Tag Archives: short story collection

Save the World: Twenty Sci-Fi Writers Save the Planet (Writers Save the World) Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Twenty sci-fi authors come together to tackle the very real threat of climate change and use their creative skills to find a solution to our current and future threats to our world in the collection “Save the World: Twenty Sci-Fi Writers Save the Planet”, part of the Writers Save the World Series!

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The Synopsis

Twenty ways to fix the planet.

Modern building on the island.3d render

Climate change is no longer a vague future threat. Forests are burning, currents are shifting, and massive storms dump staggering amounts of water in less than 24 hours. Sometimes it’s hard to look ahead and see a hopeful future.

We asked sci-fi writers to send us stories about ways to save the world from climate change. From the myriad of stories we received, we chose the twenty most amazing (and hopefully prescient) tales.

Dive in and find out how we might mitigate climate change via solar mirrors, carbon capture, genetic manipulation, and acts of change both large and small.

The future’s not going to fix itself.

The Review

This was a fantastic and highly creative collection. The themes of climate change and the impact it’ll have on everything from worldwide pandemics to coastal cities being overrun and so much more were thought-provoking, to say the least. The imagery and detailed storytelling that went into the narrative really painted an image in the reader’s mind. 

What stuck out in each story in this collection was each author’s ability to naturally infuse the themes of this narrative into their stories and still manage to implement a very human and emotional depth of character into each story. From a young woman seeking more of not only her life but the life of everyone on Earth, to a teenage boy separated from his mother and forced to make a new home for himself, each story adds so much emotion and heart to the more broad climate struggles that make this such an engaging story.

The Verdict

Heartfelt, entertaining, yet striking in its delivery, the short story collection “Save the World: Twenty Sci-Fi Writers Save the Planet” is a must-read book and a great continuation of the Writers Save the World Series! The balance of emotional character growth and stark yet hopeful themes of climate change and the progress needed to fix it all make this one collection readers won’t be able to put down. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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Save the World cover

Other Worlds Ink has a new book out in the hopepunk cli-fi Writers Save the World anthology series: Save the World. And there’s a giveaway.

Climate change is no longer a vague future threat. Forests are burning, currents are shifting, and massive storms dump staggering amounts of water in less than 24 hours. Sometimes it’s hard to look ahead and see a hopeful future.

We asked sci-fi writers to send us stories about ways to save the world from climate change. From the myriad of stories we received, we chose the twenty most amazing (and hopefully prescient) tales.

Dive in and find out how we might mitigate climate change via solar mirrors, carbon capture, genetic manipulation, and acts of change both large and small.

The future’s not going to fix itself.

About the Series:

“Writers Save the World” is an annual hopepunk anthology from Other Worlds Ink, featuring hopeful stories by sci-fi writers about ways to solve the world’s problems.

Universal Buy Link | Liminal Fiction | Goodreads


Giveaway

Other Worlds Ink is giving one lucky winner their choice of $25 Starbucks GC or a $25 donation to the Sierra Club in the winner’s name:

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Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47244/?


Excerpt

Save the World Meme

No one ate for a full day. At night, they sat around their fires and counted the stars, their boats bobbing in the quiet, dark waters. No electricity was permitted. The drones were shelved. The holo-projectors unplugged. Even the radios were shut off. The next morning, they washed in the invigorating cold of the ocean, and beat their bodies with branches.

This was what Edgard instructed. And what Edgard instructed, everyone obeyed.

The waters seemed bright that morning, despite the depths below. Small dots of sea foam dotted the surface, reflecting the eager light of the new day. The weather was calm, and the ocean peaceful. It was an auspicious morning.

Jason leaned against the rails, elbowing between his crew mates as everyone shuffled for the best view. There was laughter and chatter, some singing, a few rude jokes. The ocean was alive that morning, all the ships of the tribe lining up, energy buzzing across the wide decks.

Then the drumming started, and silence fell. People leaned forward, craning necks.

The canoe emerged from between boats, paddled by a small crew, its painted bow slicing through the water. At the front was Edgard, standing tall. Jason felt someone nudge him, and as he looked over at Amelia, she nodded at the cloak draped over Edgard’s shoulders. The Thunderbird.

The canoe stopped, and Edgard placed a hand in the water. As he rose, he started to sing, lighting a bundle of dried cedar, and waving the smoke over his harpoon. He removed the muscle-shell hooks and wrapped them in cloth, tied rocks around the yew shaft, and placed it in the water. As it sank, his song ended. Edgard turned to face the ships, opened his arms wide, and smiled.

The crews erupted.

It was done.

The harvesting was complete.

—From “Thunder on the Ocean,” by Christopher R. Muscato


Author Bio

Gustavo Bondoni is novelist and short story writer with over three hundred stories published in fifteen countries, in seven languages. He is a member of Codex and an Active Member of SFWA. His latest novel is Lost Island Rampage (2021). He has also published three other monster books: Ice Station: Death (2019), Jungle Lab Terror (2020) and Test Site Horror (2020), three science fiction novels: Incursion (2017), Outside (2017) and Siege (2016) and an ebook novella entitled Branch. His short fiction is collected in Pale Reflection (2020), Off the Beaten Path (2019) Tenth Orbit and Other Faraway Places (2010) and Virtuoso and Other Stories (2011).

J. Scott Coatsworth lives with his husband Mark in a yellow bungalow in Sacramento. He was indoctrinated into fantasy and sci fi by his mother at the tender age of nine. He devoured her library, but as he grew up, he wondered where all the people like him were. He decided that if there weren’t queer characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends. A Rainbow Award winning author, he runs Queer Sci Fi, QueeRomance Ink, and Other Worlds Ink with Mark, sites that celebrate fiction reflecting queer reality, and is a full member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) and the head of its self-publishers committee.

