Lights Out Bringer of Chaos: How Six Became Six by Kayelle Allen Genre: Science Fiction
Join the Ghost Corps, they said. You'll live forever, they said. You'll save mankind, they said. They didn't say that to do it, first he had to die. When Tornahdo signs on the dotted line, he puts his life into the steady hands of the mighty Ghost Corps. Three grisly deaths and three agonizing resurrections later, he's assigned duty on the space station Enderium Six. He's facing his most dangerous mission yet, the very reason the corps exists. Do they expect him to win? Fat chance. Tornahdo and his team are already dead and this mission is codenamed "Lights Out." No, there's more to this than he can see. To discover the truth, he must face an unbeatable, unkillable enemy, and this time--somehow--find a way to keep himself alive...
Tornahdo is facing his most dangerous mission, the very reason Ghost Corps exists. He must take out the king responsible for every war between humans and Ultras since the origin of the Ultra bloodline.
If he succeeds, the war is over.
If he doesn't, the Ultras will rule mankind for another thousand years...
In this scene, Tornahdo is having a quiet drink prior to leaving on a mission, when a member of Ghost Corps shows up.
Ravenstongue sauntered toward him. "Why you here?"
Tornahdo kicked back in his chair. After stretching out his legs, he crossed his ankles. "Why do you care?"
"Big ops tomorrow. Lights out in ten. Time for you to go home and go to bed."
Behind the bar, the keeper closed up shelves and battened down doors.
"Yeah?" Tornahdo flicked a hand toward the door. "I'll follow you out."
"I'm not leavin'. Didn't you hear? We passed inspection with the highest scores. Got a free night out." Ravenstongue jabbed a finger toward Tornahdo. "But you gotta go home like a good boy."
In no kingdom in the galaxy would that happen.
Ravenstongue lifted two fingers, signaling his cohorts.
The keeper ducked behind the bar while the goons flanked their wannabe boss, imbecilic grins in place.
A pair of demons usually sat on Tornahdo's shoulders. The bad demon laid out strategy while the good demon discouraged action. Tonight, the good demon flipped a middle finger toward Ravenstongue with a not-so-subtle suggestion to kick his ass.
Tornahdo took his time rising, slid his chair under the table. "What did you say?"
"I said, 'You gotta go home like a good boy.'"
Hanging his thumbs in his belt, Tornahdo gave him a slow smile. "Go back to the bar, finish your drink and we'll pretend we're all friends and leave together. This is your last chance for a peaceful end."
"Peaceful." With a scoff, Ravenstongue jerked his head toward Short Goon. "You hear that?"
"Yeah. Maybe we oughta do what--"
Ravenstongue jabbed him with an elbow.
"I mean, yeah! I heard that." He leaned closer to his boss. "We gonna?"
"No, you idiot. Shut your face and back me up."
How did these hotheads enlist? Ghost Corps must have been desperate for bodies. Literally. A fighter's corpse they could reanimate. Which was a sobering thought.
Was that what the corps thought of him?
I’m Science Fiction author Kayelle Allen. I did a tour in the US Navy, where I climbed around airplanes fixing black boxes that helped pilots find their way home. I wrote my first novel at 18 but to this day, it’s hidden under my bed, where (trust me) it will remain. Gems from it, however, launched several series in my galaxy-wide universe of stories. From childhood, I was the victim of an overactive imagination and inherited the Irish gift of gab from my mother. From my father, I got a healthy respect for mechanical things. Small wonder I write Science Fiction and Fantasy peopled with misbehaving robots, mythic heroes, role playing immortal gamers, and warriors who purr.
I’m a member of RomVets, a group of military and former military women who write romance. In 2014, I was awarded an honorary lifetime membership to the OutlantaCon Science Fiction Convention for support of the convention since its debut. I founded Marketing for Romance Writers (more about them below), and today it has over 7k members. I also lead a writer’s group in my community. Now that I’m retired, I stay busier than ever. I’ve been married so long I’m tenured.
I am a graphic artist as a hobby. Most of the art and banners on this site and in my social media were created by me, including my logo. I have a great design team that I also work with, commissioning special pieces. Check out their pages. Jamin (Volgraza) and Livius (Nano-Core) have huge amounts of talent. I am also privileged to work with a cosplayer who portrays my immortal king, Pietas. Take a moment to check out Nik Nitsvetov’s amazing work.
Can you, for those who don't know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I've wanted to write since I was a child. To me, sci fi was the way to go. I grew up reading it and watching movies and TV shows. I created a universe and even put together a map of the galaxy where my books would take place, long before I wrote the first story. When I finally got up the courage to actually write for publication, I was in my fifties. So even though I got a "late start" -- I was creating since I was a child. I've since published 12 books.
Tell us something really interesting that's happened to you!
I had a chance to work with a Russian cosplayer who recreated the central character in my story universe and performed him live on Instagram. Not just once, but twice. Nik Nitsvetov is a dead ringer for Pietas, and he spent months creating the costume and getting the wig etc. ready for the performance. I was able to work with him both times via Skype, email, and Instagram to set everything up and enjoy the event. You can read about it on my website and see pictures on Instagram. Nik as Pietas is literally all over my website.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
I like to play Pyramid Solitaire, work digital jigsaw puzzles, and play a game called Free Flow Hexes, where you connect dots in a pattern. It's a simplistic idea and any kid could play. Something about connecting the dots of color relaxes me. I also read (boatloads) and enjoy catching up on TV I've missed while working. My husband and I are both retired so I have to watch that I don't spend too much time chilling -- there's no one around to remind me to punch a clock or get to work. But the truth is, I roll out of bed and head for my office, where I can shut the door, turn on the lights, listen to music and write. No one has to nudge me. I do it because it's my favorite thing to do.
