Name TW Embry
Where are you from
I am a navy brat born in Japan while my father was assigned to the pacific fleet
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I have a bachelor’s degree in both computer science and culinary science both of which I do not use, computers because it is terribly out of date, culinary for health reasons, working with other chefs makes me sick. I have been married to my beautiful wife Linda for 20 wonderful years. We have one daughter Corri who was married to the love of her life Travis just 3 weeks ago. Linda and I have one dog Ivy, she is half Rhodesian ridgeback and half red nose pit bull and she is the sweetest dog I have ever met and a fierce protector of her mom and dad. We have three cats who are Ivy’s best friends. In fact, sometimes I think she thinks she is a cat or a human, not a dog. The cat’s names are thing 1 and thing 2, black male twins. Then we have Biggin kitty who is a love, not a terror like the other two, but they are still kittens. I have lived in Port St Lucie Florida or Fort Pierce Florida since I was 7. My wife was born in Stuart Florida she is what we call a Florida cracker and she is proud of that. My family has lived in Kentucky since 1780 on the same farm we bought from the Choctaw Indians. I have visited the grave of my ancestor who fought in the revolutionary war, Thomas Scott on what used to be the family farm. Over the years, the farm has been divided and sold outside the family except for one small parcel where my grandmother lived. I am there now on a writing retreat courtesy of my Uncle Paul Scott. I will return to my wife who is at home minding the family business, A Beautiful Day Florist on 6/4/15. I miss her so and cannot wait to be with her again. After all I have been gone a whole three weeks.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I have just finished my 3 novel titled Earth’s Mirror, the sequel to my second novel Alien Manifesto and Revenge from Mars completes the saga. I have also just submitted several short stories to a couple of contests. I have also just completed my collection of short stories and poems to my publisher. It is titled The Ravings of a Bi-Polar Mind
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I wrote ghost stories for my grandmother as a child. However, as I am dyslexic, adhd and bi polar the only one who could read them was me. In frustration, I turned to other things for about 40 years. It was a comment by a well-meaning professor that showed me the path to where I am now. As my culinary degree is a bachelor’s degree, I had to take an English class in creative writing. I had completed an in class assignment much faster than any of my class mates. As I handen in my assignment Professor Wolfich ask me a question I will never forget. ”How many books have you written?”. With a typical bi polar response, I paid very little attention to his question as I was training to be a chef, Why would I write any books?
After several spectacular failures as a chef, I remembered Professor Wolfich’s comment, I sat down and wrote what was to become the opening scene of my first novel Revenge from Mars, and I discovered my long lost love for writing a good story.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I got picked up by the Gilbert Literary agency for representation. I consider myself a master story teller which is much more than being a writer. Writers tend to write instruction manuals and textbooks and novels that don’t sell. Storytellers on the other hand spin a story to enchant the reader, to entertain not just educate. It is posssiable to teach and entertain at the same time it just has to be done with a love of writing a really good story
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
When I was 7 a friend of mine named Mitch Goldenfarb gave me a book of short stories. In that book was a story of tourists on Mars who found a hidden Martian army. It was written so that the tourists did not even wear space suits and helmets. That was the story that inspired Revenge from Mars
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I live for what I call a “crazy Ivan”, a completely unexpected twist that takes the story line in a new direction as you realize things that you have read so far are NOT how the story continues with a final twist to set up the reveal at the end
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
To me tie title should describe the essence of the book but not in such a way as to give away anything. The book is to the title as the title is to the book one cannot be without the other
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
My first novel Revenge from Mars defiantly has a message about what could happen if we don’t stop the religious fanatics now. My others are just for entertainment
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
I write scify so the possibilities that the adventures my characters have could happen is very real if one is open to the fact that life besides humans exists in space. If even one% of the billions of galaxies have intelligent life there are hundreds of thousands of planets that fall into the goldilocks zone for life planets, as we know it. How much we do not know about space is far greater than what we know or posssiable can imagine. In my opinion, which doesn’t amount to much, thinking that we are the only form of intelligent life is absurd, narrow-minded and shows just how ignorant we are about the true nature of space.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I have based some of the personal attributes from the people in my life. That is ok as those that I have have a great sense of humor and do not take it personally. Not that any of my character’s are derogatory in any way I just have fun with them and take lots of artistic license with them.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
