Tidbits & Trivia

Here's a behind-the-scenes look at my work. Changes large and small, characters that didn't make the cut, background information, etc. There are spoilers

ahead. Enjoy!

Moone Series

-Tale of the Moone and Tale of the Witche take place in the same world. Tale of the Witche is a prequel, taking place about 500 years before the main scenario of Tale of the Moone, but about several hundred years after the prologue of Tale of the Moone. However, the books can be read independently, and no matter which you read first will provide spoilers for the other.

Tale of the Moone

 

-Names

  • Dayek's name was originally Keyad. However I decided that it was too close to Kevan's name and eventually switched it. Dayek and Keyad is a palindrome.

  • Speaking of palindromes, Altair and Riatla is one as well. By the way, his original names were Noel/ Leon.

  • Crescent's name was actually Luné . But between not knowing how to make that little accent, and one of my sisters pronouncing it as loony I decided to make the change to Crescent. And yes, that line in the book was based on real life.

  • Coriander is an herb.

  • Demain was taken from the old middle English word, legerdemain.  Which means it's probably pronounced a completely different way than how I imagine it to be.

  • Clarwyn and Daemonium didn't even have names until the final rewrite.

 

-Family

  • Mila and Lilia originally had a brother.

  • Tak's parents had a very small part, and are named Jacob and Eldea.

  • Tilor once had an identical twin brother, and was supposed to be the son of a mayor of a large town such as Medusa.

 

-Story

  • Tilor had a much larger role, such as joining the journey, but by that point the main character roster had grown quite large. I also had Jeremy basically filling his role as comedy relief and having a similar personality. A character comparable to Joie was also Tilor's original love interest, but the blond bow-wielder was cut out. None of this was ever actually written.

  • Larina did actually kill Ehare. Later on I added that he survived, but they were never reunited, and he didn't even have a name. This was in the original story, right up until the final edit I worked on less then a year before the book's release.

  • Joie was somehow supposed to be Norlynn- a reincarnation, amnesia of a long-lived person- some such thing. This was very early in the development. She and Altair were also going to be attracted to each other, even after Joie was no longer Norlynn, but I felt Joie was introduced too late into the story for this to be believable, especially since it would happen right before Altair's defection. Their late-night talks are a remnant of this relationship.

  • Joie and her tribe were dragon hunters. But that didn't last very long. In fact, after Mila and Tak's encounter with the mother and baby I realized sentient, cryptic dragons were so much cooler.

  • Nara was once supposed to be one of four elemental unicorns or griffins that serve the gods. This was in the earliest outline, and was again changed for having too many characters. Her element would have been water, which is why she is blue, a leftover from this concept.

  • Ryn was originally not Norlynn's daughter, but the child of some unknown woman. I did this so the focus would be on her being Riatla's child, as evidenced by the fact that Norlynn haunts Altair, but never Ryn. Trying to pull this motherless storyline together was a nightmare, especially in building Ryn's backstory, and just making the two mother and daughter during the last rewrite pulled so many things together so well. I only had to change a few dates and ages to make it work.

  • Who are these Bob and Darlia people, and what were they doing in that interlude? That is another story. (See Tale of the Witche.)

 

-Writing

  • This is the only story I have done an outline for. I work much better freestyle. However, it proved invaluable when I was struggling to make the story longer.

  • My outline included no less than four prequel/sequels to the story. I currently have no plans to work on these stories, at least not in their original forms, anytime in the foreseeable future. However, I never throw away a story or idea, and parts of these will no doubt be seen in other works, if not in an actual sequel.

  • I once cobbled together all of Charm and Jeremy's scenes and submitted it as a short story titled The Money Liberators. As it was a last minute submission ( I hadn't finished the short story I was working on in time) nothing new was written, and it was very uneven.

  • Tale of the Moone was mostly thought out while working in the shoe department at a department store. Many long hours of mindlessly cleaning up and stacking boxes left plenty of time for my mind to roam free and envision the story.

  • Tale of the Moone was created out of my love for light, humorous fantasy.

  • I added and padded to Tale of the Moone within an inch of its life. It was nearly half its current length when I began on the final rewrite a year before release.

  •  I have a terrible time with finding names for just about anything. Hence all the palindromes. I also often use placeholder names, or try to use names in different ways.

 

Thirst

 

  • They are vampires, although the actual word is never used.

  • They have no names, because I'm terrible at naming. I thought it would be interesting to use this to my advantage within the story. As in, the character has grown so old that the name and self she once had are no longer important. Especially within a new existence.

  • This short story has been sent out more than any other of my works.

  • I wrote this to be a classic vampire tale, and while I usually received positive feedback, I was often told it was unoriginal. Which is the point of writing an homage to a classic genre. This was of course before the huge vampire craze hit.

  • I did begin a sequel to Thirst years ago, but it is still only a couple of paragraphs long. I'm hoping to someday include these characters in another story, but we'll see.

