Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Kris Peckerdale's Fay Fig Tree

Kris Peckerdale's Fay Fig Tree: Object Post 58



Source? Kris brought it from over there
Significance? It gave him a piece of home, and serves to hint at a side of his nature he didn’t often display
Fate? It still grows on the balcony at Over Here B&B
Author’s inspiration? I’d been eating figs!
First appearance? Calico Calypso (2018)

It even had a garden bed in a tiny enclosed balcony where he grew a fay fig tree as a portable piece of home.

In the mid 1980s, Kris Peckerdale lived at least some of the time in a tiny room on a top floor of Over Here B&B, the bed and breakfast establishment run by his family. His younger sister LeeLee and her husband Mal were the managers, but Kris and his brother Alex helped out. Since Alex’s lover lived Over There in the fay homeland and never came to the B&B, Alex spent much of his time away, so Kris took up most of the slack. He was single, and his part time job at a gallery and his work as an artist gave him flexible hours.
Most pixie men, and certainly all the ones in Kris’ extended family, were passionate and open to experience. Kris wasn’t sure what had happened to him, but at thirty he saw himself growing old before he should. The fig tree he grew on his balcony wasn’t a companion, but it gave him something to tend, and it reciprocated with fruit. When a delightfully self-possessed calico cat followed him home, Kris took it to his room to spend the night before he returned it to its owner. He showed it the mulch around the fig tree as a place to scratch if necessary.

Still holding the cat in his arms, Kris moved out to the balcony. “That’s where you can squat if you feel the need,” he said, indicating the mulch around the fig. He reached out, picked a ripe fruit and bit into the blunt end. The calico tilted her head back and gazed at him, then lifted an imperative paw to touch the fig.
“Not for you, mistress. Probably upset your digestion. You can have some fish.”
He finished the fig and bent to set the cat’s food on the floor. As he reached down the cat performed a graceful slither and somehow ended up draped around his neck.

Kris was fond of cats, so he indulged this one in its desire to act as a shawl.
Later, it decided to sleep on his bed. Kris woke up to a considerable surprise; the calico queen had shifted to her other self, a leprechaun colleen named Calypso Lindon. Calypso was a young woman of few words but decided opinions, and she’d decided Kris was an interesting proposition. As a mutable fay, she could manifest as either a tall redhead who worked as an exotic dancer, or as the calico queen. Unlike most muties, Calypso spent more time as a cat.
In the morning, she announced she was hungry.

Kris glanced at the cat food. So did Calypso. They looked at one another and laughed.
Kris walked to his balcony and picked two ripe figs, as big as pears and twice as juicy. He sat on the bed to eat his. Calypso bit the end off hers and sucked luxuriously at the pink flesh. She caught Kris’ fascinated gaze, licked her lips and said, “What?”

Calypso, having made up her mind, gave it to him straight.

“I dance at the club four nights a week. The rest of the time is for you.”
He thought about all that togetherness and wondered whether he was pleased or appalled. “But where have you been living?”
 “At the club, mostly. Made a nice nest in the wardrobe.”
“So you—”
“I do spend a deal of time in my calico form. Most of it, maybe. Will that be a problem for you?”
He was pleased then. Not appalled. Togetherness would be wonderful and not filled with unnecessary chatter. “It’s no problem at all.”

Kris and Calypso enjoyed more than a fondness for figs, and found they complemented one another perfectly. The fig tree went on growing but it had one more surprising effect that manifested more than three decades later when Skye Bakewell, a middle-aged halfling living mostly over here, accepted a fay man’s help to get quickly where she wanted to go over there. His name was Corin Peckerdale, and he embodied the best qualities of both his parents.

“Figs!” Skye said.
“I beg your pardon?”
“Your scent. It’s ripe figs.”
“Says the lady who smells like air-dried washing!”
“At least people don’t try to eat me.”
“No, they just think of bedding you in a billow of sheets…oooh…all right, lovie, pax.”
“Figs. I suppose it figures.”
“You can blame my revered parents for that. Dad has a fay fig tree and he and Mama enjoy them rather a lot.”
“At least they’ll stay regular,” Skye said.
Corin laughed and squeezed her hand. “Oh, they are very regular.

It’s not clear whether Corin is referring to the fig tree at the B&B or to the one at Peckerdale Grene where his mother likes to sun herself in her calico form, but fay trees being what they are, it’s likely one is the ancestor of the other.


Kris’s fay fig tree appears in Calico Calypso (set in 1986) and is referenced in Man Overboard (set in 2019).

 ABOUT THE BLOG

Sally is Sally Odgers; author, anthologist and reader. You can find you way into her maze of websites and blogs via the portal here.(Sally is me, by the way.)

The goal for 2017 was to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. 2017 is well behind us, but I ran out of year before running out of books. As of June 2018 I STILL hadn't run out of books, but many of those still to come are MIA by which I mean I don't have copies and remember little about them. There are more new books in the pipeline, and I'm certainly showcasing those, but in between times, I'm profiling some of my characters, places and objects. Thank you so much to everyone who's come along on this journey so far!

Monday, 30 July 2018

Professor Query's Daughtercaller

Professor Query's Daughtercaller: Object Post 57


Source? Professor Query made it when he acquired his daughter Erica for an extended stay while her mother worked overseas
Significance? It annoyed Erica. A lot.
Fate? No doubt the prof still has it, but no longer uses it… unless he has absentmindedly sired another daughter. To be fair, he made a matching fathercaller.
Author’s inspiration? I liked the name
First appearance? My Father the Mad Professor

Pppppppparrp! Pppppppparrp!
“What on earth is that?” I spluttered.
He put down the horn. “This is my patent daughtercaller, Daughter,” he said smugly. “Designed to fetch the deafest daughter.”

When Erica Query’s film director mum landed a three-movie deal in New Guinea, Kathmandu and Iceland, she assumed Erica would be thrilled. Erica, however, just wanted a normal life. To achieve this, she proposed going to stay with her friend Sarah Huppingdon-Fairfax. Mum has a counter-proposal; maybe Erica should visit her father in Tranquillity. He’s a vague professor, but Mum says Erica will like him… and she can always go to Sarah’s if things don’t work out.
Erica and Professor Oliver Query got off to a bad start when he failed to meet her at the station as arranged. He said he did go to meet her at the designated time. It devolved that Professor Query wore a 24-hour watch and had turned up before daybreak instead of in the late afternoon.
He also had a parrot named Quintus who spoke in rhyme, a terrible taste in food, temperate searabbits in the swimming pool, a spaceship in the garden and a telescope on the roof. His inventions infuriated Erica. They were either annoying (like the wake-you-with-a-song alarm clock) or forbidden (like the gliderbike).
Worst of all, apart from the food, from Erica’s point of view was the patented daughtercaller.

Just then, I heard something worse than a yodelling clock. It was a loud parping noise, magnified, like a thousand parrots blowing raspberries, all at once.
Pppppppparrp!
Like that.   
I nearly fell downstairs. I thought Martians were invading Tranquility, at least. But when I arrived in the kitchen, I saw my father holding  a horn to his mouth. As I watched, he blew it again.
Pppppppparrp! Pppppppparrp!
“What on earth is that?” I spluttered.
He put down the horn. “This is my patent daughtercaller, Daughter,” he said smugly. “Designed to fetch the deafest daughter.”
I dug my fingers in my ears and waggled them. “I’m not deaf,” I said, “but if you keep on blowing that awful thing I soon will be.”
He put away the daughtercaller in a drawer. I made a mental note of its location, so I could sabotage it later.

That’s not the last we saw of the daughtercaller, and eventually, despite Quintus’s distress, Erica departed to stay with her friend Sarah. This gave her the chance to experience bor- um normal -life with parents whose main mode of conversation consisted of yes dear and no dear. Erica’s note of propitiation to her father crossed in the mail with his apology to her and they came to an understanding. The daughtercaller was heard no more.


The daughtercaller appears in My Father the Mad Professor 


 ABOUT THE BLOG

Sally is Sally Odgers; author, anthologist and reader. You can find you way into her maze of websites and blogs via the portal here.(Sally is me, by the way.)

The goal for 2017 was to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. 2017 is well behind us, but I ran out of year before running out of books. As of June 2018 I STILL hadn't run out of books, but many of those still to come are MIA by which I mean I don't have copies and remember little about them. There are more new books in the pipeline, and I'm certainly showcasing those, but in between times, I'm profiling some of my characters, places and objects. Thank you so much to everyone who's come along on this journey so far!

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Tim's Fishhook

Tim's Fishhook: Object Post 56



Source? Either bought with Tim’s pocket money or possibly a gift from his parents
Significance? If aliens hadn’t stolen it, he never would have used his lucky belt buckle as a substitute and if the aliens hadn’t stolen that he never would have become the hero
Fate? It wound up as part of a dragon’s wing on a distant planet
Author’s inspiration? I needed something metal, portable, and likely to be dangled in water
First appearance? Hero (1998)

The next day I rushed down to the creek again. I watched the bees dancing as I cast my line into the water. Snap! The hook had gone.
‘Trout!’ I said.
I had no more hooks, so I used my lucky silver buckle instead.
Snap! The buckle had gone.
‘Follow that trout!’ I yelled and jumped into the creek.

The hero had just moved to a new home with a nearby creek. Dad took him fishing, and told him about bees and their communication, but it was on the morning he went fishing himself that the adventure got underway. His efforts to recover his lucky buckle took  him to a distant planet when he was abducted by aliens with a mission.

Just then the aliens who had kidnapped me rushed into the cave. They hummed and danced around. As they danced, they dropped things on the floor. They dropped my shoe. They dropped my fishhook. They dropped my lucky buckle and the coins.
The aliens danced a happy dance. They put the fishhook, and the buckle and the coins into the pottery bowl on the fire…

The metal-hungry aliens were collecting metal to melt to help a dragon with a broken wing… There was insufficient so Tim, remembering the derelict car on the creek bank, offered help to the aliens and salvation for the dragon.

Tim’s fishhook appears in Hero.





 ABOUT THE BLOG

Sally is Sally Odgers; author, anthologist and reader. You can find you way into her maze of websites and blogs via the portal here.(Sally is me, by the way.)

The goal for 2017 was to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. 2017 is well behind us, but I ran out of year before running out of books. As of June 2018 I STILL hadn't run out of books, but many of those still to come are MIA by which I mean I don't have copies and remember little about them. There are more new books in the pipeline, and I'm certainly showcasing those, but in between times, I'm profiling some of my characters, places and objects. Thank you so much to everyone who's come along on this journey so far!

Saturday, 28 July 2018

Kerria Logan's Cutlass

Kerria Logan's Cutlass: Object Post 55


Source? Kerria found herself unexpectedly holding it in her teeth while brandishing a sword in her hand. Ultimately, it must have come from Ben’s or Luke’s brain and, prior to that, it was in the air as a staple of the adventures they were parodying in their animated series.
Significance? It was a symbol and a symptom of Kerria’s existence
Fate? It was dismissed when Kerria returned to the grey place.
Author’s inspiration? It came to me via the same route as if came to Ben and Luke.
First appearance? Kerria Logan and the Pirate Caper (2003)


I was swinging a sword in one hand and clutching a cutlass in my mouth. The cutlass tasted pretty terrible, so I guess in was covered in pirate sweat…
“Arghhh!” I yelled fiercely, because that’s what everyone else was doing. That meant the cutlass fell out of my mouth. I caught it in my hand and swung it at the nearest pirate…

Kerria Logan was doing nothing in particular when she found herself in this predicament. All she knew at that point was that she was a heroine, her name was Kerria Logan and she didn’t belong on a pirate ship with a cutlass in her mouth.
Neither did she belong on Dubloon Island digging for treasure, acting as a stowaway or battling with a giant squid. She managed all these activities with aplomb, but it wasn’t as if she wanted to. She had no choice. Neither did the squid.
After she cut up a pirate’s hat with the cutlass, things went rapidly pear-shaped. Then, abruptly, Kerria was in a grey place, listening to two nerds named Ben and Luke plotting against her. That’s the way it felt, anyway.
Blink. She was stowing away on the pirate ship. She didn’t want to! The pirates were fighting, and one fell out of the rigging.

