Saturday, May 11, 2013

Once long ago in a distant world, 

there was a young orphan girl named Boo 

who lost her parents but found her family, 

who lost her way but discovered her home.

Riding a horse named Matchbox, and with the help of a cat named Tertiary and her faithful dog Stix, the child sets out on a mission to find her best friend, Zephyr.  On a dark and dangerous journey through exotic cultures, Boo discovers the hard realities and the unexpected rewards/promises of life.  
As she learns and compares new customs and rituals, the lonely but self-reliant child learns the value of comrades, the varieties of their courage, and the advantages of co-operation.

On adventures that take her through incomparable worlds, Boo becomes both the rescuer and the rescued – not yet realizing that by the end of the journey she will be a self-reliant and mature young woman of 14 years.

*                                  *                                      *


 After the wise and kindly Zephyr mysteriously vanishes, young Boo suspects kidnapping and sets out to find him.  With Zephyr’s cat Tertiary, Boo and Stix enter a subterranean network of passageways that lead to new worlds, new friends, and exciting adventures.  Soon, Boo is astonished to find that her animal companions can speak.

Entering the first of several new worlds, Boo is joined by three new friends:  the boy Wioka, his horse Winter, and a magnificent stallion named Matchbox.  Wioka aids Boo in her search for Zephyr by taking her to his village and introducing her to his family.  After receiving useful gifts and news of Zephyr, Boo sets off once more.  Guided by Wioka to the gate of yet another world, she reflects on the happy family life she’s just experienced and realizes how different her own life has been.

The next destination is Ruan, a world of forests, mountains, and great cities by a sea.  There, Boo finds not only her lost friend, but also a greater quest – and a hint of her own destiny, as she finds herself longing for a family.

Reunited, Boo and Zephyr search for Dracocaecus, the evil sorcerer who had kidnapped Zephyr.  Zephyr tries to dissuade Boo from her quest to destroy Dracocaecus in order to save countless lives on various worlds.  Boo then discovers that the sorcerer may also hold the key to the mystery of her own father’s earlier disappearance, and that the lives of two of her companions are linked to the sorcerer’s clouded and bloody past.

Boo and Zephyr, along with their animal friends, journey to a city by the sea, where they find Dracocaecus.  In the climactic scene, they battle the evil sorcerer and ultimately vanquish him – aided by Tertiary, who undergoes an astonishing transformation.  In the aftermath, Boo learns the truth about her father’s disappearance, and decides to rebuild her life in a place of peace and tranquility.

Boo & Zephyr is not “adolescent literature” – it presents a coming-of age story with mature, family-friendly themes.  This novel is the perfect vehicle for an animated feature aimed at all ages – adults will appreciate its dimension and the youth audience of both genders will find role models and attractive characters.  The pace is fast, with colorful characters and full relationships, and the action is imaginative and exciting.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Enthusiastic Review from Norman Rich

Just received from world-famous wildlife photographer, Norman Rich.  Wanted to share.


I'm gob smacked Geonni ! :-) ... I've had a peek at the final draft and plan on an immersion in the days to come.  It is such a pleasure and an honor to know you and your work.

I am currently working long hours printing my work on paper and canvas with intent of showing it extensively in Alberta this summer.

The enchanting mystery, depth of crafted imagination, and your perseverance for creating well realized images is a joy and an inspiration. 

I look forward to the book, and the follow up film. It is soulfully satisfying to know that your work is being recognized, and I expect in time recognized as world class,deserving the widest exposure.

Norman Rich

Friday, May 3, 2013

Tertiary Zingiber Tigris & Stix

Tertiary Zingiber Tigris & Stix
from "Boo & Zephyr: The Blind Dragon"

What a surprise for Stix...

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Coming of Matchbox

The Coming of Matchbox
 from "Boo & Zephyr: The Blind Dragon"

     After bathing her face at the creek, Boo slipped off her smock and waded into the water. Stix amused herself by chasing minnows in the shallows, but she caught only two and got a very muddy face for her trouble.   

