Thursday, May 3, 2012
Trying to catch up so I'm going to keep going...
X is for eXceptional support. Yes, it's a stretch, but it's true. Writers, especially first time writers, need so much support. We rely on our friends and family for all kinds of help, whether it's a late night cup of coffee when we're on a roll (Thanks honey!) or our pleas for criticism when someone reads our work. These people keep us going when all we want to do is tear our manuscript to pieces or give up or just sit and cry.
I have several of these people that I use for different things. My husband to be reads my work, fetches my Starbucks, gives me a hug and tells me I'm awesome when I don't think I am...basically the man keeps me going and knows every twist and turn in my world second only to me. I use him as a sounding board, and anytime I'm stuck we talk it out until I have it all worked out. When he reads my manuscript, he gives me insight on "Hey, if this happens later, you could maybe hint at it here..."
Two of my best friends read my work and can always be counted on for some great criticism. I love it when I get my work back from them and it's literally bleeding red ink. These women read more than anyone else I know, and more importantly, they read quite heavily in the genre I write in. They know crap, and they aren't afraid to point out the stink in anything they read. They have called me out when something I write sucks, so when they tell me what I wrote is great, I know they're being sincere. When they read my novel, I get a little better idea of what the fresh reader will think. They are familiar with the characters and some of the general plot lines, but they don't know what major plot twists lie ahead. For this, and so much more, I love them.
Finally, I have a very dear friend who is also an aspiring author. She reads my chapters as I finish them and gives me great feedback as a fresh pair of eyes. I haven't told her any real details of what's coming in the novels, so when she reads she has the kinds of questions that a new reader would have. I love this and though my novel is confusing because I feed it to her a chapter at a time, she keeps reading and always gives me feedback. Lady, you know who you are, and you're awesome.
To all of my eXceptional support system, I love you and I thank you for keeping me going.
Only two more letters to go and I'll have finished (late but finished) my first blogging challege.
Monday, April 30, 2012
Valkyen comes from a family full of over-achieving brothers. He is the youngest and has a lot to live up to and large shoes to fill. His father, Valerian, is well respected by the King and has been close to the royal family for years. By choosing to become a Paladin, Valkyen hopes to earn his own distinction among his brothers.
Valkyen's story is one of leaving home and discovering that the world is a much bigger place than he originally thought. Nothing is really what he's been told, and his view of the world broadens enormously. He grows up. It is a plot line in the books that is very special to me.
Ursylla and her daughter were extremely close. Losing her mother at the age of sixteen was very hard for her, but she has found many ways to still feel close to her, including moving into her living quarters in the castle and retaining much of her mother's staff as her own. In fact, even though she's been gone for more than five years, her presence is still strongly felt throughout the castle. Talia and the memory of her mother, are characters to keep an eye on.
I love this picture by fantasy artist Nene Thomas, and though it represents a character in her husband's book (I believe), when I saw it, I thought, that's what my princess should look like. She looks beautiful, but secluded and a little lonely, which is precisely who Talia Abri is.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Tessalyn is a pirate of the Bounty, an island fortress in the Southern Sea that is where most of the world's pirates call home. My pirates are pretty radically different from anything out there, I think so anyway, so before you get visions of Disney's Pirates 3 in your head, don't bother. They are far more comparable to the Italian mafia. Instead of an everyone out to get their own sort of feel, they're more concerned about earning and moving up in the fleet, all through their piratey ways. The attitude toward these pirates varies. Some people love them dearly as family and friends, others respect them as being protectors of their towns and ports, and still others hate them for the vicious theives they are. :)
That being said, Tessalyn is one of the best earners on the seas even though she is closely related to the first family of piracy. At just thirteen years old, she and her cousin Ysabella, took their first ship. They re-christened their score The Lady's Slipper, and reveled in their cargo of ladies finery bound for Kingsport. Since then they have each commandeered their own faster, larger ships, becoming two of the most successful pirates on the seas. Tess has deep brown hair shot with gold, and it curls in loops as large as her gold hoop earrings. Her current ship, The Sea Queen, has been specially constructed, from its four mast, eleven sail rigging to the cornflower blue and butter yellow catspaw glass in her stateroom.
