Shea Kelly of ‘Non-Compliance: The Transition’ Takes the Quick-Pitch Elevator Challenge

(In this next installment of the Dean’s Den Elevator Pitch series, we welcome Shea Kelly, the protagonist from the Paige Daniels “Non-Compliance” novels. Today, Shea is going to tell us a bit about her second adventure.)

Hello again, I’m Dean Lombardo, author-extraordinaire. Whether it’s Hollywood or the more mundane world of everyday business, it’s paramount to get your proposition communicated and heard before the person considering your pitch turns to something else. You’ve got to be able to quickly explain what you’ve got, why in the heck we should spend any of our hard-earned cash on this thing you’ve created, and why busy and impatient folk like us should read or listen to you a second longer?

Yours Truly, while reading the first "Non-Compliance" novel.

Yours Truly, while reading the first “Non-Compliance” novel.

To tease out this kind of quick pitch, I’ve rented an ALMOST certified elevator inside of which I’ll interview novelists so they’ll stop throat-clearing and bullshitting us and get to the point. You see, my rented building is only five-stories high, so a thirty-second elevator ride – the length of a round-trip – is all the time each guest is gonna have to tell us about their book.

And entering the elevator car now is Shea Kelly, the main character in “Non-Compliance: The Transition,” which is the follow-up novel to “Non-Compliance: The Sector.”

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OK, time to hit the button for the fifth … And Going Up! Start pitching, lady.

Shea: Whatever, Writer-Boy … I’ve got a multi-tool and a stick of gum in my pocket, and every ThyssenKrupp model 85/B elevator has an access panel that will… On second thought, Quinn’s waiting for me and if I’m late he gets grouchy and I’m not in the mood to put up with his whining … or yours.

In this next adventure my crew and I run a gauntlet of surly punks, raging psychopaths, and explosions. You’ll learn what brought me and Wynne to the NCS – uh, that’s the Non-Compliance Sector – and you’ll even learn a little more about Quinn’s history. I knew Mr. Uptight had to have some skeletons in his closet.

Dean: All right. We’ve reached the top floor. It may be rickety but this elevator’s fast. Now we’re headed back down. So this is your second book, huh? Why should we all become non-compliant again?

Shea: You know, you’re supposed to have these elevators inspected periodically. You might want to look into that. But I digress. If you want to find out more about the crew and their back stories then this is a story for you. You’ll also get a peek at the Compliant Sector, aka Creepyville.

There are some new baddies introduced. If you thought Danny Rose was an evil bastard, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. We’ll also say good-bye to a few of our dear friends, but fortunately we meet some new friends too, including someone that makes even Quinn nervous.

What about sex? Damn, you’re nosey. I don’t kiss and tell so you’re just going to have to read the book and find out. Oh, look, the ground floor. Thanks Writer-Boy. Don’t forget to pick up YOUR copy. See ya.

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Giving Wasps and Hornets Their Due

Knowing me to be a wasp enthusiast, a few friends sent me articles over the past week about the giant Asian hornet (Vespa mandarinia), which killed 28 people in China, and injured hundreds of others, during a wave of recent attacks. I, of course, welcome these notifications, even the news that these mean buggers have mysteriously popped up closer to home … in Illinois. After all, wasps are a strong interest area of mine, and these friends know it.

Giant Asian Hornet

Giant Asian Hornets

However, I can’t resist the temptation to announce to the world – “I told you so.” You see, I’ve known about this particular killer species of hornet for some time now, and I also know what these things can do to people. They seem to ‘have it in’ for us talking monkeys, killing a farmer in Japan with a single sting several years back, and more recently causing one Chinese victim to tell the media, “The more you run, the more they want to chase you.”

I’m not joshing you. This is not some ‘Mothra with stinger’ fish story. Vespa mandarinia is a real-life creature. They’re big, they’re strong … I’ve seen footage of a giant Asian hornet defeating and killing a full-grown praying mantis … and they’re mean. During the recent attacks in China, these hornets killed a woman and child and then chased a man (trying to save the mother and child) 200 meters, stinging him for three minutes and nearly killing him. His kidney was filled with venom! Call me morbid, but this makes me want to LAUGH at the movie, “The Birds.” Tweet, tweet.

In my first novel, “Vespa,” published by a small, gutsy Philadelphia-based press in 2007, my main character, Thomas Goodman, had a model of a Japanese giant hornet, a subspecies of the giant Asian hornet, sitting on his desk. The plastic model of the wasp faced a framed picture of Goodman’s wife and kids, foreshadowing the terror to come. My wasps were not Vespa mandarinia, but their size (including the length of their stingers) and aggressive nature were very much influenced by the giant Asian hornet. Taking the horror up a notch, I made my wasps parasitic, which many non-social/non-colonial wasps really are in nature. The wasps in “Vespa” can reach up to two feet long and carry off pets and infants which they bury alive with their eggs. These eggs then hatch into larvae that devour the entombed victim. When my wasps work collectively, then can sting and drag a full-grown man to his burial/human breakfast site, and they may or may not have wiped out an entire Connecticut National Guard company during the course of the novel.

Japanese Giant Hornet

Japanese Giant Hornet

And as someone who found and dispensed of a pregnant black widow spider in his garage a couple of weeks ago, I’ve got to ask you all, what’s with the arachnophobia? I mean, spiders are slow; they can’t fly; most of them aren’t even poisonous to humans. More often than not, wasps kill spiders, stinging them and stuffing them into mud casts where – you guessed it! – the mama wasp lays eggs that hatch into wasp caterpillars that eat the anesthetized spider.

Wasp Kills Tarantula

Feeding Time: Wasp Paralyzes Tarantula

Spiders? You’re afraid of spiders? Just run away. They won’t chase you.

But wasps? You can’t outrun them, you can’t flick them off you, and you can’t dive into a pond or pool and wait for them to go away. They’ll wait for you to surface and then swarm and sting your face!

I think it’s time to batten down the hatches. Wasps are coming and you better stay out of their way.

One final note, if you’re still listening … Real soon, I expect more fiction and film to feature vicious giant wasps and then some fool is gonna come along and say, as they often do to authors who aren’t yet known worldwide, “Hey, Dean, I read your book. Huh-huh … You must have been influenced by this year’s release of ‘Dragon Wasps.’”

Uh, do me a favor. Don’t say that. You’ve got things backwards, and it really, really STINGS.