Of Words and Water - 2013

Rated 4.92/5 based on 14 reviews
Published in support of WaterAid, this delightful selection of short stories and poems has a cohesive theme of water. Donated by an international group of top class authors, there are many styles of writing which will each, in its own way, entertain you.

Song lyrics and a poem were donated by renowned folk singer, musician and activist Peggy Seeger, More
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Price: Free! USD

Published by Words and Water group
Words: 57,530
Language: English
ISBN: 9781301113965
About Jay Howard

Jay currently lives in Somerset, which she considers to be a gem among English counties. She has lived and worked in many places in England, Wales, Alberta and British Columbia. Holding dual citizenship through her father, who was born in Toronto, a visit to her ‘other country’ included a stay in her father’s city followed by the four day train journey to the West coast. She describes the trip as ‘the only way for an English visitor to start to comprehend the vastness and diversity of this land’.

While admitting that trying so many different areas of work may not be ideal for most people, Jay believes that her experiences have given her insights that enrich her writing. She describes writing as ‘enormously enjoyable and satisfying, but second only to golf in the level of frustration that must be endured to achieve the desired goal’.

Novels:
Never Too Late (Changes #1)
New Beginnings (Changes #2)

Short story collections:
As The Sun Goes Down
Similar Differences

Editor and contributor to Of Words and Water 2013 and Of Words and Water 2014 (short story and poetry collections published in support of WaterAid)

Planned for publication in December 2014: A Strong Brew

Videos

The River by Peggy Seeger
Beautifully produced by Richard Clabaugh, a reading by Laurel Clabaugh of this poetic contribution to the anthology. Watch the river in the various stages of its journey to the sea while listening to the lyrical words.

Also in Of Words and Water

Also by This Author

Also by This Publisher

Reviews

Review By: dingbell
The River
By Peggy Seeger excerpt from Of Words and Water 2013

Review by: Chris The Story Reading Ape on Feb. 26, 2014 :
These high standard short stories covering an autobiographical extract from a Mother, literary fiction, science fiction, fantasy and interspersed with poetry are all quite different, even though the common theme is water.

The contributing Authors have successfully showcased their formidable storytelling skills and deemed that all proceeds and donations go to support WaterAid.

I, for one, will be looking out, not only for further such collaborations, but also for the other books written by each of the authors.
(review of free book)

Review by: Jim Browning on Oct. 20, 2013 :
Of Words and Water is a collection of short stories and poems dedicated to the subject of water. It was put together by Jay Howard with the idea that it would be distributed for free, with encouragement for donations to the WaterAid charity.

Despite all this good works intention, the book stands the test of quality extremely well. It has obviously been meticulously edited and selective in the submissions that were accepted for inclusion. I've enjoyed reading it very much!

It starts out with a short poem called River, followed by the editor's short introduction and a well-known fable about a cracked vase. This is followed by a story called Oreille which has a decidedly French flavour and some wonderful imagery. It is an excerpt from a book, which I may need to read in full.

Formless Like Water by Dax Christoher is next and is described as an "arrhythmic poem". I found it both emotional and chilling, and read it as though the water of the earth was speaking directly to me. This is followed by Battling Waves by Jason Parent, a story of a parent taking his son to the beach and trying to give him some freedom in the water, despite his own near-tragic memories of a close encounter with death in his childhood.

I was thrown off in the next story, A Nice Cup of Tea, by present tense writing. Maybe it's just me but it always seems wrong in a novel or story. Despite that, the story was evocative and well-written. Then a cutesy poem about water sprites follows after which we get the first part of a rather depressing story about a death at a mine and a boy who hates water because his daddy drowned.

From there we move into a fantasy world with mermaids and the heart-wrenching story of what happens when they cross breed with men and get a child who can't live in water with its mother. Le-ina's Sorrow by Jaq D. Hawkins brought tears to my eyes and I don't mind admitting it! The next story, Fortunes by Neel Kay, presents a complete contrast in a tale about a bride completely obsessed with making her wedding perfect, despite a bridesmaid who has suddenly started neurotically avoiding water. The wedding is to occur on a boat.

