Archive for the ‘Character Interviews W/ Travis’ Category

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Hey! Welcome to the next stop of the “The 13: Tales of Illusory” blog tour! Are you, by any chance, looking for a creepy read, with a classic Night Gallery sort of feel? This might just be what you’re looking for.

Tag Line: Can you survive all 13?

Back cover blurb: 13 enchanted horrors. 13 spine-chilling tales. Down, down in the depths they fell, bodies in the dark of a liquid hell. Can you survive all 13?

So to help commemorate the new book, Travis has gotten the opportunity to interview one of the many characters found within the 13 short tales… No character pic this time…but in all fairness, I think I might have forgotten to ask about that.

 

In all honesty, Travis can’t remember how he’d gotten underwater. Nor can he figure out why he hasn’t drowned (then come back, then drowned again, over and over) by now. He knows that he has an interview to do, though. As a few small fish pass him, he looks around. And that is when his gaze settles upon…

 

DUDE. Is that a carnival?! He swims toward it, his overly-long red hair streaming behind him. And after a while, he stopped. To his surprise, he hasn’t died yet. He can breathe a little more easily than he’d have thought. Furthermore, he recalls the exact reason he’s here.

 

“Hey…I’m looking for an ‘Azrika’?!” he calls. “I was looking to interrog– INTERVIEW you…Yeah, yeah, interview. I swear it’s an interview.”

 

“I am Azrika. Welcome!” He steps from the booth at the entrance of the carnival and surveys the monkey critically.

 

The monkey-human hybrid thinks a bit on his first question, tail twitching. He’s accustomed to odd looks from those outside of his hometown.  “SO…first off, do you and your people stay underwater all the time, or can you go on land? Kinda curious about that.”

 

“I am a pixie. We inhabit the world in many places. My particular tribe prefers the water. We only go on land if we must. When that happens, it’s usually not pretty. We are mischief makers.”

 

He keeps this in mind. Something about that feels like something he’s heard at points, but it’s nice to get some confirmation.

 

“Next up: how often is it you deal with–okay, this is gonna feel really weird for me, saying this next part–regular-ass mortals?” he asked, pretty sure he didn’t classify as one, himself.

 

“We only deal with those we invite under the surface. We are particularly fond of children as they make the best pets in the most glorious colors. They also make for pretty tasty meals when they’ve grown. Adults are nuisance. Their reality doesn’t allow for us to exist, and we end up punishing them for this. Admittedly, we get a kick out of it, usually.”

 

He keeps up his smile, but one of his eyes twitches a little. No, no, he can’t let himself get offended…

 

“Okay, third question, third question…Do you, like, regret anything? And if so, what? Okay, so I guess that might be two questions instead of one…but let’s count it as one, anyway,” Travis says, rubbing the back of his neck.

 

“My only regret is that we have involved children. Unlike the pixies of the water, they have a conscience. They always end up turning on us, and we end up fending for ourselves. When we fend for ourselves, it’s a bad place for that human to be in.”

 

The half-monkey chews on his lower lip for a moment, thinking. He flinches as he bites his lip piercing. “Dammit! Now, wait, where was I? Ah, right! Next one: What do pixies eat? I know, kinda random…but I’m curious.”

 

“We satisfy ourselves with the underwater flora for the most part. Twice a year we have a celebration in which I choose fish from the schools we’ve created here to sustain us til the next celebration.”

 

“So…like, what’s with the carnival?” Travis asks after a moment. “Is that just for kids that end up down here, or can anyone go to it?”

 

He’s eying that roller coaster, and is still really pretty suspicious of Azrika…but doesn’t want to risk pissing off any sort of magical creature too badly. Not without a magic user to help bail him out. It’s taken him a few times, but he did eventually learn that lesson.

 

“What child can resist a carnival? We only invite children, of course. They do make for the tastiest and most colorful after all.”

 

He starts thinking of his aunt, and the wreckage she’d cause down here, if she were the one conducting the interview. But thankfully for all, he’s the more personable of the two.

 

“Still got a few questions left for you, little pixie-dude. Is there anything that scares you at all?”

 

“I am not afraid of anything. My magic is far and beyond what any human could do to me. My speed and agility belies my age. I have no reason to fear. It is I who controls this whole world.”

 

Travis then thinks of some of what he’s heard about Fae in general from his sister. “So…is cold iron one of those things that’d, like, hurt people like you?”

