[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!
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!
It occurred to me a couple of weeks ago when I did my first round of Author Takeover’s over on the CWP Facebook pages, that I haven’t really explained the lore for the vampires in my world. I like to play fast and loose with lore sometimes and I should probably explain that. I mean, it does get explained some in the book, but Blood Song doesn’t actually come out until July…that’s months from now. So, that’s what we’re going to do this World Building Friday. Explain Vampire Lore and why I played fast and loose with the mythos that everyone has grown to accept about vampires in fiction.
Let’s start with what is commonly accepted as vampire lore. There’s the no going out in sunlight or they burn; the avoidance of mirrors, and garlic; they have to be invited inside; that either a beheading or a stake through the heart will kill them; they do not age, their bodies are frozen where they are when they’re turned. That’s the most basic, and most of what I’ve made my own.
Let’s start with the ability to go out in sunlight. My vampires can, provided they meet very specific requirements. Vampires in the Arkane World are required to do two things to be able to freely roam around in the sunlight.
1. They must have had enough sleep. How much depends on the age of the vampire. The younger they are, the more sleep they need, which is why you rarely see Asher go without a night of sleep, where as Reid can stay up for days, not that he likes to.
2. They must get enough blood. Again, the proper amount is dependent upon their age. This time, the older they are, the more blood they need. Kind of the opposite, which is why you see Reid down at least two bottles of blood for every one that Asher drinks. Asher was turned at some point in the later fifties, Reid already had almost half a century on him at that point. The older the vampire, the more blood they need, it’s that simple.
Even when these two requirements are met, direct sunlight is slightly painful to vampires. Reid describes it to Penelope in the first book like this:
“Yes, we have to consume a certain amount of blood each day and get enough sleep to be able to go out in sunlight. Even then it still feels like you’re healing from a sunburn, though we have ways around that feeling.”
– Reid Walker, Blood Song, Chapter Five
What he doesn’t mention, is that it’s like a really, really bad sunburn and you’re outside in a tank top, said sunburn once again exposed to the sun. If you’ve ever had a really bad sunburn, you know that being out in the sun afterward, even with it covered can be painful. Though, like he says, they have ways around that. Which leads me to my next point about the sun. A long time ago, someone figured out that wearing a piece of Lepidolite dampened that extreme sunburn feeling to something more like a bad sunburn, completely covered, on a cloudy day. It still hurts, but it’s a lot easier to ignore, or at least get used to. So, not that it’s always mentioned, but most of my vampires wear a piece of Lepidolite; Reid and Asher both have rings. Emma (because Dhamphir’s can feel it too, if not as acutely as their vampire counterparts) has a wide variety of Lepidolite jewelry so that she can wear it with anything, but her favorite is a necklace with a large chunk of it that’s been wrapped in cord.
[DISCLAIMER: Wearing Lepidolite DOES NOT actually negate the effects of sunlight. I took a stone, and altered it’s uses for my own purposes. I am not responsible for the wearing of Lepidolite as a form of protection against the sun.]
Now that we’ve talked about sunlight, let’s move on to mirrors, garlic, being invited inside, and Silver. One at a time though.
Garlic is easy: they aren’t repelled by it, instead it’s sort of a mild aphrodisiac. Why the misinformation floating around? They spread that themselves. Vampires could stand to be a little horny, but if being around Garlic proved they weren’t vampires back before they were known to humans, then that saved their ass and they were willing to deal with it.
Do vampires need to be invited inside private homes? While this is a matter debated within vampire lore itself and tends to vary from vampire story to vampire story, mine do not. Now, there are ways to keep the out, though you’d have to know where in the Arkane World to get such things, and most people do not. They’re difficult to make so those charms aren’t sold often and are usually created specifically for the person who needs it.
Mirrors: They can see themselves in mirrors just fine, thank you. This was another rumor that was started by vampires themselves, claiming that old silver backed mirrors made it so that they couldn’t see themselves. How much easier was it to prove that they weren’t vampires than to be able to say “Look, I can see my reflection, I cannot possibly be a vampire.” This, like the garlic rumor, and the rumor that they had to be invited inside, were all planted as a form of protection. Though that hasn’t been necessary as a mainstream idea for almost a century, it’s still common practice not to correct anyone either. Unless, like Penelope or Bailey, the people you tell can be trusted.
Silver is a little more complicated to explain, though not difficult to understand. Though it’s a hotly debated subject, in the Arkane World, Silver is bit of an issue for vampires (and werewolves too but for different reasons).
