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)

An Interview with Flynn Cole: A Guest Post by Mirren Hogan

Below is a character interview with Flynn Cole, from Nightmares Rise, book 1 of the Dark Shores trilogy, by Mirren Hogan and Erin Yoshikawa. I’m excited to welcome Mirren today (she did the interviewing!), and I hope you enjoy Flynn!

~*~

Today I sat down with my good friend and character Flynn Cole.

Me: Hi Flynn.

Flynn: Hello.

Me: Nice Australian accent you have there.

Flynn: Thanks, I like yours.

Me: You do sound a bit like me.

Flynn: So, you had questions?

Me: Yes. I understand you went to Hawaii on holiday?

Flynn: Not so much a holiday. It was more a working holiday.

Me: So– a holiday?

Flynn: (laughs). The point was to take some photos and then sell them. I a photographer. Okay, budding photographer.

Me: Why Hawaii?

Flynn: It’s about as far from my family as I could get. Don’t get me wrong, I love them, but a guy needs a break from being asked when he’s getting a real job.

Me: So when are you?

Flynn:

Me: Okay, okay. So tell me about Makani,

Flynn: (grins like an idiot). She’s amazing. She’s strong, independent, funny, sexy, smart, and likes Angry Birds and Dr Who.

Me: Danger seems to follow her around. Are you okay with that?

Flynn: Well – to be honest I could do with less of that. I mean, it’s nice to have a bit of excitement, but to be followed around by vampires – sorry, manangaal – and other monsters get tiring after a while.

Me: What’s the difference between a vampire and a manangaal?

Flynn: Have you seen those guys? They don’t sparkle, and they’re not civilised. They’re more like flying gut-sucking dogs.

Me: Woah, they sound like fun. Not.

Flynn: I know, right? But we hold our own against them. Mostly. Kind of…

Me: (laughs sadistically) And then some of your family tracks you down.

Flynn: I told you not to ask about that. (turns in chair). Where’s my manager?

Me: I’m your manager. Now answer the question.

Flynn: (sighs) Fine. Yes they did, my sister, her husband and their kids.

Me: Did they get eaten by monsters?

Flynn: I wish. I mean, you’ll have to read and find out.

Me: I heard there was no Vegemite in this book. Why should I read it?

Flynn: There’s pizza. There’s also beer and bacon. And sandwiches. everyone loves those, right?

Me: I like a good sandwich. I hear Makani likes them too?

Flynn: Oh yes, she loves a sandwich.

Me: What else do we need to know about this book?

Flynn: It’s funny, and urban, and sometimes a little gross, but in all the right ways.

Me: Well there you are folks: funny, urban, has monsters and sandwiches. I guess you better read it for yourself.

~*~

Find out more, or hang out with Mirren, at these links:

Website: Mirrenhogan.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MirrenHoganAuthor/?ref=bookmarks

Twitter: @MirrenHogan

Blog: https://mirrenhoganblog.wordpress.com

Mailing list: http://eepurl.com/cA1PCb

Gromer the Green — Wild Warlock of Wales: A Guest Post by Debbie Manber Kupfer

Here’s the latest in the characters series! My friend Debbie Manber Kupfer wanted to write about her Wild Welsh Warlock for you guys, and she threw in an excerpt from her new novel!

Gromer the Green – Wild Warlock of Wales

(The P.A.W.S. Saga – Argentum, Umbrae, Londinium)

 

“The world is full of wonders for those who can see it truly.” — Gromer the Green

Many of my characters that populate the pages of P.A.W.S. emerged from people that were close to me. Celia and Max, for example, are based on my own omama and opapa who played a huge part in my early years. Sometimes, however, a character writes himself into my world and this was the case with Gromer the Green.

I met the old warlock in the same way as Quentin did in Argentum, a strange old fellow in a long green robe filled with pockets bulging with all sorts of odd stuff that he picked up in his rambles. Some of the pockets seemed to be moving, and Gromer was muttering to himself. Quentin watched him through his hawk eyes and was drawn to the old magic maker.

He looked harmless, but Quentin knew that sometimes strong magic dwelt in unlikely places. Gromer invited Quentin into his “castle” in a rugged part of Wales. The castle was just a cave, but a more comfortable cave you would never visit. Every corner was covered in books and the air was filled with the smell of the glorious pea soup that was always bubbling on the stove.

