#Interview with #artist @bmax67! #Twelfthdoctor #Petercapaldi #DoctorWho #doctorwhoislife

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My next featured guest is Brenda Culver, who is not only a fan of Doctor Who, but creates amazing digital creations of Peter Capaldi and his Twelfth Doctor.

Welcome!!!

Brenda: Thank you, Mackenzie!!!

Question 1) What part of the world do you come from?

Brenda: I live in the western suburbs of Chicago and was born and raised in the Chicago area.  I’d love to move somewhere warm eventually.

Mackenzie: I’d love to move somewhere warmer, too! Though, to be honest, I really enjoy the city of Chicago. I find myself visiting there at least once a year. In fact, I’ll be there this upcoming August, making my debut at Wizard World Chicago!

Question 2) When did you become a fan of Doctor Who?

Brenda: This is a bit complicated. I remember watching the 4th Doctor late at night, really having no clue what it was! Then, it disappeared from American TV. My son started watching new Doctor Who probably around 2012-2013.  I started watching with him and really enjoyed it. Then, the 12th Doctor came along and I became a full-fledged Whovian. 

Question 3) Who is your Doctor and why?

thumbnail-7.jpegBrenda: For some reason I really connected with the Twelfth Doctor.  Why?  I’m not sure.  I think it was a combination of things.  I remember seeing the iconic Doctor pose and thinking, “Wow, who is that?” He just WAS the Doctor to me from the start.  I loved how the Doctor evolved and his character developed over those three years. Also, maybe because I’m closer in age with him than the other younger Doctors.  Of course, it helped that Peter Capaldi has been an incredible ambassador for the show and still loves it to this day.

Mackenzie: I found myself also really connecting with the Twelfth Doctor right from the start (and not just because I share a birthday with him).

Brenda: That’s so cool!  I love his Doctor so much.

Question 4) How exciting you and your son got to meet Peter! What was it like getting to meet him? 

thumbnail-11Brenda: Oh wow! Where do I start? That weekend was surreal!  My son loves Twelve as well, so I bought the VIP package and boy, was it worth it!  We were able to attend a private gathering of maybe 20 or so people and got to chat with Peter and ask questions in a very informal and relaxed atmosphere.  Peter was pleasant and smiled while he told us stories of his life and career. Then, we were escorted to the main auditorium where the panel was taking place.  During the Q and A, the moderator brought one other boy on stage who was cosplaying Twelve to show off his costume. Peter then spotted my son who was also cosplaying Twelve and invited him up on stage with them!  What an incredible moment! The boys each had a seat on the couch and spent the rest of the Q and A sitting with Peter and the moderator. It was incredible. A selfie was taken of all 4 of them from the stage when the panel was over. The next day, Peter met my son in line and remembered his name and treated him like a friend.  It’s a weekend my son will never forget. Peter Capaldi is one of the kindest people I’ve ever met. He goes above and beyond for his fans probably because he is a fan himself.

Oh! I forgot to include that he saw some of my art and signed a piece for me!  It was early in my digital art work. I feel like I’ve improved over the last year, but Peter was so sweet with his comments about it.

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Question 5) I absolutely adore your art piece of Peter Capaldi’s Doctor. Can you share a bit about what inspired you to create this?

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Brenda: I believe the piece you were talking about is “Scan Me”.  I picked that particular scene because of the emotion and power of that scene. I loved the Doctor’s pose and the lighting was so unique. It was a challenge but I did my best. 

Question 6) It is always so hard to say good-bye to an actor/actress playing the Doctor. What was your favorite episode featuring your Doctor?

Brenda: There were so many episodes I thumbnail-9.jpegloved with Twelve, but Heaven Sent will always have a special place in my heart.  Peter did such an incredible job in an episode where he was solely featured.  The soundtrack was beautiful and the cinematography and directing was spectacular.  I remember watching it the first time and realizing what had been happening.  Brilliant.  Just brilliant.

Question 7) I always find it intriguing to learn about an artist’s technique. Can you share a bit about what goes into drawing a piece like this? Time frame? Skill? Software used?

thumbnail-2.pngI use a Wacom draw tablet.  Less than 100 dollars and pretty basic. I’ve only been drawing for about 2 years so it’s still a learning curve for me. I use ArtRage software. I start by sketching out the general outline on the first layer then start filling in with a basic color to build upon. Then, there’s all the details that follow. I honestly don’t have a certain style since I’m so new, I still experiment with different techniques and try to constantly learn.

As far as time frame goes, some seem to come together quite easily, maybe a few hours or so.  Others may take 10 hours or more. I never really timed myself and just work on my pieces when I can. I’m also always open to suggestions and pointers.

Question 8) What would you say is your interesting quirk?

I’m 50 years old but my husband says I’m 12.  I say “thingy” a lot. I guess I just don’t want to grow up.  😀

Question 9) Is there something or someone you would love to draw that you haven’t yet?

Yes!  Hugh Laurie.  I need to pick a shot that shows off his blue eyes.

Question 10) What advice would you give to someone who wants a career in art?

