So, you've made it this far, have you? It takes dedication to find this page hidden deep within the Tagonist Knights Website.
As a reward, I present to you five new ways to immerse yourself within this novel. Some of it is insightful, other aspects of it is meant to make you laugh and smile. Hopefully, by the time you're done, you'll be eager to explore the book if you haven't already, or take a moment to read through it once again knowing what you do now.
“That is the purpose of stories, to teach others of the possibilities of what could be. They are meant to inspire, to give comfort, and to provide hope. They can teach, guide, and give insight into what may feel is impossible.”
Say Hello - The Cast of Genesis of the First Born
“Hello, and welcome to Cozy Coffee and Bakery, how may I help you?”
“I refuse to believe that God would punish a woman for being in love with another woman or a man for wanting a relationship with another man. He is love.”
“I’m a rogue. The shadows cloak me, darkness provides me sanctuary. I can appear and disappear at will.”
“I am unworthy of you. I do not deserve this moment in your presence.”
“I’m doing my best to be polite with you, so please don’t call my son human larvae.”
“What on God’s green Earth is a paladin?”
“Well then… The lady desires the keys to the kingdom with that kind of talk. What do you want or need of me, I am at your service.”
“It’s kind of embarrassing but at the same time, awkward wrapped up in a nice ribbon of anxiety inducing concerns.”
“You might be an immortal that somehow convinces dragons not to eat her looking for a rogue that may help you unlock the mysteries of the Universe.” - Reema
“The only person who has authority over you, is yourself. No one else in this world gets to tell you how to live your life, who you choose to be, and whose opinion matters.” - Natasha
I originally attempted to write a sequel to Tapestry of the Second Born shortly after completing the original novel which was over a decade before making a new attempt. The original story was that a more generic man (kind of personification of me) was driving home after rejecting the advances of a woman who wanted to have sex with him. He says no, and feels bad for not just giving into pressure. Sitting next to him is his guardian angel who is trying to comfort him. Of course, he doesn't see her, but that's when the accident occurs as detailed in the book. The angel of death appears in the back. There is the scene with the falling rain. Then it cuts to her in bed.
At this point in the story, he is in the hospital in a coma. She has no memories of her time as an angel. The story revolves around her trying to find answers. Searching his home. Using his clothes to cover herself. Finding few clues, she eventually ends up meeting a group of characters that are a mimicry of those from the Yu-Gi-Oh cartoon series which I was watching at the time. Eventually she finds the man from the original scene and that's about as far as I got originally.
Years later, I knew I wanted the published to be the 25th novel. I had reached that point in my career and came back to that original idea. One version tried to mimic the original in she woke up in his bed. It didn't really go anywhere and I gave up on it. I tried again where the first 100 pages was setting up his interactions with her. Him talking to empty space as if she was there, her responding in short, one or two phrases. It was odd to say the least. Again, didn't work.
I tried again to tie it directly to the first novel. During the events of Tapestry of the Second Born, an apartment near his is destroyed. He saves some people, but it is about to collapse on him. His guardian angel saves him, he sees her, but it's just memories of another life.
Finally, I decided on a completely different concept of a mysterious small town, the woman who was a former angel had been living her life for several years. The man who she saved found his way into the same town as her. That and I wanted a diverse cast from a wide range of backgrounds. I drew the start of inspiration from Disney princesses. It was more so just to get the idea going but quickly developed well beyond such limited concepts. However, a small easter egg involving Leah waking up on Joseph's couch is a wink at her drawing inspiration from sleeping beauty at the beginning. Reema's family being rich due to Jasmine being a princess. Noami being with a "beast" for a husband linking her to Beauty and the Beast storyline.
A rough draft led to conclusion of the story being about Rose and a treasure hunt going from one location to another. The audience learns more about the family at the market she works for, and she visits an artist that works with glass, running a small shop. Eventually that leads to where Griffin is on the mysterious street but meets him alone without the others at the door of the house, not in the mysterious clearing. Also, in this original version, Griffin speaks after seeing Rose for the first time and again when he sees her at the cafe. I wanted to make it more special of an event so moved it to the end of the story.
