I just outed the Bulgy Bear!

The title of this blog sounds rather strange, so lets put it in context.

The Bulgy Bear is a character from the Narnian books, which are public domain. That means any writer can use them, much like Alan Moore when he created The League of Extraordinary Gentleman and used characters from Victorian literature in interesting new ways and much like any of ten thousand different writers can and have written a Sherlock Holmes story.

My own concept of the Mythlands – Mythical Creatures (which will start to show up in the second volume of my anthology collection BITE SIZE STORIES) is a hopefully original take on characters from fairytale, fable, myth, legend, literature and even pop culture and uses characters from worlds like Narnia, Oz, Wonderland, Babar’s Elephantland and many more.

https://www.facebook.com/MythicalCreaturesInterdimensional/

But this isn’t actually an article about public domain characters – I just wanted to set the backdrop. Believe it or not, this is really about the OMP and the part of its mission statement that goes beyond just the book collection to raise money for our two specific charities (Cancer Research UK and the homeless charity EMMAUS). We also want to build a platform for spreading awareness of other worthy causes and discussing issues (See my last blog on Animal Conservation and the petition to protect JERICHO THE LION).

As a writer, I’ve never shied away from exploring different facets of character and society and although a lot of my  stories take place under the Fantasy genre, I like to mix in some ‘mundane reality’ and not so mundane reality. The Mythlands stories are no different. You’ll find planes, trains and automobiles (The Hare’s corporate jet ‘Hare Force One, Mr Toad’s roadster etc), mobile phones, discussion of menus in restaurants, self help groups, pirate radio stations (run by Captain Hook and Mr Smee) and even scenes where characters go to the toilet (the Asgardian God Vali heeds the call of nature and stands by the urinal beside a stuttering pig in a tuxedo who is described as a bit porky), corporate and economic business structures (Mythical Creatures Interdimensional and its board of Directors including Chairman The Tortoise, The Owl and others with major stockholders Mr Toad and King Babar) and much more.

Reality mixed with fantasy characters and fantasy setting. There are different races, religions (the relaxed multi denominational religions of the Domain as opposed to the extreme and oppressive church of the Aslanist State of Narnia) and styles of government (The benign corporate rule in Domain City, the whimsical monarchy of Babar, the firm grip of Queen Ozma over her nation and its vassal states such as Merryland and Ix, who voted to leave the Ozian Union but Ixit was overturned when Ozma sent in her troops) and, most pertinently to this blog, sexuality.

Just as in real life, we are straight, bi, gay, gender fluid, trans – we are monogamous, polygamous and many other labels or descriptives that miss the point that we are all human beings, regardless of any of that; in the Mythlands the creatures, humans, gods, talking or anthropomorphic animals et al, are also what they are.

When writers write about sexuality (or race, religion, ethnicity etc) they sometimes make a big deal of it and it really shouldn’t be a big deal. It should just be, because people just are. End of.

In The Mythlands there are four acknowledged gay characters (though in my mind canon a 5th – Goldie Lochs swings both ways) – The Owl and The Pussycat, an openly gay long standing couple with a rock solid relationship, introduced in one of the two tiny ‘pre stories,’ before I began my epic adventure THE HEIST. Since then, I’ve written some 50,000 words and The Owl has only popped up briefly at the MCI quarterly board meeting to give a presentation on the status of the Cair Paravel Economic Summit in Narnia – he’ll shortly return as the action is currently in Narnia and heading to a collision in Cair Paravel.

But back to the title of this article … in my last installment, written today, I’ve outed the Bulgy Bear – I haven’t made a big deal of his sexuality and as he’s been defined as a character already so he’s not ‘The Gay Character.’ – he’s a character that just happens to be gay. As it happens it does raise a slight plot point as he lives in a repressive society where the extremist faith of the land condemns gay people. Being gay in the Aslanist State of Narnia is punishable by death. His boyfriend and love of his life is a foreign diplomat that has come to Narnia for the economic summit. As a non public domain character (like the stuttering pig) I can only allude to this character in very general terms – he is a small bear called Boo Boo (He does NOT wear a bow tie!). No other facts are known about him, though I might mention he has a friend with a green hat who likes stealing picka nic baskets!

So the Bulgy Bear and the others are Mythland characters – Bulgy is a veteran soldier and Narnian loyalist whose strong faith is being tested by a series of revelations about injustices within his society, that are coming to light as the formerly isolationist Narnia, slowly opens its borders for the first time in seventy years. These are the main elements of the character.

His sexuality has nothing to do with defining him (except in a vaguer sense against his society) and that’s how it should be!

Jason.

I hope to present guest bloggers and to address gender and sexuality issues from different perspectives – mine was from the writer/fantasy POV – others will be more directly to do with real life and experience.

Advertisements

Jericho the Lion

OMP is not just about raising money for the specific charities of CANCER RESEARCH UK and the Homeless organization EMMAUS. From time to time we will spotlight individual causes and hope to bring awareness and open discussion on other worthy causes and issues.

One dear to my heart was the case of Cecil the Lion and some time ago I started a petition to bring awareness to people and ask for the protection of other lions, following an article about a bounty being put on his pack brother Jericho, an equally magnificent beast.

It’s important we don’t forget so I have kept this petition open with the view of posting this very blog once the OMP website was set up. Please support this message by signing the linked petition and SHARING/REBLOGGING/TWEETING etc with the hashtag #OMPsupportsProtectJerichoTheLion

https://www.change.org/p/hwange-national-park-protect-jericho-the-lion

Here is the link to a recent story which gives an update on Cecil’s cubs, now under the protection of Jericho.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/sc-cecil-cubs-update-family-0517-20160511-story.html

Bite Size Stories

Thank you to Rachel for blogging about Bite Size Stories. Each Volume includes a story from the OMP at the end and links, so hopefully buyers of BSS will also check out the OMP. Rachel will also be doing some art for my YA detective/adventure/fantasy with anthropomorphic animals ‘CHILDREN’S STORY’ which is Story 17 of 24 in the One Million Project collection.

Sunshine Blogger Award

What is the Sunshine Blogger Award?

The Sunshine Blogger Award is given to those who are inspiring and bring sunshine into the lives of their readers and fellow bloggers through their blogspace and/or their social media.

Thanks very much to the lovely and talented Rachel Wollaston whose debut novel Kingdom is one I highly recommend. If you like well written YA Fantasy with great descriptions, compelling characters and situations with a bit of a Narnia vibe (while still being uniquely its own thing) check it out. You can also see a very good story by Rachel in one of the guest writer slots in my own newly released Bite Size Stories Volume One Here are the US links for Bite Size and Kingdom

The Rules of the Sunshine Blogger Award:

  • Name drop and link to the blog of the awesome person who nominated you.
  • Answer the eleven questions from the blogger who nominated you.
  • Nominate up to eleven wonderful bloggers and write (or borrow/steal) eleven questions for them to answer.

The Answers to the Questions Asked to Me:

What first inspired you to start writing?

I’ve been writing since I can remember so it was probably writing exercises/English classes in Primary School. I’ve always loved using my imagination and I read a lot too. Telling stories was just instinct from maybe age 5 or 6.

What was the one thing you always wanted to be when you were a child?

Boring answer – a writer. I can’t remember thinking anything else, though I did always want to live in a castle, so maybe … a landowner nobleman!

If you could live ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD, where would it be?

Right where I am – well, south a bit. River view Docklands apartment. I also quite fancy a second home in New York. Back in 2014 I stayed with relatives in their fabulous Manhattan art deco apartment – 46 stories up with views of the city/river/bridges on 3 sides. So if I could ever afford it, split between London and NYC.

Describe your ideal day. What would you do? Where would you go?

There’s so many ways I could answer this, so I’ll go with my first instinctive thought. A warm but not overly hot summers day, a bunch of my closest friends and a long walk (either in the country, along the Thames or by the coast), stopping off on the way at pubs for rest, food and some cold drinks. I like to see new and familiar places, so a good 5 to 10 miles enjoying the sun and surroundings, chatting to friends as we walk, is my idea of a great day out.

What is your favourite thing to do when you are not writing? Do you have a favourite TV show?

Spending time with friends, reading and having new experiences/seeing new places. I watch quite a lot of shows so it’s hard to narrow them down. Maybe Game of Thrones.

What are your hidden talents?

That depends on who you ask. I’m quite good at doing voices/accents. I have an organizational as well as creative brain and can make people laugh.

Pizza or McDonald’s?

Pizza without a doubt.

Given the choice, would you rather live in a huge mansion or a cabin in the woods?

Huge mansion … hopefully with lots of picturesque grounds, as I do like the country but the idea of living somewhere like Downton Abbey/Highclere Castle has massive appeal. Quite apart from all my childhood fantasies about growing up and having adventures in a castle, I had an adult one where if I lived in such a place I would invite about 30 of my good friends to live there with me too, rent free.

What is your favourite book that you could read over and over again?

There’s a bunch of books I actually do take out to re-read every 3-5 years, so again hard to narrow down. Several series come to mind rather than a single book – the Narnia series and The Time Wars series by Simon Hawke. Actually I am more likely to re-read from my old comic collection – Marvels and DC among others.

Choose one fantasy realm to live the rest of your life in (e.g. Narnia, Middle Earth…).

I’ve created my own THE MYTHLANDS which smooshes pretty much every fantasy land together and allows a ton of public domain characters to cross over. I wouldn’t mind hanging out at the Lucky Cactus Casino in Myth Vegas and playing cards with The Hare and Mr Toad, but as I have also created a lot of chaos in these realms, being a character in my own story would probably not be a good idea!

But I suspect using my own creation is a bit of a cheat, soooo … tempted to say Westeros as I love Game of Thrones but its a bit too violent for full time. So Landover from the Magic Kingdom for Sale series by Terry Brooks – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_Kingdom_of_Landover

Lastly, where do you see yourself ten years from now?

Um, dividing my time between Docklands flat, Manhattan apartment and my huge castle! I don’t know – I would quite like to see a lot of my books out there, being read and enjoyed and maybe a few made into movies. Personally, settled down with a wife and some small children.

Thanks for this Rachel – Now I’ll have to see if I can find anyone who blogs to nominate. Fancy a go Claudia?