Okay, as promised, here is where books 1 and 2 can be found. Now edited to include book 3 and a full Arc 1 set! Book 5: Apparition:, is now available for sale!

CreateSpace e-store: https://www.createspace.com/4716031
Amazon (paperback): http://amzn.com/1500260630                                                        Amazon (Kindle): http://a.co/5kujw5q
Lulu (Full color hardcover): http://www.lulu.com/content/hardcover-book/visions/14875668

CreateSpace e-store: https://www.createspace.com/5295775
Amazon (paperback): http://amzn.com/1508546266
Amazon (Kindle): http://amzn.com/B01387TIEU
Lulu (Full color hardcover): http://www.lulu.com/con…/hardcover-book/retribution/16363814


CreateSpace e-store: https://www.createspace.com/5817252
Amazon (paperback): http://amzn.com/1508546266
Amazon (Kindle): http://amzn.com/B0186GZ220
Lulu (Full color hardcover):  http://www.lulu.com/content/hardcover-book/destruction/17607619


Arc 1 (Books 1-3 in one volume)
CreateSpace e-store: https://www.createspace.com/5831367
Amazon (paperback): http://amzn.com/151883244X
Amazon (Kindle): http://amzn.com/B018701YLS
Lulu (Full color hardcover):  http://www.lulu.com/content/hardcover-book/hell-bent-arc-1/17612474


CreateSpace e-store: https://www.createspace.com/6489753
Amazon (paperback): https://amzn.com/1537010913
Amazon (Kindle): https://amzn.com/B01LTASC36
Lulu (full-color hardcover): http://www.lulu.com/shop/kayla-matt/deception/hardcover/product-23014219.html



Amazon (paperback): http://a.co/cgbYJdl
Amazon (Kindle): http://a.co/5acoRUl

Another week, another interview between Travis and another author’s character. This time, it’s Quinlan Reis from M.L. Spencer’s Rhenwars Saga, along with pics of 6 of the major characters.

‘I can definitely cross off that question about why this area’s called the Black Lands,’ Travis thought to himself as he squinted to read his notepad. The whole place just seemed to be dark: the sky, the ground, the body of water he’d fallen into earlier… So not only was that darkness making it difficult for him to read, but there was also something about that pen’s ink not being all that waterproof.


Walking along on his knuckles, the half-monkey kept looking around for the man he was sent here to talk to. He paused for a moment, standing at his full height to check the notepad again. “Looking for a ‘Quentin’…No, no, that doesn’t sound right…” he muttered to himself. Upon further inspection, he could see the name as it should have been: Quinlan. Flipping his almost-impressively long red hair over his shoulder, he re-pocketed the notepad and resumed his search.


After a while, he could see a figure with a hat and a long coat somewhere up ahead. Pretty sure that that was Quin, he went from walking on all-fours to outright sprinting that way.


“HEY!” he called. “YOU QUIN, BY ANY CHANCE?!”


He skidded to a stop beside the figure, his tail flicking a bit.


The man glanced up, did a double-take, then screwed his face into a look that conveyed a profound questioning of his own sanity.

“…my mother taught me not to speak to strangers,” he muttered in a bland, melodic drawl. “Now I understand  why…”


Travis considered acting offended…but then he realized that they probably didn’t come too much stranger than himself. Not if the labs back home had anything to say about it. Okay, time to be professional…


“Alright, so, first question…” the half-monkey began, before gesturing to the area around them. “All of this…is this natural? No offense, there. Just more curious than anything else.”



“Natural?” Quin’s eyes swept over the vast expanse of dark earth and sky. “Does anything about this look natural? Well, I guess if we use your own form as a measuring stick, by comparison the Black Lands must seem rather mundane.”


Travis couldn’t help but chuckle, there. Probably the one thing separating his home from a sideshow was that people weren’t charged admission. He consulted the notepad again, seeing that it was somewhat smudged. But he was sure he could handle that.


“Okay, okay. A more serious one now…how long have you been a Servant of Xeryx? Also, I got the right word, right? Sorry if I mess a few things up, by the way. I kinda tripped at one point, wound up head-first in a lake, and my notes got a little drenched.”  


