On a savage, outlying planet an enclave of psionically-trained humans have built a utopian, matriarchal society that lives in harmony with all life. Leaving behind the polluted and corrupt world in which they lived, they colonized a new home far from the eyes of the galactic empire. Shielded from the rest of the galaxy by the dangerous beasts that inhabit their lush, forested world, the village lives a simple life under their Home Dome. But their goal was more than just to live in peace – they wanted to create the perfect human who could bring peace to the galaxy. Rather than merely cloning themselves, they began to manipulate genes in order to create a race of mutants with enhanced telepathic powers.
Under the direction of the ruling witch coven, each child of the Windfall Dome is tested at a young age to asses their abilities – a test which can plot the course for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, Cheobawn – the daughter of the ruling First Mother to the dome – is marked with the Black Bead on her Choosing Day, a symbol of bad luck and shame. It seems the child the mothers had placed so much hope in would not be the future ruler they had hoped for. Yet there is something powerful about her that the elders don’t understand.
Finally of age, Cheobawn is chosen to join a pack to act as the psychic Ear on a foraging mission outside the dome. She knows this is her chance to prove herself. But something sinister stalks them and each member of the pack must draw on their unique strengths and a lifetime of training if they want to survive to see another day.
In her visionary new series The Black Bead Chronicles, author J.D. Lakey invites you to journey along with Cheobawn, Megan, Tam, Connor, and Alain as they use their wits and their Luck to unravel the mysteries of the deceptively bucolic life beneath the dome in this coming of age metaphysical science fiction adventure.
Targeted Age Group:: 12+
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
They say write what you know. I grew up a wild child in the great open spaces of Montana and had a very large extended family. The children in my stories live in a similar way. Though they aren’t completely without structure due to the many rules they must follow in their village, they are allowed the freedom to leave their domes at a young age without adult supervision and are faced with life or death choices. Their family groups in the village are also like large extended families similar to mine growing up. Each child has a birth mother who carries the child to term, a truemother who provides the genetic material, and a nestmother who cares for and raises the child. So the concept of family is very broad in their world, and in effect, everyone in your village becomes your family.
How is writing SciFi different from other genres?
Sci-fi is the genre written by the profoundly curious. Writing it is about asking a questions about the nature of human existence in this reality. You pose the question. Why? What if? How? Then you build a reality in which your avatars can walk around in skins that are made to solve the puzzle without being inhibited by the current paradigm.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
The characters just seem to spring up out of the ground as you write them. They are angry or timid or fierce depending on what you need them to be and they always take on a life of their own and surprise you somewhere at the end of the your story. Perhaps I steal personality quirks from all the people I have met over the years. But the main character is always my own personal Everyman. One thing all my characters have in common: I like them. Even the bad guys.
They did not die. This surprised her. She waited, listening, her fist held up to hold her Pack in place. The bhotta moved slowly downhill. Eventually, the sky hunters moved out of range. When it seemed that the time was again right, she signaled to her Pack to follow and clambered out of the hole. The stink of bhotta hung heavy on the air. She pressed her hand to her nose to keep from sneezing and ran on, the Pack on her heels.
The warm valley air flowed up the mountain, taking their scent away from the bhotta’s nose. She counted on that flow. It was one of the key pieces in her strategic game of hunter and hunted but she knew that the wind would begin to shift, on towards dusk and betray them. Time was her enemy.
Wait, whispered Bear.
Cheobawn skidded to a halt, confused. The overwhelming need to race towards home was an excruciatingly painful feeling. Once again the next bright place lay just beyond her reach, dark. She stamped her foot in frustration. Wait? Wait for what?
One of the children clicked a query behind her. She held up her hand, wishing them silent as she put all her energy into listening for the moment that would tell her it was safe to move.
A bull fenelk bugle somewhere south of their position. Cheobawn found it in the ambient and tasted its mood. Nervous that the sky hunters circled high overhead, it headed downhill towards the southern forests where it would spend the night. She followed it in her mind as it strode beneath an ancient blackoak, its horns laid flat along its back, its tusks up and ready for anything that would be so foolish as to attack it.
A dubeh leopard lifted its head from where it rested on a blackoak branch, watching the elk. The giant cat was on its way up to the needletree forest where the grunters grazed in the evenings. Cheobawn’s heart twisted painfully in her chest. She and her demi-Pack stood in its path.
The leopard was in no hurry. It rose to its feet and stalked the fenelk along the high branches. If they hurried, they would avoid the leopard. She turned towards home but the bright spot in the ambient was not in front of her. It was somewhere uphill. Cheobawn peered up the slope but saw nothing, felt nothing. She did not understand the need for the detour.
Tam clicked another query.
Cheobawn looked back at him. Dubeh leopard, she signed. Wait.
Tam’s eyes widened.
About the Author:
J.D. Lakey was born and raised on the high plains of Montana under an endless sky and as far from civilization as anyone in the twentieth century could get. There she explored the finer nuances of silence and the endless possibilities of the imagination. The stories were always there. The shifting of fortunes finally granted her the time to gather all the stories and give them flesh.
An avid reader of science fiction and comics, she currently lives in San Diego, California where she divides her time between her writing, commuting on the I-5, and spending time with her delightful grandchildren.
Links to Purchase Print Books
Link to Buy Black Bead: Book One of the Black Bead Chronicles Print Edition at Amazon
Links to Purchase eBooks
Link To Buy Black Bead: Book One of the Black Bead Chronicles On Amazon