AW April Blog Chain: Character Interview!

With a twist.

This month’s prompt: The Character Interview

As with last month, this will be two parts. Part one is optional: describe one of your characters in 50 words or less. Part two is where things get fun: have that character interview you! Using whatever format you like (Q&A, prose), make a little interview with your character as the interviewer and yourself as the subject. There’s no word limit, but do try and keep it under 1k for your fellow chain members’ sanity.

Now, this is interesting. Considering that for the past five years, I’ve been evolving my cast, I acquired more than a fair bit or two of characters that stand out. I am sure that I can do more than one such interview…but let’s see who jumps out, shall we?

The character du jour is…


Part 1.

She’s the unspoken-of mother of Arriella. Haughty, ambitious, domineering, and the quintessential “sore loser” – and she still kicks herself for losing the title of Empress by divorcing her husband. Well, actions have consequences, of course…but someone tell her that.

Part 2.

What are you wearing?”

I lift an eyebrow at the woman in front of me. “I ought to be asking you the same thing. Center of attention much?”

When I agreed to this interview, I pushed for a discreet, anonymous circumstance, both for her own good and mine, I think, and it takes me every urge to not clap my hand to my forehead.

For the record, I’m dressed as I ordinarily dress when meeting someone for lunch in Penn Station: sweats. In my beaten-to-hell Shape-ups, yoga pants, and curve-hugging T-shirt, there’s nothing about me that would stand out. I’m just another New Yorker, wanting to have a cheap burrito from Moe’s Southwestern Grill, or something, before catching a train.

My companion, Lady Morrhia, on the other hand, is another business altogether. Contrary to any and all stipulation, she’s dressed in a rich gown of red brocade threaded with gold, a cape of black over her shoulders. Two men in uniform stand guard behind her, and people are giving her furtive glances and giggles. I catch a few exclamations of “Wow” from tourists as they take in the outfit. She looks as though she stepped straight out of the Renaissance period, but I know my writing, and she’s dressing the part of the Empress.

Way to send me a message on what to write in the ending chapters of Book 3, eh? I think.

I make a motion to the men to hustle her into this little place called Kabooz. I know this place well. Great ribs, great martinis. And no one gives a damn what you’re wearing, not after I tip ’em plenty.

“Morrhia, I don’t know what you were thinking when you agreed on this meeting place, but you don’t dress like this to an interview in a train station.”

She gives me an annoyed look. “Whatever. Can I start now?”

“Yes,” I say and motion to the waitress who knows me to bring me two French martinis. Not cheap, but my companion will be pleased. She appreciates the finer things in life, and nods her approval.

“When are you going to restore me to the throne?” she asks.

“You don’t waste any time, do you?” I grumble.

“Not in my nature, Katherine,” Morrhia’s eyes are harsh. “I want my titles back. I deserve my titles back. ”

“You’ll have to first learn to think before you act,” I counter sharply. “You left Rhyssius and took one infant, stranding him with the other. I don’t think you ever wanted those girls, did you?”

“I’m the one asking questions here.”

I grin shamelessly as the drinks arrive. “I’m the one who wrote you. You ask the wrong questions, and I’ll be sure to edit this manuscript a little differently.”

Morrhia sniffed and picked up her glass delicately, by the stem. “Touche, then. Shall we?”

“Cheers,” I say dryly and clink glasses with her.

“So what plans do you have for Kata getting out of the mess that she is in now?” she asks, almost casually, as she eyes the manuscript for Book 3 under my arm.

“You’ll find that you raised a very resourceful daughter,” I measure my words carefully. “She will be fine, but I can’t guarantee much for your reputation.”

Instantly, she is suspicious. “Meaning what, exactly?”

“You’re really blind to your consequences, aren’t you?” I chuckle, and watch her eyebrow darken. “Think before you act, Lady Morrhia. You would’ve likely ended up as Empress again if you would have only kept your ambition and foolhardiness to yourself. But, of course, you act and think after the fact, don’t you?”

She takes another, calculated sip of her drink and I find myself suddenly on alert. She’s one to ask questions, and she lives only to serve her final purpose, and if it’s the throne she wants, then she will make every case in the world to have it back, if only to have me write it in for her. What I say is her reality. I don’t yet know what to do with her, but I know one thing: her superiors in the Guard were right. The woman was a loose cannon.  That part of her personal history I got right.

“You have one more question, Morrhia,” I remind her.