Let’s say that Penelope is wearing a silver necklace or a silver ring. It wouldn’t bother Reid a single bit. This is because a vampire can touch silver or be around silver without any harm to their person (another rumor like the ones before.) The problem occurs when Silver comes into contact with a vampire’s blood. In the third book, Flames and Feathers, there is a scene where Reid runs his finger along the edge of a Silver dagger to check how sharp it is. That feels a bit like a stinging burn rather than all out pain, but he can feel it because the dagger is quite sharp and does cut him just a bit, (which is what he wanted to do, don’t worry). So, a recap: Silver against their skin – Not a problem. Silver in contact with their blood – problem Silver injected INTO their bloodstream – BIG problem.
So, now that we’ve discussed sunlight, mirrors, garlic, being invited inside, and Silver, let’s move on to their aging and bodily functions.
My vampires are immortal. That is a fact, though they can be killed and we’ll get to how a bit later. Right now I want to talk about how my vampires age and why they’re even able to create Damphir’s in the first place.
First, when my vampires’s are turned, it’s an issue with the blood and the way the body processes it. To become a vampire, you have to die with a significant amount of vampire blood in your system. Since vampire blood does tend to make one a tiny bit high, this is not a well known fact. It is one that they’ve managed to hold on to for a very long time. All anyone knows, for the most part, is that one must die with vampire blood in their system. The actual quantity is unknown, and that’s probably because the actual amount is dependent on the age and blood line of the vampire in question. This is usually explained to the vampire when they themselves are a new vampire and it’s knowledge they must have to successfully turn a human. There is no in between stages in my world, either it works, or it doesn’t.
A couple of things happen when a vampire turns, first, they’re in a half dead-half alive state (that they call Meditation) for an amount of time that can range from twelve hours to four days. This is dependent on a) how much vampire blood was in their system when they died; b) how much blood have they had before that incident; and c) how potent that particular blood line is. (Reid was in meditation for about eighteen hours. Asher took three days to wake up). How the transition takes place, really isn’t something you can study so no one is quite sure what happens, but while in meditation the human body changes how it processes blood, and other matter.
After transition: – Vampire’s have no smell; this must be applied. Usually with the use of cologne/perfume or something similar. Scented products are common and are often used now to create a false aroma to those around them. – Vampire’s need a constant supply of human blood to keep their bodies performing similarly to a humans. They can cry, they bleed, they get thirsty, their hair grows, etc, but it all happens a little differently. – a vampire’s sense of taste gradually fades until they cannot taste anything. Reid is 121 at the beginning of Blood Song and while he still has his sense of taste, it is no where near as acute as Asher’s, and their friend Shiloh’s has been completely gone for a long time. Because of this, Reid doesn’t care whether he drinks his blood warm or cold, it all tastes the same: sort of muted like he has a cold. It can take anywhere from 100 to 300 years for their sense of taste to completely disappear, and there is no rhyme or reason as to how long it will take or why that happens. – A vampire’s hair does continue to grow, as long as they are sleeping and drinking the correct amount of blood. However, it is VERY VERY slow. Reid goes for a haircut maybe once ever twelve to eighteen months. Because of this, vampire’s don’t often make drastic changes to their look, as it will be a long time before they can change it again, this is also why very few of them grow facial hair. Imagine the few months where it looks weird and patchy taking the better part of a decade, no thank you. – Vampire’s can eat. But usually only the young do. Older vampire’s usually find a way around not eating, but that usually goes back to the taste thing. It isn’t that they can’t, it’s just uncomfortable. Like everything else, that system of the body takes a long time to process anything besides blood. This is why vampires in the Arkane world are often seen drinking things that are not blood (liquids are easier to process), and occasionally eating.
This is all so a vampire can better blend in with humans and was essential prior to when their existence was revealed. Now, it’s not so difficult to get out of eating if they do not wish to. There are Arkane cafés that cater specifically to Elentori clientele like vampires. Most of those options have blood mixed in, as that acts as a digestive aid. While it’s not discussed, my vampires can get high, or use chemically reactive drugs. They are made in the Arkane world for this specific purpose, but like most street drugs in our world, they’re illegal and one would have to be able to track them down. With the rise in popularity of tattoos, the Arkane world came up with an answer to that as well. They have figured out how to tattoo a vampire and have it stay, which is a trick since my vampires heal quickly. (Think Steve Rogers/Bucky Barnes super soldier quickly). There is an instance where Reid cuts his hand and minutes later it’s almost completely healed. It’s a thing that they enjoy, though most wish that their clothes would heal when they do.
Because my vampires are still human in a lot of aspects, the males are able to reproduce. Female vampire’s cannot get pregnant. That’s a huge body change that their body is no longer equipped to handle once they’ve transitioned. However, a male vampire, who is “healthy” can, as it doesn’t require their body to change at all. This is where Damphir’s come from. Their vampire parent is always their paternal line. That’s not to say that their mother doesn’t become a vampire after the fact, but prior to their birth, a Damphir’s mother is a human, or another Elentori race capable of childbirth.