I scurried across the deck on my hands and knees. On the way I picked up the sword and cutlass dropped by the pirate when he fell out of the rigging.

Then she was trying to push a barrel over, so she could hide inside…

That’s when I ran into more trouble. I’m pretty strong, but no matter how hard I pushed, I couldn’t roll that barrel over. And there were pirates everywhere!
There was nothing else for it. I’d have to show myself. I put the cutlass between my teeth and jumped up onto the barrel, swinging my sword…
That was where she came in, and Kerria got increasingly frustrated. Eventually she figured out what was happening, how it was happening and even why. It just remained to find a way to stop it so she’d never have to hold a cutlass in her mouth again... unless she wanted to, of course.




 ABOUT THE BLOG

Sally is Sally Odgers; author, anthologist and reader. You can find you way into her maze of websites and blogs via the portal here.(Sally is me, by the way.)

The goal for 2017 was to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. 2017 is well behind us, but I ran out of year before running out of books. As of June 2018 I STILL hadn't run out of books, but many of those still to come are MIA by which I mean I don't have copies and remember little about them. There are more new books in the pipeline, and I'm certainly showcasing those, but in between times, I'm profiling some of my characters, places and objects. Thank you so much to everyone who's come along on this journey so far!

Friday, 27 July 2018

Jessie-Lou Bunby's Beehive

Jessie-Lou Bunby's Beehive: Object Post 54

Source? Jessie-Lou assumed it for her 1960s-themed Year Ten formal
Significance? It defined Jessie-Lou’s personality and attitude, and it also provided Cat Mahal with a cue for describing someone else’s hair
Fate? It flopped down after a dip in the swimming pool
Author’s inspiration? It seemed the kind of thing Jessie-Lou would wear
First appearance? The Peacock’s Pearl (2016)

[Jessie-Lou] had her hair piled up in a 1960s back-combed beehive (the theme was Swinging Sixties)

Cat Mahal, ethical witch, seventh-daughter-down, student at Caroline Court College, daughter, grand-daughter, and unofficial apprentice to kind-of-dead Elizabeth, had two best friends. Neither of them (as far as Cat knew) had any idea she was a witch or anything but their friend Cat Mahal who had a vague scientist for a mother, no visible father and a wonderful cat named Tish-Tash, but Cat loved them because they supported and completed the human side of her nature. Being with Sara and Jessie-Lou (and sometimes Sara’s superior brother Brendan George) gave Cat a mental break from witch-biz, and from worrying about her mother and kind-of-dead Elizabeth. Cat’s mother Cordelia chose to ignore witch-biz, but that was utterly different from being genuinely unaware it existed.
Sara Court was tall, fair, willowy, elegant and effortlessly aristocratic. Cat admired her aesthetically as well as finding her personality unabrasive. Jessie-Lou Bunby was small, curved, earthy, energetic and talked a mile-a-minute. She described herself as a pocket rocket, flirted with delivery boys, and wore outrageous clothing and false eyelashes. Cat, who spent so much time flying under the radar, admired her out-there personality and enjoyed her affectionate nature.
It was Jessie-Lou, inevitably, who dressed up for the Year Ten formal in full late-sixties go-go dancer regalia with white go-go boots, a mini the length of a cake-frill, thigh-high fishnet stockings, false eyelashes, pale lipstick and enough eyeliner to sink Titanic. She also sported the beehive, built up, backcombed and lacquered into place.
She looked amazing at the formal, but Cat recalled the way she looked two days later…

It reminded me of the way Jessie-Lou Bunby looked when I met her down at the local pool centre two days after our Year Ten Formal. She’d had her hair piled up in a 1960s back-combed beehive (the theme was Swinging Sixties which is why I wore that silver mini). Anyway, the beehive was falling down and messy. I asked her why she hadn’t brushed it out and she said her mum said her hair would fall out if she left all that lacquer on and she’d said that was so not true, and so she was leaving it on to prove her point.
Jessie-Lou is like that.
Jessie-Lou rules.
She’d rather be bald than brushing-‘cause-Mum-said-so.
Mind you, after a dip in the pool it all flopped down anyway, so the theory became, as Elizabeth might say, moot.

