Author Interview: Dave D’Alessio

For this interview, I ventured into a sci-fi convention to ‘meet’ with FANTASY/HUMOR author, Dave D’Alessio. After finally locating each other in the crowd, we sat down in a quiet corner and talked about his book. As always, ‘Kelly’ was written by me, Kelly Blanchard, and ‘Dave’ was written by Dave D’Alessio.


Kelly parked her car and started at the crowd going into the sci-fi convention. She had to admit, she’d never been to one of these in her life, so this was new. The only question was, how was she going to find her interviewee in this mass of people? “I’ll be dressed as Brigadier Alastair Lethbridge-Stewart,” he had told her, At least that narrowed it down…to the cosplay people.

Getting out of her car, she sent Dave D’Alessio a message letting him know she had arrived. She decided to get through the crowd and find a quiet place and let him find her. Otherwise she’d spend all her time here lost, and that wouldn’t be beneficial.

Once she found another place, she sent him another message, letting him know her location, and then she began to watch people as this was a wonderful opportunity for that.

A man in a green commando sweater and a tan beret with a UNIT badge pinned to it made his way through the gang, stopping once to admire a young lady in a purple cadet’s uniform and carrying a katana. “She’s here every year,” he explained. “Once someone asked her if this was just a bunch of people playing dress-up games and she recited the program to him from memory. Poor guy was dying.”

When Kelly heard this, she laughed. “Oh, that’s hilarious. You must be Dave D’Alessio.” She rose to her feet and extended her hand to shake his. “Great cosplay. Is this a good place to hang out? Or do you know someplace quieter?”

“Dave” took his beret off and put it down on the. “Now I’m out of character, so, yes. You must be Kelly. It’s nice to finally meet you.” He looked around the floor and then up into the air, as though visualizing the floor above. “We could look for an empty panel room, but people here are pretty cool. They won’t take pictures without asking permission, and they’ll leave us alone. That’s the rule. Cosplay is not consent.”

“That’s a pretty good rule to have. As long as we don’t get interrupted too much because an hour time is really not that long.” Kelly shook her head, and the two of them sat down. She glimpsed around at the crowds then looked back at Dave. “I tend to avoid these events because of the terrible headaches I get, so it’s nice to actually experience it.” She smiled at him. “I want to ask you about your life as a writer, but first I’ve got to ask, how did you get involved in cosplay?”

He rubbed a hand over his bald head, clearly older than most of the others. “I started coming here to listen to the writing guests. The first year I came they had Brandon Sanderson, Leona Wisocker, and Michael J. Sullivan, and they blew my mind. Sanderson is a really giving guy, and just took over the panels and made sure we got lots of great information. But in between I saw how cool everyone was with everyone else, so it seemed like a fun way to participate to get into character. Last year I came as Doctor Who #2 and got hooked up with my new friends in the Connecticut Whovians, so I guess it worked.” He smiled and ran a hand over his bald head.

Kelly smiled. “Sounds like a lot of fun. I’m glad you get to participate like that. Now though, let’s talk about your life as a writer.” She shifted in her seat to turn to look at him more fully, and she smiled at him. “When did you first become interested in writing?”

“High school,” he said immediately. “But I didn’t do much with it for years. Too busy having jobs.” He laughed. “But in 2007 a friend of mine from playing online RPGs, Jennifer Lautenschlager, told me about this NaNoWriMo thing. ‘You’d like it,’ she said, so I tried my first one starting on November 7th. Man, that book sucks!” He laughed again. Stuff just seemed to crack him up all the time.

Kelly chuckled when she heard this. “Well, NaNoWriMo is always supposed to be a rough draft, so…” She gave a shrug but smiled at him. “But that was when you became interested in writing once more? How have you progressed from there to here?”

His eyebrows went up. “Good one,” he said. “Let me see…By 2008 I was ready for NaNo, so I was really excited to start. And I found a local group, the Fairfield County Writers Group, and they meet year-round, so even when we’re no NaNoing, we’ve got something going on. I  got my first published short…well, no, second. I got one out in the 1980’s…I got my second published short story out of a game we played at one meeting. Have you seen Rory’s Storycubes?” He takes an aging iPhone from his OD green pants. “I’ve got the app here if you haven’t.”

Kelly shook her head and looked at his phone as he showed her the app. She furrowed her brows. “So what exactly does it do?”

He fired up the phone and tapped the icon. “There are nine dice here, nine d6, and they each have different pictures on each side. So you roll them and try to make a story from the imagery…” He shook his phone and the cubes danced. “There’s um…keyhole, flashlight – that was one of the one’s I got that time – clock…I’m not sure what that is, a rainbow maybe…the scales of justice, or maybe just scales…” He poked at the screen, moving dice around. “I dunno…moon…It’s a way of generating visual prompts. The symbols can mean whatever you want them to.”

“Very interesting.” Kelly nodded. “I’ll have to look up the app once we’re done.” She smiled, sitting back in her seat. “So is that how you came up with the idea for your book? Or were you inspired some other way?”

“You mean this book, The Yak Butter Diaries?” Of course he had a copy. He took it from his backpack and riffled through the pages. “This was my 2014 NaNo project and I wanted to do something other than another space opera. So I made a list of things I thought people think make the world go around…you know, love, money, stuff like that. I threw it to the group, too, and they came up with some doozies. So, then I created a character, a sort of naif, and had him react to those things. It’s the journey of discovery,” he finished naming one of the seven basic plots.

Kelly looked over the cover of the book and nodded then had to smile at Dave’s simplistic way of describing the book. “Well, there’s a lot of stuff for sure. Who exactly is the main character? Tell me a bit about the story world you created.”

He grinned again. “Tamosan Acorn,” he said. “I was watching Yojimbo and there’s the one scene where the geishas come out and play the shamisen, but I couldn’t call him shamisen because I couldn’t spell it. And Acorn because he’s a founding brought to the monastery at the top of the Temple of Enlightenment, and the monks name all the foundlings ‘Acorn.'” He fingered a curving road on the cover of the book, leading into, or away from, the mountains. “The monks teach that each person has to find his own place in the world, so they send him off to find his place.”

“And so the story is about him finding his place in the world?” Kelly lifted her brows, looking back at the book. It sounded intriguing for sure.

He nodded. “Yes. It’s a bit of an allegory, so he runs into people in isolated villages who have their own view of the world, you know, that the world revolves around…Oh, sport, in one place, or fitness in another.” He smacked a hand across his mouth. “Sheesh, I actually said ‘allegory,’ and almost came out with ‘weltenschauung.’ That would have been a killer.”

Kelly laughed. She appreciated Dave’s sense of humor. “So, was there anything in the book that surprised you when you wrote it? Don’t need any spoilers! But…I’m curious.”

“I know the answer to that is supposed to be yes,” he said, “But the truth is I had that list of places, and I laid them out ahead of time, so I knew what he was going to run into.” He though back two-and-a-half years to the first draft. “The only rule I had was that he had to have a crock of yak butter and a staff, and for most of the book his friend Singhan, to get him out of trouble. Sometimes I caught him using one or more of them with a little more ingenuity than I would have shown.”

“Why did you have those requirements though?” Kelly furrowed her brows. She noticed the bold digital clock on the wall and saw their time was nearly up, but she turned her attention back to Dave to hear his answer. They still had a little more time.

“I caught you,” he said, looking at the clock himself. “Got a panel at 1 myself. Why those? Well, I wanted yak butter, or I couldn’t have called it The Yak Butter Diaries. I just thought it was suitably absurd. And as for his staff, well, he’s a monk so he needs a staff, and as for Singhan, I needed someone to tell the jokes. Tamosan is not an especially funny guy.”

Kelly nodded when she heard this. “Well, all of that makes sense. Now, is this the first of a series, or is it a standalone book?”

“Standalone,” he said immediately. “Part of it was an experiment…I mostly write space operas, so I have one series of seven books plus a prequel and sequel. I’m working on a alternative history trilogy that turned into a quadrilogy, got a new series of what I call space light opera, comic space operas inspired by Gilbert and Sullivan plays…I just wanted to write something that stood on its own for a change. That’s why I self-published it,” he added. “They others I’m looking for agents and publishers for, but,” he held up the book, “This is so unlike what I normally write, except for the jokes, that it didn’t make sense to keep it with the others.”

Kelly smiled. “Well, it sounds like a wonderful experiment, and I really wish we had the time to talk more about your other work! But maybe another time! For now though, I need to get going, but I’ve really enjoyed this chat. Am quite curious how the character interview will go.” She rose to her feet with a smile. “Thanks for meeting with me and for answering my questions!”

Dave got up as well, and gave a polite half-bow. “Thank YOU! This was fun.” He looked around. “You’ll get out okay, right?” A giant Groot cosplayer walks by, twelve feet tall.

“Yep, I’ll find my way!” She saw the tall cosplayer and shook her head. That must have taken a lot of work. But then she looked back at Dave with a smile. “Have a great day!” With a wave and a smile, she headed out.


Dave D’Alessio’s novel, ‘The Yak Butter Diaries’ can be found on Amazon. Also, be sure to follow him on social media for more updates on his work!



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Author Interview: Melissa E. Beckwith

I met with FANTASY author, Melissa E. Beckwith, today and had a lovely chat with her. I got to know a bit about the author behind ‘The Empress of Ventra: The Sword of Rhiannon: Book One’. It’s always nice pull back the veil and understand the mind behind the book. As in every interview, ‘Kelly’ was written by me, Kelly Blanchard, and ‘Melissa’ was written by Melissa E. Beckwith. Enjoy the interview! 


The door chimed when Kelly opened it and stepped into the coffee shop. She looked around and saw a young woman sitting at a table with a laptop in front of her. Kelly smiled but didn’t go to her right away. Instead, she went to the counter and ordered some hot chocolate.

Once she received it, she turned to the table and went to it. “Melissa Beckwith?” Kelly raised her brows then held out her hand to shake. “I’m Kelly. Thanks for meeting with me.” She saw down at the table across from Melissa. “How are you doing today?”

Melissa took a slow sip from her strong coffee. “I write full-time now that the kids are out of the house.  I’m lucky enough to have a wonderful husband who pays the bills and let’s me just worry about my writing.”   Melissa’s lips curved into a huge smile at the thought of her husband of almost thirty years.

“That is fantastic! You are truly blessed.” Kelly grinned at her and wrapped her hands around her mug. “So, when did you first become interested in writing?”

Melissa cocked her head to one side, her long, brown hair falling over her shoulder. With a nostalgic look on her face, she answered, “I started telling stores as far back as I can remember.  Even before I learned how to read, I “wrote” stories in the form of picture books.”  Melissa chuckled softly, “I went through a lot of crayons.”

Kelly’s grin grew. “I was like that too! Did pictures because I didn’t know how to write, but had so many stories in my head!” She shook her head, still smiling, remembering those memories, but then she focused on Melissa once more. “Now a lot of writers have had a love for writing since they were children, but it wasn’t until years later that they actually became serious about writing. Was that the case for you? Was there a specific time when you suddenly just woke up and decided, ‘I am going to be a writer!’ Or did you know since you were a child that you were going to be a writer?” Kelly tilted her head to a side as she watched Melissa.

Melissa looked over Kelly’s shoulder with an unfocused look in her blue eyes.  She finally spoke.  “I always wanted to be a writer.  When I was young I told everyone that I was going to be an author when I grew up.  But some how when children start to grow up they lose that abandon and start getting self conscience.”  Melissa looked at Kelly, a serious expression on her face.  “I was not encouraged as a child to write, in fact I was discouraged.  In my family, people didn’t do that sort of thing seriously.  So I grew up, got married right out of high school and had three kids right away.  I just got busy raising kids and didn’t write much.” 

Melissa took another sip of her coffee and looked down at the floor as if she were wrestling with a decision.  Finally she took a deep breath, apparently making a choice and started to speak to Kelly again.  “I have bi-polar, and it has haunted my life for a very long time.  So much of my life was spend in deep despair.”  Melissa peered deeper into Kelly’s eyes, wanting to say the right words.  “Last summer was one of those times.  However, I just finally made the decision that I would get serious about my writing once and for all.  I had these two finished novels waiting to be edited and published, and darn it, that was what I was going to do.  I pushed aside my crippling self-doubt and just went for it!”

Kelly nodded as she listened to Melissa, and she leaned forward, locking eyes with her. “I am really sorry your family wasn’t supportive of your dreams, but I am glad you circled back round to it, and have managed to write and publish a book.” She smiled at her then sat back once more. “So, tell me about your book. What is it about?”

Melissa leaned back in her chair and took another drink of her hot coffee, her smile returning to her face.  “The Empress of Ventra is really about self discovery and overcoming self-doubt….with a little thread of romance thrown in, just to keep things interesting.”  Melissa laughed and looked out the window.  The sun had hesitantly come out and started to melt the light snow that was clinging to the ground.  She looked back over to Kelly. “Rhiannon Kossi had questions about her past. The answers she received took her to another world and changed her life forever. Suffering from vivid nightmares, she is sure that she’s been lied to about her childhood. Seeking the answers to long forgotten questions, she is mysteriously taken from her quiet, simple life on a Montana cattle ranch and thrust into a new, violent world where she is forced to either fight or die. In her quest for answers to her past Rhiannon must accept hard truths that will forever change the course of her life…that is, if she can stay alive.”

Kelly stared for a long moment. “Wow. That sounds…rather complex.” Then she smiled. “But interesting all the same. I want to ask more about the story and the characters, but I’m afraid if I do, it’d probably spoil it for the readers.” Kelly frowned. That was the part of her job she hated, but then she smiled again. “So, Melissa, how did you come up with the idea for this book? What inspired it?”

Melissa threw her head back and laughed, a couple people near the two looked over for a second but then went back to their conversations.  “I had a dream!”  Melissa smiled and nodded her head.  “It was a very long time ago, about 1999 or maybe 2000.  I had a dream of a woman who gets sucked into another world and has to to all sort of things to stay a live.  Of course over about 16 years I finally polished up the story and wrote it down.”

