Tag Archives: short-stories

Ani’s Advent stories – my Christmas Roast

Apologies in advance but the timezone differences always trip me up. I hope I’m still in time to point you towards Sue Vincent’s blog where Ani [the 2nd cutest dog in the world] is hosting a different Christmas related story each day. Hence the ‘Advent’ theme. 🙂

Today, it’s my turn and Ani very kindly agreed to host my sci-fi short story – The Christmas Roast. You can find it here:

Ani’s Advent Calendar 2018! Just chilling with a story from A. C. Flory

Huge hugs to both Sue and Ani. I’ve enjoyed the Advent stories others have told and I hope everyone enjoys mine!

Meeks


Laurie Boris – In the Name of Love

laurie boris in the name of loveLaurie Boris should need no introduction, not on this blog, but for those few who haven’t heard me rave about her writing, you can find my reviews here, here and here.

For everyone else, Laurie’s latest book is a collection of ‘short and shorter stories’ on the theme of love.

I’ve only just bought ‘In the Name of Love’ so this is not a review, but I know Laurie’s writing will be wonderful so I’ll recommend it anyway. Besides, at 99c, how on earth could you not enjoy it?

Go on, click on the cover and it will take you straight to Amazon. 🙂

Enjoy!

Meeks


A great brew of flash fiction

I had a look at the Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction contenders for this week – and they made me smile!

The theme is sci-fi so of course I loved it, but so, apparently did a heap of very talented writers [no, I did NOT enter this one] who came up with some really interesting variations on the theme.

Grab a cup of coffee, or tea, sit down and enjoy some great, very shot fiction. And you can vote for your favourite too. 🙂

http://www.indiesunlimited.com/2014/05/24/flash-fiction-challenge-an-important-job/

cheers

Meeks


The Queen of twist

Candy Korman is best known for her Monster novellas, but she is also a highly talented short story writer, and her stories always have a twist at the end. I’ve read quite a few of them now, so I know what to expect, yet the twists still take me by surprise.

I particularly enjoyed this one, so I thought I’d be nice and share. 🙂

***

Immortal Stranger

by Candy Korman

Very early in her life, Sonia began to entertain the notion of her immortality. When she was five, she received news that she took as a definitive confirmation. Her mother, then unexpectedly pregnant, told Sonia that she was adopted.

“We chose you, Sonia. You were a tiny, little baby and we picked you to be our daughter.”

The speech had the feel of something that had been rehearsed before a mirror many times. Her mother also seemed to expect a number of questions about the new baby, the origins of babies in general and about the nature of family. But Sonia only smiled. As far as she was concerned this simply added credence to her observations. She was not like her parents. She was smarter, braver, more important and definitely immortal. At this point, she wasn’t sure how to define her condition. Was she a creature from a fairy tale? Perhaps. Or an alien spawn from a movie on TV? Either way, she was an immortal stranger lodging with this human family.

When Jared was born, Sonia became a devoted older sister. She felt that she had to protect him and guide him. The extended family was very impressed by this. They’d expected some form of extreme sibling resentment, if not outright rivalry. As Bette, Sonia and Jared’s mother, was 46 and their father, Ben, was 45 when Jared was born there was chatter about the difference between accidents and surprises.

Grandma Anne, Bette’s mother, was appalled by the perimenopausal pregnancy. She continued to dote on Sonia, but was always a bit cool toward Jared. In this, she was not alone. Jared was a difficult child.; he was intelligent, but socially awkward; large and strong, but uncoordinated. This disturbed his sports-loving father. Jared bit another kindergartener during playtime, wet the bed until he was eight, was caught snooping in his grandmother’s medicine cabinet at nine, and walked in his sleep. Sonia was his only friend. Even the family’s cat didn’t like him. Fluffy slept in Sonia’s room and hid under her bed if Jared visited…

***

The link to the rest of the story, and the twist at the end, is below. Enjoy!

http://www.candysmonsters.com/immortal-stranger-a-strange-family-saga/

cheers

Meeks

p.s. While you’re visiting Candy’s new website, have a look at some of the other goodies you’ll find there. 🙂


Gruel, and The Vintage Egg

I love being one of the Indies Unlimited minions…ah, I mean team members. 😉 Not only are the other members fantastic people, and extraordinary writers, the gruel is pretty good too. You might want to bring your own sugar and milk though. Oh and a bowl… and a spoon… and maybe a bib…

Ahem, I digress. I’m pleased to announce that The Vintage Egg is now featured on the Indies Unlimited website, and a pic of the cover is on the sidebar too. Happy, happy.

http://www.indiesunlimited.com/2013/08/19/featured-book-the-vintage-egg/

Thanks, and a big hug to Kat Brooks, and the Evil Mastermind from a very happy minion.

cheers

Meeks


The EGG has landed!

