Thursday, May 29, 2014

[A Hunters Side Story] Katalynne’s First Day

(Originally posted on my coauthor's blog)

Now that the first book in our Hunters series, “Seeking the Storyteller,” is out, we’ve decided to write little side stories to go with the book(s).
Summary:  When Randall Fagan walked into that coffee shop, Katalynne Cove already assumed the worst.  However, that worst was far more interesting than her current nine-to-five lifestyle, so she decided to take a chance.  After all, how bad could hunting be?

Katalynne's First Day

Perfectly crafted heels slowly walked through what appeared to be an abandoned warehouse save for a few crushed boxes and small wisps of dust.  Katalynne Cove pulled a business card from her pocket to, once again, make sure she had the right address.
 Did this Randall Fagan actually work here?
 She had assumed he was a businessman, albeit a tall, muscular one with a few scars. Whatever Randall did off the clock was neither here nor there, Katalynne knew from experience that rich men got bored easily and did some off the wall things to get a rush. Her previous employer — the handsome lawyer, Laurence Cable — got his kicks from being a womanizer.  The other two in the company, Florence and Cave, were a bit more tame — skydiving and kickboxing.
 The name “Fagan” was associated with wealth and success, one she recognized from her previous days of being an assistant at a law office.  After a quick background check — cuz mama ain’t raise no fool, as they say — she discovered that Randall had been working for his father’s company until he left.  She couldn’t find any information onwhy he had left, but she assumed it was because he wanted to start his own company, no longer content with being in his father’s shadow.  Perhaps the Fagan’s second son, Zach, would take over once he was no longer teenaged and making trouble like most restless rich kids did.
 Was this where Randall had disappeared to?  It looked like a scene from “Fight Club” complete with floors and pillars of concrete.  The few walls she could see were cracked and in disrepair, construction tools gathered in a far corner next to a newly installed thick, metal door.  The door looked out of place compared to the rest of the building, but it was at least a sign that some form of life existed in the area.
 This wasn’t exactly what she had signed up for when Randall offered something exciting and new, even if her days at Florence, Cave, and Cable had been growing more boring by the minute.  The job hadn’t been nearly as fast paced as the latest episode of “Law and Order” made it look.  Sure, Laurence had a tendency to tackle some big cases, but her job as his assistant was to take notes in meetings, look up information when he needed it, and bring him coffee with just the right amount of cream and sugar.  Randall’s offer had come at just the right time and she had been anxious to give it a go.
 At least, that’s how she had felt before.
 Now that she was standing in a cold warehouse in an area of Minneapolis she never frequented she was having second thoughts.  She felt lost and overdressed, her dark skin covered in pinstripes to go with her fresh, new haircut.  Maybe she could still go back to the office and politely beg for her job back.  Ugh, she was sure Laurence would love that. Besides being a big named lawyer the man was a certified flirt, always taking time out of his day to comment about her shapely legs or the way her clothes curved around her figure.
 Katalynne sighed.  She must’ve been desperate if she was thinking of returning to Laurence’s bedroom offers.  Clearly, this was what it felt like to be inside the bottom of the barrel.
 Katalynne blinked and turned around, her eyes widening when she saw a blond haired man standing behind her.  Crap, she really should’ve stayed at the office.  There had never been a gun pointed at her in the office.  Katalynne slowly raised her hands into the air and took a nervous step back, “Whoa whoa, I’m not here to-”
 “How did you find this place?”  The man asked, eyes a hard shade of blue as he kept the gun trained on her.
 “I-I was just looking for-”
 “Goddamnit Alix!  Put the gun down!”
 And there he was.  Randall Fagan.  Dressed in a ratty tank top and dusty jeans as he stepped out of the backroom to walk up to Alix.
 “Who is this woman?”  Alix asked.
 “The secretary I told you about.  Remember?”
 The blond, Alix, rolled his eyes and tucked his gun into the back of his pants, “You really need to tell me when you’re inviting bed partners here.  Though this isn’t the best place, not until we finish furnishing it and-”
 “Bed partner?”  Katalynne frowned, “I’m not here to sleep with Mr. Randall Fagan.  I’m here for a job.”  She thought she was, but now she was two seconds away from going back to the not so subtle advances of Laurence Cable.  Being held at gunpoint was one thing, but being reduced to a bed partner was simply uncalled for.
 “Randall?”  Fagan waved that away quickly with his hand, clearly disturbed by the use of his first name, “Just call me Fagan.”
 “Can we get back to this sudden job thing, please?” Alix glared up at Fagan and pointed a finger at Katalynne. “Is she becoming a Hunter?”
 “A what?  Like a deer hunter?”
 “Yes, Alix.  I’m hiring her,” Fagan said, ignoring the comment from Katalynne.  “And no, not as a Hunter.”
 “You still haven’t explained what-”
 Alix interrupted her before she could finish her sentence.  “Then what are you hiring her as?  A set of legs?”
 Fagan raised an eyebrow before taking a moment to look Katalynne over.  He smirked, “Well…”
