Short Story Saturday: The Whisper Jar by Carole Lanham

short story saturday meme book review

Welcome to Short Story Saturday, a celebration of short stories and anthologies, which means you’ll only see mini-reviews of 3 stars and up on this feature!

If you know of an awesome short story (can be your own), send me an email.  If I like it, then I’ll post it on Short Story Saturday.


the whisper jar

he Whisper Jar by Carole Lanham

Published:  May 31st, 2012

Publisher:  Morrigan Books

Retail Price: $2.99 ebook, $8.99/$9.99 paperback

Links:  Goodreads  |  Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble

Pages: 196  

“I do not know what you have done, but put your mouth right here. Confess your crime to this fruit jar as though it were God’s ear.”
 ~ from The Whisper Jar
Some secrets are kept in jars — others, in books.
Some are left forgotten in musty rooms — others, created in old barns.
Some are brought about by destiny — others, born in blood.

Secrets — they are the hidden heart of this collection. In these pages, you will encounter a Blood Digger who bonds two children irrevocably together; a young woman who learns of her destiny through the random selection of a Bible verse; and a boy whose life begins to reflect the stories he reads…

Most importantly, though, if someone should ever happen to offer you a Jilly Jally Butter Mint, just say “No!”

Review:

The stories in THE WHISPER JAR were perfect bit size pieces for a disturbingly delicious anthology.  I was surprised how connected to each story, which is a difficult feat to accomplish in so little words.  After reading a couple of the stories, I had to stop and nurse my book hangover, since I was not quite ready to let go of the characters.  One of the stories,  THE READING LESSONS, is due to become a full-length novel next year, though I’d think that almost all of these stories would make fantastic full-length books.

Besides the gothic elements, this anthology also dabbles in some controversial topics like incest, pedeophiliacs, underage sex, racial tension, and religious tyrony.  Most of these topics are implied, though I must warn that anyone who is easily offended should not read this book.

Stories that were amazing:

  • Keepity Keep – a love triangle between two brothers and a fairy.  The ending of this story crushed me!
  • The Blue Word – an orphan prepares for graduation.  I wish that this was made into a full-length novel.  I could not believe the ending.
  • The Forgotten Orphan – a boy who discovers the creature upstairs.  Amazing story from start to end.
  • Friar Garden, Mister Samuel, and the Jilly Jally Butter Mints – I’m not quite sure what this story was about.  I’m thinking that the mints were some kind of hallucinogen, but it’s hard to say.
  • The Reading Lessons – reading lessons that can kill you.  I think this story had a slow start, yet and amazing finish.

Stories that were okay:

  • The Whisper Jar – poem about a jar that holds the town’s secrets
  • The Good Part – a brother who will do anything for his sister
  • Maxwell Treat’s Museum of Torture for Young Girls and Boys – a boy collects torture devices.  I didn’t care for this story much.
  • The Adventures of Velvet Honeybone, Girl Werewuff – poem about…umm I don’t actually know.  It’s too poetic for me.

 

about author

 

Housewife 3copyIn addition to The Whisper Jar, Carole Lanham is the author of the upcoming novel The Reading Lessons (Immortal Ink Publishing/May 2013), and twenty-four short stories.  Her work has twice appeared on the Preliminary Ballot for the Bram Stoker Award and her short story Friar Garden, Mister Samuel, and the Jilly Jally Butter Mints was shortlisted for The Million Writers Prize in 2009.  Please visit her at carolelanham.comhorrorhomemaker.com, or on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/TheWhisperJar

Coming in 2013 from Immortal Ink Publishing –

THE READING LESSONS.  

Based on the award-winning short story from The Whisper Jar…  

 

thereadinglessons-1-200x300

Mississippi 1920: Nine year old servant, Hadley Crump, finds himself drawn into a secret world when he is invited to join wealthy Lucinda Browning’s dirty book club. No one suspects that the bi-racial son of the cook is anything more to Lucinda than a charitable obligation, but behind closed doors, O! she doth teach the torches to burn bright. What begins as a breathless investigation into the more juicy parts of literature quickly becomes a consuming and life-long habit for two people who would not otherwise be left alone together. As lynchings erupt across the South and the serving staff is slowly cut to make way for new mechanical household conveniences, Hadley begins to understand how dangerous and precarious his situation is.

 

The Reading Lessons follows the lives of two people born into a world that is unforgiving as a Hangman’s knot. Divided by skin color and joined by books, Hadley and Lucinda are forced to come together in the only place that will allow it, a land of printed words and dark secrets.

