Interview with a Werewolf – with A.L. Mabry

In preparation for putting together this Halloween event, I reached out to a number of independent authors, trying to get ideas for posts. The wonderful A.L. Mabry (who was the subject of yesterday’s Author Spotlight) agreed to sit down and do a live interview with one of her latest creations, Miranda Spencer.

I’ve always enjoyed interviewing my own characters as part of the writing process, and this interview proved to be just as much fun. In the process of doing this interview we went from a brief character idea to an entire plot outline for “Blood Moon: The Hunt”, so keep your eyes open, because this shaped up to be a very interesting story. Of course, we hashed out some details after the interview was over, but I’m not going to put those discussions here, because they’re very definitely potential spoilers.

I’d like to thank both A.L. and Miranda for their time, and without further delay, here’s that interview…

Introducing Miranda Spencer

Miranda Spencer, 25. Born in Huntsville, Alabama. Raised by her adopted father after the mysterious death of her mother when she was four. Miranda currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio with her daughter, Remy and her live in girlfriend,Morygaine. She is a stewardess which gives her access to many cities across the world and aids her side gig, Werewolf hunter.

“Hello, Timothy. My name is Miranda and I am a werewolf. I don’t know much about being a werewolf because I was raised by a Vampire. I know, you’re scratching your head. You see, my mother was human and my father was a monster apparently. When my mother was killed, Rupert, a vampire who was desperately in love with Mother, took me in as his own. He did it out of love for her but his despisal of my father overshadowed my childhood. Profile me?”

“I have to admit to being curious now, especially since I’ve met my share of shapeshifters since I started writing about the Seattle supernatural community. When did you discover you were a werewolf?”

“I was six. I fell asleep in my bed, as per usual and I woke up chained in the basement. My dad showed me the video but I still didn’t understand. Apparently he was waiting for it and had been tracking my growth every full moon. I didn’t really “get” it until I was about 12 and he started showing me all the research and information he had collected over the years.”

“So when you say your dad was expecting this to happen, you mean Rupert, the vampire who adopted you? Or your birth father? And would I be right in assuming your birth father was a werewolf too, or were you bitten by a werewolf?”

“When I say my dad, I do mean Rupert. He’s a bastard but he’s the only dad I ever knew. My bio dad was a monster and he’s the reason my mom is dead.”

“Do you talking about how your mom died, or is it too painful? And what happened to your birth dad?”

“I don’t mind talking about her but it’s all what I have been told by others. I can’t even remember her anymore. What happened to my birth dad? Nothing…yet.”

“I asked because you said he WAS a monster, as if someone had decided to do something about him. What happened between him and your mom that ended in her death? And where is he now?”

“He mated outside of the pack and broke the rules. When his alpha found out he had my mom killed.My bio didn’t even TRY to protect her. Or me. Rupert barely got there in time to save me and my bio disappeared. He thinks he’s in hiding but I know where he is now.”

“Having got to know Richard as well as I have, I know a little about the dymanics of wolf shifter society. Did you ever consider the dynamics of a wolf pack? I’m not trying to defend him, but finding love outside the pack doesn’t necessarily make him a monster. Defending his mate or child, however, would mean challenging the Alpha for control of the pack, and it’s rare for a challenger to succeed.”

“Okay, I’m going to be frank. I’m not the angry discarded daughter I play myself to be. Looking like a victim keeps other people’s guard’s down. The fact is I have kid now. She’s five and I’m running out of time. I found a way to reverse the lycanthropy gene but, I need his blood. All of it.”

“Ever thought about trying to talk to him about it? After all, you’ve only got Rupert’s perspective on what happened. As much as Rupert loved you and your mother, it’s possible his view are more than a little skewed. There’s a chance your birth dad might not be the monster you’ve been lead to believe.”

“Oh, my info on this matter didn’t come from Rupert. I’ll be needing his blood as well. You see, I met a witch. She’s this beautiful, dazzling woman and she is completely in love with my little Remy. She wants to save her from this awful lifestyle, it’s already too late for me. It took her almost a year to find the right spell and it calls for the blood of the line and the blood of the undead. Which, seems odd to me…but she knows her stuff.”

“The blood of a shifter, and the blood of the undead? Sounds like we’re getting into serious Underworld territory here.”

*shrugs* “I’m just a hunter, trying to save her kid. And I will do anything to do so.”

“Sounds like Remy’s lucky to have you in her life. Does she know what’s in store for her?”