 “I have a name, asshole,” Katalynne snapped at Alix.  Cold warehouses, guns, and questionable jobs was not something she needed to be dealing with, especially with such an irritating man. “My name is Katalynne, not legs.”
 “Great, she has a name,” Alix said with a loud sigh, “But what is her job description?”
 “I’m getting to that,” Fagan said, trying not to sound as frustrated as he felt. “We need someone to handle incoming jobs.  A secretary, if you will.  Especially with Xaver gone.” Fagan wished that Xaver hadn’t felt the need to move out on his own.  He had been the perfect partner, just as built as Fagan with the same lust for a good beer and an attractive woman.  He was much easier to deal with than Alix, even if Alix had been Fagan’s friend. Acquaintance was more like it, to be honest.  Fagan barely remembered who Alix was until they ran into each other at a bar months ago.  He hadn’t intended to let Alix stay for long, let alone become a trainee, and he certainly didn’t expect Xaver to leave.  You two will make a good team, ya don’t need me.  Sure, Fagan didn’t need Xaver, but Xaver never would’ve pointed a weapon at a women he was trying to hire.
 “We don’t even have a desk for her to sit at.  Or a computer.  Or a room for her to sleep in.”
 Xaver never would’ve argued about hiring her, either, least not this much.
 “Oh no.  I’m not sleeping here,” Katalynne said, “I’m two seconds away from not working here, either.”
 “That’s fair,” Fagan said, “I know what this must look like.”
 “I don’t think you do.”
 Fagan chuckled as he walked up to Katalynne, effectively stepping between her and Alix to give him a chance to cool down.   “Look, I told you that this would be more interesting than your last job, right?”
 “Is it more interesting because there isn’t a bathroom?”
 “There is one, actually, because Alix and I live here.”
 “It’s more like a toilet with walls around it,” Alix muttered.
 Katalynne looked thoroughly disgusted, “Right, gas station it is,” she whispered before she changed the subject, “Are you two runaways?”
 “I beg your pardon?”  Alix glared at her, “We are not runaways.”
 “Are you criminals then?”
 “No!”  Alix snapped, “Do we look like we’d commit a crime?”
 Katalynne looked up at Fagan then back at Alix before she raised an eyebrow,  “Do you really want an answer to that question?”
 “Well he might look like it but I certainly wouldn’t do such a thing.”
 “Is your boyfriend always like this?”  Katalynne asked.
 Both Fagan and Alix stared at the woman in front of them in shock.  Alix was the first to react, eyes wild and insulted, “He is not my boyfriend!  No.  No way.  Never!”
 “Did you have to deny it that much?”  Fagan asked.
 “Right, because you’re the most suitable man for me to be interested in.”
 “With that attitude I probably am.”
 “Look, I don’t care what your relationship status is.”  Katalynne crossed her arms and frowned at both men.  She was getting colder by the minute in this warehouse and more irritated at the fact that she had worn her favorite heels for this quote, unquote, job.  “You have about thirty seconds to tell me why I shouldn’t walk away from this hole in the ground.”
 Without warning Fagan reached behind his back and pulled out a sword.  Katalynne hadn’t even noticed it before, too busy recovering from the shock of having a gun aimed at her.  A sword, however, was a bit more shocking, because who the hell actually carried a sword around unless if it was for the Renaissance Festival or one of those geektastic conventions that happened throughout the year?  At those conventions, however, the swords would be nothing but props.  Katalynne had a feeling that the blade in Randall’s hand was different.  Oh good she thought to herselftwo traumatizing events in one day.
 Fagan held the sword out for Katalynne to look over before he said, “Touch it.”
 Katalynne raised an eyebrow.  Fearful or not, did this man really have to hit on her all the time?  He was much worse than Laurence.  “Is this some kind of bad sexual innuendo?  Because I already made it abundantly clear that-”
 “Not in front of Alix,” Fagan chuckled, “But maybe later in private.”
 Alix rolled his eyes and muttered something under his breath.  Katalynne thought she recognized it as French, but she wasn’t sure.
 “Why do I have to touch it?  Can’t I just look at it?”
 “Not if you want to fully understand what kind of work we do.”
 Katalynne looked hesitant for a moment, quietly warring with herself over whether or not she should go along with this.  Red pill or blue pill, Katalynne?  On the one hand she felt like she should get the hell out of there and, most definitely, call the police.  Surely Minneapolis’ finest would want to know about these men who carried weapons around like water bottles in the park.
 On the other hand… it was intriguing.
 Who were these two men and what did they do that required having guns and swords on hand, especially bizarrely crafted swords like the one in front of her.  Dark black like fresh tar on the road, when she looked closer she could see red lines caked into the blade like pulsing veins.
 “Trust me,” Fagan whispered, and there was something in his voice that spoke to her.  He obviously knew what this whole situation looked like.  Katalynne suddenly got the feeling that he’d been in her shoes not too long ago and even Alix was quiet, waiting on her reaction.
 Red pill it is.  
