This week we are talking about The Librarie. This is the fictional bookstore and Cafe that Ailee Creed and Marlowe Lark manage in the Short Story Saturday series Port Shadeau. I kind of hope you guys love it as much as I do.
Many years ago I read a series by Nora Roberts about these women who live on an island and it still is one of my favorite series. My mom loaned it to me and I remember looking at her and telling her that I wanted the bookstore from the story. It had a cafe upstairs and it was also a metaphysical shop and I wanted to live there. So, when I was gathering inspiration for Port Shadeau, I found this picture of a bookstore somewhere and I knew that I wanted a cafe bookstore combination.
Now, to prevent copywrite and all of that, I changed it up. A cafe/bookstore isn’t a new idea so that wasn’t the problem, but making sure it didn’t resemble the one I read about a long time ago was essential. So, I set about creating the perfect environment.
It’s two stories, with the Cafe on the first floor near the back of the shop, and there are bookshelves that line the walls. There are new books, used books, a spiral staircase to get to the second floor where there are a few scattered chairs and small couches where you can read and sip your latte. It’s got brick walls and gorgeous windows for plenty of natural light. There’s a wonderful mixture of used books, and new releases, and several wonderful gifts for book lovers and coffee lovers alike.
Marlowe takes great pride in keeping the bookstore easy to navigate but also giving off the vibe of an old forgotten bookstore that you’d find down some alley in Europe, with books piled high not just on the shelves, but scattered on tables, placed carefully on carts, and any bibliophile would love to enter here. I want to go and it doesn’t exist. The smell of old books mixing pleasantly with the smell of freshly roasted coffee beans. It sounds like a sanctuary to me. There’s even a section of the store that’s more like a little library, you can check out the book rather than buy it. It’s wonderful. I kind of want to open this place now.
Can you imagine it? Spending hours wandering the aisles, looking for a long forgotten story that calls out to you. sinking into a comfortable couch and losing time while you read and drink a delicious cup of coffee or tea? I can. And I want to go there, like now.
What does your dream bookstore look like? Have a great week guys!
When I was in high school, I could devour 3 novels in a week in addition to school, sports, chores, and friends. I was also writing at that time. On deployment, I was reading a book every week or so. Now, being a single parent of two teens, writing, working, going to school, and trying to balance what free time I have with friends and family, there isn’t enough time in my life to read books. I read a lot of fanfiction, but not many books. I hate that. So, one of my goals this year is to create a reading list and read at least half of it.
Because everything in my life is split into quarters, just cause it’s easier to look at a three month block rather than the whole year, I have done the same with my reading list. There are sixteen books, mostly from the genre I’m trying to write for and some just because I wanted to read them. So, check out my reading list for 2k21 below and I will explain a little why I chose each book.
Keep in mind that while I chose these sixteen books for the year, I had so much trouble figuring out how to organize these sixteen into four books a quarter, so I asked for help from my best friend. She decided, the only two requirements that I had were, 1. Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes had to be in the first quarter since I’ve already started that one. 2. Don’t put Midnight Sun in the last quarter because I got it for Christmas and I’m super excited to read it.
Those were the only two requirements that I had. Pele didn’t know what most of them were about, so her decisions were based solely on the cover art. It was an interesting way to do it, but I kind of like the way it came out.
For information on what the book is about, click the title of the story and it will take you to the corresponding page on Goodreads. That way you’d get what they were about from the book blurb themselves. Now, the reasons why I chose them, that’s all me. They are listed by quarter, but in no particular order within that quarter.
I chose this book because it seemed like a really good read. I love the idea of being forced into one role when you really want something else. Add in that the world hangs in the balance, um, yes please! I cannot wait to read this one and find out what happens to Poppy, why she was chosen as the Maiden, or why the guard, Hawke, gets under her skin so badly. This has disaster all over it and I am so there!
When I made my list of reads for the year, there were twelve books. This one, was one that Amazon recommended to me, and after reading the description, I was all in. Thus, my reading list grew just a tiny bit. I am so excited for this read. 1. I LOVE (and I do mean LOVE) historical romance. My favorite book ever is Pride and Prejudice. And this, this is a historical piece. 2. Monsters and the Ton….I am so excited.
This is but the first in a series and I cannot wait. Mystery, Monsters, the Ton, historical….This read is going to be amazing!
Okay, who hasn’t heard of this series yet? It’s a got a TV series, and it’s rumored to be an amazing story. It’s been on my reading list for a while now, so when I put together the list for this year, it just had to be on it. I am so excited! The ads make this story seem like something right up my alley. Witches, Vampires, a governing body, rules, laws….. um, yes. I cannot wait to dive into this and honestly, as excited as I am about the other two books, I will most likely read this one as soon as I’m done with Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.