Rachel Hope Crossman is an ex-fry cook, ex-substitute teacher and retired Montessori teacher. Her childhood year in Athens, Greece left indelible imprints of olive groves, pomegranates and the sparkling, turquoise blue of the Mediterranean upon her mind. She is the author of SAVING CINDERELLA: FAIRY TALES & CHILDREN IN THE 21ST CENTURY, (2014) The Apocryhile Press, which examines the world-wide Cinderella story as an archetype and explains the symbolism of rings, knives, birds, pumpkins and more. Her personal heroes are Harold (and his purple crayon), Peggy Hill and Nancy Pelosi.

Jana Denardo is Queen of the Geeks (her students voted her in) and her home and office are shrines to any number of comic book and manga heroes along with SF shows and movies too numerous to count. There is no coincidence the love of all things geeky has made its way into many of her stories. To this day, she’s still disappointed she hasn’t found a wardrobe to another realm, a superhero to take her flying among the clouds or a roguish star ship captain to run off to the stars with her.

Derek Des Anges is an emerging cross-genre author working in London, who consistently fails to stick to a single format or genre but does at least really consistently write about the queer experience (or some of them, anyway). He’s into fungi, industrial and experimental music, and trying to avoid the climate apocalypse actually flooding his flat too many times, because he has far too many books to consider moving out.

CJ Erick’s stories have appeared in anthologies from WMG Publishing, WordFire Press, and others. He won the FenCon short story competition in 2015. He writes in multiple genres, publishes novels in a space fantasy series, and dabbles in poetry. He’s an MFA student in creative writing at Lindenwood University, and an editorial assistant for the Lindenwood Review. He lives in Dallas area with his wife and their rescue superhero dog Saber-Girl, calls his sourdough bread starter “Ursula” (K. Le Guin), and cooks crazy-good Cajun food for a Midwest Yankee.

J.G. Follansbee’s short stories have appeared in several anthologies, including Others Worlds Ink’s Fix the World. Other publications include Bards and Sages Quarterly, Children, Churches and Daddies, the collection Still Life 2018, and the speculative fiction anthologies Satirica, After the Orange, Spring Into SciFi 2019, Rabbit Hole II, and Sunshine Superhighway. He is the author of the series Tales From A Warming Planet and the trilogy The Future History of the Grail. He has won several awards in the Writers of the Future contest, and he was a finalist in the inaugural Aftermath short story contest. He also has numerous non-fiction book credits. He lives in Seattle.

Geoffrey Hart: Startled by an aggressive dictionary late in her pregnancy, Geoff’s mother was delivered of a child with a precocious antipathy towards users of words. Over time, he transformed this antipathy into a more functional, if equally passive-aggressive, editorial career. After nearly 35 years, the flame burns brightly as ever, leading to an errant, semi-evangelical career ranting against the evils of words from pulpits at any editing or technical writing conference that will have him, seeking new recruits for his cause. In his spare time, he roams the globe, entertaining locals with creative and unrestrained interpretations of their linguistic conventions. He also commits occasional fictions, and has sold 46 stories.

M. J. Holt lives with her husband on their 60-acre family farm with many animals on a peninsula in Puget Sound. She is horrified that the entire world isn’t working to decrease pollution of all kinds. When she was a teenager, she and her mother sat under an ancient crabapple tree and read Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. Her mother told her that future generations would pay the price for the sins of past generations. That price has increased and now several generations later, some not yet born, will pay the price. Lightning struck that crab tree decades ago. It grew on land her great grandfather bought in 1892. Her great grandmother farmed the land and had the current house, started in 1900, built. The farm passed to her grandfather, and then to her mother. She lives in that house amid the surviving bits of her ancestors’ lives. This generational continuity informs her fiction. Her crime thriller novels, The Devil’s Safe (2021) and its sequel Making Angels (2022) can be found on Amazon. Recent short stories have appeared in the anthologies Black-Eyed Peas on New Year’s Day: An Anthology of Hope, Low Down Dirty Vote Volume II, Alternate Theologies, and her poetry may be found in the poetry anthologies 300K, Timeless Love, and other periodicals. She earned separate undergraduate degrees in History and English Literature, and a Masters in English Literature. She is a member of SFWA, MWA, and other writing organizations.

Jennifer Irani lives and works in southern California. Her story, “Graft,” was inspired by the recent fires in California, Greta Thunberg, and generation Z. A version of this story first appeared in Writing in Place: Stories from a Pandemic. Her work has been published in the anthology Dove Tales Empathy in Art: Embracing the Other. She has published essays in Orange Coast magazine. Her essay, Regeneration, received honorable mention in the Writers Challenge 2021 on Medium.com. Her poem, “Cool Colors Warm the Soul,” was selected for the Connecting Through Color, Art and Poetry exhibit. She is a member of Barbara Demarco’s Literary Posse.

Andrew Rucker Jones was born and raised in Falls Church, Virginia. No muse heralded his birth, and he has not been writing novels since he was in diapers. He received his Bachelor’s degree from North Carolina State University in mathematics with minors in computer programming and German. He has always loved reading, so when the time came to choose a new career after twenty years in IT (programmer, system administrator, manager), he decided writing looked like fun. If only it paid. He now lives in Mannheim, Germany, with his Georgian wife, who actually earns money, and their three children, the eldest of whom also earns more than he.

