Richard Westbrook, a best-selling author, wins the Pulitzer after a fifteen year absence from publishing--but he has a secret that haunts him.
One of nine short escapes!
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fiction, guilt, harrowing, litetary, nightmares, poems, pulitzer, suspense
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I like to comment as I read, just my thoughts as if I was in a book shop. I don’t crit grammar or anything like that much. I will generally only make negative remarks if you have asked me to comment. Otherwise if I have commented it is because I think your book is great. A collection of Short Escapes Your title captured my attention and your pitch sound fascinatingCute little cover. Brilliant writing – when he imagined he was in the safe it was chilling. I could feel the frustration of insomnia and the desperation building and just had to read on to discover the cause of the guilt even though the title had given us a big hint. I love the references to the wolves and the crows, both threatening in their own way and easily seen the shadows. Just starting chapter 3 and, at this moment, I am feeling so sorry for Richard, here he is living his dream and it has turned to dust. My heart aches for him – will it last? You have captured the torture so well, this reader is squirming in agony for this poor guy and I don’t even know why yet. I’m now about to start the last chapter and I feel like crossing my fingers for a happy ending, trouble is I don’t know what a happy ending would be. I can’t decide whether I want the girl to be nice and then for him to confess, but that would mean that there would be doubt about his other books and that’s not fair but then I am not sure that even if the girl turns out to be horrible, keeping the secret is the right thing and anyway I imagine he will still feel guilty. – here we go – Well - Wow, backed and thank you for sharing that – Diane
Good job with characterization and detailed description. There is an intensity to your prose that pulls the reader into the moment and holds them there with your character.
Read your first story, a gripping tale, and the writing supports it well. One thing: watch the number of sentences you begin with pronouns. But this is well-told, and I'm happy to back it for you.Please consider taking a look at my book, The Job.Craig
DEAR CHRISTOPHERBEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN, AN EXCEPTIONAL READ.BACKED WITH EXTREME PLEASURETHE LORD OF THE DAWN.BEYOND 2012
Hi ChrisI read number 7 at random. This was really intriguing with some great dialogue moving the story along at a good pace. Your characters are deep and the plot compelling. I liked it.DP WalkerFive Dares
Chris: brilliant short pitch. Would LOVE to have more in that long pitch. Perfecting your pitches is how you climb in ranking to gather more exposure and comments to better your novel. The writing is good so I am SHELVING you. Though I have been a very active member for over a year, I can still use your comments on my book when you get the chance. Every little bit helps. Cheers!JCThe Obergemau Key
This is a good story (do you know that chapter 3 and 4 are the same? I'm guessing you did that to reach a 10.000 word count). Richard is a good character; a reader can feel how his guilt is destroying him. The ending - the two lines in the diary - is a good punch for the ending. Makes this a good read. I'm adding this to my shelf. Burgio (Grain of Salt).
A Collection of Short escapes:Christopher,In his extremity, Richard is almost endearing, possibly his own worst enemy but perceptive enough to see the error of his own ways and good enough to feel guilt.While we share the meticulously detailed portrayal of insomnia within his internal monologue, the question mounts as to the object of his guilt and we area aware of the stress over the Pullitzer Prize. One cannot help but feel genuine pity for him and, indeed, any who suffer from such pronounced insomnia, not least when it is caused by fear and guilt, and I'm rooting for him to avoid the final push of the 'self destruct' button.Backed.Ray(A Child from the Wishing Well)
A COLLECTION OF SHORT ESCAPES:Christopher,The short story is making a come-back in the literary popularity stakes, so I hope this delightful collection will help dispel in reader's minds the mistaken thought that short stories are not as interesting as novels are. These are riveting stories. Rich in imagery and imagination. Clever plots. Compelling characters. You are a talented writer, and I have no hesitation in backing your collection and wishing you good luck.Sheila (Pinpoint)
Loved having the chance to read some short stories for a change. Well written and original. Ibby (Near MIss)
Enjoyed chapter 5. Must read more!Backed with pleasureHatts
This is fantastic - detailed descriptions and realistic characterisation make your protagonists leap from the page. This is captivating and original, and I back it with pleasure.Abi xxx
These first two stories about Richard are amazing well written and although I am normally not attracted to short stories these read like a continuing novel - well done and BACKEDLizThe Cheech Room