“Just tell me this, Katherine,” she asks, her voice a sleek purr. “What do I do with the money that Rhyssius allocates me in your upcoming release?”

I match her smile and tone. “Only I get to find that out,” I say and drain my martini glass. “Care for another?”

orion_mk3 –
Yoghurtelf –
COchick –
Steam&Ink –
xcomplex –
pezie –
aimeelaine –
auburnassassin –
Della Odell –
Juniper –
Proach –
allmyposts –

jkellerford –

dolores haze –

AW September Blog Chain: Seasons

And it’s that time again! Another delightful blog chain topic from the people of AbsoluteWrite.

The topic is: what season inspires you the most?

And a curious question this happens to be.

I wrote earlier about the changes of seasons, how it’s now possible to feel autumn chill even before the seasons change “officially” – and truthfully, that’s my real time to be out and about. I love the crisp coolness in the air, the foliage, the fact that it’s just that in-between season: cooler than the roast of the summer, but warmer than winter chill.

But, truthfully, what inspires me the most is the winter chill.

Think on it. The storm’s roaring outside, it’s cold enough that the windchill gets into the lungs – which I utterly loathe, I can do dry winters, but not this! – so what is left to do to keep warm but brew a nice ol’ English tea, slip into comfortable pajamas and turn on some music for inspiration? At least, that is what I do. And, of course, I get inspired from music regardless, but this time, I cannot be tempted into going outside…unless I am a masochist and feel like getting bronchitis. Which, um, I’m not.

This is where a lot of plotting and editing happens for me. I delve into the prior books to get my handle on the Department of Back Story, and then I get into the current nuance whirling around in my head. A couple of sips of the ye olde English tea, or a nice strong coffee, and the scene is readily percolating in my head. I call a friend of mine to bounce off some dialogue ideas, and this is how my books happen. All while the snow is pounding the windowpanes.

And then, of course, there are the walks.

You may not know this about me, but I love snowstorms. I love it when the snow is everywhere, especially if it’s the dry sort that doesn’t stick to everything or crusts over with ice. I love the crisp of it under my boots when I walk, I love the way it weighs down the leafless skeletons of trees around the streets. It’s calming, in its own particular way. I especially love walks like these after a day at work. I simply want nothing more than to feel the cold air on my face; it zones me out in almost the same way that music does.

And speaking of writing, I’m waaay overdue to finish the edit of Book 3 Chapter 4. Like, really overdue…

T.N. Tobias:

AW July Blog Chain: who is your antagonist, really?

Yet another interesting topic, and it is to cast my antagonist in a sympathetic light.

Which brings me to two characters, one of whom I can’t really write about, because that would be a spoiler…a major spoiler. So I will go back to Book 1 and touch on Shourron I. High Mage moonlighting as the very thing that Mages are recruited to fight against: wannabe universal despot, ruthless killing machine acting for no agenda but his own.

In Book 1, there is a scene where Shourron kidnaps one of the key diplomats, who was around since he was a zygote and even before that. Rena saw him grow up, even if she didn’t think that he would really go down his path. Due to her own history with a black-aura Mage, she gave him more than a fair bit of benefit of the doubt. When she finally got the chance to capture him, she refused to execute him – and the reason is a lot more involved than the people around her suspect.

Shourron himself is a curious individual. He will not stop if it comes to getting what he wants, as evidenced by the above maneuver, and he has little differentiation between whom he hunts and whoever gets in his way, like a good little wannabe-despot. However, there’s one thing that caught me – even as I was writing that book the first time: his devotion to doing right by Vannara.

The reason? Vannara knows what he really is. I can’t say more, lest I spoil Book 1.

Vannara is a vampire and, before any Twilight comparisons, she’s of the energy-draining variety. She’s also Shourron’s wife – and how these two ended up married, I would only reveal in the Origins segment of the books. But – I digress. Think about what the setup is, though. She’s in close proximity to him on a regular basis. Whether he likes it or not, she’s privy to most of his thoughts, most of his emotions, etc. when she drains off his energetic excess. While he could block off certain segments of things, such as thoughts of his universal ambitions, he cannot block off his emotional spectrum in full.

Think of what that means. If, for whatever reason, he was not what he seemed to be, regardless of how long his intergalactic rap sheet, who is the first person to know but his wife?

Of course, nothing’s that simple – few believed her, and the one person that did believe her could not do anything about it without visible proof.

