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Coupé

by D'Artagnon

Robby never intended to be anything more ambitious than a stay at home computer geek. Funny how strange the world can turn on you when you are given a push. Sometimes you have to look deeper than just the surface of things to see the truth.

Read the book...

 

extract:

We don’t often think enough about how much a touch can affect us. I mean, I know I go on a lot about how sex is sooo good, and yes, sex is a lot of touching. But touching isn’t sex. And in this instance, Juan needed to feel it on his skin as well as in his head and heart that he wasn’t alone. That we weren’t going to trick him or leave him out in the cold like his old motley had. Touch, if nothing else, is very grounding, and he needed that kind of foundation. Trust and touch often equate to the same thing.

And I’m talking about touching with emotion, not with lust (although I like that kind too) or with anger. I guess I should have said touching with empathy, since anger is an emotion as well, but I think you get the picture.

At any rate, Kenny reached across and rested his hand on Juan’s other shoulder, briefly. We were in a totally public place and we couldn’t just give him a hug, as much as my Satyr nature was urging me to. This was probably the scariest thing to ever happen to him, and being reminded of it so bluntly while we were still glowing with absorbed Glamour only made it more real to him.

 

reader comments:

Wow!  I love this story so much. Even if I am 70 years it is just the kind of story I love.

Just finished the latest chapter and oh WOW!! It just gets better and better

I thought the chapter was just about perfect. Dialog, action, new subject matter, emotions, caring, love, you name it.

I just finished reading the story of Robby and Kenny and I enjoyed it immensely! 

I have to say that the story is quite impressive. Although the narrator tends to meander at times, there is just the right mix of action, suspense, adventure, and romance to keep the pages turning. 

So, have just finished Coupe and I have to say that I thought it was fantastic.



the reviews:

 

Review by Adam.

Robbie is your bog standard, computer infatuated, geek teen. Enter Kenny the son of a light saber  class instructor at the Y and the Universe changes. That, in one line is the precis of Coupé.

However, D'Artagnon has built a truly masterful tale around the art of fencing, using the beauty of the French terms used in the sport to add frisson  to the already electric action he depicts in this classic, exciting tale of good cast against evil. But, with several twists. The greatest being the roughly 315 degree turn readers need to take to watch Robbie become Robyn....but all becomes clear. Sort of, ...by stages....in magical literary ways.

Indeed the author does have many literary tricks up his sleeve. The biggest, of course, his imagination. The parallel world he describes and in which the detailed characters evolve wild adventures is a wonderous device. But other writers build castles in the sky. What D'Artagnon has added is his Pythonesque sense of humour. 

I don't know if he intends this story to be parody, but a fantastic parody it is. And that is what makes it so absolutely fantastic as an adult read. For teenage readers, just get off on the thrills. For grown up humour, just love Cold Comfort Farm and Coupé!

With burger bars turning into fae burghers' bear pits, tutors turning into trolls, geeks to goats, and relatives becoming relative, the whole of Robbie's known world to age 13 suddenly becomes......well, unknown.  There are so many zeros missing. 

This is a fun story. Just fun. I suppose the usual caveats preclude my even suggesting the inevitable conclusion to the story, but there are tragedies along the way. It is not all laughter and zany good cheer. Unfortunately, the plot twists were  more obvious the further into the story one delved. Maybe writer or just imagination fatigue set in. I think we all empathise.

But, as has been said of many classic tales, such as Treasure Island, Kim, and Harry Potter, I'll say of Coupé: it's a cracking good yarn!

 

Review by Jay.

This wonderful action filled adventure is sure to please. The story about two New England boys, Robby and Kenny, is a full on rollercoaster of emotions. A fantasy tale of two boys, complete with detailed descriptions bringing to life their personal interactions and the situations they encounter. It puts you right in the mix with them as they advance through the story. At times bringing a tear to your eyes and at others a smile to your lips. It will surprise you with accounts of their present and past relationship and keep you interested, hanging on every word.