Tessalyn comes in during the second book strongly. She has a huge part to play. I cannot wait for the world to meet her. Oh, and lastly, Happy Birthday Miss Nixon, you are awesome!!!
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
The Mark of All Gods is a specific symbol that represents a few different things depending on the context. The symbol on its own represents the entire pantheon of gods, the tweleve supreme beings of the heavens and the amorphus Chaos God. So put into the context of say, being on a temple, it then comes to mean a universal place of worship.
The most important context of all, however, is when the mark is found upon a person, as in a birthmark. This is very rare. It means that the person with the birthmark was born gifted by all of the gods' bloodlines. Is this confusing? Think back to Greek mythology and its many stories of children fathered by a god or goddess. Now imagine that there was a child who claimed all of the Olympians in their parentage. Get it now? Its an incredibly rare event. These children are often called the Godborn, and Ariadne just happens to be one of them.
So what can these Godborn do? Pretty much anything really within some limits. Since magic originates with the gods in Elbion, in order to have access to a particular type of magic you had to be related to one of the gods. The more closely you are related to them, the stronger your connection to their magic. A Godborn has a strong bloodline connection to all of the gods, so they have access to every type of magic there is. Godborn who are like Ari and aggressively study magic, become immensely powerful. Their great limitation is their mortality, which is bound by the laws of magic and the exchange of power. For example, Ari once saved Famke's life with her magic and it very nearly killed her. Like any muscle in the body, one's capacity for power can be exercised and grow, but it is never limitless.
In my novels, signs and symbols are everywhere and hugely important! They are something to watch for!
One of the best grudges (well, maybe more like my favorite grudges) is the one between the Marked and the Hathwain. So I thought I'd leave off with this picture which inspired me greatly in one of the battles between these two forces. I love it.
Friday, April 20, 2012
Ellia took up the throne, married soon after, and quickly became pregnant. But then Erick was killed in battle and Roan along with him. Ellia went into labor but both mother and child perished. Thus the crown passed to Andromeda. Her sister Sirra married Garrett Ironstar and moved to his Keep, while Mikal has become a Kor (a general) under Kieran Matthias (the High Warlord).
The Fortuna queens are strong women. I love them and I hope you do too...
Thursday, April 19, 2012
As a girl who was on a horse before she could walk, of course I love horses. I have a wonderful story I wrote about how the gypsies got such amazing horses, which is one of the things they're famous for in my world. I wrote this story (a) because it was in my head screaming to get out and (b) because maybe someday I'll publish a book of myths and history about this world of mine lol.
At the present time, the Kingdom of Oakenvale is mostly in the central area of the eastern coast. It also claims the neighboring Lake Lands as a protectorate. It is a region that is similar to feudal England in its structure, with the King at its head. The capitol is Sovereign City, a city built up in a circular hill in a series of tiers. Each tier can be closed off in event of a siege. The region is famous for their native white oak trees, which are considered sacred.
The first chapters of the first Elbion novel start off in Sovereign City, in a scene that looks a lot like this...
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Nightwalkers are descendants of the night goddess. They are NOT vampires, but they do not consume food like normal humans. They feed off of the energy of others. Think of them "drinking" in your aura and energy. The more powerful the emotion you're feeling, the better their feed. Some have preferences to what emotion they like best: fear, love, lust, pain, anger, sadness, etc.
The Nightwalkers have carved out their own "kingdom" in the Forests of Loretisium. This is a very small area in the central south of the continent, between the Merchant Coast and Torrhid, butted up against the Craul Mountains. It's a dark and old forest. And humans very rarely travel there if they can help it.
The Marked were once just tribes of the Wastelands (located in the northeast of the continent). They had always arranged themselves as a sort of chain of villages in order to better survive the harshness of the north. Their common religion always threaded the villages together.
