Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I Love to Laugh (and more about Christmas)

Hello, everyone.  Today I'm going to go on a rant about fiction, so beware.  To make up for said rant, I will talk about Christmas-y things at the end, because everyone knows how much fun Christmas is.

The Rant

I am past starting to get annoyed with the fact that I most of the books published in my time are unreadable if I want to (a) stick to godly, Christian standards and (b) not have to keep my brains from running away because of the way I've abused them.  Oddly enough, though, that's not exactly what I'm going to rant about.  It sort of stems off of that.  You see, so many people go around bemoaning the sad state of modern fiction when they are writers who can help fix the state of modern fiction by writing decent literature.
Ha Ha Ha Ha!
No, I'm sad and a little mad that people who do write decent literature always seem to think that a sense of humor enters the story as an afterthought.  Gone are the days of Mary Roberts Rinehart and A. A. Milne, and even Wilkie Collins, but why?  Why has the literate world suddenly plunged into this state of darkness and gloom and epic fantasy that has the whole world at stake?  Why is it that the funny character is always the sidekick?

There is very little light-hearted fiction being written nowadays, and that makes me sad.  The entertaining reading that is being put out nowadays is dark and heavy.  That's not to say that it doesn't have a great message, but why must we always dwell on grandiose battles and the hero saving an entire world?  Or, worse, why must we dwell on romance?  I shan't even take my mind there right now, because then I would be writing an even longer and duller post.

Am I saying that there's something wrong with fantasy or adventure books?  Of course not!  I even enjoy them.  What I am saying is that we are losing the art of humorous writing styles when we stick to such themes, and when we lose humor, we become dry.

Why does no one satirize society anymore?  I can think of a good many things about society that I could make ridiculous through humor.  Good authors seem to shy away from that, though.  

As for situational comedy, there seems to be very little of that being published any more.  Does no one see that it doesn't have to be fluff?  Some of the best messages can be relayed through humor.

I am of the firm belief that people who laugh at wholesome humor are the better for it.  The only problem is, how are we supposed to laugh at what doesn't exist.

Now, I shall follow my own example after I give a few more details about my big Christmas bash.

 Christmas-y Things

St. Patrick's in NYC at Christmas timeAh, we can talk about fun things now.  Don't forget, I'm having a Christmas party here on Hidden Orchards starting the week after Thanksgiving (for those of you who absolutely can't stand the sight of anything that has to do with Christmas before Thanksgiving).  

You can be involved.  In fact, I want you to be involved.  I've already had a few girls respond to being interviewed here on Hidden Orchards, but I'd love to have more.  If you want to talk about Christmas and Christmas books here, then please feel free to leave a comment below, and I'll contact you later.

Also, I'm going to have some fun giveaways.  Also, I'm going to have some tags.  Also, Christmas at the Tittletons is on sale now for Christmas.  It would make a great gift for someone who loves to read.

Lastly, I've been toying with the idea of making a vlog post during the Christmas party.  What do you think?  Let me know if you would enjoy hearing the melodious strains of my voice.

Now, feel free to spread the word about this most glorious event.  I would be most grateful.

Thanks for reading, and God bless,

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Mrs. Mabel Flavingswell and Co.

As most of you know (I suddenly realized that I start a good deal of blog posts with that statement.  Good heavens, I need to give you some new information!), The Replacement Relatives is set at the Christmas after the World War I Armistice.  Soldiers are coming home, and Mrs. Flavingswell, our capricious, inconsistent, and eccentric leading lady, is in denial that her son, Edward, is not going to be coming back with the others.

Mrs. Mabel Flavingswell, the heroine of our story
Mrs. Mabel Flavingswell
Mrs. Flavingswell is a pretty fun person to be around when she's in a good mood.  She's a soft heart, really, but she's not afraid to say exactly what she thinks when she gets angry, which is basically any time Mrs. Sylvia Flavingswell, First-Cousin-Once-Removed Bruce's wife, is in the close vicinity.  Mrs. Sylvia is both similar to and different from Mrs. Mabel.  Their chief difference lies in the fact that Mrs. Mabel has a sense of humor and Mrs. Sylvia doesn't.  Other than that, though, they're both capricious, strong-minded women who have pretty deep-running feelings.

