FROM THE DESK OF
DONA PENZA TATTLE, ESQ.
ASSOCIATE WRYE BALDERDASH
"Library?" Tattle popped up out of her seat and twirled with excitement. "I adore the library! Can we go right this second. Is this a cuddling with a book event or a seek and find outing or..."
"Interview!" Wrye explained. "We're going on our Love of Literature Leap to interview Keith W. Willis, author of the fantasy novel TRAITOR KNIGHT."
"Ooooh, castles and knights and dragons, oh my! Let's go!"
"After you." Wrye stepped aside, allowing Tattle to leap first.
Tattle appeared in the library, medieval gown puffing up around her, and dragon smoke haloing her head. Fluttering her hands at the smoke, she coughed and simultaneously tapped Keith W. Willis on the shoulder. “Hi, ready for your interview?”
Catching his stunned look, Wrye, wearing clanging armor, added, “We arranged this a while back? You know, for CBG?”
Noting the author kept blinking as if chasing away an hallucination, Tattle and Wrye looked at each others’ outfits. Wrye pointed at his helmet. “A bit much.”
Tattle looked down at her bodice. “You think?”
Another puff of smoke and their garments changed to everyday wear.
“Ta da!” announced Wrye.
“Wow, very cool. I especially like the smoke effects. Did you need a lot of training to learn that? In Kilbourne, the wizards have to go to school for years to learn how to spell.”
“We bought the book SPELLS FOR DUMMIES." Wrye grinned.
"We thought we’d be interviewing you in the library at Kilbourne, but this will do.” Tattle smiled and took a seat. “I must say, TRAITOR KNIGHT sounds yummy. And from the reviews, we know it’s a hit, with amazing, complex characters and a sprinkling of humor. Can’t wait to read it, and I’m just going to blast out my first question.” Looks serious and grim. “Who is the Jabberwock and why should we beware? Do we need a special charm to protect ourselves?”
"Ah, we’re getting into the frumiously metaphysical stuff already? Very well—I am the Jabberwock. You are the Jabberwock. We are all the Jabberwock. We have met the Jabberwock, and He is Us (apologies to Walt Kelly).”
“As for why you should beware the Jabberwock—I would think the ‘teeth that bite, the claws that catch’ thing would be a dead giveaway. Protective charms, eh? Hmm. Only two things I know of. One is a white rabbit’s foot, minus the white rabbit. The other is a judicious singing of carols. Lewis Carolls.”
Wrye nodded with comprehension. “From the legendary works of Tolkien, would you rather be Aragorn II a.k.a. Strider, Legolas the Sindarin Elf of the Woodland Realm, or Frodo Baggins, hobbit of the Shire, and why?
"Aragorn, no question. The last time I tried to use a bow a la Legolas, I nearly skewered two camp counsellors, a tent mate and an outhouse. I think I’ll stick with my trusty sword. The world, generally speaking, will be a much better place for it.”
“Good choice!” Tattle happily fiddles with her Arwen Evenstar earrings. “If you had Commander Morgan McRobbie over for dinner, what would you serve?”
"Ale.” Notes that Tattle and Wrye are both still gazing expectantly at him. Their stares become a bit strained. ”Oh, you meant food? Sorry. I’d likely serve a nice joint of beef, flame roasted. Assuming you can get your dragon to cooperate and roast the joint without snarfing it himself…. Potatoes and peas to round it out, and a fruit cobbler for dessert. And ale."
Wrye leaned forward. “Man to man, be honest, I know you have an old red canoe. I know waterways can be deceivingly calm even while they are tumbling wildly. Have you ever lost your paddles?”
"I’ve never been up the creek without a paddle.” Keith looks around to make sure they’re not being overheard. “I have, however, lost a lot of other things over the years. My keys. My car. My mind. Of all the things I’ve lost in life, I miss my mind the most.”
Tattle thought of the time she fell out of a rented canoe but decided not to share, and wondered what was wrong with losing one's mind. Hers had been missing for years. “From our snooping… errr researching, we discovered you and your wife have a wonderful, tight-knit relationship. Which of the female characters you created remind you mostly of your wife?”
"Allow me to start off by saying that none of the characters in Traitor Knight, male, female, or draconic, are based on real people. That being said, I think you could safely say that Lady Marissa duBerry and my darling wife Patty share come common traits. Intelligence, wit, and a definitely feisty nature.”
Wrye stood, walked about the table, and then abruptly sat again, straddling a chair. “Let’s talk dragons! What is the best way to avoid getting fried?”
"A trick question, eh? Dragons never fry. They’ll roast you, absolutely. Bake you, on occasion. Actually, knight baked in armor, or ‘tinned’, as they like to call it, is considered a dragon delicacy. But you can trust me when I say a dragon will never fry you. So you no longer have to worry."
Wrye still looked worried!
“A cockatoo told us you also write cozy mysteries. And yes, I speak cockatoo. Which universe would you prefer to exist in, that of a mystery or that of fantasy?” Tattle queried.
