Today I'm hosting the Prossia Blog Tour. Welcome to Raphyel M. Jordan, author of Prossia. There's an excellent post, excerpt, and beautiful artwork. Don't forget to enter the giveaway below! Enjoy!
Have you ever gotten the chance to ask an artist how long they've been drawing or painting? If I could see you in person, I'd bet ten dollars they'd probably say they've been an artist his/her entire life. Why? Because I could get a pretty snazzy meal for ten bucks.
In all seriousness, having that artistic niche isn't something that just "grows" on a person over time. No, it's something that's always been there, and was more than likely fueled at an early age. Why, I remember my first drawing. It all started long ago. . .
Yep. Story time!
When I was three, my five year old brother drew a cowboy. I thought it looked cool, I wanted did the same. No, no, I'm not about to tell you the finished drawing would hail me to be the next Raphael or anything like. . . oh wait. My name IS Raphyel, so that's pretty cl–. . . oh, you know what I mean! >_<
Anyway, my mom, being the perfect mother she is, told me how great the drawing was, so I kept doing it. Next thing, before I knew it, I'm drawing superheroes on the chalk board during free time in Kindergarten at the age of 5, and the entire class is staring at the picture wide eyed when I turn around to see what everybody else is doing.
Not much later, I noticed that I had a little more attention to detail than most of the other kids when we were in art class. Where children drew dots for eyes, I actually gave pupils. Eventually, while they still placed heads on a shoulders, I was giving people necks and collar bones. And finally, when everyone else had moved on to their own passions, I thought the best birthday present I got was from my oldest brother, who gave me a giant sketch pad and professional set of colored pencils.
When my friends were talking about going to school for engineering, I was looking at art schools for animation. Sadly, the animation thing didn't work out, but graphic design wasn't a bad secondary option. Needless to say, I love to draw. It's my passion that kept getting pushed and fueled just because people would take a moment to pause at my drawings and go "wow."
Thing is, while I was perfecting my craft when I as a kid, I had this other little hobby I liked to dabble in from time to time: storytelling. When I was little, I wrote numerous graphic novels to coincide with my art, all which my mother has perfectly guarded and kept to this day, thank you. ;) See, I didn't only want to draw people. I wanted to give them life, a setting, a purpose. That's probably why I wanted to be an animator so badly. What better way is there for an artist to bring his characters to life than with movement?
So, when this book called "Prossia" came into my brain at the age of 19, it was second nature for me to visualize the creatures and the world the story was set in. I've been blessed with this gift, where not only can I imagine what these aliens and other creatures look like, but I can let others see what my mind envisions as well.
Seeing that malicious smirk on Cy's face, making people wonder if he's just a nice guy with an attitude, or a manipulator with ill-intent ready to execute his next move. Or how about getting a wink that Catty would naturally give if she knows she's posing for a pic? And then there's being able to see Aly's gray eyes, which the book describes as being "brighter than a full moon." When people see these images after reading the book, I can't help but smile when I see their jaws drop.
"Wow, they look so real. Look at their eyes!" tends to be the most common statement I get. And when somebody, like me, is writing about aliens from another galaxy fighting in a galactic war, being able to break into the realm of reality for people is such a reward in its own. I love to write, but I love to draw, and being able to share that part of me with others is the best gift ever. Who would've thought it all started with me drawing a cowboy, and believing people when they said, "That's really good,"?
Aly easily hid her body within the high purple and green strands of wheat and grass towering out of the soil after she reached her quota at work. She sped up her pace because she wanted to make sure she still had enough time to stare into the sky and daydream, in spite of the extra hour added to her shift. As she lay in the grass and watched the first cluster of stars show up, the mastra rubbed her arms to get some warmth from the chill that harvest time brought.
Another uneventful waste of a day flowed by as Aly hummed a cheerful tune to herself. As she hummed, the wonders of other worlds and alien creatures passed on by her rhythm. She envisioned beautiful creatures very different from her own appearance soaring into the air effortlessly, thanks to these rumored, flying, mechanical mountains called “ships.”
The sounds of water precipitating from the sky made smooth pats against the gravel while beautiful sparks of light spread its glory across a gray sky. If the Young One recalled correctly, the sparks were just called “lightning.” She thought it had to be amazing to see the sky form into bubbles of gray puffs, and release water from above. The only water her planet received was from the thick fog and dew of the morning.
Aly wondered how the other beings live amongst themselves when their worlds were so different from hers. How could they interact with one another without acknowledging the physical differences? What would they eat, wear, and what would thousands of years of advanced technology do to a civilization? Such thoughts rolled on as the hours passed by in the high weeds.
