August Quote Queste — Sirens

Another Quote Queste because I discovered I like them.

Again, I get this from Lody.  I got to talk to her again this morning and it was a wonderful two or three hours.  You’ve got to check out her blog and get into her stories.  Her characters are so flesh-and-blood and the worlds she builds are so realistic, even down to the politics.  Trust me; you will love her.

Now that I’ve told you again how fantastic Lody is, here’s the quote she’s picked for this month:

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Silvana clutched her ragged shawl about her shoulders, pulling her dirty, tangled black hair from getting caught between the cloth and her back.

“Half-breed, where are you going?”

Silvana took in a deep breath and turned around to face the smirking fae.  “It is of no matter to you.”

The beautiful young woman sauntered closer, her blonde hair swept away from her face and highlighting her vivid blue markings.  “I can always tell the chief you’re leaving again.  He won’t be pleased, you know.”

Silvana knew her father preferred her to be as far from him as possible.  “Go ahead,” she replied, her voice even and low.  “He knows where I am.”  With that she turned away, slipping into the green embrace of the forest.  She knew every cubit of the way to the ocean — she could walk the path with her eyes closed.  It wasn’t even a path; it was merely the way she had taken for years.  There were only slight hints that told anyone had been there — fewer ferns grew, vines had been pushed to the side, even the animals were used to her presence and didn’t bother paying attention to her any more.

Walking faster than usual, she arrived at the beach in under fifteen minutes.  Closing her eyes, she took a deep breath and made her way forward, feeling the soft sand beneath her feet.  Despite the clouds overhead, the ground was still warm.  Eyes still closed, she stepped into the water and let it carress her skin.  The wind from over the ocean engulfed her, wrapping her in its familiar scent and coolness.  She felt free, released from obligation and status.  Out here, she was no longer the mistake of a dead human mother and fae chief father.  She was only one with the waves and sky, becoming a part of this world her people had no love for.

A soft voice carried in the wind, and Silvana opened her eyes, gazing around in surprise.  She saw nothing but sand, sea and sky.  Whirling to stare behind her, again there was no one.  “Who’s there?” she said as the sound grew louder.  She felt almost that she should be afraid, but instead the emotions inside her were those of curiosity and a strange sort of comfort.

A dark head rose from the ocean, and Silvana took a step forward, staring in shock at the creature slowly crawling up the sand.  From head to hips, he looked a man, but where there should have been legs there was a long, shimmering blue tail.  She had heard tales of merfolk but had never dreamed she would come in contact with one.  “Who are you?” she asked, her eyes locked on his foreign form.  His wet hair was plastered against his thin face, and he was looking back at her with thin eyes beneath thinner eyebrows.  His mouth was pulled into a sharp, wicked smile that held no kindness.  “Tell me who you are,” she said, her tone now threatening and dangerous.  As little control she had over her magic, he would not be pleased to experience it.

“Half-breed, I understand?” he said as his gleaming eyes roved over the dusty blue swirls and diamond-shaped markings on Silvana’s skin.

“And you are a merman.”  She knew she should leave, as the merfolk were dangerous to anyone they came in contact with, but it was as if he had invaded her territory — and he was not welcome.

He flicked his tail, showering himself with a few drops of saltwater that caught the light as they fell.  “What’s your name, pretty thing?”

Manipulative.  No one had yet called her attractive, but she knew better than to trust the seafolk.  “Does it matter?” she replied, narrowing her eyes as she pierced him with her gaze.

He shrugged, again waving his tail as he watched her through his long, lazy eyes.  “No, not particularly.  In the end you’ll just be another life come and gone.”

She knew now that she should be fearful.  She took a step back, the water swirling about her ankles with her movement.  “I will live it gladly.  Go back to your soul-sucking ways and never come here again.”  Turning, she ran up the beach, back into the trees.


Not my best, but it was fun.  It’s from a story called Endless that I’ve got on the back burner, one about the half-breed Silvana and the merman Kai, wrapped up in turmoil between fae, humans and merfolk.

And as I wrote this, I listened in part to Sierra Boggess as Ariel.  That woman is the queen of the world.

Cheers!

Ana

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Quote Queste — Operation Blame Lody

My dear, dear friend Melody (we all just call her Lody) challenged our group of friends to take the quote she had provided and whip up a short piece related to one of our WIPs.  Notice the word “challenge?”  I have a difficult time resisting that little word, so here I am.  But before I begin, I have to tell you go to check out her blog.  She’s a lovely, amazing individual with an unlawful amount of talent (and wisdom).  Feel free to — nicely — stalk her.

