Hi and welcome to FromBelgiumWithBookLove! We’ll be doing something a little different today, as I’m handing over the blog to David Ellis Overttun, author of the Terra Nova series (Universe: Awakening, Genesis: Vision of the New World and Prophecy: Eve of Darkness) and here to talk about his WIP Mirror in Time. Enjoy!
I met Kelly (@kellyvandamme) back in 2019 when my wife, Natasha (@neoverttun), had just been introduced to Twitter. The surname “Van Damme” was so intriguing. We asked, “Do you think?” It turned out there was no relation to the “Muscles from Brussels”. However, it worked out even better. We established a connection with Kelly and, to borrow from Bill and Ted, her most excellent blog, From Belgium With Book Love.
This year has changed the world as we know it. No matter your circumstance, I think we have all been confronted with new realities, and so it was for me. This summer, I was about three‑quarters of the way writing my fourth book, a time‑travel stand‑alone tentatively titled Mirror in Time, when I had to set it aside to work on another project. I wanted to make sure that it didn’t fade away, so I thought that posting would put pressure on me to make time to finish.
As always, Kelly was understanding and supportive. She has graciously allowed me to do this post. Many thanks!
My first appearance on From Belgium With Book Love was a cameo Music Monday request of Janelle Monáe’s “Make Me Feel”. The next one was a Music Monday Q&A about how music has influenced my writing. I have done several Q&A’s, but I have to say that this one has been the best so far, mainly because its perspective was so different.
Finally, earlier this year, Kelly did a great cover reveal for my third book, Prophecy: Eve of Darkness.
So, this is actually my first post where I have to write something coherent. Please excuse me while I get a change of underwear…
* * * * *
Our story so far…
The ARC prologue starts with what should have been an uneventful flight of a woman named “Godvina” aboard AV Sundog on its way to an astronomical observatory. The attackers are driven off by cloaked fighters covertly acting as escort. However, not before the pilot of the transport has taken her own evasive action. Ordinarily, this would not be a problem. However, her passenger has an aversion to air travel at the best of times.
What follows is a tense report to the Director of the Observatory, ARC Chapter 1: “Debriefing and Consultation”.
* * * * *
Four individuals convened in the office of the Director of the Observatory to discuss the recent event surrounding AV Sundog.
“How is she, Doctor?”
“Physically, she is fine, Director…”
“Yes…” the Director replied impatiently.
“Her shadow is fine, but her corona…has retracted.”
An aura was an emanation of an electromagnetic field that surrounded the body that came in a variety of shapes and sizes. They were comprised of two parts. The first was known as the “corona”. It was the visible portion of an aura that had certain defined characteristics such as: size, radiance, color, clarity and pulse. The second part was known as the “shadow”, an energy field that extended beyond the corona. While at rest, the field was invisible but, during episodes of activity, could exhibit a wide variety of physical characteristics. Typically, shadows only formed a thin skin around coronas, and most people were not even aware of them.
“Is it permanent?”
“No, she should be back to normal in a few days.”
“I suppose that is a relief.” Then, the Director furrowed his eyebrows. “Cause?” His question was directed to the Doctor, but he cast a glare toward a woman dressed in black, articulated body armor.
“Well…on the face of it, I would have to say a shock caused by the recent contact with the Gendu, but I cannot be certain until I do a complete physical examination.”
“Sir,” the woman replied defensively, “we came under attack. I had no choice but to take evasive action.”
“And did that evasive action include holographic camouflage?”
“So, they locked on to you while cloaked?!
“And your escorts, what were they doing?”
“I did not become aware of their presence until well after I was fired upon.”
“Agent Thalia, Sundog was under escort by four agents from your department. How could you not know they were there? Admit it! You fucked up!”
“No, Director! I am telling the truth.”
“And I suppose your comrades will corroborate your ‘story’?”
“Why am I not surprised? You stormtroopers always stick together!”
Thalia was at a loss as how to respond. A tense silence began to grow as the glare of the Director was met by the calm, inscrutable demeanor of an agent.
“Perhaps, Director Jo’el, there is a more immediate issue we should address,” a soft voice said, breaking the tension.
“Of course, Advisor, what would that be?” Jo’el replied.
“The typical reaction when something like this happens is anxiety and embarrassment. It would probably be best to have some illumination in the room to…”
“Avoid any immediate shock. Of course, Advisor, as always, your advice is prudent and practical.”
“Also, I should consult with her to mitigate any concern over her current circumstance.”
“That will not be necessary, Advisor. I will talk to her,” Jo’el said. “Doctor, please make the necessary changes to Prefect Godvina’s lighting to approximate the light from her corona.”
The Doctor nodded his head.
“And you,” he continued, looking at Thalia, “get off my mountain and take those two goons with you!”
“But my orders are…”
“Your orders are no concern of mine. Do it, or I will call in every favor I have to ensure you and you compatriots are hauling garbage from the Hinterland!”
Those too poor to afford housing in urban neighborhoods were relegated to rustic areas outside cities known as the “Hinterland”. It was a place of no fixed address.
