In Bowman of Wellwood, Jacob Andris was originally going to be a side character. Instead of the chill giant becoming Bowman Leafwing’s best friend among all humans, that honor was going to fall to Bobby Loran.
That’s right, Bobby, who readers may know is not a gentle or calm person at all, was going to be the human that helped Bowman learn how to accept people so vastly different from himself. Then, as the story progressed and I played with different approaches, the truth became clear. Bobby and Bowman will never get along, while Jacob is the perfect personality to ground out the sprite’s wild, sassy nature.
On July 9, 2018, I published my debut novel and officially got myself out there in the self-publishing world.
Bowman Leafwing is always flying himself right into trouble. In an idyllic forest haven, a young wood sprite must make his own adventures, and Bowman does so by sneaking out at night to fly in the dark. After a race with his friends is interrupted by an owl, Bowman makes a discovery that the village of Wellwood hasn’t seen in generations.
Anonymous asked: Bowman’s reaction to finding out Jacob is younger than him?
This is a cute prompt! In Bowman of Wellwood, Bowman has his suspicions about Jacob being a bit younger, but he never did find out for sure in all the excitement! They’re bound to stumble upon the fact eventually, and Bowman is bound to have Opinions about this.
“When’s your birthday, Bowman?”
The question came out of nowhere, but upon realizing he didn’t know, Jacob had to find out. So far, he’d always gotten interesting answers out of Bowman for his curious questions. Even if they weren’t all that informative about how the wood sprites of Wellwood lived, they were fun to hear.
“My what? Birth-day?” Bowman echoed. He stopped swooping about to land on a low branch ahead of where Jacob walked. Even a few feet away, Jacob spotted that dubious, curious frown. “It was nineteen years ago, Jacob. Is that how humans ask how old someone is?”
Jacob grinned. The thrill of getting an actual answer to his questions was second only to the many opportunities to see what “human things” still vexed the tiny sprite. “Not exactly,” he replied, coming to a stop just under Bowman’s chosen branch. “We keep track of all the days in a year, so every year we know exactly which day is the same as the day we were born.”
Bowman’s wings fanned open partway. He took a seat on the branch and leaned over to peer down at Jacob. His curiosity couldn’t hide. “So you know the exact day you were born every time the seasons cycle around?”
Jacob shrugged. “It’s not the reason we number the days, I don’t think. But it’s fun to know, I guess. Mine is August 27. That’s in the summer. So later this summer, it’ll be exactly 18 years since I was born, isn’t that cool?”
Bowman fidgeted, and Jacob guessed he was resisting every urge to correct him. Summers weren’t cool in Wellwood, after all.
Instead, Bowman crossed his arms. “I passed nineteen years in winter,” he mused, then narrowed his little eyes. “So I am older than you! I knew it!”
“By a year and a half, sounds like,” Jacob confirmed. Bemusement lined his expression. “So? It’s not that far off!”
Bowman stood again so he could flutter irritably off his branch. “No, but it means you might still get taller, and it also means you never once respected your elder when we met!”
“Whaaat?” Jacob drawled. “Bowman, I am so respectful. At least now. I learned quick!”
“Not quick enough!” Bowman snipped back. A rush of wind accompanied a flutter next to Jacob’s face, and he had to fight not to flinch as the sprite landed on his shoulder. Bowman’s voice was crystal clear when he continued his fake retort. “I had to work to teach you to act right!”
“Got me good and trained,” Jacob confirmed. “Where to next, boss?”
A wing slapped at his neck. “Nowhere, giant. What other silly human things have you got for me today?”
This is so cute and it immediately makes me think of the name for baby wood sprites, so of course the story would involve them somehow.
The story would start with Jacob making another visit to the Wellwood forest. He’d bring with him a book he found at the library while he was browsing around: Mary Norton’s The Borrowers, in which the tiny folk call people like him Beans. If nothing else, he’d be thinking it’s an amusing thing to show Bowman and the other sprites his age, who never run out of fascination for the things he brings to the woods.
Before getting close to the village, though, Jacob would hear a tiny little voice. Two tiny nestlings, wandering too far past the stream, got lost with the village out of sight and with no patrolsprites nearby to notice.
Not every sprite in Wellwood is 100% on board with Jacob and how enormous he is, and he’s extra big to these poor lost nestlings. They can’t even fly up to bop him like that Bowman Leafwing does all the time. Jacob wouldn’t want to frighten them even more, but there’s no way he’s going to leave them on their own, even to go and find someone to come carry them; the village isn’t far for him, but it’s enough of a trip that something could befall them before he got back.
Luckily, he has a whole book with him, with fascinating stories of tiny people a lot like the sprites that live near the giant human beans. With no idea what else to do and them huddling away from his hands, Jacob would read to the poor sprouts until someone on patrol heard him and came to investigate to get the kiddos home.
