Thursday, January 21, 2016

Calandra Usher: Rust City Book Con Featured Author

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Welcome to your early-bird peek at some of the fantastic authors who are already signed up for the conference. Today I'm showcasing

Calandra Usher! 

Hi Calandra! Can you tell us a little about your writing?

I'm an artist who fell into the writing scene completely by accident. A four book series later which somehow fits into the Urban Paranormal Fantasy (light) Romance category emerged to my great surprise and presently I'm working on an anthology of follow up stories, as well as a completely new endeavor which is also Paranormal Fantasy. I don't live in reality so I can't possibly be expected to write about it.

That seems fair to me. Reality is overrated, as we fiction fans well know. Ok then, let's talk about RustCity!

1. Fill in the blank: "I used to be really good at Twirling a bat'leth , but these days I'm pretty rusty."  Yikes. That seems like a thing you should either do well, or not at all!

2. Eminem or Aretha? Explain.

I lived for five years in Madison Heights practically on 10 mile. I can totally appreciate the artistic genius of rhythm and rhyme that make of Eminem's work, but as a singer... I need a melody to either belt out or harmonize to, so I have to go with Aretha. It also helps that her words are slow enough I can keep up with them. I'd love to hear them collaborate though.  I love when radically different artists collaborate.  That would be something to hear alright!

3. Choose One:
Vernors
Faygo
I'm confused. And not from around here.
Yes, either, both... As long as you call it pop

4. What are you looking forward to most at the RustCity conference? It will be nice to see old friends from The Cranbeook Science Institute, have some good food, see my in laws, and obviously... Meet other amazing authors who I might not ordinarily get the opportunity to encounter since I now live in North Carolina. And books! Lots of books! Muhahahahahahahahaaaaaaaa......Oh yes.  Books for sure!


5. Which is NOT an actual community in Michigan? (no googling!)
Bad Axe
Mullet Lake
Alpha
Hero
Colon
Kalamazoo
(The correct answer is "Hero." But if you're going to have an Alpha, you ought to have a Hero too, amirite?)

6. Your latest work of fiction features a wealthy industrialist and an R&B singer. What's the first sentence? "Let me get this straight... you want a LIVE giraffe in the opening number?"

Optional: What's it about? How crazy singers are and the lengths we go to to make them happy so they keep making music that makes us happy. I say give them the giraffe... Hell, give me a giraffe. I promise I will write more books to make people happy if you give me a giraffe. I would love to read this story!

7. And finally, would you like to participate in the Alpha Heroes Five Words Fiction Game?  Yes please!  How about some paranormal?

Yay! You'll be adding on to the Alchemy Rusts story, and your challenge words are: sword, mermaid, stone, dragon, and coffee.

Part 1, by Laura Bickle

Part 2:

Alchemy Rusts
The hiss was so quiet she might have missed it; had she not been specifically listening for the sound. Ever so gently she turned the jar on its side and poured the precious contents onto the firebrick.

A substance like mercury slipped from the glass undulating of its own accord as it wobbled and stretched, finally shaping itself into the form of a tiny silver dragon with glossy black wings. Mara couldn't help but smile. It was lovely, exquisite even, and one of the hardest spells she'd ever attempted. It sat on its haunches much like a cat and folded its wings along its back. It preened, biting at its claws until satisfied then turned its eyes on its maker.

Mara chuckled as the dragon tipped its head to the side exactly as the salamander had. "Sorry, friend. I'm fresh out of popcorn. But how about..." She pointed and the dragon glanced around to where the quarter still glinted on the flagstones. It grinned as only a dragon can, hopped the short distance, then swallowed it whole. An inelegant burp and a spiral of smoke wafted from its nostrils then became a flare as the creature opened its mouth and spit out two identical shining coins.

"That will do nicely." She reached out and lightly stroked its back grinning as it spread its wings and then made a nip at her fingers. "But I've got something much bigger in mind for you, little friend."

Mara held out her hand and it jumped to her palm digging its razor sharp talons into her flesh. She inhaled sharply but did not dislodge him. The pain was worth what was coming. She carried him through the dark room to the backdoor to the decrepit van she called both transport and home.

Mara opened the back door and flipped the worn carpet back to reveal a blade-less sword grip. Beside it in fragments lay the broken blade. She held out a palm sized piece and the dragon, who she was beginning to think of as Spike, and marveled as it devoured something almost twice its size. Ahh but magic is fun, and useful. This time it took a few seconds before Spike belched out the two identical pieces. She felt like kissing the critter but knew better. The pain of its claws was nothing to the burn she was sustaining. Already her palm was seared and the blisters weren't far off. "One more, friend. You're doing great. And then I can get some damn ice."

She picked up the bigger piece and fed it into the eagerly waiting maw. It took a whole minute and her hand was in sorry shape by the end but the fragment it replicated was perfect. Looking at the assembly of pieces she sighed in relief (after swearing some more about her toasted hand.) "That should be more than enough for them to reforge the sword. And if the mermaid doesn't like it she can summon you herself. What the hell a mermaid needs with a magic sword is beyond me, but at least the pay is good." She replaced the shards under the mat, no use having them found and stollen before she could get them to the fish lady. "Maybe I'll charge her a little extra for medical expenses," she grumbled as she slammed the doors and went in search of some ice and much deserved coffee.

There was only one problem. The book never mentioned how to get the dragon off your hand once summoned.


Thanks for coming up with such a fun brilliant idea!

Well, it's only as brilliant as my contributors, and I have to say, it's going awfully well right now! This is turning into a really cool story.  Thank you so much for playing!

Find more from Cali around the web: 

Website  |  FaceBook  |  Amazon  |  CreateSpace under Calandra Usher. 

 And of course, come to RustCity Book Conference for in-person fun!

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4 comments:

AJ Norris said...

Loving this story and looking forward to meeting you at Rust City.

Nicola O. said...

Isn't it awesome? I love the creativity. I'm absolutely enthralled with the plot ramifications of a magical beast that can duplicate metal items. It's like the goose that laid the golden egg. But at what cost? Magic always has a price!

Calandra Usher said...

Thanks A.J. I'm really excited to meet everyone this summer.
Nicola, I had fun running with Laura's excellent opening. I'm excited to see how the next writer extracts the critter from her hand. Or perhaps she doesn't. That would be a serious price to pay. I'm a massage therapist among other things... I need my hands :) who's next on the hit parade?

Nicola O. said...

I'll be running round three of all three stories later this month, and the delightful AJ Norris has sent me a fantastic next chapter, which may or may not feature a visit to the weird and wonderful Belle Isle. For a complete list of authors who are attending the conference, check out the details on the Attending Authors page of the awesome con site.

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