Friday, September 14, 2012

The Learner Synopsis

An alien being has come to visit Earth. NayéLi is a Šumayin, an ancient energy species from the planet Šumaura. Šumaura is located in a dark galaxy millions of light years away.

NayéLi is a venӫṩo or Learner.  She was sent to Earth to learn about the planet’s flora and fauna. She arrives when she is still quite young by Šumayin standards, only thirteen Šumayin years, and has lived on Earth for nine Šumayin years, which is equivalent to 459 earth years, as one Šumayin year equals fifty-one earth years. She has assumed the form of a young woman and now at age twenty-two Šumayin years, she is nearing completion of her sojourn on Earth. Her goal is to learn as much as she can about the planet, then return to Šumaura to communicate all she’s learned about Earth. If she is successful, she will be given another planetary assignment. Two successful  planetary assignments will allow her to become a kŭɳұҽ or teacher, a highly sought after Šumayin honor.

NayéLi is bound by the Šumayin laws of planetary exploration. One of the laws states that no venӫṩo can ever become involved with a member of the host species. And up until the time NayéLi is involved in a terrible bus accident, she has followed her rulers’ laws to the letter. Then she meets Jared Russell, a thirty-two year old emergency room physician. Jared is still recovering emotionally from the loss of his wife four years ago in a fatal car crash.

But NayéLi is more human now than she realizes. And just by getting to know Jared she risks succumbing to human emotions. Powerless to rein in her feelings, she breaks the HADJX, the Šumayin covenant that forbids a Learner from ever becoming involved with a host species. In fact, she doesn’t just break it, she shatters the HADJX. NayéLi falls in love.

When her rulers suspect NayéLi is deviating from her assigned mission, they order her to leave him. If she continues to violate her venӫṩon code of conduct, a powerful fӫnṩa or Šumayin retriever will be sent after her to enforce the HADJX.

When she refuses to obey her rulers, NayéLi places not only her entire sojourn on Earth at risk, but also imperils her life as well as the life of the human she’s come to love.

THE LEARNER...Arriving from outer space to an ebook store near you on January 1st, 2013!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Real Hemlock Pond!

Yes, there is a real "Hemlock Pond", the name given the fictional haunted pond in my most recent horror release, HEMLOCK POND. Though the actual pond has no name, this small one acre body of water is located hidden back in the woods on some land I own in north Texas. Stories abound about how Indian arrowheads can be found along the creek behind the pond, though I've looked and never found any. Wildlife is abundant though: coyotes, bobcat, raccoons, some deer, wild hogs, plenty, and yes, even opossums--no three legged ones so far. Fish, yes, turtles, yes, frogs, yes, snakes, of course, but there is no fictional kiddie dock--at least I haven't built one yet. Another major difference from the novel is the location--Megan and Zach move to Wisconsin where they encounter the fictional haunted Hemlock Pond. As mentioned earlier, the real pond lies in Texas. But there are no hemlock trees, however plenty of cedar. Why the location change? For the story to work, the pond had to freeze over solidly. This doesn't happen during a Texas winter, though thin films of ice do form along the banks some cold January days. If this pond were really in Wisconsin, it would freeze solid enough you could walk across. Is the real "Hemlock Pond" haunted? That's a good question. I will tell you if you hike down to the pond through the trees late at night, and gaze over the still water on a moonlit evening, you can find yourself thinking of things you might not (or should not) normally be contemplating--like...

(Photos courtesy of Carrie Smeltzer)