Backstories by Simon Van der Velde @SimonVdVWriter #ShortStories #LiteraryFiction #RBRT

51yJPAqCN1LAuthor: Simon Van der Velde

Published: March 2021 by Smoke and Mirrors Press

Genre: Short Stories, Biographical, Literary Fiction

four-half-stars

Dreamers, singers, heroes and killers, they can dazzle with their beauty or their talent or their unmitigated evil, yet inside themselves they are as frail and desperate as the rest of us. But can you see them? Can you unravel the truth? These are people you know, but not as you know them.Peel back the mask and see.

Backstories comprises fourteen intriguing tales of life changing moments in the lives of well known characters. The author has given his imagination free rein to pen concise but evocative descriptions, giving impressions, something that just might have some truth in it, of certain people before fame or notoriety claimed them. The twist being they are not fully named, in some cases not at all or not named as we might know them. It’s up to the reader to guess their identities. 

Continue reading

Backstories ~ A #QandA with author Simon Van der Velde #ShortStories @SimonVdVWriter #TuesdayBookBlog

I note that your publisher, Smoke & Mirrors Press describes Backstories as, ‘the stand-out most original book of the year’.  Isn’t this just marketing hyperbole?

Perhaps a little, but perhaps not.  What I do in Backstories, in defiance of creative writing 101, is withhold the protagonists’ identities, and this omission is what makes Backstories so utterly unique.

Continue reading

Historical Stories of Betrayal by Judith Arnopp, Cryssa Bazos, Anna Belfrage et al #HistoricalFiction #ShortStories #RBRT

Published: November 2020 by Historical Fictioneers 

“Loyalty breaks as easily as a silken thread.”

Misplaced trust, power hunger, emotional blackmail, and greed haunt twelve characters from post-Roman Britain to the present day. And betrayal by family, lover, comrade can be even more devastating.

Historical Stories of Betrayal is a wonderful collection of short stories written by a variety of authors, with dates ranging from AD 455 when Roman leader Ambrosius needs people around him he can trust, up to 1849 and the present when Carina must discover the ancestor who betrayed the family or it will result in devastation for the family.

A couple of my personal favourites include Heart of a Falcon by Amy Maroney which tells the story of Estelle, a young Frenchwoman, whose family live in Rhodes town where her father is falconer to the Grand Master. When Estelle is invited by the King of Cyprus to be companion to his daughter and tutor his forthcoming grandchild her dreams are dashed as she soon discovers the underlying reason behind her being sent away.

Road to the Tower by Elizabeth St. John tells of events in 1483 when Lady Elysabeth Scrope stood as godmother to the young Prince Edward. When she received an urgent summons for herself and her husband from the Duke of Gloucester her husband was not at home. King Edward IV was dead and the prince was in danger. He must be taken to London immediately for the coronation. Elysabeth believed in Sovereynté – the right of women to make their own decisions…so she undertook the journey to London.

All the stories are of a high standard, offering a glimpse into the past when treachery, injustice and treason were rife, and includes historical figures such as Thomas Percy who is trapped in a no-win situation, Francis Drake coping with trouble at sea, Margaret Beaufort found guilty of treason, and pirates Anne Bonny and Calico Jack to name but a few. Anyone who loves historical fiction would find stories to enjoy in this collection.

I chose to read and review Historical Stories of Betrayal for Rosie Amber’s book review team, based on the digital copy received. 

Book links ~ Amazon UK | Amazon US

A concise synopsis of each story from Amazon…

AD455—Roman leader Ambrosius is caught in a whirlpool of shifting allegiances

AD940—Alyeva and cleric Dunstan navigate the dangers of the Anglo Saxon court

1185—Knight Stephan fights for comradeship, duty, and honour. But what about love?

1330—The powerful Edmund of Kent enters a tangled web of intrigue

1403—Thomas Percy must decide whether to betray his sovereign or his family

1457—Estelle is invited to the King of Cyprus’s court, but deception awaits

1483—Has Elysabeth made the right decision to bring Prince Edward to London?

1484—Margaret Beaufort contemplates the path to treason

1577—Francis Drake contends with disloyalty at sea

1650—Can James Hart, Royalist highwayman, stop a nemesis destroying his friend?

1718—Pirate Annie Bonny, her lover Calico Jack, and a pirate hunter. Who will win?

1849/present—Carina must discover her ancestor’s betrayer in Italy or face ruin.

#GuestPost from Nancy Joie Wilkie #Author of Seven Sides of Self #ShortStories exploring various sides of one’s personality #FridayReads

Welcome to Nancy Joie Wilkie who has written a guest post about how she became a first time author. Nancy’s recently released book ‘Seven Sides of Self’ is a collection of short stories delving into the realms of science fiction and the metaphysical. Here’s the book info…

Continue reading

The Lynmouth Stories by LV Hay #ShortStory Collection @LucyVHayAuthor @rararesources Blog Blitz #BookReview

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog blitz for The Lynmouth Stories by LV Hay, organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.

First of all, here’s the book info …

Continue reading

Magic O’Clock & Magical Memories by L.S. Fellows #BlogTour @rararesources @lfwrites Short Story #BookReviews

I’m delighted to be one of the bloggers kicking off the tour for these two books, courtesy of Rachel’s Random Resources.

Magic O’Clock ~ A fictional tale of dementia and hope

Continue reading

Secrets: In the Shadows Lurks the Truth by Judith Barrow #ShortStories @barrow_judith #histfic

  • Author: Judith Barrow
  • Kindle Edition published June 2017
  • Category: Short Stories, Historical, Fiction, Book Review, Books, Reading

Ashford, home of the Howarth family, is a gritty northern mill town, a community of no-nonsense Lancashire folk, who speak their minds and are quick to judge. But how many of them are hiding secrets that wouldn’t stand up to the scrutiny of others?