The author's passion for detail and explanation does make some chapters very long. So you best grab a drink and snack, then sit back for a ride full of adventure. The story contains some very good advice that can be used in your everyday life. This story will make you think and relate to events you may have encountered. Even though I prefer more breaks between chapters than the author gives us, I was still so captivated by it I could not lay it down.

If you enjoy this story as much as I have, then I am glad to tell you the saga continues in "Riposte - Changeling" and "Riposte - Werewolf" by the same author. This story was more than fun to read. Even if it is a fantasy/Sci-Fi story, as I have said, you may still find the advice it gives invaluable if you care to take it.
 

 

the interview:

 

Hello and welcome D'Artagnon.

There is a certain writing style that you adopted for this book. I don't know if you carry the same style through to other books. It’s an interesting approach, because it’s first person narrator. Which means our protagonist and hero Robby French whom the book is about, is telling us the story himself. Not just relating the events, but including little asides to the reader. Chapter recaps at the start of some chapters and observations he wants to relay in his conversation with us the reader. The style of narrative is both telling the story and having a conversation with the reader. Would you like to tell us a bit about how this writing style came about? 

Sure.  Like so much else, it goes back to my teachers.  The most prominent of them was my 8th grade English teacher, who’s name I cannot recall now, oddly.  I do remember that she was very obstinate in building our vocabulary.  She encouraged us to write loquaciously, as 8th graders are notoriously lazy, especially in their writing assignments.  I was guilty of that, as well.  One of the many lessons she applied was that writing should be to the point, accurate and precise, but also “complete.”  By which she meant that a writer should leave all parts of a statement clear to the reader, without just accepting your reader knows what you are talking about.  Explain completely.

Other teachers imparted the ideas of writing conversationally, leading a reader, dropping clues and such.  In Coupe in particular I wanted to put the reader into the character’s head.  My first story in this genre, “Educating Max” was written third person.  Parts of that felt like they would be better if we actually heard Max’s thoughts from Max himself (which is ironic since that story is about an emerging telepath).  So when I formed the idea of Robby/Robyn’s story, there was never a doubt in my mind that the story needed to be almost like a diary.

And quickly, I don’t think Coupe would have had the same impact if it wasn’t from Robby’s point of view, exclusively.  He has a unique point of view.


 
There are some subtle, and perhaps not so subtle, reflections on life, the universe, existence, and being gay. Whilst this is not “Animal Farm” and not a satirical look at the world through the guise of a ‘fairy tale.’ Not quite, anyway. It does seem like you had some points and possible statements about life you wanted to get across. Am I right here or off the mark?
 
No, you pretty much nailed that one.  Much of Robby’s ramblings does reflect the nature of Changelings, their duality of beings who have a measure of immortality but at the cost of continually starting over in each reincarnation.  So, to a degree, Robyn’s centuries of experience, wisdom and knowledge is still in the foggier parts of Robby’s still maturing adolescent brain.  He’s obviously a smart character and one with his own opinions.  A larger part of the story is dealing with how a kid his age begins to realize he’s part of a much larger world.  Or in the case of the Coupe characters, worlds.  At the beginning, Robby didn’t know about so many things that become important to him.

That being said, as a writer, I tend to let the characters tell me where the story is, where it’s going.  Robby is discovering his sexuality the way we all do at that tender age, trial and error.  He may be on the “hero’s journey” but I wanted his observations to be slightly different from mine.  I also decided early on that this would not be written as a perfect story with predictable plot points and completely satisfying resolutions to all the bits and pieces throughout.  It’s more like real life and dreams in that way.  Some things start and never finish, some you find yourself in without a lot of knowing how or why.  Things go that way.  Literature aspires to emulate real life, but often tries too hard, gives you a formula you have to fill.  I think you have to accept sometimes that you don’t always know, it doesn’t always resolve to, using a musical reference, a clear major chord ending.