I did not mess with the ways a vampire can die. They can be killed with a stake through the heart. They do die if you cut off their head, most things do. If too much silver is introduced into their bloodstream, that will kill them. The only thing that is usually accepted that won’t kill them is sunlight.
But what happens when a vampire doesn’t get enough blood or rest? Good question. Without enough blood or rest, vampires will start to whither. They will start looking gaunt and sallow. Their coloring will fade, and they will be extremely pale. The sun will eventually be a problem and they’ll start wanting to only be out at night, because it’s the only time they find any kind of relief. If they go long enough without enough blood and rest, the sun can kill them. HOWEVER it takes quite a bit of time for that to happen. The exact time frame, again, varies based on the vampire in question.
Well, that’s all I can think of that I’ve changed. I hope that you’ve enjoyed this and have a new understanding of how the vampires in the Arkane World are different from those that you’ve seen portrayed in media before. I told people I like to play fast and loose with what is typically considered to be the accepted lore. If you have any questions that you’d like me to answer about it, feel free to leave them in a comment below. For now, drink your water, be safe, make good choices, and don’t eat yellow snow! Have a great weekend!
[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. Reid Asher[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 Reid is from the end of Blood Song, Book 1 of The Bluebird Chronicles due out July 20, 2023. Thanks!]
Hello. My name is Reid and I guess I’m taking over today. I’m not exactly sure what that means, but Amber let me have full reign, with some guidelines. First, I have some questions I have to answer, then I had to provide her with some pictures, and apparently there’s a brief one-shot at the bottom of all of this about me and the first time I met the Territory Four Crone, Freesia Wolfendale. First, let’s get some basics out of the way shall we?
Full Name: Christian Reid Walker
Nickname(s)/Alias: Reid, I guess. Prince of Paris, Papa, and, my favorite, Crow.
DOB: October 28th. [What year Reid?] Depends, when I was born as a human? Or when I was turned into a vampire? [Both I guess] Fine. October 28, 1876 was the day I was born to my Ma and Da in Galway. I was turned into a vampire on July 22, 1896 in Paris. My maker is Akina Rue, the sage in Territory Two of the European Arkane Alliance. I hate her. There, happy? [Yes. Thank you.] *rolls eyes and mumbles under breath* …creators…
Sexuality: Mostly straight. I’m old. I’ve experimented. Didn’t hate it. Deal.
Zodiac Sign: Scorpio
Eye Color: Blue
Hair color: Like a dark auburn? It looks brown most of the time unless I’m in the sun. And yes. I have a few freckles. On my face. On my arms. They’re there. Do not attempt to play connect the dots or I’ll introduce you to the lovely daggers I got as a birthday gift.
Location: Territory Three of the North American Arkane Alliance. [Specifically Reid…] Southern Illinois. Are you happy? I thought I was taking over, go away.
Profession (if any): Executioner for Territory Three; Working for Sage Rivers
Family: Daughter, Emma Walker (20); Sister (through my maker), Echo Kingston (339); Niece, Aria Kingston (21); Grand-mère (don’t ask); and I guess Akina qualifies as she is my maker but I’d rather not count her.
I guess I should explain these pictures right? [Yes.] Fine. #1 – My favorite picture is of Penelope laughing. Do I really need to explain why? #10 – My dream vacation – the beach again with Penelope. I’d like to do it right this time though. #11 – Coolest thing I own is a vintage Indian Motorcycle. I restored it myself and am quite proud of it. I don’t ride it much though, the parts are hard to come by. #16 – My next adventure would be children. I want more of them. I don’t have plans for that currently, but that’s the next adventure I’d like to be on. Fatherhood where I’m not running and hiding is probably different. I want to experience that. #17 – My best friend is Asher Jameson. Of course it is. There are others as well, like Annistyn, Shiloh, Becks, but Asher is the one I’m closest to. Despite his annoying personality. 🙂 #27 – My Grandmother is the person I miss. She died before I went to Paris. I was her favorite. #29 – The person I’d like to see everyday is Penelope. I thought maybe Emma too, but my daughter wants her space and that’s fine. I think. I don’t like it but I can’t do much about it either.
Answer these questions:
What is one thing you regret doing?
Not checking on my family sooner.
What celebrity do you want to be best friends with?
I’m not sure, but it isn’t Pretty Boy Noah Meade. Hate him almost as much as Akina.
What strange habit do you have?
I don’t know, ask Asher. He pretends he doesn’t give a fuck, but we all know he does. He also likes to play the martyr. Fuck off Ash. Love you too Reid.
