This page has the spotlights and interviews for other writers. These were all resurrected from my now defunct blog. Check out the news on the works other writers have done. Unfortunately, when I downloaded the blog, the pictures didn't survive.
Today's book spotlight is Wiggle Worm's Shape Adventure, a book about shapes for beginning readers written by Kathy and Karen Sills and illustrated by Virginia Jennings. Here's what the characters have to say about it!
"Hello, I'm Wiggle Worm, and I live in the children's book Wiggle Worm's Shape Adventure. I was created by two twins named Kathy and Karen Sills. Virginia Jennings made me and all my friends come to life with her colorful illustrations. I am shy and very insecure. I'm suppose to find six shapes for school, but my insecurity gets in the way. My friends and my Mommy comes to the rescue."
"Hey there, I'm Black Crow, I am Wiggle Worm's feathered friend. When I see that he is in need of help I come flying, ready to lend a helping hand. I'm out going and always on the look out for an adventure."
"HELLO! I'm Tiny Ant, excuse me for yelling, but I talk loud so I can be heard. I may be small, but I have a big heart, and I love helping my friends out. I'm slow when I get around, but I'm fast when I see a friend in need."
"Hi, everyone, I'm Flounder Fish, I am a large bass fish and happy when I am splashing in the river. I love to sing songs as I float down stream. In fact, I helped my friend Wiggle Worm find a shape by singing a song."
"Yo, I'm Chester Squirrel, I love to eat acorns. I live in a big oak tree. I enjoy chatting with my friends, in fact, I've been told that I talk too much. All my friends loves to hang out underneath my tree, I talk and they listen, but we are always there for one another."
"Bow-wow, I'm Shaggy Dog, I eat a lot of dog biscuits, and when Wiggle Worm needs a shape I shared one with him. I'm lazy and care free. I have a sunny disposition, and love all my friends."
"I'm Wiggle Worm's Mommy. I am so proud to have a son like him. He makes me smile when I am sad, and fills me with joy. I am so happy to be able to give my baby his very last shape."
"It's me, Wiggle Worm again. Now that you have met my friends
and Mommy we hope that you will buy our book and read all about the
shapes my friends and Mommy help me find. See you soon!"
A Chimerical World: Synopsis & Contents
My name is Julia and I grew up in Philly with my mom and my sometime-stepdad. Then I ran away. I hitched to Sea City and Chicago. I got waitressing work in Queen’s Town and, for a while, I was a box jumper a magic show in a run down old carnival town in Florida. That’s where the Scouts found me. I’ve been here in Arc City ever since. The Guild put me to work and I can’t say it’s too bad but I wish I could be doing more. My power is unique, but it’s all I have. These people--the people upstairs--seem to cherry pick their active Agents. I heard rumors that it used to be different. That is used to be that, if you wanted to be a Cape, and you had a powerful ability, you could just do it. Now, it’s different. Maybe there are too many of us. Maybe too few. I’ve made a friend here at least--Roy. He feels the same way, I think. It’s hard to get Roy to talk about how he feels about himself, or any of this, or me. But I like him. He’s a little moody but I like him. And I do get to see a lot of the Agents when they come in from the field. It used to be that, aside from Captain Lightning, only Agent-Errants and Agents prepping for missions hung around here but now there are more and more. Every day I see them. Capes from all over the world. Pisces. Combustible Constable. The Gray Griffon. I don’t know why they’re suddenly all hanging around but it’s pretty cool. I don’t really talk to them. I take their orders. I bring their meals. I smile and try not to mess up, and the whole time I feel like I ought to be out there doing more. Like I could be doing more, you know? Like maybe, I mean maybe not right now, but maybe someday I could be an Agent too.
About the Author:
Born and raised in Appalachia, AshleyRose Sullivan has a BS in Anthropology and an MFA in Creative Writing. She lives, writes and paints in Los Angeles with her husband and their many imaginary friends.
Book Synopsis Awesome Jones:
The only thing Awesome Jones wants is to be a super hero. Until
he falls in love. Despite his colorful
name, Awesome Jones is a painfully average man who dreams of being a super
hero, just like the ones who patrol his city. It's been that way since he was a
little boy, raised by his grandfather after his parents' death. The day Jones starts his new job as a file
clerk at Akai Printing Company he meets secretary Lona Chang and everything
changes. Lona sees something in Jones that no one ever has and the two quickly
become inseparable. But when the perfect pair's domestic bliss is threatened by
a super-powered secret from the past, Awesome Jones has to make a choice. He
must decide whether he should play it safe or find the strength to live up to
his name and risk everything he's come to love to save the day like he always
Today, , the editor of Hero's Best Friend, shares some insights into the importance of animals in our lives. Take it away Scott!