The man swept his hat down off, then scratched his head.  “Well, you seem to know an awful lot about me for a stranger…what do you take me for, a monkey’s uncle?  Oh, nevermind.  I’ve been a Servant of Xerys for a thousand years and, no, you didn’t get it right. May I suggest, you might wish avoid the lakes around here in the future? Can’t say the water is particularly safe…”


The half-monkey paused for a moment, hoping that it was something covered under the whole regeneration thing. He almost wondered if he’d grow a second head or something. Eh, he’d ask about all that at home.  


“What can you tell me about this Well of Tears I’ve been hearing about? To be honest, all I’ve really heard about it is that…well, it’s a thing,” he asked.


“Oh, it is quite a thing, indeed,” Quin said, taking a seat on a large black rock. “A portal to the Netherworld, actually. If you run into it, I suggest you turn and walk the other way. In my experience, no one comes out quite the same way they went in.”


Travis cringed, making a mental note to try and avoid that. With his luck, there was no telling what’d happen. Granted, he tended to try and avoid wells, anyway, after that one movie with the ghost girl crawling out of the TV. But he definitely refrained from mentioning that, given that Quin probably didn’t have a point of reference for some of that.


“Noted. So, outta curiosity, what would you be doing if you weren’t, y’know, in your current line of work and, like, a darkmage?”


Quin issued a wry grin. “I’d be dead.  So I suppose I’d be rotting–or rot-ten, being that I died a thousand years ago. I certainly wouldn’t be sitting here talking to the likes of…you. What exactly did you say you were, anyway…? Nevermind. I doubt I want to know.”


“Genetic experiment,” Travis replied almost off-handedly, leaving it at that.


He chewed thoughtfully on his lip piercing (before remembering why it was he shouldn’t do that), figuring out the next question. His tail twitched for a few moments, before it finally came to him.


“Okay, so, what would you say scares you most?”


“Scares me the most? That’s a loaded question. I have such a broad range of fears, it’s hard to sort them into a hierarchy. I’d guess, if pressed, I’d have to respond that I fear myself more than anything else in the entire world. I know what I’m capable of…and it scares the hell out of me.”


Travis was relatively quiet for a moment, letting that answer sink in. He stretched a bit as he tried to remember what he’d had written down earlier.


“Now…family and friends. What could you tell me about that situation? Also, if it turns out that I’ve kinda hit a nerve there, I’m sorry. Please don’t kick my ass.”


“Your ass does make a rather tempting target, but I’ll consider sparing it. Family and friends…hmm…let’s just say maintaining close relationships hasn’t always been my strong suit. My friendship seems to come with a certain element of personal risk.”


Travis was sorely tempted to reply with a challenge to bring it on. But then he remembered what magic users were capable of, and Quin’s own fear of what *he* was capable of, himself. And he therefore thought better of it.


“So, this might sound like a weird one, but if you ever found out that you were a character in a book, what might you want to say to whoever wrote it? Y’know, just a hypothetical kinda deal.”


Quin grinned, appearing entertained by the idea. “I would have to tell that poor author to seek some type of guidance, for they’re surely not right in the head.”


Now that was a sentiment Travis could certainly understand, himself. Oh, the nightmares he’d endured from his own personal sadist…


“One last question, I promise. What would you say was the best thing that’s happened in your life?”


“My death.” Quinlan Reis flashed a charismatic grin.


Travis seriously considered asking just what the hell had been up with Quin’s life prior to that, if his death was the best thing…but no. He’d promised that that was the last one.


“Alrighty. Welp, thanks for taking the time to talk to me,” Travis said. “Good luck with everything. And…um, okay, I know I said the last question would be, well, the last one, but could you point me in a good direction to get outta here? There’s just this really…I guess the word would be ‘ominous’ vibe the area gives off.”


“Start heading south. Try not to fall in another lake. And avoid any well, should you come across them…”


He racked his brain, trying to figure out which direction “south” was, again. Directions had never been his strong point. But he started walking away, hoping he had the right one.















