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Tuesday, 27 November 2007
Getting to Know Theresa Chaze
Topic: Author Interview
Theresa Chaze the person:
1. What three words do you think describe you as a human being?
Spiritual, loving, creative
2. How do you think others would describe you?
creative, tenacious, unique
3. Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing.
My furkids--they are the loves of my life. My spirituality--being a Priestess and Ordained Minister, I wish to help heal the world and leave it a little better place.
4. Do you have any pets? If so, introduce us to them.
Yes, I have ten furkids. Nearly all of them are rescue kitties so they are skittish with strangers.
Thor is nine; he has extra toes on all four paws. Keshia is part Manx, but she is sweet and adorable. Abigail originally belonged to a neighbor; however, the woman was totally irresponsible. It would be 25 below, I would come home late at night and she’d be curled up on my front porch. I created a comfy stop on the front porch and started taking care of her. That next spring she had two kittens under my shed. I named them Sissy and Sinbad. The day I adopted all three, a young calico showed up. I thought I found a home for her, but the woman turned out to be a flake, so I adopted her and named her Button. A couple of years later someone started dumping off cats. Of the eight, I adopted four and found homes for the rest. Timmie and Oliver were eleven weeks old. Pooh was about two and Baby was just a little younger. Baby was so malnourished that she had lost most of her fur and you could feel every bone in her spine. Pooh’s long hair was matted to the skin so he needed to be shaved. They are both now very healthy, happy and a little pudgy.
5. What is your most precious memory?
I have many memories that are very special to me. I find it is the simple moments that mean the most. We don’t have to wait for holiday or extraordinary events to have special memory. A dinner with a friend. Playing feathers on a stick with the kids. Taking time to watch a movie. They are all beautiful times that will come with me through out this life and the ones that follow.
6. What is your most embarrassing memory?
Gee, tough question. Looking back, I still don’t understand why I stood on my friend’s porch and screamed her name, instead of just reaching out and knocking on the door.
7. If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing with your life?
I not only have a degree in Broadcasting/video production, but I have years of experience. I loved the work, but hated the politics of hurry up and wait.
8. In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.
She loved.
She healed.
She learned.
She made the world a little better place and then she moved on. 
Theresa Chaze the writer: 
9. Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a “real” writer?
After I wrote my first short story and I learned how magical creating other worlds and reality was. I liked how the story unfolded and the characters were able to grow. It gave me a good feeling to be able to share a little wisdom through the characters.
 10. What is going on with your writing these days?
I have a new project that is based on present and past life experiences. I have also started my own publishing house called Valkyrie Publishing. Instead of publishing other’s work, I help them do it for themselves so they are able to maintain control over the content and profits. I was scammed by two publishers. My goal is to help other authors avoid the mistakes I made. I also publish a free ezine called Messages From the Universe. It can be read on my site or there is a yahoo group that is used exclusively to receive the ezine.
11. What are your future goals for your writing?
I have a long list of projects. I want to finish the Dragon Clan Trilogy. I also a have series of children’s books. There are many more novels and several more screenplays.
12. Can you describe a typical writing day for you?
Right now, I am doing 10-12 hour days, doing not only publicity for the current projects, but writing articles for the local newspaper, my blogs and for online magazines.
13. Why do you write?
It is who I am.
14. What writer most inspires you? Why?
Marion Zimmer Bradley and Anne McCaffrey. I like their strong women who know how to not only take care of themselves, but how to share love and make a difference.
15. How do you define your writing?
It is a way to entertain and make people see their lives filled with new possibilities.
16. In one sentence—what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?
She made me laugh, cry and question.  Mostly she made me afraid of the dust bunnies under my bed. 
Theresa Chaze the details:  
17. Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website? Blog?
My website is My primary blog is
18. Is there a place where readers can reach you?
There is a button on my site, but you can also email me at
19. Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?
On my site is a free ebook called Sisters Mothers Daughter. It uses the fantasy genre to explore the complicated relationships between women.
Out of the Shadows and Into the Light is an ebook of shadows that not only give accurate information about the Wiccan and Pagan religions, but also original rituals for healing, protection, prosperity and love. It has information for the curious, the novice and the experienced worker. It can only be bought from my site.
Filled with magic, suspense and karmic justice the Dragon Clan Trilogy begins with Awakening the Dragon (978-0-9798406-0-9) with Rachael moves to Coyote Springs to find a safe home and fulfill her dream of opening an occult bookstore. The location for her store has been found. Only she has yet to find a home for herself and her three furkids. A reluctant real estate agent shows her a cottage in the woods that is perfect. It calls to Rachael and opens its doors to her. To her it feels like home. But it is more than a cottage, it is a spiritual nexus where three lay lines intersect; it is a natural energy vortex. It is also the scene of a brutal murder and the focal point to local cult's hatred. Making the cottage her home, Rachael finds herself becoming the catalyst to exposing the murderer, which brings her in the crosshairs of the cult’s violent hatred not only to protect their secret but because the she is another witch. To save herself and all she loves, she is forced to awaken her dragon spirit prematurely and unite it to the energy vortex. She knows what must be done. What she doesn't know if she can control the flames from within enough to save her from the flames without.
Dragon Domain (978-0-9798406-1-6) picks up the story several months and several miles down the road. Cheyenne and Celeste came to Coyote Springs to use their psychic gifts to find a missing child. They find the girl and made a new friend, Jane. Tired of rootless life, Cheyenne prays for a safe, stable home. With Jane's help, she find abandoned farm and decides to stay. Reluctantly, Celeste also remains. The threesome create a spiritual retreat that grows out of their shared wisdom, respect and sense of family. Cheyenne is happy for the first time since she awoke broken and bloody beneath the blinding desert son. Celeste had saved her then, but soon after Dominic appears on their doorstep, Celeste once again turns to the dark arts. Instead of a mother and friend, she becomes vicious enemy with knowledge of all her strengths and weaknesses. With the dragons' aid, she was barely able to ward off their initial attack. But with each dark soul Celeste and Dominic bind to them, their malevolence grows until they will not settle for less that destroying Cheyenne and all she loves. How do you protect yourself from someone knows exactly how to steal your soul?
20. For new readers—what can they expect when they read your book(s)?
They can expect a good read with characters that they will not only enjoy but who will challenge the reader. They can expect to laugh, cry and a be scared. I like to find the suspense, mystery and romance in normal situations and events. By finding the unusual in the ordinary, you create a new awareness that expands the individual horizons and awareness.
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?
Oprah once said there are only two emotions--love and fear. I have taken this a step further: if you come from fear, you can never have love, but if you come from love, you will always have it in your life. So many people fear what they don't understand so they hate. However, if they would only chose to face the fear by seeing past the differences they would learn that acceptance doesn't mean surrendering your own beliefs or way of life; it is opening your heart and you lives to others who will only make you spiritually richer. When we chose to respect ourselves and each other, we able to come together in peace, understanding and acceptance. Every day is a miracle if you chose to see it that way. Each moment is special. My favorite saying is, “Although you can't go back and make a brand new start, you can start from now and make a brand new end.” Everyone makes mistakes. It is the way we learn and grow as souls; what we do with our life’s challenges will reflect how our future path will be directed.

