Ayan sleeps in a cauldron after a hard day's work.

 

 

 

W.jpghat if God is evil?
Author uses cute characters to explore some terrifying ideas. [Press release]

Los Angeles, CA
August 1, 2017

     “I wanted to write a story in which God is a bad guy,” says Los Angeles resident and new author, Al Romero. “I find every depiction of God in any book I’ve read or movie I’ve seen to be woefully inadequate. I mean, God is generally used more as a plot device than a character, really. God’s motivations are never really explored in a meaningful way, even though he’s often shown doing really awful things.”
     Al doesn’t claim to be an expert. He’s not a theologian, but he does work in the entertainment industry. He’s been working in Hollywood as an assistant editor for ten years. Before that, he was a high school art teacher. But it wasn’t long before he left that in favor of his first love. “I studied animation in college,” he explains. “Teaching was the fallback job. My passion was telling stories; the story.”
     The story he’s referring to is “The Tail of the Order of the Blue Maiden.” It’s meant to be one in a series called “The Tail.” The book’s cover, which Al illustrated himself, is adorned with a number of adorable, anthropomorphized animal cartoon characters, with one exception: An orange-skinned, muscle-bound behemoth with gnashing teeth and a slithering serpent’s tongue that lords over the scene like, well, an evil god.
     “That’s Griol. He’s the main god of the serans, the people of that world. They worship him just as we worship our gods, or god, really, since many human religions recognize the same god. Of course, in the book, the fantasy of being called upon to go on a quest by God is heightened. You see Griol enter the life of Ayan, this lowly servant who has aspirations of becoming a knight and improving his lot in life. Griol commands him to go and retrieve a weapon of great power and tells him that he’ll be rewarded with the the affections of the girl that he’s in love with. Through the course of the story, Ayan has to choose whether or not to obey him, and that has a number of far- reaching implications.”
     The story tackles a number of thorny issues besides faith, including classism, systemic racism, sexism, immigration, all under the guise of being an action-packed adventure. “When I started writing this story over twenty years ago, I was just a kid, so I really had no idea what it was about. But as I grew as a person, so did the book. After struggling for a long time, all of these themes finally started falling into place. The lynch pin was Griol, who personifies my feelings about God and religion. Not all religion, mind you, but the part of it that causes people to hate each other and cast out certain people just because they’re different. If you look at Griol, he’s this terrifying monster with razor-sharp teeth. He has ten arms that carry different weapons, and when he talks, he screams. And yet the people of that world call him the prince of peace and pray to him for guidance. There is a huge disconnect between what he is and how they regard him.” In the text, one of Griol’s arms actually carries a collection plate, which seems rather telling.
     Al’s feelings about religion also show through various characters, such as Ayan’s mother Julietta, who casually smokes a cigarette while gossiping about the town priest, or Mieu, the book’s other lead, who views the situation through the eyes of an outsider. She is both a foreigner to the country and of an entirely different religion, which, despite her being nobility, poses a number of challenges for her.
     Refreshingly, even though Mieu is the object of Ayan’s unrequited affection, at no point does Mieu play the role of helpless damsel in distress. Romero even repeatedly pokes fun at the tired trope, titling one chapter “Damseled,” where Mieu’s companions are incapacitated, and she ends up having to save herself from a prickly situation, or another scene where Ayan’s romantic expectations are literally, (yes, literally) deflated before his very eyes.
     In the end, Al wonders if he pushed the envelope far enough, even going so far as to issue an apology in his afterword. “When I started writing this story so many years ago, I was only thinking of my point of view: that of a privileged, white/hispanic boy that wanted to go on an adventure, save the princess, and win her affection. Having lived through the advent of the nerd revolution, I’ve come to recognize that pretty much all the books and all the movies and all the shows are written for the benefit of my feelings, at the expense of pretty much everyone else’s. I never thought that the rise of the nerds would be so… homogenous and misogynistic.” About Mieu, he adds, “I realized that it is her journey, not Ayan’s, that calls this world into being and sets the events in motion. Having made the classic mistake of creating her to be a love interest, I had inexcusably neglected her story. […] But like a true, strong female, she showed me the error of my ways. She began to do things in spite of my neglect, and influenced the story in ways I never planned. I came to realize that she is indomitable: she’s a princess who has no need of being rescued, who rescues others, struggles with her own demons, and that she deserves her own damn book!” Romero plans to write another book with Mieu as the main character.
     Despite the provocative themes, Romero claims that the book is, above all else, a love letter. “Most of the characters were inspired by people that I know. And this book is imbued with my enduring love for them. You don’t spend twenty years working on something unless you love it. My love for all of those people is without end. And even though I haven’t spoken to my ‘Mieu’ in years, this book would have never been complete without her.”

