Tag Archives: Characters

Isa Loves my Pod People…

Sam and Priss are super loveable Pod People… more stories for them in the works. Don’t you love Isa’s fairy wings?!! Find it on Amazon with bonus …

Isa Loves my Pod People…

More Pod People Seeded in my Brain by Aliens – Being Taken Over is Exciting!

So long as they’re giving me something and not taking… Hmmm. Or are they? Well, what I don’t know won’t hurt me.

Meanwhile, characters, aka my Pod People, are bursting out of me and burgeoning all over the pages, and I now have two amazing Works in Progress, which I’m having a hard time putting down and seem to want to work on simultaneously. Anyone else getting some great new ideas for stories this summer? Let me know in the comments. Meanwhile, enjoy some quirky and intriguing alien artwork by William Louis McDonald

Art by William Louis McDonald

Bursting! Or Consuming?…

Just too many cool things going on here…

100-Word Story Challenge. My foray into horror – A minor Starlight Chronicles Vampire character, my inspiration…

Enjoy a Three-Part Supernatural Horror Story – Exactly 100 Words Each

One: Brother’s Maker

Thick rivulets of blood moved down the wall like snakes slithering into Hell. Lucius thought going there himself would be better than mucking out this foul slaughter. Hiding his brother’s crimes from Prince Remus. Death by fire, their punishment if caught.

Linus, too far gone to understand the danger, had killed another valuable hunter. Lucius labored to obliterate the evidence while Linus crouched over an arm sucking out the blood and marrow like a human sucking meat from a crab leg.

Lucius had turned his brother. Watching him deteriorate was penance. Figuring out how to stop it, his only purpose.

Two: Brother’s Keeper

Lucius stared in frustration at the naked female, then grabbed newspaper from the alley trash to cover her. Copious blood soaked through, turning it to pulp. He added more paper. Didn’t help. Blood spouted like a fountain from her torn jugular. He yanked his brother, who’d pounced on her again, away from her neck.

“You couldn’t have gone one more block?” Linus whipped towards him. Lucius stifled a gasp. The nerdy, giraffe-legged brother was there. Then the eyes turned soulless, reflecting the red pooling beneath their feet, and Linus’s stark hunger. Pain stabbed Lucius where his heart once beat.

Three: Brother’s Killer

Lucius cradled Linus’s head in his lap. Just his head… which Lucius had to remove. He stared at the rectangular hole holding his brother’s body, then forced his gaze away to take in the fateful surroundings. The graveyard was damp. Dew glistened on the grass. Dripped from cypress trees and giant yews. None of it made this real. They’d been vampires for five decades, inseparable. But Linus’s self-control had deserted him. He broke too many council laws.

“You never believed you could be ended, brother. Didn’t you once think it would be me who would have to do the ending?”

First drafts rejected. I think I’m getting it now.

I was pretty happy about my first attempt to do a 100-word story. The publisher, not so much. But that’s okay because I learned a lot in the process . These bits about vampire brothers were inspired by a minor character in my Starlight Chronicles series. I admit, pure horror is a challenge for me, though I love reading and watching it, the darker the better. I read Bram Stoker in my youth, along with Mary Shelly, which means those sweeping, tantalizing, horrific impressions are there, deep down, and now that I’m writing fantasy, I’m compelled to draw from their brilliance.

Vlad the Impaler has been an endless fascinating figure in history and fiction for me, no matter how many ways his story has been told. And I think today’s supernatural fantasy authors are finding entertaining ways to retell the tales. Many of them inspired me.

I think Luke Evans portrayed an excellent fictional Vlad. Dracula Untold sparked my imagination, and gave a feel for the period and setting. I was disappointed with its box office failure, which ended hopes of a sequel. In case you haven’t seen it, here’s the trailer.

Please take a moment to read the drabbles above and let me know if I’m on the right track for a story told in exactly 100 words. Better yet, share your own 100-word story in the comments.

Thank you!

3D Art by Ismael Tejero

My Pod People Don’t Worry About Politics. That’s Why I Love Hang’n With Them So Much…

Since I’ve been reading, watching and writing stories in the fantasy genre, I’ve enjoyed a common theme. No politics. Sure, there are good versus evil forces trying to whack each other into oblivion. Even The Umbrella Acadamy now has the Sparrow Acadamy to battle for their place in the world, as if going back in time and saving it wasn’t enough. But there’s an honesty to good versus evil in our entertainment that our current real world lacks, like the stout-hearted Hobbit facing the fiery maw of Mount Doom in the land Mordor. I kind of hope it won’t take us thousands of years to find our Frodo.

It used to be the other way around.

I used to think politics were reasonable. You had two sides of an issue. Your representatives debated the two sides using logic, conviction and maybe even passion. Granted some issues would be controversial and the debates would get heated, but reason would prevail in the end. You could feel good about living in a world like that, put entertainment and it’s battles in their place, freely enjoying the question of Alien versus Predator because when you inevitably didn’t get a definitive answer and the threat still waited around the corner for the hapless protagonist, you could walk out of the theater, and return to a world that made sense.

