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The Protagonist Speaks

Interviews with the characters of your favourite books

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Double Interview

Simon Strong and Tristan Montague (of Tombyards & Butterflies, by Orlando A. Sanchez)

Dear readers, tonight we print an interview by an author, who went into his protagonists’ world to interview them. These are the owners of Montague & Strong, New York City’s premier supernatural detective agencies.


I’m sitting at a large table in the back of The Last Gasp Brew – a coffee and tea shop located in lower Manhattan when they walk in. Right away you can see the contrast. Simon stands around six foot tall and has a casual air about him. He’s wearing a leather pea-coat, black jeans and a light gray sweater. His bronze complexion is off-set by the shockingly white hair that sits atop his head. He looks around for a few seconds, sees me, gives me a wave and a smile as he approaches. He slides into the chair opposite me.

Behind him glides in Tristan who looks like he just left a martial arts class. His eyes scan the room and he exudes a quiet danger as he enters the shop. He’s wearing what appears to be a black loose-fitting tai-chi uniform. He’s not as tall as Simon, but his presence makes him appear to fill the space around him. His complexion is darker than Simon’s and his hair is a deep black with gray at the temples.

They sit at the table opposite me, both facing the door. Simon and I shake hands, Tristan gives me a curt nod.

Orlando: Thank you both for meeting me here tonight. I know your schedule is usually busy working cases. I really appreciate it. By the way the coffee here is excellent.

Tristan: You only say that because you haven’t tried the tea. It’s our pleasure. Thank you for having us.

I notice that Tristan has a slight English accent while Simon sounds very ‘New York’.

Simon: No one drinks tea anymore.

Tristan: Except maybe most of the civilized world.

Orlando: Thanks again. I didn’t realize how difficult arranging this interview would be. You two must have some of the busiest schedules in the city.

Simon: Well it’s not like we had a choice – what I mean is you are… you know?

Simon makes some gestures I don’t understand with his hands and Tristan sighs.

Tristan: What he means is that he’s happy to be here answering questions. You’ll have to excuse him, sometimes he’s as tactful as a brick.

Simon looks at Tristan and chuckles. He takes off his coat and reclines in the large wing-back chair. His laugh is infectious and I find myself smiling. Tristan responds with a brief smile, but remains mostly serious and vigilant. I get the impression he has assessed everyone in the shop and found no imminent threats.

Simon: What the worst he can do, Monty? He did make me immortal you know. Try and relax.

I look down at my notes and prepare my first question.

Orlando: About that- you’re immortal?

Simon: The technical term is ‘cursed alive’. Apparently Kali-

Orlando: Kali as in the goddess Kali the destroyer? Shiva’s consort?

Simon: Yeah that one. Well I was on this job for Shiva-

Tristan: Which I told him not to take. I distinctly remember advising you against getting involved with those two.

Simon: Anyway- Shiva asked me to get some information, things I’m not at liberty to discuss. Kali found out what I was doing and lost it. She went ballistic and marked me with this.

Simon shows me the back of his left hand. An intricate design is etched into his skin.

Orlando: What is that?

Simon: It’s called an endless knot. She basically stopped me from aging.

Orlando: I’m not seeing the downside. She made you immortal. You don’t age. This may sound odd, but can you die?

Simon: Can you?

Orlando: Well yes, I haven’t been cursed by an angry goddess.

Simon: Well so can I. The problem is that I wont stay dead. Even worse is that I don’t know how I’ll come back. It’s not something I’m eager to test. You know?

Orlando: I can understand your reluctance.

Tristan: His immortality may be conditional, is what he’s trying to say. He could very well die and return as a goat. Which would be an improvement if you ask me.

Simon: He didn’t ask you, Monty.

Continue reading “Simon Strong and Tristan Montague (of Tombyards & Butterflies, by Orlando A. Sanchez)”

The character cast (of Unveiling, by Zel Winter)

Dear readers, tonight we host a rather chaotic interview with five characters out of a novel’s cast. They are here to tell us about a world in which powerful Immortal beings battle for justice in a magical world just beyond the veil of our own — all while continually bickering about spoilers.


Hello everybody, tonight on the interview couch are part of the cast from Unveiling. Could you please introduce yourselves, and helps us know who’s who?

