The Literary Companion

Mysterious Book Report The Literary CompanionINFORMING READERS & WRITERS SINCE 2014

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Desperation Road Volume 4 No. 5 – May 2017

Some writers have such a firm understanding of their sense of place and are able to write about it with such authenticity, that the reader is transported there in mind as she or he processes the printed words . . . almost seeing, hearing, and touching the people, places and events of the story as it unfolds.

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DARKTOWN Volume 4 No. 4 – April 2017

Only a few authors have the ability to educate, entertain and thrill their audiences, all at the same time. It’s a gift; and a rare talent practiced by luminaries like Dennis Lehane, Walter Mosley and Philip Kerr; each of whom have a unique, and special skill that allows them to make history come alive in the pages of their novels. The genre is known as historical fiction…

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SINGLE MOM. NO drugs. Little HELP. Volume 4 No. 3 – March 2017

We are excited to announce the WINNER!! Of our February Issue Literary Challenge as:
“Katherine H.” From Littleton, CO. Congratulations to Katherine on her creative and compelling short story. In less than 100 words, you managed to grab our attention, and paint one-heck-of-a word picture for us to enjoy. Keep creating, as we look forward to seeing more of your work.

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What’s Your Story? Volume 4 No. 2 – February 2017

Greetings,

So this month, we have a literary challenge for you. The concept is simple.

“Create a story in 100 words or less that immediately grabs our attention and leaves us wanting more.”

The beauty of this challenge, should you choose to accept it, is that it will “trim the fat,” get rid useless prose, and leave no room for anything else but those necessary words.

Great stories, or even a well crafted paragraph can reach out and pull us into the world of the written page, and make us lose track of time.

So are you up to the task? Still debating…that’s ok. To help get you started, here is a sample to use as a template for your mini masterpiece.

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The New Year & The Blank Page Volume 4 No. 1 – January 2017

So January is here, but don’t worry, I’m not about to get all “New Years Resolution” with this newsletter, and here’s why:

“25% of resolutions are abandoned after the first week.”

By the time February rolls around … well, you get the idea.

So this year, I invite you to consider the simple magic of setting small, achievable goals.

For example, my goal for this week is to spend at least one hour per day staring at the blank page, with a good cup of coffee, jazz music in the background, and absolutely nothing to distract me but my own thoughts…

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Tis The Season Indeed Volume 3 No. 12 – December 2016

There’s something about December that magnifies the beauty and frailty of the human experience. Or, perhaps that’s just me projecting my current state of mind. Regardless, these are the facts:

– A close family member of mine recently passed away
– On my birthday…in early December

Needless to say, my holiday season will never be the same again, but maybe that’s a good thing.

Whether it’s the memory of loved ones lost, becoming a new parent, or the stress of holiday obligations, at some point, we all must take a moment to stop, reflect, and enjoy some high-quality bourbon (so long as you’re 21 or older).

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When It All Goes Wrong Volume 3 No. 11 – November 2016

“The trick to forgetting the big picture, is to look at everything up close.”

–Chuck Palahniuk

Within the field of mental health, there is a concept known as: “Cognitive Reframing.” The idea is to simply look at any given situation, or obstacle in a different way, in order to acquire new insight into the problem at hand.

EXAMPLE:

“This glass of 86′ bordeaux is quite delicious.”
“This glass of old fermented grapes is quite delicious.”

It sounds kinda kooky, but being able to look at things as they really are, versus how we “perceive” them to be, can have a lasting impact of our behavior and ultimately, our mental health.

Fear and anger can be the strongest and most…

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Painting Word Pictures – A Manifesto Volume 3 No. 10 – October 2016

It was around 5pm, from what I could recall, and John, the general manager of Rhyolite Press and I were editing the newsletter. We’d been on the phone for about forty minutes.

First off, you need to understand that for a guy with a full-time job and a family, my “creative time” had dwindled down to those few moments of silence in-between lunch breaks, cancelled meetings, and early morning bottle feedings.

So for me to be editing anything at this time of day; with other work still…

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My Favorite Felony – Chapter 5

Volume 3 No. 9 – September 2016

Joe lifted the bottom of his shirt, showing a Sig p226 tucked in his waistband. He looked at Ernesto, then his son, then back to the father and thought, Your son dies first, as the shock will buy me enough time to deal with the rest of you. 

Ernesto read Joe’s intentions, and pulled back the hammer of his .38 caliber revolver. Joe stepped into the line of fire and…

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The BDNF Gene & Why Your Creative Mind Should Care… Volume 3 No. 8 – August 2016

What do Alzheimers, obesity, depression & schizophrenia all have in common? These disorders have all been linked to low levels of BDNF or (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor).

