Book Jacket

 

rank 1252
word count 25315
date submitted 23.07.2011
date updated 20.03.2014
genres: Fiction, Romance, Biography, Christ...
classification: universal
complete

Six Short Stories with a Twist

Christine C. May

These six short stories are about life, love, success heartbreak and faith.

 

These are the stories of six couples across several decades. The strength of the human spirit and their love for life and God.
The first short story, "Reflections," is a love story of a prima ballerina her love for dancing, life and it's meaning.
While "Food Pantry" takes a darker road through mystery, dedication, religion, and murder. It tells the story of how far one woman will go to do what is right.
The third short story, "Man’s Best Friend," is a gripping tale of how one couple's love deepened through the adoption of two scarred Greyhounds.
After which, an independent thirteen year old girl embarks on an impulsive adventure to find her own way through life in “Runaway”. At the close of this gripping novel, "Death's Due" follows the life of a migrating family who faces separation and death as they crisscross Europe and the ocean. My last story,"The black box" I will leave for the reader to find out. You’re invited to travel through the twenties and forties all the way up to the modern age with these characters. Don’t miss this chance to experience the purity of love in all its many forms.

 
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tags

biographical fiction, christian insight

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143 comments

 

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Christine May wrote 22 days ago

Thank you Robert, that is such a nice thing to say about my book.
God bless you.
Christine

This is just a quick note about your book. Every book doesn't have to try to be the great American novel. This is comfort food for the eyes; the kind of book I would keep on my night table so I could read fifteen or twenty minutes every night before I went to sleep. Very nice. - Old Bob

Old Bob wrote 23 days ago

This is just a quick note about your book. Every book doesn't have to try to be the great American novel. This is comfort food for the eyes; the kind of book I would keep on my night table so I could read fifteen or twenty minutes every night before I went to sleep. Very nice. - Old Bob

A. Piccarreta wrote 30 days ago

CLF2 Review of Six Stort Stories With A Twist by Christine C. May

I read three of the short stories and I must have been captured quite well as I did not notice any of the language flaws pointed out in other reviews. There certainly was an unexpected twist in the first one. The other seemed to follow a more predictable pattern. It takes skill to portray charachters so well in such small amount of words as your short stories are. Still you succeed. I must say your stories have left me with A feeling of peace and happiness, even though some of the content is violent. They provide a feeling of safety in God's hands. Also, I thought I should mention since you selected the name George for the job seeker, that St. George is considered a Patron Saint for those seeking jobs.

A. Piccarreta
Mumbai Mazai

Kittenwoman wrote 38 days ago

"CLF2Review" Dear Christian what a brillient story. Your start gives a clear picture of the scene drawing the reader right in. The thoughts she has about life being a test is such a good line.

You descibe the charaters so well and in just enough depth to allow the reader to get to know them.

I only noticed one thing that I feel bad mentioning it is a line where Brian is watching his wife and you write ,Brian could not take his eyes of wife' I think you mean eyes off his wife, as I said its so minor.

I think writing a short story with a brillient story line is a gift you most deffinately have, even the conversation with her friend on the phone is true to life and adds a little to the story.

I really enjoyed this story and will read the next and will comment as soon as I have done so brillient high stars Joy Ann

Christine May wrote 43 days ago

Thank you so very much for reading my first story, and thank you for your comments. It is very much appreciated.
Christine

CLF2 comment
Hi Christine,
Your story pulled me in quickly. I had a little trouble with the back-and-forth scene changes, but that could have been me, not the writing. I noticed a couple of little things. King Kashchei's evil hoard should be horde. In the scene following, Brian could not take his eyes of wife? Two paragraphs below that, third line from the bottom you have than where you meant then. Have to go now, but I'll be back for more.
E.M. Rideout
The Rejected Grail

E. M. Rideout wrote 44 days ago

CLF2 comment
Hi Christine,
Your story pulled me in quickly. I had a little trouble with the back-and-forth scene changes, but that could have been me, not the writing. I noticed a couple of little things. King Kashchei's evil hoard should be horde. In the scene following, Brian could not take his eyes of wife? Two paragraphs below that, third line from the bottom you have than where you meant then. Have to go now, but I'll be back for more.
E.M. Rideout
The Rejected Grail

Lindsay Cross wrote 59 days ago

Chapter 3. Really good story but I am bias. We got two dogs since last year male and female. My daughter LOVES them as do we all. She wanted to breed them and last week we had 7 healthy pups - tamaskan huskies. Beautiful. Male 1yr female 2yrs.
All this aside, as I read your stories I am shedding the fact that the full tales are not there as I said after chapter 1. There is enough that I detect one key element - love. It is the common thread that courses through and ties each piece together.

Blessings
Lindsay Cross
OL' SALT

Lindsay Cross wrote 59 days ago

I loved this story. Despite the ending I am reminded of this "it is the Spirit that gives life". I see it throughout this chapter 2

Lindsay Cross
OL' SALT

Christine May wrote 59 days ago

What a nice surprise, thank you so much for reading one of my stories. I have also started to read your book. I will comment on it later today.
Christine

I loved the first chapter but still wanted to know so much more about their lives.Too much missing that could have been lovely to read. Little minor editing.
Overall, the story was heartwarming and brings the human soul to bear.
I will read on

Lindsay Cross
OL' SALT

Lindsay Cross wrote 59 days ago

I loved the first chapter but still wanted to know so much more about their lives.Too much missing that could have been lovely to read. Little minor editing.
Overall, the story was heartwarming and brings the human soul to bear.
I will read on

Lindsay Cross
OL' SALT

Christine May wrote 67 days ago

Maeve, thank you so much for your in depth critique of the first two stories. I have to agree that they are neither short or twisted. Perhaps the title should be six not so short stories.
Thank you again for your honest comments and for reading them.
Christine

