“Darkscapes”: Stories That Will Keep You Reading

Darkscapes

Darkscapes is a top quality anthology of short stories put out by Curiosity Quills Press. I must say, this anthology delivers on the promise of the premise. The title says that the stories within may be on the darker side of things, where danger lays hidden beneath the layers of the mind’s eye. The cover image tells me I’m in for some rather unusual stories, ones that go to places which may defy logic. And, having read many books produced by Curiosity Quills Press, the fact that they published this book says it’s a collection of good quality, well-written stories. And that my friends, is exactly what I got – all of the above.

There are twenty-one stories contained in this collection, too many to be able to discuss all of them here. So, I will give you a brief overview of the six, yes six, stories which I deemed to deserve a five quill rating, meaning the authors of these stories have done an exemplary job of storytelling. Keep in mind that these stories are the best of the best in this collection, but all of them are good reading.

The first story in the anthology, Exley Avenue, is an extremely well-written ghost story of sorts, with a surprise ending. Going between the 1920’s and the twenty-first century, storytellers Jordan Elizabeth and W.K. Pomeroy unravel the unsavory history of the stone castle on Exley Avenue, when several bodies are uncovered on the premises.

Further into the collection is a cute noirish story, with an unlikely P.I. for a protagonist, which is sure to keep you chuckling until the end is Skeleton Jim, by J.R. Rain. Noir with humor is the only way to describe this bizarre tale. But, rest assured, Skeleton Jim always gets his man, (and the girl, for some reason). Things are no different when the client, Lucy Newman, hires him to find out if she killed her abusive husband, and who is blackmailing her, Jim may have his work cut out for him. No bones about it. (Skeleton humor. Har, har, har.)

Then, there is The Giovanni Effect, by Robert J. Defendi, an extremely well-crafted story with excellent world building. Readers will live this one. On a desert outpost planet where sand and wind are constants, Allred and his wife and child are the planets only occupants. They’ve always known others might come, but when a ship lands on the planet Allred is forced to put their emergency plans to the test. The planet’s harsh atmosphere may be the death of him, or it might just be his savior.

The forth story, Landing a Job in the Private Sector, by Rena Rocford, kept the pages turning with the best of them. Furies are conditioned assassins, but when Boxy, an enslaved fury acquires an organic ship that is loyal to her, and becomes a rogue mercenary, she learns that everything is negotiable, even under pressure.

The fifth five quill story is Out of Sight, by Mathew S. Cox. Sima is a street kid, who wakes up to find she’s been relocated to another planet and her pod crashed. She all alone, with no supplies, no clothes and no idea where she is. But then she discovers three other children who were sent here, as well, and she has more to worry about than just her own survival.

The One You Feed, by Katie Young was the last story in this collection to fall into my best of the best list. This was a well-written werewolf story, which left me wanting more. Dupree is haunted by more than just werewolves. As he spins his tale for the cowboy he just hired on with at the last rodeo, we learn more about the ghosts who haunt his past, and the curse that controls his future.

The above mentioned stories are, in my opinion, the best stories in this collection. However, they are all entertaining tales. I wouldn’t rate any of the stories in this collection with less than three quills. They really are that good. The smashing cast of talented authors whose work appears in this anthology also includes: Richard Roberts, Ann M. Noser, Randy Attwood, Nathan Croft, Tegan Wren, James Wymore, J.P. Sloan, Andrew Buckley, Darin Kennedy, J.E. Anckorn, Piers Anthony, B.C. Johnson, S.E. Bennett, Mark W. Woodring, and Benjamin Sperduto.

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Overall, I give Darkscapes four quills.

 

Kaye Lynne Booth does honest book reviews on Writing to be Read in exchange for ARCs at no charge. Have a book you’d like reviewed? Contact Kaye at kayebooth(at)yahoo(dot)com.

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Interview with “The Best Seller”author Dina Rae

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Today, we have with us, the science fiction author of the conspiracy thriller, The Best Seller, Dina Rae. She’s tried both the traditional publishing and self-publishing routes, and her latest novel, The Best Seller, was recently released by Solstice Publishing. With this interview, we kick off her book blog tour with Full Moon Bites author promotions.