 Katalynne slowly began to run her fingers along the blade of the sword.  She swore that it was getting warmer as she touched it, like an oven being turned on and waiting for the heat to rise.  But then things got even stranger, somehow, in that empty warehouse.  The sword started to glow, light shining off of it like a flashlight.  That only happened in the movies right?  It had to be a trick, a simple gag or special effect.  As if reading her thoughts — no, there’s no way that could be possible, yet all of the sudden she could hear a low, pulsating sound.
 A heartbeat.  It was just like a heartbeat, soft and in tune with her own breathing.  The small red lines seem to come to life from her touch.  They were flowing, the red of those wrinkled lines, and suddenly she knew that she wasn’t touching some inanimate object.
 The sword was, somehow, alive.
 Katalynne quickly pulled her hand away and slowly looked up at Fagan.  “W-what the hell was that?”
 Fagan chuckled and pull the sword back in its hilt.  “It seems that Eegil likes you.”
 “The sword,”  Alix said with a sour look on his face, “I told Fagan not to keep him.”
 Him?  Eegil?  The sword had a name and a gender assigned to it?  “So you’re saying that the sword… is alive?”  She knew what the answer was. The sword had felt like a living thing when she touched it.  It had a heartbeat, a pulse, it had all of the things a normal human being would have.
 Human.  What a funny term that was.
 “He is alive,” Fagan said, “This is part of what we do.”
 “No, it’s not.  We kill things like this not keep them.”
 Katalynne stared at Alix as she tried to decipher the meaning of that sentence.  “Kill? Things like this?”
 “Not in this case, Alix.  I’ve already told you that Eegil will be useful to us.”
 The argument sounded old, like something they yelled about numerous times.  Or maybe Alix had been the one yelling while Fagan tuned him out.  Katalynne pushed those thoughts aside to get back to the topic at hand.  It wasn’t a good sign that she was already figuring out how these two men acted around each other.  “Can we go back to the whole, you know, kill things like this part?
 “We’re Hunters,” Alix said as Fagan nodded his agreement.  ”Our job is to hunt down demons.”
 “Hunt?  D-demons?”  Katalynne eyes widened as she spoke those words.  “Is demons a code word for something else?”  It had to be, right?  Demons were something from fairytales, the evil trolls who lived under the bridge or the mutilated monstrosities whispered about around a campfire.
 “I assure you it’s not-”
 “Is it code for assassinating humans?”  Katalynne asked, growing more frantic by the second.  If demons didn’t exist — and they most certainly did not — that meant that these men hunted something, and there was no way that a sword that strange was used on Bambi’s mother.  “Y-you wouldn’t assassinate a pretty little secretary with great legs, would you?  That would be a waste right?”  She tried to make it sound like a joke but the tremble in her voice spoke otherwise.
 Fagan laughed, “No code word.  I mean demons, period.  And for the record I wouldn’t kill a pretty little secretary, as you so elegantly put it.”
 “You can’t be serious.  Demons don’t exist.”
 “I know it’s hard to believe, but now that you’ve touched Eegil you have a better idea of the situation.  This blade is from another world.  A world full of demons; inhuman creatures who we hunt down when they enter into our world.”
 Katalynne quietly took in everything Fagan was telling her, letting it process in the back of her head.
 Demons were real?  Check.
 There was an entire world full of them?  Check.
 These men hunted them down and, for some reason, wanted her to be a part of this crazy operation?  Double check?
 “Um… c-can I sit down?”
 “There’s no chairs in this area,” Fagan frowned a bit because, shit, the least he could do was have a chair at the ready for her.  “Sorry about that.”
 Katalynne did her best to make up for it and backed up until there was a wall she could lean against.
 “How do you plan on hiring a secretary when we don’t even have enough chairs here?”  Alix asked.
 “He has a point,” Katalynne said, grasping that slight annoyance as a thing to keep her sanity, “If a woman is going to panic about weird things she at least needs a place to sit.”
 “All right, all right.  We’ll go out and get some furniture.  The thrift store-”
 “Thrift?”  Katalynne raised an eyebrow, “Oh no.  Absolutely not.  I want a real desk, chair, and you sure as hell better get me a good coffee maker.”
 “You want?”  Fagan smirked.  “Only employees get to make demands.”
 Katalynne frowned at the trap she’d just walked into.  Employees, huh?  She had to admit that as strange as this was it was infinitely more interesting than her last job.  She, at least, wanted to know more about this whole demons are real phenomenon and she knew that a single meeting wasn’t going to get her questions answered.  “Fine.  I’ll stay for a week, at least, just to see what this is all about.”
 “And I expect to be paid for this trial, even if I decide to leave afterwards.”
 “Of course.”
 “I hope you can afford me,” Katalynne said, “That is one thing that my previous employer did very well.”
 “We can definitely negotiate-”
 “Negotiate?  No.  If I have to deal with all of this weird shit it’s not going to be a negotiation, it’s going to be on my terms.  Completely.”
 Fagan frowned.  “Weren’t you afraid about a minute ago?”
 “I was,” Katalynne said with a sweet smile, “Then I realized that a job like this has significant risks attached to it.  I assume you’re willing to pay for that fact.”
Alix chuckled when he saw the look on Fagan’s face.  Perhaps this woman wouldn’t be so bad after all.

