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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HoB: Waiting for #6

January 8, 2015

Nobody’s perfect.

In Book V: The Temple of the Exploding Head, the heroine of the story, Lady Sammidoran of Monama, is transformed into a homicidal Berserkacide bent on killing her love, Lord Kabyl of Blanchefort. The Berserkacide detested everything Sam loved. It hated “Kay” most of all, and he shot her dead in the ruins of the House of Bodice.

Sam waiting in the Grove at the foot of Carahil's statue (Painting by Fantasio)

Sam waiting in the Grove at the foot of Carahil’s statue (Painting by Fantasio)

Without revealing too much, Sam was returned from the dead about a year later, resuming her relationship with Kay, eventually marrying him in a grand ceremony. Certainly a happy ending.

But wait …

Though it’s not covered in the pages of the book, a lot of things happened in the year or so Sam was in her tomb on Dead Hill. Life, reluctantly, went on. Kay, though heartbroken at the loss of Sam, was an eligible young man, a sought-after prize, and many sought to take his hand. One of the prime suitors, hand selected and approved by Kay’s mother, Countess Sygillis of Blanchefort, was an ex-Black Hat and member of the Xandarr 44 Sisterhood named Domeneau of Holly, or #6 as she was designated within the Xandarr 44 sisterhood.

#6 (sketch by Carol Phillips)

#6 (sketch by Carol Phillips)

She had met Kay briefly while he was visiting the King and Queen of Xandarr. She found him handsome and suitably demure in a Vith-like manner. She made it known to Kay her door would be “unlocked” should he choose to pass through it, though he did not take her up on her offer. Several months later, #6 and a group of her adopted sisters, made the trip to Kana to pray at foot of Carahil‘s statue in the Blanchefort Telmus Grove. The Xandarr 44 had an open invitation to visit the Grove whenever they wished, as they considered Carahil, their savior during the Battle of Xandarr, to be a god. During her visit to the grove, #6 encountered Kay, he wandering alone in the tree-lined passes, lost and still grieving over Sam’s death. Before the day was out, Kay would take solace in #6’s arms. They made love, they would make love many times, #6 occupying Kay’s bed frequently. Once, they made love on Sam’s tomb.

It became a foregone conclusion, that #6 would become the next countess of Blanchefort. She even had a great number of her clothes sent to the castle.

But then, there was Sam, laughing, smiling, back from the dead, ready to resume her life with Kay as if nothing had happened. Sam was in, #6 was out, and she wasn’t happy about it.

As Sam discovered what had transpired while she was dead, she became rather put-off. Sam has quite a possessive and jealous streak and, in her private discussions with Kay’s sister, Lady Kilos of Blanchefort, revealed that she would have hoped that Kay would have grieved over her for the rest of his life. She considered #6 a home-wrecker and a rootless usurping slut. She even thought that forgiving Kay for “cheating” on her while she was dead was a great display of character and charity on her part. Sam found the trunk full of #6’s clothes and sent them back to Xandarr in tatters.

Conversely, #6 developed an intense hatred of Sam, the woman to wouldn’t stay dead. She had been warned in Gods Temple that the spirit of Sam was nearby and would attempt to re-enter the realm of the living. Fearing Sam’s “recorporation”, she snared her tomb with StT’s, intending to re-kill her should Sam rise from her grave. Obviously, her efforts failed terribly.

Sam developed an intense desire to confront and kill #6. She wasn’t proud of those feelings and kept them to herself. She took to creeping out to Carahil’s statue in the Grove to wait and see if #6 showed up to pray. Sometimes she would sit out there all night, waiting in the dark with her claws sharpened.

Sam’s strained relationship with #6 is further explored in LoE Book 10: the House of Bloodstein, coming soon from Loconeal publishing.

copyright 2015: Ren Garcia, Carol Phillips and Fantasio

Sorry I’ve been away–the Con Season has been a pill.

"Tree of Life" by Ewelina Dolzycka.  The plot of Book II is told in this mural, with Carahil in the center as protector, the Planet Xandarr the object of his protection, and, in the wings, a weeping Maiax.

“Tree of Life” by Ewelina Dolzycka. The plot of Book II is told in this mural, with Carahil in the center as protector, the Planet Xandarr the object of his protection, and, in the wings, a weeping Maiax.