Massive hugs to Metan for letting me know The Vintage Egg is up on Amazon! After all that angst the nice tech people came through. Thank you Metan and thank you tech people at Amazon. 🙂

Now, you can find the Egg here :

http://www.amazon.com/Vintage-Postcards-From-Tomorrow-ebook/dp/B00E58M1UU/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1374921891&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Vintage+Egg

BUT DO NOT BUY IT!

No, this is not reverse psychology. I intend to use KDP Select to make the EGG free for 5 days starting tomorrow. So please, just wait a little.

Okay, that felt really weird. It’s not as if I’m a David Jones sale and hordes of people are camped outside,  waiting for the doors to open. The whole ‘please wait’ bit is so I can give you guys something for free, as a thank you. Thank you for the feedback on the cover, and thank you for encouraging me the last couple of days. And thank you just because. 😀

-hugs-

Meeks


When one door closes another opens

I received another email from Amazon support this morning :

“We’ll contact you with more information by the end of the day on Friday, August the 2nd.”

-sigh-

Assuming Amazon tech support do find the problem, and fix it in that time frame, the Egg will now be released on the Kindle two days after I start my new course [the Cert IV in Training]. That means my marketing campaign for the Egg is up in smoke. Ass I’m a serial monogamist – i.e. I can only focus on one major thing at a time – once the course begins, everything else will take a backseat.

I will do some marketing of course, but most of my spare time and energy will be devoted to keeping my blog alive, and continuing with my writing.

Is fate trying to tell me something?

-shrug-

If it is, I can’t seem to decode the message.

But all is not gloom and doom. As The Daughter is away, and I’m at a loose end this weekend, I’ve decided to spend my time working out how to publish to the Kobo. If I’m successful, the Egg may start its life in Canada. [The Kobo e-reader is manufactured by a Canadian company, and is very popular there].

The reason I chose the Kobo for my next foray into e-readers was because I’ve been reading some good things about its development, and I think it will be an interesting player in the market once the Nook is phased out [plus I found a very detailed how-to guide which always helps].

If the Kobo experiment works, I may bite the bullet and set my sights on The Meatgrinder next.

For the non-Indies out there, The Meatgrinder is the quasi affectionate name given to the Smashwords program. It’s reputed to be a beast, and I’ve circled it warily for over a year, never quite daring to give it a go.

So there you have it – a disappointing outcome with positive highlights. Wish me luck!

Meeks

p.s. This is my 341st post. Just 24 more and I’ll have 365! It’s taken me almost two years to get to this point, but I’m going to celebrate anyway. More on that later.


And the winner is…. The Vintage Egg!

vintage egg FINAL

Thank you to everyone who responded to my call for help on the new cover!

As you can see, ‘The Vintage Egg’ was your favourite title, but only by 9 votes to 6. I looked at those numbers and realised ‘Postcards from Tomorrow’ would be great as the title of a series, so that’s what I’ve done.

For the moment, a series of short story books is more aspirational than anything else, but I like the idea. 🙂

I’ve also fixed the layers issue I was having, and now the graphic shows the cockpit cover as it was meant to. Phew.

Finally, I took note of the comments about the readability of the small text, and changed the font. I realise this still won’t show up on the normal Amazon book list, but should work on the ‘look inside’… assuming anyone gets that far.

Thanks to all your feedback I believe this cover is now done! And I have to say I’m proud of it. Very proud. I’m also very touched at all the support you guys have given me. David, Ilil, Metan and EllaDee did a superb job as beta readers, [and proofreaders as well!] and all of you helped make the cover an order of magnitude more professional than it would otherwise have been.

Thank you. I love you all.

Meeks


Now why didn’t I think of this before?

bright idea 2Okay, I did think of this before, but I was caught up on size…

Gotcha! You weren’t thinking about books now were you?

But I was, I’ve been thinking about nothing but books for months.  In particular I’ve been stressing about book 2 of the Vokhtah series, and the more I told myself that I needed another title out there, the less inspired I became.

And then I flirted with the idea of publishing my short stories. The only problem was, I only had four, and couldn’t seem to think of any more, or at least none that would fit into that particular theme.  How could I publish such a small book? With a total wordcount of just under 6,000 words I’d read single short stories that were longer.

As you can see, I was completely blinded by my pre-occupation with -cough- size -cough-. In my head I saw a wafer thin book with a pretty cover, front and back, and next to nothing in the middle.  Something like this :

postcards cover

And then today, as I was looking over some of those old stories, it hit me : books don’t have to be the size of doorstops any more!

Why not expand my Vintage Egg story, and publish the shorts as a $0.99 appetizer?

Or as a free giveaway?

Or, radical idea, I could bundle Postcards with Innerscape. After all, it was the short story of Emmi that inspired Innerscape!

The more I thought about things from this slightly different angle, the more excited I became. And lo and behold, my brain is now teeming with ideas about how to finish off The Vintage Egg story.

