Category Archives: YA

Review – Taming of the Tida by Eslynne Smith

TAMING THE TIDA
BY ESLYNNE SMITH

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REVIEW

TAMING THE TIDA

Tired of American politics? Author Eslynn Smith has a remedy in the character of Sharmin Smith, the former first female President of the United States in the book Taming the Tida. The story launches with the strange disappearance of Smith, now in her elder years, when a lightning flash signals the tragic event at the White House and her assumed passing to the other side. The news devastates the country.

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Review – A Mathematical State of Grace by Cathy McGough

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A Mathematical State of Grace

by Cathy McGough

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Review

What more could an Australian girl want than to be with the love of her life without any interference? This is the world of 16 year-old math whiz Grace Greenway who finds herself in an unexplained dream-like world with the handsome high school athlete, Vincente Marino. However, it is not entirely blissful.

Continue reading Review – A Mathematical State of Grace by Cathy McGough

Review – The Outlaw River Wilde by Mike Walters

Review - The Outlaw River Wilde

Review – The Outlaw River Wilde by Mike Walters

Mitch Wilde was a smart-ass and a jokester, but he knew his eyes weren’t deceiving him when he saw some strange things in Outlaw River, Oregon. And for a while he kept them to himself.

The Outlaw River Wilde by Mike Walters is a suspenseful excursion through an X-files and Ancient Aliens genre with a few surprises thrown in. His retinue of characters are familiar, comfortable, and engaging beginning with the protagonist, Mitch Wilde, an active and young at heart middle-ager, and his wife, Mabey, who is his attractive, well-liked, common sense counterpart. Jack (Mitch’s close friend since high school) has a near death experience at a neighborhood barbecue and begins behaving oddly in the aftermath. In the backdrop is an eccentric and sage-like neighbor, Jasper, who keeps to himself, but has connected with Mitch and eventually confides some enlightening details of his own.

After a bike-ride spill in the woods, Mitch believes the cause to be an errant arrow nicking his shoulder which sets him off balance both literally and figuratively. The arrow mishap is not so unusual except for the Native American Indian on a white horse he observes across the river who seems to be watching him, and then disappears. When the strange arrow seems to dissolve, later the dots are connected when local Native Americans seem, too, to dissolve into thin air without explanation.

As Mitch and his partner in crime, Jasper, attempt to sort out all of the peculiar events that unfold, other members of the community become more fearful. Walters finally poises the reader on the brink of answers when the two men investigate in stealthy fashion the government-restricted Crater Lake where earlier Mitch recorded alien beings on his camera. A harrowing rescue and an urgency to return to Outlaw River drive the final thrilling scene toward a much anticipated sequel!

 

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Book Description

Who of us, at one time or another, hasn’t wondered if we’re alone in the universe? Mitch Wilde never had until a failed attempt at pulling an arrow out of his best friend Jack’s shoulder began a string of strange and unexpected events in the small Pacific Northwest Town of Outlaw River.

When Native Americans start vanishing throughout the country and re-appearing in strange places on horseback, Mitch is challenged in ways he never dreamed. In addition, who are the uninvited strangers ransacking some of their homes? Added to this, Jack has taken to odd nocturnal treks. The local sheriff releases hostility he has held against Mitch since high school and something—nobody wants to call them UFOs—has just crashed into several surrounding lakes.

Can Mitch keep himself out of jail? Can Mitch figure out what the strange entities emerging from the lake are and why? Can Mitch protect the beautiful life he and his wife Mabey worked so hard to create? Finally, can Mitch help his eccentric neighbor save the residents of Outlaw River before it’s too late?

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Author Mike Walters

AboutTheAuthor

 

Mike Walters and his debut novel, The Outlaw River Wilde, sprung from an idea while watching Ancient Aliens on the History channel. He intertwines his love of Native American culture and a passion for the Pacific Northwest, primarily his birth state of Oregon. Mike sat down one day and started writing. The characters and story were revealed each and every day he wrote.