🙋♀️ Hi, I’m Nina. (a little wave)

🦇 Dan. (quick short nod)

🙎🏻 My name is Maya. (curtsy)

🐺 Lupus. (short snort)

🧛🏻 Hey, (speaking in a heavy Spanish accent) I’m Franco. (sits further away from the rest).

Nina, tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?

🙋♀️ My early childhood was with my adoptive parents, and they were great. I wouldn’t say, though, that’s where I grew up. I was in foster care from the age eleven. I’m not gonna lie to you or the fans, it was tough: but I learned how to stand up for myself. I remember Tony, one of my foster brothers, he would get into kids faces and intimidate them to do the most ridiculous things one could think of. He told this one kid to shave our foster dad’s eyebrows. The kid did it. When Ronny woke up, he freaked! We had to run and hide. Three days, (she puts her 3 fingers up), three days I slept outdoors. He tried it on me a couple of times. I told him to get lost. For some reason, he stopped bothering me.

Lupus, do you have any cherished memories?

🐺 Funny you should ask. My generation was the first to start shifting into human form. AncientWeres could, but didn’t. There was no reason. So, when this new thing started to happen, all of us left our parents’ and started our own pack. At that time, we didn’t know we were supposed to walk on two legs, so we walked on all four. We also had no control over it, so when it happened it was both surprising and painful. We were clumsy, slow and hungry all the time. One time, my brother stopped shifting halfway so his right side was human while his left was in wolf form. When we saw him, we didn’t recognize him and ran away. It took him hours to calm down and complete the shift. Sometimes, we still laugh about it. I wouldn’t change a thing, I cherish those memories.

Franco, what do you do now?

🧛🏻 Me and my kind, have a grand plan. I can’t talk about it, but we are going to stick it to those other immortals. They won’t even know it’s coming, and then, KABOOM! (he makes a gesture of explosion with his hands).

🙎🏻 KABOOM?

🧛🏻 Well, not really kaboom, but you know what I mean.

🙎🏻 No, I really don’t.

🧛🏻 (He faces the host) See? That means I piqued the curiosity, yet didn’t reveal anything specific. Mission accomplished.

Dan, Lupus, what can you tell us about your latest adventure?

🦇 It was a good fight. We won.

🐺 It was fantastic, and loads of fun. Just imagine bursting into the enemy compound, killing the monsters, freeing the dam…

🦇 Spoiler!

🐺 So much more I can’t tell you about. This guy, (he points to Dan), he goes under the radar, in more ways than one, but mostly because he is dust

🦇 SPOILER!!!

🐺 What did I say?

🦇 You said ‘dust’.

🐺Dust is nothing, it’s dust.

🦇 Dust is a spoiler.

🐺 Fine, I hate being interrupted. Where was I? Oh, ya, this guy, (points to Dan), if you piss him off, it’s your funeral. I saw him once kill eight beasts, before the first one hit the floor. That’s how lethal he is.

Dan, you gonna show us some moves?

🦇 (vaguely smiles) I don’t think so.

C’mon Dan, just a couple of moves.

🦇 I’m not really pissed off. (He turns to Franco). Any volunteers, Franco? No? (Dan shrugs). Sorry.

Maya, what did you first think when you saw Nina?

🙎🏻 I thought I was going crazy. With the ordeal that happened the night before, I still thought I was drugged or hallucinating. It was like looking in the mirror but not. I remember blinking repeatedly and looking around for monsters. It took me a while to compose myself. The cup of coffee helped, along with hearing Nina through my ears and not as a random voice in my head.

Hey Dan, what was the scariest thing in your first mission?

🦇 I thought she might turn. There is nothing worse than accidentally turning someone you ca…

🙋♀️ Spoiler!!

🦇 What? I thought they already knew.

🙋♀️ (quietly) Spoiler.

🦇 Really? (looks around, everybody nods). Fine…that’s why I don’t say much.

Nina, what is the worst thing about your rescue?

🙋♀️ The previous misjudgement of my rescuer.  In my eyes, he went from hero to zero like this, (she snaps her fingers). I had one view of him and then within a blink of an eye, I witnessed a triple murder, got kidnapped again, this time by him, and then thought I’d became a fugitive on the run from the police. Could that day get any worse???

What is the best thing about it?

🙋♀️ I can’t tell you the best part, but, I’m still here, alive and not running from the police. That’s pretty good, right? (looks around, everybody nods).

