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

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The LoE Second Series is fast in production with Book VI, The Sands of the Solar Empire coming out in June, 2012.

"Private Taara" by Fantasio

The Second Series, though placed in the same universe as the original series, deals with a whole new cast of characters, and one of my personal favorites is Private Taara.

Unlike many of characters dealt with in previous LoE books, Private Taara is not rich, nor does she have rich friends and know rich people, she is a kid from Bazz, the Naples, Italy of the League. The people of Bazz do not make use of the feudal Great House system seen on Kana and Hoban, instead Bazzers are all considered commoners. As such, Taara has a first and last name, a rarity in the League. Her full name is: Taara de la Anderson.

Her mother was a fruit vendor and her father distilled zemuda, a cheap, brain-wrenching spirit known for causing severe constipation in the guts of those who indulge too much. Taara was a small kid, pretty with a tom-boy’s body. She was a rowdy kid, a clutz and rather a dim bulb. The only activity she excelled in as a tweener was stealing things, which she often indulged in. She was sent off three times to children’s disciplinary camps digging clams on the shores of the Endax Sea.

Taara eventually is transformed into a "goddess-like" woman (Eve Ventrue)

Taara’s uncle ran a successful Apothecary in Benson-Benson, known for brewing the “Potion of the Gods”, a rare tincture said to supercharge a male’s virility and ensure a mighty son. The apothecary was eventually destroyed by a fire and Taara, who was there that day, was blamed for it. Beliving her to be a jinx, Taara was sent off into the Stellar Marines, hoping they might instill some manners in her.

As a Marine, Taara was a disaster. Lax and uninterested, she often got her company in trouble, causing them all to be disciplined. They took to calling her “MOM”, for “Maiden of Misery” and she was loathed from top to bottom. She was eventually assigned to lowly guard duty in Fleet headquarters in the city of Armenelos, where it was thought she couldn’t get into trouble. They often made her stand in a corner to guard a bust of the infamous Admiral Pax.

After once again getting her unit in the dog house with command and forced to wear a “MOM” sign around her neck,

Taara couldn’t know that her life was about to change forever when the tall man wearing a long green coat and a Robber’s Mask wandered into her area.

copyright 2012, Ren Garcia, Fantasio and Eve Ventrue

Today I got the last pieces of artwork from my Sister-in-Crime, Carol Phillips for LoE Book V: The Temple of the Exploding Head.

Book V is done, now just to get it formatted and on the shelves and its history.

Looking back on it–what an undertaking TOTEH was. It is, by far, the biggest and most complex story I’ve ever attempted to write, and, prior to The Shadow tech Goddess, was the most grueling, most time-consuming manuscript I’ve ever written. It began, literally, with nothing but a title and underwent massive changes several times during its maturation to the point that I was ready to pull my hair out in frustration and delete it altogether.

So, what follows is a commentary and revelation on many aspects of the story as they came and went and you’ll bear witness to the story and characters from its tentative genesis to its current incarnation.

GENESIS:
I began working on TOTEH in early 2008. Usually as I get to the last quarter of a manuscript, I begin wondering about the next book; what is it? What will it be? Will there even be a next book? I normally find myself bereft of new ideas as I end a manuscript–it’s like the gas tank is totally empty. As I finished up Sygillis of Metatron, I fretted over The Hazards. Likewise, as I finished The Hazards, I wondered what was next. Surely Carahil’s saving of Xandarr wasn’t the end of the LoE universe–was it??

Little things I encounter cause big inspiration and my mind turned to a tale I called “The Shadow tech Goddess“. I liked the title, but was having issues formulating a story for TStG so I set her aside (I would set her aside two more times before finally settling in and writing her story).

I remembered loving an AD&D adventure called “The Temple of Elemental Evil” that I played in college. I never forgot the name, it stuck with me through the years. Eventually the “Temple of the Exploding Head” entered my mind. I had no idea what the name meant, I just liked it. So, with nothing but a title, I opened a new file one day and began what would eventually become a 450,000 word manuscript taking a little over a year to form into a first draft.

INITIAL PLOT:

The Cursed Captain Plotline: I started the manuscript having no plot. I knew I wanted to move on from Captain Davage and Syg a little, so I decided upon centering the story on their son, Lord Kabyl who was first mentioned in Book II. I floundered about for months. One of the issues I had was something I’d never encountered before: publication. As Sygillis of Metatron was going through publication I found the process was swallowing up much of my time. In fact, I often went months without even looking at TOTEH. I found myself growing distant from the story and disinterested. The initial plot I came up with was that an unknown group seeking revenge placed Captain Davage into a Death Curse, and it was up to Kay and his cousins to uncover the perpetrators and save Captain D. This “Cursed Captain” plot-line was how I initially structured the story.

