Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Beautiful People--Aunic Pekorin

Hello, lovely bloglings!

We had snow today, which was slightly exciting.  Even though I'm a Yankee, living in the south has set my winter expectations low.  We got a goodly amount today, though, and I am happy!  *Insert enormous grins here*

But this post is not about snow, but about Aunic Pekorin, with whom I am slightly obsessed at the moment.  He's one of my characters in The Peasants of Niminwell, which I've been working on but not blogging about, as I've obviously been absent from the blogging world for quite some time.

Anywho . . .

Here's Aunic:

Aunic Pekorin, the shiftless spy and the father of Howard and Marc
Aunic Pekorin
Poor Aunic has a hard time of it.  He's the younger brother of Lisya Pekorin, one of the four viewpoint characters, and he's a puzzle to most of the people that he meets.  He has only one friend, a slightly simple master of disguise named Nouso Deraston.  And he's a spy.  Even though he's not in a huge amount of the story, the whole plot hinges on him.  However, to the questions!  I'm using questions for a villain, even though Aunic isn't necessarily the bad guy of the story.

1. What is his motive? 
His motive is deep.  When his wife died, he didn't want to have anything to do with his son Howard, who was permanently injured in the same accident that killed his wife.  He feels that Howard is responsible for his wife's death, and he can't stand to look at him.  So his motive, I suppose, is to avoid his son.  He does, however, want to take care of his friend Nouso, who is not all there.

2. What is he prepared to do to get what he wants?
Aunic is prepared to sacrifice everything but his friend.  He'll even give up his honor, which he did long ago.

3. Is he evil to the core, or simply misunderstood? 
He's neither.  Aunic is not misunderstood.  People have a hard time fathoming his actions, but they all know where he stands in relationship to his family.  Nor is he completely evil.  He's more bitter than evil, but he has a sense of justice that keeps him from going completely over the brink.

4. What was his past like? What about his childhood? Was there one defining moment that made him embrace his evil ways?
Aunic grew up as a peasant boy, the son of a blacksmith in Niminwell.  He's never been interested in being a blacksmith, and he's always been slightly aloof, never trying to make friends.  The defining moment that made him embrace his evil ways was when his wife was killed trying to save their son from a frightened horse.

5. Now that he's evil, has he turned his back on everyone, or is there still someone in his life that he cares for? (Brother? Daughter? Love interest? Mother? Someone who is just as evil as he is?)
Aunic definitely cares for Nouso, which is an odd quirk in his character, considering that he is something of an introvert.  But Nouso's state touches Aunic's sympathy, so that's good, I suppose.

6. Does he like hugs?
Are you kidding?  Aunic would probably consider hugs some advanced form of Korvaskian torture.

7. Is he plagued by something? (Nightmares, terrible thoughts?)
Deep down Aunic knows that he needs to right his relationship with Howard, but he doesn't think about his old life any more than he can help.  Most of the time Aunic is worried about Nouso.

8. Who is he more similar to: Gollum or Maleficent?
He's a Gollum sort of character.  He's not purposefully malicious, but he does have that aspect of hiding away and letting bitterness eat out his soul just as Gollum let the Ring devour him.

9. If your villain could have their choice of transportation what would it be?
Aunic would give a lot for a horse, but that's transportation for knights and nobles.

10. If you met your villain in the street, how afraid would you be? Are they evil enough to kill their creator? 
No, I wouldn't be afraid.  Aunic has problems, but he would never harm a woman or child.  He has a sort of gruff chivalry that his father taught him.  He has hurt, or worse, a few men in his time, but only on provocation.  I wouldn't be scared of him, just sorry for him.

Well, that was fun.  It definitely helped me to organize a few things about Aunic's character that were puzzling me.  And now, let us have some snippets!

Venian rode up, her travel veil fluttering about her face and getting into her mouth in a most annoying manner.
            “Aunic Pekorin, what are you up to?” she asked.
            Aunic bowed with a smile.  “I am only traveling, my lady.  Surely that is not now a crime in Kempra?”
            “No, I suppose not,” said Venian, staring with distaste at his friend, the infamous Nouso Deraston.  Everyone said that he was not right in the head, and Venian was the first to believe it, especially since Deraston had ripped a tapestry in the castle once when he and Aunic had come to see James.  No one knew why Aunic traveled with him, for Aunic did not seem the type of person who would want the added responsibility of a lunatic.
            That was one of the nice things about a traveling veil.  She could stare at people and they would never know.
~ The Peasants of Niminwell

