The Art and Craft of the Short Story( a book review)

art and craft of short stories
Book cover courtesy of Open Road Distribution(October 2016)

The Art and Craft of the Short Story by Rick DeMarinis

Originally published by Story Press(2008)

ISBN: 978-15040-3685-6

If you’ve ever wanted to take that Master’s course in creative short fiction writing, I recommend none higher than DeMarinis’ The Art and Craft of the Short Story. This is no short book with quick, easy clichés to get you writing better. On the contrary, you will learn the anatomy of the short story and how to tell the difference between a good one and bad one.

What makes this book so good?

  • It is straight to the point with explanations of the tools of creative writing.
  • Lots of exercises.
  • Examples of amazing short stories written and published.

As someone who loves reading poetry and short stories, I had to pick this one up. I needed a book from an expert who will not only tell, but show me what good writing looks like.

DeMarinis breaks down beginnings, endings, plots, imagery, theme and more.

You realize he is speaking to you as a gentle instructor, showing you what you already realize as a reader: that a story has to grab your attention from the get go.

Here is just a few of the sage advice you’ll find:

  • “If there is a thematic point in a story to be made, it would have to emerge organically-not forced”(pg.59) meaning as you are writing, you may not want to focus on theme, just tell the story. Readers will have their own thoughts on what the theme truly is.
  • The contemporary short story is mostly character driven.
  • Shifting points of view may bring the story into sharper focus.
  • Closing a short story is similar to closing a poem(really loved this topic!)
  • The weird yet glamorous world of meta-fiction writing.

I think the biggest take away from this book is the breakdown of stories. As DeMarinis puts it:

“In fiction, every sentence is innovation.”(pg. 135) Stories are made up of Narrative(voice that tells the story), narrative summary(moves story forward), and scenes(place characters on stage).

Seeing it condensed like that after reading his book, really nailed it.

So if you are interested in writing short stories and getting them recognized and/or published, you will be doing yourself a favor by picking it up either on loan from Freading.com or clicking its title above to purchase from Amazon.

I wish I could spill all the information from beginning to end on this book, but writing is your journey and yours alone.

Would you pick up this book to improve your own writing or to learn about short fiction?

What are some books you have read on short story writing? Share here!

Sincerely,

-The Write Web

Rock-N-Ink Series Presents, Beautiful Mess(a review)

Beautiful Mess(Rock –N-Ink series, #2) by Kasey Lane

Published: Sourcebook Casablanca 2017

Cover and Internal Design by Sourcebooks, Inc. Cover Art by Craig White

Read this on my LG Tribute, downloaded from Freading.com but you can also grab books 1 and 2 of the Rock-N-Ink series on Amazon/Kindle today!

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It is that feeling you get when the ride is over. You do not want to close the book, but alas, it is over.

I have enjoyed both Beautiful Crazy and Beautiful Mess- a LOT.

In Beautiful Mess, we meet JamiLynn Dillon, Mason Dillon’s little sister and prim and proper attorney at law.

JamiLynn’s heart was broken by the heartthrob drummer, Jackson “Jax Pain” Paige five years ago while she attended college. She did not expect to run into him at his own tattoo parlor, Tatuaggio, and once again old feelings stirred up in her heart for this super gorgeous man who took her heart and body, gave it a ride she has not forgotten, then discarded her by walking out on her years ago.

When Jax sees Miss Prim and Proper Jami, it is as if whatever was missing in his soul, was finally piecing itself back together again. However, there are two problems: she is Mason’s little sister and he walked out on her all those years ago.

With all the heat and old feelings of regret and guilt building up,you begin to wonder if the two will ever make it.

Between Jax’s reason as to why he left, and Jami not being able to let go of the past nor let her hair down and then the fact that her parents have more control of her life then need be, it will take a miracle for these two to rehash the past safely and just get on with it.

This book earns five purple hearts for excellent pacing, memorable characters, and a storyline brimming with sizzling sensuality, camaraderie and lots of rock and roll and ink.

First of all, I loved this series because how can you go wrong with music, tattoos and romance? You just can’t.