I would have to say that even the name of the story has a bit of significance.  I use a lot of fencing terms throughout the narrative.  A “coupe” is a cut over or a slicing attack, often towards the legs.  Literally, the characters are getting hacked at for much of the story, in different ways.  They say the first cut is the deepest; we’ll find out.


 
You make some bold statements, which I can completely understand, but which might nevertheless alienate some of your readership. Example: “With all the pride and power and self-assurance of a boy, not some stereotyped flamer or dancing nancy-boy.” What you're saying here, if I got this right, is that Robby is a boy who happens to be gay because he "likes" other boys. And him being a gay boy doesn’t make him effeminate. What about those “dancing nancy-boys” out there reading that? Aren’t they going to think, “well darling **** you?”
 
And they have that right.  I can only speak from my own experience here.  Growing up, I was very closeted.  I was raised in a Catholic household, had no connection to the “gay community” of that time.  Gays who were “out” or “obvious” were very much treated poorly at that time.  Sadly, I participated in some of that through my speech and deeds.  I was a scared kid who just went with the flow of things.  This was the early days of the AIDS epidemic, or the “gay cancer” as it was sometimes called.  Any young gay kid who had that part of his life in the shadows kept it out of sight.  The fear was real, as were the dangers.  In some places around the world, that’s still very true and very frightening.

I was already one of the “indoor” kids.  I wasn’t very coordinated, early on, was horrible at sports, was big into science fiction and fantasy well before it was popular in my age group, and to be very blunt, was picked on by the other boys for it.  Because of where my birthday falls on the school calendar, I was the youngest in my class and my family tend to be late bloomers as far as puberty.  So I was behind the curve as far as physical development, which was one of the only ways boys back then figured their place in the pecking order.  I was, in short (ha-ha) an easy target.

So, with that statement about stereotypes, I can only say that I write what I wanted to read when I was that closeted kid, looking for someone to tell me that what I felt was okay.  That I didn’t have to fit into ANY stereotype, that I could be just who I already was without having to “change” because I did have sexual impulses towards other boys.  The stories around at that time never showed gay people in positive lights, or as anything other than effeminate, weak, comic relief characters.  The only openly gay character on TV, that I know of, was Billy Crystal on “Soap,” a show I never really saw as a kid, only later in re-runs.  Young-adult literature was not exactly brimming with adventure stories featuring gay lead characters, because, and let’s be honest here, in the 80’s there was no mainstream understanding that gay kids came from normal homes.  Many places in America believed that homosexuality was something that only happened in the “bad” parts of big cities.  That it was an aberration born of drugs, music, perversion, that sort of thing.

I hope that in my stories young gay kids (assuming such kids read my stories) can find something they can identify with.  It is easy to identify with Peter Parker, a regular kid who has to deal with both superhero problems, as Spider-Man, and every day high school problems just as himself.  My goal was to strike a similar chord.  I wanted to let our little brothers know that they’re okay, whoever they are, and they don’t have to fit the mould of someone else, whether contrived or overly played up.  We all know people who are various degrees of “camp” in their lives.  We all also know many gay men who don’t advertise their preferences in their daily existence.  We don’t go to work as the “Gay car repairman,” or the “queer restaurant worker” or the “homo IT professional” or any number of such things.  I’m not ashamed of my life, who I live with, whom I love.  But I also don’t feel the need to open a conversation or first meeting with “hello, my name is Robby.  I’m an openly gay, formerly religious, sci-fi geek and gamer, I play guitar, vote mostly Democrat and used to be a teacher.” 

Fortunately, a lot of kids these days don’t have the same level of fear that I went through.  Being gay is more accepted now, for which I am very grateful.  Too many horror stories from that bygone era tell us of young gays who were persecuted, assaulted, in some cases even killed.  I know he was an adult when it happened, but we need to keep in mind things like the case of Matthew Shepard, and the case of a young teen athlete in Massachusetts from the late 90’s, who was assaulted by his teammates because they thought he was gay (never to my knowledge confirmed if he was or not), actually holding him down and inserting a banana into his rectum.

