Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Evil Writer's Award

Hello! I am drowning in very old tags at this point (some even from the spring), so I decided I would pick up one of the rusty old things - whichever sounded funnest (which frustratingly enough, is not a word. I'm using it anyways) - and get to work. So I will. This one, the Evil Writer's Award, was started a while ago by Miss Kate (who, according to her lovely blog's title, is a lover of dark chocolate. See? - Even her chocolate has to be evil, lol). ;) The rules of the award are these:
1. Give credit to the Evil Overlord and genius, Kate, for creating this award (I believe I've gotten this one).
2. Give a smaller amount of credit to the Evil Writer who tagged you - that being, in my case, Anna of Swords and Quills blog. Thanks, Anna!
3. Tag at least two people... uh... I'm not sure if I'll be able to do that, as all bloggers I even am acquainted with slightly have already been tagged. :P However, since I procrastinated diligently waited so long, I believe that perhaps some of them may be not too opposed to doing the tag again. ;) I hope. :P
Anyways, rules now being known to all, I'll get right to business! :)
How many characters do you typically kill per book? And how many people have you killed in real life, dear? Do you… feel any remorse about this? I’m concerned about you.
Well, let's see...
So, I'd say it averages out to about 1.4 roughly, taking the top number in each (only 1.4? That's wimpy... maybe I'm not such an evil writer...). :P As for the people I may have killed in real life, that is entirely my own affair... ;)
Do you prefer to use weapons of mass destruction like explosions and famine and world war or more personal torture like killing family and friends and pets?
Hmm... both of those are very good options... Not sure... I do have a whole lot of wars in my books - but then, not much mass destruction besides that. On the other hand, I use personal torture (especially emotional/pathos kind) extremely frequently. And I have been known to have whipped/stabbed/clawed by a griffin/knocked out/hacked/chained painfully any or all of my characters (especially my personal pets and favorite ones, oddly enough...). :P
Are you more like Loki, who perpetrates great evil with a creepy grin, or… give me a minute… Darth Vader, who secretly weeps inside his… fake head, whilst destroying the world?
Um, it really depends. Especially on the character and the circumstances. If it's a pet character (especially one who's not used to hardship, like say, for instance, Harry from The Top-Hat Gang), then I will cry my eyes out... and then laugh later... and then cry some more when I re-read it. I have done this a bajillion times. So, I'm kinda more like a psychopath with a conscience (that doesn't sound weird...). :P I laugh, and then break into weeping and vice-versa in an unending pattern because I love my characters, but how can I leave them alone?!


What is the most dastardly crime you have ever committed as a writer?
Ooh, that's a hard one. Let's see. Once, I made a couple who had gone through everything together (including national turmoil and betrayal by one of their best friends) survive an assassination attempt upon them (but the husband was thought to be dead), but due to a spoilers-y turn of events that are extremely relevant, the wife lost her memory and couldn't remember a thing about said husband even existing. Husband was lost, and when he came back, found that wife was alive, but under the power of said betraying friend (because she had lost any memory of his betrayal). Betraying friend finds out husband is alive and out there (husband just barely gets away) - tells him if he ever even hears word from anywhere of husband resurfacing or being alive and around, he'll kill wife. And wife is unaware of any of this. And then... husband is forced to wander aimlessly forever until a couple of questers need his help navigating, and he reluctantly helps them... and their quest leads husband right back to village where his wife and scummy friend are, ironically. I think you can surmise what happens then, unfortunately... :P
But then, there was also the time that I decided to have Errius of The Pain of a Memory whipped (after he was already injured too! I always get indignant about it... until I remember that I did it to him...). Anyways, though, I could probably list a good few more, but the first one took so long I don't think I will at present.
What kind of chocolate do you most like to devour as you burn things? White, milk, semisweet, or dark? Bonus points if you are so evil you find unsweetened cacao palatable!
I like milk-chocolate and semi-sweet best. Can't stand white chocolate for the most part (unless it's in something or it's Lindt, which is so good that it can even make white chocolate delicious). And I do immensely enjoy dark as well, providing it's not too dark.
I was going to do a picture of chocolate... but these looked too delicious. Maybe these can be my evil sustenance. ;)
What is your villainous title? You may not have “Evil Overlord” because that one’s mine.
Haha, maybe "Queen of Deception"? Because I can tell you, I get a kick out of killing characters more than once (their first deaths being deception, of course). I get a great big kick out of bringing characters back (especially ones that are particularly fun to kill). But... that may not be because I'm evil and like to kill them more than once - it may actually be because I always think killing them is a good idea and then I love them so much I back out. :P So "Queen of Deception" would work, but so would "Queen of Non-Merciful Mercy" (considering that most of the time the way or state in which they come back is very physically or emotionally painful/pained).
Which of your characters would actually be a match for you if you were to duke it out one on one?
Um... hehehe... *terrified squeal* Most (if not all) of them would be a match for me. In fact, I would probably die of fright if Feriar (of Alagna) or Leta (of In Greater Hands) ever even got close to me with the intention of fighting. I might say that the only one that might be a match for me is Mina (of Alomina), hehehe. Okay, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration. Alagna (of the similarly-titled, aforementioned book) would definitely be a match for me (in fact, I think she would beat me), but she's definitely closer to my level. So I'd say Alagna would be my pick... even if I'm losing this wrestling match (although, it would be rather amusing, no doubt, to the outside watcher, especially considering I put in danger and/or killed a lot of Alagna's best friends...). :P
Which character, in all the many books you have undoubtedly written, is most likely to be your Archnemesis?
Um, well, for which one I despise the most - either Duke Roanwall (of Alagna) or the aforementioned betraying friend whose name I will not say for fear of spoilers. But Roanwall wouldn't be my archnemesis - he'd be scared of me. Because he's a ridiculous fop and a coward... which is exactly why I despise him, not because of any evilly clever, dastardly villainy he instigated. I might say the betraying friend, except there is also something vaguely likeable about him for himself (don't ask - I'm weird) if not for his actions. I would say that Captain Orlando Rogan (of The Pain of a Memory) is my archnemesis. I have thrown everything at him, trying to get past him, but to no avail (as of yet). That guy fences off respectability as well as he fences off swords, really. It's ridiculous. I like him, but then, he's just that kind-of villain that encourages despising as much as likeability (like Loki!) - despicable, and yet... somehow fancy-catching (don't ask me how!). He's my only villain that has ever encouraged such an internal struggle between feelings in me. All the others before have had only a trace of likeability or none at all. I suppose that means I'm getting better at writing villains, but Cap. Rogan is very tiresome to try and control.
Do you wear a cape? Face paint? A mask? Special underpants? Or do you hide in plain sight… like Moriarty? Give me details!
Haha, no way! I do not hide in plain sight! If you spot me at all ('cuz I'm a ninja, you know), you will spot me a mile away. I dress like an odd mash-up of the 1950's, the Victorian era, the 1970s, and a Halloween costume. Not to mention I like to wear a cocked detective fedora a lot (at least in the winter) and a trench coat that is too large, and sometimes a red domino mask (haha, that's only at home - I don't do that one in public). ;) I am also found to sometimes be wearing up to four pairs of socks at one time when I am writing (what??? It gets cold here! - besides the fact that socks are inspiring). ;)
How do you react when you have to kill off a character that is dear to you? Do you laugh evilly out loud? Do you chuckle under your breath and quickly glance around for your next victim? Do you go and weep in a corner for a month because you just lost a best friend? Or do you just shrug indifferently?
Well, as I said above, I generally laugh when I think about doing it, and then weep when I think about it more, and then  excitedly jot it down... then weep some more, then laugh some more, and wow! - more weeping. :P I have a very complicated emotional cycle every time I kill off a character, to say the least. :P
If you had to choose a fictional villain (from book, movies, etc.) to sum up your villainous style as an evil writer, who would it be? Why?
I might say that it was like Loki (not the first Thor movie's Loki, though). I am willing enough to help them (sometimes), and can be very friendly, but then every so often (when I'm not being held back by fear of murderous readers) I have to kill one of them or start  a war or something to remind them that I'm the boss (or, at least, that I think I am). And like the adversaries of Loki, they always pull through. One dies, one loses a friend, but they all pull through eventually. So Loki definitely fits (providing that it's not the first movie's Loki, again. He's too evil).
Anyways, that wraps up the questions, and the people to be tagged are:
Hope
And anyone else (even if you've done it already) who likes the tag. :)
And these are the questions:

  • How many characters do you typically kill per book? And how many people have you killed in real life, dear? Do you… feel any remorse about this? I’m concerned about you.
  • Do you prefer to use weapons of mass destruction like explosions and famine and world war or more personal torture like killing family and friends and pets?
  • Are you more like Loki, who perpetrates great evil with a creepy grin, or… give me a minute… Darth Vader, who secretly weeps inside his… fake head, whilst destroying the world?
  • What is the most dastardly crime you have ever committed as a writer?
  • What kind of chocolate do you most like to devour as you burn things? White, milk, semisweet, or dark? Bonus points if you are so evil you find unsweetened cacao palatable!
  • What is your villainous title? You may not have “Evil Overlord” because that one’s mine.
  • Which of your characters would actually be a match for you if you were to duke it out one on one?
  • Which character, in all the many books you have undoubtedly written, is most likely to be your Archnemesis?
  • Do you wear a cape? Face paint? A mask? Special underpants? Or do you hide in plain sight… like Moriarty? Give me details!
  • How do you react when you have to kill off a character that is dear to you? Do you laugh evilly out loud? Do you chuckle under your breath and quickly glance around for your next victim? Do you go and weep in a corner for a month because you just lost a best friend? Or do you just shrug indifferently?
  • If you had to choose a fictional villain (from book, movies, etc.) to sum up your villainous style as an evil writer, who would it be? Why?
  • And now everything's wrapped up. What did you think? :) Are you an Evil Writer? Have you been tagged already? What think you concerning my answers? What about Kate's wicked tag? ;) What about Belle's really terrible villain puns? (they're soooo evil!) ;D 

    Friday, November 10, 2017

    The Pain of a Memory - Part II

    Part one of my book can be found here. I hope you enjoy! :) Also, my blog is celebrating with this post (ever-so-slightly late) its birthday! One year ago (give or take a few days) I began this blog in the midst of a raging NaNoWriMo. And now - all of you my lovely audience are here! I would like to thank all of you for just reading this blog, and for all of the support you've given me in my ink-and-paper journeys. That being said, without further ado, I give you the part second of The Pain of a Memory.
    ***
    Anwynne looked out of the cave as the bandits began to bind her ankles. The sun could be just barely seen, setting over the horizon. What a pity that she should see the sun set over such a day. But for being the end of an ill-boding day, it was a beautiful sunset. Not that Anwynne could much appreciate the beauty at present. But nonetheless, she had little else to do, so she watched it.


    The sun was scarlet and gem-like, and the sky was shining. It looked like a ruby set into newly-wrought gold, which still was glimmering with the reflection of the fire it had been wrought by. The ruby was being folded slowly into deep blue velvet, along with the golden ring it was set into. How beautiful... and how unfortunate. Yes, it was indeed a shame that the sun should even set at all over such evil days.



    She made herself look away from the dying sun, unable to bear such a splendiferous thing in such ill times, almost feeling that it taunted her fate.








    Anwynne looked now over at Rogan, who seemed to be enjoying himself immensely:






    "Gently, gently, men, we always treat royalty above even other guests", he said, standing up as the robbers were setting her down next to the others. "Oh, no, gentlemen, she must be apart from our other, ah, guests. We must make Highness feel at home, must we not?", he said, smiling mischievously and gesturing towards another wall where silken cushions and bright gems lay.






    So the bandits instead laid her over there, and her head was placed - at Rogan's command - upon one of the silk pillows. Their mockery burned her, and every sliver of her was ever-impatient to do something that would make them regret it, or at least free her from it. Anwynne looked across the cave's dark chamber. On the opposite wall, where the guards were, it looked as though Errius was going through an even more intense trial of temper and pride than Anwynne, perhaps at seeing his princess treated so... or even touched at all by such rogues and rapscallions. His fists were clenched and he glared with a look that could frighten any soldier of his (and usually did if he employed it). Rogan, however, simply ignored it.