I have read everything that Robert Heinlein has published and that is one of if not the biggest source of inspiration for me. The only exception would be the book of short stories my friend Mitch Goldenfarb gave me when I was 7 years old. I wish I could remember the title but the copy he gave me was missing the front cover.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
As I have progressed in my writing I start books, figure out the plot in a couple of chapters and I get bored and put them down. The surprise twist is a lost art in todays fiction which seems mostly to deal with personal drama. I am not a fan of reality tv or writing if find it to be unentertaining drivel. I know that makes me sound like a snob but I have read over 10,000 books over the years. Everything from Zane Grey, Jules Vern and the classics to Steven King and Dean Koontz and everything in between. A book has to be exceptional to pique my interest and most of the big name authors do not. I tend to skip the big names as I have been disappointed on the last 10 books I purchased. I am currently reading books by newcomers in my genre and in my humble opinion they are much better than the same old rubber stamp some of the big names release and sell thousands of copies of.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Yes, Margo Collins Bond, Rival Gates, Marie Lavender, KC Sprayberry just to name a few.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I just completed my third novel Earths Mirror and it wraps up the Alien Manifesto series for now. I have been writing short stories for contests and I have compiled them into a sampler of my work. It is titled The Ravings of a Bi-Polar Mind and it is almost finished. Both Earth’s Mirror and Ravings of a Bi-Polar mind should be available in august of this year
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Both of my publishers Crimson Cloak Publishing and Solstice Publishing have been supportive of my scribbling of words. But the first one to take an interest in my work professionally was the Gilbert Literary Agency. The most supportive has been my wife Linda, my daughter Corri and my extended Kentucky family
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I do now, when I first started it was just for fun. I knew once I got an agent and my first contract that this is what I was meant to do
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
In my latest book no. I will someday do a rewrite of Revenge from Mars, while an outstanding book with all 5 star reviews on Amazon, I have progressed so much as a story teller that every time I look at Revenge from Mars I get an urge to redevelop some of the scenes
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Yes as a young boy I wrote ghost stories to scare my Grandma who I love very and miss very very much. I have so many challenges, dyslexica, adhd, bi-polar that I got so frustrated I put it down for 40 years. The advent of the personal computer and the word program have helped me overcome my challenges
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I would be glad to this is a short story I have submitted to several contests and is in Ravings of a Bi-Polar Mind
A Man I Once Met
By T.W. Embry
It was one hot humid south Florida summer day on a beach the locals still called Dynamite Point that I met the stranger. I remember just a few hardy tourists and a few locals were enjoying the beach before the hordes of Yankees descended upon the small town of Ft Pierce. Clogging up any entranceway to beach access and buying up all the suntan oil.
I used to gawk at the sunburned tourists in their outrageous clothes, but momma said that was impolite. Therefore, I was much more careful when I cast my gaze upon the freshly sunburned beauties who were parading the latest bikini fashions in and out of the only surf shop in town.
My relatives from out of state was visiting, we were having a family reunion at the state park on what had once been called Dynamite Point. Momma was complaining because it was the heat of the summer and her least favorite time of year, especially since she was 7 months pregnant.
We were walking to the A 1 A 7 11 to get more ice for the coolers. Momma was miserably hot. The air-conditioned store was at least a temporary sanctuary away from the heat and humidity of a perfectly blistering summer morning. And blister the tourists it has already today I thought as I remembered the surf shop and its bevy of sunburned beach bunnies.
It was mid-august and would still be a couple of more months until the snow birds arrived in droves, so we had the store to ourselves, except for the man looking at beer, in the back row. Momma had just scolded me for staring again so I snuck a quick glance out of the corner of my eye.
I risked looking again because he was dressed so strange, and so hot. Who wears all black long sleeves and black long pants in south Florida in August? And a black, long sleeved jacket? I was sweating, and I was just wearing my baggies, no shirt, no shoes. He turned and looked at me, his features hidden by his turned up collar and long brimmed hat, quickly looking away once he realized I had seen him. Momma called my name a second time before I heard her, turning to find her holding out two bags of ice for me to carry, my punishment for staring I guess.
