Category Archives: READING FICTION BLOG Paula Cappa

Author of the Week, Michael Cunningham, November 29

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK    November 29

Michael Cunningham

(Literary, Novelist and Screenwriter)

“I revise constantly, as I go along and then again after I’ve finished a first draft. Few of my novels contain a single sentence that closely resembles the sentence I first set down. I just find that I have to keep zapping and zapping the English language until it starts to behave in some way that vaguely matches my intentions.”

“Here’s a secret. Many novelists, if they are pressed and if they are being honest, will admit that the finished book is a rather rough translation of the book they’d intended to write.”

“Literature is, inescapably, an act of seduction, whether the writer hopes to seduce millions with a story of an adolescent vampire in love, or a handful of readers, who are willing to take a darker, strange, more enigmatic ride. Which involves a certain element of what I’ll call: You Won’t Believe What Happened Next.”

 

Michael Cunningham (born November 1952) is an American novelist and screenwriter, best known for his 1998 novel The Hours, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the PEN/Faulkner Award in 1999. He is a senior lecturer of creative writing at Yale University. His fiction includes A Home at the End of the WorldFlesh and BloodSpecimen DaysBy Nightfall, and The Snow Queen, as well as the collection A Wild Swan and Other Tales.

Interview with Michael Cunningham at University of Iowa (20 minutes):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trailer for film The Hours:

 

Visit Michael Cunningham’s Amazon Book Page: https://www.amazon.com/Michael-Cunningham/e/B00456O74U 

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author on

Mondays at Reading Fiction Blog!

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors. Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary and classic authors.

 

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Bittersweet in Toni Morrison’s “Sweetness”

Tuesday’s Short Story,  November 16, 2021

Sweetness  by Toni Morrison  (2015)

I told her to call me “Sweetness” instead of “Mother” or “Mama.” It was safer … calling me “Mama” would’ve confused people. Besides, she has funny-colored eyes, crow black with a blue tint—something witchy about them, too.”

This story will grab you by the throat.  The mother is speaking about her daughter Lula Ann. We all know that how we treat a child has profound effects for a long time, and this is especially true in this story by Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison. The story is a force about race, parenting, and color—a bit savage too, and so incredibly honest that you will not be able to stop reading. The mother-daughter relationship going on is earth-shattering. I found the storytelling to haunt me to the point where I had to reread it. Heartbreak and redemption, bold, yep, it’s all here in full Morrison raw yet graceful style. This short fiction is a prelude to Morrison’s bestseller God Help the Child.

 

Read it here at New Yorker Magazine:

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/02/09/sweetness-2

 

Listen to the audio. A marvelous reading! I give it an A+.

https://youtu.be/ltKXTZTBmPs

 

 

Toni Morrison  (1931-2019) was a Nobel Prize- and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, essayist, editor, and  college professor. Her first novel, The Bluest Eye, was published in 1970. The critically acclaimed Song of Solomon brought her national attention and won the National Book Critics Circle Award. Morrison was born Chloe Adelia Wofford; “Toni” is a nickname derived from Anthony her baptismal name, which she began using because people had trouble pronouncing Chloe. She wrote her college thesis on suicide in reference to the work of Virginia Woolf and William Faulkner. She didn’t own a television until she was in college.

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX OF AUTHORS’ TALES above of more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, crime, sci-fi, romance, ‘quiet horror,’ and mainstream fiction.

 Follow or sign up to join me in reading one short story every month. 

Comments are welcome!

Feel free to click “LIKE.”

 

 Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

      Monster Librarian     

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Literature Blog Directory   

Blog Collection

Blog Top Sites

Discover Author of the Week posted on Mondays!

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Author of the Week, Ann Cleeves, November 1

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK    November 1

Ann Cleeves

(Mystery, Crime, and Detective Novels)

“I write like a reader, without any planning. I have to write the next scene to know where the story is going.

“I get my greatest ideas By listening to other people. That’s what I’ve missed most during the pandemic: the overheard conversations in trains or restaurants. Places often trigger ideas for books too.”

“I like really complex locations, places that hit you and strike you.   I grew up in North Devon so I know it quite well and I like that mix of cosiness – we think of Devon as having cream teas and thatched cottages.”

 

Ann Cleeves (born 1954)  is a British author of crime fiction. She has written 30 novels in 30 years, and is the creator of detectives Vera Stanhope and Jimmy Perez  dramatised as the TV detective series Vera, and the Jimmy Perez Shetland novels as the series Shetland. Her latest novel is The Heron’s Cry and it features Detective Matthew Venn. For the National Year of Reading, Ann was made reader-in-residence for three library authorities. Her novels sell widely and to critical acclaim in the United States. Raven Black was shortlisted for the Martin Beck award for best translated crime novel in Sweden.

