December Games

The last games of 2020 were #TheMerryWriter, #WriterChronicles and #WriterlyWIPChat.


  1. I’m Drew, more or less. As for a favourite winter activity, I think what I enjoy most these days is watching the dogs playing in the snow…
  2. Ash always enjoyed sledging down some of the hillsides on the grounds of Shadowcroft Manor.
  3. Of the main cast, either Quinn or Casey. Quinn’s probably more accurate but Casey’s the faster of the two. Of the supporting cast, Alex Devereaux of House Jordan since he specializes in throwing weapons.
  4. Autumn, since the nights start getting longer and longer.
  5. BREAK.
  6. BREAK.
  7. Book 1 of the House Valerius series is my first completed novel. I do have 2/3rds of a murder mystery that I did a few years beforehand tucked away somewhere.
  8. I was watching the first Underworld movie and during one of the scenes set in the vampire’s mansion, I had the idea “What would it be like to grow up in a place like that?”
  9. Would you believe, my post-graduate dissertation?
  10. I think it would be pushing it to have a chapter less than 2 pages but, other than that, I don’t think you need to have a specific length.
  11. I’ve been working on the series on and off for years now.
  12. BREAK.
  13. BREAK.
  14. It could be any (or all) of the following: 1 – I’ve read & enjoyed something else by the author. 2 – It’s recommended by someone here. 3 – I want to support the author. 4 – I just like the look/sound of it. 5 – The price.
  15. While I do have copies of The Elements of Style and On Writers & Writing; I have yet to actually plow through them so I think I have to say On Writing by Stephen King for now.
  16. Hmmm… Writing – How to plan things better. Editing – How not to put in as much as I take out. Marketing – Everything.
  17. That I have a long, long, long way to go.
  18. I think I have to say writing, since I can actually accomplish that occasionally.
  19. BREAK.
  20. BREAK.
  21. Well, Halloween was always a fun time at Shadowcroft so I think that’s probably Ash’s favourite.
  22. Not any traditions exclusive to the Valerian family but there are some for the greater Ceteri family as a whole. Most of those are more to avoid detection than anything else.
  23. BREAK.
  24. BREAK.
  25. BREAK.
  26. BREAK.
  27. BREAK.
  28. Well, I did meet my Goodreads reading challenge (or will have by the end of today), even though it involved more re-reads than I would have preferred.
  29. I’ll be continuing to work on book 3, House in Exile. Beyond that, I don’t know.
  30. I would really like to get the first draft of book 3 done. How to accomplish that, and any other goals, I’m still trying to work out.
  31. We moved house so I now have a proper library area.


  1. I’m supposed to be Drew. Blogger here at The Scribblings, contributor to Booknest & attempted writer.
  2. At the risk of sounding all self-helpy or something, I’ll be working on me. I want to get a better handle on what I should be doing and what I want to accomplish going forward, e-assessing my priorities, that sort of thing.
  3. See below.
  4. Chocolate Chip. Pretty boring, I know.
  5. Freshly baked bread. Pine trees. Strawberries.
  6. It was still light enough outside that I could see daylight edging around the blinds, creeping past to stripe the cheap carpet. I wouldn’t have to wait long. The best thing about winter; longer periods of darkness I could use to travel.
  7. Technically the major events take place in books 1 & 2. Book 1 mainly deals with the beginnings of De Vries’ campaign against the Curia. Book 2 has Ash being accused of responsibility for those attacks and his subsequent exile.
  8. I’ve seen & read enough time travel stories to know how easy it is to make a mess of things so I’d be wary about going back. Although it would be tempting to tell my younger self to pay more attention to my health.
  9. Ash doesn’t really have time for hobbies nowadays. But pre-book 1, the most likely was playing video games with Casey.
  10. See below.
  11. I’d recommend: M.L. Spencer, C.T. Phipps, Dyrk Ashton, A.M. Justice, Alex Micati, Elizabeth Mays, Ben Galley, D.M. Newlun, J.C. Kang, J.M. Sullivan, Rob J. Hayes, Jessica Julien, Jonathan French, Ari Meghlan, R.J. Barker, Rachel Poli, Kerri Davidson and Amber Elzinga.
  12. Going insane, like his late brother.
  13. “Look, kid,” Quinn said, turning me to face him. “Ah know you killed folk afore, but that was when it was you or them. Ya ain’t killed no-one cold, execution-like. Ya ain’t that kinda person.” I met his gaze, steady. “Maybe I need to be.”
  14. I think I’d probably prefer the TV route and have more time to explore.
  15. I have a few shortlisted: When the Levee Breaks – Led Zeppelin. Push the Sky Away – Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds. Breathe You In – Stabbing Westward. Sleeping with Ghosts – Placebo.
  16. About as well as anything else has gone this year.
  17. See below.
  18. Can we see if David Fincher is available?
  19. It’s entirely possible I just spent too long thinking about this… see below.
  20. “Helluva way to be spendin’ New Year’s,” Quinn grumbled, pouring himself another measure. He proffered the bottle to Casey. She took it; sniffed, shrugged, poured. “I’ll be glad to see the back of these holidays anyway.”
  21. They celebrate most of the common holidays, Christmas, New Year, Halloween, etc. Coincidentally, the other date all Ceteri celebrate is the Winter Solstice. There is a large gathering at the House of whoever leads the Curia that night.
  22. Halloween (although not this year), Christmas. One holiday I do miss celebrating, ever since I moved to the states, is Guy Fawkes/bonfire night.
  23. The main tradition we have is decorating the tree together (we often pick up new ornaments when we take a trip somewhere), usually with either Elf, National Lampoons Christmas Vacation or A Christmas Story on in the background.
  24. See below.
  25. BREAK.
  26. BREAK.
  27. She had a number of scars, thin lines crisscrossing her back. Most were faint, years old. The only thing I could think was that they were whip marks. She said nothing, offered no explanation & the look she had was enough to stop me asking.
  28. I would really like to get the first draft of book 3 done. How to accomplish that, and any other goals, I’m still trying to work out.
  29. Stop De Vries doing any more damage. Clear his name and get his people out from under their death sentences.
  30. It hasn’t been great. Not just because of COVID but obviously that hasn’t helped any.