I just had a mental image of Jacob and Bowman talking about mythical creatures and Jacob mentioning giants, and then Bowman being both indignant and amazed at the idea of a giant to Jacob of all people😂 I don’t know how much sense that makes, but how do you think that would go down??
Oh my goodness. Bowman would be so offended by the notion that there are even bigger giants out there, or that humans at least used to think so. He’s already dubious of the fact that Jacob isn’t the tallest human there is (hearing that the tallest human on record was nearly 9 feet tall might just send him fluttering into a fit).
Jacob, of course, would have to bring it up at some point if they got to talking about mythical creatures. Of all the ones he’s heard of, giants would get the most amusing reaction, aside from the notion he has of fairies. Sprites think fairies are just little orbs of light, and Bowman is especially resistant to the idea that he looks like one.
Bowman might just have to bop his human for all this nonsense.
Back at last with more of the Size Swap AU! It’s been a long time since I could work on this one. The prompt challenge of 2018 really pushed other projects back a bit, but I haven’t forgotten the shenanigans here!
As they neared the ground at last, Bowman had to bank farther out and take a slow, controlled glide to the clearing. He didn’t have as much room to land as he usually did. Jacob kept that in mind as the impact of Bowman’s boots hitting the ground jolted all through him and the grip around his body tightened for an instant.
Bowman stumbled a few extra steps and wound up turning to fall to a seat before he could crash into a tree. Jacob found himself held close to the sprite’s chest again, and the heartbeat behind him pounded like a stampede.
Though I have many varieties of sprites that I like to play with in my Fairy Tales sandbox, the wood sprites are my first love. Images of forests with their lush greenery and natural curves and lines always bring the wood sprites to mind. Where would they set up their homes? What would they cultivate the most in their free time? What games would they play? The green and gold of a forest in its peak is the essence of a wood sprite.
Light peeked under the hat. Bowman’s eyes widened as the side slowly lifted, and he pondered diving underneath to escape. A huge hand snaked its way under the brim and his nerves shattered. Fingers the size of his body fished in the dirt, looking for him. Bowman tried to evade them, but soon enough one of the giant fingertips brushed his arm.
A fearful squeak formed in his throat as he tried to sidle around the hand only for a giant finger and thumb to pinch the front of his shirt. He twisted away, but that grasp dragged him forward several irresistible steps before the whole hand lunged forward and clamped around him.
The skin was much thicker than his, to say nothing about the strength of the grip coiled around him. Air fled Bowman’s lungs and the hand dragged him out of his prison at last. It engulfed his body from the waist down, with one arm pinned to his side. Bowman felt the human’s slow pulse, heavy and powerful compared to his own, and heat radiated all around him.
He squirmed with every ounce of strength he had, and his wings twitched with him. He pushed as hard as he could on the giant’s thumb as it lifted him up. The huge face loomed close, and Bowman did what he could to ignore it.
By the time the giant was back at its full height, panic had settled around Bowman’s heart like a cage. The giant stared awkwardly at him, and he trembled every time he glanced up at those enormous brown eyes. His attempts to escape didn’t bother his captor at all.
With no other options, Bowman let a desperate impulse drive his actions. He leaned forward and sank his teeth into the giant’s finger. The thick skin resisted his effort at first, and then his sharpest teeth broke through just enough. A faint taste of copper came just before the giant dropped him.
He fell like a stone, taking a deep breath with newly freed lungs. Then, his wings snapped open and he leveled off in the air. He hurtled towards the edge of the clearing with his wings blurring in the night air to bank upwards.
No giant would catch Bowman Leafwing when he was flying.
( To find out what happens, find the book here: x )
Bowman Leafwing likes to joke around with his friends, the twins Blue and Gilt, a pair of wood sprite boys around his age. One prank they learned quickly to avoid from him involved goading them into chasing him in the air. Using clever maneuvers, Bowman has managed to send both of them flying through spiderwebs before (always making sure the spider was not there, of course).
I’ve been so excited to come this far that now that I’m here, I hardly know what to say. Years and years of planning and writing and editing (and repeating those steps until I wanted to pass out) have finally come to fruition.
I’m so proud and pleased to announce that Bowman of Wellwood is now a published book! ( Lulu often runs some kind of promotion, so be sure to keep an eye out for extra discounts )
From simple origins as a side project and something to muse about in between classwork and my other stories, Bowman and his friends have grown and developed more than I ever could have imagined. He used to be a nameless little muse, the figure I would imagine flying among the trees whenever I went on a road trip as a kid. Now, Bowman is all grown up, along with Jacob and Rischa and the rest.
Currently, the book is only available on the Lulu shop. However, I am in the process of preparing it for distribution on other sites such as Amazon and Barnes&Noble; more announcements will come when that process is complete. The next step will be to create an eBook format for those who don’t want to have a physical copy with that gorgeous cover (the artwork for which was created by Anthony Avon ).