Tag: Lady of Courage (page 1 of 2)

Beautiful New Covers and a Crossover Ficlet

They’re here. Six beautiful new covers for the books I love to talk about here. Well at least I love talkihng about Rizkaland, and can’t avoid talking about Rizkaland. I cannot recal if I’ve ever talked about The Ankulen. I should have mentioned it because it makes me laugh and I love it.

Kendra’s sneak peeks had given me an idea of what some of the covers looked like. She also had shared a cover she was working on which was nothing like the final product and nowhere near as awesome. Unexpected plot twist there.

The books are also being edited to make them all shinier and add extra special content. Kendra’s first book, Sew, It’s a Quest has already been re-released, and the others are on their way. And if you want a copy of all the new books, Kendra currently is running a give-away of the full set. Head over to her blog to check it out. Any comments on this post count towards the giveaway.

But enough of me yammering. You want to see the covers and then you want to read the mini fanfic I wrote which crosses over with my own stories. (Don’t ask me how I know what you want. I just do. It’s a blogging skill.)

Covers are incoming!!!!

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Sew, It’s a Quest

It’s lovely, and shiny and pink!

Two twins in a fairy tale world must find their Fairy Godmother before their eighteenth birthday, lest they forever be stuck with the other’s gift. (Cause that would be bad, you know, when your gifts are sewing and swordplay.)

Kendra’s Revison notes: I sent this book to my kindle, tore it to shreds, then retyped the whole thing, making every word fight to stay in the book. I completely rewrote one chapter, and added/expanded several scenes, focusing on character development and pacing, in particular Robin’s character.

She did an awesome job too. It’s changed from being a nice story, to a great book.

GoodreadsPaperback – FREE ebook

 

Do You Take This Quest

You know I love the colour purple, right? And incorporating the old cover is awesome.

A prince’s quest for allies against his misery uncle and a madcap race to get home for a wedding. (Also an odd girl looking for a paintbox, and some funny family resemblances.)

Kendra’s Revision notes: This book has one added chapter, a few (potentially) added scenes, and a severe edit. Again, focus is going to Robin’s character development. I hadn’t the maturity to completely handle her emotional situation when I wrote this book, and now I intend to fix that.

I’ve seen the extra chapter and it’s amazing. A lot of emotional depth to it.

Goodreads

 

My Kingdom for a Quest

Prince Arthur’s quest to take back his kingdom, and Casperl’s quest to find out how, exactly, he’s a prince.

Kendra’s notes: This book was mostly clean … but it’s getting a part two. AKA, book 3.5, The Quest for a Quince, AKA, Casperl’s story. There will be a edit to part one, though.

I’m not the biggest Bookania fan out there, but I’ve enjoyed every snippet from The Quest for a Quince that I’ve seen so far. I think something big is going on, but I don’t know what. (common trait of Kendra’s books)

Goodreads

Those first three covers were made by Kendra. The next three are designed by Alea Harper, an excellent aspiring designer. Go over to her website Elvish Pens, Fantastical Writings and have a look at the covers she’s made for her own writing. (She made me a rough one when I mentioned the elements I’d like. She’s awesome.)

 

The Ankulen

Jen knows she had an imagination once – how far will she go to get it back?

This is especially a great book for writers. It takes place in an intersection of imagination and reality, makes fun of a few of Kendra’s writing tendencies, and explores the purpose of imagination. It’s also thoroughly fun and has chapter titles like: In Which I Discover that My Imagination is Gray.

Goodreads

 

Water Princess, Fire Prince

When two teens are pulled into another world, fire and water must work together to defeat a dragon.

I absolutely love this cover. The colours fit so well with the book. It give it a much more dignified look than the original cover. It might also help me get over my mental image of Rizkaland as white. There is snow when the book begins, and even when it’s gone, I still picture it. Snow and coloured trees.

Goodreads

 

Lady Dragon, Tela Du

Purple – Red – Beautiful

Only the Tela Du stands in Amber’s way for ruling Rizkaland forever. Petra would much rather find her long-lost sisters than fight a Lady Dragon.

I just dicovered I have a slight attachment to the old cover for this book. Yes, this one is better. Yes, I complained a little about the other not matching my standards. But its gold, and its vibrancy made me love it anyway. The one bit of my mind that wants things to stay the same is fighting with rest over how excited I should be.

