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Follow the Snowflakes: A Christmas Novella

At 28, it’s bad to be single. After four years of relationship struggles, Cat is ready to try anything.

That’s when her friend tells her about her class’ Dear Santa letters. One little boy asked for a new mommy, and she suggests Cat meets the kid’s dad, just to see where things go. Cat figures it can’t hurt…until she meets a stranger in the midst of a car accident. The man is handsome with a sad look in his eyes. He still wears a wedding band and she’s not sure his heart’s available, even if he makes her heart race. But, maybe he’s a widower? Cat wonders if she should resign herself to being an old maid, or whether she could possibly be the answer to a little boy’s Christmas wish, unless there’s a third option – a future with the stranger.

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Precarious Situations

Lance Oliver Keeble Author Interview

Lance Oliver Keeble Author Interview

Globes Disease is a fast paced thriller that follows seven individuals as they suffer from the affliction of lycanthrope and are being hunted by a vampire because of it. What was the inspiration that made you want to write this suspenseful novel?

The original idea began as a short story about a black man named Terry who is infected by a lycanthrope. As he walks down the street he wanders if people are looking at him because of his infection or because he is black.

As I added more characters, more stories grew, and eventually a lot of the back stories became short stories, that became novellas and before I knew it, a novel!

The characters, I felt, were well developed and really stood out as unique in the end. What was your favorite character to write for and why?

Its difficult to say. I like them all. I have seven kids and four grandchildren, and a good number of nieces and nephews, I truly have no favorites. I love them each based on who they are.

Lets just say, everyone that survived my book are my favorite characters (laughing). Though some of the ones that died had to die to move the story forward.

I will say that Terry and Quake stand out to me for the males and Jodi and Goldy stand out for the females.

I love your review of my book, it’s so dead on. I could never say in words what I was thinking when folks asked me what my novel was about. You hit the nail on the head.

You mentioned names, believe it or not, Quake is based on someone I know, named Dozer, and Quake comes from a name I know of someone named Earthquake. I combined the two. As far as Ano, I went to school with an Austrian fellow who was a big guy and natural athlete name Onno, that’s where that name came from.

Jodi is based on some Japanese and Chinese friends of mine who have traditional parents. I just turned them in to one girl. Goldy is based on the women I grew up listening to; beautiful, smart, professionals, and the challenges they faced in their lives.

This book seamlessly blends many different genres. Was this planned before writing or did it happen organically?

Organically, I actually like to tell stories about people and put them in precarious situations and see how they react. The genres you mentioned in your review are genres I know and love. So I naturally lean towards telling stories in those genres.

I can honestly say that I would love to be the hybrid of King, Tarantino, Lee, Palahniuk, Shyamalan, Chaykin and Gaiman. I love how Gaiman has written comics, novels, movies, etc. That seems very natural and fluid to me. Writing what strikes you. Writing when you are inspired and writing in the genre and medium you want has got to be the best of feelings.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I have completed the prequel to Globes Disease. I am waiting on the editing to be finished. I am currently working on the sequel as well…

In the mean time I am working on a comic, some short stories, a guest blog and a few other things…

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook | Website

Globes DiseaseJodi and her friends all suffer from the same affliction. Each of them compelled to deal with their struggles in their own personal way.

These unfortunate residents of the small quiet town of La Mort Douce must band together as their peace is threatened by a mysterious Vampire, Hunters who treat them like wild game and a Government Agency with promises of a cure.

With many more threats looming, this eclectic group must come together to achieve a common goal.

They must fight for their humanity or die alone, like animals.

Globes Disease

A thrilling action-packed novel about Lycanthropy through the eyes of 7 brave souls who suffer from the disease.

Do you have it?

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Relatively Unexplored

M.L. Sparrow Author Interview

M.L. Sparrow Author Interview

A Tangled Web is set against the backdrop of one of the most devastating tsunamis in Japan and follows three children as they navigate their new lives. Why was this an important story for you to write?

When I first heard about the tsunami in 2011, it was a huge thing and I remember being really intrigued by it, however, I was only a teenager and newspapers didn’t particularly interest me, though I loved reading. For some reason, what I head heard about the events stayed with me for years and when I traveled to Japan for the first time several years ago I started developing a story line – though I didn’t start writing it until my second visit at the beginning of 2016. It was important for me to write because, although there are many factual sources and several non-fiction books, in all my research I only found one fiction story about the Japan tsunami in 2011 which I think is a shame because I believe most people prefer fiction and can learn so much through it, yet it is a relatively unexplored subject. Therefore, my aim was to provide a book for YA which is both interesting and explores what happened in 2011 and afterwards, hopefully encouraging people to then go and do their own research.

