Is it just me or do the weeks come quicker? It's already the second Wednesday in January, and I do have a bit to update you on.
First off, I have two new reviews of Once Upon a December Nightmare. Both were five stars.
David Huffstetler, author of Blood on the Pen, said, "Take a walk on the eerie side in Cherie Reich’s story, Once Upon a December Nightmare. The chill of winter and the desolation of back roads wrap their arms around a group of teenagers, who should’ve stayed home. It’s hard to say exactly what is out there in the woods, but it’s relentless and it’s hungry. Ms. Reich takes readers to that place somewhere in the back of our imaginations, the place we hope isn’t real. She left me asking for more, and that is one of the signs of a good story. I am anxious to see the next chapter in Cassie’s life. If you like a good scare, give Once Upon a December Nightmare a try. Five stars sounds right." You can find David's review on Goodreads and Amazon.
Elizabeth Swigar, author of qi, said, "This short story was the first piece of writing that I read on my new Kindle. And what a way to break it in … I couldn’t put it down. December Nightmare walks that fine thread that all good suspense does – the thread that tells you just enough to make you breathless, but not enough that you can figure out where the story’s headed.Then there were the deer. Oh, the deer … and I won’t tell you more than that. You’ll just have to read it to find out what I mean.Plot: A familiar, and creepy pretext: four teenagers in a car who decide to go down an alternative route in the wintertime. Then the strange stuff starts happening. Again here, as with all suspense-style reviews, I find myself torn because I don’t want to give away too much. So I’ll stick to lighter details. We get several different POVs. Some writers do different POVs that all feel the same. Not the case with this story. Each is well-done in the sense that you feel that you’re really reading a different person’s take on the story, not one author’s voice shining through four characters.
Setting: The creepiest, snowiest backroad you can imagine. As it is the heart of wintertime here where I live, I found myself staring out at the cold and the snow and imagining these scenes. It’s because of the vividness of Reich’s writing. Small aspects of the story are cast in exquisite detail: “A heavy sigh rushed from her lips like a plume of smoke and framed her face in dark fog” and “The liquid mixed with mud and splattered the truck like a Jackson Pollack painting” are examples.
Characters: Well-developed, unique. We get Cassie, who struck me as the most likable of the bunch; her friend Mary, who struck me as rather mousy; Mary’s sister Denise, who was the second most unlikable of the bunch; and Denise’s boyfriend James who was absolutely the most unlikable. Likable or not, I cared about the characters. I may have wanted one of them in particular to come across some misfortune … but I was very engaged in his or her misfortune!
Style: In short stories, real estate counts. Reich is aware of this, and she makes the most of every word. Nothing is wasted here.
Overall Impression: Five stars. An engaging, frightening short story that draws on Civil War history/urban legend-American mythology to make chills run down your spine. Read it, but be prepared to have it stick in your memory!" You can read the review here.
I'm really excited about these two new reviews, and David even gave me some ideas for a December Nightmare sequel. Could there be one? It's possible. I rule nothing out. *grins*
On Monday, I reviewed the erotic political thriller The Knot Artist by India Wilson. You can read that review here.
If you missed hearing about it, my pirate story "Silver Hand Sam" was accepted into Wicked East Press's Cutlass and Musket, Tales of Piratical Skulduggery anthology on Thursday.
Friday's Flash Fiction contained "Resolutions."
I promoted Beth Revis's most awesome debut novel Across the Universe on Promo Monday.
And, I started off the new Knowledge Tuesdays with a post about the direct address comma.
On Monday evening, I finished writing "Sweet Vengeance." I received my edits from my CPs, so I'm going to go over the story today and change things, read it tomorrow once more, and submit it to Wyvern Publications' Fangtales anthology. The deadline is Saturday, January 15th, so if you have a story in mind, write and send as fast as possible.
Unfortunately, between library work, editing manuscript from PWP, getting back in the swing of things from the holidays, and writing a short story, I've gotten behind on my three chapters a week rewrites for Virtuoso. It's quality over quantity, though, and I've completed through chapter two. Perhaps I'll catch up in the next few days, but if I don't, that's all right. I'd rather get it written as well the first (technically the second) time instead of having another crappy draft to work on again.
I still need to write my flash fiction piece for Friday and my short story for Raven and the Writing Desk next Wednesday.
I better get back to writing.