~Fin~ (but in Italics)

Questors,

Guess what. Draft One of Sabien’s Quest: The Light, vol. 2 is complete! Isn’t that wonderful?

I want to finish Draft One of vol. 3 (the end) before I get too deep into editing, but we’ll see what happens.

Sincerely,

Shomari

Trust Me, I’m the Author

Hey Questors,

My apologies for not being around more. I’m currently working through the 1st draft revision of Sabien’s Quest: The Light, vol. 2.

As a way of saying thanks for being patient, have a discounted purchase on me. From now until when I say so, you can order your paperback copy of Sabien’s Quest: The Light, vol. 1 at my CreateSpace store.

Enter Discount Code:  YMPBTDU8 for a 16% discount on your purchase.

 

I know!

 

Sincerely,

 

Shomari

What’s In a Name: I thought Sabien was spelled Sabian?

10th grade Chem Lab. I’m sitting in the front row, near the door because we had to sit alphabetical. I don’t remember my lab partner’s name. I do remember Michael Wayne coming in though. There’s nothing funner than schoolin or workin with your best pal. So Ol’ MW was what the kids call a band geek. I was a drama nerd for quite a while myself. But anyway, Mikey walked into Chem wearing this Sabian shirt.

sabian_logo

They were/are a cymbal production company (or something like that) and I guess they gave away shirts with every 3rd purchase of cymbals for your drum kit (or something like that). But he walked in, I looked at his shirt, and I thought

Hm, that’s a cool name. I’m going to use it some day.

I of course had to redefine the word (whatever it actually means) to fit within the context of my story. If homo sapien is your regular run-of-the-mill human being, then what must a homo sabien be?

 

Sincerely,

Shomari

 

Want in on the Brainstorm? Email me: author@sabiensquest.com

Origin of a Species: What’s a Christian?

I don’t know about you but when I was a kid witchraft was a dirty word. And everything was witchcraft. I couldn’t touch anything that had a hint of Dungeons & Dragons to it. No Magic: The Gathering cards. No Multi-User Dimension games (oh, Gemstone III, I barely knew ye). No Altered Beast. No Aardwolf. No Might & Magic. None of it. Nada.

Remember, I was trying to get my hands on some fantasy genre books, and you can’t have a fantasy book without a wizard dropping by. And wizards are boy witches. Or maybe that’s warlocks? No wait, I think warlocks are evil boy witches.klarion

So there I was, eager to get my mitts on some other wordly adventure, and I was locked out. Spaceships and mutantkind were fair game though, thank the Creator. Without those Animorphs and Power Rangers, I don’t know who I’d be.

No Wolverine? No Spidey? I mean Nightcrawler could pass muster, but A) he wasn’t a product of magic and B) he was a priest in training. And I think Gargoyles were allowed because the plotlines were so good and occasionally rooted in Shakespearean lore and modern day tech. Also the voice work was like an alibi for half the Star Trek: TNG cast.

Now that I think about it, if I could sell my dad on a TV show despite its magicky content, I was allowed to watch it. I’m not sure how it works for other beliefs, but I grew up Christian, and when you’re a Christian you don’t need magic because there are miracles. It’s no big secret, but I wrote about Sabien for me. Well me at 12 years old. Okay and me right now too because I frequently toot my own horn when I’m writing.

But the challenge became finding a story that allowed for dragons and gryphons and the like but was Christian-safe.

I know, I know: Narnia. But there’s only like six of those and they aren’t that engaging for a twelve year old. No I take that back, they weren’t that engaging to me at twelve years old. Keep in mind I was neck deep in explosions, space ships, time travel, and alien invasions thanks to the Animorphs. Walking through a wardrobe to meet a talking lion was cool, but the stories weren’t any more detailed than what I heard in Sunday school. And there were a gazillion Animorphs titles!

Lord of the Rings is Christian-friendly, but I hated the Hobbit, and I could NOT get into the Fellowship of the Ring. I read both of them, but they were so droll. Where were the ‘splosions!? How come that guy who can turn into a bear isn’t with them all the time? Why do they keep singing?!

I was up the river Jordan without a paddle.

I got so tired of the whole thing that I eventually stopped reading altogether. I didn’t pick up a book for fun again until the fourth Harry Potter book came out. Well, the first movie was coming out and all the controversy about the book series was on the rise. I wanted to see what the hubbub was all about, so the night before I went to go see Sorcerer’s Stone with some friends, I read it.