     Boo scrubbed her smock as clean as she could without soap, and then she and Stix returned to camp.  The smock was spread to dry on the warm surface of the sunny side of the stone.  Boo clambered up to the top in her damp shift and stood looking at the hills, as the soft breeze dried her hair.
     She could see a herd of horses in the distance, loping along like cloud-shadows.  They ran along a grassy ridge and then passed down into the valley beyond.  Boo stretched her arms above her head and yawned.  Then she slipped down the tawny curve of the rock where Stix waited. She walked around to the fire-pit, picked up her pack and sat down nearby, just outside the shadow of the stone.  

     "Where is Tertiary?" she asked Stix.

     "Gone hunting," replied the little dog.  "He says the mice here are fat and tasty."
Boo rummaged in the knapsack and found her half-apple.  It was a little shriveled and had turned brown on the cut side.  "Tertiary's bird was delicious," she said, "but I'd give three of them for a half-dozen apples."  

     She took a bite from the withered fruit.  "I saw horses, Stix, wild horses.  They were beautiful. I wish we had one.  The only thing I can think of that I'd rather have right now than more apples is a horse to ride. Except, of course to find Zeph--" 

     She did not finish her sentence, however, because her knapsack began to wriggle and shake.  It fell over on its side and things began to fly out of it.  Boo screamed and snatched up Stix, who was barking furiously. She backed away toward the stone and stumbled on the edge of the fire-pit, sitting down hard in the cold ashes.  Up she popped again, still clutching the now silent Stix.  Her damp shift and legs were blotched with gray. But she did not notice, for something amazing was happening!
     Out of her pack rolled her little wooden box.  It came to rest right side up.  But something was wrong with it.  The lid bulged and rippled; the little box fairly danced on the grass.  Then, to Boo's utter astonishment, the little red horse on the top of the box began to kick and flail his legs, tossing his head and whinnying a tiny, tinny, little neigh.  One of his hooves wrenched itself from the cover of the box and stamped down on the grass.  No sooner had it touched the turf, than it began to grow!  It dug into the earth.  

      Another hoof came free, this time a hind one, which kicked madly in the air.  The little red head, complete with flying mane, tore itself free of the box.  Boo could see its minute eye rolling wildly through the hairs of its tossing forelock.  The little horse neighed again, and its voice grew louder and deeper.  All of its four legs were free now, and the gleaming, muscular neck pulled loose.  The whole horse was growing at an alarming rate.  The box had disappeared beneath the thrashing creature.  His tail flowed over the grass, and his shoulders pulled free.  He was at least three feet long now and growing rapidly.  His coat was changing from red to flaming chestnut, and his cascading mane and rippling tail were becoming a creamy flaxen color.  At last, he was completely free of the box.  He rolled on his back, kicking his legs in the air, and then he rolled back, gathering his hooves beneath him.  Already he was the size of a large pony.  He struggled to his feet, neighing shrilly.  He reared and pawed the air; then down went his head as he lashed out behind him with his black hooves.  He swished his tail and leaped about.  His quarters bulged with rippling muscles, and his hooves tore up the grass.   His fiery coat gleamed with sweat.  He continued to whinny, neigh and snort through his large distended nostrils. 

     A sharp pain stabbed Boo in the lower part of her right leg. She tore her eyes from the rampaging stallion and looked down to see Tertiary digging one of his claws into her leg.  He was saying something.
Boo realized he was yowling, "Turn on the word-shaper!"
     Tucking Stix under her left arm, she fumbled for the chain around her neck and pressed the red button on the shaper; whereupon, the neighing of the stallion was replaced with some of the most shocking profanity she had ever heard.  The horse was full size now: a magnificent stallion.  He stopped leaping about and stood shaking his mane and pawing the ground.  His language grew more repeatable as well.
     "Road Apples!" he shouted.  "OH! By the arse of my grey-haired grandsire!  Am I glad to be off that crap-encrusted BOX!"  He paused, tossing his head up and down.

