I’m dusting down my geek today (not that it needs much dusting :) ) as author and online games writer Bryan Fields joins me this morning. I have a 1990s Sonic the Hedgehog games console in my study, and I’m going to brush up my long lost skills by offering Bryan a game :)
Bryan’s here to talk about his latest release, The Land Beyond All Dreams, and the exciting news is he’s very kindly offered to give away a free copy to anyone who leaves a comment.
Welcome, Bryan, and thanks so much for your generous offer!
Where do you live, Bryan? I live in Denver with my wife, Noelle, and our daughter, Alissa. I’ve been writing all my life, but I really got serious about five years ago while I was on the development team for an online game called Istaria: Chronicles of the Gifted. I wrote quests, dialog for the non-player characters in the game, and game-based stories for the players. It was great fun, and once I started, I just kept writing.
My first published book was ‘Life With a Fire-Breathing Girlfriend’, your standard ‘boy meets girl, girl moves in, girl is really a dragon’ story. The narrator, David, is an alpha geek and gamer whose moral code is based on Doctor Who, meaning he believes intellect and romance will triumph over brute force and cynicism. Rose is just over a thousand years old, which is the Draconic age of adulthood. She came to Earth to absorb love and wonder in order to increase the chances her next mating flight will produce happy, healthy hatchlings. She meets David, and, well, hijinks ensue.
I’d love to have a go at writing stories for game players. What a fabulous job!
Where is your favourite place in the world? I’ll let you know once I’ve seen the entire world. ;-)
I like living in Colorado, because we do have some magnificent places to visit, beautiful scenery. I was born in Las Vegas and I enjoy visiting, not to gamble so much as to just enjoy the city itself. I wouldn’t mind living there if I were rolling in money, but it’s a rough town to be poor in.
I’d love to visit Colorado. And I expect the scenery around Las Vegas is magnificent, too. Two great locations.
Being a writer is a great job. What’s the worst job you’ve ever had? Cleaning up an asphalt spill at a roofing shingle factory. It was a day labor job, and we didn’t even make it to lunch before I was vomiting and half-delirious from the fumes. My clothes were ruined and I got chewed out by the customer for getting sick all over his nice clean dirt.
On the good side, I did get paid the eight hour minimum and was sent on a much better job as an apology from the recruiter.
What a terrible experience. Their health and safety procedures sound a bit suspect, to say the least! At least it was only a morning
What book do you wish you’d written? I’ll take Harry Potter for the win. Because, you know, money.
What’s your favourite song? Hard question to answer. How do you choose? Fanfare for the Common Man, Bach’s Tocata and Fugue in D Minor, Ride of the Valkyries, the theme from ‘Doctor Who’, ‘The Anvil of Crom’ from ‘Conan’.
After putting together a playlist of 122 pieces of music and setting it on random, the answer is ‘Tocotta’, by Mannheim Steamroller. The second piece turned out to be the country version of ‘Cantina Band’ off the soundtrack to ‘Paul’.
By the way, if you haven’t seen ‘Paul’, it is well worth picking up. It does have a good bit of fairly creative profanity, but it is a riot. It’s Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s love letter to the fan community and geekdom in general.
Oh, I love Simon Pegg! I haven’t seen Paul yet, but I’m looking forward to it.
If you could meet anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be and what would you say to them? Either Nikolai Tesla, or Hypatia, the last curator of the Library of Alexandria. I wouldn’t have anything specific to say to them; I’d be happy just getting to know more about them, and what they were like as people.
What’s your happiest childhood memory? Probably when my parents would take us running around up in the mountains. Camping, hunting, fishing, picking raspberries, just…enjoying the outdoors. On the drive back, we’d listen to this one AM radio station that would broadcast vintage radio dramas, things like The Inner Sanctum, or classic comedy bits. Bill Cosby, Bob Newhart, Hudson and Landrey, sometimes clips from Laugh In.
That sounds like such a lovely time. It must be wonderful to have all that great outdoors on your doorstep as a child.
If you had to marry a fictional character, from film, television, or books, who would it be? I’d pick either one of the Dragonesses from Rose’s world or Jeannie (as in ‘I Dream of Jeannie’).
I used to love Jeannie!
What’s the most important lesson life has taught you? I’m going to yield that answer to Mr. Gaiman:
“Life is sometimes hard. Things go wrong, in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all the other ways that life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do.
Make good art.
I’m serious. Husband runs off with a politician? Make good art. Leg crushed and then eaten by mutated boa constrictor? Make good art. IRS on your trail? Make good art. Cat exploded? Make good art. Somebody on the Internet thinks what you do is stupid or evil or it’s all been done before? Make good art. Probably things will work out somehow, and eventually time will take the sting away, but that doesn’t matter. Do what only you do best. Make good art.
Make it on the good days too.”
What a great quote. Hooray for Neil Gaiman.
And finally, please tell us about your latest book, where we can find it, and where we can find your blog/website
‘The Land Beyond All Dreams’ is the sequel to ‘Fire-Breathing Girlfriend’. David’s mother is in the final stages of lung cancer, and he is trying to deal with that when he discovers the weight loss drug his company is developing has some nasty side effects. Little things like psychotic rage, murder, and cannibalism.
