This month’s games were #AuthorConfession, #WIPjoy, the majority of both halves of #WIPTruthorDare, #WIPWorldbuilders and #WriterlyWIPchat.

#AuthorConfession

  1. I’m still Drew, at least 76.735% of the time (studies are still continuing). I’ve been doing #authorconfession for 2 years, missing only 1-2 months during that time. As for what I like about my writing, erm… occasionally I get some good dialogue, I think.
  2. Roses are red,
    Violets are blue,
    My MC wants to clear his name,
    And make his House anew.

  3. De Vries doesn’t have a secret admirer. At least not as far as I’m aware of.
  4. The main person Ash is envious of his father. Matthias always seems to be in control, knows what to do and has contingency plans in reserve.
  5. How scary is House In Exile? While there are several tense scenes and a few gunfights I don’t think there are any scary scenes (in the horror sense).
  6. How much romance is in House In Exile? I’m hoping about a 5 since it’s kind of the B plot.
  7. House In Exile has 2 or 3 secrets but I’m only giving hints about one of them for now. There will be the reveal of someone working for De Vries that I’ve been laying clues about since book 1.
  8. I just try to be decent to people. I don’t always succeed, but I do try.
  9. I really can’t imagine De Vries singing, in the shower or anywhere else. Carina is a different matter though.
  10. I can usually be found here.
  11. With the way Ash has been feeling lately, probably the Punisher.punisher
  12. Ash, like myself, has a weakness for sour gummies.
  13. While it’s not the only thing motivating De Vries, it is a big part of what he’s doing,
  14. All you confessors deserve a little extra love & support.img_6209
  15. Given the training Ash has had during his life, there’s a pretty good chance Ash could survive some kind of post-apocalyptic wasteland. So long as he still gets fresh blood, of course.
  16. Again, I can’t see Ash having a Youtube channel since it goes against the whole keeping out of sight thing.
  17. Hmm. De Vries is the primary antagonist but I suppose you can consider the Curia, or at least parts of it to be secondary antagonists.
  18. Well, I am part of the  group but that’s part of the . I’m not sure I am part of anything beyond that.
  19. Is De Vries trying to escape anything? The constraints the Curia placed on him, perhaps.
  20. De Vries in a word: cunning.
  21. Ash and Casey would sometimes play video games back when they were still living at Shadowcroft.
  22. He’s not about to rule it out.
  23. Not sure if this is the best but it does feel like the most appropriate.giphy
  24. Ash’s favorite food is beef stroganoff. 
  25. Not sure if this counts as a quirk after everything he’s been through but lately Ash always has a gun within arms reach.
  26. Technically, with his Ceteri strength, advanced healing & reduced aging, Ash kind of has superpowers already. 
  27. I’d say friendship is fairly important since the only thing Ash has left just now is his friends.
  28. The Hobbit.

#WIPjoy

  1. My WIP is House in Exile, the 3rd in my House Valerius series. It’s an urban fantasy involving a group of genetic vampires who have been hiding amidst normal humans since the days of the Roman Empire. Currently, the main thing I love about it is that I got to book 3.
  2. My MC is Ash Valerian. He is 27 and, since he is one of the Ceteri (a genetic vampire), he will look about that age for the next century or so, provided he survives. He is (or was) heir to House Valerius, the oldest of the Ceteri Houses.
  3. Ash is currently in hiding, having been accused of treason and disinherited from his House by the Curia (the Ceteri ruling council). He has a few friends still loyal to him and helping him oppose Piter De Vries, the man really responsible for all the trouble.
  4. Things to be seen in House In Exile:
    Streets of Glasgow
    New Mexico mountains
    The inside of a coffin…

  5. I often hear Breathe You In by Stabbing Westward when working on the scenes between Ash & Mitsuko.
  6. The last time anyone commented, it was to say that Ash smelled like Gillette shaving foam.
  7. Most of my characters aren’t too picky about their food. For House In Exile (what’s written so far) there’s been a fair bit of fast food since a lot of time had been spent on the road.
  8. It House In Exile was a hug, it would probably be awkward.
  9. ”Piter will kill you for this,” Carina hissed, pulling at the bonds securing her to the chair. I saw skin rasp & tear but she didn’t seem to notice.
    “He had his chance,” I told her. “Maybe this will encourage him to get it right next time. You know all about that.”