“Even I’m not foolish enough to strike up a friendship with the likes of her,” said Cadmio as he poured out a cup of water for Lonny to drink.
            “How is that foolish?” asked Lonny.  “Just because she is lame and underfed doesn’t mean we all have to hate her.”
            “You know perfectly well her lameness has nothing to do with it,” said Cadmio.
            “How did you even know that I talked to her?” asked Lonny.
            “Because she was extremely worried about you and said that it was because you had been kind to her.  I wouldn’t do that if I were you.  Everyone already hates you.  You don’t want them to try to actively destroy your reputation.”
            “I’m already a coward.”
            “Only because you’ve let them push you.  Push back!”
            “And get whipped again?”
            “They won’t whip you if you show your own strength.”
            “Go away, and leave Willa alone,” said Lonny.  He was growing extremely irritated with the pushy page.  “If you’re not against me then you’re not against her.”
            Cadmio raised his eyebrows.  “Are you making an actual assertion?  I didn’t think you had it in you.”
            “Just don’t hurt her.  No matter who she is, she needs a little happiness and at least one friend.  The poor child doesn’t even know how to smile properly.”
The Peasants of Niminwell

Howard leaned on the fence and looked at his aunt.  “I met Jacob Grudd, Auntie.”
            Lisya looked up and glared at him.  “Tell that fat-purse that I would sooner give my money to the Korvaskians than to him.”
            “He said he could make you pay if you didn’t.”
            “I’d like to see him try that little trick.  I would send him packing soon enough.  Honestly, it’s as though the man bears a grudge against me ever since I refused to marry him.”
            “Don’t you think you’d make him a good wife?” asked Howard.
            “Of course!” said Lisya.  “I would make him a wonderful wife.  I would make any man a wonderful wife.  The only problem is that he would make me a dreadful sort of husband.”
~ The Peasants of Niminwell

Wester had to listen to the mindless chatter of Lady Coscala, one of Sunningdeep’s largest and most influential dowagers.  Her tongue was as endless as her waist, or so it seemed to Wester, who was seated beside her.  He smiled politely and wished her in the heart of Korvask.
            Lady Coscala, however, was not in the heart of Korvask but occupying the chair directly next to Wester and almost part of his as well.
            “My dear prince, I hope you are eager to meet Lady Carmilla at the ball tomorrow,” said Lady Coscala, and Wester wondered how her chair did not collapse.  He was certain that he heard a creak in the legs thereof.
            “Yes, Lady Coscala,” said Wester.
            “You understand that Lady Carmilla is one of the most eligible young ladies in Eshtelroth.  Even a prince would be happy to obtain her as a wife.  She has an impeccable genealogy and a fortune that rivals that of the king.”
            “Wonderful,” said Wester.
            “And, of course, as her second cousin I know that she is also a very sweet young lady with so much charm and wit,” continued Lady Coscala.
            “I’m sure,” said Wester.
            Lady Coscala’s chair groaned as she shifted her considerable weight in it.  Wester winced, positive that the chair was going to collapse.
            “Of course, I know that you are going to be looking for a wife soon, if you haven’t already started,” said Lady Coscala.
            “Oh,” said Wester.
            “And, well, I don’t want you to think that Lady Carmilla is better just because she is my cousin,” said Lady Coscala.
            “I won’t,” said Wester.
            “But, my dear prince, the fact of the matter is that Lady Carmilla is a very superior woman.  I cannot say enough about her.”  Lady Coscala beamed benevolently.  Her fleshy face wrinkled up so that her eyes were quite lost beneath folds of fat.  Wester was rather disgusted.
            “So I’ve noticed,” said Wester.
~ The Peasants of Niminwell

Thanks for reading, and God bless,

Monday, January 27, 2014

Writing and Writing

Do you ever have a time when you feel really, really sick of writing?

That is, you've been writing for days on end, or maybe even only hours, and then you sort of peter out and you can't think of another sentence--another phrase--to save your life.  You push back your chair and get up, and your head is spinning with the immense complexity of characters and subplots, and when someone speaks to you, you mumble and look off into the distance.  Yet, after you have a nice, soothing cup of (coffee, tea, hot cocoa) you find that you have to slip back into your chair and keep on writing, because the words are coming so quickly that you can't keep up with them all.

How I feel when I get into the "writing zone."
I had that very experience on Saturday.  My mother calls it the "zone."  When I'm at home, I shut myself up in my room, emerging only for meals until at last I have simply run out of words.  Then I step forth, a wreck of humanity with bags of blackness 'neath my weary eyes and an additional 27,396 words on my manuscript.  When I'm at school, as I am now, I sit at my desk cluttered with textbooks and papers and type so quickly that smoke issues forth from my computer and my roommate eyes me suspiciously.

