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Wednesday, 21 November 2007
Getting to Know Larriane Wills
Topic: Author Interview
 Larriane, the person:

1.  What three words do you think describe you as a human being? 

Loyal, unorganized and procrastinator

 2.  How do you think others would describe you?

Generous, considerate, supportive, at least those are the things I have had people say to me. My husband tells me I'm hyper, unable to sit still without something to do with my hands. Oh, you wanted me to say how I think people would describe me. Just me, an average, every day person.

 3.  Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing.

I'm just not a passionate person. I do have buttons that can be pushed and there are things I get angry over; people who hurt people I love, people who attempt to force their thoughts and beliefs on others and are intolerant of those who don't accept their ways, senseless hurting both mental and physical, and I dislike being around people who only see the negative side of everything without being able to see the humor in day to day living or appreciate what they do have. 

 4.  Do you have any pets?  If so, introduce us to them.

Our number one animal, the one that rules the house, is four pound dog that doesn't know she's an animal. She's a long haired Chihuahua and poodle mix, cutest thing you ever saw, and yes, we spoil her terribly. Hellion joined us last year as a kitten. He's been raised to know Little Bit rules and still submits to her temper when he's teased her too much even though he out weighs her at least three times now.  Brutus the parakeet and a Siamese fighting fish I haven't named round out the animal population. Hellion learned early he did not bother the bird and after I finally covered the fish bowl, he leaves the fish alone.

5.  What is your most precious memory?

There's too many precious moments in life, mine anyway, to choose just one. A few would be holding my first baby in my arms, my little girl holding her new baby brother, births, weddings, graduations, so many great moments I really couldn't choose a most precious one.

6.  What is your most embarrassing memory?

 A lot of those have happened too, but I think the one I remember the most is arriving head first in class when I missed the bottom step. Flat on my belly, skirts over my head (dating myself a bit here since girls don't even wear dresses to school anymore) The teacher looked at me and said, "Hello, Larrriane," while the entire class laughed uproariously.

 7.  If you weren't a writer, what would you be doing with your life?

Another tough question. I don't really know. I was a stay at home mom. Any work I did outside the home after they went out on their own was to generate money without any career considerations. I wanted to write and work just interfered. What I would be doing now with my life if I weren't a writer? (shudder at the thought of not being able to write) Maybe become involved with the deaf community activities. I suffered a severe hearing loss about twenty years ago, not deaf but hard of hearing, so any kind of activities or employment would be very restricted. Communicating verbally is very difficult for me. I am now studying sign language and could possible help or contribute that way.

 8.  In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.  

What a unique concept, writing your own obituary. Larriane, loving mother and wife, enriched the lives of her husband, children and grandchildren by always being there. Sometimes you had to work at getting her attention, but once you had, she was a great listener, giving advice when you wanted or needed it, and keeping her mouth shut when all you wanted to do was talk.

Larriane and Larion, the writers:

9.   Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a "real" writer?

That would depend on what you mean by ‘real' writer. I had stirrings of wanting to write when I was in high school. That got submerged until my early twenties when I put my first story on paper. After that I was hooked. Writer and successful didn't necessarily mean the same thing to me back then. I didn't think much of even trying to be published. I just wanted to write. Did I ever. The manuscripts started piling up in drawers and closets. I made an early, half way attempt to find an agent way back then. The first one that responded with more than a form letter wanted to sell me an editing service. Back then to me editing meant he would change it, and it would no longer be my writing. Yes, I've learned that is not what editing is all about, but then it just discouraged me from submitting, but not writing. About two and a half years ago I got brave and started submitting seriously, again to agents. My thinking was I didn't know anything about the field so I needed someone who did. One agent was generous enough to edit three pages. That put me in such a depression I was ready to quit that whole submitting thing. A couple of days later, I started looking over what she had done, making sense of all those red lines. A lot of it was simple formatting corrections. With those taken out, it didn't look all that bad. Long story shortened, I used that as a guide, did some serious rewriting and started searching the agent lists again. I stumbled, literally by accident, on the site of a newly opened small, traditional publisher, Swimming Kangaroo Books. Why not, I thought. They liked my idea and wanted to see the manuscript. They liked the manuscript and offered me a contract. That contract was when I changed my thinking from I'm a closet writer to I'm an author.

10.  What is going on with your writing these days?

These days I am nearly submerged in the publishing process, edits and promoting. I now have three books published, one due out this month, another next month with four more under contract for releases in the next two years. All of that keeps me away from producing many new stories, but I do see a break in the future where I can get back to that as well.

11.  What are your future goals for your writing?

My goal is to get all of those manuscripts out of the closet and typed into the computer to be edited into submitting form. Now that I know there are people out there who enjoy reading them, I want to share.

12.  Can you describe a typical writing day for you?

Basically from the time I get up until I go to bed-no, wait, make that until I go to sleep. I keep a pad and pen beside the bed for those middle of the night inspirations. Breaks are taken only when necessary. I do have a house and husband to take care of, but my main drive is to finish what ever project I'm on to start the nest one.

13.  Why do you write?

Because it will not leave me alone. Did I mention I have tendency towards obsessive behavior. I had a doctor tell me one time I tend to do things in the extreme. I just blinked my baby greens at him in a ‘who me?' attitude.

14.  What writer most inspires you?  Why?

Any writer inspires me whether it one of those multi-published, NY best sellers or the class mate that asks for help. My tag line is The Gateway to Imagination. That means reading to me. All those words, all those wonderful stories just waiting to be put down on paper for others to read. All the places you can go, all those things you can see and people you can meet just waiting for one person to imagine and others to see.

15.  How do you define your writing?

I don't. I just write.

16.  In one sentence-what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?

She writes a fantastic story.


Larriane the details:

17.  Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website?  Blog?

My website is My intermittent blog is there, menu on the left side. I have excerpts and blurbs from my books, purchase links, pictures, a free read page with some of my stuff and some from guests, other misc things. Oh and contests or drawings each month. I have a myspace also, and welcome friends on both sites.

18.  Is there a place where readers can reach you?

Email me any time at

19.  Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?

By Larriane Wills;

The Knowing, a historical, romantic fantasy

Looking Glass Portal, science fiction, all story and characters with tech that doesn't boggle your mind.

By Larion Wills:

Morning Meadow, contemporary soft romance suspense with ghosties.

Coming this month, Thirteen Souls, hot romance, mystery and suspense with lots of ghosts and a psychic, or is she?

Mark of the Sire, western soft romance, first of a series of historical romances.

Little Sam's Angel (working title), Twisted Wind, Hate Rides Hard (working title) and Evil Reflections are all in the works for releases next year.

All of these are through Swimming Kangaroo Books. ( I like it there.


20.  For new readers-what can they expect when they read your books?

Characters you'll like, love and hate in interesting plots. As Larriane Wills I write fantasy and science fiction. Larion Wills writes romance, some soft, some hot, some with ghosts, some not, but all with mystery and suspense. Reviewers call them page turners with characters that won't let them alone.

In conclusion:

21.  Take as much space as necessary to speak to our readers-what would you like them to know about you and your writing?

That I haven't already run on about you mean? I love to write; I love to read just about sums it up, and I think it's reflected in my work. I take the time to research facts no matter what genre it is for accuracy and work hard at editing to produce good quality. I want people to enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them. Even a year after my first release, I'm still learning what it means to be a published author, and I don't intend to stop expanding my knowledge and improving my work. I've met some wonderful people, a side benefit I hadn't expected, and am grateful for all their contributions.  Many of them have become friends. As for my books, try one, you'll like it.  

Posted by joyceanthony at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 21 November 2007 1:31 AM EST
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Tuesday, 20 November 2007
Getting to Know Feather Schwartz Foster
Topic: Author Interview


Feather Schwartz Foster the person:

1.  What three words do you think describe you as a human being?

 Independent; Head-oriented; Questioning

 2.  How do you think others would describe you?

 Depends on the person.  My husband would say, "Complicated.:  My daughter would say, "Somewhat remote, but interesting."  My closest friends would say, "Elusive - you have to know her intuitively."  My casual friends would say, "....but really interesting!"

3.  Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing.

History.  You can learn Sooooooo much. 

4.  Do you have any pets?  If so, introduce us to them.

 Scooter - my little white Westie.  Age 11 and a half.  Positively adorable.  If he were not a dog, he would be a happy-face.

5.  What is your most precious memory?

 I have several.  Thankfully, I am OLD enough to have several.

 6.  What is your most embarrassing memory?

Are you for real???  Do you think I would tell you?

 7.  If you weren't a writer, what would you be doing with your life?

Probably be a professor or something like that.

8. In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.

She was a decent person.  She was kind, harmed nobody deliberately, and helped when she could.  She enjoyed living and learning and loving.May she rest in peace.

Feather Schwartz Foster the writer:

9.   Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a "real" writer?

 What do you mean by a "real" writer? 

If it means that I was a "good" writer, I knew it by 5th grade.

If it means that I was good enough to earn money from it, I knew it by the end of high school.

If it means that I was good enough to earn A LOT OF MONEY from it, ah, I'm still working on that first million.

10.  What is going on with your writing these days?

 I have three books currently in print:  "LADIES: A Conjecture of Personalities," (Historical Fiction) about the OLD First Ladies - Martha Washington thru Mamie Eisenhower; "Garfield's Train," (historical fiction)  - about the death of President Garfield in Long Branch, NJ in 1881; and "T: An Auto-Biography" (children's - grades 3-8 or so) - about a Model-T Ford.  

Do not let the history part intimidate you.  I am a zippy and lively writer, and most people have found the books to be delightful rather than dull and boring.

I also have an e-book out called "On the Road with the Old Gals" - a little how-to-ish book about some of the lessons I've learned via promoting my books by lecturing.

I'm currently providing a monthly column for an e-zine called "SALUTE" - devoted primarily to a veteran's market.  My column is called "CinCs: Commander-in-Chiefs" - a series of zippy articles about some of our Presidents in their roles as Commander in Chief.  We will probably turn these articles into their own book next year or so.  You can check them out at and scroll down to "SALUTE."  It's free.

 I am also working on a non-fiction called "Presidential Lovebirds" - a series of comparative essays about some (repeat SOME, not All) Presidential marriages.  Very interesting - and written in a lively (not dull and boring) manner.

11.  What are your future goals for your writing?

 I would like people I admire intellectually to read, enjoy, and respect my books, understanding them for exactly what they purport to do: entertain(ish), but make people aware of the importance and delight of history, and perhaps even love it.

12.  Can you describe a typical writing day for you?

Filled with terrible habits.

Totally undisciplined.

But.... On the up side, I bring my own reference materials (I have an excellent personal library) to my town library, and work there in longhand.  I can get more done in 2 or 3 hours at the library than I can in a week at home.

In the summer, I multi-task.  I go to one of our local parks and bring my books and my "Lovebirds."  I work on my book and work on my tan.

13.  Why do you write?

To clarify my own thoughts.

14.  What writer most inspires you?  Why?

I enjoy writers who impart their thoughts/information well.  I seldom read fiction, since I only have a finite time to read and tend to "read heavy, write light."  That being said, I enjoy reading Gore Vidal, since he, too, loves history, and is a phenomenally good writer.  And Max Byrd, for ditto reasons.

McCullough and Doris Goodwin are two of my favorite historians - they write like they talk.  That's the best kind of writing!

15.  How do you define your writing?

Eminently readable.

16. In one sentence-what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?

I read her stuff!

Feather Schwartz Foster the details:

17.  Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website?  Blog?; or

18.  Is there a place where readers can reach you?

See above.  There is a place to contact/email me.

19.  Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?

LADIES: A Conjecture of Personalities

Garfield's Train

T: An Auto-Biography

On the Road with the Old Gals (e-book)

(The first three are easily obtainable at or barnes and noble.  I will be happy to provide autographed copies if anybody wishes to contact me through my website.)

20. For new readers-what can they expect when they read your book(s)?

They will get a new look at history - and probably enjoy it.

In conclusion:

21. Take as much space as necessary to speak to our readers-what would you like them to know about you and your writing?

Several months ago, I did a talk for a women's group, and there was a gal there - around 35 or so - who came to me afterwards and said, "Where the hell were YOU when I was going to high school?  I HATED history.  It was so dull and so boring and such a chore to learn.  YOU should have been my teacher!  You just made it my favorite subject!"

