Sunday, October 20, 2013

A Serial Interview with Roland Yeomans

A knock came at the front door as the last golden rays of day turned into night.

I wasn't expecting anyone. I kept quiet and didn't move. Maybe, whoever was out there would go away. Within a minute, I heard a knock at the back door, at the unlocked back door. An increasing sense of urgency zipped up my spine, yet I felt immobile. . . I stood. The knock came again. . . I couldn't lift my feet.

The book, The Boston Strangler, lay on the desk beside me. Did a strangler knock on doors to find his victims? This one did.

Don't open that door!

In the spirit of the Hallowed Season, I booked an interview with the creator of Dark New Orleans stories, Roland Yeomans. Some of his novels are set in Meilori's, a late-night jazz club, populated by the undead but open to the living if they dare. Lucifer's Orphan, one of Roland's latest and part of a series, takes the reader on a different journey. It's about a young boy about to be adopted, but it turns into something else once that young boy arrives at his destination.

On with the interview. . .

I was back at Meilori’s. Everything I wore was black: from the wide-brimmed hat to my stylish Niki running shoes.  (Running shoes were wise to wear as was black.)  As Roland told me: “It is best to wrap the shadows of Meilori’s around you.  A hard-to-see target is hard to hit.”

I was at Roland’s table.  He was giving the squirrel on his shoulder sugar cubes to chew.  Apparently, Ratatoskr, the Asgardian squirrel, was here to visit Roland again too.

I drew in a breath.  The ghost of F. Scott Fitzgerald sat down beside me.  He took my hand and kissed it lightly. His gossamer lips tingled on my skin.

“Ah, I just had to see the woman who has written so highly of my works on her electronic newspaper.”

“Blog,” I managed to say.

He frowned, “I refuse to say that word.”

Fitzgerald looked witheringly at Ratatoskr.  “Roland, must we have rodents at the table?”

Roland spoke softly but firmly.  “All my friends are welcome at my table.”

Fitzgerald sighed, “In that case …”

He held up a hand and snapped his fingers.  “Waiter!  Champagne.”

He took another look at Ratatoskr.  “Two bottles!  I refuse to see a squirrel at my table when I am sober.”

I turned to Roland, fighting a smile.  “Some of your stories, remind me of the noir genre in film. Do you have any primary film influence which generated this interest in the dark shadowy world of the undead?”

Roland nodded.  “Noir indeed inspired me.  THE BIG SLEEP.  THE MALTESE FALCON.  THE BLUE DAHLIA.  The FU MANCHU series read to me and my other friends in the LEAGUE OF FIVE influenced me as well.  As did the HAMMER DRACULA films.”

Roland looked out into the shadows.  “I longed to merge Noir into the world of the supernatural which to me only seemed …”

He smiled, “ … natural.”

Fitzgerald murmured, “That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you're not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.”

I asked, “Why are there so many cold-hearted females in your stories, Roland?”

Roland smiled sadly.  “The personal reasons will have to stay personal.  But it is the Noir influence, yet it really goes back further.  The femme fatale flourished in the Romantic period in the works of John Keats, notably ‘La Belle Dame sans Merci’ and ‘Lamia’.

Along with them, there rose the gothic novel, The Monk featuring Matilda, a very powerful femme fatale. This led to her appearing in the work of Edgar Allan Poe, and as the vampire, notably in Carmilla and Brides of Dracula.

Ratatoskr, ever ready for gossip, listened intently as Roland went on, “During the film-noir era of the 1940s and 1950s, the femme fatale flourished in American cinema. Examples include Brigid O'Shaughnessy, portrayed by Mary Astor, who murders Sam Spade's partner in The Maltese Falcon (1941).”

Roland said, “It goes all the way up to the present with Xena and all the way back to Eve – Samuel Clemens and I believe Adam bit into the apple, knowing it would exile him from the Garden but allow him to stay with the woman he loved.”

Fitzgerald looking longingly at the ghost of his wife, Zelda, dancing with Marlene Dietrich and whispered,

 “I fell in love with her courage, her sincerity, and her flaming self respect. And it's these things I'd believe in, even if the whole world indulges in wild suspicions that she wasn't all she should be. I love her, and it is the beginning of everything.”

Roland said, “I am drawn to strong women who are their own person driven by their own minds and dreams – and that holds the very real threat that ultimately I will be hurt.  I write strong heroes who have the same make-up.”

Fitzgerald nodded, “We are all flawed creatures with sharp edges.  The price of drawing close is to bleed.”

“No bleeding, please,” I said. “Roland, the setting of HER BONES ARE IN THE BADLANDS is the silent film era and the birth of radio – a time when people listened.  The setting of LUCIFER’S ORPHAN is today when everyone talks but no one listens.  Were you trying to tell your readers something by the difference?”

“Just that very dichotomy.  In this time of Twitter and Facebook, everyone seems to be screaming, “ME, ME, ME!”  And no one is listening.  In the time of the silent film, people listened but their very isolation kept them from hearing at all.  Both times were lonely and starved emotionally … but for different reasons.”