Dan, tell us a little about your friends.

🦇 I’ve been lucky. I have friends among all species. All present (except one 🧛🏻) are my friends. But, I think you want to hear about those who are not here. (He adjusts himself comfortably in the chair).

Yes?

🦇 What? Oh, you want me to tell you about them? OK, where do I start?

My brother is by far the person I trust the most.

Weres’ Alpha, Lav – a WereLion, is a strong leader and a good friend to have. Weres are great; they can communicate telepathically. They do it when in their beastly form or if they want to keep a secret from Faes. 

Faes are…refreshing and a little odd. I mostly interact with FaeRaven when passing messages. They like to gossip about everything they know. A little funny, a little quirky, but what can you expect when you put birds and magic together, right?

Dragons…they are real beasts and trump everyone—the protectors of the world. The Wise One is the most powerful. He helped me a lot.  

Any romantic involvement?

🐺 Man, I went nuts. I imprinted and it drove me crazy, I couldn’t eat, sleep, hunt, focus, or talk to anyone about it, because we sort of invaded that place, without Alpha’s permiss…

🦇 SPOILER!!!

🐺 and apparently there is never a good time to talk about it, (he turns to the audience) you’ll just have to read about it, guys. Just trust me, I was crazy.

🦇 Yeah, crazy is a good word, you almost mauled me…

🐺 That’s a spoiler!!

Whom (or what) do you really hate?

🧛🏻 Let me just say…I don’t like humans, but they taste delicious. I despise Nature’s Immortals, and especially the traitor.

🙎🏻 Vampires, for what they did to me.

🐺 The cursed ones (turns to Dan), no offense.

🙋♀️ Tony, and all bad vampires.

🦇 All who disrespect life.

Franco, what’s your favourite drink, colour, and relaxing pastime?

🧛🏻 Fresh human blood. Red, and feeding, or planning how to dest…

everyone: SPOILER!!!

 🧛🏻 (Hisses)

What does the future hold for you?

🙎🏻 Well, I’m going to become…

everyone: SPOILER!

🐺 What about when we broke in the headquarters and took…

everyone: SPOILER!!!

🙋♀️ I had a dream once…

everyone: SPOILER!!!

🧛🏻 Would you like to know about the plan? (wiggles eyebrows)

everyone: SPOILER!!!

🧛🏻 (Hisses) Do you think I would tell the readers with all of you, (he swipes his arm across the cast), listening?

🦇 I spoke to Drezga, and he told me he has a source in Hen….

everyone: SPOILER!!!

🦇 That’s why I don’t say much.

Nina, can you share a secret with us, which you’ve never told anyone else?

🙋♀️ Hm…how about if I share a part of a secret? Everything we witness and experience changes us, and I am no exception. In the words of Nada VaZaki, “They’ve broken the wrong parts of me. They’ve broken my wings and forgot I had claws.”


Zel Winter lives in Toronto, Canada, with her husband, two wonderful daughters, two dogs and two cats. She loves nature, animals and children. Zel enjoys cooking and baking, and above all, reading and writing.

You can find Nina, Dan, Maya, Lupus and Franco on the pages of Unveiling.

Join us next week to meet a man playing agent for gods. Please follow the site by email (bottom-right) to be notified when the next interview is posted.

Miss Gladys Dunchurch and the Hon. Edward ‘Charlie’ Decharles (of Champagne Charlie and the Amazing Gladys, by B.G. Hilton)

Dear readers, tonight with us are two people from a steam-powered London. They are here to tell us about dead-eyed assassins, murderous pirates, wingless flying machines, and perhaps even creatures from beyond this Earth.


Tell us a little about your early life.

Charlie: I was born in at the family estate in Lincolnshire, but we don’t go there very often. We mostly live at our townhouse in Pimlico. I went to Harrow School and Oxford, though they are both beastly insistent on making a chap study.

Gladys: I was born in a one-room shack in Sydney, just downwind of the Chippendale slaughter houses. It was hot – but only in the summer, autumn and winter. The spring floods would cool things down, but.

Charlie: My father is Third Lord of the Admiralty and I my mother is a lady detective. I expect this is why we lived in London so very much.

Gladys: My dad drank himself to death after mum died of consumption. My Auntie Madge looked after me, until I got onto the stage via singing on street corners for coins.