Around thiry years before the start of the first book, a young High Shaman came to power. This shaman began using the common thread of religion to twist the tribes and villages to his will. His corruption slowly spread from him through all of the people of the Wastelands. He turned the religion toward the worship of the Chaos god, deconstructing all of the normal boundaries humanity embraces and erecting invisible walls of control. The people of the Wastelands became not much more than cattle in their High Shaman's herd. They have gone from being peaceful people carving life out of the tundra and forests to being a ravaging horde of violent, raping, even cannibalistic, soulless bodies bent on carrying out one mission...to spread their lifestyle, and envelope the world in their version of Chaos.
I got the idea for these people from a couple of different places, primary among them is fear. The Marked were the worst things I could think of, they are my personal terror. I was inspired by zombies - the spread of apocalypse, cannibalistic, the turn from good people to a horror, etc. Zombies terrify me! I don't watch their movies, and I don't play their video games! Lol. I was also inspired by the show Firefly and their Reavers - they're still alive, they can think and be smart, they add the worse than death features of terror, the self mutilation, they can be directed, etc. Scary scary stuff. I had nightmares for a week after a particular episode of Firefly with Reavers in it lol. Lastly (or more accurately firstly if we're going in chronological order), I was inspired by the movie Silence of the Lambs - well, yeah, I'll just say one thing...suit of human skin.
So there you have it. There's my bad guys, the things that go bump in the night, the things that scare the crap of me to even write about. :)
Monday, April 16, 2012
Friday, April 13, 2012
Kye is tall and solidly built, like most of his people he is a warrior. He has longish, dark hair which forms loosely-curled tangles and is interspersed with braids. His muddled blue eyes are dotted with two birthmarks, and his tattoos on his cheek bones mark his rank within his people. He usually has some scruff of a beard in addition to his usual moustache and goatee. If I could cast any actor as Kye, Joe Manganiello (below) would be him *sigh*.
Kye became the Chieftain of his people just recently. His people, the Hathwain, are the guardians of Keld Pass. It is in this pass that a legendary, secret path up the Gods' Spear mountain is located, the home of the Gods. The Hathwain protect this pass and path, from all those who might try to occupy it. Keld Pass happens to be the largest pass between the two halves of the North. With all other western passes through the mountains closed off to them, Keld Pass is the only way left open to the armies of the Marked to continue their campaign. With his people under attack, Kye has left the Pass to find aid and he will do anything to get it.
And to catch up a little bit...
L is for the Laden Maiden. The Laden Maiden is a tavern inn located in Sovereign City, in the Kingdom of Oakenvale. It is owned by two brothers, Abernathy and Timeon Makemarker.
Abernathy and Timeon are members of the Fortuna gypsy clan, who have settled in Sovereign as contacts. Abernathy had always wanted to own a tavern, and because the Fortuna crown didn't have any eyes and ears in the city, they set him up with one. Abernathy sells and distributes the gypsy's mead exclusively, while taking care of his brother Timeon. Though he's quite functional, Timeon requires special attention because of a mental birth defect. He works in the tavern with his brother and helps gather information to send back to Fortuna Valley.
These are definitely two brothers to keep your eye on, they are not just a barkeep and his simple minded brother. They are a lot more clever than they appear...
Speaking of appearances, this is who I would choose to play Abernathy. His name's Silas Weir Mitchell, he plays Monroe on Grimm, and I usually picture him more scruffy like the way he is in the show, not clean cut like in this picture. Anyway, here ya go...
Hey look I'm caught up! Yay!
Thursday, April 12, 2012
J is for Jehara.
I can't say too much about this character, but I will tell you what I can. Jehara is slim and of average height. She has blonde hair that is kept short, but curly. She is pretty and fairly young, but a woman grown. Jehara was a handmaiden to the first Queen of King Tharyn of Oakenvale. She served her dutifully from her youth until her mistress' death. After the death of her Queen and the coronation of King Tharyn's new wife, Jehara was removed from the castle like most of the others in the former Queen's household.