When did you and Asher become friends?
Too long ago. I need new friends now. Fine. The 1950’s. I killed his maker as they were passing through the EUAA. Ash hadn’t done anything wrong, so I took him back to Paris with me. He was a fairly new vampire and he needed a mentor. I introduced him to Shiloh when Akina sent him away six months later. Yeah, when she figured out she couldn’t manipulate me like she could you. Yeah, yeah. Shut up.
What makes you feel better?
A good bottle of bourbon. He takes baths. Go the fuck away Asher or I will put Nair in your shampoo again.
Did you have a mentor?
Sort of. I was trained by my maker, but Shiloh would qualify as my mentor if pressed.
What’s your relationship status?
It’s fucking complicated is what it is.
Thoughts on love at first sight?
A year ago, it didn’t exist and was made up nonsense from fairy tales. Despite knowing multiple people with Twin Flames….. I swear to the gods Asher, if you do not get the fuck out of here…. Going [and now?] Now I believe in instant connections. Love comes later.
Do you have a Twin Flame?
I do. [you wanna elaborate on that?] No.
Do you consider yourself to be a good person?
Yes I do. Most of the time. More Chaotic Good if I’m being completely honest.
What’s the coolest moment in history that you’ve been alive for?
The big Vampire Reveal back in 1903. I’d apologize again but it seems to have worked out in our favor if I’m being completely honest. [How did that happen anyway?] That is a story for another day.
Have you ever gotten high?
There are ways for vampires to get high. Arkane drugs are potent sometimes. So yes, I have been. But not since I left Paris.
What is your favorite childhood memory?
One summer day, my ma took me, Cian, Muirne, and Meealla all down to the creek to play. She was supposed to be doing the wash, but she ended up splashing in the water with us and helping us find different creepy crawlies. Cian and I were 8 I think. It was a good day.
Are you scared of heights?
I am not afraid of anything. Liar If you don’t go away I will tell Bailey about that one time in Germany…. Actually leaving now…bye
What Vampire Rank are you?
Everyone assumes I’m an Astrum who’s never applied to be a Dominum, but I’ve been a Dominum level for longer than I should have been.
Why do they call you the Prince of Paris?
It just kind of stuck. I’m the last of the Princes in the Arkane Royal Family, and for just over a century I was based in Paris. No matter where I go in life, Paris will always be my city.
Do you remember your dreams?
No. I’m not even really sure that I do dream.
What is your most used swear word?
Some version of Damn or Fuck. Especially in reference to Asher.
What’s the first app you check when you wake up?
Weather. I don’t always feel the temperature like a human would, so I need to know how to dress to blend in.
What is the coolest piece of technology you’ve come across?
A tablet or smartphone. It amazes me the things you can carry in your pocket these days.
What’s the strangest thing you believed as a child?
Cian once convinced me that I was a changeling child that my parents kept. Believed it for almost two years. Was too afraid to ask my ma. I got in trouble at church one sunday and was convinced they were going to send me away. Da was not happy with Cian, I’m not sure what happened in the shed that afternoon, but Cian wouldn’t look me in the eye for hours.
Describe yourself in one sentence.
Prince of Paris. [Reid…] No. that’s my answer. No more questions. [Fine. Say goodbye to the nice people and I’ll share the story of you and Flower.] Deal.
Well, it’s been fun, but I have to leave now. I’ll be back to annoy Asher when it’s his turn because turnabout is fair play. Enjoy the story of how I met Flower back in the 80’s when she first became the Territory Four Crone. I was in New York City at the time, because I had done something to irritate Akina. It was a turning point for me. She helped me see that maybe there was another way, that I didn’t have to be exactly what Akina wanted me to be, that I could be more. When I fled with Emma, she was the first person I went to. I can never repay her. So now, thirty-four years later, when she asks me for things, I always do everything I can to help her.
Enjoy the story. I’d say it’s been a pleasure, but at best it wasn’t horrible. Sorry, I’m kind of a solitary vampire and I prefer to be in my garage or reading in my room. Good day.
An Excerpt from the (so far unpublished) Flower Novella
Prince Reid Walker drained the last of the blood from the bottle he was currently drinking, and tossed it into the backseat of the Jeep. His supply was getting low and he’d have to remember to pick up more if he could find some in Coldwynne. If he couldn’t, well he’d just have to Drift home while Freesia was in meetings. He glanced next to him to find the woman in question sleeping peacefully as he drove through the night. He still didn’t understand why she insisted that they drive between the smaller Arkane cities instead of drifting, but he wasn’t one to question the assignment he’d been given.
