Tuesday, November 6, 2018

"Eden Arcadia Gradation Vol.1" by Benjamin J. Guerrero

Eden Arcadia Gradation Vol.1
by Benjamin J. Guerrero

Eden Arcadia Gradation Vol.1 by Benjamin J. Guerrero

Benjamin J. Guerrero stops by today for an interview and to share an excerpt from Eden Arcadia Gradation Vol.1. Also available: Eden Arcadia Gradation: Chronicles and Eden Arcadia Gradation: Guide Works Part I.

Eden Arcadia Gradation: Chronicles by Benjamin J. GuerreroEden Arcadia Gradation: Guide Works Part I by Benjamin J. Guerrero

Eden Arcadia Gradation is about a young man named Crimzon Zerosaber and his adventures through many conflicts and issues throughout his life. He is guided by his love interest (and eventual wife) Cyan Copia and the rest of his team and family members as they battle monsters and villains with the help of guest characters.

Chapter 1
Slow days in Echo Creek were usually tolerable in their wealth of opportunity and pleasant weather, a perfect climate for relaxation under the clouds in the park or simply hanging out with friends and doing nothing of particular note. Slow days were an inevitability of life, but with a friend like Star Butterfly around, slow days were a different kind of day; namely, a day some monster doesn’t try to steal your face or a spell doesn’t turn your couch into tofu.
Unfortunately, this slow day was lacking in the usual luxuries that made them so nice here in Echo Creek. The sun bore down like the angry eye of some cosmic cyclops, the sidewalk hot enough to cook an egg. It wasn’t unheard of for heat waves to roll through the area, but it had been such a pleasant temperature the day before it came through, and in good faith, Star had invited some friends over to spend time with her out on the town today. What better time to have friends over from another dimension?
The sidewalk clicked under the feet of five individuals, but only one of them could claim them all to be good friends with them. Star smiled confidently as she walked between all her friends, humming to herself to mask her discomfort at the heat bearing down on them. Sure, this wasn’t exactly her or Marco’s idea of good weather for wandering about, but this was her friends’ first trip to Earth; they needed to just play it straight and think cool thoughts.
Zerosaber, the one boy among this group of new visitors to Earth, found it odd Star was humming in the manner she was, sweat dripping down her face. Still, it was nice to see the princess again, it’d been a good while since they had all been available to visit her, especially with his transfer to this dimension. His eyes which watched Star closely were hidden behind the visor he wore, armor glinting in the sunlight, though the glare was cut significantly by his wings, which seemed solid enough to block the heat despite seemingly being made of light, a fact quite fortunate to his friends suffering in the sun. Copia, the blonde beside him and behind Marco, walked with a shy smile on her face, her own wings spread to aid Zerosaber in shielding the human and mewman. Zartria, on Zerosaber’s other side, also had her wings spread; she wouldn’t get to have nearly so much fun if her friends had heat-stroke.
The five teens walked in the shadow of the winged members’ wingspans, the shade not offering much respite but conserving their energy just enough that they might soon find something to cool off with before they sweat themselves to exhaustion – at least, before Star, Marco, and the other girls did, Zerosaber seemed to be doing fine. Not much seemed to bother him, though he was more than willing to help out his friends with this problem, especially Star.
The people of Echo Creek, at least those not still inside in an attempt to escape the heat, all stood transfixed in a mixture of awe and fear of the winged people, backing away as Star’s group trailed down the sidewalk. Star took point, looking like an enthusiastic leader if there ever was one, although the sweat dripping from her face made it obvious she was leading simply to stand in the shadow of Zerosaber, which stretched the furthest of the three.
“Ugh, the people here are so boring.” Zartria mumbled, crossing her arms, wings flapping impatiently. “I thought there’d be monsters wherever you got sent, Star.” She looked at the other fellow blonde, pouting as she looked around at the citizens flinching away from her gaze. Must be the wings and the helmet. Magical princesses from another dimension, some can handle, but light-wings and futuristic armor?
“They’re not boring, Zartria!” Star insisted, glancing to Marco and then to the people shying away from her now that she had what appeared to be an entourage of futuristic winged androids. They weren’t entirely wrong, sure, but her friends wouldn’t hurt a fly. Well, a non- dangerous fly. “They’re just...not used to seeing people with wings. And they tend to shy away from monsters-”
“So boring?” Zartria giggled to herself, smiling apologetically when Star squinted at her, pouting.
After nearly half an hour of walking in the blistering heat, it seemed fate had finally smiled on them, Star’s eye’s lighting up as she caught the all-too-familiar glint of an ice cream scoop, clutched in the hands of a vendor who leaned on his cart like the heat didn’t even touch him – being next to a freezer might do that. “ICE CREAM, MARCO.” She gasped, breaking into a sprint toward the cart, only to slow to a trudge now that she was under the sun’s harsh rays. The others caught up with her, offering her a moment to regain her wits.
