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Grab bag: Vern gripes about the junk in his warehouse in Greater Treasures, but he and Grace have started going through boxes, and they’ve agreed to send something to one of my readers. Leave a comment or question for Karina, Vern, or Sister Grace.
Blurb: Being a private detective in the border town of the Faerie and Mundane worlds isn’t easy, even for a dragon like Vern. Still, finding the wayward brother of a teary damsel in distress shouldn’t have gotten so dangerous. When his partner, Sister Grace, gets poisoned by a dart meant for him, Vern offers to find an artifact in exchange for a cure. However, this is no ordinary trinket—with a little magic power, it could control all of mankind. Can Vern find the artifact, and will he sacrifice the fate of two worlds for the life of his best friend?
Keywords: dragons, mystery, dragoneye, noir fantasy, lance of longinus, maltese falcon, dragon detectives, neo-nazis, racial prejudice, faerie creatures, conspiracy theories in fantasy, Karina Fabian
Given the day I was having, it came as no surprise that when I got home, I found the dogs sprawled in a drugged sleep and the sounds of things being overturned from within the warehouse. I decided not to bother with subtlety, but I did resist the urge to burst in with flames going full-blast. I had questions first.
Naturally, I walked straight in to find an automatic weapon—yep, a bona fide black-market AK-47—and I thought only Faerie lived their clichés—and six other weapons of various types pointed at me. I didn’t stop, just closed the door with my tail while I strolled in slow and placid-like. My visitors had shaved heads, faces painted white with clown paint, and black t-shirts with swastikas in white circles.
“If you’re the housekeeping service, you’re fired.”
“You stay right there, or we gonna fire you!” said one guy from the sidelines as he held his nunchucks at the ready.
What’d he think he would do—whack me on the nose? I turned to the one holding the assault rifle. “Scraping the bottom of the barrel with that one, weren’t you?”
“He’s right. You just stay still while we search the place.”
“The place” was a ten-thousand square foot warehouse with offices on the upper floor. Boxes I still hadn’t opened line the walls and made a maze in the second warehouse room. I settled myself on the floor and rested my head on my crossed arms. “Go ahead. I get half of anything you find.”
They stared at me, unbelieving. I smiled back. Mr. Cooperation, that’s me. Finally, Big Gun snarled for the others to get to work. As he turned his back on me, Nunchucks muttered, “I got your half. Don’t think I don’t.” Guess he learned such witty repartee in Hitler Youth Summer Camp.
I watched and listened and waited. With eight teenage skinheads trashing my place, it was only a matter of time.
“I wouldn’t go in there if I were you,” I suggested as Nunchucks made a grab for the doorknob to Grace’s workshop.
“You gonna stop me?” He turned the knob.
“Nope,” I said as I closed my ears and my eyes. Even so, I saw the otherworldly light and heard the harmonious roar of Divine Vengeance followed by Mundane screams.
“The Heavenly Host on the other hand…”
I waited until the screams died down to whimpers before opening my eyes and rising.
Four of the skinheads were unconscious. Three may as well have been; they were curled up in the fetal position, whimpering. Nunchucks was actually crying for his mommy. Big Guns had collapsed to the floor as well, the gun thrown away from him. He was sitting and rocking and making high-pitched keening through the roof of his mouth.
I’d tell Grace to tone down her wards some, except that the effect is directly proportional to the evilness of the intent. Suddenly, I was feeling a little shaky about my earlier entrance.
Knights out of the armor now. I went around, collecting weapons in the office trash can and poking through pockets. I found the usual stuff—driver’s licenses, credit cards, petty cash… One kid had a condom; wishful thinking on his part, I knew. Another had a report card. MLK High. Wonder if he was the one beating up Faerie kids? Honor roll grades, too. Of all the years I’ve battled evil, there were still some things I didn’t understand.
As I was returning Big Guns’ (aka Rick Matherston’s) wallet back into his jacket pocket, he blinked and focused on me.
“What was that?”
“Angels, kid.” Actually a kind of magical shadow of the real thing, but close enough.
“But I thought angels were—”
“There’s a reason why their first words are usually ‘Fear not!’ whenever they meet a human.”
His eyes returned to their unfocused stare. I almost felt sorry for him. Then I noticed the letters FARISLAR tattooed on his knuckles. Faerie slayer.
About Greater Treasures: Most people associate the DragonEye stories with high humor ranging from puns to slapstick, and in fact, the first stories and the novels have certainly been crazy fun. But the life of a cynical dragon PI isn’t all laughs, and Vern has had a few chilling stories to tell me. Some of these, I’ve sold to anthologies, but some are too long for that. Thus, I’ve decided to start publishing them on my own.
