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1
1
Review of Mom's Bike  
Review by Gabriella
In affiliation with Rising Stars Luminous Reviewers  
Rated: E | (5.0)


*Vignette6* A belated welcome to Writing.Com, Anne !

We are delighted to have you here with us. I hope you're making your way around this large, bustling writer's forum comfortably.

*Vignette6* I found your name and these glorious recollections of your early years spent with your family in Germany on the Reviewing Newbies pages. I am especially pleased that I was able to read a couple of your very special memoirs. I especially enjoyed "Mom's Bike."

*Vignette6* The flow of your stories is a huge asset. You choose your words well such that each sentence and paragraph is smooth as silk, articulate, and a treat to read. You are a talented writer, Anne. I found both of the pieces I read, charming and nostalgic. I was disappointed to
come to the end of each of these very special stories.

*Vignette6* I hope you will continue on to write more, Anne. I look forward to following your progress.

Bravo and warmest best,

Gabriella



2
2
Review of Rise and Shine  
Review by Gabriella
In affiliation with Rising Stars Luminous Reviewers  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)


*Vignette6* A belated welcome to Writing.Com, Kimbug !

I hope you're enjoying making your way
around this bustling writer's forum..
It may be that you're fine and you don't need
much help these days. Still, if you think it might
help to join The Newbies Academy, here is the
link. This is a great way to make new friends.

GROUP
The Newbies Academy Group  (E)
Need assistance and guidance. Stop on by!
#1949660 by ~ Sisco ~


*Vignette6* Re: your "Flash Fiction" entries:

I read three. Each one is unique and all are
well written with an element of surprise.
I decided to review Rise and Shine"
Needless to add, the closing line came as
a heart-wrenching shock. You have mastered
the ability to write wonderful short stories
with surprise endings. It was a real treat
to read your flash-fictions, Kimbug. I look forward
to returning to read more.

Bravo and all the best,

Gabriella

.
3
3
Review of My Best Friend  
Review by Gabriella
In affiliation with Rising Stars Luminous Reviewers  
Rated: E | (4.0)


Andrew:

*Vignette1* A belated welcome to Writing.Com.

I found the tribute to your pup in "Noticing Newbies."
I enjoyed visiting your portfolio and look forward to
coming back to read more.

I hope you are able to make your way around this buzzing metropolis comfortably. If you'd like to make a few new friends, I will include a
link to a wonderful program that was set up to provide help and
encouragement to new members on W.Com.

GROUP
The Newbies Academy Group  (E)
Need assistance and guidance. Stop on by!
#1949660 by ~ Sisco ~


*Vignette1* Re: My Best Friend:
This is a terrific piece, filled with fascinating descriptions
and wonderful observations about your best buddy.

I especially like:
"tailing your trailing to alleviate possible failing"
"when you 'bark up the wrong tree',
toy around with different concepts."

You have lots of energy and an endless supply of words
at your beck and call. It was a treat to read
this loving tribute to your bright, alert pup.

All the best,

Gabriella

.



4
4
Review of Internal Conflict  
Review by Gabriella
In affiliation with Rising Stars Luminous Reviewers  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)


*Vignette6*A warm welcome to Writing.Com, Tristan.

I hope you are making your way around this busy writing metropolis
comfortably. While you are off to a great start, I am including a link to an excellent program for new members to help you and support your efforts to
move forward. I know you will find it useful.

The Newbies Academy was set up to help new members make new
friends while learning how to navigate this writer's forum. At the same time, you will learn how to make use of Writing.Com's writing and reviewing resources:

GROUP
The Newbies Academy Group  (E)
Need assistance and guidance. Stop on by!
#1949660 by ~ Sisco ~


*Vignette6*Re: Internal Conflict

I applaud your conversation with your conscience, Tristan.
This is a wonderful, entertaining piece.
It takes work to pull off a conversation like this.
You had me in your grip from the first to the last few
words ! The arguments are well done, Tristan.
This piece has its delightful moments. And, the wranglings are
scrappy and make for good reading.

Nice work, Tristan !

All the best,

Gabriella

.
5
5
Review by Gabriella
In affiliation with Rising Stars Luminous Reviewers  
Rated: E | (4.5)



*Vignette6* Your Poem:

This is a clever poem with just enough humor
to remind us you're here, not lost in the woods.

Not there, "shivering and unsure,"
not sure which road to take to get home.

I especially like the ending and your sense
of humor.

*Vignette6*I have a couple of suggestions:

You write: "shivering and unsure of where I’m"
Might it be better to say: where I am.

*Vignette6*Regarding: "My skin shivers in fear"
Your arms or hands might be ice cold.
Your body shivers.
Consider: I am shivering in fear.