 

Check out what everyone says about the covers and comment over there too. Then read my fanfic.

 

As part of the giveaway on her blog, Kendra is asking for crossover fanfics. There’s a number of options, but I choose to pull a few of my characters into Rizkaland. I have Demetrio from Lady of Courage and Cassia from SubM. Demetrio is supposed to be a villain, but doesn’t act like it, while Cassia remains anonymous and is a nuisance. I hope you like it.

 

Just Get Off the Mat

It was still early summer, but there was a patch of red leaves showing through the trees ahead. Demetrio pushed ahead. If the trees were suffering from some blight, he ought to know about it.

Further on were still more red trees. He stepped from the path to see how far the trees extended. They vanished again. Puzzled, he stepped back to the path. The trees appeared again. Demetrio hurried on. There was a loud click behind him and he whirled around.

Impossible. Red trees surrounded him. Yellow grass too. Was he going mad?

“Excuse me sir, What way would I walk to find a town?”

Demetrio scanned the trees and spotted a small golden-haired girl under one of the trees. He strode forward and grabbed her wrist.

“What have you done to the trees?” he demanded.

“I? The trees? They were red when I arrived here. Where they different before?” the girl asked.

“There were green trees here, just a minute ago. And green grass. Not this atrocity. Don’t pretend you know nothing about it.”

The girl’s eyes grew big. “You’re not from here either, I see. And you don’t know what happened.”

Demetrio loosened his grip on the girl. “Where is this then? Because last time I checked, I was very much from Doranto.”

The girl sighed. “It seems there was some reason for me to be here then. You’re not in Doranto anymore. You’re in another world. She said it was called Rizkaland before she disappeared.”

“Rizkaland? World? She?” Demetrio pulled his hat off and rubbed at his head. “What on earth do you mean?”

“I mean you’ve been transported to a place completely disconnected from where ever you’ve come from. Unfortunately, that means you can’t get back all on your own. Neither can I. So, we’re stuck here. And there is magic which just makes it all worse.”

Demetrio raised his eyebrows. He still had no idea what was going on, but his senses said this was real. So presumably the magic was real and could be useful. “What is this magic? I’m not sure I believe you.”

The girl twisted her had from his grip and stepped away. “You really don’t need to know.”

Demetrio took a step after the girl and grabbed her by both wrists. “Tell me. Please.”

She stared back at him for a long moment. “Fine. But I’ll advise you to avoid all of it. Magic is not something to be meddled with and there could be all kinds in this place. Take this for example.” She pointed at a purple mat under their feet. “If you say a special word, it transports you somewhere else.”

“Do you know what the word is?”

“Yes, but I’m not using it. I don’t do magic. That’s why I asked which way the nearest town was.”

Demetrio stared at her. “I don’t suppose you could tell me the word.”

“Nope. I wouldn’t want to have someone else’s use of magic on my mind. We’ll just have to wait for someone else to turn up.”

“You said there was a woman here?”

The girl nodded. “Yep, she went off on the mat to find someone else when I refused to use it. She’ll probably be trying to come back about now.”

Demetrio tugged at the girl. “Look here. I don’t know how these things work, but I’d imagine it’s not a good idea to stand on them when someone else wants to use them.”

She pulled back. “Oh, they just won’t work. But I don’t want her using magic either.”

~The End~

Beautiful People: Celino and Cloe

So it’s Link-up time of month again. And time to get back into character questions. In other words, it’s Beautiful People time. And because of a 3rd (or 1st) century bishop (or priest) who may (or may not) have had something to do with marrying people against the emperor’s orders, the theme for February is couples.

Now I have several couples in Lady of Courage. But I can’t talk about Natalia because that’s too complicated, and I’d rather not talk about her friend Eloisa who made a political marriage, so I’m going to talk about Natalia’s parents. Or rather her mother and her step-father. But they’re still both her parents and theirs is a lovely story, if I do say so myself.

Celino Acqui

Now I had better introduce them both properly.

Celino Acqui is a merchant and a veteran of the Third Yallici war. 
Cloe Neroni was raised to occupy a high position and was an assistant to the late Deso of Vecoa and the mother of his heir.
Besides Natalia they have Alexso who is fifteen and Sofia and Teresa who are twelve.

How and why did they meet?

Cloe: Supposedly it was the second time I met Sebastian (my first husband). I was sixteen at the time and very nervous, though excited about the possibility of an engagement. I do however remember him being with Sebastian when he visited me in between then and our wedding.
Celino: I distinctly remember being dancing with her once on the first occasion. Sebastian asked me to help entertain her, then made me promise not to step on her feet.

What were their first impressions of each other?
Celino: I thought that she would be good for Sebastian and make a wonderful Desa for Vecoa when the time came. And I’ll admit I thought she was rather young.

Cloe: When I did properly meet him I was impressed by his devotion to Sebastian. And possibly a little too admiring of his swagger and skill with the sword. He wasn’t so steady and cautious back before the war.If he had been I might have attempted to set him up with one of my friends and then where would we be. 

How would they prove their love for each other?

Celino: Well she listens to me and confides in me.
Cloe: I would have to say the same.

Cloe Neroni

What would be an ideal date?

Cloe: A date for what? The only big occasions to plan are all Natalia’s and I doubt are what you’re asking about. But late spring is preferable.
Is there something they emphatically disagree on?

Cloe: Celino still thinks I wouldn’t have married him if Sebastian hadn’t left a clear letter asking me to let Celino take care of me if he was killed. But though the letter may have played a part, especially in him offering, I couldn’t help but be won around to him.
Celino: And I disagree with that statement. She convinced me of her story years ago. I don’t understand why, but I believe it.

List 5 quirks they know about each other. 


Cloe: Celino doesn’t like going into the city without his big admiral’s hat. Even as a merchant he’s still got that sea blood. Sometimes I think if it weren’t for his commitments he’d been raging off over the sea.
Celino: But you know the war ruined me for seafaring. I’d go if there was a war, but that will be a terrible day.
Cloe: He also hates politics and is very fond of the tapping noise his wooden leg makes. Now what do you have to say about me, dear?
Celino: I have no such awkward things say about you. There’s only your odd preference for Rosan partridge over our native pike.
Cloe: I grew up in Rosa. It’s natural I’m partial to their food.
Celino: But you spent an equal time on the isle of Fazoe.You didn’t have partridges there. And that was where they taught you to cook.
Cloe: And that my dear, is why I have never eaten a badly cooked partridge.

What’s one thing they know about each other that no one else does? (and now you will)
Celino: Cloe almost joined a religious order when she was fifteen and again straight after the war.
Cloe: I’m sure at least one other person knows that. The same with the dreadful secret I have. When he was twenty Celino helped captured an Ayutian ship and almost married a girl on it.
Celino: *raises eyebrows* Did Sebastian tell you that story? And it wasn’t nearly so close as that. Her mother told me to behave or I had better marry her, but there was never anything for her to worry about.

What’s one thing that they keep secret from each other?
I was unable to ask this question so I just went digging around in what I already knew. I don’t think Cloe tells Celino all of her hopes for Natalia and he has never shared a particular secret that Natalia confided in him.
How would their lives be different without each other?
Cloe: I’d be a lonely widow meddling too much in the life of her only child and Celino would be another mad sea captain. And no, that’s not debatable.
Where do they each see this relationship going?
Cloe: Well we’ve been married seventeen years. Let’s see if we can make it to 70.
Celino: I think you mistake your math. I won’t live to be one hundred years old.


I hope you enjoyed that. I haven’t developed them as well as I’d like yet, but I got a bit of banter going.

Beautiful Books: Goals and Interruptions

Hello readers, writer, friends and- I don’t think there are enemies reading my blog. If you are, please say hi.

I was starting to write about what writing I’d planned for this month and what was really happening when I remembered the Beautiful Books link-up was waiting for me. Since it is one on goals I’ll try to make it fit together.

What were your writing achievements last year?

I finished the first draft of my first novel, mostly re wrote it, wrote most of a second one, and started brainstorming a sequel. Not entirely in that order. It was a good year.

What’s on your writerly “to-do list” for 2017?

Finish Lady of Courage, get Girl of the Rumours reading to critique partners or maybe even beta readers. Probably write its sequel, though that depends on whether it is ready to be written when I have time.
As for this month, I had big goals: I was going to be writing 40,000 words, mostly on Lady of Courage. Anything else including blog post would be counted too. Otherwise my blog won’t happen with a high word count goal. I thought I might do a little bit of outlining on A Brigand, No Longer, but nothing else was expected.

The Secret Story

Then two things happened. First I was given a shiny new idea that get’s better the more I think about it. It’s a secret project I can’t talk about much, but I’m doing world building. And I’m not just mashing up bits from our world though there is a bit of that. I’ve finally veered off into what couldn’t be in our world.

It’s amazing how starting with nothing allows for more consideration of ideals. I’m not making a utopia, but I can put in more of my ideals for life, work education and government. I can actually make a clearer reflection of the truths of our world I believe to be important. I knew that stories allow one to do that before now, but I hadn’t experienced it so fully.

So because of that I haven’t gotten much work done on Lady of Courage. This week I’m forcing myself to get back to work on it.

The second interruption is one that actually has an impact of my word count. I’m going away for a week.  It’s an intensive course on planning one’s life to impact the world. I’ll be writing, but it’s not the stuff I count. So my goal has shrunk.

Tell us about your top-priority writing projects for this year!

I think this means add more details. Girl of the Rumours is still in a fairly rough state, but the only big changes are content added to the middle and  the climax. The rest needs some continuity checking, some serious evaluation and a little polish.

I’m hoping doing that will help me sort out what happens in  A Brigand, No Longer. For it I’ve just got a bunch of ideas that  I’m not sure how they fit in. It’s likely there will be a third book, but the ideas aren’t clear enough.

How do you hope to improve as a writer? Where do you see yourself at the end of 2017? 

I haven’t gotten much feedback on my writing so far. I’m hoping the critique process will really help me figure out my weaknesses and strengths. From there I’ll be in a much better place to write.

Describe your general editing process. 
I’ve hardly done enough editing to turn it into a process. For my first book the first edit was when I copied it from note book to computer. There were subtle changes I added as I copied. There were bigger things that happen though out it. When I actually begun that I’d just figured out the main line of the story and had to change the whole beginning to fit it. Then I go back over and tidy things up. I refine my characters.
For my other books it’ll be a little different, because it is already on the computer. But I’ll still be re writing things I’ve thought better of and making other big changes.
On a scale of 1-10, how do you think this draft turned out? 

Well it’s not quite finished yet. But I’ll put it at 6 overall.
What aspect of your draft needs the most work?
The complex threads. A lot of them were dropped and the subtlety was lost. I’ll need to add them in and tie it all together. Also the political scenes could really do with smoother intrigue.

What do you like the most about your draft? 
The themes of friendship and communication that are coming though. And the sacrificial themes. That’s something I didn’t fully realize until I wrote this.There’s a lot of love and mostly not the romantic kind. I’m also loving the teenaged brother inventor. He’s fun.

What are your plans for this novel once you finish editing? More edits? Finding beta readers? Querying? Self-publishing? Hiding it in a dark hole forever? 
More editing. Then some critiquing will have to come, then more edits. Rise and repeat several times. Then I’ll think about querying.

What’s your top piece of advice for those just finished writing a first draft?

    Let is sit for a month or two. Then read it over. Don’t think about it too much in between. Work on something else. But do come back. It’s worth it. Also write yourself an ridiculous. encouraging letter that will help you keep on when the editing seems hopeless.
    And that’s that. Except I haven’t shared the new name I have for the larger country Girl of the Rumours takes place in. Verlis is the main setting, but it’s just a province. The whole land is called NéaElefthéri. Ne-a el-ef-THAIR-ree. NéaElefthéri. There is a chance you can talk me into explaining it.
    So do you have any excitng new writing developments? Or just a stubborn unmoving goal to move towards? Tell me about it.

    Beautiful Books: NaNoWriMo Update!!!

    So I started writing this post in the first week of November. Now I’ve finally finished it. I also finished NaNoWriMo for the first time half an hour ago!!!

    So I’m doing the Beautiful Books link up by Cait@Paper Fury and Skye@Further Up and Further In.


    Overall, how is your mental state, and how is your novel going?

    My mental state is fine. (Read elated and hugging everyone now)I went into NaNo expecting to fail. On Day two I changed my mind. It hasn’t changed back yet. I am almost there now and completely confident I can make it. Now I’m done!!! My novel on the other hand is a mess. The middle came together better than I expected at the start, but there are huge bits I haven’t written and entire plot thread I’ve missed. It’ll probably need to be rewritten in entirety. But I don’t care. Keeping the story in my head is rather pointless.

    What’s your first sentence (or paragraph)?

    I didn’t start at the beginning, and the beginning I do have I’m not happy with.(and I’ve already written two versions) Further more I’m not 100% sure what bit I wrote first this month. so I’ll share both. 

    This month: The ambassador bowed, showing a bald patch in his greasy black hair.

    Very beginning: However nice it is to be surrounded by sycophants, sometimes a girl just needs the presence of a good strong man. Natalia rose to the tips of her shoes and scanned the milling crowd.


    Who’s your current favourite character in your novel?

    Early in the month, Natalia’s half brother Alexos. he’s kind of inspired by my brother and is very adventurous. there’s also a couple of tertiary (I think. My secondary and tertiary characters like to get mixed up) characters, who are fun. A super enthusiastic, irrepressible maid and a mad sea captain.

    Since then I’ve become rather fond of Luca and Lorenzo in particular, but all my character are working their way into my affections.
    What do you love about your novel so far?

    New ideas for what should happen keep coming. I never intended to have all my characters pretending to be someone else, but it happens. (a good number at least)

    Have you made any hilarious typos or other mistakes?
    Nataia, Natlai, Natali, Matali, Natatalai, Naltai, Nalatai; I can’t type my main character’s name, It’s a bit of a nuisance. Natlai is the most common mistake. (When trying to type it wrong it came out right somehow.)
    What is your favourite to write: beginning, middle, or end — and why?
    I like it when things go really well and pull together in surprising ways, and that happens most in endings. but all of it can be fun.
    What are your writing habits? Is there a specific snack you eat? Do you listen to music? What time of day do you write best? Feel free to show us a picture of your writing space!
    Shelves new yesterday!

    I often, but not always listen to music. Getting a good bit of writing down in the morning is a goal, but I do it later in the day as well, including quite late.

    How private are you about your novel while you’re writing? Do you need a cheer squad or do you work alone?
    I don’t tend to share much because my work is full of typos, but being able to talk about the joys and trials is important. And sometimes I just need someone to help me focus. Kendra E. Ardnek has been great with that. She does share it, and that also keeps me from getting too stuck in my own head. And when I felt like procrastinating she was great with that too.

    What keeps you writing even when it’s hard?

    Determination and word sprints. Some with Kendra and Erika Mathews, a lot with the lovely people in the Realm Makers Consortium, and a couple with my little brother. I tried using Write or Die a bit, but if either my internet or computer is too slow it doesn’t register my writing quick enough and dies instead.


    What are your top 3 pieces of writing advice?
    1. Write something you’re enthusiastic about

    2. Study the craft

    3. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself.

    And here’s the graph of my monthly wordcount:


    And that is that. What have you all gotten done this month. Tell me, even if it’s small. There’s plenty of achievements other than writing a horrendous 50,124 words.

    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.

    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.

    Books as Rooms Challenge

    Hello friends,

    Hope Ann tagged me for a writing challenge that Writefury started. I had said someone might tag me and this looks like a very fun one.

    I, not paying attention, went and made my own tag graphic.

    Rules:

    1. Link back to Writefury and the person who tagged you. 
    2. Write 3 of your own books as rooms. They can be finished, works in progress, or even just ideas, but they have to be your own. 
    3. Write 1 of your favorite books to read as a room. 
    4. Tag 5 other people.

    At least, that’s the basic idea. It seems that these are actually guidelines, more than the way it must be done. But I´ll try to follow it anyway.

    My Books:

    Girl of the Rumours

    An old, low broken down room of wood and stone. There are cloth wall hangings that may have been bright jewel tones once, but are now dingy and torn. A single oil lamps burns brightly on a table in the center of the room, illuminating a jeweled knife and a silver necklace. Sacks sit in the shadows of one corner, low bench seats in another. And around the window openings, vines are creeping in.


    Lady of Courage

    An enormous paneled room with a vaulted ceiling and a set of ornate, curving staircases opening onto a platform at one end. In the centre of the carpeted floor is a massive oval table surrounded by silk upholstered chairs. The table is covered by maps, papers and writing implements, with small lit globes at intervals. The rest of the room is occupied with small clusters of chairs and a few small tables. Along the walls are curtained alcoves and door ways with magnificent paintings hung in between them. At the opposite end to the stairs is an gigantic clock.

    A Maretegna Mystery (something I may write one day; this is not the title)

    A small room with wooden slat walls. At one end is a kitchen with neatly stacked dishes, bins of food in a corner and a brightly burning fire with an pot bubbling away over it. At the other end is a table with odds and ends laid out over it along with small neatly written notes. Chairs sit askew around it and underneath a doll rests against a crude wooden horse.

    Not My Book:

    The Victor by Patricia St. John
    A dark, one-room hut with a dim oil lamp sitting on the floor. To one side there is a sleeping mat, to the other a fishing net. A few bloody shards of pottery lie scattered around.
    And now I tag people. this is when I wish I had more blogging friends. So I’ll tag some people who don’t know me so well, along with a few who do.

    Victoria Grace Howell

    And if I forgot anyone and you want to do it, please consider yourselves tagged.

    Game: How do names affect our perception of characters?

    Hello friends,

    I have a serious post in the works, but it’s not coming as quick as I’d like. So while that’s not happening i thought I’d do a little experiment. Sometimes characters have a especially villainous or heroic name. Other times they’re more subtle. And I was wondering just how much effect they have on perception of character.

    Speaking personally, I tend to carry on traits between characters with the same name. I think I even start imagining some similarities that aren’t really there. And when they are similar, well, Marcus shall always mean soldier and protector in my mind, because of several characters with those traits.

    Anyway I wanted to see what you all thought of the names I have in Lady of Courage. There are a couple of villains in the book and there are a few especially noble people including the one who ends up marrying Natalia, my heroine.

    So I’ll give you a list and in the comment you can tell me who you think the villains are and who the hero is. Feel free to add any other comments about them if you like.

    Celino Acqui                  Justini Rizzetti             Demetrio Pavone

    Taddio Orberti               Lorenzo Falco                    Luca Mondo

    Orsini Rizzetti                    Ivano Naldi                Rodrigo Baldini 

    Also there is a female antagonist. Guess who that is?

    Eloisa Muertas                Rhesa Masi                  Valentina Orberti

    Rubina Falco                Cloe Neroni                   Bettina Baldini


    And in case you hadn’t noticed the names have an Italian feel to them. But you had noticed because you’re all smart people and I made it kind of obvious. And the women do not change their last names when they marry, so if people have the same last name don’t assume they’re husband and wife.

    I’m looking forward to telling you bits and pieces about these people in the future. Some more than others, because of secrets and the fact that some are more significant than others. To keep those secrets for now, I’m not going to tell you what the right answers are. But I will give you all points for correct guesses of any sort and announce them at the end of the month. And I’ll add one extra question; who do you think dies?

    9 Ways my Beliefs, Interests and Personality Try to Affect my Writing

    I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while now. This is not necessarily about the ways my beliefs should be affecting my writing, but just about small things. Little unnecessary things that are sometimes good, but sometimes annoying. It fits in well with a Writing Excuses podcast of a few weeks ago about examining unconscious biases.

    Many of them are actually somewhat important beliefs but might not actually benefit from the way they come through in my story. To make a point, bad examples are important as well good ones. Other points might actually just be tendencies I have for other reasons.

    1. I have trouble making my main characters bad
    2. To be exact, I’m not right stories about people who you could call villains, but I do want them to be flawed. But with some of the flaws I shrink back and think that I’m making them into a person who isn’t nice enough. Of course that might actually be a legitimate concern, I don’t want my characters to be unlikeable. But that doesn’t mean that Natalia has to be the perfect sister. Especially if the story is partly about the fact she isn’t the best sister.

