February’s games were the usual suspects; #AuthorConfession#Espressoyourself,
#TweepWriter and #WIPTruthorDare.


#AuthorConfession - February

  1. I’m frequently Drew, shiftless layabout and occasional writer of the House Valerius urban fantasy series (among other things that might take my fancy). As for things I love: books, films, comic books.20180203_040156947_iOS
  2. I don’t plan on eating any chocolate this month. Or any other sweets for that matter.
  3. I’d like to think I’d have a 50-50 chance of making it through a zombie outbreak. Ash definitely has better odds though since he’s in better shape and has more martial training than I do.giphy (3)
  4. It’s an older photo but it’s still fairly accurately most days.DVTGI4tVAAAzC69
  5. I enjoy being able to give my wife a card in the morning and take her out for dinner in the evening. Occasionally we’ll do gifts but not often.
  6. Ash’s greatest desire? Well, he really wants to protect his friends and stop De Vries but deep down what he really wants is to be seen as a worthy successor to his father, Matthias.
  7. I’ve got some hand-written stuff that I need to add in so I’m not sure what my count is, but I’m hoping I’ve broken 40,000.
  8. Roses are red, Violets are blue, My MC is Ash, He can’t rhyme either…giphy
  9. For House in Exile, I’m not sure. At least half a dozen, but the tricksy little devils keep moving around on me. If you add in Tales from House Valerius, that’s another half dozen to worry about.20180209_155001750_iOS
  10. Not sure how nice I was to myself but I did have some good reading time on the plane to Florida.
  11. I don’t recall being set a-flutter. But then I’m a grumpy old man so…
  12. I love the humour in Guards! Guards!, but mostly it’s because I tend to identify heavily with Sam Vimes.
  13. My main genre is urban fantasy. As to why I chose it, it’s what seemed to work best for the story I wanted to tell. The reason I enjoy it so much is the juxtaposition of the contemporary and fantasy elements.
  14. Ash’s valentine this year is Mitsuko. They’ve both in the early stages of being smitten… much to the annoyance of some of the others.
  15. I might be dating myself here but I can remember getting a bit choked up by David Eddings’ The Sapphire Rose, when the main character’s squire/father figure is killed.
  16. Who are you people and what are you doing in my living room?
  17. I don’t think she’s playing this month, but one of my favourite confessors is R.B. McConnell.
  18. Strange as it might sound, I’ve always found the Buffy episode “The Body” where her mother dies very affecting. I think I’ve only made it through the whole episode once. Brings up too many memories. giphy (1)
  19. So far in House in Exile there are four confirmed deaths but only one is a name character. I doubt the body count will stay that low.
  20. “It was a valiant effort.”
  21. Definitely more of a night owl. I am not, and never have been, a morning person.giphy (2)
  22. Do I really need to say?giphy (3)
  23. People I’m always glad to see in my Twitter feed: Lexi Lefevre, Dyrk Ashton, M.L. Spencer, H.A. Callum, D.M. Newlun, T.A. Uner, R.B. McConnell, Paul Lavender, C.M. Turner, Kiho Graham with a special mention of Stephanie Simpson for some great swearing.
  24. Grey. No, not like that.
  25. I kept moving, a different hotel every night. Decent ones at first, then as cheap as possible. I slipped from city to city, hopping trains after dark.
  26. I think Ash is probably the most emotionally well adjusted out of the three of us. He’s a bit more willing than I am to talk about how he’s feeling.
  27. I think the emotion that best describes my writing is frustration. Both for me and Ash.
  28. Maybe not misty-eyed but some bits have given me a lump in my throat…giphy (4)


