A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part Seven: Blog Forty-Five)

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part Seven: Blog Forty-Five)

By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris, co-authors of the Rita Walker series

That night, with the two moons shining overhead, Amelie leans against the main mast.  The Captain sent a fire signal that the rest of the crew would be returning on the ‘morn.  The girls, who will be up throughout the night, are sitting or lying on the deck, wrapped in blankets around “One Eye”.  The First Mate is sitting on a chest full of adapted brooms and mops, singing while playing her mandolin.

“We are heading back to sea, back to sea,” she hears “One Eye” sing.

“May a strong wind fill the sails

To carry us to our destination

But not a gale, not a gale….”

As “One Eye” continues to sing Amelie sees “Dizzying Blade’s” door open.  Wrapped in a blanket, her hair disheveled, steps out Melinda.  The Cannibal’s canine teeth glint in the dual moonlight.  There is a sensuous movement to the Cannibal’s steps that reminds her of a large cat.  She sees Melinda sit with the other girls.  Amelie thought the girls would be terrified by the Cannibal but they seem drawn to her.

Amelie, along with the others gasp as Janet jumps to her feet and lets her blanket fall to the deck.  She’s only wearing a loose night gown; nearly see through in the light of the two moons.  Shaking she points a finger at the Cannibal and shouts in a shaky voice, “Eat me and no one else!”

“That’s not for me dear,” Melinda replies with a look of shock on her face.  “There are some others I think here who would be most happy to oblige, and some on my ship.”

Amelie notices “One Eye” has stopped playing and now has a mischievous grin.  “I think she means, literally,” “One Eye” says to the Cannibal.

“Oh no,” Melinda says with a shake of her head towards Janet.  “I detest that, and only do it when one moon covers the other.  That will be a long time from now dear.”

“Well,” Janet replies raising her chin and squinting at the Cannibal, “I will stay with you until you return to your own ship.”  As Janet is talking Amelie notices Janet is wearing a thin string around her waist with a hardly noticeable sheath hanging from it.  She glances closer and believes Janet has a fish skinning knife in the sheath.

Dan Watt is the author of the epic dark fantasy fiction book BARD

Taylor Norris, RMT, as First Mate ‘One Eye’ Olanis:  taynorris@gmail.com (Kitchener-Waterloo)

With thanks to Joanne Gosling (Navigator ‘Storm Caller’ Master Jo Anne): Joanne is an Interior Decorator who specializes in closets: Jgosling@calclosets.com Calclosetsjoanne or Joannegosling22@gmail.com

Leah Weir (Helmswoman ‘Wheel Turner’ Synthia): model and cover editor;

Andraya Watt as Assistant-Master-at-Arms, Amelie

With Thanks To:

Fire & Steel for the Medieval Rapier:  http://fireandsteel.ca/

Alex Watt for background pictures

Daiana Duca for background pictures

Krissy Karmaschek for background pictures

Book Review of Darren Joy’s upcoming novel “A Malignant Fetch”, book two of the Plagueborn novels

By Dan Watt

Available Nov. 8

Book Review of Darren Joy’s upcoming novel “A Malignant Fetch”, book two of the Plagueborn novels

By Dan Watt

Joy’s second book in the Plagueborn series: A Malignant Fetch, is just as exciting and engrossing as his first novel: A Viral Imperium.

A Malignant Fetch flows like a great movie.  The writing is engrossing; the cinematography vivid; with knowledgeable actors portraying fallible and real characters; all coming together under Joy’s superb direction. 

The story focuses on the unwitting growth of Threadfin Todder into a viral mage.  We also learn more about the history of the High Mage, Rasnal Nalrost; the former Aidari, Wither; and why Lorn Larthuz stole something that could change worlds.

As the story progresses we become familiar with the role of Shraeds and Torments and what they are.  However, it’s Threadfin Todder and his connection to the Fetch that have us riding on a raft down rapids we don’t want to escape. 

Joy hasn’t just written another epic fantasy story but one that swirls with dark fantasy and dark humour.  It’s a story that is both physical and simultaneously metaphysical.