How to find time to write as a parent?
My three kids are now grown, but when they were very young, I didn't write much because I considered my most important job to be caring for them. But if you're a writer, you understand what I mean by "I couldn't not write." It was a drive inside me, like a thirst I couldn't quench. I somehow managed to write while they were asleep, even if I fell asleep not long after. I might get only minutes a day.
The big thing was to keep a sense of humor. If I got angry at being interrupted, it sent my muse straight out the window. So I had to remember that they were my priority. Right after them (when they were babies) was my husband. He shifted back to number one when they were older, but it was a juggle because kids have to come first sometimes. Moms and Dads, you know what I mean.
When they were in grade school, I wrote when they had gone to bed, or on rare days they were in school and I was off. Once they hit middle school, I worked up to writing while they were home and doing homework. The rule was that if mom was writing and dad was home, they would go to him first.
Now if someone was hurt, obviously, interruption was fine. But unless they were bleeding or on fire, no one was allowed to interrupt during that hour. We had an agreement that if they needed to speak to me, they would come in and leave a note on my desk without speaking and then leave. I would read it as soon as possible and if it was something that needed a response, I'd take care of it. That worked really well.
My kids have been the greatest source of inspiration for me. My youngest son has one of those amazing brains that holds onto information -- quite unlike his mother, believe me. He's my go to for math and science questions. My oldest son is a freelance graphic designer and has done hundreds of images for my website. You'll see his work on my website in the Tarthian Tour Company. On my site, click "Tour the Empire" and you can visit every planet. He did the art for most of it. My kids are living proof you can still write if you have children and they will turn out okay.
At one point I resorted to putting a note on my door that said, "Please don't disturb me. I'm disturbed enough already." Be firm, but remember what and who are the most important. And don't beat yourself up if you feel guilty. You won't avoid that. Try to minimize the impact your writing has on your family -- not the impact your family has on your writing and you'll come out fine.
Describe yourself in 5 words or less.
I asked a friend to help me with this. She said tell them you are "an author that breathes scifi." Gotta agree with that!
What inspired you to write this book?
I fell in love with the character "Six" when I wrote the first Bringer of Chaos story, Origin of Pietas. When I wrote the second book, Forged in Fire, I discovered all sorts of things about him. I plan to write more stories in that series because it's so full of material and the story of Pietas begs to be told. But Six is a favorite of my critique group and readers, and I admit readily, one of mine, so I thought I'd create a background for him. When Craig Martelle announced he was doing a space opera anthology, I decided to give writing Six's story a shot. Lights Out was accepted right away and is found in the Expanding Universe anthology. The Kindle version, when it was available, rose to number one status on Amazon. You can still get the anthology in print. https://amzn.to/2T6jMeC Lights Out by itself is free to members of my reading groups.
Do you have any "side stories" about the characters?
That's like asking if fish swim. I have more than I could ever tell. For this book, I put together a booklet with a quick excerpt, a bit about each major character (with images) and even included my research. Download your copy here. Like the story, this booklet has the exclusive members cover showing Six's dragon tattoo. There are drawings of the weapons used by the Ghost Corps, specially commissioned from the artist Nano-Core. Take a good look at the Ghost Corps symbol (page 5). Can you see the secret image? https://kayelleallen.com/media/lights-out-behind-scenes-kayelle-allen.pdf
Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in Lights Out?
The main character is Tornahdo -- not his real name. I won't tell you what it is -- it's not going to be revealed until a future book in the Bringer of Chaos series, where's he's referred to as Six. This character has a Hispanic background and speaks several languages, but his native tongue is Spanish.
Secondary characters include the well-named Ravenstongue, and a general in the Ghost Corps.
The adversary Tornahdo worries about is Pietas, the immortal king of a race called the Ultras. Pietas and his twin sister are the only Ultras ever physically born as children. The rest were created. Pietas was enhanced by his father continuously before and after birth. He's formidable, and because he believes the only good human is a dead human, he is the number one target of the Ghost Corps.
Where did you come up with the names in the story?
Tornahdo got his name (the Spanish pronunciation of tornado) because of the way he fights. In Lights Out, that's what he's called, but in the Bringer of Chaos series, he's always referred to as Six. You'll find out why in the first book, Origin of Pietas.
I always loved the statue called the Pieta, by Michelangelo. I've actually had the pleasure of seeing it in person in Rome. It's breathtaking and magnificent. I had this character who was death personified, and one of the most powerful beings ever created, and I thought, what better name than after something of tragic beauty? It was many years later that I learned that pietas is the Greek virtue of familial love and respect for fathers. How ironic that Pietas loathes and detests his father. One reviewer said their family made the Kardashians look like the Cleavers. Too true.
If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Have you seen the Hobbit films? Lee Pace played the elven king Thranduil. He would be magnificent as Pietas. Only problem is, Pietas is frequently reborn as a younger version of himself. He can age like a human, but death "resets" him to about 17-20 in appearance. Now, if you want to see what he looks like, go look at the images on my website. Nik Nitsvetov cosplayed him for me twice, and you could not ask for a more accurate portrayal. Nik IS Pietas in these images. He's Russian, and though he speaks English, he might not comfortable acting in a film. But for my money, there's no one who looks more like Pietas than Nik.
As for Tornahdo -- I would love recommendations. I don't have an actor in mind for him. Someone with Hispanic background who knows martial arts. Any suggestions?
Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reins of the story?
What reins? I'm laughing just thinking about that. I plot and lay out the story, and then they do whatever they want anyway. Can be frustrating, but I usually end up with a better story. Although, there are times I have to tell them, sorry guys, gotta be this way, because to tell the real story won't work. If you've ever written a story, you know what I mean. If you haven't, well... trust me. You are not always in control.
Follow the tourHEREfor special content and a giveaway!