    3. I prefer to show the society I like
    4. Lady of Courage was intended to be set in a very feministic society. But I don’t like feministic societies, so despite the fact I was trying to show some of the problems in one, it keeps creeping towards being more equally governed. I think I’ve found a balance I’m comfortable with now and a good reason for many of the people in power to be women. There was this very terrible war about 20 years before… But I’m not here to explain my backstory, that’ll have to come some other time, when I’m actually working on the story.

    5. I try to invent food I consider healthy
    6. This one is slightly ridiculous, since I still haven’t figured out diet and nutrition stuff for myself and the lifestyle and amount of physical labour of my characters is somewhat different to my own. I was going to give them beans as the main staple instead of a grain. Fortunately I did some research and realized that every civilization has a grain or other starch as a main staple. But my characters still won’t be getting much sugar.

    7. I write minimal romance
    8. I’m not actually sure why this is, but I cringe from to much focus on romance. I value the commitment side of relationships over the emotion side.
      Lady of courage has a major focus on Natalia needing to marry someone. But it’s not so much a story about love as it is about respect and working together. The romance might come in more when I actually write it, but it might not. In Girl of the Rumours one of the relationships have very strong parental involvement. And it’s barely at a subplot level.
      I may also being avoiding it since I have no experience and therefore little skill. If I were to write any more romance it would probably be terrible.
      .

    9. My characters tend to be private about their feelings
    10. This one is simple. I’m private about my feelings, and if I let my characters spill a lot out I feel uncomfortable. But I know I need to do it sometimes. Not everyone is like me.

    11. Clothing is practical and modest
    12. I tend to design clothing for my characters (the female ones) that I would wear myself. And I think about the technicalities of how it’s made and where the material comes from. So I have nothing overly fancy or complex. It’s still pretty I think. but very practical. That’s something else I need to talk about in more detail someday.

    13. There is always a chivalrous young man who doesn’t talk to girls much
    14. Always doesn’t mean much considering the little I’ve written, bit does seem to happen. It’s probably based more on observation than beliefs though. But I must have a character of that sort. And since the heroine isn’t much like me she finds him annoying. And because she is like me she wishes he wasn’t so withdrawn. But unlike me she tries to talk to him, that’s why she will find him annoying.

    15. Fathers are important
    16. At one time Aydel didn’t have a father at all, but it didn’t feel right. So she has a father though he isn’t around as much as I would like. I wish I could have him their more but the story wouldn’t work. And in both Lady of Courage an the other book that I never actually wrote, my MC’s father had died, but she’d had an amazing stepfather for most of her life. Natalia’s father wasn’t supposed to be quite to wonderful but I couldn’t help it. He’s got to be a good man, even with the faults he has.

    17. Parents are wise
    18. Woe to any of my characters who don’t listen to their parents. Even when they might be wrong about some things their advice is usually good. But it usually takes my characters, especially Aydel, quite a while to figure that out.

    And that is that. For a bit I thought this list was going to be too short but more ideas keep popping up. Now I had better click the publish button because I’m behind on my word count and spent the bits of yesterday when I wasn’t working or procrastinating, writing fiction not blog posts.

    Beautiful People: Natalia Rizzetti

    It’s Beautiful People time again. And I found a way to make it take much longer than it had to. But here it is only a few hours later than I like.

    After a little thought I chose to tell you about Lady Natalia Rizzetti of Vecoa this time. Since I don’t know her quite as well as I should, I’m going to travel to Vecoa and and ask her the questions personally.

    Since she is unaware of my existence and might be uncooperative if I try to explain, I will take another tactic. I dress myself in the traditional flowing blue and white of the legendary guardian of the Maretegna. (The region of sea that Vecoa has a share in.) I think that will open her up a bit, though no one believes such a person ever really existed.

    I arrive for her mid-afternoon walk on a day when Eloisa would be elsewhere. Also a few weeks before I will begin the the book. She’ll be less wary that way. Nobody had died for a while.

    I spot her quickly, a bright red spot among the green of the forest terrace. I walk closer. She is sitting on a wooden bench, staring up into the trees, yet not looking like she actually sees anything. I scraped my foot against the ground.

    “Is that you, Teresa?” She whirls around and her mouth goes slack at the odd sight of me. Then she gives a little laugh. “Well you certainly aren’t Teresa. What are you? The Guardian herself?”

