Jasmine Angell's Blog

Imagination is freedom…on writing, self-publishing and all things fantasy


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Maleficent as inspiration for villain in sequel, Prism

Maleficent movie poster

Maleficent. When I first saw the previews to the new movie starring Angelina Jolie, my first impressions were: Angelina Jolie was made for that role, the special effects looked amazing and I was really sad that I had to wait two months until it was released to see it. Now that I’ve seen it, I’m happy to say it met all of my expectations and then exceeded them, in the most magical ways possible.

 
Like any good story, this one tells of Maleficent, a powerful fairy who is complex, surprising and utterly captivating. This ‘villain’ is a far cry from the one-sided character most of us know from the animated Disney movie Sleeping Beauty (1959). As a mother of two small children, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve watched the animated Disney movie (and I confess to humming the “Once Upon A Dream” song while I’ve made dinner on several occasions. Hey, it’s a catchy tune!). The Maleficent in the animated movie appears to be a true villain, without room for redemption, no sign of good. As a writer, I know well that there’s always at least two sides to every story and the characters who are cast as the villain or the hero is entirely dependent on whose perspective the story is being told by. To quote a line from that song that likes to get stuck in my head, “…visions are seldom what they seem…”

 
While my sequel, Prism, features the character Adante on the cover, it is her mentor, the Queen of the Venvian, who is the main antagonist at odds with the heroes of the novel. Atargatis is her name and she is powerful, cunning and lethal. When I was first creating her for Book One of the series, Luminous, I tried to imagine strong female villains and Maleficent was at the top of the list. She influenced my Atargatis greatly but to make Atargatis a fully realized character, I had to delve into her beginnings, which all villains have. Somewhere along the line, everyone has to make a choice between going down the path of good or taking the path of evil, and I think that’s part of what makes villains so intriguing – the point when they decided to choose evil. The more complex a villain is, the more believable and engaging they are to readers.  I fleshed out Atargatis’s history and even wrote a short story about the pivotal moment in her life that altered her future forever (I hope to release it on my website before the end of the year).

 
To get back to the movie, Maleficent, I was very pleased to see Maleficent’s character presented in all the complexity, mystery and magic due such an iconic villain. So while I don’t routinely review movies on my blog, the fantasy lover in me thoroughly enjoyed Maleficent and you should definitely run out and see it as well. You’d get there faster if you had a pair of giant black bird wings!

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Cover Reveal of Prism, the next book in the Psyne series!

I’m pleased to reveal the cover of the sequel to Luminous entitled Prism, available as a Kindle ebook on Saturday, June 28, 2014.  My graphic designer, Joanna Bishop, worked her magic on this book cover and I’m thrilled with how it looks.  Featuring the character, Adante, she brings drama and intrigue to Prism.  I’m a total font junkie and I love the customized font used for the title, Prism.  Self-published authors and publishing houses alike agonize over their book covers knowing that they are the visual representation of the story inside.  Book covers are one of the first and best marketing tools an author has to reach their audience initially, despite the adage “Don’t judge a book by its cover”.  It’s hard not to do, especially since human beings are largely visual.  For a self-published author like me, I feel like jumping for joy every time I see the cover of Luminous and this newest one of Prism because they are my dreams come to life, so to speak.  Seeing my name attached to an actual book cover is one of the singular joys of my life.  For all you aspiring authors, that’s what you get to look forward to and all those published authors, you know exactly what I’m talking about.  It’s surreal.  So over the next week, I’ll explore this topic of book covers in depth and share my own experiences with you as I get ready to release Prism.

prism front cover-final 1000


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Feature: The Mermaid of the Month is Shivan! (Part One)

For the month of November, I’d like to introduce you to the third Psyne who rounds out the trinity of mermaids in my novel, Luminous.  Her name is Shivan and she holds the position of mentor, a title that comes with much honor and prestige.  As mentor, it is her job to train the young Psyne in her charge.  She is the long-time friend of Ilauria, and while Ilauria is younger and has the tendency let her passions influence her, Shivan is older and wiser.  At thirty-five hundred years old, the golden blonde with the light green eyes still retains her twenty-year-old appearance but her many years of experience have tempered her judgment.  She acts as mediator between Ilauria and the volatile, Adante, but Shivan also harbors a deep, dark secret she has never divulged to Ilauria.  Like the other mermaids, Shivan has many layers to her character and Luminous gets at the heart of what she holds most valuable.  When the stakes are raised, Shivan has the power to end their rescue mission or to ensure its success.  Look for more on this fascinating mermaid later on in November!


