The Lupine Saga 1

Book one, The Lupine Prince. The “Together with Silver” trilogy.The Lupine Prince

“Wake up!” Va’il woke to the sharp pain of his mother’s fangs sinking into his bushy tail. The conversation they just had never registered in the half-asleep child’s mind, and so he had no conscious recollection of refusing to wake up.

“Ow! Why did you do that? Can’t you wake me normally?”

“Then you shouldn’t refuse to get up. Now that you’re fully awake, get ready for school. The teacher will throw a fit if you’re late today.” With that, Mai’ou walked out of the room. Her long, thin tail trailed behind her.

Standing on the messy bed in a small room was a boy of seven years old. At first glance he almost appeared human, but that illusion dropped upon seeing his ears, tail, and claws. He was half-lupus, half-human. He had a very long and extremely bushy tail. His furry ears were those of a wolf, at the side of his head where human ears normally are. He had a few fangs hidden in his mouth. His eyes were human in appearance, but silver in color. His hair was also silver, as was the hair that covered his tail. His skin was white, but not pale. In his hands were claws that were unlike those in wolves or cats. They were lupus claws, which could extend and retract at will.

Being a young child, he was always running in the sun, so he was never as pale as he could have been, nor was he ever as tan as other children. But all these traits largely went unnoticed by the young child whose mind was filled with thoughts of fun and play. Right now, they were concerned with the scolding Va’il had just received, and the throbbing pain in his tail. Mai’ou was a lupus, and she was quite proud of the power of her bite, or so it seemed to Va’il. He picked at the fur on his tail, to see if his skin had been broken. It wasn’t; the area was only bruised.

Satisfied, he jumped off the bed and ran to a nearby closet. He flung off what he was wearing, and put on clothes that might have been clean. They smelled fine, so he put on grey trousers, a blue tunic, a cloth belt, and cloth boots. He walked out of his room and then downstairs into the kitchen. He sat at a wooden table as his mother put out fishes, soup, and rice. He ate quietly and quickly, and was finished by the time Mai’ou sat down.

“Ready then? Off to school,” she said.

“Okay.” He got up quietly and picked up a satchel by the front door. While putting it around his shoulder, he opened the door and walked outside.

“And don’t forget to bring back your work this time!” Mai’ou said. She was gruff in her words and actions, but Mai’ou was still far more lenient than she tried to be. She sighed as she rested her head on her hand. Being a normal lupus, she had large, brown, frizzy hair. More of her teeth were fangs, and her lips were somewhat thin. Her eyes were golden and more angled than Va’il’s. She also had long, wolfish ears at the side of her head. They were mostly brown, and the tips were black. She also had black spots here and there in her hair, making it look somewhat like fur. She had a long brown tail that appeared thinner than Va’il’s. Her son was vastly different, so she couldn’t help but be harsh yet caring.

#

Outside it was bright, and there was a fresh smell in the air. Va’il ran through the various cobblestone paths between the houses until he reached a wide road. He stopped in an alley and peeked around the corner to see who was on the road. The path to the school gradually went up a low hill, and Va’il was at the midpoint of the hill. Below him, he saw about twenty other children making their way up. Higher, he saw a few groups talking amongst themselves as they walked. He looked around until he spotted, higher on the hill, one in particular. As one of them turned their head to talk, he confirmed the identity. They were a couple hundred meters ahead, but Va’il’s vision was extremely good. They were his friends.

He lowered his stance and started running to catch up. He bumped into a couple children along the way. They glared at him indignantly, but he paid no attention to those he offended. They didn’t care once they noticed the big silver tail. It had become an event no longer worth getting worked up over. After a few meters, he tripped on a rock and fell on his hands, but he didn’t stop running. He ran on all fours while his bag jumped every time it hit the ground. When he was in range, he leapt onto an unsuspecting friend.

