This month’s games were #AuthorConfession#AuthorWouldYou#EspressoYourself and both halves of #WIPTruthorDare.


#AuthorConfession - August

  1. I’m Drew and my current WIP is House In Exile, the 3rd in my House Valerius urban fantasy series. As a coffee order, probably black with a splash of caramel, since there are supposed to be some sweet bits…
  2. This is probably exaggerating things a bit but…20180810_193706370_iOS
  3. The answer to that is somewhere between no and yes. Ash had an older brother, Jonas, who died before Ash was born. He also has his cousin Elizabeth, but they grew up more like brother and sister.
  4. My characters at a tea party: ask for coffee, spike it with something alcoholic, get rowdy and swear a lot.
  5. The best comparison I can make using my core group: Ash is the king, Casey is the queen, Quinn and Petra are the bishops, MacReady and Jodie are the knights. Mbejane could be a rook and Mitsuko is the pawn who wants to become a queen.20180811_233736726_iOS
  6. Ash as a Wonderland character? He’d have to be either Alice (alone and trying to survive) or the rabbit (always on the run).
  7. If Ash fell down a rabbit hole, there would probably be swearing. Especially if he broke something.
    Of course, if it turned into some surrealistic shenanigans then I think the first thing he’d do is look for a vorpal sword.
  8. Nowadays I usually prefer non-movie covers. Although I do have three that I’ve kept in my library from pre-US days.
  9. I think Ash would probably handle it the same way he’s handling his current haircut, by putting up with it until it grows out again.
  10. Quinn and MacReady would describe Ash as a good kid, Jodie would call him a good boss, the members of the Cabal would describe him as impudent at best and a traitor at worst and De Vries would say he’s simply misguided.
  11. If my side characters disappeared, Ash would spend the entire novel (however long that ended up being) on his own and would either
  12. Given their musical tastes, it would be quite a mixture. Quinn would want either country or rock music, MacReady loves Elvis and Jodie likes The Clash, The Ramones and The Sex Pistols.20180902_044734506_iOS
  13. I think the majority of my side characters; Quinn, Casey, MacReady & Jodie would be good wing peoples. Unfortunately, I can’t see that being true of Mbejane.
  14. Things a good sidekick needs: 1) Snappy dialogue. 2) The belief that the story is really about them.
  15. The first duo that came to mind was Butch (Ash) & Sundance (Quinn). Although Quinn is the older of the two, I think the majority fits ok…20180817_183334273_iOS
  16. Whenever I’m asked about Ash & De Vries, these two come to mind…20180817_183558513_iOS
  17. 1,537,682. At least according to my most recent experiments.
  18. Just normal casual clothes; jeans, sweater, that kind of thing.DlESCFuVsAAHuqE
  19. Are we talking human school or Ceteri school? If it’s a human school, Ash would choose subjects like history, maths & biology. If it’s Ceteri school; House history, self-defence, kendo, studying prominent members of other Houses…
  20. Somewhere between the two. Ash didn’t enjoy all the lessons he had to sit through but he sees the benefit of them now. Especially the self-defence.
  21. I have no idea. I have difficulty following the notion of high-school cliques and the like. Probably because I went to school in the 1870’s…
  22. Okay, so I’m going to try sticking to normal school subjects here…
    Casey – Maths or English
    Quinn – P.E.
    MacReady – Geography
    Jodie – Music
    Mbejane – Sciences
    Petra – Languages
    Eve – History
  23. Fencing, if it was an option.
  24. “Must try harder”, I expect.
  25. I think the majority of my characters would be Gryffindor, although Petra would be Slytherin or possibly Ravenclaw.
  26. I think thrifty is the more likely of the two.
  27. I can see them playing Risk. And arguing about it.
  28. It’s a bit of both. Ash can function on his own but he does better with a companion.
  29. He doesn’t really have one.
  30. Scrivener currently has 24,304 but I think I’m missing some.
  31. Since I enjoyed Alice, I am looking forward to see what J.M. Sullivan has next.


#AuthorWouldYou - August

  1. Petra already is a spy, or at least a deniable agent, for one of the more powerful Ceteri Houses. Ash believes she works for Lord Feodorenko but she refuses to confirm or deny.
  2. I’m going to say battery power, purely because I don’t think wifi was that widely available in late 2003/early 2004.20180811_224458078_iOS
  3. Petra would say gold. If she needed to, she could use the gold to buy weapons…20180811_224759888_iOS
  4. Petra has already rescued (or at least made arrangements for them) Ash twice. I daresay she’d do so again.
  5. I think I’d rather have the constant company. Provided I can pick the company.
  6. I think there are certain songs that I could cope with listening to every day. Not sure I could cope with only one book…
  7. My first instinct was to say De Vries would go down fighting but now I’m thinking he’d probably surrender and wait for a chance to weasel his way out.
  8. I think Ash would pick the ice cream shop. Less chance of sunburns.
  9. It would depend on the superheroine. Petra could probably work a Black Widow outfit. I doubt she’d feel the same about a Power Girl costume.20180812_004449612_iOS
  10. De Vries would probably cheat and try to do both but, if forced to choose, I’ll say he’d prioritize protecting his own knowledge.
  11. Ash would probably be tempted by the book of answers but would probably think the compass more practical.
  12. I’d prefer two sizes too big.
  13. I think Petra is already pretty good at maths so she would want some form of artistic expression, like painting. Then all she’d need would be the to indulge in it.
  14. Ash would rather reclaim his home, whatever’s left of it.
  15. Petra wouldn’t want to do either since it would draw too much attention. But if it had to be one or the other, I’d say jump. While she does do yoga, I’m not sure she can walk on her hands.
  16. Ash would probably be more inclined towards horror.20180819_001631108_iOS
  17. De Vries would probably choose visible thoughts over streaming video. He’d just isolate himself and work through intermediaries until it wore off.
  18. Ash would want some human back up.
  19. I’ve done both. Generally, I like the feeling of writing by hand but then I take ages to type it up again and I muddled about what I’ve written vs what I’ve just thought about.
  20. While there are definitely things in her past she would prefer not to remember, Petra would choose to be stranded on her own. It wouldn’t be the first time and this time she has a much better skill set to deal with it.
  21. De Vries would choose the dark room. He’d probably find it relaxing.
  22. Petra would be more comfortable barefoot.
  23. Ash would rather be cold all the time.
  24. The trouble with having a cool means of transportation is that it’s more likely to draw attention. So, Petra would choose the weapon.
  25. Since he still needs supplies of human blood, De Vries would rather use an AI than a virus.
  26. Since I’m trying to get back to keto, I’d have to forego the donut. I would miss my morning coffee though.
  27. De Vries would sooner let Ash (or any enemy) go free rather than let his plans be known.
  28. While I’m not sure I could tell you what it is, (possibly Final Fantasy 7 or GTA Vice City), I’m fairly sure Ash would opt to be stuck in a video game.
  29. I think Petra would prefer the ocean although either would be a nuisance.
  30. De Vries would prefer a powerful minion. He’s not keen on taking direction from someone else. He would also be wary that said minion didn’t become a threat.
  31. Ash already knows he’s going to die at some point so he’d want to know how.


