Deciphering What’s To Come – Part Two

Fiction and storytelling were my first loves growing up. There are some dedicated poets out there who knew from birth they were bound to a poetic destiny. Not me. Not entirely. When I was a child my days were filled with stories of superheroes, ghosts and monsters, other worlds, and serial-type storytelling. As I grew up, my storytelling transformed into comic art form. I still have most, if not all, of the stories I told through comic books. Some of it was what is now considered ‘fan fiction,’ but I also produced many original works with my own characters and stories. It was the most fun a chubby, little nerd boy could have on his own. It was also very rewarding to have family and friends entertained by my drawings and stories.

So what kind of fiction can you expect to read, you may wonder? As I mentioned, I will be sharing short fiction and lengthier fiction. I have dozens of stories in my head, and I don’t want to waste a whole lot of time talking about what I’ll produce as much as producing it. The scope of short fiction is too vast to pinpoint. I write quirky stories sometimes, most with elements of surrealism or magical realism, however you want to call it. But I also produce general fiction and literary fiction. I am developing a serial novel which will focus on the lives of several individuals taking on distinct traits of their characters. I am still debating how the story will develop as a whole, but am already working on bringing it to life. My most recent work, the novel The Distance To The End, is, in my mind, literary fiction. The book follows the life and times of Nicholas Duke, a gay poet and writer. There are no elements of fantasy, surrealism or any other mode of genre writing.

The novel is also written to appeal to a wide audience, and as such does not have a focal point on the LGBTQ aspect of the character. He is simply a character who happens to be gay and this is his story. I think of writers like William Burroughs when I think of this series. His early novels, Queer and Junky, featured gay protagonists, but this was more of an afterthought than a pitch for the story. My Nicholas Duke novels are the same. The Distance To The End follows Nicholas Duke and his once estranged lover, Raoul, as they spend the weekend in Las Vegas with Nick’s best friend, Neville Acosta and his wife, Gladys. Pretty straight forward story telling driven by the characters. As one may expect, there is a lot of drug use and alcohol abuse in the story, but its not a typical Las Vegas tale. And it’s a far cry from stories like The Hangover series. The Distance To The End is the first in the series, the hook, if you will, and will also be the only story featuring Nicholas Duke set in Las Vegas. At least for the foreseeable future. I have six novel outlines for Nick Duke, and at this point the series is finite, so I encourage readers to get as much Nick Duke as they can. I may write some vignettes with the characters introduced in Nick’s universe, but the majority of this story and timeline will have to be read through the novel. The Distance To The End is available wherever books are sold; if not in the shop, you can get the book for sure by way of special order, or just grab it online. Who knows, though, if the people want more Nick Duke, I may find a way to accommodate. I am working on the next installment in the Nicholas Duke universe, and you are welcome to tag along chapter-by-chapter.

Another series I am working on is an age-old tale I’ve wanted to tell for decades. Prior to this, I have not disclosed my desire to share my fantasy novels. My idea was first dreamed  of when I was a teenager. I was an avid reader of fantasy novels growing up. I could not deny the fact that I was inspired by the stories and the art and the concepts of magical realms and diverse characters. My favorite was the Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett. I can guarantee, however, these stories will be nothing like the world of the Disc, or anything like you’d find on the streets of Ankh-Morpork. My story takes place in the magical land of Kontraskia. The story of Kontraskia began like most, when I was a teenager and in comic book format. It was then converted into a novel. It was the first novel I completed, and  at the age of twelve. The stories of Kontraskia have been inside me, and randomly scrawled on paper for decades, and, in all honesty, I never thought I would bring them to life. At least not until I was around fifty years old. But, the characters have continued to speak to me through out the years, and recently have begun to scream at me on the inside, and they are ready to come out. So the fantasy series of Kontraskia has been developed for years, and I have many stories to tell. I couldn’t say whether or not I’d compare it the masters like J.R.R. Tolkien, or Terry Goodkind, or Tad Williams or the likes, and it’s not a complex medieval inspired venture like Game of Thrones; no, the main premise of the first novel I ever wrote featuring the land of Kontraskia evolved around a chosen victor risking his life to save the soul of a king. That was the premise that birth this world, and there is oh, so much to come.

It’s a mixed bag you’ll get from me. Hopefully you’ll follow along. You’ll see there is plenty for everyone. I’ll bring you your contempo-fiction, and raise you fantasy and science fiction. I’ll offer you short stories, and season it with poetry and haiku. I’m really looking out for the reader, and the fan desiring to get lost in these realms. So, stick around for the ride. I appreciate you and want you to enjoy your visit to the different worlds I intend to bring. Thanks, you.

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Deciphering What’s To Come – Part One

Poetry has been a mainstay for me over the last two decades. I am a huge supporter of poetry. I believe poetry is among the last written art forms that speaks direct from the soul of the poet a message conveyed to the world. Poetry is very important in that it is a vehicle of truth and insight as seen from kaleidoscopic emotions, thoughts, dreams of the poet. It is like a magic spell, or an incantation, a shard of their essence. Of course, I have particular view points on certain types of poetry and its discourse, but ultimately, poetry is more direct (even if abstract) in speaking the truth of the soul, the heart of the writer, than a mode like fiction or non-fiction. To that end, poetry usurped my writing in a strong way from my teenage years on through college and beyond. The press I run, Virgogray Press, is a publisher of poetry. I started Virgogray on the D.I.Y.  in order to house my own self-published creations beginning in 2003. I self-published my first book of poetry, Sad Height (2005), under the pseudonym Jacob Gray. The costs were huge for a young man of twenty years, but I went through the process, and though my endeavors were unsuccessful by market standards, I learned a lot, and carried on.  I even organized, booked, and funded my own reading tour which took me across the great southwest United States. That was truly a worthwhile experience. After that I went on to self-publish several chapbooks of poetry: Limbo (2006), Ghost Roads (2008), and The Terrorist (2009). I was fortunate to have other independent presses publish my chapbooks: Green Tea America was released by New Polish Beat in 2009, and The Winter King, an epic-inspired poem, was released in 2010 by Shadow Archer Press. In 2011, I published This Reality of Man, my most recent poetry collection. I am currently working on a new collection of poetry, and am very excited to finally bring life back into my verse. The biggest take away for myself during this time, however, is that between the years 2007 and 2013, I was heavily involved in the publishing and sharing of other poets work. I released chapbooks, and then collections of poets work, Virgogray releasing just under 50 titles, some of which included poetry anthologies and serials. The majority of my creative work went into reading, selection, editing, formatting, and promoting the work of other artists. And up until 2010 all my publications were hand made by yours truly. Everything the budget of my independent press required came from personal funds. I’ve spent a lot of money, and a lot more time, on poetry and the press. The titles of the Virgogray library are a beaming success and boon to literature, creativity and the artists involved. I have built a library of poetry and poets of which I am proud. While I have scaled down the activity of the press due to time and financial constraints, and importantly because I now desire to focus on my own creativity, I still edit and publish the flagship poetry publication at Virgogray Press called Carcinogenic Poetry. But, even as my eyes return to my first love, fiction and storytelling, you can be forever confident I will continue to churn out new verse, new words, new truths, and you won’t be left thirsty. . .


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Welcome, Dear Reader

Even In Death


Welcome to The Root of Many Returns, the legacy website of author Michael Aaron Casares.  Here, readers are invited to review dozens of works including poetry, fiction, and more. Gain insights into writing and other issues in Michael’s blog. Be sure to like and share your favorite pieces. Offer feedback in the comments. And come back often because we’ll have new stuff to read, and the website will continue updating.

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