A Family Jewel Box

image from Etsy, AFretailers

The Forester Family is a large family, as many Victorian families were. Also like many large families, there are some secrets being kept. Amethyst I’ve already introduced in Main Characters. Here, if you’d like to explore is a quick run down of all the other Forester Family members:

Alan Forester; father, merchant.
Louise Forester; mother and 11 years her husband’s junior.
They had a jewel box of children and a secret that is hinted at in Shades, surprises Amethyst and Jensen in Echoes, is revealed in Twists, and resolves in Flights.

Sapphire; the eldest, now mother to the expanding Doherty family. Sapphire is the most straightlaced of the family, she know the secret, but never tells, and features in Shades.

Jasper; a serial entrepreneur and happily unmarried. Though mentioned earlier, we see him most in Twists.

Jade and Amethyst; Aether enthusiast twins, Jade is no longer with us. Which is one of the secrets maintained in Shades, but the truth comes out in Echoes, which is where we learn most about Jade. Jade surprised me. I will also admit, that some of what Jade is more dictated by the morals of 1875 than my view point.

Emerald; the sweetheart finding her feet in the world. Emerald is an innocent who sees people for who they are. She marrieds for love in Speed, and it is no hasty decision, but we all know inter-racial marriage was never easy and her innocence may not last as long as one would hope.

Ruby; the headstrong girl who chaffs at being the ‘baby’ of the family. Ruby is seen in Twists, but explodes onto the scene in Flights. Being headstrong is the thing that sees her through when the world opens her eyes to the truth was what is over the childish vision of what adulthood and marriage means.

It’s a big family of vivid individuals who reveal themselves and their truth over the course of the series. And one last thing – there’s still a secret to this family I haven’t revealed, but you’ll need to read the books to discover that.

The Main Characters

This is a quick overview of the main characters in the Aether Chronicles series.

Amethyst Forester

Middle child in the family of six children, she’s still the middle child as she one of twins born in the third ‘batch’. She’s independent, curious and intelligent. Which means she is uncomfortable with the restrictions of Victorian England, and the expectations her family put on her. The one thing they can’t control is who she choices to be friends with. Ever grateful to live in an age of wonder, making friends with Professor Richards was a boon, and his teaching really opened her eyes to the science of Aether. Aetheric power is one of the greatest wonders, the possibilities seem endless, so why wouldn’t she explore them?

Maker

Lord Fotheringham, the Fifth Earl of Umbria is a man of duty and honour, finds his life as constricting as the starched collars his valet sometimes ties deliberately too tight. He takes his role in the House of Lords very seriously; he takes everything seriously, too seriously. Including wedding vows and a marriage, a wife he can’t abide, but can’t leave either. His only pleasures in life are the few true friends he has. Friends like Professor Richards, and why not his interesting young protégée?

Jenson

Detective Inspector Dean Jenson. He’s got through life by being dutiful and diligent; becoming a policeman was a natural choice. When called to Belgravia Square because some slip of a girl thinks that a man who died of natural causes has been murdered, why wouldn’t he go? Even if only to allay a young girls fears.

Great-Aunt Flora

Best described in her own words: “I am eighty-eight years old, young lady. I have outlived three husbands, four children and even two grandchildren. I will not waste my time on being nice when there are faster ways to live.” Watch out for her cane – it bites!

The Final Countdown

Flights (Book 5)

The price of saving London was too much for Amethyst. Now can no longer save herself, so she gives herself up to the one man she knows is behind it all, and heads to the sinister Redland Academy.

When she arrives, she discovers Maker and Reba are there, a married couple now. Worse though is the discover that Jenson is there too, though he has no memory of her, and a new fiancé in tow.

Forced to work towards an impossible goal to satisfy the dreams of a madman, Amethyst must come to terms with the truth of her past and the uncertainty of her present if she’s to have any hope of a future.

As her communion with the aether grows ever stronger, her physical strength drains away to almost nothing.

Can Amethyst save the people she loves? And if she does, will it cost her everything she is?

A Twist in the Sky

Twists (Book 4)

Violet Maker is dead. Benjamin Maker is missing.

This time when an Inspector calls, Jenson isn’t making a social call. When Chief Inspector Rosyth joins the fray, it’s clear that Amethyst is the number one suspect in murder and the missing person case. And Rosyth isn’t going to go easy on her, not when he can see it upsets Jenson.

The rest of London is upset by the appearance of vortices in the sky that raise the winds and suck in anything that’s not nailed down. A surprise commission to find and stop the twists does nothing to ease the burden on Amethyst.

Finding out what happened to Maker is Jenson’s job while he’s under orders not to interfere with Rosyth’s investigation, not to interact with Miss Amethyst Forester. 

Only Amethyst isn’t about to let a few unfounded suspicions stop her, and soon she’s figured out enough about the appearing vortices to invent a machine to find them as they form.

After saving Amethyst from jail, Jenson has to save her from herself in her investigations, though he can’t save himself, and not just from loving her.

Amethyst can save London, but can she afford what it’s going to cost her?

Rushing Headlong

Speed (book 3)

Amethyst rushes headlong into innovation and intrigue.

When their secrets are threatened in London, the Makers leave the country. Inspector Jenson heads out too, hunting dangerous traitors.

Even with her twin brother restored to her, Amethyst is left feeling alone. In an effort to divert her, Jade takes Amethyst to a seminar on a new design for an aether engine which should revolutionise the power input/output ratio.  There she meets Dr Reba Goldberg, a tenured professor at MITAD – Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Aetheric Department. Despite an initial misunderstanding, the two women become friends and work well together on a new design incorporating the focussing power of Aether for the engine to increase maximum propulsion. When their success draws interest from a private investor to test the engine’s capabilities on Pendine Sands, a trip to Wales is called for.