“Seeking the Storyteller” can be purchased at the following:
2.  Etsy physical copy (autographed by authors and includes a free chibi character sketch)

Cover art by: Stephen “Lor” Raffill.  You can find more of his work here:

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

WisCon Notes Part 1: Women in History, Taking Care of the Writer's Body and Random Important things

So, this last weekend I was at WisCon, a feminist writing con and for once I wasn't selling our books.  We were going from panel to panel and I was writing notes the entire time.  So here's the stuff I wrote down for myself to use and anyone else who can use them as well.  Some of my notes are sporadic, sorry about that.  I mostly wrote down the stuff I would use.

The Once and Future Badass

* This panel basically went through historical women who actually lived and kicked ass!
* Olympias - mother of Alexander the Great
* "They Fought Like Demons" - women who dressed as men and fought in the Civil War
* Harriet Wilson - premiere courtesan
* "I, Claudius" - book recommendation
* "Princesses Behaving Badly" - historical princesses who unsettled people
* "Sin in the Second City" - novel focusing on the biggest brothel in Chicago

Care for the Writer's Body

* "The Practice of the Wild" - Other animals only approach humans when we dance and sing and that might be our place on earth as a whole, to create art in all forms
* Sugar severely affects your body.  Alzheimer's is being called Type 3 diabetes
* Sugar is connected to short term memory
* Good practice to get up every hour for a few minutes
* Bic feedback is a program that tells you if you're sitting wrong or hitting the keys too harshly, etc things like that
* Human bodies need to be rested and supported, leaning back can take the pressure off your spine
* Check out 'zero gravity chairs'
* Sitting also exhausts you
* Practice 'dynamic sitting' - basically sit up straight and tighten your core and butt, then release to about 10%
* If you sit for too long your body basically goes into hibernation.
* Check out the 'wishbone pen', it forces you to hold the pen correctly - also known as 'pen again'
* They do sell under desk bike petals
* You need variety, one tool will not cure everything, so don't rely on it.  Also, you can build up an immunity to tools and find that you'll still have to switch later
* RSI Performer - a timer for your computer that tells you to take a break
* Check out vertical mice and trackball mice if you have issues with your wrist and a normal mouse
* Habit RPG - an app that you can track your habits with and gain exp
* Zombie running app - running app that has episodes and tells you when to run from zombies
* Fuel in your body makes a big difference
-- crunchy and salty and sweet speed up your metabolism
-- however if you do fats and proteins it makes your body more level and works better
-- protein helps your writing if you have it for breakfast instead of carbs
-- might be worth trying an Elimination diet to see how your body reacts to different foods and what makes you feel the best. 

* Make a list of small physical things to do each day to remind yourself to move
* Check out 'desk aerobics' and 'office yoga'
* Pay attention to your body!
* Yoga and Taichi help
* "Get fit where you sit" - yoga website for sitting at the office
* - cool tools - tools and items at a cheaper price for your home office and use
* Intuflow - exercises for every joint - low impact
* Take the arms off your office chair so your arms can't rest
* If you work at home - get dressed for work, it helps put you in the mindset even if you never leave the house. 

Random Notes to Remember

* "Lee Hoffman - Room 777"
* "Parable of the Sewer"
* "Inheritance Trilogy"
* "Nerdgasm"
* Look up 'Black Nerdgirl podcast'
* Cyberology - a sociology blog on geeks and online things
* Look up information on "The Jester" - hacker, reference for Storyteller series
* NBC's "To Catch a Predator" - used as a tool to teach their daughter what can happen online to people
* Why do we need a clean slate online?  Why are we forced to create two different 'selves'?  Why can't we just be ourselves?
* Why are we told to protect ourselves online vs working on stopping people who actually hurt others online?  This is actually victim blaming
* Survival traditions - stuff people do and create to survive
* "Tremaine" - New Orleans show after Katrina

I have more notes, I'll post them in another entry coming soon. 