“Every session was as if I were reading something new myself for the first time. It was a blast seeing what would happen next. This is why I enjoyed writing this novel so much. ”

Mike is a Director of Marketing & Product at Auto-Graphics, Inc. based in Ontario, CA. That’s California, not Canada. A-G makes software for Libraries, primarily public. So on your visit to the library, when you sit down to search for a book this is the software that A-G makes.

“I am very fortunate to work in an industry that has a meaningful impact on society. It makes going to work each and every day enjoyable. I mean who doesn’t think we need, and who doesn’t love, libraries?”

Mike learned photography as a freshman in high school and later took the passion and used it as a photographer in the United States Air Force. He loves to ride bicycles in SoCal year around, volunteers in Los Angeles at the Westside German Shepherd Rescue taking photos of the beautiful dogs, and has a passion for Micro-brews, particularly Porters and Stouts. You will frequently find him sampling, with his son Alexander, at Claremont Craft Ales, a personal favorite — or one of the many fine breweries in and around Claremont, CA. Mike is currently at work on the follow up to The Outlaw River Wilde, which will be titled – Still Wilde in the Outlaw River. The book should be out later this year or early 2016.

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EXCERPT

Gunther exited the Shack and slid into the city’s white Crown Vic cruiser. He pounded the dashboard with his right hand and cursed. He looked into the rearview mirror and was ashamed at what he saw. Gunther hated Wilde. He allowed the anger to flow. It kept potential tears at bay. He steadied his shaking hand putting the key in the ignition. The sheriff pounded the dashboard one more time for a final release.
He started the engine and backed the cruiser out. There was a screech as a car came to a skidding stop inches from his rear bumper. He shot a hateful stare at the driver in his rearview even though he was at fault. Gunther peeled his teary eyes from the mirror, placed the car in Drive, and pressed the accelerator with his highly polished police-issued black loafers.
He rubbed his forehead with the back of a still-shaking hand while looking up and down the street. He didn’t see Wilde’s Jeep so he flipped on the car’s blue and red emergency lights and aimed toward the mayor’s office.
Gunther plowed the police car into his private parking spot in front of City Hall. Outlaw River’s sheriff was immediately cleared through the security scanners and made a beeline for Mayor Jenkins’ office on the second floor.
When he surged through the outer office door he was greeted by Jenkins’s secretary, Trudy, greeted him. “Good morning, Sheriff. Mayor Jenkins is on the phone. Please wait a moment. I’ll let him know you’re here.”
Gunther grunted some utterance of disrespect and disdain, brushed past the elderly woman, barking, “He’s expecting me, Trudy, and won’t mind.”
The secretary jumped up from her seat and got close on the sheriff’s heels. She normally just rolled her eyes when he passed, but this time she was letting Gunther know this was her domain.
He didn’t slow or pause. Gunther pushed his way into the mayor’s office. He felt the damn secretary’s breath on the back of his neck, where the hair still stood in shame and anger over Mitch Wilde.
Jenkins was, indeed, on the phone. He was hanging up as Gunther entered. “Mayor Jenkins, I am so sorry, I tried to tell the sheriff that you were on the phone, but he barged right in.”
“It’s okay, Trudy, I’m done. Put my calls on hold for the next few minutes and please close the door behind you.”
“Yes, Mayor.” Trudy gave the door a satisfactory slam behind her.
“Jesus, Bob, you can’t barge in here like that. The sky better be falling. What the hell is going on?”
Gunther paced back and forth in front of Jenkins’s desk. Jenkins walked around the desk and sat on the edge. “Sit down, Gunther, and tell me what the hell is going on.”
Gunther swigged his foamy latte and sat in one of the chairs facing Jenkins. “That goddamn Wilde is pissing me off again. I want to make the asshole pay.”
“For high school still? I told you, it’s time to get over whatever happened. It was what, twenty-five years ago? Move on already, Bob. Jesus!”
“Yeah, whatever. He is just so damn arrogant. He threatened me at the Coffee Shack a few minutes ago.”
“Threatened you?”
“Got up in my face and told me he was going to kick my ass if I didn’t back off.”
“Back off. Why would he say that?”
“He accused me of busting the taillight on his Jeep. Said he would gladly spend some time in jail for kicking my ass. Something along those lines.” Gunther took another drink of his latte with a steadier hand. He was finally calming down a bit. Just being in Jenkins’ presence had a soothing effect on him. He seemed to be the only one who understood him and cared about him.
Truth of the matter, Gunther knew deep down the mayor didn’t really care that much about him. He knew the relationship was more convenience for the mayor and staying on the sheriff’s good side made sense. One time the mayor had admitted the uniformed turned him on. Gunther set those thoughts aside hoping someday the mayor would genuinely care for him. He didn’t have many other options in this damn straight-laced little town.
“Well, if he really threatened you, go arrest him. You can’t let people get away with that.”
“Oh, he’d be out in less than an hour. There weren’t any witnesses.”
“If it’s that bad, make it inconvenient for him for a couple of hours, perhaps he’ll get the picture and ‘back-off’ as you want. First, tell me something before you go down this road. Did you break his light? Does this have anything to do with you shouting at him at the Shack the other day?”
Gunther stared out the window and didn’t respond.