“Y’all better hurry, said the elderly lady manning the register,, “Its gonna storm after while, least that’s what the weather man says on the radio,” she said with a big smile, handing momma her change. “Lord I hope so and sooner better than later,, Momma answered, “Come on son”, she instructed me as I turned for another look at the strange man, getting a stern look for my indiscretion.
He was gone, I didn’t see him leave, we were standing right in front of the only door in or out for customers so he must be in the bathroom. I just added him to my list of strangely dressed Yankees. I was anxious to get back to the beach, the surf was up and I loved to ride my raft on the waves all the way into the shore break.
When we got back Daddy told me not to go out very far as I was only twelve. But I knew the real reason. If I went out to the surf break that would mean he would have to watch me. And that would distract from his roving eyes enjoyment of the bevy of beauties who had returned to finish their sunburn, wearing new and even skimpier bikinis.
The nice lady at the 7 11 had been right, it wasn’t long before big black cloud’s started rolling in from the west, darkening the sky and obscuring the blistering sun. Soon we were all stuck under the pavilion because of the lightning. Sometimes these storms are very strong and very brief, other times they last for hours. This one appeared to be one of those that would last for hours.
Finally, after an hour long deluge, one of the family elders made the decision to move the reunion back to the hotel meeting room once we had finished lunch. The next joyous hour was filled with barbeque ribs, hamburgers and steak for the adults. Bowls of fresh melon and salad rounded up diner, with homemade chocolate cake and homemade vanilla ice cream for dessert, hand cranked by all the cousins old enough to turn the handle.
After stuffing myself, I asked Mommas permission to go to the bathroom, with a curt nod yes she returned to her conversation with my Aunt Betty. I made a beeline for the bathroom, remembering the rules about this sort of thing. And more importantly, what terrible wrath waited when I returned, if I dared stray from the path to the bathroom or acceptable family protocol. Daddy would whip me for sure if I messed up. Taking full advantage of my sudden freedom once I was out of sight, I took my time, enjoying the rain as it washed the dried salt from my sun-reddened skin and crew cut red hair.
As I reached down to pull up my baggies, I heard the wooden screen door open, then swing shut slowly, quietly. I carefully locked the door to the stall and peeked out the crack in the doorframe. I fully expected one of my younger cousins to jump out, trying to scare me, again.
My fear had heightened my sense of smell, the men’s room smelling faintly of pee and strongly of an acrid cleaning agent. My heart was hammering in my chest as I anticipated the jump of my cousin. I quietly unlocked the stall door, swinging it open suddenly to catch my cousin off guard. But no one jumped out at me. I bet they are hiding by the door, I thought, my heart pounding harder.
I took a couple of deep breaths to calm my fear, it was only one of my cousins after all and I had outsmarted them, again. Then as I peeked around the corner of the stall to the only blind spot in the room, I froze. Realizing suddenly, that it was the man from the store, he was the one waiting for me. I instantly wished desperately it had in fact been one of my cousins. I was so scared my knees were shaking.
He stood silently, his arms crossed over his chest, looking at me. “Are you William?, he asked me in a soft, oddly accented voice. “I have only seen you as a child in the pictures from this reunion,” he said. “I have something to tell you, something very important. So important you must never tell anyone about what I say or about me.” Stunned I tried to speak, fearing the worst, finally managing “Yes sir,” my legs too wobbly to run.
“You must build the time machine. It is possible to travel forward and backward through time. Now I have to go,” he said in response to a trilling coming from the device on his wrist.
“Who are you?” I managed to ask in a hoarse whisper.
“I cannot tell you for your own safety and mine,” he answered, turning giving me a good look at his face, his features highlighted by ghostly white skin and familiar shockingly pale blue eyes, just like mine. “Go back to the party; your parents will come looking for you soon. Remember tell no one,” he said stepping out of the way.
I made a mad dash for the door on unsteady steady legs, terrified I would fall or trip and then I would not get away from this crazy person who followed me into the men’s room.
When I arrived at the pavilion I was out of breath from my sprint, no one seemed to notice, or care. I was just one of the many children running about bored and ready to go either back to the beach or to the hotel to play games. The man dressed in black was soon forgotten in the rush to pack up and move the party back to the hotel. The rain had slowed down to a light sprinkle for the moment, causing a flurry of activity as the adults rushed to get the cars loaded without getting soaked to the skin.