It didn't feel right and going back through, I realized there was so much to explore with the other women in the story. Many of the most heartfelt and emotional scenes were inserted after the first draft. Large portions of the original were deleted such as scenes with Rose and her therapist, replaced with others that brought the main cast into the story a lot more. I felt it was a missed opportunity the first time around. I am confident that the revision is so much better with greater depth and emotional context for this wonderfully charming and entertaining group of individuals.
“We’re all trying to figure out who we are in this world. We each stumble, sometimes falling, making our fair share of mistakes along the way, but hopefully, if we’re lucky, we discover the truth and embrace it with immense joy.” - Leah
Easter Eggs and Inspiration
Ming-Na is named after Ming-Na Wen, actress and the voice of Disney's Mulan.
Half Bird, Half Lion
I named Griffin that way because his sister was also named after a mythical creature.
Naomi's backstory is inspired by Beauty and the Beast, where the beast is a covetous husband.
Beau is short for Beautiful, a referenc to Naomi's Beauty and the Beast inspiration.
Page 24, the seven ceramic figures represent the seven dwarves from Snow White, Disney's first animated film.
Natasha is named after Natasha Wightman who played Valerie on V for Vendetta.
Joseph is named from the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
Padma is named after Padma Lakshmi Padma Parvati Lakshmi is an Indian-born American author, activist, model, and television host.
Mahalia is named after Mahalia Jackson was an American singer, one of the most influential vocalists of the 20th century.
Page 52, having a black bag over the head and disappearing is what occured in V for Vendetta.
Roll Your Fate
Chapter 4, the game being played is inspired by the role playing game, Dungeons and Dragons.
Page 66, the Christmas spirit refers to The Muppet Christmas Carol.
Wait a minute...
Page 74 hints at a clue from Tapestry of the Second Born, a man in a three piece black suit.
Ruth, Valerie's girlfriend in V for Vendetta, was played by Mary Stockley. That is why I chose that name for Natasha's girlfriend.
Teddy Bear Warrior
This is the image described on page 130 concerning a teddy bear defending a child.
Doctor Kamel is named after Stanley Kamel who played a therapist on the tv series, MONK.
Father Son Reunited
Page 137, what Rose speaks of while in a trance refers the ending of Tapestry of the Second Born.
Page 141, the movie about a dog sled that Joseph mentioned is "Iron Will".
Page 143, Kiki is named after the central character in the movie: Kiki's Delivery Service.
Page 153, the tragic event in Japan was the atomic bombs being dropped on Hiroshima.
"Slobber Bear" is a small polar bear toy that I gave my nephew when he was a baby.
Naomi's quote on page 179 is originally used in the novel: Tapestry of the Second Born.
The wife of Elias is named Lillian after Walt Disney's wife.
The trio in black suits on page 238 are archangels who play a larger role in Tapestry of the Second Born.
At the end of page 239 is a variation on a quote in the novel, Tapestry of the Second Born.
Remy is named after Gambit AKA Remy Etienne LeBeau, from Marvel Comics, who is from New Orleans.
Sally and Bart make a small cameo from the novel: Tapestry of the Second Born.
Page 284, "The Truth" and "...is out there" refers to the TV show: The X-Files.
Light Within Darkness was the first full length novel I completed which was in High School.
The second book by the mystery author refers to Tapestry of the Second Born.
And now... My Favorite.
When I created Tagonist Knights Publishing, I knew I wanted a Native American woman among the five knights. She would be the newest member of the group, having just taken over the role. That would be Phoenix. When writing this story, the idea of having a Native American male as a lead protagonist, I thought, what if there is a connection between the two? That's when I had the idea of naming him Griffin, after another mythological creature similar to Phoenix. I knew she would appear at the end of the book and that these events took place before she became a Tagonist Knight. It helps set up her origin story, having a connection to a mortal/angel hybrid set in this reality.
The Elder Man
Phoenix encounters a man she calls an elder that plays a prominent role in the novel: Tapestry of the Second Born.
My conservative Christian mother found out my close friend was gay for the first time, and I remember her only question was, "Is he happy?" I paid respect to that moment on page 298.
I have established in previous books that each Tagonist Knight has a family member that is a storyteller. For Phoenix, its her grandfather.
“Provide kindness, charity, and love to those in need and all you should ask for in return is to provide such things to the next person they encounter that is asking for help.” - Elias