Guest Authors

C.S. Boyack’s The Cock of the South

Cockof the south

C. S. Boyack has a new book out called “The Cock of the South.” This is his first attempt at writing fantasy. It involves a group of conquered peoples banding together to ensure they have a place in the world. It is set in a Greco Roman environment, rife with everything fans of those stories might expect.

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How writers go about producing a story is always an interesting topic. I love reading about the process of others. Rather than just lurk, I decided to talk about my own machinations as I wrote The Cock of the South.

I keep quick notes in an app on my phone. These are just a line or two to remind me of stray thoughts. When I keep dwelling on an idea I take out a notebook and fountain pen and expand the idea a bit. If it really sticks with me I start a storyboard.

This is my first fantasy story. Being true to the genre was important to me. I actually did mountains of research into mythology to spark my imagination. I didn’t want to rewrite one of those tales, so I stole bits and pieces to weave into my stories. I made small piles of index cards. These didn’t all get used, but I like to have notes to refresh my imagination.

It was equally important to me that I was true to the setting. Ancient Rome and Greek mythology are something readers are used to, and I wanted to use this to ground the story. I find that building fences with plot and setting serve as a governor to my imagination. The imagination flows and focuses in a different direction. My storyboard was covered with sticky notes to include more marble columns and bath houses at one point.

When it comes to characters I try to be a bit different. Hercules might be the best hero, but what if someone less qualified had to solve all the problems? I found a lost member of the Southern Dwarves who was raised by humans. His dwarven heritage has been hidden from him, and he lives as a short broad human. Because of his physical makeup the people around him nicknamed him Cobby.

I also wanted the freedom to vary some of the historical parts of the story. I stewed on this for a long time, but in fantasy the world ought to be different. It was a delicate balance to preserve the setting and believably change some elements. I dug deep into mythology and decided that Remus killed Romulus. Rome never got built and the nation of Remus took its place. This allowed me to modify weapons, change trade routes, and still keep some familiarity in the story.

I always try to challenge myself to try something new with each story. This isn’t obvious to the reader, but it’s important for my growth. In The Cock of the South I wanted to use fairytale structure. This is a great way of telling a story, but casual readers might not pick up on everything.

Since this post is likely to be read by as many authors as readers here are some things I included. Cobby is the outsider of three brothers. Each brother represents one facet of the father. Cobby will have to master all three of these elements before he can succeed. There is a scene involving magical gifts from a friend. If you pay very careful attention, there are even seven dwarves together on one adventure. I included more elements, but this is a blog post and you’ll have to watch for others as you read the story.

I love this story, but readers will be the ultimate judge. I hope you’ll give The Cock of the South a chance. I had a great time writing it, and hope you’ll enjoy reading it.

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Book Excerpt:

Roald stood near his cows looking to the east. An erie red glow wound its way across the country below them.

“What is it?” Cobby asked.

“Same stuff what fills that lake,” he cocked a thumb over his shoulder. “That’s lava. It’s from Helheim itself. Keep watching, if it touches a tree she burns like dry grass, by golly. You can’t see it in the daytime. It just looks black and foggy. At night you can see the fire inside.”

“Helheim must be like our Tartarus,” Cobby said.

“Yeah, by golly, that’s it. Tomorrow we climb some, then start back down. The next camp is like this one, but the one after is a beauty. There’s a cabin and a hot spring too.”

The mountain shook once more, and cones fell from the trees. Roald patted one of his cows, “It’s okay, we seen Ifestio shake many times. Keep the girls calm and it’ll pass.”

The lead cow lay down, and the others did the same.

Cobby sat down and started tossing bits to Gallicus. “You’re not afraid, because you can fly away.”

Cobby took one last look at the lava, then headed for camp.

Uncle was throwing a fit. “This dwarfess unloaded my wagon and put all my stuff in the snow.”

Beth had her hands on her hips and said, “This wagon is a dormitory for some girls now. Four dwarfesses and two humans.”

“Let’s put your stuff under the wagon,” Cobby said.

“And where am I supposed to sleep then?”

“We’ll make a wall out of your stuff. You and Ruth can block the cold wind that way.”

Uncle scowled and made a fist.

Ruth scolded, “You’d choose keeping that old trunk dry over the lives of these six girls. If so, then you aren’t the man I thought you were.”

Uncle picked up the trunk and shoved it under the wagon. “Half man,” he grumbled. “Besides, nothing can get wet if it’s frozen solid.”

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Craig author pic

You can follow Craig at the following places:

His blog, Entertaining Stories. http://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com

On Twitter.  https://mobile.twitter.com/Virgilante

You can pick up a copy of The Cock of the South at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00P4H37WC

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