I would say not to follow my path since I started drawing at 48 years old and work as a dental hygienist. 😀  But seriously, for years I’ve always said I can’t draw, I still have a hard time calling myself an “artist” because there is so much talent out there and I’m hard on myself. If art is something you want to pursue, then do it. Don’t wait 30 years like I did!

Question 11) How excited are you to see the Doctor being played by a woman for the first time?

To be honest, I’ve had a difficult time just accepting a new Doctor.  It’s tough when you lose your Doctor. But I’m warming up to the idea and I’m hoping they stay true to the Doctor’s character. 

Question 12) What can we expect from you in the future?  

I will probably continue to draw the 12th Doctor for quite a while until I either expand my horizons to include the other Doctors or just follow Peter’s career and draw any new characters he may play in the future. I also would like to attempt some landscapes and I’ve drawn one of my dogs so far.  My other one is feeling left out.

Question 13) How can others find out more about you and your work?

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I have a Deviant Art page under the name Doctorwithaspoon as well as Tumblr. I am also on Twitter as @bmax67, and usually post my art on those sites. I would also like to say thank you to all of my supporters who are always so kind and sweet with their comments about my art. It’s much appreciated, and I’m glad other Twelve/Peter Capaldi fans appreciate my work.

Here’s a link to my DA page: https://www.deviantart.com/doctorwithaspoon/gallery/

Mackenzie: I’ll be sure to bookmark your DA page! Thank you so much for joining me today, Brenda. I wish you luck in your future, and can’t wait to see more of your art of Peter Capaldi!

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Book Spotlight: The Dim Zone by Chris Turner #TuesdayTeaser #scifi #technothriller

The Dim Zone

The_Dim_Zone

How far is too far?

Mercenary Yul Vrean is hired by billionaire CEO Mathias of Cybercore to bring back alien samples from a remote planet in the Dim Zone. It’s a region rife with murderous space pirates and slavers, the warlike Zikri and Mentera.

This alien technothriller is full of deadly space battles, extreme action, bio-mechanical fusion, killer aliens, a touch of the bizarre and fantastic… it will certainly intrigue fans of Alien, Predator and The Matrix.

In a race for mechnobot technology, genius Sigmund Hresh has engineered a prototype for what may be the holy grail of AI. The uses of such technology vary from the sinister to the saintly. Yul and his space thugs may be the only link preventing the next galactic war and saving the human colonies from hostile aliens.

 

The Making of The Dim Zone

The booktrack audio component was based on many space classics with similar textures to Alien Covenant and Life. I created composite alien effects from mixes of digital samples and animals, using pitch effects and warping. All in all, an eerie backdrop to the alien planet Xeses, and later, the corridors inside the starship Orb of the Zikri hunters.

Enjoy The Dim Zone, the next book in The Timelost series:

Booktrack (free): https://bit.ly/2wtIf5B

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CZ2KLG1

 

Author Interview with @authorcsmith! #FridayFeature #DoctorWho #Whovian #scifi #fantasy #steampunk #timetravel #authorinterview

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This interview I’m very excited about as it is my kickoff to the latest section of my blog on novels, short stories, anthologies, scripts, audio scripts, fanfic, etc, surrounding the #DoctorWho fandom.

Today, I’m fortunate to present Claire Smith, author of The Quest Of The Prodigy.

Welcome!

Thank you so much, Mackenzie!!! Always love getting love from a #Whovian! Whovians make the best sort of humans 🙂 

Question 1) What part of the world do you come from? 

Claire_BHC_Web.jpgBorn and raised in the western suburbs of Chicago. Moved to Greenville, SC in 2013 to be with family. Loving the southern life! 

Question 2) What do you think makes a good story? 

For me, it’s always the characters. I always say the story starts and ends with a good character. If you don’t have interesting characters, my attention gets lost very easily! That’s why I take character building very seriously! I also believe that one should learn something from reading a book. Not like an after-school special, but either a new take on something or an actual fact they might not have known. I believe that’s the power of fiction, to teach us something about reality too. 

Question 3) Congratulations on the release of The Quest Of The Prodigy! Tell us what inspired you to write this book?

Quest_of_the_Prodigy_Claire_Smith_WEB.jpgThank you so much! Well, it was back in 2012 and my friends and I were making fun of the rather new BBC show Sherlock. We were teasing about British surnames and I somehow thought of the name Barkley. And somehow I knew he was a time-traveler! And everything else just came from that 🙂 

Question 4) What would you consider your greatest writing challenge?

Finishing!!! I get so many ideas, that is hard to stay focused and finish a project. I have about five projects I’m working on at the moment!

Question 5) I understand your book was also selected by Barnes and Noble as a special two-week exclusive release on Nook! How did you react when you heard the news? 

Thank you! Well much to the disappointment of my amazing publishers, BHC Press, I had laryngitis at the time so I could barely say anything!!! So, I was screaming on the inside, lol.

Question 6) Turns out, your target audience is the same as mine – #DoctorWho fans! What made you select #Whovians?