Kelly grinned when she heard this. “Don’t you just love it when stories come to you in dreams? It’s crazy! You said this was over 16 or so years ago? And you stuck with it all this time? Good for you! Now, there are a lot of other writers who have become discouraged because it is taking them years, maybe decades to write their story. Since you have experience with that, what advice would you give them to persevere?” Kelly remembered her hot chocolate and drank so more. She was so drawn into the conversation, she had forgotten about it.

Melissa scratched an itch on her nose and cocked her head to the side again while she thought. “Well, I spend most of that time learning about the craft of writing,” she said slowly.  “It’s not as easy as it seems to produce a quality, marketable story.  So I would tell new writers to educate themselves as much as they can on the craft of writing well.  Also, read A LOT in the genres you want to write in.  Study the tropes and what readers want.” Melissa stopped and took a sip of her coffee, then started up again.  “And don’t give up.  It takes a long time to learn all this stuff and become good at it.  I would advise all writers to just keep writing everyday.  Give yourself little goals, like 100 words a day, then when you easily meet that goal everyday your self-confidence will grow.  Also, network, talk to other writers.  Writing can be a lonely job, but when you find others who share you passion it’s not so bad, then.  You can learn a lot from your fellow writers.  Just don’t give up.  Never give up.  It’s never too late.  Finish that manuscript, even if you think it’s garbage, do it anyway.  Always finish.  That is another way to build self-confidence.”

Kelly nodded, grateful for her words. “Very true. Thank you.” However, she glimpsed at the clock on the wall and saw the time. She looked back at Melissa. “Our time’s almost up. Have about ten minutes left, so a few more questions. What was your favorite thing about your story as you wrote it?”

Melissa fidgeted a little in her seat trying to get comfortable. “Well, it was very refreshing to write about a strong woman.  I have never considered myself anything resembling strong of independent, so it’s been fun writing Rhiannon.”  Melissa laughed.  “I guess she’s like my alter ego.  Also, it gets more into it in the second book, The War of the Gypsy, but it was quiet refreshing to create a kingdom in which women ruled and men had to follow.”

Kelly smiled. “That is refreshing to see. I’m glad you’ve completed it and published it. That wasn’t easy, and you have done well. Unfortunately though, our time has come to an end, and I have elsewhere to be.” She rose to her feet and reached her hand out to shake Melissa. “However, it was wonderful to meet you and to hear about your story. Keep writing, okay? And keep publishing. You’ve got this.” She smiled warmly at her.

“Thank you, Kelly for spending time with me this morning.”  Melissa grabbed Kelly’s warm hand and shook it.  She smiled up at the woman.  “Be careful out there, there are some crazy drivers in Indiana!”  Melissa laughed.

Kelly chuckled. “Ah, my dad grew up in Indiana, so I’m a bit familiar with it. You have a good day, Melissa! Take care!” With a wave and a smile, Kelly headed out.

Melissa waved and had a content, happy look on her face.


Melissa E. Beckwith’s novel, ‘The Empress of Ventra: The Sword of Rhiannon: Book One’ can be found on Amazon here:


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Character Interview: Laura Hart’s Darkness

(Kelly was written by Kelly Blanchard. The Darkness was written by Laura Hart.)

He had been feeling off for a few days.  One of his subjects told him another had entered his plane, one who didn’t belong, and he wasn’t sure what to make of it.  Things felt different for sure.  Pacing through his throne room, he had his windows wide open to let the cool mountain air in. Wondering about how things would affect him, he sat down in his chair.  While he felt stronger, he also needed to be prepared if this other being came to his castle, or should he extend an invite and keep an upper hand?

He could certainly let things go on their own and see what happened.  The road to his castle was a rough one.  The path was not well marked, the stone was rough and jagged.  There were steeps spots and landslides were always a possibility.  It wasn’t always like this, but for now, he liked it this way.  He liked to be bothered as little as possible by things within his realm.

He looked around his current throne room, compared to all external surroundings, this room was bright, almost welcoming.  Windows were open, and fabrics draped the stone walls with pictures of green fields and blue oceans.  Soft chairs lined the outside and a large rug covered the center before the throne.  The platform where his chair sat was large.  Once, it held more chairs, now his was alone.

He was startled by a noise and stood immediately, his senses sharpening to see who was there.

Kelly had taken her time to pass through the rough terrain to get here because she hadn’t been in a hurry. Instead, she’d taken the opportunity to take in her surroundings because they spoke of the character of the person she was about to interview. Coming to the castle, she found none tried to stop her or question her, so she went on her way, straight to the throne room where she saw him sitting on his throne in the center of the room, but he hadn’t seen her yet. Apparently he was lost in thought, so Kelly cleared her throat. When he snapped his gaze around to her and stood, she offered him a kind smile. “Greetings.” She gave him a respectful bow then straightened and locked eyes with him. “I understand you are the one they call Darkness? My name is Kelly. They call me the Muse. I have come to ask you a few questions, and then I will be on my way and not bother you again. Agreed?” She raised her brows.

Darkness, he shuddered at the world.  He had not gone by his original name in over a hundred years, but the new name still stung.  He peered at her curiously.  What kind of questions would she ask him, and how did she get here?  Was she from the same place as the other human in this realm?  His brows furrowed as he nodded to her, his senses still alert. “Agreed,” his voice was stern and commanding, the deepness echoing slightly in the throne room. She looked awkward standing in the middle of the room, so he reached out and magically moved a chair over for her to sit on.  “Sit if you like.”  the words came out more like an order than a suggestion.

Kelly glimpsed around the room to take in her surroundings as she made her way to the chair and then sat. She smiled at him. “Darkness….that is an odd name, but I understand that is what they call you but not your real name. What is your real name?” She tilted her head to a side, curious to see if he would tell her.

He shook his head, he didn’t know if he remembered his real name anymore.  He had only memories that it was pleasant, and warm.  It had been a gift from his parents, a name with love, but it was gone, and so was that love.  His face turned to a scowl. “Darkness suits just fine, now.”  He was gruff.  He remained standing, peering at this stranger.

Kelly smiled at him because she could sense his distrust of her. “You really don’t know what to think of me being here, do you? Well, let me assure you that you can trust me. I’m not here to bother you…well, pester you with questions for a few hours, yes, but not bother you otherwise, and I will be on my way eventually. Please, just relax. I would merely like to hear things from your side of the story because I think everyone misunderstands you.”

He huffed a bit and crossed his arms.  He raised an eyebrow and waited for her to continue.

Seeing he still didn’t believe her, Kelly nodded and decided to glance around. “What is this place?”

His voice came out a little like a growl. “This is my home.  One of nine scattered castles across the land.  From here, I have view of almost everything that happens in any of the regions.”  He did have nice place for his castle, and it was the largest of all castles in the plane.  He had once hosted his siblings here, and many festivities.  The path was not always full of danger, it used to be a finely laid stone path maintained by his staff. He felt that reminding her he had such a wide view would keep her in her place.  She may not try anything funny if she knew she was being watched.

Kelly didn’t feel threatened. She’d dealt with such deities before, but she tilted her head to show her respect. She wasn’t trying to irritate him, but she would ask her questions nonetheless. “I understand where were or are more of you…your kind. Do they have their own place as well or did something happen to them?”

She was persistent.  “Yes.  The other castles belonged to my brothers and sisters.”  His eyes narrowed.  “But they’ve all died.”  The castles had fallen into ruin, long ago.  He had not been to visit them in a very long time, but he imagined none were usable at this point anymore.  Not that that would matter, he had shielded each one away from the eyes of most, only those with divine magic would know they existed.  He had done so as each sibling died because he didn’t want anyone to take over or live in those structures.

A few moments of silence and he figured she would want to know how they died.  Of course, she would, he assumed.  “They warred, they let greed take over and killed each other.”  His lips snapped shut and his teeth ground together.

She saw how much this troubled him, but she leaned forward and softened her voice. “But you escaped. How? Why?”

He was taken aback by her question.  Most cared about how you could kill a god, or other questions about his siblings.  He opened his mouth as if to speak, but closed it again, giving her a curious look. “I didn’t escape.  I live with the memories of what we once were, of the greatness they all held but refused to see.  I often wish I shared their fates.”  A frown took over his scowl. “I did not fight, as they fought among themselves.  I did not give in to their greed, their lust for power.  We had been gifted this, and each of us given equal space to best use our talents.  The world was ours, together. “  His voice finally softened some.

“That must have been hard for you—to see them fight and kill each other. How did you not get involved?” Kelly furrowed her brows curiously as she sat back in her chair.

He tsked at her.  “Not get involved?  How could you make such an insinuation?”  She had offended him, and she would hear the record set straight.   “As they began to quarrel, we met here, in this very room,” he gestured, pointing sharply to the floor to emphasize the point.  “We talked, we tried to come to answers, to make everyone happy, but they would not listen and would not come to any terms.  Their fights became wars.  Their ability to reason waned.  And you tell me, Muse, how you pick up arms against your own family, when neither side is in the right and you’ve been cast aside as weak for trying to mediate their differences?”  The scowl had returned, and his eyes were shooting daggers at her.

Kelly met his gaze unflinching. “I’m not saying you didn’t try to resolve their conflict, but apparently they fought and you didn’t pick up arms against them, and all I want to know was why. Yes, they’re family, and it’s difficult to fight against family, but the rest of *them* strove against each other regardless of their relation to each other. You didn’t. That makes it you unique.” However, Kelly didn’t want to focus on the conflict itself. She wanted to go deeper. “What was it like before the conflict, before the war?”

“They wanted power more than they wanted family.”  The answer was direct. “Before they warred, things were lovely.  We came here, together, each given a portion of the land as our own.  We created our world from the start, adding the landscape and creatures to our own tastes and talents.  We each built our dream.  We marveled at each others creations.  We began to work together to improve each others regions, sharing our gifts and giving to one another generously.  We gathered, often.  We hosted festivals for all our creations and ourselves.  Laughter and dancing and food filled these very halls at least half the year.”

“It sounds like such a lovely time, and I can tell you miss it.” Kelly nodded. “Do you blame yourself though? For not being able to bring them to peace despite your best efforts?”

He felt bumps along his skin as a shiver ran down his back. “Every day.” His hands balled into fists and he turned from this woman and strode to a window, looking out over the mountainside.

“You haven’t forgiven them, have you?” When he shot her a glare, Kelly went on, “Not for the fighting but for hurting you.”

“They didn’t hurt me,” he whispered.  He couldn’t muster strength to say that very loudly.  “They hurt each other.” He felt a tear try to form in his eye, and was thankful he wasn’t facing her.  He felt warmth wash over him as anger built inside.  Without thought, he extended an arm towards a table along the wall, and his magic picked it up and it crumbled, as if it was inside a giant fist crushing it from the outside.  He turned slightly to the side to see the Muse in his peripheral vision.

“Those fools, had everything at their fingertips!” His voice roared, filing the room.  “And what do they have now?”  The tone went back down, to a frigid calm.  “Nothing,” he hissed.  His arms dropped beside him, “nothing.”

Kelly watched his display of magic but remained unfazed. “They did hurt you,” she said firmly. “Because you’re hurting now. You’re hurt because you lost so much.” She rose to her feet and approached him. “Yes, you’re angry at them for their deeds, but you also know the truth: you lost your family, and that hurts. It’s okay to admit it, and it’s okay to hurt.” She stopped a short distance from him to respect his space. “But you shouldn’t let it consume you and control you.”

He looked at her squarely, one eyebrow raised. “And tell me what makes you an expert at such things?”  He smirked.  “It will all be over soon, the reminders will all be gone.  Then, and only then, will they lay to rest.”  Nodding, he turned back again to the window.  A haunting smile had crept in, one telling of a plan.

“Well, if it makes you feel any better, you’re not the first one I’m spoken to who’s endured such pain. Everyone’s situation is unique, but some elements remain the same.” However, Kelly caught what he had said, and she furrowed her brows. “What do you mean ‘over soon’? What are you planning?”

“Heh,” there was no real laughter, but a lot of scorn.  “I’m starting over.  What you see here today,” he gestured out the window, not to the room, “is all going to change.”  He paused and took a deep breath.  Thinking ahead and seeing a future again relaxed him and put him more at ease.

“Does this have anything to do with that other human on this world?” Kelly raised her brows as she folded her arms.

“So, he had crossed paths with her, too,” Darkness thought for a moment. “No, this dream has been coming for a long time.”  He did feel more of an influx of power, though, with the human here.  Just enough, he thought, to tip the odds in his favor so he could rid himself of the fairies that were holding the other divine magic in place.  Once the fairies were gone, his siblings could fully pass on and he could have his fresh start.  He held himself back from asking about the human.

“Then I’m assuming it has something to do with the fairies. I hear you don’t like them much.” Fairly certain that might get a reaction out of him because she knew the connection between the fairies and these gods, she watched him closely.

“Those meddlesome creatures.  If you encounter them, make sure to take care and not trust them.”  Genuine concern flowed with his words.  “They thrive on divine magic, and cannot survive without it, but my family cannot be at peace while fairies leech from their remains.  Parasites, filthy parasites.”

Kelly nodded when she heard this. “So you intend to rid the universe of the fairies?” She began to meander around the room at a slow pace then turned back to face him. “How would this affect the rest of the universe? The humans and such?”

He laughed out loud.  “Oh, my dear muse, gods have been trying to rid the universe of fairies for countless ages.  I simply plan to get them off the souls of my own loved ones and out of my own realm.  You humans, you won’t be affected.  You won’t even know this happened, or when it happens.  Your plane is, well, fairly safe as not much divine magic lingers there anymore.” He continued to chuckle at the thought of the fairies being gone for the entire universe.

Kelly observed him, wondering what the fairies side of the story was. “You sound quite confident that this plan of yours will work. Why is that? As you just said, gods have been trying to rid the universe of fairies for countless ages. How are you going to rid those who strive off your family’s souls? I mean, what chance do you have to succeed if, apparently, it’s difficult to get rid of fairies?” She lifted her brows and resumed her slow pace around the room. She was sure she didn’t fully understand the ways of this realm, and he might laugh at her, but that was okay—so long as he kept answering her questions.

