Interview with R. J. Davies Mornix

R. J. Davies Mornix is a writer with as much moxie as her character Dice Maddox.Smart and directed. Maybe it’s because their last names both begin with M. I mean really… consider all the Marvelous, Moxiful, M words …
Maybe I should change my name to Ming?
Her marketing smarts and preparedness make me gasp (and masp) in admiration. She’s pursing the art of writing like it’s a business, with identifiable goals, tasks and targets.
Wait … could it be  that it is…

Today we’re discussing her MADDOX FILES SERIES
Maddox Files: Back To Business            Dice Maddox, a private investigator in Toronto, is pursuing her first case back after a four year hiatus … but could her first case back be her last…

Me: When did the idea come to you?
M: I wanted to do a project that could test out the self-publishing industry. I wanted the main character to be a young woman. And I wanted it to be different … I have always love Science Fiction since I was young and when I was in my teens I devoured P.I. T.V. shows and books. It seemed to be a natural fit to blend the two together and that’s where I came up with the idea for Maddox Files: Back to Business
Me: How many books are in the series?
M: Right now I am at 7 books. 2-4 are done, Book 5 I am working on and books 6-7 are outlined.
Me: What’s your favorite part of writing?
M: I think it’s the process of sitting down at a blank screen or page and have words strung together that create this magic. Bringing characters to life and sharing their stories with others.
Me: Who are your influences?
M: There are too many to mention. I love Science Fiction and will read almost anything in that genre. If I had to pick one person it would be Stephen King … my first book in my first series called Quin’s Quest took almost 20 years to write because I fell into the trap of editing and re-writing as I was writing the first draft. After hearing Stephen King talk about writing and that the first draft is supposed to be crap it’s you telling yourself the story. The editing and rewriting is for your audience. After hearing that, it took only 23 days, starting over from the beginning, to complete my first draft of that book.
A 26-year-old Dice Maddox living in Toronto, Ontario struggles with her failing love life and a career she doesn’t love, decides to get back into a business she was once good at. Ryan Winters her first client was a confirmed bachelor until he had a small car accident, a woman named Lily Winters claims to have been married to him for 6 months. Digging deeper into Lily Winters, Dice soon discovers that she isn’t who she says she is- but wait -what is she? A demon? An alien? Will Dice Maddox’s first case back be her last?
Me: I wish you M – author, demon, alien or detective, the best of luck in pursuing and sharing your dream. Good luck M!

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I am Psychic – Predictions from Dirk Quigby’s Guide to the Afterlife (all you need to know to choose the right heaven)

From : Dirk Quigby’s Guide to the Afterlife
(all you need to know to choose the right heaven)

“Due to the abnormally high rate of blackouts, static, electrical problems, and computer crashes, as well as the normally high rate of wars, plagues, pestilence, natural and unnatural disasters, rage and hatred, leaders of various denominations began predicting the End of Days with rising frequency. However, due to the normally frequent occurrence of such predictions, only the followers of each faith paid any attention.

and from today’s news

Mormon church issues call for calm as ‘blood moon’ sparks apocalypse fears

“Sunday night’s “blood moon” and recent natural disasters and political unrest around the world have led to a rise in sales at emergency-preparedness retailers. A rare confluence of a lunar eclipse and a supermoon to happen this weekend has prompted such widespread fear of an impending apocalypse that the Mormon church was compelled to issue a statement cautioning the faithful to not get caught up in speculation about a major calamity.blood

I’m so on target;) – not that that’s necessarily a good thing.

Also I predicted diamonizing the dead

“Did you know that anything containing carbon can be turned into a diamond? All you need is intense heat and pressure. They were making diamonds out of peanut butter in Silicon Valley just to prove the point. Well, humans contain carbon. What if, instead of burying the dead, we placed them in hot pressure chambers and diamonized them? It would free up a ton of real estate, and when a man gave the girl of his dreams a ring, it would not just be his great-grandmother’s ring, it would actually be his great-grandmother. Big families would be an asset. I’ve even conceived of the copy: ‘A Diamond is forever – shouldn’t your aunt Sadie be too?’”

and from the news:

Cremation Diamonds Made From Ashes

Cremation Diamonds are real, certified, high-quality cremation jewelry diamonds. A beautiful Cremation Urn alternative created from the cremation ashes of your loved one.
Cremation diamonds are a one of a kind style of cremation jewelry and a meaningful alternative to cremation urns. A true memorial to a unique life. Embrace your cremation diamond jewelry as a personal precious bond.

