Book Review: Living Ghosts & Mischievous Monsters by Dan SaSuWeh Jones

Perfect for fans of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark! A shiver-inducing collection of short stories to read under the covers, from a breadth of American Indian nations.

Dark figures in the night. An owl’s cry on the wind. Monsters watching from the edge of the wood.

Some of the creatures in these pages might only have a message for you, but some are the stuff of nightmares. These thirty-two short stories — from tales passed down for generations to accounts that could have happened yesterday — are collected from the thriving tradition of ghost stories from American Indian cultures across North America. Prepare for stories of witches and walking dolls, hungry skeletons, La Llorona and Deer Woman, and other supernatural beings ready to chill you to the bone.

Dan SaSuWeh Jones (Ponca Nation) tells of his own encounters and selects his favorite spooky, eerie, surprising, and spine-tingling stories, all paired with haunting art by Weshoyot Alvitre (Tongva).

So dim the lights (or maybe turn them all on) and pick up a story…if you dare.

Amazon

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy from the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

These 32 short stories from American Indians are truly scary, especially since some of them are true. Dan SaSuWeh Jones tells stories of his own experiences and of people he knows as well as stories that have passed down through the generations by different tribes.

Children and adults alike will find stories that will scare them, or at least give them pause. From the first story to the last, there are tales to catch your interest. They’re grouped into categories: Ghosts, Spirits, Witches, Monsters, and The Supernatural. Each story has a paragraph at the beginning that explains where it came from. There are also pencil drawings by Weshoyot Alvitre that are great and go well with these stories.

Some of my favorites are “My Great-Aunt’s Last 10a.m. Visit,” “The Graveyard,” “The Garage Sale,” and the terrifying “The Vampire of Sleeping Child Hot Springs.” There’s a wide range of stories. I recommend this book but I also recommend maybe reading it when it’s daylight!

About the Author

SaSuWeh is the Former Chairman of the Ponca Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma, who was appointed by Governor, Brad Henry of Oklahoma as Vice Chairman of the Oklahoma Indian Affairs Commission. He is an internationally known Artist and Writer, has been a contributing columnist for “Indian Country Today Media Network” an American Indian news Provider with the largest circulation in America.

He is one of a few American Indians to be a member of the Producers Guild of America (PGA). He has worked for the Walt Disney Co. as an Imagineer. Won many awards as a filmmaker for films he has produced for the Smithsonian, NBC, TBS. and the Children’s Television Workshop; Sesame Street; as well as the Screen Actors Guild to promote Indian Actors. He is also a published author and a Bronze Sculptor. As a panelist at Comcast in November of 2012 speaking on diversity on American Television, he confronted the question; why American Indians do not control a current and permanent presents on American Television.

Among his honors is the Muse Award, presented by the National Association of American Museums for his work for the Smithsonian Institution’s, National Museum of the American Indian; He produced and wrote the museum’s first promotional fund raiser video the “Untitled” work was a finalist in the New York Film Festival in 1993 also has received the Telly and the Golden Eagle Awards as well as Best Industrial, American Indian Film Festival; First Place, Oklahoma State Arts Council; and Best of Show, Red Earth’s American Indian Video Competition, In 2002, Jones directed, produced and created a four-hour visual presentation on the ABC Studio’s Astrotron above Times Square in New York City, to honor American Indian Grammy Nominees.

March of 2005, New Mexico published his book of poetry titled “Blood of Our Earth” the book is illustrated by internationally known Comanche artist Ranch Hood.

He is a traditional Straight Dancer of the Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma. He Produced “The World of American Indian Dance” a documentary that aired on NBC. His insight on the subject explores the historical impact of Indian Dance on the US/Indian relationship and the inter-tribal spread of certain dances as a spiritual phenomenon. It was the first television program on a major network to be produced solely by American Indians.

After creating a number of large bronze icons of his Ponca Mythology, for the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska, Jones is currently building a Memorial to Merle Haggard with the city of Muskogee, Ok and the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame.

