Anger. I had been accused of something at my day job that was untrue, so I
decided that I was going to change my life and hopefully, one day leave my
day job in the past. I signed up for a writing class and when that was over, I
continued working with the instructor until my book was done.
2. How did you come up with the title?
Titles have always been difficult for me. They have to be catchy but they
should also give a clue about the story. This title (I know it is really long), was
a collaboration between me and one of my beta readers. We tossed ideas
back and forth on the electronic highway and finally settled on Conguise
Chronicles: Rise of the River Man (Mutter’s Story).
This book is a spin-off from my Lake of Sins series. It is book one of the
Conguise Chronicles series which will be stand-alone novellas about the
beings that Professor Conguise genetically modifies.
3. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest
I’d drop the (Mutter’s Story) part of the title. At the time I made up the title, I
was really into the book and poor Mutter so I wanted a tribute to him in the
title. Now, with some time away from the story, I have a better perspective. I
think the title would be better without the last part.
Other-than-that, no. I am considering having it turned into a graphic novel so
it will be available in both formats, but I wouldn’t change anything.
4. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I hope to be supporting myself with my writing by then. I’ll probably still live
in Florida; I truly like it here. It would be nice to have more of a social life too
and if I can only work my writing job, I might have time for one.
5. If you were a super hero, what would your name be? What costume would
My name would be Liberating Libra. I am a libra (birthday 10/21) and I am
very fair (scales of justice and all). I would be the defender of animals and I
would definitely wear a cape. I love capes and wish they’d come back in style
or I’d be brave enough to wear one anyway (although it is a little warm in
Florida for capes).
MUTTER WAS IN TROUBLE. No one wanted a Guard like him. He was too
big and too strong and too ugly. He stretched out on the concrete floor and winced. He
definitely had some broken ribs, but he’d fought and won with broken bones in the past.
He started coughing. It was this sickness that had cost him the match. He sat up; the
coughing subsided. He’d pleaded with Vickers, his Almighty master, not to make him
fight but the money had already switched hands. He leaned his head against the bars of
the cage. He’d lost the fight and now he’d lose his life. Vickers did not give second
The door opened and a male Almighty around thirty years old with blond hair
entered the room followed by Satcha, the House Servant who ran this establishment. The
Guards’ Shelter didn’t allow visiting at this hour but Almightys did whatever they
wanted. He didn’t even bother to stand up. No one wanted him. It was a bit
embarrassing, but he’d tried to find a new home his first few days here. He’d even
trimmed his beard, but it had done no good. Every time that he’d run to the front of the
cage and had smiled at the Almightys, he’d smelled the fear on them as they’d passed.
Most tried not to look at him, but he was big and scarred and hard to ignore.
They stopped in front of his cage.
“Ableson, this is the one I told you about,” said Satcha. “Looks like he was a
fighter, so he should be used to obeying. He does have a bad cough, but I thought he
might work for you.”
The Almighty remained quiet, his blue eyes sizing Mutter up.
“Come here,” said Satcha.
Mutter wanted to stay where he was to annoy the Servant but Guards like him
didn’t get many chances for a home. He slowly stood, letting the Almighty get used to
his size and appearance.
“How old are you?” asked Ableson.
“Not sure. Been around for a while but not too old.” That was the safe answer.
He had counted nineteen winters but that might be too old or too young. He never could
tell what an Almighty wanted.
“By his teeth and body we estimate around twenty-five to thirty years,” said
Ableson twirled his finger. Mutter understood that signal. Before the fights
started, when the betting happened, he was often sized up by the gamblers. He turned in
a circle, slowly, giving the Almighty time to study him.
“I’m strong and healthy.” That was a lie but he would be healthy again. He just
needed a little time and food.
“Does have that cough, that I mentioned.” Satcha sent him a glare.
“Just a little. From this damp, rotten place.” He hated Servants. They didn’t
know when to keep their big mouths shut.
“I need an obedient Guard.” The Almighty’s eyes roamed up and down his frame.
“Won’t find one more obedient than me.”
“Let’s see if that’s true.” Ableson walked down the aisle. “Is there another Guard
who he’s close to?”
