Me: Today I welcome A.B Thomas to the gym! Before we get started, we have to stretch first to prevent injury. Why don’t you share your favourite stretch with us?
A.B.: Well, Coach Kellie, my favourite stretch is the “one fingered tippy toed swan”. I learned this one last year when my son surpassed my 5’5” height and decided for good measure to be 6’. He figures what he needs should be at a height that requires as little action on his part, so to that end, he puts things he does not use up on the highest shelf out of his way. He doesn’t drink coffee, but I do. Guess where the bugger puts the coffee? So the stretch goes like this: you go on your tippy toes and stretch your arm up to where only the point of your middle finger grazes the bottom of the coffee can. You then flick your finger against the bottom of the coffee can, slowly moving it the can closer to the edge of the shelf. There is the added bonus of a secondary stretch. It seems to cause an instinctual jutting out of the tongue, for balance purposes, I suppose, but it does help tone the tongue muscles for later when you, for the millionth time, explain that you do not have gorilla arms.
Me: Haha! It sounds like your son knows how to get you to secretly work out. Ok, time to let out your inner gymnast – if you could, what is the one gymnastics trick you’ve always wanted to learn?
A.B.: The cartwheel. I have mastered the sommersault, thanks to the many long staircases I have encountered in my life and the perchance to trip over my own feet. I think it would save the doctors so much time at the emergency explaining about the dangers of concussions if I simply cartwheeled down the stairs rather than went head over heels.
Me: Sounds like your rolling technique has saved you a bunch of times! Is there a piece of equipment you’d like to start with? And may I remind you that playing in the foam pit is always reserved until the end of class.
A.B.: I think I would like the springboard, I’ve always wanted to be able to say that I have a little hop in my step.
Me: Good choice! Have you ever performed gymnastics before? As a kid what kinds of sports did you participate in?
A.B.: I was advised not to participate in gymnastics when I was a child by the phys ed teacher. He said that there was a vote taken and I was elected to be the target for dodgeball practice. As a kid I did sort of play soccer, and I sort of played baseball. I say sort of because according to my folks, I was easily distracted and often went in the direction of what had caught my eye rather than where the rest of my team was.
Me: Good old dodgeball! Not one of my favorites. In gymnastics we have to keep in top physical condition, and writing is such a sedentary job. What do you do to keep in shape when you’re not typing out your next story?
A.B.: I walk a lot, mostly into walls – which isn’t my fault. When will those walls learn that I am the top of the food chain, therefore they should fear me, not the other way around.
Me: Haha… And with your rolling skills, I’d say you’ve got it made. Let’s move onto the balance beam, shall we?
A.B.: *stares blankly at me*
Me: You’ll be okay. I’ll hold your hand like I do for my preschoolers. Now, let’s take your mind off of how high this is and tell me when you decided to write to be published.
A.B.: It was about four years ago. I had gone from blogging and writing poetry to writing articles and cartooning for an online magazine. I concentrated primarily on social issues. It was mentally exhausting to me, always looking at how the world was. I decided that I could either be miserable examining the lacks or I could create worlds where not only could I identify the ills of the world, but do something about it.
Me: Sometimes we need a break from the real world. *helps A.B. hop down from the beam* Woul you care to take a swing on the bars?
A.B.: Oh, sure, though I have to say that I have had plenty of practice taking swings at the bar.
Me: Different kind of bar… *both walk over to apparatus, and A.B. jumps to take a swing* To be good at gymnastics it takes perseverance and determination not unlike that of being a writer. Tell me how you get through those times when you feel like giving up.
A.B.: When I feel like tossing in the towel, I think of the kids. What type of role model would I be if I quit? Someone might say, “so what if you quit, it’s just a story, it doesn’t make a difference to anything”. It does make a difference, not an earth shattering one, but anytime you decide something is too hard, it makes it that much easier to decide something is too hard the next time. Failure isn’t as bad as some people try to make it seem, failure means that something didn’t work in one way so now you have to think of a different way. Giving up doesn’t let you consider other options.
Me: I love that philosophy. I find that often I’m afraid of succeeding rather than failing. It matters that we don’t give up no on things that are important to us. *watches A.B. swing* You’re dong great! Don’t forget to regrip on the backswing.
Me: Let go now and land on your feet. Very good. How about I teach you that cartwheel now? Or would you like to show me a roll?
A.B.: Whew, I could definitely go for a roll…so where’s the hay? Oh, not that kind of roll. A cinnamon roll would be out of the question too, wouldn’t it? I’m game for any kind of roll that doesn’t involve a flight of stairs.
Me: How about we take a break and you can tell us about your newest book release?
A.B.: Gladly! The latest book is called “Shirtazia”. The hobgoblin, Shirtazia, is living a peaceful life among mortals when her instinct to reproduce surfaces with murderous results. Bounty hunter for the gods Jared Club is sent to investigate and stop the hobgoblin before folklore becomes fact. The only problem is that hobgoblins can change their appearance so the hunter has no idea who he is looking for. Can he stop the hobgoblin before she kills again or will he become one of her victims?
Me: Sounds interesting!
A.B.: Here’s a little snippet:
Rolanda watched from behind the computer register table as the man in the grey duster and greyish fedora crossed the street. What a strange person, she thought to herself, pleasant and quite knowledgeable, but strange.
“Who was that?”