*Vignette6*This is a wonderful poem ! I read
it twice and enjoyed every stanza.

Well done, Raghav !

All the best,

Gabriella

.
6
6
Review of Merry Murders  
Review by Gabriella
In affiliation with Rising Stars Luminous Reviewers  
Rated: E | (4.0)




A warm welcome to Writing.Com, Lotus ! I hope you're finding your way around this busy writer's metropolis ! We're so pleased to have you here with us.

Your Mystery Story: Merry Murders

I trust this is Chapter 1 of your story. I read every word, hoping to find a clue or two in these first few days after the local police were called to report this local boy's absence. This boy planned to go to baseball practice the day before. Alas, he didn't return home all night or early the next morning. Foolishly perhaps, I thought how strange it was that the police man asked too few questions. We don't know how old this child is, what grade he is in school, who the coach is, and who among his friends, might know his whereabouts.

I'm almost certain the red stamped keg in the ice cream store was an attempt to divert our attention away from the real clues that will lead the police to the location of this child as your story progresses. You're off to a good start, Lotus !

Bravo and all the best,

Gabriella

..
7
7
for entry "Chapter Four
Review by Gabriella
In affiliation with Rising Stars Luminous Reviewers  
Rated: E | (5.0)



*Vignette6* Transition from Chapters 1, 2, 3

I return to J.E.T.S Equation, Sitnalta, having read and reviewed Chapter 3. Chapter 4 harks back to Chapter 1 and 2, for this reader, in a thoroughly satisfying way.

In Chapter 3, we make a trip outside the submerged city of Sitnalta to meet Jag. According to the introductory description, he is a New York City "bad boy" who lacks ambition and is a loner. At the open of Chapter 3, we find Jag seated in a NY subway. During his ride, he notices two thugs annoying a young girl. They scare her. She begs them to leave her alone. They continue to taunt her. Jag asks them to leave her alone. They ignore him. With a surge of adrenelin and one masterful leap, he subdues both of the thugs, much to his own surprise. At the chapter's end, I found myself thinking ahead-excited and impatient to learn how Jag and the 7 other young people will be banded together to form the group of eight 18 year old students described in the introduction.

CHAPTER 4

*Vignette6*The Council Makes a Life-Altering Decision for Eight Young Adults


Once again, the Council convenes. Omree, Science Order Overseer, urges the Council to move forward to initiate the "Gathering." He reassures them, "these 8 young adults have reached the age of eighteen years. Originally, we planned to initiate the Gathering when they were twenty-two. However, at their present age, they are mature enough to understand the crisis before each of our peoples, their enhancements have proven to be successful, and they are of bonding age, as well."

Omree continues: "We must bring the Sun-Dweller's to Sitnalta. We must ensure our own survival. I know better than most that this plan is self-seeking and devoid of any regard for the feelings of those involved, but our people's welfare is my foremost concern. Omree insists: "The Gathering must commence at once."

*Vignette6*Following a brief discussion of the the pros and cons of Omree's recommendation, a profound decision is made: Omree registers the Council member's formal nods of approval. This marks the close of the meeting. Semylyn fought to control her emotions and made her way to the chamber's doors. Troyak stepped next to her, matching her stride. Semylyn feels the fear and anger that overwhelm Troyak. Walking side by side, both are reeling with distress upon hearing Omree's pronouncements.

*Vignette6* Analysis: This is a pivotal occasion. A life altering decision has been made for six as-yet- uninformed young adults, and the two young Council members who watched as the Council members determined their futures. This is where the book begins. Everything before this has been written to inform us and prepare us for this day and this meeting. Next, we will return to J.E.T.S Equation, Sitnalta to begin to address its life or death challenges.

*Vignette6*Closing Note to the Author:

LyndaC

Nice work, Lynda. Your well written story is moving forward at
an engaging pace. I look forward to Chapter 5 !!
Bravo and all the best !




..
8
8
Review of Who Is They  
Review by Gabriella
In affiliation with Rising Stars Luminous Reviewers  
Rated: E | (4.5)


Micky:

These personal observations are wise and great advice.
I hope many people appreciate your message.
It serves as a wonderful reminder to avoid measuring yourself
and your good looks by someone else's standards.
This short, crisp piece of advice is excellent, Micky.
What a wonderful first post on W.Com this is !

All the best,

Gabriella
9
9
Review by Gabriella
In affiliation with Rising Stars Luminous Reviewers  
Rated: E | (5.0)


HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: *Star**Star**Star**Star**Star*

 Was the Tet Offensive Really a Surprise?  (E)
Signals intelligence foretold the battle of Dak To.
#2141509 by Tom Glenn


This Author: Tom Glenn, a former National Security Agency employee, is the author of the novel "Last of the Annamese."
His Story includes: "Paratroopers of the 173rd Airborne Brigade filing past bodies of fellow soldiers killed in the Battle of Dak. The photographs are not included.