So what does all this scientific goobly-gak mean?

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Five Easy Steps For Better Writing  Volume 3 No. 7 – July 2016

Ken Cervera is out of town for the month of July, pending the birth of his baby boy, and some quality father and son bonding time.

In the interim, we thought you’d enjoy some practical literary wisdom from the archives.

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My Son (part II) Volume 3 No. 6 – June 2016

North Carolina, 1989 … (continued)

The round that punctured the meat of his shoulder felt like a rusted rail spike and spun him face-first into the dirt. His breath escaped in pants, and he had quick searing moments of consciousness, catching glimpses of blood stained leaves as he writhed onto his back.

Blood crept into the corner of his mouth and the iron…

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My Son Volume 3 No. 5 – May 2016

145 South Dacota Ave.

Los Angeles, CA

2:05pm

Joe circled the block several times, and walked through the alleyway to check for surveillance. Teresa and Ed were long gone, but Joe gave the LAPD more credit than usual today.

He walked inside to apartment # 4. Galindo. He knocked twice and stepped back to be…

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Do You Mind? Volume 3 No. 4 – April 2016

This will sound odd … but when was the last time you stopped to focus on what you’re focusing on?

I’m not referring to any “mystic” or existential thought process here, but a very simple, daily habit that can help increase productivity, reduce stress and keep…

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My Favorite Felony… Volume 3 No. 3 – March 2016

Who is Joe Devlin? The question had been stuck inside Teresa’s mind for the past thirty two hours. Twelve of those hours were spent roaming the NCIC, LAPD Records & Identification…

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iPad: The Silent Killer?…Volume 3 No. 2 – February 2016

If suppressed melatonin levels, disrupted REM sleep and a broken circadian clock sound like your idea of a good time, then you’re really gonna enjoy this issue.

While it’s no surprise to learn… READ MORE

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Friends In Low Places…Volume 3 No. 1 – January 2016

1137 East 1st Street

Los Angeles, CA

3:16am.

Joe didn’t have a choice. The life he took was more than just a favor, it was a promise he made to a friend. He wasn’t concerned about driving a stolen Chevy Impala… READ MORE

Rhyolite Press on Twitter

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Christmas Noir…Volume 2 No. 11- December 2015

Los Angeles, CA 2015
Thursday, November 26th, 2015. A woman was attacked near the intersection of York Boulevard and Toledo Street at 6:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving evening . . . READ MORE

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No Your Enemy… Volume 2 No. 10 – November 2015

Greetings,
We are excited to announce the launch of our first collection of digital stories, written entirely “on the fly.” No outline, no preparation, just pure inspiration and raw creative instinct. The goal of this little experiment is to engage our readers in… READ MORE

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Five Easy Steps For Better Writing… Volume 2 No. 9 – October 2015

I spent last weekend editing a manuscript for a debut author whose work shows great promise for the future, as well as an abundance of natural… READ MORE

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Listen To A Story… Volume 2 No. 8 – September 2015

While driving to work one morning, in a particularly bad stretch of traffic along the 101 freeway, I decided to “update” the software… READ MORE

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The Noir Niche Volume 2 No. 7 – August 2015

Noir, according to my Oxford and Harper-Collins dictionaries, simply put, is a genre of crime literature in which the characters are tough cynical and the settings dark, bleak and sleazy. It’s characterized by cynicism, fatalism and moral ambiguity… READ MORE

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The Coffee Routine Volume 2 No. 6 – July 2015

To say that I’m a coffee “nerd” is a bit of an understatement; more appropriately, I’m just a guy whose completely obsessed with creating the perfect cup of coffee. READ MORE

Rhyolite Press on Facebook

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The Aluminum Mistress Volume 2 No. 5 – June 2015

“Her name is Elaine, and her gray hair hangs in greasy strings from underneath her cap. Every day she hunts for aluminum cans; rummaging through the trash bins in the… READ MORE

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Where To Write Volume 2 No. 4 – May 2015

You’ve got your topic, outline, pencils sharpened & laptop charged, and now you’ve come face-to-face with your most important creative decision: Where do you want to write? READ MORE

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Embrace The Blank Page Volume 2 No. 3 – April 2015

For some us, staring at the blank page is a whimsical occasion filled with promise and adventure; for others, well..not so much.
The writers journey into the blank page and beyond… READ MORE

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