Book Review: Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups by Andrew Joyce

Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups is a jumble of genres—seven hundred pages of fiction and non-fiction … some stories included against the author’s better judgment. If he had known that one day they’d be published, he might not have been as honest when describing his past. Here is a tome of true stories about the author’s criminal and misspent youth, historical accounts of the United States when She was young, and tales of imagination encompassing every conceivable variety—all presented as though the author is sitting next to you at a bar and you’re buying the drinks as long as he keeps coming up with captivating stories to hold your interest.

Comprised of 218,000 words, you’ll have plenty to read for the foreseeable future. This is a book to have on your night table, to sample a story each night before extinguishing the lights and drifting off to a restful sleep.

Mr. Joyce sincerely hopes that you will enjoy his stories because, as he has stated, “It took a lot of living to come up with the material for some of them.”

Andrew Joyce is the recipient of the 2013 Editor’s Choice Award for Best Western for his novel, Redemption: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer.

Amazon

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

These stories are great. I think it was a good idea to put them all together in one book even though they’re different genres. It’s like a surprise bag…you never know what you’re going to get!

Some of the stories are true. One that really got to me is “The Swamp” because it’s a true story, and it was scary and suspenseful. It’s one of those stories that many of us look back on thinking that we were lucky to survive our teens and twenties. Other stories were funny, heartbreaking, short and sweet, historical, romantic. It’s all here.

I almost didn’t accept this book to read and possibly review, but I decided that I could read one or two stories before bed when I had a few minutes. I’ve had the book for quite some time and have thoroughly enjoyed reading it for a few minutes many nights before going to bed. I definitely recommend Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups especially if you’re looking for something that you can pick up and read for a few minutes, read before bed, or read in between longer novels.

About the Author

Andrew Joyce left home at seventeen to hitchhike throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. He wouldn’t return from his journey until years later when he decided to become a writer. Joyce has written seven books. His first novel, Redemption: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, was awarded the Editors’ Choice Award for Best Western of 2013. A subsequent novel, Yellow Hair, received the Book of the Year award from Just Reviews and Best Historical Fiction of 2016 from Colleen’s Book Reviews.

Website

New Release: Wrapper the Rabbit: Adventures of Autumn by Matthew G. Huggins

Nestled deep in the heart of the countryside lies the beautiful valley of Scotney Castle. This peaceful place is home to all manner of wildlife, but perhaps most notably of all, is a young rabbit named Wrapper, with a heart full of excitement and an unquenchable thirst for adventure.

As the season of Autumn falls across the picturesque woods and hillsides he calls home, we follow Wrapper and his companions as they explore the natural world around them. Making new friends as they go and getting into all manner of situations, Wrapper learns about life, the world in which he lives and even a little about himself along the way.

“Change is the only thing that will always be the same. We just have to appreciate it as it comes.”

This collection of five short stories holds closely to themes of adventure, friendship and nature throughout. You may just find yourself happily lost in a world where the grass is green and the air is fresh, with just a sprinkling of magic.

Excerpt from the book:

“Wrapper the Rabbit:  Adventures of Autumn” by Matthew G. Huggins is available in paperback at:https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wrapper-Rabbit-Adventures-Matthew-Huggins/dp/180031020X

Press/Media Contact Details:

New Generation Publishing
Tel. 01234 711 956
E-mail: info@newgeneration-publishing.com

Book Review & Giveaway: A Mother’s Tale and Other Stories by Khanh Ha

A Mother’s Tale and Other Stories by Khanh Ha

Publisher: C&R Press (October 15, 2021)
Category: Linked Short Stories, Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction
ISBN: 978-1949540239
Available in Print and ebook, 150 pages


Description

A Mother’s Tale is a tale of salvaging one’s soul from received and inherited war-related trauma. Within the titular beautiful story of a mother’s love for her son is the cruelty and senselessness of the Vietnam War, the poignant human connection, and a haunting narrative whose set ting and atmosphere appear at times otherworldly through their landscape and inhabitants.

Captured in the vivid descriptions of Vietnam’s country and culture are a host of characters, tortured and maimed and generous and still empathetic despite many obstacles, including a culture wrecked by losses. Somewhere in this chaos readers will find a tender link between the present-day survivors and those already gone. Rich and yet buoyant with a vision-like quality, this collection shares a common theme of love and loneliness, longing and compassion, where beauty is discovered in the moments of brutality, and agony is felt in ecstasy.

