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Ten plus One Questions with Author Rosanne Dingli

Rosanne DingliRosanne Dingli is a native of the small island country of Malta.  She was living in Malta at the time the country became its own country after becoming independent in 1964, and immigrated to Australia in 1982. She got a great education and is able to speak three languages and has had a variety of jobs. She has been a teacher, lecturer, and numerous other jobs but writing is one role she has done well. She has written multiple novels, collections of short stories and some poetry. As a person reads her first novel Death in Malta you will see how much she loved her native Malta and her new home Australia.

Now on to her responses to the Ten Plus One Questions:

 

Question 1: What inspired you to write Death in Malta?

I knew my first novel had to be atmospheric and meaningful – so something about my birthplace was ideal. What better than a Mediterranean island full of history, secrets, and engaging characters? My protagonist is an Australian novelist, so seen through his eyes I could portray the island just as I remembered it, set sometime in the seventies or eighties, perhaps. I used nostalgia, history, and the magic of authentic locations to pull the reader in.

Question 2: Is there any significance to the name names of your main characters?

I always think very carefully about names – it’s important to have good memorable ones, that are not too ordinary, and yet not too strange. The meaning is usually abstract: complicated or complex, historic, or related to something about their features. They must also be authentically linked to the location.

Question 3: During the writing process did you find yourself thinking about any of your memories?

My memories of historic locations, yes. I rarely, however, include anything private or intimate such as my life events or particular feelings, even if my writing triggers memories. I find that my imagination is enough to conjure up a good story. Having said that, however: authors cannot escape their own particular way of composing a story out of what they know and understand intimately.

Question 4: What were some of your favorite books growing up?

I liked the novels of John Dickson Carr, Daphne DuMaurier, Georgette Heyer and John Fowles. And do you know what – I still do. But I have added a great number of others since my youth. I particularly like AS Byatt, Annie Proulx, Robert Goddard and Ian McEwan.

Question 5: Do you hear from fans of your books, and if you do what do they say?

Yes – social media makes sure that my readers follow me and make comments and observations, which I find can be either very helpful and flattering, or sometimes a bit too close for comfort. But there are ways of avoiding conflict or disagreement. Any contact is seen as friendly, and I welcome it.

Question 6: What was the feeling like when you saw the very first printed version of your book?

I can’t remember, because it’s a long time ago. Death in Malta was my first novel (2001) but it certainly was not my first book. My collected published and awarded poems came out in 1991, and I also edited a collection for the centenary of a Western Australian country town. Since 1985, individual pieces of mine have appeared in anthologies, literary supplements, magazines and journals all over Australia and on the internet, so being in print was a known feeling by the time my first novel was published. Mind you, receiving a box of books is always a good feeling – I’ve just opened five new ones, with copies of five of my books, so my hallway is now full of my writing.

Question 7: Do you continue to write?

I am now a full-time writer. Most people know that authors have to supplement their income with other jobs, so since 1985 I have worked as editor, lecturer, teacher, heraldic artist, graphic artist, EIC, travel consultant, cook, and more. Since giving up teaching in 2008, I have managed about a book a year. 2015 will see publication of my fifth novel.

Question 8: What is the message you want people to take away from the book?

I do not weave messages into my fiction. There is always a main premise, of course, which I hope readers pick up as they go, and there is always enough ambiguity in my main premise for readers to fill it with their own concepts. People always put their own meanings into ambiguity. I find that an excellent thing, because they invariably come back for more of my work, because they feel they can relate to it.

Question 9: If you could envision a future for your main character, what would it be?

I rarely do this. It’s up to the reader to concoct and imagine one. Most of my protagonists are men, who would probably go one with much of the same as in the novels and stories I write. According to Luke, my second novel, brings my only female protagonist to my readers. I think I might bring her back in another, so she does have a future. There is a supporting character in my second novel which returns in my fourth. He might even come back a third time, but I do not think of it as his future.
Question 10: Who are those in the dedication of the book, and their importance to you?

I nearly always dedicate my novels to my husband, because he is my first reader and most avid fan.

 

The + 1 Question:

If you had any one place in the world you could travel to for a book tour, where would that place be, and why?

I love Venice, and it would be fascinating to have a book tour there, even though it’s highly unlikely, since all my books are in English and getting them translated is a very difficult task. Even though I speak good Italian, translating is a specialist undertaking. Venice is a city I have returned to many times, and I’ve used it as a location in much of my writing. It has a particular atmosphere, and the people are quite unique.

 

 

ROSANNE DINGLI
Author of The Hidden Auditorium,
Camera Obscura, According to Luke, Death in Malta,

Counting Churches – The Malta Stories, The Day of the Bird,

The Astronomer’s Pig, Making a Name, The Bookbinder’s Brother,
and All the Wrong Places
http://www.rosannedingli.com
http://rosannedingli.blogspot.com

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Posted by on September 16, 2014 in Interview

 

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Death in Malta by Rosanne Dingli

Death+in+MaltaMalta is a small, and I mean small, country in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. Its location is about 60 miles south of Sicily off the boot of Italy. The country is often a dot on maps and many have not really heard of the country. People may not even realize that the Maltese Cross is a symbol used for Veterans of Foreign Wars and often by Fireman. It’s an island I have a lot of interest in due to its rich and fascinating history and the fact my father was from the country.

Thus when I saw author Rosanne Dingli’s book, Death in Malta, I know I’d want to read the book. As I read the description of the book and saw a character shared the same last name as me, Micallef, I knew I had to read the novel even more. As I read the novel I came to find that Micallef is not the only name found in multiples within the Maltese phone book.

Death in Malta will take the reader into the world of fictional author Gregory Worthington as he comes to Malta to write his next great novel. Worthington is a writer of suspense novels and has the ability to write vivid stories that disturb some, and one of those people is his estranged wife Maggie.

As Worthington gets settled on the main island he will find himself meeting many within the small village he chose to live in. These people range from the local bar keeper, the local clergy and the blacksmith. The great thing about Malta’s past for this Australian author is at one time the country was a British Protectorate, thus many speak English. This will help him with the people, and eventually lead him to a story. A story that he will find is right underneath the roof of the small home he rents.

There is a story within the village of a young boy who one day just disappeared.  This is something that is a rare occurrence on the island and especially in a small village. People searched for the boy and he was never found. Worthington will use this as a basis of his book as he learns about the homes previous occupants. A simple wine maker and his wife who seemed a bit mad, and who had one point may have harmed her eldest son. A woman who was heard yelling at the boy leading to run from home for long stretches at a time to avoid her wrath.  She even went as far as locking the boy within a dark underground storage area to teach him a lesson. It’s this mystery that gets the writers creative blood boiling and will lead him down a path; he should possibly lie within the history of the islands.

Among the people the writer meets will be Doctor Phineas Micallef who has moved to the small village as he escaped one of the larger cities. The question will be did he escape or was he forced to leave. At a social gathering at the doctor’s home he will meet a woman, Patricia, who will take his breath away. She will help him explore the island more, help him find himself, and help him learn more about Maltese culture.

The book has no real time frame mentioned but as Worthington’s computer seems to have a dot matrix printer it must have been in the 1970’s or early 1980’s.  You get the understanding of the type of printer when there are references to perforated sheets from the printer and need to tear pages apart. This does not distract at all from the story and just puts it into a bit of perspective.

Author Rosanne Dingli does a tremendous job in pointing out the culture of many of the Maltese people. She also takes the reader deep into the psyche of the people and the customs on the islands. You will find yourself marveling at the people and what could be their “quaint” customs. You learn about the homes, festivals and most importantly the way they drive. I say this as I witnessed some of those driving skills on a visit to the island and it can cause a passenger to be a bit nervous.  The use of the busses is also mentioned and they are just as reliable and inexpensive today as the period of the book.

What really comes through in this book is not just a love of Malta, but for Worthington’s love of his homeland Australia. Dingli does a beautiful job of telling the readers about both countries, never truly painting either in a bad light. You get the feeling either place is one you would want to visit or live. As you read about the travels and searching for truth on the main characters story you wonder what happened to the boy. You discover the great character devlopment and find some great interactions and how one culture can differ from another.  You wonder about the reactions of others within the book and what mysteries may lay under the earth of this small country that is so full of history why did he chose this story. The only way to find out is to read Death in Malta, and the great addition to the novel is at times we get a peek into the story that Worthington is writing which adds to the suspense of the book.