Down through the ages certain qualities have always been associated with heroes: integrity and honor, perseverance, a willingness to defy tradition when necessary, and self-sacrifice for a cause or to save another person. Not all heroes share every quality, but they at least demonstrate a couple of the above. It is also no accident that the images of animals have always been used as symbolic ways to express these qualities, for such virtues are embodied in the very core of most animals. Mules are stubborn, cats are independent and rebellious, dogs and wolves are loyal to a fault, and eagles have always been a symbol of freedom and honor. Since the dawn of humanity, we have noticed and sought after the qualities we’ve seen inherent in the animals around us, so much so that many cultures even anthropomorphized the images of their gods with animal heads or by having them take the shape of certain animals in their myths. Much of Eastern martial arts originated from the observations of how animals moved, stalked, hunted, evaded, and fought. Indeed, without our desire to aspire to the noble qualities of the animals around us, human civilization probably would not have evolved in the way it did. We humans have a symbiotic relationship with our animal companions, whether it be pets like cats and dogs, work animals like horses and oxen, or the animals we rely on for survival like hens and cows. How we treat such animals and whether or not we look the other way when such animals get mistreated says as much about us as how we treat each other. For the divine spark resides in all sentient beings regardless of the forms they take or their level of consciousness, and they will continue to be the instinctual heroes we aspire to be.
About the editor:
Scott M. Sandridge is a writer, editor, freedom fighter, and all-around trouble-maker. His latest works as an editor include the Seventh Star Press anthologies Hero’s Best Friend: An Anthology of Animal Companions, and the two volumes of A Chimerical World, Tales of the Seelie Court and Tales of the Unseelie Court.
Book Synopsis for Hero’s Best Friend:
How far would Gandalf have gotten without Shadowfax? Where would the Vault Dweller be without Dogmeat? And could the Beastmaster been the Beastmaster without his fuzzy allies? Animal companions are more than just sidekicks. Animals can be heroes, too! Found within are twenty stories of heroic action that focuses on the furries and scalies who have long been the unsung heroes pulling their foolish human buddies out of the fire, and often at great sacrifice-from authors both established and new, including Frank Creed, S. H. Roddey, and Steven S. Long. Whether you're a fan of Epic Fantasy, Sword & Sorcery, Science Fiction, or just animal stories in general, this is the anthology for you! So sit back, kick your feet up, and find out what it truly means to be the Hero's Best Friend.
Featured in Hero's Best Friend:
An Anthology of Animal Companions:
Joy Ward: "Toby and Steve Save the World"
Frank Creed: "Dusk"
Cassie Schau: "The Hunter's Boy"
Steven Donahue: "Grit"
Jason Cordova: "Hill 142"
Herika R. Raymer: "Dook"..
Essel Pratt: "Brothers".
Lisa Hawkridge: "Ezra's Girl".
S. H. Roddey: "Look What the Cat Dragged In."
Steven S. Long: "The Wolf Sentinel"
Laura Anne Ewald: "Memorandum"
Cindy Koepp: "The Hat".
Ian Hunter: "Scarheid in the Glisting".
Steven Grassie: "The Masterless".
David Wright: "Wind of Change"
Renee Carter Hall: "The Emerald Mage"..
Nick Bryan: "The Violet Curse"..
Lillian Csernica & Kevin Andrew Murphy: "The Restless Armadillo".
Douglas J. Ogurek: "Stuck on the Squigglybounce"
Sheila Deeth: "Passage"
Welcome to the 3rd District in New York City where pumpkins become limos and corporations are kingdoms in this modern take on classic faerie tales.
Trouble starts in the Shaughnessy household when youngest daughter Aenya starts dancing her way through her shoes every night—without ever leaving her room! She keeps her double life a secret from all the men who try to find the truth, but then private investigator Hiro Michaels arrives on the scene. Can she find a way to have her dreams and her love all at the same time?
Kienan Shaughnessy throws his dreams of a musical career on a wild gamble that takes a detour once he meets plain nightingale Madelyne Winters. The young innkeeper has been burned by love and cursed by hate, and she can't trust anyone as beautiful as swan-like Kienan. Can he teach her to sing a love song before it's too late?
Eldest sibling Taegan Shaughnessy unexpectedly gets a new pair of glass slippers as he pines for a princess out of his reach. Station and impropriety alike threaten to keep Kalliope Tavoularis from having the man she loves, but this princess won't take anything lying down. Can some help from an unlikely faerie godmother stop the clock from striking midnight forever?