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Feature: The Mermaid of the Month is Adante! (Part Three)

Happy Halloween!  To conclude the month of October, I’m posting one last Mermaid of the Month feature on one of my minor antagonists, the Venvian Psyne named Adante.  In Luminous, Adante experiences the wonders of ‘first love’ but it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.  For the first time, she’s unsure of herself and she feels out of control which is a sensation she’s not familiar with and doesn’t like in the least.  Many of us have experienced that feeling of ‘first love’ as well as the inevitable choice we face:  do we pursue it even though we risk getting our heart broken or do we shun it, at the cost of regretting the decision the rest of our lives?

For my Venvian Psyne, falling in love is extra complicated.  They are taught to hate humans, especially human men.  Adante’s emotions are confusing to her, to say the least. For the Psyne, falling in love with a human doesn’t mean there will necessarily be a happy ending.  Succumbing to emotions such as love is seen as far too human and is one of the cardinal rules strictly enforced in their society.  If a Psyne decides to become human in order to stay with the object of her love, she doesn’t need to seek out a sea witch for the spell.  All she has to do is use her own magic, denying her Psyne form and embracing her human form in its entirety from that moment forth.  But choosing love comes with a price:  by becoming human, she will have a fear of the ocean for the rest of her life and the touch of saltwater will always feel like acid to her skin.  As if that isn’t bad enough, there is the danger of being discovered by the Bahree, the Psyne Council’s secret police, whose job it is to hunt down Psyne-turned-humans, otherwise known as defectors, and take them away from their human love, torture them, convert them back to their Psyne form and take them back to the Council to be sentenced to an eternity of imprisonment on the exile planet, Dervitika.  If only love was simple…

Adante Trivia:  The inspiration for her name came from a fellow classmate I knew in high school.  Adante is an unusual name and to me, it exudes strength and mystery.  Names are important in fiction and this name fit my character like a glove.


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Feature: The Mermaid of the Month is Adante (Part Two)

In September, the Mermaid of the Month was Ilauria, but because the days got away from me, I was only able to do two posts total on her.  This month I’m going to be more diligent and post more on Adante.  Adante is the Venvian Psyne who is forced to help Ilauria and her friend, Shivan search for their missing sisters on Earth.  Although she isn’t the main antagonist in Luminous (there are far more formidable bad guys to contend with) Adante is Ilauria’s opposite in many ways which makes her a lot of fun to read about.  Adante’s physical attributes were taken directly from my all-time favorite super heroine, Wonder Woman.  I think I was four years old when I first saw Lynda Carter on TV with her golden Lasso of Truth and her red lipstick and I was a fan for life.  Adante has Wonder Woman’s deep blue eyes, pale skin and shiny black hair.  But that’s where the similarities end.  Our Venvian is full of attitude, outrage and angst.  When she’s not rolling her eyes, shaking her head with disdain or crossing her arms with an aloof flick of her hair, she’s using her whip-like tongue to put others in their place or “enlighten” them in her own unique way.  She detests being controlled, abhors censorship and rejects any restrictions to her freedom.  She excels at pushing people’s buttons, lives to break the rules and always thinks outside of the box.  Adante is all the things Ilauria can’t be and won’t let herself be because Ilauria is loyal to the Council.  Look for more on this dynamic character later in the month…I promise!


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Feature: Mermaid of the Month!

The Mermaid of the Month for October is Adante!  She is the antagonist to our heroine, Ilauria, which makes her one of my absolute favorite mermaids to write.  Being a member of the Venvian Psyne, as well as part of the Venvian leader’s entourage, Adante is the bad girl of the group.  It’s fitting that Adante’s month is also the month Halloween falls upon.  She is edgy, outspoken, and doesn’t back down to confrontation.  Due to her close position to the Venvian leader, she is privy to confidential knowledge that most Psyne are shielded from and Adante relishes in giving Ilauria an education she won’t soon forget.  With her long, straight black hair and sapphire blue eyes, she’s not only striking but is a force to be reckoned with.  In Luminous, Adante begins the rescue mission with a few preconceived notions regarding humans but as the story progresses, these ideas are suddenly thrown into question and she is left having to cope with the effect they have on how she views her entire life, not to mention her status as one of the Venvian.  Her character arc is not only dynamic but is revealing as well.  This stunning Psyne will also be gracing the cover of the second book in the Psyne series entitled, Prism, which will be released next spring.  Look for more on the mermaid, Adante, throughout the month!