Micháel McCormick likes to write stories in his Batman pajamas. He and his wife also enjoy travel, hiking, Tai Chi, and perplexing cats. They split their time between Saint Paul, Minnesota and Lake Superior. Mike’s work has appeared in Arcanist, Daily SF, DreamForge, Frozen Wavelets, Grievous Angel, Metastellar, Talking Stick, and elsewhere.

Christopher R. Muscato is an adjunct history instructor and writer from Colorado, as well as the former writer-in-residence for the High Plains Library District. He has published over a dozen short stories and is thrilled to be a part of this project.

Masimba Musodza was born in Zimbabwe, and has lived most of his adult life in the United Kingdom. His short stories, mostly in the speculative fiction genre, have appeared in periodicals and anthologies around the world. He has written two novels and a novella in his first language, ChiShona. His collection of science-fiction stories, The Junkyard Rastaman & Other Stories, was published in 2020. Masimba also writes for stage and screen.

M.D. Neu: Growing up in an accepting family. internationally award-winning author M.D. Neu always wondered why there were never stories reflecting our diverse queer society. Surrounded by characters that only reflected heterosexual society, he decided to change that and began writing, wanting to tell epic stories that reflect our varied world. When not writing, M.D. Neu works for a non-profit in Silicon Valley, and travels with his husband of twenty plus years.

Jennifer R. Povey: Born in Nottingham, England, Jennifer R. Povey now lives in Northern Virginia, where she writes everything from heroic fantasy to stories for Analog. She has written a number of novels across multiple sub genres. Additionally, she is a writer, editor, and designer of tabletop RPG supplements for a number of companies. Her interests include horseback riding, Doctor Who and attempting to out-weird her various friends and professional colleagues.

NRM Roshak is an award-winning Canadian author and translator. Their stories have appeared in various anthologies and magazines, including Galaxies SF, Daily Science Fiction, and Future Science Fiction Digest, and has been translated into several languages. They live in Ontario, Canada, with a small family and a loud cat.

Holly Schofield travels through time at the rate of one second per second, oscillating between the alternate realities of city and country life. Her stories have appeared in Analog, Lightspeed, Escape Pod, and many other publications throughout the world. She hopes to save the world through science fiction and homegrown heritage tomatoes.

Lisa Short is a Texas-born, Kansas-bred writer of fantasy, science fiction and horror. She has an honorable discharge from the United States Army, a degree in chemical engineering, and twenty years’ experience as a professional engineer. Lisa currently lives in Maryland with her husband, two youngest children, father-in-law and cats. She is a member of the Horror Writers Association and a Futurescapes 2021 alumnus.

Heather Marie Spitzberg is an environmental author, scientist, and lawyer who lives in New York’s Hudson River Valley with her family. Her writing has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Other Worlds Ink logo

Interview with Author Chad Miller

Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

I’m Chad Miller, I’m originally from Philly and I’m a pharmacist. I live in Delaware with my girlfriend, Natasha. I first got into writing after I started reading for pleasure. The first books I picked up were the Shining and Cat’s Cradle (they’re very different from each other). I was in college at the time, struggling with my classes, got kicked out of the dorms (long story), and my friend, DK, wrote a short story and it blew me away. It was so well crafted, so interesting and it stuck with me. Even though we were interested in different subject matters, this gave me the inspiration to start writing on my own. I sat down and wrote a story, which an adaptation was included in my current book, The Void, and I’ve never stopped writing. That was 25 years ago.

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What inspired you to write your book?

This book, The Void is a culmination of some of my favorite short stories that I have written over the past 25 years. My full-length novel, The Prisoner of Fear, is coming out on October 1st and my publisher (Hear Our Voice) and I wanted to get my name out there pre-release. Before The Void, I’ve had several short stories published in print anthologies and online, but nothing on this scale. Writing is my passion and these 15 tales in The Void show my writing journey.

What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

I want some of the themes, morals, and feelings to stick to the reader, much like DK’s story stuck with me so many years ago. I want to elicit emotion, whether it be fear, sadness, or laughter. Most of my writing is dark, but I try to show a human element in my characters, something the reader might be able to relate to, to empathize. I don’t want to give the reader nightmares, I want to cause them sleepless nights as my tales haunt their thoughts 🙂

What drew you into this particular genre?

There is so much potential in horror. Yes, there are the slasher, vampire, zombie, and werewolf books, and there is definitely a need for these, but I tend to go to the more cerebral. I’m not tied down or boxed in relying on historical accuracies or limited to the physical world. The palate is literally wide open. I feel horror taps into human emotion, much like comedy does. You have to set the groundwork and have a low build to reach that crescendo, the high water mark.

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If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

In my story Always There, I’d like to meet the ghost, Henry Keijman. First, I would love to learn about his journey in the afterlife, as I’m not a believer in ghosts, I think meeting one would blow my mind and I’d have a million questions. What did he see? Is there a concept of time? Also, he was a prisoner in the Holocaust. My Grandmother, Helen, was a Holocaust survivor so this subject matter runs deep with me. Recently I found an hour-long interview with my Grandmother with the Holocaust museum discussing in detail her experiences. I’d love to hear more of Henry’s story and hear how it related and differed from my Grandmother’s.

What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

So far, I’d say Facebook. There are so many writer forums and groups that are so helpful and supportive and helped me find several outlets. Now, I’m moving my focus to Goodreads as it is full of readers. I’m, currently learning how to build my base and use this platform to grow my audience. This is all a learning process. Recently, I got into the conversation about the thin line between advertising yourself verse Spamming, and where that line is. I’ve put out a few Facebook ads and most of the feedback was positive, but there are some trolls out there, which is an interesting experience.

