Mike White


I'm going to try to throw as much wacky science fiction/fantasy, and non-fiction comedy at you as you can handle. I'll have more books coming really soon in the Blood Calls You Back Series and the world of Reality Zero. I recently made RZ free.


I love helping out other writers who have their own great stories to share, and I'm a prolific reader and reviewer.
2022 update-More stuff coming from everywhere including Reddit and Wattpad as well as here.

Where to find Mike White online


World Shards
Flash fiction with each story being a little shard of a different world. Mostly science fiction with some fantasy. Usually, just a few pages long, though there could be some exceptions with some pieces being longer or having multiple stories per piece.
Time Travel University
Follow the adventures of Kit, 20 something girl who finds herself in a classroom for aspiring time travelers in some building somehow orbiting an apparently destroyed Earth. Just how did she get here? Just why does such a university exist in the first place, who created it, and why are the professors so weird? And more importantly, what century is she going to specialize in?
The World of Newcomer
World of newcomer is a series taht is vastly time-spanning, going literally from at least the Neolithic to the far future.From a certain point of view, it spans both the beginning and the end of time. The world concerns a war between two intelligences both capable of time travel, and that various people both calls gods.
The Blood Calls You Back
Joe apparently has a relative from the Ice Ages. He never expected to meet her, though, is the thing. Bear finds a strange empty vial that somehow calls Joe's consciousness back through time. Who gave Bear the vial? How does it work? Why interest do the originators of the technology have with an Android Programmer like Joe? Also, when will he give Bear's people beer already? So many mysteries to solve.


Newcomer 12
Price: Free! Words: 3,820. Language: English. Published: July 16, 2020 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias
Cali and Faraday race in an attempt to finally escape their pursuers and meet a strange new companion for some more answers.
World Shards: Fusing Neptune I
Price: Free! Words: 1,650. Language: English. Published: June 24, 2020 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories
Isla is a girl who gets a pet whale squid monster. It seemed to come from a strange happening in the ocean. She's determined to communicate at all costs.
Tales From Earth II
Price: Free! Words: 880. Language: English. Published: June 16, 2020 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Science fiction » General
(3.50 from 2 reviews)
In the far future, after the location of Earth has been lost to human knowledge, one priest makes it back to claim it as humanity's birthplace, much to the confusion of the current inhabitants.
World Shards: Tales From Earth I
Series: World Shards. Price: Free! Words: 600. Language: English. Published: June 13, 2020 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Science fiction » General
(3.00 from 1 review)
An alien from an ancient race visits a strange star system and considers the far future.
Newcomer: Chapter 11
Price: Free! Words: 3,870. Language: English. Published: December 13, 2017 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
(4.00 from 3 reviews)
Cali and Faraday have to try to escape from some nasty murderous smoke, and they find something pretty terrifying in the process.
Newcomer: Chapter 10
Price: Free! Words: 3,200. Language: English. Published: September 25, 2017 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic, Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias
(4.00 from 4 reviews)
Cali is on a patrol several days later, and demons are hot on the trail of her and her friends.
Newcomer: Chapter 9
Price: Free! Words: 2,850. Language: English. Published: September 13, 2017 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic, Fiction » Science fiction » General
(4.50 from 2 reviews)
Cali ventures out of the Breathing Room and further into the forest, where she meets some post-apocalyptic missionaries who have some weird ideas.
Newcomer: Chapter 8
Price: Free! Words: 2,840. Language: English. Published: July 12, 2017 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic
(5.00 from 4 reviews)
In a post-apocalyptic world with talking crows and pods that apparently give blind people their sight back, Cali finally finds the possibility of getting some answers; including libraries within libraries and information on strange demons.
Newcomer: Chapter 7
Price: Free! Words: 2,590. Language: English. Published: July 4, 2017 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
(4.33 from 3 reviews)
Cali recovers after her encounter with the monster, and learns more about the strange village she finds herself in, populated largely by crows and strange buildings.
Time Travel University (Part II)
Series: Time Travel University · The World of Newcomer. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 5,840. Language: English. Published: June 19, 2017 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » High tech, Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
In Part II (Entry 3) of Time Travel U, Kit finds herself explaining modern science to eager time travelers from across thousands of years of past history while they all wait for the Strangest Professor Ever to show up for their Time Travel 101 class. Debates and arguments between religious folks and scientists are inevitable too, as well as all manner of other weird stuff.
Zombie Management
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 25,870. Language: English. Published: June 2, 2017 . Categories: Fiction » Horror » Undead, Fiction » Humor & comedy » Satire
(4.50 from 2 reviews)
Bob is a simple man- he likes soda-powered battle cannons and not working. He hates waking up with peanut butter in his hair and working. Specifically, he hates working his job at Xmart, a store that's learned to live with a zombie apocalypse that fizzled out. Except, things may be fizzling back in more than he thought, and Bob prefers his fizzling to be soda related only.
Newcomer: Chapter 6
Price: Free! Words: 2,770. Language: English. Published: April 14, 2017 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » High tech, Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
(4.33 from 3 reviews)
In this chapter, Cali meets some friends and encounters a creature beyond belief.
Ud the Mortal
Price: Free! Words: 10,390. Language: English. Published: February 3, 2017 . Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Dark, Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction
(5.00 from 1 review)
Ud was a human who died many thousands of years ago. And now, he is the only being he knows of to climb up all of the worlds of the Way Down to the top layer of reality and turn from a Ghoul into a mortal again. His first encounter with the humans at the top of the Worlds didn't go as planned, but he has vital news for his (now) fellow mortals.
Newcomer: Chapter 5
Price: Free! Words: 1,420. Language: English. Published: January 15, 2017 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias, Fiction » Science fiction » General
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
A story in which Kali has a conversation with a Murder of Post Apocalyptic crows.
The Fury of Sentinels
Series: The World of Newcomer. Price: Free! Words: 15,820. Language: English. Published: January 11, 2017 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias, Fiction » Science fiction » High tech
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
Question-When you're a cyborg's that's been shot down and damaged in an island in the middle of nowhere, and there's also a being that calls itelf a God hunting you as well as the most hostile native islanders ever following you around, what do you do? Answer-Get shot with arrows a lot and probably die. Unfortunately, there's no time to die. There's a War on. A created God versus a False one.
Newcomer Chapter 4: A Serial Flash Fiction Novel
Series: The World of Newcomer. Price: Free! Words: 1,070. Language: English. Published: October 18, 2016 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic
(5.00 from 1 review)
Chapter four picks up with Cali, the former blind cripple who woke up with her eyes and legs, running away from a murderous imp that seems to think she's someone else.
Newcomer Chapter 3: A Serial Flash Fiction Novel
Series: The World of Newcomer. Price: Free! Words: 1,030. Language: English. Published: October 8, 2016 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » High tech, Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
Chapter 3 starts with Cali, after waking up in the woods with her vision and legs restored and then encountering a demon, hearing voices and trying to avoid being torn to shreds.
Newcomer Chapter 2: A Serial Flash Fiction Novel
Series: The World of Newcomer. Price: Free! Words: 880. Language: English. Published: September 29, 2016 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias, Fiction » Science fiction » High tech
(4.80 from 5 reviews)
After waking up in a strange pod with her last memories of being in a hospital bed, Cali explores the forest outside her pod and dreams strange dreams.
Newcomer: Chapter 1- A Serial Flash Fiction Novel
Series: The World of Newcomer. Price: Free! Words: 1,450. Language: English. Published: September 24, 2016 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias, Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
(4.89 from 9 reviews)
Cali wakes up in a strange glass pod with no memory of how she got there. But questions about where she is and how she arrived aren’t nearly as strange as another radical difference. This is a startling, impossible change Cali detects in herself.
Reality Zero: Book 1-1
Price: Free! Words: 25,210. Language: English. Published: September 1, 2016 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias, Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
(5.00 from 1 review)
Dorah’s Not-Teacher in the art of Not -Magic refuses to take her, a woman from a medieval village, on as a student, insisting his power is not magic. Events unfold that show Dorah that her reality is only one hidden inside many, and she soon seizes an opportunity to escape to higher levels where she can learn the secrets of not only Not Magic, but reality itself.
World Shards: Redo I
Series: World Shards. Price: Free! Words: 710. Language: English. Published: June 26, 2016 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Science fiction » High tech
(4.50 from 4 reviews)
What if you could choose to redo a day as many times as you wanted, whenever you wanted? What if the only memento you had of the Redos each time was a number?
Time Travel University
Series: The World of Newcomer · Time Travel University. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 4,350. Language: English. Published: June 9, 2016 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Science fiction » High tech
(5.00 from 1 review)
Kit was just starting to think about college when she's thrown into the prospect of attending an entirely different sort of institution just for time travelers and complete with a mind-bending revelation about the other alien students, cyborgs, cavemen, and still stranger things alike. What could the purpose of such a college possibly be? Will the helmet-wearing, time-traveling elephants tell her?
Tunneler's Tale I (World Shards 3)
Series: World Shards. Price: Free! Words: 820. Language: English. Published: June 4, 2016 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Science fiction » High tech
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
An old World Tunneler tells a reporter about the best alternative Earth he's ever Tunnelled to over his career.
Temporal Anchor (World Shards 2)
Series: World Shards. Price: Free! Words: 780. Language: English. Published: May 31, 2016 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » High tech, Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
(4.00 from 3 reviews)
Sometimes, the only solution for a cyborg on the run is to temporally dislocate the entire block.
The Blood Calls You Back (Part 2)
Series: The Blood Calls You Back · The World of Newcomer. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 16,930. Language: English. Published: May 29, 2016 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Historical » Ancient
Joe’s ancestor from the Ice Age, a chieftain named Bear, calls to him for help when a neighboring village attacks her mountaintop settlement. What technology can Joe teach Bear and her people who live in Mammoth bone tents? What will he do when the tech that calls his consciousness to the Ice Age shows up elsewhere in the present?
Shaping Glass: A Reality Zero World Story
Price: Free! Words: 4,260. Language: English. Published: April 26, 2016 . Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General
(4.00 from 2 reviews)
Tal is the prince of Elwar, or at least he was until his total jerk of a brother tried to have him killed. Luckily, he totally swiped the magic Shaping Glass before leaving.Unluckily, his brother sent some bounty hunters after him. Is this a scrape Tal and his bodyguard will walk away from? Or can Tal master the Glass fast enough to tip the scales in their favor?
Inhuman Freedom
Series: World Shards. Price: Free! Words: 2,720. Language: American English. Published: March 20, 2016 . Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Fantasy » Dark
(4.50 from 6 reviews)
Inhuman entities also care about freedom, but in radically different ways in these two opposite day-and-night flash fiction stories.
The Blood Calls You Back
Series: The Blood Calls You Back · The World of Newcomer. Price: Free! Words: 11,610. Language: English. Published: December 23, 2015 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
(4.50 from 6 reviews)
An Ice Age chieftain named Bear finds a strange device made of no rock she’s ever seen. She soon discovers it has the ability to call back descendants of her bloodline. Just where did the cylindrical device come from? Who will it bring from the modern era, and can his knowledge save her mountaintop village from mammoths, sabretooth tigers, diseases and even stranger threats?
Adam The Office Ninja
Price: Free! Words: 3,050. Language: English. Published: January 20, 2013 . Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » Parody
(4.77 from 13 reviews)
Adam is the world's only (self declared)Office Ninja-skilled with the ancient art of Ninjutsu, and also using 6 copying machines concurrently. Can Graham, the manager from the office temp agency Office Lenders, teach Adam the Noble Way of the Office Temp, and more importantly- keep Adam from ruining his career?