I didn’t love it, but I understood why some people did. I didn’t pick up books 2-5 until I happened to see Chamber of Secrets on HBO and ads were everywhere for Order of the Phoenix at Barnes and Noble. I officially didn’t dig HP and Ronny the Bear until Sirius Black and Lupin showed up. Keep in mind now I have a thing for shape-changers.

Now this is all happening parallel to my creation of Sabien’s Quest. I was writing about Zatella dashing through the rain and Sabien meeting Ska while the LOTR movies were being released and HP was entering his visual age. I didn’t go see the LOTR movies for a while because I wanted that first draft to be as original as it could be. Stephanie Meyer has the same thing to say about Twilight and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and to her credit the Twilight vampires are definitely their own breed.

Now for the record, wicca is a belief, too.

I never got to do Halloween as a kid, and it looked like a blast. Don’t worry, my friends always shared their candy with me the following day(s). Also my birthday is the day after so I drowned my sorrows in cake and presents. Witchcraft, Wizardy, Warlockery, Sorcery and whatever else they teach at Hogwarts is ancient. And it looks like fun.

You know what doesn’t look fun? Wandering the desert for 40 days and 40 nights, or being stuck on a boat with a bunch of smelly animals for 40 days and 40 nights. Surviving an inferno and a lion’s den and crucifixion is awesome, but to survive those situations you have to first be in those situations.

Everybody wants to go to mutant school and wizard school. Who wants to go to Bible school?

And therein lies the rub. If I wanted to pass a fantasy story to my younger self, it had to be Christian-friendly, it had to be positive about his friends, and there had to be werewolves in it. Oh and karate. And oh man a giant dog, but it would have to secretly be his guardian angel. And he has to slay demons like Buffy does.

You get the idea.

I had a thousand story ideas floating around in my head up until I was 15. One day I was standing in line in the cafeteria and the girl in front of me was wearing a shirt that read:

I’m the Christian the Devil warned you about.

The ideas floating in my mind, characters and names and situations, were little iron filaments in my brain. Reading that statement was like someone giving this rod in my brain a magnetic charge. Every single loose idea I’d had floating around for 15 years slammed into this newly active core. I knew it was my “Hasta La Vista, baby” “Yippe-kai-yay” “Who’s the Master?” line. My hero was going to say that, and then fell his demonic foe.

Buddy+Christ-11

Now keep in mind, I named two characters after friends of mine and one celebrity crush. Christianity was my friend. Jesus was my homeboy. But those were my feelings.

Have you heard about the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama’s reincarnation cycle? It’s awesome. (I don’t know how anyone who’s ever had to start at a new school could feel differently about it)

I’ve always had more non-Christian friends than Christian friends, more non-black friends than black friends, more gal-friends than guy-friends, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I would no sooner dishonor those friendships by writing a my-beliefs-are-better story, than I would hack off an arm.

Spoiler alert: that’s the point of the story.

After I read I’m the Christian the Devil warned you about my first thought was How do I get someone to say that? Well first I had to define what The Christian was. Christianity as we think of it wouldn’t exist in a fantasy world no more than someone of African descent could exist in a world with no Africa. So when I redefined Christian for this setting I thought it would be my word for Chosen One(s).

I wanted my Chosen One to be a kung fu monk, and a monk needs to study a religion. Now, the first rule of Write Club is to write what you know. Well I know a few Judeo-Christian stories about bushes on fire and seas parting and whatnot, so I’ll begin there and then move sideways. Technically, and by technically I mean actually, Sabien is a Creationist (another word I borrowed). He believes his world was created by a Creator. That’s a common belief in any world.

Tolkien created an entire language for the elves. And don’t even get me started with Roddenberry. I was WAY too busy (re: lazy) for that. I had Trig to get to and Econ to bomb and The Great Gatsby to power through. So I hijacked some Judo/Christie terms and got my story going.

I’ve been told my story has IRL Christian themes, but I don’t know when being nice to people became an exclusively Christian theme. Kaynai worship the moon. The Woodfein worship the ground beneath their feet. They’re still super nice to each other. Just ask Ei Lata’n.

And by the way, Sabien isn’t the only Christian in the novel.

Sincerely,

Shomari

 

Want in on the Brainstorm? Email me: author@sabiensquest.com

 

Diversity ‘n’ Stuff: Representation in the Creator’s Realm

I wanted to fix a problem. No, that’s not true. I wanted to help fix a problem. No, that’s still not true. I wanted give myself an option. Yeah, that’s more like it. I wrote about Sabien and his world for purely selfish reasons.