What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

I’d say two things. Just write. Don’t listen to others, don’t listen to the doubt in your head, just get something down on the page. For me, writing isn’t painting a picture, it’s whittling. Sometimes it’s painful to start, and at first, it looks crude, but as the story gets honed, you can see the art come into view. Secondly, once you think you’re ready to publish, do your research. Whether you self-publish or go traditional (there is no wrong avenue) put in the work to how to be successful in this endeavor. Don’t just put it out there into the ocean and hope to be discovered, hope for a miracle. Odds are without putting in the legwork your work may get lost into the abyss, into the void (he-he, get it?).

What does the future hold in store for you? Are any new books/projects on the horizon?

My new book, The Prisoner of Fear is due out on October 1st, and its follow-up, Paroxysm of Fear will come out a few months later. This is a horror novel set in the late 1800s in Philadelphia and follows John Doyle and Thomas Braham as they investigate mysteries that the authorities deem too mysterious to investigate. There are monsters, insane asylums, and suspense. I’d say it’s a cross between Dracula and Sherlock Holmes. My current work in progress is a series of 3 Novellas, called Cerberus. I’d call it a spaghetti western with all its characters based on Greek mythological Gods. What is currently on my mind is a story based on a loose alliteration on Lizzy Borden. It will be called, Confession, but right now it’s just swimming in my mind.

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About the Author

Chad Miller has a B.A. in Psychology from Syracuse University and a Pharm D from the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. He’s a pharmacist and lives in lifeless Delaware with his girlfriend, Natasha and her daughter, Sasha, and his three kids, Killian, Willow, and Halina. His novel, The Prisoner of Fear, is being published by Hear Our Voice and will be out fall of 2022. His short story collection, The Void is available on Amazon now! His short story, The Thorn, is published by Sweety Cat Press and is included in the anthology, Beautiful: In the Eye of the Beholder and is out now available on Amazon. His short story, Guilty Pleasure, is published by ILA magazine and is out now. His story, The Nick was published in The World of Myth Magazine and won the story of the month. His story, Diseased, will be included in the anthology, Movement: Bodies in Motion, and will be out 06/01/2022. His story, Last Victory and the Manicure, will be included in the anthology, Year Four and will be out 01/23.

https://www.facebook.com/chadmillerauthor

The Void

The Captivating Flames of Madness by Jeff Parsons Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Author Jeff Parsons takes readers on an exhilarating and chilling journey through 22 short stories that explore the moment that everyone in life finds that changes the course of their personal journeys forever in the book, “The Captivating Flames of Madness”.

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The Synopsis

This book’s title comes from the reality that – like a moth to the flame – we’re all just one event, mishap, or decision away from things that could change our lives forever.

What would you do if fate led you astray into a grim world where you encountered vengeful ghosts, homicidal maniacs, ancient gods, apocalyptic nightmares, dark magic, deadly space aliens, and more?

If you dare, why not find out?

Read for yourself the twenty-two gloriously provocative tales that dwell within this book – but be warned, some of my dear readers have experienced lasting nightmares…

The Review

This was a memorable and engaging collection of short horror stories. The author has such a great command of atmosphere and tone, as each story strikes a balance between haunting atmosphere and captivating character growth. The unique structure of these stories and the range of sub-genres that this collection holds gives a wider range of readers a chance to sink their teeth into these amazing stories.

The heart and core of this collection have to be the theme, which the main underlying theme the author delves into is the concept of one key event changing the course of one’s life in an instant. The characters range from shockingly sympathetic and relatable to terrifying, and yet each story delivers a well-rounded narrative that captures the passion and imagination the author delivers consistently while also bringing some depth and thought-provoking material to the horror genre overall.

The Verdict

Haunting, chilling, and entertaining, author Jeff Parsons’s “The Captivating Flames of Madness” is a must-read horror short story collection. The brilliant imagery and thrilling storytelling made this collection just fly by on the page, and readers will be hard-pressed to put down this eclectic and mesmerizing collection. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!


Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Jeff is a professional engineer enjoying life in sunny California, USA. He has a long history of technical writing, which oddly enough, often reads like pure fiction. He was inspired to write by two wonderful teachers: William Forstchen and Gary Braver. In addition to his book Algorithm of Nightmares, he is published in SNM Horror Magazine, Bonded by Blood IV/ V, The Horror Zine, Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine, Chilling Ghost Short Stories, Dystopia Utopia Short Stories, Wax & Wane: A Coven of Witch Tales, The Moving Finger Writes, Golden Prose & Poetry, Our Dance With Words and The Voices Within.

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

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Jeff-Parsons/e/B00FIOQCY6%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/list/6860100.Jeff_Parsons

The Void: 15 Creepy Tales by Chad Miller Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A chilling collection of short stories exploring the darkest depths of humanity takes center stage in author Chad Miller’s “The Void: 15 Creepy Tales”. 

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The Synopsis

Welcome to the dark world of Chad Miller. Presented before you are 15 dark, morbid, and sometimes humorous tales that explore the evil, depravity, and sickness that devours the human condition. Goodness and light exist in our world, but sometimes the darkness is inescapable, like a black hole, encompassing us all as we fall into the void.

We see an AI life form trapped in his computer cage, as the world has died around him. He’s in despair, his only eyes staring at his decaying creator as he’s forced to face the reality of eternal isolation.

Meet Ana. On the eve of her first day, living away from home in a college dormitory, she slumbers off to sleep on her first night. Ana receives a mysterious night visitor as he pulls up a chair to her bed, so that he can tell his tale. Ana’s father recounts the story of how he was stolen away from her life in a Nazi concentration camp.