Cat goes on to describe the hair-do this reminds her of, which is one sported by Elizabeth back when she escaped Beckingham Castle in 1815

This girl in the flash [later identified at the teenaged bride-to-be Elizabeth after her fiancé died] I saw had hair like that; hair that was styled and then left to go feral. She was balanced on a window ledge of a castle. I swear, apart from the feral ringlets she looked just like the heroine on the cover of those vintage gothic paperbacks Grandma gets from the Swap-Shop. 

Jessie-Lou’s hair presumably went back to normal after her dip in the pool, though what normal meant with Jessie-Lou wasn’t easy to tell. Since she sometimes worked at her mum’s hair salon and took part of her pay in products, it was probably creatively coloured and put up or down in a variety of OTT styles.


Jessie-Lou’s beehive appears in The Peacock’s Pearl and is quite likely to turn up in later books in the series.

 ABOUT THE BLOG

Sally is Sally Odgers; author, anthologist and reader. You can find you way into her maze of websites and blogs via the portal here.(Sally is me, by the way.)

The goal for 2017 was to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. 2017 is well behind us, but I ran out of year before running out of books. As of June 2018 I STILL hadn't run out of books, but many of those still to come are MIA by which I mean I don't have copies and remember little about them. There are more new books in the pipeline, and I'm certainly showcasing those, but in between times, I'm profiling some of my characters, places and objects. Thank you so much to everyone who's come along on this journey so far!

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Cat Mahal's Wishy-Washy Top

Cat Mahal's Wishy-Washy Top: Object Post 53

Source? It was originally an ordinary top
Significance? After being left on a clothesline for a month it was revived by one of Elizabeth’s herbal washing balls
Fate? Cat wears it often and probably always will
Author’s inspiration? I’ve had a few “pet shirts” in my time, notably one with green treefrogs on it
First appearance? The Peacock’s Pearl

My wishy-washy top is the softest thing ever, like wearing a pure cotton cloud.

Cat Mahal is a practising ethical witch, loosely and unofficially apprenticed to her 5Xgreat grandmother kind-of-dead Elizabeth Frith Larssen. She is also a teenager, which means she’s subject to the whims and practical rulings of her determinedly un-witchy mother, Cordelia. That was how she came to leave her favourite top on the washing line for a month, which nearly did for it.
I indicated my ripped jeans and favourite top. The top used to be a vibrant purple, but it faded to a kind of wishy-washy blackberry stain colour last summer after I rinsed it out and hung it on the line just before we went to Lake Bunji for a month. (It was Mum’s roster at the Bunji Gardens. I wanted to stay at home with Elizabeth and Tish-Tash, but Mum wouldn’t have it. She said Elizabeth was too irresponsible to mind me for a month, but she’d be fine minding Tish-Tash. Personally, I think Tash probably minded Elizabeth…)
I missed Tash heaps and maybe I missed Elizabeth a bit.
When I got back the top was still on the line and it was as stiff as sandpaper. Mum said I ought to bin it, but Elizabeth said it was salvageable if I washed it (gently, mind you, Catharina!) with one of her herbal washing balls.
She was right. My wishy-washy top is the softest thing ever, like wearing a pure cotton cloud. It always smells good, too, and no matter what I do with it, it never rips or get dirty. Now if I could just fix the colour to something more attractive than faded-blackberry-stain…

Cat wears the top on her first venture along the moonstone way.
When it cleared, I realised I was still standing in the usual Elizabeth’s kitchen wearing my familiar over my shoulders like a comforting purr-fur shawl and a crystal amulet cool against the front of my blackberry-stain shirt. I had the glowing ball of light that was Lucy the gypsy’s gazing ball held out in front of me and, as I focused on the ugly peacock again, a ribbon of pale light extruded from the gazing ball and fell across the floor. I saw it extending on and on, pushing out like the sliding top of one of those wooden pencil cases, or a horror-movie frog tongue or pasta coming out of a roller.
What is? I began but I knew what it was really. This was the Moonstone Way.

