The Last King
The Last King, Book I by A. Yamina Collins is an 11-part serial novel. A modern-day fantasy romance about a young woman innocently caught in a war between two age-old nemesis: God, and immortal beings whose ancestors ate from the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden.
Twenty-eight year Emmy Hughes has never quite fit in—she’s six feet tall, dark-skinned, and daydreams of being Galadriel from Lord of the Rings. But when she is badly injured in a car accident that kills her mother, Emmy does not dream of fantastical worlds anymore—she just wants her shattered life to be normal again.
Unfortunately, normalcy is the last thing in store for her once she meets Lake George’s newest arrival, Dr. Gilead Knightly. Granted immortality from a line of people whose Great Ancestor marched into the Garden of Eden and ate from the Tree of Life, Gilead has been alive for centuries and has met everyone from Nubian kings to Napoleon.
But Gilead and his eccentric family are also hunted beings because God considers the Edenites’ possession of immortality to be theft. And for thousands of years He has dealt with their transgression by sending each of them a “Glitch” —an unsuspecting human meant to retrieve this stolen “property” of immortality and kill them off.
When Emmy discovers that she is Gilead’s Glitch, she is not only thrown into a world of immortals who eat bone marrow, panthers who read minds, and a family whose blood is made of pulsing gold, but she finds herself the target of Gilead’s vengeance: he must get rid of her before she gets rid of him.
Easier said than done. Because Glitches are not only an Edenite’s greatest threat—they’re also their greatest love.
WHAT READERS ARE SAYING:
I didn’t know what to expect going into Book 1, but little did I know what a pleasant surprise was in store for me. I immediately fell in love with Emmy and her circle of family and friends. Even though we are of different ages and background, I could immediately identify with her feelings of insecurity and alienation. She was someone I would have wanted to become friends with.
The author has also done a fantastic job of world-building. Each character is multi-faceted and intriguing and the premise is truly unique. I can’t wait to read more of this wonderful series.
– Donna T. (Goodreads)
From the beginning of the story I knew this one would be different. I don’t read Sci-Fi but I gave it a try. I’m so glad I stepped out of the box to read this. The author does a great job of storytelling. I love the concept of releasing small content at a time like a short story that will become an awesome novel. Want a new fresh read, then this is a must.
Stepping out of the box in your reading can be a rewarding experience, it’s different and I liked it! A must read!
– Kim (Amazon)
I have to say that sometimes you really cannot judge a book by it’s cover. I wouldn’t have read this book on my own. It is not a genre (science-fiction) that I usually explore. But, after reading the the first episode I am glad I did explore.
– Shay M. (Amazon)
Wow, I couldn’t put the book down. Oh my, I love how the author tied two and two together. Can’t wait to get started on series 2. I don’t think I can wait until all the installments. It will drive me crazy! But I love, love, love, love it! Some talent in the black community. It’s there. It’s definitely there.
– Uchenna (Amazon)
What people are saying about“The Blueberry Miller Files.“
“An entertaining roller coaster!
– S. Thomas
“I love stories with twists and unexpected endings and to me, these fit the bill.” T. Rice
“Whenever I started one of the stories, I wanted to read it all the way to the end without a break…..then was disappointed when the story ended as I found myself wanting more…” C. Chery
“I found that the characteristics that the author pokes fun at the Madam for having are the same ones that make her a humanistic (and relatable) character” – Anthony
About: First loves gone wrong. Southern belles. Black anglophiles. And mice that nibble at the face. These are just some of the characters, and the tales, in author A. Yamina Collins’ vibrant new short story collection, “The Blueberry Miller Files” (READ EXCERPTS FROM THE BOOK, BELOW).
This book has been featured on GalleyCat’s ‘Coming Attractions’
Q & A WITH AUTHOR A. YAMINA COLLINS
SO WHAT ARE THE STORIES IN THIS COLLECTION OF THE BLUEBERRY MILLER FILES ABOUT?
