Thirty Days of Writing Meme: Day Two- Number of Characters

2.  How many char­ac­ters do you have?

Oh, an untold number of characters live in my head, awaiting their turn to be written about.  But I’ll stick to the ones in PORTRAITS  since they’ve been fully realized.

Just a quick glimpse at them:

1.  Anne- My fiery 19 year-old protagonist.  Lover of penny dreadfuls and Gothic Romances.   Upon discovering her ability in communicating with the dead, she sets her ambitions on becoming a prominent medium.

2.  Daphne- Anne’s cousin.    Chess player,  autodidact, polygot with an obsession with Tarot

3. Beth- Daphne’s taciturn younger sister.   Artist and poet.  Very strange objects can be found hidden in her room.

4.  Sheridan- Daphne’s charming, gambling husband

5.  Uncle Gerard- studier of the Occult.  Spends a lot of time alone in his study

6. Grace- the omniscient servant

7.   Mr. Raferat and Mrs. Brent- old friends of Uncle Gerard.   Learned in the Occult and practicing Spiritualists, they are more than happy to aid Anne in her pursuit of knowledge

8.  Mary- the very angry dead girl

Portraits of the Living: A Ghost Tale- characters

music playing:  Stevie Nicks,  Nightbird

Things are very exciting right now.  I have a full out on POTL (whispers this as not to upset the Fates), and have started researching and taking notes on my next supernatural suspense novel.  Before blogging about the new novel,  I wanted to write a couple of posts regarding Portraits, which will then be put together in a separate page.

The first is the novel’s cast of characters:

1.  Anne Durrant:  fifteen-years-old, imaginative, clever,  intelligent, yet often foolish.   Definitely not as sensible as she believes.   Booksmart, but has a lot to learn about the dangers of real life. Her insatiable curiosity is both her greatest asset and her worst, for it might get her killed. . .

2. Daphne Hoffman Stowe: thirty two- years-old, married, highly intelligent, poised, and stoic.  Loves science, history, and linguistics.   Despite her scientific leanings,  she is addicted to having her fortune read.  Fears an ominous reading from a Gypsy. . .

3.  Beth Hoffman:  Daphne’s younger sister.   The reticent spinster loves art, poetry, tarot cards, and waxen dolls. . .

4.  Gerard Hoffman:  Anne’s uncle.  Father to Daphne and Beth.  Scholar of the Occult.  What does he do in his study?

5.  Sheridan Stowe:  Daphne’s husband.   Uses his charm to get away with his drinking and gambling.  What does he feel guilty about?

6.  Grace Cullwick: the utterly devoted house maid.  The only servant who remained after an exorcism went frighteningly wrong.   Tender to her “family”, she is cold to all outsiders.

7.  Mr. Raferat:   Family friend.  Retired anthropologist.  Studies the occult.  Larger-than-life world traveler who relishes good stories and obscure facts.

8.  Mrs. Brent:  Widow.  Not-so-discreet lover of Mr. Raferat.  Devoted Spiritualist.  Overbearing and a bit daft, but with a great heart.

9.  Mary- the young servant girl who haunts the Hoffmans’ house.

Who are the characters in your novel?

Dion Fortune’s, “The Sea Priestess”


“I am the soundless, boundless, bitter sea;

All things in the end shall come to me.”


Violet Mary Firth Evans was born on December 6, 1890 in Llandadno, Wales.  At four years -old, she reported experiencing visions of the lost city of Atlantis. These visions, and the blossoming of psychic abilities, drew her to the occult studies when she was in her twenties. After becoming a member of both The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and the Theosophical Society, she formed her own esoteric group: Society of the Inner Light.


 Born to a family of Christian Scientists whose motto was, “Deo, non Fortuna” (God not chance), Miss Evans chose the pseudonym, Dion Fortune, and set out to transcribe her spiritual beliefs down on paper. Since witchcraft was still illegal in Great Britain, Ms. Fortune hid her magical teachings in the guise of novels. Her most famous, The Sea Priestess, was self-published in 1938.