Jamilynn may be an attorney but she has her heart trapped in a steel cage and for good reason. A boyfriend in high school hurt her. Badly.

Then in college, she meets Jax who is her artistic, amazing hot tutor and then Jax walks out on her- it is pretty understandable why she does not want to fool around with Jax Pain(or any dude) anymore, but darn it, Jax knows the right words to say and it helps that he is older, wiser and have discovered new ways to bring her to new heights(in bed and in life)

“Because right now, right here, Jax Paige knew only one thing for sure: he wanted JamiLynn Dillon more than he wanted his next drum solo, more than he wanted a multimillion dollar contract.”(Beautiful Mess, pg. 112 , 2017).

I could not get over the feels and chills and outpouring of sexuality and equal amounts of pure adoration and love Jax had for this woman.

JamiLynn may be cute and very smart but she was really damaged by her past, which actually made her equal parts stoic but also a teddy bear underneath. We rejoice when she realizes she is just like everyone else, she is a part of something bigger and the past does not have to keep her.

Did I mention the scorcher bedroom scenes(SWOON!)

Or the way Jax defends her and constantly dotes on her?

My favorite scene of all is when he receives a text message from her that she is tired and wants to go home but he is there. At her place. Waiting for her and fixes her tea, soup and rubs her feet after a hard day.

Can I get an AMEN!

The tone of the book is marshmallow sweet with the savory sauce of romance I was looking for.

If you are into rock n’ roll and tattoos you will love this one.

Be sure to check out Kasey Lane at www.kaseylane.com for more of her books!

Also, if you are into bikers and romance, I reviewed an equally hot novel you may want to check out today too!

You’ll be Panting and Maybe Crying after Reading Overdose, A British Bad Boy Romance

 

Overdose image
Overdose by Raven St. Pierre

Overdose: A British Bad Boy Romance by Raven St. Pierre

Published October 2016

I purchased this book from the Kindle Store for $3.99. Get it now. Not kidding!

Warning: This book deals with some SERIOUS issues such as abuse and other forms of violence.

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The author warns us that this hero is flawed and dirty.

However, nothing prepared me for the rollercoaster ride of feels and even threats of tears in my eyes as I read this work. Let me tell you why.

Zander Hale is all kinds of messed up. He is a narcissist. Insomniac and a sex addict. Dr. Vanessa Ferris of Ferris and Ferris has to treat him. But what she did not expect was a primal, sexy beast who is also a mental health doctor himself, to take such an interest in her.

It also didn’t help that her soon to be ex- husband works with her and is always so nosy. They have a son together, but Vanessa is truly done with her cheating husband.,

The first time Vanessa tries counseling Zander, she finds him too prideful and way too cocky, but he is an honest man. He makes it known on first meeting that he wants her. To Zander, Vanessa is becoming his very own brand of addiction and if the tension becomes too much, he’ll have to do something about it.

Now, here is where the book earns a whopping five hearts: This is the first time that there isn’t a “comedy relief” or “sista-friend” in this work of fiction for the protagonist to lean on.

To me, sista friends and comic reliefs for certain books, slows down the pace.

There were times reading this book that I wish I could help her with her situation with such a controlling husband. But it was refreshing to not have that interference, she mostly drew her strength from Zander and so I appreciated the alone time they had with each other.

I also really liked the fact that there really weren’t any heroes in this story. Everyone had flaws. The difference is in how they handled themselves.

Without giving too much away, Vanessa shut her husband from her life as soon as he cheated, but it seems he had something important to tell her that she just would not hear. I paid attention to this in the story, knowing good and well he blew his chances with her, but still…something was off about him.

Zander, to me was the true victim all through life. Again, I will not spill his beans, but his times of being cocky were obviously “bravado masks” for when he was hurt. But I  enjoyed him bantering with Vanessa and the way they steam up the darn eBook was FIRE!

I found it interesting that the main characters: Dr. Simon Ferris, Zander Hale, and Vanessa Ferris are all mental health doctors, but Vanessa gave Zander the time of day to hear why he does what he does, instead of affording her husband the same listening ear.

However, you will quickly figure out the darkness her ex- husband was hiding and will be glad she turns to Zander.

The book goes more into Zander’s background than Vanessa. We get bits and pieces of her past life as far as academics and career is concerned but I do not recall her mentioning her own parents at all.

I highly recommend this book because it is a testament that true love can kick any bad situation’s butt if we hold out hope for one another and the future. The hero in this book not only made me swoon hard, but conveyed that all people deserve a chance at happiness.

Another great page turner from Raven St. Pierre!

Kamaria G. Powell Asks Us: WTF is Enlightenment(a review)

What the F#@k is Enlightenment? By Kamaria G. Powell

Publication Date: March 25, 2017

ISBN: 978-1365305320

Perfect Bound Paperback, get it on Lulu today!

*Received from Netgalley for my unbiased review*

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I know I have an amazing book on my hands when I just can’t stop highlighting enlightening words and anecdotes. Kamaria G. Powell’s words feel as if they are bubbling from a pot of sincerity and love, as if a sister is trying to encourage you in your darkest hour.

WTF is Enlightenment is a clarion call and book of personal experiences, detailing just what the heck spirituality is and all it can be.

The really cool thing, is that Kamaria does not just tell us what enlightenment is, she reiterates over and over that we “have to embrace our own spirituality” and this can be difficult for many of us because who we are tend to be tied down to religion, passed down teachings, titles and material wealth.

“What I learned from my deep longing to be seen as a spiritual being, was that you don’t need anyone to knight you.”(WTF is Enlightenment, 2017)

How is it that we allow people outside of us to tell us who we are? That is impossible! Whatever the Creator of the universe has given us, was given by Him. If we need to make moves and make a change, we are already equipped to do so.

Kamaria even gives us some background on her own life story. She does not sugarcoat her mom’s mental illness or her dad’s incarceration, and her choosing to see the lessons and the light from that situation will encourage the reader too.

This book is a welcome fresh air that was not difficult to understand at all. As I said before, this book is a clarion call to be who you are. What can be more beautiful than that? Here are a few tidbits from the book that were precious gems to me:

  • Listen to patterns in your life.
  • You are the access to the Divine- everyone else is a guide.
  • Being spiritual does not require a specific text.
  • You are an expression of God.

Plus many more affirmations.

“You have the power to start thinking of your life as a science that you must study in order to discover your personal truths…”

After reading this wonderful book, I have become more aware and will definitely heed to the lessons Kamaria points out in the material.

If you’ve ever wanted a guide that was not boastful , yet intelligently and simply written. Please choose this one.

 

Wow, Room 42 is a Mind Trip(a review)

Room 42
Designed by Ericajean using Canva

Room 42 by D.K. Cassidy(Published in the “Immortality Chronicles” created by Samuel Peralta)

Pluto Press*Book received from Instafreebie.com

Visit D.K. Cassidy and while you’re at it, you are DEFINITELY going to want to download Room 42!

On April 15th the year 2145 at 42 minutes past midnight, “The Event” happened.

Everyone became immortal…and sterile.

Dr. Vivian Toujours for 75 years, has been working on a cure for this strange disease. In a world where everything lives forever- except one organism(read to find out!), what is a scientist to do?

My Reaction:

This story grabbed my mind and f#!&d with it. What’s even more cool, is the author even admits in her bio that she hopes to mess with our minds.

Good job, D.K.!

But seriously deep down, my psyche wanted a conclusion or some kind of sequel. I read this story as if I was there in the year 2145 and needing answers. For such a short work, the story highlights possible political and social scenarios- all plausible to me.

One question I need answered right now:

Can we please have a part 2 of some kind?

Just kidding! I know the power of the short and D.K.Cassidy wields it well!

For more reviews and even more on writing, delivered to your email or WordPress reader, I implore you to subscribe!