I am not a teacher, and never wanted to be one.  People have told me I would be marvelous at it, but alas, they would fire me.  I am much too independent, and challenge rules - if they don't make good sense.  Too much red tape today - they bind your hands with Velcro, epoxy and electro-magnets.

So I write what I humbly think would make history come alive: the personalities behind the people who made history.  Yes, I know I take liberties with them, but I believe they will forgive me.  And I know that a few people might enjoy it enough to read further!




Posted by joyceanthony at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 20 November 2007 1:34 AM EST
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Monday, 19 November 2007
Meet Nina M. Osier
Topic: Author Interview

Nina M. Osier the person:

1. What three words do you think describe you as a human being?

Introspective, principled, creative.

2. How do you think others would describe you?

Pretty much the same way, I'm told.

3. Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing.

My other career (the day job, so-called), my family, and the larger family that's my church.  One thing I'm learning over and over, as the years pass, is how important are the ties that bind me to those I love.

4. Do you have any pets? If so, introduce us to them.

Meet Tabitha June of Tabitha June Is a Shoulder Cat, 15-year-old kitty who is at the moment sitting in my lap trying to stop me from typing.  She has a sister, Belle, a tortoiseshell who's nicknamed "Mum-Cat" despite being spayed because Belle looks after everyone else.  Meet George, who came home with me when I couldn't leave him alone in a cage after taking away his sister; and meet Kate, the sister who "found her brother a home" 7 years ago when they were tiny kittens.  Meet Lucie, who somehow got stuck in a shelter for months despite being a gorgeous Maine coon cat ("Miss Cat America" is her nickname); and meet Mariah, a merry-hearted 5-year-old calico who's going to be my last adoption for a good long while.  They keep me broke and busy, since two are on prescription food for the same veterinary medical problem!

5. What is your most precious memory?

Every time I've held a new baby in my arms, starting with my oldest niece when she was three days old.

6. What is your most embarrassing memory?

I don't think you could put it on your blog....

7. If you weren't a writer, what would you be doing with your life?

Pretty much what I'm doing with the rest of it right now, I expect.  I would probably get a lot more sleep, though!

8. In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.

 Nina M. Osier (pronounced "9-UH") was born with a sun tan in Camden, Maine, toward the end of the post-World War II baby boom. Her parents, a commercial fisherman and a reading teacher, taught her to love books, the English language, and the Maine coast.

After graduating from New Hampshire College (now Southern New Hampshire University) and working for several years as a high school teacher, accountant, theology student, and business manager, Nina found her niche preserving future history as Director of Records Management Services at the Maine State Archives. She worked there for three decades before retiring to write science fiction and Maine nonfiction full time. Her collected works are used by the University of Maine in several courses, including the a ground-breaking seminar on how the popularization of the Internet changed publishing more profoundly than any other development since the invention of the printing press.  She's survived by her many nieces and nephews, and by their children and grandchildren.

Nina M. Osier the writer:

9. Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a "real" writer?

When a floppy disk arrived in the mail, and it contained my first professionally published book.  That was ROUGH RIDER, a sci-fi novel published in 1997 by industry pioneer Electra-Light Books.  I had a lot of naysayers try to tell me that because of the format (not a "real printed book") and because of the lack of an advance, this was not being published in truth.  But I knew better.  Ten years later, I've got plenty of "real printed books" out there; but my sales still come primarily from ePublishing.

10. What is going on with your writing these days?

My FARTHINGHOME sci-fi trilogy was released from late 2006 through early 2007 by eBooksOnThe.Net, with the first volume coming out in paperback from Cambridge Books not long ago.  The whole trilogy has been doing very well at Fictionwise.  I've got a couple of new books in my head, and I hope to get one of them written during 2008.

11. What are your future goals for your writing?

My market's a niche market, reached mostly by Fictionwise and other eBook sellers, and as far as science fiction goes I want nothing more than to continue writing for that market.  I would like to write additional family biographies, though, one day when I have sufficient time and freedom to do the necessary research.  Love, Jimmy: A Maine Veteran's Longest Battle - my dad's biography - means more to me than anything else I've written, and that came with relative ease because I had the materials for it close at hand.

12. Can you describe a typical writing day for you?

When I write around the day job, I begin as soon as I've taken care of my home e-mail.  That means putting in an hour or two, seldom more, somewhere between 7 and 10 p.m.  When I'm lucky enough to have an entire day without other obligations, I may write for an hour in the morning and another hour in the evening; or I may work from 8 a.m. until after midnight, with just enough breaks to keep myself and the pets fed.  So much depends on where I am in a project, and on how that project's going.  I've learned not to push when the story isn't yet ready to let me write it.  Whenever I've given in to that temptation, I've wound up doing nothing but frustrating myself and wasting time that I could have spent doing other things.

13. Why do you write?

Because I came out of the womb with stories to tell, and I can't help telling them.

14. What writer most inspires you? Why?

Edna St. Vincent Millay.  I can't remember a time when I didn't have her poetry in my memory, and it's always had meaning for me.  I think I have a sense of kinship with this woman, who grew up in the town where I was born and who wrote her first and best-known published work as a 19-year-old girl looking out over the sea from a mountain I often climbed with my parents.

15. How do you define your writing?

I don't.  I simply tell the stories that come into my head, and they used to be considered unpublishable (pre-Internet) because they've never fit neatly into one genre.

16.  In one sentence-what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?

Nina M. Osier said important things with deceptive simplicity.

Nina M. the details:

16. Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website? Blog?

My home on the Web is at  My blog, which is more personal than professional these days, is at

17. Is there a place where readers can reach you?

Just send e-mail to

18. Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?

Science fictions titles are Matusha, Regs, Exile's End, Exiles Among the Stars, The Mad Fisherman's Daughter, Silent Service, Interphase, Rough Rider, Unfamiliar Territory, Starship Castaways, The Way to Freedom, Mistworld, Conduct Unbecoming, Escape to Themyscira, Sagarmatha, Farthinghome: Invasion, Farthinghome: Exodus, and Farthinghome: Atonement.  Mainstream fiction includes Granite Island and Second Chances.  Nonfiction titles are Love, Jimmy: A Maine Veteran's Longest Battle; Tabitha June Is a Shoulder Cat; and The Songs of a Kitten Are Deadly.

19.  For new readers-what can they expect when they read your book(s)?

If my books have one theme, no matter what genre I'm writing in, it's this:  Truth makes us free.  You can expect characters who find that out for themselves, always, no matter what else a book may include.

In conclusion:

20.  Take as much space as necessary to speak to our readers-what would you like them to know about you and your writing?

Please don't mistake my work for ME.  I'm always amazed, often amused, and occasionally saddened when some of my readers and reviewers draw the most amazing (and false) conclusions about me from reading my books.  Do I have things to say, and does my work say them?  Yes, I suppose so.  Yet I've always stood with Louis B. Mayer, who said of his work in the golden age of Hollywood filmmaking:  "If you want to send a message, call Western Union."  I tell stories, and the characters in those stories are not fictionalized versions of Nina.  They are individual people who come to me with their own beliefs, thoughts, feelings, and agendas.  I don't create them; I just tell give them voices.  Nor do I build their worlds, contrary to all I'm told by some "experts" a sci-fi writer should be doing, because I depend on the characters to tell me about their worlds.  Then I help them tell you.  Writing, for me, is magic pure and simple.  That's why I can't help doing it.

Posted by joyceanthony at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Monday, 19 November 2007 5:27 PM EST
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Sunday, 18 November 2007
Farthinghome Trilogy Excerpt--by Nina M. Osier
Topic: First Chapter

For more information on this wonderful trilogy and Nina M. Osier, please visit:

and stop by tomorrow for a wonderful interview with Nina!!


by Nina M. Osier



Kiev and Sedna hung in the after viewports like blue-green gems awaiting the jewel smith’s mallet. A mad smith, who would soon fling them into a furnace—the heat of which their fragile loveliness couldn’t hope to survive.

Viewports on a sleeper ship seemed like such a useless luxury. After today, who would be awake to appreciate them? And what was there to see, anyway, in open space?

"Janna, our stasis couches are ready. It’s time, don’t you think?" Fraya, the watching woman’s sister and research partner, stood at the hatch that led from this narrow compartment (a mere viewing gallery, no wider than a corridor) to the place where they would lie through the long years of their journey. Just the two of them, close to the vessel’s secondary controls. At its bow, near the primary control center, their brothers already slept.

Janna asked nevertheless, without turning around, "Are Kar and Adair all right?"

"Yes. Their readings show everything’s normal." Fraya took the single step that carried her to her sister’s side, and stood at the viewports with her arm around Janna’s shoulders. "It’s difficult to imagine, isn’t it? That when we arrive, we’ll wake up and not realize time has passed at all."

"It’ll be like when we did this to test our tolerance for it." Janna nodded as she ran the tip of her tongue over numb, dry lips. "As if we’d gone to bed for a night’s rest, and wakened with the morning."

"Yes. That’s exactly how it will be." The other woman tightened her clasp. "But that’s not why you’re so afraid right now. Is it, Janna?"

"No. It’s not what’s going to happen to me physically." How well her sister knew her. "It’s everyone for whom we’re responsible, Fraya. All those lives, suspended. All that distance to cross, with no one to take care of an emergency if one arises. And then, at the end—what if we’ve made a navigation error? What if our calculations are wrong, and we wake up somewhere that Humans can’t live?"

"That won’t happen. Farthinghome is a recognized, charted colony world. We know where it is, and how to get there safely. We will get there safely, Janna. If I didn’t believe that was true, I wouldn’t be here. I’d have stayed behind, to die with our grandmothers on Kiev. And so would you." Again the warm arm tightened.

"I still think we ought to try for Earth. After all the time it’s been since they banished our foremothers, surely they’ve forgotten there was ever a reason for sending us into exile. It’s not too late to plot a new course. We could do it from here. Without waking Kar and Adair." Janna was grasping at sun sparkles now. Grabbing water in her hands, watching it trickle through her fingers, and then trying again to get a grip on the elusive stuff, because she’d reached a pitch of desperation at which such behavior almost made sense.

"No. Terra sent us here because they didn’t want people like us contaminating their society any longer, and that can’t have changed. Our ancestors didn’t leave the home-world that long ago." Still gently, but with growing firmness in her tone, Fraya pressed her case.

"They didn’t want people like the ones they sent to Farthinghome, either! What makes us so sure there’ll be room for us when we get there?" Janna snatched at one last handful of beloved, fast retreating Kiev’s golden lake-water. At one last breath of Sedna’s blossom-perfumed breeze. "What if the people already on Farthinghome tell us we can’t stay?"

For that question Fraya knew she had no answer. So she said, "We’ll deal with whatever we find on Farthinghome when we get there. The last time our worlds communicated, the settlers had taken hold and started building themselves a good life. In spite of what the prognosticators on Terra predicted they’d do, if dumped together on a planet and left to fight each other as they’d battled the authorities where they came from. They’ve had centuries fewer than we had, to fill their new world and move out into space beyond it. And unlike us, they didn’t arrive united by a common culture and a coherent belief system. So I can’t imagine they won’t have room. Especially once they understand what we can offer them that Terra never could!"

"If they’re still Human at all, I suppose they’ll have to take us in. Just because we’re Humans, too. Because by the time we get there, we really won’t have any choice but to stay." Janna put up a hand and wiped her face. "All right, Fraya. I’m ready now."

"Good." The other woman lowered her arm so they could walk separately through the narrow hatch. Leaving their final view of twin worlds soon to be swallowed by a star going nova, to enter the state that everyone on board this ship must attain before its hyperdrive could kick in and put enough distance behind them so the coming catastrophe wouldn’t engulf them in its fringes. And, by so doing, wipe out the last few hundred Humans whose dangerous customs and unholy skills had sentenced their ancestors to perpetual banishment.

Chapter 1

"It’s just another damn nosey, Brenna. Don’t get your keezers in a knot." Lieutenant of the Home Guard Gregory Wolfenden lifted the nose of his tiny spacecraft and climbed away from the object of his flying partner’s exclamation. They’d seen dozens of those things during the years since the two of them, Greg Wolfenden and Brenna Taggart, first took to Farthinghome’s skies. Shimmering silver spheres, loaded with a weird jelly-like mess that probably meant something to someone, somewhere—since that was what the scientists found when they opened the spheres and analyzed their contents. Clearly these so-called "noseys" had been made on purpose, by someone or something intelligent. But just what they did remained a mystery, because so far Farthinghome’s best minds couldn’t dope it out. All anyone knew was that the noseys had never hurt people or damaged property, and that after surviving the impossible heat of passing through the planet’s atmosphere they self-destructed following varying periods on the ground. Or in the ocean, or (if collected but not opened right away) in storage at one of Farthinghome’s research laboratories.

