My Passion's Pen

Helping to polish what your passion pens.

Archive for the tag “thriller”

Submission window open for Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction

Submissions are open from April 1 to May 31, 2019.

Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction

“More than seventy short-story collections have appeared in the Flannery O’Connor Award series, which was established to encourage gifted emerging writers by bringing their work to a national readership. The first prize-winning book was published in 1983; the award has since become an important proving ground for writers and a showcase for the talent and promise that have brought about a resurgence in the short story as a genre.

Winners are selected through an annual competition that attracts as many as three hundred manuscripts. Submissions are open from April 1 to May 31 each year. Winners of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction include such widely read authors as Ha Jin, Antonya Nelson, Rita Ciresi, and Mary Hood.”

Roxane Gay is the series editor.

Submissions are open from April 1 to May 31, 2019.


Open Call for Pitches: Carina Press

As y’all probably know, in addition to my own editing clients, I am a part of Carina Press’s freelance editorial team. Today (from 9am-9pm EST) Carina is holding its annual #CARINAPITCH .

Now, I’m still very green in legacy publishing, so bear with me here as I attempt to explain how this works.

Carina editors will read every #CARINAPITCH. If one of us is interested in your pitch, we will ❤ it. We will then DM you with our personal submission link. Trust me, more than one of us will like your pitch, so the choice is yours. Be sure to let us know about your idea and yourself through the use of hashtags such as #POC #OwnVoice #HR , etc.

Part of what makes #CARINAPITCH great is that every submission receieved as a part of this event will get personal feedback.

There is still time to share your best ideas with us.

Review: Sharp Objects

Sharp Objects
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve had this, and Flynn’s other books, for at least six months and am just now cracking this bad boy open. I don’t quite know what to make of the story yet. The writing style is a bit peculiar, but the narrator is a strange bird. She’s a reporter for a small Chicago newspaper. When her editor sends her back home to a tiny Missouri town to investigate the murder of a small girl and the disappearance of another, she quickly assimilates, but hates what she’s doing.

After meeting her mother, sister, and some other townsfolk, the mystery surrounding who harmed these little girls seems to be solved; I think the real mystery is why she did it.

I’d love to have more time to read because things are just heating up. Camille’s mother is a piece of work. A pristine, proper, poised southern belle who looks upon her eldest child with so much disappointed annoyance it’s caused me to recoil. Then there is her baby sister – mother’s precious China doll – living a double life at thirteen. Between them is another sister, long dead, but ever-present. Adora, their mother, she has some skeletons. I think Camille will put the pieces together to solve this mystery, if she doesn’t let the hot-shot detective from Kansas City distract her too much.

It’s been a slow tick, but I’ve been reading in fits and starts since I began this book a few days ago. At chapter four a lot has been revealed with imagery that is unique and captivating.

I started this book having absolutely no idea what it was about. One of my co-workers had read Gone Girl and thought I should give Flynn a try. I should have checked out her website to give myself a bit of a buffer before I downloaded the book.

I’m about halfway through and have every urge to drop out of life for half a day and barrel through the rest of this book. I must know how things are resolved…IF they are resolved.

Camille has revealed more of herself, her demons, her self-image, her woes. As I read I wondered why she wrote on herself with pens and markers. Why was the act so significant? She’s a cutter. I never had any personal experience with this, so reading Camille’s thoughts of how she feels around others (particularly her mother and half-sister) burn through me just as words brand themselves invisibly on her flesh.

It’s hard to admit to liking a book about little girls who were brutalized and murdered and whose savior could have easily been in their same shoes, but I do not want to put this down. I yelled at my husband last night when he asked me a question while I tried to squeeze in a chapter before we went to our son’s curriculum night. The storytelling is so gripping with little nuances of the characters that speak so loudly, yet in a whisper. “…her face so perfect and character-free she could have just popped out of the womb. They all seemed unfinished.” That’s one of my favorite lines, so far.

I think Adora, Camille’s mother, is the perp, although that was made rather clear early on (unless my sleuthing skills are way off). Like I said in my earlier review, the mystery isn’t of whodunit, but why. These folks in Wind Gap have deep closets, and they’re filled with skeletons.

