Two cover images

Tales of Androids and Gunslingers

1280px-Dead_plant_in_potsAuthors without readers are like house plants without water. While at first they are filled with life and promise, if they go unnoticed long enough, they will wither and fade away.

So it’s important that excellent books get the attention they deserve. Independent authors, who cannot rely on the marketing departments of traditionally-published authors, depend heavily on their readers to help promote their work and grow their careers. A key component of reader promotion comes in the form of book reviews, which play a huge part in selling books and bringing in new readers.

With that in mind, I recently finished two books that I enjoyed very much, and as a challenge, I decided to try reviewing them together. The books are The Whirlwind in the Thorn Tree by S. A. Hunt and Brother, Frankenstein by Michael Bunker.

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My journey to become a novelist

Although I didn’t know it at the time, I started my first novel as a senior in high school.

It began as a short story about two characters in a fantasy world, and as I recall was inspired by the 1980s Robin Hood television show. Before I began my novel, I had completed a beast of a project, a 20-page short story. It was for one of my classes, and until that point had been the longest thing I had ever written. After that challenge, I would have been scandalized if someone told me I could write an entire novel.

So I wasn’t writing a novel that day. I just had an image, a scene in my head that wouldn’t leave me alone.

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The yellow post-it note

The yellow square was bouncing along the damp road, dancing in the wind like an autumn leaf. She ran up to it, reached for it, missed. Close enough to see there was writing, she followed it on its random skips and hops down the street, passing several homes and apartment buildings. Half a block down, she finally caught it. The ink had run, blurring part of the note, but she could still make out most of it. She glanced around, at all of the homes on the block, all of the doors and windows shut tight, asleep, unseeing. The post-it must have been stuck to a door or window. Stuffing it into her pocket, she turned around and walked back the way she came, a tear running down her cheek. Someone hit your dog. I took him to [unreadable] nothing they can do. Call me at 523-1[unreadable]. A 147 word response to today’s Daily Post prompt: You stumble upon a random letter on the path. You … Read more…

Bruised Egos

By Jackie Dana Winner, Fourth Place, The Eighth Annual Austin Chronicle Short Story Contest, 1999   “Give me the daggers,” he demanded in falsetto. From the first day he walked into class I knew Mr. McGinty wouldn’t be like our other teachers. Maybe it was because he was Australian, a foreigner. Maybe it was also because he used to teach at a boy’s boarding school. Didn’t he joke that it was going to be hard to adjust to teaching girls? He didn’t do things the way everyone else did, that’s for sure. Instead he set his own rules as it suited him. We were reading Shakespeare’s Macbeth, and he had assigned us each a part. “It’s a play. We won’t treat it just as cold words on a page,” he explained, his deep accent sending us all swooning. I wanted to view the play as he did. Maybe that’s why when he chose the other parts, I really hoped he’d … Read more…