Posts Tagged ‘character creation’

Character Dossier: Brian Tolis from Other Systems!

Ok, we took a break from character dossiers while Other Systems release. Lets get back to them! As I have said, I will be posting my original character dossiers for each of the major characters over the course of the next few weeks so if you want to see your favorite character’s dossier stay tuned.  Here is the order: Abby,  ColeHardenHelen, Mark, Brian, Diane, Pat and Rockford! I admit I am not putting up anything with spoilers.

Here the character for Brian Tolis: Ships Mechanic of The Revelation.

Physical Description  He is a homo khlorosan which means he has tan skin with embedded microscales. His hair is dark brown and he has gold eyes. Tall, somewhat muscular.  Large calloused hands.

Paternal Ancestry (on Earth): Unknown, but most likely mixed European / Maternal: Mixed European

Clothing: On ship: coveralls over a t-shirt, on leave: coveralls over a t-shirt. Only times he dresses up is for off-ship dinners. Slacks, and a button down shirt and a jacket. He wears a bracelet that Helen gave him on their wedding.

Character Description: Easy going, slightly Introverted, but kind hearted.
(Most people who know him would be surprised to learn that he is shy.) He will do anything for Helen. In social situations, he leans on Helen or Diane unless talking mechanics/ships. Social drinker, sometimes likes to have a beer when coming off duty, but never drinks to excess.

Education: Doctorate in Engineering & Management

Job: Revelation’s mechanic. Age when protagonist comes into his life: Early 30’s

Virtues: Loyal, honest. Loves his crew/family.

Vices: none mentioned, but he can be a pushover, often over shadowed by others.

Step 4: Relationships: Parents: Raised by Mom, Andrea Tolis
Dad unmentioned

Siblings: Brother  Anders (originally +5 years) Brian has been overshadowed by Anders.

Nephew Luke (-15 years)

Offspring: Sterilized. He was sterilized when he joined the Alekos fleet the first time they landed in Kipos space.

Romantic Relationships: Primarily Heterosexual (though like most fleet brats he enjoyed bi-sexual experimentation in his late teens and 20’s.) He never knew real love until he met Helen. Then he never wanted to be without her. They married after six days.

Though she wasn’t crazy about the match, Andrea Tolis said, “Helen would be the type of woman who is good for him.” And she is.

 

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Meet Mark Alekos of Other Systems

To celebrate the coming print version of Other Systems, I will be posting my original character dossiers for each of the major characters over the course of the next few weeks so if you want to see your favorite character’s dossier stay tuned.  Here is the order: Abby,  ColeHarden, Helen, Mark, Brian, Diane, Pat and Rockford! I admit I am not putting up anything with spoilers.

Alekos

Final time you all have to see this sketch! Mark leans towards his siblings, he is actually touching Helen.

Mark Alekos is Cole’s youngest. He was born during the brief time Rosemary and Cole lived together on Cole’s ship. She stayed until he was potty trained and then went back to her own ship. He was an incredibly lonely, somewhat reserved kid.

Physical Description : Tan skin with embedded microscales. Green eyes which came from his mother. Heavier and more muscular than brother, due to body type and the way he smiles, he reminds people of his dad.

Ancestry from Earth: Paternal: Greece
Maternal: French and English.

Clothing: He loves to dress up, though rarely has a place to dress up for.

Other: Sometimes reserved, other times outspoken, he does love people. Social drinker, sometimes likes to have a beer when coming off duty, but never drinks to excess. He doesn’t like junk food.

Relationships: Parents: Cole Alekos and Rosemary Finch. Raised by Dad, but after parents separate, she is a radio transmission. Strained relationships when he was a teen.

Siblings: Brother Harden (+15 years) He loves his big brother, but they only become close after Mark becomes an adult.
Sister, Helen (originally +14 years/ +9 years) she mothered him when he was young, now they are great friends.

Offspring: None. Sterilized at age six.

Romantic Relationships: Bi-Sexual and used to fooling around

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Meet another secondary protagonist from Other Systems! The Character Dossier of XO Helen Alekos

To celebrate the coming print version of Other Systems, I will be posting my original character dossiers for each of the major characters over the course of the next few weeks so if you want to see your favorite character’s dossier stay tuned.  Here is the order: Abby,  Cole, Harden, Helen, Mark, Brian, Diane, Pat and Rockford! I admit I am not putting up anything with spoilers.