“So, you know how your realm has fleas, and they feast on your house pets?  Think of fairies in a similar way.  You can scrub all you might, use repellants, and other barrier devices.  You may make it so one animal or two are parasite free, but somewhere, somehow, other fleas still multiply and find hosts.  The fairies are like this. They are easily killed, as they are small and relatively weak.  However, when they have a host, you have to make sure you catch the entire group feeding off that host at once.  If even one remains, any fairy slain will be reborn, their numbers replenished.  Fairies know this and rarely will leave their entire group assembled in one place.  It is how they assure their survival.” A sly grin came over his face.  “But I believe I have a way to make them assemble.”  Surely, the fairies were wondering about this other human also.  He started to wonder if the magic flow he felt originated from that boy.

Kelly tilted her head when she heard this. It made sense in a way, but unfortunately a realization hit her. “It seems my time here is almost at an end. I’m sure you’d be relieved to have me stop asking questions.” Kelly smiled at him. “However, one more question, if you succeed, and if your family’s souls are laid to rest for good, then what? Would you be able to make this world anew? Or would it still be the same? And would you still be alone?”

He had not realized how quickly the afternoon had passed.   “If I succeed, the world will be remade as new.  No ruins, no wars.  I would not be alone, as new beings would be created here, as I see fit, with kind hearts and gentle souls, friendly towards each other and themselves.” He nodded then.

A bell rang outside the room, and a small creature, appearing to be made from stone entered.

“Take the muse wherever she needs to go.  See to it she remains safe as she travels out.”  He turned them to his visitor. 

“Be careful, watch for fairies.”

With that, he turned back to his window and stared into the sky.


Laura Hart’s story ‘Hope in Darkness’ is not yet published, but you can follow her on social media for more updates!



Character Interview: Rachel Lemon’s Seluna

(Kelly was written by Kelly Blanchard. Seluna was written by Rachel Lemons.)

Seluna stepped into the elven garden with her cat, Silvana, at her heels. The garden was among the trees, like the rest of the city of Serin, and it consisted of a porch that had a great many potted plants all around, including some small trees and flowering bushes. In the center rested a fountain that depicted an elf maiden pouring a jug of water endlessly into the base. Several delicately carved benches were placed all around the fountain and along the railing of the porch. The young mage took a seat on one of these benches, and Silvana leapt up into her lap and stretched, curling up to sleep. Seluna stroked the little animal’s silky white fur as she waited for Kelly to arrive.

Kelly wandered through the garden—it was such a lovely place. She could take much inspiration from here, but instead she focused on the path leaving to the fountain and saw a young woman sitting there, stroking the cat on her lap. Kelly smiled at the scene. “Hello, Seluna. I’m Kelly. No need to stand. That cat looks quite comfortable.” She took a seat beside Seluna and resisted the urge to pet the cat. She loved cats. They always made her feel calm. “It’s a lovely cat. What is her name?” She glanced up at Seluna for the answer.

“Her name is Silvana,” replied Seluna. “You may pet her, if you wish. She’s very friendly.”

Kelly grinned and gently stroked the purring cat. “Lovely.” Then she met Seluna’s gaze. “So, I understand you are a mage, a healer, and a farmer—how do those all work together?”

“Well, it’s a bit complicated, as you might imagine,” Seluna began. “My father, Palethor, was a farmer, so as his only child, I helped him tend the farm. That became especially important after my mother disappeared. As for my healing, I have learned much from my father’s lover, Anya. She, like me, is a mage, and has taught me to heal both with herbs and with magic.”

Kelly nodded as she heard this. It made sense. She wanted to ask more about her father but Selua had mentioned her mother’s disappearance, so Kelly decided to latch onto that. “What happened to your mother? Did she just simply disappear one day? Or was there more to it?”

Sighing heavily, the young mage answered, “That’s the question, isn’t it? I don’t know. I was five years old at the time. My mother and father were very happy together. My mother was with child again, and was due in only a few months. One day she was there, with us, and the next, she was gone. We never found out if she left us, or if… if something else happened. We were heartbroken.”

Kelly nodded when she heard this, and she said softly, “I’m sorry. That must have been very difficult.” But then she went on, “And I know you were quite young, but…do you remember anything about your mother? What she was like? Have any memories of her?”

“I remember her,” Seluna replied as she rubbed the cat’s ears. “She had the most beautiful dark brown hair, and gentle brown eyes. She was not from Aradeth, like my father, but from the Lineorian Empire. I inherited my talent for magic from her. She taught me the basics of elemental magic and… ah.”

“And…?” Kelly raised her brows.

Seluna hesitated for a moment, biting her lip. “I… I am an elemental mage, but… can I trust you, Kelly? How do you feel about magic? Many others I’ve met seem wary of it, though the elves seem comfortable enough.”

Kelly opened her palm immediately, conjuring an orb of fire. “In these realms I have magic too. In my own realm, not so much, which is unfortunate, but…” She smiled at Seluna as she closed her fist, extinguishing the orb of fire. “I think it’s safe to say you can trust me. You are certainly not the first nor will you be the last mage I’ve met or worked with.”

Seluna’s eyes widened in surprise, and she smiled. “Well, then… there are very few in this world, mage or otherwise, who know that I am not only an elemental mage. How do you feel about other sorts of magic? The sorts that people are born with, not the sorts that anyone can learn?”

“How do I feel about the magic that people are born with?” Kelly wanted to make sure she understood the question correctly. “That’s usually the kind I’m used to dealing with although it takes some learning to master those skills. What exactly are you talking about? I’m not sure I fully understand. Things are likely different here than I am used to.”

“You are from a different, realm, as you said, so I can see how that may have been confusing,” Seluna admitted. “Here, anyone can learn how to use elemental magic, whether they were born with a natural talent for spellcraft or not. If they so desired, anyone could learn to use elemental magic. There are two other sorts of magic, however. One is blood magic, which I do not practice. Only those who wish to consort with demons practice it. The other type of magic is much less known. It is called celestial magic, and there are three different sorts of celestial mages,” she explained.

Kelly nodded as she came to understand this. “And you practice this celestial magic?”

Seluna nodded. “I do. As I said, there are three sorts of celestial mages. The most common are Seers, who have the gift of foresight. The next are the Dreamers, who can walk in the Spirit Realm, Talain, as they sleep, and affect the physical world by doing so. And lastly, there are the Listeners.”

“And I’m assuming you’re a Listener.” Kelly leaned in, very curious now. “What exactly does a Listener do?”

“I… I am a Listener,” Seluna relented. “Please, forgive my hesitation. Countless others have been slain for having the powers of a Listener, and I have no desire to be counted among them.”

“Understandable.” Kelly nodded. “And if you’d like, I could take you to an altogether different realm where no one would have the opportunity to eavesdrop on this conversation.” She shrugged.

Seluna took a deep breath as she answered, “No, there is no need. We are safe among the elves. They, unlike my own people, would not kill me for my abilities. Besides, I had heard that a Realm traveler would be coming to speak with me, and I asked them to leave us while you are here.”

“Thank you.” Kelly bowed her head but then lifted her gaze again. “However though, what does a Listener actually do?”

“We are telepaths,” the young mage told her softly. “It is why we are so feared. We can focus our thoughts upon animals and other Listeners, and hear what is in their minds. We can speak with them in this way. Many believe that we can Listen to anyone as we please, but we cannot. We can only hear the thoughts of beasts and of our fellow Listeners… Would you like to see me Listen? It may be a bit… unnerving.”

Kelly shook her head. “As much as I would love to see you demonstrate your ability, we do have a time limit unfortunately.” She tsked her tongue then sighed. “However, you said your mother helped you refine your skill with this before she disappeared?”

“She did, though she herself was not a Listener,” Seluna answered. “As far as Lord Baelatean and I are aware, I am the only mortal Listener in the world. My mother had heard of such abilities before I was born, thankfully, and was able to teach me the basics of how to use my power once I was old enough to understand. You see, I have been able to do this since the moment I was born. My eyes change to yellow when I Listen, and as I did this when a baby, my parents hid me until I was old enough to know when not to use this gift.”

“Very interesting.” Kelly nodded slowly as she took this in. “It’s curious that your mother would know enough to help you with it even though there were no other mortal Listeners.” She mused over this for a moment but then shook her head to continue with the conversation. “How did your mother’s disappearance though affect your father? Did it change your relationship with him at all?”

Seluna bit her lip. “It is curious that she knew, although since she was from Lineor, perhaps the mages there know more of magical history than those from my father’s homeland. In any case, you asked about my father. He became… agitated, after she vanished. He would not let me out of his sight for weeks. I remember him muttering about magic being dangerous and leading to bad ends. He forbade me to Listen in his presence. If I disobeyed… I… soon learned not to disobey.”

Kelly frowned when she heard this but nodded. “And I understand he’s found a new lover, Anya, I believe her name is. What is she like?”

“Yes, my father found a new lover. I was around ten when Anya came to live with us. She was a mage and the village’s healer. She taught me a great deal of elemental magic, and did not mind my Listening. She treated me as though I was her own daughter,” Seluna sighed. “I miss her.”

“Who? Anya? Or your own mother?” Kelly furrowed her brows, confused.

“Anya,” Seluna clarified. “I lived in the village of Eloru before coming to stay with the elves. Eloru was destroyed by an earthquake and a dragon. Only my friend Orlena and I survived. We were in the forest when the earthquake struck, and got back to the village by the time the dragons had set everything ablaze.” Tears welled in her eyes, and she swallowed hard. “Anya, my father, Orlena’s parents… everyone we knew in our childhood is dead.”

Just then, the magical Mark on Seluna’s right hand began to glow with pale blue light. Seluna cringed, biting her lip, as it flared with pain. “I received this on that day, as well,” she told Kelly through gritted teeth.

Kelly’s heart sank. She hadn’t realized this. “I’m so sorry.” But then she looked at the Mark. “That is the Mark of the Dragon, is it not? Does it hurt?” Kelly motioned to it because by Seluna’s expression it looked like the Mark burned.

“Yes, it hurts like blazes,” Seluna admitted. She hastily pulled a vial with a strange green liquid from the satchel at her hip, and drank the entire contents of the bottle. She let out a sigh of relief. “I’m glad I thought to bring one of these in case the damn thing flared. Yes, it is the Mark of the Dragon. Do you know anything about it?”

“Just a bit but not much.” Kelly shook her head. “Tell me about it.”

Seluna sat up a bit straighter, stroking Silvana’s fur as she prepared to explain. “The Mark of the Dragon was given to me by the Goddess of Nature, Kayliss, at the command of Narael, Creator of All. It allows me to free dragons from mind control spells, to command them to obey my will as they obey the will of Kayliss, and I supposed to use it to defeat the Evil One.”

“To be honest,” she added, “I’m still trying to wrap my head around all of this. I have no idea why Narael Himself picked me for this.”

Kelly furrowed her brows. “Who’s Narael? You said Kayliss marked you.”

“Ah, forgive me. You’re from a different Realm. I suppose you have your own deities there. Narael is the Creator. He is the King of the Gods. Kayliss is the Goddess of Nature, one of his highest servants. The elves consider her a High Nonur, and do not worship her,” Seluna clarified.

“Ah, okay.” Kelly nodded, understanding better. “So you’ve been marked, and I understand Lord Baelatean has been mentoring you? What is he like?” She tilted her head to a side, curious.

“He has been mentoring me,” Seluna verified. “He is the lord of this city, and a very good man. He is a Listener. The only one I have ever met. He is a natural leader, and his people are very loyal to him. He is kind and compassionate, but his temper can sometimes get the best of him. So his son tells me, anyway. I’ve never seen him give in to anger.”

“He has a great desire to share his knowledge,” she added. “He is an excellent teacher. He is teaching me not only about Listening and other magic, but also literacy.”

A small smile tugged at Kelly’s lips, and she spoke softly, “And I understand you may or may not have feelings for Ilroiner….” she trailed off to see what Seluna would tell her.

Seluna blushed. “Damn, you know quite a bit for someone who hasn’t spent much time here,” she observed.

Kelly laughed out loud at this. “What can I say? I hear things too.” She winked. “But tell me about him. What’s he like?”

“Well,” Seluna said hesitantly, blushing again, “Ilroiner is as kind and compassionate as his father, but he looks more like his mother. He is a warrior. We met when he and two of his companions saved Orlena and me from a pack of possessed dire wolves.”

Kelly made note to ask about Orlena if they had time, but she wanted to focus on this first. “Well, that sounds like an impressive first meeting. What did you think when you first saw him? Love at first sight, or were you irked because you could handle yourself?”

“Well, Orlena and I could have handled it ourselves, had we not been traveling through the woods without food for two days prior,” she explained. “Orlena is a warrior, and as you know, I can defend myself with my magic. But we were greatly weakened when the wolves attacked. If the elves had not arrived when they did… we would have died. As for my first impression of him…” she blushed even harder, smiling and shaking her head.

Kelly chuckled when she saw this, and she nudged her. “Oh, c’mon. You can tell me. Not like I’m going to tell anyone else around here anyway.”

Seluna laughed. “Fair enough,” she relented. “I am not a maiden to fall for a man at first sight, but Narael above… I can make an exception for Ilroiner. He burst out from behind the trees, yelled in elvish to draw the wolves away from me, and charged them with such primal fury… and his face. He is the most handsome man I have ever seen. And when the fight was over, he rushed to me, for I was gravely injured. I passed out then, and woke up here in this city. He and I have spent much time together since then.”

Kelly smiled when she heard this. “Sounds quite dashing. I’m assuming he has magic too? Do all elves have magic?” She lifted her brows.

“Not all elves use magic, though like all humans, they have the potential to use elemental spells if they so desire,” she told Kelly. “Ilroiner does not use magic at all, though he has no fear of it. One of his closest friends is an elemental mage, and of course, his father is Lord Baelatean, a Listener.”

“His sister, Auduna, however, practices magic. As does his mother, though I have heard that she does not use it much,” Seluna added.

“Why doesn’t he use magic? You say he doesn’t fear magic, but it appears that he doesn’t fear others using magic, but why doesn’t he himself not use it if he can?”

