This month’s games were #AuthorConfession, #AuthorWouldYou, #TheMerryWriter, #WIPjoy, the Truths of #WIPTruthorDare and #WIPWorldBuilders.
- I’m still Drew, at least part of the time. As for a favourite villain; hmmm, well I’m fairly sure that this gentleman would be on the shortlist.
- Piter De Vries in emojis
- Not much of a secret but De Vries is looking for revenge against the Ceteri Cabal in general and Ash’s father, Matthias, in particular.
- Ash isn’t usually a big breakfast person, probably since he tends to get up in the middle of the afternoon most days. Maybe just some toast or something to keep him going. Of course, his eating habits have been a bit off lately.
- To be honest. Ash is pretty bemused by the whole pumpkin spice thing. Much like myself.
- Before the events of the House Valerius series, the main thing that haunted Ash was what had happened with his childhood friend Daniel and Daniel’s mother. Without going into too much detail, he considers himself responsible for both their deaths.
- Well, to some degree, Ash’s father Matthias was an inspiration for De Vries. Just not in a good way.
- I asked Ash what he thought his most bewitching quality was & all I got was a blank look. I think that means we’re passing on this one…
- Ash’s favourite horror movie: The original Halloween.
- Villainous qualities:
Certainty in their actions.
A touch of chaos or whimsy wouldn’t go amiss.
- Since I cleared my phone out recently, the majority of pictures on there are either blog post or story related and the 5th is the cover image for The Temple of Nin-Sungir. Ash may have been there in his dreams.
- It would depend on the odds, but I’d say Ash is more likely to stand and fight.
- The thing De Vries fears most is losing / not being able to trust his own mind.
- Granted I’m not as big a Disney fan as my wife but the ones I think De Vries would relate to are Jafar, Scar and whatshisname from The Incredibles.
- Current estimates (since I haven’t compiled all the hand-written bits):
House in Exile 30,607
The Temple of Nin-Sungir 4,023
- Only to the extent that he shares a name with one of the minor villains in Dune…
- If Ash was trapped in a haunted house, first he’d pick one room to stay in. Then he’d do what he could to reinforce & secure said room as much as possible.
- “‘When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain he wept, for there were no more worlds to conquer’. Benefits of a classical education.”
- Ash might give it a scritch if it came up to him and wanted petting. Otherwise, he would just let it be.
“Do not meddle in the affairs of cats, for they are subtle & quick to scratch.”
- Hmm, I suppose De Vries does love Carina to some degree. I’m just not sure how deep it goes for him.
- Well, I’ve linked Ash with phoenix imagery since the beginning of the series so I suppose that would be his spirit animal.
- Ironically enough, I think things might be better for Ash if Dr Lector took over from De Vries. Sure, he’s a sociopath and a cannibal but mostly he just wants to stay free to indulge his interests, he’s not looking to re-organise society.
- Ash has enough concerns with his real life, although I suppose parts of his life are kind of supernatural.
- Not as such but I have ‘borrowed’ things people have said in real life, and put them into my characters’ mouths.
- For medical reasons, Ash doesn’t drink very often but he does get drunk with a bottle of cheap whisky near the beginning of House in Exile.
- Pretty sure Ash would choose tricks. He’s been known to be somewhat mischievous on occasion.
- So far, the only support system De Vries has shown is Carina, although I suspect she needs his support more than he needs hers.
- I hope Ash and his people make it to Halloween in one piece. Assuming they do, they’ll be celebrating still being above ground…
- Like myself, Ash likes sour gummies.
- Without being too spoilery, De Vries is an opportunist who first found wealth during the Boer occupation of South Africa. He also has two copies of the Ceteri mutation which makes him prone to psychopathic behaviour.
- Ash would probably get a cheap cape and some plastic fangs and go as a cheesy looking vampire.
NB. On the original daily run through I answered no. 3 as my antagonist, Piter De Vries, rather than as my chosen supporting character, Anja.
- I don’t think Ash would be too fazed by either a haunted house or a corn maze. He’d probably find the house more interesting, though.