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2014 in Reviews

 

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Labor Day, Falling Behind and Crickets.

Labor Day is a period that many workers across the United States get a day off in celebration of labor. I was one of those many people that had the day off, and with good planning had Friday previous off too. So what does this mean?

It means I fell a bit behind in my reading, blog work as the 40 hour a week job sure had same demands on one less work day. So, instead of posting a book review this week has been quite. You’d say crickets invaded the blog with the silence coming from my end. Thus it’s time to scare the crickets away, dust away the cobwebs and clear the mind.

I’m going to share with you the books I currently have in my readers list for the blog so you can see what I’m reading.

Death+in+MaltaDeath in Malta is Author Rosanne Dingli’ first novel. This is one book I contacted the author about a review as it is set in Malta. My father’s family is from the small island and one of the characters shares my last name of Micallef.

Here is the Book Description from Amazon:

Disillusioned and depressed, Gregory Worthington sets off from Perth in search of inspiration. He arrives in Malta full of resolve to reignite a flagging writing career. Quaint surroundings, the potential of a love affair, and the antics and warm-heartedness of villagers he befriends fuel his imagination, but his writing brings him more disquiet and confusion than he could anticipate.

What is inspiration, and what is the reality behind the disappearance of little Censinu Mifsud, a ten year-old boy who was never found? There is a twenty year-old secret in the village, one Worthington resolves to unravel, to turn into a novel, despite warnings from a retired doctor and the antagonistic parish priest. They are ambiguous about his involvement with a young Maltese woman, but are very clear about one thing: the author has no business nosing around his old rented farmhouse, looking for clues and disturbing the past.

Poignant and moving,
punctuated by comical scenes and passionate
interludes, Death in Malta is a powerful novel of love and loss,
disappointment and dislocation – curiosity and consequences

 

The next two are listed in no special order.

People of MarsAuthor Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli has released her second book in her science fiction series, “Red Desert”, titled People of Mars. This is on my electronic book stack as one of the upcoming reviews.

Description here is from Goodreads:
After 995 days on Mars, the enthusiasm of the Isis crew has turned into frustration and intolerance. Their research hasn’t provided the hoped for outcomes, the resources at their disposal are insufficient, and NASA had previously cancelled the launch of a second mission, which would have brought more colonisers and equipment to the planet.
Relationships among the five members of the expedition have become difficult. Station Alpha is home to a complex web of conflicts, secrets, alliances, and rivalries.
Now a new launch window is about to open, but the news from Houston isn’t reassuring at all. While the finding of a possible ice sac might give a positive turn to the events, Anna, embittered by the unusual behaviour of Robert and the cold war against Hassan, is considering the opportunity to return to Earth.
When death strikes amongst the five inhabitants of Mars, Anna finds her only possible choice is a solitary escape.
But Mars has got an incredible discovery in store for her, a key to a mystery hidden in the depths of Valles Marineris.

The first book is “Red Desert – Point of No Return”.
The third book, “Red Desert – Invisible Enemy” (a novel), will be published at the beginning of 2015.

Note for the reader: this book is written in British English.

 

Sun GodThe remaining book in my stacks is by author Elliot Baker and titled, The Sun God’s Heir.

Description again from Amazon:

When an ancient evil awakens, one young pacifist is all that stands between the world’s freedom and the red tide of slavery.

In 17th century France, a young pacifist kills to protect the woman he loves, unwittingly opening a door for the reincarnation of an ancient Egyptian general determined to continue a reign of terror begun three thousand years ago.

Taking up the sword will not be enough. Rene must reclaim his own ancient past to stop the red tide of slavery from engulfing the world.

Joined by a powerful sheikh, his sword wielding daughter, and a family of Maranos escaping the Spanish Inquisition, they fight their way through pirates, typhoons, and dark assassins to reach Morocco, the home of an occult sect that has waited for Rene through the eons.

 

I should point out and thank Julianne Snow at Siren’s Call Publications for sharing with me a LARGE number of the books the company has published. I plan on reading more of those books and fitting many into the blog after I finish those listed above. I will not be stopping taking any further requests for reviews, but just a note one of the Siren’s Calls books may be reviewed first.

Now, followers you are up to date on what has kept me from reviewing the last week, and what I have planned to come. Here’s looking forward to the review of Death in Malta next week and more to come.

Here’s how you can contact or follow me:

 

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2014 in Reviews

 

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Encircled in Malta: The Beginning 1st Two short Chapters

I’ve been working on creating a starting point for my previously posted horror short story Encircled in Malta and below is the first two short chapters of the story. I have gotten what was an originally about one thousand word short story to near novelette length of eleven thousand words. It’s about time I follow through and post more of it as I had promised. So below is the beginning of how the main character is introduced to the elements of his life that will get him to Malta.

The photo credit belongs to me as it is a photo I took of the Harbor in Malta while touring the Fort several years ago.

 

Encircled in Malta

 

***Recalling the Past

I decided starting this journal would help me come to grips with everything, and what my life has become.  This is not formal there will be no dates just going to write when I need to unload, and remember. This will be the story of how I got here to this existence I know call my life, and to take breaks from the monotony that has become my existence.  I decided it would be easy to start at the beginning of this living nightmare. I’m sure things will “run” together as I put this together, but with so much on my mind it’s not easy to recall things.

I know it’s been such a rush over the past few months. Hell has it even been that long? I don’t really remember too much of my trip to get here as it was a small adventure on its own. I at times still cannot believe I made it as much of Europe was in such turmoil at the start of this disaster.  I’ve argued a few times with other survivors about the actual date but I don’t think anyone knows. So what I call months could have been weeks, or even longer. Either way, I’m being nitpicky in a journal of my own creating.

Hell I don’t know if anyone will ever even see this thing to read it. So I might as well start with my story. I got to add if someone does find this and read it you can screw the grammar lessons. You try writing this shit down as the world around you collapses in on itself. So if a grammar cop gets a hold of this, well I suggest you take your opinions and well, yeah. I’ll do one favor and cut out the swearing in case one of the few kids around find it too. I don’t want anyone to say that I’m a vulgar American even in my writing.

The one thing I’m truly hoping for out of this, my great experiment, is I remember those few I met on my way getting here. There where people that I could not help, those I could, and those that were just flashes of my travels. It wasn’t an easy journey and I know from other survivors it wasn’t the most difficult either.  I just know it was my journey.

***The Maginot Line

Ok, let me think, I was in France.  My wife had died, a year prior, and I decided that I’d take that trip to Europe we had always talked about.  In hindsight I’d never have gone if I knew the world would go to shit, but who knew this would happen.

I had stopped at a World War 2 battlefield that offered some tours of the restored site. The location was part of the original Maginot Line.  It’s amazing how much the French spent in building this “unbeatable” line of defense and all the Germans had to do was go around the structure. I was thinking about that fact when I stopped my rented car about the same time a big tour bus full of other American’s pulled up.  I got to talking to a few of them as they waited for the next tour to start. They were kind enough to have snuck me into their group.  I had no problem with this, as it saved me a few Euro and I got to go with others who had an English speaking guide.

We had just started our tour when we heard the sounds of large tires rolling down the road. It reminded me of those heavy tires you hear guys put on trucks they take out mudding. The heavy industrial whir sound that comes from the heavy tracked tires rolling on pavement kept coming in our direction. We could hear the heavy trucks were coming and we turned in several directions to find the source. We saw them coming down the main highway and turn up the sites parking lot driveway.  They had French Military markings and I got to say a lot of us began wondering what was going on.  On member of their group thought maybe they were adding some realism to the site by having a fake battle.

The trucks rolled in and we all watched in surprise as troops came spilling out the back of the vehicles. Orders were being barked out at them in French, naturally, and the men came running up to our location and went past us in most cases. A few shoved past our wide eyed, opened mouth group taking up positions facing the historical battlefield.  I thought to myself during that moment about how I wondered if this is how things happened during World War 2.

It was such a contrast as us tourists were dressed in shorts, khaki’s or jeans. These soldiers were dressed in battle field dress. Their uniforms showed a camo pattern that caused a few who ran into the trees to disappear from sight immediately. Our shirts were a pageant of pastels and bright colors. Hell mine was an off pinkish red that I picked up at a gift store after the cute attendant told me it looked great on me. The things we do when a cute woman gives us an inch of attention.

My thoughts were broken when I heard the tour guide arguing with a soldier. They had quite the conversation going in French and the group just stood slack jawed staring around wondering what the hell was going on. I swear birds and bugs could have come down and made a nest in the many open mouths.

The guide finally raised a yellow flag he was carrying to get our attention.

“Mesames et messieurs. The Lieutenant here has informed me we must get back on the bus for our own protection.  A member of his team will join us to explain the situation.”  I heard grumbles and an older man wearing of all things a Hawain shirt yelled at the guide. “I will not get on any bus till I know what is happening this moment. I came here to see this field not some frog military exercise.”

The use of frog startled me. I had not heard that references used for the French in a long time. My father in-law would say it when he talked about WW2 but I cannot recall any time before that moment.  This of course got the officers attention and he turned toward us red faced and anger showing on his face.

“Monsieur! This is no exercise you are to get back on that bus NOW or I shall have you escorted by some of my men!” I was a bit surprised on how well the man spoke English and wondered why he didn’t tell us himself, but Iwas too busy following the group toward their bus to ask. No one seemed to want to enrage the French soldier any more than was already done.

We got to the bus and I wanted to know what was happening so I joined the group on the bus. No one in the group took a seat but instead went to the nearest window to watch the impending action.  I took a spot near the doors since I wasn’t part of their group, officialy.  I felt that if the shit hit the fan I wanted to be able to get to my car and be in a smaller target than this bus.  A soldier with a rifle took a place just outside the door and I hoped he was there as our protector and not a guard.

It didn’t take long before things began to happen. The mouthy guy, I found out his name was Jim and he was from Oregon I guess he was ex-military and was confirmed when he stated he had served in the Gulf War. “The Frenchies are doing a weapons check and locking and loading for action.”  I looked out after his announcement and did see a few of the men check their weapons and take a fighting stance.

Then it happened. A shot rang out from somewhere to the left of the bus. Another followed it a moment later this time from the right. Not one of us could see what they were shooting at. The gun fire started to come more frequent and a mass started to show up on the far side of the short field.

The mass moved slowly toward our old position, the one the troops now stood upon. Jim again decided to share his redneck knowledge with the rest of us.  I say redneck cause the man had a sunburn that looked painful over his neck and he was an ass. He was the typical ugly American that makes vacations like this painful for the rest of us.

“I don’t know what’s comin’ our way but I hope the frogs do a better job here than they did in Nam, or standing their ground in W-W-2.”

“MONSIEUR, I do NOT like your use of that WORD to describe my countrymen. If you MUST continue I will ask a soldier to come here and escort you off this bus!”

The outburst from the tour guide seemed to shock all on the bus.  A few clapped and Jim actually looked as if he had eaten a shoe off of us right foot. He wasn’t going to open his mouth up again after that outburst and risk his other shoe.

The bus remained silent as no one wanted to be the next to say something that could bring the wrath of the tour guide. This little French man, he was maybe five foot three, had earned the respect of all on board by just sticking up for his country. Any American can understand that pride and it wasn’t till a woman on the bus looked and screamed. We all turned to the woman and followed her arm to where she pointed.

There were at least a hundred of them arms dangling at the sides walking methodically toward the troops. Their mouths opening and closing as if chewing unseen food flesh a grey murky white and most of all you could tell they were dead. At least I hoped they were considering their shape. They moved slowly almost stumbling over each other as those who were shot fell before those still moving.  The problem, those shot were still moving, trying to crawl forward. The only exceptions were those who took a head shot and were finally dead.

We all watched in horror as the mob kept coming and coming. The troops kept firing and you could finally see their efforts were having an impact. The sound of the repeated gunfire brought hands over many ears, but me I just watched unsure of what was happening. The mobs began to thin and less and less were coming in our direction. We could see the sweat gather on the troops and at one time we offered to help get the men water but were told, NO! and ordered to stay on the bus. It was then I saw for the first time what these creatures were after.

A trooper got zealous and walked forward firing his rifle at the mob. He was a good shot hitting many in the head. The problem was he wasn’t watching the ground in front of him. One crawled toward him I tried to yell out, pushed past the guard at the door screaming.  I guess he couldn’t hear me over the gun fire but the crawling thing grabbed him at the ankles. The soldier fell to the ground in shock. The beast open and closed its maw as the man struggled to get away. He started to scream and his Lieutenant ran out to the scene putting two shots the beasts head.  The problem was we all saw the thing take a bite out of the man’s leg. His teeth ripped through his uniforms fabric and we could see the blood on the ground.

The Lieutenant saw the gaping wound and instead took his side arm and pumped two shots into the man’s head. We were stunned he just shot his own man and killed him. The Lieutenant turned and started walking back to the defense line.  He looked our way and you could see the sorrow and concern on his face.  He must have ordered his men to walk out and repeat his action of two shots into the head as a line of men went out and did just that, after they had stopped the mob.

The Lieutenant than came our way with his gun still out, in hand, and finger on the trigger. I got to tell you we were all scared not sure what was going to happen. He walked up to the bus, gun still out, and I swear there were small red droplets on its black finish. The blood having sprayed from the head of his man when he shot him in the head close up.  I was not the only one to see this as I saw a few others stare at the small handgun.  It was that or they wondered how he may use it now.

“Mesames et messieurs,” is how he started to address the bus. All were quiet waiting for him to speak.  He looked in my direction as I held my spot near the door and I looked down at his gun. He than just realized he still had the gun out in his hand and slipped it back into the holster. You could almost hear an audible sigh from the relaxation of tension when that gun was put away.  Of course it was Jim to first speak up.

“WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING SHOOTING YOUR OWN MAN WHEN DOWN,” was the question Jim screamed at the Lieutenant. “During my years of service I have never seen a man turn his weapon on a fellow soldier. I don’t care how bad he’s wounded you call for the fucking”, that’s as far as Jim got as the Lieutenant drew his pistol and offered it to the nearest person.

“Messieur, if you please take this from me and repeat the actions you saw on the field,” looking at Jim he continued. “Sir, the duty I just performed is the saddest thing I’ve done in my career. As soon as the monsters teeth broke the skin, Private LeDair was dead. The disease travels through the, how you say, spit.”

“Uhm pardon me, but I have to ask what disease? Can you tell us what just happened,” came from a sheepish voice no one saw the owner of, at first. We looked around and saw it belong to a very petite woman. She was the only one sitting at the time and held her purse in her lap in front of her. I swear I thought of those old women from television shows that were always mousy looking but real spitfires.  This woman was not that type she was just scared. She looked pale and her hands were on the purse strap so tightly her fingers were white. If the purse had made of a bamboo type of material I think I’d have laughed if not so tense.

The Lieutenant seeing the woman looked down with a grim face but slowly smiled when he saw the obvious fear on her face. This was the moment I was waiting for, and this was when I realized I had to get the hell out of France.

After closing his eyes and placing his gun back in its holster, again, the Lieutenant cleared his throat and sighed. “It is my severe displeasure that I must share this with you all. It is something a diplomat should be telling you but as you are here and saw.” He paused at that moment and I thought for sure the man was going to just leave not wanting to tell us, but he continued. “You saw what happened. Those monsters were all like you at one time. They were vacationers, town people, parents, and children. There is some type of disease traveling through Europe turning those bitten into the walking horde you saw. It is if those monster movies have come to life. It is an infestation were the living are being hunted.”

I heard a whispered, “What the fuck, is this the Night of the Living Dead for real,” come from the back of the bus. I was wondering the same question as it was asked but kept quiet.

So that’s how I found out about the infestation. I remember the yelling and cursing that came next on the bus. People blaming the French for this disaster while others questioned how do they get home. It was a mess and I was able to talk my way off the bus after showing the Lieutenant the documents for the rental car. A few others wanted to go with me but the Lieutenant pointed out that the United States Consulate needed people to stay with their groups for ease of contact.
This is all I will share at this time. but in the future there is more to come. This work is fictional and comes from the mind of Shawn J. Micallef, aka Knightmist. If you enjoy the work and wish to talk to me about republishing or other use please contact me via information on my about me page.

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2012 in Short Stories

 

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