Armchair BEA – Day 3: Expanding Horizons & Short Stories

Armchair BEA - Day 3: Expanding Horizons & Short Stories

Expanding Blogging Horizons
What do you think about when you think about going beyond blogging or expanding your horizons? Is it a redesign of your blog? Have you branched out into freelance writing or even published a novel of your very own? Or, have you moved into a different venue like podcasts or vlogging? This is the day to tell us about how you have expanded on blogging in your own unique way.

Novellas/Short Stories
Now it is time to give a little love to those little stories in your life. Share your love for your favorite shorts of any form. What is a short story or novella that doesn’t get the attention that it deserves? Recommend to readers what shorts you would recommend they start with. How about listing some short story anthologies based upon genres or authors?

Today’s brief had me doing a two-for-one sort of post.  Mostly because I can’t pass up an opportunity to talk about my addiction to short stories, and well, what I’ve done about expanding my blogging horizons.

Let’s start with the blogging: I never realized just how many requests and opportunities that there would be for a book blogger who was willing to read most every genre, and that was a huge surprise: I’ve reviewed lit fic, biographies, poetry, short story collections, and even children’s books. The only sort of story that I don’t feel drawn to almost instantly is horror, although I’ve read some really good darker stories.  But, the reviewing alone has brought me several different opportunities from authors, from beta reading and editing to organizing reviews from other readers, promoting and even doing some tour scheduling and organizing.  I’ve managed review teams for an on-line eMagazine, I work in tandem with another blog owner to keep posts in front of eyes, and I’ve done everything for my own blog from transferring hosts and designs to starting from point A for another site.

I think you are only limited by your imagination, your determination and your ability to learn skills on the fly, and being able to utilize the connections made as a book blogger to extend your reach, range and offerings.

But – expanding can just be changing a point of view or taking a chance on a new opportunity
♦ Visit other blogs, see how they are doing things
♦ Participate in hops or tours or challenges, stretch yourself
♦  Interview other bloggers / authors on your site – make yourself available for the same from others
♦  Fins a new genre, a new outlet, promote to somewhere different – don’t just constrain yourself to twitter and facebook
♦ Submit, submit, submit. You are only restrained by your own willingness to take chances !


Part 2 is short stories – and I will completely admit to an addiction: I love the precision of a story that, in 2500 – 7000 or so words will set a scene, present an idea and bring it to completion.  From individual stories from well-known authors to collections and even the indie market: good short story writing is an art,  requiring ruthless editing, a thesaurus and a solid point of view.

Every week I listen to NPR and they have a show called Selected Shorts.  Work is performed and presented for a live audience, and whether there is a connecting thread of author or subject matter, it Is an hour that never fails to delight.  I’ve always loved being read to, and this hour just brings back all of those good memories.

But, short stories do many things: they give you a moment of respite in a busy day when you are not able to take hours away to just read. Collections that focus on a specific theme will always have something that interests your feeling and mood at the moment.  Some are funny, others are poignant, but a good short story leaves you feeling satisfied with its construction and characters.

You always need to understand that great character growth and development in a short story is a rare find, but establishing the character IN that point of time is integral: the voice, the approach should all lead to clues for a reader to build the characters in their mind.  If the author doesn’t know or understand WHO their characters are  – the reader won’t either.

I’ve read several great collections of short stories: my favorites by far are those from the pen of Mike Twist.  From the first to the last, his stories are unique, different and complete, with twists that are truly surprising and a voice that is highly unique.  I’ve put links to his work on Amazon here, and linked the reviews of his work that I have done.

 Twist’s Tales: Volume 1

Full of Choices: Volume 2 

Touch of Beyond: Volume 3

Elements of Darkness: Volume # 4

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