Giveaway! See-Through Calculator - 5 chances to win!
Thanks to the five winners for their comments:
CrystalGB, Eva, Unknown, llamannerdymama,
Dakota Banks here. I've finally gotten Maliha Crayne, heroine of The Mortal Path, sitting across from me in a corner booth at Kelly's Pub in Chicago. It's mid-afternoon and we're the only customers.
Over a beer, she relaxes completely and I'm the one who's nervous. I wonder how many weapons are hidden in her worn black jeans and under the baggy T-shirt that says Bite Me. Her thick hair is woven into a braid down the back of her neck, and her alert green eyes show warmth and attention, but she's not missing a thing that goes on in the rest of the pub.
I set out my voice recorder and she frowns at it momentarily, as if I'd tossed a grenade between us.
Dakota Banks: Welcome, Maliha. You're a tough woman to track down, and it's good to finally meet you. Would you like a burger or something?
Maliha Crayne: No thanks. This week I'm not eating.
MC: That was a joke. Your name's Dakota, right? I like that.
DB: Thanks. I love your name, too. I'm glad you agreed to this grilling.
MC: Could we avoid the word grilling? I have this thing about fire.
DB: Sure. Tell me a little about yourself.
MC: The first thing is that I'm over three hundred years old. I was burned as a witch during the Salem witch trials. Usually witches were hanged, but I rated special treatment. Another woman wanted my husband, and.... Let's not get into that. A demon left over from the Sumerian period grabbed me and gave me a choice: go back and finish roasting or become his immortal assassin. At the time, immortality sounded good. I was also granted superhuman speed and healing abilities, and I could read auras, although I don't think that was totally a gift from the demon. All I had to do to stay young and enjoy life was kill people whenever the demon gave me assignments. Sometimes the target was an individual, sometimes it was starting a teensy war.
DB: So you've killed a lot of people. I'm okay sitting here, right? And I don't suppose you can tell me any details about who got axed?
MC: Just don't ask the secret question that drives me crazy. Relax! You're okay. Lucky guess on the axe. That was when I was the Black Ghost. Then I just decided I couldn't kill anymore. It's complicated, but the demon gave me an assignment I couldn't carry out. Put me totally off being an assassin.
DB: You just turned your back on the demon and that was it?
MC: It doesn't work that way. I have to save as many lives as I took when I was the Black Ghost. I have this carving of scales I have to balance. Wanna see?
DB: Uh... Note: Maliha yanks up T-shirt. She's not wearing anything underneath.
MC: If I just stroke here for a minute ... There! Do you see it?
DB: Readers, for the record, this wasn't my idea.
MC: See it?
DB: Just ... barely. It's like the scales of justice, with two pans that are out of balance.
MC: That was carved on me by the demon's claw. Bet you've never seen anything like that before.
DB: For the record, I haven't. Is this one of those situations where now that you've told me, you have to kill me?
MC: Are you always this murder-minded?
DB: No. Something about talking to you just brings it out of me. Now you're doing good things instead of bad?
MC: Kind of a simplistic way of putting it, but if I want my soul back, that about covers it.
DB: Do you have a significant other?
MC: You first.
DB: Me? I'm married and very much in love.
MC: Things aren't that straightforward for me. It's hard to find a soulmate when a demon owns your soul. But I'm working on it.
DB: Tell me something no one else knows about you.
MC: I like bowling.
DB: That sounds a little tame for you.
MC: Depends on what the winner gets, doesn't it?
DB: I can't stand it anymore. Show me one of your weapons.
MC: How about this one?
DB: Note: A short black knife appears from nowhere and Maliha stabs it into the table between the fingers of my hand. That'll do. Just checking, in case all that talk was hype. You can put that knife away now.
MC: No hype. It could just as easily have gone into your throat. Ask me about my last interview. It didn't go very well.
DB: Uh, no thanks. Wrapping up, readers. Thank you, Maliha, for this glimpse into your life. I'll be leaving now. Right now.
End of Interview
Whew! That Maliha is intense. I wish she'd let me take her picture, but all she did was give me a handout photo. Usually people give the interviewer a head shot, but in this case ... "I've got your back!" indeed. I guess that's semi-comforting.
Now for the giveaway. Here is a picture of a transparent calculator I've used as a promo item. It really is completely clear, see-through. Leave a comment below and I'll randomly select FIVE WINNERS to receive a calculator! That's 5 chances to win. :-) Please make sure I have a way to contact you to let you know you're a winner.
The last day to enter is Tuesday, April 2nd.
I'll be back April 28th. See you then.