A few months ago, I put out a request for artists for the upcoming 2017 edition of Ages of Aenya, and after a bit of vetting, in which we produced the Avian and Horde (below), I settled on the talented Zhengyi Yu.
I chose Zhengyi because of his painterly style, which I feel is better for the cover of a novel than some of the equally talented artists I work with, who tend toward more cartoony styles. Mr. Yu impressed me with his fantasy landscapes. When I see a book with some impossible, otherworldly cityscape, it draws me in, igniting my imagination, and I hope to capture readers in the same way. More importantly, Zhengyi has been wonderful to work with, being attentive to my needs and more than willing to brainstorm and make changes. If you’re looking for a talented illustrator, look no further! Also, be sure to check out his awesome gallery at Zhengyi Yu
Here we find Thelana overlooking Hedonia. The massive pyramid temple of Sargonus eclipses the background. Depicting our heroine in her natural attire (naked) without triggering any censors was a challenge. I wanted her in a normal looking pose, not too sexy or bashful, and without any comically placed leaves in the way. And she had to be dynamic, to show her power and fearlessness. She’s naked in a city of thousands and yet she does not feel vulnerable! That being said, Zhengyi and I are working on an alternate cover, where Thelana will be draped in her trademark jade cloak (hey, she gets cold sometimes). That way, you can read the adventures of the Ilmar on the subway without any weird looks!
OK, you may be thinking, all this is fine and good, but when can I read this? Glad you asked! As the old adage says, you can’t judge a book by its cover, and while I don’t believe this to be 100% true, story remains the most important thing, seconded by the quality of the writing. Without those things in place, you can’t hope to sell a million copies, unless of course you’re writing bondage porn.
I’ve spent more than a decade building this world, its history and geography; fleshing out its races and its characters. Nine years alone I spent editing, as I ran a restaurant and helped my wife raise our two kids, but even the best writers need another set of eyes. If I could give myself amnesia, I could do it all myself. But it’s impossible to judge yourself objectively, to judge any story really—which is inherently subjective—in a non-biased way. Nobody can. But finding an editor you can trust isn’t easy. An author’s story is his baby. I have to wonder, will the editor tear it up for the sake of tearing it up? Will they maintain my voice? Will they avoid putting in their own biases? This is a legitimate concern for me, as I’ve had professors try to “correct” my work in the most inane ways. One of my teachers actually suggested that the nun in my short story, Anna and the Devil, masturbate. After all, Satan can’t touch you so long as you abstain from carnal thoughts. His PHd, not surprisingly, was in religious studies.
Then I met Ava Coibion. Ava offered me a free sample edit, of my prologue, and we talked over the phone about our favorite writers, literary styles, and the best way to edit without encroaching on the author’s art. I found her to be intelligent and sensitive. And also, she had this to say,
There are a thousand praises I could sing here, and with your permission, I’d love to at least give my friend Frank Beddor a sample of your novel to review, or perhaps put you in touch directly with him. But for now, here is the edit for Book One. I was determined to complete the work before Thanksgiving, in hope that you might have a little down time to review my suggested changes. In truth, I devoted this last week and a half solely to the completion of the edit, not because we are on a deadline, as I know you aren’t concerned with a timeline on this, but because I simply couldn’t stop! The prose is intelligent, poetic but often nicely spare/concise, and full of emotion. A true pleasure, and even if you don’t take me on for Books 2 and 3, I will read forward on my own because I simply must know what happens next …
Let me know what you think of my comments. I do think the final chapter could be split up into 2 or even 3 separate chapters.
I know I know, flattery. And I might be thinking the same thing, if it weren’t for the fact that, all of my beta readers have given me a similar response. Still, it’s great to get this from a professional, who no doubt has to trudge through literary swamps of poor storytelling.
So now, dear reader, you may be itching to get your hands on this thing. Well, the next step is working with Ava through the 170+k words, about 500 pages, until every word is perfect. Then I get to slap Zhengyi’s contribution on the face of it, and finally, go to the printers.
Ages of Aenya should be available sometime in 2017. In the meantime, my wife will be querying my latest effort, The Princess of Aenya, and I will be dutifully pursue The Children of Aenya, the third book in the Aenya series, partly based on the Dungeons & Dragons campaign I have been playing with my friends and family these past two years. If you’d like to learn more about The Children of Aenya, and the game we are playing, feel free to join on Facebook at The Hub of All Worlds.
Aenya News Update: 11/29/16
A few months ago, I put out a request for artists for the upcoming 2017 edition of
Mountain Men & Cabines & some naked butts… #skinnydipping #nakedlifestyle #nakedlife #nudedude #nakedmuscle #naturismo #nude #nudie #getyourassintonature #nakedinnature#nudismo#nakedadventures #idratherbenaked #theoutwandere r#sunsoutbunsout #clothesfree #experiencenaturism #desnudo #barebynature @nakedinnature @getyourassintonature @experiencenaturism @adventurenaked @naked.in.nature @clothesfreelife
Nudism Throughout History
A society’s attitude toward public nudity can reveal a fantastic deal about its culture, attitudes and sometimes its religious beliefs. Nudity is occasionally extended to all areas of life, while in other contexts it is confined to particular settings or activities. For instance, some societies condone nudity during athletic activities, while supporting the wearing of clothes at other times. Standards vary widely from one culture to another.
