Thursday, January 10, 2013

Under the Fireworks with Father Dragon




Father Dragon smiles, setting his moustache quivering: Welcome to the debut of "Under the Fireworks," a writerly spot for protagonists to tell us about their adventures— and misadventures. And, of course, this is also an excellent opportunity to find out more about their authors. 

My guest today is the protagonist from Jewels of theSky by Catherine E. McLean. Please welcome the beautiful Wysotti Indian— Darq, Princess of the Misted Moon and granddaughter of the great naran Zukaltay.
ALL THE DWARVES IN THE GALLERY APPLAUD LOUDLY.
DARQ, offering to shake Father Dragon's paw: Adovee, great and noble dragon.
FATHER DRAGON accepts the greeting with his index finger: Buenas Noches, Darq, great and noble Wysotti starfighter. Welcome to Mexico. Please seat yourself.

Sessin enters pushing a red velvet couch.

DARQ, looking about and backing a step: If it's all the same to you, I'll stand.

FATHER DRAGON nods: As you wish.

Sessin hangs his head and pushes the couch out of view.
DARQ, nods and offers a skittish smile: Thank you.
FATHER DRAGON notes she seems to be looking for the best cover should something untoward happen. He stifles the urge to chuckle to himself. Best to speak in a gentle, mellow tone: Relax, Darq. My word is my most precious treasure and it is honor that binds me to civility. You are safe here. And as a token of my good will and in friendship, I have selected a special gift for you. See that box on the sheepskin?
DARQ cants her head and the tension on her face and in her stance relaxes. A present? For me? She sits on the sheepskin and opens the box, revealing a necklace.   
FATHER DRAGON: That is one of the scales from Father Dragon “The Great.” He was my grandfather, a very wise and wonderful dragon. It has been blessed by the spirits of the Dragon Ancestors. May they shine their light upon you and protect you in all your journeys.  
DARQ puts the necklace on. Pride glimmers in her earth-brown eyes and she says with sincerity: I shall treasure your gift.
Sessin approaches with an old camera: Picture for the Daily Dragon, please! *Flashes and leaves*
FATHER DRAGON's eyes brighten and a smile sends his whiskers wafting aside. Now, we shall begin the interview! From reading Jewels of the Sky, I noted that your grandmother had a very strong influence on your life. My first question is about something I, and I’m sure those who read your story might also wonder about— what is a "naran?"
DARQ: Naran means chieftain, one who is a leader, usually of an entire dyn, which is made up of several clans or tribes. Often it refers to a wise woman, which my grandmother was. Catherine, the book's author, did not want to use the word "chieftain" because it had too much of a North American Indian reference. She went searching for "the right word" and "the right sound"- she spends way too much time in dictionaries and collecting words for their visual impact, meanings, and sounds- but I digress. Sorry. 
Anyway, when Catherine found the word, "naranjo," which is Nahuatl and Spanish for "orange," she liked the sound of the word but it wasn't quite right. So, as is her penchant, she corrupted the spelling to "naran." I think naran has a very nice sound, don't you? As if whatever a naran is it's got a favorable connotation.
Darq leans forward a little and lowers her voice: Catherine is really going to be shocked when I tell her you couldn't figure out the meaning of naran. None of her manuscript readers nor her editor made a comment on that word . . . 
FATHER DRAGON leans forth and whispers back: Honestly, that was not the only word I didn’t get. Please suggest Catherine to consider a short glossary.
DARQ nods.
FATHER DRAGON: I was intrigued at the first reference I found in Jewels of the Sky about the Mayan. According to the novel, the Mayan and the Wysotti are related. But this relationship was seen as a curse and a stigma. Why?
DARQ: As the story reveals, our Wysotti starfaring explorers came to Terra, I mean Earth, but a few succumbed to their primordial natures and the darkness in their souls, doing the unimaginable— killing for the sake of killing, warring, the bloodletting, the ripping out of beating hearts. The captain of those Wysotti explorers even thought himself the Mesoamerican god Quetzalcoatl. She takes a cleansing breath. No one could blame God for cursing us all . . .
FATHER DRAGON: Except your grandmother did.
DARQ, smiling: Yes, she did, but only after she died.
FATHER DRAGON: It must have been difficult to live with such a curse, but it is not the only stigma you have to live with, is it?
Tassin points frantically to something off stage.
FATHER DRAGON looks to where the dwarf points: My producer is flagging that the clip is ready. He looks back at the camera. Stay tuned for a teaser from Jewels of the Sky.
The camera pans to the left wall of the cave where three dwarfs face a large crank that they hold. The trio slowly turn the crank, and a white, take-up roll moves, pulling up material from the large bottom spool.
FATHER DRAGON: Darq, would you give us some background on this clip?
DARQ, nods: Sure. This clip is my favorite, and Catherine's. Here I am in my quarters aboard the battle station, the Dujaki. It's the night before the bonding procedure takes place between Tokoray and me. He has come to find out if I really am, as he's been recently told, a Hiack—that is, a murderer—of Na-ka-tas. Said murdered Na-ka-tas were my copilots. I explain why I’ve been called a Hiack, but then Tokoray confesses he has another reason for visiting me— He's been branded a pilot jinx.
FATHER DRAGON, looking at the trio of dwarfs at the crank: Put your backs into it or I will trade you for oompa-loompas. And roll it!
3...2...1...
"Ah, but some feel your bloodline is verification you are predisposed to being a killer, a Hiack, the murderer of Na-ka-ta's?" Tokoray's tone didn't hold censure. "Most unfair."
"Maybe not. After all, I'm having a conversation with a Na-ka-ta jinx." Seeing the irony, she chuckled. "What a pair of aces we are." Unbidden came a conclusion that flitted about her mind like a glider rising, circling a hot air vent. "Tokoray?"
"Yes, Darq?"
"If we bond, I agree, upon my honor, not to murder you if you don't jinx me."
He seemed to infinitesimally come to attention. "And I agree, Darq, upon my honor, should we bond, I will endeavor not to jinx you if you do not murder me."
She laughed, the sound and euphoria lifting her spirits. She extended her hand.
As he took her hand gently in his, a low rumble-chuckle emanated within him.
"I would very much like to bond to you, Tokoray. So, is it a go for tomorrow morning?"
He did not hesitate. "Affirmative. I will leave you now to get a good night's rest." He wheeled for the door and left.
****
A buzzer mutely sounds and the three panting dwarfs stop cranking.
FATHER DRAGON: Tokoray is an appealing character in his own right. But for our friends who have yet to read the story, would you tell us who and what he is?
DARQ: Tokoray is a Na-ka-ta, an automaton, an A.I., that's an artificial intelligence. Na-ka-tas were invented to aid us fighter pilots, and our society, to help defend our world and space from the Doyons, who, in their own right, are worthy opponents and fiercesome fighters.
FATHER DRAGON: What would you say is the special characteristic about you and Tokoray that make you the perfect pilot-copilot team?
DARQ: Good question. She takes a moment for thought. You know, it's more of a feeling, like a gut instinct that tells you if a person you meet will make a good friend or not. Then again, Tokoray and I have both overcome a number of life's obstacles, for which we have a few battle scars, both seen and unseen, and those are revealed in the book.
FATHER DRAGON: Speaking of battle scars, one of those terrible incidents has a name that shook you up rather badly. Admirid Konuris Ippera isn't what one would call a true villain, is he?
DARQ: No he isn't. Catherine told me Ippera is what's technically called in fiction writing a "complicating character" type of antagonist. Evidently antagonists come in a hierarchy of villainousness from a true villain to a minor complication. Ippera qualifies as an antagonist because antagonists oppose or thwart the goals of a story's protagonist. As a matter of fact, the war between the Doyons and Wysotti is also a "complicating antagonist," but one that is not a human being.
When I asked Catherine why Jewels of the Sky didn't merit an actual, evil antagonist, which is so typical of most action-adventure-military tales, she said that for the best dramatic effect, the "storytelling experts" say that war is about one person's struggle in that war, not the entire war, not every battle, nor is it the politics of leaders waging said wars. War is personal to the soldiers who fight that war. And so, in essence, Catherine made the war personal for me, for Tokoray—and, definitely, for Ippera.
DARQ looks directly into the camera: Catherine also told me that when Ippera first came on stage for her, he was a typical, brainwashed soldier of "the empire." Then she remembered reading, when she was a senior in high school, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, which was a three inch tome of a book, and how, in the ending years of World War II, the German generals realized Hitler's insanity—and that some had a change of heart and tried to assassinate Hitler to end the war but, sadly, those men failed. So, evidently there was precedence for generals to have a change of heart, like Ippera did.
FATHER DRAGON: History is a good source of inspiration.
Tassin raises a big golden clock.
FATHER DRAGON nods to Tassin. He meets Darq’s gaze: Time for last question, Darq. What do you think about Catherine E. McLean as the author of Jewels of the Sky and your literary creator?
DARQ, looking stunned, then stifles a chuckle.  Well, I am thankful Catherine was curious enough about Indians and alien visitations to Earth and had the imagination to write a tale featuring me, a Wysotti Indian heroine, one with a DNA tie to the Mayans.  Besides, if she hadn't, I wouldn't be here, in Mexico, talking to a dragon. She sobers and a slight frown crinkles between her eyebrows. Only one thing would have been nicer.
FATHER DRAGON: And what is that?
DARQ: She gave me good looks, but why didn't she make me exceedingly rich and fabulously famous?
FATHER DRAGON’s thunderous laughter echoes in the Cave. He sobers and grins: I think by the end of the book your life is rich with blessings you didn’t expect. About fame, something tells me Catherine is already working on that. Offers his index finger to Darq. Thank you for accepting my invitation to the Dragon Cave, Darq. May the High Powers guide you in your path to success.
FATHER DRAGON looks at the camera: There is a reward, besides my gratitude, for all of you who stayed with us through this pilot episode of Under the Fireworks with Father Dragon. Darq’s Special Bonus of a free eBook download of Jewels of the Sky is available only at Amazon.com but only for January 9 and 10, 2013. And do remember to write a review after you've read it and tell your friends about Darq and Jewels of the Sky.
Dwarves swarm around Darq with presents and autograph requests. 
Sessin stands in front of the camera: If you liked the show, share it with your friends on Google+, Twitter, Face—
Pancholin pushes him off the frame with his paunch. Then he holds a golden plaque up.
                                  ***
Join Darq and Catherine E. McLean by following them at Twitter https://twitter.com/#!/CatherineMcLea7 and keep informed about future appearances, events, and book releases.
Catherine's WEBSITE FOR READERS: www.CatherineE.mclean.com
Catherine's WEBSITE FOR WRITERS: www.WritersCheatSheets.com
Catherine's paranormal fantasy romance eNovel Karma and Mayhem is available at www.soulmatepublishing.com or other eBook outlets.