A Note from this Reviewer:

Re: "Was the Tet Offensive Really a Surprise" ?
This remarkable report is one all of us should read. Tom Glen Is an accomplished writer with an impressive background. He
worked in intelligence during Vietnam.

Mr Kelly joined Writing.Com on November 23rd. I hope you will welcome him.

Take a few minutes to read Tom Glen's bio:

Tom Glenn has worked as an intelligence operative, a musician, a linguist (seven languages), a cryptologist, a government executive, a care-giver for the dying, a leadership coach, and, always, a writer. Many of his prize-winning short stories (sixteen in print) came from the better part of thirteen years he shuttled between the U.S. and Vietnam as an undercover NSA operative supporting army and Marine units in combat before escaping under fire when Saigon fell. With a BA in Music, a master’s in Government, and a doctorate in Public Administration and trained as a musician, actor, and public speaker, he toured the country lecturing on leadership and management, trained federal executives, and was the Dean of the Management Department at the National Cryptologic School. In recent years, he has spoken extensively on his writing, offered many presentations on fiction craftsmanship, and, more than thirty times, given a presentation on the fall of Saigon. Maryland Public Television interviewed him and 15 others in its 2016 salute to Vietnam vets aired in May 2016, and his memoir article on the fall of Saigon has been published by Studies in Intelligence and reprinted in the Atticus Review. His writing is haunted by his five years of work with AIDS patients, two years of helping the homeless, seven years of caring for the dying in the hospice system, and Post-Traumatic Stress Injury, a consequence of his time in Vietnam. These days he is a reviewer for The Washington Independent Review of Books where he specializes in books on war and Vietnam. His Vietnam novel-in-stories, Friendly Casualties, is now available on Amazon.com. Apprentice House of Baltimore brought out his novels No-Accounts in 2014 and The Trion Syndrome in 2015. His latest novel, Last of the Annamese, set during the fall of Saigon, is now available from the Naval Institute Press.

The report Tom Kelly shares with us begins as follows:

"I learned the hard way during the Vietnam War that when intelligence is ignored, people get killed. I spent the better part of the war with the National Security Agency, often undercover. Time after time, I and my colleagues felt like Cassandra, the mythical Trojan princess blessed with foresight but doomed not to be believed. One example was the Battle of Dak To."

"By 1967, much of the fighting in South Vietnam was concentrated in the highlands, the mountainous region along the Laos-Cambodia border encompassing Kontum, Pleiku and Darlac Provinces. American military forces were drawn to the region for two reasons. First, it's where the enemy was: The North Vietnamese used the area as a redoubt. The terrain was rough and barren with a sparse population of mostly non-Vietnamese Montagnard tribes, driven there centuries before by the Vietnamese who seized the lowlands for themselves. Second, it was the site of a critical section of the covert infiltration network used by the North Vietnamese to funnel thousands of troops into South Vietnam, known as the Ho Chi Minh Trail by Americans."

Take a few minutes to read this excellent report. It is well worth your effort.Tom Kelly's photos and books are featured
on Amazon.

Gabriella


10
10
Review of Stranded  
Review by Gabriella
In affiliation with Rising Stars Luminous Reviewers  
Rated: E | (4.5)


Your Story:

I read your story with the kind of anguish only a mother could feel for her child in a situation like this. It is a sad story. Your character is fortunate to have an Aunt Meg. I assume this girl is old enough to have accumulated sufficient cash to catch a plane to California, and old enough to travel across the country alone. You raise the issue of how lonely school can be for a child who feels stranded and rejected. I wish the teachers and school counselors were more observant and capable of providing interventions for the kids who are cruel. I believe those kids are troubled in ways that are most often not obvious to friends and teachers. Thank you for sharing this sad story with us. Parents need to take these pleas for help seriously.

You made this case in simple terms, which adds to its effectiveness. Nice work, Bry !

Gabriella
11
11
Review by Gabriella
In affiliation with Rising Stars Luminous Reviewers  
Rated: E | (5.0)


"Hamlet the Elizabethan James Dean"

*Vignette2* Summary:

This is a wonderful, well written piece. I wondered from the outset if we were going to see the ghosts of Hamlet and Ophelia resurrected by Julia and Josh. While this didn't happen as I imagined it might, Julia's account of Robert's demise adds to this Hamlet-infused occasion. A raging storm provides a perfect backdrop for Ellen Wayne's discussion of Hamlet, describing him as “the Elizabethan James Dean”.

