Clarification Of Facts Q & A...

Q: What culture is the Butterfly Dragon?

A: The character the Butterfly Dragon from my book series of the same name is Mandarin Chinese, not Filipino, with all due respect to the members of the Filipino community.

Her Chinese name is Ai Yuanlin Ying, but her parents gave her the alternate name of Heylyn Yates when arriving in Canada so that she could more easily fit in locally. Especially at school. She arrived in Canada when she was in her first year of life, and she began kindergarten at the age of five.

Ai began her journey into martial arts when she was nine and years old (if I recall correctly). She studied three main arts that focused on the experiences she had within the field and based upon what she'd learned from the Prismatic Dragon Weltherwithsp, for the journey of the Butterfly Dragon is one both of perseverance and grace.

She mastered her martial arts training by the age of sixteen, the same time she'd become focused on the idea that she wanted to be a fashion designer. At this time at school she met Alicia Westin, another student whose interest lay in the field of the sciences.

Heylyn's grades weren't as strong in the sciences as they were in the visual and liberal arts, so she made a deal with Alicia where Alicia would tutor Heylyn in her weak subjects, and in exchange, Heylyn would design Alicia's dress for their graduation. Alicia, was very self conscious of her body, which still carried a bit of her baby fat. She was very sensitive about this and was often picked on at school by others about her weight. When she tried on the dress that Heylyn had made for her, she suddenly saw herself in another light and her journey to appreciating her own beauty in a holistic manner began.

Heylyn and Alicia both graduated and went on to their post secondary education, with Alicia eventually becoming a Quantum Biologist and Heylyn becoming a Fashion Designer, both of them a success. As Alicia gets older, she sheds her extra weight and by the time she's into her mid twenties, she actually becomes quite slender and fit as a result of her self image changing to meet her own perception of herself.

You can read the book The Butterfly Dragon I: Heroes Of Our Own here for free.

Q: What is Weltherwithsp?

A: Weltherwithsp is an Ancient Eastern Prismatic Dragon. Weltherwithsp was born on the cessation of the universe. It ages backwards through time, so the future is its past. As such, it can only remember the future and knows nothing of the past from our point of view, but occasionally it gets glimpses of our past through the omniscience of its diametrically opposed counterpart. 

It often appears as a large serpentine dragon with a pair of butterfly's wings, but its actual form is beyond time and space, hence it projects itself to others in a form that suits it. Essentially it could appear in any form and just about any size. It can also choose who sees it and who doesn't and whether it interacts with the fundamental matter of time/space or not.

The story of Weltherwithsp's origins will be a part of The Butterfly Dragon III: The Two Dragons...

Q: What Is The Sanctum Of The New (sometimes called the Sanctum Sanctorum, Sanctum Seclorum or Sanctum Secularum)?

A: The Sanctum is both an established Order of Wytches, Sorcerers and other practitioners of Thaumaturgy as well as a special fortress located in an Alternate Plane where time doesn't pass for the creatures that inhabit that plane. The Plane is called the Midspace and is connected to all other Planes, even those that don't yet exist in our time, or those destroyed before our time. These Wytches refer to our planet as Aerth (rather than Earth).

The Sanctum was established by Lyra, who could be said to be the first Wytch. Her and her husband Lorr were the first shapers of the weave, another term for those who can craft magic. The two split up over a disagreement about how the secret of magic should be kept. Lorr wanted to keep it for only a select bloodline and to use it to rule the world, while Lyra wanted to teach others who were worthy of the secret of the weave, and use it to protect the world. Lyra established her first fortress in humanity's pre-history some fifty thousand years ago, and kept it secret from the rest of early humanity unless they were found to be worthy of wielding the secret.

Lorr on the other hand gathered unto himself an army and grew the strength of his magic a millionfold. Many thousands of years later, he attacked the fortress and razed it to the ground. Many of Lyra's Wytches and Sorcerors escaped and vowed to rebuild. During one of her searches for a suitable location for their new fortress, she discovered the Midspace. She and her remaining followers teleported to the Midspace and built the first Sanctum fortress of the Midspace.

It too eventually fell to a massive siege by Lorr, where herself Lyra was killed. The survivors gathered themselves and retook the Sanctum, scuttling the majority of Lorr's vast army in the process. After re-establishing themselves, they created a proclamation based upon Lyra's teachings. The proclamation was For The Yearning And The Learning Do We All Grow. They based their new fortress upon this idea and it served as a calling to many people of the Aerth, who were drawn to it, perhaps having been outcasts and pariahs in their lands.