As I said last post, Harden and Helen were originally one person, but I needed more tension between the captain and Abby than the mothering Helen could provide, so their personality split into two people.

Alekos

In the drawing, I made Helen face the camera straight on with a big smile, since that is how she faces everything and she is in the middle as she is the peacemaker.

Physical Description  Tan skin with embedded microscales. Gold eyes.Like her mother (and older brother), she is tall and slender. Wiry. She has scars from her work.

Ancestry (from Earth) Paternal: Greece
Maternal: French and English.

Clothing: On ship: coveralls over a t-shirt, On leave: she dresses up for any occasion off-ship and often wears a piece of olivine that her mother-in-law gave her as a wedding present.

Character Description: Loving, extroverted, kind-hearted.

Virtues: Loves her crew/family. She mothers people. She loves children.

Vices: Because she was the favorite, she often tries to over compensate by being extra nice, extra loving to her brothers.  She tends to blame herself when things go wrong. Can be controlling.

Education: Doctorate in Engineering, but she struggled through school

Job: Planetary Survey Team, Executive Officer. She is undoubtedly the best pilot in her father’s fleet.

Age 19-mid 3o’s
When she meets Abby: 35

Relationships: Parents: Cole Alekos and Rosemary Finch. Raised by Mom, but after parents separate, she is a radio transmission. Loving relationship with Dad

Siblings: Bother, Harden (originally +14 months/ +5 years) Great friends.

Brother Mark (originally -14 years /-9 years) loves little brother, when he was a child, she was a pseudo mother. They have always been close, but they only become real friends after Mark becomes an adult and she stops mothering him.

Offspring: None. Sterilized at 19.

Romantic Relationships: Primarily Heterosexual (though like most fleet brats she enjoyed bi-sexual experimentation in  late teens and 20’s.)

She has short-term hookups until she met Brian Tolis. He is the one love of her life.

Other Weird Fact: Helen quilts in her spare time with Diane. Every family member and crew members have a homemade quilt done in a style of their own taste. Cushion covers, pillow shams and extra bedding around the ship were made by Helen and Diane. There is a lot of time to quilt in space.

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Meet the secondary protagonist of Other Systems: Character Dossier of Captain Harden Alekos

To celebrate the coming print version of Other Systems, I will be posting my original character dossiers from Other Systems for each of the major characters over the course of the next few weeks so if you want to see your favorite character’s dossier stay tuned.  Here is the order: Abby,  Cole, Harden, Helen, Mark, Brian, Diane, Pat and Rockford! I admit I am not putting up anything with spoilers.

Alekos

These are Cole’s three “kids” grown up. Since this is Harden’s blog post, I am going to talk about him. Even when I drew him (and this is the only time I drew him) he pulls himself out of the frame and away from his siblings. Reason: he simply doesn’t see the point of taking pictures. He knows what he looks like and sees Helen and Mark every day.

Harden Alekos: Captain of The Revelation.

He is not considered the best captain in the fleet, but his crew loves him. He is good at paperwork and an excellent engineer. Interesting fact: When I originally wrote this character, he and Helen were one person, but I realized I needed them to be split, because there is very little tension between Abby and Helen.

Physical Description: Tall. Wiry. Bean pole.  Tan skin with embedded microscales. Gold eyes. Due to body type and the way he smiles, he reminds people of his mom. Slouches. He has scars from his work.

Ancestry (from Earth) Paternal Greek Maternal: French and English.

Clothing: On ship: coveralls over a t-shirt, on leave: coveralls over a t-shirt. Only times he dresses up is for off-ship dinners. Slacks, and a button down shirt and a jacket. No jewelry or tie.

Character Description: Introverted. Has trouble relating to new people, doesn’t know how to make small talk. In social situations, he leans heavily on others. Loves puzzles. Social drinker, sometimes likes to have a beer when coming off duty, but never drinks to excess. Seems cold and grumpy to outsiders.

Education: Doctorate in Physics and Engineering

Job: Planetary Survey Team. Age  in novel: 21-44, when Abby comes into his life: 42

Virtues: Loyal, honest. Loves his crew/family. Genius level intelligence.

Vices: nearly constant swearing, can’t quite give up smoking.

Parents: Cole Alekos and Rosemary Finch. Raised by Mom til 14, but after parents separate, she is a radio transmission. Loving, but slightly cold relationship with Dad. To Cole, Harden was always a young man.