What do you do now?

Gladys: I’m on the stage. I sing, I dance. I was queen of the music halls back in Sydney — not that there was much competition. I came to London to seek my fortune, then found out there’d been a gold rush back home. Could have made a packet, without months in bloody steerage. I worked a while as a conjuror’s assistant – that’s how I got involved in all of this nonsense to begin with.

Charlie: I’m a reporter, now, but I used to do… What do you suppose one would call it?

Gladys: Nothing.

Charlie: Yes, that’s right. Basically nothing.

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

Charlie: The conjuror Gladys works for vanished. Not vanished into thin air — nothing surprising about a magician vanishing that way. Kidnapped. Gladys was looking for him. And I was hunting for a murderer…

Gladys: As you do…

Charlie: …and we decided to work together to solve our respective crimes.

Gladys: He helped me with money, transport and connections. I helped him by grabbing him by the lapels and pointing him in the direction of clues.

And did these mysteries connect in some way?

Charlie: Indeed. They turned out to involve a conspiracy concerning giant Bats from outer space.

Gladys: Thanks for being the one to say it, Charlie. It sounds less ridiculous when you say it in an Oxford accent.

Charlie: But the Bats were only part of the problem.

Gladys: Their human enemies were a handful, too. Cure worse than the disease, as my Aunty Madge always used to say.

Charlie: She said a rather lot, didn’t she? And not all of it helpful.

Gladys: I reckon you and her would of got along like a house on fire.

Continue reading “Miss Gladys Dunchurch and the Hon. Edward ‘Charlie’ Decharles (of Champagne Charlie and the Amazing Gladys, by B.G. Hilton)”

Morag Murray and Rod Campbell (of Oddjobs, by Heide Goody and Iain Grant)

Dear readers, tonight we print a psychiatric assessment of the two protagonists from a novel we loved. With their job entailing rescuing the world from other-dimensional horrors on a weekly basis, it’s no wonder they need regular psych evals.


Assessor: What’s your name?

Morag: You don’t know my name?

Assessor: You’ve been through a traumatic incident. We want to assess your mental state. Just give us some details — name, where you’re from — that sort of thing.

Morag: They do this to you, Rod?

Rod: Oh, aye. Every time I go toe to toe with an unspeakable horror from another dimension.

Morag: [huffs] Fine. Morag Murray. I’m from Inverness, Scotland. I moved down to Birmingham at the beginning of this week. A promotion of sorts.

Assessor: Of sorts?

Morag: There were some problems in the Edinburgh office. I pissed off the wrong god. You know how you can sometimes say the wrong thing at the wrong time?

Assessor: A social faux pas.

Morag: Exactly, except this one involved a shotgun and the face of a demi-god. Both barrels.

Assessor: But you now work in the Birmingham office?

Morag: Correct. Birmingham consular mission to the Venislarn. You’ve got a city full of demons and faceless terrors, all under the surface. We’re just here to keep them happy and tucked out of sight.

Assessor: How has your first week on the job been?

Morag: [considers the state of her clothes] Well, I’m covered head to toe in a thick layer of chocolate. I wasn’t expecting that when I started the week.

Rod: You fight with a god in a chocolate factory, there’s gonna be some chocolate, right?

Morag: I see you survived the night without a delicious chocolate coating.

Rod: One of the first things they taught us in the SAS: how to avoid getting covered in chocolate.

Assessor: Your first week…?

Morag: Let’s see. Is this some sort of test to see if a fight with Zildrohar Cqulu has given me concussion? Er… I pretty much hit the ground running this week. That’s one of my key strengths. I can adapt to new situations quickly.

Rod: You mean you rush in without thinking about things.

Morag: Hey. I’m impulsive. But that can be a good thing.

Rod: Oh, aye. If you hadn’t flung yourself in, we’d never have caught that Kervy Aldo character.

Morag: Kerrphwign-Azhal.

Rod: Right. Kermit Ascot.

Morag: Kerrphwign-Azhal.

Rod: As I said…

Assessor: Who is Kerfin Edsel?

Rod: Curtain Aswad.

Morag: Kerrphwign-Azhal. A god. A little one. A godling.

Rod: A giant vampiric starfish. We chased him halfway across the city. He eats virgins’ hearts and was feeling peckish.

