Daran Handshaw’s Actaeon Stops By To Visit With The Pukah

Daran Handshaw’s Actaeon Stops By To Visit With The Pukah

“We are born in the shadow of fading memories and fallen dreams, living our days within the decaying bones of an age long gone.”

When the Engineer, Actaeon, arrives at Pyramid in the heart of Redemption, nothing goes according to plan. Mysterious raiders pursue him relentlessly across the shattered remains of the ancient metropolis, and the leaders of his homeland pay no heed to his ambitious ideas. Meanwhile, deep beneath Pyramid, a deadly creature stirs. And, when Actaeon meets a skilled young Knight Arbiter with brilliant blue eyes, he starts down a path he could never have imagined.

The vast, fallen city of the Ancients is home to a new people who face the constant struggle to find resources needed to survive in the dangerous ruins. For the Engineer, however, Redemption is a treasure trove of technology, opportunity, and answers. But his unique skills make him a target for those who would use his talents to achieve their own dreams of power and control.

In his endless quest for the truth, will Actaeon discover the fallen city’s greatest secrets? Or will he share the same fate as the Ancients of whom nothing remains but a whisper?

One thing is certain: in Redemption, everything comes with a cost.

Welcome back everyone.  Darran, welcome back to you as well.  Who’s this gentleman with you today?

  • Actaeon steps forward and leans upon his halberd. “Good day to you, fine lady. I am Actaeon Rellios of Shore. And what, may I ask, is your name?”

Welcome Actaeon. ::Bows politely:: I am known as “K.” or “Pukah” depending who is speaking. I answer to both.

May I inquire where Rellios of Shore is?

  • Actaeon grins. “Well, I am speaking, so you can tell me your preference given that knowledge. And Rellios of Shore is right before you. Rellios is my family’s name, you see. I am from Shore, which lies at the southern edge of Redemption, it is a Hold of the Raedelle Dominion. I grew up there, in the town of Incline. You have not heard of it?”

I am afraid not. I don’t get to get out and travel as much as I wish. Is it hard to get to, Redemption?

  • Actaeon appears intrigued. “Quite fascinating, Lady K. I have not met anyone from outside the city before – at least not anyone that was not trying to kill me. Redemption is the ruined city of the Ancients. On the west it borders the sea and on the east it borders hostile tribal lands. It would be quite difficult and dangerous to make it there from without, I would imagine. Might I ask where you are from?”

A little world called “Earth”. With that much destruction, I am led to believe you are not a native to Earth, are you?

  • “Curious. So you are from a different world? Or perhaps a different location in the same world as I. I have not heard of this Earth, but I should like to know more. Those who live in Redemption arrived through portals that opened up nearly a century ago. Could this ‘Earth’ have been an origination point for those people?”

Possibly. Do your people consider themselves to be human, or is there another term for your race, or species?

  • “We are most certainly human, though for some I am sure that is debatable, ” he says with a chuckle. “As far as I can tell, the vanished Ancients were human as well. Why do you ask? Are you human? Do you know of other races?” He leans forward, eager to know more.

That I do, and I have met others from other worlds who are not human.

You mention portals – that brings up another question for me. Is there magic in your world?

  • Actaeon laughs at that question. “Well, some would call it that. The technology that the Ancients have left behind – the artifacts. Many in Redemption are convinced they are magic. Some worship these artifacts while others seek to destroy them, convinced that they led to the destruction of the Ancients. They are not magic though. Their function has an explanation, though sometimes it is beyond our understanding. It is one of my driving goals in life, to understand more about the truth behind such artifacts.”

We have a few pieces of technology like that here as well.

Actaeon, one last question, then I’ll let you go home. Hypothetically, if you could achieve your heart’s desire, what would it be?

  • “You do, Lady K? I should like to examine them if you can spare any.”

Actaeon takes a long moment to think about the question before replying. “My heart’s desire – such a strange concept that an organ which pushes lifeblood through the body would have a desire. I understand your metaphorical meaning however. My greatest desire has always been to find the answers to many problems. You see, I am an Engineer by trade. I wish to discover the truth behind a great many things: how the artifacts work, how to make them ourselves, how to utilize technology to solve humanity’s problems, why we are here and what happened to the Ancients. If I could achieve one thing, it would be to discover that – to discover what happened to the Ancients. It is the biggest mystery of my world. I am realistic though, and I realize that such a question is unlikely to be answered in my lifetime, if ever. That will not stop me from searching though.”

