Virtual Book Tour Dates: 11/7/13 - 11/21/13
Young Adult Sci-fi/Fantasy, Teen Sci-fi/Fantasy
Seventh-grader Mitchell Brant and three of his classmates inexplicably wake up at the back edge of a softball field to the sounds of a game, the cheering of the crowd. None of them remembers coming here. And as they soon learn, “here” is like no place they’ve ever seen. Cars resemble antiques from the 1950s. There are no cell phones, no PCs. Even the spelling of words is slightly off.
A compulsive liar, constantly telling fantastic stories to garner attention and approval, Mitchell can only wish this were just one more of his tall tales. But it isn’t. It’s all too real. Together, as they confront unexpected and life-threatening dangers, Mitchell and his friends must overcome their bickering and insecurities to learn what happened, where they are, and how to get back home.
The answers can be found only in the mysterious little girl with the blue, hypnotic eyes. The one they had each dreamed of three nights in a row before arriving here. She is their only hope. And, as they eventually discover, they are her only hope.
And time is running out.
About The Author:
Michael S. Fedison was born in Rochester, New York, and now lives with his wife, Sarah, and regal cat, Luke, in the green hills of central Vermont. Michael has been writing creatively for as long as he can remember, and has had short fiction published in several literary magazines, including Iconoclast and The Written Word. He works as a full-time technical writer and also is a freelance proofreader and copy editor.
Michael has been a lover of imaginative stories his entire life. He enjoys any story that takes you by the hand, lifts you up, and transports you to another place, a new and creative way of looking at the world around us.
Author and Book Links:
The Eye-Dancers Website
The Eye-Dancers GoodReads
The Eye-Dancers Facebook Page
Q # 1- Where did you grow up and in what ways(if any) did it impact your writing?
I grew up in East Irondequoit, which is a suburb of Rochester, New York. I’m not sure if that impacted my writing so much in terms of the place itself. I think I would have wanted to write no matter where I grew up. But one thing definitely helped. . . .
My parents never moved. I was able to spend my entire childhood in the same house, the same school district. As such, I made friends as a child who have remained friends to this day. I now live in Vermont, but when I go back to Rochester, I always get together with family and old friends. That sense of stability growing up provided me with a secure and steady backdrop where I could pursue my writing.
Q # 2- When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer?
In second grade, my teacher assigned a creative writing project. She told us we could write about anything, as long as it was at least a full page in length. I decided to write a short story called “The Magic Key,” four pages long! At seven years old, that felt like a full-blown novel. I loved writing that story, and have been hooked ever since.
Q # 3- What was the inspiration behind the characters in The Eye-Dancers and why?
This relates to Question 1 above because the four main characters in the book (Mitchell Brant, Joe Marma, Ryan Swinton, and Marc Kuslanski) are all inspired by friends I knew growing up. That made writing about them a pure joy, and a lot of fun.
Q # 4- Who is your all time favorite author and why?
I would have to say Ray Bradbury, for several reasons. First and foremost, the scope of his work is astounding. Here is an author whose stories span decades, and transcend space and time. They were great when he first wrote them, and they still are great. They always will be. Bradbury had a knack for writing about people, their emotions, insecurities, prejudices, loves, and then placing them in otherworldly or fantastic situations. Though sometimes he wrote about everyday things, too—small stories, prose poems, really, that are very tender.
Additionally, his writing style is masterful. He is a poet. His use of the language makes his stories a joy to read. And his inspiration, his enthusiasm, his love for the things he writes about comes through with every sentence he crafts.
Q # 5- What would you say influences your writing style the most and why?
That’s a very good question, and I’m not sure what the answer is! I think all writers, when they start out, are influenced by their favorite authors. But as you gain experience and write more, eventually you develop your own unique voice. I think every writer has a beat in his or her head, a writing tune he or she can dance to. And, with luck, it’s a tune readers can dance to, as well.
Q # 6- If you could change one thing concerning the world today, what would it be?
Probably that people would consider all new ideas, new concepts, and different cultures with a completely open mind. Just because something is new doesn’t mean it’s automatically bad. Just because someone does something different, that doesn’t make them “wrong.” And just because something doesn’t fit into the context of our present-day understanding does not make it outlandish or nonsensical. Discoveries are there to be made. They always will be.
Q # 7- What would you say your favorite genre of writing is?
I am not a genre writer, in the sense that I enjoy writing in multiple genres. The Eye-Dancers is a Young Adult Sci-fi/Fantasy novel. But I have written mainstream and literary stories as well, along with high fantasy, suspense, and even historical. But if I had to choose just one, I would say sci-fi. Science fiction has the ability to transport us to other times, other worlds, other universes, and yet, simultaneously, it causes us to look at ourselves and our own world with a new and different lens.