Mel Shaughnessy is the wild-spirited beauty of the household. Though as smart as he is handsome, his college grades have plummeted past the point of no return. His only hope is the university's tutor: a woman nicknamed 'the beast'. Audra Alexandros has no sympathy, and no graces, and yet there's something about this lone wolf that Mel finds himself helplessly drawn toward. Can the beauty win the beast and close the file on the Shaughnessy Family for good?
About the Author:
Etta Jean was made in England but born in Sacramento, California. Her destiny as a bard was somewhat inevitable. Little else can explain how she constantly told her mother tall tales so outlandish that she couldn't even get grounded for them. A love of worlds created by others eventually brought out the desire to create her own, and she has never looked back. She has seen both good and evil in her life, and her stories, like life, have no half measures. Her happy endings never come without cost, though, for she truly believes we can't appreciate the good and the joy without the bad and the pain along the way.
A few years ago, I answered a call for beta readers. A beta reader is someone who will read a novel's early, barely edited final draft and provide feedback on everything from plot and character arcs to grammar and spelling. Betas often do continuity checks, as well, to do things like make sure a character with black hair in chapter 1 doesn't suddenly turn ginger in chapter 10 without a visit from Miss Clairol. The tale was cleverly done, and it held my interest. Sure, it had a few gaffes. At that stage, no story is perfect, but it was very well-constructed. I've been waiting for the final, published version since then. AltWit Press will be releasing it on April 21, and I'm very curious to see how editing improved an already stellar story (all puns intended).
A simple diplomatic mission becomes a life and death struggle that could plunge the entire galaxy into a war... When an alien ship lands unexpectedly in the middle of her clan's territory, Bast is sent to investigate as part of her scout trial. After an accident, she meets these new visitors. She and her senior scout Rrrark are invited to return with the aliens to their home planet to open diplomatic relations. What started out as a simple mission becomes complicated when they discover a pirate scheme that might be more than it seems. Are Bast, Rrrark, and two of the aliens called Psygens capable of stopping the pirates?
Watch this space. When it releases, I'll shout it out to the world!
So, tell me about Psygens…
IDNN: Hello! This is Ella Font of the Inter-Dimensional News Network. I'm here today with Psygen Tomed Nor. Tomed, how are you today.
TN: A little tired, but other than that, okay.
IDNN: For our other-dimensional viewers, can you explain what a Psygen is?
TN: Well, [shifts in his chair] in the past, we've been trying to downplay our differences from normal humans, but what with the recent smear campaign we've been trying to be more open.
IDNN: For our other-dimensional readers, a local xenophopic group recently broadcast an op-ed piece accusing the Psygens of being secret alien overlords, among other equally heinous accusations. Is there any truth in that piece?
TN: Well, any good lie has a kernel of truth. Psygens do live much longer than the average human, and we do have some limited abilities that some people could exaggerate into superpowers, but we're not aliens, we don't torture people, we don't control every decision made by the United Galactic Alliance, and we try very hard not to abuse our position.
IDNN: And what exactly is that position, some say you're guardians of humanity. Others say you're overseers . How do Psygens view themselves?
TN: Our role has changed over time. Originally, our job was to enforce the peace, make sure no one nation annihilated another. Over time, our role grew into an oversight position, a neutral third party that looked over treaties, laws, and other global government activity to make sure no one side was oppressing or cheating anyone else. I am happy to report that our services in that area have become a lot less necessary lately, and we've been cutting our own role back.
IDNN: Will the Psygens completely separate themselves from humanity?
TN: Well, we still think of ourselves as human, or at least in the human family. We'll still be around to help, but our goal is to form our own colony, and participate with UGAL as a member planet, stepping in only when asked.
IDNN: What can you tell me about Alkask?
TN: Beautiful planet. The natives have taken pains to keep a natural look to the whole planet.
IDNN: and the native beings on the planet?
TN: The Meskka are unique in a few ways. For one, they're the only alien species we've found that resembles any Earth lifeform. They look a lot like a tiger, only with coat colors from all sorts of earth cats. As a people, they're cautious, but peaceful, and very curious.
IDNN: in your opinion, do they pose a threat to humanity?
TN: [laughs] That's what they asked me about humans. As long as humanity doesn't repeat the mistakes of it's past and try to conquer them, they'll make great allies.
IDNN: I'm sure we'll work it out. What is your next mission?
