Saturday, April 25, 2015

CE Rizkaland - Kiona

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"You've been working too long, Kendra, you need to take a break."

I glance up from my tablet where I've actually been playing Angry Birds Go, instead of writing Worth of a King so I can send this chapter back to Jack. I'd been on such a roll ...

"Laura!" I exclaim, a grin spreading across my face as I recognize the Doorkeeper standing in my bedroom doorway. I power off my tablet, and stand up. "So, where are we going? Any chance we can pop into Dialcia to see how this scene I'm writing finished?"

A smile place on the corners of Laura's mouth. "No, it's a trip to Rizkaland today."

"Oh, that's always fun, too," I admit, nodding. "So, when are we going? Who am I seeing? Ashley, maybe? I'd like to look into her life before the Ardens adopted her."

"You'll just have to see," says Laura, shaking her head and waving a hand over my toybox of yarn, where there happens to be a door directly to Loray castle, the capitol of the Rizkan mainland. I've used it many times, gathering information for my translations of the Rizkan lore. A daunting task, but I'm finally nearing completion on the first volume, so my hard work has paid off.

The yarn shimmers, turning into a tunnel just large enough for me to crawl through, which I climb into without hesitation. Minutes later, I emerge from a forgotten trap door into a hallway in Loray. There's no one in sight, but I've been here often enough that I know my way around by now. Just down the hallway is the Bookholder's Suite, where Ashley might be ... if I happen to have arrived during her life ...

My thoughts are interrupted by the sound of someone running, and a moment later, a girl about my age comes flying around the corner, a quiver and bow bouncing on her back, one hand holding up her skirt, the other holding her silver circlet in place. She practically runs me over as she passes, and I barely have the presence of mind to call out, "Kiona!" before she disappears, for there's no question in my mind that she could be any other than that spirited young queen of the line of Violet.

She stops short and spins around to face me, dropping her skirt and the hand holding her circlet. Her eyes narrow as she stares at me, breathing hard, her face flushed.

"Who are you?" she asks.

"My name's Kendra," I say, then remembering that she, despite her youth, is royalty, dip into a Rizkan curtsy - a fist over my heart, bend the knees, and a downward glance because she is my superior. "I'm not from around here - the Doorkeeper sent me to do research because I'm working on writing versions of your legends for the people of my own world to read."

Her eyes widen. "So you're from another world? Truly?"

I nod. "The same world that the Eight and the Ten came from, in fact," I inform her. "That's why I've been asked to share the stories."

She nods. "Well, the Bookholder's Suite is just down the hall," she says, gesturing in the direction I had been headed.

"I know," I admit, "this isn't my first visit to Loray. However, I think you're the one I'm supposed to talk to."

She stiffens. "Me? Are you sure? I mean, I know the legends fairly well, but..."

"How old are you right now?" I ask.

"I ... just turned eighteen. Three months ago now."

"Ah, Well, you see, I know the legends pretty well myself, the ones I'm translating, at least. Laura sends me here to Rizkaland so I can talk to people and know who they were, and not just what they did."

"But I'm ..."

"Actually fairly important when it comes the legend currently unfolding on Klarand," I inform her.

"Oh." She frowns. "So you mean with the Lady Dragon and ... or do you mean that the Water Princess and Fire Prince have finally come?"

"Well ... I'm not supposed to hand out such information on my visits, but ... yes, I think. But you musn't tell anyone."

She gives a leap of joy, spinning around so her skirt billows around her - and I wish I had one to twirl. "Oh, at last!" she cries. "I was little more than a baby when she came - but to think!"

"But you musn't tell anyone until they actually come here," I repeat.

"Oh, I won't ... except ... may I tell Stephan, and then have him tell me to not tell anyone? It'd make it so much easier if I do, he's so much better at keeping secrets than I am."

"I guess if it'll make you feel any better," I tell her. "You and Stephan are quite the pair, from what I've read, and seen of you in later years of your lives."

She actually blushes. "Well, he is my husband, after all. We've had our problems, and sometimes I still get so frustrated with him, but for the most part, it's so good to have someone standing next to me, listening to me when no one else will."

"But you're a queen," I prompt. I know exactly what she means, because she's mentioned this before in other trips I've made later in her life.