Next up was my brother, Her husband by Mike Duron. It's a short piece which is explained as an exercise in imagery and is done very well, though it's a little stalkerish. Sea Bright by Ali Isaac follows, a poignant study of motherhood and loss. I admit I got very involved in this story. I've never had such an experience, but I could really feel the anguish of the pregnant mother as she struggled over the decision she had to make. I would have liked a little more information at the ending though.

Prime Directive by Mona Karel appealed to the Trekkie in me. Almost Bradbury-like science fiction with shades of The Man Who Fell To Earth in a plot about ecological balance and alien intervention. Hell Hath Fury was a continuation of Mark Bell's earlier story, Appalachian Spring. I found this series of tales borderline disturbing, but the writing was certainly effective. Lovecraft fans would likely enjoy these.

Next was Love Call Me Home by Peggy Seeger. As there is a chorus it is presumably song lyrics. Without the music it's hard to judge, but luckily the text provides a link to samples on the author's website. The music genre is a little too country for my personal taste, but the lady has a beautiful clear voice and this particular song is rather pleasant. Then we are back to stories with Treading Water by Sylvie Nickels. It's a very well written and heart warming story about a woman who missed her chance at professional swimming as a girl, and a boy who struggles to learn to swim.

The next story is Dreams by Kathryn O'Halloran. This one really blew me away! Right away it hit a discordant note and was at times disturbing, yet it captured the inner thoughts of an artistic mind in a way that was unbelievably expressive. The collection is worth reading if just for the feelings invoked by this story!

FWISH by Mike Duron is next and is an interesting experiment in writing phrases that represent two sentences at the same time so that they can't possibly be read out loud. Oddly, it works. It struck as the sort of thing a child might enjoy reading, sort of on the same level as Dr Suess, yet different.

Another seven excellent entries await the reader in this substantial anthology of above average talent.

As a whole, the writing ranges from good to excellent. It is plain to see that the stories were chosen to meet a certain standard rather than just using whatever was available. Even with making a substantial donation to the charity the collection was compiled to support I think it's better value than many anthologies currently on the market.
(review of free book)

Review by: Dean Johnston on Oct. 07, 2013 :
Besides raising money for a great cause this book is a very entertaining collection of stories and poems from a vastly different group of authors. The stories range from practical to touching to romantic to humorous, meaning that every reader should be able to find something that strikes their fancy. Very commendable of these authors to donate their time and talent to such an important issue. I highly recommend checking this book out and making a donation at https://www.justgiving.com/Of-Words-And-Water.
(review of free book)

Review by: germanio puglio on Sep. 29, 2013 :
What a book. An anthology of poems and short stories all related to water. A story about a farmer interested me. Very reminiscent of the past. The siren story was frightening. Good short reads. Many different authors who put a lot of thought and emotions into their stories. Would be nicer in paperback.
(review of free book)

Review by: A Fox on Sep. 08, 2013 :
This anthology of short stories and poems had me riveted to my chair from the intro. It contains something for everyone from Jason Parent's moving and inspirational story of a man who lost part of himself to the ocean years ago to the emotional and stressful story of Sea Bright by Ali Isaac of a woman going through a difficult pregnancy. Also, the first entry by Mark Bell of Boo and his frog Jasper from the Appalachians tugged at the heart strings and left me wanting for more. I was glad when I discovered two more of his stories later on in the book.

Apart from what I mentioned, there are many stories and poems in this anthology for any reader's taste, whether it be heartfelt stories or suspenseful stories by Anthea Carson or fantasy by K.A. Krisko. So many good writers in this book make it impossible to mention them all.

