The Guardians of Eastgate

Book 1 of The Seers Series

Commentary on Character Study of Newt Scamander

Today, I found this YouTube video that is a character study of Newt Scamander. In particular, it spoke of the character’s masculinity and how it affects his perceived worthiness to be the protagonist of Fantastic Beasts, as well as the upcoming movies. I wrote a comment below the video in YouTube, but found I had a lot to say, so I decided to write a post on it as well.

*Please remember, this is not my own character study, it’s just one that really spoke to me. It was posted by Pop Culture Dectective.

I loved this character study of Newt Scamander, and I loved Newt Scamander as a protagonist. Personally, I hope they keep him as the MC for the upcoming movies. I agree with Pop Culture Dectective, however, that he is not the typical Hollywood leading man.

I am the mother of boys, and one of my hopes is that society starts to recognize what men who are not your stereotypical “macho” males have to offer. MCs like this can be role models for boys, used to demonstrate and teach the value of empathy, and show how much you can learn and grow when you try to understand others and look beyond the exterior. This latter can be seen from both our own viewpoints in trying to understand Newt, and from Newt’s viewpoint in how he tries to understand others (and in particular, animals). It can show our boys, and our girls, that strength is not just physical, but also mental, intellectual and emotional.

I loved how Pop Culture Detective mentioned that Newt shows signs of perhaps being on the autism spectrum. But of course, as PCD says, it is not openly stated. I’m sure I’m on the spectrum somewhere as well, but in my youth this was not something commonly talked about or understood. I hope many others make that connection as well. I watched a video on Facebook today, fortuitiously only an hour or so before I found this one, that talked about neurodiversity (mental diversity). It spoke of how great it would be if those who are different were recognized for their gifts, not made to feel lacking or like they had to fit into a certain framework (I’m paraphrasing here).

I don’t know how to share videos from Facebook, or even if it can be done. But I have shared this video on ‘Neurodiversity’ on my FB author page. If you are interested in viewing it, please go to my page to check it out. It certainly gives food for thought.


I am also a teacher, and have studied a little about exceptionalities, and a lot about diversity and inclusion. So, I am happy to see that mentioned here. If others recognize that in the character of Newt Scamander as well, I think it would be a positive thing, showing that, even when people are different, they still have their talents and strengths, and they should be encouraged to share them.

I also love how Pop Culture Dective points out that even though the Big Bad was destroyed at the end, Newt did not consider it a victory because he “failed to save the monster.” This act, or emotion, of Newt’s at the end helps to show the depth and dimensions of this character. It is also a good lesson to our boys about masculinity, as it shows that victory doesn’t always come from beating up the bad guys. Sometimes the victory is in recognizing that the bad guy needs help, and in being strong enough and brave enough to put yourself on the line to try and give them the help they need.

I realize that, as PCD says, Hollywood may decide to not keep Newt as the MC in upcoming movies, and from a box office profit standpoint I could see why that could be. However, I’m an author and a life-long student and lover of story and character, in both books and film. As such, I certainly hope he does remain the protagonist. It may not pull in the big bucks, but in my opinion, it will make for a stronger, more interesting, more diverse movie.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I love a good action movie, and I’m a huge fan of comic books and superhero movies. But, I love diversity in my reading (and watching) material as well. Newt may not be your typical Hollywood movie hero and would likely not fit in well with the Avengers, for example. But I believe Rowling did not intend for this character to be typical, and Fantastic Beasts is not the same type of movie as the Marvel movies. And not only is that okay, it is fantastic!  (See what I did there?  😉 )

What is your opinion on the use of the character Newt Scamander as the protagonist of Fantastic Beasts? Do you think he should remain the MC for the upcoming movies, as originally planned?

Please leave a comment below, or go to my FB author page to engage in a discussion of this topic.


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Guest Post: LITERARY AWARDS for the LITTLE GUYS by James Gault


Last month, we published a survey of the main literary awards available to authors from the large established publishing houses. But how can new independent authors get artistic recognition for their work? The good news is that there is a wide range of competitions open to books from small independent publishers, including self-publishers. There is of course bad news: there is an entry fee for just about all of them, the prizes are small, and they don’t benefit from the wide publicity given to the likes of the Man Booker prize or the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Vox Lit wants to publicise these less well-known events. Not just because we love to champion the Davids against the Goliaths, or because we firmly believe that good quality innovative writing exists outside the closed world of the big names. We really want readers to know about these awards, and hopefully seek out the winners and short-listed authors and at least consider buying and reading their books. If we can encourage readers everywhere to expand their horizons, we’ll have done a good job in keeping the written word alive, flourishing and developing.