When opened, they didn’t do anything. Their organic contents decayed quickly when exposed to air, and their gleaming shells soon followed.

"I got it!" Taggart’s voice announced over her comrade’s suit-comm, in triumph.

"Nice shooting," Wolfenden answered, but his words came out on a groan. "Brenna, target practice is all those things are good for! D’you really need it today? Just ignore ’em if we see any more. Noseys aren’t worth the power it takes to blow ’em out of the sky."

They’d had this discussion, which occasionally turned into an argument, many times before. Taggart sighed as she answered, "Greg. Dammit all, every one of those things ought to be blasted before it can get anywhere near our atmosphere! I don’t care how long ago the Powers That Be decided there were just too many, and quit bothering. I don’t care how harmless the experts’ stupid tests claim they are. They come from an alien species somewhere, one we don’t know anything about. You can’t tell me those aliens aren’t sending ’em here on purpose. For a purpose. Besides, they just plain give me the creeps! Unless someone who’s got the right to give me orders tells me I can’t do it anymore, I’m gonna go right on taking out every nosey I see."

"Some people are too damn stubborn to be believed!" Wolfenden muttered that with his head turned aside from his comm pickup, addressing himself to the universe in general. When he turned his face so his flying partner could hear him again, he said, "Brenna, did it ever occur to you that maybe the people, beings, whatever who’ve been sending the noseys our way are friendly? Or at least want to be? That’s what I’ve read some of the authorities think. If they had any interest in hurting us, they’ve had more than ten years to do it. And they haven’t. That sounds pretty conclusive to—"

"Greg!" Taggart’s scream cut him off. "Look!"

He looked. At a swarm of nosey-globes, coming in faster than any he’d seen before. Normally they almost drifted out of space, and let Farthinghome’s gravity capture them and pull them down. But not this batch. These spheres moved toward Humankind’s home with purpose.

The two pilots also moved deliberately, as Wolfenden switched from private comm-cast to his partner and shouted instead to a battery orbiting high overhead.

* * *

"Primate, there’s a call for you."

Bazel daKiev turned a swift glower in his aide’s direction. His voice he kept cheerful and hearty, though, as he answered, "Sheena, take care of it. I don’t have time. Not if I’m going to arrive at my next engagement on schedule!"

The Primate of the Outlands, newly sentenced to that exile, could have toured his domain at leisure because his boss back on Farthinghome certainly wasn’t going to verify his stops and write him up for tardiness. daKiev knew that very well. But he also knew that if he wanted his new flock’s respect, he would have to start earning it immediately—and colonists, inhabiting space stations and the Farthinghome system’s less hospitable worlds, had little use for officials who wasted their time by not respecting an agreed-upon itinerary.

He would visit the settlements on planets closer to the sun, and farther away from it—including those on the moons of the great gas giants, and on the largest of the mineral-rich asteroids in two belts of solar-orbiting debris—later. His tour, or "progress" as his staff grandly called it, must begin with the mother planet’s own satellites. The natural ones, as well as orbital habitats built to host industries that could function more efficiently (and without further harming a stressed biosphere) in space.

He’d already made his appearance aboard every permanently occupied space station in Farthinghome orbit, and at every dome and Human-carved cavern on Castor. He was now halfway through his progress across (or rather around) Pollux, Farthinghome’s smaller moon, and he couldn’t spare even the time to take a comm call if he wanted get his ashram underway to Minerva with any hope of arriving there on schedule.

Getting to Minerva on schedule mattered. That most Farthinghome-like of the system’s other worlds had surface conditions hospitable to some Human crops, without the need for doming over. So its enclosed habitats housed thousands, stable communities of colonists who’d been there through generations. Visiting Minerva was (at least from a political standpoint) very much like visiting Castor or Pollux. It mattered to the Faith, not just to Primate daKiev and his flock’s individual members, that he make a good appearance there.

So I suppose I must make a good appearance, then! daKiev told himself with resigned sarcasm, as he sighed and took the bright orange priority comm unit from Sheena’s hand after all. Mustn’t put Great Mother through the awkwardness of finding an even worse place to send me, by fouling up my assignment to this one. I wonder what she’d have done with me if I hadn’t merited a primacy, or if the one for Outlands hadn’t been vacant?

"Father Bazel." Great Mother Sigrid’s voice sounded sharp and impatient in his ears. "You’re recalled. Immediately!"

"What?" Her tone held something more than impatience, on second thought. Something that the man she was addressing so formally had never heard from her before. Something he couldn’t pin down, except to realize that it troubled him. A siren’s screeching wail filled the hall whose podium he’d been about to mount when the call came through, and he felt the same nameless, sinking horror that had haunted his nightmares through fifteen of his first eighteen years. The same certainty that something a thousand times larger than he was, relentless and pitiless and vastly powerful, was bearing down to tear him away from everyone and everything he held dear.

"Great Mother? Great Mother Sigrid? Sigrid!" He dropped her title as he realized that the alarm on Pollux, the interrupted comm from Farthinghome’s surface, and the completely foreign sound of fear in the voice of the most powerful woman he knew must spring from a common source.

* * *

Aisha Tambour hauled herself out of sleep with ruthlessness learned long ago, and honed by years of starship service. She said to the pickup beside her berth, "Tambour. What’s going on, Lieutenant?"

The officer of the watch answered tautly. Which didn’t make sense, with the armed cruiser safely orbiting its mother planet. "Sorry to wake you, ma’am. But Central Dictate’s just put all ships in system on alert, and since you are in command right now...."

"I see." Tambour swung her feet to the deck, and grimaced at the metallic cold beneath the thin carpet that was one of her cabin’s small luxuries. On a warship this old, only the captain and the XO rated carpets, private heads, and—the most valuable perk of all—solitude. "Recall the captain immediately. I’m on my way to the bridge."

What could it be? The coup come at last, as the increasingly restive labor co-ops seized this moment of military weakness to take control of Farthinghome’s faltering and disordered central government away from the industrial giants who’d held onto it for so long? That was Aisha Tambour’s guess, as she hauled on her uniform trousers, jammed her feet into her boots, and shrugged into a blouse that she tucked in one-handed as she emerged into the narrow passageway bisecting Officers’ Country. Jacket and weapons belt she held under the other arm.

Her ship wasn’t at full alert, despite what Lieutenant Maher had said. The signal lights along the bulkheads flashed yellow, and the officers and ordinaries heading toward their duty stations moved quickly—but not with the frantic purpose of men and women under orders to prepare themselves and their vessel for impending combat.

Whatever it is, then, it can’t be that bad, Tambour decided with relief that didn’t cause her to slacken her own pace. She emerged from the lift onto the Gallant’s bridge with her belt fastened over her tunic, her sidearm riding her hip, and her sleep-rumpled silver hair (that used to be auburn) finger-combed. She demanded of Maher, who stood in the bridge’s center and stared at the main viewscreen: "Report!"

The senior lieutenant’s voice came out rusty, but steady. "Central Dictate’s gone quiet, ma’am. Not a peep since they put us on alert. They don’t even answer when I hail them."

"Get me a private link to the captain. Now." Tambour’s hazel eyes narrowed. She walked the few paces from lift to command chair, and sat down.

"No can do, Commander." The Alpha Shift communications officer, who must have slipped into his seat only a second ago, didn’t offer that negative response. His Beta Shift counterpart did, because she was still standing beside him. "She took herself off web a couple of hours ago."

Tambour put her forearms flat against the command chair, and drew a breath. Then she said, as if to herself, "So this is what I get for going to bed early for once. Damn!"

It was, after all, only 2143 hours on the 25-hour standard chrono followed by all ships in space and all off-world installations. The new primate of the Outlands would still be working his way through his engagement calendar on...Pollux? Yes. He’d be perhaps halfway through his progress there, finishing long after midnight and then sleeping aboard his outward bound ashram. Off to Minerva, with the Gallant providing suitable escort. So the Gallant’s executive officer had retired early, anticipating her captain’s last-minute return and tumble into bed—leaving the XO in charge of their departure.

Valerie Ashton seldom worried about how her personal behavior affected her XO, and Tambour really couldn’t fault the captain for wanting to stretch a gift of unexpected (although also unauthorized) dirtside time out to the last possible moment. The older officer could well remember what it was like to have a child and a spouse who at every sailing from the home-world must be left behind. For her that was far in the past, but Aisha Tambour couldn’t recall deliberately removing herself from Farthinghome’s communications web except while on properly granted furlough. Not even once, during all the years when she’d been wife and mother as well as military officer.

That seemed so long ago now, with her one offspring grown and in uniform, and the man who’d been her husband mated to someone else. Not only mated to another, but the father of a second family. Tambour pushed those thoughts down, ruthlessly, to where personal matters belonged while she was on duty. The Gallant’s main viewscreen was showing her the skies between it and Farthinghome’s surface, and those skies swarmed with small, silvery spheres. Spheres that the orbital batteries and Home Guard patrollers blasted steadily, but there were far too many tiny invaders for any amount of fire to stop them all. She asked sharply, "Are we picking up any ship chatter?"

Alpha Shift’s comm officer answered, "Plenty, ma’am, but none of it’s for us. Want me to put it on speaker?"

"Yes." The XO clamped her teeth together, and waited.

* * *

Wolfenden pushed his little ship hard, climbing away from Farthinghome’s surface for all he was worth. Behind him, in her own cockpit, he could hear Brenna Taggart swearing. From all around came the sounds of ship talking to ship, and space station talking to space station—while from the planet below came nothing but silence. Except, of course, for unnaturally calm prerecorded emergency messages and monotonously wailing civil defense sirens.

"Greg, we’ve got to return to base!" Taggart’s shouted words cut across the din. "When we can’t raise anyone on the ground, that’s standing orders! Greg, do you hear me? Greg!"

"Brenna, something’s gone totally wrong down there!" Wolfenden finally remembered that he could mute the background noise. "I’m not sure what, but until we do know we’re staying clear!"

"Maybe you are. But I’m not. See you dirtside, Greg. Whenever you finally get there." After a long silence, his partner’s voice came over the commlink one more time. She was turning her patroller as she spoke. Flipping the little spacecraft around, and diving it back toward the planet’s surface. Toward base, and home.

Chapter 2

"Okay. What’ve we got in orbit? And who does that put in command?" With all of Farthinghome gone incredibly silent, Aisha Tambour turned her attention to the habitats and other ships. Most of which weren’t military—and there had to be a reason for that. Of which she remained unaware, because the XO of a nearly antiquated cruiser wasn’t privy to Central Dictate’s secrets. She only knew that most of the fleet had been "on maneuvers" for weeks now. In deep space somewhere, beyond comm range.

Withdrawing to the captain’s ready room would make sense right now, but Tambour couldn’t bring herself to leave the bridge. So she’d ordered her senior staff, those who hadn’t arrived here when she called the ship to battle stations, to gather into the space between command chair and viewscreen. They formed a semicircle around her, most of them looking impossibly young. Officers who despite their senior status aboard Gallant weren’t far into their careers, any more than was Captain Ashton. Unlike Commander Tambour, who’d passed her minimum eligibility date for retirement five years earlier.

"I hate to tell you this, ma’am. But until Central Dictate gets communications operating again—unless someone more senior is off duty in the Outlands, you’re the ranking officer in system right now." What the Gallant’s chief engineer didn’t want to say out loud, of course, was what everyone aboard must slowly be realizing. Saying it, admitting it, might make it irreversibly real. And that no one, Tambour herself included, felt ready to do.

"We’ll need to verify that." The XO nodded, and turned her gaze toward her comm officer. Lieutenant (j.g.) Michael Poisson sat at his station, with his chair swung around to take in the meeting. He returned her nod now, and got busy.

Would a full captain, a commodore, or even (please eternal paradise!) an admiral of one description or another turn up, lodged aboard one of the habitats or in a hotel on one of Farthinghome’s moons? Or would the lieutenant commanders who had charge of the orbital batteries, and the lieutenants who "captained" everything smaller than a light cruiser, all wind up looking to her now that everyone else was absent or cut off?

