Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Rodent Spotlight: Capybara

Behold! The giant among rodent-kind: the mighty capybara! If you happen upon one of these large creatures, you might think they look something similar to a guinea pig, the funny thing is they are about the size of an actual pig. I think that if there is anything to be marveled about this creature it SHOULD be its size.

In my unpublished rodent fantasy "Tooth and Tail," I portrayed the capybaras as huge, lumbering giants with big clubs who were born for war. Somebody had to do it. I mean, if you are going to design a fantasy universe with nothing but rodents, who are you going to pick for that role? This is kind of where good, old-fashioned research worked out for the best in my case.

As much as I love the rodent, there is just so very little fiction written about them. It is a shame because they really look quite awesome. One thing in particular that has always stood out to me was their blunted nose. It just gives them a hard, intense look. I see them and WANT them to be a warrior race!

But if you read up on the critters, they are actually fairly docile. They are herbivores and are more known for being hunted themselves. It is a shame and could be one of the reasons they are not used much in fiction. Can you imagine what a difference in perception people would have if these giant rodents went around killing things?

In my story, I made the actual God of War a capybara named Bellum. I could see how he bonded with the mortal race whom he called his own and would lead them into fits of violence and death. I suppose this is where imagination seems to outclass reality. I liked my version of the creature more than the real animal itself. There is nothing wrong with that!

When you take a feral animal and give it the ability to think and feel as a human, you are already taking it out of the realm of reality. At this point, you have the freedom to take as much or as little as you wish from the encyclopedia as you need in order to make a fun story. I appreciated that the capybara was the world's largest rodent, and so I made them giants with a taste for war. And that aspect of them was really all I truly needed to bring them to life as people.

Thank you for reading my blog. If you like what you have seen here, please comment below, or you can email me at tooie@tooiekangaroo.com. TTFN.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

"God and the Squirrels" has been published!

"God and the Squirrels" has been published on Smashwords for only $0.99! Robert was a simple insurance salesman who’s life did not really amount to much. He hated his job and spent his days wallowing in self-pity. One day, Robert tried to run a squirrel over with his car in anger, but to God, that was the last straw. The man had to be punished, and by punishment, he would be turned into a squirrel and sent to a cutesy cartoon squirrel village until he would learn his lesson.
This is a "bizarro fiction" which basically means an absurd idea taken as seriously as possible. It is filled with lots of fun and comedy throughout. You can find a link for it below. Also check out the totally awesome cover illustrated by Coy Fields II!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Rodent Spotlight: Hamster

Continuing with my spotlight series on rodents, I would like to bring up a species of which I have not yet written about. Hamsters are likely better known as popular pets, but there has been a few notable appearances of them in media. Likely, the most memorable would be "Hamtaro."
In "Hamtaro," a group of adventure-seeking hamsters run around trying to solve various unimportant problems for the sake of fun and friendship. It sounds boring, doesn't it? Well, it almost was, but there was something fairly hypnotic about it which kept me interested for far too many episodes.

I think what may have drawn to me to it was that watching an episode of "Hamtaro" was about as interesting as watching a real hamster explore his castle of a cage. It is not so important that he has a goal, but that he is fascinated by what he is doing regardless of the lack of plot. Besides, who is to say that there is nothing interesting around the next bend? There could be a fresh batch of sunflower seeds for all we know!

In a little-known cartoon series called "Capitol Critters," hamsters were portrayed as glutenous, needy, and even somewhat promiscuous. Without going into too much detail on that latter quality--after all, the show was likely canceled for it--it really gave me my standpoint on how a hamster might be properly portrayed in fiction.

Think about it. Hamsters really are selfish creatures, and much of this comes from how we pamper them. They spend each and every day engorging themselves on whatever food we toss in their cage, and are just as happy to crawl around in the plastic tubes and elaborate castles we provide for them. We go out of our way to keep them happy. They take advantage of us too. They leave pee and pellets all over their wood shavings and naturally expect us to handle the matter without complaint. If a hamster could talk, he would expect to be called His Majesty! They live the life of fat, little kings, and we encourage it.

