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‘Black Scarlet’ saga by Weyers Cave author re-released with new cover designs

Rebecca Barnabi
Bob Oakes’ “Black Scarlet” saga of novels is available on BarnesandNoble.com. Photo by Rebecca J. Barnabi.

Inspired by the “Lord of the Rings” series, Weyers Cave author Bob Oakes began writing his own fantasy fiction series in 2012 about female liberation and strong women.

But “Chen” is not just emotionally strong or have a strong personality. She also carries a sword and promises vengeance against any man who stands in her way.

“‘Aerylln’ is the idealist. ‘Chen’ is the ‘you know what, I’m healing from the past, but, my god I’m a pragmatist.’ You have to have both. There’s too much danger out there and you have to have someone who has a soft pragmatic look, understands darkness, because if you want to fight darkness, you better understand it,” Oakes, who grew up near Pittsburgh, said of his two main characters.

The “Black Scarlet” saga has been re-released with new book covers for “Black Crystal,” “Black Scarlet,” “White Angel” and “Raven Quest.”

“What’s interesting is she took the cue from the original covers, which are still on Amazon as eBooks,” Oakes said of the artist.

Oakes began writing creatively in his early 30s when he and his wife, Annie, lived in Pennsylvania. After a bachelor’s degree from Penn State in cultural anthropology, he served as a YMCA youth director, then a youth development counselor at a juvenile detention center for ages 13 to 17. He was employed for eight years at Virginia Power, now Dominion Energy before going into security at Blue Ridge Community College and retiring.

The “Black Scarlet” saga he believes has been his true passion and career.

“My life has come down [to this book series],” Oakes, 73, said.

The career goal all along, Oakes always knew he had a “knack for storytelling.” Even in college, he could explain complex plots for his fraternity brothers.

“The creativity comes naturally.”

He describes the “Black Scarlet” saga, “Chen” and her warrior women as a mix of “Lord of the Rings,” “Equalizer” and “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.”

Oakes was raised in a family with strong, confident women, including his grandmother and mother, who perhaps also inspired him to write about strong women who have survived abuse and “virtually destroyed their oppressors.” “Raven Quest” is a prequel to the other three novels.

He is working on book No. 5 in the series in which “Chen” and her warriors visit the 21st Century.

Oakes’ books can be found online under the name R.A. Oakes.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.