Roland continued with a sad smile, “I was trying to convey that in the press conference in LUCIFER’S ORPHAN.  Nearly everyone was wearing a mask.  But the irony was that only when the masks were taken off did anyone feel heard.”

Fitzgerald said to me, “I like Roland’s smile.  It is one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it that you may come across four or five times in life. It seems to face the whole eternal world for an instant, and then concentrates on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understands you just as far as you want to be understood, believes in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assures you that he has precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hope to convey.”

Ratatoskr snickered, “How much champagne have you had?”

That was my cue to exit. I pulled down the brim of the hat, waved at Fitzgerald and with Roland’s help, found the side door and the waiting taxi. Meilori’s neon sign seemed to hang in the mist when I looked back. 

Roland Yeoman's New Serial:

Two orphans are set against each other by an unsettling adoptive father. The young boy, Blake, sees under the 'glamor' but has no choice except to bide his time. Fallen, his competition and a shapeshifter, changes her assessment of the boy once she sees his abilities.  Read about their story in Lucifer's Orphan. (I'll be reviewing this soon.)


The First SERIAL chapter, Lucifer's Orphan is out NOW! Next up is Her Bones are in the Badlands, shown below. It's on my TBR list.

Check Roland's blog for details on the serial and the Halloween Blogfest. If you'd like to join in the naming of creepy books that might have marred us as adults, visit Roland's blog, Writing in the Crosshairs. This fest runs October 1-31 until the witching hour.


What book scared you the most OR made you change your habits? (i.e., no arms or legs hanging off the bed, no answering doors after dark, closet doors shut)

Please share in the comments and thanks for stopping by!


Friday, October 11, 2013

Beyond the Edge - Interview with Talos, Aviarman

Wormhole #9, Wormhole #9. . .
Twenty-four hours prior to departure time, I confirmed my seat for the NASA Wormhole #9, Flight 909. Loading location: WormStation Merritt Island, Florida, shown below. Arrival destination: The Edge of the Backworlds.

I'll be interviewing one of the Aviarmen, Talos. After reading a little of their story in MPax's earlier book, Backworlds, I asked her if there was any chance of a meeting on location, out there. The usual currency for transport is chocolate, in ingot size bars. (I paid with a case of Le Louis brand French chocolates in gold and blue foil, .)

Station WH-9-Direct to Backworld's Edge, the Terminus:

NASA, Florida - For space and beyond, by DG Hudson


Interview with Talos at Craze's Tavern

MPAX's novels take us to the Backworld's Edge, on the frontiers of unknown space. Now, Craze and Talos must go Beyond that Edge.

Only MPax has the Guild copy of the Backworlds Map, with the coordinates to get to Craze's Tavern and back. She won't reveal the location of the wormhole, not yet, so she offered to co-pilot the ship and get me back to the right time and place for my blog post.

At Craze's Tavern

Last stop before the frontier. . .

In the Backworlds series, Craze, comes to realize the people he shares his life with are what’s most important to him instead of the prosperity he covets. Sitting at the bar in Craze’s Tavern is one of his oldest and closest friends, Captain Talos.

Seven feet tall, with short blue hair, a thin build, and tics, Talos sips a malt. On his long beige coat, he wears a button. Orange letters on a blue background, it says, Carry On, the legacy left him by his mother. Here's a photo of someone a lot like Talos.

The Interview

DG: Backworlders have been genetically modified to survive on harsh worlds. What race of humans do you belong to and what were you made for?

Captain Talos runs his thin hand through his short hair:  "The aviarmen is my people. We was made to navigate the skies ‘n we have an excellent sense of direction."

DG: How do the Backworlds differ from the Foreworlds?

Talos glances around the room before answering:  "The Foreworlders made us. They modified humans to live on less desirable worlds, The Backworlds, ‘n to excel at certain tasks. We spread from there. Then the Fo’wo’s decided they had made a mistake ‘n tried to exterminate us. That was the war. There’s a truce now.

DG: You keep saying all of you are human. Are you and other Backworlders from Earth?

Talos laughs and sips at his malt: "Earth is a myth. There’s no such thing."

DG: What was that short form of the Foreworlds?
Talos shrugs, fingering the pin on his lapel, Carry On: "Most say it Foe Woes. Some say it with a nastier twist to it. I’m sure you know how it goes."

DG: Where are the Backworlds?

Talos arches a brow. "In the Orion arm of the Milky Way. So is the Foreworlds. The Edge is the farthest expansion of the Backworlds. Much of the galaxy is unknown to us."

DG: In this adventure, you go beyond the Edge. Can you tell me why?

Talos: "Yes, it’s where the clues to my missing best friend lead. I’ve got to find him. He’s been missing for more than two years." He turns away, just for a moment and pounds on the bar. The noise catches Craze's attention.

