Writing Connections

Ok, so recently (as in my recent posts, not time because we all know how lacking I am in being punctual online) I’ve mentioned some of the tropes/connections between my two latest stories (The Kanta Chronicles and Lucifer & Lilith). And today, I’d like to give you guys some more of these so that you can always recognize my writings in the future. And while all of these aspects won’t always be in the story I’m writing, there’s sure to be a few.

Now, I’ve already mentioned how I use twins, and how the elder is usually the female and she’s more powerful than her younger brother. I’ve also said how I’ll usually take a name of a character in one story and give it to another; this is something that a lot of authors do I find and I’m just another practitioner of this hallowed tradition. Another thing that I constantly find myself doing is taking parts of stories from other authors and using them in my own while putting my own spin on it. This is what I did with Cadel Thymab in The Kanta Chronicles (for the full story there, there’s a early post about it). Another hallowed tradition that I fully subject my writing to is making allusions to other works that influence me. I do this usually a bit more stealthily in my humble opinion, than my previous point, but for more details, check out some of my earliest post here.

Finally, I’d like to discuss the Language of Darkness. It’s something that is present in both L&L and The Kanta Chronicles and hope to find a way to incorporate it into all my future works. In essence, the Language or Tongue of Darkness is a string of gurgling and grunting that only those born with the ability to can understand. And for someone to be able to understand it, and not be born to a parent/parents that can, is extremely rare. In The Kanta Chronicles, only Ladies of the Night can understand it; and in L&L only the angels of the Pit and their offspring can understand it. The exception to this is Lilith who when she first met Tartarus ate a special but rare crystal that allowed her to do so. And while Kara can understand thanks to the mental connection she shares with both her parents, her twin brother Shien cannot. And since that ties so nicely into my first point, I think that is where I will stop.

Character Profile: Nikki Evelyn Kanta

Ok, so I know I haven’t posted anything in like 2 months, and I apologize for that (again my laziness is to blame, as with most delays in my works). But to make it up to you all, I’m going to give you a deeper look at one of the two characters that I named after myself, Nikki Kanta. And if anyone can find the other character, I’ll give you a special prize.

To start off, I thought I’d give you all an insight into the mind of my editor, who not only took the time to proof the story twice before publication, but to also answer my anxiety riddled questions on if I was any good and the like. I liked Nikki the most. I’m not sure I can explain why. I think because of her innocence and kindness, and how she is able to accept and support her brother’s bond with Jazabel even though she has her doubts and some jealousy at times. This was her response to who her favourite character was and to be honest I was a little surprised. I’ve already admitted who my favourite characters were (although I can’t really say that I have a definitive least favourite character), but to have someone say a character that isn’t your favourite is a bit weird the first time you encounter it. It’s like someone saying that their favourite Harry Potter character is Ron: as a main character it’s a total possibility but with how great Harry, Hermione and some of the other Weasleys are, it may be a bit disjointed to your opinions. And to have that experience, I’m truly grateful to my editor (not to mention everything else she did for the Kanta Chronicles).

For those of you who haven’t read the FictionPress version of the book, one of the things that I added to Nikki’s character was her relationship with Romulus. And while the book doesn’t give a whole lot of history between them, there is in the lore I’ve laid out for the world of Bolfodier. At the start of part two, Iselda mentions that Romulus, Shade and Nikki have all been having play-dates together and have become friends. Over the years, Romulus of course falls in love with Nikki; and while Nikki has always known this, she never does anything to deter his feelings. And although it would have been nearly impossible for her to not love Shade, had Braria rejected their love, it would have been Romulus who she would have taken as her husband. Shade would have been upset, but realizing it would have been the best of a bad situation, he would have never said a word (also, he would have chosen Jazabel, so he didn’t really have a right to complain, knowing how Nikki initially thought of her).

Another thing that isn’t really mentioned in the book is that Nikki is the older of the twins and what that means. On the day that Shade and Nikki were born, Iselda demanded that Sabrina never reveal which twin is older to anyone, fearing it may lead to strife between the two of them over who is the rightful ruler. So the fact that Iselda reveals that Nikki was born first in her letter is a very big deal, as she is essentially declaring Nikki the heir apparent to the throne, when everyone just assumed that Shade was the eldest and therefore the heir. This is actually a staple of my writing: the female twin is always the eldest, and usually the more powerful of the two.

