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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

GetToKnowTheBook: Author Tony-Paul de Vissage 'Dark God Descending'

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I've blogged about my novel before, so I thought I'd let the three men of Dark God Descending speak about their parts in the story. May I introduce Tucker Upchurch III, Semris II, and Dr. David Leary. Bienvenue, bonhommes. Who would like to go first?

(They are very physically different from each other; Tuck is tall, blond and curly-haired, Semris had waist-length black hair and a pair of retractable wings protruding from his shoulder blades, and David is red-headed and freckle-faced. Tuck wears a University of Georgia sweatshirt and jeans, Semris is in the embroidered and bejeweled loincloth of a Mayan emperor with onyx, jade, and turquoise eardisks, armlets, and necklet to match. David wears a suit and lab coat. They all look at each other, nodding and frowning and hesitating, each waiting for the other to go first. Finally David speaks.)

David: Since I'm more or less a minor character until the latter part of the story, and because these two are being uncharacteristically shy, I guess I'm elected. My name's David Leary. I'm a doctor at a hospital in Athens, Georgia. Until I met up with Semris here, I thought I didn't have a humorous bone in my body--or any imagination, either!

Tuck (shakes his head): Don't let him fool you, Tony-Paul. David's always had an imagination. He's just kept it tightly reined in. I suppose he had to, suddenly having to raise a little sister after his parents died. I'm Tucker Upchurch III by the way--ex-graduate student, archaeologist, almost David's brother-in-law, and Semris' reluctant blood-brother.

Semris (brushes a long strand of black hair out of his face and executes a graceful but regal bow): And I am the one of whom these two speak. Semris II, son of Yum Cimil, the god of Death, sixth Cama-Zotz, Emperor of All Creation, Dark Lord of Nikte Uaxac...

Tuck: Enough already! We've only got so much space here.

Semris: Mi apologias, senor Tony-Paul. I never know how much to say when introducing myself. (looks at Tuck) I remember the first time you saw me, you thought I was some kind of evolution-mutant. A giant bat. But you-(to David) You thought I was a gypsy. That's a little more flattering!

David (laughs): You were the palest gypsy I'd ever seen! Except for all that black hair, I'd have said you were an albino! I also figured you were up to no good. Boy, was I ever wrong--or was I right? (grins at Tuck) and then you showed up with that fantastic story about Semris being a demon--and a god. All I could think was: What's he been smoking?

Tuck: Thanks, pal! Convincing you I was telling the truth was the most difficult thing I've ever done. You thought I was crazy and Semris was feeding my delusion.

David: I thought he was the best con man I'd ever come across, that's for sure! Truthfully, I kept walking around thinking I was in the middle of a Twilight Zone episode. I was just waiting for the commercial. And then, I walked in on Semris in the shower-

Semris: I think you'd better elaborate on that, David, before everyone gets the wrong idea.

TPV: Oui, David. Remember, this is a family-oriented blog.

David: It was pretty embarrassing. Semris was taking a shower, and the hot water made his wings unfurl, and he got stuck in the shower stall. I had just got home and I heard this God-awful commotion coming from the bathroom. Shannon was screaming, Chanua was in the stall with Semris-fully-clothed, I might add--reaching around behind him, and Semris was standing there-water splashing everywhere-with these wide, black…sails…hanging over the shower rod and dripping water onto the floor.

Semris (sardonically): I'm most grateful you accepted the truth so quickly.

David: Couldn't do much of anything else, after I saw those wings of yours. I mean--a man with a twelve-foot wingspan is definitely not an everyday occurrence, especially in Athens, Ga,, unless he's going to a DragonCon or something. From that moment on, my imagination was freed to run wild.

Tuck: I think all our imaginations got a little hysterical, after a while. I know from the minute I saw Semris in that Yucatan jungle, I felt as if I'd stepped into some kind of sci-fi movie.

TPV: That's right. You were given the chore of guarding Semris when he was...should I use the word "stolen" or "kidnapped?"

Tuck: Either one's correct. Semris was forcibly removed from his home and I'm sorry to say I was one of those responsible.

Semris: That changed once he realized I wasn't a giant bat as he'd been told but an intelligent being.

