Inadvertent Bread Standards

I took a last-ditch, desperate sabbatical the last two months, by which I mean “I couldn’t write a damn thing and something had to give.” It’s going much better now, but more about that in another post.

Taking some time off gave me a chance to pursue my other favorite creative outlet: cooking. I love to cook, I love to bake. I baked a lot of bread, using almost exclusively a lovely Girl Versus Dough recipe. If you enjoy baking, I would give her blog a look, because it’s super good.

I may have inadvertently created a standard for bread in my home. Let’s be fair to supermarket bread: it serves its purpose as Sandwich Filling Holder. That’s about it. I’ve never exactly liked it, but it is what it is. Now that I’ve been baking bread for us basically every day, my daughter is extremely disappointed when it isn’t available. “I want white bread,” she said yesterday. “It’s an… it’s an oval. I want oval white bread.”

I had some. I’d just made it earlier that day.

There’s something about putting my hands in the dough and kneading it that helps me organize my thinking. There’s peace in it. I love the product, and I love the process. Here’s to better bread and a better life.

Here’s the recipe I’ve been using. It’s simple and delicious. Classic Italian Bread on Girl Versus Dough!

Falling in Love with Tiernan: A Guest Post by Melissa Cuevas

Please welcome my friend Melissa to the blog, to talk about her character, Tiernan.

~*~

The Book of My World was my first attempt at NaNoWriMo, started in 2014.  Unlike most of the character driven things I write, this one began as a heavily concept driven project.  I created Tiernan Hartwell as my main character for this novel, and to uphold that concept, I dictated pretty much everything about him.  He would be attractive, bold, brash, confident, the best at what he did and well aware of that.  Every description my brain came up with for him could simply be called ‘over the top’.   I told myself that this fit the concept, that I was on the right track, and I started the project on the first day of November.

Everything about this all important concept meant that Tiernan would have to carry this novel.  It was from his point of view, seen through the lens of his grasp of reality, and he was going to have to be a character that I loved enough to stay with him for the duration.

It sounded good, it really did.   There was just one very big problem…not only did I not love the Tiernan that I had created, I didn’t even particularly like him.   Everything about what I thought that he had to be rubbed me the wrong way, and I couldn’t see him being the sort of young man that the female main character would tolerate, much less trust and love. Disheartened, I gave up on the project and let the idea of completing NaNo that year slip away while I returned to other things.

But no, that was not the end of Tiernan, it was only the beginning.  After awhile, let out of the stress of being perfect for my concept and the artificial time constraint of NaNo, Tiernan began to talk to me.  He was not the brash, confident, over the top Tiernan that I so disliked, but an entirely different character… filled with hopes, dreams, fears and doubts.   While still ‘over the top’, he was not the empty facade that I thought would fit my concept.  He was fussy, often overly cautious and suspicious, filled with his fair share of concerns.  He was hardly the massively confident young man I’d envisioned, terrified but filled with resolve when it came to the struggle he faced.  At first, I was dubious, but after awhile I realized I liked him like this.   I restarted the novel, listening to his version of my concept, testing to see if this Tiernan could carry this novel to  completion.   By halfway through, I realized he could indeed be the focus character for this story.  And then, I realized I didn’t just like him the way he was, but that I loved him.   And more importantly, I realized that this was the man that made the story fit him, and he was the man that was good enough, real enough, for his Deirdre to trust and love.

~*~

Get Melissa’s new release, The Book of My World.

An Interview with Dante da Silva: A Guest Post by Stephanie Barr

Please welcome my new friend Stephanie Barr to the blog today. She’s here to tell you about her character, Dante!

~*~

INTERVIEWER: Hello, and welcome to Morning in Corrinn with your host, Danal the Bard. This morning, we have with us something of a celebrity, the ex-military genius, Dante da Silva. How about a round of applause for him, folks?
(Clapping)

DANTE: Thank you for having me.

I: Well, let’s get right to it, Dante. You don’t mind if I call you Dante, do you?

D: Sure, as long as you don’t use it more than twenty times. Then, I’m contractually obligated to devour your soul. You have been keeping track, haven’t you?

I: (swallows hard) So, Mr. da Silva, why in the world did you leave the army? My understanding is that you were quite successful and had a bright future there.

D: That’s your understanding, working under the inept leadership of the dishonored traitor Isen gave me a bright future? I’m not sure your understanding and mine jibe. Let’s just say I was tired of keeping his idiotic battle plans from failing as they would if I did as he intended.

I: You refused to follow orders?

D: More like I made sure he never gave me any so, when I saved his ass, he had no way of repudiating me without looking stupid.

