December’s games were #AuthorConfession, #DecWIP, #Espressoyourself, #JLbooklove, #TweepWriter and #WIPTruthorDare.

#AuthorConfession

#AuthorConfession - December

  1. I’m Drew, unless something official needs doing. My main WIP is House in Exile, the 3rd in my House Valerius urban fantasy series. Although, I’m now wondering if I need to step back and start over with it.#AuthorConfession 01
  2. There are 2-3 where I’ve based some physical characteristics on real people but the personalities are invented
  3. Ash’s greatest feature is probably his sense of loyalty. giphy (17)
  4. I don’t think I’ve ever purposely sat down and decided, “Ok, X is going to have this flaw.” Usually, I just let it come to me as I write them.
  5. House in Exile is set in 2004. And that’s because I first started thinking, planning & writing the series in 2003.
  6. Hmm, there are innumerable ways it would change if it was futuristic. Maybe each House would have its own planet and there would be synthetic blood…
  7. Ash is a little more introverted. Probably since he grew up relatively isolated.
  8. The older I get, the more I incline toward realistic endings.
  9. One that would be in keeping with the storyline in #houseinexile would be ‘Who Wants to Live Forever’ by Queen. Even though that has been used elsewhere before…giphy (1)
  10. And I’ve been wearing them more often since my trouble started…
  11. Since I’m not a genetic vampire, that would be a pretty big change. But the way Ash and I would react to things is generally the same.
  12. There is some romance.
    Before I knew what I was doing, my arms were moving of their own volition, wrapping around Mitsuko, pulling her closer. I kissed her, almost hesitant at first. But as she moved against me, I grew bolder, hungrier.
  13. I’d like to think it’s a mixed drink.giphy (6)
  14. Hmmm, unsure on that one. He can be pretty vicious but he does have some decent qualities. Maybe a 7?
  15. I have no idea. I haven’t been keeping score this month.
  16. Multiple locations in the UK, US and Canada so far…
  17. Ash likes the snow. He feels like it makes everything seem clean.
  18. I’d happily build a snowman with either Dyrk Ashton or M.L. Spencer. Although it might degenerate into a snowball fight before long.
  19. He likes his privacy, right? I’ll keep showing up until I get it back…
  20. Something plain, I think. Maybe a Digestive…
  21. I have a hard time thinking of De Vries in terms of baked goods. Something that doesn’t look like what it really is…
  22. The only one Ash would be kissing under the mistletoe is Mitsuko.
  23. Probably not do what I’m about to do to him in House in Exile…
  24. Well, ’tis the season after allgiphy (9)
  25. Merry Christmas, Confessors.
  26. Talking Shriwook with Rey & Chewbacca.
  27. Best book I read this year: Whispers in the Alders by H.A. Callum.Alders
  28. Having a part of my review temporarily adapted to become part of the book blurb.
  29. My main regret is that it’s taking so long to get it out…
  30. Maybe I’m fooling myself but…giphy (16)

