July’s games were #AuthorConfession#AuthorWouldYou#TweepWriter, #WIPjoy and #WIPTruthorDare.



  1. Me in emoji form (more or less anyways) 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿👨🏻‍💼👨🏻‍🔬🧙🏻‍♂️📝🥃🤬😜
  2. Ash is usually out and about at night when things tend to be cooler anyways. Daytime he’s indoors hopefully with some form of air conditioning.
  3. Not much chance of a holiday anytime soon but it would be somewhere secluded, and preferably a long way from any of the other Houses.
  4. I don’t think you would described Ash as patriotic. Allegiance is more to the House than it is to any particular nation.
  5. Right now, it’s mid-January (in book time) so the weather’s fairly cold. And rainy because it’s the U.K.20180806_044707030_iOS
  6. Ash Valerian = Alain Shaver
  7. If I swapped places with De Vries, things would probably go a hell of a lot easier for Ash and company. I’m not nearly as together as he is.
  8. Right now, any sort of surprise is liable to make Ash very nervous and I can’t guarantee he wouldn’t come out shooting.
  9. Ash would probably be represented by a small car. His main desire right now is to blend in and not be noticed.
  10. Ash wouldn’t bother setting the wallpaper on his phone. He tends to abandon them fairly frequently at this point.
  11. I’d say Hannibal Lector is my favourite villain. Mainly for his perceptiveness. 20180806_050619313_iOS
  12. I’ve not had occasion to develop an author’s signature since I’m not an author. But, to join in…Dif4AqWVQAEcsjA
  13. I think Ash’s signature would look like…20180716_002938095_iOS
  14. I’m not sure what the current tally is; I have a bunch of handwritten pages to type up first. Hopefully, I’ll have a proper count by the time I collect all my answers at the end of the month. NB. Still hasn’t happened, I overestimated the amount I’d get done on vacation. 
  15. What makes someone #SparkleOn? Openness & approachability. Things this one is not good at…
  16. Ash is, by a couple of days, a Cancer. Beyond that, he couldn’t tell you.
  17. Ash is the one the most like me, as several people have pointed out.
  18. Ash doesn’t have a particularly green thumb. He can appreciate horticulture but it’s not something he’s interested in himself.
  19. I do try to include humour, mainly through dialogue. How successful I am at that is open to interpretation.20180730_010704916_iOS
  20. Most of my character names were chosen either because I liked them or because they’re film references. For example, Ash is named for Bruce Campbell’s character from The Evil Dead series.20180806_193726658_iOS
  21. The most difficult thing for Ash to overcome? His doubts about himself. De Vries does run a pretty close second though.
  22. He’s thought about it. On the one hand, he is (or was, or will be) the Lord of House Valerius and will be expected to have an heir if he regains his position. On the other hand, the Ceteri mutation is a bit of a lottery, as his brother & cousin have shown.
  23. Ash has a better perspective on his childhood now than he did a few years ago. He might have thought it unfair at the time but now he can see the benefits of all the training he went through.
  24. Much as I want to quote the late, great Douglas Adams on this one, there are times when I do think deadlines help…
  25. Ash’s birthday is June 22nd.
  26. Things Ash is expecting: trouble. And that he’ll get blamed for it.
  27. Well, he’s been in the private hospital wing of Shadowcroft a couple of times. Last time for a bullet wound. And some sort of makeshift hospital when De Vries captured him and let Carina at him.
  28. At present, unless Ash’s Aunt Sara has given birth and he just hasn’t heard about it yet, Mitsuko is the youngest character at 24.
  29. Well, if you go back far enough Ash is related to all the Ceteri, through his many times’ great-grandmother. In terms of his immediate family though, it looks like this20180801_033803448_iOS
  30. Good question and, although I’m not sure I have a good answer, I will do my best. Ash = Jack of Clubs. Quinn = Ace of Spades. Casey = Queen of Clubs. MacReady = King of Spades. Jodie = Jack of Spades. Mbejane = Jack of Hearts.
  31. No news, I’m afraid.