TN: I'm helping UGAL patrol the new border, and there's a bunch of paperwork and manual labor involved in setting up our colony
IDNN: so the Psygens are abandoning Earth after all?
TN: [chuckles] so first we're overseers and now we're abandoning Earth? No, but humans can handle their own affairs. It's time for Psygens become our own people. As I said above, we'll still be around, but as an equal partner.
IDNN: I see. Well, best of luck to you.
IDNN: Next time we will talk to one of the Messka, a scout named Bast. This is Ella Font with the Inter-Dimensional News Network. See you next time! <hr />
About The Psygen Chronicles Book 1: A New Threat by Aaron DeMott A simple diplomatic mission becomes a life and death struggle that could plunge the entire galaxy into a war... When an alien ship lands unexpectedly in the middle of her clan's territory, Bast is sent to investigate as part of her scout trial. After an accident, she meets these new visitors. She and her senior scout Rrrark are invited to return with the aliens to their home planet to open diplomatic relations. What started out as a simple mission becomes complicated when they discover a pirate scheme that might be more than it seems. Are Bast, Rrrark, and two of the aliens called Psygens capable of stopping the pirates?
What's it like to be a scout?
IDNN: This is Ella Font of the Inter-Dimensional News Network continuing our series on the recent discovery of Alkask. With me today is Messka scout Bast. How are you doing today, Bast?
B: [Flicks her tail] I’m doing great! Uh … how are you?
IDNN: Doing well, thank you. How wa –
B: That’s great! Thanks for inviting me.
IDNN: [smiles] –s your … We’re glad you could make it. How was your stay on Earth?
B: It was interesting. Earth is very different from Alkask. Lots of concrete and metal, it almost looks like humans clear out nature to make a city, then miss it and do a … they put it back in a strange way.
IDNN: Do you not have cities on Alkask?
B: We … do … but we Meskka try to make them look like part of the natural environment. Our word for what you would call a city is "mer-ahsh" We take a grove a trees, and grow them together into one large structure.
IDNN: That must be something to see. Do you have vehicles to get around from one mer-ahsh to the next?
B: [looks off-camera then back again] Well … not exactly. Not like the cars or jets here.
IDNN: What kind of transportation do you have?
B: [flicks her tail and tilts an ear backward] Well, it’s just – um – different. Hard to explain really. Not actually a vehicle like yours…. I’m really glad we don’t have vehicles like that.
IDNN: Why is that?
B: [flattens ears] I – um – get a little – um – well, let’s say I like my paws on solid ground.
IDNN: Okay, fair enough. I understand you’re a princess.
B: Princess? Oh, that's right, titles get passed down in families here. It's not that way on Alkask, but I guess humans might see me as one. I’m just a scout. I work for Master SarrOw
IDNN: What do scouts do on Alkask?
B: [ears and tail stand up] It's the best job ever! I get to patrol the whole forest, meet other clans, observe new things and investigate new places. Like Earth, for example, and Psygens and SeQish, and Earth’s ambassador to the SeQish was really interesting. We met him when we helped the Psygens track down the SeQish ambassador.
IDNN: Oh? For our inter-dimensional viewers, what made Earth’s ambassador unique?
B: He’s not human, for one thing, and he swims really well.
IDNN: What was the most memorable thing about your scouting trip to Earth?
B: Working with the Psygens. They are the most like us in some ways, but very different than us in others. Like, they’re tired. They didn’t talk about that much, but I could tell. All the ones I met need a nice long nap in the warm sun. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s the kind of tired a nap fixes.
IDNN: What do y – ?
B: And kittens! You have the cutest little kittens! Tomed told me the ones I saw are actually full-grown, but they look just like the kittens I used to take care of – that was before I became a scout -- [holds up a paw] except they don’t have thumbs, which might be why they never developed into a society like ours, but they’re still adorable even if they never get to be my size.
IDNN: You do look like a rather large calico.
B: According to the information on SatNet, I’m more the size of a tiger just with very different markings. [stomach rumbles] Oops. Sorry. [flattens ears] That’s always happening at the wrong time.
IDNN: That’s all right. I’m sure inter-dimensional travel takes a toll on a person. Thank you for coming out, Bast.
B: You’re welcome.
IDNN: Next time we’ll talk to two other Psygens, Nilre and Ara Nor. This is Ella Font with the Inter-Dimensional News Network. Good night!
