My answers for the Twitter games I participated in for July. This month it was #AuthorConfession, #MythCampNaNo (which maybe I shouldn’t have been doing since I wasn’t doing CampNaNoWriMo), #ShareWords, #WIPjoy and #WIPTruthorDare.



#AuthorConfession - July

  1. Well, I’m having a sadomasochistic relationship with it at the moment but generally, I love the fact that I’m writing at all.
  2. i) The third in the House Valerius series or ii) Urban fantasy with genetic vampires at war.
  3. I’ll take any encouragement I can get.
  4. It’s a bit of both. Ash is fairly independent but, at the same time, smart enough to know he can’t make it without help.
  5. Ash doesn’t have much of an idea of freedom. Even if he wasn’t being hunted and under a possible death sentence, he’d still have his responsibilities to his House and those who support him & his family.
  6. Favourite part of writing? Exploring other worlds, inhabiting other personalities.
  7. Hot, black, coffee flavoured. I’m a no frills coffee drinker.
  8. I can’t see Ash doing karaoke, but if he did, it would probably be something by the Rolling Stones or Led Zeppelin.
  9. Ash is more afraid of the deaths of those close to him than he is of his own. He doesn’t want to lead people to their deaths.
  10. Having a dream job has never really been a consideration. He was always going to be the Lord of House Valerius sooner or later (preferably later).
  11. The safe answer would be Lord of The Rings.  Personally, I also think Dune should be up there but that’s me.
  12. Mainly in the PM. I am not, and never will be, a morning person. Sorry, wife.
  13. First I wait until I fall into them, then I put up the warning barriers….
  14. Well, there’s the day job, then the at-home job, then the husband thing…
  15. The day before House in Exile starts Ash was probably hiding out in a hotel room waiting for nightfall.
  16. I’m not really a selfie person…
  17. I’m not sure if he can still be considered a minor character since he’ll get more page time in book 3 but I’m going to say MacReady.
  18. I think the ideal page count varies depending on the genre but I’d say whatever works out to about 100,000 words is probably a good point.
  19. Aside from the blood-drinking? Does the occasional bout of berating himself count as weird?
  20. I can think of a few, some of which aren’t out yet. Of the ones that are, I’ll say Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss.
  21. I can’t think of a book I’ve hated, there’s usually always some saving grace.
  22. If Ash got $1million, he’d probably put it towards more weapons or more safe houses.
  23. Stopping De Vries is his main goal but I think keeping his people safe is more important to him.
  24. Probably romance. It’s the one I’ve read the least anyways.
  25. Aside from camaraderie, Ash needs Quinn for weapons and tactical expertise.
  26. I’m bouncing between chapters a lot so I’m going to do an overview instead… 🇬🇧😦🤕🤝⚰️🛫🇨🇦🏕🇺🇸🛣😀🏜⛰🛣🔫💣🛫🇬🇧😯☠️🙂😟🛫🇺🇸😳🗡😍
  27. I don’t see why I couldn’t hang out with Ash. We do have a fair bit in common.
  28. To bring some people back from the dead. Unless it’s a Disney genie, in which case it would be for more weapons.
  29. I don’t sparkle.
  30. Given how little I seem to have accomplished this month, I don’t think House in Exile has changed all that much.
  31. Two reasons:a) It often makes me think about my writing/characters etc in ways I hadn’t done before.b) It’s fun.

With thanks to our organiser, J.M. Sullivan & new co-host, J. Julien.




  1. My main WIP is House in Exile, 3rd in my House Valerius series.Capture
  2. I don’t have a specific word count in mind this month. I just want to see what I can get done.
  3. I’m not much of a plotter but since I’ve been struggling with this WIP lately, I’m trying to revise that.
  4. Frankly, I want to know what happens next.
  5. No, I’m not doing CampNaNoWriMo. I’ve been struggling a lot lately and I wanted to get myself back to basics without trying to keep up with others.
  6. The usual suspects: Nick Cave, The Pogues, Flogging Molly
  7. Usually, curse that I didn’t start earlier.
  8. Since I’m doing these ahead of time due to my trip, I don’t know how much I’ve got done in the meantime. I’ll catch you up on the 15th.
  9. At this stage, just about everyone has trust issues.
  10. Ash is a genetic vampire who needs to drink blood so that he doesn’t go mad.
  11. Probably Ash. Of the main cast, he’s the one with the least experience out in the real world.
  12. Well, their new base of operations is in some mountains on southern New Mexico so….
  13. Quinn. It’s second nature to him (pun not actually intended).
  14. A team of Cabal Watchmen with orders to kill or capture everyone.
  15. I didn’t expect to have done a lot since I was on my trip but I though I would at least have broken 1000 words. Apparently not. giphy.gif
  16. Lord Raines is the most likely to be a bully. He’s accustomed to using his position to get what he wants.
  17. Probably either Quinn or MacReady. I can see them playing pranks on each other anyways.
  18. No. 1 rule for any Ceteri – Don’t let the humans learn about us.
  19. Ash has had his face heavily scarred just recently.
  20. They’d probably just relax at the water’s edge. I don’t think any of my peoples are big swimmers.
  21. Just the one lodge and it’s called Sunbird.
  22. Much as I hate to admit this, I’ve only written 200-300 words this week.
  23. Ash learned that he can’t do this alone.
  24. Writing prompts. Even though I haven’t used them much the past couple of weeks.
  25. There haven’t been any weird creatures. Unless you count me, of course.
  26. Ash was probably the most homesick. He’s the youngest and the one who’s spent the least amount of time out in the world.
  27. Unfortunately, it’s De Vries that’s likely to be waiting. All the more reason to stay out in the wilderness…
  28. Probably worry about all the things he’d intend to get done and didn’t. That’s one thing we have in common.
  29. Total – 2,559
  30. Believe me, I ask myself this one frequently. I’m not sure I’ve come up with a good answer yet…
  31. New people to follow: Jess Houser, Chris Marshall, Jill CorddryRobRoy McCandlessRenee Lozano, Bonnie Swanson & Nissa Ryan

