- Dreams come true at a shocking price
- The number 255 holds significant meaning for a dying woman
- Greed leads to a lesson learned, but then again, some people never learn
- Longing for another time, another place makes up for feeling unfulfilled
- Someone thinks revenge done right is poetry in action
Roberta Smith's new book of short stories is now available on Amazon. She is doing a Kindle e-book giveaway beginning May 11, 2022 to June 1, 2022. Enter to win. There are eight stories that explore the weird, the ironic, the horrific, and the paranormal. Events that take place within in these eight tales are the result of human emotions and actions gone awry where moral conflict reigns supreme.
Distorted 2 is now available on Amazon (paperback and Kindle e-book versions). I'm doing a Kindle e-book giveaway on Goodreads beginning May 11, 2022, ending June 1, 2022. The book contains 8 stories: 4 paranormal, 3 horror, and 1 crime. I've made a short 30 second promo for each story. Check them out on Bertabooks.com
Proofs of my latest book have arrived. It's a short story collection titled Distorted 2. Horror, paranormal, one crime story. I'm having it proof read by someone before I release it. In the mean time, I'm making short up-to-30-second promo videos of each story. I have three so far. I'm excited to share the videos once the book is out.
I hope to have my next book out by mid-June. It's a non-horror anthology, (except for one story), complete with 16 stories, some of them award-winning. They vary from fiction to nonfiction, fantasy to supernatural, from sad to humorous. Here are some descriptive blurbs:
Today was a real treat. The writers club (High Desert Branch of the California Writers Club or HDCWC) Mike and I belong to hosted New York Times Best Selling Author, Jonathan Maberry as its guest speaker. What a wonderful, inspiring man. I think he lit a fire under all of us writers to get cracking and write, write, write. Jonathan Maberry is a success story. He makes a good living as a successful author and doesn't need the stipend our club paid or the money club members spent buying his books. Because of this, all of the money he made today he will donate to a charity that is providing for Ukranian children whose lives have been disrupted and devastated by the war.
I am reading this book for the second time. Rarely do I do that. I really like the story. I like Addie. I could never be as brave and resourceful as she is.
Addie is a woman who knows, back in 1714 small-town France, that she doesn't want the ordinary life of a wife and mother, especially the wife of someone she is being forced to marry. To escape, she sells her soul to the Devil and in return is given freedom to do as she pleases and take all the time she wants. But life isn't easy because of the form this freedom takes, and the Devil shows up in her life from time to time urging her to surrender her soul so she no longer has to face the grueling situation she is in. But as difficult as her life is, it is also filled with wonder and beauty. Think of all the things you might experience as a first if you lived for 300 years. Addie is a fighter and she won't surrender.
I found the story fascinating because history is something that happens real-time, and if you were to live through it and continue to live for hundreds of years, it would be a memory, a part of your life, not something separate from you in history books. Also, you would know that the events you are experiencing today will soon be history to someone not yet born.
I also love the ending of the book, but I won't go there.
When I check out the one-star reviews, I agree with the complaint about repetitiveness. And sometimes the descriptions are over-long and often too abstract or esoteric; you know, when a writer become enmeshed in their own choice of words. I want to be able to see the scene the author is painting, or at least feel it. The author didn't always get me there.
I don't mind the jumping back and forth between time periods, however, which some reviewers hate. I think it's rather clever, actually. The story wouldn't be nearly as engaging if it were simply linear.
So, I guess this book is a matter of taste and according to the reviews, most people love it. Count me as one who can ignore its shortcoming and get into Addie's experience. I love thought-provoking and this story is that for me.
Thank you to my niece, Hayley, for loaning me this book and sharing enough of its story so that I read it in the first place.
Because the plots of horror stories are often improbable, the author needs to construct their characters, dialogue, and settings with as much realism as possible. Published in the New Yorker magazine in 1948, author Shirley Jackson attained convincing realism with her iconic story, “The Lottery.” Everything appears normal at a small-town gathering until a woman gets stoned to death to assure a good harvest.
When writing fiction, a compelling imagination is essential. When writing horror, a compelling, weird imagination is vital. I write all types of fiction and nonfiction, but due to the way my mind is wired, the horror genre has enticed me into its frightening web. All those scary movies, Stephen King novels, and staying awake when I was a kid, agonizing about the boogieman in my closet, has paid off.
The premise, fear of the unknown, has always intrigued me. For my first horror story, “The Door,” Tommy Stockton knows there’s something hideously evil behind a locked door, but he doesn’t discover what it is until―you guessed it―the ending. Knowing something horrifying is just around the corner, but not knowing what it is, is a sure-fire technique in creating what I call―the fear factor.
The horror writer explores the malevolent and the inexplicable. Using the proper atmosphere, they arouse fear by building a heightened sense of suspense, mystery, and surprise. (Predictability to a horror writer is like an iceberg to the Titanic). As the successful writer builds suspense, they employ longer sentences. For action sequences, they employ a short, staccato-like structure.
Okay, brace yourselves, get comfortable, and dim the lights. I’m peering into my crystal ball to offer advice on how to write horror stories. The truth is, it’s pretty much the same as writing any fictional story: sharp dialogue, realistic characters, and intriguing narratives. All elements of good writing must be present, but there’s an additional component which makes horror writing even more challenging: the story must be scary.
For horror stories to give readers a suitable amount of gooseflesh, the author has to establish the sense of fear. There are many types of fear. I have a fear of heights but not everyone identifies with acrophobia. The horror writer must generate a universal fear. The majority of people have a fear of being isolated in a dark, strange place, which can be delightfully effective. Most importantly, just about everyone identifies with the fear of dying, which happens to be the crème de la crème in horror writing. And, of course, snakes, rats, spiders, and other creepy-crawlers can give just about anyone a case of the shivers.
I (Mike) have been working on my next anthology, "Something Different," featuring non-horror stories except for one and it's a killer. A successful writer is visited by Death in human form and a bargain is struck: Death will leave and not return for six months if the writer can tell him a story about himself that would intrigue him. Since the man is a writer, what could go wrong? Plenty. "Tell Me A Story," is short but hair-raising.