Six Short Stories With a Twist
Christine,
I read the first two stories.
I can tell that there is a lot of passion and enthusiasm going into your writing, but you have chosen to use a narrative style that makes it very hard for me to get engaged, where you tell sweepingly long accounts of events that occurred over months (second story) or many years (first story) and fit them into a short story format. This leads you to a need for excessive summarization, which I find particularly objectionable in a short story, as it makes for a very unfocused read. I also found that these stories lacked denouement. The stories just end in both cases. While in the second story your MC clocks the robber upside the head with a bag full of cans,  this is surely not what the story was leading up to (is it?). Why were we told about her psychological and emotional development, about her following her calling, about her religious fervor and moments of doubt? Just to see her protect herself against a would-be robber? 
Likewise, I kept waiting for the first story to have a twist, to introduce a bit of irony. But it went on as a very condensed biography which, again, required a huge amount of summarization.  I was disappointed, for instance, that you did not do more with the Firebird dance, because it is a possible metaphor for what your MC is experiencing. I found the description of the dance itself inspiring and so I wished that you had centered in that moment, maybe doing without all the explanation about how she met, loved, and had a child with her husband. 
There is also the whole concept of aristotelianism, which I am not as much a stickler to, but has some relevance with regards to scope. That is, the idea that a story should not cover a longer period of time than it takes to relate it. I think that some of the stronger short stories do this, but it is very hard to do it strictly. Nevertheless, (as I already mentioned) both your stories go in the opposite direction, spanning very long periods of time. The effect of this is to keep me from becoming hooked in any particular place. 
I find that your character development was good in spite of all this summarization. Both characters are strongly described, albeit passive - in both cases personalities that react to their circumstances more then they shape them. (This is more the case in the first story, but it is even the case in the second story, where you have a relatively proactive character who opens a pantry to help others, you emphasize her subservient nature in a way that makes her fundamentally passive.)
In spite of this, she is a well developed character. 
All in all, I feel these two stories lack focus, both because of excessive summarization, and because of lack of denouement. This is too bad because I feel you could do more with your characters. I would humbly suggest you consider centring your first story around the dance of the Firebird, making it the focus of her memories, as a metaphor for her life.  In the second story, I would humbly recommend you consider tying the end with something earlier in the story. Perhaps the burglar could wind up being someone instrumental for her- maybe the old woman who was so greedy and incentivised her to start the pantry (this might be more ironic than you hoped). 
Just a thought.
In any event, these are obviously just my views.  Stick to your instincts. 
Best of luck with it,
Maeve

Maevesleibhin wrote 67 days ago

Six Short Stories With a Twist
Christine,
I read the first two stories.
I can tell that there is a lot of passion and enthusiasm going into your writing, but you have chosen to use a narrative style that makes it very hard for me to get engaged, where you tell sweepingly long accounts of events that occurred over months (second story) or many years (first story) and fit them into a short story format. This leads you to a need for excessive summarization, which I find particularly objectionable in a short story, as it makes for a very unfocused read. I also found that these stories lacked denouement. The stories just end in both cases. While in the second story your MC clocks the robber upside the head with a bag full of cans,  this is surely not what the story was leading up to (is it?). Why were we told about her psychological and emotional development, about her following her calling, about her religious fervor and moments of doubt? Just to see her protect herself against a would-be robber? 
Likewise, I kept waiting for the first story to have a twist, to introduce a bit of irony. But it went on as a very condensed biography which, again, required a huge amount of summarization.  I was disappointed, for instance, that you did not do more with the Firebird dance, because it is a possible metaphor for what your MC is experiencing. I found the description of the dance itself inspiring and so I wished that you had centered in that moment, maybe doing without all the explanation about how she met, loved, and had a child with her husband. 
There is also the whole concept of aristotelianism, which I am not as much a stickler to, but has some relevance with regards to scope. That is, the idea that a story should not cover a longer period of time than it takes to relate it. I think that some of the stronger short stories do this, but it is very hard to do it strictly. Nevertheless, (as I already mentioned) both your stories go in the opposite direction, spanning very long periods of time. The effect of this is to keep me from becoming hooked in any particular place. 
I find that your character development was good in spite of all this summarization. Both characters are strongly described, albeit passive - in both cases personalities that react to their circumstances more then they shape them. (This is more the case in the first story, but it is even the case in the second story, where you have a relatively proactive character who opens a pantry to help others, you emphasize her subservient nature in a way that makes her fundamentally passive.)
In spite of this, she is a well developed character. 
All in all, I feel these two stories lack focus, both because of excessive summarization, and because of lack of denouement. This is too bad because I feel you could do more with your characters. I would humbly suggest you consider centring your first story around the dance of the Firebird, making it the focus of her memories, as a metaphor for her life.  In the second story, I would humbly recommend you consider tying the end with something earlier in the story. Perhaps the burglar could wind up being someone instrumental for her- maybe the old woman who was so greedy and incentivised her to start the pantry (this might be more ironic than you hoped). 
Just a thought.
In any event, these are obviously just my views.  Stick to your instincts. 
Best of luck with it,
Maeve

D. S. Hale wrote 277 days ago

Last Story: The Black Box

First sentence needs a comma between old, young, rich...
After finally landing all(needs a comma between landing, all)
as soon as possible everyone. (Begin a new sentence with everyone)
You refer to Mr. Levine's box as a bag most of the story.