The book is edited well with just the right amount of different types of short stories and poems to keep the reader actively reading. It opened my eyes to the wonderful talents of authors I had never heard of and, therefore, will read more of their books.
(review of free book)

Review by: Michele McGrath on Sep. 05, 2013 :
A fascinating collection of short stories and poetry. Something for everyone. Some stories pose philosophical questions others are simple stories. I liked many, hated one and refused to read one - I don't like tinkering round with the English language and weird punctuation. The stories span all tastes. Give it a try.
(review of free book)

Review by: Alex Sky III on Aug. 31, 2013 :
A well written collection of work, put together in a great way.
(review of free book)

Review by: Alexes Razevich on Aug. 22, 2013 :
I have to say, this is the first anthology I've read cover to cover that didn't have a single dog entry. Every one of the stories, poems, and songs in Of Words and Water caught and held my attention. Of course I had favorites--Mark Bell's Boo stories, Patrick de Moss' "Old Waves, New," Peggy Seegar's "Love Call Me Home," and Jay Howard's "A Nice Cup of Tea" among them--but each reader will doubtless find their own. That the money goes to an excellent cause is icing on the cake. Kudos to all the writers and especially to the editor(s) for putting together a thoughtful, often poignant, wonderful collection.
(review of free book)

Review by: Sophie Cocks on Aug. 01, 2013 :
Great stories, for a great cause. One I am recommending to my family and friends, you should too!
(review of free book)

Review by: Annie Harmon on July 30, 2013 :
I just finished reading this from cover to cover- so many different voices! I loved reading the stories by American authors because it was close to home, but even better was reading from the European authors, enjoying the flavors of other countries. Personally, I thought all the entries had terrific value but two that stuck with me- really dug in deep- were the stories about Boo, and the story, "Old Waves,New" (I saw my father there). But you'll read it and find your own favorites, I'm sure. Stories tend to reach us not only according to the writer's skill, but also because they touch on our past experiences. The story "House Under Water" reached me in a way that we can all be reached because we all have something we've lost that we haven't been able to admit to, not even to ourselves. The idea for Fortunes was funny and something we can imagine our spunkier friends pulling off, and Le-ina's Sorrow was a story like no other I've read. Who comes up with this amazing stuff?! Well, clearly each author in this book has, and I can't possibly list all of the gems in here so it's up to you to find YOUR new favorites.
(review of free book)

Review by: Allie Cresswell on July 30, 2013 :
Getting something for nothing can either be a lovely surprise or something we take for granted. Fresh clean water falls into the latter category for most of us. Even during the heat wave we in the UK are enjoying at the moment we have refreshing showers a couple of times a day and water the garden in the cool of the evening without giving it a second thought. Sadly that isn’t the case for many millions of people, a plight which this anthology seeks to relieve.
The book is free to download. All the writers ask is a donation to WaterAid, a charity which helps people get that basic necessity of life: clean water. Their website and Facebook page make it easy to make an on-line donation but won’t rail-road you into it; you can give as much or as little as you like.
The book itself falls squarely into the former category. An eclectic mix of short stories, poetry, song and memoir, there is something here for everyone except any kind of difficult to swallow on-message sentimentality or guilt-trip evangelism. The stories are all entertaining in their different ways, with water as their loosely – sometimes very loosely - connecting theme.
What is more, as the contributors are mainly Indie authors working hard to get their voices heard, the anthology provides a wonderful showcase for emerging talent, one of which may well turn out to be your next favourite. Personally I’ll be looking out for more from Patrick de Moss, whose ‘Old Waves, New’ is a hauntingly rendered account of the awkward and past-laden reunion of a father and son in a remote cabin in Nova Scotia which had me absolutely gripped. I found Ali Isaac’s autobiographical account of discovering her unborn baby had a rare disorder heart-breakingly honest and poignant but without a whiff of self-pity. In contrast, Mike Duron’s delightful and playful ‘Fwish’ was full of fun and grammatical naughtiness. Life the author, I could have coped with only one instalment of Boo, but it did envy him that diamond-yielding frog!
Considering nobody, from the editor to the illustrator, receives a penny in recompense for their contribution to this publication, it is beautifully produced and painstakingly edited, another lovely surprise.
(review of free book)