WINNER C&R PRESS 2021 FICTION AWARD

C&R Press
Amazon (Coming Soon)

Guest Review by Sal

From award-winning author Khanh Ha, comes a book of short stories revolving around the Vietnam War. Countless lives were impacted by the war, and every story in ‘A Mother’s Tale and Other Stories’ showcases a little slice of that impact in a deeply personal way.

In this collection there are eleven stories, each following different characters who give their perspective on the war. Some of the stories include, ‘Heartbreak Grass,’ the tale of a young man, newly drafted into the war, who spends his last days before shipping out caring for a man that is referred to in the village as ‘Uncle Chung.’

Uncle Chung is a quadruple amputee, having lost all of his limbs in the war. He is also blind. While caring for him, the young man strikes up a friendship with Uncle Chung, and begins to wonder if the man’s wife might not be faithful. She leaves him for many hours at a time while he has to sit in his own filth.

Another story, ‘The River Of White Lilies,’ revolves around an American soldier who is stationed in a Catholic village near the U Minh forest. The soldier laments being stuck in Vietnam until he eventually befriends a beautiful school teacher and begins spending time with her, as well as the other people in the village.

Finally, the titular story, ‘A Mother’s Tale,’ is about a mother who travels from the U.S. to Vietnam years after the war ends in order to find the son that she lost.

Every story in this collection is better than the last! Ha’s writing is atmospheric, magical and very touching. He writes so intimately about the food and culture of Vietnam that, when reading the book, I felt like I was really there.

Each story flowed into the next just like the river of White Lilies from the book, and each one was unforgettable. If you love well written short stories, trust me, you will love this book.

About the Author

Khanh Ha is the author of Flesh, The Demon Who Peddled Longing, and Mrs. Rossi’s Dream. He is a seven-time Pushcart nominee, finalist for the Mary McCarthy Prize, Many Voices Project, Prairie Schooner Book Prize, and The University of New Orleans Press Lab Prize. He is the recipient of the Sand Hills Prize for Best Fiction, the Robert Watson Literary Prize in Fiction, and the Orison Anthology Award for Fiction. Mrs. Rossi’s Dream, was named Best New Book by Booklist and a 2019 Foreword Reviews INDIES Silver Winner and Bronze Winner.  A Mother’s Tale & Other Stories has already won the C&R Press Fiction Prize.

Website: http://www.authorkhanhha.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KhanhHa69784776
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorkhanhha

Giveaway

This giveaway is for 3 print copies, 1 per winner, U.S. only and ends on November 24, 2021, 12 midnight, pacific time. Entries accepted via Rafflecopter only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Continue reading

Book Review: Old Faces: Yet More Tales from Tipperary by Edward Forde Hickey

This fourth book in the series, portrays a closely-knit group of people living in the north Tipperary hills during the early 20th century – a community largely made up of small farmers, whose lives were far different from today. The book’s inspiration comes from writers such as Thomas Hardy and attempts to pass on to readers the lyrical and rich phrasings of Tipperary’s old hill folk and capture the spiritual wealth of an age that remained unchanged for several centuries.    

    Tales of . . .   

* brotherly love and hate.  

* a rogue’s return from across the sea and his efforts to reform. 

* an unexpected first-love at the harvest-time dance-in-the-fields. 

* persecution of two old saints at the hands of misguided youth.  

* sports-day activities for adults and children alike, following the arduous channelling of a new stream.  

* two adventurous toddlers, getting lost in the wilderness but saved by a witch.  

    ‘. . . lovers of literature will find themselves engrossed in the lives of a past hillside community.’ 

                                                                    Addison & Cole 

My Review

Old Faces isn’t the type of book I would normally read, but I really enjoyed it. As I read the story, I could “hear” the narration in an Irish brogue. Some of the names are ordinary, but many of the names are hilarious. In the first sentence is Molly-rattle-the-tea-and-sugar-bag. What a great introduction to some unique names and stories.

I liked all of the stories, but of course I had my favorites. It was interesting that some of the stories were tragic, others had happy endings, but there was humor in all of them, some more than others. I went through the Table of Contents so that I could pick out the story or stories I liked the least, but I honestly liked them all.

