January Games

January’s games were #AuthorConfession#TweepWriter, #WIPjoy#WIPTruthorDare.


#AuthorConfession - January

  1. I’m Drew, allegedly. And my main writing goal for this year is finishing a first on House in Exile, my 3rd House Valerius book.
  2. Ash’s resolution, although it takes him a few days of feeling sorry for himself and getting himself together after his scarring, is to do whatever possible to stop De Vries.
  3. I’ve set my Goodreads challenge to 52 books for 2018. I had the same last year and just beat it with 53. Of course, I couldn’t have done it without listening to audiobooks going to and from work…
  4. Steps to improving my blog page:1) More consistent posting.2) Broaden the range of content.3) Erm… any suggestions?
  5. There many things I’d like to improve about my writings but, for right now, my main goal would be to increase my productivity.giphy (31)
  6. I’d like to think I do good dialogue.tenor
  7. I’m not sure I can fully process all the ways swapping Tinkerbell for Ash would change House in Exile. I suppose she could fly everyone off to Neverland where they wouldn’t have to worry about De Vries.
  8. Since the whole series is written in 1st person, it doesn’t go too deeply but Ash does visit various other Houses, in other countries with different cultures to show how the Ceteri have diversified over 2000 years. How well it does that is open to debate.
  9. I suppose you could say wrath for both Ash and De Vries, since they’re both out to right perceived wrongs. Having said that, Ash is due for some lust in House in Exile and De Vries is also pretty prideful.
  10. I’m going to say Discount Tire, while waiting to get a replacement tire fitted.
  11. In no particular order – Working out the 2nd half – Focus – Getting the words out.
  12. A writing victory? I don’t think I’ve had one this month.
  13. 👨🏻‍🌾👩🏻👦🏻👪🚙🌆🌃⛰️
  14. “His Grace, His Excellency, The Duke of Ankh; Commander Sir Samuel Vimes” (art by Paul Kidby)img_2701
  15. According to what I have in the main file: 37,873.
  16. Well, it’s not great but here’s what I came up with. The burning house is from Bond film Skyfall & the character image is from Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain.20180117_034938901_iOS
  17. I’m going to have to say salty.
  18. There’s quite a lot of me in Ash, the MC. Not sure what that says about me, given what I’ve been putting him through…
  19. Ash’s parents, Matthias & Miranda, took him to see Raiders of the Lost Ark when he was five. He’s loved it ever since.giphy
  20. Lady Gianna di Bonaventura is known for throwing a good party and Quinn’s usually worth hanging out with. I think MacReady would probably be the third. I suspect a decent amount of alcohol and plenty of shouting will be involved.
  21. I woke and tried to sit up, to my regret. I moved no more than a couple of inches before smacking my head against the wooden coffin lid. I wondered once again how I’d managed to get convinced into this.
  22. Okay, this doesn’t really have much to do with Ash. But it does fit with a scene in House in Exile. Nighthawks
  23. I think this one comes close to one of Ash’s biggest fears for those close to him…20180123_154142695_iOS
  24. I think it’s an outdated trope and one I hope to avoid. Which means I have to be careful when it comes to one of the plot points in House in Exile.
  25. Much as I want to say a joker, Ash is probably a Jack. As for the suit, neither diamonds or hearts seems to fit so probably spades.
  26. Is there any answer I could give here that wouldn’t sound either creepy or weird? Nah, I didn’t think so…
  27. I think if he had to Ash might sing The Mountains Of Mourne. It would probably make him maudlin though since his mother would sing that when he was a child.
  28. Favourite thing about House in Exile. Probably the dialogue.
  29. Me, I just like making things up.giphy (1)
  30. So far this year, very little.
  31. Have faith in yourself and your work, it deserves to be seen.