I agree with Agnes Grant: "There’s nothing in the play that makes Hamlet mature." Prince Hamlet was summoned home to attend his father, the King's funeral while attending school in Germany. This wasn't mentioned by the speaker, but it is a clear indication that Hamlet was a student. At best, he may have been in his mid- 20s when James Dean died at age 24. It isn't surprising that an actor “will usually not be privileged to play Hamlet in a major production without having risen to the top of his profession." No wonder our image of Hamlet has been drawn from mature, masterful actors. “Such famous players as Edwin Booth or John Barrymore in their prime could hardly pretend to be students in school. I think Laurence Olivier was about thirty when he played Hamlet.”

*Vignette2*What does James Dean have in common with Hamlet?

While the speaker referred to James Dean as having “lived too fast. Died at twenty-four. Always will be beautiful,” Hamlet portrays madness, from overwhelming sorrow to seething rage. And, he was guilty of treachery, revenge, incest, and moral corruption. Hamlet becomes a vengeful barbarian when he murders several people during the process of seeking revenge for his father's murder.

Ellen Wayne observes: “Yes, Hamlet’s the born nonconformist—like the James Dean characters in East of Eden and Rebel Without a Cause. That’s their charm and attraction, and it’s what makes their lives so tragic.”

In Closing:

*Vignette2* This author's depictions of the lecture, the stormy night, and the story within the story --or is it called a "frame story" ? --were fascinating. Robert's, Julia's, and Josh's shared story was a colorful, albeit a tragic complement to this evening's chain of events.

*Vignette2* Who is this Author ?

James Foley Joined Writing.Com on November 8.

Born in Alabama. Raised on the classics: Homer to Hemingway. U.S. Navy officer (now inactive). 8 years of college studies. Some university teaching experience. A half-dozen stories and some poems were published in journals (e.g., storySouth, Southern Cross Review, Southern Ocean Review). One novel, MY War Love, has been circulated. We are fortunate to have
him here with us.




12
12
Review of Happiness Happens  
Review by Gabriella
In affiliation with Rising Stars Luminous Reviewers  
Rated: E | (4.5)



*Vignette6*Your Story

Jfoley, this is a wonderful story filled with fine descriptions. You write well. Your conversations feel real, and your characters are carefully developed to mirror the community's life styles, families, and friends.

*Vignette6*Dialogue:

This is another area where you shine. You seem to shift comfortably from story telling to conversing. You do this with what seems like relative ease. The conversation your guy had with Judith, the woman he still carries a torch for, is compelling and real. She is reluctant to see him and frightened to the core to resume their relationship.

*Vignette6*Analysis:

You take a complex situation and you boil it down to the one relationship and one person who really mattered. The man in this story makes a compelling case to his long lost love. She doesn't imagine she had anything to do with his decision to leave her sister when it was obvious to this man that she wasn't the right person for him. Her sister, the woman he really loved, pushed him off on her sister because her sister was lonely and she struggled with her depression and a lonely life. Marrying her turned out to be a terrible mistake. The sister died and her sister blamed this man for abandoning her fragile sister. Instead, he went off to the war, and missed the sister who has just returned for a visit.

*Vignette6*What next ? I wish you would write a sequel to this story so we can see how this painful relationship plays out.
Thanks for sharing this tragic story. I hope you'll go on to write more.

All the best,

Gabriella

.
13
13
Review of Daddy  
Review by Gabriella
In affiliation with Rising Stars Luminous Reviewers  
Rated: E | (4.5)


Your Touching Story:

I read your story, remembering how it was to be a single parent
for several years. Fortunately, this changed and my daughter
was blessed to have a good step father who loved her and spent
time with her. I sympathize with the Dad in your story. At the same
time, I was pleased and relieved to see how the story ended. I hope
you receive lots of enthusiastic responses for this story. It is not only
a wonderful story, it is frank, and it is well written, J.D.

I have one suggestion: create a space between paragraphs.
The story will be nicely formatted, and easy to read once you
do this.

A few fixes are needed
:
You write:"red glow shown 2:44" should be showed.
You write: "Go get out of those wet cloth" should
be Go, get out of those wet clothes.

Bravo and all the best,

Gabriella
14
14
Review of Risky/Safe  
Review by Gabriella
In affiliation with Rising Stars Luminous Reviewers  
Rated: E | (4.0)


Your Question: Risky/Safe

I read and reread your question. And, while it's a relatively simple question,
the solution isn't as simple. Whether or not to text a boyfriend that you
don't see anymore but miss, is a tough one.