It is a neat little story. I liked the tenseness about the box because of what had just happened in our country. I would check for grammatical and spelling errors.
God Bless

Sincerely,
Donna
Jessup and the Teleporter

Elizabeth Kathleen wrote 296 days ago

Christine I want you to know I truly enjoy your book. I haven't read all the stories yet, but I like the ones I have. I must say The Food Pantry is my favorite. It has a lot of different elements, faith, hope, love, redemption. Great job! The only thing I wondered about was you said the pastor was hoping he could get Jason to administer to the homeless. Did you mean 'minister'? This is by no means a criticism. I very much enjoyed reading this!
God bless you!!!
Elizabeth Kathleen
"The Sticks and Stones of Hannah Jones"
"If Children are Cheaper by the Dozen, Can I Get a Discount on Six?"

Christine May wrote 313 days ago

Dear Sir,
What a nice surprise to get your kind comment and suggestions. I will take a look at your latest book. Thank you so much.
Christine

I enjoyed Reflections. For your opening, you MIGHT wish to omit either 'front' or 'southern' (door) for the line to keep apace. Are both necessary? Just a nit, of course. It's a good short story.
I LOVE the Firebird!
Pancreatic cancer. Very sad.
Nice ambiguity for your ending. I'll pop back for another story when I can.
Highly starred.
John Campbell (A Lark Ascending)

Nigel Fields wrote 314 days ago

I enjoyed Reflections. For your opening, you MIGHT wish to omit either 'front' or 'southern' (door) for the line to keep apace. Are both necessary? Just a nit, of course. It's a good short story.
I LOVE the Firebird!
Pancreatic cancer. Very sad.
Nice ambiguity for your ending. I'll pop back for another story when I can.
Highly starred.
John Campbell (A Lark Ascending)

Sheena Macleod wrote 315 days ago

Clf2 Review
Six Short Stories with a Twist by Christine C May
The pitch is good and made me read further.

The Black box
An interesting and unexpected tale- I won't comment on the storyline in case it spoils it for others.

Suggested edits
After finally landing all the passengers from all (suggest removinge the second all - all the passengers- not needed and repeats)
Betty was used to be done for - suggest -Betty was used to having things done for her?
12 twelve and 24 twenty-four hours ?

Reflections
The Ballerina musing on her past life and meeting her husband. Gosh what a sad story- very touching and promising a reunion of souls. Well written and held my attention the whole way through.

The Runaway
This was my favourite, and I went through all the options- surprised at the outcome.
You write well, and hold the readers attention. I liked the twists in the tail.

High stars
Sheena
The Popish Plot

Christine May wrote 332 days ago

Morven, thank you for reading one of my stories, what I got out of your remarks was though thy were not for you, the story was not too bad? And how do I get to read your second story?
Christine

Hi Christine,
Read The Food Pantry. Probably okay for magazine, but, sorry not for me. I found it a little slow and it lacked a punchy twist. There were quite a few punctuation mix-ups, although they didn't detract from the story.
Best of luck, Morven

Morven James wrote 333 days ago

Hi Christine,
Read The Food Pantry. Probably okay for magazine, but, sorry not for me. I found it a little slow and it lacked a punchy twist. There were quite a few punctuation mix-ups, although they didn't detract from the story.
Best of luck, Morven

David Blackdene wrote 333 days ago

Hi, I read Man's Best Friend and The Food Pantry. They are fine for a magazine or a reader's digest, but I'm sorry to say they left me feeling a bit flat. I was expecting more. There wasn't the twist that you mention in the title. They just sort of passed the time, but didn't entertain me enough I'm afraid. Maybe I picked the wrong stories. Sorry, but good luck anyway, Dave.
www.DavidBlackdene.com

Christine May wrote 334 days ago

Maria,
thank you so much for your detailed comment and corrections. I appreciate it very much. I feel like I have known you for a long time after reading your book. Your description of Portugal and Brazil. We lived there from 1975 to 1976 in Santa Trersa in Rio de Janeiro. Christine

Dear Christine,
I love the first three chapters of your book.
Chapter one " Reflections".
Heidi’s story, with all the loveliness that comes with being a ballerina, touched my heart, especially at the end when she reminisces. I actually looked up The Firebird, and could easily follow your interpretation of it (lovely).
Some observations you may or may not want to look at.:)
Chapter two “The Food Pantry”, third para:
“her skin was olive and she could not help but notice a beautiful medallion around her neck of the Mother Mary.”
This sentence is a bit confusing to me, but I think it can be easily fixed. Here’s my suggestion:
Her skin was olive, and Sarah could not help but notice a beautiful Mother Mary medallion around her neck.

The next sentence could be worked on as well.
“What made it so different…” different from what? You haven’t mentioned that it was different, just beautiful.

“was that the mother’s shawl was inlaid with multicolored gemstones.”
In this case, mother’s should be capitalized.

Further down in chapter two. “As the news got around…”
“There was a couple ‘that’ would drive up in a Cadillac; there was a young man ‘that’ never smiled or spoke. This is a mistake we all make but don’t always notice. Use ‘that’ for things, and ‘who’ for people. More examples of this on the same chapter.

Chapter four, para. Four:
Present and past tenses, here.
“it is safe to say”, s/b it was safe to say, as the whole paragraph is written in the past tense.
I think that with a bit of editing, Six Short Stories with a Twist will be very popular. I enjoyed all three chapters of it and I think many will, as well. Will continue reading past chapter three as soon as I have a chance. Thanks for sharing, Christine.
Maria x
The Path to Survival

Lourdes wrote 336 days ago

Dear Christine,
I love the first three chapters of your book.
Chapter one " Reflections".
Heidi’s story, with all the loveliness that comes with being a ballerina, touched my heart, especially at the end when she reminisces. I actually looked up The Firebird, and could easily follow your interpretation of it (lovely).
Some observations you may or may not want to look at.:)
Chapter two “The Food Pantry”, third para:
“her skin was olive and she could not help but notice a beautiful medallion around her neck of the Mother Mary.”
This sentence is a bit confusing to me, but I think it can be easily fixed. Here’s my suggestion:
Her skin was olive, and Sarah could not help but notice a beautiful Mother Mary medallion around her neck.