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Smashwords book reviews by Mike White

  • Kyralie (part 1) on Feb. 24, 2016

    This book really managed to stand out from other entries in the genre.
  • A Reckless Moon on Feb. 25, 2016

    The extreme minimalism of this story helps make the protagonist seem extremely alien and inhuman, which is clearly what the writer was going for here. The short and sparse writing style managed to be suggestive, which worked well for a horror story like this.
  • Only Watching North on March 03, 2016

    This story has good dialogue, some original details, and dark humor that many people will appreciate.
  • Sixty-Four Days, A Sea Story on March 09, 2016
    (no rating)
    The writer has a very clear and concise writing style that still manages to communicate a lot. Readers will really get a sense of the protagonist's world-weary personality. The action scenes are balanced well with the passages that are meant to establish the protagonist's character.
  • I Would on March 11, 2016

    Almost anyone who has been separated from a loved one can relate to this poem, which manages to say a lot in only a few words.
  • Epilogue for a Lost Tale on March 20, 2016

    I love stories about immortality. This story has a nicely elemental view towards immortality that makes it feel more folkloric. The writer makes the characters seem alien without making them seem too cold or distant. Relationships of any kind between immortals are also always great to see.
  • The Bones of the Sea on March 20, 2016

    This science fiction story was much harder in terms of its science than most. The writer manages to establish a lot of intricate details very quickly and subtly without bogging the story down in exposition. The ending of the story is dramatic and effective.
  • Shakespeare's Hamlet in Plain English on March 22, 2016

    Even a lot of the most dedicated fans of Shakespeare are going to appreciate this. It captures the essence of the play and the characters while smoothly updating the language.
  • Lessons in Eating Soup on March 23, 2016

    This story does a great job of establishing a number of details in such a way that people can really feel like they're being immersed in this very specific environment. The writer manages to write clearly without being too dry and establishes the personalities of several characters very quickly.
  • Author Vs. Character on March 23, 2016

    This story is hilarious. Not only does it manage to capture how cruel authors can be towards their characters, it really manages to effectively portray authors who are just making it up as they go along. I especially love the observation that characters would know their own world better than the authors would in some cases. Conflict is great in fiction and bad in real life, so blurring the lines is entertaining. Also: woodle pooves.
  • 100 Quotations to Make You Think! on March 23, 2016

    The quotes in this book vary widely in quality. Some of them are obvious, some of them are funny, some of them are unintentionally funny, and some of them are legitimately useful and profound. Basically, there is plenty of good stuff here, and the rest is easy to skip. I'm sure someone could turn that sentiment into a realistic but positive quote about life.
  • Tom Meets the Devil on March 26, 2016

    This story has a certain classic and folkloric feel to it. The audience has information that the protagonist does not have, given how young the character is. We hope the character is going to catch on when we catch on, which adds to the suspense.
  • Collection of Job Interview Questions and the Answers on March 28, 2016

    This is a very useful book for people who want to be able to excel at job interviews. The business world has its own language, and people need to be able to learn it well enough to pass a job interview. This book subtly teaches people that language, while also telling them how they can avoid some of the pitfalls associated with certain job interview questions. The book provides both guidelines and examples, making it doubly useful. It also has a very professional and clear layout.
  • Finding Hope on April 01, 2016

    This was an excellent short story. The writer managed to depict the hopelessness that suicidal people feel effectively, as well as the fact that even at the end, many of them are still crying out for support. I appreciate that the writer avoided blaming suicidal people in any way. Instead, the writer is trying to raise awareness about why they're going through this.
  • Twelve Views of Troy, New York on April 04, 2016

    This brief collection of photographs manages to make a strong impression very quickly. Many people have never seen this area, but they will feel like they have after seeing these photographs.
  • Grandma Stannard (and why you shouldn't annoy the neighbours) on April 04, 2016

    This story is darkly hilarious. The character of Grandma Stannard is established very quickly and very effectively. The build-up to the climax of the story is done very well. The conclusion to the story is appropriate, and it still manages to surprise.
  • How I Became Insane (An Insomniac's Tale) on April 05, 2016

    This piece managed to accurately portray what it's like to suffer from insomnia. I especially liked the observations on how frustrating the search for the right medication can be, and the way that family members are not always supportive when it comes to problems like this.
  • Rhyme-O-Grams Word Game on April 05, 2016

    I'd never heard of this word game before, but I automatically got into it. I really recommend this book for anyone who is interested in trying out new word games.
  • Inside the Worm on April 09, 2016

    A lot of the poems in this anthology are just fantastic. There are a couple of poems that express sentiments that I don't agree with, but even these are well-written and may not reflect the opinions of the author. This anthology covers a wide range of different subjects, which makes it that much more compelling. These are structured poems that have rhyme and meter, which is so refreshing in an age where unstructured poems are the norm in academia and the poetry world.
  • Particle on April 10, 2016

    This story provides an interesting take on what happens after people die, which is certainly a timeless topic. The writer also did a good job of capturing the way death can come on so suddenly. People really can be living their normal lives one minute, only to have everything change in the blink of an eye.
  • A Summer Night In Sweden on April 20, 2016

    This story did a good job of exploring the premise and delving into the practical issues that a werebear would experience. I especially liked the character's complicated opinions regarding his two forms, which is usually done more simply in these sorts of stories.
  • The Bipolar Bear on April 24, 2016

    This excellent story does a great job of portraying the conflicting feelings that the author has felt towards his late father. It also does a good job of showing just how much a person's historical moment determines their outcomes in life. The writing style is very effective, and you really feel like you've met the author's father by the end.
  • How I Met My Husband: The Real-Life Love Stories of 25 Romance Authors on April 24, 2016

    The contrast between the very real ways in which the romance authors met their loved ones and the larger-than-life circumstances portrayed in the excerpts from their books is striking. Truth isn't always stranger than fiction. However, both true stories and fictional stories manage to communicate a lot about life and love, as is the case here.
  • Glyphics: In the Beginning... on April 26, 2016

    The writing style for this story is excellent. The author does a good job with the descriptions and with capturing the voices of adolescent characters. You really feel like you're there.
  • A Few Haiku on April 27, 2016

    There are some great haiku poems here. They have a very original feel to them.
  • Protectors on May 05, 2016

    This was a great little story. It's extremely dark, and it might prove triggering for some people. However, the victims of extreme abuse will be able to relate to this story strongly. I particularly liked the subtext of the story, which has you wondering who the real monsters are. The present tense format worked well for the story, and the fantasy elements had a sort of stunning emotional realism.
  • The Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success on May 05, 2016

    This book does a good job of showing all of the ways in which eBook publishing is different from traditional publishing and how becoming successful as an indie writer is different from becoming successful as a traditional writer. Given all of the generic advice that is now written about the subject, it is great to get information that is much more specific.
  • Prisoner Of My Past on May 05, 2016

    The author managed to give a very honest and straightforward account of what it's like to be abused. I particularly liked the observation that abuse can make a person feel simultaneously like they're invisible and like they're being watched all the time.
  • The Mer Girl - Selkie Tales Short Stories on May 05, 2016

    I love stories involving mer people, and you don't see enough of them. The author was able to give the protagonist an appropriately alien mindset, and I found some of the aspects of selkie culture interesting.
  • The Snow Globes on May 07, 2016

    I love snow globes. I think almost everyone who has ever stared at a snow globe long enough has come up with all sorts of Twilight Zone-style narratives about them, and seeing one that's actually fully realized is that much more fun as a result.
  • The Ten Second Time Traveller on May 08, 2016

    This brief story still had great structure. We got lots of build-up to the cautionary tale of an ending. I appreciated that the author managed to find more original consequences for meddling with time travel than we usually see.
  • 50 Best Jokes Ever on May 08, 2016

    The most I got out of any of these jokes was a smile. Most of them merited an eye-roll. If the book was longer, I might be able to forgive some of the irritating jokes. However, with only fifty jokes available, it's that much more important for each individual joke to be good. I really hate all 'dumb blonde' jokes and fat jokes, so I'm already at a disadvantage trying to get some laughs out of a book like this one.
  • Relic on May 09, 2016

    This poem is extremely well-written, and it does address a lot of the very real issues associated with aging. I would really love to see more positive portrayals of living a long time, but as a negative portrayal, this one is at least skillfully done. The poem has structure without falling into the 'sing-song' rhythm of a lot of poems. This is a poem that I would recommend.
  • Sixty-Four Days, A Sea Story on May 09, 2016

    I decided to idly reread this story again today. Some stories really do need to be read at least twice, and this is one of them. You notice all of the little details the author adds, and how effective he is at describing the body language of characters and their emotions. Even knowing what is going to happen does not diminish the effectiveness of the story.
  • Brain Transplant on May 09, 2016

    While this is a story about a brain transplant, it also seems to be about regenerative medicine, which is a very real emerging field. This gives the story more resonance. The general implications of the story get people thinking in the way that science fiction should get people thinking. The straightforward and clinical prose style works well for this kind of story as well.
  • The Decade Time Forgot on May 09, 2016

    The 1980's era is definitely not the decade that time forgot. It's still a huge nostalgia decade. People who barely remember the 80's have a fondness for the era. As such, people from all walks of society will appreciate this essay, with its anecdotal structure and authentic feel.
  • Falling Into Light on May 11, 2016

    This is an interesting story. It's very different from most others that people are going to read in terms of its construction. Despite being very brief, given its subject matter and presentation, it still feels like several different stories in one, and they're all emotionally evocative.
  • Tristan of Dintagell and The Tristan Stone appendix on May 12, 2016

    I really recommend this reference work for anyone who is writing anything related to the relevant time periods and cultures. It's a little tricky to navigate, but it's a good source.
  • The Last Stage on May 12, 2016

    I appreciated how well the author was able to establish a lot of different historical details very quickly. The Old West dialogue sounded more authentic than usual: heavy on the slang and colloquialisms, and not overly formal the way it is in some stories. Naturally, the story's dilemma is fairly timeless.
  • Unspoken on May 12, 2016

    I loved this short story. I has a stark and cold reality to it that lots of similar undead romances lack. The lack of quotation marks worked for the story, as if the dialogue is just another part of the cold world in which the characters now 'live.'
  • Hunted on May 13, 2016

    The pacing of the story is great. We're sent right into the action and kept interested the whole time. The dialogue is crisp and clear, and the exposition is fast and efficient.
  • The Mistrial on May 15, 2016

    This very brief story still managed to set up a very interesting situation. I'm surprised that this doesn't happen more often in ghost stories. The author accomplished a lot in only a few pages.
  • Thou Art A Witch on May 17, 2016

    This was a fun story. I liked the idea that only bad witches cast spells and that the good witches are the ones who remove them. Talk about the 'villains act, heroes react' principle!
  • Blood Red on May 21, 2016

    I liked the detective character's voice during both the narration and the dialogue. I also appreciated that the detective story was straightforward, with no criminal mastermind involved, which is more realistic. I recommend this story for people who like very down-to-earth mysteries.
  • An Auspicious Performance on May 21, 2016

    I wonder if all actors eventually will have an experience somewhat like this. This story was well-constructed, and the build-up to the resolution was certainly well-timed.
  • The Plague Village - An English Adventure on May 22, 2016

    I liked all of the specific details related to the places featured in this brief piece. You really feel like you were there.
  • Zombie Nights on May 30, 2016

    I loved this zombie story. It had a nice, funny, casual writing style to it that worked well for the subject matter. While the author's take on zombies did feel fresh, his zombies did still feel like zombies. Uncle Ray was also a really fun character that helped ground the story in reality.
  • The Mating: The Original Law of the Lycans Story on May 31, 2016

    The writing quality is good, and it exceeds a lot of other entries in this genre. I love werewolf stories. However, I would like to see more werewolf packs that have less of a monarchist, traditionalist family structure that's particularly bad for the women in the packs. 'Alpha' wolves are a discredited idea, and it would be nice to see more werewolf stories that use modern knowledge of how wolf packs operate. Still, the story is good for what it is, and you should judge the book that's there and not the theoretical book that could exist.
  • Internal Marketing, Unleash The Power Within! on June 03, 2016

    It's always good to get more advice on marketing, especially from more recent sources. Marketing can be a costly enterprise for anyone, and getting any advice on free marketing is useful. Some people may be familiar with this information already, but it's a good introduction.
  • Waiting for the Train on June 06, 2016

    This dark story does indeed have a great ending with a solid build-up. Oddly enough, this story seems like it would complement the classic Waiting for Godot in some ways, despite their differences. They both ultimately seem to touch on similar philosophical issues.
  • We Don’t Plummet Out of the Sky Anymore on June 10, 2016

    This was a fun story. I wish we could have seen some more of this future society, although I did appreciate the snippets that we did see. It's always nice to see someone really explore the 'flying car' trope in depth, since flying cars are usually more of a symbol than anything else. Of course, in a world that had flying cars, there would be a lot of technical details and practical considerations involved.
  • How To Take Care of Your Human Pet - An Owner's Guide on June 10, 2016

    I always appreciate any attempt at xenofiction, even though the majority of them fail. The aliens usually just seem like evil people as opposed to genuinely alien creatures with a unique viewpoint. This piece sadly falls into that category. A lot of xenofiction stories seem like thinly veiled attempts to criticize some aspect of our society, which is fine, but which should be done in a nuanced way. While the author here was probably just trying to be funny, this feels like an attempt to criticize the way humans treat our pets, along with some problematic opinions about humans in general. It feels more didactic than humorous. It's also creepy in places. Still, I appreciate the attempt at xenofiction, and I did like that bit about tentacles being a milestone in evolution.
  • Them on June 11, 2016

    This story has the feel of some of the best original Twilight Zone episodes. The author did a good job of capturing the emotions that the POV character is experiencing, and the perspective change is handled subtly.
  • Just a Little Graveyard Fun on July 13, 2016

    This was a fun read. The font changes worked very well, and the author did a good job of describing the protagonist's emotions, doing a lot with a little.
  • Cool Magic Tricks on July 14, 2016

    While some more experienced conjurers and conjurer fans will have heard of these, this is still a good introduction to the art form. It would have been nice if there were more pictures in some cases, but people should still get the idea.
  • John Laurie and the Rum Hospital on July 15, 2016

    This is a well-written and detailed portrait of an important and yet obscure historical figure. Biographies like this really manage to tell you a lot about the times in which they're set despite their very specific focus.
  • Coffee & Philosophy: A Book of Poetry 2nd Edition on July 16, 2016

    I love coffee, poetry, and philosophy. This book is clearly right up my alley. I liked lots of the poems here, and I always appreciate experiments with the form.
  • Thinking Righteously Under a Majestic Purple on Aug. 18, 2016

    There's a lot of great stuff in this book. The poems vary greatly in styles. People are sure to find some poems that they'll relate to in this book. Some of the subjects for the poems are extremely 'of the immediate moment,' but that's fine. These poems will help us remember this period in time and maybe help us get through it.
  • The Visitor on Aug. 19, 2016

    This beautifully sad story really captures the experience of caring for a disabled parent suffering with dementia. While the writer demonstrates the physical challenges of doing so in detail, it becomes very clear that the true horror involves watching someone you love go through something so terrible. The writer is poetic without being flowery, and is straightforward without being bland or overly graphic.
  • Downtown Hattiesburg, Mississippi -- 1968-1969 on Aug. 26, 2016

    It's great to see all of these photographs featuring an area that not a lot of people know about from the perspective of someone who really knows the place. Some areas have been portrayed extensively. Others need to be studied more.
  • The First Log on Aug. 26, 2016

    This is a great introduction. The straightforward writing style helps to create a very bleak tone. It's also great to see mental illness and neurosis explored in any story, especially in a setting like this one. You really sympathize with the protagonist, feeling his fear and dread and sense of obligation.
  • Lost Sunshine on Aug. 30, 2016

    This is one of the best books of modern poetry I've ever read. These poems effortlessly communicate and capture the mood of some dark themes without using flowery language. As some of the poems here point out, many people today are forced to act happy at all times regardless of how they actually feel and what's really going on, and it's nice to see some art that reacts against that.
  • An Amoral Dilemma on Aug. 31, 2016

    This story does a lot in a brief space. It manages to raise questions about how effective prison rehabilitation really is, among other things. It leaves us with few answers and yet with cold certainties, which is more or less how the protagonist is going to feel.
  • Blessings of an Immortal on Sep. 03, 2016

    I have to say, Gregory's strategy for refusing someone's request for immortality is more effective than that of most characters. The author is going for the interpretation that immortals are remote, out-of-touch, and out-of-time enough that years may as well be minutes for them. While this isn't my favorite interpretation of immortality, the story does a good job of exploring it.
  • Invasion on Sep. 04, 2016

    I liked the idea of mind controlling aliens spreading by spores. It's delightfully weird, which is a good description of this very tiny story in general.
  • Paper Planes on Sep. 04, 2016

    I'm fond of stories that emphasize dialogue, especially if the dialogue is realistic and often funny, which is the case here. You may never think of paper airplanes the same way again.
  • Mr Awesome and The Cheese Vs GlobeX on Sep. 04, 2016

    Like its superhero cast members, this story was indeed Awesome. It feels like something Joss Whedon would write. I liked that the story jumped right into the action, but we still got the idea of what was going on anyway. It's also great to see a male and female superhero team where they're both active and competent players on a mission. The attention to detail was great for such a short story, including the mechanism for the super adrenal gland and its connection to Mr. Awesome's backstory. The super-villain's portrayal was a bit ableist, but he was still a fun character.
  • Zombie Psychology on Sep. 04, 2016

    The title is hilarious and so is the story. It's about a woman who is simultaneously getting rid of zombies in a world that is clearly used to them at some level and getting rid of her jerk of an ex-boyfriend. You've got to love that.
  • Sci-fi Shorts on Sep. 06, 2016

    This was a good read. The first two stories in particular were very disturbing, and may be triggering to some people. The climate change one was probably my favorite. The different formats of the sci-fi shorts helped to set them apart from one another.
  • An Expert's Quick Guide to Planetary Travel on Sep. 06, 2016

    This was awesome. I actually recommend this as a resource for the authors who are interested in writing hard science fiction involving space travel. Obviously, everyone should do their own research as well, but this would be a good place to start. The narrative voice is cheerfully sarcastic. In some ways, this almost seems like a hard sci-fi version of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
  • Open All Night on Sep. 06, 2016

    I've always had a fondness for stories that start out one way and then go down a completely different direction, especially if they do that more than once in the same story. It's especially impressive if it happens in only a few pages, and it contains some social commentary.
  • Gravity Well on Sep. 09, 2016

    This is an entertaining space opera story that manages to have some darkness to it as well as some clear wish fulfillment, which is often what people want from good space opera stories.
  • Marriage Vows on Sep. 09, 2016

    This story is short and witty enough to feel like a comedy routine or a joke, which works well here.
  • Sinister on Sep. 09, 2016

    The writer's descriptions were well-done, and the writer did a good job of keeping you on your seat during this story.
  • "Mandolins Song" on Sep. 09, 2016

    This was lovely. I've always preferred old-fashioned, rhyming poetry, especially if it has a Gothic vibe to it. This one is subtle, and yet it points people in a clear direction.
  • Potpourri, Word Snapshots Of Events In The Life of a Nonagenarian on Sep. 15, 2016