Most of the competitions are run by US organisations, and we’ve only found one currently active in the UK. The Rubery Book Award claims to be ‘the self-publishers’ and independent publishers’ answer to the MAN Booker Prize and the Costa Prize’. It offers awards in five categories (Non Fiction, Young Adult, Short Story, Fiction and Children’s) and the entrance fee is £36. You can find more on this competition at

In 2017, Amazon UK ran its Kindle Storyteller Award (more at the link below.) This was open to all previous unpublished books published on KDP, and unusually it had a significant prize (£20,000). Unfortunately, there is no sign so far of it being repeated in 2018. )

That about wraps it up for the UK, but if any of our readers know of other UK competitions please use the comments box to let us know.

While there seems to a paucity of UK awards, authors who live in the US are spoiled for choice, and we have included only a small selection here. And ,even if you are based in another country, these competitions tend to be open to all English speaking authors who have their work on sale in the USA.

The Benjamin Franklin Awards, run by the Independent Book Publishers Association, offers a comprehensive publicity package to winners but no cash prize. Authors don’t have to be a member of the Association to enter, but it will cost them a whopping $225 as opposed to the $95 entry fee for members. The link is .

The IPPY awards (  ) is another competition where the winners benefit only from publicity, with no direct injection  of cash into their pockets.

Eric Hoffer Award ( ) does offer a cash prize for the winner, $2000, and the entry fee is a more reasonable $55 (chapbooks $40). There is also the publicity benefit, as the award is covered by the US Review of Books.

The Independent Book Publishing Professionals Group organise the Next Generation Indie Book Awards ( ) with cash prizes of up to $1500 in many categories. Authors pay from $75 to enter this one.

Shelf Unbound book review magazine runs a competition with a prize of $500 and an entrance fee of $50 per title. Over 100 of the best entries will receive publicity in the magazine. The link is .

For a $50 fee, writers can enter the Best Indie Book (BIB) Awards ( ) where the prize is a package of publicity goodies rather than hard cash. The goody bag includes a rather smart digital winner’s medal that authors can put on their web pages and book covers.

Finally, in this far from comprehensive list, we’d like to mention the The Kindle Book Awards from the Kindle Book Review website. This offers winners in eight genre classes a publicity package similar to BIB and the added benefit of cash prizes up to $750, for an entrance fee of $29.

Our survey talks about only some of what is available, but for writers and readers wanting to know of more competitions, there is a fuller list published by the Alliance of Independent Authors at . This survey not only lists awards, but it rates them as well, so a big thanks to the authors of this page.

So there it is: a list of some literary awards you may never have heard of. Let us encourage you, as a reader or writer, to follow up on these competitions and widen your knowledge. It’s the best way to  participate in the fascinating and engrossing book world of the twenty-first century.

Acknowledgements: Thank you to Erica Verrillo  from  ‘Curiosity Never Killed the Writer’ (web site for her useful article on US awards.

Contributed by James Gault



James Gault

James Gault is an author of short stories, novels and English Language textbooks. He lived, worked and taught for many years in Prague, but now lives and continues to write in the South of France.

He also runs the blog Vox Lit, where authors post comments by their characters on aspects of real life.

His latest novel, The Redemption of Anna Petrovna, is due for release shortly.


Visit James Gault on Amazon Author Central:

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About The Guardians of Eastgate: Seers Book I (Second Edition)




The Guardians of Eastgate Audiobook

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An ancient evil threatens the future of the realm of Sterrenvar. A race of people called seers has appointed themselves Guardians of the Realm, guarding the safety of their world and all the people in it. Maelona Sima is one of four seer champions tasked with protecting the four keystones from evil forces that wish to destroy them, thus leaving an immeasurable magical force free to be used against the realm’s inhabitants. Yet Maelona is more than a seer. She is unique in her world, and she is the best hope of survival for the people of Sterrenvar…the very people who once hunted down and killed many of the seer people out of fear and mistrust. Protecting the keystones is the first line of defense against the evil sorcerer who wishes to enslave the realm. Can Maelona, a guardian of the keystone at Eastgate, and her friends Blaez, a wolf shifter, and Gareth, a human prince, bring together their peoples to save Eastgate from destruction in this first book of the Seers series?



For New or Aspiring Authors:

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I am a hiatus from events at the moment until my ankle and the attached ligaments and tendons
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The Guardians of Eastgate is now available to purchase locally in the Waterloo and Guelph regions at the bookstores below. Click on the images to visit the store websites:



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The Guardians of Eastgate: Book 1 of The Seers Series, has won a Literary Titan Gold Award!  Check out the awards page here.







The Second Edition of The Guardians of Eastgate, Book 1 of The Seers Series, is now available
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Come wander the magical world of Sterrenvar, where swords & sorcery,

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