Showing posts with label short stories. Show all posts
Showing posts with label short stories. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

"Madam Rhino" by C. Lewis

Madam Rhino
(The Adventures of Agent Grey Book 1)
by C. Lewis

Madam Rhino (The Adventures of Agent Grey Book 1) by C. Lewis

Madam Rhino, the first book in The Adventures of Agent Grey series by C. Lewis, has just been released. The author stops by today to share an excerpt from the book.

This is the origin story of the formidable senior powerhouse Madam Rhino. Angela is a feisty British pensioner who seizes the opportunity to upgrade her safe, quiet life to one of crime fighting high octane adventure.
She is a straight-talking pensioner who lives in the English countryside. She is feisty, independent and does not like being told what to do just because she is a grandmother in her eighties. But then the ultra secret agency The Bridge Club, whose mission is to maintain world peace, was recruiting. How an earth did she prove that she was a worthy candidate? After all, age is just a number!

For just a moment his eyes widened, and his jaw dropped when he saw the enormous outline of her muscular legs. She adopted a classic fighting stance with her legs diagonally apart facing forward and beckoned him with her hand.
Stalk laughed, and a few tears rolled down his chiselled cheeks as he leant on a nearby post for support.
“Oh, come on! I tell you what, I will rough you up a little bit to show you tried and then you won’t get into too much trouble. I appreciate you have your pride…”
She pursed her lips into a straight line and narrowed her eyes. However, after a few seconds, he composed himself and addressed the situation at hand.
“Oh, come on.”
He rolled his eyes in response and grabbed his gun, aiming it at her chest. “This is a farce and I am a busy man.” He released the gun safety, ready to pull the trigger.
Just a second before he pulled the trigger she leapt up, and as she turned in the air, she delivered a kick, forcing the gun from his hand. His mouth opened in shock as his gun clattered onto the deck. She grabbed her cane that she had leant against wall and with its full extension planned to use it as a quarter staff. She swung it low and fast, aiming for his legs, but this time he spotted the action and jumped with ease out of the way before impact. She tried the same move again and he looked as though he aimed to land along the length of the cane. At the last millisecond, she recognised what was going on and retracted her cane just in the nick of time. He laughed.
“So, you want to dance?”
She kept her face neutral and looked into his eyes. “I am not in the mood for clichés. You have two choices: let me take you into custody or we fight!”
In response, he stepped and without warning drove his fist hard and fast in the direction of her face. She reacted a little too late and his fist successfully crunched the side of her jaw as she turned away
Darn it, I was nearly caught out. She touched the side of her face and winced. My first official fight might be my last!
She dropped her head and ran towards his stomach at speed. He laughed as he put his hand on top of her head to stop her progress, but his smile wavered when he realised his footing was failing. He was being pushed backwards towards the deck wall with the sound of his shoes squeaking on the polished wooden floor as he moved.
“No. That is not acceptable.” Stalk shook his head.
In the same breath he stepped to the side, and as she flew past he punched her hard and fast in the stomach. His fist met a wall of thickened hard skin, and he faltered for a moment. He changed his tactics and started to rain punches all over her body at high speed changing the location every time. She remembered her training and managed to evade most of the punches, and the ones that hit their target were greeted with thickened skin. Both their foreheads were now covered in sweat, and tiny pools gathered on the floor where they fought hard. His slick hair style started to unravel, but Angela’s hair remained intact with not a single hair out of place.
“I have better things to do,” Stalk muttered and punched harder.
I just need to get one punch in and then I can finish this, thought Angela.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
“Madam Rhino is leading a spate of gender-reversed roles that have women feeling like they are finally getting the fantastical novel role models they deserve. A kind of believable super-charged senior woman – at least in terms of character and emotion – who inspires female fans rather than titillates young males.  Particularly important: finally, we’re getting super-secret agents with the kinds of flaws common in the last decade’s male secret agents. Pick up a copy of Madam Rhino to see what all the talk is about.” ~ Segilola Salami


Saturday, September 22, 2018

"She is Nature" by Carlton Grant

She is Nature
by Carlton Grant

She is Nature by Carlton Grant

Author Carlton Grant stops by today for an interview and to share an excerpt from his debut short story collection, She is Nature.