Dear Christopher Gaddis,Thank you for sharing your story with us. I skipped to chapter seven to cover less-traveled ground and was rewarded by Richard’s denial transitioning to a state of unreality at Mel’s words. The next scene is high-tension because they’re enough lawyers present to make anyone edgy. I see Richard is in creative despair. He has the amazing and gut-wrenching vision of all his books being burned. Love the simile “Liking giving someone a band-aid after stabbing them”. He makes an alter out of his books then kills himself in the center of the circle. I’d call this a good ending, as far as I can tell from only reading the end. I couldn’t be sure, but I believe Suzanne is a woman he stole a diary from to use her story in one of his novels.I enjoyed your story. Bravo! Backed.Best wishes,Alan Marling
"Inspiration struck, and she spread her legs." I love that expression. Christopher, I've looked at your first two sections about Richard Westbrook. Great read. Nothing really to nitpick there.Happy to back this.Joffrey (The Silver Spoon Effect)
A Collection of Short Escapes is cleverly written - I read the first couple of chapters and had to keep going to discover why Richard couldn't sleep. I really empathised with the temptations of the Ritz-Carlton minibar, had a chuckle at his decision to settle for room service rather than sex, and once or twice found myself getting really irritated at his introspection and self-deprecation. This is powerful characterisation. I also enjoyed some spectacular turns of phrase - one of my favourites is when you say he is 'wearing residual grease and oils' from handshakes, which conjures up a wonderful image. I can't fault this and I'll back it with pleasure.
Easy to back your book is well written and an easy read. You point the reader in the right direction and allow them to follow. Great potential.Sue Mackender Knowing Liam Riley
Christopher This is racy, sharp and powerfull,,,,,,Not much help to offer, you seem to have it all sown up...... had started counted................he countedand had hoped ........................he hopedwhatever had sounded ...........whatever soundedthings had changed ...............things changedhe had used.........he used.... Often there is no need for 'had' before and - ed verb...... I enjoyed the read......Would love your views on mine..
ChristopherThis is excellent writing. Richard and his chemical dependency reminded me of "Pink" (played by Bob Geldof) in the movie of "The Wall"... wanting to get 'comfortably numb" but not having the drugs to do so... haunted by a thousand nameless fears... his low self-esteem and his past. I will read more, but for now, shelved. Would I buy it? Yes.Frank
Read through to 7, enjoyed the ending - shelvedJohn Booth (Shaddowdon)
Stunning writing, what more can I say.MelxxImpeding Justice
I started reading this expecting a series of short stories that I could dip into at will and have now read all your chapters without pause. This is such fine writing, I'd love to read further chapters if they were available now. "He sat there in an emotional stasis, waiting for something to happen to tip the scales to one side," is a means of conveying a condition, but "emotional stasis" takes it to another level and there are many examples of this nature scattered throughout the book. I wasn't looking for errors, and certainly didn't find any. You are an accomplished writer with strong technical skills and this is a book with huge potential.Backed.Jared.
Hi, Christopher. Well, the pitch made me expect a few short stories and I spent a few minutes after the first few chapters trying to figure out If I was missing something... maybe stories linked together that I just didn't get. Nope, all one story. I hate being senile. Anyway, when I figured it out I finished the 7 chapters. Darn well done. 'Dialog is your strong point but it's all excellent. On my shelf and the best of luck with it.John Harold McCoy - Bramwell Valley
Been hanging around on my watchlist so as I'm clearing it I'll give you the shelf I planned to give you earlier.
i have enjoyed what i have read so much, you've created a beautiful piece of work here shelved with pleaser
This beautifully written long story starts by introducing us to Richard as he tries to find a way to sleep, using pills and whisky; and ends with Richard finding the final sleep, by the same means. All through the story we, as well as Richard, are haunted by his guilt, but for us, there is mystery as to what the cause may be. It is only in Chapters Five and Six that we discover Richard believes that he has stolen his Pulitzer winning novel from someone else's diary. The final twist is excruciatingly painful. The book was his own, only the first two sentences came from the diary. He has believed something false, and tortured himself with it. Your writing is meticulously exact, and as you trace Richard's thoughts, and his guilt, and the various ways he escapes from it, up until the final escape of confession which in the end is useless, you tell us in the only possible words everything we need to know. This is writing of a high standard. If the rest of the stories are anything like this, the book should certainly be published. Backed.Gerry McCullough,Belfast Girls.
