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Amazon Thriller The Decoder Hits #1 In 6 Hours

C T Mitchell readers go crazy for his new political thriller

Within 6 hours, The Decoder, hit #1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in Mystery, Thriller & Suspense  Kindle Short Reads.

Here’s what C T Mitchell said

 

For those not familiar with this Australian mystery thriller bestselling author, here, part of Chapter 1 of The Decoder

Chapter 1

The city was quiet at the crack of dawn. The suburbs were relatively normal with just the flicker of the orange sun over the trees. Children were rousing from their slumber waking to a new day. Los Angeles was a bustle of activity but this one moment of solitude was something many didn’t have.

Tanya considered herself one of the lucky ones. Emily was her only child, perfect in her eyes but sometimes she could get on her last nerve. The constant demand of motherhood wasn’t uncommon but she was trying to juggle a career and a life at home at the same time. It wasn’t easy doing it alone, frazzled and hanging by a thread of her sanity but somehow, she persevered.

She was standing mesmerized by the laundry in the basement of her apartment building. It was spinning hypnotically. She didn’t put herself out there afraid of what most men wanted and how far they were willing to go to get it.

Being invisible had its advantages and she tried to stay below the radar in a job that had her working her fingers to the bone. It meant sacrifice and sometimes her daughter fell through the cracks despite her best efforts. She was 8-years-old with an opinion about everything.

Dressed casually in a tight pair of jeans and baggy dark sweater didn’t exactly flatter her figure. Her hair was up in curlers but she was relatively sure her quiet paradise would not be disturbed. What she wasn’t expecting was a male voice clearing his throat.

“I’m sorry and my intention was not to scare you. I live across the street.” William proffered his hand and was summarily rebuffed with a cautious eye of disapproval.

He always depended on his charm and seductive blue eyes to make any woman feel comfortable in his presence. It was the first time he couldn’t find the right words to encourage a friendly banter.

Her diminutive stature and beguiling green eyes caught him off guard. He was hovering over her with the scent of her perfume heavy in the air. It was sweet and high intoxicating. It was making him light-headed and dizzy. It wasn’t what he was expecting.

Tanya was subtle about the way she roamed her eyes up and down his masculine form. She loved tall men and he was quite compelling in the way he looked at her. She couldn’t stop thinking about how it had been too long since she had been satisfied beyond words. Her skin became clammy and her pulse raced a little bit faster. The white t-shirt was bulging with his muscles threatening to tear through the fabric with the slightest movement.

To continue reading The Decoder, click here getbook.at/thedecoder  

 

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3 Things I Learned From A Mafia Don

Australia doesn’t have many publicly acknowledged Mafia Don’s or families.

We fall a long way short of our American cousins. The Gotti’s, Gambino’s and the movie famous Corleone’s are familiar names to most punters.

In Australia our ‘bad’ families keep a quiet profile avoiding the limelight most of the time except if you are part of the Williams family (not very Italian sounding I know) who go on a shooting spree every now and then.

In Sydney the supreme title goes to the Ibrahim family. Their patriarch is John Ibrahim, owner of strip cubs in the once notorious Kings Cross. These days the Cross is becoming a trendy redevelopment area and the brothels are moving a few streets back.

But John is still the pin up boy of the ‘Sydney Mafia’. So much so he’s been invited by the Sydney Crime Writers Festival to present Australia’s highest crime literary wards at this year’s Ned Kelly Awards.

And this is where I got the chance to be up close but no personal with this crime enigma. Here’s what I learned from Mr. John Ibrahim.

  1. Building A Brand
    Brand – what people say about you when you’re not in the room. Brands can be good or bad.

    The Red Cross brand is the third most recognized brand in the world. It stands for helping people, thereby making it a good brand.

    Malaysian Airlines, once a great brand for Malaysia, is somewhat tainted since their two major airline crashes. They are trying to rebuild but their trust factor for being a safe airline is severely tarnished.

    And then there’s John Ibrahim. Hmmm pretty dark. But in some circles he’s thought of being a ‘lovable rogue’. For the most part John seems to only get in a rumble with fellow crims leaving us innocent people to go about our daily lives without fear.

    And John’s brand is mainly made up of innuendo as well. He is known to being the Teflon Don as well – nothing sticks to Johnny.

    So as an author a brand can bring you a lot of notoriety – I’m choosing the ‘Red Cross’ path.
  2. Family is important
    John has got plenty of family around him. His brothers are also famous in the underworld. Michael and Fadi were busted in 2017 for trying to import 136kg of cocaine into Australia.

    His son and girlfriend were also arrested. Their trial starts now with John by their side – but not ‘involved’.

    Like in all families there are good and bad members. John has shown me that we need to stand by all and that’s admiral.
  3. We need to have structure
    Like any good organisation or business, there must be structure so the entity keeps moving forward.

    Tasks need to be done. Plans must be implemented. Decisions must be thought of and carried out.

    A good Mafia organisation has the same structure as a corporate entity. A CEO, senior managers and a team of foot soldiers.

    John Ibrahim is the CEO.

    In my little group, I’m the CEO along with a virtual team of editors, cover designers, book formatters, SEO experts, Facebook ad managers and other marketing specialists.

    Structure is important even in my little organisation.
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What Length Is A Short Story?

How Long is a Short Story?

How long before a story is short? It sounds like a brain teaser, but the question is asked by many aspiring short story writers – what is the right length for my short story?

