Tag Archives: series

Character Motivations vs Morals

3 Apr

Not going to lie, I recently binge-watched The 100 through Netflix. For those of you who don’t know, The 100 is a TV show based off a young adult series with the same name. The first season follows a group of 100 kids dropped off on earth after a nuclear disaster destroyed the planet 97 years prior. It’s currently airing season 4. (I’m only on season 3.) Granted, I’m not normally a TV person. In fact, I usually have to be extremely ill to watch a bunch of TV, but I made an exception for The 100. Why? Because I fell in love during episode one. What do I love about The 100? The character motivations. They are 100% believable, even when the plot gets crazy, and I feel like that’s pretty rare.

There’s no spoilers in this article for The 100. Don’t worry. But definitely check out a few episodes to see what I mean.

Character motivations are so important, but often dwindled down to right vs. wrong. But motivation can (and should) be more than that. As an example from The 100, Bellamy just wants to save his sister, no matter what it requires (right or wrong) and whether she wants it or not. In fact, he often does horrible things in order to achieve his goal. Therefore, he is driven by his motivation to save his sister, not his morals to be a good person. On top of that, though he believes saving his sister is his responsibility, he doesn’t lie to himself and think he is morally perfect because of it. He doesn’t have a “hero complex.” An older brother complex, sure. But not a heroic one. He is driven by motivation, not morals.

Why do I bring up morals? Because morals is sometimes the opposite of motivation in fiction. Though they can be synonymous, it’s easy to let a character slide one way or the other. Personally, I always prefer believable motivations to morally-driven characters. Why? Because completely morally-driven characters can be hard to relate to. I mean, let’s be real. Sometimes, that self-righteous hero trope gets a little…boring.

I would much rather watch a show or read a book where the characters’ motivations are believable, morals be damned. Let’s take villains, for instance. The most popular writing tip today is that every bad guy believes they are the good guy, and while I love that tip, I disagree. Not all bad guys think they’re good guys. Granted, I like a bad guy who thinks he’s good. I often prefer them that way. But it’s also fun to follow a character who knows they are selfish, who has reasons for their selfishness, and owns it.

Of course, it’s always best to have both worlds, right? Motivations and morals (and sometimes one fueling the other) can be fun and exciting and terrifying and interesting. But I would like to see more books with strong, sometimes twisted motivations that overcome morally-driven characters.

What about you? Do you prefer characters with motivations or morals or a mixture of both?

Discuss away! Just don’t be the evil one and post spoilers about The 100 in the comments below. (Or at least put a warning at the top of your post.)

Thank you,

~SAT

P.S. Bad Bloods: July Thunder releases next Monday! I also received my first review from Babbling Books! “Another fantastic addition to the Bad Bloods series and a marvelous start to a new duology. Wonderful writing, captivating characters and a story that will reel you in until the last page, these Bad Bloods may have a tendency of breaking the rules, but their stories are way too good not to read!”

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#SATurdate: Pumpkin Spice Lattes, The Marked Girl, One Mississippi & Violins

17 Sep

What I’m Writing:

So this week I totally fell in love with Lindsey Sterling, an American violinist who blew me away. (I put her music in my music section, so check her out.) But this reminded me of a fact that will come up in Bad Bloods, so here it goes: Everyone thinks I named the walled-in city of Bad Bloods “Vendona” because of Romeo and Juliet’s Verona, but in all honesty, I got the name from my favorite violinist, Vanessa-Mae. Though it’s not “technically” said I kept hearing it at the ten-second moment in her song, Destiny. Check it out! Tell me if you can hear it, too. This is also why I’m SUPER excited about Bad Bloods: July Thunder. It’s very musical, and there will be violins!

This week’s #1lineWed preview was socks, and no lie, I was AMAZED I actually had a line in Bad Bloods: July Thunder that mentioned socks. There’s just some things we forget about, right? Well, not Hanna. She’s the character described in this preview.

What I’m Publishing:

I am working with Barnes & Noble again to set up a Bad Bloods book signing tour! I will host writing panels and more, so keep an eye out for that. Also, the Bad Bloods: November Snow paperback releases September 19—this upcoming Monday—and I will be releasing sneak peeks of the sequel through my newsletter and right here on www.ShannonAThompson.com. In other news, though, I am discontinuing the Bad Bloods prequel for now, so I can concentrate on future books, but don’t be surprised if I post new prequel stories randomly. (I will announce them if I do.)

