Monday, April 14, 2014

Meet Sydney Jameson, a Main Character in my Cross-Genre Paranormal Historical Romance, The Green Woman.

(c) Chaoss@ (modified by the author)

When preparing my first offering in Debbie Brown's English Epochs 101 blog hop devoted to main characters in  recently completed work or work-in-progress,  I slipped into a lucid dream in which my character Daisy Kirkcaldy was doing battle with a modern woman whose name is  Sydney  and who is a writer of historical fiction.  As usual, when the conflict is between Daisy and a writer, Daisy wins.  But Syd was not entirely defeated.  She was resting. And now she demands and introduction an equal time.  I find it meet and proper that I interview her for you, using Debbie Brown's excellent set of questions.

Linda: Sydney, what is your name and are you fictional or an actual historical character?

Sydney:  My name is Sydney Jameson, at least insofar as I am concerned, although there are other names that some people persist in using to tag me. One of them is The Green Woman, but I am only called that by people who experience my aura and are familiar with the myths surrounding the Green Woman of Ferniehirst.  My Scottish lover Dand Ker calls me Helena because when he was a young man at the Sorbonne he read a book about Helen of Troy and he is fixated. Scottish men are often like that.  I am a historical novelist with three recent novels  being marketed by a small publishing house owned by a man named Simon Dirst. This entire misadventure is entirely Simon's  creation.  He insisted on doing a book launch in the Great Hall at Ferniehirst, a castle on the Borders where my stories take place.  No! that's not fair. My weird adventure on the Borders is wholly mine, not Simon's. No sense giving him credit where none is due. Even if he hadn't wanted to come here so he could golf at Gleneagles with Sir Sean and write it off on his taxes as a business expense, I would have found my way  here anyway.

Linda:  I gather that the novel The Green Woman takes place at the site of the book launch at Ferniehirst Castle near Jedburgh. Is that correct?

Sydney:  Not entirely. It depends on whether you consider Ferniehirst in 2012 and Ferniehirst in 1612 the same place.  You and I both know they are not.  One exists in what Nemesis calls Dand Ker's Now Time and the other is in my Now Time, which I call the Present.

Linda:  That brings us to an extra pair of questions  - Who is Nemesis and have you been venturing dangerously close to microwave towers lately. Oh, and if you've been drinking, where is the still located and is the hooch for sale?

Sydney:   Nemesis is a Goddess from Greek mythology- the Goddess of Retribution. She is a second tier god, a Daemon. She maintains equilibrium and punishes unjust enrichment. Sometimes she assumes the aspect of a Guardian. That is straight out of Wikipedia and the web. And as to whether I have been drinking, Linda, you are the one who wrote me into the pub frequented by the entire Jedburgh Rugby Club, who bought me drinks when they discovered I knew what scrum-half means.

Linda:  Next question:  What should we know about you before we delve into this rather odd story?

Sydney: Come on now, Linda.  You know me better than I know myself.  Why don't you answer the question? 

Linda:  I'll break it down:  Are you mortal?

Sydney:  I am a 100% mortal California divorcee who writes books for a living and who for some reason seems to appear with a green aura  when I visit Ferniehirst in 1612. If some of the characters in my story see me as The Green Woman, that is their problem, not mine. The rest of the time I am like everyone else. There is a possibility that I may be susceptible to the phenomenon  called Lucid Dreaming or perhaps the task of writing has simply driven me mad.  You wrote me.  You solve it.  And if you want to know what Lucid Dreaming is, read some of the books you bought when you were doing your research.

Linda:  So what is the main conflict?  What messes up your life?

Sydney:  Hah! Try falling into an intense relationship with a man who has been dead for more than Three Hundred and Seventy years and thinks you are the one who is not real. And that's before you even get to the part where we try to save King James and rescue the Duke of Rothesay, who grows up to be Charles II, which begs the question of why we bothered.  And of course, it does not help my relationship with Dand that I know what happens in the future and have sworn not to tell.  

Linda: Sworn to Whom?

Sydney:  If I told Dand what was coming he would change it and that would upset the Equilibrium.  You sort it out. And no spoilers.

Linda:  But what does Sydney expect to get out of this?  What's your goal?

Sydney:  It would be nice to say my goal was to save King James VI and I and the Stuart Monarchy  but that would be pure posh.  My goal is to find a life beyond what is written on my Toshiba laptop.  I want to feel life, not just write about it.  Ask Nemesis.  She has a canned speech memorized that covers it.

Linda:  Is there anything you'd like to ask me, Sydney?

Sydney:  I'd like to know if you are seriously going to self-publish a madcap mixed genre lightly erotic tale about a historical novelist who is forever linked to events which happened in 1612, who is deeply connected to a lover who died in 1628,  who identifies  with a Daemon Goddess named Nemesis who may be a construct of her imagination or an alter ego, and who even after the final page is not quite certain what is real and what is not.  

Linda:  Watch me.  I cannot spend all of my time writing heavily factual historical novels centering on the life and time of the Queen of Scots and populated for the most part by real people. And one last question, Sydney.  It seems to have slipped my mind, but where exactly is it that you learned to throw a Jed Axe?

The novel The Green Woman is essentially finished, awaiting two rounds of editing, cover art and illustrations. At present I am engaged in an exhaustive rewrite adjusting inconsistencies in point-of-view. I will be submitting this to beta readers from a group of people who venture into this type of writing. It is substantially shorter than my other novels, weighing in at 75,000 words. My target launch date is the anniversary of Wild Frank Stewart's death in Naples in November of 1612. 

This deviation from my heavily historical novels  was not at all intentional.  Like Nemesis, it more or less hatched  out of a green egg and grew during the madness of the NaNoWriMo competition in November 2013.  The initial draft  was written in 27 days of nearly non-stop writing which explains why it resembles stories written by opium addicts and absinthe drinkers. It is different from my other works, which is why I am publishing it under a pseudonym J.D. Root. Why not?  After all, I am Linda Root, J.D., and this way I will not embarrass my wonderful friends who are serious writers of English Historical fiction, as am I at least 90% of the time.  This book arises during the 10% when I write out of genre and drink a wee  bit of Jameson's Gold Reserve. And no, that is not where Sydney got her name.   The inspiration for her name is a secret known only to aging fans of the Cleveland Indians baseball franchise. Truthfully, there is a good deal of research in the book, not just about  events  surrounding the death of Henry Frederick Stuart, Prince of Wales, and the never ending plotting of Lord Francis Stewart, aka Wild Frank, but about such topics as the archetype in fiction, the life of Alexander Seton and the phenomena of Lucid Dreaming, Out of Body Experiences and the Oz Factor. And yes, there is a sequel.   

If you want a glimpse, the prologue appears below.  It presents no graphic sex but there are sexual  references and erotic innuendos . 

