CBM: Old Lady Anabrax

July 4, 2018

After taking a hiatus of several years, we’re finally rolling on Carahil’s Busy Morning 3: Old Lady Anabrax. This time the illustrations are being handled by that amazing Canadian, Ewelina Dolzycka.

cbm-englishOnce again, the main character in the story is Carahil’s youngest daughter, Atha.  This time, the precocious Atha has incurred the considerable wrath of Old Lady Anabrax, the scary old lady who lives alone down the lane.

35192871_10155544182336367_3723343982541930496_nWhat does the giant old woman want with Atha? Only time will tell.

This outing is my favorite CBM story to date, one teaching  the merits of responsibility, accountability and, most of all, friendship.

It is, without a doubt, a bittersweet story that will tug on the heart-strings a little.

As with the other characters in the story, Anabrax is a character appearing in the League of Elder science fiction books. She was a member of the Celestial Arborium, and was often known as the Mole Goddess. It was Anabrax, digging through the ground on Kana, who happened upon the hidden Temple of the Exploding Head and was eventually killed by the Golden People.

CBM 3: Old Lady Anabrax should be available by mid 2019.

copyright 2018, Ren Garcia and Ewelina Dolzycka

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It’s odd. I’ve been working on the latest LoE manuscript: The Shadow tech Goddess for almost three years. It’s been, by far, the longest slog I’ve ever had in writing a book.

"Carahil's Busy Morning" (Artwork by Carapaulo)

“Carahil’s Busy Morning” (Artwork by Carapalou)

And then, there’s Carahil’s Busy Morning, a children’s book I decided to write on a lark which took me about five minutes to finish.

Well, not so fast, let me explain…

I’d learned a few things going to shows over the years. One: books that really sell are YA and children’s. I hate to say it, but that does seem to be the case. Most of the people browsing around are parents looking to buy a book for their kids. My science fiction books (richly illustrated by Carol Phillips) tend to catch the eye, People passing by often stop, pick one up, and ask “Are these books for kids?”

Kids?? Of course I could have lied and said “Sure … kids will love these.” My LoE series is not for kids–too much violence, too much darkness floating around. It is what it is.

But then I thought about it. One character that is a continual ray of fresh light in the series is Carahil, the Great Nargal Spirit and patron god of the House of Blanchefort. Just a big kid himself, Carahil would do well in a children’s series, and if I ever got around to writing one he would be the subject matter. I put that thought on the back burner and let it simmer.

Carahil and Mabs beginning their life together (Carol Phillips)

Carahil and Mabs beginning their life together (Carol Phillips)

Over time, I wondered about Carahil and his jolly face emblazoned in the pages of a kid’s book. What would the book be about? Would kids understand Carahil’s supernatural origins? Would they identify with his cosmic, star-faring ways?

It occurred to me that all the weirdness in the world really doesn’t matter much, as long as there is a familiar framework in which to paint and give it perspective. And, what could be more familiar than a nuclear family setting–a father, a mother, the kids and all the pressures and situations that come along with such a setting. A family of odd creatures in space is really just the same as the family next door. I began thinking about Carahil’s family.

I knew that Carahil had taken up with Mabsornath, the Cat Goddess seen in LoE Book II: The Hazards of the Old Ones. Mabs was actually the main bad guy in the book, plotting the destruction of the planet Xandarr. Being the straight shooter that he is, Carahil managed to turn Mabs around. In the end, they became close, eventually committing themselves to each other and mutually sharing their secrets (a very big deal among the gods). As the LoE Series progresses, we see Mabs pregnant, and, eventually, the proud mother of seven children. In a vision, Captain Davage and Countess Sygillis see them playing at her feet.

Atha, as a sultry adult and as an innocent child (Fantasio and Carapalou)

Atha, as a sultry adult and as an innocent child (Fantasio and Carapalou)

That’s all I had, Carahil’s children aren’t seen again … until I began writing The House of Bloodstein. In the Temple of the Gods on Xandarr, Lord Kabyl, Lady Sarah and Lord Phillip of Blanchefort go seeking Carahil’s help. Instead of Carahil emerging, a tall, sultry woman with short blonde hair and a glowing visor over her eyes appeared. I immediately knew who it was: Atha, the youngest daughter of Carahil. Unlike her father, Atha is a mysterious and somewhat ominous presence. Her motives are unclear. To prove to Kay that she is in fact Carahil’s daughter, she takes him to Carahil’s Gift Shop in 1000 Carahil Park and shows him a children’s book where she is depicted as a little girl in Carahil’s household. The book was a light-hearted family farce called “Carahil’s Busy Morning” where Atha, as a precocious kid, tends to stir up innocent trouble.

So, then I had it, all at once. I had the characters and I had the setting. In five minutes of working on my manuscript, I also dreamed up a 1000 word story of Carahil and Mabs raising their seven children at the Top of the Universe, encountering surprises, and teaching their kids important lessons. It was the easiest writing I’ve ever done. It just felt right.

Dreaming something up and writing it down is the easy part, turning it into a living, breathing story is hard. As it’s only a 1000 words, the story would need to be driven by the artwork, and that would take an artist of exceptional skill. My good friend BeaKimera, an amazing Manga artist and a representative of many others soon had the solution. Bea embraced this project and showed real enthusiasm. She had a whole portfolio of artists for me to look at, all of whom were immensely talented–one, though, was the clear choice, with a clean Manga style and a flair for story-telling: Carapalou.

Seven months and a lot of hard work later, here we are with a finished book, each page a masterpiece. The end of a long, hard road in publishing is an ISBN and a barcode. CBM now has those things and I can’t wait to share it with the world.

Carahil’s Busy Morning will be available in late June from Loconeal Publishing.

copyright 2013, Ren Garcia, Carapalou, Fantasio and Carol Phillips.

Carahil’s Busy Morning

December 3, 2012

As the LoE Universe has expanded, Carahil has become one of my more popular characters. Smiling and affable, his pure soul and innocent spirit just tends to make people happy.

Carahil and his family, by Felipe Montecinos

Carahil and his family, by Felipe Montecinos

I did a show in Cleveland last year. A question that kept coming up: “Do you have anything for kids?” Of course, the answer to that question was a resounding “NO!” As the rest of the day progressed I thought about it and, slowly, ideas entered my head.

A children’s story?

Should such a thing exist, the clear candidate for such a story immediately presented himself: Carahil, as he is basically a big kid himself. I had written in a small sub-story in the Temple Trilogy about Carahil, that he had taken up with Mabsornath, the Cat Goddess , and that Mabs was pregnant. I decided to develop Carahil and Mabs’ children, coming up with seven of them. In a sort of Lady and the Tramp, moment, all of their sons are seal-type creatures and all of their daughters are cats, except for one: Atha. I saw Atha in my head as the youngest of the group and the most chaotic. Of all of them she is the only one who prefers to appear as a goggle-wearing human child instead of in their usual animal shapes. In the novels, Atha is a seductive, rather unpredictable siren, for the children’s book, she is simply an innocent, precocious kid who, unlike her brothers and sisters, isn’t afraid to make use of her goddess-like power.

For the first book, Carahil’s Busy Morning, Chilean artist Felipe Montecinos will be doing the drawing. It should be ready by June, 2013

copyright 2012, Ren Garcia