Tag Archives: love stories

Heart by Oliver Frances, A Collection of Love Stories

Review: When I saw this in my queue, I was looking forward to reading another work by Oliver Frances, whose title “Summer Love,” I had previously reviewed. His writing is often contemplative, and what some might call subtle. Sometimes the concept or actual message by the author isn’t easy to discern. Often there is the suggestion the author is actually speaking to the reader directly in the narrative, yet you question also, whether this is a character’s thoughts and feelings. In this particular case, this set of three tales, the author is telling the stories line by line. Not the most effective way, but you get the sense of what is being presented more readily.

Honestly, for native English readers, if you don’t have an understanding of someone writing in a language other than their mother tongue, certainly one might feel perplexed by the prose. Conversely, one might look at it from another angle, and believe an author should know more exactly what readers might want. I don’t agree with the latter, Oliver Frances has a unique style and voice all his own. Some get it, some don’t. To me, it’s important for each reader to decide this entirely on their own, for when exposed to too few writers from a variety of background and nationalities, I think it’s self-limiting, simply put.

That being said, each story in “Heart” read more like a prologue of a book, or possibly a long description. I wanted the details to be fleshed more, and not simply told that so-and-so happened and this person did this or another. I enjoy short stories more often these days, as many authors can provide a great story with a minimum of words, but I was left wondering what really was the point of collection. The stories aren’t bad but they lacked depth for me even though several interesting ideas were mentioned, but brevity wasn’t the issue. “Heart” would appeal to some, but understandably not to others.


Description: Heart is a collection of three stories about just love. It features “The Little Ugly Duck”, Cynthia’s remarkable beauty makes her gain fame and admiration but not love, consequently disappointment and sadness are the prize for such a comeliness. Unexpectedly she finds love in the most unthinkable place after suffering a terrible accident which turns upside down her own existence.

“The Writer”, a young lady whose big expectations about love are those depicted in fairy tales and simple love can’t fulfill her wish. Ironically a writer that builds worlds of fiction, but whose life isn’t led in the lines of his fantasy, is the man who shows her what true and real love is about.

And the last story that completes the collection is “A Marriage of Convenience”, one story of a girl and boy, from Italian families respectively, who find the most sought in life -without searching for, and they do not by a lovely casualness but by one unpleasant fact.


Published February 10th 2011
ISBN: 0012633860
ISBN13: 2940012633866
Available: Amazon and Smashwords, and other locations online
Source: Publisher


Filed under Reviews, Romance

Anne de Gandt by Red Haircrow


What was your first published work? When was it written and/or published?

My first published work was V.I.T.R.I.O.L., in spring 2010. It has been written very shortly, in 15 days. I never thought it could be read by anyone but me, until I realize I wanted to share it with other people. I had to make it visible and discovered Smashwords. It was just what I was searching for: an easy, quick and free way to make this story available. Otherwise, the adventure would surely have stopped here.

At what age did you begin writing? What kinds of writing did you produce? Poetry, short stories? Was there any particular inspiration?

I started to write at 17. I was seeking a way to express what I wanted to say. I first tried drawing or photography, but none of them suited me completely. I discovered lately writing was the main part of the balance, and that each one was expressing something specific.

Do you have a specific genre in which you write? What are some of your themes?

Writing comes naturally, without thinking of a specific genre. Some stories are written in theatrical genre, the next ones may be written in another. I’m not sure to decide of it. What connects people between them, what makes a person come closer to another -or not-, are some of my themes. The true hero is the heart, its movements, failures, pleasures.

How would you describe your writing style? To whom would you compare your work?

Maybe it is early to speak about a writing style. I try to be true with emotions and let them lead me, more than I lead them. This can be a pleasant as far as a painfull game. One never knows where it leads. When I start to write, I’m listening to my feelings: this one, this one; maybe this one… and then, suddenly, I “jump into the water”, without knowing where it goes. I discover sometimes the story only when it’s over.

Would you tell me what books you have available?

Today, two series are available: “Aphrodite’s Gardens” shows, in a theatrical genre, how love drives us to do incredible things. Its is mainly based on stories between women, their search for love and/or happiness, their hopes, their despair. The other series includes four stories (Vitriol, Décades, Mirages, Exil) and is about the difficulty to live as an adult when you had an unhappy or difficult childhood.

