Wednesday, July 13, 2016

A brief overview of The Elders






This Danielle Campbell from the television
show, "The Originals." I think she would make a great Julie.
How about you?



     In "The Journey to Seras" we met the cute, fun, bubbly, Julie Ayers, a fifteen year old girl living with her family in the quiet rural town of Sunset, Ohio.                                                       

Her teacher, Marcus Campbell had a secret. He was a warrior from a medieval dimension searching for the mythical "Heart" - a hero given to the people of Seras to rid their world of impending evil. Marcus’s quest was challenged when he realized that the "Heart" was the vibrant teenage girl. Against his better judgment he convinced Julie to go to his world and begin preparation to face whatever evil laid ahead while keeping his bigger secret, that he is part demon and was once a ruthless leader who terrorized Seras, from his young protégé.
This is Stephen Amell from the
television show, "Arrow."
How about him as Marcus?















The evil Julie must face was manifested in the form of Queen Pallanex. She was a wandering follower of the Elderess Eryx, displaced by her temple leaders as being dangerous and unholy. Little did they know that was the type of follower Eryx preferred.


Pallanex was young, beautiful, and flirty. She seduced the aging Canis, father of Marcus, and became his queen...and his downfall.




What secrets does she have? With the help of William, a demonic warrior equal to Marcus and his former comrade, Queen Pallanex has a plan that threatens both worlds.
 



In "The Elders," we find Julie Ayer's reeling from her freshman year of high school, and how horribly it ended. Now Marcus Campbell must try to convince her to return to Seras to learn the secrets of Seras from the mysterious immortal, Redderick Bobo. Going back to Seras is the last thing on Julie's mind. She wants no part of Seras, or her teacher. What secrets does Redderick Bobo have to tell? Who were the Elders known as "The Five Lions of God"? Why is Julie Ayers the chosen savior of Seras?


Only returning to the dreaded dimension will answer these questions and more for Julie. Can she bring herself to forgive Marcus, and return to Seras? The future of Seras and Earth depends on it.


Book three, Revelation, due out fall of 2017!!





Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 EVIE Awards


And the winners are...

If you have known me for very long, you know I love my Year End Best lists. I've dwindled it down from previous years to highlight the big categories. So here you go! Enjoy!
 

Top 5 movies of 2015
1) Antman
2) Avengers: Age of Ultron
3) Jurassic World
4) Star Wars: The Force Awakens
5) Pitch Perfect 2


* apologies to Spectre, Mockingjay part 2, and Terminator: Genysis because I have not seen them yet...and I know I will love them.







Top 5 television shows of 2015
1) Supernatural
2) Castle
3) Game of Thrones
4) Modern Family
5) tie: Dancing with the Stars/Sleepy Hollow

Farewell to Forever, and Blood and Oil we barely got to know you.




Top 5 songs of 2015
1) Crash and Burn by Thomas Rhett
2) Lose my Mind by Brett Elderidge
3) Girl Crush by Little Big Town
4) John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16 by Keith Urban
5) Save it for a Rainy Day by Kenny Chesney
* not a single pop/rock song made my top 5 this year…sad.

 

Best books I've read in 2015 (other than my own :) ) and not necessarily released in 2015
1) The Girl on a Train by Paula Hawkins
2) The Boys in a Boat by Daniel James Brown
3) You by Caroline Kepnes
4) The Traitor's Wife by Allison Pataki
5) All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Worst book read...ever = Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Monday, July 6, 2015

Swords and Shields

       A few months ago my grandsons, Jacob and Jamison, and I were playing with a pretty cool tic-tac-toe board themed appropriately for my wife's beach décor.




      After a few games, Jacob decided to try something different. He put the lighthouses on each corner, and the sailboats in between them. The object was to take turns moving one piece at a time until somebody could no longer make a move, trapping them. 

      Above - you will see the original game (with me being trapped (I'm the lighthouses)) and below is my very rough drawing of a medieval board game, named "Swords and Shields.