     Tertiary approached him and said, "Ok, Horsefeathers, watch your language, there's a lady present."

     The horse threw up his head and shied, then dashed at Tertiary, who slipped aside like lightning.  

     "Horsefeathers is it? I'll show you, wretched cat!  I'll stomp you into a jelly and piss on the— Oh!  Hello."  

     The stallion had caught sight of Boo, clutching her bristling little dog against her chest.  What could be seen of her face was white as a sheet.  The rest of it was streaked with ashes, as was her smock.  Tertiary was sitting calmly next to her leg.
     Shaking his head once more, the horse moved slowly up to Boo. 

     Stix continued to bristle, and growled a hideous menace.  Boo clamped her hand firmly over the dog's wrinkled muzzle.  The stallion stood in front of her.  He lowered his head and breathed softly through his pink nostrils.  He said, "Matchbox is the name.  

    Sorry for the blue language, but I'll bet you've never been glued to the top of a box for seven years."
Boo was speechless.  Tertiary, peering intently at the line of blood on Boo's leg where he had scratched her, said, "You ought to wash that.  Cat-scratches can get infected easily.”

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

What would a fantasy novel be without maps?  

Here are some to help you follow the movements of Boo, Zephyr, and all the other characters as they travel about the Plainsworld and Ruan on their quest.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Three More Pictures


Tertiary Zingiber Tigris

Gronalk, one of the Techs of the Atria

The Coming of Matchbox

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Bio – Geonni Banner

Geonni Banner was born in an Army hospital in Seattle, Washington, in 1952 – a self-described Navy brat, delivered by a civilian doctor.   

A large part of her childhood was spent alone, with animals and books for company.  Fictional characters and the four-legged became her family and her peer group.  Being diagnosed with agoraphobia at age 28 was not the tragedy that it could have been.  Moving from place to place constantly as a youngster, she lived a life largely conducted indoors in a series of rooms that blur together into sameness.  Rooms seem to be her natural habitat – dictated by circumstance and her nervous system – and she now feels comfortable in them. 

Geonni has lived all over the 48 states (and Hawaii).  She never finished high school, which doesn’t seem to have been an appreciable hindrance.  Excessively curious, she reads omnivorously, gladly claiming the title “self-educated":  "In this day and age, if you really want to know about something and have the Internet, you’re good to go.  And if you spend any time thinking about what you’ve learned, you’re better off than the average garden-variety educated fool." 

She started drawing as soon as she could hold a pencil – mostly horses.  She’s still horse-crazy.  She tried commercial art school in Texas 1972, but “that didn’t work for me,” she says with a smile.  When her drawing instructor asked what she was doing at the school, she was crushed by his assessment of her (lack of) ability.  Then he said, “You should be in a fine arts school.” 

And that was her cue to “hie myself back to California, where I’ve been ever since.”   

She’s spent her life making a living at everything from running the shipping department of a psychedelic poster factory, silk-screening bar mirrors with elaborate beer advertisements on them, and working the counter in record or video stores – to managing Pizza Huts, cooking omelets and sandwiches in bistros, and doing live-in elder-care.  Plus years of animal-related jobs:  vet’s assistant, dog groomer, and dog trainer.  

Apart from Geonni’s art, writing and photography, her interests include anything to do with Tokugawa Japan – especially Samurai ‘stuff,’ horses, Japanese film, Anime, quilt making, and kitschy clocks. 

In addition to having completed the fantasy/ juvenile fiction novel Boo & Zephyr – The Blind Dragon, Geonni is now working on the sequel, Boo & Zephyr – The Good Road.  She’s also published sundry short pieces of humor and non-fiction in various periodicals.   

In 2006, Geonni became infected with a particularly virulent strain of photography virus, which has mutated into a Photoshop fetish as well:  “It keeps me busy.” 