Character Profile: Sabrina

I’m going to come out and just say that Sabrina was named after the titular teenage witch. Foolish I know, but my influences are nearly legion, and she was one of the first characters I created for the story back when I was 16 (so cut me a little slack!). But despite her being a figment of my imagination, I feel Sabrina is one of my realest characters in the novel. She’s kind, unassuming, and aware of and slightly afraid of her full power. As she grew up in an environment that forced her to use her magic for selfish purposes, she swore to herself when she ran away from Vagala that she’d only use her magic to help those in need rather than herself. She actually reminds me of an old friend from high school that I had. Except for her bisexuality, that’s purely more of my being a teenager when I wrote her.

Greek Mythology and Bolfodier’s Underworld

While anyone with the barest of knowledge of Greek mythology can see that Hados is Bolfodier’s version of Hades (their names are only one letter apart), most might not realize that there’s more connections between the myths of our world and the underworld of Bolfodier. Similarly to Ancient Greece’s view of the afterlife, Bolfodier’s is a sprawling vastness that’s divided into three parts. The Gates are basically Elysian Fields (a Heaven-esque place for heroes and demigods and the truly worthy of mortals); the Fields are equivalent to the Grecian Asphodel Meadows (a.k.a. the Fields of Asphodel, and the place where most people would go after they died); and the Pits are Tartarus (the deepest part of the underworld where the cursed and truly evil individuals spent their afterlife in torment, similar to Hell). But the deepest cut into Greek mythology comes in the naming of Korena. In the myths, the wife of Hades was Persephone, who occasionally went by the name Kore, and was routinely brought back to earth to appease her mother to ensure the harvest. Similarly but in reverse, Korena and Hados are cursed to only spend one day on Bolfodier every 25 years by Lilith. The second half of Korena’s name comes from the Greek goddess Athena, virgin goddess of wisdom and strategy. I thought this fit in well with Korena’s introduction as Empress Annabelle, a man hating immortal who declares war on the protagonists. And the final bit of Greek influence on Bolfodier’s underworld comes from Zotz, the underworld’s guardian that barely gets mentioned. Zotz was supposed to be the equivalent to Cerberus, the infamous three-headed dog that kept the spirits of the dead in the underworld and kept out the living. But his name actually comes from Mayan mythology in the form of Camazotz, the giant bat god of death. And as a creature that is described as sounding like “a dragon trying to howl like a wolf”, isn’t a giant bat a perfect mixture of the two and a much more fearsome guardian than a dog with three heads?

The Buddhist Inspirations Behind Empress Annabelle

While I didn’t start writing the second section of the book until I was in my second year of university, I actually created the character of the immortal Empress of Toxai back in high school during a creative writing exercise. As with any character, the initial spark of creation is not what the flame becomes; and Annabelle is no different as she was originally fully grown and much more tyrannical than how she appears in the book. But one thing that never changed was how the Buddhist interpretation of reincarnation, and specifically that of the Dali Lama, influenced how Annabelle achieved immortality.

Though I’m sure I’m wrong about this in reality, as I learned the broadest of strokes about Buddhism, learning that the spirit of the Dali Lama seemed to take over that of the child who will become the next Dali Lama was an interesting concept to me. Though I’ve since learned that the child is born with this spirit within them and it slowly emerges over time (similar to the show Avatar: The Last Airbender and Legend of Korra), the thought of this possession-esque really intrigued me as a way a world leader would work. As I do with everything that influences me, I bastardized this into what we see in the book in a much more Supernatural possession rather than true reincarnation.

But that isn’t where the influences stopped. There’s also the way in which those who rule in Annabelle’s place as she finds her new body determine the child coming to the palace is indeed the real Annabelle. Buddhist monks show a variety of objects to the potential Dali Lama, and depending on what they choose is a how they determine the real reincarnation from those who are not. Annabelle, and by extension Toxai, takes a less likely to be influenced by chance approach to proving her identity. Before she dies, Annabelle would take her three most trusted advisers and servants and tell them secrets about herself that no other people would know about her. Talking to each individually, Annabelle would tell them each different things and they would then devise questions that one of the others would ask and report her answers back to the question inventor. She would also hide her most prized possession, the Eternal As We Are ring, during one of these private conversations and only retrieve it when being questioned by the person she was talking to when she hid it. Correct answers to the questions, along with knowing the location to the ring, are what help determine that she is indeed the returned Empress.