    I really love reading anecdotes from the lives of anyone, but especially older people who have lived through a lot of significant historical events. They might be modest about them, but their experiences form an important part of social history. Authors that are more than ninety years old will have grown up in a very different time compared to people today, and it's exciting to read about what their early lives were like. If they clearly remember a lot of fine details and they're good at describing their lives, which is the case for Mario Farina, it's even better.
  • The Truth About Book Reviews: 20 Book Review Myths, Debunked on Sep. 16, 2016

    This is a great resource for writers, whether they are new or not. While this book is primarily relevant to Amazon reviews and the Amazon system, it still does have some relevant information for the people who are writing on Smashwords and similar websites. The observation that people will be skeptical of a book that has only attracted good reviews and that some bad reviews can actually lend credibility is a particularly important one.
  • youtube tutorial on Sep. 16, 2016

    I really recommend this resource to anyone who is thinking of creating YouTube videos. Lots of Smashwords writers are interested in that, given the power of book trailers. This is a resource many of us could use.
  • Strange Portals - Ink Slingers' Fantasy/Horror Anthology on Sep. 18, 2016

    The stories here vary widely in quality. However, it should still be easy for people to find some stories that they like. The subject matter here is broad. While some of the self-referential elements rubbed me the wrong way, the overall anthology was still strong.
  • Storm on Sep. 25, 2016

    This story was very well-written. The voices of the characters come through very well, and the writer gets the family details across subtly and effectively. It's also always great to see more LGBT representation and representation for characters who aren't white, particularly in brief little stories that introduce the representation casually.
  • Dads In Short Shorts on Sep. 25, 2016

    The writer has a breezy style that works. The second story was probably my favorite, with its strange, ominous, and dark quality. The absurdity of the first story also really worked. While the third story rubbed me the wrong way, at least it did a good job of demonstrating the difference between straightforwardness and cruelty.
  • Dances With Rain on Sep. 27, 2016

    This is a lovely little poem. People who love rainy days and have a lot of positive emotional associations with them will especially love this poem. I know I did.
  • Stories from Inside the Melancholy Mind on Sep. 27, 2016

    The writer really got across the emotions of these pieces while being subtle about it. We need more stories that explore the more depressing sides of life without apology.
  • Dream Journal on Sep. 28, 2016

    These dreams are fascinating. Many of them actually look like they could be expanded into full stories in their own right. However, they still have characteristics that are specific to dreams, like the fact that people seem to just 'know' things when they're part of dreams. It makes for interesting reading.
  • Unfollowed on Sep. 29, 2016

    Oh, god, this was frightening. It might be triggering to some people, in fact. Cyber-bullying and cyber-stalking are both just as real as all other varieties, and this piece really makes that clear. The sociopath stalker in this piece is bone-chilling, especially for people who have been stalked in real life.
  • Better on Oct. 04, 2016

    This story does an excellent job of demonstrating the horror of trying to live up to societal expectations, particularly for women. The demands never stop and the new requirements never stop. There is no point at which you 'make it.' There's just a new ladder to climb. The story also demonstrated the fact that women face a lot of genuinely conflicting demands. The author manages to condemn those attitudes and the pressures placed on women while still making this a cautionary tale for the girls who might go down this path one day.
  • Don't Eat Humans: A Dragon's Rulebook on Life on Oct. 23, 2016

    This piece was funny. It does a good job of establishing the world and a narrative, even though it is technically all exposition. I especially loved the ending with its strong subversion of machismo and the fact that this is a canon with telepathic dragons.
  • Dinner For Two on Oct. 23, 2016

    What a dark and gloomy story. It's very well-written. It's interesting to see a post-apocalyptic story from the perspective of people who are really clinging to the appearance of civilization, even when civilization has fallen. The story effortlessly delivers details about the nature of the world in the manner in which they would appear, and not in an expository manner. The story is creepy enough to stay with you.
  • The Muse on Oct. 27, 2016

    This is an interesting story. I haven't seen very many like it before, and I especially liked the ending. While I wish the story had been fleshed out more, it does manage to create some real emotion as it is.
  • A Taste Of My Thoughts Movie Deja Vu on Oct. 28, 2016

    This was interesting. I especially liked the ending. The subtle fat-shaming and ageism in the poem was off-putting. However, otherwise, the social commentary was effective.
  • Write Your First Novel:Make Your Writing Easy and Become a Successful Author on Oct. 28, 2016

    This short piece provides some good tips for writers. It's especially useful as an introduction to Restyaboard. I thought that the large images in the piece were unnecessary and didn't add content, but the extant content here is useful.
  • Race To Sate on Nov. 02, 2016

    I liked this story. I'm a huge fan of vampire stories, particularly when writers add something new. I liked the idea that if vampires get their first feeding from their parents, they're capable of functioning relatively normally. It's just a different idea that I haven't really seen. This story had a particularly strong beginning. While I think that the ending was a little abrupt and the build-up could have been better, this was overall a good story.
  • Energizing - One Minute Read - (Omr) - Stories on Nov. 12, 2016

    All of these little pieces in here were well-written. The material is varied enough that it doesn't get boring, and yet it makes sense for all of these stories to be together in the same collection.
  • Paleo Diet: Paleo Diet for Beginners Book on Nov. 12, 2016

    The Paleo diet is not based on sound science. At any rate, this is a fad diet that taps into people's anxieties about the modern world, and information about it is widely available, making something like this redundant. Fiction books may have valuable content even if they contain problematic elements and bad research. The same cannot always be said for non-fiction. Here's something that is based on sound science: 95 percent of dieters regain all of the weight they initially lost or more within five years or less. All books like this need to be approached with caution.
  • Intermittent Fasting For Women: The No-Bullshit Guide To Effortless Fat Loss on Nov. 12, 2016

    Intermittent fasting is not evidence-based. It's yet another fad that is going to be mocked in only a few years. The body slows down its Basal Metabolic Rate in response to decreased caloric intake, which is one reason why almost all dieters regain the weight. If anything, intermittent fasting is a good way to encourage weight gain. Most people reading this would be better off engaging in healthy eating and exercise, and learning to accept their bodies. Approach something like this with the utmost caution.
  • The Helpful Neighbor on Nov. 12, 2016

    I couldn't stop cracking up at this story. The writer does a good job of establishing just how clueless the viewpoint character actually is, even if he is completely right about everything in his own mind. The viewpoint character's sexism and complete lack of concern for the injuries of others made you wish for his comeuppance even more. I honestly really felt sorry for the neighbors. I couldn't stop laughing at the end of the story especially, with the reference to clay soil being used as a foundation. Seriously, if I lived next door to this guy, I'd be considering a move.
  • Top 10 Superfoods For Rapid Weight Loss on Nov. 14, 2016

    Even the cover of this 'book' shows what a diet culture cliche it is: the measuring tape, the food, the words 'rapid weight loss.' Actual rapid weight loss is almost always either a water loss or a sign of a terrible underlying medical condition. If you've ever so much as looked at a diet article, you've heard all of this stuff before and this 'book' has no new information for you. 'Superfood' is a twenty-first century diet buzzword worthy of an eye-roll and not much more. Eating healthy foods can certainly make you healthier, but it won't make you thinner. You cannot spot reduce and lose abdominal fat only. People who have healthy habits are generally healthier regardless of weight. People who try to lose weight are almost guaranteed to weight-cycle, and this is going to cause life-shortening stress on the body. Books like this don't belong in the non-fiction section.
  • Crushed Violets on Nov. 17, 2016

    There are lots of really beautiful verses in here. People who have suffered through tremendous personal crises will really be able to relate to these poems, which have a subtle yet vivid artistry to them.
  • Lose the Next 10 Lbs in 21 Days on Nov. 19, 2016

    I'll give the writer some credit. He busts the absurd 'calories in calories out' myth that people still won't let go of, in spite of the fact that it has less scientific merit than the BMI formula. I also appreciate that he acknowledges that dieting causes physiological changes, and that people mostly lose muscle through dieting and not fat. He is wrong to say we know how to physiologically change the body so that 95 percent of dieters do not regain the weight. He is also wrong to equate weight and health. Healthy habits often lead to healthy bodies regardless of weight. We really don't know how to make people lose weight long-term. Losing ten pounds in 21 days is a crash diet no matter how you try to spin it. At least diet book writers are acknowledging the failures in their own methods now. Hopefully, this spells the beginning of the end for them.
  • Zombie Outbreak Survival: The Definitive Test on Nov. 26, 2016

    I always love it when speculative fiction writers put a great deal of thought into their fiction and their worlds. Technically, that is what this test is still doing, even if the writer is going about it in a way that breaks the fourth wall. Obviously, we're all going to have our own interpretations of any genre. There is also a surprising amount of debate in the survival community about what to do in a given situation, even in the case of something like a hypothetical zombie apocalypse. Van Allen's take was certainly entertaining and interesting. I'm a huge iZombie fan and I was happy to see it mentioned, too!
  • Tic-Tac-Toe on Nov. 26, 2016

    This story did a good job when it came to punishing a character for his extreme ableism. Caregivers frequently are not up to the task, and yet society often lets them get away with it. Even people in this story were doing the same thing with this protagonist. I'm glad the author didn't let him get away with it.
  • The Sanctity of Life on Nov. 27, 2016

    This story has some interesting science fiction elements. While I think the story would have worked better if it had a single viewpoint character the whole time, given its brevity, its theme still comes across.
  • The Golden Hall on Dec. 06, 2016

    This is simply one of the best books of poetry that I have seen in all my years on Smashwords. I particularly loved Mermaids Realm, The Halls of Valhalla, and Endless, but really, all of these were gems. This is truly a book of poetry that I would highly recommend.
  • First Class Package on Dec. 15, 2016

    Among other things, I can say that the author really understands the life of a freelance writer. Specifically, the fact that it's tough to meet people. I liked that the pluses and minuses of working at home are displayed so well here, in between the gay romance parts. The author did a good job of describing the emotions of the characters, and the awkwardness of the characters really came through. Jim and Patrick's romantic dance is not without its problematic elements, but the realism and self-awareness kept the story grounded.
  • The FORGE on Dec. 23, 2016

    The organization of these anecdotes could be better, but it's always great to get personal reflections and experiences like this. Memoirs like this can really make a huge difference for the people who are interested in a particular time and place.
  • Mrs Miller on Dec. 23, 2016

    It is always great to see stories featuring genuinely older characters (over sixty). The prose was generally good here as well. I do wish that the ending had been different, but at least it was dramatic.
  • Autumn and Other Months on Dec. 23, 2016

    There are lots of lovely stories here. The prose is straightforward and effective. It isn't flowery or dull. It's also always great to see stories featuring older characters. Some of these brief stories were good enough to have been expanded.
  • 200 Motivational and inspirational Quotes That Will Inspire Your Success on Dec. 23, 2016

    I loved a lot of these quotes. Even when I didn't agree with the people who said them, at least the quotes were well-written and the speakers were articulate. I actually had to look up some of the people who said these quotes, which is always a good sign. It means that the quote book was well-researched and the speakers were varied.
  • Secret of the Moonlight on Dec. 29, 2016

    This tight story managed to accomplish a lot with very little. It's an efficient plot-driven little piece that works.
  • Paleo diet A quick beginner guide on Dec. 29, 2016

    People always make fun of fad diets long after they've gone out of style, much in the manner of bad fashion trends. When they're still in style, people tend to take them seriously. The Paleo diet is a fad of the 2010's, and who knows how long it will last? This short piece offers nothing new on this fad. Most people will have heard about this all already through pop cultural osmosis. The idea that humans haven't changed at all biologically since the earliest days of civilization is absurd, and it is the foundation upon which the Paleo diet rests. People have the right to try any diet that they want, but they should put it all in perspective and remember that the popular diets of today are tomorrow's pieces of laughable kitsch. All diets work in the short-term, and 95 percent of dieters regain the weight they've lost in five years or less, often regaining more than they lost. The Paleo diet is no different.
  • Zombie Mine Forever on Jan. 03, 2017

    A zombie romance between zombies - that's always fun. The story could have been expanded a little bit and edited a bit, but it got the job done.
  • Shifting Moonlight - the prequel on Jan. 03, 2017

    This story works well enough for what it is. I will say that I am eager to find werewolf stories that are genuinely different, though. Many of the zombie, ghost, vampire, witch, and alien stories that I read seem to vary widely, which helps keep them interesting. Werewolves are just as versatile as many other fantasy creatures, and yet many writers don't really explore all of their many facets. It seems like the majority of them feature the scientifically discredited concept of a wolf 'alpha male,' an obsession with machismo and family values, a supernatural fixation on a form of monogamy that couldn't exist in real life and that people seem to want to exist, and traditionalism in general. Sadly, this story is no exception. I liked that Sasha seemed to hate machismo, but the story didn't really follow through with that, which was a little disappointing. It's always great to see attractive plus-size female characters in fiction, and I'll give the story points for that. It would be nice to see more recognition of the fact that size acceptance is empirically much more mainstream today than it was even two decades ago, though. 'Society' probably wouldn't think Sasha was too curvy anymore. I also wouldn't mind seeing more attractive male characters who don't have the same stereotypical build as JT. Still, the story succeeds within its parameters, even though it could have been edited a bit better. I'd just like to encourage more werewolf writers to experiment more.
  • Revelation on Jan. 06, 2017

    There are lots of great verses here. I particularly liked many of the more political ones. I'm certainly glad that many modern poets are resisting the move against rhyming and metered poetry.
  • Where Women Live on Jan. 07, 2017

    This story is very well-written and well-edited. It certainly has an important message as well.
  • The September Harvest on Jan. 07, 2017

    I really liked this story. I certainly appreciated the speculative fiction style class commentary at the heart of it, and the author did a really good job in describing the characters' emotions and setting the mood and tone of the piece.
  • Red Hair and Gold: St. Van Helsing University on Jan. 08, 2017

    This story works well enough for an 'in medias res' flash fiction. The prose and dialogue worked. While I'm not the biggest fan of the 'in medias res' style, many people are, and this story offered the strong initial action that a lot of 'in medias res' fans like.
  • An Hour Next to the Sun on Jan. 08, 2017

    I always love apocalyptic stories that have an understated feel to them, where basically, it's a nice and normal day and then the world ends. That's probably how it would happen, after all. This story has the feel of something written by a scientist, which really makes all the difference. The list-like writing style helps get that across, and the author uses a lot of authentic terminology that gives the story an air of authenticity that I appreciated. Talk about the world ending with a bang and a whimper!
  • The Revenge of the Pumpkins on Jan. 08, 2017

    This story works well for what it is. It has a certain self-awareness about the dark absurdity of its premise, which is fun. You don't see too many stories about killer pumpkins, either.
  • Claire on Jan. 08, 2017

    This story does a good job of establishing mood early on, and it starts to make even more sense as you keep reading. The sparse prose style works here, and the writer is able to create real emotion very quickly.
  • The First Galactic Princess – A Bedtime Story on Jan. 08, 2017

    Overall, I liked this story. It was appropriately scaled for young children in terms of its conflict. It also had the feel of an oral tradition type story, which definitely made it good for a bedtime tale. I didn't like the line about all good princesses being beautiful, and parents reading the story out loud to their children should skip that line. Otherwise, there is very little to dislike about this story.
  • Poetry Collection One: Shadow Self Persona on Jan. 09, 2017

    This selection of poetry explores a lot of very powerful emotions. You can tell that the poet made these poems very personal as well, which gives them a very unique voice.
  • Zora on Jan. 10, 2017

    While I wish that the story had been fleshed out more, it had a pleasing folkloric feel to it, and a very real sense of darkness. I love vampire stories, particularly the ones that feel more original and different, and this one qualifies.
  • Death of a Relation on Jan. 12, 2017

    This story has a very biographical feel to it even though it is fictional. It's always interesting to read about complicated relationships like these, and sad to read about the terrible effects of excessive alcohol. The writer included a lot of details that helped to ground the story in reality.
  • Can I Have An Apple Please on Jan. 12, 2017

    This collection contains a lot of great perspectives. I particularly liked the third story, which has a very important message in a society filled with aging individuals. The author included a lot of details in all of the stories, and this fleshed them out a lot.
  • Drowndog on Jan. 14, 2017

    The author did a good job of accomplishing a lot with very little. The prose style was evocative and emotional without being flowery. I was really able to picture a lot of what was going on, and I felt for the quickly-established characters.
  • Vampire City on Jan. 21, 2017

    What a brief and horrifying read. It manages to make a powerful and dark statement about abusive relationships. The author manages to build a lot of fearful imagery around the vampire characters. At the same time, the protagonist is very sympathetic and you really feel for her. I appreciated the ambiguity that the author created, and the fact that this story keeps you guessing until the end.
  • A Further 100 Quotes To Make You Think on Jan. 23, 2017

    There are some good quotes here. It is interesting that a lot of people choose quotes related to having a positive attitude and the importance of trying. I wish there were as many quotes about the fact that it isn't always possible to alter your attitude and that it is still important to know when to quit. Still, these positive affirmations are necessary at times, and it's good to have them here and there.
  • Pentagonal: A Guide to Geometry for Students of Wizardry on Jan. 24, 2017

    The prose and dialogue for the story were both high-quality. The protagonist is the kind of unsympathetic character who works well in a comedy story, and I liked the story's absurdist humor. While I think that the ending could have been fleshed out more, it was still logical.
  • Note to Self: Anna’s First-Time Lesbian Fantasy on Jan. 24, 2017

    The prose for the story was high-quality and the story was edited well. In general, I think that the story works well for what it is. The idea of an erotically charged breast exam seems highly suspect to me, however. I really want to see more LGBT romantic fiction. However, it would be nice to see more stories featuring more confident LGBT characters. I feel like most characters in almost all romances these days have to be hugely insecure and awkward, which I always think tends to dampen the eroticism. This is particularly frustrating when the characters are young adult professionals, as is the case here. Anna doesn't have the roughness or toughness I would expect from a supposedly tomboyish female cop, even if she does crack wise a few times in the story. I would expect her to be more confident. I would think that a doctor like Susan would be more jaded about anything involving breast exams than this as well. Making a doctor and cop a couple of awkward romance characters is particularly strange to me. In the beginning of the story, I kept thinking that if Anna is so worried about her husband finding this diary, she should just work harder at hiding it. I also wish stories like this featuring sexual awakenings were portrayed more positively, and that they didn't have to involve characters who were already in seemingly loving relationships. Still, the story worked as an example of this sort of romantic fiction, so it succeeded within its parameters.
  • Big Black Shiny Boots on Jan. 28, 2017

    This story had a tight and efficient build-up and payoff. It's always good to see stories featuring anti-heroic or otherwise tough elderly protagonists defying people's expectations, especially when they are faced with people who are trying to take advantage of them. Indeed, underestimating people can be hazardous to your health.
  • Women in Love on Feb. 11, 2017

    There are some beautiful and unique verses here. They have a sort of understated power to them, which works very well here.
  • One Day on Feb. 15, 2017

    This piece is incredibly short, but a lot of people are still going to be able to relate to it and bring their own feelings to the table.
  • A Concise History of Computers, Smartphones and the Internet on Feb. 16, 2017

    This is a truly excellent non-fiction work. It's extremely detailed. The writer seems to be aware of all of the nuances of this complex subject. The organization of the book is highly-quality, which should allow people to read about the specific time periods involved easily.
  • Subscription Addiction on Feb. 16, 2017

    This is an incredibly short horror story that manages to really creep you out in only a few words. I may never think of the phrase 'roses are red' the same way again.
  • The White Steed on Feb. 17, 2017

    This story worked well enough. I wasn't a huge fan of the ending, but it worked well for what it was. The flight of fancy that the writer created initially was very whimsical.
  • Grand Escape on Feb. 20, 2017

    This story was really effective in terms of its suspense and its general progression. The author also manages to establish the relationships between the characters quickly and effectively.
  • Divine Designs on Feb. 26, 2017

    The poems here are extremely varied in style and content, which is good. People who really like a religious flavor to their poetry will especially appreciate them.
  • Planning a Vacation? Why Not Chicago on Feb. 26, 2017

    This is awesome! It's the sort of account that makes me want to go to Chicago. Some of the books I'm writing are partly set in Chicago, so I might use this as a resource.
  • Cannibal Lovers (a flash fiction story) on March 03, 2017

    This incredibly short piece does still get you thinking, which is already cool for something that is so brief. I appreciate it when writers experiment and try to do a lot with a little.
  • 50 Fun Ways To Stay Healthy on March 05, 2017

