Sunday, July 31, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

Here's another six sentences from "Ouroboros", book one of The Zayin Chronicles!

“Well, I never wanted to get involved in—in—whatever this is!”  I jumped up and headed for the door.  There was a large, muscled man blocking my way, his back turned to me.  I reached out to tap his shoulder to ask him to move . . . and my hand passed through him.  I froze and turned toward Zac, wide eyed.  “Am I dead?” I whispered, my voice trembling.

© Brea Essex 2011 ~ No part of this site (written or artwork) may be reproduced in anyway whatsoever without express written consent by Brea Essex.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Short Story Saturday: "Bemused" Part Five

            Darien knocked on Lorelei’s door. “Doing okay in there?”
            She threw the mess of fabric over her shoulders. “Actually, I think I might need some help.”
            He opened the door cautiously; carefully peeking around it to be sure she was covered. He might tease, but he didn’t want to be inappropriate. He could get thrown out of the Temple for even being in her room alone. He left the door ajar behind him as he entered the room. “Jeeze, you’re a mess!” he laughed.
            She looked at him helplessly. “Give me a break. This is the first time I’ve had to wear anything like this.”
            He helped her gather and pin the material with a brooch at each shoulder, then wrapped a belt around her waist. “There! Now you just need some sandals and you’re done.”
            “Thanks.” She looked at him curiously. “Why are you being so nice?”
            He shrugged. “I was new once. In fact, I’m still sort of new.”
            “So, where are we going?” she asked as she found some sandals and slipped her feet into them. She fumbled with the laces for a few minutes. Darien began to laugh again and kneeled down to help her. He laced them up her calves and tied them below her knees. “Can you remember how to do this next time?”
            She blushed. “Of course I can! It’s just a . . . new experience.”
            He smiled as he stood. “Let’s go find you some food. You’re probably starving.”
            “I am,” she admitted, “but I don’t really feel up to meeting a ton of people yet.”
            “You’re going to have to meet everyone sometime. Not all of them are going to wander into your room like me,” he said playfully. “But don’t worry. I know how we can get you some food without ever seeing anyone.”
            “Sounds good to me. Lead the way.”
            They headed out of her room and went the opposite direction of the one she had come earlier that day with Delia. He took her through several halls, and down a spiraling staircase. They had just reached the bottom of the stairs when Lorelei ran smack into someone who had appeared around a corner. It was Delia.
            “Lorelei, I thought you were going to stay in your room all night?” Delia asked.
            “Well, I had planned on it, but then . . .” she gestured helplessly at Darien.
            “Hello, Delia,” he said.
            “So, Lorelei,” Delia said, “how did you meet my brother?”

© Brea Essex 2011 ~ No part of this site (written or artwork) may be reproduced in anyway whatsoever without express written consent by Brea Essex.
*Disclaimer: I do not own the photo used in this post.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Fun Fact Friday: The Other "Logan"

I was sitting here trying to decide what to write about for today, and then I realized something: I promised a post about my other Logan inspiration, Darien!

Now, I was technically “too old” for Sailor Moon when it first came out in the United States. I was 14 when I first saw it. I have to admit; I still watch it now, at almost 30. It’s mostly because of Darien.

The funny thing is that when I first Googled images of Darien Shields, a picture of Chace Crawford popped up, which is who I “cast” as Logan! In fact, it was the exact same picture of him that I used on my Logan casting post. Bizarre, right?

Logan’s black hair comes from Darien. His eyes were almost blue—also because of Darien. They ended up being green because that’s my (and Raena’s) favorite color. His personality is also a little similar—antagonistic in the beginning:

Would do anything to help/protect later on:

Now, I really want to know what’s up with those roses. You wouldn’t think they would do any good! In the manga (comic books), Darien/Tuxedo Mask has actual powers. The roses seem to be nothing more than distractions—but somehow they work.

I also really want to know what’s up with his black mock turtleneck/grey pants/olive green jacket combo that he always seems to wear, but I digress. He’s obviously not the clothes hound that Logan is!
You have to admit though, the tuxedo, mask, cape and top hat are kind of cool.

Even the weird bluish-purple tuxedo and cape he wears as King Endymion.

My favorite is his prince costume/uniform/whatever you want to call it. It’s something Logan would probably wear if he were going with some sort of Medieval look.

In the end, Darien would do anything for Serena, even when he’s “evil”. No, I’m not saying that Logan’s going to turn evil. I’m just saying that he would do anything for Raena.

Sorry for all the pictures! I’m going to leave you with one of my favorite episodes of Sailor Moon. It’s in three parts, thus three videos. YouTube deletes Sailor Moon episodes a lot, but hopefully this one will stay up for a little while. Enjoy!

