Vortex – Five star review on Amazon

An excellent five star review of Vortex.

 

I just finished Vortex. I must say it was like hosting a neighborhood potluck with all your friends bringing their A dishes. I certainly skipped all the starchy food so as to leave room for the very best. I was not disappointed. Vortex, an anthology of literary fiction, is edited by Grant P. Hudson and published by the independent Clarendon House Publishing, based in Sheffield, England but it features authors from around the world.
I loved every story – the grand ideas and then execution of the grand ideas – the craftsmanship and beauty of the words. I think if a person only reads bestsellers and classic short stories anthologies they really missing out on a lot of great stories. I had a favorite story in Vortex, it was “The Sins of the Father” by David Bowmore. It was an absolute page turner and just a riveting story about a priest whose moral weaknesses were about to catch up with him.
Other jewels in the crown were “The Vanishing of M. Renior” by RLM Cooper, “Concrete” by Bill Swiggs, “Burnt Candle” by Marlon Hayes and “A Rock N’ Roll Song” by Samantha Hamilton. The stories all had grand ideas, a great soul to them and executions of their grand ideas were flawless.
“The Vanishing of M. Renior” is about a young American Magazine reporter in Paris, just before World War II who meets a true Parisian gentlemen M. Renior who takes him periodically for conversation and they develop a friendship. Later, M. Renior pretends not to know him. The puzzled reporter must evacuate to London before the shooting war begins. When he investigates a story about the child refugees fleeing to England, he discovers what a truly courageous gentlemen M. Renior is.
“Concrete” is about a Australian farmer who disowns his son for volunteering for the Army to fight in the Vietnam. The son is killed in action and wins a medal of valor. And still the father cannot forgive until a surviving war buddy of his son who was saved by his son comes to the farm. “Burned Candles” is about a close knit African American family in Chicago trying to heal from the memories of the violent shooting death of one son and the imprisonment of a second son for his revenge killing. What stands out most about this piece is the natural dialogue of the storyteller.
“Rock N’ Roll Song” is a story told from the point of view of a Rock N’ Roll song about a young talented rock star from Iowa who is destroyed by the fast paced life of instantaneous success. It is heart wrenching but at the same time exhilarating and certainly artistically bold and creative.
The stories were great, no false notes and the endings were all strong. I think these five pieces would hold their own in any university anthology featuring the greats like Edgar Allen Poe, Stephen Crane, and Ernest Hemingway.
I thought “The Midas Agency” by L.E. Lacaille to be an over-the-top quirky humorous piece of work on karma, fame and success told tongue in cheek. I absolutely loved its dark alternate world humor. Mops and Fairytales by Catherine A. McKenzie was a marvelously disturbing piece about a middle aged woman unable to cope with life.
“A Taste of Friendship” by Shawn Klimek was wonderfully neurotic about a lonely neighbor who unexpectedly receives a cupcake from an anonymous neighbor. “The Taxi” by Edward C. Hartshorn was funny.
I thought “Animal Pancakes” by Traci Mullins and “The Blizzard” by Copper Rose were wonderful pieces about the deaths of close aged family members. It is always a shock to lose someone you assume would be around forever.
Mehreen Ahmed’s “At the Far End of the Alley” was a nice meditation on love and the contrast between love within the bounds of society and adulterous love that ruins families told as if it was a Pakistani fairy tale.
A lot of effort and talent went into all the stories in Vortex. If I did not mention a story, it is because I don’t think laundry lists are helpful. I honestly enjoyed every single story. They were all certainly well worth the read.
Certainly the world of independent publishing houses are a source of great literary works for those who enjoy the refinement of a plate of oysters Rockefeller to go with your homemade macaroni and cheese.

 

Vortex: The Inner Circles Literary Anthology is available in paperback from Lulu.com and for your Kindle at Amazon

 

Brian Moore

Bright was the night that Brian Moore chose to hide up in a fisherman’s shed. A full moon so brilliant the stars lost their own luminescence, dimmed for one night only by luna glory. Looking straight at it brought water to Brian’s eyes.

Brian hopped over big walls into the gardens of houses belonging to the well-to-do of the little town. One garden to the next and then the next, in his attempt to steer clear of Sergent Hill. The punishment he had received, a few nights earlier, had been beyond cruel. Locked in an old Anderson shelter overnight with no light or water, he had messed his pants which only sent his mum into yet another rage. What did she expect? It was all her fault. She had got the policeman to punish him in the first place, and for what reason, because he didn’t like school?

What 12 year old did?

He would rather be out in the wild, than sitting in a boring classroom. He knew things about the land and the forest no teacher did. He knew the habits of badgers and birds. He could snare rabbits and skin ’em too. But no, his mum wanted him to be just like the others.

Bollocks to that.

Now she had set Sergent Hill after him again and he needed a safe place. Somewhere the fat pig wouldn’t think of looking. He made his way, in a round the houses fashion, down to the beach and climbed into an old shed. Turned the parafin heater on, and kipped down for the night in front of it.

Old Nick nudged the boy awake with the tip of his boot.

“Wake up young’un.” he said

The boy tried to dart away on his hands and knees, but Old Nick’s boot soon had him pinned to the floor.

“Sorry.” Brian yelped.

Old Nick having spent time in Japan from ’42 to ’46 recognised genuine fear when he saw it, and the pressure on the boy’s chest lessened.

“Yer not in trouble, boy. But ya owe me for breaking in and use o’ the gas.”

“I don’t have no money.”

“Best ya work yer debt off then. Help me gut some fish, and then we’ll think about mending the lock together. How about that then Moony?”

“Moony?”

“I got to call ya something, int I” said Old Nick smiling and holding out his hand.

Brian waited a few seconds, then put his own hand forward, and they shook on it.

I Have An Editor

A few days ago, I submitted a piece of flash fiction to an editor. 1500 words to be proofread and content edited. Why, you might ask, would one want an editor to look at such a short piece of fiction?

  1. I had read and re-read it so much that small mistakes went unnoticed – that’s right I had gone word blind. I needed help, and was willing to take criticism from a professional.
  2. My sentence structure was smartened up, and the story flowed better after my editor’s input.
  3. The staggering amount of work was impressive. Her notes informed me, I found I was learning or re-learning because of the experience. I was shown things I do incorrectly without realising I was doing them. Now I can try to avoid these bad habits before they become too ingrained.
  4. I feel like an author now – I can say “Yes, I have an editor” or “My editor says”. Silly I know, but hey.

If anyone is interested in finding a professional editor at reasonable rates I can highly recommend Cat Chester at pinkproof – she was fast and very professional. Her feedback encouraged as well as corrected. As I said to her afterwards, I felt like I was handing in my homework for a school project, I was very nervous about what she would say. I shouldn’t have been, a more helpful and supportive experience I couldn’t have hoped for. I wish my school teachers could have been half this helpful.

I have asked her to look at another short fiction today, and wait with baited breathe for her observations.

www.pinkproof.co.uk