[Amber Side note: during this takeover, there are times when more than one person is talking. This is your handy guide to figure out who. Atlas [Amber] It won’t really let me change the font at all, so this is how we decided it looked. Anything that’s just bold, is probably questions, which are also technically from me. Also, this version of Atlas is from the end of Blood Song, Book 1 of The Bluebird Chronicles due out July 20, 2023. Thanks!]
Greetings and salutations, my name is Atlas Rivers and I am one of the two sages in Territory Three. I will be taking over today and answering some questions. I hope you enjoy. Have a wonderful day.
Full Name: Atlas Fox Rivers, though this was not the name I was given at birth, it has been the name I’ve used since my second life began.
Nickname(s)/Alias: I’m not sure I have any, besides my title, but that’s not really an alias.
DOB: April 6th
Zodiac Sign: Aries
Height: 5′ 11.5″
Eye Color: Brown
Hair color: It used to be a lovely dark brown, but I prefer the salt and pepper gray I go with now. It suits me.
Race: Eldritch Demon [What is that? Can you explain it?] An eldritch demon was born a human, either a Karhu or an Arkane, that is turned into a demon. It’s a complicated and long process that takes the better part of a century to complete. Though not everyone turned actually completes the process.
Location: Southern Illinois.
Profession (if any): Sage in Territory Three.
Family: While I count Reid, Asher, Eli, and Becks among my family, I do not have any true family left. They’ve been gone a long time.
These are the photos you asked me to provide. [Thank you. Would you mind telling us about them?] Of course not. #2 – My favorite food is a creamy prosciutto pasta. Last time I made it with peas, I don’t think I’ll do that again. Finley agreed they were not a good addition. #5 – This is the lock screen on my phone. Though I don’t know why that would be interesting. #11 – Though it may not seem like much, the most interesting thing I own is this pocket watch. It was given to me by Annabeth once upon a time. #14 – The last date I went on, we ate dumplings and had a wonderful time. #18 – My bad influence friend is Ivy Herrick, the other sage in this territory. She is always trying to get us into trouble when we go out. #24 – This is a photo I recently deleted. I was out in the woods with Asher and I was attempting to catch a picture of a bird but I was walking and I tripped, so the picture was blurry. I got a better picture right after so I deleted this one. #29 – The person I’d like to see everyday is Annabeth. I miss her dearly.
Answer these questions:
Name one weird thing you like.
Being barefoot. I’m not particularly fond of shoes.
Which do you prefer? City or Town?
Town. I like being around people, but I also like being in nature. Where we live now is a perfect compromise on that.
What has been the hardest thing for you to face or learn?
Losing my Twin Flame and learning to live without her.
Who is Annabeth?
Annabeth was my Twin Flame. Though I don’t particularly want to speak too much on her. [That’s fine. Thank you for sharing that much.]
Losing one of my “children”. I consider Asher, Reid, Eli, Becks, and the rest to be my family and I would hate to lose one of them for any reason.
Who is your favorite person that you have the misfortune to be around every day?
Misfortune, that’s funny. Probably Asher or Reid. I love watching them grow into better men.
Honestly, do you like your life?
I love my life. It took a long time to accept it, but I do love it.
Do you smile at strangers?
Yes. I believe in bringing joy to the world and a smile could make someone’s day.
I know that vampires can’t get drunk, can you?
Yes, but my tolerance is pretty high. It would take quite a bit to make me drunk. However, there are other interesting consequences of drinking too much. [Such as?] That my dear is a conversation for another day.
Do you lie to yourself?
Are you a lazy person?
No, I’m comfortable.
Who was your first love?
A spicy number named Avalon, though I cannot remember much about her besides her name anymore.
What makes you laugh?
The sarcastic assholes that I’m constantly surrounded by.
What did you do before you were the Sage?
What everyone else did prior, try to live my life I guess. I did work for the previous Sage for a bit and enjoyed it.
If you won the lottery, what would you do?
Take a vacation at home and buy some expensive scotch.
Are you selfish?
To an extent. But I think everyone is like that, depending on the situation. I do try to be as giving and as open as I can though.
What time do you wake up in the morning?
7:30. Or 9. Depends on the day.
What is the toughest part of being Sage?
Being fair. Not picking favorites. Being hard on those that serve under me, even when I don’t want to be.
What did you think the first time you met Bailey?
That she was soft and sweet and perfect for Asher. Also that she probably had no idea what she was getting herself into.
What’s one item you can’t leave home without?
I have a worry stone in my pocket at all times. It’s a small piece of Tiger’s Eye that I keep with me always. It’s quite a bit smaller than it used to be, but I love it. It was a gift from the Sage I used to work for.
What’s your favorite animal? And Color?
I like big cats. The lynx is my favorite. Reid would tell you my favorite color is Khaki Brown, though it’s actually turquoise, like the stone. I like the brightness of it.
Thank you for tuning in. I hope you’ve had as good a time as I have. Have a wonderful day. Goodbye.
[That’s all for this month’s character takeover. I hope you enjoyed it. Feel free to leave questions in the comments and I’ll make sure Atlas answers them. Have a great day my friends. Be safe, make good choices, and don’t eat yellow snow. Happy New Year.]
So today, despite being a tad bit late, we are talking about Vampire Ranks in the Arkane World. Vampire’s have a different ranking system based on the number of years they’ve been a vampire. This is a very basic list, but it gets the point across. 🙂 Enjoy!
I hope that clears it up a little bit. 🙂 Thanks for reading! Enjoy your weekend! I know I will. As always my dears, drink your water, be safe, make good choices and don’t eat yellow snow!