I am a HUGE fan of the Hunger Games series. I loved the books, I loved the movies (until we get to district 13 but that’s a different story). I loved it. So when Suzanne Collins said she was going to release another book from that world, I didn’t care what the subject matter was, I had to have it. It was loaned to me by a friend at Christmas and I was so excited to read it, I started immediately. So far I am in love, but you’ll have to wait until I get done.
I specifically looked up books that have Kitsune’s. This book was at the top of the recommendations, and after reading the synopsis, I added it to the list. I’m not sure how I’m going to like it yet, but I know it sounds awesome. Since I’m writing about Kitsune’s and they aren’t featured too often in literature, I thought it might be nice to see how someone else does it. I’m excited about the opportunity. Add in a samurai and the fight for survival, I am almost always hooked.
This story, again, came from a recommendation from a list that I read. This one, however, caught my attention because of the characters. The main character, her name is Kelley Smythe. And as my spell check just tried to remind me, my last name is Smyth. No E. I had to read it. Especially since it actually sounds like a really great story. A sister trying drastically to save her younger sibling from the Royal family all because of a prophecy? Sounds like a great adventure. I’m down.
This book was on my reading list back in the fall, before my life fell apart and reading was something I just couldn’t fathom. So, it’s back on the list this year. This one actually was recommended by my editor and I can’t wait to get to read it. I think I started it, and got a couple of pages in before disaster struck so I’m super excited to actually get to read it this time. Vampires, that was all I needed to know. Combine with that the description I first read had the line “It’s a truth universally acknowledged that a single vampire in possession of a great fortune must be in want of a mortal snack.” Or something to that effect and I was sold. Every time. Never fails.
This is the first book in a series and as always, that intrigues me. The idea that a simply prophecy can change everything makes me happy. How many of these are self-fulfilling? I can’t help it, I’m a sucker for them. I want to know so much about this world, the description has my writer brain tingling for the world building and the reader in me anxious for the story. I can’t wait to read this one.
I have already mentioned that I love historical romance. I am fascinated by Henry VIII. I have read almost every Phillipa Gregory book out there. This story, is actually about the couriers who took the kings messages back and forth from London to the Vatican when he was requesting his divorce. It’s super on the list and I cannot wait to read it.
A world where Vampire’s were extinct and then the aftermath of that….sign me up. This was another one that got added to the list late. I cannot wait to read this. it’s going to be really good. The never ending struggle to find balance in the fight between good and evil. Dude, yes. I am excited to read this one.
Streghe, Princes of Hell, a murder, AND it’s presented by James Patterson? That is literally all I needed to know. This was an easy choice for the list. I used to think that I didn’t like mystery too much, but then I started examining the books I read, and well, apparently I do, as long as there is some sort of magical element to it. Go figure. This looks really good and since it’s from the author of Stalking Jack the Ripper, which didn’t make it to my reading list but according to the reviews I read, was fantastic. I am so excited to meet this author on the page.
Do I really need to explain this one? I read Twilight, and while I found a whole host of problems with the writing, the story wasn’t a horrible idea. I loved it enough to read all four books. I knew about this when it got leaked…but I didn’t read it. (I feel like leaked work is the property of the author and as a fellow writer, I would hate if that happened to me. So out of respect I didn’t read it). I also love Vampires. I can’t wait to see if Edward is portrayed as the Sociopath I believed him to be in the original series. I’m so excited for this.
(And Pele’s dark sense of humor strikes again. This book isn’t in the last quarter as requested, but it isn’t anywhere near the first half of the year either. Conclusion: My best friend is a troll.)
This is another book that was on the list from October that I regretfully didn’t get to. So, it’s back on the list as well. I picked it up at Dollar General and I liked the idea of it. Apparently it’s part of a series called The Southern Witch Novels. I’m not sure what that means, I haven’t read it, so I’m looking forward to actually get this off of my TBR list.
When I picked this up at the store, I generally had no idea what it was about or anything like that. This was one of those impulse buys because of the Author. I loved the Divergent series about as much as I loved the Hunger Games. I read them really close together and loved the different stories. Veronica Roth created such a wonderful story. The writing was fantastic and I was drawn into the story quickly. I didn’t know what this was about but I assumed it would be the same. Once again, there’s a prophecy rearranging people lives and turning them on their heads. I love the idea of examining what happens to the “chosen ones” after their big battle. After they’ve done what they were supposed to do. What do they do now? I love that this tells us what happens next. I honestly cannot wait to read this.