 

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Awards and Acknowledgements 

The Good Part
Trunk Stories 2005
Tales of Moreauvia 2009
Bram Stoker Award Preliminary Ballot 2005 for Outstanding Achievement
in a Short Story
Honorable Mention 21st Annual Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror

Keepity Keep
Fantasy Magazine December 2008
Voted One of the Five Best Stories in Fantasy Magazine for 2008
Honorable Mention Best Horror of the Year Volume One
CATE Award for Best Stories of 2008 at Poison Apple

The Blue Word
The World is Dead 2009
Honorable Mention Best Horror of the Year Volume Two

Maxwell Treat’s Museum of Torture for Young Girls and Boys
First Place Winner at On The Premises 2008
Notable Story of 2008 in the Million Writer’s AwardFriar Garden, Mister Samuel, and the Jilly Jally Butter Mints
Thought Crime Experiments 2009
Short-Listed for the Million Writer’s Award 2009The Reading Lessons
Son and Foe Issue 1 2005
Presented as a pod cast at Parade of Phantoms 2008
Bram Stoker Award Preliminary Ballot 2005 for Outstanding Achievement
in a Short StoryThe Forgotten Orphan
Midnight Lullabies 2007
Honorable Mention 21st Annual Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror
Voted Top 25 in Short Story Horror – Editors and Predators Reader’s Poll
2007

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Short Story Saturday #19 The Hunger Chronicles

short story saturday meme book review

Welcome to Short Story Saturday, where I find books around 100 pages or less that are self-published/small press published and worth reading, which means you’ll only see mini-reviews of 3 stars and up on this feature!

If you know of an awesome short story (can be your own), send me an email.  If I like it, then I’ll post it on Short Story Saturday.

the hunger chroniclesThe Hunger Chronicles by Tes Hilaire

Publisher:  Self published

Retail Price:  Currently free on Amazon.  $.99 on Barnes & Noble.

Links:  Goodreads  |  Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble

Author Links:  Twitter  |  Website  |  Facebook

Pages: 60 pages (119 with preview for LIFE BITES)

If you remember nothing else, remember this…

The nightmare is here. There is no way out. Even death isn’t an escape because it is death. And chances are it’s already taken everyone you know.

…You’re on your own.

Just because the face is familiar doesn’t mean they won’t kill you. Hiding won’t help. And it’s past time to run. They’re already here. And hunger is the only thing they feel.

Review:  THE HUNGER CHRONICLES is a collection of short stories based in a zombie apocalyptic world, however this novella goes way beyond all expectations of zombie stories.  I was flabbergasted by the amount of character depth and how instantaneous I connected with each of the main characters.  The voice is so different for each one that I it doesn’t even seem like one author wrote THE HUNGER CHRONICLES.

By 50% I knew I had to go see if this author wrote any other books.  By 100% read, I was ready to purchase the companion book.  And, then I discovered that it was her only book not available in paperback.

Each story is stand alone.  The stories combined paint a hopeful yet morbid picture of what society has turned into.  I think the ‘hope’ resonating through each story is the reason why I found the novella so irresistible.  In most zombie books, there is no hope.  There is no plan for redemption.  But, each of these stories, particularly show that there might one day be an end to the zombie epidemic.  Now, forgive me as I beg the author to release LIFE BITES on paperback for me.

 

Don’t wait!  Pick up your copy while it is FREE on Amazon.

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Short Story Saturday #17 The Haunted Halls

Short Story Saturday #17

short story saturday meme book review

Welcome to Short Story Saturday, where I find books 100 pages or less on Amazon that are both self-published/small press published and worth reading, which means you’ll only see mini-reviews of 3 stars and up on this feature! If you know of an awesome short story (can be your own), send me an email.  If I like it, then I’ll post it on Short Story Saturday.


thehauntedhalls

The Haunted Halls: Volume 1 by Glenn Rolfe

Genre:  Horror

Publisher:  Allen Agenda Publishing

Links:  Amazon  |  Goodreads  |  Jukepop Serials

Released January 27, 2013

Description:

What lies in wait at the Bruton Inn? Where did it come from? What does it want? People are checking in, but the little voices, the nightmares,the deep cold sinking into their marrow is changing them. What haunts these halls will alter those within its confines. Something big is unfolding, something dark- something evil. The haunted halls of the Bruton Inn welcome you. Checking in?

My thoughts:  I am completely shocked by this first installment by Glenn Rolfe.  This story captivated and chilled me from the first page.  I’m shocked as to how well the author drew me into each character’s story, made me care about each character, set up a pretty creepy scene, and then forced me to the next character.  There were so many characters and yet each one had an individual personality and story.  To successfully develop that many characters in such a limited word-space and still not ever info dump is an incredible display of writing talent.