A necromancer named Ingrim Thain killed the head of the research program and took his place. Thain is using the drug trial as part of a plan for global conquest. He offers David vast wealth and power, even promising to cure David’s mother of her cancer, if David will simply keep quiet about the drug’s side effects.
If all that weren’t enough to deal with, a hat-wearing cat with working thumbs and a taste for coffee just moved into David’s house. It’s not going to be a very easy time for them.
My Facebook page is at: https://www.facebook.com/BryanFieldsAuthor.
My blog is: http://laughingotterslair.blogspot.com/
The inevitable zombie invasion of Earth began at dawn on the day of the Mayan Apocalypse, and the herald of the End of Days was a cat in a hat.
Well, sort of.
Before anyone gets excited, it was just a cat wearing a hat. And there is no “Mayan Apocalypse”—just the calendar rolling over, like a car’s odometer. I wouldn’t say the cat in question was really a zombie, either. He was more of a living mummy.
But other than those few quibbles, that was how it was. Cat in a hat. Zombie invasion. Mayan calendar. “Hark, the Herald Zombies sing, time to start the brain munching…”
For those joining our adventures already in progress, my name is David, and I’m living with a thousand-year-old Dragoness who is running around in Human form. She came here from a world of fantasy and magic, looking for a Human she could draw love and wonder from. The energy should have been used to strengthen her eggs, but she lost her ability to have children. She still hasn’t fully come to terms with it, but part of that process is going on with life.
And the wheel of life is what brought us here today. Just before dawn on the winter solstice, about twenty of us gathered at the top of Red Rocks amphitheater. We were there to drum, dance, and sing up the sun, welcoming the start of the New Year and the 14th bak’tun.
As a rule, Denver doesn’t have white Christmases, the notable exceptions being the blizzards of 1982 and 2006. Nor do we tend to have white winter solstices, but this year we did, and the predawn hours in late December were damn cold.
Rose was the only one dressed for dancing, but we clapped and cheered her on through five or six songs about the sun or sunrise. Being a Dragon, Rose was immune to the cold and could have danced the rest of the morning; the rest of us mere Humans were ready to leave far sooner.
With the sun well up and everyone ready for coffee and breakfast, we walked back to the upper parking lot. Our cars were just as we left them.
Well, sort of.
“What the frak?” Ember pointed toward our car. “When did you two get a cat?”
“We don’t have a cat,” I said.
Ember moved to the side and pointed again. The rear passenger door of our Range Rover was partially open, giving us a good view of the seat and the cat perched on it. “Something tells me you do.”
“Pretty sure we don’t.” I knelt and pulled the door open, while Rose peered over my shoulder. The space that was supposed to be empty was unquestionably occupied by a highly factual feline. I stared at him for a moment, but he showed no signs of Cheshiring off anytime soon. I had no idea what to say, so I stuck with the incredibly obvious. “Huh. It is a cat.”
Rose said, “In a hat.”
The cat flicked his tail. He was wearing a worn leather drover’s hat, and the faded, cracked remains of a sky-blue leather collar. Bright green eyes peered out at us from under the brim of his hat. A jagged scar pulled his lip up into a permanent sneer, and a dried stem of catnip dangled through his exposed teeth. He looked to be little more than bone under thin, worn-down flesh. Whatever color nature had given to his fur was long-since bleached away, leaving him an irregular patchwork of brown, grey, and tan, mostly due to the dirt and sand encrusting his fur.
I looked around and asked, “I don’t suppose he came up here with one of you?” All around the circle, people shook their heads. I stepped back and opened the car door all the way. “Sorry, buddy, but this isn’t your ride.”
Ember snickered. “Oh, yeah, that’s telling him.”
The cat stayed where he was, staring out from under the brim of his hat. The catnip stem twitched, and nothing more. I started thinking of places where I could get my hands on a water pistol.
Rose stepped up and tapped me on the shoulder. “Let me try.” I moved aside and she knelt to look the cat in the eyes. “We’re not the right family for you,” she said. “See if someone else here will take you home.” I know cats don’t understand English, but with the magic of the imperative form, that shouldn’t matter.
The cat started to stand up, shook his head, and settled back into position. Rose tried again, speaking Draconic this time. The cat flicked an ear at her.
Rose sat back on her heels. “I don’t think he’s an ordinary cat. Maybe we should give him a chance.”
“Fine,” I said. “He gets a chance. But not here. Let’s get into town and get some breakfast. I’ll buy him some chow and we can toss around theories. Starting with how he got a locked car door open.” I looked at the thin layer of snow and frost covering the parking lot, crisp and clear and even. Our footprints and tire tracks were obvious, but the area was singularly devoid of cat prints. It didn’t prove anything, but it was something else to consider. It wouldn’t be the first time I caught a cat teleporting.
What a brilliant excerpt. Loved it, Bryan! The cat is an inspired character.
If you enjoyed Bryan’s interview, or have any questions or comments at all, please let us know. We’d love to hear from you! And don’t forget, one lucky commenter will win a copy of The Land Beyond All Dreams, and will be able to read more of Bryan’s story!
Thanks so much for coming, Bryan. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you!