  10. Her eyes moved to the scars she’d left on my face & smirked.
    “I know you. You’re nothing but a scared child trying to prove he’s the opposite. And that’s why Piter…”
    I kicked her in the chest, knocking both her & the chair over backwards and put four bullets in her.

  11. With Ash, it’s through jokes and teasing.
    With Quinn, it’s through pet names.
    With Casey, it’s through a strong desire to protect.

  12. Someone Ash loves to hate? Lady Mallory, without a doubt. And the feeling is mutual.
  13. Up until now, it’s not something he’s given any great deal of thought to. And now, he’s worried that although he’s forming a relationship with Mitsuko, it’s happening at the worst possible time.
  14. A love letter to my WIP…
    I know we’ve had some hard times but I know we can be stronger and I look forward to us continuing to grow together. (Not romantic, but honest)

  15. I believe De Vries did truly love his parents at one time. Probably more his mother more than his father. Now the only thing he loves is his cause.
  16. The big man broke into a grin and enfolded me in a bear hug. “Hey, kid. Ya had us worried.”
    Despite the feeling that my ribs were being put in a vice, I hugged him back. I hadn’t realized how much of comfort I got from his presence.
  17. “You idiot.” Elizabeth’s voice was low, her tone something I couldn’t quite understand. She knelt beside & hugged me fiercely. I put my arms around her slowly, confused but glad she was talking at last. “Do you know what you’ve done?” She asked, helping me to my feet.
  18. De Vries: Having to hide myself inside Arkhangelsk, pretending to be nothing more than an appetite on legs, debasing myself the way so many have had forced upon them.
  19. De Vries: There’s no such thing as a perfect night but an open fire and a bottle of blood-wine can help matters.
  20. De Vries’ favorite Book is The Count of Monte Cristo.
  21. De Vries: Margaretha MacLeod
  22. De Vries: I already destroyed Arkhangelsk physically but if I could undo all the damage that place did, I would.
  23. De Vries hasn’t properly made an appearance (physically) in House in Exile as of yet, aside from various snippets that I have still to decide if they will make the 1st draft. But I can do a line from A House Divided, I think.
  24. “I know you have no reason to believe me in this but revenge is a path I turned from many years ago. Still, it took me a long time to see beyond myself & embrace the righteousness of my cause. Despite all you think I’ve done to you, I hope one day you will see it too.”
  25. This is the main link I can offer: Other Fiction.
  26. Well, the main person is my wife Britt.

  27. Too many people had died already. I didn’t want to lose any more friends and the notion of them being able to lay low without me to worry about was appealing. I’d given them the choice once before and they’d said they’d stand with me.
  28. I’d like to support & recommend and of course

#WIPTruthOrDare

Truth

  1. Both Carina and De Vries love red. Blood or otherwise.
  2. Ash’s favourite spot was the library at Shadowcroft Manor. Since he’s now homeless, he doesn’t really have a spot anymore.
  3. I think I’ve had Quinn talking about both baseball and basketball so probably one or the other.
  4. Yes, there is romance. The relationship between Ash & Mitsuko is the ‘B’ plot.
  5. Does flirtatious banter (a la Bogie & Bacall) count as a trope? If so, that.
  6. Jodie is probably the one who dislikes pink the most. It has to do with her mother always making her wear it when she was young.
  7. The relationship between Marcus Valerian (Ash’s uncle) and Casey Preston is the one that I think I write best.
  8. Least favorite trope? Can we do away with the misunderstanding that threatens to derail everything but could be solved if people actually talked to one another?
  9. Most of my main cast like pizza, although I think Jodie is the biggest fan and will argue the superiority of New York pizza over anywhere else.
  10. Ash often enjoys the rain. Strange as it may sound, he finds it energizing.
  11. Quinn is completely indifferent to flowers.
  12. Tricky one. Of the main cast, the only ones which have shown any romantic side before now are Casey, Jodie & Quinn. Quinn’s a “love them & leave them” type and Jodie’s youthful infatuation didn’t end well for her so Casey seems to have the best claim.
  13. Well, he’s just started a proper relationship with Mitsuko so you could say her, I suppose.
  14. De Vries’ valentine, if he went in for such things, would be Carina Bulat. Actually, he would probably do it since I think it’s something that would keep her happy.
  15. I don’t think De Vries has many friends. There’s Carina obviously but I think he doesn’t form friendships except as something to be exploited if need be. Strangely, based on things he’s said, he might view Ash as a potential friend.
  16. There isn’t a forbidden relationship, per se. But some of Ash’s friends have some reservations about his relationship with Mitsuko. They don’t know her and they worry she’s a distraction to what they’re trying to accomplish.
  17. Well, the first character to come to mind is Mbejane. Since he chose to become a doctor, you could say he’s made it his life’s work to care for others.
  18. That many members of the Curia are blinded by their own prejudices and rivalries that they will accept and believe things, especially if it benefits them or puts their rivals at a disadvantage. It makes his plans that much easier.
  19. I’m not sure there’s anything that could make De Vries blush.
  20. If De Vries did have a pet (and I’m having a hard time seeing it), I think it would be a reptile of some kind. Maybe a Tuatara.
  21. I don’t recall any of my characters telling me they didn’t like chocolate. Elizabeth might complain about its effect on her waistline but other than that….
  22. The only thing that I can think of that could break De Vries’ heart would be to die without accomplishing his cause.
  23. In the series, the only people Ash has kissed are his Aunt Sara (on the cheek) Mitsuko and Byron. I sure there were others before the series started but none that have been named as relevant.
  24. I’m honestly not sure what award Ash would win. The only thing he’s interested in winning is getting his House back.
  25. Ash’s birthday is June 22nd.
  26. Ash’s favourite fairy tale is the legend of Knockmany. His mother would tell it to him when he was younger.
  27. For whatever reason, I just can’t picture Dr. Mbejane being romantic. 
  28. I think losing any more people close to him would break Ash’s heart.

