Personal, Publications, Short Stories, Writing

“Cold Bluff” To Be Published in Slippery Elm Literary Journal

Some stories take longer than others to find a home. In the case of my short story, “Cold Bluff,” it took almost two years of consistently sending it out for it to be picked up by Slippery Elm Literary Journal. I’m so stoked that this story is going to be featured in such a fantastic publication! A friend had their story published in Slippery Elm last year and it was such an amazing piece, I can’t to see what else had been picked up for the 2021 publication. I know it’s going to be an incredible issue!

About Cold Bluff

When a lone white horse shows up on his property, old Will Ritter finds himself caught up in a mystery that hits close to home and forces him to confront the strained relationship he has with his daughter.

I’ll share more details about when the story will be available and how you can get a copy once I know!

Reviews

Monsters, Movies, & Mayhem is a finalist for the Colorado Book Award for Best Anthology!

Last week I found out that Monsters, Movies, & Mayhem is a finalist for the Colorado Book Award for Best Anthology! My story, “Hyde Park,” appears in this anthology alongside 22 other stories celebrating monsters and the movies.

Edited by Kevin J. Anderson, KJA, this anthology was put together by a cohort of students in the publishing graduate program at Western Colorado University.

If you haven’t picked up a copy of the anthology yet, click here to purchase from your favorite bookseller: https://books2read.com/MonstersMoviesMayhemSF

Thanks also to Sam Knight for typing up the full table of contents of authors who have stories in this one!

JONATHAN MABERRY
LUCIANO MARANO
DAVID GERROLD
JESSE SPRAGUE
C.H. HUNG
KEVIN PETTWAY
DAVID BOOP
JULIE FROST
SHANNON FOX
BRENDAN MALLORY
LINDA MAYE ADAMS
SAM KNIGHT
HAILEY PIPER
RICK WILBER
STEVE RASNIC TEM
BEN MONROE
CHARLES MACLAY
IRENE RADFORD
JAMES A. HEARN
RYAN F. HEALEY
KARINA FABIAN
B.D. PRINCE
FRAN WILDE

Anthology, Fiction, Personal, Short Stories, Writing

“The Pirate Prince of the Barbary Coast” Finds a Home in a New Anthology, Particular Passages

Hot on the heels of the news about Hold Your Fire anthology release, I have another short story coming out later this month! My story, “The Pirate Prince of the Barbary Coast” will be included in the Particular Passages anthology.

About the Particular Passages:

Down a forgotten hallway lie rooms no one has entered. Each room contains a world waiting to be explored. Some beautiful and full of wonder, other dark and full of terrors. You won’t know which until you step inside.

So take a deep breath, and open the door…

My historical fantasy is set at the end of the nineteenth century in San Francisco and features a thief on a quest to steal a golden egg that is rumored to have belonged to Hawaii’s Queen Liliʻuokalani. But he’ll discover the egg is more valuable than he could have ever imagined…

I’m excited to share this story with you later this month when the anthology comes out! It’s one of my favorite stories I’ve ever written, though it certainly took a while to find a home for it. However, I could not be more grateful and stoked that this is where it ended up. Special thanks to James Sams for doing all the heavy lifting on this and putting it together!

Other authors with phenomenal stories in this anthology include:

Elmdea Adams, Jen Bair, David Boop, J.T. Evans, Todd Fahnestock, Arlen Feldman, Jessica Guernsey, Sam Knight, Chris Mandeville, Kim May, John D. Payne, Wayland Smith, Stephannie Tallent, and Marie Whittaker.

If you’d like to pre-order your copy of Particular Passages, click here.

Book Events, New Releases

Hold Your Fire Anthology Now Available!

I’m excited to announce the book Hold Your Fire anthology is out today on AmazonBarnes & Noble and Kobo

Hold Your Fire is available for purchase in hardcover, paperback, and eBook formats. 

I have two stories in this anthology, “Hyde Park” and “White Feather.” They’re both stories that arrived on the page pretty much fully formed and while they’re very different in tone, I think they fit the theme of the anthology very well.

Proceeds from the sales of this anthology go to fund scholarships for Superstars Writing Seminars, which you can read more about here.

About Hold Your Fire:

Creativity comes from many places, but often the initial spark of inspiration can be traced to something or someone who challenged us to first put pen to paper or brush to canvas, to pick up a camera, to look at the world with new eyes. Maybe it was the lyrics of a favorite album. Maybe it was the encouragement from a beloved teacher. Maybe it was seeing a wonder of the natural world.

Maybe it was just a feeling deep down inside that demanded to be set free, a voice ready to be heard, a story begging to be told.

Hold Your Fire is a collection of nineteen short stories celebrating the power and influence of inspiration in all its forms—art, literature, music, astronomy, science, inventions, epiphanies.