“I haven’t thought to ask him,” Seluna admitted. “I assume he simply has no interest in practicing it himself. He is almost always in the company of at least one mage, anyway, so there isn’t much need for him to learn spellcraft.”

“It only takes one instance where his skills of a warrior won’t be suitable and the one mage he is with is unable to help him. Then what?” Kelly shook her head. “Sounds like I need to talk with him sometime too…” She trailed off, but then decided to shift the topic. “Okay, shifting the subject a bit, but Orlena and you—best friends from childhood? You’ve mentioned her a few times.”

Seluna nodded. “Yes, Orlena and I have been best friends since we were both very young. We bonded quite a bit once we learned that we had something vital in common.”

“Which is?” Kelly raised her brows.

“The people of Aradeth are often suspicious of those from other lands,” Seluna told Kelly. “My father and Orlena’s father were both men of Aradeth. Our mothers were from other lands. My mother was Lineorian, while Orlena’s mother was a Naeth tribeswoman. Some of the villagers… disapproved of this. We were teased by the other children for being ‘half-breeds’.”

Kelly nodded when she heard this. “Ah, that is most unfortunate though I’m glad you two were able to bond.” She then leaned forward on the bench and clasped her hands together before turning her head to look at Seluna. “What was like it growing up with that?”

“It was… difficult at times,” Seluna admitted, “especially since I have also had to hide the fact that I can Listen. Orlena is like a sister to me. We accepted one another for who and what we are, and she has become very protective of me. She is a bit like a guard dog in that respect,” Seluna laughed.

“And she has no magic, right?”

“That’s right, Orlena does not use magic. She fights with a sword and shield. Yet another reason for her to be teased as a child. Women aren’t supposed to fight, you see. At least not in Aradeth. Orlena and I never cared for this tradition, and thankfully, neither did Orlena’s mother,” Seluna replied. “Orlena’s mother taught her all she could of combat.”

“Speaking of Orlena in combat, she is probably sparring with Ilroiner now,” Seluna told her. “He’s taken to training her ever since our arrival in Serin.”

Kelly grinned. “I think I’d get along quite well with Orlena. We can talk swording fighting. It’d be fun.” Then hearing that Orlena would be training with Ilroiner sounded interesting. “She sounds quite skilled! And I think the two of you balance each other off, so I’m glad you have each other. However though, I know you have the Mark of the Dragon, and you’re supposed to banish the Evil One, but…other than your great destiny, do you have any dreams of your own?”

Seluna thought for a moment before answering. “Aside from dealing with the Evil One, I wish to be married.” She fingered the ruby pendant that hung about her neck, then showed it to Kelly. “This is an amulet of Sarona, Goddess of Love. My people wear one of these when we wish to wed, but have not yet been married.”

“Also… I want to know what happened to my mother,” she added softly.

“And how might you be able to do that?” Kelly watched her.

Seluna shrugged, frowning a bit. “I have no idea,” she admitted. “I suppose I could start in her homeland, Lineor. She never spoke of her life there, aside from mentioning that she had been born in the capital city, Aethia. I have to deal with the dragon threat, first, though.”

“Have you ever been to Lineor though?” Kelly tilted her head to a side. “I mean, what’s so different about Lineor from…Aradeth?”

“I have never been to the Lineorian Empire, and it would be very dangerous now,” Seluna told Kelly with a heavy sigh. “The Empire is suffering from civil war. Emperor Alivar decreed that magic would be banned within his empire on pain of death. Civil war ensued, and many mages have fled from Lineor to Aradeth. I treated those mages who came to my village. The king of Aradeth, Arnack, declared publicly that refugees from the war in Lineor would be welcome in our kingdom. Not all in Aradeth are pleased by this, of course, but I for one feel compelled to help my fellow mages. Especially now that the paladins are brazen enough to actually follow them out of their own lands.”

“And on top of all this, you have to deal with the Evil One. Is he behind any of this, by any chance, or is it totally unrelated?” Kelly snuck Seluna a curious glance.

“I have a strong feeling that the Evil One is connected to the Emperor’s decision to ban magic within his empire. When the Evil One awoke, he caused a cataclysmic earthquake that destroyed much of the land near his citadel. The Lineorian Empire is on his doorstep, so to speak. If the Empire is weak, the Evil One and his forces will have a much easier time taking over,” Seluna informed her gravely.

“So…you have a plan of how to banish the Evil One? It doesn’t sound easy at all.” Kelly shook her head.

“It will not be easy at all,” Seluna agreed. “My Mark works only on dragons. The Evil One, Lord Balis, was once one of the High Nonur. One of the gods, if you will. He betrayed Narael, King of the Gods. One of the powers of the High Nonur, however, is the ability to shapeshift into a dragon form. If the Evil One takes on his dragon form, I will have a chance to banish him to Balain, where he cannot cause such direct harm or take on a physical form.”

“So he can only shift into the form of a dragon, and you can control all dragons…but how will you know when he’s shifted, and does he know that you have the Mark?” Kelly motioned to the Mark to make her point.

“He knows I have the Mark,” Seluna told her, swallowing a lump in her throat. “That is why he sent one of his servants to destroy my village using a dragon under a mind control spell. You recall how my village was destroyed by an earthquake and dragon fire? His awakening caused that earthquake. His servant controlled the dragon that burned Eloru.”

“And that was when your father and Anya died, wasn’t it?” Kelly softened her voice. “Do you feel responsible?”

“It was when they died,” Seluna said, sighing heavily. “I feel somewhat responsible, but I want revenge on Hathetur. He is the servant who commanded that dragon. He is the one who killed them all.”

Kelly sensed their time was almost up, but Kelly wanted to ask more. “But then what? Revenge won’t bring your parents back—won’t bring anyone back.”

“No, it will bring no one back,” Seluna agreed. “It will prevent more from dying at his hands, however. Hathetur is undead. He was once a Listener, or so he told me when he almost killed me and I used my Mark for the first time. If I manage to defeat him, it will be a grievous blow to his master, Lord Balis.”

Kelly sighed and shook her head. “All of this sounds complicated, and you have a very difficult battle ahead of you.” She met Seluna’s eyes. “I hope you the very best, and may you slay Hathetur and defeat Lord Balis, but don’t lose yourself in the process. You must be careful not to lose others either–not to death of course but rather from you pushing them away, for their own sakes.” Kelly then sighed and rose to her feet. “Unfortunately, I must get going. My time here has come to an end, but it was delightful meeting with you. Thank you for your time.” She smiled at her.

“Thank you, Kelly,” Seluna said. “I will be careful not to lose myself or anyone else. Goodbye, and good luck with your travels!”

“Good day!” And with that, Kelly vanished from in front of Seluna, returning to her own realm.


Rachel Lemon’s novel ‘The Whispers of Fate’ is not yet published. However, you can follow her on social media to stay up-to-date on her writing progress and publishing!

Author Interview: Rachel Lemons

(Kelly was written by Kelly Blanchard. Rachel was written by Rachel Lemon.)

Kelly found a nice quiet corner in the coffee shop and took a seat facing the door. It had been a very long week for her, so she enjoyed getting to relax for a bit. Of course, she was here on business, but she had great job—chatting with fellow writers—and she couldn’t wait to see what today’s interview would bring.

After sitting there for a while working on her computer, the door chimed, and Kelly looked up to see a woman enter the shop. Since Kelly was the only other customer, it was easy to find her, and Kelly smiled her greeting and rose to her feet. “Rachel Lemons?” She reached out her hand to shake Rachel’s. “Hi, I’m Kelly. It’s wonderful to meet you. If you’d like to go and order a drink, you may, and you can meet me at this table over here.” She motioned back to her table.

“It’s nice to meet you too, Kelly,” Rachel said with a smile. “I’m going to get my drink, and I’ll be right there.” She walked over to the counter and ordered a mocha frape without so much as needing to look over the menu. It wasn’t long before her order was filled, and she took her drink with a grateful sigh as she sat down with Kelly.

Kelly smiled when she came over and sat down. “So, how are you doing today? I trust you’re well.”

“I am,” Rachel replied, taking a sip of her mocha. “This should help wake me up,” she added with a sheepish laugh. “How are you, Kelly?”

“I’m quite well actually! Thanks for asking. So, tell me a bit about yourself.” Kelly rested her elbow on the armrest of her chair, leaning onto it. “What got you interested in writing?”

Rachel grinned, and her eyes seemed to look beyond the confines of the coffee-shop. “I’ve always been writing. Ever since I was old enough that I knew how to read and write. I remember writing down my first book when I was only five. It was about my favorite of my stuffed animals,” she recalled.

Kelly smiled when she heard this. Many writers were born writers—although not all—but Kelly loved meeting each of them. “So you’ve always been writing. What kind of stories do you like to write?”

“When I was little, I wrote stories about the adventures of my stuffed animals. When I became a teen, however, I shifted into the genre that is my passion now. High fantasy,” she told Kelly.

“Why did you make the shift?” Kelly tilted her head, curious. “I mean, exploring genres are great and everything, but did something about high fantasy specifically catch your interest?”

“Well,” Rachel began, “I didn’t write for a while during my childhood. Things were… difficult, during that period of my life. I first fell in love with high fantasy when I saw the Redwall TV series, and started reading the genre. Something about it just clicked, and in a few years, I was writing it.”

Kelly nodded when she heard this. “So is that what you write now?”

Rachel nodded as well. “Yes, that is what I write now.”

Kelly smiled. “Wonderful! I always like a good fantasy tale. Tell me about a story of yours.” She leaned to listen because she was eager.

Rachel grinned. “Would you like to hear about the story I’m writing now? With some luck and hard work, I hope to make it be the first thing I publish.”

“Certainly!” Kelly bobbed her head. “What is this story about?”

“It’s complicated,” Rachel warned Kelly. “But I’ll do my best to summarize it in a way that makes sense. One of the gods betrayed his king, and was meant to be exiled for his betrayal. Instead of being banished, however, the Evil One’s followers drew him into the physical world. He was greatly weakened, and slumbered for thousands of years as he regained his strength. He has awoken at last, and a young woman will be granted the powers of a goddess so that he can be stopped in his conquest of the physical world.”

“There’s a great deal more involved, of course, but that is the bare bones of it,” Rachel added.

Kelly nodded when she heard this. “What is a great fantasy novel without being complicated anyway? I like the sound of it!” She grinned at Rachel then shifted to sit back in her chair to hear more. “So, who are the main characters involved in this story? What are their conflicts or struggles?”

“Thank you!” Rachel beamed. “The young woman who will have to stop the Evil One is Seluna. She’s a unique type of mage called a Listener, with a pet cat she speaks to telepathically. Her best friend, Orlena, has known her since they were both very young children. Orlena and Seluna will lose everyone they know at the beginning of the story, and will be seeking vengeance as they uncover the truth of Seluna’s destiny as well as her heritage. Along the way, she’ll meet the elves. One will become her mentor. His name is Lord Baelatean. Baelatean’s son, Ilroiner, will fall in love with Seluna. The elven princess, Faeleana, will become like an older and wiser sister to Seluna. She has some serious romance drama with the elven men.”

Kelly chuckled. “Oh, this sounds quite interesting indeed. Now though, this Evil One…is he the main antagonist? Or is there another?” She tilted her head to a side, observing Rachel.

“The Evil One is the main antagonist,” Rachel affirmed, “and he has a great many servants who will serve as lesser antagonists. His most powerful servant, an undead man named Hathetur, will be the one responsible for the destruction of Seluna’s village. She will want revenge on him because of this. And further down the line of the story, she will discover that she is royalty. Her uncle, Emperor Alivar of Lineor, is basically a puppet of the Evil One. She will need to change the political situation in the Empire, and probably usurp his throne, in order to save the Empire… let alone the rest of the world.”

Kelly shook her head when she heard all this. “Wow, like you said, it’s complicated!” But she grinned because she preferred complex stories anyway. “So, what gave you the idea for this story?”

“The story has been building, changing, evolving, and growing, ever since I first met my main characters. I was sixteen years old when I first wrote a novel with Seluna, Ilroiner, Lord Baelatean, Hathetur, and the Evil One. The other characters have been added as the story has developed,” Rachel explained. “The first spark of an idea, however, came from being exposed to my literary hero for the first time. J.R.R. Tolkien and the Lord of the Rings. I had been dabbling with writing high fantasy before then, but it never got anywhere until I discovered the Lord of the Rings and fell hopelessly in love.”

Kelly smiled when she heard this. “Ah, those wonderful books, but what exactly about the Lord of the Rings sparked the idea in you?” She furrowed her brows.

Rachel blushed a bit. “The elves,” she admitted. “Those goddamn sexy elves. The elvish men are so attractive. And the race as a whole simply entranced me. I had to delve into my own version of them. They compelled me to write with them.”

Kelly chuckled. “They are hot! Well, I certainly can’t wait to read your book if those elves are based at all off of the ones in Tolkien’s books. I bet they’re awesome!” She grinned at Rachel. “All right, so what has been the most difficult thing for you to write in this story?”

Rachel laughed, “Thank you! Now…the most difficult thing to write in the story? Emotionally difficult, or physically difficult? By physically, I mean writer’s block or having a hard time coming up with ideas.”

“Either or.” Kelly shrugged, settling back in her chair again.

Rachel thought for a moment. “Well, the most difficult emotionally has been right at the beginning. I’ve written with Seluna so long that I feel like I know her, although she likes to keep her past to herself sometimes. I had to kill off her family and friends. Nearly everyone she had ever known, and feel her pain as I wrote it. That was brutal. Her grief was so strong I almost forgot it wasn’t my own grief when I wrote that. The hardest physically has been figuring out what in the world will make her have to leave the elvish kingdom of Telnur and start her journey to save the world after the destruction of her village. I have ideas, and they make sense, but I’m still not sure of them,” she added.

“Wow…isn’t it amazing how real the story can become?” Kelly shook her head as she pondered over this. “And what has writing this story taught you—about writing, about life, or about people…it could be whatever.”

“It’s taught me that everyone is complicated. Even the ‘simple’ people that seem to be easy to figure out at just a glance. It’s taught me that no one is above corruption, no matter how good they may seem. It’s also reminded me that writing isn’t always easy. Sometimes it’s hard. Really hard. Sometimes it hurts. That’s when you know it’ll be worth reading,” she answered.

