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Westercon 51

Actually, I think RR wins in the secret keeping department, because I inadvertantly gave away a little of Melissa didn't and the reverse. As far as who Araxie is, she's the daughter of Richard Haldane (Donal's half-brother) and the sister of the Hort of Orsal. Incidently, the Orsal family has some Deryni blood, as does the Haldane family thanks to Michaela and later Rhysel's granddaughter who married Uthyr (her names escapes me at the moment). Plus, if the Haldane potential can exist in more than one Haldane simultaneously perhaps it can exist in women too. So, I'd say Araxie definitely has some Deryni powers.

Some of what I included in my report came from Rob's interview. He asked about the status of Bride (coming next May or June), who the Bride is (we've already discussed this), her upcoming projects and the next Deryni project (Childe mention of 948 novel at the moment). The questions we asked that stumped Katherine are in my Report.


I don't know about that, but the CC is concerned about the genetics of Kelson's Bride. I think it's Vivienne who isn't thrilled at the prospect of a double-Haldane union when Cyan mentions Araxie. The council discusses several possible Brides, including Gwenlian, Noelli Ramsey of Meara (Magrette's descendants, cousin of Sidana), Orsal's daughter, etc.


> Cyan? Not a name I've heard before, is it?

He's a new member of the Camberian Council, and his homebase is the Court of Llannedd. (He's the one who has the dirt on Gwenlian and Prince Cuan and Araxie -- or thinks he does!)MH

> You must have been happy that Gwenlian was considered by someone!:)

One of the things Rob talked about over dinner last Friday (Was it already that long ago? :( The whole Con felt like it lasted about 20 minutes!)was the Torenthi Royal family which consistantly intermarries with their close relatives from Tolan, Arjenol, Jandrich, etc,etc. It keeps their Deryni blood very strong and pure. God knows what it does to them in other genetic respects, though. I'm thinking that perhaps a Haldane-Haldane marriage will tend to make the Haldane potential even stronger. It's never happened before and it should make for some interesting princes and princesses from Kelson and Araxie! :)


We asked Katherine if there's a Portal at Coroth and she said that's definite yes or no answer. There's obviously something there because that castle is a definitely some kind of Construct. Perhaps the secret to the non-Portal teleporting is related to the disappearance at the Green Tower? Perhaps the Green Tower is the place to read Codex in order to decode the secret messages like about Camber/Alister?

If I remember correctly, Katherine more specifically said that she hadn't made up her mind about that yet. She noted that there was plenty of potential for one being there.
Scott Norton

So we have a definite maybe! :) She DID mention in passing that Kelson says they have to BUILD a portal in Coroth if they can't find one, but that is tricky, as the CC has pretty much forbidden Arilan to help them build one.

I too, think I shall begin chronologically with my report, now that the most burning question has been answered! Susan and I and Susan's mother met up at a panel late Thursday afternoon thinking that there would be a general free-for-all for Deryni fans to discuss Bride and Codex. Well.... Much to our surprise and disappointment, KK LEFT after the panel was over before we'd had a chance to ask her any questions. The meetpoint for Deryni fans turned out to be Susan and I excitedly discussing the Codex with one another and a few other fans sitting around watching us looking somewhat mystified, and asking "what's the Codex?" I had hoped half the convention goers would be there and that we'd hear some interesting new theories. Oh well. ;) Susan, her mother and I had a nice pizza dinner in Old Town San Diego, then returned for the reading. And what an incredible privilege and windfall that was! :)I knew that once she started to talk, nothing would budge me out of that conference room until KK left herself! Even after I was back in my room and in bed with the lights off, my brain was still going at about 99 rpms all night! :) Talk about food for thought!

The next morning the three of us went to a panel on Christian Fantasy, and the authors were asked if they thought "Christian Fantasy" was a contradiction in terms. The general answer I came away with was no. I spent much of Friday scribbling down my impressions of everything I learned about KKB in my notebook. (If I'd been smart, I'd have turned on the light and written them down the night before since I wasn't sleeping anyway.) Later, I attended a very dull panel about Gothic imagery in Fantasy, and decided that Gothic fiction was not my cup of tea, as I think Vampires have been grossly overused.