It was the very next weekend that tragedy struck my family. We were coming back from a shopping trip to the Palm Beach Mall; northbound on the Florida turnpike. Dad was driving his usual 55 mph. He always drove exactly the speed limit. A southbound drunk driver crossed the centerline sideswiping us on the driver’s side rear, spinning us around. That knocked our old Mercedes into the deep canal than ran the length of that section of the turnpike, where it landed upside down. I am the only one who survived the crash; no one knows how I escaped. The gory details were thankfully hidden deep in my mind.
It was many years later that I returned to Dynamite Point. In my anger at those painful memories of my families death I thrust my poking stick deep into the illegal fire I had built on the beach, not far from the sight of our not so long ago family reunion, causing a shower of sparks. I was half-finished with the bottle of cheap bourbon and I intended to finish it. It was all that remained of the money from my grandparent’s estate. The bank had just foreclosed on the house they left me today and I was now homeless and penniless, my grandfather’s 64’ GTO my last possession.
But I don’t care, Screw the bank, screw them all, I told myself as I took another big swig of the cheap bourbon, grimacing as it burned all the way down to my empty stomach. It wasn’t long before the world seemed out of focus and the pain of my grandparents recent death dulled, if only for a short time.
I had given no thought to my future; instead, I had partied like a wild man throwing my newfound wealth away on girls, expensive liquor and even more expensive party favorites, nearly getting arrested several times. I didn’t know it but I was headed for real trouble and jail, if I didn’t kill myself or get myself killed by one of my new unsavory, fair weather friends.
I was just out of high school, graduating by the sympathy of my teachers, not my work. I had no job skills to speak of, and no family left who would speak to me. I was as alone as a man can be in this crowded, modern world.
No one cares, I thought to myself as I took another long swig out of the nearly empty bottle. Now I was even angrier at the world and my predicament, unwilling and unable to place the blame where it belonged, squarely on my shoulders. I had begun to blame myself for the sudden death of my grandparents just, last year, compounding my depression, which was not being helped by the cheap bourbon.
In my anger at losing my family, I had become very disruptive and the strain had been too much for my grandfather. He had a massive heart attack shortly after one of our many loud arguments. Grandma held on for just a couple of weeks longer, dying of a broken heart, alone for the first time after 57 years of marriage. It was all my fault, the accident, my grandpa’s death all of it, I thought as I finished the bottle, now nearly incapacitated, lying in the sand, sobbing uncontrollably.
It was much later that I woke from the chill, my fire having died down to just embers. I was jolted back to a semblance of sobriety by the realization that I was no longer alone. A dark figure was standing silently, watching me from the other side of my fire pit.
It was the man from the bathroom I realized, that strange encounter from my childhood flashing before my eyes, he was still dressed the same and seemingly unaged.
‘What do you want?,” I slurred, fixating my drunken rage on the stranger. The man said nothing, standing silently watching me his arms crossed across his chest.
“I’m talking to you”, I bellowed after I staggered to my feet. Still no reply from the man dressed in black. “Answer me damn you or I am going to kick your ass,” I snarled, now I was in a rage and ready to kill mister mysterious.
Still he only stared, not answering. With a bellow of rage, I lunged across the fire pit falling flat on my face after having stepped in the embers, badly burning both of my bare feet. “Who are you,” I screamed at the still silent man, as much from frustration as from the pain of my burns, as I lay sprawled out in the sand writhing in pain.
The man shook his head in obvious disapproval of my graceful efforts, uncrossed his arms and reached into his jacket pocket. My heart began to hammer in my chest from a sudden fear of what was surely coming; I feared he was reaching for a gun. Instead, he produced a small metal container.
Still silent he knelt at my feet and began spraying my burns with the container from his pocket. The relief was instant. I watched in amazement as my burns were healed before my eyes.
“Who are you?” I whispered in amazement, Can you tell me now?,” acknowledging that I remembered our previous encounter.
“I am your great, great grandson, he finally answered with a faint smile flickering across his face, “we have met but I was just a child at the time.”
“My what?” I sputtered my voice hoarse with astonishment. What the hell is he talking about I am not even married and I sure as hell have not invented a time machine I thought to myself as some inkling of the situation seeped into my bourbon soaked brain.
“Your great, great, grandson,” he answered quietly with a little bit of an actual smile.” Come with me and I will explain over breakfast,” he said his face now lit with a full smile at my obvious confusion.
“What the hell are you talking about,” I sputtered again demanding an immediate explanation.
“It is a very long story Grandfather. I will explain everything now that you are old enough to understand”, he replied his face still lit by his smile, as he reached down to help me up and out of the sand I had fallen into in my drunken rush to judgment.
As he helped me to my feet, I demanded, “Tell me now or I am leaving you and your secrets on this damn beach.” A look came across his face, a mixture of annoyance, concern and sympathy. A trill from his pocket caused an immediate change in his demeanor. “We don’t have time for that now, they are coming,” my grandson said as he reached into his other jacket pocket, producing a small metal cylinder. ”Who is coming?,” I demanded. “Hold still this will not hurt and I will explain everything,” he said as he touched my neck with the metal cylinder.
I felt a warm sensation spreading quickly through my body, then encroaching blackness. As I slowly sank to the ground fading toward unconscientiousness, two dark figures suddenly appeared out of the corner of my eye, attacking my grandson in unison.
I managed to hold on long enough to see first one then the other go flying away from him, landing with the sound of a wet bag of cement hitting the ground. Both remained still and unmoving, their necks bent at unnatural angles. As the blackness finally took me, my last thought was one of pride, my grandson is a bad ass, a feeling of peace and safety settled into my being. I didn’t have time to wonder just who his attackers were or why they were here before blackness took me.
I awoke with a sudden startled confusion, in a strange room, in a strange bed, undressed, showered, clean shaved and well rested. Oddly, with no sign of the severe hangover I knew I deserved. As I struggled desperately to remember how I got here, there was a knock on the door. “Room service,” said a voice from the other side of the door. Remembering my grandson’s attackers, I peered through the peephole just to be sure this visitor was who they said they were.
There was an older man dressed in some sort of hotel uniform patiently waiting behind a metal service cart. The top of which was loaded up with covered dishes of something that smelled wonderful. I was suddenly famished so I unhooked the door to let my meal in.
My grandson suddenly appeared behind the man before he got into my room. With a quick jerk from behind, he broke the waiter’s neck. “Get him inside,” he hissed as he pushed the waiter into my unsuspecting arms quickly, pushing the service cart into the room then closing the door behind him.
After I deposited the newly dead waiter on the floor inside the bathroom, I closed the bathroom door behind me. I found my grandson examining the meal cart with some sort of devise, the like of which I had never seen.
“OK grandpa the food is fine. I suggest you eat while you can. We will have to move quickly from now on,” my grandson said as he put the device on some sort of equipment belt hidden by his coat.
“What makes you think I can eat after watching you murder a man in cold blood,” I replied my stomach doing flip flops, “And stop calling me grandpa you are much older than I am”, I retorted my legs shaking.
“That man you were about to let in the room was here to kill you and me if he got the chance,” answered my grandson, “Now please calm down and eat your breakfast while I explain. It might be awhile before we get to eat food you are used to again.”
“Why would that man or the two from the other night want to kill me or you for that matter.” I sputtered still full of adrenaline from watching my grandson so expertly kill another man, again.
“I will start from the beginning,” my grandson answered calmly as he uncovered his breakfast. “In 2024 a man named Jerimiah Johnson wins the North American election becoming the leader of the most powerful and advanced country in the history in the world,” my grandson said between bites of his breakfast, “He was hugely popular with the people, until he started his movement for genetic purity. At first, it was simply sterilizing the deformed and the mentally ill. Then it got much worse.”
“That sparked huge protests and riots in the street”, my grandson continued, “These were brutally crushed by his new social purity enforcers. Soon he began to target and exterminate any genetic undesirables, gays, minorities, the homeless, anyone with an abuse problem. The purge went on for years, spreading worldwide before the resistance formed. By that time, Jerimiah Johnson was calling himself the Supreme Leader of Earth. He founded the Church of Purity. Only those who could prove themselves genetically pure would be welcome into the new world order. Anyone else was an enemy of the state,” he finished with a grim look on his pale face.
I sat listening, dumbfounded by what my grandson was saying. “What does this have to do with me?’, I asked after he had finished his breakfast, mine was still untouched.