Keith hastily draws his sword, looking around wildly. Spying no danger he sheepishly sheathes the sword. “Oh. You said cockatoo, didn’t you? I thought for a moment you said Cockatrice. And we all know how deadly those can be.”
“So, I guess I’d rather exist in a fantasy world—because then I can make it anything I like. In a mystery universe, things have to follow a certain inexorable order which precludes that freedom. But living in a fantastical universe, if I want unicorns, I can jolly well get in unicorns. Dragons—you betcha. It’s pretty much a free-for-all. Although I try not to dream of misogynistic megalomaniacs bent on world domination, in case I get one. Oh, wait, I just turned on the TV, and… excuse me, I’ve got to go create another universe, quick!”
"That was such fun! Thank you for taking the time to chat with us. Next time, bring the dragon. Wrye is great and fluid in dragonesse."
Another leap has Tattle and Wrye bouncing into the historical, romantic mystery, Joyce Proell's A WICKED TRUTH.
"Oh no, we have to help her!" Tattle wails as they find themselves locked in a crude cell-like room with a drugged young girl.
Wrye gently turns Tattle away and snaps them out of the prologue just as the door opens, revealing the jowly face of an older man dressed in gentleman's attire. "Monster!" Wrye mutters. "What's going to happen to her?"
"It isn't good," Wrye whisked his friend away to the first chapter. "Best not to dwell, m'literary empathetic. This book is a wonderful historical, mystery treat with a good dose of sweet romance and lots of Doing the Bear but dark evil exists as well."
Tattle romped through the chapters, big eyed and totally engrossed. "Yes, yes, yes. A story to be enjoyed, especially on a dark and stormy night," she parrots a teasing groaner cliché. The next moment, Tattle is all brightness, "Oooh, so this is a Cady Delafield Mystery and we're in the Victorian Era. Hence the reference to Doing the Bear, Victorian slang for hugging." She took in the prim and proper settings of a lovely boarding home.
"Couldn't help meself. They had such grand sayings."
Does her infamous eye-roll to the heavens and stars. "Just explain on the way, m'dizzy age bud."
"Calling me old just cause my elder years makes you dizzy to think on them?" He huffed, thinking hey I was supposed to pull out the yesteryear sayings.
Grins. "Oh don't get as Mad as Hops (excitable), just teasing. Now, back to the book."
Calming himself, he offers, "Yes, but of course, the boarding house is where Mrs. Demsey hosts four female boarders, including Cady. Though she adores her family, Cady needs a respite from Grandmother Ophelia's somewhat over-bearing demeanor. They, her three sisters, including twins and mother, had lived with her grandmother since Cady's father's death. Unfortunately, the matriarch doesn't care for Cady's fiancé Doyle Flanagan."
Feigning a semi-swoon, Tattle sighed. "He is hot as roasting chestnuts and as romantic as Robert Browning wooing Elizabeth Barrett. However, Ophelia can't see beyond his past. He had previously been accused of murdering his wife, and though acquitted, Ophelia feels trouble follows him about. Cady, though, knows he is the essence of decency and loves him beyond reason. They are truly ready to marry, and believe nothing can stop that until Sophie Newberg, a friend of Doyle's deceased wife appears, begging for his assistance, which insures risk. Her sister, Sarah, is missing. A seventeen year old never returned home from school. Most thought she eloped with her new beau, Mr. Driscoll, but Sophie believes something horrible has happened, and her father refuses to pull the police into the matter. More concerned for how things appear than the truth."
"Doyle is reluctant to be brought into police business so close to having been exonerated and is quite determined to never put his fiancé in danger again, a tragedy in his own past connects him to Sophie's pain. He knows he has to help. Of course, the genteel Cady, the Jammiest Bit of Jam, (perfect young female) backs Doyle in every way, besides, she is as tough and stubborn as her Grandmother Ophelia, and even accompanies Doyle to the morgue." Wrye looked pleased he remembered another old saying.
"Nor does Cady object to his friendship with Inspector Jack Dinsmore, the one officer who believed in Doyle's innocence. In fact, Doyle and Cady invite him to dinner and include her sister Grace. The instant attraction is obvious, but Jake is soon involved in the murder of an unidentified young girl as well as that of his boss, Captain Vernon Lester. Both on the same night, both intensely mysteriously. Are they connected? Later, in the story, an eleven year old is abducted and soon afterward, someone in Cady's family. Yeooowl!" Tattle sang softly. "...Ya got trouble, my friend, right here, I say trouble right here..."
With a wince at her not-so-on-key voice, Wrye added, "Meanwhile, a sinister business man Hollis Grover along with his cruel, but slimy suave brother have their own personal battles, but are they the red-herrings, or truly the evil behind white slavery and prostitution? Intermingled with it all is a self-serving police captain, a tawdry voice coach, an insensitive father, a thieving roommate, and Doyle's own mysterious past. Though the devoted couple, Cady and Doyle, are determined to overcome the turmoil surrounding them, fate just might have other plans."
