Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Prince Kayin From the Harun Tribe

In Travels to Fahdamin-Ra, Prince Kayin from the Harun tribe is the first person the kids meet in Fahdamin-Ra. That is, the prince and his host of bodyguards. When I first started writing the character of Kayin, I decided to make him obnoxious, as the only son of a king could be. He is there to insult Celestine, so she can discover her powers when Kayin makes her angry and she accidentlly turns him into a pig. He also is the bad guy, the one the lovely Jetta was supposed to marry, but she turns him down for the mysterious Tor instead.

I must admit that I liked writing Kayin into scenes so he could be a snob and start arguments. As the book progressed, I made him soften a little because no matter what the Creators do, the Harun people want to please them. Kayin is also a young guy - about 20 years old, so he is not as rigid as his father. Also, he started opening up a little when Ka-puki and Nas-sor came to Harun for the tribal exchange, and he started to teach them. Nas-sor is a typical Jabulani male, quiet and easygoing. Ka-puki is not a typical Jabulani woman, so Kayin liked her right away.

My friend Guinevere loved Prince Kayin when she read the first book, and after listening to her rhapsodize about him, I changed my mind about how I was going to treat his character in Across the Savannah. When Joel and Celestine planned to travel across the savannah on their journey, I decided Kayin had to go with them. Because he liked Ka-puki, I decided an inter-tribal romance had to blossom, and let their relationship carry through the story while they dealt with its consequences. Now, Kayin is a likable character, who seems to have grown up quickly.

In the third book in the series, which I am writing now, Kayin goes back to being a minor, though important, character. He will appear from time to time until the end of the fourth book. There are a few characters that I will not change - they will always be disagreeable, but Kayin is an example of how a good woman can change a guy's life.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Appliance Conspiracy

A friend of mine was mentioning how several appliances in her house have broken down at once. I was not surprised. When you leave the house, the appliances get together and decide who is going to break down next. Usually the plan takes effect right before you have a party or when company is coming.

My vaccum cleaner is ailing and has been grudgingly vaccuming for a couple of years now. However, I know that the day that my company is supposed to arrive this summer, it will decide to stop working forever. I have already picked out the new model that I want to buy, so I am cleverly biding my time.

My large kitchen appliances have a clique, and my washer and dryer, though they are in the laundry room, consider themselves part of that group. First, my dryer went and soon the washer died as well, right when my kids came home from college for the summer, with their dirty laundry. Next, it was my stove that decided to give up the ghost a few days before my son's high school graduation party, when I was baking like crazy. It was followed by the refrigerator, which went on a hot 4th of July weekend when I was going to have company over for a cookout.

They bided their time, but right after the garbage disposal went, the diswasher decided to follow. Since I know about this conspiracy, I had the plumber come and remove the garbage disposal completely and he also hooked up the dishwasher. I never liked the garbage disposal anyway, because frankly, I was terrified that I would accidently slip my fingers inside it, and it would chop them off with it's sharp metal teeth.

Removing the garbage disposal subdued the large appliance conspiracy gang, but I just had to replace my coffee maker. I wonder if the smaller appliances are just as tight knit? For now, I am keeping a sharp eye on my toaster.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

All About Tor

In Travels to Fahdamin-Ra, Tor is the first Masamba that Celestine and Joel meet. He is being hustled to the city by Harun guards because someone caught him talking to Jetta. Tor is strong, stubborn, and when he is knocked off his feet and gets a gash on his head, he stoically handles the pain. When Tor does not want to give his name, Raymond smoothly names him "Hunter." Unlike other characters that come later in the book, once the kids find out Tor's real name, they never refer to him as "Hunter" again.

Tor had a hard life. His mother was soft-spoken, like her parents. His father was Kan Eme, one of the priests that ruled the Masamba tribe until the Bridges family arrived and changed everything. After his mother died when he was a teenager, Tor did not get along with his father because he saw some of the things that Eme and the other priests were doing. As soon as he was old enough to get his own leopard, Tor started building his own tree house. It is a significant step in the Masamba tribe for a young man or woman to build their own house. They do it for three reasons; because they are getting married, because they never intend to marry, or because they have a significant falling out with their parent(s). Tor built his house so he could get away from his father. After he did that, the priests were harder on him than most of the other people in the tribe, so Tor would leave and visit the Jabulani, the Outsider Village, go exploring, or hunt. The Outsiders and the Jabulani were happy to see him, but the Harun started having guards patrol their lands and capture anyone who trespassed.