Is there an article in the papers, a notice of a new movie he'd love,
or a bit of news that you can forward to him with a note to say you thought of him
when you read this ? This errs on the safe side of your query. However, it also
gives your ex an opening to talk to you if he misses you like you miss him. If he has
moved on, he can thank you for your kindness even if he isn't interested in picking the
relationship up again. I can't think of a better way to reconnect without
putting him on the spot.

I hope you'll share what you decide to do if you can spare a minute or two
to do so.

All the best,

Gabriella

.
15
15
Review of The Robbery  
Review by Gabriella
In affiliation with Rising Stars Luminous Reviewers  
Rated: E | (4.0)



A Warm Welcome:

We're pleased to have you here with us, Lisztgrieg !
I hope you are enjoying your visits.
Along with reviewing your story, "The Robbery,"
I am going to include links to a couple of
excellent programs set up to provide encouragement
and support for new members on W.Com.

GROUP
The Newbies Academy Group  (E)
Need assistance and guidance. Stop on by!
#1949660 by ~ Sisco ~

"Newbie Help And Support Group


*BoxCheckB*Your Story:

This is an action-filled story. I was right there, watching you
run, worrying that you'd be shot or beaten as I rushed through your
story to see how you fared. You tell a good story, Liszt.
What a wonderful first post this is !
I have a few suggestions for you. I hope they will be
helpful:

*BoxCheckR* in your opening sentence,
you write: "You gotta real be careful" I know you meant to
write: You've gotta be real careful.

*BoxCheckR* You write: "You might get robbed or shot, or, if you’re lucky, both."
I know you don't mean, if you're lucky you'll get shot and robbed'
Might you mean: if you're lucky, you'll escape both ?

*BoxCheckR* Taxi's should be Taxis.

This was a fun story to read. I hope you'll continue on
to write more of these stories. Liszt.

Bravo and all the best,

Gabriella


16
16
Review by Gabriella
In affiliation with Rising Stars Luminous Reviewers  
Rated: E | (3.5)



A warm welcome to Writing.Com, Cassanova !

I hope you're enjoying making your way around
this wonderful forum. I am including the links to two of
the best programs set up to provide support and
encouragement for new writers.

GROUP
Newbie Help And Support Group  (E)
Group dedicated to helping newbies learn their way around WDC
#1767965 by Tiggy

"The Newbies Academy Group

Your Poem: "If I Have Your Heart"

This is a touching poem and a
wonderful first post on Writing.Com.
I wonder if it would be good
to repeat "if I have your heart"
in the first stanza instead of using
the word own.

When you say " I don't care who
your with" ...your should be
you're ..meaning you are.

I have to admit, I didn't understand
the last two lines in this stanza.
I know how it is to look for the right
words. See if you can polish this
stanza a bit:

"When they find out about us,
they can't be too upset
-->Cause we found they thing
-->they wish they could get."

You're off to a good start,
Cassanova. I hope you continue
on to write more poems.

Bravo and all the best !



17
17
for entry "Chapter Three
Review by Gabriella
In affiliation with Rising Stars Luminous Reviewers  
Rated: E | (4.0)



Re: Chapter 3: New York City, USA
Author: Lynda C


*Vignette6*Transition from Chapter 2

Having spent Chapter 2 in an underwater city, I wondered more than once, where in our world this city is located. I didn't think to ask because I figure it might be irrelevant. Leaping from an underwater city in Chapter 2 to the subway in New York in Chapter 3, left me wondering how your characters have been banded together to form the group of eight 18 year old students you describe in your introduction. Since Chapter 3 focuses on Jag, I can't help but wonder how he will be "catapulted" into this undersea city, and what his role will be in the group of eight as your story unfolds. I am talking a leap of faith that the answer to these questions will surface in the upcoming chapters.

*Vignette6* Character Development

Re Jag: I thought your description of Jag and the stubble on his chin suggested that he is a grown man. Dropping in Jag's high school teacher's reaction to his appearance served as a reminder that he is a high school student. The incident on the subway appears to be an isolated one until we see how Jag responds to the thugs who are terrorizing a young woman. Jag shows us there is something special about him. He is in the early stages of discovering something unusual about himself. The way he handled the bullies on the subway tells us his newly discovered strength and ability to take on any physical challenge are just beginning to emerge.

*Vignette6* Analysis and Evaluation:

If we focus on the incident on the subway, this is a good chapter. The hero in this chapter is a young man who feels compelled by his upbringing to rescue a young girl who is being harassed by two thugs on the New York subway. This young man experiences a surge of adrenaline while he observes these bullies scaring this young women. Jag couldn't sit idly while this young girl begged to be left alone. He jumps to her rescue. In a matter of minutes, Jag has these two thugs in his grip where they are rendered harmless-much to his surprise. This author's description of Jag's wrestling the two dreadful characters is effective. We experience this incident as real. Nice work, Lyn.