  31. Happy Hogmanay everyone! A post about my goals for 2018 should be coming soon.

#DecWIP

#DecWIP - December

  1. I’m Drew, unless something official needs doing. My main WIP is House in Exile, the 3rd in my House Valerius urban fantasy series. Although, I’m now wondering if I need to step back and start over with it.#AuthorConfession 01
  2. My MC is Ash Valerian. He’s 27 and a member of the Ceteri, which means he has a genetic mutation causing him to need human blood and age very slowly.
  3. Ash: “I can understand him, I guess. We have some common ground. I’m not sure I like what he has in mind, and I probably owe him a scar or two…”
  4. Ash: “Being responsible for the deaths of people I care about.” *pauses* “More people.”
  5. Ash: “I just want to be a worthy successor to my father.”
  6. Ash: *points to his face* “Well, I wouldn’t have these bloody scars for starters.”
  7. Ash: “Mainly, I’m just trying to stay out of sight, regroup and plan how we’re going to stop De Vries.”
  8. Ash: *colours slightly* “It hasn’t really been an issue before. It’s always been mutual; when we both knew things weren’t going to work.”
  9. Ash: “Elizabeth is the person I’ve always been closest too, even when things were strained between us. She’s my favourite person.”
  10. De Vries: “That would depend on who you ask. Those who wish to maintain the same outdated system would say so and I have no patience or forgiveness for them. Some just refuse to see what I’m trying accomplish.”
  11. De Vries: “I think it might be nice to host the members of the Cabal. A dinner is such a good way to forge agreements. One way or another…”
  12. De Vries: “I find it difficult to believe he knows what he’s doing. I would have a much clearer idea of how things should be…”
  13. De Vries: “Ash is..” *pauses* “Confused. I’m sure in time he’ll see the truth of what I say.”
  14. De Vries: “I’’m fighting against a society that routinely puts people in prison, purely because of their genetic makeup..”
  15. De Vries: “And spoil the surprise? That would be awful of me, wouldn’t it?”
  16. De Vries: “I know you’re in pain right now but you really need to get back to work and prepare for my Ascension.”
  17. Quinn: “Ah guess Ah’m the kid’s bodyguard an’ right-hand man fer now.”
  18. Quinn: “Ya mean like him and the lil’ geisha chick knockin’ boots? That the sorta thing ya wanna know?”
  19. Quinn: “Ain’t ma place ta say. Ma job’s like bein’ a rock star, ya know? There’s a hellavu lotta waitin’ around with only a few minutes excitement. Still..”
  20. Quinn: “So long as he keeps givin’ me the good lines and lettin’ me get laid now an’ then, Ah ain’t got a problem wi’ him.”
  21. Quinn: “Bad as Ah’ve known it in hunnerd an’ thirty years Ah been wi’ House Valerius.”
  22. Quinn: “He’s a good kid. Could stand ta be a lil’ less serious but…”
  23. Quinn: “The kid’s tryin’ ta’ take the world on his shoulders, an’ he’s second-guessin’ jus’ ’bout every decision he makes. Ain’t a good combo.”
  24. This one seems to be appropriate.giphy (11)
  25. Christmas is the same in the House Valerius world as it is here.
  26. The only thing I’m unsure about when it involves a date between Quinn and Cersei Lannister is whether he tries to shoot her before or after trying to sleep with her. Or both.
  27. Ash 😧 Petra 😑 Quinn 🤠 Jodie 😟 MacReady 🚁 Mbejane 💉 Elizabeth😨 Mitsuko 😚 De Vries 💀
  28. Well, it’s in line with the titles of the two previous instalments and the exile part fits the plot so…
  29. Out of what I’ve written so far, my favourite scene is one that I’m either going to have to re-write or cut entirely.
  30. Ash’s resolution is to stop De Vries.  Mine is to write it up.

  31. This is pretty much the only link I have. And you should follow Reagan Colbert, John Cordial, Mae McKinnon, M.S. Ocampo & Lexi Lefevre.