Other quotes: 

“I have this belief that everything you have ever seen is still in your head, stored in your memory-banks.  I therefore try to look at everything – including things around me – that doesn't consciously register for most people.  In my art, my photography and in my writing, I really try to portray my impressions in a way that will showcase the essential nature of the scenes and objects I observe.   I feel that if we dismiss 20% to 50% or more of what we see as too mundane, ugly, or dull to bother with, then we are cultivating blindness – and missing a lot of interest and beauty.” 

“There is so much to see in this world that is worth looking at. If you have ever walked around the block with a toddler, you know what I mean. They stop and look at EVERYTHING. They want to see, touch, smell – and sometimes taste – everything in their path.  As we grow up we are trained not to see the world, but to narrow our focus to what is directly related to ‘getting ahead.’  What a loss!” 

“I am really influenced by the music I listen to when I'm working – usually techno or classical. In a way I turn the image or story over to the music.  The music will help me to make creative leaps, and show me the heart of the piece.  I am constantly amazed at how quickly it happens.” 

“Showing something natural, in its native state, is not art. Artifice piled on artifice, giving you the illusion of natural – that’s art.  If you are going to draw people into your dream, then you must make it completely convincing. If the dream is not perfect, then it will feel unnatural.  Only the most perfect dream approaches reality.”
                                                                                                    Kawase Toshiro    

“I most often take photos within 500 yards of my home or from a moving car.  The main reason for this is that I’m severely agoraphobic.  The secondary reason for this is that having been agoraphobic for so long, I have learned that it is really unnecessary to go any further than that.  If you open yourself to what is around you, an unsuspected cosmos will appear – one that is beautiful in its complexity, and at the same time, profound in its simplicity.” 

“I have learned to let books, films and other art forms bring to me that which is far away.  And I have also learned to let that which is close by me to take me to unexplored realms.”

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Sneak Preview!

Where will Boo, Zephyr, Wioka and their companions travel next?

Here are a few glimpses of the worlds in store for the travelers.


New friends with their own stories will be discovered, 

and old friends will always be there for each other.  


 Join them!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Here are two more peeks at the books "Boo & Zephyr" and the sequel, "The Good Road." 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Covenant
from "Boo & Zephyr:  The Good Road"

The Weaver brothers join Jared in his bowtop.  Earlier, they had left Beryl outside to sound a warning if anything were amiss.  Their conversation centered around Ossie’s disapproval of the dog being allowed inside the caravans.  Arlo explained to Jack that to Ossie, bringing a dog inside was as unthinkable as bringing in one of the horses would be.   All the animals were there for a purpose - to work or to be sold.  They were not to be fondled, fussed over or made pets of.  Jack objects to this, saying that Ossie worried over Kakaratchi like a mother hen if the horse got so much as a pimple.  They all laugh at this, but Arlo grew serious again and told them a story.  
Ossie had obtained Kakaratchi as a weanling, and the horse was everything he had dreamed of in a foundation sire for his little herd.  When he discovered that the horse could speak, he was angry and never answered Kakaratchi.  He took good care of the horse, but never had a kind word for him.  When Kakaratchi was grown something happened to change all that. 
 Ossie had lost his wife and family some years before, and as time went by he grew more and more bitter and withdrawn.  One day he harnessed the stallion to his wagon and ordered him to move off.  But Kakaratchi stood still and silent.  Nothing would move him.  At last Ossie’s temper gave way and he did something he had never done before.  Furious and swearing he beat Kakaratchi savagely and cursed him.  The horse was unmoved.  He never flinched and stood gazing at Ossie until the man was spent and threw down his whip.  Then Kakaratchi spoke.

“Now, old man, if you have poured out all the poison in your heart on me, listen to what I say.  I have served you well for four years, and done everything you have asked of me.  I have stood still gratefully while you cared for my feet and my coat, and I have offered you my friendship and my labor.  I have seen you grow apart from the world and watched as you grieved for the loss of those you loved.  I will watch no more.  If you wish to go on punishing yourself for the troubles that took away your family that is your affair.  But I am young and strong and my heart does not wish to be alone.  Take and return the friendship I offer you, or sell me to someone who wishes to live in life and share his happiness with those around him.  I will no longer labor in solitude for a dead man.” 