    "Fine day, was it not, gentlemen?", Rogan said, sweeping felinely through the men with a look of pride over his visage. "We captured a princess's dowry, overtook a carriage, got new weapons, waylaid a whole small band of soldiers, and--" He turned to Anwynne, "Secured ourselves a princess's ransom. Or, friends, should I ask instead for a queen's? Seeing as that's what I would have gotten, had I besieged her Highness's party on a later journey"






    The other robbers cheered at the prospect.











    Anwynne glared up at him. "How did outlaws and braggarts as you find ou--" 
    "I have friends not only in Belestine", he said, cutting her off. "In fact, I've had some of my men waiting by the mountain for your party, waiting just for                             rumors of a rich, trying-to-be-inconspicuous, royal party to be confirmed"


    "You rogue! You are a low coward! You would overtake our band with all your men, but would you fight alone were one of us to try and escape?", Errius yelled suddenly, turning Rogan's attention towards him.

    Rogan smiled as though he were listening to a small child's nonsense talk. "Rogue maybe, but coward I am not. Of course I would fight; I never turn down a worthy opponent. But you are not escaping as of this moment, so why ask, my friend?", he asked slyly, narrowing his large, cat-like eyes as though waiting for something.



    "You and I, scoundrel, that is what I propose! You untie me, and we fight - one man to another", he said angrily, glaring up at Rogan.

    "How could I be sure you wouldn't just escape? Of course, it wouldn't matter much if you did", said Rogan nonchalantly.


    "If it matters not whether I escape, then take up my challenge, and I will not escape whilst you stand on your feet", Errius answered boldly.

    Rogan smiled as if this was exactly what he wanted. "I'm feeling rather generous, so how does this bode with you? I fight you, and if you win, you go free. And I would offer the same to any man here!", he said loudly, standing up and addressing all his prisoners.

    "But what of the women? They cannot fight you, and so cannot win their freedom thus", he said with a challenging glint in his eyes.



    "If you win, I suppose you will set the lady free as well", Rogan spoke slowly. 


    "And what of the princess? Can freedom not be won for all us here?", continued Errius.


    "But of course... And you have my word that no one intervenes at all", said Rogan nonchalantly, bowing. "If you win, you can set yourself and the women, in fact, anyone you choose, free"


    "How can I expect a thief to keep his word?", asked Errius grimly.

    "Ah, my friend", Rogan said in a manner as close to sighing as he could probably get. "This is the only downside to being a thief - no one will be reasonable and just believe what you say, only because you're a thief"

    "Then maybe you should try and live as honest, loyal subjects do"

    Rogan laughed. "Now, friend, this is not a negotiation of why I'm an outlaw, this is a challenge, so shall we not begin?" Then, with this, he gestured for men to come and untie Errius' bonds.


    When they had finished, Errius stood up and looked about for a sword. Rogan picked one up from a chest, and, twisting it out, tossed it to him. Rogan then picked one up for himself in an agile but leisurely manner. 
    "Are you ready to begin?", asked Rogan in a careless manner, as though  suggesting this was only a game.


    "I am", Errius answered determinedly, facing Rogan with a stone-set expression.


    "Then as I said, shall we not begin?" 

    Errius stepped forward and swung rightly at Rogan, who seemed not to make a move, until, a split-second later, he threw his own blade into its path. It twisted Errius' own sword off its course, which would surely have had a fatal destination had it not been deterred. So Errius struck again, this time with far more concentration and precision than before. Rogan easily twisted it off course also, as though it were merely a twig. Errius stepped forward as though to strike again, but then spun round Rogan and lunged his sword at Rogan's back.


    Anwynne, as she watched, for a moment thought that it would meet its mark, but then Rogan merely turned so that the blow went  just barely to the side of him. Rogan then used his own sword to flip Errius' out of the way and into the air. Anwynne gasped in worry, but needlessly, for a split-second later, Errius rolled and caught it.

    Errius then faced Rogan again, and continued the duel. So Errius' sword flew again and again to Rogan's person, but each time Rogan  evaded it or stopped it with his own blade. Errius kicked Rogan's sword down, but Rogan slid round and brought his sword up with feline agility, thinly slicing Errius' shoulder.

    Errius clutched his shoulder as though in pain, but still raised his sword and struck. He attacked again and again, with a new vigor that would've overpowered most swordsmen. Rogan shot back each blow, blocking and twisting off with his blade. Silver flashed in the fading sunlight and the ringing of blades could be heard echoing throughout the cavern.


    Errius struck at a lucky point and Rogan was down for a split-second. His men went as though to go to him for a split-second, but he signaled them to go back. Errius paused a moment as though hesitant, but then went on towards Rogan. Rogan then, taking the tiny tarrying as an advantage, kicked Errius down as well. They then both rose as swiftly as they seemed able. As Errius re-began his assault, Rogan quickly thrust his sword straight out, knocking Errius' sword out of hand and Errius to his knees. Errius glared up in reluctant defeat.



    "I suppose you're staying, then", said Rogan plainly.

    Errius breathed hard from the duel, and he grasped his ever-so-slightly blood-tinted shoulder for a small moment.


    Rogan appeared to notice the injury and almost seemed to pale for a moment. But he quickly regained his composure and summoned a couple of the other bandits. "Men, put him with the others - gently, remember - and, ah, clean his scratch up" When Rogan had said this, he turned to the rest of Anwynne's company who were conscious, and offered lightly, "Anyone else care to try?"
    Anyways, that's all for now. Hopefully I'll be posting a little more, now that I'm back home and midterm exams in school are over. What did you think of this much? Do you prefer it to the last scene... or are you still waiting for the story to get better, as I promised? ;) Buckle up, readers, because it may be a bumpy ride... :)

    Thursday, November 2, 2017

    Beneath the Willow Tree - A Poem

    A little something to cheer you up during the rest of my hiatus, and a taste of my cheerful poetry. ;)
    ***
    A little pond not far away;
    A tiny little sea.
    And flowers bloom a small ways off,
    Beneath a willow tree.
    The wind tears not its curtains soft,
    Though finest silk they be,
    For some love guards that silent place
    Beneath the willow tree.
    Eyes as dark as raven's plumes
    Once there did gaze at me,
    Once there returned all my love,
    Beneath that willow tree.

    Hands as small, as sparrows white -
    My greatest joy to see -
    Were easily held within mine
    Beneath the willow tree.