"I'm the youngest queen!" She spreads her hands with helplessness. "In their minds, I'm still the eight-year-old who opened her father's box ten years ago. I didn't understand then what it meant to be queen, I'll grant them that - but I've had ten years to grow up! They expect to act like a queen, but they still treat me like a child."

"Perhaps you need to act more grown up," I point out. "Get to meetings on time, not be so impulsive ... not interrupt people so frequently?"

"How else do I get them to listen to me? I not a lesser queen because I lack age, but they..."

"Still see the child, I know. But if you act with more maturity, they will start to respect you more. For instance, what were you in a all-fire hurry to get to just a few minutes ago?"

Her face goes pale. "Oh! I'm supposed to be changing for supper! Um ... would you like to join us? As a traveler from another world, I'm sure we'd be honored to have you."

"In which case I'd be honored to join you. Only ..." I glance down and finger the edge of my T-shirt. "I'm sure this isn't exact the most proper outfit for a royal banquet, no?"

"Oh, leave that to me! I'll find you something." And with that, she grabs my wrist, and we take off down the halls.


And there's my Character Encounter (link-up here). Kiona is one of my favorite characters in part four of Water Princess, Fire Prince, and one of the ones that really surprised me. I knew I needed some kings and queens for Rizkaland (because they have four of each), but I didn't do ANY development for them until they actually showed up.

And she ... she just sprang into life with so much energy and backstory, I fell in love. As I mentioned, she and her husband are quite the pair, and even though they're only minor characters in the book, they're one of my top ten favorite couples. I'd like to write a book about THEM someday, though I don't know that it'll ever happen.

Oh, and I'm happy to note that I have been convinced to hold a CE at least next month. Haven't quite picked out where it is, but I have one or two that I'm leaning towards.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Beautiful Siblings - Riley and Roxanne

Beautiful People time again, hosted by Cait and Skye.

This month's theme is siblings, which should be easy because I love writing about siblings ... but as I scanned though my current focus WIP's ... I realized that there are actually pretty few. For instance, in Water Princess, Fire Prince, siblings are either non-existent, absent, or spoilers. So, instead, I'm going to do the twins in book one of HaV Academy. Roxanne (the titular ROCKS) and her brother Riley (Or, as he's better known, the Plant Master.)

1. What is the first memory they have of each other?

They're twins, so they've pretty much always been in each other's lives. However, a specific early memory would be the day Riley's powers surfaced. They were about four years old, playing in their backyard when he got mad about not getting his own way (you know how kids are) in the game they were playing (they can't remember exactly what it was) and suddenly the grass started growing really fast and they were quickly lost in what was to them a jungle of weeds.

Their mom found them quickly enough, and soon after that, their dad kidnapped them for the first time and took them to his lair where they focused on control training for about a week (and her rock abilities surfaced when she started causing earthquakes.)

2. Describe their relationship in 3 words.

A common secret.

3. What kind of things do they like to do together?

Build. She loves designing and creating buildings, and he likes to fill in the details where she needs him to and watch her vision come to life. For the most part, her skills are limited to the building of lairs, especially her own, and as kids, their dad's. (She redesigned it about fifteen times before they were summoned by the academy.

As kids, they also enjoyed practice fighting each other. However, as they've gotten older, and the fights are now mandatory, they don't enjoy it as much.

4. What was their biggest fight?

Do you mean their stated fights as superhero and supervillain, or verbal fights over an actual issue? Do you mean one that takes place prior to the book, or during? Because like most twins who have everything and nothing in common, they've always had friction between them. As kids, most of their relationship was petty bickering over unimportant things, which neither of them actually took seriously. Once in a while, one would go too far and the other wouldn't talk to them for a week (or a month sometimes in Roxanne's case, since she's better at holding grudges), but for the most part, they got along, under their teasing. In fact, it's the absence of their bickering (and the fact that Roxanne's smile is now completely gone) that disturbs William when they get home from the Academy after graduation.

However, in book, I would say that their biggest fight is when Roxanne starts playing matchmaker for him (part of a villain's job - find a love interest for the hero, and then start kidnapping her, or in rare cases, him, as often as you can without completely breaking the victim). It's not so much that he minds the girl, because she really is perfect for him, but it's the principle of the thing, you know? Also, he wants her to loosen up and entertain the idea of romance for herself, which is something she's completely closed down (because it is rare for villains to marry, and even rarer if they're girls.)

