Our Summer Adventure ~ Week Eight: The Key

Image credit: outsiderzone / 123RF Stock Photo

Image credit: outsiderzone / 123RF Stock Photo

Wow! The summer is winding down, but the story is heating up! Keep your ideas coming, we’ve got a few more weeks until the final showdown. Don’t forget, you can catch up on all the past installments by clicking the link above for Our Summer Adventure. A special thank you to Richard Snow for giving me the idea for this week’s story. I didn’t have the gun misfire, but that got me thinking of what else could happen. I hope you enjoy it! Read on…

Our Summer Adventure ~ Week Eight: The Key

Roarke snuggled the revolver against Ethan’s temple, a devilish smirk on his face. Ethan’s calm stare moved from him to his sister, the intent clear in his mind.

“Roarke, don’t do this.” Hannah pleaded, but it was too late. Roarke was committed, his finger already pulling back on the trigger.

A soft click echoed through the room, then all hell broke loose.

Rori slammed her palm against Roarke’s face, breaking his nose at the same time Ethan reached for the gun. A shot rang out, followed by a curse from Hannah. Blood spread across her stomach, staining the blue gown she wore.

“You asshole, you shot me!”

Roarke’s reply was to drag Rori from the room and into the darkness beyond.

“Go, I’ll be fine. Get your sister, Ethan.” Hannah staggered against the wall before slumping to the floor.

“She can take care of herself. We need to get you to Lilliana.” He knelt in front of her, prodding where she’d been shot.

“That hurts, you bastard.”

“I would imagine so. This won’t feel so good either,” he pressed firmly into her flesh and she cried out. “We can’t wait for Lilliana, I need to get the bullet out.”

“Why?”

“The fae can’t stand metal to be under our skin. It affects us, makes us lose our fae qualities.”

Hannah’s fingertips fluttered around her unadorned earlobe. “Would it make you appear human?”

“Perhaps. I need you to lay flat, there’s a good girl. This might sting.” Hannah drew a deep breath and nodded.

Ethan ripped her gown a few inches and delicately inserted his finger into the wound. She writhed in pain and called him several choice names. Thankfully, the bullet wasn’t deep, but it took a few tense minutes to extricate it.

“The next time I get shot, just leave it.”

He wrapped the bit of metal in his handkerchief and tucked it into his pocket. “Let’s just make certain there isn’t a next time.” Hannah started to move, but he placed a hand on her shoulder. “Relax for a moment, there’s something I need to find.”

He shuffled to the ornate desk they’d been searching when Roarke entered and pulled open the bottom drawer. Files and papers filled the entire space with nothing beneath them. He shoved the files aside, running his fingers along the sides of the drawer and then across the bottom. When he found what he was looking for, he reached under the ledge where his fingers tripped a switch.

An audible click released the false bottom of the drawer. Inside lay an intricate carving of a single branch and three leaves. It was heavier than wood, possibly wrought iron, which made Ethan chuckle with the irony.

“What’s so funny?”

Ethan held up the piece.

“You found the device. But how?”

“One of Rori’s tricks. She used her connection to Roarke to suss out its hiding place. Just before he pulled the trigger, his thought focused on this.” He turned the device over in his hand. “Do you know how it works?”

“Somewhat. I think I could get it to open the door. Help me up, we should find Rori before Roarke does anything to harm her.”

Ethan pocketed the key and helped Hannah to sit. When she stood she wobbled against him. “We’re getting you to Lilliana. Rori knows what she’s doing.” His eyes met hers, cold steel in her pale, pale face. “Hannah, it was always the plan to get Rori captured. We didn’t tell you because we knew you’d object. Now, we need to stop this bleeding or you won’t make it to the hotel.”

He ripped the lining from his jacket and pressed it against her abdomen, then knelt in front of her to remove her shoes.

“What are you doing?” Her words were a bit slurred.

“We need to get out of here without anyone suspecting anything. Hopefully Roarke is busy with Rori and hasn’t alerted his guards to us, but we’ll have to take our chances. Frankly, I’m surprised no one’s been in here yet to finish what Roarke started.” He slipped off his jacket and put it on her, apologizing with each wince of pain. She leaned against the wall looking wan, but otherwise gorgeous.

“What the hell are you doing?” She jerked her head away from his hands as he mussed up her hair. “That style took all afternoon in a salon to get.”

“Yes, and it should’ve taken me fifteen minutes in bed to undo it.” He gave her a pointed look and she grinned with understanding. No one would question her sluggish walk if they thought her drunk and recently bedded. “There’s just one more thing to make it authentic.”

He pressed his lips to hers, expertly smearing her lipstick. It was a seductive shade of red that he wouldn’t mind wearing again, and again. Except this was a job and Hannah nothing more than a means to an end.

“Wait.” She said, her voice husky, “To really sell it.” She stretched up to his neck and ran her lips over his skin, nipping at his earlobe and then giving lush grazes across his chin to the collar of his shirt. She unfastened his bow tie and loosened several buttons, kissing his chest with each one. When she finished, she looked up at him with a wicked glint in her beautiful eyes. “Ready?”

“You’re evil.”

“I know.”

Is it hot in here, or is that just Ethan and Hannah? Whew.

What the heck is Rori thinking? Why would she offer herself up to Roarke? Is Hannah using Ethan like he’s using her? Or is he just using her?

What’s Roarke hiding behind the special door?

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Our Summer Adventure ~ Week Seven: The Gamble

Image credit: outsiderzone / 123RF Stock Photo

Image credit: outsiderzone / 123RF Stock Photo

This week’s installment gives us Rori’s point of view. Thank you to Kristy K James for the fabulous idea! Also, thanks for suggesting Ethan take both women to the party. I’m loving all of your suggestions, and even if I don’t use them the next week, I keep them percolating in my mind. Shapeshifter, anyone? Yeah, that was Gayle’s idea and I think it’s a good one. If you need to catch up on the past weeks, click on the page above under Our Summer Adventure. And be sure to leave a comment where you think the story should go next.

Our Summer Adventure ~ Week Seven: The Gamble

Rori sauntered into the expansive foyer of Governor Roarke’s Bel Air home on the arm of her brother. He looked devastatingly handsome in his tuxedo and midnight bow tie. Of all the arguments they had the previous night, his clothing choice had lasted the longest.

Rori glanced over to Hannah, who looked equally stunning on Ethan’s right. Ethan had argued for her to remain at the hotel with Lilliana, but Hannah refused to let him and Rori go to the governor’s party without her.

“Ready?” Hannah asked, looking past Ethan to her.

Rori gave a quick nod. She was to be the bait that evening. While she distracted Roarke, Hannah and Ethan would search his office for something Hannah called ‘the device’. It was the key to Roarke’s operation and they needed it to bring him down.

Ethan flexed his arm, tightening his grip on her. “You don’t have to do this.”

“Yes, I do.” For more reasons than Ethan would ever understand.

“Be careful.” He stiffened suddenly and Rori glanced up to find a man and woman, both stunning in black, turning to regard them.

“Hannah?” The man said, ignoring Rori and Ethan. “I didn’t think you’d come.” He took Hannah’s hands into his and kissed her fingertips. “I’m glad to be proven wrong.”

“Governor Roarke, I’d like to introduce you to Ethan Donovan. He works for my father, and this is Rori, his companion.”

Roarke’s eyes skimmed past Ethan to Rori, “It’s my pleasure.” He took her hands and kissed them much as he did Hannah’s, but lingered long enough she felt his breath against her skin. He inhaled then rubbed her fingers against his cheek. “You smell divine.”

The smile Roarke gave her made her insides recoil, but she giggled, playing the part.

“I see you’ve found a new playmate.” Hannah said, indicating the woman behind Roarke.

He cut her a glance then snorted. “Not here, Hannah. Not tonight. Why don’t you and your friend go get a drink. I’d like to get to know Rori a bit better.”

Hannah shrugged and pulled Ethan away from them. They disappeared into the crowd, but Rori felt Ethan’s presence, could look up at any moment and find him. He would never truly be far from her, even if they were a continent apart, she could sense his feelings. Right then they were conflicted. Not just about her, but Hannah as well.

His original plan was to use Hannah to gain access to Maxim’s vaults, but something had happened. If she wasn’t mistaken, Ethan cared for the girl, which caused Rori no small amount of concern. He’d never let his feelings get in the way of his job. Ever.

“Rori?” Roarke was staring at her and she pulled her thoughts away from her brother.

He led her through the room, making introductions to people whose names she recognized. Some were in politics, others the film industry. The gorgeous woman in black followed them everywhere, but never spoke to Roarke. Only once did he acknowledge her, and only then to send her to fetch them drinks.

“Who is she?” Rori asked once the woman left.

“No one of consequence.” His gaze flicked around the room and then back to her. “Hannah seems to have disappeared.”

“Would you like me to find her?” Rori kept her tone neutral. Ethan and Hannah were, at that moment, in Roarke’s office.

“In a minute. Tell me, beautiful Rori, how did you become Donavan’s companion?”

It took Rori a second to realize he meant Ethan. “He won me in a game of cards.”

Roarke chuckled and the sound grated down her spine. In the hour she’d spent with him, she saw every possible contrivance of hospitality, but no genuine humanity. The tales Hannah had told them were taking on new meaning the longer she spent with Roarke. Silently she willed Ethan to find what they were looking for so they could leave. The less time she spent with Roarke, the better.

The woman in black returned without drinks and whispered in Roarke’s ear. He scratched at his chin before turning his dead grey eyes on her.

“Your companion is a gambler then? I think I’d like to wager a bet with him. Perhaps I can be as lucky. Come with me.” He grabbed her wrist and pulled her along behind him until they reached a closed door. Deep inscriptions etched across the surface shifted at Roarke’s touch.

Rori gasped despite herself. The door was carved from a living tree, one from a sacred grove found only in Wales.

“Have no fear, my darling. The door won’t bite. Unless you try to harm me.” His voice cut through her marrow, chilling her.

“I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Roarke ignored her lie. “Stay close. I wouldn’t want you to wander off without me.” They moved through several darkened rooms with Roarke leading the way. The woman in black stayed behind and with each new room, Rori’s apprehension grew.

“Where are we going?”

“Shhh, not a sound. We’re nearly there.”

His grip tightened to the point of pain, but she kept quiet. A light in the next room lit up Roarke’s silhouette and she saw the grim set of his jaw. As they got nearer, Rori heard Ethan’s deep voice. She willed Ethan to feel her presence, to leave before she and Roarke got there. Cold metal pressed against her lips. “Shhh.” He raised the gun for Rori to see and she nodded.

Roarke pushed opened the door with cat-like grace. Neither Hannah nor Ethan noticed until it was too late.

Roarke’s tsk pulled their attention away from the search. “Hannah. I expected more from you, my kitten. You of all people should know I don’t keep anything important here.”

Hannah glared at him. “Let her go. She has nothing to do with this.”

Ethan stepped in front of Hannah, shielding her from the gun in Roarke’s hand. Rori heard a thundering sound in her ears, like the rush of blood, but it wasn’t her own. It was Ethan’s adrenaline. Cool, calm Ethan was frightened. For her. For Hannah. She swayed against the intensity of his feelings.

Roarke pulled her roughly up to stand in front of him. “I seriously doubt that. I think I’ll keep her, she can be your gift to me.”

“No, please. Take me and let her go.” Hannah stepped around Ethan’s bulk. A wild fear hid in the depths of Hannah’s eyes. Rori understood the sacrifice she was bartering on her behalf.

“Roarke,” Ethan said quietly, “let the women go. I’m worth ten times what you could get for them.”

“I hear you’re a gambling man, Donovan. All or nothing. What do you say?”

“What do you have in mind?” Ethan asked.

Roarke emptied the gun of all but one bullet. “If you live, I’ll let the three of you leave unscathed. If you die, I take Hannah and Rori for my own pleasures.”

“You’re mad! Ethan, don’t. You can’t risk your life for us. Please, Roarke, let them go. I’ll stay with you as long as you want. I promise not to leave. Just don’t hurt them.”

Roarke glared at Hannah. “Begging? I thought I raised you better than that. What do you care for this human trash?” He stepped beside Ethan and held the gun to the side of his head. “You disappoint me, Hannah.”

The room grew heavy as his finger pulled back on the trigger. Ethan stared calmly into her eyes, an unspoken command passed between them.

Just before the gun fired she closed her eyes.

Did Roarke kill Ethan?

Our Summer Adventure ~ Week Six: The Plan

Image credit: outsiderzone / 123RF Stock Photo

Image credit: outsiderzone / 123RF Stock Photo

What an amazing week I had in Atlanta for RWA Nationals! There will be pictures and stories for you on Friday. We’ll also start the voting to name our lady teacup dragon.

But first… Hannah and Ethan are back! We left them in the director’s office, with Maxim wondering if Ethan had come there to kill him. To catch up on all the installments, you can click on the Our Summer Adventure page above, or click here for week five. Remember, this story is what you make of it, so leave a comment telling us where you think the story will go next.

Our Summer Adventure ~ Week Six: The Plan

The thought that Ethan had come there to murder her father never occurred to Hannah. As she stood stick straight, her back to the window, her gaze fixed on Ethan, she waited for his response. Ready to act.

“Kill you?” Ethan’s full lips pulled up at the corners in a friendly smile, “Not today.” Then he pushed away from the desk, his gaze going to her. “Ms. James, I’d like to go to my hotel now, if you wouldn’t mind driving me.” It wasn’t a question, but a command.

“You won’t be staying offsite, we’ve prepared a room for you here.” Maxim said before Hannah had a chance to refuse.

The smile widened, creating a little divot in Ethan’s right cheek. The impulse to kiss the dimple rocked her. The man was dangerous, assassin or no. She needed to keep her distance from him.

“That would be best for you, but I’ll stay at the hotel. I’m sure you understand my need for autonomy.”

The director regarded Ethan for several moments before he swore under his breath. “Very well. Hannah will take you wherever you like.”

“Sir, perhaps you should have someone else take Mr. Carmichael. As you said, I’m well-known to the governor. I shouldn’t be seen with this man.” Her pitiful argument fell on stone ears.

“You’ll stay with Mr. Carmichael as long as necessary.” Her father looked at her then, a silent order in the blue depths. She couldn’t deny him. Wouldn’t go against his authority.

“Excellent. Now that that’s settled, Ms. James,” Ethan held his arm out to the side, indicating she should pass in front of him. She kept her focus straight ahead, ignoring the warm scent of him. “Max, it’s been a pleasure. When will I meet with the governor?”

Her father ignored the informal address, which Hannah knew was difficult for the director. “Tomorrow night. You’ll attend a function he has planned. Hannah will be your date.”

Hannah spun around, “You can’t be serious. Roarke knows me. If he sees me with Ethan, he’ll suspect something.”

“Which is precisely why you’re going. It will unbalance him.”

A thrum of dread coursed through her. She wasn’t ready to see him again. Not after what he did to her. After what she stopped him from doing to her. Ethan moved closer and she wanted to lean into his strength, to feel his arms around her and know in her marrow she’d be safe. What had gotten into her? She didn’t need a man to protect her. Didn’t want one, in fact.

“Hannah, I won’t jeopardize your safety. Surely there is someone else.” Ethan’s breath fluttered across her cheek with each word. He was too close and yet not close enough.

She stepped away from him, from her traitorous thoughts. “No. There is no one else. Father is right, it must be me.”

Maxim watched her with those eyes that gave nothing away, but that she’d learned years ago to decipher. He was using her as bait. Again. “Tomorrow night, then.” He dipped his head in the odd way he had of dismissal. Before she turned, she caught the smallest movement of his lips. A frown, perhaps? Did Maxim Drake have some humanity after all?

She almost laughed at the thought. Of course he didn’t. Any man who could offer his daughter to someone like Roarke . . .  she stopped herself. That was the past. Since returning from the governor, Maxim had been making an effort. It was a start.

They passed the two guards on their way out. Each stared ahead, but saw everything that happened around them. The briefest of nods passed between them. A silent acknowledgement between comrades.

“Hannah?” Ethan’s silken voice wrapped around her, “Are you well?” He took her elbow as they walked down the long corridor to the elevator.

“Fine, thanks.” She moved her arm out of his grip and jabbed at the button.

“You don’t seem fine. If tomorrow night is too difficult for you, we can get someone else. Rori, perhaps.”

The idea of Rori going anywhere near the monster ate at Hannah. He’d love her. She was perfect for him, which meant Rori might be better bait than herself. Except, she couldn’t do that to the girl. “You don’t know what you’re offering, Ethan. Keep your sister far from the governor, if you want her to stay alive.”

They were silent the rest of the way through the complex. When they reached the car, Ethan slid into the front passenger seat. His proximity unnerved her. “What are you doing?”

“What if I want you to stay alive? I know what the governor is doing, Hannah and I’ve a good suspicion why you didn’t turn up in any of the files on Maxim. I’m not really here to work out a truce, as I suspect you know. How can I protect you while accomplishing my task?”

“I’m fairly adept at protecting myself.”

A wicked smile crooked up his lips. “Yes, you are. But this is different. Let me take Rori tomorrow night. You can tell us about Roarke, things only you could know. I can’t risk sending you back there.”

Hannah’s stomach spasmed out of fear or desire, she wasn’t sure. “You don’t know what you’re asking, Ethan. He’ll want Rori and what Roarke wants, he gets. If you knew the horror of that man,” she pushed aside the images that swirled in her mind, “you wouldn’t be offering up your sister so casually.” The bitterness in her tone cut through her words to her anger at her father.

“Rori knows the risks. That’s why she’s here, Hannah.” His warm hand cupped her cheek and she stiffened lest she melt into it. His thumb stroked along her jaw. “We’ll talk at the hotel and you can decide after you’ve heard our plan.”

“What plan?” Perhaps he really was there to kill Roarke. Possibly her father as well.

“Not now. We have an audience.” His glance flicked to the doorway where one of Maxim’s guards stood watching them. Ethan settled back against the seat, leaving her skin cold where his hand had been.

She wasn’t sure what she wanted more, for him to tell her the plan, or to kiss her.

Now it’s your turn. Is Ethan there to kill Roarke? Maxim? Will Rori stand in for Hannah at the governor’s party? What happens next?

Our Summer Adventure ~ Week Two: The Passenger

Image credit: outsiderzone / 123RF Stock Photo

Image credit: outsiderzone / 123RF Stock Photo

You all had some fabulous ideas last week! I sort of took bits from all of you and incorporated them into this week’s story. Some of them will come out later in the story… they were too good not to use! Click here if you missed Week One: The Arrival. Here we go ~

Week Two: The Passenger

Hannah slammed the car into low, wincing at the grind the engine made. It sputtered, but kept running. At least that was a good sign.

The motorcyclist slowed to keep pace with her, but had to swerve around a mini-van. Hannah punched the gas and slipped the car into drive, feeling the rev of the engine beneath her feet. With barely a glance she sliced against two lanes of traffic. Horns blared, but she ignored them. Just one more lane and she could exit the freeway. Another quick look at the cyclist and she breathed a sigh of relief. He hadn’t expected evasive maneuvers on her part.

A jag of pain shot down her right arm. Another honk and she was hurtling off the freeway, the motorcyclist too far ahead to follow.

“You’re hurt.” Ethan’s words came close beside her. His thick brogue made something soft curl in her belly. “Hold still.”

“Mr. Carmichael, please. I need you to stay in your seat, safely belted in.” She yanked the car into a hard right, suppressing a grin when Ethan braced against the seat. Another right followed by a left and she eased into the flow of traffic.

He placed a hand on her shoulder, steadying her. A thrumming warmth spread over and down her arm, culminating in a sharp prick. She sucked in her breath to keep from swearing. It wouldn’t do to get written up. Again.

“That’s better.” Ethan held a jagged piece of mirror, it’s tip a watery shade of crimson. “Do you have a first aid kit? I could stitch this while you drive.”

“I’m sure you could, but really I’d prefer it if you’d sit back and buckle up. I’m sure our friend is looking for us.” She eyed him in the broken mirror. Tiny frown lines pinched his forehead. Dark brows framed his hazel eyes. “Can you think of any reason why someone would want you dead?”

“Several, actually.”

She didn’t doubt it. She had read the dossier, knew that Ethan Carmichael was brought in on special assignment for The Company. Something to do with the governor, but Hannah wasn’t cleared for that knowledge.

Ethan settled against the seat, once more buckling his belt. He placed a hand possessively atop the garment bag. For the second time that morning, Hannah felt a strange burning deep in her sternum. Not a pleasant feeling.

A moment before she saw the motorcyclist she heard him. Ethan glanced out the window at the same time Hannah jerked the car to the left into a narrow side street. She gunned the engine and raced toward a dead end.

“Miss James? You’re running out of road.”

“Hold onto something, and whatever you do, don’t get out of this car.” Hannah looked pointedly at the garment bag beside him. “Understood?”

His features set into a grim line, but he nodded. “What are you going to do?”

“End this.” The rev of engine behind them alerted her to the motorcyclist’s proximity. “Get down, Mr. Carmichael.”

Ethan bent low over the bundle on the seat. The cyclist raised his gun and Hannah counted to three before she slammed on the brakes. A whimper came from the back seat and Hannah cast a quick glance over her shoulder making sure Ethan was secure before she yanked on the steering wheel.

The car spun around and clipped the front wheel of the motorcycle, sending bike and rider sliding. Hannah was halfway out the door before the car stopped its spin. She caught the cyclist mid-crouch, landing a kick to his ribs. A decidedly feminine grunt came from behind the dark helmet, followed by several swear words in as many languages.

The leather-clad biker sprang up, fists a haze of motion. Hannah was ready for the attack. A quick block, several jabs, and a knee to the groin followed by a roundhouse kick brought the biker down.

In an instant Ethan was there, kneeling on the biker’s back, limp hands held in his own. “Well done, Miss James.” There was a hint of humor behind his accent.

“I thought I told you to stay in the car.”

Ethan’s look made her knees feel as creamy as honey on toast. “I rarely do as told.”

He pushed the helmet off their mysterious biker, revealing a shock of red hair. Hannah knelt in front of the woman, studying her features. “I don’t recognize her, do you?”

After securing her ankles with the same plastic binders he used on her wrists, Ethan lifted the biker over his shoulder. “When she comes to, we’ll get our answers.” Without waiting for a reply, he took the biker to the car and placed her in the front seat.

Suspicious thoughts tickled Hannah’s mind. Traitorous, even. She grabbed the helmet and strode to the motorcycle, looking for anything that might give her an idea of who the woman was. She tugged the keys from the ignition, two keys and a fob with an elaborate design, Celitc maybe. She pocketed the keys and picked a small piece of paper out from beneath the seat. There was gibberish scrawled over the paper. Letters and numbers that made no sense to her. She added the paper to her pocket before joining Ethan at the car.

Despite the large dent in the front bumper, the engine started up on the first try.

Ethan leaned back against the seat, looking relaxed in his grey suit. Once again she wondered what the dossier had failed to mention about her passenger. Her glance went to the bag at his side.

“This might be a good time for you to tell me who you really are, and about our other passenger.”

Now it’s your turn! We had some great ideas of who you thought the passenger was last week (a space alien, a child with special powers), are there any other ideas for who he/she/it is? What about the assassin? Who sent her and why? Is Hannah good or bad? What about Ethan? Is he a rogue operative or someone caught in a bad situation? Let’s have more fun next week!

Dragon Names and Writing Games ~ Reader Interactive

Summer’s here and I thought for a bit of fun, we could write a story together. Each week I’ll post a bit of the story and you’ll leave comments about where you think the story should go. For those of you who read Amber West’s blog, yep, I totally borrowed this idea from her. You can read all of her installments here.

What do we need to get started? A hero and a heroine. In the comments, leave your choice for their names. If you think they are human, werewolves, or a pelican, leave that, too.

Let’s make this totally wild and say the adventure will be beyond the boundaries of any one genre. Meaning, we can have shape shifters, magic, a new world, it can be from 1920’s New York, or modern day Paris. The story can go wherever we want it to go. It’s up to you and me.

Where do you think the story should start? In space? On a boat? Just please, don’t say in a fake hospital room with the hero having amnesia. Seriously.

Once we get the characters and location, I’ll write up the beginning of the tale and next week you’ll help me decide something else for the story. I hope you’ll enjoy this as much as I know I will.

The second thing I need your help with is…

Laird Sapir has been hard at work creating a new website for me (which is fabulous, by the way!), and she created the sweetest little teacup dragon as my logo/mascot. The only thing is, the dragon needs a name!

I’ve thought about it until my mind went fuzzy, but just can’t come up with the right name. SO, I’m asking for you to help me name the teacup dragon. I’ll keep the naming open until the website is ready to go live, then I’ll put all the names to a vote. You’ll get to vote on your favorite from all the entries!

Want to meet her? Here she is, the sweetest little teacup dragon I’ve ever seen.

Teacup Dragon

She looks great as either her pink and sparkly self, or in silhouette. I need to have this put on a t-shirt or something. Don’t you think? Love her!dragon-teacup-3

What name would you give her? I need your help! I know I’ve tasked you with a lot this week, but I have every faith that you’ll come through.

I look forward to reading your name choices for the dragon, and your story ideas. The first installment of our tale will be June 4th. Let the fun begin!

Fantasy Friday First Look

So there I was, debating which character I should interview for the blog when the ever gorgeous and super sweet Debra Kristi tagged me in a new meme that’s making its way around the blogosphere. It’s called the Look game.

I suppose that’s because the rules say something like, you’re supposed to run a search in your work in progress for the word “look” and then paste the surrounding paragraph(s), tagging as many people as possible.

Simple enough. And since it’s Friday, it had to be my fantasy, The Temple of Ardyn. So here goes:

Instead of a storeroom filled with casks of ale and old chairs, Taryn stared into a gaping blackness. “Bloody hell.”

Brandt reprimanded her for cursing and she mumbled an apology, eyes fixed on the emptiness in front of her. “Take my hand and whatever you do, don’t let go.” Brandt gripped her hand in his. “There’s no telling where you might end up.”

“Where does it lead?” The darkness pulled at her with a curious desperation.

“Aelinae, darling.” His hand tightened around hers. Motioning to the now nonexistent doorway he said, “You’d be surprised at what is possible when you look beyond what you think you know.”

At that moment she was certain she knew nothing. Everything she’d been led to believe was made moot by the undulating, seductive void before her. “Portals to other worlds,” she murmured while checking her hold on Brandt’s hand. “Well, let’s see what this Ay-lynn-ay has to offer, shall we?” There was a strength in her voice she hoped conveyed the confidence she didn’t quite feel.

Ooo ~ ~ ~ ooO

Now for the fun part! I get to tag some of you to share a bit of your work in progress. If I tag you and you aren’t up for it, no worries! If I didn’t tag you, but you’d like to participate, that’s awesome. Just let us know in the comments so we can pop over to your blog and check you out!

Julie Catherine Vigna (her artwork is amazing, please stop by to see it) ** Bethany Lopez ** Callene Rapp ** Gayle Carline ** Louise Behiel ** Rebecca Enzor ** David Walker ** Virginia Ripple **

I look forward to reading all your excerpts, ladies and gent!

Introducing Taryn ~ Kickass Heroine of Aelinae

Blessed Summer Solstice, everyone.

Since yesterday was Taryn’s birthday, I thought it would be fun for us to get to know this character from my fantasy The Temple of Ardyn.

Taryn’s Pendant

Taryn thought her life on Earth was completely normal. Except perhaps, for the charmed pendant she always wore ~ the one that communicated to her with little chirps or songs sung quietly in her mind. Then there’s her grandfather Brandt, who is a bit odd, teaching her a secret language so someday she could speak with faeries and the like. Not to mention the arcane knowledge he taught her instead of more traditional histories. Even so, Taryn never thought her life strange until the day Brandt took her through a portal to another world. A world of beauty where magic dwelled in everything. A world of savage beasts, human and animal alike, who would seek immortality as Gods.

Aelinae. The world where she was born.

~oOOo~

Taryn graciously accepted my invitation to be interviewed on the blog, so thank you Taryn for your time. I know you’re busy these days. First, just let me say Happy Birthday!

Taryn ~ Thanks, but please don’t shout. I had too much spiced ghrom last night.

Spiced ghrom? Is that an Aelinean drink?

Taryn ~ It’s an Eleri drink. Kind of like coffee and chocolate mixed with spices. Usually it doesn’t involve alcohol, but for special occasions they add some. I think it’s 150 Proof. Ouch.

Sounds delicious yet lethal. Being raised on Earth, what was the hardest part of adjusting to Aelinae?

Taryn ~ You mean besides the fact that I can’t get pizza and cheeseburgers? Probably dealing with all the family drama. On Earth I was an only child, here I have relatives everywhere I look. It’s hard to find time alone, you know, just to think.

I can imagine. What are some of the highlights of your new world?

Taryn ~ ShantiMari, definitely. It’s kind of like the Aelinaen version of The Force. Very woowoo mysticism, feel the flow of energy type of thing. Learning to control it is a challenge, but one I’m definitely up for. Just don’t tell anyone how many times I’ve burnt myself by mistake, okay?

Is it dangerous?

Taryn ~ Well, let’s put it this way, you have the ability to create and destroy in equal measure. If you do it wrong, that’s bad. I can be impatient to learn and might try things on my own before I’m ready, so I often get it wrong. I like to think of it as learning on the job. Rhoane would kill me if he knew I told you that. You don’t think he’ll see this, do you?

Can he read English?

Taryn ~ I hadn’t thought of that. No, he can’t. Okay, we’re good.

So, what besides inflicting damage to yourself, what else do you like to do on Aelinae?

Taryn ~ I love showing my friends new things, like how to mix martial arts with sword work or how to surf in the ocean.

You’ve done martial arts since you were little, what belt are you?

Taryn ~ I have no idea. We moved around a lot so my style isn’t one discipline, it’s a mix of many forms which always frustrated the sensei at whatever dojo I attended.

You mentioned swords, are you any good with one?

Taryn ~ I’m getting better. My friend Baehlon is teaching me how not to kill myself.

You’ve got all the makings for a kickass heroine. You’re smart, tough, you’ve got a big heart, and you’re sexy.

Taryn ~ You’re funny. I’m totally not sexy. I’m a tomboy who likes to wear jeans and t-shirts, well, I suppose I have to say leather pants and a jerkin now since they don’t make jeans on Aelinae. That’s another thing I miss about Earth. But, um do you think Rhoane thinks I’m sexy?

I’ve no doubt he does. When you first met him, what did you think of him?

Taryn ~ I thought he was tall. Seriously, he’s like six three or something. Then I thought he had the greatest eye color I’d ever seen. It’s like dried moss you find on trees in really old forests. I’ve never seen anyone with eyes like that.

That’s it? You thought he was tall and liked his eyes? He’s totally hot, you had to at least think he was cute.

Taryn ~ First of all, you have to remember I’d just fallen through a portal to another world. I wasn’t really thinking of anything except where am I? What the hell is going on?

What do you think of Rhoane now?

Taryn ~ {blushes} Next question.

Hmmm, touchy. Since arriving on Aelinae, you’ve undergone some physical changes like your hair turning silver. Do you like the changes?

Taryn ~ My hair turning silver is the least of my worries now! To be honest, when it first started changing I didn’t like it. I wasn’t sure who the girl in the mirror was and I didn’t want to lose the essence of who I am, so I fought it. But I came to realize everything was happening for a reason. I might not like the changes, but they would come no matter my feelings on the matter. I suspect there are more in store for me, so I try not to get too comfortable with what I have at any given moment. I’ve learned everything can be ripped away in less than one beat of your heart.

Let’s not leave the interview on a downer, what are you going to do for the rest of the day?

Taryn ~ Well, it’s summer here, just like it is on Earth, so I’m going to head down to the beach for a picnic with my friends. I’ve been hearing rumors of a war with the West and of course there are pirates in the Summer Seas, so there is never a shortage of excitement around here. I’m just hoping to have one day of peace and quiet. Wish me luck.

From what I’ve heard of Aelinae, Taryn’s going to need all the luck she can get.

~ooOOoo~

Delving into our character’s private lives can be so much fun. What they do when they aren’t on the page, how they dress, the music they listen to, it’s all part of creating a character people relate to.

Do you like to use Pinterest for story boarding? Are you a cork board type visualizer, or do you keep everything in your head? Do you make up backgrounds and stories for your characters? What’s your process for creating them? Share with us, we’d love to know!