Of course, the answer will be different depending on the author, the story and the intended publication. But even though there isn’t a single solution to creating the perfect story length, there are a few consistent ways to decide how long a short story should be.

What is a Short Story?

A short story is a work of fiction that is relatively quick to read. That’s about the only thing that is set in stone – while most short stories focus on a single plot line, with few characters, through a short space of time, other short stories might be more complicated.

Authors might use a short story format to explore an interesting character, or to quickly set up a world for a storyline to play out. Short stories come in a wide range of genres, although some genres are more popular for short stories than others.

More than the length or genre, the most important part of a short story is the impression it has on the reader in a short amount of time. The author has to find the sweet spot between carefully choosing their words and telling a meaningful, impacting story that will stay with the reader.

Story Length

Of course, there are many opinions on the correct word counts for each classification of story length – however, the following types of story length are based on generally accepted word counts:

  • Microfiction: Up to 100 words

There is a very famous piece of microfiction attributed to Ernest Hemingway – legend has it that in order to win a bet, he wrote a story using only six words:

 “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

Microfiction (sometimes called microflash) is extremely difficult to write well, but there is a market for this story length. Publishers can easily fit microfiction onto a page, making it desirable for some publications.

  • Flash fiction: 100 to 1,000 words

Flash fiction delivers humour, romance or fantasy in a bite-sized story. Often found in magazines and online publications, flash fiction is a snapshot of a story that can be included on a page and quickly consumed by the reader.

  • Short story: 500 to 7,500 words

The most common word count for a short story falls within this range. Each publication will have its own preference, but 7,500 words is a widely accepted upper limit. That being said, others consider any work less than 10,000 words to be a short story.

Once an author exceeds 10,000 words, they have left the “short story” grouping and are creating a novelette (7,500 to 25,000 words), a novella (10,000 to 70,000 words) or a novel (50,000 words or more). Each of these word lengths have their own strengths and weaknesses, but they are unlikely to achieve the convenient length and punchy impact of a short story.

Choosing a Length

Obviously, there’s a lot of leeway in how long a story can be and still classify as a short story – a work of 500 words and another of 7,500 words are both short stories, but are likely to be very different.

There are other factors to think about in order to decide the right length for a storyline. Some aspects to consider when deciding the right length are:

  • How long does my story take to tell? It sounds simple, but it’s really important – a story should use as many words as it needs to tell the tale. Lengthy stories might need a sharp eye to cut out unnecessary passages, and authors writing stories on the shorter side have to pay special attention to setting the scene and how they develop characters.

But ultimately, the story should be as long as it needs to be – no more, no less.

  • Is it likely to get published? Some short story lengths have wider appeal to a range of different publications. For many short story publications and competitions, a submission of over 3,500 words will have less chance of being accepted.

If the short story isn’t specifically written with a publishing destination in mind, it might be helpful to keep it on the shorter side to increase its appeal.

  • Does it meet publishing guidelines? If the story is written with a specific destination in mind, the publication or competition will have rules that the author should stick to in order to increase the likelihood of acceptance.

Publishers and competitions will almost always have submission guidelines available, and the word count is an important factor that decides whether or not a story will make the cut.

  • Can it be read in a single sitting? Edgar Allen Poe described the ideal short story length as one that is able to be read in a single sitting, and it’s a helpful concept for the author to keep in mind.

Modern readers are often time poor and reading on mobile devices, so a short story that is gripping but can be quickly consumed is likely to find a wide audience.

Creating Short Stories

The most basic definition of a short story is a work of fiction that is between 500 to 7,500 words long, but there are many other factors that can influence the exact number of words included in a short story.

Short stories have to keep the attention of their readers. They have to fit in well with the publication they are destined for, meeting word counts and other criteria.  They have to leave an impression on their readers. And of course, they have to be worth reading.

If a story is well told, it will have appeal regardless of the length. Creating a short story is an excellent way to provide readers with an easily consumable piece of fiction that draws them in and leaves an impression.

Really, the perfect short story length is however long it takes to accomplish that feat.

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5 Things I Learnt From Pricks

In a world of 7 billion people there are possibly 3.5 billion pricks. One thing is for sure there are 7 billion arseholes.

The trick for us is to determine who isn’t a prick or arsehole in order to live a better life.

Here’s my observations and lessons I’ve learned.

  1. Leopards never change their spots, neither do pricks.
    Once a prick, always a prick.

    Some pricks try to show different sides. Some appear to have empathy, show kindness to you but it’s really a wolf in sheep’s clothing trying to lure you in for a kill.

    There’s always an agenda with a prick and it’s not yours.

    Pricks never change their spots; they’re always spotted dicks.
  2. Pricks are not good people
    A lot talk about being good people, but they’re not.

    Hypocrites at best, snake oil salesman at the worst.

    There’s a dude I know who says “Greg you’re one of the good guys”. But getting this guy to commit to a coffee or lunch is impossible.

    I’ve tried for years. I’ve been rejected for years. I would constantly beat myself up after each knock back. But why I used to think? He say’s I’m a good guy?

    But what I’ve realised is that good doesn’t mean valuable. I’m not seen as bringing value to him.

    He’s rather hang out with other pricks not good people. And I’m fine with that now.
  3. Pricks have no conscious
    They stick their heads in everywhere without a moral compass.

    They are users, not givers. It’s all about them. Once they’ve had their feast they move on.