    A little one, my life's delight
    For all her days was she,
    And nothing touched my heart as much,
    Beneath that willow tree.

    An angel sent to guide my heart,
    As I guided her steps unsteady -
    Never will I forget those days
    Beneath the willow tree.

    Once, alone, though, there she went,
    In night, when none could see,
    And from whence she did not return;
    Beneath the willow tree.

    So small a form in darkest night,
    A silhouette wand'ring, free...
    How could I know that she would stray
    Beneath the willow tree?

    My heart has grieved for long, long years -
    A knife wrenched within me -
    My Little One, where have you gone?
    Beneath the willow tree.

    So little, to gaze all alone
    Into waters starry -
    To touch those stars, no doubt, she fell
    Beneath the willow tree.

    A tiny one, to all alone -
    No one to hear her glee
    That was so fatally cut short
    Beneath the willow tree.

    Anger, tears - yet in my heart,
    I know fault is with me,
    For ever showing her that place
    Beneath the willow tree.

    I cursed it and took up my axe
    Within my misery,
    Yet I could not destroy her spot
    Beneath the willow tree.

    Though I am old, my heart still is lorn,
    And steps from that small sea,
    A part of me lies buried there,
    Beneath the willow tree.
    And... now I need to go spend the rest of my hiatus sobbing. Bye!

    Thursday, October 26, 2017

    The Webs of Venezia - Synopsis

    Hello again! :) Just coming back real quick before I take a short hiatus (I'll be out of town), to give you all the promised plot synopsis to my melodramatic (wanna-be) operatic masterpiece, Le Ragnatele di Venezia (The Webs of Venezia). I apologize in advance that it still has the musical number notations in it, but I did not get a chance to edit them out. :P Anyways, though, send any complaints or moaning concerning the ending or the horrible melodrama to me in the comments, and I'll be back in a couple of weeks (but I'll still try to respond to comments during this hiatus, though I can't guarantee anything).
    ***

    [Opera Begins With Lively Overture, Bridging into Duet/Chorus Piece (see below)]

    [Act One: Setting - Venezia LaVeirsi's Quaint 1800's Parlor]

    Caecilia Teresina, a pretty middle class girl of a small Italian city, is a very sweet lady. She has long-held, however, the friendship of vivacious Venezia LaVeirsi, who is not. One day, they are together in Venezia's parlor talking. [Caecilia; Venezia; Chorus aria: Bello Come Un Giorno! - How Lovely A Day!] Venezia is practically bursting with a piece of news, and eventually persuades Caecilia into asking about it. So she relays it gladly. [Caecilia; Venezia duet aria: Dire, Quindi, Se Si - Tell, Then, If You Will] Her brother, Petrarcho, is coming back from a visit to his friend, Salvatore Bena. However, Petrarcho will be arriving that very day - and Salvatore will be with him! Caecilia offers to leave, since she would be intruding on their visit, but Venezia won't hear of it. So, instead, she tells Caecilia to go and prepare herself for company. Caecilia leaves to do so delightedly. While alone, Venezia thinks aloud to herself. [Venezia solo aria: A Lungo Ho Capito - Long Have I Known It] Venezia has harbored feelings for Salvatore for a small while, but has concealed from Caecilia this one factor in her excitement, wishing to keep it a secret. Salvatore has been there visiting many times before - being such a companion of Petrarcho - but has never paid any romantic attentions to Venezia. This visit, she hopes, will change that. She intends to somehow let him know... she just doesn't know how yet.
    Soon, though, her little soliloquy is cut short by the return of Caecilia, and then her guests arriving. [Caecilia; Petrarcho; Salvatore; Venezia; Chorus aria: Ah, Ma Ora Sono Qui! - Ah, But Here They Are Now!] Venezia manages, by having Caecilia fetch something while Petrarcho deposits his baggage, to get Salvatore alone. She leaves the room for a moment, to call to Caecilia about what she wants, though still within hearing of the parlor. Caecilia's voice is heard offstage in answer to Venezia. As though prompted by the voice, Salvatore - alone - begins his own soliloquy, pondering how unusual he feels towards Caecilia, whom he has seen before, but never much known. [Salvatore solo aria (with minimal vocal appearance of Venezia and Caecilia): E Cos'e Questo...? - And What Is This...?] He loves her, but does not want to come to this conclusion, because he knows her so little. Venezia, though just in the next room, hears him, and thinks sadly to herself of this disastrous happening. But she forces herself to keep a stiff upper lip, and then goes to him. She tells Salvatore that she has heard all of this, and that she is willing to help him gain Caecilia's favor. [Venezia solo aria (with minimal vocal appearance of Salvatore): Signor, Il Tuo Vero Cuore - Sir, Your True Heart] She intends to help him but a little, and meanwhile display her own graces, so as to win his love herself.
    [Act Two: Setting - Venezia LaVeirsi's Garden]

    However, even with Venezia's miniscule and insincere aid, Salvatore begins to succeed in procuring Caecilia's favor. [Salvatore solo aria: O, Piu Bella Al Mio Occhio  - O, Most Lovely To My Eye] Venezia observes it with both sorrow and frustration, as her own love has only grown for Salvatore. Half desperate, she comes up with another plot. [Venezia solo aria: E Se, Forse... - And If, Perhaps...] She knows of the extreme respect that Salvatore holds for her brother, due to an event a long time ago when Petrarcho saved Salvatore's life. She also is aware that Petrarcho is yet unknowing of Salvatore's very inconspicuous affections for Caecilia. Venezia decides to use both factors to her advantage. So she decides to try and make Petrarcho - who is so very hotheaded - fall in love with her friend Caecilia. Petrarcho, as a far more open man, will be far more easily observable in his love than Salvatore , so Caecilia will perhaps be swayed more. Salvatore, on seeing his friend's so clear affections for her, and her own favoring of Petrarcho, may not dare - out of respect to them both - to start a rivalry, and so might leave off his only newborn attentions to Caecilia. Thus, Salvatore's attention may then be captured by the only other lady holding his friendship (a.k.a., Venezia). Venezia recovers herself in light of this plan, and laughs at the simplicity of love, believing this plan sure to succeed. [Venezia solo aria: Amore, Piu Semplice! - O Love, Most Simple!] Venezia begins work upon her brother immediately, when Caecilia visits them not long afterwards. Soon enough, Petrarcho does indeed seem to be falling, and Venezia gloats to herself over her own brilliance, thinking of the happiness she will so soon attain; her brother's felicity, Caecilia as a sister, and her love for her own. [Venezia; Chorus aria: Immagina, Venezia... Amore, Piu Semplice! - Imagine, Venezia... O, Love, Most Simple!]* However, neither Venezia nor her plan had counted on Salvatore leaving for his home again so soon, as he does but a day later. Venezia is told of it by Caecilia, and - while pretending easiness - is inwardly shocked and distressed by the news. [Caecilia; Venezia duet aria: Il Mio Amore Lontano - My Distant Love] Caecilia also tells Venezia of Salvatore's promise to write Caecilia, and to return in two months.