Here you will find stories of people being inspired as well as stories of people inspiring someone else. Stories not only of artistic inspiration but of scientific discoveries. The “Eureka!” moments that change the whole world and the small moments when someone dares to fight one more day.

From a romance about a teenager’s attempts to win over his first crush with poetry to musicians and artists harnessing the inspiration of unexpected muses to a fairy tale princess seeking for happiness, every story in this anthology shines brightly. And since every fire casts a shadow, there are also a few horror stories that thrive in the dark.

We also received some exciting early reviews and press about the anthology which you can check out in my last post here.

I hope you’ll consider ordering a copy!

Order from Amazon

Order from Barnes & Noble

Order from Kobo

Anthology, Fiction, Personal, Publications

Hold Your Fire Anthology Available for Pre-Order

I’m excited to share that the Hold Your Fire anthology is now available for pre-order! Right now just the ebook links are live, but the paperback and hardcover should be up soon!

I have two stories in this anthology, “Hyde Park” and “White Feather.” They’re both stories that arrived on the page pretty much fully formed and while they’re very different in tone, I think they fit the theme of the anthology very well.

This is a cool project because the proceeds from the anthology sales go to fund scholarships for Superstars Writing Seminars, which is a fantastic fiction writing conference held annually in Colorado Springs. The next one will be in 2022 due to the pandemic, which means we have even more time to fund the next round of scholarships for the conference!

About Hold Your Fire:

Creativity comes from many places, but often the initial spark of inspiration can be traced to something or someone who challenged us to first put pen to paper or brush to canvas, to pick up a camera, to look at the world with new eyes. Maybe it was the lyrics of a favorite album. Maybe it was the encouragement from a beloved teacher. Maybe it was seeing a wonder of the natural world.

Maybe it was just a feeling deep down inside that demanded to be set free, a voice ready to be heard, a story begging to be told.

Hold Your Fire is a collection of nineteen short stories celebrating the power and influence of inspiration in all its forms—art, literature, music, astronomy, science, inventions, epiphanies.

Here you will find stories of people being inspired as well as stories of people inspiring someone else. Stories not only of artistic inspiration but of scientific discoveries. The “Eureka!” moments that change the whole world and the small moments when someone dares to fight one more day.

From a romance about a teenager’s attempts to win over his first crush with poetry to musicians and artists harnessing the inspiration of unexpected muses to a fairy tale princess seeking for happiness, every story in this anthology shines brightly. And since every fire casts a shadow, there are also a few horror stories that thrive in the dark.

Right now, there’s also a cool pre-order promotion going on from the publisher, Wordfire Press! When you pre-order Hold Your Fire by February 18th, you can go here to submit your receipt and get a free ebook of the Dragon Writers Anthology.

We also received some exciting early reviews and press about the anthology which you can check out in my last post here.

I hope you’ll consider ordering a copy!

Pre-Order from Amazon

Pre-Order from Barnes & Noble

Pre-Order from Kobo

Reviews, Year in Review

2020 In Review

Better later than never with this review! In 2019, I read a grand total of fourteen books. In 2020, I’m proud to say I significantly improved that and read forty-eight books.

Part of that was the pandemic. It helped that my life got dramatically unscheduled, though not unbusy. Part of that was me finally settling into my new life. I have noticed whenever I have a major life change, my reading takes a hit. I know I’m figuring things out when I start reading and finishing books at my old pace. It always take a few years to balance and stabilize so as crazy as 2020 was, I’m grateful for that!

I have a lot of book reviews to catch up so look for those coming soon along with some news!

HOW MANY BOOKS READ IN 2020?

–48 books

FICTION/NON-FICTION?

–  25  Fiction /    22 Non-Fiction

MALE/FEMALE AUTHORS?

–    25  Male /   12 Female

OLDEST BOOK READ?

Recreational Gold Prospecting for Fun and Profit by Gail Butler (1998)

NEWEST BOOK READ?

Essoe’s Guide to Writing Sex Scenes and Essoe’s Guide to Writing Action Sequences both by Joshua Essoe (October 15th, 2020)

LONGEST BOOK READ?

Collapse by Jared Diamond (608 pages)

SHORTEST BOOK READ?

Essoe’s Guide to Writing Sex Scenes by Joshua Essoe (44 pages)

ANY IN TRANSLATION?

Not this year!

BEST BOOK READ IN 2020?

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy

MOST BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN BOOK IN 2020?

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

MOST SURPRISING (IN A GOOD WAY!) BOOK OF 2020?

The Surrender Experiment by Michael Singer

This one was recommended to me and I didn’t really know what to expect when I started it. Honestly, this book is so interesting because when I think about it, I’m so surprised it had such a big effect on me. But it turned out to be really life-changing and I’m super, super grateful I read.

