This is it, people! One week, that's ONE WEEK from today, "The Treeman of Roses" goes live on Fellowship and Fairydust! That's right, my first novella length fantasy story featuring the characters you've read about in my Writing Wednesday posts will be making their world debut. Yes, I'm excited. I can only hope that my characters come to mean as much to others as they do to me.
In preparation for the big event I've worked up character profiles for the main cast of the story. Enjoy!
Lady Goewyn Nic Mannan of House Meridian
Hair Color: Blonde
Home Province: Meridian, Southwest Avalon
Dream Cast Actress: Unsure
Goewyn is the kindhearted elf in service to the High Queen of Avalon, who is a primary caretaker for the Wards of the Crown, a group of children in Avalon for their own protection. Skilled in her talent of plant magic, music, swordsmanship, and sewing, Goewyn has made herself indispensable around the Capitol and House Meridian. Equal parts sweet, stubborn, spirited, Goewyn never gives up on a friend. Once quarterly, Goewyn is given six weeks to spend on vacation, which she splits between House Meridian and New York City. One summer, Goewyn finds herself in a place she has never been, solving a mystery from the days of old....
Lord Rhodon of the Western March, the King of the Flowers
Hair Color: Green leaves
Eyes: Green and amber
Home Province: Western March, House Meridian, Southwest Avalon
Dream Cast Actor(s): Doug Jones, Ron Perlman
Lord Rhodon is a thousand year old hamadryad of rose trees. Old enough to remember bygone days in Avalon, Rhodon's mind often blends the present world with living memory due to PTSD from his days fighting for the side of Light against the forces of Darkness. Mercurial in temperament, loyal, brave, but hampered by his illness, the hamadryad has dedicated himself to the memory of his friends long gone. Deeply traumatized by the murder of his wife, Lady Akasma, Rhodon lives in silence in his magnificent garden, until a young elf girl who greatly resembles one of his friends long gone arrives...
Lord Ablach of the Eastern March, the Protector of Avalon
Hair Color: Green leaves
Home Province: Eastern March, House Meridian, Southwest Avalon
Dream Cast Actor(s): Peter Cullen, Gary Chalk
Lord Ablach, the hamadryad of Apples, is one of Rhodon's kinsmen and his best friend. More steady in temperament and far more jolly than the rose treeman, Ablach is solid and dependable. The treeman of Apples loves to shower his friends with gifts from the orchards of the Eastern March. His joyful, almost frivolous nature belies his determination to protect and defend his friends and his home.
Lady Maia of the Eastern March, the Protector of Avalon
Hair Color: Green leaves
Home Province: Originally Prydian, now Eastern March, House Meridian, Southwest Avalon
Dream Cast Actress(es): Kathleen Barr, Cree Summer
Lady Maia, the treewoman of hawthorns is married to Ablach and shares the title of Protector of Avalon with him. Maia is a gentle treewoman, as given to joy and fun as her husband. Her nurturing ways also reach out to Rhodon, but fail to really comfort him. Her good advice helps Goewyn on her quest to help the lonely hamadryad.
Hair Color: Red
Home Province: Earth
Dream Cast Actress: Willa Holland
Hecate is a young witch with fire magic set for unknown reasons against Rhodon. Beautiful, but angry Goewyn senses something beyond her exterior, something that could be good. Perhaps someday Hecate will be a friend rather than a foe...
Mami Tomoe's theme from Puella Magi Madoka Magica.
What would you do for a wish? That’s the question posed by the popular Anime “Puella Magi Madoka Magica”. When a strange little creature called Kyubey approaches Madoka Kaname one day offering to grant the greatest wish of her heart in exchange for becoming a magical girl, Madoka is sorely tempted. Madoka travels around with fellow magical girl candidate Sayaka and valiant senior magical girl Mami, watching how she hunts witches that spread chaos and despair, making “nobody” Madoka long even more for the chance to help others. However, a fellow magical girl, Homura, tries to stop her from such a decision. And you thought the Hobbit was confusing.
What the idealistic magical girls don’t know is that the emotionless Kyubey is tricking them into selling their literal souls for this power, and will allow them to turn into the very creatures they fight. Kyubey is NOT to be trusted, and it has been Homura’s obsession to save Madoka from the horrid fate of death by despair. Homura will allow nothing and no one to come between her and Madoka… nothing.
Madoka’s love for her friends and family eventually brings her to choose to become a magical girl, granting her so much magic that she becomes a being of almost godlike power with the ability to take magical girls on the brink of becoming witches away to a paradise. The only one unhappy with this is Homura, whose sisterly love for Madoka has warped into a desire to keep Madoka’s love all to herself, even if it means dooming her fellow magical girls to despair.
Let’s put it this way: “Madoka” is not “Glitter Force”. Do not let the animation style fool you, this magical girl show is not for children. It is clearly meant for adult audiences with an abundance of deep themes, graphic violence, nightmarish creatures, and some uncomfortable sexual content.