Continue reading “Morag Murray and Rod Campbell (of Oddjobs, by Heide Goody and Iain Grant)”

Adalyn and Penelope Price (of Existence, by L. D. Whitney)

Dear readers, tonight we reprint a transcript of a TV interview, hosting two sisters — a biologist and an author. They are here to tell us about their adventures in the Amazon basin, and about the crypids they encountered there.


/Begin Transcript/

Jack Carver: Tonight, we are honored to welcome Adalyn and Penelope Price to the show. Adalyn, of course, is best known for her contributions to the field of biology, particularly in the study of the “Ex-Extinct.” And Penelope generously took time out of her book tour to talk to us. Ladies, how are you tonight?

Adalyn: Ada. Just call me Ada. I’m…I’m doing well. Thanks.

Penelope: Penny is fine. *smiles* We’re happy to be on the show. Thanks for having us.

Jack: Of course, how could we miss this opportunity?

Adalyn Ada: *under breath* By not calling…

Penelope Penny: *Glares briefly toward Ada*

Jack: *laughs awkwardly* So, tell us a little bit about how you got started with…with all of this!

Penny: Well, we owe a lot to José Narvaez, he couldn’t be here today, but if it wasn’t for him, “Existence” wouldn’t exist. *laughs*

Ada: Are you asking how we became “monster hunters?” That’s what you really want to know, right?

Jack: Sure. *hesitates* Let’s start with that.

Ada: Lost a crew to carnivorous land whales from the Eocene. José dogged us till we gave in.

Penny: Till you gave in.

Ada: But you get it, Jack. This is what? Your twelfth time trying to get me here?

Penny: What Ada is less than eloquently saying, is that the world was extremely interested in her discovery. Even if it did color us with some unwanted fame.

Ada: Us? Me, you mean?

Penny: *laughs*

Jack: *laughs*

Ada: *laughs sarcastically*

Jack: Penny, in your book, Existence, you detail your expedition into the Amazon in search of a living legend. But you also state that this has always been an interest in your family?

Penny: I have to admit, it was mostly Ada’s. I played with dolls as a child and did my fair share of finger painting. For Ada, it was monsters.

Ada: They were dinosaurs.

Penny: Sure, that’s where it started, but that led to Loch Ness and Bigfoot…

Ada: And giant sloths and sabretooth tigers. Yeah.

Continue reading “Adalyn and Penelope Price (of Existence, by L. D. Whitney)”

Cassidy and Torr (of Moon Deeds, by Palmer Pickering)

Dear readers, tonight with us are fraternal twins, a sister and brother, from Earth’s future. At least, a future where science and magic clash, the best defense against rampant alien technology is magic, and the only hope for humankind rests in the hands of the legendary Star Children.


Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?

Cassidy: Well, we’re twins, in case you can’t tell.

Torr: We’re identical.

Cassidy: Haha. You wish you looked like me.

Torr: I do, actually. Your eyes, anyway.

Cassidy: Awww, that’s sweet.

Torr: We grew up in Mt. Shasta, in California.

Cassidy: Land of the crazy shamans. We got out just in time.

Torr: Or, we left too soon. Depends on how you look at it.

Cassidy: True. The shamans protected us from the Tegs. If we were in Shasta right now, we’d be safe on Earth, instead of on this god-forsaken rock.

Torr: The moon’s not so bad.

Cassidy: [eye roll] It sucks. Just sayin’. So, what questions do you want to ask us?

Did you have any favourite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?

Cassidy: My favorite toy was Grandma Leann’s mirror.

Torr: A dangerous weapon.

Cassidy: [Laughs] I used to be able to move things with it. It was awesome.

Torr: I saw the flaming monster woman in it once when I was a kid. I wouldn’t go near that thing for years afterward.

What do you do now?

Torr: We’re refugees on the moon. I feel kind of useless. There’s not much to do here.

Cassidy: We’re supposed to save the world. Earth, that is. And the other planets too, I guess. Seems kinda ridiculous.

Torr: People think we’re the Star Children, and we’re supposed to find our ancestors on a lost planet across the galaxy. The golden Star People. But nobody knows where the home planet is. It’s kind of stressful having everybody look at you with this burning hope in their eyes. I mean, you’d think we were magical saviors or something.

Cassidy: We need to learn magic.

Torr: Yeah. We need to go to the planet Muria.