Freesia Wolfendale was the youngest crone in Territory Four history, having been awarded the title at just thirty-one. She still had small children at home, but here she was gladly accepting one of the most notable titles in the Arkane world. Reid was no idiot, he’d done some research when he’d been assigned the job by Damon Dethantos, one of the territory sage’s. The one he’d been assigned to after his latest exploit in France had angered his maker. He couldn’t wait to be done with this and hopefully beg Akina’s forgiveness and get to go home. He missed Paris and his privileged existence.
It wasn’t that Freesia hadn’t become delightful company, it was just that she was starting to poke holes in the role he played and he wasn’t sure he liked the churning feeling in his stomach that it often caused. He shook his head and concentrated on the road. Driving through the backcountry in Canada wasn’t something one should lose focus on.
They arrived in Coldwynne about an hour after the sun came up and he was more than ready for a warm bed and a chance to rest. They’d left after she’d had dinner the night before with some dignitary or other, they were all starting to run together in his mind. These small minded Arkane, some of them didn’t seem to see the vision Freesia held for the future, and he was annoyed, even if he didn’t personally see it. He hoped that the two day visit with Galvan Asherock would prove more fruitful for her. It made her better company at the very least. After this it was off to Newfoundland to visit the other Territory Four Sage and the last school on the trip.
Reid woke sometime in the early afternoon, feeling groggy and a little disoriented. He got up, showered and went to find Freesia. They’d both been given rooms in Asherock’s home and Reid had wasted no time getting some rest. He wandered down the stairs, subtly listening for the sound of Freesia’s voice. He didn’t hear her at all on his way out to the Jeep for a bottle of blood, which he’d kept there. While he downed his first bottle, he looked around the area a little better. It was beautiful here, and he would have liked a couple of days to just relax and enjoy it, maybe have Annistyn up to visit, he hadn’t seen her in a few months. Tossing the empty bottle with the others, he grabbed a second and went in search of his charge.
Freesia Wolfendale had been surprised to find out that her name had been in the running for crone when the latter had decided to vacate. She’d met him a number of times and thought he was interesting enough, but stuck in the past. He’d been crone for almost forty years. So when she’d been called to appear before the council, she’d been taken aback to find she’d been his choice. She’d done as best she could with the council and then waited to hear back, thinking they would never pick her. Once they had, she’d immediately dived into a plan to get Territory Four moving into the future. The new century was on the horizon and she wanted them to be ready. The first part of this plan was to go out and meet with as many people as possible. That included the sages, of course, but also included the lords, ladies, and those running the smaller communities. Helping the Arkane keep quiet in cities full of Karhu. To visit the schools, to ensure their children were receiving the best education. She wanted to know what she could do to help achieve the smaller goals these places had.
She hadn’t been overjoyed at the appointment of a bodyguard and chaperone in the form of Reid Walker, vampire and the Prince of Paris. How was she supposed to get to know the territory she represented for what it truly was if she had a member of the Arkane Royal Family following her around? She’d been pleasantly surprised to find him not as stuffy or arrogant as she thought he’d be. Though he did have some very backward thinking about some things. She hoped she could get him to think for himself a little more, if nothing else. They’d been on this trip for two weeks and were almost done with the Canadian portion and only had a couple more stops before they toured the American side.
So far Freesia had found the leaders to be a frustrating mix of old school, and forward thinkers. She was hoping to inspire those that weren’t convinced of her vision to at least give it a try. She wasn’t sure she was successful yet. Reid seemed to think she was, then again, she wasn’t sure she could trust his opinion just yet. He still seemed very young in a lot of ways, especially for an eighty-eight year old vampire.
“Freesia, I have to tell you, that although some of your plans seem like they will indeed help send us into the next century on the right foot, I’m not sure how you’re going to garner the support to do so.” Galvan Asherock told her, leaning forward in the chair he was sitting in on the dock near the water. Freesia was near him in a similar chair, looking out over the horizon. She wished Calkin and the children were here, they’d absolutely love this.
“Lord Asherock, while I’m sure that garnering support will sometimes be difficult, make no mistake, as crone it is well within my rights to enact change without the approval of any council.” She told him, lifting her drink to her lips, grateful that her voice had remained steady.
“Now, that isn’t necessarily true. There are many things that have to be approved by the council, and I know the members on this one. Many of them are going to argue that too much change too fast isn’t good for the Arkane or the Elentori.”
“I think you’ll find more people will agree than they won’t. I would like to work together and find ways that work for everyone. Karhu technology is changing rapidly, who knows where we will be in twenty years. We need to be prepared for that before it becomes a problem.”
“Now that is something we can agree on.” He said nodding and leaning back in his chair, seemingly content to dismiss the conversation for now. Freesia took a deep breath and let it out slowly. She hoped Reid would be awake soon, she desperately needed intelligent conversation. As if summoned, she heard his voice a few moments later.