- I think De Vries would prefer the ghost, he’d probably find that amusing.
- Technically, in my world, the Ceteri are the source for both vampire and werewolf legends. The difference is whether they have a single or double mutation.
Of the two, Anja would prefer to meet a ‘vampire’. The ‘werewolves’ are a lot more volatile.
- Ash has some of the same issues with heights that I do so he’d feel a little bit more comfortable caving. Spiders wouldn’t be too much of a problem but if there were cannibalistic goblins down there…
- De Vries would detest the idea of becoming a zombie. The notion of not being in control of his actions is abhorrent to him. At least being a ghost, he’d have the choice of who to haunt.
- Anja would sooner serve an evil master that have to spend her life running. At least that way, she could make preparations to get out from under his control at some point. And I’m sure she’d be selective about how she obeyed any orders in the meantime.
- If you can ignore H.P. Lovecraft’s racism, The Rats in the Walls is a creepy little story.
- Ash would choose a side without being forced. He’s the sort that always wants to do what he thinks is the right thing.
- I think De Vries would prefer to be buried. There’s always a chance he could claw his way free and even if he didn’t it would be a quicker death than the slow slide being marooned would end up being.
- Anja’s a fairly pragmatic sort so she’d probably back off of a fight before compromising her effectiveness and losing a limb would qualify as that, as far as she’s concerned.
- De Vries would take Jekyll over Hyde, I think. Probably more easy for him to manipulate & control. Plus his chemical knowledge would be useful.
- How red are we talking? Because if it could be disguised with contacts, then Anja would probably opt for that over having fangs. Of course, if the eyes were too obvious, she might re-think the choice.
- I think Ash would rather know, and plan accordingly.
- I don’t think it was for Halloween but I do remember helping to steal a teacher’s entire classroom…
- I think Ash would prefer the abandoned house. He’d find a room and do his best to secure it rather than stay in the open.
- Well, either way, there’s a chance his work would go unfinished so De Vries would t be happy. Still, there’s always a chance he could get his memory back at some point so he’d probably choose that option.
- He’d prefer the bat. One of the benefits of the Ceteri mutation is it helps fight off infections quickly.
- Not sure Anja would want to be the ‘bad’ Frankenstein but she could definitely do the devious part.
- De Vries believes he already has embraced his monstrous side so, provided he keeps his intellect, I think he’d be okay with that. He’d do just about anything to avoid captivity again.
- Anja’s had enough training since she went to work for her employer that she could probably take either of them out without too much hassle.
- Well, based on the past few years, I’ll have to say a night in.
- De Vries would rather be a vampire.
- Hmm. I think Ash would probably try his luck fighting an invisible attacker.
- Strictly speaking, De Vries can’t go out into the sunlight just now anyway so giving that up wouldn’t make a difference to him.
- I think Ash would prefer to be locked in a tower. He’s managed a couple of escapes before now so there’s no reason he couldn’t try again. The poison might not kill him but it would probably make him feel miserable.
- Anja would absolutely hate being robbed of her own agency, so she would definitely choose to be a poltergeist over being a zombie.
- While there might be some dead people he wouldn’t mind talking to again, I’m fairly sure De Vries would sooner walk through walls.
- I’m not sure I could pick a single scary film and say it’s my favourite. I can do a shortlist though:
The Thing (1982)
An American Werewolf in London
- I think Anja would be more interested in being able to see potential futures. Even if she couldn’t change them, she could still prepare.
- I think De Vries would probably prefer the mask. The dragon sounds good but might be more trouble than it’s worth. Plus, it is a bit difficult to hide a dragon…
- Happy Halloween from the Kurgan.
- I’m Drew, most of the time. Attempted writer, blogger & reviewer. And for something about myself: I got married 1 week after moving to the US.
- Probably a sword of some form. Or a crossbow. Or both.
- I keep going back and forth between shape-shifting or teleportation. Teleportation would be handy for work but being able to change into someone else is very tempting…
- Who wouldn’t want to be a dragon if they got the chance?