#EspressoYourself - February

  1. Starting off with the hard ones this month, are we? I love the fact I can remember the most random bits of trivia and can bring them to mind at a moment’s notice.
  2. Your 1st draft is not going to come out perfect and that’s okay.
  3. The main thing I love about the writing community is how supportive everyone tends to be.
  4. Romance hadn’t really been part of the previous House Valerius books but it is an integral part of.
  5. Am I allowed to say Shrek?giphy
  6. There are 3 that come to mind:  Stephen King’s On Writing (although that’s as much autobiography as instructional), Ray Bradbury’s Zen in the Art of Writing & the short but simple Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing.
  7. Three by my count. House in Exile, Tales from House Valerius & my first attempt at a novel. I intend to finish the first two but I think I’ll leave the last one where it is.
  8. Not usually but my current pen was a Christmas gift from my wife so I’m taking better care of it.20180208_203415783_iOS
  9. Any notebook can be a good notebook under the right circumstances but I has to admit, some are better than others. I’ve occasionally had ones that I almost thought were to nice to be scribbled in.
  10. I’m not sure how to describe my writing style. I’d like to think it’s relatively realistic but who knows. I’d settle for it being enjoyable.
  11. Sometimes. Not so much when I’m writing by hand but when it comes to typing it up, I often treat that as the first revision.
  12. I just finished this morning. Art of War: Anthology for Charity by Petros Triantafyllou and others.
  13. I decided to re-read Lungbarrow by Marc Platt.
  14. People I think you should follow Part 1: The A.T.H.E.N.A group – Lexi Lefevre, Kiho Graham, Avrin KellyStephanie Simpson, A Sea of DreamsMori Kaithor, M.S. Ocampo, Alex Micati, Sarina Langer & Kristell Redding. Part 2 – All round good peoples: Dyrk Ashton, M.L. Spencer, H.A. Callum, D.M. Newlun, T.A. Uner, R.B. McConnell, Paul Lavender & C.M. Turner.
  15. I’m usually more of an evening person.
  16. How do I procrastinate? Occasionally with comic books but usually with random internet browsing & social media. How do I snap out of it? I’ll answer that later, I’m reading about Doctor Who season 6B…20180211_213347223_iOS
  17. I’ve been known to write to odd blog entry about bookses…
  18. To be patient.
  19. There are a few; enough that I started doing blog posts about my favourites.
  20. I don’t have a specific drink for when I’m reading. But probably coffee.
  21. I’m sure I have had to pause and look something up while reading.
  22. I can think of several places I’d like to visit: In the US – New Orleans, Chicago, New York, Seattle, Miami Overseas – Rome, Florence, Paris, Barcelona, Tokyo, Reykjavík for some reason
  23. Neuroses. Oh, and books.20180223_203550132_iOS
  24. Our eyes met. She smiled, and her face lit up.
  25. I would have really enjoyed a chance to talk with Terry Pratchett.
  26. Something I’d like to do today? Feel like I accomplished something.
  27. I’m not sure I’ll call this a favourite since that’s liable to change with my mood. But here’s one that’s stuck in my head ever since I heard it because it invokes so many images. “But the tigers come at night, With their voices soft as thunder.”
  28. Find good people to help encourage and support you.


#TweepWriter - February

  1. Most of the time Ash would describe himself as a fairly average guy. Which he is, when he’s among his own kind. And if he wasn’t, he’d say that anyway. It’s not like he’d tell them the truth.
  2. Depends on who you ask. Quinn would say he’s a good kid. Lord Feodorenko would say he’s untested. Lady Mallory would say he’s an impudent child. Lord Takeda would say he dishonours his father. De Vries would say he’s misguided.
  3. De Vries would describe himself as an entrepreneur, a man of vision. Someone seeking to redress the inequalities in the current Ceteri society and who is not to be trifled with.
  4. I think Quinn put it best. “Guy’s crazier than a shithouse rat.”
  5. Ash would probably describe me as a bit of an eccentric, but I think he’d agree my hearts in the right place.
  6. I’m not sure I’d want to know how De Vries would describe me. I suspect ‘barely competent’ would be the kindest part of it.
  7. I think, with the Watchman training he’s had, Ash could probably handle most genres.
  8. While I think some of the details would change depending on the genre (sci fi – each House has its own planet, Fantasy – the Ceteri are more open about their existence) I think the broad story could remain the same.
  9. I’d do my best to adjust to the genre switch and just keep going. I’d probably have to work both backwards and forwards to make everything make some kind of sense. Unless I adopted a multiverse option, I suppose.
  10. Changing the genre probably wouldn’t make it suffer any more than it already is…20180211_154854034_iOS
  11. It probably would. Actually, since all I have for certain just now (mostly) is the title, maybe it wouldn’t…
  12. Changing to De Vries’ POV would actually affect the story more than changing the genre. Plus, I’m not sure if he would be as good a window into the world as Ash is, given the difference in ages, worldview etc
  13. Jump forward 100 years? I’ll miss my fully human characters but it will be interesting to see how my Ceteri characters are getting on. Barring being shot, immolated or accidental dismemberment of course.
  14. At this point, I suppose Ash is the one to make the biggest deal about Valentines Day.
  15. I would have to say Quinn. He’s just a lot of fun to write.
  16. Which character have I hated most? Probably Byron. Although I did specifically write him to be hateful.
  17. I won’t go into too much detail (Spoilers!) but it involves two characters saying goodbye to each other, knowing one of them is very likely going to die.
  18. People I think would enjoy #TweepWriterC.M. TurnerKiho Graham, Avrin KellyM.S. Ocampo, & Stephanie Simpson
  19. Somewhere near water, I think.
  20. While I’ve read some non-fiction that I really enjoyed, I’ll opt for fiction just about every time.
  21. My top 3 genres to read: science fiction, fantasy and mystery.
  22. The one that comes with to mind from high school is Sunset Song by Lewis Grassic Gibbon. I think I was the wrong age to properly appreciate it.
  23. I can’t say for certain, since I’m a very old man, but I think one of the first was The Dragon Of Og by Rumer Godden. I remember reading it in primary school and we were supposed to read one line out loud. As I recall, I got one word.
  24. I’m sorry I can’t answer this one. There was a whole legal case, a non-disclosure agreement, court-mandated therapy…
  25. Favourite indie authors: M.L. Spencer & Dyrk Ashton.
  26. The late Sir Terry Pratchett.
  27. There are several that I’m looking forward to reading. Here’s a sampling: Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft, Paternus: Wrath of Gods by Dyrk Ashton, the finale of the Rhenwars saga by M.L. Spencer, Lucifer’s Star by C.T. Phipps & Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames.
  28. The library of Dream, as seen in The Sandman no. 23. (Drawn by Kelley Jones)20180301_080316386_iOS