I wrote this book FOR Whovians 🙂 I’ve always loved Time Travel, and been a Whovian for almost 8 years now! I wanted a book that was a fun, light-hearted read that would satisfy the Whovian in between seasons. And this book was also geared towards the sci-fi fan that likes the technology side of sci-fi explained so it’s less ‘magical’ and more ‘scientific’, kind of like Doctor Who! 

Question 7) Who’s your Doctor?

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Well, it’s cliche but the Tenth Doctor! It just wasn’t on his handsome looks, lol. I started watching Doctor Who a little differently because I started with Torchwood which was introduced to me first via BBC America. Then my British friend @jetlbomb introduced me to Doctor Who! She said if I loved Jack Harkness so much I should watch all of Doctor Who! So I started with the Empty Child, hit all the Jack episodes and then started again with Rose. It wasn’t until I saw the Utopia two-parter that I was HOOKED and so David Tennant will always be my Doctor. And Matt Smith is COOL, and well, being a Smith, I’m a little bias, so they are both my Doctor’s 🙂 Gotta love 12 though! They all rock! 

Question 8) How excited are you to see the Doctor being played by a woman for the first time?

I’m very excited! At first, I was worried about the casting just to please an agenda, but JODIE is going to be BRILLIANTLY AMAZING and I cannot wait! Also super excited for the new showrunner. Moffat had fine moments for sure, but new blood I think is most welcomed! 

Question 9) Okay, back to writing. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? 

Oh yes, I could talk about Doctor Who all day! I think my ‘quirk’ might be my habit of going into tangents / rants when I write, in character! My next coming novel In Need of Direction, a modern adult contemporary, the main character Charlie Vail goes in MANY side-rants. I have to trim them down a lot lol. I also like to make pop culture reference because I’m easily amused!

Question 10) What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating this book? 

DfGv9UIW0AAblUwI think the whole book itself surprised me. The first draft, horrible as it is, is WAY different and was more middle grade level. I changed it a lot too also to add more STEAMPUNK elements which I’m also a big fan of!

Question 11) Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share?

Certainly! Grab a preview here! https://issuu.com/bhcpress/docs/qotp_cs 

Question 12) What can we expect from you in the future?   

In 2019, my contemporary fiction novel In Need of Direction, about a Hollywood movie director who finds love a little too late when he finds out he’s dying, will be released. 2020 is expected to be the release of the sequel to the Quest of the Prodigy where our heroes will travel to the golden age of piracy! I’m also working on some screenwriting scripts for some contests, so WHO knows 😉 

Question 13) How can we contact you or find out more about your books? 

Thank you so much! I like how you have THIRTEEN questions for the new Doctor, woohoo!

They can visit me at writewithclaire.net! I’m also very active on Twitter @authorcsmith!

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Book Spotlight: The Long Lost Future by @IanDCattell #scifi #newrelease #thriller #spy

The Long Lost Future

longlostfuture1Randall didn’t know he had a destiny until it interrupted his lunch one day; and it was bigger than he could possibly have imagined (his destiny, not his lunch).

That’s when he met the mysterious Marcus Han – brainier than a clumsy butcher’s floor, and secretly the richest man in the world, he would be Randall’s companion and mentor through the challenges they must face in their struggle to stop the entire Galaxy from vanishing.

With a supporting cast of talking trees, mutant psychics, bungling cops, extremely refined resistance operatives, military trained birds, enlightened mushrooms, hallucinating AI units, cutlery collecting crabs, and his definitely EX-girlfriend to help him, he must travel back in time to the twenty-first century and begin again in a new, less tyrannical timeline.

If his departed dad, the World Police, the Planimals, or the ancient aliens don’t stop him first that is…

About the author

Iiancattelan Cattell is a software developer who wanted a change from staring blankly at a computer screen all day. So he decided to write a book.

Yeah, I know…

Over the next six months, he learned that there are many advantages to writing a book compared to writing software, the main one being that he doesn’t have to re-write it whenever Microsoft decides it’s “time”.

 

Some reviews of The Long Lost Future from Amazon.co.uk

longlostfuturereviews

If you are a fan of Pratchett and Adams then look no further than this book. A wonderful array of characters from an eccentric very British submarine crew to a malevolent talking Raven with the added bonus of time travel for good measure. I loved it.

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A really fun romp through space and time. I laughed out loud in some places and started my own game of ‘get the reference’. More than a sci-fi parody, more than a nerd’s accumulation of snippets from almost every tv, radio, film, and book involving space or time ever made in the history of the universe ever. A really good story and a good read.

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Thoroughly enjoyed this marvellous tale. Well written, full of excitement, lots of great jokes and a big dose of proper old-fashioned sci-fi. Looking forward to more.

A wonderfully eccentric take on time-travel and saving the universe. A real page-turner, I enjoyed every second. First class.

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Fantastic read. Both intelligent and laugh out loud funny. Great plot from beginning to end, with humorous footnotes.

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If you want an adventure, sci-fi, spy story with a twist? This one’s for you, I laughed, felt sad, felt clever, you name it. The must-read of 2017 by a fantastic new writer…..Go on give it a read, you know it makes sense!!!

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Funny and intelligent laughing out loud from the beginning

He best be quick writing the sequel!