(Isn’t that picture gorgeous?)

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Valkyrie shuffled into the kitchen, her wet hair in knots and her favorite red blanket wrapped around her.  She couldn’t sleep.  Taking the biggest mug from her arsenal in the cupboard, she filled it with water and shoved it into the microwave before rooting through her boxes of teas.  She finally settled on a peppermint one as the electric box beeped.  In a haze of exhaustion, she plopped the teabag into the steaming water and sat down to wait for it to be steeped enough.  It was three o’ clock in the morning and she had had a rough day.  All she wanted was rest.  But no — she had to be awake.  For no particular reason.

She rubbed her face with one hand, the other still holding her blanket around her.  Unless someone was dreaming about her.  It happened occasionally, and here in Dusty’s mind the fabric of reality was stretched and reshaped in strange and inconvenient ways.  Taking her tea with her, she marched down the hall.

Djin was awoken by someone shaking his shoulder.  “I’m up, I’m up, Tsuyoshi,” he mumbled, turning his face deeper into his pillow.  He felt as if he hadn’t had enough sleep, but his adopted brother was a very reliable alarm clock.

“Valkyrie’s at the door,” Tsuyoshi said, pushing hard on his shoulder in an attempt to roll him over.

Groaning, Djin lifted himself up on his elbows and glanced at the clock.  3:14.  What?  “What’s she want?” he asked, his words running together with exhaustion.  Now that he knew what time it was, there was no way he was getting out of bed unless it was an emergency in which Dusty was on fire or in otherwise mortal peril.  Tsuyoshi opened his mouth to respond when Valkyrie herself strode into the room, a cup in her hand, a blanket around her shoulders, and a scowl on her face.  It was strange to see her without her thick make-up, even if he couldn’t really see her through the dark.  She then flipped on the light.

“Yah!” Djin cried, covering his eyes before burrowing back under the blankets.  “What’s the matter with you?”

She gripped the blankets and pulled them off him as he glared up at her.  “Were you dreaming about me?”

“I don’t know,” Djin responded irritably.

“Well, Hugo wasn’t,” she said, her voice bitingly mocking, “and Tsuyoshi wasn’t, and seeing as there are only four of us in Dusty’s mind, you’re the only one left.  Cut it out and let me sleep.”

All the pieces eased into place through Djin’s weary consciousness.  She must have been awake in his dream, rendering her unable to rest.  “I’ll do my best,” he retorted, unable to keep a little ice out of his voice.  “I’d like my blanket back now.”

She shoved it back over him, turning and stalking out as Tsuyoshi called out a tentative ‘goodnight.’


Okay, that’s that.  Thanks, Lody, that was fun!

Cheers!

Ana

Why Supporting Characters are the Best

Protagonists make up and drive the story, antagonists are often the source of that drive.  They are the ones the audience is to care about, for it is their tale that’s being told.  But what about the unsung heroes of the same story?

Think of one story without supporting characters.  Yeah; there aren’t any.  There’s even an entire category dedicated to them at awards ceremonies celebrating films.  I’ve found that often those that I love most out of the things I watch or read are not members of the principal cast, but those that support the main players.

Examples:

Eum-Ja in Faith.

sung hoon como chun eum ja-EL PELO, EL PELO :3

Eum-Ja actually works for the antagonist of the drama.  He does his thing, does as he’s told, and is very multi-layered behind his soft-spoken beauty.  I seriously spent the entire drama waiting for him to switch sides and still think he should’ve.

Sir Leon in Merlin

Sir Leon, my favorite knight! (Link to other character photos as well, to remain somewhat fair).

Yes, Leon gets a big picture because I like this one.  He’s one of the Knights of the Round Table in the TV series following Merlin and King Arthur, and while in the beginning he’s rather a bystander, a bit part to give some good moments to our heroes, his nobility and honor do not fail to shine through.  And I agree with the fandom in that he must be immortal.  No other way to explain it.

Anton in Once Upon a Time

Once Upon a Time ABC | Once Upon a Time' recap: Tiny with Jorge Garcia | Season 2 Episode 13 ...

Anton the Giant is a sweetheart.  While initially wary of humans, he is very loving as well as curious of the cultures and practices of others.  It’s because of him that the magic bean once again grows, and it’s very satisfying and happy to see him settle in among the residents of Storybrooke, really making a home there.

Honorable mentions: Dromio and Dromio from Shakespeare’s a Comedy of Errors.  Read the play for them.


Now there are many different supporting characters.  Everyone around you could be considered a supporting character in the story of your life.  There are a lot, huh?  It could be that person who smiled at you when you were fifteen.  It could be your grouchy neighbor with the constantly-barking dog.  They touch and change your life in some way, enriching the experience and giving you the opportunity to see the world in a new light.

Stories are very much the same way.  Every supporting character should touch and change your principal cast or the story itself in some way.  Let me give you some examples from my Robin Hood/King Arthur WIP:

The Lady Eliza

The Lady Eliza ... but she would never handle a sword.

Eliza is a very unlikeable character.  She’s sixteen and married to a noble, viewing herself above everyone she comes in contact with, which drives Marian insane.  She’s a complete priss and unlike the picture, would never handle a weapon, perferring to laze about and complain.  She irritates Marian (and Morgan and even Magar) to no end, and Marian spends her days trying to avoid her while still pretending to help her under Magar’s orders.  She is a good source of information if Marian pushes and manipulates hard enough, seeing as her husband doesn’t think her intelligent enough to keep his secrets from her delicate ears.  So when some of the nobles band together to bring down the king for their own gain, Eliza is in on it and Marian uses that to her advantage.

Guinson Little

Guinson.

Much more trusting and friendly than his father and friends, Guinson is crucial in the moment when Marian had been captured by his comrades.  It’s thanks to him that she’s allowed to go free, and when he’s taken prisoner, she acts to save him, turning her whole life around as well as earning the trust of the rugged outlaws.

Sir Kay

OH MY WORD IT'S KAY.

Arthur is extremely close to his foster-brother Kay, despite the huge differences in their personalities.  While Kay is a huge brat and prone to temper tantrums, he would die for his little brother and king.  He is, in many ways, Arthur’s support.  If Kay thinks what he’s doing is good, then Arthur is assured that it is.  If Kay disagrees, Arthur might just do it anyway, but his brother’s opinion is always carefully considered at the very least.


Again, there are as many different kinds of supporting characters as there are people.  They should also get their time in the spotlight of your mind, because even if your principal cast is well-built, fleshed out and genuine, your story will fall flat unless the supporting characters are as real as their protagonist counterparts.  They support the characters.  They support the story.  And oftentimes, they win our hearts.

Cheers!

Ana

Character Spotlight: Lady Marian of Nottingham

Mah girl. It’s time for another spotlight.  I have chosen Marian from my Robin Hood/King Arthur Retelling.  She’s a spunky young woman that’s forced to live with Sheriff Magar at the death of her parents.  She sees the oppression and poverty rampant in England (I’ve put her in the early fifteenth century for now, at least) and as she is continually stirred by the nation’s troubles she begins to do everything in her power to combat tyranny and fight for peace and justice.

What inspired Marian?

Do you want the embarrassing truth or do you want me to doctor it into something that sounds better?  The truth of the matter is I love playing in the mirror and because of my love of Robin Hood, I envisioned this tough young woman who only pretended to be a man, her pseudonym doing much to protect her identity.  I began putting together the scene, and I decided that this needed to come alive for real.  As for what Marian looks like, she resembles a cross between my mom and sister, and Julia Ormond was as close as I could find.  (Besides, she was Guinevere in First Knight.  I adore that movie).

So she’s Robin Hood, basically.  What makes her go out and rob from the rich to give to the poor?

More than anything it was her upbringing.  Her father seemed to forget that she was a girl and she was allowed to run wild, much to her mother’s dismay.  She had always had a mind of her own and her father encouraged her in her independence, eventually actually giving in to teaching her swordplay.  Her parents were also very intent upon keeping Nottingham a safe and fair place, and when they were killed and the sheriff of Derbyshire took over, Marian got to see first-hand what tyranny and an iron fist do and it angered her.  Never one to sit on the sidelines, she decides to do something about it.

Does she have Merry Men?

She meets (actually, she’s kidnapped and manages to make them let her free) a ragtag group of outlaws.  At first they were planning on ransoming, then killing her, but as she proves herself to be of their ideals they begin to trust her.  They consist of John and his son Guinson, Haelen, Jeffrey and Barric.

