Kindle X-Ray and the Vaetra Unveiled Cast of Characters

One of my beta readers for Vaetra Unveiled suggested that I include a glossary of character names in the book. It was a good suggestion, but I was so wrapped up in revisions that I forgot about it until after the book was published. However, it’s never too late to publish the information on the Internet! I think character summaries would be a nice “extra” to offer my readers on the Vaetra Chronicles web site.

Reading with X-Ray Eyes

I decided to embark on this project because I recently learned about a new Kindle feature called “X-Ray.” This new feature makes putting the effort into publishing character summaries more worthwhile to writers (and more accessible to readers) than ever before.

Amazon introduced the X-Ray feature with some of the newer Kindle devices. It lets you display character summaries and find locations in the book where a character or location name is referenced. Not all books have X-Ray information available for them. It seems that Amazon generates it on-demand. Some readers report that a book may start off without X-Ray, but then some time later, the features is suddenly available. Some readers also claim that they use the availability of X-Ray as a factor in their buying decision.

I did some research and discovered that X-Ray is enabled through the download of a separate special file to the Kindle e-reader. Amazon apparently gathers information about the characters and places in the book from Shelfari and Wikipedia, cross-references the names to locations in the book, and stuffs that information into the X-Ray file. [For those who don’t know, Shelfari is a book information database containing book metadata related to characters, places, and more. Kind of like an IMDB for books.]

So, it looks like the first thing I need to do to enable X-Ray on my titles is to make sure I enter “book extras” into Shelfari. After that, it might be only a matter of time before Amazon generates an X-Ray file. I also have seen third-party x-ray file generators, but I haven’t tried them so I don’t know how reliable they are. The theory is that readers could side-load the generated file onto their Kindle and thereby enable X-Ray features for the title. Would readers bother to do such a thing? I have no idea. I may eventually try it myself and offer the files as a download on the Vaetra Chronicles web site until/unless Amazon generates the file for me.

Since KDP has direct tie-ins to Shelfari from Author Central and Amazon uses the information for their X-Ray feature, populating Shelfari with information about my books seems like a good use of my time. As a bonus, I should be able to reuse most of what I do on the Vaetra Chronicles web site.

The Characters of Vaetra Unveiled

Vaetra Unveiled CoverThe Shelfari effort will take a while. In the meantime, I thought I’d share a simple character glossary here on my blog. What follows is a list of characters from Vaetra Unveiled along with a brief description of who they are. This list may eventually make its way into the book itself as an appendix. If you have already read Vaetra Unveiled, I hope you enjoy a brief trip down memory lane. If not, perhaps learning something about the cast of the story will inspire you to give it a try! Don’t worry: the character descriptions do not contain story spoilers.


Jaylan Forester: An innkeeper and sometime mercenary swordsman who is the former Captain of the Imperial Guard in the town of Northshore. He is the lead character of the Vaetra Chronicles.

Sulana Delano: A Sword Sorceress from the sorcerer’s enclave known as the Archives who leads a team of agents on missions into the “mundane” (non-magical) world. She is a main character of the Vaetra Chronicles.

Talon Destry: The Swordmaster of the Archives, he is the lead trainer of the Archives guardians and agents. Talon is a member of Sulana’s team of agents. He is her second-in-command and mentor.

Barek Hunter: Barek is a Winterman, a “barbarian” from the northern tribes. He is a skilled tracker and a member of Sulana’s team.

Daven Prost: Daven is a childhood friend of Sulana’s and a member of her team. His primary responsibility is to keep the Sword Sorceress safe, and he takes that responsibility seriously.

Ebnik Vlastorus: Ebnik is a powerful wizard who has retired from service to the Archives. He temporarily joins Sulana’s team to help recover a magical artifact that was stolen from him.


Paeter Thoron: Paeter Thoron is an unscrupulous sorcerer who was expelled from the Archives years ago for performing dangerous experiments on unsuspecting subjects. He is the primary antagonist in Vaetra Unveiled.

Supporting Characters  (in order of appearance)

Borlan Koster: Captain of the Northshore chapter of the Raven Company mercenary organization. He is Jaylan’s boss when Jaylan gets contracts through the Raven Company.

Dela Onsul: The daughter of Griz and Luma Onsul, owners of the Snow Creek Inn in the town of Northshore.

Luma Onsul: The owner of the Snow Creek Inn in the town of Northshore. She is a widow who runs the Inn with the help of her daughter and Jaylan Forester.

