You’re Not Alone: An Indie Author Anthology: Reviews Links and Excerpts, Part 4 – 100% of Proceeds to Charity
You’re Not Alone: An Indie Author Anthology: Reviews Links and Excerpts, Part 4 – 100% of Proceeds to Charity
(from product page description) : An international group of indie authors, inspired by the personal grief of one, decided to collaborate in the spring of 2015 in a project to create this multi-genre smorgasbord of original short stories, all with the same potent theme – relationships. Some are heartfelt, some funny, some poignant, and some are just a little bit scary – much like relationships themselves. All are by authors fired by the shared enthusiasm to give something back in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. Cancer touches us all. It has in some way affected those who have contributed their time and talent here. This is our way of showing that we care.
100% of the royalties earned or accrued in the purchase of this book, in all formats, will go to the Pamela Winton tribute fund, which is in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.
The last seven stories in this anthology give the impression that relationships are compelling and redemptive, nicely harmonizing with the other 21 stories in the grouping. The common theme appears to be ‘no choice.’ The perfect people show up in life’s path, giving us all a chance to feel human with caring, with irony, and destiny all mixed in, to form us into sensitive creatures. Concerned about what others think about us? Many of the stories cover that dilemma. Time management/priority problems? That too is more than exposed. Puzzled at how others think? An inside glance reveals many examples in life.
“a beginner’s view: the intent of this blog is to incrementally build a body of thought that works toward integrating various topics, yoga, fitness, and the arts – it’s a process…”
Related Categories : Short Stories – Reviews – Charities
It’s not often one gets to contribute to a cause and be told all proceeds (royalties etc) from the sale to the customer are going to charity.
Like a recent fund drive to help the earthquake victims in Nepal via Yoga Dork, where 100% of proceeds went to the charity, Ian Moore, a UK author, along with help from several other writers, organized and brought together a quite disparate group of writers to generate funds for a charity group.
This 4 Part series of mini reviews showcases excerpts and reviews of all twenty-eight works, plus links to each author’s Amazon Author Page.
In this post I’ve also added where the author is located if known.
Reviews Links and Excerpts
OOH AIR MARGRIT by Rebecca Bryn (Pembrokeshire, Wales)
My take: Immersion in other worlds in fiction in one of its greatest attributes. In this short story, I’m reminded that one needed go to another time or another planet (though also fun at times) to experience another culture. What was surprising for me, in the author’s portrayal of a large family with both Irish and German roots interacting, was how connected the characters felt to my own experience in my own quite large extended Hispanic family.
Reaching that communal realization via the story’s arc from the narrator’s portrayal of strict strained hard-edged relations within the family, through detailed generations back into days and times without electricity and phones, into a funeral service in today’s world of altered sensibilities, especially for women, was a smile inducing bonus.
If you’re not afraid of dipping your toes in spots of a possibly unfamiliar dialect, you may find the twist in mood at the end the perfect exploration.
My mind rebels at the platitudes for, although I loved my mother, and I know she loved me, my relationship with her was ambiguous, even difficult at times: there was never that mother/ daughter closeness between us, and the older, and more dependent she became, the more restrictive and binding were the apron strings.
I’m ashamed to say I felt relief when she died; relief at finally being free -tinged with familiar guilt.
My take: Flawless flow. The author’s narrative is smooth as a playful hands-on-hips kickity gig that twirls and flows into a tightly clasped lovingly slow dance at the end. The emotion felt like dabs of paint being applied in scoops and slice-aways, leaving an emerging image of love lived in real time in real life. And never was the sense of union as great as at the parting. Beautifully scripted into a perfect close. This was life as art and art imbued with life.
(close to beginning)
“Keep my ashes safe and when you die, make sure that you’re cremated and then you can come in with me.”
That was my plan anyway. I said I didn’t want to be put in the cold ground and that I didn’t want to be alone. He told me I’d never be alone and I believed him. For his part, he joked that I should take the cheap option.
“Ah just dump me in a ditch at the side of the road. Sure I won’t care.”
I hated it when he said that. He stopped saying it when he fell ill. Not at first, but once he knew how serious it was, he never joked about it that way again. Jacob knew I wouldn’t want to hear him say those words anymore.
My take: Unassuming, colloquial, and yet I would venture – would be as touching here in Texas on a Hill Country meadow as across the ocean in England. There’s a mild twist-revelation just past mid-point making all the relationships more poignant and meaningful. “Last Goodbyes” – with its complete gentleness, is all heart and still beats within me now. The touches of English dialect were for me icing on the story.
I remember when he was a nipper. Whenever he wanted something, needed help, or anything for that matter, it was always ‘Mum, can I…’ or mum this, or mum that… and when she wasn’t around it was simply ‘Dad, where’s mum?’ or ‘Dad, when’s mum back?’ I didn’t mind of course, how could I?
This short story also changes not only the main character’s perception of reality, but does so in a distinct shift in narrative style.
Not genre style, but in the structural force of the words and scenes.