My Favourite Characters

Since yesterday was my birthday, and I didn’t post anything last week, I’m going to take the opportunity to talk about my favourite characters and give you all a small glimpse inside the brighter side of my mind.

My first favourite character is Jazabel. Born randomly from my discovery of the band NIghtwish from a photo on YouTube of a song of theirs, Jazabel is probably my favourite character that I’ve ever created-if not, she’s on the top three. She’s beautiful, loving and one of the most powerful Ladies of the Night ever born. She’s aware of the balance that needs to be maintained in the world (between Light and Dark) and tries to keep it through all of her actions. Her fate is one that I wish I could take back, but I know the story needs it as a ‘inciting incident’ to the climax of the book. But it is through Jazabel that I explored the lines that separate good and evil, the depths of relationships one can experience and the powers of magics that aren’t from Hados, Korena or Lilith in Bolfodier. Jazabel was a truly unique individual within a story with a goddess in disguise, the most beautiful woman in existence, and people who love their best friends more than their wives. And it’s for these reasons and so many others that Jazabel Nyx is my favourite character.

Another one of my favourite characters is Korena. And my reasoning for this is more superficial than with Jazabel. Korena is first introduced, at least in the book, during the first conversation between Kailee and Iselda. She’s not mentioned by name, but she’s there. But her real introduction is the start of the second part of the book. And one of the reasons that Korena is one of my favourite characters is her true form. Obviously she’s beautiful, but the truly unique part of her beauty (at least for me) is her hair and eyes. Her eyes don’t have a set colour as it’s always changing, never staying one colour for more than a few seconds. Her hair is a beautiful blend of every colour of hair: red, blonde, brown, black, purple, white and every combination of these as they mix together. Korena also has one of my favourite line in the entire book, and whenever I reread it I’m always looking forward to the scene in which she says it.

And to close off, one of my favourite male characters: Shade Kanta. Shade is pure wish fulfillment on my part. He’s the person I wish I could be; being nearly perfect, loved by all who know him, and in the most stable and eternal of relationships. You often hear about writers making their characters like themselves or people they know, and I certainly did that with Pan; him being more like me as a person, whereas Shade is my dream self. There are few characters that I took inspiration from real people in the book, but there are one or two.

I hope you enjoyed this look at some of my favourite characters. Let me know who some of your favourite characters are and why in the comments. Also just to let you know, the book is just about finished, all that’s left to do is printing and spreading the word to everyone so they can hear about this great story and world I’ve crafted.

Lady of the Night Crest

So one idea that I had early in transition from writing on fictionpress to publishing the book was that the Ladies of the Night would have a crest that distinguish them to each other and others in society. I’d originally planned to have Jazabel wear hers as a necklace, and so I drew a crude image taking some elements from The Legend of Zelda and The Sword of Truth book series by Terry Goodkind (a major influence in terms of the way Bolfodier works and is, as well as my love of fantasy in general). And since my artistic capabilities barely reach past stick figures, I’d asked a friend to redraw the design I’d created. And last week she finished that drawing, and so I’m proud to present the crest of the Ladies of the Night in a more proper glory. This design is featured on the cover of the Codex Nocturna.

 

Huge Thank You goes to Alicia for taking the time to do this and many more drawings related to The Kanta Chronicles. She’s been given an early copy of the book so that she has all the information needed to complete these drawings, and I will post them as soon as I get the final copies. Let me know what you think and I’ll pass along your comments to her.

