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The Eye-Dancers by Michael S. Fedison: Exclusive Interview with the Main Characters

eye_dancers_lowres3Ah, to be back in junior high school! The loneliness, the angst, the debilitating shyness, the budding teenage romance… Reading the Eye-Dancers was like a trip back in time for me as the four main characters struggled with growing up, each in their own way, in a strange and exciting setting.

I knew from the book’s description that the four boys are going to be whisked away to a fantasy world, and I was expecting something like Narnia, but actually it’s more like a subtly different parallel universe in which they must rescue a mysterious psychic girl. I’m always intrigued by weird psychic powers, parallel universes and alternative history, so I really enjoyed the ride!

I’ve had the chance to chat with all four of the main characters, Mitchell, Joe, Marc, and Ryan (author Michael S. Fedison chimes in too) and here is what they told me…

1. What are some of the things you like/dislike about this parallel universe you’re in?

Marc Kuslanski)  It’s fascinating, intellectually, seeing the differences in this world.  At first, it seemed like maybe we had traveled back in time.  But then–
Joe Marma)  Can it, Einstein!  Just can it, and seal the lid!  I had to listen to your stupid theories and crap for hundreds of pages in the book, I don’t need to hear any more now, got it?   As for me, I like the dog I met.  Duss.  Cool dog.
Mitchell Brant) [blushing] Well, if I’m being honest–not something I always am–I guess I would have to say meeting Heather’s the best thing, and it’s not even a close second.
Ryan Swinton)  Hmm.  I’m not sure!  I–
Joe) Oh, c’mon, Ryan.  Don’t always be so wishy-washy!
Ryan)  Well, then . . .  probably the best thing for me was, um, well, standing up to you, Joe.  You remember?  When we were in Tilly?  That really small town?  I hadn’t ever really done anything like that.  I needed to do that.
Joe)  Sorry I made you give an answer just now, bud.  But, yeah.  I never knew you had it in you.  I was impressed.
Ryan)  Oh, yeah, and the cars in the parallel universe are cool, too.
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2. If you ever escape from this weird parallel universe, would you ever want to come back here or to visit any other strange worlds?Mitchell)  Honestly, I’m not sure it matters.  ‘Cause if we do get back home, I know the guy who writes for us has plans for a sequel, so . . .
Me)  Careful, Mitchell!  I might just write you clean out of the sequel!
Mitchell)  Sorry, Mike.  I meant to say–Write on!  And yes!  I’d love to come back!
Me)  That’s better.

3. What is the scariest thing you’ve had to do in this adventure?

Joe)  Listen to Kuslanski talk, talk, talk!  Geez!  He’s wrong every freakin’ time!  And he just never quits.  He’s like a bad smell.
Marc)  [adjusting his glasses] Joe, I’m not always wrong.  In fact, I think I’m right approximately 99.97 percent of the time.
Ryan)  For me the scariest thing was cleanin’ Stu’s cabin.  That guy gave me the creeps.
Mitchell) Are you all forgetting the void?  What about going through the void?
Marc)  Exactly!  I aim to think about that more, figure out exactly what happened  . . .
Joe) [holding his head]  Here we go again . . .

 Questions for each individual:

1. Joe, you kind of had me worried about your aggressive tendencies. Have you ever practiced martial arts? Where did you learn to fight? 

Joe)  You know, I never did practice martial arts.  Never needed to, I guess.  I don’t know.  I’ve always just known what to do when the fists start flying.  It’s kind of like breathing for me.  It all just comes naturally.  Maybe it’s ’cause I’m so freakin’ short.  I’ve always had a chip on my shoulder.

2. Ryan, you’re the joker of the group. Do you have any other interests aside from making jokes?

Ryan)  Funny you should ask that, Sonya!  I was talking to Mike about that, telling him I wanted him to put my other big interest in the next book.  And he is!  I love magic, card tricks, performing . . .  Give me a deck of cards, and I’ll mesmerize you.  Not to brag or anything.  Just sayin’ . . .

3. To travel between worlds, you had to enter a weird tentacle-like thing. Marc, have you come up with any theories on what those “tentacles” were?

Marc) [his glasses falling down the bridge of his nose]  This has kept me up nights!  It really has.  I can’t say for sure–yet.  But to the best of my knowledge, they represent some sort of interdimensional space-time warp.  They are wormholes, bridging dimensions–in this case, bridging universes.  They may be related to black holes.  I will get back to you on this!  Believe me, I’m gonna spend a lot of my spare time thinking this over.

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4. Mitchell, you’re quite the comic book reader. What is it about the Fantastic Four that appeals to you?

Mitchell)  Well, I’ve personally met the actors who played the FF in the movies, and . . . [tilting his head, listening to something]  What’s that?  Oh.  Okay.  I was just told I should be 100% truthful with this answer.
Um . . . I just like their adventures.  Their stories take you to, well, kind of funny, since I did the same thing–but they sometimes take you to parallel worlds, and different dimensions.  They’re really imaginative.  And I like the characters, too.  They bicker a lot, but they’re like family,  When the chips are down, they’re all in.
Now, about the actors I met . . .

Hope you enjoyed the interview!