And ... on that note, I'm having trouble deciding what to name the girl Roxanne picks out. Initially, I was going to do Rose, but that's now a different character in book 3. For a long time, it was Willow, but it's a bit too close to William for me to be comfortable with it. Other ideas: Fern, Iris, Ivy, and ... there was another one, but I'm not calling it off the top of my head. I want something to do with plants, but that's about all I know.

5. How far would they go to save each other?

If the other was truly in danger, they would risk everything, including revealing their true identities as hero/villain. Which is, for attendees of HaV Academy, a fate worse than death, because its grounds for getting your power removed. (And it's not a pretty sight. Depending on the power, it leaves the former super either dead, physically disabled, or mentally retarded.)

6. What are their pet peeves about each other?

Mostly little things. His constant teasing frequently gets on her nerves, while it annoys him how much she always takes things so seriously. That sort of thing.

7. What are their favorite things about each other?

She likes the fact that he'll usually do anything she suggests (because she really is the better planner of the two), And he loves the intricacy of her imagination.

8. What traits do they share? Mannerisms, clothing, quirks, looks, etc?

Parents ... they both have a superpower ...

But, really, they're polar opposites. She's an intense INTJ, while he's an outgoing, somewhat laid-back ESFP. She has black hair, gray eyes, and pale skin, and wears a lot of metallic colors, and sometimes jewelry. He had brown hair, green eyes, darker skin, and wears brighter colors, especially greens. He laughs a lot and is the life of the party, she rarely smiles (unless it's a carefully practiced diabolical grin as ROCKS), and usually just sits in the corner judging people. He has a lot of good friends, she has two or three best friends. (Riley, William, and she can't quite decide on Myr, her roommate at the acadamy, and sorta-kinda sidekick.)

9. Who has the strongest personality?

Roxanne, hands down. Maybe he's the more outgowing and loud, but she's far more intense than she is. She very much dominates the relationship/

10. How does their relationship change throughout your story?

They're never the closest of siblings. Indeed, if it weren't for the shared secret of their superpowers and the fact that they must keep them hidden, I don't know if they'd even be friends. In the beginning, they have their bickering, which is what leads to the Academy pairing them together as hero and villain, and then their lives going dual where they save all of their issues for when they're in mask and costume and get along almost perfectly in their normal clothes because they can't stand to be fighting if they don't have to be, then to emotions rising as the whole romance issue boils to the surface.

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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

About Andrew

I realized I needed a Fire Prince as soon as though the thought "Love Interest" floated through my head in connection with my Water Princess. And as a romance-obsessed young teenager (though I'd never admit it) it floated through pretty soon after the Water Princess appeared.

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I chose the name Andrew because it's my dad's middle name, and I really like it. It felt like a good name for a young leader, as it means manly. I then decided that he lost his mom, was the youngest of three brothers, was a boy scout, and did all the cooking for the family.

And I just wasn't connecting to his character. He was, perhaps, the first male character I ever attempted any real writing with, and since I had no brothers myself, and very few guy friends in my acquaintance anymore, and I just couldn't get into his head. I had no common ground with him, and, let's face it, he was a bit of a wimp. Not "manly" at all.

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So one day, having suffered though a most of the first draft, and thrown away a couple other attempts at second drafts, and trying to figure out WHY he was the one to take over for his mom after her death when he was the youngest and I realized ... he wasn't the youngest. He was the eldest.

And with that realization, every bit of his character fell into place, and I finally clicked with him. I could identify with his role as eldest, could sympathize with the responsibility he takes on after his mother's death. Even though I still have my parents, I've come close to loosing both of them, and there have been times that V. and I have filled in and "been" mom.

Also, he's one of my few characters that I have a specific actor picked out.

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Eddie Redmayne ... most of you know him better as Marius from Les Miz, but he also acted in a medieval ... I'm not sure whether it was a movie or TV series, but it was called "Pillars of Earth," and in it he was a redhead, and the first time I saw one of those pictures, I knew I had found my Andrew.

Red hair, freckles, (I'm not sure if his eyes are green or not), and that level of awkwardness that is Andrew's trademark. Pretty much the only drawback is that Eddie's love interest in PoE looks more like Jill Anna and that's ... kind of weird.