“Purifying the human race in our time was not good enough for the Supreme Leader”, my grandson answered bitterly, “not after he found your work on time travel,” my grandson answered, sending chills down my spine. “He wants to stop genetic abnormalities before they spread to the future. He built a time machine from your research. He started sending agents, mostly genetic fanatics, to eradicate the problem genes before they became a problem in the future. In my time there are two factions fighting the Supreme Leader and his genetic enforcers. My faction wants to restore genetic vitality to our race, ending the tyranny. The fake waiter belongs to the faction who only wants to destroy the Supreme leader at all costs, maintaining the purity already achieved.”
“What about the two men who attacked you at my fire?” I asked.
“They were agents of the supreme leader’s genetic purity enforcers, fanatics sworn to serve the Supreme Leader with out question. They would have gladly killed us both,” my grandson answered with a wicked grin, ”now they are taking the dirt nap they all deserve.”
“You were sent here to protect me?” I asked. “NO Grandfather!, exclaimed my grandson his head bowed in respect, “I volunteered. I trained for two years for this mission. It is my honor to protect you, to restore our family name.”
“Restore our family name?” I questioned. “Yes Grandfather, In my time it is widely believed that you built the time machine for the Supreme leader voluntarily. I know the truth. I know that he imprisoned you and tortured you until you agreed to build your time machine. I have now have the proof to clear our family name.” “Clear it from who? I asked. “In one possible future the Supreme leader is defeated and anyone who participated in his genetic purity purges is being tried for crimes against humanity. There is only one penalty, death by execution. Our entire family line is at risk from those misguided fools.”
“Possible futures? I asked. “Yes Grandfather, possible futures,” my grandson answered,” Each time an agent of the supreme leader kills someone from the past it creates a splinter in the time line from that point into a posssiable future. Some are so insignificant that the effect is negligible. Others cause large disruptions as their decedents, important figures in our society’s history, are erased from the timeline. My fellow patriots and I have been trained to stop or try and correct any such disruptions.”
“But if the supreme leader kills me before I invent the time machine how will he send agents back in time to kill the “genetic problems.” ”I asked completely confused. “He was not trying to kill you those agents were sent to kill me, you were the bait,” answered my grandson with a grim smile.
“That means the other faction wants to kill me to keep the Supreme Leader from sending agents into the past in the time machine that I built. If I don’t build it won’t someone else?” I asked. “Perhaps in time someone would,” answered my grandson, “If the supreme leader built a time machine it would have to be in secret, because the Supreme Leader and his church have made any scientific advancement illegal, a crime against God and the state.”
“Which faction killed my parents,” I snarled, angry all over again. “The same faction that tried to kill you again today,” my grandson answered. “You mean my family was killed because of me?” I whispered hoarsely the thought nearly sucking the life out of me.
“No grandfather your family was killed to prevent the invention of time travel,” my grandson answered his emotion written on his face, a catch in his voice. “They obviously did not succeed as I am here via time travel,” my grandson answered trying to sooth my ire at finding out who was responsible for killing my family after all these years.
Looking at my grandson with pleading eyes I asked, ”You can you go back and prevent my families death, Right?” “I wish it was that easy grandfather,” he answered, his head bowed, “If I prevent the factions, assassination of your family, many people in the future will die who did not exist because your family lives. Without these people, we would lose the war and the Supreme Leader will continue his reign of genetic purity,” he lamented. “Perhaps after the war and the Supreme leader is defeated that correction can be made safely,” he added seeing the look of anger slowly creeping up my neck and spreading throughout my face, trying to avert the coming explosion of emotion by giving me some hope of seeing my family again. It worked, for the moment.
“So what is your plan to keep us alive and accomplish your mission?” I asked my grandson. “We will be on the move from now on,” my grandson answered. “If the faction has found us once, they will find us again. The problem is they will know our every move before we have made them. Then they will send an agent or agents to that place and time to kill us. So ambushes will be frequent until I can cover our movements. That means getting away from any electronic surveillance technology. That includes ATMs, security recordings and traffic cams. Any Ideas?”, My grandson asked. “This is your time grandfather, not mine.” “What about disguises? Goodwill has plenty of clothes and no electronic surveillance that I know of”, I answered.
“The faction’s face recognition software is far too sophisticated for ordinary disguises,” my grandson answered with a grim smile.