If I ever find a lamp in the desert and a genie comes out, one of my wishes will be for a TARDIS. For those of you not in the know, a TARDIS is a time machine. I’ve got an ever growing list of people and places I would visit with my TARDIS.

One of those people is teenaged me.

I’d step out of my blue box and hand him a copy of Sabien’s Quest while he was waiting for the next Goosebumps or Animorphs or Jerry Spinelli title to be released. I’d pass it to him while he was leaving the library empty-handed or perusing the school book fair. I’d hand it to him, say enjoy, and then fade out.

He’d flip over Sabien and have a crush on Magnificent and anticipate Ei Lata’n.

He’d appreciate best for it introducing him to a world without limits. If you want to fly, there’re characters who can show you how. Want to be a swashbuckler? Do you like giant pets?

9780590059497He loved The Hulk, and Hulk was green. When he met Pixel from the Diadem series, he was blown away. I mean the kid was blue. What would that be like? Being green? Being blue? And if a blue person married a green person, what would their kid look like? Would he have both their powers?

So yeah, in the Creator’s Realm there are the Slagg who are shades of purple, and there are the Woodfein and Hedge who are shades of green. There are the Zoë and the Persons of Light who are pale. There are Keepers of the Nite who are dark. The [SPOILERS] are covered in green or yellow or red scales. [SPOILERS] and Kaynai are shades of yellow and brown underneath their fur. The [SPOILERS] are definitely going to be shades of blue. And what happens when you mix them up? Ei Lata’n is just a taste. Wait till you meet [SPOILER], she ‘s like a rainbow-colored arsenal.

I’ve never been comfortable with the IRL color assignments. I think it ignores the spectrum. I think having four arms is way more distinctive than being purple. Purple is everywhere. It’s in the flowers, it’s in the evening. I think since heroes and bad guys can look any-kinda-way here, they can definitely look any-kinda-way there.

 

Sincerely,

Shomari

Origin of a Species: It’s Mostly Lon Chaney Jr.’s fault, and a little bit of Michael J. Fox’s

Things that aren’t clever: Gorilla’s in Gorilla city. Puppies from Puptopia.

Things that are clever: Thundercats from Thundera. Romulans from Romulas. A werewolf named Lupin.

I will forever be a fan of Michael J. Fox as Scott Howard. Until I die, every time I look in the mirror and think I’m dressed dapper, the BeeGees will play in my head and I will say out loud,

“You are an animal, awoooo!”

A lot of the time I blame my dad for things, but this one lies squarely on the shoulders of my mother. My dad gave me my first comic book and kept the television tuned to spaceships and laser beams. But it was my mother who introduced me to monsters. I was a King Kong-ophile at 2 years old. As soon as she thought I could handle it (4 years old, maybe?) she put Frankenstein in front of me. And Dracula. And Dr Jekyll. And (drumroll, please) The Wolfman.

It’s there in the title folks. THE Wolfman. Not Curse of the Werewolf or I Was a Teenage Werewolf or Saturday Night B Movie Werewolf. She went straight to the top shelf. I’ve said it before,

“Monsters and Superheroes were my first drug and my parents were the dealers.”the_wolf_man

I couldn’t get enough of LCJ and his buffalo hair. He was the best monster. He couldn’t be stopped. Frankenstein and the Mummy had bum legs. Dracula was allergic to vegetables and could be taken out in his sleep. But if you were close enough to see The Wolfman, you were already toast. He was faster than you. He could smell where you went. He was gonna get you. But you felt bad for the guy! You didn’t want him to get caught. You wanted him to escape and find a cure. You wanted him to get the girl. I mean him as in Larry Talbot, not the wolf. If he got the girl it was over. And man the part when Claude Reins has to…you know what I’m not gonna spoil it. But man, it’s the best.

And then came Teen Wolf.

When I was a kid I wasn’t allowed to buy ice cream from the ice cream man. The guy in the truck I mean. Kids in LA were getting snatched left and right and my parents were taking no chances. But it was fine, because my mom would buy freeze pops or drumsticks or just plain old ice cream. No muss, no fuss.

You see I loved The Wolfman because A)I felt for Larry and B) it terrified me in a fun way. It was a safe scare. But yeah he could have been under my bed at night or in my closet or behind that tree in the back yard or what was that noise?!