With thanks to our organiser, Steven Springsteel.




  1. “I had heard you were a relatively intelligent young man.” She gave me a direct look, ignoring the gun in my hand. “Please don’t give me any reason to change that assessment.”
  2. “You almost have to respect De Vries, the balls that takes.”
    Quinn grunted. “Respect, hell. Guy’s crazier than a shithouse rat.”
  3. Even though I’d seen him shirtless half a dozen time during his recent convalescence, I never failed to be amazed by the sheer number of scar etched into his frame, the newest still a little pink around their edges.
  4. Mitsuko’s raven-black hair gleamed under the sudden light, her soft brown eyes a mixture of surprise and alarm.
  5. The big man broke into a grin and enfolded me in a bear hug. “Hey, kid. You had us worried.”
    Despite the feeling that my ribs were being put in a vice, I hugged him back.
  6. I remembered Byron. Attractive and charming when he’d wanted to be, cruel and manipulative when he found something he wanted.
  7. I was tired. Not just physically, but mentally too. I was tired of second-guessing my every decision, spending so long try to figure out all the possible ways I might be getting something wrong that I drove myself into inaction. I knew what had to be done. Was I trying to avoid facing that and what it meant?
  8. “Revenge is a hollow pursuit, one that will consume you if you let it. I know you have no reason to believe me in this but that is a path I turned from many years ago. Still, it took me a long time to see beyond myself and embrace the righteousness of my cause. For all you think I’ve done to you, I know it will not be easy, but I hope one day you will see it as well.”
  9. “Turns out Miss Thing was actually Mrs. Deputy Sheriff.” MacReady said. “Never did get the whole story, of course, but he comes tearin’ ass into the motel parkin’ lot. Pulls up in a prowler, lights and sirens on full, jumps out with it still runnin’, straight into the office, hollerin’ all kindsa shit. I hear enough to know what’s what, so I haul Romeo here out the damn room and to the jeep.”
  10. We were heading along what had to be of the most randomly populated streets I’d ever seen. The street lights were more widely spaced than I would have expected but it was enough for me to make note of what we were passing. First a children’s day care place, then a trailer park, a pawn shop, some storage units and a used car dealership.
  11. We both moved over and looked out to see the protective sea wall surrounding the base of Hashima Island, broken only by the maw of a tunnel, which I presumed led to the underground dock. We headed straight for it, plunging into a momentary blackness before coming to rest in a small but brightly lit jetty.
  12. Shadowcroft, as the mansion has been known since it’s last rebuilding, has been in existence in some form or another for nearly two millennia. There have been times when it has been rebuilt or redesigned to accommodate the changing demand of the world but the lowest level of the house has hardly changed in all that time.
  13. “Original plan shows the church on one side of the central court-yard; supplementary buildings arranged along the other sides.” The voice continued. “Largest housing area is located to the west, with some other dorms to the south and east. The last area has only one exit; a stairway leading to the church.”
  14. The streets and pavements were darker than they should have been, the concrete still slick from of an earlier rainfall. There was an indefinable something in the air that suggested that another downpour might not be far away and people moved quickly from shop to shop and shelter to shelter.
  15. “Ah know it looks a mite rustic.”
    “Just a bit. So when does one of us get possessed by some ancient evil and start killing everyone?”
  16. We all have a mutation, something in our family lineage that means our nervous systems work at a much greater speed than normal. We can move faster, we’re stronger, our reactions are faster, and we can heal almost any injury except to the brain or spine and we age so slowly that no-one’s really sure how long we can live unhindered.
  17. I could hear them out there somewhere; the distant yips and howls of coyotes, unseen in the night.
