Saturday, 7 May 2016

Blog Tour - A Fine Stout Love and Other Stories - Guest Post from Author Renée Beyea

Book cover: A Fine Stout Love and Other Stories by Renée Beyea The blog tour for Renée Beyea's book, 'A Fine Stout Love and Other Stories' stops by here today. This is the first in a collection of Pride & Prejudice Petite Tales. The second volume, “What Love May Come and Other Stories,” will be released winter 2016. 

We have a guest post from Renée on why she writes short stories. There's also a chance to win a copy of the book for yourself. Read on for more details!

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Why I Write Short Stories

The current revival in short fiction is a splendid outcome to the advent of e-publishing. Scrolling through Austen-inspired e-books reveals any number of novellas, novelettes, anthologies, collections, and singles. They’re cropping up like ant hills in my west Texas lawn! But unlike ants, I’m thrilled because I love short stories. Always have. In fact, while my friends wrote novels for their senior theses, I wrote a collection of cowboy and equine-inspired poems and stories.

In the years since college, I’ve often been asked, “When are you going to write a novel?” Rather than tackle that thorny question--because quite frankly I don’t know the answer--let me pose another: why do I write short stories? Let me count the ways! Don’t worry. I’ll limit it to five C’s and examples from my recent collection, A Fine Stout Love and Other Stories.

1) Concision. Whether flash fiction or epic, a story should be no longer than necessary. The concise nature of short stories allows me to explore ideas that spark my imagination, yet would neither carry the weight of a novel nor sustain me through writing one. For example, short stories permitted me to experiment with fantasy elements--scraps of paper mysteriously floating in the wind in “Words in the Wind” and Darcy’s golden dreamland in “Gold, All Gold”--without elaborate explanations or world-building. 

2) Craft. Short stories share the basic elements of a novel, except condensed: focused plots, limited characters, swift conflict, and (hopefully) satisfying resolution. Weaving all these into a microcosm of time and setting requires tight construction. Not including epilogues, my stories span anywhere from fifteen minutes to no more than a single day. Favorite advice? Renowned author Kurt Vonnegut said, “Start as close to the end as possible.” In “Neither Slumber Nor Sleep,” Darcy’s return to Longbourn is delayed, but we skip the intervening months to begin nearer his reunion with Elizabeth. The art of writing short fiction isn’t as easy as it looks, but it’s enormously rewarding.

3) Challenge. A well-crafted short story not only entertains, it also resonates with readers. Its effect lingers after the last page. What a challenge! Can I make the improbable convincing? Can I immerse readers in the story world so deeply that they experience unconscious suspension of disbelief? Can my characters move readers even though they don’t have the advantage of long arcs building to their resolutions? Only readers can answer these questions, but I delight in the attempt.

4) Convenience. Regardless of the craft required, by virtue of length, short stories take less time to write. I’m a slow writer to begin, made slower still by current life demands. I squeeze writing and publishing into snippets, usually totaling a weekly handful of hours. Short stories afford the gratification of actually finishing. For example, the ten pieces that comprise these first volumes of Pride & Prejudice Petite Tales are the product of four years’ effort (Volume 2 is coming this winter!). Someday perhaps there will be more time to write...   

5) Careful word choice. No matter an author’s voice, short stories almost demand meticulous word selection. Language is simmered like a consommé or reduction. With its extensive vocabulary and inherent graciousness and elegance, Regency language especially lends itself to such labors. I relish the process of sculpting each sentence and polishing every paragraph until their rhythms roll. In fact, I even composed poems for some stories: Elizabeth’s verses go astray in “A Fine Stout Love” and Darcy’s poetry upends the Bennet household in “Eden Unashamed.” But you’ll have to read them to learn what happens.

Now that I’ve shared why I’m passionate about writing short stories, what are your thoughts? If you’re a writer, why do or don’t you write short stories? If you’re a reader, what do you like or not like about reading short stories? Please leave a comment and join the discussion.

(You may also want to check out the companion blog tour post at So Little Time… on 3 May that explains six reasons I enjoy reading short fiction.)

My warmest thanks to Ceri for her gracious hospitality, participating in the blog tour for A Fine Stout Love and Other Stories, and inviting me to share a guest post at Babblings of a Bookworm.  

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Author Renée Beyea
AUTHOR BIO

Renée Beyea holds an undergraduate writing degree from Taylor University and a Master of Divinity from Fuller Seminary. She serves as full-time wife, mother to two sons, and ministry partner with her husband, an Anglican priest and chaplain. Her free time is devoted to crafting stories and composing poetry that delight the senses and touch the soul.

AUTHOR CONTACT and SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

· Email · Website · Facebook · Goodreads ·

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Book cover: A Fine Stout Love and Other Stories by Renée Beyea
BOOK BLURB

Discover what happens when Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy meet fancy and fantasy in this novella-length ensemble of Regency stories.
  • What if two inexplicable trails of words led to the Meryton churchyard on the same blustery morning?
  • What if Darcy stumbled across suggestive lines of verse following Elizabeth’s stay at Netherfield?
  • What if a rumored engagement so thoroughly shocked Lady Catherine that she could not interfere?
  • What if Elizabeth learned the last man she would ever marry was the only man she could marry?
  • What if every Bennet family member read the love poem Darcy intended only for his bride?
With all the intimacy and lyricism of a chamber concert, these five whimsical shorts will inspire the heart, prompt a smile, and entice readers to many happy returns.

BUY LINKS 

'A Fine Stout Love and Other Stories' is available to buy now in paperback and e-book!

· Amazon.com · Amazon UK ·  Barnes & Noble · Smashwords · 

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Giveaway time!

There are 8 copies of 'A Fine Stout Love and Other Stories' up for grabs (including up to 4 paperbacks) during the blog tour. To win, just enter the Rafflecopter. This giveaway is open to international entrants.

a Rafflecopter givea-way
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BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

2 May: Excerpt & Giveaway at From Milton to Pemberley
3 May: Guest Post & Giveaway at So Little Time…
4 May: Excerpt & Giveaway at Half Agony, Half Hope
5 May: Review & Giveaway at The Calico Critic
6 May: Guest Post & Giveaway at Austenesque Reviews
7 May: Guest Post & Giveaway at Babblings of a Bookworm
8 May: Review & Giveaway at Delighted Reader
9 May: Review & Giveaway at Austenesque Reviews
10 May: Interview & Giveaway at Savvy Verse and Wit
11 May: Review & Giveaway at Diary of an Eccentric
12 May: Review & Giveaway at Just Jane 1813
12 May: Excerpt & Giveaway at Laughing with Lizzie
13 May: Review & Giveaway at Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell
14 May: Excerpt & Giveaway at My Kids Led Me Back to Pride and Prejudice
15 May: Excerpt & Giveaway at Best Sellers and Best Stellars16 May: Review & Giveaway at Margie’s Must Reads


30 comments:

  1. Thank you, Ceri--so excited to visit Babblings of a Bookworm!

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    1. Thank you so much for visiting, Renée! It's lovely to have you here.

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  2. But there are times when having finished a short story you want to read more

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    1. Very true! Of course, there's a difference between "want to read more" out of a desire to spend more time with those characters in that story world, and "want to read more" because the story didn't provide a satisfactory conclusion... Hopefully a good short story offers the former rather than the latter ;-)

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    2. That's very true, Vesper. Sometimes you feel like the story hasn't been completely told, but as Renée says, a good short story hopefully won't leave you feeling that way.

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  3. Interesting post. I sometimes wish some short stories were longer because they feel a little rushed. But if the author is able to write a story that feels complete I don't complain. :)

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    1. That's a tricky balance to achieve--to tell enough to do justice to a story without the reader feeling rushed or, worse still, losing interest. I'll confess to liking pretty bows at the ends of my stories :-)

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    2. Ahh, readers are hard to please! ;) I look forward to reading your stories! :)

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    3. I am the same as you, Maria. I don't like a short story to feel rushed or feel incomplete. I know sometimes people will write ones which are almost like a scene rather than a real story but I prefer it to feel finished if possible.

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  4. I prefer reading longer stories. Thank you for the interesting post.

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    1. Thanks for reading and commenting! If you end up reading my short stories, I'd love to hear your opinion...

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    2. Hi Caryl! In the main, I prefer longer stories too, but sometimes, especially when I'm really busy, I don't have the time to devote to a longer book and in those times short stories can be useful, because they are easier to read for shorter periods (as long as you can be disciplined enough to only read one!).

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  5. I'm not a usual fan of short stories as I always get really involved and want minute details of everything but they are great to take on holiday for an easy read and as I'm soon going on holiday, this book definitely needs to be investigated. Thanks so much, Ceri for bringing it to our attention :-)

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    1. Hi Angela. I know what you mean, shorter stories can't go into things in the same depth as a longer work but they are nice for an easy read. Thanks for commenting :)

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    2. Hope you have a refreshing holiday, Angela! If you do take this collection along, you can be assured of some humorous and sweetly romantic moments.

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    3. Thanks Ceri, that's will definitely fit the bill. I am in need of some humour and romance.
      I'm at Liberty to take quite a few books with me as we are driving from England to Florence, Italy in July for a wedding andwill meander gently back through France. We have quite a big car with a lot of capacity and only three of us in it - although my husband has already made threatening noises about my tortoise like nature...haha! As long as I have my books and my cross stitching and plenty of Jane Austen activities to do, I will be in heaven.
      I entered for the giveaway by liking Renee's FB page, does that automatically enter me for the giveaway?
      Many thanks.

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    4. Renee hi,
      I need to read things more carefully and not jump to conclusions :-). I assumed both above messages were from Ceri and only on re reading them did I realise the second was from you.
      Thanks so much for taking the time to reply. I really enjoyed reading about why you like writing short stories and just popped quickly over to So Little Time and read about why you enjoy reading them. I immediately loved the beautiful way you use descriptive language and knew that your books and I are going to fit together as comfortably as hands in a well used pair of gloves. I loved the way you made an analogy between an orchestra and a novel, it really struck a cord with me, if you will excuse the pun...haha! I love words to not only tell a story but to paint a picture, play a tune and tickle my taste buds. Words do have flavours and combine like the finest ingredients to create a gourmet meal to be savoured. The way you expressed your reasons for both writing short stories and reading them made my mouth water. I'm hoping I win one of the giveaways but even if I dont, your book will be in my holiday packing. Thank you for such enjoyment.

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    6. Sorry about that, bad link! This is the link for the rafflecopter if you can't use the one embedded in the blog post above. https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/721c271532/

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    7. Hi back, Angela! Thank you for your lovely long reply--you paint with words too. :) Glad you appreciate word pictures--you'll find my writing has quite a bit of figurative language. And may I confess holiday envy? Driving around Europe and to England were bright spots in the three years I lived in Germany. Best wishes with the giveaway!

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  6. Carole in Canada8 May 2016 at 14:27

    Short stories are a delight when one has a small window of time. I do agree that sometimes if it is so good, I want more! Congratulations and thank you for this chance to win your book!

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    1. You're welcome, Carole--best of luck!

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    2. That's just how I feel about short stories too, Carole!

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  7. Hi Renee, I'm a reader. Short stories are enjoyable, because the author has to make every word count, and there's usually so much packed in to each paragraph. I don't like that they're short, though ;-) because I want more, more, more!

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    1. Glad you enjoy the word-smithing, Ginna! Yes, short stories are sometimes like hors d'oeuvres--just enough to whet the appetite.

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    2. Hi Ginna. I am usually greedy for more too, even if there is enough!

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  8. I think it might be easier for an author and readers to connect through long stories: more words written (provided that they are artfully written) and time spent reading give readers better understanding of the author's idea behind the book (and longer pleasure if the writing style is likeable and characters are lovable). That's why, in a way, it is more challenging to write short stories. Personally I like short stories, though most of them do not leave long-lasting impression on me, but when they do, I eagerly applaud to that author's undisputable talent.
    As for P&P variations (although we all love to read endlessly about Lizzy and Darcy), I agree that short stories should be perfect for exploring those possibilities and alternatives which would be difficult to make into a full-fledged novel. And there could be plethora of such small but interesting ideas.

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    1. Great point, oloore, in terms of author/reader relationship--I hadn't really thought about it that way! Plus short stories are often more plot than character driven, due to the length limitations. And I seem to be one of those who's full of small but interesting ideas ;-)

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    2. What a thoughtful post, Oloore. Now you've made me think about it, I agree with you that sometimes you feel more connected to a longer story. And I also agree that JAFF can be an excellent genre for short stories, because there is already a huge amount of back-story that the reader is aware of, so the scene is often already set in some depth just in a few words - for example, if a short story were to begin as Darcy is walking away from the Hunsford Parsonage then I can fill in many pages of previous story in my mind in an instant!

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