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RAINY SEASON – A Review by Whispering Stories

Review excerpt:

A jazz club in Tokyo, mysterious men in black suits, money owed, and bones are broken. Yes, just the perfect storyline for a noir title. Brindley writes settings and atmosphere so well. You are taken there and planted as you read. Whether it’s a crowded street corner, hospital waiting room, or local ramen diner, you will feel your surroundings.

JennaScribbles of Whispering Stories


Read the complete four-star review at Whispering Stories:

WHISPERINGSTORIES.COM

RAINY SEASON – A Review by Rose Auburn

Review excerpt:

I read Rainy Season in one day. Not because it’s a fairly short novel (175 pages) but because I simply could not put it down. It is not a poorly-written imitation of a Noir Romance, it is a Noir Romance. The opening was absolutely spot-on for the genre; sublime, stylised, descriptive and cynical. All the scenes played through your mind in shades of grey and black with the permanent tattoo of the rain which, in so many ways, is another character.

Rose Auburn, Writing & Reviews

Read the complete five-star review at Rose’s website:

ROSEAUBURN.COM

WE ALL DIE IN THE END by Elizabeth Merry – A Review

BOOK | FICTION | SHORT STORIES
WE ALL DIE IN THE END by Elizabeth Merry
RATING: ★ ★ ★ ★

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If Joyce, Faulkner, and Kafka were to collaborate…

The result would be Elizabeth Merry’s We All Die in the End.

Merry’s is some of the best writing I’ve read in a while. Like Faulkner, she creates a fictional world unto its own, Faulkner’s set as a struggling Mississippi town, Merry’s as a struggling seaside town in Ireland, both populated with struggling characters with thick dialects common to their region.

However, regarding dialect, where Faulkner reveals his characters’ through heavy (and at times disruptive) word alteration and accent marks, Merry reveals her characters’ distinctive brogue (seemingly) effortlessly and without hardly a notice through beautiful setting descriptions and strategic use of words uncommon to those not of her world.

The effect of her writing to me is powerful…

And surreal…

Kafkaesque.

Merry’s nineteen interwoven stories, or scenes as identified in the book, often misled me into letting my guard down – getting me lost in the cold ocean spray or in the delectable odors stewing from the stove or in the broguish din of the local pub – lulling me into thinking all’s well (how could it not be in such a quaint little town with waves pounding the shore like a mesmerizing lullaby) until it slowly dawns upon me that all is not well in Merry’s little corner of the world. In fact, not until it’s too late do I realize that just about everything beneath the quaint veneer she has laid for us is in fact quite dark and bleak, and at times… quite deadly.

We All Die in the End has left me with a haunting literary hangover.

And for that, I am grateful…

For, as rare as it is, it is that exact aftereffect I yearn for in every book I read.


EMBOOKSTUFF.WORDPRESS.COM

RAINY SEASON – A Review by Gina Rae Mitchell

Review excerpt:

Kurt Brindley has written an excellent book in the noir romance genre. This author continues to astound me with his grasp of descriptive words. In Rainy Season, he portrays his scenes so well you will swear you can hear the rain, smell the smoke drifting from the Tokyo jazz club, and breathe in the melancholy saturating the air…

– Gina Rae Mitchell, Book Reviewer Extraordinaire*

Read the complete five-star review at Gina’s website:

GINARAEMITCHELL.COM

RAINY SEASON – A Review by Elizabeth Merry

Review excerpt:

This book is called “Rainy Season” and rain permeates the whole novel, as if the whole story was contained inside the rain – and I loved this. Here’s a picture of Rich, leaning over his balcony as usual:

“He leaned against the rail and smoked and watched the shadowed, glistening city as it slept within the downpour.”

I found the writing lyrical and rhythmic; words repeated making the prose like music. Indeed, I thought at one time, if I had a tune I could sing this book:

“Candlelight shimmered off her black sequin dress like the promise of a million stars.”

Elizabeth Merry, Author of WE ALL DIE IN THE END

Check out the full five-star review at Elizabeth’s website:

embookstuff.wordpress.com

In Celebration of Juneteenth

I present to you a little insight to the historical hometown hood of my youth…

The Hubbard House was an Underground Railroad terminus station which sets on a hill overlooking Lake Erie. It was instrumental in helping countless fellow humans find escape from the incomprehensible wretchedness of slavery.

It also sets right across the street from where my old high school used to be.

Unfortunately, during my time growing up in my hometown hood of Ashtabula, Ohio, I didn’t know much about the house, only that it had some vague association with slavery.

I didn’t know because back in my time the history of slavery was barely taught in school. And that which was taught about it, was glossed conveniently over… like the whitewashing of rotted wood.

My real education of slavery didn’t begin until 1977 when the landmark television miniseries ROOTS aired, a story which of course is based on Alex Haley’s hugely important book about his family’s history.

No, during my time the house was abandoned and run down and assumed haunted.