“Begging your pardon, Director, there is no such function in the Hinterland.”
“Exactly! Get out!”
With that, Thalia silently rose to her feet, bowed and turned to leave.
“Agent Thalia!” Jo’el said as she was about to exit into the corridor.
“Sir!” she replied as she turned and snapped to attention.
“I would turn off my nexus for the next little while. Peace be with you.”
“And also with you.”
* * * * *
Thalia left Jo’el’s office and exited Building A, the building that housed the main observatory facility.
“That could have gone better,” she said with a heavy sigh. “I need something to take the edge off.” She briefly closed her eyes and concentrated. Unseen, the dorsal part of her shadow began to transform into a pair of large wings. She silently lifted off and passed through the security dome.
She flew to one of the mesas that was home to her people, military people. It was an addition to a civilian endeavor that until recently was solely under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Science. Current tensions between Celesti and Gendu had changed all that. Now, the Observatory was protected by a division of guardians, Celesti responsible for civil order, defense and protection.
Although this was her first time at Jomo, the setup of all military installations followed a similar pattern, and it was fairly easy to locate the area earmarked for accommodation and recreation. Her bio‑sign and auric signature allowed her entry through the security dome protecting Chi Mesa. From above, she had located a modular structure where guardians were continually exiting and entering. That was her destination.
She touched down outside a place universally known on every base as “No Man’s Land”. She immediately felt at home. She recognized many of the people around her, and there were several brief exchanges of acknowledgments and pleasantries. “Ah, there is no place like home,” she thought.
She passed through the doors and headed directly through the noisy, packed crowd toward the bar. Shadows and coronas touched and overlapped. It gave her a sense of community, a sense of belonging.
“Bartender!” she exclaimed with a smile.
“Yes, ma’am!” he replied as a small holographic screen appeared in front of him.
“Melemele with piss on the side!”
“Please,” he said as he finished tapping a few icons.
Thalia briefly glanced at the screen then placed her palm on it, both confirming and paying for her order. In no time, a conical pint glass filled with a golden liquid with a foam head and a shot glass filled with a rich, brown liquid were placed before her.
She raised the shot glass in a silent toast then downed its contents. She breathed a heavy sigh as the warmth spread through her. She turned to face the merrymakers and began sipping on her melemele.
“Celebrating, Wind Goddess?”
“Yeah, why not, Golden Boy?” She turned to the side and slapped her buttock.
“Get your ass chewed out?”
“Is it that obvious, Avenger?”
“Well,” Avenger observed with a raised eyebrow and a smile, “you still have enough there to be presentable.”
“You wish!” Thalia replied. “That stunt you guys pulled back there has gotten all of us in deep shit. The Director is pissed. Can you blame him? What were you two thinking?”
“Orders,” Golden Boy replied.
“Are you serious?”
“Finish up. We have to file our report.”
* * * * *
This chapter introduces three of the main characters in the story and gives us some insight into the relationships among them. We learn the name of one of them, Jo’el, Director of the Jomo Langma Mountain Observatory. The other two are only referred to as “Doctor” and “Advisor”. From the tone of their interaction, they share a close bond of trust. How and whether this goes beyond work‑related dealings is unclear for now.
Sundog’s passenger is Prefect Godvina. We might infer from the attack that she is senior enough to warrant elimination, or so it would seem. More intriguing is that Jo’el seems to have a walk‑on‑eggshells concern for her. Is she his superior, or is there something more?
At this point, I think it apropos to show you Natasha’s rendering of Godvina’s condition. As always, my thanks to her!
After her meeting, Agent Thalia needs to take the edge off and heads to a place called “No Man’s Land”. Buildings in this facility are situated atop various mesas. Walking or ground transportation do not seem to be nimble options. But why do that when you can fly? Here, she reveals one of the very unique capabilities of auras. Are there others?
Many of you may recognize “melemele with piss on the side” as a boilermaker. “Melemele” has a nice ring to it and is a tweak of the word “meli”, the Hawaiian word for “honey”. It gives both a visual, color not viscosity, and phonic allusion.
Her brief contemplation of recent events is interrupted by Golden Boy and Avenger, and we can see that these two flyboys will play more than a passing reference in the narrative.
Well that’s it for David and me today! Do check out these links for more information regarding David’s novels:
Mirror in Time – Excerpts and Commentary:
“Prologue” posted on Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub
Artist Q&A posted on Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub
Author Q&A posted on The Magic of Wor(l)ds
Author Q&A posted on On The Shelf Reviews
Author Q&A posted on The Book Hole
Author Q&A posted on From Belgium With Book Love
Friday Night Drinks posted on A Little Book Problem
Indie Spotlight – Terra Nova Series posted on beforewegoblog
Cover Makeover Genesis: Vision of the New World posted on On The Shelf Reviews
Cover Reveal Prophecy: Eve of Darkness posted on Witty and Sacrastic Bookclub
Background to Universe: Awakening posted on Zooloo’s Book Diary
Themes in Genesis: Vision of the New World posted on The Book Hole
Themes in Prophecy: Eve of Darkness posted on The Bookwormery