From these beginnings, the Sanctum grew into a full Order of Wytches and Sorcerors who swore themselves by oath to protect and preserve the Aerth from all threats. Since that proclamation and their mandate, they have protected the Aerth for millennia. More and more Orders joined the Sanctum and it soon grew to become very effective at its mandate. The Sanctum for a long time was led by Yirfir Lacharme and Jasmer McCavanaugh, two of the most powerful wielders of the weave before it established a formalized system of elections and leadership, where each of the Orders could vote for a  solitary leader, who would then appoint five seats as their advisors, hence the leadership would consist of a Matron or Patron, and five advisors. Six in all as six is a sacred number to those of the Sanctum. 

In modern times, they work with worldly institutions like the United Nations and other agencies, assisting in protecting the world from other worldly threats and sometimes even protecting the world from itself.

Q: Who writes The Butterfly Dragon and A Lady's Prerogative: The Yearning And The Learning line of books and stories and all of the stories on Shhhh! Digital Media?

A: The author of all the books and stories on Shhhh! Digital Media is Brian Joseph Johns, who is also the owner of Shhhh! Digital Media and has been running it out of his own pocket for several years since establishing it from the closure of his other websites Poetry And Fiction, The Butterfly Dragon and Tales Of The Sanctum websites from 2015. Brian started the Poetry And Fiction website started in May of 2012, at which time he published several of his works online through the site. 

With and without glasses.

Q: Which of your books do you like better, the Butterfly Dragon or A Lady's Prerogative?

A: That's a difficult question to answer though the best answer I could give you is in the form of another question. If your parents had two or more children, which of them would be their favourite?

I love each of the books and characters, but for different reasons. I really love writing the Butterfly Dragon for its strong ties to Asian culture and mysticism. I very much love writing all the characters but for different reasons. Heylyn is great when you want to solve a mystery and heed a steady and determined course. She's the foundation to many great things in the world of the Butterfly Dragon. But the whole story is one of her discovery of her destiny as much so as it is for Alicia. Their paths are very different, but from the moment they meet, their destinies are intertwined in this greater tapestry of the Two Dragons.

Heylyn is the roots to many great things. She's the kind of woman who shows up, plants seeds and spawns something wonderful and prosperous for herself and those around her.

Monique is great when you want a whimsical and playful feminine presence, whose seemingly dim witted nature is often right on track, and hides a far greater awareness than that for which she'd give herself credit. 

Alicia is almost a pure goodness of character and heart, seemingly flawless at times though she has her moments where she struggles. Heylyn certainly knows this of her as her bff, as does Norler, her beau. 

Valerie is a woman who has lost her innocence thanks to Grier Torman and what makes her very interesting is how she learned to cope with that dynamic of her past. She's very determined and has a strong personality, but she still lusts after the same thing that most of us do. Companionship in the form of a meaningful connection.

Norler is interesting to write, in the sense that he tends to appear to be very flawless and in many respects, he is or seemingly so. He's very disciplined and hence sticks to his goal very readily and is seldom swayed from his sense of priorities and righteousness without being a zealot. His flaws though are just as interesting and that's that he appears to have few to none and in his steady focus, he often isn't able to be as empathic to those around him as they need him to be. This is certainly one of his struggles with Alicia.

Weltherwithsp, who doesn't appear often, can be a whimsical character to write. I love his poetic aspect, but truly what is the most interesting is his hidden sinister nature that in the Vietnam Special Addition really starts to become apparent, and Heylyn is faced with the idea that Weltherwithsp may not be what she expected from her childhood. It can be complex writing a character that is many billions of years old, that ages backwards, but T.H. White seemed to do it well with Merlin in The Once And Future King, though Merlin and Weltherwithsp operate on a much different scale. The best part about writing Weltherwithsp is coming up with ways he can give clues about what's to come, without actually giving any potential spoilers away. That is a challenge.

The supporting cast such as Kori Jonglyu, Zheng Ni Wong, Katya Piotr, Bryce Maxwell, Stephen Briggs and Victor Piotr are one of my greatest joys to write, because they really come in from a different angle than the main characters and they're all so unique and I know each of them well enough to understand exactly what they'd say at any given moment. The technical ones can be difficult to write, especially when they get into the details of their expertise and opinion, because that requires me to develop a pseudo expertise and opinion about that subject. In that sense, writing all of the characters of The Butterfly Dragon has been an enormous education for me in many different ways.