One of my chief points in the story is the introduction of Hamilton Claymore, a recently discharged soldier.  I initially debated actually putting him into the story, because there is something kind of trite about the "mysterious stranger showing up on Christmas Eve" that I want to avoid.  Claymore, for your information, shows up on Christmas Eve Eve, but he could still seem . . . same-y.  In order to avoid that, I let Bruce Flavingswell suspect him of being a con artist.  That put in a lot of extra conflict that I wasn't going to have originally, as the entire household tries to keep him away from Mrs. Flavingswell so that he can't con her out of her money.  Claymore actually came for the express purpose of giving Mrs. Flavingswell a private message from her son, so naturally he's trying to get her alone while everyone else is trying to keep him from getting her alone.  In this way I try to keep Claymore from becoming that character.  Who wants to read about a character that is exactly like fifty-seven other characters that he has already read?

Claymore is going to be bothersome.  I can already see that.  First of all, he's a young, unmarried man, which I didn't have before.  I originally added him into the mix to heighten the situational comedy that I was going for anyway.  Now it looks like he could be the one and only love interest to our clumsy oaf of Mrs. Flavingswell's companion, Bianca Quettle.  Poor Bianca has had a difficult life, and she gets saddled with the undesirable task of keeping four snow-bound children out of trouble, making her life even more difficult.

I need some help for Bianca.  Would you personally rather read this story if she and Claymore fell in love or if they stayed sane and healthy?  What would be better for the comedy?  Feel free to express your opinions with gusto in the comments below.
Snow, snow, snow!
Snow for Christmas
As for the children, I've been working on their relationships to the grown-ups.  Bianca gets stuck with them, and she definitely has a favorite in Solomon Spencer, the shy middle child of the Spencer siblings.  Her least favorite is Edgar Flavingswell, a brat plain and simple.  Anne and Carl Spencer, the eldest and youngest of the Spencer children, take it upon themselves to make Edgar's life miserable.  Bianca, of course, has to keep the parents from finding out, because she's afraid they'll blame her for everything that goes wrong.  In Mrs. Sylvia's case she's completely right.

Mrs. Flavingswell feels a sentimental, benevolent sort of tie to the children.  She's happy to have them in the house at Christmastime, because it takes her back to the years when her own son was young and there were many children in the house all the time.  She has all sorts of things for them to do, from making fudge to singing for her.  Both of those activities go terribly awry, but Mrs. Flavingswell turns a blind eye to the children's faults, partly because she is so taken up with the adults' faults.

I don't go much into the parent-children relationships.  The parents mostly leave their children alone, trusting to Bianca as a sort of nurse-maid while they enjoy themselves.  This is partly because I don't want to make things too complicated and partly because I want Bianca to have a lot of troubles with the children.

As for Claymore, he actually attracts the children.  I'm sort of basing this on my oldest younger brother, who happens to love little kids and always hits it off well with them.  Bianca is frustrated, because she doesn't trust Claymore, thinking him to be a con man, but she wants to keep the children placated so that she doesn't get into trouble.

So, this sounds like a lot of fluff, you say.  Don't worry!  There is a theme underneath this comedy as Mrs. Flavingswell starts to realize that the replacements she's brought in for her relatives are really not so very different from the relatives themselves.  Her problem is not with her relatives, but in the way she views people in general.  Also, she has to learn to let go of the past and learn to enjoy the present, which is pretty hard to do when you have four mischievous kids trying to amuse themselves while snowed into your house that seems to grow smaller by the minute.

Yes, I'm only slightly obsessed with this at the moment.  Hopefully I'll be posting some snippets soon, although as my choir has a concert next week and tour starting the week after that, I'm sure that my posting will be sporadic, at best.

Don't forget that Christmas at the Tittletons is on sale here right now.  You should go check it out, because it will make a good Christmas gift for any of your friends and family who love to read.

Thanks for reading, and God bless,

Friday, October 3, 2014

The Replacement Relatives

Welcome back, dearies!  As promised, here is a bit about my annual Christmas story.  This year it's called The Replacement Relatives.

When Mrs. Mabel Flavingswell decides that her relatives are too annoying to endure for an entire Christmas holiday, she invites a different set of people: middle-aged twins Marshall and Martha, who haven't spoken to each other for fourteen years, and Martha's husband and three children.  Unfortunately, just as Mrs. Flavingswell is settling back to enjoy the highly interesting clashes between the formerly estranged siblings, disgruntled First-Cousin-Once-Removed Bruce Flavingswell arrives at the Flavingswell homestead with his persnickety wife and bratty son.  With a beastly blizzard in the mix and a strange, recently discharged Lieutenant showing up on Christmas Eve, nothing could possibly be worse.

That is, nothing will get worse unless hired girl Bianca Quettle decides to improve her shy nature around all these confusing people.