Cannot forget, shall not forget.

We’ve come a long way, but for each person, figuring out how your own feelings affect who you are still can be a confusing, scary thing.  In this story, I hoped to give a little context to it.  So, if those who are more effeminate feel alienated by the story or by how Robby comes to his own realizations about himself, I invite them to look at their own decisions at that time.  I am not making a claim that any one choice is right or wrong in the reader’s life.  I am saying that the decisions you make, the choices you take do reflect how you look at yourself and the world.  And be yourself.  Being someone else is an actor’s job, not a person’s life.  Be you – act you – live you.

Others will look at you differently for how you carry yourself.  Projecting a sexuality or openly describing your orientation is a choice in how you live.  While it may seem to some (in this case, the Robby side of Robby/Robyn) that being gay is to be effeminate or appear weak, it is the strengths inside yourself that you barely know you have that will guide how you choose others to see you.  There is no one path.

So do give Robby/Robyn a little room to grow in his estimations of life this incarnation.  He’s still getting his hooves under him and people on all sides are trying to Undo him already.  His elder side is catching up, but he’s still got a lot of growing up to do.  And has been hinted at before, he’s been a girl in previous incarnations.


 
Whilst I'm quoting from the book, you do have some marvellous descriptions: “In that instant, I knew that while I was still Robby French, a kid going into 8th grade, who loved computers, his small family, his hometown, the scent of December snow, the kiss of late spring sunshine and the scent of apples and leaves come the fall, that while all these things helped define me, that I was someone else as well.”
 
For some reason this made me think of: “You are alive, and you stand up and see the lights on the buildings and everything that makes you wonder. And you're listening to that song and that drive with the people you love most in this world. And in this moment I swear, we are infinite.” - The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.
 
Those descriptions make one reflect on who we are, where we have come from and where we are going. They are emotionally and spiritually uplifting. I don’t think you set out with that in mind, to achieve anything more than just a good story, nevertheless I think you went some way to succeeding in this respect, and I think from what I know, your book influenced more than a few young gay people in a positive way. What do you think about that?
 
First, good book.  I haven’t read Perks in a while.  Probably need to pick it up again.  That and Baby Bebop.

Part of the style I wanted to use with Coupe was putting us in Robby’s head, getting his perspective.  So I really wanted to show not only his experience and how his views shift over time but I needed him to be how readers go from the somewhat muted ways of the real world to the brighter, shinier, more vibrant and often larger than life aspects of the Dreaming.  Plus, I wanted to put readers into the mind-set of “Robby-think” at how he does things, sees the world.

He’s an evolving character, finds out the world is bigger, wilder, crazier than he thought, even being a self-professed computer geek who just wanted to stay indoors and live on the internet.  One of the reasons I wanted to put such descriptions out there was in an attempt to get readers to take a second look around themselves.  The world can be beautiful, odd, confusing, difficult, startling, enlightening, all in just your everyday existence.  We need to look for such things and appreciate them for what they are, what they mean.  Even if such perceptions are just about ourselves.

If any of that makes sense.
 

Your book does fall into the category of books – if such a category exists – which start off normally, then a few chapters in spring a total surprise on the reader. It wouldn't have been such a shock if the book was labelled fantasy, but not knowing where it was going, I was reading it, engrossed in a young boy breaking out of his shell of loneliness, suddenly to be smacked in the face with altered reality and a parallel world, back from the future comes later! In hindsight, perhaps it might have been nice to forewarn the reader where the story was going, because I could see some people closing and setting aside the book at that point?
 
Stories have a life of their own.  If we knew where it was going at the first page, why bother plowing through to the last?  It is the journey that is important, otherwise every story would be the same.  And, yeah, I intended to make the story turn left suddenly.  You don’t always get warnings about what’s ahead on the road.  I feel if the story had some kind of “warning” like that, no one would read it.  Sure, might be missing an advertising opportunity there, but surprises make things more interesting.  Cliff hangers are good for that, but they are only one tool in the writer’s tool kit.  The arrival of the unexpected is something which gives you something interesting, rather than the “all these stories wind up this way” feel.  Like I said, I like to write what I wanted to read as a kid. 


 
Talking about the imaginary world that you created in this book. Was it all your own doing, or did you draw your inspiration from other sources? The parallel universe is really an amazing feat of creative imagination and one hell of a trip!
 
Would love to claim it was all me, but I can’t do that.  The world I write in for these stories is part of a role playing game universe.  The origin material is from a company called White Wolf Publishing, and this setting is referred to as the World of Darkness.  It involves multiple different supernatural aspects from vampires, werewolves (like Cody and Nick in Last Place), changelings, wraiths, mummies, and all sorts of those nasty things that go bump in the dark.  I used to play and actually run games in that environment, which White Wolf calls the “storyteller” system.  The material for the game was very deep, very rich in history and folklore.  I felt like it was a great universe to set stories in.  And the Dreaming and the Umbra are aspects that appeal to me, the spiritual nature of the universe and how dreams create reality.

So while I cannot take credit for the environment, I hope I illustrate it well enough that others will enjoy it.  It certainly gives the boys much to play about in, as well as giving the dark things a way to poke around also.

Other influences which creep into my writing come from authors I enjoy.  Mercedes Lackey (a wonderful person!), Stephen King, Robert A. Heinlein, HP Lovecraft and Edgar Rice Burrows prominent among them.  I was also a big X-Men fan (before the comics and movies screwed them up, different discussion, heheh), obviously love Star Wars and role playing games. So, a lot of these influences will start showing up in the stories after Coupe.

I should also point out that a lot of what goes on in Canterbury is a mash up of many influences.  The town it is based on has a lot of historical and literary confluences.  It is the town that inspired the Archie comics series, was a setting used by HP Lovecraft for his Huskatonic University and town of Arkham, counts poets like John Greenleaf Whittier and Robert Frost as area residents, has the first statue of a woman (bearing a tomahawk, no less) on North America, the river that runs through it gave its name to one of the first “ironclad” warships developed in the American Civil War, has a nearby site which is arguably an archeological wonder going back to the Viking era, and is part of the region that was linked to the political term “Gerrymandering” (look up https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerrymandering ).


 
You seem to enjoy describing the magic in detail, like when you are illustrating the healing powers of the Umbra:
“Picture if you will everything that exists around you. Now only picture the things that are more constant, the things that have been in exactly the same place for decades. Buildings, trees, geological features, that sort of thing. Now cast it all in a continuous gleam of moonlight. Anything natural is there as its ultimate, purest form. Anything man made, has all these cobwebs all over it.”
 
I can't help but think that there is more to these descriptions than just your imagination at work. It is almost as if you are recalling some real life parallels, meditation or other experiences. More than simply remembered dreams, I feel completely immersed in an altered reality. So my question is: where do these descriptions come from?
 
I do love to put a pin in a moment and try to get as much sensory overload into it as possible.  Guilty pleasure, I guess.

The Umbra features heavily in the “Werewolf: the Apocalypse” game, and it begins to show up more in “Last Place” and subsequent stories.  It is a realm that “Shadows” physical reality.  A place of spirits, energy and mystery.  If you travel away from the Earth into the Umbra you can wind up in other realms, other dimensions, even places that make absolutely no sense.  Even the realm of the dead (cre-ep-py!). 

So, part of the imagery of the Umbra is based on the werewolves’ cosmology, where three cosmic forces are out of balance: the Wyld, the Weaver, and the Wyrm. Without going into too much detail here, the Wyld is raw creation, the Weaver is static pattern and stability, and the Wyrm is natural decay.  A long time ago, the Weaver got upset that the Wyrm kept digesting her things (even though that feeds the Wyld bringing forth new things), and she ensnared the Wyrm into her pattern-web (lots of spider imagery here).  So, Weaver goes crazy, traps Wyrm, then the Wyrm decided to just devour everything in order to free himself.  The Weaver’s servants, little spider spirits, put webs on things in the Umbra to link physical things to the pattern-web.  So the older something man made is, the thicker the spiderwebs.

