Jannie Balliett

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No Choice But Hell:

* What an incredible story of regret, anguish, and depression. When one's head is out to get one, there is no place to hide. I've been there. From personal experience I think you have done a marvelous job creating those hellish moments that pin us all as a race of people and really are our personal hell. You also created a sense of desperation with your words, Jannie that is tangible. It's a wonder piece on torment and very eloquently told.
--MarieLF/zoetrope 3/2006

* This is just what the five stars says it is: outstanding. This is a tragically beautiful story that really made me think, as I'm sure it was meant to. I loved when the character stated that sane or insane, hell is not biased. It is very true. This was definitely worth reading. Phenomenal job.
Comment Written 27-Aug-2005

* Potent piece of work, Jannie. Your descriptions of the two lives you led and lead are frighteningly clear. Masterful job from beginning to end. Hugs, Maggie
--Minature/fanstory/published author
Comment Written 21-Jan-2005

* ooh.... where do you get all this from? It's strongly written and would definitely appeal to the psychiatrist in me, if only as a story to be read. It fervently makes me want to know what happened next.
Comment Written 21-Jan-2005

* This had me gripped. My imagination is working over time to figure out what has happened. A sign of quality piece of writing is if it makes you think. I personally hate being spoon fed. Anyway, I enjoyed it.
Comment Written 26-May-2005

* Yup - I got you flashing and now you can't stop! Flash is defined as anything under 1000 words. When you see 'short-shorts' in submission guidelines that usually means either under 1000 or under 500 words. Well done. I had a few clues, but didn't totally get it until you unloaded at the end. Good use of the premise. Solid contest entry.
--lady lawyer/fanstory/published author
Comment Written 22-Jan-2005
(we did a micro-flash and flash anthology together with numerous writers)

* YEAH! Kick-ass ending! I LOVE a good twist at the end! Seriously! I also totally dug the italicized asides. That really added a cool element of suspense... no, not really suspense but "What the HEEBIE is going on here?" I already said this kicked mucho butto!
Comment Written 21-Jan-2005

* Jannie, Wow. I am just about speechless. This is an incredible story. Touches my soul for some reason. Maybe it is a vague moment of recognition. Yikes. Sorry I am still speechless. I think I just had an epiphany. Wonderful, excellent, superb. I'm babbling, sorry again. Always -Flo
Comment Written 21-Jan-2005

* You did lay out the options pretty damn well, Jannie, none and those that used to be. You made me wonder just how many people in that situation are able to run those thoughts around in their heads. Hell, you named it. Norbanus/fanstory/published author
Comment Written 21-Jan-2005

*Open-ended story, achieving a contemporary feel, a strike across raw emotion. We learn everything and we learn nothing, but we learn the present circumstance and mind set of the character. Maybe I should re-phrase some of
that; we learn everything important. The unfolding of a disjointed narrative captures the racing mind trapped in a padded room. What else is there? Nothing behind and nothing ahead. Great job. Mick.
Comment Written 21-Jan-2005

* Hmm. My own hellhole. Interesting! ;) If it wasn't that I knew your gender, I'd never say it was a "she." That aside, I found this quite enthralling and strange at the same time. An intriguing place to visit, if only for a short while ;)
Comment Written 08-Feb-2005

* You did a remarkable job in describing heaven and hell for this person. I thought his moment of madness was having an affair the reason he lost everything-
--Permelia/fanstory/published author
Comment Written 25-Jan-2005

* This is a really good short story. The whole time through you kept my attention and made me want to read more and find out the ending. Nice ending :)
Comment Written 23-May-2005

* Very good work here. You put the reader in the mind of the writer. The character is very strange, twisting around the minds to see inside the soul. Good work on this one -wk
--winters knights/fanstory
Comment Written 26-Feb-2005

* I don't know what to say about this story. I loved it. Then again I'm a sucker for anything dark in nature. The story reminds me a lot of some dream's I've had and waken up from. (At one point the first thing that came to my mind was the curiosity to see what the inside of a person looked like) any way I thought the character was very believable. Kudos.
Comment Written 08-Dec-2005

* I like this short story, it is filled with creativeness and style. I hope you will continue to write stories such as this. What I liked: The description of the character's point of view, a tortured soul that wished to have a better life and return to the heaven that was his/her past. What I didn't liked: Well, I liked everything about this short story. Keep on writing.
Comment Written 18-Jul-2005

* I thought that the way you conveyed your ideas for this story was excellent. It gave the reader quite a good feel of the atmosphere. I very much enjoyed the way you added the contrast of heaven and hell.
Comment Written 05-Jul-2005