  1. I’m Drew and my current WIP is House In Exile, the 3rd in my House Valerius urban fantasy series.
  2. I usually describe my House Valerius series as urban fantasy since that seems to be the best fit.
  3. I tend to just start writing rather than outlining. For better or for worse.
  4. For me, characters & plot kind of evolve together. Some characters I came up with first but others were dictated by the plot.
  5. Of the two, I think I’d rather do a character profile.
  6. I do both; 1st person for the main series and 3rd person for the short stories.
  7. For now, I’ll stick to disclosing the title, which is House In Exile, also known as House Valerius book 3.
  8. Ash Valerian is, or rather was, the heir to the oldest of the Ceteri Houses. He is currently on the run from the Ceteri Cabal after having been accused of various crimes against them & branded a traitor. He’s on his own, trying to stay on the move.
  9. I usually try to monitor things as I go along. I prefer to know how far behind I am.
  10. I don’t mind either but probably prefer dialogue.
  11. I stared at my reflection, forcing myself to look at the vivid red lines marring the left side of my face. Denying the reality of them would do no good; I had to accept they were part of me now & not let them influence the person I was to be.
  12. How about if I create a new character to help my MC with an existing challenge?
  13. I’d like to have someone to brainstorm with but at the same time, I’m not brave enough for that.
  14. I think there’s always something to learn so I’d read the writing tips.
  15. 10 min writing sprint = 196 words
  16. I have a few short stories exploring supporting characters. That way, if I get stuck on book 3, I have something I can work at until I’m ready to resume.
  17. Whenever possible, I’d prefer to do any research in advance. Although I will admit that there have been some occasions where I’ve gone down a different track and had to do my research simultaneously.
  18. I’d probably rather write from a secondary character’s perspective. After all, that’s what my short stories are for…
  19. Right now I’d prefer to dedicate myself to writing every day.
  20. I think I’d probably rather write than edit. At least then I have a semblance of knowing what I’m doing…
  21. Coffee, please.20180725_152621171_iOS
  22. 15 min sprint = 256 words.
  23. I think it might well be easier having a stranger reading it. Especially since I try to do voices whenever I’ve read to someone.
  24. This might be cheating but I think this has both happy and sad elements to it:  Jodie’s hug nearly took me off my feet as she slammed into me. I swayed for a moment, caught off guard. Gradually, she stepped back, a muttered “Sorry, Boss.” dying on her lips along with her smile as she became aware of the scarred side of my face.
  25. I’d rather sprint write for 10 minutes. This time it was 207.
  26. Since I’m not anticipating being done by the end of House In Exile, I think I’d rather add a plot twist.20180727_204151041_iOS
  27. I’d rather have a coffee with me when I write. Never tried writing with wine but I’m not sure that would be very successful…20180731_041313460_iOS
  28. As much as I would like to have finished House In Exile for CampNaNo, I couldn’t see it happening so I set my own goal.
  29. Normally I would but things have been hectic the past few days. Maybe next time?20180801_040910146_iOS
  30. Hell if I know.
  31. My current mood? A bit like this… 20180807_013241649_iOS


#TweepWriter - July 1

  1. Because of the number of times I’ve read it and the history I have with it, I’ll say Dracula.
  2. Conan Doyle would be a good bet. As would Poe.
  3. A film I could watch again and again? I’ll always have Casablanca.20180717_174453541_iOS
  4. As far as classic rock goes, I’m very much in the love it category.20180706_193852492_iOS
  5. Ash Valerian is, or rather was, the heir to the oldest of the Ceteri Houses. He is currently on the run from the Ceteri Cabal after having been accused of various crimes against them & branded a traitor. He’s on his own, trying to stay on the move.
  6. There are more than a few similarities between myself and Ash. Not sure if I should be admitting that or not.
  7. Much like myself, Ash suffers from an annoying lack of confidence in himself at times.
  8. Naive. Deluded. Puppet. Those are some of the words De Vries would use to describe Ash.
  9. I’d like to think Ash and I would get along, although maybe we’re too similar to be comfortable with each other…#TweepWriter - July 3
  10. Aside from reading & writing, I’m a big film watcher.20180806_050707820_iOS
  11. Right now, Ash isn’t relaxing all that much. In fact, he’s more than a little paranoid.
  12. I’ve wanted to get back to doing martial arts for a long time but still haven’t got around to it.
  13. Ash definitely does need skills now he’s on his own. But he has had a version of Watchman training, including unarmed combat, swordsmanship and working with various firearms.20180716_191410021_iOS
  14. Other than being the one who set everything in motion? Well, part of it is biology, part of it is just De Vries being a nasty piece of work.
  15. The only thing I can think of is that we’re both frequent liars. Although I really only do it to amuse. Honest…
  16. Looking back, I’m not sure I did choose De Vries as my antagonist. I was originally intending Lady Mallory to be the main villain then he showed up and just started taking over…
  17. De Vries does have a few valid points about how some of the Ceteri, the ones described as ‘ferals’ are treated.
  18. De Vries isn’t based on anyone but he shares a name with a villain in Dune.20180723_044249685_iOS20180723_171232811_iOS
  19. Births & deaths are celebrated/commemorated of course but the main Ceteri occasion is the Winter Solstice. The rulers of all the Houses gather and the current Matriarch/Patriarch can be challenged for leadership of the Cabal.
  20. House In Exile is set in 2004. It starts off in the U.K. then moves to the U.S. I’m expecting there to be some back and forth…20180807_021850021_iOS
  21. Well, it’s currently mid-January in the UK so, cold, gloomy and raining.20180725_153643181_iOS
  22. I’ll be honest, I have absolutely no idea how good I am at any of the writing business, never mind different types of world building. But for context, the House Valerius series is in a version of the real world while most of the short pieces on my page are made up.
  23. Well, that’s a question. Generally, the Ceteri see themselves as an off-shoot of humanity but would still describe themselves as human. But, of course, there are some, particularly the older ones, who consider themselves as separate.
  24. There is a fair bit of travelling. So far in the series, we’ve been to England, Wales, Russia, Japan, Scotland, Canada and finally the US.20180726_194337696_iOS20180727_170707954_iOS
  25. Ash Valerian looks mid-twenties, paler than normal, casually & cheaply dressed. He normally has brown hair with very slight reddish hints but right now it’s growing back in after having shaved it all off. His most distinctive feature is the ragged V-shaped scarring on his face.
  26. Mitsuko pressed herself against me and I breathed in the cool, clean scent of her. There was a hint of citrus, something almost like lime. It mixed with the sweet Jasmine in her hair, a heady perfume that sent my pulse racing.
  27. “It’s not much,” Petra said, passing me a plate.
    I took in the pasta, chicken, the rich sauce; even the crusty bread looked & smelled delicious. After a week of snacks & fast food, just the sight made my mouth. I barely spared time to thank her before attacking it.
  28. The rain pattered against the window in a rhythmic lullaby; punctuated occasionally with the deeper rumble of a takeoff from the nearby airport. But every time my eyes began to droop, a footstep or a door opening out in the corridor roused me again.
  29. I thought about everyone who had died for me in the past few weeks. And with each face, cane their voice asking why I didn’t do more to try and save them. I felt like I was drowning, weight crushing my chest. I reached for the bottle and tried to wash them away.
  30. I recognized the click-clack of someone working the slide on an automatic. Conscious of every sound I was making, I crept over to the side of the door, baton clenched in my fist. There was the metallic creak as the door handle began to turn.