While my old high school has since been torn down, fortunately the community of Ashtabula came together to save the Hubbard House from a similar fate and worked to restore it so that it is now a beautiful and important national landmark of which I’m very proud.

#HAPPYJUNETEENTH
#BLACKLIVESMATTER

#ICANTBREATHE – Dido’s Lament

“Not again. I couldn’t believe it. I felt helpless and I had to do something,” Yves Dharamraj has said. “We’ve all seen the scenes from Minneapolis, from New York, from everywhere.  Normally, I would’ve gloved and masked up, and marched down Broadway with my fellow protesters crying out against police brutality and racism. 

“But, instead, I took up Anthony McGill’s #TakeTwoKnees call-to-action for musicians to record themselves and post it online.”

Cellist performs heartrending version of Dido’s Lament in memory of George Floyd, Classic FM, June 15, 2020

#BLACKLIVESMATTER

In a Field Left Fallow

In a field depleted and left a fallow

Where only single crops have e’er grown

‘Twill sundry bloom soon rich, tho’ callow

When by Nature’s hand the seeds are sown

 

My Novel Approach to Novel Writing

At least it’s novel to me…

Anyway, these kinds of posts are always a bit self indulgent, but if you’re like me (and god help you if you are), you too like to know how the sausage is made when it comes to an author’s creative process.

I’m both old and old school when it comes to writing. First drafts are were always done with pen and paper.

Mostly because I love the physical act of writing, the feel of pen in hand, the feel of ink flowing on the paper.

But also because if I try to write the first draft on the computer I never make it out of the first chapter seeing that I’m one of those edit-as-you-go guys. I have too many folders with forgotten novels with unfinished first drafts that I attempted to write on the computer.

Writing the first draft by hand allows for limited editing — a line through here, a line through there maybe — and because of this, I enjoy a more immersive, free flowing writing experience…

One that actually results in finished novels.

How ’bout that?

But there is a catch.

My handwriting is garbage.

Which means draft two is pure and absolute torture when it comes to typing it up into the computer. Oftentimes it takes longer to type up the second draft than it did writing out the first.

Which brings me to my novel approach to first drafts, an approach that saves me months in novel development…

The iPad.

And the Nebo app.

Using this new technology (new to me; never been an Apple guy) I can still write out my first drafts longhand, but with the Nebo app, it automatically converts it to digital text.

It’s amazing.


The notebook contains a print copy of the screenplay (which I use as an outline for my novel). The cool sculpture/now paper weight is courtesy of my highly creative daughter. The iPad Pro 12 with Apple Pen attached shows the chapters of my latest WIP in the Nebo app.
A screenshot of the chapters in Nebo. One slight downside is that you can’t arrange the files (at least I haven’t been able to figure it out if you can) so they’re stored as they are created.
If you look at the top of the first paragraph (click on the image to enlarge), you’ll kind of see how it shows a highlight of my writing as converted text. It’s unbelievable in how well the app understanding my crappy handwriting, but if it doesn’t convert a word correctly, you can catch it in the highlight and go back and write it more clearly.

Of course you don’t get the same feel writing on the iPad as you do with pen and paper. The iPad screen is a bit slick so it takes some getting used to. I initially put a screen protector on it but that made it even slicker and it also screwed up the functions in Nebo to add and delete stuff.

The Apple Pen feels good in hand and works like a charm with zero lag between it and the tablet.

There’s another tablet I’m interested in checking out that is designed specifically for writing. It’s called reMarkable and the developers claim it will give you the feel of writing on paper. Sounds awesome. The best selling point to me for it is that it is a heck of a lot cheaper than the iPad Pro 12.

So, yeah… when it comes to drafting novels, that’s how I now roll.

Oh, and if you haven’t guessed by now, I’ll be announcing my latest novel soon…

Like tomorrow. :)

#writeon

Killing in the Name

Waiting for the trump statement to be released declaring the Minneapolis cops who murdered George Floyd to be good people…

Mr. Floyd died after being handcuffed and pinned to the ground by an officer’s knee, in an episode that was recorded on video by a bystander, inciting condemnation and protests.

What We Know About the Death of George Floyd, New York Times, May 27, 2020

President Donald Trump seemed to encourage police to be more violent in handling potential offenders during a speech to law enforcement officers today.

“Please don’t be too nice,” he said to the audience in Long Island, New York.

Trump to police: ‘Please don’t be too nice’ to suspects, ABC News, July 28, 2017

Some of those that work forces are the same that burn crosses…

#GEORGEFLOYD
#KILLINGINTHENAMEOF
#WAKEUP
#BLACKLIVESMATTER

Surviving the Sacrifice

As we roll into Memorial Day Weekend to honor those service members who died in our defense, it pays to remember that there are far too many who served and sacrificed and survived the traumas of war, only to find that because of their debilitating sacrifices, they are unable to survive the traumas of life after war.

