welcome to the Story Time Blog Tour of Glass House Press! I have three interviews for you this week. Mary Fan, George Ebey and Linda Foster will tell you about their upcoming short stories, books and their lives as an author. You can read Mary Fan’s interview HERE. Today it’s George Ebey’s turn!
Hey George, thank you for being here! Please, tell us a little bit about yourself!
Thanks for having me! I had the privilege of being born in 1970s and growing up in the 80s and 90s, which meant that I was front row center for some of greatest genera entertainment ever created. I’m talking Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Ghostbusters, Gremlins, The Goonies, The Last Starfighter, The Neverending Story, and scores of others. I saw these works of pure cinematic magic the way they were meant to be seen, in a big, dark room, the movies projected onto a big white screen in all their non-digitally altered glory. To say that these wild, flickering images had a deep impact on my young psyche would be an understatement, and I’ve been fully immersed into the throngs of geek culture ever since.
I’m also a bit of a history buff. I’m fascinated by stories of the past and love to learn about people and places that once existed but no longer do. Usually, whenever I go on a trip or a vacation, I have to seek out some historic site or aspect of the area and educate myself about it. It’s a neat mindset to have because you end up finding new and interesting things that you wouldn’t have otherwise known about.
You have a new series coming up. Can you tell us what the “Phoenix” saga is about?
Imagine a world populated by some of the fiercest creatures from ancient mythology. Some you know well, like the Centaur and the Gryphon. Others come from more remote and obscure sources, like the Kappa and the Basilisk. Combined, they make up a sort of wild animal kingdom where borders are in dispute and numerous clashes and conflicts are commonplace.
The story mostly focuses on a boy who belongs to an isolated tribe of winged humans in this world. For some unknown reason, he was born without wings, the only one in the entire history of their civilization. He’s the last person you’d place your bets on in a fight. But through a strange twist of fate, he will find himself thrust into this hostel wilderness, struggling to uncover an ancient power that can save his people, and perhaps the entire world as well, from a deadly threat.
Have you always known that one day you’d become a published author? Or didn’t you dare to dream of it?
I’ve always had a vivid and wild imagination, but it wasn’t until I was firmly in my teens that I turned to writing as a way to exercise it. Back then, publishing felt like it was on the other side of a vast ocean from where I stood. My first attempts at writing were a lot like trying to build a small, Huck Finn-style raft in which to cross that unforgiving expanse. It wasn’t until I finished college that I felt I had enough technical skill to chuck the raft and actually build a boat.
I’d like to say that the ship I built was a tall Spanish Galleon, complete with a strong captain and a competent crew. In reality, it was more like a handmade canoe dug out of a dead oak tree. But I put it in the water anyway, and paddled ahead. The going was slow at first. Sometimes the seas got rough and tossed me around a bit. Other times, storm clouds would gather in the distance, threatening to brew up a typhoon and sink me for good. But through it all, I kept on paddling, day after day, year after year, until I eventually saw the sweet sight of the shoreline on the other side.
Where do you usually write? Do you have a favourite place?
I want to say in a quaint little villa along the French Riviera But alas, I’ve never been there. So instead, I mostly work in a quaint little office that I have set up in my house. It’s a great spot though, complete with bookshelves, posters, and other little nick knacks to help put me in a creative mood.
Sometimes, when I feel I need a change of scene, I take my laptop to the library and work there. There’s something about being surrounded by all those books that always gets my imagination going.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
A little bit of both. I like to be prepared going in. I do my research and make sure that I have a clear pathway for the story plotted out before getting started. But at the same time, I don’t tend to go in for long, detailed outlines. More often than not, I find myself deviating from them as I get deeper into the story. I believe in letting the muse take me where it wants to go. Sometimes, that’s a clear and preconceived place. Other times, it’s a complete mystery, and I’m just as surprised as the audience is, almost as if I’m experience the story unfold on its own the same way a reader does. I’ve always trusted that process, and it hasn’t steered me wrong yet.
Thank you for this interview and good luck for the future!
The pleasure was all mine! Thank you.
About the short story
„A game to end all games. On the line: her family’s future. Will Helen’s creation be enough to win the day? Or will she lose, and take her family down with her?
Helen Hunter’s father hopes to make his fortune by sending a robotic rover, controlled from Earth, to mine the surface of Mars for precious ores.
But there’s a catch. To do it, he’ll have to assume financial responsibility for the rover. And on the harsh and desolate surface of Mars, one false move can mean the difference between untold riches and utter disaster. It’s a risky move that could spell doom for the entire family … and their hopes for the future.
Unless Helen can intervene.
The company behind the mining system—MARSCORP—is holding a junior gaming competition at their annual convention, and this is her chance. Grand prize is a one-year lease on a brand new Mars mining rover. Winning would mean that her father gets his shot at the Martian bonanza without any risk to the family.
