I’m thrilled to welcome fellow Story Empire author and friend here today, Joan Hall, to talk about her latest release, “Menagerie.” Here is my review: LINK
Thank you for sharing your space with me today, Denise. It’s a pleasure to be here to tell you and your readers about my newest release, Menagerie. It’s a mixed-genre compilation of thirteen short stories. I feature a different story in each tour stop and tell what inspired me to write it. You’re an animal and nature lover like me, so today’s story is Lone Wolf.
Many of your readers will remember the late Suzanne Burke. She used to feature a weekly flash fiction photo prompt and invite readers to compose a short piece of fiction. I participated several times. One week, she shared a photo of a wolf.
Immediately, my mind went to a replica of a painting that hung on a bedroom wall in my Aunt Jessie’s house. Lone Wolf was by Polish artist Alfred Kowalski. In the painting, a wolf stood on a snow-covered hill overlooking a small village.
My creative juices began to flow. What if a lonely cowboy befriends a solitary wolf? Can a wild animal and a human develop a connection? The original flash fiction piece was around 750 words. I took the original story, expanded it to just over 3,000 words, and added a few characters.
Music also inspires my writing. John Denver fans might recognize elements of his song from the Farewell Andromeda album, “I think I’d Rather Be a Cowboy” in this story. John was also a lover of nature and an advocate of nature conservation. It’s my hope that Lone Wolf shows people and wildlife can co-exist.
Jake tossed another log onto the campfire then lay back on his bedroll with his hands clasped behind his head to gaze at the countless stars. Arcturus sparkled like a diamond within the constellation Boötes, its brightness surpassed only by Venus in the western sky. The Big Dipper hovered near the horizon.
How could anyone look upon this beauty and not feel peace and contentment? The thought of living in a large city with the constant noise of traffic, honking horns, and sirens left an unpleasant taste in his mouth. Places where man-made light and pollution all but obliterated a view of the stars and where smog filled the daytime skies. Jake wanted no part of that kind of life.
Soon, the warmth of the fire lulled him to sleep. Jake wasn’t sure how long he dozed when a wolf’s howl awakened him. He listened earnestly. Most wolves in this area didn’t venture too close to civilization, but he was a good five miles from the ranch’s headquarters. The canines traveled in packs, but this one was alone. Likely a young male on the move to find new territory.
The cry faded into the distance. Assured he had nothing to fear, Jake crawled into his sleeping bag. Before long, he was sound asleep.
King’s. The Tower of London. Glass. What do these have in common?
Each is a famous menagerie.
While this Menagerie doesn’t focus on exotic animals, it does contain a collection of stories that explore various trials people face and how their reactions shape their worlds.
Survivors of a haunted bridge. Women who wait while their husbands fight a war. Former partners reuniting to solve a cold-case murder.
These are just three of the thirteen stories in this compendium, encompassing past and present, natural and supernatural, legend and reality. The genres and timelines are varied, but there’s a little something for everyone who enjoys reading about simpler times and small-town life.
Purchase Link: https://books2read.com/jh-menagerie
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