Continuing the Heartless read-along! Remember, if you haven't read it already, you can get it for free e-book download until the end of the month. Snatch it up while you can!
be questions at the end of each segment, and there will be giveaways at the end
of each week. If you would like to be
eligible for a giveaway here's what you have to do: Answer at least one
question each day of the week. Everyone who does that will have their name
entered in a drawing, and the THREE winners will be selected
each Sunday. I'll be giving out copies of my three other novels, Veiled
Rose, Moonblood, and Starflower.
Dialogue: This chapter
opens with an amusing dialogue between Una and her nurse, in which Una bewails
the lack of romance in her rather boring life, and Nurse ventures her opinions
on romance. I really loved using this scene to establish Una's character. She
is a sweet, romantic, dreamy girl with quite a streak of immaturity in her
outlook. Which makes sense given her status as a sheltered princess!
acts as a great foil to Una, being in many ways her polar opposite. Her
pragmatism serves to highlight Una's dreamy silliness to comedic effect.
Desires: Fiction is all
about establishing your protagonists desires . . . and then throwing absolutely
everything you can in the way of achieving those desires! Una's desire for
romance in her life--which becomes her primary goal for the first half of this
novel--is clearly set in place within this first scene. Now that her desire is
prepped, we get the fun of watching it thwarted!
Descriptions: I have never
liked the tendency of writers to define their characters by what they look
like. I wanted Una to be such a distinct personality that my readers would form
a clear picture in their minds of what they
believed her to look like without any help on my part! I gave little
quirks--she breaks out in red blotches when embarrassed, and her hair never
stays in place. To me, that was more than enough to form a solid picture in my
by about the seventh draft of this novel (and at my editor's request), I
finally caved and blessed Una with honey-colored hair. I don't think I ever
gave her an eye-color though . . .
Lifestyle: Although Una is
a princess, and Oriana Palace is quite sumptuous, she doesn't live as opulent a
lifestyle as one might imagine. She doesn't have a host of ladies-in-waiting,
just her one nurse, and she attends classes with her brother. She's spoiled for
sure, but nowhere near as spoiled as she might be!
Monster: Five years since
the prologue, we find Monster firmly established within Oriana Palace as the
princess's pet. His ongoing war with Prince Felix provides some comic moments
as well. I suspect Felix gave the cat his name, too! I doubt Una would have
named him "Monster." I like how she talks to him, though she doesn’t really believe he understands her. I
talk to my pets all the time!
and Felix's history lesson is a fun little tidbit, hinting at things to come later in the series.
They are studying the rise of Corrilond in the year of the Sleeper's Awakening
during the reign of Abundiantus IV. Corrilond, we learn later, was
destroyed five hundred years ago by a
dragon the Bane of Corrilond . . . destroyed so completely that some people
even wonder if it ever existed! But it's still in their history books at least.
here the magic begins to happen! The Twelve-Year Market was actually a bit of a
late-comer in the drafting process as well. Originally, the story opened with
Prince Aethelbald simply arriving at Oriana Palace to "pay his
respects," and the first chapter ended with his surprising proposal. But I
decided I wanted to bring in a little more magic and mystery surrounding him.
has not been a prominent force in Parumvir for many generations by the time
this book takes place. But when the Prince of Farthestshore makes it his
business to step out of the Wood Between into the mortal world, other Faeries
get excited and decide to bring the market back as well! It was tremendously
fun to explore the various folks and their magical wares through the eyes of
Una and her brother. Some things were unique to this world, while others--like
the seven-league boots--are familiar to fairy tales.
The unicorn fry: Considering we
meet much a older, more frightening unicorn later on in the series, the unicorn
fry here in the first chapter of Heartless
seem a bit out of place. But years ago, I read a theory (not one I believe, but
an interesting theory) that the unicorn legend developed out of narwhale
sightings, which would mean that the first unicorns were sea creatures. It took
only a few leaps and an imaginative jump before sea unicorns (which I pictures
looking much more like sea horses than narwhales) emerged in my mind. And I was
just tickled by the idea of people having bowls of sea unicorns like we would
have bowls of goldfish! I mean, wouldn't that be fantastic?
Time: In this chapter
we are first introduced to the Faerie folk's notion of time. For mortals, year
follows year, hour follows hour in a natural progression. For Faeries, this
isn't so. The old man with the alabaster jars everyone, "Unicorn fry,
fresh from the sea, caught just this morning--or last century, depending on
your view." King Fidel tells Sir Oeric that it has been at least two
hundred years since a Twelve-Year Market was recorded in Parumvir . . . to
which Oeric replies, "But only twelve years as my folk count it."
on, Time and its manipulation beyond the mortal world is going to be a very
important theme! So keep your eyes open.
Characters: We meet several
more important folks in this chapter, including King Fidel, Una's father, and
Sir Oeric, one of the knights of Farthestshore. Oeric plays a major role in Moonblood, but he only has a small part
in this book. I liked bringing him into the tale, though, because he's
character I've written about since long before I ever dreamed up Heartless! He has a long and interesting
history, which I hope to someday be able to share with all of you. I will drop
little hints now: His story connects with Abundiantus V, the Sleeper's
Awakening, and the naming of Goldstone Wood.
two dwarf brothers who made the silver-wrought figurines that move . . . do you
know, I'd forgotten all about putting them into this novel? They and their
workmanship were characters who featured in short-story ideas I played around
with back in high school, and I have some faint ideas of playing with them in
later Goldstone Wood tales. But I had forgotten that they had found their way
into Heartless! That made me smile.
Felix. He ends up the butt of quite a number of jokes in this story! One of the
biggest--and most popular--being this funny little scene where he stops by a
cobbler's stall and tries on a pair of seven-league boots. Stamping his feet to
see how they fit, he inadvertently takes a step . . . and ends up seven-leagues
away! Good thing Sir Oeric was around to fetch him back again.
Fortune Teller: With
Torkom, we have our first real glimpse of goblins in the universe of Goldstone
Wood. And an unusual glimpse it is, hinting at things to come in later books. Una
sees him as small, huddled and fanged one moment, then beautiful and elegant
the next. Those of you who have read later in the series can guess that Torkom
is wearing, at least partially, the enchanting veils of Arpiar. But he is
outside of Arpiar, so they don't work very well, leaving his ugly goblin self
it's interesting to note that Sir Oeric, who is also a goblin, doesn't wear any
disguises at all, but is simply ugly. Yet he is far more trustworthy than
Una's ring: Another
important feature of this novel is glimpsed in this scene. Una wears a ring of
clustered opals given to her by her mother, which Torkom immediately recognizes
as "A gift of the heart." Foreshadowing!!!!
Una's Fortune: The scene where
Una glimpses "her fortune" in the dragon scale was a later edition to
the story. In early versions, I merely had her grab the scale and burn her
hands, but she did not see the image of the Dragon. In one of the later drafts,
I decided to give us our first glimpse of the Dragon much earlier--here in
chapter one--and go on to have him appear in her dreams from time to time. Created a stronger sense of
building tension, I thought.
who had long since ceased to function as a real nurse and these days played the
part of maid and busybody to her princess, wielded a brush with the tenderness
of a gardener raking last year's dead leaves, making every effort to tame Una's
honey-colored hair into an acceptable braid. (p. 15)
To pay their
according to the definition given the phrase by the courtiers of Oriana Palace,
was a tactful way to say, investigate
marriage possibilities with the resident princess. (p. 16)
that, she turned on her heel and marched down the corridor, the blind cat
trotting behind, unlike a dog in every way because, of course, he wasn't truly
following her. He merely happened to be going her way. (p. 17)
ever changes, Monster."
looked down her nose at him. "You're not just saying that, are you? Trying
to make me feel better?"
knew it." (p. 17)
took a moment to rub a cheek against the young prince's knee before dodging
Felix's backhand and arranging himself on the windowsill to catch the sunlight.
of the Wood they streamed in parade--carrying with them the scent of dusk, the
sound of dawn--and they arranged themselves upon the lawn outside the walls of
the city of Sondhold, in the shadow of Goldstone Hill. (p. 19)
hubbub bubbled all the way to the crest of Goldstone Hill and flowed on into
the palace, where Princess Una sat with her nose in her history text, wallowing
in academic misery. Dates and battles and dead king's names swam before her
eyes while spring fever, cruel and demanding, picked at the back of her brain.
Una is asked to make a bargain at the twelve year market, a bargain which, come
Moonblood, Lionheart will actually
make. What was this bargain?
If you could purchase anything from this Twelve-Year Market, which of the
Faerie wares described would you choose?
What were some of your favorite lines in this chapter?