Now, what did Leo see in the forest the day before . . . ?
Excuses: It’s too rainy to play outside. Really, it’s much too nasty, and who wants to go out in all that mess?
But a hero wouldn’t let such things stop him.
I do appreciate that Leo recognizes the excuses he is making in this scene. In fact, his guilt at what he suspects may be cowardice does eventually drive him out of doors and back up the mountain . . . again, character foreshadowing! As time goes on and the stories develop, Leo continues to make excuses for his actions. But will he always be as sensitive, as aware of his own cowardice? Or will years of excuse-making dull his perspective?
Long Algebraic Equations: Okay, we knew from chapter 1 that we would never have anything in common with Foxbrush. But seriously, the kid amuses himself by solving long algebraic equations! What is wrong with this child?
Various games and toys: I like seeing some of the toys and games Leo has with him up in the mountains. Chess, for one—did you notice in chapter 1 what he intended to do with the chess pieces?—and now marbles. Reminds me a bit of Felix’s “game of sticks” referenced in Heartless. I think Leo and Felix, had they been closer both in age and geography, probably would have gotten on really well together. Have I mentioned any other toys for characters? I don’t remember. Keep your eyes open for them.
Heroic References! Did you see? Those of you who have read later in the series? Did you see the foreshadowing? But of course you did! It seems a bit random when read out of context with the rest of the series, but now that those later books are either out or soon to be out, it’s kind of fun, I think! Sight-of-Day who stood up to the Dragonwitch . . . Maid Starflower, Southland’s most beloved heroine, who battled the dreadful Wolf Lord . . .
And best of all, the enigmatic reference to King Shadow Hand, who bargained away his own two hands to a powerful Faerie queen for the sake of protecting his kingdom. Now there is a story worth telling, don’t you think?
Here is a snippet from the “Ballad of Shadow Hand” as can be read (if you’re a Southlander) in Eanrin’s Rhymes for Children. Leo had an illustrated copy growing up (as you will earn when the novel Shadow Hand releases). It’s a much longer ballad, and I can’t share it with you in its entirety here. But I thought you might like a taste of the story young Leo knew, and the hero to whom he compares himself:
O! Shadow Hand of Here and There,
Follow where you will
Your fickle, fleeing, fiery Fair
O'er woodlands, under hill.
She'll not be found save by the stone,
The stern and shining Bronze
Where Crooked stands the Mound alone
Thorn-clad and sharp with awns.
How pleasant are the Faerie folk
Who dwell beyond your time.
How pleasant are your aged Kinfolk
Of olden, swelt'ry clime.
But dark the tithe they pay, my son,
To safely dwell beneath that sun!
A Miserable Hike: Poor Leo, hiking through the rain. It’s cold up in the mountains too, despite how far south this country is.
Personally, I rather like a good explore in the rain, or at least in the drizzle. I grew up in England, so you either learn to love the drizzle, or you spend your life sulking. My brothers I spent many a happy afternoon with Wellies on our feet and slickers over our shoulders and hats on our heads, tramping up hill and over dale, watching for goblins and generally enjoying ourselves. So I can’t help but think Leo’s a bit of a wimp as I’m reading this.
Though, I must admit, cold water down the neck is never pleasant. And I can’t stand having wet socks! Maybe I should be a bit more sympathetic.
The odd tree that bent at a right angle three feet up: That description made me grin. The girl I shared an apartment with for a few years after college—dear friend, Charity—used to take me hiking with her on a favorite trail of hers nearby. And there was one tree, about four miles in, that seriously was bent at a right angle, three feet up from the ground. I think we took pictures of each other sitting on it, for it did make a perfect little perch! Can’t find the pictures now, sadly. Fun to see that tree making an appearance in these pages. I had forgotten about it.
For all it lacked features, stared accusingly back: Heheh, that made me chuckle. Poor Leo is so sick with guilt, even the inanimate objects seem to mock him! You can see where this boy’s heart is. He really does want to do the right thing, and when he fails, he is so wracked with shame.
Monsters . . . Dragons eat them! Again, foreshadowing? Possibly?
Probably not. It’s just Southlander slang, or rather, “my world” slang.