 
 
 
 
Look for the game to make its first appearance in book 3, "Revelation."
 
Backstory to the name, Swords and Shields:
 
Once Upon a time, my brother, David (readers will recognize him as I loosely based Darius off of him), my best friend, Willie (readers, may I present William from my series), and I created our own superheroes and supervillains.
 
David had a group of villains named Killer Clowns, who were like a gang of crazed Jokers. Willie had a villain, The Bull, who was like Spiderman's villain, The Rhino. He also had a hero named the Black Panther, pretty much like Marvel's Black Panther.
 
I had heroes named Leopard, my version of Spiderman; Green Tiger (Wolverine); Cardinal (Green Arrow); and The Hawk (Falcon). I needed a group of heroes to combat David's Clowns, so I came up with a group called Swords and Shields, in part due to my love of Captain America, and in part, my love of the movie "Jason and the Argonauts."
 
So when it came time to name my game I pulled out the old Sword and Shield name, dusted it off, and put it to good use.
 
- side note: Argos in my series "The Heart of Seras," is named for the Argonauts.



Friday, July 3, 2015

Poetry Time

Someday I will have the time to blog more often, or at least have cool things that people want to read. So Wednesday night the moon was full, and it illuminated the sky with a golden hue.

This started a series of poetic thoughts and ideas swirling through my head. Though I am no Poe or Lord Byron, I'm pretty happy with them.

I hope you enjoy :)



Oh Playful Muse

Oh my playful muse, what stories have I dreamt?

Cherubs blush at the nocturnal eves I have spent.

I sing praises of your beauty as my silent soul cries.

The hunter’s moon reflects from your viridian eyes.

Like two oceans sparkling with deviltry delight.

Surrender my doubt with trembled voice in the night.

A bees temporal visit to flower sweet bliss.

Come melt me with the sweet honey from your lips.

Carnal Serenade


A carnal serenade tangled in silk and skin

Sighs whispered from candied lips begin

Vigorous passion radiates essence craved

Limbs linger, sparks ignite, lovers saved   

Wisps falling on petite, creamy skin glistened from above

Two are entwined with poetic pulsating rhythm of love.



Amidst Darkened Skies

Amidst darkened skies

dancing candle light reflect

as heaving breasts rise

Inch by inch, my flesh traces yours

Taking me in, enveloping my love.

Look at the stars. Are they the cause of my strangled cry?

No, it is you, my jewel, my flower, my dove







 
 


Monday, November 17, 2014

Meet Marcus Campbell

 
 
Who is Marcus Campbell?
 
 My main male character, Marcus Campbell, has his roots in many characters I have read about and watched over the years. His persona developed long before I knew him, the first hint I had of him was in reading "The Lord of the Rings" back when I was 12-13 years old. The heroic Aragorn, seen here as played by Viggo Mortensen, with his bravery and fighting skill set the foundation for Marcus.
  
 
 


That type of bravery mixed with my love of the flawed heroes of Marvel started a lifelong love of creating tragic heroes with a secret. Compare my Marcus, teacher with a dark past and a hidden secret, with Tony Stark, Logan, Bruce Banner, and Peter Parker. The skilled warriors Thor and Captain America, and of course the immortal-like healing of Wolverine (again).
 
Marcus Campbell is a great fighter and even greater leader. His band of demonic warriors would, have (and did) follow him into overwhelming odds, and they loved him for it...much like Mel Gibson's William Wallace, and Russell Crowe's Maximus Decimus Meridius. Two of my favorite movies. 
 
 
 
That brings me to television, and I would be remise to ignore 4...yes, 4 Joss Whedon creations: Malcolm Reynolds from Firefly (portrayed by Nathan Fillion), Angel (David Boreanaz), Spike (James Marsters), and Giles (Anthony Head). Malcolm Reynolds' wit, as well as Spikes' inspired a lot of Marcus's rapport with his men. If you look closely, you will see Marcus in full by looking at Rupert Giles and Angel: teacher, mentor, trainer, adviser, demon.


 
 




The final piece of the puzzle is another one of my favorite television shows, The Highlander. Duncan Macleod (Adrian Paul), epitomizes most qualities I see in Marcus Campbell.   
 


So, that is my Marcus Campbell. I hope this helps you understand where he came from, and maybe even a glimpse of where he is going.

What does the future hold for a teacher, mentor, warrior and demon?

Book two, The Heart of Seras: The Elders will be out this spring, followed by

book three, The Heart of Seras: Revelation
book four, The Heart of Seras: The Dark Skorei
book five, The Heart of Seras: Into the Abyss
and the exciting conclusion, The Heart of Seras: Journeys End


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A female Thor does not solve the problem.

 

 
By the Eye of Odin! Thor is now a woman. What in the name of Asgard is going on?

Well, I’ll tell ya.

First, let me state that I understand that every once in a while the people at Marvel have to change things up to keep it new and interesting to generate sales. By that logic I have learned that they even once turned Thor into a frog…man, I’m glad I stopped reading comic books when my sons outgrew them back in the early to mid-90s. I don’t know if I could have handled the God of Thunder being an amphibian.
 

 
 

How could a frog be seen as worthy? Heck, how would a frog even be able to wield Mjolnir?? Never mind…

So, the powers-that-be decided making Thor a girl fits a story line. Okay. Got it. I admit that at first I thought it was just a ploy to keep fanboy cave dwellers enticed, because Penny from the Big Bang Theory doesn’t happen in real life,
 
 
but after reading comments by actual fans I decided I get the thought process of changing Thor up a bit. Some, however, believe this is great because of the lack of female superheroes.

Now that brings us to the real problem – replacing Thor does not solve the problem. The lack of viable female characters being introduced to audiences in comic book form is the problem. Making Thor a girl for a short period of time for the sake of a current story line does nothing to fix that. The mythical "they" say that it is too difficult to introduce new characters. BULL!
I was 12-13 years old when Marvel introduced Storm.
They did a great job, and she is one of the most popular female characters in comic lore.
I was about 16-17 years old when Marvel introduced two more popular female characters: Rogue and Shadowcat
 Both have also done very well.
 
In fact, BtVS creator, Joss Whedon, names Kitty Pryde (Shadowcat) as an influence to his Buffy.
 
 
 New female characters can be introduced. It's easy. Just make sure they have cool names, a cool story and cool powers. It has been done, and it has been done correctly with huge success. The industry is lazy.

This isn’t just on comic books, movies are to blame too.

The movie industry has seen the popularity of The Hunger Games (female lead),
Divergent (female lead), Underworld,


and a few others.
Plus, someone like Emma Watson,

and her fan base could definitely carry a franchise;
or either of the girls from the Percy Jackson movies
 
(Alexandra Daddano and Leven Rambin) could both be leads in action type movies.
 
Jamie Alexander (Lady Sif) could do the same as a main character, though probably not as Sif.
 
Few are given a chance.

Personally, I think YA literature has taken the lead in bringing strong female characters to the forefront. I hope that my Julie will get a chance to continue to build a strong female presence and fan base. Maybe someday the rest of the entertainment industries will catch up.

 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Meet Julie Ayers


Meet Julie Ayers

Often times I am asked where I got the idea for my book and characters.

Today I am going to spotlight Julie Ayers.

Julie, the spunky little girl from Sunset, Ohio with vivid, curious, brown eyes the color of honey with flecks of gold, wavy brown hair, a round face, and creamy mocha skin that easily tanned when kissed by the summer sun, is the mixing of many characters and people.

Being the heroine of the story and root of where my journey began, I have to point to two specific people:

Buffy Summers



And

Harry Potter



The story was born out of three things in the fall of 2005. It was my second quarter at The Ohio State University – Newark. I was taking four classes, two to note: Mythology 101 and Freshman Writing. The textbooks used in Freshman Writing were the first three books of the Harry Potter series. Being a 41 year old man at the time, I had no desire to ever read these books…big mistake! All things considered, holes in the story and obvious writing style, I loved them.

Side note and spoiler alert if you have not read the books or seen the movies, yet:

Snape was by far my favorite character and I knew there was more good to him than he was letting on. I have the paper to prove it. Trust me when I say I took a lot of flak liking him, especially after he killed Dumbledore.

So, the idea was planted to have a young character who had no idea they were special to be the only person who could do…something…

Buffy Summers played by the fabulous Sarah Michelle Gellar was the ultimate high school superhero. A girl with a secret purpose. She was the butt-kicking, vampire slaying of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She had humor, passion, boy trouble, fitting in problem, and all of the quirks I see on a daily basis coaching high school girls, with the additional problem of vampires and other demons wanting to kill her. I would record and watch Buffy every day and come home, do my homework and watch the series unfold.  

So this is where I started. Buffy Summers and Harry Potter were the foundation.

Mythology 101 was the frame (I will now stop using construction terms). In mythology, the final assignment was to create something based on what we had learned. As Professor Tebben had said, we could draw a picture, make a sculpture, write a paper, decipher Linear A, whatever we wanted to do as a final project. I decided to create my own mythological story. I created the sun god, moon goddess, mother earth, and it became so complex I knew I would never get it done in time. So I scraped the idea and wrote a paper comparing Mount Olympus and Canton’s Hall of Fame. It was terrible. I got an A- on the paper, and probably an A- in the class (I don’t remember). But, I kept the idea of creating my own mythology…that is important.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer had another character influential on developing Julie. That was Cordelia Chase.

 

 
 
Charisma Carpenter as Cordy.

Smart, pretty, popular, and a cheerleader. All things I would add to my main character. Cordelia really came into her own when she moved to the tv show, Angel. She gave humor to the show and kept Angel centered. During one episode when Angel was teaching Cordelia how to use a sword, and she used the skills she had as a cheerleader to learn the techniques, I knew I had the next ingredient to my heroine.


 
 
Another side note – as much as I admire Joss Whedon and all that he has brought to the world, I don’t know if I can ever forgive him for writing Cordy into a corner and having to kill her off. At least he made up for it in her final appearance, “You’re Welcome.”

Growing up in the 70s I was witness to some great shows, especially since I was one of the early beneficiaries of cable, one show that I personally wouldn’t consider great (many do, however), but I never missed was “One Day at a Time.” And that was because I had a big time crush on Barbara Cooper.

 
 

 Yep, Valerie Bertinelli.

If I could hand draw the perfect image of Julie Ayers, she would look a lot like her. Sassy, cute and funny, the perfect teenage girl.

IN fact, I can even imagine her looking like this when she gets older:



Short, scrappy and heals really fast. That describes my girl, Julie, but it also describes another blast from the 70s. I was eleven years old when I bought my first copy of the new X-Men comic and this character leapt of the page:



The Wolverine has become one of the most popular superheroes ever, and is a big influence on Julie's development.


The final elements of Julie Ayers boils down to this:

I wanted her to have the skin tone and complexion of Adriana Lima, partly because of her South American heritage since Julie's family has history south of the border, too.

 creamy mocha skin that easily tanned when kissed by the summer sun”

 
 
 
 
 
 
Natalie Portman’s eyes, who I was a big fan of after watching “The Professional,
 
“vivid, curious, brown eyes the color of honey with flecks of gold”











And I, of course, with coaching girls since 1995, I had their behaviors and speech memorized about as well as any guy could. I purposely didn’t want to make her a track athlete, since I coached track. I chose basketball because I am a big fan of


 
 Dr. J. Julius Erving

 

 
 
And there you have it. From Buffy, to Harry, to Cordelia, Valerie, Adriana, Natalie, Dr. J and the hundred or so girls I have coached in the past two decades are all the elements poured into Julie Ayers, and how I came up with my heroine.
My butt-kicking savior of Seras all wrapped up in a nutshell.
 
Next time I will profile the making of Marcus Campbell.