“Then we have to find a small town and a small motel, most don’t have any electronic surveillance except perhaps at the front desk. We can make reservations online with a prepaid credit card that we can get from any gas station convenience store. Even if they have surveillance, they do not store it like the big companies do therefore no records to scan. All we have to do is get to my car and drive to either Stuart, Okeechobee or Vero Beach. I know them all pretty well. Once we are out of electronic sight we can go anywhere we want. As long as we avoid the bigger security systems we will be untraceable.”
“That is a good plan grandfather except if we use your car they will be able to use satellites to track your car’s license plates or black box, all modern cars have them,” answered my grandson with a thoughtful look.
“Not my Grandpas ’64 GTO! I said with a wide grin. “If we use a toll diffuser, the satellites cannot read the tag number. “They will be on us as soon as we go to your house to get the car,” my grandson answered. “It sucks to be them today because his GTO is in a restoration shop on the outskirts of town, they finished it yesterday,” I answered my grin getting larger.” All we have to do is get away from here without being seen.” “Leave that to me,” my grandson said with a wide grin.
“On one condition, no killing unless it is a faction member, understood?”, I said flatly leaving no room for argument. “Yes Grandfather, if you insist,” answered my grandson solemnly. “Enough innocent people have died because of me and I will have no more of it, so yes, I insist!” I answered with a finality that left no doubt as to my intentions. “I will call my friend Brian to come and pick us up not far from here. He wants to see my GTO anyway so it will be easy to get him to give me a ride over there to pick it up. All we have to do is walk out of here. The faction already knows we are here so it won’t matter if the surveillance cameras see us or not. All the faction will know is that we survived the hit and then disappeared out the front door of this hotel.
“They may be watching him,” warned my grandson. “I doubt that”, I said with a laugh, “we do all our business and visiting in person, no phones, he doesn’t trust anything else. I will warn him anyway. He knows Fort Pierce better than I do and I have lived here 42 years. All we have to do is call from a payphone so I can give him our secret password and he will come running,” I said with a grin, “After that it is your ballgame.”
“You get us away from here without our being seen and I will take it from there,” said my grandson with a huge smile of relief. “Then get to disabling that security system boy and let’s get a move on,” I ordered, “YES SIR,” said my grandson happily, a wide grin lighting up his face. “Give me a couple of minutes to send our friend back to where he came from along with a little present for his comrades. Then we can leave as that is what I was doing when I caught our friend impersonating the dead body I found in the dumpster.” “Good, I will go and call Brian, meet me out front in ten minutes, I said.
I fidgeted as I looked at my watch. It had been almost fifteen minutes and no sign of my grandson. Brian would be waiting by the time we got the half a mile or so to the meeting place. Another two minutes passed and I was getting really worried now.
What if my grandson had met up with more of the faction’s thugs? I knew there would be nothing I could do to help, but I had to try. Just as I resolved to go looking for my grandson, I felt a tap on my shoulder. Spinning around I came face to face with my grandson, who had a huge grin on his face because he had snuck up on me.
“Where have you been I was getting worried,” I grumbled as my heart hammered in my chest. “I had to get rid of the body grandfather, he said with a wicked grin and an evil glint in his eyes.” I also had to make sure he was alone. Then it took a little longer than I planned to retrieve the factions headquarters time coordinates from his temporal transporter, sorry I worried you.”
“What did you do with the body,’ I asked. My grandsons grin grew larger if that was possible, “I sent him home with a little surprise for his comrades,” he answered. “What kind of surprise?” I asked. “Let’s just say I would not want to be anywhere around the faction headquarters when my surprise goes off”, said my grandson with a look in his eyes that I hope he never gave me.
“We had better hurry, Brian will be waiting,” I reminded my grandson. As we walked toward our pick up point, my grandsons’ communicator trilled with a tone I had never heard, stopping my grandson in his tracks. “What?,” I demanded after a couple of minutes.
“I just got a message from my headquarters. My little surprise worked better than expected. The entire command structure of the faction was killed in the explosion. It also destroyed their temporal displacement equipment. They will not be bothering you anymore grandfather you are safe,” said my grandson excitedly. “I have been recalled for an assault on the supreme leader himself”, answered my grandson, that same evil look back in his eyes again. “What am I supposed to do now? Won’t the supreme leader try and kill me now? I asked. “No grandfather he needs you to invent time travel for him,” my grandson answered.