..
18
18
Review by Gabriella
In affiliation with Rising Stars Luminous Reviewers  
Rated: E | (5.0)


Those wonderful summers spent with your grandparents

You were obviously as positive as a child as you are now, Steve.
Your descriptions of those summers spent with your grandparents,
and the fun you had with each of them individually, are uplifting.
I had a wonderful time with my grandmother in Maine during
our summer vacations from school. I know how precious
those memories of yours are. They take us back to a time when
life was simple, and happiness was there for the taking.
How fortunate you were to have such good, caring grandparents
who were also great role models.

You tell your story well, Steve. I thoroughly enjoyed reading
your recollections. I am going to enjoy
filling out a couple of your word search puzzles. I'm not
sure I'll want to report how long it takes me to
complete each puzzle.

All the best,

Gabriella

19
19
Review by Gabriella
In affiliation with Rising Stars Luminous Reviewers  
Rated: E | (4.0)


Re: Character Development

Your list of characters is great ...with one possible exception.
I worry that you paint them as either loveless or so disciplined
and competent that love isn't an option. I can't tell, after only
two chapters, whether the environment eliminates the
the opportunity for romance to develop.
Most important, I don't know whether romance exists in those
already written chapters. Romance, or the hope for same,
exists in most 18 year old's lives, it is part of our
physical make-up at that age. It seems to me,
all of us need to be able to hold on to hope in one way
or another in our lives. I'd be careful with your descriptions
not to show there is no hope for love or romance in the
mix here. When I read the first chapter, I had
a feeling Troyak, despite his life as a warrior,
has some feelings that he is wrestling with. Why would he
storm out of the meeting room if he didn't care about love
and making children with someone he loves someday *Smile*
Most important, of course, is you know what is coming
in all of those chapters I haven't read yet.
20
20
for entry "Chapter Two
Review by Gabriella
In affiliation with Rising Stars Luminous Reviewers  
Rated: E | (5.0)
Re: Chapter 2: Prime's Weakness is a Warning
Author: Lynda C


*Vignette6*The Story Starts Here:

This author plunges in to deliver a good story from the first sentence to the last in this chapter. In a matter of a few paragraphs, I find myself in this story's grip. This story is labeled part-fantasy, part-science fiction. While I must confess, I'm not a huge fan of either of these genres, I find this story well written and engaging.

The story begins with the failure of the electrical system in a Council meeting in this submerged city. The entire system falters, leaving the participants in this first Council Meeting gasping for air. Fortunately, the electricity comes back, and the air conditioner resumes its job, pumping fresh air into this meeting room. Relieved but momentarily traumatized, the Council decides to postpone their meeting to the next day. Omree, the City's Guardian asks Xerell, Semylyn, and Troyak to remain. This is the first mention of "Prime," the story's powerful (and magical) force that enhances the abilities and talents that occur naturally. This includes the ability to have children. We learn the only way that Semylyn and Troyak can be certain to have children is to embrace members of the Sun Dwellers. This comes as bad news. The Sun-Dwellers are not always well thought of.

*Vignette6*Character Development: While we have just met a few of the story's characters, these characters come across as real and engaging. I am already attached to the story, thanks to the characters who have distinct roles and play them well. I will think about them after we close the book on the 2nd chapter.

*Vignette6*Sustaining Interest: This author will always be able to promise her readers that they will never be bored, and her stories will never be dull or dreary. She is masterful at keeping us engaged. What is most impressive is she does this without prettifying each chapter with an overdose of adverbs and adjectives. I attribute a good deal of this to the author's intelligence, confidence, and the care she gives to writing each line. She has spent almost no time describing surroundings, the character's appearances, meeting details, etc. This is a rare and important ability.

*Vignette6*Effective Story Telling: With respect to the writer's writing, she writes well. One of her great talents is her ability to be consistent. She set up the story so her characters will have some tough challenges that compel us to continue on from one chapter to the next. I am particularly impressed that this writer is able to stick to the story line without overburdening her readers with peripheral details that could be distracting rather than engaging.

*Vignette6*Analysis & Evaluation: The story is both unique and compelling. There is no time during the first and second chapters where this author's readers will be less than enthusiastic. The outcome of this story depends entirely on the Council's ability to create these matches between their tribe and the Sun-Dwellers.

*Vignette6*Chapter Ending Hooks: Having traveled from Chapter 1 to 2, I found myself turning the pages from one chapter to the next, looking forward to what will become of this story's characters.

Well done, Lynda C !

