Monthly Archives: January 2012

Flash Fiction Addiction – A Good Read by Sheila Pierson

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Are you ready for a compilation of entertaining short stories that range in content and depth? Look no further than Flash Fiction Addiction: 22 Short Short Stories, Volume II  by Garden Summerland. Whether you’re a fan of romance, paranormal, blood sucking vampires or tragedy you will find something to enjoy in this grouping.

Miss Summerland is a joy to read and for those of us who like true flash fiction, she delivers – unleashing timely twists and revelations, some at the last minute while others are slip-stitched throughout, securing the story together succinctly by the end.

I’ve always been a fan of Alfred Hitchcock, including ‘Alfred Hitchcock Presents’ that premiered in 1955.  This collection of Miss Summerland’s stories hearkens unto these Hitchcockian themes but with a modern approach.

One of her strengths is the ability to build a solid story with memorable characters in such short works – not easy. Some standout examples are The Tattoo, Displaced and A Golden Carriage. There are others, but these three especially show the depth of character she is able to imbue to her works of flash fiction.

To find out more about Garden Summerland and her work, please visit her website at http://www.gardensummerland.com/ or her blog http://gardensummerland.blogspot.com/

Roses and a Card, or Real Passion? by Sheila Pierson

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Florists are preparing their coolers for an abundance of roses. Shelves at the local discount stores are stocked and ready to sell you heart-shaped boxes full of candy or your favorite chocolates. Jewelry stores have their best baubles on display. Is this really what Valentine’s Day has come to? Buy, buy, buy. No thought is required – except remembering the actual day itself.

I’m not big on red roses. Pink ones are quite nice, but they all die in a matter of a few short days. I will inhale good chocolate, but I do that often enough that I really don’t need it for Valentine’s Day. Jewelry? I can live without it. If it’s cheap, it won’t hold together for long and the color may fade. If it’s expensive, there’s the worry of losing it, having to constantly be careful with it or answer the question, “Is that real?” I don’t have an inclination to deal with any of this.

So what, you ask, do I prefer for Valentine’s Day?

  1. Quote from your favorite romantic poem and I will surely adopt it as my own.
  2. Pen a love note, with all the declarations of a new lover, no matter how long we’ve been together.
  3. Take me by the hand and offer a massage without further expectations; you will get what you didn’t expect – maybe more.
  4. Draw me a bath and pour me a glass of wine; tell me to take my time – dinner would be a lovely addition.
  5. If you must purchase something, by all means, make it a book – something romantic. It will last forever and will always remind me of your love. Don’t forget to inscribe a personal note inside.

Two wonderful books I personally own are “Love: Penhaligon’s Scented Treasury of Verse and Prose” edited by Sheila Pickles and “Love Letters: An Anthology of Passion” by Michelle Lovric. I found both of these still available at Amazon.com 

The scented book looks and smells beautiful, containing a collection of poetry, romantic snippets of timeless stories and plays scattered throughout. The other is a favorite because spread throughout it are envelopes containing copies of original love letters and notes with the transcribed letters in the back of the book. It covers all facets of love from admiration to obsession throughout the ages.

Enjoy Valentine’s Day this year in an original way. Treat your lover like a lover. Whisper something enticing in their ear. Text sensual messages to them throughout the days leading up to Valentine’s Day and here’s an original thought – keep doing it all year long! Keep those passionate flames burning and love like there’s no tomorrow.

 

Unrequited by Sheila Pierson

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I became one with you and you with me

I will never again seek this kind of torment

You pressed your lips against mine and I wept

For the knowledge of my lost innocence.       

I am standing on a brittle ledge of grief,

Both afraid and wanting to fall;

I knew better than to let myself go to you

And though my heart thirsts to survive

Your heart has long since said goodbye;

I am but a shadow of a human being,

Hoping only to exist in your mind.