Her favourite top ought to be comforting, but she soon finds the moonstone way has its own idea about how a young witch ought to be dressed, and it doesn’t include wishy-washy tops.

I grabbed with both hands, because it wasn’t my hair (unless it had grown a lot and gone blue) and the shirt under it wasn’t my soft blackberry-stain Elizabethed shirt (unless it had shrunk a lot, grown tight sleeves and dropped its neckline).
It is a peculiar feeling to find you’ve changed your clothes and your hair without intending to.

Cat Mahal’s wishy-washy top appears in The Peacock’s Pearl. Buy it here. (or contact me at sallybyname(AT)gmail(DOT)com for a PDF or ebook review copy.)

 ABOUT THE BLOG

Sally is Sally Odgers; author, anthologist and reader. You can find you way into her maze of websites and blogs via the portal here.(Sally is me, by the way.)

The goal for 2017 was to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. 2017 is well behind us, but I ran out of year before running out of books. As of June 2018 I STILL hadn't run out of books, but many of those still to come are MIA by which I mean I don't have copies and remember little about them. There are more new books in the pipeline, and I'm certainly showcasing those, but in between times, I'm profiling some of my characters, places and objects. Thank you so much to everyone who's come along on this journey so far!

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Lallie Steele's Bradman Pride

Lallie Steele's Bradman Pride: Object Post 52


Source? Lallie bought it sometime before her wedding in May 2027
Significance? In the first flush of off-on-honeymoon excitement, Lallie lent the Pride to her younger brother, Glen who took it off on the Outback Highway with bewildering results
Fate? The Pride, despite its adventures, came back to Lallie unscathed
Author’s inspiration? This was my forecast (at the time of its writing) of the way cars might be in the future
First appearance? Pride: Bridgeover Sundown

Glen Steele is driving through the night, driving a rough red road that's straight as a pencil. The sleek Bradman Pride's headlamps glare over the road ahead, glinting now and again in the lambent eyes of a kangaroo. Cocooned in the low lean cab, Glen hopes none of the roos will hop across the road. He hasn't the stomach for needless slaughter, and "slaughter" won't be the word for it if sister Lallie finds a roo-shaped print on her precious car's deflector.
The Bradman Pride is an anxious nanny of a car that never misses an opportunity to remind Glen of his economic best-path and his civic duty. It is a large, sleek, comfortable vehicle, but as it makes many of its own decisions Glen never feels much in control. In his mind, he sees it as yet one more personality trying to keep him in line.

Was this all there was to outback motoring? Where was the skill in driving this automated nursemaid of a car? Bradman Pride… make that a Bradman Nanny, keeping her little charge on the straight and narrow.
He braked, and the Pride smoothed down to another halt. It seemed almost surprised, and he imagined its fussy, nannified voice protesting that it didn't need to stop, fuel and air and water levels were well within acceptable parameters…
"…and you should always use a Sanitpak, my dear, for hygienic matters."
'Shut it,' he said to the Nanny and his own imagination. Who needed a living companion when he had a mind that conjured up mealy-mouthed motors?
The Pride had onboard mapping, a key-con, a pacer and a deflector. Glen found it less that exciting, but when he ended up dealing with a Crossley 14, he was all at sea.
As he peered and probed, he thought ruefully of the Bradman Pride, its self-satisfied subliminal purr, its cosy lines, its intelligent macrochip.

When he was eventually reunited with the Pride, Glen had learned a few things about life (after all he’d lived a few years in (maybe) a few days)…

Glen and the Bradman Pride appear in Pride: Bridgeover Sundown


 ABOUT THE BLOG




Sally is Sally Odgers; author, anthologist and reader. You can find you way into her maze of websites and blogs via the portal here.(Sally is me, by the way.)




The goal for 2017 was to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. 2017 is well behind us, but I ran out of year before running out of books. As of June 2018 I STILL hadn't run out of books, but many of those still to come are MIA by which I mean I don't have copies and remember little about them. There are more new books in the pipeline, and I'm certainly showcasing those, but in between times, I'm profiling some of my characters, places and objects. Thank you so much to everyone who's come along on this journey so far!