Character Days: Gregory Conan Watts from Dawn of Steam: First Light

Back from WisCon and finally I have a break!  Time to catch up on my sleep and get some editing done on the sequel for Seeking the Storyteller, I'm looking forward to getting a lot of work done.

I took a lot of notes at WisCon and will be sharing those once I get them sorted out and typed up.

In the meantime:

Gregory Conan Watts from Dawn of Steam: First Light

Tell me a little about yourself and the world you live in.
I grew up in the English countryside, in my family's ancestral estates, though time and a lack of resources have them in somewhat poor repair. For most of the past five years, I was an aide-de-camp and war reporter during the Napoleonic conflict, stationed all over the battlefronts of the western European mainland. With the war recently concluded in England's favor, I've returned home to seek gainful employment sufficient to convince my fiance's father that I can provide for his only daughter.

Tell us your most closely guarded secret?
I can't say that I have many. My relations would prefer that I was more secretive about, for example, the family being long on tradition but short on wealth, certainly. I'm very poor at secrecy in general, occasionally to my detriment.

Tell us about your single most important memory. What was it and how does it affect you now?
All of my fondest memories involve my childhood with my fiance. My sweet Cordelia and I grew up together, playing at whatever games struck her wild imaginations. Most often, it would involve her running off on some new flight of fancy, and finding myself racing along somewhere between being swept up in the fantasy and going along to keep the both of us out of trouble.
Poor health and propriety keep her from running about quite so much these days, but I remain very much swept up in her.

What type of person are you? Are you a hero or do you shy away from conflict?
I am a man gifted with good vision, large ears, an excellent memory and an abundance of courage. Sadly, as far as my soldiering career goes, what I had no instinct for was aggression. Thankfully, circumstance found a place for me.
I am not a hero myself, but I have the great fortune of having been hired to travel with and document the adventures of the greatest heroes of this age.

Do you have any hobbies, any special talents?
My hobbies have largely been translated into occupation, for while I lack a full University education, I have an appreciation for the written word and a good eye for detail. This combination of talents was deemed perfect for an officer's aide, and then, after the very special war reporter that was sent from London died, I inherited his job and the portable camera device he brought with him to France. I have become adept enough in its use that I have been permitted to keep it for the purposes of documenting the mission I've been given, even though the device, one of four in existence, is worth more than my life by any reasonable accounting.

And in that line, what would be your ideal day?
My ideal day is some way off yet. When I have gained enough fame and wealth to be worthy of her father's esteem, I will marry my betrothed, and spend what time I am able at home. I can hope in the meanwhile that her ill health is resolved, and she regains some of the energy of her youth.

Do you have anyone close to you, any family or friends of interest?
The Benthams, both Cordelia, and her father, the Colonel, have been as close or closer than my own family since I was young. They were part of the new elite, made wealthy by the tides of war and salvage, but had few contacts with England's higher social circles. My own family, in turn, had a great deal of history and an esteemed name behind it, but had left its days of wealth and plenty behind. As the poor Irish cousin to this line, I was left somewhat on the outs, until such time as the Colonel helped see to my education and direction. Even now, he has nothing but the highest regards for me, but he and I are agreed that if I am to marry his daughter, I must show myself capable of supporting her by my own merits.

What is your most prized possession?
Among its many inventions, Oxford created a wondrous device capable of recording images. In the years since, through apparently very difficult and expensive processes, they have been able to duplicate this wonder in miniature. The expense was such that only four prototypes were made. I was in the company of the holder of one of these when he died, and he passed it on to me. To my surprise, the paper has allowed me to keep it in exchange for my solemn vow to protect it with my life, and a further promise to continue to send them images of interest.

What initially spurred your actions in this story?  Obviously it had to start somewhere for you, give us an idea of where that starting point is and where it all started.
I was contacted by the esteemed Lord Donovan. He has entered into a wager with one of his peers regarding the truth or falsehood of the presumed fictional travel journals of Dr. Robert Bowe. The journals claim to tell the truth of what lies in many of the world's most remote regions, with a breadth that should be impossible to cover in one man's lifetime, at least without a dirigible, which only the military possess. Only the military, and war hero Sir James Coltrane.
I have been offered a significant sum, and a chance to gain great fame in service to my nation if I can help recruit Sir James and a number of other notables to the cause of exploration and resolving this bet for the Lords. Aside from their simple wager, the nation is hungry for inspiration in these post-war days. Lord Donovan believes that photographs of England's brightest son conquering the unknown and the impossible will provide just such an inspiration, and he has invested an incredible fortune into making that dream a reality.