From NPR:

Diamonds are supposed to be a girl’s best friend. Now, they might also be her mother, father or grandmother.

Swiss company Algordanza takes cremated human remains and — under high heat and pressure that mimic conditions deep within the Earth — compresses them into diamonds.

Rinaldo Willy, the company’s founder and CEO, says he came up with the idea a decade LifeGemUSLab1280x978ago. Since then, his customer base has expanded to 24 countries.

Each year, the remains of between 800 and 900 people enter the facility. About three months later, they exit as diamonds, to be kept in a box or turned into jewelry.

Willy says about 25 percent of his customers are from Japan.

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In Defense of Literature or How Jason V Brock Became a Murderer

He had had never meant to become a killer.

It started, as so many things do, as an accident, a chance encounter in the Library of Masterworks. There were only heavy books in that library, tomes of literature. Most were old, bound in leather, engraved titles burnished with gold plate.

The man had dirty fingers. He’d smuggled a sugar-frosted, glazed donut into the library, even though food was strictly forbidden. His fingers were slick with greasy. Crumbs dropped onto the pages and squashed between the fine parchment obscuring important passages, obliterating words and images.

The librarian acted without thought or volition. It was self-defense.

He picked up “Darke Phantastique.” It was a new book, one of the few on the shelves but weighty. Over fifty stories, of horror, mayhem, and monsters, filled with weapons and the heavy artillery of words. He swung.

The man dropped, hitting the ground with a satisfying thunk like the slaming shut of a large book. It had closed permanently. The librarian filed the body behind the shelf marked M for murder.

It was only the beginning there was a whole alphabet to fill.


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The Life and Times of E.E. King – ( Ray Bradbury, Buck Rogers, egrets, monarchs and squirrels.)

The Life and Times of E.E. King – ( Ray Bradbury, Buck Rogers, egrets, monarchs and squirrels.).

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The Life and Times of E.E. King – ( Ray Bradbury, Buck Rogers, egrets, monarchs and squirrels.)


The Life and Times of E.E. King

Or What I was doing while I wrote Emily Finfeather.

(In which the author discusses inspiration, Ray Bradbury, Buck Rogers, egrets, monarchs and how to know when it’s safe to release baby squirrels.)

The Feathernail and Other Gifts (The Adventures of Emily Finfeather I) was the first book I ever wrote. When I was finished it, I read it to Ray Bradbury, my mentor. It was perhaps his favorite of my works because, like most artists, he’d been an outcast as a child.    ray and me

Ray had never liked school, an emotion I share. (Not that I’m comparing myself to Ray. Hating school doesn’t make one a genius.) He was an autodidact… libraries were his university, Shaw and Shakespeare his professors.

When I read him the opening section where Emily is picked on, he teared up.

“When I was eight,” he said. “The kids mocked me for collecting Buck Rodgers comic books. So I burned them.”

Flame licked Buck’s red boots and snaked up his cat suited flying form, engulfing him in a red sea. One, two, twenty Bucks silently screamed as they ignited, rockets and worlds reduced to ash and memory. Ray stood before a black lifeless pyre. After Buck’s demise he was more accepted.

“But I became depressed and wondered why. I was miserable for weeks. Then I knew,” he cried, the memory of that fictional death as vivid as it had been eighty six years before.

“I had burned Buck! I was depressed because I had burned Buck. These people were not my friends. My friends would not have told me to burn Buck!

“I determined to never again let other people influence me or my work. They told me not to write science fiction.”

Most people seeing childhood’s reflection in the rearview mirror remember a carefree time. Twist the telescope toward the past, and things become smaller and prettier; a tiny halcyon summer, endless games of hide ‘n seek and ice-cream. They forget monsters under the bed, bullies, nights made sleepless by fear of the unknown and the terror of death. Ray never did. Of course he never grew up either, but most artists don’t. Perhaps it’s that inability to forget that leads to brilliance or madness. Ray, luckily, was solidly on the former side of that divide, but he remembered everything.

Following your heart, speaking your truth, and writing daily was Ray’s recipe for writers. Every time he saw me he demanded, “Have you written today, Evie?” and I knew I had always better say, ‘yes.’

Evie, by the way is my nick name. My full name is Elizabeth Eve King. Evie is short for Eve, which is odd, because Evie is longer than Eve.

During this time, 2009, I was the art and science director for a nonprofit in South Central LA, Esperanza. What does that mean? What did I do? Well, art and science of course. I painted very, very large mural (131’ x 44’) on the site of our new project Mercado La Paloma, 3655 S. Grand Street.

This is it:


It’s there still, if you’re in LA, and want to stop by. “It was called “A Meeting of Minds,” and pictured Albert Schweitzer, Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, Rosa Parks, Eleanor Roosevelt, Aldous Huxley, George Bernard Shaw, Mahatma Gandhi, Charles Darwin, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., Cesar Chavez, Ann Frank, Lucille Royball Allard, Rita Walters, Sister Diane Donoghue and Bruce Saito as well as a lot community folk and everyone who worked for Esperanza. The idea was to present the market place as an ideal world.

I painted Huxley having tea with a sweet, needy, but not very bright child. I feel slightly guilty about it. I can’t imagine what they would have to talk about, stuck in a perpetual tea party in downtown LA.

Maybe there’s an afterlife where painted figures confront their makers. Whistler meets, not his mother, but the painting of his mother. Modigliani, prince of vagabonds, dances with hollow eyed, long necked beauties. Picasso is confronted with monsters, two eyes on one side of cubed faces. On dark nights, when I have nothing better to do, I worry that Huxley is going to give me hell …. But I digress.

At Esperanza I also taught afterschool art classes and started a garden project.

The children and I began planting milkweed in the narrow swaths of dirt between sidewalk and street. The strip of dirt was 115’ long by 3.5’ wide. Such unused strips of land, line the streets of almost all neighborhoods.


Before                                                           After   (Me in the background looking stern)

We grew a variety of wildflowers, herbs, succulents and vegetables as well as installing mosaic pathways, bird baths and bird houses. But our focus was milkweed, the host plant for monarch butterflies. What if we could make the streets a walking garden and create a migration path for monarchs in the heart of the inner-city?

It worked for a while. The kids experience, metamorphosis in Monarchs, lady bugs, Gulf Fritillaries, and Cabbage Whites. They became enthusiastic horticulturalists and budding entomologists, schooled in the semi-arcane, daily wonders of life such as parthenogenesis and simultaneous hermaphrodites.

“Snails must never be lonely,” Adali (age eight) explained to Ashley (age nine), “because they are boys and girls together.” It changed the entire vibe of the community.

And now I’m going to share my great idea with you. You can steal it if you like. I wish you would. Say it was your idea. I’m too lazy and selfish to push it. You could do a TED talk, get grants, make it real! It would cool cities, aid a beleaguered species, create environmental stewards in the inner-city and make metropolises more magical. This is the idea:

If every stretch of unused dirt, parkways, medians etc. were planted with milkweed, monarchs would inhabit our streets. Plant milkweed in all the empty lots, snippets and jots of land you can. Be Jonny Milkweed seed. Milkweed needs little water or care and proliferates with the abandon of licentious Mormon rabbits. It is completely drought tolerant. It can grow almost anywhere, and once established needs no care. Because you’d be planting in areas only inhabited by garbage and weeds, there are no problems with displacement of species. There are no species to displace.

Currently Monarch’s migratory patterns are at risk due to habitat loss, climate change and Monsanto poison. However, if you plant Milkweed they will come. Just imagine a cities heart beat pulsing in tempo to the rhythm of orange wings.

As I say it worked for a while, but after I left Esperanza the garden became weedy, and was destroyed by an overzealous clean-up crew. But, the fact that it existed, even for a while, was magic.

To quote the end of Island, By Aldous Huxley, “The work of a hundred years destroyed in a single night. And yet the fact remained—the fact of the ending of sorrow as well as the fact of sorrow.”

I know it’s a bit grandiose; to compare a two year garden with the ‘work of a hundred years,’ but Island was one of my ‘epiphanic’ books and I recommend it. It’s a masterpiece of paradise lost and found, or was that Milton?

I’m climbing off my soapbox now and returning to Ray Bradbury.

One day I brought Ray a chrysalis. He was thrilled.

cry 1cry ii

“Did you know that the butterfly effect came from a story I wrote?” He said. “It was the one where destroying a butterfly changes the future, now it’s in the lexicon.”

I miss him. I will always miss him. And somewhere, somehow I hope in one of those other dimensions that quantum science tells us is less than the width of a butterfly’s wing away, Ray is reading over my shoulder saying, “A bit thick, needs cutting.”

I hope so.

During this time, 2009, I was living in Playa Del Rey, above the beach in Los Angeles. I was part of a writer’s group about six miles away in Venice. I would bike to the group down a steep hill and take the beach path to Marina Del Rey. Then I’d curve up through a Eucalyptus grove where, ninety feet above, egrets roosted. It was a rookery, and one day while biking home I spotted a stranded baby egret. Perhaps it’d attempted flight too soon. Perhaps it’d fallen. Most likely it’d been pushed out of the nest by older siblings. Being the baby in a family of four girls, I could relate. It looked like a mini pterodactyl, with huge beak and giant feet. Much to the dismay of parents, boyfriends and roommates, I have always had an inability to ignore desperate animals. I got off my bike and approached the egret. It nervously shuffled away, so I took off my sweater and threw it over its head. I grabbed its beak and, wrapping it up like a bird burrito stuffed it into a plastic bag. Then I biked home fast as I could.

“Iggy,” as he soon became known, survived the trip. He was followed by Couscous and Milo. Iggy and Cousie were great egrets, by great I mean big. Milo was a lesser egret, although he’d have resented that nomenclature. (I refer to Iggie and Milo as males and Coussie as a female, because that’s what they seemed like. However, unless you dissect an egret, or catch one in the act of laying eggs, or coitus, there is no way to determine sex.)


Every week I would go to the docks near our house, buy live bait from the local fishermen and cut them into bite sized chunks for the birds. It wasn’t pleasant, but it was nowhere nearly as nasty as the live eels I carried around Bali for a week for Balinese egret orphans.

At first we kept the birds in a tarp covered drum room, but after a week or so, when they were bigger, they moved to an outdoor cage. By that time the drum room smelled like a guano factory.

The cage had been built in the back yard by my long suffering husband out of 2 x 4’s and chicken wire. It had housed everything but chickens; chinchillas, squirrels and an occasional crow or pigeon. It had a brick, to prevent burrowing, and was a masterpiece of architecture, if you have very low standards. It was about eight feet high and twelve feet long.

When I brought home the egrets the cage was already occupied by four orphaned squirrels. The squirrels had been infants when I’d got them, the cutest little rodents ever. They’d progressed from being nursed every four to six hours in a closed, blanketed cat cage inside the house, to subsisting on a diet of grains and nuts in a blanketed cat cage inside the outside enclosure. When squirrels can crack walnuts they are large enough to release. This is a very useful fact, and you should commit it to memory. Then, if you are ever stranded on a desert island with a cage of baby squirrels, and a box of walnuts, you will know when it is safe to let them go.

These squirrels were ready to go. I’d cut a hole in the enclosure so they could get in and out as desired, but had seen no reason to evict them until the arrival of the egrets. Now however the time had come. When the squirrels were out frolicking we moved their nest box (cat cage) onto the roof of the enclosure. When they came back and discovered that they’d been moved to a penthouse they were not happy. They screamed at us and the egrets for three nights straight before accepting their fate. The egrets got very little sleep.

me and iggie

Thus began the magical summer of egrets. Iggie was the dominate one. Coussie was afraid of heights, not a good quality in a bird. She consistently overshot the landing strip, our patio, and usually crash landed into the door of the drum room. She was the antidote to Jonathan Livingston. She could fly up. But when she looked down she got very woozy. The first time she made it up to the telephone wire, about one hundred feet over our yard, she froze. Night was falling and egrets (many birds) can’t see at night and have to roost. Iggie flew up and demonstrated the ease with which he, and therefore she, could glide to safety. But when she looked down, she (metaphorically) turned green. He tried to show her how to descend a nearby wall. He even pecked her toward it and almost got her down, but at the last minute she freaked and scrambled back to the wire. Finally, as darkness descended Iggie flew down and grumbled his way into the enclosure. Coussie didn’t come down till morning.

I also had two kittens and I have pictures of me cradling both babies together on my lap. It was in this magical place that I wrote Emily.

willie and iggie

And each day at work in my South Central Art and Science class I’d tell the kids tales of Emily while they worked. They loved the story and it was a sure way to keep quiet. This was a good thing because I suck at discipline. They became quite obsessed with the adventures of Emily and would fill other kids in on any missed sections. Some of the story in my short story collection Another Happy Ending also began as tales told to the children at Esperanza. And this dear reader is the tale of the writing of Emily Finfeather.


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M & I

It’s always a heady experience entering the Mystery and Imagination Bookstore, inhaling the rich aroma of ideas, breathing in molecules of Bradbury, Poe, and the almost, but not quite, infinite of notions floating in the air heady as pure oxygen. (There have to be some notions unthought, or we’d have nothing to write about.)

The stairs to the reading room wall is inscribed with signatures of writers, colorful as dream but more tangible.

I was at the M & I for the opening reading of Jason V Brock’s . The Book itself is magical, heavy, and weighty in all the right ways. It’s both a work of art, and a book to be savored. It’s also substantial enough to be used as a weapon. Fight a war of words with this baby in your head and you’ll be bound to survive.


I was (am) privileged to have three of my shorts included in this work along with countless other writers much, much more accomplished and famous.

I was greeted at the door of the M & I by the owner, the exuberant, gracious, Christine Bell, whose infectious smile welcomes you into her realm of magic. The store always fills me with a bittersweet hope that I will see Ray Bradbury’s face peeking from behind a pile of books. It was his favorite bookstore and I’m sure his ghost still spends nights there perusing the shelves and reordering his books.

christine dancingstories bookshelves-200x200

Upstairs the reading was packed! Ten of the fifty writers were there, joking and arguing about influences and writing. (I could be wrong about the numbers; I’m a writer not a mathematician damn it!)

Writers attending were: The brilliant and ever cantankerous Dennis Etchison, the world embracing William F. Nolan, Cody Goodfellow (with adorable, show-stealing daughter in tow), Nancy Kilpatrick (who left her raven at home), the amazing Joe Lansdale, magical poet Wendy Rathbone, the feisty, unbelievably prolific, and funny Gini Koch (who brought her nine other pen-name personas with her, no wonder it was standing room only!), sweet, lovely talented Sunni Brock, head honcho Jason V Brock, the legendary George Clayton Johnson (looking, as always, like Gandalf’s literary cousin), beautiful, smiling Kelly Dunn, and more. How’s that for a well-crafted sentence! Hemmingway would be proud.


All in all a fabulous time was had by all – Thanks Jason for putting together this marvelous collection and To Christine Bell for her magical bookstore.


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When green leaves turn to red and gold. When night winds blow secrets down deserted streets and the scent of burning fills the air – even in the city – you know that it’s the Bradbury time of year.
Dia De Los Muertos, All Hallows Eve… the time that spirits wander and visit their favorite haunts.

October and November are the months that Ray’s genial ghost I’m sure will be visiting his favorite bookstore, The Mystery and Imagination on 238 N. Brand Blvd. in Glendale.

It will probably be yours too if you m & i

live in Los Angeles. Everyone’s seen a bookstore like the M & I, at least in their imaginings.
Narrow aisles so tightly packed with books, characters rub elbows with you. Fat patrons get wedged between the shelves and have to survive on a diet of short fiction until they can squeeze free. It’s organized, but so jam packed with ideas and fancies it makes one’s head spin.
All the best bookstores are haunted – haunted by characters that live on long after pages flutter shut. Haunted by the writers who have read there… and the Mystery and Imagination has had many.
The reading room is up a stairway so narrow and steep you may need to grab a tank of fiction just to breathe the rarefied atmosphere. The walls are colored by signatures of so many scribblers, greedy autograph hounds have been tempted to steal them, but they are protected by the best – Sherlock Holmes, Philip Marlow and Hercule Poirot. Besides, it’s difficult to fit walls into autograph files or scrapbooks.

Most bookstores have vanished now, so when you are lucky enough to find one, dusty with ideas, and smelling of secrets, I recommend wandering among the narrow aisles.

Listen to the voices whispering tales from between closed covers… And if there’s a book launch and part going on all the better,
I invite you to join me, at the launch and party for a new and massive Collection of Fiction –





DARKE PHANTASTIQUE -with greats Greg Bear, William F. Nolan and many, many more. (I have three “fables in it)

I promise you cake, wine, and laughter, supplied by the incredible writer, publisher, and editor Jason V Brock of 
JaSunni Productions, LLC

And if you keep your eyes and mind and heart open, you might just see Ray wandering among the shelves, embracing everyone with his warmth and laughter just as he did not so very long ago.

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