I: Why did you save him?

D: I wasn’t so much saving him as the men who’d done nothing wrong. Can we move on? The entire topic bores me?

I: Of course, Da—Mr. da Silva. I was taken aback by how handsome you are in person, but sorry, ladies, I hear he’s already married. Is that true?

D: Is what true?

I: That you’re already married.

D: I have indeed been bound, heart and soul, to a lovely lady.

I: Can you tell us a little about her?

D: (Flashing his teeth in a menacing smile) No.

I: According to reports she’s the Tar—

D: No one. Talks. About. My. Wife.

I: Ahem. Those are some stunning tattoos you’re sporting. Really striking. They’re red but they almost seem to glow on your skin. Do they represent something significant?

D: Yes, they’re a demonic venereal disease.

I: (faintly) How interesting. Do you know where you got it?

D: (smiling) This time? From my wife.

I: Moving on. (shuffling papers) How old is your cat?

D: I have no cat. I eschew pets.

I: (blinks) Isn’t that a cat sitting next to your chair?

D: Yes.

I: Wasn’t it backstage with you?

D: It was backstage, yes, but not with me. Cats are independent beasties.

I: (turning to stage hand) Get that hideous thing off the stage.

D: (rising to his feet) What do you think you’re doing?

(Stagehands immediately back away. Cat lifts leg and licks its knotted butt)

I: Well, if it isn’t yours, it’s obviously a stray. And it’s an eyesore so I thought… Ahem, so, you’re a demon?

D: (sitting back down and smiling sweetly) What makes you say that?

I: Well…I…your tattoos! You said—

D: Ah, yes, well, it’s more like a slight malady than anything useful. I’ll be rid of it soon enough.

I: You know the cure for demon possession?

D: I know the cure for this one.

I: Does it come with special powers like fire or ice? Or perhaps divination?

D: No, it just makes me sexy, doesn’t it?

I: Yes, it does rather. So, no other boons?

D: No it’s more of a hassle than anything useful, though my wife does look stunning in red runes.

I: I’m sure she does.

D: Why are you talking about my wife? What do you know about how she looks in runes? Are you spying on her?

I: No, really, I’ve never met the woman. It was just a pleasantry.

D: I did not find it pleasant.

I: So, I have it on the King’s authority that you saved the kingdom. Is that so?

D: No, my wife did.

I: (licking his lips) Perhaps the King sees it differently. Didn’t he specifically request you do this interview?

D: Yes. The Priest’s Guild have been putting pressure on him about me and my wife. I think he thought this might help to humanize me. (Looks at nails) He might be a trifle senile.

I: And what do you say to the priest’s guild who contend that your demon nature makes you unfit to be a hero?

D: I am unfit to be a hero, but that has nothing to do with my demon nature.

I: They have been petitioning the King for your execution and have, besides, put a rather large bounty on your head. Are you afraid?

D: Not in the least. I’m a bit challenging to kill.

(Cat growls, matted hair bristling. Off stage, there is some high-pitched yipping)

D: Wait, did you advertise this show ahead of time so that people knew I would be here?

I: Of course.

D: People like assassins?

I: Oh, dear. Is that a problem?

D: (Dante stands up, and bursts into red and orange flame) Gus, attack!

(Cat leaps into pack of men approaching with wicked-looking swords while Dante starts throwing fireballs)

I: I thought you didn’t have fire magic with your demon infestation.

D: Not with that infestation. What makes you think that’s the only way I’m a demon? Lucky, go for the balls!

(Tiny dog leaps into the group of assassins, who are screaming. Some are on fire. Some have strips torn from faces and hands by the cat. Now some are having their nether regions attacked. Fire is starting to catch on the curtains and a torch falls over.)

I: (Rising and walking backward out off stage) Well, that’s all we have time for. This is Danal the Bard. Do tune in next week assuming we still have a studio.

~*~

Stephanie Barr is a part time novelist, full time rocket scientist, mother of three children and slave to many cats. Anything else even vaguely interesting about her can be found in her writing since she puts a little bit of herself in everything she writes…just not the same piece.

Find out more, and meet up with Stephanie online:

Amazon Author page

Dragon Faerie Creative Enterprises (FB Author Page)

FB Snarky character page

Smashwords Tarot Queen Page

Blogs:

Rockets and Dragons (writing)
Rocket Scientist (‘most everything else)
Unlikely Otaku (manga/anime obsession)

Jeremiah Rose: A Guest Post by Jon Davis

A Menyoral first today: my excellent friend Jon Davis. I hope you enjoy reading this post, about his favorite character in all his writings.