* An impressive bit of writing. I am one of those 'flash fiction hater types' (not that this is that short, but short enough) and was pleasantly surprised at what I found here. Some nicely written stuff. Good:- 'Its shoved in your face and down your throat. Hell makes you swallow it whole without chewing first, in an attempt to choke you into submission. Daily, minute by minute, second by second.' ...Liked this, could have selected many more excerpts.
Comment Written 24-Jan-2005

* I really liked this story. My favorite part was the line at the end. For me it really pulls the whole thing together and confirmed what I though had happened. Good Job!
Comment Written 04-Jul-2005

* Cool story. Very nice pace to it, not boring in any spots which is always a plus. The last line was the clincher: Classic!
Comment Written 25-Feb-2005

* Heck of an ending! I presume the main character killed his/her family and is now committed? Fantastic descriptive and imagery...it's a heck of ride! Great writing!
Comment Written 19-Feb-2005

* Impressive character development in so short a story. I thought your ending was a killer! I read this and it held on tight, and was a gripping read all the way to the end. I like how you play with the mind of both the reader and the character. I can't detect the gender of the character. Its pretty unisex to me. Great job.
Comment Written 28-Jan-2005

* Oh, I liked this! I found your work to be well presented, and while compact, very detailed. Is has a "feel" to it that perhaps I am miss interpreting as being worse that what I actually read? Nice think about this... you've left it open to be whatever the reader wants it to be. Brilliant!
Comment Written 25-Jan-2005

* That was brilliant. Short and to the point - very effective; as were the short sentences which built up the drama and anticipation throughout. I loved this aragraph: "Eat, sleep and think. Eating is as monotonous as any bodily function. Sleeping is either a welcomed escape from reality, or an intensified nightmare filled with large doses of my hellish-reality. There is no compromise."  That just really hit me. It was just mint. I can't think of any other way to describe it. The words just seem to fit together and flow well there. I really enjoyed it. Nice one ;)

Comment Written 24-Jan-2005


4/6/2007 Regis (Reg) Auffray - A most engaging account, Jannie. Well told. Thank you for sharing it. Love and peace to you.

11/25/2004 Nickolaus Pacione - One cannot help to say the delivery of this short story is quite noteworthy in more ways than one. PG rated horror is hard to come by but you did this very nicely, good luck with your other work in the future. I definitely see an influence of William Hope Hodgson and Algernon Blackwood crawling in there.

11/24/2004 Karen Vidra, The Texas Tornado - Excellent and captivating horror read; well done! 

* The writing here is as smooth as smooth can be. The descriptions are detailed and luxurious as is the scenery. I really liked it. My one suggestion would be that I didn't feel a development of tension as it developed. All in all, the writing is flawless. Best of luck.
Comment Written 29-Dec-2004

* Superbly written. I believe what I enjoyed best was your extraordinary use of words and phrases to describe each detail from the food to the bed sheets. I could picture this all in my mind as I read this story. This reminds me of scenes of the movie "Age of Innocence.," perhaps not the era, but the director's use of detail, especially when focused in on the food consumed throughout the movie and the comfortable lifestyles portrayed also. Since that movie was held in high acclaim, I meant this as a high compliment in comparing this story to this movie. The subtle use of Dieudonne's holding his favorite feline pet was part of his character, adhered to the contest as far as relating the story to something that this picture inspired and yet did not distract or become the main focus of this story. It was a fine line and you balanced everything in perfect harmony. This story reminded me of 2 things: the first being the story of Dorian Gray, but having the opposite affect and of an old segment of a television show called "Night Gallery." Both classics. I believe that this entry will certainly rank as one of the best.
--Rob~ /fanstory
Comment Written 29-Dec-2004

* This piece was visually stunning, I could picture it so clearly. You have given us a piece of writing that is pure gold. I was so enthralled by it that I re-read it several times and found the humor and thrills to be different each time. Well done!

Comment Written 27-Dec-2004

*Hey Jannie, that was absolutely stunning, visually acute, fabulous use of words. The narratives were excellent and the use of the picture at the end was outstanding. Loved the use of the French, added just the right touch. KUDOS, my friend, that was excellent.
Comment Written 26-Dec-2004

* The descriptive talent and word choice have a way of caressing the tongue, as if reading is not the act but the expert tasting of vintage wine... detailed to perfection... your admirable writing has the power to take the reader to the very proximity of the main character's presence, action and emotion...

