Meet SciFi/Fantasy Author V.S. Holmes!

V. S. Holmes is an international bestselling author. They created the BLOOD OF TITANS series and the NEL BENTLY BOOKSSmoke and Rain, the first book in their fantasy quartet, won New Apple Literary’s Excellence in Independent Publishing Award in 2015 and a Literary Titan Gold in 2020. Travelers is also included in the Peregrine Moon Lander mission as part of the Writers on the Moon Time Capsule. In addition, they have published short fiction in several anthologies. Read on to learn more about them!

  1. Congratulations on the recent release of Heretics, #4 in
    your Stars Edge; Nel Bently series. How does Nel compare
    to Alea, the protagonist in your Blood of Titans series?

    Thanks so much! It’s been a really incredible launch so far!
    Surficially, Nel and Alea, are incredibly different. Nel is foul-
    mouthed, loud, and crass, while Alea is naive, calculated,
    and reserved. However, both of them have a secret at their
    core, one that they aren’t even fully aware of or understand.
    For Nel, it’s fear and anger rooted in her childhood and loss.
    Whereas Alea’s experience with loss lent her this incredible
    darkness and determination. Both have been really eye-
    opening to write.
  2. How much do you rely on your knowledge of archaeology
    when writing your novels?

    In the beginning of Stars Edge, it’s much more present, as
    the entire book revolves around Nel’s amazing site. A lot of
    my experience with the culture of archaeology and the
    people who love it comes into play, as well as their
    backgrounds. I’ve found a wide variety of people are drawn
    to archaeology as a career, for just as many different
    reasons, and that’s something I like to reflect in my writing.
    Plus on the sci-fi end, I get to dream up all the new tech that
    would make our jobs a bit easier!
  3. How would describe your writing style?
    My style certainly varied between my fantasy and science
    fiction–I lean into the conversational, inner voice of Nel with
    my science fiction, and tend to a bit more formal and rich
    language with my fantasy. For both, though, I love language
    and alliteration. I enjoy delving into psychological facets of
    the characters and atmosphere, whether through the vast,
    trippy visions of my fantasy characters or Nel’s snarky,
    sweary inner monologue. Overall, many of my projects have
    a dramatic, gothic undertone, regardless of genre. I lean into

lush atmosphere, as well as the intense feelings that come
with isolation, fury, and complex relationships.

  1. What can we expect from V.S. Holmes in the future?
    I’ve got several projects currently underway! Fugitives, the
    fifth and penultimate book of Stars Edge: Nel Bently, is in
    revisions, and I am returning to the Blood of Titans world
    with a new series, with brand new characters, new
    technology, and, of course, a few fan-favorite character
    cameos! I’m also working on an entirely new gothic fantasy
    novel, which is shaping up to be darkly sexy, rich, and
    stylistically very different.
    V. S. HOLMES
    V. S. Holmes is an international bestselling author. They
    created the BLOOD OF TITANS series and the NEL
    BENTLY BOOKS. Smoke and Rain, the first book in their
    fantasy quartet, won New Apple Literary’s Excellence in
    Independent Publishing Award in 2015 and a Literary Titan
    Gold in 2020. Travelers is also included in the Peregrine
    Moon Lander mission as part of the Writers on the Moon
    Time Capsule. In addition, they have published short fiction
    in several anthologies.
    As a disabled and non-binary human, they work as an
    advocate and educator for representation in SFF worlds.
    When not writing, they work as a contract archaeologist
    throughout the northeastern U.S. They live in a Tiny House
    with their spouse, a fellow archaeologist, their not-so-tiny
    dog, and own too many books for such a small abode.



May Book Discussion

This month we have added a new feature; Star Ratings! Selections can get up to 5 stars. We also had 2 guests, and one happily joined Willie’s Women!

JENNY: Currently reading Mary Lawson’s A Town Called Solace, and so far gives it 3.5 stars.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Further titles by Mary Lawson Jenny is looking forward to reading are; Crow Lake, The Other Side of the Bridge, and Road Ends.

BARBARA , new to the group, recently read Michelle Obama’s Becoming and gave it 5 stars.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

BERTHA-ROSE Enjoyed How to Pronounce Knife by Canadian author Souvankham Thammavongsa. This book won a Giller Award. She rated the book 3.5 stars.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

BERNADETTE, our newest Willie’s Woman, says she doesn’t finish a book unless it rates 5 stars! She mentioned Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale, Michelle Obama’s Becoming, I.M. by Isaac Mizarahi and Me by Katherine Hepburn.

CHRISTINE is re-reading her Russell & Holmes books and also Elizabeth Peters’s Amelia Peabody series. She’s also looking forward to reading Amelia Edwards’s A Thousand Miles Up the Nile, Kerry Greenwood’s Death in Dalesford, Tell Me Why by Archie Roach and Alter Egos: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and the Twilight Struggle Over American Power by Mark Landler.

PENI JO: Something for those who enjoy using datebooks and journals; A while back I got into the whole “bullet journal” phenomenon, which I really liked, but got discouraged when my efforts at creativity just looked sloppy next to the true artists. But then I came across Denise Albright’s journals and stickers, and they were exactly what I wished I could create; colorful, positive, fun. So thanks to this line of products, I am back to bullet journaling! I give this datebook 5 stars.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Next book discussion is June 14th. Non-RHS members may join one time.

Chapter 3–The Teaser Ends HERE!

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Chapter Three

Women screamed. Chair legs scraped against the tiled floor. The German shepherd barked while the capuchin monkey shrieked and dove out an open window.

“Oh my God—Ian!” Helen-Ophelia cried, toppling her chair and ducking behind the podium with her husband.

