Will Isabel be able to help her find it again?
There are now only a couple stories left in the final edit of book two. I'm so passionate about this volume and I really can't wait to get it into your hands. I want to promise an exact date, but at the end of the day, this is a passion project. Both my editor and I have full time jobs, and recently I've been doing a lot of traveling.
Quick aside, I was just back in Rochester the other weekend for a wedding. Not only was it a beautiful ceremony and one of the most fun weddings I've ever been to, I got to spend lots of time back at my beloved tea bar. In fact, when my editor picked me up from the airport, he had my favorite tea from Happy Earth waiting for me in a to-go cup. Forever grateful to him and all my tea bar friends, who I'm happy I got to see and catch up with.
But anyway, I'm happy with the work we've done on volume 2 so far, and while no one is more eager than me to see it released, I hope you'll enjoy these previews in the meantime. In this post, I discuss Elaine Chanteur, the talented noble you'll meet in a story titled It's My Voice and I'll Use it if I Want To.
We're banking these concepts now! I hope school is going well for Eduardo.
The Girl Who Can Do It All
"My eyes met with hers, though she was quick to look away. Save the freckles that blemished her nose, her skin was smooth and fair, contrasting against the loose curls of fiery red hair that tumbled down her back. She had long bangs and eyes that glimmered like the ocean on a cloudless day. Her head was topped with a flat, felted cap adorned with a stylish ribbon, which matched the rose-red shawl topped over her dress. It was white with blue accents, and fell to her ankles."
Name: Elaine Chanteur
Birthday: Novielle 18
Bio: The daughter from a family of knights, Elaine is known across the Aramore performing arts scene for her beautiful singing. But when she comes to the apothecary having lost her voice ahead of a big concert, Isabel will learn she wants more for her legacy than just singing on a stage. Elaine doesn't believe in "girly" or "boyish" pursuits, and instead just wants to do what she likes - regardless of gender. But first she'll need to find the courage to stand up to her father...
Likes: Fashion, horseback riding, and swords. Black coffee, dancing and hazelnut cookies. Her favorite color is blue.
A Fiery Ambition with a Cute Disposition
As a major trade hub off the coast, Aramore is a diverse and affluent nation. Not only is it the kind of place where orcs, dwarves and humans can all work alongside each other peacefully, it's also a matriarchy - ruled by a Queen. But it doesn't matter how tolerant of a nation you are, intolerance exists everywhere. As does prejudice and bias.
Elaine feels trapped - by gender norms and her father's expectations. But she has ambitions beyond performing for a faceless audience. There's someone she deeply admires, who she hopes to one day live up to. Luckily for Elaine, she meets a certain witch's apprentice who understands the feeling...
It should have come as no surprise, but Elaine’s closet was more spacious than I could have ever imagined. It was like having her own boutique, with a wide variety of clothes made from expensive dyes and fabrics. She had a color for every occasion, shoes made from wyvern scales and belts made from griffin leather.
“The most important part of picking an outfit,” Elaine explained while thumbing through a rack of dresses, “is first deciding the kind statement you want to make.”
“Right, okay.” I was only half-listening, still lost in wonder. How could one girl have so many clothes?
She plucked a dress off the rack and held it up to me. She considered it for a moment before shaking her head, and returning it with a dissatisfactory mutter.
“What about this one?” I asked, a coral dress with a long, black bow at the torso catching my eye.
“No, no, no. Enough with the bows.” I watched as her eyes flickered up to my hat.
“But aren’t bows just super cute?” I smiled.
Elaine just rolled her eyes. “The exhibitions are drawing nobles from all over. We should definitely try for a more mature look.”
“Exhibitions? As in, it's not just a concert?”
“Yes, I’m singing. But my brother will be sword fighting, too.” Elaine replied. “Father likes showing off both his children.”
“Well in that case, you should sword fight too! I mean, you’re so skilled. He’d have to acknowledge you.”
“Weren’t you listening earlier? There’s no way.”
I opened my mouth to protest, but Elaine thrust a simple white dress at me. “Try this on.”
It slipped off the shoulders and had lace embroidery along the hem of the skirt. Otherwise, it was very plain. The confusion on my face must have been visible, because Elaine continued, “A good outfit has layers. Trust me.”
“Wow, you’re pretty knowledgeable when it comes to clothes, huh?” I remarked as I began getting changed.
“Why do you sound so surprised?!”
I laughed. “Sorry, I just can’t get the image of you dueling your brother out of my mind. You were so cool! It’s hard to imagine that same girl is so fashionable.”
“I don’t see how that matters.” Elaine turned away to give me privacy and placed a strong hand on her hip. “Just because I like to swing a sword around doesn’t mean I also don’t like looking cute. Don’t you think we should just be able to like what we like, regardless?”
This is another one of those stories where Isabel is, well... Isabel. Big plans fall apart and hijinks are abound. But what I really like about this story is Isabel can only try and help so much. While she would do anything for her friends, at the end of the day, it's Elaine who ultimately has to find her own voice. All Isabel can do is give her a little push...
It's my hope that Elaine resonates with a lot of my readers, so please look forward to this story! And don't forget, Wis' Apothecary is now on Reddit and Discord! So if you have any interest, please feel free to join and help this community grow! I want to hear from you, and perhaps answer some questions.
While I haven't decided on the topic for my next blog post, our next introduction will be a blast from the past: Wisteria Amberfinch's childhood best friend. Without her, there may not have ever been a Wis' Apothecary. It's the book's longest story, and perhaps, the one I'm most proud of.
Until next time, thanks for reading!!