Month: October 2016

11 Things I love about Lady Dragon, Tela Du : Book Review

I’m back again with a review of Lady Dragon, Tela Du. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, head over to this post. Otherwise keep reading.

You may wonder why I have eleven thing in my list. There’s no particular reason, I could easily group into more or less. In fact I did have nine.

It’s as good as the first book

Or better. It doesn’t suffer from any common second book problems. But then it’s not exactly a second book, since Kendra has been working on it much longer. 
It touched on many of the same things, but in a fresh way. The relationships were handled differently, the pace was different and many locations were different. The world building wasn’t repetitive of the first book. In fact it worked better because Kendra wasn’t trying to explain everything. Anything necessary just came up naturally.
I certainly wasn’t disappointed by the different characters. I may have liked a few in book one better than their counterparts, but overall they were better.
The Plot Twists

This book had at least 6 plot twist of significance and numerous smaller ones. I saw less than half of them coming. And I like that. I felt smart for what I did figure out, but the ones I didn’t is what made it really brilliant. Because they are telegraphed way back, in very subtle ways. Kendra is brilliant at this.

I also made the mistake of trying to make guesses based of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Yes, this book was inspired by that. But I knew there had been many major changes. Yet still I tried to use it as a pattern. Take my advice, don’t bother making too many predictions. You will never figure it out.

The Emotional Depth

You know how some books seem to change how you feel and you get so full of emotions that you almost burst. The books that you must talk about in some form. This is one of those books. I felt the situations almost as if I was there. It got me pondering deep things. What would it be like if someone else knew what I was thinking, what I have locked away in my heart? What would it be like to have great things asked of me? Things I almost certainly couldn’t do, but felt I couldn’t avoid. What if my life spun completely out of control? Would I still be able to trust God to help me through each day? Am I really trusting him to help me through life now?

Reuben

This is actually a kind of odd one, because though I can’t help liking him, the intensity of his feelings for Petra makes me a bit uncomfortable. an enthusiastic, irrepressible optimist. This often annoys Petra which makes me either annoyed or amused. He can be ridiculous at times, but under it he has his serious moments. I love those serious moments. They’re usually when Petra is worked up and needs sense talked into her.

Petra

She’s an uncommon protagonist. Not at all interested in risking her life to kill Amber. Well not until she has a personal reason to hate her. But people who are willing to risk their lives to make things better for others probably aren’t as common as books would make you think.

She’s also very smart and logical, has a very matter of fact way of speaking and won’t put up with nonsense.

The World

Different colours of water; crazily coloured everything; telepathic, teleporting unicorns; doormats that also teleport you; three different castles; what more could you want? Well there is more, Ambers magical items for example. She has pocket sized stars that do everything from invisibility to changing winds and lots in between: a table that makes its own food; touch activated lights and doors, and much more. And we get a little peek into another world.

Ashna

Every book needs a sweet elf girl doesn’t it? Well maybe not, but we have one here. Ashna goes through a lot of hard things, and though she gets scared she’s not weepy. She’s very quiet and would never intentionally hurt anyone. She’s a contrast to other female characters who easily explode or and least get annoyed. But I think gentleness is common in Kendra’s elves since they are weaker. Her gift is colour change and though it might seem a bit trivial she finds both valuable and caring uses for it.


Family

This isn’t quite a book about family, but it’s got a good bit in it. Parents appear a few times, and are referred to at others. There’s lots of siblings and though they are actually not together for most of the book (instead we get pairs, one from each family), there is a certain closeness and loyalty shown. And in the end of the book, when they are together. It’s very good. I can’t say more than that.

Amber

The villain is always a valid reason for liking a book. I’d met Amber in the previous book, but now I get to see her side of the story. She’s not just some crazy lady who can turn into a dragon. She’s obsessed with the idea of ruling Rizkaland and won’t see what stands in her way. She thinks she knows exactly what she’s doing, but she can’t avoid her destiny. And under her callousness, there’s a slight sense of humour. Characters need a sense of humour.

I hated Amber in the first book, was glad she was going to die and didn’t care how. But somehow Kendra twisted be around so that I actually pitied her. I wished for her to change. Doing that with a villain is masterful

Granite

Amber’s husband. I feel so sorry for him. How could a good man still love his wife when she had been evil for so long? Yet he does. He tries to make her see what she is doing wrong.

He’s also at times quite a fun character. He and Reuben would make quite a pair.