About <em>The Psygen Chronicles Book 1: A New Threat by Aaron DeMott
DeMott’s A New Threat is a cleverly written and amusing tale about telepathic, hip-high
alien cats called Messka and their first contact with Earth and a group of
enhanced, telepathic humans called Psygen. The humans, Psygens, and Messka hit
it off well, but a band of pirates hired by a xenophobic ship designer go on
the offensive in an effort to keep human resources for humans. The Messka have their own society and their
own technology, which they hide very well inside natural forms giving the
illusion of being more primitive than they are. A lot of their personality
traits resemble the cats they’re physiologically similar to. The Psygens have varying forms of psionic
abilities including telepathy and some other common skills. Each has a
specialization in things such as healing, deflecting energy bolts, and speeding
up a spaceship’s engines. Their function in the society seems to be as guides
and protectors to some degree, and although they honor their duties, there’s a
definite undercurrent of wanting to be free of the burden of shepherding humans
and living for themselves. The
xenophobic ship designer provides a good challenge for the Psygens and Messka
by carefully arranging his tactics to foil the special abilities of the
Psygens. Overall, I found the book very
entertaining. The plot was well-designed, and the characters were interesting,
particularly in their diversity. The alien species involved were more
complicated and detailed than simply humans in funny costumes. Although the
book is aimed at and appropriate for tweens and teens, the book was engaging
and I looked forward to reading the next couple chapters at lunch every day.
I’m definitely interested in seeing where the Psygen Chronicles go next. I’d say, check it out!
Today, Etta Jean shares some other information with us about herself and the book...
1. Did you come across any surprises writing this?
Maitena, the main character, was full of them. I never know what will come out of that girl's mouth next! I would type something and then just sit there and stare at it for a moment before moving on. She gets away with so much. Hehe
2. What was the best part about writing the story?
I love the angelic race I created. I always love the idea of soul mates (this should not be news to anyone) but being able to take it just a step further, to where you have these beings that live knowing they will look into someone's eyes and be completed . . . it's really wonderful. There's a double-edged sword to it, though. I won't say what. You'll have to read to find out!
3. Do you have plans for a sequel?
Maaaaaaaybe. In all seriousness, I would like to visit my world of Lightlings again, but this story stands entirely on its own without any loose threads.
4. What constitutes a “good story?”
A story that engages a reader from beginning to end, that makes someone want to go back again and again.
5. Which Muppet do you most resemble?
I would have to say I most resemble Kermit the Frog because all too often do I find myself playing the straight man to my crazy friends. I feel for that frog, I really do.
6. What's your favorite place?
My hometown. Sacramento is my favorite place to be, and always feels so good to come home to. I can't see the city for the trees from the freeway, and the buildings don't give me claustrophobia. (I'm looking at you, San Francisco.)
7. What's your favorite TV show?
Mythbusters! I'll watch any episode on TV, and I watch my iTunes collection frequently and repeatedly. I could probably start quoting specific episodes, really.
8. Do you have any critters?
I have four cats. Pirate Princess Patches, Nighthawk, Sebastian, and my little Charlie.
Shadow on the Sea is a romantic
fantasy for ages 18+. Check out the
author's description of the book... The
world of Ceres has been ruled for millennia by the winged race known as
Lightlings. When the Chalice Kingdom celebrates the birth of the next crown
princess, they have no idea just what events have been set into motion. The
beautiful angel has a special, shadowy, gift, and only by learning to control
it will she be able to claim the lover rightfully hers by destiny, and save her
world from an evil bent on consuming them all.
Before I got buried under schoolwork, I was in a critique group with Heather and a couple other interesting characters. Forged Steel was a work in progress at that point, and it's now ready to see the world!
Coffee shop. 2 AM. One minute, Josh is firing off sarcastic remarks at his best friend Marc – the next, they’re running from shape-shifters. Apparently, even best friends don’t share all their secrets. Now Josh is in danger. He can see the monsters among the humans. When Marc is kidnapped, Josh finds himself pulled into the schemes of the fae courts, and throws in his lot with Marc’s allies: the lovely Larae, a human named David, and the fighter, Eliaster. But what began as a rescue mission becomes something much more involved… And all Josh wants to do is get out before it’s too late. Forged Steel is a new adult urban fantasy by H. A. Titus.
Hello! This is Ella Font of the Inter-Dimensional News Network. Today, we're dropping in on Earth in the early 21st Century to visit with an author that so many of our modern viewers have come to love: the amazing Andrea Graham.
Thank you for joining us here today, Andrea.
Andrea Graham (AG): Thank you for inviting me, Ms. Font.
EF: Which work are you sharing with us today?