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Bought this on a recommendation. So much better than I expected! Take the DNA of Adams and Pratchett, mix with a cutting cornucopia of modern issues, and add a huge dose of humour, and you not even close to how good The Long Lost Future is. Amazing and thoroughly engaging book, read it!

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A thoroughly enjoyable piece of modern literature. Witty, funny and very well told, this author is one to watch out for

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Really enjoyed this especially the twist in the end. Can’t wait for the sequel

Contact details

Website : iancattell.online

Email : ian@iancattell.online

Twitter : @IanDCattell

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Long-Lost-Future-Ian-Cattell-ebook/dp/B07C9M9NPQ/

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Author Interview: William Schlichter #Tuesdaybookblog #scifi #horror #authorinterview @BHCPressbooks

Today I’m fortunate to present William Schlichter author of Sci-fi and horror.

Hi, William, thanks for agreeing to this interview!

Question 1) What part of the world do you come from?

William_Schlichter_BHC_WebI’m from Missouri. I’m originally from an hour south of St Louis, and now I call Springfield home.

Question 2) What do you think makes a good story?

Strong character driven stories, quick moving, and short chapters or breaks.

They need to bring forth an emotion in me. I want to care about what happens to the characters. I must care about the characters.

Question 3) What inspired you to write your first book?

Star Wars.  I was three and a half years old and my parents took me to see Star Wars at the drive-in. It’s my earliest full memory and I knew after watching this spectacle I didn’t want to be Han Solo or a Jedi I wanted to create those kinds of stories.

Question 4) What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I teach high school and college so during the school year I write when I can.  I write in my creative writing class when the students write in class. But I have a daily goal of a 1000 new words.

In the summer, I get up and write as close to a 1000 words as I can then swim a mile, go to the gym and finish my thousand words.  Now, if the Muse flows I’ll keep going and I will drain the well. I finish a story idea; if I don’t it plagues me. Demanding to be written down.  I will edit older works after my 1000 words. I read. Riding the bike at the gym is a great time to read and since I travel I listen to a lot of audiobooks. 

Question 5) What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

The story flows throw me much like a movie and I paint a picture on the page like a movie.

Question 6) Give us the title and genre of your latest book.

400_Miles_W_Schlicter_C2No Room in Hell: 400 Miles To Graceland –  a post-apocalyptic horror/thriller. Not your typical zombie adventure.

Question 7) What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?

I didn’t write the first No Room in Hell to enter the mass market with a zombie book because it was a popular bestselling subject. I wrote the story one to cover events no one else covers in all the zombie books I have read or watched and two I wrote the main character as the nameless figure. It was a challenge to write this character. A challenge I gave myself and based on feedback readers liked it or thought it was an interesting approach.  It reaffirms a writer must know the rules before breaking them but when a rule is broken and it works it is rewarding.

Question 8) Do you have an excerpt from your current work you’d like to share?

The opening of SKA due out in 2018:

SKA_William_Schlichter_Web“That’s a lot of money—do you want me to do something for it?”

            Even on my limited salary, a Jackson wasn’t a grand gesture. I’ve bought books costing more. The girl was messed up, and not just for thinking the twenty dollars I handed her was worth her doing something, but she had a hospital ID bracelet and a red medication allergy band on her wrist.

            She asked me to watch her bag while she went and bought cigarettes—one of those plastic clothing bags hospitals give out. She’d be back, then I could take her someplace.

            Despite her haggard appearance, her round face was pretty. Hospitals tend to fatigue people. They want you to rest, but constantly wake you up to check your vitals.

            Returning with a green pack of smokes, she bubbles with excitement. The cheap pint she tried to hide might have helped. The seal already busted. She didn’t notice me observing her slip it in the hospital bag. If I wasn’t convinced she was an addict, I knew now. Curiosity overtook me. Stirring overwhelmed me. The sexual ones were obvious, at least to me, but something deeper wanted me to keep this girl.

 Question 9) What can we expect from you in the future?  

Enter_the_Sandmen_W_Schlichter_FC_WebMy next novel is a standalone thriller SKA: Serial Killers Anonymous where a collection of serial Killers form a self-help group in order to curb their urges. They examine their acts and one in the group is not who they pretend to be.

The third book in my sci-fi series The Silver Dragon Chronicles: The fifth Planet will continue to follow the crew’s exploits as they attempt to stop the Sandmen.

And my dark and gritty zombie apocalypse series No room in hell will see book three as well. I have a working title but it might give away the shocking twist at the end of book two.  Just know no one is safe.

Question 10) What was the best money you ever spent as a writer? 

The gym, travel and Stephen King’s On Writing.

You can’t write without your health or experience the world, even if you only travel to the adjoining state. Changing your comfort zone makes all the difference, and of the dozens of books about how to write I’ve read or bought, his is the one I quote to my writing students the most.

Question 11) How can we contact you or find out more about your books?

http://www.bhcpress.com/Author_William_Schlichter.html

https://twitter.com/wmschlichter

https://www.facebook.com/wmschlichter/

https://www.instagram.com/wschlichter

Author Interview: Mary R. Woldering #Tuesdaybookblog

Today I’m fortunate to present Mary R. Woldering author of Children of Stone.

