What better way to kick off the Fantasy Sci-Fi Readers' Lounge group, than with an interview. Today on the FSF levitating lounge we have a sci-fi author, G. Russell Gaynor.
The world according to Garp was perhaps the first sign to a troubled young man that his life might very well be okay. It was incredibly reassuring to see that a young man from such a deeply interesting background can find his niche in life. G. Russell Gaynor was not nearly as challenged as T. S. Garp but until the revelation of the character, relatively speaking Russell was the weirdest kid on his block. His father, a career United States Navy man, taught him how to stand up to face the most challenging aspects of life including the unknown. His mother, a nurse and a technician for the U.S Geological Survey, taught him how to love and how to understand.
In the beginning, it was mostly stories about super heroes and the stuff of comic books. Then came the works of Alexandre Dumas and the ideal of romantic heroes. Now there was a need to make women swoon and men weep and poetry was discovered and written. Russell was 12 when he went to his first play, which revealed a love for the stage and was 14 when role-playing games filled his head with the adventures of steel and sorcery. This all concluded with the love of the story and its effect on the audience.
Although life defies understanding, Russell has set about the challenge of teaching through his stories, in small baby steps, the lessons of love and life he has come to treasure since learning so much through the viewpoints of others.
* Book title: Star Chaser: The Traveler
* Genre: Science-Fantasy
Beyond the Outer Rim series
"You've come to the Rims. This is the place of High Adventure!" Welcome! You have just entered a new realm - a new Universe where there are worlds, races, powers, allies and enemies just waiting to be discovered. Your place may be with the wielders of Iro... or perhaps as a Traveler... it could be that your destiny lies on a ship flying through the stars... or straining your skills on a battlefield... maybe you're most suited to hours spent pouring over ancient tomes... or engaged in a game of chess that will shape the cosmos. Whatever your place - wherever your destination - you will find yourself... Beyond the Outer Rim.
Star Chaser Synopsis
In 'Star Chaser: The Traveler', the prelude to the series, we meet Z’GUNOK TEL DUNGIAS, a Malgovi born without the ability to channel IRO, an ability inherent in the vast majority of his race. As a member of a high-ranking family, he lived a life in-between... not truly an outcast, but never fully embraced. Often discounted and forgotten, Dungias was left to grow and learn primarily on his own. Yet the advantages of his family's name did not entirely protect him against those who considered him anathema. Through strength, daring, and unexpected cunning, Dungias created himself out of nothing - and worked toward the day when he could make changes... Little did he know just how far-reaching those changes would be!
* Published: 10.14.2014 by Quicksylver Publications
* Published: 10.29.18 by Lajko Publishing
There's a great excerpt at the end of G. Russell's interview. Make sure you check it out.
Russell: Sure is ... and levitating. It's a pleasure to be here.
OK, let's take off. Russell, curiously, you write under the pen name of Reiter and I met you online as Reiter of Th'iam. How did that come about?
A few lifetimes ago in the lands just east of Atlanta – a place they now called Decatur, an event was witnessed: the opening of a Dungeons & Dragons game box. It was an English teacher, Mrs. Linda Berry, who had provided the item and Christopher Murphy who had opened it. And there we were, Chris, Robert, Willie, Derrick, and me (those days I went by Gary) – rolling plastic, pencils flying, and pages flipping as we delved into the realm of table-top role-play gaming.
As it turned out, after reading the Dungeon Master’s Guide, I came to find the Gygax offering a little wanting. It will always be a cherished work of brilliance to me… but like most books, it needed an edit. Thus, we created Th’iaM, a new system filled with wonders not found on Gygax’s pages.
The Dungeon Master was done away with – we had watched the D&D cartoon and Dungeon Master was too beloved a character, though we kinda poked holes in his part of things too. So, the role of the Planner/Recorder was created (P/R) and the first P/R was given an identity… a name… and that name was Reiter.
As Th’iaM has grown (and we’re working on releasing the source books soon), the role of Reiter remains. So whenever a book covers things found in Th’iaM, the by-line will always be Reiter. Beyond the Outer Rim was the name of a scenario that ran for over three years (real-time) with as many as 22 players in one session. With ten titles of the universe done, it will be in Book Four – Star Tribe where the audience will be introduced to the bulk of characters that were the mainstay of the game session.
Getting back to the question, Reiter comes up in the SylverMoon Chronicles anthologies but there again each story was, at least in part, used in a gaming scenario.
Sounds like fun..
What was the defining event that made you start writing?
Lucille Brown… but I just called her Grandma. She was by far the smartest woman I’ve ever known, and she didn’t spend one day in college.
She was also a splendidly simple woman. You never called anyone a liar – you could say they were telling a story – and you never said something about yourself that you weren’t prepared to back up. Cue a moment when the only TV in the house was preoccupied with black & white movies (kind of dating myself here), only I wanted to watch Mighty Mouse (REALLY dating myself).