AG: Avatars of Web Surfer, a collection of short works set in the same universe, each has a different perspective character, but all feature the same hero. I collaborated with three co-authors: Travis Perry, Cindy Koepp, and H. A. Titus
EF: I have to say that one is one of my favorites. I just love the way Sander and Lexus come to the rescue of the different people they encounter through the Web Surfer system. For our viewers who are unfamiliar with your work, what genre does it fall into?
AG: Science Fiction, Christian allegory, some might consider it cyberpunk since AIs and virtual/simulated reality feature heavily.
EF: That's fascinating. As I recall, some of the stories are more overtly Christian than others, but I would agree they all fit into that spectrum somewhere. Can you tell us about the main character?
AG: Alexander McGregor is just an infant when his father converts his cells into biological supercomputer components, but he may be the Messiah-figure AIs have longed for, even though on one level, he is only human. Sander is enslaved to his code as he serves a billion users worldwide, users he appears to as separate avatars of himself. Each avatar has its own personality, but all of him are linked together in a shared mind. He reigns over most of Earth’s computers in a global society where tech-dependency can kill. Freedom calls Sander like a siren. His answer could shake the Earth.
EF: Wow. He sounds like an interesting guy, which is what makes each of these short stories interesting. Some people say that you must have based him on a real person. Are there any characteristics you have in common with the main character?
AG: Sander can operate well in all eight Myers Briggs functions as needed, but his core personality is closest to an ENTP. I have always been more of an ambivert than either a true introvert or true extrovert, but I functioned as an ENFJ before I started working with Sander, a bit over five years ago. In the last few years, I switched to ENFP and from there came to grips with my thinker side to the point where I sometimes test as an ENTP myself and wonder I how I got to my thirties without realizing I’m so different from my true-blue INFJ husband. So, um, we both have attention deficit disorder and tend to go off on rabbit trails that drive our more linear-thinking friend and our editors up the wall. That is the big one.
EF: [stares for a moment] I see. Well, um, let's see if any of our viewers have sent in questions. Here's one. Rex Karz of Infinite Roadway, Enceladus. Rex asks, "Which Muppet does your main character most resemble?"
AG: He’s a cross between Kermit and Animal.
EF: That's quite a combination there. Sort of a frustrated, organized maniac? I've read all of them, though, so I can see that. He does have the intensity of Animal and the organization of Kermit. Here's another question from Amanda Rekkonwif from Tombstone Colony on Europa. Amanda asks, "If your character actually had pockets, what would be in them?"
AG: They would be magic pockets, and he would have stuffed in them every aspect of life on Earth that he had collected and had yet to plant in the alternate universe that he hosts in cyberspace and treats like a massive terrarium. (He hosts simulated realities and some hold our own universe is a simulated reality.)
EF: Those would be some awfully large pockets. Earth-building would be an interesting hobby. Time consuming, but I guess if you'll live indefinitely, you'd better have a hobby that will last. We have time for one more. Here's a question from Tom Katt from Litter Pan Colony on Ganymede. Tom wants to know, "If your character existed in main life, would you be friends?"
AG: I hope so.
EF: [Pauses several seconds] Okay. He does seem like a nice guy most of the time in these stories, and the times he isn't aren't his fault. He does have to obey the user's script after all. I've met Sander, actually. Well, I've met a virtual version of him in one of the VR books being released of all the classics. He wasn't as tall as I thought he was, and I wouldn't say he's a very trendy dresser, but personality wise, he seems to be a good man. Virtual reality is just beginning in your time, so perhaps you'll still have the opportunity to meet Sander. That's all the time we have for viewer questions today. Thanks for joining us today. [Looks into the camera] That's it for today, but do stop by to visit Andrea and check out her exciting anthology Avatars of Web Surfer. This is Ella Font of the Interdimensional News Network. Back to Bob Frapples at the news desk. Bob?
Interview with the author:
Ella Font (EF): Good morning wherever you are. This is Ella Font if the Interdimensional News Network. I'm here today with Yaasha Moriah, another of our 21st Century Authors. Yaasha's work was popular throughout the first half of the century. Yaasha, thank you for joining us today. What have you brought to share with us?
Yaasha Moriah (YM): Thanks for having me! I am sharing about my fantasy novella "Wings Beneath Water."
EF: Beneath the water? Sounds interesting. Can you tell us a bit about it?
YM: Certainly! Brother. Ever since Risha was found on the shores of the river and adopted into the tribe, he and his brother Uraun have been inseparable. But when a neighboring tribe ignites war, killing the boys’ father, their lives start on a path that begins to divide them. Siyeen. As the tribe goes to war, Risha’s gift awakens. He is the Siyeen, capable of reading a person’s true nature—and in Uraun’s nature, he reads only vengeance. Fearing that his gift will endanger Uraun, Risha flees to the marshes. To save his brother’s soul, Risha must learn the secrets of the first Siyeen and seek the redemption that will grant his brother a second chance.