 

 

The Eightfold Lairs of Xillenthia

 

-Names

  • Despite my notorious difficulty with names, nearly all of the main character's names came to me immediately, although there were some spelling agonies with Sirrea and Braaska. Sirrea vacillated between that and Sirea, while Braaska was nearly Baask or Braska.

  • Raljh slowly gained more letters in his name; he was originally Raj, then Rajh, and finally Raljh.

  • Yociri's name was originally Yocir. I changed it in the final edit to make it sound more feminine.

  • Xillenthia was originally only known as the Red Queen. Her name, and even the title of the story, was given during the final edit.

  • Asha, Rekou, and (G)Oban were the only characters beside the five main characters to have names in the first draft.

  • Oban was named Goban. Since he originally lived in the cavern and the only other named character to do so was Gima, I wondered why all the people in the cavern had names that began with G. His name was changed before his story section was moved.

  • Gima is a riff on the shortened term for grandmother, G-ma.

  • Tabyre was briefly named Ausguste. I told you I was terrible with names, although to be fair, I hated it as soon as I used it and kept it only as a placeholder name while I desperately tried to think of something else.

  • This story was called simply "The Tower" until I started the final edits.

  • The nidhogg is the serpent that eats the roots of the World Tree in Norse mythology.

  • Behemoth literally means giant monster.

 

-Writing

  • What took so long? This book was famously delayed numerous times. The reasons ranged from not realizing how long the book would turn out to be- (I missed my deadlines for Tale of the Moone as well, which was a third of the length of The Eightfold Lairs of Xillenthia), to nearly half the book having to be entirely rewritten from scratch, to a devastating family illness that came up in the beginning of 2016. I also view this book as one of my favorites and was a bit more of a perfectionist than usual, wanting every word to be just right.

  • This book is not a happy story, and I sometimes found it difficult and depressing to work on.

  • Most books are equal parts inspiration and work. This book was pure inspiration. I'm not sure where it came from, but this strange but beautiful tale came to me nearly in its entirity, and I wrote the original draft in record time.

  • I originally wrote this book during my college years. I also began two others at the same time, which are still not finished.

  • I hadn't touched the story since I finished it years ago, and was surprised at how short it turned out to be. The main elements were all there, but it was probably only a quarter of the length it is now, shorter than even Tale of the Moone's first draft!

  • The Eightfold Lairs of Xillenthia is not actually my second full-length work, but my third. The second is an RPG video game developed for the original PlayStation (PSX), and has currently not been released.

 

-Story

  • All of Xillenthia's backstory was added during the final edit.

  • The first draft only had a few behemoths. The wolf, the one in the cavern, and there was one originally in the citadel, which was ultimately cut.

  • The two behemoths whose shapes were not revealed were a type of turtle (cavern) and a cross between a crocodile and a serpent (water egg).

  • In the original draft, the people of the world looked quite different, while the Enduring looked more or less humanoid.  The traces of this idea remain with Braaska's tribe, which adorned themselves with representations of extra animalistic appendages. In the first draft, these were actually part of their bodies.

  • Yociri's original appearance was much more fantastical. Her hair was greenish, she had fins on her arms and back, and vertical pupils. Basically she was a true mermaid, just with no tail. Her sharpened teeth are the only elements that stayed in the final draft.

  • Azola and Sirrea's relationship was much more ambiguous in the first draft. As Sirrea was coming to terms with just being around people and learning to love, she was equally affectionate to everyone. Although their relationship is still subtle, it is not just subtext.

  • After the complicated and interweaving stories of Tale of the Moone and Oblivion, I wanted to write a minimalistic story. Much was purposely left unexplained in the original draft, and although I fleshed most of it out, there is still quite a bit that was deliberately left vague and unexplained.

  • Surprisingly, Azola did not kill Kinek in the first version, although I always remembered writing that she had done so. He was originally killed off screen by Raljh.

  • Braaska very nearly did not die. Even up to the last few months of working on the story, a death scene for him just did not come to me. In the first draft, he and Yociri were left behind near the entrance to the citadel and their ultimate fate was left unknown, although Yociri was still badly injured and unlikely to survive.

 

A Murderess Most Fair

  • One of many short story assignments created for my college creative writing class. This was written solely for the assignment- I don't write plays, and will most likely never write another, although I conceived of the story and wrote the whole thing within a couple days.

  • This story was surprisingly well-received by my professor (who was very hard to impress), and likened it to the works of Oscar Wilde. 

  • Plays don't usually have so many descriptions within the stage directions. These were ultimately removed for the final draft of the class edition, but I added them back in for the published version.

  • The story has a subtitle, which I sometimes use: A Murderess Most Fair, or Jesse the Corpse.

  • Although the time period wasn't mentioned, I was aiming for the setting to be sometime during the 1920's to 1930's.

  • Was it all in Samantha's head? Being a fantasy writer, I'm inclined to say no, but many have interpreted it that way, and I purposely left the ending ambiguous.