When I was very young, I had my own pet hamster who I named Fuzzhead after a dog from a Disney movie I liked. Like many people, I built him a castle worthy of a tiny king. There were many tunnels that he enjoyed exploring, but his absolute favorite part was this lookout tower up on the top. It was a long tube that allowed him to get up high above the cage and look out across his kingdom (which was my bedroom.) He spent much of his time up there, and I rather enjoyed his fascination with the lookout tower vicariously.

Then came the day--that terrible day. Fuzzhead was to be my show-and-tell for school. I unhooked all the adventure tubes from the cage but left the tower on. As I carried the cage down the long flight of stairs to my house, something went wrong, and the lookout tower snapped free from the cage and fell down the stairs crashing about for the entire plummet. Poor Fuzzhead... was inside.

I paused in horror for a moment. Finally, I put down the cage and ran down to see if Fuzzhead was okay! I was crying in fear that I had done a terrible thing and had failed His Majesty in my duties to care for him! Fuzzhead was frozen stiff from shock as he lay upon the ground... but he was alive. Sadly, the incident was never fully out of his system, and he never once went back up into his precious lookout tower again. No amount of reinforcement would be enough. No. I had failed him, and he would make me aware of it every day thereafter.

In summary, I see hamsters as representative of glutenous high society or royalty. But they also have an odd fascination for adventure even if they do not really know what the adventure is really about. That is why we love them. They live a simple kingly life in a little cage while the real world moves on around them. Treat them well, and they will provide you with fun and curious imagination.

If you like this blog, please comment below, or you can email me at tooie@tooiekangaroo.com. Au revoir, Fuzzhead!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Rodent Spotlight: Jerboa

Fiction has not portrayed very much of the jerboa. The closest cousin we have seen to him is the kangaroo rat which you might remember from Disney's "The Rescuers Down Under." Jake was his name, and he was quite the memorable character due to his self-reliance and unending charisma.

I have used jerboas in my own fiction quite a bit. I have a running character named Petalweight who is a self-loving poet who shows a never ending flare for his own abilities to create. In my unpublished stories called "Tooth and Tail," I portray the jerboa as quite arrogant. They "strut their stuff" whenever given the opportunity, and for this reason, they have a tendency to be disliked.

My original motive for portraying them this way was due to their unusual tails. They are short-furred for most of their length up until you reach the end where a cute and showy puff can be found. From my own stylized viewpoint, I saw this puff as something the jerboa must flaunt and, in turn, be admired for.

"Look at this glorious tail!" cried the jerboa proudly. "Have you ever seen anything so fancy and refined on a mouse or a rat? I think not!"

You see where I am going with this, don't you? I like to use jerboas to explain how I feel about humans who act similarly. This is by no means a value judgment, for I firmly believe that a jerboa can be either good or evil. Arrogance can often be misconstrued as a negative trait, and often times, it very much is.

I would turn your attention to human beings who represent the good side of the jerboa. William Shatner is one of the all time greatest rodents of this class. Here is a man who thinks very highly of himself, but really, he has accomplished so much that he rather deserves to feel that way. On top of it all, his self-love is rather cute and lovable to behold. The man has always striven to be the best he can be, and whether or not he has been arrogant about it, he has remained true to who he is.

In classical literature, the great Cyrano De Bergerac is another apt example of how I envision a civilized jerboa. Although I know very little about the real man, the play written by Edmond Rostand portrays Cyrano as self-loving and one who flaunts himself at every opportunity. He is also the hero, despite those in the story who detest him.

My own personal jerboa, Petalweight the Bard, is quite similar to the character in that he never bothers to censor his feelings of self-love. He wears that tail poof proudly and flaunts it every day as he recites his dazzling soliloquies. Some may criticize him for his arrogance, but Petalweight represents the best of his type, and I would never wish for him to change even one iota from how he lives his life. He has talent and uses such talents to better the world, and for this reason, the jerboa has every right to flaunt his tail to the masses.

Thank you for reading this blog. I am very sorry for the horrendous delay, and I will attempt to post more often. Please comment below or contact me at tooie@tooiekangaroo.com. G'day, mate!