© Brea Essex 2011 ~ No part of this site (written or artwork) may be reproduced in anyway whatsoever without express written consent by Brea Essex.
*Disclaimer: I do not own the photos or videos used in this post.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thursday Photos: Capitola pier

I already posted this photo on my Facebook page last week, but I thought I'd post it on here so I could talk about it a little.

This has to be one of my favorite photos that I've taken. My dad and I got up at 5:00 am and rushed out to Capitola beach to get photos before the sun came up. This was taken just before sunrise (not that the sun came out--the fog didn't burn off until around 8 or 9 that morning).

I'd almost forgotten how foggy it can really be early in the morning in Capitola, even in the summer. Looking at this picture, it's easy to tell why my character Raena is afraid of the pier, even if you don't factor in her nightmares.

This photo will most likely end up on my website as the backsplash/header. I'll see what my husband decides, since he's the one building my website.

© Brea Essex 2011 ~ No part of this site (written, artwork or photography) may be reproduced in anyway whatsoever without express written consent by Brea Essex.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Why I Love Wednesdays . . . Childhood Book Friend

This week’s “Why I Love Wednesdays . . .” topic is “Childhood Book Friend”. Now, I couldn’t exactly remember what my favorite book was as a child, so I asked my mom. Her response? “I don’t remember. We read a lot of Dr. Seuss.”
Since I barely remember any of Dr. Seuss’ books, I decided to write about Nancy Drew. I know that’s technically more than one book, but series count, right? She was certainly one of my favorite book characters. I’ve always liked strong female characters, ever since I first saw She-Ra (I think I was about 3 when that was on).
I liked Nancy Drew so much that, in fifth grade, I decided to kill her off. I know you’re probably laughing, wondering why on Earth I would kill off my favorite character. Who knows what my 11-year-old brain was thinking? It was my one and only foray into writing mysteries. If I remember correctly, I killed her off by having someone knock a marble pillar on her. I think someone died like that in one of my mom’s novels that I read. My cover was horrid. I took a lot of art classes as a child but alas, I never lived up to the caliber of my dad or grandmother’s artwork. My characters on the cover were probably glorified stick figures. For some reason, though, despite the terrible drawing and somewhat violent nature of my little book, my teacher put it in our class “library”. The class library was full of books that we had made. We would “publish” them by folding plain white paper in half, writing our story on it and then stapling it together with a construction paper cover. I swear the book wasn’t gruesome or anything like that. I’m actually surprised that my teacher didn’t write home to my dad and tell him that I was disturbed and needed counseling. I don’t know why I wrote it. Anyway, I never wrote another mystery (although “The Killing of Nancy Drew” was surprisingly popular among my fifth grade classmates).
But back to Nancy. Even when she worked with the Hardy Boys, she still kicked butt. I didn’t really understand how she solved her mysteries, but she always did. I wasn’t even sure how she kept getting into all these crazy situations. She always managed to get out of them, though.
I eventually stopped reading the Nancy Drew books when my dad decided I was “too old for kids’ books” and literally locked away all my books. It ended up working out though, because that’s when I discovered epic fantasy. It also probably led to my writing YA books today. If I couldn’t read them when I was a teenager, then why not read/write them as an adult?

© Brea Essex 2011 ~ No part of this site (written or artwork) may be reproduced in anyway whatsoever without express written consent by Brea Essex.
*Disclaimer: I do not own the photo used in this post.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I Hope He'll Forgive Me

Here’s this week’s prompt:
300-500 words * original female character * I hope you’ll forgive me

            “Renée, how am I going to look him in the face at every single family gathering for the rest of my life?” Isabel asked her sister.
            “I doubt he’ll be at every family gathering!” Renée said. “His son is marrying your daughter. That doesn’t mean that our families have to socialize.”
            “Yes, but I don’t want Alexis to feel torn between her family and her in-laws.”
            “She won’t. Caleb wouldn’t do that to her.”
            “But his father might.” Isabel sighed. “I don’t know if Nicholas will ever forgive me.”
            Renée took a sip of her coffee and then leaned forward. “It’s not your fault. If anyone needs to ask forgiveness, it’s him.”
            Isabel crossed her arms on the table in front of her. “I gave up on him. Who knows what would have happened if I had stuck around?”
            “Nick treated you like dirt.”
            “I wouldn’t say that exactly,” Isabel said defensively.
            “Your whole relationship was a mess.”
            Isabel snorted indelicately. “If you could even call it a relationship.”
            “Nick was a jerk, plain and simple.”
            “He wasn’t always bad. There were times when things were really great.”
            “And times when he was completely obnoxious and ignored you. He messed with your head and then dropped you—repeatedly.”
            Isabel sighed. She shouldn’t have brought this up to her sister in the first place. Renée had extremely strong opinions about Nicholas . . . she always had. After all, she’d been there to see Isabel’s heart broken by him over and over again. “Well, let’s just hope Caleb doesn’t take after his father.”
            “I doubt he does. He actually asked Alexis to marry him after all.”
            Isabel stared out the window, watching people walk by. “That could have been us. Maybe I gave up too soon.”
            “You put up with his yo-yoing emotions way longer than any sane person would,” Renée said.
            “Stop blaming him for everything, Renée! It wasn’t just him. I’m to blame too. I think he may have been starting to come around, but then I lost my temper.”
            Renée shook her head. “You’re still delusional about him after all these years. Do I need to spell it out for you yet again? He. Didn’t. Love. You.”
            Isabel stared at Renée, angry tears beginning to well in her eyes. “I can’t believe you. Even if that was true, you don’t have to be so hateful about it.”
            “I’m sorry. I just hate that he’s still hurting you after all these years.”
            “I understand. But you’re really not helping.” She drummed her fingers against the table. “Now the question is: Do I tell Lexi or not?”
            “Don’t tell her. You don’t want your daughter getting freaked out and ending her relationship just because her mother dated her future father-in-law.”
            “Yeah, that would freak her out. Okay, we’ll keep this between us.”
            “Maybe I should find someway to apologize to Nicholas,” Isabel said.
            “He doesn’t deserve an apology. He needs to apologize to you. Just let it go.”
            “Fine. I’ll let it go,” Isabel agreed. For now.