Ossie fell back from the horse and his words.  He turned and walked away.  For hours he walked and wept.  At last he returned to where the stallion waited, and removed his bit and bridle.  Climbing aboard the vardo he said to the horse, “Let us go on together, my friend.”  And Kakaratchi moved off, pulling the wagon.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Here’s another peek at Boo & Zephyr: The Good Road…

  When Ata-noe climbed up on the boulder to get a better view of the mountainside, Tertiary was lying next to Sandyx grooming her ears and face with his tongue.  Both tigers were mortally tired, but the young tigress was especially so.  Rambler stood quietly by, half-heartedly nibbling some dry grass.

     Tertiary watched Ata-noe gazing intently at the side of the mountain, and following her gaze, he too saw Vitrater emerge from behind a screen of brush.  He scrambled to his feet and took a step toward the mountain.  Sandyx remained lying down, and watched him as he moved forward.  When Ata-noe looked back and beheld the dragon, Tertiary, seeing her reaction, spun about and then flattened himself to the ground.  Tail lashing, eyes glowing, he snarled in fear and rage at the gigantic flying beast.  Sandyx too was terrified and crouched low, almost seeming to sink into the ground.
    Rambler reared and dashed uphill toward Ata-noe.

#                  #                  #

     Ata-noe clung tightly to the panicked horse as they sped up the side of the mountain.  The dragon passed and passed over the mountain slope below her and cast down fiery ruin before it.   Clouds of choking smoke billowed across the narrow trail as the fire spread, and the wind from the oncoming storm drove it along.  Rambler’s pace had begun to slacken.  She was still terrified, but the steepness of the trail and her tired muscles began to slow her down.  Her ears swiveled to listen to the voice of Ata-noe as she sought to calm the mare and guide her toward the spot she had last seen Zephyr.

     Out of the corner of her eye, Ata-noe saw the leaping forms of the tigers as they ranged alongside Rambler.  Sandyx ran as close to Tertiary as she could, her ears flattened in fear, and together they swept on.  Burning fragments of wood began to fall around them as trees burst into flame.  The whole mountainside seemed to be a roaring inferno, but there were many patches as yet free of the fire.  It was in one of these that Ata-noe met with Zephyr.  They nearly collided as Vitrater came galloping out of a roil of smoke.  Both horses skidded and stumbled as they sought to pull up.  Vitrater slipped and slid, nearly falling and Rambler wheeled, neighing piercingly and slid to a halt beside the stallion.  The horses were panting with exertion and Zephyr shouted, “We must get down the mountain!  The dragon has shattered the portal!  All is in flames and the rocks are shattered!” 

He paused, gasping at the thick smoke, and a shadow fell upon them.  The dragon wheeled above, and a sheet of flame descended to where they stood.  But the horses sprang away, the tigers before them, and they fled, feeling the scorching heat of the dragon’s flames, not yet stuck by the fire.  An ear rending crash of thunder rent the smoky air as they ran.  The storm had reached them.  The white flash of lightning eclipsed the brilliance of the dragon-fire, and the dragon roared deafeningly in answer. 

   For a short way the riders plunged down the slope.  With each stride the horses risked bone-shattering falls, and they struggled to stay upright, lathered coats gleaming orange and gold in the leaping firelight.  Suddenly a wall of flames with no opening was before them.  Tertiary roared in fury, and slewed about, avoiding the hooves of the horses as they staggered to a halt. 

     Lightning struck nearby and the thunder was like a hammer stroke.  Sandyx leaped straight into the air in an agony of terror. 

     “We cannot get through!” shouted Zephyr.  But Ata-noe shouted back, “There is another way!  Come, let us fly!”

     She seized Ramber’s mane at the crest of the mare’s trembling neck and leaned forward, pushing her head to one side and shouting in her ears.  Rambler spun in the direction Ata-noe had turned her head, and sprang away into a rolling cloud of smoke.  After an instant of hesitation as he saw the tigers follow the girl, Vitrater leaped after her.