Now, it’s the real world where all the lines are blurred beyond recognition. People are walking around in utter confusion about who is bad and who is good, and there’s no one left to shine the light on reason. Lies become truth that’s wielded in the guise of helping the masses, when it’s all designed to further one man’s ambitions. A mere human who has the ridiculous notion he can take it all with him. Where? Is there a spacecraft waiting to transport him and his gold to a planet containing the fountain of youth? Will his minions follow him there, so he has someone to fire every other second? Well, at least they will believe him if he says it’s so.

My pod people don’t care about any of that. They’re too busy fighting battles they can understand even if the enemy is a mystery, because it’s me who gets to orchestrate the fates of my pod people. I can set them on a clear course that, when it’s achieved, will leave the sensible ones standing and the evil ones pounded to dust. Maybe my pod people will find love and friendship along the way, a fellowship of supporters who can pick a clear side and stick by it, confident they’re all in it together and have each others’ backs.

You can find my brand of entertaining chaos on My Books page for a nice escape from the blurry lines of reason.

Viewpoints all mine and my pod peoples’…

Apocalyptic Pressures

Artwork by Kael Ngu

I don’t know about you all, but I’m feeling it, Conquest, War, Famine, Death. We’ve seen every form of the hammer coming down on mankind these last two years. What does it mean? Are we in an apocalypse, or is one coming? Or will all of the climate change, crazy-ass world leaders, and violence and hate disappear in some miraculous way before the horsemen make an appearance? What if they’re here and we just don’t know it?

Regardless, we plod along with daily life, those of us not touched by tragedy (and those numbers in just two years are staggering). For me, this means writing. I’m grateful to have a happy place to escape to, even if my first book was set in the Sierra Nevada Mountains where over a million acres burned thirty miles away the summer I published it.

I couldn’t even breath in my own house while I clicked away on my keyboard and tried not to think of the demise of old growth forests, pioneer towns, and all the animals trapped in the inferno. I dedicated my series to those brave firefighters and citizens battling blazes too hot to control, while the insane university professor started another one right behind them. It was the least I could do.

Many of my fellow indie writers tell fantastic stories with apocalyptic scenes, horror at it’s most grim, with the reaper waiting at the end for the hapless protagonist. I love them, love the thrill of knowing death is around the corner, waiting for the end to see what it looks like, but finding out it’s too late. Then I listen to the news. Our reality these days poses quite a challenge to horror fiction writers, when reality can be truer.

I’ve been dabbling in writing horror myself recently, to stretch my writing muscles, find out if I can go to those dark places in my mind that my pod people stay clear of, ever watchful of the shrouded figure with the scythe.

Maybe the aliens who seeded my mind with them know something I don’t, because they’ve given me characters who wish for happy endings.

Artwork by Kael Ngu

Now I Know Why My Pod People Aren’t Introverts… or Are They?

Many writers classify themselves as introverted because they are part of a select group of people who can create new worlds in their head, work in isolation for hours on end, and persevere to get every word just right all at the same time.

Louise Waters

Ms. Waters also writes:

Writing is hard. Not everyone has the capacity to create stories or articles out of thin air. More often than not, writing is an activity that requires solitude, which is why some of the world’s best writers are also introverts. As famous YA author John Green once said, “Writing is something you do alone. It’s a profession for introverts who want to tell you a story but don’t want to make eye contact while doing it.”

Is this why my pod people often start out as loners, then become part of a pack? Hmmm…

Having selected those snippets above that leapt out at me from researching on Google, it should be noted that Ms. Waters, guest blogger for Jennifer Kahnweiler, declares herself an ambivert.

am·bi·vert

/ˈambəˌvərt/

noun

PSYCHOLOGY

A person whose personality has a balance of extrovert and introvert features.

I’ve done a lot of those personality tests over the years during “team building” work meetings, at conferences, wherever. But, for some reason this short blog went a long way towards helping me figure myself out. Wait! I haven’t figured myself out yet? Am I the only one who’s still working at it in their 50s? Does anybody ever figure themselves out completely?

I would still be in the dark if I hadn’t started writing novels two years ago, and writing every day since. Because now this resonates in me, big time. I used to think I was more of an extravert. Maybe I was at some point. Now, I want nothing more than to tell stories from the place I’m happiest in. My solitude.

As in everything in life, there are no absolutes. I believe we all become something different at different stages of our lives, choosing different combinations that help us cope with our surroundings at any given moment. Sometimes it’s because we’re growing, sometimes it’s because we’re taking a step backwards. None of it matters so long as it gets us where we want to be eventually.

Camera shy guests

I’ll be putting this to practice over the next months with my fellow indie writers. My colleagues are happy to step up and let me interview them. However, I’ve been getting a pretty consistent message. Camera shy to the last! So, stay tuned to see which ones I can coax (including myself) into a video, or which ones are happy to chat with us in a blog. I’m just excited to see where this will go, and willing to be inspired by them however they want to share.

