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Ratha and the Named

The Ratha series

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Firebird, new paperback, Ratha
Ratha series homepage



February 13th, 2013

Thanks to everyone who has supported the Ratha Graphic Novel Kickstarter.
We are now 87% funded with 3.5 days to go. I also extend my appreciation and gratitude to everyone who has posted, blogged, tweeted or otherwise boosted the signal.


Remember that Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing deal, so if we don't reach the goal, the graphic novel doesn't happen.

The Graphic Novel team will work as hard as we can to make sure this adaptation of Ratha's Creature is the best it can be, in story flow, illustration, characters and dialog. This is a labor of love for everyone on the team.
Fans, artists, readers and big-cat lovers, you have brought us to this point, and Ratha loves you all.

Why Ratha's Creature should be a graphic novel. New fan video: http://youtu.be/eae7j4UlWuo

Bonechewer art music video: http://youtu.be/CTJ_UilUX2A

About the "Ratha's Challenge"

Ratha's Challenge Art Gallery

February 10th, 2013

Tod, Dani, and Sheila have put together a real treat for Ratha fans -- a music video about how the artists are developing and visualizing Bonechewer for the Ratha graphic novel.

See it here at: http://youtu.be/CTJ_UilUX2A

Please back our Kickstarter. We are at nearly 75%, with 5 days left.


February 8th, 2013

Hi everyone,

Djinni did a great job yesterday with his livestreaming art marathon. Today (02/09/2013), I've left comments on his LJ and will answer any replies. I've also been answering questions about the Ratha series books and the graphic novel project's Kickstarter funding effort via comment on my Fur Affinity page as well. And, for those who prefer chat, I'm presently on the #furaffinity IRC Chatroom. My FA is:


and I'll be checking these all weekend.

Yesterday (02/07-08/2013)

Djinni (TodWills) is Livestreaming art and cartoons today to promote the Ratha's Creature Graphic Novel Kickstarter.

His "control and info center" is his LJ: http://djinni.livejournal.com/475140.html

From his LiveJournal:

"Prehistoric Art Stream!

I will be spending my day, until I crash, drawing prehistoric animal cartoons on my ustream channel, which you can find here - http://www.ustream.tv/channel/icon-day
While I am not limiting myself to the animals and characters from Ratha's Creature, they will likely make an appearance, and the purpose of today's show is to promote the Ratha's Creature kickstarter! We're at 69% funding - $4,079 out of the $5,900 we need - with eight days to go. This last week is crucial, and if you'd like to see the graphic novel happen, we need your help to spread the word! So, here's how this is gonna work.

Here is a graphic you are free to use to link to the kickstarter: http://todwills.deviantart.com/art/Ratha-Challenge-Kickstarter-Graphic-352843553

You can use our short url - http://bit.ly/rathakick - without a / at the end, I learned the hard way 6_6

Link to our kickstarter page on your lj, your twitter, your facebook, wherever you frequent - or you could link to this post to share in the ustream goodness - and post a comment here (including your email address) if you do! You don't need a livejournal account to comment. You can post with your twitter, facebook, g+ account, or leave an anonymous comment, as long as you remember to include your email address in the comment so I can find you.

When I wake up tomorrow morning, I will randomly pick three people who commented here and send them each one of the pictures I make today. Depending on what I accomplish today, I might pick some more folks, but we'll see how it goes! So... prizes! And art to watch today! Prehistoric critters! It's gonna be a good day. :D

A couple brief notes for the stream
- I do not have sound on, so I can watch documentaries and babble at my roommate and partner while I work. However, I'll be hanging out in the chat and happy to type at you. :D
- please no poltical or religious discussion, and keep your comments civil and respectful in general
- if you have any questions or comments outside the chat room, you can contact me at coyotepuck@gmail.com and I'll get back to you after the stream
- I am on puppy duty, and will occasionally have to break to take him out, etc.

... that's about it!"

Thanks, Tod!


February 7th, 2013

We have Dani Long (Deathmango), creating a pictoral representation of Thakur for the graphic novel on Kickstarter, with a better link:


Don't miss this!

We are at 60% funding, $3,529, with 112 backers, but only 9 days to go. Please help put us over the top by posting on social media, Twitter, and let other people know. If you want the graphic novel to happen, the next 9 days are crucial.

