Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Light, The Dark, and Ember Between

About The Book:
A collection of short stories, each a splinter's reflection of the human condition, firmly centered upon our oft tenuous, sometimes tensile bond with Hope, and careening flirtation with Love.Fifteen stories: From the wispy fog of a love lost at sea, to an orphaned child who delivers a present of her own during a war-torn Christmas. These stories are gentle reminders to each of us of what it is to be human, and certainly of our affinity for the slightest glint of Hope.

From One Washington Diner:

The interior lights punched holes in the dead of night, and in the stillness I could hear the buzz of glowing neon from the sign above. I’d hoped there would be the slim chance of some distraction from the empty, laughing darkness that taunted me. Pinching the bridge of my nose between thumb and forefinger, I shuffled through the front door, greeted by the hostess/cashier/night manager, who apparently was thriving on the not-so-delicate thrush of caffeine. Her uniform bore the hallmarks of traditional diner-dom: bobby sox, her skirt hemline right around knee level, and wide, flat lapels on her blouse. She looked me over for all of two seconds before making her vocal appraisal.
“Let me guess…can’t sleep?” Her voice was disarming, welcoming, like a puppy that jumps in your lap. Managing a frustrated grin I hoarsely replied, “That obvious?”
“Your eyes, your body language—yeah.” I should have had some snappy retort, but my mental haze precluded any such response and subsequently I let slip my small window of opportunity for any suitable comeback.Instead, I yawned.
“Jeez, my only customer and I’m already boring you,” she blurted out. I thought she smirked, but couldn’t be certain in my unwillingly wakeful state. I glanced around the empty dining room and motioned from left to right. “Looks like you’re swamped. Should I come back later?”
Soft brown curls played upon her left shoulder as she turned her head slightly. “Early a.m. sarcasm—I like it. Sit wherever you like, I’m good at finding people in a crowd.” Even in my sleepless haze, I had to admit she was delightful.
“If you don’t mind, I’ll sit at the counter,” I croaked. “I’ll try not to be a bother.” Her hair gently fluttered as she shook her head. “Works for me. Cop a squat and I’ll be right with ya’.
”My mind was made up—she was indeed delightful, in a common denominator kind of way. Having never exceeded the mathematical scope of algebra during my academic career that suited me just fine.

My Review:
I usually don't read short stories, but I am glad that I stepped out of my comfort zone and read The Light, The Dark, and Ember Between. When I read the first four stories my thought was all of these stories would be about lost but each story would end with hope. As I continued to read the stories I saw different types of love. Not romantic love but hopeful love, destructive love, caring love, helpful love and love for country. Each story did have some touch of hope except for 10:18.

All of these stories touched me in some way. Some of these short stories made me angry especially 10:18. ( I will not explain way, because I don't want to give to much away). Some of these made me hopeful especially Emissary. And then there is One Washington Diner, which spoke to my heart.

As I read these stories, I was drawn into to them. I give The Light, The Dark, and Ember Between 4 stars.

About The Author:
J.W. Nicklaus resides in a place not entirely fit for human habitation about five months of the year. No pets to speak of, only the apparitions from which all romantics suffer.

An Arizona native, he’s been from one coast to the other, and a few places in between. College brought an AA in Journalism with a minor in Photography, and a Bachelor of Science in Telecommunications. His work experience has run the gamut from Creative Director for a small advertising firm in Tucson to a litigation support bureau in Phoenix (and assuredly some awkward stuff in the mix).

Snow has been featured prominently in his stories, perhaps because of the seasonless cli-mate he lives in. Nature was meant to be enjoyed and experienced, not hidden from the senses. So to that end, he hopes someday to live amongst those who are able to live through four true seasons, and not just blast furnace and warm.

He enjoys the occasional Arizona Diamondbacks game with his son, as well as watching him grow up. The experience of being a single dad has taught him far more about himself than he ever thought possible.

Within the expanse of every waking moment, he hopes his guardian angel keeps its arms open wide and heart ever watchful, for there but for one true Hope goes She.

For more about J.W. visit
Happy Reading


J.W. Nicklaus said...

Thank you for your heartfelt review, Lissa! The fact that I could move you as a reader, one direction or another, pleases me to no end. I certainly don't want to make people angry, but your reaction tells me I was able to evoke emotion, which is the ultimate goal :^)

Thank you so much for your time and kind words.

J.W. Nicklaus

Tracee said...

What a great I REALLY want to read 10:18!

J.W. Nicklaus said...

Thanks, Tracee! I've got a number of books I want/need to finish, and then I want to start reading some of the books from folks I've met through this tour and on Good Reads. This experience has taught me that not all good writing is necessarily reserved for what the big houses say qualifies as "marketable".

I very much appreciate your words of support :^)

Ladytink_534 said...

Love short stories, especially in anthologies as I always discover new authors to love!

J.W. Nicklaus said...

You are the first person I've seen comment that she likes short stories. All the others I've seen thus far have began with something like "I usually avoid short stories . . ."

I've been most fortunate that in all those cases they've all like mine. I'm hopeful that it's a good sign :^)

Thanks for dropping by!

Anonymous said...

What is up with 10:18? I must read this!!!


J.W. Nicklaus said...

I would hope so! :^D

I'd give you the gist, but that would take all the fun out of reading it, right?

Ilana said...

I must agree with Trasee - I'm really looking forward to reading 10:18 now because it seems to be different than the other stories in some way. I like that there actually is one that doesn't fit the pattern, J.W. I think that having a pattern or a general theme that runs through your stories is extremely important in a book of short stories, but it's good to have one that breaks from it.
I cannot wait to read the rest of the stories either of course!

J.W. Nicklaus said...

10:18 certainly plays into the "Dark" aspect of the title. You're right about it disturbing the thematic flow. I thought it was important to switch emotional and mental gears a bit, just like musicians do on an album. Hopefully, though, you come away at the end feeling entertained.

Pabast said...

Everyone thanks for commentting. I don't know what to say about all the chatter I caused about 10:18. It is hard to explain why I was angry without given to much away. I hope J.W. sees and understand why.

J.W. Nicklaus said...

I think I do. While I certainly didn't set out to anger anyone, I'm simulatneously surprised at how strong a reaction it got!

More importantly, though, I am so glad that you enjoyed it. That is what matters most to me :^)

My genuine thanks to you for your honest appraisal, and your time as host!