My goal with reaching out and talking with other writers and all kinds of creative people is to let all of you know that we’re in the same boat, struggling to become better writers, artists, crafters, creators… who want to learn and share what we’ve discovered.

Top resource for today’s blog

Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD, is a bestselling author and one of the top global leadership speakers on introverts in the workplace. Her pioneering books, The Introverted LeaderQuiet Influence, The Genius of Opposites, and Creating Introvert-Friendly Workplaces have been translated into 18 languages. The Introverted Leader was named one of the top 5 business books by The Shanghai Daily.

Artwork by Ryan J Neal

My Pod People Get my Music!

Do you insert references to your favorite music through the lives of your characters? (I fondly refer to them as my pod people. After all, they’re extensions of my alien-seed-planted mind, so why wouldn’t they love my music?)

I love doing this. It plunges me into the atmosphere of my scene, and I hope it does the same for the reader. I have extremely eclectic tastes in music, so it’s a lot of fun peppering my writing with just the right note to insert at the right moment. Check out book one, Ursus Borealis, for a great scene with Andras and Selena, while she’s wearing a t-shirt with SRV’s beat up Stratocaster stretched across her… chest.

My husband and I were going down memory lane over breakfast and discussing the concert-going highlights of our youth. He has vivid flashbacks of “Terrible Ted” at the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium in ’79. Yes, decades later, he is still grateful for witnessing in person Ted Nugent leaping 15 feet off stacked amplifiers as they swayed precariously under him, landing in clouds of backlit smoke, while tearing out “the riff of all time.”

As we talked and he described it just today, I found this newspaper clipping and it reports it just like he remembers. Made his day. Who said music doesn’t leave a life-long impression? Of course, our parents did not in any way think this was music. “You’re going to see Terrible Who?” (Actually, I think that moniker comes later in his career. His personal life was as shocking as his music. If it still is… I wouldn’t know. But he’s still killing that riff.)

From the Concert Database

Granted, our combined excursions weren’t extensive, which makes the handful we managed to partake in more special. I think my highlight was David Bowie at the Oakland Coliseum in ‘83 for his Serious Moonlight Tour. We were smack in the middle of the huge field, and Mr. Bowie was a speck, but his penchant for drama came through… Bowie performing MacBeth… and singing? Oh yeah!

Photo by Paula Parisi

My Horror Story Pod People are Redeemable… maybe… they haven’t decided quite yet.

Or is it that they are tortured souls? No matter how dark the pod person is that was seeded in my brain by alien’s with questionable intent, I can’t seem to allow them to be pure evil. Is that a flaw in me, the creator, or just the way my pod people want to grow? Are the aliens in the universe trying to tell me something?

No matter the reason, my vampires, faeries, shifters, or megalomaniac aliens are a hell of a lot of fun to write.

Is there a rule that they must always be the monsters humans are driven to slay? Or can they simply be tortured souls forced into circumstances requiring evil deeds, always searching for a way out? An inspiration to the human struggle? I don’t think I’m alone in the desire to make my pod people redeemable. So many fabulous characters in fiction follow that path. So, I won’t feel guilty if my fingers push out a story over my keyboard with a light at the end of the tunnel… but the story isn’t finished yet…

Click here for a wonderful poem encapsulating the human experience by Dr. Marie Dezelic that I just happened to find in a Google search. A snippet follows:

In that lonely place where no other human can actually accompany him. He is never fully understood to the capacity he wants or imagines he can be.

dr. Marie dezelic

I am excited to share that I submitted my first attempt at pure horror in tiny bits for a 100-word horror short story submission to Shacklebound Books, a small press that publishes anthologies and collections in the science fiction, fantasy, and horror genres. Check them out. I have no idea if my three stories about vampire brothers will be accepted, possibly not dark enough, but I’ll keep you posted and share them when I’m able.

It was a totally fun exercise, never-the-less. Fingers crossed!

For my published stories populated with redeemable… maybe… monster pod people, click here. I’d love to know if you think they should have a light at the end of their tunnels.

One of my pod people is a…wait for it… conflicted alien prince…

In The Starlight Chronicles, my protagonist has a destiny, like all marked maidens before her. But in this 300-year cycle, things are different. The moon goddesses of Anurash are using their influence to bring about a change that has been a long time coming. Selena Aires is their vehicle. But because free will plays a part in destiny, they must allow her choices. Will she answer their hope or follow her own path?

One of those intriguing paths is aligning with the destiny of a conflicted alien prince, Aviel Enair, the most powerful of three alien princes banished to Earth thousands of years ago. Everything with Selena happens in threes, good, bad, or somewhere in between.

You will meet Aviel, a prince you’re never quite sure you’re supposed to hate, in Books One and Two. He’s one of my many characters I affectionately refer to as pod people in my blogs about character development.

Meanwhile, enjoy this teaser from Book Three, Tigris Vetus, coming soon. And thanks for letting me experiment with sharing my TikTok videos.

3D Rendering by Massimo Righi

Book Three coming soon, Tigris Vetus, in The Starlight Chronicles…