 

Dare

  1. There was a whispering sound as she opened her red silk kimono and slid it to the ground. It puddled around her feet, until she stepped closer, arms twining around my neck and drawing us even closer.
  2. She leaned into me, pressing her lips against mine, tongue tasting me. When we eventually broke apart, she smiled and pushed me back toward the bed. The candlelight flickered, casting shadows fleetingly across her face.
  3. I hefted the bat, my hands instinctively sliding to grip it in the same way I would hold my sword. I just had time to see Quinn grin and shake his head before he let the ball fly at me.
  4. I watched the two of them, even as we started planning how we were going to free my cousin. The sidelong glances, the seemingly innocent touches as maps and notes were passed around that lasted just a fraction too long. I ducked my head to hide my smile.
  5. Quinn was just leaving when Jodie came bursting in and caromed into his chest. “Easy, darlin’” He drawled reaching out to steady her.
  6. She pulled back sharply, brushing his hand away and I saw the faint pink tinge that crept up her cheek at his words.
  7. “Sides,” MacReady said. “You still owe me $200 from last year’s Superbowl.”
    “Hell Ah does.” Quinn snapped back. “An never agreed ta that an’ ya damn well know it.”
    “You were the one kept sayin’ there was no way in hell the Buccs were gonna take Oakland.”

  8. “Wait here,” Vargas said, then disappeared without waiting for an answer.
    A moment later I heard locks click into place. “Did he just shut us in here?”
    Quinn shrugged. “Either he’s takin’ some time ta check us out. Or he’s gittin’ some guys ta come shoot us.

  9. “Hey boss,” MacReady said, already spooning food from a pot on the counter.
    Jodie sat a plate in front of me and I breathed in the scent of beef stroganoff.
    “Well,” She said, gifting me with a smile. “We figured if nothing else we could have this waiting for you.”

  10. The rain was already beginning to come down, spattering the pavements, threatening black clouds just visible beyond the glow of the street lights. I waved down the first available taxi I spotted and let Misuko tell the driver the name of her hotel.
  11. I handed Mitsuko the wooden rose, saw her look at it perplexedly and waited for the worst. But instead of a rebuke, her face slowly broke into a smile. “You’re so sweet.” She said, and despite my earlier doubts, I believed she meant it.
  12. Mitsuko twitched the curtain aside and, just beyond the window, I saw the slowly lightening sky. “It looks like we have to stay for a while.” She said, letting the curtain drop bag into place and turning to face me. “Any thoughts on how to pass the time?”
  13. Quinn drained what remained of his beer and, putting one of his large hands at either end of the can, brought them together quickly and squashed it down to a quarter of its previous size. He tossed the irregularly shaped disc across the room to the bin.
  14. “It ain’t nuthin’ new.” Quinn said, rubbing his mouth with the back of his hand. “Course, it’s new ta ya but we all go through it at some point. Hell, even Ah’ve had mah heart broke once.” His eyes looked past me, at a face only he could see.
  15. De Vries treated me to a thin-lipped smile oozing with superiority. “Why, thank you, Milord.” He said into the phone. “Yes, I look forward to working with you too.” He clicked the phone shut. “Always nice to make new friends, you should try it sometime.”
  16. “Sure ya know what ya’re gittin inta here, kid? Ain’t gonna be no niceties. If ya wanna take De Vries on, take ‘im down; we ain’t gonna be able ta stop when things git bloody. We’re gonna hafta go all the way.”
    “Make it happen. Whatever it takes.” I said.