And here, just for your enjoyment, are the lyrics to a song I wrote a while back. If you like it, share it, then give us a Kick. From the Scratching Log blog:

Poetry Friday - The Herding Teacher's Name
A little doggerel (or cat-eral) about one of my favorite characters from my Ratha series about intelligent prehistoric cats; Thakur, the clan's herding teacher. It addresses a silly problem with his name. Somewhat inspired by Edward Lear:

The Herding Teacher's Name (or I Should Be Working on Something Else)
(just for fun)

by Clare Bell

The herding teacher's name is Ta-KOOR
I'll admit that it's a little bit obscure
Although it sounds absurd
It's a Bengali word
The herding teacher's name is Ta-KOOR

Oh the herding teacher's name is Ta-KOOR
I can't blame you if you're not really sure

The books where he resides
Lack pronunciation guides
Yes, the herding teacher's name is Ta-KOOR

We call the herding teacher Ta-KOOR
THA-kur isn't right and needs a cure
It was a glaring feature in the TV movie "Creature" *
But the herding teacher's name is Ta-KOOR

Get it through your furry heads; it's Ta-KOOR
If you say it wrong you may not be a boor
As it's writ in Ratha's Creature
It really does mean "teacher"
The poor herding teacher's name is Ta-KOOR

Ah, the herding teacher goes by Ta-KOOR
Regrettably it rhymes with "manure"
You must do quite a dance
When herding elephants
Since they leave behind a whole lot more than spoor.
And the herding teacher says his name ... TA-KOOR!

(copyright 2008 by Clare Bell)

Labels: Clare Bell, Kidlit, Name, Ratha, Ratha series, Ratha series Kidlit Poetry Friday, Thakur, Thakur Ratha Clare Bell

posted by rathacat @ 1:10 PM

February 6th, 2013

Ratha's Creature Graphic Novel penciller, Dani Long (Deathmango on Deviant Art) shows us the process of creating an appearence for the chatacter of Thakur. Don't miss this!


We are 55% funded, but there are only 9 days left. If you want this to happen, please back the project's Kickstarter:


February 3rd, 2013

Hi everyone, from Clare Bell. I wanted to personally thank all of our 94 backers and I hope you're enjoying the art development sneak peeks and other perks. We just hit 50% funding on Kickstarter! You are helping me realize the very long-held dream of bringing the Named series to a new generation of readers and fans.

Today, electronic graphic technology has made people more visually-oriented than they were a generation ago, which is why we are moving into this new medium. We certainly intend to continue with the books, for those who have loved them. We also have pledged to keep the graphic novel as close as possible to Ratha's Creature, and any of the sequels we adapt.

I would also like to thank those who might not have been able to pledge at this point, but who have spread the word by contributing to the “Ratha's Challenge” art challenge gallery, or telling friends about the Kickstarter.

The Artist Dream Team, Sheila, and I are continuing work and publicity for the project, and here's what you will see in the upcoming days.:

Dani Long is penciling madly on Bonechewer, and doing video screen capture as she goes, so that we'll have footage for another video. She has already sent footage to Sheila, who is our video editor/creator.

Tod will also be coloring the Bonechewer model sheet and videoing as he goes, so that you can see how his process of watercolor and colored pencil works.

Sheila Ruth will edit the footage into a Bonechewer art creation music video. The Bard in Green, who composed music for the present Kickstarter video, also composed a Bonechewer theme, which we'll be using for the Bonechewer music video. We are hoping to have that up soon.

Dani Long and Tod Wills are completing Bonechewer and Fessran character model sheets, and we'll be doing public art posts from those, as we did with Thakur. Backers will get more art development sneak peaks, possibly including more video. If you enjoyed the peek at the process of developing Fessran, you should really like this.

Tod Wills has an art show up in his hometown local cafe! He also has fliers with the sample art page picture and the Kickstarter link. If you are in the Seattle area, go see it!

The Black Drop Coffee Shop
300 W. Champion St.
Bellingham, WA 98225
(360) 738-3767

I have done an “establishing shot panorama” storyboard for the first page of the graphic novel, and four more following panels that lead up to the sample page that you saw.

Lew Lashmit is painting the panorama based on the storyboard. He is fantastic with animal anatomy, light, coloring, and more, so I look forward to seeing what he does with this.

In between breaks from doing coloring on the model sheets, Tod Wills wants to do layouts based on these new storyboard pages. He's going to be one bizzzzy kitty if he does all that!