Q # 8- The Eye-Dancers sounds like an amazing novel, do you have any book ideas you’re working on now or in the near future?
I am currently working on a sequel to The Eye-Dancers. It’s very early on in the process, but I am really enjoying delving back into that world and those characters again.
Q # 9- For all the aspiring writers out there, do you have any tips or ideas that could help with the whole writing process?
Write what you love. Whenever I am asked this question, this is always my answer. Don’t worry about what’s in style, what’s “hot,” what sells. Quality sells. Good stories sell. And if you write about the things you care about, the things that shape you and matter to you, the things you feel passionate about, then you can share that with the rest of us, and we will be riveted. Write about the things that are painful, the things that make you smile, the things that make you want to climb up to the rooftops and shout. Your readers will be glad you did.
Q # 10- Do You Have Any Questions For Me?
I think it’s great that you help out authors the way you do. What is your favorite aspect of working with all the authors that you do? * My favorite aspect would be getting to know all the different authors!! I am able to get out of my comfort zone and experience new and amazing writing styles and genres, and as an aspiring writer I think this is a great learning experience! All of you wonderful writers deserve a huge Thank You for all you do , without ya'll the world would be a very boring place!!! Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions and good luck in your future endeavors!!!*
Direct Link to the Book on Goodreads:
Excerpt: (Opening scene from the book)
Peering out his bedroom window, his eyes flattened into squinting slits, Mitchell Brant saw her.
“No,” he said. “It can’t be her. It can’t be.”
But it was. She had come again.
He looked away, at the night-shadows on the floor, at the sheets jumbled and strewn on his bed. Maybe she wasn’t really out there. Maybe it was just an illusion, some odd distortion of the light.
He looked out the window.
She was still there.
He felt the fine hairs at the nape of his neck stand up. Gooseflesh, cold against the stifling humidity filtering in through the open window, speckled his forearms.
The girl was standing under the streetlamp, looking straight in at him—the same way she had last night and the night before. She was just a child, probably no more than seven years old—his sister’s age. What was she doing out in the street, alone, well past midnight? Was she a runaway? And why had she come three nights in a row?
He tried to look away again, but he couldn’t. It was as though the girl had cast a spell over him. “What’s with you?” he said to himself. “Just go back to sleep.” Instead, he stood up. She had raised her right arm above her head, waving at him frantically.
“Help me.” The voice filtered in through the window. “Why don’t you . . .?” The girl’s voice. And yet, there was something different about it, something off. It sounded hollow, as if it had originated from a dark place, a secret place, cold like the grave.
The grave. Maybe that was the answer. Maybe that’s where she had come from.
“No.” Her voice rose, more insistent now. “Don’t be so silly.”
He reached for the window. He wasn’t going to let her fool him. He’d just finished the sixth grade last week, and he wanted the chance to live long enough to begin seventh grade in the fall. Communicating with ghosts was great when kept within the safe confines of horror stories or movies. But not here. Not on his quiet small-town street. Not in real life.
He grabbed the window sash, pushed down. Instantly, he was transported to his front lawn! How had that happened? The girl, still standing in the light, gestured even more vigorously now that Mitchell was outside with her. He knew she had worked some sort of magician’s trick on him.
“Who are you?” He looked down at his feet and saw they were moving—in the direction of the street, the light, the girl. He tried to stop them, but it was as if they had a will of their own.
As he neared her, he was able to get a better look at the girl. She had the bluest, deepest eyes he had ever seen. They were mesmerizing.
She also had an airy quality to her. The light from the streetlamp filtered through her, as though she were only partly there, only a small portion of her flesh and blood.
I was right, he thought. She is a ghost.
“Stop it!” she said. “Stop calling me that.”
He reached the sidewalk, nearly face-to-face with her. He closed his eyes, but they stung, so he opened them and looked up, at the streetlamp. A small gathering of luna moths aimlessly fluttered about, landing on the bulb, then jumping off, occasionally flying into each other, as if drunk from the light and the oppressive humidity.
“Help me!” The girl’s voice, so near yet so ethereal, caused Mitchell to lose his balance. He fell, landed on the pavement, scraping his knee. A trickle of blood snaked down his shin. “Come with me,” the girl said, and offered a hand. But he knew better. Once she grabbed him, she would never let him go. She would lead him through the darkened streets, past the statue of the white, marble lion that marked the center of town, and on to the Bedford Cemetery, where she’d force him to serve her for all eternity in the form of some tortured, wandering spirit.