“Star, are you okay?” Zerosaber asked, a hand on her shoulder, keeping her steady in case she was about to fall over from the exertion she’d put herself through. He frowned at how red Star’s face was, Copia and Zartria looking more than worried for their friend.
“Star, didja fry your brain or something?” Zartria poked Star’s forehead, squeaking when Zero grabbed her arm and pulled it away, staring her down sternly. “Alright, fine, I won’t poke her.” She gave a big huff. “Sorry, Mr. Stick-in-the-Mud.”
Marco frowned hard as she saw Star stare woozily at all of them, still not fully in grasp of her faculties. “Don’t worry, Star, we’ll get you that ice cream and we can all rela-” As he turned to face the ice cream cart, his face paled, eyes going wide, jaw dropping as a stunned sound escaped his throat.
The vendor was no longer standing beside his cart. In fact, he was no longer on the ground at all, now hanging eight feet in the air, legs squirming desperately before he was knocked back into the throat of a monster. Looming over them on its back legs, the monster looked like a giant turtle, its head like a dragon’s, though its eyes narrowed at them atop free-roaming stalks.
Lowering down onto all fours, the turtle cackled, slick tongue running along its lips. “Gigigigiii,” its piercing laugh erupted, “looks like there’s even more snacks to help me cool off!” It took a step toward them, drool dripping onto the pavement only to rapidly evaporate.
“Star, monster!” Zartria was on alert, pulling out what looked like the grip of a sword, a blade made of light shooting out from it, glowing the same color as her wings.
“You have a laser sword!?” Marco gasped, looking at it like he’d just walked into a sci-fi movie. “That is so co-” The turtle’s head whipped out and hit him in the gut, knocking him a few feet away, landing on his back. Star was still in a daze as her friends ran around her to throw themselves at the giant turtle, Copia clutching a staff, Zero swinging his own sword, Marco getting back up and trying to find a means to punch it, though its head kept bobbing out of the way on its rubbery, snake-like neck.
“What..?” Star rubbed her eyes, the world a blur as she saw her friends whirling around her, getting batted away by the monster only to charge again. The beast just snickered and knocked them away without fail, to which end Zero finally darted around it to flank, only to freeze in shock, disgust spreading on his face as he saw the face of the vendor looking back at him.
“Hey.” The vendor’s face mumbled, looking around, adhered to the shell as if he were part of it. “Uhh, you want ice cream?”
“So hot..” Another face on the turtle’s shell groaned, sweating profusely, the drops of sweat dripping into the cracks of the shell, steam puffing out. Zero took a step back, eyes wide when he saw the beast look back at him, cackling like a banshee before its head lunged at the dazed princess.
Almost like lightning, Zerosaber tackled Star out of the way, the monster’s head smashing into the shop window behind where she stood. Holding her close, he sat her down in the shade. “Stay here.” It was an order, not a request. With a pat on her shoulder, he went back to the fight, sword sparking harmlessly against the turtle’s armor-like shell, his strikes calculated to not hit the faces on its back. “Copia, Zartria, there are humans stuck in its back!”
“Ew!” Zartria flew over it when it tried to rush her, smashing into a deli. It rose back to its feet after a moment, head covered in link sausages, which it slurped up without much thought, its back to Zartria, the faces all over it groaning as if they also felt the pain of flying through the window.
“You’ll regret that!” The monster growled before rushing again, Zartria rolling out of the way for it to only hit a streetlamp, bending it out of shape. Snarling, its head whipped out to bite her, catching on her armor, beak-like mouth trying hard to crack through. Thankfully, her armor held firm, straining but not breaking under the pressure. Relieved, Zartria grabbed its head, trying to keep it from pulling away.
“Copia, knock some sense into this guy!”
Copia nodded and ran toward Zatria and the monster, holding her staff overhead. With a cute cry, she swung it down, proceeding to repeatedly strike the turtle over the head with it, a resounding thwack coming each time. The monster seemed displeased at best, thrashing, the faces on its back groaning like they had motion sickness. While they kept the monster busy, Marco glanced over the ice cream cart, then to Star. A lightbulb clicked in his head.
“Hey, Mr. Vendor Guy, I’m gonna take a popsicle!” Marco rushed to the cart, pulling the frozen treat from its freezer. It felt soothing just to hold it, though juice was already dripping from it – boy, it really was hot.
“Don’t sweat it dude, it’s free popsicle day!” The vendor’s face yelled out before groaning again from the monster’s thrashing.
Running to Star, Marco frantically unwrapped the popsicle, biting the inside of his cheek and hoping his plan would work. Hesitantly, he prodded the frozen bar to Star’s lips. She flinched, eyes opening further, looking at the popsicle at her lips. Suddenly, she grabbed it from Marco’s hand and bit half the bar off in one go. For a second, she looked fit as a fiddle. Then, she grasped her head and groaned, shaking lightly.
