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  • mmholt548


Hello again!

If you read 'Fifty Degrees South,' you know her as Lavinia.

If you read 'PROTOCOL,' she's more familiar to you as Admiral Octavia.

Whatever her name, whichever her title, one thing is certain: she is a striking figure — a brilliant, charming, beautiful stranger from the far side of the galaxy.

And, as you know, she has another side too: a sinister one.

She's callous, obsessive, and cruel — with the icy, straight-backed demeanour of Charlize Theron and the taunting accent of Katherine Hepburn.

And if you are like me, you can't resist her, and you can't forget the image of her atop a storm-lashed skyscraper in a blue navy uniform, sniffing the rain.

Or standing majestically in the great stateroom of the Excidium wearing flowing white robes and pronouncing the Latin sentence 'Tibi grata sint omnia.'

And other unforgettable moments.

But was she always this way? Or did something happen to make her turn so bad?

In Book Four of The Burns Series, I intend to find out.

Dark transformations in space

You see it in the best books and films.

The lead character undergoes a change. He or she starts out as timid, foolish, selfish or naïve, causing pain for themselves and others.

But then something happens. The story forces these flawed individuals to change, to adjust their beliefs and behaviors.

The change usually goes one way, from bad to good.

Remember Rick in ‘Casablanca.’ First, he's a cynic, but by the end of the story, he's an optimist.

Or Phil Connors in ‘Groundhog Day.’ He begins as bitter and frustrated but ends up contented and fulfilled.

But in some stories, the change isn't heartwarming. Sometimes it goes in the other direction.

It happened to Frodo in 'The Lord of The Rings’ and Jack Torrance in ‘The Shining.’

And to Macbeth in Shakespeare's Scottish play.

And also to Lavinia-Octavia

Octavia, before she met me

The agony of a broken heart. The sting of humiliation. The desolation of failure and rejection. The crippling shame of a terrible deed inflicted in anger.

These are Octavia-Lavinia's kinds of transformation: a traumatic event that pushed her over the edge and brought to prominence the very worst aspects of her nature.

If you have ventured through the Burns Series as far as ‘SHALE,’ you know what I mean.

Something happened to Octavia — in space. It happened long before she set her pale, slender foot onto the scrubbed wooden deck of HMS Morgause.

And long before she met me.

In the Burns Series book 4, I hope to tell her tale.

At least, that’s the plan for now.

In time, we shall see.

Updates as I go — from aboard the Roman warship Herculaneum, deep in a lonely region of the galaxy.

In the meantime, thank you once again for joining the Readers Group. I never forget.

Until next time,

M.M. Holt.

ps: Want to comment on the post? Email me at

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Bill Schwan
Bill Schwan
26 mar

Answering the "What turned Azkadelia wicked" in the works of L. Frank Baum?

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29 mar
Contestando a

HI Bill, Ha ha. I never knew that the Wicked Witch had a fascinating past. Thanks for tip. Best regards, M.M. Holt

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