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Review – The Lives We Fear by Dan Otsuki

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Review – The Lives We Fear by Dan Otsuki – 4 Stars

“The Lives We Fear” by Dan Otsuki is an engaging collection of horror short stories that will leave you wanting even more. Each story could easily be adapted into a script for episodic television. The dialog-rich tales lend themselves to other media for sure.

Each story explores a particular fear, both real and imagined. Whether it be monsters or loss or real-life people that we are afraid of.

The common and recurring theme throughout this book challenges the characters to show us what they would really do in a fearful situation. The depth and realism will keep readers hooked through to the end.

The well-developed characters could easily be in a modern-day “Twilight Zone”-like series on AMC or HBO. In particular “Mister Jackson Monroe” and “Keepers” lend themselves to a small screen treatment. The use of profanity would be not only allowed but also welcomed on these cable networks.

Any of these tales could be lengthened with additional scenes and rewritten as a full-length novel. We can only hope that this is to come from this promising new author.

The fears suggested in the book’s title range from fear of fatherhood to fear of the apocalypse. A creepy bed and breakfast and fear of being alone are also topics covered here.

One story doesn’t deal with fear as much as it presents a scenario of how children could come to beat a man, to death,  for seemingly no reason. In this case fear is transferred from the characters to the reader. It raises the stakes from playing with imaginary monsters to going after an innocent, but real, live human. It presents a commentary on how conditioned we are from being bombarded with a lifetime of violent games and stories. Some of us erroneously believe that there are no real consequences to our actions. A thrill killing becomes just something to do for fun or to see what would happen.

In all, this collection will please fans of the genre. The way that each tale is set in modern times with realistic and believable characters makes it a good read.

This collection of eight short stories evokes shades of both Stephen King and “The Twilight Zone” as well. No doubt these are some of the young author’s influences. Still an undergraduate studying in Washington State, we hope to see much more from him.

 

 

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Fear. From childhood it is instilled in all to fear monsters, ghosts, and other terrors within the realm of the unknown. As adults, we easily forget about the boogeyman who lurked under our bed or in the shadows of a dark corner. Our grown-up fears take on an even more disturbing twist that frequently mingles with reality.

What happens when the things we really fear—the things we can’t bare to lose—invade our lives? The truest form of the human condition is exposed. Whether rational, or irrational, survival—at any cost—becomes paramount, morals be damned. The Lives We Fear is a compilation of short stories that examines these chilling and very plausible scenarios: what does one do when the people one loves are endangered? When life spirals from beyond one’s control? Or, even when one’s humanity is in jeopardy?

From lost loves, to lost friends, wolves in sheep’s clothing, and even getting caught amidst seemingly innocent mistakes, these stories examine just what keeps us up at night and what preoccupies our nightmares when we finally sleep, because it’s not always our own demise that forces us to shiver.

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AboutTheAuthor

Born on October 14, 1993, Dan Otsuki grew up an only child. As his early life found him a good thirty minutes or more away from kindergarten and preschool friends, Dan found solace in action figures and Legos, making up his own narrative of their lives and adventures. Starting in high school, and inspired by authors like Stephen King and media like The Twilight Zone, the Mass Effect video game series, and a plethora of horror films, Dan began to pursue his passion for writing. Since attending the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington—where Dan currently lives as he works on his undergraduate degree—Dan has found a passion for religious studies in addition to English and creative writing. He currently works at Diversions Cafe on the Puget Sound campus, and spends much of his free time engrossed with all kinds of movies with his close friends.

