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Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Online Serial, Part 1

He was in a bar this time.  Never used to such surroundings, he'd been told such places were dens of iniquity and ill repute.  But after everything he'd seen and been through, he now knew the world wasn't as black and white as he once thought.  He nursed his beer for over half an hour.  He never liked beer until the last few years.  He grew an appreciation for the drink, though.  And he was able to distinguish between the different brands.  Ultimately, he was drinking because he figured beer was a social currency.  Others would see him with it and feel comfortable.  They'd let their guard down and relax.  He desperately needed someone to open up to him.

But how does a man open himself back up to the world once he was cut off from it?  If a man goes off to war, gets lost, and doesn't come home for years, how does he adjust?  Or if a child is locked up in a closet and kept locked away in an attic for a long time, but is suddenly let free, will he ever grow up to be a normal, successful man?  And what about a man thrown away in prison?  Prisons are nothing more than modern dungeons these days.  They were sometimes called penitentiary systems, but there was nothing penitential about them.  How impossible is it for Edmond Dant├Ęs to become the Count of Monte Cristo?

He couldn't lift his eyes above the bar he sat at.  He'd always caught himself looking down, lost in thought.  The murmur of the bar was a white noise he easily tuned out.  Nothing anyone talked about mattered to him.  He was estranged.  Alien.  He didn't belong there.  Someone put on some country music.  It was modern, self-aware, and obnoxious.  He hated it.  A woman who looked ten years older than him had been glancing at him, but he never met her eyes.  He didn't know what to do anymore.  The bartender tried cheering him up with one-liners and perky follow-ups.  All he could do is bring himself to smile for a few moments before sinking back down into himself.  This wasn't working.  A group came in behind him.  They were young bar hoppers, halfway stoned, and very loud. 

He paid and left.  There was too much to do, and he was out of time.  It was foolish to try this.  There was no one he could open up to.  He'd reached a place in life where no one could help him.  He tried other avenues of opening up to people.  He went to an ice cream social at a nearby church.  He tried a coffee shop.  He tried playing some volleyball with another group of people who, apart from his presence in the game, wouldn't have anything to do with him.  He was a pariah.  He was too far gone.  He'd gone so far with it all, that there was no one left who could relate to what he'd been through.  He could try to get on the internet and meet people in that manner, sure.  The World Wide Web had come a long way since he first left the world.  People were now more interconnected than ever.  But it'd take time to learn the ins and outs of all the new social media and other new websites.  Besides, he was dealing with concrete problems in the real world, and there was too much danger of retreating into a safe, lazy existence of attention-seeking if he played with the Internet.  Not to mention the fact that everyone was piddling around on the Internet on their phones and tablets as it was, divorced from the reality that surged around them. 

No, he had a mission tonight.  The play in the park would start at seven in the evening, and it would last beyond nightfall.  He had to be there.  The man he was tracking---if you could call him a man---was the main financier of this particular event.  This patron of the arts loved this special play.  It was to be a rare performance of John Milton's Comus, the story of a sorcerer who could transform people into animals after tricking them to drink from his magical cup. 

Of course he'd set up something like this, he thought to himself.  And then he wondered how many high-brow rich people would disappear before dawn. 

Friday, July 26, 2019

Beyond City Walls: What's Bovodar's Society Like?

What is it like beyond the walls of Commotu City, home of the great Wolf King?


Last time, I discussed the Wolf King in the world of Bovodar and the Bears.  But beyond the ruler, what is the realm like?  What is Bovodar's society like?

Bovodar's world would be, for us, a fantasy land.  There are people within it, but they are outnumbered by talking beasts.  The animals we take for granted in our own world do not merely trot along on all fours and eat from the fields or hunt each other.  Instead, the denizens of Bovodar's world are beasts who walk upright like men.  Sometimes they wear clothes.  They talk, engage in commerce, cook food, and even worship.

There is a social caste system.  For example, (though not mentioned in this book) rats are the lowest creatures.  Anything that small, in fact, is not regarded highly.  Foxes would be lesser than, say, bears.  Men are considered to be the highest among them all, though.  Even the Wolf King honors the place of men in the hierarchy of his citizens.  Many of the dull-minded creatures of Bovodar's world consider men to be magical beings, and it is in fact very rare for men to be seen, as the world is not filled with them.  There are not very many towns or cities that are ruled by only men.  Most cities and villages are ruled by the talking beasts.  In fact, Bovodar's family lives in a forest called Irv Forest.  There are a good batch of people living there, but mixed in are beasts of different kinds, from moles, beavers, and groundhogs, to a tribe of deer living on the forest's edge, and families of buffalo---poor folk---living north of that.

There are dragons in Bovodar's world (though not in this book), and they live in the older parts of the world, far in the East.  They contend that they are the highest, most supreme nation in the world, and they frequently challenge the Wolf King's legitimacy.  But because of the Wolf's power, they stay mostly relegated to the eastern deserts. 


Wednesday, July 17, 2019

The Ruler of Bovodar's World



What, exactly, is the world of Bovodar and the Bears?  Where is it?  How did it come to be?  Who lives in it?  What governs it?

The answer to the latter answers all of the other questions.

The world that Bovodar lives in is ruled by one being.  And in the book Bovodar and the Bears, he is known simply as the Wolf King.  However, he is more than just a simple king.  He does not merely rule over a nation or a realm.  In truth, the Wolf King is the emperor of the entire world.  He is no rude beast.  He is not simply a wolf.  He walks like a man, gestures like a man, and is just as smart as a man--even smarter, in fact.  More than that, the Wolf King has powers that cause many to think of him as a deity.