She is Nature is a book of short stories shining a highlight on the importance of women's nature.

“Lexi, stop walking like we don’t have shit to talk about. Hurry up!”
Marcia Collins always has something to talk about. And what she means is, listen to my escapades and feelings without judging me or opening your mouth. Truthfully, if she wasn’t what you would call a friend, I would consider her the school whore. Fuck it, I still consider her that.
“Glad you decided to glide over. So guess what happened this weekend?”
I know better to respond to these vain questions. I made the mistake of answering once and she accused me of not being sensitive to her ‘serious matter’.
“Well, if you’re not going to guess, I’ll tell you. You know Eric Marsh? Well, last night I was at the mall, and as I’m coming out of Pink, I bump into him. Like, I literally, bump into him. My panties fall out of my bag onto the floor and guess what?”
Once again, just another set up.
“He picks them up, looks at them and says it’s good to know you appreciate lace and hands them back to me with a smile. I didn’t even know what to say. That’s a lie. I told him, don’t mistake class for a lack of taste and licked my lip. I promise you he was turned on. He didn’t even respond, he just raised his eyebrows and walked away. So what do you think? I should give him my number right?”
“Yeah. Sounds like a regular ole Casablanca moment.”
“I knew you’d understand. He’s in the line; I’m going to go make my move.”
There’s no reasoning with her. My sarcasm always becomes exactly what she wants to hear. My eyes follow her as she shamelessly flips her hair and grabs Eric by the belt. It would shock me if she didn’t become the madam of a brothel. I laugh and turn my attention to the cafeteria doors, just to see an unfamiliar face walk out. I don’t know what it was, because I’m no stranger to engaging, but my breath was being siphoned.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Interview with the Author
Carlton Grant joins me today to discuss his new book, She is Nature.
For what age group do you recommend your book?
I recommend it to readers aged 18+.
What sparked the idea for this book?
There was a stage of my life, when I was in college, where I lived with enough girlfriends and dealt with enough situations involving females, not to mention the relationship I have with my female relatives. This book pretty much birthed itself as a by-product of my life.
What was the hardest part to write in this book?
I don't know about hardest, but the dedication to my grandmother was the most heartfelt, so you can say finding the courage for the dedication.
How do you hope this book affects its readers?
I want it to change their perspective of women and their behavior towards women.
How long did it take you to write this book?
I don't even remember.
What is your writing routine?
I wouldn't tell you that, come on.
How did you get your book published?
I self-published just over a week ago.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
Give it your all. Be as unique as possible.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Explore and be active.
What does your family think of your writing?
I'm the next Shakespeare.
Please tell us a bit about your childhood.
I come from love and support, mostly.
Did you like to read when you were a child?
Yup! A Series of Unfortunate Events were my favorite books to read.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I never realized it, I just always did as much as I could for as long as I can remember.
Did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
Maybe the freedom to explore ideas did but, outside of that, most of my experiences come from my teen-to-early-adult years.
Which writers have influenced you the most?
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
As of right now, I receive words of excitement, support, and encouragement.
What can we look forward to from you in the future?
New formats.
Thanks for visiting today, Carlton. Best of luck with your future projects.

About the Author
Carlton Grant
Carlton X. Grant was born to Caribbean parents in Brooklyn, New York's Bedford Stuyvesant, better known as Stuyvesant Heights area nowadays. Carlton, an FIU attendee, a scholar by effort and self-motivated by nature, bypassed the offers of MIT, Carnegie Mellon, and Oxford to bring you a voice all his own.


Saturday, June 9, 2018

"Nightmare’s Eve" by Stephen H. Provost

Nightmare’s Eve
by Stephen H. Provost

Nightmare’s Eve by Stephen H. Provost

Nightmare’s Eve by Stephen H. Provost is currently on tour with Xpresso Book Tours. The tour stops here today for my review, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

A collection of 16 short stories and 10 dark poems in the tradition of The Twilight Zone.
Trapped for eight centuries in a space no larger than a shoebox. What would you do to escape? How far would you go to rid yourself of that parasite in your brain that feeds off the worst of your nightmares? What if the person closest to you were fated to die – and you were powerless to stop it?
What if your savior were also your greatest fear? Would you trade years of your life for a chance at redemption? Would you slay or spare the dragon whose eyes gaze up at you pleadingly in the final moments of its life?
These are the questions that run through the mind when twilight fades and eyelids grow heavy. Fight the onset of sleep. Thrash beneath the covers in futile defiance of what lies beyond. This is the between-time of Nightmare’s Eve, those brief but lingering moments between the waking world and the abyss. It will have you. It’s only a matter of time.

Excerpt from “A Deal in the Dark”
Can you leave the light on, Andy?”
Andy poked his head back around the corner and shook it slightly. “The doc says that won’t help you sleep. You need your rest, Jen.”
“I know, but …”
“No buts.”
Jenny fixed her attention on the sliver of light that was bleeding into her room from out in the hallway. It seemed like a lifeline. This insomnia had been plaguing her for weeks now, and she did need her sleep. But she didn’t need the panic attacks that hit her whenever the room went pitch black. She hadn’t been afraid of the dark since she was a child, when her parents had bought that nightlight for her to reassure her there weren’t any monsters lurking in the blackness, waiting to emerge when it was safe. When she couldn’t see them. Couldn’t find them. Couldn’t catch them to put them back where they belonged in the part of her mind where they no longer existed.
Her parents had told her that’s where they really were.
“It’s all in your mind,” Mom had said. “There’s nothing here that can hurt you.”
She’d always remembered that. It had been reassuring at the time, but the more she thought about it, as she’d grown older, the more troubling it seemed. She could escape a monster that was
hiding in the closet; but if it had taken up residence in her mind …
how could she escape that?
Andy was a lot like her Mom that way. He had always been protective of his kid sister, always trying to reassure her that there was nothing wrong — make her think everything was going to be just fine.
Make. Her. Think.
Think the way he wanted her to think. It was just a trick, she thought to herself. She remembered Halloween night, when she was six years old. “Go to sleep, why don’t you?” he’d said, impatient and demanding. He was three years older than she was, so she’d closed her eyes. But she hadn’t gone to sleep right away. She’d heard someone rustling around in the plastic jack-o-lantern full of candy she’d left on the floor beside her bed, and in the morning, that candy had been gone.
“You sure you’ll be okay?” Andy said, lingering in the doorway.
What was he going to steal from her now?
“Please, just leave the light on, Andy. Or leave the door open, at least?”
He smiled that same smile he had always smiled at her. It magnified the mocking regret that leaked through his teeth in his too- apologetic tone. “I know what’s good for you better than you do,” it seemed to say. Why did he have to be so self-righteous?
“Sorry, Jenny Penny,” he said, using the nickname he’d had for her since they were kids. “Can’t do that. Doctor’s orders.”
I shouldn’t have come here, she told herself.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
“The genres in this volume span horror, fantasy, and science-fiction, and each is handled deftly. ... Nightmare's Eve should be on your reading list. The stories are at the intersection of nightmare and lucid dreaming, up ahead a signpost ... next stop, your reading pile. Keep the nightlight on.” ~ R.B. Payne, Cemetery Dance
“Brace yourself. Your nightmares are about to get a whole lot darker. Stephen H. Provost pulls you into a place where reality, imagination, and fear play a brutal game of tug-of-war with your sanity. Keep the lights on, this book should come with a warning label to never read it in the dark.” ~ Vanta M. Black, author of Oubliette - A Forgotten Little Place
“Provost sticks mostly to the classics: vampires, ghosts, aliens, and even dragons. But trekking familiar terrain allows the author to subvert readers' expectations. ... Provost's poetry skillfully displays the same somber themes as the stories. ... Worthy tales that prove external forces are no more terrifying than what's inside people's heads.” ~ Kirkus Reviews
“Stephen H. Provost has nightmares to sell. But be wary, this is no ordinary merchant of dark dreams. These are tales and poems of every sort from a writer to watch, from stories of redemption to those of love, vengeance, and damnation - or a frightful combination of all three. Sample his wares, but beware, many of these nightmares will stay with you long after the book is put aside.” ~ Mark Onspaugh, author of The Faceless One and Deadlight Jack
“Having thoroughly enjoyed Provost's debut novel, Memortality, I was quite eager to read his foray into short stories. Nightmare's Eve didn't disappoint. It's an enjoyably surreal, spooky peek into the things that keep us up at night, and it further solidifies the author's place among fiction's up-and-comers. Stephen Provost is the real deal.” ~ David McAfee, bestselling author of 33 A.D.