He remembers then, her previous statement. “You said you have met non-human people from other worlds. I would be delighted to hear about them – both the people and the worlds.”

Actaeon, there are many different worlds, races, and species. Before you return home, see if Darran will take you by a library. In there, you will find many worlds to explore, and information on just about any subject.

For the strange technology, in part it is from those who may not be as advanced in science as others, and in part it may be phenomena we haven’t figured out yet. (Not everything can be made to fit in a test tube, after all.)

Perhaps one, or both of those sources might provide some help in achieving your desire. It can be hard knowing you are trying to solve something that may not be solvable in one lifetime.

Actaeon, thank you so much for letting Darran bring you over to visit.

Darran, thank you again for visiting.

Any last words?

  • Actaeon runs a hand through his hair behind the goggles on his forehead as he listens.

“I will do just that and interrogate this Darran fellow, Lady K. Thank you for your suggestion. As with any endeavor, the success is often questionable. It is our duty in life to try for such lofty goals, for if not us, then who? And if not now, then when? We are the shapers of our own destinies, but the first step is to try. Many times the reward lies in the effort as well as the end.” The Engineer bows his head deeply then and steps back. “You have my thanks, Lady K, for this frank discussion.”

Darran steps forward then. “I hope you’ve enjoyed a sampling of Actaeon. If you’d like to read more about his adventures in the ruined, futuristic city of Redemption as he is drawn into unexpected adventures, romance and politics, look for The Engineer, A Chronicles of Actaeon Story, [out] on Amazon. “

Actaeon stiffens at the words and arches a brow at Darran. “You are going to have to answer quite a few questions, good sir.”

I think I’ll let you two have that discussion, gentlemen.

Actaeon, it was a pleasure to meet you.

Thank you everyone who’s stopped by to visit.  I hope you enjoyed the interview (not sure who was being interviewed here.)  If you’d like to connect with Darran, you can find him on his Facebook Twitteror The Engineer’s Indiegogo site.  

Don’t forget to stop by frequently to see who else has stepped in to Visit with the Pukah.  

Any comments or questions can be left below.  Discussions are always welcome here.

Ian Martin’s Danjay Stops By To Visit With The Pukah

Ian Martin’s Danjay Stops By To Visit With The Pukah

Major Danjay and his captains, Agreb, an elf, and Mizon, a centaur, and the Byzantine sector forces are on the planet of Kwasang, quelling an uprising led by the fanatic Jakan. Danjay is badly injured. Only his smartsuit, his bionanotech and the prompt action of Agreb and Mizon save his life. Elves and centaurs had visited earth in man’s formative history. They then retreated, ensuring their presence on earth passed into myth. When eventually man reached out into the galaxy, the elves and centaurs were there to greet them. Fifteen standards after Kwasang, the three heroes are once more on Jakan’s trail. However, unknown to them, Jakan is under the control of another mythical creature, who with other members of its race, also visited earth in prehistoric times. Their intentions however are far from altruistic. For Danjay, this will not only mean confronting man’s ancient foe but also his own ancestry.

Welcome back to the Character Interview series.  Today, Ian has returned, and brought one of his friends with him.  Ian, do you wish to introduce the gentleman?

  • [This is] Danjay (just Danjay)

No last name?

  • [No.]

Then, Danjay it is.  Danjay, since I know Ian writes science fiction, and since you are in an unusual uniform, I am going to stick my neck out, and ask if you are human, or alien.

  • Human with a partially non-human ancestry

That’s an interesting mix.  Do you work closely, or have human friends, or are they as unusual as you are?

  • My two closest friends are an Elf and a Centaur (yes, this is still science fiction)

I can bet that makes finding accommodations for the night a rather interesting prospect.  Would you change anything about your circumstances if you could?

  • Rid myself of those non-human genes

Your ancestry is not the most respected then?

  • One of my ancient ancestors is a Fairy – a two metre tall alien with telepathic powers that can be used to control others

That could be a bit disconcerting, all right.  Do you have any fears related to this?

  • That without my knowledge I have used the vestiges of those same powers on others.

That is definitely understandable.  Perhaps, in time, you will know enough to understand when (or if) you are using your talents.

Ian, Danjay, thank you so much for stopping by today.  Danjay, it has been a pleasure to meet you.  Ian, it has been fun once again to learn more about the way you think.

