Aspiring Author Spotlight with Danny Bagdonas (February, 2014 AAS author 2)

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Hello everyone,

Welcome to our second special aspiring author spotlight guest.  I have known this gentlemen for a decade now when he randomly e-mailed me a Kingdom Hearts question on one of my many Freewebs mini websites (Those were the days…Anyone remember those?!).  From there, we found we both had a love for Cardcaptor Sakura, vampires, and writing.  He is a dear friend, a kind young man, and a talented author.  I know he will make it far, shining his pure soul like the light of the keyblade.  Without further delay, I introduce my friend and werewolf in crime, Mr. Daniel (Danny) Bagdonas.

Aspiring Authors Spotlight Questions

When you wake up in the morning, how do you see life?

It all depends on the day, really. Just like anyone else who works in the slaving world of retail while trying to be a writer on the side, it gets a bit hectic and frustrating at times, and there’s not a lot of time to work on the things you really want to work on. But I take each day one step at a time, knowing that I’ve been blessed with another day to walk amongst those closest to me and to give to the world what creativity I’ve been given.

How did writing find its way into your life?

            Well, I started with poetry back in the eighth grade, and eventually found myself getting into the thought of writing a novel my… sophomore year, maybe? It kind of snuck up on me, really. I kind of had this wickedly awesome dream and I woke up asking myself, “How does that end?” I’ve been writing ever since. It hasn’t been easy, but I’ve had some help along the way.

What does writing do for you?

            Aside from drive me a little more crazy every day? Writing is just part of my life now. It’s an outlet for my creativity, my stress, and the occasional heartache. I think if I had not discovered writing, my head would have just exploded by now.

 What sort of genre or type of writing do you do?

            Almost exclusively fiction, though that’s a rather broad spectrum when it comes to the writing world. The novel I am working on started out as a bit of a science-fantasy type, though it’s changed probably upwards of ten times until I finally settled on plain-old medieval style fantasy. Thank you, George R. R. Martin, for making that change come to life in my head. I have written a few short stories that encompass the genres of horror, mystery, and paranormal romance, as well.

Do events in your life or people you know affect your writing?

            Oh, absolutely. A good friend of mine, Jasmine, has been a wonderful inspiration on my character and plot developments. She’s known about this idea of mine since it was in the beginning stages and has supported me in its creation and growth. A good friend of mine from high school, Will Hatch, was a deciding factor in the thought of actually trying to write a novel. When he told me that I should, and that he would proof mine if I proofed his, I figured it would at least be worth it to try. My mother, Daphne, has read through the bits that I have written as I become satisfied with them and proofs them. I have my own editor at home~

What are you currently work on or what was the last thing you wrote?

            The last thing I wrote was some of the lore to the mythos of my novel that I have been working on for nearly three years now. I’m still working on the novel itself, now that it’s beginning to piece itself together with its official setting, but I figured starting with short stories about its history and backgrounds of the characters may make things easier.

Can you tell us a little about it and its inspiration?

            Well, the inspiration behind its creation can be given to two friends of mine, Anne and Kathleen. I had been a part of their roleplays some time back on a website and their stories kind of inspired the original story. That poor thing is long gone with all the changes. The story itself, in short without giving any spoilers away, is written from the point of view from four, maybe five, different main characters (protagonist and antagonist alike) and the roles they play in their game of thrones. See what I did there? Thanks again, Mr. Martin.

What are your goals for the future?

            I would like to eventually get this novel underway and accomplished. I’d rather not be pushing thirty by the time I finally see its finish.

What are your interests or hobbies?

            Oh, hobbies. Currently, I have no time for those. But assuming I did, I do enjoy singing (just about everything aside from most rap and most country), writing, a lot of unhealthy gaming that tends to help affect my writing, and I do dab into jewelry-making every now and again. I do hope to turn that into a side business someday.

If you could be a superhero, what are your powers and how would you use them to help the world?

            If I were a superhero… I would like to say my powers would be used to save the world from its wars and violence. But it’s not my job to rebuild the world into Eden. That belongs to the Man Upstairs. But I would do my part however best I can.

What advice would you give people who want to write?

            Put your heart into it and jump headfirst. There are too many people out there who want to write but don’t think that it’ll be good enough, and so they don’t. Don’t worry about writing to please others. Write whatever you like, however you like, to please yourself. Get it onto paper. If this is something you want to get published, there are going to be people who critique it, who won’t like it. But you know what? You still did what many aspiring writers don’t do, and that should be an accomplishment in and of itself. You should feel proud of yourself for that.

If you could be remembered for one thing or thought, what would it be?

            When I leave this world, I want people to remember me for being the one who cared, and being the one who tried. It may seem silly to some people, but listening and caring is one of the few things I find that I am good at. If I can’t be remembered for that, then I screwed up somewhere along the road.

Example of work:

AT LONG last, they had found their way out of that hellhole that Jhandel had the nerve to call a mine. Abel could not help but curse under his hyperventilating breathe the name of their guide. Since when did mines contain creatures as terrifying and mysterious as the one that they had just encountered? Although he, himself, had never journeyed through a mine prior to this moment, he had served food to miners before. And you know what? Never once did a man complain about being attacked by something so fierce. As they reached the mouth of the cave, they had encountered a small slope that formed what seemed like stairs that led to the outside. Xanthia had gone up first, then turned to help take the bags he carried up to the outside. She thanked him sheepishly for carrying her stuff the whole way, which he waved off as nothing. He hadn’t minded, except for the part when it nearly weighed him down enough to cause him to fall. Xanthia then helped Becky up, while Abel stayed behind her with his hands first on her back, then her rear, then her thigh to make sure she didn’t slip and fall. Finally, Abel made his climb. It was a short climb, but a less difficult than he had thought. With the rain running down the rock, he had expected it to be slippery. Thankfully, it was not.
Abel walked briefly out into the storm and turned his nose towards it. It was cold rain. Of course it was bloody cold. They were so far north that, even though spring was coming, he still wouldn’t have been surprised if it turned to snow. Still, he welcomed the sensation as it washed from his face and neck the perspiration that had formed as they ran. He ran his fingers through the terrible mess that sat atop his head several times until it was soaked with rainwater. He slicked it back straight and pulled it back, slipping a band around it several times to hold it. He walked back under the cover of the cave and leaned his back against it’s slightly curved wall near where Xanthia sat, grunting slightly. The rocks were jagged, which felt less than comfortable against his clothed back. A quick glance at his companion told him that Becky had managed to calm down quite a bit compared to when they had been in the mine. No doubt being out here made her feel safer, as it did for all of them.

“Well, that was exciting,” Xanthia commented. Were it not against his moral code to hit a woman, he probably would have smacked her on the back of her head. Though she may have been speaking with sarcasm, the mere thought about what they had just encountered being considered exciting could almost be punishable. Abel shook his head at her as she began to speculate what sort of creature they had seen. Or rather, sort of seen. “What if it’s new? We should name it Becky-us Abel-lius…Xanthicus!”

Abel nearly toppled over in laughter, which his legs immediately began to protest his movement. He was surprised they were so sore. He ran every morning before he went to work back in Zenithis. Did running so quickly as they had really take that much of a toll on his legs? He lifted his head to Xanthia, who had turned to glare at him for his laughter.
“I am sorry, Xanthia, I do not mean to be rude. But…” He stopped to chuckle for a moment. “But “Xanthicus” sounds like some sort of terrible disease. You know, one that our healers and medicines cannot rid you of.” He laughed again and raised his hands up in surrender as her glare hardened. He was merely trying to lighten the mood.

A few minutes passed, and the group huddled up by Becky’s torch for warmth. Jhandel had been gone far longer than any of them had hoped, and the rain seemed to have gotten colder as time progressed. Abel was beginning to grow impatient, though whether that had more to do with it being cold, or the fact that they were waiting on Jhandel of all people, was far from his mind. “I’m going to take a quick look around and see if I can spot Jhandel anywhere,” he said to the group as he pulled his large hood over his head. He loosened his gauntlets and set them down onto his pack, figuring that he would not have any need of them. He knew how to fight without them just fine, and unless he encountered some aggressive wild animal that could gnaw his arm off, carrying them with him seemed somewhat pointless as it was. After tucking them away into his pack, he assured the group he would not be far or gone long and walked out into the storm. It did not take him long to find a road, and from there, he could barely make out the outline of a structure ahead of him. How did they not see this from the cave entrance? From where he stood on the road, he could see both the cave and… whatever it was he was looking at. Unsure of what it was, he decided that a closer look was needed. And that’s when he saw her.
Ahead of him, heading in his general direction, was a figure in a brown cloak. He could barely make out the features of the individual enough to tell it was a woman, but nothing more than that. Although he was curious, the structure was his true interest. As they walked past one another, their shoulders bumped into one another. A quick exchange of
“Excuse me” and “My apologies” was made before they went on their separate ways. He hadn’t thought to glance back until he could clearly make out that the structure was a fort of some kind. He knew he had to return to the cave and gather his companions. They were supposed to wait for Jhandel’s arrival, but the presence of a fort promised them more warmth and shelter from the store than the edge of a cave and a torch did. He turned and began to make his way back towards his party when his hand unconsciously slipped past his belt and he felt something amiss. His eyes turned downward to his side and he noticed that the vial Xanthia’s father had given to him was missing. He quickly looked around along the ground for it, searching for where he may have dropped it. He knew that he had it when they reached the end of the mine, as he double checked once they climbed the stairs. But where could he have dropped it at? He traced his footsteps back along the path he had traveled when he saw the two pairs of scuffled tracks right where the cloaked woman had bumped into him.

Thief! His gut instincts shouted the answer his mind was searching for. That woman had pickpocketed him as she walked by. He lifted his head and searched around the area until he laid eyes on a cloaked figure making its way towards the woods. His fingers curled into fists as he made his way after her, at first in a jog to cover the distance between them, and then into a swift walk to keep himself mostly quiet as he approached. But the thief had heard his approach. She turned to look at him once before bolting down the woodland path. He quickened his pace into a jog, which only pushed her into a full sprint. He quickened himself as well into a run, closing the gap between them. The woods made the chase somewhat difficult, but not so much as to allow her the escape she sought. He had tripped twice on fallen branches, but caught back up to her without much delay. Throughout the run, he yelled after her, ordering her to stop and return what was his. But she hadn’t so much as slowed her pace. No, that would have made things far too easy for him. And so, their chase went on. Distance closed, he lifted his hand and reached for her, his fingertips brushing against her arm.
“Caught you.”


Short bio:

I was born, raised, and have lived in Jacksonville, FL for twenty-one years (born on 11 February 1993). For anyone who hasn’t been here, good for you. There’s really not much here, except a lot of bridges and bad drivers. I work at our local Hobby Lobby, plan on going to college to study the culinary arts, and write and do jewelry-making on the side.


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