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Book Excerpt

It felt like a movie: the extras standing in the background, overacting their sense of excitement, or sorrow, or terror; the sound seeming to distort, as though the editors wanted the shot to drown out the world, make the audience focus on what just happened, to give them the sense of how important and terrible what they just saw was. There was blood, too, and not the cheap stuff they get for bad indie films, but the kind that looks real as it spreads through the victim’s clothing like a cancer, then falls with the body. The victim, bless his role, should get an award for his performance—bags dropped to the ground, chest and shoulders shuddering from the impact as he fell with a gasp and nothing more. The shooter should at least be nominated for something, his face cold enough to cut himself from the scene, as though he could see it all unfold as a bystander. Maybe he’s the director. If so, he knows exactly what he’s doing—no ad-libbing. The victim falls, and the boys in the editing room know exactly how to work slow-motion, milk it. They really want the audience to see him fall, his head smacking the pavement, and the red wine in one of his bags falling out and cracking open and mixing with the blood around his head and that spilling from his chest (they’ll call it a symbol for a halo). The audience will cringe, maybe shriek, but after the climax, the falling resolution will leave them feeling satisfied, like that was bound to happen. Peaceful. Because a movie isn’t real. Even those “based on real events” aren’t really real. It’s just a bunch of actors, sets, props, directions—but none of it’s real.
Daniel swayed back and forth, gun trembling in his hands. He wished it was a movie. In the movies, it always works out for the good guy. Right? Wasn’t he the good guy? Wasn’t he? It sure wasn’t Jackson. Jackson’s dead.
Dead.
Really dead. Not like the movies.

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Review – Across the Pond by Michael McCormick

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Across The Pond by Michael McCormick is the story of a young American who fights for his country during the war in Vietnam, only to be rejected when he returns home. The author, based the book on his personal experience as an infantry squad leader who served in combat. In the foreword for the book, author Ron Kovic wrote, “This little book grips the reader from the very beginning and does not let go.”

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Michael McCormick is the author of Across The Pond. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps just out of high school at the age of 17. Soon after, he found himself in battle in the jungles and rice paddies of Vietnam. He was nearly killed on several occasions, but managed to survive and return home at age 19. After the war, Michael earned his B.A. in psychology and his M.A. in clinical psychology. He lives in Oakland, California with his wife Gina. You can contact him at: mikemccormick49@ymail.com.

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REVIEW

Across the Pond: An emotional story of a young soldier in the Vietnam War

“Across the Pond” by Michael McCormick is not just another book about the Vietnam War. The author puts us in the shoes of Shawn McBride, known as Mac, an enlisted man in the U.S. Marine Corps. We get a first-hand account of what it was like to actually be there.

Not enough has been written in book form about this particular war, as very few, if any, veterans are willing to tell their tale. Students of all ages could benefit greatly from this short readable story.

Heart-wrenching moments when a soldier cannot tell if a boy is just a child or Vietcong, are almost unbearable. And some of the violence and inhumanity are hard to take. But, this is a story that needs to be told and is well worth the read.

The book begins in the heat of war in Vietnam and takes us through the first chapters detailing what happens to Mac. A quick flashback to the family farm reminds the reader of how simple life can be. As dangerous as farm work is, it is a world away from the jungles and rice paddies of the front.

Mac was a driven young man and yearned to get out into the world. So much so that he signed up with the Marines just for a chance to “cross the pond,” known as the Pacific Ocean and do his part in Vietnam.

Anyone with a father, grandfather, brother, or other loved one who served in Vietnam would enjoy this book.

The background of the author adds much weight to this tale. Like the protagonist, he also served in Vietnam and hailed from rural Ohio. Michael McCormick also earned a Purple Heart and a Silver Star Medal at the ripe old age of nineteen upon returning home.