The girl’s hand brushed against his, a faint whisper against his skin, and then the sensation was gone.
“Come with me,” she said again. “Please.” He told himself not to look into her eyes, but he did. He couldn’t resist. It was like looking into two blue pools of sky-water. Somehow, he was sure that if he looked into those eyes long enough, hard enough, he would see where the universe ended, and began.
He stood up, wanting desperately to turn around and flee back into the house. But he wasn’t able to. Her eyes wouldn’t let him. The night air, muggy, close, felt like a dull weight intent on forcing him back down to his knees.
The girl said, “Yes, that’s the way. Keep looking into my eyes! That’s the way I can take you with me.”
He tried to look away, but couldn’t. He just continued to stare at her blue, blue eyes. He stared until her eyes seemed to expand, the shape of them lengthening, widening. He stared until the blue in her irises dilated and spun, slowly at first, but gradually picking up speed, spinning round and round, faster, faster.
He screamed then—the loudest, longest scream of his life. He would wake up his parents, his sister, the neighbors. Maybe they could reach him in time to save him. Maybe they could—
Suddenly, he was back in his bed, thrashing and kicking and yelling, “Let me go, let me go!” It took a moment for him to gather his wits.
It had been a dream, a nightmare. That was all.
He sat up. Was that all? What would he see if he dared to look out his window? Would the ghost girl still be there? Not wanting to, but needing to know the truth, Mitchell glanced outside.
No one. Only the mosquitoes and the spiders and the night birds, creatures that he couldn’t see but knew were out there. But at least they were a part of the natural world. They belonged. The ghost girl didn’t.
He hopped out of bed, too wired to lie still. But as soon as his feet touched the floor, he grimaced. There was a stinging pain in his left knee. Groping his way through the dark room, he reached for the lamp atop his dresser and flicked it on.
His knee was bleeding. A small strip of skin had been scraped off, and the blood, though drying, was still trickling down his shin. How could he have scraped his knee in bed?
Then he remembered. He had done it in his dream. He’d fallen in the street when the ghost girl had reached for him. But if it had only been a dream, why was his knee bleeding now?
He limped to the bathroom, where he washed the wound and then bandaged it. He reminded himself not to wear shorts in the morning. On top of everything else, he didn’t need Mom asking questions.
He had no answers, anyway. He had no idea what happened. Had he dreamed of the girl in the street—tonight, and last night, and the night before that? Or had she really been there? He tried to think it through. It had seemed like a dream. But since when did people scrape their knees in a dream? Had he been sleepwalking? He’d never known himself to sleepwalk, but how could he know, if he was sleeping while he did it?
“C’mon,” he said, staring at his reflection in the bathroom mirror. It was a tired-looking reflection, with the last hints of fright still manifest in the eyes. “Don’t be stupid. It was just a nightmare, that’s all.”
But as he walked into the kitchen, turned on the tap, and slurped the water as it streamed out, he knew that the truth was very likely more complex, and more troubling.
He turned off the faucet, wondering why water always tasted so much better straight out of the tap. He tried to think about that, ponder it, anything to get his mind off the ghost girl. But it didn’t work. How could he forget her?
“Cut it out, Mitchell,” he said. “Just quit it.”
He needed to get back to sleep. When he was little, if he’d had a bad day, his mom used to tell him that everything looked better, and happier, in the morning. He hoped she was right.
But when he returned to his room, sleep still seemed a long way off. His bed, with the disheveled sheets and sweat-drenched pillows, didn’t look very restful. He needed something to calm him. He opened the lower drawer of his dresser. Piles of old comic books, bagged in protective Mylar sleeves, greeted him like devoted friends. He picked up the top comic, a worn copy of Fantastic Four no. 99, and sniffed it through the sleeve. He loved the smell of old comic books. It was musty, but in a special way, like the smell of his grandfather’s attic littered with knickknacks and family mementoes. A treasure-house smell. He had asked his sister to sniff some of his comics once, but she thought they reeked. Well, what did she know? She was just a little kid.
He took the comic out of its sleeve and read it, even though he knew the issue by heart. But it did the trick. He got lost in the story, savoring the artwork, the dialogue, the sheer fantasy of the plot. When he put the comic book away thirty minutes later, he felt ready for bed.
He climbed in, wondering if he should glance out the window again, to see if the girl was out there.
“She isn’t,” he said, but he didn’t look.
He lay there, his mind racing, and it seemed to him that he wouldn’t get to sleep. He did, eventually, but it was a restless sleep, as he thrashed throughout the night. When he woke up, a few short hours later, he was quite sure he had dreamed again, though about what he couldn’t remember.
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