Making Back Story – Elizabeth

Friends of the royal family, Elizabeth grew up with Marques, Martim and Valerio. Once a tom-boy, the lovely duchess learned to ride, hunt and shoot, as well as any man, thus spending her childhood competing against the king’s sons and Valerio in friendly tournaments, and sporting games. Inseparable, the foursome seldom parted until their coming of age when Elizabeth’s father moved his family north across the waters.

He had inherited property in Leinberg, and he and his wife had responsibilities to their tenants. Elizabeth fell in love with the estate, the rose gardens, the temperate climate. She would never have left if she had had a choice. Regardless, she missed her friends back in Alisubbo.

Elizabeth’s attempts at staying in contact with her childhood friends eventually filtered into correspondence solely with Valerio. Marques and his younger brother became absorbed in affairs of the state, and princely duties as heir to a kingdom.

A distant love affair developed between the two, be it only with pen and paper. Valerio swore he would marry Elizabeth, and she vowed her love to him. When Elizabeth’s mother died, Valerio offered a long distance shoulder for her to cry on, and in turn Elizabeth filled Valerio’s loneliness with poetic words that offered him a gentleness he did not find at home with his military father.

She kept her correspondence secret, as she kept many things for she was a quiet person when it came to intimate matters. Not even her father knew she had lost her heart to a man overseas.

When the Duke of Leinberg worried that Elizabeth’s grief was affecting her health, and that he would never be able to fill the needs a daughter has for her mother, he brought her back to Alisubbo to see her childhood friends again.

He was not aware that Elizabeth was in love with a common military man.




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I am taking a day away from my series to write out some of my thoughts from this last, very exciting, and somewhat stressful event called #PitchWars.

The idea is extremely creative. It falls into the category of authors helping authors and I found it to be a fantastic idea. Non-agented authors (potential mentees) send their queries to agented authors (mentors). After a long process, and several million Twitter posts, the mentors choose one manuscript to help the mentee edit and rewrite and get polished for the eyes of an agent.

This year there were near 2000 entries, and a little over 100 mentors, so you see how stiff the competition was. My manuscript (Rising) did not make it in. I read some of the queries from other authors and am impressed with the quality.

The whole process has caused me to look over my own work and evaluate my  writing abilities.




I don’t think I do poorly, but I do believe I lack ‘spunk’. That’s the best word I can think of. I tell my tales in a rather linear to-the-point style, and I can see why they are not popular aside from a few friends reading them and cheering me on. It could very well be because the novels I have read are told in the same way.

I can’t compare the quality of my writing to C.S. Lewis, but I can compare the linear unadorned and less flowery prose to his, as well as to Forester, and some other authors of the 18th and 19th century.

Is it because I’m of another generation? Am I getting old?


I feel it is time to tune up the rusty old wheels of my mind, and read current novels before I lift up a pen (or punch a keyboard) again, to study and discover what the market really wants.

I know we can’t write for the market because the market is always changing. Still, there is a certain temperature, a pacing, an artistic quality that can be applied to any novel that will ‘jazz’ it up a bit.


I think I can get there. I may be taking a novel writing hiatus (I won’t stop screenwriting at the moment) to see what I can do. I’m not sure how long it will take, nor if I experiment on Rising in the process. We shall see.

Wish me luck!


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Making Back Story -Marques

Cassandra’s Castle

There probably was never a royal heir who fit a princely description as well as Marques. Handsome, debonair, filled with life, humor, and ambition. Marques also inherited his mother’s compassion. Though he studied with his father such academics as geography, oceanography and biology, he enlisted in the military at an early age. Guided by Maestro Sanchez he was taught war strategies and leadership. Most importantly, Marques set himself to the study of medicine for the express purpose of finding a cure, and prevention of the plague that swept through Alisubbo after the war. He was very near a breakthrough.

Marques snuffed the lantern on his desk just as he heard the footsteps pass his den; sharp clatter of hard heels on the marble floor. The stride was long and steady followed by another quicker, shorter pattern. Military boots. Father was not alone. The men stopped in the hall near his door. He held his breath to listen. It would be inappropriate for him to interrupt the King during a discussion with his officers. Considering the hour of the night Marque’s curiosity was peaked.

“And where do you suppose the troops are?”

“Your Majesty, they rode off from the city a few minutes ago.”

“And who led them?”

“Valerio, Your Majesty, with Bernardo at his side. There were a good ten others tonight. It’s not the first time we’ve witnessed horsemen riding into the meadows.”

A silence followed, save for his father’s footsteps. Marques knew where in the great hall the King was. He was pacing near the alcove by the parlor. There was a window that overlooked the garden; a favorite niche of the king’s whenever he was contemplative, or troubled. Though the hour was late, moonlight was probably shining on the fountain. Marques saw his father in his mind’s eye, clasping his hands behind his back and resting his gaze on the stream of water that cascaded from the bronze statue.