Posted by joyceanthony at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 27 November 2007 1:07 AM EST
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Monday, 26 November 2007
Getting to Know Janet Elaine Smith
Topic: Author Interview
  Janet Elaine Smith the person:

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

Fun, entertaining, friend

 2.  How do you think others would describe you?

Fun, faithful friend, helpful (I hope)

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

My family, my friends, my faith (God)--not necessarily in that order

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

 None now, but we have had numerous dogs. Oh, and our youngest son once had a lizard named "Iggy-Uana."

 5.  What is your most precious memory?

Oh, my, that's a hard one. I think it was probably the day I left the US for my first "tour of duty" as a missionary in Venezuela. I was only 20 years old, and my mother's biggest argument to try to convince me not to go was that I wasn't even old enough to vote!

6.  What is your most embarrassing memory?

You think I'm going to tell? If it was that bad the first time, you'll just have to keep on guessing! I've had many of them.

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

Either a missionary (which I have been and still am, in addition to being a writer) or a nurse.

 8.  In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.

She loved life; she loved people; she loved to serve; she loved to entertain. While she helped thousands of people during her life, the thing that made her the happiest was when she could make someone laugh, often amid their pain.

Janet Elaine Smith the writer:

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

I had had many magazine articles published, but I don't think it really sank in until I was in a local bookstore and I saw somebody buying one of my books from the shelf--and I didn't even know them! I felt like I had truly arrived!

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

Not as much as I'd like there to be. I am the Marketing Director for Star Publish, the Program Director for Passionate Internet Voices Radio, write for many magazines, and all of these things take time. My husband and I also run a charitable organization, Mission Socorro (see ) so we spend several hours every day helping less fortunate and troubled people. My dream anymore is to have three whole days with no interruptions when I could write on my books. That's my fun. I am working on Tuesday Nolan, though, the second book in my Women of the Week series. I'd like to have it out for Valentine's Day.

11. What are your future goals for your writing?

To make people feel good and be able to laugh at life. To complete 4 new books for 2008. Not much, right?

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

Typical? That's like asking me to describe "normal." I wouldn't know normal if it walked up and slapped me in the face! I do try to do some writing every day, but as I mentioned earlier, often that has to take the form of magazine articles. I don't understand why editors keeps wanting more articles for the next issue when I just finished the ones for the last issue! I do work best under pressure, though, I think.

13.  Why do you write?

I can't NOT write. I have all of these crazy people running around inside my head, just screaming to get out. I have no choice but to help them tell their tales--spin their yarns. Besides, writing is my release route, my way of escape. After dealing with people with problems all day long, I can create a world where everything ends up with a happily-ever-after scenario. I'm trying to figure out how to make real life do that too.

14.  What writer most inspires you?  Why?

Many of them. Mary Higgins Clark has been a great inspiration to me, and has taken the time to offer personal encouragement, even before I was published. Also, John Grisham. If I ever doubted that my life was interesting enough to write about, all I would have to do would be to read his books. He has chronicled my life. (See the "John Grisham and Me" page at )

15.  How do you define your writing?

I don't. I write in many different genres, sometimes even within one book. That is why POD publishing has been such a blessing to me. It lets me do what I want to do and tell the stories I want to tell the way I want to do them. I think too many people who strive to get published by the big publishers end up destroying their creativity by trying to make things fit in a neat little package. That doesn't work for me.

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

I remember Janet Elaine Smith's books--and I laugh!

Janet Elaine Smith the details:

17. Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website?  Blog? is my main website. The one that caters only to my books is at . I have several others, too, but you'll just have to hunt for them There are links on my main website to all of them. Are you up to a treasure hunt for the day?
I have a blog at . Sometimes I even remember to blog on it!

18.  Is there a place where readers can reach you? or a Contact place on any of my websites.

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

Are you serious? OK, here goes.



Par for the Course

In St. Patrick's Custody

Recipe for Murder

Old Habits Die Hard

Bank Roll: A Max Stryker Mystery

House Call to the Past

Monday Knight

My Dear Phebe

And We'll Call Her General Leigh


Dakota Printer

A Christmas Dream

A Lumberjack Christmas...Revisited

PromoPaks: Nearly Free Marketing Tips for Authors

Flood of the Millennium: The Real Heroes, the People

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

To have fun, to realize that true love can conquer all, and there is always a happy ending!

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 write to have fun, both in what I write and what I read. I love it when I go back to one of my older books and I have forgotten certain things in it. When I laugh and when I cry as I read one of my books, I feel like it has worked.
If you are a writer, as well as a reader, the most important thing I can tell you is to never give up. Believe in yourself and what you write, and eventually somebody else will too!

Posted by joyceanthony at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Monday, 26 November 2007 1:05 AM EST
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Sunday, 25 November 2007
Getting to Know Bradley J. Simpson
Topic: Author Interview
Bradley J. Simpson the person:
 1.  What three words do you think describe you as a human being?
Annoying, Caring, Dreamer
2.  How do you think others would describe you?
Geek, Annoying, Hyper
3.  Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing.
My family. I have walked dark roads that should never be crossed to earn the right to be happy.
4.  Do you have any pets?  If so, introduce us to them.
Afraid not. Although I did have a cat when I lived with my parents.
5.  What is your most precious memory?
A sweet summer wind rustling through a forest.
6.  What is your most embarrassing memory?
Pants ripped out at work, I have a distinctive derrire.
 7.  If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing with your life?
I probably would have fallen into quiet misery. Writing brings my 'wild' talent under control.
 8.  In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.
Eh, I feel too much negative energy in this question. I could probably write out a good one. However I am not in the mood to tempt fate at this time.
Bradley J. Simpson the writer:
9.   Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a “real” writer?
When I stated revisin my first work. It dawned on me that I was relearning all those crazy grammar skills from grade school.
10.  What is going on with your writing these days?
I got lots of writing partners and a personal work that is deep and emotional. Beauty and the Beast type storyline.
11.  What are your future goals for your writing?
Lots of books! I will become a creative dynamo!
12.  Can you describe a typical writing day for you?
Lots of little bits at a time, Plenty of Brainstorming.
13.  Why do you write?
My muse will not be denied.
14.  What writer most inspires you?  Why?
Michael Moorecock. The depth of his characters are endlessly fascinating.
15.  How do you define your writing?
Slightly humourous and always entertaining. =)
16.  In one sentence—what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?
A well-loved classic. A must read. =)
Bradley J. Simpson the details:
17.  Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website?  Blog?
Yahoo Group I own, or my myspace page.
18.  Is there a place where readers can reach you?
Absoluetly. =)
19.  Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?
Dreamsbane of Tamalor
20.  For new readers—what can they expect when they read your book(s)?
A fanciful escape from reality.
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?
Well, I am 34 years old. I live in Michigan and I write primarily fantasy. I am planning on branching out into romantic fantasy in my next work. Dreamsbane will always be close to my heart, but it is onwards and upwards from here. My heart Stacy and my son Coale are always inspiring me to work harder to prove for our future. I want my son to be able to say, My daddy is a great writer! =)

Posted by joyceanthony at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, 25 November 2007 2:07 AM EST
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Saturday, 24 November 2007
Getting to Know Marvin Wilson
Topic: Author Interview
  Marvin the person:

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

One being human.

2.  How do you think others would describe you?

Jeez, I don't know. If I knew someone like me, I'd have to think he was an eccentric nut; capable of speaking everything from wise sayings to wisecracks, someone who can tell a good joke and also be a joke, too.

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

Music. I love listening to, writing, performing and recording music.

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

My wife is allergic to cats and can't put up with dogs in the house, so, no ... no pets. If I achieve my retirement goal of a large house on a lake on a wooded (min) 10 acres, I will have two large dogs with a doghouse large enough for me to visit with them during a good rainstorm.

5.  What is your most precious memory?

The home-birth of my second daughter, China, followed by the home-birth of my son, Blue Moon-Sky.

6.  What is your most embarrassing memory?

Having to admit, in my mid-fifties, that I was a broken down shell of my former self, lost and without my God, a hopeless narcotics addict, and having to turn myself in and submit to rehabilitation.

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

Finding some other way to make a positive impact on our world. Maybe raise donor funds so I can run a free breakfast program in the inner city. Start a youth center for healthy fun, emotional and spiritual growth. Run a foster home.

8.  In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.

Here lies Marvin D. Wilson, a man who loves God, family, friends, community and peoples of all nations. A spiritual being that enjoyed the human experience with all its lessons, tears and joys, he did what he could to promote peace; love and understanding between all people, and shared his thoughts on Divine Unity. If you get quiet and listen, you can still hear him singing.

Marvin the writer:

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

That would be when my first book, I ROMANCED THE STONE was read during pre-publication by the editor assigned me by my pub house. Stone is a self-pub, so other than having to pass their basic quality requirements during the query/submission process; they had no invested interest in just how well the book would sell. She (the editor) raved about how well it was written, my writing "voice," the entertaining nature of the manuscript coupled with its depth of meaning. Editors are editors, of course, there was plenty of "fixing" to do, but no major re-writes. That, plus the endorsing reviews I got from other more established authors let me know I have the ability to write well. However, I still consider myself a rookie writer with a vast amount to learn about creating a truly first rate novel.

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

I have a completed manuscript, a fictional novel titled OWEN FIDDLER that is currently in the submissions/acceptance process. It has gotten past the "gatekeeper" of three trad pubs, waiting on a final answer. It also has been accepted by a couple self-pubs, so if I don't get a traditional contract, I have the option of going that route. Should see it out one way or the other by midyear 2008. I am about half the way through writing a third novel and have begun sketching out a fourth.

11.  What are your future goals for your writing?

Well, number one, I want to get much better at my craft. The more I get into this industry, really dissect and understand what the great authors do and how well they do it; it can be humbling. There are plenty of masterful authors already, but I want to evolve into one counted among their ranks. That would be my working goal. My financial and recognition goal for my writing future is to have a national best-seller that brings me in enough money to write full time in my retirement years. My spiritual goal is that what I write will bring some enlightenment to the readership and add some to the measure of unselfish love between people.

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

There are days when I "have it," that zone where I can't write fast enough to keep up with the inspirations and ideas. Those days are often started at 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning when I wake up with an idea and can't get back to sleep so I just fire up the computer and get at it. I sometimes irritate my wife because the keyboard is clicking so loudly it wakes her up. Except for e-mail checking breaks, eating and potty breaks, I can write for hours and hours. If I hit a lull, an impasse, I'll listen to some music, read a book or watch a good movie. Maybe go sit in a park and just meditate on nature if the weather is nice. If the weather is inclement, I will sit on my covered terrace and marvel at how many different and powerful ways the lake can look.

Days when I don't "have it," when the writing seems forced, not flowing at all, I spend a lot of time re-reading, editing and re-writing passages that could be better in what I wrote during the free-flowing frenzies. If nothing is working that day, I just blow it all off. I might work a bit on marketing/promo tools on the internet, do some networking, e-mailing, etc., and then go visit and play with my grandkids. And I always read books on those days, too.

13.  Why do you write?

God told me to.

14.  What writer most inspires you?  Why?

Hard to pick just one, but if you insist, I would say Richard Bach. We always consider those who agree with our own thoughts to be wise, but I consider his writings to have a lot of the same spiritual impetus behind them as I want mine to have. And his writing style, his voice, it's just uncanny. He can turn broken English into a poetry of prose. He breaks every rule in the book, yet gets away with it because the overall read is one that flows naturally. Great story lines and plots, real life characters, sometimes greater than life but always believable, tons of meaning to boot, he's just got it all going on.

15.  How do you define your writing?

Strong voice, very direct. Fairly simple and easy to read on the surface, entertaining, but with more depth of meaning just below the plot and story line if you want to look there.

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

He wrote engaging stories that entertained the reader and gave him or her pause to wonder and reflect on life, afterlife, the universe and the interconnectedness and meaning of it all.

Marvin The details:

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

You can purchase I ROMANCED THE STONE (Memoirs of a Recovering Hippie) on  

You can read excerpts and learn more about it at: - on that site, you can order a signed copy directly from me thru PayPal.

For info and excerpts on my upcoming novel, OWEN FIDDLER, go to:

I also have a MySpace at:

And I have a blog site at:

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

Yes, you can send me messages through either my websites or MySpace, and if you desire a more personal communication and request it, I will reply with an e-mail address.

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

I ROMANCED THE STONE (Memoirs of a Recovering Hippie) is the only one out so far. Look in the near future for OWEN FIDDLER.

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

Expect a full range of emotions; sometimes you may be shocked, even disgusted, other times you will chuckle and laugh. Expect to have fun, but also expect your thoughts to be provoked, perhaps your beliefs to be challenged and/or questioned. My books are intended to generate healthy dialogue about spiritual matters in an engaging and entertaining way.

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?

The best way to do that is to re-write here the Afterword from the upcoming book Owen Fiddler:

"There is an insidious and constitutional addiction that estranges mankind from interconnectedness and universal love. All other addictions, including the obvious; substance abuse, alcoholism, bad habits, gambling, pornography, etc., and the more subtle; anger, depression, needy relationships, eating disorders, thrill-seeking, power-seeking, amassing money for the sake of money only, and so on. They can all be traced back as symptoms to the primary disease, the one fundamental addiction that pervades our societies and has since the dawn of man and the fall from grace.

That basic addiction is the clinging to the delusional notion that the ‘self,' the ‘ego' is an isolated being, separated from and, in most cases, at odds with the universe; having to look out for its' self-preservation first, taking from the world and the others in it to satisfy its' personal desires and fulfill its' needs. The extent to which a human being can see through this delusional and errant state of mind is the measure of one's spiritual enlightenment. To put it simply, the more selfish we are, the further we are from God, and, conversely, the more selfless we become the more we draw closer to God.

This elemental axiom of the universe was the major impetus for the writing of this book. It is the author's intent and hope that the reader of this tale will have been entertained along the way, and that he/she will also have gained some spiritual insight and inspiration at its' conclusion."



Posted by joyceanthony at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 24 November 2007 12:43 AM EST
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Friday, 23 November 2007
Getting to Know Joyce Sterling Scarbrough
Topic: Author Interview

Joyce Sterling Scarbrough the person:

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

Fair, unpretentious, passionate.

 2.  How do you think others would describe you?

Witty, intelligent, friendly

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

My husband

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

Our dogs are two mixed-breed orphans: a female named Puppy (horribly unimaginative, I know!) who is most definitely the "alpha dog," and Alex, whom my kids call Toe-short for Giganto. Don't ask me why they call him that, because he's about the size of our cat, a gorgeous long-haired black male named Tevian, who is hopelessly in love with Puppy. Seriously, sometimes they need to get a room! 

 5.  What is your most precious memory?

From my life before my kids were born, it's listening to my daddy tell me stories he made up before I fell asleep at night. After that, it's holding each of my three babies for the first time.

 6.  What is your most embarrassing memory?

I guess it would be the time I was at the checkout in the grocery store and noticed the teenaged male cashier's eyes had grown to the size of half dollars and his face was the color of the plums he was ringing up. My youngest daughter-15 months old at the time-had gotten a tampon out of my purse and stuck it up her nose. (Yes, it fit. All my kids inherited impressive nostrils from their father!)  

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

I'd be in a mental hospital wondering who were all these people in my head screaming for me to write their stories.

 8.  In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.

Joyce Sterling Scarbrough lived her life immensely grateful to God for blessing her with the multiple gifts He gave her, and she did her best to use them to make Him proud. 

Joyce Sterling Scarbrough the writer:

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

With my first book, TRUE BLUE FOREVER, all the ladies I worked with were reading it chapter by chapter as I wrote it. The first time I found a crowd waiting in my cubicle for me to come in so they could read the next chapter, not to mention arguing over who got to read it first, I knew I'd written something special.  

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

I have four agents reading sample chapters of my third novel, SYMMETRY, and I'm about halfway finished writing my fourth one.

11.  What are your future goals for your writing?

I want my books to be so widely read that my characters will become recognizable by just their first names. You know, like Scarlett, Rhett, Harry, and Sam-I-Am. :-)

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

My writing schedule depends on where I am in my plot. If I'm just getting started or tweaking, revising, or (God forbid!) stuck on how to get from one scene to the next, I try to write for at least an hour or so in the morning and another before I go to bed. If I'm writing a big scene or the climax of the book, I write every spare moment I can scrounge-on scraps of paper or napkins if necessary. I've even been known to fake an illness to get out of social obligations so I can write. (Don't tell my sister!)

13.  Why do you write?

I have stories that must be told.

14.  What writer most inspires you?  Why?

Stephen King is my favorite writer, and although I admire him for his talent, honesty and imagination, Harper Lee has to be the writer that inspires me the most. She wanted to write something that would strike a chord with the world, and she definitely succeeded. 

15.  How do you define your writing?

Fiction from the heart. All my books are essentially love stories, but they're also about lifelong friendship, family dynamics, rivalry, and how children's self-image is so greatly influenced by their parents.  

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

"Joyce Sterling Scarbrough's books can always be counted on to make you laugh, cry, yell, or sigh, and sometimes all four within the same chapter."  

Joyce Sterling Scarbrough the details:

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

My Author's Den-http://www.authorsden/joycelscarbrough1

Blue Attitude-

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

Through Author's Den or at

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


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

TRUE BLUE FOREVER is a coming-of-age story about four unforgettable teenagers growing up on the Alabama Gulf Coast in the late seventies. It's about first loves and first kisses, fierce rivalries, lifelong friends, sports, and super-cool muscle cars. Think "Friday Night Lights" meets "A Walk to Remember."

DIFFERENT ROADS is a much grittier story that features a heroine whose mother dies when she's six years old and leaves her with an abusive drunk of a father. She grows up to be a trash-talking hellion who takes crap off nobody, and she lives in fear of anyone finding out she's also a frightened little girl terrified of the dark. When she meets her male counterpart in college, sparks don't fly-flames do!

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?

For as far back as I can remember, I've made up stories to entertain myself before falling asleep at night. Sometimes I'd get an idea during the day and could hardly wait until it was bedtime so I could watch the story play out in my head. When I was plotting my first novel, I realized it was the same process I'd been using to make up stories all those years. That's why both my books are written for pure entertainment, inspired by the spirit of the wonderful books I've loved all my life. Readers will see the influences of GONE WITH THE WIND, LITTLE WOMEN, and FOREVER AMBER, with shades of MY SWEET CHARLIE and FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON. My books are definitely character driven, but there's enough action and conflict in them to appeal to readers of all ages and both sexes. To read sample chapters, go to my Author's Den and introduce yourself to Jeana, Mickey, Billy Joe, Wade, Cole, Jaycee, and Bud. I promise you won't forget them anytime soon.     

