In the distant future, the fate of our world will be decided by the actions of one family. They Call Me Charleston, introduces us to a brand-new world known as the Forever Now Universe.
You’ll meet Gods and legends, fathers and cousins, as they battle with foes and at times with each other. Whether it’s Lala the potential Composer, Bravo the Stone Arm, or Pumpkin the talking Chihuahua, the adventures of Charleston y familia have only begun.
THE CREATIVE TEAM
“They Call Me Charleston” was written by Paulie “The Latino Slant” with cover artwork by James Esparza. Editorial notes by Krysta Gonzales. Bravo Chronicles was written by Paulie with artwork renderings by Courtnee Blackmon.
The Latino Slant stands as a prominent authority in the realm of Latino entertainment, music, movies, and pop culture on YouTube. With an established reputation for delivering insightful content and staying at the forefront of cultural trends, The Latino Slant has now embarked on an exciting journey into storytelling. This marks a significant expansion of his creative endeavors, reflecting a commitment to explore and share narratives that resonate with his audience.
As he ventures into the realm of storytelling, Paulie brings a unique perspective and an unwavering dedication to showcasing the rich diversity and vibrant narratives within the Mexican American community, contributing to the broader tapestry of cultural expression in the entertainment landscape.
“They Call Me Charleston” introduces itself as the initial novella (novel format) of the “Forever Now” book series, featuring an enthralling sci-fi/fantasy drama based on Mexican Mythology condensed into 38 pages. I believe the book is targeted at young adults and older readers due to its inclusion of strong language, profanity, and mature dialogue that requires a more seasoned mindset.
The short book contains a cover page, a one-page table of contents, a title page, a “Forever Now” Universe glossary page, a character’s list, a “more from the appendices” page, 18 pages with the main story, 3 pages with an exclusive preview of “The Bravo Chronicles” and a credits’ page.
Readers have the flexibility to engage with the story in digital format, as the eBook version is conveniently accessible in both PDF and epub formats. Additionally, enthusiasts can opt for the tactile pleasure of a softcover physical copy, providing yet another way to delve into the captivating world of “They Call Me Charleston.” The audiobook rendition, expertly narrated by Paulie and actress Romi Diaz, enriches the narrative with a dynamic touch.
ABOUT THE FOREVER NOW SERIES
In the extraordinary realm of the “Forever Now” series, we’ll meet several powerful beings and captivating characters. At the heart of it all is the main God, the Lord God, the Creator.
THE ANCIENT GODS
Journeying through this mystical narrative, we encounter ancient gods like Xochli, the Toltec Queen, and Mictlantecuhtli, the King of Mictlan, along with Mictecacíhuatl, the Queen of Mictlan, and Yaotzin, The Dog, the enigmatic keeper of Dark Lords. Among them is Bravo, The Stone Arm, a Toltec God guiding aspiring Gods like the chosen one, Descendant of Xochil. The story also introduces celestial beings, endowed with long life spans, albeit shortened by powers and divine intent.
In the cosmic drama, the Collective emerges, a group with diverse roles. Composers wield the power to dictate universal math and patterns, Healers address emotional beings, and Scouts, capable of time jumping, seek “potentials” across space and time. Observers, protectors of time portals, aid Scouts and Healers, while the enigmatic Dark Cousins, corrupted by Yaotzin, serve as both soldiers and carriers of lost humans. In this universe, normal human beings are referred to as normies.
Within the intricate narrative, we meet first-book characters like Charleston, a Healer, and Citlali “Lala” Coates, a potential Composer, surrounded by family and friends such as Nico, Tio Vicente, and Bobo Freehand.
Bravo’s Lands, a school for the Collective, resides in the Aztec Underworld, generously granted by the King and Queen of Mictlan. Here, celestial beings undergo rigorous training in combat and weapons under Bravo’s guidance.
THE HOT FIVE
The Hot Five, a musical band of light and dark cousins, once balanced the universe. They were the timekeepers of old, God Warriors of sound. Sound is the mathematical language all celestial beings speak. The Hot Five embodied love and saved civilians time and time again.
As we read the story, we get an insight into the lives of these extraordinary characters, as they navigate the intricate dance between light and darkness, destiny and choice, in the timeless and enchanting world of the “Forever Now” series.
The book contains the main story “They call me Charleston” and an excerpt of an additional story “The Bravo Chronicles”.
THEY CALL ME CHARLESTON: BOOK ONE OF THE FOREVER NOW SERIES
In this tale set in the Forever Now universe, the narrator, Charleston, is a celestial being with healing abilities, and shares their experiences and responsibilities. He is engaged in a relentless battle against the dark forces known as Wagers and the Fallen Son. The narrative revolves around Lala Coates, a gifted young girl, and her journey in a world filled with celestial beings, dark forces, and divine interventions.
ABOUT THE STORY
Charleston, narrates his encounter with Lala, whose family fell victim to the brutal attack orchestrated by the Fallen Son, a former member of the divine Collective turned dark. Charleston, acting as Lala’s guardian, reveals her unique abilities to teleport and connect with the Collective. Lala’s journey becomes a central focus, marked by her quest for revenge against the Fallen Son.
The narrative introduces celestial elements, ancient gods, and the complexities of the divine realm, where Bravo, Charleston’s Abuelo (grandfather), plays a crucial role. The Fallen Son, once a high-level member of the Collective, becomes a malevolent force, manipulating human followers and causing chaos.
THE STORY” S STRUCTURE
The story unfolds through flashbacks, revelations, and Charleston’s introspections. Lala’s powers, her connection to the Collective, and her destiny to confront the Fallen Son add layers to the narrative. As the plot progresses, Charleston reveals his ties to Lala and the intricate dynamics within the divine realm.
The climax takes place in a school courtyard, where Lala faces a dilemma involving Bobo, a character with ties to her past. Charleston, torn between duty and emotion, guides Lala through a pivotal moment that sets her on a path toward her destiny.
The story has themes of revenge, forgiveness, and the struggle between light and darkness. Charleston’s internal conflicts and the challenges faced by Lala create a compelling storyline. The story concludes with Charleston reflecting on his journey, contemplating his mortality, and preparing for new encounters on his way to Yuma.
SUPERSTITION: BOOK ONE OF THE BRAVO CHRONICLES
“Superstition: Book One of the Bravo Chronicles” is a gripping supernatural murder mystery that follows the journey of Joe Bravo, a world-weary ex-detective, as he is hired to investigate the kidnapping of the Senator’s son. The story takes an otherworldly turn when Joe discovers a pattern of kidnappings, each leaving the abducted children in a deep state of unconsciousness.
ABOUT THE STORY
In his pursuit to rescue these young souls, Joe is thrown into the supernatural Aztec underworld known as Mictlan. To free the captive children, he must confront the Aztec gods across the nine ganglands of Mictlan, facing challenges and battles beyond the realm of the living. However, woven into the narrative is Joe’s personal struggle, as he grapples with the haunting memory of his own son’s tragic fate, adding a layer of emotional depth to the supernatural mystery.
The story delves into Joe’s past, growing up in the dusty, remote town of Buckeye, surrounded by a diverse community of Toltecs, Yaquis, and Chicanos. Bravo’s childhood dreams and imaginative escape mechanisms take on a new significance as he navigates Mictlan’s intricate and mystical landscape.
MORE ABOUT SUPERSTITION
“Superstition” introduces intriguing characters from the Aztec underworld, such as Calaveras, who observe and comment on Joe’s journey, anticipating the unfolding drama. As the narrative shifts between the real and supernatural realms, Bravo’s internal turmoil and determination to save the kidnapped children are palpable, making “Superstition” a compelling blend of mystery, fantasy, and personal redemption.
“They Call Me Charleston” serves as a captivating initial exploration of Mexican culture through the perspective of its main character, Charleston, also known as the Healer.
READING AND LISTENING
While the initial reading experience of the eBook was a little distracting due to formatting issues such as text alignment and highlight formatting, the audiobook stands out as a seamlessly high-quality production. It lasts for about an hour, covering all the content from the book, excluding the exclusive preview of “The Bravo Chronicles.”
THE CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN
The audiobook was a product from the “They Call Me Charleston” Indiegogo campaign, in which unfortunately I wasn’t able to support the physical tier I had initially aimed for so I supported the audio tier. Each backer received a personal thank you message on social media which was very cool.
However, I noticed that the campaign updates which were mostly on Youtube were not published in the update section on Indiegogo. It is always good to use this section on crowdfunding platforms to provide information about more details about the progress of the project, printing, shipping, and delivery status of the products, which gives a good impression to potential future backers.
Despite the absence of an eBook tier on the campaign, the electronic version became available later through various online bookstores, offering an alternative for those like me who were not able to acquire the physical book.
ABOUT THE STORY
Set against the vibrant backdrop of a Mexican-American community, the story delves into the complexities of identity, belonging, and the challenges individuals face navigating the intersection of different cultural worlds. Charleston, the central character, grapples with the dualities of his heritage, seeking to reconcile the traditions of his Latino roots with the demands of the contemporary world.