His father advised him long ago that if he gave nature the attention she deserves, she will take anxiety away,  and replace confusion with solutions

“He is leading a coup is he not?” the king asked.

Marques’ eyes burst open wide. He walked quietly to the door but feared opening it, lest he be discovered eavesdropping. Yet how could the Prince Royale let a matter as grave as a rebellion pass?

“Your Majesty, I can’t tell you for sure, but…” The young lieutenant was afraid. Even through the walls Marques sensed the tremble in his voice.

“Go on Lieutenant. This is your home, the country wherein you were born and raised. If there are traitors in our midst, you’ll be called on to defend the Crown. I would hope you’d inform your King.”

“I have heard rumors. Talk that more than two thirds of the men will ride with Valerio. That he is leading an army against you.”

Marques’ heart broke for his father, and fear took his breath away. With so many of their soldiers against the king, how could his family survive?

“Have you heard it from Valerio’s lips?”

There was a long silence. Marques held his breath. For a moment he felt the lieutenant’s angst, the man was not much older than he and had been in Valerio’s charge ever since he joined the service. The soldiers are loyal to their commanders, even more so than to their king. Tonight this man was making a choice.

“Yes, your highness.”

The last silence ended with a quiet “Dismissed.”

Footsteps tapered into the distance.

If indeed Valerio was leading a coup, all of the palace was in danger. Father would want to call the guard, rally his troops, be prepared for battle.

Marques pushed the door open with a racing heart.

His father stood in the alcove, moonlight casting a glow across his face, his hands clasped behind his back. His shoulders were not broad and proud tonight. Tonight they bowed in defeat. He didn’t move.

“Son,” the king said without turning to face him. “There is a time when no matter how hard you listen to the voice of nature, you will not hear an answer.”

Marques stepped closer to his father. He would have run up and hugged him if he were younger. “Don’t give up, sire.”

As soon as those words parted from his lips, he knew his father had already conceded.


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Making Back Story – Jovita

Cassandra’s Castle

Was it sunlight reflecting off her red curls that created a supernatural aura around her? Or was some other strange phenomenon the reason Jovita glowed? Ever since she was small,  the girl had the gift of miracles. Magic perhaps? or an extra sense that could see the future? Or had she come through a portal from a distant world where life was so much more advanced?

No one knows for sure. Jovita did not grow up in Alisubbo. Nor had she made the long journey from the Fjords as the fair-haired Boreals had. She appeared in the village as a teenager. Alone, on horseback,  and completely independent. She moved from  house to house, always helping with chores, caring for children, tending to sheep or goats. Whatever job was needed, Jovita was there to help. The town fell in love with her. They hailed her so highly , and she was so appreciated by the clergy, that Jovita was welcomed in the castle as well and became close friends with Queen Felicia. In the years she spent in Alisubbo, Jovita knew everyone, and yet very few people knew anything about her.

She seldom talked about herself as her concern for others always kept the conversation from turning to her own personal matters. There were only three people who knew Jovita well.

The queen.

Maestro Sanchez.It was rumored that Maestro Sanchez had at one time traveled to Jovita’s homeland long before the young woman arrived in Alisubbo. It was also rumored that at one time he had asked that nation for help during a particular battle against Taikus. Sanchez never confirmed the rumor, nor had he denied it. The war hero was the sort of personality who would let people think what they chose, for he insisted that to defend himself against a lie was only feeding the accusation. Regardless of what people said behind closed doors, Maestro Sanchez had a close relationship with Jovita.

The third person that knew Jovita was Valerio, who at one time sought the girl’s favor, which she refused. And yet she paid special attention to him throughout the years, despite his arrogance and temper.

Her mysterious ways remained a part of her charm, and people, both royalty and commoners, respected her reserve, and were thankful when she paid them her courtesy. Her advice was always revered, for when heeded, brought extraordinary good fortune.




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Making Back Story – Perez

Perez was not a strong child. Because of that, he would slip into the shadows when he was around other children. The one room schoolhouse was a safe place for him, but when the children were dismissed,  he was the object of brutality. No one liked a weakling. To be bullied was a shameful thing, something he would not take home to his parents, for his father was a big man, and hard to please.

Perez would sit on his porch whenever there was a challenge in the alleys. The neighborhood boys would throw down their caps, pull off their shoes and socks and run barefoot on the cobblestones, matching their speed and endurance against each other. All the other children would hoot and howl and cheer them on. The winner would earn pats on the back and the loser would be jeered, maybe a stone or two would be thrown. Perez felt sorry for the boys who lost, but he never approached them because to do so would accentuate his own inadequacies.

Perez’ father was a blacksmith who worked for every horse owner in Alisubbo, and sometimes even the king would order his services for his cavalry. Perez would be forced along on those trips and he hated it. He did not like the heat nor the smell of the crucible, the metallic taste that the burning metal would leave in his mouth. He did not like holding a horse’s leg between his knees and scrapping rocks and manure out of the hooves while his father  fitted the shoes. Horses terrified him, and yet he could never tell his father, lest he be punished by the heavy hand of his disciplinarian.