Book II, “The Hazards of the Old Ones” is the tale of Carahil and his quest to save the planet Xandarr. Running throughout the book in the background is the story of the god-turned-demon Maiax and the House of Bodice and the terrible tragedy that befalls them. The story is intended to be a parable of sorts, illustrating what happens when the gods interfere too much in the doings of mortal man. Carahil himself makes frequent reference to the story, using it as a cautionary tale in his own efforts to save Xandarr.

The story goes like this:

In 099989EX, the House of Bodice found themselves beset by demons. Their land in the northern Hala region of Kana went bad and they heard never-ceasing drums in the night. They went to the Sisterhood of Light for help, but were politely turned away. The Sisters did not believe their lurid tales–certainly they were over-exaggerating. (As it turns out, the Bodice’ land was sitting directly over the terrible Temple of the Exploding Head, and the demons they saw were the comings and goings of the Killanjo, the skinless servants of the Horned God who lived there.)

"Maiax Deceives the Bodice", by Justine Marie Hedman

“Maiax Deceives the Bodice”, by Justine Marie Hedman

Eventually, the demons became bold and tried to capture the Bodice and drag them below to the Temple where they could be offered up as sacrifice. Just as the Bodice were being carried off to their fate, a great creature came from the sky. It was Maiax, a god in the form of a gigantic elephant. He had seen the Bodice’ misfortune and had taken pity on them. Fierce and terrible, the demons rightly feared Maiax and they fled. Maiax became the patron god of the Bodice and he defended them faithfully for years. The LosCapricos weapon of the House of Bodice became the MAIAX, a little soapstone carving of an elephant that would summon Maiax himself when needed.

"Maiax in Flames" by Ewelina Dolzycka  Storytellers eventually cast Maiax as a liar and deceiver who personally oversaw the death of the Bodice

“Maiax in Flames” by Ewelina Dolzycka. Storytellers eventually cast Maiax as a liar and deceiver who personally oversaw the death of the Bodice

The problem with this arrangement was that Maiax was violating the Universal Rule of Balance. The gods cannot directly intervene on behalf of man. As a god, Maiax should have inspired the Bodice, provided leadership and offered advice, not directly defended them. In doing so, he brought a fearsome fate down upon their House, and they were all eventually burned alive in the Temple after first having been made to slowly starve and go mad in the cold emptiness of space. Once the Bodice were all dead, Maiax himself was punished by the Celestial Arborium. He was turned into a demon and sent to the Windage of Kind–the hell of the gods.

The Sisterhood of Light realized they failed the House of Bodice. They erected a statue in the ruins of their manor and created the holiday St. Porter's Day in their honor (art by Carol Phillips)

The Sisterhood of Light realized they failed the House of Bodice and erected a statue in the ruins of their manor. They created the holiday St. Porter’s Day in their honor (art by Carol Phillips)

In time, Maiax’ role in the death of the Bodice changed. Over three thousand years of telling and retelling the story, Maiax became not a protector of the House, but a deceiver, a liar, a demon revealing in their destruction who personally oversaw their deaths in the temple. When the Sisterhood of Light created St. Porter’s Day in their honor, they placed it at the extreme opposite end of the calendar as Maiax’ traditional feast day, to separate them as far as possible from their “destroyer”.

Eventually, Maiax escaped the Windage, along with Barr, the monkey god, Ibilex the crane and Mabsornath, the cat goddess. The foursome dogged Carahil as he attempted to save Xandarr and even tried to tempt him into becoming a demon himself. Carahil soon turned the tables on them and reminded Maiax of the tragedy of the Bodice. Still feeling the weight of their deaths, Maiax collapsed in misery. Carahil eventually forced the Celestial Arborium to forgive Maiax and the rest, to give them a second chance. Maiax though, was unable to forgive himself.

The story has a happy ending. Gathering his courage, Maiax goes to the spirits of the Bodice in Paradise to beg them for forgiveness (something he was forbidden to do as a demon). To his surprise, they are overjoyed to see him. They surround him and sing his name. They tell Maiax the one thing they lacked in paradise was him, and that they had missed him. He joins them in celebration forever.

copyright 2013, Ren Garcia, Ewelina Dolzycka, Justine Marie Hedman, Carol Phillips

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", by Felipe Montecinos

“Carahil”, by Felipe Montecinos

Of all the various characters roaming around the LoE Universe, Carahil appears to be the most sympathetic and well-loved. He’s a cool guy, has a heart, has a sense of humor, and he’s always ready to give of himself. He’s reformed the cold hearts of wayward goddesses and saved whole planets. For that reason, he tends to strike a chord with readers. You never know what might happen when he’s in the area–could be anything.