“Everything okay, flower?” He asked, making his way down onto the dock, a half empty bottle of blood in his hand. Freesia had been disgusted at first, but very quickly had gotten used to this way of feeding for him. It’s what he seemed to prefer and had made it clear he wasn’t going to change that, and she agreed it was better than the alternative.
“I’m good, Reid. Did you get enough sleep?” She asked as he nodded to their host and took the seat closest to her.
“It was adequate. I’m headed into town for a supply run,” he shook his bottle back and forth a little so she’d know exactly what he meant. “Would you like to come along?”
“That would be nice. I’d like to get to know some of the people, see their daily life.” She said standing, leaving her half empty glass of beer on the small stand between where she and Lord Asherock sat. “Would you mind dearly if I took my leave?” She asked, looking at the man in question, old fashioned or not, it was rude to be disrespectful to her host. She may need his help one day and it wouldn’t do to make enemies only a few months into her run as crone.
“Go ahead.” Galvan told her with a wide grin. “I have some paperwork I need to attend to before the dinner tonight anyway. May I recommend lunch at Backlane, and a coffee at Jackie’s. They’re the most popular places in town and you would have a chance to really get to know the people here in Coldwynne there.” He offered. Freesia smiled before she turned and took the arm Reid had offered to help her up the hill.
“I’m not sure I’m going to like that man.” She confided as they walked through the little village. So far it was quaint, but she hadn’t seen a lot of diversity here. Mostly water and wood Arkane. A few earth, but almost zero Elentori seemed to live in these parts.
Reid shook his head, but smiled. “Well, hopefully you can count on him as an ally, whether or not you like him.”
“He seems ambivalent. He wants to sound supportive but also to warn me that I will have a lot of trouble with the council.” Freesia scoffed. “As if they have to approve every decision. Major policy changes, yes, need to be run through the council, but not every decision.”
“Then don’t worry so much, flower, you’ll be fine.” She smiled up at him. He was so much taller than her. He was over six foot and Freesia was lucky if she made five five in heels. She liked that he’d started calling her flower, two days into the trip. When she’d asked about it, he’d just shrugged and smiled. She noticed he assigned nicknames to almost everyone though, especially if he seemed to like them.
“I’ll try. Now, let’s find this restaurant and see if we can find someone who can tell us where to get the supplies you need.” She smiled and took his arm again as they made their way further down the main drag.
The dinner was nice, and Reid felt himself melting into the background as much as possible so he could watch Freesia work the room. She may be young, but she had an aura that demanded the respect of not only her title, but of her other accomplishments as well. She seemed to know intrinsically when to be the devoted mother, when to be the steely crone, and when to be something in between. It was like watching his maker work, but with softer edges. His maker always seemed to have an agenda, but Freesia seemed to just genuinely be able to handle the pressures.
Everyone seemed to be waiting to see if she would rise to the challenge that being crone brought, or if she’d buckle under the pressure. Reid was starting to understand that this woman, whether they ever spoke again, was going to change the face of Territory Four, and he wouldn’t be surprised if the other territories didn’t follow suit. He’d listened to her speak, asked probing questions and really listened to the answers. If only others would do the same.
“You know flower, I thought you did a great job.” He told her later, when she’d stepped out onto the back deck for some air and a chance to clear her head.
“But do they believe I can do the things I promised?” She asked, glancing at him. He inhaled deeply off of the cigarette he was smoking and let the smoke out slowly from his lungs.
“Most of them want to believe you, all that’s left is for you to prove you mean the things you say.” He told her slowly as he did a quick scan of the minds still inside the house. She smiled up at him again.
“I honestly hope I can too. I don’t want to let them down.” She confided, leaning against the railing and looking out at the moonlight reflected on the water.
“Can I give you a piece of advice?” He asked carefully. He’d been quiet on the topic of leadership, but after their conversation earlier in the day, there was something he wanted to tell her.
“Sure.” She turned her attention to him as he joined her at the railing, his cigarette put out in the ashtray by where he’d been standing.
“You are the Crone of Territory Four. The youngest ever.” She nodded, but waited silently for him to continue. “When I want something to be done, I don’t pander and try to convince those I want to do it. I tell them it needs to be done, and then wait for my orders to be carried out. I outline the plan if need be, but I don’t let them question me. I am in charge.” He paused and looked at her. “Now obviously I listen to my maker, my sage, and my crone and of course my Grand-mère, but I don’t let others question it. You need to do that. Obviously our positions are slightly different.” Freesia chuckled and nodded her head. Reid couldn’t help the smile on his face. “But don’t let them feel like you have to convince them of anything. You’re their leader. So lead. Let them figure out how to do as you say.”