I did think that the flashbacks were weaker than the present day story.  Considering how brief these flashbacks, I don’t think their faults can merit a deduction in the rating.  The horror did waver slightly by the end.  Horror is a hard sell, but I think that Glenn Rolfe has created the beginning of a fantastic serial series with this first short story.  At only 43 pages, it accomplishes more than I thought a short story could.  The ending isn’t exactly a cliffhanger, but it does make you want to start the next segment. (A)
excerpt

The hand caressed his chin; fear commandeered his thoughts.  He began whimpering a preemptive cry, as he felt the hand begin pulling away from his face, the flesh of his stubble covered jawline ripping up and away with its cold dead touch.

 

The Haunted Halls: Volume I is currently only 99 cents on Amazon, but you can read the FULL story for free on Jukepop Serials.

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Leaping Leprechauns – Giveaway and the House of Cards

lucky 2013

Leaping Leprechauns!

We have a bookmark and a giftcard for you to win!

 

free-amazon-gift-card

 

It’s your lucky, lucky day.  For the Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop, we have two prizes.  First, you can win a bookmark featuring the epic short story, House of Cards by Juli D. Revezzo.  Secondly, you can win a $10 giftcard to Amazon.com.  This contest is opened to US residents only due to shipping costs.  SORRY!  Winner has 48 hours to respond by email or another one will be chosen.

Since, Juli D. Revezzo is awesome enough to supply a bookmark for this giveaway and wrote one of the best story stories I’ve read in quite a few months, I want to spotlight her book, House of Cards.  I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review.  Giveaway is on bottom!

 

houseofcardsHouse of Cards by Juli D. Revezzo

Genre:  Dark Fantasy

Publisher:  Raven Queen Publications

Released October 3rd, 2012

Links:  Amazon  |   Barnes and Noble  |   Smashwords  |

 Good Reads

You can’t escape Fate….

A young nobleman escapes the Reign of Terror in 18th century France to find himself dragged into an even worse fate–a hellish underworld wherein he is cajoled and put on trial by a demon tribunal for crimes he never committed. Can he answer thwart his fate, one worse than the guillotine?

My Thoughts – It’s amazing how rare it is to find a short story with a rich atmosphere, three dimensional characters, and  a proper ending.  House of Cards exceeded my expectations for what a short story should offer.  Sinjor is fleeing Paris in a stagecoach (I think that’s the right name for the vehicle) but not fast enough.  He is caught in route by something and he must tread carefully to figure out how to survive this encounter.  Sinjon’s indecision and often inaptitude in figuring out the quests is a refreshing take on the typical fantasy hero, who always figures out the task.  It’s good to see the hero fail, although Sinjon might not have liked the consequences.  House of Cards is borderline horror.  It’s dark fantasy that never quite crosses into scary, although there are several gruesome descriptions and a steady, suspenseful pace.

As far as short stories goes, this one has it all. (A)

rating A

 

Enter the giveaway (opened to US only!)  In the comments, let me know your favorite all time short story/anthology/or picture book!

 

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Short Story Saturday #16 The Yellow Wall-Paper

Short Story Saturday #16

The Yellow Wall-Paper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

I decided to resurrect this meme, since I got a shiny new graphic for it.


short story saturday meme book review Welcome to Short Story Saturday, where I find books 100 pages or less on Amazon that are both self-published/small press published and worth reading, which means you’ll only see mini-reviews of 3 stars and up on this feature! If you know of an awesome short story (can be your own), send me an email.  If I like it, then I’ll post it on Short Story Saturday.

theyellowwallpaper


The Yellow Wall-Paper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman Genre:  Horror Publisher:  It was originally published in 1892, so it is now public domain, I believe. Links:  Goodreads |  Amazon Description:

The Yellow Wall-Paper is written as the secret journal of a woman who, failing to relish the joys of marriage and motherhood, is sentenced to a country rest cure. Though she longs to write, her husband and doctor forbid it, prescribing instead complete passivity. In the involuntary confinement of her bedroom, the hero creates a reality of her own beyond the hypnotic pattern of the faded yellow wallpaper – a pattern that has come to symbolize her own imprisonment. Narrated with superb psychological and dramatic precision, The Yellow Wall-Paper stands out not only for the imaginative authenticity with which it depicts one woman’s descent into insanity, but also for the power of its testimony to the importance of freedom and self-empowerment for women.

My thoughts:  I came across this book in a discussion about female horror writers.  Since it was a free from Amazon (and still is!), I downloaded it, read it, and it managed to creep me out more in 40 pages than most books do in 300.  The Yellow Wallpaper is a psychological horror and it’s a little confusing at first, since it is written in first person.  As the narrator becomes more and more detached from normalcy, the book’s path becomes more clear, and the horror builds. excerpt

At night in any kind of light, in twilight, candle light, lamplight, and worst of all by moonlight, [the wallpaper] becomes bars!  The outside pattern I mean, and the woman behind it is as plain as can be.

Download a free copy on your kindle today!

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