A Malignant Fetch is available on November 8th

Darren Joy can be reached at:  darrenjoy.com

You can also learn more about the first book in the Plagueborn series “A Viral Imperium” at this website.

A Meditation on Place

If you want to look through a window, a doorway, or as you stand nearby at non-fiction scenes described in vivid verse, follow the poetry of Shayleene MacReynolds.

The Wild Heart of Life

Stop
Take a breath
What do you see?
A teardrop stain, like dripping condensation on a window
It smears against the pad of my right thumb.
Green fingers of an aloe reaching out and to the light
Rotting soil
A black gnat sitting on a spore.
My hair is everywhere
Coming out in clumps it hangs like Spanish moss from the branches of an armchair
Wrapped around my son’s big toe
Be still
I whisper and unwind.
Cold coffee congealing in a mug
A daydream hovers near
The dog pees on the carpet
A clock lies dripping on the floor—
Nonsense
Where has all my time gone?
Dollar store dinosaurs and perfect penmanship
A gauze mask bent along the bridge
Sky blue
I sit in search of words
But words are everywhere.
With the fine strands of my braided hair I tether myself back to earth
Stay, she says,

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A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part Seven: Blog Forty-Four)

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part Seven: Blog Forty-Four)

By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris, co-authors of the Rita Walker series

Without thinking she pulls on her capris, wraps her hair in her bandana and slides her tiny throwing knives inside the cloth near her ears.  She’s barefooted and only wearing a night gown.  Oh well, if death greets her above she won’t have to worry whether she combed her hair or not.

She hurries up to the deck with her Ninjato in her right hand and a Spanish Stiletto dagger she borrowed from “Dizzying Blade’s” horde of weapons, in her left.  She never, thought much, of fighting with two swords; too much movement from the waist.  On the deck she gapes up at something towering over two girls and falls to her rump.  Once she recovers from the shock she rolls back onto her feet, and brandishing both weapons moves towards the giant—she tries to remember the name—octopus!    But—an octopus has eight legs and—she counts ten on this tentacle limbed creature with the really big oblong head and gruesomely large eyes.  Though, she admits to herself, the vibrant red of its skin with the fascinating orange dots is appealing.  However, this—this dixopus—will regret boarding the Nague.

The dixopus rears its head back and its red and orange flesh turns darker, almost black like oil.

“Maybe don’t attack it,” she hears “One Eye” shout in a non aggressive voice from the fo’c’sle.  “Might be reading to cover you in oil, which would also get on the Nague, and that would be bad.”

“Nice dixopus,” Amelie says, lowering her weapons.  She stands proudly with her chest out, her chin up, and her eyelids half closed.  There is still tenseness throughout her body.  Prepared to dodge or attack any sudden movement made by the dixopus’s.

She’s sees one of the forward most tentacles gingerly raise up and ever so slowly touch the tip of the pommel of her lowered ninjato.  Amelie does not move.  The end of the tentacle smoothly caresses her hand around the hilt and slides down to the blade.  The tentacle releases the ninjato and pulls back.

There is utter silence as she contemplates what this is about.  But then she believes she understands.  “Thupeltha,” she calls to one of the girls who was screaming.  “Ask our First Mate to give you two practice swords from our First Mate and slide them towards the dixopus.”

Thupeltha is one of the younger girls, perhaps ten or eleven.  She is tiny with dark hair and eyes, and her skin is olive coloured.  Amelie tries to remember where Thupeltha came from.  Life had taught numerous times that, unlike appearance, an individual’s attitude is from their upbringing, and a reflection of where they grew up.

“A what?” Thupeltha asks as she hurries towards “One Eye”.  The First Mate is already heading towards “Wheel Turner’s” room to retrieve the wooden swords.

“Dixopus,” Amelie says with irritation.  “That,” she adds, pointing at the dixopus.

As she waits for the wooden swords Amelie notices fleshy siphons at the sides of the dixopus’s head sucking in and out.  The dixopus is starting to look asphyxiated.  Its vibrant red skin with its orange circles is paling quickly.  Thupeltha slides the two wooden swords, one to Amelie and the other to the dixopus.  Hurriedly the dixopus grabs the wooden sword and walks rapidly with nine legs to the gunwale.  Amelie blinks and the dixopus is gone over the side.