Updates and The Mirror of Rheta

First, as tomorrow is St. Patty’s Day, I’d like to wish everyone the luck of the Irish and a safe day of drinking for those of you old enough to do so. Secondly, I’m posting this week’s post early because I don’t believe I’ll have time to do so before it’s too late in the day. Thirdly, I’d like to give you all an update about how the book’s publishing process is coming along: greatly! On Wednesday I received the formatted version of the book to go over and make sure everything looks good. And I have to say that, as a whole (I haven’t taken the time to read every word yet), it looks pretty cool. It’s going to be about 600 pages, so hopefully you all will take the time to read each page; I included a special ‘Thank You’ page at the start, in which I give my deepest gratitude to you all for your support of not only The Kanta Chronicles, but of me as well. Lastly, I’d like to add another thank you to my friend Alicia, for agreeing to draw some character and location designs for those appearing in the book (I’ll leave a link to her art page below).
Now, for those of you who don’t know this about me, I love me some Beauty and the Beast and can’t wait to see the new movie. Belle was always my favourite princess and now to have the one and only Hermione Granger aka Emma Watson playing her is going to be just perfect. Now, I bring this up because, as one of my favourite Disney films, something from Beauty and the Beast of course makes a cameo in The Kanta Chronicles. And that something is the Beast’s magic mirror, which I used as my visual inspiration for the Mirror of Rheta. Those who have read the story on fictionpress (or more accurately, the third and final part) will know that the Mirror of Rheta is a minor MacGuffin that kicks off the start of the final chunk of the story. But something that you may not know is that the Mirror of Rheta’s power doesn’t come from it’s namesake, but is actually from Rheta’s lover Cosmar. On the eve of his death, Cosmar presented the Mirror to Rheta at a party to celebrate her upcoming birthday. Having a sorceress from Singia enchant the Mirror with its unique properties, Cosmar then convinced Rheta to use the Mirror in front of everyone to declare their love. But besides their eternal love for one another, the Mirror also revealed that Rheta was pregnant with Cosmar’s child. Sadly she miscarried due to the grief and stress of Cosmar’s death.

Let me know what you think of this backstory to the Mirror of Rheta. And don’t forget to check out Alicia’s art at: https://alicia091.wixsite.com/jtsartville. I’ll be posting her Kanta Chronicles related works as I receive them, both here on Facebook and on my website bolfodier.ca

In Defense of Lilith

While she comes across as a one dimensional evil character in the book, I’d like to dedicate this week’s post to the redeeming qualities of the goddess Lilith. For starters, she truly would have called off Brudas’ assault on Shade and Nikki had they simply forsaken Hados and Korena as their friends and deities. Secondly, despite the previous fact and their current animosity, she still loves Hados and Korena; if not like a brother and sister than as her closest friends. She’s also quite devoted to Bolfodier, as she tells Shade and Nikki when they meet her, she is spending all her godly energies to keep Bolfodier in relative peace. But perhaps the most redeeming action Lilith has ever committed in her saving of Korena’s life on the night that Nina was murdered. She did this not only to give her daughter one last gift in saving the being that was both step-mother and daughter to Nina, but also for the love Lilith had for Hados (both platonic and romantic). Even in the modern setting of the story, Lilith still harbours feelings for Hados, but knows that he can never feel the same way about her. This is why every 100 years or so she searches out a man that reminds her of Hados in some way, shape or form and has a child with him.
Let me know if this helps redeem Lilith in your eyes, or if she even needed redeeming in the first place. I know that when I first envisioned her, she was meant to be the only god the world had while being a subtle jab at Catholicism with her appearance being that of the typical depiction of the Virgin Mary, but bearing the name of the mother of demons/one of the first demons (source depending). As I continued writing the other stories that would become the book, she eventually devolved into the seemingly antagonistic one sided character that she appears to be. And while I’m ok with that in terms of this story, I didn’t want you readers to feel that way about her; she’s like Iselda: the book only shows the Dark Union side to Lilith, not the queen of Braria that we see of Iselda throughout The Kanta Chronicles.

Batman Reference and Reverance

Since today sees the release of the Lego Batman Movie (which I can’t wait to see btw), I thought that today I share my love of the Caped Crusader by revealing the connection it has to The Kanta Chronicles. As we all know the Dark Knight’s alter ego is Bruce Wayne; and it is in a combination of his two names that he appears in our story. I take great care when it comes to names, so it should be no surprise that when it came to naming Jazabel’s three bats, I gave the biggest one with black fur a name that draws immediate recognition and connotations. By calling the bat Bruce, I hoped to draw in the popularity of Batman into this pet, and by extension the character of Jazabel and story as a whole.
Batman has always been one of my favourite characters and his movies are among my favourites, with Burton’s 89 film being my all-time favourite movie. And short of writing Batman stories, this was the only way I could think of to pay homage to this pop culture and literary icon while still adding my patented blend of recognition and confusion (similar to my Lady Macbeth and Zelda references).
Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na BATMAN!

 (words to live by)