This is a wonderful collection of short stories, focussing on characters from Judith Barrow’s Howarth family trilogy and giving a brief but heartfelt glimpse into some of their lives, pre saga. Including situations and misfortunes, some of which were brought about by the restrictions and expectations of the time, unmarried women who have no choice but to give up their baby and the cruelty meted out to a conscientious objector to name just a couple. Others which are sadly still relevant today, namely the victims of incest and rape.  Continue reading

Fur Coat & No Knickers by @AdrienneAuthor ~ Collection of #shortstories #poetry #FridayReads

  • Author: Adrienne Vaughan
  • Published: December 2016 by New Romantics Press
  • Category: Short Stories, Poetry, Book Review, Books, Reading

A mixture of thrilling, gripping and heart-warming short stories for a cosy fireside read anytime, anyplace.

Fur Coat & No Knickers is a varied collection of short stories and poems encompassing a wide range of differing emotions, and giving a glimpse into people’s lives. Adrienne Vaughan manages, with concise and in depth prose, to reach the heart of each character and create well crafted and multi layered storylines in just a few pages. The characters are relatable and so very well drawn, in realistic situations, some of which must happen all the time. Continue reading

You. I. Us by Annalisa Crawford @AnnalisaCrawf #SundayBlogShare ~ Contemporary #Fiction #ShortStories

  • 29494786Author: Annalisa Crawford
  • Published: June 2016 by Vine Leaves Press
  • Category: Short Stories, Contemporary Fiction
  • five-stars

In You. I. Us, Annalisa Crawford captures everyday people during poignant defining moments in their lives: An artist puts his heart into his latest sketch, an elderly couple endures scrutiny by a fellow diner, an ex-student attempts to make amends with a girl she bullied at school, a teenager holds vigil at his friend’s hospital bedside, long distance lovers promise complete devotion, a broken-hearted widow stares into the sea from the edge of a cliff where her husband died, a grieving son contacts the only person he can rely on in a moment of crisis, a group of middle-aged friends inspire each other to live remarkable lives. Day after day, we make the same choices. But after reading You. I. Us., you’ll ask yourself, “What if we didn’t?”

Continue reading

The Jack Lockwood Diaries

  • JackLockwoodAuthor: Geoffrey D West
  • Kindle Edition published January 2015
  • Category:  Mystery, Adventure, Supernatural
  • four-stars

22 short stories relating to the life of Behavioural Investigative Adviser to the police and writer, Jack Lockwood. There are supernatural, mystery, adventure and humorous stories, each one giving an insight into Jack’s life, relating to past adventures and incidents.

A collection of short stories featuring Jack Lockwood, a Behavioural Investigative Advisor to the police. I haven’t yet read the full length novels which precede this collection but that didn’t hinder my enjoyment and I was able to get a real sense of Jack’s personality. He’s a good friend to have, trustworthy and reliable, especially in difficult situations and is well able to take care of himself.

The first batch of stories have a paranormal theme, one of my favourite topics. Cutting Your Losses, in which Jack is rescued from a precarious predicament by his friend. ‘Bloody, bloody fool! Why had I risked going so near to the roof’s edge?’ And Crash where a doctor shows Jack how to help some of the other victims. ‘Shortly after we’d got moving there was an incredibly loud bang and a splintering, tearing sound.’

Then we have several adventure/mystery stories which consists of, among others, The Confession about the man who confesses to past crimes when he believes he’s about to die. ‘It’s a bomb, yes. I’m sure it is. A wartime bomb. And The Waxed Jacket which shows appearances can be misunderstood and very deceptive. ‘Instinct made me put my hand in and take out the chunky brown envelope, and to slip open the unsealed flap, to see a thick wad of twenty pound notes.’

The Uncashed Cheque and The Ghost of Peter Cushing are two of my favourite stories showing what a very handy and thoughtful friend Jack can be.

The third and final section is Humour/Surprises/Twists which includes The Secret, showing how gossip can get totally out of hand with the potential to ruin someone’s life. ‘Would you believe it of a vicar? Long dark hair she had, short skirt, too much make up, and driving his car into the vicarage drive at two in the morning!’ And The Foursome where Jack’s motto should be ‘be careful what you wish for.’ He gets much more than he bargained for. ‘Susanne had long dark hair, a wonderful figure, sensational smile and an intelligent lively face,’

For such short pieces each of the stories are set up well, descriptively and visually, and each has a twist at the end. They are peopled by believable, sometimes humorous, characters and situations and are easy to get drawn into. I like Jack as a protagonist and have the first two full length novels waiting on my kindle. If I didn’t already have them I would be heading over to Amazon after reading the excerpts at the end of this collection.

Rosie's Book Review Challengers 1Book links ~ Amazon UK Amazon US

I’m reviewing this book as part of Rosie Amber’s book review team.

About the author

GWHaving worked as a freelance journalist for past 20 years (magazines, newspapers, mainly about DIY, building and travel), writing novels part-time and getting nowhere with the conventional route to getting published, decided to self publish Rock’n’Roll Suicide on Kindle – probably my 20th novel (I hope I’ve improved with each one). It’s the first of a series featuring Jack Lockwood, a Behavioural Investigative Adviser (modern term for a criminal profiler) who also writes books about crime. He’s a troubled man, having had psychiatric problems in the past, but he;s tough enough to take on the bad guys, and he never lets anyone down. He falls in love again and again, but he;s usually unlucky with women, though he always treats them well. Am now rewriting the next Jack Lockwood novel, where he falls in love with a woman he believes may have been a killer, and may still be one . . .

Author links ~ www.geoffreydavidwest.com, Twitter, Goodreads