#TweepWriter - January

  1. Hi, folks. I’m Drew, under most circumstances. I’m an attempted writer, mainly in urban fantasy, but I like to dabble in other genres as well.
  2. House in Exile is the 3rd in my House Valerius urban fantasy series. It starts a day or two after the previous book, with Ash (my MC) separated from his allies and trying to cope with both his recent losses and his scarring.
  3. I don’t have that many links but here you go Twitter, Facebook, Google+. Feel free to stop by and say hello.
  4. I think Night Work is probably one of my better short stories.
  5. Tweeple to follow: Lexi Lefevre, Rebecca Yelland, C Alexandra, Rebecca Frohling, George McNeese, J.S. Mueller and, of course, Nicola Noble.
  6. MC is Ash Valerian. He’s one of the Ceteri, a race that shares a genetic mutation that means they only age 1 year in 30 but they also have to ingest blood to survive. In House in Exile, he’s been accused of conspiring against the Ceteri ruling Cabal & is in hiding.
  7. In some ways, Ash has a number of people who could be considered rivals but his main enemy for the series is Piter De Vries. He’s a very shady Dutch entrepreneur, who has a history of exploiting anyone & anything he can to advance himself.
  8. There’s a fair bit of wandering. House in Exile starts off in London, then moves to Glasgow, then parts of Canada, southwest US, then back to the UK for a bit.
  9. In broad terms, House in Exile is about Ash’s attempts to help rebuild his House after De Vries has him falsely accused of treason. All the while trying to stay free from the ruling Cabal who want to capture him & trying to stop whatever De Vries has planned next.
  10. House Valerius takes place in December 2003. A House Divided covers the end of 2003 and into the first two weeks of January 2004. House in Exile starts from mid-January 2004 and I don’t quite a complete timeline yet.
  11. Why should people read House in Exile? I ask myself this daily… Hopefully, you’ll have read books one & two and want to know what happens next.
  12. What I love: I get to make stuff up.
  13. What I hate: When I can’t get the words out.
  14. What readers should know: How much goes into and lies behind each page.
  15. My last block was probably around a 7/10.
  16. Oh, come on, that’s not fair. How am I supposed to pick just one? Although, I do tend to go through phases where I’m reading a lot of one specific genre for a while and then I switch to another.
  17. Still trying to get the hang of it, to be honest.
  18. I’ve done going on 14 months now, I think. Plus several months of and . If you’re curious about some of my previous answers, here’s the link.
  19. Be compassionate with yourself. You won’t get it perfect the first time.
  20. Difficult to say since I’ve never really been reviewed but I think to try finding anything constructive in the review and work on that.
  21. The majority of the books I read and reviewed last year were independently published.
  22. I’ve used MS Word, Scrivener, pen & paper. And I still write in my mind as often as not.
  23. I likes the hashtag games for a few of reasons. 1 – Sometimes they make me think about aspects of my story I hadn’t considered. 2 – They help keep me writing. 3 – They’re fun.
  24. Speaking purely for myself, I think Twitter has been the best social media platform for me.
  25. What else can I say? “Great chieftain o’ the pudding-race!”
  26. I’m a coffee drinker. Regardless of the weather.giphy (1)
  27. I would have said Sour Patch Kids but I’m doing my best to give up such things and get back to feeling good about my diet. Ah well, at least I still have caffeine.
  28. Either water or coffee, depending on the time of day.
  29. I often listen to music while I’m writing.
  30. I frequently write at the office which can get fairly noisy so…
  31. Probably make any notes or whatever on my phone.