Today, because it’s the middle of the month and I, of course, am behind on EVERYTHING…. I have decided to give you a cut chapter from what would have been the fourth book in the Bluebird Chronicles series. Back when the series was five books. Back when Noah had proposed to Penelope at the end of the second book and she’d accepted. Back when they’d gotten married in the third book, had a really bad miscarriage at the end of the third book. Back when Noah was cheating on her, and everything was different. Back before I had switched everything to first person POV. This scene has a lot of things that no longer apply. So there will be mentions of things that are no longer part of the story. So let me do a quick recap of the original story-line that doesn’t exist anymore because I did something COMPLETELY different with this story.
So, originally, the story went like this. In the first book, Penelope meets Noah before she meets Reid and they start dating. Her and Reid screw up, and sleep together, making her and Noah to break up. Reid and Penelope start dating after that and then break up. When they break up, Penelope and Noah end up getting back together and trying again. At the end of the second book, Noah proposes and Penelope says yes. The get married in the third book. Just before the wedding, however, there was a moment where Reid and Penelope almost sleep together, but they don’t. Noah, however, believes that they did. Which causes some internal strife between Noah and Penelope. Reid is actually dating someone, though no one knows about it. He’s kind of kept it to himself. Penelope finds out she’s pregnant just after the honeymoon, and the timing is right about the same time that Noah thinks that Reid and Penelope slept together, so he doesn’t believe that the baby is even his.
When Penelope goes into labor early, Noah is no where to be found. He’s on location shooting a movie, and is sleeping with a co-star. No one can reach him. By the time they get ahold of him, Penelope has already delivered a severely pre-mature baby, who lives about two hours before she dies. Penelope has had an medical issue and also almost died. Everything is fine by the time Noah arrives, but he really doesn’t think that the baby was even his so he’s angry. Noah and Penelope end up arguing later on in the fourth book. They’re miserable, both of them, and angry. When they argue, it gets a bit physical, and Penelope ends up with a bruise on her arm where he grabbed her when she almost hit him. It’s turns toxic quickly after the miscarriage and Penelope decides she can’t live like that anymore and she leaves, going to see Callie. Reid shows up quickly after that and is with her when she goes to collect some of her things from the apartment in New York.
He’s the one that tells Noah that the baby was in fact his, and this creates a whole host of issues for Noah, especially since some tabloids caught wind of him cheating on Penelope (which he’s been doing practically the whole time they were married) and have run the story. Penelope goes back to Illinois to stay in the house that Noah bought them there. She and Reid start arguing pretty consistently, she finds out he has a girlfriend and has been lying to everyone about her, he’s mad at her for staying with Noah long after she should have, etc. They aren’t really on speaking terms. Neither are her and Noah.
The scene I have for you, happens just before the final paperwork is signed for their divorce. Bailey has finally been turned into a vampire, and in the original, Asher and Noah had hit it off really well and become friends, and then stayed friends when Penelope and Noah split. (Like I said, this story has changed A LOT). So naturally, he was invited to the party to celebrate since he was going to be in town anyway. Keep in mind that A LOT changed between this version and the version I am actually publishing, and while this version was fun and had an interesting plot, I eventually decided to tell a different story. You still have the background of Noah and Penelope, you still have a lot of the points, but now most of it happened before the first book starts.
Okay, if you’re still here, enjoy this cut chapter. Love you! As always, drink your water, be safe, make good choices, and don’t eat yellow snow.
Cut Chapter from Lacuna (now titled Forever Bluebird)
Penelope sighed before closing her eyes and taking a fortifying breath. She should have known he would be here. Of course he would be. What had made her believe he wouldn’t be. This was a party for Asher and Bailey. She’d finally completed her transition and they were all celebrating her new lease on life. Penelope had come straight from work, only to walk into the crowded bar to find not just Reid, who was awkward enough to still be around, but Noah as well. Of course they were nowhere near one another, but they had clearly divided the room up between the two of them, and she wasn’t safe anywhere. The last time she’d seen either one of them she’d argued with them both. Forcing a relaxed smile on her face, she cut her way through the crowd to where her best friend was standing with her husband.
“PJ! You made it!” Bailey exclaimed, wrapping her arms around her as she got near. Penelope smiled warmly and returned the hug, pulling away after a moment to hug Asher as well.
“Of course. Sorry, a meeting with a client ran long.” She told them as Asher pulled away.
“It’s fine Pen, I’m just glad you’re here.” Asher told her with a small smile.
“Yeah. I’m gonna get a drink. You guys need refills?” She asked, taking a step toward the bar, and a brief respite from the voices in her head.
“No, we’re good.” Asher told her as Bailey fell into conversation with the woman standing next to her. She nodded and made her escape.
She set her purse on the bar as she waited for the bartender to notice her and get to her. She scanned the crowd using the mirror above the bar so she caught the moment that Noah noticed she was there. She saw him stiffen across the room and take a long drink of the bottle in his hand before he tuned back into the conversation he was having with a leggy blonde in a short red dress. She rolled her eyes and looked back at the bar. The bartender caught her eye and nodded, letting her know he’d be with her in a moment. She tried to school her features as best she could, and took a cleansing breath. She could do this, for Bailey’s sake. As long as she avoided Noah and Reid she’d be okay, she’d be able to have a good time for at least an hour or two before she begged off and was able to leave. She’d worked a lot that week so claiming exhaustion wasn’t too far a stretch. Besides, she wanted a good night’s sleep before she had to meet Noah at the house to sign the paperwork that would officially make it hers. Their divorce was almost final, they just had a few more things to settle, which is why he was in town in the first place. Probably why Asher and Bailey had decided to celebrate now, even though technically Bailey had been a vampire for almost a month and a half now.
Grandmere had been by recently and had even blessed the event. Placing Bailey firmly under her protection. Reid had been irritated that she’d come to town to see Penelope instead of him and they’d fought about it, even though it was stupid. It seemed like all they did anymore was fight. She broke herself out of that thought as the bartender finally approached her. She ordered two shots of whiskey and a beer. She took the shots back to back before picking up her beer and her purse and walked away from the bar and made a circle of the room, saying hello to people as she went.