    *All arias (except the original) that are labeled Amore, Piu Semplice merely have the main refrain of that aria repeated in them somewhere, and do not necessarily have the whole aria.


    [Act Three: Setting - Venezia LaVeirsi's Quaint Parlor]

    This news cripples Venezia's designs. If Salvatore is gone, then Venezia cannot work him for herself. But if he's writing Caecilia, he may still continue his courting of her, though far away. He will also then not observe in person Petrarcho's affections for Caecilia, and so will be unaware of any rivalry, thus being unhindered in his courtship. Venezia is forced by this realization to reconsider her strategies. [Venezia solo aria (with minimal vocal appearance of Caecilia; Salvatore; Petrarcho): Frantumi Sono Mie Speranze - Shattered Are My Hopes] So she comes up with a different solution. [Venezia solo aria (with minimal vocal appearance of Salvatore): Senza Di Te, Amore Mio... - Without You, My Love... ] If Venezia can further her brother's affections for Caecilia drastically in those two months before Salvatore returns, then Caecilia herself may be turned faster by the more serious-seeming, present man, rather than the slow-moving, distant one. Then, when Salvatore returns, he will find Petrarcho in a deeper courtship with Caecilia, and Caecilia will be no longer interested in him, thus achieving Venezia's originally intended result. She is hesitant to use this plan, though, because she fears that it will hurt Salvatore. However, she can think of no other way, and so reluctantly resolves on this plan. She then departs to find Petrarcho. After Venezia leaves, Venezia's maid, Pia - who has watched all these goings-on - comes out. She has heard Venezia's plot. She herself loves Petrarcho, but determines to put her own feelings aside for the moment to try and observe Venezia's efforts. She decides to tell Petrarcho of the plot if Venezia continues on this course. [Pia solo aria: Quello Che Ho Sentito Ma Malate Notizie - What Have I Heard But Ill Tidings?]
    However, Venezia , having forgotten something, returns to the scene and hears Pia. Furious, she dismisses Pia from the household. As Pia leaves, though, Venezia formulates another plan. She coyly calls Pia back. Venezia tells Pia that this plot of hers would lead to Petrarcho's happiness, and that Pia will keep her job if she helps Venezia (while keeping a silent tongue). Venezia persuades Pia that Petrarcho's true happiness is at stake. As an added point, Venezia threatens Pia not only with the loss of her job, but also declares that she will tell Petrarcho of Pia's affections for him should Pia refuse or reveal the plan. [Pia; Venezia duet aria: Il Riscatto Del Tuo Silenzio - The Ransom Of Your Silence] Pia considers a moment, and then reluctantly agrees. Venezia applauds Pia for her wise choice, and yet again laughs in the shadow of her triumph. [Venezia solo aria (with minimal vocal appearance of Pia): Bravo, Pia!...Amore, Piu Semplice!] With the reluctant help of Pia, Venezia works on Petrarcho with slow but steady success. She now visits Caecilia with Petrarcho almost every day, and Petrarcho pays some attentions to Caecilia. Caecilia, though, still always in a delight from Salvatore's letters to her, barely notices the key of these attentions, and so welcomes Petrarcho, not realizing his feelings for her. Venezia, wishing to speed the process, one day tells Petrarcho that she feels rather too ill to visit Caecilia, and that he must go alone this time. At first Petrarcho is hesitant to do so, but then, considering the proposition a moment, eagerly agrees. [Petrarcho; Venezia duet aria: Fratello, Mio Caro Fratello - Brother, My Dear Brother] Petrarcho exits. He does indeed go to Caecilia, who - despite slight surprise that her friend is not also present - welcomes him. [Caecilia; Petrarcho duet aria (with minimal vocal appearance of Chorus and Pia): Petrarcho? Che Dolce Compagnia - Petrarcho? What Sweet Company] Caecilia enjoys his company for a period of time, and Pia - who was told by Venezia to follow Petrarcho - reports the goings-on to Venezia. [Pia solo aria (with minimal vocal appearance of Venezia and Chorus): Questo Avere Ho Sentito - This Have I Heard]  Venezia listens thoughtfully.
    [Act Four, Scene One: Setting - The Grove Between Caecilia Teresina's and Venezia LaVeirsi's Houses, From Which The City Can Be Seen]

    Soon enough, Petrarcho is visiting Caecilia - on his own - almost every day, to his sister's delight. [Petrarcho; Venezia; Caecilia; Pia aria: Rosa, Dolce, Rosa - Rose, Sweet Rose] Time passes quickly this way, and soon enough the two months are almost over. Venezia's plot appears in most areas to be succeeding. However, despite Venezia's displeasure at it, Caecilia continues to receive Salvatore's letters with great joy. Venezia only hopes that the letters will have little effect. [Venezia solo aria (with minimal vocal appearance of Pia): Un Cosi Poco Tempo! - So Little A Time!] Petrarcho's visits with Caecilia have become progressively longer and more serious, but - unknown to Venezia - Caecilia's ecstasy over Salvatore's letters has not diminished, and she little notices Petrarcho's attempts at courtship. [Petrarcho solo aria: Con Molla In Inverno - As Spring To Winter...] Venezia worries about the content of Salvatore's letters, and their effect on Caecilia. So Venezia tells Pia to fetch one of the letters for her, that she may read it. [Venezia; Pia duet aria (bridging into a solo Venezia aria): Tranquillamente, Pia... Di Amore E Di Avere - Quietly, Pia... To Love And To Have] All Venezia wishes for seem very close, and so she is cautious, so that she might not yet lose it. The very same day, Petrarcho leaves to see Caecilia, this time with the intention of proposing to her. Venezia senses his intent and warns Pia to stay out of Petrarcho's sight in her mission. Pia leaves. Venezia likewise departs, to go and await Pia's return. Caecilia and Petrarcho come. Petrarcho reaches Caecilia in the grove by her home, where she waltzes and sings joyously in a complete delight. [Caecilia solo aria: Nessuna Canzone! - No Song I Can Sing!] Petrarcho confusedly asks what is making her bustle about so, behaving in such a way. She replies gladly that she has received a letter from Salvatore, saying that he is returning that very day. The letter also contained a proposal of marriage from Salvatore, which, as she tells Petrarcho joyfully, she intends to accept. She tells him that, as one of her greatest friends, she couldn't keep it a secret from him. [Caecilia solo aria (with minimal vocal appearance of Petrarcho): O, Gioia Delle Gioie! - O, Joy Of Joys!]