“No. I have gone to great lengths to protect Remy from the things that go bump in the night. Morygaine is the only supernatural person besides myself she has ever met but she doesn’t know that. I don’t want this life, this world, for her. Hiding her from Rupert has been the hardest. He’s such a damn busybody.”

“Hiding a child for five years can’t have been easy. I mean, I know a lot of people in the supernatural community spend so much effort to remain hidden already, without hiding from each other. How’ve you been explaining your absences around the full moon to Remy?”

“Morygaine locks me up and then she has special slumber parties with Remy. They have so much fun!”

“I hate to sound sceptical, but this is the same witch who thinks blood magic can cure Remy of lycanthropy? Is lycanthropy always passed on to the children? Richard always give me the impression that only happened when both parents were shifters, and not in every instance. He said the chances were a lot lower when only one of the parents was a shifter.”

“Is this in an interview or an interrogation? *nervous laughter* Remy’s dad…he was shifter too…”

“Sorry. I’m just curious about these things. Every time I think I have a handle on how things work in the supernatural world, something jumps out and surprises me.”

“Or kills you.”
 

“True enough. Though I consider myself lucky so far in that respect.”
 

“So it would seem.”
 

“So, what are your plans going forward?”
 

“I plan to kill my father and kill every werewolf that gets in my way. I’ll cure Remy and keep her with me as long as I can.”

“Well, from what you’ve told me, it doesn’t sound like too many will be standing up for him.”

“That’s what I thought but dogs are surprising loyal to each other.”
 

“And if any of them get wind that you’re trying to cure Remy’s lycanthropy, they might be afraid you’ll try the same thing with them.”

“From what I understand, the spell only works if it is performed before the first shift. Once the gene has been activated, so to speak…there’s no turning back. I was six. Rupert’s research shows that to be pretty consistent. I need to get this done before Remy’s next birthday.”

“What if she discovers what she is, or the price of her cure?”
 
 

“She’ll understand I did it for her…won’t she? Maybe I’ll just have to make sure she never knows…”

“I can’t talk for everyone, but Richard grew up knowing about the shifter world, even before he showed any signs of being one. If his mother hadn’t hidden her abilities from her husband, he might never have left them, driving Richard’s mother to drink, and her eventual death. Sometimes keeping these secrets can do more harm than good.”

“I suppose so. I just want to protect her. How do we know when we’re doing it right or not? I don’t want to wait until she’s already hurt…”

“I suppose so. I just want to protect her. How do we know when we’re doing it right or not? I don’t want to wait until she’s already hurt…”

“Thank you. I trust you will not allow this information to fall into the wrong hands? I’d hate to have to add you to my list…”

“Trust me, I’m used to keeping secrets. I’m probably one of the few mortals who can navigate the ins and out of Seattle’s supernatural world. Sure I’ve made a few enemies in the process, but I know too much for certain people to risk removing me from the picture.”

“Good to know. I’ll keep your number, in case.”
 

“If you decide to learn more about the shifter communities, I’ll setup a meeting with the Seattle pack for you. Until then, happy hunting”

Introducing A.L. Mabry

A.L. Mabry is a publisher and multi-genre author. She is currently working on several projects, including a short story collection, Darker Daze: The Storms Within (dark fiction) and the first book in her Chthonian Guardian trilogy, Soul Purge (fantasy). Darker Daze is being released exclusively on Patreon while Soul Purge will be published in 2018 by OWS Ink, llc. She has a sci-fi project in the works, Vivamus (science fiction), which will be released in early 2019.

Where to find A.L. Mabry:

Website (A.L. Mabry), Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Blog (Our Write Side), Facebook

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Weird Conversations At 1:20am

This is one of those blog posts that is going to enter very weird territory before it’s finished… But then that’s what happens when people have conversations when neither one of them is entirely awake.

On the subject of bomb warnings…

If you grew up in England during a particular time, you might have lived with the potential threat of bombs going off in some of the big cities. If that’s the case, then you may have seen posters similar to this one in any number of places.

I remember seeing any number of posters reminding people to keep their eyes open for packages, suitcases, bags, or other unattended. They were a constant reminder that there was always the potential for one of those items to be a bomb. Some went so far as to remind you not to approach the item, but contact the police instead.

Warnings turn to humor…

After a while, I started seeing graffiti that took the warning, and added humor. But not before I’d already had the conversation with some friends in the early hours of the morning…

Now this was before the internet had become an invasive part of our lives. It was also way before people turned such things into viral memes, that would spread like wildfire.

