This week we're exploring The Birthday Present/Millhaven Castle a little bit more. The book is a pairing of two longer short stories (about 10-20k each) and I've highlighted below some of the main characters to look for in these stories.
Lucy Hintara (The Birthday Present). Heroine. She is human and comes out of a last hidden colony to speak to the Emperor. She lands on the doorstep of a boy's school and her adventures go on from there. She is a bit of a flawed character--overly brave to come out on this mission and a bit stubborn. Imagine a naive, ditzy girl wearing a school-girl uniform with her hair in curly pigtails and you've got the idea.
Alyce Lomlossa (Millhaven Castle). Heroine. Unlike Lucy she is very quiet and she doesn't come out of her sheltered group, the Sherbans, voluntarily. Instead, she is summoned by a king for really shady reasons. Alyce's people dress in a self-consciously traditional way, so Alyce does also--but she has a sense of humor about it and like Lucy, she can be very, very stubborn. Imagine a girl wearing an old-fashioned 19th century farm dress and her hair in braided puffs around her ears and you've got the idea.
General Metagaf (The Birthday Present.) Comedy Character. He is supervisor of the boy's school that Lucy strays into. He is a prominent official with much experience, but is now quite out of touch and deaf as well. While he believes he's in charge, he's often clueless and just gets on the boy's nerves. He's garrulous and rough around the edges, as he's accepted things in the world for a long time, so I wouldn't call him sensitive. Imagine a grumpy, surprisingly sneaky man with tufts of white hair and a wrinkled, stuffy uniform and you've got the idea.
Blancha, Ralph, and Lulu (Millhaven Castle.) Comedy Characters. They are other Sherban young people, who are Alyce's friends. When they are invited to the ball, she must travel with them. She's known them since childhood. Imagine Blancha is slender and some might call her pretty. She wears white a lot and often deliberately tries to misunderstand situations. Imagine Ralph is a teenager with a flop of untidy hair and he's awkward as the dickens, mostly hanging his mouth open and getting in the way. Lulu is very young and seems even younger than she is. Imagine a friendly, sometimes rude girl, she likes to make noise but actually has little to say.
And there will be more updates.
Jenny Forsythe was for a long time one of my most neglected heroines. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I put the whole book in which she appears aside for years and pretty much gave up on it. But this year saw a resurgence for The Test of Devotion. I’d almost label 2019 as the Year of the Western for the sudden re-existence of this book in my little writosphere. (Yep, I just coined that word.) A rewrite sent attention for Jenny’s 1850s adventure story soaring and it’s now comparable to the top books in views each month.
So . . . I’d never bothered to do a spotlight on little Jenny Forsythe before (especially since in the past she was grownup Jenny Forsythe and now she’s a teenager.) But it’s a necessity now, so let me introduce you to Jenny. She’s the companion to another girl in the story, Arabella Monston, a 19-year-old from back East who’s run away to Texas with a cold-hearted and manipulative man who turns out to love political power far more than he loves her. Arabella lodges at a hotel in a remote town on the Mexican border. Jenny’s father owns this hotel, so Jenny spends a lot of time helping Arabella with this and that.
This and that turns into Saving Arabella’s Life. The more Jenny gets involved, the deeper it gets until she’s orchestrating an escape from that now deadly hotel and a personal consultation with the imposing Governor of Texas. And to do that, resourceful Jenny (who doesn’t put herself forward very much, look I spent most of HER spotlight post talking about Arabella) will need an outlaw. Jenny’s humility is what really shines through about her, as you can see by how much descriptions of her are dictated by the fact she helps others.
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.
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I live surrounded by cultivated fields that rapidly give way to wild flowers, wild plants, and wild life. I get most of my ideas while drifting innocuously around my house and some of those ideas get into print.
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