Sharp Objects – Flynn, Gillian, 100%

Holy crap! That’s the best way to sum up my feelings. Really well done, although not entirely the mystery I anticipated. This was one helluva journey. The characters and settings were vivid. The final act went too fast, as all final acts do. I was not ready for this book to end. Although there were no loose ends, I still had a lot of questions. But that would probably end up being a hundred pages of boring ‘where are they now’ kind of stuff.

Poor Camille, her family is a few chips short of a taco plate. I’m so glad I finally read this book. I can’t wait to get into her other work.

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Review: Dark Places

Dark Places
Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m reading: Dark Places – Flynn, Gillian, 5.0%

It’s taken me a while to get through the first chapter of this book. I started this book, then stopped more times than I can recall. I thought I wanted something fluffy to read after finishing Sharp Objects, instead, I didn’t read much of anything. That book kind of blew my mind; I hadn’t read anything non-fanfiction in ages. I’d forgotten the wonders of a published book. It really is a beautiful thing — new characters, new settings, new voices.

But I digress. This book hits hard from the very beginning. It is a story about the sole survivor of her family being brutally murdered at the hands of her older brother. Libby has managed to survive all these years through trust funds that have now run out. Her lawyer encourages her to find employment. As she ponders this, she gets a proposition to appear at a true crimes type of convention.

That’s as far as I got, because I have to get ready for work. I’m left with a WTF feeling. This is all kinds of effed up. I will be sneaking in some reading time during my work day.

@I’m reading: Dark Places – Gillian Flynn, 84.2%

It’s been a slow read–not nearly as engaging as Sharp Objects. This is a deliberately slower-paced story which flip-flops between the first person narration of the main character, and third person retelling of events leading up to the MC’s family being murdered.

As the sole survivor, (her brother is in prison, convicted of slaughtering their family) Baby Day’s money has dried up. Twenty-four years later, Libby must find a way to support herself. She is approached by an odd young man who is the treasurer of the Kinkaee Kill Club (a group of oddballs who are obsessed with the Day family murders). Kill Club members believe a then seven-year-old Libby was coached in her testimony against her brother, and urges her to reassess what she always believed to be truth.

Libby is a hard sell, but she’s hungry, so she goes ahead with KKC’s idea to have her speak with her violent, drunkard of a father who seems to owe everyone. She even faces her brother, who she hadn’t communicated with since the trial twenty some odd years earlier.

What starts out as a hustle: meeting with people from her past, ask a few questions, get a few hundred bucks; sell a few inconsequential trinkets of her family, letters, journals, ramblings of elementary school girls, get a few hundred bucks. None of it mattered, so she thought. The KKC causes Libby to reevaluate everything.

Her mind changes kind of fast. Probably because her life has been so stunted since the murders. She’s just been stuck. Hiding out. Not moving forward or backward. She needed something to do.

New information is being uncovered through Libby’s investigation. She’s now not so sure her brother is guilty, but he’s not entirely innocent, either. Libby digs a lot of skeletons out of her brother Ben’s proverbial closet.

Switching between present day and the 1980s, Dark Places isn’t hard to follow, it’s just slow. I’ve been reading this book for nearly a month. Granted, I’ve been doing tons of other things too. I feel as if we’re coming to the climax of the story, the pace have picked up exponentially. I’m eager to know who really committed the crimes.

The murders are tangled in a mess of farms, devil worship, drug abuse, child abuse, lies, alcohol, slaughtered bovines, and hair dye.

If you’re able to read this book in one sitting, I’m sure it would be more engaging. I’ve read this in fits and starts, making an already slow story drag. Dark Places is richly written with Flynn’s usual colorful imagery filled with bizarre analogies and terms. There are laughable moments right along with squicky ones. The marriage of so many contrasting elements make for some really great storytelling.

@I’m reading: Dark Places – Gillian Flynn, 100%

Holy crap! Didn’t I say this was picking up? That was a thrilling third act! I’m bummed that it’s over. I wanna know what happened to Crystal.

The real murderer turned out to be who I thought it was, however, Flynn is clever, dropping hints here and there, planting seeds. Really good stuff.

I got choked up a bit at the end. I sincerely want to see these guys living out the rest of their days in the light–in peace. That probably comes from reading so much fan fiction where the writer doesn’t know where or want to end the fic. Sometimes just overcoming the current obstacles is enough. There’s no need to draw out the story–leave some things for the reader to devise their own vision of the future.

I’m going to start Gone Girl in December, after I pull out my hair over NaNoWriMo.

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