A geologist turned web programmer turned writer and graphic artist, Nancy Brauer has yet to decide what she wants to be when she grows up. She’s been writing, drawing, and cracking open rocks for as long as she can remember. Nancy divides her time between freelance web and graphic design, writing assorted web serials, and designing cover art at Hello Cover! (http://hellocover.com). Her latest works are the sci-fi/action serial "Strandline" (http://strandlineseries.com), the sci-fi/romance "Strange Little Band" (http://strangelittleband.com), a short story in the speculative fiction anthology "Other Sides" (http://ergofiction.com/ebooks/), and the paranormal thriller "Tori’s Row" (http://torisrow.com).
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by Nancy Brauer
Price: Free! 15330 words.
Published on November 28, 2010. Fiction.
Strandline is a web serial and possibly a novel about the new teleporting subspecies Homo sapiens nictans. Why am I not sure if it’s a novel? Because I’m writing this sucker by the seat of my pants and looking to readers for direction. It may end up as a novella or three, or a series of short stories.
New episodes are added every week, as well as on the Strandline website.
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Smashwords book reviews by Nancy Brauer
- 314 Crescent Manor
on June 22, 2010
I've been a fan of Jones' writing for a few years now. Her work is full of black comedy, suspense, memorable characters, and palpable atmosphere. 314 Crescent Manor is no exception.
Mark and Nathan Connor are estranged fraternal twins drifting through life. They know that something's wrong, but can't put their finger on what until The Event happens at Crescent Manor. Even after the supernatural (or quantum physics-related, depending on your point of view) Event turns their lives upside down, the siblings don't yet have all the answers. A cast of supporting characters, each as wonderfully strange as conspiracy theorist and bohemian artist Nathan and straight-laced, too-serious Mark, helps them with their quest. The Manor itself, a decaying art deco apartment building, is as much of a character as its tenants. It's eerie and unsettling, which makes you wonder all the more about those who live there.
Crescent Manor comes to a satisfying conclusion while leaving room for more -- and I certainly hope there's more!
- Frankie & Formaldehyde
on Dec. 22, 2010
Know this: I don't like zombies. At all. They're yucky and creepy and I'm very glad they only live in the land of make-believe. *shudder*
The only reason I started reading Frankie & Formaldehyde is because I've enjoyed M. Jones' other works, particularly 314 Crescent Manor. I'm glad I pushed past my zombie bigotry for this novel. It's a fantastic, fun, and philosophical read.
Former retiree Frankie works 80 hours per week at the Happy Restful Afterlife Home. Why afterlife? Because Osmosis Industries, Inc. is peddling the Osmosis 37 enzyme, which grants life everlasting to the deceased who can afford the treatment. The trouble is that the undead devolve into mindless, rotting, flesh-eating animals. Grief and Osmosis' marketing machine have blinded much of the populace to this fact. Consequently, Osmosis has built tens of "afterlife homes" to keep their dead customers from consuming their living ones. Jones has thought out the ramifications of this horrific business model and weaves them through the novel.
Frankie toils to support her husband George, who'd been incapacitated by a stroke. George died in his sleep... and woke up. He's a "rogue," albeit a mysteriously benign one. Although it's a capital offense to harbor rogue undead, George is still Frankie's husband. There's a bit of his soul in his pasty-skinned corpse. Frankie can't bring herself to turn George over to Osmosis, or worse, one of the afterlife homes. So she attempts to maintain the status quo until the other shoe drops, and boy does it ever!
The grim setting of Frankie & Formaldehyde is lightened by black comedy and gallows humor. How often do you see a zombie shop for Hawaiian shirts and Bermuda shorts? I never thought I'd root for a zombie, especially one with such tragic fashion sense.
I recommend Frankie & Formaldehyde to zombie lovers and haters alike. The romance aspect is almost platonic, so you don't have to worry about mental images of the living getting it on with the dead. It's about life-long relationships, loyalty, and the natural order of things with a healthy dose of wit and social commentary. The novel is kind of a philosophical "Shaun of the Dead," as evidenced by these quotes.
"A man's got to choose how he lives. ... He shouldn't have to choose how he dies."
"Live, die, something else lives. The very soil humanity walks upon is built up from death. Digging into a flowerbed means digging into bones."
"The Happy Restful. Where all your screams are joyous."