Pronunciation Guide

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

“M” is for Masrekah

“M” is for Masrekah

Oh my gosh, a whole post devoted to Mas! :P

Masrekah (mas-reh-kah) is, for my story, the epitome of an unintentional character. As I’ve said in other places, he was just a backstory character I came up with to explain why Rab was 18 and unmarried in a world where girls typically marry by 15. He was a jerk who ruined her life because she rejected him. I never intended him to be anything more. I made him a jerk on purpose, a disgusting creep who was just…ugh. Gross.

Vindictive, cruel, selfish, leering, and menacing: that was Mas. And this man has become not only a main character, but a love interest. Riddle me that. *rolls eyes at my mind*

At some point amid the massive changes where I decided Rab and the rebels wouldn’t all die, I got the idea for Mas to become good and fight alongside the rebels. I knew it’d lead to conflict with Rab, and, let’s face it, conflict drives a story, and Rab is fun when she’s clashing with other characters.

As the story unfolded, it became increasingly difficult to figure out how Hikah saved Ari from jail, or why he’d even risk everything when all he felt for her was infatuation. During this time, I teasingly asked people what they’d think of a Mas/Rab pairing instead of Sorek/Rab. No one liked it; it felt lacking. That was when the first inkling hit me of Mas/Ari. I brushed it off, thought it would be too weird, that no one would accept him because of his past with Rab.

He refused to let it go, kept pestering me until I allowed him one scene with Ari. One scene for him to show me hints of chemistry between the two of them. I really doubted it would go anywhere, but I figured I’d explore the possibility.

Well. We know how that turned out.  (And if you don’t know, uh, Mas got his way.)

Of all my characters, Mas “talks” with me the most. Oftentimes, when I get ideas for conversations, I envision the characters in my head going back and forth. I typically just watch and try to remember it all. That is how things go with Mas, only instead of a conversation playing out between him and another character, it is him and me. For instance, this happened last night after I wrote a scene where he dances with Ari at the festival in book one:

            Me to Mas: So you’re interacting with Ari a lot in book one lately…

            Mas: Not really. But, I mean, this way it’ll make more sense that I already like her by the time she’s at my house in book three. You were worried about that, remember? That my feelings would seem too intense since we’d interacted so infrequently?

            Me: Yes… True…

            Mas, shrugging: I’m just trying to make things more realistic.

            Me, eyeing him: You’re trying to get me to be okay with you kissing her at your house, aren’t you?

            Mas: No! Never! *pauses* Are you saying you’re going to write that, though? Because I won’t mind. And we’re interacting a lot lately…

            Me, glowering: Shush your face.

            Mas, stays quiet for two seconds: So that means you’re going to think about it?

            Me: *facepalm*

…Yep. As for Mas himself, I have a character spotlight of him on that page (link is above), but here are some basics (and random things):

~27 (born October 29th)
~Blond-haired, blue-eyed
~Second in command in the town (has been for about two years) and Siserah’s confidante
~Still vindictive, cruel, and violent, but no longer leering or a total jerk (though still cocky)
~Sense of humor is dry, sarcastic, and often blunt
~Is the oldest of four; his parents and siblings are dead
~Preferred method of fighting is hand-to-hand; knives are his go-to blade
~Has extensive scarring across his back and chest from a near-death experience when he was 17
~Responds to intense emotion or pain by shutting down and turning icy and sarcastic
~Detail-oriented with a near-photographic memory
~Is convinced he is and always will be a bad person
~Prone to drinking/alcoholism
~Favorite color is green
~Favorite season is fall
~Deepest fear is rejection

Aaand…it is time to get ready for work!

“L” is for love

“L” is for love

My writer friends say I am a “closet romance writer.” (I deny this. Completely. ;) )
While I don’t write romance in the typical sense of romance novels, I do write a lot about love.

I believe love is unconditional and selfless. If it isn’t those things, it’s not a full expression of love. Love isn’t a feeling but a choice, a commitment. Yes, it encompasses feelings, but emotions are fickle; if there is nothing behind the feelings, then when struggle, sickness, or even just the natural ebb and flow of life come, things will crumble. There are different aspects – friend-love, familial, romantic/sexual – but ultimately, everything must flow from unconditional love.

Though my story is in no way a “love story” as many would understand the term, love truly permeates all of it.

Rab’s sacrificial love for Ari is the foundation of everything. Both girls would do anything for each other, and by the beginning of the story, Rab has already given up so much to take care of her sister. Their mother stands in stark contrast to that, incapable of loving either of them and incapable of loving herself.  The lack of love from their mother has scarred both girls, more deeply than they know, and a lot of the story will deal with them coming to grips with their terrible upbringing.

Rab and Eda also love each other on the same level as Rab and Ari; they are sisters not by blood, but sisters all the same. Sorek loves all of his rebels; they, too, are his family. Rab and Sorek have a rough beginning, but love grows between them – and not just romantic love. Though Mas starts out cold and detached, he learns to love others sacrificially as well, seen most clearly in his manner toward Ari. The members of the half-breed group (introduced later) have been through awful things and forged a bond only shared suffering can create. Love is the result: deep, selfless, healing love.