Set in New England during the Christmas of 1918, The Replacement Relatives may or may not make you groan with sympathy for poor, misunderstood Mrs. Flavingswell.  Just please don't root for Edgar.  He's pretty bad.

Edgar Flavingswell, the terror of everyone who knows him
Edgar Flavingswell

So, yes, this is my Christmas story.

Now, I've basically given the cast in the summary, but here's a list of some of the delightful (and otherwise) characters.

  • Mrs. Mabel Flavingswell ~ The lady of the house is a bit annoying, especially at first, but she really does have a soft heart . . . once you get to know her.
  • Bianca Quettle ~ Poor girl, she's the one who has to deal with all the cranky people and bratty children.  Of course, with her sense of humor, I think she can manage it.
  • Elkanah Bimms ~ He's the hired man of Flavingswell homestead.  He's the sort who comes out with one-liners and does all the handy things about the place.
  • Mrs. Bimms ~ Elkanah's wife, of course, is the cook, and she makes no bones about what she thinks of children messing up her kitchen.
These four live on the homestead, and they're pretty nice most of the time.  It's only the thought of having to spend Christmas with Edgar Flavingswell that makes their skin curl in disgust.

And now for some snippets:

It was at that precise moment that Bianca Quettle came stumbling into the parlor.  Bianca always stumbled, poor girl.  She stumbled, dropped things, and looked generally unhappy whenever she was about people.  Now she came in, balancing the tea tray on her hands in a way that made Mrs. Mabel Flavingswell shudder with fear and horror.  Bianca was a nice young lady, but she was so dreadfully awkward.  Mrs. Mabel Flavingswell, admittedly, kept her around simply for the excitement.  There was nothing dull about Bianca.
Mrs. Sylvia Flavingswell, the annoying wife of First-Cousin-Once-Removed Bruce
Mrs. Sylvia Flavingswell
~ The Replacement Relatives

“No Bruce, no Sylvia, no Nephew Osborne, no Luke, no Sarabelle, and no Edgar.  I feel that this Christmas will be quite pleasant.”  Mrs. Flavingswell nodded serenely.  “Did you know that Sarabelle actually had the audacity to tell me that my dining room set was outdated?”
            Bianca did know that.  She had been there when Sarabelle had somehow screwed up the courage to tell her elder cousin what she thought of the dining room table.  Mrs. Flavingswell had returned a comment concerned with what she thought of Sarabelle.  Although that made things awkward for most of the family, Bianca had been rather entertained.  Sarabelle had a face that looked like a plump boiled potato, and it always reddened whenever she was angry.  Bianca had been hard put to keep from laughing at that most solemn moment.
~ The Replacement Relatives

She was greeted with a blast of snow and a tip of a very snowy hat.  “Afternoon, Miss.”
            “Good afternoon,” said Bianca.  “Do come in.”
            “Thanks much, Miss,” said the man to whom the snowy hat belonged.  “Mr. Marshall Lamb, at your service.”
            “I’m Miss Bianca Quettle,” said Bianca.  “Everyone just calls me Bianca or Miss Bianca.”  She slammed the door shut as soon as Mr. Lamb was all the way in the house.  “Welcome!”
            “Thanks, Miss,” he said as he began to divest himself of his outdoor wrappings.  He certainly had a lot of them, but when they were off of him and in Bianca’s arms, she could see why.  He must have been the thinnest man that Bianca had ever seen.  There was no mistaking him for anyone but Mrs. Martha Spencer’s brother.  His waist was smaller than Bianca’s; on that she would have staked her own life.  He had a thin mouth and a thin amount of sandy hair on his thinnish looking head.  His arms looked like little pine branches, and his fingers looked like very delicate twigs.  His trousers might have been made for a boy, so scrawny were they.
~ The Replacement Relatives

Thanks for reading, and God bless,

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Never Too Early

Ah, my lovely people, welcome to October.  Hereafter shall be the best part of the year, because for the me the official Christmas season starts in October.

1918, the first Christmas after WWIIn case you are wondering, yes, I'm already listening to Christmas music and dreaming about going home for Christmas and thinking about Christmas dinner and imagining what I'll be getting other people for Christmas.  I've already been doing that (since summer), but now it's official.

For all of you people who have this oddity of waiting until after Thanksgiving to begin your official Christmas festivities, I am truly sorry for you.  If you think I'm overly obsessing about Christmas and cheapening the holiday or making it less special because it's happening for a longer amount of time, well or (saints preserve us!) "commercializing" Christmas, well, think again.  I have my reasons.