- I don’t have a preference regarding a fantasy race, just so long as I have the ability to throw a fireball at people.
- The first couple that came to mind was Charles Beauregard & Geneviève Sandrine d’Isle Dieudonné from the Anno Dracula series.
- I’m currently against them. It just feels like love triangles have been done to death for the time being.
- Not so much in books 1 & 2, although there are scenes with supporting characters who are couples. But for House in Exile, Ash does get a romantic subplot.
- Ash loves his family and friends, no matter how much some of them tease him. So the list would include:
His father, Matthias
His Uncle Marcus
His Uncle Lukas
His Aunt Sara
His cousin Elizabeth
If pushed, he’d also include Quinn.
- While I might occasionally like the idea of playing the criminal, more often than not, I’d want to be the detective.
- Although I don’t rule out any true crime (I’ve read some interesting bits and pieces) I’m more likely to read fiction.
- Philip Marlowe.
- I do like a good murder mystery, often with noir overtones.
- Favourite crime novels:
The Big Sleep – Raymond Chandler
The Black Dahlia – James Ellroy
Out Of Sight – Elmore Leonard
The Maltese Falcon – Dashiell Hammett
- Teleportation, assuming all the possible issues were worked out of course.
- Robots, since I think there’s a better chance of being to reason out their motives etc. On that note though, how bad are we talking, on a scale of 1 to Terminator?
- The facetious answer: rockets, robots & ray-guns.
Seriously, sci-fi covers so much ground it’s difficult to pick. For me, I would have to say it represents what could be, for good or ill.
- First thing, (well after the surprise and making sure he can breathe) Ash would check his immediate surroundings for danger. Then he’d take stock of what he had with him or what he could make use of.
- Nothing against cosy mysteries by any means, but I do seem to prefer hard-boiled.
- If Ash needed a partner in crime, he’d choose either Quinn or MacReady.
Quinn has more experience on the wrong side of the law but MacReady can go out during the day…
- I took advantage of the day off to push my scribblings on you all…
- If Ash found a body, the first thing he’d do would be to check for any enemies nearby. Then he’d check the body.
- I’d want to be the detective.
- I can be fairly stealthy when I want to be. And sometimes when I’m not even trying.
- In the series so far: Gunfights, a car chase, hand to hand combat, a sword fight, a sniper ambush, hanging from a helicopter…
- Yes, Ash knows how to fight. He’s had standard Watchman training for hand to hand & firearms. Plus he learned sword fighting from his father & uncle.
- Depends on how you want to define adventure. Going to new places, seeing new things; Ash would be okay with that. He could do without getting shot at though…
- I pivoted just enough to keep my balance & slammed a kick into her midsection.
Her face went slack with surprise & pain. She stumbled back, one hand going to her ribs where my blow had connected.
I went for my gun and shot her point blank.
- I’d like to think Ash would give a good showing of himself. Even if he didn’t make it through himself he’d do what he could to help his friends survive.
- Ash’s biggest fear is probably being a disappointment to his father.
- I think we’d head for the mountains.
- My WIP is House in Exile, the 3rd in my House Valerius series. Possible blurb: Declared a traitor by the rest of the Ceteri, Ash Valerian must survive as he tries to reunite with the few people still loyal to him and make plans to stop their real enemy, Piter De Vries.
- Well, I grew up and lived in Scotland until I moved to the US 10 years ago & got married. Been here in ABQ ever since.
As for goals, I really want to get this 3rd book on track soon…
- “When my father was taken, they swore themselves to me. Even if they hadn’t, they’re still my friends. I’m not going to cast them aside just because it’s convenient. I want to ensure their well-being, regardless of what happens next.”
- Books that changed my life:
The Dracula/Frankenstein hardback I got as a gift from my aunt when I was 8.
The Hobbit or The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe for being my first fantasy novel (I don’t recall which came first).
My own House Valerius books, I suppose…
- I’m going to treat this as being the soundtrack to the novel, rather than what I listen to while writing. So far I have:
When the Levee Breaks – Led Zeppelin
Where is My Mind? – The Pixies
London Calling – The Clash
Breathe You In – Stabbing Westward
- I don’t have anything currently available but here are some excerpts from my House Valerius series.
- And here’s a link to some non-House Valerius work.
- Well technically if I wanted them to read House in Exile, I’d need to make sure they’d read books 1&2 first. So I might need to provide those. Otherwise, a reason to read it would also be handy.
- The best review I could currently hope for would be to call it worth reading.
- Anja rubbed a thumb over my left cheek. I could almost feel the flesh trying to pull away from the touch.
“But disguising these is going take some time and effort.” She said. “Not something we can do on a moments notice. We’ll have to plan accordingly.”
- I’m not sure if this really counts but Ash questions his actions and decisions a lot. While this can be a weakness, it also keeps him from becoming too bloodthirsty.
- How am I like De Vries, or vice versa?
We both spend too long dwelling on things like perceived slights. (It’s something I’m working on)
- I like to think the more I write (not just on this WIP, but on anything) helps make me a better writer.
- Plus the more I share pieces the more I get people wanting to know & read more (so far anyways). Which makes me a little more confident in my writing.
- I want to say classic rock for Ash.
I’m not sure I can give a good reason for that but that’s my impression.
- Ash’s happy place? He’d probably say the library at Shadowcroft although after A House Divided he does have some fond memories of the bathhouse at House Takeda…
- Valerius slumped back against the wall, devoid of energy. The sight of the woman made him think of his mother & sisters. He had left to pursue his search for the lapis philosophorum despite their pleas. Now he was like to die in this place & they would never know.
- Even though she’s not Ceteri, the person that gets Ash the best is his cousin, Elizabeth. They grew up together and they tend to think of each other more like siblings. She’s seen him at his best and worst.
- I’m afraid I will have to invoke the spoiler clause and decline to answer.
- Book characters that would get on with my characters: I think Ash & Miles Vorkosigan would have some common ground. Plus I’d like to think one of the characters from The Dresden Files would be okay provided they could be reassured mine weren’t part of The Red Court.
- Film/TV characters that would get on with my characters: I think Spike from BTVS would probably get on okay with my people. Casey & Beatrix Kiddo/The Bride would either be friends or try to kill each other…
- I’m sure I have but if you were to press me for details, I doubt I could give you any.
- Ash’s childhood dreams usually revolved around the things he couldn’t do. Play outside, watch the sunrise, etc
- My great-aunt had repeatedly told me to pay attention to my dreams, that I could learn things from them. But ever since De Vries had let me go, the nightmares I’d had made me think any knowledge I’d get from them would be more curse than blessing.
- Given that I’ve downplayed the supernatural as much as possible in my series, I think they’d be weirded out by an actual ghost.
- Without going into spoiler territory, there has been at least 1 major-ish character death per book so far.
Some were planned, some weren’t until I actually write the scene but I’m always sorry to lose them.
- I had no indication how long I’d been in the coffin. All I had was the darkness, the sounds of the plane engines & the silk lining of the wood around me. I wondered how long it would be before it got to me & I started trying to rip my way free of the confines.
- “Well, we’ll just have to hope.” She said after a moment, apparently having come to a decision. “Ok, the first thing we’re going to do is follow the original plan.” She glanced at me. “With one or two embellishments. You’re not claustrophobic, are you?”
- Ash appreciates the longer periods of darkness.
- Maybe Jodie would drink it but I don’t think any of my other characters care much about pumpkin spice.
- Ash’s preferred treat: Sour gummies. Best trick: sneaking up on people.
- The only reason I can think of for De Vries to make cookies (or any other foodstuff, for that matter) would be if he wanted to poison them.
- Quinn likes huevos rancheros, with a side of hash browns. And a black coffee.
- Without a doubt, the character most like a mad scientist is Dr D’Onston. He specializes in dissections.
- Ash wants to but at the same time, he’s distrustful of it. He was brought up with the idea that, as heir to a House, relationships would be either political or for status. It’s made him a bit closed off.