As the plot unfolds, “They Call Me Charleston” tells a story based on Mexican Mythology that not only highlights the unique experiences of the Mexican-American community but also addresses universal themes of self-discovery and acceptance. The story is an exploration of the bonds that tie individuals to their cultural roots and the internal conflicts that arise when these ties are tested. Some highlights worth noting:
THE CELESTIAL BEINGS
- The narrative introduces celestial beings with unique roles, such as Scallywags, Scavengers, Disciples, and the Dark Lords of Mictlan. A comparison is made in the story to Norse Gods on steroids.
- The Hot Five, a powerful group of God Warriors of sound, played a crucial role in maintaining balance using the language of sound.
- Human Bottom Dwellers are the Undead or The Horde. They are lost humans influenced by the Fallen Son. They are also known as the Children of Son. In the book they are referenced as Hollywood people but I would equate them to weak-minded people that are easily influenced resulting in them acting like zombies.
THE HEALER’S PURPOSE
- The narrator, a Healer, travels across districts and helps people by realigning their mental attitude and connecting them with their divine selves.
- The Healer’s primary mission is to prepare gifted individuals for their crossover, ensuring their safe passage to Bravo’s lands.
THE LORE OF BRAVO AND MICTLAN
- Bravo, also known as Abuelo, is a significant figure, and his lands in Mictlan can only be reached by those who have died.
- The journey to Bravo’s land involves nine trials in the afterworld, and the narrator shares a tale involving Bravo’s daughter, Pumpkin. There is a clear distinction between the land of the living and the afterworld or spiritual world.
PERSONAL JOURNEY AND CHALLENGES
- The narrative delves into the personal experiences of the Healer, including encounters with Wagers, battles, and the challenges of maintaining a balance between celestial and mortal aspects.
- Every being has the challenge to balance its inner light and darkness.
- Lala Coates, a gifted individual with unique powers, is the central focus of the story.
- The Healer is tasked with preparing Lala for her crossover to Bravo’s land, where she will go through the 9 trials.
- She is compelled to fulfill her destiny.
- Driven by revenge and hate, a toxic combination that can only enslave one’s soul.
SUNDAY SUPPER MASSACRE
- The narrative hints at a tragic event known as the Sunday Supper Massacre, involving dark forces and a plot to wipe out the Coates family.
GIBBERISH AND TRANSFORMATION
- The Healer often speaks in gibberish, a language that connects with the divine and aids in his healing work.
- The narrative explores the consequences of losing oneself in darkness and the importance of maintaining a connection with the divine.
FLASHBACKS AND REFLECTIONS
- Flashbacks provide insights into the narrator’s past, including a significant encounter with a dapper revolutionary during the time of The Hot Five.
- The Healer reflects on the challenges of his mission, the impact on his own mental well-being, and the potential for darkness to infiltrate his thoughts. While comparing himself to the Fallen Son he envies how FS is having it easy while he struggles. As he navigates through failures, pain, and sacrifice, he reflects on God’s sense of humor, unaware that these experiences are essential for gaining a sense of achievement, happiness, and redemption.
THE CURRENT DILEMMA
- The narrator faces a current dilemma when he is on a bus to Yuma, experiencing physical and mental strain.
- The Healer reflects on a recent encounter with the Scavenger Bobo and the impending task of ensuring Lala’s safe journey.
- A compelling need to expel the darkness.
Through Charleston’s narration, readers are invited to reflect on the importance of embracing one’s heritage while forging a path that is true to one’s individuality. The narrative serves as a celebration of diversity and a testament to the resilience of those who navigate the intricate dance between tradition and modernity. It is also an invitation to reflect on the need to maintain a balance between light and darkness. How many Fallen Sons exist in the real world? And who is fighting them?
“They Call Me Charleston” is a complex and beautifully crafted piece of storytelling that blends supernatural elements of Mexican ancient gods, familial bonds, and the eternal battle between good and evil.
The story keeps the reader interested by combining celestial lore, personal struggles, and the impending challenges that lie ahead for the characters in the Forever Now universe. The characters’ depth, the vivid storytelling, and the exploration of celestial realms contribute to a captivating and thought-provoking tale.
It is unknown how many stories are already made for the Forever Now Universe such as the “History of the Collective, Vol. III, Chapter Nine: Poetic Tales”. This universe appears to have many untold stories, but it can become overwhelming in its complexity for those unfamiliar with Spanish or common terms used by the Mexican-American community. In any case, it is a unique way to explore Mexican ancient mythology. Would love to see a handbook compiling all the basic information about this universe and to learn more about Lala’s adventures in Bravo’s land.
The crowdfunding campaign on IndieGoGo is currently still open so you can get the audio version or the physical copy of the book along with a poster and some bonus items, however, there are only a few left. The individual physical copy and eBook version of the book is also available to purchase at Bookbaby.com
All images in this publication belong to the original creators and are used as references under fair use.