I remember my editors and Bethany House were concerned about me using “blast” as a euphemism in Heartless. While doing the final round of editing on that book, they asked me to change that word to something less potentially offensive. So that’s when, “Dragon’s teeth!” was born. Which eventually morphed into a variety of expressions: “Dragons blast it!” “Dragons eat it!” and “Dragon’s teeth, and tail, and gizzard!” and even the occasional “Spitfire!” though I think that one is considered pretty heavy language.
And there are a couple of phrases more specific to the various people groups. The “apparition” in this scene exclaims, “Silent Lady!” for instance, which is a distinctly Southlander expletive. In my current work-in-progress, the three major people groups I’m writing about worship the sun and the moon, whom they call “Anwar” and “Hulan.” So there is a lot of “Anwar’s elbow!” and “Anwar blight it!” tossed about. Hulan is usually used in gentler contexts, such as, “Hulan bless me!” or “Hulan love me!”
I’ve had a lot of fun with the expletives, oddly enough . . .
The apparition: Imp Hannah (with help from Missy!) did a fun cosplay photo shoot of herself dressed up as Rose Red, which is featured on Dame Imraldera’s Library. I think she’s a little older version of Rose Red than we see in this scene, but the costume is spot-on! Imagine coming upon such a figure unexpectedly in a dark wood. I don’t blame Leo for being frightened!
I ain’t no ghost: Here we get the first indication of Rose Red’s characteristic speech pattern. She’s a humble country maid, raised very solitary up in these mountains, so it struck me that she would have a more rustic speech pattern. Indeed, when I first wrote this book, I gave her a much stronger accent and drawl than this version! But my editors didn’t like it at all and wanted me to take it out entirely.
But I really felt like it added some fun dimension to my heroine—who, granted, is already quite unexpected. I hated to lose her speech pattern completely, so my editors and I went back and forth for a few drafts before finally hitting on a compromise we both liked. On the whole, I think readers have enjoyed Rosie’s way of speech as well, though I believe I read a few critical reviews—back in the day when I still read reviews—complaining about it. Oh, well! Someone will always find something to criticize. I think it’s cute, though, even now several years later.
"If you aren’t a ghost, what are you?” “I don’t know.” Another telling phrase! She doesn’t know what she is, and neither do we . . . for most of this novel! Poor little thing. It’s hard enough growing up not knowing who we are or who we might become. But to not even know what you are? That’s really tough.
Nothing but a girl! Leo could hardly be more disgusted had the apparition turned out to be a flesh-eating zombie or something along those lines. A girl. How dull. How disappointing and dull. And more than a little sexist on his part, the little pill. He’s got a lot to learn about girls in general and this girl in particular.
But in the meanwhile, he does absolutely everything he can to chase her off and make her leave him alone. He has a monster to hunt, after all, and he doesn’t need a girl tagging along behind him. He even tries to scare her off, baring his teeth and threatening with the beanpole. What a brat. But Rose Red is not so timid as all that.
Leo’s Playmates: It says a lot about Leo, I think, to see what he thinks of his so-called playmates. He doesn’t mind them because they’re easy enough to bend to his will. A bit of a controller our young Leo, isn’t he?
But you’ll notice that he doesn’t consider himself able to control Foxbrush. Interesting, that. Something worth tucking away into the back of your mind . . .
“My nanny.” I do like that when Rose Red refers to Beana as “my nanny,” Leo instantly thinks she means a child-care/babysitter type of nanny. He’s certainly not a country boy, this young adventurer of ours!
But Rose Red isn’t lying, as we’ll see in another few chapters.
“I’m good at fighting monsters! That is, I beat my cousin at wrestling all the time . . .” What an inflated ego our Leo has too! And a bit of an exaggerator, though I won’t say liar, because that would be unkind. He does make me laugh, though. So tough and determined, and yet . . . what does that bravado hide?
Hunting the monster: When Rose Red (who, I realize, has not yet given her name at this point in the story, so I do apologize to those of you who are reading it for the first time during this read-along!) realizes what Leo is actually up to out here in the woods, she suddenly seems to be afraid. Is she frightened of the mountain monster? Has she seen it perhaps? Does she know some truth about it which Leo has not been able to discern from overheard rumors and whispers?
And so the plot thickens . . . and Rose Red disappears!