The three children in this beautiful coming of age story have a lot of depth. What were some obstacles you felt were important to develop the characters?

I think it was important that at the beginning Taiyo was quite naive and selfish, a little unlikable if I’m being honest, but that gave her the opportunity to grow and develop as a character so that in the end she had the strength to deal with the catastrophe that happens. To me it was also important that Ryuu and Kairi be total opposites and yet both be likeable and relatable characters.

What were some themes you felt were important to highlight in this story?

I think friendship is a very important theme in this book; before Ryuu and Taiyo develop feelings for each other, they are first and foremost friends, as are she and Kairi. Another important theme is the value of telling the truth. Taiyo tells a lot of lies in this story and ends up so tangled in them that she can’t see a way out, hence the title. Though told for good reasons, those little lies mount up and ultimately lead to her and Ryuu being at the coast when the tsunami hits, while their friends and family are completely unaware of the peril they’re in.

What is the next story that you’re working on and when will it be available?

I’m currently working on another novella set in Japan, however, this one follows the Taiji dolphin hunt. Starting in 2009 when the documentary The Cove was released and ending in future 2018, Red Days follows and English reporter with Japanese roots who finds herself drawn to the cause and ends up fighting to save them.

Red Days is still a work in progress; I recently finished the first draft, however, it needs to undergo several rounds of editing before it will be ready for release, which will hopefully be around September this year.

Author Links: Website | GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook

33280451“Japan, 2011

Taiyo is a normal high-school girl living with her Grandmother in Sendai. She goes to school, partakes in club activities and hangs out with her two best friends, twin brothers Ryuu and Kairi. However, her perfect world is shattered when she begins dating Kairi but quickly discovers she’s already in love with Ryuu.

A tangled web of lies surrounds the pair, but everything is suddenly knocked into perspective on March 11th when they are caught up in a natural disaster that devastates the country and robs thousands of their homes, their possessions and their lives…”

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A Tangled Web

A Tangled Web4 Stars

Set against the backdrop of one of the most devastating natural disasters in recent history, A Tangled Web by ML Sparrow tells a tale of teenage angst and romance. A girl abandoned by her parents and twin brothers wrapped up in their emotions weave this tale of romance, betrayal and heartache. Hayashi Taiyo has lived with her grandmother since the death of her mother. She has grown up with twins Kita Ryuu and Kairi in the quiet little town they live in. Things start off soft and slow as we learn about their everyday lives. As with most teenagers, growing emotions and endless confusion seek to disrupt the delicate balance between the three. Two brothers who are as opposite as fire and ice and the girl caught between them. However a tsunami is coming and it will upend their lives in ways they couldn’t imagine.

This novella is just the right length. The relationships between the three who are caught up in the love triangle are delicately portrayed. There is just enough backstory to understand the past of the characters and their mindsets without feeling as though something is missing. The risk a lot of novella’s run is that there is not enough explanation. Sparrow crafts the tale in such a way that the small page count doesn’t detract from the story itself.

By using the romaji forms of several Japanese words in the story the reader can feel much more like they are experiencing every day life in Japan. There is a handy glossary at the back of the book but the sentences they are used in and the way Sparrow writes makes it easy to understand what the words are meant to mean. This saves the reader from having to flip to the end of the novella while reading.

The tsunami in Japan in March of 2011 was devastating. A force of nature that could not be stopped devoured lives and homes without regard. Sparrow indicates at the beginning of the novella which books they read to better understand what happened. By listing them out it allows the reader to continue investigating the event on their own time. This novella is a work of fiction and whether or not Taiyo and her twin friends Ryuu and Kairi actually exist is unknown. What is true is that there are people who lived through the tsunami just like our three protagonists did.

A Tangled Web because is a story about three young people who are trying to navigate the transition from childhood to adulthood. It’s a delicate journey and the severity of the tsunami serves to illuminate the fact that life will go on. The tsunami is like the tumultuous relationship between the three. It attempts to tear them apart, to drown them, and it will change them forever. It’s a lovely read for those who are interested in a coming of age story with a touch of reality.