For a moment they were blinded by smoke, but soon Zephyr saw that Rambler was in the clear, clambering up a steep defile with a stand of unburned fir trees at the summit.  It was rugged and treacherous incline, choked with scree.  The bay mare was struggling and Ata-noe slid from her back, urging her on from beside her straining forequarters.  Zephyr too, leaped to the ground, and taking hold of Vitrater’s mane, he climbed beside the stallion.  The talus slipped and rolled underfoot but they made steady, if maddeningly slow progress up.  Large scattered drops of soot-blackened rain began to fall.  The storm was beginning to lash the forest with a pelting rain.  Zephyr looked ahead.  Ata-noe and her exhausted horse were nearly at the top. 

     The tigers waited there already.  They had made little of the shifting rubble and had sprung lightly up, compared to the heavy laboring of the horses.  Looking over his shoulder, Zephyr saw the raging conflagration of fire and storm, and the dragon, still wheeling beneath the clouds.  The noise was an indescribable numbing torrent.  A great crescent of burning forest lay below them.  Already the trees at the foot of the defile were roaring towers of flame.  They were trapped on the mountainside, and the flames were moving hungrily up.

     In a moment he reached the top where the others stood between the last green trees in sight.  The company stood, gasping for breath, and watched the dragon, as it laid waste all below it.  Lightning played about the sky, as they stood transfixed, gazing with awe at the scene of destruction.  The rain began to fall more heavily. 

   The dragon swept toward them, and as they made to flee into the trees, they heard a dreadful crack, and a deafening shriek that veered up to an unbearable metallic pitch.  Before their astonished eyes a huge, livid fork of lightning struck the dragon.  For an instant the dreadful beast seemed to glow; its shape coruscated and wavered in the air.  Then, with a furious roar, the huge body burst into thousands of black fragments.

     Ata-noe shrank against Zephyr and uttered a sharp cry.  Without taking his eyes from the scene before him, Zephyr pulled her close to his side.  He felt hope rise within him.  Was this the death of Callida?  For he well knew that the dragon was in reality, the cruel shape-shifter. 
     Tertiary knew it too and he roared in delight and triumph.  But his delight was short-lived and his triumph soon turned to alarm, for Callida was not so easily disposed of.

     The dark mass of burned and tattered black fragments that had once been the dragon was not drifting quietly to earth.  To be sure, some of the ragged shapes spun fluttering in the wind of the storm and fell into the burning trees below, but most did not.  The greater portion remained aloft and began to revolve in a weaving, sinister dance with the rain and wind.  They resembled a flock of birds.  With a shock, the companions realized that the whirling black shapes were in fact a massive congregation of crows. 

     The birds flew about in a confused mass, and then they began to form into an ordered flock, wheeling and dipping much as the dragon had done.  From time to time they would be nearly obscured by the slanting sheets of rainfall, but they were moving with a purpose.  Ata-noe was the first to speak.

     “They are seeking us,” she said.  “We must go.”

     Indeed the crows were moving over the side of the mountain, swooping low in the places where the dragon-fire was being quenched by the downpour, rising swiftly above the places where the flames still leaped.  And the flock was approaching the place where the companions stood. 

     The noise was much less now.  The dazzling bolt of lightning which had struck the dragon seemed to be the storm’s last.  The thunder had dwindled to an occasional low mutter, and the rain fell steadily.  Over the drumming of the raindrops could be heard the raucous squawking of the immense flock of crows.  It was coming closer.

     Zephyr turned to Ata-noe.  “We can find no safety here,” he said.  “The portal is destroyed, or at least the cave inside which it stands is blocked.”

     “There is another way,” said Ata-noe.  “The mountain holds many secrets. Come, let us go to the hidden gate.”  She turned, and as the others followed her into the stand of trees, Zephyr asked, “Where does it lead?”

     Ata-noe answered, “To the sea.”