How do you envision your future?
We have an incredible adventure lined up ahead of us. I relish the opportunity to go on this one last venture in the company of heroes. I will hope that my photographs and journals will help to provide a window into this epic tale for all of the Empire. Once that is done, however, I will hope my days as a soldier and adventurer will be at an end, and I will have an opportunity to settle into the life of a landowner and husband.

Tell us where we can read more about you?
Dawn of Steam: First Light was released on February 27th on It is currently available im softcover and Kindle formats. The second book in the Dawn of Steam series is on track to be released in September 2014.

Author: Jeffrey Cook (with Sarah Symonds)
Author's blog or website: and

Character Days: Grant Mason from Locked in Time

Two announcements before we get to the interview for today!

The first: we have a new review for Seeking the Storyteller, which you can read over on our friend's blog.

Also, a new promo has been posted for my partner's first book Treat Me Kindly.  This includes an excerpt and don't forget you can still take advantage of the special anniversary sale!

Character Days: Grant Mason from Locked in Time

Tell me a little about yourself and the world you live in.  
 I was adopted in central Oregon  at the age of about 8, my adoptive parents were alcoholics and verbally abusive. I found solace I my books and music, which were often destroyed by my stepdad when he would get angry. I left home for the Navy when I turned 18 and never looked back

Tell us your most closely guarded secret? Well that would need to be kept close to the vest, but let's just say what didn't kill me made me stronger

Tell us about your single most important memory.  What was it and how does it affect you now? My arrival in the Philippines in 1983 would have to be the one that affected me most, because that is where everything was set into motion.

What type of person are you?  Are you a hero or do you shy away from conflict?  I would not say I am a hero, but as I have gotten older I have grown more confident
and willing to stand up for myself and my family

Do you have any hobbies, any special talents? I have a knack for computers, especially design of software. As for hobbies, I love baseball and football, which my wife Claire got me turned onto. (The Cubs and Bears of course.) 

And in that line, what would be your ideal day?  A day in the park or at the lake with my wife Claire and daughter Amelia, along with our German shepherd Ruger

Do you have anyone close to you, any family or friends of interest? Mainly my wife and daughter, and my bosses Henry and Lyle Jacobs. They recruited me right out of college, and have been amazing people to have in my life

What is your most prized possession? Memories of my life with my family, and the silver crucifix someone gave to me while I was hospitalized in the Philippines

What initially spurred your actions in this story.  Obviously it had to start somewhere for you, give us an idea of where that starting point is and where it all started. When I left the ship that night with Cowboy, against my better judgment and wanting to make friends, that started the whole thing rolling. That would have been Subic Bay, November 1983 in a small bar called Butterflies off the main drag

How do you envision your future? Hopeful, like most people, for a long prosperous and loving life with my family

Tell us where we can read more about you?  
 The Chains That Bind and The Link That Shines (the prequel)-these have now been combined into one full length book, "LOCKED IN TIME"

Author: R.L. Seago
Buy link: or
Author's blog or website:

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Character Days: Crystal Christiana from Farm House

Back from Anime Central and I'm happy to report we sold quite a few copies of our books!

I have a new form for Character Days and authors who would like me to interview their characters.  Please follow the link and fill out the form if you'd like to take advantage of this feature of my blog

Now, since I'm super busy this week and have another con this weekend, we have two character interviews today!

Crystal Christiana from Farm House

Tell me a little about yourself and the world you live in. 

I have lived off the goodness of others since I was eight years old, whether they wanted to or not. When I was real little, I had to hide a lot as most adults would try to steal a kid like me. Some would want to take me to a police station, but some others wanted to take me to...other places. I learned pretty early on what those kind of people wanted.

When I got older, it got easier. But the whole time all I really wanted was to get to my real parents. The ones who wanted me dead. Mommy hated me, (that's what daddy said right before he hit me and tried to bury me) and he was the one to do it. I didn't hold anything against my baby sister except for the fact that they wanted her more than me. But in the end, I would make them all pay for what was done to me. After all...I've been practicing.

Tell us your most closely guarded secret?

My whole life has been a secret. Just a dirty secret with nothing but lies and betrayal told to me. My only real secret is my wish that I could get to them all sooner.

Tell us about your single most important memory.  What was it and how does it affect you now?

Daddy buying me ice-cream, then telling me we were going to play hide and seek in the woods. I remember hiding behind a tree and feeling warm and loved as I heard him softly calling my name. But when he found me, he hurt me. So my best memory in the world is also my worst memory in the world. I still dream about it every night and think about it every day.

What type of person are you?  Are you a hero or do you shy away from conflict?  

Me shy? Oh no! Most people like me right away and I know all the boys like me. But usually they end up reminding me in some way of my father, so they have to go away too. It's not their fault, really. But it's not mine, either.

