Love of Mortals and Gods
Some of the best ideas come unexpectedly. The concept of Shange' and Mijoga was inspired by art sent to me by friend and Sword and Soul fan Kristopher Michael Mosby. Kris is an excellent artist who does graphic design as a professional and creates personal artwork that covers the gamut from fantasy to portraits. One day I received an e-mail from him with the image of a black woman warrior standing beside a lion and I was intrigued. I hit him up and we had a discussion about the characters, their background and the world they existed. It was in this discussion that we saw Shange' as a guardian spirit who grew to love a young king, Mijoga. She transformed to human form to love this man, only to be discovered by the Elder Spirits. Contact between humans and spirits was forbidden. Her punishment was to be made a human that would serve the spirits on Earth, while her lover was sentenced to death. But Shange's 'mother intervened. Instead of killing Mijoga, she transferred his soul to the body of a lion. Shange' and Mijoga are charged with serving the Spirits on the mortal plane until that time they are forgiven for their transgression, if ever.
The concept came along when I was working on the Changa's Safari adventures, so it was natural to create a Safari adventure including Shange' and Mijoga. That story was 'Mwanamke Tembo' the Elephant Woman, which had Shange' and Mijoga helping Changa fight a spirit which protected elephants. Kris supported the story by illustrating the elephant woman. It was our first collaboration.
Soon after that story I decided to create an adventure just for the duo. I wrote Walaji Damu, The Blood Eaters, then sent it to Kris as a thank you for the illustrations he'd done. A few months later Kris began sending me pages of illustrations from the story. To my pleasant surprise he decided to create a graphic novel based on the story. The final project is The Blood Seekers, a graphic novel currently available from MVmedia.
The informal collaboration continued. Kris created more images of Shange' and Mijoga, and I wrote two more adventures. I finally decided to create a book that would bring all of Shange' and Mijoga's adventures together while showcasing Kris's amazing artwork. The result is Fallen.
Fallen contains four stories, two previously published (Mwanamke Tembo, Walaji Damu) and two new tales (Walezi, Abasa's Promise). Most importantly, Fallen contains all of Kris's amazing illustrations. This has been great collaboration that hopefully will continue for the foreseeable future. I hope you enjoy the prose and imagery of Fallen. It's available Monday, January 21, 2019, and you can purchase the e-book for Kindle, Nook, Kobo and iTunes.