We are continuing to develop Ratha, the other Named cats, and the various prehistoric creatures in model sheets and comic pages.

If you're excited about this project, please spread the word on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Fur Affinity, Deviant Art, and other sites. Make comments, do fan art, urge others to pledge, email friends, etc. If you are already a backer, please consider upping your pledge amount.

Many Ratha-licks and nuzzles,


January 30th, 2013

How the Named got named

Firebird, new paperback, Ratha
I was having a conversation with a friend a few days ago on Facebook about Named cat names, and I thought I'd share how I answered her. She asked how I developed names for the clan cats, and here's my reply.

Some clan cat names are taken from words in Bengali (an East Indian language), such as "Thakur" (Ta-KOOR), which means "teacher" and is also used as a Bengali first and last name. "Ratha" began as a made-up word, but I later found that it meant "chariot" and is pronounced in Hindi as "RA-ta". “Fessran” was made up from hissy cat sounds as was “Srass”. Meoran, Cherfan, Shoman, and others were made up from other cat sounds (plaintive meows, chirrups, and various cat noises). I don't now where Bira came from. Events in the story (and Ratha's teasing) gave Bonechewer his moniker.He then gave Thistle-chaser her name, (because she does). Mishanti and Khushi are made up based on African Bantu words. There is no "official" way the cats are named, although Ratha formally bestowed the name "Shongshar" on the UnNamed One, Orange-Eyes.

Why Bengali? I had a sweet little friend who spent a year studying in that region of India, and she suggested Bengali as as a source of words. Also, I had a neat program that, when fed words or real names in a given language, would spit out pseudo-words based on the structure of the input words. I used India's city names, and got back various interesting possibilities. One may have been Shoman, and maybe Cherfan. The Named names really don't have that much formal construction, as the Warrior cat names do. (The Ratha series, by the way, started in 1983. Warriors followed in the late 1980s-1990's)

We will be using the same names for the clan kitties in the Ratha Graphic Novel (of course!).

If you enjoyed this little piece of Ratha series history, please visit the Ratha Graphic Novel Kickstarter. We are at mid-project and pledges have slowed down a little. A few kicks to the Kickstarter would really help.


You can also enjoy the "Ratha's Challenge" daily fan-art gallery begun by *seasaidh on Deviant Art that she created to support the Kickstarter page, and showcase the extraordinary ability of Ratha artists. Many are professionals or do professional-level work.


Here's a gallery of art from the graphic novel and the artists working on it.


I've got to go and do more storyboarding! Enjoy!

January 25th, 2013

Hi everyone,

I'm back on LJ after being away for too long. I've been on other sites, such as Facebook, Google+, Deviant Art, Fur Affinity and others, but I've missed the LJ commuity. FurtherConfusion (FurCon) is also here, and I've been on-staff as Science Track Lead since 2010. Many furry fans and Ratha series readers are on LJ, and I've decided to check in and post on a regular basis.

What I've been up to in this last year is realizing a long-held dream: adapting Ratha's Creature,the First Book of the Named, as a graphic novel. More info below:

Ratha Graphic Novel Kickstarter Page Now Live

by Clare Bell

The Ratha Graphic Novel project continues to bound along its trail, jumping into 2013 with new announcements and accomplishments.
I am very proud to report that the Kickstarter page is now live at :


Please help us realize the dream of a Ratha's Creature Graphic Novel by pledging on Kickstarter. You can also spread the word by sharing it on your social networks and blogs.

The artists ( Dani Long, Lew Lashmit, Tod Wills), Sheila Ruth, and I have been intensely involved in creating the various parts of this very critical portion of the project. These include the Kickstarter page text, a wonderful video, a striking sample character (Thakur) reference sheet, and an amazing sample graphic novel page, lettered and fully inked and colored. Every time I see this, I am knocked clean off my paws by the skill and dedication that everyone has showed in creating it!

This reinforces my belief that working with artists drawn from the Ratha fan community is working out well, far beyond our hopes. The unusual synergy and community I mentioned before continues to flourish, nurturing not only the participants but the spirit of the project. I hope this creative luminescence shines through via the Kickstarter page, encouraging interest, support and backing.

Our decision to choose three artists who could complement and back each other up has already shown that it was a wise choice. When one or more of the artists did experience a problem or disruption, another was immediately able to step in, minimizing delays, and smoothing out bumps in the trail.
This has given the project an unusual resilience and durability.