Most of you know that I'm in college, and I hardly see my family (specifically my parents and younger brothers) at all anymore.  I worked on over the summer, and I was at home for about a week and a half in January and three days in June this year.  In other words, I have chronic homesickness, and the next time I'm going home is at Christmastime.  I can't wait!

Spread the joy!  Buy it here: course, I like Christmas for its own sake, and also because it lends itself so well to story plots.  Just look at my Pinterest account if you don't think that I'm serious enough about Christmas.

Oh, and I have exciting news, which is kind of what I was leading up to with all the rest of this post. That is, I'm having a Christmas sale for Christmas at the Tittletons starting in October.  You can find it here, yes, right here!!! 

The reduced price is $7.45, and this is a great Christmas present for anyone who likes to read.  It's also fun to read aloud, just saying.

Why are you putting CatT on sale right now, you ask?  Well, I'm doing this for those people like my mother who love to get their Christmas shopping done a few months early.  Don't worry, though.  This sale is going on throughout Christmas Day.

For all those people who hate celebrating Christmas before Thanksgiving, don't worry.  I'm going to have a big Hidden Orchards Christmas party, but not until after Thanksgiving.  Then I'll have a selection of tags, giveaways, and some Christmas-y interviews.  If you want to participate in any of the interviews, please feel free to leave a comment below with your email so that I can contact you.  I moderate all the comments, so your email won't show up.

Also, I'll be posting soon on a new Christmas novel that I'm working on, which is called The Replacement Relatives.  You'll hear more about that later.

All right, well, that's all folks.  Merry Pre-Christmas.

Thanks for reading, and God bless,


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

About "The Musketeer Murder"

Being murdered isn't very much fun, if you're the one who get's shot, that is.  Naturally, the person who did it feels a certain amount of relief afterwards, but there's still that tenseness that he may be caught, and that might just give him away.

I'm working on a short story right now that uses this concept, the concept of the murderer giving himself away directly after the committing of the crime.  The only problem is that the people around him have to pick up on his slip-ups.

One twist that I'm putting in (you'll know this almost from the beginning, so I'm not giving out any spoilers) is that all the characters, with the exception of the victim, are involved in the murder more or less.  They've all made plans to kill the victim at one point, or at least have someone else kill the victim.

This is very much an experimental story.  It's also set in modern times, so don't let the title fool you.  I allude to the novel by Dumas quite a bit in the story, and I've taken an important theme from The Three Musketeers--"One for All, and All for One"--as a theme for my story.

So, maybe you're wondering why I'm making such a big deal about this right now.  ("Aren't you supposed to be in college?")  Actually, it's just something that I've been thinking about a good deal lately.  You probably know, if you've been around here for very long, that I'm a huge Agatha Christie fan.  I love murder mysteries of all types, and I've really begun branching out with my mystery reading.  It's such an interesting genre, and I love the reader interaction in the story that doesn't always happen in other genres.  I suppose it's only inevitable, then, that I should dedicate a good chunk of my writing time to churning out murder mysteries.

Which leads me to another problem.  There are only six characters in my story, including the victim, and none of them, including the victim, are good.  It's quite an interesting experience, actually, writing a story with only villains.  For instance, what does one do with the ending.  They can't win, but then, does no one win?

I'm finding myself influenced by Crime and Punishment here.  That's an amazing book, by the way, and if you've never read it you really should.

My other big problem is motive.  Do you realize how horrible a person you would have to be to have five whole people actively trying to kill you?  Yes, hers was not an easy life.

By her, I mean Connie, the victim, of course.  Connie's a nasty little piece of work, involved in blackmail and threats and possibly theft.  Not that any of the others are better, either.

There's Ren, also called "Dad" by the others because he's serious and bookish.  We also have Ollie, the oldest of the group, who's in his late twenties but has the tendency to brood in a Hamlet-esque manner.  Char is a wild young woman who doesn't lead quite as ugly of a life as she tries to make everyone believe she does.  Isaac is a body-builder type of guy, Ren's best friend and smart despite the fact that he always seems to look as though someone just punched him upside the head.  Annie, the last of our gruesome band, is an unnatural redhead who acts like a blonde but has the presence of mind to ask others to do her dirty work for her.

With all the thought I've had to put into this story so far, I'm still not certain of what I'll do with it when I'm finished.  One doesn't exactly publish a single short story.  Still, I'm enjoying the writing of it!

Thanks for reading, and God bless,

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

You Had No Right to be Born, for You Make No Use of Life.