Cassidy: But then we’d have to leave here.

Torr: I thought you wanted to leave.

Cassidy: I do. I don’t.

Torr: Errgh.

Continue reading “Cassidy and Torr (of Moon Deeds, by Palmer Pickering)”

Origon and Rilan (of Tales of the Dissolutionverse, by William C. Tracy)

Dear readers, tonight we publish the transcript of a recorded interview from another universe.

They are adventurers, magicians, and technomancers, and we have a unique opportunity to learn about their fascinating world.


“…ing on? …about now? Alright, Ori. Now it’s working. “

A majus would see the swirl of color as Rilan adjusted the audio and visual recording system. She’d forgotten she and Ori made this interview back when the recording Systems were introduced. The Council of course thought each maji should have one, to be able to communicate with each other in an emergency. Now, they mostly sat unused in maji’s apartments.

They’d done the little mock interview back when she and Ori were a thing, at the height of their adventures across the ten homeworlds. When they’d gone separate ways, she on the Council and him trudging about wherever, the crystal containing the recording sat in the back of one of her closets. But now that he was back in her life…

Rilan sat down in a chair to enjoy the old recording.

R – Tell us a little about where you grew up, Ori. What was it like there?

O – “I am to be from Asbheriton. It is a small village in the mountains of the Syra province of Kiria. But I would rather not be talking about touchy family matters such as this. Ever since my brother departed for the ancestors, I have had little reason to be going back. The ancestral house was given to my third cousin, you know. A dreadful bore. She would talk about anything and everything that was to be coming into her head.”

R – “Not like you at all.”

Rilan tempered her retort with a smile, but Ori’s crest still spiked in aggravation. Good she was here to prick his pride.

R – Just one more question about your family home and then we’ll move on. Did you have any favourite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?

O –“Toys? No. But, I was to be having a pet wingdrake. Delphorus and I begged our father for it for most of a cycle. Father was quoting the old fright-tale that it would steal the souls of your ancestors, but even he was not so entrenched in his religion that he really believed it. Eventually he relented and was letting us have it. Delphorus and I trained the drake to be taking grubs from our hands, and to be fishing for swimmer larvae in the nearby pond. Delphorus took over care of the beast when I was to be leaving for finishing school. Eventually we had to set it free to find a mate and complete its lifecycle before joining its ancestors. Wriglifon was a good pet.”

R – “I’ve never heard that before, Ori. That was a nice story.”

Rilan cleared her throat. She didn’t imagine this would really get Ori to talk about his past.

R – So, what do you do now?

O – “You are knowing this, Rilan.”

R – “Yes, Ori. It’s for the recording. Just play along.”

O – “Ah, I am seeing now. After retiring from my philosophy position at the university, I was able to be traveling across the ten homeworlds full time. I would not be alive if you were not saving me on many occasions, Rilan.”

Rilan saw her recording blush. It would only be a few cycles after this that she joined the Council of the Maji and she and Ori went separate ways.

Continue reading “Origon and Rilan (of Tales of the Dissolutionverse, by William C. Tracy)”

Xander Portmanteau & Lyra Jones (of Cliche, by Allison Rose)

Dear readers, tonight with me are two characters that sprang out of their books to confront their authors. One, a handsome rogue, is the last chauvinist left in the feminist fantasy realm; the other is a space defender, struggling to be a strong female protagonist in books written by a pulp-fiction author.

They are here to tell us about their adventures.


Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?

Xander: My background is of little importance.

Lyra: *glares*

Xander: Oh, all right.

I was born in the village of Scrubbleypot, a three-day trek from the Landrian capital. My father was a knight in the old king’s royal guard, and died a warrior’s death on the battlefield, leaving behind his wife with child, a farm, and a cow. I was the child, and I had a miserable upbringing. My mother thought little of me because I reminded her of Father. I, in turn, think little of her.

Lyra: I was born on Terra in the year 5740. After years of rigorous training, I was inducted into the prestigious League of Space Defenders, a special force that protects the galaxy from alien threats.  In ’75, I and a team of seven other Space Huntsmen were dispatched to the Jerome Moon Outpost, in preparation of a future civilian colony.  Unfortunately, there was a … devastating incident on the base that left everyone but myself dead.  With our comms destroyed, I had no way to call home and report what had happened; instead, I’ve taken it on myself to identify the culprit and avenge my team.