After a startled look from my question, my grandson started fishing around on his utility belt, producing a credit card and a passport with my picture on it. “Take this card, go to Boston and enroll in MIT, he said. Use this identity and you will be safe. Remember you will invent time travel. If you don’t I may never exist grandfather. I have to go now. It has been my great honor to serve you grandfather,” he said head bowed in respect.” Remember you must tell no one about the events you have seen or about me. It may cause disruptions in the time line. Goodbye grandfather,” he said, and then he was gone vanishing into thin air.
It was many years later that I returned to Dynamite point for my honeymoon after being given my doctorate in physics from MIT. I was awakened by a sudden gust of wind off the ocean. My bride, Linda, had the sliding glass door open so we could hear the surf while we slept.
A second gust of wind announced the coming storm. Soon the rumble of thunder grew closer. It was a full moon and after checking on my sleeping bride, I headed down to the beach to watch the storm arrive, once a Florida boy always a Florida boy I guess. I suddenly felt a tap on my shoulder as I sat watching the lightening in the distance, remembering my grandson. With my heart in my throat I spun around to confront what I was sure was an assassin from the future. It was my grandson. “You scared the crap out of me,” I grumbled.
This only made his grin bigger. “I have good news grandfather,” he said, “the Supreme leader has been killed and his henchman eliminated. You are safe at last. Our family name has been restored. Now the operation to save your parents can begin.”
“What will happen to my life if you succeed,” I asked. “Your whole life will change,” he answered his grin disappearing. “Will I still be married to my new bride Linda,” I asked. “I do not know the answer for sure but most likely not”, my grandson answered solemnly. “Then let the past be the past,” I said with a tear in my eye.” “This is the only chance you will have to change your past,” he cautioned.
I stared out over the ocean at the gathering storm for a minute, thinking about what to do. I would not lose Linda, she is the love of my live I decided. I turned back to my grandson and nodded my acknowledgement, unable to speak from the emotion welling up in my throat. “I know”, I finally managed to say. My grandson silently handed me a small silver cylinder, a device of some kind. Then he said, “If you ever need me you only have to open the cylinder and push the button and I will come, I swear grandfather,” said my grandson, tears in his eyes for the first time I had ever seen. Then he turned and vanished. It was not until my 120th birthday that I saw my grandson again. He being a child had no idea about our previous encounters of course and I could not say a word or risk altering the time line. I thought as I held the smooth metal cylinder he had given me so long ago in my age gnarled hand.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Marketing is my Achilles heel. I have learned how to write thanks to the word program despite my challenges
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No My favorite writing place was destroyed by the St Johns River reclamation project, a stand of 500 year old live oaks. Now I write on my back porch in Florida or in my recliner with my bestest dog buddy Ivy in my lap.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My nephew Ian Back designed the cover for my first novel Revenge from Mars. A local artist designed the cover for Alien Manifesto and will most likely do the cover for Earth’s Mirror
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Gathering up the courage to send my work to and agent when I was looking for representation. After that, it was easy. Although I dread the coming 1 star review that all authors get. I know it is coming and I have all 5 star reviews to get me past it.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book?
That I cam finally let my imagination lose on the world and people seem to like it.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write every day if only for a few minutes to jot down a storyline idea. It gets easier with practice. I have told many of my writer friends after they got the dreaded 1 star review that noe everyone is going to like your work much less love it. When someone does leave a good review all of he negativity will fade away in the light of self satisfaction
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Beware the “Crazy Ivan”
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Yes it was Dr Suese the Cat in the Hat
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I have worked long and hard to get anger out of my life as it is so destructive to positive growth so I avoid situations that would cause me to lose my temper. Stand up comedy or playing rook with my family always makes me laugh
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
There are so many historic figures I would like to meet that I cannot single out just one. Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Elon Musk, Howard Hughes, Bill Gates are at the top of my list
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
Beloved husband and father because my wife and my daughter and my new son in law and my extended family are the only people are the only people I need approval from
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I love to camp in wild places
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Big Bang Theory, the Walking Dead and the Flash
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
My tastes in food and Music are very diverse and my favorite color is ice blue
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I have had many jobs and I have been searching for what I was supposed to do with my life my entire life. After many spectacular failures I think I have finally found my calling as a storyteller
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?