But it won’t be easy. Teens from all over the country have come to compete. Some are smart. Others, ruthless. And Helen’s not the only one who needs to win. The mission: use her personally designed robot to fight it out in a high-tech arena that can simulate any environment, real or imagined. Beat the competitors. Bring home the prize.
Luckily for Helen, gaming and robot design are her specialties.
And when she unleashes her newest creation on the competition, a miniature homemade rover she calls DEBBI, the world is going to see just how skilled she really is.
The question is … will it be enough?“
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About the author
George Ebey has been creating alternate realities since a young age. It all began when he
started taking his once-vast collection of action figures on epic journeys though countless lands full of exotic wonders and hidden dangers. Today, his action figure collection is much smaller, though several still stand guard on his writing desk, ready to take up arms and march into the fray at a moment’s notice.
George was born and raised in Ohio, where he still lives with his wife and an ornery cat named Ollie. When he’s not writing or playing with his action figures, he enjoys being outdoors, studying history, and searching for new and interesting places to explore.
Want a sneak peek?
At first she didn’t understand.
How could they know to find me way out here?
Then it occurred to her. She had read that some Marauders placed mining tags on other rover units, to act as tracking devices and lead them to other people’s caches. It must have been how they found her dad’s cache in the first place. At some point, probably when he visited one of the robo-settlements, he’d been tagged by these guys, who had been slowly working their way toward him ever since. They’d probably assumed that his rover was out of commission for good after the initial attack, and moved on.
But when Helen got the unit up and running, they must have seen that it was still operational and decided to turn back, in the hopes that it would lead them to more booty.
Why didn’t I think of that before? Stupid! Then she wondered … the tracker. Where was it?
Probably somewhere that it would be hard to spot. The trailer, most likely.
Working a control on the joystick, she quickly cut the magnet and detached the rover from the trailer. It might be too late to stop them from finding her, but that didn’t matter—she could move faster without it. And right now, speed was just the thing she needed. Not wasting a second, she pressed the accelerator and made a beeline straight for the final cache. If she tagged it and coded it before the Marauders reached her, she could call for a hover-scoop and there wouldn’t be a thing they could do about it.
But the Marauders were fast.
Maybe they had figured out ways to modify their units for greater velocity. She didn’t know. From what she could tell, they were moving at a speed twice her own. With each foot she gained, they gained two. Where she was only one, they were three.
The final cache loomed directly ahead. But before she could upload the code, she’d have to get to it and tag it. It was only a hundred feet away now. Ninety … Eighty…
Stealing her eyes from the image of the cache, she looked to the left-hand corner of the vid-screen, hoping that she still had more time. But the Marauders were no longer just a blip in the distance.
They were getting closer.
The cache was just ahead. But the Marauders were so fast.
By the time she got to within forty feet of it, the first Marauder was right on top of her, slamming the brunt of its weight into her left side, and tipping her over.
– – – –
She used her good arm to right herself. By the time she had all wheels to the ground once again, she was convinced that one of the Marauders had already reached the cache and was coding it for themselves.
To her surprise, though, the three units had stopped and were now parked directly in front of her, staring her down. None of them had made a move for the cache yet.
She found out a moment later, when the eyes on the lead Marauder unit started to blink.
Seconds later, the words appeared on the vid-screen.
Obviously, in the thin atmosphere of Mars, verbal communication between rover units was impossible. So the designers at MARSCORP had created a means of two-way communication that relied on blinked codes, which could be read by software embedded in the camera system and relayed to the operator’s vid-screen in the form of typed words. The result was a crude form of dialog between units.
“I know you have more caches,” the lead unit coded. “Give me the coordinates and we’ll let you go.”
So that’s it. Having settled for a small score last time, they were looking for a bigger one now.
The thought infuriated her. It wasn’t enough that they’d already taken so much, that they’d put her and her family in this situation and threatened to ruin their lives forever. Now they wanted more.
Quickly, she typed her response.
“Go suck a moon rock.”
“Don’t be stupid,” the leader blinked. “Give us the coordinates and roll away. You can mine for more. Otherwise, we’ll finish what we started three days ago.”
She knew full well that if she blinked the locations of the other caches, they’d rip her apart anyway and have it all.
That left just one option. Swallowing hard, she rolled the unit forward, raised the tip of the rock breaker, and jammed the sharp end directly into the lead Marauder’s left eye. The suddenness of it must have shocked the Marauders, as none of them moved a diode at first. It wasn’t until she hit a switch on the joystick and began to jackhammer away at the leader’s head that the others finally got their senses together enough to react.
On the vid-screen, a bevy of mechanical arms and robot tools flew toward her rover, reaching for it.
Working the joystick, she extracted the hammer from the leader’s eye and backed quickly away. Wherever the owner lived here on Earth, she could imagine him screaming into his vid-screen as a now-shattered camera cut his view of the Martian surface forever in half. The rover rolled away, looking disoriented and confused, and leaving just two more to contend with.
But the Marauders weren’t without weapons of their own.