Hi Mary, thanks for agreeing to this interview.

10014489_228282274027119_1981351165_oQuestion 1) What part of the world do you come from?

The United States

Question 2) What do you think makes a good story?

Strong characters and their interaction with each other

Question 3) What inspired you to write your first book?

I don’t recall. I just wrote a story when I was about 14.

Question 4) What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

Chaotic and full of distractions, but I manage.

Question 5) What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

No idea what you would consider interesting or a quirk. I do a lot of research & Googling.

Question 6) Give us the title and genre of your latest book.

Opener of the Sky – Book 3 of the Children of Stone Series.

Question 7) What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?

That I have very few readers. I think the story is a great one and so do my few readers, but news of the tale is just not spreading.

Question 8) Do you have an excerpt from your current work you’d like to share?

Sure! I preceded it with the blurb.

Children of Stone Book 3 – Opener of the Sky

I had grown fierce and hard
Thrilled by death, torture, blood…
the madness of it when I tasted its warm saltiness
A warrior god.

… from the poem Howl by Mary R. Woldering (as told by Raemkai-2012)

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Marai, a former shepherd, who discovered a fallen ‘star’ and was gifted with amazing abilities by the unearthly Children of Stone, has been separated from those he loves.

Turned sojourner, he begins a desperate mission to find them, but the spectre of wickedness and corruption is never far behind and his journey to wisdom becomes even more uncertain.

While Opener Of The Sky, the third book in the Children of Stone series, is the continuing story of Marai’s magical search for his companions, it is also the story of Maatkare Raemkai, a sadistic shape-changing warrior-prince, whose twisted relationships once propelled him into power, then nearly destroyed him.

Through sorcerous manipulation of the women Marai loves, he has planned his own revenge. The sojourner Marai is just in the way.  Will he be too late to save those he loves or will he welcome them in victory?

In this excerpt from Sokor and Khmenu, Ariennu and Naibe attempt an escape from the clutches of their captor Prince Maatkare one day away from the king’s palace. He, being part wolf/dog tracks them, manipulating them into the very temple where he offers sacrifices. He’s intent on teaching them both a lesson.

(Reader’s note. Ariennu is nicknamed MaMa and Naibe is called Baby, but they are not mother and daughter.) 18+

 

Ari stared at Maatkare Raemkai as he chatted, noticing Deka sat next to her prince oblivious to the surroundings. She had done the same thing in Little Kina Ahna when everyone had lived with Marai.  That much of her personality had not changed. For Ari, Maatkare was much more interesting.

So good looking though. He was even fun to drink with last night before it got to be too much; watching him show off for his men. Ariennu mused, a slight smile on her lips. Maybe not the worst idea in the world, except having to share him. And whatever he did to Naibe this afternoon was uncalled for, knocking her out like that.

She paused, tucking in her thoughts, when she saw the prince glance her way as if he had heard every one of them.

The signal to Naibe was a yawn.

Ari leaned to a servant.

“Where is your privy? My friend and I need to…”

The servant glanced at the priest who spoke to the prince.

Maatkare, his eyes glimmering a little in recognition of something, motioned for an older guard to follow them. He raised a forefinger, then lowered it in a quiet but mystical gesture.

Don’t be gone too long, ladies. His thoughts whispered as he pulled Deka a little closer.

The shaded stall with an open half wall provided just enough room for a person to squat. After a moment, Ari rose and gestured to Naibe that it was her turn:

I’m going to cover myself and stand over you. If you just concentrate on getting to the king and not being seen, I think it’ll work.

She wrapped the prismatic illusion around herself like goddess Nut’s mantle, hugging Naibe up into her arms and slipping away past the guard who paced just a few feet away.

As soon as she reached the causeway to the river, she let Naibe down and dropped the illusion. The two women gasped and then caught their breath, shrinking back into the shadow. Once there, they tried to get their bearings.

“Do you think he saw which way we went?” Naibe whispered.

“No, but we have to keep moving down the river. I’m sure the guard has already told…Oh Goddess…fast. The bastard knows already.”

Ari stopped and crouched with Naibe as guards with bobbling torches erupted from the gate to priest’s house.

“Bring him out here. Stupid bastard let them run off.”

Prince Maatkare.

Storming by.

He whirled as two men dragged the guard who had been set over the women out to the wall near the water in the causeway channel.

Naibe and Ariennu crouched lower, wrapping secrecy around themselves.

“Highness. They used sorcery. Gone in a flash.” The guard pleaded, then accepting his fate, whispered: “Have mercy…”

“I do have mercy on you, because you have served me well.” The prince replied. “And I have mercy on your children.”

The shup sound of a blade striking hard into a body was followed by a groan. A shadow drifted over the three figures who supported the fourth, followed by a snapping sound. It meant the man’s neck had been broken in a quick gesture of mercy.

Ari clapped a quick hand over Naibe’s mouth to keep her from squealing aloud in horror.