Tambour added for her staff’s benefit, not to mention for her own reassurance, a confident: "Even worst case, I’ll only be the ranking officer until a bigger ship comes back from maneuvers. That shouldn’t take long." I hope.

"Do we know where they are right now, ma’am?" Lieutenant Maher, who’d been commanding Beta Shift, was still present.

"No. We don’t." And unless one of those off duty, off world senior officers for whom Tambour was so devoutly hoping turned up, their ignorance was doomed to continue. "Look, people, someone’s got to say this. So I will. Fleet chatter’s confirmed that no one else is hearing a real-time peep out of Farthinghome, anymore than we are. So either we’re looking at a full-planet communications failure—which doesn’t jibe with the recorded emergency broadcasts we’ve started picking up—or the scanners are right, and no one down there’s talking to us because there’s no one left alive."

"That’s impossible." The chief medical officer, who was older than the others and had seen more death, nevertheless spoke up as denial’s first voice. "What could kill billions of Human beings in less than an hour? Over a surface area that big?"

"I don’t know what it was, Doctor. But I think we all know how it got here." The nightmarish rain of nosey-globes had stopped now. They’d completed their ghastly mission, and in a few hours more (if they behaved like their harmless forerunners) they would self-destruct and leave behind only their handiwork. "Mike?" Lieutenant Poisson was turning his chair in her direction again as Tambour acknowledged him.

"Ma’am, we’ve got company. A Home Guard patrol craft, lookin’ for a place to dock before he runs out of air and fuel." The comm officer sounded bemused.

Tambour gave her head a slight, disbelieving shake, even as her heart leaped with mingled hope and fear. "He’s out pretty far," she said, before realizing how inane she sounded. "I wonder what happened to all the others? This pilot can’t have been the only patroller aloft when it started. Oh, Hades, Mike, he can’t go back to base now. Tell him he’s got docking clearance, and pass the word to roll out our welcome mat." After which she prayed, silently and without a shred of faith to back up the imploring thoughts, that of all the pilots assigned to Home Guard duty the one she cared about would soon emerge from his cockpit into Gallant’s lowermost deck.

"Will do," Poisson told her. "And, ma’am—it does look like you’re in command of whatever fleet we’ve got right now. Want me to find out who’s the top civilian authority?"

"You’d better do that. Yes." She didn’t need to ask who was now the Faith’s senior representative, if everyone on Farthinghome really was gone forever. Someone she’d known well, long ago—or at least, she had thought that she knew him.

* * *

"My partner and me saw the first swarm coming in. They’re different than the noseys we always saw before." Greg Wolfenden informed the old star cruiser’s lower deck chief of that fact as he took off his helmet, after climbing out of his grounded patrol craft. "Grounded," that was, in a surprisingly cramped docking bay; because the Gallant’s shuttles took up most of the available deck space down here. Everywhere else was crammed with weaponry, supplies, and—of course, behind protective bulkheads—bunk space for the crew members assigned to this deck.

"No kidding!" the chief answered with a bitter twist of her lips. Then she stiffened as if listening to something that her uninvited guest couldn’t hear, and added: "Our XO’s getting ready to speak on shipwide comm. Maybe we’re finally gonna find out what’s happening. Shut up, everyone!"

In the wake of that order, which she raised her voice to direct at the entire repressurized deck, things went quiet. Wolfenden stood with his helmet in his arms, glanced around the unfamiliar metal cavern, and waited along with everyone else.

"All hands, this is Tambour." The strong contralto voice that the young pilot knew so well sounded calm, but not a bit reassuring. "It looks as if I’ll be in command for the time being, since as far as we can find out Captain Ashton didn’t make it off Farthinghome. We don’t know what happened, except that as you’ve all heard by now our system has been hit by an influx of nosey-globes—so-called—that obviously are different from the ones we’ve been used to seeing. I don’t want to frighten anyone needlessly, but I do have to tell you that the scanners show only a few life signs left on Farthinghome. And those are showing up only as people who were underground when the crisis hit, or underwater, come out to the surface. Or as some misguided souls land there, expose themselves to the air—and, as far as we can tell, die soon afterward."

Wolfenden drew a breath, noisily, as he pictured Taggart doing just that. Landing at their Home Guard base, cracking her patrol craft’s canopy, taking off her helmet...he gulped himself into silence, and went on listening as Tambour continued. "The most sensitive scanners, the ones in the main observatory on Pollux, have just confirmed that there are a few people staying alive long enough to take off from the surface in shuttles or whatever else they can find that’s spaceworthy. None of them has made it far, and those who’ve managed to hail anyone in space haven’t lived long enough to say anything useful. Mostly they just gasp, and then they go quiet. The scanners stop picking up their life signs soon afterward."

"Which means that anyone who breathes the air on Farthinghome dies. Fast," Wolfenden muttered. The crew chief favored him with a glare, and a barely audible hiss.


He shut up as ordered, just in time for the woman up on the bridge to resume. "It appears, therefore, that the immediate danger we’re facing is a ship or space station mistakenly taking aboard a refugee who may by some miracle stay alive long enough to match orbits. Or manage to program a shuttle to do that, on autopilot, before expiring. Compassion’s a wonderful thing, people, and we normally don’t leave our own behind. You know that from your training. But this time’s different, because the minute we expose a ship or station to whatever those super-noseys have brought us, everyone on that ship or station is dead, too. So that’s how it’s got to be."

Another short silence, after which Tambour’s voice took on a more official tone. "All ships, all habitats and space stations, all residents and visitors on Castor and Pollux and other worlds of the Outlands. This is Commander Aisha Tambour, Acting Captain aboard the StellaGuard cruiser Gallant. As senior surviving officer, I’m assuming command of our remaining forces. Effective immediately, I’m also declaring martial law on all civilian installations to insure everyone’s continued survival. The first order I’ve got to give is this. Under no circumstances will ships or ports receive refugees from Farthinghome’s surface. Any vessel or installation that does so anyway will be destroyed. I know this is a harsh measure, but I believe we can all understand why it’s necessary. Think about how lethal, and how fast acting, whatever those globes contained must be in order to do what it’s already done. And then imagine it getting loose in the air you’re breathing. Bottom line is, we can’t help those who’ve already been exposed. All we can hope to do, now, is prevent that substance from killing anyone else. That’s all I can tell you for now. I’m instructing all captains, battery commanders, and executive-level civilian officials who can reach the Grand Hall on Castor within two hours to join me there. We’ll bring the rest of the Outlands in via interactive commlink, and we’ll figure out how to proceed. Tambour out!"

Then she added, with the broadcast link cut, "I take it that pilot we picked up hasn’t dropped dead yet. Does he look sick, Chief?"

"No, ma’am. He does not." The deck boss realized her C.O. was talking to her and no one else, now, and braced her shoulders even though Tambour didn’t have her on visual.

"Good. That means I didn’t just violate my own order and screw us all. Send him up to my ready room, then. PDQ."

* * *

She’d called it "my" ready room. Not "the captain’s ready room." Aisha Tambour realized that as she stepped through its hatch, leaving the crowded bridge behind for blessed solitude. Admitting to herself that Valerie Ashton, like everyone else who’d been on their home-world when the attack came, would never again be seen or heard from by those who’d survived. But had the person who mattered most to Aisha Tambour survived?

He came through the hatch just as she reached the captain’s—her—desk. She didn’t sit behind it, after all. Instead she uttered a strangled sound of relief and held out her arms. "Greg!" she said, making the shortened form of his name into a long-drawn sigh.

"Mother," the tall man answered, as he crossed the ready room’s deck in two long strides and embraced her. Lifting her off her feet in arms as strong as his father’s had been at the same age, and holding her so tightly that it hurt.

Chapter 3

"I am going to let any transport land, that makes it all the way here from Farthinghome. No acting captain of a fifth-rate StellaGuard cruiser is going to tell me how to run my moon!" The governor of the Outland Colony of Castor was making clear his reaction to Commander Tambour’s order when Bazel daKiev walked into the Great Hall. Late, because he’d offered Pollux’s governor a lift. After which he waited while the fellow’s staff figured out, behind closed doors, what to tell the primate about how their governor had reacted to the emergency. Which was by setting off for the home-world aboard his personal shuttle—and whether he’d arrived there, or instead had enough sense to turn back, they couldn’t say. In any case, Pollux’s lieutenant governor finally insisted on telling daKiev the truth; after which she rode with him to Castor. She followed in daKiev’s wake now, a small determined woman who he suspected had been doing much of her boss’s job all along.

"No, you won’t, Charlie." She stepped around the primate to face Castor’s governor as an equal. "What part of ‘martial law’ didn’t you understand?"

"She’s only a lousy commander. She’s got no right whatsoever to give orders to civilians. Especially not the ranking government officials left alive—because it works the other way around, the last time I checked. Military authorities report to civilian ones! And that, Teryl, is you and me now." Charles Keniston greeted his colleague without surprise at seeing her instead of his actual counterpart. "She’s got no power we don’t choose to give her."

"But I think she does. Seems to me a heavy cruiser’s got quite a lot of power for its captain—or acting captain, if you really must split hairs—to command. Not to mention the other StellaGuard vessels that are looking to her now, and the orbital batteries, and—"

"Governor Keniston. Lieutenant Governor Thorne. Primate daKiev." A low-pitched but firm voice came from behind them, near the otherwise vacant anteroom’s door. "I’m glad you’re in one place already. That saves me from having to gather you, before we go out and face everyone else."

"Commander Tambour?" daKiev turned, and put out a hand in courtesy. As if he’d never seen her before—would she take the cue?

"Yes. I’m pleased to meet you, in spite of the circumstances." The uniformed woman accepted his handclasp, making it clear that she’d caught the primate’s signal and meant to play along. She looked from governor to governor as if expecting similar greetings from them. "You’ve dismissed your staff, Governor Keniston? That’s good. We can speak freely, then."

Keniston’s fair-skinned face reddened as he drew himself up and opened his mouth. Whatever he intended to say (which, if daKiev knew anything at all about how angry martinets behaved, was destined to be a "piece of his mind" that he couldn’t possibly spare) got cut off by a loud whistle from the comm unit at Tambour’s service belt.

That belt also held a blaster. As the officer reached for her comm, the three civilians’ eyes went to her weapon instead. After which daKiev noticed, in a covert glance, that Keniston had shut his mouth and was swallowing hard. Tambour said, "What is it, Mr. Maher?"

"Ma’am, we’ve got an incoming ship. Damaged, but on its way in system at a pretty good clip just the same. It’s one of ours." A masculine voice, cool and professional despite its undercurrent of sheer terror, responded. "They’re not answering our hails, so I’d guess one thing that’s taken a beating is communications. The transponder code says it’s Valor."

"Keep me informed. When you do establish a link, I want that captain put through to me no matter what." Tambour spoke crisply. She was about to put the comm unit back on her belt when it whistled again. She sighed and asked, "What else, Mr. Maher?"

The fear in her unseen subordinate’s voice was palpable now. "Ma’am, Valor’s not alone. She’s got a whole damn fleet on her tail. And not one of ’em’s ours."

This Tambour hadn’t dreamed about, let alone anticipated. But she should have. She’d been a fool to order captains off their ships, battery commanders and civilian installation heads away from their posts. Yet kicking herself right now could only distract her, and predispose her to making further errors. She felt daKiev’s eyes (although she knew everyone else’s were on her, too) as she said, "I see. How long until they get here?"

* * *

"Is your son all right, Aisha?" Bazel daKiev sought her out, his friend and (however briefly) lover from so long ago that he’d gone by another name then, while she stood waiting at the Grand Hall’s VIP space dock for her coxswain. She stood there alone, the two governors left behind in Keniston’s office, because Tambour had ordered all civilian vessels to hold their stations until further notice. A panicked exodus would do no good, with an unidentified star fleet mere hours away; and an orderly exodus would take time to organize. Right now the best she could do was a hastily arranged defense of Farthinghome’s orbiting survivors and the resident populations of its moons. Moving them to new homes, somewhere that could sustain them without constant resupplying from the mother planet, would have to wait until she’d kept them safe from the immediate crisis—if only because she had no idea in the universe how or where to find those new homes for thousands of resource-hungry fellow Humans.

"I didn’t think you knew I had one," she said, and then deliberately called the man beside her by his former name. "Basil Montoya. The last time I saw you, I hadn’t yet taken a husband."

"True. But you didn’t change your name,’s been easy enough for me to follow your life. So I know you have a son, and I know he’s a pilot currently assigned to Home Guard duty." The primate looked hard into her face.