I agree these stories need a little editing, but nothing that can't be easily fixed. I do believe you are a talented writer and although literary fiction isn't my preferred genre, there is probably an audience for this work. Backed.
ChristopherTaking the lead from your pitch I picked road (chapter) 5.Good strong prose. We all know that carpet-licking tongue feeling.You write with and accessible ease that makes this ride very enjoyable to go along with. It is disturbing the amount of times the word Xanax appears, but I think this repetition really works in this case, ramifying the mind of the character. As the ‘…if found…’ voice haunts our protagonist I actually had tingles in sympathy for him. Ok, I am now starting to understand how powerful this writing is. I am hooked! The chat with the doc is very realistic and I am reminded of the destructive power of guilt. Richard then shows good resolve and endears the reader even more by taking a proactive approach to his problem. I applaud you for this writing! I think this has to be the strongest and most realistic depiction of a breakdown that I have ever read. Top-notch characterisation. Bravo.Possible typos (but I am no expert on editing)Mary turned out to *big* his number one fan. - * be (?)Xanax *on* an empty stomach… - * and (?)Stunning writing indeed.Shelved with pleasureDavidGreen Ore
Hi Christopher this is an interesting read and I am curious to find out why he dreads the pulitzer prize also what is in his safe. Your writing is very strong and the central character is well illustrated. In the synopsis is also very interesting and it promises to be a great read. Shelved. Helena (A Load of Rubbish)
Hi Christopher! Okay, you told me to pick a road... I picked #4 (no reason in particular), and liked the scenery I saw along the journey...Richard seems complex - introverted yet intelligent, accomplished yet shy, argumentative yet polite... I like the fact that he thinks quickly on his feet, agrees to the interview with the reporter, but on his own terms. I used to work with a boss that said "Walk with me!" - which pretty much meant "get your business done until I can hit the elevator." Same feeling of urgency. In the end he is honest and self-depricating. Qualities we all strive for in life, so he's definitely relatable.The reporter, Margaret, is also cunning, adaptive and thinks quickly on her feet. Rising to the challenge, she agrees to the terms of the interview and changes the rules and her questions as her time decreases and the intensity increases. She appeals to his sympathy by suggesting an remedy to his ailment, then goes for the hard core questions with mention of Maria and questions about his poetry. She's quick and good.I honestly would have like to see more of this cat and mouse exchange, though I'm not sure who was the cat, and who was the mouse. I think that's the beauty of this, and I applaud you for it. Good stuff, definitely! On my shelf with pleasure.KimInvisible Justice
sheer class, the kind of book you read at one sitting, forgetting the world around.you combine sharp uncluttered prose with great ideas and superb characterization to weave a compelling tale.it's full of lovely touches. the analysis of drugs in chapter 3: "weed was good, but it made you think more . . " and so on, hits that particular nail solidly on the head.definitely one i'd buy for real, this is going on my virtual shelf first.freddie("honour")
I think it would be hard to write a scene with just one character (if you don't include the boy who brought room service) but you did. It was a engaging and pulled the reader in his world with such ease. I can't think of anything I would change. So I will be quiet now and put it on my shelf. C.P
Hi ChristopherDecided to read chapter 5, considering you probably have many comments on the initial chapters. I am awed that you can create an entire and believable scene in one space. I note there are connections to the other stories and yet it managed to stand alone, while being very entertaining. Of course you had me at 'mouth tasting like he'd licked a carpet all night'...been there once...or twice...Shelved.And I really wish you the best with this; it is so hard to find a publisher for short stories. But don't give up!Elaina
I really loved this story. You don't find many short stories these days that really pull you in, keep you engaged, and fully entertained. The character development was quite good and the storyline intriguing. I thought the story ending was brillant. Even though Richard Westbrook isn't necessarily a likeable character, you leave the story kinda feeling sorry for him.I'm definitely backing the book.