“Him?” Satcha laughed, following the Almighty. “He’s so big and ugly even the
other Guards stay away from him.”
Ableson stopped in the hallway. “Take this one out.”
The Servant opened the cage and slipped a rope over a young Guard’s neck.
Mutter’s chest pinched. Typical. The Almighty’s always chose the young ones. His
only chance was gone. They would walk out and soon he’d be executed. He started to sit
back down, when the three of them stopped in front of his cage.
“Put her in with him,” said Ableson.
“Ah, we keep the younger ones separate from the older ones, especially the older
males,” said Satcha.
The Almighty didn’t say a word, but his look was enough. The Servant muttered
an apology and opened the door shoving the young Guard into Mutter’s cage.
He glanced at the little Guard who stood as far away from him as possible. She
couldn’t have been older than nine. She had russet hair and large, frightened, brown
“Hit her,” said Ableson, his tone conversational.
“Wait,” said Satcha. “That one’s young and attractive. I can find a home for her.
Let me get—”
“I’ll pay for both.” The Almighty’s eyes never left Mutter.
Mutter kept his face a mask but his stomach clenched. He didn’t want to do this.
He’d fought females before but they were all older, experienced fighters. This wouldn’t
even be a fight.
“I need an obedient Guard,” reminded Ableson.
The girl trembled in the corner, tears streaming down her soft, round cheeks.
“Please, don’t hurt me.”
Pleading didn’t do any good. It didn’t change anyone’s mind. He knew the game
and it would be her or him. He stared into the girl’s scared brown eyes. “Bruised,
broken or dead?”
“Just hit her. I’ll tell you when to stop.”
Mutter stepped forward. The girl curled in a ball on the floor, pleading and crying.
He grabbed her by the shirt. She weighed next to nothing, all skin and bones. He
punched her in the gut, making the blow look harder than it was, but the girl was so small
she gasped and coughed. He hesitated, waiting for the Almighty to stop this, but no
words came. He hit her again. She yelped in pain. He shifted his stance, stalling again
and praying for the words that would allow him to quit, but the only sounds were the
yells of the other Guards in the nearby cages. Most screamed for him to stop but some
cheered him on. If the Almighty wouldn’t end this, he would. His next punch caught her
upside the head, knocking her out. He let her slide to the floor.
He walked toward the Almighty.
“I didn’t say stop.” Ableson’s blue eyes challenged him.
He stared at the girl on the floor. Only in the roughest fights, those to the end, did
they hit opponents when they were down.
“Forget it. He won’t work.” Ableson turned and headed for the door.
His only chance was leaving. He’d be dead tomorrow if that Almighty walked out
the door. The girl’s tiny frame was about the size of his arm. She was still breathing.
Ableson walked back to the cage, a smug smile on his face. “Obey or I leave.
This is your one warning.”
He nodded. His heart thudded as each footstep moved him closer to the little
female. The other Guards had fallen silent. He grasped her by the back of the shirt. Her
head lolled to the side, her eyes closed. His supper churned in his stomach. He stared at
the tears on her cheeks as he punched her over and over, trying to hit non-vital parts but it
was difficult. She was tiny and his fits were big.
“Enough,” called the Almighty.
He lowered her to the floor. Her breath was ragged as blood trickled from her lips.
His eyes burned, but no wetness came. He hadn’t cried since he’d lost his mother. It
didn’t do any good. He wiped the girl’s blood on his shirt as he faced the Almighty.
Ableson smiled at him and handed an envelope to the Servant. “I’ll take him.”
Satcha looked in the envelope. “Ah, the price for the girl…”
Ableson frowned at the Servant but dug in his pocket and handed Satcha a few
more bills. The Servant stuck them in his pocket and opened the cage door, putting a
rope around Mutter’s neck. He fisted his hands, fighting the urge to kill both of them, but
he’d never make it out of the shelter if he did that.
“Come.” Ableson yanked on the rope.
“What about her?” asked Satcha.
“Do what you want with her.”
“But…you already paid….”
“If she lives, sell her again, or kill her. I don’t care.” Ableson walked toward the
Mutter refused to look back at the girl, the sacrifice for his freedom.