Kaye: Your latest science fiction conspiracy thriller, The Best Seller: Book 1 of 2 was recently released. It is the tale of a writer’s dream come true, turned nightmare. Would you like to talk about that? Tell us what it’s all about.

Dina: I thought it would be interesting to write about a Stephen King-like author who doesn’t write his work, but records it from extraterrestrials.  I once listened to a podcast that talked about automatic writing that comes from the Akashic record and thought it would play well in a novel.  Of course, the author doesn’t live happily ever after.  That would make for a short, boring book.  There’s a reason for it as you read on.  My next novel, The Sequel, gets more into it.

Kaye: You’re a wife and mother in addition to being a writer. What are your secrets for juggling writing with family?

Dina: I also work full-time as a teacher and coach, so yes, it’s a lot to juggle!  I bring a notebook with me at all times.  When I am waiting at the dentist, it’s time to write; when I am waiting for noodles to boil, it’s time to write; when I am at a choir concert or softball game; it’s time to write…  You can always find time to do the things you love to do.  I wish I was that determined when it comes to working out!  I have found that the most productive people on the planet are the ones who have no time.  Ask the busiest person you know to do something and it’s done!

Kaye: What is the one thing you hope to teach your children?

Dina: Great question!  I want them to be good people, but also know that it is okay to mess up.  It’s okay to take a risk and fail.  Learning from mistakes is not just a lesson, but a way to live your life.  I want them to understand the value of a dollar.  So many young people start out their lives in massive debt from college.  Life’s expenses cause more debt.  My college-aged daughters decided to attend junior college and work as a way to keep expenses down.  They might just graduate debt free.  They both have friends who already are in massive debt and have yet to graduate.

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Kaye: Your books are filled with conspiracies and intrigue. A lot of your books don’t fit neatly into a genre category or subcategory. How do you describe your books?

Dina: I love a good conspiracy-left-wing, right-wing, alien, HAARP, contrails, 911, apocalypse, bring it on!  All of my books take kernels of popular conspiracies and then build stories around them.  The Best Seller delves into how the government not only knows about extraterrestrials, but partners up with them to maintain power.  Of course, a humongous conspiracy always has a few that go rogue which messes up the plan.  I also take the Roswell incident and fill in the blanks about how our government found a spaceship and aliens in New Mexico back in 1947.  In The Sequel, The Best Seller’s second volume, there is a great deal of conspiracy about Hitler and his Nazis.

Kaye: You do a lot of research in order to write about things you haven’t ever seen and places you’ve never been? What are some of the strangest things you’ve ever had to research for your books?

Dina: In The Sequel, I spent a great deal of time researching races of aliens.  David Icke’s name popped a few million times.  Very, very strange.  He believes a Reptillian race lives on earth among us.  They shapeshift into key figures of the elite circle.  These Reptillians prepare for New World Order.  I loved it!  He is very sincere in his beliefs as are the many who follow him.

Kaye: Are you a plotter or a pantser? Why?

Dina: I am a total pantser for the first half of the book.  I start plotting later on, and then go back to change everything!  I tend to work better without an outline.

Kaye: You’ve made some pretty awesome book trailers, which do a good job of capturing readers’ attention, but how effective have they been as far as selling books goes?

Dina: Thanks so much!  The truth is the trailers do not generate a lot of hits.  They are something that I will keep doing anyway.  I think that I get most of my sales from interviews of bloggers and radio hosts.  I also will have selling spurts after a great review from a review blog.

Kaye: If writing suddenly made you rich and famous, what would you do?

Dina:  I would love to find out!  I have everything that I want in a middle-class capacity.  Extra money would mean lots of traveling.

Kaye: What’s the most fun part of writing a novel? What’s the least fun part?

Dina: Most fun-I oddly love to research.  I also love putting the pieces together for the story-it’s like a puzzle.  Yes, I am a geek!  Least fun-editing and constantly promoting.

Kaye: What did your road to publication look like? How did you get to where you are today?