“Gehhh, off! Off! Hhhee.” Pete, a rotund swine, was soon wheezing and struggling with an unwelcome attachment to his back. As a swine, he looked like an upright pig, and had the girth one would expect of an enjoyer of fine foods.

“Aw Pete, just one bite today, please?” Va’il eyed the pig ear in front of him that, until a moment ago, was flapping lazily in the wind. Upon hearing the plea, Pete had made his best effort to pull his ears closer to his head.

“You, you don’t want to eat this ear, it’s full of wax,” Pete said.

“Morning Va’il,” said the lupus walking next to Pete. It was Kelin, a lupus with red hair and fur. He had experienced this sequence of events far too often as well. “And Pete, just how many times do we have to hear you cower before you stop to realize Va’il won’t bite you?”

“But, I can’t help it. It’s in my instincts to be afraid of the lupus. Even you… don’t think I forgot about what you did to my tail,” Pete said, murmuring the last bit. He seemed to forget that anything was latched to his back as he kept walking up the hill. Va’il, sensing his moral victory, climbed higher on the swine’s back, and made himself comfortable as a passenger.

“Oh please, you pigs just remember everything. I keep telling you, we were pups at the time. I cannot be responsible for every little thing I may have gnawed on when teething.” Kelin sighed once, and then pulled out a book to read along the way to school. “Besides, it’s our parents’ fault for letting us play together. Amazing how we are still together, right Va’il?”

“Right! Kelin, how many times have you talked about Pete behind his back? Just the talk of barbecue is salivating!” Va’il and Kelin gave malicious, toothy grins to each other and awaited Pete’s reaction.

“Mhm, barbecue. Hungry.” Barbecue was a trigger word for Pete. Upon hearing it, the threats fell upon deaf ears. Va’il shrugged it off, and then noticed that it was just Pete, Kelin, and himself.

“Where is Zeick?” Va’il felt Pete’s shoulders droop when he heard the name.

“He’s avoiding. Doesn’t have the courage,” Kelin mumbled.

“Why?” Va’il asked.

“You. Same issue, being a half and all. Sorry.” Kelin spoke in a matter-of-fact manner, but he never stopped reading the book. He turned a page.

“Oh, again, another,” Va’il said. He sighed.

“Sorry Va’il, you know his family and friends are just like everyone else. He still has to deal with everything that comes up from everyone else. And well…” Pete tried to be consoling, but he didn’t have the words he was looking for.

Va’il had understood enough. Prejudices were held by everyone against every species for one reason or another, but most still had no actual qualms. Daily association with another species was fine for almost everyone. But still, the thought of a half was beyond acceptable.

Posted in Books, The Lupine Prince | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Lupine Saga Begins Tomorrow

As mentioned in the last post, I’ve decided to remove my works from sale, and from now on will be posting my work in short weekly posts. Short, five minute snippets, weekly. They will contain the entire book over time. And eventually, the entire series. Thus, The Lupine Saga.

I’ve had the idea to do this for a while, but have lacked direction and decision. But after encountering works that were published in a similar manner, on the internet first before becoming actual publications, I’ve increased my affinity for doing it this way. It also relieves some elements of pressure, as I’ve actually written a sequel to my Lupine Prince book, but regretfully never finished polishing it to a publishable point.

It will take over a year just to publish The Lupine Prince this way, and during that I have decided to refine that work as well, to a point. After it is fully published (and to be clear, I’ve already scheduled it to be published, so I won’t fall into a weekly procrastination trap!), then the posts for the never-before published The Lupine Chevalier will start going live, and, being a longer, more detailed book, will go live over a longer period. During this expanse of time, I hope to consolidate the ideas I have for the yet-unnamed third book of the trilogy into order, and write it out, refine it, and hopefully have it ready to follow at that time.

Starting tomorrow, and I expect every Saturday to follow, there will be a new post, a new segment of the saga. Whether large or small, it will be there. I expect to keep things rather simple, though I’ll interject periodically to expand on some information in the book or series. Without spoilers.