Questions on the Text:
1. For those of you who have read the whole series . . . how many different expletives can you count from the Goldstone Wood world? Do please list them!
2. Have you ever been frightened of something, but even more ashamed of your fear? Can you tell us about it? Can you tell us what you did? Which proved a stronger motivation, the fear or the shame?
3. What were/are your first impressions of our heroine, having now met her? Do you think our intrepid Leo may have met his match?
4. Our Leo is a brat. He really is. But I find him kind of a loveable brat at the same time. At the very least, amusing! What were/are your thoughts on him as of this chapter? Like him? Dislike him?
5. Any favorite lines or passages in this chapter?
Q & A
Stacy C wants to know: "Did your publishers give any specific reasons for not liking the first version of "Veiled Rose"? I couldn't imagine the series without it!"
My publishers felt like the original version read more like a looooong prologue to Moonblood and not enough like a stand-alone novel. They read Veiled Rose and Moonblood right at the same time, and Moonblood was/is the more exciting of the two, so I think they wanted to just jump directly into that excitement.
(SPOILERS!) In the original version of Veiled Rose, the relationship between Rose Red and the Dragon was not so dominant. Or rather, it wasn't set-up for at the very beginning of the novel. I also did not have Rose Red's journey down to the Netherworld. All of her adventures took place in the Near World of mortals, facing the Dragon in the Eldest's House. While it was fairly suspenseful, it didn't have the excitement and otherworldliness of this version.
My publishers also STRONGLY disliked a whole cast of theatrical performers that I originally had Leo travel with when he was becoming a jester. I had thought he should have some training, and gave him a minstrel troupe to take him in. But my publishers just hated those characters. Which made me sad, because I really liked them! But I revised, and Leo's journey became much more solitary in this version. It's okay . . . I'm planning to reuse those minstrel troupe in a later book, so they'll get their moment of glory.
Other than that, the plots of the two versions are very similar. And you're right . . . I can't imagine the series without Veiled Rose either! I'm very grateful that BHP allowed me to revise it into a story they liked.
And you know what? A little extra dose of humility never hurt a writer . . . LOL.
Anna wants to know: "How do you make everything tie together so perfectly? Do you know what is going on many stories ahead, or do you just choose a character in your book and make a whole new novel about them?"
This is a question to which I don't have a very clear answer. I tend to have several stories in my head at once, and I plan accordingly. But when I say "stories in my head," I mean vague notions of what those stories might possibly be. There's a lot of flexibility involved.
In the case of Rose Red's brief appearance in Heartless, I added that in after having written both Veiled Rose and Moonblood, thinking it would be fun to have that connection in place. I probably wouldn't do a connection like that now, since I try not to introduce characters that don't contribute to the story in significant ways. But it worked for that book, and it's a fun little glimpse at what's to come.
Otherwise, I will say I am sometimes very surprised myself at how the connections work out. I am beginning to put together notes for Book 8, and just the other day realized an important connection that goes all the way back to Book 1 . . . something I had never before seen, but which will make such a fabulous difference. Sadly, I can't be more specific than that right now, since I really hate to give away spoilers. I'll say this, though: It has to do with Eanrin and his nephew, Diarmid.
Eanrin and Diarmid! Yay!
My question is, so far the first six books of the series follow, more or less, a general plot arc, with a similar cast of characters. In future Tales of Goldstone Wood books, do you plan on going in a whole new direction, or can we expect to see familiar characters in them?
4. This is horrible, but honestly, I found myself making excuses along WITH Leo! Yeah, there were places I thought, "Okay, THAT was a stupid decision." But there were others that I thought, "Goodness! But what ELSE is he suppose to do?" For this early part of the book, I thought he acted like a jerk trying to get Rosie off his shoulder. Just saying. :)
We're going to see more of Diarmid? Huzzah! Also, love the Shadowhand poem.
1. Dragon's teeth, dragons blast ___, dragon's teeth and tail and gizzard, dragon's (insert part of draconic anatomy), Silent Lady, Iubdan's beard (sometimes "sin-black beard" or "beard and razor"), Lume's crown, Lights Above, for the love of Lume!