Thank you for that apt reminder, Charlotte Brönte.  Charlotte is on my top list of authors right now, because of Shirley.  Why do we never hear about that book?  It's so much funnier than Jane Eyre, not to mention the story is deeper and WAY more interesting.  It smacks of an earlier version of North and South because we have a harsh mill owner and disgruntled workers, although the story contains a good deal more than that.  You need to read it.

Ahem.  I shall now get down to the nitty-gritty.

This is a post in which I shall preach to myself.

I hate editing.  Big surprise, right?  Why can't I just write a paper and have it turn out perfectly right away?  Instead, I sit staring into nothingness and growing more and more frustrated with myself because I can't think of how I should make my manuscript better.  Then I end up with an explosion and go off to read some Agatha Christie because murder always makes me feel better after editing, or trying to edit.

Rage gifs.  When words fail. I have longed to do this to my computer lol

Naturally I know that all of you love EDITING!  Oh, how fun!  Oh, how many exclamation marks I'm using in this paragraph!

In reality, some people like editing even more than the initial writing process.  Some people also like physics and chemistry, but we try not to talk to them too much.  And to all my writing brothers and sisters who think that the epitome of writing happiness is sitting down to tear up a beloved manuscript, TELL ME YOUR SECRET.

I'm in a short story writing class right now, and I'm enjoying every minute of it.  I am also learning all that editing implies.  This class is one of the higher-level CW classes at my university, and I've only taken basic CW so far.  (I'm not a CW major, so these classes actually count as electives for me, and I don't have to take them in order.  I am so powerful.)  I feel majorly underprepaired even though I'm enjoying the class so much.  For instance, every time my professor starts going on about publishers and such I start feeling like Calvin.

Disclaimer: I write all my own assignments.  It is, however, astonishing how often I can relate to Calvin in other areas.  Do I need mental help?

Editing for a class is so much more than editing for yourself.  I'm going to hand in my brain-child to a cold-hearted professor who will scribble all over it and make comments that make me feel like a toddler who randomly scratched out gibberish all over a page and called it writing.  Hence, I must edit away all possibility of this ever happening.  The stress is very real.

When I actually hunker down to editing, though, I can hardly bear to change what I've written.  I know it's bad, but it's mine.  I sit before my computer, impatiently waiting for the editing muse to come along and give me some ideas.

Greatest GIF compiliation on writing EVER. || The Publishing Process in GIF Form | Nathan Bransford, Author

I'm pretty sure that editing doesn't have a muse.  That's something you have to do all by yourself.  I edited my first manuscript for SSW class last week, and it was some of the hardest editing I've ever done.  Know what?  The assignment was under 200 words.  I had 257.  When you have to tell a story, however simple, in 200 or fewer words, you have a problem.  Each word counts, and has to mean a whole lot.  My 257 words meant a lot; I had already stripped the story, or anecdote, down to bare bones.  What more could I do?

That's when I found out that editing means pushing yourself to the limit, ruthlessly cutting what you thought was the good stuff.  It wasn't.  You can make it better.  Rather, I can make it better.  (I'm preaching to myself.  You guys already know all this stuff.)

Honestly, I've read about editing before, and I've found it to be dull reading.  Is it because of the way I've approached editing before?  I'm not merely butchering my darling, I'm creating a rigid monster.  That's how I've always looked at it, but I think I've been taking the wrong approach.  What I discovered after I was forced to edit down those words is that the limitations made me do it.  What I had when I was finished editing was so much better than the rough draft.  It wasn't a rigid monster, it was a good paper.

My professor, one of the harder graders in the department, so I've been told, told me that I had a good story when he gave it back to me today.  Editing works, guys.  

Honestly, though, I found out something important from all that editing.

I've got to have restrictions and rules.  In this case I had a deadline and a tiny word count.  The rules were pretty rigid, and it made my writing much better than it would normally be.

How I love Calvin and Hobbs! Sums up the response from the High School students I teach!

That's so hard to replicate in real life when you're editing a novel.  You don't necessarily have a deadline or a minimal word count. You don't have a professor breathing down your neck (figuratively, of course) as you frantically cut out whole paragraphs and reconsider word choice.  The self-control needed is fantastic.

Oh, and I'm not giving you any specific suggestions for editing, other than saying that restricting yourself is important.  Why?  If you've been here for any length of time, you know that my pet peeve is lists that tell you exactly how to write your story.  I am very much a theorist when it comes to writing, because I believe that each writer must discover how best he works.