And people say that you shouldn't write just because the words flow.

Well, actually, you probably shouldn't.  Because even though I might be in the writing zone now, this time next week I will almost assuredly be out of it, and I won't be able to make a hundred words flow if I liquidate a dictionary.  We call that writer's block.  I get it.  Sometimes I get it when I'm in the middle of the writing zone, and it's really hard.  But you can overcome writer's block.


If you've been a writer for any length of time, then you know this advice well.  But do you actually follow it?  Because you know that there's writing the free and easy way and there's writing the strained and difficult way, and most of your writing, if you're serious about it, is going to come the strained and difficult way.

So how do you keep writing?  If you're out of words, then you're out of words, right?


You are a writer!  A writer always has words.  Writing, though, is like eating ice cream.  The following analogy works well for all ice cream lovers, and if you don't like ice cream, please imagine your favorite kind of edible eaten with a spoon from a bowl.  When you're in the writing zone, it's like eating that bowl of ice cream.  Everything comes easily onto the spoon and into the mouth, and everyone's happy.  But as soon as the main part of the ice cream is gone, all you have left is a little melty sludge in the bottom of your dish.  Sadness!  It's like that with words, too.  You have to scrape your brain for those words.  They're harder to get, but, like the ice cream in the dish, they're also the best part.  (If you're anything like me you won't let your ice cream dish leave while there's the ghost of a chance that a single drop of ice cream might be in it.)  

Think of those hard words like those last drops of ice cream, the sweetest drops of the whole.  You will find yourself in love with the parts of your writing that you really had to work at, because those are the parts that really count.  Writing, just like any other thing of worth, requires hard work to make the best final product.  Writing is sometimes inspiration, but that's only the beginning.  It's not hard to eat a dish of ice cream, but only the people who scrape out the bottom of the ice cream bowl know what the best part is.

Thanks for reading and God bless,

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Book Lover's Giveaway!!!!

Hi, everyone!

Just so you all know, you need to go to Jessica Greyson's blog and check out the details of a Valentine's day Book Lover's Giveaway.  In case anyone's interested, Christmas at the Tittletons is one of the books being featured in the giveaway!

So, hop on over there and take a peek!  It's sure to be enjoyable!

Thanks for reading, and God bless,

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Writing without Romance

Hello, Fellow Bloggers and Friends,

This is a post about writing without romance.

Yes, it can be done.  I have nothing against well-written romance in books, but sometimes it is refreshing to read a story that is plain adventure or plain mystery.  We all need a story like that sometimes.  Some people, though, don't like to recognize this.

For those of you who have read CatT, you know that it is a romance-free novel.  One of my friends practically had cardiac arrest when I told her that there was no romance in the book.  She couldn't imagine a story without romance in it.  It's not that hard, though.

Just because there are two people in the story that are different genders and close to the same age doesn't mean that they have to fall in love.  Jessamine Warbling and Jeremy Marchmont are my prime example.  They are really good friends and have been for quite a while, as you discover in The Fey Castle.  Unfortunately, their mothers are trying to make a match of the two of them.  The result is some humor but no romance.  Yes!!!!  Seriously, though, we all know people of our own age in the other gender that we are not in love with.  It's simply not realistic to have it happen every time in stories.

Do I have a problem with writing romance?  Certainly not!  Lonish the Swordmaster has a nice love story in it.  My big problem is the huge premium that is placed on romance in modern stories.  Why does every story have to have that mushy-gushy stuff in it?  Romance is such a small part of normal life for most people, and that is why I believe that it should take a corresponding place in books.  It's nice in small amounts, but please, spare us the details!

One of the reasons that writing without romance is so nice is that you can avoid the many cliches that are popping up in just about every romance story today.  I'm thinking in terms of love triangles, tough girls, overly sweet boys, and trite troubles that plague the relationship.  If you're going to write a romantic element into your story, for goodness' sake make it original!  But if you have a story that is absolutely dependent on romance, then chances are it has been written before.

Give your readers a little respect.  Don't insult their intelligence by giving them warmed-over leftovers from a story that was published four years ago.  If you want to reach the intelligent readers, then write up to them.  Give them plots that abound with excellent themes and complex characters.  Don't subject them to another love triangle, please!  Your readers are too smart for that.

Please leave your thoughts in a comment.  I want to know what you guys think about romance in writing.

Thanks for reading and God bless,