 

“Silly monkey!! Cold iron! Haha. What do you think the carnival is made from? Seaweed?”

 

His eye twitches again, and he clears his throat.

 

“Alright, last question…” he says. “Is…is there a cultural reason for, y’know, what you guys do? Like, is it just a tradition carried through thousands and thousands of years, or something?”

 

“It is just our way. My father and his father before him followed the same path as I, and my legion comes from a long line of water dwellers. We are more than you can see. This whole world is full of pixies, all with their own task to contribute to our society. Without me and my gift of magic, there would be no fish, no sustenance for our way of life.”

 

Travis takes a few moments to think, before looking to Azrika again. “I know I said that last question was the last question…but this is probably the last question: I should probably get going now. Would I have to exit through the funhouse, or can I just swim off from here? Anyway, thanks for your time.”

 

In the back of his mind, he considers asking Spencer to set up some protective wards around the house, particularly in the kid’s room. Just in case.

Curious about the Pixie King, and other horrors that inhabit The 13?

You can buy the book through Amazon KindleSmashwords, and Goodreads!

The 13

Title: The 13: Tales of Illusory

Author: Stephanie Ayers

Publication Date: October 4th, 2017

Paperback Price: $10.99

Digital Price: Pre-order $1.99. Will go up to $2.99 on October 4th

Pages: 63

ASIN: B075JQKS1Q

ISBN ebook: 978-1-946382-14-6

ISBN print: 978-1-946382-15-3

About the Author:

A published author with a knack for twisted tales, Stephanie Ayers is the Executive Creative Director of OWS Ink, LLC, a community for writers and readers alike. She loves a good thriller, fairies, things that go bump in the night, and sappy stories. When she is not writing, she can be found in Creative Cloud designing book covers and promotional graphics for authors.

 

Stephanie Ayers is a published speculative fiction author, full-time world-building ninja, and graphic designer from central Virginia crafting her own story and resisting adulthood at all costs. She mothers her children, two cats, and a pitbull; neglects housework as often as possible; loves her husband; and avoids all things zombies.

 

Stephanie has been a regular contributor and leader for Bloggy Moms and Just Be Enough and currently writes content for Our Write Side.

 

Bannerwing Books published her debut novella, Til Death Do Us Part, in 2013, and her work appears in several anthologies and collections, most notably The 13: Tales of Illusory, a collection of her short and scary stories. Her poetry has been published in Ambrosia, in magazines and literary journals.

 

Her favorite quote is: “The blank page is a canvas on which the writer paints a story.”-Stephanie Ayers

Stephanie Ayers Author

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A Few of My Favorite Things (Fast Five)

Favorite Books: The Stand, Divergent, Through the Looking Glass, The Forgotten Garden, and Inkheart.

Favorite Songs: Anyway by Martina McBride, Chasing Cars by Soul Patrol, Dream On by Aerosmith, Nothing Else Matters by Metallica, Shape of You by Ed Sheeran and Maroon 5

Favorite Movies: Hope Floats, Divine Secrets of the Yaya Sisterhood, The Messengers, The Wizard of Oz, Mary Poppins

Favorite Foods: pizza, pasta, ice cream, chips, second breakfasts

Favorite TV Shows: Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, Law & Order SVU, The Voice, This Is Us

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Book Launch Tour September 23rd through October 18th

Book release October 4th, 2017

October 6-8th Facebook Launch Party

Support Through Thunderclap

Support Through DayCause

Blog Tour Schedule:

9/22 Tour announcement and release schedule shared on Ourwriteside.com

9/23 Release Announcements Emery’s Wonderland https://shirleywilliamson1.wixsite.com/website

9/24 Release announcement Circle of Stalkers www.circleofstalkersbookblog.wordpress.com

9/25 Welcome to Hell Bent https://kaylamatt.wordpress.com/

9/26 Book review https://m.facebook.com/knjohnsonauthor/?ref=bookmarks

9/27 www.thisisnothitchhikersguide.wordpress.com Author interview

9/28 Thrilling Thursday On An Angell’s Life of Bookish Goodness

10/3 Author Interview http://reneescattergood.com

Oct 3rd. Live reading by Joshua Robertson “A Child Lost” by Stephanie Ayers https://robertsonwrites.wordpress.com/