  18. She looked me up and down and grinned.
    “Okay, okay.” I protested. “So, I don’t have much in the way of fashion sense.”
  19. There had been another thick drift of snow, a fresh foot or more in the past hour. The rooftops on the far bank of the canal were still blanketed in white, glistening in the streetlights. Below the white gave way to grey as the traffic in the streets turned into it to slush.
  20. He inclined his head, as if acknowledging the point, then turned to the shelves.
    “It is a true thing,” he said. “That the best way of avoiding mistakes is to learn from past ones. Hence,” He waved a hand over the books. “But come; let us speak of the future.”
  21. We were in some 24-hr diner somewhere on the edges of somewhere, when I decided to check my phone. It was either that or continue to struggle with my food but the rapidly cooling puddle of grease it was sitting in didn’t exactly fill me with appetite.
  22. The majority of the Houses don’t bother with any type of religion much; after all our family history goes back further than the rise of many of the major religions and our rituals are older than those others. Some do find comfort in organized religion, however, just like several million others on the planet. And contrary to the numerous myths and legends throughout the world, religious icons have no adverse effect on our kind whatsoever. I’ve been inside a church, dipped my finger in holy water, swallowed holy wafers; all without any damage to myself.
  23. Quinn had dug out a battered looking deck of cards and a tin of chips; soon, without intending to, we’d ended up dealing out multiple hands of poker.
    “Ah fuckin’ hate waitin’ on yah t’ make yer bid.” He told Casey.
    She glanced at the cards she had balanced on her chest. “You deal me a better hand than this shit and I’ll think about it.” She told him, tossing the cards face down onto the coffee table between us.
  24. There were three ways I could attack Jonas; physically, financially and by undermining his new status with the Cabal. Physically would be difficult, Even once I was re-united with Quinn and the others, I have five, maybe six, people; assuming I could get Mbejane out in the field. Maybe that could work for guerrilla-style tactics but anything more than hit and run would be out of the question.
  25. She leaned forward, kissing me; her silky hair falling about my face. She pulled back for a moment, her lips barely an inch from mine and whispered something. “Aishiteru wa.” She repeated it again and again between kisses.
  26. “I remember you rolling through static for hours just so you could find that Cardinals game.” MacReady said grumpily.
    “Ah had fifty bucks on that game.”
  27. Some of last night was a bit of a blur but she was pretty sure she’d still been in The Electric Ballroom at three. She had a vague recollection of Dawn complaining that Jackie had disappeared with some guy she’d been snogging half the night and that hadn’t quite been the end of the evening.
    She rolled over, asleep again in moments.
  28. I woke and tried to sit up, to my regret. I moved no more than an inch or 2 before smacking my head against the wooden lid. I wondered once again how I’d managed to get convinced into this.
    Being shut inside the coffin wasn’t my best experience. Quite how Petra managed to obtain a death certificate, embalming report and who knows what else she needed but she was able to get the casket on a plane inside of twenty-four hours. For the first time, I was travelling as cargo.
  29. “Okay,” Jodie said. “It’s one-fifteen. I want to be in and out of here and back in the car by one-thirty. This place is going to be a shock to you but don’t stop and, whatever you do, don’t talk to anyone. You don’t want to deal with anyone who’ll be in there.”
    I looked out at the blue sign. “What is a Wal-Mart?”
  30. “She deserved better.”
    Quinn grunted “One thing’s got nuthin’ t’ do wi’ the other. We deserve better than this flea pit, she deserved better than dyin’ in some back alley.” He shook his head in resignation. “Deserve don’t mean shit.”
  31. I don’t have a buy link of my own so, instead, here’s the link to my reviews page. Each review should have the link to the buy page for that book.

With thanks to our organiser, Britain Soderquist.