Even though her mind would travel across the far reaches of the galaxy, Aly always hummed a cheerful tune that eventually led into a song of her own making as she daydreamed. The song she made as she nestled in the grass had an aura that pulled the fire beetles into her being, and complimented her voice as it rose and fell. By this method, she had gained the very will of time itself and could manipulate it in any way she pleased.
The Goolian was so enveloped in her own world and song; she didn’t even hear the footsteps approaching before they were right upon her. Aly almost sat up when she heard someone brush through the grass toward her, but it was already too late.
“And what is this? Lying in the middle of my pappai’s field for your own time to daydream, yes? I have a nerve to give you a thorough lesson you shall never forget, Young One,” the owner of the footsteps hissed.
The figure towering over Aly gave her a glare that would send shivers even down an elder’s spine, but it was also a glare that Aly didn’t really care for.
“Then perhaps I should remind you of earlier times you decided to give me a hassle, then, yes?” Aly snarled back. “Perhaps a lesson such as the one I gave the prior week has already cleared your thoughts, Mastra?”
Catty playfully kicked Aly in the rib before she took her place on the ground beside her. She stretched and yawned loudly, and Aly glared at the yellow-eyed spunk as curse words bounced out of her brain.
“Truly, why not be grander with your noise?” Aly insisted. “Does this one wish to suffer me trouble?”
“Nay, all seems well,” Catty said as she sat up and looked at the two brown, full bags leaning against each other. “I was to figure I would not delay you until you finished in your typical hour. And finished you did, in spite of a wounded shoulder! Well performed, Mastra.”
“Why, my dearest thanks, Mistress.”
Catty slapped Aly on the forearm before she lay back down.
“I told you, no poking fun in regards to that,” Catty insisted. “I ceased mocking you about such things as your height and lack of inner being, yes?”
Aly rolled her eyes, and kept staring at the sky. Catty sighed because she knew she’d never get an apology out of Aly, so she let the subject drop.
“Your shoulder is well, yes?” the spunk asked as she noticed a white cloth wrapped around Aly’s arm.
“It is still rather tight,” Aly confessed. “Yet a decent slumbering tonight shall help—”
Aly stopped talking and sat up when she heard a rustle in the bush.
“Where is your pappai?” Aly asked.
“He resides in the main house, and he figured it would be best for me to check on you since you’ve suffered such terrible production. Truly though, you only heard a field rodent.”
Aly sighed and stretched before leaning back down onto the ground.
“So, what travels do we take through the mind today?” Catty asked. Aly was already slipping back into her trance as she studied the stars.
“What else besides the wonders of the great beyond?” Aly said. “And nothing beyond what will always be? Simple wonders.”
“Hmm. Truly, Aly, there are times when I wish such a situation as a war was a reality beyond that of the simple slips of loose tongues.”
“A random outburst indeed,” Aly said as she popped her neck. “Be that as it may, you still speak truly. It would give good reason for us to be off this rock, yes? To know all, to see all, to have all, I take it the alien fools who obtain such a gift are ignorant of what they grasp. Still, such gifts shall probably never be permitted to creatures to the likes of us.”
“Well, fret not over the thought too gravely. For I am sure others have thought the same, yes?”
Aly sat up and fiddled with some beads tied around her tents. As if acting upon instinct to a subconscious form of communication, Catty got up on her knees and started untying the wooden and common looking pebbles decorating Aly’s head.
“Truly, I make no fuss over such things,” Aly insisted as Catty tugged. “You know such thoughts are ones that have grown dull over the passing of the years during early childhood. Every soul has a proper order and purpose in the world, and this is ours. Being ignorant of others delegations and situations is of little concern to me.”
“Then I suppose your age begins to show, in regards to this,” Catty said. She came across a bead that was wrapped in a knot, and leaned her head in closer so she could have a better look at it. “I recall when this one had more wonders and excitement out of any other student when we were first taught about other nations in class.”
“Nay, yet I still do,” Aly said as she shook her head. Catty yelped when she lost her grip of the knot she had finally managed to loosen, and thumped Aly in the back of the head. “Apologies, Cattalice. Now, as I was to say, I considered myself to have managed wondering without the notion of absolute dread. What we hold in the palm of her hands is a grand deal, as it is. Nay, it is more than a grand deal. A place to call home, families to hail as our own, and the obligations we have to the village? Who should be in want of more?”
Catty poked the mastra on the head, and Aly extended her hand out to the left so Catty wouldn’t have to place the beads on the ground.
“Truly, I find this life, when all must be said and done, to be like these beads,” Aly said as she glanced over at the hand that was getting filled with her head accessories. “Perhaps simple and boring compared to others, yet a proud gem that we are blessed to call our own. Since this be the case, perhaps suffering the troubles of a larger world is better in the hands of alien creatures.”
“Finished,” Catty said as she dropped Aly’s final bead into the mastra’s palm. The spunk tossed the eight thick extensions that were Aly’s tents onto the right side of Aly’s shoulder so she could massage them with her hands.