Spirits are native to the Umbra and things without “awakened” spirits typically can’t go there without something else either dragging them in or there being a place where the barrier between physical and spiritual is very thin.  Werewolves are creatures of both spirit and flesh, and favored by many powerful spirits.  They can travel to the Umbra relatively easily.  Other spirits will show up in other stories.

The Dreaming, on the other hand, is a place we all know well, or at least our own little parts of it.  Those in the know can travel through it to other people’s dream realms, or even to other places within the Dreaming and between one place and another.  Even other dimensions, similar to traveling in the Umbra.  The two are related, although the exact nature is never completely clear.  There will be an example of traveling in the Dreaming in a couple of the stories.

Not sure if that answers your question.


 
Whilst the story, and adventure progresses, and the drama, there are plenty of surprises. Whilst all this is going on, it seems nevertheless to take a back seat to the development of Robby and Kenny discovering themselves and the magical world around them. In a way, the story is much more about their relationship and self-discovery, than about the adventure in which they find themselves. Is that a fair assessment, or do you feel it was a big part, but not the whole?
 
What I mean by that is, do you think you could or would, take the story forward without those two main characters in the lead? I suppose your answer will be no, because it would be like Lord of the Rings without Bilbo or Harry Potter without Harry. Except of course those are much more singular heroes, any thoughts?
 
Well… every story has its unique qualities.  I think that what makes a story good, any story, is character development.  If they don’t learn, grow or in some way change, then it is more like a TV show where all the conflicts are resolved at the end, reset for next show.  So, while they are in self-discovery mode, the way that my characters go through that self-discovery is the same way everyone does, by experience and reflection.  It is difficult to say how things would be different for them if they didn’t have this centuries old rivalry, access to magical powers, warrior skills and ancient memories impinging on their world.  Might be more boring for them, might be more intense of a personal relationship without everything else getting in the way.  The story is how they deal with the world and each other.

Also, it’s not easy to look at yourself sometimes.  The truth of the mirror isn’t in how things are swapped sides from reality, but how much you see as you look in more deeply.  The bigger part of growing up is knowing who you are inside.  Learning to recognize that takes time and, curiously enough, reflection.


 
I could not let slip a little aside that you weaved into the narrative, a commentary on modern history, but one which is rather reminiscent of those type is conspiracy theories, the likes of which include an alien spaceship in Area 52, or that there was never a moon landing. You say: “If you want to analyze it down to what it really was, Hitler’s war was motivated by a lack of love as well, and look how many people suffered for his own problems with his Jewish father.” That is one of those completely unsubstantiated claims for which most of the evidence points to it being untrue. Why sneak that observation into the narrative?
 
I think that there is a lot which we don’t know, and fear of the unknown leads to speculations.  Robby/Robyn is a kid.  He sees history through a very specific point of view.  I think that as a writer I have to step away from being the character and listen to the character instead.  So, there are a mix of things he sees, things he puts his own spin on, and things he sometimes flat out gets wrong.  Our little Satyr isn’t a writer, after all.

I like to sneak many different things into the stories.  Sometimes overt things to give readers something to think about.  Sometimes subtle things.  For example, there are occasionally anagrams thrown in.  Kenny and Mitch’s last name is Tannagord, which is an anagram of D’Artagnon, as is the Countess’ name, Donna Trag.  In other stories, I’ve repeated certain words in “establishing” chapters.  Check out “Lost Boys” and look for the word “seam,” and “break free,” in the first several chapters.


 
I said this before, but I have to wonder if everything you have created in this story is entirely from your own imagination, or have you borrowed bits and pieces, here and there? In particular the Glamour and the cantrips, are those your inventions?
 