This ability was not confined just to the art. Everyone on the team jumped in with suggestions and ideas for the video, music, storyboards, the creation process and many other aspects. Before I release this latest announcement, I will be posting my draft on the Basecamp whiteboard site we use, expecting that it will be mercilessly and lovingly pummeled into a much better version.

I believe now more than ever that a team assembled in this manner, challenged and encouraged in the way we all have done, can grow an amazing maturity and strength that can bring it through adversity and complete high-quality work. This philosophy reaches out to the best in all involved. We are not only blazing a trail for developing the graphic novel itself, but for seeking the best possible way to mold and grow an alliance between exceptionally creative individuals. Again, I don't know of any other graphic novel that has been done in quite the same way (though, admittedly, there may be some).

Here is a list of the team's accomplishments so far, as drawn (and slightly modified) from Sheila's text on the Kickstarter page.

Clare Bell has completely mapped out the story into rough storyboards.We put out a call for art submissions, and selected the art team.
The entire team has begun collaborating, with an amazing synergy, using Basecamp as our online collaboration/project management tool.
The art team has been discussing big cat biology, prehistoric flora and fauna, California geography, characters, layout of the clan ground, and art techniques.
The team has made significant progress on developing character reference sheets.
Art tests to fine tune the techniques have been successful.
The team has done successful test runs of panel art created using our planned collaboration process, and based on the rough storyboards created by Clare.

Please visit the Kickstarter page and let us now what you think of it. We're pretty proud of it, and we hope you will enjoy what you see.
I also hope that the project catches the eye of an animation film company. I believe that the character designs are simple but striking enough to adapt well to 2 or 3D animation.
I will also be making more of an effort to post these progress updates on various sites every week at least (daily if possible), so keep watching!


Info and Publicity links:


February 23rd, 2011

(Cross-posted from Furcon, Further Confusion's LJ)

Rathacat's book covers - nominate for Ursa Major furry award
Hi Folks,

This is Clare Bell (Rathacat), Science Track lead for FC 2010 and this year. If you liked what I did on the Science Track, and/or if you enjoy my Ratha novels, keep reading.

Two of the books have been re-issued with wonderful new covers, and the cover art is eligible for the Ursa Major Awards. (A third (Ratha's Creature) has just come out.) These were done by A.L. Lashmit, who is a brilliantly talented new artist. The Clan Ground cover is his first professional sale. See it here at


The Thistle-chaser cover is here:


This is the last week to nominate for the Ursa Major awards. Please consider nominating the lovely Lew Lashmit covers of Clan Ground and/or Ratha and Thistle-Chaser (Imaginator Press editions) in the Published Illustration category! Deadline to nominate is February 28.



July 29th, 2010

(I'm doing an interesting little discussion with readers over on FB, and I thought that LJ friends might want to get involved, so I've summarized my FB posts.)

Ratha and Thistle-Chaser, Named Book #3, drew inspiration from Susan Vega's song "In the Eye". http://www.last.fm/music/Suzanne+Vega/_/In+the+Eye

Take a look at the song's lyrics and you'll see the beginning of the book's theme. Which lines do you think had the strongest effect on the relationship between Ratha and Thistle? http://www.elyrics.net/read/s/suzanne-vega-lyrics/in-the-eye-lyrics.html

"In the Eye" is the most powerful, relentless, brutally honest song I have ever heard. All the lines helped inspire Thistle's character in the book. "I would not run, I would not turn, I would not hide. In the eye. Look me in the eye."

More about Suzanne Vega: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suzanne_Vega

I have left a message for Ms. Vega, telling her that her music inspired my work. I'm hoping she will respond. She's still active and recording.

What other songs do you think would fit "Ratha and Thistle-chaser", or certain scenes in the book? People have already suggested:

"In the Eye" by Susan Vega (original musical inspiration for the book) CB

"Neko Nyan Dansu" (in Japanese, from anime) http://mp3bear.com/?q=neko+nyan+dansu
"Path" by Apocalyptica (Finnish rock cello, cool!) http://www.last.fm/music/Apocalyptica/_/Path
"Bone Shatter" by Hedley http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWRYR6LKN78
"Take On Me" by A-Ha http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_EXxMlIExpo

Who on LJ has a song suggestion for the Top Ten Thistle Hit Parade? Anything and everything encouraged. Thistle says "Need songs. Want to dance with Quiet Hunter. Yes, yes, yes!"

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