Though the primary form of the Wolf King has been that of a wolf, he has been known throughout the ages to take many other forms.  He is master over the East and the West, the Landed North and the Southern Sea.  He bestows gifts to whom he wishes, and he punishes those he sees fit.  He can lift mountains.  He can move rivers.  He can obliterate cities.  And finally, he can remake beasts to his liking.

Tales of his most glorious works take place in the ancient times, and many find it hard to believe such stories.  It was once said that he single-handedly drove back the entire Dragon Empire.  In another fable, it was said that he elevated himself to the highest height, ascending beyond the clouds and to the moon, where he built his grandest palace.  He is said to be as old as the world, that he can never die, and that he can even heal the injured or sick.

His palaces change from one age to another, but in Bovodar's time, his palace is north of Commotu City.  While many doubt the old stories, his presence in the world is quite real, as he is always governing and watching the world.  He is aware of all things that occur in his dominion, and it is under his rule that dwell both beast and men. 
   

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

The New Edition And Other Projects


Bovodar and the Bears will soon be transformed into a new edition, and there will be a brand new cover that will capture the eye better than before, courtesy of Mary MacArthur (whom you can follow at Snowflake Clockwork). Now, before all this, I used to not like the idea of having to re-release a book. But then, I remember how Tolkien himself re-released The Hobbit several times. The first edition came out in 1939, and it wasn't until 1951 that he released a second edition. He had to fine tune his manuscript and conform it more to The Lord of the Rings.

As a matter of fact, in the second edition of The Hobbit, Tolkien made Gollum more aggressive against Bilbo and more possessive of the One Ring. In the first edition, Gollum was going to give Bilbo the ring if he lost the riddle game, and at the end of the game, he showed Bilbo the way out of the Misty Mountains. But in the second edition, Gollum ends his part in the series by shouting: "Thief! Thief, Thief, Baggins! We hates it, we hates it, we hates it forever!"

Bovodar and the Bears, will have similar circumstances. Bovodar, after all, is a part of a three-book series. His character grows throughout the books, and his trilogy fits into a larger universe surrounding the Wolf King. So it's not impossible to think that some content revisions will occur, as well as a few new edits.


Bovodar and the Dragons

Work on this novel continues. Bovodar was a young man swept away by the world in Bovodar and the Bears. But in the second book, he's on a mission with an objective. And he's a little older. He has wants and desires. A young man, he begins to think about what he'll do with his life, how he'll make an income--and let's not forget about the ladies. Deeper conflicts about the wider world strike him hard, and he's confronted with some religio-philosophical issues that he’d never considered. He meets more people on this journey, and their struggles as they travel alongside him only exacerbate his confusion about what to make of the magical realm they live in. Something about their world just doesn’t jibe with the natural order of the universe, and it lingers over them like a sort of odor.


Bovodar and the Bears Graphic Novel
Work on this continues as well. But the novel will be separated into three sections, separately released to the public. As stated before, illustration work on this is being done by Mary MacArthur, whose amazing artistic talent is the most suited for a work such as this. Look forward to more of her work on this project with future releases and blog posts.


Wednesday, June 12, 2019

A Second Edition And A New Cover

Today, we are actually one step closer to completing an actual book cover for the novel, Bovodar and the BearsNot only is yours truly working on a second book, and not only is my colleague Mary MacArthur working hard on illustrations for an upcoming graphic novel, but we also have this:



This is going to be the new cover for a new edition of Bovodar and the Bears.  I think it's much better than the older cover, which is more plain and doesn't convey much.  I'm hoping that it's little visual snippets like this that'll help readers grasp this story better than before.  There is more to come, to be sure.  So keep an eye open.

And for those who are wanting up-to-the-minute updates as they happen, a newsletter is being put together as well.  So keep your eyes open; some strangers are coming over for dinner!

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Coming Into Focus

Today, we are releasing the new banner for Bovodar and the Bears.  Work on the Bovodar and the Bears graphic novel continues apace, courtesy of the fantastic artistic skill of Mary MacArthur, author of the blog, Snowflake Clockwork.  We've reached the stage to begin releasing some images for audiences.  And to top that off, we are preparing a newsletter that will provide updates on our project.  So, keep your eyes open for news on this and future projects, as we charge into the visual medium.

If you are a purist or a collector, now is the time to purchase the originally released, first Kindle edition of Bovodar and the Bears, as changes are a-coming.  These are good changes that will help the story resonate more clearly with audiences than ever before.  However, if you'd like to have a copy of this original work in its first form, now is the time to make that purchase.

And, as always, keep an eye out on this blog for more news, discussion, and updates.


Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Octopus

I managed to see the new season of OA on Netflix this month.  It was weirder than the first season, with a few graphic scenes I ended up skipping---something I typically have to do with Netflix shows. 

There was a particular scene in which the protagonist establishes a psychic bond with an octopus, and the octopus telepathically talks to her.  He sounded like a sage, wizened creature from the underwater animal world.  It was all at once fascinating and disappointing.  Why disappointing?  Because I'd already written about octopi in the latest book.  Telepathic octopi, no less.

What to do?

This isn't the first time a writer proceeded with a story, only to find out a part of it was conceived by another writer.  Like the many versions of King Arthur, the Marvel multiverse, or the haphazard Star Trek canon, all one can do is proceed as scheduled and hope their own version of the tale out-does other versions.  You continue, hoping your take on it is the superior, most memorable version.  For example, many stories favoring a dragon's perspective are out there, but E.E. Knight's Dragon Outcast is the one people will remember.  (Who can forget a dragon version of Horatio Alger?)

Besides, when you're underwater, you can't talk.  How else are octopi supposed to communicate?