“Take our unfortunate old friend to the open edge of the water. He has been given a message for Lord Sebek. What you men will know” the hand gesture again, as if he was imprinting the men with a different story, “is that as he was chasing the women, slipped at the muddy bank and the crocodiles got to him before we could. I will write a message to his family of his noble deeds in my service and award them his pension. Be careful of the crocodiles yourselves. They can be keen on those who break the rules or bear tales.” He grew silent as the guard’s body was carried away.

Ari faded herself into the color of the wall. She couldn’t make out everything the prince was doing but it seemed to be additional ritual gestures, followed by the spiritual howl of a wolf-dog. It grew in piercing volume overtaking Ari’s heart and filling her heart with uncustomary terror.

Naibe’s mouth opened in a silent cry.

Maatkare stopped, as if he noticed, and sniffed the air.

For a moment, Ari thought she recognized the flash of shiny fang teeth in an eerie grin but realized it was an image of warning he had conjured up so that he would appear as a beast before her eyes.

I know you are near, ladies. I can smell your scents. Because you decided to run away, you now see a little more of how I am. I will find you before dawn. I hope the chase will leave me feeling less upset by that time. The prince’s thought voice was calm and unruffled, just as it had been when he spoke to the unfortunate guard. He moved back up the causeway, scenting and searching for them.

As soon as Ari saw he was far enough away to appear the same size as a shabti doll, she silently grabbed Naibe and darted around the perimeter of the priest’s home and into the first entrance they could find that didn’t seem to be part of the building complex.

The path became a shrouded tunnel.

Ari saw two sentries at the open gate entryway.

Another temple, maybe? She thought, hurtling by the men with Naibe in tow. The sentries stirred as if they sensed something, stared at each other, then they closed the gate behind the women who were still moving deeper inside the passageways. Ariennu relaxed, her image becoming visible. She waited with Naibe in the dust and dark, while they caught their breath.

“Killed the guard, the bastard did, just to teach us a lesson. He set the whole thing up, because he knew we were up to something. I don’t even think N’ahab would have done that, goddess curse his soul.” Ari spat at the ground, then pulled Naibe to the left branch of the path when they came to a division.

The new hallway was close and torch lit with paintings on the walls. At intervals there were more paths and arched hollows that became other tunnels, but Ari was certain they would find the way out of the other side at any moment.

A right then another right then a left. Um. She paused to stroke the stone in her brow, hoping to clarify any message her Child Stone transmitted.

Where am I supposed to go? Damn. I’m going to get us lost. She froze. City of the Dead, Sokor. A Labyrinth, and I led us both in here.  She turned to Naibe. “Let’s just try to be calm and quiet. They will help us. They just have to.”

“Um, Ari…” Naibe paused, her hand staying the older woman’s hand. “You do know where you are going don’t you?”

“I just know we have to go deeper in. I can still feel his thoughts, Babe. He’s looking around down here…tracking us. He can smell us. If we keep moving in where the burial boxes are, there are enough of them and dust in the twists. I want his nose confused over what he thinks he smells. He can’t stay past dawn. Sooner or later he’ll have to give up on us and keep moving up the river. He’ll have to leave us.  Then we can get out and get down the river to Our Father Menkaure. If he’s going to keep showing me how he is ‘Prince Dangerous’ and killing people over nothing, we’re not safe. I’ll curse my own soul if I ever let some man kill me, whether he was glorious on his couch or not.”

“I didn’t like it, Ari.” Naibe admitted, just above a whisper.

“No? Really? I thought he was one wild hump! That El of his knew how to seek out every single part in my belly and womb like it was made for it. Mmm…Mmm…I wish I didn’t have to get away. I’m getting another itch for it, just thinking about it working me.”

Ari turned every way she could, realizing the underground complex must have been huge. So far she hadn’t found any two passageways that looked alike.

“With me, he put up a wall over his soul instead of becoming open to me. Devils came out of his eyes the more I sent up my loving to him. He just sucked it out and still gave nothing back. It was as if he was broken and couldn’t love me like a normal man. He could give the pleasure twice over to fill in that missing part and I was screaming for it, but then I couldn’t stop thinking of my Marai and how much I missed the real love he had for me…and then I couldn’t breathe. I fainted.”

“No I saw everything he did when you first came in. Read it off your stone when you were crawling around the cabin floor all shocked. Bastard choked you hard enough to end you and then painted night in front of your eyes…said he would drink your heart for saying Marai’s name to him.” Ariennu stopped walking and sat by the wall where five corridors branched out in the dark.

Now which way? She asked herself.

Naibe shuddered as if she wanted to gag in worry.

Ari she tapped the nearly imperceptible rise in the middle of her forehead just at the top of her nose. “Come on little one… some help here. Show me those little balls of light Marai told us about that led him in the dark to your boat of wonders so long ago, if this is still real…”

“It’s alright MaMa.” Naibe petted Ari’s shoulder.

“Still my fault we’re having to run like this. We should be at the palace soaking in asses milk, not having to get away from someone who’s no better than a slave master.” She saw the small lightened area in one of the corridors. “There. That way. I see those lights, I think. We have to go.” Ari got to her feet and pulled Naibe up.