The Themes

Trusting in God to make everything turn out all right. God has a plan even in the things that don’t make the least sense. Sometimes we wonder why he let things happen how they have. Wouldn’t it be so much better if Amber had never come to Rizkaland? Or sometimes we worry about the consequences of our choices. What if the thing we thought was right messed everything up?

But we need not worry. God is in control. If he puts us in a position he will guide us in filling it. I’ll share a couple of favourite lines that express this.

“If that is what You ask of us, then we shall take it one day at a time, as You guide us,” answered Reuben. “Stringing those days together, we’ll end up at the end eventually.”

It also deals with the balance between free will and predestination.

“But if the result is already determined, is it a choice?”

“Yes, it’s still a choice,” Laura answered. “Day after day, I choose to do the tasks set before me. Yes, even I have a choice.”


And once again, the important of commitment in relationships. I like to see love shown in it’s best for rather than the selfish love we often see.


What I didn’t like so much

The structure just didn’t quite feel right. The point of highest tension was at the three quarter mark. After that it slowly dropped, getting down to almost nothing before jumping up pretty high just before the end. It’s not a big problem and my love of the character and a knowledge that something had to happen kept me reading, but it was a little slow.

There wasn’t enough room in the book for all of the characters to be fully developed. There was one couple in particular I would have like to see a little more of. But since that would have had to happen in the end part of the book it would have made the previous problem worse.

Summer disappointed me by being a better person that I’d expected. Which is an odd thing to complain about, but true. 

Content warning

This book was about at the edge of what I can stand as far as romance goes. That was partly because I was reading it aloud to my brothers and have a lower tolerance with them. There’s young married couples doing about what you would expect, kissing, falling asleep together, nothing more than that. And the description tends more towards the character’s emotions than physical sensations.

There’s a bit of violence, with people getting stabbed or turned into ice. I’d say it’s got less than Water Princess, Fire Prince. There’s a bit of blood, but no gore.
So overall, I highly recommend this book for anyone with a taste for fantasy, tales of adventure and high callings, of sacrifice and love.

You can buy Lady Dragon, Tela Du as Kindle or paperback and Goodreads and find Kendra on her blog.  

InNoWriMo: Change of plans

*International Novel Writing Month. That’s what it really should be called.

Hello everyone,

I know I had promised more world building for Verlis, but it turns out I’m not actually going to write A Brigand, No Longer for NaNoWriMo. You see, in that book there will be a war. A war that turns offensive and might involve fully conquering the other country and setting up a new government. And I’m not quite sure of the ethics of that. Something is necessary, but I don’t know how it should be carried out.

Between that problem and generally not being very certain where the book should go, I think I need to let it sit. I’m not ready and though I doubt I’ll hit 50,000 words even if I know exactly what I am going to write, I don’t want this to be a waste. So I’m writing something else.

In fact I’m going rebel and continuing Lady of Courage which I started in April. I’m really looking forward to working on this again. I thought I’d go through some of the Beautiful Books questions again.

What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?

It was actually inspired by a couple of review of the movie Brave. It’s not going to be much like it, but that’s were the seed of the idea came from.

Describe what your novel is about!

It’s a gearpunkish, political fantasy/alternative history about a girl who inherits the throne and must marry. Only there aren’t any eligible and capable men around. Except that guy who trying to take over the whole region and is a just a generally nasty person. Or maybe that person, but the council doesn’t like him. Or that guy, wait, why did he just die? And where are all the ships vanishing to?

What is your book’s aesthetic?

Despite my lighthearted description, this book is actually more tragedy than comedy and will make people cry. Maybe even me.

It’s very brown,  there’s a lot of a light dusty brown and smaller amounts of mahogany. Also deep reds, greens and blues. And touches of black and silver.

Introduce us to each of your characters!

There’s a lot, and I did introduce some of them back in this post. So I’ll just give a couple.

Natalia Rizzetti is basically a princess. She grew up expecting to rule sometime in the future, and has a keen interest in whats going in politics. She’s the center of the social events of the nobility, but feels somewhat alone. These people don’t really like her, they’re just courtiers and flatterers. I think she’s an ESTJ, so very dutiful and good at organizing people.

Rheas Masi is a poor girl who is part of a charity group. Her role is picking up gift and gettinhg the rights to distribute the handouts of the nobles. She has a heart for orphans and tries to get them good jobs as servants. When Natalia sees her being harassed by a man in the market place one day and asks her to become her maid, she’s a bit scared, but takes this great opportunity.