  1. Hello everyone. *waves* I’m still Drew and looking forward to getting back some sense of what I’m doing.
  2. “A single explosion might have been accidental but this was a chain of them in rapid succession.” She finished collecting her things & closed the suitcase. “My employer wants me home in case this is the start of something new.”
  3. Since it would have been when I was in primary school (back in the 1780’s), I’m thinking it would have been a pencil.
  4. Ash’s full name is Ashwin Milius Ciarán Valerian. His father, Matthias, chose the first 2 after his mentor and father respectively. The third is for his mother Miranda’s father. As for nicknames (besides Ash), his Uncle Marcus would call him “little one’, due to his youth & since he’s half a foot shorter than either his father or uncles. Quinn nearly always calls him “kid”. His cousin Elizabeth often calls him “Ash, you idiot.”
  5. I can remember writing an adventure/mystery one involving diamond smugglers and a fantasy one heavily influenced by The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe during primary school but I honestly couldn’t say which came first.
  6. Considering we’re talking about something from when I was 7 or 8, pretty much everything.
  7. Well, I’d need to be brave enough to submit something first…
  8. At least as far as Ash is concerned, there’s a period of self-doubt and self-blame before he gets himself together and moves forward.
  9. “Hell, kid.” Quinn said, buffeting me on the shoulder. “We’re wanted men now. An’ dangerous.” He gave me a wink as he knocked back another drink. “Lotta chicks love that sorta thing. Mitsuko probably ain’t that different.”
  10. The House Valerius series is urban fantasy and I’d like to think that’s the target audience.
  11. Ash’s birthday is June 22nd. I chose it because it’s Bruce Campbell’s birthday and I named the character after his role in the Evil Dead films.
  12. I want to say The Hobbit but I’m not 100% certain.
  13. Ash was born at Shadowcroft Manor in Cornwall, U.K. He is currently about 5,000 miles away.
  14. A doggo curled up next to me.
  15. Having friends like Quinn and Casey close by for support.
  16. I awoke with a start, fingers already scrabbling for the gun at my bedside. I sat up, bringing the gun around in an arc, taking aim. I put the sights where the center mass of anyone coming through the door would be & waited.
  17. I think I’m okay with most endings, providing it’s satisfying for the story that’s been told. Other than that, the main thing I have issue with is endings that seem overly neat & tidy. Not sure if my own reflects that or not.
  18. Just starting Agent G: Infiltrator by C.T. Phipps.
  19. Well, the instigating event (going back to book 1) is when De Vries instigates a bombing of Wallach Medical, one of House Valerius’ private clinic/blood depository.
  20. Read – “It is important, when killing a nun, to ensure that you bring an army of sufficient size.” Red Sister by Mark Lawrence. Written – “Yer a fuckin’ liar, MacReady.” – War Stories.
  21. If Ash was to die, I’m not sure how the story would end other than House Valerius would remain disgraced. Some of the main supporting cast would continue to try fighting De Vries, some might decide to go into hiding.
  22. Book 1, about 2-3 times so far. Book 2, just once. Book 3, about half a dozen times so far.
  23. The man picked up a mobile phone, hidden from view behind his laptop. He pressed a button on it, glancing at the small screen. He replaced it, then said with a note of triumph, “I’ll need you both to prove you aren’t wearing wires.”
  24. No, but Ash’s aunt is pregnant. Ash has been worried about her since Ceteri pregnancies are often difficult.
  25. I’m not sure I have a good answer to this. Partly because I haven’t worked out the end yet, partly because (so far) the only ones that I know will be with Ash are ones he met prior to book 1.
  26. Right now, probably slim. Plus, given that Ceteri age approx. 1 year for every 30, Ash would need to live a long time before he looked ‘a ripe old age’.
  27. I have an unhealthy habit of trying to ignore it until it gets the better of me and I short-circuit. Something else for me to be working on.
  28. Sneak away and hide out somewhere quiet. Or if that doesn’t work, target practice.
  29. I think I’d talk to some writers here that I admire & value their opinions. If they think it has merit, then I’d try to publish. If they don’t, well…
  30. “Much as I would hate to bring this arrangement to a premature end,” De Vries’ voice was warm as if discussing a game he was confident he’d already won. “The moment you become a liability & not the distraction I need, it’s over.”
  31. Traditionally published fiction: Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin. Traditionally published non-fiction: Fear & Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72 – Hunter S. Thompson. Independently published fiction – Joint between Sword of Kaigen by M.L. Wang and Dragon Mage by M.L. Spencer.

As Always, Thanks to the hosts:

#TheMerryWriter – Ari Meghlen & Rachel Poli

#WriterChronicles – Amber Elzinga

#WriterlyWIPChat – Kerri Davidson & Mark Gelinas, Sr.

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