Raleb Barker: A young thief who steals a magical artifact and is chased by the Sword Sorceress and her team. He is the informally-adopted son of his mentor Donal Barker.

Jorj Berman: A Northshore city guardsman and former co-worker of Jaylan’s.

Meghan Astral: A reclusive healer who lives near the village of Dunver.

Donal Barker: A master thief who conspires to steal a magical artifact with the assistance of Raleb Barker.

Meldon Wright: A young apprentice swordsman who works for the Raven Company.

Rakerus Pollard: The Captain of the Imperial Guard in the town of Northshore.

Greta Overland: Wife of Jergen Overland and mother of Tam Overland. She runs the Overland Mercantile shop in the town of Delta.

Alain: Teenaged friend of Tam Overland. His father is the wainwright in the town of Delta.

Kefer: One of two Raven Company guards hired to escort a wagon from Delta to Plains End.

Peltor: One of two Raven Company guards hired to escort a wagon from Delta to Plains End.

Tam Overland: Teenaged son of Jergen and Greta Overland.

Penny Peal: Owner and operator of the Eagle’s Rest boarding house in Delta.

Jergen Overland: Owner of Overland Mercantile in the town of Delta.

Arinot: An Archives scholar who is hypersensitive to the sounds of vaetric manifestations.

Jake: The driver of the wagon that Kefer and Peltor are hired to escort from Delta to Plains End.

Edanos and Sati Traga: A young couple who live in the fishing village of Buckwoods.

The book includes several other characters who are referenced by name only, but they don’t contribute materially to the story.


What do you think about character glossaries? Do you read them or use them for reference when they are available? Would a book having/not having one influence your decision to buy? If your Kindle supports X-Ray, do you use it? Tell me in the comments!


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  1. That’s interesting about the x-ray feature. Something of which I wasn’t aware.

    I like character listings. They almost become essential to the reader as the cast of a novel or series grows larger and larger. It’s something I added to my own novels not too long ago. I think it’s one of those ‘extras’ that makes the novel a bit more than just a book and something more akin to an experience.

  2. Hi Scott! Thanks for dropping by.

    I just learned about X-Ray recently on KindleBoards, and that got me thinking about the character glossary again.

    I like your idea about making the novel more of an experience than "just a book." We put a lot of time and energy into creating our worlds and characters. We might as well share some of that info with our readers. Perhaps doing so will be the extra little thing that helps a reader become a fan. 🙂

  3. Absolutely. I created a site ( where I showcase my world to readers but it’s also for me so I can keep track of everything. 🙂 I got tired of having everything scattered around my hard drive and various notebooks, so this gives me a central, published location for most everything. It’s a work-in-progress, and probably will remain so for some time.

  4. I’ve found the Shelfari extras a bit frustrating. Readers can make changes to the descriptions, which is cool, but Shelfari autogenerates characters as well. The latter leads to glitches. For instance, one character in my book is named "Gwen Hegstrom." When I first looked at Shelfari, "Gwen Hegstrom" was on the character list, but so was "Miss Hegstrom." This redundancy was happening with several other characters as well. I kept deleting the extras, and Shelfari kept putting them back in. Eventually I just gave up and left them there1

  5. Scott: I like your "World of Uhl" site. I used to write articles related to programming techniques, partly for my own reference. There’s no reason I couldn’t do the same with my fantasy world building. I have a few articles of that nature on this site, but I don’t think they have much visibility here.

    Becca: Thanks for commenting! The experience you describe does sound frustrating. It’s unfortunate that Shelfari is essentially crowd-sourced. That undoubtedly leads to incorrect information about the book and spoilers. The last time I checked, no one had entered anything related to my book, so I’m at least starting off with a clean slate.

  6. Oh Cool! I didn’t know this about the X-ray feature. Thanks, Daniel. I love this kinda stuff, so think I’ll definitely be testing this out next time I upload a story. 🙂

  7. Very interesting! I’m definitely going to look into generating X-Ray/Shelfari support materials as I find the concept of offering the reader a deeper read to be appealing. Thanks, Daniel!

  8. Juli & Roger: Glad I could help! I thought it was a cool idea too. I found a few threads related to it on the Kindle forum and it appears that readers really like it. Plus, Amazon now states on your book page whether or not your book is X-Ray enabled. It would be nice to have that one little extra vote in favor of a purchase.