This is just incredibly enjoyable! The book has realistic, tight dialogue, witty and descriptive narrations, engaging story topics, and just plain engaging. I have this both on my shelf and Today's Pick I Like for 10/4/09: http://newandgoodreading.blogspot.com/2009/10/todays-pick-i-like-10409.htmlL. Anne Carrington, "The Cruiserweight"
You have a very strong writing voice - descriptive, humorous and engaging. Good troubled lead and story too. Some of the best writing I have read on this site IMO. Backed.
You've managed to write an engaging story about one man having trouble sleeping. We are curious about certain mysteries - why does he feel guilty? And as he goes through his options, we learn more and more about him until he's eating his steak and starting to read his book. Your writing flows well and you have a good pace - even without dialogue, which is hard to pull off. I guess there's internal dialogue. The amount of meds he took - my god, I'd be dead. Any way, completely entertained. Shelved.
Hello Christopher, and here, for what they’re worth, are my comments on your work. As always, take them as ‘in my opinion’ as I am no expert, okay?So …‘All had failed miserably … ‘ (I suggest you omit OF THEM – it’s not needed.)‘To a place where he could hide.’ (not THAT he could hide)‘Nothing could make him forget what was in his safe.’ (omit the ABOUT)You use ‘pried’ when he opened the fridge and also when he removed his boxers – maybe change one verb?Okay, I’ve read one chapter and have a feeling for Richard, but (imho, as I already said) maybe you could improve this chapter by shortening it a little … it does go on and on about Richard being unable to sleep, and also check the number of times you started a sentence with ‘He … ‘But I will read the rest, and I will put this on my shelf for a short while, because I want to know more about Richard and why he feels the way he does.Ch 2 … ‘confused’ twice and ‘confusion’ once all in the same paragraph … can this be better expressed? You have ‘tough’ where I’m sure you meant ‘though’ … typo.‘enormous breasts’ – gah!! She sounds like a whore.‘thickness’ to describe traffic? … maybe ‘density’ … I don’t know; ‘thickness’ just doesn’t sound right to me.Charles’ phone … apostrophe is needed.I enjoyed the first two chapters, but I do feel when you next edit you might shorten the first slightly. Try reading it aloud and check for repetitious words and phrases.Best of luck with it.
Glad I had the opportunity to read this! I was captivated from the first paragraph. The intrigue is high, and the questions aren't being answered right away - something I absolutely love. Your writing is flawless, your descriptions natural. One small suggestion: change "that" to "where" in this sentence: "To a place that he could hide."Easy to shelve, and definitely deserving.AndreaThe Key of Kilenya
Hi Christopher, This amuses and has the quality of giving a person relief if they don’t identify with Richard. But it feels very realistic and the details do well in portraying Richard’s appreciation for his past. His ability to give Charles confusion is entertaining along with Richard’s triumph in hitting the top and doing what he wants. The depictions are very satisfying! Shelved – Katherine (The Swan Bonnet)
Hi ChristopherI like the style of your writing, it's easy to engage with and you whisk the reader along quickly through the chapters. The crow and wolves imagery is strong in the first chapter, with Richard battling his inner demons. Then you show more of his personality and backstory through the interactions with Charles (or Chuck!) and others as the chapters unfold.Shelved :-)Best wishesLorelli (The Man Whisperer)
I like this, a lot. I think you have a knack for writing, I think you have natural talent, which is a huge compliment because without it works seem forced. This does not. I am excited to read on. IN the first chapter I was distracted by the amount of sentences that started with "HE" ANd all the movement. You really have the guy moving around a lot. I jumped around a bit and found this wasnt so in the other chapters. and really really enjoyed 6.Backed-T.L Tyson-Seeking Eleanor
A clever idea, nicely done with some fine writing. Enjoying this so far and happy to back it. Best of luck on your journey!
Hi Christopher.This is my type of read, detailed description that you can savor at leisure, not hurriedly. But how many publishers want to publish slow prose? Very good narration.