- Read the first chapter of The Moon King here
- Follow my watercolour story about a mouse and an egg on Instagram
- Here’s the link to last month’s watercolor newsletter
That’s all for this month’s update!
Terry Ibele: Toronto Stop Motion Animator
That’s all for this month’s update!
That’s all for this month’s update!
That’s all for this month!
That’s all for this month!
That’s all for this disappointing month!
That’s all this month. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Happy Writing!
From Terry 🙂
This month I painted my email newsletter with watercolours!
Click here to check out James Patterson’s Writing Master Class
Click here to ready my story in Fiction Magazine’s New Realm Volume
Click here to read my 13 sure-fire ways to avoid bees
When I was 8, I pushed my thumb into a dead bumblebee’s butt-dagger. It hurt like bloody hell, but I didn’t shed a tear.
Under their cute, fuzzy, “we’re nicer than wasps” PR BS, bees are horrible, soulless insects filled with pain poison, ready to drain it into anyone that crosses their path.
In India, they even make bee fences around their crops. When an unsuspecting elephant touches a trip wire strung to a hive the bees come out and harass the poor guy.
However, I conducted my weird dead-stinger experiment for a reason. When I was 6, I had a run-in with a street gang of 27 bees. I needed to prove to myself that I wasn’t afraid of bees any longer, dead or alive.
Flashback 22 years.
Two brothers wearing hand-me-downs from a “cousin” they never met hiked along the Grand River. Both sported bowl-cut haircuts parted in the middle just like their buck teeth. TJ (me), the younger of the two was looking for something to bring with him for show-and-tell the next day. Their father was far off, fishing for cod, while they chased snakes in the grass, frogs into the water, and were a terror to all living things in their path.
“Hey TJ, gimme that walking stick,” said Tiggy. He was two years older than his brother.
“Okay, but only if you give it back,” said TJ, he knew Tiggy was stronger than him and would take it anyway.
Tiggy ran ahead and swung at the bulrushes like a machete. “Yah, yah, yah!”
“Can I have it back yet?” called TJ. He stood beside a big rock that he wanted to pry up. There might be a salamander underneath he could take for show-and-tell.
“Nope you dope,” Tiggy called back.
TJ pouted, but ran after him. Soon the two came to a dirt cliff that rose high above their bowl-cut haircuts.
“Watch this,” said Tiggy. He aimed at a hole in the cliff and jabbed the stick inside. It was a perfect javelin throw and Tiggy raised his arms like an Olympian.
“Now it’s mine again,” said TJ, yanking the stick from the hole. Tiggy shrieked and ran away.
An angry buzz filled the air.
“Tiggy, where are you—ow!” TJ clasped his arm. Something wriggled under his hand and a hot, sharp pain developed. He looked at the hole in the cliff and his eyes bulged like those dollar-store squishy balls.
An entire hive emerged like a bomb.
“Hello?” asked the bees. “Did an elephant just destroy our home?” They looked around and saw no elephants, but a human child stood before them with the bowliest cut they’d ever seen. He returned their greeting by swatting at them.
“Get away!” screamed TJ. “I hate bees!”
“That’s not nice!” replied the bees and they dove straight for him, like little bulls, to a red cape.
TJ ran into the river, where the safest thing would be to hide under water. Unfortunately nobody told TJ this, so he stood there up to his waist like an advertisement. He was afraid to go further into the rushing water, and afraid to go back to shore.
“There’s that dumb kid!” said the bees. “What a dim-wit, he’s not even submerging!” And they danced around TJ like a Broadway number.
Then, all at once they went in for the kill.
Sting! Sting! Sting! Sting!
They dove at TJ in full kamikaze style.
Little TJ had never known such pain. He cried and cried, while the bees pelted him with their butt-daggers.
TJ’s father finally came running up the river path, followed closely by Tiggy. He grabbed TJ and swiftly carried him away.
When TJ got home, his mother gave him a bath and picked out the dead bees clumped in his bowl-cut hair. Together they counted his stings and the next day he presented 27 red spots for show-and-tell.
Two years passed and little TJ was crippled with bee fear. He hated being in nature and his mom had brought him to a park. He was worrying about getting stung when he came across a dead bumblebee lying in the grass. He shrieked and wanted to run, but a comforting voice whispered to him.
“Overcome your fears, little one. You’ve been through the bee gauntlet and survived.”
