Book Review: Four American Tales by Jack Messenger

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On starting this collection with the first story, Wichega, I was immediately drawn in by the wistful, melancholic voice of Sweet Pea, telling her story so powerfully. This story is so evocative of memories, of sights and smells and sensations, that I almost felt that I was right there in the scene. This story is such an engaging way to open the quartet of stories.

Messenger’s writing is equally powerful and emotive in the other stories. The characters are developed richly, each having their own distinct voice and mannerisms that portray far more than what is told of them in the stories themselves.

These stories, and the characters in them, are varied enough to keep the reader engaged and curious throughout the book. There is neither cliche nor repetition in the plots, characters and imagery delivered by Messenger.

These stories are, without doubt, American in both style and setting, at different times reminding me of the imagery and eloquence of John Steinbeck.

This is the first of his books that I have read, but I definitely hope to read more of his writing. I enjoyed Four American Tales very much.

Four American Tales is available on Amazon.

Author Interview: Betty Mermelstein

Interview Red

Hi folks! I’m back again with another fantastic Indie author interview. Today, I’m chatting with multi-genre author, Betty Mermelstein. Welcome, Betty!

Thanks, Squirrel!

Tell me, Betty, what inspired you to write?

I have always loved to read and was interested in learning vocabulary and grammar even in elementary school, so I decided I wanted to tell my own stories with the written word.

What movie can you watch over and over again?

Gone With the Wind: oh, the drama!

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

Since I was nine, I wanted to be a teacher because of my love of learning. I kept that desire and got my college degree in teaching. I retired after having taught preschool, elementary, and junior high.

Wow! Kids of all sizes!

That’s right!

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

You have to be willing to find the support as you struggle to format your books to get them self-published (especially as an ebook), find a means to advertise your books, and work your way through technology as you set up and maintain a website/blog. However, you don’t give up!

That’s right! Don’t give up!

*Betty and Squirrel give each other high fives*

What’s your favorite season?

It’s a toss up between Fall and Spring. I was born in the Fall, and it feels comfortable to me: the smell of leaves on the ground, the brightness of the foliage, the crispness in the air (of course, I haven’t lived in a climate that supports that for many years, but the memories make it palpable!). Spring makes me shiver inside with anticipation of newness and opportunities. It shows its beauty in its blooms and rejuvenates my soul with its breezes.

Oh! I love fresh blooms! It’s like… every bush is a salad!

Right…

Yeah. Back to the interview…
What the best book you’ve read this year?

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly. I love historical fiction, and this one is set in WWII in France and New York, following characters who are part of the Ravensbruck concentration camp.

What’s your favorite thing you have written?

That’s a hard one. I also write poetry and short humorous essays, some of which have been published. I guess I feel most accomplished in putting together my collection of short stories that deal with relationships, entitled Seven for Reflection.

What are you working on now?

I mostly continue with my short humorous essays for my blog on Tumblr. There’s always something I experience in my life that I can poke fun at.

What’s the best vacation you’ve had?

I’ve been lucky enough to have traveled in Canada, Europe, and around the U.S. One of the best trips was last year when I returned to our family’s summer cottage on a lake in Michigan with my husband and sisters. We connected with extended family and proved that you can go back!

What are two things in life that you wish were easier?

I wish my expectations (which covers a wide range of situations) could be met more than they are. I always tell myself my expectations make me delusional! I also wish I could learn things more quickly, especially in technology. In my twenties, I thought I could learn anything: again, delusional!

Thanks for joining me today, Betty! 

Thanks for having me, Squirrel!

Betty Mermelstein’s books can all be found at Amazon, and you can follow her blog on Tumblr