Tuck (grins): A being anyway--sometimes I wonder about the intelligent part.

TPV: So far, no one's mentioned the lady in the story. Cherchez la femme. What is her name?

David: Shannon Leary. My little sister. She was Tuck's fiancée, although I wasn't too wild about the idea. Tuck was my buddy when we were in high school and I thought he was too old for her.

Tuck: I'm six years older than Shannon. So how did you reconcile a 5000-year-old demon falling for her?

David: With great difficulty!

Semris: I fell in love with Shannon the moment I saw her, though I didn't recognize the emotion. (He looks apologetically at Tuck) Sorry, amigo, but it's true. Demons aren't supposed to experience human emotions so it took a while for me to understand what I was feeling, and by the time I did-it was too late. I knew she was the only woman I could ever love and that I'd fight any one to keep her. Shannon is mi Corazon, mi amorita, la mujer de mi suenos, la…

Tuck: Please! I refused to fight you when I discovered you and Shannon in flagrante delicto-

Semris: Translation, please. What is this flagrante?

Tuck:--but if you don't lay off all that flowery Spanish I'm going to give your royal demonic face a black eye. (looks at TPV) Can you believe this guy? He's supposed to be a bloodsucking demon but every time he talks about Shannon, he gets so mushy, it's sickening.

David: It's worse when they're together.

TPV: So your sister was engaged to Tuck and jilted him for a demon? (David nods. TPV Looks at Tuck) And you're still friends--in spite of all that's happened?

Tuck: I guess you could say we're still friends because of what happened. All three of us went through some pretty hairy adventures...and a lot of people got hurt, thanks to Professor Lane Westcott… (looks away a moment) Sorry, but what happened when we got back to Nikte-Uaxac still gets to me sometimes. (sniffs loudly and blinks)

Semris: As it does to all of us, mi amigo. But I think it made our friendship that much stronger. I don't blame you for any of it, Tuck. (forcefully) As for Westcott? He got exactamente what was coming to him! That perro! I should have-(breaks into a sputter of untranslatable Spanish curses)

Tuck: Calm down, Your Excellency.

David: Well, I for one, am grateful for all that happened, both the good and the bad. I came out of it a different man from the uptight, workaholic doctor I would've been if I'd stayed in Athens, and you, Tuck--

Tuck: Yeah, I got more than I bargained for, that's for sure. Heck, I got immortality out of the deal! Can't beat that. We all were changed by what happened--in both good and bad ways.

TPV: Would you care to elaborate on that, Semris?

Semris: No, I don't think I would. After all, we're here to tease your readers and if we tell too much, we'll defeat our purpose, won't we? Why do we not let this little extracto speak for us?

TPV: A wise answer. Then let me say merci, mon bonhommes, and thank you for coming to speak to us today about Dark God Descending and your part in it. Now, here's the excerpt:

Dark God Descending Excerpt:

Semris awoke to the muffled sound of pounding hooves.
Opening his eyes, he twisted on the branch and parted the pine boughs, looking out across the meadow in time to see Nohoch galloping toward the far-off trees, tail streaming like a brilliant banner behind him.
Abruptly, he saw something else that startled him. A girl clinging to the big animal's back, her own hair mingling with the wind-blown red mane.
He's beautiful, Semris thought. The brown eyes were wide, nostrils flaring, and then the girl leaned forward, her mouth opening in a shout of happiness as she swept her own hair out of her face.
They were both beautiful.
As Nohoch neared the fence, he slowed to a trot, then a walk, dancing sideways, as if impatient to run again. He tossed his head and snorted, and the crows chose that moment to break from the shelter of the trees.
They burst out with a wild and noisy flapping of wings, swooped over the fence, then rose into the air with harsh, loud cries. One came too close. It collided with Nohoch, striking the animal on the chest and the big creature reared on its hind legs, forelegs curled protectively.
Stepping backward, it staggered slightly as if thrown off-balance by the extra weight it carried. The girl loosened her hold on the red mane and slid from the creature's back, falling into the grass.
Nohoch regained his balance and galloped away as the girl sat up. She started to get up but Semris was already out of the tree and climbing through the fence.
She stared at him, as if shocked by the sight of a half-naked man running toward her, then, abruptly, rolled over and began to crawl away through the flowers.
Semris skidded to a stop in front of her. Shannon curled into a little ball.
"You have nothing to fear from me, Nina," he assured her, quickly. "You are certain you are all right?"
He held out his hand again and this time, after the slightest hesitation, she placed her own in it. Semris pulled her to her feet.
"Yes," she answered. "I'm just a little shaken, that's all"
There was a sound behind them. Seeing his new friend and his rider together, the animal had returned to nuzzle at Semris' shoulder.
He turned and placed one hand on the horse's crest. "Nohoch."
"What did you call him?" the girl asked, smiling.
"In my language, it means Big One," he explained.
"His name's Wildfire," she said.
"I like Nohoch better," he told her. "What kind of animal is he?"
"What kind?" That earned him an astonished stare. "Why, he's a horse. Haven't you ever seen a horse before?"
"Where are you from? The moon?" The blue eyes were laughing.
He chose to answer her question literally, informing her solemnly, "I am from Nikte-Uaxac."
"Where's that?"
"Very far from here."
"I don't remember seeing you before." The frown deepened. "Do you work on one of the farms? I heard Emmett Westphall had hired some new hands."
He shook his head and she went on, "Say, where's your shirt?" and looked at his bare feet, "And your shoes?"
There was a sudden mischievous sparkling in the blue eyes.
"You weren't about to go skinnydipping in the lake, were you?"
"There is a lake?"
"Uh-huh, on the other side of those trees." She gestured toward the far end of the meadow. "But if you didn't know, I guess you weren't going swimming were you?" Her voice dropped slightly, became soft, almost gentle. "So you don't work for Emmett. A-are you a transient?"
"I do not know that word."
"A-uh--a traveller, a wanderer."
"I am trying to get back to my home."
"Do you have any money?" Briefly, she avoided his gaze, concentrating on stroking Nohoch's shining shoulder, gentle fingers worrying the little scabs.
"Then that may be a little difficult to do."
"My brother will come for me," he told her.
"Well, you've got to eat and have a place to sleep until he gets here," she said, practically.
"There are plenty of trees." He gestured toward the pine grove.
"You can't mean you've been sleeping there?" She sounded as if she couldn't believe such a thing. "That won't do! Say, have you ever done any handiwork?"
"I am sorry, Nina. I do not know what that is."
In Nikte-Uaxac, he was noted for the knowledge he had amassed, that Ah Balam and his brother demons and his tutors had taught him and Ne'all. One of his many titles was the Enlightened One, and now, he was standing here admitting with almost each breath that he knew nothing.
"Oh, you know--odd jobs, cutting grass, moving rocks."
He glanced down at his hands, hands that had never held anything heavier than the Royal sceptre. Move rocks? The Emperor doing manual labor?
"I was thinking--" She turned from Nohoch to look up at him.
The sun reflected in her eyes, making them look as blue as the sky, and she raised one hand to tuck a stray lock of the brilliant hair behind one ear. Briefly, he was dazzled by the brightness of that wonderful mass of curls. He wondered if it would feel warm to the touch.
"My brother's been looking for someone to help me get the backyard into shape. We've neglected it terribly, and if you're willing, maybe you could earn enough to buy yourself a bus ticket to Tampa or Miami or somewhere."
Semris smiled. "Thank you, Nina. It is kind of you to wish to help me."
"Why do you call me that?" she asked. "My name's Shannon."
"No, you are Nina del Sol, beautiful daughter of the Sun, and its rays are captured in your hair."
She smiled, and he was startled to see a faint pink touch her cheeks. "And you look like a child of the Moon, pale and mysterious. What's your name by the way?"
His chin went up slightly. "I am Emperador."
"That's an odd name. Her voice died away and she blushed again, and, as if to cover her embarrassment, said, almost sharply, "Well?"
"Well, what?"
"Are you interested? In the job, I mean?"
If it would keep him in her company a little longer, he would pretend interest, though he had no desire to do any type of work.
He found himself nodding.

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