This month there’s a promotion running where you can download some great FREE historical fiction books. It features 9 authors and all kinds of historical fiction for kids and adults. The event runs through April 15 and you can steal this chance to not only grab some historicals, but to find some of the authors who are doing this genre. Download by subscribing to author’s newsletters! My book is The Test of Devotion and you can get it along with the other books by entering your email here.
If that doesn’t work, try this link instead, but only for my book. Be sure to check out the other books too!
. . . . .
City of the Invaders has always been one of my more popular stories. Its action-packed plot might be a reason why, as the book shows a near future society that abounds in crime. It is primarily run by crime lords and most people are uneducated pickpockets and kidnappers, though a few have more skilled, technology-based jobs. Non-criminals belong to a minority group called the EC, but that doesn’t mean they just let themselves be run over. After all, in a place where the population of criminals per square mile is truly excessive, you have to understand their thinking to get anything done. 😉
A small novella using these characters first appeared in an old edition of Facets of Fantasy. It just wouldn’t stop growing and the Palladia world expanded from a simple sketch to include outer-space colonies, Katia’s cousins, and a whole appendix list of the classics on which the EC base their culture. In fact, there is now a second book in the series (Consuela), which I’ll talk about next month. So, the five central characters that bring focus to this story are:
Sidney. An alarming number of the characters don’t seem to know that Sidney exists. Including our protags, Frank and Katia, but they aren’t part of the crime structure, which is their excuse. Other people don’t really have one. Sidney is the son of the city’s leader, the Dragonak, but he keeps a low profile while gradually taking power from his father. He is calculating, careful, and collected, and when someone shows up ready to kill you so he can take charge the right thing to say is probably not, “WHO ARE YOU??”
Katia is a teenage EC girl. She has to adjust to living in the city with the other EC because she used to live in an isolated place. However, she handles it pretty well. She’s an adaptable person, naturally blends in, and easily changes to fit in with what’s around her. But she’s a practical person, not a people-pleaser, and keeps her own identity underneath while doing so.
Bruce is a boy that all admire among the EC youth. He has been in their required theatrical productions so many times he is unphased by all the publicity. Although he always acts laid-back, Bruce is observant and not very friendly. Since staging public performances is one of the main things EC in Wyncon are known for, making him the star so often shows how much they respect him even though he is young—and even though he thinks acting is boring. When Katia’s brother steals the lead role from him, he doesn’t even care!
Mrs. Fierten is Katia’s high-strung, self-absorbed mother. Now it’s true Mrs. Fierten has a lot to be worried about. The family secret that leads to danger for all of them involves her. But she doesn’t handle it with a great deal of poise. Always fretting, generally moody, and sometimes frustrating, Katia’s mother permanently seems to have a phobia that she’s going to get shot when actually people don’t pay her a lot of attention. At least, not yet. At the rate she’s annoying people she might end up getting popped off for real.
Tara is Katia’s cousin and an “Invader”—one of the criminals. It turns out she’s dating the Dragonak’s youngest son, Sidney’s younger brother. Her family is very wealthy and Tara is a somewhat abrasive person. She’s only fifteen, but already trying hard to be grownup and is not the easiest to work with. She pushes Katia around when the cousins first reunite, but that doesn’t go quite as she thought and the two end up forming a semi-functional friendship. Even though Tara can be a jerk sometimes, Katia has quite as much going on as she does. 😊
And there will be more updates.
Each day, I pray that we can overcome the next few weeks of the Covid-19 pandemic. God is with us.
Facets of Fantasy was the first book many of my readers discovered. It had two editions, different cover tweaks, ebooks and paperbacks published years apart, and at one time it contained both “Millhaven Castle” (which had already appeared in The Birthday Present book) and a shorter version of City of the Invaders. So Facets has been continually molded and changed into the book we see today. It is pared down, in a sense, to a core of 3 stories that never had a life outside of this anthology while others spun out or moved on. Finding the central characters can be tricky when people's original concept of what this book was about included stories that have since moved elsewhere. But these three stories, unlike the others that came and went, really are “fantasy” stories. Even Jurant is space fantasy rather than sci-fi. And they all have an adventure that calls the characters into action whether they want to sit back or not. Doing nothing is never an option when the world—or your family—must be saved.
The central five characters reflect the book’s essence as its identity solidifies. (And about time too. This book has been seriously bopping around for far too long.) 😊
Ferdinand in Halogen Crossing wears many hats as his roles include villain, boyfriend, antagonist, and eventually friend. “Nice guy” isn’t really one of his qualities though—at least, not on the surface. He got caught up in the government’s secrets and ended up losing a lot of his identity as he became a pawn. But by the end, we see he isn’t entirely bad.