Fate truly does work in mysterious ways, and now I’m happier than I have been in quite a while. I still have to finish Vokhtah book 2, but the pressure is off. Once I have two books out there, the third will be a piece of cake.

If any of you want to read, or re-read, any of those stories, you can find them on the sidebar, under Categories/Short Stories. As for me, I’m going to go do some writing. 😀

cheers

Meeks


Unexpected Tales from the Ends of the Earth – a review

Unexpected Tales from the Ends of the Earth is an anthology of short stories. The ‘ends of the earth’  part of the title is a reference to the diverse countries and cultures of the authors who contributed to the anthology.

The reason I bought Unexpected Tales was because Candy Korman contributed seven stories to the anthology and I was curious to see what Candy’s shorts were like. [No pun intended!]

Those of you who read my reviews will know that I’ve loved, and reviewed, both of Candy’s novella length stories. [My reviews are here and here].

I’m pleased to tell you Candy’s shorts are just as good as her novellas!

Writing in short form requires a great deal of skill. The author has to find a way to compress background, character arc, mood and plot into a very tight space. As with a novel, each short story has to have a beginning, a middle and an end. Beyond that however, the story has to trigger the reader’s own imagination to fill in the ‘blanks’. The reader has to become a willing, eager participant in the telling because the author does not have the luxury of waffling on. Ok, waffling is not good in any form but you know what I mean!

So, back to the anthology. All seven of Candy’s short stories were a joy. No surprise there because she is a superb writer, imho [in-my-humble-opinion]. Her stories, however, were all surprising. Each one drew me into a different time and place… and then turned my expectations on their heads!

My favourite short story was the one about the residents of a retirement village. As I’m nudging 60 – and a bit scared of getting truly old – I enjoyed the depiction of these older citizens as real people enjoying much the same activities I enjoy right now. Romance, sex, love. Apparently none of those tender emotions atrophy with age. That was good to know. And then Candy started weaving in ‘the twist’. I won’t tell you what it was but I guarantee that readers of any age will appreciate it!

Of the ‘unknown’ authors contributing to the anthology the standout, for me, was Xarina. She wrote quite a long story in a number of parts. Her story, Alliances, was surprising in many ways. It began with a wedding and and it was  soon obvious this wedding was eastern in flavour. I guessed Indian and I was later proved correct. [Thank you Monsoon Wedding. If you haven’t seen this delightful Indian movie then I highly recommend it.]

All my other guesses about ‘Alliances’ proved to be wrong but the story was so enjoyable I hardly even noticed. Bright, colourful, exotic, all are words that spring to mind in describing this story. Yet there is a dark thread beneath its gentle, Bollywood-bright facade. And the ending will make you slap your head in disgust at not seeing the ‘clues’. Trust me, they are there. Xarina [the author] has not short-changed her readers in the slightest. Once you know, the signs are obvious. But of course she doesn’t let you ‘know’ until the very end.

In my humble opinion [there’s that caveat again], Candy Korman and Xarina make this anthology well worth the cost of the ebook. For me, though, the rest of the short stories somehow missed the mark. With some, the problem was me; I simply couldn’t relate to the content. With others, the style annoyed me. I enjoy beautiful prose but I really don’t like self-indulgent prose. Enough said.

The short story that disappointed me the most, however, was one that just… stopped. This particular story was interesting enough but it ended so abruptly I was left feeling baffled. And somewhat cheated.

At first I thought I’d paged past the ending. On a Kindle that’s quite easy to do if you press the page forward button too hard. So I paged back and discovered that I hadn’t missed the ending at all. All the main threads were resolved but the underlying thread, the one that gives you a sense for why the story was written in the first place, was missing. To me it felt like a long, involved joke without a punchline. Now I know that not all short stories have to have a ‘twist’ but I do expect them to give me a sense of… closure. This particular story didn’t.

One of the reasons I swore I would only write reviews of books I loved was that I hate being ‘mean’. I can empathize with other authors too well to want to hurt them, especially when my opinions are so very subjective. Millions of people love Twilight. I don’t. Millions of people love romance novels. As a general rule, I don’t. Still more millions love horror stories.  Surprise, surprise… I don’t. By contrast, I love science fiction, yet I know that an awful lot of people find sci-fi a yawn. So castigating any author for writing something I don’t like just feels wrong to me.

But what do you do with an anthology? Not writing a review of Unexpected Tales from the Ends of the Earth –  because I disliked some of the stories – would have been like throwing the baby out with the bath water. For those young ‘uns who haven’t heard that saying before… just think about it. 🙂

Unexpected Tales from the Ends of the Earth is an anthology with ups and downs, however for me, the ups far outweigh the downs and I can recommend it with a clear conscience, especially as I know you may love the very stories I disliked. That’s what subjective opinions are all about. Read the anthology and then, if you think that I have missed the mark, please tell me so in comments.

Honestly, I’m not just saying that! Life would be very boring without different points of view and, well, I do love a good argument. 😀

cheers

Meeks


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