It’s Gotta Be Great, Right?
My name is Reyna and I was almost seventeen when I first heard of this crazy King Arthur guy from some kids at my school. Of course, I go to a privileged, high end school in the San Fernando Valley cuz my parents are rich Latinos who like to flaunt their money in front of rich white people. That part is all, like, whatever to me. It’d be nice if they talked to me once in awhile, me their only child, but hey, most kids would love to be ignored by their parents, right?
Anyway, where were we? Oh, yeah. Arthur. The kids I heard it from had cousins in the hood downtown and it was from them that talk of Arthur arose, how he dressed all Thor-like and went around collecting kids for some kind of crusade. I even heard they were training with weapons, like bows and arrows, which I was really into. So, being the free-spirited nosy bitch that I am, I decided to check out their operation in case I might want to join up.
They lived in the storm drain system, of all things! I found this Arthur guy meeting with a bunch of kids one night deep inside these underground tunnels, and of course every guy in the place was instantly hot for me. I’m gorgeous and I have that affect on guys. But I’m very picky in that department, let me tell you, and I also don’t like taking orders from anyone.
So like I said before, I’m killer with a bow and arrow––an absolute crack shot––and figured a guy like Arthur who, let’s face it, only had a bunch of street trash to work with, could use somebody strong and capable and well trainedand, well, just plain awesomelike me. I hid in back that first night and listened to him talk, and it sounded like he had some big campaign planned out and needed as many kids and as much archery firepower as he could get. Something about taking on the gangbangers in LA and recruiting them for his crusade. Sounded exciting to me and I wanted in. But when he said this pretty little fourteen-year-old named Lance was his second in command, that’s when I stepped forward to assert my claim on the job. Hell, I could shoot rings around that little girly boy any day, any time!
At least that’s what I thought. Boy, was I in for a surprise, the first of manysurprises that shook up my privileged life and took me places I could never have imagined. Check out my story in a book called Children of the Knight. It’s about me so it’s gotta be great, right?
About the Book:
According to legend, King Arthur is supposed to return when Britain needs him most. So why does a man claiming to be the once and future king suddenly appear in Los Angeles?
This charismatic young Arthur creates a new Camelot within the City of Angels to lead a crusade of unwanted kids against an adult society that discards and ignores them. Under his banner of equality, every needy child is welcome, regardless of race, creed, sexual orientation, or gang affiliation.
With the help of his amazing First Knight, homeless fourteen-year-old Lance, Arthur transforms this ragtag band of rejected children and teens into a well-trained army—the Children of the Knight. Through his intervention, they win the hearts and minds of the populace at large, and gain a truer understanding of themselves and their worth to society. But seeking more rights for kids pits Arthur and the children squarely against the rich, the influential, and the self-satisfied politicians who want nothing more than to maintain the status quo.
Can right truly overcome might? Arthur’s hopeful young knights are about to find out, and the City of Angels will never be the same.
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Once upon a time in the City of Angels, chaos was king, and carelessness ruled. Street gangs roamed the city. Politicians bettered their own lives, not those of the people they were elected to serve. Police corruption ran rampant through Rampart and other crime-ridden districts. Neighborhoods declined to slum-like conditions. The Los Angeles school system stumbled headlong down the road to total Armageddon. And the most victimized segment of the populace?
The children. The teens. The next generation.
Limited choices and often abusive or neglectful home lives forced hundreds, if not thousands of children, into the streets to join gangs, turn tricks, do drugs, sell drugs, drop out of school, get arrested and sent to prison for life, and in all ways subjugate their goodness in the name of survival.
All hope seemed lost. Until the mysterious ‘tag’ appeared throughout the city, spray-painted on walls and over graffiti, obliterating gang markings without mercy, without favoritism, with impunity.
A ‘tag’ that became the symbol of a revolution.
Boyle Heights in East Los Angeles had become a flashpoint for immigrant traffic and gang warfare as far back as anyone could recall. The gangs usually clashed over turf or drugs.
Tonight it was about disrespect.
LAPD officers fought to contain the brawling, screaming gang members, firing rubber bullets, banging heads with nightsticks, slapping cuffs on tattooed wrists. These rival Latino factions from different neighborhoods clashed often, especially on this street, a dividing line between the two hoods.
Scrawled on the wall behind the brawling youths and struggling cops were various gang monikers and names, indicating the back and forth struggle for control of the area. Above all these, written in beautifully articulated lettering and accompanied by the drawing of a dove flying over a rainbow, and partially scribbled over by graffiti, was painted: "Pray for Peace in the Barrio."
Anarchy reigned as cops in riot gear struggled to apprehend the fighting youths, while other gang members ran helter skelter between numerous police and local news media vehicles attempting to escape the police cordon. The news cameras rolled, taking in every violent moment while the flashing red lights of police and paramedic vehicles cast a dramatic strobe-light effect over the scene.
As the situation slowly settled into containment, with most gang members either restrained or dashing off into the darkness, the last two boys were roughly pulled apart by four cops. These two boys fought so furiously that two officers were required for each boy to keep them from killing one another.
About the Author:
Michael Bowler is an award-winning author who grew up in San Rafael, California.
He majored in English and Theatre at Santa Clara University and earned a master’s in film production and a second master's in Special Education. He partnered with two friends as producer, writer, and/or director on several films, most notably “Fatal Images,” “Dead Girls,” “Hell Spa” (later re-edited and titled “Club Dead”), “Things” and “Things II.”
”A Boy and His Dragon, published in 2011, is an urban fantasy about a lonely boy in 1970 who discovers both a living dragon and his own true nature, a nature that makes him the most dangerous boy on earth.
"A Matter of Time," a Silver Award winner from Reader's Favorite, was published in 2012. It is a real-world-grounded story of an almost impossible loop in time that leads to undying love and unforgettable heartache.
He has also been a volunteer Big Brother to seven different boys over 29 years with the Catholic Big Brothers Big Sisters program and a volunteer within the juvenile justice system in Los Angeles for 28 years. He is a passionate advocate for the fair treatment of children and teens in California, something that is sorely lacking in this state.
"Children of the Knight,” his most current novel, is likely to be controversial in its themes and conclusions. Those children society tends to reject or ignore or abuse or marginalize, who come in all shapes and sizes - black and white and brown and Asian and Pacific Islander and gang affiliated and gay and straight and those who are confused about their sexuality - are the subject of this book, and the story depicts an adult society that tells these kids, in various ways, that they are of no real value.
You can visit Michael’s website at www.michaeljbowler.com.
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