So... I whined. Yeah, that did not even begin to register.
Next, I made my case, claiming the movies were stupid and I could tell better stories with one arm tied behind my back. To her credit, she didn’t tie me up… but she did take her whiny little grandson to the drug store where she purchased a box of pencils and a stack of notepads. Getting back home, she whipped out the butcher knife and sharpened five pencils.
I was only 5, but I knew that tone of voice… it was the same one she used on the stray animals she would take in. Oddly enough, they all minded her when she used that voice – guess I was just her little puppy that day, ‘cuz I started writing!
To the credit and immeasurable gratitude I owe my late brothers Norris and Jerome, and my sister Simone, one of the things we did during playtime was play with our dolls. Dad was a handyman from hell with enough tools to open his own hardware store and Mom made a few of our clothes. That resulted in having fabric and building materials available to the children at all times. When the parents bought actions figures, Batman and Superman didn’t hang around long. Off came their old and tired costumes and we went to making new one. It’s amazing what you can do with masking and electrical tape when it comes to making wristbands and armour (yes, that spelling was for Reiter). Norris would draw heroes and hand me the final product, telling me to give them powers and a story. So, by the time I received my grandmother’s challenge, I was good to go!
I was on the third pad (remember, I was five... the letters were HUGE) when she picked up the first one. She started to read the second when she told me to put down the pencil (close call, ‘cuz I was on the last one with a point). We left the house again, only this time we went to the library. We invaded an out-of-the-way corner and she sat me down. She took down a book and read to me The Three Musketeers. I’ve been in love with colorful heroes ever since, and Alexandre Dumas remains my #1 author of all time!
On and off through a marriage, a couple of interesting career choices, and the rearing of four wonderful children, I’ve been writing off and on for years. That was mostly script writing though. I didn’t finish my first book until I got flimflammed by Madolyn Locke. But that is another story.
What other writing have you done?
Scripts (mostly freelance stuff), some ghost writing, and a couple of stage plays.
What made you choose the space fantasy genre?
It’s the one I chose when my editor Madolyn screamed, “FINISH A THOUGHT!” Up to that point I had penned an Adventure-Thriller, Science-Fiction, and a couple of other Science-Fantasy pieces.
That Madolyn sounds assertive, I'd do as she said too. LOL
What’s the story behind your book title?
Beyond the Outer Rim was the name given to the scenario… it seemed fitting to keep it. As for Star Chaser, that was a Life-Stride created in the Th’iaM game specifically for the creation of the Dungias character. The rest of the title denotes how impacted I am with Lord of the Rings.
What’s the basic plot of your series?
Dungias has a simple task, a Star Quest: go the realm of space that is the home of the saviours of his people, find their progeny (humans)… and save them from themselves.
Which is your favourite character and why?
At this point I would have to say that it’s Freund, but he’s not running away with it. He is part bartender, part stand-up comedian, part philosopher, part realist… oh, and he’s also one of the most powerful entities in the Rims. He spends most of his time trying to guard humanity WITHOUT flexing his muscles… or being seen.
Freund sounds intriguing.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to write a book?
Don’t think for a moment that the pages you love to read are the first draft! Likewise for the ones you write.
What music do you listen to when writing?
Yes. It can go from Country to Pop, Hip-Hop, Folk, Classic, etc. One of my best mixes went from Bach and Pavarotti, to Earth, Wind & Fire and Prince, to Patsy Cline and the Florida Georgia Line, to Pink, Bruno Mars, and Maroon V.
What are you working on now?
BTOR – it would appear someone has gone and said, “I’ve got a small press start-up, and I want Star Chaser to be my first release.” As the 9th and 10th titles are finalized (with the 11th title beginning Book Four of the series), we’re focused on trying to make the re-launch successful.
What do you do when you have writers’ block?
I finish a thought. My form of writer’s block is coming up with a new idea. Case in point, I was reading The Da Vinci Code when I came up with a Western. I was writing BTOR when I came up with a gigantic, planet-impacting Science-Fiction story for which I’ve already written the first two books and a script.
Who are your five favourite authors?
J. R. R. Tolkien
Who’s your favourite indie author and why?
Madolyn Locke. She happens to be my editor and the most frustrating writer I’ve ever worked with. I personally believe she’s a better writer than I am, but getting her to write a book is like pulling teeth… of a dragon… that’s breathing fire!
Oh boy! Sounds like an interesting working relationship.
What is your favourite quote?
“All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible. This I did.”
T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia)
What’s your dream job and do you think you’ll do it one day?
Filmmaker and I do truly hope to return to that craft very, very soon!
Maybe you'll have some good material with all your writing. hey?