“I am too superior of a fighter for her, him—it,” she says with a grin.

Dan Watt is the author of the epic dark fantasy fiction book BARD

Taylor Norris, RMT, as First Mate ‘One Eye’ Olanis:  taynorris@gmail.com (Kitchener-Waterloo)

With thanks to Joanne Gosling (Navigator ‘Storm Caller’ Master Jo Anne): Joanne is an Interior Decorator who specializes in closets: Jgosling@calclosets.com Calclosetsjoanne or Joannegosling22@gmail.com

Leah Weir (Helmswoman ‘Wheel Turner’ Synthia): model and cover editor;

Andraya Watt as Assistant-Master-at-Arms, Amelie

With Thanks To:

Fire & Steel for the Medieval Rapier:  http://fireandsteel.ca/

Alex Watt for background pictures

Daiana Duca for background pictures

Krissy Karmaschek for background pictures of Saugeen Shores

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part Seven: Blog Forty-Three)

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part Seven: Blog Forty-Three)

By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris, co-authors of the Rita Walker series

Once the throats of the kept fish are slit in kindness with a thank you for giving themselves up for sustenance Amelie takes her time in the hold to rest.  She knows the corpses of the fish will be thrown into barrels to be rolled into the gallery where ‘Unibrow’ Nippie and Janice will skin them and hang them and coat them with brine to dry out for storage.  That means the crew will be eating fried fish skin with seaweed soup for the next while.

Amelie closes her eyes with a sigh.  All of ‘Dizzying Blade’s’ weapons are now stored in the Captain’s and ‘Wheel Turner’s’ rooms.  Such an interesting assortment of fighting utensils, and of course, Arsema is away.  She already misses sparring with Arsema under ‘Dizzying Blades’ caustic tutelage.  As she falls asleep she envisions her and Arsema practicing deeks and ducks, spins, switching weapons from one hand to the other, and fighting with a weapon in each hand.  As they practice she hears girls screaming.

She opens her eyes and listens.  Starlight filters through the partially open windows that were once for the now never used cannons.  She realizes the screams are not coming from her dream, but are real, and happening. 

Dan Watt is the author of the epic dark fantasy fiction book BARD

Taylor Norris, RMT, as First Mate ‘One Eye’ Olanis:  taynorris@gmail.com (Kitchener-Waterloo)

With thanks to Joanne Gosling (Navigator ‘Storm Caller’ Master Jo Anne): Joanne is an Interior Decorator who specializes in closets: Jgosling@calclosets.com Calclosetsjoanne or Joannegosling22@gmail.com

Leah Weir (Helmswoman ‘Wheel Turner’ Synthia): model and cover editor;

Andraya Watt as Assistant-Master-at-Arms, Amelie

With Thanks To:

Fire & Steel for the Medieval Rapier:  http://fireandsteel.ca/

Alex Watt for background pictures

Daiana Duca for background pictures

Krissy Karmaschek for background pictures

Book Review of Nandita Khandelwal’s “Climate Change – Health Connection”

By Dan Watt

Available as an ebook on Amazon

Nandita Khandelwal’s “Climate Change – Health Connection” explains everything you want to know about climate change and how it affects Earth’s: water, land, and every species.  She also explains how it affects our overall health and the nutrition value of our foods.

“Climate Change – Health Connection” is an enjoyable and thought provoking read.  At the end of each chapter Khandelwal asks questions that encourage all of us to make a difference.   This is the perfect book for the general public, and as an educational resource for schools, from junior high, to college and university.

Khandelwal writes in understandable language, backed up by scientific research. The structure of the book, and its chapters, are a great template for further books on climate change, and for other environmental subjects.

This is a positive book.  Khandelwal explains what climate change is, how it affects every aspect of our life, and offers suggestions on what we can do to alleviate the situation.  She encourages us to work with the government as well as special interest groups.