The Tail of the Order of the Blue Maiden is available for free on iTunes.

And for 99¢ on Amazon.

Prices good through the end of August. Learn more at:
www.TheTail.com

Or on Twitter:
@TheTailStories @SonOfTheBrewer @MieuNotra @JonnyCabal @EaronDeacon

And Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/TheTailStories/

This is an official press realease. If you would like to use this release as part of a news story or article, or for more information, please write to info@hyraxproductions.com

 
 

 


7/23/2017

W.jpgelcome, welcome!

If you don't know me already, my name is Al Romero, and I am overjoyed to announce that THE TAIL of the ORDER OF THE BLUE MAIDEN has, after more than 20 years, finally been completed and published. It is available now on iTunes for FREE and Amazon for 99¢. Be sure to take advantage of these prices while they lasts!

Please pardon our dust while we update our website. We have been so focused on creating and bringing you this book, which weighs in at 319,975 words and approximately 917 pages (according to Kindle's estimation), and 69 chapters (No, that was not on purpose), that the website has not kept up. We are working dilligently to update it, as well as to bring you additional content. In our comics section, you can see an illustrated version of what was going to be the book's preface. Because Order of the Blue Maiden ended up not being the first book in the series, that snippet will appear in what will become the first book, THE TAIL of the STOLEN GOD. For now, enjoy it in comic form. Soon, we will be adding additional proto stories which were expressed in comic form, but never made it to print.

I have been working on this book for nearly my whole life. Additional installments of this series are forthcoming. You can also look forward to an illustrated edition, as well as an audiobook. In the mean time, be sure to like us on Facebook. Also, follow our characters on twitter! From the bottom of my heart, please enjoy!

See you soon!
Sig


 



4/1/2017

I know, I know...

It's been forever and a day. Well, five years to be exact. I have been busy. You might have seen the final Episode of "Workaholics." Farewell my sweet princes! It's with a heavy that I bade that show, my second home for six years, adieu. On the upside, yours truly became a full-fledged editor on a new show called "H8ters"! It stars Youtube stars Kian & J.C. I'm ever-so-pleased to have been able to contribute creatively to that incredibly funny show which will air on Fullscreen.

Now, that's not to say that The Tail has gone by the wayside. Not at all! In fact, the second draft is now complete and weighs in at a hefty 309,900 words and 69 chapters! This thing is nearly ready to go to market. First, I have to decide whether of not to include illustrations in the book. The illustration process may take up to a year, so I'm considering adding illustrations in another edition of the book. Let us know what you think by posting to our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TheTailStories/ or on Twitter: @TheTailStories. We'd also like to hear where you'd like to buy you copy of The Tail.

Personally, I cannot wait! Thank you for your patience while I go through the final steps of publishing my first novel!



 


7/11/2012

Hello again!

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I just wanted to let you all know that the reason this site went quiet was because it’s author, yours truly, went to work as an assistant editor for a couple of your favorite T.V. Shows! I’ve spent a wonderful year working on Comedy Central’s “Workaholics” seasons 2 & 3, as well as “Key & Peele” season 1. Don’t beleive me? Take a look at my IMDb page. Weeeee!


Anywho, I just wanted to let you know that “The Tail” is far, far from dead. In fact I’ve bumped up production on the written novel, which currently weighs in at 90,000 words. (And I’m only a quarter of the way through!) The written novel is key, because that’s the first step in creating everything else. I’ve got some time off now, so rest assured, there will be new pages up within the month.


I cannot wait to share everything in store with y’all. In the mean time, be sure to watch “Workaholics” and “Key & Peele” on Comedy Central. They are very funny.


 

 

5/23/2011

Instead of the usual page this time around, I’m putting up the illustration that I’ve been working on since my last update. I figured it’s only fair. You get an eyeful of something new for coming back to the site, and I get to show of the fruits of my labor. The illustration is a commission for my nephew Kris. It’s a poster for his band, Eyes of Aurora. They’re a hip new death metal band from the Inland Empire. I’m still waiting for my nephew to get back to me with their band’s logo, but here is the naked version. Check it out, check them out, rock out.


Other exciting news: I might be published on Golgotron.com. I’ve been listening to this radio show called Chatterbox. It’s a great show. It’s all about video games. Well, sort of. It’s really more of an aesthetic critique of life that uses video games as a backdrop. It’s interesting. I like it. In any case, one day, Ara, one of the hosts, made the comment that video games can be used as tools for self improvement. I wrote in to weigh in on my own opinion on that matter. Alon, the other host, wrote me back and asked if I was interested in having the email published on their affiliated site. I’m thrilled about it. I would have been happy if they only mentioned my email on their show. Be sure to check out Golgotron and Chatterbox.