Lieutenant James Vickers of the Dunnville Police Department had been observing Mayor Jennings’ pitch for the EOD, knowing it wouldn’t go over well with the citizens. He commanded the excited German shepherd to hush before striding toward the gun-wielding septuagenarian.  He didn’t expect an elderly woman to produce a shotgun pistol from her behemoth of a handbag.

But then, since it was Agnes Harper, he probably should have.

“Wallace, holster your weapon,” he ordered calmly, wading through the sea of abandoned bridge chairs and cowering townsfolk with Kaiser trailing dutifully beside him. Stopping beside Agnes, he looped his thumbs on his gun belt and asked calmly, “Mrs. Harper, why did you bring a gun to a town meeting?”

“‘ Mrs. Har–’?” Agnes gazed up at him with an injured look on her face. Still holding the pistol in her hand, Agnes looked at it as if she just noticed it. “Oh, ever since these burglaries started up, I’ve been carrying it. I thought you knew that, Jimmy.” she explained. “Ned taught me how to care for it. ‘Take care of the Judge and the Judge will take care of you,’ he always said—hey!”

While Mayor Jennings and his wife crouched behind the podium, Vickers gently pried the revolver from Agnes’s arthritis-swollen fingers, surprised she could wield the twenty-nine ounces of iron so adroitly. It was fully loaded, and he hoped the horror he felt didn’t register on his face.

“Mrs. Harper, I’m going to have to confiscate this firearm,” he announced, deftly removing the bullets and pocketing them. “You can’t wave a loaded gun around in a crowded room.”

Exasperated, Agnes reached for the weapon while beside her Rita muffled a cough into her dimpled fist.

 “Jimmy, I wasn’t ‘waving it around’! I was merely getting Rita here a hard candy for her cough—”

“Lieutenant Vickers!”  Mayor Jennings bellowed, emerging from behind the podium with Helen-Ophelia visibly trembling behind him.  “Please have this—disruptive woman removed from the premises! She’s a menace to everyone’s safety.”

“Yes, sir, Mr. Mayor,” Vickers said. “Come with me, Mrs. Harper.”

The assembled townspeople mumbled quietly as Agnes’s jaw dropped in indignation.  Then she turned to Rita, whose ample bosom jiggled with each suppressed cough.

“Here, dear,” Agnes offered, handing her the roll of Life Savers. “They’re all yours.”

She made a show of zipping her bag shut before rising to her feet.  Slinging the purse over her shoulder (now tons lighter without the firearm) she presented bony wrists to the waiting officer.

“Aren’t you going to cuff me, Lieutenant Vickers?” she asked.

Kaiser released a soft whine, gazing at Vickers for direction while the young officer eyed the impatient mayor and his stricken wife.

Sighing, he turned his gaze back to Agnes. With the confiscated weapon tucked safely into his belt, he reached for Agnes’s arm. “Just come with me, please.  Kaiser, come.”

Agnes dropped her arms to her sides and huffed indignantly but allowed the policeman to escort her out of the Town Hall building, followed by the German shepherd.  Guiding her gently down the steps by an elbow, Vickers led her to the waiting adult-sized tricycle with the rear wire basket.  Kaiser positioned himself next to Vickers, panting audibly.

Agnes turned her face up at the young lieutenant, tears shimmering in her eyes. Sunlight streamed through the brim of her yellow crocheted hat, dappling her wrinkled face with tiny spots of shade. An unpleasant stench assaulted them at the same time, overwhelming the fragrance of lilacs and causing their noses to wrinkle in unison.

I can still smell that damn monkey, Vickers thought, clamping his nostrils shut with his fingers.

“James Vickers,” she scolded, her voice breaking. “How could you humiliate me in front of the entire town?”

Now it was his turn to be exasperated.  Removing his hand from his nose, he peered into her creased face, flush with pain and embarrassment.

 “I know you’re a responsible gun owner,” he began gently. “That’s why I can’t believe you so carelessly pulled it out like that.  It could have accidentally gone off and hurt or even killed someone.”

“The only person I would gleefully shoot is Harvey Dilwood,”Agnes declared, absently scratching her forearms. “After what he did to Didi, I’ll never forgive him.”

“Agnes, you can’t hold a grudge forever. It’s not healthy for you.”

“And if it weren’t for him, I’d still have my driver’s license and not have to pedal this ridiculous tricycle like a three-year-old.”

“Agnes, your car was impounded because you drove through Finnegan’s front window.”

“You say that like I did that on purpose!”

 “Then you took out the ATM on Park Street.”


“The last straw was when you hit the gas pumps on Market Way.”

“Anyone can get the brake and the gas pedal confused,” Agnes argued.

Vickers felt a headache building behind his eyes.

      Agnes shook her head sadly. “And that’s another thing. In public I’m ‘Mrs. Harper,’ and in private the best I can hope for is ‘Agnes’?” She produced a tissue from her purse and dabbed at a tear that shimmered just below her left eye.

Vickers pressed finger and thumb to the bridge of his nose, the headache increasing. “It’s Mayor Jennings. You know he insists on formality when there’s a town meeting.  As for the gun, I’ll return it to you this afternoon after I’ve written my report, but only if you promise to keep it locked up. You don’t have a conceal carry permit, and I could write you up for that too.”

Agnes sniffed and returned the used tissue to the depths of her purse. “I promise.”

“Thank you.”  He gestured toward the waiting tricycle. “Go home and get out of this sun. I know how it aggravates your eczema. I have to stay here for the remainder of the meeting.”

Agnes returned his smile, pulling the filigreed sleeves of her crocheted jacket down.

“Jimmy, you’re welcome to stop by later for some fresh-baked sourdough bread and homemade strawberry jam.”

Despite himself, he smiled into her upturned face.

“I’ll do that, Grandma.”