This is the third installment in the In a Nutshell series of blog posts, which takes some of the central five characters from each book and explores them in a bit more detail. Since the two Palladia books are in a series, I’ll explore them in one post. But there were originally 10 characters discussed regarding these books. So I’ll do five and bundle a couple of them under a shared function in the story.
Sidney shows something that’s important to remember about City of the Invaders—most of the real story takes place behind the scenes and in corners adjacent to the main plot. Sidney's actions in the story embody this truth as he does not appear until the final chapters, but it turns out he has orchestrated the outcome the whole time. He has almost no lines, but what he does say is really terse and to the point. Because he's now in charge, there's little need to say more, and there's a formality and elegance to the way he speaks as he drops in to say hello to these kids he's about to move out of their world into his. 😊
Consuela is vital to the companion story, which is named after her. We are shown few women or girls among the Invaders and they are described as near crime and often not respectable. Consuela appears at least somewhat attractive and has enough useful skills to get hired by a wealthy retired lady and blend in with her boss's friends. Her backstory isn't really known in the book other than that where she came from entire houses could have the same monetary value as the dresses given her by Miss Plummer! But her past actually includes a hidden link to Sidney.
Bruce and Mocha are two teenage starlets who bring the social world of the EC into each book. Although neither of them speak much, what they do say is the center of the scenes in which they appear. Mocha enjoys perfecting and cultivating her creative talent, while Bruce is more action-oriented and holds his own when shooting erupts during a stage performance. He has put a lot of investment into his life in the theater, even if he thinks it's somewhat boring, and others can rely on him to come through.
Miss Plummer appears at first to be mostly a plot device who brings with her a group of friends. These friends believe she does not see them because she does not stop them. As they bubble on the surface, all are too quick to assume they know things about the others—whether Amy really wants them to visit Mocha, whether Rena is really interested in books, and whether Rachel sees more than she pretends. But they don't know much about their elderly benefactor, as is shown by her strange move to make a confidant out of a street girl. Like all the EC, her relationships with the Invaders can be subtle.
And there will be more updates.
This week The Test of Devotion is on sale as part of a nice collection of discounted historical fiction books. All books are priced at $1.99 or less and the sale includes both historical romance and more general historical fiction. Genres include Regency, Christian, and Western. So whatever you prefer (or all of them if you love to soak up lots of historical!) follow this link to scout out some great new authors. I don't see as many sales of historical books compared to other genres on StoryOrigin, so this isn't one to miss.
This Merry Summertime's preorder phase is complete and the book is now live on Amazon. I have enrolled it in KU for one cycle, which means at this time it can be read for free if you have Kindle Unlimited. I’m still preparing the book for Apple, Kobo, etc, and KU should open up reading options for some of you in the meantime.
There is also a print edition which you can check out here for those of you who dig the good old-fashioned smell of paper. Just follow the link.
I look forward to posting about the five central characters and digging down into these stories a little bit more in the next couple months. When you know what kind of story you’re telling, it’s much easier to articulate that story to an audience so they can respond to it and locate elements that interest them. But while I have a general idea for how the book is positioned, since it’s new it is also good to let it get out there for the next couple weeks so responses can play a part in putting together exactly where this book falls in the plane of my publishing.
Here is the blurb again if some of you missed last month’s post about the book’s release:
This Merry Summertime is an anthology of seven comedy shorts. 4 of them (Sarcophagus; In the End the Story Ended; The Destiny of Princes; and A Matter of Life and Hair) are entertaining scripts that gently satirize the genres of paranormal fantasy, literary classics, silent film, and western romance while providing fresh takes and strong characters to tell these archetypical kinds of stories. The other 3 (Ella Substituted; Movies at the Beach; and Everwood) are short stories that use comedy adventure and mild fantasy elements to explore family life and young women’s place in the world. The theme of the book is reconciliation and renewal as the characters traverse through fiction tropes to find eventual peace and meaning in their lives and the stories celebrate youth, especially for girls, but for everyone who has happy memories of a time in their lives when life was an eternal—and sometimes hilarious—summer.
And there will be more updates.
Ryan and Essie is a children’s story that started with some drafts written when I was quite young. Of course, that original story got a substantial polish by the time I returned to the manuscript about twenty years later. But the idea of two children who are pushed together by a larger world that wants them to team up was what always defined the book, from the childish draft into the finished story that built itself around Ryan and Essie’s incompatibility. At times this space adventure and its world-building of the planet of Caricanus show evidence of a young mind learning to tell a story. But I wouldn’t be the first author to complete an idea that they discovered in early writing years and the two protagonists do have a vividness that tugged me back into finishing their story after putting it aside for so many years.
So for the Five Central Characters that bring focus to this weird, but special little story. Since Ryan and Essie are both critical to the book, I’ve foregone both of them so neither one gets favored. So these FCC characters explore the world that wants these kids to work together so badly.
Prince Alavtar is the son of a king who rules a hidden castle built out of diamonds. It is the only castle in the eastern and middle part of the planet that wasn’t wiped out by an ancient war and it remains a hidden sanctuary. Alavtar is Essie’s first friend in the planet, but he is a sensitive and at times emotional young man who becomes vehement and negative when her unfamiliarity with the planet causes his friend Crissy to die.
Lyssia is a dishonest, backstabbing girl who is going nowhere in her life. She works as a henchman for the villainous King Karpalff who rules most of the southern part of the planet, but she has one gift—she can shape-shift. Befriending Ryan immediately in the deserted caves around the ruined ruby castle, she takes advantage of his ignorance to rope him into Karpalff’s service. It’s only at the end that Ryan learns she’s not even human.
Princess Tarvelas is a brilliantly gifted young lady with wisdom that makes her seem far older. She lives in the emerald castle on the western side of the world and is deeply connected to the spiritual side of the Caricanus universe. They worship a deity called Trisagion and Tarvelas has rare direct access to him. A reclusive and intense person, she accepts death and betrayal from Ryan as she is trying to teach him about the planet, rather than ever let go of her ideals.
Viltan is a drifting scavenger who seems to pride himself on being disloyal to everyone. He comes from the galactic world outside of Caricanus—it’s one of many inhabited planets far from Earth—and assists confused Ryan with tasks from Karpalff. Self-absorbed and ostentatiously distant, Viltan refuses to adopt the thinking of the bickering Caricanan castle-states and shows that by trying to work for them all.
Princess Kalvarina is from the pearl castle. Her home is isolated and remote, locked in an endless war with a northern king who is loosely allied to Karpalff. A young warrior who keeps her feelings to herself, Kalvarina is Tarvelas’s cousin and shares a close bond with her. But her home life leaves her bitter and always hungry for affirmation and certainty, as her mother is unkind to her and favors her brother all the time.
And there will be more updates
Young Adult Fiction Writer
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