  17. “You’ll be my guest for the twenty-four hours.” He said, & I couldn’t help remembering the past occasions when I’d been in his power. It must have shown on my face since he added, “You’ll have every courtesy & I’ll see to Carina leaves you alone this time.
  18. “Looks like Putin managed ta pull off another four years fer himself.” Quinn said, pointing at the rack of newspapers.”
    “What did you expect?” MacReady said. “Guy was a spook. He knows where the bodies are buried. Literally.”

  19. A faint flush crept up Mitsuko’s face as I drew her closer. I slid my hand inside the silky kimono and began exploring the warm skin beneath. Every discovery was met with tiny hitches in her breathing, which became to come more rapidly as I progressed.
  20.  

#WIPWorldBuilders

NB. House In Exile is set in a variant of our world circa 2004 so I tried to make my answers specific to the Ceteri world within ours.

  1. My WIP is House in Exile, the 3rd in my House Valerius series. It’s an urban fantasy involving a group of genetic vampires who have been hiding amidst normal humans since the days of the Roman Empire.
  2. Yes, physical health is valued, especially among the Watchmen. And since the Ceteri age at about a thirtieth the rate of normal humans, they want to ensure it lasts as long as possible.
  3. Ceteri Houses always want to have trained medical professionals loyal to them, even encouraging those relatives born without the mutation to pursue those careers. There is no specific Ceteri regulating body, however.
  4. Yes, there are vaccines and yes, there are some amongst the Ceteri against them. That’s mainly due to the mutation super-charging their healing & immune systems so infections don’t usually stand too much of a chance.
  5. Yes, the Ceteri are aware of genetics. Their specific mutation is autosomal dominant.
  6. Yes, dental care exists but I’m not sure I could tell you what the most recent procedure is. It just hasn’t come up.
  7. As horrible as it sounds, in the past any disabled members of a Ceteri House would either have been euthanized (if Ceteri) or kept as a blood donor (if human). Nowadays, things are better but I can’t say every House treats everyone fairly.
  8. C Alexandra, CinaedhVik, Mae McKinnon and, of course, Sam Amenn.
  9. There are a few Ceteri who make use of prosthetics (they heal like normal people albeit faster, they still scar & can’t regenerate limbs). What said prosthetics are made of is usually as good as they can obtain, depending on their standing within their House.
  10. Yes, several learning difficulties are understood and accepted among the Ceteri now.
  11. Mental health is given quite a high priority in the Ceteri world, particularly among the Watchmen who are all the more likely to be exposed to trauma etc.
  12. Since each House has its own contingent of Watchmen and they’re the group most likely to need counseling of some kind, many Houses have started to see the need of having in-House therapists. Those that have them are open to any member of the House though.
  13. Well, aside from what I mentioned in the previous answer above, the more dangerous (and more likely to risk exposure of the Ceteri) have been confined to Akhangelsk prison in Siberia. That is if they aren’t killed outright.
  14. Yes. With Ceteri who inherit copies of the mutation from both parents, they have a much greater need for blood and are much more prone to psychosis. They are sometimes referred to as ferals and often sent to Arkhangelsk if they can’t control themselves.
  15. For regular food, then wherever.
    For blood, the majority of Houses have invested in blood banks and regularly take shipments. Plus, non-Ceteri members regularly donate to the House reserves as well.