    I used to lunch with a prick every month for about 20 years. He always bagged his wife and sprouted his weekly conquests.

    I heard on the grapevine he has testicular cancer. Sixty seven is not old to die, except if you are a prick.
  4. Pricks are queer
    There’s a saying “there’s nothing queerer than folk”. The same applies to pricks.

    Over time I’ve done things to stay on the right side of people. Keep your friends close; keep your enemies even closer principle.

    But this philosophy doesn’t always reciprocate with pricks. Some days they give you a tick, others they ignore you 100%.

    In April I turned 60 – a milestone. Seven hundred plus likes and hundreds of comments from good people.

    But the pricks did neither. Another mystery. Pricks are queer.
  5. Pricks have no honour
    There’s no honour amongst thieves, nor in the prick club.

    It’s all about who can be the bigger prick. Who can out fox the other prick to further advance their own needs.

    Conclusion

    Pricks are easy to spot. They smell.

    They smell of self-centerness. They see others as pawns to advance their own journey.

    As good people we need to recognise that these people exist and not to give them any air, in our world at least.

    It’s time to choose ourselves and not be part of a prick’s world.

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Are Short Stories Popular In 2019?

Are Short Stories Popular? You bet they are. They are loved by both veracious and non readers and allow the writer to hone his/her craft. Out attention is small – short stories fill the need.

Are short stories popular?

Short stories remain popular because they can using be read in a single sitting.

Who reads short stories?

Veracious reads love short stories as do non-readers wanting to get into reading.

What short stories are read most?

Fiction short stories are the most popular particularly in the large genres of romance and crime fiction.

There was a time when good writers could make an extraordinary income from short stories, and often even full-length novels were published piece-by-piece in major publications.

Times have changed, but are short stories popular still? This type of writing has had a slight lapse in popularity, but with today’s modern lifestyle short stories are becoming more important than ever.

Short Story Authors

While great novelists can write short stories and vice versa, confining a story to a limited number of words (normally under 7,500) and keeping the writing compelling takes a very special set of skills.

As a direct result of the limited word count, authors must make every sentence count. That makes for a more defined purpose for the story, and therefore a more precise delivery.

They must be attention-grabbing and have a satisfying conclusion, while still drawing readers to come back for more.

For the author with many ideas, it’s a great opportunity to turn out a number of stories and to see which ones perform well.

Writing many stories at a time is fantastic practice, and it hones important skills like developing characters and improving dialogue.

Short stories might bring in less money per piece, but the author is able to finish them much more quickly.

Many of the most famous authors started out writing short stories, or began writing after their major novels took off – George R.R. Martin, Annie Proulx, Stephen King, Roald Dahl and Jane Austen are just a very few names from an extremely long list.

Many writing courses also prefer writers to create short stories instead of excerpts from longer works.

Why Short Stories?

Short stories are a quick window into a world, and readers generally come in cold with little understanding of what to expect.

The author has a very short window in which to grab their attention, introduce them to the world, create a storyline, and finish in a way that leaves readers keen for the next story from that author.

Because of the format, authors can jump into wildly different worlds, without the concentrated effort of creating context and world-building that usually applies.

The same goes for characters – readers are devoid of expectations, allowing authors to create quirky, memorable characters with pared down dialogue that advances the story.

Short stories allow authors to push boundaries, and to trial ideas that would be difficult in a novel. Cliff-hangers are common, and the reader understands that they are just peering through a window to see a quick flash of a story, with the implied understanding of a whole other world to explore and consider long after the story is finished.

Practically, short stories are a quick escape, easy to finish in comparison to a full-length novel. Short stories are not only popular, they are ideally suited to modern readers.

Why Do Modern Readers Choose Short Stories?

Of course, full-length novels are a “safer” option. There isn’t as much pressure to perform as well in such a short space of time, and readers feel like they are getting their money’s worth.

Printed publications are declining, some of which were traditionally a source of short stories. However, short stories are still popular, and with modern times come modern reasons for readers to choose a shorter option. Here are some reasons why short stories are popular.

  • Readers are time poor. Modern readers are busier than ever, and many do not have the time and mental energy to commit to a full-length novel.

    If a story cannot be finished in a single sitting, it often gets put to the side in favour of more pressing obligations.

    Short stories perfectly meet the need of people who can squeeze in 30 minutes to read during their commute, before bed or at lunch time, and can find compelling stories to fill in that time.
  • Modern entertainment is fast-paced. As entertainment moves increasingly online, readers are becoming used to quickly and fluidly swapping between different types of media, or even using them at the same time – checking Facebook while watching Netflix, anyone?

    Short stories are often compared to a TV show, where novels are more like a movie.

    Each has their place, but for a reader looking for a quicker read that draws them in, short stories fill that need.
  • Modern short stories are portable. In the days of print, purchasing and carrying a single short story around was not efficient.

    Unless the story was a part of a larger publication like an anthology or a magazine, it wasn’t a practical choice over other books.

    With Kindles and other electronic reading devices and apps, short stories make even more sense.

    They are easy to load, offer a wide variety and are perfect to consume quickly.
  • Some genres are better short. Some types of story are better in a shorter form. Erotica, for example, almost always comes in the form of a short story. Short science fiction and fantasy works are also extremely popular, allowing readers a glimpse of new worlds and characters.