“Ann Cleeves is one of my favorite mystery writers.”—Louise Penny

 

Ann Cleeves and Louise Penny on Writing at Politics and Prose (1 hour):

This is delightful video if you are a writer or lover of reading crime fiction. Worth the hour indulgence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visit Ann Cleeves Amazon Book Page:

https://www.amazon.com/Ann-Cleeves/e/B001IOF9MG

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author on Mondays at Reading Fiction Blog!

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors. Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary and classic authors.

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Bad Moon Rising Interview for Halloween

I am pleased and honored to have this interview at Teri Polen’s BAD MOON RISING at her blog Books and Such.  It is always a treat to be featured at Halloween time for my supernatural fiction. Teri writes a weekly blog, introducing authors and new writers to readers, featuring some of the best books and talent in the industry.

 

 

You can read my interview about my fiction  at Bad Moon Rising,

October 30, 2021.

https://teripolen.com/2021/10/30/badmoonrising-wild-darkness-by-paula-cappa-shortstory-thriller-mystery/ 

 

Teri Polen reads and watches horror, sci-fi, and fantasy. The Walking Dead, Harry Potter, and anything Marvel-related are likely to cause fangirl delirium. She lives in Bowling Green, KY with her husband, sons, and black cat. Sarah, her debut novel, was named a horror finalist in the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.

Visit her author page on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Teri-Polen/e/B01MYOUA6V 

Happy Halloween!

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The Haunted House in the Square, for Halloween

The Empty House  by Algernon Blackwood  (1906)

October’s Short Story for Halloween,  October 21, 2021

 

What could be more satisfying than to read a classic haunted house mystery during Halloween season? Especially a gabled house surrounded by dark gardens that cry out and air fragrant with ruin. Inside lurking staircases flicker shadows, and a faceless clock ticks away on the threshold of midnight.

Dean Koontz says of haunted houses: “We are haunted and regardless of the architecture with which we surround ourselves, our ghosts stay with us until we ourselves are ghosts.” How utterly delightful to be a ghost! Maybe our DNAs truly are blueprints of the past.

One of the absolute finest writers of ghost stories is Algernon Blackwood. Here at Reading Fiction Blog, you will find six of his stories to read for free—because Blackwood is a master at ghosts, psychological chills, and performing the highest atmospherics. He has been considered the foremost British supernaturalist. His skills lie in drawing upon Oriental thought, psychology and philosophy, which bring an intelligence to his stories.

The Empty House is a simple story, a fiction over 100 years old. There was a murder in this house that is now empty and shunned by the village folk.  Aunt Julia and her nephew Jim Shorthouse spend a night in The Empty House.

 

We walk through this house with Aunt Julia and Jim, not as observers, but as participants in seeking the ghost.  The atmospherics do it all to illicit fear  and trembling as the characters engage in the supernatural events. Pay close attention to the narrative closure. It sneaks up on the reader, leaving you breathless in the sea air.

 

The original chatter about this story was that Blackwood personally experienced some of these ghostly events during his ghost hunting work at the Society of Psychical Research in London. We are in a well-written “quiet horror” of supernatural literature.

 

Read it here at Gutenberg.org

https://www.gutenberg.org/files/14471/14471-h/14471-h.htm

 

Listen to the audio on YouTube.com:

 

More of Algernon Blackwood’s free short stories here at Reading Fiction Blog:

Blackwood, Algernon  Ancient Sorceries, February 5, 2013

Blackwood, Algernon  Wood of the Dead, September 9, 2014

Blackwood, Algernon  House of the Past, November 9, 2015

Blackwood, Algernon  The Glamour of Snow,  March 1, 2016

Blackwood, Algernon A Psychological Invasion, Case 1,  June 28, 2016

Blackwood, Algernon  The Willows, October 16, 2018

 

Have a Happy Halloween!

Don’t forget to view the INDEX OF AUTHORS’ TALES above of more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, crime, sci-fi, romance, ‘quiet horror,’ and mainstream fiction.

 Follow or sign up to join me in reading one short story every month. 

Comments are welcome!

Feel free to click “LIKE.”

 

 Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

      Monster Librarian     

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Literature Blog Directory   

Blog Collection

Blog Top Sites

Discover Author of the Week posted on Mondays!

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Author of the Week Deborah Harkness, October 11

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK   October 11

Deborah Harkness

(Scholar and Novelist: Historical Fiction, Magical Realism, Mythology, Paranormal, Supernatural)

 

“I definitely see my historical work as a process of detection. Historians fit pieces of evidence together and hope that they eventually form a coherent picture. Often, a historian’s most compelling questions—and the most difficult to answer—concern personal motivations and why something happened the way it did. These are questions we have in common with detectives.”