3. I like Rose Red. She's stubborn, brave, mysterious, and isn't afraid to say it like it is.
4. I like Leo. Yes, he's a brat, but he's funny, and you can tell he's a good kid.
Ooh...how much of the next book is foreshadowed in that snippet of a poem? And...Book 8? Sounds incredible!
4. I really, really liked Leo in these first few chapters. I almost didn't connect him at all with the version presented in Heartless, but it helps his motivations show more clearly.
1. Dragon's teeth, Dragon's blast it, Dragon's...etc. Ibudan's Beard, Lume's crown, Light above us, Great hopping goblins, love of Lume, Spitfire, Dragon's brood, Fire burn, Fire Purify, Lights shield us.
2. Hmm, I've got a steady and paralyzing fear of heights. I can't even climb a ladder up to a roof without reduced to a trembling mass. In most cases, my fear of heights keeps me solidly on the ground, but sometimes I'm able to overcome it (if there's someone to impress).
3. Oh, I loved meeting her! Such a cutie!
4. Hey, I LOVE this childhood version of Leo. Sure, he's such a boy, and thus annoying at times, but he's really one of the nicest, realest little boys I've read about it. He's great. :)
5. "I've got a weapon!" "Um...I don't."
"Wait a minute. You're nothing but a girl!" "Yup."
Oh, I love Rosie's accent! :D
I love this read-along, Anne! What fun! I can especially enjoy it now that I've read the books (last year I hadn't read Heartless yet. ;)
1. "Dragons eat it!" "Dragons teeth!" and all of the other Dragon ones. "Lume's crown!" I think or something like that. "Love of Lume!" "Lights above us!" "Silent Lady!" "Ibudan's beard!"
3.Interesting and mysterious. I never thought much about whether or not Rose Red was his match. I kind of thought them as having a platonic relationship. When they were younger, that is. I always felt sorry for the poor girl when she was wearing the veils while it was hot. I can't stand heat!
4. I liked Leo. I never considered him a brat. Just acted like a little boy. An amusing boy, I'll admit.
Heartless and Veiled Rose time period overlap each other. Was it hard to write that way?
Will Rose Red be in Shadow Hand? Say yes!
This read along is very interesting. I hope you plan on doing it with the other books.
All of my books are out on loan to my friends, so I'm going to skip most of these questions. :) I must admit to having always been impressed by the expletives that you've used, and I've always wanted to try them out the real world (my family is getting tired of me saying "heavens to Betsy!" all the time). I'll start keeping a tally once I get my books back and reread them.
3. I have to admit that I didn't care for Rose Red at first... I read "Veiled Rose" for Leo. I like her now, though! Rose Red is stronger than Leo in so many ways, and so much more beautiful.
4. Leo might be a brat, but he's utterly loveable for all of his faults. Honestly, next to Eanrin, Leo is probably the best character in the Goldstone Wood series!
I wrote the comment above. I want to add something to the first one.
"Death-in-Life!" was another.
4. I like Leo. Since I read the first book before this I already planned on liking the character. He is a bit difficult though!
I really enjoyed the Shadow Hand ballad and learning that Leo had an illustrated copy of Sir Eanrin's ballads as a child. So excited to learn who Shadow Hand is. My own theories are ridiculous, but it's so fun to contemplate.
2. I've always had a paralyzing fear of being closed in, so I never use elevators. It's a fear that causes me great shame because I can't seem to shake it. In fact, one of my Cinderella story's subtly weaves this fear into the action as one character is terrified by another's constant close proximity. I didn't realize I'd woven that fear in until I reread the story and realized the average person would probably not find this frightening at all.
3. I adored Rose Red on my first reading and definitely still do. Her pluck is phenomenal, and I remember thinking How much I longed to tell things like they are the way she does. I also really love her because she takes steps to combat loneliness, and the picture of her leaving a marker so Leo spots his beanpole is so precious. Her character really resonates with me.
4. I loved learning of Leo's childhood and do not necessarily think he's a brat. I think he's just never had many opportunities to interact with other children. And, of course, the children he does socialize with would be on their best behavior around him. So, Rose Red is totally unexpected, and he does not know how to handle her. I love that he is sympathetic to the fact that she has no mother.
5. Lines: The one about Foxbrush solving long, algebriac equations cracks me up! What is wrong with this child indeed! Then again, knowing some of this stuff might help him if he becomes king.