    Writers can tell the stories of many characters within a single place and time, or offer wildly different settings. Longer stories will always have their place, but certain genres are just better short.
  • Greater access to publications. These days, the internet has opened up the writing field to millions of potential readers.

    Of course, it’s a double-edged sword – with so much content available, it can be harder to attract readers. That being said, there are many, many more readers to attract.

    The internet has the ability to bring together people with common interests from across the world.

    While previously short story enthusiasts would need to target short story publications and specifically sign up, modern readers can browse new genres and styles to see which are a good fit.

    The many publications that offer short stories attract new and old readers, providing a wider audience than ever before.

American fiction (and short story) writer Lorrie Moore says, “A short story is a love affair, a novel is a marriage.

A short story is a photograph; a novel is a film.” There will always be beauty in all forms of writing, but is it true that modern times can continue to keep short stories popular? In this fast-paced age, it could be that this type of storytelling is more adapted to society than ever before.

Are short stories popular? You bet – YES!

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10 Best Short Story Collection 2018

What Makes The 10 Best Short Story Collection 2018?

The best short stories can can be intoxicating but a best short story collection can completely engulf your life. You start off with a short story over lunch. It seems harmless enough. You can knock back your ham and salad sandwich on rye while escaping through the fast paced words of a short piece or novella, soaking up the sun in your city’s lush green park. All seems very innocent.

Then you become engrossed in the story. You quickly devour the 1000 word piece or scramble through the 10,000 word novella. The author hooks you. Worse still you become addicted. You’re looking for the next short read by your new escape artist. Damn your alarm buzzes and it’s back to work. Your anxiety levels rise. It’s 24 hours to your next lunch break.

Then utopia hits. There’s a train ride home tonight. You need another fix but just one short story won’t feed your addiction. You’re on the train for an hour. You don’t want to look like a crazy person on the subway (although you may fir in) so you hit Amazon during your afternoon tea break.

Whola! You discover your author friend has a series and his short sties are available in the best short story collection 2018. With one click you hit buy. Your stress levels drop and you spend the rest of the afternoon in anticipation of a great train ride home that night.

So what’s in the best short story collection 2018 that’s going to rock your world:

  1. No Middle Name – The Complete Collected Jack Reacher Short Stories by Lee Child

    No Middle Name begins with “Too Much Time,” a brand-new work of short fiction that finds Reacher in a hollowed-out town in Maine, where he witnesses a random bag-snatching but sees much more than a simple crime.“Small Wars” takes readers back to 1989, when Reacher is an MP assigned to solve the brutal murder of a young officer found along an isolated forest road in Georgia—and whose killer may be hiding in plain sight.In“Not a Drill,” Reacher tries to take some downtime, but a pleasant hike in Maine turns into a walk on the wild side—and perhaps something far more sinister.“High Heat” time-hops to 1977, when Reacher is a teenager in sweltering New York City during a sudden blackout that awakens the dark side of the city that never sleeps. Okinawa is the setting of “Second Son,” which reveals the pivotal moment when young Reacher’s sharp “lizard brain” becomes just as important as his muscle.

    In “Deep Down,” Reacher tracks down a spy by matching wits with four formidable females—three of whom are clean, but the fourth may prove fatal.Rounding out the collection are “Guy Walks into a Bar,” “James Penney’s New Identity,”

    “Everyone Talks,” “The Picture of the Lonely Diner,” “Maybe They Have a Tradition,” and “No Room at the Motel.”No suitcase. No destination. No middle name. No matter how far Reacher travels off the beaten path, trouble always finds him. Feel bad for trouble.

  2. Dead Set – The Complete Jack Creed Short Stories Collection by C T Mitchell

    Top Selling Mystery-Get ready for the ultimate Jack Creed adventure: a thrilling box set of seven previously published mystery novellas, together for the first time in one pulse-pounding short story anthologies and collections from C T Mitchell. Every single Jack Creed short story written by Australian author C T Mitchell is here. Murder mystery books at their psychologically chilling best. Action & adventure short stories with a big finish. A murder mystery series where you won’t pick the endings.Dead Shot48 hours to stop a killer or witness Australia’s first mass university shootingDead Ringer –Ten fingers and toes sadistically broken. Why?

    Dead Wrong – Society is broken when trust is broken. A 30 year old secret reveals the shocking truth.
    Dead Boss – A narcissistic boss – thought he could take whatever he wanted. But not everyone agreed

    Dead Stakes – A Malaysian casino tycoon, a greedy property developer and a dead chef. What’s the connection

Dead Lucky – Winning Lotto can be deadly

Dead Silence – Hookers, drugs and a dead Mayor. The a video tape surfaces

Enjoy these top-rated mystery-thriller books FREE as part of your Kindle Unlimited Prime Subscription. You can read the ebooks on your Amazon Kindle Fire, on a computer via Kindle Cloud Reader or on any smartphone or tablet with the free Kindle reading app. The best short story collection continues.

3.The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen



The Refugees is a collection of perfectly formed stories exploring questions of immigration, identity, love, and family.The stories were written over a period of twenty years by Viet Thanh Nguyen, a Vietnamese-American novelist and short-story writer, the winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.In the collection we follow a young Vietnamese refugee who suffers profound culture shock when he comes to live with two gay men in San Francisco, a woman whose husband is suffering from dementia and starts to confuse her for a former lover, and a girl living in Ho Chi Minh City whose older half-sister comes back from America having seemingly accomplished everything she never will.