Present day Edinburgh

The man did not have a copy of the book, but he had a copy of the book jacket folded in the pocket of his windbreaker.  The windbreaker was blue and white and under it he wore a blue tee with the word NAPOLI embossed in white, and beneath it, the name Emilio Lara and a number.
He did not know why he was wearing either of the items or why he was in Scotland.  He did not understand most of the English spoken by the staff at the hotel, and knew none of the Scots spoken on the streets and in the taverns.  He especially did not like the weather. His last memory was being in Naples sharing a small cup of sweet liqueur with his Master, and even that was vague, as if in a dream.  That was before the headaches came.
Whenever he trolled for answers as to why he was trailing the woman whose picture was on the back cover of the book, he would experience a spiking pain in his head and in his bandaged knee,  and would seek relief from the elixir he carried in a pocket flask.  When people passed him they often stared at his jacket and some of them patted him on the back.  They called him by the name Emilio, but that was not his true name. He did not know why they called him out in such a manner and he did not understand their speech well enough to ask. He smiled back at them and shrugged because it was the easiest way to satisfy them without causing him to lose sight of the woman. 
He did not recognize his image in the shop windows.  The man reflected back at him was sturdier and younger, with dark curly hair like a Sicilian and an Italian way about him manifested in a swagger exacerbated by a limp. He would have liked to stake a permanent claim to the man’s physique. 
He had awakened that morning in a park outside of Edinburgh, dressed in the same unfamiliar clothing he was presently wearing. He made his way to the hotel on a route that had been revealed to him that morning in his waking dream. The papers in the pocket of his jacket included a thin wine-colored booklet called a Passporto with a likeness of the man he saw reflected in the shop windows pasted on its first page. He followed the instructions of his Master with precision and without hesitation or pain-inducing questions: he handed the booklet to a pretty woman at the counter, and he saw that the name printed under the photograph affixed there was indeed Emilio Lara.  She handed him a room key and asked him if he needed help with his luggage.  He did not understand the question and shrugged, and the clerk went to serve the other customers.
He pocketed the key and took a seat in the lobby.
When the woman appeared, he followed her down the High Street to a café where she ordered breakfast while he sat at the counter,  picked on a scone and drank a pot of Breakfast Tea.  When she was finished, he followed her back to the hotel, annoyed that he had been given no opportunity to fulfill his mission. 
He resumed his vigil in the lobby where he could watch for her if she left, and took a swallow of the elixir from the little flask his Master had given him because the pains would return if he did not do so. It had a pleasant taste which the Master attributed to pearl dust.  The drug no longer made him dizzy. Its effect had become less medicinal and more euphoric. His Master told him it was laudanum with something special added.  The man had asked  what could be more exceptional than pearl dust and his master had given him the Evil Eye  after which the man abandoned the inquiry  least he lose his tongue.
The scene in the lobby blurred and as the man had anticipated, he descended into a dream-like trance during which he could hear his Master’s voice. Sometimes in such trances he could fly and in some, he would be borne across the water on the wings of serpents, but not on this occasion. When he awakened from his reverie, it was as if no time had passed. The shadows in the lobby had not changed and the hands on the clock above the desk had barely moved.
 When the woman he was trailing left the hotel he watched a porter assist her with her bags. After the doorman helped her into a motor carriage, the man had no way to follow her. He knew that the woman was not coming back. He relaxed and sipped some of the potion.
In his dream his master appeared to him in the fearsome persona of a giant black swan with a huge red proboscis shaped like a phallus. On the first occasion when his master had visited him in such a form, the man had thought him beautiful, but only until he witnessed the carnage the swan inflicted in its pursuit of sexual release and the voraciousness of its appetite for violence.
Thereafter, the man acknowledged the black swan as the most frightening of his overlord’s various aspects. 
The man knew that in following the instructions he had been given in the dream, he would find himself possessed of the necessary skills to do as he had been ordained and there would be no excuse for failure. He also knew better than to question his master’s methods or his purpose. If he violated the protocol, his Master would use him as if were a street whore and leave him in a simpering heap on the floor. And that was if his overlord was in one of his more benevolent moods. 
In his sparse and heavily accented English he asked the concierge to arrange a rental car. The clerk at the car rental obviously knew the man whose likeness he had assumed.
“A’right, Emilio!  Good tae see ya again.  Ma mates and ah hated tae see ya leave Manchester but ah suppose ya like bein’ close tae home and all. 
“And, too bad about the knee.  It ain’t no fun getting knocked up like that in what looks tae be a winning season.”
The man in the white and blue windbreaker had no idea what this was about, but he thanked the man and took the keys. 
“It’s the SUV at the curb, the one the lad is detailin’ for ya.” 
When the boy finished with the windows, he opened the door for the man to enter, and just as the man had expected, he knew exactly what to do with the key to make the strange motor carriage work.   He did not question how any of this was possible. It neither surprised nor excited him to find himself driving a metal beast called a Land Rover down a highway out of Edinburgh to Jedburgh.
He was doing his Master’s bidding and when the Master’s purpose was achieved, he would become himself again and would remember none of it.  He would be back in Naples in the company of his overlord who would assume his human form and reward him with ecstasies no women could produce.
 He followed the instructions given him  and made his way to Ferniehirst to deal with the woman whose picture was on the jacket of the book. He had a paper in his pocket upon which the Master had written the words La Donna Verde, the Green Woman.

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