Geoffrey Long
Tip of the Quill: Archives
Bones of the Angel II: maybe not Wolfmother.

I have a porous mind, and a nearly insatiable hunger for pop culture. Thus, it's embarassing (but not wholly surprising) when a phrase pops into my head that I think is catchy and highly useful for a new project, and then later I find out it's totally in use. So yeah. The new project? Not called Wolfmother. Not sure what it'll be called yet. Rats.

However, I am now convinced that The Project Formerly Known as Wolfmother actually is a logical followup to Bones of the Angel. Last week's assignment for Frank was to sketch up the opening scenes of our story. No sooner did I finish that up then I knew that these drawings were going to be immediately followed by the opening animation, which would be followed by a train pulling into the station in a tiny village in Romania. The whistle blows, the door opens up, and out onto the platform steps none other than Michael Coldman.

(WARNING! Spoilers for Bones of the Angel ahead. You may want to stop reading now if you aren't one of my test readers – but email me if you'd like to be!)

"So, tell me one more time. Why are we in Romania?"

Michael Coldman grinned as he set his luggage down on the platform. "Lately there's been a whole rash of strange reports about a monster sneaking into town late at night and stealing children right out of their cribs. No one hears anything, no one ever wakes up, and no one knows what's happened until it's way too late. The sun rises, the village wakes up, and some poor mother discovers her baby's gone."

Pi St. John clapped his hands together for warmth and frowned at his best friend. "Right. And what does that have to do with us, exactly?"

"With us, honey? Nothing." Victoria Ravenswood smiled mockingly up at her boyfriend and patted him on the shoulder. "Michael, however, thinks he can learn something. We're just along for the ride."

Michael frowned. "Thanks again for footing the bill for this, Vicky."

She shook her head. "Don't mention it, Michael. My father would have done the same thing – and now that he's gone and I'm the sole executor of the Ravenswood estate, I can fund any kind of expedition I want." She smiled. "As long as Pi and I get to go along, of course."

"Still, babe, we do need to keep a couple things straight," Pi said gently. "Michael and I have been on these research trips before, and sometimes the locals can be a little leery of strangers. Since this is your first time out in the field with us, you might want to take your cues from..."

"Pi," VIcky said warningly, cutting him off with a glare. "I spent the better part of the last decade studying in Europe while you mostly sat on a couch in Ohio playing WarCraft. Not only do I have way more experience than you, but I'm the one who happens to know – Ilya!"

Vicky suddenly rushed across the platform to throw her arms around a huge mountain of a man, who laughed heartily as he scooped her up in a giant bear hug.

"I take it that's our host for the evening," Michael said.

"Good old Ilya," Pi remarked drily. "C'mon. Help me pry his big paws off my girlfriend."

What's kind of cool about this entire state of affairs is that with Bones of the Angel I potentially set the stage for a whole series of books that follow the same winning two-guys-and-a-girl formula that I used to use way back in my Young Authors' Contest days. Michael, Pi and Vicky aren't exactly Mastermind, Jammer and Jinx (hey, I was in fifth grade when I made up those names) but I can already feel a little bit of their interactions echoing through. It's funny, though – way back in the day my three stars were very distinctly based on myself and two of my best friends, and now although it may seem that I'm basing these guys off people I know, they're much more composite figures, smooshed together with archetypes and bits and pieces of other figures from literature. Michael, for instance, is one part me, one part Nick, one part Andy, one part Sherlock Holmes, one part Hellboy, one part Beast (from X-Men), and hundreds of other parts of other stuff. Pi and Vicky are the same way. Hopefully these amalgamations will still come across as complete, 3-D characters, but we'll see. I still have a long way to go with this stuff.

That said, I think I may have struck on a vein of stories that I could definitely chase for a while. I was talking with my friends Sam and Alec in class with Henry the other day about a definite lack that I'm perceiving in the narrative stream right now. There are a ton of fantasy/supernatural stories told about The Chosen One on a faraway planet, or the young boy adventurer who discovers he's destined for so much more (*cough*harrypotter*cough*) but what you don't get a lot of these days are the stories that start out in the real world and feature the adventures of adults that find themselves roped into strange circumstances. I've always been a sucker for Indiana Jones because Indy still goes back to the University at the end of his adventures. He's a (relatively) real, mortal guy – unlike, say, Superman. Even Batman's more interesting than Superman because he's a self-made man. A regular guy could become Indy or Batman if he had enough determination and money; a regular guy could never become the last son of Krypton.

While Michael does have some magic in him, it's his quest to find out what exactly he is that's the main motivation in these stories. Vicky is the financier and global girl, Pi is the small-town artist type who finds himself evolving into a leader, Michael is the bookish type but is also the strongest, and connected into everything is Caliban Davies from back home, who's sort of the Oracle to Michael's Batman. I'm not sure what role Jack plays in these story arcs when they're out bouncing around the world, which is ironic since Jack was my original main action hero. At some point I'll reveal Jack's bizarro history to the others, since I still haven't ruled out the idea that all of that ties in here somewhere as well, but we'll see.

Big stories. Big, big stories to tell.

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