Creativiting Brewing: 30 Short Stories Hand-Roasted to Perfection
Creativity Brewing is a collection of flash fiction that explores humanity in its various forms.
When family is murdered, what are the responses that are evoked? When a phone call brings to light a planet of robot aliens that look eerily like humans, what happens when humanity looks into the eyes of para-humanity? When a war ravages a community and pushes children onto the front lines, what do they do to rise above?
The collection is perfectly blended with stories ranging from a light to dark roast, highlighting the highs and lows of humanity. Each story is limited to around 1,000 words to keep the readers at a fresh and brisk pace to enjoy the book many times over.
How many unpublished books do you have lurking under your bed/in your cupboard?
I have quite a few. I have been writing ever since I was eight, but never did anything with them. I have a YA fantasy book that I am currently pulling out from under the bed. It’s about these three kids who, after facing their own life problems, face the challenge of saving a strange world to which they were transported to one stormy day.
In addition to that story, I have a novella series I am actively working on as well as a few short stories that I want to develop into bigger works. I do, however, have this big novel idea that I have been churning in my head. It’s not in any cupboard or under any bed, but I’m trying to hone my writing craft before tackling it. It’s on the counter in the crockpot, slowly cooking its way onto the dinner plate!
Do you have a critique/editor partner? (time to name drop if you can!)
In this collection of flash fiction, you will find five stories that were contributed by the author Jason Schneider. He has been a long time friend, co-conspirator, and creative partner. We plan to do more collaborations in the future, but in the meantime, we both bounce chapters and story ideas off each other for our own personal projects.
Promoting is something ALL authors struggle with. How are you managing yours?
Twitter has become my main promotion and marketing platform. I am connecting to authors and readers worldwide on a daily, if not hourly, level. Most of my sales have been through the efforts I put into Twitter messages.
It’s a challenge, though, because I do my own marketing which means that I have to juggle actually writing my books as well as getting people to read them. It’s very time consuming, but the Twitterverse is very uplifting. I often find the “oomph” I need to keep going through their various tweets and notes of encouragement.
What is your book about? Genre, tone, POV etc.
In one word: various. I purposely crafted this collection of short stories to experiment with multiple genres, tones, and POVs. For example, one story is written in a second person POV with a sci-fi sort of feel. Another story is written in first-person POV with a genre in suspense or crime. And yet another story is written in third person POV with a fantasy theme.
The intensity level throughout the collection also varies. Some stories are more light-roasted (to go off of the theme of the book) and deal with topics like courage, inner strength, and love. Others are dark-roasted that deal with hefty subjects like a family death, murderous revenge, and wrestling with our personal demons.
I’m really glad that several readers have commented just on this matter. After self-publishing it, I started getting nervous that it was too broad of a genre book. It didn’t have a niche and therefore, could potentially suffer interest loss. The opposite is true, however, when perusing the reviews left by satisfied fans.
Is there an underlying theme to this book?
It might be subtle, but the entire book focuses on humanity’s highs and lows. When we are faced with beauty amidst our own tragedies, what do we see? When the voices in our head are unleashed in the wake of sorrow, to whom will we listen? When we see death all around, are we numb to reaction or do we rise up and live on?
Life gets messy. But humans are resilient. I added two stories that were fantastically based like a children’s story, both about animals in their respective attempts to come to grips with their own realities. Even in those stories, it is evident that what makes us human is our ability to rise from the ashes and shout into the voice of our existence.
Can you share a few lines from your best review of this book?
“Barrick has a unique ability to capture the essence of a story/character very quickly, pulling you right in each time.”
“This book is wonderful.”
“Truly a fantastic read.”
Am I likely to fall asleep during chapter one?
I wrote the book with the idea that you would be reading this while you either are waiting on your morning cup of coffee or while you are drinking that first sip. So there is a slight possibility that you could fall asleep–but not because of the book! The first chapter (or rather, in my case, the first story) is a laid back story that packs a punch of world affairs. It is a lazy story that is set in the back of a broken-down pick-up truck.
It quickly picks up to be a light to the world of interracial couples struggling with prejudice from their families. The second story is a bit more lively, exploring the sorrowful tale of a king lion who forgets how to roar. That’s your second sip of coffee, so you’ll be drawn in and driven to the full alert mode by that point. *wink*
What made you think you’re so perfect that you didn’t need to pay a professional?
My first language is English. That by far qualifies me to be my own editor. *sarcasm* Really, though, it was a matter of finances and understanding that in the long run, this book will become free for the public once my other works become published (those will be professionally edited!). I knew that this book would serve a promotional function and wouldn’t earn me back the money to edit until after my follow up novella would be released. I don’t have a nest egg of cash to allow me to do it then, so I dedicated myself to editing it. I spent days reading and rereading it.
As a review pointed out, it wasn’t perfectly edited as I missed a few points of grammar here and there, but I believe it is the best form it could have been for the tools I had access to.
Yawn, so basically, you’re the same as all the rest of the authors on Amazon, and you’re the Next Best Thing. I don’t think so. Come on, tell me why I should spend time reading YOUR book over more well-received authors?