Shourron was fully aware that his wife knew what he was thinking/feeling. It was because of her that he began to make mistakes in his routine and activities, leaving crucial evidence behind. Because of Vannara, he laid down enough evidence to eventually get captured and sealed, knowingly so.

But back to that scene. Rena finds herself in a cavern, and instead of it feeling like the Shourron I that she knew and sealed, it felt completely different. Unrecognizably so. And instead of attacking her, he is researching alternatives to his own plan, which otherwise involves his son’s demise. Now, why would he be doing that, unless he was not only aware of his own affliction, but was trying to set himself right?

Vannara knew that. But it was some time before someone took her seriously.

The rest is Book 1, available here.

bri ness:
M.R.J. Le Blanc:
Lyra Jean:
Fokker Aeroplanbau:
Alpha Echo:

AW June Blog Chain: The Defining Scene


Not one that you didn’t see coming, but of course, you know me. That’s NOT where the conflict ends. Oh-ho-ho, not at all.


I do love AbsoluteWrite blog chains, yes I do.

This time, I’m the one that ventured the topic, but the lovely Aheila is doing the hosting duties yet again. Due to job being busy and requiring my full attention as of late, I cannot venture my attention to as much of the chain as I like.

The topic is not so much as a question, but a teaser request. Post a scene that describes or defines the main character.

The Blog Chain – also, participants are linked behind the cut.

Now…Arriella, the main character. A pyrokine who, once thrust into a position of a much higher responsibility than the one she was in previously, she rises to the occasion and grows into her part as a diplomat, warrior and politician in a new way. She tries to do best by people and is very loyal to her duties, often ignoring her emotions right up until they step up and whack her with a heavy-duty Clue Bat.

She does feel a lot more than she will let on. She feels intensely, but holds back because she needs to control the situation. She is a commander first, a diplomat second, and a woman a distant third. She didn’t say anything about her relationship even potentially failing until it happened that her significant other’s interests clashed drastically with her own.

This is out of Book 4, takes place right as they’re about to do battle.

Unfortunately, I cannot give you the back story, except that 1. the battle is in the making from the get-go and 2. …the clue bat was coming a while with this one.



PS: Yes, I do have vampires. They drain energy, not blood. And I have Mages. And Hunters. And various other things that kick ass.

PPS: Back story is lengthy, and you can always read Book 1 and Book 2 to get part of it. Book 3 will be in editing phases as soon as Book 4 is done, which I hope to be soon.

PPPS: Yes, it’s a shameless plug.


Continue reading “AW June Blog Chain: The Defining Scene”

On Motivation and Multitasking

You know, I have to hand it to the forums; just when I think I’ve gone so far off-track that it might seem like I have no hope whatsoever, the people there give me all the motivation in the world. Thanks to a thread there, I now have my challenge: at least 500 words a day until Book 4 stands finished. No editing allowed. Sorry, Gayle, it will look like a nightmare for a while, but it will be done.

Currently, I’ve written 451 words. Total word count stands at 89,000 and change, and I’m getting slowly into the strategizing phase of the scene that I’ve been avoiding. It’s a slow pace but it’s working. At this point, though, it’s fair for me to say that the deadline for Book 4 is not going to be set. I originally marked it for my birthday, but that, quite obviously, was a dud. As it is, I’m simply going to take it day by day until I get the rough draft completed.

Naturally, that’s not going to be the only thing I’ll be working on. 500 words a day on Book 4 and other projects: graphic design, on which I’m a ways overdue, and the piece for Jonathan – and man, is that one late. But I’m not slacking on it; more or less just gathering my sources for now. I want this to be a well-done piece.

And of course, my day job. I will prove my raise was well-earned indeed.

Now, if only the damned clouds would lift…

What you may not have known about me is that I have a slight case of seasonals. I don’t get depressed, per se, when it’s cloudy or rainy, but damn, do I get sleepy or what? Normally, I read on the subway ride home. Or check out any new music I may’ve come across. I sure as hell do not slump over and get to napping. I can’t nap on the subway…except, well, the part where I clearly did.

Eh. It’ll clear up, I’m sure. Now, back to my writing mojo I get. I just broke my daily 500-word designation and there’s still stuff lingering to write outside of the book. Be on lookout for my age in jazz posting, whether here or elsewhere.


AW May Blog Chain: Music!

The topic du jour is: what does my story/characters sound like?


