Behind the scenes reality: Feral Nameless

Critical Windows of Development

Since I’m dealing with a character who not only holds center stage, but also has to be able to accomplish quite a bit, I knew that I would be bending plausibility a bit here.  In part because I was having to bend the rules a tad about how much can be learned outside the acceptable critical windows of development.

Just what are these windows?  As The Science of Waldorf Education these are time periods of time during development that the brain is open to a particular type of experience to result in a particular talent, and after the window closes, this talent can no longer be learned.  OK, let’s break this down a bit more, since the example provided in the article doesn’t exactly make sense for a fantasy book.

The basics, like walking, grabbing, and imaginative play all have toddler and early childhood windows.  Making sure Nameless experienced these was an interesting challenge – he had no one to model his behavior against, nor did he have much environmental stimulation to drive him into achieving these milestones.  A little fancy foot work, and being able to think outside the box allowed me to include these achievements.  The main achievement, the one that seems to determine if there is a “human” within the character, however is the one I had the most difficult with – language development.

That will be the discussion for the next installment.

Behind the scenes reality: Nameless



Though I did not set out to make the main character a feral child, that is what his story wound up becoming.  Since that realization, I have worked diligently to treat the issues surrounding feral children with respect and dignity.  Because of the setting, this has not always been easy, though I hope my readers agree with the treatment I have provided on this very touchy subject.

I have heard the term “feral” bandied about by some in a joking tone, I feel this subject deserves to be respected.  As such, before I get too much further, let me explain what I feel creates a feral child.

“The term [feral child] is not a diagnosis. It comes from historic accounts — some fictional, some true — of children raised by animals and therefore not exposed to human nurturing.” (The girl in the window by Lane DeGregory, Times Staff Writer Tampa Bay Times, published July 31, 2008)



In the Followers of Torments Saga

In the case of Nameless, this was being raised in a dark cell alone.  Though his earliest childhood was isolation, after I discovered the truth about feral children, and the issues that come with, I knew I needed to make sure that I had a character that could at least partially function.  Especially if I wanted to keep up the plausibility, rather than have a caricature of the issue, like we see in Disney’s movies Tarzan and The Jungle Book.  That set me off on an entirely different type of research.  That led to several days of research on critical windows of development, which will be the subject of the next post.

The Sunshine Blogger Award: Interview with Beslynx Spiritwalker

I’ve been nominated Merri Halma of Spiritual Musings for the ‘Sunshine Blogger Award’, where a character in one of my novels has to answer ten questions about themselves. I’ve chosen Beslynx Spiritwalker from the Followers of Torments Saga.  Beslynx is a secondary character, though an important one in the series.


Follower of Torments banner
Nameless was born into slavery and raised to be a fighter. When he wins his way to freedom, the journey he undertakes to gain true freedom leads him through a journey of self growth and self understanding in preparation for his most important decision. Born in the darkness of oppression and slavery, will the lessons he learned along the way be enough to overshadow the light of the future ahead? Begin the journey today with Out of the Darkness to find out the answer.


In return, I nominate the following authors: Lucinda Hawks MoebiusAssaph Mehr, Eric Michael Craig and Aaron-Michael Hall.  Questions are at the end of the post.


Beslynx Banner
What do you do when a family curse puts you in direct opposition to Pack Law? Beslynx is a werecat born to a werewolf pack. She faces that question every day of her life, until her secret is revealed by her younger brother. Now that it has been disclosed, she must find answers quickly to survive in a world fearful of all wereclans. Beslynx Spiritwalker is a companion novella to the Follower of Torments series. Join her as she shares her story prior to “Into the Sunlits”.


  1. Tell me about yourself and your worldAlterraden is a world of untouched beauty because it is sparsely populated.  Not everyone would live in balance, given the choice, but because it is many days travel on foot between the population centers, they are forced to.  The Woodland Path provides enough for all to live comfortably with a little work.  If you work a little harder, then you can even get some minor luxuries.  In all my travels, including with that Path blighted alpha, I have rarely seen anywhere that has such splendor to be considered “opulent” within the world I know.  I have traveled, against my will mind you, to a world where splendor is considered the bare essentials, and what I find comfortable is considered squalor.  I much prefer the Realm I grew up in to any other – the wind whispering through the trees of an evening, the sun shining on the newly shorn grass as the sheep placidly graze, even the dust kicked up during a long day’s travel.
  2. What would you change about yourself if you could? What would keep?I would end my family’s curse.  Though I respect my great-to-the-many-times great grandparents on my sire’s side, I fervently wish they had never mated.  To be honest, I am surprised my great-to-the-many-times great grandmother survived.Our family thought the curse had run its course until Old Finn was born.  Even then, all hoped it ended with his generation.  Then I arrived, and proved to be a werelynx, rather than a werewolf.  Thankfully, mother was a well respected wolf from another well respected Pack, or our entire family would have been struck from the roles.  That would have been devastating to my sire – going from Pack alpha to outcast.  It almost came to that, as it is, due to me.

    To counter that, I would keep my family’s love and affection.  Even though I have been cast out from the Pack, I still retain my status within their hierarchy as the Pack shaman and traveling merchant.  When I return from my trips, I am always greeted by a new pile of shed fur in the spring, or wonderfully tanned pelts in the fall to use for whatever I wish – though most does go into goods for sale to benefit the Pack’s coffers.