#EspressoYourself - August 1

  1. I’m Drew and my current WIP is House In Exile, the 3rd in my House Valerius urban fantasy series. As for the decade I was born, it was the late 70’s. Somedays it feels like the 1870’s…
  2. My library. Even when it was just full of second-hand paperbacks and the like.
  3. I remember watching He-Man & The Masters of the Universe and liking Orco.20180811_225620658_iOS#EspressoYourself - August 2
  4. The only picture book I really recall was called The Giant Jam Sandwich.
  5. A few things. None that I find particularly memorable now.
  6. The main place I remember was the cottage at Jarbruck, the hay barn and the river beside it.
  7. Sure, who hasn’t occasionally been embarrassed by the things we used to like?
    I remember liking the Inspector Gadget cartoon and then being annoyed by it only a couple of years later.
  8. I can’t really recall anything specific that I wanted that badly. Maybe a Millenium Falcon. 5197_l#EspressoYourself - August 3
  9. Once again, who hasn’t? Sometimes I wish I could go back and tell younger me to take better care of himself.
  10. Aside from my library and my notebooks, the objects that tell about my life are my necklace and my wedding ring.
  11. Some. Not from a sleepover specifically but more from the games played around the river.#EspressoYourself - August 4
  12. If we’re specifying something I received as a youngling, I’d probably have to say the hardback omnibus of Dracula & Frankenstein I got from an aunt.s-l300
  13. Confirmation that my visa application had been accepted.20180902_045159670_iOS
  14. Did I have any nicknames? Oh yes. But I’ve spent long enough moving past those to avoid bringing them up again.
  15. Not a lot of good things but I did come out of them with a desire to write so there’s that.
  16. I don’t specifically remember which came first, The Hobbit or The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe, but it was one of the two.
  17. Magic. Then I realized magic is where you find it and you can make your own.
  18. Did I daydream as a youngling? I still haven’t stopped…20180820_192739044_iOS
  19. Some of Ash’s early experiences are modelled on my own, although at least one of them has a distinctly darker outcome…
  20. Very occasionally. It’s complicated by the fact that he’s not on social media anymore and we’re both bad at email. But we make it a point to get together and catch up whenever I’m back in the UK.
  21. I tried to keep a diary a couple of times but it never seemed to stick.
  22. Probably convince the younger me to take better care of himself.
  23. Not even the same country…
  24. Not as far as I can recollect.
  25. I can be sentimental at times.#EspressoYourself - August 6
  26. Yes and no. The excellent part of my memory seems to be reserved for a random assortment of useless facts, movie dialogue and trivia.
  27. My earliest memory is being startled by a horse. I think I was about 3.
  28. Some. I would like to get back into martial arts again.
  29. Quite a bit, yes.
  30. Ash more than any of the others, but yes.
  31. Not everyone will like what you write and even those that do may require a second read.


#WIPTruthorDare - Augst



  1. I think Ash’s idea of adventuring might be a little different to mine but he’s game for most things. Except when it involves having to be out in the sunshine…
  2. In A House Divided, Ash travels from the U.K. to Moscow, then on to Japan and then in a roundabout way, back to the U.K. again.
  3. At the beginning of House In Exile, Ash is mainly using trains to move from city to city but in the past, he’s used cars, planes, helicopters and occasionally riding pillion on Casey’s motorbike.
  4. Ash has had more or less the same Watchman training as the field agents so I don’t doubt he could build and start a fire.
  5. I suppose that would depend on what part of the world my characters are travelling through. Either way, it would be the same as we’d get in the real world.
  6. The main place Ash wants to go is back to Shadowcroft, his home. But with De Vries currently in control of the house and holding his father there as part of keeping Ash from making a direct attack, it doesn’t look like he’ll see it any time soon.
  7. Of course, the Houses themselves are off-limits to non-Ceteri. The main place that was (generally) forbidden to Ceteri was Arkhangelsk prison. But since De Vries freed the prisoners and destroyed the place there isn’t really anywhere left.
  8. The main danger any Ceteri has when travelling is unexpected exposure to the sun. That’s why most Houses have private jets.
  9. Before the series started, Ash had only left Shadowcroft occasionally. But since he’s been all over the place.
  10. Again, it depends on whereabouts my characters are. Part of House In Exile is set around some mountains in New Mexico so the roads there are a bit rougher than the ones Ash is used to.
  11. Right now, Ash is trying to not sleep while travelling since he’s paranoid about being ambushed.
  12. Ash would want to help but he’d also be suspicious that it was some kind of trap.20180902_144030383_iOS
  13. If he knew there were people hunting him close by, Ash might try turning it into an opportunity for an ambush.
  14. Not as such. Ash has found things that have been hidden but I doubt he’d describe them as treasures.
  15. Ash’s immediate goal is to re-unite with the few friends that are still loyal to him.
  16. It would depend on how many there are and how they’re armed, but more often than not, I’d expect Ash to fight…20180817_183913026_iOS
  17. While it may not be completely true to call her a friend, despite their time travelling together, Petra has definitely become an ally.
  18. In any kind of fight, Ash would want either Casey or Quinn backing him up.
  19. The worst thing about Ash’s adventuring? The potential (and actual) deaths of those close to him.
  20. Not specifically a cave but will an abandoned mineshaft count?
  21. The times Ash has been in the most danger would be either time he’s been at Carina’s mercy (such as it is).
  22. Yes. Although, only for about a week or two.
  23. Canada, at first. The wherever Quinn has his hideaway.
  24. Yes, Ash can defend himself.
  25. Facial scars.
    The scar I’d got from my duel with De Vries had been thin, almost a razor cut, and already healed into a straight, white line. It looked like Carina had cut into it again, making it wider, more jagged. It now started maybe an inch or two above the patch covering my eye, snaking down through the gauze, continuing for another couple of inches. A new scar had been added; this one starting at my temple, drawn down to meet the other, the two coming to a point just above my jawline. The overall effect was as if someone, Carina presumably, had carved a large V into my face. 
  26. Not currently. So far, Ash hasn’t had any injuries to his legs.
  27. I think so. What kind of stories depends on how things work on for him.
  28. Without spoilers, yes.
  29. Spending the night in a tent counts, right?
  30. Ash’s main adversary is De Vries, and the people that follow him like Carina. But he’s also on the outs with the ruling Cabal so they have to be considered too.
  31. Probably by working out what has to be done next.