- Lady Mallory is probably the meanest character. Both De Vries and Carina are dangerous but Mallory combines a ruthlessness to protect herself and establish her power with a desire to wound others just for the enjoyment of it.
- I’m not sure Ash has much of a lifestyle right now. Not unless you consider guerrilla fighter as a lifestyle.
- I don’t think he actually hates doing it, but at the same time, I can’t recall Dr Mbejane smiling so far.
- If we swapped out De Vries for Maleficent, I can see two things happening:
1 – A lot more magic
2 – Her and Lady Mallory would end up going at each other.
- Well, this would be a few floors beneath Ash’s bed but for years there have been stories about the Keeper of the Dead, a mysterious figure that haunts the graveyard in the caverns beneath Shadowcroft.
- De Vries would definitely support a blood drive…
- Well, some do have a history of psychosis. Plus the events of the two previous books have left Ash with a mixture of PTSD and depression.
- Well, the only vehicle Ash has actually seen De Vries in is a stolen ambulance but I’m sure he prefers a less noticeable mode of transport. Probably something like a Mercedes or BMW, with a driver.
- Anja is currently helping Ash but she will double cross him if it becomes necessary…
- I do like when supporting characters offer some good snappy dialogue
- I’m not sure any of my supporting characters are fond of math, maybe Mbejane since he’s the one with the medical / science background. I am sure Quinn hates it though.
- Overall, Ash and Elizabeth are probably the most humble.
- I think this actually works quite well.
Kane = Dr Mbejane. Ash = Anja. Ripley = Ash. Lambert = Jodie.
Parker = Quinn. Brett = MacReady. Dallas = Casey.
- Honestly, Ash wouldn’t know where to start with that. His father set everything up so that those sort of things would be taken care of with the least amount of fuss or attention.
- No blurb (micro or otherwise) yet. I’m not ready for marketing.
- I think it’s safe to say I’d have a very unhappy (and hungry) Baggins.
- It hasn’t come up yet but I’m going to go out on a limb and say yes, De Vries does believe in ghosts of some kind.
- Worst trait to give an SC – being an excuse for exposition/info-dumping and nothing else.
- Casey and Quinn are the ones most likely to be keeping an eye on Ash.
- The main thing De Vries does is try to make Ash believe there’s nothing he can think of that De Vries hasn’t already anticipated and prepared for.
- A mist hung over the river before me, thick enough that I couldn’t see the far bank. Scared by my approach, a bird burst from the bushes, startling me with its sudden flight. It flew over me, moving for the river. Circling once, it gave a single cry & burst into flame.
- A good few of my characters enjoy pumpkin, although not Ash.
- Right now, I honestly can’t think of any of my characters that I would describe as a black sheep.
- Both Ash & Quinn are fond of pranks so I’d say either of them might try to scare some of the others.
- What Anja fears most is being made a prisoner again, to have her choices taken away.
- Well, Ash hasn’t been sky-diving yet.
- Ash would probably get a cheap cape and some plastic fangs and go as a cheesy looking vampire.
- I’m Drew, most of the time. Attempted writer, blogger & reviewer. My current WIP is House in Exile, the 3rd in my House Valerius urban fantasy series.
- It varies, depending on the individual. The Ceteri can trace their lines back to before the majority of modern religions began so there isn’t much of that aspect to it.
- There isn’t a specific holiday for the Ceteri as a whole but each House has its own founding day when they pay respect to their forebears.
- It’s almost always cremation of some kind. From the earliest days, the Ceteri didn’t want anyone to be able to examine a corpse & find they were different. And each House has its own garden of remembrance type place. At Shadowcroft, it was in the caves below.
- For years, murder was the most common cause of death among the Ceteri; either by humans who didn’t know or by Ceteri themselves to protect their secrecy. Sometimes accidents could kill people (Ash’s mother for example) and on rare occasions, so could old age.
- Organs are usually left with the body and cremated with the rest of the remains.
- Unless specifically bequeathed to someone, a deceased Ceteri’s belongings are given over to their House.
- It has happened but not in a long time. The Ceteri tend to be quite protective of the remains of their dead, to keep their existence hidden.