Do you have any hobbies, any special talents?

I learned pretty early that a person will bleed out until they are unconscious in less than five minutes if you cut one of the blue veins. Otherwise, they can make a lot of noise for a long time. If that happens, I just keep at them until they stop.

And in that line, what would be your ideal day?  

Mostly just being left alone. I study a lot and make plans, so it's really distracting when people bother me. Also, when something bad happens to them, I need to leave and go to another place, which can be a real hassle sometimes.

Do you have anyone close to you, any family or friends of interest?

I only trust myself. Or is that not clear to you? Do you need a lesson, too?

What is your most prized possession?

My hate. It has kept me warm at night and fed me when I was hungry; it's like a burning lamp that the wick never goes down on. Whenever I had second thoughts or doubts, it would take my hand and remind me, over and over, to finish the job.

What initially spurred your actions in this story.  Obviously it had to start somewhere for you, give us an idea of where that starting point is and where it all started.

It started with daddy. I learned later he just wanted money from killing me. I heard once that money is the root of all evil...the God-book said that, but God never said who had to sign the paycheck.

How do you envision your future? 

After I'm done with mommy and daddy and probably my sister Jules, I don't know what I will do. Maybe join the Army or something, since I already know how to kill.

Tell us where we can read more about you?  (The book(s) they are featured in)

My name is Crystal Christiana, and you can read my whole story in a book called, 'Farm House'. The guy who wrote it said that he had to stop a bunch of times when writing about me because I disturbed him. I kinda like that. Anyway, that's where I'll be!

Author: Steve Soderquist

Buy link:,, and many other fine retailers.
Author's blog or website:

Monday, May 12, 2014

Character Days: Princess Buttermilk Biscuit

A special Character Days for this monday, with a very unique guest ^__^

Character name: Princess Buttermilk Biscuit (BB for short)

Book(s) name: The Hall of Doors series (The Mountains of the Moon, The Door in the Sky, The Mirror Door, The Secret Door, The Water Door …and more to come)

Tell me a little about yourself and the world you live in.  

Most of my early life was spent in what you consider the “real” world. As a kitten, I went to live with my first girl, Elizabeth, or Liz. She was only ten, old for a cat but quite young for a human. We lived in a small town in the United States, in a big two-story house with Elizabeth’s family. The family was kind and loving, and generally treated me with the respect due a superior species.  

My mother had told me about visiting another world, by way of a magic gate that would sometimes appear when the moon was full. So I began to “climb the moonbeam” to visit Selena in her fairy castle, but I always came home to Elizabeth. Eventually Elizabeth grew up, married, and had a kitten-- I mean daughter—of her own. Her mate didn’t stick around long, so Elizabeth, Samantha Jane, and I all moved back into the old family house, and I continued to divide my time between my human girls and my fairy friend, Selena.

Selena lives in a big castle, which her father built around a collection of magical gateways that connect to many different worlds. Starting from  the “Hall of Doors” and then making connections at various world gates, you can travel to almost anywhere in the fairy universe. As a roving troubleshooter for Selena, I’ve done a lot of traveling.

Tell us your most closely guarded secret?

My human family in the “real” world doesn’t know I can understand every word they say, and can talk as well as they can. For some reason, they can only understand what I’m saying when we’re in the fairy worlds. That’s their problem, not mine. Oh, and maybe I shouldn’t even admit this, but I actually like most dogs. Don’t tell anyone that, please. It would damage my reputation with other cats.

Tell us about your single most important memory.  What was it and how does it affect you now?

Oh, dear. I wouldn’t want to give away the ending of my first story. Let’s just say that Samantha Jane had to make a very difficult decision, one that affected my life as well as hers, and I was proud of what she did, even though it was hard for both of us.

What type of person are you?  Are you a hero or do you shy away from conflict?  

Selena, that’s Princess Selena, actually, has sent me on many diplomatic missions, for the purpose of maintaining peace between her allies while her father, King Argent, is away leading the war against The Dark. In my experience, heroics are rarely called for, and are usually the result of poor planning or lack of control. I prefer talking things out to fighting, but generally I feel I can handle just about anything. I am a cat, after all.            
Do you have any hobbies, any special talents?

I don’t know that you’d call them special talents as opposed to just normal cat qualities. I can see the magic gates, which are hidden to humans and many other lesser creatures. I see what’s really there instead of being deceived by illusions, and I never get lost. I’m a skilled negotiator, and can deal calmly with dragons, manic pixies, and carnivorous flowers as well as quarrelsome humans and fairies. Hobbies? Well, I sometimes feel kittenish and like chasing a ball.

And in that line, what would be your ideal day?