“That is important to remember—always.” Kelly nodded as she took this in. It was a reminder she actually needed, so she smiled at Rachel. “So, is this book a single book or is it part of a series?”

Rachel smirked. “I know you write fantasy, too, Kelly, so I think we could both say this is going to have to be a series. It’s too complicated for a single book. Especially since I can be a bit long-winded at times. Or, more accurately, my characters are long-winded. They love making dialogue.”

Kelly laughed. “That’s true, isn’t it? But a series is awesome! It means more brilliant stories!” She cast Rachel a grin. “So what was the title of this book again? And you said it hasn’t been published yet, correct?”

“I wish it were published,” Rachel laughed and then sighed wistfully, “but alas, I need to finish writing it first. It’s called the Whispers of Fate Series, though the title could be changed when it’s closer to being published. I plan to make a career of writing, and this will be my debut.”

“That is fantastic! I hope you the very best with it. It sounds like it has a lot of potential!” Kelly gave her a reassuring smile, but then she looked at the clock on the wall and noticed the time. She frowned, looking back at Rachel. “Unfortunately our time is about up, but I’m glad we were able to meet up. This was fun! Love hearing about your story.”

“Thank you very much, Kelly!” Rachel smiled. “It was wonderful being able to talk with you. Especially about this.”

“Of course! I love chatting with writers about their stories!” Kelly smiled, rising to her feet. “You will keep me posted on your progress, right?”

“Yes, I will!” Rachel smiled enthusiastically. “I’m going to be writing more today, in fact.”

“Fantastic! I won’t keep you any long then. I must be going anyway. You take care, all right?” With a final grin to Rachel, Kelly went on her way.


Rachel Lemon’s novel ‘The Whispers of Fate’ is not yet published.

Character Interview: C. A. King’s Jade

(Kelly was written by Kelly Blanchard. Jade was written by C. A. King.)

A green mist swirled around on the tiny island for a few minutes before dissipating. Jade nodded at the large man who had brought her guest there. Faramund’s ability to teleport people was possibly the most used ability of all her people, with the exception of Willow’s, of course.  “Hi. I’m Jade. You must be Kelly,” she said. “I’m glad you made it okay.” She thanked Faramund and he disappeared as quickly as they had appeared.

Jade offered her hand to Kelly in a welcoming gesture. “This will be an experience for both of us. I must warn you before we go we are breaking a million rules. We don’t usually allow Terunji into the city. You’ll have to stay close to me at all times and if we meet someone, let me do the talking.” Jade’s eyes scanned the small island for anyone who might be listening. Her illusion magic allowed her to detect most people who used the same energy as her own.                                                                         

“The other thing I must ask before we proceed, is about your write up. We are allowing you access to the city and interviews, but we must ask that you restrict what you print about our friend. She has enough bad publicity at the moment. Keep in mind not all stories you may hear in passing are true. If you agree, we can continue.” She motioned to the water behind her shrouded in mist.

Kelly took all this into consideration. She really didn’t have much say in what was shared with others, but she also knew her audience was like no others. She smiled at Jade, accepting the hand shake. “I assure you, there won’t be any bad press coming from me.” Then she looked around at the water and the mist. “What is this place? And why so many rules?”

Jade flashed a pearly white smile. “This is the entrance to Pewterclaw. It is one of a few magical Cities located in the main world. You have to trust me. We need to walk on what looks like water.” It took about ten minutes of slow walking before the mist gave way and they were standing on a bridge.

This was an interesting experience for sure, but Kelly didn’t argue as she stuck close to Jade. Now that they were on a bridge, Kelly furrowed her brows. “All right…now what? Are we going someplace specific for our conversation, or going for a walk?”

Jade pointed to a sign that read ‘Welcome to Pewterclaw.’ She walked by it and the population number updated by one. “The city.”

They walked into the city, and Kelly took in her surroundings but stuck close to Jade. “So, you said that ‘Terunji’ aren’t allowed into the city. I’m assuming that I’m a Terunji? Or what exactly?”

“Yes, it is basically a person born into the main world and usually with no magical abilities. The Empyral are those that come from different worlds and make this realm their home.” She stopped and placed her hands on her hips. A light breeze caught her blonde hair, revealing beautiful green earrings that matched her eyes.

“We can go wherever you like. To meet the mayor? A walk through the park, perhaps sit on a bench and chat, a cafe? You must have noticed that with the exception of some unique individuals the city isn’t much different from an ordinary one.”

“Let’s take a walk in the park.” Kelly nodded. “I am here to speak with you after all.” And they began walking. “So I understand you and some others found a book of prophecies. How did that happen?”

Jade looked at her guest from the corner of her eye. “Willow found it would be more accurate. She is after all a Keeper and it was in the Keeper’s library. She was the only one who knew it existed at first. At that point I was still in shock.” A few birds took flight from the path before them. Jade led them to a park bench neatly tucked away in a small garden. “Very few people use this area of the park,” she said. “We should be fine to talk here.”

They sat down, and Kelly considered her next question. “Are you close to Willow, or do you find yourself at odds with her?” She glanced at Jade.

Jade chuckled. “There was a time I hated her. I wanted her to be miserable. I genuinely believed I was better. That I was born into having everything my way.” She sighed. “Now, she is the best friend I have. I know she is trying to do the right thing. She saved my life, my father’s a couple of times and my brother’s. You could say we owe her.”

She slouched backwards against the bench hooking her arms around the top. Her head fell backwards, eyes closed, as if she were taking a nap.

Kelly observed her but was certain Jade wouldn’t fall asleep in the middle of a nap. “Why did you think you were better than her?”

Jade sat forward again. Her gaze fixated on the ground before her. “There was a prophecy written about my world that the council had. It said that our realm was going to be destroyed by another world. We had lost contact with all the guardians and keepers that had left to fight Cornelius. It didn’t look good.” She paused for a moment. “You have to understand my father did what he thought was best for everyone. He closed and destroyed all known portals into our realm and formed a new council. All talk of the past was forbidden. The council moved into the castle and everyone else lived in the one town. I didn’t know any of this of course at the time. I just knew I was born into luxury and she was a girl who grew my vegetables.”

“Destroying all portals and isolating yourself is not exactly the best idea.” Kelly shook her head. “But I can understand the motive behind it. “So, you grew up in luxury. You’ve mentioned your father before, but what of your mother?”

Jade glared at Kelly. That was a bad topic to bring up. “She was murdered. On the day that changed all of our lives. It was my fault.” A tear streaked down the perfect white skin of her face catching on the corner of her lips and disappearing. “I was mad. I was jealous. I didn’t understand. Prince Joseph came to me in a dream. I had no idea what dream walking was then. He was so handsome and suave. He offered me everything I desired. He said he would take me away and make me his queen. He played me like I had been playing the boys in my world for so long. It wasn’t until the hole between our worlds opened that I knew the mistake I had made. I caused the prophecy to come true. I caused the destruction of our world.”

Kelly furrowed her brows as she heard all this. “Wait…you were dream-walking and caused the destruction of your world?” She looked at Jade confused. “How does that happen?”

“Prince Joseph is a dream walker. He came to me in a dream and told me how to help him open a hole between our worlds. He was supposed to take me back with him. I, once awake enlisted the help of a boy named Neil, who happened to have a rather large crush on me at the time. His ability is to bend things. Usually rocks or metal. That day I convinced him to bend space. It weakened the veil between worlds enough for Joseph’s forces to push through. They took prisoners, including my younger brother. They killed those who resisted.” She paused. Her mouth was dry and her voice cracked a little as she spoke, “Joseph snapped the neck of my mother before my eyes as a lesson. He left my father and me there to die.”

Kelly listened as she took all this in. She felt bad for accidentally bringing up this entire topic, but she was learning interesting things about Jade. “And what became of Joseph?” She asked softly as she met Jade’s eyes. She was fairly certain Jade likely didn’t want to continue this line of the conversation, but Kelly wasn’t ready to let it go just yet.

‘He returned with his two brothers Lance and Simon to their world. They are Cornelius’ sons. The king who is trying to bring down the barriers between worlds. The one our ancestors left to fight. A fight they lost. The fight Willow has now continued.”

For a long time Kelly was silent as she pondered all this, trying to comprehend it. At last she spoke, “What was life like before Joseph invaded?”

“Well, I had everything and still felt empty. I always needed more. Willow had nothing, not even parents, Nothing ever happened, until I accidentally poisoned a few boys with a love potion and stole some jewelry that had been made for Willow. I got myself arrested. It was at the hearing that everything went into chaos. In the end Willow solved a prophecy from the book that told her how we could escape before Lance’s necrid flames destroyed every living thing.” She fell silent. That seemed so long ago.

Kelly felt there was a lot she didn’t know or understand of this world, but she tried to keep up. However, she didn’t want to focus on Jade’s responsibility for the destruction of her world although it seemed Jade kept coming back to that. Instead, Kelly narrowed in on one aspect. “What was your mother like though—before everything?”

Jade took a while before answering. The whites of her eyes showed tiny red lines. Not crying was something she had learned over the years. “She was a devoted mother and wife. Are you sure you wouldn’t like to meet a few of the others?”

Kelly shook her head. “No, I’m here to meet with you and you alone. Unfortunately I don’t have time to meet with others. Maybe some other time.” She gave her a small smile. “Did you get along with your mother though? You sound as though you were quite headstrong as a child.”

“I did. After Jordan was born he became her focus. I resented them both at the time. I wished Jordan would disappear and my mother was dead. Joseph said he would make all my wishes come true. He did just that and let me know. I don’t really have anything else to say at the moment. I loved her. I would take back what I said in a second if I could. But, I can’t”

“And you haven’t forgiven yourself for what happened, have you?” Kelly decided to be blunt and shifted in her seat to look at Jade. “You resent yourself—and Joseph, of course.”

Jade laughed. “I offered my life to Acacia, the tree of justice, but was refused.I was given a second chance to travel a different path. That is what I am focused on now. My family and I have careers here in the main world. We are making a difference. Hilary did teach me one thing when I was her assistant. I can work for the nice things I have always been accustomed to. I can still wear pretty jewels and not hurt anyone. Well she did, but, I don’t have to. Joseph I doubt I could ever forgive.”

Kelly nodded as she took this in. “All right, so tell me about Gavin. I understand he’s a vampire. How did the two of you meet?”

“Gavin?” Her voice squeaked. “How on earth did you hear about him?” She paused for a moment to watch a group of men roll passed. Their feet were shaped like roller blades. It wasn’t an unusual sight for Jade, but, she didn’t want anything to be heard by the wrong ears. After they were safely gone, she continued. “Gavin is working for my father. It’s rather hush hush. We actually met him around Halloween. He took an instant liking to Willow. Of course, most guys do. We’ve been working rather closely together as of late.”

“But you’re interested in him, aren’t you?” Kelly smiled softly.

Jade could feel the heat rising to her face. There was no doubt that she was completely pink at the thought of her vampire man. “We’ve agreed to take things slowly. There is something about him I can’t deny. I don’t know what it is, but I can say I have never felt like this about anyone before. I suppose I need to be sure that he isn’t in love with Willow before I can commit to him fully.”

“That would be a good idea, but is he pursuing you? Has he expressed interest in you? Why do you hesitate and think he may be in love with Willow?” Kelly furrowed her brows.

Jade let out a breath of air in a huff. “It’s a hard situation to explain. Willow has a unique ability to draw people to her. Gavin explains it as a feeling of need rather than love. I’ve seen it before and others have gone on to find a true love after realizing that it’s a different emotion. I suppose what it comes down to is there are different types of love. Sometimes it can be complicated to distinguish between them.” She shrugged her shoulders.

Kelly nodded. She could understand that to an extend. “And what does Willow feel of this ability of hers?”

“It confuses her most of all. She grew up alone, with no parents. She did have her guardian family. They are cats. But through most her life they were pictures on her skin that talked to her telepathically. Technically, she never knew what love was. Now she is overwhelmed by it. Even from the outside it is hard to tell who she will actually fall in love with. I am pretty sure it won’t be Gavin. They are good friends but the field is much narrower for her.”

“I think she’s a bit too busy to worry about love though,” Kelly pointed out. “It’ll come in it’s own time. But in the meanwhile, back to you and Gavin…what is it about him that you draws you to him?”

The red crept back into Jade’s face. “Everything,” she said. “His scent. His warmth. I get a strange feeling in my stomach when he draws near to me.  He’s so sure of himself. He’s so strong. I suppose he’s a lot like my father in that regard.” A light playfully danced in her eyes.

Kelly smiled when she heard this. She could tell Jade was really in love with Gavin. “So, if you could have anything in the world–or worlds–what would it be? What would be the future you would wish for yourself if anything was possible?”

“A safe secure place for my family to live,” she said without hesitation. “I want to make that place. My father wants to make that place too. Willow is our best bet to ever achieving that goal.” She smiled. There was something almost sinister in her grin that could have made the hair stand up on a unicorn.

Kelly noticed this slight shift in Jade and arched a brow. “You plan to use Willow? Perhaps to your own gain and to her hurt?”

Jade frowned. “Of course not. We are supporting her. We are helping her. I only meant that she has the ability to take on Cornelius and whoever else might be lurking in the shadows and make the worlds all safe again.” Her expression changed to a pearly white smile.

“She is after all,” Jade said, “my friend.”

Kelly tilted her head to a side. Some reason she didn’t believe completely believe her. However, she had to sigh. “I’m afraid our time is about up. I do appreciate the time you’ve taken to speak with me and answer my questions—regardless of all the rules it has broken.”

“Keep the location of the city a secret and no one will bother you. Please also remember we will be reading what you write.” Her voice ended with a stern sound. “It has been a pleasure. I will walk you back out to where Faramund is waiting.”

Kelly took note of her warning. Jade, and the others, could read the interview Kelly would post, but Kelly knew there was very little Jade could do to change anything that was said. Her own words had been recorded, and they would be shared–not to reflect a poor light on her but rather to intrigue people in the story. However, Kelly smiled at Jade, “I should best be going..” And she accompanied Jade back to where Faramund waited to take her back to her own world.