And then turn into the unexpectedly bizarre…

Now my wife is very much aware of these conversations, and just how strange my mind is at times. But last night, we were talking about something (I can’t for the life of me remember what), but I turned to her and said “Be alert”, and she came back with a reply that left me speechless and laughing, because it was so unexpected.

I jumped out of bed, wrote it down in my journal, with the lights off, in the dark, and could still somehow read it this morning. So I couldn’t help but turn it into a poster. And for what it’s worth “I’m sorry” and “You’re Welcome”

Do you have any bizzare late night (or any other time) conversations you want to share?

Feel free to drop them in the comments below and I’ll share the best responses in a future post!

 

 

Anatomy Of A Book Cover “Evaline Transcendent

This is not going to be my usual Midweek Mumbles ramblings. Instead I’m going to do something a little different, and give you a behind-the-scenes look at some of the steps involved in creating my first book cover design.

How I Made My Last Cover

When I published “Under A Hunter’s Moon”, I had a lot of help with the cover design. Ariel Marie was kind enough to Photoshop the components for me, and all I did was do the type-setting for the text.

What Makes This Time Different?

The cover for “Evaline Transcendent” is a much more interesting journey, because it’s a science fiction story, and there are very few stock photos that could be tweaked to work for what I had in mind.

I wanted to invoke the sci-fi genre right from the start, so setting the cover in one of the ship’s corridor was always part of my plan. The representation of the main character, Evaline, was a more difficult decision for a number of reasons:

  • This is re-release of a story that was originally published in an anthology.
  • Since that release, I’ve been interested in updating it with ideas that didn’t make the original draft.
  • I also wanted to represent Evaline in some way, but in the original story she was only a disembodied voice.
  • To give her more presence that meant either putting an image on a computer screen, or creating a holographic presence, which was not originally in the story.

Was There A Way To Do What I Wanted?

After looking at some ideas for cover designs, I decided to go with a sci-fi corridor with a holographic figure to represent Evaline herself.

Having previously used 3D software, specifically Daz3D,I was already familiar with what was possible with the right tools at my disposal. I did a search through the database of 3D models available, and found a sci-fi corridor that looked matched my list of requirements. Then I took the base female figure and a basic pose and put her into the scene.

After some tweaking, I clothed her in a skin-tight outfit, which had sections I could hide, and then bought a shader that allowed me to turn the textures into holograms.

Once the image was rendered, I transferred it into Canva and overlaid it on a background color, before adding the title and author text.

And here was the first attempt, but there were several issues…

  • The text fonts didn’t match up very well
  • The pose was a little problematic, and too ‘sexy’ for my tastes
  • The presence of the background frame didn’t mesh well the current trends in sci-fi cover designs
  • I wasn’t keen on the colors or the outfit
  • Because of the 3d models, outfits, and tricks I’d used to build this particular hologram I didn’t have a lot of control over how it rendered
  • I also didn’t have any way to adjust the placement of the figure within the final image

So I Sought Help From Fellow Authors..

I approached some authors I’ve worked with in the past, so I could get some ideas of ways we could try and fix the issues. And once I got some feedback, I dove deeper into to capabilities of the 3D software, and online forums, in the hopes of figuring out the solutions. And here’s the result…

I think you’ll agree this is a much better cover. It was created in several steps…

  1. Setup the scene, with the figure in place, posed, and clothed in single color clothing.
  2. Light the entire scene.
  3. Render the corridor background, with the lighting effects already in place.
  4. Hide the figure and clothing.
  5. Render the corridor background.
  6. Remove the corridor and place the figure against a black background.
  7. Set all the clothing colors to solid black, and render the visible flesh areas and hair
  8. Set the figure and hair to black
  9. Add a digital opacity layer to clothing and set the colors
  10. Render just the clothing
  11. Import the individual layers into GIMP2 for editing.

