the hiding place of Queen Caneria. It is finally time for her daughter, Fiona, to accept the crown. This is a mission that should be simple for someone like Enauria as her powers place her far above those around her. Enauria, however, doesn’t want this to go so smoothly–she wants to leave magic behind and do this the hard way.

Playtime in Vella Dera, by author Benzon Ray Barbin, is a fast-paced science fiction short story centered around the rescue of exiled Queen Caneria. The short story’s main character, Enauria, is strong-willed and determined to bring Caneria and her daughter back together while at the same time helping Sedrinar find the only thing he has left of his past–his memories. Readers will find Enauria fascinating. As strong and capable as she is, she is still riddled with the guilt of her past decisions. Watching her growth throughout the plot is quite satisfying.

Playtime in Vella Dera, by Benzon Ray Barbin is a riveting short story. Filled with drama, suspense, a main character battling herself as much as others, and a nicely-paced plot that wraps up cleanly while leaving a nice teaser for a possible sequel. Both science fiction and drama fans will find Playtime in Vella Dera a great quick read.

Pages: 58 | ASIN : B09HNP2XM1

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The Greatest Light

When two children asked Poppy what the greatest light is, the three of them go on an adventure to discover the answer. While trying to discover the greatest light the three get balloons in the park, have some cookies, eat by a fire and catch lightning bugs. While enjoying all these fun activities the children see people that could use some help and they gladly go about helping. Poppy just watches and tells them how kind they are to help out others.

The Greatest Light is a feel-good Christian picture book that communicates the message of kindness and how we should help those in need. Tim & Cindy Morrison have written a story that is easy for children to understand using themes and topics that will appeal to young kids. Steve Worthington illustrates the story in a whimsical manner. The pages look like watercolor paintings and the colors used highlight the focus of each page. Together the prose and artwork create an engaging and entertaining book to read to children that will draw them into the story and teach without feeling like a lesson.

The Greatest Light is heartwarming and spiritual book ideal for parents, teachers, and those in religious education. This Christian picture book will emphasize that kindness is achievable in your day to day interactions

Pages: 54 | ISBN-10: ‎ 1664231641

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The Final Line Of The Story

Molly Clifford-Nixon
Molly Clifford-Nixon Author Interview

Short Stories and Flash Fiction contains a variety of intriguing stories that vary in length. What draws you to the shorter format of story telling?

I first began authoring short stories when attending a writing group. Whilst with the group I published my debut novel, The Burden of Guilt, but found that I also enjoyed writing short stories. The shorter format of story telling ensures that no word is wasted but has a use within the tale. Sometimes, it is the final line of the story that comes to mind before the storyline and I tend to start from there. The final line of “The Midnight Train” is an example. Knowing that the short story is an acceptable genre enables the writer to use only as many words as a storyline requires.

What were some challenges you set for yourself as a writer with these stories?

I find a constant challenge is ensuring that life does not prevent me from writing. It is so easy to spend time on other things that need to be done.

I can honestly say that I do not set myself actual writing challenges within my stories. I love creating stories and once the idea has come to me, I enjoy allowing the characters to take form and seeing how the story unfolds. I let my writing take me to wherever it wants to go.

The one challenge I have set myself away from my short story writing is to adapt “Infinity” into a television script, which is a genre I have not yet attempted.

“Valentine’s Day” was my favorite story from the collection. Do you have a favorite from the book?

My favourite story is “Infinity.” It is my first attempt at writing fantasy and I had such fun creating a world where anything could happen and the possibilities within it endless. I have no doubt that one day Timomathon will once again leave Humanland to return to Infinity for a quest that lies somewhere in the future.

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

At the moment I am contemplating a sequel to The Burden of Guilt, but there will also be more short stories. If I were to set myself a target to ensure I write every day, then anticipated publication would be toward the end of 2022.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

This collection of amazing stories and flash fiction are short enough to read during a coffee break or long enough to enjoy while relaxing.

They will take you on a journey from the expected to the unexpected, the natural to the supernatural.

Become immersed in conflict, humour, love and romance. If you enjoy fantasy, accompany Timomathon as he fights to save his beloved Infinity from the evil that threatens to destroy it.  Or you can follow Anna in her quest to exact retribution on the person she believes murdered her husband.

Find out what changed Helen’s life for ever or discover what lurked inside Adam’s computer.

There is a host of stories for you to laugh at the humour, shed a tear at the sorrow or ponder at the reflections and on occasion, let your mind leave reality behind.

The Curse of Clansmen and Kings

Linnea Tanner
Linnea Tanner Author Interview

Two Faces of Janus follows a brash aristocrat as he navigates the perilous politics found in 2 B.C. Rome. What inspired you to write a story about Lucius Antonius?

I’ve always found the legacy of Marcus Antonius (Mark Antony) to be one of the most compelling accounts about political corruption, betrayal, and family tragedy. Iullus Antonius was the only son of Mark Antony who Caesar Augustus spared and raised almost like a son in the imperial court. When it came to light in 2 BC that Augustus’s daughter, Julia, was having several affairs and that Iullus was her primary lover, the emperor demanded he commit suicide.

Very little is known about Lucius Antonius except that he had to conceal that he was exiled in Massilia (modern-day Marseille) for his father’s crime as a traitor. I often wondered how Lucius reacted to his father’s disgrace and how it impacted his life. Answering this question inspired me to write the historical fantasy series, The Curse of Clansmen and Kings, and Two Faces of Janus. Lucius is cast as a villain in the series, but his back-story propels what he does and hopefully makes him more relatable.

Why did you feel a short story format worked better for this story rather than a full length novel?

The short story allowed me the opportunity to explore the immediate impact that the death of Iullus Antonius had on his son, Lucius, and for rest of the immediate family. The revelation of how Lucius was devastatingly impacted will be unveiled in the fourth book (Skull’s Vengeance) of my historical fantasy series. Further, I’m also considering a standalone historical fiction novel about the earlier life of Lucius Antonius.

What surprised you the most about Lucius Antonius real life story?

Though Lucius had to conceal he was exiled in disgrace for his father’s crime, the senate decreed that all honor be paid to him at this death. His ashes were laid in the family sepulchre of the Octavvi. This suggests that he was able to restore his standing in Rome. There is conjecture that Lucius’s son/grandson was Marcus Antonius Primus, a general who secured Rome for Vespasian to be emperor after Nero’s downfall.

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

I am completing Book 4 (Skull’s Vengeance) in the Curse of Clansmen and Kings series which should be released later in 2022.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

A young nobleman confronts a specter from the past that could threaten his family’s legacy.

A brash young aristocrat, Lucius Antonius anticipates Emperor Augustus Caesar will support his lofty ambitions to serve as a praetor in the Roman justice system in 2 BC Rome. As the son of the distinguished politician and poet, Iullus Antonius, Lucius prays to Janus, the two-faced god of beginnings, to open the door for him to rise politically. But he is unaware of the political firestorm ready to erupt in the imperial family.

Augustus must confront evidence that his daughter, Julia, has behaved scandalously in public and that Iullus is her lover. The prospect that Julia might want to marry Iullus—the only surviving son of Marcus Antonius—threatens to redirect the glory from Augustus to his most hated rival beyond the grave. Caught in the political crossfire, Lucius must demonstrate his loyalty to Augustus by meeting all of his demands or face the destruction of his family’s legacy and possibly his own life. Will Lucius ultimately choose to betray and abandon his disgraced father?
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