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Guest blogger: Cheryl Holloway

11 March 2018

Romance readers love short stories!

Hi ARRA friends! I’m so excited to be joining you, today.

Reading is one of the most satisfying pleasures of life!

In today’s busy lifestyle, a lot of readers can’t find time to read. Here’s how to get your reading in on a busy day:

  • Unwind at the end of your day by reading a short story—it takes only minutes, rather than hours.
  • Always take a book or an ereader with you to read on your commute or in a waiting room—short stories are quick and easy reads.
  • There is always pleasure in finishing a short story—the feeling of accomplishment.

Yes, the short story is alive and very important today. Yes, readers can create a reading routine.

Short stories are extremely precise with their delivery. The author must capture the reader’s attention immediately, and tell a complete tale from the beginning to the end in about a half hour of reading. And might I add, the authors who have taken on the challenge of writing the short story are producing some of the finest short stories for their readers.

Helen Garner is one of the greatest Australian short story writers and novelists of our time. Garner’s works have covered a broad range of themes and subject matter. Her true-crime novels are shocking, while some of her short stories make you laugh and cry.

In the short stories I write, I make sure they have scenes and passages that will grab the reader and hold them in anticipation of the next move. I love surprise endings. I believe that enticing fiction will keep readers turning the page until they reach the final one.

One of my books, in particular, is The Proposal: A Leap of Faith that has a surprise ending. I have gotten numerous emails discussing the ending. I like to surprise my readers by providing a plot twist. I turn the expected inside out or upside down to provide a short story that you will remember long after you finish the last page.

One reviewer said that it was very well written, but she hated the ending. And I have had many reviewers say that yes, it was very well written and the ending was a total surprise, but they loved it and they want a follow-up story. So, in my opinion, a well-written short story can cause controversy and have readers on both sides of the fence.

So, yes, I encourage emotional response from my readers. And they all know that I want feedback from them and I ask them to email me and I will email them back as soon as possible. My readers are extremely important to me and I want that line of communication with them.

In my latest book, A Sisterhood of Women Living Life: A Short Story Collection Book 1, I discuss topics that most authors shy away from. Some of those topics are lost love, full-figured women, rape, interracial relationships and widowhood. (My book is written for women of all ages.) All of my short stories are based on real-life events from my life, and/or friends and family. However, I do my research to add fictional scenes that will keep the reader engaged in the story. In fact in the story ‘Dark Secrets and White Lies’ it took me longer to research the information than it did to write the actual short story.

To stir reader curiosity, I give my readers the unexpected. When a reader picks up one of my short stories, they know that this is a story that is off the beaten path, they will be entertained and the author has helped them escape real life for a little while.

What do romance readers really want?

  • more emotion/feeling
  • strong plots and romance
  • get to know the characters
  • less graphic sex.

Since this is what readers want, this is what I give them. When you read my latest book, you will find all of the above in each story. (Write to me if you don’t.) I create heroines who have values, morals, and most importantly self-respect.

My short story recipe is simple. A romantic relationship is at the heart of a story with a believable plot and a little conflict thrown in. When mixed together, it reveals a story with my special voice filling the pages. A wonderfully entertaining read that will fit in with a cozy chair and a glass of chilled wine or a cup of hot tea. Enjoy reading short stories!

A huge thank you to ARRA for this opportunity to connect with the Australian romance reading community.

Cheryl Holloway is a short story romance author in southern Maryland and has worked in various positions in print media, radio and television for more than thirty years. She and her ex-husband visited Sydney years ago and enjoyed the many sights and great food!

You can find Cheryl here: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter

A Sisterhood of Women Living Life: A Short Story Collection Book 1

The stories will make you laugh, cry and want to give them a hug…
The Dreaded After Call—a young editor runs away from a love triangle and works to drown out the pain but …Will she have a second chance at love?

Wine A Little or A Little Wine—a beautiful overweight woman can’t find love and all she does is wine…Will a bottle of wine help?

A Widow Moves On—an older widow opens her heart to love again but…What skeletons does he have in his closet?

Rape’s Revenge—her boyfriend rapes her young daughter…rage and revenge prevails…Will she kill him?

Dark Secrets and White Lies—she’s dating two men of different races and is pregnant with interracial twins…she is in a dilemma…Who will be the father?

The book features ten must-read stories here in all, including five really short stories. It introduces an interesting collection of characters, who are just like your best friend and your sister. The characters are each very unique with a compelling story to tell.

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