The Journey to THE SURVIVAL TRILOGY began years ago, with a Love for Science Fiction & Fantasy, inspired by visionary Storytellers … like Walt Disney, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Steven Spielberg.
My earliest attempts at line Art involved drawing DISNEY Cartoon characters, like Donald Duck, Goofy and Mickey Mouse. I dreamed of becoming an animator.
Around 1975, PLANET OF THE APES inspired me to create prosthetic “Apes” makeup, as I was hoping to work in Hollywood some day. Still in my teens, I created a plaster model of my own face, experimenting with latex rubber.
After years of watching Artist Friend CHRIS YAMBAR draw Comics in his basement, in the late 1970’s (while still in High School at Austintown Fitch) we imagined an ambitious Movie Idea — IN SEARCH OF OMARA — with prosthetic make-up for Beastly Heroes, Matte Paintings and Stop-Motion animated Monsters. We even produced a hand-written screenplay and scouted “shooting locations” in Mill Creek Park. It never went beyond the planning stage.
Together with High School Friends, I helped produce Independent Films, like the DANVILLE FAMILY CURSE (creating Werewolf Make-up for another Actor.) We filmed scenes at night in the woods with spotlights and attempted to create a soundtrack on audiocassette. Shortly afterward, the creator behind “Danville” asked me to transform him into a Giant White Rabbit for another Film — TERROR FROM LAB 109. His name? Pete Bishop (not to be confused with the character from FRINGE).
Classmate Ron Parker was a KISS Fanatic. He recruited Me & CHRIS YAMBAR to help create Costumes and wear grease paint for a KISS Photo Shoot with Ron (as Gene Simmons) Chris (as Peter Criss), Me (as Ace Frehley) and Ron’s cousin (as Paul Stanley) to enter a LOOK-LIKE CONTEST. We painted a “Wall of Fire” on basement walls for the backdrop, had a Hair-Stylist create the wigs and a real Photographer. Somehow … we did not win. But we had a lot of Fun!
In 1979 I created Concept Art (in colored pencil on poster board) to depict characters from THE KEY OF PEACE (an Epic Story written by CHRIS YAMBAR) — a “buddy tale” featuring two friends, one sort of Hobbit-like, the other a young Satyr — and their incredible adventures through an imaginary land, very much like Middle Earth.
I contributed to MANNA UNDERGROUND PRESS — a Christian publication created by CHRIS YAMBAR while working for Lamb Ministries in Youngstown — with some “Hobbit” and “Lord of the Rings” themed Artwork. It all led up to an actual event — A “Lord of the Rings” Party open to the Public — which I helped plan but was unable to attend (because it took place while I was away in College).
We created Huge wall murals on paper for the “RINGS” PARTY — one of “Gollum” from the Tolkien Calendar May 1978 by the Brothers Hildebrandt, and another of Orcs attacking Dwarves from the 1977 Rankin/Bass animated version of “The Hobbit””.
I contributed to MYTHOS, a “non-profit journal of mythopoeic art, comments, humor, and scholarship”. It featured “J.R.R. Tolkien and the Supernatural” — an article written and illustrated by Me (Reprinted, with permission, from Manna Underground Press 2:6, 1983). My original Art also appeared in REBEL GRAPHICS — a 1984 CHRIS YAMBAR publication (Issue #1 — Described as “A Powerful New Mag in 7-D”).
Over time, my Creative Focus turned to Storytelling. My first attempt at writing a book — THE GUARDIAN CONSPIRACY — was planned as Part 1 of a Trilogy. The story dealt with Extraterrestrial influence on a Mythical Empire in prehistoric Australia.
Efforts to create realistic FANTASY ART in acrylic color on canvas included works like “DAMSEL IN DISTRESS” (it imagined a tiny Dragon coming to rescue a beautiful girl from a stone dungeon) and “SEA SERPENT” featuring a woman Warrior (modeled after the legendary Rachel Welch from “One Million Years, B.C.” ).
Years later, CHRIS YAMBAR and I reconnected @ 2003. WEREWOLF ORPHAN BOY was a Pen & Ink illustration for a short story idea. He shared it with me one day over a long breakfast at the Dutch Haus in Columbiana. It led to a brief renewal of our friendship — though the story was never published.
Around 2015, I pursued another Book Idea — PLIGHT OF THE OVERLORDS — about an Out-Of-Place-Artifact (super technology) discovered by Human Beings, then sought after by Aliens. The “Plight” of the Overlords was this: no matter how highly advanced they considered themselves to be … there was always someone Else ABOVE Them.
Soon after, my wife Marsha and I found inspiration in Hopi Mythology … and were fascinated with the concept of the Great Spirit giving specific forms of Guardianship to each of four Human Races based on skin color: red, yellow, black, and white. It seemed like a great foundation for a Story, and led to creation of THE SURVIVAL TRILOGY.
In 2016, the Story began to take shape with Book 1 A GLEAM OF LIGHT — opening with a Real-Life UFO Encounter (America West Flight 564 in 1995) … followed by a plea for help 21 years later, bringing Una Waters back to her roots in Hopiland. She faces up to a stiff-necked Army General, while trying to protect an Ancient Discovery.
In 2017 came Book 2 THE DRAGON’S GLARE, in which Una, on Special Assignment to solve a Mystery in New York’s Chinatown, butts heads again with General Ashcroft. An Out-Of-This-World Encounter confirms her childhood beliefs — WE ARE NOT ALONE.
In 2018, Book 3 BEYOND THE WORLD finds Una & Ashcroft’s Honeymoon Adventure in Yosemite National Park disrupted … when duty calls him away. With the help of new friends from Explorer’s Club, Una uncovers a UFO Mystery — that points to an Alien Conspiracy!
In 2019 A GLEAM OF LIGHT was an Award Finalist in the READERS’ FAVORITE International Book Awards — in the genre of Young Adult Sci-Fi. We traveled to Miami to participate in the Awards Ceremony. It was the thrill of a lifetime!
THE SURVIVAL TRILOGY has received glowing Reviews from Publishers Weekly, Readers’ Favorite, Audiobook Empire and more. All three Books have been released as Audiobooks through AUDIBLE, Amazon & iTunes — narrated by professional voice actress Kat Bohn with original Music from composer T.J. Wilkins.
The Journey continues …
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