  1. My current WIP is House In Exile, the 3rd in my House Valerius urban fantasy series.
  2. House In Exile pitch: On his own and hunted by the Cabal who consider him a traitor, Ash Valerian has to find a way to reunite with his friends and stop De Vries for starting a war between the Ceteri Houses.
  3. Ash in a line, song and image. Line – “This is who I am, and I will do what I must.” Song – Paint It Black by The Rolling Stones. Image:DiVMpHYU8AA3Xd8
  4. I gripped the bottle by the neck, its glass cool against my palm. Somewhere in the back of my mind, a voice was telling me this was a bad idea. I pushed that aside; wanting to be numb, anesthetised against the world. I put it to my lips and drank.
  5. Side characters I really like: MacReady, Petra & Lady Gianna di Bonaventura
  6. Quinn: “Ah’m just fixin’ ta kill some folks that needs killin’. An’ if that helps the kid out, then so much the better.”
  7. The main thing Ash needs just now is blood. Which I realise would make for an unusual care package.
  8. I had managed to use up the packaged blood I had left. I could go a few days without, maybe even a week, but that was under normal circumstances. I had to find a way to replenish my supply.
  9. Ash has fairly simple tastes but he usually enjoys Asian food.
  10. Ash, like most Ceteri, tends to avoid garlic since it can break down haemoglobin which they are already deficient in.
  11. Between being almost constantly on the move in the evenings and hiding out during the day, I’d spent the week living off fast food and snacks. I was beginning to get sick of it and found myself remembering the banquet at House Takeda with some envy.
  12. As in my previous answer, Ash isn’t doing the greatest job in keeping himself fed…
  13. I don’t know that many cookery programs but if it did happen I could quite easily see Quinn getting into a shouting match with Gordon Ramsey…20180720_191632473_iOS
  14. Ash isn’t really prepared to do any entertaining at the moment so they’d probably have to go out. Unless they were Cabal agents, in which case he’d have to serve up some hot lead. (Yes, I know how cheesy that sounds.)20180720_201130259_iOS
  15. “I’m afraid I can’t offer you much,” I told her. “But there is some coffee; if you’d like.” The woman shook her head. “No time. We should leave as soon as possible.” I hesitated, wondering how much to trust her.
  16. Ash: “To be honest, summers were awkward at times. Since I couldn’t go outside without a lot of precautions, more often than not I had to stay inside during the day.”
  17. De Vries: “I suspect you mean a ritual prior to going to bed so I’ll explain that. First I make sure the blackout curtains are secure and that no sunlight can get in. Then I put on a sleep mask and play some whale songs. I believe in getting a good days rest.”
  18. “My employer, who wishes to remain nameless, knows you are innocent of the majority of the charges laid against you. But, without proof to reverse the Cabal’s decision, cannot & will not aid you openly.” She gestured to herself. “Hence me. And you can call me Petra.”
  19. Ash: “There was an incident when we were kids. A friend of ours cut their arm badly and I lost control… Elizabeth didn’t speak to me for a month after she saw that.“
  20. I’m fairly sure I wouldn’t want to hear my characters analyze me given some of the things I’ve put them through.20180807_030438742_iOS
  21. De Vries: “The best thing I’ve ever done? That would have to be freeing the people unfairly imprisoned in Arkhangelsk.”
  22. “Everyone the Cabal cast aside, that they tried to bury in that gulag,” He spat the words at me. “They see that the Cabal, that your father, failed them.”
    “And you’re offering to make it right?”
    “I’m giving them a chance to be part of the world again.”
  23. The most tech-savvy is either Elizabeth or Jodie, probably Elizabeth. The least technically minded is Ash’s great-aunt Eve.
  24. Elizabeth is probably the warmest person in the series. Pretty sure Lady Mallory is the coldest.
  25. Ash’s maternal grandmother is probably the most religious. She once gave him a Celtic cross he wore around his neck for her but it’s since been lost on one of his misadventures.
  26. Quinn is definitely the most confident. Unfortunately, Ash is probably the least.
  27. I think the majority of my major characters would sooner have De Vries defeated (or dead). I don’t think many of them are too pragmatic to believe in soulmates. Maybe Elizabeth would choose that option, to have a connection to someone she could grow old with.
  28. Once again, Quinn is the most laid back and I think Mbejane is the most uptight and serious of the core group.
  29. “Hell, Mbejane.” Quinn said with a touch of exasperation. “Were ya always this damn serious or didja take lessons?”
    “I took lessons, of course.” He replied, totally deadpan. “They were right after the ones I’ve used to patch you up time and again. I’m sure you don’t want me taking that lightly.”
  30. No wins this month, I’m afraid.
  31. Keep going. Your story deserves to be told.