Like both Veronica Roth and Nora Roberts, I love Sarah J. Maas. The three of them make up over half of my top 5 modern author list actually. Go figure… So when I saw this story, it was another of those no brainer things. Angels, murder, Fallen Angels, and Demons….. seriously, how do you look at that and go, “mmm, nope.”
Right. You don’t.
I’m hoping to finish out the year with some well loved authors since the last part of the year is always the busiest for me with NaNoWriMo, my kids’ birthday, Halloween, Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Years…you get it. It’s busy. So, well loved authors will be like a hug at the end of busy days.
What’s on your reading list this year? How did you pick the titles you wanted to? Let me know what you think! Have a great day guys!
This week I wanted to tell you guys all about Marlowe Lark.
Marlowe Lark is the manager at the bookstore, the Librarie, and makes friends with Ailee Creed on her first day. It doesn’t take long for the two of them to become good friends.
Marlowe married a Diffuser, or Arkane fire fighter, named Wilder Lark when she was twenty two. They were high school sweethearts and didn’t let anything stand in their way. They moved to Port Shadeau about five years prior to the start of this story because of Wilder being transferred there. She started working at the bookstore shortly after and about a year later, they bought the larger of the two studio apartments above the Librarie itself. While they have no children, Marlowe and Wilder live a full life.
Marlowe loves to travel, and when their schedules align, they tend to go somewhere new. It averages out to one vacation a month. Although sometimes they prefer to stay at home and never leave their bed.
Marlowe spends a lot of time on her own because of her husband’s work schedule. Since she doesn’t work weekends, she usually spends her time reading and drinking tea. She also likes to wander around Port Shadeau and Seattle trying to find things no one else has. She hikes sometimes out to remote locations so she can play a little with the air discipline that she can’t use as much inside the city. Normally, she will sit on rooftops in the summer with a book and let herself play with the wind around her.
She takes great pride in the way she runs the Librarie. She likes to do special themes every couple of weeks to try and bring people into the shop. Ailee, once she hears about the plan, does her best to create special drinks to match the theme as well.
I don’t know if there are going to be too many surprises with Marlowe. So far she seems like the steady, kind of crazy, force you’d want as a best friend. This week’s Short Story Saturday features heavily on Ailee and Marlowe’s budding friendship as they hang out after work one day. I can’t wait for you guys to read it!
Let me know what you guys think of Marlowe, I’m excited to hear your thoughts!
As you have probably figured out by the last couple of posts, I am always working on Short Story Saturday, however, I am also writing something else as well.
Just before my world blew up, I started working on the sequel for Noctivagus, tentatively titled Paroxysm. So far, I’m about twenty chapters in and already I know it needs some structuring. I am really excited about it actually.
Then just before the holidays, I got the manuscript evaluation back from my editor Erika, over at The Werd Nerd. You guys should check her out, she’s amazing! She sent me such a detailed report, that the work that needs to be done doesn’t seem all that daunting really. I am actually excited about the changes that have to be made for Noctivagus.
So how do I keep writing the sequel if I’m still making changes on the first story? Good question. I just know I have a lot to make happen, and the worst thing I could do is to stop writing. I took the last couple of weeks off to spend time with my family that visited for the holidays. Well, they left yesterday, so I am excited to get together with Erika and talk over the list she sent.
I have plans to keep writing the sequel, as it stands, Reid is facing a couple of challenges at the moment, and some of them are personal while some of them are a bit bigger than that. He’s having a bit of trouble working through some of these challenges and it’s starting to show in his stress levels. In addition to all of that he’s continuing to work. He’s still on Penelope’s protection detail, but he has his work to do for Atlas still.
I’m excited to see how this year shapes up as a writing year. I wrote three novel length stories last year, and a couple of short stories. Due to personal setbacks, I have been negligent in writing as much as I wanted to, but this year, I’m going to work as hard as I can to keep not only my writing on track as well as my writing platform running as well.
Today we are going to talk about Ailee’s apartment. I mentioned before that she lives above the bookstore and cafe that she works at. It’s a little 500 sq ft studio space. I actually took inspiration for the entire thing from a post on Pinterest. I saw it an immediately knew it was the look I was hoping for for Ailee.
I don’t know what it was about it, but everything about it screamed that character’s name in my head. Back when I knew almost nothing about her but her name and her basic look, it made me latch onto it quickly. I followed the link and read all about the awesome lady that lived in this studio in Seattle. It seemed to be kismet.