Siblings: Sister, Helen (originally -14 months) also due to the solitary lifestyle of space explorers: she is his closest friend. He loves that she got married since now he has another built-in friend/brother.

Brother, Mark (-15 years) He loves his little brother, but they only become close after Mark becomes an adult.

Offspring: Sterilized. Only offspring terminated in the womb.

Romantic Relationships: Primarily Heterosexual (though like most fleet brats he enjoyed bi-sexual experimentation in his late teens and 20’s.) He prefers monogamy, just because he doesn’t like meeting new people.

First love and first wife: Lucy Brown

A few short term romances then second wife: Phoebe Willows. He liked her well enough and wanted to be a good husband, but he was too focused on the needs of his ship.

Important Questions: 

How does he get out of trouble?

Intelligence. never violence.

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Character Dossier: Cole Alekos of Other Systems

To celebrate the coming print version of Other Systems, I will be posting my original character dossiers from Other Systems for each of the major characters over the course of the next few weeks so if you want to see your favorite character’s dossier stay tuned.  Here is the order: Abby,  Cole, Harden, Helen, Mark, Brian, Diane, Pat and Rockford! I admit I am not putting up anything with spoilers.

Cole Alekos: Fleet Captain (inherited position from his mother)

Physical Description 

World Facts for Other Systems: Due to gene modification and therapies there is three separate species of human on Kipos. While some people have facial features that might show ancestry, nearly everyone of all three species of human has tan skin, brown or black hair, etc. Eyes in shades of Gold, Hazel, Brown, Black common. Blue eyes extremely rare. Green eyes extinct in Homo kiposi and the Homo garo, recessive gene in Homo khlôrosan.

Cole
Homo khlôrosan. Tan skin with embedded microscales. Gold eyes, Nearly no body hair except of heat centers (top of head, genitals, under arms.) Tall, muscular for a khlôrosan. Stands tall. He has scars. Maternal Ancestry (on Earth): Greece, Father unknown

Clothing: On ship: coveralls over a t-shirt, on leave: coveralls over a t-shirt. If he can get off ship, he always dresses up is for off-ship dinners. Slacks, and a button down shirt and a jacket.

Step 3: Character Description: Extroverted. Kind. Loves being a captain. Loves to entertain. Tries to be a great dad and worries about his kids. He can’t always understand Harden or Mark. Though he loves Helen best because they are very similar in personality, he tries to hide his favoritism.

Education: Doctorate in Engineering

Job: Fleet Captain

Age in book 36- early 50’s

Virtues: Loyal, honest. Loves his crew/family.

Vices: nearly constant swearing, can’t quite give up smoking.

Step 4: Relationships: Raised by Mother Carlotta Alekos, Father unknown

Siblings: one sister Issabelle retired with their mother to the flotilla.

Offspring: Harden, Helen,  Mark

Romantic Relationships: Heterosexual

One great love of his life was Rosemary Finch, he has one night stands with other women during shore leave. As he is pretty successful in that area, he worries about his sons’ relationships more than his own. He ignores Helen’s.

Close Friends: His ship’s doctor Spiro
XO Saul Evans and Saul’s niece Julia

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Meet the protagonist of Other Systems: The Character Dossier of Abigail Boyd Lei

To celebrate the coming print version of Other Systems, I will be posting my original character dossiers from Other Systems for each of the major characters over the course of the next few weeks so if you want to see your favorite character’s dossier stay tuned.  Here is the order: Abby,  Cole, Harden, Helen, Mark, Brian, Diane, Pat and Rockford! I admit I am not putting up anything with spoilers.

So let’s get started with Abby.

Rover, Abby, and Rockford!

Rover, Abby, and Rockford!

Abby (Abigail Boyd Lei)

Ancestral Background: Half Scottish/half Chinese. Mother’s family from Seattle Area worked in factories for as long as anyone could remember, Father’s family expected more from Cameron. Parents married, Abby born seven months later. (You do the math)

Father: Cameron Boyd (Factory Foreman)

Mother: Lei Sun Lei (Also works in Factory)

Siblings: Raymond, (Commune Farm) Jin, (Factory) Joseph (deceased at age 2) Orchid (age 11, she spends most days with Abby at Library)

Other family members mentioned : Grandmother and Tara (Family Pet/ guard dog.)