And then poor Jared. He’s a pharmacist, overworked, never receiving a break. His overfilled bladder is ready to burst, but the demands of his job won’t allow even a minute for a bathroom run. See Jared’s horror in excruciating detail when his biggest nightmare comes true when he finally reaches the toilet.

The darkness is unavoidable, so pry your fingers from your eyes and take a peek inside. Enter if you dare…

The Review

This was a fantastic and diverse collection of stories. The author did a wonderful job of developing heart and emotions into a rich dynamic between character growth and narrative in such a short amount of time. The ways in which the stories varied and played out were what added to the diverse narrative the author was sharing. From the painful and horrific experiences of addiction and parenthood to the humorous yet identifiable problem of mother nature’s call to the tragedy of WWII and the horrors the Jewish people faced, each story connected a very relatable yet equally terrifying horror moment to our own lives and experiences.

The thing that stood out to me however was the author’s ability to utilize a strong sense of pacing in the narrative. Not one single story in the author’s collection felt rushed or incomplete somehow, which is quite unique when you consider the number of stories the collection features and how varied the length of each story is. Yet each story hit both the emotional and thrill factors that one would expect from a horror collection, and the author’s ability to transport readers into these stories so effortlessly was incredible to read.

The Verdict

Fast-paced, entertaining, and moving, author Chad Miller’s “The Void: 15 Creepy Tales” is a must-read short story collection that readers won’t be able to put down. The rich variety of characters and the relatable yet equally profound horror moments were an excellent exploration of the human condition and humanity as a whole, and the author’s talent shines so brightly that I cannot wait to read more of the author’s work in the future. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Chad Miller has a B.A. in Psychology from Syracuse University and a Pharm D from the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. He’s a pharmacist and lives in Delaware with his girlfriend, Natasha and her daughter, Sasha, and his three kids, Killian, Willow, and Halina. His novel, The Prisoner of Fear, is being published by Hear Our Voice and will be out fall of 2022. His collection of short stories, The Void is now available on Amazon. His short story, The Thorn, was published by Sweety Cat Press and is included in the anthology, Beautiful: In the Eye of the Beholder and is out now available on Amazon. His short story, Guilty Pleasure, is published by ILA magazine and is out now. His story, The Nick was published in The World of Myth Magazine and won the story of the month. His story, Diseased, will be included in the anthology, Movement: Bodies in Motion, and will be out 06/01/2022. His story, Last Victory, will be included in the anthology, Year Four and will be out 01/23. Check out other stories on his website, chadmiller-author.com.

Twisted Reveries Volume II: Tales From Willoughby by Meg Hafdahl Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Author Meg Hafdahl takes readers on a twisted and macabre journey into the secretive town of Willoughby in “Twisted Reveries Volume II: Tales From Willoughby”, the sequel to Twisted Reveries. 

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The Synopsis

Suspense author, Meg Hafdahl, delivers another collection of spine-tingling stories in this second volume of the Twisted Reveries series. Inspired by the first book’s Willoughby and Moira Kettlesburg stories, Meg takes us on a journey into the mid-western town of Willoughby where forgetting is a way of life. Delve into its macabre history and origins. Explore the strange and unsettling events that plague Willoughby’s unsuspecting citizens in this new collection of thirteen horrifically outstanding tales. 

The Review

This was a truly incredible, emotional yet terrifying collection of short stories. The horror genre is alive and well in this collection, with threats and dangers that sway from monstrous beings hiding in the shadows to more sinister and everyday human evils that the town of Willoughby draws towards it. Although this is my first foray into the author’s work and the Twisted Reveries series of short stories, the author does an amazing job of crafting narratives that feel both isolated and well contained on their own while also connecting to a more broad and small-town vibe and mythos.

What stood out to me as a reader was the well-balanced and captivating protagonists found within the story. Each story had characters that readers could either get behind and cheer on to stop the threat they were facing, or grimace as the tables turned and the protagonist quickly became the antagonist. The complexities of each story’s protagonist and their backstory felt worthy of a short film or television anthology, and the twists and turns these stories take will have readers talking long after the final page drops.

The Verdict

Gripping, exhilarating, and thoughtful in its approach, author Meg Hafdahl’s “Twisted Reveries II: Tales From Willoughby” is a must-read collection of horror short stories that readers are not going to want to miss out on. The overall theme permeating this collection follows how every small town, every city, and even every person, no matter how beautiful and picturesque they may appear on the outside in the light of day, has the potential to hide great darkness and hardship within their foundation, which waits for night to descend to roam free to draw others into its web. A truly haunting collection of stories, this is one short story read you won’t want to miss. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Bram Stoker Award nominated Meg Hafdahl is the creator of numerous stories and books. Her fiction has appeared in anthologies such as Eve’s Requiem: Tales of Women, Mystery and Horror and Eclectically Criminal. Her work has been produced for audio by The Wicked Library and The Lift, and she is the author of three popular short story collections including Twisted Reveries: Thirteen Tales of the Macabre. Meg is also the author of the three novels; The Darkest Hunger, Daughters of Darkness, and Her Dark Inheritance called “an intricate tale of betrayal, murder, and small town intrigue” by Horror Addicts and “every bit as page turning as any King novel” by RW Magazine. Meg, also the co-host of the podcast Horror Rewind and co-author of The Science of Monsters, The Science of Women in Horror, The Science of Stephen King, The Science of Serial Killers, and the upcoming The Science of Witchcraft lives in the snowy bluffs of Minnesota. 

https://www.meghafdahl.com/

Mixed Realities: 7 Stories That Will Make You Question the Universe by Naomi Augustine Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

In a reality in which reality itself is proven to be a simulation and parallel worlds coexist with one another in the “system”, author Naomi Augustine explores the most puzzling, challenging, and captivating sci-fi and true scientific theories of our time in the book “Mixed Realities: 7 Stories That Will Make You Question the Universe.” 