My Take: A Review of Probability Angels by Joseph Devon

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by Sheila Pierson

You will not go gentle in that good night with this read. Joseph Devon thrusts the reader into a world of his own creation that you’ve never experienced before. Originality reigns in a genre that offers plenty of other options. So why choose Probability Angels? Two main characters: Epp and Matthew. Once you meet them, you will want to know more about them, but I’m not giving anything away here and rob you of making this discovery for yourself.

If you’re like me, you may begin reading with skepticism, looking for flaws in his improbable proposition of intrusive, albeit, imperfect angels interacting with humanity as they do, but without the slightest warning you will find yourself completely sucked into an almost-maddening world that spans the course of history and beyond. Have I mentioned the zombies? Oh, yes, there are zombies and you will be both disgusted by them and pity them.

Mr. Devon’s exceptionally crafted story is imaginative, surprising, entertaining and rewarding. Get your hands on Probability Angels today and do not dread reaching the end as I did, as fortunately for his new readership, as I now count myself among, there is a sequel, “Book Two: Persistent Illusions.”

To find out more please visit www.josephdevon.com

City Boys by Sheila Pierson

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 “Fix the damn tire and let’s get the hell out of here.”

“What do you think I’m doing dipshit? You could get your lazy ass out here and help me!”

“I had to do everything else today. It’s your turn to do some work.”

“Jack, don’t even get me started. I did plenty.” Eli grunted as he loosened the lug nuts on the wheel.

“Oh, yeah, you did plenty. You picked her.”

“I did more than pick her. You wouldn’t have even known about her if I hadn’t been watching and paying attention. You wouldn’t…forget it. I can’t talk about this right now. These damn lug nuts are stuck. Get your ass out here and help me.”

Jack reluctantly opened the door on the tan minivan. He hated the damn van but it was necessary. He came around and saw Eli struggling. “Move out of the way.”

Within a few minutes Jack had the lug nuts off, the flat changed and was putting the tools back up.

“Shit Eli! Did you see this?”

Eli came around to the back of the van. Red lines bled down the back of the van to the bumper. “I thought you cleaned up?” Jack was pissed, and it wasn’t the first time today.

He’d been pissed off since they left this morning. He didn’t know why he kept doing this shit with Eli but they’d been friends since they were kids so he felt like he owed him. It always worked out pretty good in the end, but there were always these little things that drove Jack crazy.

“How many damn times do we have to do this before you understand that there are rules we have to follow? We have to pick her, do the job and clean up! It isn’t hard. It isn’t rocket science. We’ve always kept the plan simple and still you screw it up! I swear Eli, this is the last time – the last time, do you hear me?”

“Yeah, I hear you but I don’t see why…”

Jack slammed the back door on the van and went back to sit in the passenger seat, not waiting for Eli to finish what he was trying to say. Eli hopped back into the driver seat and looked at Jack. He knew he screwed up but he didn’t understand why Jack was so upset over a tiny mistake. He grabbed some paper towels and an old bottle of water he left in the van last week and got back out. He cleaned up the mess off the back of the van. He wasn’t even sure how it got there but accidents happened. He tossed the paper towels in a ditch nearby. Jack looked a little more at ease when he rejoined him in the van.

“Eli, we’ve been doing this how long now? Since we were 15? It’s been 10 years. Maybe it’s time to hang it up. We’ve made a little money, scored some girls off it, had some laughs, but maybe it’s time to give it up.”

Eli started the van. He felt defeated. There was less than a half a tank of gas left. This trip cost them more than the rest. “Maybe you’re right. We haven’t done as well on the last two, and it just isn’t as much fun as it used to be, but I hate to give it up.”

“What choice do we have? It isn’t the same as it used to be. You remember the first time? We couldn’t wait to get there, pick her out, and that was the best part. We’d walk through the corridors, inspect them real good and even feel them over. When we found the right one it was like the biggest rush. And now? We don’t feel of them. We don’t enjoy it. You spot one, I agree and then we do the dirty work. And it’s dirty. I used to like it, but it doesn’t turn me on anymore. Can you sit here and tell me it does anything for you now?”