Born in the city state of Seattle on planet Earth, Has never been outside Seattle until the Kiposi come.

Physical Appearance: Straight black hair, black eyes with gold flecks, pale tan skin

Employment: Assistant Librarian. Works with Mr. Alexander Johnson. All of the Boyd Lei offspring came to the library when they were little. Mr. Johnson feeling Abby’s intellect would be wasted on the factory assembly line, hired her. Since he is an old man without children, she reads to him.

Age in Book 17-19

Virtues: Intelligent

Vices: She can be manipulative. Prior to her trauma, she is fearless. After her trauma, she has trouble dealing with her fear, especially fear of the dark. Sweet-tooth.

Other: Loves to read and is a stargazer

Other Systems Cover
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Website with deleted scenes and other extras!

My definition of treasure is probably different from yours…

I have found treasure lost in my files! This was another Facebook Post that I realized should be on my blog after I started writing it. Mainly because it was extremely long.

Warning: This post has a ton of profanity because it is a missing scene from Other Systems. Pheobe and Harden argue then Mark and Harden argue. For readers of the book, you already understand. If you haven’t read Other Systems, Harden has a potty mouth. Mark sometimes does. He especially does when he wants his elder brother to listen.

Treasure_Chest

It all started because though I have denied it, my humors are misaligned and I have too much phlegm in my chest. By will alone, I made it through ECCC. Even afterwards I kept calling it a cold, but there can be no doubt now, I have the flu. Don’t worry, I am over the hump, I will make it.

The symptoms, of course, suck, but really my biggest problem is just how bored I am when I am not sleeping. I can’t focus on my writing, I am too weak to do any real housework, and other than a quick walk for the dogs, I won’t head out into the world to infect others. I can’t even read anything longer than a few paragraphs.

So I started looking though my author notes hoping to find something interesting….and I did. I found Harden and Phoebe’s divorce which coincides with Mark’s ultimatum. Seriously, it was just a few sentences between Abby and Harden in Other Systems:

The thin atmosphere and seventy percent gravity made it difficult to keep up with Harden’s long strides until he stopped at a machine and slipped in a bill. He hit a button and a pack of three cigarettes fell behind a door. He pulled out a lighter and made an electric spark. 

He took a long drag and looked at her. “Don’t tell Mark I’ve been smoking.”

“I didn’t know you smoked.”

Harden slowed as he enjoyed his cigarette. “I quit after the Revelation was put into service.It’s easy not to smoke aboard, but on Argent… anyway I made this deal with Mark. I quit and he’ll be my–or Dad’s–doctor.”

“He wasn’t always gonna be?”

“He talked about going planetside after his GE, then again when he finished pre-med. Helen and Phoebe talked him into staying.” Harden’s eyes swam as he enjoyed the tobacco high. “After these, I’ll give it up until the next time we’re planetside. Did you want to try? It’s extremely addictive, but ultimately has its pleasures.” 

End_NebulaAnd I found the whole scene in Harden’s file about this. Crazy. I am going to post it on my deleted scenes on the website, though technically it was never in the book. I like it.  It’s like finding treasure. My favorite part is Harden thinks that his fleet shares (which are extremely valuable) would make people want to be with him. Notice he tries to give them away twice. I admit the scene is not completely edited to perfection.  It was in my author notes after all. Enjoy!

Harden knocked on Phoebe’s billet. He didn’t want to, but Helen kept pestering him until he got the nerve to actually do it. He might be captain, but he wasn’t dumb enough to think he was actually in charge. As long as he did the paperwork, Helen kept everything else running smoothly. He even had done Phoebe’s transfer paperwork to the Polaris though it hurt him to do so. Yet this morning his sister had a direct command. He tried to pleading, explaining and finally ordering her out of his way, she just laughed off his irritation. Helen reminded him that minimally they had to discuss the separation of their assets. He had been putting it off, but the possibility of warping space time was much more interesting. 

His wife said “come in” and he did.

Looking over her head, he could see her billet was unpainted and unadorned. Or maybe she wanted the walls gray. He realized he didn’t even know her favorite color. Maybe it is gray. Brian knows Helen’s favorite color is green. How does a husband not know his wife’s favorite color? he thought and realized he never asked her.

“Do you need something?” she asked looking down at her tablet. It wasn’t a question. It wasn’t even a loving statement of a wife to a husband, it was professional statement from a doctor to her patient. Perhaps that was for the best, after all he was here as the Revelation’s captain.

“I know I wasn’t a very good husband.” He tried to touch her shoulder; she slipped herself out of his reach. “But you knew how I was, when you married me.”

She did not answer him.

“But I will try to be a good captain, so what can I do to make this transition easier? I did the paperwork you requested.”

Phoebe said, “Put me is stasis until I can leave. Mark can wake me up if there is a problem, but I doubt it will come to that. He’s a good doctor.”

A lump caught in Harden’s throat. “I-I would have you available for emergencies and Helen told me Becky and Pat still go to you for advice.”

“Then why are you here, Harden?”

He looked down at her face. She was so beautiful. He wondered how his marriage had failed… he hadn’t changed. Had she? He couldn’t remember the last time they had made love, though he did remember that she asked and he declined. He remembered declining a lot. Then he remembered her asking, “don’t you still find me attractive.” He said yes, hadn’t he? Hadn’t he told her how beautiful she was, but the numbers fascinated him.

Phoebe said, “If you need forgiveness, you have it. I don’t blame you for my mistakes. Other than getting on with my life, I don’t need anything from you. The job on the Polaris sounds like it will help a lot of people in the Flotilla and I’ll still have a lab for medical research. Mark can step into my place—and it will be good for him to do so.”

 “You can have my fleet shares! You can have everything. Take it all.”

The sound that erupted from her throat was not a true laugh, more an insane cackle. “You think I want money? I did not marry you for money, and I certainly won’t divorce you for it. Just my share from our joint account, my personal things have already been removed from your quarters. Is there something you want from what I took?”

A baby. Phoebe wants a baby. “We can adopt a baby…today if you want.”

Phoebe seemed to soften for just a moment and then her eyes grew cold and hard. “That’s easy to say since we are in deep space,” she paused and chose her words carefully, “but I will no longer have you parent my child. You’re worse than a fuck on an Outpost, because you are here!  I certainly won’t allow my child to grow up with a father than does not love her!”

“I’ll give you anything.”Aistiu_space

“You can’t give me what I want.”

He gently touched her shoulders and pulled her into his chest, but she didn’t return the embrace. He whispered, “Just tell me.”

She took a step back. “I want a husband who loves me more than his ship and puzzles” Her voice was deadly calm, but there was no malice. He remembered when his mother’s voice became like that with his father.

“I can change! If you stay, I will love you.”

“I have heard that static before.” Her voice was still calm, but hard. “How long from when I moved out of our old quarters did it take for you to notice I no longer lived there? Be honest now.”

Honestly Harden couldn’t say, because he wasn’t sure how much time had passed at all.

A few more words were spoken, but now Harden had to face it really was over. In a daze, he went down to the shuttle bay and sat in Chi. Harden did not blame Phoebe for leaving. Everything she said was true. He had been a terrible husband. He was interrupted from these thoughts when Mark entered the shuttle. He did not want his brother’s company. “What the fuck do you want?”

“I am formally giving you, mine and Pat’s resignation.”

“You can’t leave.”  Mark was his brother, not hers. “Why would you leave? Why does Pat want to go?”

“I’m the one who wants to go. Pat and I decided we want to stay together.”

“So you two are going to make the same fucking mistake I did? You’re too young to be married.”

“We aren’t kids anymore,” Mark said.

“Then why do you still fuck around so much?”

“We haven’t really fucked around for two years,” Mark said.

Had it been two years? It didn’t seem like that. It seemed like just yesterday that these two “borrowed” a shuttle and took two other boys out to a nebula. He began trying to think.

Mark was in his face again. “Listen to me, I am leaving because I want to help people, you fucking idiot, not nurse you because you smoke too much and live on coffee. Now that you are not going planet side, you’ve stopped exercising. You’ve lost 15% muscle mass. You look like shit.

“Phoebe is an excellent doctor from what I saw she seemed like a good wife, yet you refuse to listen to her in either capacity…”

Harden interrupted him. “Did you just say capacity?” That wasn’t his little brother talking, but a grown man. Looking up at Mark, he did seem bigger. More filled out in the shoulders than he had been. Maybe his brain had finished developing? “Did time dilation occur on my own ship?”

“Harden, shut the fuck up and listen. There is no reason for me to stay here.”