To purchase The Eye-Dancers…

on Amazon, please click here.

at Barnes and Noble, please click here.

at Smashwords, please click here.

at Kobo, please click here.

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Book Review: Ranger Martin and The Zombie Apocalypse

jacketHis focus fell on the trailer’s opening, on three of the undead rocking from side-to-side. Only their heads and shoulders were visible. Grabbing the golf club he found earlier along the side of the trailer, he rose with one intention: play golf.

– Ranger Martin and the Zombie Apocalypse by Jack Flacco

Ranger Martin doesn’t just kill zombies. He kills them with a flair for comedy, and he thoroughly enjoys his adventures. With amazing good humour for someone living in the midst of an apocalypse, Ranger Martin somewhat resembles Indiana Jones in his inventive ways of getting out of tight spots. His only companion is a teenager whom he nicknames Wildside. But as the story opens, Ranger stumbles upon two more youngsters, a ten-year-old kid named Jon and his teenage sister Matty.

When Jon marvels at his “Batcave” dwelling, this slayer of the undead says that he prefers Spiderman to Batman, and it’s easy to see why. Unlike the grim caped crusader, Ranger Martin is a warm, humorous person who doesn’t suffer from troubling psychological issues. Altogether, he’s a pretty cool dude.

Ranger is up against some big challenges, the biggest of which is getting the teenagers in his charge to get along. Indeed, the most interesting thing for me was seeing how the characters’ personal issues from before the apocalypse haunted them, and how they worked on resolving their differences between bouts of fighting undead creatures. As the characters’ back story is revealed, the zombie attacks pale in comparison to the suffering caused by “normal” society.

jack flaccoAs they try to solve the riddle of the zombies’ origin and go on a quest to destroy the zombies for good, Ranger and his crew face quite a few undead opponents. Jack Flacco excels at bringing the zombie-fighting action to life with his own brand of dynamic comic-book flavored violence. Speaking of flavor, he also injects much humour by describing gooey zombie brains as food items, everything from avocado to mint jelly, as in “Ranger then crashed his boot into its skull, spraying mint jelly everywhere.”

It’s a harsh and dangerous world, but Jack Flacco illuminates it with his heroes’ quirky personalities and camaraderie. The perfect mix of human drama and zombie thrills, Ranger Martin and the Zombie Apocalypse is a very lively (haha) tale of the undead.

Ranger Martin and the Zombie Apocalypse is due to be released on October 22, 2013.

To find out more about Jack Flacco, check out his highly entertaining site http://jackflacco.com/.

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Dryad Prologue

 This is how the Dryad novel originally began, but my writerly instincts told me to cut this part. I removed it from the novel, but I still think it’s a good intro. So I’ll add it here as a sort of optional prologue….

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Reading on the balcony was one of Natalie’s favourite things to do despite some mysterious pranksters — she supposed it was the neighbourhood kids — stealing her books and magazines if she left them out for any amount of time. Little did she know that a dryad had been stalking her house.

Rosewood trees sprawled in a long canopy all down the quiet street. From where Natalie sat, she could see their greenish tops, slightly grey with city dust, rippling in the breeze. Being the wife of an English diplomat in Colombia, she spent many hours alone on her wide balcony, lounging in a deck chair and reading Narcissism Carnival, to which she subscribed every year religiously.

Then something disquieting happened: she realized that her tall cocktail glass was nearly empty, so she got up with a sigh and went into the apartment to make a new mojito, leaving the magazine to be leafed through by the wind.

The dryad saw her opportunity. It was only about a ten foot drop, and she leaped straight down from the roof, landing almost soundlessly on the rug-covered balcony. She snatched up the magazine, stuck it into a messenger back that was slung across her shoulder and took a few ripe mango fruits out of the bag. The skin of the fruit was dark yellow tinged with red on one side. She put them down on the table where the magazine had been — for dryads never steal. If they take something, they must replace it with something of equal value.

The dryad did not know how much the mango was worth in human currency, but she thought the woman would find it very appropriate. She had been watching that woman for the last year, and thought that she could use much more fresh fruit and exercise. Also, the dryad thought, realizing that she was being a touch hypocritical, what’s the use of sitting around reading junk magazines all day?

With a quick look around, she began climbing down via the mock columns of the facade. Fortunately, the columns were filigreed with images of plants and leaves, which provided plenty of hand and foot holds. The street was deserted at this siesta hour, and nobody saw her descend. She leaped the last few feet and walked down the shady street with complete nonchalance, just a young, fit Argentinian woman wearing shorts and a tank top, taking a leisurely walk. The streets were lined with tipuana tipu, a rosewood tree whose winged seeds spun like helicopter blades in the breeze, and she walked through a rain of twirling wings.

She soon picked up the pace to a run, and when she reached the outskirts of the city, which blended into dense jungle, she changed into her dryad form: the green eyes expanded until they were round  and luminous like a cat’s. But that was not the only point in which they differed from human eyes: her eyes seemed to have a life of their own, as if one could see green leaves stirring gently in the breeze within them. Her skin took on a pale green hue, and her hair changed from dark brown to bright orange. She ran on through the thick jungle.

Three more days, and she would be back in her forest.