First off, I’d like to let you know about another great StoryOrigin giveaway. It’s in one of my favorite categories—All-Genre, with a bent towards Young Adult and family-friendly. Although genre-specific events are great for getting people who are interested in that genre, all-genre events are perfect for any books that don’t fit neatly into just one genre label. For instance, This Merry Summertime, the book in this giveaway, contains a mix of historical, fantasy, and contemporary under its celebration of “Family, Fantasy, and Young Women” subtitle. So any of those genres might cancel the others out for a genre-specific event, but all-genre is right up its alley and the fact the giveaway is clean and family-friendly is an added perk. It’s a big giveaway—74 books & 54 authors—so you’re sure to find something you like in this diverse newsletter builder event. Click here to see all the books!
Finished the first draft of Palladia 3 this week! I’ve got to say, I haven’t written a story like this before. But what I’ve liked about working on each one of my books is they don’t duplicate each other, so readers get to explore a different scenario every time. That keeps things fresh because if authors have created for a long time, as I have, they run the risk of lapsing into staleness, repetitions of previous books, and a dearth of new ideas. But that hasn’t happened, at least so far, to me as this book was an emotionally intensive story to write with one of the weirdest plot premises I’ve ever used. I've put the manuscript aside for a few weeks so I can go back into it with fresh eyes later on and get it ready for beta readers, and I’ll write a full description when I dive back into the story a short time from now.
But just to let you know what it’s about, the story built to a climactic encounter with the villain in which Arielle, inspired by Katia and challenged by Consuela, faced her inner weaknesses and learned to rise past a situation that ate away at her self-esteem and made her bitter. The action takes place in Dorilantz, a country that neighbors Palladia and Belaria but was not visited in the first two books, which has an oppressive regime that still persecutes the EC. When Arielle is chosen for a symbolic ritual called The Princess is Not Pretty, in which she is put on a stage and mocked every day as a way for the two people groups in her country to come to terms, she pretty much gets really frustrated about it. But in choosing the right—yet not natural-feeling decision—to think outside her immediate emotions, she ends up making the world a better place and coming to terms with what she was afraid of.
And the title will be: Celestine Princess. The logic for this naming is simple. The first two Palladia books have titles that begin with the letter C and cover art that shows one girl as the central concept of each book. It keeps the series branding consistent to use these for the third book—title starts with “C” and the emphasis is on the female MC of that book. The title for Consuela also names the MC outright, but City of the Invaders does not mention Katia’s name in the title. So I include Arielle’s identity as the MC in the title (like Consuela) but not her actual name (like Invaders.) I wasn’t sure until the end chapter if this would be the book’s title, but I found it went very well with the book’s ending after all.
Fitting the two girls from the first books into this one in a way that felt believable was one of the big challenges of writing this, but as I worked along towards the conclusion, I did discover that both Katia and Consuela were necessary to represent and portray Arielle’s journey. So I was very pleased about that! When I return to working on the book in a few weeks, I’ll start putting together a street team and that means beta readers. I’m so eager to get some of you reading this book and to hear your thoughts. 😊 Really excited. So stay tuned for that a little while down the road. Meanwhile, I’ve already jumped into a new Palladia story that came into my mind the minute I’d finished typing on Celestine Princess. I’m not yet sure of the length of this story—whether it will be a fourth Palladia book or a short novella/skit to offer as a perma-free download. But I’m working briskly away at it right now.
And there will be more updates.
The Palladia series began with a small novella—which grew into a standalone book—which eventually got joined to another standalone book that had been written separately—which is now developing yet another book after it. This new book, like everything else about Palladia, is taking a direction I hadn’t foreseen and hadn’t particularly wanted it to have at first.
I posted a while back on possible ideas for this story, which included a fun, rather juvenile-feeling sort of romp in the outer-space colony of Alphea. And, as happened for what feels like the thousandth time, the story moved itself forward in a quite different direction. Towards the hidden past of the EC instead. There’s a character called Meldono who is mentioned briefly in Invaders as the “founder of the EC,” at a time that appears to be about a hundred years from now and two hundred years in the past from the time of Invaders. Nothing else is mentioned about this man except that he had been an Invader who took the side of the EC and Katia looks at a statue of him.
City of the Invaders was never really my personal favorite of my books, nor was Consuela. I enjoy working on every story at the time of writing, but like all authors it’s hard not to feel particularly fond of some for whatever reason—personal emotions, association with a family event or a special location, a feeling of achievement in showing a character or social issue, etc. As I mentioned last month about Victoria’s King Felipe, he’s a little bit a favorite character of mine. I’ve never felt that way about any of the characters in these two books. In fact, I wrote Consuela as a filler and then dismissed it as a dud. It looks a bit different now when compared to its original, silly first draft even though the story components weren’t changed very much. But the series gradually, slowly develops more on its own arc than in line with my feelings about it. It's a little bit humbling, actually.
When I draft new ideas, working on another aspect of the Palladia world is never a priority for me. It just keeps occurring to me. And the EC’s origins were not a concept that I thought of as having any mystery to them. They were just a plot device to get these kids to be in a stalemate with a majority group—so the kids have to be in a minority group, right? But once the idea appeared of Meldono possibly coming back to life and when alive he’s not much like the EC legends said he was, the third book’s brainstorming started to change. A lot. I guess sometimes you can write a story without knowing what it’s about at first—and then, more and more, you find out.
And there will be more updates.
This is the third installment in the In a Nutshell series of blog posts, which takes some of the central five characters from each book and explores them in a bit more detail. Since the two Palladia books are in a series, I’ll explore them in one post. But there were originally 10 characters discussed regarding these books. So I’ll do five and bundle a couple of them under a shared function in the story.
Sidney shows something that’s important to remember about City of the Invaders—most of the real story takes place behind the scenes and in corners adjacent to the main plot. Sidney's actions in the story embody this truth as he does not appear until the final chapters, but it turns out he has orchestrated the outcome the whole time. He has almost no lines, but what he does say is really terse and to the point. Because he's now in charge, there's little need to say more, and there's a formality and elegance to the way he speaks as he drops in to say hello to these kids he's about to move out of their world into his. 😊
Consuela is vital to the companion story, which is named after her. We are shown few women or girls among the Invaders and they are described as near crime and often not respectable. Consuela appears at least somewhat attractive and has enough useful skills to get hired by a wealthy retired lady and blend in with her boss's friends. Her backstory isn't really known in the book other than that where she came from entire houses could have the same monetary value as the dresses given her by Miss Plummer! But her past actually includes a hidden link to Sidney.
Bruce and Mocha are two teenage starlets who bring the social world of the EC into each book. Although neither of them speak much, what they do say is the center of the scenes in which they appear. Mocha enjoys perfecting and cultivating her creative talent, while Bruce is more action-oriented and holds his own when shooting erupts during a stage performance. He has put a lot of investment into his life in the theater, even if he thinks it's somewhat boring, and others can rely on him to come through.
Miss Plummer appears at first to be mostly a plot device who brings with her a group of friends. These friends believe she does not see them because she does not stop them. As they bubble on the surface, all are too quick to assume they know things about the others—whether Amy really wants them to visit Mocha, whether Rena is really interested in books, and whether Rachel sees more than she pretends. But they don't know much about their elderly benefactor, as is shown by her strange move to make a confidant out of a street girl. Like all the EC, her relationships with the Invaders can be subtle.
And there will be more updates.
Author of Science Fiction, General Fiction, Historical Fiction, and Anthology Fiction
Always looking to better my craft.
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