The plot of “Madoka” is based on the legend of Faust and some ideals of Christianity (particularly the Suffering Servant motif. A cross shows up once or twice.). Between the main anime and the “Rebellion” movie, there’s plenty of fodder for feeling like throwing yourself from a cliff. But all is not lost. The main theme of “Madoka” is that love and hope are more powerful than any amount of evil and suffering. It is the love of friends that keeps the plot together. Madoka can no longer bear for her friends to suffer and takes it all on herself, Homura’s desire to save Madoka is born from love, and so on. Kyubey’s kind cannot understand human emotions, particularly Love, so they are constantly confused by the motives of the girls.
These positives are additional to flawless animation, great music, and great writing (I think… I had to watch it subtitled. But the characters are great, so…) Also, all five girls together are called the “holy quintet”. A better way to put that idea in the context of Japan, where holy doesn’t mean the same thing as it does here, would be “righteous quintet”.
Negatives include the level of violence, which while no worse than a PG-13 action movie, are rather shocking considering these are middle and high school age girls. The Witches are horrible to look at, and sometimes cause people to do violence to themselves and others. The girls are in serious peril of their lives every time they suit up, and it can be seen pretty quickly. One of the magical girls, Kyoto, has a bit of a potty mouth on her and a bitter streak a mile wide, due to growing up desperately poor and her pastor father killing her mother and sister before committing suicide.
Other matters include some shots of nudity, (you can’t see anything, it’s like a naked Barbie, but still) some references to homosexuality, (but none of the girls are gay) and the way they drew Mami. Mami… looks like she belongs on the Vegas strip. She’s sixteen, maximum. The animators need to get their heads out of the gutter! As a character, she deserves so much better.
Anyway, all this being said, “Madoka” is different from all other anime. It gives you a lot to chew on intellectually, and is quite good story wise, but it’s really something you only want to watch once and you do not want to binge watch it either. It’s a real mind bender and so hard to see little girls suffer and yes, die, because they were tricked through their own innocent desires. But love conquers all. Perhaps that reminds you of something… “Puella Magi Madoka Magica” is recommended for ages 16 and up.
I can't dance or sing to save my life, but I love music. I was raised to love all kinds of music and to know about how music works mechanically. But nobody had to teach me how to let my imagination run wild to music. Sure, at first music was associated with already existing characters, but as the characters who would populate my own stories came to be, songs came to be associated with them instead.
Because of the huge diversity of characters, a huge variety of music was needed. You know that song, "Your Mamma Don't Dance and Your Daddy Don't Rock and Roll"? Not true in my house, my mom can dance and has great rhythm, and my dad's a big rock fan. The influence of rock music is undeniable, it helps that I grew up in the era that believed in driving rock solos over battle scenes in movies and TV.
The foundation of Avalon's music, though, isn't rock, it's the gentle folk music of my Gaelic ancestors. The wailing fiddles and bagpipes of the Scottish Highlands and the penny-whistles and drums from Ireland first informed the presence of the Elves.
The gentle love song "Sadhbh Ni Bhruinneallaigh" was the first song I attempted to adapt to English. This song tells the story of a boatman courting the beautiful, but poor Sadhbh, and her arguments to his points.
Though this piece of music was used in a movie I would have nothing to do with, (Boondock Saints is a gore fest) it became the general adventuring theme for the elves and their human friends.
The plaintive ballad "Mo Run Gael Dileas" as the first Scots-Irish love song I learned and used in a story. The words and melody always strike a chord with me every time I listen to it.
Rock and pop music are also greatly important to the backbone of Avalon's music. A lot of this comes from the pop and rock hits of the 1980s and 90s (basically what was on the radio when I was a kid, LOL). However, despite the nostalgia ridden soundtrack of the earliest stories, more modern artists and songs make frequent appearances. For instance, Trading Yesterday.
Christians-in-a-band Trading Yesterday wrote moving songs that I have only just discovered. I love the message of this song, "Shattered" (which can be taken two ways, both of them good) and I struggled to find a character that fit it. Nobody seemed quite right, until Lord Rhodon came along. With his backstory, he fit perfectly.
Trading Yesterday's requisite ballad "She is the Sunlight" may strike people as corny, but I love it. This song represents two couples, Rhodon and his wife Akasma (*spoiler* who he believes is dead) and Goewyn and Oliver (Oliver being human believes Goewyn is out of his league). I especially love the line "She lives in a daydream, where I don't belong/She is the Sunlight, the sun is gone."
Of course, the characters in my stories celebrate Christmas, but how do you do Christmas music without it being schmaltzy? My answer: Trans-Siberian Orchestra, three words, one great meaning.
Trans-Siberian Orchestra's (TSO for short) version of "Carol of the Bells" is one of the top selling Christmas songs on Amazon every year. Perhaps one of the top selling songs ever in fact! It's perfect for a moonlit chase through the snow.
OK, so this one is a little corny. The second half of this song forms the basis of a story about the reunion of a father and son at Christmas. Christmas brings people together, don't shoot the messenger! At least there's no dogs or horses involved.
Finally, battles nearly always have a symphonic rock background. Comes from watching too many superhero movies, I suppose.
