Sunday 13 January 2013

The Mutiny of Characters

Once a writer creates the characters of a story, and those characters become whole and rounded characters, those characters do get a life of their own. And once your characters have a life of their own, they can and will mutiny their writer. The nature of each character will then start the process of dictating the story---the next scene, the next misshap, the next adventure. 

While writing the second book in The Pen Pieyu Adventure, it felt like I, the writer, was kidnapped by my own characters. I say the characters did mutiny because just when I thought I knew where the story was going, the characters had other ideas.

As a writer, I have had to endure many strange notions. Having my characters mutiny---well, I just let them go ahead. I complied with the mutineers and let them tell the story. After all, their story is the real story. I just had to let my writer's ego get out of their way.

Here are some of the character from book one that are still having adventures in book two.

     Petra Longstride is the main character in this series. She is a nine year old princess who becomes a knight in book one.  She is kind-hearted, friendly, innocent, brave, and somewhat stubborn. She can be tough when need be, like when she has to defend her friends, or stick up for something noble. Petra lives in The Kingdom of Pen Pieyu.

     Snarls is a dragon and a secondary character in this series. But he's not your typical kind of dragon by any means  He is also Petra's royal steed and adventure companion after,  well,  after stuff that happened in book one. He protects Petra, and sometimes he needs his own protecting.

     Petra's parents, King Willy Longstride and Queen Mable Longstride, are a little stuffy and conventional. King Longstride makes up rules in the Royal Rule Book to try to get Petra to act like a princess. This, of course doesn't work. Queen Longstride has a severe fainting problem, which Petra is always the cause of.

     Prince Nastybun is a midget prince from The Kingdom of Mesoggie  He is the worst enemy of Pen Pieyu. He rules a puny army of scaredy-cat knights.

Bograt is a bog witch who tries to appear really mean and scary, until you mention that the King could make her wash and put on a frilly dress again, just for messing with someone on a mission. This apparently straightens her right up.

For more book one character information:

Book two, Sir Princess Petra's Talent, introduces some more zany charaters; Duce Crablips from the Kingdom of Crablips, King Asterman from The Land of Lost Donkeys, and the nearly illiterate Gautes from The Vast Wilderness.  

So, here's a hint to some of the adventures in book two. 

King Longstride has written a new rule. The rule states that all princess knights (like there is more than one---silly king) must attend  Talent School before the age of ten years and learn a skill suited for a princess. The princess knights must study under King Asterman and return with a princess certificate or else the royal magician will , , ,well, let's not go there just yet.

Petra is not happy about attending Talent School. After all, she is a knight. She just wants to do knightly things, not any sissy, girly stuff like knitting or crocheting.

Well, at least Snarls will be by her side enduring the hardships of Talent School.  And once they finally get out of Talent School, more adventures  follow in The Vast Wilderness.

A few more hints of book two:

Someone else in book two becomes a knight. 
Some others may or may not get spelled and be turned into something they weren't before. 
Petra does get a talent, but not one the king could foresee.
And what the heck is a Ganute, anyway?

Book two, Sir Princess Petra's Talent - The Pen Pieyu Adventures, forthcoming, March, 2013.

Saturday 5 January 2013

Book Review, Whoever Heard of a Fird?

Whoever Heard of a Fird?

Author: Othello Bach

Illustrator: Shann Hurst

Publisher: Othello Bach

Release date: October 10, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-47933318-9
Paperback, 60 pages

From the Back Cover:  If you haven't heard of a fird, part fish, part bird, you don't know that he's looking for a herd of fird. He wants to find out if he's "firding" right. You see, Fird was raised a a nest of Dickens, part dog, part chickens, but they never heard of a fird, and they don't know if he's firding right.

So Fird sets out to find a herd of Fird. Along the way, he meets many two-feature creatures--- whimsical animals like shamels---part sheep, part camels, and bertles---part bear, part turtles. But no one has heard of a fird . . .

When Fird and his best friend,  Snyder Spider, set off to find a herd of firds, they are warned by Lucille Dicken that big, bad boogie monsters loom at the bottom of the mountain. Fird didn't even know that they lived on a mountain.

". . . I must find out where I came from, where I'm going, and what I'm supposed to be." Fird tells the dickens, even though Fird is scared.

Soon Fird and Snyder Spider come across the boogie monsters. But these are no ordinary boogie monsters--they are the kind that . . . well, I don't want to say and give it away.  Somehow, Fird and Snyder do get past the boogie monsters and continue to search for a heard of fird.

Fird and Snyder then meet Hyenant--part hyena, part ant-- who has never heard of a fird. Even his magic coat can't produce a herd of fird.  "There's no such thing, I assure you." Hyenant tells Fird.

Neither have the driders--part dragon, part spider--ever seen a fird.  Nor can the bertles--part bear, part turtle--say that they have ever heard of a fird.

Although most of the two-feature creatures are friendly, there is trouble when Fird and Snyder meet the snoozes--part snake, part mongoose--because the snoozes just aren't very nice. And beside, they've never heard of a fird either.

The woose,  the shamels, the blizzard, the girouse---none of the two-feature creatures can help Fird.  How will Fird ever find his herd of fird and find out where he belongs?

   This is a masterfully written and  creative story that embraces a powerful message for all of us--being what we want to be, without looking outside  of ourselves. An excerpt from one of the story's poems depicts this wonderfully:
         . . .
         This is your time; it is your time to shine
                   But you need to realize:
         Everything you need for you to succeed
         Lies between your ears behind your eyes.
         . . .

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The writing is witty and whimsical, and the whole book has a magical uniqueness. There are several poems laced throughout the story which are delightfully humorous. The poems in the book are actually the lyrics to songs written by the author. You can play the songs here  as you get to that part of the story.

     The illustrations are incredibly funny, colorful, and extremely well done, with a color illustration or spot illustration on every page.  

I did listen to the audio book also, which is very professionally done, and a fun experience in itself. Not only is the story read with pazazz, all the poems in the book break out into toe-tapping, catchy songs.

The book is also an audio book with a Free download for a limited time.
Go here

Author, Othello Bach, website               
Author, Othelo Back, bookstie
Illustrator, Shann Hurst, website

Copyright ©2012 by Othello Bach, used with permission
Illustrations: Copyright ©2012 by Shann Hurst