There was a lot of humour in the stories, but I laughed most when I read this:

“Goldshit sitting on a black stick under the hob above the blazing fire and then falling asleep and tumbling off his perch and landing in the hot ashes and then struggling with the blazing sods of turf in the fire and the Wild Witch of the West chasing him round the floor — this was something that would stay with them forever.”

I didn’t know that Tipperary is a real place! It’s about the size of the town I live in. I wish the people here were as interesting!

I have enjoyed all of the books about Tipperary and I hope there are more to come!

About the Author:

Edward Forde Hickey lives in Kent with his wife. They have three sons. During the years 1962 until 1998, he taught in inner city primary schools (laterally as a headteacher for 18 years). In early life, he was a pop star with Decca records (see ‘Eddie Hickey/Lady May’) and later sang with the Glenside Ceilidhe Band in The Galtymore Dancehall, Cricklewood (1965/1975).

Born of Irish parents during the Blitz of London, he spent his first five years of life nurtured and moulded by his grandmother in the foothills above Dolla, near Nenagh in County Tipperary. His grandmother is and always was his inspiration; she had a natural gift with words.

Edward has always been interested in folklore and the Irish past (its music, dance and literature). He was a champion Irish step-dancer. He taught and adjudicated it, even as far afield as in Australia, before dedicating himself to research into hillside communities in north Tipperary, from where he brought back tapes of original songs for The English Folk Dance and Song Society.

He keeps a small farm in the foothills of north Tipperary and visits it often.

The first three books in the series are entitled “Tales from Tipperarary”, “Reflections” and “From Time to Time”.

 

“Old Faces” by Edward Forde Hickey is currently available in paperback from Amazon at:

This book is also available to download in e-book format from Amazon at:

Press/Media Contact Details:

Grosvenor House Publishing
Tel. 0208 339 6060
E-mail: info@grosvenorhousepublishing.co.uk

Book Review: Captain Arnold and Other Tales of the Abnormal by Arthur M. Doweyko

Join Dr. Arthur Doweyko in a mind-boggling excursion into alternate realities with stories designed to stretch your view of our Universe. Robots, angels and ghosts will be your companions as you travel through a life that could have been and struggle to change a life that should not have been. PLUS Enjoy a bonus. His award-winning essay FIVE REASONS TO WONDER An exploration of the meaning of existence through several very curious observations of the world around us. 

Amazon

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

I enjoyed all of these short stories. I read this book while I was out of town, and I knew it would be a couple of weeks before I posted my review, so I made a few quick notes as I read it. While glancing through my notes, there were quite a few that I wrote “odd ending” or “weird ending.” That doesn’t mean I didn’t like them but that the endings were not what one would expect.

I was beginning to think that none of the stories would have a happy ending, but there ended up being a couple that did. Although I liked all of the stories, I had my favorites of course. The last two stories, “Guardian Angel” (yes, about a guardian angel) and “Lost and Found” (about Arthur who lost his father when he was a kid), were my absolute favorites.

Several of the stories such as “Retirement,” “What Goes Around” and “Son” were really out there but I also liked them a lot. The title story, “Captain Arnold,” is about a sick boy and it’s interesting, exciting, and sad all in one. “Edge” and “FLib734” are science fiction and weird but very good.

If you like short stories and don’t mind reading things that are a little different, then you definitely should get this book!

About the Author

As a scientist, Arthur has authored 100+ publications, and shares the 2008 Thomas Alva Edison Patent Award for the discovery of Sprycel, a new anti-cancer drug. He writes hard science fiction, fantasy and horror. His debut novel, Algorithm, which is a story about DNA and the purpose of humanity, garnered a 2010 Royal Palm Literary Award (RPLA) and was published by E-Lit Books, NY in October, 2014. His second novel, Angela’s Apple, now called As Wings Unfurl, won 1st Place Best Science Fiction Novel at the 2014 RPLA and has been published by Red Adept (July, 2016). He has published a number of award-winning short stories, including several with Honorable Mentions in the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future competitions. He is currently working on a novel about the last creature with a human brain. He lives in Florida with his wife Lidia, teaching and wandering the beaches.