"Am I supposed to be flattered?" Whether or not she should be, Tambour couldn’t decide. At least she ought to appreciate his delicacy in not mentioning the event that had first pushed her into all the newscasts, and after that relegated her to professional obscurity. "Yes, he’s okay. Lieutenant Wolfenden seems to have been the only pilot on patrol with brains enough to make a break for space, instead of returning to base and cracking his canopy and taking a nice, deep breath."

"I’m glad to hear that, Aisha. Truly I am." daKiev put a hand on her shoulder.

She started to yank away, and then didn’t. Instead she snorted and said, "I’m glad he’s alive, but I could skin him for picking my ship to run to! When the dust settles, you know, that’s what he’ll be accused of doing. Running, and hiding himself behind me." Like mother, like son. Cowardice runs in families! That was what other officers would say about him, far down the future when they remembered this day.

"Better a live jackal than a dead lion," daKiev reminded her, using a classical literary phrase. "I know you military types don’t like to admit there’s any truth in that saying. But there is, just the same."

He, too, had gone silver-haired since they were midshipmen together. His face showed lines from years of living, just as hers did. When such things happened gradually, to someone you saw often, you didn’t notice them. But when you encountered an old comrade again after a lapse of decades, the changes not only shocked you on his account; they also held up a mirror in which you saw your own mortality reflected. Aisha Tambour hadn’t expected this with the man she’d known as Basil Montoya. After all, she’d seen him on newscasts from time to time—in recent years, since he reached a prominent post at Faith headquarters. What had he been doing there? Oh, yes. Private secretary to Great Mother Sigrid. Which made him the person who stood between the Faith’s temporal head and the public, who often spoke for her to the media.

Clerics didn’t usually move on from that role to primacies. That was the equivalent of a StellaGuard officer shifting from staff post to line commander; of jumping sideways from a support job into one that carried vital chain-of-command authority. Now, that’s one story about ecclesiastical politics I’d actually like to hear! Tambour thought, suppressing a grin of wry amusement that she needed badly right now.

"Aisha?" daKiev was staring down at her.

"Sorry. I’ve got way too many things on my mind." With that gentle falsehood, she let him see her smile—but only after she’d schooled the irony out of it. "It’s been good seeing you again, Basil."

"Likewise. I really am glad your boy is all right." Wistfulness touched both the primate’s taut mouth and the wintry gray of his eyes. "I’d ask about your husband, but I remember that you put him out of your house."

"Yes. I did. Luckily for him, in light of what’s happened today, the next thing he did was move into his mistress’s home on Minerva." If she felt any relief at knowing that Torgas Wolfenden was safe with his second family, Aisha Tambour didn’t show it now. "It was for the best. And long overdue."

"I’m sorry." Anyone but a cleric would have taken a backward step, involuntarily, at the blast of bitterness she’d just unleashed. Primate daKiev didn’t budge. He said the expected thing, instead, and somehow made it sound sincere. As if expressing real regret for that particular mating’s ignominious end, and for this woman’s wounded pride. But did he actually mean it? As Basil, who’d been her comrade when they were both in their teens, and not as today’s cleric?

She couldn’t tell, and told herself as the VIP dock’s auto-address system instructed her to prepare for boarding that it didn’t matter because she didn’t give a rat’s ass (another beautifully expressive yet mysterious ancient expression!) about Bazel daKiev, son of Mother Faith and now its highest-ranking official. While the young man she remembered, the Basil Montoya for whom she had cared very much, was long gone and willfully forgotten.

But she asked him anyway, before she walked into the docking tube: "Basil, why are you Bazel now? Why did you pretend back there that we’d never seen each other before? And why didn’t you return the message I left with your parents, after I found out you weren’t coming back to the Academy?"

"I’ll tell you everything someday, Aisha. With the way things are going, I’m pretty sure we’ll be seeing each other again. For now, let’s just say that I didn’t want to drag you down with me." He smiled, but his eyes went from gray to nearly black with otherwise hidden pain.

* * *

The shuttle that was Tambour’s stand-in for the "captain’s yacht," to which command of the Gallant now entitled her, lifted from Castor’s domed surface and set a direct course for its mother ship. Tambour sat in the co-pilot’s chair, with no one else aboard but her usual coxswain, and watched her panel’s displays with such obvious and intense concentration that her old friend didn’t trouble her with his chatter. She had the Gallant’s long-range scanners patched through, to show her the ships approaching from deep space. The lonely one out front whose transponder code matched that of the StellaGuard’s own light cruiser Valor, and the countless other distinct blips (some smaller, but many far larger) that followed. Nowhere near far enough behind it for Tambour’s liking. Or, she felt certain, for the liking of the Valor’s skipper.

She knew only too well how her colleague felt right now. That would be Meryn Benson, according to the duty list of captains and their assigned vessels. Another member of Aisha Tambour’s aging generation—but Benson had reached command, at last, after a long and slow climb from newly commissioned ensign to lieutenant commander. To her the Valor wouldn’t seem like a step backward. She would be as happy with her light cruiser as Tambour would have been by now with a flagship, if the career that Aisha began with such promise hadn’t foundered along the way.

"Commander Tambour? This is Lieutenant Poisson. Ma’am, Mr. Maher asked me to let you know that Captain Ashton’s alive. She’s en route to rejoin the ship and resume command." The familiar young voice emanating from the shuttle’s comm unit took her by surprise.

Tambour switched to the little spacecraft’s own scanners, and put them to use before she answered. "Would that be her yacht on its way to close with you now, Mr. Poisson?" Even the smallest of StellaGuard conveyances had a transponder code, and the one for the blip moving in fast toward Gallant was prefaced by the heavy cruiser’s own. "Because if it is, you need to find out right now where she launched from before you let her dock."

"Ma’am, she’s the captain. There’s no ‘letting’ her dock with her own ship!" Maher’s voice replaced that of Poisson. "It’s none of my business where she’s been until now. She’s doing her own flying, so if her being sick from the noseys is what you’re worried about...."

"Patch me through." Tambour bit off every syllable. "Now, Mr. Maher. Before I do it myself."

"Aye, aye, ma’am." With an audible gulp, the younger officer complied.

"Captain Ashton?" As soon as the indicator glowed, Tambour addressed her miraculously resurrected commanding officer. Tensely, with her coxswain silent beside her. "We couldn’t reach you earlier. Where have you been?"

"Aisha?" The responding voice told her far more than she wanted to know. Valerie Ashton sounded weary, and weak, and ill. "It’s taken me forever to get decompressed and up to the surface. I was at Deep Trench City with Mac and the baby, and everyone who runs its topside installation died in the attack. We lost outside communications early on, but I heard enough before that happened to know I’d have to get back to my ship. And to know my family’s safer where they are right now."

"I see." Tambour closed her eyes against visions that her imagination went right on painting—only one of which showed Ashton’s spouse and their baby far beneath the surface of Farthinghome’s broadest and deepest ocean, secure for the moment inside a residence dome. "Valerie, this is very important. Did you breathe outside air before you lifted off, after you got to the surface?"

"What kind of a question is that? Of course I did." Ashton coughed, and didn’t stop until she choked. When she finally regained enough breath to speak, she added on a gasp, "Damn! I’d better slave my autopilot to the ship, before I pass out. I don’t know what’s the matter, I felt fine this morning...guess I must have screwed up my accelerated decompression. I’m close enough now for Gallant to pull me the rest of the way in. See you soon, Aisha."

She didn’t know what she’d done. Or, far worse, what she was about to do. The woman was clueless, totally, about the attack on Farthinghome’s nature. Tambour looked at the panel again, and saw that the pass-through commlink to the captain’s yacht had gone inactive. She spoke, after closing it down manually to make sure Ashton (if still conscious) couldn’t hear, to Gallant’s bridge again. "Mr. Maher, this is Tambour. Now that we know for certain Captain Ashton can’t be allowed to come aboard, let’s get it over with. Lock weapons on her yacht, and fire."

"Ma’am, I can’t do that. And I won’t!" The lieutenant drew a noisy breath before he answered.

"Fine," Tambour said. She cut the shuttle’s links to the mother ship, all of them. She said to her coxswain, "Frank, give me the conn." When the leading starman wordlessly complied, she altered course and dove between the Gallant and the larger shuttle that rapidly approached it. Only then did she lock the weapons now at her disposal onto the captain’s yacht. Blowing it and its doomed occupant out of space at the last possible second, now that she’d made certain it wouldn’t dock with the Gallant even if (by some mischance beyond imagining) her fire failed to take it out.

"Tambour to Gallant. Open the bay doors, if you please. We’re ready to dock." She let out a breath she hadn’t realized she was holding, and released the controls to her coxswain. Relief mingled with honest sorrow flooded her oxygen-starved body along with the air her lungs drew in. For just a moment or two, while Leading Starman Frankel piloted them into the docking bay, she could relax and mourn. Although she’d had a less than close relationship with Captain Ashton, she had to admire the younger woman’s disastrously timed determination to return to ship and duty. Not to mention the grit, however misplaced, that had kept Ashton going for long enough to almost make it aboard.

"Commander, don’t! Stand clear!" Poisson’s voice filled the shuttle’s cockpit with its urgency. "They’ll be waiting for you in the docking bay...!"

"What?" She didn’t need to give her coxswain the order. Instead of sliding into the Gallant’s belly, the shuttle swooped past its gaping doors. "Lieutenant Maher, report. Now!"

"Commander, I’m sorry. But I just relieved you, and the minute you come on board I’ll have to place you under arrest." Maher came on the comm again, sounding resolute and sure of himself as she’d never heard the ship’s senior lieutenant before.

"Oh, for gods’ sake!" Tambour slammed both hands against the co-pilot seat’s armrests. "Lieutenant Maher. You were going to let the plague that’s been turned loose on our home-world, that’s already killed all but a fraction of our species, board your ship and kill its crew. I stopped you. That’s not cause to relieve me of command—even if you had the authority, which you damn well do not. It’s cause to thank me. Now, put Dr. Janscom on. The CMO’s the only person who’s got the right to relieve me. And just in case you forgot, he also outranks you. Plus everyone else attached to the Gallant, except me."

"No can do, ma’am. The doctor’s on his way to the brig. He’ll be sharing it with your son—and with you, too, when you get here." Maher spoke with even more assurance. "Now, come about and dock. If you don’t, I’ll have to do to you what you did to Captain Ashton. Frankel," the senior lieutenant switched from addressing the XO to the leading starman who served as her coxswain, "bring Commander Tambour aboard now. That’s a direct order."

Posted by joyceanthony at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Monday, 19 November 2007 5:20 PM EST
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Saturday, 17 November 2007
Getting to Know Alma H. Bond
Topic: Author Interview
Alma Halbert Bond the person:
1.  What three words do you think describe you as a human being?
Beauty loving, creative, introverted.
2.  How do you think others would describe you?
Loyal, totally reliable, creative, intelligent.
3.  Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing.
My three children and 7 grandchildren, ages from 1 ½-19. To my great delight, every adult in my family is an author. My late husband, Rudy Bond, was an actor. He was on the road with a play when he died. In his suitcase was the last chapter of his book, “I Rode a Streetcar Named Desire.” We had it published posthumously. I have two sons and one daughter, and all have had books published. My daughter, Dr. Janet Bond Brill, is a nutritionist and her book, Cholesterol Down, has done very well. My son, Jonathan Halbert Bond, who is in advertising has written a book on that topic, Under the Radar: Talking to Today’s Cynical Consumer. My son, Zane Phillip Bond, has published an autobiography entitled, A Prophet Operating at a Loss. We’re all writers. As we say in my house, it’s publish or perish!
4.  Do you have any pets?  If so, introduce us to them.
No. I had a dog once named Ginger, but as a character in one of May Sarton’s books said, “I had one husband and one dog.”
5.  What is your most precious memory?
It is a toss-up between the birth of my first child and the publication of “Who Killed Virginia Woolf?”, my first book.
6.  What is your most embarrassing memory?
When I was 11 years old, I was standing wth a beloved teacher and some classmates. The teacher, who was discussing a few students who had left the school, said, “We still have some old treasures left.” I cleared my throat and said, “Humph!”
7.  If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing with your life?
I’d be a sculptor.
8.  In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.
Dr. Alma Halbert Bond died peacefully in her sleep at the age of 107. Dr. Bond acheved eminence in a number of careers. As a young woman, she was an actress who played a small part on Broadway in “The Terrorists” and another in a film called “The Triangle Fire.” If you see it (it is still played on TV) and hear a woman screaming loudly, that is Dr. Bond. Then she returned to school and received her doctorate at Columbia University, went on to post-doctoral work in psychoanalysis, and conducted a highly successful practice in Manhattan for 37 years. 
    Then Dr. Bond was in a terrible accident. A cab hit her while she was jogging in Central Park. She had seven broken bones, a concussion, and was in a coma. As she was coming out of it, she had a thought: I’ve had a good life, a good marriage, and three wonderful children. There is only one thing I wanted to do badly and have not done, and that is to write full time. She asked her son, Zane,“Do you think I would be crazy to leave such a high-paying job for a low-paying one?” He answered, “I think you’d be crazy not to.”
She gave her patients two years’ notice, terminated analyses with many and sent a few to other therapists so that they could finish up with someone else. After that, she moved to Key West and stayed in Florida for 14 years. That’s where she wrote most of her books. Then, having accomplished that, she felt she could return to New York.