Half an hour later she was standing in the corner catching up with Sama when Reid walked over with Shiloh, intent on starting a game of pool near where they were standing. Penelope smiled at Sama and excused herself to the bar for another drink. She sighed again when she reached the bar and squeezed in between groups of people she didn’t know who were also waiting. She’d attempted not to look at Reid, but she couldn’t help but notice the look on his face when she’d turned away. It had been hard to miss, especially when she could feel the bond pulling at her. She had it shut down, but she could always feel when he was trying to get a read on her. He was probably one of the only people left on Earth who could read her without the bond, but it worked better when he could hear her thoughts. She wouldn’t open it though, and she probably never would again. Last time she had, he’d used the information to hurt her and she still wasn’t sure she completely forgave him for that.
This time when the bartender set her shots on the bar, she reached for one and a hand from behind her reached for the other. She turned to look at who it was as she downed the first one. Fin just smiled and downed the other.
“If I have to watch you be so obvious about your avoidance of certain people, then I get to drink your shots.” He told her as he set the glass on the bar next to hers. Penelope chuckled.
“I’m fine, it’s other people being weird, not me.” She told him as she picked up her beer and turned away. They moved away and toward a table where they could sit and talk.
“Right.” He rolled his eyes. “You’re avoiding Reid so the two of you don’t argue about something stupid and no one blames you for avoiding your ex husband who has his tongue down someone else’s throat.”
Penelope sighed again. “Look, what Noah does, and who he does it with, is no longer my business. It didn’t matter when we were together, why should it matter now?” She asked, taking a drink of her beer.
“Reid seemed pretty put off about it.”
“That’s his problem. Not mine. Contrary to popular belief, I’m not in charge of either of them. They’re grown. Old enough to take the consequences of their own actions and none of them are my fault.”
Fin laughed before taking a drink of his own beer. “Girl please, this is me you’re talking to. I thought we were better friends than that. I wasn’t blaming you PJ, just informing you that if you’re wanting to make an early escape, you should before the two of them fight just to get your attention.”
“They don’t want my attention. They’re preoccupied.” She scoffed, rolling her eyes again.
“You sure about that?” Fin asked as he stood up, one eyebrow raised in question. Penelope shook her head but watched him walk away. She sighed again but didn’t get up, content to sit at the quiet table and finish her beer. She hadn’t talked to Bailey since she’d arrived but she wasn’t too worried, her and Asher were busy with their other friends. She saw them all the time, they wouldn’t be too upset.
“Are you really going to sit here and pout all night?” A voice behind her asked. Penelope closed her eyes and took a drink of her beer. Maybe if she ignored him he’d go away. She heard the chair Fin had vacated slide back, so he must have sat down.
“What do you want, Reid?” She asked, not looking at him, instead focusing on the group around them.
“Are you going to pout or are you going to party with your best friend?” He asked again, leaning on the table and into her space. She leaned back in her chair away from him, still refusing to look at him.
“I am not pouting. I’m enjoying myself. Bailey and Asher are busy, I’ve talked to them, and Sama, and Fin actually.” She said finally before finishing what was left in her bottle. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I need another drink.”
“If you’d look at me Bluebird, you’d know I already got you another beer.” He said, a bottle appearing in her peripheral vision on the table.
“How presumptuous of you.” She scoffed. “But I have to drive myself home soon, so I’ll be switching to something non-alcoholic, thank you.” She said standing.
“I can drive you.” He said softly, causing her to pause. She almost broke and looked at him. “If you want, I mean.”
“No thank you. I have no desire to fight with you tonight Reid.” She said finally, still standing by the table.
“We don’t have to fight.” He assured her quickly. She closed her eyes and tipped her head toward the ceiling.
“No Reid. We will. You’ll get mad at me about something stupid, again, and fight with me.” She turned to look him in the eye finally. “So why don’t you go back to your girlfriend? You guys don’t have to hide now, I thought you’d be happy to flaunt it.” Ried looked down at the table and picked at the label of his own beer.
“She broke up with me, Pen.” He said sadly. “That’s why she’s not here.” Penelope swallowed hard.
“Well I’m sorry. But I’ll be fine without the ride, thank you.” She said moving away. “Besides, I have to finalize my divorce tomorrow.” She threw back over her shoulder before she’d gone too far.
From her place at the bar she watched him in the mirror. He sat there alone for a moment looking put out and her resolve almost broke. Then he downed the rest of the beer in his hand and the one he’d brought for her. He stood and moved away from the table, leaving the bottles and she lost him in the crowd shortly after that. She collected her soda from the bartender and made her way back over toward Bailey, intending to spend a little more time with her before she left. She didn’t want to think anymore about Reid, but her brain wouldn’t let go of the look on his face when he’d told her about the break up. If she hadn’t known him so well, she’d have thought he was pretending to be hurt for sympathy. But she did know him, and knew that wasn’t the case.
She did her best to put it out of her mind while she visited with her friends before she made her excuses and left, just like she’d planned. She made it outside and stopped to heave a sigh of relief. Besides her brief conversation with Reid, she’d managed to avoid both him and Noah the entire two and a half hours she’d been there. She dug into her purse for her keys and was preparing to walk away when a voice behind her made her pause.
“Where’s lover boy?” She tipped her head back and groaned aloud. She’d been so close. So close. Practically to her car already.
“What?” She asked turning to face her ex-husband for the first time since their meeting with their attorneys.
“Where’s Reid?” He asked, pushing himself off of the wall, a cigarette in his hand, and a distinctive slur in his voice.
“Inside I assume. He’s not my responsibility. Though I caution you against fighting with him. B and Ash won’t take too kindly to it. Neither will the bartender. You really don’t need that press right now.” She found herself saying, before she cursed herself mentally. What did she care about his image anymore? He’d tainted it all on his own after being caught publicly cheating on her while she’d been pregnant.