As always, I’ll keep plugging away. Until next time.

 

 
 

 

5/3/2011

Hello everyone,

I realize It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve updated the site. I’ve been hard at work, as always. Only this time it’s on a project unrelated to the The Tail. Rather, it’s an illustration for “The Eyes of Aurora,” my nephew’s band. I promise to share it with you when it’s done. I’ve also taken some time to work on the novel version of “The Tail.” I often get so frustrated because I’m having such a great time writing the book and I wish I could write it faster. Also, I wish I could draw faster still. I am my own worst enemy, as they say.

Today’s blog post is about something else. Because of my freelance lifestyle, I constantly have to bee on the lookout for new jobs. Last week I responded to an ad by a graphic novel writer looking for an artist to collaborate with. Wanting to learn more, I wrote to this person, submitting this site, as well as “Retail Gods,” and the previous version of “The Tail,” “The Vagrant Song” as samples. An hour or so later I got one of the most jarring responses I have ever gotten.

“I’m sorry, but I have no interest in working with furries.”

Okay, there are a few things I will admit. First is that, at first glance, “The Tail” looks to be all about furries. A large part of my readership, will probably consist of furry fans. There is nothing wrong with that. However, part of my efforts, nay, my mission, is to create a story that transcends such a label. That is, when I started, I didn’t think of “The Tail” as being strictly about furries. How can I explain it in a way that makes sense? It’s as though I made a comic that featured black people, and yet, the comic was not strictly about the “black experience.” In other words, though the comic will be comprised primarily of furries, at some point, I may deviate from that. In fact, if you read the five pages I have up right now, minus the cover, furries have yet to make an appearance. That is why I took such issue with the writer’s comment. That, and the fact that I had also sent him a link to “Retail Gods,” a very non-furry comic book, and he didn't even take the time to look at it.

It wasn’t that he didn’t want to work with furries. As a creator, that’s his prerogative. And it’s not even the fact that he dislikes furry artwork that bothered me either. What bothered me was that took one look at the first sample I sent him and assumed that that’s how I was going to interpret his text if we worked together. It irked me that he assumed that that was all I could do. So, I wrote back and did my best to explain to him between quality and content. I told him that content is something that is largely irrelevant to a skilled artist, and urged him to evaluate the quality of my work. We had a back and forth in which he more or less admitted that he started on the wrong foot, and asked for some more samples, and I directed him towards “Retail Gods.” All well and fine. I don’t expect he will contact me again, and I’m okay with that because all I really wanted was some information, and I don’t want to work on something new on spec, which was probably going to be the case.

However, it was a wake-up call about how the public outside of the furry community is likely to respond to “The Tail.” In one of his emails, the writer referred to “The Tail” as “questionable.” I will admit that “furry” can be and often is inherently associated with graphic sexuality, with alternative lifestyles very well-represented. In one of the furry communities I belong to, I have even witnessed conversations where bestiality is openly discussed. While I don’t have a problem with that per se, (people deserve a place to express their sexuality openly and without fear of reprisal, no matter how alternative,) I suddenly find myself facing a dilemma. If you read the pages of “The Tail” that have been posted, you will not find anything sexual. You’re not likely to see anything that is overtly sexual for the foreseeable future. There is a bit of blood, and there will be some violence. However, so far, nothing that you can’t also see in the movie “Sucker Punch.” And yet from this writer, a fellow practitioner of comic creation, I have received a back-handed slap of automatic contempt.

Personally, I feel that, whether it’s super heroes, aliens, robots, a western, noir, renaissance, medieval, furry, who cares… what difference does it make so long as the person doing the work puts their heart and soul into it. Picking an artist should only be about that artists abilities… not their content. The content can always change. However, I can sort of understand the writer’s reaction. He explained that the artists he’d heard from who were into furry weren’t able to draw people correctly. That is a legitimate issue. I’m certain that there is just as much flakery and hackery in the furry world as there is anyplace else. Maybe more. I guess that it bothered me to be lumped in with all of the flakes and the hacks. But wait a minute, there are also a lot of really brilliant artists in the furry world as well! So what gives?

So, going forward I want to tell everyone that “The Tail,” while it proudly features furry characters, isn’t just about being furry. The story itself is about so much more. But I guess it’s up to me to prove it. I hope that you’ll give me the chance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

4/2/2011

 

Ten-thousand apologies for taking sooooooo long to put up another page! See, I was working a spectacularly wonderful job as an assistant editor on a pilot for Comedy Central. I can’t talk about the details, but I can say I had tons of fun and I absolutely loved it. The only bad thing was that I was unable to keep the pace on my comic. But now that that’s done, you should be getting more pages zippidy-doo.