#EspressoYourself

#EspressoYourself - December

  1. I’m Drew, most of the time. I’m an attempted writer and semi-professional goofball.  As for kissing under the mistletoe, that distinction goes to my wife, Britt.
  2. Crashed and burned. Still, it is making me re-evaluate how best to move forward.
  3. It definitely helps but I am trying to write even if I’m not. I’m hoping that will make it even better when I am in the mood.
  4. I could probably be more organized…
  5. The late (and much missed) Sir Terry Pratchett.#EspressoYourself 05
  6. That honour goes to Whispers in the Alders by H.A. Callum.Alders
  7. I think I’m more a winter person.DQd0QQeXkAA83wr
  8. Watching films or reading is my usual way to unwind.
  9. Looking back I’d say my favourite subject was probably art, even though I wasn’t very good at it.
  10. I used to say it was between Halloween and Bonfire Night but since Bonfire Night isn’t a thing here in New Mexico…giphy (7)
  11. I’m not much of a cook but I do try to help out where I can. How much I’ll have to help with this year depends on where we’re spending the holidays and that’s still open to debate.
  12. I’ve been known to start doing some gift shopping around Black Friday, trying to get the most out of my budget.
  13. So far, the main tradition we’ve developed is watching Elf while we put up the tree and get it decorated…giphy (18)
  14. It has to be Muppets Christmas Carol. Sometimes I miss the good old days at Mr Fozziwigg’s Rubber Chicken Factory.giphy (19)
  15. Probably the miniature music set (tambourine, harmonica and something else I forget) I ended up with after a white elephant gift game
  16. We usually decorate the indoors although we’re forgoing the tree for this year…
  17. I don’t think I’ve tried peppermint coffee. I’d give it a go but I’m usually a plain black coffee drinker.
  18. Cookies, I think.
  19. For this year, at least, I’m looking forward to creamy Brussel sprouts.
  20. Easy. Fairytale of New York by The Pogues (with Kirsty MacColl).
  21. I still celebrate Christmas but there’s also remembering my father, who died on the 26th, years back.
  22. The main thing on my wish list is that next year goes better than this one has..
  23. Without being too specific, I’ve got some things that I hope will help Britt unwind & relax. She’s been stressed a lot lately.
  24. 2 years ago. We’d just got our Callie dog so we stayed in Abq instead of visiting family. We went up into the mountains & played in the snow.DR17h1LUMAApicA
  25. Since it’s just the two of us this year, we’re not doing anything too elaborate. Breakfast casserole in the morning, sandwich & leftovers for lunch, green chile stew for dinner.
  26. Not cookies, but my wife makes great peppermint fudge.
  27. 2008 – Britt and I had our first proper Christmas together and were still technically newly-weds (two weeks).
  28. I think I have to come back to A Christmas Carol, although I’m not sure which adaptation I like best.
  29. Best way to see in the New Year? Single Malt.giphy (22)
  30. It definitely helps but I am trying to write even if I’m not. I’m hoping that will make it even better when I am in the mood.
  31. Complete the first draft of House in Exile.

#JLbooklove

#JLBooklove - December

  1. Whimsical, neurotic, distracted.#JLBookLove 01
  2. The last book I read – Sandman Slim by @Richard_Kadrey. The last audiobook listened to – Working for Bigfoot by @longshotauthor.
  3. The most appropriate one is probably Notes from a Big Country/I’m A Stranger Here Myself by Bill Bryson. #JLBookLove 03
  4. I’ve started collecting signed books.
  5. Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett. #JLbooklove 05
  6. It’s been a couple of years but I have built a snowman.
  7. My money would be on Luna… #JLbooklove 07
  8. The orphan who is really the missing heir to the throne is a difficult one to beat…
  9. Vampire vs werewolf? It could depend on the specific vampire or werewolf but generally, I think the vampire would be more likely to win…
  10. Favourite mythical creature: Probably dragons but who doesn’t love a Minotaur?giphy (3)
  11. A dragon appears on my doorstep. I’m sure we’d take him/her in and adopt them. Similar things have happened before. Dragons, cats; all the same, right?
  12. I’ll have to go with the wand. So many possibilities…giphy (4)
  13. It has to be the Discworld.giphy (8)
  14. I’m not sure I could pick just one…
  15. Probably one of the Sharpe books, maybe Waterloo…
  16. I can only pick one…? Hmm, somewhen in ancient Rome perhaps
  17. There are probably better events to try and change but preventing the fire at the library of Alexandria would be a good one.
  18. I’m struggling to think of ones set around the 12th or 13th centuries.
  19. I’ll take my pocketwatch.giphy (23)
  20. It would be fascinating to meet Da Vinci, I think.
  21. First footing
  22. I’ll take the cider.
  23. A box of cigars for Sir Samuel Vimes.img_2701
  24. I think you need to go some way to beat Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.
  25. Probably hanging stockings and finding the little gifts to go in them.
  26. I’ll pick Bobby Drake.giphy (14)
  27. First one I thought of was Robanukah. Which would mean we have robots…Robanukah
  28. I don’t recall getting any weird gifts, none that I didn’t ask for anyways.
  29. The top five books I read in 2017 (the independent version): Where The Ironweed Blooms by C.M. Turner, Darklands by M.L. Spencer, Alice by J.M. Sullivan, Danse Macabre by Laura M. Hughes & Whispers in the Alders by H.A. Callum.                        The top five books I read in 2017 (the traditional version): Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, Red Sister by Mark Lawrence, The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch, The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss & The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie.
  30. I think I’ll aim to read 52 books in 2018. Let’s see if I can make it two years in a row. giphy (25)