John.

(John Little).

Guinson.

(Guinson Little, the baby of the group).

Haelen!

(Closest thing to Haelen I could find).

allen a dale, robin hood bbc. (joe armstrong) my fav!

(Jeffrey.  I couldn’t resist, okay?)

Cross between John and Barric.

(This is the closest I could find to Barric).

If Marian lived in the modern day, what genre of music would she like?

Hm.  Probably more musical theater stuff.  Something not too pop, not too classical.  And she would love the power ballads.  But Sondheim would take some getting used to.

What’s something she admires about herself?

Her tenacity.  She’s very headstrong and when she puts her mind to something, she never gives up.

Is there something she regrets?  What is it?

Her overall regret is accepting Magar’s invitation for her to stay in Derbyshire.  She now isn’t allowed to leave and when she attempts to regain some of her freedoms he punishes her through hurting others.

Is she a talker or a listener?

A bit of both.  She very carefully watches everything around her and speaks to cover up the fact that she’s ingesting as must information as she can.  She paints herself as a proper lady.

What does she struggle with?

Her temper is one of her greatest vices.  It’s often gotten her into trouble and now that she’s playing a dangerous game she has to keep a tighter leash on it lest it get her into trouble.  She also speaks her mind without thinking of the consequences — it’s another thing she’s having to keep in check.

How does she handle those she dislikes?

Probably not as well as she should.  She likes to escape, citing certain duties as a means to leave.  With Magar, she has to act submissive and it angers her.  He knows she hates him, but they’re both aware that she can do nothing about it.  So when Marian becomes Robin Hood, she makes it a personal goal to make him suffer as best she can.

If she lived in the modern day, what would she do?

She would probably be in college getting a degree in law or something.  To quote Bela from Yokai Ningen Bem, “when [she] decides [she] likes some[thing] [she’s] serious about it.”  She probably would apply herself to her studies until she accomplished her goal, and she would probably have a close group of friends who shared her drive and opinions.

How would she feel about Disney’s Merida?

In a lot of ways I think she would relate, seeing as neither of them want to get married, both prefer spending time outdoors with weapons and doing daredevil things, but she would disapprove of Merida’s treatment of her mother.  And she would probably think the bear thing was really weird, seeing as she doesn’t know she’s come in contact with magic yet.

What was she like as a child?

Basically like she is now but with less inhibitions.  Her mother constantly worried about where she was and what she was doing, and there have been several instances where she’s broken either a bone or something belonging to a neighbor in her wild escapades.  She now knows how to behave like a lady, even if she’s pretty grudging about it.

Who are her friends?

At the present moment everyone she’s ever considered herself close to is in Nottingham and she can’t go there.  But she is building trust with the group of outlaws and a strange woman has just appeared in Derbyshire.  Marian insisted the woman, whose name is Morgan, stay, even if she doesn’t entirely trust her.

What is her ultimate goal?

What she really wants is peace.  Both for herself and for her countrymen.  She doubts it’ll ever happen, but she applies herself to fulfilling her dreams to the best of her ability.


So that was Marian.  I’m actually struggling a bit with her story right now because there isn’t much action at the present moment.  But she’s very dear to me and I look forward to spending more time with her.  Biting remarks and all.

Cheers!

Ana

The Nameless One

Being in the mind of a writer is like living in the middle of an orchestra pit during Verdi’s Aida.  Music, beautiful despite all the shades of color, constantly swirls around you, sounding in your ears and lifting you to an entirely different plane, one where anything is possible.

Good luck staying in reality.

Ideas for stories constantly bombard me, scrabbling for my attention, pulling at my hair and clutching my arms.  And many times, these ideas are in the form of people, characters who need their stories told.

See, when I meet a character, it’s not an option for me to disregard them.  They deserve to live and breathe through the words I put together.  To me, they are real.  How could I deny a friend, someone I understand as if I’d known them my whole life, the chance to come alive?

So I collect them.  I have so many stories — and each story has many characters — that surround me, but I can only work on so many things at a time.  But that doesn’t stop me from loving my patient — or not — babies and getting to know them better.

One that’s been stuck in my head recently doesn’t yet have a name.  He needs one that isn’t from here, but I’m not that great at coming up with them.  So, here’s what he looks like:

He’s from a novel I’ve got under the working title, “What Unfamiliarity Does,” but it’s a lame name and it needs fixing.  It’s about three young adults who are brought by a man who’s a little mentally unbalanced to another world in deep political turmoil, and they are expected to fulfil the prophecy of peace returning to the land.  There are two divisions — those still loyal to the princess and the portion of people who have followed her corrupt uncle.

This little man right up there is basically the usurping uncle’s right-hand man.

Oh, and before I continue, I’m gonna be honest here: Ruki from the GazettE totally inspired him.  I needed a bitty person who was bad.  Ruki’s height and stage/media persona fit so well, and I love his little face.  He’s just Ruki, you know?  But while Ruki inspired my person, he has fleshed out until he has become whole.  The role he fills also was a huge factor in how he came to be.  He is needed in the story, and I think he’s a character who will constantly be full of surprises.  You never know what’s up his sleeve.

So, for all of us to get to know him better and because I am dying to spend more time with him, we’re going to have a Q&A.

Why does he not have a name?

Because he needs something exotic — preferably imagined, but nothing’s come yet.  The naming of a character is a huge process, and you have to make sure you’ve got it exactly right.  Mira.

Got it.

Well, now you see how my writing/naming/inspiration process works.  I have to have something spark it, and writing about him just did.  I wanted to name him after my friend Mirriam Neal, since she’s the one who introduced me to a lot of things that helped him come to be, and she loves Ruki as much as I do.  And jotting down random letter combinations inspires me, too.

So.  Mira.

Not exactly exotic or abnormal, but this is a guy we’re talking about, so yes, in a sense it is.  And now there’s no going back — he has claimed his name.

Sorry for the interruption — inspiration called.

Anyway.  Onward.

What would be our first impression of him?

Mira has an air about him that is distant and mysterious, yet there is a certain laziness.  Perhaps ‘lazy’ isn’t the right word … languid?  While he never gives much more than a passing glance, he takes in everything about you, and somehow, you know it.  You feel the danger of this man and know he cannot be trusted.

What does he think of himself?

He tries not to.  He does his duties, he shrewdly watches over everything around him, but he knows his shortcomings — and outright failures and mistakes — all too well to be comfortable with himself.  It’s one reason why insults hurt him much more than he shows.  For most people, the story is about them.  Each character, supporting or principal, is of the opinion that the story is theirs, and they’re right.  It wouldn’t be the same without them.  But Mira’s idea is that he is very much a supporting character in a play so grandoise the sets, the script, and even the actors will fall apart at the slightest touch.  He is a master of intrigue and manipulation, and he knows how dangerous this game is.

How does he treat others?

He seems very passive towards others.  He puts on a facade that is very apathetic, one that leaves the word problems to others and simply does the equation.  It’s a protection.  No one is able to get near him that way — his heart, his soul, everything is guarded by a silken film impossible to see through.

What are his goals?

The principal one is just to live another day.  He plays a very dangerous game and his desire to avoid losing is very strong.

What is his spirit animal?

Probably something like a jaguar.  Hidden in the trees, but a powerful predator.  You don’t know he’s there until he attacks.

Does he fight using words or weapons?

Mira?  Fight?  Yeah, right.  He stays out of every confrontation he can.  He’s one that likes to skirt issues, always taking the back-door approach.  If he had to choose one, it would be words.  He can talk his way out of pretty much anything, somehow pinning the blame elsewhere.

Is there anyone in the world he’s close to?

No.  He tries his best to protect others from himself and those that would hurt them.  And love would be a weakness — if anything went wrong, that person would be the prime target for his enemies.  He doesn’t want to make that choice between someone he cares for and his mission and beliefs.  In truth, he also doesn’t think himself worthy of love.  Friends, family … for their own welfare, he cannot have them.

How does he dress?

He lives in the desert, but actually wears quite a few layers that he will take off or put on according to his mood and temperature.  He usually wears things in either black or red, but he does love fashion and color is certainly a part of that for him.  He loves accessorizing.  Necklaces, bracelets … rings are a favorite.  It rather makes him feel powerful.  And his hair always has volume, and he is quite partial to red lipstick.

What is his role in the story?

I want him to be a very prominent character, but so far logic and Mira himself are telling me that isn’t possible.  But while he may or may not be prominent in person (we’ll see who wins this war), his effect on the novel will be immeasurable.

Because … he’s a double agent.


Ha, ha.  That was your teaser.  And goodness knows I won’t be able to get to the novel for real anytime soon, so I’m kind of harming us all in this process.

So that was Mira.  He’s my baby and I love him.

Cheers!

Ana

 

The Definition of Insanity

One of my works in progress is a novel whose temporary title was ‘Dream Dancers.’  It’s something that I knew was going to take a lot of work.

Just not this much work.

The Definition of Insanity (thank you, Shelby, for okaying the title), is a story about a woman in her early twenties who has always heard voices in her head.  She doesn’t really know what’s going on, but there are actually other people living inside her mind.  And they want out — badly.

My best friend and I were talking the other day, and we kind of realized how pathetic we are.  She knows more about the regency period and I know more about ancient Egypt than we do about the modern world.  What on earth do normal people our age do with their lives?  That’s a huge problem I have with the Definition of Insanity.  While it’s got elements that aren’t ‘normal,’ for the most part it’s a contemporary novel and it confuses me.  Many interesting things happen in daily life, but not much that makes a good book.

This is my third time rewriting the beginning.  I have to write chronologically, so the beginning, for me, is a huge part of integrating myself in the story.  And it kept falling flat.  I had too much info-dump and hadn’t planned things out enough.  And I readily admit I was rather lazy.  I’m rather a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of person and my methods and the story were not meshing.  When I write, I need excitement.  And what I was doing wasn’t conducive with the story.

But I learned more from every rewrite.  I already have playlists put together to spur my mind as I write and I’ve finally nailed the plot down more.  This time, I think I can do it.

So, just for fun, I’m going to tell you a bit about my story.

The name is kind of a family in-joke.  My dad is a huge tease and he likes to tell us that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result.  And just given the content, it fits.  Besides, I think writing this one might just drive me over the edge.

I was inspired to write the book, in part, by the therapy I was doing.  My dear friend and therapist, Brother Cassity, had me try a technique where I would ‘enter’ a sort of conference room in my head where all the facets of myself had gathered.  He asked me to find the one holding onto all the fear, and when I saw her, I think I scared him a little.  This is Valkyrie.

I was born into a less-fortunate household, seeing as my biological father was quite mentally and emotionally abusive.  I grew into a hardened, mean individual, and Valkyrie is basically myself had I not been given the opportunities to change.  (And for the record, my mother remarried when I was twelve, and I completely, totally, and unreservedly consider my new father as my real one).  So writing this book is very much an emotional journey for me, as I’ll be delving into my past and coming to terms with it.  Everyone has difficulties and trials individual to them, and a goal I hope I can reach with this novel is to bring peace to other tortured souls.

As always, a book is made by its characters.  Plot, technique, etc. are all very important, but to create a memorable experience characters have to be flesh-and-blood, individuals the audience can relate to and sympathize with.  I’ve spent quite a bit of time on these guys, and I’d like to introduce you now:

DUSTY ELIZABETH DARCY (FORMERLY MURPHY)

My protagonist, Dusty Darcy

Dusty, the protagonist and host of most of the others, was legally adopted by her mother’s second husband, which is why her last name changed.  She’s twenty-one, and the book begins soon after she and her sister lose their parents.  She’s intelligent but struggles with school and currently works at JCPenney in Reno, Nevada.  She’s a quarter Sioux on her mother’s side and has thick black hair, full lips, thick brows and eyes that are rather small in her chiseled face.  (Morphing Lily Collins and Sandra Bullock kind of did the trick with a bit of GIMP alteration).  She’s a bit blunt, a bit of an introvert, and loves to read — just don’t ask her to spout her knowledge.  She has bad dyscalculia (basically dyslexia with numbers), and is quite the people-watcher.  Rather quiet, it takes a while to get to know her, but inside, she’s always acquiring and digesting new facts about the world around her.

RYCE KATHRINE DARCY

Aww, happy Ryce

This is Dusty’s younger sister.  They’re not biologically related, so don’t be surprised at their complete lack of resemblance.  She’s a literal genius, but because of money matters she’s decided not to continue on to college — at least not for the moment — and it crushes Dusty.  She’s sugar and spice and everything nice, but she’s surprisingly shrewd.  She always sees the good in people and tries hard to remain positive.  She’s overwhelmingly loyal to her sister, and in many ways is Dusty’s rock.  Dusty is Ryce’s caution, Ryce is Dusty’s worry-alleviator.  They balance each other out very well.

DJIN (NEEDS MIDDLE NAME) HAWTHORNE

Djin!

Djin’s kind of rough-around-the-edges.  When you first meet him, he seems kind of hard and sullen, but that’s just the way he appears.  He does have quite the temper, but usually manages to keep it in check.  He doesn’t trust others very easily, but is usually willing to give them a chance.  He’s devoted to his adopted brother, Tsuyoshi, and when he’s around him is the only time his true softness comes out.  Djin feels things very deeply and is somehow of the opinion that it is his job to care for those trapped in Dusty’s mind.  He’s very selfless, almost to a fault, little though you’d know it from his brusque attitude.  All-in-all, he’s what my friends and I call a burnt marshmallow — bitter and hard on the outside, gooey and sweet on the inside.  Although I don’t think he’d be particularly keen on that description.

TSUYOSHI AKI (NEEDS LAST NAME)

.

He was inspired by the adorable Yuzuru Hanyuu who won the gold in the men’s skating last winter Olympics.  That little face needed a story.  So Tsuyoshi (or ‘Tsu,’ as Djin calls him) was born.  He was the last to arrive in Dusty’s mind, and Djin kind of took him in.  Tsuyoshi is very different from the others — he’s incredibly sweet and soft-hearted.  He’s not the brightest sometimes, but he’s kind and loving in an innocent way that is very rare these days.  Whatever he does, he does with his whole heart.  He loves music, especially classical, and can often be found composing in the apartment he and Djin share.

HUGO JAMES BENEDICT

Combine Jareth and The Awesome Elvin King Whose Name I Don't Know and you have ... HUGO JAMES BENEDICT.

(Another morphed project).  Hugo likes to keep to himself, though he is attracted to Valkyrie.  Out of all of them, he is perhaps the coldest.  He thinks only of himself, not even those he’s been with for about a decade.  His opinion of himself is basically that he’s royalty.  His apartment is lush and he enjoys spending time in the library, philosophizing and looking regal in his tailored suits.  Very self-absorbed.  He is willing to do anything to free himself from Dusty’s mind, and that makes him the most dangerous of all.

VALKYRIE AURORA WEBB

I made a Valkyrie thing!  I'm so proud of myself!

Valkyrie is an extremely complicated individual.  (No, you may not call her ‘Val.’  I do, but she can’t murder me without her story careening to a halt).  She remembers far more than Dusty the abuse they suffered at the hands of Dusty’s biological father, and she has grown into a woman haunted by her past, hardened to the point that she no longer feels anything.  Her only relief comes by dancing, the rigor of ballet somehow soothing her.  She also loves music and has a vast collection of both classical and musical theatre.  (She is against pop.  She finds it crude and childish).  She doesn’t feel, but she certainly thinks.  She doesn’t know how to see the positive, and life, for her, is just about surviving one more day.

CHRISTOPHER (NEEDS MIDDLE AND LAST NAMES)

The name is completely coincidental, I promise.  Chris just graduated college with a degree in engineering, sponsored by his wealthy parents.  He has everything he wants.  He’s first attracted to Dusty, but Ryce quickly captures his attention.  He’s charming, caring, and attentive, and his help is greatly appreciated by the struggling girls (much to the dislike of those in Dusty’s mind).  But his motives are far less generous than what initially they seem.

So, that was a sneak peek into my old/new novel.  I hope you enjoyed, because there will definitely be more on the subject.

Cheers!

Ana

P.S. Happy birthday, Reita!

Reita - The GazettE

Character Spotlight: Nicholas Quartermaine

  Nicholas is my protagonist in To Befriend a Vampire.  Normally I have huge casts and don’t like to be confined to just one mind, but Nicky is different.  With my life-long vampire obsession, I have always wanted to do a story about this creature I have so long loved.  (And Twilight sparkle-monsters are not — I repeat, are not — vampires.  I grew up devouring a small book of Bram Stoker’s Dracula.  Twilight stinks.  Reeks.  It’s putrid).  In Metamorphosis, the Vampires are devoid of emotion, rendering them evil by instinct.  As much as I loved my babies, I really wanted to portray vampires from a more human sense.  That’s what they were originally, after all.  Just people like you and me before they were infected.  So Nicky was just a poor kid who managed to get himself into a bad situation … and has lived regretting it for two hundred years.