TJ looked up and saw his future lanky self floating before him in a heavenly vision. His skin was creamy and pure as a freshly picked peach. Not a single bee sting could be seen on him.
TJ realized that bees had nothing on him. He’d been through the bee gauntlet. He’d endured the wrath of 27 bees and survived. He would grow up into a big lanky man one day and it was his choice to not let bees bring him down.
“I will do it!” cried TJ in his most heroic voice. He hadn’t hit puberty yet, so his voice was high-pitched and squeaky.
Future lanky, floating TJ nodded, then vanished.
“Fuck bees,” said TJ and pushed his thumb into the dead bee’s stinger.
It’s been 20 years since the day I overcame my fear of bees. If you still have a fear of bees, go intentionally sting yourself.
If you don’t want to do that (and continue to live in bee fear), here are my personal sure-fire ways to avoid bee stings.
I also did some research and found the following tips from the internet. I’m not sure how much they’ll help, since none of them helped me.
I know humans love smelling like flowers, but sometimes it’s okay to just smell like a human. If you smell like a flower, a bee will try to sex you up with its butt-dagger, so unless that’s your thing, just stick to normal, human smells.
Apparently smelling like a human isn’t good either, because sweaty humans smell like bears. Bee children watch cartoons about Winnie the Pooh stealing all their hard-earned honey, so they hate anything that looks or smells like bears.
This is another bear instinct. Apparently your hairs reminds bees of bear hairs… I actually think bees just hate humans and bears are an excuse.
Just like people, bees also avoid goths. This is a fact. If you want to live your life sting free, adorn the black. [NOTE: I have since been notified that bees will actually think you’re a bear if you wear all black, so perhaps wear nothing at all. Just go outside nakey!]
Bees hate a lot of things. Bears (humans), goths, and wind. If you see a bee near you, go pick it up and blow in its face. Take that little bee! This is smart advice.
If you want to step on a bunch of bees, don’t do it barefoot. Make sure you wear some shoes with spikes on them. This will aid you in squishing those mean bees.
The vibrations and noiseations of your power tools will anger bees. Bees hold the world’s title for busiest creature and will take down anything that tries to be busier than a bee. Go back to cutting your grass with scissors. Turn that screw in manually. Use a hand saw when cutting that wood. Stop being more productive than a bee.
Overall, there’s one thing that I’ve learned from all my stinging experiences that has guaranteed me a sting-free environment every time I’ve done it.
If I see a bee, I don’t swat at it. I don’t blow on it. I don’t step on it. I don’t care what clothes I’m wearing, or what I smell like, or how many power tools I’m using.
I simply lock eyes with it and whisper the words, “Fuck off, bee.”
Bees can see the expression in my eyes. They know I’ve been through the bee gauntlet. They know I’ve used their dead friends’ markings for show-and-tell. They know I willingly pushed my thumb into a dead bee. They know I have no fear.
Bees got nothing on me.
I finally found it!
I spent my whole life having nightmares of being abducted by a gigantic floating beard, dead birds transforming into dead children, and an old man shattering into dust.
All from a movie I watched when I was six years old.
If you know which movie I’m talking about, screw off, because you weren’t any help in my 5-year internet search to find it 😡
I just came across this Yahoo answer after searching for “floating beard movie”.
The movie is called, Mio and the Land of Faraway (Mio, min Mio in Swedish). It was filmed in 1987 and is based on a Swedish novel from the 50’s.
Besides a floating beard, bird children, and pan-flute playing boys, it also features a super young Christian Bale as the hero’s friend and Christopher Lee as an evil knight (I guess he was practising for Saruman).
Here’s how the movie starts out.
“Now grab hold of my beard” -words that every mother should teach her children to run away from.
The floating beard then takes little Mio into a cross-dimensional portal where he’s actually a prince and has to free a bunch of children slaves from an evil knight named Kato. How did they become slaves? Oh, you know, their hearts were ripped out and replaced with stones.
Now that I think of it, what kind of knight enslaves children? They’d make terrible slaves.
“Attack my enemies, children!”
“We die easily.”
“Then till my land and grow wheat!”
“It takes twelve of us to push a plow.”
“Build me a castle then!”
“We can’t do math yet.”
Dumb knight gets stabbed by a kid in the end, so I guess they’re somewhat useful. He needed some dying anyway.