Review by: hravenrose on July 27, 2013 :
Lyrical. Evocative. Heartful. This anthology is a collection of quite diverse works by a number of very talented writers. 'It sang down rivulets,' is a line from the opening poem, 'The River' by Peggy Seeger, and the same is true of the words in this book. They sing down rivulets, of emotion, feeling, imagery, thoughts and the kinds of ideas that elevate humans from the ordinary to the sublime. The work has a rich, pervasive resonance with all that is meaningful. It is the kind of book that bears reading and re-reading. It is the kind of book that will stir your own creative juices. Happy reading~*
(review of free book)

Review by: Bill Boerst on July 15, 2013 : (no rating)
When is water not just that, but more? Perhaps when dealt with by wordsmiths. Several authors in the anthology Of Words and Water tackle this theme in their own unique ways. Those readers who love water will be hypnotized; those who loathe it will be traumatized. But none will go untouched.

The book contains many meaningful short-fiction and poetic pieces, but I would like to mention some that I found particularly noteworthy. In Peggy Seeger's "The River," she says that "its passion drowns words," implying nature's power over humankind. Of a sea shell, Marie-Anne Mancio (in "Oreille") says, "The more natural it appears, the more orchestrated it is." In "Formless Like Water," Dax Christopher describes the "slow, dull, nagging, unsettling pull" of water. And justifying its violence he observes, "Some things in this world need to be broken."

Even tea takes on new meaning, as Jay Howard in her domestic quarrel disarmingly called "A Nice Cup of Tea" talks about the different kinds of water needed for brewing. As for the melding of land and sea, Jason Parent in "Battling Waves" observes, "To Emory the beach was a place where the worlds of earth and water became one, and he one with them." In another place he says, "The remnants of once mighty waves fizzled like soda over his feet." Parent captures the sheer terror of battling waves and undertow, resulting in near death.

I could go on. In "By the Mill," Ali Isaac explores the antics of water sprites. In “Lee-ina's Sorrow" by Jaq D Hawkins, the bond between a mermaid and her land-dwelling daughter is severed by the daughter's inability to breathe under water. "Fortunes" by Neel Kay has a supposedly phobia-ridden bridesmaid approaching the wedding in mortal fear of water. The flash-fiction piece "my brother, Her husband" reveals an emotive moment in time shooting out from one woman's shower.

There are so many rich morsels: "Sea Bright" by Ali Isaac (Sea Bright being the meaning of her daughter’s name), "Prime Directive" by Mona Karel (dealing with water's opposite, parched land: “The people of Earth have treated this planet like a drunken girl at a frat party…."), "Treading Water" by Sylvie Nickels (passing skills on to a youngster), "Dreams" by Kathryn O'Halloran (a woman lost in her job tries to reclaim herself), "The Natural Seize" by K. A. Krisko (tension-ridden contest between a castle and three humans), and "Old Waves, New" by Patrick de Moss (a moving look at the efforts of a father and son to reconcile the past, set against the rocky shore of Nova Scotia).

Enjoy your journey through the boundless energy and precious gift of this natural resource. Marvel at the cruelty and resilience of humans as well as nature. Discover the many choice morsels I have neglected to mention. You won't be sorry.

-- Bill Boerst
(review of free book)

Review by: Christoph Fischer on July 02, 2013 :
"Of Words and Water" is an impressive anthology of short stories and poems, all around the theme of water, a charitable project for WaterAid.
The pieces chosen cover a broad range of approaches, they are poetic, poetic prose or use more modern language; some are more symbolic, others more direct and literal.
The editors did an excellent job at compiling a huge variety of unique styles and ideas on the subject. Whether we experience the power of ocean waves or have a comparatively safe swimming pool as setting, a flooded house, a woman's water breaking or snow in an unusual location - the collection as a whole hits home the importance of water, its many shapes and forms and its all permeating importance. Water is needed everywhere, water is life.
The book can be downloaded for free, a donation for WaterAid is suggested.
(review of free book)

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