Posted in Book Information, Writing | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Ideas for Book Four, finally.

Why concern over a book four, when book two has been ten years in the works and unpublished? Even this site, the last five posts are quite literally, across five years, last post was two years ago, also at the beginning of a year. That is changing this year. Heavily.

Because during book one, I had ideas for making a trilogy at first. And then I realized I didn’t want to just write a trilogy, I wanted a series. When your favorite works are over 400k words and have enough events happen in them to need years worth of television to cover a single book, you think in series instead of single works.

And I like the idea of my characters continuing on. And it still pains me to think of a couple authors who wrote series and died before being able to finish their work, even if they did have decades of series already started. You may think “but if their works never finished, then the characters never ended.” How wrong. They died when their author died far too early in life. Each author is the god of their own fictional universe. No matter how many other people know of it, when the author is gone, that universe no longer exists. It would be a different matter if the series was complete, however, that universe then becomes self-contained. Or well, that’s just my view on it.

So this gets to Lupine series, book four, how? Well in book one I figured out the fundamentals of the universe it is in when writing it. And have been mentally expanding it ever since. Agonizing over choices to make, plots to either write or discard, and even anguishing over the suffering that’ll end up happening in that world. No wonder they call it god in the machine, deus ex machina, when a writer just puts in a split second save of a character in a completely impossible way. Sometimes you want to wave that power around and fix all their troubles.

Book one was light and upbeat. It had some stuff happen, but the ending was “good,” even if the final pages are a setup for the next book. I hesitate to say cliffhanger. The point of the book was fulfilled before the final pages. I’m still used to series of works that have a point in each book, and then at the end set it up for the next one.

Book two starts upbeat, but then it ages. Concerning things happen. And it’ll even end with certain things resolved for that book, and yet will open up the world for more questions and things to happen.

Book three is probably going to change when I actually get to writing it. For the key scenes I have thought of, and the basic outline, is different. It is most decidedly a different direction than someone reading the first part of the first book would’ve expected.

But during book two I had though of making this a series, rather than a specific number of books. Including far-off future events, and how the current series would lead there.

I got too far ahead of myself. In fact I got so far ahead with those thoughts that it led to incredible stagnation. How do you write about something that happens at age 13 to a character, when you’ve already got ideas about things happening centuries later that they affected? It was a bit stifling. Years of stifling. Until I finally realized: oh, just throw all this out.

But wait, aren’t you doing it again, thinking about four when two isn’t done? Ah, but that’s because two sets up three, and with how three goes, I was getting worried for what I’d do for four.

And realized that one of the ideas I’d thought of during book two, no, during book one (but thankfully not written, just thought), had to be thrown out completely. No rule-breaking here, actually. See, I’ve got a bit of realism in my Lupine series, genetics. The characters obviously live in a world without certain advances, but even without high-level science, certain things are still known and understood.

I think I’ll have a bit of realism I’d thought of thrown out of my universe, and make book four something I had previously never even thought of. Nor thought was possible!

Not rule-breaking, just making sure I don’t write in a rule that ends up creating a darker path than I’d originally intended. It wasn’t going to end well. That’s been thrown out entirely. I can’t see the end anymore. Finally! I can’t see the end, and it’s a joyous occasion!

It’s good to be a god of your own little universe.

Hey, the book already had friction-less surfaces, non-carbon-based lifeforms, and non-radioactive light sources! And those are just the ones alluded to in book one. Even in the “real” world, there’s scientists looking at some research results that could possibly indicate a fifth fundamental force of nature. The four being the strong and weak forces, electromagnetism, and gravity. The lupine series is already set in a universe with at least five forces, possibly more, however, a force to be understood as magic is not one of them.