Craze comes over, a burly dude with long hair and a wide face, and wipes off the smudges on the counter left by Talos’ tirade. He pours a couple more malts and set them down. “Everythin’ all right over here, brother?” He looks at Talos and then glances sideways at the alien human, the one who paid in chocolate.
DG: "Hello, I've heard about your exceptional tavern, Mr. Craze. I'm DG Hudson, and I'm trying to find out about life in the Backworlds for my blog readers."

Craze: "Just call me Craze, at your service. If you want to know about our adventures, you're talking to the right guy. Captain Talos."

After a long nip from the tumbler, Talos nods. “Yup. Just telling this tourist about our upcoming adventure, mate."

“I wish you’d leave me home," said Craze. "I hate space travel.”

Talos rolls his eyes. “Once he settles, he’s fair company.”

MPax stood at the end of the bar, talking for a moment with Craze. Chocolate may have changed hands. A flash of gold and blue caught my attention. She waved to Talos and said, "C'mon DG, the ship's powered up and I'm ready to hit those thrusters."

I took a few quick photos, thanked the guys, and left. Thanks, MPax. (I'm glad I took that gravity pill before I left.)

Beyond the Edge

Some truths are better left unfound.

For two years Craze’s dear friend, Lepsi, has been missing. The murmurings of a haunted spaceship might be a message and may mean his old pal isn’t dead. The possibility spurs Craze and Captain Talos to travel to uncharted worlds, searching. Out there, in an unfamiliar region of the galaxy beyond the Backworlds, they stumble upon a terrible truth.

Meanwhile, Rainly remains on Pardeep Station as acting planetlord, dealing with the discovery of her lover’s dark and brutal past. Alone and questioning her judgment, her introspection unlocks more than heartache. Latent protocols in her cybernetics activate, forcing her to face a sinister secret of her own.

In the far future, humanity settles the stars, bioengineering its descendents to survive in a harsh universe. This is the fourth book in the science fiction series, The Backworlds. A space opera adventure.


M. Pax

Inspiring the words she writes, she spends her summers as a star guide at Pine Mountain Observatory in stunning Central Oregon where she lives with the Husband Unit and two demanding cats. She writes science fiction and fantasy mostly.
You can find out more by visiting her at:
Where to find Beyond the Edge?
Do you know the Backworlds series by MPax? Do you know why Craze lives way out on the Backworld's Edge? Did you like meeting Talos in Craze's Tavern?

Please share in the comments, and thanks for dropping by.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Norse Mythology and 'Secrets of the Ash Tree'

Sága – Norse Goddess

Sága and Odin converse while holding cups by
by Lorenz Frølich WC-PD*

Boon companion of Odin, she had other talents, as well. . . 

Sága was a patron of Seers and Writers.

Scrolls and mead was sacred to Sága. She is called an obscure goddess, yet she is linked to poetry and the poetic arts (writing and history). She inspires with prophecies. Her name is associated with the Norse meaning 'to see', this may imply that Saga was a seeress, as was Frigg.

The overlapping of the two names and their meanings has led to various theories on the connection of Sága to Frigg. Sága is said to be the handmaiden of Frigg and the daughter of Odin, or an incarnation of Frigg. An elusive goddess may be that way for a reason.


My Goblet is Empty. . .

Reclining against the branches of the overturned tree, knocked down by her father Odin, Sága set her hammered gold chalice on the branch hook and looked at him.

"Your turn, Father Odin."

"No, my dear, I'm sure it's your turn."

"I've gone to the wine cellar twice already."

"But I'm your father, I have a reputation to protect."

"I'll write a poem about this, you know."

"Be sure you describe me as handsome."


Óðinn and Sága drink from golden cups.
Art by Jenny Nyström, WC-PD*


For those who like Mythology. . .
A gift of prose to the Norse Gods, will be celebrated with a blogfest on Oct 9, 2013

‘Secrets of the Ash Tree’
by Siv Maria Ottem

Siv celebrates her new book, ‘Secrets of the Ash Tree’, with Captain Ninja- Alex Cavanaugh and the Norse Gods at the well of Urd. A Norse Gods blogfest party is being held on Siv's birthday, October 9th! There will be presents for certain lucky participants. Siv's blog tour for the release of ‘Secrets of the Ash Tree’ will be from October 7th-14th.

Tell us something about Norse Mythology and learn about a new book, one which might make you want to think about your own secrets. Details are available at Been There Done That:or at Alex's blogsite.


Do you follow Siv's blog, Been there, Done that? Do you like Mythology? Did you know of Sága, the elusive Goddess?
Please share in the comments, I'm listening. Thanks for stopping by!

References: Blogfest with Norse Gods Alex's place Saga (goddess) and Sokkvabekkr (location)
Saga (goddess)


Art Credits:

Image #1 - Saga and Odin

An illustration from Fredrik Sander's 1893 Swedish edition of the Poetic Edda. Reprinted with Erik Brate's 1913 translation which in turn is published by Project Runeberg at from where the image is taken. Published before 1909 and thus in the public domain in the United States.