The next sentence could be worked on as well.
“What made it so different…” different from what? You haven’t mentioned that it was different, just beautiful.

“was that the mother’s shawl was inlaid with multicolored gemstones.”
In this case, mother’s should be capitalized.

Further down in chapter two. “As the news got around…”
“There was a couple ‘that’ would drive up in a Cadillac; there was a young man ‘that’ never smiled or spoke. This is a mistake we all make but don’t always notice. Use ‘that’ for things, and ‘who’ for people. More examples of this on the same chapter.

Chapter four, para. Four:
Present and past tenses, here.
“it is safe to say”, s/b it was safe to say, as the whole paragraph is written in the past tense.
I think that with a bit of editing, Six Short Stories with a Twist will be very popular. I enjoyed all three chapters of it and I think many will, as well. Will continue reading past chapter three as soon as I have a chance. Thanks for sharing, Christine.
Maria x
The Path to Survival

Margaret0307 wrote 345 days ago

Hi Christine - Your writing is a very high standard and the way each story is so different makes a very interesting book. From my personal point of view I think some of the short stories should be a bit longer e.g. the black box. It seemed to be over before it began! I also think that perhaps you need a few more stories - or to make some of them a bit longer - in order to make this a viable proposition as a book.

However, I am sure you will be able to do this as you are a very good writer and obviously full of great ideas. I enjoyed reading this and wish you all the very best with it. High stars from me. The book will remain on my watch list and I hope to move it to my shelf for a while when I have a space.

God bless you
Margaret
How do I know God answers prayer?

Brian G Chambers wrote 360 days ago

Hi Christine
I read Black Box as you asked. It was quite an unexpected ending. Many thoughts were running through my head as I read it wondering what the box concealed. I must say I was rather relieved when it contained jewelry. After the horrors that America went through that tragic day one was left wondering if it were a bomb. Very well written.
Brian.

Christine May wrote 404 days ago

Bill, so good to hear from you, glad you liked it, look frward to reading your book.
Best wishes, Christine

Dear Christine, I read Runaway, liked it very much, and commented in some detail. Tried to erase what appeared to be a duplicate and lost it all. Briefly, I said that you posed Annie's dilemma very well and gave us some fine characterizations. The gist of my comment was that I hoped Annie would follow Henri to the Philippines, which she seemed inclined to do.

My novel Call Home the Child poses similar problems for Nancy, the narrator. I'd love to know your reaction. I'll read the rest of your stories and get back to you. --Many thanks and best wishes, Bill

Bill Carrigan wrote 404 days ago

Dear Christine, I read Runaway, liked it very much, and commented in some detail. Tried to erase what appeared to be a duplicate and lost it all. Briefly, I said that you posed Annie's dilemma very well and gave us some fine characterizations. The gist of my comment was that I hoped Annie would follow Henri to the Philippines, which she seemed inclined to do.

My novel Call Home the Child poses similar problems for Nancy, the narrator. I'd love to know your reaction. I'll read the rest of your stories and get back to you. --Many thanks and best wishes, Bill

Maria Constantine wrote 423 days ago

Christine, I have read the first three stories and what has impressed me is how different they are; I burst out laughing at the end of chapter 3 at the vision of the greyhound in Mollie's nightgown, I felt a gentle sadness at the death of the MC in the first story and as for the second story I was relieved to read of Sarah's lucky escape.
I look forward to reading more stories. High stars from me today.

Maria (Georgina's Family)

evermoore wrote 424 days ago

CLF
Christine...You write thought provoking tales that are so all encompassing, that you amaze me with their shortness in length. The others have mentioned the same things I so enjoyed about the others, so I will leave my thoughts on the Black Box. That day was one that I am sure most of us, no matter where we live, remember well. For us in the states, it was devastating and I felt the same way, just wanting to gather my family with me and be with them in such tragedy. I knew that day what was most important to me. I knew what mattered and all those frivolous things that didn't. I was aching over the loss of lives...the families they'd left to mourn. And you brought that all back...so simply...it seemed. I kept trying to think of what that man carried in his case...thinking of much more meaningful, sentimental things. To find it was jewels...it stunned me. At such a time..in such horrible life changing moments...there was one man that didn't change at all. He was unaffected by what affected so many. I wanted to shake him...I just felt so sad. Six stars...and no doubt this will reach the desk quickly. Thank you for the sharing....
Linda

Grey Muir wrote 431 days ago

Hi Christine,
Here is my CLF review of Five Short Stories With a Twist

My comments are merely an opinion at the time I was reading the stories. Take what you find useful or helpful and discard what you don't. I am hoping that my thoughts help a bit. Here they are;

Reflections
“Days and years passing, it seemed like some kind of test.” Such is life. This is a great statement and is probably universally felt by all.
“The life span of a dance was short, ten or fifteen years at most.” I suggest that you may want to say that the “career” of a dancer was short, or the “life of a dancing career” was short. This is so the reader doesn’t have a brief moment wondering if dancers die after 10 years or so.
“She counted four young males…” I’d suggest “…four young men…”
“The light gathered her up, and she flew away into his waiting arms.”
This first chapter and story is very touching. The multiple flash backs are challenging, but I though you handled them pretty well.

The Food Pantry
I would change the way you organize your characters converse into a more standard style. Separate new lines for each speaker will help clarify different speakers.
“…Sarah had been born with lung disease…” I suggest “ …a lung disease…”
Interesting story. It meanders a bit I think. Most critique writers will suggest that it stick to only what is necessary in the story. With the story really being about how God spoke to Sarah, there is some meandering to be allowed for. You may want to look at it and see if there are things that if removed would not impede the story.