If you are a veteran struggling with life’s relentless battles, please my brothers and sisters in arms, seek help. We honor you and we need your strength and courage and wisdom to continue to lead us and show us what it means to endure, especially during these challenging times.

VETERANSCRISISLINE.NET

1-800-273-8255


More veterans die by suicide every two days than were killed in action last year. After almost two decades of post-9/11 conflicts, lawmakers and Defense Department officials are no closer to ending the suicide crisis. There’s no single cause, no “type” of veteran, no guarantee of access to mental health care, no single solution. The funding is there — the Department of Veterans Affairs is the second-largest federal agency, behind the DOD in size and budget — and there has been little pushback on the 14% boost in funding requested for 2021.

So why are veterans still killing themselves at an alarming rate?

After years of failure to end the crisis, veteran suicide takes center stage on Capitol Hill, Stars and Stripes, March 5, 2020

#prayforthosewhosacrificed

The Dichotomies of Hate

Racists, driven by their feeble-minded ignorance and incapacitating insecurities, will always leech off any opportunity or misfortune to project their self-loathing and self-delusions upon others of whom they both envy and fear…


A man followed the Chinese American doctor from the Boston hospital, spewing a profanity-laced racist tirade as she walked to the subway. “Why are you Chinese people killing everyone?” Li recalled the man shouting. “What is wrong with you? Why the f— are you killing us?”

Asian American doctors and nurses are fighting racism and the coronavirus, Washington Post, May 19, 2020

#hatethehate

Little Humans

I love my pets, don’t get me wrong. Anyone who’s spent even a little bit of time around here knows Zeno and Aurelius are a huge part of my life. And I love and respect animal adoption centers and those who run them and support them. But every time I see a post on Conspiracy Theory Central, aka facebook, with a cute puppy or kitten in need of a human to love them, and I see a lot of them — that’s a good thing — I can’t help but wonder how many little humans are out there in need of the same…


While technically no longer referred to as orphans, The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption pegs the number of children in U.S. foster care at a staggering 443,000, more than 123,000 of whom are considered to be waiting children available for adoption.

How Many Orphans in the U. S.?, ADOPTION.COM, April, 25, 2019

#prayforthelittlehumansinneed

The Inequality of Hate

It’s a disgusting national shame how many of our innocent, unprovoking citizens are murdered by other small-minded, blood-lusting citizens motivated wholly by hate and personal delusions of a superior bloodline while being criminally supported by institutional delusions of the same.


“…if we as a community had not been willfully blind to our institutionalized racism, Ahmaud might still be alive.“

Ahmaud Arbery Holds Us Accountable, The Bitter Southerner, May 2020

#irunwithahmaud
#prayforamerica

A GATHERING OF BUTTERFLIES by Sean C. Wright – A Review

BOOK | FICTION | SHORT STORIES
A GATHERING OF BUTTERFLIES by Sean C. Wright
RATING: ★ ★ ★ ★


Tales of steely but vulnerable women of color will melt your heart while lifting your spirits…

A fierce grandmother keeps her grandson from the clutches of Old Scratch in Devil Does Dallas.

An alien abduction transforms a large, miserable woman in Hazel Hogan.

A country girl meets a city girl on her birthday, and struggles to decide if the girl’s heart is dark or light in Bubble Bath Twelve.

And methodical Genie forms an unlikely relationship in Heaven’s Halfway House while in a coma.

Book Description from Amazon

I am in wholehearted concurrence with Amazon reviewer Neferet when they opine that “[Author Sean C. Wright’s GATHERING OF BUTTERFLIES] is a nice collection of interesting and clever short stories….”

Nice, indeed.

And I feel nicer as a human being for having read this diminutive collection of pithy and powerful (a redundancy I know, but one worth repeating) folksy parables; and I could tell without a doubt from reading them that the author herself is nice…

Really nice.

I just wish there had been more nice stories to appreciate — there are only four and the collection as a whole weighs in at just over a hundred pages.

Three of the stories are good, written light and fast with limited (but enough) character and setting development as one would expect to find in such folksy parables and morality tales.

However, one of the stories — Bubble Bath Twelve — is exceptional. I got so very and happily lost within that wonderful, beautiful tale and I regretted it when finally finding myself at its end. It compares easily with the best of anything William Faulkner has written, if the boozy, self-hating grouch were to have written such nice, lighthearted stories that didn’t stress the reader out with their unrelenting and migraine-inducing dialect.

Yeah, the story’s that good.

Outside of expanding this fine collection with more stories, I would recommend the author consider a more professional book cover. Personal preference, perhaps, but I think such fine writing deserves something a little better than its present adornment.

So, fantastic work by Ms. Wright, work that I highly recommend. I also recommend checking out her website. While it’s a little confusing to navigate, there the determined reader can find a treasure trove of her equally fun and interesting flash fiction, which, if you recall, is how all who gather here first became acquainted with her fine work.

SEANARCHY.WORDPRESS.COM