Too much knowledge of how the world works in a physical sense (or in some cases, a biological sense), can be really stifling sometimes. But I’ve been reading some old works where the author knew certain things were impossible, and still based them in the real world, everyone but the necessary characters still obeying regular physics. But hey, it was consistent, even if unrealistic. My consideration is that the universe itself is animation, rather than realistic. I’ve always thought of it as a cartoon or Japanese anime to begin with, but considered the implications of the universe in a real sense, rather than considering that perhaps the universe that is inhabited by my characters is, itself, more fundamentally anime.

This is all to say, book three is going to end a certain way. Considering I’ve spent ten-plus years thinking about these characters, there’s an interesting thing going on. Each book is also years apart, and there are timeskips in each. The end of book three will end almost ten years off from the start of book one. And so, as time has gone on, the characters and circumstances and the issues have grown with age. The characters are 7-11 in book one. It has a few events, but will be upbeat. Book two will have teens of some age in it at a certain point. It is different than book one. Still a journey, but of different tone, with more mature events. And three will definitely have some troubles in it, and obviously the characters who were kids at the beginning of book one will end three in later teen years for some of them.

Book four, I finally know what to do with it now. And it’ll be unexpected, considering the books before it. It’ll actually be something to look forward to. My previous restrictions had started making book four look like it’d go in a direction I couldn’t be sure of, that wasn’t going to be like the prior three. Now I have an idea. It’ll certainly be different, but something to look forward to.

To come in the next ten or twenty years. (This post alone was actually drafted two years ago. So hold the expectations.) However, two things now. First is… I’ve decided to stop selling my books elsewhere. They’ve been taken down by me. I have an about page if someone wants to contact me about getting them directly or for other business interests. Because I’m going to start posting them here, in short segments, over the coming years. A weekly post of a thousand words or two. It means I’ll also make some slight changes to past scripts, again, but in a format that’ll be easier to adjust. And two, which will just be left here without context:

TLPAHMJTSTWFTTOABBTN

Posted in Book Information, Writing | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Working on items again

Three years since posts. Four and a half since I finished the main story of TLC (book2). Been a mix of things to do in the years since, but finally been looking at my old works.

Re-watching and re-reading works that were my original inspirations.

Found an art style that finally doesn’t require me to have artistic sense (I have no ability for drawn art), that allows me to still create original images of some characters, though it’s time consuming and still limited in function, at least it gives me a path.

And have actually done an outline of Book 3, finally, with key scenes. Which the next day I redid, deciding they were not entirely the direction I wanted to go, but kept them because they give me an idea of how to use them in the written work.

Spending a few hours each week revising TLC (Book 2). Adjusting some items that had literally hung me up for years in how they went. Literally years a couple scenes bothered me, but it wasn’t until recently I figured out where to rewrite them. Since then it’s been better.

With the outline for Book 3 started, I’ve been working on a timeline. I had previously had a simple one for the world history, and a minor tracking of my main characters, but recently have been adding events that happened to their parents, their parent’s parents, to other nations that influenced things for the last two-hundred years, etc.

Still in the throes of anxiety wondering what’d be the point, never sure if it’s something that’ll be something I could do in life. After all, picking up a project you started ten years ago when you were a different person, different mindset, is daunting.

But Somedaybox emails keep coming, monthly newsletters I proofread and can’t help but be affected by. Sister’s music appears, and can’t help but appreciate, be in awe of it.

Even if only a handful of people end up reading (and some of them have been waiting a decade), it turns out that I’ve been pleased just re-reading my own works after all, and think I can write them for myself. TLP (Book1) was around 88k words. TLC(Book2) is looking like it’ll be almost 120k. It still almost feels a little scarce, as it covers a lot of time and several events it has to jump between often. Just drafting Book3, I feel like it has the potential to be longer than both combined.

A large influence on me were some adventures that were over 500k words per book. I’m thinking I’ll stop worrying so much about length constraints.

Book2 will likely still be self-published, this year. I’m strongly considering serializing all books as blog posts though.

The editing/revising process has been part of that idea. Going through book one again, I yet again found a half-dozen items to correct. But there’s a number of issues that crop up when deciding to fix the print copy of Amazon and Kindle.