Violet in The Amulet of Renari really has an affinity for bad situations, but she’s indestructible. Risky adventures, sinister backstories, incoming invasions—pretty much anything you’d want to avoid is her specialty. She’d just as soon stay in her remote home full of secrets as have adventures, but when catastrophes engulf other people she somehow sails through.
King Flavian is Ferdinand’s boss. He’s one of those side characters you need to watch out for--dishonest, crafty, and pretty good at both. His whole family has gained immense power through controlling a magical artifact that can destroy them, which is kind of the ultimate gamble. Since King F. hosts all the guests in the story, he’s in charge in his own home. But it’s hard to win if the people who actually own the artifact show up.
Lord Andre is a middle-aged man who has become very isolated and very reclusive. He runs the Jurant military high school, but recently he’s become rather demented and believes he can tap spiritual power to make physical bodies stronger. Catching the eye of the government, since his behavior DOES sound like a bad idea, he reunites with his grandson and ends up getting caught.
Charis is an ordinary Jurant student, with an extraordinary attitude, and she steals the show from Sekana, Lord Andre’s lab rat. Although a bit of a tagalong in the galaxy’s elite power structure, Charis exhibits a sassy attitude, kick-butt fighting skills, and an inability to back down. Fights with guys seem to be her specialty, but she dresses as well as her uniform will allow and some might call her beautiful.
And there will be more updates.
This Friday (the 14th) Bellevere House will be $0.99 along with other books in The Vintage Jane Austen. Since a lot of you won't see this until Saturday, I'll keep the discount price for my book through the 15th. I don't know how many of the other series books will still be on sale, but you can look around. Here's the Amazon link for Bellevere and once you're there you can find the other books by clicking on the VJA series.
. . . . .
The two stories in The Birthday Present book go together even though they look dissimilar. One is angsty-looking sci-fi—but it’s not really as depressing as it seems and has a happy ending. And the other is a comedy about a Cinderella-type girl who goes to a prince’s ball, but it doesn’t work out the way it’s supposed to in the fairy tale. But what makes them similar is they’re about daring escapes, just enough comedy, and a feeling of removal into a world that’s not yours. The heroes have improbable successes in which they find a way out of situations when you really thought they were tied in a box. And with a high proportion of interesting main characters, most of the central figures really do carry the story. (Unlike in some of my other books, where side characters took off.)
So, to capture all that daring escape etc emotion into five characters:
Alyce is the girl who went to a Cinderella-ball that ended up comically wrong. Once she discovers the Prince is the most selfish letdown in the history of princes, she manages to deal with it in a way that’s more amusing for the readers than it is anything else. It’s hard for the Prince to use her in a political scheme because he has no understanding of her personality.
Lord Harry, of course, ought to provide a bit of a solace as he is the Prince’s younger brother and he does actually like Alyce a great deal. But he’s not good at showing it because he’s a bit self-absorbed and not a good listener. He really ISN’T and this is something Alyce notices about him, but she likes him anyway because he does sincerely help her while she’s at the castle.
Lucy takes life seriously. And she has this hard-to-describe relationship with a man who is like a brother to her. Although he was against humans for a time, as he is not human, he and Lucy also have a lot in common because people can view her as a challenge to their status quo and someone they feel distant from, as they do him.
Emperor Aure is a super-powered humanoid called a GMF. His almost endless youth and strength meant he was impossible to get rid of. He was also a surprisingly fierce person and when he opposed humans, he was a menace. Although very old he still looks young and can communicate with Lucy, who he calls his “little sister,” because of their shared background.
Ralph is a boy from Alyce’s village. Like everyone in this town, he knows only other people from the village. He complains all the time and is never up to dealing with situations. Alyce barely notices him, but her friend Lulu freaks him out by pretending to want to date him. Ralph isn’t quite what he looks like—at least, for his sake I hope not!
And there will be more updates.
Pleasant Fiction in an Age of Noise
This blog serves as the newsletter for Sarah Scheele.com. Posts are delivered to your inbox every Saturday. For fast subscription instead of visiting a link to another website, fill out the form below and you will receive the 9-Chapter Sampler shown above, in PDF. To get the book in Epub or Mobi formats you will need to use the external link above.
When I set about defining my books, I wanted them to be positive places where a gentleness emanated from the pages. A hopeful safety lies in gentleness and there's also an honesty to it. A whirlwind of pushy book blurbs and hot characters (or whatever type character the author wants you to admire) can conceal a reality underneath. A quiet--possibly even lurking--reality that's more visible if you dial down the volume. That lurking reality isn't necessarily bad, but like anything quiet, it gets drowned out by conflict and angst. Peaceful fiction can help explore the truth that noisy books ignore.
Bellevere House has been featured on Ezvid Wiki video "10 Wonderfully Inventive Retellings That Interpret Classic Stories in a New Way." Click to see the video.