But I digress. The highlight of Friday was meeting Rob Reginald and his wife Mary. They are both very friendly, warm and funny people. The five of us had a wonderful four hour dinner with a long, luxurious discussion of the Codex. (It's definitely time to start combing the Codex for that funny bit Rob mentioned. I may not have found Bride's identity in there, but I'm GOING to find that funny bit!) Thanks, Rob and Mary! It was great meeting you in person! :) On Saturday morning, Susan and her mother and I attended a great panel on "Killing off your heroes." KK was about ten minutes late, and before she showed up, the panelists and the audience agreed that she was WAY too hard on her characters, namely Rhys and Bronwyn and Kevin. When KK showed up we told her what we thought and she laughed. She said that over the years, she's caught the most flak over Rhys' death. She said she did that because she wanted to show that just as in real life, good people can die in stupid ways for terrible reasons or seemingly no reason at all. And sometimes villains (like Hubert and Murdoch) get a gentler death than they deserve. Susan and I had a swim on Saturday afternoon, and agreed that discussing Deryni matters in a jacuzzi is the epitome of luxury. :) We were a little late for the Kaffeeklatsch. (Plenty of klatsch, but no kaffee, alas,) due to problems of getting up to the 14th floor of the hotel when all the elevators were both full and going down. She continued to talk about Bride, and for Susan and her mother and I, it was somewhat the same material as we had heard on Thursday night. (Not that I minded hearing it again!) But it meant that there wasn't really time to ask questions on other Deryni matters, such as Healer's, Healer training and what sort of remuneration a young Healer just starting his career could expect.

OOOPS! Sorry!
I'm out of time and I have to stop. Will continue at earliest opportunity,


Darn public machines! Sorry folks, the Cosmos is doing it's utmost to keep me from reporting all the myriad richnesses of Westercon as I keep getting interrupted at the critical moment whenever I try to post my reports! Time to petition Mommy Moneybags for a shiny new computer of my very own with Netscape capabilities! :)

Anyway, the interview.

KK's next two projects which she hopes to start later this summer (She's pretty much on vacation now until July 24th or thereabouts,) are her Joan of Arc book which is her second book in her Bantam contract, and a novelette/novelini ;)about the gargoyles which guard the cathedrals of Dublin. She had originally written a short story on this topic and was asked by her editor at Ace to expand it into a short novel. She felt that it was high time she wrote a book based in Ireland as she's lived there 12 years now. She says it's a tremendous departure for her and is looking forward to writing it very much as it is set in modern times and will include a good bit of humor. The Joan of Arc book is going to be a fantasy treatment of Joan's life, combining the legendary Joan and the real woman into what she hopes is a harmonious and interesting whole. I'm pretty sure we'll get another great "burning at the stake" scene at the end! ;)

The Childe Morgan books will be her next Deryni projects. She hopes to start them in about a year or year and a half. They will begin in King Donal's lifetime and conclude sometime before 1120. It is not her intention to link them right up with the place where DR begins.

RR and KK then opened the floor to questions. Three guesses as to whose hand went up first, and the first two don't count! I asked my question concerning Lady Alyce's will, and why she might have wanted to put limitations on her daughter's future marriage. KK looked at me for a long time and thought and thought and frowned a little. RR said "You don't remember, do you?" She finally said "No!" She then went on to say "I'm awfully sorry, but that was 25 years ago, and I just can't remember what I said!" Susan's hand was the next one up and she asked where Brion was when his father died and why he wasn't in Rhemuth. KK looked at Susan even MORE blankly and said "He WASN'T?" There was a copy of the Codex on display on the table where they were sitting and she took it out of it's box and looked up Donal's entry and was astonished to find that Brion WAS absent at the time of Donal's death! Susan and I stumped her and did it twice! I think RR really wanted to laugh, but was playing it cool. He had probably warned her about the two NG terrors Susan and Melissa who would be at the Con! :) We explained that we thought Brion might have been angry with his father about his infidelities and suffered from divided loyalties to his parents and that the two of them just generally didn't get along. She said no, that wasn't the case. She more or less re-confirmed that Alaric is Donal's son, but said that lust for Lady Alyce was not the overriding reason. There WAS a more selfless purpose behind it. It was something about wanting to provide Brion with a Deryni companion to help him throughout his reign and that Lady Alyce was the only full Deryni woman that he knew. After the interview, KK signed books and I now have three autographed copies! I chose one book from three different trilogies. It wasn't until Sunday though that I got both her and RR to autograph my Codex. I now have a signed SIGNED limited edition!