4.The Collected Stories By Jean Rhys


Jean Rhys was a Dominican-born British writer who was better known for her longer works, especially her novel Wide Sargasso Sea which she wrote as a prequel to Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. This new Penguin edition collects all of her stories – stories in which she deals with diverse but almost exclusively sombre topics such as suicide, alcoholism, loneliness, lovelessness and poverty.

The stories span several geographical as well as thematic frontiers – wherever her characters go they find little but callous characters in impersonal cities where women are ignored or maligned, expected to “grow another skin or two” and “sharpen” their “claws” if they want to get on. Among the more solemn of recent short story collections, this book fully exhibits Rhys’s extraordinary talent for prose without which these sullen stories would be unreadable.

5.Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman



Multiple award winning, #1 New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman returns to dazzle, captivate, haunt, and entertain with this third collection of short fiction following

Smoke and Mirrors and Fragile Things—which includes a never-before published American Gods story, “Black Dog,” written exclusively for this volume.In this new anthology, Neil Gaiman pierces the veil of reality to reveal the enigmatic, shadowy world that lies beneath.

Trigger Warning includes previously published pieces of short fiction—stories, verse, and a very special Doctor Who story that was written for the fiftieth anniversary of the beloved series in 2013—as well “Black Dog,” a new tale that revisits the world of American Gods, exclusive to this collection.

Trigger Warning explores the masks we all wear and the people we are beneath them to reveal our vulnerabilities and our truest selves. Here is a rich cornucopia of horror and ghosts stories, science fiction and fairy tales, fabulism and poetry that explore the realm of experience and emotion. In Adventure Story—a thematic companion to The Ocean at the End of the Lane—Gaiman ponders death and the way people take their stories with them when they die. His social media experience A Calendar of Tales are short takes inspired by replies to fan tweets about the months of the year—stories of pirates and the March winds, an igloo made of books, and a Mother’s Day card that portends disturbances in the universe.

Gaiman offers his own ingenious spin on Sherlock Holmes in his award-nominated mystery tale The Case of Death and Honey. And Click-Clack the Rattlebag explains the creaks and clatter we hear when we’re all alone in the darkness.A sophisticated writer whose creative genius is unparalleled, Gaiman entrances with his literary alchemy, transporting us deep into the realm of imagination, where the fantastical becomes real and the everyday incandescent. Full of wonder and terror, surprises and amusements,

Trigger Warning is a treasury of delights that engage the mind, stir the heart, and shake the soul from one of the most unique and popular literary artists of our day.

6.Brides of Grasshopper Creek by Faith


Book 1: Mail Order Bride Hannah
: Hannah is thrilled to finally be on her way to the Frontier. She and her new husband Bradley have been planning this trip for as long as they have been planning their lives together it seems, and now that they’ve left Independence, Missouri on the wagon train west, it appears that all of their dreams are coming true.Within just a few short weeks of leaving, however, the harsh realities of life on the wagon train strike Hannah hard and she is forced to realize that the adventure she envisioned with Bradley is not at all what it seemed. Will Hannah overcome hardship when her adventure out west takes a tragic turn for the worse?

Book 2: Mail Order Bride Caroline: The Lord guides Caroline to an ad in the newspaper from a gold miner in Bannack who is searching for a lovely woman to become his bride. Soon, she joins the wagon train and anxiously makes the journey out west to start her new life.When she arrives, however, she discovers that the man she chose may not be the man she thought he was. She must decide where her loyalties lie—and if she can find it in herself to look beyond Bailey’s past and accept him for the man he is today.

Book 3: Mail Order Bride Louisa: After the death of her sweetheart, Louisa feels that there is nothing left in life for her, and wonders what she could possibly do to fill the years that lie ahead. When her sister suggests for Louisa to become a mail order bride for one of the men in the frontier, Louisa is appalled, but with the prospect of her sister and brother leaving on the wagon train with their cousins, Louisa knows that she must make the decision to either be left alone without any relatives and only her painful memories, or to enter marriage with a man she doesn’t know.

Book 4: Mail Order Bride Emily: Emily has never quite fit in with the rest of the high society young women who are supposed to be her peers. Raised in privilege—and expected to live up to the part now that she is old enough to marry—Emily cares more about her dream of becoming a teacher than the idea of hosting fancy tea parties and being courted by potential suitors. Feeling that she cannot continue being told what to do any longer, Emily makes the bold decision to go out west so that she can start a school and teach the children of the Frontier. In order to fulfill her dream, however, she must become a mail order bride.

Book 5: Mail Order Bride Charlotte: After the death of their parents, Charlotte and her brother Victor only have each other left in the world. Well past marrying age at thirty years old, Charlotte has nearly resigned herself to spending her life taking care of Victor when she suddenly discovers that he has been planning for them to move away from Philadelphia and seek out their futures in the Frontier town of Bannack. Though Victor refuses to admit it, Charlotte knows that having a single sister following him around is limiting to him, so she decides to take responsibility for herself and find a man who is looking for a wife.

Book 6: Mail Order Bride Betsy: Betsy always knew that love would find her eventually, and until then, she would be happy watching the young men who lived in her mother’s boarding house court their sweethearts on the front porch. Everything seemed perfect until the War came too close to home, and what was once an elegant and privileged boarding school became a bloody hospital. Left the suffer the aftermath, Betsy decides that her only hope is to get out of her hometown and go as far away as she could. In order to do that, however, she would have to find a husband.

7. 99 Stories of God by Joy Williams

Need a heavenly touch to add to your best short story collection? Despite their brevity, short stories are often considerably denser than novels. Packed with meaning and often intentionally elusive, it is often difficult to read a collection cover to cover and Joy Williams’s latest collection of stories is exactly this type.

Williams is an American writer whose novels and story collections have been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and several other prestigious awards. The bizarre 99 Stories of God is full of Kafka-style micro-fictions that take minutes, hours or even days to properly process. Williams’ paragraph- or sentence-long “stories” are unusually inscrutable, lacking entirely in narrative and often austere in language.

The source of their allure is puzzling, but it is strangely fulfilling to decipher a story’s meaning after it has been sitting in the back of your mind for some time (which they do). One of the more curious recent collections,

99 Stories of God is a clever if occasionally frustrating exercise in short fiction.

8.Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami

A best short story collection with a Japanese flavour. Haruki Murakami needs little introduction: a literary sensation abroad as much as in his native Japan, he has won multiple international awards for his novels such as Norwegian Wood and 1Q84.

In a 2004 interview with The Paris Review, Murakami remarked that one of the best things about writing books “is that you can dream while you are awake”. The dreamlike quality of the stories in Men Without Women is undoubtedly one of its chief attractions.

Murakami’s womenless men live in perpetual daydreams, a state of mind often prompted by a loss of some kind. In one story, for example, an ageing plastic surgeon grows obsessed with a younger, idealised woman whose perfection causes him to fade, quite literally, into nothingness. Murakami’s latest is a hypnotising study of male loneliness.

10. Cozy Mysteries 12 Book Box Set by Hope Callaghan

Book 1-Who Murdered Mr. Malone? Nothing exciting ever happens in the small town of Belhaven. Nothing that is, until a body was found in the woods behind the local elementary school.With the entire town in an uproar, “Garden Girl” Gloria Rutherford makes it her personal mission to find the killer or killers and solve the mystery with some help from her friends.With a little amateur detective work, Gloria is able to uncover enough clues that point right to the murderer.
She’s about to discover, however, things aren’t always as clear cut as they would appear.

Book 2-Grandkids Gone Wild” Garden Girl” Gloria Rutherford, has her hands full. Her mischievous and energetic grandsons are coming for a weekend visit. To top things off, she discovers someone is living in her barn. But who and why? As this amateur sleuth investigates what’s going on in her own backyard, another murder victim turns up in their sleepy little town. Hot on the trail of a murderer, trying her best to make sure her grandkids don’t end up in the ER and facing a budding romance, Gloria and her small town of Belhaven are once again about to be turned upside down.

Book 3-Smoky Mountain Mystery Life is good for “Garden Girl” Gloria Rutherford. Spring has finally sprung, love is in the air, and no dead bodies have turned up in the small town of Belhaven…lately.It seems as if it’s almost too good to be true. Just as Gloria starts to get settled into her familiar routine, she receives a mysterious message from her older sister, Liz.Certain that her sister, the drama queen, is once again bent on turning Gloria’s life upside down for no good reason, she almost chooses to ignore the dire message that she may be in danger.

When a key to her sister’s place shows up in her mailbox after Liz mysteriously vanishes, Gloria jumps in with both feet to track her down.

Crisscrossing the country with one of the other Garden Girls in tow, the two amateur sleuths find themselves on an adventure of a lifetime.

Gloria soon discovers her sister’s mysterious disappearance is the least of her worries. + nine more best short stories

10. Best British Short Stories 2017 by Nicholas Royle



Best British Short Stories
 invites you to judge a book by its cover – or more accurately, by its title.This new series aims to reprint the best short stories published in the previous calendar year by British writers, whether based in the UK or elsewhere.

It includes stories by Daisy Johnson and James Kelman, among others. The editor’s brief is wide ranging, covering anthologies, collections, magazines, newspapers and websites, looking for the best of the bunch to reprint all in one volume.

The best short story collection offers a varied mix to cover all tastes and should keep the reader content in 2018 – for at least some part of it.

Come back to www.bestshortstorycollection.com for regular updates.Share
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How I Wrote Twenty Five Short Stories In Twenty Five Months

Have you ever wanted to write short stories but procrastinated for so long you never got started? You’re not alone. Millions of people around the world want to write a book but through a number of obstacles never get started. I understand their pain. I was a ‘fully paid up, card carrying member’ of the ‘one day’ club. But one day, things changed. I decided to write my short stories. Here’s my step by step approach on how I wrote 25 short stories in just 25 months AROUND a full time job.

I wanted to be a writer

Actually more than that. I wanted to be a published author. See my books on Amazon; maybe even in book stores. That would be cool I thought. I had seen plenty of famous authors living in country estates and driving flashy European cars. That was the life for me. BUT

I had doubts

Thirty years of procrastination can do that to you. I doubted if I could actually write a book. At best I was a B+ English student at school. My vocabulary existed of either one syllable or possibly two syllable words. My A grade mates knew words as long as my arm – and they could spell them. Pretty damn scary to me.

I also doubted that once I did actually write the book, who would publish it. I was a nobody and no big name publisher would take a chance on me.