The 3rd book of the saga, Darklands, releases today.

There is also a release event on Facebook this weekend, and the first two books are available for FREE all weekend! The third will be 99 cents.

The first two: Darkstorm




Books and Such

It’s finally Friday!  Today’s guest is K. Matt with her collection of graphic novels blending urban fantasy, sci-fi, and horror, with a bit of humor and plenty of action – sounds perfect to me.  Aren’t these covers striking and vivid?

Dr. Spencer Abbot has been searching for the ideal anniversary gift for his wife. When he and his friend Travis meet a woman that claims she can help, they accept.  The pair are led to Visions Studios. But instead of the boudoirs photos they’d intended to get, they stumble upon something far more sinister: snuff films.  Before long, it’s up to Travis to resolve their situation, no matter what tries tog et in his way.
This first installment of the Hell Bent series blends urban fantasy, sci-fi, horror, a bit of humor, and plenty of action.
It’s been 5 months since the Visions Incident. 5 months since the

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Hey! So, got another interview ready to go. This time, Travis got the opportunity to talk to one of K.M. Vanderbilt’s characters, one of many featured in their recent release Errant Tides. There’re also multiple pics attached. Without further ado…

It was late evening by the time the half-monkey had reached the Rancor. Sometimes, he loved the fact that he knew a few mages. That enabled him to check out all sorts of new locales. But he wasn’t here to take in the scenery. Nope, he was looking for someone specific. Though he wasn’t sure about asking too many people about the guy. Given that he was in unfamiliar territory, combined with his naturally awful luck, he had the feeling that he might end up asking the angriest person aboard about where he could find this Gelfein guy, and therefore get a sword to the face or something. Yes, he knew he’d heal right away, but that didn’t mean it wouldn’t hurt like hell. Trying to keep himself relatively well-hidden, the half-monkey navigated his way along the upper deck, he thought over the description he’d been given of his target. Hm…was “target” the best word? Eh, best not to agonize over that. He kept up his search for a ginger drow, continuing to walk along on his knuckles.


Gelfein emerged from the hatch, blinking against the low light from the lanterns. His appointment was late, and that irked him. Not that he was even sure what the meeting was for. Neeral had passed the information on without comment, so he could only assume it had to do with translations. A trifle, but a trifle that would put coin in his pocket nonetheless.
Sighing, he crossed the deck to stand at the starboard rail. It was a soft night, at least, with spring slowly bleeding to summer. They were between rains and sweltering heat. He turned his face up to the breeze and closed his eyes.


Travis had noticed a figure matching the description he’d been given soon enough, and began to follow. Part of him wondered if he was, in fact, some sort of creeper by this point. But then he shook that off. He just wanted to talk with the guy, was all.


Okay, good. He’d come to a stop. Travis cleared his throat.


“Hey. Gelfein Noquana, right?” he asked, seriously hoping that he was, in fact, right about that one.


If he had the wrong guy, he’d likely kick himself.


Gelfein turned, brow cocked, and backpedaled. He wasn’t quite sure who–or WHAT, more aptly–he was looking at.


“A-apologies,” he sputtered, eyes flaring wide. “I wasn’t expecting…um.” He felt like such an idiot. “Sorry. Yes.” He extended his arm. “And you are?”


Travis rose to his full height, pushing some of his long red hair out of his face. He really should have tied it back earlier, in retrospect. Ah, well. The monkey-human hybrid went to shake his hand, tail twitching.


“Name’s Travis,” he replied. “Last name, Malone. And I was wondering if I could interview you for a little.”


Gelfein stared at Travis with a tilt to his brow.


“Me? Don’t you mean Neeral?”


He pointed at the captain’s quarters, but let his arm fall to his side just as quickly. The monkey-man had asked for him specifically.


“I…well.” He smiled sheepishly. “I’ve never been interviewed.”


Travis glanced toward the captain’s quarters.


“Yeeeeahhhh…no. I’d heard a few things about that guy, and none were all that great. So, first question: You seem like you’d be more comfortable working in, say, a library or something like that. How’d you find yourself working on this ship?”


Gelfein tried and failed to stifle a laugh at Travis’s estimation of Neeral. The laughter evaporated at the first question, however. It was a sore subject.


“Lack of opportunity,” he answered after a brief pause, turning to look out over the sea. “Shtepi ni’Det is run by a collective of Tafals, and my family name…doesn’t carry much weight. I thought I might go to the Tiernon at one point, but they chose a woman from a better family.” Stifling his bitterness, he found a tight smile. “I’m here because of Akorafae. She’s the first mate, and she made Neeral take me on. There’s always use for a translator aboard a trading vessel.”


He nodded, knowing all too well about a lack of opportunity, himself. “Sounds rough. And as for Akorafae…what could you tell me about her?”


What couldn’t he say? That elicited a soft snort of laughter and he ducked his head.


“We’ve been friends for a long time. More her choice than mine.” He sighed as memories of grammar school and fist fights flooded his head. More laughter followed. “I don’t know where to begin, honestly. She’s fierce. Loyal. I wouldn’t cross her.”


He drew three fingers vertically down his face, mimicking closing the eyes forever. “Woe to those who cross a Kilduis.”


Travis’ tail twitched. He knew a few like that: cross them, and risk evisceration. “So–and sorry in advance if this next one is kind of uncomfortable–what’s your family like?”


“Oh.” Gelfein’s hands twitched toward his vest, tugging it out of habit. “My mother is a milliner. Very skilled with the needle.” He pointed at his ensemble. “Being well-dressed is nice considering our tafal is…” He cleared his throat. “Well, we are not quite thriving these days.”


And that was mostly her fault, though he refrained from saying so. Leaving off the plucking dance of fingers on cloth, he gripped the railing.


“My father is quiet. I don’t think he’s said more than ten words to me in a year’s time. And…my grandmother–well, she’s a malsvorne now. A priestess of Selgetorn.” He smiled at that, holding to the single speck of brightness in an otherwise bleak life. “Malsvorne Baela. She tried to gain me favor in various trades over the years, but there is only so much she can do.”

Glancing over at Travis, he said, “I don’t suppose our politics make much sense to an outsider, but community is everything. Without the backbone of support, our people would have been killed off years ago. But–and it is important–that is why I have found my way here. I was found unworthy to occupy such trades.” His wrist rolled in a dismissive gesture. “Various reasons were given, and not all of them are due to my own shortcomings. If our tafal had more to offer the community, I might have found a different life. Here, at least, I can be helpful even if it is not…what I would have preferred.”


Travis gripped the railing, soon perching himself on it. “To be honest, the politics where I’m from don’t make too much sense, either. That’s probably a common thing through a lot of worlds. But I can definitely get community and support being extremely important. What would you say is the best part of the life you have now?”


Gelfein drew back slightly when Travis perched on the railing. It took him a moment to remember what he’d been asked. “Oh…um.” He furrowed his brows, nostrils flaring. “It’s nice…not being at home, I suppose.”


While he didn’t particularly want to discuss his home life, he did find sailing soothing—so long as they weren’t in raiding. “Trade is interesting, and I’ve learned so many languages just from repeated stops in certain ports. It’s easy enough to pick up a book, but you don’t really get the flavor of the speech until you hear someone speak it. And that says nothing to colloquialisms. I find that aspect of this life appealing—learning and seeing how other people live.”


The half-monkey sort of got the feeling that his home life wasn’t exactly the greatest, at that point. “Ah, languages…never really had the strongest abilities with picking those up, myself. So, you mentioned that it’s nice not being at home…guessing that’s from it being a shitty situation instead of a basic change-of-scenery sort of deal? You don’t have to really go into it if you don’t want to. Trust me, I can definitely get not wanting to relive, say, childhood trauma and shit like that.”


Gelfein laughed nervously. “Trauma? I don’t think my childhood was much different from anyone else’s. It’s hard to be home when you disappoint your family. It’s…easier to be here.” His hands found each other and wrung each other in endless circles. “Languages are easy. They have form and rules. Like mathematics for the tongue. It doesn’t matter if you speak them well, so long as you can be understood. And unlike other things, languages can be learned.” He was finally able to still the nervous tic by gripping the railing, but his stomach still turned flips.