Website: http://www.ArthurMDoweyko.com
Twitter: aweyken

Short Story Review: Ghosts and Bad Toasts by Trixie Silvertale

Ghosts and Bad Toasts (Mitzy Moon Mysteries 9.5) is a short story is from the Cold Cases and Haunted Places Anthology, which is no longer available. I thought I’d still share it since I just found it in my TBR list (I can’t believe I forgot about it!). This is such a fun series to read!

My Review

Mitzy Moon inherited her grandmother’s bookstore even though she hadn’t known her. She’s gotten close to her grandmother’s ghost as well as others who had been close to her grandmother…even Mitzy’s father. She also has found the love of her life in Erick, the sheriff of the town she moved to.

When Mitzy attends a Halloween party at an old asylum that’s supposed to be haunted, she find out pretty quickly that it’s truly haunted. One of the ghosts was a mobster who was gunned down during prohibition and another is a relative of Mitzy’s. She’s unable to find out much though because someone is murdered and she has to leave.

Through investigation and with a little assistance from her grams and her solicitor/alchemist friend, Mitzy learns what she has to do to help the ghosts cross over. Will it be a simple crossing or will it be more difficult as is usually the case for Mitzy?

This is a quick read and nice in-between story while waiting for the next paranormal mystery about Mitzy and her sidekicks.

About the Author

Trixie Silvertale grew up reading an endless supply of Lillian Jackson Braun, Hardy Boys, and Nancy Drew novels. She loves the amateur sleuths in cozy mysteries and is obsessed with all things paranormal. Those two passions unite in her Mitzy Moon Mysteries, and she’s thrilled to write them and share them with you.

When she’s not consumed by writing, she bakes to fuel her creative engine and tends to her herb garden.

Website: http://www.trixiesilvertale.com

Book Review: Development by Henry Bassett

Barney has been brought up under the watchful eye of humans, known as the Johnsons, where he has found a peacefully tolerable existence. Turmoil in the family pushes him out into the town which took the place of the forest that once stood before it. Darkness envelops him as he experiences humans who are less favourable of bears whilst he attempts to latch on to hope of his former way of life. 

Pre-order on Amazon

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Development is the second story in the series The Black Bear Brotherhood. Humans took over the bears’ planet in Arrival when Barney was just a cub. Now, Barney is grown and bears are the humans’ slaves. Barney doesn’t seem to remember freedom and accepts his place in this world. The way the bears are treated breaks my heart because most of them are treated poorly. They are considered property, not equals.

I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series, and I’m hoping the bears rebel. The only thing I don’t like about these stories is that they’re so short. I would prefer all of them in one book.

About the Author

Henry Bassett is an ebook writer first published in early 2019 with The Dead Chronicles of Martha Railer series; a supernatural urban dark fantasy which comprises of six instalments. He went on to write dark fantasy one-offs and, at this time, is working on a new dark fantasy series The Black Bear Brotherhood.

Website: Henry Bassett (wordpress.com)

Book Review: Arrival by Henry Bassett

A bear, known only as Caver, recounts when his planet was covered in nature and not yet tainted by human touch. Since then, humans have branched out from another world and enveloped his planet. The differences between the two species result in an atmosphere of fear which rips apart the old way of life and enforces the creation of an apparently more civilised one. However, how much will be lost in the process?

Amazon

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Arrival is the first story in the series The Black Bear Brotherhood. Although it’s short, it’s interesting. Caver is a bear whose planet is invaded by humans. As he works as their slave, he remembers when they first arrived. Both in the past and currently, some of what Caver sees is confusing, but it’s realistic since it’s from his point of view, and he can’t understand what he calls are our “screeches.”

This is a sad but true look at the way we would probably be perceived if we arrived on a planet. Arrival was too short and left me wanting more. Thankfully, I have the next installment to read, and it’s a little longer.

About the Author

Henry Bassett is an ebook writer first published in early 2019 with The Dead Chronicles of Martha Railer series; a supernatural urban dark fantasy which comprises of six instalments. He went on to write dark fantasy one-offs and, at this time, is working on a new dark fantasy series The Black Bear Brotherhood.

Website: Henry Bassett (wordpress.com)