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Andrew, as I've already stated, is the oldest of four. Their dad is the absentminded professor, incredibly brilliant, but frequently forgets he has kids, and since they lost their mom in a car accident four years before. Andrew, therefore, was the one who picked up her slack and became mom to his younger brothers. I think it would be safe to say that he pretty much wraps up his identity in his family. Sure, he sees to his own needs and education, but his brothers always come first.

Like Clara, when you cut down to the core of his character, he has an intense fear of failure, but it's a very different failure that intimidates him. She's afraid of failing other's expectations of her, he of not living up to the responsibility thrust upon him.

While Clara accepts being in Klarand rather quickly, because Andrew's identity is wrapped up in his brothers, and he's afraid of failing in his responsibility, he flips out, and quite vehemently demands to be sent back to his own world (something that the men would gladly do, if they could.)

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Clara was found in Upper Klarand and taken to a castle where she spent the majority of part 1. They were willing to take any Water Princess who was sent to them, and while they found her unexpected, they did approve. Andrew? He gets found by a hunting party in Lower Klarand. There are exactly two people who approve of him, and Andrew isn't interested in winning friends and influencing people.

I'm not sure if Andrew would have ever accepted Klarand if it weren't for Karlos, the young son of Lord Abraham. I had created this character for the cousin-who-inspired-Chris-in-The-Ankulen, but he didn't show up until what is now part 3. However, as soon as I realized that Andrew was the oldest, I knew that the key to his character would be a younger brother in Klarand who would look up to him as a hero, and create an anchor to which Andrew could fall in love with the world.

And ... that's Andrew. I'm not sure if this post made any sense, but I'm tired and need to get to bed so I can go to work in the morning (I'm scheduling this post.)

So ... Enjoy some more pictures of Eddie. And Gifs, if they'll load.

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Friday, April 3, 2015

Character Encounters - April 2015

Alrighty, I have finally determined where we will be encountering our characters this month. However, before I get around to telling you where this brilliant location is, I have a bit of an announcement.

I'm going to put Character Encounters on Hiatus.

My reason for this is two-fold: first, I'm not seeing a lot of participation. Maybe one or two people, and usually that's me. And while it is good character development, and I enjoy doing them, I don't see the point in creating the link-up if I'm the only one who's going to use it.

Second, I'm kinda running out of good ideas. I've come up with now 27 places so far, and while I know there are more locations available, my brain's empty.

So ... if you wish to protest my decision, you have two options. First, actually do a character encounter and link it below - prove to me that I'm not just doing this for my own creative exploration. Second, comment below with ideas for future encounter locations. I'm open to to pretty much anywhere (provided it's G rated - no bars, or other stuff like that, though I don't think any of you would want your characters there any more than I would), and if you want to see the locations I've already done, see the link in the previous paragraph.

Now, onto this month's Encounter Information. This month, you get to meet your characters ...

In Your Character's Own World

That's right folks, instead of bringing your character here for the encounter, you get to go to them. Sounds like fun, right? (And ... if you need help with world hopping, feel free to borrow Laura, she doesn't mind.)

Thursday, April 2, 2015

777 Challenge

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I've been kinda busy with my life. What time I've been able to spare from work has been given to editing Water Princess, Fire Prince and writing the sequel.

But I was tagged by Jenelle Schmidt and Robyn Hoode for the 777 Challenge, which basically means that one goes to the seventh page of their current WIP, counts down seven lines, and then posts the next seven.

Should be fun ... and I had intentions of sharing it from WP,FP, but when I looked it up, it proved to be something I think I've already shared ... so you guys are getting a snippet from book 2 instead.

  “Is – is she a friend of Laura’s?”
  The man considered a moment. “I don’t know that she is,” he admitted. “But there’s a lot about our mother’s past that we don’t know. She speaks of Laura as fact, though, where most others believe her to be only a story.”
  “Oh.” Petra didn’t like the thought of going alone with this strange man, but it wasn’t as though she knew anyone else here. “In that case, I’d love to meet your mother.”

And there you go. For a wee bit of context, Petra has just arrived in Rizkaland, and Laura (the Doorkeeper) has informed her that she needs to go talk to a friend of hers who would lead her to some answers. She has just met up with a young man who says that his mother may be able to help her. It was a fun scene to write.

Now, I'm also supposed to tag seven people ... but frankly, I believe that everyone know has already been tagged or even have already done this. So, if you haven't done this yet, and want to, consider yourself tagged. I don't know who you are, but I suspect you do. It's not a hard challenge. Have fun!
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