  3. Describe your favorite activityThat is a tough question.  There are so many activities I enjoy doing.  Spinning and weaving, walking the paths of the forest and communing with The Path, helping those who are lost find their way, helping The Path maintain balance within the world.  I cannot say I favor one over the other, as I do them all with equal enjoyment.
  4. If you could write your own story, how would you change it?I cannot say I would change it.  Even though The Path saw fit to collar me to my Path blighted alpha, there must be a reason, though I hate it.  Every obstacle, every victory has made me into who I am today.  And it is who I am now that allows me to help those I encounter find their own balance.  If I were to change my story, then I would not be who I need to be for the next person I encounter that needs help.
  5. What is the one person you can always depend on to be there for you?Gaia – She is always there, no matter how dire or celebratory my circumstances.  She is my goddess, my savior, my strength.  When The Path leads me through dark times, I can call upon Her and She provides the strength to carry on until the darkness fades.  However, if you speak in terms of mortals, I mus say it is myself.  Though I can gain strength from Old Finn, or my family, there are places I must go, and times I am away from them when they cannot be present for me.  Because of this, I have had to learn how to sustain myself through any situation.
  6. Who most annoys you?In what way?  The kappa has a habit of making me wish I never met him, yet he can be as charming as any pup as he worms his way back into my good graces.  The leech insists there is something momentous about our Path blighted alpha, yet getting a straight answer from her is worse than getting one out of one of the Pride shamans – everything is cloaked in mystery and mysticism.  The Guardian is too good for her own good, yet plays at being weak.  And the alpha that leads our tiny Pack is enough to make The Path, or any other god cringe.

    I will let you guess which one deserves the title of “most annoying.”

  7. Who do you have to protect?By choice, I protect the weak and uncertain.  I try to help them find their own life’s path, and develop what they need to take it with courage.

    By force, I must protect the Pack I am now part of – if any one of us should be harmed, or worse – die, then we all will die.  That is part of what makes our alpha so dangerous – he knew this, yet did it anyway.

  8. What motivates you to get up in the morning?The chance for a better tomorrow.  Trite as that sounds, I know that ere I go through these dark times, there will be a sunrise eventually.  When I have learned whatever lesson I must, the way forward will open, and I will be able to help everyone in my pack move forward on their paths.  That is a reason to continue living, striving, and reaching – seeing others achieve their full potential.
  9. If you could sit down with coffee with your author, what would you talk about?Coffee?  What is that?  [Bes, it’s like your tea, but stronger and more bitter.]

    Oh!  Morning tea!  Hmm…   I would ask if she knew why I must walk the path I am on.  What is the reason for it.  It would be more bearable if I at least understood why I must become part of the pack, rather than aid them from the fringes.

  10. What is your favorite color and define who you are?Green for Priora, brown for the trees that grow upon her face, blue for the water that sustains us, yellow for the sun that lights the way, and black for the shadows that hide the lessons we must all learn.



Now for the authors I have tagged:


  1. Tell me about yourself and your world.
  2. What was your family like growing up?  Are you still in touch with them now?
  3. What do you most desire to have happen in your life?
  4. What do you wish most to see go away?
  5. What do you do for a living?  Do you enjoy it?
  6. Who is your best friend?
  7. What is your favorite leisure activity?
  8. What do you most dislike about the work you do?
  9. If you could sit down and talk with anyone, who would it be and why?
  10. If you could  be anything in the universe, what would you choose?  Why?

How did the Followers of Torments Saga come to be?


This is the most common question I am asked about the series.  So, before you have to ask again, let me go ahead and answer it.

Back around 2005 or 2006, I was introduced to an online chat 3-D chat platform called IMVU by a friend.  Since I was new to the platform, I tended to stick around the same chat rooms my friend did – which meant I had to come up with a role play character pretty quickly.  And, not just any role play character, either.  The stated rules on most of the rooms included “no humans allowed unless you are someone’s pet or lunch.”  Seeing as I didn’t want to be either, I had to find another race or species that would let me learn the ropes.

I’ve always enjoyed role play, though up until this point, I was more familiar with Dungeons and Dragons, or similar table top game systems, so I figured that would be the best place to start looking for a character base.  It took a while, but I finally found one.  Even then, the character I thought I created was not the character that survived.  My first attempt wound up being shelved, except for rare occasions.  In place of, a darker, more malicious character emerged.

For some reason, one that still leaves me puzzled to this day, a group who liked my character formed.  (It puzzles me because the character is NOT a nice person.)

Before much longer, this small group split off, and the concept of the Tormentor was born.  As our role play continued, the concept grew and took root within the free flow role play game we were involved in.  When life caused the group to dissolve, I figured I was done with this particular chapter, so shelved the concept, story, and character into the dustbins of memory.  This was somewhere around 2009 or 2010.

Fast forward a couple of years.  In 2014, the story hit me over the head with an ultimatum:  Write me, or don’t sleep.

Mind you, I’m someone who takes ultimatums very poorly.  This incident was no exception, especially since I was starting my Masters program.  I fought, I really did.  However – the story won that round (and just about every one after that, too.)

I started writing Out of the Darkness, thinking it was a stand alone.  Then I ran into an issue I could not resolve, which led me to going back and reading what was written so far.  The end result was Remember the Shadows coming into the scene, though at first the title was supposed to be Into the Sunlits.  A duology, not exactly what I had in mind, but if it meant I didn’t have a story yammering at me, I’d take it.  Then the story decided to live up to its name.  From two books, it bloomed into five.

By this time I’d become, not exactly resigned, but accepting of the fact I was now a working author.  All because I had a role play story that insisted on being transformed into a novel, and I really wanted to sleep.  That my friends, is how the Followers of Torments Saga was born.