    What a relief to find a book that is truly about healthy habits and not about weight loss. Most of these habits focus on mental health, which is extremely welcome. Western society tends to draw an absurd and unscientific false dichotomy between the mind and body. This author understands that mental health is health. Too many healthy habit recommendations are all about people subsuming their lives to focus on fighting off illness in a dubious manner. This is a book of healthy habits that will generally improve a person's quality of life. This book generally fits in well with a weight-neutral health-focused approach. I do wish the author hadn't mentioned weight loss positively at all, or that the author made it clear that 95 percent of weight loss attempts fail and that yo-yo dieting is tremendously dangerous. However, in a world where healthy habits lead to healthy people regardless of weight, this is a useful book. I also quite liked the author's knowledge of the history of health fads and the wild swings that researchers have made on the subject. While I think that the risks of processed foods are overblown, particularly since so many of them vary in terms of their contents, I agree with most of the health tips in this book.
  • The Dark Soul on March 05, 2017

    This is an effective dark science fiction story. I appreciate the author's level of detail. The protagonist has the condescending cruelty you would expect from a mad scientist. The prose is also high-quality.
  • Cup O'Joe (short story) on March 06, 2017

    I did guess the twist too early in the story. It would have been improved if it had been longer. Still, the author did some solid misdirection and the prose was fine.
  • Alt Earth on March 07, 2017

    It's always good to see different perspectives on how history could have turned out at different points. Lots of the author's examples are clever and historically aware, albeit very depressing.
  • Consolation of the Rose on March 12, 2017

    This is a wonderfully emotional piece that I think is going to speak to a lot of people. It has excellent imagery and a lot of dark descriptions.
  • Fantasy Designs on March 14, 2017

    I adored these drawings. Some of them actually remind me of the sorts of illustrations people would see on tarot cards, only so much better. I think these are the sorts of illustrations that could inspire a lot of other artists.
  • Junky Requiem on March 17, 2017

    Oh god, this was dark and effective. The description of drugs entering the body was particularly graphic and realistic. The rationalizations that the character uses for her lifestyle seemed authentic to me, and the reader can plainly see the desperation behind those justifications. The small details add even more realism.
  • Demon Betta on March 23, 2017

    This was a great little story. I wouldn't recommend reading it while eating, but the grotesque nature of the story worked perfectly for a piece about demons. Oddly enough, I could almost imagine parents reading kids this story and then saying, 'see: this is why you should clean your room.' The story has a lot of little details that help you get a sense of the demon's broader plans, which is particularly cool.
  • Bits and Pieces on March 30, 2017

    I think a lot of people will like these poems, which are quite accessible. Sweetly Short Days was probably my favorite.
  • The Chocolate Werewolf on April 02, 2017

    This story was very well-written from a technical perspective. The narration was witty and humorous. I appreciate that the protagonist's wife was depicted as mentally ill in a way that seemed more realistic than some portrayals, although very few people would do some of the things that she did in the story. I also thought that the plot twist at the end was foreshadowed very well. The werewolf transformation descriptions and the killing scenes were given an appropriately gruesome amount of detail. I did have a problem with the fat-shaming throughout the story, which was not subtle or nuanced. The fact that the protagonist's weight seemed to be treated with less sympathy than his lycanthropy was particularly bad. Hassling your loved ones about their weight and putting them on fad diets should not be normalized, which was the case here. I would have loved it if there had been a suggestion that the paleo-diet-knockoff caused the lyncanthropy, which would have been funny satire. Instead, it was connected to the protagonist's weight, so the story itself took the side of the fat-shaming. The protagonist's lack of remorse for his actions in the story made him difficult to like, and he's not supposed to be a villain protagonist. Still, the story works well for what it is, and the writing was good enough to provide entertainment value.
  • Man on Ledge on April 05, 2017

    This story was excellent. I wouldn't recommend it to a person who was horribly depressed, of course. The author did a really good job of describing the feelings of a suicidal person. I especially liked the twist at the end and the way it seemingly changes the story without altering the tone.
  • The House at Cobb End on April 16, 2017

    I think that even people who haven't read anything else connected with the series can get something out of this, since it is well-written enough for that. The characters come to life and the descriptions are effective.
  • Bonjour, Blogger! Create A Blog In 5 Days on April 22, 2017

    This book definitely contains a lot of useful tips. I especially like the bits about not being too specific in terms of your subject and not feeling as if you're confined to a single topic. I do think that this book severely downplays the difficulty of marketing. I have a lot of blogging experience, and the absolute hardest part of a blog is not in the writing: it's getting people to read it. Social media is no quick fix. However, this book does contain useful tips on the writing part.
  • Desecrated Bonds on April 24, 2017

    This story is certainly well-written and the emotions of the protagonist are effectively captured. I'm not a fan of the 'In medias res' style, but it works well here.
  • Earnest Young is Forever Young on April 24, 2017

    This story was well-written. I appreciated a lot of the details related to the horrors of poverty and the excesses of the rich. The author made an interesting use of vampirism as a metaphor for brutal conflicts between the classes.
  • Across the Table on April 27, 2017

    These brief pieces were well-written. I especially liked the one about the clowns. I could see these being expanded into larger stories.
  • Ink on April 28, 2017

    I'd recommend this story on the basis of the writing quality alone. It is also interesting, and there aren't a lot of others like it on Smashwords.
  • Who's Next? on April 28, 2017

    This story is entertaining, although it could have been fleshed out a bit more so we could have gotten to know the characters.
  • The Waiter on April 28, 2017

    This story was well-written. I do wish we'd see more older characters who are accepting of their appearance and circumstances, however. I support life extension and don't think people should 'go gentle into that good night,' but that doesn't require an obsession with extreme youth. Still, the story works well for what it is.
  • The Mermaids on April 29, 2017

    What a delightful collection of mermaid stories! These certainly work well as kid stories, but I think that mermaid lovers of all ages will be able to get something out of them. I appreciated the attention to detail with the ocean habitat especially.
  • Bewitching the Werewolf on April 30, 2017

    This story does work well enough for what it is. It will appeal to people who really like pure paranormal romance stories. I liked some of the story's little observations, such as the idea that werewolves would hate 'dog' jokes. This story lacked the purple prose of most paranormal romance, which is good, and it had more humor. I liked the start of the story and was hoping that it wouldn't go in the direction that I expected. It did. I do find it frustrating that the women in these stories often seem competent and even aggressive until they meet the male characters, at which point they seem to even lose their ability to communicate with other people. Megan is no exception. Her characterization at the beginning of the story as the typical tough urban fantasy heroine disappears the moment she meets the werewolf character, at which point she metamorphoses into a romance novel heroine. Her romance with the hero is hugely problematic and aggressive, and her doubts about the whole thing aren't resolved so much as swept under the rug. The heroines always react to the male characters in the same ways, using the same sort of over-the-top emotional reactions that few people have in real life. Who nearly passes out over the sight of a hot guy? The male characters in these sorts of stories are almost always alternately bland and aggressive, and yet we're told about how great they are. They're almost always hot in that same way, and their hotness is always treated as the pinnacle of hotness, regardless of the preferences of the reader. Giving a werewolf in particular a well-groomed stereotypical WASP look is just odd, and not subversive in an interesting way. The other werewolves were described as having a Russell Crowe look. I would personally love to see more male love interests who had more of a brawny and rough-hewn look like that. I really hate the modern compulsion to give werewolves soulmates that they have to imprint on and stay 'mated' with for the rest of their lives. The aggression and dominance inherent in that idea and the implications of it are disturbing. The alpha wolf idea has been discredited for a while now, and werewolf writers don't seem to care. The compulsory parenthood and the necessity of carrying on the bloodline are also usually part of the same modern werewolf package. Having a heroine just go along with something like this is horrifying, and it should be treated as such. Seeing a powerful witch in a role like this is even more depressing. While a lot of modern vampire stories feature characters rejecting their sires and turning away from their 'bloodlines' in order to live their own lives and join the rest of society, a lot of modern werewolf stories celebrate lineages and traditionalism and separation from the rest of the world. Vampire stories often celebrate non-traditional families and focus on characters who cannot have children and who offer an alternative to most life cycles. Werewolf stories these days seem to be about a return to very conservative family structures. It's like the traditionalists migrated to the werewolf genre. Werewolves don't have to be like this, and I would like to see more variety. This story doesn't have much in it other than these tropes, which feels like a missed opportunity. Still, the people who like these tropes will like this story.
  • Snowman Amuck on May 03, 2017

    This is a fun story! Many people who have made snowmen probably imagined something like this happening at some point. This certainly isn't just a story for boys or for kids.
  • My Brother the Shark on May 03, 2017

    This story manages to accomplish a lot with very little. The dialogue is realistic. I like stories that are heavy on the dialogue, and it's a setup that works well for flash fiction. The writer manages to build a real sense of danger quickly, and the ending was subtle and effective.
  • The Observer on May 04, 2017

    This is one of the most unusual stories I've ever seen on Smashwords, and that's saying something. It's certainly an interesting take on the themes that it represents.
  • "Pine" and 7 Other Short Romances on May 06, 2017

    I really love character-driven stories like these. They're all well-written. While many of them feature textbook relationship problems and textbook relationship features, that is true of many real relationships.
  • Seaside on May 09, 2017

    This very brief read still manages to be so lovely and so sad! Many people should be able to get something out of it. It speaks to a very universal theme.
  • Helping Hands, a Dark Comedy on May 21, 2017

    The writing is very straightforward in a way that really works for the subject matter. It's a dark story that gets the job done.
  • Past Fiddle Creek on May 21, 2017

    This is definitely one of the best poem books I've seen on Smashwords, and I speak from experience here. I especially liked the one about Georgia O'Keeffe. I appreciated the diversity of the subject matter, and the fact that the poems had more variations in terms of everything from word choice to structure than you usually see. There's something to be said for poems that were meant to be read aloud, which is more traditional, and which means the poems must be attention-grabbing.
  • Ronald Pinkly, These Are Your Lives. on May 21, 2017

    I haven't seen a lot of stories like this. It was interesting and well-written, and I liked all of the different perspectives.
  • Cosmic Hitchhiker Mama on May 21, 2017

    This is a fun poem. The theme should be recognizable to everyone.
  • Gravy the Wonderful Dog Picture Book on May 21, 2017

    I'm sorry for the author's loss. This is a touching tribute.
  • Blood Trust on May 22, 2017

    This was a very interesting story. It could have been edited a bit better, but the meaning of everything still comes through. I appreciated the extremely morally gray nature of everything that was going on, and it was certainly a wonderfully original premise for a vampire story.
  • Two Souls, One Door on May 26, 2017

