The Anatomy of a Villain

When I first started writing Abscondita, I had a great deal of work to do beforehand.  The story I wanted to tell would take ten books and a minimum of 2,000 pages.  I started by plotting out the Three Act Structure on a giant whiteboard and showing the progression of the main characters.  As the protagonist (Amanda) moved along her story arc, I wanted to also give you a glimpse into the lives of the side characters.

In The Serpent and the Light, there are four main points of view characters that are given their own chapters.  I planned to provide the reader with a glimpse into the motivations and lives of the other elements of the story.  So many times we read great literature, and sometimes we want to know what motivates the side characters.  In the magnificent books by J. R. R. Tolkien, it would have been fascinating to have a Sauron chapter, where we might understand his goals and passions.  The_Serpent_and_the__Cover_for_Kindle

In the Abscondita Est Magicae series, I leave it up to the reader to decide who the villains are, except for one.  Richard Enfield is the foil to Amanda and are two sides of a coin.  Enfield is vicious, power hungry and isn’t afraid to take a risk.  One of his greatest assets is his former mentor, the ghost of Samuel Howard.  The two are bound together in service to Cthulhu, and Samuel acts as a mastermind.

The idea of Samuel came from a long time friend named John Rey.  John has played Dungeons and Dragons with me for over ten years and has mastered the art of villainy.  His most famous character, Cyrin, was the main villain character for my first book The Keswick Player’s Handbook published under Pathfinder.  During a 2003 campaign that lasted for over a year, he crafted Cyrin into a Demi-Lich that began at level 1.  Every action he took had a long game in mind, and he never took chances that were not calculated first.  During that campaign, he adventured with aggressively lawful and good party members who refused to allow him to be “evil.”  By the end of the first year, he had become a Lich, and the party began to value his immense power.

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Left to right – Bo Luellen, Karla, John (not smiling)

Through slow immersion into the motivations of Cyrin, the party started tilting to his point of view.  After all, a powerful undead creature, that requires no sleep, works endlessly and has little moral boundaries can overcome many obstacles.  By the end of the campaign, he had their characters sacrificing innocent creatures in return for powerful magical items.  Through careful manipulation, character development and positive results, he not only swayed the party to his point of view but arguably made them into his minions.

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Cyrin from The Keswick Player’s Handbook

I modeled Samuel Howard from that example.  The ghost plays the long game and invites the reader to sympathize with him, even when he is at his worst.  The real monsters of the story aren’t the ones that scare you but make you scare yourself when you start finding their story sympathetically.

Early Look – Book Two – The Storm of Garmr

When I started the series, Abscondita Est Magicae, I had a few goals in mind.  I wanted to start and finish the story in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the story would have a running theme of duality that challenged the concept of good and evil and would introduce new classic monsters we grew up with.  In Book One, The Serpent and the Light, I started with two iconic horror figures:  Cthulhu and Mr. Hyde.

While the take on Mr. Hyde was unconventional and dabbled into the spiritual realm, the angle of Cthulhu kept as traditional as possible.  I developed a new cult, called The Crimson Brotherhood, which had its own twist on worshiping the Great Dreamer.  It was critical to place four humans in the middle of supernatural circumstances, then let the reader see the story from their own eyes.

In Book Two I introduce two new classic monsters, that interact with the evolving story.  With each new book, I will throw in one or two new traditional monsters.  I don’t want to ruin the surprise, but in this ten book series, you will visit some old friends in the world of horror.

Below is a link to the Epilogue and first chapter of the new book.  For those of you that have read the first novel, I think it will give you some exciting directions the story is going.  If you are a first time reader to the series, then welcome.  Grab some hot cocoa, curl up in your comfy chair, dig in and enjoy!

