A is for Azra the advisor and lavender scented sheets


Today kicks off the month-long Blogging from A to Z challenge. As I said in the theme reveal last month, I’ll be focusing on connections and how we connect with each other. “A” took me a while to figure out. Then I realized–yes, of course! Azra, the advisor to Queen Vina in Taliasman. How can we connect with each other if we don’t have the guidance of good counsel?

Without giving away spoilers, let me say that Azra is the unsung hero of Taliasman. Queen Vina, with her sheltered life of wealth and nobility, would be unable to connect with Talia if Azra didn’t step in.

“My lady.” Azra looks up in alarm as I enter my chambers, and the sweet smell of lavender greets me. Try as I might to convince her not to use the precious oil on something as trivial as bedclothes, she insists that my mother slept on lavender-scented sheets, as well as my grandmother and great-grandmother. Azra says the lavender is spelled for protection and healing rest, and I admit I never sleep well on the rare occasions she leaves my side. She will tolerate no lowering of standards, not on her watch. I hid the bottle from her once in an attempt to save her from spending the household budget we could use to repair poor people’s roofs damaged in the latest storm. She clucked and found the vial on the first try. Her tongue-lashing scalded my ears more effectively than any of my mother’s lectures, and I apologized for my error. Since then, I breathe in the lavender with guilt and gratitude. I am the Queen Mother, the Lady, and the figurehead of the land. I am as flawed as any other woman, but my advisor insists I sleep on sheets scented with oil. (from Taliasman, all rights reserved)

We all need an Azra who will care for us and look after our best interest. Failing that, we need to be an Azra to ourselves. When was the last time you allowed yourself the rest and healing of lavender scented sheets, whatever they might be? Perhaps you need a few minutes of alone time, or the resolve to say, “No, I can’t take on more unpaid obligations.”

I find, as women, that often our lavender scented sheets mean the courage to say, “What I think, want, and feel, are both valid and important.” We are taught to put everyone else’s needs first.



Born to a destitute woodworker who wanted a son to carry on the family business, Talia grew up with one phrase on her lips: “If I had been born a boy.” If she had been born a boy, she would have been cherished, supported, and launched into the world with her father’s legacy. As only a worthless girl, she toils all day long to earn her handful of inferior grain.

Far away in the heavenly palace, Queen Vina receives a mysterious coin necklace from Nicodemus, teller of stories. Compelled by the throbbing heartbeat, she scours the earth to come across Talia, enslaved to a family who never wanted her. Rather than admit her motives, Vina purchases the girl with a sack full of gold. Furious, betrayed, and homesick, Talia endeavors to share her misery with the entire palace. Vina, afraid to confess her love, allows herself to become trapped in the role of brutal slave owner.

Talia, bred to expect nothing but misery, faces the first choice of her life. Will she accept love, even if it comes from an unlikely source? Or will she reject the one who offers her everything?

A Beyond Fairytales Adaptation of Our Lady’s Child

If you would like to be entered in a drawing to win a free copy of Taliasman (in exchange for leaving an honest review), please comment below with an email address, Twitter handle, or Facebook link where you can be reached. I will draw randomly from all commenters today here and on my Facebook post. You can also tweet @AnastasiaVitsky with the hashtag #Taliasman.

Winner(s) will be announced on tomorrow’s post!



8 thoughts on “A is for Azra the advisor and lavender scented sheets

  1. Wendy says:

    Ahh lavender sheets. I love the fragrance of lavender. I once had a bottle of lavender-scented somethingorother to put in with the laundry. I should buy more — haven’t thought about that in ages.

    Thanks for visiting me today. In case you don’t check back, I responded to your comment about the AtoZ banner and badge. You shouldn’t worry — I use the banner, but that’s just me; it’s not required. The leaders asked that we use the badge in our sidebar so that we are immediately recognizable.


  2. awesomesub says:

    Hi Ana, ‘connection’ is a wonderful topic to write about, since it is so close to what moves people and makes them happiest. Without it we’d feel much more lonely, at least I would.

    As for Azra, I can only agree with you, everybody should have one like her and I believe maybe most of us have one, but do not see what she does, or don’t cherish her for it. But when a woman (doesn’t have to be a woman, but I connect Azra with being a little ‘mumsy’), e.g. as a mother, is cherished and loved for all the care and love she gives, this is among the most wonderful ways of being. Well, and it definitely creates the most powerful memories if you have been with someone like her. Just think about who put a plaster on a scratch and kissed it better, or who simply hugged you and comforted you when you were sad, or who was proud of you for the smallest of reasons.
    So, being someone like Azra is awesome, that’s why I wish that I have at least some of Azra in me.




  3. Joelle Casteel says:

    Funny that you should pick Azra and the lavender-scented sheets, Anastasia. I was glad recently to find out that my dominant actually has no problem with lavender essential oils- He’s seriously allergic to so many things. He doesn’t actually smell the lavender- His sense of smell is all messed up by the fact that His nose was literally taken off in a car accident in His 20s- but I get to enjoy some lavender aromatherapy now.


  4. catrouble says:

    Matthew was my Azra in many ways as I was his. I try to be an Azra for my friends when I think they need it but don’t always succeed. Clean, scented sheets really do add something to restful sleep don’t they.
    Hugs and blessings…


  5. rozharrison says:

    What a wonderful post Ana! I think all of us need an Azra from time to time. Lavender scented sheets … heaven 🙂



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