Man’s Best Friend
This was a very interesting story. I think that it would be especially appealing to dog owners and pet enthusiasts. The story came across a little rambling. I think that the death of the one dog from cancer was announced out of place. But I am not sure it belongs with the discussion of the cat, Tiger’s, death. It had some good amusing parts and I readily identified with the story teller.

The Runaway
Runaway jumps around a bit. You go from the two military boys to a long background on Annie, then the military boys are back. When they are back, they are already a long time foursome with Annie and Dot. The irregularity of it does give me some trouble in this story.
Your character’s conversations should be in the standard style. Each different character’s lines should start a new line. Jumbled together, you lose a lot of importance in the things they say. Stretching out the lines makes each characters statements feel more important and less rushed or jumbled.

Death’s Due
This story was written with a narrator telling it all. I think it would benefit greatly if each of the experiences were told from the point of view of the one it is about. It is very touching though and a mysterious end with the loud bang.

The stories are easy to read and appealing enough. I would suggest giving them a sharp eye and deciding what you want the “story” in each to be. Then you could maybe focus just a little more on that central theme. They do seem in places to be just a bit unfocused on any particular theme or point. The meandering maybe is a style that seems to me to be presenting very successfully a conversational feeling, so… it is up to you on that.
I do want to point out that the stories are not very linear. They jump around a bit in time sequence. Sometimes that can be appealing, but I am not sure it always contributes. I liked it in the first story cause it added a uniqueness to the story. But it wasn’t as appealing in the other stories.
Thanks for sharing your work with the group.

Charlotte12 wrote 433 days ago

Hi!
CLF review of chapter 1:
The second paragraph needs an edit in the first line, probably a period after ‘lawn chair.’
Then in the third paragraph, Heidi starts trying to get her thoughts straight but it hasn’t been established yet that she was upset, confused or questioning anything. So when she starts to ask questions to figure ‘it’ out, there seemed to be some important detail missing; the question has no context and does not make sense. I also admit I found the story was comprised of a lot of telling versus showing, which I found hard to make me really embrace the love story and the characters. The ending is quite pretty and sad, bringing the story back to the beginning. What did she die of?

Dyane,
The Purple Morrow

James Workman wrote 433 days ago

Christine--I've read chapter 4 for CLF. Good story and I liked the twist at the end--just the surprising thing a human being can do. You didn't overstate the meaning of it; you just let the decision speak for itself.

I'll put some minor notes in a message.

PTingen wrote 433 days ago

Christine,

I just read your last 2 stories and I believe they were my favorites! Nicely written!! I was a bit confused at the end of ch. 4 and it's probably just me. I didn't remember Henri giving Annie an envelope so I wasn't completely sure what that referred to. But again, it's probably just me being a bit dull. LOL!!!

Every blessing to you!

Patti

PTingen wrote 434 days ago

Hi Christine!

I've read through your next 2 stories. Nothing specific on ch. 2. I had a few comments/thoughts on ch. 3. I love animals so I especially enjoyed this one!

Be consistent with spelling of Molly vs. Mollie.

"Pissed her off" and "giggling my ass off." I wasn't offended by the language but it seemed to come out of nowhere as the rest of the story didn't use those types of words. So it kind of startled me.

I was confused by the paragraph that starts "At age 4, Flash was retired from racing." You go on to explain the training, etc. that's provided to folks before adoption which certainly would have helped this couple! :-) But even if those programs weren't in place at the time Flash was adopted, he still would have been retired from racing or he wouldn't have been at the vet's and available to be adopted. So to say it was about that same time that the humane organization was formed didn't make sense to me.

The accident with Tiger made me wince! I wasn't ready for that. Perhaps if it was a little less dramatic? The blood disease/gushing blood and then convulsions seemed a little over the top to me.

The ending was very funny! But I wasn't quite ready for it emotionally as I was still trying to get past the trauma with Tiger.

Just my thoughts - take them as you wish! :-)

All the best!

Patti

https://www.amazon.com/author/pattitingen

Christine May wrote 435 days ago

Keiran, You really did outdo yourself on the review. Thank you for taking all that time and effort to help me. I liked your last sentence the best.
It is true that American English uses different words and meaning. Plus the fact that English is not my first language. Would it be possible for you to send this review to my e-address so that I can print it? may.christine877@gmail.com
You are a little hard on yourself with starting out "Warning" ,it made me worry that I might explode. Just a little humor.The adoption program has changed a lot since that first time. Those dogs were flown in from other states, and usually would be put down if no one took them.
Thank you again,
Christine

CLF Review.

Warning Christine: I write down comments as I read. Some may be resolved later. Take on board or ignore as you wish.

Chap 1:
General comment: I did not get the point of this story at first. Then I realised it was the use of something familiar to call a person to heaven. I have heard of similar experiences when a person dying saw old friends, long since dead, come to get him.
Perhaps you could make it a bit clearer that Firebird was the great thing in Heidi's life. Though reading again, I must have been a bit dull to miss it.