(Donald Lantzke, if you are reading this, there is no possible way I will EVER let you have my Codex now! I plan to be buried with it! :) But cheer up, you can always rob my tomb! Have patience -- you WILL get your copy of Codex eventually.)

Dinner with Roberta on the 4th. It was lovely to meet Roberta in person, too! The Casa Bandini was an excellent restaurant and very beautiful. Roberta warned us that the large Margaritas were big enough to swim laps in, so we ordered medium Margaritas which were merely the size of hot tubs. We had a wonderful talk about KKB and about the Convention in general until a Mariachi band serenaded us toward the end of dinner. Roberta, what did you tell me about the precise degree to which Kelson and Araxie are related? I'm afraid I can't remember the details. I didn't notice the effect of the Margarita until I got up to use the rest room. I wasn't really drunk as I felt in full possession of my faculties, but physically, I felt as if I'd suddenly encountered a gravity well! When Susan and her mother and I got back to the trolley stop outside the hotel, we saw about 20 minutes worth of fireworks in the distance. The station was empty and we had a pretty good view and didn't have to stand in a crowd or tussle with traffic jams afterwards. And that is the best way to see fireworks displays!

KK's Reading.

KKB opens with Morag, Mahael and Teymuraz all discussing Kelson's marriage prospects. They also talk about the need to marry off Liam once he comes home -- IF they think he is a worthy King, meaning one who is not too much under Kelson's influence and whom they can lead around by the nose. And of course, Mahael has NO ambition to keep ahold of the power of the Torenthi Throne although he has been the defacto King of Torenth for seven years, oh, no,no,no,n--(yes). The Camberian Council is also discussing Kelson's marriage prospects. Vivienne thinks he should marry the Hort's eldest daughter as the Von Horthy family has good teeth, good bones and they breed like rabbits. Arilan says they sound as if they were discussing the breeding of horses. They also discuss Gwenlian of Llannedd and Jolyon Ramsay's daughter Noelie (sp? I don't know if that's correct, but that's how KK pronounced her name)as brides for Kelson. Noelie's mother evidently had ambitions above her station in that she wanted to marry both Brion and Nigel and had to settle for Ramsay. If Noelie marries Kelson as Oxana wants, she can vicariously enjoy Royal status even if a few years too late. They talk about Araxie too, but it is widely believed that she's about to be betrothed to Prince Cuan of Howicce. And that's pretty much the meat of the Prologue.

Chapter one opens with the private wedding of Princess Janniver and Sir Jatham, Kelson's ex-squire. There are still some objections about the marriage so it is taking place in the Chapel Royal with the wedding supper being held in Kelson's private quarters. Kelson toasts the couple and tells Jatham, that with a princess for a wife, he thinks Jatham deserves a promotion and makes him Baron Kilshane, complete with Kilshane Castle with all the appropriate incomes and rents incumbent on his new station, yada, yada, yada.

After the main dinner, Kelson summons Rothana and asks her once again if there is NO hope for them to come together. She says no, and tells him about Araxie. Kelson is astonished to find that Araxie's rumored engagement to Prince Cuan is all a blind to throw Gwenlian's brother off the scent, and that she's not REALLY planning to marry him. Kelson finally realizes that HE has begun to accept her consistent refusals, and says he will at least talk to Araxie when he reaches the Ile d'Orsal.

When KK finished reading we were all silent, not wanting to believe she was done already. I howled "We have to wait ten months for chapter TWO!?" At which she laughed. Another person looked across at RR to whom KK had given the entire book on disk and snapped "Where are those disks!?" "And where's a computer?" asked somebody else. I think KK was highly gratified at our reaction!

