One of the most memorable moments, I think for anyone who’s read Ryan and Essie, is when Tarvelas dies. She is connected to a mirror and when Ryan pulls it out, she dies by the end of the book. Everyone is very upset by this, especially since both Ryan and Essie have come to admire her. But in a place shrouded in secrecy, to which they have just come as visitors, there must have been a lot leading up to this.
Why her? Why not someone else? What does this relationship with the Mirror really mean?
Tarvelas explains it as essentially a power like God, who speaks to the people of Caricanus through the Mirrors and has chosen her as a voice because the Mirror is in danger. But she doesn’t seem at all surprised when she dies. In fact, at all times she has an odd smile on her face as if she accepts it. Amid all the underlying things buried in Ryan and Essie is the potential idea that Tarvelas isn’t actually good. Maybe she’s not completely bad, but we mostly see her through Ryan’s eyes and he makes no effort to know more about her.
It’s not even sure that she’s as young as she looks. What if she’s actually old and made some mistakes in her past that mean she has to die now? And if so, what mistakes would these have been? Maybe an interaction with one of the other characters? It doesn’t seem threatening to anyone else, but it is a tipoff that while Ryan and Essie is a simple story, its characters are anything but.
And there will be more updates.
Millhaven Castle has always been a unique story. It wasn’t actually much like the original story with these characters that I’d worked on for years before, but it sprang up on its own with a little village of idyllic-but-look-more-carefully people living on the edge of an old secret in the kingdom. These people are the Sherbans and over time their culture has declined. But they’re still very dedicated to it and believe it or not, they think there’s something in all this opposition to a royal dynasty so long after said dynasty has become established. Nobody cares for their opinion, clearly, and constantly making dissent to the government your brand name is obviously not a great idea.
But Sherbans are very stubborn people and not as friendly as they look. Oh, they have down-home-values, sensible style of dress, rural farming and gardening ways, and all of that. But they know where the real value is even if they don’t see all the details and even if the situation looks risky. Long before it becomes apparent a Sherban named Alyce holds the secret to the Falknor’s succession, all the Sherbans remain confident there is some value in their culture after all.
They also aren’t as easily oppressed as they look. The reason a messenger from the king is such news in Alyce’s little corner of the world is because Capsells RARELY—and I mean RARELY-visit them. When Capsells come, they get chased off with rocks thrown by Sherban boys (Who have really good accuracy, by the way.) So they get left alone in the lovely vales of Milland. Sherban lands are the sort of peaceful, sweet place where you’d like to go on honeymoon. Except for the Sherbans being there, of course. Like I said, they’re not always the most welcoming.
And there will be more updates.
Fantastic is a (pun intended!) reference to the title of Facets of Fantasy and the nature of this work’s space opera and mythological settings. I’ve picked three characters to highlight from the book today, one from each of the novellas in the collection. They’re not heroes or heroines—or villains. But they are all exciting pieces of the story.
Mr. Parchem is a middle-aged diplomat who befriends brooding, weird cousins Karl and Cassie in Halogen Crossing. He comes from a land called Raocas and speaks with a strongly colloquial, regional style. But make no mistake! Mr. Parchem, as he said himself, “did not rise to be President of my great land by cutting in front of people in line.” A savvy politician, he immediately singles Karl out and pays him a lot of attention. He’s a good friend too, in his way, and points out things Karl should be noticing—like the Queen of Metallgia, who knew Karl’s father.
Charis d’Jinla is a female student at the Jurant military academy under the control of Don Tachimant’s grandfather in the story Jurant. She’s roughly high-school age and very pretty, with a jaunty, aggressive manner and thick tails of curly blonde hair. Charis easily comes across as a bad girl and she pretty much is one. She doesn’t play nice, she’s rough around the edges, mixes that with being flirtatious, and wouldn’t hesitate to get in a fight with you. Or shoot you, except getting in a fight with surprisingly violent Don Tachimant probably won’t end up that way. But without Charis, there wouldn’t even BE a story in Jurant.
Prince Juranai comes from a strange long-lived people who dominate the plot of The Amulet of Renari. He is partly wolf and might seem simple and aggressive, but Juranai, like the rest of his people, is very intelligent and should command a lot of respect. When Juranai decides to befriend Violet, the daughter of someone his family has a long-standing grudge against, it changes a world that has been locked in a feud for thousands of years. Although Violet can be hard to work with, he’s a good protector to her and his friendship is crucial.
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.