It’s a surprise to discover that the private investor is none other than Lady Violet Maker’s father. A bigger surprise comes when he insists that Amethyst and Great Aunt Flora – yes even Gladstone the mechanical moggy – come to stay in his house. That’s when the real fight to survive begins.

When the elements of her life come crashing back together, it’s not just Amethyst who’s in danger. Though it feels like her heart is breaking. Maker remains devoted to his wife, the truth of her comes crashing to the fore. Then Jenson is pulled into the mix, and into the arms of Reba Goldberg – his lost love!

Alone again, Amethyst is drawn into a high-stakes game of engines and intrigue, some people will try to change history forever.

Not the House Party Expected

Echoes (Book 2)

Find the missing inventor, evade a poison proposal, foil a treasonous plot, save a monarch. Not the house party Amethyst expected.

Delighted and honoured to be invited to a house party, Amethyst accepts as she’s never been to one before. Great Aunt Flora insists on coming as her chaperone. Only Amethyst can’t leave the poor injured cat she’s taking care of. Gladstone, the cat, makes a surprising addition to the party.

When the household shows upsets of the past, Amethyst suggests proper investigation. Including the suggestion that Inspector Jenson of Scotland Yard might be just the man for the job.

With Jenson’s arrival, Amethyst feels less alone in the house, less out of her depth. As Jenson uncovers the facts, not to mention covering a related conspiracy to kill the Queen, the discovery of what was so precious and had been missing from Amethyst’s own life shocks and distracts her.

Desperate for the truth, their host allows a seance, the fallout of which surprises everyone. Armoured with the truth, it becomes a race to return what has been lost and stop a conspiracy in it’s tracks.

Not Drunk

Amethyst Forester is called Amethyst for the very simple reason that I like amethysts. 

Recently I was visiting St David’s Cathedral in Pembrokeshire, and I noticed that in the treasury is a chalice inset with lots of amethysts. Because I like amethysts, I noted a lot of amethysts get used on medieval chalices and other drinking vessels which led me to wonder why. 

So, when I got home. I searched the question on the internet. What I found out surprised me.

The name Amethyst comes from the Greek where a- is an indication of “not” and methysko means “intoxicate”. Thus, Amethyst means “not to intoxicate”, i.e. not drunk. You can see why the stone was used on so many drinking vessels. Also, if you had a whole goblet made of amethyst, it would look like you were drinking wine even when not.

Amethyst may also have been used in chalices because it stood for one of the Twelve Tribes of Israel, the tribe of Dan, and because it was one of the twelve precious stones on the breastplate worn by Aaron.  The colour may also represent Christ.

Whatever the reason it was used, I love the idea that my favourite gem is all about not getting drunk. Now I’m going to go have a glass of wine.

Money, A Mansion and A Mystery

Shades (Book 1)

Amethyst Forester inherits money, a mansion and a mystery.

This is the start of an adventure Amethyst never expected. She’s a scientist, not a lady. She’s also a student of Aetheric Scientist Professor Richards, all be it not at the university. What she definitely isn’t expecting is to make friends with a aristocrat.

But that’s what happens when she meets Benjamin Maker, Lord Fotheringham, Fifth Earl of Umbria, Professor Richards neighbour.

She doesn’t get on quiet so well with his wife, Violet. Which only gets worse when Professor Richards is found dead. His bequeath of the house to the dual ownership of Amethyst and Maker only makes things more awkward. Not exactly smoothed by the new arrival of Great Aunt Flora, who unilaterally decided to come chaperone Amethyst.

Amethyst is convinced the professor was murdered, which brings Inspector Dean Jenson of Scotland Yard to the house. He takes some convincing that the death was suspicious.

Things get complicated when Amethyst takes her first tentative and unsteady steps into high society, the reason for the murder evades detection, and house invasions persist.

That’s the general storyline anyway, but there are a lot more details in the book, and of course, a lot more introductions. The shades in question are two-fold here. There are the lampshades that become obvious on page two, and Sanderson’s interest. Then there are the two women that Maker is most concerned about, Amethyst and Violet. Both are women that have caught his romantic interests at first glance. Both are named for shades of purple (yes it is the authors favourite colour).

Look out for absent twins, rich playgirls, and a family secret that drives more of the story than you might expect.

Aether Chronicles

Aether Chronicles is a five-book series that tells the story of Amethyst Forester and her adventures in aether and high society.

The five books are Shades, Echoes, Speed, Twists and Flights.

Over the next few blogs I’ll introduce you to the books, and perhaps as importantly to the main characters.

Amethyst Forester, Benjamin Maker, Dean Jenson, Great Aunt Flora, Roberta Davenport and not at all least, Blanchard.

I’ll also tell you about the journey, so here goes.

I tried to get Shades published traditionally, but couldn’t get an agent, and therefore couldn’t be access to the big publishers. I couldn’t get any small publishers interested in it either.

So, I decided to self-publish. I spent a fortune on covers and put “Shades of Aether” the first book up on Amazon. It didn’t do well, but then I wasn’t advertising it. I didn’t know how. But still I put the second on up “Echoes of Aether”. I sold enough when I did book fairs, but not enough to cover my costs for the editing and the covers.

Then I saw an open submission for an American publisher who specialise in science fiction and fantasy, Aethon Books. They actually took the books on. Had to completely re-edit the first two—which I have to say made them inordinately better. Then I had to write the last three. Which I did and they, in turn, have now been published.

I love this series, and I hope readers do too.

Shades, Echoes, Speed, Twists, and Flights, click on the title to go to the book on Amazon.