All this is packed into an easily readable 54 pages. The tale will make the reader experience a range of emotions, but likely reduce any feeling person to tears by the end.

McCormick literally takes us to hell and back in this book. Readers will live and breathe this war as a shared nightmare. The detailed storytelling puts a genuine human touch on the events that occurred, making this a very important read.

QUOTES

“I think war is a crime, if you don’t believe me, ask the infantry, ask the dead.”

“With this work, McCormick takes his place among the other important chroniclers of this period.”

“Sean McBride had survived his war in Vietnam. At the age of nineteen, he was about to be decorated with the Silver Star Medal, the third highest military award for gallantry in action.”

“His experience in war had shaped his thinking in unique ways. He knew he was different from other men.”

 

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Cover Reveal – The Tramp by Sarah Wathen

Take a Look at the Beautiful Cover for The Tramp

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TitleThe Tramp (The Bound Chronicles Book 1)
 
GenreMystery, Thriller &Suspense  > Supernatural > Fantasy > Paranormal & Urban 
 
Author: Sarah Wathen
 
Cover: Sarah Wathen
 
Release DateApril 13, 2015
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Book Description

When John was seven, he found Candy dancing in the neighboring yard wearing a yellow polka-dot bikini and red rain galoshes, splashing and dancing and singing at the top of her lungs. She saved his throat from getting ripped out by her grandma’s guard dog. Good thing she did, too. It was John who raised the alarm that day, when the man who smiled with his mouth but not his eyes drove off with Candy in a cloud of dust. The police stopped whatever might have happened next in a seedy motel—a place Candy doesn’t dare remember. John rescued her, creating a bond between two friends strong enough to awaken…something.

Years later, John and Candy begin to suspect something more sinister lurking amidst the days of football glory and the nights of clandestine rendezvous. John discovers disturbing symbols from the ancient tribes indigenous to the area in his history textbook, in a local cave system, and in his very dreams. Candy uncovers a family history that is more colorful than she knew. If shades of black are colorful.
If only the two friends could foresee the danger looming before them. For another something, one much more dangerous than the first, is waking up to continue the cycle.Murder forces everyone out of sunny valley torpor, and Candy realizes that more than acquaintance connects her with the killer. When a corpse is found, gutted as if for ritual, she knows that whatever evil has overtaken her hometown is moving forward. She will have to exorcise the haunting herself—though she has no idea how—and she will need John’s predestined help to do it. Candy will have to face the memories of that seedy motel room first. At least she finally understands the power she never knew she had—a link to her departed mother and a line of healers shrouded in pre-history.

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About the Author

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Sarah Wathen is an artist turned author. She was trained in Classical Painting at the University of Central Florida, and received her Master’s in Fine Art from Parsons School of Design in New York City. If Florida was where she discovered her passion, New York was the place she found her voice. “Writing a book was my obvious next step, once I realized I’d been trying to tell stories with pictures for years,” she says about transitioning from visual artist to novelist. “Painting with words is even more fun than painting with oil.” Sarah lives in Florida with her husband, son, and at least a dozen imaginary friends from her novels. A painter at heart, her books incorporate art judicially, both in narrative content and supporting materials. Her characters are derived from the people and places that have influenced her own life—at least one beloved pet makes it into every book—but the stories they live will take you places you have never imagined, and won’t want to leave.
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Author Spotlight Bill Hiatt

 

 

Living With Your Past Selves (Spell Weaver Book 1)
Living With Your Past Selves (Spell Weaver Book 1)

Character Interview with Taliesin Weaver

 

How do you get along with your parents?

I’d like to say well, but the truth is they don’t really know who I am anymore, and I can’t risk telling them.

My mom treats me more or less like I might break at any moment. That’s understandable, since four years ago my parents thought I had a breakdown. I can’t tell them that what really happened was that I started to remember all of my past lives, and it took me awhile regain control over that flood of hundreds of years’ worth of memories. She thinks I’m more fragile than I am, that I might flip out again at any moment. Unfortunately, if I told her the truth, she’d be sure I’d already flipped out.