~*~

“It’s hard to be a genius at times. It’s not what you might think, though. There isn’t simply my understanding of everything you’re about to say, or the fact that I’m already ten steps ahead of you. It’s that I have to wait so long for you to even take that initial step in the first place. And then I have to wait for you to take those ten steps to where I was. Because, here’s the kicker, while you’ve been stumbling in those ten steps, I’m already ten steps ahead of you, again.” ~Jeremiah Rose

While all the characters in the Saga of the Dragon Queen are a joy to write, with each one having scenes that are fun to create and shape as the story is told, the one that grabs at me throughout the series is the character, Jeremiah Rose.

Based loosely off the writer Rick Rossing, his sublime writing style, and online personality, I found on my creation of him to be the perfect foil for Gyredenn Rose, the first person character through which the Saga of the Dragon Queen is told.

To describe him as quickly as possible, Jeremiah is a genius. He is the mind from which Rosehame transforms into not a family of pirates, but a major power on Terrasen. Whilst he has shortcomings, his powerful mind quite literally takes all the events around him and arrives at a shockingly good decision that benefits himself and the whole of the Family Rose.

Throughout the series, Jeremiah’s decisions show his genius in terms of surprise, delight, and at times terror among his family. He can be laconic most of the time with his attitudes, but when it comes to deciding the fates of family and enemies, his cold decisions show an understanding of the world he lives in to a scalpel like sharpness that drives his closest friends and enemies to distraction.

His most common personality flaw of course, is his deep seated fear that he can’t live up to the Family Rose reputation as a good leader. This shows at times in his cold actions to stamp out dissent or betrayal. It also shows in his love of family as well, and who he has become living among the deadliest people on Earth of his time.

Family Rose is a piratical culture given bloom for eight centuries of humanity living nearly 300 years per generation. Its people are passionate, yet cruel. They are a loving people, yet willing to demand deadly vengeance even of his or her own kin. And Jeremiah’s natural genius has put him on top of a particularly nasty food chain.

To survive, Jeremiah has reinforced the hard rules, which guides the civilized behavior of the Family Rose. He understands and demands diplomacy first, yet clarifies that once the diplomacy ends, there must always be swift and final results to show the world that what they deal with is not a simply group of fishermen or sailing clans, but a deadly sword of the Swirling Sea.

To this end, Jeremiah found his ultimate opponent in his own cousin, Gyredenn Rose. The two of them grew up together under the care and guidance of Bekkai Rose. And while at first it was simply childish competition to gain the affections of Rose of the Family Rose that competition turned deadly by the time the two were teenagers.

Gyredenn uses magick. To Jeremiah, that was an unfair advantage. But it became intolerable when Gyredenn taught Rose to use magick. And so he worked to gain Rose’s trust, tapping into the girl’s nervousness and easily riled temper to break her and Gyredenn apart. But in the depth of his soul, Jeremiah’s greatest regret was to lose Gyredenn for nearly two decades as his Cousin ran from Rose’s wrath and Gyredenn’s refusal to kill or harm her out of love.

While Gyredenn was the true heir to the leadership of the Family Rose, Jeremiah has stepped into the role with great success. In the twenty years of his control, Rosehame pirates have become an even deadlier force on the Swirling Sea than at any time before save for the attempted invasion of Rosehame by two other kingdoms.

Two major antagonists are ended, thanks to the tactics used by Jeremiah. With the fall of the Cober Bay pirates, Jeremiah had the new nom de guerre Bloody Rose. But the biggest threat to Rosehame was Captain Angus McWhirter of the Low Storm Ports. He felt regret in taking down the deadly “Captain Match,” for Jeremiah had come to enjoy their sea battles and hard wits of the good Captain of the ship Sword of MacLeod.

But as time flows, Gyredenn Rose would return to Rosehame, needing his help. Jeremiah, though surprised by such humility, found he was honestly happy to lend his genius. To Jeremiah’s surprise, he’s found that he has missed the camaraderie that he does not have with anyone in Rosehame. In short, he missed his brother.

And in truth, the two Cousins of the Family Rose need to combine their skills and minds to survive the coming of the mad Dragon Queen, and so much more. Indeed, Jeremiah finds he must stretch his genius beyond anything he has ever dealt with before in his life.

One thing, Jeremiah is not a “mad” genius. While vain about his mind, the many members of his family have worked to remind him that for all his vaunted genius, he still must contend with the hard core of the Family Rose. “Rule One: Everyone pays. In coin or blood, everyone pays the price. Rule Two: Family Rose sets the price. Always.”