Impressions of KK:

It is a wonderful thing to find out that someone whose talent you've always admired is also a wonderful person, and Katherine is. She was very approachable and friendly throughout the convention even though she was very much in demand. I didn't get introduced to her until Friday evening. Susan and I were talking to RR when she came up and he introduced us to her. She remembered having corresponded with both of us which was gratifying to MY ego, I can tell you! I had had visions of being introduced to her and saying something like: Fan Kurtz, big must I Katherine yours of be." Or find myself suddenly speaking in tongues or in Esperanto or unable to speak at all! No. She makes you feel right at ease and that she really wants to hear what you have to say. There is no "Ivory tower" feeling about her. It's certainly *NOT* a case of "Stay ten paces back at all times, and KNEEL when you kiss my ring, peasant!"

Wow! I wonder how many pages I've filled? I will post more if I remember more, but I think I've got the main stuff down.

Felicitations from the Department of Very Happy KK Fans,


Dear Folks,
Mary and I want to thank Scott Norton and all the good people at Westercon for providing such an enjoyable experience this past weekend. It was a pleasure seeing Katherine Kurtz and Scott MacMillan again, and finally to meet Melissa, Susan, and Helene (Susan's mother). The accomodations were great, the weather was perfect, and the ambiance delightful.

Katherine was particularly forthcoming at this convention, more so than I've ever seen her. I had never heard her read from her books before, and I found myself enthralled by a master story-teller. Bride has more humorous moments than KK's other work, and her circle of friends chuckled at several points as Kelson twisted and turned on the horns of his marriage dilemma. But where the rest of the utterly rapt audience only got to hear the first two chapters (out of thirty-five), Mary is now hearing the rest, as I read it to her each evening in bed, section by section. We're about a third of the way through the novel, and I have to tell you, it's as good as anything Katherine has ever done. We're now visiting Orsal, Kelson has met his intended, and...oops, can't tell you any more!

Katherine has asked me to do the end matter for the book, and to integrate the people and places from Bride into the Ballantine version of Codex. She should be able to announce a publication date soon, sometime in the spring or summer of 1999. Her next project, an historical fantasy on Joan of Arc for Bantam Books, will be started this fall, as will the new gargoyle novel for Ace. A sequel to The Temple and the Stone (with Deborah Turner Harris) is planned, but the Adept series is on hold for a year or two. The next solo Deryni project will be the long-awaited Childe Morgan Trilogy, dealing with the period from about 1090 through about 1115, and covering the later years of King Donal Blaine and much of the reign of King Brion. There will probably be a third anthology of Knights Templar stories forthcoming in a year or two.

But the highlights of the con for me were the dinner we shared on Friday evening with Melissa, Susan, and Helene, and the breakfast we had on the following morning with Katherine. I enjoy talking to people, and good company always makes these occasions shine. Although I have to admit, it was fun seeing two middle-aged authors, KK and I, trying (in some cases, unsuccessfully) to answer M & S's questions at the Saturday interview session. They're just too sharp for us!

So let's definitely do this again sometime. Perhaps there'll be a few more things to talk about in a year or two, both on this group and in person.

Thank you again:

Robert Reginald

Extra news picked up from the newsgroup, a posting by Melissa, about a sub-plot in KKB. This is information from KK at Westercon, but previously untold in an effort to keep some of the book secret.

In VERY broad generalistic terms, a large subplot of KKB deals with Kelson's efforts to make Nigel acknowledge Prince Albin as his heir since he has plans for Rory's future. Rothana is bringing up her son, but has promised him to the church when he is old enough to become an oblate.(Albin's only two or so at this time.) Nigel wants nothing to do with Albin, being still angry with Conall but with Araxie's help and Meraude's, Kelson brings him around.

Rhidian appears in this book, but according to KK, she didn't conceive during the Cruaidh Whatever (Sorry, I can't remember how to spell it!).

Lots of people get married in this book including Araxie's sister, but Dhugal and Derry are still bachelors at the end of it. KK said there would be another Kelson novel in the future, and she'd deal with Dhugal's future then.

Felicitations from the Department of Wishful Thinking,


Westercon news page one.