I was planning on writing a review when I finished reading this book, but it appears as though I may never be completely finished with it. As I travel around the country for work, Shortstack has been a constant companion for the past few months. It stays neatly tucked inside of my bag beside my laptop and I pull it out and read a short story at the airport, or before bed, or while waiting for a meal to be brought out at a restaurant. There, I open the thing up anywhere and read whatever short story emerges.
I must have, by now, read each one at least half a dozen times, but it doesn't seem to bother me. I still keep opening the thing and reading them over. While not usually a fan of short stories, I am a very big fan of Timothy Hurley. The stories he has assembled in this book are very much like the proverbial box of chocolates, as the reader never really does know what they are going to get. There are heart touching truth based tales about the author's world that remind me of Robert Fulghum with lessons from a life well lived. And there are whimsical, seemingly nonsensical tales that you have to read two or three times to find all of the little hidden gems of wit in.
Whatever story you open to though, you may be certain that it will be a good one, well written, well crafted, and well delivered. Shortstack has found a permanent place in my world, alongside a very limited number of books that I hold dear and reach to open, time and time again. That's why I had to finally write this review...because I'll never be completely finished reading this one.
Shortstack on Amazon
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Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
I just finished reading The Sky Behind Me by Byron Edgington.
At face value, it is the memoir of a man who spent a lifetime in the air as a helicopter pilot. It's nostalgic and endearing and touching and sentimental and contains some great stories. But forget about all that stuff. Forget about flying. Forget about Vietnam. Forget about saving lives in Iowa.
What is impossible to forget is the fact that Byron Edgington is a great writer. The sentences are concise and powerful and the period seems to slam shut on the words. I am reminded of how Hemingway mastered the short sentence and harnessed the power of thrift for a time.
Sentences become stories and there are stories within the stories, and all are drawn steadily downstream by a philosophical undercurrent that reminded me time and again of Richard Bach. So much so that I was not surprised to see the name mentioned toward the end of the book.
To me, this is less a memoir about flying, and more a genuine work of literary art to be appreciated by connoisseurs of the written word. No matter what Edgington decides to write his next book about, I'll be standing in line to buy a copy because with writers like this, there is always so much more to it than first meets the eye. I am an overnight fan.
|Author Byron Edgington|
Sunday, July 21, 2013
My Five Star Review:
The Blank Slate Boarding House for Creatives tells an enchanting story. However, for this reader, the journey into the writing of Chaunce Stanton transcended the story itself. Mr. Stanton has created some incredible prose within this novel, worthy of standing alone as, if not poetry, then as moments of literary genius. As when reading classic works, I found myself reviewing sentences and paragraphs to savor them all the more, and even writing them down to better remember them and appreciate both style and structure. I'll not speak to the plot for fear of giving it away, except to say that layers of depth exist beyond this apparently simple tale. I would recommend this book to anyone who has genuine appreciation for the craft of the written word, and I look forward to reading future works from this author.
What can I say about Chaunce Stanton the author? Almost nothing that he hasn't already said about himself. Stanton doesn't have a serious bone in is body. He is a prankster and a whacky jester without a court; a clown without (a) class! There isn't anything apparently serious about the man at all...and yet he has managed to create some very serious literary fiction in his latest work, The Blank Slate Boarding House for Creatives.
Like any great work of literary fiction, I doubt that you'll ever see it on the shelves of the Mega Mart beside a Fifty Shades trilogy, and it is far too literary and complex to be appreciated by most of the instant gratification world we live in. BUT, it will always be among my favorite works and I will, in all seriousness, read anything that Stanton creates in the future. The story was good. The writing was phenomenal. It teeters at times, upon the edge of perfection that every writer aspires to.
For the purpose of full disclosure, and to those who might be thinking that I am only posting this because Chaunce Stanton is probably a friend of mine, I say this:
I am from Iowa. Chaunce Stanton is from Minnesota. We are sworn enemies and it is likely that we could inflict grave injury to one another in the future, engaged in some snowball skirmish (we pack them with ice so they hurt more) between the states.
AMAZON LINK TO BLANK SLATE NOVEL
Thanks for Reading, Everyone!
Monday, June 10, 2013
|Buzz at the end of a workday|
|Link to Writer's Community LAHK|
My absence in the G+ writer's community, Literary Agents Hate Kittens, has even led to some speculation about what I might be up to by some folks who obviously have entirely too much time on their hands...
Timothy Hurley's Site
Chaunce Stanton's Site
That doesn't mean I'll be losing myself to the new career entirely. I'll still be writing some new posts now and again here, and visiting the community in G+, and writing for all of those the wonderful nonpaying websites and e-zines. And there are some upcoming events I already have chiseled into my schedule...
