Today, I’m going to be reviewing three works by self-published author Marlene Sowder. The first, described as stories to tickle your frontal lobe, Candy Dish is a collection of short stories – each 500 words or less. There were some interesting ideas and the author clearly respects the power of language and knows how to leverage the same in creating sound plot structures and narratives. The thing is, and this is a matter of personal preference that reflects more on me than the writer, I would’ve preferred longer stories with more of the “five w’s.” I guess that’s the point, though. These stories are designed to make you think, and I’m more inclined to brainless entertainment as a stress reliever.
Mirror, on the other hand, is longer than all the stories in Candy Dish combined. There is a very personal feel to the setting in Mirror; this is a place the author knows and loves, evident in the care taken in crafting this story. Whether she’s spent a lot of time there in real life or in her imagination isn’t important really, it just feels fully inhabited and will be enjoyed by fans of tv’s Supernatural. (I was actually kind of waiting for the Winchesters to save the day.)
The third and final story, Hamburgers for Thanksgiving?, was my favorite of the three. As someone whose adventures in the kitchen do not always go as planned, I felt a lot of sympathy and empathy for the intrepid, if naive, heroine. I’d gamble that if not this exact series of events, at least something very similar has happened to the author. It felt that real.
It’s evident in all the stories that Ms. Sowder has wisely taken the old adage “write what you know” to heart. The stories I connected best with were the ones that I felt clearly communicated the author’s sense of familiarity, her stories and her experiences.