As it happens, I am also working on a novel form of “The Tail.” In fact, I’m farther ahead in writing the novel than in the drawing the comics. For me I feel as though that necessary. Somehow writing affords me the freedom to construct the story before committing to a matching image. I have to admit, it’s tough going back and forth between book and comic. I confess that even though I am only three pages in, I have already gone back and altered the text to match the comic. However, due to the ephemeral nature of the prologue, it’s been particularly difficult to develop in a concrete way. Going back and forth between image and word has really helped me. Later, in the “real world” setting with the main characters, thing will firm up considerably, I promise. Crating a meaningful plot with vague archetypes and universal symbols is like trying to build a palace with soup.

In any case, as I write, I often wonder why I can’t change the background of color of my word processor to black, or at least some other color than eye-melting, brain-zapping, though-scorching, staring into the sun-white. So I did some research. There are actually some great word-processing alternatives to Word out there! I never knew! I though I was always doomed to stare at a soulless, mind-numbing void when I type, but no longer. Bye Word. You’ve been an able helper throughout the years of school reports and “professional” whatever. So what if I want to type in a ridiculous, decorative fonts where the I’s are dotted with stars. Maybe I want my letters to be written in Olde English lettering on parchment. I should be able to recreate Doogie Houser’s introspective journal writing scenes if I damn well please.

Enter Scrivener. It’s a great word processor that lets you create all kinds of zany word processor scenarios. Actually, it’s not really for that - it’s for writing novels. It has excellent organizational tools for breaking down sections of text. Now, it’s not page layout program that is geared towards creating documents for print… it is specifically a program for writing that lets you tailor your writing environment. So if you actually want to print a designed page… try InDesign or Quark. Anyway, it’s a great program that Instantly fell in love with. There are other great programs out there, like Write Room. But for me, from now on my books and blogs will be written in the coolest way possible: on Scrivener!

Al

 
 

 

3/11/2011

As I was dashing out the door today to run one of my mundane errands, I received an email that gave me, (wait for incredibly terrible pun…) “PAWS”.  The message was almost entirely blank except for a link.  The subject line read rather cryptically, “Thought you would like to see.”  And truthfully I did.  It was an article on Furry News Network.  Needles to say, seeing that article made my day.  It made me so happy that somebody noticed my little site.  Tune in to Furry News Network for more fur-related news.  I know I will!

Al         
 

 
 

 

3/1/2011

Wonderful news!  Not only is the latest page of The Tail up, but now The Tail has a presence on Facebook, and on FurNation.  Follow the links to check out these pages. 

FurNation is a great site for those who enjoy furry culture.  There are lots of friendly and open-minded people there.  If you join, you’ll find lots of fellow furries to chat with, befriend, and exchange artwork with. But be advised, this site is not for children under 17. There is an age limit to join, and for good reason. Relationships and sexuality are frequently discussed in this community.

If you’re not into furry culture, then check out our Facebook page.   In the future, I will be posting new, unique artwork on both of these sites; pics that you might not even see on this site!  I look forward to running into you in one of these communities.  Thanks for coming!


 

 
 

 

2/16/2011

Unbelievable!  After years of planning, and tons of work, TheTail.com is finally up and running.  Welcome one and all to “The Tail,” a wonderful fantasy that explores everything from fantastical fighting, magic monsters, and secret treasure, to friendship, rivalry, and the awkwardness of growing up.  It even touches on themes of the universe, economic iniquity, gender issues, and religion.  Yeah, it might get political… but my goal is to never preach about those things, merely to lay bare the bones of the interaction between characters that clash on many fronts.  In other words, to tell a story.

For those of you who become fans of the story, (fingers crossed,) I plan to have all sorts of perks.  From free, downloadable posters and desktop art, to collectibles and apparel that you can buy right from this site!

It’s been a long journey.  Those of you familiar with my work remember some of my other comics, like “Retail Gods.”  One day, I’ll pick that up again, I swear.  “The Tail” actually used to be “The Vagrant Song.”  It’s received an overhaul and a rewrite, and here it is.

I hope you’ll stay and enjoy the story as I craft and perfect it.  There’s a long road ahead.

Cheers!


          

 
     
 

“The Tail,” and all characters, images, and text contained on this website, with the exception of content from advertisers and third parties, are property of Hyrax Productions, and are copyright Hyrax Productions and Al Romero 2010, all rights reserved.  Content from this website may not be copied, used, or distributed without permission.