Therein is of the most beautiful aspects of love is just that: it is healing.

True love always moves toward healing, wholeness. It frees. It restores. It comforts. It protects. It strengthens. It endures in the face of pain, struggle, and even rejection. It fights for those in need. It doesn’t take, but gives instead. It offers everything without expecting anything back.

And those touched by true love are never the same.

Friday, March 13, 2015

“K” is for kin

Ugh, I stink at this.
Hey! It is Friday the 13th!

“K” is for kin. I had a few other good options, but I often talk about the more negative aspects of my story. This one is more positive, so we’re going with it!

Sorek’s parents, aunt, and uncle stood up against the Hul’s tyranny. His cousins are his lifeline; reuniting with them propels him toward his purpose, and they are all instrumental in fighting the Huls’ oppression. That family, truly, is what starts the rebel movement in their nation, and much of the success of it relies on how well they mesh. Tirhakah’s (Sorek’s cousin) mom and stepfather loved him, as did his siblings, and they instilled in him a value for all life, which gave him the foundation for who he is now. Sorek’s siblings are a huge reason he is what he is, though in a darker way, forged through more suffering. Tir’s half-breed group operates as a family, with everyone referring to the others as their brothers and sisters and loving each other sacrificially and unconditionally. The strength of that group comes not through their numbers, but through their commitment to each other through anything.

Ari and Rab are obviously sisters, and their relationship is at the forefront. Their mom is abusive; no father is in the picture. Mas has no family anymore, though they left a deep impression on him. Siserah grew up responsible for his siblings, and that experience led to him becoming a massive control freak. Edaliah’s relationship with her parents is strained, but she has a great bond with her older sister (who is also a rebel, along with both of their husbands). Edaliah’s uncle is the one who starts the rebellion within the actual timeline of book one. Driven by love for his daughter and the desire to protect her from evil, he does things he shouldn’t.

Much of the overarching conflict in the story comes because of conflict and rivalry between two cousins raised as brothers by a man who didn’t know how to love or support either boy. The need for a father’s approval and validation drives many of my characters, my men especially. Most of my antagonists do what they do out of love for their family and a desire to protect them, or because of broken family relationships and unmet needs. My Huls are committed to each other as a family in a sense, hence why they view treason so harshly. People endure great suffering for their siblings, cousins, and adopted family.

Family isn’t just blood. It’s a choice too, a choice of who you will stand beside when everything crashes around you.

I hope to show this through both sides of the conflict.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

“J” is for justify and join

Whew, I have been struggling to come up with an idea for “J.” I’ve been debating since my last post. Since I am tired of not being able to move on, I’m just going to do something. It might be lame, haha! Sorry, I tried.

“J” is for justify and join

Many of my characters do things they have to justify to themselves, and oftentimes to others as well. The question one must ask them is, “Does the end justify the means?”

Honestly, a lot of them say, “Yes.”

Siserah is a great example of this. In the name of protecting the innocent people of his town, he hurts innocent people in his town. The death of a few preserves the lives of the many. It’s warped, it’s terrible, but in his mind, it’s a necessary sacrifice. He is so focused on the end that he can’t allow himself to see how violently he’s undermining his own goal in the present.

Masrekah is another great example, though his is a bit more difficult to judge as evil. If he doesn’t appear loyal to Siserah, he’s dead; but to be loyal, he must do things he hates. He must be something he hates. His goal is to try to make up for the bad things he’s done, yet to do it, he must continue to do awful things. While he also believes the end justifies the means, he does not expect to see that end unscathed. Actually, he doesn’t really expect to live to the end at all. Instead of sacrificing others, like Siserah does, he takes from himself. Repeatedly. And it rips him open every time.

Sorek is another one. He’s good, but he’s gray. He lies. He manipulates. He kills. He takes whatever he wants. He is all about freedom, about ridding the world of the regime he hates. He justifies his actions because he feels there is no other option. The quote, “Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster” captures Sorek’s struggle well. Every step he takes toward ending the Huls makes him, in his mind, more like them. Yet like Mas, he sacrifices himself, becomes something he hates so that others may be free.

For Rab, the end – freedom for her and Ari from their mother – absolutely justifies the means. She does whatever it takes to protect her sister, and that’s a pretty honorable thing for the most part. But it’s in the smaller things where she justifies wrongly. She speaks harshly to people, especially Mas, and she doesn’t feel bad for it for a long time. She clings to her preconceived notions of people and convinces herself she’s in the right. She refuses to listen to those she has issue with, and she justifies it by blaming them for being _____. (Rude, liars, previously bad, etc.)

Ari ends up facing a horrific situation with her choices stripped to almost nothing. At least nothing good. Her survival depends on what she is willing to justify. She does whatever it takes in the inn, but she carries that mindset out with her. She’s all about survival, and as long as she survives, she doesn’t really care what it costs.

On the other note, my characters end up in some very life and death situations. In those moments, to survive, they often have to join with other groups – not just other rebel groups, but enemies. This also falls under a bit of a “justifying the means” thing. Even among those committed to the same basic goal, there are different ideas of how to go about it. So…expect a lot of conflict. =)