If you enjoyed the interview, and wish to learn more about Danjay, the image above will take you to Amazon, where you can pick up his story for yourself.

If you enjoyed the interview, and wish to connect with Ian, you can find him on his website, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

If you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.  Discussion is always welcome around here.

Roni Askey-Doran’s Emily Zylaz Stops By To Visit With The Pukah

Roni Askey-Doran’s Emily Zylaz Stops By To Visit With The Pukah

Today is Emily Zylaz’s birthday. This is the day that she has chosen to kill herself. After struggling for many years to cope with the roller-coaster of mental illness, a devastating failed marriage, and a soul-destroying career that is going nowhere, she’s giving up. Feeling like the only solution to all of her problems is to take her own life, Emily plans to hang herself at midnight. She believes no one will care that she’s dead, that she won’t be missed, and that everyone will be better off without her and her fickle moods. As we journey alongside Emily, counting down the hours on her last day alive, we explore the twisted labyrinth of her troubled mind and learn why she so desperately wants to die.

Welcome back, and Roni, thank you for returning.  Who do you have with you today?

  • Emily Zylaz

Welcome Emily.  Why don’t you start us off with a little about yourself?

  • Madison calls me Emmy-poo because when I was a toddler, that’s how I said my name when people asked. It stuck and she uses it whenever we see each other.

Who is Madison?

  • Madison is my older sister. She’s more than ten years older than me so she wasn’t around much when I was growing up. She kind of drifted in and out of my life when I was a child, spending most of her time away at school, and then later on she moved away to work as a curator in Belgium. She’s a bit like a stranger to me, and I feel like I don’t know her that well. There were times when we did things together when I was a kid, but we also clashed from time to time. Most of the time, I just remember her being absent.

Sounds like you’ve had a rough childhood.  Has this affected the way you get along with others?

  • I don’t play well with others, and prefer to be left alone with my books. Mostly it’s because I’m secretly afraid of scrutiny and criticism, and I get tongue-tied in the company of strangers, especially men. My tongue feels like a rolled-up carpet and I have no idea what to say. I can’t help but feel stupid when I’m expected to speak.

Has this created enemies for you, or given you a group of people you don’t like?

  • Bullies do so much invisible damage to a vulnerable person that it’s difficult for someone like me to speak out against them. They come in all shapes and sizes, ages and professions, and their range of bullying tactics seems to be endless. It seems like a cycle, that those people have suffered somewhere in their lives too, and feel the need to snatch back their power by taking the power of others. I’d like to see all bullies and their victims united in the struggles of life and helping each other get through the tough spots. No bullies, no victims, just everyone helping everyone else. It’s impossible, I know. But dreams are free.

Yet, that is such a worthy dream to work towards.  Is there anything you would like to change about yourself that would help you bring that dream closer to reality?

  • I would become one of those confident self-assured women that I see around me, defending their rights and the rights of others, speaking out against injustice and social bullying and harassment, and walking with my head held high as I march down the street, instead of focusing on the cracks in the pavement and pretending to be invisible.

Has this led to any secrets you’re willing to share with us?

  • I never told anyone about the baby I lost when I was married. My husband Garrett knew, but he found out too late that I was pregnant. I hadn’t got my head around the idea yet and didn’t have the opportunity to tell him. After I recovered from the physical trauma of the miscarriage, I was so ashamed at my failure to protect my baby that I didn’t speak to anyone else about my loss. It’s a heavy secret I’ve carried inside me for years.

I’m so sorry to hear that.  But, you can speak of it now, which is a positive change.  Do you have anything you’d like to say to the folks who have read your book?

  • [No]

I understand.  Thank you for being brave, and coming in to talk to us today.  Roni, thank you so much for bringing Emily by.

If you are interested in more of Emily’s story, you can pick up a copy of Broken here on Amazon.

And, there she goes folks.  Roni Askey-Doran.  If you enjoyed the interview, you can find her blog here, Twitter here, and Amazon page with most of her books here.  

Don’t forget to stop by regularly to see who else has come in to Visit with the Pukah.

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below. Discussions are always welcome here.