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Plight of Petalweight by T.K. Wade

Oh! What words are there to say, dear Petalweight, when the very essence of love and duty are at stake?! It seems that nothing but nothing will do, and verily, I shall fail for all attempts at its undertaking! Shall I cry to the heavens as I very well did with my thoughts that morning in Clawstone?! Shall such a caterwaul bring me aid of divine origin so that my words will be all the more illustrious?!

Oh Munus, forsake me not! I have finally found myself ensnared within the binding throes of doubt! I fear what lies before me in yonder, glorious abode which surely holds her comely countenance! Whether loves or hated by all whom live among our country, this woman is apart from them all, and my life to hers is but a stark difference than any other combination! This day would always have clashed into destiny!

Hidden within all that wood, and brick, and metal is a vision more beautiful than the Great One himself! To speak her name would cause a stammer brought upon me by my own beating heart! J-J-Jubilee! You see?! It cannot be said without an incessant pounding! I have been reduced to a blatherskite, for my heart has consumed my very talents!

Hist! I am not worthy of her, I fear! I didst partake in the ocean of love, and despite how glorious it was, I threw myself hence into the flames of lust! Meaningless lust! Mooncalf! To find such brilliant reflecting light and drown it with tar and fettered shackles: it is the errand of fools to play the role! Curses to whatever part of this wretched poet that would find his diamond and so cast it to the cliffs for bits of glass! Think no pleasant thoughts of me, oh, worshipers of True Grace!

But I am not the same rodent who has since been driven out of halls of blue flame. I have traveled abroad, I have seen men fight and die, I have explored the world beyond the heavens and have seen more than you might expect. I have made a covenant to a gift-giving mouse of the stars who has granted me far more than any jerboa should possess. This house which lies before me holds my destiny, and this destiny calls the good in me that we must soon dance.

Mock the passage of time with solemn footsteps to my forward clash. Damn the beating of the fevered heart which plagues the actions of someone who must do what he must. The intensity of not knowing. The growing pain of possible rejection. Am I to be crushed by whomever she has chosen over me?

There has been much time. To be sure, this is but a fool’s errand as she should not deserve to be unaccompanied throughout such a lonely life upon the earth. I consider not this man to be a rival but a reaper of the last fruit that I should have taken, and now, it is lost if such a tragedy has occurred. But even through all this, I must confess to her what spirits wrestle within my heart for her–dormant they may have become–but that time has awakened them once more, and the truth must be told.

And as these destinies come to a most certain clatter and chime, I find myself at peace with myself. I shall knock upon this door, and in doing so, speak my heart to this woman so that–at the very least–she will know that I love her.

Monday, September 16, 2013

"The Lost Child" has been published!

I have just released "Adventures of Cottontail Pines: The Lost Child" to Smashwords. It is available for download FREE OF CHARGE! Just click the following link, and you can read this fun new adventure!

"The Lost Child" is a bit more dramatic than the other four stories, but it still holds true to all the characters. The aspect I liked the most about this one was Wily the fox and his strange relationship with the villain, Fang the wolf. (This is why I made sure that the cover would focus on them.) Whether you are young or old, I am sure you will be rather intrigued how this one plays out. Without a doubt, this tale was written for everyone.

As always, I love to read your comments. You can leave them here on this blog, or you can email me at tooie@tooiekangaroo.com. Stay cute!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Agents of the Eye and Ear

I have been friends with author Shawn O'Toole for a very long time. One of the first short stories that he introduced to me was his "Eye and Ear" stories. Only recently, I was able to convince him to publish these three stories, so I wanted to put up a brief promotion for it because I really think it is a series that deserves to be read.
Just imagine all those spy movies that you have seen: Mission: Impossible, James Bond... This story is very much a spy story, but the main difference is that it is set in a fantasy world with its primary creature: elves. Now, unlike those movies that I mentioned, this story is much more serious and realistic. The characters are amazingly well represented and there is some fun variety between them.

Do me a favor, and give this one a try. I promise you that you will come out it with a smile on your face and perhaps a bit of inspiration. The three stories (in the order that they were written) are "Lady of the Eye and Ear," "Companions of the Eye and Ear," "Soldiers of the Eye and Ear." You can find them at Smashwords free of charge at the following link: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/ShawnOToole.

If you have any comments, you can leave them at this blog, or you can email me at tooie@tooiekangaroo.com. Stay mousey!