After a series of twists and turns and more walking, the elder woman slowed, realizing the lights might have been an illusion born of her own fatigue.

 

Push on if you must

Or stay

Or go this way

 

A voice exploded just under her brow. It was louder than the usual whisper-like singing to which she had become accustomed.

“Finally! Ouch, damn. Naibe, watch your step, there’s something back here. I thought it was a wall but there’s something out in front.” She murmured, then felt the lid of a low stone box with some carved object on top.

A Stone box. It’s like my dream when I saw Marai lying dead in that black box somewhere. She felt for the edge for a moment but realized the box in her dream had been plain and slick to the touch. This one was smooth but not as finely polished

“I can feel a draft coming over the top so maybe it’s in front of a hall that leads us out of here the back way.” Ari couldn’t see much in the dark until she paused and became calm enough for her eyes to switch into a kind of night vision.

In the back, a niche containing a platform for offerings. Something furred, broken and wet with gore lay in the dish. Her hands leapt up away from whatever it was as if they had been lightning struck. Atop the lid was a carved image. She felt the shape: Animal. Legs, haunches, muzzle and upright ears of Wepwawet as Guide of the Dead.

She gasped, realizing the irony of the place she had entered with the younger woman. The prince’s words from late last night rang in her ears.

 

I’m the Lord of the Dead by the Blood of Aset…the Lord of the Dead

 

She remembered the revelry of the party, and the way a very drunk Maatkare cried out his howling lament about his ill-fated marriage to the king’s daughter. Women always tryna put a collar on me.

That was the moment she knew she had to get him away from the king’s private area and onto his boat.

Well damn me she thought.

Ari suddenly realized the prince was here on more than business. This was a centering and safe place for the disciples of Wepwawet who presented as a wolf/dog.

He must be from the wolf school with all his skill with a bow, the howling, the…Oh goddess…shape shifting that’s so fast no bones bend or skin stretches…he just is. I led us both to his safe space…He came here to cleanse himself? Our dinner host was his witness while we were cleaning up?

Ariennu sensed something wasn’t right in the tonality of the Children’s voices. Sounds like a man imitating…like…She tensed, all the hair on her arm rising as she heard the great wolf/dog’s panting approach to the opening of the chapel.

The sound of his clawed feet tip-tapped on the hardened earth floor of the path. The panting merged into an evil titter; breathing in the dark; a faint growl that grew stronger and more threatening.

 

Push on if you must

Or stay

Or go this way

Either way leads to pain

You see, I know what they sound like,

Your little friends

These voices in your crystal eye.

 

The black furred hand/paw touched her arm just before it faded into illusion.

“MaMa!” Naibe cried, panting. “He’s finding us. Hide!” Naibe ran around the stone box. This time she grabbed Ari and hid in her cloaking arms. The women clung to each other, wide-eyed and silent. Before the shroud of silence covered them, Ari saw the silhouette of a black wolf/dog thin like smoke. In its place, Ari thought she saw a gold armlet flashing in the slight available light of a distant torch.

Oh. He’s here? She hardened her resolve, crouching and ready to fight.

In the distance, the women heard a faint scampering snapping, growling, yodel-howling, circling and finding the way.

They’re coming Ari. Dogs…He has power over dogs. He’s sending dogs. Naibe grabbed Ariennu harder, as if it would help her gain more invisibility.

I know Baby, I know…the elder woman listened silently for a long time as the sounds circled, grew louder and finally paused outside the room where they had become the most confused.

Footsteps.

Maatkare stood in the doorway, golden wrist and arm bands glimmering in ambient torchlight.

“I know what you tried to do.” He began to pace, trying to seem thoughtful “Maybe I would have done the same thing too if I had been in your situation. But now you’ve caused a good man to die, because you outwitted him with your little trick.”

The sound of dogs growling grew louder.  His thought voice growled too, half human half dog as if he had become one of them.

Easy brothers…he started, then spoke aloud “Perhaps I should let them come at you. They are my trick, Red Sister. See if you like it.” Maatkare’s dark hand swept the air in front of him. Ari sensed an almost-whisper.

Suddenly, black ravenous shadows emptied past him around his torso and over his shoulders; into the chamber pouncing, snarling and biting. Ariennu felt herself knocked back hard by the weight of several animals standing around and towering over her. She shrieked angrily, struggling against their bodies.

“Call them off! Damn you!” she swung, kicked and shoved, but accomplished nothing.

 

“You’re afraid…tsk, tsk…fearless Lady Ariennu…worried by some puppies.”

 

“Am not…get them off me…”

 

“About to soil yourself, you naughty ka’t” he chortled, toeing the threshold and gesturing. “Just a very small sample of what I can do, if you come to annoy me.”

Puppies?  Ari froze, her eyes clearing a little.

The clawing and biting beasts had become gregarious, yipping puppies. They frolicked happily about her prone body then left, heading past the prince and out the doorway as they vanished.

It had been a magnificent illusion.

 

Question 9) What can we expect from you in the future?  