There are several aspects of the character you may or may not be aware of:

Carahil 1 (Carol Phillips)

Carahil 1 (Carol Phillips)

CARAHIL 1: The original Carahil, or Carahil 1, appeared only for a brief period of time in LoE Book 1. He was a scavenger living in the dregs of Sygillis of Metatron‘s temple, eating the dead bodies she created in abundance. Occasionally, when driven by hunger, he would take one of Sygillis’ Hulgismen guards. He was basically a big rat. When Syg was turned from evil and the Shadow tech of her temple changed to Silver, Carahil too was enlightened. He grew in size, became intelligent and powerful with Silver tech. He carried Captain Davage aloft into battle and, when Syg’s temple escaped the desolation of Metatron, Carahil 1 escaped as well and was, from the reader’s perspective, never seen again. We can only hope he had a happy ending out there somewhere along with his friends. Notice he is quite large, and has a natural, somewhat predatory appearance diminished a bit with a benevolent expression. Aside from his size, strength and ability to fly, Carahil 1 had none of the amazing abilities Carahil 2 would one day possess.

Carahil 2 (Carol Phillips)

Carahil 2 (Carol Phillips)

CARAHIL 2: Though he only knew him for a short time, Carahil 1 had a great influence on Captain Davage. Davage would often speak of Carahil at dinnertime, how he had admired him and considered him a benevolent soul and a friend, and that he missed him. Sitting at the table listening to all of this, was Captain Davage’s sister, Lady Poe. As a Silver tech female of growing power, Lady Poe loved creating little animals in Silver tech, and she was inspired by her brother’s tales. She decided to give Carahil back to Davage as a gift. She spent months collecting thoughts and recollections direct from Davage’s head, placing them into an ancient Vith fountain in the Telmus Grove. As she worked, Lady Poe became particularly devoted to the “Carahil Project” and was determined to make him “something special”. She gave him great wisdom, knowledge of magic and lore, and even threw in knowledge of cooking, sewing, botany, alchemy, and animal husbandry. Still not satisfied, Lady Poe wanted to give her masterpiece “a proper heart” She wanted him to be kind, to have a love of life, though she didn’t quite know where to get such a thing.

Carahil, as a human, with a pregnant Mabsornath (Carol Phillips)

Carahil, as a human, with a pregnant Mabsornath (Carol Phillips)

She would soon have an answer. The kitchen staff had an old bloodhound they called “Cookie” who was known for her gentle disposition and willingness to mother lost animals. The staff often brought her lost kittens, and Cookie would mother them until they were big enough to fend for themselves. Cookie was old and, as she lay dying, Lady Poe took her essence and placed it into the fountain as the final ingredient. Soon, Carahil 2 emerged from the fountain.

Lady Poe was delighted with Carahil and considered him to be her first child. She created a number of medallions which would summon carahil when needed. Carahil 2 brimmed with power. He loved rescuing small animals and nursing them back to health. He also had a love of jokes and pranks. His favorite prank was stealing gowns from Countess Sygillis’ wardrobe and hanging them from a flagpole.

Carahil’s abilities have never been fully tapped or displayed. He is powerful enough to be invited to join the Celestial Arborium, an organization of gods seeking to maintain Universal Balance. Carahil follows the rules of Universal law preventing him from using his abilities to their full extent. He is known to change his shape at will, become larger or smaller, use TK, control the weather, control animals, travel vast distances in moments, become ethereal or astral, ward away evil and destroy Shadow tech.

XANDARR:
Carahil took an active role in saving the Planet Xandarr from a Black Hat attack. Ever after Carahil was considered the protective patron god of the planet.

Carahil and his family (Felipe Montecinos)

Carahil and his family (Felipe Montecinos)

CARAHIL’S FAMILY: Carahil eventually took up with Mabsornath, the Cat-Goddess and together they had seven children. Their children were all very powerful, including Lannis, the Herald of the Gods and Atha who became a goddess of unluck, misfortune and impossible quests.

