Book Review: Black Crow Speaks @FrederickAnder2 #shortstories

In my post yesterday, I mentioned having read a third book last week but not having the time to write a proper review. Black Crow Speaks is a book I have been patiently waiting —okay, not so patiently—to release. The author shies away from promotion so I wanted to make certain I gave it the attention it deserves. I know I will be reading many of the stories in this collection over again.

First some background . . .

I started following Frederick Anderson’s blog a few years ago and was immediately enthralled by his gift of storytelling. I’ve been hoping (I even did some pestering) that he would cobble a collection of short stories together for a book. When I realized he had released Black Crow Speaks, I was ecstatic. This intelligent, literary, diverse, often bizarre, but always riveting collection of tales is not to be missed!

Let me explain the crow of the title­—Black Crow shows up at various times throughout the book to discuss everything from neighbors (blackbirds), immigrants (seagulls), family matters, homelife, kids, the wife, temptation, getting old, and social matters. Given Fred is British, I can get away with the expression “bloody brilliant.” Crow has a unique take on life.

book cover for Black Crow Speaks by Frederick Anderson shows a large black crow with book title beneathHere’s a sample from Corvid Values, my favorite crow story. Crow speaks first, followed by Fred.

He fidgets uneasily, preening a troublesome mite from his breast feathers. “S’pose. Yes and no. There’s the immigrants, see?”

He hasn’t lost his capacity to surprise: “Immigrants?”

“Yeah. You must have noticed – fousands of ‘em. Same every winter, innit? They comes flockin’ in just because they reckon there’s free food and everyfin’. They takes all the best bits and we don’t get a look in. Bleedin’ gulls!”

“Oh, the seagulls! The bad weather drives them in from the coast. The westerlys don’t trouble them so much, then? They can fly into the wind, can they?”

“Well, they work harder, don’t they? They work all the bleedin’ time, them!” He fluffs furious feathers. “They don’t even go to roost, most nights. And…and!” He squawks his emphasis; “They eat almost anyfin’. Jus’ anyfin’!”

“Surely there’s enough for all? I haven’t noticed you losing weight over the winter before.”

“Ah. Ah! But I don’t demean meself, me! You won’t catch me turnin’ over house rubbish like a – like a bleedin’ fox, for fox sake!”

“Oh, really? I seem to recall…”

“Never mind what you ‘seems to recall.’ Never mate, never! I’ve got my pride”

I treat him to one of my penetrating inquisitorial looks. “They’ve been raiding the bins at the back of the Pizzeria, haven’t they? That’s one of your favorite haunts, isn’t it?”

The crow hunches his wings and dips his head. I cannot remember seeing him so annoyed. “That place is a place for crows, gettit? Crows! Respec’able birds, mate. I got a right to that place!”


First, let me point out that no one—no one—does accents like Frederick. The ones he spins in this book are spot on. Second, the message of this story hits with a thunderclap at the end. The first time I read it, it stayed with me for days.

But the crow only makes up a few stories in this collection. As the preface says you will meet “a crow with wisdom we call could learn from, an airline pilot who qualified by correspondence course, an enthusiastic accordion player with a portal to the universe under his dining table, tales of fairies and goblins and ghosts within the machine.”

There are plenty of humans too—some who face heartbreak, others who find their lives altered in unexpected ways. Twists and surprise endings abound. Scene setting is off the charts with descriptions that are sometimes lyrical, other times gritty and raw. Every story brings something unique, but I must make special mention of Birdie, A Visitation from Mary, Goblins, Gloves, Reincarnate, Siobhan, and The Newquay Train. Wow. Just…WOW!

If you like smart, witty, and riveting fiction, don’t pass this collection by. I can’t recommend it highly enough. The great thing about short stories is you can read a few at a time or many at once. However, you read them, do read them. 5 Walloping, glittery, gargantuan stars!

PURCHASE FROM:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

You can find Frederick’s blog HERE if you’d like to give a looksee as to what else he gets up to. I’m presently enjoying a novel he has been serializing, but he’s hinted there is short fiction around the bend and Crow will return. You have no idea how happy that makes me!

Thanks for checking out this special review today. Given I’ve been badgering Frederick to publish this book, I am more than happy to help promote such a fabulous collection.

Welcome Harmony Kent with Moments #RRBC Author

Today I’m happy to welcome Story Empire author, Harmony Kent to my blog. This is her first time appearing here, so I hope you’ll give her a nice welcome as she shares the news of her upcoming release, Moments.

Banner for the book Moments by author, Harmony KentHello, everyone, Harmony Kent here. Welcome to my book release blog stop at Mae’s place. Today, I’m celebrating the upcoming release of my eighth book! Moments is a collection of short stories and poetry and brings together much of my imagination that has been scattered around for a while, lols. I’d like to take a moment to thank Mae for her support in helping me to promote my newest collection of stories. It comes out on April 14th, and the preorder links are listed at the end of the post 🙂

About the book:

Come.