My ideal day would consist of eating plenty of fish with a little cream on the side, and spending a lot of time napping in the sunshine.  Maybe a little ball chasing or playing with feather toys, if I felt like exerting myself. Actually, any day that doesn’t involve dangerous adventures, negotiating truces, or traveling by water sounds like a good day to me. Because Selena depends on me so heavily, I don’t get a lot of ideal days.

Do you have anyone close to you, any family or friends of interest?

For humans, there’s Samantha, of course—she prefers to be called Sammy. I like her friend, Kerri, also. Princess Selena is my closest friend amongst the fairies. Aeryk and Dorlyn, the shape-shifting elf-unicorns, are nice but I don’t see them often. My many-times-great granddaughter, Peaches, has come to live with Sammy; she still has some growing up to do, but she’s becoming a feline to be proud of. She’s quite attractive also, cream-colored with a large brown patch on her back that makes her look like a perfect fresh-baked biscuit, just like me. That’s how I got my name, by the way. The “princess” part is in recognition of my proper, regal attitude.

What is your most prized possession?

Cats aren’t as materialistic as you humans. I don’t really “own” anything, but humans and fairies seem more than happy to provide me with whatever I need or desire at the moment. Why bother with possessions when the universe is full of willing servants?

What initially spurred your actions in this story.  Obviously it had to start somewhere for you, give us an idea of where that starting point is and where it all started.

Well, you’d have to ask my author about that. I believe it all began when a young granddaughter, having been asked what she wanted in her next birthday gift story, responded “Write about a little girl like me, whose parents split up and her cat died.” The author decided to comfort her granddaughter by changing the story—she couldn’t do much about the absent father, but what if the cat didn’t die, but just went off to some magical place? What if the cat climbed a moonbeam and went walking on the “mountains of the moon?” Not the “real” moon, of course, but a special, magical place.  Within the story, it begins with Sammy being curious, and working out a way to follow me.

How do you envision your future? 

I expect to keep having adventures with Sammy. She’s a remarkable girl, brave, clever, determined, and willing to learn. She’s even learning to “think like a cat.” I’m very proud of her.

Tell us where we can read more about you?  

I’m in all of the Hall of Doors books; not all are available as yet.

Author: Janice Clark
Book cover /Picture of the character

Here I am on the book cover; the shadows make my fur look darker.

Author's website:

Author’s blog: 

Artist’s website:
Any other information you think is important that you would like to include. 

The Hall of Doors series was originally conceived as an “early reader” collection, with a black-and-white interior illustration for each chapter making it a transition stage from picture book to chapter book. Three books were released as individual paperbacks. After the original publisher went out of business, Solstice Publishing picked up the series.  As one of their editors pointed out, the books are not only suitable for young readers, but for older readers who need something simple to read without being babyish. A three-in-one combo of the three previously published books has been released in both print and ebook formats. The wonderful illustrations by artist J.W. Kalin have been retained, with the original cover art migrating to the inside.  Publication is pending for two more books, and the author is thinking about more.

In The Mountains of the Moon, Sammy’s worried. Her cat has disappeared again. No one knows where Princess Buttermilk Biscuit goes on full-moon nights. Will she come back this time?
When Sammy follows her cat up a moonbeam to a world of mist and moonlight, she meets Selena, who lives in a beautiful fairy-tale castle. Sammy is fascinated by the Hall of Doors with its magical portals to other worlds. But the dreamlike adventure turns into a nightmare when Sammy is faced with the hardest decision of her life. Will she have the courage to make the right choice?

In The Door in the Sky, Sammy learns that love and friendship are stronger than fear, as she and Selena take a dragon ride and open a perilous spellbound treasure box.

The Mirror Door leads Sammy to one challenge after another, including fire-spitting jabberwocks, carniverous “humpties,” and an aggressive dandelion. Can she solve the mystery that threatens to start a war? Most important of all, can she keep her temper?

Coming soon: The Secret Door

Sammy feels as though her world has caved in when her mom has to move to another city to get work.  She grasps what may be her last chance to introduce her friend Kerri to Selena’s world, and the two are off on an exciting adventure to rescue BB and group of homeless refugees.  Their allies include shape-shifting elves who can turn into unicorns, and dragon-hunting, nomadic kizzees, who look a little like koalas.  Both the kizzees and the unicorns are exiles from Princess Selena’s home world, displaced by The Dark, and parties to an age-old feud, which complicates matters a little.

Also: in The Water Door  Sammy, her friend Kerri, little cousin Maggie and the cats cross the Sea of Storms to a distant island, where a family quarrel is about to erupt into a war. A young water dragon comes to the rescue when their trip is interrupted by a storm. Once they make it to the island, little Maggie is the hero of the day when she rescues a fairy child, assisted by helpful bees and a friendly python. (Illustration are in progress.)