Alma H. Bond the writer:
9.   Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a “real” writer?
When I was 11 years old, I wrote a poem called “Ambitions.” It began,
“When all the world is sleeping sound
My pencil is writing and my head’s going round.”
     I mention many things I would like to be and then end with:
“But best of all, it seems to me,
Is a writer and this I should love to be.
And if I try hard and long
I’m sure to fulfill my ambition strong.”
10.  What is going on with your writing these days?
A play of mine, “Maria,” about the life and loves of Maria Callas (which was produced off-off Broadway several years ago), will be given as a monologue on January 25, 2008 at the Dramatists Guild. Another play, “Bella,” about the great activist, Bella Abzug, is in process. I have just begun a new book about Jackie Kennedy Onassis. I said to my daughter, “I’d like to write about Jackie, but so many books have been written about her.” My daughter replied, “But yours will be different.” So I decided to try.
11.  What are your future goals for your writing?
To write a great work of literature that will be on the best seller list.
12.  Can you describe a typical writing day for you?
I don’t keep regular hours, but write whenever I feel like it, which is most of the time.
13.  Why do you write?
I have to write. Writing is my core. It serves as a governor and keeps me on track.
14.  What writer most inspires you?  Why?
Freud, for the depth of his unmatchable insight. Virginia Woolf, for the sheer beauty of her prose.
15.  How do you define your writing?
My writing is me.
16.  In one sentence—what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?
She was a great writer.
Alma H. Bond  the details:
17.  Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website?
18.  Is there a place where readers can reach you?
My email address is I will be happy to hear from anyone who wants to contact me.
19.  Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?
Camille Claudel, a Novel; Old Age is a Terminal Illness: How I Learned to Age Gracefully and Overcome My Fear of Dying; The Autobiography of Maria Callas: A Novel; Tales of Psychology: Short Stories to Make You Wise; Who Killed Virginia Woolf?  A Psychobiography;  Profiles of Key West; On Becoming a Grandparent; I Married Dr. Jekyll & Woke Up Mrs. Hyde;
Is There Life After Analysis?;  The Tree That Could Fly (Children’s book);
Dream Portrait; America's First Woman Warrior: The Courage of Deborah Sampson   (With Lucy Freeman), and the Dr. Mary Wells Murder Mysery Series consisting of The Deadly Jigsaw Puzzle, Murder on the Streetcar; and Who Killed Marcia Maynard? or The Psychoanalyst is Dead.  My latest book, Margaret Mahler, the Biography of a Psychoanalyst is presently in publication with McFarland Press.
20.  For new readers—what can they expect when they read your book(s)?
They will learn things about themselves they never knew.
In conclusion:
21.  Take as much space as necessary to speak to our readers—what would you like them to know about you and your writing?
I think my answers to your 20 questions says it all.

Posted by joyceanthony at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 17 November 2007 1:46 AM EST
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Friday, 16 November 2007
Getting to Know Ron Berry
Topic: Author Interview
Ron Berry the person:
1.  What three words do you think describe you as a human being?
Funny, odd, male
2.  How do you think others would describe you?
3.  Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing.
Beading, Music
4.  Do you have any pets? 
If so, introduce us to them. Do Peeves count?
5.  What is your most precious memory?
 Being there when Amber was born
6.  What is your most embarrassing memory?
getting hooked up with a black widow.
7.  If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing with your life?
Listening to music and doing my best to make people laugh.
8.  In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.
Ron was the father of three fantastic children and friend to many
Ron Berry the writer:
9.   Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a “real” writer?
The day someone told me I really could write.
10.  What is going on with your writing these days?
NaNo, One book published, Two ready to publish, and four in various stages.
11.  What are your future goals for your writing?
Getting more of my short stories published.
12.  Can you describe a typical writing day for you?
There is no such thing as 'typical' in my life! but I start off with checking email, playing a couple of games, doing some writing and then the world finds me.
13.  Why do you write?
because I can't sing. I have stories that make people smile.
14.  What writer most inspires you?  Why?
Isaac Asimov because he wrote in so many genre's.
15.  How do you define your writing?
16.  In one sentence—what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?
He was funny, yet had a point.
Ron Berry the details:
17.  Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website?  Blog?
18.  Is there a place where readers can reach you?
19.  Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?
Yes, when I get them published. "computers in plain english"
20.  For new readers—what can they expect when they read your book(s)?
Humor, silliness, easy to read practical information in the non-fiction.
In conclusion:
21.  Take as much space as necessary to speak to our readers—what would you like them to know about you and your writing?
I am a simple country boy who can find humor in the simplest of things yet can also explain the complicated to the average person.

Posted by joyceanthony at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Friday, 16 November 2007 12:59 AM EST
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Thursday, 15 November 2007
Getting to Know Robin Gorley
Topic: Author Interview

Robin Gorley the person:

1.  What three words do you think describe you as a human being?

            Caring, Compassionate, Understanding

2.  How do you think others would describe you?

            Passionate, determined, go getter, not afraid of trying, takes creative risks

 3.  Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing.

            My family, church, singing in the church choir.

 4.  Do you have any pets?  If so, introduce us to them.

            Yes, we have a pit-bull/rought-riler mix. Her name is Roxy, and she will be a year old in January of 2008.

 5.  What is your most precious memory?

            The day I gave birth to my son, who is my miracle child.

 6.  What is your most embarrassing memory?

            Shaking a carton of chocolate milk, and it flying out all over my friends husband.

 7.  If you weren't a writer, what would you be doing with your life?

            Graphic Design/Website creations

 8.  In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.

            Robin Elizabeth Gorley was born August 10, 1963 in Denver Colorado. Born to Norman  G Watt and Virginia Camp-Watt. Robin is the oldest of four siblings Julie, Norman and Christina. Robin's life had its fair share of ups and downs, losing her father a very young age, Robin was a constant support system for your younger siblings, and helping her mother with the several day to day things in their lives. Robin moved to California in 1980, where she graduated from Santa Maria High School, and went onto college to get her C.N.A. certifications. Robin worked in health care for 17 years, opened her own nonprofit organization, and in 2005 became a published author.

            Over the years Robin has become an advocate for the American Cancer Society, Relay for Life; the Columbine High School Memorial Fund; and helping others. Robin was part of a local network of women called The Santa Maria Women's Network, where she served on their board of directors for several years. As a published author, Robin hope was to inspire others, and help them through the difficult times, with a positive message, and to uplift you in your time of need.

            Robin leaves behind her husband, Curley and their son Steven. 


Robin Gorley the writer:

 9.   Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a "real" writer?

            When I was in Junior High I had a English teacher that introduced me to poetry. We had a big project, and I turned in my assignment, not only to ace the project, but to get a letter from her daughter, telling me that I have a gift to write, and that I should continue writing. Just before going into Junior High, I lost my father to cancer, and to help deal with the anguish of losing my father, I started writing poetry. I found poetry to be very healing.

10.  What is going on with your writing these days?

            I have approximately 3000 pieces of poetry that I have written over the year, not including the new poems that come to the forefront of my writing. I am currently working on a poetry book about children, and it will include poetry, and short stories from my son Steven. In addition, to that book, I have several more books that I am working on, and one that is about my father. What I can tell you is that these books will be part of A Lifetime of Words Poetic Series.

11.  What are your future goals for your writing?

            To keep on writing. I love it.

12.  Can you describe a typical writing day for you?

            Most of my writing is done when the house is quiet, and in the evening time. With poetry though, it isn't me writing a story, so I don't have a sat schedule on when I write. If I have a thought, I write it down. Then I will sit down and type it in the computer. When I'm ready I will go in and open up the poetry, and refine it. Then I decide which book it will go in.

13.  Why do you write?

            For me personally, it is to express myself in a creative way. For others, it is to inspire them, give them hope, and to help them to heal.

14.  What writer most inspires you?  Why?

            Life inspires me. The reason why, is because I love life, despite the ups and downs it can bring.

15.  How do you define your writing?

            I write poetry, and with that comes different types of poetry, themes, and so on. I prefer to write poetry in free verse, and if it rhymes okay, but if it don't that is okay too. I like to write poetry so that others will understand it. Most people look at poetry as something like Shakesphere, Poe...with mine, you don't have to figure out what I am saying. What you get out of it, is what I write.

16.  In one sentence-what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?

            Robin's writings are an inspiration to us all. She lifts us up with her positive voice, and when you read her poetry you will feel like you are the person she is writing about.

Robin Gorley the details:

17.  Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website?  Blog?

            You can visit my website at

18.  Is there a place where readers can reach you?

            They can email me at

19.  Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?

            A Lifetime of Words; A Lifetime of Words~Spirit for the Soul; A Lifetime of Words~Simple Truths. These books are on my website, and can be ordered directly from my website.

20.  For new readers-what can they expect when they read your book(s)?

            They will be able to understand my poetry, there are no hidden messages in my words. As always, I hope they will be inspired.

In conclusion:

21.  Take as much space as necessary to speak to our readers-what would you like them to know about you and your writing?

      I've been married for 20 years, and my son is now 14 years old. I've been blessed to have such a loving and caring husband, and a son who strives to do his best in everything he does. They are always supportive of whatever I decide to do. You don't get that always in life.

       Other things that I do...I have an online editing service that I offer to my fellow authors, as well as businesses. I have done some desktop publishing, website designing. I do this to help support my travels for book events. I have also enrolled in the Art Institute Online Division so that I can learn more about Graphic Design, Desktop Publishing, and Website Designs.

  If you are a writer, or want to be a writer, and don't know how to go about putting it all together, just send me an email. I will be happy to help you get your start. I love to help others, and see other succeed, just as I have. I've accomplished a lot in my life, and I hope to accomplish more as a writer.

      Life has many ups and downs, and we often do not have control of what has been handed to us. To make it in this world you have to turn all your negative energies into positive ones. And remember that Whatever the Challenge, Whatever the Goal, Endure to the End.

     I tell you this because after going through the life I have gone through, I don't want anyone giving up on themselves. I have lived with obesity my entire life, and although I have done things to help me lose the weight, which I've been successful, it has been a long, and winding road. I have never given up, and I will continue to do everything I can to make my life what I want it to be. So my motto in life has always been Whatever the Challenge, Whatever the Goal, Endure to the End.




Posted by joyceanthony at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, 15 November 2007 12:30 AM EST
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Wednesday, 14 November 2007
Getting to Know Carolyn Howard Johnson
Topic: Author Interview

Carolyn Howard Johnson the person:  

 1.  What three words do you think describe you as a human being?

Spiritual. Occasionally funny, but only occasionally. Patient to a fault.


 2.  How do you think others would describe you?


Probably none of those words would occur to them.


 3.  Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing.

Traveling. I've been--often alone--to all the countries in Europe except Lichtenstein, Egypt, Kenya, most of the South America countries, the Galapagos (Ecuador), almost every island in the Caribbean (not Cuba), Canada, Russia, China and lots more.


 4.  Do you have any pets?  If so, introduce us to them.


I adore dogs. I've had three Great Danes, a yellow lab, a few mixes. My new dog is Malibu--a gunmetal grey one that the breeders call blue. All have been rescue dogs.


 5.  What is your most precious memory?


Have to pick one, huh. The birth of my daughter. She had a huge head (that makes the occasion very, very memorable) and long, long fingers. I knew she was mine. Ha!