1. I had to read 1st sentence twice to see if H was opening the door to go in or out. Could you change "opened the front door" to "came out through the front door"?
2. "swollen, she had to" change to "swollen and she had to".
3. "he decided to sleep" somehow sounds a bit mature for 5/6. Change to "he sneaked down to sleep"?
4. "as best as" sounded clumsy. Can you find an alternative?
5. Sylvia in italics and underlined. Usually just italics for titles.
6. "wearing Ballet shoes" no capital B.
7. Full stop after "feel herself blush"
8. Swim, workout, hot bath? In Hawaii? She would have boiled! Cold shower at the end more like it! Or another swim.
9. "pegnancy, of becoming a mother" Wrong! but hard to explain why. "Pregnancy" is a noun; "of becoming a mother" is an adverbial clause (I think). Either way they are not related, so should not have a comma in between them. Change to something like "pregnancy, the adventure of becoming a mother"
10. "Dee?" "Where did that come from?" make "'Dee' - where did that come from?". Or put Dee in italics.
11. "males...ladies" make "men...women" or "males..females". Switching from "males" to "young ladies" makes it sound like you are having to make the females more respectful, i.e. they were really prostitutes. (Exaggeration, but I hope you get my point).
12. because, "remember: typo, extra "
13. "Heidi's mother, doted on her" make "Heidi's mother, who doted on her"
14."mother, herself" no comma
15. "hoard" should be "horde"
16. Why was Ryan tired and gaunt? Didn't H ask? Reading later: was this the onset of cancer?
17. I know little about dance, but would Ryan have trusted H with such a demanding role on her return to ballet? Perhaps a younger ballerina could have had the main role, and H a supporting one?
18. Did Ryan not think about having an affair with another woman while away from his wife?

Chap 2:
General comment; When a new person speaks it should be on a new line, as you do in chap 1. Not in the same paragraph, as you do in this story.
1. "She had taken her name" puzzled me. Change to "Sarah had taken...". Ambiguous as it stands.
2. "Sarah so admired" is "Sarah admired" in U.K. English
3. "medallion of the Mother Mary around her neck" is better.
4. I think S. would say "that was fast" after she had answered the phone. At first she would not know what it was about: it might have been G calling to say he had got the job.
5. Comma after "weeks on end".
6. "Confronting" G with the letter sounds like jumping the gun. It would be better to say she just asked him what it was, and he replied but her suspicions were aroused.
7. "volunteers were spotty"? In U.K. this would mean they suffered from acne! But I get what you mean.
8. The Pastor sounds just a little bit too good to be true: give him some failing.
9. When S called on God the 2 earlier times, she was told what to do. The last time with Jason, you do not say this. I think you should say "She knew what she had to do" or something like it.

Chap 3:
General point: I honestly did not like the last paragraph. Instead of a real twist you've put a joke which clashes with the mood of the preceding passages. I would have left it out, or changed it to an account of Flash's death, and the final effect on David and Mollie. have a look at Thurber's "Portrait of Rex" and you will se what I mean.
General point 2: Your writing style is much improved compared with chap 1.
1. Travelling with a cat? Or that is how I read the 3rd sentence. What pet had they kept? If none say none, or say what it was.
2. “Vet” then “vet”. Be consistent.
3. At least 4 courses! What would those be? A what when there were more?
This is really over the top, at least for someone in impoverished Europe.
4. Let them run? Loose? The dogs would have disappeared.
5. Learned to put them in large cages. This makes an enormous jump. How did they decide on cages? How long did it take them? Where did they get the cages from? How did the dogs react to being put in them?
6. Flash had been a formidable winner, yet his future was grim? Would he not have been used for breeding as they do with racehorses?
7. "Qualified applicants could take the dogs home". This reminded me of a point I observed earlier: the vet allowed David to take the dogs home, even though he had not owned a dog before, and these were special dogs needing careful handling. Why did she do this? Why did she not check up on him? Reading later: this was after David had adopted the dogs. Maybe you should say this first.

Overall not at all bad!

Keiran Proffer
The Earthly City

Keiran Proffer wrote 436 days ago

CLF Review.

Warning Christine: I write down comments as I read. Some may be resolved later. Take on board or ignore as you wish.

Chap 1:
General comment: I did not get the point of this story at first. Then I realised it was the use of something familiar to call a person to heaven. I have heard of similar experiences when a person dying saw old friends, long since dead, come to get him.
Perhaps you could make it a bit clearer that Firebird was the great thing in Heidi's life. Though reading again, I must have been a bit dull to miss it.

1. I had to read 1st sentence twice to see if H was opening the door to go in or out. Could you change "opened the front door" to "came out through the front door"?
2. "swollen, she had to" change to "swollen and she had to".
3. "he decided to sleep" somehow sounds a bit mature for 5/6. Change to "he sneaked down to sleep"?
4. "as best as" sounded clumsy. Can you find an alternative?
5. Sylvia in italics and underlined. Usually just italics for titles.
6. "wearing Ballet shoes" no capital B.
7. Full stop after "feel herself blush"
8. Swim, workout, hot bath? In Hawaii? She would have boiled! Cold shower at the end more like it! Or another swim.
9. "pegnancy, of becoming a mother" Wrong! but hard to explain why. "Pregnancy" is a noun; "of becoming a mother" is an adverbial clause (I think). Either way they are not related, so should not have a comma in between them. Change to something like "pregnancy, the adventure of becoming a mother"
10. "Dee?" "Where did that come from?" make "'Dee' - where did that come from?". Or put Dee in italics.
11. "males...ladies" make "men...women" or "males..females". Switching from "males" to "young ladies" makes it sound like you are having to make the females more respectful, i.e. they were really prostitutes. (Exaggeration, but I hope you get my point).
12. because, "remember: typo, extra "
13. "Heidi's mother, doted on her" make "Heidi's mother, who doted on her"
14."mother, herself" no comma
15. "hoard" should be "horde"
16. Why was Ryan tired and gaunt? Didn't H ask? Reading later: was this the onset of cancer?
17. I know little about dance, but would Ryan have trusted H with such a demanding role on her return to ballet? Perhaps a younger ballerina could have had the main role, and H a supporting one?
18. Did Ryan not think about having an affair with another woman while away from his wife?