  1. “Do you think you could get me some Pocky?” Mitsuko said.
    I found myself agreeing, even though I had only a vague idea of what she was asking for. I knew I’d spend hours looking for whatever it was, hoping that my success would make her smile.
  2. “The plan was to get to the States,” I told her hesitantly. “I don’t know where Quinn wanted to go from there.”
    Petra nodded. “Hendricks was using some operational security then. Well, we can use that. We’ll make our way to Canada first, just to be safe, then we’ll cross the border from there. Have you been in touch with Hendricks since?”
  3. I felt the train slow and stop, rocking me back and forth in my seat. We were still inside the tunnel, the only illumination the minimal carriage lighting. Even without meaning to, I shifted in my seat, positioning myself to make access to my handgun easier. I sat there, waiting to be attacked.
  4. I stacked the firewood carefully, placing a couple of fire-lighters at what seemed appropriate spots. Once it was complete, I made a ring of stones around the little pyre and lit it.
    Petra and I watched the flames slowly creep along the branches as we huddled beneath our blankets.
  5. I opened the cooler. At least Petra had been wise enough to plan ahead. There was some fruit, some ice water and a blood bag.
    “If you need something more substantial,” Petra said, as my stomach growled again. “I remember there being a Tim Hortons some blocks over.”
  6. I kept low, still well back inside the treeline. Training the rangefinder on the building, I studied Shadowcroft Manor. It looked just as I remembered it, even the damage done the night De Vries had attacked was gone. But it wasn’t home any more.
  7. My attention shifted to the guards De Vries had patrolling the grounds. They were almost equidistant from the house and the trees, no chance of being able to grab one and drag them off without being spotted. Even if I could, that still left a lot of ground to cover before I reached the building.
  8. “I have to warn you.” Petra’s voice was sharp, hurried. “After the last attack, Raines is pushing to have the orders concerning you upgraded from capture to kill. So far the Cabal is deadlocked about it, but if another attack happens…” She let it trail off.
  9. “Morgues are useful places,” Petra said, as we left the building.
    “Apparently.” I stretched again, trying to work the kinks from my neck and shoulders. “But waking up in one without warning is a bit of a shocker.”
    All that got was an amused smile.
  10. We turned off the main road and onto what was little more than a dirt track leading higher into the mountains. After a particularly hard jostle resulted in me nearly smacking off the window, I muttered. “I see why you opted for this beast.”
    Jodie snorted.
  11. “You want to stay here?” I asked as Petra pulled the car into something advertising itself as the Shady Rest Motel. At least, that’s what I presumed it was called. Some of the letters in the sign were dead & dark while others flickered on & off repeatedly.
  12. I was on my way back to the car with my meal when I nearly bumped into a man shuffling past.
    “Spare some change?” He mumbled at me, scratching at his ragged beard.
    I looked down at the paper bag, still warm in my hands, and handed it to him without a word.
  13. A curtain of rain lashed at us, screening the road so that I could barely see the lights of the car stopped ahead of us. Seeing my discomfort Quinn said, “Relax, kid. Ain’t nuthin’ ta worry ‘bout. Folks in this town jus’ don’t know how ta drive inna rain.”
  14. I went through his pockets, careful to not get any of the blood on me. My hands found what felt like a tightly folded packet of waterproof paper. I opened & studied it quickly. The building shown on it wasn’t identified but the lines of attack were clear.
  15. “Have you been in touch with any of your people since London?” Petra asked.
    I tried not to look guilty. “I tried all the numbers I had. Nobody answered but I left messages to get in touch when they checked them. I haven’t heard anything back yet.”
  16. “What’s in the bag?”