Alexso Acqui is Natalia’s half brother. He wants to be and inventor and explorer. he also wants to prove that he’s not a foolish boy, but can be a bit irresponsible and impulsive.

What are you most looking forward to about this novel?

I love the worldbuilding and the complex political situations. I’m also looking forward to discovering how it all turns out in the end. I didn’t start with a particular husband in mind for Natalia, and though I think I know now, it could turn out differently. I might decide to let her be happy.

List 3 things about your novel’s setting.

They have sky rails and factories.

It’s inspired by Venice and other Italian, maritime, city-states.

I’m borrowing women’s fashion from India. (Maybe men’s too. Also kurtas and kirtles aren’t all that different, so it’s got medieval elements too.)

What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?

She wants to stop too much political power falling into the wrong hands. This means marrying in the next few months. But she also wants to find a truly good man to rule beside her. And there aren’t many of those. Also someone is sinking their ships and her suitors are being killed off if she pays them too much attention.

How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?

She must learn to trust and respect men and realize that people can’t be perfect. Also that she really does need to let those around her help.

What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?

Men need the respect of women, even when they don’t deserve it. We must build one another up and allow opportunities for growth  rather than belittling one another. Neither men nor women can make it alone.

I’m really not sure how I want people to feel. I’m not even sure how I feel about the expected ending. But I do wait to inspire hope, courage, love and grace.

Lady Dragon, Tela Du Launch: Interview with Kendra

It’s here! The book I started reading half a year ago and have mentioned many times on my blog. I present to you, Kendra E. Ardnek’s latest book Lady Dragon, Tela Du!
I’m not going to fangirl much right now as I have a review coming next week, but this book surprised me a lot. Since I knew the inspiration, I thought I knew where it would go. But it didn’t, Kendra went far above and beyond my expectations. This book doesn’t exactly sound like Narnia does it?
Two girls with one face
Two girls with twisted fate
One in purple, one in red
One shall speak the other’s death
Who shall win their final war?
Lady Dragon or Tela Du?

Amber, the Lady Dragon, has been promised a fifty-year reign over Rizkaland and nothing can stop her from claiming it. But when you’ve lived six thousand years, fifty is such a pitiful number. Only one person can keep her from making this reign permanent – the Tela Du, a girl who shall share Amber’s face.

The last thing Petra wants is a magical world interrupting her plans for a normal life, let alone an ultimate battle against the Lady Dragon with only one prophesied survivor. She has her childhood best friend, Reuben, at her side, but she’s not sure if he’s more of a help or a hindrance right now. Though she’d much prefer to just return home and forget about this whole crazy affair, things change when she discovers that the world has surprising connections to her own family – including her sister who disappeared without a trace two years before. Still, Rizkaland can’t possibly expect her to risk her very life, can it?

Well maybe it is a bit like Narnia, but it delves more into character interactions. The depth of emotion is stunning. But I’m getting sidetracked, this isn’t supposed to be a review, I’m actually interviewing Kendra. Since I know her reasonably well I tried to ask deeper questions. Mostly.
So questions:

Me: What is your name, what is your quest and what is your favourite colour? (Umm, I’d been listening binge listening to Lasers, Dragons and Keyboards. That is their intro question.) But what is your quest?

Kendra: My Quest is to find interesting ideas, turn them into stories, and get them into the hands of people who will enjoy the story.

My name is Kendra E. Ardnek and my favorite color is purple.

What is your favourite place to write?

I will write just about anywhere, and I don’t really have a favorite. Most of my writing is done at my desk in my writing cave, though. (I call it a cave because it’s under my loft bed. Which is awesome.)

What is your definition of success in writing?

Writing stories that connect with people. I write for myself, first and foremost, but if the story I write doesn’t connect with people, I feel like I failed. And if my story brings people together, that’s even better.

If you didn’t write what would you do?

Go crazy? Flip hamburgers at McDonalds? Make more hats? I really don’t know.

If you were offered an expenses paid trip to one place in the world, where would you go?

Germany. I do not know why, but I’m a bit obsessed with the country, and they have some cool castles over there that I’d like to explore.

Castles are cool. Personally I want to visit South America for story research.
Kendra, you’ve written a lot of drafts of Lady Dragon, Tela Du. Was there anything big that surprised you about this one?

Laura’s Voice did rather come out of nowhere, as did some of the final details. I also wasn’t aware how connected she was to Amber and Granite’s immortality until I wrote this final draft. And while previous drafts had focused more on Petra’s sisterly relationship with Ashna, Petra’s romantic relationship with Reuben played far more of a role. Also, Noraeto surprised me by already knowing a plot twist ahead of time.