Aaahhh, music. Definitely one of the purest forms of expression next to the written word, and oftentimes, it’s instrumental to the written word. I, for one, cannot think of writing without there being some sort of music around: either something that strikes an emotional mood that best fits a scene, or something that’s such a perfect soundtrack that from there on in, I will only see that particular scene when I listen to the song.

Come to think of it, there are very few points in the story that I can’t sum up in music.

Book 1 I can best sum up with Slipping Away by Nine Inch Nails. I first heard it as a backdrop to an episode of CSI in Season 6, and it stuck. Heavy, hard-hit song that best portrays both Shourron I’s struggle, what little of it he shows, with Arriella trying to keep everything around her together under her given  circumstances.

Book 2 is not that easy. It’s a lot more intricate and takes through several periods: the one-century-later catch-up is not the same as the Tournament, which is drastically different from Underworld, which is just as different from the secrets in some characters’ closets.

Book 3 is pending editing. So I won’t know what it sounds like until I actually look at it for more than two moments…

So, let’s do it by character, if we so can, shall we? And since YouTube is a hell of a resource, I can give the examples of what songs suit each character best, if so possible.

My general taste in music is instrumental, but oh, I love my rock from time to time…

ArriellaWalking on the Sun by Smashmouth. At least for the first two books, this song is perfect for her general attitude. Not that Arri doesn’t have her faltering moments, but considering Book 2, especially when she kicks some serious ass in the tournament, it’s best suited for her out of my entire playlist.

Shourron I – The man haunted, and even the man as he was before, definitely gets a Nine Inch Nails song: Every Day Is Exactly The Same. If you never heard it, have a listen right here. Perfectly suitable.

Shourron IIThe Music Inside by Chuck Loeb. Shou is the person who’d like to just have a quiet life and enjoy the small moments. The song is light, intricate, a little tap on the shoulder that tells you to slow down and take in what’s around you.

Makkian – This one is a bit difficult. He’s concerned for things going right, he’s passionate, he’s strong, and is a firm protector, even at the expense of his own comforts. He’s a bit dumb that way, but is generally a good person to be around. But he needs to relax. And for him… Club Paradise by Kirk Whalum. It captures Kian at his best.

Kataria – She requires a strong rock theme. She’s ambitious; goes after things regardless of whether or not they are a good idea, or have any measure of success. Whether or not she’ll ever admit it, she’s a LOT like her sister, insofar as she will stand for her principles. She gets The Fly by U2.

Charlotte Stevens – The Rolling Stones, Factory Girl. Charlotte’s a quintessential go-getter. No curlers in her hair, but if there’s a job to do, her sleeves get rolled up in seconds.

Alex KramerHe is a good businessman, a great friend, a phenomenal manager, but in Book 3, you want to knock him out a window. Well, someone does, matter of fact :). But he’s a typical New Yorker, albeit in the 34th Century. He gets…Nightingale by Avenue Blue.

Jason Watson – Without fail, I’ll give him Only Tomorrow Knows by Dave Koz. Jason is someone who cannot be shaken easily, if at all; he’s thrown through every possible gauntlet and not only does he manage, he shows that he has more than one good trick up his sleeve. He manages to turn even the most unlikely things to his favor. He’ll take lemons, give you lemonade with your choice of booze (and never ask him where he’ll get it!) and serve it up with a knowing grin.


The interesting thing is – and some of you might know this already – at the time that I was writing/plotting out the books, the scenery was always laid down longhand, at a jazz show. Without fail, I’d be the person huddled up in the corner, with one eye on the stage, ears wide open and pen on paper, regardless of where I sat. Something about the music would just be the perfect setting and setup for the inspiration. To date, I’ve written to Randy Brecker and Chuck Loeb, Jeff Lorber,  Special EFX, Larry Carlton… The list goes on. The more music I see live, the more I write. The two aren’t separable even in concept.

So, my readers and fellow artisans, let me leave you with my new favorite song. I found it on Pandora and it’s been in my head for a near week. One of the most beautiful things I heard in a long time – Sunshine in the Rain by Ryan Farish. Which, by the by, is a featurette of one of the final scenes of Book 2. Not the complete track, but get it on iTunes. Well worth the buck.

And, of course, meet the chain

Stefanie Gaither:
Hayley E. Lavik:
Yours Truly.
Aimée Laine:

Update again…

So, in news today, short version:

1. May blog chain topic is music (woohoo!)

and 2. ALMOST THERE with Book 4. Be patient, J.W.. Your article will come soon, for I tend to multitask as deadline approaches.