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The Synopsis

Get ready for a mind-bending thriller that will make you question reality as you know it. “Mixed Realities” is a collection of stories that poke at the squishy parts of our universe, human understanding, and our relationship with technology. Illustrated QR codes are embedded throughout the book to let you listen to the soundtrack on the fly.

Don’t trust your senses. Don’t even trust your measuring equipment. Reality is not what it seems.

Physicists were right. It turns out we live in a giant computer simulation and our world isn’t the only one. There are many others. In one world, climate change threatens humanity. A 10-year old refugee befriends an artificial intelligence in a city full of holograms and works together to solve the crisis. In another, an anti-social college student becomes suspicious of the existence of parallel worlds and figures out how to cross over. With the help of his new online friends, they set out to unravel the mystery behind the simulation and its mischievous architect. The perfect book for readers of science-fiction, “Mixed Realities” will challenge and entertain readers with each page.

The Review

What a powerful and moving collection of sci-fi short stories. The blend of technological marvels and themes of what it means to be human, the importance of real connections, and the definition of reality, all come together in a beautifully woven collection that spans over the course of a mind-bending narrative landscape. The characters are the perfect way of infusing humanity, hope, and emotion into the story as well, as each short story finds the right harmonious chord between the theme and the emotional connection the reader has to the people within these stories. 

The ideas and concepts that this narrative explores are not only unique but scientific theories and concepts that have fascinated me in particular for years. From the real-world impact, AR and AI technologies are already having on our modern world, to the idea behind the Multiverse and how it relates to our understanding of the universe as a whole, these themes are not only interesting but thought-provoking in their approach to the genre.

The Verdict

A beautiful and captivating road filled with hope, tragedy, and endless possibilities, author Naomi Augustine’s “Mixed Realities” is a must-read collection of short stories. The perfect balance of character development and theoretical exploration, this twisty navigation of the possibilities that exist within the confines of the sci-fi genre makes this collection just so entertaining to read. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Naomi Augustine grew up in Japan and has a bachelor’s in physics from the University of California, Berkeley. She has spent the last 15 years as a physicist, game producer, and Augmented Reality R&D Lead at companies such as Raytheon, Riot Games, and Magic Leap. There she led the research, envisioning, and design of city-scaled use cases of AR. Her work has been deployed in areas of urban planning and climate change in partnership with the United Nations Development Program. She is currently the co-founder of QXR Studios, specializing in augmented and extended reality (AR/XR) storytelling in Los Angeles.

https://www.naomiaugustine.com/mixedrealities

Fancy Shop by Valeri Stanoevich Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

In author Valeri Stanoevich’s “Fancy Shop”, the author takes readers on a journey through the lives of a wide cast of characters as each seeks something personal, whether it is the pursuit of a dream, redemption, or paradise. 

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The Synopsis

Short Story Collection.

The stories contain features of fantasy, urban legends, mystery, magical realism, penetration in the deepness of the human soul.

The characters are different: knights, anonymous people, dreamers, outsiders, crazy ones, technocrats, cockroaches, holders of secret knowledge. They crave for another world of dreams come true, inexpressible truths and oases of redemption of past guilt. On the way to their new identities, they move freely between reality and fantasy. They are in constant conflict with themselves, and the front line is the line dividing the two hemispheres of their brains. The stories are very short but each has a complex plot, provocative suggestions and a surprising end. Without in any way denying the traditional concepts of good-evil, simple-profound, they lead the reader into worlds in which paradox is a synonym of universal meaning.

The Review

This was such an engaging and creative collection of short stories. Told in a very abstract tone, the author really captured the theme of change that we all seek in our lives through a very wide range of different genres. From Gothic and magical realism to pure fantasy, the author highlighted the sometimes painful path to change.

What stood out was the wide array of characters each story used. Not only were many of the characters relatable and complex, but the theme of change with this rotating cast of characters really shows that no matter who a person is or what their place in the world is, we all dream of change, and for a wide variety of reasons as well.

The Verdict

Heartfelt, thought-provoking, and engaging, author Valeri Stanoevich’s “Fancy Shop” is a must-read collection of short stories. The breathtaking imagery, intense situations, and gripping tales of magic and wonder that accompanied these very personal and thoughtful character developments that explored the heart of all change in life made this a collection that readers will not soon forget. Be sure to grab your own copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Valeri’s is a moody and particularly well written book.  His prose is eloquent and artistic, as he shares his intriguing tales of mystery, melancholy and perhaps macabre.  Despite a wide variety of genres, which seem to range from horror to sci-fi to historical fantasy, there is a common style throughout, and at times, as he moves from one narrative to the next, it becomes a little difficult to discern between them.  That said, each of these little anecdotes is a distinct work of art and character.

He is a gifted author, with a talent for atmosphere.  This collection of short stories is best read of an evening, ideally by candlelight, while fully immersed; in any other setting, the metaphorical and philosophical feel of it may be a touch more difficult to engage.  They deserve no less than to be absorbed and indulged, and to do that you really need to get onto the author’s wavelength, which can best be described on occasion as abstract.  I realized very quickly into the first tale that there was concentration and commitment required to optimize the full experience of this wonderful piece of work. 

There is a sense of the very old and the yet to come in this anthology; future and past combine, feeling like they converge continuously – of course, that observation is a subjective feeling, rather than a statement of fact relating to any particular aspect of Valeri’s writing; it is just how this book made me feel. 

https://www.instagram.com/valeristanoevich/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/valeri-stanoevich-30bbb81b7/

Tangents & Tachyons by J. Scott Coatsworth Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Author J. Scott Coatsworth brings readers a brand new anthology collection of short stories and flash fiction that redefines the sci-fi genre in his book, “Tangents & Tachyons”.

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The Synopsis

Tangents & Tachyons is Scott’s second anthology – six sci-fi and sci-fantasy shorts that run the gamut from time travel to hopepunk and retro spec fic:

Eventide: Tanner Black awakes to find himself in his own study, staring out the window at the end of the Universe. But who brought him there, and why?

Chinatown: Deryn lives in an old San Francisco department store with his girlfriend Gracie, and scrapes by with his talent as a dreamcaster for the Chinese overlords. But what if a dream could change the world?

Across the Transom: What if someone or something took over your body on an urgent mission to save your world?

Pareidolia: Simon’s not like other college kids. His mind can rearrange random patterns to reveal the images lurking inside. But where did his strange gift come from? And what if there are others like him out there too?

Lamplighter: Fen has a crush on his friend Lewin, who’s in a competing guild. But when the world goes dark, only a little illumination can save it. And only Fen, Lewin and their friend Alissa can light the spark. A Liminal Sky short.

Prolepsis: Sean is the closeted twenty-five-year-old editor of an 80’s sci-fi ‘zine called Prolepsis. When an unabashedly queer story arrives from a mysterious writer, it blows open Sean’s closet door, and offers him the chance to change the world – and the future.

Plus two flash fiction stories – The System and The Frog Prince, never before published.

This is the first time all of these stories have all been collected in one place.

The Review

This was a powerful and entertaining read. The range of stories that the author tells, from traveling to the end of the universe to alien visitors, demons, and time travel, became the perfect balance to the rich character growth and emotional storytelling that the author played out across each story. The imagery and exploration of fear and hope across the LGBTQ community were so spot-on in this collection, and really captured the heart and emotions of the characters in these stories.

While each story and the collection as a whole were fairly quick and easy to read, what stood out to me was how well developed each story was. The character’s arcs and the personal storytelling with the sci-fi-influenced themes all played out in a very natural and engaging way and felt like each story was perfectly laid out and not rushed whatsoever, something some anthologies suffer from overtime.

The Verdict

A memorable, emotional, and mind-bending sci-fi anthology, author J. Scott Coatsworth’s “Tangents & Tachyons” is a must-read collection in 2021. One of the standout sci-fi reads of the year, the natural infusion of LGBTQ themes and characters into thought-provoking sci-fi storylines that explores our world and our role in the universe as a whole really made the reader become engaged in these narratives and made for a compelling read overall. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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Tangents & Tachyons - J. Scott Coatsworth

J. Scott Coatsworth has a new queer sci fi collection out: Tangents & Tachyons. And there’s a giveaway!

Tangents & Tachyons is Scott’s second anthology – six sci fi and sci-fantasy shorts that run the gamut from time travel to hopepunk and retro spec fic:

Eventide: Tanner Black awakes to find himself in his own study, staring out the window at the end of the Universe. But who brought him there, and why?

Chinatown: Deryn lives in an old San Francisco department store with his girlfriend Gracie, and scrapes by with his talent as a dreamcaster for the Chinese overlords. But what if a dream could change the world?

Across the Transom: What if someone or something took over your body on an urgent mission to save your world?

Pareidolia: Simon’s not like other college kids. His mind can rearrange random patterns to reveal the images lurking inside. But where did his strange gift come from? And what if there are others like him out there too?

Lamplighter: Fen has a crush on his friend Lewin, who’s in a competing guild. But when the world goes dark, only a little illumination can save it. And only Fen, Lewin and their friend Alissa can light the spark. A Liminal Sky short.

Prolepsis: Sean is the closeted twenty-five-year-old editor of an 80’s sci-fi ‘zine called Prolepsis. When an unabashedly queer story arrives from a mysterious writer, it blows open Sean’s closet door, and offers him the chance to change the world – and the future.

Plus two flash fiction stories – The System and The Frog Prince, never before published.

This is the first time all of these stories have all been collected in one place.

Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Scribd | Thalia | Vivlio


Giveaway

Scott is giving away a full set of his previously self-published eBooks to one lucky winner:

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Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47214/?


Excerpt

Eventide

Tangents & Tachyons meme - J. Scott Coatsworth

I felt a little sick. Okay, a lot sick—like something had wrenched my stomach out of my gut and pulled it halfway to Mars.

Not far from the truth, as it turned out.

I reached for my stomach. My furry belly was a little thicker than I would have liked—too much processed sugar, Peter said. That and the whole no exercise thing.

What did I eat this time? My memories were a bit fuzzy.

I remembered bright lights and a sharp smell. And a keening whine.

I opened my eyes. The light above dimmed of its own accord.

That’s weird. And the smell… kind of antiseptic?

I sat up, and my fingers sank into the soft blue mat beneath me, leaving an impression when I lifted them up which just as quickly disappeared.

I was naked. What the hell?

Alarmed, I looked around as my eyesight cleared.

I was alone in a plain white room. White walls curved into a white floor and ceiling, and only the “bed” had any color—a bright blue pad on a raised pedestal. There were no doors or windows.

