Tuesday, September 26, 2017


Hi, everyone!

First thing’s first, I’ve decided that today’s post will be the last of the series for the month. Partially because I hadn’t determined my last topic, but mostly because I’m going to be at Maranatha Writers Conference! If you’ll recall, I’ve never been to a writer’s conference before, so I’m hoping I’ll get a lot out of it and have a lot of fun along the way.

Anyway, I’ll be off the grid for a short while, but when I come back next week, I’ll tell you all about the conference before we jump into the next series.

Thank you all so much for your understanding! I’m not leaving you for long, don’t worry.

For now, we’ve reached the final topic of September, and it’s a topic I’ve been holding off on for a while, mostly because I know how much short fiction is out there these days.

Robin Parrish – The Corridor

Like I said, there’s a plethora of short fiction out there these days. In fact, the majority of what you’ll find online leans toward short fiction (looking at you, Kindle book writers). But there’s something to be said for a novella that’s actually satisfying, one that you actually want to read all the way to the end and aren’t disappointed by when you get there.

The Corridor is one of those. I’ll admit though, I really enjoy Parrish’s books, so I’d had my eye on this one for quite a while before I finally picked it up. (there’s also something to be said for a YA writer who’s able to hold my attention consistently, like that)

There’s this phenomena occurring lately, of writers pumping out novella after novella without really being edited (we’ve discussed that before, I believe), so when I come across a short fiction book that I actually enjoy, I want to shout it to the world.

The Corridor is about a boy who wakes up in a maze, with multiple levels that try to kill him along the way. There’s a voice in his head, telling him what to do and where to go, but for the most part, he’s on his own. He has to find his way to the end of the maze before the corridor kills him—or is he already dead?

It’s really quite fascinating, and honestly it sounded like one of those stories where you’d get to the end and be disappointed by what’s left there. The Corridor wasn’t like that.

If you’re a short fiction suspense writer, this is definitely a book you need to pick up. Parrish expertly creates young characters that feel as real as could be, and at weaving a suspenseful story that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

I finished The Corridor in a day, if that tells you anything.

The thing is, we’re all so numb and accustomed to mundane short fiction that we probably don’t even realize what we’re reading isn’t all that good. Trust me, I’ve read a lot of short fiction. I know how hard it is to find something that I, as an editor, consider to be a good story.

If you’re a short fiction writer, do yourself a favor and pick this book up.

It might not be one you’ve heard of before, it might be a theme that makes you a little uncomfortable by the time you get in there, but it’ll all be worth it by the time you reach the end.

And if you’re not a short fiction writer, you should also pick this book up.

Why? Because we need to keep in mind how many shorter stories are wound within the big picture of our novel. That’s why I read so much short fiction to begin with.

The Corridor is a reminder that you can have a complete and satisfying story contained within a few pages—and that’s what makes it an amazing read, for fiction writers all around.

Seriously. Go pick up a copy. It’s not even expensive.

Soapbox moment: Also, if you still think $20 is expensive for a book, you’d better check yourself. How much do you pay yourself for the hours you spent writing your book, hm? Because yes, you should be compensated for that time. Someone put in a lot of time and effort to write that book, and they deserve to be paid for it.


{Rani Divine}

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Do you believe in monsters?

Today, I’ll be talking about two books, by the same author. They’re different stories, not in the same series at all, but I think they’re both incredibly good in one specific aspect, so I thought it best to discuss both of them at the same time. Besides, then you’ll have options in deciding which story you want to read when it comes down to it. 

Also, mild spoilers throughout this post, so if you really hate spoilers, might want to skip this one. If you're someone who reads a lot though, you probably wouldn't count what I'm about to tell you as a spoiler, because you'll already have inferred what's going on by the time you read the books' descriptions. 

Monster & The Oath – Frank Peretti

For once, this is something I’ve actually never touched in any of my stories—but it is something that I’ve considered writing on, because I do greatly enjoy stories of this nature. That’s also part of why I decided to bring it up, in general.

If there’s one thing that Peretti excels at doing, it’s writing legend as though it were a natural part of life, as though of course it should exist, as though it fit perfectly into the real world without stretching our imagination at all. That’s what we’re talking about today, hopefully with a general lack of spoilers.

