So the name of the post is rather self-explanatory.  Here’s what I basically saw Evy’s gown as (the one she wears when she goes to warn Leopold of the assassination).

The image got a little squashed and of course my drawings are never really proportionate, but oh well.

So as I’m writing Retribution or whatever I end up calling the final version of the second installment of Betrayal, I finally have the opportunity to introduce y’all to Muriel!  You have no idea how excited I am!  She was mentioned, of course, as Aidan’s pretense of a “girlfriend” at court when he was working behind everyone’s back (*sniff*) when Aimee thought he was in love with her instead.  However…y’all never got to meet her! Because I know you were just dying to. Not.

I actually knew better what she looked like than most of my main characters, partially because I pictured as I did the venomous gal by the same name in The Reluctant Heiress by Eva Ibbotson (one of my all-time favorite books).  From the moment I named her she was there in my head, formed from head to toe; even the way she talks.  And that’s, I suppose, because she isn’t really original.  Muriel is, y another name, basically a copy of Dagmara Dominczy, who I know from The Count of Monte Cristo as Mercedes.  (Do I need to stop drawing inspiration from that movie for my characters?  Probably.)  Anywho, I think she’s gorgeous, and she really IS Muriel.  So when I finally get around to finishing Retribution, perhaps I’ll post a bit.  She’s already in the fourth chapter, and boy, do I have a plot for her. 🙂

      

On a similar note, her uncle, my villain, looks like this:

So she was bound to be a looker, right? 😉

I suppose I can share a bit of what I’m working on with her, though it’s bound to be a bit choppy as it’s first draft and I haven’t worked on my poor hero’s story in far too long.

***

I turn back the way I came, away from the royal apartments, deciding to return to Patrick and request some back-up.  If we kill them all hastily it will be relatively quiet, but that’s only possible with more than one man.  At least it will be quick.  Before anyone can fetch help, we’ll have Brother in our custody.

I hear soft footfalls behind me and, expecting that the ever-silent Aidan has met with similar difficulties to mine, I turn.  It isn’t Aidan though.  The figure that approaches me, silhouetted in the moonlight that comes through the hall’s window, is that of a girl, slight of build and clad loosely in a dressing gown.

There is no need for any of the nobles to sense that something might be going on, Patrick told us.  “I’m sorry if I disturbed you, my lady,” I say casually, “I hope I wasn’t too loud; Brother has some business I need to attend to.”

“Raoul?”  I know that voice…  The girl steps forward, out of the blurry moonlight, staring at me.  Her hair is different than I remember, long and loose instead of the tightly pinned curls I’m used to, but I recognize her immediately.

I exhale nervously.  “Muriel.”

 

Long ago I made it my goal in life never to be nervous around women.  I’ve managed pretty well, too-treating them gallantly or even sarcastically sometimes, taking on the joviality that my father always wore in public.  I hold onto a hope that it’s the only thing I’ve taken from him.  This practice has always served me well, until recently when I started fumbling more often, usually when something involved Aimee.  But with Muriel it has always been the same: I always stutter, bumble, and feel intensely awkward around her.  First it was because she was absolutely perfect: flawlessly beautiful, with hair that might very well have been spun from a midnight sky, eyes like the stars that fill it and a complexion like cream.  She’s impossible to find fault with.

More recently, however, my discomfort has come from the knowledge that Aidan was using her as his ticket into fashionable society as his lady.  Now, faced with her here, both reasons roll together into one to make me sweat.  My collar is suddenly too tight as well.

“What are you doing here, Raoul?  I heard- I heard that you’re with the loyalists.”

I don’t know how to respond.  If I say yes, will she scream for the guards?  If no, will she believe that I’m working as a spy, or whatever story I end up telling her?  Should I tell her I was coming back to find something in my rooms?  I must stand there looking like an idiot for a long time, because finally she says, softly so that I hardly hear, the last thing I’d expect.

“Don’t go back to Ishmael, Raoul.”  I look up sharply at her.

“He’s your uncle…”

“I don’t care.  Tell me if you can find a wickeder man.  Do what I’m not able to, fight for the Alloy, and the real queen.  Don’t make a mistake.”

I’m too stunned to speak for another couple of seconds, no doubt adding to my idiot act.  Then I manage to blurt out, “You could join us?”

But she shakes her head slowly, eyes on her feet.  “I can’t.  They’d never accept me, and I wouldn’t blame them.  Why should they do otherwise?  I’m in direct relation to their enemy.  You don’t understand, Raoul.  Not everyone would be eager to invite me into their company, no matter where my heart lies.  I suppose it’s better this way since it means you’re all on your feet.”  She shrugs, and although my palms are clammy in my usual nervousness, I see her as small and imperfect for the first time.  She’s just a prisoner, as Ariel was, only in a different way.

Am I being too trusting?  Is this an act?  I try to be suspicious of her, but it’s difficult.  She doesn’t pull tears, doesn’t flirt with me.  Nothing to infer she’s begging for my sympathy and trust.  Then she shrugs again and turns to go.  “Don’t go back,” she whispers once more, and is gone.

So.  Leopold.  I think he has even surpassed Aidan, which I never expected, as Aidan was the hero in my first completed novel, and you usually can’t top that.  But Leopold is coming along fairly nicely as well, I have to say.  At least, I like him, and so, it seems, do my readers.