MOST THRILLING, UNPUTDOWNABLE BOOK IN 2020?

Both books in M.H. Boroson’s Girl With Ghost Eyes series, Space Throne by Brian Corley, The Newton Cipher by Steve Ruskin, and Ghostwalkers by Jonathan Maberry.

Read tons of fun, exciting books in 2020!

BOOK THAT HAD THE GREATEST IMPACT ON ME IN 2020?

Stillness is the Key by Ryan Holiday and The Surrender Experiment by Michael Singer.

BOOK THAT HAD A SCENE IN IT THAT HAD ME REELING?

The Girl With No Face by M.H. Borosan had a crazy mid-book twist!!

BOOK I MOST ANTICIPATED IN 2020?

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

MOST MEMORABLE CHARACTER IN 2020?

Several from Space Throne by Brian Corley and M.H. Boroson’s Girl With Ghost Eyes series.

HOW MANY RE-READS IN 2020?

Clockwork by Mike Michalowicz

BOOK I READ IN 2020 I’D BE MOST LIKELY TO REREAD IN 2021?

Stillness is the Key by Ryan Holiday

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy

Fix This Next by Mike Michalowicz

BOOK I RECOMMENDED TO PEOPLE MOST IN 2020?

Treasure of the Blue Whale by Steven Mayfield.

FAVORITE NEW AUTHORS I DISCOVERED IN 2020?

M.H. Boroson and Alix E. Harrow

MOST BOOKS READ BY ONE AUTHOR THIS YEAR?

3 from Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

FAVORITE COVER OF A BOOK I READ IN 2020?

FAVORITE PASSAGE/QUOTE FROM A BOOK I READ IN 2020?

“The greatest illusion,” said the mole, “is that life should be perfect.”

– Charlie Mackesy, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse

DID I COMPLETE ANY READING CHALLENGES OR GOALS IN 2020?

Yep! I hit my reading goal several times over so I kept bumping it up throughout the year.

BOOK I CAN’T BELIEVE I WAITED UNTIL 2020 TO FINALLY READ?

So this answer is a little complicated because I think maybe I actually read Clockwork by Mike Michalowicz in 2019 and re-read it again in 2020. But maybe that’s not true and I actually read it multiple times in 2020. Anyway, there you go! If you have a business, this book is amazing and absolutely essential reading! It’s so good, I’ve read it cover to cover twice and sections of it multiple times.

FAVORITE BOOK OF 2020?

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy

A short, but important and beautiful read.

Fiction, Historical, Reviews, Romance

A Holiday by Gaslight

A Holiday by Gaslight by Mimi Matthews

Sophie Appersett is quite willing to marry outside of her class to ensure the survival of her family. But the darkly handsome Mr. Edward Sharpe is no run-of-the-mill London merchant. He’s grim and silent. A man of little emotion—or perhaps no emotion at all. After two months of courtship, she’s ready to put an end to things.

A Last Chance for Love

But severing ties with her taciturn suitor isn’t as straightforward as Sophie envisioned. Her parents are outraged. And then there’s Charles Darwin, Prince Albert, and that dratted gaslight. What’s a girl to do except invite Mr. Sharpe to Appersett House for Christmas and give him one last chance to win her? Only this time there’ll be no false formality. This time they’ll get to know each other for who they really are.

My book club always tries to pick out a holiday read every year, though most of them end up rather disappointing in my opinion. However, this was one I discovered via an online list and I recommended it for this year’s Christmas read. And surprise – I actually loved it!

If you’ve spent any length of time looking through the books I read and review you’ll notice there aren’t many romances among them. Hardly any at all. I don’t really find straight romances intriguing, though I’m fine and happy with books that include romantic elements. So all the romances I read are usually bookclub picks – because that’s the point of the bookclub, to stretch yourself and read things you wouldn’t normally.

However, as I said above, I picked this one and really enjoyed it. So maybe Victorian romances are my thing? But contemporary romances are not? If anyone reads a lot of historical romances, leave me a comment below – I am curious about how they compare to contemporary romances and what ones you would recommend.

Anyway, about the actual book! Yes I’m posting this on Christmas Eve, but the good news is it’s available on Kindle so you can still read this one before Christmas is over! It’s a novella and a super quick, cute read in general.

This story felt right up there with a Jane Austen novel, albeit one set around Christmas and written in a slightly more modern style. I think the author definitely did her research and did a great job capturing the time period and crafting a period-appropriate romance. I really loved the two main characters, Sophie and Ned. We get both their viewpoints in this book, which was nice. That also makes it a little different than a typical Jane Austen novel.

