Most Excellent Liars

Lies I Never Told by Martin Crosbie is a collection of five short stories and five samples from longer novels. The novels begin with My Temporary Life Book One. The last short story, Afternoons with Angela, appears at the end of this collection, I moved it for this review. If you open the sidebar of Kindle to look at the table of contents, the information displayed is confusing as to the order of presentation and content. But that doesn’t take away from the excellence of the writing. This, and all of the novels Crosbie refers to can be read on Kindle Unlimited for “free.” This collection displayed writing so impressive I bought it after I read it so that I can keep it in my collection of writing that will impress my students. There is a great diversity of perspectives revealed in this collection. Geographically, the writing perspectives cover England, Scotland, Ireland, Canada, and the US. There is writing from the perspectives of youth and military service. There is an almost paranormal perspective where the narrator is a woman. This is a collection with something for all readers. Brief summaries follow.

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An Elevating Experience

The Lift by Andrew Barrett is a short story that begins as a kind of vocabulary exercise or test. This is not a negative criticism; the language play is an attention grabber. Those of us who live “in the colonies” know that there is a good chance the author was writing about an experience that involves an elevator but we can forgive the author’s highbrow choice of words. Especially since I got the book free from the author’s mailing list. I overlook a lot of things for the price of free. Although it was pushing it to call an apartment building an “estate.” And the estate had flats. (Sigh). No wonder we revolted. The language then shifts abruptly into police jargon. Will readers know the etymology of “scrote?” Probably. And if the reader feels proud to know that one how about this? “(He) didn’t have a Scooby how to fix them (problems).” (Kindle location 38). Sometimes the author explains new terms. “Bogoff” equals “bogus official.”

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This Will Alter Your Perspectives!

Gutter Ball by Susan Marie Shuman is a collection of short stories, flash fiction, and a rather weird tale at the end of the collection. It is fun, light reading from an author with a perspective far from the norm of the everyday routine. Free on Kindle Unlimited, I found the USD 2.99 price good value as I want to keep the book for later reading and referral to friends.

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Would You Believe These?

K. C. Carter has written three short science fiction stories as an entry into the crowded indie publishing field. I found this through Instafreebie as well as receiving interesting updates from the author’s website. I found the author’s introduction to this short story collection appealing. Check this out for some light reading. It is free and if you like science fiction the collection is a nice sampler. If you are not sure whether you like science fiction or not here is a painless introduction, you might be surprised.

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Monte

Here is a view of the world from a different perspective. Sometimes it really is a dog’s life.
Note that this is a 750-word response to a writing challenge. (Following is a comment for my students) See, you don’t have to use a lot of words to be interesting!

The Abject Muse

This week’s writing prompts for the Mutant 750 Challenge are the image below and the word, score in the verb tense, meaning to cut or scratch a notch or line on (a surface).


To Monte, it seemed as if they’d been walking for days. He wished they could stop for a snack & a drink of water, but apparently The Guy was on some sort of mission. Since they’d begun their journey he’d barely acknowledged Monte’s existence. Ever since the motorized machine stopped moving and they started on their journey, it was as if The Guy had forgotten that there was someone on the other end of the leash.

Monte wondered where they were going, and why.

Was it something I’d done?

In his small and addled mind, Monte went over the events of the last several days. He hadn’t done anything extraordinarily stupid, unless you count the Porterhouse steak incident.

Yes, that was a…

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Who is James Madison?

James Madison: A Life From Beginning to End by a group called Hourly History presents a series of publications that present episodes and personalities in a proposed one hour read. This one has a subtitle One Hour History US Presidents Book 3. This seems perfect for my purposes as I seek material for English as Second Language learners. I looked at this work to determine what I believe the level of English required to read a non-fiction book in one hour.

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Notell Motel

Billy and Darla by Jay Lemming is a short story about teenage angst associated with growing up. The angst seems to come from three high-school-age students who have no external sources of inspiration and guidance although each of them has a family base that should be working.

Billy had a girlfriend, Darla, until Billy had a fight with Lane the Linebacker. Billy lost and Darla dumped him. Darla only went with winners. Billy never got over Darla but that didn’t stop him from dating Jessie, a good friend of Darla’s. Unlike his relationship with Darla, Billie’s relationship with Jessie was mostly platonic. Mostly. Except for that one time. Billy had an OK family life. The loss of a brother left a persistent gloom over the family but the family remained stable. Billy was just more ignored. Just like at school where teachers either ignored him or dismissed him. He was also not in the popular crowd.

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