With A Lady's Prerogative, its very different to write. I honestly could go one day writing BFD and the next ALP, as they're all very familiar to me, but I find that to create problems when I do things that way. Not just writing wise, but socially as well because these characters seem to elicit a lot of extreme behaviour from people towards me, which most often results in me being denied of my own identity. The people who do that would never admit to it, but they're there and they know who they are. They'll be dealing with their methods becoming public knowledge soon enough though.

I'd say the antics between Mila and Barris are amongst my favourite things on comedic romance side of the fence to write. Mila is very into where ever her attention is focused. If she's working on art, then that's where she is and she barely notices the rest of the world. If her and Barris are being intimate, then that's where she is and she doesn't notice the world at all. She's also didactic at times, much like Sherlock Holmes. As much as Heylyn is the solver of mysteries in the BFD, Mila is her counterpart in ALP. Mila and Barris can be really playful sometimes and some of the situations that happen between them are quite funny. He's not prince charming by any measure and more of a nerd than anything, while Mila's a very attractive woman. Its good to be a nerd and he does it well, but Barris is a bit of a diva when compared to Mila. It somehow seems to work though, and the chemistry between them when I write is generally very thick.

The funniest of all are the antics involving Mishima Sato. He's a great character to write comedically because he's so sardonic, using the fullest of his wit for any comebacks. The dynamic between him and Barris as best friends is generally competitive in this regard, though they do work well together. Most of their communication is spent bickering.

Shaela Sheowellyn is probably one of the most difficult characters to write, when there's no action. She's very solemn and strong willed, with a sharp opinion to match. She rarely does anything without a good reason and she seldom will do anything on a whim, unless it involves action and smiting, with her Shadow Cat. She's that way up until after the events of ALP II, after which she's much more calculating and strategic as she's matured as a Night Wytch. Her personal and love life was all taken from her in ALP II, so she's very bitter by ALP III and her character arc is a difficult one to write from that point on. I enjoy the challenge, but it can be trying at times because ALP II was her book, as much as it was Nelony's. They're the two main characters in that book because everything centers around them.

Nelony Ardbloem is generally fun to write, as she's a very friendly character if not a bit much at times. Since ALP II, she's been living in the shadow of her progenitor, Nelony Theearin. She's been trying to become the leader that she always wanted to be, but not able to live up to her own expectations of herself simply because she's comparing herself to someone she idolized in the time she'd come to know her. Her attitude about the environment is very endearing and enjoyable to write, and next to Barris, she has the funniest dynamic with Sato.

Yirfir Lacharme and Jasmer McCavanaugh are great to write as well, and they certainly bring about the charisma and mentorship aspects of the Santum as two of its original founding members. They've been alive for a long time so they've seen much. Not to mention, their magic rivals the most powerful that Lorr has to offer, excepting Lorr himself. Their love life can be fun to write as well, as its a very classic feel to it, with a bit of taste as well. They're both very determined and they very much define the idea of a good relationship being defined as two pillars holding up the same roof. Its a balancing act they do well.

Q: What is the state of Stories From The End, The Legendary Of Xarn, The Archive, Testament Of Time, Our Place, Moving On Too?

A: That's a bit complicated. Stories From The End is currently on hold indefinitely, though after Butterfly Dragon and A Lady's Prerogative, its my highest priority beside Legendary Of Xarn. Speaking of which, I have plans to work on Xarn after I finish BFD III and ALP III.

The Archive is another one of my favourite ideas, however I couldn't develop it into a strong enough story arc and ended up scrapping it eventually, though I still have a copy somewhere. Maybe after Xarn and Stories From The End? Who knows.

Testament Of Time is a predecessor to A Lady's Prerogative and it actually takes place in the same world and timeline. I have no plans to continue work on it, however that might change after I've finished Xarn as the storyline is amongst one of my favourites.

Our Place was more of an experimental project, where I was attempting to expose the harassment cult about which I often gripe, so its more of a vent for my own sanity. However, it seems to have grown into its own thing and there are still readers who remember it. Maybe some day I'll rekindle it and work on it but for now its on hold.

Moving On Too, was a project I finished back in 2012 but I chose not to release it given the fact that it literally leads to the death of Evelyn and Lacy. It is a pretty dreadful ending to her tale, so I chose to scrap it and left Moving On where it still stands today. With Evelyn eventually getting the help she needs and starting the process to rebuilding her life. However in most similar cases in real life, the vast majority don't end that way unfortunately.

Q: What is the most difficult aspect about writing these stories and books?

A: Writing them is always a joy when and if there's no interference, but that is certainly not the case, and has never been the case since I started writing.

I guess the most difficult aspect is that there are people out there who believe that when you write a story, that you are no longer yourself. You've somehow become possessed by someone else who has the skills to write, and to write about whatever it is you're writing about.