I have actually had a fairly clear vision of what my current leading man looks like from the beginning.  One of my favorite movies is The Count of Monte Cristo (2002); I just don’t really like the old one very much.  The character Albert was one of particular annoyance to me until the scene where he gets kindnapped (then he gained a little respect from me), mostly because…well, he was a fop.  And kinda weird.  And his cravat was too tight.  But anyway…guess what?  He grew up.  And to my surprise, he did so in a very attractive fashion.  So ever since I saw a picture of the new and improved Henry Cavill (known better now for movies like Immortals), I was fixed on him as a character- I just didn’t have a story for him yet.  Esmeralda, and the character of Leopold, supplied that.

            

So what do you think?  I like the first picture best; I think the expression is better.  Isn’t he good for Leopold?

So….I kinda have a crush on one of my own characters.  Is that wrong?  Probably.  Creepy?   Heck yes.   But he’s the misunderstood, ever-faithful, somewhat shy, very protective and extremely handsome hero from the first novel I ever finished, which is temporarily entitled Betrayal.  Can I be forgiven, since I wrote him exactly as I love?  [This one I don’t have on Figment because I am working on a rewrite and I am still trying to decide if I want the rest of the world to have copy-and-paste access to it, you know?]  But anyway.  His name is Aidan.

It took me a long time to pin down what Aidan looks like.  I always had him as tall, handsome, quiet, somewhat brooding, and dark-haired.  Beyond that, I really didn’t know.  I had a foggy half-image in the back of my head, but that was it.  For a while the closest I got was Logan Bartholomew from the Love’s Enduring Promise movies, or whatever they’re called.  This was never quite enough, though.  Besides, that character was a cowboy.  Not quite what I was going for…

Then one day I saw a picture of an actor and it hit me: that was Aidan!  The exact perfection of this connection scared me, and you’ll why see in a moment.  I tried to shake it off, tell myself that there was someone else who Aidan looked like, that this wasn’t it.  But unfortunately this image had hit the spot, and here you have it: to my everlasting chagrin I realized that Aidan looks a lot like Rob Pattinson. *facepalm*  [For the record, the reason this idea is so repulsive to me is that I abhor the Twilight franchise. *shudder*]

So here’s the picture.  Please know I am ashamed of myself.

If you read along when I was originally posting chapters of Betrayal, what did you picture Aidan like?

As you may know, in my latest novel-in-progress (Esmeralda) my heroine’s name is Evangeline.

I don’t know exactly what Evy is supposed to look like without a mask on, since I was partially inspired to write the story based off of the image above, but I recently fell in love with this picture of Mischa Barton, here:

I kinda think she’s perfect.

My current writing focus is my latest novel-in-progress, Esmeralda, which can be read in what is so far its entirety on Figment.  It’s a tale of imprisonment, betrayal, assassinations, masquerades, true love, not-true love, and secrets.  Anyway, I’ll let you read it yourself.  Here’s a bit of the opening. 🙂

You could say we’re best friends- I’ve never seen his face, nor he mine, but I know him as well as I know myself.  I might even love him.  I can’t be sure.  Every morning and every night we talk through the little hole in the wall between our cells.  It’s smaller than my eye, too little to see anything through, but we can speak.  His name is Bastian, and he’s a prisoner just as I am.

My cell, my dungeon, has only one window, if a window it may be called.  It’s the size of my hands spread out beside each other, so high that even if I had the strength to jump for it I couldn’t see the sky through its slanted opening.  The iron bars across it only serve to make it more formidable.  As if that’s necessary.  My walls are stone, my ceiling is stone, and my floor is stone; my very world seems to be made of stone.  Cold, hard, unforgiving.  Except for Bastian.

It’s the only life I’ve known for eight years- I know how long it’s been because every year I miss a few days’ meals when our guards are allowed to leave for the holidays and forget about us.  I’m accepting of this life but I’m never accustomed to it.  Every day, when Bastian is gone, I cry, and long for freedom.  Each night I wake suddenly, expecting to be back in my feather bed, in my glorious bedchamber with a score of maids waiting in the next room to do as I ask.  And finding it not so, finding that it would never be so again, I cry.  I don’t need the extravagant lifestyle I led before the revolution.  I just want to see the sky and the trees and the grass.

It’s something that I ask Bastian often- “Do you think this will ever change?”  In the few seconds of silence that often follow this question, I don’t know if he shakes his head or sighs sadly or holds back tears.  I wish I could see him.

“No,” he’ll say at last.  “I don’t expect it ever will.”

This time I ask a question that haunts me frequently.  “Why don’t they just kill me then?  As they did my parents?”

“You should be grateful that they are letting you live,” he scolds me quietly.

“But why?  I don’t want to be alive, like this.”

He has no answer for me.

 

Anyway, that’s that!   It’s got 235 pages so far, and climbing.  I plan on finishing the first draft by November 11th, exactly four months after its start.

Hey, so if you’ve been following my story “Esmeralda” at all, you may be aware that my heroine, Evangeline, is gearing up for a ball- as masquerade, as a matter of fact.  So I decided that since I was describing her gown, I might as well draw it, right?  So here are a few rough ideas. 😉

And another:

Hey, so I have a new, rather intense project- I’m nearly half-way finished with a new book, “Esmeralda” and I’m super excited.  This is one of those random times when I actually love my own writing.  So here it is!

Esmeralda on Figment

🙂 Enjoy!