Roberta Writes – Distant Flickers anthology blog tour and my review #writingcommunity #dramastories #bookreview

Today, I am delighted to give you a sneak peak into a new anthology, Distant Flickers, comprising of 10 excellent stories by 8 talented writers, Elizabeth Gauffreau, Carol LaHines, Keith Madsen, Jim Metzner, Donna Koros-Stramella, Joyce Yarrow, Rita Baker, Amy E. Wallen, and John Casey.

About Distant Flickers

~ 8 Accomplished Authors
~ 10 Memorable Stories
~ Compelling Characters at a Crossroads
~ What Choices Will They Make?

The emotive stories in this anthology take readers to the streets of New York and San Francisco, to warm east coast beaches, rural Idaho, and Italy, from the early 1900s, through the 1970s, and into present day.

A sinister woman accustomed to getting everything she wants. A down-on-his luck cook who stumbles on goodness. A young mother who hides $10 she received from a stranger. The boy who collects secrets. A young woman stuck between youth and adulthood. Children who can’t understand why their mother disappears.

The distinct and varied characters in Distant Flickers stand at a juncture. The loss of a spouse, a parent, a child, oneself. Whether they arrived at this place through self-reflection, unexpected change, or new revelations—each one has a choice to make.

Purchase Distant Flickers

Universal Purchase Link:

Amazon US


Opening Paragraph

“Where Secrets Go to Hide”

by Keith Madsen

I started collecting secrets when I was just six years old. You ask, “What kind of collection is that for a six-year-old?” I know! I was the only one on my block. Well, at least that was the way it seemed at the time. When you collect secrets, the point is that nobody else knows, so it’s impossible to tell; but, believe me, it would not have been my choice of all potential hobbies. My grandma had collected dolls from countries all around the world, and I’ve always thought that would have been kind of cool for me to do. Yeah, sure, little boys don’t do that, but still, to collect a doll from somewhere is almost like experiencing a little what it is like to actually be there. I’ve always wanted to be somewhere else than where I was.

My review

Distant Flickers is an excellent collection of short stories united by the common theme of characters who find themselves in a set of specific circumstances that require a decision that will change their lives going forward.

These are short overviews of my favourite three stories in the collection”

Hendrix and Wild Ponies by Donna Koros-Stramella
There is something about this story that really appealed to me. It brought back memories of my own teenage and young adult years when the realities of a future life of work and more serious relationships was just starting to filter through my head that was still filled with girly dreams and high school hopes.

An extract: “Saturday, July 3. The next day, Americans would celebrate the bicentennial. Today we rocked in the waves, laughing as we surfaced from beneath the churning water after mis-judging the sea’s timing.”

Norfolk, Virginia, 1975 by Elizabeth Gauffreau
Oh, how this story made my heart ache. The depiction of a young girl in her late teens, with a small baby and a selfish husband, really twisted my heart. The girl drove all the way across the country with her nine-month old baby, and when she arrived at the military base where her husband was stationed, no-one could find him. He eventually turned up at midnight, drunk out of his mind, and this starting point set the tone for their relationship going forward. He obviously didn’t want the burden of a wife and small boy, who was clearly conceived as a result of both of their naivety, lack of worldliness, and her misguided concept of love at the time. This is a story about revelations and coming to terms with reality. I found it desperately sad, especially as the girl obviously came from a caring home.

An extract: “Everything looked dingy and dirty to her – the street, the store signs, the sky, and especially the bars: the Jolly Roger and the Purple Onion which both had tattooed men wearing faded tee-shirts going in and coming out, now, in the middle of the morning.”

A Spoonful of Soup by Rita Baker
For me, this was the only uplifting story in the collection with a happy ending. This comment is not intended to detract from the excellence of the other stories, but they are all rather sad and miserable while this story is different which makes it stand out. The sous chef of a small restaurant befriends an elderly homeless man and gives him a small daily meal. One bitterly cold day, the sous chef invites the man into the kitchen out of the wind. This small act of kindness sets in motion a series of positive changes for the homeless man and the staff and owner of the restaurant.

An extract: “Otto breathed in the aromatic air. It had been long since he enjoyed the wonderful aroma of a good restaurant, and he felt choked with the well-remembered sights and smells.”

This is a book that lovers of short stories about people and their lives, lives, and dramas will enjoy.

Book trailer

Distant Flickers Trailer on Vimeo

Contributors’ Bios:

Distant Flickers Contributors (

60 thoughts on “Roberta Writes – Distant Flickers anthology blog tour and my review #writingcommunity #dramastories #bookreview

  1. I really enjoyed reading the various stories’ summaries of this book, Roberta, and especially the following sentences:
    Coming to term with reality;
    Little boys don’t play with dolls;
    How a small act of kindness can be the origine of big changes.
    Many thanks to you all:)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Another stellar review, Robbie! The collection sounds amazing, and, yes, an upbeat tale amid many downbeat tales is welcome once in a while. Still, great literature is of course often downbeat literature.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi Dave, yes, great literature is usually making a social point and I don’t mind sad and truthful, but it was nice to have once tale that showed the better side of human nature. There are always shining lights of goodness among the masses, in my experience.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. It sounds like an intriguing collection, Robbie. The opening paragraph from Where Secrets Go to Hide hooked me immediately. I love the cover and the title as well.
    Thanks for the review and spotlight. Congratulations to all the authors!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Lauren! If you click on the universal purchase link at the top of of the post, you will see links to the print versions. If you purchase from tonight or tomorrow, you’ll get free shipping.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I started this collection on Monday, just read Liz’s story, and expect to finish the book today. The stories so far are excellent. I loved the way you set up your review, Robbie, highlighting a few of your favorites with samples of the writing. Now I want to stop blogging and get reading again. Lol.

    Liked by 2 people

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