#WIPTruthorDare - February

  1. Truth – House in Exile takes place in a slightly different version of 2004; partly in the U.K., partly in the U.S.
    Dare The pale pink had been painting the horizon to our left for almost an hour when the sun finally rose, its rays bathing the landscape below it in soft gold. It was almost hypnotic. I hadn’t seen a sunrise before, not like this. 
  2. Truth – People in House Valerius do the same things to amuse themselves as most of us do. Watch movies, play video games, go for a drink, etc.
  3. Truth – There are Ceteri of various faiths among the various Houses, although many of them are agnostic. The Valerians don’t tend to be religious since their lineage predates most modern religions.
    Dare “We’re already pretty isolated. Place was built ta keep the guys safe if nukes started flying so weather ain’t an issue an’ there ain’t no real earthquake danger out here. Hell, we could probably wait out a plague a’ locusts if we needed to.”
  4. Truth – There isn’t any magic. Well, except the suggestion of clairvoyant dreams. Does that count?
  5. Truth – Predominantly English, although there has been some Russian (at House Grozny) and Japanese (at House Takeda). Oh, and some Latin during an interrogation.
  6. Truth – Tech level is same as ours, circa 2004. At least, I haven’t had the need to invent something yet.
  7. Truth – Not really a lower class but… The ‘normal’ human members of any Ceteri House are expected to contribute by taking jobs that will be useful to the House (doctors, lawyers, etc) and by donating blood to the House reserves.
  8. Truth – The main law among the Ceteri is simple – “Don’t let people outside the Houses know we exist.”
  9. Truth – Most of the Ceteri live off accumulated wealth, investments & business holdings. The human members of Houses are the public face of those businesses or are encouraged to get other jobs which benefit the House (doctors, lawyers, etc)
  10. Truth – Everybody eats what would be considered normal food for their location. But the Ceteri do also need to drink blood periodically to keep themselves in peak condition.
  11. Truth – Depends on the locale. But a lot of House in Exile so far has taken place in random hotels & motels in the UK & the US. Or else a decommissioned US communications bunker
  12. Truth – Most Ceteri dress the way as expected for their location, the point is to go unnoticed. But for special gatherings, they might revert back to whatever style fits their self-image. Von Radu opts for the Napoleonic era, Lady Mallory likes Elizabethan gowns.
  13. Truth – Among humans, pretty much the same as ours circa 2004. Among the Ceteri, De Vries has been causing chaos leading to some changes among the ruling Cabal. None of which has been good for Ash.
  14. Truth – Well, book 4 is tentatively titled Houses at War so…
  15. Truth – Most of the Ceteri don’t really consider themselves as a separate race, although there are some who do and that they just have to live in a human world…
  16. Truth – There are 20 Houses dotted around the world with approx. 100-150 Ceteri to each so maybe 3000 total worldwide.
  17. Truth – One of the main customs is on the Winter Solstice when any member of the ruling Cabal can challenge for leadership.
  18. Truth – The most important things to the Ceteri are secrecy and survival. The second often depends on the first.
  19. Truth – Mainly cold since House in Exile starts off in January.
  20. Truth – Well, it wouldn’t surprise me if at least one of the Ceteri Houses was looking into alternative energy sources. A money earner and a hedge against fossil fields running out.
  21. Truth – Everything happens on Earth, although obviously one that had slight differences.
  22. Truth – Well, the first Ceteri was found in Babylonia but the first House was originally based in Rome. And all the other Houses descend from that so…
  23. Truth – Same as here. Pounds, dollars, euros, yen. Just depends where the current chapter is.
  24. Truth – If they’re members of the same House, it’s pretty informal. If they’re members of different Houses, it might be a bit more formal. If they’re rulers of Houses, it’s very formal.
  25. Truth – While there are some others, this is probably the main one.giphy-downsized-large
  26. Truth – Rulers of Houses are addressed as Lord or Lady. Most of the other titles are connected to the Watchmen who guard each House.
  27. Truth – The majority are happy although the events of the series do generate a certain amount of fear among them due to De Vries’ attacks.
  28. Truth – A normal(?) family unit is pretty much the same although most families tend to live within (or very close to) the Houses they belong to.

As Always, Thanks to the hosts:

#authorconfession – J.M. Sullivan & Jessica Julien

#espressoyourself – Chelsea DeVries & Jessica Matteliano

#TweepWriter – Nicola Noble

#WIPTruthorDare – Heather Hayden & Melanie Thurlow

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