Jade had no intention of ever hurting Kelly, but there was a concern with Kasper, the director of secrecy reading her article. He could be rather difficult to deal with and had power equal to he father’s.


C.A. King’s novel, ‘The Portal Prophecies: A Keeper’s Destiny’ is available online. Be sure to follow her on social media for updates!










Author Interview: C. A. King

(Kelly was written by Kelly Blanchard. Carol was written by C.A. King .)

An ocean gale rushed across the surface of the waves and crashed into the cliff, pushing its way up to the top, and Kelly closed her eyes against it as she stood atop the cliff near a railing looking across the beautiful tropical island. Absolutely breathtaking here. She loved her job. It always took her to exotic places.

A personal server approached her, motioning for her to come to the bistro table under a gazebo near the edge of the cliff. It was set aside from the rest of the restaurant and offered privacy, and as Kelly drew near, she saw a tray of fresh fruits had been provided. “Thank you,” she told the server.

“Drink, madam?”

“Water would be fine for me, but I believe my guest will prefer tea—ice or hot, whichever you have.” Kelly took a seat.

“Of course.” And the server left.

Kelly sighed, taking in the view once more, and waited for her visitor to arrive.

The walk up to hill was a bit harder than Carol Ann King had thought it would be. At the rate she was climbing she would be late for sure. Picking up the pace was an option. An option, that is, if she wanted to appear completely out of breath and in bad shape. There were already drips of perspiration sliding down her face.  She stopped for a moment to take out a scrunchie and tie her hair back in a loose ponytail. “Onwards,” she thought..

The top steps felt better than she had imagined. A light breeze caressed her body drying some of the wetness from the climb. What a beautiful sight. The table was set perfectly to overlook the ocean. “Hello. Sorry if I am a bit late.”

Kelly smiled as she rose to her feet to greet Carol, stretching out her hand to shake hers. “No problem at all. Actually, I just got here a minute or so ago, so you’re not really late. Please, have a seat.” Kelly motioned to the table. “How are you today?”

“I’m good,” Carol answered. That was at least a part truth. No need to bring up any mention of the struggle to get up there. “It’s a beautiful view.”

That it is. You mentioned you wanted a bistro table for two set a top a cliff overlooking the ocean on a tropical island, so here it is.” Kelly motioned to the ocean then pushed a plate a fresh fruit toward Carol. “And there is this too. Our drinks should be coming soon. But anyway, tell me about yourself, Carol. What is it that you do? Are you a full-time writer? Or do you have a separate occupation?”

“I am a full time writer…now. I was a legal assistant for a really long time. Then tragedy hit.”                                                                                                                                

The attendant arrived and placed the cold drinks on the table. Carol thanked the man then took a long sip. “That’s better,” she said. “What was I saying? Oh, yes, I remember. I lost my mother to a heart attack. A couple days after her funeral my husband was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. He passed away a year later. Three months after that, my father was diagnosed with stage four bladder cancer. He passed away almost exactly a year later. There was a lot of home care involved. I took some time off shortly after that. That’s when I started writing.”

Kelly shook her head when she heard all this. “Wow. That’s quite a lot. I’m sorry for your loss, but did you find that writing helped you through this time of tragedy?”

Carol took another mouthful of her drink. Setting the glass down, her fingers traced a drop of water running down its side. She smiled. “Even when I was doing 24/7 in home care for my father, I had a few resting times where I could close my eyes and be whisked away to another world. A place where it was happy. Daydreaming is a powerful thing. It helped me escape some of the everyday pressures. Then, it hit me. If these worlds I created helped me maybe they could help someone else too. Mind if we take a look over the cliff?”

“Sure thing.” Kelly nodded and rose to her feet, so they could move closer to the railing at the edge of the cliff. Wind from the ocean brushed against them, but Kelly turned to look at Carol. “Had you never written before as a child?”

Carol smiled. A congregation of jellyfish swarmed the water directly beneath them. “More as a teenager. I took far too many English courses in high school. That was mainly because I could write anything and do well. Very little studying was required. I was the girl who could write a book report in an hour without reading the book and still get an A.” She laughed. “I enjoyed reading but there were a few times that came in handy.”

“But then reality hit, and you got busy until tragedy struck?” Kelly lifted her brows, wondering if that had been the case for her. Unfortunately life had a way of doing that, but the main point here was that Carol found her way back to writing.

“Well, to be honest,” she said. “I never considered writing as a way of life. I chose Child Psychology as a major for University, while working part time as a legal assistant. Then my position was secure so I ended up full time. Then came kids.”  She leaned further over the railing to catch a better glimpse of the sea creatures. A gust of wind blew her backwards. Stumbling a few steps, she regained her footing and laughed. “Good thing it wasn’t blowing the other way!”

Kelly chuckled. “Careful! I haven’t lost an interviewee yet!” But she had to brace herself against the wind too. “So, tell me about your writing. What story would you like to tell me about?”

“Perhaps we should move back to the table. The wind is really picking up.” Carol said. The two walked back to the waiter, the wind propelling them a bit faster than they would have normally walked. Taking a seat, she continued, “It’s one story really, but written in a series called ‘The Portal Prophecies.’ She was happy to see new drinks arrive. The wind had dried her mouth completely. Even talking felt awkward.

Kelly took her seat once more, accepted the drink, and drank then nodded at Carol. “I like the title. Sounds intriguing for sure, but what’s the story about?”

Carol placed her glass down on the table, empty. She had downed the whole thing in a mere few seconds. Motioning to the attendant, she politely asked for a refill. “It’s a fantasy series that revolves around a group of teens, who are destined to save the world and all it’s realms. Unfortunately in the beginning they have no clue who they are, what powers they possess, or what they are doing. They are thrown into chaos and have no choice but to move forward. All they have to help them is a book of prophecies (called The Portal Prophecies). The predictions, however, don’t appear to be in any order and all read like riddles. They have to solve them. Each book is a different prophecy.” She took in a big breath of air. “Sorry that was long winded. I get excited explaining it sometimes.

Kelly was silent as she listened and took all this in. She nodded, “Sounds like they were thrown into a whirlwind of trouble, and they have no guide at all except for the book of prophecies?” She furrowed her brows as she tilted her head. “How did they get that book in the first place?”

Carol nodded her head. “Exactly!” she exclaimed. “The book is it. I hate spoilers, but I will tell you that finding the book is part of a path of discovery. It was put together by people from their realm’s past before they left to fight a war in another world.” She pressed a finger against her lips and scrunched up her nose. “I should mention that as they come of age, everyone in their realm also comes into some form of magic ability. There are a lot of different types of magic in the series that I think everyone can enjoy.”

“One other thing I would like to mention, These are young adult novels. No swearing and if you are looking for erotica you are in  the wrong place. My books are more like fifty shades of blushing.”

“Well, that’s quite unique. I like it!” Kelly grinned then happened to look at her watch and frowned. “Ugh, it’s been an hour already? Really??” She wagged her head and looked at Carol. “Our time’s up unfortunately, but before we go, what inspired this specific idea for you?”

Carol sighed. An hour had passed so fast. This had been so much fun, she didn’t want to stop. “I don’t know,” she replied. “It was just one of the worlds I daydream about visiting. I watch what they do and really know every character well. Thank you for your time. This has been a really fun afternoon!”

“Keep me updated on your endeavors! Sorry we have to draw this to a close. Time tends to fly here.” Kelly shook her head and rose to her feet, but she smiled once more at Carol. “I enjoyed this, enjoyed talking with you and hearing about your journey as a writer. I hope you the very best! Have a wonderful rest of the day!” She smiled brightly.


C.A. King’s novel, ‘The Portal Prophecies: A Keeper’s Destiny’ is available online. Be sure to follow her on social media for updates!










Character Interview: Olivia H. Leitner’s Seona

(Kelly was written by Kelly Blanchard. Seona was written by Olivia H. Leitner.)

Seona tossed yet another book into the growing pile by her medical bed as she sighed in disgust. She hadn’t even gotten halfway through it. “Yes, we’re fightin’ an invasion of zombie cyborgs, but sure, we have time for the sixteen-year-old to decide which of the equally stupid boys she’s goin’ to spend her life with right now.”

A mix of a choke and splutter came from the man seated across the room in a chair that was far too comfortable to be in any normal hospital. “Zombie cyborgs?”

“I wish I was kiddin’. Where did you even find that? Don’t tell me these all were Kway’s?” When Vi’el had offered to get her some books, she’d assumed they’d be some highly regarded epics from some planet their employer had visited in the past – he definitely seemed like the type.

Vi’el shrugged. “They were in the station’s library. Not sure who brought them aboard. Kway keeps his books in his office, though, so I doubt they’re his.”

“Well, whoever it is has merskot taste in books…” She flopped her head back against pillows of the inclined bed. “I need Countdown Eclipse.”

Vi’el chuckled as he stood from his chair. “Haven’t you read that book like literally over a hundred times?”

“Oh, way more than that.”

Vi’el’s lips twitched into an amused smile.

Seona jabbed a finger at him. “Don’t give me that look, it’s been out for several hundred years. If I re-read my favorite book once a year, that’s not unreasonable, and I don’t even read it that often.”

“Fair enough.” He tapped the wrist of his left arm with the index and middle finger of his right, activating the holographic display of his implanted wrist computer. “Well, Kway’s got me on a mission soon near Andar. We’ll see if I can’t find a copy somewhere.”

She smiled widely. “Thanks, love.”

“You are quite welcome.” He closed the holographic display and leaned over to plant a kiss on her forehead before brushing some of her hair back. “Anything else I can get you before I go to keep away the boredom?”

“Actually, I’ve got a guest comin’ onboard the station, so I should be fine. Just move that chair closer to the bed on your way out, maybe?”

“Certainly.” Vi’el dragged the chair closer. “This guest anyone I know?”

“Nope. I’ve never met her before either.”

Vi’el backed towards the door with his right eyebrow highly raised. “All right then. Have fun?”

She grinned. “When do I not?”

His chuckle echoed down the hallway as he left, but then it was cut with an, “Oh, pardon me.”

Seona knew her husband’s tones quite well, so she could tell he wasn’t familiar with whoever he’d run into.

That must have been her guest, then. There were only about twelve to twenty people aboard at any given time, and they knew everyone else quite well.

Seona sat up straight – pressing a hand to her side to make sure she didn’t jostle her wound – and waited.


Kelly walked into the room, noticed Seona’s tense position and how she held her hand to what appeared to be a wound, and Kelly tilted her head to a side. “What happened?” Then she remembered her manners. “Oh sorry, I’m Kelly. I believe you’re expecting me.” She drew near to the bed and shook Seona’s hand. “But please, relax. Lay down. No need for formality with me, but what did happen to you?” As Kelly asked this, she lowered herself into the chair near the bed and waited for the answer.

Seona waved off the apology and shook Kelly’s hand in return. “It’s fine. Pleasure to meet you in person, Kelly.” She stayed seated up. “Gunshot. Mostly healed now. My friend’s eyesight isn’t quite as good as mine, and we were in a snowstorm in hostile territory.”

Kelly nodded when she heard this. “I’m hoping it wasn’t your friend who shot you—by accident, of course, but being shot in a snowstorm…that certainly says something about somebody’s aim.” She chuckled as she relaxed in the chair. “So, was that your husband, Vi’el, I passed in the hall?” She jutted her chin toward the door. “How did you two meet?”

Seona snorted. “Yeah, he couldn’t tell it was me and he is a very good shot. Glad he didn’t aim for my head. Not sure my helmet would have stopped and energy weapon’s bullet.” She clasped her hands in front of her. “And yep. That lovely gentleman is mine. We met back in 1736 on Andar. Ran into each other when I was actin’ as a bodyguard for a diplomat. He was just a traveler, but he ended up dodgin’ flying bottles with us when there was a disagreement in the tavern.”

“Very interesting.” Then Kelly brought her hands together and leaned forward, meeting Seona’s gaze. “I understand you were previously engaged before Vi’el though. What happened?”

Seona was silent for a moment. How? Just how had this woman gotten that information? Kway had mentioned that she was well informed, but she hadn’t expected this. “Glasson. He was killed in the line of duty. We were both in a war that took place before my people settled on Andar.” He was killed. Such a simplified version of those events.

Kelly tilted her head, observing Seona. She could see there was much more to the story than she was telling, but she decided not to focus on that actual event. “What was Glasson like?”

So, she wasn’t going to press on the actual events. Smart woman. “He was… realistic. Had a very direct way of lookin’ at things. He didn’t see the point in sugar coatin’ things, but he he always hoped for the best. The war definitely dampened his spirits, but I could always tell he had much more fun side that he didn’t let get out much after he’d been fightin’ for so long.”

Kelly nodded when she heard this. “And what would be one thing that his presence in your life taught you? His hope?” She raised her brows. “Or something else?”

Seona considered the question for a moment. She’d spent so many years trying to forget that part of her life that it was strange thinking back to it like this. “His courage. And selflessness. When we first met, we were very young, but he was already fightin’. Scared to death, but still fightin’. As he got older, I could she him push past that. He’d have done anything to save a comrade.”

“And what of your own family? I mean, your parents. Any siblings?” Kelly shifted the topic. She was aware that Seona was part of the immortal races in this world, so after much time, family could become irrelevant over time, but still, Kelly was curious.

“Hmm…” Seona nodded. Yet another fun topic. “My mother was an engineer. She was killed in an accidental explosion. My father… I’m still not sure. We were separated a long time ago and I haven’t been able to find him. I do have an older brother – Varian – and I know he’s alive, but I haven’t seen him in a long time either. Kway is helpin’ me track him down currently.”

“Why is he so difficult to find? Why are you two so far apart in the first place?” Kelly raised her brows as she sat back in her chair. She knew she was asking hard questions, but then again, that was her job.

Seona laughed. She never realized just how complicated her history was until she had to put it into words. “That is… a very long story. I was separated from him at the same time as my father. It back durin’ the same war Glasson and I fought in. Space battle just went… very wrong very quickly. I thought Varian was dead, so I didn’t look for him, and he ended up with amnesia, so he didn’t even know I existed. I only recently found out he was alive, and… it’s a big universe. Trackin’ one person down can be difficult.”