What begins as an almost obsessive if generally benign near-mechanical formal focus, both within the lead character and the narrator’s choice of language, morphs, through wry but beloved time-posts in life (marriage, births, birthdays) to a pinprick of realization mirrored by the lead’s tiny barely audible “Oh”s. Together, we step into a style of intimate warmness only people truly in touch with each other’s hearts can have. The contrast from beginning to end is complete and liberating. An exceptional, unique story.
Everything changed after she received the clock. She held onto time in the same way a miser holds onto money. Each minute allotted to her had to count, so she did not have to use her personal minutes. When she came home from school in the afternoon, she chose to study rather than hanging out with friends. She did not want to be tempted to use her personal minutes to get her homework done before bed. Miriam completed any household chores she was given as perfectly as she could, so she would not have to use her personal minutes to redo what she should have done properly the first time. Miriam welcomed sleep each night. After a night of sleep, she was not only more efficient, but also she could reset her clock and add one more minute to her hoard of personal minutes.
This Author’s contact information is currently in-progress and will be updated as available.
DAY LATE, DOLLAR SHORT by Eric Lahti (U.S.)
My take: I’d read one of this author’s fantasy-thrillers before I read his short story contribution in You’re Not Alone and was very glad to see he retained and continued his special blend of 1/4 sci-fi fantasy and 3/4 thriller. In this short story’s case, the fantasy element is more an artist’s favorite puffy brush dusted with the magical realism of American Indians.
There’s never much doubt there’s a lesson to be learned in the story and it’s a pleasure to ride the wave of revelation through both the American Southwestern desert and the young man’s blossoming interior heartland.
I would even say I’d like to see a novel in the vein of Henchmen, which I’ve also reviewed and thoroughly enjoyed, swapping out that story’s fantasy elements for more of those in this short. There’s a naturalness and “fit” between the terrain in the story and the psyche of the main character that’s very comfortable. Very nice indeed.
…he was my grandfather so I listened patiently to his stories of skin walkers and UFOs and wild-eyed gods of this hot, dusty part of the world. I asked him once why he chose to live in a run-down shack in the middle of nowhere and he said, “I spent a lifetime designing weapons to kill people I’ve never met. I made a good living off my skills. I can’t live with that anymore. Out here I can hide and try to help heal a world I tried to destroy.”
Then he’d go off on his magical creatures and gods and I’d figure he was just telling stories. I’d go home and he’d wave and we’d meet again a week or a month later.
I reviewed author’s thriller-(somewhat)-fantasy novel, “Henchmen,” set in Nevada and New Mexico.
My take: Re-reading this same short story after a bit of a break from the first reading, I think I found the husband-wife’s relationship-sparring sharper, both in the bitterness and the sarcastic humor. The details of the couple’s relationship solution, especially the snack wrappers and soft drink containers, were even more “uh-huh, yeah, know what that means” touching and fulfilling. A lovely little tale worth reading AND re-reading.
Their marriage had started out like most. The whirlwind romance of two lovers; gushing with life and young love. Like a spring river swollen from melting snow, rushing down an emerald hillside and sloshing over its banks with no regard for anything in its path; deeply connected to one another in a multifaceted and intricately blended relationship where they experienced everything together. One could say they were joined at the hip, or often joined somewhere near it.
I reviewed this same story for this author last year as a stand alone short story book.
NO LONGER BROKEN by Nico Laeser (British Columbia, Canada)
My take: This short, by the same person who recently designed my newest thriller cover, carried the same trepidation I feel approaching his longer novel work. There is an immediacy and authenticity of psychic realism in his characters, often in unspeakably impossible human situations, that punches me places I’m afraid to even be touched. This particular story, depicting one man’s struggle with job loss, loss of sense of worth, and then an autistic child, was no exception.
I think, because this is a short story, and began with more mundane daily problems (job loss and loss of sense of worth being unfortunately too familiar and mundane to most of us), I was able to wade in slowly past the last of the waves’ shoreline breakers into deeper water.
Once the story submerges into living with, dealing with, coping with the challenge of raising a child with such unalterable limitations, I was at a loss to know if what I was reading was memoir brilliantly fictionalized, or fiction so real it smacked of the highest journalism.
Powerful and immediate, it brought me new eyes and understanding of how one of my wife’s brothers (with his wife) has raised an autistic grandchild by themselves since its infancy. The story truly humbled me.
During the pregnancy, my wife’s family stepped in to offer financial support, and although the rational part of me was thankful, I still held a deep resentment over the fact that my wife had shared our problems and accepted their generosity. I had no say in my own resulting emasculation, and what could I have said? Don’t take their money, it makes me feel like less of a man? It was no longer about me, and very soon I would be another step lower in our family hierarchy.
Additionally, it is also available in paperback format.
2) For further information regarding the charitable aspect, please feel free to contact the anthology’s creator and contributor, Ian D. Moore. He’s available on FB at www.facebook.com/yourenotalone2015, and via iandmoore71 at hotmail dot com.