BAUKS

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At some point in my fantasy series, The Magnus Dynasty Saga, I am thinking of introducing a creature known as a Bauk. Bauks are from Serbian folklore and they are known to hide in shadows and abandoned buildings and wait to snatch away unsuspecting victims. Bauks were one of the mythical creatures that inspired J. R. R. Tolkein to create his version of Orcs. Also, Bauks gave J. K. Rowling inspiration for the shape-shifting Boggarts. I am thinking of following Rowling and Tolkein’s example and doing my own spin on Bauks. They will even have the same name as the original myth. To make things even more intriguing, these Bauks won’t be native to the Gradaian Empire. Instead, they will be from a different, previously unknown and uncharted continent. I look forward to tinkering with this idea.

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POTENTIAL SHARK ENCOUNTER

I remember a little incident my family and I had during our most recent trip to Hawaii. On the island of Kauai (which we nicknamed Chicken Island because there were wild chickens everywhere) my father, sister, brother-in-law, and I went kayaking down a river that opened up to the ocean. When we started rowing with our group, my father and I were in the same kayak. Because we were both big studs, our combined weight weighed us down so much that we were not only being left in the dust by the rest of the group, but the rim of the boat was only a few centimeters from the water. We knew that one wrong turn would tip the boat over and dump us into the river. That part did not worry us. What worried us was what was potentially lurking below the river’s murky depths. The river opened up into the ocean, which made the water brackish. My father and I watch Shark Week every year and we know for a fact that bull sharks can swim into brackish water and attack humans. Bull sharks have more testosterone than any other creature, which makes them completely aggressive. They do not attack people for food, but to satisfy their boundless hormone-based rage. Hawaii has been known to have between 2 to 3 shark attacks every year and bull sharks are one of the main suspects. We could not see anything in the river because it was so murky, but we knew bull sharks were down there somewhere. If we fell out of our boat, we were likely chum. Therefore, it became both a race and balancing act to catch up with the rest of our group. We even caught sight of something . . . BIG . . . moving next to us! That was one of the most nerve-racking experiences I ever had. Hopefully, I won’t have a close call like that next time I go to Hawaii. When writing my killer croc story idea, I can draw inspiration from the absolute fear I felt that day.

FLUCTUATING POWERS

I had an intriguing idea for the female lead for my new superhero series. Initially, I wanted her to be a powerful psychic with dissociative identity disorder. Now, I am thinking of giving her seven total powers. However, she cannot control them at will and can only summon them either at random or by reflex. This lack of control will make her a loose cannon to herself and everyone around her. Her struggle to control her powers will serve as an integral part of her character arc. I always wanted to create a female superhero who was both extremely powerful and emotionally vulnerable at the same time. This idea will allow me to attack the concept from a different angle.

KILLER CROC STORY IDEA

I just watched the film known as Crawl, which depicted a father and daughter fighting to survive against a horde of man-eating American Alligators as a hurricane ravages their home. While driving home, I was in deep analytical thought about crocodilians in general. I wondered if it was possible for an American Alligator to interbreed with an American Crocodile, resulting in hybrid offspring. I got the idea from the Liger, which is a hybrid between a lion and a tiger. Hybrid animals such as the Liger are known to be larger and more powerful than either of its parents.

With this in mind, I made some calculations about the size of both crocodiles and alligators. American Crocodiles tend to grow to an average maximum length of 16 feet and weigh 1,100 pounds while the American Alligator can grow to an average maximum length of 15 feet and weigh 500 pounds. With these calculations in mind, I think a croc/gator hybrid could grow between 20 to 25 feet in length and weigh between 2 to 3 tons. Also, alligators and crocodiles tend to lay up to 70 to 80 eggs at a time. Imagine that many of these giants roaming about.

Then I raised the stakes even higher when I remembered the killer shark film known as Deep Blue Sea, which depicted genetically engineered sharks that were smarter than either dolphins or whales or primates. Like crocodilians, sharks did not have to evolve for millions of years because they were perfectly evolved killing machines. They have been around since before the dinosaurs and survived every mass extinction event. When you combine that with human-like intelligence, you create a true super predator.

I therefore thought of taking the super smart predator concept and incorporating it into these croc/gator hybrids. Crocodilians are already one of God’s oldest and flawless killing machines. Imagine how much more formidable they would be if they were as smart and calculating as humans. Worse, imagine a creature that is 25 feet in length, weighs 3 tons, and can outsmart and outmaneuver any human that crosses its path. That is a potent mix and gives me the goosebumps.

I will tinker with this idea further in a potential story idea in the future.

LAS VEGAS 2019

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I enjoyed my first day on my lottery trip to Las Vegas and it was one heck of a good start. I enjoyed a luscious buffet, a dazzling magic show, and I was on a number of heaters in the slot machines. I did so well in the slot machines that I broke even twice! It is far from a jackpot, but I’ll take it. Rule number one: “never walk away when you’re on a heater.” I look forward to what else this trip has to offer in the days ahead.

SECOND BARONS’ WAR

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The Second Barons’ War took place during the reign of Henry III of England. It was caused by Henry III constantly trying to extract new taxes from England’s barons, but due to the restrictions of Magna Carta, the barons were not legally obliged to the king’s commands. This created a power struggle between the king and his barons. Eventually, the barons were united under the leadership of Henry’s former best friend turned sworn enemy Simon de Montfort. After defeating and capturing Henry, Simon de Montfort used him as a puppet to take money, land, and power for himself. This was the case for over a year until Henry’s son and heir the future Edward I raised an army and defeated Simon de Montfort. After Simon was killed, his corpse was butchered as a warning to the rest of the kingdom, “no one defies the king and lives.” Simon was castrated before having his privates rammed into his mouth before having his head cut off and mounted on a spike. In the aftermath of Simon de Montfort’s defeat, every baron who sided with Simon were stripped of all their land and were given the opportunity to buy back their lands and a pardon with heavily punitive fines. Even though the monarchy had to abide to Magna Carta, the rebellion left the barons’ severely weakened and explosively increased the power and authority of the monarchy.

 

For my third fantasy book, I am thinking of portraying a civil war that will be based on the Second Barons’ War. However, I have a puzzle to solve. The main character’s family commands dragons, the Sword of Power, and other mystical secrets. What would it take to tip the scales to make this civil war a more even fight? I am currently brainstorming on ways the rebels may fight the ruling dynasty on even footing.