Posts Tagged ‘dark modern fantasy’

I started drawing before I began creative writing.  I suppose that is the same with anyone, if they ever much get to creative writing.  I make a distinction, though, between crude children’s drawings and when something sort of clicked in me, and I was trying to make a real effort.  It happened when I was very young, somewhere around ten or eleven years old, and I saw a superhero comic drawn by my friend.  Something about it just hit me, something in the aesthetic, the colors, and the fact that there were multiple panels telling a story.  Yes, I had been exposed to professional comics and super heroes, but something about seeing my similarly-aged friend doing it sort of opened my eyes to the obvious – I could do it, too.

This was still crude, of course, and I had had no formal training or exposure, but I took some spiral notebooks, drew simple lines to divide each page into a landscape field of four relatively equal sections, and I began drawing a story.  I was creative writing with pictures.  And the funny thing is that I didn’t do any talk or thought balloons.  It was all without words as dialogue or narrative; everything was told through the pictures.

I also ripped off movies.  I suppose this is also pretty natural in the development of most creative people – they begin through imitation.  I drew out the complete film Raiders of the Lost Ark.  I also drew a James Bond film, The Spy Who Loved Me, I think it was (I’ve always loved that one).  I guess I was story-boarding with no concept of what that was.  It was fun, though I got in trouble for it on at least one occasion when my grade-school teacher got on my case for spending so much time drawing in my spiral notebooks.  My grades were fine, and she knew it, so I am not sure what her problem was.  She ended up giving me poor marks in conduct.

I progressed in both drawing and writing, but I eventually abandoned the drawing side.  I never felt like I was good enough at it.  It came naturally to me, like the creative writing, but where I had a drive to further my writing, you’d never have caught me in an art class.  There’s really no reason I could not have done both, but I feel this has affected my writing style.

I draw with words, and I like that.


My book, “Dance of the Butterfly”, will be published soon.  It will be the first in a series.  The second has already been written, and I am now working on the third.  I am not even sure of the title yet, but I am thinking of “Spirit of the Butterfly” or “Soul of the Butterfly”.  I have the basic points lined out, and I am in the midst of more specific brainstorming and research.  Very little has yet been written, but I would like to share a snippet of my current work in progress, so here we go –

They both move toward the area, dirt and dead leaves crunching under their boots.  One side of the small building bears a large opening from the fire, and Lilja uses this rather than moving about to what is left of the door.  Once inside, Lilja sees the remnants of pews, the wood looking to have been of very good quality- dark, highly polished, cushioning now dotted with mold and tears.  She produces her small flashlight, turning it on to better see, for though a portion of the roof is even gone, the angle of the setting sun does not offer much illumination.  She halts the scan rather quickly, noticing a drawing on the wall.

“Hey, I found something outsi-,” Zoe begins, coming into the room, but her voice stops as she peers at what is captured in the focus of Lilja’s torch,  “What’s that supposed to be?” Zoe speaks, getting up a bit closer, then stopping to study the markings.

“I don’t know,” Lilja admits, also staring.

The work is crude, looking like graffiti, the broad swathes of paint seeming as though done by a child, thick with a charcoal-like texture.  The form is obviously that of a bound woman, though the head metamorphoses into what seems a deer, crowned with an impressive display of crooked antlers.

“It looks primitive,” Zoe remarks, “like it’s been here forever,” and she bends a bit at the knee, getting closer, bringing one hand up to gently wipe at it, giving way to a brief fall of almost gossamer dust.

She then steps back, fishing out her mobile, holding it up to take a few quick snapshots.  Once done, she glances at the device, eyes narrowing a bit, muttering, “Reception is poor out here.”

“Do you think it has anything to do with what’s been going on here?” the redhead asks, still focused on the strange artwork.

I have made mention of this before, but Dance of the Butterfly is but the first book in a planned series.  If you’ve read my post Seeds, then you have some idea of how this all started.  Suffice it to say, it was a slow start, and I wondered if anything would ever come of it.  Once I seriously got into the book, then finished it, I knew there was more story yet to be told.  The second novel was written the same year, and now it merely waits for its chance to be further polished and published.  I have been told that it is “darker” than the first, and I very much look forward to its release and the reaction from readers.

The third one has been started, and I plan it to enlarge the scope already defined in the first two.  I can’t say if the third will “end” the tale or not, but the journey thus far has been amazing and wonderful and even sometimes sad and a little bit scary.  There is a lot of myself invested in this and not just the usual time, heart, and energy.  I already feel myself thinking I don’t want the story to end … ever.

I’ve started an author page on Facebook, so please like and follow me there.

I hope many of you will be along for the journey with me.

It is with great pleasure that I announce I have signed a publication contract, and my book will soon be available in both print and ebook formats.  I have taken down the full story from here, but the first three chapters are still available as a sample.  I hope this will encourage people to buy the book once it is published.  I also hope many of you who have read it here when it was free will also be willing to buy a copy for yourselves.  Not to sound overly mercenary, but I’d much prefer to do this for a living than my other “trade”.  It also gives me a sense of happy pride to know people may be enjoying the story enough to do so.

I am very excited about this, and I hope it all goes well.  I’ve dreamed of being a published writer for nearly my whole life.  I’ve made other efforts at publication prior to this, but they did not quite succeed.  I am very happy this one did, and I hope it opens the door for more.  Dance of the Butterfly is only the first in a series, the second book already written, the third in the beginning phases, and I hope to publish them all and get them out to many interested readers.

Stay tuned …

Nicole-Angeline Felcraft – 42yrs old, born in the USA.  Nicole-Angeline is Skot’s younger sister.  She is married with children of her own, all of them being reared in the traditional Felcraft fashion.  She is one of the most adept in the occult and magick arts the family has seen in recorded history, her understanding seeming to be more one of nature and communion than anything learned.  She wears her dark brown hair long, straight, her dress generally in a manner of something elegant and ethereal, belying her own unique aspect.  She is tall and slender, and it is often remarked that she seems to almost float rather than walk.

Nicole is a doer, and though she usually comports herself in a calm, controlled manner, this is not to say she is passive.  She is often on the go, tending to any number of duties in her unending list of business.  She yet maintains some time for hobbies, enjoying music and painting, and she also manages to find a good deal of time to spend with her family, often including her mother.  She maintains residence near the Felcraft manor, not travelling as much as Skot.

Wilhelm “Billy” Novacek – 29yrs old, born in the City.  Wilhelm, or as he prefers, “Billy”, comes from a family that hails from points east of the land in which he was born.  He considers himself more a person of his environ rather than clinging to any deep culture from elsewhere.  He seems to have been instilled with a sense of concern and care.  Finding himself at a young age to be interested in a career in law enforcement, Billy became a trainee with a prestigious security firm in hopes of gaining relevant experience.  He did a good job, finding himself offered a nice position at the university, which he accepted instead of pursuing admission to the police academy.

Billy takes his job very seriously, though he is open and friendly, retaining a certain childlike quality.  He also seems to possess a kind of sense of luck which may have unwittingly helped him in the course of his duties.  He also seems a bit naïve, but he is good-natured and quite capable of undertaking the demands of his position.

He enjoys sports and physical activities, having an interest in martial arts, though he retains a practical level of inexperience, knowing only basic force use and methods of security training.  He also likes to play games and read books about the police, though his choices may trend to the adventurous and melodramatic over anything more scholarly.  He doesn’t seem to have too many close friends, but he carries himself with a sense of contentment, rolling with whatever life throws his way.

The idea for this story began, as many of my tales do, from my dreams, two in particular, though a third joined at a later date.  I wrote them down, then left them alone for some time.  I was later having a conversation with my son about comic and anime conventions.  We expressed an interest in going, but neither of us are close to expert in either category.  We enjoy things in those vast genres, of course, but our knowledge was far from complete.  We also wanted to see what offerings may be had at a convention as well as viewing all the wonderfully crafted outfits made by cosplayers.  I have a particular appreciation for the amazingly well done costumes.  I can only imagine the amount of effort that goes into them.

This got us talking of garb for ourselves.  We both mentioned we’d prefer to go dressed up, but we really had no idea what characters to choose or how to go about it.  I even mentioned buying costumes or even having them commissioned.  I then made mention of how funny it would be if there were a comic or graphic novel that had characters based on us, then dressing up for a convention would be all the easier.  We had a nice laugh at this, but it got the wheels to turning.

I re-visited the idea from my dreams, seeing how easily I could craft it into something that drew similarities from my son and myself.  I did some research on comic script writing, as I had never tried this before, and I got to work.  It did not go well.  I found the conceptualization and formatting got in the way of my flow, and I was only able to write one chapter before the effort was put aside.  On another visit, I realized that writing novels was obviously more my thing, so I decided to attempt to first write it as such, then see about a comic script at a later date.  I got a bit further, but the effort still faltered.

Then I met someone to whom I owe much of the success of writing the novel.  She helped me in an unwitting fashion, re-igniting the flame of interest and inspiration for the idea.  I modified the concept and story a bit, moved the already written scene to open the second book (which has now been completed), and began in earnest.  She offered me consultation from her own experience as well as encouragement, ideas, beta-reading, editing, you name it.  She helped me to lend a great deal of realism to certain parts as well as offering a female perspective to the crafting of the central character.  Invaluable.  I don’t think it would have happened without her, and if it had, it would not have been as well done.

So, there it is.  That is how the story came about and then how it was further developed and written.  It was an incredibly fun journey, and though the start took a long time, once into it, I wrote the novel in record time.  Book Two was the same.  Though polishing is still in the works, both were written in a year.  I have never been so productive.

I offer endless thanks to my friend, though being humble, she often discounts the real impact of her contribution.  I hope you all enjoy the story.

Jericho – 45 yrs old, born in the USA. Jericho and Skothiam have known each other since they were children, forging a long-lasting bond and making Jericho an unofficial member of the family. A tall, sizable man of Latin American heritage, Jericho has seen the world and had many experiences, having spent time in the military and war.

He had been exposed to some of the secrets of the Felcrafts when he was quite young, holding them in an easy confidentiality that served to endear him even more to the family. He has his own biological family, with whom he is reasonably close, but he has found his place amongst the Felcraft, serving as Weaponsmaster, Guardsman, and in other capacities as his talents or various requirements arise.

He also helps to take care of the family’s special pack of wolves, holding a bond with them that is hardly equaled. He enjoys spending time on the family’s lands, being out in nature, though his tireless work ethic seems to lend him sparse free time.

Yan Therese Stendahl – 21 yrs old, born in Austria. A pale, skinny girl with dyed black, short, spiky hair and snake bite piercings, Therese eschewed her first name so long ago, she almost does not recall when. She goes by Therese in her offline life and the handle ‘Sparrow’ in her other life as a hacker and cyber detective. She is somewhat socially awkward, having grown up as an orphan and ward of the state, and she feels much more comfortable in virtual reality than she does when leaving her tiny apartment. She supplements her meager income by working as a courier, zipping about the city on a café racer.

Generally aloof and taciturn, she occupies herself with gathering information for the vigilante’s network, unaware of the crusader’s identity. She spends some of her free time gaming, though she quickly grows bored, seeming more interested in observation and analysis of people through her information-gathering. Though exhibiting some aspects of paranoia, she may also show a certain recklessness, such as in the imbibing of intoxicants. Her isolation is an expression of her fear, one deep within herself that she seems unwilling to face.

Gaspare Duilio – 57 yrs old, born in Italy. Seemingly rarely bereft of either his sunglasses or a cigarette, Inspector Duilio of Interpol considers himself a very practical man. He grew up in the bosom of what some may call corruption, but he merely used this as a way to learn how both people and the world work. He has few, if any, crises of conscience regarding his own flexibility when either working for the legitimate law enforcement establishment or those who are opposed to it. Reaching the level of experience he has speaks to his own ability to navigate such currents.

A man of some refinement, Duilio keeps his salt and pepper hair cut short along with a trim goatee that seems somewhat less prone to graying than the hair on his head. He enjoys food and drink, especially that from his home country, and he has been known to sneak in an opera or two when he finds the time. He also enjoys travel.

If pressed, he may not be able to say why he does what he does. He has no wife or children, and he keeps rare contact with his family. It seems he is in the game merely for the playing.