September 2011 « Reality SkimmingReality Skimming
Reality Skimming

Reality Skimming

Reality Skimming promotes optimistic SF -- stories that inspire us to fight the good fight for another day. Committment to larger projects, the writer's sense of mission, joy of reading, the creative campfire of the SF community and the love of deserving protagonists are celebrated. We believe in heroes and striving to be what we believe in. It is also a news hub for content related to the Okal Rel Saga written by Lynda Williams.

28Sep/11Off

Continuing Characters #3: Morgan

Today's featured continuing character is Morgan Bailey, the Vampire Hunter of Shéa MacLeod's Sunwalker Saga.

Continuing Characters: A series of interviews featuring continuing characters and the authors who know them best.

Kissed by DarknessKissed by Fire

The Sunwalker Saga by Shéa MacLeod consists of Kissed by Darkness and Kissed by Fire. Kissed by Darkness is available as an ebook on Smashwords, as a Kindle Edition, and a Kindle Edition UK.

MorganMorgan Bailey is an ordinary woman with all the insecurities and fallibilities that come along with the human condition. But Morgan is something else, too: a natural Vampire Hunter. Her affinity with the undead makes her a skilled killer. Not just of vampires, either, but of demon spawn and death spirits and the other nasty things that go bump in the night.

"You're getting blood on my carpet. Again." --From Kissed by Darkness

Questions for Morgan

Q. How do you maintain a day-to-day life now that you've become a Hunter and have the ability to channel the powers of Darkness and Fire?

I don’t know. (shrugs) I just do it. That’s the thing about life. It doesn’t stop just because you’ve got some weird stuff going on in your life. The worst part is keeping it from the people I love. But mostly, I just try not to think about it too much, the Fire and the Darkness and the fact that one day I might not be able to fight it. That stuff will eat you alive if you let it.

Q. Your love life is somewhat...conflicted when it comes to two men in your life. What is it about each of them that draws you in two directions at once?

They're both hot.

Seriously, though, the minute I met Jack the attraction was fierce. Not to mention we’re sort of bonded through the Atlantean amulet. He’s strong and he’s fierce and he’s loyal. Who wouldn’t fall for a 900 year old Templar Knight who looks like Gerard Butler? Am I right, ladies? But what they don’t tell you is that 900 years comes with a heck of a lot of baggage.

Then there’s Inigo. He and I have always had this attraction thing going on between us. I mean it’s pretty obvious to anyone with half a brain. But more than that, he’s my rock. He gets me like nobody else. He knows what I need and he’s good at all the emotional stuff. But he brings his own baggage to the party.

They’re two totally perfect men in two totally different ways. Frankly? I’m not entirely sure what to do about it. I think I’ve got it all figured out and BAM! Life throws me a sucker punch.

Shea Shéa MacLeod has dreamed of writing novels since before she could hold a crayon. She totally blames her mother. After living in Portland, Oregon most of her life, she now makes her home in an Edwardian town house in London just a stone’s throw from the local cemetery. Shéa writes urban fantasy post-apocalyptic scifi paranormal romances with a twist of steampunk, because that is what she loves to read most. She’s the author of the Sunwalker Saga and the upcoming Dragon Wars series. Visit her blog at http://sheamacleod.wordpress.com/.

Questions for Shéa MacLeod

Q. What works best for you, about Morgan, as an on-going protagonist?

Morgan is incredibly fun. She’s been through hell and back and still faces a lot of scary stuff, yet she maintains her somewhat snarky sense of humor and surprisingly positive outlook on life. She kicks major butt. Seriously, she’s one step away from a super hero. Yet despite that, she’s incredibly human, incredibly flawed. I think that makes her really interesting and gives her a vast potential for growth.

Q. Can you give us a hint at where Morgan's future may be headed?

There’s a lot about Morgan I can’t tell you. Mostly because I don’t even know yet! In fact, I don’t even know who she’ll end up with in the end. Truly I don’t.

I do know that in the very near future she will unravel even more secrets. Secrets about her family, about herself, and about where she came from. Secrets about her abilities. She will meet some interesting new supernatural creatures including djinn and Mongolian death worms! The sidhe will definitely play a big role in her future, and the Amazons may make another appearance, too.

21Sep/11Off

Okal Rel Contributors #1: Hal Friesen

Okal Rel Contributors: A series of profiles celebrating the people who've contributed creatively to the Okal Rel Universe.

Hal Friesen got involved with the ORU after reading The Courtesan Prince and Righteous Anger.  He was fascinated by the cultural divide between the Nesaks and the Nersallians, and his imagination gave birth to Nestor Tark, a disenchanted Nersallian soldier attracted by aspects of both cultures. Nestor has so far featured in three Okal Rel anthologies. In Opus 3, his secret admiration of the Nesak culture is revealed when he discovers an ancient Lorel hood that can reveal someone’s true desires. Nestor’s ideals are tested by reality when he is sent to the Nesak homeworld on an assassination mission in Opus 4. In Opus 5, he no longer hides who he is, but is forced to deal with the consequences of being an outcast as he races to save his kidnapped son. A Lorel conspiracy will entangle Nestor in a novella scheduled for release in 2012.