Travis hopped off of the railing, back onto the deck. “You okay?” he asked, head tilted to the side. The half-monkey wondered if asking that question was, in fact, a bad idea on his part. He held his arms out for a moment, offering a hug.


Brow quirking, Gelfein studied the opened arms, unsure what Travis wanted. He shook his head and put a hand to his stomach.


“I’m fine. I just…” Casting a glance over his shoulder, he found the deck all but abandoned. “You must understand what it’s like for someone like me. A coward? You can’t just stop being afraid.”


It wasn’t just that, but having no stone at his heart made the rest even worse. “So when I speak of disappointing my family, it is more than just shying from confrontation. It is more the confrontations I have shied away from. I am nigh on 30 now and have not secured a marriage. In a community where you are elevated through the matriarch’s line, it’s unforgivable. A son is only as useful as the alliances he can make.”


Gelfein’s hand clenched in his tunic, voice dropping to a conspiratorial whisper, “And I didn’t just fail to make an alliance. I actively ran from it. I don’t want marriage and children.”


Travis’ tail twitched a little, as he listened. “Yeah, I can understand that…not living up to family expectations, people assuming that you can just automatically get over certain issues…” He soon moved to hug him, anyway, stepping back after a moment. He had this feeling that the drow could really use one.


“So…what do you want?” he asked. “I mean, from what I’ve seen, a marriage and kids can be pretty sweet. Seems to be working for my brother-in-law. But I know that’s not everyone’s thing, either. So…yep, just wondering what you’d want, if you could choose anything in life.”


“I don’t know.” Gelfein glared at his feet, wondering why that was. He’d been so sure of everything when he was younger. “If you’d asked me that a few years ago, I could have spouted off a dozen things. Now?” He shrugged, mouth tightening. “Constant disappointment has a way of beating you down until you accept what’s in front of you, no matter how unpalatable it might be. Ideally, I would be at the Tiernon, or a priest, or a peacekeeper.” He chuckled, but it wasn’t warm. “Or any number of other things I studied. It just…loses appeal to keep dreaming when there’s no point.”


Travis scratched the back of his neck, his tail twitching a little. “Ugh…yep, I can get that, too. But things might change, too. Life’s kinda just a state of constant change. Sometimes it changes for the worst, but who knows? Something might improve, too. If any opportunity for a positive change comes up, then you go ahead and grab it by the balls!” He paused, unsure if he was being legitimately motivational or just talking out of his ass. And then he cleared his throat. “Anyway…if you were to meet whoever created you, is there anything you’d want to say to them?”


What could he even say to Forebelo? Gelfein thought it over, but found nothing meaningful. It was just selfishness. “It is said drow were made from the very stone of our world. If that’s true, I think Forebelo must have forgotten me in the queue. I must have been thrown together out of lamb’s wool and grub worms.” He looked up at the monkey and forced a smile. “I would want to ask why I am the way I am.”


Travis’ tail twitched lightly. “I’m not entirely sure, either. I think most people have that question about themselves, if it helps anything. But anyway, I’m sure you’d have some kind of backbone in there somewhere. Sure, it might be incredibly well-hidden, but I get the feeling it’s in there somewhere,” he said with a shrug. “Welp, I should probably get going in a little bit… But before that, I’ve got one last question…if you were to find out that you were actually a character in a book, how would you react to that?”


A smirk tugged at the corner of Gelfein’s lips. “Me?” He laughed long and hard. “Who would write stories about me!” The thought was ludicrous, but he attempted an answer after getting himself under control. Stray chuckles still popped through to pepper his speech. “I… Well, I’ve never been asked that. My life is boring, and I am a coward. If someone were ever to use me as a character, I hope they’d lie.” He shook his head, still grinning, and his eyebrows shot up. “Could you even imagine? A story where the hero runs away from everything!”


