A walk by the River
With Author A. F. Stewart
I am walking today with a young college woman. She just arrived back in town to support her family, and I’m afraid she has come in to a scene of chaos. See, tonight, I am with a number of townspeople involved in a search party. Eva’s sister Layla disappeared today: she went out for a walk by the river, and did not come back. The girls’ mother organized us to look for her. What are we finding? She was here, we can tell, but other than that, the news does not look good. It has been hours now, and we are unable to find anything except some confusing traces of her visit.
Layla is a sister by adoption — Eva’s adoption; but the two are as close as twins. That’s how I’ve known them through their entire childhood. I taught both girls a few music lessons once, but I kept up with the news of them after that. I think of my students as family, so my nerves are a bit on edge tonight. You will read that as you eavesdrop on my talk with this understandably tense young woman. I tried to hide it, but I, too was very worried about her sister. Continue reading
A priest that sees ghosts? Can he help Aunt Betty?
Interviewed by Author A. F. Stewart
Young Father Mahoney never wanted to see a ghost. In fact, the parapsychologist-turned-priest hoped for just the opposite: as a Ph. D. student, he set out to find a cure for paranormal activity. How? By fixing sick minds. College led him to the niche field of parapsych. For Mahoney, it was pure serendipity: to explain a spook as mental illness made sense to him. So, before meeting Aunt Betty and her family, Father Mahoney pursued the exorcism of all spirituality, everywhere.
It might have worked, but the ghosts had other ideas.
Betty woke up, confused and in a cold sweat. She put her hand out, searching for clues to her surroundings. An old-style paper phone book jumped into it. Slowly, she focused her eyes on the words ‘Lake Charles.’
“Oh, yeah,” she mumbled.
“Aunt Betty!” A cheery voice piped into her room from somewhere.
“Somebody’s awake.” She chuckled. Continue reading
Love, death, and books
My walk with a Librarian
and Author Danielle E. Shipley
I was privileged (?) today to walk as myself: a tall, blonde, suburban Texan woman; a new author looking for opportunities. I don’t know what to make of the character who has received me, but her invitation was so kind, so enticing. She said she wanted to offer me exclusive rights to publish my new work-in-progress.
Look, you’re an author. You know how it is, to be up in the early morning burning some outline onto the computer screen before hitting the shower and going to a “paying job”. You know what it’s like to want that one contract that can change everything; the one that brings royalties in excess of $2.98 per quarter? Look, I see your face, but don’t judge me harshly! I am new on the market, and I fell victim to a monster. Continue reading
My house belongs to “them.”
They are everywhere. I put something away, it jumps back out. I walk down the hallway, something walks behind me. The television turns itself on, the lights flicker, a dish falls to the floor. Sometimes, a piano plays. In the thick veil of early morning, I hear them and feel them. They stalk me, they surround me, I am not alone. Continue reading
Betty caught on to that early, but she stopped trying to sell it to anybody else. In Nacogdoches, they were bankers, maybe some of them, loan sharks. They came in hot and heavy after Timothy died. Hoards of them, all zombies, always looking for money-or-flesh, money-or-flesh. They stalked her with horror tales of debt and imprisonment . . . or dismemberment. “This is Texas,” they said, “just try to stop us.” Continue reading
The good niece expects her pretty aunt from twenty years’ past. What will she find instead?
Beverly gazed at the cab as it pulled out of her driveway. It had deposited someone there. A pudgy, awkward creature was staring straight up at her through the window upstairs. It wore giant sunglasses and a daisy on its head. The creature fumed and spat, or that’s what it seemed—like a teakettle on the boil. Continue reading
Everyone has “that family member” right? I mean, it was for them that we invented this phrase: “That’s not just wrong, friend, that’s crazy uncle wrong!” It’s the guy that yells at the Fox News channel and then clears out the room with a single fart. It’s the woman who stalks little children, pouncing out of dark corners to pinch their cheeks, and cover their faces with red lipstick. They have the manners of your preschooler, but not the charm. They are adorable and terrifying. Continue reading
Part 5: My lady, the Queen’s Engineer
I must admit that Author Scott E. Tarbet is full of surprises. To rewrite Shakespeare’s comedy as steampunk is clever, but apparently not clever enough. In this, my final interview with Mr. Tarbet, I am treated to a discussion of a personal favorite in his book. Dr. Malieux. No, this is not the sadistic Dr. Oberon Malieux that darkens the path of Pauline Spiegel. Instead, meet the beautiful wife of Oberon, the Godmother of our heroic Pauline, and her mother’s best friend. Genius physician and engineer, Dr. Lakshmi Malieux. Continue reading
Admit it, bibliophiles, you are all biased. When was the last time you picked up a book, examined every character inside, and then led these make-believe people through your conscious mind equally, with legal precision? Face it, our relationships with fictional characters are no different than they are with living people — we like some better than others. Ever wonder why that is?
Here’s an answer for you: we authors have our favorite characters, too. It is true for me, and the same is certainly true of Author Scott E. Tarbet. In this, my second interview with him, I learn about the characters in his newly revised novel, A Midsummer Night’s Steampunk, and how he relates to them personally. Did you expect a writer to stand at a distance from a work of fiction? If you did, prepare to change your mind. If a story is the relationship between fact and emotion, then a good storyteller is the person who can bring you into such a relationship.
Brought to us by Xchyler Publishing, this second edition of A Midsummer Night’s Steampunk features characters that draw us in from the start. When you read your copy, you will instantly guess which ones our author finds most engaging, for he does not keep this a secret. I reasoned that a man who writes such deep characters is likely to have a deep relationship with each of them. I was right.