 6.  What is your most embarrassing memory?


Losing my frilly petticoat at a high school sock hop. I just stepped out of the ruffles and kept dancing. Didn't even go back to lost and found to retrieve the tulle and satin concoction.


 7.  If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing with your life?


I know because I let other things interfere with that for years. I'd still be operating a chain of gift stores.


 8.  In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.


My obituary will be the things my friends write on the outside of a cardboard casket, high school yearbook style. Roses are red . . . kinds of things. Yes, there is such a thing as a cardboard casket. The music will be the dirges from the Neville Brothers (they are really funny, if there is anyone who doesn't know them) and everyone will eat Bananas Foster after they've written their piece.


 Carolyn Howard Johnson the writer:


 9.   Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a “real” writer?


Real writer? When I knew that I needed something more than straight journalism


10.  What is going on with your writing these days?


Tons. One exciting, quirky thing that happened just today: Amazon told me that my first short The Great First Impression Book Proposal: Everything You Need to Sell Your Book in Twenty Minutes or Less. for only 49 cents. I'm most excited because it will give writers what they need to write the thing that they hate most doing. And they won't have to be miserable twice--once handing over a chunk of money for a whole book before they have to buckle down and write the darned thing. People can find it by going to and entering my name or the title of the Short.

11.  What are your future goals for your writing?


I want to finish a memoir on cooking--how I don't cook. And a novel that's been moldering in a drawer for two years. And another how-to book for the HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers.


12.  Can you describe a typical writing day for you?


At the computer most of the day. With the exception of movies. I review movies for my hometown newspaper. Lots of that time includes promotion time, though.


13.  Why do you write?


Very simply, to live.


14.  What writer most inspires you?  Why?


The littlest things. Words. Slants on words. Colors.


15.  How do you define your writing?


It covers the waterfront. I've written in many genres, fiction, nonfiction, poetry, journalism. I've published about every way, too. Traditionally. Subsidy. Self-published. E-books. Chapbooks. Offset. Digitally. You name it.


16.  In one sentence—what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?


I just want them to still be reading one piece of my work. Hopefully something literary rather than my how-tos. And that's because I think those works have more potential for doing something beneficial for the world.


 Carolyn Howard Johnson the details: 

17.  Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website?  Blog?

Website--yes, I do it myself. I can't stand waiting for others to fix things. That's both good and bad.  It's

My blogs:

A review-focused blog,

A book fair-focused blog,

Writing-focused blog that covers everything from rants about Oprah to freedom of speech,

An editing-focused blog (yes, I am the Frugal Editor),


18.  Is there a place where readers can reach you?


My e-mail box is always open. They'll also find ways to connect--more than enough!--on my website,


19.  Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?


You, know, I'd rather they go and snoof around my website. I have so many and there is such a variety. Those interested in books and audios and videos to help them with their writing should start at Those interested in novels, short stories, poetry, should start with a section of the site,


20.  For new readers—what can they expect when they read your book(s)?


A voice. Often a loud one. Never tough to read. Often like talking over a back fence. Even my how-to books don't read like texts.


 In conclusion: 

 21.  Take as much space as necessary to speak to our readers—what would you like them to know about you and your writing?

Instead, I'm going to include a story how I got here. 


 Beating Time at Its Own Game

Life Begins At Sixty


Sometimes the big barriers in life aren’t abject poverty, dreaded disease or death.  Sometimes it’s the subtle ones set upon us by time and place.  The ones that creep up silently on padded feet and, if we sense them at all, we choose not to turn and face them.

The decade of the 50s was a time when these kinds of barriers faced those with dark skin, those who lived in closed religious communities, and those who were female.


When I applied for a job as a writer at Hearst Corporation in New York in 1961 I was required to take a typing test.  I was piqued because I wasn’t applying for the typing-pool, I was applying for a post as an editorial assistant. 


I was told, “No typing test, no interview.”  I took the test and was offered a job in the ranks of those who could do 70 in a minute.  I had to insist upon the interview I had been promised. I was only twenty and had no real skills in assertiveness.  I am amazed I had the wherewithal to do that. 


Something similar was at work when I married and had children. I happily left my writing to accommodate my husband’s career and the life the winds of the times presented to me. That there was a time when we didn’t know we had choices is not fiction.


I had always wanted to write the next “Gone with the Wind” only about Utah instead of about the South. I had a plan that was, itself, gone with the wind.


It was the 1950s and women in that time, and especially in that place, had a notion of who they should be, could be and, mostly, they got it from those around them because many of them couldn’t see the difference from society’s expectations and their own.


“You can’t be a nurse,” my mother said.  “Your ankles aren’t sturdy enough.” I also was told I couldn’t be a doctor because that wasn’t a woman’s vocation. The choice left to me was to be a teacher. My dream to write became a victim of the status quo.


Instead of following my star I searched for replacements. My husband and I built a business. For forty years I didn’t write and, during that time women become more aware. The equipment, gears and pulleys were in place for a different view on life. In midlife I became aware that there was an empty hole where my children had been but also that the hole was vaster than the space vacated by them. I knew I not only would be able to write, I would need to write.


Then I read that, if those who live until they are fifty in these times may very likely see their hundredth year. That meant that I might have another entire lifetime before me--plenty of time to do whatever I wanted. In fact, it’s my belief that women in their 50s might have more time for their second life because they won’t have to spend the first twenty years preparing for adulthood.

That was it. I started writing This is the Place.  I had to relearn old skills and brush up on new, and I am proud that I did it.  I’m glad that I waited until I was sixty. Forty years of experience gave it a dimension it would not have had if I had written it when I was young.. That first novel has expanded into four books inclding a new book of poetry, Tracings and I am now working on one called Best Book Forward: How to Edit for a Spotless First Impression. I like that I am doing something for other women and for other writers.


I also like being proof that a new life can start late—or that it is never too late to revive a dream.

 (Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s novel, This Is The Place, is set in Salt Lake City inthe 50s and has won eight awards. The interest in that city because of the Winter Olympics, the Elizabeth Smart case and along with a Mormon running for US President has fostered a  renewed interest in it.  You can read the first chapter free by e-mailing: or go to All of her books are award-winners.)

Posted by joyceanthony at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 14 November 2007 1:53 AM EST
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Tuesday, 13 November 2007
Getting to Know C. Hope Clark
Topic: Author Interview


C. Hope Clark the person:

1.  What three words do you think describe you as a human being?

Passionate - Loyal - Intellectual

2.  How do you think others would describe you?

Direct - Intellectual - Honest

3.  Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing.

Honesty and being true to myself - true to others - on any realm

4.  Do you have any pets?  If so, introduce us to them.

Dixie - the mini-dachshund - 11 years old - she is my shadow and has been provided a window seat in my study to watch the birds and nap in the sunshine

Cookie - the spaniel mix - 15 years old - found her in the country under an abandoned car at 3 months old - broken hip and unable to move to eat - she ate sand and motor oil, and the first thing we could force her to eat after trying liver, hamburger, eggs and bacon was a cookie, thus the name.

Hugo - the white cat with dark spots - born 6 weeks before Hurricane Hugo hit Charleston where we lived at the time - he's 18 years old

Shego - the dark cat with white spots - Hugo's sister - same age - much spryer

My birds - I love bird feeders and living on the lake, I have ample opportunity to study them and keep them fat and happy.

 5.  What is your most precious memory?

The birth of my son. Marrying my husband (the second one - LOL). I never knew true love until I allowed myself to accept love. He showed me what unconditional means.

 6.  What is your most embarrassing memory?

Providing a last minute dinner speech to a writers' group then them lowering the lights so I couldn't read my notes. I have night blindness. I kept losing my place and had to horribly adlib.

7.  If you weren't a writer, what would you be doing with your life?

Probably still be with the government as an administrative director. I was a good manager with the federal government. I enjoyed helping people be good at their job. I was director of budget, IT, and human resources for ten years. I adored working hard so that the employees could be successful.

8. In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.

Cynthia Hope Clark devoted her energies to learning, excelling and making her talents available for others to grasp and use to excel - in hopes that such effort would be a perpetual continuum. She adored nature, never breathing enough air, touching enough plants, or admiring enough wildlife. She cherished honesty, abhorred façade and hated falsehood. Once hurt, she struggled to trust, yet she trusted way too much. She loved the moments of her life, both the good and the bad, knowing they were gifts easily spent, never to relive again. She knew life was but a spark, quickly gone in a flash. She loved living.

C. Hope Clark the writer:

9.   Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a "real" writer?

No. I didn't have that revelation. I decided to be a writer and moved in that direction. Of course each byline was fun and validated the "writer" title, but I didn't have a pivotal moment where I became a writer.

10.  What is going on with your writing these days?

Writing the second novel. Rewriting the first novel after glowing comments from several agents - one requesting the rewrite as soon as I was through with it. Always seeking that next fun magazine assignment. Enjoying the editorials in FundsforWriters. Knowing in my heart that publishing my mysteries will happen in a matter of time.

11.  What are your future goals for your writing?

Publishing my agricultural mystery series. Hopes of changing FundsforWriters to one newsletter and raising that membership to 50,000 members - one day.

12.  Can you describe a typical writing day for you?

Sleep until 10 a.m. when I have breakfast and read the paper or read writing material. Chores around the house and talking/working with family until noon. Research and emails for FundsforWriters and freelance material until around two or three. Go to the gym or work in the yard for one or two hours. Write freelance material for a couple hours. Dinner - maybe a television show but always with a writing assignment in my lap for the commercials or down times during the show. Then I write from 9 or 10 p.m. until 2 a.m. on either freelance deadlines, FundsforWriters deadlines or the novel.  I usually put in an eight-hour day for at least six days a week. If I'm smoking on a deadline or the iron is hot, I write for ten hours a day. If I can excuse myself from leaving the house (I adore being reclusive), or the weather is bad, I can fit twelve or fourteen hours in one day. I make excuses to get to my computer and work. I've been known to slide to the computer to take notes during commercials or get up in the middle of the night to jot down some thoughts. What I like best about writing fulltime is the fact I don't have typical days. Each one is what I feel like.

13.  Why do you write?

To feel inspired. To feel smart. To use a raw talent found in few occupations. How many careers can you name that let you use your brain in such a mainstream manner - without tools? I adore the challenge to continually improve. To feel the ripple of delight when words fall into place so perfectly like understanding the answer to a prayer. It's amazing. But the best empowerment is writing something someone else finds empowering. That's a miraculous sensation that can't be matched in too many circles.

14.  What writer most inspires you?  Why?

The writer I'm reading at the moment inspires me. I do not get hung up on famous people. I love to read. I respect all writers who've carved a career with their words.

15.  How do you define your writing?

Fiction - heavy dialog, slightly humorous, involving people finding right in all the wrongs of the world

Nonfiction - inspiring, motivational, personal - even when writing freelance material for magazines, I splash humor and motivation in it. I hate dry material in a magazine. I want to see the person behind the story - sense her personality.

16.  In one sentence-what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?

She used her words to spark life in other people.

C. Hope Clark the details:

17.  Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website?  Blog?

18.  Is there a place where readers can reach you?

19.  Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?

The Shy Writer: The Introvert's Guide to Writing Success - /

Numerous ebooks about writing markets for writers at . They perpetually change.

20.  For new readers-what can they expect when they read your book(s)?

To learn how to feel good in their own skin. That is the message I deliver in most everything I write - fiction, nonfiction, freelance or editorial. Took me years to reach that point in life, and I want others to learn it sooner. It's so liberating to learn something new, apply it to your life and grow from it. I want people to love themselves.

In conclusion:

21.  Take as much space as necessary to speak to our readers-what would you like them to know about you and your writing?

My work is genuine; my feelings sincere. I love writing and find great satisfaction in editing work to make it shine. In my FundsforWriters and Shy Writer worlds, I want readers to feel good as writers, but I also want them to give it the respect it needs. Publishing fast and quickly, without deep study and many months of practice, is like picking up a scalpel and deciding to be a surgeon. The truth will come out. I want writers to find as much satisfaction in grooming their writing as publishing their writing. The living is in the journey.


Posted by joyceanthony at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 13 November 2007 1:25 AM EST
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Monday, 12 November 2007
Unwilling Killers by Ayn Hunt --An Excerpt
Topic: First Chapter

First Chapter

 Unwilling Killers (ISBN 1-59129-184-4) (not a subsidy publisher)

Also available at, B& 

Formats: Paperback            

Mrs. Gertrude Johnson entered the entrance hall just as the doorbell rang. She glanced at her watch. Two minutes to seven. Mrs. Moore, Alice Landrum’s niece, was, as Alice had assured her, prompt.  Too prompt! She wasn’t due for another two minutes.           