So I gathered up the pictures, and then started making a few changes here and there, and I probably will continue to do so as the story goes on. I just loved the jewel toned colors and wood floors. It seems like the sort of space I would love, even though there isn’t enough room for me to craft. It seemed perfect for a person just starting out. Which of course, meant that it was perfect for Ailee.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief look into Ailee’s apartment. I hope that you’ve enjoyed seeing what I’m thinking of as I describe the apartment more in future stories. Have a great day guys!
So, if you caught the last Short Story Saturday, you got to meet a brand new character by the name of Ailee Creed. There are a few characters in the cast of the stories that will take place in Port Shadeau. Today I will do my best to introduce you to the main character, Ailee and hopefully we can all find out something about her together.
When we first meet Ailee she’s hanging out in her apartment considering a list of things she wants to do. Having recently moved to Port Shadeau from another location in the Arkane world, she’s just starting this new life. She talks a little about her estranged boyfriend Gideon, and the death of her father, but she doesn’t elaborate on either one.
From what I know so far, because I’m making this up as I go, after her dad dies, she doesn’t much want to hang around in Cheaveaux so she plans to move. When she chooses Port Shadeau, she asks Gideon to come with her, and he declines. She doesn’t see this as too much of a deterrent as those in the Arkane world can travel via Geo Drifting.
Geo Drifting is an easy way to travel once you’ve been trained. Drift points, which can appear in any location and often take the form of a doorway. An arch in the woods made of twisted branches, or a doorway at the back of an alley that appears to lead into a building. it could be anything. Most often in Arkane cities, they appear in their natural form, an archway filled with a swatch of swirling purple color, most often tucked up against a wall somewhere.
Drift points are easy to maneuver as long as you have a clear idea of where you’re trying to go, anywhere in the world. Essentially they’re portals, but only Arkane can use them. If a Jejune (typical non-Arkane human) were to walk through one of these Drift locations, nothing would happen. They’d simply be on the other side of the archway or door. By using these, Ailee could walk through a Drift point in Port Shadeau, Washington and walk out in Paris, France. The entire trip taking no longer than a few seconds.
Although not completely important to the story of Ailee, it is important to the Arkane world. Due to the ease of travel, living in another state from Gideon doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. Once she moves, however, he goes radio silent and she’s having a hard time dealing with it.
Ailee finds work in a bookstore cafe, which she also lives above for now. The bookstore, called the Librarie, is managed by a young woman named Marlowe Lark. The two of them become fast friends, and she finds it refreshing to have someone to talk to after a couple of weeks of near radio silence. Ailee is excited about the opportunity to run the cafe alongside Marlowe. She is concerned about some of her employees, and their well-being but isn’t too worried. it seems like a wonderful challenge, and exciting opportunity.
I’m not sure yet what her larger motivations are, but I’m sure that by the end of March we will know. I created these characters as little more than outlines. The prompts for 2021 are set, and I have sketched out a basic outline between now and March. Whether the story will continue after that or not, we will have to see. I hope to add more depth to Ailee as a character in the future. At least more than a mid-20’s blonde woman who has just moved to a new city and likes photography and has a crappy boyfriend. The story is really taking shape and I’m excited to share it with you! Have a wonderful day guys!
Hello all! Happy New Year! For at least the next three months, I will be writing about a set of characters from Port Shadeau Washington. They are a settlement of Arkane people that blend into the Seattle cityscape seamlessly. Ailee Creed is the main character, at least for the next three months. Come join me on this ride and welcome to the 2021 version of Short Story Saturday!
Ailee sat down on her couch and stared at the list in front of her. She had a few days before she started work, and she planned to make the most of it. It was a brand new year and she wasn’t going to waste it wondering why Gideon had gone silent just before Christmas. He wasn’t returning her phone calls, or her texts, and now that the new year had rung, and his gifts still sat under the tree. She shook her head to clear the thoughts of the past from her mind and focused on her list. She wanted to go hiking, see the city a little more, and relax before Monday. The long holiday weekend would lend nicely to being able to get lost in a couple of crowds, blend in with the Jejune and get lost in Port Shadeau.
Port Shadeau was one of the oldest Arkane settlements on the West Coast. It was built around Jejune and was now the oldest part of Seattle. It had been like that forever, the Jejune and the Arkane blending seamlessly with the Jejune none the wiser. It worked out for everyone involved and Ailee was happy to finally be here. After her father had died, she’d had to get out of Cheveaux. Gideon hadn’t understood, they’d argued about it, but in the end, she’d moved anyway.
