Tuesday, May 3, 2016

'Fine Stout Love' Blog Tour ~ Guest Post and #Giveway!

Hello, Friends! I'm super excited to be part of the Fine Stout Love Blog Tour! Author Renee Beyea is here with a post that has me rethinking my thoughts on short stories! 




Six Reasons to Read Short Fiction

The August following college graduation found me exploring Vienna while my host was at work. One day I meandered into Mozart’s apartment museum, and music beckoned like laughter. I chased the notes across creaking floorboards and stumbled upon gilded music stands, unlit candles, and a chamber ensemble rehearsing for a concert. The intimacy of the music caressed me, now lilting, now longing, not as complex as that produced by an orchestra but no less moving. I was enraptured. 

If a novel channels the magnificence of a symphony orchestra with its larger cast of characters and complex plots, then short stories are chamber ensembles, beautiful and transfixing in their own right. That’s the comparison I make in the preface to A Fine Stout Love and Other Stories, the first volume of my Pride & Prejudice Petite Tales. 

While I’m passionate about writing short stories (find out why in my blog tour guest post at Babblings of a Bookworm on 7 May), I also love reading them. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading novels too, but I’m always surprised by how many novel readers haven’t given short stories a chance. So, here are six reasons why short stories are worth reading:

1) Fresh authors. Short fiction is a low-commitment and often low-cost means to find new authors. It doesn’t require the lengthier time investment of a novel, yet still introduces a writer’s style and voice. Single stories and the increasingly popular “prequel” novella are inexpensive and sometimes free. Anthologies and collections allow readers to sample multiple authors or multiple pieces by the same author. Don’t care for a particular story? Simply skip to the next one.

2) Foreign worlds. Short stories invite us to worlds we might not otherwise visit. Try a contemporary variation when we usually read Regency--or vice versa. Try a different genre. Where we might not choose a steampunk novel or first person present narrator, short stories lend themselves to experimenting. My favorite genres are historical romance, space opera, and high fantasy. Odd assortment, I know. It’s unlikely I’ll pick up a mystery novel, but I’m game to try a mystery short story. All the better, if it’s an Austenesque mystery.

3) Friends old and new. Short stories are eminently suited to Jane Austen fan fiction. Most readers are well-acquainted with the characters already and don’t require much backstory, which means we can dive into altered circumstances immediately. With their limited casts, short stories often spotlight hero and heroine, equating to more time with beloved characters. On the other hand, short stories can improve our acquaintance with secondary characters to the degree we might be willing to risk an entire novel.

4) Resonance and reflection. Paradoxically, the tight construction of short stories can demand more focused attention in a single sitting than a novel that’s put down and picked up at will. Yet the compact length, condensed language, and less complex plots also make it possible to remember the entirety--with the result that short stories resonate with our emotions and linger in our memories. Writer Michael Hartford said it this way, “Reading a story is a quick plunge into a bracing pool: its ultimate effect occurs more on reflection than while submerged.”

5) Immediate gratification. This one almost goes without saying. Short stories are perfectly suited to waiting rooms and lunch hours, commuter trains and children’s sports practice. For readers like me who must know what happens next, who repeatedly say “just one more chapter,” short stories won’t keep you up until 3 a.m. In short, a well-crafted story can offer the entertainment and pleasure of a novel in a fraction of the time.

6) Repeat resolution. Short stories deliver the joy of repeat resolution, or at least anthologies and collections do. Regardless of length, stories and novels follow a general structure of setup, conflict, and resolution. The angst of rising action juxtaposed with the “ahhh” of denouement grants readers pleasure. A novel usually affords this pleasure once; an anthology or collection does so with every story. In A Fine Stout Love and Other Stories, that’s Darcy and Elizabeth finding their happy-ever-after five times in a single volume. Ah.

There you have it: six reasons for reading short stories, but many more exist. What are yours? Of the reasons listed here, are there any in particular that speak to you? Please join the conversation and leave a comment. I’d love to hear your thoughts.



My heartfelt gratitude to Candy for hosting a guest post and giveaway at So Little Time… and for participating in A Fine Stout Love and Other Stories blog tour!




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: AmazonB&NSmashwords
Add to Goodreads

FTC Disclaimer: Link to Amazon. I am an Amazon Associate. Should you purchase a copy of the book through the link provided, I will receive a small commission. Thanks!


About the Author


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.





BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

5/2: Excerpt & Giveaway at From Milton to Pemberley 
5/3: Guest Post & Giveaway at So Little Time… 
5/4: Excerpt & Giveaway at Half Agony, Half Hope 
5/5: Review & Giveaway at The Calico Critic
5/6: Guest Post & Giveaway at Austenesque Reviews 
5/7: Guest Post & Giveaway at Babblings of a Bookworm 
5/8: Review & Giveaway at Delighted Reader
5/9: Review & Giveaway at Austenesque Reviews 
5/10: Interview & Giveaway at Savvy Verse and Wit 
5/11: Review & Giveaway at Diary of an Eccentric 
5/12: Review & Giveaway at Just Jane 1813 
5/12: Excerpt & Giveaway at Laughing with Lizzie
5/13: Review & Giveaway at Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell 
5/14: Excerpt & Giveaway at My Kids Led Me Back to Pride and Prejudice 
5/15: Excerpt & Giveaway at Best Sellers and Best Stellars 
5/16: Review & Giveaway at Margie’s Must Reads

Many thanks to Jakki @ Leatherbound Reviews for organizing this tour, and to Renee Beyea for this generous giveaway! 