Contagious excitement accompanied Tattle's words, "This is a genre mixture of pure delight! The pages turn on their own, and the characters' voices are rich, clear and identifiable. I feel as if Cady and Doyle were friends and I wanted to step right into their world. Well, maybe not the parts when they were in danger!" Offers a little chicken squeal for emphasis. "The back story was also easy to follow despite not having read the previous novels in the series, and the tale itself hankered back to a time when a plotline, well-structured prose, literary layering and a charming love story still existed in a romance novel. Though sweet, it still had plenty of heat, yet bed-room bliss wasn't the sole reason for the plot. This made the entire read enchanting and refreshing. Kudos! I really enjoyed having a storyline with a side of oooh-la-la."
"At the same time, the novelist brought out the underbelly of the Victorian world's veil of propriety and purity. The contrast between good and evil was as stark and sharp as black and white. There was no holding back on just how harrowing and bleak living without station and wealth could be, how the lower class could be taken advantage of, and how evil finds its way into every nook of life. Because of this distinction, the book had just the right level of a chill, taking it a notch above a cozy mystery," Wrye commented.
"All in all, this is an exceptional story from a prolific and talented author, who created her own genre, and we are consummately hooked! If you want a read that crosses every T and dots every I, you have to grab and gobble up Joyce Proell's A WICKED TRUTH."
With that, they dashed off and slipped into one of CBG's Burst Books, within the sci-fi world of Michael W. Davis' HOME WORLD. Tattle blinked back tears as she looked about the amazing story. "I miss Big Mike," she said with a sigh.
"As do I. He was a good man with an exceptional talent not just with words but he had a big heart, always generous with his time, always mentoring other authors and promoting their works, always writing for his readership." Wyre smiled softly in remembrance of the giving, caring man who left our world all too soon. "I believe, we get to visit with him through his writing."
Tattle's smile returned. "Yes, in this way, he will always be with us."
Together, they fully merge into the story of HOME WORLD.
Wrye dove into the pages, revealing the bones of this excellent sci-fi thriller. "Derek Fagab and Marla Falco had covered each other's backs from childhood, where they barely managed to survive as Nulls, non-classed citizens, living on Home World. They had squirmed their way out of this abused and dehumanized existence and served the oppressive dictators of Earthcom as warriors, Tier Five, of the Tellurian Entente. In this Class system, it was difficult to rise to the next Tier and that would only happen if they even managed to survive."
"That would take becoming the best of their kind, winning skirmish after skirmish," Tattle winced at the slaughter. "Problem was to do that they had to destroy Nulls, to keep them impoverished and corralled like beasts in an over-populated pen. The morality of it disturbed Derek, for he was once a Null. Plus, deep inside he knew the entire class system was wrong."
"Marla had less sympathy, believing any Null could brave their way out by being tough and being willing to take chances with their lives." Does a double nod at Marla's spunk and tenacity. "She wanted to climb into a higher Tier and she wanted to do it with Derek. For a good amount of time, they were both field-mates and bedmates." Wrye whistles with approval.
"Until, he wanted something more than Marla. He wanted a child, and found a woman, Yana, that wanted the same thing. Though Marla's and Derek's friendship remained strong on the battlefield despite her rising above him in rank, they had a personal rift." Pouting, Tattle doesn't reveal she was sympathetic and secretly wished they could heal that fissure.
"Still, Derek couldn't have a child unless he became a Tier Four, and further ambitions to provide a good life for that child by rising to a Tier Three. Only, to do so, he had to survive a secret mission and that mission would take years. Yana said she wouldn't wait those years."
Tattle continued, "At the same time, many believed that Earthcom was crumbling from the inside out. Would it? And what about Marla, would the love and bond between her and Derek outlast his more sedate feelings for Yana? Would either of them survive the latest war to retrieve something mysterious that the Toppers of Tiers One and Two needed to survive?"
"Michael had a way of blending the best realistic futuristic technology reminiscent of Star Trek while the swift pacing and battle intensity was suggestive of Storm Troopers. However, unlike most action driven plotlines, HOME WORLD had a depth and humanity that would equal any dramatic saga. Sub-plots played throughout as an irresistible undercurrent, hinting at a stunning revelation that kept the pages turning."
"I've enjoyed everyone of Big Mike's books, and this one will not disappoint. If his name wasn't on the book, you would still know it was his work. He has a unique style of writing that mesmerizes, brings you right into the inner voice of the characters and the inner conflict of the plot. And just when you think you are about to figure out the ah-ha moment, you discover you didn't and there is another ah-ha smacking you upside the head. His talent with plot development, depth of character and realistic dialogue was remarkable. I enjoyed this book tremenduously, and recommend it needs a place on your cyber bookshelf!"
"Home World by Michael W. Davis is a winner. Read it and don't plan on sleeping."
Hope you enjoyed our leap into our reviews and interview. Until next time, keep reading!
Dona Penza Rutabaga Tattle, Esq. and Associate Wrye Balderdash
of Blather City, Wannachat
Created and written by: Angelica Hart and Zi
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