#WIPjoy - July

  1. Semi-professional goofball. Current WIP is House In Exile, 3rd in my House Valerius urban fantasy series.
  2. Exausted, determind to do what he thinks is right, scared, unprepared for the situation.
  3. I don’t have an inspiration specific to this WIP, unless it’s that I now live in New Mexico so some of it is set here.
  4. Children of the Night by Dan Simmons. The Warrior’s Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold. The Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko.
  5. The past week had been little more than cheap motels during the day, with cheaper food and driving all night.
  6. Since De Vries doesn’t have any real reason to mess with me, I think I’d be okay with him visiting for a day.
  7. “My employer,” She said again. “Has an interest in you retaining your freedom. And in reclaiming your former station.”
  8. Much as I hate to say it, he’d be less dangerous than De Vries. Partly due to lack of resources and partly because he’s not as ruthless.
  9. If De Vries was the MC, I suspect there would be a lot more plotting involved.
  10. Elizabeth is Ash’s cousin. But she’s fully human, without the Ceteri mutation, so she’ll age normally compared to him and her parents.
  11. There’s a lot of similarity between me and Ash, personality wise.
  12. “Kid,” Quinn said quietly, his eyes intent on my face. “Lemme have the gun, okay? If it has ta be done, let me do it. It ain’t gonna bother me none. Ya don’t need to carry this.”
  13. For me, I think I’d rather not publish than see it adapted badly. Still it would be nice if someone thought enough of it to adapt.
  14.   giphy (1)
  15. The Cabal might be keeping an eye on him for the time being, I hoped they were, but there was nothing to say they wouldn’t continue to hold to the belief, or the excuse, that I was behind it. None of the other Houses were likely to have much in the way of defenses, certainly nothing on a par with Shadowcroft, for all the good that had done when… I cut that thought off before it raised my ghosts. That just left House Valerius. It was going to be down to me to fix things.
  16. A dark room, some red wine, and some Nick Cave as accompaniment. I’m not sure what sort of meal would go well with it though.
  17. The main thing I’m still figuring out is how to make the last third work.
  18. Something I need to remember…15757-ray-bradbury-quote
  19. “You’re going to stay and fight, even though you know it’s hopeless. You’re going to stay and they’re going to kill you.”
  20. Fairly sure I could handle either but I think I’d sooner spend time with Ash rather than De Vries.
  21. Simple answer; because I like telling stories.

With thanks to our organiser, Bethany A. Jennings.



#WIPTruthorDare - July

  1. Truth: House in Exile opens with my MC Ash on his own, paranoid about being hunted by both Cabal Watchmen and his enemy, De Vries.
  2. Dare: I looked out, the sky over the mountains stained a delicate rose with the approaching dawn.
  3. Truth: He can deal with them if he has to but he’s always a bit wary when near a drop.
  4. Truth: Not since Carina scarred up the left side of his face.
  5. DareI ran my fingers over my scalp, feeling the tiny bristles at the crown of my head.
  6. Truth: I suppose before the series kicked off he could have been considered part of the 1% or close to it. Ceteri Houses need a lot of money to keep going.
  7. Truth: They got on well but she was killed in a car accident a decade or so before the series starts.
  8. DareI was tired of second-guessing my every decision, spending so long try to figure out all the possible ways I might be getting something wrong that I drove myself into inaction.
  9. DareShe seems completely comfortable with helping smuggle someone into the country and I wondered what the arrangement between them was.
  10. Truth: “This is who we are and we will do what we must.”
  11. Truth: He tries to, especially since lately he’s not sure who he should trust.
  12. Truth: He has at times, although that’s not really something he can do anymore.
  13. DareThe impact took me off my feet. I felt the ground slam into the back of my head and everything went black.
  14. Truth: He has a couple of times. Once physically, once emotionally.
  15. Truth: Ash doesn’t believe in fate, just the consequences of our decisions.
  16. Dare: My leg went out from under me and I went face down in the mud. I rolled and only succeeded in coating myself worse.
  17. Truth: Ash once had a dream about having been chained down and left to burn in the sun.
  18. Truth: He does, even though he tries not to.
  19. DareMy ghosts began clamouring at me once again, screaming out my mistakes, my failures.
  20. Truth: Ash isn’t clumsy. Except maybe when it comes to explaining himself.
  21. DareHe began going through the unconscious man’s pockets. At first, I thought he was looking for some ID but I saw him pull out a roll of cash and pocket it with a wink to me.
  22. Truth: I think it would depend on the circumstances. If it was someone close to him then yes.
  23. Truth: Well, Ash does need blood to survive. But most of the time he’ll take coffee.
  24. Truth: It’s pretty plain; jeans and t-shirt usually.
  25. DareQuinn jerked his head over to one side and I followed his gaze. There was a plain door tucked away at the back, the word ‘Private’ printed in block white letters on it. Quinn slid out of his chair & made his way over to it.
  26. Truth: Sometimes Ash finds his responsibilities overwhelming, enough to make him feel like he’s suffocating.
  27. Truth: The main thing Ash is insecure about just now is the new scars on his face.
  28. Truth: I think Ash would sooner break his ribs than his heart. It would probably heal faster.
  29. Dare“You may not have thought of it this way.” Petra said, in a tone that suggested it was painfully obvious and that I was an idiot for not having done so. “But since you’ve been cut loose from any of the restrictions the Cabal normally places on your kind, you do have a certain freedom to act. It’s up to you what you do with that.”
  30. Truth: Just now, he’s running from both De Vries and the Cabal. Isn’t that enough for the time being?
  31. Truth: Well, based on what I have planned, this one won’t end per se but will lead into a fourth volume.

With thanks to our organiser, Melanie Thurlow.

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