“It wouldn’t surprise me too much, to be honest,” said Travis with a slight chuckle. “In my experience, some authors can be complete freakin’ sadists, who will push someone as hard as they can for their own sick amusement. ANYWAY, thanks for taking the time to talk to me, and because I’m pretty sure you need another hug…” He moved in to hug him again, stepping back after a few moments. “Hope I didn’t dredge up anything too, y’know, horrible or anything.”


Gelfein shrugged, lips twitching with a hint of a smile. “No, nothing too horrible.” It had been rather pleasant despite the subject matter, in fact.


“Okay, good to know,” Travis replied. And with that, he took to all fours and made his way back onto the dock, glad to have gotten the interview and now having thoughts about food.


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And a bonus image:



For more of this world, please check out:

The author website




And of course, Skeins Unfurled (the prequel) and Errant Tides (Book 1 of the cycle).




So, here’s another interview between Trav and another character. This time, it’s one with Jason Nugent’s character Eron.


‘Well,” Travis thought to himself as he jumped from one tree to the next. ‘If I ever have to hide from any of the labs, this is pretty damn ideal.” The foliage of the Selected Grounds on Kepler 186f was more of a red, orange, and yellow makeup as opposed to the green he was used to. And being a natural redhead, he found that he could camouflage himself quite effectively indeed. Though he hoped it wouldn’t be too effective. He was looking for someone around there, and would want to be seen at some point. If someone started talking to someone they couldn’t see, that was generally a sign that something wasn’t quite right, psychologically, and he’d rather not inflict that on someone.


He climbed to the top of his current tree, looking around for some sign of his interviewee this time around. After a while, the half-monkey noticed…well, someone. But he would have to move in closer for a better look. He hopped to the next tree, then another, soon hanging down from a branch.


“Hey. You Eron, by any chance?”


The boy looked at the half-monkey thing in front of him. “Yeah, why?”


Travis shrugged. “Welp, I’m basically here to interview you. So, first question: what exactly is ‘The Selection’?”


“As far as I recall, it’s a tradition handed down by our people. It’s an event. It’s a way to reduce the number of males left on the planet. It’s natural selection, but not natural.”


He cringed at the thought, seriously hoping that anyone back home wouldn’t start getting any ideas from that.


“What can you tell me about…well, the planet we’re on now, basically? And what’s the weirdest creature you’ve ever seen? I don’t count, by the way.”


“We call it Anastasia, after our great goddess. Humans colonized the planet Kepler 186f and renamed it after her. The strangest creature has to be the dirt grubbers. Their blood glows in the dark and they tunnel underground.”


Travis chewed his lip for a moment, trying to think of another question. He flinched as he managed to bite down on his lip piercing.


“Okay, next one, next one…what can you tell me about any friends or allies?”


“I’ve got a great friend named Connor. We’ve known each other a long time. I hope we can meet up in the Selection and help each other survive.”


He nodded.


“Is this whole Selection thing something someone your age absolutely has to do? And if you had any other options, what could you see yourself doing? Like, future-wise?”


“Unfortunately, yes. Every boy when he turns eighteen must go through the Selection. He either survives or—“


“Ooh…damn, sorry to hear… Um…on a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your fighting abilities?”


“I don’t like to fight. There are better solutions. So in that case, maybe a three.”


“If this question’s not too awkward, what scares you most?”


“Not making it through the Selection and reuniting with Mina.”


“If you could meet your creator, what would you want to say to him?”


“I’d ask why do we have to go through the Selection? It doesn’t seem right.”


“Alrighty, last one. How do you think you’ll do in The Selection? I mean, it sounds like it’d be kinda brutal, and all…”


“I don’t know. I hope I can avoid conflict and make it to Victory Point in time. I have no choice.”


Travis was ready to get a move-on now, looking to Eron.


“Alright. Thanks for taking the time to talk to me, and best of luck with everything. Kick some ass!”


And with that, he retreated back into the tree, intent on relaxing for a while before having to head home.


To learn more about The Selection, the author behind it, and updates on further work, you can go to:

Jason’s Twitter



And of course, The book itself

The book, by the way is on sale for 99 cents until June 11th! So if this has caught your interest, please check it out!