Just before Christmas she’d moved into a small studio apartment above a bookstore named the Librarie. Ailee had felt at home there immediately. A few days after moving in, she’d found out that the little cafe in the bookstore was hiring, and she’d jumped at the chance to work there.
Her life was finally falling into place. As best as it could at least. She’d stayed up late the night before to ring in the new year with a glass of plum wine and then gone to bed. Now it was time for adventure. Ailee grabbed her list and shoved it into the pocket of her bag before setting off into the city.
She spent hours exploring the city and when she fell into bed that night, she was excited to go hiking the next day. She was planning to take her camera and was hoping to get some good shots she could frame and put on her wall behind her table. Before she fell asleep she texted Gideon, just on the off chance that he’d respond.
Ailee: I hope that you had a good day. Just wanted to tell you that I love you and I miss you.
She waited a few minutes and when there was no response, she plugged her phone in and rolled over to go to sleep. She woke up the next morning and drank her cup of coffee before she left to go hiking. She drove a little outside the city and the recent snowfall made the couple hour hike beautiful. She got some good shots and was able, thanks to her tripod, to get some really good pictures of herself while playing in the snow. She went back into town as the sun was setting. She found a great place to eat dinner and managed to catch a couple of shots on her camera of herself watching snowflakes fall under a streetlight. One of the things she hoped to find was a competent person to help with her amateur photography.
When she got home that night, she took a hot shower and then made herself a cup of hot cocoa. While she waited for the milk to boil, she sent another text to Gideon, just to see if he’d respond. She curled up on the couch and read for a little while. Once her cocoa was gone, she carried the cup to the kitchen just to have an excuse to stretch her legs. She was irritated that she still hadn’t heard from Gideon. She wanted to believe that she’d given up on the whole idea of their relationship, but it wasn’t so easy to let the last couple of years go. They’d been fine, everything was great up until her dad had died unexpectedly. Things had been rough and when she felt like she wanted a change of scenery, she’d asked him to come with her. He hadn’t wanted anything to change. Ailee had needed nothing but change.
Walking back toward the couch, she passed the Christmas tree she planned to take down the next morning. She stopped and looked down at the gifts still sitting under the tree. She had spent so much time shopping for the right gifts. Carefully wrapping them with tags and ribbon. Making sure that they conveyed every bit of love and devotion she had for him. She paced away from the tree and toward the couch and tossed her phone down onto it. She turned back around and looked at the tree again. She bit her lip and considered what to do.
All at once the overwhelming anger she thought she was over consumed her again. She took a couple of steps and snatched the largest gift from under the tree. In a couple of steps she stood before the small fireplace in her apartment and tossed the gift into it. She felt satisfaction in watching it burn. She turned around and grabbed the two smaller gifts and tossed them into the fire as well before she sat down on the couch and watched them burn. Once they had burned out, she stared at the fire a little longer. Then she went over and did her best to put the fire out for the night.
Once it was done, she crawled into bed and slept better than she had since Gideon had stopped responding to her. The next morning, over coffee, she planned out how she was going to pack up her Christmas decorations. She spent most of the morning doing just that and once she was finished she was ready to relax. Needing a change of scenery, she went downstairs to the bookstore to wander around a little bit. She ended up picking up a couple of new books and felt like wandering a bit more. She liked the atmosphere in the bookstore and couldn’t wait to start working.
When she got to the counter she smiled and had a great interaction with the girl behind the counter. She seemed to be about her age and she hoped maybe they’d get along once she actually started working. With her new purchases in hand, she went back upstairs. Later that evening she went out for a walk. She had located the four closest Drift points in case she wanted to go anywhere, and she enjoyed walking around the back alleys and places off the main streets. It might seem a little dangerous to some, but this was Port Shadeau, crime was dealt with differently here. There wasn’t much of it, as you never quite knew what you were going to walk into. Once it was fully dark, she wandered back to her apartment.
Work the next day was a crash course in managing the small, but busy cafe. By lunch time she wasn’t sure she was going to remember everything, but the customers were friendly and the other employees were great too. The former manager had been Jejune, and the mostly Arkane staff was happy to finally have an Arkane manager who would understand their unique circumstances a little better. One of the employees had just completed her Initiate the spring before and was still a little jumpy if something got dropped. Another of the part-time barista’s had a sister getting ready for Initiate in a couple of weeks. She was a nervous wreck and Ailee knew she’d have to see how she was feeling closer to the time to know if she could handle the counter or if she needed to just be wiping off the small tables and helping out with the bookstore cleanup as well.