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
When I’m not writing, or thinking about writing, I’ll let you know.
What book clubs are you in?
It’s more of a writer’s club, but it’s a Facebook Group called the SciFi Roundtable. I’m also part of a co-op of writers and artists called the Confederacy of the Quill. In addition to our individual work, we publish an annual anthology of serials and short stories. This coming Valentine’s Day should see the SEVENTH volume of the SylverMoon Chronicles (which is the eighth book in the series). You can take a look at what we’ve done here,,, http://confederacyofthequill.com/site/
That's right. We either met there #SFRT or Twitter. Feels like I've know you for a while from good old social media :)
How did you go about developing your cover artwork?
I am blessed! My editor started doing a search and she found a brilliant artist living in Sweden by the name of Thomas Wievegg. After one email conversation and the attachment of about ten pages, he produced the cover you see. It’s a depiction of Z’Gunok Tel Dungias before and after he becomes a Traveler.
Favourite thing to cook: Lasagne
Silliest saying: The dog’s name is Tiger.
Best holiday spot: Blue Ridge Mountains
Moist played song: LMAO – MOIST??? Don’t Stop Believin’ and just about anything by Prince, but Kiss and Purple Rain are probably the top two
Oopsy, typo, my bad.
SciFi or fantasy: I prefer Science-Fantasy!!!
Best superpower: crafting anti-devices i.e. a box that emits kryptonite radiation… or an EMP emitter that would fry the Iron Man suit… etc.
Number one thing to do on your bucket list: TRAVEL!!!
Thanks so much for joining me on the Readers' Lounge today, Russell. Let's check out your links and read a bit from Star Chaser.
G. Russell Gaynor's Links
BTOR on Facebook: www.facebook.com/beyondtheouterrim/
G_Russell_Gaynor on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3024715.G_Russell_Gaynor
Reiter on Goodreads:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3864794.Reiter
G. Russell on Twitter: @criticion
Reiter on Twitter: @thiamlord
G Russell Gaynor's Beyond the Outer Rim series:
“Take hold of the stick back there,” Nugar commanded.
“It’s not the first time you’ve been at the controls of a vehicle,” Nugar snapped. “Now take the stick and trust yourself for a change!” Dungias steadied his breathing as he put his right hand on the control stick and his left on the thruster control. It was a 360o movable handle, parallel to the floor, mounted on a lever that moved forward and back. Any movement from the handle would activate thruster jets. Moving the lever forward would increase forward thrust, and moving it back would activate reverse engines. “Automated landing cycle has been disengaged.” Nugar reported and Dungias could feel the nose pulling down.
“What is that?!” he quickly asked.
“I disengaged our automations; the docking system is not mine to command,” Nugar answered as he activated the armour for his fighter-craft. “And the Traveler docking system is notorious for catching many unwary Travelers at the end of long journeys, only to have them crash at the end.”
“No unnecessary movements,” Dungias whispered as he gently pulled back on the stick and eased the thruster lever forward. His light touch received a quick and ample response from the fighter.
“Instead of what you fear, tell me, what do you feel?” Nugar asked as he closed his eyes. “When you look beyond the fear, what do you feel?!”
Just over ten thousand trams from the docking aperture, Dungias calmed himself and tried to sense what his teacher might be talking about.
“He called it the black sea,” Dungias remembered. “And it is cold… very cold! But there is something else.” Dungias recalled what it was like to go swimming; something he had to plan and schedule in order to keep from encountering ill will. But there were many times when he would swim out to the middle of the pool and just float. “Yes, I see it now. I can feel it!” The thrusters fired, but never at too great a yield, and hardly for too long. The rocking of the ship settled to a slight shimmer and Nugar smiled.
“Well done, Dungi! Superb, in fact!”
Dungias piloted the ship to the allotted docking slip and the fighter was quickly secured. Nugar looked at his watch and chuckled.
“Are you up for a bit of a game?”
“Lead the way, Teacher!”
“That’s a good lad!”
The two of them ran back down the docking slip and Dungias could see Nugar take the stairs up to a catwalk which led to the main entrance for the docking bay … the main spacecraft entrance! He looked hard at his teacher, but the Vinthur’s strides were not shortening, nor were they slowing down. The end of the catwalk was in sight and there was no railing to prevent anyone from falling off the edge.
“There you go again!” Nugar shouted, almost singing what he was sensing coming from his student.
“It’s not about what you fear,” Dungias panted. “… it’s about what you feel beyond the fear!” Dungias looked away from the catwalk and put his sights on Nugar. He did not run like a mature man, but a child running toward a favorite toy. Making the final turn, a smile broke across Dungias’ face and he ran faster, beginning to overtake his teacher.