Book 4 is so close to finish that I can taste the victory drink I will have once this thing is completely done. The ending to the book is almost complete. Literally, all I will be missing by close of today will be the main battle sequence.

Now this I’m planning to take a little bit more time on. I want to actually research some WWII strategies and see if I can mirror the goings-on when I write my final battle – or at least come up with a slightly better strategy than I have in mind now. This is my true Achilles’s heel in writing; I can pace the everyday action well enough, I can pace emotions and character growth, but battles? That’s something else.
And, in keeping with AbsoluteWrite – where I really should try to become more active – I am a participant yet again in the May Blog Chain, with the topic this time turning to music.

The topic: What does your story/characters sound like?

This is phenomenal and, naturally, right up my alley. I’ve written the series to so much music of many different sorts, from silly to serious, from jazz to classical to rock. I have scenes that I’ve specifically matched to musical pieces because they fit so seamlessly that I cannot think of the music without the scene, or vice versa.

The order of the blog chain will be as follows:

Stefanie Gaither:
Hayley E. Lavik:
My turn will be here.
Aimée Laine:

And, of course, I will be adding authors’ blogs as I read them into a new link section, appropriately titled Fellow Authors. If you are an author in your own right and want to be listed in my enormous and amazing linkage section, just say the word. I personally love reading authors’ blogs; the insight is excellent and inspiring in its own very unique way. Love it completely.

Back to the grind for me – not relevant whether numeric or literary.


A.W. April Blog Chain: Meet my own characters?

For the April blog chain: what would it be like to meet a character out of my novel?

Hmmm. The question of which character comes up. My characters have evolved to be pretty interesting and unique individuals. And really, I try to imagine how they’d be like if I met them – how else am I to write the dialogue? But truthfully, if someone able to wield powers I never dreamed about suddenly ran into me…it’d be curious, to say the least.

So, I’ll answer this for  several characters.

Arriella, the main character, would be one of those people who command my attention without trying. It’d be an automatic impulse to take cues from her on how to act, even though sometimes she herself isn’t sure of how to go about things, and at the same time, I’d know she’d be watching me, analyzing and taking stock of what I can contribute to the given situation. Nonetheless, she’s a person, and is imperfect as such. She has her doubts, her misjudgments, her foibles.

Shourron I, as he was an as he is, are two different situations. As he is, I would see a man haunted and, in part because of my education and in another because of my own sense of compassion, I’d immediately try to put his ghosts at ease. They haunt him now as they will for millennia to come and a kind word with him would go a long way, even if it’d take him some time to hear it. As he was…well, I’d have to first take cover, and then hope that he wasn’t pissed off.

Jason (Book 3 of the series)…now there’s a barrel of laughs. Jason is a lot like me, as far as other people are concerned. He sees them, sees what bothers them – without the use of his powers – and if the person he’s facing is oblivious to the obvious, then he’ll poke the obvious with a sharp stick. So to meet him in person would be creative, sarcastic mayhem. Two perceptive individuals who run into each other nearly always cause mayhem.

Kataria…if I survive that initial meeting, since she’s the type to punch first and ask later, then I might like her determination. But there’s a clear line between that and pigheadedness, which in her case is very well-blurred. She’s as unlike her sister, Arriella, as could possibly be. Where Arriella grew out of her short fuse to a degree, with Kataria it’s permanently ingrained. Where Arriella can make a judgment about how to continue her lifestyle, Kataria clings to the norms she was raised with.

Rena. Now, what can I say about Rena? She’s one of those people that you’d say looks like an innocent angel. Is she? Of course not. You don’t live to be three million years of age and retain innocence. There is one thing that’s crucially important to her: her own kind. She’s the youngest of five siblings; has a history that few people know about, saw enough planets get created and destroyed – the ‘innocent’ part of her died a long time ago.

Kirare, the half-Cosmic Viceroy of Underworld…the universe’s prison warden. If I were to judge by sheer presence, I don’t want to meet him. The only thing that differentiates Kirare from a bona-fide sociopath is that he does have an emotional spectrum, which is still severely curtailed. There are two things that he holds in high value: respect and loyalty. He commands the first and is willing to pay any price to get the second. Despite that, he’s a fair judge and a good judge of character – and will immediately make it clear whether or not you are in his good graces. If you’re not, you simply won’t care for it very long.

It’s a rather interesting thing to consider. Now I’m thinking about the other characters – and this is definitely going to come in useful when I hit the next arc.


Forbidden Snowflake: