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2017 Reading Challenge

Jill Elizabeth has read 2 books toward her goal of 150 books.
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Interview with Helen Keeling-Marston, Author of 200 Very Short Stories

Ever hear someone complain that they don’t have time to read? That books take too long to get through, that the time commitment to actually finish the story is the reason they don’t read? Well, you’re not the only one to hear those complaints – and author Helen Keeling-Marston has a solution: micro-stories. I recently learned a bit more about her new book – 200 Very Short Stories.

Your collection focuses on short (and exceedingly short) stories, and is intended to draw in the “I’m too busy to read” audience. Do you think that shorter story forms are becoming more popular as a result of the increased pace of the modern world?
Yes, I think so. One of the reasons why I wanted to write this book was because I often get into bed on a weekday evening, pick up the latest book that I’m reading – but then quickly fall asleep as I’m so tired from the craziness of the day. I find that such short reading spells mean that I often really lose the thread of a novel, so I wanted to come up with something where you only need to be attentive for a few minutes, but you still get a start, a middle and an end. That said, there’s simply no replacement for a full-length novel – but, personally, I find that I get the most enjoyment from full-length novels during my weekends or when I’m on relaxing holidays.
Continue reading Interview with Helen Keeling-Marston, Author of 200 Very Short Stories

Guest Post: “My Character, My Friend” by Dylan Callens, Author of Interpretation

Today I’d like to introduce you to Dylan Callens, author of a freaky new dystopian novel about what it means to be human – and who the monsters really are…

The Guest Post: My Character, My Friend
by Dylan Callens

As I began researching different psychological experiments for my novel, Interpretation, the first (and craziest) person I came across was a neurobiologist named Dr. Jose Manuel Rodriguez Delgado. His name is important: Jose Delgado. This man had a vision for the future, where people wore electronic stimulation devices so that the government could correct unwanted behavior by stimulating the brain. His research worked towards this end, creating a device that could be attached to brains. In one famous experiment, he had his device implanted into the head of a bull. As the bull charged at Delgado, he administered a shock to the animal’s brain, which stopped it in its tracks.

After reading some of his work, I knew that this would be the social condition in my novel: a society where every individual had some kind of device implanted in their heads. As a result, I wanted to give my main character a first name that represented this reality. So, of course, I named him Carl. Continue reading Guest Post: “My Character, My Friend” by Dylan Callens, Author of Interpretation

Book Review: The Management Style of the Supreme Beings by Tom Holt

“…do you believe in Santa Claus?”
Kevin paused for a moment before answering. “You mean, does he exist? Yes, he does.”
Jersey’s eyes opened wide, but he didn’t say anything.
“You sound awfully sure,” Lucy said. “That’s, um, unusual in a grown up.”
“Well, yes. Do you believe in the internal combustion engine?”
“What? I mean, well, yes. It’s not something you need to believe in. It’s just there.”
Kevin nodded. “They’re both equally miraculous or equally mundane, depending on whether you happen to know for sure.”

I wasn’t sure about this one at first… It started great, then slowed up a bit – which is what I’ve noticed about Tom Holt in the past. I struggle with him – he devises brilliant storylines that draw me right in but the build up takes time, and sometimes he loses me in the process. I’m SO glad I stuck with this one though – it was truly excellent!

The concept of a universe for sale to the highest bidder seems so sadly, hilariously, tragically possible right now… The world is an increasingly uncertain place, it seems, and things like faith and responsibility do seem to be rather up for grabs. Continue reading Book Review: The Management Style of the Supreme Beings by Tom Holt

Interview and Guest Post: Tyler Wandschneider, Author of Lockheed Elite

Today I’m pleased to introduce you to a fascinating author, Tyler Wandschneider, whose new book – Lockheed Elite – releases today. It’s on my To Be Read/Reviewed list, but you know I’m a bit slow on getting through my backlog of reviews lately, so the review will take a while to post. But I didn’t want you to have to wait to learn about the book or the author, so without further ado I give you an interview AND bonus guest post on writing a book. Enjoy!


The Interview

Where did your idea for Lockheed Elite come from?
(Smile.) I love the idea of life in space. When I picture it, I see life there as common as it is planet-side. Making a living in space would consist of many of the same things, just without the ground. All I had to do then was think about what kind of work should this crew do. What could give them the opportunity to get in the most trouble. Then I began exploring it and had a blast doing so. I felt that an experienced independent crew that ran on their own clock would give us the best crew to start with. The next step in that was to put them through a wringer.

When did you start writing Lockheed Elite?
In the summer of 2015. It began as a kind of episodic project. At first I envisioned long chapters that were a kind of short story in and of themselves; as if they were their own “episode” in a television series. Soon after I was asked to submit a sample of it for consideration on a serialized literature website. I did. And they accepted. And then the story took on more of a novel feel to the story.
Continue reading Interview and Guest Post: Tyler Wandschneider, Author of Lockheed Elite

Book Review Blurb: UNSUB by Meg Gardiner

“He took her,” James whispered. “But I can’t let him have her.”

What an extraordinarily creepy psychological thriller, full of obsession and madness and violence and the devastation that can trail in the wake of a quest for justice… The serial killer genre is well-established, and as a result, it’s getting more difficult to tell a tale that feels original in its telling. Sure, the crimes vary from book to book, but the concept – killer increases his intensity and violence, cop(s) risk ever-increasing stakes (mostly in the form of their family/relationships and sanity) as they struggle to save everyone, killer taunts and teases and eventually overdoes it and gets caught – is pretty standard fare. That’s true here too, to a degree – but it’s the execution (no pun intended) that really made Meg Gardiner’s latest stand out for me. The characters are fantastic – just the right levels of creepy obsession on the sides of both good AND evil. The plot is perfectly paced. The reveals come just often enough that you think you know what’s coming next. And the writing is marvelous – easy to read (in language, if not always subject matter – the violence and aggression can be tough to read at times, but not inappropriately so), thoroughly engaging, and full of dark insights into human nature that resonate long after their pages are turned. This is a captivating tale and well worth the goosebumps!

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