Tale of the Witche

-Names

  • The return of the name Ausguste! (See The Eightfold Lairs of Xillenthia).

  • Magnius and Suingam is a palindrome. Sometimes I just can't help myself.

  • Agatha's name was originally Hagatha.

  • I tried to change Cori's name to something a little less obvious. But he'd been Cori to me for so long, I just couldn't do it.

  • Darlia. This was one of the hardest names I've ever had to come up with. For years I struggled to find her name, well after the book was finished. I knew it started with a "D" and the general letters, and I once filled up an entire small note page with different variations.

  • This book was originally titled "Which Witch", until I discovered there was already a book with that title.

  • Jon was named Crys for awhile. Although I do like that name, when I decided to more closely base him off a character I made up as a child, whose name was Jon, the name changed. I then altered the spelling to Jhon to give it more of fantasy feeling. However, that spelling looked extremely awkward, so it was back to simply Jon in the final edit.

  • I am rather proud of Windstral's name.  As a wind witche her name is a combination of 'wind' and 'mistral' which is another word for a particular wind.

-Writing

  • While writing Tale of the Moone, I avoided using the word human. The closest I came was using the word people. This was a fantasy world, so while the characters were humanoid, they were obviously not human. This was a headache to write though, and I abandoned the rule while writing Tale of the Witche.

  • Tale of the Witche was originally written to be a composite cycle, or a group of short stories that starred the same characters. The very first short story I ever wrote (even before Thirst) featured a version of Bob and Darlia. Although I considered including that story in the book, Tale of the Witche became too long to do so. I do plan on publishing that story eventually.

  • Writing a connected series of short stories meant that every chapter was more or less self-contained, the overarching story was only faintly hinted at, and in many cases, incomplete. There were also quite a few inconsistencies. Whole sections had to be entirely rewritten, especially near the end, and many characters didn't have clearly defined motivations.

  •  And at the heart of these stories was a mystery. I don't normally write mysteries, and I seldom read any books that can be categorized as mystery, so this was another struggle.

  • Although Magnius was always the villain, his role was never very clear in the first draft, and he largely disappeared until the final chapter.

  • I like to try different writing styles, and this was my first time writing in first person. It was definitely interesting. Although I don't use it too often, I have used it in a few (currently unpublished) short stories.

  • Tale of the Witche did not start off as a book in the Moone series. But the similarities in tone and style made it an easy transition.

  • Jon and Nalloe were based off characters I created as a child.

-Story

  • The first draft was really quite silly, and almost an entirely different story due to the tone. This required massive rewrites.

  • For some reason Bob could originally turn into a wolf anytime he wished, as well as being affected by the Moone.

  • In the first draft Darlia went to Demain as a student, and I cut that plot line as well as a lot of content about her attending classes and struggling with her graduation project, the writing of a grimoire.

  • Darlia originally entered the Magilympics, and ended up competing against Suchee in a magic duel. And a broomstick race.

  • Willa originally had a completely different personality. She was sweet and shy, and much younger.

  • As did Darlia. The sassy confidant Darlia we see in the latter half of the book appeared practically overnight in the first draft, and I had to reconcile that with the shy forest girl she'd been, and show her growth more gradually. She also wasn't very nice or likeable and quite a few of Cori's lines were originally Darlia's!

  • Cameos: Darlia, Bob, and Sol all appeared in Tale of the Moone. Ruby did as well, although she was unnamed. Dayek was only supposed to have a small part in Tale of the Witche, but I expanded his role to meet the needs of the story. Ryn made an unexpected appearance as well.

  • Lady Rosalia was King Valor's estranged wife in the first draft. The above mentioned short story had to do with their first meeting.

  • Darlia and Jon had a fling in the original version, although she still ultimately ended up with Bob. Willa and Nalloe ended up together as well, complete with a marriage proposal during the final battle.

The Sword of Aesone

  • This is the only story I've ever written strictly for publication purposes. For several years I submitted stories to Marion Zimmer Bradley's Sword and Sorcery collections. While I always received nice feedback, apparently my stories weren't really a good fit for that series- in other words they were not sword and sorcery enough. Yet they passed on this story, too.

  • Originally titled The Sword of Lilis.

  • For some reason women weren't allowed to wield weapons in the original version. An interesting premise, but one that I didn't have enough time to explore in a short story, so it was cut.

  • I was surprised by how many named characters there are in this short story, considering what a difficult time I have finding names.

  • I seriously considered making Lilis Darlia's mother late into the last edit of Tale of the Witche. But that would have taken more rewriting than I wanted to do, both for Tale of the Witch and The Sword of Aesone, although both already required major rewrites.

  • A sentient sword features prominently in Oblivion, and slightly less so in Tale of the Witche. Is it the same sword in all three stories? Perhaps.

  • This might be a part of the Moone series- I haven't decided yet. There's no reason why it couldn't be, and the naming convention matches, but we'll see. 

The Swan May