Anyhow, if everything goes as planned, then you can meet all three of us in person (Buzz, Chaunce, and Doc Hurley) at the Iowa City Book Festival. Least ways, I plan on being there no matter how unreliable the other two might be. And, again (and this time with a much bigger IF), each of us should have copies of our newest books in hand to sell, sign, and giveaway following countless hours of boredom without any sales. If you're in the continental U.S. then we'll look forward to seeing you there. If you're penniless and have to hitchhike, we can always let you sleep on Doc Hurley's hotel room floor...but you should be aware... he bites. No really. A certified sleep biter.
Doc Hurley is going to make a scheduled stop between the coasts for once and hock his book, Shortstack (if the pressure of finishing the thing doesn't crush him before then. Chaunce Stanton is planning on finally having words to go along with the impressive cover and cool marketing graphics that he apparently completed years before he ever even began to write the thing.
In the meantime, please keep writing folks! And thank you all so much for reading and making this little blog such a huge success.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
|Timothy Hurley, plotting to ruin the publishing industry. |
"I wonder what I can do to piss Buzz off today?"
Doc Hurley's Site
Timothy Hurley's Amazon Page
|"I'll get you, Timothy Hurley! You son of a..."|
|"Well...I never! Of all the nerve of these indie authors!"|
"It’s rather like someone off the street, with no experience or education in the area, coming to your place of employment, for which you went to school to get a degree, and insisting that they do YOUR JOB–and worse, sometimes getting paid YOUR SALARY for it."
|"I don't understand. What's "out of context" mean again?"|
Yes, I totally took that out of context because she was referring to authors who expend a considerable amount of energy into honing their craft vs. the ones who don't. But I thought that it was a beautifully framed synopsis of every writer and agent and publisher and reviewer who abhors the independent author movement. In fact, I was inspired to write a comment of my own...
|"This is going right up on the fridge! It's beautiful. Another Doc Hurley Original!"|
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
|Williamson, Iowa Main Street|
|They would've looked a lot like this, only dirtier, I'm a guessin'|
|"Watch the hands, pal."|
I don't remember it of course, but my uncle's wife had a sister who lived just up the road in Williamson. And that sister had a little baby girl who was born just four months after I was. The two mothers would see one another from time to time and they'd all compare the babies. One was small and beautiful and perfect and they named her Lorri. The other one had a giant head that was three sizes too big for his body, and he weighed ninety pounds at birth, and as if all that wasn't bad enough, they named the poor little bastard Buzz.
|Lorri, if she were alive in the Depression era and wore dresses as a child instead of her signature bibs (bibs, by the way, that being children of the 1970's and having particularly cruel parents, were probably plaid AND corduroy).|
|She still gets me to do stuff for her with this look.|
|And if I don't do it, then I get this look.|
...And other times, she'd get mad and yell stuff at us, or chuck a rock our way, or throw a mud pie (when in season, of course).
|If it were up to Lorri, the mule would be INSIDE the house|
From that first time we walked by her house when we were all still very small, I've always turned my head to look at her again. Through the years, each and every time I saw her, she turned my head and took my breath away.
It must have looked a lot like these two, except I was seldom lucky enough to get this close. Until one day, a miracle happened and she simply stopped running from me.
Looking back, I have come to believe that some angel had been watching me come into this world. She knew that I'd be a handful, and that I'd need some taking care of and guidance and watching over (sort of a special needs soul, if you will). It was too much of a chore to take care of me from way up there and from so far away, so she followed me here instead.
Happy 40th Birthday Lorri!
Friday, May 10, 2013
|"WHEN I WROTE the following pages, or rather the bulk of them, I lived alone, in the woods, without a razor blade."|
|What on earth will the neighbors think?|
|They were gonna get it anyways...somehow.|
|You will sit there until you stop wanting to be a writer!|
|"He said he wants to be a writer!"|
|It seemed like a good idea at the time.|
|"This Buzz Malone fellow writes rubbish. I shall buy his new book so I can say it is rubbish as well, I think."|
|"We've been looking for you, Mr. Malone."|
Insert embarrassed remark from my mother here, saying, "oh, Buzz. Why did you have to tell them that? What will people think?"
Me: "Umm, I dunno. That I'm a broke writer."
|Me on my way to town. Yes. I am that cute. Really...if that puppy were a 40 year old fat man.|
|"We'd be insane to loan you money, Mr. Malone. Insane!"|
Thanks for reading!