Tag Archive: short stories



Isaac Asimov is well known for his extremely numerous writing contributions to science and science fiction.  But not everyone knows he was also a mystery author and regular contributor to Ellery Queen Magazine, as well as a few others.  His most famous crime sleuths never actually went to a crime scene, nor did they go into police headquarters and announce they had cracked an important case.

No, these amateur sleuths, who call themselves the Black Widowers because once a month they come together for a dinner of just themselves and one invited guest, a man.  Women are not allowed to attend this function, hence their nickname.  For one night a month they can enjoy just the company of each other without female company, not that they object to women.  It’s simply their own little club.  The members of this little club are based on friends from the author’s own life and are listed here:

  • Geoffrey Avalon, a patent attorney (based on L. Sprague de Camp)
  • Emmanuel Rubin, a mystery novelist and acquaintance of Isaac Asimov (based on Lester del Rey)
  • James Drake, a chemist (based on Dr. John D. Clark)
  • Thomas Trumbull, an expert in cryptography for the United States government (based on Gilbert Cant)
  • Mario Gonzalo, an artist, who usually draws a portrait of the evening’s guest (based on Lin Carter)
  • Roger Halsted, a high school mathematics teacher, fond of jokes and limericks (based on Don Bensen)
  • Henry Jackson, the club’s waiter, was not based on an actual person, but according to Asimov was inspired by PG Wodehouses character Jeeves.
 
At each meeting a guest is brought by one of the members and after being served an excellent meal, are then ‘grilled’ by the group, usually by being asked “How do you justify your existence…?”  What happens in the first story sets the stage for the rest of the tales within the pages of this excellent work.
 
A puzzle is presented to the Black Widowers who systematically try to help find the answer to their guest’s dilemma. In the end, it is the esteemable Henry who provides the final solution to each of the twelve tales you will find here.  Each story is presented fairly and the reader is supplied all the hints that the Black Widowers are given.  Although Henry supplies the answer, he always credits the club members for having helped eliminate all the other options, allowing him to discover the final solution.  
 
My personal favorite in this collection is “The Acquisitive Chuckle” which is also the 1st story.  In it we learn a great deal about our hosts and even more importantly we gain keen insight into their wondrous butler Henry, a scrupulously honest man, but who is not above delivering a little payback to an old partner.
 
There is one puzzle that involves a death of one of the club member’s sister, which is touching and bittersweet, but handled very well.
As for the rest of the tales, each has its own flavor and unique outcome.  I can safely say that they are wonderful puzzles that will keep you guessing and wondering.  But at the same time it is the interplay between the characters will also keep you smiling and laughing.
 
There are 5 books in this series and I will tell you right now, each one is a 5-Star read.  I intend to review each of them as in the near future.

I know, I know, I haven’t even put out “The Ship” yet, and I’m already working on another book?  Well, I’m waiting for feedback from some of my beta-readers who are going over “The Ship” so there’s not much I can do on that front at the moment.  And it felt so darn weird, sitting at my computer and not working on something, other than doing Facebook and games.

 

Besides, I’ve been getting a lot more views on “The Vampyre Blogs–Private Edition” blog sites that have been looking very encouraging.  I really hope my creating those sites will lead to me having a really good sized audience clamoring for the book when it finally comes out in December.  In this day and age of Indie Authors and self-publishing, one has to try and be inventive to build an audience for your work.  And I keep hearing over and over again about how important it is to get the word out about your works (both finished and in progress).

 

But what I really want to talk about today is my personal experiences in writing a book that is comprised of blog entries by various characters.  It’s been hard to describe at times, when people ask me about it.  But today I finally came up with a good way to explain it.  Basically, each ‘blog entry’ is pretty much a short story in and of itself.  I’m just putting together a bunch of short stories in such a way that they tell a much larger tale.  And I’m finding it fascinating.

 

This is the first book where I’ve tried using the first-person point of view.  I’ve always been a little leery of doing this because I keep in mind that whichever character is telling the story, we only get to see what goes on inside their head.  They don’t know exactly what’s happening inside the minds of the other characters.  But, by following Bram Stoker’s example of using journal and letters, I am having a blast getting all the different characters thoughts and opinions about what is going on in and around their lives.

 

I’m actually finding this format rather easy to work with and very exciting.  I just hope the audience finds it as enjoyable and interesting.  I just finished the first entry in the novel and it came to just over 1000 words.  How long will the book be in the end?  I’m not sure, but I’m hoping to keep it under 80,000 for a change.  It will be easier to manage the edits and rewrites, so I should be able to keep to my scheduled release of December later this year.

 

I’ll follow up again soon and let you all know what other discoveries I’m making as I continue the tale.

 

Until next time, take care and keep writing!


I’ ve had few people ask me a question about my vampyre blog recently.  They’ve been wondering why I use the words “Private Edition” in the title.  The answer is simple.  I didn’t want that blog to have the same exact name as my novel out of concern that I might confuse some of my readers.  Since they are connected, I wanted the two to sound similar without being identical.  And personally speaking, I’m glad I chose “The Vampyre Blogs–Private Edition” for the title of the blog.  It seems appropriate since none of the entries appearing on that blog will be showing up in the actual novel.

The entries I post there are simply for the enjoyment of the readers.  They are a bit of free background info on some of the characters, as well as scenes that can be considered free short-stories.

I’ve already decided that since that blog has already had over 400 views in the month and a half that it was put up, I will continue to keep it going even after the novel comes out in December of this year.  I find I enjoy doing these little shorts about my vampyre and the people who’s lives touch his.

I also plan on doing more novels with him, if the first one does well.  

So in the meantime, come see what’s been happening at his dance club “The Crypt”.  There’s always something going on down there, be it big or small.  The doors are open, and you’re invited…

http://thevampyreblogs.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/nathaniels-blog-january-7th-20-a-night-at-the-crypt/

They Crypt 3


Mr. Ray Bradbury died on June 5, 2012.  It’s been a year since he left us with a legacy of books and stories, some of which have been made into movies and TV episodes (check out Ray Bradbury Theater on Amazon or YouTube).  In this blog entry I’m not going to recap his life story.  Mostly I’m going to share my own thoughts and feelings on the man from what I saw of him in his works.

Mr. Bradbury could capture the imagination in ways not many authors can.  I’m a huge fan of his short story anthologies, as well as his more lengthy works.  But it was those short stories that always captured my attention the most.  I’ve not done many myself, but I’m hoping to expand eventually.  I’m afraid I’m one of those authors who feels he has a big story to tell most of the time.  Perhaps I just haven’t come up with the right character(s) to be the voice or focus of some short stories.  I’ve got one or two in mind but I have to learn a bit more about who they are and what some of their short stories are like first.

But Mr. Bradbury’s style and ability to create characters and situations never ceased to amaze me.  He could take us to other planets, some nice others not, and allow us to meet people who were people.  They had foibles and shortcomings, a sense of duty, dreams, hopes, laughter and tears.  He had a way of making us feel the depths of these characters emotions and make us ask “How would I handle a situation like that?” without even trying.  Whether we were going to an alien planet with a cynical captain and discover that Jesus Christ had been seen there (title of the story is “The Man”), or a world that would literally love and grant you anything you wished but could turn hostile if you disrespected her (“Here There Be Tygers”),  or even taking on the prospects of reverse racism (“The Other Shoe”), he could make the readers wonder about themselves and the world around them.

But he wasn’t just about science fiction.  He could do contemporary with the best of them.  His exploration into childhood could be very moving and evoke emotions from your past with the skill of a master.  “The Sound of Summer Running” is a short that really took me back to summer days and sneakers.  How did a new pair of sneakers that were just right, feel to you?  Did you could believe you would run faster or jump higher than ever before?  What about the excitement of racing around in the front yards with your friends during those summer evenings, how did that used to feel for you?  Did you play kick the can, or hide and go seek, as the evening shadows slowly stretched and night fell?  I always loved to play then because the game became more interesting and exciting thanks to the added difficulty of the approaching dark.  And he brought all this back to me in that one little story.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that he was brilliant at conveying the human experience (for good or for bad).  There’s a charm to his work that can pull out emotions, memories or even contemplations from the  reader.  Part of this is because a lot of his characters are easy to relate to.  You can almost see yourself or people you know in them, making you feel more at home with them.

So raise a glass of Dandelion Wine or whatever your preferred beverage is and offer up a thanks to a man who gave us so much.  He’s left a lot of works behind for us to explore and enjoy, so if you get a chance to go to your local library check out a book or two of his.  You’ll be glad you did.

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