Early Look – Book 2 – The Storm of Garmr

NEW! The Serpent and the Light: Abscondita Est Magicae (Book I)

Title:  The Serpent and the Light: Abscondita Est Magicae (Book I)

Authors:  Bo Luellen

Publisher:  Pick Up The Fork Media

Available in Paperback  on Amazon

Available on Amazon Kindle 

Publishing Date:  August 27th, 2018

Details:  The first novel set in Bo Luellen’s richly imagined world of Abscondita Est Magicae welcomes readers with a modern take on the classic Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde story. It begins in a Mid-South town where Professor Amanda Lanyon finds herself entangled in a mysterious murder surrounding one of her students. Along with Detective John Utterson, Amanda must join forces with some unlikely allies when confronted with the Black Brotherhood cult of Cthulhu. Her assumptions and faith are challenged as she discovers a hidden universe of magic and legend. Now she is steeped in a struggle against evil as she faces a world of Angels, Demons, and Fey that move unseen to the Mundane.
The epic of Abscondita Est Magicae dares you to enter a world of midnight creatures, classic monsters, and fairytale legends.

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Case 6-18: The Opera House – Ralston, OK

Loocation:

501 N. Main Street Ralston, OK   74650

The Legend:

The haunted history is shared by Don Taylor in his own words in this video:

Side Note:

Photos of the Opera House correspond to the legends, including the flyer for the magician Karl Germain.

 

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The Investigation:

Team Members:  Bo Luellen, Leila Rachelle (Of Leila Rachelle Art), Cindy Messner (Of Cindy’s Phancy Phydeaux), Trevor Messner, Jennifer Campbell (An Oklahoma Paranormal Author – https://phantomelements.com/), Micah Campbell.

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My first point of contact with the Opera House was Jill Grantham, who assisted me with a scouting expedition to the location.  Luckily we were able to take part in a tour, directed by Don Taylor and Amy Hedges. After learning the storied history of the location and the associated haunting’s, I gathered my team for an investigation.  On Sunday, July 1st, our group meet Don at the Opera House and conducted a two hour intensive investigation.  We gathered recordings for EVP analysis, photographic evidence and scan the building for anomalous EMF and temperature variance.

 

 

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Impressions:

The Opera House is one of the best investigations sights I’ve covered in the last 15 years.  It has a wealth of history and a fantastic feel.  Inside you are transported back to the peak of the 1900’s with its period decor and theme.

Preserve The Ralston Opera House!

I encourage you to visit the website Don Taylor has put together and make a 5 dollar donation to the cause of restoration and promotion of the Opera House.

https://www.ralstonfoundation.com/

Join Us!

If you are interesting in following our adventures through Oklahoma as we investigate forgotten sites, find us here: Tulsa & Beyond Paranormal
Bo Luellen’s Author Page:  Bo Luellen

Case 5-18: The Albino Legend – Crown Hill Cemetery – Tulsa, OK

Location:

4301 E 66th St N, Tulsa, OK 74117

 

 

The Legend:

The urban legend speaks of an albino who used to be the caretaker of this graveyard. who was hung in the tower located in the back of the cemetery.  The spirit of the dead caretaker can be seen at night looking out from the windows of the tower.

Side Note:

The cemetery has other legends attached to it.  Some speak of a Sparky’s Graveyard legend.

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The Investigation:

The first time I ever heard this legend was in 1999, when I first joined a group in Tulsa.  Variations of the legend have been retold over the years about the Albino and the Tower.  I’ve never found any evidence to substantiate the existence of a albino who was a caretaker.  After conducting over a dozen on site investigations of the cemetery, I’ve never picked up an EVP or photo that would point towards the legends being a reality.

Side Note:

Our team has logged several other EVP’s and photos that show evidence of a haunting in this graveyard.

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Impressions:

I believe the perpetuation of this legend is helped by the white cherubs placed in the windows of the tower.  From the road, these could look like white faces looking out.

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If you are interesting in hearing more about our teams investigations or joining in on the online discussion about the paranormal, find us here: Tulsa & Beyond Paranormal
Bo Luellen’s Author Page:  Bo Luellen

Case 1-18: The Witches Grave

Location:

Hillside Mission Cemetery E0410 Rd, Skiatook, OK 74070

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Rear of the cemetery under an oak tree.

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The Legend:

A woman who liked in the township kept her husbands body after he passed away.  Using black magic, she attempted to bring him back to life.  The town came to bury the body on multiple occasions.  Each time the witch would go to the cemetery and dig up her dead husband.  She would drag the corpse back to their home.  The township finally entombed the husband’s coffin in a casing of concrete.  The legend says that the witch haunts the grave.  Noises such as screams and footsteps can be heard near the grave.  Other reports say that rocks are hurled towards anyone that disturbs the grave.  A curse was said to be placed upon the grave by the witch.  Anyone who touches it will be possessed by a demon.