  16. The closest to any Ceteri that lives off the land (so to speak) are the ones who have renounced or otherwise don’t have a House (often called rogues) and the Watchmen who are sometimes assigned to hunt them down if they become a security risk
  17. I don’t think the Ceteri have affected regular farming in any way, other than possibly as landowners. In terms of their own farming, members of the House without the Ceteri mutation are expected to donate to the House blood reserves once a month.
  18. Yes, there is basic sanitation and running water. 90% of the Ceteri Houses are in developed nations.
  19. Ice is easily had, either from home refrigerators or in bags from shops.
  20. The Houses generally have a furnace or central heating of some kind.
  21. Most commonly used method of preservation is refrigeration, both for regular food and for blood.
  22. A #WIPworldbuilders #FFC.M. Rosens, Daniel Walton & Adrienne “Addy” Bross.
  23. Regular food expiration isn’t too much of a concern, most everyone is aware of that & each House has its own kitchen staff for that. There is also the House blood reserves which need to be replenished although the blood isn’t stored long enough to go bad.
  24. Most Houses have invested in blood banks and skim some off as and when needed. I should probably know the details of how the distribution happens through. Probably though each House’s medical staff.
  25. There are plenty of common spices, although none unique to the Ceteri. None of them like garlic though, there is some truth in legends. 
  26. Yes, there are and some are more likely than others, depending on which House & where it’s located.
  27. Allergies are managed by medication. And yes, food labels usually list their ingredients.
  28. Regular food waste can be a problem. Blood usually doesn’t get a chance to be wasted.
    And sometimes Ceteri Houses will offer to donate food in return for blood donors.

#WriterlyWIPChat

  1. Here goes:
    Ash is on the run
    Hiding from the Curia
    Making a new home

  2. Ash generally jokes, teases and trades snarky remarks as the way he shows affection for people close to him.
  3. De Vries hates sycophants. Of course, he’ll still make use of them if it suits him.
  4. Yes, Ash has killed people. At least 5, although possibly more. The larger gunfights in the previous books are often hectic & confusing.
  5. De Vries talks about it being his destiny to remake the Ceteri society but deep down he believes the only thing guiding his actions is himself.
  6. What do I like most about writing? When my imagination just starts running away with itself (when it happens).
  7. Where’s my word count? Currently uncalculated but probably not where I want it to be.
  8. Overall, I would say Ash is fairly modest. He has been known to be a little too impressed with his own cleverness at times in the past and that usually hasn’t ended well so now he’s more self-aware.
  9. I hope there is some romance since the relationship between Ash & Mitsuko is a large part of the book.
  10. The meaning of life according to Ash: to serve & bring honor to his House and to take care of its members. Well, that or 42, depending on how serious he’s being.
  11. I don’t think it’s necessary but it can be a good element if done well
  12. Ash tends to doubt himself a lot and frequently feels like he doesn’t measure up to the example his father sets. So long as he doesn’t get in his own way, he is fairly capable though.
  13. When Ash is angry, he’s more likely to start shouting. Another thing he envies about his father, Matthias always gets quiet and icy when irritated.
  14. Casey loves Ash’s uncle, Marcus.
    Ash’s father, Matthias, still loves Ash’s mother, even though they lost her about 10 years before.
    Jodie did love Byron or thought she did.
    Ash’s uncle Lukas & Aunt Sara, Elizabeth’s parents, have been in love for decades.

  15. Three words to describe Ash: wounded, determined, uncertain.
  16. Does flirtatious banter (a la Bogie & Bacall) count as a trope? If so, that.
  17. De Vries would say his best quality is his planning abilities. Not that he hasn’t been caught out by the unexpected but he usually has a contingency of some kind in place.
  18. The last time Ash cried, it was a combination of being alone, losing someone close to him, feelings of powerlessness and he had only just received his facial scars.

  19. Ash in emoji form:
    🧛‍♂️🙇🏻‍♂️😡😬🙁🎒🗡🔫

  20. De Vries has already seen a fair bit of the world over the past century.
  21. Is Ash guilty? Not of what he’s been accused of but he does feel guilt about several things during the series, especially about the people that have died.
  22. Pass.
  23. So far, Ash hasn’t indicated any particular artistic talent.
  24. From one point of view, you could say that De Vries’ unshakeable belief in what he’s doing is his greatest virtue. Or it could be what makes him so dangerous.
  25. Some favourite writering Tweeples
  26. In past years, it’s just been a small family gathering at Shadowcroft.
    This year, I wouldn’t be surprised if he forgot about it altogether.
  27. Honestly, I’m not sure there has been a change in my WIP this month.
  28. One thing that disgusts Ash is the entitlement & arrogance the rulers of some Houses have. 

As Always, Thanks to the hosts:

#AuthorConfession – J.M. Sullivan & Jessica Julien

#WIPjoy – Bethany A. Jennings

#WIPTruthorDare – Allie May

#WIPWorldBuilders –  SKTH ProductionsSam Amenn 

#WriterlyWIPChat – Moira A. Ward 

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