“And I cannot agree with you more,” the spunk said as she gently rubbed Aly’s strands of tentacles individually. “Why, I myself would find it quite a shock to see how the others may live. Did you not hear of the Argutain rumor this afternoon?”
“The hairies? What else could possibly be new of them?”
Catty stopped massaging Aly’s tents, and she clapped her hands together in delight. Aly spun around and started straightening her tentacles as she tuned in.
“My pappai was told that they actually eat the inner rectums of rotten beasts as a delicate formal feast of kinds,” Catty whispered, as if trying to keep the secret away from invisible people trying to listen in. “Is that not repulsive?!”
“Catty, surely that one must be an absolute exaggeration,” Aly said with a disgusted face.
“One should never be surprise when it comes to the other races, nay?” Catty answered.
Aly took that to mind as she turned back around, and laid back down. She grabbed one of her two secondary tents that extended right in front of her ears, and fiddled with it as she started humming again. Catty tried to lie beside her friend and enjoy the quietness for several seconds, but it was too much for her. She hopped back up and started picking out some of the weeds nearby.
“Perhaps you would like to ensure the fields are beyond ready for the morrow, yes?” Catty asked as she picked. “I only say this in suggestion.”
“Nay, I am well, my thanks. Truly, I am thus satisfied with my night’s numbers.”
“My, and how easy it is to speak of obligations and not follow through on words,” Catty scuffed. “I have yet to see how you can be so curious yet rebellious all at once, Aly. You are fortunate I am your closest friend yes? Or perhaps you abuse this relationship.”
“Perhaps you should try tending to the fields for several hours like the rest of us, then,” Aly answered. “This IS your damned property after all. Let us see how great a lazy ass I am then, yes? Besides, as I spoke prior, I only lie about when I made the evening’s goal and beyond.”
“. . . A thorough point. My apologies.”
“Nay. My temper still gets the best of me at times. I am at fault,” admitted Aly.
Catty dropped the issue, placed the weeds she had picked into Aly’s bag so she could head back to the large hut a decent distance away.
“Mastra,” Aly called out. “As well as things may be here, how do you not ponder over what the rest of the world is like?”
Catty placed her hands behind her head and smiled.
“Why worry over other’s troubles when we should tend to our own?” the spunk asked with a smile. “Truly, we should suffer with the notion of thinking over the greater good and not one’s self.”
“Perhaps,” Aly said as she went back to gazing at the stars. “Be that as it may, I find little harm in toying with such harmless thoughts, yet I suppose I am an odd one of sorts in regards to this, yes?”
Catty looked up so she could see what was catching her friend’s eye, and shook her head when she didn’t see anything worth looking at. She then went over and looked at how good Aly’s load was in better detail.
“I can tell my pappai you made goal for the night if you wish,” Catty said as she kicked Aly’s foot.
“No bother,” Aly answered. “I shall idle here for a few more moments, if you do not mind.”
“We never do. Be well then, dearest Alytchai.”
Aly nodded, and went back to her daydreaming. She thought about what Catty said, not pondering over silly things beyond the village. Maybe the spunk was right. Maybe thinking so wildly was selfish and inconsiderate to everyone else. Aly prayed this wasn’t the case. The last thing any Goolian would want to do was think herself better than the rest of the community. All worked. All learned. All did this for the whole unit, not the one. This was the Goolian way.
In spite of it all, however, Aly could not help dreaming, which helped produce the cheerful hum coming from her lips. Thus, the magic in her voice returned once again.
Raphyel Montez Jordan grew up in a household sensitive to the creative arts. As a child, his hobbies were drawing favorite cartoon and video game characters while making illustrated stories. This passion for art never left and followed him all the way up to his high school and college years.
It wasn’t until college when he underwent a personal “renaissance” of sorts that Jordan took his interest in writing to another level. When he was 19, he started writing a novel for fun, taking inspiration from the constant exposure of different ideas and cultures that college showed him while staying true to the values he grew up to embrace. However, when the “signs of the times” influenced the story and the characters to spawn into universes of their own, he figured he might possibly be on to something.
As he studied graphic design at Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, Georgia, Jordan also used his electives to study sciences like Astronomy, Psychology, and Biology in order enhance the reading experience in his story. He eventually made it a goal to have the story published after he graduated, and dubbed the goal “Operation Prosia,” the very same project that would develop into his first published book, Prossia.
Even though his novel is not necessarily a religious book, Jordan utilizes his Christian faith by urging people to encourage, not condemn, in his story. Best known for ending his PSFC newsletters with “Unity Within Diversity,” he hopes Prossia’s success will inspire people to consider and support the positive outlook in the difference human kind can share, whether it be race, religion, or any other cultural difference.
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