*Note: I may eventually extend this into a novel. Leave me a comment and let me know what you think of it!

© Brea Essex 2011 ~ No part of this site (written or artwork) may be reproduced in anyway whatsoever without express written consent by Brea Essex.
*Disclaimer: I do not own the photo used in this post.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Character Archive: Casting Zac Cohen

Since I’ve shared two excerpts from Ouroboros, book one of The Zayin Chronicles, the past two weeks, I thought I would share my “casting” of Zac Cohen. Yes, this is the “hot guy” that my main character Rhiannon sees upon awakening in the hospital.
I chose actor/model Jordan Nichols to “play” Zac. He’s had some bit parts on Disney Channel shows. Here’s clip of one. He enters at about 3:10, if you want to fast-forward.

Now he has a couple of movies coming out. I couldn’t find a clip or trailer for one and the other just looked so bizarre I didn’t bother. But, here’s another picture instead:

Isn’t he cute? Anyway, onto why I chose him as Zac. Zac’s described as really tall, with sandy brown hair and blue eyes. It actually took me a long time to choose someone as my Zac visual, but when I saw Jordan Nichols, I just knew he would be perfect!

What would you like to see next Monday? My casting of Rhiannon? Or should I return to my Foreshadow archives? Let me know in a comment!

© Brea Essex 2011 ~ No part of this site (written or artwork) may be reproduced in anyway whatsoever without express written consent by Brea Essex.
*Disclaimer: I do not own the photos or video used in this post.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

Here's another six sentences from "Ouroboros", book one of The Zayin Chronicles:

I watched in shock as a blade appeared, glinting in the middle of his chest.  The boy’s eyes opened wide, and he slumped to the floor.  I began to scream shrilly, my shrieks reverberating through my head as they bounced around the narrow enclosure behind me.  Another boy stood behind him, his sandy hair gleaming even in the poor lighting.  He twisted the blade in the fallen boy’s body, and then cruelly jerked it out.  He calmly pulled a cloth from his pocket and cleaned the sharp edge that was now dull from a dark substance. 

Check back next Sunday for another six!

© Brea Essex 2011 ~ No part of this site (written or artwork) may be reproduced in anyway whatsoever without express written consent by Brea Essex.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Short Story Saturday: "Bemused" Chapter Four

Chapter One can be found here
Chapter Two can be found here
Chapter Three can be found here