#TweepWriter

#TweepWriter - December

  1. I’ve given up on books because I couldn’t get in to them, but I don’t recall deciding any were “that bad”.
  2. No. But I keep getting stuck with my current one so I’m thinking I need to backtrack a bit and maybe start over.
  3. I’ve suggested that someone avoid a book because I didn’t think they’d like the subject matter but I don’t recall doing so because I didn’t like it.
  4. Not as of yet. I only have one abandoned work and I’m not sure I could go back to it now.
  5. Not quite. I did create a character for my initial draft of A House Divided but then scrapped the chapter. They still get a mention but they haven’t actually appeared yet.
  6. Not as far as I can recall.
  7. It’s the main time I do read.
  8. Actually, I still haven’t got around to getting a library card since I moved to Albuquerque. I should probably remedy that…
  9. Maybe not as often as I used to when I was living in Glasgow but I do still go to 2nd hand bookshops.giphy (28)
  10. I can neither confirm nor deny that this might have happened…giphy (2)
  11. I’ll be honest. I often have difficulty accepting that some people don’t like to read but I try not to judge.
  12. I suppose I do. I’ve always loved books.giphy (5)
  13. Definitely bookmark. I don’t like marking pages.
  14. Both. Although most of my reading is on my Nook for the time-being.
  15. I’m right-handed. But left eye dominant. Just to confuse matters
  16. I’ve written a couple of memoirish pieces years ago, when I was trying to work through something, but ever since I’ve just been writing fiction.
  17. While I don’t rule out non-fiction (especially if written by Bill Bryson), the majority of my reading is fiction.
  18. Coffee for me please.giphy (29)
  19. Colour – Blue. Number – 8.
  20. Woodsmoke.giphy (7)
  21. Favourite place to be? Inside my own head, a lot of the time.
  22. Last year’s trip to Orlando for Halloween Horror Nights takes some beating…
  23. Pepperoni with jalapeños.giphy (30)
  24. Complete the first draft of House in Exile. Not even close…
  25. Best book I read this year: Whispers in the Alders by H.A. Callum.Alders
  26. I really enjoyed Logan.logan
  27. Favourite #amwriting hashtags? Daily – #martialmonday, #BookishTues, #TuesTell, #1lineWed#Thurds and #TalesNoir. Monthly – #AuthorConfession, #Espressoyourself, #WIPjoy#WIPTruthorDare and, of course, #TweepWriter.
  28. For what they’re worth, here are some short pieces written over the last 18 months.
  29. Nothing specific, except a wee dram. Or two…
  30. I’m looking forward to 2018 being better than 2017.