“Fiction is more like alchemy, though. You take a little of this, a little of that, combine it, and hope that something wonderful occurs so that your creation is greater than the sum of its individual parts.”

“We make our own monsters.”

“I’m a storyteller, and I have really good material to work with: I’ve been studying magic and the occult since about 1983.”

“A lot of our assumptions of the world are fairly cynical, fairly negative, and assume the worst. What our reading tastes show – in this rush to fantasy, romance, whatever – is that we actually still want to believe in a world of possibility, in a world of mystery.”

 

Deborah Harkness  is an American scholar and novelist. She is best known as the author of best selling novels A Discovery of Witches, Shadow of Night, and The Book of Life.  Before becoming a best selling author, she spent more than a quarter of a century as a student and scholar of history, with degrees from Mount Holyoke College, Northwestern University, and the University of California at Davis. She has researched  the history of magic and science in Europe, especially during the period from 1500 to 1700. Harkness’s scholarly work can be found in John Dee’s Conversations with Angels: Cabala, Alchemy, and the End of Nature (Cambridge University Press, 1999) and The Jewel House: Elizabethan London and the Scientific Revolution (Yale University Press, 2007). She has received  fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and the National Humanities Center.

 

Interview with Deborah Harkness, AuthorMagazine.org (10 minutes):

 

 

“A wonderfully imaginative grown-up fantasy with all the magic of Harry Potter and Twilight” (People Magazine).

“Romantic, erudite, suspenseful.” (The Oprah Magazine)

Trailer for original series Discovery of Witches, Season One:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visit Deborah Harkness’s Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/Deborah-Harkness/e/B001IO8EOQ

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author on Mondays at Reading Fiction Blog!

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors. Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary and classic authors.

Leave a comment

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Author of the Week, Carlos Ruiz Zafón, September 27

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK   September 27

 

Carlos Ruiz Zafón

(Contemporary Spanish Novelist: Historical, Psychological, Supernatural/Fantasy, Literary Thrillers)

 

“I am in the business of storytelling. I always have been, always will be. It is what I’ve been doing since I was a kid. Telling stories, making up tales, bringing life to characters, devising plots, visualising scenes and staging sequences of events, images, words and sounds that tell a story. All in exchange for a penny, a smile or a tear, and a little of your time and attention.”

“Sometimes people ask me what piece of advice I would give to an aspiring author. I’d tell them that you should only become a writer if the possibility of not becoming one would kill you. Otherwise, you’d be better off doing something else. I became a writer, a teller of tales, because otherwise I would have died, or worse.”

“I have written for young readers, for the movies, for so-called adults; but mostly for people who like to read and to plunge into a good story. I do not write for myself, but for other people. Real people. For you.”

“I thank the Gods of Literature for I believe that when you pick up something I’ve written and pay for it, both in terms of your money and something much more valuable, your time, you are entitled to get the best I can produce.”

“Books are mirrors. You only see in them what you already have inside you.”

 

Carlos Ruiz Zafón (1964 – 2020) Spanish author of six novels, including the international phenomenon The Shadow of the Wind, published in 42 countries. Cemetery of Forgotten Books, the best-selling Barcelona-based books that began with The Shadow of the Wind. His work has been published in more than forty different languages, and honored with numerous international awards, including the Silver Premio Euzkadi in 2008, the Barry Award for Best First Novel in 2005, and the Best Foreign Book in France in 2004.

 

Marina is a supernatural mystery. The supernatural mystery genre combines fantasy, paranormal, and mystery. Some other authors in this genre are Charlaine Harris, Peter Straub, Mary Shelley, Edgar Allen Poe, and (forgive me) yours truly, Paula Cappa. I love to write ghostly stories that get their power from the invisible world beyond us. The idea of the supernatural in literature is often based on death existing before birth, making death a beginning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visit Zafon’s Amazon Page:

https://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Wind-Cemetery-Forgotten-Book-ebook/dp/B000OVLINI

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author on

Mondays at Reading Fiction Blog!

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors. Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary and classic authors.

 

 

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Night Sea Journey Wins Silver Medal

Night Sea Journey Wins Silver Medal at Global Book Awards

September 20, 2021

I am pleased and honored to receive the Silver Medal for Night Sea Journey, A Tale of the Supernatural at Global Book Awards.

Book awards benefit the entire reading community and promote the appreciation of literature. Thank you to the literary judges for their recognition and support. Night Sea Journey has been out for several years and is still selling.  From U.S. Review of Books, their review: “Stunning and absorbing plot on par with—if not better than—a Dan Brown novel. Truly an outstanding read, Night Sea Journey is one book that is hard to put down!”