But assuming I could overcome these hurdles, who the heck would read my book. And would they think it was any good or at least ok. I don’t know about you but these fears were very real to me. I didn’t want to put a ton of time into something and end up failing – again. I had started many only ventures before and they were all disastrous.

However I couldn’t just sit back and do nothing either. I needed to bite the bullet, face up to my fears and give this a crack. I had been a fan of crime writers for years, so mystery books would be my genre. It is a big genre with very successful authors in it such as James Patterson, Lee Child and Peter James to name just a few. Why should these guys have all the market. I thought “It’s not fair that they hog all the market.  I need to get my books out as well”

I needed support – a guide – somebody who was publishing books successfully

I did some research. I found an online writing club who’s founder understood my problems. He knew my fears about writing a book and publishing it were very real. He had coached hundreds of would-be-authors before. Some had got onto the dizzy heights in the book world; while others were happy just to get a book out; something that could sit on the coffee table and perhaps a few friends may buy.

I liked his approach but I definitely wanted to be in the ‘James Patterson graduation school’

He gave me some great advice and we worked out a plan

  1. Write often
    This would ensure my book got finished. Sounds basic but it’s actually……true. Also flexing the writing muscle also steers an author toward a path of improvement – hopefully.
  2. Write to your strengths
    Having a full time job, I could not see myself knocking out a ‘1000 page mystery book monster’ nor had I the experience to do that. So I decided to play to my strengths. I could write 1000 words a day, before work and after dinner. In ten days I would have a short story done. In a month two or three short reads. Not bad, but as it turned out not a reality. Over 25 months I averaged to pen 25 books and got them published.
  3. Self publish
    Trying to get a traditional publishing contract would take time. Publishers make authors jump through a lot of hoops. The can be very demanding and my patience wouldn’t wear their pompous attitudes. Amazon had changed the game some years back. You could now write a book in quick time, outsource the book cover design, book formatting and editing, and upload the finished product yourself. Amazon can take up to twelve hours to approve your work but you are then a published author. This was my best option. Another box ticked.

Now it was action time

Every morning I woke at five and wrote to seven. I googled, editors, book cover designers, formatters and a whole lot of other stuff. I found courses, read marketing material and hung out in the my online writing group on their Facebook page and asked a ton of ridiculously stupid questions.

But people were kind. They gave away their tips for free. I listened to those who were actually doing what I wanted to do and applied their advice. I engaged others to do my covers. Sure not everybody was brilliant. I did lose some money but eventually I’ve found two exceptional designers for all my short stories. Through trial and error, I honed my online team. It’s an evolving group of professionals that will continue to grow and expand with me. I love them!

Life 25 books on = SUCCESS

IT’s pretty dam good. I’ve had nine books hit #1 Amazon US & UK within the mystery thriller and suspense genre. Over that time my social media following has exceeded 40,000 people. I have the best reader list of 10,000+ I chat with every single week. My author brand is moving forward.

In April 2017 Austin Macauly UK signed me and are producing Murder Secret into a paperback for me which will hopefully see it in book stores throughout the UK from early 2018.

Juggernaut India love mystery eBooks and has given me a 25 + book publishing contract which will expose me to a very exciting market from November 2017.

But

none of this would have happened if I had remained stuck. I never would have authored any books if I allowed my self doubt and fears rule my life. I’m glad I found a writing group, listened to their advice and actually got started. Without acting upon my dream I would now be sitting around saying “what if”. Twenty five short stories in twenty five months is just the beginning. I hope you act upon your dreams too.Share
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How To Write A Short Story By John Dufresne

John Dufresne Reveals The Secret On How To Write A Short Story

Fiction writer and professor John Dufresne offers some tips on how to write a short story and how to know when you’re on the right track. Dufresne was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2012 for his creative work, with includes four novels and the short story collections “The Way That Water Enters Stone” and “Johnny Too Bad.”

He has also written two books on the craft of fiction writing: “The Lie That Tells a Truth: a Guide to Writing Fiction” and “Is Life Like This? A Guide to Writing Your First Novel in Six Months.” Dufresne teaches creative writing at FIU

 

Short stories are the fabric of life because everybody likes a quickie

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7 Tips For Writing Query Letters That Win

Question: How do you schmooze a literary agent?

Answer: Sending them red wine, flowers or chocolates – or all three. Nope

Correct Answer: By writing query letters that sell your next book so easily to big name publishers and movie producers that your literary agent won’t need to break a sweat even while they are counting their commissions. Maybe a bit tongue in cheek but run with me a little

The literary agent needs to know:
1. What genre are you in?
2. What’s the story about?
3. What makes it unique?
4. Why should the agent take it on?
5. Who would watch this if it was produced?

Your first challenge will be divorcing yourself away from the book you wrote ‘as the best book ever written’ and treating it like ‘a product’ that is for sale. Sounds easy but it’s hard to do if you are emotionally tied to your work.

The next challenge for you will be actually writing query letters not to just one agent but potentially hundreds. If poorly done, it can knock you out of the game and end your writing career in an instant. But if you master writing query letters, the doors will open to a whole new world, potentially making you a New York Times bestseller and a multiple seven figure income earner annually. No longer will you have to cut out photos of country estates owned by successful authors and paste them all over your walls while chanting “I am a bestselling author” and tugging on a rubber band on your wrist, you will be one!