More Christians-in-a-band, Wisdom has created beautiful, positive, metal music. "War of Angels" in particular has just the right cadence for a battle sequence.
I won't overload you with metal music, so that's the only one I'm putting on here ;) In any case, there's another look into my fevered brain, I hope you enjoyed!
Even though Disney has made some decisions that have been boneheaded, I can't help but feel affection for the Mouse House. I was a Disney kid growing up. I still have the very fondest memories of the characters who taught me so much about story, character types, and what impact a story can have. It is because of them that I lament the demise of Disney, and wish they'd get back to the basics.
Number 1: Princess Jasmine.
Jasmine was the second princess I loved (first was Ariel) but the one I have the fondest memories of. I watched Aladdin over and over and the TV show when I could get it. Jasmine's feisty spirit, but ladylike demeanor inspired the characteristics that would eventually inform many of my own characters.
Number 2: Mulan.
Mulan inspired my love of all things Asian. The characteristics that endeared me to Jasmine also called out from Mulan. As brave as she is beautiful, Mulan was the one who demonstrated that you could be both a fighter and a lady.
Number 3: Winnie the Pooh and Company.
Winnie the Pooh and friends form some of my earliest memories of watching cartoons. My mother was a huge Pooh fan as a child, and made sure we had the original shorts on VHS and had the "New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh" series on VHS as well. They taught me that no one is too small to make a difference, and while I don't have any characters directly inspired by Pooh or his friends, they did teach me about story structure and you don't necessarily need anything extraordinary to happen to tell a good story.
Number 4: Kim Possible.
Kim Possible was the main character of the TV Show "Kim Possible" which played on Disney Channel from 2002 to 2007. Kim was a high school student who was active in her community, captain of the cheer squad, and crime fighting super-heroine. Her can-do attitude and good nature, and the fact that I, as a regular person, could be like her (in the attitude and helpfulness category anyway) endeared her to me, and I still love her.
Number 5: Snow White.
When I was younger, I thought Snow White was kind of a wimp. (I swallowed that feminist lie hook, line, and sinker!) But as I got older, I realized that she is perhaps one of the strongest princesses. Let's think about this for a minute. Her mom dies, then her dad, and her stepmother takes away all of her rights and privileges as a princess and makes her a scullery maid. But does that get her down? NO! To top all, her stepmother plans to murder her and she has to run for her life into the woods. Does that break her spirit? NO! Through all her trials she keeps a positive attitude and a heroic outlook on life. She may not be as "active" but she has spirit!
Number 6: The Spring Sprite from Fantasia 2000.
The Spring Sprite is from the last segment of Fantasia 2000, which was set to the music of Igor Stravinsky's "The Firebird". The Sprite is a nature spirit who brings spring to a place in the grips of winter (primarily based on the Mount St. Helens) and accidentally wakes the ravenous Firebird, the spirit of destruction. When all her handiwork is destroyed by the vengeful Firebird, the Sprite renews her territory in one of the most beautiful scenes in Disney history. Because Fantasia is basically silent, the Sprite is an enigma as far as characters go, but we know that she is kind, gentle, and creative. It was mainly her imagination-sparking powers that earned her a place on this list, as she has inspired me since I laid eyes on her.
Arbutus, Aladdin TV Series.
Who? Arbutus made a single, memorable appearance in the Aladdin TV Series, where he acted the part of the Beast in a "Beauty and the Beast" plot. I never really considered him a villain, more of a Byronic hero, (though at the time I didn't know what this was) leading to his downfall. This guy inspired several (really bad) fan-fics when I was a child, but more recently was one among many inspirations for Lord Rhodon, the subject of my Writing Wednesday posts.
Princess Mira Nova of Tangea, Buzz Lighter of Star Command.
Here was a kick-butt princess! Mira Nova sought out becoming a Space Ranger over living as a princess. Never was Mira rescue fodder, never was she seen as an incompetent. Mira served as Buzz's second in command and was considered one of the most skilled Rangers in Star Command. She showed that girls could be just as intelligent and competent in law enforcement roles as men, and were even necessary for some missions.
Princess Merida of DunBroch, Brave.
Why isn't Merida higher on the list, you ask? Well... Merida can be a bit of a brat. Crack archer, princess, not all that interested in romance, and adorable as all get out, Merida demonstrated that you can tell a fairy tale without a romance. Her relationship with her mom is also rather touching for us strong willed girls...now if she would've learned to be less of a brat earlier...
Detective Elisa Maza, Gargoyles.
Street smart NYPD detective Elisa Maza thought she had seen everything... until she was introduced to the Manhattan Clan of Gargoyles. The five Gargoyles formed a close partnership with Elisa, who was their only true human friend. Goliath, the leader of the group, fell in love with the able detective (Yeah, weird, I know) and they were often together fighting crime throughout New York City. I can't deny that Elisa has influenced the creation of my own detective duo, also NYPD cops.
I'm T.K. Wilson, Read my blog for great information and stories about dolls, toy restoration, Christian Fantasy and so much more! Blog updates Mondays and Fridays.