    This story is very well-written. It's also certainly unique. The dialogue is realistic, and the characters manage to come alive effectively even under these unusual circumstances.
  • Hymn of Faith on May 26, 2017

    This story was certainly different. Seeing conflicts between humans and merfolk is interesting, and I appreciate the story's strong anti-war sentiment. While the story could have been dramatized and fleshed out more, it still worked well as a short piece.
  • AI Civil Rights: Addressing Artificial Intelligence and Robot Rights on May 28, 2017

    This is an interesting piece, although it's more of a philosophical piece than a political one. It's certainly great to see some futurism on Smashwords. This piece asks a lot of questions and gives comparatively few answers, so people can ask the questions themselves. I have my own answers to many of these questions: I certainly agree that true AI should be granted personhood and all that this implies. I completely disagree with the idea that immortal beings somehow don't count as alive because you don't count as alive unless you eventually die. Still, other readers will answer these and other questions in their own ways. Discrimination against AI will be different from discrimination that exists in the past and present, however. Many forms of modern discrimination are systemic and have a lot of history behind them. AI will be new and unprecedented. It's hard to truly imagine what will happen.
  • Quantum Writer on May 28, 2017

    This story effectively manages to address a fantasy a lot of writers have, while puncturing it at the same time. It makes sense that even advanced technology won't help procrastinating writers, really.
  • Arrival of Darkness on May 28, 2017

    These stories are very well-written, particularly in terms of the emotional reactions of the characters. The stories flow well and accomplish a lot in a few pages.
  • Seasons of the Stars on May 28, 2017

    Lots of people will like these poems, which certainly touch on universal themes.
  • When Big Ben Stopped (Short Story) on May 28, 2017

    I like 'frozen time' stories. The premise could have been explored more, but this story works well for what it is.
  • The Cycle Of Violence on May 29, 2017

    This is a dark and horrific story. The writer does a good job capturing the evil, narcissistic villain protagonist's monstrous and misogynistic personality. It's certainly difficult to feel sorry for him at the end of the story, and I loved the twist ending.
  • The Night Walk Men on May 30, 2017

    This story is certainly different in terms of the subject matter and the layout, and it has a sparse and appealing writing style that makes it very readable.
  • Immortals on May 31, 2017

    This story certainly has an old-fashioned and folkloric feel that a lot of people will like. Many of the descriptions in the story are indeed lovely. The contrast between the elves and humans was interesting, even though I tend to like it better when writers have less of a cynical view towards humanity. I also wish the immortality seekers of fiction were portrayed more sympathetically.
  • Chosen to Lead on May 31, 2017

    I've always enjoyed reading memoirs and learning about other people's backstories. It certainly takes courage to put yourself out there like that, which is something that I admire. This memoir definitely needs to be edited, unfortunately. I don't mind a few typos here and there or even major grammar mistakes, as long as the story is still readable. Here, the errors were so severe that it made the writing difficult to process. Given the straightforward nature of the prose style, there was really no reason for this to be the case. Some substantial editing would really make all the difference here.
  • The Final Fate of Mary Ford - A Short Ghost Story on June 02, 2017

    What a great story! The characters come to life quickly, even in a few pages. The prose is very well-written and effective. The first-person narrative style works well here, particularly because of the interesting voice of the main character.
  • The Z Gas on June 02, 2017

    This very brief story does a good job of demonstrating the chaos and horrors of war, even if it adds additional horrors into the mix.
  • From the Heart on June 03, 2017

    These were some great poems. I particularly liked the first one, the CPS poem, given its use of the language and dark content. However, I did like the rest of the poems as well.
  • Eternal Foreign Vampire Mama on June 04, 2017

    This poem is awesome. I appreciate that it can be interpreted in many different ways, particularly when you consider its context.
  • We Are Not Vampires on June 19, 2017

    This story is great! I love vampire stories (including 'not-vampire' stories like this one), especially when the writer really does something different. I certainly appreciate takes on the 'vampires are extraterrestrials' idea. This story features a detailed alternate history that I liked.
  • Kindness Toward My Father on June 20, 2017

    What a touching memoir. This is certainly an issue that a lot of people can identify with personally.
  • Breakfast at Cordelia's Aquarium on June 20, 2017

    This is a fun story. The dialogue is realistic and the writing is very high-quality throughout. It's definitely better writing than you typically see on Smashwords.
  • Immortal Wounds on June 25, 2017

    I do consider this story worth reading. The prose is good and it does keep your attention for the most part. I have my own issues with it, however. The setup between the two characters takes a long time. I love stories that are heavy on the dialogue and that feature a lot of character-based interaction. However, the characters have to be interesting conversationalists in order to make that work. Long pages worth of romance-novel style dialogue and characters who seem needlessly in-awe of one another can be frustrating to read. Marcus and Phoebe both have a lot of the same issues that many similar characters in the genre have. Their relationship doesn't really develop naturally and the two of them become obsessed with one another too quickly. Many other elements take a backseat to it too quickly. Marcus is domineering and aggressive too much of the time. It also annoys me that his appearance is described as 'flawless,' as if that's a thing that can be objectively judged, and as if readers are expected to agree. Phoebe is appearance-conscious and appearance-obsessed, and she isn't developed enough beyond that in spite of being the protagonist. She also really doesn't ask the right questions at the right time and some of her thought processes seem unnatural. However, people who like urban fantasy that is more 'paranormal romance' than urban fantasy may have different preferences. They may be able to tolerate the problematic elements and focus on everything else. The story seems to accomplish what it intended.
  • My Selkie on June 29, 2017

    This story has a lovely and mythic feel to it, which is certainly appropriate for the subject matter. I appreciated the historical detail as well.
  • Blonde Kisses on July 10, 2017

    This story is well-written and well-edited, which is always good to see. It's nice to see more lighthearted fare on Smashwords as well. A lot of people should be able to relate to this story.
  • Nightmares, Dreams, and All Things in Between on July 11, 2017

    These short pieces are very well-written and even touching in places. Some of them could be expanded further, particularly the last one.
  • A Summer in Amber on July 14, 2017

    The attention to detail in this story was great. While I think that the characters could have been more developed, the world-building and plotting was interesting.
  • False Witness on July 15, 2017

    This novel is well-written. I thought that the dialogue was naturalistic and it proceeded along at a rapid clip. The descriptions were effective and didn't get in the way of the largely plot-driven narrative. I recommend this novel to people who like legal stories.
  • The Third Wish on July 16, 2017

    This was an interesting story. I appreciated the twist on the genie trope, and I like genie stories in general. The prose was high-quality and the dialogue was believable, as were the character interactions.
  • The Woman In Red on July 26, 2017

    This is a fun story. I'm a huge fan of vampire stories, and this one has a nice and casual feel to it. I appreciate the vampire character's nonchalant approach to things.
  • Poems on Aug. 03, 2017

    There are some interesting poems here. I particularly liked the one about the monk. While some of the poems are not written in a style that I like, since I have old-fashioned interests in poetry, they are still executed well.
  • I Knew Him Before He Was Evil on Aug. 06, 2017

    Good, lord. You really do have to pick your friends carefully. I especially liked the part where Ray acted like he was evil Jimmy Stewart during a Scrabble game. Although really, all of these bits are darkly hilarious. Well, they would be if this wasn't a memoir.
  • Life's Little Melodies on Aug. 07, 2017

    This story has a lot of rich details, which helps to give it an air of authenticity. The author communicates emotional states well.
  • Lore of Rainbow on Aug. 11, 2017

    What a striking piece. I don't think I've ever seen a fantasy story that focused this much on color in any way, much less in a way that's this dramatic. It's original. The prose style is also unique and fits with the subject matter.
  • The Princess and the Plague on Aug. 11, 2017

    This story is wonderfully well-written, especially in terms of the descriptions and the emotional reactions. The creepy ending really stays with you.
  • A Thousand Tears on Aug. 12, 2017

    This dark piece is very haunting and effective. The emotional reactions seemed real, if uncomfortably so.
  • Come Find Me on Aug. 12, 2017

    This story had a lot of detail, which helped to make the proceedings feel more authentic. More paragraph breaks would have been nice, but that's more about presentation than content.
  • Green, A Short Story on Aug. 15, 2017

    This story manages to integrate a lot of ideas at once, and that's always positive in science fiction. It's certainly a well-written and detailed work.
  • With the Roc's Divine Protection Part 4: The Roc on Aug. 15, 2017

    This story is definitely different. I don't feel like I've seen many stories like this on Smashwords. It's dramatically interesting and delightfully odd.
  • 151+ Blonde Jokes! on Aug. 15, 2017

    God, jokes like this need to die. Well, actually, they're already dead, so that might be redundant. 'Great for conversation starters?' 'Improves conversation and social skills?' Yeah, for most people, these dated and sexist jokes would be conversation stoppers. I love how the woman on the cover looks like Marilyn Monroe, who was an intelligent woman in real life. Her portrayal in films did not reflect who she really was. Her situation more or less symbolizes the reality of dumb blonde jokes, or rather the unreality of them. I always want to ask people who tell inane jokes like this to explain how blonde hair could possibly be correlated with intelligence, whether it matters if someone is a natural blonde or an unnatural blonde, and whether it still applies to people who were blonde as kids and turned brunette as adults (or, needless to say, people who went gray in late adulthood). People who are actually devaluing the intelligence of others based on hair color should at least be able to prove that they have any brains themselves. If you do this, you're accused of having no sense of humor. No, people who tell terrible jokes have no sense of humor. 'Did you hear the one about the guy who told a blonde joke! He was really dumb!' Ha ha.
  • 101+ Music Jokes on Aug. 16, 2017

    You'd think writers would have solidarity with other creative people. Then again, this is barely writing and it's definitely not creative. What's the definition of an artist? Someone who's broke and sucks! Zing! Seriously, almost all of the jokes in here are like that. Otherwise, they're basically just puns. I like clever puns, but these do not qualify.
  • A Random Assortment of Cautionary Tales on Aug. 16, 2017

    I could definitely imagine these as part of a web comic.
  • An Affair With Death on Aug. 16, 2017

    This was very dark and effective. I wouldn't recommend it for the people who are struggling with depression themselves, since it might be triggering. However, it does capture part of the experience.
  • Prince of Wolves, Book 1 The Grey Wolves Series on Aug. 18, 2017