Sincerely,

Ericajean

P.S. Affiliate links may be in this post 😉

‘Made For Us’ by Samantha Chase (a review)

Made for Us (The Shaughnessy Brothers, #1)Made for Us by Samantha Chase

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

 

 

made-for-us-graphic2

This is my first Samantha Chase book. After reading the blurbs on Freading for the Shaughnessy Brothers series, I had to feed my Contemporary Romance addiction!

Order your copy of Made for Us today!

Zoe Dalton, an interior decorator, just moved from Arizona after losing her mom and wanted to experience everything the east coast could possibly offer. She finds herself landing a job working for one of the most notorious, bullheaded bosses in the entire world. Who also happens to be incredibly sexy- Aidan Shaughnessy.

Aidan lives life on deadlines and habit. He and his family has adjusted somewhat after their mother’s death, but he has filled the shoes of second parent. However his harsh way of dealing with people has to change. When he meet Zoe, he thinks he can pull the same rank with her, but this fiery red head is not having it.

My Reaction:

Aiden is the oldest so it kind of makes since that he has always been there for family, but he definitely got on my nerves with his rigid rules and inability to adapt to change. Still, I had some pity on him. Samantha Chase created real characters who demand us to root for them or to loathe them.

What made the book frothy and fun were the supporting characters too. The interaction between them and the main characters gave even more insight into the psyche of both Zoe and Aidan.

On a personal level this book really speaks to me, because losing someone is hard and in a way it does change you. In the midst of that there is happiness. Not necessarily easily achieved but possible.

Also, this was a clean romance. Some sexual suggestions but surprisingly it was kept decent and smokin’ hot at the same time. I really loved that.

*Stay tuned for my review of Book 2: Love Walks In, Shaughnessy Brothers, #2.

Wanna read with me? Post your comments below so we can talk about this sweet, romantic series. Let me know how you’re doin’ 🙂

View all my reviews

‘Bunny and the Bear’ by Eve Langlais(a review)

hot couple kissing
Cover Art by Amanda Kelsey/Blog design by Ericajean using Canva

Warning! This book has fiery hot scenes in it inappropriate for certain audiences. Thank you!

Book Details:

Bunny and the Bear(Furry United Coalition, #1), by Eve Langlais

Published by Eve Langlais (July 2011)

ISBN: 978-0-9869154-4-4

Five Stars

Read on my Kindle App and found on Bookbub

Get Your Free Copy on Amazon Now!

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After having a delicious time this summer reading C791 by Eve Langlais, I just knew I was about to get into another delicious romp fest. Instead of cyborgs this time, we are introduced to the land of the were folks. Werebears, Wererabbits…

Wait.

Did I just say Were-Rabbits?

Gah! Rabbits are my favorite of all the woodland creatures, and in Bunny and the Bear, Langlais is sure to include the quirks and the fun of both beasts!

The Hot, Hoppin’Story

Chase doesn’t know whether to strangle or make love to his playful platinum blond neighbor. She is definitely fun and perky and…bothersome. As a werebear, Chase spends his time sleeping, going to work, eating and then repeating the same cycle all over again. Now it is interrupted by dreams of having the delectable Miranda all to himself.

Miranda knows how Chase feel about intermixing species, but she can’t help but adore the big lug. He is handsome and so predictable. Unfortunately, she is here to protect him from the real danger lurking. A terrible danger, that she as a Werebunny is designed to take care of.

My Honey Sweet Reaction:

I needed something fun and frothy but with some spice. Add a little easy reading and an alpha male and this is exactly what I got.

Miranda was everything a bubbly bunny should be yet she had lots of bite. Chase comes off as your typical alpha male you’d pretty much find in any romance, yet I found something very special about him that instantly made my heart go Ba-Boom!

Besides eating honey buns everyday, Chase is intuitive when it concerns Miranda. He can sense when she has her low points and doubts and he is there to pick her up- literally and figuratively.

Fun Fact: this book reminded so much of Zootopia, but with a slight twist. Watch the film, you’ll see!

Needless to say, this one was quick and sweet but such a hot treat! I need to get more of these shifter books!

Let me know if you’ve read any of Eve Langlais’s books.

Or just stop by and say hi!

Until next time.

Ericajean