Fascinating. I’ve always wondered what came up in what draft. I love those details that seem to come out of nowhere.
Did you do any interesting or odd research for this book?

I do not remember all of the research I did for the book, for it was done over the course of nearly eleven years. There was the six months of “Read as many non-Narnia fantasy books as I can while avoiding Narnia like the plague,” though. I read some interesting books during that time. 
And during the last draft, I did look up Cherokee marriage proposals.

Ah, yes. *grins*
Is any part of the book inspired directly by personal experience? Or any of your other books?

While I can’t say that it’s a direct inspiration, this book is the story where I poured a lot of my pain after losing my Grammy seven years ago. Also, Reuben’s reaction to arriving in Rizkaland is what I’m pretty sure my reaction would be if I were to actually end up in another world.
As for other books? Well, there is a pie scene in Do You Take This Quest? inspired by an actual argument between two of my cousins a few Thanksgivings ago.

That scene is fun. I never would have guessed.
What is something you want people to take away from Lady Dragon, Tela Du?

The knowledge that God is in control and has a plan, no matter how impossible things might seem, and the power of forgiveness, even when it’s difficult.

What is an overarching theme for the series?

It seems to be the fact that God is in control, though that’s a theme that is common with almost all of my writing. Sacrificial love and commitment is another theme.

And that’s just what I thought. Sometimes I wonder if I’m understanding books the way the author intends. It’s so easy to jump at one thing and decided that’s the theme. It was great to have you, Kendra.

Thank you Anna


And just in case you don’t already know everything about Kendra, I have the official bio.

Kendra E. Ardnek is a homeschool graduate who picked up a pen at an early age and never put it down. The eldest of four, she makes her home in the Piney Woods of East Texas with her parents, younger siblings, giant herd of giraffes, and honor guard of nutcrackers.


You can find her on her blog and website. Add the book on Goodreads, and if I’ve managed to convince you to buy it you can get it on Kindle and as a paperback. A wonderfully thick paperback.
Also Water Princess, Fire Prince,  Book 1 of the Rizkaland Legends, will be free until the 23rd.
To finish Kendra is letting me share a delightful little snippet.

Ashley didn’t hesitate. She ran back out of the house and then walked across the street to Queen Michelle’s house. Summer answered the door when she knocked. 
“Did Petra change her mind and chase you off?” Summer asked, narrowing her eyes as she leaned against the doorframe. 
Ashley took a step backward and hastily shook her head. “I – I need to talk to your mother.” 
“Why?” 
“Because…” It was sometimes so difficult to not mention Rizkaland to people who didn’t know about it. “Because Mum wants to talk to her.” 
Summer rolled her eyes. “You do know that you really don’t have to call her that just because Petra does. In fact, it annoys Petra when you do. Unless you enjoy annoying Petra, and last time I checked, you didn’t.” 
“Mum suits her,” Ashley quickly answered, glancing down. “It sounds more respectful than ‘mom,’ and I can’t call her ‘Mother.’” 
Summer raised an eyebrow, but instead of questioning Ashley’s statement, she straightened with a toss of her hair. “Well, why are we standing in the doorway wasting cold air? If you want to talk to my mom, come in and find her. Last time I checked, she was home.”

There will be more fun stuff about the book in these places today.

The World of the Verlisi: Natural Features

Peace to you my friends.

Plotting a story is hard work so I didn’t feel like doing some deep post about writing. Instead I thought I’d share some bits about the world that Girl of the Rumours is set in. I think it’s interesting (otherwise I’d have invented something else) and telling you about it will help me solidify my ideas.

I’ve already shared the common local greeting, so now I should introduce the world.

Suppose many, many different things had happened in the past of our world, and that something had happened in South America that depleted the population a lot. Also the geography formed differently. Then in 1343 a group of people from many different nations arrived there and settled the land. My story takes place about 300 years after this arrival. There are many different entities, but the most important to my story is a union of kingdom of many provinces and another nation that separated from it about a hundred years before. That nation is Nalanza, and the most important provinces are Verlis and Amra.

Geography and climate:

This is all based loosely off Peru, Ecuador and Paraquay. Imagine mountains, jungle, sweeping plains and waterfalls. It’s still a bit hard to figure out. I should have looked at the geography and then figured out where everything should go, but I got an idea in my head first and it doesn’t really fit. I’ll figure it out somehow. I can tweak it if I want. This is supposed to be fantasy after all.