    This story had some potential. The writer could have done something different with the world and the characters. I still think it could have been edited and polished a lot more than it was. I don't care about a few grammatical errors, especially if they're just typos. Those don't usually make the story harder to read. However, in this case, the technical flaws actually did make this fairly straightforward story harder to read that it should have been, and that's an issue. I would also like to tell something to all werewolf writers: there is no rule that says that werewolves have to mate for life and be creepily bonded to people that they barely know and only love on a bizarre pseudo-biological chemical level. Really. I feel like every werewolf story written in the last ten years seems to operate under that assumption. It's as if the writers think that this is as fundamental to werewolf stories as the transformation part. It isn't. This story honestly doesn't have much to it other than that trope, and that's a big problem. The strong macho jerk and the insecure girl who barely know each other and become obsessed with each other anyway can't have compelling conversations. They don't know each other well enough for that and they don't have enough in common for that. In a dialogue-heavy romance story, this just means that they're going to gush about each other a lot. This setup is painfully reactionary. The urban fantasy genre is full of competent heroines saving the world. The paranormal romance genre is full of insecure heroines giving up their lives for horrible macho men. Someone needs to write a crossover where urban fantasy heroines save paranormal romance heroines. I like romance, but if all it does is affirm macho, sexist values, it's actively bad. The idea that you will die when your partner dies is horrifying, not romantic. Even if you love your partner, living in fear that they will die and take you with them would poison the relationship. The fact that some people actually make this wish fulfillment is a huge problem. Werewolf stories don't have to be like this, and I have no idea why people think that they should.
  • The Stiff in the Five Hundred Dollar Suit on Aug. 18, 2017

    This is one of the worst books I've ever read on Smashwords. Even from a technical perspective, this book was almost unreadable. The script format of the dialogue was distracting. The dialogue itself was awkward, unnatural, and utilitarian. The characters are flat. The book has minimal reflection on anything. It has a very mechanical feel. Since the book was edited relatively well, I'm sure most of the flaws were not simply oversights. The author's extreme sexism and racism were so blatant that he seemed to make his third-person-omniscient narrator a bigot. The fact that he listed the age, weight, build, facial features, and race of every single character who was introduced in an info-dump of narration was bad enough. Even in a story written from the perspective on an AI, this wouldn't work. The AI would also not rate the subjective attractiveness of all of the different characters, either. We get to hear about all of the bra sizes and measurements of the female characters, and sometimes their rating on a scale of 1 to 10. I couldn't believe it. We didn't get to hear about the men's measurements, of course. Like most people, the author also has no idea of what different weights actually look like, either. This only adds insult to injury. Chief Detective Harvey Halloway is described like this: 'white male, 5 feet 11 inches, 185 pounds, early forties, brown hair with a few streaks of grey, brown eyes, muscular build with slight mid-life paunch, bullet scar over right eye, and ruggedly handsome features.' Yes, the author described his protagonist with a word-brick like that. Men who are 5 feet 11 inches and 185 pounds almost always look thin. Look at the Photographic Height/Weight Chart online: don't rely on your subjective interpretation of the unscientific BMI formula. People with mid-twenties BMI ratings usually pass for thin. Harvey should be around twenty to thirty pounds heavier to fit the description given, at least. For god's sake: if you're going to actually list a character's statistics in such an unnatural and judgmental way, at least get them right. All of the book's descriptions are just as bad and inaccurate. The writer certainly has no clue about the weight of women, or what kind of measurements very thin women actually have, or whether everyone agrees with him about which women are objectively beautiful. In a world where curvaceous beauty icons are now completely mainstream, his descriptions feel like relics from another time. Given that Marilyn Monroe represented the beauty ideal of the 1950's, the author clearly wasn't writing like this in order to get into the mindset of the times. If the writer was trying to replicate the 1950's in all of its conservative reality, he executed it very badly and without historical accuracy. If he wasn't, that's even worse. The objectification of women and the overall conservatism brought down what would have been a dull police procedural otherwise.
  • Primani (Primani Series Book One) on Aug. 18, 2017

    This story is well-written. It's definitely polished. The plot is more creative than many of the others that you see in this genre.
  • Blossoms in the Snow (An Inspirational Romance) on Aug. 26, 2017

    I'm not religious, but I can still enjoy stories in this genre if they're written well enough. This story is certainly better technically than many that you will find. It was edited well and is easy to read. I've seen a lot of Christian fiction that is so riddled with errors that it's unreadable. However, the characters have a stiff and formal manner of speaking, which is shockingly common in the genre. They don't feel like modern characters. Dot is an odd name for a modern young woman as well, and that's just a minor detail. Dot's weight loss story background also severely dates the story and poisons it severely. There's a generational divide forming between Baby Boomers and Generation Xers and younger people about weight issues, I've noticed. A lot of people in older generations just take it for granted that people want to have to read yet another story where a character has a weight loss oriented backstory. Dot's story replicates the usual failing diet industry narrative where she was so awkward and unloved before, where she was obviously just ignorant of healthy eating and exercise before and had to 'learn' how to do everything right, and where it's completely reasonable for her to obsessively control portions and be fixated on food now. The writer is completely ignorant of everything to do with weight. 165 pounds is a low weight for most people. Even for a fourteen-year-old girl, it wouldn't be that high. Girls like that are common in high schools today, and they're treated as normal. Popular girls often look like that. The idea that everyone in high school is thin except for a couple of marginalized outcasts is outdated and no longer reflects reality. It may have been true for Baby Boomers. For younger generations, it's a dark relic from another time. Giving a character a backstory like this is also no longer acceptable. The bar has shifted. Writers can no longer get away with certain plot lines and backstories, and this is one of them. LGBT narratives have completely changed over the years. Weight narratives are starting to change now. Since Dot's weight-related backstory keeps coming up in the story, it gets very frustrating to read very quickly. It's enough to hurt the whole thing. It certainly hurts the story's general clean and wholesome image. Clean and wholesome and full of hatred towards 'fat' people! I want more clean and wholesome romance, but it takes someone without bigotry to write that.
  • Something Scary on Aug. 29, 2017

    I always love to see historical fiction pieces that try to portray a genuinely alien aspect of history. Dueling culture is very strange to most of us today, and it's interesting to see it explored. I liked the detail of the protagonist retroactively calling the war the War Between the States, which is what people in the South probably would have called the Civil War in the 1920's. It is also true that one of the strange reasons for the popularity of dueling culture was the simple fact that a lot of people in the past were starved for entertainment. I certainly appreciate the anti-violence and anti-war message in the story, as well as the criticism of the idea of dueling over a woman. This story should have been edited more, but that's only a minor criticism.
  • The Last Bite on Sep. 07, 2017

    The pacing for the story was excellent, and I do appreciate the direction that the story took. The prose style was sparse and effective, and also polished. It might be triggering to people who have experienced assaults, which should be noted.
  • A Man on Oct. 24, 2017

    This story is well-written and definitely realistic. I can definitely imagine a person thinking in this manner.
  • Thief's Paradise on Nov. 11, 2017

    This story could definitely have been edited better, but it does have an interesting concept.
  • The Man on the Corner on Nov. 11, 2017

    These stories are certainly well-edited, and it is clear that the author spent a lot of time getting the phrasing right. While I think that both stories could have been fleshed out more, they certainly work well.
  • Brisk Little Stories on June 20, 2020

    These brief stories were well-written. The straightforward prose style was particularly effective, especially for the subject matter. I always love new takes on zombie stories and horror stories in general.
  • Genevieve; Seven Evenings of Light Snow on June 30, 2020

    This was great! I always appreciate xenofiction, and this story was a fine example of that genre. As an art lover, I also enjoyed the unique illustrations and images.
  • Epoch Delayed on June 30, 2020

    'Looking Back' and 'Given Up' were my favorite poems out of this collection. As a history buff, I enjoyed all of the classical references.
  • More Coffee & Philosophy: Another Book of Poetry, 2nd Edition on June 30, 2020

    'Vain Excuses' was my favorite of all of them, but there are plenty of other good poems here. The author did a great job of illustrating and dramatizing a wide range of themes.
  • Marked on June 30, 2020

    What a dark and terrifying piece of flash fiction. It almost seems like it's from the world of Logan's Run, but it's from the perspective of one of the runners, rather than one of the Sandmen.
  • The Dead - Poetry on July 01, 2020

    My favorite poem in this collection was 'Interview.' I did like the political and historical poems as well. The entire collection was very emotionally honest.
  • 100 Jokes for Kids on July 01, 2020

    Many of these jokes use puns and wordplay. Plenty of kids should like them. Most of the jokes are also inoffensive, and they're mild enough that they shouldn't annoy parents.
  • Poems of Life on July 01, 2020

    I think a lot of people could relate to the material presented here. It's great to see more poems that address the importance of friendship. Poetry tends to focus more on romance and romantic partners.
  • The Medallion on July 01, 2020

    The author created some very believable and effective characters very quickly. I also thought that the world-building was interesting.
  • Wishing on July 04, 2020

    Excellent! I always love stories where Mrs. Claus gets a chance to shine! It's also always fun when the Claus family is depicted relatively realistically.
  • Guardian on July 06, 2020

    This story reminds me of 'The Road' in some ways. I liked the attention to detail and the way the writer establishes mood.
  • No Weird or Fancy Stuff on July 06, 2020

    I like cookbooks that feature unique recipes, and this book definitely qualifies. It's also nice when the writers don't just list the recipes. When they have some fun with writing the book, it's obvious, and that's clearly the case here. The book had more 'diet culture' content than I would like, but much less than many cookbooks.
  • Recycled on July 06, 2020

    This story was very well-written. The narration was particularly effective. I may never look at garden gnomes the same way again.
  • The Other Side of the Mask on July 07, 2020

    I love superhero stories, including parodies. These stories were well-written and effective.
  • The Sensitive on July 08, 2020

    What a fantastic and dark story! I always love ghost stories that give ghosts some clear and frightening limitations, making their situation even more tragic. The story was also well-plotted, and the author gave us a very detailed setting.
  • Frey on July 08, 2020

    It's always great to see powerful woman characters like Frey. Stories that are all about people trying to reclaim their sense of identity really resonate with me.
  • Small Hero on July 09, 2020

    I love stories that ask the question: 'what if everyday people decided to become superheroes?' This story is one of them, and I appreciate the fact that it went into the logistics of actually choosing to live and work like this.
  • The Gate At the End of the Worlds on July 12, 2020

    This story was very well-written and had some fantastic suspense. I also certainly appreciated the theme.