“Ngh, brainfreeze..”
“C’mon, Star, focus!” Marco shook her, pointing to the turtle still being beaten by Copia, Zerosaber helping Zartria hold its head steady. “We’re gonna need a spell or something, this guy’s tough, and those people have to be sweating to death on his back!”
“You’d think with a shell like that,” Star rubbed her temples, “he’d be dying in this...heat..” She watched the steam coming from the grooves of its shells, evaporating from the sweat of his victims. She blinked, looking at her wand, trying to think up a plan as her brainfreeze cleared. “Marco.” She looked to her friend. “He’s using the people he eats to stay cool by making them sweat on him, right?”
“Gross, but true.” Marco nodded, raising an eyebrow.
“Well, he doesn’t have a face on his belly.” She pointed out, seeing glimpse of his underbelly through his thrashing. Marco looked as well, nodding when he saw what Star was getting at. “If you were to get him upside down, he’d be just as hot as we are.”
“Need help flipping him?” Marco looked ready to throw down with the overgrown turtle again.
“No, Marco,” She brushed off her wand, “I got this one.” Taking a few steps forward, she started to twirl, arms flowing like water as she worked through the steps of a spell in silence, trying not the alert the turtle until she was ready to cast. Finally, she halted, her stance open but grounded so her spell wouldn’t knock her back. “Get back, everybody! People on the shell, hold on!” She ordered, smirking as her friends pulled back, the monster turning to face her, snarling loudly. After a moment, steam billowed from its nostrils, and it rushed at Star, mouth open.
“Get over here, you little sna-”
Star eyes narrowed, wand glowing. “SUMMER SUN PUNCH BLAST!”
A fist made of burning light rocketed from her wand, catching the turtle with an uppercut to the base of its throat that made it lift onto its back legs, front legs scrambling to regain its balance, its efforts all for naught. The giant turtle fell onto its back with a thud, rocking side to side to try and right itself. Nothing was working. Slowly, its scrambling slowed, eyes going half- lidded as the sun bored down on its exposed belly, a pained groan escaping its maw.
“Please, don’t let me cook like this..” It wheezed, looking at Star, eyes pleading for mercy. “I can’t survive in this heat..”
Star frowned, a groan finally coming from her as she pulled her dimensional scissors out of her pocket, pulling open a portal. “You were probably banished from Mewni, weren’t you? Spit those people out and you can go home.”
The monster seemed to be debating it, as if he had room to bargain. Seeing no other option than the roast in the sun, no doubt, he began to cough, snakelike neck bulging before he spat up the ice cream vendor, covered in drool. Slowly, more came, the turtle shrinking with each person he coughed up until he was the size of a large dog. With his new size, he rolled himself onto his feet and scurried into the portal, afraid of further punishment from the princess or the blazing sun above. Hopefully, the weather would be better in Mewni.
Closing the portal with a sigh, Star looked to her friends. Zartria was looking over the scuffs in her armor, frowning and cursing under her breath. Zerosaber and Copia just looked glad she was okay, though Copia was the only one hugging her. Zerosaber came over to Star, smiling lightly, putting his sword way. “Good job with that monster.”
“It was nothing.” Star shrugged, glancing around before leaning in and pecking his cheek. “Thank you for saving me while I was still all loopy.” She giggled quietly, looking at her feet, color flushing into her cheeks, the heart-shaped marks on them beating lightly.
He nodded, his smile just a little wider, stepping aside when Copia ran past to hug Star tight. “Star, you were amazing!” She beamed up at her, green eyes glinting with admiration. It was no secret that Copia looked up to Star, but she looked like she was hugging her hero as she bounced on her feet, wings flapping excitedly. When she let go of Star, she moved right on to Marco, hugging him as tight as she could manage. As she pressed close, Star could see her cheeks flushing, as were Marco’s, who stood in surrender to Copia’s hug, arms limp at his side.
Slowly, the ice cream vendor rose to his feet, the sausage link the turtle had slurped up earlier around him like a necklace. “Uhhh, I think I died, but,” he took the link off him and
gently let it drop into a trashcan, “thanks?” He looked to the ice cream cart. “I’m...honestly, kids, just take what you want.”
Marco gasped and ran to the cart, pulling out whatever treat he could hold, pausing when he looked up at the sun still bearing down on them all. “Great, but how are we going to get these home before they melt?”
“Why go home?” Star smiled, sitting down and grabbing a popsicle from Marco, smiling as the others took a treat of their own after a moment, sitting beside her.
Looking at the ice cream in his hands, Marco sighed and sat beside Copia, smiling as they five friends sat on the curb and ate ice cream while a group of slime-covered citizens dispersed to go home.

