Book Review: ‘The Castle’ by Nikki Moyes

A highly original and engaging short read.

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Nikki Moyes The Castle
‘The Castle’ is a fantasy/scifi short story about Risha, who finds herself vulnerable because of her age and place in society.

 

This is a story in which the author has created an empowering female lead character for a YA audience, something that we definitely need to see more of at this point in time. Rather than dwelling on her weaknesses, Risha focuses on her strengths and uses them to face the situation in which she finds herself.

 

The reader is quickly immersed in Risha’s world, becoming an observer and looking over Risha’s shoulder as she transforms from an observer into an actor in the story that unfolds,  taking some surprising turns that keep the reader guessing.

 

Highly original and engaging, this is a great short read that can easily be enjoyed in a lunch break.

Acorn Award I Golden

Book Squirrel has awarded ‘The Castle’ a Gold Acorn.

 

Find your copy on Amazon.

Book Review: ‘100 Word Horrors’ Anthology

100 Word Horrors: A collection of brilliant short reads.

Anthology 100 Word Horrors

A drabble is a piece of writing that is about 100 words in length.

 

What people often do not realise is that writing something short and making it as effective as something longer is actually really hard to do. The same opportunities to develop plot, characters and ideas in a novel or longer story do not exist in flash, micro fiction, or drabbles.

 

This book is a collection of drabbles by different authors, all in the genre of horror. The majority of these pieces of short fiction are brilliant; some are less effective, but that is largely a matter of personal preference. The chills, crawling of skin and unexpected twists are delivered with all the skill and craft that these writers use in their other, longer works, but their talent is highlighted in the fact that they can achieve this in so few words.

 

This book is great for anyone who loves horror, especially for a quick snatched moment of escape during a break or quiet moment. It’s also ideal for anyone new to the genre who wants to “dip their toes in the water” for the first time without committing to a longer read.
Acorn Award I Golden

 

‘100 Word Horrors’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn.

 

Get your copy at Amazon.

Book Review: ‘The Kupala Night’ by N.C. Stow

A beautifully written fantasy tale.

N.C. Stow The Kupala Night

 

When I was young, I had a book of Russian folk stories that filled my imagination with vivid colours, magnificent imagery and rich stories that always had a deeper meaning.  This was where my lifelong interest in Russian history began.

 

‘The Kupala Night’ took me right back there, and filled me with the same fascination that I remember feeling all those years ago.

 

Inspired by Russian folklore, this is the beautifully written fantasy tale of a young woman who carelessly fails to heed her grandmother’s warnings.  Unforeseen consequences deliver a clear moral, as exists in every Russian folk tale, before the story finishes with another twist.

It’s a short story that takes less than 30 minutes to read, but the style and beauty of the writing make the reading both satisfying and delightful. Vivid images of the scenes and characters played in my imagination as the story unfolded.

Acorn Award I Golden

I thoroughly enjoyed this short read, and have awarded it a Gold Acorn.

Find it on Amazon.

 

Book Review: ‘Once Upon A Grave’ by William Bove

An enjoyable short read, but I wanted more.

William Bove Once Upon A Grave

 

Set during a period of profound economic depression, the tone of the opening chapters is evocative of the hopelessness and privation experienced by those who endured it, and particularly by the central character who has different, but equally valid, reasons for disenchantment and restlessness. The contrasts between the environments and settings of the different phases of the story are striking, and have a profound effect on the author’s delivery of the story.

I enjoyed reading this story, although there were aspects that I wish the author had developed in more depth. The main character is really the only multidimensional character in the story, which is fine in a short read, but I did want to know and see more of the two other key figures that appeared in the second half of the story, and to understand more of the connections between them all.  I also felt somewhat dissatisfied that the revelations made to the main character in the second phase of the story were delivered by her reading a book to which the reader had no access – and was therefore somewhat glossed over in the narrative. It left this reader feeling like an onlooker, rather than being involved emotionally in the journey of the character.