Gabriella

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for entry "Chapter One
Review by Gabriella
In affiliation with Rising Stars Luminous Reviewers  
Rated: E | (5.0)




Re: Chapter 1: The Submerged City of Sitnalta
Author: Lynda C


*Vignette6* First Impressions:

The combination of preface and 1st Chapter accomplish a great deal up front. We've learned the location, along with the names and status of your key characters. At the same time, we were given a chance to see how Semylyn and a few of your key players interact with each other. What looks like an intriguing story is about eight 18 year old residents of this submerged city who will "be launched in unprecedented circumstances." You did an excellent job preparing your readers without sharing what lies ahead. It isn't always the case that an author is so efficient. I admire the way you introduced us to your key characters without getting carried away providing more information than is needed right now. I thoroughly enjoyed your first chapter. I'm certain that you have laid the appropriate groundwork needed to move on to Chapter 2.

*Vignette6* Introductions:

*BoxcheckR* Characters (thus far)
Semylyn: born rich-money disappeared quickly
Jag: lone wolf
Troyak: is in love
Alexandria: discipline of soldier/soul of a princess

*BoxcheckB* Other Characters
Omree Vock: High Guardian of the City
Exerell : First Defender (kind/aggressive)

The first chapter closes when Omree announces the "Prime" has been Penetrated.

Well done, Lynda. You're off to a great start !

All the best,

Gabriella


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22
22
Review of Scattered Voices  
Review by Gabriella
In affiliation with Rising Stars Luminous Reviewers  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)


To: ShireenP
Re: Scattered Voices

A warm welcome to Writing.Com, Shireen. I hope you're enjoying your visits and you've been able to find your way around this wonderful writing metropolis. If you would like to join a group of new members, I've included a couple of links well worth checking. You'll enjoy making new friends while you learn about the many diverse programs and contests available to you here on W.Com:

FORUM
Noticing Newbies  (ASR)
A warm welcome to our newbies; come meet new and not-so-new members of Writing.Com!
#126963 by The StoryMistress

"The Newbies Academy Group

Re: The Pros & Cons: Vaccines for Children

I read your essay on vaccines for children. As I was reading, I was reminded It wasn't that long ago that preventative solutions for several killer diseases had not yet been discovered. Everyone who lived during the deadly spread of polio in the early 50s knew people who were diagnosed. Polio was a crippling, infectious, often lethal disease. The polio vaccine saved millions of lives. The same was true of the measles. We knew many families whose children endured long, tough recoveries from the dreaded measles. At one point, volunteers in many cities were recruited by the Red Cross to go into poor neighborhoods with nurses to inoculate the children whose parents could not pay for the measles vaccine. By the end of the fifties, measles, the way we once feared and experienced it, was obliterated by the polio vaccine.

In the early 80s, I taught at a school for the deaf. A number of the children's medical histories reveal that the measles (with its potential for life-threatening high fevers) caused or contributed to the loss of hearing. Once the vaccine was introduced, the potential for serious after-effects or death from the measles virus were dramatically reduced to mild cases or the absence of cases.

I followed a few of your well organized list of links and applaud your efforts to give all parents
a chance to learn the pros and cons of the vaccines our kids are given. I'm grateful for your research, Shireen. In addition to recognizing that certain vaccines are inadequate, and more effective advance testing should be required to avoid giving the vaccinations to children who will be allergic, it looks like a counter-productive piece of 80's legislation, passed to absolve pharmaceutical companies of any responsibility with regards to vaccine injury, has lowered the bar where accountability and the potential for moving forward are concerned.

You did a great job preparing this treatise, Shireen. You made a good case for boosting awareness of the pros and cons of vaccinating our children. It seems clear these vaccines need to be improved, and obligatory effective testing is needed to ensure our children won't be required to take a vaccine she or he may be allergic to. Have you wondered what the doctors who treated the children who lost their lives to these vaccines would tell us ?

Thanks so much for sharing your views, Shireen. Your presentation is articulate,
compelling, and informative.

Gabriella






23
23
Review by Gabriella
In affiliation with Rising Stars Luminous Reviewers  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)


To: BlackAdder
Re: Chronicles of Annaria


Back Story or a Prequel ?

While we know what a back story is, the question is: can this backstory also serve as a prequel, a work that forms a back-story to a preceding work. If Lady Adeline dies, this chapter may indeed serve as a prequel if this chapter is the introduction to BlackAdder 's NEW book. Having said this, I see the author considers this chapter a "sequel" which means it is a continuation of an earlier work.

I don't know the Chronicles of Annaria. I was touring ports, enjoying finding new work by bright, capable writers. I'm not sure how this story caught my eye, but it did. In no time, I was mesmerized by the birth of this baby. I worried alongside Lady Adelin while her husband persuaded her he had to go to a meeting. His wife begged him to stay. She could feel the birth of their baby was imminent.