The practice of habitually wearing garments is a fairly recent invention in human history. In primeval times our distant ancestors, evolving in Africa and migrating into a world of tropical and temperate climates, were certainly nude most or all of the time. However, as individuals expanded into colder places, they quickly had to adapt man-made covering, and as soon as they did that, they also began adopting customs to regulate what clothes should be worn, and when it should be worn. In different societies clothing or the lack of it’s been seen as being sexual in nature, as connoting social status or the lack of it, as indicating a particular religious or philosophical affiliation, or as signaling a certain economical station. Early texts from many cultures check with the poor and downtrodden as nude, and in a society with that attitude, someone who could manage clothing would definitely wear them to reveal that they were not poor and downtrodden. It is obvious how clothing immediately became more than the usual practical body covering, and started to assume other societal significance.
History of Naturism
In some ancient societies, the display of the nude body was linked to a certain spiritual doctrine. For example, the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten, who ruled from about 1353 to 1336 B.C., worshiped the sun disc and believed that the body should be proudly displayed in its light. Delineations of Akehnaten and his queen, Nefertiti, reveal them wearing very little clothes whatsoever, basking in I managed to lie down, of sunlight. While Akhenaten may have already been the first of the pharaohs to attach a religious connotation to the practice of public nudity, he certainly did not invent the notion in Egyptian culture. Egyptian delineations from considerably earlier periods also show folks wearing no clothes, or clothing that was kind-fitting and even transparent. The ancient Egyptians were quite open about sexuality, and attached a strong sensual connotation to their own near-nakedness. Art from early Egypt sometimes depicts sexual acts in very explicit and even comical ways.
Some other historical groups attached less of an erotic significance to nakedness. In India, for instance, particular religious sects required nudity as an indication of the renunciation of worldly possessions. Our knowledge of this comes from Greek historians of the time of Alexander the Great, who reported that there were several of these sects, the biggest of which was called the Ajivikas. The Greeks called these groups gymnosophists, from their word gymnos, meaning nude. The point to be stressed here is that this is a very different meaning for nudity than in the Egyptian culture. While the Egyptians were openly sensual and clearly took great pleasure in exhibiting their bodies, the Indian ascetics used nudity as a sign of giving up worldly pleasure and adopting a pure and holy disposition.
Michelangelo Statue of David
Nonetheless, nudity in ancient India wasn’t strictly an ascetic thing, for the Hindu religion also recognized the holiness of sexuality. A Hindu sect called the Sakas, who were flourishing about a thousand years past, decorated their temples with expressly sexual art. Sexuality was viewed as a holy matter, the procreative force of the divine. Such erotic sculpture can still be seen now at Indian sites for example Khajurako, Konarak and Ellora.
The Greeks had a convention of nudity that included both a candid admiration for the beauty of the human anatomy and about it, so they disfellowshipped him for “conduct unbecoming a member.” -seated spiritual doctrine. The Greeks believed that their gods had created people to look like themselves, so there was no shame in displaying our own godlike types. Greek deities are generally depicted as perfect physical specimens wearing few if any clothes, and their mortal worshipers adopted the same fashion. Greek garments were straightforward pieces of cloth draped or wrapped around the body, quickly removed at an instant’s notice. If a man in early Greece were working or playing hard, they might think nothing of removing the garment. The Greeks were saying, “Our gods are delightful, and since we look like the gods, we’re lovely, also.” In particular, it was expected that athletes would be bare when they engaged in sports. Our word gymnasium comes from your Greek gymnos meaning nude, since the people who exercised there always were.
The Romans embraced much of the culture of their Greek predecessors, but in Roman society nudity was firmly confined to certain settings and tasks. Romans were anticipated to wear clothes in most public places, but nudity was condoned and even anticipated in athletic activities, in the public baths and at public latrines. The approval of nudity in sports, and especially in gladiatorial competitions, was probably a practice inherited in the Etruscans, another ethnic forerunner of the Romans. Etruscan sculpture even depicts gladiators fighting completely nude.
Another early society that relegates nudity to certain locations and times is that of Japan. While Japanese culture lets the candid discussion of erotic themes, as well as the teaching of sexual techniques to future newlyweds, nakedness is usually frowned upon. The bare human body is not considered a fitting subject for art, and even paintings of fans in bed reveal them fully clothed. Yet, Japanese culture also makes allowance for group bathing, often by big family groups. Until the 20th century, such communal washing was a regular part of daily life for many Japanese, as well as today it is still practiced in some out-of-the-way areas.
Similar group bathing practices are available in the cultures of ancient Turkey and Show About Breasts – Busting Out – Thanks for the Mammaries Ladies! as for instance those of Scandinavia. All these cultures firmly deterred nudity in other public settings.
Surely one of the most repressive cultures regarding ages, and they sell beverages and hot dogs on the plage of the human body was that of early China. Here the covering of the body was considered a prerequisite of humankind. Other ethnic groups who didn’t cover their bodies were considered subhuman, and a powerful sense of physical modesty was taken as evidence of the superiority of Chinese culture. Girls are not even allowed to uncover their bodies for his or her physicians, and had to point out their aches and pains on dolls specially made for the purpose.
Paganism, both in its early and modern types, makes use of ritual nakedness that will be generally confined to specific areas and occasions. Those who conformed to Wicca or various other ancient faiths would occasionally dance naked, or “sky-clad” during seasonal rituals. Among individuals who hold such beliefs now, the practice is sometimes still carried on. In these circumstances, nakedness is seen as a state of naturalness making the worshiper more receptive to divine power. As in other societies, nudity is closely linked to both religious belief and sexual abandon, which aren’t seen as being opposed to each other.
Addressing Single Male Policies and Gender Imbalance in Nudism: Felicity writes about the gender…