I’ll just give the basic of what I do know. The province of Wherm is coastal and a bit on the dry side. Then Verlis is made up of large valleys among mountains. There are plenty of small rivers cutting through and lots of farm land. There is a very long, warm wet season. It mostly dries up in the winter, so that’s the best time to travel if you have any choice. And the dragons are less active in the coldest weather.

Along one side border the mountains become very tall and very difficult to navigate. And one end is an area of very rough jungle. It runs right up into the big mountains. On the other side of the jungle is Amra. There’s a big river separating the two. Amra is more rugged and mountainous, but still gets about the same rain. Finally over the mountains we have Nalanza. it’s mostly savannah and a bit arid in places.

Fauna and flora:

Such eyes. How could they kill such a creature?

I mentioned dragons above. They’re not your typical, big, fire breathing dragons. These creatures are
small, and mostly eat bugs and small rodents. They have been know to make off with young poultry as well.

I also have smallish wild cats inspired by ocelots, but more colourful. They’re a menace when traveling, but it’s illegal to kill them without special permission. They’re not likely to kill you if you have a weapon, but they can give nasty scratches. So rather a lot are killed illegally.

There are herds of a creature that is somewhere between alpaca and buffalo, which are used for fiber pack animals, and occasionally meat. In Nalanza they have donkeys as well.

There are myriads of parrots, insects and small mammals including rabbits. In some areas they have various messenger birds. I’m thinking something fiercer than pigeons.

For plants I have not invented much that is unique. There areyour typical rainforest plants, and for crops they have corn and potatoes and many varieties of beans. There are also many plants used for dyes. Textiles are a big industry in Amra, so these are in high demand.

I hope you enjoyed this. Next week I’ll be talking about culture, custom, clothing and cities.

Beautiful Books: A Brigand, No Longer

It’s the time of the month when I usually do the Beautiful People link up. But it’s also the time of the year when we take a break to talk about books. In particular, books we’re about to start writing.

This book I’m about to write is tentatively titled A Brigand, No Longer. It’s a sequel to Girl of the Rumours. There may or may not be another book coming after it. I really didn’t want to write a trilogy, but I cannot fit all of my ideas into one more story.


What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?

It was probably about a year ago that I came up with an interesting twist to Girl of the Rumours that would leave a couple of characters in a very interesting situation. That twist is not the same anymore. It actually involved a character, who has changed a lot of the course of the first draft (sometimes she was a young woman looking after her brother and sister, now she is their mother). Also there were too many coincidences in the story. Anyway there still seems to be some complex situations, and I wanted more room to play with some themes and relationships.

Describe what your novel is about!
Joane, the former lady brigand, is having trouble adjusting to her new circumstances. It’s clear that she was meant to live out in the wilds and most people agree. So when shes hears that her former followers are forming into small warring factions and generally causing trouble, there is a strong urge to run away and get them back into line. But she knows her duty lies elsewhere. And that’s about what I can write from the little I know. It’s vague, but I can’t give away spoilers for the previous book. Many other characters make a return though. And Arthen and Leisa marry.
What is your book’s aesthetic? Use words or photos or whatever you like!
I’m really not sure how to answer this one. I don’t even no how to describe it as a room. But it’s more town than forest. Formal garden terraces, people sewing uniforms, an apothecary shop. A strategy planning map, arrows through windows, making bandages. Mocking laughter, a burning village, a formal dance.

Introduce us to each of your characters!
I really can’t do this very much. I’m not yet sure how much to let out about who continues. But I’ll describe Joane and a few fairly minor characters.
Joane doesn’t smile much, she’d rather stare daggers through you. She can take charge of a room, but is in her element outdoors. Her black curly hair is too short to stay up well and she always has a weapon hidden about her.
Lady Naida Harly is a small, sprightly old woman. There’s always a twinkle in her eye that says she understands you even when you don’t say a word. But she’s also ready to make you talk about it, and extremely hard to say no to.
Marcon Keresh is the second son of the Noble of Whern. He’s slight pretentious, means fairly well, but thinks he knows how things should be done. (Also I didn’t know he existed before I started writing this)
How do you prepare to write? (Outline, research, stocking up on chocolate, howling, etc.?)
I fill in things like this, throw random ideas around and try to organize them into something useful. And I’m getting writing books from the library again.
What are you most looking forward to about this novel?
Putting Joane into many uncomfortable situations. Letting my characters grow more. Figuring out who Marcon is. Having father-daughter relationships.