“Climate Change – Health Connection” is available through Amazon at:

India

Canada

United States

United Kingdom

For other countries try typing amazon (followed by your countries name)

Nandita Khandelwal has a Master’s degree in Geology from Rajasthan University, and is a certified Nutritionist through ISSA.

Nandita can be reached at:

@nanditakhandelwal

YouTube channel:  Nandita Khandelwal

Stay tuned for our Zoom interview…   

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part Seven: Blog Forty-Two)

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part Seven: Blog Forty-Two)

By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris, co-authors of the Rita Walker series

While the rest of the remaining crew pull in the nets, under the instruction of Aarini, Amelie is trying to teach Mesi and Althea how to fight with wooden swords.  In between words of encouragement and curses under her breath, she glances under the fo’c’sle at ‘Dizzying Blade’s’ room; where the Cannibal women, Melinda, now resides.

“Don’t worry about flicking your hair,” Amelie tells Althea as she attempts again to demonstrate the proper combination of footwork and arm movement when using a sword. 

“But I want her to know who the better fighter is by showing my superior confidence,” Althea replies in her determined Egyptian accent. 

“She knows I’m a better fighter, and much more beautiful,” Mesi says in her soft Pilipino accent, flicking her own hair back.

Amelie bunches up her shoulders and is about go snarl at the two girls when she hears Aarini shout out, “Pakad! Hold!”  Amelie instantly draws out her two tiny throwing knives, that she keeps secreted in her bandana, as she spins around towards Aarini.

Stuck within the interlocking ropes of the net, are two Dolphin Tails, seemingly stuck together.  “Qu’est-ce que c’est?” Amelie says to herself.

“Get the First Mate,” Aarini tells one of the girls, who was pulling in the rope.  The gaped mouthed girl stares for a moment longer, before rushing off to wake up ‘One Eye’.

“Alive?” Amelie asks as she slides the knives back into her bandana, and draws her Ninjato out.

The tails of the two Dolphin Tails slap, and with a loud cry they try to separate within the ropes.  The one underneath has breasts, and well, the one on top does not try to roll over, but slides off.

“Get them out!” she hears a groggy, First Mate Oli, shout out.  She sees “One Eye” hurry towards the captured Dolphin Tails.  “Loosen the bridles!”

As Aarini loosens the bridles Amelie steps closer.  It’s up to her to protect her shipmates.  She has seen Dolphin Tails occasionally; either their heads peaking above the sea’s surface, or their flukes slapping the water as they dive, but never this close.

The upper body of both the female and male Dolphin Tails is humanish.  Only the fluked tails and thick rubbery skin that runs from the back of their head to a blowhole near the bottom of their neck, gives them a mammalian appearance.  She peers closer; and sees thick webbing between their unusually long fingers.  She leans even closer, to get a better look at why the male has rolled onto his back.

As the nets are pulled off, both the Dolphin Tails walk rapidly on their hands, hurrying towards the rail of the port gunwale.

“Help them over!” First Mate Oli shouts as she gets under the female Dolphin Tails’ one arm.  Aarini gets under the other.  Amelie sees the female try to fight them off at first, but as ‘One Eye’ talks to her in her sing-song voice, the female lets them help her onto, and over the gunwale.  The male, with his bulging arms and back muscles, refuses any help as he pulls himself over.  A number of the girls run to the port side.  ‘One Eye’ yells for the others to go starboard as the Nagua starts to list.  

Amelie shrugs, ignoring ‘One Eye’s’ warning, and looks over the port side.  She’s the current Master-at-Arms, so she can do almost anything she wants—because whatever she does is important.  The male Dolphin Tail is slapping the water with his fists.  He points a webbed finger at the rigging.  Amelie sees ‘One Eye’ pull a section of netting to the port side.  The male Dolphin Tail makes a fist again and shakes it at the net.

“I understand,” ‘One Eye’ shouts to him before turning to the rest of the crew on the deck, and telling them, “I have no idea if he understands what I’m saying, “but we’ll have to figure out another way to catch fish.  Now everyone, knock out the fish, so they don’t suffer, and throw anything we can’t eat overboard, so it can live a long and cheery life.”

