Guest Post: The Alchemy of Words


By J.D. Lakey 

J.D. Lakey is the author of science fiction series, The Black Bead Chronicles. She shares how she became a sci-fi writer. Keep reading for a synopsis of the third book in her series, Spider Wars: Book Three of the Black Bead Chronicles. You can also get the first book in the series, Black Bead, free on Kindle today.

I was one of those kids who sat in the class listening to the teacher thinking that there was no way the world was this simplistic. Nor was it as mysteriously complicated as they wanted you to believe when they got tired of your unanswerable question. About the time I had to get up out of my anthropology seminar because I could feel a fit of giggles coming over me, I realized my understanding of the universe had superseded anything anyone could teach me in a university.

Coming from a long line of Celtic witches, I went back to my source. Magic explained a lot. What was magic but the things we did not understand yet, right? But I was a scientist and a mathematician at heart. I never had a question that science couldn’t answer in one way or another. At their worst a true scientist would just shrug his shoulders and say “We don’t know. Yet.” (Scientist are secretly sorcerous alchemists at heart.)

For me, science fiction was just those crazy alchemists writing a very complicated theorem about the nature of the universe and man’s place in it. Kurt Vonnegut was my god when I was 20. Harlan Ellison was a wizard whose tools were words. He taught me how to write a good shorty story. Robert Heinlein, CJ Cherryh, Anne McCaffrey, Frank Herbert, Ursula Le Guin, they could all build a world just by having their characters walk around in it and it is these great sci-fi writers I try to emulate when I write my books.

How are my books different than any other sci-fi book? There are seven billion people on the planet and about twenty percent of those think of themselves as writers. There is nothing original in the world anymore, the jaded say. Yes, but this is my story, told with my voice, in a way that pleases me, and their source is the same as the songs and art of other creative people.

It’s magic after all. I use a lifetime of fascination with things like martial arts, samurais, warrior cults, hippie communes, anthropology, King Arthur and Merlin, and the long lost matriarchal societies of Crete and Amarna in Egypt. It’s all in the back of my mind like some dark brew and when I sit down and start typing, wondrously strange things fill the screen. It is visceral and intuitive and no one is more surprised than I when I write the last word of the last page and then step back and wonder in awe at how strange the human subconscious is.

Do you want to walk off the edge of the world and learn to question everything you know? Read sci-fi. Read the Black Bead Chronicles.

About Spider Wars:

Winter is a time of quiet industry under the domes. At least it should be. Cheobawn senses a danger she doesn’t understand, and with the eldest three children of the pack away for temple training, Connor is the only one left who can convince her to take action. As calamity stalks the tribes of the high forests, the raging winter storms kill too many – man and animal alike. Now the bennelk warn of a new threat coming at them from out of the Wastes, and the people of the dome must once again trust in the young pack to save them.

Follow Blackwind Pack on their third adventure through the perilous winter landscape of their planet as Cheobawn and Connor lead their people on a race against time to save their herds from the threat of an otherworldly storm with a mysterious and deadly origin that threatens to wipe out the domes forever and reignite an intragalactic war for control of the planet.

Welcome to the World of Black Bead

On a savage, outlying planet an enclave of psionically-trained humans have built a utopian, matriarchal society that lives in harmony with all life. Leaving behind the polluted and corrupt world in which they lived, they a new home far from the eyes of the galactic empire. Shielded from the rest of the galaxy by the dangerous beasts that inhabit their lush, forested world, the village lives a simple life under their Home Dome. But their goal was more than just to live in peace – they wanted to create the perfect human who could bring peace to the galaxy. Rather than merely cloning themselves, they began to manipulate genes in order to create a race of mutants with enhanced telepathic powers.

Under the direction of the ruling witch coven, each child of the Windfall Dome is tested at a young age to asses their abilities – a test which can plot the course for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, Cheobawn – the daughter of the ruling First Mother to the dome – is marked with the Black Bead on her Choosing Day, a symbol of bad luck and shame. It seems the child the mothers had placed so much hope in would not be the future ruler they had hoped for. Yet there is something powerful about her that the elders don’t understand.

IMG_0539_bw_webJ.D. Lakey was born and raised on the high plains of Montana under an endless sky and as far from civilization as anyone in the twentieth century could get. There she explored the finer nuances of silence and the endless possibilities of the imagination. The stories were always there. The shifting of fortunes finally granted her the time to gather all the stories and give them flesh.

An avid reader of science fiction and comics, she currently lives in San Diego, California where she divides her time between her writing, commuting on the I-5, and spending time with her delightful grandchildren.

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