  31. Completing the first draft of House in Exile.

#WIPTruthorDare

#WIPTruthorDare - December

  1. Truth – Well, I was supposed to have a poem, The Lady Laughs, included in a collection several years ago but since I’ve never seen it so I don’t consider myself published.
  2. Truth – No big secret, my favourite secondary character is Quinn.                            Dare – He also had a combined television/VCR set on the desk and it was busy blaring out a baseball game in full swing. Quinn was leaning back in a padded leather swivel chair and had his paratrooper boots resting on the surface of the desk. The thick varnish on the desk was scuffed & marked in several places from the repeated pressure of his feet. He had fingers laced behind his head, eyes half closed, not really watching the game, just letting the sounds and descriptions wash over him.
  3. Truth – For better or for worse, it’s mine. So it’s special to me, if no one else.        Dare – Snowflakes glimmered in the air, caught by the truck’s headlights before smearing themselves against the windscreen. They stuck there for a moment, before melting away in tiny rivulets.
  4. Truth – I think the majority of them tend to stick to the classics. I don’t recall anyone being more inventive, so far… #WIPTruthOrDareDare – Quinn shook his head. “Turns out this particular shitbird weren’t just a typical rogue. He was more of a paid troublemaker, real entrepreneurial muthafucker.”
  5. Truth – Ash went through a form of Watchman training which included some wilderness skills.
  6. Truth – Of the main group of secondary characters, I think it’s probably MacReady who has the best line in witticisms.
  7. Truth – I’m not sure who Quinn admires most, although I could put together a short list; his father, Matthias Valerian, MacReady, Casey Preston.                                      Dare – “She deserved better.” I said.                                                                                Quinn grunted “One thing’s got nuthin’ t’ do wi’ t’ other. We deserve better than this flea pit, she deserved better than dyin’ in some back alley. Deserve don’t mean shit.”
  8. Truth – I know Quinn seems like he’d prefer dogs, he’s really more of a cat person.
  9. Truth – Quinn finds Ash’s tendency to second-guess himself frustrating.
  10. Truth – Both MacReady and Quinn will sing along to the radio. MacReady has the better voice though…                                                                                                            Dare – I’ve always thought Quinn’s theme would be Dark Night by The Blasters.
  11. Truth – Quinn usually sleeps pretty well. Over the years, he’s mastered being able to nap anywhere at anytime.
  12. Dare – Quinn tossed some more wood into the fireplace, taking a deep, appreciative breath. “Ya know, it never fails ta surprise me how much Ah miss that smell.”
  13. Truth – Mitsuko, at 24, is the youngest by a few years.
  14. Truth – Ash had an older brother, Jonas. But he committed suicide years before Ash was born.
  15. Truth – I have no idea. I haven’t been keeping score this month.
  16. Truth – Least favourite is probably Lady Mallory although De Vries is probably the harder one to write.
  17. Truth – It’s a bit of a toss-up between Quinn and MacReady which one is funnier. Probably Quinn since he gets more page time.
  18. Truth – I don’t think Quinn’s ever had a love of his life. Well, not for longer than a few nights anyway.
  19. Truth – I’m sure Quinn has at some point. Probably MacReady too.
  20. Truth – Probably MacReady. As the only ‘normal’ human, he’s the one that’s paid the most attention to the holidays.
  21. Truth – Many of the secondary characters, since they’re Watchmen & liable to be out in the field, view snow as a nuisance or inconvenience.
  22. Truth – Quinn mainly dresses for function and comfort, year round.
  23. Truth – Lady Mallory probably looks down on eggnog & considers it common.
  24. Truth – One of the main plot points in House in Exile is Ash going crazy over Mitsuko.
  25. Truth – Quinn wants to keep his charges alive. MacReady wants to live long enough to retire. Elizabeth wants to be free of De Vries. Mitsuko wants Ash to love her. Jodie wants to do a good job.                                                                                                              Dare – “I want away from this, Ash. I don’t want to be escorted to and from an office, under house arrest and watched every day. I don’t want to have to live under De Vries’ control.”
  26. Truth – Ash usually gets along with his family, except when they treat him like a child.
  27. Truth – I think, for Petra, it would involve doing yoga on a private beach.
  28. Truth – I’m sure some of them have, although it’s never come up in the series.   Dare – Jodie packed the snow tightly into a ball, maybe a foot in diameter. Then she lifted it, positioning it atop the mound. She scooped up a little more loose snow and began working it into the juncture of the two, sealing them together.
  29. Truth – I think MacReady would win. Normally, I would say Quinn but since he’d make a bigger target…
  30. Truth – Who has grown the most? Difficult to say, since the books take place over less than month’s time but I do think Jodie is due for some development in House in Exile.
  31. Truth – Quinn doesn’t have any resolutions. He’s going to carry on behaving the same way he always has.

As Always, Thanks to the hosts:

#authorconfession – J.M. Sullivan & Jessica Julien

#DecWIP – Reagan Colbert

#espressoyourself – Chelsea DeVries & Jessica Matteliano

#JLbooklove – Elise Edmonds & Heather Hayden

#TweepWriter – Nicola Noble

#WIPTruthorDare – Heather Hayden & Melanie Thurlow

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