In celebration of putting my mind to rest by rewatching this horribly nostalgic movie, here are 6 other effed up movies that still haunt me to this day.
The Dark Crystal is one of those super rare fantasy worlds where no detail is overlooked, thanks Jim!
The creepiest scene that replays in my dreams is when the podling gets his life essence sucked from his face.
Et, voila! Insta-slave!
Gosh, I don’t know if I’d rather become a slave by having my heart replaced with a stone, or having all the fat sucked from my face.
Fantasy world peasants sure have it tough!
If you haven’t seen this movie yet, stop reading this post and watch it right now.
Every moment of this film is effed up in some way that will haunt your dreams. The creep begins when Dorothy is sent to an electo-therapy house due to her Oz hallucinations. She manages to escape with a chicken and ends up back in Oz, where everything tries to kill her.
The most terrifying thing about Oz is the evil witch who hasn’t heard of make-up, so she switches up her head whenever she wants to change her look.
On the other hand, the best part of this film is that it’s completely independent from the original. All the characters are re-imagined to look how L. Frank Baum originally intended them.
For such an epic looking movie poster, this movie is a huge bore. I don’t even know how I got through it when I was young.
Here’s why it’s super creepo.
Look at this white thing standing off to the side.
What is it?
Where’s it’s face?
Why is it there?
All it does is stand. It actually gets pretty good at standing. By the end of the movie, it stands in a doorway and blocks a bad guy from stealing a ring. Way to go, standy white guy!
Here’s the thing. This creepy Chewbacca rip-off gets dirtier as the film progresses. Take a look at this shot. Now he’s all yellow and gross 😦
I don’t know why my 7 year old self was ultra-creeped by this dude, but now I dream about a stained, clumpy monster just standing around, looking at me without a face.
Ever wondered how butterflies are made?
Old people slide down into a pit where a gigantic floating turd spits them out into butterflies.
It’s called, “being slimeod”
And that’s if you’re good. If you’re bad and slide down into the turd, it just kinda keeps you inside itself till you’re good again… I think… the movie isn’t really clear about the good/bad turd rules.
When I have kids, I’m going to tell them, “Be good, or a big turd will eat you.” Then I’ll show them this terrifying clip..
The movie is about a leprechaun losing his gold and two children helping him to get it back (I’d keep the gold if I were them, especially since the gold has magic powers).
While it appears to have a lot going for it, including the undiscovered-at-the-time Cirque du Soleil, please, please, please, DO NOT WATCH THIS FILM. It’s downright gruelling to get through. Save yourself the nightmares and watch paint dry.
No creepy kid movie list would be complete without The NeverEnding Story.
Besides frequent nightmares about the wolf and the nothing, this might be my favourite movie of all time. It just comes with one disclaimer:
You must watch it when you are 10 years old or younger.
It is absolutely not watchable as an adult. If you haven’t watched it yet, you did life wrong. You can’t go back.
Here are my favourite characters (which also have the most greatcellent names ever):
Falcor: Who else wouldn’t want a creepy-ass looking luck dragon to scare away your bullies?
Rock Biter: I always felt sorry for the guy, all he wants to do is eat rocks and his home is being destroyed.
Moonchild: How could you not be allured by her soft voice and sad eyes?
Engywook & Urgl: The disgusting, worm eating gnome people, who build wonderfully alchemistic contraptions.
Sexy Sphinx Ladies: Two humongous, nude, lady statues that shoot lasers from their eyes to kill unsure souls? Put them in every film!
There are even a bunch of Easter Eggs in the film. If you weren’t aware of them, check out this shot:
Because I wasn’t satisfied with enough nightmares from the first movie, I immediately watched the second (which lacks the story and charm of the first).
This is the scene that still haunts me, nearly 20 years later.
If you’re looking for nightmares, just dream about flying into a skeleton hand. It works wonders!
If you’re looking for improved home security, because a flying dog keeps landing on your roof, just add a bunch of lasers. They also work wonders!
Oh, and look at this piece of shit dude. He’s made of mud. Try dreaming about giving him a kiss.
And here’s a big, mean crab that has a chainsaw for a mouth. When I’m alone in bed and the house is silent, I swear I can hear the subtle ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch noise of its mouth.
This is a kid’s movie remember. So obviously it’s about something fun like an evil sorceress stealing Bastian’s memories of his dead mother. Ha ha ha, oh so jolly! Kids will love hearing a story about forgetting their dead mothers.