“But you’re my brother…”

“I’m also a medical doctor; Pat is a qualified pilot and we’re both biologists and there are better fucking jobs than this one. You still think of us as kids and we aren’t.”

“Okay, you’re not kids. I don’t want you to go. Helen doesn’t want you to go either.”

“We’ve discussed it with Helen…she understands.”

“Why didn’t anyone tell me?”

“Hel, Pat, and I been trying for a solid month, you haven’t been listening. Plus she’s really busy trying to do the job of both the XO as well as the Captain while you are doing whatever the fuck you do…”

“I don’t want anyone to go, but I fucked that up so badly Phoebe won’t even listen anymore. She sounds like Mom did when it was over with Dad,” he said. “I didn’t know I fucked it up…I never wanted it to be like that. I tried to give her my shares she wouldn’t take them. I told her I’d adopt a baby like she wanted, but she’s leaving and I can’t stop her. If you would have heard her voice…it was just like Mom’s after she gave up arguing with Dad. Like she witnessed a death.”

Mark nodded. “I don’t remember that. I don’t even remember her really. Only an old face on the COM.”

“If you go, we won’t know each other anymore. One of us will be an old face on the COM, ” he trailed off, “What do I have to do to make you stay? Do you want my fleet shares? That’s all I have, you can have them.”

Mark sighed. “I don’t want your fleet shares, you idiot. I want you to start eating meals with the crew, exercise every day. Dad’s already agreed to quit smoking and so will you.”

Harden agreed to it and Mark finished, “And you will take at least an hour of each day to talk to the crew. Maybe at dinner since you will now be there.”

“The whole crew?” Harden began pulling at his fingers. “All at once? What will we talk about?”

Mark sat down beside him and slid an arm around his shoulder. It felt odd, the last time they shared any affection his little brother was seven, maybe eight years old. Still a wave of relief rolled through his chest and a lump grew in his throat.

 “Seriously, why are you freaking out? This has probably been the most amicable divorce in human history.”

“What if I fuck it up worse?” He pressed his palm in his eye to brush away tears before they came. 

“That would pretty much be impossible,” Mark said, “Listen, Phoebe will be gone soon, then there are only six of us and three of us are your own relatives. Hel and I will help you, but it can’t be like it has been.”

 “It won’t be, but are you sure time dilation hasn’t occurred on the ship? Phoebe leaves in two weeks and you have grown-up, but I’m the same.”

 “No, you are thirty-nine, your last birthday was March 7th. You and I have never been on separate timelines.”

“What is the date?”

“December 3rd

“Are you sure?”

“Positive.”

“Where did the time go?”

“For you, it was just lost. Let’s accept that fact and move on.”

 

I hope you liked it. Please comment and let me know…

Coffee klatch interview with Lady Meadowlark and Hunter Orodherthin

A coffee klatch interview with Lady Meadowlark and Hunter Orodherthin, the Children of Lady Nora, Daughter of Lady Aster of House T’Ralom of the Daoine.

Lark’s eyes sparkle as she drinks her chocolate milk. Yet even for Lark’s jovial appearance, I feel her scanning us, studying us. Orin is more sedate. He sits back, sipping his espresso but his eyes alternate resting upon the doors, the sidewalk outside, and me.

OrinnLark

Elizabeth: First let us start off by thanking you for coming down to Seattle. Earth is pretty far away from Talamh, is it not?

Orin (shrugging): The outside is the outside.

Lark: Quite far, but worth the trip, I am sure.

Elizabeth: So what are you plans in Seattle?

Lark: We came to this great city to find work and trade in order to bring wealth to the Daoine, of course. We will take in the sights as you call it of course. Your towers are quite impressive here.  You have wonderful drinks. I never had chocolate milk before.

Orin: Actually, I find it amazing how much food your people have. We just went into one of your grocery stores. Though it is too bad you no longer much in the way of a barter system.

Elizabeth: I see your named brother, Roan, is not beside you today?

Orin (shrugging again): With small children, he prefers not to travel so far from home. He sometimes he comes, sometimes he doesn’t.

Elizabeth: And your father is doing well?

Orin: Our father is a sick man. It is best that Lark keeps her apartments in the Great House.  I personally prefer Lark’s apartment with the Champion’s room to our father’s hut.

Elizabeth: So your relationship has had some ups and downs.

Lark (blushing): Every family has there problems but no matter has happened between us; Orin is my brother. Now he is my Champion too.