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Simon Knight's Armour

Simon Knight's Armour: Object Post 51


Source? It appeared by magic whenever Simon found himself in Braveria
Significance? It was a symbol of his status in that world and also a symbol of his obligations because it forever needed polishing
Fate? It no doubt lurks in Braveria awaiting Simon’s return
Author’s inspiration? Obviously a knight needs armour
First appearance? Knightfall (2001)

Simon scrabbled with strangely stiff fingers and shifted part of his helmet. Light flooded through the gap. He jammed his elbows into the ground and forced himself into a sitting position, staring in astonishment at shiny silver legs.
He'd turned into a robot?
Clank.
"Art thou feeling better, Sir Knight?"
Clank. Simon peered at the silver gloves on his hands. Then he had a closer look at his legs. "Hey, that's armour!" he exclaimed.
"Of course, Sir Knight! What else would thou wear on a quest?"

The armour might look cool, but it took a lot of maintenance as Simon discovered. The irascible wizard Bookerstaff, who was Simon’s mentor and trainer in Braveria, had strong opinions about its upkeep and no excuses were permitted.

"We must begin thy training without delay," announced Bookerstaff. "First, thou must learn to care for thine armour."
"I don't-"
"Silence, knave!" Bookerstaff waved the ladle. "That armour is a disgrace!"
Sulkily, Simon waited while Bookerstaff stalked around him.
"Thy helmet," said Bookerstaff, tapping it, "is dinted, and must be hammered straight. Thy boot is covered in dragon scratches, it must be polished. Thy greaves art dusty and must be rubbed with silk. Thy surcoat is marred by dirty finger-marks, and must be scrubbed with lye-"
"Those aren't my finger-marks," objected Simon. "Becca grabbed me on the haystack."
"Had I not, thou would now be dragon droppings," Becca pointed out.
"You don't know that."
"True," said Becca. "Such a flop-eared lout as thou would stick in the throat of the doughtiest dragon. Thou might make spittings, but never droppings."
Simon tried to think up a good retort, but the ladle was flashing like a baton as Bookerstaff continued to criticise. "Thy gauntlets creak, (jab) they must be powdered with corn-starch. Thy knee joints must be oiled with goosefat (rap). Thy breastplate (tap) will be burnished with sand, ashes and vinegar."
Simon considered asking if this was all, but he suspected Bookerstaff mightn't see the joke. It had been an exhausting day, and he feared it wasn't over yet.


Not only is the armour inconvenient, high-maintenance and uncomfortable, but it leads to strange conversations with even stranger characters.

"Relax, Sir Knight!" said the dragon kindly. "Here is a riddle. Why is it dark inside a suit of armour?"
Simon was usually good at riddles.
However!
#1   He was in a strange world.
#2   He'd fallen off his horse.
#3   He'd fallen on a dragon.
“I don’t know," he admitted. "Why is it dark in a suit of armour?"
"Because of the knight inside," said the dragon.

Also

Simon landed, helmet first, in a slithery, prickly mass. He wondered what he'd landed on. It couldn't be the ground. Armour protects a knight from lots of things, but not from being dropped by a dragon to land head-first in a yellow brick road.

So there it was… the armour was a pest and a problem. It wasn’t fool proof, but it was part of being a knight and Simon just had to get used to it.

Simon Knight’s armour appears in Knightfall, Knight Protector and Knight Triumphant.



 ABOUT THE BLOG

Sally is Sally Odgers; author, anthologist and reader. You can find you way into her maze of websites and blogs via the portal here.(Sally is me, by the way.)

The goal for 2017 was to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. 2017 is well behind us, but I ran out of year before running out of books. As of June 2018 I STILL hadn't run out of books, but many of those still to come are MIA by which I mean I don't have copies and remember little about them. There are more new books in the pipeline, and I'm certainly showcasing those, but in between times, I'm profiling some of my characters, places and objects. Thank you so much to everyone who's come along on this journey so far!