From what I’ve read, some of your writing involves themes or topics some people find difficult or disturbing. Would you tell us about these books, perhaps give us the descriptions?

Vitriol is about inceste, the damages such a violence does to the body and soul. It describes the states associated with but also shows that hope is possible, after all. That’s the main point of this book and the reason I wanted to share it with others. Being raped is like living with the seeds of evil: beyond violence, there are feelings such like hate, anger or despair that silently walk their line inside you, until they completely destroy you, as far as your life. This process can be stopped, providing that you face your deep demons and most of all, your fears.

Décades is about desire, and the difficulty to live together once the fire decreases. Is it possible to keep the intensity of the first moments, and how? Living together for women or men is submitted to such a pressure that sometimes, I have the feeling it is what destroys a lot of gay/lesbian  couples.

Mirages speaks about illusions. Who are we really despite of our jobs or social appearance? What do we search for? What defines us? Through this story I tried to tell how we may lose ourselves in this process.

The last one, Exil is the continuous of Vitriol. Being pregnant at 15 is irreversibly destructive and disturbing, but also leads to another level of being. Maybe it’s the most sorrowfull story of the four.

For myself, I realize some topics can be difficult but they are also important. Would you tell us your motivations for writing on sensitive themes?

Speaking of difficult topics is part of the life. Facing our fears, our deep desires or our bounds helps in finding who we really are. Throughout these stories, I tried to show that even in darkness, there is light. In fact, it is this light I want to speak of. Telling dark stories is a way to speak of the light inside. Its brightness is not the same.

You also have a series titled “Aphrodite’s Gardens”. What you tell about your theme and characters?

“Aphrodite’s Gardens” is about love. The game of love. Between women, but not only. Persephone is the main character, and lately, Eumene, her partner. Through their meetings, they discover some dimensions they would have not seen otherwise. Persephone is about the quest of love; Pandora speaks of revenge, desire and possession; Lorelei is about loneliness, doubt and freedom inside a couple.

Do you currently have any writing projects or works in progress?

Pallas, still in progress, speaks about identity, adultery and its consequences inside a couple. Another series, very different of the first ones, is coming soon.

My French is rather basic these days, and my lessons long ago. Do you have any plans for translations into other languages?

I plan to translate these stories soon or later in english. I’m working on it.

You are also an independent publishing author. What made you publish independently at Smashwords versus publishing with a traditional publishing house?

Smashwords gave me a freedom I would never have found otherwise. Suddenly, my book became real, was freely distributed in main retailers and could be read by others. It’s like a game and the rules at Smashwords are both fun and fair. Where most of publishers would have said “no” or take a charge for the process, Smashwords says “yes!”. It is like a wide-open door. Writing becomes available to anybody. I love this idea.

What good things have you experience with independent publishing? Have you had any problems?

Meeting other people is the good side of the experience. For my part, I havent’ met any problem, only good surprises.

Would you suggest other authors self-publish? Why or why not? How did you discover Smashwords?

Self-publishing gives the means to make a dream come true. I can only encourage authors to self-publish what they write, even if they must be aware that it does not mean selling immediately. It’s a long but fascinating and full of interest process where you learn a lot about yourself as far as the others.

Do you have any works in process you might wish to share description of with readers? Stories you are working on now?

Besides Pallas, from “Aphrodite’s Gardens”, another series is about to begin: how do we find the light I mentionned above? It’s a journey, a long, terrifying but wonderful journey. I cannot tell more. Follow my website in the very next months…

Anne de Gandt’s Website:

Entrez dans l’univers d’Anne de Gandt..

Smashwords Profile/Buy Link: Anne de Gandt

Goodreads.com Profile: Anne de Gandt

Author Bio:

“Writer-photographer, Ann de Gandt creates worlds which mingle past and present, dream and reality. She invites you to journey across time, space, memory, identity and hope.”

Red Haircrow’s Note:

I consider it a privilege to have made the acquaintance of Ms. de Gandt, and I thoroughly enjoyed the interaction. Primary thanks goes to the Smashwords website where Mark Coker gave me the opportunity to post information about my review and interview site, and Anne contacted me.  Without that, I might never have had the pleasure.

Thanks again Anne de Gandt, very best wishes and good luck in all your work.


Filed under Gay Fiction, Interviews, Lesbian Fiction, Writers and Writing