Reading Corner: Short Fiction Edition

I may have mentioned here before that I’m part of several online writing and critique groups.

I really enjoy the process of reading critically and the give and take of analyzing and being analyzed by others who share my passion for writing. My own writing has been improved dramatically by giving and receiving critiques, and by reading others’ critiques on the same stories.

I enjoy the camaraderie and friendship with other authors I’ve found in critique groups, and I have to admit I get a little thrill whenever I find out someone I know has been published – especially if the story is one I helped critique!

I don’t usually post about the stories or novels I critique here, because critiquing is different from reading for pleasure, and because they’re not yet available for public consumption. Posting about them here – or anywhere outside the groups – would be a violation of copyright law and the author’s confidence.

But!A bunch of writers I know have recently had their work published. So it is available for public consumption! And you should read it! (Er, if you’re interested, that is.)

Full disclosure: I know each of these authors online, and consider each of them a friend. In one case, I received a review copy of the work in question through a giveaway posted on the author’s site. None of the authors had any expectation that I would blog about their work, and I have received no compensation for anything in this post. It’s all my honest opinion – no more, no less.

There Are Rules by William Stiteler

There Are Rules appears in the Fall issue of Kaleidotrope, an online science fiction magazine.

If I had to describe Rules, I’d probably categorize it as a “humorous science fiction magical mystery story”.

The story is set a bit in the future, on a planet where magic works – but only according to its own arcane and complicated rules, which humans are still puzzling out. Mess with the rules and, well, you won’t like what happens.

The main characters, Davyd, Maggie and Kadder, are magical investigators called on to save a restaurant customer who’s the victim of a cooking spell gone wrong. But the problem lies outside their area of expertise, and the restaurant owner has also called in a rival investigator.

Can the three solve the mystery and save their man before the competition shows up?

Go find out – you know you want to!

A Gift for the Kubna by Victoria Hay

A Gift for the Kubna: Fire-Rider Book I (The Cottrite Codex 1) is the first installment of an episodic novel set in a far-future post-apocolyptic American Southwest. It’s currently available for Amazon Kindle for $0.99, though I understand there’s a boxed set of the first six installments either coming or already out at a considerable discount. (If I can scrounge up a link to the boxed set, I’ll come back here and post it.)

This installment, which runs 53 pages according to Amazon, opens in the Hengliss camp shortly after their successful sack of the Espanyo city of Roksan. The main character, Kaybrel Fire-Rider, Kubna of Moor Lek, is given an orphaned Spanyo youth, Tavio Ombertin, by some of his followers. After some internal conflict, he decides to keep the youth as his camp boy.

For me, this book really called to mind Robert Adams’ Horseclans series, in that it’s clearly set in a devastated post-apocolyptic America, and it was fascinating to catch glimpses of much-changed names, culture and languagefrom our present day. But it’s definitely its own thing.

There were a few places I thought could have been smoother, though I think that about a lot of books, and at the outset I had a bit of trouble keeping track of who was who and how they were related.

But overall, I really enjoyed this book.

My chief complaint was that it ended too soon, just as things were getting interesting. Which, hello, episodic fiction. I definitely want to read the next installment, and (finances permitting) will probably spring for the boxed set.

If you’d like to know more about the series, you can visit the publisher’s Fire-Rider website.

Pillow Talk 8: Emma and Jessica by Delores Swallows

In case the title and pen name didn’t tip you off, I’d better state up front that this series is adults-only erotic fiction. If you’re not into explicit descriptions of adult activities, you might give this one a pass.

Pillow Talk 8 is the latest in a series of steamy bedtime conversations between lovers.

In this story, the title characters discuss a friend’s new baby, their own relationship, and the question of whether a baby might be a part of their future. There’s definitely some steamy action, but the focus is on story, rather than sex.

I should probably admit that I saw the earlier version of the story which passed through our critique group and have not read the final version.

If you’re interested in more, you can check out Delores’ author site. It, too, is for readers 18 and over.


So, what’s on your coffee table/nightstand/e-book reader?


2 thoughts on “Reading Corner: Short Fiction Edition

  1. Usually I read four books every month, sometimes a lot more. Lately, I am reading how to’s about crochet, animal training, and house remodeling. I am on a mobile device, so I do not remember the ones I like best. Maybe I should gather them together and write reviews. The YouTube how to’s deserve even more credit, as I have used them to build a quick “barn”, raised gardens, and crochet projects, all for free. I love them better than most of the self published books. Somehow seeing is not only believing, but the best way for me to learn things. I am so impressed with you because if I lost my sight, I would lose my ability to learn from others as quickly as possible. I am glad that you are proving it is possible to learn and adapt. As I age I am losing my vision and range of motion, hopefully I will learn to adapt and stay active as well.


    1. Oh, I love how-tos and DIYs! I’ve always enjoyed doing and learning new things, and still do.

      I think if you lost your vision, you’d still find ways to do things you love. I have friends who are blind or have low vision who crochet, build shelves, sew, and other stuff, and I belong to a Yahoo! group of blind crafters who do a lot of knitting and crochet and some other arts. I can’t imagine you not adapting and continuing to do the things you love!

      I’m sorry to hear you’re losing some vision, though. I hope the loss remains slight.


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