10/4 Release announcement on Stephanie Ayer’s Blog

October 5th Author Interview https://jm-ames.com/blog/

October 6th Review RevKess Reviews http://revkessreviews.wordpress.com

10/7 www.alteredinstinct.com author interview

 

10/8 Book review https://m.facebook.com/mark.mackey.127?ref=bookmarks

10/ 12 Guest Post http://reneescattergood.com

10/13 Author Spotlight http://afstewartblog.blogspot.ca/

10/17 Mackenzie Flohr’s | Author Interviews, Book Spotlights, Book Reviews, Creative Writing – https://mackenzieflohrblog.wordpress.com Author Interview

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Hey! It’s time for another character interview, this time with one of the main characters from Nicole Luttrell’s new release “Starting Chains”, and a picture.

As he walked into the pub that evening, Travis was somewhat muttering to himself about the odd looks he tended to get anytime he went on one of these interviews. The overly-long hair, prehensile tail, and feet with opposable toes tended to have that effect on people. Ah, well. He was here for a specific reason. There was someone he was looking to talk to. Looking at his notes, he saw that his interviewee’s name was Victor, and that he was royalty of some kind. And so, he started looking around the pub, scanning the area for anyone that might fit the description.

 

Victor didn’t look like a nobleman. He sat at a booth near the back of the pub, sipping at a mug of mead. His blond hair was cut soldier short, his eyes cast down as though attempting to avoid attention.

 

Travis considered calling for him from the middle of the room…but he had the feeling that at least one person in that pub might be drunk. And with his luck, they’d be an angry drunk and come after him. So, he started toward a booth near the back. Maybe the guy sitting there could help him out. Upon arriving at the booth Victor was in, he tapped the table a couple times. “Hey…could you help me out with something, please?” he asked.

 

Victor looked up from his drink. “Sure, what can I do for you?” he asked.

 

“I’m looking for a guy named Victor, who I guess is, like, a prince or something?” he replied, his tail giving a little twitch.

 

Victor’s mouth twitched into a smile. “Guess you found me. Don’t worry about bowing or anything. Never been much for that sort of thing.”

 

“Okay, cool. Never been into that kind of thing, either. Anyway, would you be willing to answer some questions? It’s just for an interview, I promise,” he said, pushing a bit of red hair behind an ear.

 

“Sure,” Victor said, “Guess I could do that.” He nudged a shot glass full of some clear liquid towards Travis. “Try this. The inn makes it special.”

 

Travis sat down, eying the shot glass for a moment. “How strong is it?” he asked.

 

Victor grinned. “If you have to ask, it might not be a good idea.”

 

“Yeah, I probably shouldn’t,” he replied, his tail flicking a little. “I kinda turn into a self-loathing drunk if I have too much. Childhood trauma comes to light, and this is more about getting to know you and the world you’re in, and…yeah. Anyway, first question…what would you say Septa is like?”

 

“Septa’s strange. I never thought I’d be comfortable, living somewhere that has canals instead of proper roads. Everyone living so close to each other seems unnatural to me. But it has some good qualities. Man can get an honest days work, for one thing.”

He nodded, writing this down. “I can see that being one hell of a culture shock, the canals vs roads thing. And what about your family? What can you tell me about them?” He paused, the realization hitting him that he may have just come across as a bit of a creep. And then he hoped Victor didn’t start thinking that about him.

 

“Well, my brother and I were raised by my da. He was great. Always smiling, always happy. He taught me everything I knew, until I moved to Septa. He is gone now, of course. Now my family is my wife, Lenore, and our daughters. And her family, I suppose. Her da, the king, he’s a good man. Her ma I could do without.”

 

“Her mom’s kind of a bitch, I take it?” he asked, head tilting slightly.

 

“Probably not the best idea to speak about the queen like that,” Victor said, but his suppressed smile suggested that he agreed. “I do not think she wanted a common wolf like me for a son in law. Fortunately, Lenore is not the sort to let other people tell her what to do.”

 

“Mother-in-law horror stories seem to be one of those things that happen fairly often, from what I hear. Hope everything’s going well with you and Lenore, as well. Next one…What would you say scares you most? Like, above all else?”

 

“Losing my children,” Victor said, “My little girls are my whole life. Their names are Eleanore and Loralie. Sweet little things. Do you have children?”