My Review
I received this book in return for an honest review.

By Lynda Dickson
This is a collection of sixteen stories and ten poems centered mostly on the themes of nightmares and death. They cover various genres, including time travel, science fiction, paranormal, and fairy tales. Some are contemporary, while others are futuristic, historical, medieval, or gothic. So, something for everyone. Each piece is accompanied by a beautiful black and white illustration that gives the whole volume a vintage feel and makes me want to own the paperback version of this book. While some of the stories are a bit predictable, they are all well-written, although there are some editing errors and one major continuity issue (the armchair in “Virulent”).
In “A Deal in the Dark”, strange things happen to Jen in the dark. Is her brother behind it all or is it something more sinister?
In “Will to Live”, a man is stuck in a recurring nightmare.
“Just the Ticket” shows us that you should never make a bargain with the devil.
“Turn Left on Dover”: What would you do if you could go back in time?
In “Mama”, we are left to wonder if the pendulum’s predictions will come true.
“Breaking the Cycle”: How far would you go to end the nightmares?
In “Virulent”, there is a virus on Mars, but not the type you might expect.
In “Anatomy of a Vampire”, a group of anatomy students gets an unusual anatomy lesson.
“The Ends of the Earth”: What happens when you build a wall to keep someone out of your town?
“The Howl and the Purr”: How are cats and dogs involved in an alien invasion?
“Teeth”: What’s worse: the nightmares or the cure?
“The Faithful Dog” is a cautionary tale about seeing what you want to see, regardless of the truth.
“Lamp Unto My Fate”: What would you wish for if you freed a genie?
After reading “Nightmare’s Eve”, you’ll never look at Santa the same way again.
“Stranger Than Fiction”: What would happen if everything you wrote came true?
In “George & the Dragon: The Untold Story”, a young man uncovers his family history.
“Certitude”: Only one thing is certain in life: death.
“Lost Soliloquy”: What thoughts might run through the mind of a dead man?
“Unwound” is about hiding your true feelings.
“Upon Reflection” takes a look at the role of mirrors in fairy tales.
“Merlin’s Lament” is about the May Day massacre of Arthurian legend.
In “Bleed Not”, a woman murders her lover.
In “Lost at Sea”, a man is trapped alone on board his ship, a prison of his own making.
“Torrent of Tears” deals with the struggle with mental illness.
“A Never-Setting Sun”: Would the nightmares come to an end if the sun never set?
“This Vale of Dreams” takes a look at the world of dreams.
My favorites: “Will to Live”, “Mama”, “Nightmare’s Eve”, “George & the Dragon”.
Warnings: coarse language, horror, violence.

About the Author
Stephen H. Provost
Stephen H. Provost is a veteran editor, reporter, and columnist with more than 30 years of experience at daily newspapers in California. He’s currently the managing editor of The Cambrian on the Central Coast, as well as a columnist and assistant city editor for The Tribune in San Luis Obispo.
As an author, he has written historical nonfiction (Fresno Growing Up and Highway 99: The History of California’s Main Street), novels (Memortality and Identity Break), while also exploring the realms of mythology, fable, and ancient history.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a signed copy of Nightmare’s Eve by Stephen H. Provost (open internationally).