Other projects include a hard SF novel dealing with the connection of different times and species, and numerous short stories. Hal was a finalist in the Now! and Then! Mike Carey Writing Competition for the Murky Depths dark SF magazine. You can meet him in person at the Artist Takeover on Saturday, Sept. 24 at the Whitemud Library in Edmonton from 2-5 pm. There will be lots of local authors, prizes, and, of course, books! You can also enter to win a copy of Opus 5 by commenting on his website: halfriesen.com.

Outside of writing, Hal is a scientist with a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering, and a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and Physics. Strange activities like yoga, underwater hockey, and cello manifest in his weekly activities. Last year he played his first concerto solo during a Vivaldi Day Cellobration organized by Diana Nuttall. He was also on the Edmonton underwater hockey team which won the bronze medal at the national level. This year he hopes to play cello in a junior orchestra. He will also be raising money in a musical Reviewathon, where he will be playing parts of the Suzuki cello repertoire for donations. The proceeds will provide food to people in Somalia. Hal occasionally moonlights as HAL-9000 the robo-gogo-dancer.

17Sep/11Off

JelloDVDs and Mokusgirl Okal Rel on Deviant Art

JelloDVDs and Mokusgirl are re-vitalizing the Okal Rel Fan Club at Deviant Art. They're looking for art and will be sharing stuff. Pro, fan and whatever. 🙂
Filed under: ORU News No Comments
14Sep/11Off

Continuing Characters #2: Deryl

Today's featured continuing character is Deryl, the psychic in the Mind Over Trilogy by Karina Fabian.

Continuing Characters: A series of interviews featuring continuing characters and the authors who know them best.

Mind Over Mind

The Mind Over Trilogy by Karina Fabian begins with Mind Over Mind (2011), published by Dragon Moon Press. It is also available as a Kindle ebook.

Deryl Stephens is the psychic character in the Mind Over Trilogy, the first book of which came out in August 2011 (Mind Over Mind). At 13, Deryl's telepathic abilities manifested to an uncontrollable level, driving him insane. After five years in an asylum where no one believes in his ability save one psychiatrist who uses him as a case study, Deryl is cynical, hopeless and suspicious of the new intern, Joshua, hired to try to befriend him and help him redevelop his social skills. Joshua will instead take him at his word and try to help him control his psychic abilities, which will make all the difference in the world.

"A gilded cage is still a cage. Never mind. Just a passive-aggressive response to my incarceration." --From Mind Over Mind

Questions for Deryl

Note: Characters are interviewed in "talk show" mode, where they can be themselves without fear of anything they say getting back to their fictional setting. Deryl's interview is from just before Mind Over Mind.

Q. Psychic powers! How exciting. What's it like?

(laughs) You really want to know? Because I can show you. I can bring you into my mind. I'll strip away your identity and replace it with a revolving cast of strangers who don't know anything about you, don't care, and don't believe in psychic abilities, anyway. Even if they did, they wouldn't know how to guard their thoughts. You won't just know the problems of the couple next door--you'll feel them. How about the mailman's lower back pain? Want to forget ten years' of schooling? There's a kid walking down the street--just wait. You'll know just how much that scraped knee stings, too. Come on--open your mind to me and I'll toss you in--see if you can claw your way back out to your own skin and remember your own name.

That's what being psychic is to me. It's not cool. It's not fun. It's pure, unrelenting torture, and if my control slips for even a minute, it's insanity--except the voices in my head are real.

Q. How do you stand it?

I didn't for a long time. I just did my best to deal with it, looked in the mirror reciting my name a lot, and hoped I'd find someone, somewhere to believe me. Then when...well, things got too much, I tried to kill myself. That's when I got committed. I don't recommend either course of action. There are months of my life I don't even remember, and I don't ever want to. I don't know how I clawed back to sanity--I'd honestly believe an angel helped me, except that then it abandoned me in SK-Mental. That's where I am today--desperately trying to shield my mind against the truly crazy people, where the staff tolerates my peculiarities. Malachai--Dr. Josias Dolfus Malachai--believes in my abilities, but he just wants to study me, make me his guinea pig, maybe try to find that "psychic center" of the brain and activate it in others. How heinous is that?

So I'm marking time, wishing for but not expecting a miracle.

Karina Fabian Karina Fabian writes science fiction, fantasy and horror, mostly, though she has also written non-fiction including an award-winning devotional. Her fiction has won several awards as well. Karina enjoys playing with ideas, mixing and twisting clichés and torturing her characters for fun and plot-fit. She also teaches writing and marketing online at conferences and through Savvy Authors. She's married to the perfect man for her, Col. Robert Fabian, who sometimes cowrites with her. They have four children and are proud to say they are as quirky and strong-minded as their parents. Her website is http://fabianspace.com.