There is no one theme that runs through the book, except to say that it’s a look at the human condition in all of its humor, awkwardness and tragedy. But, I had a blast writing these stories, and these multi-ethnic characters, in all their humor, tragedy in awkwardness. I think I’m fascinated by humanities fallen condition. I’m fascinated by our sin, and how it affects us and those around us.
For example, I have a story set in the pre-civil war south with a belle called “Safe”, about a southern belle who assumes that as long as she is in charge of her personal slave, that slave will always be safe. In my mind, no one who is ever someone else’s slave is truly safe. That’s the irony. I’m a fan of Gone with Wind, a HUGE fan. I keep re-reading the book over and over again. And, of course, I’m in love with Rhett Butler’s character. But I’ve always had issues, for example, with how kind the slave holders were presented. It’s always irked me that it was this great romance, and people fawned over it, even while this horrible thing called slavery was actually being defended in the book by the main characters!
It also irked me to note that the slaves had the worst dialect in the world, yet the slave holders had the most perfect English. I realized, whoever is telling the story gets to decide how good one group looks over another. So I decided to do just a little twist on that theme. It wasn’t about revenge. It was about playing with a tried and true subject and shaking it up just slightly. It’s the last slave story I will ever write though. I want to move onto other subjects with black characters. But again, my book has black, white and Hispanic characters in it. I don’t like to stick to just one group of people.
ARE ALL OF THE STORIES TRAGIC?
No! Some of the stories are funny, too. Well, one of the stories is very, very funny. The others are tragic, with these awkward, funny moments thrown in.
YOU HAVE ALL THESE FALLEN CHARACTERS IN THESE UGLY SITUATIONS, YET NONE OF THEM CURSE! WHY NOT?
I don’t curse in my books, or in real life. As a Christian, I don’t think you stop being a Christian just while you’re writing your book. Honestly, I don’t think God gives us commands without a way for us to follow them. So I have to find ways for people to say nasty things without crossing that line. Or if there’s a sex scene, somehow I have to let the audience know it’s happening with describing it or titillating people. It’s kind of an exercise in creativity. It can be a tough call to make, but I think it’s doable. And it’s challenging, too! But, hey, life was meant for challenges! God stretches us when we’re challenged.
ANY FAVORITE CHARACTERS IN THE COLLECTION?
I love this character named Madam Adams. She is a loony little doll; an African-American Anglophile with a Shakespeare complex. Her parents raised her in Harlem, but she tells people she was raised in England by a group of thespians. She is a loveable nutcase with a fondness for bad writing, wine, and crumpets.
WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR ALL TIME FAVORITE SHORT STORY WRITERS?
Edgar Allan Poe, Jessie Redmon Fauset, Henry James and Washington Irving. Not that all these people wrote only short stories. And, in fact, Henry James was known for the nouvelle rather than the typical short story, but…you get the point. These guys were masters. And I love the classics. That’s what I grew up on.
Read an excerpt, from “Calling Viola”, a play about an African-American Anglophile with unrealistic dreams of literary glory, a taste for too much wine and a Shakespearean complex:
(Enter Madam’s mother.)
MAMA. Baby, you want some soup?
MADAM. No, thank you, Mother. (Madam sips her wine.) Mmmm, that’s very tasty.
MAMA. You know, soup is so much better for you than all that wine. And it’s hot and fresh, too.
MADAM. Mother, please. I’m transcribing my play.
MAMA. Oh, another play? Why don’t you write on that computer your daddy bought for you?
MADAM. Did Shakespeare use a computer?
MAMA. How could he? They weren’t around back then.
MADAM. Your sarcasm is duly noted. Thank you.
MAMA. Suit yourself. I’m having me some broccoli soup. Then I got to go see Effel Jones. We gonna head up to 125th Street for some shopping if you want to come.
MADAM. Mother, the sight of Effel Jones gives me hives, and you know it. Now, go already. But when you come back, I would be ever so delighted if you could purchase a package of toffees and crumpets for me.