#WIPjoy - January

    1. My MC is Ash Valerian. He’s one of the Ceteri, a race that shares a genetic mutation that means they only age 1 year in 30 but they also have to ingest blood to survive. As of House in Exile, he has been accused of conspiring again the Ceteri ruling Cabal & is in hiding.
    2. 5 Things I Value: stillness, artistry, honour, friendship, my wife Britt.
    3. She cupped my jaw with her hand, angling my face to the side, bringing the still healing scars directly into her sight. She made a tiny moue of frustration. “These will complicate matters.”
      I jerked
      “I think that’s what De Vries intended.”
    4. My main writing goal is to complete the first draft of House in Exile.
    5. What Ash wants the most, even if he doesn’t realize it himself, is to be seen as the equal of his father. Unfortunately, Matthias has approx. 500 years of experience and Ash has about 1 month so far…
    6. I found this image last year and it seems fitting for the opening of House in Exile. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find the correct attribution for it.img_2528
    7. Writing victories for 2017? There weren’t many but: 1 – completed my first beta read & got a mention in the acknowledgements. 2 – conducted some interviews for my blog. 3 – Had part of my review quoted by the author.
    8. I’m never sure I have a good answer for this one (self-confidence issues, you say?) but I’d like to think I do okay with dialogue and action sequences.
    9. “Now Ah know the place looks a mite rustic…”
      “No, it’s great. So when does the nameless evil come out of the woods, possess one of us and start killing the others off one by one?”
      Quinn checked his watch. “This time o’ year, that don’t happen ’til nine or so.”
    10. Probably my favourite friendship is with Quinn & MacReady. For example:
      “Quinn and me,” MacReady said, taking a sip from his beer. “We’ve been friends for twenty years, or near enough. He didn’t tell me what he was straight away; not until he had no other choice. Never blamed him for that, though. I woulda laughed in his face if I hadn’t seen it for myself.” He held up his thumb and forefinger, almost touching. “Came this close to blowin’ his fool head off at first but…” His voice drifted off as he lost himself in the memory.
    11. House in Exile hasn’t quite moved me to tears of frustration. Yet. But there were moments in the first two books that gave me a lump in my throat.
    12. 5 things I like about House in Exile: It’s some new territory for me. – I get to introduce a bunch of new characters. – I get to see different sides of some existing characters. – I’m still going. – It’s mine.
    13. I lay back, not saying anything, just staring up at the stars.
      Slowly, Mitsuko’s hand crept into mine and squeezed. She whispered something I didn’t quite catch, but it sounded like “Ash,teru.”
      I turned to ask her what she meant but she looked away from me.
    14. Book three,
      Going slow.
      Making it better?
      I don’t know.
      Need to plan more,
      Without a doubt.
      Any good wishes,
      Give me a shout.
    15. Try switching tracks and working on something different for a while.
    16. For a while, I enjoyed sketching, even though I wasn’t very good at it. Nowadays I’m trying landscape photography.
    17. I’m not sure exactly what kind of meal House in Exile would be, but I have the sneaking suspicion that it’s going to be an acquired taste.
    18. 3 songs that tend to inspire me:
      Push The Sky Away – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
      Stairway To Heaven – Led Zeppelin
      Fairytale Of New York – The Pogues with Kirsty MacColl.
    19. Damn, I never did one for this one…
    20. I’m not sure that there is anything particularly brave about my writing House in Exile. More like tilting at windmills…
    21. Ash: Either Halloween or Bonfire Night. I didn’t have to miss out on those just because of the no daylight restriction. And Christmas was always overshadowed by the possibility of my father having to duel for the Patriarchy during Ascension on the winter solstice.
    22. De Vries: “And why exactly would I tell you any of what I intend to accomplish? Not that I think there’s any chance of Ash being able to stop me but why take that risk?”
    23. “Okay,” Jodie said. “It’s 1:15. I want to be in & out of here & back in the car by 1:30. This place is going to be a shock but don’t stop & don’t talk to anyone. You don’t want to deal with anyone who’ll be in there.”
      I looked out at the blue sign. “What is a Wal-Mart?”
    24. Ash: I don’t really have a typical day right now. Most of it’s just been trying to keep ahead of the Cabal’s hunters and making plans for what to do about De Vries.
    25. Quinn: “Ash’s daddy, Matthias Valerian, saved mah life day Ah met him. Maybes in more ways than one. An’ Ah don’t ‘preciate bein’ called a sidekick.
    26. De Vries: “I can understand Ash, even if he is determined not to understand me or what I’m trying to do. Right now, he’s hurt and confused but I’m sure he’ll make the right choice and join me soon.
    27. Ash: Elizabeth’s graduation party. We had a small family dinner at Shadowcroft in her honour. She was still hungover from partying with her friends the night before but I think she appreciated it. Even if she did make fun of my attempt at a speech.
    28. To be honest, I think I’m still a good way off from thinking about trying to publish.
    29. While I have taken requests in the past, most of the time I’m writing for me.
    30. “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?”
    31. I can mainly be found here or on Twitter.