Comment Written 26-Dec-2004

*A very well written story, with a classic feel about it. I was drawn into their world by the imagery your words created. Well done. Have a happy holiday season. Best wishes and dreams.
--Kim /fanstory

Comment Written 24-Dec-2004

* This is superbly written, and your word choices create such intense imagery. You build up the suspense well, and though the outcome was almost a dead cert, the journey you take the reader on to reach it, is well done. :)

Comment Written 23-Dec-2004

*Whoa... Very elegant writing style. Very nicely done. The words just seem to fly off the screen. In my honest opinion, just well done. Even the last (humorous) bit still feels elegant to me.
--yen/fan story

Comment Written 23-Dec-2004

* Ah, I love it! I knew exactly what was going to happen as you built up the past of portraits, the downfall of Dieudonne, but I loved it anyway. Every detail was exquisite and perfectly elucidated.
--Moonray/fan story

Comment Written 22-Dec-2004

* This is going to be a tough one to pick a vote in the contest! This is a superb entry in a good solid field. Look forward to seeing you in the voting booth. Excellent use of the very formal language without it becoming overly clumsy or worse, dull ( : I had a hint, and kept ripping through the story to see how it was going to come out. Nice twist with the curse! Good luck!
Comment Written 18-Dec-2004

Leave A Whisper:
(segmented chapter reviews)

* Simply remarkable. Your use of metaphors really speaks out to the reader. The characters are crisp and the story line top notch.
Comment Written 18-Nov-2005

* Very good description at the beginning. It made me sick, which is the response you want given the material. The poetry and transitions are very ingenious and add a unique flavor to your writing. The tempo, narration, and character development were all excellent. Very well done.
Comment Written 18-Nov-2005

* Excellent opening. Really liked the setting and the feeling that you created with this. I also loved the way there was such a clear difference between his thoughts and his actions. The following sequences were great also, revealing enough to keep the reader interested but not too much. Will be reading on and good luck with publishing.
Comment Written 11-Nov-2005

* This is probably the most unique thing I've read since I've been here. It's very witty and aware of itself and you are a writer who is very sure of her ability to tell this story. Very well done.
Comment Written 11-Nov-2005

* I like the reserved, structured, organized narrative fancy expressiveness with the blend of suspense, light spark of horror, nice flow of subject, theme, plot, characterization with the thrill top to bottom with captivating beginning in
mystery with automatic flow and end poetic curious. A pleasant thrill-packed read.
--Daniel Ray/fanstory
Comment Written 10-Nov-2005

* I like your writing. I found that you have a directness that captures my imagination and carries me forward to enjoy your every word. I think you have created a plausible paradigm and I will continue to watch for your writings in the
future. I will read on.
Comment Written 10-Apr-2005

* This is an amazing book. It draws the reader into the scenes and makes them feel as if they are watching the events as they happen. Excellent.
Comment Written 10-Apr-2005

* This is so creepy, I love it! I'm adding it to my bookcase so I can read the previous chapters as well. I like the first part where you are showing the attackers perspective and thoughts. This sounds like a real book you'd find in a bookstore.
Great job!
Comment Written 26-Mar-2005

* If I could write like you do, I'd be a best selling author by now. You don't need to be here Jannie, you need to be on Oprah's book club. You know, one thing I've been thinking about re: weird coincidences with this book is that "Stigmata" a condition thought to a prevalent sign of saint hood among Catholics is usually manifested in blood appearing at the hands and feet (areas of the wounds of crucifixion-actually incorrect if you know biology). Anyway, one of the most
interesting aspects of the condition as it coincides with this story is that the blood smells of "roses." Sorry, my incredibly silly mind on wacky tangents as I was thinking about the rose petals in the hands and that Toni likes the smell of roses (which is connected as I mentioned before, I believe with Mary and other saints) First, allow me to humbly apologize with not having kept up with this amazing book of yours. Second, let me just say JANNIE BALLIET is a (expletive) GENIUS!!! Did I remember to mention how much I love this book? Okay enough of that nonsense, I'm actually stalling (I feel like a gymnist on the balance bar) because I'm just running out of ways to say; "Damn Jannie, but you're one heck of a great writer!" So, let's just say "Good how" and leave it at that. I am awed by your talent and jealous of as well.Its fun to go through the book and bug you with review after review... Ah, the method of my madness. I get it now-You're like one of those Muslim carpet weavers in Morocco who purposefully place a slight flaw in each carpet they weave so as not to insult God. So, Reddick, a man who feels that the only way to enjoy himself sexually, and preserve what he feels is the purity of his victims is to destroy them-- crucifying each one in an attempt to offer an atonement for his sins ( or his mother's) perhaps? A raging sociopath desperate for attention, yet in reality, a craven coward.As much as he desires the attention (and fear his acts generate-that fear giving them a sense of power they feel is denied them in real life). Interesting that these guys so desperate desire to be known for their "art" yet, do what they can to hide all the same-catch me if you can (Oh please dont/Do let them catch me) ...And my kids wonder why I had to quit watching Profiler and Millennium! Okay, had not planned on writing a review but- DAYUM Girl if you don't know how to set the stage. You should be writing screenplays- We might actually see something decent come out of Hollywood then. Your writing is like a meal set out by a master chef: You know it's going to taste like heaven, and its just so beautiful you don't want to spoil it with something as vulgar as eating. I'm sitting here reading this. How does one judge perfection? What can I do but offer my voice, feeble as it is to what are already legions of your fans singing your praises? You have a gift for poetry that could easily rival Tolkein himself. If I could write half as well, I'd be writing half as well. But that would be something indeed.
Comment Written 22-Mar-2005

* How do you do it? I'm sucked in to reading all the chapters. The writing is good and the story line seems to be moving along just nicely. I like these kinds of stories, they draw a person in. I really like it. I'm going to continue to read each chapter. I love the way you visualize the surroundings, you are definitely showing and not telling. I'm trying to show instead of tell, it's kind of hard for me, for some reason... But anyway, I think your writing is very, very good.