I’ve also considered looking at sites that let you support by donation. I’ll think more about that when I get to book3.

I’ve stopped making definite commitments to times though. Giving out dates and saying “I’m doing this now!” and then not getting it done just leads to more failure. So, working on stuff. Maybe they’ll get published, maybe not. But, I’ve been wanting to see how Va’il and Ruby’s adventure continues, if I can continue it, and what becomes of it. I’ve even had a strange thought about making some of the decisions I’ve thrown out as an alternate history version. Just ideas.

Will see anyways. No promises, but, well, working on it all again, bit by bit. Slowly.

Posted in Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Year of the Animation come to Life

Last year serial do-good-former-criminals was the go-to show. This year it appears that comic book heroes are having yet another hurrah.

Let’s start with the most obvious: right now The CW is putting out a couple DC-related shows, The Flash and the next season of Arrow. The Flash, starring Grant Gustin, has had a rather fun showing for its first season. This is a show that’s squarely aimed at a particular demographic, but it happens to do well. It’s a great watch, worth putting in some viewing time if weekly supervillains, witty writing, and light-hearted with dark rumblings fits your fancy. And Wentworth Miller (Prison Break) guest stars a few times, definitely a highlight when he shows up.

Considering Marvel is still doing their thing with Avengers 2, tying Agents of Shield into it, as well as the earlier-in-the-season Agent Carter (which was fantastic), Marvel is going strong. I heard Stan Lee has given his final official cameo, which is unfortunate but understood considering his age.

Which brings me to an old Spider-man comic I happened across. One of the early ones, in the first couple hundred. Stan Lee had his column in the comics, and I just happened to read this one from the 60s or 70s, where he informs readers he’ll be stepping back from the comic creation side of things to focus more on expanding Marvel. Then he goes on to tell how he wants more Marvel, comics, books, TV shows, movies. And it hits me: this creative man has seen his vision slowly come to life, and then expand more and more. What he outlined many years ago has come about. Sure, there have been times when comics were more popular, and there have been various TV shows and movies over the years. Nothing like the past decade though. It’s impressive, and really impresses on you that Stan Lee has been one of the most influential people in entertainment for a very long time.

So to continue with the comic theme, I found myself looking for Superheroes the past year. I checked through the animated section of Netflix streaming, and while there were the expected too-childish and too-pointless ones, there are some real gems that are worth watching even as an adult.

Young Justice, actually a DC show, combines fantastic writing and a great plot (season one) with teen heroes. Not teen versions of heroes, but sidekicks and other characters. It has excellent plotting and a great story arc, and is not in any way a gag show.

Iron Man: Armored Adventures is aimed at a slightly younger audience, but that doesn’t hinder it. It makes Tony Stark a teen and has a different animation style, but once you get used to both it stands out as having a strong plot and good writing. The characters also develop well. It’s a fun show, especially when there are so many others that try to seem fun, but are just repetitive.

Finally I watched the show, The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Talk about a surprise. This at first appears to be more typical, but the writing, the characters, and the plots just make it great. Until the final ten or so episodes of the second season where Man of Action start writing for the show (MoA tend to be too episodic and aimed much more directly at children and weekly shows for my taste), and that’s where the plots stop and the episodic pointlessness begin. There is a follow-up show, Assemble, that isn’t worth watching. But the first season and a half of EMH is fantastic, and a string of interesting plots, characters that interact and develop, and arcs.

There’s something special about superhero shows, whether in animation or acted. They give creative freedom, making plots, arcs, and characters that exist outside the confines of reality. But the ones that are amazing are the ones that have all the fantastical elements on top of great writing, thoughtful storytelling, ultimately real characters, and plots that fill arcs. There aren’t many out there, but I appreciate that the comic book guys are trying harder than ever to make something good. It really is an old guy’s dream come to life. Now to see what this year brings.

Posted in Self, Writing | Leave a comment