    Petrarcho is stood aback. He had never even known of his friend's courtship with Caecilia, much less ever anticipated Caecilia accepting a proposal from Salvatore. Caecilia observes Petrarcho's shock, and puts the letter down, concerned that her friend is unwell. She asks him what is wrong. [Caecilia; Petrarcho duet aria: Cio Che Vi Affligge Cosi? - What So Ails You?] He attempts to smile, and act as though nothing happened, saying he is fine. So, trying to forget it, Caecilia converses again with Petrarcho for a small while. Once more she notes his uneasiness and distraction, and asks if he is well. Petrarcho again tries to act as though untouched, and insists that there is nothing wrong. He tries to have Caecilia continue in ordinary conversation. Caecilia, still somewhat confused, tries to ignore the highly apparent discomfort of her friend, since he persists in saying that it is nothing. Meanwhile, as they thus converse, Pia carefully comes in and sees Salvatore's proposal letter which Caecilia has put down. Pia picks it up, and cautiously exits, going back to Venezia. Soon, Petrarcho and Caecilia separate,  and Petrarcho - now alone - reveals in aria his true stance. [Petrarcho solo aria: Cosi Vicino Al Mio... - So Close To Mine...] He has been shocked by this event, and hurt in now realizing that Caecilia never really saw him there in the first place. He recalls that Salvatore is to return soon. Petrarcho does not think he will be able to face Salvatore any time soon, and definitely not Caecilia,  so he storms off, going home to pack his things and enlist as a soldier in the nearby encampment.

    [Act Four, Scene Two: Setting - Venezia LaVeirsi's Quaint Parlor (again)]

    Meanwhile, at Petrarcho's home, Pia has returned to Venezia with Salvatore's letter. Venezia reads it and is blown aback. Shocked and frustrated, she sends Pia out, barely able to even speak in her upset state. This could ruin all her hopes; she has no way of yet knowing whether Caecilia will accept, and Salvatore is arriving that very day. Venezia is for a moment just in a state of shock. Then, suddenly, Petrarcho storms into the room, perhaps even more upset than Venezia. [Petrarcho; Venezia duet aria: Fratello! Che Stai Facendo? - Brother! What Are You Doing?] He quickly begins to gather his things together. Venezia, flustered, asks distressedly what he is doing. He tells her very briefly of his visit with Caecilia, and of Salvatore's accepted proposal to Caecilia, unknowing that Venezia is aware of the letter and its contents. Petrarcho tells his sister of his intent to go away, and that he won't be persuaded out of it. Venezia is yet more distressed by the news of Caecilia's intent and Petrarcho's decision. Venezia tries desperately to get him to stay, even attempting to cling onto him so that he might not leave. He refuses to reconsider, and so departs, despite Venezia's efforts to keep him there. Once he is gone, Venezia collapses onto the floor in her distress and sobs.

    [Act Four, Scene Three: Setting - A Part Of Town, By An Enormous Stone Stairway, and The Street Leading Out Of The Town]