The last 2 books in the series Book 4 “Heart of the Lotus” and Book 5 “The Lake of Memory” plus some spin-offs in other time periods including a Steampunk Crime novella “Miss Hattie and the Hoppers” and an autobiography of sorts. There are other plans in other times and places.

Question 10) What was the best money you ever spent as a writer? 

Createspace covers. They are very professional looking.

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Question 11) How can we contact you or find out more about your books?

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Mary-R.-Woldering/e/B00OND7QMU/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard

Website:  Palace intrigue, murder, madness, confusion, bizarre twists and plot turns…dangerous hookups, evil geniuses, punk sorcerers, traitors…

https://www.maryrwoldering.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ChildrenofStone

Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/ChildrenofStoneNovels?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

16+

Alienation BLOG HOP TOUR #scifi #blogtour

Mackenzie Flohr

Welcome to the Alienation BLOG HOP TOUR.

Please take your seat and strap yourself in, as we take you on an intergalactic tour. You will be amazed, entertained, and educated. Manoeuvre through the cosmos and be astounded at all you see. Hunt down the hidden words that will get you to your final destination where a one-of- a -kind award awaits one lucky traveller.

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You are here to celebrate the release of Alienation, book two of the humorous Sci-Fi series, Starstruck.

Sally Webber’s dream is coming true: Zander is back and taking her out for a night on the town–on a planet hundreds of light years away from Earth.

But when an accident separates her from her alien tour guide, she’s thrown into the seedy underbelly of an insane city where nothing is as it seems. Suddenly lost and desperate to get back home, Sally is willing to do anything to get out, even if it means accepting spontaneous marriage proposals, crashing some fancy parties, or joining what appears to be the space mob.

All she wanted was some decent interstellar pizza, but now it might be the end of the world as evil nanobots and an out of control AI try to take the universe by force, and the only one who can stop them is missing in action. Sally has no choice but to try to stop them herself–if she can stay alive that long.

Pre-order your copy now!

Alienation is the fantastic sequel to the hit sci-fi comedy, Starstruck by S.E. Anderson.

Scavenger Hunt Instagram

AN INTERVIEW WITH SALLY WEBBER

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The woman before you shuffles uncomfortably in her chair. She’s pulled her light brown hair up into a ponytail, a way to tame her twitchy fingers. It’s only after she’s stopped and put her hands back on her lap, resting them gently on her worn jeans, that they interviewer begins.

Mackenzie: There’s no need to be nervous, Sally. It’s just a fun interview!

Sally: Sorry. It’s just that I have a bit of an anxiety disorder. Even small things, like calling people on the phone, my brain blows completely out of proportion. I know there’s nothing to worry about, but this is an interview, and I’ve never really been interviewed before.

Mackenzie: Maybe you could start by telling us a little bit about yourself? To break the ice?

Sally: Ok, let’s do this. I’m Sally – Sally Webber – and a human. I’m from earth.  I have to start the interview this way, since a lot of my friends aren’t…

Mackenzie: Aren’t what?

Sally: Aren’t from earth. Or, entirely human. I’m not quite sure what they are. They sure look human, but they can do things no other human being can do. Like teleport instantly from one side of the universe to the other.

Mackenzie: And how did you meet these friends of yours?

Sally: Zander I met when I ran him over with my car. He’s fine, really, and no hurt feelings. He was my roommate for a while, after that. Blayde’s his sister. She was separated from him when the car thing happened, but managed to find him.

Mackenzie: And this new novel, Alienation. It tells your story…

Sally: After the incident at GrishamCorp, Zander promised he’d take me to see something off Earth. A bit of a thank you – and a good bye present, I guess? I had to wait two years for him to come pick me up, but he took me to Da-Duhui, an amazing city planet at the heart of the Alliance.

Mackenzie: The Alliance? Who or what is that?

Sally: They’re the closest alien union to Earth. Hundreds of planets tied together by accords. They actually know about earth, but it’s a weird tourist destination, from what I can tell. Wow, look at me, talking about all this like I actually know what’s going on!

Mackenzie: You don’t?

Sally: Heck no. I have no idea! A few hours after we get to Da-Duhui, Zander and I get separated. The pizza betrays me, we get in a bit of a hovercar accident – I’d call that karma – and I get stuck in the Undercity of the planet with no way to reach him.

Mackenzie: Oh my gosh, that’s terrible! How did you escape?

Sally: Now you’re going to have to read the book for that!

Mackenzie: One last question, then. You said it took Zander two years to come back to get you. And then, he loses you in an alien city. Do you resent him for that?

Sally: I’m done answering these questions. I mean, come on, who asks that? He’s my friend! And he… No. We’re through here.

Gala

 

Follow this exciting blog tour starting at your first stop UrbanHype101 and if you get lost in cyber space, come back to UrbanHype101 for the tour map. There’s something new to read see or hear on each of these stops.

Don’t forget to hunt for that special word and if you find ALL of them, send them to scavengerhunt@bolidepublishing.com and you could win a signed copy of Alienation and a gift pack of unique swag. This contest is open internationally.

Now hop onto your spacecraft and visit the next blog.

10th October –  Paisley Piranha