Ian Martin’s Gunther Kleim Stops By To Visit With The Pukah

Ian Martin’s Gunther Kleim Stops By To Visit With The Pukah

Planet Earth is in trouble. At the end of the twenty first century, the population is still increasing, climate change has not been arrested, sea levels are rising, millions are suffering death and starvation. Then a treatment is discovered that will allow people to live hundreds, perhaps thousands of years. Gunther Kleim leads a team of fifty top scientists, economists and sociologists tasked with modelling the world’s uncertain future. Their conclusion is the inevitable breakdown of human civilisation. Gunther has a proposal. It won’t stop earth’s decline, but it might give it hope: ‘Project Noah’ the most audacious and ambitious project of science and exploration since man first set foot on the moon. The aim – to preserve a piece of civilisation, taking thousands, eventually hundreds of thousands of people, to the stars.

Ian, welcome back.  And, welcome back everyone else to our ongoing Character Interview series.  Ian, who do you have with you today?

  • Gunther Kleim

Gunther, since you are working on preserving civilization, I’m sure you are under a great deal of pressure.  Are you someone who handles it well?

  • I hope so, I’m trying to persuade tens of thousands of people to join me in a project that could take a hundred years and will end with us travelling to the stars.

Are you having to deal with a particular class of individuals you consider your enemies?

  • People who refuse to see what we humans have done to the world and that all the evidence points to us destroying our own civilization.  People who want to stop ‘Project Noah’.

Do you have anyone special in your life to turn to when things become overwhelming?

  • No, it wouldn’t be fair.  And ‘Project Noah’ is a jealous mistress.

Do you have any fears that you wish to share?

  • That I’m leading people on a hundred year project that is doomed to fail.  At the beginning we don’t have most of the technology we’ll need.  So much of it is an act of faith.

They say that necessity is the mother of invention.  And, it may seem cold comfort now, but I’m sure this is the grandmother of invention for the technology you are seeking.

To counterbalance your fears, do you have any hopes, or achievements that show how you’ve already overcome some of that fear?

  • The vision, ingenuity, tenacity and brilliance of human beings.  Without that ‘Project Noah’ would never even have got started.

That definitely counts as a wonderful achievement.  Gunther, thank you for coming by today with Ian.  It has been a pleasure sitting down and talking with you.

If you enjoyed the interview, and wish to learn more about Gunther, the image above will take you to Amazon, where you can pick up his story for yourself.

If you enjoyed the interview, and wish to connect with Ian, you can find him on his website, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Don’t forget – stop back often to see who else has come to Visit with the Pukah.

If you have any comments or questions, please leave them in the area below.  Discussions are always welcome here.

Wolfgang Schimanski’s  Mikhail Stops By To Visit With The Pukah

Wolfgang Schimanski’s Mikhail Stops By To Visit With The Pukah

Jon-Erik, Joey, Angel, and Tina have been through some severe tough times together, and they’ve made it through to the other side. But just as things are finally calming down and starting to go smoothly for them, chaos reenters their lives, and it threatens to destroy everything they hold dear. This highly anticipated sequel to author Wolf Schimanski’s debut novel Meter of Deception finds the fearless foursome comfortably settled into a domestic paradise. Jon-Erik and Angel as well as Joey and Tina have settled down and are engaged to be married, and the men are working together as partners in Joey’s family furniture business. But corporate shark Richard Rasmussin has his sights set on their business, and he’s determined to swallow it whole. A ruthless, underhanded, crooked man, he’ll stop at nothing until he takes hold of the business, and he’ll do whatever it takes to make sure that no one interferes with his larger, wide-sweeping wicked schemes. Can these four friends muster up the courage and skill to survive Rasmussin’s attacks? Or will they fall victim to corruption, depravity, and danger that is unprecedented even for them? The second installment in the Meter trilogy, Meter of Corruption, follows the protagonists as they battle to protect their lives and livelihoods from the sinister web that threatens to suffocate them. Full of non-stop action, unexpected plot twists, and spine-tingling revelations, this page-turner spans wayward and exotic locations, such as Jamaica and Russia, and delves into an underworld so dark and diabolical it’ll leave you at a loss for words.

Welcome back, Wolf.  Thanks for stopping by again today.  Who do you have with you?

  • Mikhail.

Is there a last name, by any chance?

  • No last name at least none I remember.

Mikhail, do you have any nicknames that you prefer?

  • I have many nicknames. Ninja, Monster, Shape shifter, Dispatcher of Souls.  I am called these as that is what I do and I do it better than anyone else in this world. Do not test me… or I will show you!