That's it. That's all I can tell you. I know, it's just not fair, but I couldn't think of anything else to post for J because this character popped into my mind and my mind wouldn't let it go. :)
Lord Vasterling is not well liked among the castle's servants, in fact most of them are terrified of him. The nobility are divided between those who distrust and frown upon his appointment as High Consular, and those who approve. Many of those who disapprove of his position are considered and known as The Good Queen's Folk. That's all I can tell you about that for now. More to come later...
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
It's that last question that inspires this post. I feel as though my books have little pieces in them that honor or pay homage to the writers who have inspired me to be more amazing than I thought I could ever be. These aren't just some of my favorite authors, because I have a LOT of those, but these are authors who have, I feel, made me a better writer. Their books have changed me, irrevocably.
To J.R.R. Tolkien - because anyone who writes and loves modern epic fantasy, whether they know it or not, has been inspired by his genius. For me personally, he has taught me that all the details matter, even if no one ever sees them. When you're slogging through that first chapter of the Fellowship, you're thinking why do I need to know the lineage and names of all these Hobbits? But later, during the scouring of the Shire, it makes you love and connect with those people all the more. In a nutshell, if it's in your head, write it down. Its not a waste of time or hard drive space. He is why I have spreadsheets full of hundreds of tiny details about my world, regardless of whether they ever see the light of day or not.
To George R.R. Martin - because he renewed my hope that humongous works of epic fantasy can be loved and super popular. His world is ginormic, full of tons of characters, and a million tiny little details. I love, love, love his books, and I so hope that my little novels can be that amazing some day and that people love them as much as I do. He is why my world has grown, without fear of being too big to be popular.
To Scott Lynch - because his dialog astounds me, his characters are full of turmoil, and most importantly, he taught me that by killing off much beloved characters you can actually make your books better. His book, The Lies of Locke Lamora, and it's sequel tore my heart out and had me crying until my eyes swelled up but it made me love them all the more. It gave me the courage I needed to be brutal in my books when it needs to happen. He made my books grow up, so very, very much.
To Patrick Rothfuss - because he made me think of magic in a whole new way. It was so unique and different and made want such an amazing system in my books. So I sat there and thought an entire system up over the course of three months. There is a particular homage to him in the book especially because he made me fall in love with his wonderful tavern, so Mr. Rothfuss, the Laden Maiden is for you.
To Sarah Addison Allen - because her books remind me to embrace the magic that happens everyday. The tiny little kinds of magic that when looked at, are more astounding than the biggest display of magic. The bond between best friends, a wonderful cup of coffee, or just that secret that you've known for years. Its amazing and lovely and so very incredible. She has made me embrace the little moments, and she has shown me the strength to be had in femininity in writing. I think it's brought a maturity to my writing, and to myself.
Ok, so there you have it. It's a little different than my other posts, but I think its definitely relevant. These are the authors I look to for help in my writing. I want my books to be as great as theirs, and maybe someday, they'll have my books on their "favorite authors" shelf.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
The siblings quickly settled their own areas, and the clans came to be known after the individual siblings: Warren, Forrest, Kellan, Rooque, and Fortuna. Each clan has grown and prospered, taking in those who don't fit in elsewhere. The clans are always allied with each other, no matter what quarrels they have with each other.
The word gypsy has grown to encompass a various number of stigmas including being dishonest in certain towns. Much of this stems from the circumstances surrounding the original family's exile from the Kingdom of Oakenvale. The family had been close to the royal family, and suddenly fell rapidly from favor. Because of these rumors and the resulting treatment of their people, the gypsies have retaliated by taking advantage of their misconceptions in anyway possible. They are opportunistic in all ways, whether striking a deal in commerce or when they're fighting.
They are especially known now for their magnificent horses, their ability to breed superior dogs for every purpose, and their famous mead. Nowhere else can you find better in those catergories. Their kingdom now rivals any other kingdom in the known world. Their armies especially are larger and stronger than almost any other. The gypsies embrace the scorn they recieve from those who don't trust them, building their lives up in definance and glory.
F is for Famke Fortuna. This is my main character, well one of them, my Elbion novels have more of an ensemble cast. Famke is short and pretty curvy, she has long, wavy brown hair, and silvery-grey eyes.
She is the daughter of Matthias and Andromeda Fortuna, High Warlord and Queen of the Fortuna gypsy clan. Famke is therefore the heir to the Fortuna throne, because the Fortuna throne is matriarchal. Her older brother Fehr is set to succeed their father as High Warlord, which is an elected position in the clan. Her role as Teiraness in the clan is a difficult one for her, at least part of it is. Famke is not at ease in the royal role, but when it comes to the responsibility of the clan, she is at her best. She loves her clan and her people.
Even as a young girl she wanted to tag along with her brother as he first entered warrior training as a young boy. She had an altercation with another boy where she proceeded to beat the crap out of him. She has, ever since then, been trained as a military lead, in secret, by her father and brother. After a heroic defense of the Keep early in the recent war against the Marked, where she wore the only armor available in the Keep (a relic set of armor belonging to the ancient and fabled Blood General), she rides as the Blood General to this day and has for the past five years.
When she was officially made a Kor under her father's command, she chose for her captains her four closest friends who are extremely gifted, both magically and physically. She chose for her company of soldiers the 75 cavalry from her defense of the Fortuna Keep, and the unit has grown considerably since then. Each soldier has sworn an oath of secrecy to keep her identity known only as the Blood General, for her protection and because it makes them even more fearsome on the battlefield.
On top of being stuck between her people's two seats of power, she has found herself and her life aligning to the ancient Prophecy of the Gods' Warbringer, the one who is supposed to bring about the end of the war...
D is for Dragons! Yay!! Putting dragons into my books was a really hard step for me. I feel like it's rarely done in a way that doesn't take away from the rest of the book. It always seems to pull focus and maybe that's because they're so - "Oooh dragons!" - for all of us readers. In my books, the story isn't about dragons, I try to use them as nonchalantly as possible. They are there, but they're also not. Some of them are pets like dogs and cats, others are friends and become real characters, and still others are only rumors. Its hard to really describe any other way.
To give an example, one of my characters named Kye has a dragon. He found her as an egg and raised her. She is his best friend and constant companion. Elee is a Copperstar dragon, a breed that is about the size of a draft horse, with similar build except for a long neck and of course, that classic dragon head. They are slow to trust, a beautiful copper color, and of the more elevated classes of dragons. This means that she has a great amount of personality and intelligence. She can even communicate to a degree, with Kye mostly. Compare it to your favorite pet you've ever had, how every look or noise or movement was like them speaking to you, clear as day. The lower classes of dragons still have immense intelligence and some communication with their "people", just not as much and they're usually much smaller. There you have it, my dragons.
E is for Eranie Snowchild. Eranie is one of my favorite characters. She is tall with long and dark curly hair, she has violet eyes, and most especially she has a very special gift.
Eranie was born into one of the gypsy clans but her family was attacked on a trading trip through the nothern mountains. Her family's caravan was attacked and Eranie was thrown from her horse and lost in the snow. Cold and alone, she waited for her family to come back while she hid from the attackers in a bear's den. When she entered the den, she found a mother bear and her cubs. The mother bear awoke and growled before charging past the almost frozen child and attacking an encroaching attacker who was hunting the tiny child.
When the mother bear returned she was accompanied by the Goddess Andarta, earthen goddess and mother of all bears. She laid her hands on Eranie and blessed her as her own. She then turned to the mother bear and asked her to take Eranie to the Fortuna Keep. Eranie relayed her story to the Queen who placed her in the care of the Head Priestess for training and schooling. She is now the goddess's conduit to her followers. Andarta speaks through her as her Head High Priestess. While respected among her clan, her connection with the goddess keeps her fairly disconnected from people outside her close circle of friends. Because of this and that she always seems to have secret knowledge about the world, outside those who at least know her well, she has been nicknamed the Snow Witch. This is also where she gets her surname, Snowchild.
Eranie is an excellent horsewoman and warrior. She is fiercely loyal to Famke, who is like a sister to her. When Famke began to train for war and took up her army, Eranie rode with her. She and her black mare, Koshka are a terror on the field of battle. To me, she is such a pillar of strength and an inspiration. As most of my characters are, the roots Eranie springs from belong to someone I know and greatly admire. As her story unfolds, it makes me so excited. I love her to death.
This picture, by amazing artist Nene Thomas, is how I picture Eranie. Its only missing the violet eyes.
Monday, April 9, 2012
B is for Battles. In my books, the world of Elbion is in turmoil. The story begins in the midst of an epic battle, in the age of the war god Krosis, and the story plunges the characters into a situation ripe for war.
The allied gypsy clans have been at war for the past several years with the Mark, an army of the north. They are men who are twisted to their soul, crazed by their worship of the Chaos god bent on engulfing the world in chaos and disorder. At the beginning of the first book, the gypsies believe that this conflict has been resolved, and the Mark has been successfully repelled. But the drums of war aren't finished with their tune. The war god isn't through with his war yet...
And to catch up, here's the next letter of the challenge...
C is for Catewyn Ironstarr. Catewyn is Allora's older sister and Famke's cousin. She is second in line to the Fortuna throne after Famke. Catewyn has a different surname from her sister, though they have the same parents. Surnames in Elbion aren't necessarily based on lineage, they are often given or adopted. A person in Elbion can go quite awhile without having a surname, as it can take awhile to find one that fits.
Catewyn took the surname of her father, Garrett Ironstarr of Warren. Her sister, Allora, on the other hand, chose the surname of the last woman of her bloodline to have the Windspeak gift, Whisperwind. Catewyn takes after her father in more than just looks. She works with him at his forge, where she has become a master blacksmith, and she has his talent with horses. Catewyn's horse, Sunstarr, is famous throughout the gypsy clan lands.
When Famke takes up her army, she appoints her cousin as one of her Captains of the Cavalry. And when the group attends fairs and tournaments, Catewyn always rides in the joust. Her record is impeccable, earning her the moniker, Catewyn the Stoneborn. The rumors (which the girls helped spread) say that she is one of the mythical Stoneborn of the mountains, rock solid and immovable.
Alright, more catching up tomorrow. Stay tuned.
Sunday, April 8, 2012
Here goes nothing!
A is for Allora Whisperwind. Allora is one of Famke's (my main character) cousins. A fiery redhaired beauty, lithe and tall, she turns heads wherever she goes, though she only has eyes for one man. Gypsy royalty flows through her veins, and all her life she has been groomed to be an exceptional lady.
She was born to Sirra Fortuna (the younger sister of the Fortuna gypsy queen) and Garrett Warren, King of the Warren gypsies. When her mother died and her father sickened, King Garrett abdicated his throne to his younger brother and moved Allora and her older sister, Catewyn, to the Fortuna lands in order to be closer to their mother's family. Of all the gypsy clans, the Fortuna throne is the only matriarchal monarchy, so being close their aunt and cousin was very important for Allora and Catewyn. Raised in the Fortuna Keep, Allora became like a sister to Famke.
When Famke begins to lead her own section of the Fortuna's army, she appointed Allora as her Captain of Archery. This is because Allora was born with a very special gift that makes her an exceptional archer. Allora is a Windspeak, a special gift found only in rare bloodlines whose origins begin with the god of the sky.
Allora is a key character in the Elbion series. She forges a path through her world, creating her own future.
Ok, tomorrow I'll try to post a couple of these to catch up. :)