Cover_ksOrin just looks pissed off so I decide to change the subject. Elizabeth: And so in Mareton?

Lark: Roan, Orin and I shared an awful dream. There were so many sacrifices during the drought. At least, you will see we were ale to make a difference in Mareton.

Elizabeth: if you want to know the whole story, you can read more in Mareton’s Curse! On March 1st, the sequalization of our story will start at http://faminelands.com begins! Updates every Friday.

Creating Talamh: The Beginning of Nora and Calafas

Talamh is the world of Faminelands. Beyond the needs of the world, I need Lark and Orin to be outcasts in their society. Orin especially would suffer. While  I also knew that Lark and Orin were siblings, I considered maybe Orin was a foundling or just he was the bastard while she was coddled.

Then I changed my mind again.  If she was a favorite, when Orin is cruel, the reader might think that he hated her. Rather, I wanted them to have a bond. Something that ties them together.

So I simply decided their parents love was so strong that they denied their families wishes and got married anyway. However the entirety of the village ignores their marriage and their children. While this story is reported in the Carp’s Eye, in my notes I had their whole love story written out in some detail. Here is the beginning…

*****

Journeyman Bowyer Calafas glanced up from his new design when the dark-haired lady and her silver-haired father entered the bowyers’ shop. He and his master fell to their knees. The young man’s mouth hung open; too dry to form words. All he could think was that her brilliant green eyes sparkled brighter than the ruby that lay upon her brow. She held her head high; her hands bore proudly the many scars of battle. He knew Lord Arna on sight and had witnessed the Ascension Ceremony. Still it took him a moment to recognize Nora.

Master Orodherth welcomed the nobles into his shop. As he moved towards them, he gave his former apprentice a sharp kick in the thigh.

Arna smiled kindly. “Hello Good Bowyers.”

Calafas slowly rose, but remained slumped forward in order not to tower over the Lady. He was only a few fingers taller then she, but felt too tall and gangly. As Nora purchased bow strings and five bundles of arrows, he wondered if his teeth were stained. Calafas nodded dumbly and marked her purchases with chalk. 

She asked Orodherth, “Can they be delivered within five hours? Hunter Brogan shall be loading the wagon near the stables and we make our way South.”

Orodherth grumbled in his typical fashion, “Of course, milady. We’re doing nothing else today.”

Nora laughed. Calafas thought her laugh was the most beautiful sound he had ever heard. He blushed furiously when she tilted her head and looked at him. Calafas tried to think about his work. He did not know how much of his feelings Nora would comprehend; but Arna could read even the most fleeting thoughts. Calafas was sure if the Lord heard a hint of his desire, he would be cut down.

Nora smiled. “Son of Daria, I recently purchased this quiver from your mother. She does such lovely work. I hope she is well?”

Calafas found his voice, but felt his tone was too coarse. “Yes, milady, my mother is well. Thank you, with your permission, I’ll mention that you’re pleased. It’d please her greatly to know that her work…uh… pleases you.”

He wanted to pound his head into the cob wall. Orodherth and Arna frowned, but Nora smiled wider as she had heard his thoughts as easily as if he spoken aloud.

“Yes, send your mother my regards.”

Without speaking, Arna shot a warning into both of the younger elves’ minds.

Nora blushed.

Calafas stammered, “Milord, forgive my eyes for looking upon Lady Nora’s radiance. Once she was a child and now she’s the Goddess of the Hunt herself. My hope is that my arrows will serve the Ladies and Champion Hunter Brogan well.”

Arna allowed Nora and Calafas to experience discomfort, but said nothing on the matter. He settled on a price with Orodherth as was their practice. Nora waited patiently for her father and gave the men a nod as they left.

Orodherth frowned at Calafas, but the younger man didn’t see him. He was looking at Nora’s disappearing figure with his mouth open. Orodherth slapped the back of his head. “Wake up, Man! She’s a pretty one, no doubt, but she isn’t for the likes of us! Now if your heart is set upon being a suitor, go look at the Smithy Essaria. Get us a discount on arrowheads.”

“Yes,” Calafas mumbled, but his brown eyes still gazed outside.

Orodherth repeated the blow. “Did you hear me, boy? I don’t like to think I wasted two centuries training your sorry arse only to have you hung! Get on that order.”