DFTR Episode 2, Final Part

Posted: June 9, 2017 in Uncategorized

Finally got the last of this comic up. Episode 3 is still in the works, and will be uploaded to Patreon a bit before landing here.

Part 1

Part 2

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Here it is, hours after intended…as it turns out, I forgot to hit “Publish” earlier.

Number Five Is ALIVE!

Posted: June 2, 2017 in Uncategorized

So, book 5 of Hell Bent is finally available for purchase!



Dr. Spencer Abbot: there was once a time that he was (mostly) at peace, living with his family. But for the past couple of months, he has had to hide from the law. As if that weren’t enough, he has started to experience nightmares and see ghosts of those he feels he has failed to save. He and his support system know who is behind the sightings, but not where Slade McManus is. Will things ever be okay again for the doctor? Or will Slade successfully drive him beyond the brink?

Book 6, I hope, will be released around Halloween. Of course, the tentative release dates and actual release dates always tend to vary with these things, between the edits, the sketching/inking/coloring/shading/highlighting/resizing, and formatting/assembly for two versions… If there’s a less complicated way to do this, I’d be all for it. But I haven’t found it yet. To be fair, I haven’t really looked that hard…*shaaammmme*

ANYWAY, please check this out, or the others, if you haven’t already!







I’d hoped to have this done earlier, but other stuff cropped up. Also, book 5 is finally complete, and links will be posted once the CreateSpace version has gone through.

But for now? Another interview between Travis and another person’s character. This time, it’s Jared Fleming’s character Naomi.

A strong smell of alcohol hits Travis’ somewhat-large nose. He’s pretty sure that this bar is where he is supposed to meet her. He checks the small notebook he’s taken to carrying in his pocket lately to make sure he has her name written down. Okay, he does. Good. The monkey-human hybrid roams through the bar and looks for her, occasionally patting his back pocket with his tail to ensure that his wallet is still there. To be honest, Travis has a sneaking suspicion that places like this are where some people go to get shanked. But he knows he’d recover from that, at least.

Sitting in a corner of the bar is a blue-skinned alien, noseless, hairless, and humanoid. A thermos is on her right, unattended, while a beer, the third tonight, as evidenced by the two empty bottles, is in her left hand.

With a twitch of his tail, Travis strides over to the corner of the bar. “Hey,” he begins once he’s closer. “Naomi Matu?”

“Yep!” She says, her demeanor going from ever so slightly sour to a smidge enthusiastic. “You’re Travis, right?”

He nods. “Yep. So, ready to do this?” he asks as he takes a seat nearby.

“Yep,” she nods.

He looks through his notebook for a moment. “Alright, so…I get that this might be a rough one, especially for a first question, but what was Istav like? Like, if you don’t mind my asking, I mean.”

She chuckles. “Lived in a cave first 20 years of my life. Worked for gangs, mostly. Entire planet’s littered with caves, half the world lives underground. As bad as it was, there were some advantages. You learn perfect balance real quick. I didn’t do too much of note there, at least, anything noteworthy and legal at the same time. I kinda want to go back, though. I miss it, sometimes.”

“What would you say you miss most about it?” he asks, head tilted slightly.

“The food. A lot of it’s still traditional stuff, stuff we’ve been making since we learned how to bang two sticks together.”

He’s already interested, but the mention of food *really* gets Travis’ attention here. “Do you have a favorite food from back home?”

“Panu eta kari. It’s the eggs of a…what’s the word…it’s…it’s like a…homeless snail…” she thinks for a moment. “A slug! Yeah, a slug. They lay about a million eggs, we help ourselves to half, and salt ’em and spice ’em.”

“That does sound good,” he says, keeping a mental note to try that if he were ever to get the opportunity. “Alright, next one. What do you like to do in your downtime? And for that matter, how much downtime do you generally get in your line of work?”

“Downtime…well, mostly I read and cuddle Kate. Sometimes take time to clean my weapons, make sure everything’s in working order. Sometimes I talk to Silat, our crew’s other psion. He’s a bit boorish, though.”

