Monday, April 9, 2018

Knowing Joe by Cheryl Anne Gardner - a review

Knowing JoeKnowing Joe by Cheryl Anne Gardner

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve been a fan of Cheryl Anne Gardner’s writing for some time, having read most (if not all) of her past offerings, so when her latest, Knowing Joe, appeared on my feed, I had to order a copy.

For those familiar with her novellas, this will be a departure from her often-dark style, into a new territory – satire. Nevertheless, her fans will find her usual intelligent prose in this work as well.

Not knowing what to expect, I dove straight into Knowing Joe thinking this would be a quick read about a guy, a girl, and a bench. However, my inner voice told me to slow down, which was a good thing.

On the surface, Knowing Joe is exactly what it promises on the cover – a story about “How not to have sex, not to eat noodles, and other romantic nonsense”. Yet, between the lines lurks a completely different story altogether. Whether this was Gardner’s intention or not, I do not know. What I do know is that after reading this, I do not know Joe, and I still don’t understand women – which the book never promised to help me with.

This book is about a girl, whose name we never learn. She is referred to as, simply, Girl. Girl has a friend, Matt, and a few others, and Girl finds a heavily underlined book whose previous reader mentions Joe. And this is where Knowing Joe really begins.

This novella is beautifully ambiguous, in a way that gives it a universal appeal. I must assume that this is not by accident, because it goes in line with the name choices – Girl, Joe (some average Joe, some girl we all know). The story is relatable, universal, and taunting.

Through Girl’s inner monologue, Gardner explores societal norms, issues, and expectations surrounding relationships. Girl sees she is not fitting in with what everyone else expects, engages in, or talks about. Girl questions, Girl ponders, Girl plays along, Girl rejects. Most importantly, Girl wants to stay true to herself, to be who she is, no matter what norms society dictates, no matter how many bull stories her friends tells her, no matter what the expected course is. Girl struggles in a way we all struggle with relationships, because we all question ourselves.

Gardner poignantly exposes the nonsense behind the false stories and false faces, behind appearances for the sake of others, and how those who engage in them lose part of themselves. From Girl’s point of view, she explores insecurities, fears, and desires most men and women face when it comes to being romantically involved.

While this is a quick read, the story deserves some pondering. It explores the complicated nature of women, of sex, relationships, and of friendship. In a way, it is a mirror aimed at ourselves - one that shows that we do not have to lose a part of who we are just because it is expected.

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Sunday, March 18, 2018

The Silence Before Dawn - Kindle Deal for a limited time

The Silence Before Dawn is temporarily discounted as a Kindle Countdown deal from March 18, 2018 through March 23, 2018 on both and Amazon UK.

The Silence Before Dawn is an avant-garde collection of 73 poems compiled within five categories:

Relationships: Reflections upon love, fragile feelings, and the pain that comes with loving.

Thoughts: A look into the poet’s soul, where anything goes.

Confessions of a Troubled Soul: Deepest desires and simple reflections, mainly the product of the poet’s twisted mind.

Tickling the Surreal: Welcome to the border of reality . . .a personal outlook at our surroundings.

The Noise After Sunrise: Revisiting places that touched the poet’s soul, and a look at the brighter side the rising sun reveals.

You can preview the book, and purchase your copy here:

Amazon UK

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Four Vignettes - Free for a limited Time

Four Vignettes, the first volume in the Karl Strand / Henry Martin Project is currently Free on Kindle worldwide through Saturday March 17, 2018.

This is a short read - Four photographs accompanied by four vignettes - an art project for the sake of art. It was a great honor to be able to work with Karl, blending visual art with the written word.

You can obtain your free copy directly from Amazon here:

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Mad Days of Me, the complete trilogy on Sale

Mad Days of Me, the complete trilogy, is on sale from Friday March 9, 2018, until Sunday, March 11, 2018.

If you have the book on your TBR list, I hope you will take advantage of this limited time opportunity to purchase over 800 pages of literary fiction for the price of one e-book.

This is a Kindle exclusive edition, and the promotion is featured on and Amazon UK.

United Kingdom sale runs from 01:00 am GMT on  Friday through 11:00 pm Sunday.
US sale runs from 04:00 am PST Friday through 11:00 pm PST Sunday.

There is no need for any code, and Kindle books can be read on any device with the Kindle app. Kindle Unlimited subscribers can read this title for free.

Here is a link to the UK site:

Here is a link to the US site:

 Rudy, a nineteen-year old runaway arrives in Barcelona full of hope. Two days later, he finds himself outside a subway station half-naked and robbed of all his possessions. Trapped in a city whose language he doesn't speak, Rudy embarks on an epic journey in search of peace, self-discovery, and his place in the sea of humanity. This journey traverses countries, cultures, and languages, at once mixing hope and despair as Rudy finds love worth fighting for, only to be haunted by his own demons. Mad Days of Me is a complicated tale of humanity's worst nemesis– itself. It is a story of hope, survival, perseverance, love, and the power of dreaming.

The promotion is also featured on The Fussy Librarian newsletter. If you would like to subscribe to their newsletter to receive eBook sale alerts for eligible titles, please visit:

Friday, March 2, 2018

Coffee, Cigarettes, and Murderous Thoughts - Short Story Collection, Free until 3/4/2018

My dark short story collection, Coffee, Cigarettes, and Murderous Thoughts is now exclusive to Kindle. To mark the switch, I'm running a FREE kindle book promo through midnight, March 4, 2018. This deal applies to all Amazon sites, including international.

Here is a link to the US site: Kindle US

For international sites, you can open the above link, delete .com and replace it with your own extension.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

The Silence Before Dawn - Kindle countdown deal

The Silence Before Dawn, my poetry collection, is currently discounted via Kindle countdown deals at $0.99 for the next two days (ending March 3. 2018). It is free to KindleUnlimited Subscribers, and both eBook and paperback versions are available.

To preview or purchase, visit:

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The Phone Booth - a KSHM Photostory

KSHM Project short story The Phonebooth is now exclusive to Amazon Kindle, and free to read for the next three days (ending March 2, 2018)

If you are looking for a quick read during a lunch break, a short story to ponder on your morning commute, or just something short to entertain your mind, this story might be for you.

While strolling around Sydney, Karl noticed an abandoned phone booth with the receiver dangling by its cord. On top of the phone, he found a few words scribbled in an open notepad. Karl took a photograph of the phone booth, and Henry let his imagination do the rest. This short story is a scenario inspired by the photograph.

Get your free copy on Kindle:  Kindle