Glamour and the cantrips involved with it are part of the “Changeling: the Dreaming” game.  I use a little license in how they are used, but the game system has lots of leeway as far as all of that.  Robby’s constant hearing of distant thunder and tinkling bells and other sounds from the Dreaming is something I embellished for dramatic purposes.  He makes a lot of statements that may be considered oaths, especially based on the nature of the Treasures he carries.


 
There must be a lot of things in common across the genre of magic worlds within worlds. The idea of parallel universes co-existing is not new, but I’m not sure where the concept of two universes existing side by side, as in your book first appeared. I have read at least one other book with the same concept, something that must be quite difficult to write.
 
The complicated nature of the story gets rather well described when Robby, Robyn, has a dream before confronting the Dragon, in which he appears as both persons simultaneously. Was that you the author having a little chuckle to yourself about the convoluted nature of the whole tale, or were you trying to get something more specific across to the reader?
 
Changelings have a complicated relationship with reality.  They live in our world as the person they were born and raised as, but they also have that immortal being living within themselves.  There are times when the two sides are separate, but other times when they need to act as one.  Even in dreams, though, that separation can sometimes show where the internal stresses may lie. 

I will say this.  That dream sequence was done with the idea of dreams being important, prophetic even.  We see things going on there that are hinted at in earlier chapters and, without giving away anything, there are a lot of hidden meanings going on in that dream which show up in other stories.  I tend to use dreams as a way to either explain, foreshadow or encode important information.  It is an altered state of being, which pretty much describes life as a changeling in general.  One more thing Robby and Kenny will have to trust Robyn and Kay to understand, even if they don’t… yet.


 
I could carry on with more questions, but it would be unfair to you and the readers to make this interview too long. I would like to point readers in the direction of the author forum. Having read all the comments there, and your replies, which in some cases are quite long, and always interesting. There is a lot more to be gleaned about you, the author, and the book on the forum.
 
Finally, D'Artagnon, thank you very much for taking the time to reply, and also, thank you for a great book.

 

the extra:

Where to next?

"The sleepy riverside town of Canterbury, Massachusetts is like many other towns throughout New England. It has its picturesque Victorian homes, quaint shops, rugged and kind villagers, and a fierce loyalty to each other. It also has, as so many small towns do, its secrets; some of them old, dark and dangerous, others just things lurking beneath the surface, pretending to be something normal.

"Enter Robby French, self described computer geek, future 8th grader at Canterbury Combined Junior & Senior High School and complete slacker. No ambition, no plans, He just intends to play games and avoid chores over the school break. However, his 13th summer is about to be hijacked in ways he's never ever dreamt of before. Which is good and bad, because he will rediscover parts of himself he had somehow forgotten, find himself with treasures and strengths he never knew he had and possibly make something he never really had before... a true friend. Oh, and possibly find himself way in over his head.

"Coupe is the first step into the wild world of the Canterbury Knights, a series of stories where not everything is as it at first seems. The first of several books in the series form a story arc called "The Boys of Summer" although baseball is only rarely discussed. The other books in this arc are Last Place (a short story) https://castleroland.net/story-synop/?id=1690, The Riposte (Combining the characters of Coupe and Last Place, The 5th Age (still in production) and Bolt from the Blue (also still in production). These stories develop around Robby French and his growing group of friends, allies, adversaries and family ties, and the adventures, secrets and mysteries that link them." 

RIPOSTÉ – CHANGELINGS
https://castleroland.net/story-synop/?id=1699
What do you do when you've defeated a dragon and brought the love of your existance back from the brink of oblivion, all before the end of your 13th summer? You get on with your life and try to be normal. Sadly, fate has more in store for Robby and Kenny. The adventure from Coupé continues... now.


RIPOSTÉ – WEREWOLVES
https://castleroland.net/story-synop/?id=1707
When you are chosen for greatness, it doesn't always mean it's a smooth ride. Cody and Nick find that being young Garou is a lot more involved than at first would seem. The adventure from Last Place continues...Now!

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