“How did you find out he was alive though? And what of your father?  You don’t sound convinced that he died. Are you looking for him as well?”

These were not the questions she had been expecting. Seona shifted in her bed again, trying to find a more comfortable position. “An enemy of his, actually. Turns out my brother got into a bit of trouble while he was wanderin’ around memoryless. As for my father… I’m fairly certain he gone. I usually don’t entirely trust that someone I know is dead unless there’s a body, but I do trust Kway and he says he’s sure.”

“Who’s Kway?” At the look Seona gave her, Kelly chuckled. “Listen, I know a lot, but I don’t know everything. It’s part of the fun of these interviews.”

“Fair enough.” Kway may have been well-know among their group, but he certainly kept his secrets. “Kway is an information dealer who is extremely good at his job. He sought out everyone on this station and gave them personal invites to join his cause of restorin’ peace to the galaxy* – his words, not mine. I can’t say I truly know his motives, but he’s proven himself enough times. I am… a tad suspicious of his involvement in wanting to find my brother, though. He’s treatin’ it rather personally. ”

Kelly furrowed her brows when she heard this, and she brought her hands to tap against her chin thoughtfully. “What do you think his motives are regarding your brother?”

Seona shrugged. “Similarity to something that happened with his own family? That’s my best guess. Being an information dealer makes it so he’s pretty good at keepin’ his own past from anyone else.”

Kelly had to grin. “Sounds like someone I should talk to. Wonder what info I’d get out of him.” She then shook her head, still smiling, but focusing back on the topic at hand. “All right, so what were your parents like? What was life like before the war? Or has the war been ongoing that long?”

“Ohhh, you two would have a blast.” If anyone could get information out of Kway, it’d be this woman. Something about her just made Seona not mind telling her things. “Though I feel I should warn you – his level of charm should be illegal. Well, with others, anyway. He doesn’t tend to use it on me. Probably because he knows it won’t work. Or maybe because I’m married.”

Ah, back to this topic, were they? “Well, my mother died when I was very young, so I don’t remember much. My father was…” She bit her lip. “If I had to chose one word, I’d say fun. Don’t ask me how, but he somehow managed to be the sassy class clown and still get the respect as any other head of security on a ship. And I wasn’t a before the war for me. I was born durin’ it.”

Kelly nodded when she heard this about the war. She had expected it. “And what of your brother? What was he like?”

“Sweet.” Seona’s response was automatic. “He was the brother that was sweetly protective instead on annoyingly.” She shook her head, dropping her gaze. “He shouldn’t have been a soldier. Too kind of a heart to be in the middle of the bloodbath we got thrown into.”

Kelly was silent for a moment as she observed Seona. “I’m sure you have good memories of him though, and hopefully, when you find him again, he is just as sweet as you recall.” She smiled. However though, she shifted the topic once more. “So, tell me about your daughter.”

Seona forced a smile that she knew was not at all convincing because she didn’t even try to make it so. Where she got Varian back or not, she knew he would be the same. He’d done horrible things after his memory loss and the was no way he’d ever be the same.

Oh, now there was a much more welcome topic. “Adeline. She’s currently helping rebuild a part of a city on a nearby planet along with her fiancé.”

“What is she like? What’s her personality?” Kelly smiled when she saw how Seona seemed to relax at this new topic.

Seona rolled her shoulders, trying to relieve the stiffness there. “She’s is a complete mix between of me and Vi’el. She looks just like me – same hair and eyes – and she’s got the same optimistic, energetic spunk as her dad. And somehow she picked up Varian’s pilotin’ skills – no idea where that one came from considerin’ they’ve never met.”

Kelly chuckled. “Genetics. He’s related to you after all, so I’m not surprised.” She leaned forward, clasping her hands together, locking eyes with Seona. “What is your hope for Adeline? For her future?”

Seona arched an eyebrow. “Her future? Well, she’s a couple hundred years old herself and she’s got a good life, I guess I just hope it stays that way. Hope she doesn’t have to face a lot of the tough situations me and her father have.”

Kelly smiled. “You all may be immortal, but…that doesn’t change how life affects you. If anything it affects you harder–especially if you lose someone close to you because, for you, eternity has an entirely different concept.” She paused for a moment then asked, “Mind if I stand? Sometimes I like to walk around a bit. It helps me think.” When Seona nodded, Kelly smiled her thanks and rose to her feet, meandering around the small room. “And Aronsam—I understand you’re good friends with him. Who is he exactly?”

“Oh, you certainly don’t have to tell me that. I’ve lost enough people to know.” Thanks for the reminder…

That unpleasant thought was completely pushed aside with the next question, though. Seona burst out laughing. And kept laughing. “You have… no idea how many years Vi’el and I have been askin’ that exact question. He just… popped into our lives and didn’t leave. Kept showin’ up to help us out with certain problems we were havin’. He and Adeline have been best friends since she was a teen, but he didn’t tell her who he was either. Kway couldn’t even find a hint about his history.” She wiped a small tear of laughter from her eye. “Finally, though, we found out he’s–“

“Not a word!” Aronsam popped up in the doorway, jabbing a finger at her. “That secret does not leave our trusted circle, Mrs. Westheart!”

Seona rolled her eyes. “Oh, stop bein’ such a drama queen. And I’m in the middle of an interview – go get me a cup of coffee or somethin’.”

Aronsam’s hands settled on his hips as his eyebrows shot up. “Um, I’m sorry, I believe you’ve mistaken me for a slave of some kind?”

Seona gave him a deadpan glare. “You. Shot. Me. I’m stuck in this bed because of it. Go get me coffee.”

Kelly laughed. “You shot her? She’s right, you do owe a cup of coffee…or several.” She grinned but then turned back to Seona and sighed. “Unfortunately though, our time is up. Thank you so much for meeting with me though and answering my questions. I enjoyed learning about you.”

Aronsam’s sigh lasted for several seconds. “There are only so many times I can apologize… Fine. I’ll get you coffee. Lovely meeting you, person I don’t know the name of!” He waved over his shoulder as he left. He only took two steps before he had to dodge around someone else in the hallway. “Oh, hello Kway.”

Seona smiled. “Not a problem – I had an interesting time doing it.” She gesture to Kway, who was standing in the doorway, leaning on the polished cane of his as his solid black eyes observed them. “Since I can’t walk you out, Kway will fill in for me.”

“Thank you.” Kelly bowed her head to Seona then turned to greet Kway with a smile. Oh, this would be an interesting chat if she could talk with him.


Olivia H. Leitner’s novel, Accusations (Book 1 in the Siren’s Call series) is not yet released and has no set publication date yet. However, you can follow her on Facebook to get inside look into the universe she is creating as well as any publication information.

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Author Interview: Olivia H. Leitner

(Kelly was written by Kelly Blanchard. Olivia was written by Olivia H. Leitner.)

Walking through the corridors of this 12th century palace, Kelly took in her surroundings. It had been a long time since she visited Jerusalem in year 1178 when King Baldwin IV was king, but this was the location her interviewee had requested because she had read Kelly’s own books and wanted to visit this place. Kelly wondered if she could stop by the king’s study to visit with him, but at this hour of the day, he was likely in the High Court seeing to matters of the court. Maybe another time.

A portal opened beside Kelly, and she looked and smiled at her friend, Olivia H. Leitner. She motioned for Olivia to pass through the portal. “It’s perfectly safe, I assure you.” Once Olivia came through and the portal vanished, Kelly smiled. “Been a while since we’ve chatted, so it’s good to see you again. Here is Jerusalem during King Baldwin IV’s reign.” She gestured to their surroundings. “I hope it’s what you expected.”

Olivia held up a finger. “Firstly.” She embraced Kelly in a hug and then stepped back with a grin. “Okay, now we can talk.” Her eyes scanned their surroundings. “I’m pretty sure I climbed this building in Assassin’s Creed, but it’s much prettier here.”

Kelly laughed. “Yeah, I missed you too. Been a while.” Then they began walking, taking in their surroundings. “Okay, so…it’s really odd interviewing someone I know so well. However, my readers don’t know you, so I need to ask questions so that they may get to know you. Firstly, and I always ask this question, what are you doing these days other than writing?”

Olivia nodded, tugging as the collar of her maroon jacket. Jacket. In Jerusalem. Why had she thought that was a good idea? “Wellll, right now I’m recovering from mono, such not all that much, but normally I like to make music videos, learn and teach Tae Kwon Do,  procrastinate with video games when I’m supposed to be writing…” She chuckled. “I unfortunately do not have a job right now, but I’m working on that. As soon as I don’t have mono.”

“Sorry to hear you’ve been sick although I can totally relate. I still have a cough from being sick myself.” Kelly nodded, glad she had finally recovered as well. She gestured for them to take a turn to the right, which lead into the courtyard garden. “So…tell me, does Tae Kwon Do help you write fight scenes?”

“Yeah, you got sick around the same time as me, I think.” Olivia shrugged her jacket off as the sunlight hit them and tied it around her waist instead. “And, oh about Tae Kwon Do, unbelievably. Gives me a lot of respect for people who don’t have a background with martial art who still write fight scenes well. I mean, they probably do research, but it must be hard. At the same time, though, sometimes I have to remind myself that the readers aren’t going to know as much as me, or that not every character I have that fights is going to have my style of martial arts. It’s a balance, I’d say.”

“Everything’s a balance.” Kelly nodded, leading them to a fountain that was shaded at this time of day. The shadow and water offered cool relief from the heat. “So, when did you first begin writing? What got you interested in writing?”

Olivia tilted her head, thinking back. “You know, when I thirteen was the first time I tried to really write, but I recently found picture I drew when I was little that have stories written on them. Not to mention the Storybook Weaver program I had on my System 9 computer. I went crazy with that thing. But really, the first real writing was when I was thirteen. I remember that I wanted to read a particular fanfic, but it didn’t exist. So I wrote instead. Now that fanfic is still going and I have over 200k on it. And that’s after re-writing the first ten chapters four times.”

“That’s amazing.” Kelly smiled at Olivia then sat down near the fountain and ran her fingers through the cool water. It felt nice. She pondered for a moment then focused on Olivia once more. “So you said you’re writing fan fiction, but do you have work of your own you’re hoping to publish one day? Or do you want to discuss your fan fiction? Either is fine with me.” She smiled as she withdrew her hand from the water. It had been a while since Kelly had read any fan fiction. She should change that if she ever had the time to read anything. Nevertheless, she focused on Olivia, intent on hearing what she had to say.

Olivia sat next to Kelly, mimicking her actions. “Oh, you have no idea. I haven’t been able to really talk to you in so long. I definitely have original work. Fan fiction is fun, but it was just a gateway that lead me writing my own stuff. For the last few years, I’ve been working on series named Siren’s Call. It’s a massive undertaking because it keeps growing. Right now I have at least fifteen books planned for it and almost half of them outlined. It’s going a bit faster now that I have most of it in my head.”

“Fifteen books planned!!!” Kelly stared at her wide-eyed. “I mean, last time you talked to me it was like…ten or twelve books you had planned, but fifteen? Wow. And you say you’ve outlined them all? Pretty amazing.” She gave Olivia a grin. “This sounds like quite an intense story, so tell me all about it…if you can summarize it.”

“Yeaaaah, like I said, it keeps growing.” Olivia scratched the back of her neck. “Siren’s Call had started out as single book with completely different characters that it had now. And I have around half of them outline on the computer. Rest are still in my head. As for summarizing? Best I stay broad on that. Now, I do assume people are going to be a little wary of a serious that long, you know? Wondering how I’ll keep things fresh? Well, that comes down to the characters, I’d say. See, I have three primary races – at the start of the series, there’s more later – and two of them are immortal, and the other is not. Now, the books themselves span hundreds of years. Obviously, then, the mortal characters won’t be around for whole series. The cast is always changing, but some of the immortals stick around. Others go do something else for a while, and then they come back. Or some die. That can happen too.”

“But what’s the core conflict of the stories? The general theme?” Kelly furrowed her brows as she glanced at Olivia.

Olivia blinked. “Right. I totally just went past your last question. Oops. Sorry.” It was hard not to get excited an ramble on. “Hmm, I think I’ll just stick with the first book for now, since I can’t really summarize them all. The first book is a sci-fi/fantasy story set in the 1700s – since the world has loosely tied timeline to our world – and it focuses around a mortal prince who is the middle child of his royal family. His name is Alastair. Now, he finds out that his youngest brother is planning kill his way to the throne, but he ends up getting blamed for it and has to flee the kingdom with his personal bodyguard’s help.”

“Interesting.” Kelly nodded. “And you say there’s more with immortals and mortals, and it’s fifteen books long, and the mortals don’t survive throughout the entire series…sounds very complex. How did you ever get the idea for this series?” She cast Olivia a smile.

“It is very complex. If I hadn’t outlined half series, I might have forgotten it. And not all the immortal survive either.” Olive used her most evil grin. “And, well, I got the idea for the Siren race first, and I came up with the generic premise with a Siren being a body guard to the prince who had to flee the kingdom. You remember Lowel from our co-authored story?”

Kelly nodded. “Yes…” That was a long story, but she smiled at Olivia. “How does he fit in?”

“Well… he doesn’t anymore. He was supposed to be the prince. But… I don’t know, Alastair kind of butted in. And then I thought about this race I had in another story that I was never going to actually write. They were called Centress. And somehow, I ended up bringing them over into this story to. Since then it just kept escalating.”

Kelly chuckled. “Sounds chaotic but fun. I love how stories take on a life of their own.” She rose to her feet with a sigh. “Well, Olivia, unfortunately our time is up, which is quite a shame. We could just keep talking all day long, but I have other errands to run before my next interview.” She motioned for Olivia to follow her. “Keep me posted on the status of your series. You know I always want to know.” She smiled at her. “For now though, we need to go…unless you want to meet King Baldwin before you leave….” She winked.