Anyway, let me introduce you: Nicky, blog folk.  Blog folk, this is Nicky.

Q. Nicky, we don’t really have a picture of you — what do you look like?

I actually prefer going by Nicholas.

Me: Don’t glare at me, buddy.

I will be ignoring you, Ana.  And I look like a vampire.

Me: That’s descriptive.

Fine — white skin, really dark red eyes, I actually have a widow’s peak.  Oh, yeah, and I have fangs — see?

Me: Yes, thank you for scaring my readers, Nicky.  And guys, he’s actually quite handsome.  Strangely, he’s always looked like the stereotypical vampire — sunken cheeks, low, dark eyebrows, thin lips, slightly longer face, black hair….  It’s quite funny.

*Nicholas mumbles something unintelligible*

Me: This is basically what he looks like … with a sleek ponytail, white skin, and no facial hair….This looks a bit like Nicky.  He's hard to cast.

Q. So … do you not like your author, Nicholas?

Well….  She’s actually bearable.  She’s nice enough most days.

Q. So you’re about two hundred years old, right?  How did you turn into a vampire?

Yeah, yeah.  I was born in 1802.  And how I turned does happen to be my private business, although I’m sure Ana is dying to write it.

Q. She’s mentioned something about a watch that belonged to your brother.  Can you tell us more about it?

It’s very accurate.

Me: Nicholas.

All right, fine!  It’s silver and has magical properties.

Q. Well … what kind of magical properties?

It, uh, transports the one who holds it to fairyland.

Me: Who can make it work?

Someone who believes in magic.  Which is why I never figured it out for a couple centuries.

Q. So it was someone else who figured it out?  Who was it?

…Piper.  There’s a kid named Piper.  And if you touch her, I will rip your vocal cords out through your navel.

Me: Nicholas!

Q. Have you ever killed anyone…?

We’re getting off the subject.  Let’s talk about you.  Are you … tasty?

Q. All right, fine….  What’s your brother’s name?

…Jonathan….

Q. Where is he now?

He slayed Cherberus and is now the king of the Underworld.  Hades is his servant.

Q. So he’s … dead?

Yeah.  Have you got a problem with that?  Aren’t people allowed to die in the twenty-first century?

Me: Let’s change the subject.

Q. So do you sleep in a coffin?

I think it would be fun, but no.  That’s bologna.

Q. You seem very modern for a two-hundred-year-old vampire.

One has to blend in.  I’m usually only out at night, but just in case, I learned how to behave myself.

Q. Does the sun burn you or do you sparkle?

Fairies sparkle.  Vampires fry.

Me: He doesn’t get the reference.

What reference?

Me: You don’t want to know.

Q. So is Piper your daughter or something?

Goodness, no!  That would be horrific.

Q. How old is she?  How did you meet her?

She’s five.  As she’ll tell anyone who stands still long enough.  And when her drunken excuse for a mother let me into the house, I snuck into the garage and Piper found me.

Me: Piper found him asleep on a dog bed under a tarp.  It was not one of his proudest moments.

Q. So what is your proudest moment?

Not this one.

Q. How have you spent your two hundred years?

Humans don’t tend to like vampires, so I’ve been evading the hunters.  It makes life … interesting.

Q. If there was one wish you wanted fulfilled, what would it be?

Well, that’s awfully personal!

Me: Just answer the question, Nicky.  You’re exhausting.

Never to see another human being again.

Me: I give up.

Q. What do you feel about us?

You?  You’re the food source.

Q. So why haven’t you eaten Piper?

I just … she kind of became my responsibility.  As soon as I return her to her mother, I’m leaving.

Q. Would you eat her mother?

I do not want that much alcohol in my body.  Her system can get rid of it — it takes far longer with my dead immortality.

Q. Last question: if you could describe yourself in one word, what would it be?

…Ana calls me a curmudgeon.  I guess that works.

Q. And there’s one request.  Can you give us some parting words?

Be good.  And watch your families well.  Vesuvius might erupt again, you know.


I am sorry for my annoying vampire.  When I had the brilliant idea of introducing him, I forgot what an absolute brat he can be at times.  Especially when there’s an audience involved.  I promise he genuinely has a soft spot — he just pretends he doesn’t.

Is it sad that a character from my own mind is causing me such embarrassment?

Cheers!

Ana