Pages: 89 | ASIN: B01MRU67AN

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New Megiddo Rising

New Megiddo Rising (The Apostates #0)4 Stars

New Megiddo Rising is a prequel novella to The Apostates series. The prologue sets the stage in 19th-century Mexico. The Governor of Coahuila y Tejas visits a settlement headed by a polygamous preacher named Brigham Wainwright. The preacher lies to the governor, assuring him that he will contact the American government and discourage the flow of illegal white settlers to Mexican territory. He then reveals to his captain that his plan is to do exactly the opposite with the aim of overthrowing the Mexican government. The story then shifts to an undetermined time in the future, where people have neural implants and live in a dystopian America shattered by war and climate change. The main characters are: Ayane Inoguchi, who lives in a church-run orphanage; Prescott, a Prelate of the church of New Megiddo; Kate Schrubb, daughter of the President, who is next in line to inherit the office; Inquisitor Rodrigo of the Law of Virtue Enforcement (LOVE); and Evan, an “apostate” teen living in the slums of Los Angeles.

Each character has their own story to tell, but there is no overall plot tie all these stories together. Instead, the narrative follows six characters through their lives, and telling us how much they’ve changed (or not changed) by the end of their story. Each person is different, but all are controlled by the Church of New Megiddo. The church controls everything and has no regard for quality of life or personal freedom. Anyone the church doesn’t like is called an “apostate” even high-ranking individuals who become inconvenient. There’s also a drug called database that causes hallucinations and addiction.

The author does a great job of describing how absolute power corrupts absolutely. The Church of Megiddo and the Schrubb regime display every classic symptom of corrupt leadership: assassinations to remove dissent, laws that don’t apply to the elite, Orwellian doublespeak and mind control, just to name a few. It’s a setup that can only result in rebellion and civil war, and this worldbuilding is the best part of the book.

Evan is the most sympathetic character, and it’s hard not to like him. He’s young and living in the slums, but when he is rescued by a martial arts teacher, his skills ultimately get him off the street and into the ranks of the enforcers of church law.

New Megiddo Rising is a collection of origin stories of important characters in the novels, which explains why none of the stories overlap: none of the characters have met yet. This makes it a great piece of bonus material for fans of The Apostates series. Readers who are already familiar with their favorite characters can fill in the gaps in their stories with what they know from the novels. Unfortunately, despite the good world-building and setup of this evil empire, there are too many gaps in the character backstories to make it a cohesive novella for new readers.

Pages: 121 | ASIN: B015DS2FN8

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Jabberwocky

Jabberwocky: A Novella5 StarsTheodore Singer’s Jabberwocky: A Novella is an engaging, entertaining journey that feels like an epic saga; but without the page count. Contained in the few pages of this novella is a world full of intrigue and mystery. The story follows Astreus, heir to the House of the Jabberwock as he embarks on a quest that has been reduced to nothing more than ceremony. At the tender age of eighteen he has come of age and while his father and grandfather expect him to take his place in their world he opts instead to take on the Quest of finding and killing the Jabberwocky. While it comes as a shock to his family, Astreus labors forward in his romantic notion of fulfilling the quest that has been passed down for generations. Taking up the Vorpal Sword, the only blade capable of separating the Jabberwocky’s head from it’s body, Astreus leaves his cozy privileged life behind for the sake of the quest.

Singer does a fantastic job drawing the reader into his tale. There is very little dialogue throughout the novella so we are left with his amazing descriptions that make the words jump off the page.

Singer takes us on a journey of the strange world Astreus lives in. In the beginning it seems like a stereotypical medieval setting as our protagonist leaves his castle behind and journeys to a mysterious island. There, he becomes embroiled in a cruel test of his mettle while his emotions are toyed with and he learns that there is far more to the world than what he has read in his books at home. After leaving the island we come to a strange city occupied by psychic cats and their human servants. Our protagonist continues to grow and develop quite nicely. Nothing is forced or feels contrived at this point. Singer does a great job keeping the human development part of his tale as realistic as possible. Beyond the city of cats is a valley of certain death. Astreus continues to chase the tales and whispers of the Jabberwocky’s path in an eager effort to fulfill his quest.

Theodore Singer does as fantastic job with this tale that keeps the reader wanting more. Even with everything that happens in the tale the reader is not left feeling overwhelmed or left with questions beyond what imagination can answer. The nice thing about it being a novella is that you can allow yourself to get completely consumed without losing hour after hour of your day. Even the unexpected resolution of the Quest fits perfectly in these pages. It is a fantastic, compact tale of wonder and fantasy.

Pages: 156 | ASIN: B00TUFU8YE

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