With very few strides in front of him, Nugar looked to the right. The whooping and hollering of other Travelers reached his ears. Each one of them had a smile on their faces and cheered Nugar on. He waved once at the collective and dove off the end of the catwalk. He was surprised to hear a cry of joy behind him. Looking back, Nugar could see Dungias still climbing from the leap he had taken. Both of their bodies passed through the atmospheric shield.
“Lean to your right, boy!” Nugar directed, holding out his right arm and throwing all of his bodyweight to his right shoulder. Without the artificial gravity, there was little descent to their flight paths, but even outside the station, there was some pressure, warmth, and breathable air. The cool air blew through his long hair and made his clothes flap around his body.
Dungias looked around Gavis as he flew. There was so much more to see from his vantage point. It did not look anything like a space station. The horizon reminded him of Threm, but now he was the slide-sled and he flew high and fast. The construct was massive; from the plating and paneling, to the lights and windows, to a couple filled with eager eyes gawking at the two flying forms that were, for some reason, not dying. He was distracted by the cackling of his teacher and he looked down on the man who was nearly glowing as brightly as the smile which shone across his face.
“Atmospheric curtain,” Nugar called out. “It extends beyond the portals of the station for nearly fifty trams! The trick is staying near a functioning entry port. Release your fear and fly with me, Dungi!”
“What fear?!” Dungias cried out as he soared ahead of Nugar. Keeping his heading going around the station, Dungias threw his body into a spin with his shoulders rotating clockwise. After three spins he threw out his arms and leveled out before diving straight down. Ten trams, then twenty, thirty, fifty, then one hundred and still he flew. He leveled out again and flew along the side of the station, screaming out as he glided around the outside of the station. Dungias performed another spin and Nugar tensed up as it appeared his student was about to hit hard against the side of
the station, but he leveled out with his chest parallel with the plating. Dungias allowed his fingertips to drag along the hull before pulling away from the station.
“Look at him!” Nugar thought, actually having to give some effort to keep up with his student. “I won’t have to teach him how to observe the world around him and gain from it. The landing assignments were on two of his consoles. There are at least three ways we can reach our destination. Leave it to my student to take the most precarious route. Yes, because if he is going to be the next Star Chaser, we want him to play it safe!
“Haa!” Nugar laughed at his own sarcasm and pressed for more speed. Dungias was beginning to pull away, and the danger of the route he had chosen was beginning to look simple for him and potentially treacherous for the Traveler.
As Dungias dove toward the security port, the large doors were only beginning to open and the fast-moving shuttle was making its way inside. Dungias landed on the nose of the craft and jumped clear of it, employing Pax’Dulah to give himself more lift and speed. Nugar timed his landing on the craft and used the blowback of the turning thruster to push him toward Dungias.
“Your left hand, Dungi!” Nugar called out and while laughing, Dungias jumped away from the station and held out his left hand that slapped against the forearm of Nugar’s extended right hand. “Now pull against me!” While the direction of their flight path did not change, the two spun around each other with their arms serving as the axle of this most impromptu wheel. Dungias looked up at the stars; his view, for the first time, unhindered by glass or iro-form. The majesty of them took hold of his mind and soul. As he gazed at them, it felt as if he could hear them singing.
“But what would a Star sing?” he thought.
“Get ready,” Nugar directed, bringing Dungias back to the moment. “And keep pulling!” They both screamed like children as the speed of their rotations increased. “Release!” Nugar commanded and Dungias was slung forward to the next public entryway while Nugar was sent toward the plating of Gavis.
“It can’t be!” Dungias exclaimed, knowing that what he saw was indeed quite accurate and very true. H’Dalvi’s gunship, which seemed so much larger from the outside than it had appeared during the many walks he had taken along its corridors, was making its entry into the station. Dungias smiled as he careened toward the large spacecraft, and he landed on the foredeck just in front of the bridge window. He squatted down and waved at Commander H’Dalvi and his bridge crew.
“Well, it’s been a few dockings since I’ve seen that,” Narwyss said with a smile as he recovered from the surprise. His voice helped the rest of the crew return to their duties more quickly.
“I agree,” Turo added. “And the last time either of us saw it, I believe it was a Vinthur.” The Sub-Officer folded his arms across his expansive chest and smiled. “That was a fine wager you made.”
“I took it as solid advice from a trusted resource,” Narwyss replied. “And speaking of good wagers, tell the crew that we are going to have a celebratory meal at ShoSoro’s. Anyone pulling guard duty gets two plates brought to them.”
“That will be quite costly,” Turo pointed out.
“It is already paid for, and there’s a few credits remaining for me to spoil my officers,” Narwyss said as Nugar landed beside Dungias. “Oh look! They come in pairs! Helm, make this as bumpy of a landing as you can manage.” There was laughter on the bridge as the Commander took his leave.
The story continues in Star Chaser: The Traveler
Other books by G. Russell Gaynor:
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