Take a moment to delve into tales from the dark side, have fun with fantasy, dabble in dystopia, and court danger in a little science fiction.

These tales touch upon death, grieving, war, fresh starts, hope, courage, change, choices, and encouragement.

And then, after all that, you’ll find the poems.

From the lonely echoes of an empty house to the soaring heights of unexpected love and joy and learning to live as free as clouds and water.

For each of us, a moment encompasses a lifetime and, yet, passes in but the blink of an eye. In but a moment, everything can change. And in this very moment, life beckons in all its potentiality.

When the shadows fall, what will you do?

Excerpt:
(From ‘Twenty-Niner)

Banner for excerpt from Moments short story Twenty-NinerThe pounding in my skull wakes me. I rather wish it hadn’t. Not much, at least that I can think of, can be worse after a night of over-indulging than waking up next to a stranger.

Unable to recall his name.

Or how we met.

And—perhaps, most important of all

—why he’s dead.

That realisation snaps me out of my hung-over fog. With a groan, I roll onto my side and push myself upright. Once I have my feet on the floor, I prop my elbows on my knees and cradle my head in my hands. Please, please, please tell me that I didn’t do it again.

Is it too much to ask for a normal life? A normal relationship? A normal lifespan?

I pray, dear reader, that you’re not a Twenty-Niner. That your birthday doesn’t fall on the 29th of February. That you don’t age four times slower than everyone else. Or suck the life out of other folks to do it.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Pre-order from Amazon US or Amazon UK

Author Bio and Links:

Indie Author Harmony Kent is an award winning multi-genre author. Her publications include:

  • The Battle for Brisingamen (Fantasy Fiction) AIA approved
  • The Glade (Mystery/Thriller) AIA Approved/BRAG Medallion Honouree / New Apple Literary Awards Official Selection Honours 2015
  • Elemental Earth (YA Fantasy Fiction)
  • Polish Your Prose: Essential Editing Tips for Authors (Writing/Editing) New Apple Literary Awards Top Medallist Honours 2015
  • Finding Katie (Women’s Fiction)
  • Slices of Soul (Contemporary Poetry)
  • Interludes (Erotic Romance short stories)
  • Moments (Short Stories and Poetry)

As well as being an avid reader and writer, Harmony also offers editing, proof reading, manuscript appraisal, and beta reading services.  As well as reviewing and supporting her fellow indie authors, Harmony works hard to promote and protect high standards within the indie publishing arena.  She is always on the look out for talent and excellence, and will freely promote any authors or books who she feels have these attributes.

For all books available from Harmony, check out her author pages at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Book Trailer videos: Harmony’s trailers.

Website: http://harmonykent.co.uk

Twitter: @harmony_kent https://twitter.com/harmony_kent

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HarmonyKentOnline

RWISA Author Page: https://ravewriters.wordpress.com/meet-the-authors/author-harmony-kent/

The Experimental Notebook of C.S. Boyack II with Lisa Burton #RRBC

Guess what, gang? I’ve got a special guest today.

Lisa Burton, robot girl extraordinaire, and the personal assistant of author C. S. Boyack has dropped by to tell us about Craig’s latest book. For those of you who may not know Lisa, she made her debut in Craig’s novel Wild Concept and has been helping him around his writer’s cabin ever since. Lisa is currently on tour for Craig with a jam-packed schedule, so I was delighted to snag one of her stops. Please welcome Lisa as she shares a bit about Craig’s latest book and how it came about.

~ooOOoo~

Thanks for having me back, Mae. It’s great to get away from the writing cabin on occasion. You asked me to talk about the appeal of short stories. I think it’s nice to get a little bit of history behind them.

Short stories were once very popular. They were published in newspapers and magazines, and publishers readily sought them out. Even bigger publishers would put out the occasional anthology or collection.

When newspapers and magazines started to fail, so did short stories. Big publishing wanted novels, and series of novels, more than short fiction. The Internet, and the age of Amazon gave them a new lease on life though.

There have been some great short stories over the course of time. Movies were made, based upon a short story. I remember a great old black and white film called The Oxbow Incident, that said it was based on a short story. And we all know the legs The Legend of Sleepy Hollow took on. The Twilight Zone was really nothing more than short fiction, made for the television screen, and those stories were pretty darned good.

Today, we’ve been trained to read things in 140 characters or less. People want shorter content that respects their time. I don’t think novels will ever die, but short form stuff seems to be gaining in popularity. People can read an entire story during a coffee break.

My author, Craig, has a new collection of short fiction out. It’s called The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack II. This includes short stories and micro-fiction across a range of speculative genres. There’s a little bit of paranormal, one that passes for fantasy, and some science fiction too. There are two murder tales in there, that aren’t exactly speculative. Craig made sure this book had more stories in it, so those who expect only spec tales can consider these two as free extras.