Chap 2:
General comment; When a new person speaks it should be on a new line, as you do in chap 1. Not in the same paragraph, as you do in this story.
1. "She had taken her name" puzzled me. Change to "Sarah had taken...". Ambiguous as it stands.
2. "Sarah so admired" is "Sarah admired" in U.K. English
3. "medallion of the Mother Mary around her neck" is better.
4. I think S. would say "that was fast" after she had answered the phone. At first she would not know what it was about: it might have been G calling to say he had got the job.
5. Comma after "weeks on end".
6. "Confronting" G with the letter sounds like jumping the gun. It would be better to say she just asked him what it was, and he replied but her suspicions were aroused.
7. "volunteers were spotty"? In U.K. this would mean they suffered from acne! But I get what you mean.
8. The Pastor sounds just a little bit too good to be true: give him some failing.
9. When S called on God the 2 earlier times, she was told what to do. The last time with Jason, you do not say this. I think you should say "She knew what she had to do" or something like it.

Chap 3:
General point: I honestly did not like the last paragraph. Instead of a real twist you've put a joke which clashes with the mood of the preceding passages. I would have left it out, or changed it to an account of Flash's death, and the final effect on David and Mollie. have a look at Thurber's "Portrait of Rex" and you will se what I mean.
General point 2: Your writing style is much improved compared with chap 1.
1. Travelling with a cat? Or that is how I read the 3rd sentence. What pet had they kept? If none say none, or say what it was.
2. “Vet” then “vet”. Be consistent.
3. At least 4 courses! What would those be? A what when there were more?
This is really over the top, at least for someone in impoverished Europe.
4. Let them run? Loose? The dogs would have disappeared.
5. Learned to put them in large cages. This makes an enormous jump. How did they decide on cages? How long did it take them? Where did they get the cages from? How did the dogs react to being put in them?
6. Flash had been a formidable winner, yet his future was grim? Would he not have been used for breeding as they do with racehorses?
7. "Qualified applicants could take the dogs home". This reminded me of a point I observed earlier: the vet allowed David to take the dogs home, even though he had not owned a dog before, and these were special dogs needing careful handling. Why did she do this? Why did she not check up on him? Reading later: this was after David had adopted the dogs. Maybe you should say this first.

Overall not at all bad!

Keiran Proffer
The Earthly City

Judes wrote 436 days ago

Christine, thank you for your message, I hope you enjoy my book/s. I have just read Reflections and really found that it flowed very well. For me, these are the sort of short stories that are loved by the readers of Womans magazines, it may be worth exploring that if you haven't already done so. I wish you every success with them.

Blessings,

Judy
God an'a Dog
Land of Shadows.

PTingen wrote 437 days ago

CCRG and CLF review:

Christine,

I just read your first story. It's very touching and has a beautiful ending! But I did have a bit of trouble following it. There were so many time changes that it became confusing and a bit frustrating to me. While some flashbacks would be nice as a variety rather than having the entire story in chronological order, I'd suggest cutting back on them a bit. I think it would make your story more powerful.

I look forward to reading more of your stories!

Blessings!

Patti

https://www.amazon.com/author/pattitingen

D. S. Hale wrote 439 days ago

CCRG Review

REFLECTIONS: I loved the sentence where he didn't tell her, and she didn't tell him about their dance history. That added tension and made me want to read on to see where these secrets would leave them. The rest of the story moved so smoothly. The ending nearly brought tears to my eyes. Isn't love something? If you don't lose your loved one to divorce, then you will surely lose them to death. But in eternity there will be no more seperation! Great job with this, Christine, I really liked the first chapter! Maybe it should be titled Firebird? Or something to do with birds because it is mentioned so often!

Sincerely,

Donna
Jessup and the Teleporter

KMac23 wrote 440 days ago

CLF and CCRG Review

Christine,

In the story, Reflections, I love some of your imagery, feeling the close connection between Ryan and Heidi on the plane ride, the soothing Hawaiian beach, Heidi’s relationship with Sylvia and pregnancy and ultimately Heidi’s finding her way back to Ryan for eternity. What a beautiful twist you provided with the ballet story and the red feathers. I think this was very lovely. It was difficult for me when there was a reflection within a reflection, (Heidi reflecting back on how she met Ryan and then in her reflection, Ryan reflected back on how he came to love ballet. Maybe it was by choice, hence the title, but it was hard for me to sort out. I’m thinking it might be helpful to stay with reflection at a time.

In, The Food Pantry, I think the twist at the end was good, the canned goods getting Jason. The Christian’s lives here seemed to be very perfect almost robotic. They might have some flaws or things that don't work out for them. I liked the story though. I think you have a knack for short stories, which are difficult to write.

Man’s Best Friend was as I remembered, very funny at the end. The feelings between master and pets in this story, comes through in your words. I like the pacing here.

The Runaway was one of my favorites of your stories. I think this twist in Annie finding out what was important to her after all the year was admirable. I thought this a sweet story with a great moral at the end.

Death's Due showed something beautiful in an experience most people fear. This story had some great elements and themes.

Kara
A Gate Called Beautiful

James Workman wrote 441 days ago

Christine--I've read the first story for CLF. You write well with a nice touch--not over-loaded. The ending was breathtaking.

I'll keep reading when I learn what your expectations are on CLF.

Best wishes,

Jim

Christine May wrote 463 days ago

Dear Sir, thank you so much for your much appreciated comment, and even the fact that you put my book on the shelf. It made my day.
Christine

For a long time now, I’ve thought that writing short stories was becoming a lost art. They are not easy to put together because the author has to use all their characterization skills very quickly to help readers connect, all the while building up a plot’s beginning, middle and end. Author Christine C. May however, makes this process look effortless in Five Short Stories with a Twist.

May has smartly grouped similar stories together in this collection so that they could be sold as a full book. And it’s nice that they all have running themes, though loosely. That said, readers are treated to several different kinds of stories, from almost sweet tales to the darker side to an almost epic thriller type ending story. My favorite was Food Pantry, but my tastes run a bit darker than most. All are well-written and all could be the subject of a full length novel. Instead, we are treated to some great tales in a short period of time.