Did you have any favourite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?

Xander: A great warrior does not require such … intricacies…. Actually, we were too poor to buy toys, and I hadn’t a father to carve gewgaws and baubles from fallen branches as the other lads did. I never did learn to carve my own, but perhaps I shall when I meet a woman worthy of bearing my children.

My most cherished memories are those of solitude. When I’d finish milking the cow and letting it out to pasture, I would run to the untamed forests surrounding our land and listen to the birdsong. It is possible to lose track of time in there, for it is always dark beneath the canopy of trees. Thus ends the cherishable portion of any such memories, for Mother detested when the cow got out from being left unattended.

Lyra: My favorite toys growing up were my model starcruisers and VR headset.  We all got them as space cadets for training simulations, but I figured out how to add a variety of entertaining games to my system….

What do you do now?

Lyra: I may have no contact with the League of Space Defenders, but I’m still a Space Huntress through and through.  I’d dreamed since childhood of going to space, colonizing the moon, and expanding our access to the world as much as I can.  I just hope I’ll make it back to Terra with my findings someday.

Xander: At this time, I am my own master. After a brief juncture in the Landrian army, I took up service as a rogue mercenary.  I serve whomever I please, but unlike many, I am still a man of great honor.  And alas, my heart belongs the fair ruler of Landria, Lady Jen Mondegreen. Continue reading “Xander Portmanteau & Lyra Jones (of Cliche, by Allison Rose)”

Kate & Kyle (of Chaos Fountain, by D.C. Ballard)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a rambunctious couple. Let’s hope we can settle them down to an interview about life in their world, where they will tell us how an average-Joe got to be an intergalactic admiral, and what is it like living with a commercial telepath.


Kyle: “Oh for crying out loud, another one of these? Don’t I even get to introduce myself? I’m sure you have that down somewhere, but can I at least intro myself?”

Of course.

Kyle: “Cool, thank you. Hope you don’t mind, but I asked my fiance to join me this time. I expected that when Tory asked me to sit for another interview, that it would be another one of these things.”

That is fine.

Kyle: “Well, my name is Kyle Durlow, and this is my fiance Kate Trell-do.”

Kate: “Katlene Thor Trell-do, to be specific. Kyle, how come the only person I can sense is you?”

Kyle: “Not sure. I suspect that the interviewer isn’t actually here, or they are some kind of semi-sentient construct. Tory still hasn’t answered that question from the first time around.”

Kate: “Ah. Wish a lack of answers from him was a surprise.”

So, Kyle. Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?

Kyle: “Nothing special about where I grew up, assuming you are familiar with mid-90’s Earth. I mean. I have been to several alternate realities at this point, and with few exceptions, the mid-90s is damn near the same everywhere. Kinda weird that way.

I was born in central California. Lived and grew up in the Sacramento/Auburn/Stockton area over various parts of my youth and teenage years. Went to high school there. Was a B-ish student, had a few friends, summer job at one fast food joint or another. I hung out at the mall. Got my first car at 16, a true POS of a VW Rabbit. It only had three cylinders, but it got me to where I needed to go, and it sipped gas.

I did community college and earned Associates, which got me a job in San Diego. Like I said, nothing special about me, at least not until I met Kate.”

I see. Okay then, what about you Kate? Or do you prefer Katlene?

Kate: “Kate is fine, thank you.

I was born on the Kaldaree colony world of Fuullist, where my father was working at the time as a power consultant. I spent the first few years of my life as a colony kid. I got a better education than most because dad was well paid and mom was from a core family. Because my mother wasn’t more than a sensitive, she could choose any mate she wanted. Don’t let the laws fool you. The core families don’t give you much choice, other than a choice of pre-selected mates, if you are anything over a Class 8.

My abilities manifested right when they should, which was only a year we after returned to Kal-dar, the Kaldaree home world. As I was already done with my base education, and displaying abilities, mom’s family sponsored me to attend the second best telepath academy. I was only rated as a high Class 10, so I consider myself lucky to have gotten that. The graduation certificate got me into the legal telepath program, and uncle Kel covered the cost as a graduation present.

As with Kyle, it really was not that unusual for someone of my species who was a low level telepath. I had friends, played kids games. I was normal.” Continue reading “Kate & Kyle (of Chaos Fountain, by D.C. Ballard)”

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