Book cover for The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack II is rustic brown with gold alchemy rings

It’s important to Craig that I tell everyone it’s only 99¢. This is to encourage people to take a chance on it. Maybe they haven’t read Craig’s work before, or they would like to check out some short stuff. At this price, they get their money’s worth if even one of the stories clicks for them.

Part of my job as spokesmodel for Craig’s books is traveling around and talking about the stories. Another part involves handing out my posters. We try to make a couple of posters for each book. With a collection, like this one, we have to pick and choose.

This one is from a short story called Career Move. It doesn’t reflect the entire story, but just gives a hint.

Drawing of sexy blond woman in heels on a pier doing a backhanded wave to a sea-serpent that has two men clutched in tentacles. Election signs are sinking in water

We thought it was funny with the big election only a few months away. Your readers should feel free to use it as a background on their PCs, laptops, or whatever.

Thanks again for the invitation. Is there any fun shopping around your neck of the woods?

~ooOOoo~

Shopping! Oh, yes. That’s a girl after my own heart. My husband tells me I consider shopping a sport, LOL.

Lisa, thanks for dropping by and sharing the background on Craig’s book. Gang, I have to tell you I was a beta reader on this collection and it’s a 5-Star gem. I snatched up a copy as soon as it was available. You can find my review on Amazon. I have my favorites (The Last Flight of the Rocket Men, Documentary, Magpies) but the star for me is Holo-Barkers, a short little mirco fic that’s sheer brilliance.

This book is a cabinet of curiosities waiting to be discovered, and at .99c it’s a steal. Go confiscate a copy now!

~ooOOoo~

Purchase The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack II HERE

Author C. S. BoyackConnect with the author at the following haunts:
Blog
Twitter 

Goodreads
Facebook
Craig’s books on Amazon 

Cover Reveal and Pre-Order: The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack #Speculative Fiction #MicroFic

Wow! You can grab your copy of this book for just $.99 by pre-ordering from Amazon today!

I positively love cover reveals and this one is AWESOME! It was created for C. S. Boyack’s new release, The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack, by talented designer, author, and blogger Rachel Carrera. I think it’s an fabulous cover for what promises to be an intriguing book of short stories and micro-fic. What a perfect match!

IMG_1297

I think the cover speaks to all of the wonderful oddities that surely await within, much like opening a cabinet of curiosities.

BLURB:
A speculative fiction selection of micro-fiction and short stories. These were designed to be short reads for your commute, coffee break, and other times when readers are pressed for time. This book contains a bit of science fiction, some fantasy, and paranormal stories.

And Craig’s personal message:  “I’m excited to see short fiction returning in popularity. I hope you will enjoy these stories as much as I did.”

And don’t forget the best part:

You can pre-order your copy of The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack for just $.99.  I’ve already grabbed my copy from Amazon. Snatch yours up here!

Author C. S. BoyackConnect with Craig at the Following Haunts:
Blog 
Twitter 
Goodreads 
Find all of Craig’s novels here  

Cover Reveal: The Bench by Susan Koenig

My friend, Susan Koenig, will soon be releasing a work of short fiction and poetry. I’m happy to participate in her cover reveal for THE BENCH. Wouldn’t you love to be relaxing in this gorgeous setting? Looking at the cover transports me to another place!

thebenchFC

BOOK DESCRIPTION:
Using in a unique style of storytelling that sets the tone for the book, the first entry tells a bench’s 60 year history in six stanzas of 100 words each.

For the imaginative reader who loves words and appreciates variety, The Bench includes something for everyone whether you’re seeking the powerfully evocative, the unabashedly strange or simply wish to be entertained.

Take a break on a bench, a bus, or anyplace. Relax. Ignite your senses.

You never know whom you’ll meet.

A man might enthrall you with his life story or a thoroughly modern vampire might regale you with his stand up comedy routine.

Cast your eyes to the garden and explore the magical colours of love between a flower and a butterfly.

Better yet, tune into the person standing just outside your peripheral vision reciting poetry and concentrate, you may hear the lingering strands of the last dance, or a symphony in words.

Original, concisely woven storytelling, that at the end allows your mind to conjure up its own images, interpretations and conclusions.  

DSCN1684sueAUTHOR BIO:
I wish to thank all the writers I’ve met online for fueling my addiction.

Susan Koenig started writing fiction when she retired from a boring government job in 2009.

She is an occasional poet and has been featured in a local online literary magazine. Sue is a regular contributor to a monthly Haiku site as well as a consistent participant on a writing challenge which weekly tests her creativity.

In 2012 Sue published a short story, Nineteen Hundred, the prequel to her current novel in progress, The Soul Collector’s Second Chance.

Sue’s home is Southwestern Ontario, Canada, where, when not writing, she and her camera take junkets to explore new ideas for incorporation into her writing.

~ooOOoo~

Watch for upcoming release of THE BENCH on March 1, 2014! In the meantime, you can connect with Susan Koenig at her blog haunt, SassySpeaks