From the beginning it is clear that Gromer is lonely. There was once a second wild warlock of Wales, Caradog, but he wandered off into Umbrae (the shadow world) many years before. So Gromer lavishes his attention on his guests. During the course of Argentum and Umbrae Gromer welcomes not just Quentin, but Max and Celia into his humble home. All find a refuge with Gromer and though they eventually leave they will forever hold a place in their heart for the warlock.

And me too. If I was asked where in my world would like to go, I would not say one of the P.A.W.S. Institutes, no my first choice would be to hang out with Gromer the Green in his cave, listen to his stories of the endangered Wizzlewoop, drink tea (from “proper tea leaves, none of those new-fangled tea bag thingies”), and share a bowl of sumptuous pea soup.

Here’s a little snippet from Umbrae. In this section Max Katz (Miri’s grandfather) is meeting Gromer for the first time. He’s in his tabby cat form and has just (mostly) climbed down a mountain.

“Ooph! A puss, from the mountain no less. Pretty puss—but smelly, too? What was you doings up there?”

The man spoke in English, which was a language that Max had been taught. Still he had a strange accent that Max did not recognize. He was oddly dressed in a tattered robe covered in pockets and wore his hair long and straggly.

“I’ve always wanted a puss,” he muttered to himself. “A familiar—a magician should have a familiar, or so I’ve been told. Here puss, puss, come with me. You look hungry. Do you like pea soup? It’s almost ready. I was just gathering some more wizzlewoop.”

Wizzlewoop, thought Max, there’s that strange word again. He wondered what in the world it could be. He decided to follow the odd man. He was hungry, and pea soup sounded good.

“Of course I might have a can of sardines too, Puss! You’d like that, wouldn’t you, sardines? Silly buggers, I’ve always thought. Lock themselves in the can and leave the key outside!”

Puzzled, Max followed the man along a winding path. Every so often he would reach for something on the ground. Sometimes he would pluck a plant or pick up a rock and put it in one of his pockets. At other times he would stare at an item for a moment, and then toss it aside, grumbling. Then he would turn his head and address Max, “Come along, Puss.”

They appeared to be walking towards a solid wall of rock. Max wondered where the old man lived. He thought they would veer from their path, but they didn’t. The man stopped directly in front of the rock and pulled out a small silver wand from one of his pockets.

He didn’t appear to be very powerful for a magician, but sometimes great powers were hidden in unlikely packages.

The man recited a spell in an odd language. “Agored ar gyfer Gromer y Green a’i gath newydd.”

Then he carefully drew a doorway on the rock face. The shape shone silver, and then with a single push, the door opened.

“Welcome to the castle of Gromer the Green,” the magician said with a flourish, and Max followed him inside.

~*~

Debbie Manber Kupfer grew up in the London. She has lived in Israel, New York and North Carolina and somehow ended up in St. Louis, where she works as a writer and a freelance puzzle constructor of word puzzles and logic problems. She lives with her husband, two children and a very opinionated feline. She is the author of the young adult fantasy series, P.A.W.S. which features a secret institute of shapeshifters hidden deep beneath the Jewel Box in Forest Park, St. Louis. In addition she has stories in several anthologies including Fauxpocalypse, Stardust,Always, Winter Wishes, and Sins of The Past. She has also published a book of puzzles, Paws 4 Logic, with her son Joey. She believes that with enough tea and dark chocolate you can achieve anything!

Connect with Debbie on her blogs:

Paws4Thought: http://debbiemanberkupfer.wordpress.com/

Paws4Puzzles: http://paws4puzzles.wordpress.com/

Facebook Author page: https://www.facebook.com/DebbieManberKupferAuthor

Twitter: @CiciCat42

Amazon: http://author.to/DebbieManberKupfer

 

 

 

 

Vanessa Ann McKenzie: A Guest Post by Reika

Today I’ve got something a little different for you. My dear friend writes fanfiction for various properties, especially games, and today’s post is about the lead character from her long-running XCOM fanfic, Taking It Back.

~*~

As a long time gamer, both tabletop and computer roleplaying, I have a lot of characters that I love. Some of them even see re-use, often from a tabletop game to computer, but sometimes from tabletop to tabletop. This is about one that went from tabletop to fanfiction based on a computer game, but oddly enough not a CRPG.

Vanessa Ann McKenzie “Van” started off as a character in a short lived CthulhuTech game. I won’t go into her history for that, except to say that she was teen from a wealthy NYC arcology that was brutalized by the Esoteric Order of Dagon. It was such a rough background that it gave my hardbitten GM pause as being almost too brutal for him, but he ultimately okayed her.