Those are some powerful names.  Did you get them because you are something other than human?

  • I am human but I have evolved beyond the boring gnats that are human. I am a Predator of the highest order and none can stand in my way.  I am an expert in most martial arts out there, have mastered the forbidden art of Ninjitzu making me a master of all weaponry, hand to hand combat, deception, disguise, impersonation , concealment and so much more. But my skills have evolved to the point of mind-reading and invisibility. I am the one that cannot be vanquished.

Were you born someplace that gave you access to such training?

  • [I was born] in the back alleys of Moscow, Russia some thirty five years ago.
  • The cold and dank alleys of Moscow are where I learned my trade. Rats and stray dogs slunk from my shadow. Anyone who got in my way was eliminated. I became the whisper in the wind that no one wanted to talk about. And if they did they were silenced forever.

Do you have any family or people from your past whom you’d like to visit again?

  • None that I know of. If I did I might have killed them if they got in my way.
  • Only cold, hardship and living on the streets and the back alleys of Moscow until my instructor took me in and taught me Ninjitzu. I killed him in a fight to prove I was better than him and threw him off a rooftop into a litter strewn alley.  He was of no further use to me.

Did your early years affect how you see yourself, and your personality?

  • I have no time for that. I eat, drink, practice my skills and execute those that I am paid to. And sometimes those who get in my way or just annoy me like the gnats they really are.
  • I do not care about good or bad. I only care about who I am going to eliminate next and for how much. I would destroy anything in my path but after meeting Angel who I am sworn to protect, maybe I am getting a little softer. Or maybe not….

What profession did you go into that requires such dedication?

  • I am the best and highest paid contract killer in the world. It is all I know and all I do.

I’m guessing then, that you do not get along well with others then.

  • I do not need others. Only myself. But I am sworn to protect Angel so I grudgingly get along with her friends although I do not have much patience for them.  And my pilot Joseph who has been on missions with me in the past. I let him live as he is useful to me.

Doesn’t that put a lot of pressure on you, just to protect yourself?

  • Pressure? What is that? I only feel disdain for my opponents and satisfied when I do my job better than anyone else ever could.

Does this choice of lifestyle create enemies for you?

  • I care not about that. I eliminate those I am paid to. Nothing personal. Just business.  Angel will have a powerful nemesis however that I cannot wait to get my hands on. He will suffer greatly before I send him straight to hell.

Would she be someone you would be interested in dating, or is that activity something you prefer not to think about?

  • I have no time for that. I am too busy eliminating those who I am paid to. But I am developing a special bond with Angel. But even I cannot look into the future so who knows what will happen?
  • I take my pleasure when and where I want. The rest does not interest me.

Do you have anyone you can turn to for help and support when needed?

  • Angel, who I am sworn to protect, has great skills of her own. I may work with her in the future depending on how much she learns. And Joseph can get me to anywhere in the world I need to go and back me up. That is why he is still breathing.

Do you have any plans for the future?

  • I only care about now. The future is not ours to see. Not even for me.

Have you ever dreamed of being something else?

  • I am already the Ninja, the apex Predator out there. No creature on earth can best me. I will say no more.

There isn’t anything you’d want to change?

  • I am total perfection. Why should I?

How do you handle insults or complements?

  • I do not care. If they get in my way I will send them into the next life without batting an eye.
  • [With complements] You are mistaken. They know better than to make me mad.

Do you have any deep secrets you can share?

  • If I did, I would have to eliminate those I tell.

Ah.  Right.  Didn’t mean to push there.  Do you have any fears you work to overcome?

  • I have none. I am and I do. Nothing more, nothing less.

Do you have any accomplishments you can share with us?

  • My protégé Angel’s progress.  She has incredible skills already and is evolving daily. That makes me feel like a proud papa.

Mikhail, you have definitely shaped yourself to fit the life you have chosen.  Deep, dark, mysterious… and dangerous.  Thank you for coming by today with Wolf.  I enjoyed talking with you, and learning more about you.

Wolf, thank you again for stopping by, and bringing your… friend.  It has been great visiting with you both.

For the readers, if you are interested in reading more about Mikhail, you can find his stories in Wolf’s books:

Don’t forget to stop by again to see who else has wandered in to Visit with the Pukah.

If you have any comments or questions, please leave them below. As always, discussions are welcome around here.