***
Sessin’s nose appears at the corner of the frame: If you missed the preparations for this show, you can check them here. And don't forget to leave a comment for rating or tips for the dwar—
Pancholin: CUT!!
                                                                     
SPECIAL THANKS TO: 
Jeffrey S. Hargett for his unconditional and prompt help and 
Catherine E. McLean for her cooperation and guidance in the making of this project.


17 comments:

  1. ooo writer's cheat sheets! Checking that out!

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    1. Catherine will be happy you did!--DARQ

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  2. LOL! Nice! This has to be one of the most inventive interviews I've read. Pleased to meet Catherine and Princess Darq. :)

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    1. And, I, too, David, am pleased to meet you.--DARQ
      And, I'll just second that.--CATHERINE

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    2. Thank you David for dropping by and for your comment. :)

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  3. Father Dragon has a keen sense of humor under those scales!

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    1. No question about that!--DARQ
      Okay, I'll second that.--CATHERINE

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    2. Thank you, beautiful lady. :)

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  4. If you look closely at the introduction picture of Darq in the cave, you'll see Darq's right hand is close to her side. You might have to squint, but near that hand, the tip of a rodgun is peeking out of her skirt pocket. And, yes, I did tell Darq (via e-mail last night) not to take any chances with 150 dwarfs underfoot. After the interview, she e-mailed me that she didn't need the rodgun, first-aid kit, or the fire extinguisher because everything went smoothly. And I, as the author, wasn't "roasted" by either Darq's replies and revelations, nor by Father Dragon--nor even a dwarf.

    All kidding aside, Al, this was one innovative and fun interview. Kudos! Kudos! Kudos!

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    1. I am extremely glad Darq enjoyed to be here and you enjoyed to read it. We were all in our best behavior, hahaha. Thanks for everything.

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  5. Interesting interview. I'm blown away by the detailed costumes you've created. Great promo idea.

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    1. Thanks for your comment. If you liked Darq's costume, you should visit her site. Catherine has made sure she has a whole wardrobe. :)

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    2. DARQ: No, I do not have a whole wardrobe, but Catherine is working, as we speak, on more clothes. She told me (via e-mail) that she's almost done with the bathrobe for when I get back to the USA. Seems it's the fuzzy slippers she's crafting that are giving her fits. But, knowing her as I do, she'll figure it out and I'll have another outfit. Maybe two. Trouble is, she still hasn't gotten around to my uniform. Then again, that's all right. Why would I even want to put the uniform on when I'm on leave, right?

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  6. Now that's an interview! Very creative and fun, guys.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

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    1. Thank you Shannon for dropping by and for your comment! :)

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    2. DARQ: My thanks, too, Shannon, for you stopping by. I think this is a great blog.

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