“Reid, that’s all well and good, but I need the council on my side.” She told him with a sigh.
“I know that you do. So answer their questions, but make sure you leave no doubt that these are things you will accomplish with or without them. You’re the crone. You can replace them as you see fit, remember? And that is a completely different council, is it not?”
“It is.” She said with a grin.
“Then they need to know they either get on your side, or you’ll find someone that will.”
“That is helpful. Now let me give you a piece of advice.” Reid raised an eyebrow and turned to face her, leaning his back on the rail and glancing at the party still happening inside. “You need to find someone that can question you. That can make you think about things in a slightly different way. That can do that, and hold you responsible without overstepping their place in your life.”
“Isn’t that why you’re married?” He asked with a grin.
“While Calkin is great for that in our personal life, I’m still searching for someone with a slightly different perspective that can keep me balanced for work. You need to find both I think.”
“Akina keeps me balanced.” He said confidently, though he couldn’t ignore the small kernel of doubt that was starting to bloom in his heart.
“Does she? Or does she punish you for not doing the things she wants you to do just like she tells you?” With that Freesia turned and walked back into the party.
Reid stood there thinking about what she said, and what she hadn’t. When this was all over, he thought he might go see his sister for a long weekend. See if she could shed some light on some of the feelings Freesia was bringing to light. He watched her mingle for a few more minutes before he shook his head. The woman was amazing, and every bit as commanding as he himself was, even without the crown.
[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 Reid answers them. Have a great new year my loves. Be safe, make good choices, and don’t eat yellow snow. Happy New Year.]
One of the ways that the Arkane world differs from our world, is the main method of travel. Everyone in the Arkane world, Elentori and Arkane alike, are able to Geo-Drift. Geo-drifting isn’t a new concept, it’s just a new name for teleportation. Using a system of naturally occurring portals, the members of the Arkane world can seamlessly and quickly travel from any place on the planet and appear seconds later in another part of the world.
It takes a lot of training to learn how to properly use the portals, you cannot go somewhere that you cannot picture clearly, and doing so usually ends badly. Though not difficult to master once you’re taught, it usually takes a few tries with a guide before you’re able to get it right. They can take the form of naturally occurring circles in the woods, tunnels, some doorways, pools of water, alley’s are popular spots in larger cities. Any sort of liminal space can house a portal. Learning how to identify one is sometimes the hardest part. A Karhu can walk right through and never know, but a member of the Arkane world will always know.
It isn’t uncommon for Elentori (human passing mythological races; example: vampires, shifters, selfies, sirens, etc.) or Arkane (humans born with the ability to manipulate one of the six naturally occurring elements) to end up married to a Karhu (regular person), so there are ways to drift without being born into one of these two circles. There are several characters that I have written who Drift by means of a “Drift Ring”. These rings are specially designed by the Arkane peoples and contain at least one representative of each element. Common substances include, a gemstone of some kind, meteorite, opal, metal, and antler or bone. Abalone shells are also common.
Each element must be involved in some way in the construction of the ring, and then the finished product is spelled to ensure its usefulness. These Drift Rings can only be given out by the crone of whatever territory you happen to live in. The entire application process isn’t difficult, though it does take a lot of time, except in a few rare cases. Usually a couple will apply for their rings before departing for their honeymoon and often they are ready when they get back.
No one is quite certain when the portals started appearing, but the best information says somewhere around the sixth century. According to legend, until the seventeenth century, some portals led to other dimensions, though that is no longer possible, and there are not many left who know why. If there are, they usually refuse to speak on it, as it has been so long ago that their memories cannot be trusted.
I sort of wish that I could Drift, or that this was a real form of travel. I have friends in all corners of the United States and it would be great to be able to visit them as quick as nothing. It would be a lot cheaper and I wouldn’t miss so much of my California kids lives.
Well, that’s it for today. You guys have a great one and I’ll talk to you later. As always, behave.
If you’re on my personal facebook, or even follow the Amber Marie Writes facebook, you may have seen this already, but I felt it worth repeating here. I had a bit of a rough year last year, as did everyone. It hasn’t gotten much better this year but I’m pushing through and I’m determined to make something good this year. This post kind of came to me after I saw a graphic in my memories and I thought it was important enough to share here with maybe a little more detail than I’d put on my facebook. Some of it is a little difficult to talk about but the overall idea is about making art out of the difficult stuff that happens.