Above all, I felt this book did a phenomenal job painting a picture of a traditional Victorian Christmas complete with snow, garlands, roaring fireplaces, and glowing lights. I definitely wish I could visit Appersett House! As I’m not traveling to Colorado this year for Christmas, it made me nostalgic not only for travel, but for snowy woods and cold temperatures. In the meantime, this Christmas read will have to suffice.

Personal, Short Stories, Writing

Hold Your Fire Anthology News!

I blinked and somehow it’s Christmas. Christmas in the weirdest of all years, but Christmas just the same.

I also blinked and it’s been over a month since I updated my blog and I have a couple things to share! Well, more than a couple things, but we’ll see how many posts I get to over the next few weeks.

Starting first with the most important! Some time back I announced I will have two stories in an anthology coming out next year, Hold Your Fire. Recently, there were two pieces of good news for the anthology I am extremely belated in sharing with you all.

The first is that Hold Your Fire was reviewed by Publishers Weekly, which is super cool! You can check out their review here. As the review says, “Readers looking for short bursts of inspiration will be pleased.”

Hold Your Fire also received an advanced review from Kaye Lynn Booth at Writing to be Read. She mentioned one of my stories, “White Feather” in her post! You can read her review here.

Hold Your Fire will feature my stories “White Feather” and “Hyde Park.” The latter also appeared in Monsters, Movies, & Mayhem which came out this summer. Hold Your Fire is a charity anthology to benefit scholarships for Superstars Writing Seminars. The next seminar will be held in 2022.

Personal

Spooky Book Giveaway!

We are a week away from Halloween and I wanted to share a Spooky Book Giveaway to celebrate!

I totally meant to do this earlier this month, but, well, life. Regardless, spooky season is all year long, right?

Here’s what I’m giving away:

-A signed hardcover copy of Monsters, Movies, & Mayhem. This one will be signed and personalized for you by me. My short story, “Hyde Park,” is included in this anthology.

-A signed paperback copy of Cursed Collectibles. Also signed and personalized by me! My short story, “The Garden Party,” is included in this one.

To enter here on the blog, all you have to do is:

  1. Subscribe by email or follow Isle of Books
  2. Leave a comment with your favorite Halloween tradition.

I’ll be picking a winner on Tuesday October 27th!

Fiction, Reviews

Rainbow Bridge

Rainbow Bridge by Dan V. Jackson

OUR BEST FRIENDS NEVER TRULY LEAVE … THEY AWAIT US AT THE BRIDGE.

Our dogs are our friends and companions, guardians and defenders. Their love enriches our souls, and few things bring us greater joy than their loyalty and devotion.

Until that inevitable day arrives when we have to say goodbye.

But what if that is not the final farewell? What if there comes a time and a place where we can be reunited with the dogs we have loved and lost? For Nathan Wilkinson, this magical realm of which all grieving families dream will one day become a reality.

At each juncture of Nathan’s life, he experiences friendship, guidance and personal growth from his canine companions. First comes Shiloh, the wise German shepherd of his youth; followed by Lindsay, the miniature schnauzer whose misfortune changes his adult life. When called to battle, he befriends Georgie, the stout war dog, whose courage under fire inspires all who serve with him. Finally there are the Labradors, whose seemingly mindless antics mask an iron-willed devotion to protecting his growing young family.

Each of these remarkable dogs shares with Nathan countless adventures, love and companionship, and ultimately, the heartache of loss. And then one day, an unexpected tragedy provides him the chance for a brief but joyous reunion with those very same dogs at the place where all departed pets await their human companions…the Rainbow Bridge.

(A copy of this book was provided by the publicist in exchange for an honest review.)

I don’t know about you, but this increased time at home has made me especially grateful for my animals. They bring joy and entertainment to our house on a daily basis.

My dog is a senior citizen. He’s somewhere around 11 or 12 years old. He’s also a big dog which makes me want to make time slow down to hold onto the years I have left with him. I knew when I adopted him we’d have less time together, but nothing in life is a guarantee. While I’m in no hurry to get another dog, my thoughts do occasionally stray to my next dog and what that experience will be like.

Rainbow Bridge is the story of Nathan Wilkinson and all the dogs that have left pawprints on his heart over the years. For fans of Marley & Me and The Art of Racing in the Rain this is a sweet story of a life lived in and shaped by the companionship of dogs.

Jackson is a great storyteller and I found myself eagerly flipping the pages. His understanding of dogs means that every dog in Rainbow Bridge feels real, whole, and distinct – which anyone who’s ever had a pet knows. No two are the same and every dog in Rainbow Bridge feels unique. As unique as Nathan’s life is, though any reader who’s had a dog can surely see themself in Nathan’s story!

For anyone who’s loved a dog or loved a pet, this book is for you!