CARAHIL’S TEMPLES:
There are a number of mystical places associated with Carahil. The places are usually fun and filled with Carahil’s light. The Mystery Library in Castle Blanchefort, 1000 Carahil Park and its Gift Shop on Xandarr have both been confirmed as temples dedicated to Carahil.

There is another place associated with Carahil that is very frightening and dangerous, the Cathedral of Bone and Wire where a hideous demonic beast resides. How Carahil could be associated with such a dark place is not currently known.

copyright 2013, Ren Garcia, Carol phillips and Felipe Montecinos

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

Carahil’s Daughter

October 4, 2012

As many people know full well, raising a child can be a trying and difficult undertaking. Children can be a veritable bundle of dynamite ready to explode at any moment despite one’s best efforts to diffuse them.

“Atha” by Fantasio

Such is the same with the gods. The gods, too, sometimes have issues raising their children.

Take Carahil for example. Often considered a child himself, Carahil lost his heart to the Windwalker Mabsornath, the Cat Goddess of Zall 88 and they went off to the top of the Universal Tree and were wed. With marriage came children, seven of them in fact, four girls and three boys. Most of them were somber, thoughtful children, aware and weighed down with the burden and responsibility of being gods and the power the comes with it.

And then there was Atha. The youngest of the lot, Atha was an enigma to her parents in many ways. She most often chose to appear as a human instead of as an animal, as was the usual case: her brothers all appear as various types of seals, her sisters as wild cats. On occasion, Atha does appear as an animal, as a giant black snake, and, rarely, she appears as a cloud of smoke.

Most often, however, Atha chooses to appear as a human of changeable age, sometimes as a mischievous child and other times as a full-grown adult. In fact, she greatly resembles her grandmother, Lady Poe of Blanchefort, appearing tall and thin in a silvery gown and short platinum-blonde hair. Her one distinguishing feature–she always wears a pair of intricate, geared goggles as the ladies on Hoban often wear. The goggles are a constant feature whether Atha appears as a child or an adult, always perched on her nose covering a good portion of her face. Atha’s goggles are huge and protruding, rather like a pair of binoculars made of gold, silver and brass. It has been said that to see her eyes beneath the goggles is to go mad.

Atha shares much in common with her father. Atha keeps her word–if she promises something she follows through. She possesses his whimsy and unpredictable sense of fun and humor. She loves pranks and jokes, however, unlike her father whose pranks are always benign, Atha’s are anything but. She is selfish and self-absorbed, she is flighty as well, given to fits of rage and temper when things don’t go her way. According to various Hertog writings, she has a fascination with Vith heroes, both male and female, putting them through the wringer, literally torturing them (sometimes to death) with adventure and quest occasionally ruining their lives, and then, when she has had enough fun, she takes them into her bed and seduces them. Atha’s wanton promiscuity with the younger folk is well-known. In time, she became known in various pantheons as a goddess of mischief, of sex (and the misfortune of having sex) and questing.

Atha, also taking after her father, also has a habit as masquerading as other out-worldly entities, in particular, an entity known as the Shadow tech Goddess. Why she does such things is not known, though it is assumed such antics are for personal gain.

Carahil, though he loves his daughter, was beside himself and didn’t have a thought as to properly teach her not to do some of the things she often did. His solution to the problem was one many parents often make use of: he found Atha a “babysitter“, one whom he thought would teach Atha virtue and proper manners through deed and example. He therefore “dropped her off” at Castle Blanchefort to be taught by the people there and, with luck, her positive experiences would calm her down a little.

There she came under the tutelage of Maser of Blanchefort, his mentor and lover Laika of Stonebringer Tower, Sebastian of Tusck and Millicent of Blanchefort, a distant cousin of hers.

Would it do her any good–only time will tell.

copyright 2012, Ren Garcia and Fantasio

The Process of Cover Creation

February 16, 2012

Now that the Temple Trilogy is out in the world, we continue forward with LoE Book VI: The Sands of the Solar Empire. This is always my favorite time as we knock heads and come up with the design of the book. The manuscript is totally done–finished it about a year and a half ago. Of course as I go through the edited copy I’ll, do doubt, make a few changes here and there, but that’s all minor stuff.