“I don’t know. I used to love it. I used to love the rush of the whole thing. Some people would think we were pretty sick I guess. That we get off on something like this?”

“Well, that’s the point. We really don’t anymore. It was a childhood fantasy that we’ve continued. It was fun for a while.” Jack looked straight out the front window. He hoped Eli would agree so they could just forget this and move on.

Eli put the van in drive. “So now what? We just ride off into the sunset like old cowboys, forget about all this?”

“I’m an accountant and you’re a friggin office manager. The time has come to let the past go. Nobody would ever believe we did something like this. And you know this has to always stay between us, right?”

“Of course Jack. People wouldn’t understand. After all, we live in the city. We live by the city. We do as the city. If there’s one thing I have learned, cowboys like us don’t fit in but I guess it’s time to assimilate.”

“Assimilate? Shit Eli. We’re just quitting an old habit born from juvenile dreams.”

“Yeah. But are we just going to quit? Think about Rochelle for a minute. She sets us up with a full-out good time, every time. She expects us every year. Hell, we have them convinced we’re pros.”

“Sure, but it’s always the same kind of girls, the same shitty work to prove to them we’re something we’re not and I’m getting kind of tired of the killing. You know what happened the time before? It took more out of me than I want to admit, but I just don’t have the stomach for it anymore. I’ve got a real job, a real life and this shit is getting old. Can you imagine what our friends in the city would think of us? Our families? And that’s another thing – we can barely get away to do it anymore. Debbie was already getting after me to cancel our ‘boys trip’ this time. She’s getting tired of me leaving for a four-day trip with you every year, especially since we had the baby.”

“So that’s it I guess? I know you’re right but we’ve sure had fun picking out the best ones, killing them and tasting the rewards of our work. I know that one got to you a little bit, but she just didn’t want to give up. It was hard on me, too, but she finally went down. You do remember how tender she was though? I mean, son of a bitch, she was friggin tender. Even you said when you gutted her that the meat was good on that one.”

“I remember, but this is it for me. I guess you can keep going Eli but I’m out.”

Eli nodded, understanding this would be their last one, their last trip, and the last time they would pick one out, do the kill and savor the meat over an open fire. It was the end of an era for them. They dreamed of being cowboys all their lives. When they were 15 they took a summer job on a farm outside the city. That’s where they learned about cattle, picking out cows for slaughter and how to butcher them. All boys eventually grow up. Eli drove Jack home, knowing their time had finally come.

Write What You Know? Maybe, Maybe Not.

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by Sheila Pierson

Are you a writer? If so, what do you write about? I’ve often heard the advice to “write what you know” but I was given a new thought to ponder the other day. Someone told me to “write what I believe in.” This made complete sense to me. I’ve often wondered how writing what you know explains science fiction writers. After all, they have no prior knowledge or experience of worlds they invent to amaze the reader and themselves, worlds unknown by anyone. Yet, they stimulate our minds with images never before described, never before seen, never before experienced. Thank goodness! What would we do without these gifted writers?

I think the advice to write “what I believe in” is empowering and very truthful. Sci-Fi writers most certainly believe in what they write about. They believe in their imagination and allow it to take them anywhere it wants to go. Romance novelists believe in romance. Even if they’ve never fully experienced it, they believe in the possibility of true love. Horror writers? I don’t think I want to go there. Much too terrifying for me.

Ok, so now I know I need to write what I believe in, but what is that? What do you believe in? You might initially think you know until you really begin to answer this question. I’m not talking about your faith, necessarily, although it’s as good a topic as any other to write about. I’m talking about those things that make you sit up and take notice. What is it that gets your attention and makes you want to think about it for more than five minutes? What is it that makes you get excited to discuss? These are the things you believe in.

We’re all on a journey, but sometimes we stop and rest and forget who we are. It’s never too late to awaken to new ideas and possibilities, though. I am welcoming each and every one of them. Allow yourself to do the same. Don’t be afraid to discover what you believe in. It may surprise you. Once you know, pick up your pen and write, write, write.