“A psion, hm? Would that include the ability to read minds or move stuff with your mind, by any chance?” he asks.

Naomi responds by glancing over at one of the empty beer bottles. It responds to her look with a rather loud, and very nasty CRACK as it’s crushed down into sand. “More than that. Silat can’t, though. He’s too busy being a brain in a jar.”

He jumps at the sound of the crack, soon regaining his composure. “Ah, cool, cool. I ask mainly because I know someone with psionic abilities, myself. Hers aren’t nearly to that extent, though. Anyway, to backtrack a bit, can you tell me about Kate?”

“She’s my girlfriend of five years. We’ve been on the same crew for about eight, but…well, one thing lead to another, we got drunk, feelings were confessed, and we’ve been together ever since. She’s the heavy weapons operator on our team, so if you see her, she’ll probably be carrying a gun that fires bullets the size of your hand. I’d recommend not getting into a fight with her. She’s real sweet, otherwise. Helps me a lot.”

Naomi’s clearly smiling, the mere act of speaking of her girlfriend making her happier.

Travis can’t help but smile at the description of her, himself, his tail twitching again. Sure, in the back of his mind, he’s trying to figure out exactly how long it’d take someone like him to recover from such a shot. “Good to hear. I’ve also heard that you’re a fan of tea. Do you have a favorite?”

“Yeah, there’s a kind that’s from Istav, I get it imported sometimes. It’s made of a cave fungus. It’s really nice, but for some reason people I try to offer it to hate it.”

Travis shrugs. “Eh, sometimes people don’t tend to appreciate that kind of thing for whatever reason. Is there anything about your job that you dislike?”

“I mean, not really? It’s fun, good work. As long as two people exist in this galaxy, there’ll be a contract to kill someone. Besides, I can’t exactly go back to a normal life. I have the death penalty on me in four different sectors.”

“Holy shit…what brought the death penalty on?”

“Sec-delta-53, I helped take out the Grand Ambassador of LaiariCorp. Sec-alpha-34, that’s my home sector, I’m wanted for piracy, which carries the penalty of death by vaporization in the Istavii-Nongma Commonwealth…uh…let’s see. The third was an accident, I fired a round at the wrong time I sent a small meteorite into a pre-space world…crime according Nharil Union’s bullshit ‘anti-enlightenment’ laws.” She makes air quotes, clearly thinking it’s unjust. “I didn’t even kill anyone, just wrecked a few miles of forest. Last one, just general piracy in sec-Null 9. Most people just want pirates dead, I guess?”

He thinks for a few seconds. “If…if you were given the opportunity to go for something other than piracy as a career option, what might you choose?”

“I’d probably go into science. Study psionics for a living.”

“Ah, cool. I’ve met a number of different scientists over time…though most of those weren’t on the best of terms. Not gonna really go into that, though. Where do you see yourself in…say, five years?”

“Either dead, or happily married on some paradise world and living the rest of my days being served by beautiful women.”

“Really gonna hope for the second one there. Trust me on this one, death tends to be painful.” Though he isn’t sure if that’d apply to everyone or just those that would return from it. “I’ll probably have to head out in a few, but I’ve got a few more questions. Is there anything that scares you above all else?”

“Not really. Used to be my nightmares, but those don’t bother me anymore. I have ’em every night. I mean, I guess I’m a little afraid of those anti-psion fucks who keep coming after me, but they’re not really bothersome unless you out yourself as a psion to them.”

“Ugh…yeah, I could see them being a bitch to deal with. So, what kind of drawbacks are there to being a psion? Aside from what you just mentioned.”

“Eh. Extradimensional monsters constantly haunting your dreams kinda sucks.”

“Damn…yeah, I can imagine. Thanks for taking the time to talk to me, by the way.”

“No problem. It’s welcome to meet someone new.”

“Yep, no argument there,” he replies, getting up. “And hoping everything goes well.”

He checks his back pocket again. Okay, someone didn’t come by and nick his wallet during the conversation. Always a good sign.



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