 She smiled serenely. There was still plenty of time to check her appearance in the old, gold-framed mirror to make sure she looked just right. But as she scrunched up her watery blue eyes for a good look, the elegant white candle, the only luxury Mrs. Johnson allowed herself, sputtered out as the deep gong of the bell vibratingly sounded again.           

“Damn tourist,” she muttered, carefully relighting the candle. “Ain’t got nothing better to do than to ring bells and expect a body to wait on them hand and foot.”           

Squinting her eyes, she studied her reflection, adjusting her frilly white cap and highly starched apron. Not satisfied with her appearance, she took a tube of her bright red lipstick out of her apron pocket and put on another darker coat. But as the bell vibrated and the candle went out yet again, she smeared it badly.           

“So help me God,” she hissed, carefully relighting the candle and wiping the excess lipstick off with a tissue. “I’ve a mind to kick that woman clear off my porch and teach her some manners.”Catching sight of her reflection however, she bent closer to it and batted her long, fake eyelashes. “God, you are still a purty thing,” she cooed to herself in the mirror. “Just as fresh and young-looking as you was at sixteen.”At the frantic sound of the big, brass knocker, she sighed heavily as she straightened her apron. “I’m coming, Mrs. High and Mighty! And I’ll teach you a thing or two about manners.”Assuming her haughtiest expression, she whipped the heavy wood door open with surprising strength. Then she hesitated, squinting at the young girl, from head to toe.  Alice had told her that her niece was a widow. A young widow, whose husband had died only six months ago in a skiing accident. But the girl facing her with such an odd expression wasn’t dressed like a proper widow at all. She wasn’t wearing black! She didn’t have a black veil over her face. Of course times had changed since Mrs. Johnson was a young girl. She knew that. But still, decent was decent. And no decent widow would be wearing jeans with a bright red knitted top and red sneakers!  Not only that, she didn’t look more than twenty-five at the most, with her short blonde hair and a smattering of freckles on her little nose. Suspiciously, Mrs. Johnson glanced at her watch again. Seven on the dot. It had to be her! But she had to make darn sure.

“Can I help you?” she icily asked. “Miss?”Jessica stated at her mutely, unable to speak. Alice had warned her Mrs. Johnson was, in her words, “A strange-looking old bird.” But that hadn’t preparedJessica for the lady’s appearance in person.           

Her head resembled a helicopter about to take off with those white corkscrew curls sticking out of her maid’s cap in a wide circle. And her bright red lips looked like one of those huge wax mouths kids used to buy at the corner store. But her watery blue eyes, half-hidden behind a layer of long fake eyelashes, Jessica also noticed, were keenly alert, betraying a sharp intelligence.           

“Can I help you?” repeated the odd-looking woman.           

Jessica stiffened. Why, she wondered, was she wearing a maid’s uniform in the first place? Surely a woman who’d inherited the house so many years ago wouldn’t be wearing one? Unsteadily, she took a deep breath. “I was looking for a Mrs. Johnson. Mrs. Gertrude Johnson.” She swallowed hard. “I don’t suppose you are she, are you?”            Mrs. Johnson arched a brow. Why was this girl looking at her so strangely? The expression on her face betrayed not only disbelief, but shock as well. But enough of this playing games, she decided. They could go on all night.           

Impatiently, she opened the door wider to admit her. “Of course I am. But I’ve a good mind you tell you I ain’t. Didn’t your mama every teach you no manners? It ain’t polite to keep ringing doorbells. Why, the way you was sitting on that bell, it was enough to wake the dead.”           

Jessica’s eyes widened at the woman’s odd choice of words, and she hesitated. Maybe staying here wasn’t such a good idea, after all. But then again, she couldn’t do that to her sick aunt. She’d promised her she’d stay here, and stay here,she would.           

Warily she stepped over the threshold, then shivered as a blast of ice-cold air assaulted her. She was being watched! She knew she was. That eerie feeling was even stronger in here than it had been outside the house. She glanced around. But from where? She couldn’t see a thing. It was pitch black except for that lone candle beside that old mirror.           

 Attempting a smile, she faced her odd hostess. “I’m sorry if I disturbed you. Alice told me to be here exactly at seven. I’d assumed you were expecting me.”           

 Mrs. Johnson studied her. “Of course I was. But you still didn’t have to sit on that durn bell! I ain’t deaf.”           

“Oh, I’m sure you’re not. I didn’t mean anything disrespectful by doing it. I guess I’m just tired. Maybe a little nervous too. You know how trips are.” At least she hoped she did. “The long rides. Staying at new places. Eating off schedule.”           

“Maybe that accounts for you looking like you seen a ghost too,” shrugged Mrs. Johnson, fishing a new candle out of her apron pocket. She glanced at Jessica out of the corner of her eye as she struck a match. “Maybe you’re just nervous and tired from the trip, like you said.”           

Jessica laughed a little too quickly, then promptly cleared her throat. “Yes, well, be that it may, I assure you I didn’t think I saw a ghost. Everyone knows there aren’t such things.”           

Mrs. Johnson raised her brows as she lit the candle. “Maybe there are. Maybe there ain’t.” She smiled, her old face taking on an eerie glow in the flickering light of the candle. “But if I was you, I’d talk more respectfully of the dead. You’re still young yet. You don’t know everything that goes on in the world.”           

Again, Jessica stiffened. She wasn’t about to get into an argument and risk getting herself thrown out. But what was this thing about candles? Surely the place had electric lights…didn’t it?           

“Follow me carefully, and watch your step,” said Mrs. Johnson, her footsteps echoing hollowly in the cavernous hall as she strode to a wide staircase which had been hidden in the dark. “Your room is on the third floor, and I ain’t got around to putting up new lights in some parts up there yet. They’re too expensive. The man I wanted to do it for me was going to charge me a dad-burned fortune, so I dropped the idea.”            Jessica froze. “I’m going to stay in a room without lights?”           

Mrs. Johnson puckered her gleaming red lips disapprovingly. “I didn’t mean your room, Missy. Your room’s got plenty of lights.” She paused, her heavily penciled eyebrows snapping together as she studied her. “But that don’t mean you can go hog wild and turn on every dad-burned one. My electricity bill is high at is.”           

  How? Jessica wondered, reluctantly following her as she started ascending the wide, steep stairs. From what she’d seen so far, the house was pitch black. Worse, that meant she needed to load up on batteries for her flashlight and keep them with her at all times when she started searching the house at night. No way did she relish the idea of getting stranded in the dark in some forlorn, lonely part of this house at night. Not at all!           

“I must say you’re a brave little thing,” mused Mrs. Johnson, glancing back over her shoulder. “I have to give that to you. Most people wouldn’t sleep in the same bed a man was murdered in.”           

Jessica nearly tripped. “Pardon?”           

“I wasn’t intending to rent out Mrs. Harding’s personal suite of rooms as first, you see.  But your aunt insisted. She claimed that was the very one you’d want, being as it has the widest patio and offers the best view of the garden.” She smiled serenely down at her. “I’m just glad you don’t believe in ghosts.”           

“I’m supposed to sleep in the same bed as a murdered man?”           

“Sure are. Your aunt paid me an extra three hundred dollars to ensure it.”           

 Jessica felt the blood drain from her face. Damn Alice!  Not that she believed in ghosts of course. She didn’t! She never had. But why take chances? After all there were things in this world people didn’t understand and couldn’t explain. And until a rational explanation was found for those things, she’d be damned if she’d tempt fate. Unlike Alice, she prided herself on always exercising caution.           

Taking a deep breath, she forced a smile. “I’ll give you three hundred right now myself, if you’ll put me in another room. Alice never needs to know.”           

“No can do,” shrugged the older woman, blithely continuing her upward journey. “I only get the rooms ready as I need to, to rent them out. They’ve been empty for years, you see. You’d be surprised at how much dust and bugs they collect. I’m not about to rent them out until I scrub them out.”           

She stopped, eying Jessica speculatively. “I’m not as spry as I used to me. Itmay surprise you to know I’m nearly as old as this here house. Of course, I don’t look it. People are always shocked when I tell them my age.”           

 Jessica raised her brows. Mrs. Johnson wanted to talk about her age? Now? When she herself was obviously doomed to sleep in the same bed as a man who’d been murdered?”           

Mrs. Johnson smiled coyly. “I’m ninety-eight.”           

So what? Jessica wanted to scream. But she didn’t. One day, Lord willing, she too would be old. Maybe, like Mrs. Johnson, she too would be reluctant to face the facts of the ravaging of her looks over the years.            

Stemming her frustration, she took a deep breath and tried to look duly startled, which, in her present state of mind, wasn’t all that hard to accomplish. “Why, you don’t look it! I wouldn’t have guessed your age past…er…” she paused, thinking hard, “seventy.” She swallowed hard, hoping Mrs. Johnson believed her.           

Still however, there was no way she’d sleep in the same bed as a murdered man. No way! But she had to think fast. From what she’d seen so far, Mrs. Johnson wasn’t a fool.           

She smiled sweetly. “Considering your age, I certainly understand why you wouldn’t like to clean rooms. If I were you, I’d feel the same way. But I don’t mind cleaning up another room for myself. Just show me where to get a mop and some cloths, and I’ll have one ready in no time.”           

Mrs. Johnson shook her head. “Cleaning alone wouldn’t do you no good. I’m out of bug spray. You’d be surprised how many spiders were in Mr. Harding’s room.  I’m sure they’re in all the rooms.”           

Jessica went rigid, automatically glancing around. Spiders? Dear God, that probably meant they were on the stairs as well.           

“Besides,” continued Mrs. Johnson, “I never let no stranger go into a room I haven’t first gone over with a good-sized pot of boiling water and a stiff scrub brush. However,” she thinly smiled, “if you were to double what your aunt paid and give me, say, six hundred in cash tonight, I might be persuaded to compromise my principles some and get you what you need to spruce up another room right now. I might even help.”           

“That’s blackmail!”           

 Mrs. Johnson turned her back to her, continuing her upward trek, rounding a bend on the second floor. “Not really. Besides, it was you who brought it up. All I did was up the ante. Think about it. You can take it or leave it. But it sure would have saved me a heap of trouble if you and your aunt had gotten together on this before you came. Mr. Harding didn’t like me renting out his suite of rooms at all. You wouldn’t believe all the trouble he gave me when I was cleaning it.”           

“Dammit,” hissed Jessica. “Mr. Harding is dead! I already told you, I don’t believe in ghosts.”  But despite her bravado, her knees were so wobbly she could barely walk.            

“You might end up eating your words, Missy! Mr. Harding’s body is dead, but not his soul. He loved this whole house, you see. And he done loved life with a passion. He’d never give up all he had. Not without a durn good fight. Why, no onecan tell me if wasn’t him who sloshed out my scrub bucket while I was cleaning out his room. And my dust rags kept disappearing so fast, I had to go right out and buy new ones. And just the other night, he made a noise so fearsome I thought I was going to have a heart attack! No, Missy. Make no mistake. Mr. Harding is still here.  You’ll be changing your mind fast enough I reckon when you hear floorboards creaking in the night like I do. Or sometimes hear the murmur of voices.” She shrugged. “Of course I’m used to it. Sort of. Leastwise by now. I know Mr. Harding is just moaning over me having to rent out rooms in his beloved house to total strangers.”           

Jessica frowned. Voices? The other things maybe, could be attributed to esoteric sources of beings. But voices? Ghosts couldn’t talk. They didn’t have vocal chords. “How long have you been hearing these, um, voices?” she asked, careful to keep her voice casual.           

Mrs. Johnson paused as she took another step, and looked down at her. “Well, now, let’s see. I guess it’s been, oh, in the last three months or so. Right around the time I decided to rent out rooms.” She arched a brow. “Odd coincidence, wouldn’t you say?”           

“Very,” Jessica slowly agreed. But something else was going on here. Something caused by real flesh and blood living beings who had vocal chords. By beings who had eyes and could watch people. But why? This was just a drafty old house filled with a lot of junk. Maybe it was valuable to Mrs. Johnson. But surely to no one else.           

 Or was it?

Posted by joyceanthony at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Monday, 12 November 2007 1:07 AM EST
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