Questions for Karina

Q. What works best for you, about Deryl, as an on-going protagonist?

He's got a lot of work to do before he can live anything like a normal life, if living among psychic aliens who think he's some kind of savior. However, his experiences have given him compassion and a unique look on life that is going to be vital in how he handles the challenges in the next books.

Q. What's in store for Deryl's future?

Lots more confusion and pain. (Sorry, dude.) The Master isn't going to let go of him so easily; Tasmae is even freakier in person than she is in his mind, and he is going to have to save two worlds with his limited knowledge, extensive imagination and some true grit. But it's not all bad. Tasmae's as attractive as she is bizarre, and once he helps her through the crazy bits, they'll get along just fine. Joshua, the psychiatric intern and his best friend, will be there to rescue him when he needs help, as will Joshua's fiancé and Deryl's other friend, Sachiko. Plus, Deryl will do a lot of healing of his past and forge himself a wonderful and calmer, if not "normal" life. Who knows? He might even get bored now and then.

7Sep/11Off

Lynda Williams on Google+

Google Plus Profile

I'm on google+ ... have it configured to send PUBLIC circle messages to twitter. Still playing with circles.

Filed under: ORU News No Comments
7Sep/11Off

Continuing Characters #1: Amir

Today's featured continuing character is Amir, the prince/detective of the Prince Amir Mystery Series by Nathalie Mallet.

Continuing Characters: A series of interviews featuring continuing characters and the authors who know them best.

Princes of the Golden CageThe King's DaughtersDeath in the Traveling City

The Prince Amir Mystery Series by Nathalie Mallet consists of: Princes of the Golden Cage (2007), The King's Daughters (2009), and Death in the Traveling City (2011). Death in the Traveling City is also available as an ebook on Kindle and Smashwords.

AmirPrince Amir Ban is a loner with a penchant for alchemy, who's never as happy as when his head is buried in one of his beloved science books. He is brooding, pessimistic and afflicted by sudden bouts of melancholy. His only wish is to be free. His sole ambition is to remain anonymous. He's flawed, what can I say, I love flawed characters. They seem more real and more human to me. Amir also has great qualities. He is intelligent, brave, when need be, and capable of inner growth and acts of kindness. But I must admit that it is his weaknesses I love the most: his suspicious, sometime sarcastic, nature; the way his emotions overwhelm him when he falls in love with Eva, even how he keeps a festering grudge against his brother Darius.

"I think there's more curse in a bad piece of mutton than in magic." --From The Princes of the Golden Cage

Questions for Amir

Q. Magic seems to work yet you prefer science. Why is that and how do you reconcile the two?

I think science and magic have always can coexist without problem. One is based on concrete proof while the other draws its power from faith. It's a fact; it just took me awhile to accept it. But I've seen too much magic at work recently to deny its existence any longer. Therefore I am now a believer. It feels odd to admit this, though. Still, I prefer science because it more predictable and far less temperamental than magic. Moreover, with science one has to use logic and reason while with magic far less reliable senses such as intuition and other sorts of feelings are needed. But the main reason I prefer science to magic is that to successful do magic one has to forgo all control, and I hate losing control.

Q. How do you feel about women? What do you look for in a lover?

To be honest, women mystify me. I don't know what they want, and I don't understand them, especially foreign women. They're not behaving in ways I'm accustomed to. It's very confusing. I'm not looking for love at the moment. I must admit, I feel somewhat scolded by Eva's refusal to marry me. She prioritized her country and duty over me. I would be wise to choose someone different next time: Someone who would put me first, someone intelligent and loyal, but more importantly someone with whom I have something in common. In short, someone who is more like me. I'm done with the exotic and "the opposite attract". It's a recipe for misery.

Nathalie MalletNathalie Mallet is a Canadian mystery and science fiction/fantasy writer. She grew up in Shippagan, New Brunswick, but now resides in Prince George, British Columbia with her husband and two Scottish terriers. She is the author of the Prince Amir Mystery series. Visit her website at http://www.nathaliemallet.com/ or her blog at http://nathaliemallet.blogspot.com/.

Questions for Nathalie

Q. What works best for you, about Amir, as an on-going protagonist?

Definitively, his capacity for growth and lack of worldly experience. He has a lot to learn about life in general. Don’t forget, until recently everything Amir knew about the outside world came from books. So everything is new to him and, of course, nothing is has he expects, which makes for a lot of fun. I really enjoy putting him in uncomfortable situations— the dicier the better— and watching him wiggle out of it. I know it seems cruel, but hey the boy has to learn somehow. (Just so you know I never pulled wings off of bugs when I was a kid.)

Q. How does each book Amir appears in match up with his development as a character, so far?

Amir is growing with each book. He started has a spoiled pretentious prince so he has a long way to go. But his attitude toward people of lower status, like commoners, has improved quite a bit. His distrust of servants has diminished as well, thanks to Milo. It’s a slow and sometime painful process, but to me it is a far more natural progression than if he had a sudden change of heart. So from time to time, Amir is still going to behave like the pompous know-it-all that he is. It would be boring if he did not. But by the end of Death in the Traveling City he is a much-changed man.

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