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text 2015-01-22 15:33
Indies of Note
Streets of Payne - Jeff Brackett
Dissolute Kinship: A 9/11 Road Trip - David Antrobus
Giggles (a novella) - Michael Crane

The three books above are all by friends of mine. They do not know I'm posting this. I do not have a vested interest in their work. They are all damn fine authors, and they deserve far more attention than they get. If you're one of the authors I mention in this post, you do not need to thank me. I'm doing this because I want to. Thank you for being you.


For the science fiction fan: Streets of Payne, by Jeff Brackett


For the literary non-fiction fan: Dissolute Kinship, by David Antrobus


For the horror fan: Giggles, by Michael Crane (known here on Booklikes as Michael's Book Babble)



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text 2014-07-11 14:51
Anything Else (story - shameless plug)
Pieces (stories) - Michael Crane

I try not to plug here too much, and hopefully I've done a decent enough job of not bombarding you guys with my inane plugs. I decided to post one of my stories from my recent collection, Pieces on here. It's one of my shorter stories in the collection. It's one of my favorites, and friend and author Edward Lorn was really moved by it (which was a huge compliment).


So anyhoo, here's the story. Hope you like it! If not, no worries!






I tell myself the zombies got her. One night, a chemical leak happened in our town and it brought the dead back to life. A whole gang of them started to terrorize the town. I was asleep during all of it somehow, but Mom and Dad were awake. They don’t tell me that’s what happened because they don’t want to scare me. Why put such scary thoughts into a child’s head, especially when he wasn’t awake for it? I had to hear about what happened from friends at school. They told me the zombies roamed through our neighborhood. People shot at them, but it was no use. You can’t kill the dead unless you aim for the head, and these people didn’t realize that. Or they were too scared to remember. They would aim for their stomachs, legs, arms, and maybe their necks for some goofy reason. Clearly, these people weren’t fans of zombie movies. Otherwise they would’ve known better.


If only somebody had woken me up, I could’ve told them! I love zombie movies. I could’ve helped.


The little girl’s parents fought the best they could. They did their best to fight off the zombies. An arm broke through the window and grabbed onto her. The girl screamed, but it didn’t help any. When enough of them broke through, they grabbed her and dragged her off somewhere deep into the woods. She was never heard from again.


The town did fight off the zombies somehow. And now the parents of that little girl are out there every night, searching for their daughter. They pray that she didn’t become one of them, but they bring their guns just in case.


That’s one version of the story I tell myself.


Another story is she ran away. Her parents were mean and cruel to her, much like those in the classic fairy tales Mom used to read to me when I was younger. Maybe they weren’t even her real parents. They were evil foster parents. Yeah, I like that. Anyway, they never let her out of the house. They made her do chores all day long, and they didn’t allow her to sleep in a bedroom. They forced her to sleep in a smelly and tiny broom closet, and if she woke up screaming because she had a bad dream, they would throw a bucket of hot boiling water on her while calling her terrible names. The little girl eventually got fed up and found a way to escape when they were asleep. The foster parents, embarrassed by the whole thing, made up some wild story about her being kidnapped so people wouldn’t find out the truth.


These stories aren’t real, but I don’t care.


Maybe she was an alien from another planet. She came to earth to observe us. The alien race up above wanted to know if we were worth saving, or if we should be destroyed. Her time was up, so she returned back to her planet to tell them of her findings. I’m not sure if she told them good things or bad. I suppose we’ll find out at some point. Or everything will just come to a crashing end.


Another story is she’s going to a school for wizards and witches, like in Harry Potter. Again, the parents made up some wild story about her being kidnapped, only this time to protect her identity.


Mom always tells me it’s not nice to make up stories about other people. “It’s not polite,” she says. Kids make up stories all the time at school. I’m sure there’s a made up story about me somewhere.


“That’s not the point,” she’d say.


Only this time, she doesn’t seem to mind it so much when I tell stories about the girl who vanished from our neighborhood. Dad would shoot me an odd look whenever I made one up, but Mom told him to let me be. It’s one of those strange times when your parents are okay with you telling stories because what really happened is too terrible to think about.


Tonight before I go to bed, I tell myself the story of the little girl who escaped town on a magical flying school bus. An evil and dirty sheriff who lives in the woods was after her for some reason, maybe because he wanted to make her his wife. The little girl found the bus waiting for her outside her house. Her parents kissed her good-bye and they cried, but they knew she would be safe. The little girl got on the bus and flew right out of town. The smile on her face as she flies away is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen in my head. Out of all of the stories I’ve told, I really like this one the most. Because in this story that I’m telling myself right now, she was never in any real danger. Not once did she get hurt. The little girl knew trouble was coming for her, so she fled this town before anything bad could’ve ever happened to her.


I know that none of this is true, and I don’t care. I don’t let myself believe the horrible, scary truth. I tell myself anything else.

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review 2014-06-24 14:11
Pieces (stories) - Michael Crane

PIECES is a fantastic collection of literary shorts. Michael Crane plays heart strings like a seasoned musician working a finely tuned instrument.


This collection of twelve short stories revolves around the brutal rape and murder of a young girl. Each tale delves into the aftermath of the crime, the residents of the town where it happened, and how those people cope with the tragedy.


Speaking of "Tragedy", the story entitled such is my favorite out of the collected material. Leonard, "Bobo the Clown", hooks up with one of his co-workers from his popular children's program. The dialogue in this one is terrific, and I have to agree with Leonard's point of view on the situation. People love to insert themselves into tragedies, whether or not they have a card in the hand. The story really spoke to me, as I've seen this happen first hand. 


"Anything Else" captured the imagination of a small boy perfectly. When I was a kid, I used to create elaborate fictions about people I'd heard about on the news, mostly people who'd died young, wherein they victim somehow managed to escape their fate. I was crying by the end of this one, because I was this boy.


"The Gunslinger" is another story that plucked at my heart strings. A small boy endeavors to be the protector of his family by keeping watch over them in the dead of night. This story's about bravery and keeping those you love safe.


Those are the three tales that had the greatest emotional impact for me, but the entire collection is terrific. I'm also rather impressed by the cast of characters, as no two people seemed the same. We jump through the minds of the young and old, the broken and maintained, and each soul has a physical presence. I know these people now, and I thank the author for introducing them to me.


In summation: Michael Crane has captured a bit of magic with this collection of stories. He weaves the pieces together into a dreamcatcher, and the reader becomes trapped in its web. Highly recommended.

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text 2014-06-24 13:27
Reading progress update: I've read 88%.
Pieces (stories) - Michael Crane

On the last story, but I don't want this to end. 


Mike, I can haz another volume like this? Please? `Kay, thanks. :)

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text 2014-06-24 12:34
Reading progress update: I've read 66%.
Pieces (stories) - Michael Crane

The kid in "Anywhere Else"... yeah, that was me as boy. 


You made me tear up, Mike. 

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