“How long did you wait before you took him to our bed?” He asked, coming closer to her and blowing out a lungful of smoke. She sighed again.
“I didn’t. He’s been dating someone since before you and I split.”
“That’s never stopped either of you before.” He sneered. Penelope closed her eyes.
“Yup. Once a million years ago just after we met and then we kissed once after you and I got back together. Of course it’s me that has the problem with-“ Penelope cut herself off and took a deep breath in through her nose before letting it out slowly through her mouth. “Nope. You know what, no. I’m not doing this with you. Not here on the sidewalk. Not ever. We’ve said enough. I’ll see you tomorrow to sign the papers.” She said before she turned and walked purposefully away.
“I know you tried to fuck him in the house I bought us, before we’d even moved into it. Why do you think I’m letting you have it?” He called after her. She clenched her fists and made herself keep walking. When she was finally inside her Jeep, she locked the doors and leaned her head on the steering wheel.
It could have gone worse, she thought to herself, but it also could have been better. With a deep breath she started the car and drove off toward her house. Once there, she locked the doors and made her way upstairs to the bathroom. After a hot shower and a small cup of tea, she tried to block out the fight she’d almost gotten into with Noah. She almost wanted to call and see if Bailey would come to the house the next day, just to keep them from fighting. Noah tended to be on his best behavior when he was sober and someone else was around.
The next morning dawned bright and early. Penelope drug herself out of bed, did her morning workout, and then pulled out her IPad to get started on some work for a client while she drank her morning cup of coffee. Noah knocked on the door at precisely ten o’clock and Penelope steeled herself before she pulled the door open and let him in. He followed her silently to the kitchen where they laid the papers on the island counter.
“It’s all here, just like I said it would be. You get the house here in Illinois, and the apartment in New York. I get the LA apartment and my house in London, obviously. That’s one house and one apartment each. You get to retain your income from your business, I retain everything I earned from my career, and you don’t owe me anything for the investment in your company.” He said, his voice attempting a calm facade that he couldn’t quite reach.
“All wrapped up with a neat little bow.” She snarked. He shot her a look and she shook her head, she didn’t want to fight with him. She wanted to sign the paperwork and get it over with.
“Are we going to fight or are we going to do this?” He asked, setting the pen down on the counter.
“Let’s just get this over with Noah.” She said with a sigh.
“According to the prenup you signed, I don’t have to give you anything and you would owe me for that two million dollar investment, plus interest. Is that the route you want to go because we can.” He said, his voice tinged with acid.
“You’re the one who cheated on me. It makes the prenup invalid anyway. So I could take you for half of everything.” She sneered back at him, narrowing her eyes. He swallowed hard. “But I don’t want it. I wanted a marriage. I wanted someone who loved me. Since I’ve been denied that, I’ll take whatever you’re willing to give me as a consolation prize.”
“I’m not the only one who cheated, remember?” He said.
“Hey Bluebird,” Reid’s voice rang out from above them before Penelope could respond. They turned to look up at the loft. Reid was standing there, nothing on but a pair of low slung sweatpants that made it clear he wasn’t wearing anything underneath them. Penelope closed her eyes and groaned audibly.
“Murder Christian Reid Walker. I am going to murder you.” She muttered. Noah turned and looked at Ried, who was just smirking in their general direction, braced against the railing like he didn’t have a care in the world, and back to Penelope, shaking his head.
“Why is it that every time you and I have something important to do, he’s up in our business? Every fucking time Penelope. Hell, he was smack dab in the middle of our entire relationship, right from the beginning.” He stacked the papers back up and tapped them against the counter. “What was that lie you told me about not bringing him into our bed again?” He sneered at her, throwing the pen onto the counter, where it bounced and landed on the floor.
“I didn’t. I don’t actually know what he’s doing here besides being an asshole.” She told Noah, not sure why she was defending herself to someone that didn’t deserve it.
“Just sign the papers so I can be done with this freak show.” Noah spat as Reid slowly made his way down the stairs.
“Yeah, sign the papers and come back to bed Pen.” He said, hiding a smirk as he bypassed Noah to grab a bottle of blood out of the fridge. He leaned against the opposite counter and raised an eyebrow at Penelope.
“I can’t believe you.” Noah muttered before looking at Reid. Penelope snatched the pen off of the floor and hurried to sign the papers before they started fighting. “I thought you had a girlfriend.” He spat at him.
“We broke up.” Reid said with a grin. “Couple weeks after you and Pen called it quits finally.” Penelope rolled her eyes as she scanned the next page and signed it quickly.
“Of course you did. I’m surprised you two waited that long to start sleeping together again. Your little avoidance show last night must have been a fun game of foreplay.” Noah spat.
“Oh no, she was actively avoiding me. Has been for some time. Something about not trusting men ever again.” Reid told him calmly before taking another drink of blood. Penelope sighed as she scanned the last page.
“Is that what you call it?” Noah sneered, turning to face Reid directly. Reid straightened.
“It isn’t like we’re going to be estranged forever, Pretty Boy. She’s my Flame, remember? I will always have a stronger connection to her.” Reid told him as he set the bottle to the side. “Someone had to make sure you didn’t hurt her. Lord knows she wouldn’t let me hurt you when you left bruises on her skin, maybe she’s changed her mind. Should we ask her?”
“And I’m done. Here Noah. Take these.” Penelope said suddenly, shoving half of the papers at him, along with the pen. “Now leave. I’m done with that. I’ll have Asher and Bailey collect anything that I may have left in London or LA. I’ll have them deliver anything I find here or in New York.” She demanded, staring Noah down, daring him to say anything else.
“Fine. I’m done with this. Have a nice life.” Noah spat in her direction before he picked the papers up off of the counter. “You two deserve each other.” He added over his shoulder.
“Damn right she deserves someone who won’t do to her what you did.” Reid called after him. Penelope waited until the door slammed before she turned to Reid.
“Get out of my house.” She bit out between clenched teeth.
“Come on Penelope, we need to talk.”
“No we don’t. I have nothing to say to you just like I have nothing to say to him. My marriage blew up in my face and your response was to ridicule me and use it as a weapon against me. That wasn’t fair.” She told him before shaking her head. “It doesn’t matter anymore. Get out.”
A few years ago, before my divorce, I wrote My Life as a Song – Part One. It was part of a writing challenge I was doing with a friend, and it was to write something autobiographical. I made a youtube playlist and everything. It was over on my personal blog that I never post to anymore, but I got this idea that I would do a Tuesday Ten in the same kind of vein, only this time, not only will it be more than ten, but I’m going to use some of the songs that I write to. Songs that have influenced plot points, characters, entire stories. Sometimes even series. I hope you enjoy them. I have made a youtube playlist as well, and included the link, because not all of the songs were on Spotify, I checked.
So, without further ado, I give you, in no particular order, The Soundtrack of My Life – Part Two.
Trenches by Beth Crowley – This song is amazing and actually inspired a few characters actually. Not that it does much of that now, but originally it inspired some of the stuff that happened in the Dohmnall series with a certain character. Now that I’ve changed that story though, it’s a little different, and it no longer applies. Though, it did inspire some of my fanfic. I have an entire series of Fanfic that should be getting written this year and published on AO3 that literally takes it’s name from the title of this song. I’ve already written a couple of the shorts that go with this series, one is posted but the other comes at the end, so it’s not.
Bluebird by Elizabeth Smart – This song is where I got Penelope’s nickname in The Bluebird. Chronicles. I know it’s originally a Destiel song, but the lyrics apply to Reid and Penelope so well. It’s my favorite thing and I love it.
Yes I Will by Backstreet Boys – I have talked about this song before. It’s the song that inspired the title of No Ordinary Love. There’s one line in the song that goes “This is no ordinary love, and I could never have enough….” I wrote the original fanfic that No Ordinary Love is based off of on paper. It was two full five subject notebooks by the time I threw it away before I left for the Navy. I used to hide in my room and write and listen to music. Because of that, I would scribble song lyrics in the margins while I thought through the next part I was writing. I noticed one day going back through the notebook that the same three words were written on almost every single page somewhere. So, naturally I titled the story that.
Please by Bette & Evermore by Dan Stevens – I have paired these two songs for a reason. If you have never listened to these songs, I challenge you to listen to them back to back. Please and then Evermore. Do it. It sounds like two people in a relationship who want the same thing, but because of shitty communication skills, they lose it. I had both of these songs on my playlist that I listened to a lot back in 2020 and one day while I walked home from work, they played back to back and I had to go back and listen again. And then again. This sparked an idea, which became the entire basis for Hold On, an Avengers Fanfic that I wrote, and published in 2020. It was my therapy after my dad died, all because of these two songs. It’s amazing the power of music.
Humbling River by Puscifer – This song was one of the original songs that inspired The Dohmnall Institute series, back when it was called Halls of Ivy. Back when it was a baby idea. Back when I was writing it alone. It doesn’t apply as much now, but it’s still on every playlist I make for that series. Every. Single. One. because I want to remember the excitement of when we first started, and why we came up with the idea in the first place.
Leave your Lover by Sam Smith – Originally, this was the song that was playing when Reid and Penelope first sleep together. In the original version, before the rewrites, before Noah became a background character, she was dating Noah at the time, and this song was EXACTLY how Reid felt. He wanted her to leave Noah for him, though he’d never actually ask that of her because he wasn’t sure he could trust his own emotions. He had never felt anything like this before.
How Did I Fall In Love With You by Backstreet Boys – Dohmnall Institute/Metanoia Chronicles and No Ordinary Love. This song is about falling in love with your best friend. It’s interesting the way that kind of happens, not just in writing but in real life as well. I love it and it fits so well with the characters that I’ve assigned it to and their eventual journey.
Castle by Halsey – Reid and Penelope. That’s it. It makes me think of them. It’s the song that’s playing when Reid and Penelope kiss for the first time.
Tennessee Whiskey by Chris Stapleton – Also a Reid and Penelope song that’s important in the third book for reasons. I can’t tell you now, but when you read it, you’ll know. That’s the song that plays.
Sacred Heart by The Civil Wars – In the original fanfic version of It Could Be Monsters, this is the song that Tess sings to Tucker. You don’t get lyrics in the new version, but this is still the song. When you get to meet these characters, and you understand their journey, I hope you enjoy it. The songs in French too, so there’s that. I absolutely love it.
The Rest of Our Life by Tim McGraw & Faith Hill – Basher. This is 100% an Asher and Bailey wedding song. That’s it. If I had to pick a single song to describe their life together, it would be this on.
Things we lost in the fire by Bastille – This is a song for Black Balloon. I think that it helps me remember the pain and the healing journey that Hadley (the FMC) is on.
Careless Whisper by Seether – Also a Black Balloon song. No explanation needed really.
I hate u, I love u by Gnash ft. Olivia O’Brien – This song is 100% Mason and Ember from No Ordinary Love. I cannot imagine any other couple in all of what I write that it fits so well, besides maybe one other couple, but I refuse to tell you about them yet.
Okay, we’re going to end it there. I know that it’s only 15 songs, but if I don’t stop there, I will go on forever. There are others that I absolutely love, and I do post a weekly playlist, but unfortunately those are just some of the songs I’ve listened to in the last week. I have posted the playlist above, so enjoy that and I will see you guys tomorrow. As always my loves, drink your water, be safe, make good choices, and don’t eat yellow snow!
So this week we’re going to talk about Ember’s apartment. Ember is one of the MC’s from No Ordinary Love. She works for an advertising agency in Orlando and she has a loft apartment in a building and she loves it. It’s not very big, but it’s everything to her.
Ember’s apartment is a story and a half high. When you walk into her apartment, you come into the living room. If you take a left, you can find the kitchen, which is underneath the loft. There isn’t a table, or anything where you can sit and eat. It really is quite a small space. She has three stools at the counter on the opposite side of the kitchen and she sits there and does work a lot. Though mostly she eats on the couch when it’s just her. Her couch is tucked partially back underneath the stairs with the tv across from it and it is extremely comfortable. It has to be, since Shaye and Mason often crash on it. Most of her furniture has extra storage built into it, and that helps her have more in the apartment that doesn’t take up a lot of room.
Once you go upstairs, it’s her bedroom. It’s not hidden behind walls or anything like that, there’s just the bannister at the edge of the platform and the stairs. Like with most lofts, everything is open. So, she has a small desk over in the corner where she keeps anything that she has to bring home, but she doesn’t work there very often. She’s got a smallish reach in closet, and then her bed completely dominates the space. She could have gone with something smaller, but wants to be comfortable. Most of her money is put into her savings account for the house she wants to buy one day, so she isn’t too picky. Her decor is minimal but classy because while she has a famous best friend, she isn’t making that kind of money, but she still wants a nice place to call home.
Ember is simple, and her home reflects that. Though her complicated emotions about people are anything but simple. Her home is her escape, and it’s reflected in the way she chooses to decorate and present herself within that space. It’s a place for Mason to go and remember their more humble roots, and where they started together in a little neighborhood where the most important thing was ice cream on Fridays. Back when her parents were still alive.
I hope you like the little bit of Ember’s apartment that you get to see here. That’s all for me this week. I’ll see you on Monday! Have a great weekend everyone. As always, drink your water, be safe, make good decisions, and don’t eat yellow snow.
Okay, So I’m going to review Filthy Rich Vampire by Geneva Lee Albin. I loved the concept of this book, and I was so excited to read this, and I did really like it. The second book is on the TBR list for me for this year. Read on and see what I thought.
Julian Rousseaux is a vampire from one of the notable houses. He’s been asleep for a long time and had no desire to be woken, but he is anyway. The Rites have been enacted, and for the upper echelon of Vampire society, it’s a big deal. He is now being expected by his family, and other important people, to follow the rules and find a wife.
Enter Thea, a cellist who’s having a rough time right now. Her mother’s medical bills, a job she doesn’t really like, there’s a lot going on. When she runs into Julian at a gala, there’s something about her that he can’t walk away from, and she can’t be compelled by him. He desires her and she might be the answer to his problems.
There’s one little problem. Thea is a virgin. The way that the vampires in this world work, that’s a big deal. And a line Julian won’t cross, despite his desire to do so.
I really did like this book. I felt like the situations that Thea and Julian find themselves in prior to them meeting, kind of lends to their desire for Julian to actually extend the offer to Thea in the first place, but it’s also why Thea ends up accepting. Thea kind of gets swept up into this fantasy world that we all kind of wish we could get caught up in. Beautiful clothes, wonderful destinations, fancy parties. It’s amazing. Thea loves it. But then there’s the actual reason she’s there, she’s supposed to pretend to be the woman that Julian’s going to marry. He wants her to attend the Rites, and even before they really begin, the lines are being drawn in the sand. Thea is human, she isn’t a familiar, she isn’t a vampire, she’s human. There are rules, and that fact alone breaks them. So that kind of breaks up the cast of supporting characters around the MC’s. On one side you have the people who support Julian’s choice, and then there’s the people who don’t. So it was interesting to see how these characters shaped the decisions and the way that Julian and Thea are reacting to things.
The really dynamic part of this book was watching the way that the people who do support Julian and Thea change the story for their benefit. They do want to help, but this system is so old and rigid, that there isn’t much room to move within it. The big part is that no one, and I mean no one, knows that Thea is a virgin. This puts a wedge between what they want from one another, and what they can actually have. It isn’t a simple thing and it ends up driving a bit of a wedge with them that eventually leads to them going their separate ways at the end of the book.
There’s so many moving parts within this story that I cannot wait to read the next one. I can’t wait to see what happens during the Second Rite. How is that going to be accomplished with the way that the first book ended. It was heartbreaking at the end because you really really want them to just better communicate, to tell each other everything that they’re thinking and that’s going on around them and ugh! Look. Just go read it okay? Because it’s totally worth it.
Okay, I’m off for the day, there is writing and plotting to be done! Enjoy. As always, drink your water, be safe, make good choices, and don’t eat yellow snow. Much love!
Today I want to talk about the process I use when I have to do research for a story. If you’ll be so kind to indulge me while I talk. Hopefully I can help someone else who’s trying to figure out how to do research for a novel.
There are a lot of things that I write that require me to do a lot of research. On cities where I have never been but have decided to use as a setting; an apartment different from the one that I own; anything that I do not have experience with. Then there is the lore, though I like to play fast and loose with it, I still feel obligated to look it up so that I know where to start. So, sometimes I do research. There is a lot of research currently being done on the next series I plan to write, the Dohmnall Institute series. It’s a school and so there are a lot of things that go into that and so the research and planning before I can plot, is an immense undertaking.
When I start researching something, let’s use the latest thing I researched for an idea I had for an upcoming novel. For plot reasons, I had to search up avalanches and what could potentially happen and whether or not they’re common anywhere in North America in late April, early May. I started with simple searches on google. Got the information I needed, then went on to research branch things that I thought of, like if someone had an amputation, how would that look? What is the recovery process? What types of prosthetics are there? How do they fit? Then I had to look at other things that went along with that that had more to do with the plot, which I won’t reveal too much of because it may later be a plot twist.
After all of that I had to think of how these things would be different or the same in an Arkane world setting. It’s a little about thinking outside the box. Double checking sources, and then I do whatever the hell I want to anyway. Everything I do is taken with a bit of artistic liberty where I please, because I can. But at least I know the source material well through my research. I do enjoy my research, and sometimes it’s a simple as looking up apartment or house plans on Pinterest, or going to Google to find out information. Like with Dohmnall, the Arkane are my take on witches, and each character is connected to one of the six elements. They are born with an ability to do something connected to that element, whether it ultimately be helpful or not. Some characters can do simple things like making flowers bloom out of season. Others can do more complicated things, like creating fire out of nothing. It’s a fun series, but required A LOT of research on my part.
I find that not everything needs to be researched though. Sometimes, like I said before, artistic liberty is the best course of action. I put buildings and neighborhoods where there is already something there. Like the Arkane neighborhoods in New York that occur in the Bluebird Chronicles. Or the building in Montmartre that Akina resides in, it’s not a real place. I just decided it was there. It works because of artistic license. Never underestimate the value of that, it saves your sanity I promise you. What I do with all of this research is another thing entirely. I have entire notebooks full of notes for different things and then I also have charts, graphics, lists, etc. that I’ve made on Canva and saved to keep me organized. I have made an entire perpetual plot calendar for myself where I can outline and schedule all of the books in the Arkane world. I have a seprate one for my regular romance novels.
So, how do you research for your novels? Are you precise? Willy-nilly? Do you make charts and graphics? How do you do it? Share with us in the comments. As always my dears, drink your water, be safe, make good choices, and don’t eat yellow snow.
This week on the Monday Character Preview we have Adas Bardhyl. Adas is the Alpha of the Amate Pack in Australia. He’s a minor secondary character from the Bluebird Chronicles and has connections to the main characters because he has been dating Reid’s sister Echo Kingston for the past ten years. Read on to learn more about this character.
Adas is the Alpha of his pack, and unlike the Aedion Pack in NYC, the Amate pack has no King of Queen. They left those titles behind twenty years ago or so, making Adas the senior ranking member of the pack. His second in command is his brother-in-law and one of the younger members of the pack, Cadmus Thane, is his third. It works out well as he ends up married to his psuedo-daughter Aria. Aria is Echo’s daughter and when he started dating Echo, he took on the roll of father figure to Aria and has enjoyed it immensely.
He and Echo met by chance in town one day at the grocery store while she was trying to figure out where to find some snack that Aria had asked for. Being a vampire, especially an old one, she doesn’t eat all that much, so she was having trouble. He offered his help and by the time they’d finished shopping, they had a date scheduled and the rest is history. Adas absolutely loves his life, and though Echo has told him repeatedly that she will not marry him, he asks her every couple of years anyway. He’s even been given a place as an honorary member of the Arkane Royal Family, though has turned down an official title until such time that Echo agrees to marry him, though she probably won’t ever do that. He’s content to spend his life with her as they are anyway.
Nothing about Adas or his pack is normal. He’s a werewolf in love with a vampire and raising a kitsune for a daughter. Their life is far from ordinary and he loves it that way. Though Echo won’t marry him, she has officially been given a role within the pack as his Luna, making her the highest ranking female in the pack, even though she isn’t a werewolf. Aria also will hold an official place within the pack once she and Cad are married. She’s already a junior member of the pack and Adas made it so without any care of what the rest of the pack thought about it. Though he did get some backlash from some pack members, everyone has now settled into it as though it is completely normal and are quite defensive about it if anyone should speak negatively about the oddity that is their pack.
In addition to his own homestead, Adas owns a couple of properties, the small community where the Elder members of the pack live is owned and maintained by the pack itself, and the younger members take care of the yards and any housekeeping or maintenance that needs to be done. There is also a Pack House for the younger single members of the Pack that have left home but aren’t quite wanting to be on their own. This is on the same property as his home with Echo, and there is even a small cottage near the back of the property that Aria and Cad have moved into.
Well, that’s about everything about Adas that I can tell you for now. Like I mentioned at the beginning, he’s a minor secondary character so I don’t know that much. I know more about the pack dynamics which I will be discussing one Friday coming up soon and it will be more clear then I think. Well, enjoy your Monday everyone. As always, drink your water, make good choices and don’t eat yellow snow my loves. Until tomorrow!
There is always some sort of inspiration behind every character a writer creates. Sometimes it’s pictures we see, sometimes it’s someone we’ve met, someone we’ve seen, or someone we know well. Oftentimes, a writer ends up with little pieces of themselves in every character they create. It’s happened to me quite a few times, almost every single one of my main characters has a little bit of me. Some more than others, but they all have a piece. So today we’re going to talk about a few of my favorite characters and who they were based on.
Let’s start with Penelope Sawyer, the main character in the Bluebird Chronicles. She’s got a lot of me in her. In fact, the small island in Italy where she was stationed at the beginning of her time in the Navy, I was stationed there. They say to write what you know, so I do that. A lot. Penelope goes through losses similar to some that I have faced in the previous few years, though that particular plot point has been there since 2009, I never imagined that it would follow my life as closely as it did, and I don’t know how to feel about that. Penelope’s job, the business she’s trying so hard to create, that has nothing to do with me. That was inspired by my very first editor on Blood Song, Erika. I needed to do something different with what Penelope did for a living during one of the rewrites and I just kind of decided to honor Erika that way. She has no idea so I can’t wait for her to find out.
Then there’s Penelope’s best friend Bailey Stills-Parker. Bailey has parts of a lot of different people. Some of which I no longer have contact with. Bailey, however, remains an amalgamation of the best friends that I’ve had since I started this book. Her most recent incarnation has mostly parts of my best bish/cousin Steph. Callie and Nora are also the same kind of amalgamations of other friends as well. I love that I can look at them and know that I have immortalized them in some way, even if I’m the only one who ever knows exactly which parts belong to who.
Then there’s Micah Parker. Mike is the big brother I never had, but based on my little brother Damien. Mike’s boyfriend, based exclusively on my brother-in-law Jason, who passed a few years ago. I promised him I’d put him in my books somewhere, so Trey was my promise kept. The biggest difference between them, Trey is gay and my brother wasn’t.
There’s other things too. The house that Penelope’s parent’s live in? It’s based on the house I grew up in. Certain birthdays belong to people I know. My children, my nieces and nephews, my grandson, all of them have some piece of a character somewhere. Whether it’s a shared birthday, a shared middle name, or a similar look. I love my family, and I want them to know that when they read my books (when they’re old enough). I only have two adult children (one turned 18 this week!) the rest are between 13-17, with the next round of birthdays happening in February. It’s the little things that make creating as many characters as I have to, seem more real. I give them a detail from someone I know.
Reid isn’t actually based on anyone I know. Originally, in the VERY first version of Blood Song, he wasn’t even my character, and his name was Christian King. I was writing with a friend and our stories happened to cross over here and there. Her’s was focused on my main characters best friend. Or maybe it should be the other way around since she started writing first and it’s what inspired me to get my pen back to paper. Either way, there was crossover with the main characters. Well, eventually we realized the stories were going in two very different directions that weren’t going to mesh well for what we were doing so we split the stories and created new characters. I took mine back, she did the same. Only, Christian wouldn’t do anything for her. Nothing. Wouldn’t speak to her, she had so much trouble writing for him after months of me writing for him. So, when I moved to California, she gifted Christian to me to do with as I pleased and she replaced him with another character (who I actually love just as much). When I started changing names of characters for the original draft of THIS version, I wanted to honor his roots, so Christian King became Christian Reid Walker, Prince of Paris. Though, so not to confuse myself with who I was writing, I called him Reid. It worked and she absolutely loves everything he’s become.
There is a little of almost everyone I know in a character somewhere. Sometimes it’s just easier with the tertiary and smaller secondary characters to do that. Saves me time and energy trying to flush out a character. Or at least that’s what I tell myself, though I always seem to end up tweaking them just a little bit. My inspiration comes from everywhere. I have based characters on other fictional characters, like Tucker Clark in It Could Be Monsters is based on Dean Winchester, probably because that story started as a Supernatural Fanfic. I’ve done that before too, with several stories and I have since all the way back in my sophomore year when I started writing “the secret” that you guys will probably never read.
Well, that’s it for me today. See you all tomorrow for a book review! I know how much you like those. Hahaha. As always, drink your water, be safe, make good choices, and don’t eat yellow snow. Love ya!
Today’s Character preview is on Lia Patterson, Mason’s girlfriend at the beginning of No Ordinary Love. Read on to learn more about her.
Natalia Dawn “Lia” Patterson is the only child. Her dad has a lot of money and she grew up very used to the rich girl lifestyle in Orlando Florida. She started dating Mason because he was the “bad boy” of Between Sundays. He had the money to keep her in the lifestyle she was accustomed to, and liked to party, which was perfect for what she wanted. She’s part of the local modeling scene and a social media influencer that likes to talk about the rich lifestyle. Mason is kind of a feather in her cap.
When he goes to rehab and tries to change his life, Lia doesn’t understand why her life must also change. She gets that his might, but she doesn’t want to sit at home all the time, she prefers to be out and about. She isn’t real fond of Ember, and it’s a point of contention for her and Mason that he’s still very good friends with her. When Lia moved in with Mason, she threw a huge fit about Ember having her own bedroom in Mason’s house. They argued about it constantly, but Mason never wavered and eventually Ember was allowed to keep her bedroom there, though it’s hardly ever used now.
Lia has a group of friends that she’s really close to. They’re other rich girls like herself, and she’s known most of them since boarding school. Though they seem superficial on the surface, they are all actually good friends. When Mason gets sober, they actively encourage Lia to curb her own partying ways for a little while until Mason is more comfortable, though Lia doesn’t take the advice her friends give her.
While she attends Between Sundays get togethers, she isn’t fond of them either, preferring the company of her own friends, though they are never invited, despite her repeated requests for them to be. The guys aren’t stupid, and they don’t want the kind of attention around them when they hang out in their homes.
There isn’t much about Lia, unfortunately, she’s got a halfway decent backstory, and after she exits the No Ordinary Love manuscript, she does continue on doing what she’s been doing. She uses the breakup with Mason to gain sympathy on her blog and her other social media, and Mason doesn’t bother to put a stop to it, preferring to leave all thoughts of her in the past. Lia plays a small but significant to Mason, part in this book and while she’s not as well developed as I usually prefer my secondary characters to be, she is developed enough for this. I have no idea how she and Mason met, other than it was at a party. I’m not sure why they’ve been together more than two years when their personalities do sometimes clash, other than Mason loves her, and when it’s just the two of them, she is very sweet and does genuinely care for him. She does love him, in her own way. I think it mostly comes down to the way she views the people she loves, which is sort of distant, and the way he does, which is very close and tight-knit. Their upbringings were so different that she doesn’t see an issue in her and Mason’s relationship and the way they operate because it’s very much like her parents; together but having very separate lives. This isn’t what Mason wants though, even though he does love her, he thought maybe they’d find a balance that suited them, though they never quite did.
Well, that’s all I’ve got for you today. Sorry it isn’t too much, but it is what it is I guess. Hope you at least enjoyed this much of what I’ve got figured out for Lia. She’s kind of an antagonistic type personality on the page, though she isn’t always like that. Anyway, have a wonderful day my friends. Happy new year!
As always, Be safe, make good choices, and don’t eat yellow snow!