Tor lost some people whom he cared about. His grandparents on his mother's side disappeared after they disagreed with Kan Eme, and his father's parents died. He became a solitary person, often away from the tribe, developing his hunting and tracking skills.At times, Tor would hunt with other Masambas, often dropping off a fresh kill to the Outsiders and that is how Mosi remembered seeing him. He lost his best friends, Dal and Bo, because Dal disappeared and Bo married a Jabulani girl and went across the savannah to live.

His life changed when Tor met Jetta. He was used to avoiding Harun, thinking them as his enemies, but when he met Jetta, he liked her instantly. Tor found himself prowling around the edges of the Harun land and watching for her, which was easy, because like most Harun, she followed a predictable schedule. He was taking chances, because the Harun kept spreading out, clearing more Masamba jungle, so the boundaries between the two tribes was blurred. There had been several scuffles between the Harun soldiers patrolling the borders and Masamba hunters, who wanted to pass quietly through the edges of the fields on their way to hunt.

Eventually, Tor did get caught, but was lucky enough to have Raymond step in and save him from a terrible beating. It also freed up Jetta and Tor's relationship, letting them be together openly and not come to any harm. When Raymond discovered that Creators often held marriage ceremonies, he offered to marry them. Not only would a marriage sanctioned by a Creator allow Tor and Jetta to be officially recognized by all of the tribes, but Raymond saw it as sending a message of acceptance and peace.

Now, Tor is growing a beard and learning how to plant. He and Jetta think that it is a privilege to live at the stone circle and assist the Bridges family whenever they are visiting Fahdamin-Ra. That is where you will find them, unless I come up with an assignment for them in the future.

Monday, May 2, 2011


In Travels to Fahdamin-Ra, Celestine and Joel are happy to meet Jetta, a beautiful young woman from the Harun tribe. Prince Kayin has left them while he searches for his father the king. They are standing uneasily on the steps of the temple, being stared at by a crowd of strangers when Jetta shows up, pushes through the crowd, and engages them in friendly conversation. Despite their four-year age difference, Jetta and Celestine strike up a friendship. Celestine admires the young woman because Jetta stands up for herself in a male dominated society, especially after it is revealed that Jetta was supposed to marry Kayin but refused him.

Before she refused the prince, Jetta became an apprentice Healer. In Harun, children are assessed for their strengths so when they reach the age of sixteen, they are assigned to a work area and learn that trade. One of the tasks Jetta was assigned to do was to collect items from the fields and jungle that Healers used to make medicines. That is how she met Tor, when he was out with his leopard. Jetta was afraid of being attacked by the big cat, so their first meeting ended in a lively argument about whether or not Jetta was going to be the leopard's lunch.

After that, it was easy to arrange meetings between the two. The Harun tribe disliked the Masamba because they consider the jungle tribe half-naked, barbaric meat-eaters. The Harun, as you know, are vegetarian and they put a lot of emphasis on their clothing. The Harun is also convinced that the Masamba kidnapped Harun people over the years, hence the need for royalty and important city administrators to travel around with a guard escort.

The Masamba dislike the Harun because the city tribe looks down on them and whenever Masamba hunters are caught crossing over Harun territory, they are beaten severely before being able to return to their tribe. They think that the Harun have kidnapped Masamba tribes people over the years and killed them off.

Jetta knew that the City Directorate planned to have her appear before them, offer another husband-to-be, (she refused another man after Kayin, who is one of the king's guards) and if she turned the third man down, they would send her to the Outsider Village. In Jetta's mind, it was not a problem. Tor would come for her and they would journey across the savannah like so many others, and have a life far away from the original tribes.

When the Creators appeared, it worked out even better for Jetta and Tor. They live at the stone circle and show their appreciation by acting as servants to the Creators and Valerie. The other tribes follow an age old custom of providing the Creator's servants at the stone circle with anything that they need. Jetta decided to teach her husband to plant, so they cleared an area of the jungle, so when the rainy season ends, they would be ready to plant crops.

It was hard to decide if Jetta and Tor would go across the savannah with Celestine and Joel, or in the third book, if they would sail with them up north. I decided that they are going to stay put for the time being. However, Jetta will always be around, and I may change my mind about her any minute, sending her on a wild adventure.