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Flowering and Other Stories Paperback – May 22, 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

5-star reviews for Flowering and Other Stories, a 16-story short-story collection 

Do yourself a favor and buy two copies. One for yourself and one for someone you care about.
Bob Poole

Tom Bentley has a very vivid and picturesque way of writing.  I was easily drawn into each story. The stories were absorbing, captivating and made for enjoyable reading.
Cecillia - Goodreads review

Tom has a way of phrasing things, of animating words, of holding images hostage to his whip of ink that make reading his short stories a physical as well as emotional, visual and mental experience.
Becky Blanton

From the Author

Flowering is a collection of stories built around the themes of loss, social disruption, mistaken judgment and stumbling redemption. From a shoplifting sociopathic genius to a card-dealing witch offering a mystical experience at the blackjack tables to a harsh drunk who turns out to be a malignant--yet chillingly accurate--soothsayer, the story's lead characters are complex and not always charming, but their colors are memorably bright. 

Location also figures significantly in other stories: settings in suburban Seattle, a bleak Arizona desert town and a tiny cottage in New Orleans all draw deeply on the native textures of their territories. From flash fiction to richly woven tales, Flowering invites you into distinct worlds, all built on story.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 314 pages
  • Publisher: AuthorMike Ink; 0012- edition (May 22, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0984580174
  • ISBN-13: 978-0984580170
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,289,310 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Hello. I'm Tom Bentley, and I've run a writing and editing business out of my house for many years. I've published hundreds of nonfiction freelance pieces, and have finished (I think) a second novel and am agent-hunting. My nonfiction pieces include first-person essays, travel pieces and more journalistic articles; venues include Forbes, Writer's Digest, Wine Enthusiast, Writer's Market, the Los Angeles Times and many more. I've won three Traveler's Tales Solas Awards.

I was the 1999 winner of the National Steinbeck Center's short story contest, and that story is included in my collection, Flowering and Other Stories, which was published by AuthorMike Ink in May of 2012.

My new book, "Think Like a Writer: How to Write the Stories You See" is for those writers and would-be-writers that love language, and how words work to thrill, convince, dazzle, and excite. The book gives you tips and strategies on how to see the world as a writer, and then how to put those sights compellingly on the page.

The book also discusses writing at a structural level: how words work in sentences and how sentences work in stories (and articles), moving to how to use those elements and that writer's stance to write across genres. This is a book to jump-start your writing work--and writing play.

Hope I'm not just blathering on now, but my other interests are reading, bicycling, brain research, basketball, politics, travel, photography, chocolate, whiskey and selected nonsense--I can be a bit of a wise guy. I live in the hinterlands of Watsonville, California, surrounded by strawberry fields and the occasional Airstream. See my lurid website confessions and writing-related blog at http://www.tombentley.com

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I can't get the images out of my mind. Tom has a way of phrasing things, of animating words, of holding images hostage to his whip of ink that make reading his short stories a physical as well as emotional, visual and mental experience. In other words -- his writing rocks.

I can't talk about my favorite parts of these stories without giving away the plot twists, but suffice it to say I'll never assume certain things ever again. And while I love trains and totally understand the power of standing alongside one as it blasts by, I won't look at trains the same way either.

Tom has that rare sense of being able to find the fleeting thought, the one we bury or slam the door on when it tries to come inside our consciousness. He welcomes those thoughts in, milks them for their horror or weirdness and turns them into something we, if we allow ourselves to see it, recognize as something we'd all say, or think if we allowed ourselves to.

Great read and worth the price and then some.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
You would think that after having published a couple of books and written thousands upon thousands of words for publication over the last 45 years, I would be able to adequately express myself in a book review. But, I've been staring at a blank screen for weeks now trying to summon the sentences that will do justice to "Flowering and Other Stories."

First, know that I bought the book and then let it sit for a couple of weeks. I know the author, Tom Bentley and I know that he the magical ability to use words to make me laugh, bring me to tears, and give me a warm glow inside. I know he can do all that and more. But, I wondered, did he do that with "Flowering and Other Stories." And, I was tentative about picking it up and starting down the path that I hoped would lead me to all these things. Or, would I be disappointed?

Finally, I picked it up one afternoon. I didn't set it back down until late that evening - after I had read it from cover-to-cover. It was all that I hoped it would be and more. Yes, I laughed, cried, was amazed, and experienced emotions from joy to anger. Tom can do that with his words. And, he's done it with this collection of short stories.

Do yourself a favor and buy two copies. One for yourself and one for someone you care about.

And, know that my simple words - my review - don't do it justice.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"If you are going to hell, go then, but go gracefully--don't arrive in a Rambler."

That's a line from one of my favorite stories ("Presence") in this strange and wonderful collection.

Actually, FLOWERING happens to be the second book of fiction by author Tom Bentley that I've added to my library because he knows how to take a reader to hell, and back, in style. There's no stodgy Rambler (or any rambling at all) on this unforgettable road trip into some dark and winding corners of the author's imagination.

Since author Becky Blanton, in her review, so aptly described his way of "animating words" and "holding images hostage to his whip of ink," I'll focus on another dimension of his writing that I also really enjoy.

It's the way Tom develops, and allows the reader a scintillating glimpse into, his characters' internal lives. From the 6-year-old dairy product thief to an 84-year-old woman trying to steal a little more time--and all the secret rhino-lovers, wacko roommates and eternally damned Catholics in-between--his characters deliver.

And so I'd encourage you to get this book delivered to your mailbox... or, as I did, to a handy e-reader.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I have really been getting into short stories again (maybe because, like this collection, I have been getting a lot of them free for an unbiased review). I often have a lot of time to kill between appointments, and short stories are perfect for keeping me entertained when I am out of the office and sitting around waiting for this person or that person. This collections was really good,

Really nicely written stuff here. I particularly liked the one about rhinos in the desert (which was set in Arizona and not really about rhinos--but doesn't it make you want to read it?), although, given the bad stuff that happens in some of the stories, I was holding my breath waiting for it to go really badly wrong. Whew. Didn't. Some did. Others were much more hopeful (gotta love a story with kittens that make a very sad person realize life can get better). The stories weren't simple, but they were very easy to read. I would recommend them to anyone who enjoys short literary fiction.
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Format: Paperback
[[ASIN:0984580174 Flowering and Other Stories]

I was drawn to the book by its cover, its title, a promise of an opening....The speeding train: travel to somewhere yet unknown. And so it is with this book, story after story with rich complex characters that you open to and endings that always surprise you. As my boyfriend and I trolled for salmon in Southeast Alaska, I read him one of the short stories: Safe at Home. I had forgotten that my boyfriend was a baseball star in high school 30+ years ago. While reading to him, I would stop and listen to his baseball stories, then return to reading to him . As I read, he reveried. What I love about short stories is that they are short. A good compilation of short stories like the Flowering is a welcome bedside companion ( boot the boyfriend out). Opening, adventure and closure in one reading... a few stories purposely remain unread, adventure awaits: another morsel waiting to be savored.
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