Good job, producers. You’ve effectively scarred me for life.
If watching bunny rabbits get ripped apart in a bloody mess is your thing, you’ll love Watership Down.
But all that blood and gore is just at the top layer. This movie’s themes cuts down deep, like nails scratching on the chalkboard of your soul deep.
After envisioning the entire land covered in rabbit blood, the main character forces his rabbitmunity (rabbit community) to safer grounds, at the expense of many of his rabbitfriends along the way. Finally the black rabbit of death asks him to die and his soul goes into the sun.
I just re-listened to the song “Bright Eyes“, which plays in the final scene, and excuse me while I go have insomnia for 3 weeks…
Oh, and here’s a wonderful collage of some of the beautiful scenes from the film. Feel free to print them off and hang them in your child’s bedroom.
Yes, that last image is a field being washed with blood.
Mio and the Land of Faraway is about…
Considering the moon moons us every night, I haven’t come across many cool moon concepts in Sci-Fi and Fantasy. But, here’s a list of some awesome writers who’ve completely re-thunk the moon and made it into a totally rad concept.
Imagine all the creatures from LOTR compressed into one place – that’s what it’s like on Tolkien’s moon. There are wizards, dragons, goblins… the whole lot!
The only thing missing is a hobbit main character. Instead, the main character is a dog… then a toy dog… then a toy-sized dog… yip yip!
Some weird wizard dude gets mad at Rover for biting him and turns him into a toy dog (justly so! Toys can’t bite). Another wizard strolls by and decides to turn the toy dog into a toy-sized dog (justly so! All toys want to become real).
Rover is unhappy with his toy-sized dog self, but needs the original wizard to change him back. Obviously riding a seagull to the moon is the best place to look, so that’s what Rover does. Unfortunately the wizard is actually from Persia, but you know, he might have been from the moon.
If you’re a Tolkien fan, you’ll enjoy finding quips of LOTR in this super short book that he crafted for his son after he lost his toy dog.
“Tolkien *can* write a story with a happy ending! It’s a very charming tale, closer in style to “The Hobbit” than LOTR, but lighter and full of colloquialisms and word plays (many of which were lost on me!) that are rare in his other books. As he never prepared it to be published, there are a few loose ends and anomalies, but they are easily overlooked.”
Since nobody likes prisoners, it only makes sense that we ship them all to the moon. I’m thinking of putting forward a motion to rename the moon, Mooncatraz.
In 2075, Earth is all faminey, so the Earthlings force their Moonling captors to grow wheat in gigantic underground farms and ship it back to their planet. The Moonlings are all like, “Nay, we need to conserve what water we have to survive!” Then the main moon computer (whose name is Mike) goes “beep boop” and calculates that the prisoners will turn to cannibalism from resource depletion if they keep sending shipments to Earth. Luckily computers hate cannibalism and so Mike sides with the prisoners and starts a revolt against their Earthling captors.
I really can’t wait for this novel to become a film. I’ll get see the acronym TANSTAAFL plastered on movie posters everywhere!
“What I learned from this book:
1. History bends and melts over time.
2. The first AI we meet might not be intentional.
3. Throwing rocks can get serious over interplanetary distances.
4. There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.”
100 years into the future, humanity has colonized the moon. I can’t wait for this to happen, because I think a mooncation (moon vacation) would be super stellar!
Another cool thing in this novel is that everyone’s eyes are fitted with “chibs” (like Google Glass) that tell the user how much air/water/etc. they have left.
Imagine if we had this technology already? My screen would constantly say, “Less donuts. More kale.”
After reading this book, I started a money jar for myself with a label that says, Mooncation Fund. There’s also a tonne of crazy political drama (and a crazy amount of sex) in this book, so if you’re a Game of Thrones fan, definitely check it out.
“If you can imagine the Starks and Lannisters as two rival families with competing mining operations on the moon, I daresay the situation might look a lot like the plot of Luna: New Moon. I can’t remember the last time I read a sci-fi novel featuring a richer and more compelling premise.”
Mogsy (Bibliosanctum )
Wells was my favourite author growing up. My brother would go to the public library every weekend and run for the Sci-Fi section to see if we could find any undiscovered Wells stories.