As for my dad, he can’t figure out why I’m different now. He noticed that my interests had changed after I came back from the hospital, but he wants things to go back to the way they were before. That isn’t going to happen, of course, but I can’t explain why. We’re just stuck in a perpetual state of uneasy denial, and there is no obvious way to get out of it.

 

With all of those problems with your parents, is there anyone you can rely on for support?

Stan is the only friend who didn’t more or less abandon me after the “breakdown.” Actually, he stayed at the hospital all the time, except when his mother ordered him home. Otherwise, nobody could have pried him out with a crowbar. He would support me if I needed it…well, except for the fact that I can’t tell him who I really am, either. Maybe someday. I’d like to; I just can’t figure out how to break that kind of news, and I have the instinctive feeling that telling anyone would seal my doom. Why I think that I couldn’t tell you, though.

 

Who do you most want to emulate?

I wish there were someone else in my situation that I could model myself on, but I’m not aware of anyone else in all of human history who has been in the same situation. Sure, every so often someone will claim to remember past lives, but not all of them, and not every detail. Frankly, as far as I can tell, most of the people who make that claim are just looking for attention, anyway. I doubt most of them really remember.

I suppose the only person who comes close in any of my lives is Merlin. He didn’t have past life personalities floating around in his head, but he did have to deal with being half-demon, which couldn’t have been easy. As I recall, the situation made him kind of a loner, a little bit like me now. Unfortunately, that’s where the similarity between us ends. Over the course of hundreds of lives, I’ve known many people with big problems—King David and Alexander the Great come immediately to mind—but again, they didn’t have to deal with the same situation I’m in, so I’m still stuck.

What do you want from life?

Right now, I’m ready to settle for staying alive until tomorrow. Knowing that someone is trying to kill me but not knowing who it is or how to stop that person—or thing—pretty much dominates my waking life and quite a few of my nightmares.

What do I want if I manage to survive? I don’t know anymore. The magic I have makes me very good with people and with music. I could become a rock star if I wanted to, I guess, but that feels kind of like a kids’ dream now. Of necessity I’ve had to utilize my past life skills to become good with weapons, but I don’t want to make a career out of being a mercenary. I’ve been told I have the potential to become a wizard greater than even Merlin, but to do that, I would have to give up the life I know, and I don’t want to do that. So where does that leave me in terms of future goals? Exactly nowhere.

 

If you were granted three wishes, what would you ask for?

Eva, Eva, and Eva. She was my girlfriend when I had my “breakdown,” but she drifted away while I was in the hospital. I think the whole experience was too intense for her to handle at that age, but by the time I got out and worked up the courage to talk to her, she was already with someone else and still is. Come to think of it, if I used two of those wishes, one to turn back time four years and the other to keep me from remembering my past lives, I wouldn’t need the third wish because Eva and I would still be together.

The way my life has been working, getting three wishes might actually be a possibility, but there would still be two problems. First, I don’t have any idea why my past life memories came back in the first place. Nothing would prevent the same thing from happening later on in life if I didn’t know how to prevent it.  Second, I have no idea who is trying to kill me or why. It could be my secret enemy would have had no interest in me if I had stayed ordinary, or it could be that he or she would have come after me anyway, only as an ordinary guy I would have had no way to defend myself.

In a weird kind of way, maybe my past life memories will be what saves me in the end.

 

What three things would you take to a desert island?

I suppose if I said Eva, that would make me sound “stalkerish.” Since I can’t guarantee my enemy wouldn’t come after me on the island, I’d have to say White Hilt, my sword, and a couple of musical instruments. My magic is stronger with a little music to help it along.

 

How do you fall in love? At first sight? Over a long period?

I’ve really only fallen in love once, as you probably have guessed. Eva and I have known each other as long as I can remember. I’m sure exactly when friendship transitioned to love. I think it was in middle school, at least for me. I can’t speak for her.

 

What parts of loving come easy for you? Hard?

It’s been four years since Eva…well, “broke up,” doesn’t exactly capture the experience, since there was no neat, clean break-up. “Drifted apart” sounds too peaceful. “Ripped apart” might be more accurate. Anyway, loving someone from afar isn’t the same thing as having a relationship, so I can’t really comment—unless you want to talk about past life experiences, and then we would be here all day.