It’s time to get the cover of the book going. The Cover creation goes in a very orderly progression, first from my head, then to Carol Phillips, then to sketch and then to paint.

I thought I’d illustrate the process using Book II, The Hazards of the Old Ones as a template.

1)–Concept
First I come up with an idea. I usually have several floating around in my head. I then give them to Carol and I let her pick out the ones she’s most interested in painting (you’ve got to keep your artist empowered and excited). In the case of the Hazards, I took a photo of my favorite idea. My wife standing there represents Lt. Kilos, Tweety is Carahil and my house represents the mountains. Usually my ideas are pretty simple and uncluttered–I leave it to Carol to fill up the composition. Note how I imagined the painting from directly behind the characters.

2)–Sketch
Carol then comes up with a series of simple sketches which get progressively more detailed until we come up with a final sketch. I give Carol a fair amount of freedom and her final product is almost always much more elaborate than what I had initially dreamed up. Note how Carol has tilted Lt. Kilos and Carahil so that you can see their faces, she also sketched the Mountains much differently than I had envisioned them. That’s part of the creative process–things never quite turn out exactly as you originally thought they would.

At this stage of the process being small comes into its own. We don’t have a legal department or a Board of Executives or a line of editors waiting to throw their two-cents in–we do what feels right without having to get it past a committee. What you eventually see, for good or ill, is exactly how we intended it to be.

3)–Painting.
This is by far the longest part of the process. Carol Phillips usually takes about two and a half months to complete a cover from end to end. I try to leave her alone during this grueling part of the game, but it’s unbearable sometimes–like waiting for Christmas to roll around. Fortunately, Carol has a lot of patience with me. Note: we always choose to make use of a Wrap Cover, one that goes all the we around from the front, across the spine to the back.

4–Nixies
We almost always come up with a few extras that we hadn’t thought of at the outset. I sit there and dream something up, pitch it to Carol and then she adds it in. Often times these Nixies don’t jive with the continuity of the story, but we toss them in anyway because we think they look cool. In this example you can see the reflection of Mabs the Cat Goddess in Carahil’s shiny body. That was a late add-in.

Building the cover is always a labor of love, but the end result is always worth it.

Bowl Naked
RG

copyright 2012, Ren Garcia and Carol Phillips

Every person should know their limitations, and I know mine–I really, really suck at blurbing. I can write 300,000 word tomes, but God help me if I have to sum the damn thing up in 200 words or less. I go blank. I panic.

So here, for good or for ill is the rough back cover marketing blurb for Book V, The Temple of the Exploding Head. I have no idea if it’s any good or not. Thoughts appreciated.

copyright 2011, Ren Garcia

Book V in the Temple of the Exploding Head series begins in a strange place.

"Carahil sees the Temple of the Exploding Head" by Carol Phillips

Carahil and Mabs (the infamous Cat Goddess of Zall 88) have journeyed to the Library of Time, a distant place where they have heard the story of all beings lives are written out from beginning to end and may be read like a book. Carahil and Mabs are gods (Carahil being a Nargal and Mabs being a Wind-Walker) but they have little knowledge of the intricacies of Time. Mabs is pregnant with their children and they’ve come to the Library to determine how best to raise their children; as gods or as unsuspecting younger folk.

At the Library, they meet the Proprietors: a mysterious pair named Fiddler Crow and Queen Wendilnight. They are admitted and allowed to see the story of their lives.

…And Carahil is appalled at what he sees. An Age of Blood where the Gods are gone and an insane evil spirit has lease to do what he pleases leading, eventually, to the end of the Universe. Carahil sees himself framed for crimes he didn’t commit, and then, of all things, he sees himself being eaten alive in a city of Many Forms.

The Proprietors see Carahil’s distress. He asks them if he can do something about this, if he could “fix” this bad future that’s coming. Fiddler Crow tells him it’s not possible to change the future and he will simply have to live with it.

However, Queen Wendilnight takes pity on Carahil and offers to help him in return for their service at a later time. Carahil and Mabs agree, and Queen Wendilnight shows them into the Time Tunnel Room. There, Carahil comes face to face with the time tunnel responsible for creating the bad future: the Temple of the Exploding Head and the Horned God who lives there.

copyright 2011, Ren Garcia and Carol Phillips