            Lorelei spent the entire first night at the Temple hiding in her room. She didn’t bother going to dinner, even though she was starving. Luckily, she had snuck some snacks into her bags. Who knew what passed for food here? She hadn’t thought everything at the Temple would be so . . . archaic. Sure, she was expecting it to be a little old-fashioned. After all, the Temple of the Muse had been around since ancient Greek times. That was hundreds and hundreds of years ago—maybe even thousands. Lorelei didn’t want to bother to try and figure it out.
            She sat on the floor, sifting through the contents of her suitcases. Maybe she should send some of her regular clothes home to her dad. She wouldn’t be needing most of them here. No, she had to wear the stupid white robes. They weren’t in Greece any more and this was the 21st century! She shouldn’t have to walk around wearing a sheet. What have I gotten myself into? she wondered to herself.
            Her breath caught when the door began to open. Now what?
            She looked up—and up and up. The man standing in the doorway was extremely tall, much taller than her, especially considering her current position on the floor. His hair was as black as midnight, but the eyes were as grey as the sky after a storm.
            She quickly scrambled to her feet. “Hi,” was all she could manage.
            “I’m so sorry!” he exclaimed, flushed despite his golden tan. “Wrong room.”
            He started to walk away. “Wait!” Lorelei shouted, a little louder than she had intended. Why did I do that? she chided herself.
            He paused and turned back toward her. He remained silent as he waited to see what she wanted. “Ummm . . . what’s your name?” she finally asked.
            “Hi. I’m Lorelei.”
            He smiled. “What a beautiful name.”
            Now it was her turn to blush. “Sorry, I don’t know why I stopped you,” she admitted. “It’s just . . . it’s my first night here, and I don’t know anyone.”
            “I was pretty lost on my first night here also. I haven’t been here that long, but do you want me to show you around a little?”
            “Sure!” she agreed eagerly.
            He laughed. “Why don’t I step out for a moment so you can change? You’ll blend in better if you’re wearing these ridiculous robes,” he gestured to the one wrapped around his waist and thrown haphazardly over one shoulder. He leaned closer. “I can’t stand the things,” he whispered conspiratorially, “but that’s the rules. They certainly don’t leave much to the imagination.” He winked and pulled on the hem that hit just above his knee.
            She laughed with him and tried to will herself to keep looking at his face. “I think they left me some robes somewhere. I haven’t tried them on yet.”
            “I’ll wait in the hall. Let me know if you have any trouble with those pins.” He winked once more before closing the door behind him, leaving Lorelei standing in her room wondering what exactly had just happened.

© Brea Essex 2011 ~ No part of this site (written or artwork) may be reproduced in anyway whatsoever without express written consent by Brea Essex.
*Disclaimer: I do not own the photo used in this post.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Fun Fact Friday: The Literary Love of my Life

Well, the wait is over. Today’s the day I’m going to talk about Kellin from The Chronicles of the Cheysuli, my first “literary crush”. I’ve mentioned him in previous posts, which you can find here and here.
First, just look at him. Isn’t he hot? The cover artist did an amazing job on him. (In case you’re wondering, the woman on the cover is named Ginevra—and yes, Genevra from my Shadow Imperium series is named after her.)
You can’t tell in this picture, but Kellin’s eyes are green—this is what started my obsession with guys with dark hair and light eyes (particularly black hair and green eyes—hello Logan Conner!).
Now, I don’t want to ruin the book(s) for everyone, but I’ll do my best to summarize Kellin sans spoilers. Kellin is first introduced at the end of the previous book, called “Flight of the Raven”. At the beginning of “A Tapestry of Lions”, Kellin is ten years old. His grandparents and his great-uncle have raised him since infancy. A tragedy prompts a radical change in Kellin’s personality.
Fast-forward ten years. Kellin is now an adult and has turned his back on his heritage and the prophecy that has been the focus of his people for generations. The only thing he hasn’t turned his back on is his title of Crown Prince, although he ignores the responsibilities that come with it.
At this point, Kellin’s become cocky, self-absorbed—you know, all my favorite qualities in a fictional hero. He’s a drinker and basically a man-whore (neither quality are ones that I like) but there’s still something redeemable about him. It must be the whole tortured thing. His family has spent generations serving a prophecy that Kellin is the last “link” in. He’s the one who’s supposed to fulfill it—but he’s doing everything in his power not to.
I don’t want to give away the ending, so I won’t tell you if Kellin ultimately fulfills the prophecy or not. You’ll have to read it for yourself.
As I mentioned before, Kellin was one of my inspirations for Logan Conner from my Shadow Imperium series. The other was Darien Shields (Mamoru Chiba, to use his Japanese name) from Sailor Moon—I know, I know . . . I have a slight anime obsession. But more about that (and Darien) next week!

© Brea Essex 2011 ~ No part of this site (written or artwork) may be reproduced in anyway whatsoever without express written consent by Brea Essex.
*Disclaimer: I do not own the photo used in this post.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Thursday Photos: Metal Sculpture

I found this metal sculpture one day when I was in San Francisco with my husband. We had gone there specifically to take photos (which I didn't realize was going to include four hours of walking around--not a good day to wear new pointy-toed shoes!). I really liked the way the sunlight hit it (a rarity in and of itself in San Francisco), so I had to take a picture.

Here's another angle, showing the whole sculpture:

Pretty cool, isn't it? Fairly simple, yet intriguing. By the way, I'm pretty sure my husband took this photo, not me. I definitely took the first one, though. If you ever go to San Francisco, CA, then look for this sculpture!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Why I Love Wednesdays . . . Favorite Genre

This week’s Why I Love Wednesdays topic is “Favorite Genre”. Now, I know I mostly write YA, but my favorite genre will forever be epic fantasy. My dad handed me my first epic fantasy book when I was in sixth grade. It was called “Shapechangers”, by author Jennifer Roberson. It’s the first book in an eight-book series called The Chronicles of the Cheysuli. If you like books about shapechangers/shifters, I highly recommend you check it out. They’re only available in omnibus editions now, unless you can hunt the originals down on Amazon.

There’s just something about epic fantasies that’s always called to me. There’s just something about the magic, the prophecies, the questing . . . I’ve always loved getting lost in a world not my own. While I love books set in the real world, it takes a whole other level of detail to create your own world. I love how you can create alternate realities in epic fantasy where anything goes—and then set your own rules. You can create your own history, cultures, costuming, modes of transportation, politics, religions, languages . . . the possibilities are absolutely endless. That’s why epic fantasy will always be my first love, literature-wise.
I should also add that my first big “literary crush” was Kellin from “A Tapestry of Lions”, the last book of The Chronicles of the Cheysuli. I mentioned him briefly in last week’s post, which can be found here. I promise I will post all about him later. Maybe he’ll make an appearance on this week’s Fun Fact Friday.

By the way, in case anyone’s wondering . . . yes, I am working on my own epic fantasy series. That will be a long time in the making but it’s really exciting to work on!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Writing Prompts: Medical Professional

Here’s the prompt that I chose for this week: write for 20 minutes * A Medical Professional * the third time is the charm

Dr. Weston threw down her scalpel in disgust as the heart monitor gave out the worst sound she could possibly hear: the sound of yet another patient flat lining. She pulled down her mask. “I can’t believe I lost another one.”
“Don’t worry Doctor. You’ll get that grant,” an intern tried to encourage her.
She turned. “I’m not worried about the grant! Well, I am, but only because it will help these patients that I’m trying so hard to save.”
“Sorry, Doctor,” he apologized.
“This is still an experimental treatment,” the surgical fellow reminded her. “We still have plenty of time to perfect it.”
“Yes, but in the meantime, these patients keep dying!”
“Well, we have another scheduled for this afternoon,” the fellow reminded her. “You know what they say: ‘The third time is the charm.’”
Dr. Weston stared at him. “This is no time for your jokes. I need to go research some more. You should also. I’ll be expecting you in on that surgery this afternoon.”
She banged through the doors of the operating room to go wash up. She looked through the window separating the room from the OR to make sure no one was watching and then she slid to the floor. “I’m never going to get this treatment working,” she muttered to herself.
She heard someone coming so she quickly stood back to her feet and stripped off her gloves. She hit the lever to turn on the water and began scrubbing her hands furiously. “Everything okay, Doctor?” the intern asked.
“Yes, fine. Meet Dr. Roacke and me in the conference room after you finish cleaning up. We have a lot more work to do if we want to be ready for the next surgery.”
She didn’t wait for her intern to agree. She knew he would be there. He had to be if he wanted to stay in the internship program. She left the OR and headed for her office before deciding to go to the cafeteria instead. She needed coffee badly. Maybe it would help her concentrate. Maybe it would help her find an answer.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Playlist Archive: Bad Romance

I thought today I would share a song from my Foreshadow playlist: Bad Romance by A Smile From The Trenches. Now, I know this is originally a Lady Gaga song, but once my friend showed me this version, I just had to stick it on my playlist.

Now, I don't generally do a song per chapter when I write. I tend to just choose songs for my playlists that go with the theme of certain scenes, or relationships. I chose this song because I thought it fits Rae and Andrei's relationship. The two of them definitely have a bad, crazy romance going on.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday #5

I know I've been plugging Foreshadow like crazy lately, but I thought I'd share the beginning of an unnamed work in progress this week! Enjoy!

They say that when you have a near-death experience, your life flashes before your eyes.             
Well, I guess my accident doesn’t qualify, although I certainly thought I was going to die.              
One moment, I was slipping and falling, the ground approaching at an alarming rate.
Then . . . blackness.
I woke to the beeping of machines and tubes coming out of my arms.
Oh, and there was a guy I didn’t recognize leaning over me . . . A seriously hot guy.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Short Story Saturday: "Bemused" Chapter Three

Chapter One can be found here
Chapter Two can be found here

            “You look lost.”
            The voice came from behind Lorelei as she stared around the grand foyer inside the Temple. She turned to find a short, slim girl with dark hair that cascaded over her flowing white dress. Gold glinted at her waist, and at both shoulders. “I am, a little,” Lorelei admitted.
            The girl smiled. “I’m Delia. I can show you where to go.”
            Lorelei breathed a sigh of relief. “Thanks. I appreciate it.”
            “Why don’t we get your bags to your room. Once you’re settled in, I can show you around.”
            Lorelei hesitated for a moment. “Do I need to report to Calliope first?”
            “Oh, you won’t meet Calliope today,” Delia told her. “Your classes will begin tomorrow. But don’t worry, she already knows you’re here.”
            Delia headed for the stairs and gestured for Lorelei to follow. She felt as though they walked forever. The Temple was huge. Lorelei thought she would never find her way around.
            “So, uhhh . . . Delia?”
            “Do I have to wear those . . . robes?” She looked down at her dark jeans and T-shirt.
            “Yes, we all wear similar clothing.”
            Great. “It would have helped if they had told me what to pack,” Lorelei grumbled under her breath.
            “Oh there will be time for you to go into the city. Then your regular clothing will come in handy. We must blend in with the city around us,” Delia informed her.
            Even better. The girl had heard her. Lorelei fell silent and continued to trail after her, still lugging the suitcases. She could have at least offered to carry one, she thought bitterly to herself.


Friday, July 15, 2011

Fun Fact Friday: How I Name Characters

A lot of people ask where I get my characters’ names. I actually pull names from a variety of sources. Sometimes, they pop in my head. Sometimes I use a name suggestion that someone else gives me.
However, there are four main sources that I use to find names:
Ø    Baby naming websites. The one I use most often is This website gives the name meanings. Also, if you know what you want a name to mean, you can do a meaning search and a list of names will pop up.
Ø    Name generators, such as I like this one because you can plug in different nationalities, if you have a feeling for what you want.
Ø    Other books. Now I won’t “steal” a unique name, but if I find a more common name that I like, I’ll add it to a list for future use.
Ø    Social Security Name Index. I use this sometimes if I’m writing a story set in the real world and I have a character that needs to be a certain age. I approximate their year of birth and then look at the popular names for babies who were born that year.

I have one more “secret source”. It’s not technically a source, actually. My husband and I kept a running list of names we were considering for our children. Now, we don’t have children yet, but we’ve tentatively decided on names. I sometimes use the names I liked that he rejected in my writing. In fact, the names that we have decided on crop up in my writing . . . I’m not going to tell what they are though.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thursday Photos: Fencing

Moira’s Blog is going to be moving to Team Promethiad’s blog. You can find it here:

I’m starting a new Thursday theme today: Photo Thursdays. These are mostly going to be photos I’ve taken, although I might include some from others.

This is a photo I actually took my senior year of high school for my photography class. The assignment was “pattern” if I remember correctly and I found this orange plastic fencing lying in the field as I was wandering for school. I have to admit, more often than not, my friends and I would check out the cameras, say we were working on an assignment and go get ice cream from the vending machine instead. This time, I was actually looking for something to use for the assignment. It paid off, because my photo was later featured in the artist’s showcase. It’s one of two photos remaining of those I took in this class. I’m not sure what happened to the others. I might post the second one sometime.

I’ll be back next week with another photo!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Why I Love Wednesdays . . . Why I Love Ce'Nedra and Keely

This Why I Love Wednesday is all about favorite characters. Now, I really couldn’t choose just one. Both of these ladies have been my heroines since seventh grade when I first discovered their stories.

I’ll start with Ce’Nedra from The Belgariad and The Mallorean series. I loved her from the first time she was introduced. She’s a fiery redhead (with a temper to match!) who can wrap her daddy around her little finger. She’s an Imperial Princess, the only child of the Emperor. She’s also part dryad. Her father tries to force her to go to another country to honor an ancient treaty—so she runs away. Unfortunately for her, she ends up with people who make her go honor the treaty anyway (which she is definitely not happy about). Now, I know this is making her sound horrible, but she’s really not. When the man she’s supposed to marry has to sneak off for a dangerous mission, she takes over the war council (after she throws a huge temper tantrum) and convinces the kings on the council to let her lead an army against the enemy countries. Ce’Nedra shows absolute genius as they gather people from various ally countries. She even bribes her own father’s troops to follow her. In the second part of the series (The Mallorean), her only child is kidnapped and she and her husband (along with several relatives and friends) tear the world apart looking for him. I honestly don’t know how she held up during all of this. If I were her, I would have done the same thing, but I don’t know if I would have handled it as well as she did.

Now onto Keely from The Chronicles of the Cheysuli. She’s the youngest of four children and she’s the only girl. Her mother’s a complete nutcase who tried to hand her children over to an evil sorcerer when they were babies—but only the boys. To say Keely has mommy issues doesn’t even begin to describe it. She’s also the only princess in her land, unless you count her half-sister (most people don’t). She’s been engaged to a man she’s never met since before she was born and she has no desire to ever meet him, let alone marry him. She’s definitely not a typical girly-girl princess. She wears hunting leathers, she can fight with a sword or a knife and she could probably drink any man under the table. She also has special abilities. She can communicate with animals and take on their shapes—something only the men of her people could do. When she’s kidnapped by the same evil sorcerer that her mother had previously tried to give her brothers to, she doesn’t cower and wait for someone to rescue her—she gets herself the heck out of there (granted, with a little help from another prisoner). I won’t share my favorite scene of the book because it gives too much away, but let’s just say she has a very interesting way of dealing with choosing between two men. I have to admit, her eventual grandson is probably my favorite male fictional character. I might talk about him more on a different day.

So there you go: two awesome, non-traditional princesses. I like them for their attitudes, their ability to deal with some of the worst things that could happen to a person (or character) and come out of it sane. It’s not just that they’re princesses, but deep down, doesn’t every little girl want to be a princess?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Writing Prompts: Childhood Mythical Creature

Today’s writing prompt:  drabble (100 words) * A Mythical Creature or Idea * childhood memories

When I was eight, I carried a silver mirrored compact with me everywhere. In this compact lived my “faery”, Daphne. I called her a forest sunlight faery. When the sun hit the mirror just so, it would project a light onto the wall. That light was Daphne. I’d move the mirror around so Daphne’s light would “dance” and I would dance and jump around with her. I’m not sure what happened to that compact, but I’d love to get another one. Maybe I’ll find Daphne still residing in the light.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Character Archive: Casting Logan Conner

As promised, I’m back today with my “casting” of Logan Conner, Raena’s other “main guy”.
Raena calls Logan annoying, but smoldering hot with a heavenly voice. He’s in all her classes at school and he’s extremely cocky.

I chose Chace Crawford to “play” Logan. Now, Logan actually has black hair, but other than that he’s Logan to a T.
You’d probably recognize Chace Crawford from the TV show Gossip Girl. Here are a couple of clips of him:

What would you like to see next Monday? More castings? Character interviews? Or songs from the Shadow Imperium series playlist? Leave your vote in the comments below!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday #4

I'm back for Six Sentence Sunday with another excerpt from Foreshadow!

            “Why can’t I help out a pretty girl in distress?”  He winked at me again.
            “I’m hardly in distress,” I told him, ignoring the rest of his comment.
            “Ah, but there you are wrong.  You are in distress.  You are distressed at the prospect of not being with me every waking moment,” he said dramatically.

Want more? There will be another Six Sentence Sunday next week!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Short Story Saturday: "Bemused" Chapter Two

I’m back for Short Story Saturday with Chapter Two of “Bemused”! “Bemused” follows my Muse, Lorelei, as she goes through her training. Chapter One can be found here

Chapter Two

“Are you sure you don’t want me to go in with you?” Eric, Lorelei’s father, asked.
She turned to look at him. “It’s fine, Dad.”
“I really don’t want to leave you here, Lor.”
“I know, but I need to do this. I’ll never know unless I try, right?”
Eric sighed as he got out of the car. He popped the trunk and hauled out Lorelei’s suitcases. He set them on the ground and turned to her. “Last chance to change your mind.”
“I’m not going to change my mind Dad.”
Eric hugged his only daughter tightly. “Call anytime.”
“Okay, I will,” Lorelei agreed.
“If you do change your mind, or if you don’t like it, I’ll come get you.”
“I know Dad.” She let go of her father and picked up her suitcases. As she turned away, a lone tear trailed down one cheek. She squared her shoulders. She was not going to cry. She needed to do this.
As Lorelei approached the Temple of the Muse, she tried to walk slowly so she could take it all in. The white marble façade with its columns and many statues placed throughout the well-tended gardens was breathtaking, but intimidating.
When she reached the door, Lorelei put one suitcase down and turned to wave to her dad. She hauled the door open and held it with her foot while she grabbed her suitcase again. She wrestled herself and her suitcases inside, the door clanging shut with a resounding bang. She stared at the vastness of the inner foyer and grand staircase. She wasn’t sure where she was supposed to go. Where would she find Calliope?


Friday, July 8, 2011

Fun Fact Friday: One Ring . . .

I’m back with Fun Fact Friday! Today, I’m going to talk about something that’s been an inspiration to me:  my grandmother’s ring. Please excuse the poor photo. I couldn't find my camera and had to use my phone.

Now, this ring is just a piece of costume jewelry. It reminds me of a signet ring, which is probably how my Nana wore it (she had really tiny hands!). It may not seem significant, but it’s the only thing of my Nana’s that I have. I like to pretend that she bought it after I was born, because the stone resembles my birthstone, topaz (or citrine).

This ring is what inspired Raena’s citrine necklace in the Shadow Imperium series. Citrine is traditionally used for protection, which is why the necklace is given to her. Several of my works-in-progress also involve amulets or signets that serve various purposes.

Now, I’m not particularly superstitious, but I do like to wear this ring when I write. It sort of makes me feel close to my Nana, which is comforting. And I won’t necessarily say that it’s good luck or anything, but I did wear it to my math final last month . . . and I got the highest grade in the class. Of course, that could have been due to my seven-hour-long marathon study session the day before, but who knows?

I’ll be back with some more “fun facts” next Friday! Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for the next installment of “Bemused”!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Moira's Blog: The Happiest Place on Earth?

*In case you missed this week's episode, please visit: Escape! Episode 5: Fireworks

We’re in Disneyland! I wasn’t expecting a reward this big. I bet Toby’s team is in Disneyworld, since they went to Florida. It’s exciting, but at the same time I’m a little disappointed that I’m not going to be able to take him to his first theme park. Oh well. We’ll still go to the Boardwalk when he comes to visit. The Boardwalk > Disneyland, in my opinion.
So, the morons on my team wouldn’t let me go to Star Tours. I took off on them. It’s a big park. Hopefully I won’t run into them. Too bad Toby’s not here. It would have been more fun with him.
Anyway, I have no idea what our next challenge is going to be. I hope it’s not like the freaking desert. Between that, the clowns, and being locked in that tiny room, I’m really regretting going on this show. I kind of just want to give up and go home. But right now, being on this show is my only chance to see Toby occasionally. I’ll stick with it for him. Hopefully we’ll both survive this show.
Well, I don’t know where I’ll be blogging from next week. I really wish they’d give us more notice as to where we’re going. I’ll be here though!


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Why I Love Wednesdays . . . Why I Love Summer Reading

I’m back with Why I Love Wednesdays . . . This week’s topic is “Why I Love Summer Reading”. Now, I admit, I don’t usually get that much reading during the summer. I’m in school full-time (don’t ask me why I decided to go back to school—I must be out of my mind or something), so summer is usually the best time for me to get a lot of writing done. So, I’m going to share with you some summer releases that I’m looking forward to reading in the fall when I’m back in school:

Ø    Dragon’s Oath by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast (House of Night novella)
Ø    Forever by Maggie Stiefvater (Wolves of Mercy Falls #3)
Ø    Everlasting by Alyson Noël (Immortals #6)
Ø    Passion by Lauren Kate (Fallen #3)
Ø    The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore (Lorien Legacies #2)
Ø    Sirensong by Jenna Black (Faeriewalker #3)
Ø    Fins Are Forever by Tera Lynn Childs
Ø    Supernaturally by Kiersten White (Paranormalcy #2)
Ø    Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer (Nightshade #2)
Ø    Hades by Alexandra Adornetto (Halo #2)
Ø    Bloodlines by Richelle Mead (Bloodlines #1)

Some of these series I’m actually behind on (or haven’t started yet), so I’m definitely going to be busy reading! I have to admit, out of everything, I think I’m the most excited for Bloodlines. Richelle Mead is extremely talented and I’m dying to find out what happens with Adrian! 

Which summer reads are you the most excited for?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Writing Prompts: "Nothing to Say"

I’m back with Tuesday Writing Prompts. (I really need a better name for this, don’t I? Any suggestions?) Each Tuesday, I’ll be sharing short stories I write using prompts from

Today’s prompt is: Write a mini-story (100 to 250 words) that begins with: “They had nothing to say to each other.” So, without further ado (I love that phrase for some reason!) here it is: “Nothing to Say”.

They had nothing to say to each other. The time for talking was over. They sat quietly, both fuming in their silence.
Finally, Blake stood. “I’m outta here.”
Janessa glared at him. She wanted to scream, but she’d already done enough of that. “Fine. Go,” she said vehemently.
Blake paused. He hadn’t expected her to agree. He’d expected her to cry, scream, beg . . . something other than her seeming indifference. Just moments ago, they’d been shouting at each other. Now she was showing about as much emotion as she would if he were a stranger. “I’m really leaving,” he reiterated.
“I said go. You don’t need my permission.”
“Fine.” He headed for the door, pausing to scoop up his keys from the hall table. He reached for the door handle and stopped. When he turned to look at her, she still remained in the same position, sitting rigidly straight in a chair. She was staring away from him. He shook his head and stepped into the hall, slamming the door behind him.
Janessa cringed at the noise of the door closing. It sounded so final. He had actually left. She sat there in shock for a moment, then began to sob.

Hope you enjoyed this little story. As always, feel free to leave feedback in the comments below.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Character Archive: Casting Andrei Petrov

I know I promised a character interview with Raena today, but instead (by request) I’m going to share my “casting” of Andrei.
Andrei Petrov is one of Raena’s “main guys”. Raena describes him as a “golden god”. He’s a police officer, a college student, and very charming.

I chose Chris Hemsworth to “play” Andrei. After all, who better to play god-like Andrei than someone who has already played a god in the movie Thor?
The above picture is actually a couple of years old, but it’s exactly how I picture Andrei.
Here’s two trailers for Thor, which is Chris Hemsworth’s latest release. The first is a little more of him kicking butt, while the second has more dialogue.

Next week I’ll be sharing my “casting” for Logan Conner, Raena’s other guy so be sure to check back!