“Agh, yeah, I noticed we were closing in on the hour. Flew by, didn’t it? Probably because I kept yanking. Well, it was a lot of fun!” Olivia hopped up from the fountain and followed Kelly. “And will do! Also, if anybody is interesting in my series I do have a page now that I am ridiculously excited about. Wait…” Olivia stopped. “Meet Baldwin? Aww, man, yes please!”

Kelly laughed. “C’mon, I’ll take you to see him.” And she led the way through the palace to find the king.


Olivia H. Leitner’s novel, Accusations (Book 1 in the Siren’s Call series) is not yet released and has no set publication date yet. However, you can follow her on Facebook to get inside look into the universe she is creating as well as any publication information.

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Character Interview: Enigmaticma’s Hope

(Kelly was written by Kelly Blanchard. Hope was written by Enigmaticma.)

Hope kept her eyes shut, refusing to answer their questions as they refused to let contact the others. A raising headache broke into her brain as she looked at the reflecting mirror in front of her. Her look was a mess, as she ran for few hours all around the city. The gray walls seemed closer with time and she sighed out her suffocation. It was almost unbearable until someone opened the door.

Kelly stepped into the room and took in her surroundings. An interrogation room. How fitting. She then smiled at Hope. “I’ve got to say, this is the first time I’ve ever interviewed someone in an interrogation…though some people may beg to differ that my interviews are interrogations.” She shrugged as she slid into the seat across the table from Hope. “I understand you’re under investigation right now, and they’re questioning everyone on your team, but…I’m not them. I’m not here to interrogate you, so you can relax. But…I am here to ask you questions if you don’t mind. I know you’re an investigator, but I really have no clue what you’re investigating or who you’re working with.” She locked eyes with Hope. “Who are you working for then? The police? And what kind of investigation do you do?”

“I work with a team to solve missing cases and prefect crimes if you can call it so.” Hope spoke in a tense manner, she hated the room.

Kelly nodded. “The perfect crimes, eh? I didn’t think there was such a thing.” She relaxed back in her chair. “How did you get involved in that?”

“I investigated about three missing cases in different part of Tangier, Morocco. Perfect crimes are the crimes that are still unsolved, or which make us unable to point a finger on one precise person. It’s a term we call to the cold cases too.” Hope spoke in a calculated manner, trying to ease the tension. Her hands were cold as she tried to fix her messy hair.

“But that doesn’t tell me how you ended up here…working to solve cold cases,” Kelly pointed out. “Why did you decide to become an investigator?” She tilted her head to a side. She could tell Hope was incredibly tense and likely expecting an attack from any angle, but Kelly wasn’t here to probe her about the most recent case or disappearance, and she was determined to remained relaxed in hopes that Hope would realize she wasn’t a threat.

Hope looked at the woman in front of her, realising she was so absentminded to truly answer that. “My foster mother was one of the missing cases I tried to solve. ” A knot in her throat made her words weight tons. “I thought I’ll find her if I was in the police forces so I went for it. It wasn’t a choice for me.”  Her lips went into a thin line. “I had to do it.” She sighed deeply, massaging her eyebrow where a flashing pain went through. “As you mentioned, I’m under investigation for the disappearance of a team mate of mine, so I’m pretty worried right now.”

“And why exactly are you worried?” Kelly furrowed her brows.

Hope tensed suddenly. “I’m worried that maybe Evan, the missing man, was a warning to an attack I can not prevent as long as I’m here.” Hope looked up to the window. “I sensed a danger as I left the crime scene, where we were investigating, and I’m sure it is not Evan they were looking for.”

“Okay, wait a second…” Kelly leaned forward, resting her forearms on the table to face Hope once more. “What does this have to do with you? I mean, why would it matter if you’re investigating at all? Also, I heard have you have…powers of some kind. Do those have to do with any of this?”

Hope’s eyes glittered, as if she was about to cry, swallowing a numbness in her throat. “Honestly, I don’t know why it turned out like this. I wanted to be a normal investigator but someone or a group of unknown people targeted me since I started working with this team. I don’t know if it have something to do with me being an investigator or just because I’m me, but I know it kills people around me.” She looked back to the woman. “They are enjoying torturing me like this.”

Kelly’s face softened. She understood better now, so she nodded. “Have you ever seen them? And are you sure it has something to do with you joining the team? If someone is targeting you specifically, why would they only target you once you’re in this specific team? Why not before then?”

Hope sighed. “Because we are investigating about them. it’s their crimes that gathered us in the elite headquarter. Why don’t they just end it with me? I think it is because they think I’m not human.” Hope looked at the window before leaning to whisper. “One of them actually come to me from time to time and we talk. He was here today, as I inspected the corpse of Madame Grifden—you know the woman found dead today?” Hope frowned suddenly. “He said he was assigned to keep an eye on me permanently.”

One actually approached her. Well, that’s an interesting development. However, Kelly’s mind returned to something Hope had said. “Why wouldn’t they think you’re human though?” Kelly frowned as she sat back. “Because you have powers of some kind?”

Hope tensed so terribly. “Do you want a honest answer? My powers and my humanity is a mystery for me. Was I human or not? I can’t answer you that, but I’m more into “unhuman” theory.” She sighed. “My mother used to say that I’m not human too.” She looked away, and sighed again. “This is why I am trying to find her. If I wasn’t human, she would know that.”

Kelly tilted her head to a side, curious. “But you seem perfectly human to me. What makes you so different?”

Hope turned her hand to the woman, and suddenly her skin turned into purplish deep blue while her nails grew a little and got the same skin color. “Does this answer your question?” Her hand turned normal by the time she rested it in her arm, as she crossed them. “It is the only thing I can do, to be honest. I’ve never transformed fully. It is a painful process so I don’t try to do it.”

Kelly watched the slight transformation with fascination. “Wow, that’s kinda cool!” She smiled at Hope. “When was the first time you discovered you could do that?”

Hope shifted in her seat. “When mother disappeared, that exact day, I had a fight with her, I was so mad, so anger, a sudden change went through my both hands, which made me crawl in pain.” Hope’s eyes glittered again. “Mom banded them for me, because I couldn’t turn them back to normal, and she nursed me when suddenly she disappeared from the kitchen. Just like that.”

“Was she surprised at all when she saw the transformation though? It doesn’t sound like she was at all.” Kelly mused over this as she set her chin in the palm of her hand, thinking.

Hope paused, realization falling upon her features. “I don’t think so. She was usually calm but to be honest, she just told me it will be alright.” Hope frowned again, “I guess it wasn’t the first time. I may not remember it.”

“And what of your father? You haven’t mentioned much of him.”

“I never met him. He died when I was a little, leaving me and Mom behind.” Hope answered in a beat. “Mom didn’t talk about him much either.” frowning still,  she tilted her head. “It seems odd for me too.”

“What if he is whatever you are?” Kelly motioned to her. “And what if that’s why your mother wasn’t surprised?” Then she shrugged. “Of course, I could be wrong. Mysterious, nonetheless. So,you’ve been searching for your mother ever since, and now you’re a part of this team, and a team mate has gone missing. You think you’re responsible for that. And you said one of them approached you. Did you get the chance to ask him any questions?”

Hope nodded. “I asked them why they were after me, but they refused to answer. They said it was fun.” Hope looked absent for a moment. “The more I think of it, the more I think they were trying to distract me from things. Or why would one of them waste time follow me around.” Hope looked at her with a smile. “Unless he find me pretty.”

Kelly chuckled. “Could be, or maybe they’re the same as you, but you’ve managed to live in the real world unlike them, and they’re curious about you. I know I’m curious about them. They could be trying to distract you, as you said, though, but…” She thought about it for a while then shook her head. “I don’t know. It all sounds like it’s ties together. Not sure how it works though.” Then she paused and shifted topics. “So, tell me about you and Ian. I hear you two have a…connection…”

Hope’s cheeks went deep red. “Ian and I are bonded, somehow. Since the first meeting there was some strings pulling us together.” Hope seemed uncomfortable. “He is weaker when it comes to handle it, but I’m fine.”

Kelly chuckled when she saw Hope’s blush. “But what exactly does it mean for you to be bonded? I mean…people could say they’re bonded to one another, but it doesn’t really mean much. I sense it’s different for you though. If it’s too uncomfortable to discuss though, we can skip this question. I’m just trying to understand.”

Hope coughed in embarrassment. “I meant that once I’m close to him, we are … lusting over each other.” Hope looked at the mirror behind Kelly and noticed her red cheeks. “I don’t know if we desire each other or if it is this bond that makes us look for each other all the time. we tried to avoid each other but it was painful.”

“Interesting. Do you think it has something to do with…your inhumanity? Or whatever you call it?” Kelly furrowed her brows.

Hope’s face fell. “It was my theory too, but I don’t know for real. If the bond have anything to do with my inhumanity, it means that Ian is not  a human being too. But, I know he had a normal human life, well I’m 90% sure of that.”

“But what if he’s unaware that he’s not completely human either? What if it needs to be triggered but hasn’t been yet?” Kelly knew she was throwing out theories, but sometimes the questions had a way of finding answers.

“if it is the case, I don’t want to be the trigger.” Hope smiled sadly. “I love him too much for that.” She blushed madly. “Ian will hate me if he ever discover that from me. I tried to hint it to him and it is all I can do.”

“He’s hate you because you actually love him? Why would he hate you?” Kelly furrowed her brows as she sat back in her chair, having settled into this conversation quite well.

Hope smiled. “Won’t you hate someone when he will expose the monster hidden inside you, even if you love him? I am afraid that Ian is that kind of people who are proud of their humanity. I don’t want to be the one breaking the news to him. I am scared he will blame me for turning him into monster.”

Kelly pondered this for a moment but then nodded. “I suppose you have a good point. However…if he’s not completely human, I have a feeling he’s always sensed that but isn’t entirely sure. If he’s proud of his humanity, it means he’s afraid of being inhuman, and fear is unbecoming of anyone.” She shook her head.

However, Kelly decided to move on from the subject of Ian, so she locked eyes with Hope. “So, other than the investigations and cold cases and Ian and such, what do you want from life? If you could have anything, what would you want?”

Hope didn’t hesitate. “I want to have a normal life, like any human being. like any woman.”

“If you could, would you want to spend the rest of your life with Ian? Or do you imagine loving someone else, having a happy life with someone, and maybe even starting a family?”

“Ian is fine, but you can say I’m fanning over someone else in the team, but keep it as a secret.” Hope suddenly chuckled as he tried to cool her cheeks. “Our colonel have the deepest voice I ever heard, and his eyes are so amazingly beautiful. I’d love my kids to have them.”

Kelly chuckled. “Edmond Jacob Sherry—I heard you had a crush on him.” She smirked at Hope then leaned in. “Tell me about him!”

“Oh god.” She blushed even more. “He is a beauty to be honest, and he trusts me a lot. In fact, he tasted some of my power, and he knows I am different but he accepts me so openly.” Hope rested in the chair and looked at Kelly with a smile. “It’s so…heartwarming.”

Kelly reflected her smile. “He sounds pretty amazing. Tell me of the time you two met for the first time.”

Hope stiffen a laugh. “I met him after handing over my paper to be in the team.” She laughed a little. “Nobody could breathe around him”

“And what was your impression of him then?”

“Astonishing. I thought he was beautifully astonishing. He had this androgynous features, with sharp eyes, and he truly looked like a Royalty” Hope stiffened suddenly. “Oh I think he heard that.”

Kelly laughed, “Oh, don’t worry, no one’s in the observation room, and the cameras and microphones aren’t even on.” She tapped on the microphone. “I told you I’m not here to interrogate you. And actually…having said that…” Kelly twisted to look at the clock on the wall. “Yeah, our time’s about up.” She looked back at Hope. “But before I leave, your mother…what is the one thing you remember most about her?”

Hope was about to point out that someone moved the mirror, but the question made her freeze. “I remember her determination to make me believe I’m not human. this is the most marking thing about her. Everyday she would tell me I’m not a human being but something beyond it.”

“That’s interesting because it could almost seem like you could blame her for putting that thought into your mind, yet she said you were something beyond it.” Kelly paused, tilting her head in thought. “Do you blame her though? For what happened? For reminding you every day that you were not human?”

Hope nodded. “I do. Everyday.” She sighed. “It makes me insecure about everything  I do, all the time. I keep wondering if a human would do this or that, and I end up not doing it”

“Well, let me just tell you that you seem pretty human to me, so you don’t need to doubt yourself too much.” Kelly reassured her with a slight smile but then returned to the topic at hand. “Are you angry with her though? With her insisting you weren’t human?…and the more I think about it, I do wonder if your father wasn’t human because that would make your mother’s insistence of you being inhuman make sense…”

“That would make sense.” Hope smiled. “But I don’t hate her for it and I’m not angry. Right now, it doesn’t matter much.”

“You’re right. You have a missing team mate to track down. Tell me, have you or are you going to tell your team about the fact that you’re being watched by them?” Kelly raised her brows.

“Honestly, I couldn’t tell them.” Hope chuckled. “Edmond will flip tables, I am sure of it.”

“So you’re to go about this all alone, knowing you’re being tailed, being watched when your team is trying to find them?” Kelly folded her arms as she sat back in her chair. “That’s kinda counterproductive if you ask me.”

“Well… yes, it is.” Hope frowned. “But I fear for them, since they may exclude me from the investigation.”

Kelly narrowed her eyes. She had many more questions but not enough time, so she sighed. “Listen, Hope. I don’t understand why people around you go missing or are killed, but you need to find the answers or it will never stop. I don’t think you could live with yourself if that happens. You need to embrace who you really are. You may even need to go with them to learn that. I think you have an advantage that they don’t–you know what it’s like to be human, you know how we think, how we act, and if these people are inhuman, they may have grown up in a society completely different than what you know, so you have the advantage. I don’t know how you’ll use it, but you need to find answers. Don’t let them call the shots.” With that, she rose to her feet. “Now though, I need to go. Thanks for the chat.” She smiled then left the room. Before she reached the door, a portal opened in the wall, and she passed through, closing it behind her.

Hope smiled at it, and looked down. “Easier said than done.”


Enigmaticma’s novel, The Courageous Fangs, is set to be released in December 2016.