Normally characters like Van tend to not stick around in my brain for long because I have a lot of character voices clamoring for attention, but stick around she did. Every so often I’d threaten to inflict her on my GM, just to see him twitch, but also because I wanted to see what Van would be like if she was given a chance to grow.

The reasons why she stuck around in my head are that while she is a survivor of terrible things, she is still a good person who wants to save the world despite itself.

Being the cynical person that I am, that kind of character is an extreme rarity for me.

Van’s opportunity to get developed came about in a completely unexpected manner.

I was in a writing slump for a year. None of my existing projects, fanfic or original, interested me, then I played through the sci-fi turn based strategy game XCOM 2 and my Muse handed me a fully fleshed story idea.

Being stubborn in addition to cynical, my initial reaction was “you have got to be shitting me”, but the Muse insisted that it would be great.

For those unfamiliar with the XCOM series, the premise is simple: aliens invade the earth and an international coalition is formed to fight them off. The series originally started in 1994 as UFO: Enemy Unknown, had multiple sequels and spinoffs, then was rebooted as XCOM Enemy Unknown with an expansion pack called Enemy Within.  XCOM 2 takes place 20 years after Enemy Unknown where the aliens won with superior firepower, took over humanity’s fate and XCOM became a disorganized resistance movement.

With both games, the player is meant to be the Commander who leads XCOM to its ultimate fate in victory or defeat, so you don’t make a persona or avatar like you would with other games. The various characters address things to the player directly as the Commander.

While I somewhat liked Enemy Unknown/Within, it didn’t really excite me. XCOM 2 was a very different beast, especially with the story and the major NPCs.

So when I gave in to the Muse’s ridiculous idea of a romance set in XCOM 2 between the Commander and Central Officer John Bradford (second in command to the Commander) I tried to figure out the Commander. That’s when Van gave me a mental smack upside the head. So I had my Commander.

Fortunately that included a revised background, because there was no way I was using the original.  She was still a survivor who wanted to save the world. Only in this case she grew up in the slums of Newark, New Jersey, lost both parents and older brother to drugs, alcohol and crime at the age of 12. From there she bounced around in foster care until she was old enough to fend for herself. All that saved her from a similarly gruesome fate as her familiar is the fact she’s smart and perceptive.

Her fascination with history came about from her desire to understand how people do what they do, but had no interest in psychology. Her interest in sci-fi came about from the rare family outing to see the movie Independence Day in the theaters. Even at eleven years old she knew most of it was bunk, but thought it was an interesting idea, one that she thought over from time to time as the years went by.

When Van entered college she chose to go for a history degree with a focus on the effects of technologically superior cultures on those with more primitive tech. That eventually lead to her now infamous (to her at least) thesis during her Master’s program about possible scenarios for aliens invading the earth and likely reactions to those scenarios. That brought her to the attention of the fledgling XCOM coalition that had been formed as a just in case contingency to the very idea of an alien invasion. When she completed her Master’s, she was given a job offer at Foresight Laboratories to come up with simulations for the military to deal with. Within a few months that position evolved to running and solving simulations cooked up by other people.

It ultimately proved to be on the job training when a few years later a real alien invasion started, XCOM became activated and Van was made the Commander.

Unfortunately, they were betrayed by the very countries they were trying to protect, XCOM HQ fell to the aliens, Van was taken prisoner and the alien controlled ADVENT government began to reshape humanity.

Twenty years later, Van was rescued by the remnants of XCOM and now she’s faced with rebuilding XCOM, uniting the disparate forces of the Resistance and bring down ADVENT for an earth she doesn’t recognize anymore and for a humanity that she doesn’t feel a part.

Van is probably one of the most human characters that I’ve come up with. She’s far from perfect, and started off as a person who really only had her brains going for her to eventually becoming someone who can kick ass (my typical RPG characters start off enormously capable at the ver least, the rapidly become grotesque) She’s wounded and scarred, but tries not to let that dominate her life. When she loves, it’s a quietly intense thing. When she makes a promise, she finds a way of fulfilling it. Even if it ends up horribly delayed. She doesn’t take anyone’s shit either. After all, she once kicked a general out of her vase when he made the mistake of trying to countermand her orders.

Thus, this is how the story Taking It Back came to be and I was finally able to give Van her chance to grow and shine.

I will still threaten to inflict her on my GM though. Just because. 😉

If you’re interested in reading the story, you can check it out at https://www.fanfiction.net/s/11812263/1/Taking-It-Back