Comment Written 22-Mar-2005

* I see your book starts with a psychopath who murders and rapes women and thinks he's a artist and a poet. It looks like a book that public would love, and it also appears that you don't have any trouble finding reviewers. I'll be reading
more. Thought I would become more familiar with the writings of those who have read more than five chapters of my book. This looks like a scary book, but I've read John Grisham's "A Time To Kill", and I'm guessing I can take the time to read your book, too.

Comment Written 21-Mar-2005

* It's really a story that keeps my interest and every chapter leaves you wanting more. I wish I could just read it all at once.
Comment Written 08-Mar-2005

* I'm going to brag someday that I read this before it became a published book! Great job. Suspense just keeps building. You've really described this guy in a way that would give anyone the creeps. Really captivating. Interesting to introduce a new character-I'm sure I'll have to keep reading to find out who she is and why she's at the lawyer office. I like the way you weave pertinent song lyrics into the writing. Tight, gripping suspense! Nice combination of narrative and dialogue. You've got the hook buried. You've nailed down the reader and hooked me. Naturally, I've book cased this and am moving on to every chapter. Excellent write. No mistakes, lots of suspense..keep it going. I hope the publisher awards you the contract!
Comment Written 07-Mar-2005

* Snappy writing style. Great hook in opening. I like this. You've given me enough snitches of this in that in your setup to pull yank me into this tale, and make me want to head for the next chapter like an out of control freight train. More. I want more! And keep up the brisk pace which shows up almost everywhere so far. Great job!
Comment Written 20-Feb-2005

* Well, first thing I thought...uhhuh, serial killer? Not another serial killer story... but your description is great. The characterizations...oh WOW...the characterization... fantastic. Especially the hideous rapist and killer.

Comment Written 23-Mar-2005

* A hunter with a poetic streak... The more I read, the more the images get stronger in my mind. And I love the clear yet clipped length of each. Just enough to get the essence, and then on to the next page... The artist feels a need to sign the work he's created... Wow, this oozes intensity! I really like the style and tone of this chapter. A very characteristic detective, with a bit of timidness, (I like that...lol), a psychic that's psyched out, and a serial killer that's not two dimensional... hmmm, a good brew, it seems... I can easily see this as a film script! I'm sure you've thought this
already... This would make a fine film...You have me hooked! I've book cased the chapters and have to keep reading. Coming from law enforcement background I'm anxious to find what makes Reddick "more than the typical serial killer" -Great!- Every page, well, I'm getting tired of praising your work here. It's damn good work and I've got nothing else to say!
Comment Written 16-Feb-2005

* Again this flows very well. It is a great story. I'm having fun reading it. This is the first I have ever read of a book of yours...only poetry up to now. I must say... you take on a whole different persona with this thriller stuff , don't you. Hmmm. This is a very good story you are working on... Good work as usual.

Comment Written 13-Feb-2005

* Just read this segment. It moves right along and makes me want to read more. I'll have to go back and start at the beginning though, since I've been off line and pretty busy lately.

Comment Written 13-Feb-2005

*This was good, really good. I liked how it progressed, moving from character to character. It left me wondering (and eager to see) where and how it would all be tied together. It had a good flow to it, and I liked the insertions of poetry to each sections with the killer. Nice job.

Comment Written 20-Feb-2005

* Gosh, I hope you are able to reach some kind of agreement with the publisher because this is a book that will SELL. It's riveting, with the realistic feel of the character taking the reader into his life ... whether he wants to be there or not.
Shivery good stuff!
Comment Written 13-Feb-2005

* Once again you've written an amazing book. It's really cool how you wrote this, getting into the mind of the criminal... well done. Keep it up. Very vivid and very realistic and plausible. Well done. I loved the description the most, very well done. Awesome writing.
- --Lpspider/fanstory
Comment Written 17-Feb-2005

* Very powerful writing. I really like the way the story started and is laying out. Your characters have gained a great deal of depth in a short amount of time. I get the feeling that Reddick won't be discouraged by the minor coverage of the media's news story. I will read more. I saw nothing I would change. Nice job.
--Night Stalker/fanstory
Comment Written 22-Feb-2005

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