Around lunch time she was introduced to the young dark haired woman from the bookstore that had rang her up the day before. Marlowe Lark was about her age and lived upstairs in the other loft apartment with her husband, Wilder. Marlowe managed the bookstore and loved her job. After they both left for the day, Marlowe invited her to go out and get some dinner, apparently her husband was working late.
“So how do you like Port Shadeau so far?” Marlowe asked her as they walked down the street toward Marlowe’s favorite little restaurant.
“I like it so far. It’s been just me for a couple of weeks so it’s kind of nice to have someone else to talk to.” Ailee told her with a small smile.
“I wish I’d known sooner, we could have hung out for New Years. Wild had to work that night so it was just me and a couple of friends. I could have introduced you.” She said with a smile, as she tucked her dark hair behind her ear.
“That would have been nice. So how long have you lived here?”
“A couple of years. We like it here. We moved a bit after Initiate, while Wilder was climbing through the ranks. But we’ve been here long enough that we think we might stay.”
“What does he do?”
“He’s a Diffuser. Only, they don’t have a Diffuser station here, so they work with the regular fire fighters. The local house is mostly Arkane, but there is at least two in every house in the city.”
“That’s cool. Port Shadeau is so different from almost every other place. It’s so weird to mix so easily with the Jejune, it almost makes me wonder why we have to hide at all.”
“I get that, but look what happened to the Vampires when they came out a hundred years ago. There are so many restrictions for them, I’m surprised there isn’t a national registry for them.”
“For all we know there might be one, but it’s so tightly controlled by the Crones and Sages that the Jejune will never hear about it.”
“True. It’s probably for the best. I knew a Vampire once, I can’t imagine having to go through that stuff.”
“Yeah, me neither. What if we had to register every time we moved? It would get taxing.”
“True.” Marlowe nodded as she held the door open for Ailee.
They had a nice meal and the conversation flowed easily between them as they walked back toward home. They said goodnight and Ailee was excited to see her again the next day. It might seem insignificant, but she finally felt like she’d made a friend. For the first time since she’d moved there, she felt justified in the decision. She had made a friend and was hopeful to make more.
Every writer has a community of people. These people are our soundboard, problem solvers, supporters, ego boosters, beta-readers, editors, and whatever we happen to need while we are working. They are usually fantastic. I want to introduce you to mine.
So, my Hive Mind is made up of people that I’ve met at different points in my life and they all are amazing on their own, or even as just friends. They are all different too, in different stages of life and that helps get different opinions and outlooks. It really helps. They all have their own lives as well but are amazingly supportive of me, as I am of them. Once, they convinced me to rewrite a whole story that I was almost done with, just to add two characters. They’re amazing.
First, is Loca. Loca and I have known each other since Boot Camp, way back in 2003. We’ve been amazing friends ever since. She isn’t a writer, but she is the ideal person to read what I’m writing and tell me if it’s good or not. She represents my target market, but she’s more than that. She’s been integral in several of my stories and the first time I started talking to the man who is now her husband, was about a gun for a story. She is quick to tell me if something is stupid, or doesn’t make sense, or isn’t true to the character so far. She’s also full of ideas when that happens. She has so many ideas on how to fix it. When I’m feeling bad about my writing, or down on myself, she’s quick to pick me up, not with flowery words or reassurances, but with just the right amount of sass and “girl don’t bullshit me” and it’s perfect.
Doom Panda, there isn’t much I can say about her that I haven’t already told her to her face. We became friends when another friend from Boot Camp introduced us. (They’re now engaged and I cannot wait for that wedding!!!) He’s still wondering if that was a good idea or not because Loca, Panda, and I have a habit of ganging up on him to tease him mercilessly. Panda has become my family. She tells it how it is. She listens to me complain and whine and tells me, “but Cookie, you’re amazing!” She may not be a writer, but she is another creative soul. I love our talks where we just throw random bits of creative nonsense at one another and see what sticks. Sometimes others cannot follow our conversations, but we know. We know what’s going on. She’s my editor friend, she points out grammatical errors and spelling inaccuracies. She tells me when things don’t make sense and she genuinely falls in love with the characters that I create. I can always count on her for good ideas when I’m stuck. Even if all they do is make me laugh. (Don’t forget my love, the Plaza, in June).