"The Machine" plotline was a late-comer

The Machine Plotline: “The Machine” plotline eventually won out and drove the story. However, the Machine itself was very late in coming and didn’t exist as a concept until many drafts into the story. The Machine plot-line felt right and I cast aside the “Cursed Captain” in favor of it.

THE ANTAGONISTS:
It took me forever to figure out who the bad guys were.

Bethrael of Moane: My first thought was to make good-guy Bethrael of Moane the main bad guy of the tale. My thought was that Beth had secretly been in love with Captain Davage for years but never could make any headway with him as he was with Syg. She then decided to court Captain Davage’s son, Kay, and when he rejected her for Sam, she lost her mind a little. The oiled, feathered High Priestess seen in the Temple at the beginning of the story was originally Beth. But, I couldn’t do that to Beth, so I discarded that idea and let her remain a good guy. The one remaining vestige of her sexual connection to Kay is the touching of her Silver tech which drove her into a frenzy.

The Horned God: The Horned God started out life as a benevolent elemental spirit of lightning who had been summoned by the Kestral Oligarchy and forced to do bad things. In the first drafts Carahil and the Horned Gods were friends, though they served differing factions. I found the Horned God to be unbearably boring, so I eventually “upped” the voltage and made him one of the main bad guys of the story soaked in evil.

Killanjo: The skinless and gross henchmen of the Kestrals, the Killanjo started out as mere apparitions. A Killanjo was spell cast upon a person by a practitioner skilled at focusing their mental energy. The Killanjo once cast, would sit invisibly on the shoulder of the victim and attack later in their dreams. Sam, in the first draft, was skilled at creating Killanjo and she was to place a Killanjo on the shoulder of Captain Davage. As I abandoned the original incarnation of the story, I kept the concept of the Killanjo, transforming them into grotesque, skinless monsters.

The Kestral Oligarchy: The Kestrals have been around since the beginning as rabid, golden-skinned inhabitants of the Temple. At some point I turned them into aliens with unknowable logic and an undecipherable language. As I settled on the Horned God as the Main Bad Guy, they sort of fell by the wayside, but then I had a moment of clarity and added the Kestral’s horrid City of Many Forms and they peaked my interest at just the right time.

The Spectres: “Punks” from Xaphan space and Black Hat underlings, the Spectres once played a much more active role in the story being a usual antagonist of Kay and his cousins. Sam herself was a Spectre at one point. But, as the story evolved away from the “Cursed Captain” plot-line, the Spectres were mostly cut out.

The Circle of Five: The what???? The Who???? The Circle of Five was to be the main bad guys of Book IV. A criminal element pervasive through the League the Circle was the mysterious group responsible for the “Cursed Captain” plot-line. When Sam led Kay into Grove, she was originally leading him out to meet the Circle of Five. I could never get a good feeling for the Circle and I discarded them in favor of “The Machine” plot which eventually drove the story to its conclusion. I did reuse the names of the Five for the various Black Hats seen in the city of Waam in Book IV. So, for a long time, Book IV was known as “The Trials of the Circle of Five”.

The Monamas: The Monamas were initially minor bad guys doing the Circle of Five’s bidding. They weren’t black-eyed and clawed at the time–they looked like anybody else. However, as I transformed Sam into a Monama, I also added their unusual appearance and attributes.

The Bersekacides: Berserkacides started life as typical zombies. As I modified the Monamas into alien creatures, I also added to the concept of the Berserkacide.

THE CHARACTERS AND THEIR SECRETS:

Kay: A storyline that cropped up in The Hazards of the Old Ones” was Syg’s pregnancy with a boy they would one day name Kabyl. I decided to focus the story on Kay and make it a coming of age story. I wanted to make Kay flawed and imperfect, an odd counter-point to his formidable parents.

Lt. Verlin: I initially planned to make the Marine Lt. Verlin Kay’s love interest. With that in mind, I decided to add a chapter to Book II discussing Lt. Verlin and some of her history in detail (Lt. Verlin’s Hero). The problem was I couldn’t make Kay and “V” gel–it was like a bad date you want to be over. I tried and tried and eventually gave up. I wrote V out and never looked back.

Thanks to Sarah of Blanchefort, I continued on and finished the MS.

Sarah: I came up with the idea for the feisty but loyal Sarah after watching actress Sarah Bolger in “The Spiderwick Chronicles”. Oddly, it the was insertion of Sarah into the book that really reignited my interest for this storyline. I’d become rather put off by the MS and it was the addition of Sarah that got me going again.

Phillip: I modeled Phillip after San Diego Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers. Don’t ask me why, I just did, end of story.

Lt. Kilos: The presence of Lt Kilos was a big comfort for me, like wearing a comfy pair of shoes. In the Cursed Captain plotline, she was sort of a background character and stayed with the dying Captain Davage. As I made the change to The Machine plotline, I decided I wanted Ki standing at Kay’s side, and hence the big fight at the bar that will be seen in Book V.

Captain Davage/Syg: Captain Davage originally spent most of the story flat on his back, dying from a mysterious curse. Syg, seeing her husband dying, lost her mind. I restored his health in The Machine plotline and he and Syg conduct a parallel investigation in the background.

Thomasina the 19th: Thomasina existed in the story for a long time, especially during the “Cursed Captain” days. After I abandoned that plotline, I had no idea what to do with her–I even considered cutting her for a while. Eventually, it occurred to me to take the demure church-going woman from Saga and change her into a slightly crazed, green-haired Xaphan woman.

"Joy" inherited Sam's original look

Sam: Of all characters, it was Sam who underwent the most radical and all-encompassing changes from beginning to end, such that she is unrecognizable from when I started. Sam did not begin life as a powerful Monama princess, quite the opposite–Sam was a lowly servant in a Calvert laundry room with bad eyesight. I actually liked Sam as she was and I was heartbroken to cut away her best scenes hauling laundry and transform her into a clawed, black-eyed Monama. (I resurrected Sam’s original look with Joy–the Black Hat staying at Aunt Pardock’s castle. Joy looks exactly as Sam once did). Her shy nature also resembles Sam’s.

Sam was adept at creating Killanjo, little mental automatons that could cause misfortune. Sam was recruited into the Spectres and was tasked with placing a Death Killanjo on the shoulder of Captain Davage. Sam couldn’t go through with it and the Killanjo she created was full of goodness. Countess Sygillis detected Sam’s Killanjo and imprisoned it in a jar kept in a hidden room in the castle. When Kay first heard Sam’s voice in the chapel, he was hearing the voice of her Killanjo–in fact the first part of the story was originally called “The Lady in the Bottle.”

I’ve added a selection with Sam in her original incarnation in the FREE SECTION, so, if you want to see Sam as she was, give it a read.

Book V, The Temple of the Exploding Head, will be released in early 2012 by Loconeal Publishing.

Bowl Naked
RG
copyright 2011, Ren Garcia

The Gray Note

February 12, 2011

Perhaps you’ll understand what I’m about to share with you, and perhaps you won’t.

I often seek something I call The Gray Note. What is it?? It’s a sound that, when you hear, it takes you away, time forgotten, and your mind begins working at an incredible pace and in a rare harmony. My mentor at Ohio State told me about the existence of the Gray Note–that it was something he experienced once years before and had sought it out ever since. You never simply hear the Gray Note, it pulls you inside, like the embrace of an ancestor, and once you’re there conception is unbound and you’ve access to places in your own imagination never visited before–places you didn’t know existed. It’s like unlocking a hidden floor in a department store, full of treasures, where the public normally isn’t permitted to see.

Roebling Bridge (Cincinnati, Ohio)

I encountered it once on the Roebling Bridge in Cincinnati, Ohio about ten years ago. The bridge doesn’t have a paved roadway, instead it’s simply a segmented metal grate with large square holes through which you can see the rushing waters of the Ohio River far below. Cars rolling across this grated surface make the most incredible sound, full and mournful. On rainy days, when the air is thick, the sound sometimes changes a bit in timbre and becomes the Gray Note. I was walking across the bridge one rainy day and fell into it, standing there, mouth open, captivated, listening for hours, not wanting to come out of it. It was like an LSD trip, only without the drug, just a perfect communion of your mind and your senses. Eventually, the clouds parted and the sound changed, and I was dumped back to Earth, lamenting the perfection I’d experienced and then lost.

I often returned to the Roebling to try and recapture The Gray Note, but it never was the same, and I’ve looked for it ever since, always elusive and just beyond my reach. I’ve hunted it, like King Arthur’s Questing Beast.

Today, I found the Gray Note again, in an unexpected place.

My wife wanted to stop at Target and get a few things. I really didn’t want to go, but she insisted. We went inside and she grabbed a cart and started shopping. We made our way to the vast frozen food section, all the cases full of whirring fans, that droning staccato sound they made.

Target

That sound…

As we moved down the aisle, there it was, in just the right spot, I re-discovered the Gray Note, rich and proud, full of life and creation.

As before, I fell in. Vast new worlds opened up, I created entire novels, beginnings and endings. Whole lives danced in front of me. I could have died there …

And then my wife shook me and it was gone. She said I was standing there in a stupor, like I was catatonic.

And there I was, back on Earth.

“Did you hear it?” I asked her.

“Hear what? I just hear noise.”

And my hunt continues …

Bowl Naked

RG

The Yoda Way

January 20, 2011

Antioch College

I wanted to share this musing with you. I once saw something in Yellow Springs which I thought was really stupid at the time, but now, years later, I see the truth of it.

Yellow Springs is a pocket of profound liberalism tucked deep in the conservative gullet of Southwestern Ohio. Founded with the intention of being a Utopian Society, it’s like a weird Austin Powers movie brought to life where long hair, bad teeth and men who wear skirts is the norm rather than the exception. Ground Zero of all this strangeness is Antioch College, which often seems more like a bizarre cult or Celtic tribe right out of the Dark Ages rather than an institution of higher learning.

Near Antioch College is a very nice bike and skating path that goes fifteen miles all the way to Xenia, passing through haunted Medway where Tecumseh was born. I used to skate that path every day. I could do it in about two hours.

On the approach to Yellow Springs, the path dives into a thick forest full of deer and wild turkeys–I liked to call it the “Sherwood Forest of Ohio”. One day I saw a man dragging another prone man off the path into the woods. I didn’t know what I was seeing–possibly a homicide in progress. I didn’t have anything to defend myself with, but I couldn’t allow it to go on unchallenged.

As I got nearer, I saw the man being dragged along the ground was actually a dummy made of cloth and rags. He was dressed in a plaid shirt and filthy jeans. He had on a werewolf mask and a pair of woolly clawed hands from a costume shop.

I couldn’t take it anymore, I had to know what was going on. I ground to a halt. “What are you doing?” I demanded.

The man doing the dragging was a typical Yellow Springs guy–unbathed, rather stinky and generally unkempt. He was wearing a hooded butternut robe that went down to his ankles. He wiped his brow and explained that it was his son’s tenth birthday.

“So?” I said.

Yoda

He said he was going to put his son to a test, a-la Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back. As he explained: he was going to make his ten year-old son walk down a path deep into the woods. Eventually, he would come to a fork in the path. If he chose the right path, he would eventually encounter the dummy, which was supposed to represent evil and vice. If he chose the left path, he would discover a hollowed-out tree at the end of the path which, the man explained, had a large mirror stuffed into the hollow–meaning that his son had discovered himself.

Only in Yellow Springs …

I thought about it a moment and started laughing. I laughed so hard I nearly fell down off my blades. “That is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard! You’re going to take a hackneyed Jedi Force test from a movie and apply it to your son in real life and hope that it somehow has a profound effect upon him?? You’re dumb! You’re so dumb!” I said, hardly containing myself.

The man waved me off and continued his work, dragging the dummy into the woods. I finished my skate and had no further thought about the matter.

Years later, I sit here in the basement wondering about the future. My wife wants to have a child. She’s working very hard at it, and it’s very challenging. I wonder, if we’re successful and actually do have a child, possibly a son, what will I do to teach him between good and evil, right and wrong? I actually have no idea. I can preach and cajole all I want, I can punish and rage–will any of it work??

Maybe the Yoda Way is the best way after all.

Bowl Naked

RG

"The God of the Basement" by Ren Garcia

I looked at the phone and held the receiver in my disbelieving hand.

Is it 2 … 3 … 7 … ?

I could not remember my mother’s phone number. My mom’s had the same phone number for thirty years. Land-line, old school. I know that number backwards and sideways. I’ve known it since I was a kid, when Mom used to write it down on a scrap of paper for me to take. “Now, call home if you need anything,” she said. I didn’t need the paper–I knew it cold.

I knew it cold …

And now I’m standing there with the phone in my hand and I can’t remember mother’s number. I could, of course, grab my Smartphone and speed dial it out of the Contacts list, but what would that prove, that my mom’s nothing more than a blip on a screen.

I stood there completely blank.

Why? What happened? I’ve spent so much time locked in the basement like a family secret, writing my stories in millions of words and reveling in things that never were. I am a god in the basement where I create all things. I step out and what am I? A creature who’s quickly forgetting many of the things that matter most.

You cannot spend so much time in the make-believe that you forget to exist in the real world. I promised my wife I’d take her to Paris–and I have not taken her to Paris. I’ve made lots of promises, how many have I broken?

My Honeydo list is intolerable.

I stood there with the phone, the dial tone converting to an accusing howl. I clicked the switch and started over and forced the unreal from my head. I forced myself to remember my mother’s number, seeing the digits in my head, tracing it out on the dial pad with my finger. One digit at a time, then: “Hello?”

“Hi, mom …” I couldn’t even recall what I was calling about . It didn’t matter. I’d remembered my mother’s number.

So, to my wife–I will take you to Paris. I’m sorry, my love, please forgive me.

To my mom–I will never forget your number again. Oh look, your birthday is coming up. I won’t forget.

I swear it.

UPDATE: 2014
So, here it is just a little over three years since I posted this cathartic little item when I became distant from the people I love. I’m happy to say I kept my promises to myself. I still remember my mother’s phone number and I took my wife to Europe last year(just not Paris–that’s next trip!). This post was a harsh wake up to myself reminding me not to allow the unreal to dominate my time and thoughts, at least not to the point of madness and obsession. I have since changed my writing process. I migrated from the basement to upstairs in the bright lights of the loft where my wife watches television. I stand at a podium with my latest WIP while the giant TV blares. I talk to my wife. I ask her about her day. We laugh. I peck away at the WIP.

I still create a host of strange things, just not as quickly as before. I keep things in perspective.

You cannot allow yourself to become like I did, a wraith in the basement possessed with an imaginary world. No matter what your personal situation is, it’s simply not a healthy way to carry on. Ask yourself some tough questions: Have you broken any promises? Have you forgotten important things? Have you neglected yourself and your health?

Be honest in your answers. Change things up, alter your process, adjust the mood. Take a day off every so often. Set yourself a limit, I usually don’t go much past 2000 words a day. 2000 words is good. Very good.

While creating the lives of imaginary people, don’t forget to live a little yourself.

Bowl Naked

RG

"Sam puts Kay to Trial" by Carol Phillips

One thing I notice when most people are considering purchasing a book is that they go through a very rigorous decision-making process. They look at the book and judge the cover. They pick it up and flip it around, taking in the marketing on the back cover, and then they do a quick fan through the pages, looking for illustrations.

Illustrations are a gift from the author to the reader. As a boy, I loved my Narnia books. They were rife with little illustrations that drew me into the story and made me want to turn the page and get to the next one. As an author, I want to give that same gift to the reader.

"Cover Idea #2", by Carol Phillips

I always have several ready-made illustrations for each book. I never dictate to my cover artist, Carol Phillips, what the cover for each book is going to be. It’s a collaborative effort and I try to include Carol as much as possible. I usually give her four or five ideas, detailing them out to her as necessary. She then draws up a little thumbnail of each one and we toss them around and pick. “I really like this one,” Carol will usually say and I go with her judgment. Like I said–it’s my book, but it’s not my book; it’s a collaboration.

The above illustration was one of those cover ideas that didn’t make it to the cover. It was #2 of 4–with #4 eventually being selected for the cover. So, once it’s all said and done, I have these wonderful sketch concepts with no place to go. The next logical place to put them is in the interior, where they can light up the pages. Everything Carol draws is a masterpiece, and it’s a shame to see any of it go to waste.

Another consideration for picking the cover-interior illustrations is content. As with many of my ideas, they often skirt the boundaries of good taste, where the difference between being dressed and undressed is a whole lot of clothes, and, you can get away with a bit more nudity in the interior of the book then you can on the cover. My big guiding influence has always been Michael Moorcock, who, unlike C.S. Lewis or J.R.R. Tolkien, was always rather unabashed with the dress (or undress) of his characters, and I happily follow that model. I recall being astonished reading Moorcock’s work, where you could have long conversations or fight scenes between completely undressed people. Quite an eye-opener and Carol, being a fairy artist, is always up for drawing “The Undressed”. Take a good hard look at the illustration–what do you see?? A couple of naked people here and there, a little S&M going on–yep. One variation from the book is Kay being fully dressed, as, in the book, he’s not dressed at all–everybody’s naked.

This illustration, along with twenty more shall be featured in TOTEH, The Dead Held Hands.

Bowl Naked

RG

Copyright 2011, Carol Phillips