Five “Auralia’s Colors” Confessions: A Basket of Blue Stones

Ready or not, it’s…

The Top 5 Confessions about Auralia’s Colors, Chapter 3 – A Basket of Blue Stones

Readers meet Captain Ark-robin in this chapter. I think I’d probably cast Ray Winstone as Ark-robin. You?

Ark-robin is one frustrated soldier. He really wants a war. Instead, here he is, getting a little rough with a mischievous 8-year-old “trespasser.” I’ve met a lot of soldiers with appetites for war in Auralia’s world. They usually end up fighting very different battles than they’d like. I like frustrating war-makers.

When I worked as an editor for the City of Seattle’s Department of Construction and Land Use, starlings used to gather by the thousands in clouds around the downtown skyscrapers at sunset. On the 19th floor of the Key Tower, I’d watch them rush by the window like some kind of Hitchcock-movie nightmare: a river of dark, chaotic feathers that seemed to never end. They were beautiful and terrifying, long winding ribbons of birds weaving through the towers.

What do you know… those birds show up on the last page of this chapter!

Chapter 3 features the first mention of a gorrel. Gorrels are furry little runts: part squirrel, part guinea pig, part skunk. Yes, that part skunk. But here I am, starting the fourth and final volume in this series, and a gorrel hasn’t “gone off” yet. So, what do you think you can expect in Book Four?

Might want to hold your nose.

Captain Ark-robin is riding a vawn.

One blogger recently complained that I never describe my creatures, declaring “[Overstreet] is the only one who understands what creatures like beastmen, vawns, and viscorcats look like.”

Hey, I’m sorry you’re frustrated, man. And I welcome criticism, I really do.. so long as the critic has bothered to read the book carefully.

But let’s review: Earlier in the book, readers learned that vawns are reptilian steeds for forest travelers and soldiers. Readers also learned that these big lizards voice three-toned groans. Here in Chapter Three, readers learn that vawns have “gleaming yellow green” scales, “eyes small as coins,” and “a tail that ended with a heavy spiked club.”

Not enough description yet? Keep reading.

Eventually, the book reveals all of the following: vawns have long necks, a blue-green arc; they stand on feet with “three reptilian toes in front and one large clase in back”; they have a “gold-armored bellies”; and they have a narrow stripe of thick, bristly mane. On their snouts—”mouthless muzzles”—they have three nostrils. To eat, they suck up mud into a toothy throat where they take what they need, and then they spew back out the leftover sludge.

I’m convinced that I’ve left quite a few hints (and sometimes vivid explanations) regarding the appearance of viscorcats and beastmen too. But I do occasionally have the audacity to ask readers to use their imaginations.

I’m taking a gamble when I trust readers to pay attention.

Auralia and Ark-robin had better not get too involved in their conversation because there just might be …


You can order Auralia’s Colors at Barnes and Noble, Eighth Day Books, Third Place Books, Elliott Bay Book Company, or the independent bookstore nearest you.


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  • Per #2.

    I find most books OVERdescribe such things. This is actually one of the things I love about your books. You describe enough, but do not overwhelm the imagination of the reader.

    I saw vawns right away, was never frustrated by the description, but just amplified my image by each new revelation.

    Same with beastmen, etc.

    Excellently done.

  • Corey

    Hey Jeff your universe reminds me of the flora and fauna of Avatar the Last Air Bender, Nickolodeans best cartoon series.There are Turtle ducks, lion turtles, flying lemurs, eel hounds, hog monkeys and sky bison.( much more that I won’t list) The creators decided to poke fun at their menagerie of strange animals through a comical discussion.

    Katara: The king is having a party at the palace tonight for his pet bear!
    Aang: You mean Platypus-bear?
    Katara: No, it just says bear…
    Sokka: Certainly, you mean his pet skunk-bear.
    Toph: Or his armadillo-bear.
    Aang: Gopher-bear?
    Katara: Just… bear…
    (Moment of silence)
    Toph: This place is weird.


    ( Katara and Sokka are siblings, sister and brother from the water tribe, Katara “bends” water, Aang is the young Avatar, and Toph is a blind female Earth bender)