This week I’m continuing the monthly In a Nutshell series, in which I explore a few of the five central characters for my books in more detail. Facets of Fantasy was the second of my published books so it's natural to discuss it early on. And since its three component stories complement each other in multiple ways, one character from each story deserves a mention when examining the whole book.
Ferdinand in "Halogen Crossing" has upset the central character Cassie because he killed her parents. It all goes back to an ancient artifact owned by the rulers of Ferdinand’s city. POV matters because we hear things only from either Cassie's viewpoint or her cousin's. The culture stemming from the artifact in the city certainly isn't great and it influenced Ferdinand because the people here were very serious about what they were doing. But Cassie's country, Medosa, is extremely tribal and primitive and the artifact came from there in the first place. The link between Ferdinand and Cassie becomes a deep one and likely to show back up in his life after the story ends.
Lord Andre in "Jurant" is also a bit tricky and he may be shown differently from what he’s really like. This is due to the story being told from the POV of his grandson, Don, who views him in a very angsty way because he blames Lord Andre for a death in his family. All the teenage characters are hard on Lord Andre, but he is at least somewhat misunderstood. Julie was not necessarily perfect even though she died and Lord Andre’s poor relationship with Don is based on bad communication rather than malevolence.
Violet in "The Amulet of Renari" inherits a necklace with special properties and finds there’s a ruined city and an ancient prophecy mixed in. Once she gets stuck with that necklace and it looks like the world is coming to an end, she rises to the challenge. She isn't very friendly and doesn't have a lot of personal interest in the mission entrusted to her. But she thrives on action and communicates quite a bit in her own way, although others think of it as just a buzz of Violet's voice in the background. But in spite of their importance, the people of Renari need her to deal with that artifact while they feud, get lost, and complain. And when it comes to doing that, Violet's quite specialized.
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.
I did a post on Sekana, the heroine of "Jurant" in Facets of Fantasy, a year ago. But after a while it didn't quite reflect her, so I'm doing another one. In a year an audience's feelings about something (or someone) can change pretty noticeably and you've always got to keep up with the flow of that. For one thing, there are a lot of characters in Facets of Fantasy. She's just one and possibly isn't even a front-runner. She's a bit deeper down towards the heart of the book, which makes sense because she only appears after two introductory stories.
I found this awesome fantasy art image for her! In the story she morphs from a shy, vulnerable-looking girl with knock-knees, who seems forced to attend a military academy, into a purple-haired warrior from a hidden group called the Kinari. Investigating her is the main drive of the story, which stands in the middle of Facets, as its center. Sekana isn't exactly hard to spot, although in her less-powerful form she probably thinks she is. (Don knew she was up to something and he wasn't trying, so it must have been easy.) But she is pretty sneaky too, a link she shares with his grandfather who's trying to use her powers. In other ways, she and Lord Andre aren't friends, but they have a shared perambulation around the obvious, a desire to blend in while they follow their own plans.
The story is just one angle of Facets, so it didn't go on to follow Sekana's journey once she was visibly-all-purple-warrior and went back to Rindon. Once again, she's not as subtle as she thinks she is and it's clear there's something that's being hidden about what the Kinari are like. Don feels loyal because she used great power to help him out, but he must wonder where that power comes from. After all, the only person caught reading a history of Rindon was Sekana herself. Maybe something in their past might hold a clue to Sekana's future.
And there will be more updates.
Pleasant Fiction in an Age of Noise
I write peaceful stories with happy endings. When I started writing, I wanted to write the kind of books I like to read. I wanted them to be upbeat and friendly books that make you feel like you're being whisked off on an adventure with friends. And there's also a purposefulness in that because many stories already written miss out on a great deal of what people experience every day.
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