I pushed myself up and my head spun. My stomach clenched, and I felt sick.

The room swam around me, darkening, changing.

I’ve been sick. I was certain of that, but the details were vague. I fell back, cushioning my fall with my left hand. “Hello? Peter?”

“Hello, Tanner Black.” The reply was warm, cordial. Feminine, maybe? Hard to tell.

“Hello.” My head ached. “Where am I? Who is this?” The walls continued to flow.

“I am Sera. You are in an awakening room. Welcome to the Seeker.”

“Welcome to where?” None of this made any sense. Where’s Peter? He must be looking for me. I tried to get up again and a searing pain clenched my gut.

“Please lie down, Mr. Black. You have not fully recovered yet, and your room is not ready.”

Recovered from what? I wanted to argue, but suddenly resting seemed like an eminently sensible idea. I was tired, and my head hurt.

Maybe just a short nap.

I pulled my feet up and lay down, wishing for my comfy feather pillow.

The foam conformed to my body, hugging me. So comfortable.

That thought faded as sleep took me, and the light went out.


Author Bio

J. Scott Coatsworth Avatar

Scott lives with his husband Mark in a yellow bungalow in Sacramento. He was indoctrinated into fantasy and sci fi by his mother at the tender age of nine. He devoured her library, but as he grew up, he wondered where all the people like him were.

He decided that if there weren’t queer characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends.

A Rainbow Award winning author, he runs Queer Sci Fi, QueeRomance Ink, and Other Worlds Ink with Mark, sites that celebrate fiction reflecting queer reality, and is a full member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).

Author Website: https://www.jscottcoatsworth.com

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworth

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.twitter.com/jscoatsworth

Author Twitter: https://www.facebook.com/jscoatsworth/

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jscottcoatsworth/

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8392709.J_Scott_Coatsworth

Author Liminal Fiction (LimFic.com): https://www.limfic.com/mbm-book-author/j-scott-coatsworth/

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/j-scott-coatsworth/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/J.-Scott-Coatsworth/e/B011AFO4OQ

Other Worlds Ink logo

Things Happen by Christopher Acker Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

The desperate search for answers we all desire takes center stage in four incredible short stories from author Christopher Acker in the collection, “Things Happen”. 

The Synopsis

In these four stories, things happen.

A mother loses her son to a magic trick gone horribly wrong. Now a Google Maps car is trying to erase the last tangible memory she has of him.

Michelle lands her first big role in Hollywood as a prostitute in a Sam Cooke biopic. But her chance at stardom is jeopardized when riots break out after an innocent black man is murdered by the LAPD.

Everyone in St. Louis knows about the Salazar House of Horrors where a teenage girl was tortured and imprisoned. The prosecution asks Brandon—a model railroad enthusiast—to make a miniature replica of the infamous dungeon. The goal is to persuade the jury to put the monster behind bars forever. But constructing such degradation at 1/12th scale with his wife and two daughters lingering over his shoulder pushes Brandon and his family beyond their limit.

Disgraced journalist Alexander Reynolds is knee-deep in depression. Just about the only thing he can muster these days is slithering to his couch to watch The Maury Povich Show. In a sudden stroke of genius, a path out of his humiliation falls into his lap: he will fake his way to being a guest on Maury. There’s only one problem. He’ll need to convince his wife—the Oscar-winning filmmaker—to play a co-starring role.

The characters here are bruised, battered, and just plain exhausted. They’re like us. And like us, not everything works out for them. It’s this humanity that’s at the heart of this unforgettable collection.

THINGS HAPPEN offers a poignant yet highly entertaining portrayal of people desperately looking for answers in a time when truth and facts are more elusive than ever. The themes of infidelity, unresolved grief, identity, redemption, and racial injustice are woven throughout, lending these short stories a degree of resonance every reader can connect with. And to keep things interesting, a celebrity or two might even make an appearance.

Above all else, THINGS HAPPEN reflects what’s going on in this country right now:

A whole lot of something. 

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The Review

This was such a compelling and engaging read. The author expertly crafted each story to represent an important representation of today’s issues facing our nation, from racial injustice to grief and loss and everything in-between. The characters in each story felt real and gripping as their stories developed over time, and their struggles touched upon so many issues that have always been there but seem to have intensified and become more prevalent in the last couple of years during this pandemic.

What stood out to me was the pacing the author took with each story. With each story being a short story or novella, the reader may have expected the narratives to feel rushed or details to have been missed, but honestly, after reading this collection I felt like the author perfectly elevated the tension and built up the atmosphere in a natural way without sacrificing the theme or characters in any way. 

The Verdict

A memorable, thought-provoking, and entertaining read, author Christopher Acker’s “Things Happen” is a remarkable and relatable must-read collection, and the perfect book to pick up this fall. Emotional storytelling, haunting atmosphere, and perfectly built-up tension allowed this collection to shine brightly, and I was truly enthralled with each story’s narrative. If you haven’t yet, either preorder or pick up your copy of this book today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Christopher Acker is a husband, father, and full-time clinical social worker living in Bridgewater, New Jersey. His fiction has appeared in Change Seven, Crêpe & Penn, New Reader Magazine, Junto Magazine, The Ocotillo Review, Thing Magazine, Subtle Fiction, The Raven’s Perch, Inwood Indiana, Fictive Dream, Spelk, Firefly Magazine, The Molotov Cocktail, and No Extra Words. His work has also been featured on Wandsworth Radio in the UK.

www.facebook.com/christopherhowardacker

www.amazon.com/author/christopheracker

www.goodreads.com/christopheracker