    Although the voice came from behind me, I didn’t turn. As expected, two more appeared at the far end of the underpass, ready to box me in. But there was still several feet between them & me.
    A heavy hand landed on my shoulder & I spun.
  17. I turned on the man, still sitting behind his desk, a smug little smirk twitching one side of his mouth.
    “Are you satisfied? Or do you have more hoops for us to jump through?” I demanded.
    The smile vanished. “You came to me, remember? You need what I have.”
  18. I spun, turning inside my attacker’s reach, hand jabbing for his throat. I hooked my fingers into the hollow at the base of his throat, eliciting a gagging sound. I used his surprise to turn us, putting him between me and his accomplices.
  19. I looked up to gauge the distance between me & the other attackers, only to see them skid to a halt & start running in the opposite direction.
    “Hoi! What’s going on there?” A new voice yelled behind me. I glanced back & saw a policeman entering the tunnel.
  20. I ventured deeper into the darkness, leaving the last vestiges of light behind me. As it fled, I was enveloped in an oppressive silence. I shook one of my snap lights & held it aloft. The ethereal green glow traced the cavern walls stretching out ahead.
  21. I ran, cursing under my breath as I tried to put as much distance between me and policeman. The last thing I wanted was to draw the attention of any human authorities into the bargain. At least I didn’t have to be worried about getting shot in the back.
  22. For a brief second, Petra looked uncomfortable. “My employer has already asked me to look into the matter discretely.” Her eyes drifted to one side. I followed her gaze to her bag, realizing that it was already packed.
  23. “You know anything about this place?” I asked her.
    “Not really,” She said, unfolding the map, tracing a finger along the pages until she found the town Quinn had named. “Small, but not too small; close to a lot of interstates. It’s the sort of place I’d choose.”
  24. The taser hit me square in the chest, my body spasming as it collapsed under me. The one who’d hit me didn’t get a chance to follow up. Quinn shot him in the neck, the large revolver roaring twice. He knelt beside me, plucking the darts free. “Stay down, kid. We got this.”
  25. I remembered the time Elizabeth had dared me to try climbing one of the trees beside Shadowcroft. Thanks to one branch breaking and another staying solid, I’d had a bunch of cracked ribs for what was left of the summer and parents constantly telling me I could have broken my neck.
  26. Mbejane unwrapped the bundle, revealing a cane of rich, reddish-brown wood. It was topped by a sphere of polished onyx.
    “I thought you might find this useful until your leg heals.” He said, proffering the cane to me.
    I gripped it and let it take some of my weight. For the first time since I was shot, I could move easier.
  27. Ok, I’m blanking on this one. Sorry.
  28. Quinn filled the half dozen small glasses and began passing them around.
    Once we each had one, he looked around the group. “Anyone wanna go first?”
    The rest of them all turned to me. After a hesitant silence, Jodie said. “You were closest to him, boss. He would have wanted you to say something.”
  29. We got the tent put up without too much of a delay and spread our sleeping bags out side by side.
    “Are you hungry?” Petra asked and I nodded.
    “Good, you can start the fire then.”
  30. I held my father’s sword, fingers running lightly over the dragon etched into the scabbard. “How did you get this?” I asked.
  31. “It ain’t much,” Quinn said. “But we put t’gether a bit of a welcome party fer yah.”
    “Yeah,” Jodie added. “A case of beer and three frozen pizzas. Let the good times roll.”
    “Yah’ve had worse.” Quinn told her. “An’ Ah let ya choose the pizza, di’n’t Ah?”


As Always, Thanks to the hosts:

#AuthorConfession – J.M. Sullivan & Jessica Julien

#AuthorWouldYou – Haley Ringer & Rebecca R. Cahill

#EspressoYourself – The Smart Cookie & Jessica Matteliano

#WIPTruthorDare – Heather Hayden & Allie May

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