Generally, they tend to be a very nasty and abusive bunch, with the added element of narcissism that they literally believe that everything that I do, is the result of them or their friends or members of their ideology and what not. That can be very disturbing at times, but from what I've seen, this same thing affects many people who are in the spotlight. 

I don't think I'm in the spotlight yet. I certainly don't earn like I am, but I might be treated as if I am. I have all of the responsibilities and the immense weight of being in the spotlight, but none of the rewards. From my perspective, someone else is wearing those rewards and my identity likely as if they were responsible for what I do. Identity switching is their crime and how they steal other people's efforts. That's the greatest hurdle to everything I do in current times.

So running my business is very difficult against this sort of social abuse, but I still love writing. I suspect that the people who do that, their days are probably numbered as more and more investigative agencies become aware of it. Its organized crime for certain. They'll get caught, or at the very least, exposed.

Q: Do you play any musical instruments?

A: Yes, much like my father, I'm a piano and MIDI keyboard player from the analog days of synthesizers. I don't really play any other instruments but my music theory is very solid and with music theory, you can learn just about any other instrument based upon the equal temperament scale. Also, if you want to break the rules in music, it pays to know them, but there are many creative and inventive people out there who do wonders without formal training musically. 

With modern MIDI keyboards and VST instruments, you can do quite a bit on your own. Great for if you want to record an idea, and then have a real instrumentalist record the actual part. Also, if you're operating on a budget and can't afford to hire musicians for the complimentary musical pieces that go with your brand, using MIDI and VST is a great and relatively inexpensive alternative. 

I still remember my father giving me a software for my birthday called Realtime for Mac back in 1990. I was recording music in my basement apartment back then on a Tascam 4-track. Back at that time I recorded nearly fifty instrumental pieces on a 4-track and a Roland synth. I also gigged professionally  as a keyboardist with a rock band for years before packing it in.

I also have a friend who's the founder of the new wave band John Paul Young and the Cardboard Brains. I might yet do an interview with him and post it here. I wrote an interview with some great questions. I spoke with him about it, but we have yet to do the interview.

Q: Are you religious?

A: Yes and no. I don't believe in a god the same way that most people do. I think the modern concept of god (and the devil) are just forms of collectivism practiced by large groups of people who pretend to be either god or the devil to others who are easily tricked into believing as much. Often people who do fall for that, can be misled, deceived and taken advantage of.

In that sense, I'm an Atheist. I don't subscribe to any social concept of religion. I believe that belief in a spiritual religion or philosophy is a personal yardstick, not a social one. I find the focus of most religion tends to either enforce what people are allowed to think, or what they're allowed to do. I have no problems with laws, as they limit people's action, and action is what leads to some form of violation of a person. When it comes to thought, I don't think that any religion, Government, or group of any nature has the right to place limits upon it. Free to think, responsible to act is my motto.

That doesn't mean that I don't believe that there might be something more to this universe and existence. It just means that I generally don't subscribe to religions that enforce superstitious explanations upon people, but I certainly believe in others' right to believe as they choose. 

I lean towards Buddhism and Taoism myself, though I'm certainly far from being devout. I eat chicken and fish for instance, though I very rarely eat beef or pork, but I do eat them every once in a while. 

I drink alcohol (infrequently). I don't use, buy or sell narcotics, but I do support the cannabis legalization movement and always have. I don't smoke or vape at all however.  I recently took a look at CBD Gummies for the first time, as a legal method of relaxation and possibly even transcendence. I'm still evaluating that possibility.

Ironically, I used to use the online handle dev. It actually originates from the unix directory structure and stands for development or developer, but I'm certain there are those who've probably thought it meant that I was the devil based upon my individualistic beliefs. Actually, I'm also a programmer and trained formally first in Pascal when I was 18. I'm 54 now, and I've learned a few other programming languages since then.


So, that's all I can answer for today. It was a very grueling day in terms of harassment and abuse so I'm basically in recovery mode for the weekend. I'll definitely be working on my business tomorrow and Saturday, but you probably won't see much posted here until Monday. A Lady's Prerogative is on hold until I'm well into the project I've been working on recently and harassment and abuse only slows that down.

Oh, and in case you missed it:

That's something I threw together musically in about half an hour. I don't play guitar, but the guitar part is a combination of one of my VSTs and some sample loops I have licensed. So again, all of it was played on keyboards. I'd love to work with a real guitar player again, though. Maybe in the future.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post.

Brian Joseph Johns

Sanctum Sanctorum is a song written and performed by the Damned.

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