“Like we did with the amorphous Dolphin Tails?” Aarini asks, with a mischievous grin.

“Just so,” ‘One Eye’ says.  “Thank you for not killing them,” she says to Amelie.

“De rien–you’re welcome,” Amelie replies adding the English translation.  With a beaming smile she sweeps down into a low, flamboyant bow.

Amelie modeled by Andraya Watt
Throwing Knives and Ninjato by Fire and Steel
Gemstone necklace by Street Colours

Dan Watt is the author of the epic dark fantasy fiction book BARD

Taylor Norris, RMT, as First Mate ‘One Eye’ Olanis:  taynorris@gmail.com (Kitchener-Waterloo)

With thanks to Joanne Gosling (Navigator ‘Storm Caller’ Master Jo Anne): Joanne is an Interior Decorator who specializes in closets: Jgosling@calclosets.com Calclosetsjoanne or Joannegosling22@gmail.com

Leah Weir (Helmswoman ‘Wheel Turner’ Synthia): model and cover editor;

Andraya Watt as Assistant-Master-at-Arms, Amelie

With Thanks To:

Fire & Steel for the Medieval Rapier:  http://fireandsteel.ca/

Alex Watt for background pictures

Daiana Duca for background pictures

Krissy Karmaschek for background pictures

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part Seven: Blog Forty-One)

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part Seven: Blog Forty-One)

By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris, co-authors of the Rita Walker series

(Part Seven) Amelie stands beside Arsema on the Fo’c’sle before the First Mate and the Navigator.  Amelie glances at an oil lamp hanging from an eyehook on the foremast.  The lamp cast shadows as it swings in the strengthening wind.  The ‘Ship Builder’ and ‘Navigator’ readapted an oil lamp that would have used whale oil or kerosene with one that now uses a plant oil.  They called the plant hairy olive balls because it tastes and looks like olives but is about the size of a teacup and has fibrous hairs growing out of the skin.  According to the ‘Navigator’ the ‘Ship Builder’ says it burns longer then whale, kerosene, and olive oil from Earth would.

“Arsema,” the First Mate says with a mischievous grin, “you will now be assistant Ship Protector.” 

Amelie sees Arsema’s eyes drop.

“You will be known as Master-at-arms of the sea, until our own ‘Dizzying Blade’ returns.”  Arsema looks up and smiles.

“Amelie, you are assistant Master-at-arms.   However, you will remain in your own hammock within the hold but moved closer to the hatch.  All the weapons must be moved out of the Master-at-arms’ room while our guest stays there.”

“Who is our guest?” Amelie asks in her uppity but enchanting French accent.

“A Cannibal named Melinda,” the ‘One Eye’ replies with a sardonic grin.

“Can we feed Mesi and Althea to her?” Arsema asks in her sarcastic but lovely Eritrea accent.  They all laugh.

“They’re still at each other?” ‘One Eye’ asks.

“Still, as always, sir,” Amelie says.

“Now that they’re bodies are more like a woman’s,” Arsema says as she looks around to make sure no one else is listening, “they compare their physiques.  Mesi presses out her big boobs as she glares up at Althea, and Althea measures her own with her hands and while glaring down at Mesi, says hers are actually much bigger.”

“Thank the two moons that they’re not men comparing something else,” ‘One Eye’ says with a grin.  “Arsema,” she continues in a more serious note.  “You and ‘Ship Protector’ are to return with ‘Storm Caller’ and help the Captain and the ‘Ship Builder’ release the Surprise from its current perch upon a jagged boulder.  That will mean diving underneath to check the damage.”  She turns to Amelie.  “Have Althea and Mesi practice sword fighting while the others pull in the nets to see what we’ve caught to eat.”

Amelie groans and nods her head.  Taking in a deep breath she says in Arsema’s direction, “Oh to be a mermaid at this moment.”

Dan Watt is the author of the epic dark fantasy fiction book BARD

Taylor Norris, RMT, as First Mate ‘One Eye’ Olanis:  taynorris@gmail.com (Kitchener-Waterloo)

With thanks to Joanne Gosling (Navigator ‘Storm Caller’ Master Jo Anne): Joanne is an Interior Decorator who specializes in closets: Jgosling@calclosets.com Calclosetsjoanne or Joannegosling22@gmail.com

Leah Weir (Helmswoman ‘Wheel Turner’ Synthia): model and cover editor;

Andraya Watt as Assistant-Master-at-Arms, Amelie

With Thanks To:

Fire & Steel for the Medieval Rapier, Ninjato with Throwing Knives:  http://fireandsteel.ca/

Street Colours for gemstone worn by Amelie: Streetcolours.com

Alex Watt for background pictures

Daiana Duca for background pictures

Krissy Karmaschek for background pictures

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part Six: Blog Forty)

By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris, co-authors of the Rita Walker series

The Captain and the rest of the shore crew, along with what’s left of the Surprise, stagger back to the pinnace.  Master Jo Anne notices that the ‘Harlot’ and Humphrey are missing, and so is ‘Dizzying Blade’.  She looks quizzically at the Captain.

The Captain gives her an archaic smile and staggers up to her.  “We can’t call her ‘Harlot’ anymore.  The Horse People are letting her and Humphrey stay together in one of their strange stalk huts made from a plant similar to sugarcane.”  The Captain shrugs and sighs so that Master Jo Anne can smell the heavy sent of brandy on her breath.  “And…after much drinking, ‘Dizzying Blade’, sparred with one of the Horse Woman and won; though I told her to lose.  Now she has to stay with them until the Surprise is ready to sail and teach them her fighting skills.  Silly girl, it’s her fault, she refuses to lose to anyone.  However, she told me Arsema and Amelie can replace her.  So we’ll have two Master-at-arms now.  At least until the Surprise drops her and the ‘Harl—.” The Captain slaps the side of her own head with the palm of her hand, “Thelma.”

“We could caller her Sewer, Stitcher, or even Flag Weaver from now on,” Master Jo Anne suggests.

“’Flag Weaver’,” the Captain says thoughtfully.  “That would do.  Two days from now we’re going to use our pinnace and the other one that’s amongst the Aloe Vera, if it still floats, to get the Surprise free.  ‘Ship Builder’ says we need to do it during the end of high tide.”

“So we’re staying?”  Everyone knows time is precious to attack Barthadrow and take over another ship before heading towards the Pregnancy Ship.  She spits and can see the Captain knows who she was thinking of.

She and the Captain both stop talking.  Baffled at the sight of the Cannibal woman Melinda sauntering up to Captain Peg leg. 

“Get your rapier ready,” the Captain tells her as she starts to draw her own out.

Dumbfounded she watches Melinda kneel before Captain Peg leg and take his wrapped hand or what’s left of it in her owns hands. 

“You could have tried to eat me,” the Cannibal woman says in a soothing voice.

Captain Peg leg’s eyes grow wide as the Cannibal girl stands back up, with his wrapped hand still in hers.  “I wanted to feast on the one who stole some of my crew.  You know what happened to them, when they were put in that barrel.”

“I do,” Captain Peg leg says before gulping.

“Listen,” the Captain says.  “Take our pinnace with ‘Wheel Turner’ and return to the Nague now.  We’ll be here a few days, so I want you to go back to the ship and tell ‘One Eye’,” the Captain continues, while still watching the surreal scene between Captain Peg leg and the Cannibal, “that we need to drop the nets and catch some fish.  And let Amelie know she’s Master-at-Arms until ‘Dizzying Blade’ returns.  However, our guest,” and the Captain nods towards the Cannibal, “will stay in ‘Dizzying Blade’s’ room sans the weapons.”

“Not Arsema?”  To her Arsema always came across as closest to ‘Dizzying Blade’.

“Arsema is going to train with ‘Ship Protector’ as Master-at-Arms of the Sea,” the Captain replies in a drunken, but thoughtful tone.  “I want Arsema along with ‘Ship Protector’ to dive down and investigate the damage to the Surprise.  We’ll also need them to help the ‘Ship Builder’ get the ropes in place to release the Surprise from that rock.  I want this done as soon-as-possible.  We need to prepare to attack—you know who.”