Side Note:

A legend also says that the cemetery is haunted by the spirit of a teenager who died when his car was wrecked at a nearby bridge.  The kid is said to walk the cemetery still today.

The Investigation:

A scouting mission was conducted by Candy Riggs and myself.  We took pictures of the grave during the day to get accurate pictures of the scripture written on the side of the concrete coffin:

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The verse written on both sides of the grave, Samuel 12:23, seems to support the urban legend.

“But now he is dead; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.”

 

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During the daytime scouting, Candy and I noticed trinkets and coins placed around the grave.  We speculate this might be some kind of offering to the witch.  We did not find any reference to this anywhere on the net.

We conducted a night time investigation at a later date.  The investigators:  Cindy, Trevor, Leila and I made a sweep of the surrounding area looking for hits on the EMF meter.  An EVP session was conducted around and on the grave.  The trinkets and money around the grave were missing on this second visit.  A deeper dive into the surrounding graves was initiated.  Our teams findings were logged in our case files.

Impressions:

The fantastical nature of the legend could not be substantiated anywhere in an official record.  If the township did have a witch that was practicing necromancy, she might not have been alone.  As found in other areas of Oklahoma, cells of pagan witches hide in plan sight.  It is within the realm of possibility that whoever left the trinkets were doing so as some kind of offering or request to the spirit of the dead witch.

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If you are interesting in hearing more about our teams investigations or joining in on the online discussion about the paranormal, find us here:

Clean Ashes: Memoirs of an Oklahoma Paranormal Investigator, now Available!

TITLE:  CLEAN ASHES

Authors:  Bo Luellen:  Memoirs of an Oklahoma Paranormal Investigator

Publisher:  Pick Up The Fork Media

Available in Paperback  on Amazon

Available on Amazon Kindle (TBA)

Available on Amazon Audible (TBA)

Publishing Date:  May 29th, 2018

Details:  A collection of thrilling and painful stories of the ghostly and mystical, Clean Ashes brings to light the hidden world of the occult and the wonder of the supernatural. Bo Luellen’s paranormal memoir captures the painful journey from a small Oklahoma town towards a life of adventure into the unknown. Surreal and powerful, Clean Ashes reveals the shadowy history of the Bible Belt.

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Sailing the Waters of Consequence

On April 27th, 2018 I wrote an open letter to the fans of the Kenpo History Channel:


Fans of the Kenpo History Channel,

The following link came to my attention: http://kam4inc.com/mediaPg2.html

In this link it outlines several concerning aspects in the direction of KAM IV Inc It gives information on successful lawsuits, compulsory rank changing and mandatory monthly rate to sustain in the KAM IV Inc. branded I.K.K.A. To protect those that I’ve interviewed and myself, I have taken down all documentaries and interviews from the KHC.

Side Note:
I was asked to give KAM IV leadership a consultation in 2015 on how to overcome challenges with communication in regards to the Kenpo community. I did three different consultations, all free of charge. In each, my recommendations and direction opted for a peaceful outreach, a separation from litigious tactics and to show compassion to the loyal followers of Mr. Parker. My final proposal was to have the family apologize to the Kenpo community for their legal tone and start fresh. This path was rejected. When I retired as a teacher in 2016 it was due to health concerns. Opposed to my public announcement that I was retiring my 4th degree as a personal choice of honor, in reality I did this because of the direction KAM IV Inc. was taking. By fading away quietly it allowed my students to integrate themselves into a KAM IV Inc. affiliated association without any political drama. Indeed it was a matter of honor, but it wasn’t honest. There is no longer a need to keep up the facade. I wish those on both sides of this issue my sincere hope that they will find peace and happiness.


A bigger problem presented itself that stretched beyond my work on the documentaries and interviews.  Now my former students were left questioning what was going to happen next?  If they stuck with a Kam IV school, how much would they have to pay?  What would happen if they were ever kicked out?  If they kept doing American Kenpo and they decided to step away from Kam IV would they have to forever go underground to avoid a copyright lawsuit?