#WIPTruthorDare - January

  1. Truth – Well, on the New Year’s Day in A House Divided, he was arrested for conspiracy and treason. I think any other New Year’s Day will be an improvement.
  2. Truth – Ash’s goals: To reunite with his friends, to make new allies, to stop De Vries.
  3. Truth – I’m the most like Ash, the main character, something that several people have remarked upon. But, on reflection, I think I’d rather be like Quinn. Only so long as I get to keep my own accent, of course.
  4. Truth – Not so much a holiday but the most important date in the Ceteri calendar is Dec 21st.  On that night, any member of the ruling Cabal can challenge the Patriarch/Matriarch for leadership. It is a ritualized duel to the death, referred to as the Ascension.
  5. Truth – House Valerius takes place in December 2003. A House Divided covers the end of 2003 and into the first two weeks of January 2004. House in Exile starts from mid-January and I don’t quite a complete timeline yet.
  6. Truth – Since the world of House Valerius is very close to the real world, summer & winter are the same as they are here. House in Exile is set in winter but the story moves through a few different locations so it will change depending on where in the world Ash is.
  7. Truth – I think most days it’s a three way battle and I don’t think anyone is winning…
  8. Truth – The terms juvenile and twisted could come easily be used to describe Ash’s sense of humour, sorry to say.
    Dare “And how are you liking Carina’s handiwork?” He asked, fingers resting on the scarred side of my face.
    “Shame it was a year to late for me to be John Connor in the new Terminator film.”
    He pulled back, looking at me in surprise, then burst out laughing.
  9. Truth – The person Ash is closest to is his cousin Elizabeth. They’re less than a year apart in age and grew up together. They’ve grown apart a little bit since she left to go to university and have a ‘normal’ life but Ash still thinks of her as his sister.
  10. Truth – Ash would probably be best at Trivial Pursuit. He tends to know a lot of random things.
  11. Truth – Writing sprints, daily prompts, coffee.
  12. Truth – I’d like to this so, although we may be too alike & end up annoying each other.
  13. Truth – Besides blood? If you ask Ash, shrimp.
  14. Truth – I don’t think Ash has ever had the opportunity to go skating.
  15. Truth – According to what I have in the main file: 37,873.
  16. Truth – One of the areas where I think I need work is with pacing. Book 1 works okay but I keep feeling like book 2 drags in places.
  17. Truth – Well, to be honest, he’s never had to speak in front of an audience of more than ten or so. And the last time he had to didn’t exactly work out well for him.
  18. Truth – Nothing beyond the odd snowball fight on the Shadowcroft lawns. Not being able to go out during the day easily curtails a lot of things.
  19. Truth – My favourite writing resources are the interwebs & other writers here on Twitter, especially those who do .
    Dare – He looked lean and fit, with a heavy beard almost completely obscuring the lower half of his face. What did surprise me was the bright red Hawaiian shirt he wore and the huge sombrero tethered around his neck.
  20. Truth – I can see the appeal of it, especially if you’re still learning, and I’ve done a little bit of it myself but at the same time, I can understand those authors who are ardently against it.
  21. Truth – Previous relationships have been rather casual for Ash but he is being faithful to Mitsuko.
  22. Truth – Ash’s favourite comfort food is pizza.
  23. Truth – Depends on the shark. I could see Quinn & MacReady putting one of the more harmless ones in there as a prank. But if it was one of the really dangerous ones, it was probably De Vries. Or Carina.
  24. Truth – Some planning, but mostly I’ve been making things up as I go along. It might be why I’ve been struggling so much lately.
  25. Truth – Ash doesn’t have any allergies. Unless you want to count daylight.giphy (2)
  26. Truth – If Ash was given one wish, it would probably be to bring back some of the friends he’s lost recently.
  27. Truth – I think a date with any of my characters would end pretty quickly. Not sure any would put up with me for long. Although I do think there’s only one who would actively try to kill me. So there’s that.
  28. Truth – There are gender specific titles but no specific roles, as far as I recall.
  29. Truth – Yes and no. I have no problem with Ash looking after the house but if De Vries came looking for him, well, that would be another matter.
  30. Truth – I don’t think I’ve used a storm, as of yet.
  31. Truth – The oldest character is Lord Nasir al Raschid, although he hasn’t appeared in House in Exile yet. He’s about 1200 years old.

As always, thanks to the hosts:

#AuthorConfession – J.M. Sullivan & Jessica Julien

#TweepWriter – Nicola Noble

#WIPjoyBethany Jennings

#WIPTruthorDare – Heather Hayden & Melanie Thurlow

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