His father wanted him to be a blacksmith, but by the time Perez was a teenager, that plan for him was absolved. “He will never carry on my business,” his father told his mother one day. “He’s too weak. He’ll not amount to anything.”

His mother never argued. Instead she worked with Perez and taught him to write and gave him many books to read. So many, that the boy fell in love with the written word, and soon, at the age of 19, began his own newspaper.

His father died soon after, an unhappy man and disappointed in his son. Perez carried that weight on  his shoulders for the rest of his life. It is no wonder that he sought approval from the populace who read his papers. When that populace could no longer afford to keep him in business, Perez sought the approval from the one man that promised to keep The Daily Gazette from going broke. A man named Valerio.

Perez would stop at nothing to keep his dream alive.


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Making Back Story -Sister Ann

Ann and her sister Amy were orphans and lived in a convent in a small village by the sea. Ann took it upon herself to watch over her sister when they were young, as Amy was the only family that she knew. Ann’s aspiration was to become a nurse when she grew up.

Amy was younger than Ann; a tom-boy whose dream was to sail the open seas. Oftentimes Amy dressed as a boy, even though the nuns at the convent would protest. As they grew older, Ann worked in the hospital, but Amy took odd jobs at the wharf, and particularly on the tall ship the Falcon Crest. The day came when the captain finally gave Amy permission to go on a voyage.

This distressed Ann. The sisters stood on the dock the day of Amy’s departure.

“And why would you want to help the sick when it’s so dangerous?” Amy asked. “You’re bound to catch the same disease as your patients.”

“Tending to the sick is not nearly as dangerous as sailing.” Ann said, hoping to convince Amy to forget her wild dream and stay with her.

“Maybe not, but sailing is adventurous. Besides, will you meet your husband in the hospital?” Amy laughed as they gazed at the main mast and the handsome sailors that balanced the ratlines.

“Even if you find a husband on board, your life will be dedicated to the sea,” Ann retorted.

“And where will yours be?” Amy asked.

Ann shrugged. She never really thought about marriage.

Amy weighed anchor soon after.  Ann stood on the shore to wave goodbye. The wind lifted the sails and blew her sister, the handsome crew, and the majestic ship away from port. A warm breeze stirred up whitecaps and orange and pinks of the day glistened on the water.

That night a hurricane blew through the village. Trees fell, roofs flew, and the sea swallowed the shore.

Amy never returned. Months passed. Ann waited until hope gave way to longing, and longing to despair. She concentrated on her work, spending long hours with the patients, giving up her own sleep to care for the ill.

One morning, Ann woke up to a brilliant sunrise. She walked to the beach where she had waited so often for Amy, and looked out over the sea. There she watched the sun stretch its golden hands across the horizon as if her sister Amy was saying farewell, and asking her to embrace the world like she had.

That morning the same golden light shone on her patients and her heart filled with joy as she cared for them. Her yearning, just like Amy’s, had been fulfilled. Eventually Ann took the oath of Sisterhood, and joined the convent. She traveled to the city of Alisubbo where she served the royal family, and the children’s hospital. When Princess Cassandra came to visit, Sister Ann, along with Sister Bernadice, was her guardian.


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Making Back Story – Queen Felicia

Cassandra’s Castle

It is never easy raising two boys bound for royal service. From the time they were small, their manners were checked, their cloths pressed, and their studies strict. Whereas a queen in the wealthier countries would rely on a nanny’s assistance in the rearing of the future king and his brother, Queen Felicia took it upon herself to raise the princes.

Marques, the Prince Royal, would someday wear the crown of Alisubbo, and so he learned the ways of diplomacy, sat in on meetings with foreign  dignitaries, and studied his own country’s strengths and weaknesses.He grew into a bright young man full of compassion. After the final battle against Taikus, when war devastated his country, the plague spread. Marques took it upon himself to find a cure and traveled the world over studying medicine, and gleaning from knowledgeable professors, journals, and essays – so that he might bring a cure back to his native land.

Martim, the younger, was an artist. A musician, a lover of peace, an introvert. He cared for his country, loved his family, and spent his time with the children in the hospital, teaching them music. It was in the arts, he understood, that souls were enriched. A child may have all the medicine in the world, he believed, but if they did not have a melody in their heart, they lacked a will to live. And so Martim brought life to the hospital. And when the children were healed, they came to the castle and played music for the queen. In this, Martim felt fulfilled.

Queen Felicia was proud of her sons. She taught them that humility was more royal than pride, that responsibility as a ruler rest in the care of souls rather than acquiring wealth, and that love was more important than recognition. Her humility was seen by the commoners of Alisubbo,and appreciated.

However, as is so true in all of life, that which is quiet and peaceful, was overruled by a blaring trumpet of discontent.

King and Queen

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