~*~

Jon Davis is the creator and writer of the Age of Power Series sold on Amazon Kindle. He is also a member of the Dragons Rocketship group on Facebook and regularly enjoys the contributions of his fellow dragon rocketeers.

Currently, he is working on the completion of the Dragon Queen Saga.

Jon is on Twitter @JDavis_Avatar

Talon: A Guest Post by Jay Michael Wright II

Welcome back! Today my friend Jay Michael Wright II dropped by to talk about his character, Talon. Please enjoy this sweary little romp.

~*~

So yea, life was peachy-fucking-keen. Sure, I was alone…and a murderer. Yea, guess I shouldn’t leave that part out, huh? Well, what the fuck do you expect? I’m a fucking Vampire. I drink blood. It’s what I fucking do. Everything was just fine, until I saw her.
If my heart still beat, it would have stopped. If I still breathed, it would have taken my breath away. It was like staring at a ghost. No, it was worse than that. This girl was real. She was right there in front of me. The strawberry blonde curls, the line of freckles running across the bridge of her nose, the same sad brown eyes—in every way imaginable, this girl looked just like my dead sister.
It wasn’t enough that she was dead. Oh, no. She had been murdered right in front of me along with my mother. I was seventeen at the time, and there was nothing I could do to stop it. The Colony of Roanoke had itself a good ole fashioned fucking witch hunt, and my family was the victim.
I should have died that night. Shit, sometimes I wish I had died that night. But no, God and his sick fucking sense of humor had me live through it long enough to catch the attention of a Vampire named Tessa. She was beautiful—red hair and emerald green eyes. She looked like an Angel. Man, was I ever wrong about that.
As beautiful as she was, she was twice as ruthless. She taught me to kill. She taught me to relish in the suffering of others—and I did. I became the very hate that I despised. One by one, we killed them all. Well, all but Molly Hale. She was the daughter of the bastard who murdered my family, and I had loved her as a mortal. Tessa thought it fitting that I turn her. So I did. She became my Dark Bride. Together we slaughtered all who crossed our paths, and tortured for our own amusement. Others’ suffering became my bliss. Their agony became my release. Some flee from the darkness. I ran into it and let it consume me.
Four hundred years. Four hundred fucking years of death and mayhem, all ruined in a moment by the eyes of a stranger. I trembled. I remembered my humanity and I hated myself for it. I thought of my sister, frozen in the woods, tied to a fucking tree like some discarded piece of trash left to rot. The soul that I was sure had died oh so long ago twisted up in my belly until the agony of it set my mind on fire. Worse than any pain I had ever felt, it was like dying all over again—and I wept. Tears fell from my eyes, something that hadn’t happened in centuries. Suddenly, I wasn’t the monster I had become. I was that scared seventeen year old boy watching his sister die all over again.
And I shouted in my mind, “No! Fuck you, God! Not again! Not like this! Not here and not today! Not on my watch, old man. You’ve already taken everything from me. Would you really torture me like this again?”
Of course, there was no fucking answer—there never is, but I knew what I had to do. I could right the wrong. The monster could be the hero. Where I had failed, I could succeed. This poor girl, whoever she was, I would save her and atone for my sins. I would do this, for my sister Lizzie’s sake.
How could I have known that plucking this thread would unravel my entire world. Everything I knew, everything I was, everything I was meant to be would be turned on its head. The road it set me upon, there would be no turning back. There would be no stopping the avalanche once it started pouring down the mountain. No more cares. No more regrets. This is the path I’m on and I will ride it all the way either to the gates of Heaven or the pit of Hell. I care not which.
So, come for me, dark ones. I can hear you hiding in the shadows, whispering your foul threats and lies in my direction. If it’s my head you want, come and fucking take it. You say I’ve broken your rules. Fuck your rules. Fuck your petty aristocracy with your noses turned up in the fucking air. Fuck being bound by an authority I no longer recognize as my superior. I am my own man. I make my own rules. I am the Vampire Talon, and I will fucking destroy you.
–Nicholas “Talon” Watson

Talon: The Spider’s Web: 7/22/17 from Burning Willow Press

~*~

Jay Michael Wright II is a 42 year old author living in Alabama. Legally blind for ten years, cataract surgery gave him the chance to pursue his dreams of becoming an author. “Talon: The Spider’s Web” will be his second published novel. The first, a Sci Fi action adventure called “The Rise of UMBRA.” He also writes horror and high fantasy as well. He is married and has three beautiful daughters.

Find out more here:
www.facebook.com/jmw2author
www.twitter.com/jmw2author
www.amazon.com/author/jmw2author
https://jmw2author.wordpress.com/