How The Layers Stacked Up…

  • Layer 1 – Background (Mode=Normal, Opacity=100%)
  • Layer 2 – Flesh #1 (Mode=Addition, Opacity=100%)
  • Layer 3 – Flesh #2 (Mode=Dodge, Opacity=40%)
  • Layer 4 – Flesh #3 (Mode=Lighten Only, Opacity 100%)
  • Layer 5 – Flesh #4 (Mode=Addition, Opacity=100%)
  • Layer 6 – Leggings #1 (Mode=Addition, Opacity=100%)
  • Layer 7 – Leggings #2 (Mode=Dodge, Opacity=40%)
  • Layer 8 – Leggings #3 (Mode=Lighten Only, Opacity 100%)
  • Layer 9 – Leggings #4 (Mode=Addition, Opacity=100%)
  • Layer 10 – Top & Shoes #1 (Mode=Addition, Opacity=100%)
  • Layer 11 – Top & Shoes #2 (Mode=Dodge, Opacity=40%)
  • Layer 12 – Top & Shoes #3 (Mode=Lighten Only, Opacity 100%)
  • Layer 13 – Top & Shoes #4 (Mode=Addition, Opacity=100%)

As you can see, that’s a lot of layers… And that was all before I pulled the image into Canva and added the text layers.

So here’s a look at the images that went to the cover…

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And that folks, is how I wasted three weeks of writing and editing time…

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the covers, or even my methods of creating them. Post in the comments below, or email me at timothy.bateson.author@gmail.com

Oh, and just between us… “Evaline Transcendent” will soon be available in the Kindle store… Once I’ve gone through some final edits, and finalized my revisions to the original story. There are aspects of the original story I wasn’t happy with, and plot points I wanted to update.

Help Stop Bullying By Educating People On The Effects

“Teacher reveals odd tactic to prevent bullying – and it leaves all her students in tears.”

That’s how this video was posted to me over on Facebook, and I’m not normally one to jump on my soap-box. But, there are some videos that I feel really need to be shared, and this is one of them. This video shows just how damaging bullying can be, in a way that those of us who have experienced it can appreciate.

Unfortunately, while this video shows the effects of bullying, it doesn’t educate people on how to deal with the being bullied, or how to handle the bullies themselves. There are so many types of bullying that educating people on how to deal with it will take a lot more than a two minute video.

My Personal Experience Of Bullying

I personally experienced several years of bullying during my schooling, and the schools seemed to consider me to be the problem. I was shy, quiet, and a bit of a book-worm (go figure). Because I ‘allowed’ the bullying to happen by not ‘fighting back’, I was sent to the school counselor for therapy.

Now I’ve never been a violent person, so I wasn’t happy with the idea that I should hit back, and they decided to try and help with my ‘anger management issues’. Apparently throwing a rag around the room was going to help me de-stress, and reduce my levels of anger. They made one mistake… Sure, I was stressed, but I wasn’t angry. Okay, they made TWO mistakes. They left the windows open, and the rag went out on almost as soon as I had it in my hand.

It took several years for me to really break out of the shell I built around myself, and I still have days when I find myself thinking about those years. But, love, care, friendships, and a lot of understanding have helped make things a lot easier to deal with.

Some Thoughts On Bullying

The whole bullying issue has really struck a nerve with me. It affects so many different types of people at a vital time in their lives.
– Kenny Wormwald

We focus so much on our differences, and that is creating, I think, a lot of chaos and negativity and bullying in the world. And I think if everybody focused on what we all have in common – which is – we all want to be happy.
– Ellen DeGeneres

Children should always be brave and do something about bullying. It’s not okay to stand by and let it happen. Bullies thrive off secrecy. Children should tell someone if they see someone being bullied.
– Imelda Staunton

Here’s My Biggest Hope In Sharing This…

I hope that sharing this video and my personal experiences keeps the conversations about bullying going, and helps at least one person.

Let’s help reduce the instances of bullying, wherever they occur. It’s a problem that extends outside the schools and has a huge affect on so many people. The scars from being bullied may fade, but they are never truly gone. And that’s for those of us who survive the experience. Every time I see reports of bullying, or suicides that have resulted from bullying it brings back those memories of what I experienced.

It saddens me that we have been unable to stamp out bullying yet… So please, LIKE, SHARE, COMMENT!

Don’t let bullying continue by remaining silent!

Look Up | Gary Turk – Official Video

Those of you who’ve been following me for a while know that I very rarely post anything that could be considered social commentary. This is partly, because this is not that kind of blog, and secondly, because sometimes that kind of content is inflammatory, and often already overshared.

But this video struck home in so many ways, that I wanted to share it. As a writer, I value the experiences I’ve had in life, and am grateful for those I’ve been able to share with others.

I’m hoping that in this ultra-connected world of ever-present social media, this video can show a side of life that some people might be missing out on.

A full transcript of the video can be found here.

To quote Gary Turk, the video’s creator:

I don’t want you to stop using social media or smartphones.
It’s about finding a balance. It’s about making sure you are awake, alive and living life in the moment; instead of living your life through a screen.