    In the meantime, Salvatore has returned, and is just in town, ready to go to Caecilia. He hesitates a moment, unsure whether she will receive him as he'd hoped. [Salvatore solo aria: Il Suo Tocco - Her Touch] But then, suddenly, from atop the great stairway by the road, Caecilia herself comes, and spots Salvatore. She rushes to him, and tells him of her agreement to the proposal. Joyfully, Salvatore lifts her high into the air, and - upon her landing - they sing a happy duet, proclaiming their gladness. [Caecilia; Salvatore duet aria: Altezza Di Nessuna - No Star's Height (Is Greater)] Caecilia tells Salvatore that they must inform their good friend, Venezia, of their news. Salvatore heartily agrees, still very grateful for Venezia's previous aid to him. So the couple leaves, to go and tell Venezia their joyful news. Then, on the edge of the road, Petrarcho is traveling out of town, to go to the regiment's encampment, still upset. Suddenly Pia runs up after him and stops him. She tries to convince him to come back, revealing all of Venezia's plot and how Venezia forced her to aid in it, also revealing her own feelings for Petrarcho. She urges him to come back, at least to speak with his sister. [Pia solo aria: Ti Prego Ascoltami, Petrarcho - Please Hear Me, Petrarcho] Shocked by the message, and touched by Pia's cares, Petrarcho agrees to return, and immediately rushes to go back to Venezia, Pia following. Atop the stone stair stumbles Venezia. She is in a great distress, still thinking she has lost everything. In her hand she carries a bottle of poison, with which she plans to kill herself. She glances down at the bottle in her hand, still unsure, but with a great upset in her mind. She slowly begins a sorrowful soliloquy to herself, thinking of what she is about to do, and what could have been. [Venezia solo aria: Ma Non Doveva Essere - But It Was Never Meant To Be] She opens the bottle, still knowing within her that it is wrong. Her soliloquy intensifies, and a battle rages in her over whether to drink it. Finally, with one final effort, she overcomes the desire to end it all, and she throws the bottle far away from her, down the stone steps. Exhausted from the effort, but half relieved now that it is over, she ends her song. The stage lights dim almost completely, but then, with a sudden scream and ominous turn of the music, the lights flash for a moment, only just bright enough to see a figure fall from the top of the stone steps. When the lights are bright again, the chorus can be seen, crowding in the corner of the stage. Then, from either side of the road, the two couples - Caecilia and Salvatore, and Pia and Petrarcho - can be seen rushing into town, one happily and the other grimly. They meet each other. Pia and Petrarcho ask the other two where Venezia is. Of course they reply that they do not know, but wish to, for they have been searching for her for hours (as Pia and Petrarcho have likewise done). Neither couple has seen her, and Pia and Petrarcho worry. Pia tells them of all that has happened, and Venezia's plot. Now both couples are worried.
    Then, the chorus starts loudly crying out and singing, and part of the chorus goes to the two couples and begins to scream and exclaim. [Chorus aria (with minimal vocal appearance of Caecilia; Petrarcho; Pia; Salvatore): O, Che Disgrazia! Tragedia Ci Colpisce! - Oh, What Misfortune! Tragedy Strikes Us!] Petrarcho asks confusedly what has happened. The members of the chorus explain flusteredly that an terrible thing has occurred, and a young woman is injured at the foot of the street's stone steps. She has fallen from them due to an accident. All the citizens rushed when they heard her scream. All have gathered, and a doctor has been called, but there is nothing that can be done, and she is languishing near her end. Petrarcho's mind immediately jumps to Venezia with worry, and he - with the other three - push through the crowd to the end of the steps, to where the injured girl can finally be seen. It is indeed Venezia. Petrarcho cries out in distress, and Caecilia begins to sob. [Petrarcho solo aria (with minimal vocal appearance of Caecilia; Pia; Salvatore): Venezia! Come Puo Essere? - Venezia! How Can This Be?] He mourns. Venezia wakes a little, and sees them before her. They are glad that she has awoken, but are still sorrowful in the shadow of what is to come. Venezia knows she is dying. She confesses to all of them her plot, and muses a little sadly on the irony of her death - how she strove so hard, making the choice not to end her life, and then it was ended for her only moments later. [Venezia solo aria (with minimal vocal appearance of Chorus): Pregate Per Me, Miei Compagni... Amore, Piu Semplice - Pray For Me, My Comrades... O, Love, Most Simple] She admits aloud that Love has conquered her and her arrogance, and that she only hopes they will understand and forgive her for all that she has done. Then, finishing the last full aria in the opera, Venezia dies.

    [End Of Opera]
    What did you think? Are you, like my previous readers, slamming your head against a wall in frustration? Or are you laughing from the melodrama of it all? (trust me - I would not be offended by this reaction; in fact, it would tickle me pink to know that you were cracking up reading this - trust me, I was too.)  ;) Or are you now depressed? Or perhaps you are now nodding to yourself in affirmation of your decision to never get into opera, haha? Talk to me! I would enjoy all comments - especially heckling ones (truly, when people heckle my stuff, it gives me more laughter than I can say, and it keeps me from getting a big head about it, so I very honestly can say go ahead and heckle.  After all, it is opera! ;)

    Wednesday, October 25, 2017

    Meet The Books! - The Webs of Venezia, a.k.a. Le Ragnatele Di Venezia

    Hello, all! I'm back again with another Meet the Books! feature today. But, before I begin - as always - I will relay what Meet the Books! is. :) Meet the Books! is a blog feature intending to introduce your stories - novels, novellas, plays, operas, whatever they are - to your blog audience. Anyone can join, and the only rules are to answer the questions and link back here in a comment so I can see. :D I love participation, so feel free to take it up for your novels, novellas, plays, operas, etc. And speaking of operas - that is what I'm here today to introduce.

