I am pleased to announce that Cursed Seas is a Novella Finalist in the National Readers’ Choice Awards!
Cooler weather means it’s time for warm drinks. This recipe comes from my Mother-in-Law. While tea features in it, the citrus components dilute the tea taste. So much that even my parents who aren’t tea drinkers like it. It’s become a staple at Thanksgiving.
This family recipe became the inspiration for the Elven drink Witch’s Brew in my short story Reconciled. You can read about it in the Shadow Kisses anthology.
2 cinnamon sticks
2 teaspoons whole cloves
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 cups water + additional as needed
4 small tea bags
1 small can pineapple juice
1 small can orange juice (concentrate)
1/4 cup lemon juice
Combine cinnamon sticks, cloves, sugar, and two cups water. Simmer for one hour.
Add four small tea bags to simmered water. Make tea.
Combine tea and pineapple juice, orange juice, and lemon juice. Add enough water to make a total of five quarts of tea. (Less water if you desire a stronger tea.)
Characters are difficult for me to write. Understanding and connecting to them enough to bring them to life within a story take more time than I’d like. So I’m always looking for a short cut to help speed up my creative process.
While writing Cursed Seas, I decided to use Tarot cards to help me grasp my characters. I choose the Tarot of Mermaids deck listed on Amazon to bring me clarity. I definetly liked the colors and the flowing aspect to the cards.
There are several books on using tarot with writing, but I went my own way. I drew one card to represent each character (hero, heroine, and villain) overall. And then two cards – one for who they are at the start of the story and one for who there are at the end of the story.
The Heroine – Kaycee
Kaycee is represented by the Queen of Swords. She is emotional, perceptive, confident and seeks balance and judgement. This works well as she is the future queen of the merkin. In the beginning of the story, she is represented by the Tower. Everything in her life is turned upside down. She is at a transitional phase in her life. At the end of the story, she is represented by The Sun. After all her trials and temptations, there is Joy.
The Hero – Alexander
Alexander’s character is defined by the Knight of Wands. He is an explorer, swift, strong, noble but a bit hasty to make and act on his decisions. He is represented by the Strength card in the beginning of the story. He has courage and an inner strength to overcome obstacles which is good since he cursed to live in exile at the story’s beginning. By the end, he is now represented by The Magician. He’s using his skills to take action and be resourceful in his new life.
The Villain – Vile Air Mage
My villain, a Vile Air Mage, is represented by the reverse King of Pentacles. He is authoritative, controlling, proud of the things he sees as achievements and very rigid in his beliefs. Justice symbolize his start because he thinks taking over the merclans will bring about the changes he thinks are necessary to the mages on land. At the end, he is the Hermit. Alone, committed to his goal of domination despite the resistance he encounters.
I hope you’ll read Cursed Seas for yourself and discover how I imagined these characters.