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.
Facets of Fantasy was my second book, published in 2009. It contained 5 novellas that explored varying angles of the speculative genre—everything from epic fantasy to light period work (which is a kind of fantasy, rather than a true exploration of history, as anyone who’s watched period can see.) Two years later I made another volume with all the stories edited and two of them rewritten. At the time I didn’t realize I could just upload those changes into the existing book—so now there are 2 Facets books. The one with the blue cover is the second, published in 2011, and will contain the final assortment of stories.
Over the last 6 years, I’ve used the second Facets book as a way to sort the first one. I’ve always been a bit questioning of the reaction to Facets of Fantasy—something, though never fully developing into anything bad, has always felt shady and unspoken about reader’s reactions. And no matter what they said, I could never quite figure out which story they really liked; really disliked; really thought was interesting; and really thought was boring; and why they thought any of that. Facets of Fantasy became a bit of a problem. I was determined to get to the bottom of it.
I rewrote Halogen Crossing and The Amulet of Renari for the second book. Nothing. (Except people have always let slip a faintly snotty remark about Renari.) I enlarged The Trouble with Taranui to be much longer and eventually made it its own book. Nothing. I tried to make the much-acclaimed Jurant a single, but somehow that didn’t work at all. Nothing. I worked Millhaven Castle into a different story, Alyce, and I’ve already posted about entirely new story that that effort created. And still nothing. Nothing about why a boring collection of stories seemed a problem in my writing life—something that was a bump, a roadblock, and in a way a big secret.
For a while, I added Victoria into the mix because reactions to it were similar. Then it was removed in preparation for examining it independently of the entire Facets dilemma. I've made The Amulet of Renari a single ebook again for the time being. Whether this will solve the problem, I don’t know. But eventually I will whittle it down and find out why Facets of Fantasy is THE book I need to do something about.
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.