    What is the genre?
    What?! Why is Belle blogging about an opera?!
    I'm sure those are along the lines of what you're thinking. ;) Well, maybe it's because - in addition to my novels and one Broadway musical - I am in the midst of writing an opera (what?! I love writing music!). Two, to be precise, but I'm only talking about one of them today.  So, the genre is a tragic opera (I know, I know - but really, unless you write operas, nobody today gives your writing any leeway to be nice and thoroughly melodramatic!). And, for those random nerd-dork-geniuses in the audience who know what this means, this opera is an opera-comique (in Italian!).
    But before anybody stops reading this post because opera isn't their thing, please! - remember that an opera is nothing above you - all an opera is is a novel put to music and a foreign language (and sometimes not even the latter part). Almost all operas are from novels.
    What is the title? Time period?
    Le Ragnatele Di Venezia - translated as The Webs of Venezia. And the time period is the middle-ish 1800's - a common time period for operas. :)
    How is it written (point of view, MC, etc.)?
    Well... currently its only finished guise is in synopsis form, but I'm in the midst of writing the libretto (play format) as well. And the main character is a young, middle-class Italian woman named Venezia LaVeirsi (she is the title-role).
    Who are the characters?
    Haha! Glad you asked! ;D
    Venezia LaVeirsi is a vivacious mezzo-soprano Italian girl with a lot of determination (perhaps a bit too much) and a mind as quick as anything. However, she is a bit... off, to say the least. Being incredibly clever and determined does not change the fact that she is rather childishly stubborn and impulsive. But, somehow, this stubborn, world-wise gentlewoman is very best friends with
    Caecilia Teresina, another middle-class Italian who, unlike Venezia, is incredibly innocent and quite naïve. Caecilia is not the main character, but a whole lot revolves around her (unbeknownst to her) in the opera. There's really not much to say about her except that, again, she is about as innocent (and absent-minded) as it gets. She is a soprano role.
    Salvatore Bena is a foreign tenor gentleman of a soft-spoken nature. He is very quiet, and so not much is really known about what goes on in his head most of the time, which is a frustration to Venezia, who has hoped for ages that he will notice her, and contrived to try and make him. Salvatore often visits the LaVeirsi home at the invitation of his much-respected friend,
    Petrarcho LaVeirsi, Venezia's baritone brother. Petrarcho is a rather impulsive and hot-headed man (rather similarly to Venezia), and often needs Salvatore to balance him out. Salvatore is quite devoted to Petrarcho, on account of a time when Petrarcho saved his life (though in a quite undramatic situation, I assure you; Salvatore was about to be absent-mindedly run-over by a horse and cart in the streets).
    Pia Toscana is the LaVeirsi maid who has long harbored feelings for Petrarcho. She is the only person who really sees Venezia's character in the right light, but can't really say much, being only a lady's maid. Pia is a coloratura soprano role.
    Other than that, the only characters are unnamed, being the chorus members (a.k.a. the Italian citizens).
    What does the plot consist of?
    You remember how I said earlier that Venezia had a thing for her brother's friend, Salvatore? Well, the opera centers around her designs - her webs, if you will - to try and secure him for herself. However, that is made rather difficult by the fact that Salvatore feels exactly the same way about Caecilia. So... complications ensue. Yes, I know - the melodrama of opera. ;) But it'll sound better put to music (actually, I intend to post the full synopsis shortly, so then you can get more details plot-wise).
    What is the setting?
    Well, the scenes are these:
    -Venezia LaVeirsi's quaint 1800's parlor
    -Venezia LaVeirsi's garden
    -The grove between Venezia and Caecilia's houses, from which the rest of the city can be seen
    -A part of town, where there is an enormous stone stairway and the road leading out of town
    And that about covers it. Not a particularly exciting setting, I know, but the music has been sheer ecstasy to write. :)
    Who are the favorite characters so far?
    Um... not Venezia...? :P Well, my favorite character to write in it is Salvatore, but no reader has made much comment except to bemoan the ending or comment on the little bit of music that there is.
    What is the favorite scene so far?
    So far, a scene in the beginning where Salvatore thinks aloud by himself (singing my favorite of his arias so far, E Cos'e Questo...? - translating to And What is This...?).
    Any themes of music for this work?
    Well, song-wise, I have a pretty good amount composed.
    E Cos'e Questo...? (And What is This...?) - a tenor aria for Salvatore with brief parts for Venezia and Caecilia, from Act One.
    Nessuna Canzone! (No Song I Can Sing!) - a soprano aria for Caecilia in Act Four, the final act.
    Petrarcho? Che Dolce Compagna (Petrarcho? What Sweet Company) - a soprano/baritone duet for Caecilia and Petrarcho in Act Two.
    Frantumi Sono Mie Speranze! (Shattered Are My Hopes!) - a mezzo-soprano aria for Venezia in Act Three or Four.
    Il Suo Tocco (Her Touch) - a tenor aria for Salvatore... which currently only has prototype lyrics and no melody yet. Possibly for Act Four.
    Rosa, Dolce Rosa (Rose, Sweet Rose) - a baritone aria for Petrarcho that I am soon going to tamper with and make into a baritone/soprano/mezzo-soprano/soprano quartet for Petrarcho, Caecilia, Venezia, and Pia in Act Two or Three.
    Dire, Quindi, Se Si (Tell, Then, If You Will) - a soprano/mezzo-soprano duet for Caecilia and Venezia in Act One.
    And the flourishing main theme of the opera which was my most rewarding and first labor in this work (in fact, I'm still not sure whether it or the opera came first),
    Amore, Piu Semplice! (Love, Most Simple!) - a mezzo-soprano aria for Venezia which is carried on throughout the opera, but is first heard in the last part of Act One.
    Phew! But that's all of them so far (I know, I know - give me a break! I've only been working on this opera for a year this coming February, after all! I'll compose more music sooner or later). But, soon enough, a professional *cough cough actually just a training professional cough* opera singer will sing it for me, and then I will broadcast it all over the world! Just kidding. But I might post it on this blog. ;)
    Any drawings?
    Yes! I have here a drawing of Caecilia and Petrarcho in the grove between the LaVeirsi and Teresina homes. It took a while, and unfortunately Petrarcho looks rather wimpy, but at least Caecilia turned out really well. :P
    This is the as of yet uncolored scene that goes with the song Nessuna Canzone!... and Petrarcho looks like he has a bad headache. :P


    Any snippets?
    Not this time. Like I said before, soon I'll post the full synopsis of it (and you can all roll your eyes all you want - this is an opera!). Hopefully it will be sometimes in the next few posts.
    Strong point in story?
    The musical themes. I feel like the main theme and sub theme (Amore, Piu Semplice! and E Cos'e Questo...?) are coming through really well, and as soon as I research some more (and by 'research', I mean listen to a ton of opera - yay, research!;), I will write some of the orchestration and accompaniment - seeing as, up to this point, I have written only vocal music.
    Weak point in story?
    Probably the libretto. It's going very slowly, and seeing as Italian is not my first language, I'm not exactly Verdi when it comes to writing lyrics and speech.
    What are your plans for it?
    To finish it, edit it, re-edit it, and then try and get it out. First, I plan to have my undercover assistant (a.k.a. my best friend who is currently studying abroad for an operatic vocal career, and whom I mentioned earlier) help me in the underground by getting bits of it sung at recitals and things. Then, I will have it performed in larger and larger bits informally, until - bam! - there it is on stage, the full thing. Then, everybody appreciates my genius so much that it is one of the most popular operas since La Boheme I hope and pray that it gets performed professionally and takes off. :)
    Any particular writing habits for it?
    Well, the whole thing - synopsis and the little bit of libretto that there is - is all written in a big, purple notebook that has a honeybee sticker on it. And I always sit at my little cupboard piano when I'm composing the music (believe me, the name 'cupboard piano' makes it sound small - it's deceiving). I almost always drink coffee, though, when I'm composing.
    The unforgettably great (and incredibly handsome) tenor, David Miller.
    If it were made into a movie, what would be your ideal cast?
    I hope it is made into a movie someday. But, in the meantime... I can't imagine anybody but Angela Georghiu playing Caecilia for some reason (which... is bad for this opera's movie, because Angela Georghiu was performing back in the 90's). And it's the same case for Salvatore - can't see anyone but David Miller playing him (which may be because I see Mr. Miller as the ideal tenor for every opera role...?). I would pick Luca Pisaroni or Thomas Weinhappel as Petrarcho, Beverly Sills as Pia, and either the great Cecelia Bartoli or Maria Callas as the title role of Venezia (again, bad for the movie, because those two were performing in the 80's and 60's unfortunately...). :P
    What do you think? Would you go and see it? Would you listen to it? Is the plot melodramatic enough for an opera, or will you have to wait and see the synopsis (which I will post shortly)? Chat with me! :)