With the entire system, names of techniques and forms, Mr. Parker’s name, patches and more being copyrighted it left my former students and past students spiraling.  During my 25 years of martial arts, 16 of which was in American Kenpo, I was forced to go through seven different brand changes.  On average, my students were forced to learn a different way to do techniques and forms every two years on average.  If you are from outside EPAK this might sound strange.  The reasons were seldom honorable.  Usually it was because the instructor suddenly wanted thousands of dollars for belt tests, they wanted to change how they did the art to affiliate with another organization in order to gain a promotion or similar boon.

Every new instructor came with a change to the system.  In general you would get the same speech, “Okay what you are doing is fine, but it isn’t how Parker showed me.”  You would get left feeling dejected and sub standard.  Your training time would halt forward motion, and months would be used in relearning past techniques.  Many times I would have a portion of my class leave just out of frustration.

In response to this new problem I put out a letter to all my former students and all the students I had trained in my last 15 years of martial arts.  Here is an excerpt:


May 31st, 2018

Haikei,

On March 2016 I retired from Kenpo after 25 years due to medical issues and relinquished my 4th degree black belt.  I placed my students in the hands of one of the top American Kenpo teachers in the world.  Due to changes in the landscape, I’m coming out of retirement and issuing new ranks to former students under a personal traditional karate program.  Let me explain why: 

As of this month the Parker family is re-instituting the I.K.K.A. (Parker’s original organization).  They are making every school owner paying a percentage per student to the Parker family.  If they refuse and still teach, the Parker’s will sue them.  Judgments have already been awarded. 

With that news I have made a decision.  I’m coming out of retirement and reopening my school.  It will NOT be an American Kenpo school, but a traditional Japanese themed karate program.  For former students who wish to be ranked according to their time and energy they have put in, I will be doing an assessment and ceremony.  This is a way of correcting the long and taxing year’s students put into the system without receiving the rank they deserve.  If you are interested in being re-ranked by me, you only have to reply and a time will be set up for you to come in for ranking.  This is free of cost and you do NOT have to join my class.  You could simply walk in, take a non-physical assessment where I review your time in the system, then assign you a rank.  The normal time it would take for an average Japanese student in a Karate program to attain a black belt is three years.  I will be taking that into consideration when assigning rank.  For those of you that wish to take a physical test to go with your rank reassessment, we can schedule a test.  You will not be required to perform any material that you don’t already know.  If you are already a member of another school, you must present a letter of recommendation from your current teacher for you to receive your rank reassignment.  I want to emphasize, this is free of charge.  I’m doing this as a matter of personal honor. 

All ranking re-assignments, assessments and testing (if requested) will be conducted at my new school location located.  You will need to contact me ahead of time before showing up.  My number is XXXXXXXXX.  If you have any questions, please call me.

Sincerely,

Robert Luellen
Luellen Ichizoku Karate


The response to this move was very positive from my former student base and appreciative.  Everyone made careful decisions on how they wanted to proceed.  One such man was Johnny McLain.  He had spent well over 14 years training with me.  During this time he was deployed to Afghanistan to serve his country.  He was injured and was forced to go into a limited disability.  He wasn’t detoured and continued to train in American Kenpo when he returned.  His path was cut short when the organization I was in did yet another political maneuver and changed associations.  John was left having to relearn techniques.  With his disability and a full time job, his body simply started giving out.  His total time in the martial arts was over 23 years with no black belt to show for it.  All because of Kenpo politics.  He choose to get the assessment with me.  I’m proud to say his long journey is over.  He is a black belt.  I could not be more honored to give out my first black belt of my career to this man.

I’m not sure how long my health will hold out, but I plan on hitting the afterburners until I slam into a wall.  In this class, people are learning solid Karate without any risk of politics.  They are learning in the traditional way I was brought up as a child from my original Sensai David Whisnant.  The teacher shows and the student listens.  Don’t worry about what your belt level requirements are, just train.  Belts will come.  All discipline and no politics.

In closing, I have a father and son in my school now.  Seeing them bond together on the mat, that is the most honorable responsibility I could have as an instructor.  These people will never again know politics, only Bushido.