Dina: My first book was The Last Degree.  My publisher was not entirely on the up and up.  I didn’t know any better.  I pulled the manuscript and canceled the contract.  The book is now up on Amazon as self-published.  My second book and third books, Halo of the Damned and Halo of the Nephilim, had much smoother rides.  They were published by Damnation Books.  They recently sold the business to another publisher, Caliburn Books.  The Best Seller was picked up by Solstice Publishing and they have been great.  The got back to me right away after my query.  I signed and then they gave me a cover.  While it was being edited, I started promoting the book.

My advice to new writers is this-check out Preditors and Editors.  They keep tabs on the publishing world.  Also know that not everyone is legit.

Kaye: Is there anything unique or unusual about your writing process?

Dina: Not really, but I do like to write longhand.  I like to buy cool looking journals to write in.

Kaye: What is the strangest inspiration for a story you’ve ever had?

Dina: It’s certainly not an original idea, but genetic modifications, cloning, CRISP-R, and gene therapy scare the hell out of me.  Fear of the future inspires me.  I don’t see the progress, I see the pitfalls.

Kaye: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Dina: I love to play tennis and walk my two dogs.  My husband and I also love to go to flea markets for fun.

Kaye: What is the biggest challenge of being a writer for you?

Dina: There are so many challenges.  Advertising is so expensive.  Authors have to be more creative in their promotions.  There is a lot of trial and error.

Kaye: If you could have lunch with any author, alive or dead, who would it be?  Why?

Dina: Jesus Christ/God because I believe they wrote the Bible.  Meeting them would mean I made it into Heaven.  On a less divine note, I would love to talk to Shakespeare (or Queen Elizabeth as some conspiracy theories claim is the real author of all of those plays).  I want to know how it feels to have so many of your phrases used in today’s language.  I would want to know how he feels about modern literature.

Thanks so much for interviewing me!  Great questions!

I want to thank you, Dina, for sharing with myself and my readers a small glimpse into your life and your writing. I’m sure The Best Seller will be… a best seller, and I’m pleased to be able to help kick off your tour.

You can follow Dina here:

@haloofthedamned
Blog: http://www.dinaraeswritestuff.blogspot.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30286767-the-best-seller

Facebook

 

See Her Book Trailers Here:

The Best Seller: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQER8wJmaf8
The Last Degree: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkbg6Yy8UKU
Halo of the Damned: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4p89LXZNxOs

 

Dina is also hosting a give away for 2 signed paperbacks of The Best Seller, and 2 Amazon $10.00 gift cards. You can enter the give away here:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/873c06d2357/?

 

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“The Lying Planet”: Only The Truth Will Set Them Free

The Lying Planet

The Lying Planet, by Carol Riggs is a grabbing YA science fiction novel. Riggs puts a new twist on the story where all is not as it appears. On the planet Liberty, the future seems bright, but when the truth is finally unveiled, it may be very dark indeed.

On the planet Liberty, kids look forward to turning eighteen and venturing out of the colony they grew up in, away from their families, to live lives of their own. Jay can’t wait to gain his freedom. But what’s a kid to do when he discovers that everything he was ever lead to believe is a lie, the very fabric that he’s built his life on is false? Jay uncovers a secret that will change life on Liberty forever, and once he knows the truth, there’s no turning back.

Riggs brings us action and suspense in a well crafted YA science fiction novel which is filled with surprises. Just when you think you have it all figured out, another twist is added. I give The Lying Planet five quills.

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“Ethereal Lives”: A Science Fiction Romance

ethereal-lives

Ethereal Lives by Gem Stone is a refreshing story about a woman, Ariane, abducted by interstellar hijackers moments before Earth’s destruction. Being the only existing human makes our heroine a valuable commodity on the cosmic market. Somehow, on the way to their destination, where her captors can sell their cargo, Ariane falls in love with the ship’s captain, Ax. When the tables are turned, and Ax is captured by another ship, Ariane will stop at nothing to save him, even though he still intends to sell her.

The story is entertaining, but there are several plot points that make the suspension of disbelief very thin and the characters could be better developed. If you can get past that, it is an endearing tale and quite enjoyable. I give Ethereal Lives three quills.

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Kaye Lynne Booth does honest book reviews on Writing to be Read in exchange for ARCs at no charge. Have a book you’d like reviewed? Contact Kaye at kayebooth(at)yahoo(dot)com.