The market for short stories is a little soft, but a book like Five Short Stories with a Twist could possibly change that.

John Breeden II
Old Number Seven

Stark Silvercoin wrote 463 days ago

For a long time now, I’ve thought that writing short stories was becoming a lost art. They are not easy to put together because the author has to use all their characterization skills very quickly to help readers connect, all the while building up a plot’s beginning, middle and end. Author Christine C. May however, makes this process look effortless in Five Short Stories with a Twist.

May has smartly grouped similar stories together in this collection so that they could be sold as a full book. And it’s nice that they all have running themes, though loosely. That said, readers are treated to several different kinds of stories, from almost sweet tales to the darker side to an almost epic thriller type ending story. My favorite was Food Pantry, but my tastes run a bit darker than most. All are well-written and all could be the subject of a full length novel. Instead, we are treated to some great tales in a short period of time.

The market for short stories is a little soft, but a book like Five Short Stories with a Twist could possibly change that.

John Breeden II
Old Number Seven

Kenneth Edward Lim wrote 469 days ago

Christine,
Revisiting your book of short stories, I decided to focus on "Death's Due" chronicling the life and times of an entire family spanning three generations. Starting with an Austrian father and Dutch mother prior to the outbreak of war, their six chilren Trudi, Gerry, Hans, the twins Mark and Maria, and the youngest Henri are raised in Austria. The war splits the family, the father staying in Austria where he's taken up with another woman, the mother returning with her brood to her native Holland. From there, the mother remarries and her new husband takes them to Australia to become a farming family. Then as they come of age and have families of their own scattering them as far as America, they start dying off from mishaps and ailments. Finally at her mother's deathbed in Holland, it is just Maria with surviving siblings awaiting whatever comes next. It is a poignant story where happiness is fleeting but love stays unbreakable among brothers and sisters cast adrift by parental breakup and rough economic times. Your narrative is simple and clear, your dialogue sparse but with impact, occurring only when necessary. Thank you so much for sharing.

Kenneth Edward Lim
The North Korean

Software wrote 473 days ago

The trick for short stories is to cram as much information into the narrative and dialogue as possible so as to sustain reader interest throughout. A good short story should read like a mini novel. Christine has successfully accomplished these prerequisites in each of the five short stories presented here. High stars.

Clive Radford
Doghouse Blues

Kate LaRue wrote 479 days ago

Return Read–Food Pantry

Christine,
This is an interesting story about a woman who knows the power of prayer, who often hears God speaking directly to her.

There was a bit of jumping around in POV throughout, which diffuses the tension somewhat, especially toward the end of the piece when Sarah is confronted by Jason.

Best wishes with this collection of stories.
Kate

Lenny Banks wrote 499 days ago

Hi Christine, I read chapter 3, Thanks for supporting my book, I appreciate your help. This was both a heart warming amusing story and an emotional story as well. You have shared these experiences as though I was an old friend sitting next to you in a bar. I was gripped all the way to see what happened in the story. Good Work.
I noted you didn't separate dialogue in a paragraph and it was a little confusing in places. I think your stories will be warmly received, it's nice to have something positive to read.

Kindest Regards and Best Wishes
Lenny Banks - Tide and Time: At The Rock

Mark Cain wrote 504 days ago

I've read the first three of your stories. Some of them, like "Reflections," hardly seems like a short story at all. It has the grand sweep of a novel. I was very moved by the ending.

The next two stories were unusual, mainly because of their endings. In both case, you end with humor, though the first story, "The Food Pantry," was not a funny story otherwise. But I cracked up at the ending.

These are stories of life and of living. There aren't any werewolves or fairies or wizards, no detectives or action heroes, just regular human beings moving their ways through life. There is a genuineness to each tale. There is much heart in these, and I enjoyed reading them. Thanks for coming my way and giving me the opportunity.

Mark
HELL'S SUPER

Brian G Chambers wrote 513 days ago

Hi Christine
I thought I would jump stright to runaway and I thought it was fantastic. It is a great story and well told I thoroughly enjoyed it. If the other stories in your book are as good as this one then it will do very well for you. Highly starred from me. Well done.
Brian.

D.J.Milne wrote 525 days ago

Hi Christine
I finished The Runaway today.
This is a charming story about Annie and her early adult life. Escaping her domineering mother and large family she has to make good on her own at the age of sixteen with her friend Dot, selling magazines then encyclopedias. Henri falls for her and stands by her as she struggles to find herself. After a lucky break she ends up in the comfortable life of a rich household where a secure future awaits after the death of the lady of the house and the proposal of becoming her replacement. But ultimately the first love wins through.
I really enjoyed this short story. A great touch of the twenties. Language style and the decorum of the day are wonderfully evoked here. I see that you tend not to use short forms in the dialogue section such as,Annie I am only telling you... Instead of I'm only telling you. At first I wished you had more short forms but on reflection it probably reflects the times. We are such lazy talkers nowadays!
A great tale and I will try to come back when time allows to grab another bite of your work.
Good luck with this.
David

Christine May wrote 537 days ago

I love the read of this book. We have had several good ballet dancers in our family and i can identify with all of this at some level. Nice visuals in your writing but go ahead and describe the dancers like Heidi more from head to toe. Ballet dancers have lots of feet problems, and these can be described at length. Size, shape, calf shape, muscle shape and length of arms, legs...Bone structure... All this helps to paint a picture of the dancer you could capture! High stars, i will keep reading and rate!
Roslyn
Scribe-Lings, for your child like heart Dear Roselyn, thank you so much for reading one of my stories, the advice is also appreciated. I love your book covers and will return the favor.
Christine
"I Am" Through the Ages, for your seeking heart

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