Rolanda jumped at the sound of the voice behind her. She turned to see Shay-Lynn standing in the doorway of the back room.
“Oh, Shay-Lynn, you startled me!” she said with a nervous laugh, “I didn’t realise you were here already.”
Shay-Lynn took several steps toward the woman, repeating her query. Rolanda explained the man had simply asked questions about herbs around the shop and what their uses could be for. For her part, she supplied vague clues of the witchcraft potential of the herbs, which, she opined, the man didn’t seem surprised to hear. It wouldn’t have come as a surprise, Rolanda added, if the man knew more about some of the plants, particularly the ones not locally grown than she did herself.
Shay-Lynn attempted to pick up images from the other’s mind through their connected auras without success. Dark thoughts began to fill Shay-Lynn. Could the sister of her sweet Brenda be capable of blocking her, from letting her see what she wanted to know? Did Rolanda know something or have a seed of doubt about Shay-Lynn planted ready to sprout by that man? The man certainly was not a random window shopper, he had come to the shop with something in mind. It could not be a coincidence that for over five minutes the two of them stood chatting beside the four very bags of herbs that she used in the hamlet’s watershed, or as she preferred to call it, stupor soup. The hobgoblin cursed the heavy curtain that muffled the conversation between the two. She needed to know what was said, specifically what the man or whatever he was, had said.
The man, Shay-Lynn’s mind continued to replay his image repeatedly, wasn’t human. She knew that he wasn’t. When she first came through the back door of the shop and heard Rolanda speaking with someone out front she had increased her shimmering six-fold, so quick that even she had not been able to see her reflection in the mirror by the big wash basin, yet she saw as she was peeking out that he had seen her. She then tried to trickle some of his aural energy, but it had not just been blocked but repelled. A human wasn’t capable of that. Whatever he was, he could prove to be a threat to her search for a cure for her condition.
Shay-Lynn’s brows furrowed, her lips puffed out. Rolanda asked what was wrong.
Shay-Lynn decided that she couldn’t chance any information the man may have said giving Rolanda a curiosity of those plants, she was sure that the mixture would not show up on any internet search. However, if Rolanda decided to experiment with the herbs, and survived, it could expose Shay-Lynn for what she was. Shay-Lynn knew of only one other option to free Rolanda of any resistance to her questions. Swooning. She was sure that Brenda would not be too upset if she ever found out that Shay-Lynn had to seduce her lover’s sister but it was a matter of survival for the both of them. What would Rolanda do if she found out that Shay-Lynn was a hobgoblin? What would Rolanda do if she figured out that Shay-Lynn was not the daughter of a childhood playmate, but the same person? What would Rolanda do if she uncovered that Brenda and Shay-Lynn have been lovers all these years? Who would she tell? What would happen to not only Shay-Lynn but to Brenda?
Shay-Lynn was sure that Brenda would understand the necessity of the action. The problem was how to get Rolanda to let her guard down enough that Shay-Lynn could get intimate with her. The woman was infuriatingly in love with her husband. She had tried to drop subtle hints to the woman of re-exploring the experiments of her youth but they had fallen on deaf ears. There was no time to lead Rolanda into an agreeable mood. Soon, Ted Kopek would be back from the loam deposit with a load of pots ready for seedlings. Once reunited with her love, any such thoughts would be lost. It would mean that the opportunity would be lost until the next day and by then, it may be too late. How was she going to swoon the woman in such little time? Shay-Lynn shifted her weight from one side to one side. There was a dull thunk as her carry-all hit the edge of the table.
The jar! Shay-Lynn had not found an opportunity to use her experiment yet. The trap-liners had been in town for the past couple of days and they required no prodding to stir their appetite for what she offered as dinner. She reached into her carry-all, feeling for the baby jar that she had quarter-filled with the breast pump and broke the tight seal. She unscrewed the cap and with her thumb, pushed the lid off before she brought the jar out of the bag, setting it idly on the table. Rolanda looked at the jar curiously.
Shay-Lynn’s demeanour changed. The seriousness had given way to a shy smile.
“It’s just that he looked scary,” the teen said. “I thought maybe he was going to hurt you.”
Shay-Lynn took Rolanda’s hands into her own.
“I didn’t want anything to happen to you. I like you, Mrs. Kopek. I like you a lot.”
“I like you too, Shay-Lynn, but you shouldn’t worry too much about an old Betty like me,” the woman said kindly as she patted the top of the woman’s hand. “I do know how to take care of myself.”
Shay-Lynn blushed and turned her head.
“I know, but still…” Shay-Lynn slipped her hand from the woman’s and began to play with the collar of Rolanda’s blouse, “I still have to, you know, try…” She was watching the other woman’s eyes intently for signs of dilation. The woman was fluttering her eyes often, trying to focus, and it made Shay-Lynn smile. Shay-Lynn moved her hand from her collar to the top button of her blouse.
Me: I’m sure readers can’t wait to read more! You know, Gymnastics was my first passion, and then I found writing. What are your passions other than writing?
A.B.: I love designing things and then building them. There is nothing like seeing something to completion. I also love just walking around, being utterly lost to the clouds and trees.
Me: Sounds peaceful. What is one thing you’ve always wanted to do in life but haven’t yet?
A.B.: I’ve always wanted to write a screenplay and see how someone else interprets what I see in my head.
Me: I wish you all the best with your endeavors!
A.B.: Thank you for having me! And please visit with me at all the other places I hang out: