The Black Book

Dear Insane Children, 

Omri delivered the final render of “The Black Book” illustration. And it’s beautiful! In this scene, we see Alice confronted with the written record of Bumby and Radcliffe’s nefarious business. All those children – kidnapped, brainwashed, and sold like cattle. Someone needs a good revenge killing! 

Adam also delivered a final render of a scene from Londerland. This is a place where London and Wonderland meld together – a result of Alice’s mastery of her mental and physical being. 

Meanwhile In Oz

Gareth sent over some early sketches for our “Dark Wizard” character from OZ: Adventures. I sent him the following feedback: 

He can have both the roboeye and the robohand. ?We’ll need to come up with a cool backstory for those – maybe his lab blew up in the middle of an experiment? ?Or he was attacked by scavengers – and they killed some of his family? So he’s left with this physical scars/robo-appendages.

And as for Umbra’s wizard look… wow. Those are all excellent. While I like the beard… I worry it’s a bit too Lord of the Rings… also kinda reminds me of Luke Skywalker in the recent SW movies. And it might be difficult for people to accept the transition back and forth between shaved and bearded… So… let’s go with the one on the far right?

For this guy’s character sketch (narrative), I’ve been working on this: 

Dark Wizard (Richard Umbra) – Enters Oz on another of many visits using advanced portal technology. Is working to steal the Powder of Life from Oz in order to save earth from a (virus pandemic?). Arrives with some ethics still entact and is trying to accomplish his goals without causing too much pain or destruction in Oz. By the end of his story, he will have grappled with the evils of pure survival but decided that destroying Oz is not a price he’s willing to pay in order to save Earth. But his noble desires are squashed by Necahual’s plans to destroy Earth using his technology coupled with dark Aztec magic. 

His myopic focus on his mission to save earth means he ignores the increasing threat coming from Necahual’s growing powers. When she eventually destroys him, his technology falls into her hands, making it possible for her to complete her plans to kill everyone on Earth. 

What difficult choice does he make? What has he previously been unwilling to do? Perhaps he’s unwilling to let go – to see his family and friends perish. To accept fate. He believes there’s a solution (a fix) to every problem. If only you can work on it long enough and smart enough, science will always provide a way. But he’ll have to learn to give in, to give up. 

As I am working to define characters in Oz, I’m working through a series of questions that help define them. What do they want? Why can’t they get it? What skills do they use to overcome these obstacles? Where do they come from? Where do they end up?  What difficult choice do they have to make? 

When you can fully answer these sorts of questions about the characters you’re writing, the story you build around them almost writes itself. Fun stuff. 

Life in Shanghai

We are STILL in lockdown. And it’s not that bad. We have food and water and our family is all together. But two things about it have me worried… 

One – our warehouse is shut down which means that our business is essentially on hold. We’ve tried to drive sales related to things in our Shenzhen warehouse (that is still open) – but the inability to ship things from Shanghai sucks. 

Two – and an even bigger worry – my wife is SUPER PREGNANT and we think this second child is going to pop out ahead of schedule. We’re as prepared as we can be – but the added layer of nonsense created by the lockdown means extra worry and stress. 

But we’ll get through it. Maybe we have a baby in the middle of lockdown. I guess that’s an accomplishment and something to tell the kid about when he/she’s older? 

I hope that wherever you are, things are happy and healthy. 

From Shanghai in Lockdown, 


Leave a Reply