The Sky Calls

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When terminal cancer strikes in mid-life, David Geraki has to make tough choices. He chooses an experimental therapy that saves his life but removes his humanity. With the help of his lifelong friend, he must hold on to what’s left of himself, accept what he’s become, and ultimately fight for his freedom.

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  • Interview with The Sky Calls author Hal Aetus (2/3/2019) - This is reposted with permission from Thurston Howl Publishing and appeared in their newsletter of January, 2019: What's your take on the transformation sub-genre? What draws you to it? Will you write more of it? Since my first days of watching birds when I was 13 years old, I've dreamed of how it would be to slowly turn into one. Slowing the process down in my mind allowed me to see the details and consider how I'd live afterwards, if I still had human thoughts and memories. It made me consider what I'd gain and what I'd lose. There's some good transformation art and stories out there but usually it focuses on an immediate, magical reward.There's nothing wrong with that but my pragmatic mind wanted something more realistic. Working closely with birds for over 30 years, including several eagles, I've been privileged to have a rare peek into their world, their personalities, and the intimate details of their lives that don't get written very often. I wrote those glimpses into…
  • The Sky Calls, Now On Amazon! (12/19/2018) - It's out! It's out! It's really, really out! After many delays beyond my control, The Sky Calls is now out on Amazon as of 10 minutes ago. You will also be able to buy it directly from me very soon (as soon as I have stock) but if you want a copy right away, here's where to go: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1945247452/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_U_x_LuXgCb615VADT In case you've missed my previous posts, here's, in a nutshell, what The Sky Calls is about: When terminal cancer strikes in mid-life, David Geraki has to make tough choices. He chooses an experimental therapy that saves his life but removes his humanity as he is slowly transformed into a huge bird. With the help of his lifelong friend, he must hold on to what's left of himself, accept what he's become, and ultimately fight for his freedom. I am, as you can imagine, very excited! But now the work begins of promoting the book as far and wide as I can. It takes a lot to write a book but…
  • Pre-Orders Open for The Sky Calls (11/20/2018) - Almost there! The book has been in publishing limbo for over a month now but it should literally fly off the printer any day now. But at least we have a place where you can pre-order your own copy. Check it out at https://thurstonhowlpub.storenvy.com/products/25049064-the-sky-calls.
  • Ruled By the Stomach (10/25/2018) - An excerpt from The Sky Calls, due for release in late November, 2018! Note: Many bird species, but most famously, birds of prey, regurgitate prey remains after stomach digestion is completed. The pellets are composed of fur and feathers mainly-- stuff that does not submit to chemical digestion. Owl pellets also contain a notable amount of bone. The process of pellet "egestion" is much different than vomiting. Reverse peristalsis is the primary force vs. strong gastric and abdominal contractions. If you are a bird of prey, this would be a nearly daily occurrence and as routine as going to the bathroom. Check out this video of a bald eagle casting a pellet. Let's see what David (who has transformed into a large golden eagle) feels the first time he has to cast a pellet: It made sense to David that eagles would derive pleasure from eating and digesting a big meal. After all, it would be a luxury to find large quantities of food, and it meant that one might…
  • The Worst News (8/8/2018) - “The biopsy came back conclusive. You have hepatic carcinoma… cancer, I’m afraid.” David drove home slowly after his appointment. When he was all alone at home in his empty condo, the reality finally sank in. He opened the drapes of the glass door and looked out at the blue waters and cloud-flecked sky. Cars, boats, planes, people, birds… all going about their usual lives. Inside himself he felt a heavy surge of gravity, like concrete forming in the pit of his stomach, pulling him down to the floor as he sobbed. He cried until the sun angled lower and warmed his shoulders. From The Sky Calls, coming in September, 2018.
  • David’s First Meal (7/31/2018) - It was day twenty-two, just five days after David’s feathers began to emerge, when he awoke in the pre-dawn hours with a gnawing hunger. Although not fully feathered, he had all the other imposing features of a golden eagle three times larger than nature allows. Soon, a nurse came in to the room with a covered tray and set it down on the floor. She lifted the cover and exposed a large, plump quail with the wings and feet removed. Its body was torn open exposing dark red meat and organs. Before the cover was halfway removed, David had leaped ten feet, skidded into the tray, and seized the plump morsel in his huge powerful foot. The nurse shrieked as the lid clattered to the floor. David bit into the prey with a bloody crunch and spread his wings over his kill, all of his feathers standing on end and quivering. He slowly rotated his beak up toward the nurse, his head low and menacing, blood dripping from the hunk…
  • The Reveal to Sam (7/28/2018) - “Wait! Sam!” But it was too late. The curtain swished back on its track and there was David, or what used to be David. A humanoid form lay on its back on sterile, white sheets under a blue gown. The smell of alcohol and iodine was pricked by something else unusual—organic but, not fetid. His eyes were closed in sleep by wrinkled, pale lids, and he had IV lines and monitor probes on both arms, and a slim, transparent tube delivering oxygen to his nostrils—or what could have passed for nostrils. Monitors quietly displayed their readings and IV pumps whirred. He looked shorter and his legs and arms appeared bonier. His hair had fallen out entirely, and his skin looked yellowish-pink and wrinkled. His eyes were enormous against their sunken sockets… or was it that his nose and jaw were longer? There were angry red lines in his skin around his nose, mouth, over his eyes, and up the center of his scalp. The space between his nose and mouth…
  • Dunmeier Loses Control (7/23/2018) - The doctor tapped a button on an IV pump, and David’s eyelids grew heavier. His mind buzzed with questions, but he had no way to ask them. He felt stronger, warmer, and full of potential, but a heavy blanket of sleepiness weighed him down. He remembered naps as a young boy. He would want to crawl around and explore to no end, but then sleepiness would overtake him until he couldn’t keep his eyes open. His body told him that it needed to rest, repair, and grow. He lingered on that image of himself as a young boy falling asleep in a sunny spot on the living room rug. The familiar sense of well-being drifted him into deep sleep. As David sank out of consciousness, April returned and helped Dr. Dunmeier remove the breathing tube. She noticed Dr. Dunmeier’s hands shaking and saw his wide-eyed expression as he peered into David’s throat with the laryngoscope. What she couldn’t see was that David’s throat had changed. Humans normally have a covering…

 

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