Interview With the Author
Benjamin Guerrero joins me today to discuss his new book, Eden Arcadia Gradation Vol.1.
For what age group do you recommend your book?
I would recommend it for people ages 17 and up due to how dark the story gets as you read it.
What sparked the idea for this book?
A friend of mine one day told me I should start my own project, and that was when Eden Arcadia Gradation was conceived slowly.
So, which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?
I believe the character’s story comes first because there is so much you can do with it before making and publishing a book.
What was the hardest part to write in this book?
The hardest part was making sure how the chapters were going to turn out after the previous one.
How do you hope this book affects its readers?
I hope people will like it and become fans of it although I’m quite nervous as to how people might approach me with it.
How long did it take you to write this book?
It took me a year and a half, though I had help from another friend who is also a writer and has been teaching me and working with me through the process.
What is your writing routine?
I usually have time for it when I have free time or I’m not working.
How did you get your book published?
I published the book through Amazon’s services.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
Believe in yourself and hope will come around the corner.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I like to go places, travel, and have fun.
What does your family think of your writing?
My family are happy and proud of this.
Please tell us a bit about your childhood.
I was just a child with problems around me, but I believe my idols were there to comfort me.
Did you like to read when you were a child?
Not really, but my brother encouraged me to read, so it paid off.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
When I took my brother’s advice.
Did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
Yes, in a lot of ways. Most of the story that goes on in my book is based on my childhood and current adulthood.
Do you hear from your readers much?
Not really, but I wish. It would mean a lot to hear something from them.
What can we look forward to from you in the future?
I am making Vol.2 right now and something else. So, yeah, you’ll be hearing from me soon.
Thank you for taking the time to stop by today, Benjamin. Best of luck with your future projects.