All I'm saying is that we (that is, I) need to be strict, strict, strict when it comes to tearing up a ms.  I've decided to set personal deadlines for myself because otherwise I'll never get anything done.

But isn't that what everyone's already been telling us all along.  I guess we all need to have our own epiphany over the exact same thing.

Thanks for reading, and God bless,


Friday, September 5, 2014

Beautiful People (Villain Edition) - Heliopolite Tajisscra

Hi, everyone!  I'm here to link up with The Notebook Sisters for the September edition of Beautiful People.  This month it's villains!  Yay!  And, of course, I have to do my favorite villain (who is also recurring), Heliopolite Tajisscra, or just Tajisscra.  He's got his reasons, but he's still black-hearted.  You'll find him in Alicia, Lonish the Swordmaster, and various short stories set in the world of Rindavae.  I also have plans for some of his family members to show up in other novels.

1. What is their motive?

Well, Tajisscra and his people, the Estackam, have a huge chip on their shoulders because they feel that they are not as favored as the Cheol Ruvin, the people chosen to keep the records of Rindavae by the Good Master, the Maker of Rindavae.  They feel that the choice was unfair, and so they've basically been feuding with the Cheol Ruvin ever since.  Tajisscra simply has greater drive than the others of his people.  He wants respect from all of Rindavae, but not necessarily for the Estackam.  He wants to be respected personally.  Also, he sees Mortals as puny invaders who have no sense of the reality of things.  When he meets intelligent and brave Mortals such as Lonish and Alicia, he tries to use them for his own ends.

2. What do they want, and what are they prepared to do to get it?

Tajisscra wants power and respect.  He's willing to do anything (short of hurting his sister) to achieve those goals.

3.  How do they deal with conflict?

Tajisscra is an Estackam.  He's usually in a position to blast anyone who opposes him with his Wand.  Unfortunately, when he runs into real conflict he tends to talk his way out of things rather than staying and fighting.  He can shed real blood if it comes down to that, though.

4.  Describe their current place of residence.

Well, Estackam tend to congregate near rivers, so I like to think that Tajisscra, when he's not terrorizing Alicia and trying to recruit Lonish, lives in a cheerful little cottage by the riverside, enjoying his garden and fishing as he plots up evil schemes whereby he will gain control of Mount Lucor and make all of Rindavae bend to his will.

5.  If they were writing their story, how would it end?

Tajisscra has a thing about tenacity.  While I have chronicled some of his greatest escapades into ponderous volumes, he would say that his story is not yet over, that he will rise again, and all that.  I think if he searched deep down he would realize that a true happy ending would be living with his sister in a cottage by the river, not trying to make all of Rindavae respect and love him or get vengeance on the Cheol Ruvin.  Still, Elori Tajisscra is just as twisted as her brother, and I think both of them would agree that the only happy ending lies in taking Mount Lucor.

6.  What habits, speech patterns, etc. are unique to them.

Oh, this one's actually easy because I describe the way Tajisscra talks in Alicia.  He has a strong, outwardly calm and even kind voice, but there are undertones of emptiness and darkness underneath.  You can never really pinpoint his tone because he hides behind all the vocal tones (rather than making his voice flat to hide his purpose).  As for habits, he has the extremely bad habit of trying to make a hybrid "superwarrior" in order to take over the world.  On a smaller scale, he fiddles with the carvings on his staff when he grows bored.

7.  How do they show love?  What do they like to do for/with the people they love?

Tajisscra does not truly love anyone, although he might be able to love Elori, his sister, sometime in the future if he gets his act together.  He believes that the language of love is shown through physical contact, such as a hug or kiss, but he's definitely not a touchy-feely person.  When he tries to win over his niece, the half-Mortal, half-Estackam Marie the Clever, he has a difficult time because he really does not know how to show affection but tries to do it anyway.  He claims that he would do anything for Elori, but sometimes I think that's just a lot of hot air.

8.  Do they have any pets?

Nope.  Tajisscra is a loner.

9.  Where would they go to relax/think?

Tajisscra can relax anywhere where there is no other living creature.  He prefers riversides, though, because the sound of the running water is very calming on the nerves.

10.  What is their weapon of choice?

Tajisscra wants to use a sword.  As an Estackam, he has the power of a Wand, but he also has a boyish fascination with sharp blades.  He thinks that swinging them around and actually feeling the sword slice into the person you're slaying must be high fun.  Unfortunately, you lose all that with a Wand.  It's a dream, you know.  Maybe someday he'll find a sword of his own.

Thanks for reading, and God bless,