She and the Captain both spit on the ground.

Dan Watt is the author of the epic dark fantasy fiction book BARD

Taylor Norris, RMT, as First Mate ‘One Eye’ Olanis:  taynorris@gmail.com (Kitchener-Waterloo)

With thanks to Joanne Gosling (Navigator ‘Storm Caller’ Master Jo Anne): Joanne is an Interior Decorator who specializes in closets: Jgosling@calclosets.com Calclosetsjoanne or Joannegosling22@gmail.com

Leah Weir (Helmswoman ‘Wheel Turner’ Synthia): model and cover editor;

Fire & Steel for the Medieval Rapier:  http://fireandsteel.ca/

Alex Watt for background pictures

Daiana Duca for background pictures

Krissy Karmaschek for background pictures

Interview with Darren Joy, author of the epic, dark fantasy book A Viral Imperium

Interview with Darren Joy, author of the epic, dark fantasy book A Viral Imperium:  The Plagueborn Series: Book One

by Dan Watt

The fantastic first book, of the Plagueborn series by Darren Joy, A Viral Imperium.

As I read through Darren Joy’s, A Viral Imperium: The Plagueborn Series: Book One, I was immediately caught up in the imagery and banter.  Joy has written a book that pulls you into a world where magic and undead make sense.  There is also an introduction to Viralic and Spectralic magic, and the combination of the two.  The characters are not always who, or what they seem to be, nor is it always clear if they are good, bad, or complicated.  As the story progresses, you’ll find yourself reading long past your bedtime. 

It’s been awhile since I’ve read a story that caught my attention and held it to the very end.  How long have you worked on A Viral Imperium?

I began this book way back in 2014. I had written three unpublished novels before it, so technically this was my fourth book. It should have been completed much sooner, but due to illness, I had to shelve it for a time in 2016. I managed to finish it last year. Overall, it’s taken almost three years.

Your description of characters, creatures, buildings, and sceneries is both vivid and engrossing.  How do you go about writing those scenes?

A lot of rewriting, lots and lots of rewriting. No kidding. That’s how. What’s in my head never translates to the screen as I write it, or at least, I’m never happy. So going back and reworking those descriptions, and the novel as a whole is essential, and that’s what I put it down to. That, and I read a lot, so descriptions in other books do grab me. I try not to write paragraphs of description too often, but blend it in with the ongoing story wherever possible.

Within the main plot there are many subplots.  The webs and layers of George R.R. Martin’s: A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones TV series); Ken Follett’s:  Pillars of the Earth, and Edward Rutherford’s: Sarum come to mind when I consider the plots within A Viral Imperium.  Did you sketch these out beforehand or did you find them writing themselves?

 Well, put simply, ’I’m a pantser. I write from the hip, not having much of a clue where it’s going to go. Well, maybe a little clue, but I certainly don’t have it all planned out. This means I have to do heavy rewrites. Ideal? Probably not, but I tried planning novels in the early days, and I never finished those. I tend to plan as I go, adding in notes to the first draft, and rewrite drafts, which I then read as I go through the book the next time, also making more notes. It’s my process, and I don’t know if other writers work that way. It works for me though. I also write each main character’s storyline as a separate manuscript before combining them later, so as to make sure the structure for each story is as I want it.

If I was a publisher I would be contacting you and Amazon books to work out a deal.  How do readers and publishers contact you and where is A Viral Imperium available?

For the moment, it is only available on Amazon, but I am strongly considering having it available on other platforms soon. I don’t know if any publishers will contact me, but anyone including readers can get me through the contact page on my website at: www.darrenjoy.com

I also understand you have the second book in the series coming out.  Could you tell us when and if there’s a pre order?

Yep, anyone can pre order it now on Amazon. It’s called A Malignant Fetch and it is on sale for 99cents from the 8th of November this year, so not long to go. I’m getting nervous all over again. Easiest way to pre order it is to just pop over to my website, www.darrenjoy.com, and there is a link from there.

Available November 8th, 2021

Thank you for taking the time to do this interview.  I’m very much looking forward to reading A Malignant Fetch!