I read a lot of fantasy fiction. And I do mean a lot. RAD Writing gets a lot of fantasy submissions, plus I have a lot of friends who write in the genre. Oh yeah, and it’s the predominate genre I’ve been published in as of late. I know what makes good fantasy and what makes very poorly worked fantasy. I really do. So I know how hard it is to make good fantasy fiction, to make everything flow seamlessly. Which is why I bring up Peretti. Partially because I don’t like to use my own work as an example. That just seems conceited, doesn’t it?

Peretti has this way of writing spectacular fiction, all of which really forces the reader to think, but he does so as though it’s the simplest thing in the world. He portrays things like sasquatches and dragons as though it should be obvious that they exist—so much so that readers don’t even notice when they’ve suspended reality to delve into the book.

I’ll tell you right now, that’s not very common in fantasy fiction taking place on earth. Most of the time, there’s a period in the beginning of the book where the reader has to focus, to make themselves really believe that this is the way the world works. Even in stories that take place on other worlds, there’s almost always a short number of chapters where the reader struggles to really believe what’s going on in the story.

There’s usually no way around it. Dragons aren’t real, after all. We have difficulty believing in them as actual things, especially in today’s modern world.

But there are some stories (a lot of them, actually) where authors could easily benefit by reading books like Peretti’s, by reading stories where of course sasquatch is real, didn’t you know? It’s the most obvious thing in the world.

If you want to get better at that, if you want to be better at writing creatures of this nature in general, read some Peretti. And if you want to be thrilled out of your seats, try out This Present Darkness as well. I still haven’t made it all the way through, and not for lack of amazing writing.


{Rani D.}

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


Today’s book comes from the historical fiction genre, which is something I don’t often read. But when it comes to this author, I’ll read most anything she writes—mostly because it’s all just that good. I’ve read a few of her books multiple times, getting idea after idea from the way she masterfully uses words. If you haven’t read her yet, you’re really missing out.

But for today, I wanted to talk about something that’s in almost every novel (or series), if I’m being honest. It’s very rare to find a work that doesn’t have this in some way, shape, or form. It’s always there, always. Even in life, it’s something many people’s worlds revolve around—which is likely why it’s ended up in so much fiction.

What’s that, you ask? Why, it’s love, of course.

The Legend of Sheba – Tosca Lee

Now, I’m using this story for a very specific reason. See, Sheba is based off a theory, off a single verse in the Bible which states that King Solomon gave to the Queen of Sheba everything that she desired. The theory, which many Israelites still believe, is that the queen returned to Sheba pregnant with Solomon’s child. It’s a very fascinating story in general, if you ever find yourself wanting to know more about it. There’s something called the right of return, or there was, I’m not sure that it’s still in place, but it allowed Ethiopians to become Israeli citizens simply by stepping foot on Israeli soil, because Sheba is believed to be Ethiopia.

Anyway, I’ve digressed. This is a love story we’re talking about, not just historical fiction.

The thing with Tosca is that she’s really good at writing extremely natural love stories, stories that feel like they’re real. And that’s exactly what she does with Legend of Sheba. There is no point in the story where I felt like this wasn’t what the characters would naturally do, no moment where I wondered if this was actually what was going on—and that’s exactly how it should be.

Really though, the best part of it is that she wrote this fully realistic and highly sexual story without ever having “on-screen” sex between her characters.

I know what you’re thinking though. The predominate theory out there is that erotica sells better than anything else, and in some cases you might be right, but unless a story is designed to be nothing but erotic, it doesn’t need that much heat. It is completely possible to write a love story without showing the readers every single thing in which the characters take part. Tosca is amazing at that.

I’m an easy blusher; I really am. So it’s hard for me to read any form of erotica for that reason, aside from the fact that the stories are usually incredibly easy to poke holes into. That’s beside the point though.

Tosca’s story does something that not a lot of stories do these days. It portrays a love story, a sexual relationship, without going so in-detail that she would quickly lose two-thirds of her audience (because that’s really what you do when you write erotica: you write for a very specific group of people, who only read erotica). Most audiences are looking for story, not sex.

That’s why I picked this book as one you should check out.

If you’re planning on writing a love story, one where the characters are highly dynamic and realistic in almost every way, if you’re wanting to write a sexual relationship without alienation between audiences, then you must check out this book.

Seriously, I’ve read it four times already. It’s beautiful. Read the prequel short, Ismeni, as well. For other reasons though.


{Rani D.}