MAMA. Doctor says at your age you need to quit them crumpets, baby. It was all right in your twenties, I guess. But at forty-four—
MADAM. Mother, please! I’m in a state of genius, and you’re interrupting me.
MAMA. Well, all right.
Read an excerpt from “Sensitive People“, a story about an professor and his student/girlfriend who, it turns out, have a lot more in common with each other than one might expect:
Besides, he couldn’t afford to acquire a gym membership for himself, not with money getting tighter and tighter, which is why it actually surprised him in October when Angie came home to inform him that, on top of every other way she was wasting his money, she now wanted to take dance classes, too.
He looked at her crossly. “Dances classes cost money.”
“They’re actually pretty cheap.”
“Then I guess it won’t be hard for you to pay for them yourself, will it?”
She looked at him quizzically. “Myself?”
“Yes. As in, go get a job; something part-time, perhaps?”
“Eddie, you don’t mean . . . but what would I do?”
“Angie, come now. You’ve just graduated from college.”
She seemed not to follow his train of logic. “Honestly, Eddie. I can’t make a living off my degree. No one is hiring.”
“Fast food places are always hiring.”
Her mouth fell open a little. “Yes, hiring a bunch of kids and handicapped people. Oh, be serious, Eddie.”
“I can assure you that I am serious. Look, get a job as a waitress. Everyone in New York has been a waiter at one time or other.”
“But I want to dance, Eddie.”
“Dance and wait tables. You won’t be the first.”
“Are you an artist or not?”
“Of course I am!”
“Well, artists have to starve before they make it, don’t they? You of all people should know this. Besides, struggling shapes the character. It forms the mind. It makes artists like us sensitive to the conditions of the world around us. Consider it paying your dues.”
Tears threatened to come to her eyes. She sniffled a little. “But, Eddie!”
He slammed shut the book he’d been trying to read. “Enough already! Look, I know you got pampered with all of those lunch halls in school, and those super-clean campus buildings, and all of those fine, upstanding security guards patrolling your lovely, safe dorms. But please spare me the tears and understand that I am not your father, and I am not here to take care of your every whim or your every need. So for now, it would behoove you to help pitch in, comprende?”
Read an Excerpt from “The Disillusioned”, where a guru relationship expert learns the hard way that first loves can be hard to forget…
Ladies, you hold onto ideas too much. Honestly, you overfantasize about everything to do with domestic bliss, and obviously I’m talking about men.
Take this girl Melly Sturgess I know (not her real name). She’s still holding onto a loveless marriage with a man who both beats her and has another woman on the side. I don’t understand it. And I tell her this all the time, too. I say, “Melly, girl, I just don’t understand it.”
But all she can do is hold her head down and groan; then she’ll burst into tears and tell me to shut up and leave her alone—like she did two weeks ago over the phone!
She’s friends with my editor, see, and I guarantee you that if we hadn’t met while palling around in the same circles I’d never have become acquainted with someone like her. To put it in plain English, she’s a romantic idiot, a love-soaked carpet men get to walk all over, and I just don’t have a whole lot of tolerance for people like that.
Then again, most women fall into the romantic idiot category, and as the author of several relationship books, I know this to be a fact—but I still get tired of the nonsense. Ladies, it’s time to grow up and grow smart.
Now don’t get me wrong. I am sympathetic! In fact, that’s why I want to help Melly out (as well as the rest of you). She’s the most pathetic loser I’ve met in a long time, and I believe it’s my duty to save her . . . if only she’ll let me. But that’s the problem, see? She won’t let me, and I can see why her husband finds it so easy to take advantage of her.
For starters, she has few bonds of friendship with other women (save myself and my editor, but these bonds are a bit precarious), and although I’ve tried to get her to go out for drinks with me and my best friend Celine Williams (not her real name), she always refuses.
“I don’t have anything nice to wear,” she complains.
“Wear what you’ve got on,” I tell her. “It’s not so bad.”
To this encouragement, she always shakes her head, No!
I’ll tell you sometimes I want to slap her around! Just knock some sense into her, you know?