Perhaps this novel sparked my fascination with the moon. In Wells’ story, a scientist invents an anti-gravity material called, cavorite. Obviously the best use for such a thing is to make a little anti-gravity ship and go to the moon. And that’s exactly what another dude convinces the scientist to do.
Turns out there’s some crazy shit going down on the orbiting rock and the two are enslaved by some insect-dude farmers who were herding their cows (the cows are actually just big blobs of lard).
It’s a good thing we went to the moon already and discovered this was all false. Otherwise, I’d be having nightmares of lardcows and insect dudes every time I look up into the sky at night.
“Describe this book in a single word? Ridiculous. I have never read science fictions. I have read very few classics. And then I went and randomly picked up this classic sci-fi written in 1901. Well, I’m very glad I did so because The First Men In The Moon by Sir H.G Wells is as amazing as it is ridiculous.”
Veronica the Geek (Goodreads)
It’s also noteworthy to mention that there’s a film adaptation, First Men on the Moon (1964), which is worth a watch. It definitely gave me nightmares of gigantic caterpillars and weird crystal hive mind caves as a kid.
Not a novel, but I had to include it in this list. Besides being a moon fan, I’m also an ancient tale fan, so bonus points as this is the oldest surviving Japanese prose narrative.
In ancient Japan they didn’t know that moon babies are born inside of bamboo stalks so a bamboo cutter is surprised when he cuts one open and finds a tiny girl. Luckily we know better now.
The cutter then raises the girl as his own and she grows into the most beautiful thing ever because bamboo juice is great for the skin. Her beauty attracts all the men who want to do things to her that they can only do once they’re married. But, bamboo girl will have none of it. Only a moon husband will do.
I can’t say much more without giving too much away, but I definitely recommend checking it out. Plus, it’s the story of how Mount Fuji got its name.
All in all, whoever crafted this story was on some kind of crazy trip. Moon people born in bamboo stalks on earth? That’s a stretch!
This is a super great story!
-Unkown Japanese Person (10th Century Japan)
This book answers a lot of questions that science hasn’t yet figured out.
What is the moon? A gigantic sentient spaceship of course!
Where did humans come from? 50,000 years ago, there was a mutiny in the moon space ship and a bunch of humans were like, “We’re going to live on earth.”
Are evil aliens coming to destroy us all? Yes, and the only way to save humanity is by faking the death of an astronaut!
See? Everything makes sense now.
I always knew there was more to the moon than its boring orbit thing. I mean, it does cause nice eclipses every once in a while, but being a gigantic, ancient spaceship is way cooler.
Without getting into the complexity of this novel (there’s a lot of different conflicts to keep up on. It’s more of a military sci-fi thing), let me just say that this is possibly the coolest concept I’ve come across for the moon.
“One of my all-time favorite series. I’ve likely re-read this book (in the omnibus “Empire from the Ashes” edition) more than any other in my collection.”
–Ross Wilson (Goodreads)
There’s not as much moon in this novel (or the 10-part series) as there is a gigantic floating rock with an impenetrable fortress inside of it, called Moon Spawn (there are other floating fortresses too, but this one is the most badass).
I mean, the moon is basically a big floating rock anyway, so Moon Spawn fits the description perfectly.
If I were going to try to rule the world, this is exactly what I would build. What makes Moon Spawn more terrifying is that thousands of humongous ravens live on it. Have you ever been out for an early morning for a jog when you turn a corner and a dozen crows are silently staring at you from dead tree? Now imagine that X 3,000!
There’s an awesome battle in Gardens of the Moon against Moon Spawn. A bunch of mages are like, “We can overthrown this thing” and set it on fire. No big deal though, the fortress just floats away and continues to be totally awesome somewhere else (well, until it crashes into the sea and becomes a bunch of treasure-filled islands, which is also pretty rad).
Here’s a sweetass depiction of the battle. Notice the hoards of ravens?
(I tried to find the source of this image, but couldn’t. If you know it, please tell me!)
This is a series to get into if you like super high fantasy. The world building is completely next level (especially because the series is 10 books long). There’s even a whole 3,000+ page wiki dedicated to Erikson’s series.
“There’s a loooot of (incredible) characters, places, concepts, gods, demons – and what little exposition there is usually comes after the fact, but I’ve never been in a more vividly realised / immersive fantasy world.”
Sam Ashurst (Goodreads)
In Cloud Atlas (2004, David Mitchell) advertisements are beamed onto the moon from a dystopian Korea.