Next up is the infallible Pele. Pele is my writing friend. Pele is my writing partner. We are working on a series together, and you guys will get to hear all about them the beginning of next year. She’s the one that I go to with the technical side of writing. She’s the one I complain to when the words won’t flow because she gets it. She understands how that is, intimately. She also has a great understanding of how I work when I’m writing because we are writing something together. She’s helped me craft the world that Noctivagus is set in over the last decade. Together, we have created characters so intricate that they feel real. I will commonly tag her in things on Facebook with just initials of characters and she knows exactly why. The other day it was a post about Lisa Frank makeup. I didn’t even have to say more than her name and she knew exactly what I was thinking. She is amazing and I couldn’t do anything without my Parabati and best friend Pele.
The newest member of the team is my friend Stichi Lee. Stichi has probably the most important job. She listens to me prattle on and on until I work out a problem or until I have understood what I’m writing. She gets to hear the story in real time, and often she’s the one I read chapters to to make sure they sound good. She has her favorites and has already declared which ships she will die on. She is the target audience, just like Loca, without any of the time to read because she’s always so busy. Her other important role, she supplies me with new music almost constantly. She works nights so it isn’t uncommon to wake up in the morning with fifteen new songs with notes attached with which characters she thought of when she heard it. If I need a specific song to convey an emotion so I can write, she has my back. She is one of the few who have read Noctivagus in full. Before I submitted it to the editor. Not that everyone in the Hive Mind doesn’t also have access, she was just the only one with time to read it while she was quarantined, as she had nothing more than a head cold and couldn’t work from home like everyone else.
These four ladies make day to day writing so much easier. But they aren’t the only ones. There is also my brother, who helps me solve problems logistically thinking. He’s another writer with no time to write. And my very good friend Hookerabati, who actually (through a weird turn of events) gifted me the character of Reid from Noctivagus. She was the one who got me writing again after a dry spell that lasted years. She cares as much for these characters as I do. Sometimes she is more protective of them, and proud of how far they’ve come since their initial inception. My Dad, who comes by once a month just to have lunch and discuss our writing. He isn’t’ my target demographic, but he’s a wonderful storyteller. Lastly, my editor. She gives me life. She gives me hope that I didn’t write garbage and that everyone else is just lying to me (I know, I know, you aren’t). Her messages make me feel about ten feet tall and she is helping to smooth out the rough edges of Noctivagus so I can attempt to get it into reader’s hands. I would be lost without my Fairy Wife back in Cali, or my Wifey Wife here in Michigan, they give me ideas and are always there no matter what I need.
I am truly blessed with the little community I have collected. There are so many more that aren’t mentioned that LOVE to hear about my writing. They are constant support, my sisters for example. The one has watched my stories grow from crap fanfiction drabbles that never made it out of the notebook to the work I’m doing now. The other, never has much time to read but supports me none the less. She brings me beautiful notebooks and peens that write so beautifully.
What kind of Hive have you put together? Who is your biggest help when you’re writing? Let me know, I want to hear about them!
So, as I stated on my Instagram, I ran into a few obstacles the last couple of months and had to pull some of the irons out of the fire. My Amber Marie Writes platform was one of them. If you follow my personal blog at all, you already know some of this, but I’d like to tell you all about it anyway.
So, 2020 has been a rough year for everyone, I don’t want to minimize that at all. Back in March, I lost my dad after a long health battle. We knew it was coming, but that didn’t make it any easier. The day after he died, the entire state of Michigan shut down so it took months to be able to do anything. My brother and I made the best of a bad situation and did what we could during the pandemic. We kept our families safe and we grieved as best we could while we both continued to work. It eventually started to be easier to breathe and as we were able to get things done, it helped with at least part of the grieving process but it really threw us for a loop. Losing a parent is always hard, and the hoops we were required to jump through made it worse.
We started to get better, and we started to move on, but we still hadn’t had a funeral so we just kept going. Then things started to get bad again, the covid number started to go up again. We lost a Great Aunt who I was very close to in the beginning of October and that threw me for a loop. I was gone about a week and then the unthinkable happened. My mom, also fighting long term health problems, died. It was a shock and it derailed the steps I was taking to get back to do what I was doing and running this multi-platform platform. I spent most of the next couple of weeks consoling my sisters and trying to figure out how to breathe.
Did I mention that we had finally been given the go ahead to do my Dad’s funeral? So after seven months, we were going to finally get the closure on that. So, there was a lot going on emotionally and I went to bed emotionally and mentally drained. It didn’t help that there was a heaping pile of guilt on top of everything, because even though I’d lost two parents, my biological parents were still alive. That made me feel a little guilty, even though there was no guilt to be had. A week after my Mom died, my aunt died just as suddenly. That was three deaths in three weeks while also planning a funeral. Saying it was rough was an understatement.
The first weekend of November, I had my Dad’s funeral on Friday, and my Mom’s memorial on Saturday. Sunday, I tried to just exist. Then came the part where I tried to put the pieces back together and figure out how to live again. The days were getting shorter. The kids were home from school, we had to quarantine, because we came in contact with a family member with Covid. It was a lot to get used to. Eventually, thanks to my therapist and my family, I was able to find balance again.
Some days are still a struggle, but I went back to school, I sent my book off to my editor, and my kids from California will be here in about twelve days. There is Christmas to decorate for, and school work to do. Life, as they say, goes on. It’s certainly a different world than I started the year in, but I think I can figure it out. I think I can learn to live in this new reality, what choice do I have? So bear with me as we get back on track here, cause I promise, there is good stuff coming down the pipeline.
Goddess knows after a year like this, we deserve it. Stay safe everyone. Happy Holidays.
Rich is Ryan’s bodyguard and friend. He is introduced the same time as Ryan in the story. At first he’s quiet and let’s Ryan and Penelope talk, but eventually he opens up some. I can’t the balance between being someones best friend and also having to have their back all the time because it’s your job. How do you manage that? Well, Rich has found the delicate balance. He is necessary to this story and was originally named after a friend. The name stayed, but the character himself has morphed into someone else, someone I didn’t expect to get to know like I have. He’s given himself several story lines, and things that are happening. I know more about his extended family than some of the other characters because as every good secondary character knows, the book is really about them.
Richard Everett Cunningham worked security for awhile before applying for a slightly different type of security work. His brother and himself ended up as bodyguards for Ryan for a couple days of events about five years before we meet them in the book. It ended up being Aiden Cunningham doing security for his brother Rich and his new best friend Ryan Meade. Ryan and Rich are close in age and they got along like a house on fire. Within six months of that weekend, Rich had been hired as Ryan’s personal bodyguard and they never looked back.
While he takes his job very seriously, he takes more pride in being Ryan’s friend. When Ryan built his house, he added a room in the basement with it’s own entrance for Rich since he lives on the other side of London and a little out of town. It makes it easier sometimes and Rich appreciates that he can come and go as he pleases. He worked hard to find that line between work and friendship, and enjoys the delicate balance that it requires. According to the company, Rich is very good at his job. According to Ryan, he’s a sarcastic little shit and he isn’t sure why they’re friends, at least that’s the yearly review he gives Rich. The copy that goes to the company is always very professional and praiseworthy. It’s made very clear that Ryan won’t work with anyone else, except in an emergency.
Rich is the younger brother, and as such loves to play tricks on his brother. Ryan helps, as he is the eldest in his family and has no brothers of his own. At first everyone thought Rich was the bad influence, but it became clear after a short time that they were just two peas in a pod and Ryan had just as many bad ideas as Rich did. While it’s gotten them in professional trouble a couple of times, nothing too bad has ever happened and they are thankful for that.
When Rich meets Penelope, he likes that she keeps Ryan on his toes. She gives as good as she gets and is sarcastic as hell. The more they talk, the more Rich wants to get involved in the conversation and you notice the subtle shift from bodyguard to best friend in the amount of harassment and potentially embarrassing facts that he shares just to make her laugh. He has her phone number before Ryan does, and before she’s even through customs in London, Rich has found her Facebook and sent her a friend request. For a moment, Ryan actually offers to bow out so Rich and Penelope can have a shot with one another, but it’s made clear to him that they are just friends.
They do stay friends and still talk, both through his girlfriend Nora and on their own. When Ryan and Penelope reconnect, they talk more and it’s not quite as strained as it was before. Rich values his friendship with Penelope and is glad that Ryan never asks him to stop talking to her. Throughout the series their friendship becomes one of mutual appreciation and respect. Over time he even gets close to Asher and despite Ryan’s aversion to him, Reid.
I hope you all enjoyed this look at Rich. He’s a great guy and he deserves the good things in life. His friendship with Ryan is one built on respect and appreciation. It’s wonderful and even though his loyalty will always be with Ryan, he never feels like he’s cheating on a friend by befriending Penelope, or Reid even, and even better, Ryan never makes him feel that way either. Rich is one of the unsung characters in this story, and at times his role gets downplayed, but he is a big part of their group dynamic. He provides a comedic lightness to Reid and Ryan’s controversial relationship, but keeps everyone grounded and safe. He is logical and never presumptuous. Hope you liked him.