EF: Fascinating. That doesn't sound like a typical fantasy. Does it fall into one of the other categories?
YM: "Wings Beneath Water" is a sort of “native fantasy.” Think native peoples, all mixed up with supernatural dragons and shape-shifting powers. One of my ARC readers said it had “deeply spiritual themes” and was more in-depth than my other books, which he liked better.
EF: I don't think I've seen many fantasy novels told from the perspective of native people. Can you tell us more about your main character?
YM: Certainly. Discovered as an infant in the marshes, Risha bears distinctive purple eyes. As he grows up with his adoptive brother Uraun, Risha seems like a normal boy. He trains with the tribal warriors, hunts deer with Uraun, and swims in the river. Risha cares deeply about his brother Uraun and about the truth. Sometimes the two things conflict, so Risha struggles with the implications of his choices, especially when the power of the Siyeen awakes in him. <strong>EF: He sounds like a complex person. Many of our viewers are curious about how much authors invest in their own characters. Are there any characteristics you share in common with you main character?
YM: Risha and I share a deep love for truth, even hard truths. If you look for comfort instead of truth, you will eventually end up with neither. If you look for truth, even truth that makes you uncomfortable initially, you will eventually find both truth and comfort. We also share a fierce loyalty to family, even despite conflict. Risha makes hard choices in order to protect his family and, although my choices aren’t nearly so dramatic as Risha’s, I’ve done the same. Family is worth fighting for!
EF: Indeed it is. Let's see if any of our viewers would like to ask you a question. First up? Amanda Rekkonwif from Tombstone Colony on Europa. Amanda asks, “If your character actually had pockets, what would be in them?”
YM: Twine to fix a fishing net, arrowheads for his arrows, a knife, a sinew for his bow… Odds and ends that help him survive in the marshes.
EF: I can understand that, but those are definitely not things you'd find in most people's pockets. Next up? A question from Jerry Mander calling in from Wiggle Road on Charon. Jerry wants to know, "Can you share a line from your work?"
YM: “They say when you see wings beneath the water, you get a second chance to live.”
EF: So you sourced the title from your book from one of the lines in the book. That's a good way to do it. Tom Katt from Litter Pan Colony on Ganymede. Tom wants to know, “If your character existed in main life, would you be friends?”
YM: I think we’d get along splendidly. Risha would teach me about survival in the wild and I’d teach him how to read and write. An excellent trade, I think. I love interacting with people about all things speculative fiction, so people are always welcome to introduce themselves, tell me about their favorite sci-fi or fantasy book, and why they like it.
EF: That's great. I'm sure our viewers would like to connect with you online and share about their love of science fiction and fantasy in the early 21st Century. Thanks for joining us today. [Looks into the camera] That's all we have time for today. Please stop by Yaasha's internet hangouts and chat if you have other questions about her amazing work. Stay tuned tomorrow when we'll have an excerpt of "Wings Beneath Water." For now, this is Ella Font of the Interdimensional News Network. Back to Bob Frapples at the news desk. Bob?
After our interview with author Yaasha Moriah yesterday, I'm sharing an excerpt of her novella. Take it away, Yaasha!
They say if you see wings beneath the water,
you get a second chance to live. If that is true, I may live yet. If it is not
true, my blood will stain these waters within moments. The marsh mists swirl around me like
transparent hands, chilling the sweat on my forehead as my footsteps explode
through the murky waters. I pause, catch a gnarled branch, and lean gasping
over it. The surface of the dark waters
shows the face of a boy, with round cheeks and frightened purple eyes. Will the
Karagi have mercy if they see me as a child? No. They know what I am, and they will not waver. They will remain at a
safe distance, and shoot to kill. They are master bowmen. I should know. They
trained me. That was before they knew
what I am. According to the wise woman,
some say it only happens when you are born to the marshes on a moonless night.
Others say that it begins when a child looks into the waters and, unknown to
him, the Siyeen looks back at him from beneath the surface of the waters. Still
others say it is a gift given to the one who seeks truth above all else. If a gift results in your death, is it not a
curse instead? I have lingered too long.