Here are the 7 tips to make all this happen (start dialling the local Ferrari dealership now):

  1. Answer the main questions
    Simple I know but writing query letters ain’t simple. Have a look at those five little gems at the beginning of this article. They are the main questions that need answered. Query letters are about marketing. Take off the beret and toss the ‘John Lennon’ specs. It’s time for the Ray Ban Wayfarers and to slick back your hair. Think Miami Vice not Oxford Professor.
  2. Follow the submission guidelines
    They ask, you answer. Don’t go floating off into some crazy trance that you think your wild ideas are actually wanted. Each literary agent has their very own specific questions and guidelines they need adhered to. Follow it to a ‘T’.
  3. Personalise the query 
    Yep we humans (and yes literary agents are human, especially the one that takes you on) love to hear our own name. Make sure you address the person by their name. ‘Stalk’ them on Facebook or LinkedIn and see what their interests are. Writing query letters to agents who love British bulldogs for instance should include a reference to your favourite dog. Yes authors, your new favourite dog (this week) is a British bulldog. Hmmm ok, avoid lying.
  4. Make your words count
    Literary agents are busy people. They need to read your submission while watching their favourite movie Jerry Maguire and screaming “show me the money”, but there’s only 24 hours in a day. When writing query letters include a brief bio, a short sharp punchy synopsis and a call to action. Don’t waffle and don’t pontificate. It was great that your year five English teacher said that one day you would become a great author, but how are you justifying the other forty seven years you’ve spent driving the Mr. Whippy ice cream van around town. Be concise and be relevant. Show me the money…..show me the money.
  5. Avoid the big mistakes
    You know the ones. Long, long, very long paragraphs. There’s a reason why Miss Davis at 63 years is still teaching grade five English and not writing books (and why she is still single). Short, concise, to the point sentences is what is required. Remember these literary agents are busy!
    Remember ‘show not tell’. The line “my theme is about……” is not required as it should be evident from reading your query letter.
    Outlining the ’75 characters’ that may appear in your book is not necessary either. Just talk about the two or three main ones.
  6. Write an effective bio
    Let them know the psycho they are about to get into bed with. Again be concise. Not too wordy but show some personalty and what makes you great. If you won the 1973 Miss Oklahoma High beauty pageant, congratulations, but it won’t be necessary to submit that photo. Your Mumma lied about how important it was to keep that original pic – look at the spouse it won you and you should get my drift.
  7. Don’t give ultimatums
    “Go ahead, make my day” followed by “reject me” may have worked in part for Clint Eastwood but telling the literary agent that he or she is just one of hundreds to whom you are writing query letters, may get your masterpiece tossed into the bin. Everybody wants to feel special. Don’t make out that you are such a hot commodity every agent in town is dying to sign you. The New York literary agents may all ban together and suggest you pitch their Albuquerque cousins instead.Just remember writing query letters is about the pitch. It’s a marketing letter. Get it right and you’ll be drinking margaritas on the beaches of the world – with your literary agent – they’re nice people too, really.

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Author Branding: Can Short Reads Improve Your Branding?

Author branding is a full time business in the life of an author. Whether you are a traditionally published author or a self publishing indie author, you need to continuously market yourself to your reader market. Author branding can take on many different forms including having a professional website, an attractive Amazon author page and well engaging social media sites.

But today I wanted to look at an author’s main asset, their book, and decide if a single 50,000 word novel is better for author branding or whether five 10,000 word short reads covering the same story gives better exposure.

In simple terms the more covers you have in the market, the more exposure you have and the more links to your author branding

Let’s look at this question from the perspective of a reader. Going onto Amazon and discovering a new author  is something most readers like to do. Yes they have their favourites but most readers like to expand their reading sphere by having new authors join it.

If a reader was to look at an author’s Amazon page and see just one single novel, they may think that author is a ‘oncer’ – it’s his or her only work. Readers like to be involved with authors who have a few books. They like to be immersed in a story and to see it continue into more books. They fall in love with characters and want to follow that character on their journey.

Single books, rightly or wrongly, give the impression that this it – there is no more to the story. Short reads on the other hand painted a totally different picture.

Readers buy with their eyes

When a reader visits an author page that is displaying five book covers, it appears that the author is more established and has done more work. It is a visual thing, the facts may not sustain that, but readers buy with their eyes.

Here’s a quick summary video to give your reading eyes a rest

More covers create more links

An author of a single book will create a few links about that book from different review sites, bloggers or media posts and interviews.

Short reads can create a similar number of links but now an author’s exposure could be five fold in the case I’m outlining here.

What would you prefer – one book with say 10 links or five short reads covering the same overall topic but now attracting 50 links?

Book samples are great BUT free books are better

Everybody loves a freebie. Readers investigating a new author will take advantage of the book sample to gain an insight into an author’s work. It’s free and doesn’t require a reader to give up their email address in order to receive a free book, one downside to a free giveaway..

But I’ve found that serious readers are willing to give an author their email address in order to get a free book or novella. It allows a reader to get to know the author, sample his/her work and if they crave more, they can invest their reading dollars into more books. Try before you buy scenario.

Savvy authors not only giveaway a free book to their readers. They also provide author insights into their writing lives, run competitions and other bonus chapters to keep their readers engaged for as long as possible.

Free books can definitely improve author branding.

Whether you take the single novel or short reads approach, author branding is a 24/7 business. If you want more exposure, create more links, build a larger reader group and earn as you write, short reads in my opinion win hands down!

What do you think? Let me know by leaving a comment below

 

 

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