Beginning January 1, 2013

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Friday, March 23, 2012

Coffee For Your Body, Flames For Your Soul by Michael Merriam

Coffee For Your Body, Flames For Your Soul by Michael Merriam
Publisher: Musa Publishing
Genre: Action/Adventure, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (12 pgs)
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Aloe

It came to the diner looking for a soul to devour.

At a late-night diner, the manager finds himself faced with a nightmare from his past: The Nalusachita, a mythical-creature of his Choctaw ancestors.

Determined to protect his customers from the shape-changing soul-stealer but unsure how, the manager sets out to clear the restaurant at closing time.

What neither manager or monster counted on was the eccentric patrons of the diner, and how they would react to the mythical creature…

Soul-Stealer, table for one...

Working night shift at a restaurant could be exciting if someone caused trouble, but it was mostly boring. Tonight it was full of regulars and getting close to time to close. Then the Soul-Stealer came in and sat down…

Mr. Merriam writes a short story with a bite to it. He combines fantasy and myth and sets the danger level at high. It didn’t take me very long to read this because I was glued to the pages. I’m sure you won’t stop until you’ve reached the end of the story either.

The Nalusachita is a mythical creature from the main character’s Choctaw ancestors’ time. He’s already had one run in with it ten years ago. It’s in a different form, but he recognizes it. Recognizing the monster is one thing. How can he keep his customers safe and get them out of the restaurant?

The author does an excellent job of describing the odd characters that frequent the restaurant late at night. They seem strange and a bit off the wall, but they don’t bother anyone. With just a few words and a change of nuance the familiar begin to look different. They are more than they seemed… That hooked me. This isn’t going to be a tale where the main character is the hero, there’s more to the story than that. So I kept reading…

One man always has a chat with his friend, even though he’s invisible. One lady likes origami and makes sand cranes. The seen and the unseen work together to fight the supernatural creature there to end someone’s life. It’s a twisted tangled tale that's a bit creepy, plenty busy, interesting and entertaining.

Why not buy a copy of this novella and sit down for a good scare? How the story ends is even more interesting and I’ll be watching for more from this author. I like his writing style.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Day Dreamer by Devin Hodgins

Day Dreamer by Devin Hodgins
Publisher: Musa Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (37 pgs)
Heat Level: sweet
Rating: 2.5 stars
Reviewed by Water Lily

When asleep, Steve dreams the next day; when awake, Steve tries not to make his dreams come true.

Every night, Steve dreams about the next day. It's as if he is living each day twice--once asleep and once awake--and he is tired of it. When he learns his old girlfriend, Dawn, is home from college for the summer, he contacts her and begs her to help him find a way to stop dreaming of each day. As they grow close once again, she suggests he defy his dreams and do the opposite of whatever he dreams of each night. But then Steve is faced with a decision: does he follow his dream of being back with Dawn or does he do the opposite of what he dreamed and let go of her once again? How can he ever find the way to dream beyond tomorrow?

It’s all about dreams—putting your dreams on hold, asking others to change theirs for you, and maybe, eventually, embracing your dreams and seeing where they lead you.

Steven Wespers has had enough of dreams to last a life time. Not only did he have to put his personal ambitions on hold to care for his family following his father’s unexpected death, now he’s previewing his mundane life while he sleeps. It’s confusing, exhausting, and really hard to explain especially to the girl you love. He hasn’t seen Dawn, the love of his life, in two years, not since he popped the question and she left to follow her dreams. Now, she’s back. At least for the summer. But how is he supposed to reconcile the dreams he’s living and reliving with the dreams he’d like to pursue?

Day Dreamer has good bones. It starts with a great scene, ends with a good scene, and is tied together by a strong theme. It even has character growth. However, when an entire summer is covered in thirty-three pages it tends to become a series of lists and generalities instead of interestingly drawn moments the reader gets to live through with the characters. And that’s what happened here.

I’m not saying this was a bad book; just that it should have been a really good book. It has the bones. I’d have loved to see the glossed over relationship expanded and Steven’s revelations shown as full scenes.

If you are in the mood for pondering a quirky problem and discovering the author’s interesting solution without a lot of story in between, this quick tale might be just what you’re looking for.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Dangerous Dimension by L. Ron Hubbard

The Dangerous Dimension by L. Ron Hubbard
Publisher: Galaxy Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (36 pgs)
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Cholla

Dr. Henry Mudge undergoes a striking personality change when he discovers a mathematical formula "Equation C" that defines a mysterious negative dimension. He is instantly transported to any location in the solar system by merely thinking of it--even when he doesn't want to.

Ah, the power of thought. It is a strong entity on its own, but what if, with the right conditions, you could transport from right here to anywhere in the known universe… with just a single thought? When Dr. Henry Mudge stumbles upon the infamous Equation C, he enables the ability to do just that. Trouble is, just how on earth do you stop it?

From the moment you meet him, Henry Mudge is a bit muddled or, rather, addled. Late for a lecture he’s supposed to be giving, he spontaneously devises an equation to allow transport via thought. The existence of Equation C doesn’t make his life any easier, however, and results in more chaos than one man needs. I think, despite being tossed back and forth and held at the mercy of his own wandering mind, he holds it together quite well. It’s hysterical watching him zip back and forth between the lecture hall, his study, and a myriad of other unusual locales. Even though he’s at his wit’s end by the time he devises Equation D – the solution to the madness he created at the beginning of the story – he never really loses his appeal as a crazy scientist on the verge of a big discovery.

The Dangerous Dimension can be summed up quite well by this one quote, taken from early on in the story. “But Thought was drunk with power and would not be denied.” The idea that Thought is an entity of its own and that it could easily become drunk on power is a frightening one indeed. However, that’s exactly what happens inside these pages. Mudge loses control of his thoughts at various times and winds up in places he never dreamed – or desired – to visit. This short story was a wild and crazy ride through one man’s mind and where his whims might take him. A surefire laugh that will make you stop and think – or not – the next time you have a grand idea.