    I nod. “I just came to ask you a few questions. You can see I can’t exactly attack you well in these drapes.”

    “You probably could,” she says dryly. “But you’re not going to and you wouldn’t get away. Now about those questions.” She drops back onto the bench and points for me to sit next her.

    “This is going to sound odd,” I say, trying to keep her gaze, “But how often do you smile?”

    “Too much. Sometimes the corners of my mouth get sore. But I can’t just frown at everything I’m not perfectly happy with.”

    “Of course. I’m less likely to frown with a stranger than a close friend.” She frowned a moment, but it didn’t last. “I won’t smile at you if I don’t want to.”

    I nod slightly, averting my eyes. “You probably won’t after this next question. What- what was the cruellest thing someone ever told you?”

    “Oh!” She scrunches up her eyes and leans back against the seat. It creaks and bends. “Well when- no, not that.”

    She stops talking. I wait. Finally she opens her eyes and speaks making each word deliberate.

    “When Signa Murtas and Grandmother told me that my real father had died before I was old enough to remember and that Father wasn’t really mine at all. That I was different to the rest of my family.”

    “What did you do?”

    She shrugged and smiled. “I refused to believe them at first and went and hid in the garden where even Eloisa couldn’t find me. Then I wouldn’t smile at them or even talk to them for a long time.”

    I sigh with relief. She dealt with that one pretty well. It wasn’t quite the answer I though she might give, but I couldn’t do much about that. “What about the kindest thing someone told you?”

    “All about what my real father had done and how he and Father were so close, almost like brothers. I found it extremely comforting at the time.” A dreamy look comes into her eyes. She seems to still find it comforting.

    “Who told you all that?”

    She frowns and brushes a bit of hair out of her face. “I’m not sure. It may have been Lorenzo and Filippa, in fact I’m pretty sure it was. Not that she remembered a lot.”

    I nod. “She wouldn’t have. Do you have any other strong childhood memories?”.

    She scowls. “I remember when Demetrio Pavone knocked me into the harbour on my first visit to Doranto. He probably didn’t know I could swim. My rescuer splashed him badly.”

    I try to keep myself from smiling. I hadn’t heard about that before.

    “Have you ever been seriously injured?”

    She shook her head. “Never. Well not physically.”

    I’m about to ask her to elaborate, when I realize what she is talking about talking about. And I do not want to go into that now, even if she did seem open. (Spoilers)

    “Do you get along with your neighbours?”

    Natalia blinks. “Do you mean neighbouring states or the people who live close to the Palazzo?”

    I shrug. “Either or both if you like.”

    “Well I can’t very well be disagreeable, but I like some of them more than others. And we get on well with Trione, alright with Doranto, hardly at all with the others. Why are you here anyway? If you were a spy or looking for gossip you wouldn’t do it like this.”

    I smile. “It’s kind of complicated, but it will never hurt you. Now are you usually this easy to get on with?”

    She makes a quick motion with her hand. “Oh always, the other person is being demanding or foolish or ignoring me. Which is fairly often.”

    I raise my eyebrows at the slight contradiction and she shrugs. “It’s true.”

    “You’re right.” I say. ” Now, if you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go?”

    Natalia leans forward, eyes shining. “Anywhere? I’d go everywhere. At least to all the grand cities where women are respected. I’d really like to go to Ingiltere and see the works of Queen Elisabetta.”

    “I’d like to do that too. I’m more interested in Vittoria though.”

    She gives me an odd look. “Vittoria?”

    I look down at my feet. I shouldn’t have said that. I’m already mixing her up enough without talking about an uncertain future. “Never mind. I’ve just got one more question. Who was the last person you held hands with?”

    She crosses her arms. “I’m not answering that one.”

    “Why not? Was it Taddio at your party two days ago?”

    Natalia gives me a queer look. “No, of course not. It was actually Alexso, just after lunch. Now, won’t you stay for afternoon tea.”

    I stand up, shaking my head. ” I really can’t stay any longer. The Maretegna has been left unguarded long enough.”

    I vanish, leaving her stunned. And I really think she needs to read It’s (Not That) Complicated or A History of Venice. They’d both help her.

    What did you all think? Does Natalia come through as an interesting person? Did you like me writing it that way?

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