As most of you know, if you’ve paid any attention at all over the last year, I lost my Dad March 13th of last year. What only my brother knows, is that the night before Dad died, Damien and I were at the hospital until two in the morning. We were emotional and trying to distract ourselves. I had been gearing up for Camp NaNo which happens every year in April. I had written out an outline that I had spent the last couple of months creating from a random thought into an actual story. It wasn’t easy but dealing with everything those last couple of months with Dad gave us, it gave me something else to focus on while working nights. So, my brother and I sat there, three foot from my dad, talking about this outline, talking about my ideas, to distract us from what was happening in the bed right next to us. Dad died the next afternoon. And despite everything that happened in the years leading up to that moment, and no matter how many time we told ourselves we were, we weren’t ready. I wasn’t ready.
Then the world shut down in almost the same breath as we lost Dad. We were trapped at home. People were scared. I was grieving. Hard. I had no idea what to do and my brain desperately was searching for something to do. So a couple of weeks later, when April started, I did what I had planned to do. I did Camp Nano. I set goals, and I smashed them. Quickly.
It had been a very long time since I had finished anything besides a short story. I’d get almost to the end of something and then I just couldn’t finish it. It was frustrating. I started to feel like that with this but I pushed on. I made myself write every second I wasn’t working, or helping the kids with school, or cleaning the house. I did my best. I distracted myself to escape the pain. And this amazing thing happened. On April 25th, 2020, I finished Hold On. Sure, it was just a first draft. Sure, it wasn’t anything spectacular. It was just a piece of fanfiction that I may or may not publish anywhere. It was for me. I wrote my emotions out. I took that grief and turned it into something beautiful.
My goals, as you can see, were simple, 10k words minimum. That was my goal. just something on paper. Anything. Create Art, which I created a lot of art. I really did. And to finish it. Which I did. 25 days and I finished it. Ending with 18 chapters and a total of roughly 63, 457 words. I have never won a full NaNoWriMo before since I started competing in 2013. And the goal there is only 50k in 30 days. I wrote 63k in 25 days. It was huge.
That feeling allowed me to keep going. It allowed me to keep writing and to write everyday. When it’s not a NaNo month (April and November are when I participate), the timeline I give myself is somewhat more relaxed. And by the time October of last year rolled around, I had finished 3 stories, one was primed to go to my editor, and I was working on three more, as the ideas struck. I was making art, so much art, I had perfected my writing process. I was doing so well and I knew, without a doubt that I was going to kick NaNo’s ass in November. If I could do it in April, I could do it in November.
Then my Mom died. And it was, ugh. I shut down. Immediately. It was like my brain had a moment where it went “We’ve already done this, we are NOT doing this again!” I tried to do what I’d done earlier in the year, but I’d stare at the screen and couldn’t make the words come. I just couldn’t. They were gone. The words, the ideas, they were still there, I could feel them but they were silent. For once in my writing life, the voices that guide me were silent. And it was deafening.
I didn’t do NaNo last year. I barely made it through November. Dad’s funeral, finally, then Mom’s the next day. It was, a lot. Then the kids started acting out. Jay almost missed Thanksgiving. Emily hated her 16th birthday, even though I tried. Emily has been acting out since. Sneaking out, and taking off for weeks at a time. This has been constant since November. It hasn’t made the words come, if anything they feel farther away.
I’ve started editing again, because despite everything, life goes on. As much as I’d love to sit and never have to process the things I put off at the end of last year so that I wouldn’t have to deal with it, life doesn’t work that way. So, while I still can barely write, I’ve been editing. I’ve been plotting. I will make it through whatever I have to, and not lose my identity as a writer. I have to, because who am I if I’m not?
My 2k20 Camp NaNo Goals graphic was in my memories recently, and I saw it before I’d even had my first cup of coffee and when I saw it, I immediately remembered that sense of pride I felt when I was done. I felt my chest swelling with it again. I felt my shoulders squaring and my head lifting just a bit. It may be just a simple fanfiction that got me through a large portion of my grief. 63k words that I wasn’t sure I’d ever show to anyone. But I’m so glad that I did. It was officially published on August 31st of last year. Since then I’ve gotten 22 comments telling me what a great story it is. 22 comments telling me I was good at this. 22 comments that helped me get through the hardest year of my life, so far. As of yesterday, I’m up to 107 kudos, which if you read anything on AO3, you know that isn’t that great, but it’s not bad either. And the newest Kudos was just yesterday, according to my email.
I created something that will last. I created something. I took my grief and shaped it into a stepping stone for my goals. This stone may be a bit harder and I’m still working on it. I may be juggling more than one stone right now, but that’s all they are. Stepping stones to my dreams. Stepping stones to my goals. Each painted a different color of memory. I can take this, and I can use it. Art is emotion after all.
If you read all of this, thank you. It’s really just to remind myself that even when it hurts, even when it feels like you’re going to break, you never know what’s going to happen next and that next thing, may be everything you ever needed.
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.