The biggest reason why you should read my book is that it isn’t tied to any one genre, style, or POV. In addition to that, it’s a rather short read. Spending a lazy afternoon at home? You can finish it an afternoon without missing out binge-watching your favorite sitcom on Netflix. And you’ll have a sense of hearing a wide range of voices at the same time you could have read a few chapters of a single-voiced well-received author.
It’s a matter of you getting the biggest bang for your buck. Every story is standalone (with the exception of a mini-trilogy contained therein) that has a beginning, middle, and end. It’s your greatest streaming service. You can “flip through the channels” of family crime, sci-fi suspense, lifetime drama, and comedy.
Describe your perfect death (in case I must kill you)?
Death is part of this collection of short stories in one way or another. In terms of murder, as you seem to have it out for me, one of my stories captures one of the perfect murders. Two brothers have it out for each other, one pushes the other into a rocky lake before running off into the obscurity of a busy African market/street. Everyone is baffled and terrified at the sudden outburst of violence that no one steps in to apprehend the murderer who can easily disappear as a visitor in a foreign land.
So, if you really must kill me, make sure you track me down in some foreign land where surveillance isn’t connected to every street corner and where you can come and go without leaving much of a footprint. Do it at night time at the bank of a river or lake for the best results.
Kevin Barrick is an independently published author from Kings Mountain, NC. He started writing early on in life, finishing his first unpublished novel around the age of 13. Since then, he’s sharpened his skills through writing groups at local libraries, exploring poetry and non-fiction, and mastering his breakthrough novel. He has several works in progress at a time, always wanting to bring only the best to his readers.
Barrick currently lives in Ethiopia where he continues to write sipping on rich Ethiopian coffee straight from the birthplace of coffee. He likes to spend his time thinking of the next big think to publish and already has a series in the works.
Excerpt from “The Lion Who Forgot How to Roar.”
There was once a lion who reigned in the jungle who had the mightiest of roars. By his very voice the mountains rose into the sky and the rivers sliced through the earth. His cry reverberated through the heavens, commanding the moon to slumber and the sun to rise. His roar brought life to the songbirds and gave courage to the trees to stretch unto the stars.
However, one day the sun did not sleep; the songbirds lost their melody; the mountains began to melt. Silence shrouded the hills, and twilight began to reign.
The animals of the jungle cried out in panic, but none carried a sound as mighty as the lion’s regal roar. The sun refused to awaken from her slumber. The moon cast a pale light upon the land beneath, mourning the disappearance of King Lion.
Elephant, with her strong trunk, hoisted logs upon logs in pursuit of the missing king, but availed not. She ascended as high as she could upon the mount that overlooked the Great River. She reached the height of two giant oaks, but could not find the lion.
Snake slithered down the length of that river, scanning the depths for any sign of the mighty lion, but found him not. He zigged and he zagged, venturing into the furthest parts of the land and diving into the deepest parts of the water, yet King Lion was no where to be found.
Bat took to the caverns, screeching into every corner. If, by chance, the lion could be found in the darkest of caves, she would be the one to locate him. For an hour, Bat navigated the labyrinth. For an hour, Bat failed in her search. Until at the very last moment, just before she surged through a crevice in the ceiling leading out into the outside world, she spotted the mangled mane of her king.
She hovered and descended upon his shoulder, looking upon his frightened face. The fear in his eyes wasn’t a product of a fitful night in a dark cavern and being startled by a flying rodent. No, his eyes conveyed a deeper fear. He bore the look of a warrior succumbing to the wave of defeat.
“What’s wrong?” Bat asked, wrapping her wings around his trembling body. “I have forgotten how to roar.” The words floated ominiously in the air. A king admitting failure. “I’m certain you can’t bring it to recollection here within the belly of this mountain.”
“Perhaps not, my dear friend. I have given up trying to find it or even to remember it altogether. It has left me. I am king no more. That is why I am down here. A lion without a roar is a pathetic king to have. Let Tiger lead you from now on.” Lion King hung his head, sweeping the floor with his mane.
“Forgetting how to roar does not mean you are a worthless king. You simply need help in remembering.” Bat tugged at his mane and led Lion out of the caves, bringing him before the animals of the jungle. “You cannot rely solely on yourself to find your roar,” Bat said, gesturing to the host of animals surrounding them. “You have left the sound of your voice upon every animal here. The sun emanates your roar. The moon reflects your cry. If you have forgotten how to roar, simply listen to the echoes.”
The animals and all corners of the land offered up a cry each of their own kind. Elephant trumpeted, and Snake hissed. The wolves howled, and the birds sang. The mountain trembled, and the river babbled.
In the chorus of the music of the jungle, Lion found his roar. With a tremendous and reverberating roar, he joined his friends in the symphony of nature. The moon bowed and fell away, giving way to the sun to awaken and shine upon the lands. Lion belted out another roar. Lion’s roar was never forgotten, for it was engraved upon every sound of the jungle.
He just needed to stop and listen.