 

“Ooh…yeah, I could see that being a big one,” he replied. “And I don’t…my previous girlfriend broke up with me, and I don’t think the current one can have kids. I do have a nephew, though. I’m guessing that family’s the most important aspect of your life, am I right?”

 

“Oh, yes,” Victor said. “You have a nephew? Me too. How old?”

 

“He’ll be four soon,” Travis replied. “And likes to climb things. How about yours?”

 

“Well, he’s grown. King now, actually, here in Montelair. He’s doing good things here. At least, he would be if the aristocracy would get out of his way.”

“He’s a better man than his da was.”

 

“Glad to hear he’s got a good head on his shoulders,” he replied with a smile. “So, if you weren’t…prince, right? If you weren’t part of a royal family, what would you be doing, do you think?”

 

Victor took a swig of his drink. “Well, before I married my wife I was a rebel, trying to take down the government. Then, I was a bodyguard. Lenore’s bodyguard, actually. So, I guess I might have been dead. Or in prison.”

 

Travis cringed for a moment. “Damn…yeah, death isn’t really all that pleasant of an experience. Trust me on that one. You definitely got the better option, there. So, I’m guessing that being her bodyguard was how you two met?”

 

“Actually no,” Victor said. “We met when my brother, Calvin, was trying to assassinate her and her brothers. I couldn’t let him do that, they were just kids at the time. Fenrir’s Teeth, I was just a kid! But I managed to stop him, kept them safe. That’s how I ended up as her guard. Things just sort of, well, escalated from there.”

 

“Geez…nice brother…” he replied. “Glad to hear that you were able to stop him. “Would you say that the government since then has improved, gotten worse, or stayed the same, but you have a different perspective than others given that you started out against them and then married into royalty?”

 

“Oh, a little bit of all of them. The aristocracy in Montealir has fallen, and Morgan is taking care of his people. As for the government in Septa, well, it’s not what I was raised to think it was. The Mestonie family cares about their people.”

 

Travis wrote this down. “I should probably get going soon. But before I do, is there anything else you’d like to say to anyone reading this? Like, advice or anything?”

 

Victor scratched the back of his head. “Advice? I’m not great at that. But one thing I’ve learned, being around Lenore, is that there’s no end to the good someone can do.”

 

“Again, the fact that you’ve ended up with someone like Lenore sounds like a great thing,” Travis said with a smile. “And hoping you two stay together as long as possible. Anyway, thanks for taking the time to talk to me,” he added, standing up again.

 

“No problem,” Victor said. “Take care out there, keep you hand over your wallet.”

 

Travis nodded, going to check his pocket. Okay, his wallet was still there. “Thanks for the heads-up.” With a wave and a flick of the tail, he headed for the exit.

You can follow the author at Paper Beats World, on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Instagram.

You can buy the book here and its predecessor here.

As promised: Victor

 

 

 

 

 

 

Long time, no interview! But here’s a new one, between Trav and Timothy Bateson’s wolf shifter Richard (pic included at the end).

 

Something inside of him tells Travis that he might not appear TOO out of place in a place like The Devil’s Own. He isn’t of the supernatural persuasion, per se… But given the existence of shapeshifters and demons and the like, he’s pretty sure that a monkey tail and feet with opposable toes wouldn’t seem too far out there. And he has a reason for being here. He’s looking for someone about his height. Looking around, he wonders just where this Richard Parsons guy is.

 

Settled in his usual booth at the back corner of the bar, Richard is waving away a huge beast of a man, who seems a little concerned about something. The conversation between the two is kept low, and short, but the man doesn’t seem happy at being dismissed.

 

A large jug of water sits on the table in front of Richard, along with a couple of glasses. He fills one slowly as he checks the time, and scans the room

 

Travis eventually locates the booth, making his way over.

 

“Hey!” he calls, his tail twitching lightly. “You Richard, by any chance?” And then he hopes that there aren’t five more people in the room named Richard at that exact same time, as that would just feel horrible and awkward.

 

Richard seems to sniff the air briefly, as he looks the newcomer over. “No one told me the fae were coming out of hiding”, he says with a slight smirk. Of course, the assumption is made based on his experiences, and his nose has already told him what he needs to know. “Just be prepared for people to be keeping their eyes on you, looking like that”. And sure enough, even the more colorful characters in the bar look more-or-less human.

 

“Huh?” Travis replies, before realizing what he’s getting at and chuckling slightly. “Oh. No, I’m more of a genetic experiment than anything else. Anyway, name’s Travis, and I was wondering if you’d be interested in doing an interview?”