In 2015, Night Sea Journey won an Eric Hoffer Book Award. Their review: “This romantic fantasy is propelled by gorgeous language and imagery…angels and demons…The grime of inner city Chicago, the tranquility of the Rhode Island coastline, and the depths of a phantasmagoric ocean are the stages for this conflict.”

 

SAN FRANCISCO BOOK REVIEW ★★★★★ posts “NIGHT SEA JOURNEY is like reading a Dan Brown book with a wicked twist: it has real demons. Readers will be taken on a continual thrill ride, impossible to put down, a fast-paced thriller.”

 

Thank you to my readers who have consistently read my mysteries and short stories!

 

Buy on Amazon.com

 

On Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/275962

 

On Barnes and Noble:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/night-sea-journey-a-tale-of-the-supernatural-paula-cappa/1114109942

 

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Ann Beattie’s Winter Love Affair, “Snow.”

Snow by Ann Beattie   (Vanity Fair, 1983)

Monday’s Flash Fiction,   September 13, 2021

 

 

Short, cozy, and deep, this short story holds a bright candle to spending winter in a country house with your lover. The intensity between reality and imagination is Beattie’s signature style. This is written in second person narrative (not one of my favorites), but well done in imagery and metaphor.

 

“I know that stories don’t really have conclusions. It’s only an appropriate moment for stopping.”

This is not a surprising quote by Beattie. Her stories often dangle you at the end. In Snow, the dangling leaves the reader with a sense of drama and loss. But even that is open to interpretation. Reading this 5-paragraph story a couple of times is well worth it!

Ann Beattie  is an American short story writer and novelist. She has received an award for excellence from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters and a PEN/Bernard Malamud Award for excellence in the short story form. Her work has been compared to that of Alice Adams, J.D. Salinger, John Cheever, and John Updike. She is the author of twenty-one books, including the collections What Was Mine, Follies, The State We’re In, and The Accomplished Guest, as well as the novels Chilly Scenes of Winter, Another You, Mrs. Nixon: A Novelist Imagines a Life, and A Wonderful Stroke of Luck (Viking, 2019). Beattie was the Edgar Allan Poe Professor of Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Virginia.  She lives in Maine and Key West.

 

Read the short story here at Wattsenglishclass.weebly.com:

https://wattsenglishclass.weebly.com/uploads/5/8/2/9/58298297/snowbyannbeattie.pdf

Listen to the audio  (5 minutes)

 

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX OF AUTHORS’ TALES above of more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, crime, sci-fi, romance, ‘quiet horror,’ and mainstream fiction.

 Follow or sign up to join me in reading one short story every month. 

Comments are welcome!

Feel free to click “LIKE.”

 Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

      Monster Librarian     

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Literature Blog Directory   

Blog Collection

Blog Top Sites

Discover Author of the Week posted on Mondays!

 

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Author of the Week, Susan Cheever, August 30

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK  August 30

Susan Cheever

(Fiction, Memoir, Biography, American History)

“I believe that the memoir is the novel of the 21st century; it’s an amazing form that we haven’t even begun to tap…we’re just getting started figuring out what the rules are.”

“What makes someone want to be a writer? Clearly, one thing this dream requires is a ferocious hunger, a hunger for recognition, a yearning to be heard that roars through the soul with a sound so great that the stories often feel as if they are discovered rather than invented.”

“Obsession is so extreme and so hard to imagine with the rational mind that it has a science-fiction-like quality to it—it’s almost as if the obsessed one has been taken over by a replica, a pod, a facsimile of the rational person. When one is in the grip of an obsession, everything else—children, regular meals, sleep, work—is swept away.”

 

 

Susan Cheever (born 1943), an American author is the recipient of the PEN New England Award. She is daughter of novelist John Cheever. She is best known for Home Before Dark, a memoir about her father, John Cheever, and American Bloomsbury: Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau: Their Lives, Their Loves, Their Work. Cheever’s most recent book is Drinking in America: Our Secret History. The book chronicles how alcohol has influenced the history of the United States. Her biographies of Louisa May Alcott and E.E. Cummings are critically acclaimed. Her novels are Doctors and Women, The Cage, A Handsome Man, and Looking for Work. One of her favorite books is Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen. She grew up in Tarrytown, NY.

Susan Cheever at New York State Writers Institute (4 minutes):

 

Susan Cheever discusses how she resists “memoir shame” and addresses readers curiosity.

Visit Susan Cheever’s Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/Susan-Cheever/e/B001IQZHTY

 

 

 

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author on Mondays at

Reading Fiction Blog!

 

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors. Once a month I feature a FREE short story

by contemporary and classic authors.

 

COMMENTS  ARE WELCOME!

 

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