Before I go into the five focus characters in Consuela, the second Palladia book, you should know there's a flash sale of $0.99 fantasy books going on this week only. It lasts May 4-10 and includes over 30 books in high fantasy, urban fantasy, general fantasy, and a bit of sci-fi. This is a good bundle for anyone who likes fantasy and it has an excellent lineup of books. To check it out (who knows, maybe you'll find something discounted that you've had your eye on!) follow this link.
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Consuela was originally brainstormed as a historical story but turned into a sci-fi book instead—a slightly rambling adventure set in the future. Its thread of humorous moments might seem a deviation from a genre that always takes the issues it explores very seriously. But part of dystopian’s magic is that tales of a near-future world easily become so pertinent, as if that future was already present to a degree. There's really nothing quite like this unique genre. And if a hypothetical future society has such a tangible reality, then we must feel it's a place we could potentially live.
Consuela, in addition to exploring a bit more about daily life in the future—which, of course, is why it’s here—has a stronger political plot than Invaders. Politics are very important to the story. If there ever comes a future society that has a bad government and is mostly filled with crime, it’s likely to have some pretty busy relationships springing from that bad government. Plus, the abundance of criminals in Palladia means people who make laws are likely to be friends with people who break them. Illogical, yes. But it certainly adds to the fun. 😉
So for the five central characters of Consuela:
Miss Plummer is very intelligent and from an educated group of people. She’s always been one of the elite if not one of the politically powerful. But for no explained reason, in old age, she’s become quite restless and adventurous. She crosses social conventions, national borders, and an old friend to wind up in jail. She believes she is invincible, although the jury (literally in this case) doesn’t seem to agree with her.
Consuela is an ordinary girl trying to make a living. Like 90% of people in Palladia, she’s from a criminal background and it’s easy for a girl with basically no family or friends to get stepped on. But Consuela never does and has always made it through. She’s aware it’s unusual for someone like Miss Plummer to hire her, but a job is a job—give or take a number of extra schemes that unfold along the way.
Mr. Lazeemboi is a former crony of Miss Plummer’s. Although technically part of the EC, he cares far more about money and socializing than about his roots. He has lived in nearby Belaria for many years and envisions himself and his children as social climbers among the wealthy there. It also appears that he doesn’t view himself as Miss Plummer’s friend anymore.
Mocha is Mr. Lazeemboi’s opportunistic daughter. While she appears a bit spoiled and annoying, she’s also a feminist who is hailed as a famous author in spite of being just a teenager. Miss Plummer’s young friend Rena is a big fan of Mocha’s and is dying to meet her and exchange thoughts about books. However, Mocha doesn’t comport herself well under emergencies and eventually falls off the map.
Nesya’s real name isn’t known. He is from the “technical” class, who are skilled with technology and metal. He is a person of strong opinions, fiercely defensive of what he believes in, and attaches himself to Miss Plummer’s group in order to engage in friendly debate with her about their cultural differences. Consuela calls him “Nesya,” the Invader word for friend, and the name sticks even after his romance with Rena makes it clear they ought to learn his real name.
And there will be more updates.
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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.
Pleasant Fiction in an Age of Noise
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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.