 

“As long as you don’t mind if I decide not to answer particular questions” He seems intrigued by the idea, as he absentmindedly scratches behind an ear. “I’d heard there was someone asking around about me, so figured you’d come knocking sooner or later”. Richard pushes the second glass across the table, as if inviting Travis to join him

 

Travis nods, hoping he doesn’t accidentally stumble upon one of said questions. “Alright, so…just to get this one out there, is the wolf shifting—don’t worry, I know you’re not big on being called a werewolf—one of those things that’s brought on by the full moon, or is it 100% voluntary?”

 

Richard smirk at the attempt at tact, “Straight to the heart of the matter, eh?” Taking a sip of water to cover the fact that he’s trying to decide how much to reveal, Richard looks over at his guest with a new perspective. A few seconds pass, and the glass remains in his hand as he answers the question carefully. “Let’s just say that not everything you learn from the horror films is true. Certain full moons definitely exert a stronger pull on the wolf than others, but the shift is something we learn to control to varying degrees”

 

He nods slightly, his tail twitching before he gets a drink. “Was that through birth that you have that ability? If you’d rather not answer that one, that’s alright too,” he says. While confident that his own regenerative abilities will help him recover quickly from a wolf-induced mauling, he’d rather avoid inadvertently instigating one in the first place.

 

“If I ever hear of someone who wasn’t born a shifter, I’d definitely be the first to keep it quiet. There are more than enough crazy people out there who’d love to become a werewolf, given half the chance. It’s bad enough that some believe themselves to be werewolves because of mental issues. Could you imagine someone like that getting bitten and becoming a shifter?”

 

Travis considers that, before shivering a bit. “Not sure what’d be worse; being bitten and changing, or if someone decided ‘Hey, let’s load someone up with wolf DNA without their permission!’.” And then he considers something else. “Uhh…if you ever find yourself in this city in Pennsylvania called Hell Bent, I’d be careful about shifting; Lot of labs around there, the scientists get curious, they start thinking of collecting DNA samples…” He clears his throat. “So…is the change painful at all?

 

The lupine winces at the thought of being turned into a donor for some mad science experiment, or worse, becoming one himself. “Fitting name for a place like that. I’ll add it to my to-be-avoided list, though I can think of at least one person who’d love to see me become a plaything for science” A quick shiver, and downs half the glass of water, knocking it back as if he’s had a lot of practice at downing drinks.

 

“Just consider what would happen if something were to completely rearrange large portions of your anatomy. All I’ll say is don’t try changing when you’re fully clothed, it’s bad enough without adding that complication”

 

“…REALLY hoping the scientists back home don’t read this when it’s online…” says Travis with a nervous grin, his eye giving a little twitch. “That’d give them ideas…Okay, next one, next one…Is there anything that scares you above all else?”

 

Eying the jug of water, Richard considers topping up his glass, as he looks up from the table. There is something in his eyes that speaks of a deep sadness, and that might even be a tear that he blinks back while emptying the glass, and refilling it again.

 

“A few things scare me, but a lot of them have already happened to me. When you’re left without both parents and grow up on the streets, it’s so easy for the worst to happen unless you have someone looking out for you”

 

Travis takes a drink, seeing that look in Richard’s eye. “I know that all too well…” he says, reminded of a thankfully brief period of his adolescence. “I hear that you ultimately found someone to stay with, though, right?”

 

“I fell in with the gangs, so I always had somewhere to crash, a couple of close friends, and… let’s just say there are a couple of people in my life that have been a big influence… but I’m not at liberty to say anything more about them. We’ve all got secrets that have to be kept”

 

“Fair enough,” he replies, going for another drink. “Any enemies out there to worry about? If that’s one of those things that needs to be a secret, though, I get it.”

 

Sitting there playing with the glass, watching the liquid swill around, as if watching something else. “There’s always someone out there with an axe to grind, but for the most part, mortals don’t know we even exist. Doesn’t mean there aren’t those who do know, and seem to have issues with us”

 

Those tears make a showing again, as he thinks about the question further “Rogue lupines used to be a problem, and thankfully wolf hunting got taken off the table”

 

“…Aw, shit, I didn’t hit a sore spot, did I?” he asks. “I’m really sorry if I did. Um…would you be okay with a hug?”