Even without Orodherth’s words, Calafas knew he could not have Nora. When he was a lad, Lord Arna had given him the chance to be a warrior; he had chosen a different path. If he was a fighter, he might be able to win her, but alas, he was not. 

*****

Arna gripped his daughter’s arm as they walked along the wall. “If you wish to take a consort, you are of age. However, I beg you not to flirt so openly. You have been placed first among my daughters. It would destroy your mother to see you act as if you were a kitchen maid.”

“Sorry, my Father. He was just so uncomfortable, I felt I should say something.”

Arna knew his daughter had not lied, she just had not told the complete truth. She was attracted to his innocence. Calafas was a man who never had killed. A place where she might retreat when the darkness overwhelmed her. “But you like that boy?”

“He has a sweet temper. I feel that when I’m around him,” she said, “but his emotions are almost stifling.”

“He is one of the Cursed.”

Nora asked, “How can that be?”

Arna smiled at the innocence of the question. “Beloved, just as you and I do, he had an ancestor with the Curse. He is not strong in it, but in his adolescence, he was trained enough to control it.”

“You trained him?”

“The world did not start when you were born!” Arna replied, “Of course, I trained him. Once I learned his path, I introduced him to Orodherth.”

“You rarely take such a keen interest in the life of a commoner.” She read her father trying to find out if he held a secret. She could not sense one, but he was an Ancient and much more powerful than she.

 “Save that boy, they are rarely interesting,” Arna said.

*****

From the practice range, Calafas watched the nobles depart from the East Gate. Nora sat tall on her mount while her mother and uncle drove a wagon laden with burlap sacks. A flash of silver danced when she passed a torch. He fought the urge to run to the gates and watch until she disappeared into the forest. Instead, he restuffed the targets and bundled the old filling into faggots.

When he came back inside the hut, Calafas heated the last of the venison pottage for their supper. Orodherth counted their inventory in preparation for the Autumn Hunt and Festival. Though Calafas needed more rest than his ancient master, he felt fidgety. He stayed up to help him. Finally Orodherth yawned and went to his hammock.

Once the old man tranced soundly; Calafas looked over their stock of wood until he found what he was looking for: a piece of delicate white beech. He tested the wood for flexibility and moisture before he began to carve.

It would take him two weeks to finish. The bow was lightweight, fast, and powerful; he knew it would serve Lady Nora well. Five petal asters intertwining with knot work symbolizing of love and unending devotion curved around the handle to the bend in the top.

Knowing the weapon was worthy, but he was not, Calafas believed the weapon would never reach its intended. He considered putting it to the flame. He had not the heart to burn his first master-worked creation. He oiled the wood, carefully wrapped it in leather and hid it high in the rafters of the hut.

Orodherth pretended he did not know. He considered telling the lad’s mother, but unsure of Daria’ reaction, he thought better of it. He did not know who sired Calafas but one in ten were the unwanted bastards of heartless noblemen. He knew it was likely. He just didn’t care.

Before the young man had come to him, the Master Bowyer had been alone for centuries. His companion was long dead. He took no woman, even for a single night, in order to continue his line. He did not care about such things. He was old and needed someone to replace him when Death came for him. The lad had been an eager pupil; now he was a proficient bowyer. Their souls were entwined with the love to layer and carve the wood. That’s all that mattered.

Not knowing what else to do, the old man prayed to the Great Lady. He begged that his lad would refocus on his work and that if he desired a wife; he would find one within their station.

Orodherth felt it likely what Calafas thought was love was actually just a mixture of lust and admiration of a great heroine. He repeated this to the younger man until the Master believed that Calafas believed it was true.

Faminelands #3: Mareton’s Curse Update: it’s gone to press!

Cover_ks

As you can see from the title Faminelands #3: Mareton’s Curse has gone to press. I got it back last Friday from the last beta reader who is also my grammar nazi. She said she found it impressive. I went through it again, so now it is on its way to Ka-Blam to be printed.

This has definitely been one of the harder titles for me to finish up. Specifically because there were subplots that had to be closed in this book. As my readers know I believe in believable characters, but my  writing is plot driven. When I read books, I need to have a satisfying ending, to be a satisfying read and I write that way as well…or at least try to.  I am very proud of the artwork in this book. I felt more than once I stretched my artistic ability.

As I said before it will be released on March 1st. You can pre-order it here. Maria and I will be shipping pre-orders on Feb 26th.

Larkmapsks

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