Even as I move, some instinctive twitch saves me, for a death-breeze fans my
chin and a crimson ribbon opens across my collar-bone, the warning of a
razor-sharp arrowhead. I turn, and they
are there, emerging like ghosts from the mist, their long dark hair loose
around their lean faces, their leather vests leaving bare their muscled
shoulders. Emotions stab my stomach, for Uraun leads them, the scar upon his
right cheek lit in silver by the wavering moon. “A child?” one hunter asks, glancing quickly at the foremost of the
men. “It is an illusion,” Uraun says
darkly, and draws his shaft to the corner of his lips. I cannot outrun his arrow. I have watched too
many times the stumble of a woodland buck, stricken while in mid-flight by
Uraun’s skill. I am also tired, too tired. This hunt has taken all my strength,
all my heart. How do you run away from
someone you love? “Uraun.” My voice
carries across the waters. “Please.” So
long as he holds his breath, he will not shoot. Experienced archers release
only at the exhalation. I stand upon a
small hillock of marsh weeds. The waters beyond my feet ripple like black silk,
for I have come to the edge of the deeper waters, where the bottom is invisible
and the feet find no purchase. Many things that have been lost to the deep
marshes. “Uraun,” I say again. The
corner of my vision snags upon something, a glimmer in the water, like light
reflecting upon an outstretched wing. It
is here. Then Uraun’s jaw tightens, and,
plunging, I give myself to the waters. The arrow’s shaft pierces my side and my
instinctive gasp fills my mouth with liquid darkness. Something smooth slides beneath my grasping
fingers, then jaws clamp around my ankle and pull me downward, deep. I
struggle, panic-stricken. Have I misunderstood? Did I see a wing, or only the
glitter of a marsh eel’s serpentine body? I spiral downward until my mind becomes as dark as the waters around me
and my breath burns and explodes in my head. Then light births, broadens,
shimmers, and I rush toward it. Am I swimming down? Or up? I cannot tell. That is when I see the face staring back at
me from the other side of the water. My
face. I know it is my face because only
I among the Karagi possess eyes the color of wild irises. It is the mark of my
Ella Font (EF): This is Ella Font of the InterDimensional News Network. Today we're visiting with that fantastic classical writer A. Walker Scott about his forthcoming book: No Road Among the Stars. Welcome to the program, Mr. Scott.
A. Walker Scott (AWS): Thank you. Great to be here.
EF: So, what kind of book is No Road Among the Stars?
AWS: It's a science fiction tale about a young man studying diplomacy.
EF (leans closer): Does it have pictures?
AWS: Uh... Well, the cover art.
EF: You should consider making it a picture book.
AWS: It's a bit long for that, but I'll consider the options.
EF: That's great, Scott. I mean, Mr. Scott. So, when do you expect to release your book so our viewers can enjoy it?
AWS: If all things go well, I'm trying to release it in April or May.
EF: Of what year?
AWS: This year. 2018.
EF (stares at the ceiling for a moment): Wonderful. Most of our viewers will be able to find it in the historical works section of their favorite bookstore or library. Can you tell us about the main character?
AWS: David Asbury is an orphaned undergraduate attending Shel Matkei Academy of Social Sciences on a scholarship from the government of Earth stipulating that he must study diplomacy. He wants to study linguistics. He also wants to be alone. So he ends up in a diplomacy pod a year ahead of time, stuck with nine suitemates from as many worlds.
EF: A loner who's studying to be a diplomat? Huh. That's different. Has he met Burke Zacharias or Thomas McCrady?
EF (blushes): Oops, sorry. Wrong timelines. Do you have any common traits with David?
AWS: Yes. I love languages and linguistics. I really enjoy cross-cultural situations, and he does too...whether he will admit it or not. And I'm stubborn and a bit sneaky.
EF: Really? I can see how stubbornness could be handy for a diplomat, but sneaky? Not one I would have considered. Still, with such traits in common, I'm sure you two would make great friends.
AWS: Yeah, I think so, too, if he'd open up some.
EF: What's your favorite line from the book?
AWS: How can you ask such a thing?
EF (leans back): Well, uh ... Yeah, I suppose that might be a little spoilery for your fans in your own timeline. How about some questions from our viewers? First, which Muppet does your main character most closely resemble?
AWS: I'd have to say Skeeter.
EF: I can see that. And finally, if your character actually had pockets, would would he carry in them?
AWS: A netbook, cinnamon Altoids, and...a lint ball left from the piece of paper that he forgot to take out before his jacket was last laundered.
EF: A netbook? How ... vintage. Well, that's all we have time for today. If you haven't already, check out No Road Among the Stars after it releases in April or May of 2018. This is Ella Font and you're watching the InterDimensional News Network.