But Scott Howard was kid. Not only was he a kid, he was Marty McFly! (Don’t even get me started on the genius that is BTtF, we’ll be here all day) He wasn’t attacked and almost killed, he just became a werewolf. Now right around that time in my life I had stumbled upon Weird Wolf in the school library. I check it out once a month for year. I think I was in 1st grade. Yeah, definitely 1st grade. So I was 7 years old and facing a dilemma. I wanted to be a werewolf. That was my wish-upon-a-star wish. But I wasn’t all that hearty about it because after The Wolfman changed, he always killed somebody.

Weird Wolf introduced me to the idea of non-lethal lycanthropy, and then Scottie brought it home.

You mean you can be a werewolf and still wear clothes and talk and do handstands?!

I wanted that for Christmas.

Oh, and he was instantly good at sports. I sook at sports. Always have, always will. Even sports video games confound me. But if I were a werewolf…

Teen-Wolf-2

So that’s why when I created a fantasy world I had to have werewolves. But what would I name them? Weres? Too easy, and probably taken. Wolfmen? Too on the noise.

When in doubt, Questors, just look up the latin/scientific name of that thing you want to rename.

Dogs and wolves are part of the genus canis. It’s where we get canine. From there it was just a simple task of figuring out the spelling.

 

Hey wouldn’t it be cool if there were a race of cat people that were ancient enemies of these wolf people? And oh man, what if there was a guy who was Kaynai and couldn’t control himself after a Shift to dire?

Sincerely,

Shomari

 

Want in on the Brainstorm? Email me: author@sabiensquest.com

Origin of a Species: I Don’t Care What You Say, Cloak & Dagger Are Awesome!

One day, one day, I’m going to raffle the original draft of Sabien’s Quest. But today, I’ll relay to you the proto-draft of Sabien and his friends.

I don’t know what Sci-Fi channel (before it was SyFy) original movie my dad was watching, but there was this place or a city where on one side it was night time and storming, and on the other side it was daytime and sunny. This became a loose filament.

Have you heard of Cloak & Dagger?

No not the old-timey way of spying, I mean the Marvel Universe heroes. Well Cloak is this guy in a cape and hood that can consume you in darkness. Dagger is this lady that can shoot lightbeams and heal people. I didn’t care about them until Maximum Carnage came out. But they were a complimentary duo and I appreciated that.

Before I wrote about Zatella running through icy rain, I typed up two paragraphs of a Cloak knock off hiding in a city on his way back from seeing (or maybe going to see) a Dagger knock off. He was sixteen, and in a cape and hood. His power was that he could meld with shadows. So as these guards were chasing him, he slipped into a shadow and they passed him by. Now this city he was running through was constantly in daylight. He had to cross over this canyon called Twilight (because the sky above was always set in twilight) back to the city he was from that was constantly in midnight. Both cities were the sole locations on a floating island that always followed the “dateline”, or whatever you call the line between day and night on a planet.ULTSM2011023021_col

So anyway Cloak-knockoff was in love with Dagger-knockoff. Because the city she lived in was called Light, she was a Denizen of Light. Because he was from a city called Night, he was a Denizen of Night. Now my immediate problem was figuring out how he could defend himself when he was spotted by guards and couldn’t find a shadow.

Well wouldn’t it be cool if he could shoot dark rays? And maybe the dark rays were sort of life leeching. But then what would be the limit to his power? Why didn’t he shut shoot endless dark at the guards and never hide. Well maybe he can only shoot it once from each hand because has these things on his palm that he can shoot off that leech life. Their black patches that contain dark energy. And why is he easy to spot in Light? Because of the cape? Well maybe the Light people are all glowey like angels, and he’s this demon looking guy. And ooh wouldn’t it be cool if Dagger-knockoff looked like an angel and her wings could absorb daylight? Then maybe she could shoot it out of her hands or her wings or eyeballs or something.

See where I’m going with this?

So the Denizens of Light, became Persons of Light. Denizens of Night, instead controlled a thing called nite and thus became Keepers of the Nite. That’s also why Zatella has a cloak at the beginning of the story.

Now, what happened to that floating island idea? I couldn’t have possibly kept that in the story. Could I…?

Sincerely,

Shomari

 

Want in on the Brainstorm? Email me: author@sabiensquest.com

New Review

Thanks to Rabid Readers Too for the great review.

 

http://www.rabidreaderstoo.com/sabiens-quest-the-light-by-shomari-black/

 

Sincerely,

Shomari

 

PS – No, I did not mean to rhyme