 

When you walk into a room, what do you notice first? Second?

Since I knew someone wanted to kill me, I make sure I know where all the exits are. Then I scan the room for any unusual things, supernatural or otherwise. Particularly with shape shifters in play, a guy can’t be too careful. Anyone could turn out to be an enemy.

 

When you walk into a room, what do you expect people to notice about you?

Unless we’re talking about Eva, hopefully as little as possible. Keeping in mind that I need to keep secret who I really am, I try to be as inconspicuous as possible. In fact, I often use a spell that causes people not to notice me. Gliding around town under everybody’s radar may be lonely, but it’s also safer than the alternatives.

 

Describe yourself to me.

Where do I even start? The physical part is easy. I’m pretty ordinary, actually. I’ve been told girls find me attractive, but given the way I feel about Eva, I haven’t encouraged any other interest, so it’s hard to tell how much there might have been. I’m brown haired, medium height, slender but pretty muscular. (I was always athletic, but the weapons training necessitated my buffing up a little).

A personality description is much harder. There is who I was four years ago: the happy, social, soccer playing, bad musician. Then there is who I am now: the brooding, isolated, secretly sword-swinging, concert quality musician. I guess I liked music either way, but almost everything else is different. Sometimes I think that earlier me is still alive in me somewhere. Other times I fear I am just a compromise among my past life personalities and that who I was supposed to be in this life is pretty much dead. I think I am that person, but I’ve long since lost track.

 

Did you turn out the way you expected? The way your parents predicted?

Isn’t that kind of obvious? I’m not who anyone expected me to be, myself included. I’m…out of place, sort of like an intruder in my own life. I’d like to say I’m a work in progress. Now, if I just knew what I was progressing toward, that would really be something.

 

What do you consider are your strengths?

As I’ve said, I’m a pretty awesome musician these days, thanks to the original Taliesin. I’m a better swordsman than he was. I sort of have to be if I want to survive. I’m easily the top of my class in magic…which is my subtle way of reminding you that no one else in my class can do magic. I’m best at manipulating people’s minds, though I only do that when I absolutely have to in order to keep my secret or to protect somebody. No, really! If I ever gave into the temptation to do what I really wanted, I might just enchant Eva into loving me again, and that would be bad…really bad.

 

What do you consider are your weaknesses?

I feel helpless most of the time. I don’t know who is trying to kill me or how to stop that person—if it even is a person. (There are several other possibilities, some of them pretty nasty.) I don’t really know what to do about most of my problems. I know there must be solutions, but if so, I can’t see them.

I guess part of the problem is that I can’t find a way of moving on, as you must have guessed from the Eva situation. In more than one way, I’m a prisoner of the past.

 

What is one physical attribute you are proud of? I don’t really know. I’d say ask Eva, but I bet she wouldn’t know what to say either at this point.

 

What one physical attribute would you change?

I’d like to be even stronger, mostly for survival reasons. I work out as often as I can. I could probably speed up the process with magic, but I’m a little afraid to do that since the original Taliesin left me no experience in that area to guide me. Magic can be powerful, but precisely because of that, it can be dangerous if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing.

 

If you could be an animal, what would it be?

The funny thing about that question is that I actually could be an animal. Celtic spell casters can typically shape shift, and the original Taliesin was certainly no exception, though he didn’t use that ability frequently. Frankly, the whole idea scares me. I’d rather stay in human form. Fewer things can go wrong then.

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About the Author

Bill Hiatt has been teaching English at Beverly Hills High School since 1981. Although teaching has been and remains his first love, he has also been drawn to creative writing of various sorts. From high school on, he wrote short stories, a little poetry, and an earlier novel, finished in 1982. Then the demands of teaching kept Bill away from writing for many years, but the stories within him eventually could not be denied any longer, and Living with Your Past Selves, is his first published novel.

Bill’s ancestors came from a wide variety of European backgrounds, with Celtic groups (Irish, Scottish, Breton, and, as you might guess from this novel, Welsh) being the most well represented. His ancestors settled in America long ago, though, some of them as early as the colonial period. He is a third generation Californian who grew up and still lives in the state.

 

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