List 3 things about your novel’s setting.
It takes place in a city much more than the first book.
There will be some opulent surroundings at times.
It’s summer, so lots of heat and the early harvest.
What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?
She’s trying to save her old followers from themselves, and help people survive a war. A new leader among the brigands and a lot of stubbornness and fear all round is making it difficult.

How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?
I really hope she becomes more humble, trusting and forgiving.

What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?
One theme is learning to trust, when things seem out of your control. Also learning to obey when when another path makes more sense. And being willing to live with people who ridicule you.
I want people to feel glad that they read it. And encouraged. Certainly encouraged.

Character Game Wrap up and Introductions

Hello friends,

So at the beginning of last month, I asked all of you to make guesses about a list of characters from Lady of Courage.

I got 11 answers and gathered some interesting information. First I’ll share some stats and how many points people get. Then I’ll actually tell you a bit about the characters.


So if I went with the popular vote on who filled each role I would have:

Rodrigo Baldini and Orsini Rizzetti as villains. They tied and 5 votes each. However, every man got at least one vote as villain. Considering I have complicated political intrigue going on, there really is more than one villain.

Justini Rizzetti as the Hero who marries Natalia. I had three people in second place, including Rodrigo Baldini again. Orsini Rizzetti was the only one who didn’t get a vote.

And Valentina Orberti (who just happens to be the wife of Orsini Rizzetti) is the villainess. Eloisa Muertas was a close second, probably due to me forgetting that her last name is supposed to be spelled Murtas. There’s a less close association with death that way.

Bettina Baldini was the only one nobody thought was the villainess, though she was labeled as spoiled mean chick.

Points:

I decided not to actually give numbers though I calculated them. Partly because I don’t want people making deductions from them, and partly because wrong guesses are as helpful as right guesses.
But Alyssa Hollingsworth gets the most points for accuracy and the number of  helpful guesses. I just checked out her website and it looks like a really helpful one for writers. So since I can’t really give a prize and I don’t really know her, why don’t all of you go over there and visit her?
Thank you, Alyssa.

The next most accurate person was an anonymous stranger, and then we have Sarah. Thank you both and thank you all. You have helped me determine that in general my names don’t lean too strongly in any direction. I don’t want my hero to be disliked because he sounds like a villain or my villain to be overly obvious.

About the characters:

Now I get onto the really fun stuff. I will tell you all why your guesses are inaccurate or ridiculous. And I might actually tell you who the villain is because it isn’t really an important secret.

My protagonist is Natalia Rizzetti, heir to the top position in the Republic of Vecoa. That’s a republic like Venice, not like our modern republics.

Rhesa

Celino Acqui is Natalia’s stepfather. He’s a nobleman and trading merchant. Cloe Neroni is her mother and a very good woman. Rhesa is a peasant girl who becomes Natalia’s maid.

Justini is a second cousin of hers and is a count. The general opinion is that he only cares for parties and gaming, but his affairs are very well managed and he does always turn up if something important comes up in the council room and his wife is a contented woman.

Ivano and Taddio are a couple of Natalia’s suitors. Rubina Falco is Ivano’s mother and Lorenzo is her brother. He is a widower with a six year old daughter.

Eloisa

Eloisa Murtas is a cousin  and close friend of Natalia’s. She’s also the captain over a regiment of the guard and along with her husband Fausto is a council member. Luca Mondo is her brother-in-law and under her command.

Orsini Rizzetti and Valentina Orberti are Natalia’s uncle and aunt. Aunt Valentina is also Taddio’s aunt. You can guess where that might put her as far as meddling with who Natalia marries.

Rodrigo Baldini is a council man, with a very good eye for how to achieve what he thinks is best for everyone’s interests. Bettina is his daughter. She’s a bit silly, but Natalia considers her to be a friend.

Demetrio

And lastly we have Demetrio Pavone, the son of the Duke of Doranto. The sovereign Duchy of Doranto is a major sea power despite being quite small. Demetrio is another of Natalia’s suitors, despite the fact that she’s never liked him and turned him down immediately. So now he is trying his very best powers of persuasion, since a union would be of great benefit to both states.

There are other characters that I shall certainly mention later on. And I expect to add more as I write the book. To have political factions, intrigue and foreign politics, quite a number of characters are necessary.

Now next week I will probably be talking about current projects or writing in general, instead this shelved project I want to get back into it, but I can’t focus on multiple projects and others are more demanding.

Thank you all again. If you want to add any more speculations about these characters, please do.

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