Friday, March 8, 2019

The Gift of Writing Short Stories

March 8, 2018

The Gift of Writing Short Stories

I have no idea where this week went. It seems as if the older I get, the faster my life. Sometimes, I have to remind myself to stop and smell the roses by spending time with my family and friends who are an important part of my life. I had two days this week spending it with three of my grandchildren. We painted, we drew, we played Jenga and more. My grandson who is twelve was even inspired to write a short story and I want to share it with you now. As a grandmother that made me proud. As an author, I beamed because somehow, someway, our youth are encouraged to write which means that they are encouraged to read as well. I challenge anyone reading today's blog to encourage the love of writing and reading to the children in your life.

The Scary Hour

Stamatis G.

It all began at 2:58 a.m. as a young six-year-old girl named Erin was woken up by a sudden "Woosh!"

"Ahh, what was that?" Erin's eyes darted toward the sound. She screamed as she grabbed the flashlight and a pocketknife she kept on her windowsill.

"Come out, I know your there." She looked at her alarm clock and saw that it was 3:00 a.m., the scary hour. The lights flashed on and off, her television flickered to different horror channels, but worts of all, she saw two horns outside of her window.

She tiptoed to the window and opened it. A flash of lightning boomed, but she saw nothing. She turned her head back toward the television. "Help! Help!"

After she bolted to the door, she tried to unlock it, but it wouldn't budge; and no one was ther to help her.

Now 3:30 a.m., she panicked, and she went to the only way out -- her basement. "De-De Demons," she cried. Poisonous snakes surrounded her. She passed out and found herself on Planet D-E-M-O-N 49.

"You can't do this," she yelled. Now it was pitch black in a grave and stuck there for eternity at 3:59 a.m.

Erin woke up and checked herself and her surroundings, but little did she know, there was a horn sticking out from beneath her bed. The End.

Today's author interview offers a historical and romantic novel with a twist of time travel. The novel, Anna's Song: Cries from the Earth, Book 1 by Brenda Gates offers us a twist and is available on Amazon. Here is Brenda's interview.

Brenda Gates

Name of Book: Anna’s Song: Cries From the Earth, Book 1

Year Published: 2018

Publisher: Indie (Amazon)


Twitter: Brenda Gates@_Brenda Gates



Tell your readers a little about yourself, where you grew up, where you live now, where you went to school etc. Let them get to know the personal you.

Born in the heat of the Chicago summer, I followed the sunshine to Puerto Rico where I spent my formative years. I headed to college in Tennessee, finished a degree in nursing, and married my one true love. We raised four kiddos, a couple of squirrels, and various pets over the years. While homeschooling our children, I discovered a fascination with history and travel. Always plagued with an overactive imagination and a love of words, fiction writing was the natural next step. Now a grandmother of four with two more on the way, I currently live in Southern Illinois with my hubby, a teenage son, a dog who thinks she’s a mother to a cat, and a cat who thinks he’s a dog.

What inspired you to write this book?

One evening my son, daughter and I were having a writing word race—a timed session where we competed to see who could write the most and still be interesting. It was then the opening chapter to this book was born - the evening before I’d had the coolest dream. In my dream, I held a wine glass in my hand and could see my reflection in the condensation. Reaching a finger to wipe off the water droplets, I suddenly fell through a vortex in time and landed in the middle of the Civil War. When I woke up, I said, “Now there’s a great story.” Add to the mixture some very fascinating Civil War family history I’d always wanted to write about, plus a house full of music, and Anna’s Song began to grow.

Where did you get the inspiration for your book’s cover?

My main character, Anna Marie, is half Mexican, so I needed someone who looked the part. Water and music are woven throughout the story, plus Anna is a violinist. I chose the sepia colors to fit the 1860’s time travel setting.

Who has been the most significant influence on you personally and as a writer?

Oh, wow. That is a hard one. As a Christian author, I would say Francine Rivers influenced my writing the most. I also devour books by such greats as Dean Koontz, Kristin Hannah, Kate Morton, and oh, so many more! I can learn so much from their amazing skill. Personally, I would say my mother. Her faith in what I could do, her optimism, fierce love of her family, hard work, and refusal to let the hardships of life bring her down has been a huge part in shaping who I am. My husband has also been a big influencer: encouraging and pushing me to keep trying.

What were your struggles or obstacles you had to overcome to get this book written?

I am highly distractible. Learning to discipline myself is a daily struggle. To complicate things, my father became very ill during the time I was writing and rewriting (and rewriting…). I was his primary caretaker, so that was a challenge. He passed away three weeks before the book was published.

Tell your readers about your book.

Anna Marie’s identical twin, Adeline, has disappeared and she will do anything to find her. Everyone believes Adeline is dead, but Anna knows better. With a rare form of synesthesia, Anna perceives various people as sounds or songs. This connection is strongest with her twin, and Anna can still hear Adeline’s song. When Anna sees her sister’s reflection in the mirror she is convinced she has lost her mind. Then she meets Jacob. He’s tall and handsome, with odd, but charming old-fashioned manners. Despite her determination to keep to herself and trust no one, Anna is drawn to Jacob. Problem is, he’s crazy. Possibly as crazy as she is. While he doesn’t see missing people in mirrors, Jacob claims to have traveled forward in time from the year 1865.With Jacob’s arrival other strange events occur. An uncle she thought dead, appears at her home. He is very much alive and carries a burden of secrets. Despite her fear of dogs, Anna finds herself the owner of a trained German Shepherd, Bellona. Strange dreams haunt her nights. Yet nothing prepares her for what she discovers in the library newspaper archives. When her search for Adeline plunges Anna Marie back to mid Civil War Missouri, she is taken in by the Dickerson family. Soon, trouble follows. When forced from their home, the Dickersons flee south to their people in Arkansas. The war-ravaged countryside is full of danger: gangs, hunger and disease. Through moments of laughter and hours of tears, the small group of refugees cling to each other, trying to survive. Through the chaos of her life, Anna clings to one glimmer of hope. She can still hear her sister’s song. Can she survive as a wartime refugee and help the family that has done so much for her? Will her search for Adeline lead her to discover more than she bargained for? Will she learn what love really is? Will Anna find a song of her own?

Watch the Book Trailer

Who is your target audience and why?

My target audience is Christian Women ages 18+, but I’ve received rave reviews from middle age men, and a twelve-year-old girl as well. 

If you were going to give one reason for anyone looking at your book to read, why should they buy it?

History, romance, and suspense all tied up in one book!

What do you consider your greatest success in life?

A joyful family.

Everyone has life lessons to learn, tell your readers one or two of yours and how they make you the person you are today.

I grew up under the angry shadow of my father. Never a happy man, he was demanding and abusive. I wrote in secret because if he found my little stories, he’d burn them. “Fiction was a lie,” so the liar had to be punished. It made me want to write more. I became a strong and stubborn woman, rebelling at anything that reminded me of him. I had to learn to take that strength and not let it destroy the good and gentle part of life, to learn that not everything about my dad was bad, and to stop and think before reacting.

What one unique thing sets you apart from other writers in your genre?

Time travel, with a Christian worldview (but never preachy, I promise!) and a warped sense of humor.

Tell me about your blog.

My blog is an expression of who I am. I write about everything from being a wife and mom, to traveling, to the experience of being a kidney donor. I throw in occasional bits about my current work in progress. Passion and subtle (well, sometimes not so subtle) humor fill each post. I write from my heart because I don’t know how to hide it.

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