My short story, Strange Attraction was published in Tuesday Tales in Litro, February 14, 2017.
“I wasn’t too sure what to expect as I’m not into fantasy but I was pleasantly surprised and glad I read Beneath the Masks. I liked the start, how the scene is set with the three moons glowing in the sky and then moves to the ball inside. It felt a little like reading a historical romance but with the touches of fantasy. The story ended at just the right place, keeping readers wondering if there is more. Loved it.”
What runs through an editor’s mind as she reads a piece of work for the first time? Does she let herself relax into the story like a reader would, or does the editor’s mind take over, hawk eyed, looking for flaws that need to be perfected?
Karen R. Sanderson, my first guest to drop in for a chat is an editor and a published writer. Her debut collection of poems No Boundaries was released last year on CreateSpace and she has plans of publishing short stories too.
Here’s your opportunity to ask everything you want to know from Karen about editing, her book of poems, and anything else about writing.
You have 48 hrs to post your questions. At the end of two days I will stop notifications and hand over to Karen. She will pick a select number of questions and reply to you in the comments. So what are you waiting for? Come on over to my page and get started https://www.facebook.com/shiranirajapakseauthor/
You can view Karen’s profile at https://karenrsanderson.wordpress.com/. or follow her on twitter https://twitter.com/KRS_WordShark . Check out her book here https://www.amazon.com/No-Boundaries-Karen-R-…/…/ref=sr_1_1…
My review of Melanie Villines very interesting book Windy City Sinners is up at Goodreads. Check it out, along with other reviews at the link, or read it below.
Everyone’s a sinner and a saint.
I didn’t know what to expect from a book described as “A Magic Realism Crime Novel”, but the more I read the more involved I became in the lives of the residents in that little neighborhood on the Far Northwest Side of Chicago. As my eyes ran over the words, I was pulled in. I found myself cruising down the road looking for a house to move into and observe everyone I met within the pages. I wanted to take my laundry to Redemption Dry Cleaners to know what Virginia had to say about my level of sin.
Everyone sins but in Windy City Sinners, you can get your sins washed away at Redemption Dry Cleaners at a price, and that price keeps rising as the fame and success of the dry cleaning business grows. People go into debt just to get their sins washed away little realizing that money cannot pay for sins committed. Yet the owner and originator of this unique business, Virginia, is least bothered where the money comes from, as long as it keeps coming.
“Does the State of Illinois ask where people get the money to buy lottery tickets? Do the riverboats ask where people get the money they spend in the slot machines and at the gaming tables? Does the Catholic Church ask where each dime comes from that goes into the collection plate?”
Every character has his/her spot in the limelight and readers are given a front row seat to their lives to view their sins. Everyone is a saint and sinner rolled into one. What’s interesting is that while they commit the most unbelievably bizarre crimes one can’t feel negatively about any of the characters. Even Grazyna who steals from the dead without remorse, is quite likable. We find ourselves sympathizing with her views, and even accepting that there is nothing wrong with taking from the dead since what use are all those decorations placed on their graves since they are no more.
“Grazyna doesn’t see this as robbery. Silk flowers are expensive, after all. And what good are they to the dead? The flowers look much better in her yard. The departed souls have told her as much. She confers with them, asking for their consent before she takes the flowers. Grazyna considers herself fortunate –life is so much simpler when you receive permission for an act that most people would deem as a sin.”
Everyone wants to lead a good life and they are trying to find ways to do so, legally or illegally. They are also trying hard to be good people in the eyes of God, and are always making excuses for their sins or trying to find ways of redeeming their sins.
Marek impersonates a black man to rob because he thinks no one would suspect a white man of holding up dry cleaners. A recent immigrant, he needs the money to make his dream come true, and he reasons with himself that,
“outright robbery is more honest than corporate deceit.”
Father Spinelli the frustrated and angry pastor is not interested in tending to his flock. Being in the Church is merely a means of employment. He yearns to become as famous as Father Antonio Vivaldi and the inability to realize his ambitions has made him into a bitter man who has no choice but to listen to the problems of his congregation while all he wants is to make music, get a record deal and become famous.
The author succeeds in keeping the reader waiting to turn the page and discover more. This was one book I found hard to stop reading, and was quite disappointed that it had to end. It’s entertaining and hilarious and you feel for the characters, all of them. There’s good and bad in all of us and the characters of Windy City Sinners are proof of that. Everyone’s faults and weaknesses are brought out into the open and analyzed. We see kindness lurking in almost everyone coupled with greed and avarice. We also see the sheer determination and effort the characters put into what they do to deceive everyone around them, like Officer Jerry Valentino, who tries to hide the stash of drugs in the statue of the Virgin Mary and the crimes Sammy the mafia man is willing to commit in order to quit his line of work.
Money and fame are the guiding forces behind every action of the characters. When Virginia’s dry cleaning business becomes almost like a religious cult, Grazyna also decides to get in on the sin redemption business and starts the Spotless Souls Housekleaning Service selling a line of sin-removing sponges and other do-it- yourself products.
“She realizes there’s no end to ways you can make money – once you get started with a good, solid business concept.”
Everything is business and everyone wants to make it big. Yet there is a price to pay as everyone finds out. But do they learn from their mistakes? Or from the clairvoyant cat?
This is Home is a short story I wrote last year about a Palestinian woman stuck in the middle of the conflict. Check it out here.
Earth Song is featured in LIJLA Vol 4 No1 February 2016. Go here or read it below.
I am the weeping earth cringing
in pain when you dig me up, pulling out
limbs, entrails leaving me to hemorrhage.
Shocked, in excruciating pain, no one hears my
silent cries. Children orphaned, lives torn apart,
fracking my veins drinking me dry. Parched
I crumble into pieces. I am the silent sky watching
anger whizz by to explode in places you don’t like.
Not yours to care while I listen
to the cries of the weak
trying to make sense of it all
amidst terror raining down from
above. I am the roaring waves, the deep
darkness under heaving waters, flowing rivers
gurgling streams and silent lakes that stand still as
mirrors for clouds to comb their hairs. You
damn me everywhere but I lift my
head straining to rise, course through the
way I want and not how you think
I should. I am the raging fire that burns, taking
the trees with me chasing the birds away,
the deer, rabbits and wild beasts
that hide within my voluminous cloaks. Trees, how
I love to sway to birds tunes, the beat of squirrels feet,
weave my magic through the land, burrowing in deep,
standing up tall reaching high to the skies waving
my many arms in the breeze holding onto life. I am
woman I am life I am earth and I bleed.
Read “Loneliness” published today in Vol III Issue II.
For more info check it out on Facebook.
“As much as I love and admire full-length fiction, these little marvels have had such a salutary effect on me. I highly recommend them for you, too. Take and enjoy. The doses might be small but they are always bracing!”
Check out the review of Flash Fiction International by Luke Sherwood in Basso Profundo.
The Editors at The Write -In have created an event for today, June 27, National Flash Fiction Day. Write flash stories based on any of their prompts and if the the stories are interesting they get published. It’s all happening right now. Check out my story Things that Happen in the Night.