Covering the themes of Hermeticism, reincarnation, and Atlantis, – it concerns Wilfred Maxwell, a bachelor, who is bored of his life tending to the family business and to his interfering mother and sister. Upon becoming afflicted with asthma, Wilfred takes to long bouts in bed. “As I lay there, doped and exhausted and half hypnotized by the moon, I let my mind range beyond time to the beginning. I saw the vast sea of infinite space, indigo-dark in the Night of the Gods; and it seemed to me that in the darkness and silence must be the seed of all being.”  Wilfred spends his nights staring down at the moon and discerning,  “I found that the more I dwelt on her, the more I became conscious of her tides, and all my life began to move with them.”

Soon after, Wilfred meets the cold and mysterious Vivien Le Fay Morgan, who claims to be a Priestess of Isis.  “Little by little, she learnt and built, always handicapped by the fact that the moon-magic requires a partner, and partners were hard to find.“ With the warning that she can never give herself to one man, Vivien enlists Wilfred to help her develop her magical image as a sea-priestess.

Months are spent at an isolated seaside retreat, communing with the sea and the moon. Discovering the hidden works of nature. Isis Veiled and Isis Unveiled.

At one point, Vivien stands looking out over the moonlit sea. Raising her arms, she sings:

“Oh Isis, veiled on earth, but shining clear

In the high heaven now the full moon draws near,

Hear the invoking words, hear and appear-

Shaddai el Chai, and Ea, Binah, Ge.”


Just when Wilfred is coming out of his shell, Vivien disappears, leaving him shattered. Time passes and Wilfred begins a tentative romantic relationship with the reserved Molly. He teaches her the rituals, and she blooms, finding her personal power, not as a sea-priestess, but as one of the earth. “There was awakening in her something of the primordial woman, and it was beginning to answer to the need in me.”

 Molly discovers that “All Women are Isis”;Wilfred begins his own relationship with the Priest of the Moon.   As a couple, Wilfred and Molly play out the themes of Hermeticism, and help bring  forth each other’s magical abilities.

Through destruction and sacrifice they are reborn.

Beth, My Witch

Traveling through the internet, I came across someone who commented that the Harry Potter novels were an insult to Wiccans.  Head scratch.  Huh? How can Ms. Rowlings be insulting Wiccans, when Wiccans, in no way, shape, or form are ever mentioned in any of her novels?

Then, I came across a review of Lara Parker’s novel, Angelique’s Decent. Ms. Parker portrayed the character, Angelique, in the hit 1960’s gothic soap opera.  The reviewer said that the character of Angelique (evil witch) was false because Wiccans do not perform evil spells.  One of the main tenants of the Wiccan Religion is: “if it harms none, do what you will.”  And they believe what someone does returns three-fold.

Okay.  True.  But, the character of Angelique couldn’t be a false portrayal of a Wiccan, because the character was not Wiccan.   The term was never used in any of the 1,225 episodes of the show.   Anquelique was born in the 17th century and practiced Voodoo.   Now, if anyone was to be upset about the portrayal, it would be a Vodounist, since the show depicted it in the stereotypical, malign Hollywood fashion rather than the complex, beautiful religion it really is.

Now, what does this have to do with the novel I am writing?  My character, Beth, practices witchcraft.   Psychic experiences in early childhood led her into reading famous occult texts.  She is a very gray character- using magic sometimes for good, sometimes for bad.

Beth wishes me to clearly state to any possible, future Wiccan readers that she is not a false/negative portrayal of you or your religion.   She lives in the 19th century.  Not only does she not practice your religion, she has never even heard of it.   Her actions-good, evil, and in betwixt-  have absolutely nothing to do with you.

Okay, now that Beth has (hopefully) cleared all this up- she is urging me to get offline and continue with her story.    🙂