Lord Northspire departed, and in no time Lady Adelin was giving birth. All that could go wrong, went wrong. We watch as Lady Adeline begins to feel weak and faint. And she is looking frail. She struggles to stay alert. With all her might, she gives birth to a baby boy. From this moment on, Lady Adeline gradually slips away while her two daughters look on. Her eldest daughter hangs on tight, begging her mother not to die. Meanwhile, Lord Northspire hasn't returned. I look up and see the story's subtitle tells us Lady Adelin will die.

Circle of Light and Dark:

The dark moments were filled with fear and anticipation. Lady Adelin's baby is on its way. We watch this mother slip away after giving life to her baby boy. The bright spots in this story are those affectionate moments when the Lord and Lady are together. He is devoted to his wife and is alert to her discomfort. He worries that she will exert herself, taking care of her duties, instead of waiting in
bed for the baby to be born. There exchange triggers our concern for Lady Adelin.

Pacing and Delivery:

What is somewhat unique about this story is the author's focus on the story--noting the absence of attention given to descriptions of his characters and their surroundings. We are able to visualize Lady Adelin's suffering. At the same time, we don't need to see what she was wearing or how the room was decorated. This is an engaging story. The author keeps the flow of the story going and he knows how to deliver those pivotal moments. These are his great strengths. With this author, we will always want to know what happens next.

Bravo, BlackAdder and all the best,

Gabriella



24
24
Review of Leave Me  
Review by Gabriella
In affiliation with Rising Stars Luminous Reviewers  
Rated: E | (4.5)


To: Fiona:
Re: Leave Me


This is a poignant piece that all of us can
relate to. Not sure if this was a romance
that fell apart, or a friendship that
crumbled. In either case, it is a sad moment,
and you wrote about it from the heart.
It is a doleful poem. Every one of your readers
can appreciate how you must have
been feeling when you wrote this.

Thanks for sharing your poem with us,

Gabriella
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25
Review by Gabriella
In affiliation with Rising Stars Luminous Reviewers  
Rated: ASR | (5.0)

To: Abby Gayle

Re: Unexpected Visitor


*BoxCheckR*Sharing a Common Thread

This delightful story begins when the Grim Reaper makes a visit to an elderly 70+ woman. She is
his friend. This friendship harks back to the time when Mr Reaper met her many years ago. She
was a 7-year-old child. She was choking to death. Instead of helping her meet her demise, he carries her away from death's door to live a long life.

*BoxCheckR* How the Story Resonates Within Us

Grim has visited this woman twice a year for the last 60+ years. He and she have become
close friends. This year, Grim announces he isn't stopping in for a brief visit and a cup of tea.

*BoxCheckR* The Light and Dark

The dark side of this story is also the most compelling. We learn at the story's opening that
Grim saved this child in the darkest of moments. She almost died. No one seemed to be
able to stop the choking. The little girl was near death when she caught her breath and
was able to gasp for air just in time. The bright light in this story is the wonderful life-long
friendship this elderly woman thanks to Mr Reaper. Now, she is in her 70s. It is the
transition from a long life well lived to the wonderful way the Grim Reaper brings this story
to a close.

*BoxCheckR* Leaving Room for Interpretation

Now, we wonder, how is it that the Grim Reaper was able to snatch the child from death's
grip. I remember thinking what a lovely, uncomplicated, story this is--delightful in its
simplicity and uniqueness. The characters are trusting and gentile throughout. We
might have worried when Mr Reaper approached the front door of his friend's house.

*BoxCheckR* Story first, structure second:

I admire the story teller's imagination and wonderful handling of the grim reaper and
his elderly friend. I am impressed that the writer spent almost no time describing
the story's setting and the appearance and attire of the people involved. The story doesn't need any help from the interior designer, fashion consultant, and landscape architect to throw open
the door to this compelling story sufficiently to capture the reader's interest.


*BoxCheckR* The Story is Authentic:

The characters in this story appear to be ordinary people. They communicate with affection.
And, they move about without fanfare and unnecessary drama. We are drawn into the story by the interactions of these two very special friends, and the wonderful way this story ends.

*BoxCheckR* Writing:

The author should be proud of this wonderful story. She introduces a vulnerable character, a setting that is integral to the narrative, meaningful choices that determine the outcome of the story, and reader empathy. At its most basic level, this is a story where a transformation is unveiled—the transformation of this elderly woman's life, our focus on the woman character, while we wait
to see where the author will take her. This story's ending is well worth waiting for !

Bravo and all the best, Abby !

Gabriella
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