 

Richard is out of his seat in a moment, hands flat on the table, almost knocking over the glass and jug “No hugs. Got that?” As quickly as his ire rises, it’s reigned in, and he settles again, a little quieter than he was before, as if ashamed “Sorry, I still have a hard time with certain aspects of my past. I shouldn’t take it out on you. It’s in the past, and it should stay there, despite what some people might think”

 

He flinches slightly at the response. “A-alright…” he replies, “SO, you’ve mentioned wanting things to stay in the past. Fair enough, fair enough. But what about the future? Is there anything you’re looking forward to?”

 

Looks up again, and there’s definitely something hiding behind that pain. Maybe it’s hope “Well, I’ve had some run-ins with the police over the years. Maybe one day I’ll be able to leave all that behind me and actually move on. Until then…” he trails off as if remembering he probably shouldn’t finish that sentence.

 

“Here’s hoping for that,” he replies, finishing off his drink. “Is there anything you’d love to be able to do, but haven’t been able to? If so, what?”

 

Smiles as the questions come around to things he doesn’t mind talking about “I’d love to travel sometime. But right now there are things that keep me tied to Seattle. Who knows, maybe I’ll find someone to travel with me”

 

“You’d probably be able to at some point,” he says. “Unless you happen to work under a complete sadist of an author. Those can get…painful. Trust me.” After a moment, he takes a breath. “Alright…one last question. What kind of person would you hope to find to travel with?”

 

Laughing softly to himself, there’s a definite twinkle in his eye “Let’s just say that I’ve got my eye on a certain redhead I’m forced to work with. Even if that boss of mine seems to be against fraternization between co-workers”

 

His head tilts a bit and his tail twitches. “Okay, so, I know I said that last question was…well, the last question, but now I’m curious… What’s this co-worker like?”

 

“What’s there to tell? Ex-cop, long red hair, very serious most of the time, but when she does let herself smile it’s electrifying. Oh, and one hell of a scrapper. Last I asked she had black belts in several martial arts, but doesn’t fall back on them when things get messy. She’d kicked my butt every time, regardless of what form I was in” For some reason that makes him smile even more. “Pity she doesn’t seem interested in anything more than keeping things professional”

 

He chuckles for a moment. “Always something nice about finding a badass like that… Anyway, I should probably get going soon. Thanks for taking the time to talk to me,” he says.

 

Richard offers his across the table, the change of subject seems to have completely altered his emotional state. “Hang out for a while, there’s a lot happening out there tonight. It’s not always safe to be different when there are a lot of people out”

 

He shakes his hand, considering staying for a bit. “Well, I’m kinda used to being singled out, and people have tried to kill me before. Failed, but they’ve still tried… But since I kinda have a tendency to get lost, I’ll probably stick around for a bit. Wait for my girlfriend.”

 

“Hehehehe… Yeah, I keep waiting for mine. Maybe she’ll wake up and notice me sometime” Waves over to the hulking man who’d been at the table when Travis walked in “Hey Art, get my friend here whatever he wants, and put it on my tab” He smiles at the thought “Hmmmm, first time I’ll have run up a tab in a while” and refills the glass again, almost emptying the jug.

 

At that point, he starts wondering just what there is in the way of food. Not being much for alcohol, and all. And then he recalls his eating habits. “You’re sure? I mean, I should probably pitch in a little…”

 

The hunter smirks and leans forward conspiratorially “Let’s just say there are certain benefits to being part of the pack” and leaves it there, as he reaches onto the seat beside him and pulls out a menu “Grab something to go with the drinks… I recommend the burgers, especially if you’re expecting company”

 

Holding his hands out, he tries to indicate the size of the portions

 

“Might want to go with two burgers, in that case…” he says.

 

[Interviewer’s note: It was another half hour before Ivy arrived to pick me up. I got a few weird looks in that time, but nothing too outta the ordinary.]

“Under A Hunter’s Moon” is the first story featuring Richard.

Readers can find out more about the books, locations, and characters HERE.

They can also get updates from his blog HERE.

You can also follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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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.

 

Arden

Arden

Braden

Braden

Darien

Darien

Merris

Merris

Naia

Naia

Quin

Quin

 

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

Darkmage

Darklands

Website

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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MonkeyHugs!

 

For more of this world, please check out:

The author website

Facebook

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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

Facebook

Website

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!

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.

Naomi

 

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