  1. Blueberry pomegranate chocolate chunk. And, quite enjoyed it too.
  2. UFOs haven’t come up in the plot so far but Ash did watch the X-Files so why not?20180717_164820760_iOS
  3. Ash has had some trouble with authority (or those who believe they have authority) but he does know which rules make sense.
  4. Well, right now Ash is on his own so he has to be…
  5. In as much as De Vries can be said to have any kind of work, it would have to be as a con artist.
  6. The last person Ash kissed was Mitsuko.
  7. Ash does like chocolate, although he prefers dark to milk.
  8. As for blueberry pie, Ash doesn’t recall ever having it but isn’t against the idea if anyone wants to offer.
  9. Ash is usually restrained when it comes to sugar although he does love sour gummies and the like. De Vries, on the other hand, loves sugar. He takes a lot even if it makes him manic.
  10. Ash did own a teddy bear years ago. No idea what happened to it.
  11. Yes, Ash is lonely right now. He’s on his own and trying to deal with the fallout of being called a traitor, as well as the death of someone close to him.
  12. Casey made a pecan pie one year when the American members of the House decided to have their own little Thanksgiving at Shadowcroft. She saved a piece for Ash & he really enjoyed it.
  13. Ash is probably the geekiest character. Or certainly the geekiest one so far…
  14. The only place Ash has seen a shark has been on TV.20180720_201329205_iOS
  15. There are cows. Although the closest Ash has been to them is in edible form.
  16. I really want to use a line from the Preacher comic book (issue 30) but no, snakes don’t really bother Ash.DimWnMJX0AA9bQA
  17. Ash in emoji form: 🚶🏻‍♂️
  18. I’m sure caviar got served at some Ceteri function and I’m sure Ash would have tried it. As much out of curiosity as anything else.
  19. Ash likes red velvet cake.
  20. Ash is indifferent to lollipops. If he was offered one he might accept it but I doubt he’d seek them out or anything.
  21. Pizza, preferably pepperoni.20180725_154557014_iOS
  22. I haven’t really investigated De Vries’ parents in the series so far. However, I have the feeling that his father was the disapproving type so he probably preferred his mother.
  23. Caramel would be welcomed, I think.
  24. Ash only has the one cousin (although another is on the way) but he and Elizabeth grew up together so more often they’re like brother & sister.
  25. I think you could ask him once a day and get several different answers. For now, let’s say Beef Stroganoff.
  26. Ash would give up everything if it meant keeping the people closest to him safe.
  27. Depends on the purpose of the walk. Ash would go with Quinn, MacReady or Jodie to check the area around their new home. If it was just for the sake of walking, possibly with Elizabeth so they could talk. Or maybe Mitsuko, for more romantic reasons.
  28. I think I said before that Ash prefers dark chocolate.20180730_160326991_iOS
  29. I think most of them would take some lasagna. But no garlic bread…20180802_031243386_iOS
  30. I’m not sure I would describe De Vries as having friends. The only people he’s shown any sign of affection for are Carina Bulat and, in a weird way, Ash.
  31. I can see several of my characters adopting a stray but I think MacReady would be the most likely to do so.

As Always, Thanks to the hosts:

#AuthorConfession – J.M. Sullivan & Jessica Julien

#AuthorWouldYou – Haley Ringer & Rebecca R. Cahill

#TweepWriter – Nicola Noble

#WIPJoy – Bethany A. Jennings

#WIPTruthorDare – Heather Hayden & Allie May

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