- You know it hasn’t come up in the series so far but I expect dead pets are taken care of in the usual ways.
- Not quite. Ceteri age very slowly (approx 1 year in 30 after they reach mid-twenties) so to someone with the regular human lifespan they might seem immortal. But they can still be killed and potentially die of old age (after maybe 1,500 years)
- Not physically since it’s a long-standing practice to burn the bodies of deceased Ceteri wherever possible. As for returning as a spirit, that would depend who you ask. Some think it’s possible, some don’t.
- 3 world builders I already follow: Mae McKinnon, Dianna L Gunn & C Alexandra
3 world builders I now follow: Pepper, S. von Glaubitz & Zachary S Cauler
- Premature burials among the Ceteri don’t really happen but, in the past, if one them seemed mortally wounded around humans, it could have happened.
- Yes. Anyone, human or Ceteri, who proves themselves a threat or could expose the existence of the Ceteri is subject to execution. This might be in-House or it might be a targeted assassination out in the world.
- There haven’t been any Ceteri specific plagues. The closest would be when House Lazar went feral in the 1700s, leading to the explosion of vampire & werewolf stories in eastern Europe. The Cabal had to step in & destroy the entire House.
- Most residents of House Valerius had heard stories about the Keeper of the Dead, a mysterious figure that haunts the graveyard in the caverns beneath Shadowcroft.
- Y’know, I’m not sure I know, or want to know, what kind of experiments Dr D’Onston did down in the catacombs below Shadowcroft…
- In general terms, anyone not part of a House is considered to have less value than someone who is. That covers rogues, ferals and regular humans. Years ago, even some of the human members of Houses could be considered lesser than their Ceteri counterparts.
- Somewhat. After age 25 or so, the Ceteri only age approx 1 year for every 30 that passes you can have people that are 500 years old and still only look in their 40s. But those under 100 aren’t usually given much credit.
- At one point it was, and maybe still is among some of the more traditionally old-fashioned Houses. But the majority are less inclined to worry about it these days.
- Not so much a virtue but it is considered fortunate among the Ceteri. Due to their weird way of ageing, getting pregnant is quite infrequent and carrying the child puts a great strain on the mother’s system as they try to adjust.
- Contraceptives are definitely used by Ceteri younger than 25 since they would be more likely to become pregnant. Despite the frequency of pregnancies significantly dropping once the reduced ageing takes full effect, older generations probably use them as well.
- There aren’t any particular rituals to ensure pregnancy. Not widespread anyway. Some individuals might have developed their own.
Ash’s Aunt Sara, who is pregnant, didn’t do anything in particular except follow her doctors’ advice.
- Pregnancies are 9 months, unless something goes wrong. This puts a great strain on Ceteri mothers since for the duration of the pregnancy, they begin ageing at a normal rate again.
- While twins or even triplets aren’t unheard of, a single birth is still the most common.
- 3 world builders I already follow: Willie Handler, R R Willica & Pepper.
3 world builders I now follow: Kimberley Cale, India Emerald & Cina
- While artificial insemination and other infertility treatments are available, I don’t think many of the Ceteri make use of them. They wouldn’t want ova or sperm in non-Ceteri labs and I think there are only a few House-related doctors who specialise in that.
- There aren’t really any ‘birth myths’, at least none that are Ceteri specific.
- Births are celebrated, especially for Ceteri parents.
- There’s the same zodiac that we have here but, generally, Ceteri don’t pay too much attention to it.
- Childhood is generally valued. And among Ceteri, childhood would be considered younger than 25, between 25 & 100 could be thought of as the teenage years, with 100 being the age of adulthood.
As Always, Thanks to the hosts:
#AuthorConfession – J.M. Sullivan & Jessica Julien
#AuthorWouldYou – Haley Ringer & Rebecca R. Cahill
#TheMerryWriter – Ari Meghlen & Rachel Poli
#WIPjoy – Bethany A. Jennings & S.D. Grimm
#WIPTruthorDare – Heather Hayden & Allie May