Posted by joyceanthony at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Friday, 23 November 2007 12:19 AM EST
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Thursday, 22 November 2007
Getting to Know Ayn Hunt
Topic: Author Interview

Ayn Hunt The Person


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

Ambitious, practical, worrier


2) How do you think others would describe you?

Ambitious, understanding, dreamer


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

Literacy. I think every child should be taught how to read well, and to understand what he or she reads. Reading is not only essential to learning other skills, but for broadening our horizons as well. When we read our books, they should be able to take us to a special place far away from our problems. Without the ability to read, people are facing life with a sad disadvantage.


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

 I used to have a cat who I loved like a member of our family. She was with us for nearly 20 years. Then, last year, when I got another one, I found I’d become seriously allergic to cats and had to give her away.     

5) What is your most precious memory?


The moment the nurses put my new baby in my arms at the hospital. It was indescribable -- the peace, the joy, the contentment. 


6 What is your most embarrassing memory?

Getting hiccups when I got up to give a talk to a local Rotary Club group. I’ll never forget the expressions of those faces looking up at me. Fortunately, after a few minutes of me wanting to drop through the floor, one of the ladies near the podium gave me a glass of water, and I was able, somehow, to get through the rest of the speech without serious mishap.


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

I’d probably be a teacher. I loved teaching part time, especially whenever I was assigned to an elementary school.


8) In two paragraphs or less, write your obituary.

Ayn Hunt-Amorelli: wife, mother and writer, who believed in aiming for the farthest star, knowing you will get at least half-way there.

Ayn Hunt The Writer: 

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

Despite having written non-fiction articles which were published occasionally throughout the years, it took the publication of my first novel, Unwilling Killers, to feel like a real writer. I was so excited, I couldn’t sleep nights. I kept waking up, thinking, “I really am a writer. I really am!” I walked around in a daze for weeks..


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


I’m in the middle of writing my fifth book. After my third novel, a Gothic featuring ghosts was published, I decided to stretch my creative wings and write a steamy Romance under Ayn Amorelli (my married name) By the time Contract Bride was published, I was hooked on the genre and immediately started another.


11) What are your future goals for your writing?


To write as many published books as I possibly can. To me, writing is cathartic, and helps keep me grounded.


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


I usually get up around four in the morning and put on the coffee and take my shower while hubby is still asleep.  By around five or so, I sit down at my desk which is in one of our spare bedrooms and re-read what I’ve written the day before. I don’t aim for a set number of pages, but just keep going until 10:30 or 11, with a few short breaks, then fix lunch, which is my first meal of the day.  That’s followed by an hour-long nap and straightening up the house. Then I work on emails and write for another hour or so until it’s time to fix dinner. After dinner with hubby and spending some quality time with him, I check my emails again, then go to bed around 9:30 and read a few pages of whatever book I’m reading before I turn out the light. It sounds boring, I guess, but I love it. I need a lot of time by myself, creating my own little worlds, living through the characters which come alive for me.


13) Why do you write?


To keep sane, to keep grounded in a world where the news is often bad.


14) What writer most inspires you? Why?


There are too many writers to name. I love both Romances and Mysteries of all types equally.


15) How do you define your writing?


I concentrate on the psychological make-up of the characters I create. There’s very little graphic violence in my books, but a lot of suspense. I’m a pantzer, in that I never know what my characters are going to do next. That’s part of the fun of writing for me. Once I create them, they take on a life of their own, calling the shots, surprising me.


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


No matter what type of book she wrote, it was always exciting.


Ayn Hunt The Details 

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

My websites are and     `


18) Is there a place readers can reach you?


Sure. My websites or at


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


Unwilling Killers, Obsessed, The Haunting, which are all under my pen name of Ayn Hunt, and Contract Bride, under Ayn Amorelli. Unwilling Killers and Contract Bride are also sold at


20) For new readers – what can they expect when they read your books?


A lot of excitement with unexpected twists and turns. I write about ordinary people being placed in extraordinary situations which tests their limits to the max – in both Romances and Gothics.

 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 never write a book that I would not go out and buy. And I don’t follow trends. I write what excites me, living through my characters, seeing what they see, tasting what they taste, feeling the roller coaster of emotions ranging from the sublime to sheer terror or heart-braking failures. I laugh when they do and cry when they have done their best and their best wasn’t always good enough to save them.

Posted by joyceanthony at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, 22 November 2007 2:23 AM EST
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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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