"Why are you wearing that old thing?"
"Why are you wearing that old thing?"
(Love that entire exchange as we really see some excellent verbal sparring. Notice that Rose Red wins every time!)
3. I loved her. Much as I loved Leo, I think he needed somebody who would stand up to him. And I loved her accent!
4. He's somewhat exasperating yet adorable-just like my younger cousins and other all the other little boys I've known. I loved him.
5. "I've got a weapon!" "Um...I don't." Leo frowned."You're not supposed to have a weapon."
I loved all of Leo and Rosie's bantering in this chapter. This is probably the first time anyone just flat out refused to listen to him. ;)
I realy like Leo, he is probably my favorite charecter for the 1st half of the book(which I have read several time and can never resist reading again).
And thanks for the hint about Diarmid, I wanted to know more about him.
1. Apart from the ones you listed above, I can think of... "Lume love me," "Silent Lady," "Dragon-eaten" (Which I suppose comes from one of the ones you listed), "Iubdan's beard" "lights above" and I'm sure there are others that I can't currently recall.
2. When I was littler, the occasional large dog used to scare me, but I would always make it a point to pet the dog just to show that I wasn't afraid of it.
3. I like her dialogue. It gives her seem realer that I think she perhaps would have been without it. I can't remember what my original impressions of her were when I first read the book.
4. I don't see him as a brat from a reader's perspective. As an older sister, I see a lot of little boys, and find him to be very realistic, and somewhat cute. In story, he doesn't appear as a brat to me, but I'm sure that if I were to meet him for real, I would probably notice it. He also reminds me of myself at that age at some times.
5. I liked this line. "There was nothing horrible about the apparition’s voice. It sounded too much like a child’s. Did monsters take the shape of children to lure unsuspecting prey? Then a terrible thought came to him, and he knew that he was right as soon as he thought it. He sighed and rolled his eyes, in that moment more irritated than even Foxbrush could make him. “Wait a minute. You’re nothing but a girl!” The apparition looked around the tree trunk. “Yup,” she said."
A question: Leo really is a very realistic little boy. Was there someone that you based him off of?
1) lol, I don't think that I could ever count them all, though I have found myself using some of them...
I'm glad almost everyone likes our pillish young Leo. I rather adore him myself . . . though I still do think he's a brat.
Again, it's funny to me how much more forgiving of pillish young Leo readers are than of spoiled Princess Una. Because you'll notice, they both grew up with silver spoons in their mouths, used to their own way. But somehow in a boy it's considered charming, while in a girl it's seen as despicable. *shrugs* I love them both either way, and I really enjoyed going on these journeys with them. And I'm glad all of you do too! :)
I'm guessing readers were more gracious to Leo than Una not so much because of their gender difference, but because of their age difference. I love them both either way. :)
1. I don't know how many there are.
3. I liked Rose Red and her accent. Yes.
4. I like him. At least he was brave enough--or rather distracted enough to go back and get his beanpole.
5. Heroes did not abandon their weapons.
ooo! The 'Mound'! I think I know what THAT is.
More of Diarmid? At last! I kept wondering where he was in 'Starflower' and 'Dragonwitch'.
1) There's the dragon curses; lights above, lights shield us; fire burn, fire purify; Lume love me, Lume's crown; 'Silent Lady!'; Goblin's son; Iubdan's beard; hen's teeth ... and that's all I can think of.
5) "Leo sharply motioned with his arm. 'Come on, keep up! You're going to slow me down.' " Growing on you, is she, Leo me lad?
I have a question, will Rosie have a role (however small) in 'Shadowhand'?
Eanrin and Diarmid? Hooray!
1. Hen's teeth, dragon's teeth, dragon's eat you, silent lady, Lume love us, lights above, by Iubdan's black beard, and (a personal favorite) by my own black beard!
3. Rosie was definitely not what I had expected but I loved how different she was from today's heroines. She was easy to understand and yet so mysterious! I was dying to know what she looked like beneath the veils!
4. At this point I was still struggling to forgive him from Heartless, (I love Una) but I tried to push that away as this was before that. As a child he was undoubtedly a brat but I thought that he contrasted nicely with Rosie.
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