* * * GIVEAWAY * * *

It's giveaway time!! Renee Beyea is giving away EIGHT copies, (FOUR e-copies and up to FOUR paperbacks) of her book Fine Stout Love.  This is a group giveaway! Giveaway is open Internationally! To enter, just fill out the Rafflecopter below and leave a comment.

  • Only one copy of Fine Stout Love per winner.
  • Winners picked randomly by Rafflecopter at the end of the Blog Tour.
  • Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once a day and daily commenting on a blog post for the tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented (which will be verified). If an entrant does not do so, that entry will be disqualified.
  • Open Internationally.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Remember, to enter the giveaway you must fill out the Rafflecopter above and leave a comment.

It was a pleasure to have you here, Renee! Thank you for this post! I enjoyed it. I think 3, 5, and 6 speak to me the most. 
- 3. Already knowing the backstory is a huge plus for a short story. 
- 5. I find myself staying awake far too late at night trying to finish a story! 
- 6. Yep! Love having that "ahh" moment over and over! 

What about you, friends? Did any one of the six reasons Renee listed above speak to you? Do you have any thoughts on short stories? 

25 comments:

  1. Hey, those are good reasons. I've always enjoyed short stories especially in anthologies so I can try samplings of new to me authors and some by those already appreciated. It's also a nice story form when life gets hectic and I want a story that finishes in one quick, sitting.

    Enjoyed this collection!

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    1. Completely agree, Sophia! I've stumbled into some new authors I really enjoy through reading their short stories.

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  2. A shocked Lady Catherine de Bourgh sounds intriguing!

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    1. And just wait til you find out what happens to Lady C...

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    2. I'm intrigued too, Bookluver! What could have shocked Lady C so much that she could not interfere? Lol!

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  3. These short stories sound like a good read. Thanks for the giveaway.

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    1. You're welcome! Good luck and hope you have a chance to give them a read...

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  4. short stories are great for when you know you don't have a lot of time, and for an introduction to a new author

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    1. I like to read a story or two between novels--sort of like a palette cleanser between courses.

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    2. Ooh, that's a good idea, Renee! A palette cleanser...I like that!

      I agree, Susan! Thanks for stopping by!

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  5. My favorite reason on your list is immediate gratification. So true! Great for a waiting room. Thanks for the give-away.

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    1. Plus it's easy to go back and repeat that immediate gratification. There's an old Canadian story, "The Worker in Sandalwood" by Marjorie Pickthall, that I like to re-read each Christmas season--moves me every time.

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  6. I agree with Sophia. They are a nice way to dip in and out of some great JAFF when life has some other commitments for you. Thanks for sharing this great post!

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    1. Thanks for reading, Claudine! Glad you enjoyed it :-)

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  7. I can relate to all six of those reasons, especially the "just one more chapter" one. I'm guilty of that far too often, even when I've got an early start the next day.

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    1. "Just one more chapter" always seems like such a good idea in the moment... LOL!

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  8. Nothing personal here.... One of the reasons that short stories are worth reading is that the writers need to make every word count, so they seem to work harder, and the stories usually show that.

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    1. Ginna, that's actually one of the reasons I like to write stories! They're short enough to really "smith" each word choice. Whether or not it shows is up to the reader to determine.

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  9. The Rafflecopter entry never asked for my name or any type of contact information. Don't know if I'm entered in the giveaway. Phooey! My comment was that it is always wonderful to meet new Austenesque authors, tho' I do prefer short stories to be part of a collection so readers have a choice of reading just one or perhaps more at a time. Many thanks for the lovely blog post and for offering a giveaway.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Nice to meet you too, but I'm sorry to hear you had trouble with the giveaway. The Rafflecopter form requires login with either Facebook or email. Once logged in, it will give four options with links for entry: tweet, blog comment, like FB author page, and/or subscribe to newsletter. Whenever an entry option is completed, the top bar will confirm how many entries you've made and your odds for winning. Hope this helps...

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    2. Hi, TeaGuide! If you've logged into Rafflecopter recently it may have remembered you (or rather, your computer remembered) and you did not need to log in again. You can check if you're logged in by clicking on the three bars at the top right of the Rafflecopter box. It should show you that you're logged in and it will have a place to log out. Thanks!

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  10. Great reasons to read short stories. You have me intrigued that Lady Catherine would be too shock to do anything...

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    1. Oh the suspense... but no spoilers here!

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  11. Oh I have not read short stories before, but love romances. I think these would be so fun to read!

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  12. These stories sound wonderful! :)

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