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Short Story Reflections: Omelas

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Before you read today's short story reflection post, you should read Ursula K. Leguin's "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" and Isabel J. Kim's "Why Don't we Just Kill the Kid in the Omelas Hole?" as this post has heavy spoilers for both. Plus both are brilliant.    Short Story Reflections: Omelas Sometimes a short story is a lovely little distraction, and other times it hits you so hard you have to sit back and recuperate. That is how I felt when I read Ursula K. Leguin's "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas". The message was simple and brilliantly crafted to leave the reader uncomfortable and reflecting on their own circumstances. Omelas is a seemingly perfect place where everyone is fed, content, and happy. Children have idyllic childhoods and adults never have to worry. When new people come, or children come of age, they are taught the truth: all of this happiness depends on the suffering of one child. This poor child is kept in a

Project - Short Story Exploration 2024

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Project: Short Story Exploration   Last year, I read 70 books, most of which were novels, so for 2024, I’m going to focus on short fiction. I’ll still be reading and reviewing novels, but I want to take a deep dive into short stories. I’ve been accumulating quite the backlog of anthologies, magazines, and bookmarked stories to read. I will be working my way through them and journaling about each short piece as I go, recording date, story, author, thoughts, what I learned, etc. I’m not setting a specific goal, but I am estimating reading somewhere around 250 stories of varying lengths this year. Then towards the end of each month, I’ll be posting my thoughts so far, recommendations, etc. Why am I doing this? I want to get to know the short form better and, in turn, grow my own short fiction writing. I also want to develop a journaling habit, but have no interest in writing about my day-to-day life*. Years ago, I turned up my nose slightly at short stories. I didn’t hate them, but I pref

End of Year, Updates, Announcements, and a Look Ahead

Hello and welcome to the end of 2023. I, for one, am happy to see it go. It's been a complicated year in both my personal and professional lives. The biggest change for me is that I have left my second job (by choice), and while I'll still be working full time, I won't be quite as overwhelmed as I was. It's a bit of a financial hit, but one I can (thankfully) afford. It'll be a big step for my mental health and will let me focus more on my writing. Speaking of which, I am making my resolutions and plans for 2024 and it's looking like it's going to be a bigger year, writing-wise for me. Ready for a sneak peek? Indie Ink Awards Judging: Trying something new First up: I have been accepted as a Judge for the Indie Ink Awards ! I have never judged a writing contest before and the Indie Ink Awards seem like a good one. They are supportive of diversity and a better future. Also, as a growing indie writer myself, I am happy to support these awards and get to read so

My Top Books of 2023

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This is the third year in a row where I’m writing a top ten list for 2023. This year I read/listened to 70 books (full list available on my Goodreads challenge page ). This year, I couldn't limit myself to only 10. Each of these books kept demanding to be included, so I relented. Looking over the list, it strikes me what a variety they are, spanning philosophy, memoir, horror, mystery, sci-fi. A few themes carried through for me this year, grief, loss, strife, and hope. It's been a long, complex year for me in my personal and professional life, and I think that is reflected in this list. As usual, I have not listed them in a countdown format, but have chosen to list them in chronological order based on when I read them this year. Melody's Top Thirteen Books of 2023: Be Water, My Friend: The Teachings of Bruce Lee As a martial artist, I’m almost forced to admire Bruce Lee to some extent. However, despite being only a few steps removed from training with him, I haven’t really

Review: Come Hither, No Malice by J. D. Buffington

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Title: Come Hither, No Malice Author: J. D. Buffington Website Synopsis: Perseus seeks to destroy the monstrous Gorgons. But not all monsters are beasts. Once a beautiful young woman—transformed after being attacked, cursed, and persecuted—Medusa presides over a haven for the abused. Their lives in each other’s hands, only patience, compassion, and their free will as mortals can break the cycle of cruelty. Review: Over the past few years, feminist retellings of ancient Greek Mythology have risen to the forefront with best sellers such as The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker, Circe by Madeleine Miller, and most recently, Stone Blind by Natalie Haynes, just to name a small handful. These stories examine familiar myths that typically centered on the male heroes and relegated the female characters to supporting roles and position those supporting females into the starring roles. Come Hither, No Malice by J.D. Buffington fits into this category with what the author calls a love letter

When Vampires Attack by Matthew J. Gleason

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When Vampires Attack is Matthew J. Gleason's debut novella and it will definitely leave an impact on you after you finish reading. The main character is Glenna, a young woman whose life was just upended by her father's sudden transformation into a vampire, tells you her story in a conversational style that lulls you into complacency before attacking you with surprising plot points. Life has not dealt Glenna the easiest hand. In her short life, she has already faced tragedy and has to deal with being neurodivergent and overweight in a society that isn't kind like it should be. Then one day, her father "goes leech" which is the term used to describe a sudden transformation into a vampire. "Going leech" is the most interesting part of this book. In this world, vampirism is a gene and those who have it can turn at any moment without warning. There is no specific trigger or anything to predict it. As soon as they turn, the vampires engage in a brutal killing

Estate Sale by Mia Dalia

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  Title: Estate Sale Author: Mia Dalia Description: It has been said that every small town has a house on a hill, the one the witch lives in. But what if there is more to the story? The devil, after all, is in the details. The old lady of the Koshmaroff estate is finally gone. In life, she was a mystery; in death, she leaves behind a house full of strange, yet seemingly ordinary objects. Objects, which the curiosity-driven locals rush in to buy, only to see their lives take nightmarish turns as a result. No one knew the old lady's husband dabbled in dark magic. No one knew the two of them traversed decades and continents, hobnobbing with the most famous occultists of the 20th century and building their collection. They have acquired such terrible treasures along the way. Come, see for yourself. Step inside for the bargain of a lifetime.    Review: Estate Sale reads less like a novel and more like a collection of dark tales. Each story centres on a strange object purchas