One thing I like to do for DragonEye stories is watch old noir films. Greater Treasures came to me while watching the Maltese Falcon. If you’ve never seen it, I recommend it. (Then, reread the story to see if you catch the in jokes.) I needed something with more “oomph” than a bird statue, and since Vern has some history with the Lance of Longinus, it made a good fit. I enjoyed looking up all the conspiracy theories about the use of the Lance by Hitler, which is where the neo-Nazi angle came in. To say more would be spoilers, so please, enjoy the story.
And if you do, be sure to check out Vern’s other tales at http://dragoneyepi.net.
Welcome Karina! Please start off by telling us a little about yourself.
I am a writer of a large and growing imagination and a large but shrinking physique. (I’m enrolled in circuit torture, er circuit training, five times week. You can read about it each Wednesday at http://fabianspace.blogspot.com). I write mostly science fiction and fantasy, plus some horror. Some of my books are very funny, while others, like Greater Treasures, are more grim. I love that my characters are so versatile, but find that they tell more stories than I can write down, which is a frustrating experience.
Is Greater Treasures a single title, or part of a series?
It’s part of a series, to use the term loosely. I have two DragonEye novels and multiple DragonEye stories in various anthologies and magazines. Vern is my most prolific character, and he tells me tales in every length from flash to novel. Greater Treasures is a novelette or novella (depending on the definition you use). It’s one of his more serious cases, although he can’t help being snarky in a very fun way. Dragons have a terrible, wonderful superiority complex, and it shines through in his narration.
What were your inspirations for the story?
For this one, The Maltese Falcon (the movie). Vern is a noir-style private investigator, a Sam Spade of the fantasy world, so often I will turn to old noir films for inspiration. Of course, the stakes are much higher than finding a bird statue.
Please share your setting for Greater Treasures. Have you ever lived or visited there? If so, what did you like most?
Los Lagos, Colorado, is a small town in a valley in the Rocky Mountains, west and south of Canon City. It’s completely made up, but I lived in southern Colorado most of my life, so I do know the general area. The only connection between our world and the Faerie, the Interdimensional Gap, is located not far from town. Caused by a combination of magical mishap on the Faerie side and nuclear explosion on our side, it has been both blessing and curse as the township has become the center of an influx of magical creatures and interdimensional trade.
When did the writing bug first bite?
Fourth or fifth grade, and I’ve been scratching it off and on ever since.
Do you have any hobbies or special things you like to do in your spare time?
When I remember what spare time means, I’ll figure out a hobby to fill it. However, this year, I decided to get serious about getting fit. I was nearing 170 and running out of breath going up the stairs. How pitiful is that? There’s a gym on the way home from dropping the kids off at school—Biofit Bootcamp. The instructor is a great guy who sets difficult but reasonable tasks and knows how to inspire without overpushing. I go five times a week for an hour. The routines change daily, so every muscle gets punished—er, worked on—each week. I’ve only lost fifteen pounds because I don’t diet, but I’m toning up, which is what I really care about.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve heard or seen?
In Metaponto, Italy, the ruins of the Pythagorean temple are coated in snails. Thousands and thousands of snails. You cannot walk without stepping on snails. I always wanted to write a story about the inhabitants getting turned into snails.
Winner of the 2010 INDIE for best Fantasy (Magic, Mensa and Mayhem), Karina Fabian has imagination that takes quirky twists that keep her–and her fans–amused. Nuns working in space, a down-and-out Faerie dragon working off a geas from St. George, zombie exterminators—there’s always a surprise in Fabian’s worlds. Mrs. Fabian teaches writing and book marketing seminars, but mostly is concerned with supporting her husband, Rob Fabian as he makes the exciting leap from military officer to civilian executive, getting her kids through high school and college, and surviving daily circuit torture…er, circuit training. Read about her adventures at http://fabianspace.com.
Find Karina at:
EXTRAS FOR YOUR BLOG:
Outside Links: I’ve been told that if you link to outside articles, you increase your SEO. Here’re some:
Lance of Longinus: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holy_Lance
Maltese Falcon: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0033870/
Live and Let Fly: http://dragoneyepi.blogspot.com/p/live-and-let-fly.html
Magic, Mensa and Mayhem: http://dragoneyepi.blogspot.com/p/magic-mensa-and-mayhem.html
Book tour link with all the stops: http://dragoneyepi.blogspot.com/2013/04/greater-treasures-book-tour.html