 

Overall, ‘Once Upon A Grave’ is an enjoyable short read, although less gripping than I generally hope for in paranormal or dark fiction.
Acorn Award III Bronze

 

Book Squirrel has awarded this book a Bronze Acorn.

 

Find it on Amazon.

Author Interview: Richard Paolinelli

Book Squirrel chats with Richard Paolinelli

#AuthorInterview
#IndieAuthors

Interview Cobalt

Book Squirrel sat down recently  to chat with sci-fi author, Richard Paolinelli.
Welcome, Richard.

Thanks, Book Squirrel. It’s great to be here.

You’re right. It IS great to be here! 

*both laugh*

Tell me, Richard, what inspired you to write?

 Even as a kid, when we would be moving to the next stop (my Dad’s drilling business moved us all over the country), I would pass the time by writing these little stories in my portion of the back seat. I’ve always enjoyed writing about the worlds and characters I created.  

What’s your favourite thing that you have written?

From The Fields

 My non-fiction sports history, From The Fields, because it not only told the story of high school football in my home town of  Turlock, California, it also shared some of the town’s history off the football field. In a way, it was the best thing I could do for my hometown. So many people have reached out to me since it was published to thank me for doing it and to share their experiences with the events in the book.

What are you working on writing now?

I am helping finish ‘Eerie’, the final book written by my friend Gibson Michaels, who passed away last year before he could finish it. It would have been his fourth book and we want to make sure his readers get to read it. I am co-writing a western novel with Jim Christina, with whom I co-host an online show about writers and the craft of writing – The Writer’s Block on LA Talk Radio. I’m editing one of the 11 books in the Planetary Anthology series (and have stories in several of the others) and I am helping start up a new organization for professional creators in science fiction and fantasy, the Science Fiction & Fantasy Creators Guild. By April I am hoping to start my next sci-fi novel, When The Gods Fell.

 Who designs your book covers?

 Aside from Escaping Infinity, which I had a great cover artist do for me, I have actually designed every cover of the books I have written on my own to this point. In the future I’ll probably still do some but try to find a cover artist for others.

Forest, country, beach or city?

A small town in the country. I’m finding that the older I’m getting the quieter and less hectic I want my surroundings to be.

What movie can you watch over and over again?

I’m going to lose my man card over this, but answer is: The Princess Bride.

I’ll lend you my squirrel card if you like. Nobody ever questions if we’ve got nuts. 

Hey, thanks!

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

 Oddly enough, what I am today, a writer. I dabbled briefly with being an astronaut but I don’t do heights so good and that is a pretty big issue for an astronaut to have. So that didn’t last too long.

What’s your favourite season? Why?

Winter, especially when it is snowing in a rural setting. There’s a clean beauty to fresh snowfall and the cold air in a clear blue sky that really appeals to me.

Who are your three greatest literary inspirations?

 H.G. Wells and Edgar Allan Poe as early writers I read and enjoyed in my youth. Jack McDevitt is the third because after I read his novel, Time Traveller’s Never Die, I became a fan of his work. I discovered his path to becoming a novelist at a later age was similar to my career path and that inspired me to try to give fiction writing another try at the age of 46 – which was the same age he was when he started. A highlight for me was being a part of a Sherlock Holmes anthology and we have corresponded a few times since it was released. Him saying he really liked my story in that anthology was something I’ll not soon forget.

What’s your favourite quote, ever?

 We are all the sum of our tears. Too little and the ground is not fertile, and nothing can grow there. Too much, the best of us is washed away.” – G’Kar (Babylon 5)

What would you like people to know about being an Indie author?

 It is not an easy path to walk by any stretch of the imagination. It is not without its pitfalls and perils. There is no guarantee of success. But the rewards, at least to me, are well worth it. No one else has any semblance of creative control over your work other than you and when success does come it will taste sweeter than the finest wine.

Where can readers find your books?

All my books are on Amazon.

And where can readers follow you on social media?

You can find me at my website, on Twitter and on Facebook

Thanks for joining us today, Richard.

Thanks for having me!