November Rain (FREE)

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November Snow,

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, Goodreads

What I’m Reading:

I’m currently reading The Marked Girl by Lindsey Klingele! It’s so good! Cute, fun, exciting, and super scary at times. I’ll include a picture next week when I post my review. ❤

What I’m Listening To:

This is the violinist I mentioned above!

What I’m Watching:

One Mississippi finally released. It’s an Amazon Original I’ve been waiting for since the pilot, and I LOVED it. That being said, it’s rather dark humor and dry, but…that’s my type of humor. I definitely recommend this show if you enjoy that type of cynical honesty.

One Mississippi

One Mississippi

What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking:

css29pmuaaepnb8-jpg-largePumpkin spice latte! I just HAD to do it. That and peanut butter and chocolate chip pinwheel cookies. For those of you who actually look at the recipe, you might notice I didn’t bother with the swirling part. In all honest, I did…but I ran out of wax paper, and I nearly ruined my entire kitchen. So normal peanut butter chocolate chip cookies happened. I tend to use chunky peanut butter instead of creamy, too. They are awesome!

What I’m Wearing:

My Jayhawk t-shirts from my KU college days. Why? See “What Else Is Going On” below.

What I’m Wanting:

For Penned Con to get here already! I’m one week away and dying from excitement.

Penned Con St. Louis 2016

Penned Con St. Louis 2016

What I’m Dreaming Of:

Apparently, my profession was ghost-hunting, but this was not by choice. (I suppose this society chose your jobs for you.) But there were reports of ghosts out in this field, and I had to walk out there in the dark until I could find something. Basically, it was me walking through the woods expecting something to get me for what felt like forever. No jumpy surprises. For once.

What Else Is Going On:

Cocoa Cloud from La Prima Tazza

Cocoa Cloud from La Prima Tazza

For the first time in almost four years, I returned to my good ol’ college town of Lawrence, Kansas. I made a day trip out of it, and it was a blast. I got to eat cream cheese pineapple pizza at Pizza Shuttle (trust me, it’s awesome), drink a Cocoa Cloud from La Prima Tazza, and eat cereal from Java Break’s 24-Hour Cereal Bar. If you’re in Lawrence, I’m telling you, these are the places to be.

Today is also my big brother’s birthday, so…

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, GRUGORY.

~SAT

Website Wonders

29 Aug

Every month, I share all of the websites I come across that I find helpful, humorous, or just awesome. Below, you’ll find all of August’s Website Wonders categorized into Writing, Reading, Conspiracies, and Procrastination.

If you enjoy these websites, be sure to follow me on Twitter because I share even more websites and photos like this there.

Favorite Article: Goodbye, Bad Bi: The Lose-Lose Situation of Bisexual YA. This article is SO SO SO important for both readers and writers. Why? Because bisexual characters are often misrepresented and labeled terribly based on who they “choose” in the end, and the trend needs to stop. I loved this thoughtful article, and I definitely think it’s a place to start if you are considering writing about a bisexual character. Whether or not you’re writing though, I think it’s a great, educational article to consider no matter what.

Writing:

Final Editing Checklist: This was SUPER popular during #PitchWars, and I think this list is awesome.

Is This Any Good? “So let me ask you the question that matters. And it has nothing to do with if it’s any good. The real question is this: Are you willing to work at it? Because if you are, then whether it’s any good or not today doesn’t really matter.”

9 Authors Who Regretted the Success of Their Work: It’s not all rainbows and butterflies in the success field. Just a little glimpse at some of the more famous moments. 😉

Reading:

I need this coffee T-shirt

I need this coffee T-shirt

7 Bookstores Too Beautiful For Words: Books are beautiful enough, but come on! This is perfection.

The 10 Most Influential Poets in History: Sent to me by the writer! I love these articles!

Conspiracies:

10 Strange Mysteries Around the World That Are Still Unsolved: Put on your tin foil hat with me, and enjoy some good ol’ mystery.

Top Ten Places You Can’t Go: Can’t you tell I spent way too much time reading conspiracy theories this month?

The 6 Creepiest Unexplained Phone Calls: I…can’t…stop…reading…creepy…stories.

Procrastination:

Procatinator: Procrastinate with cats!

Little Alchemy: I’m playing it like crazy…and you should, too.

18+ Pictures of Fairy Tale Architecture From Norway:  So pretty.

Lost in a Whimsical World: These drawings are beautiful and eerie and wonderful.

Wonderfully Witty Animal Comics by Liz Climo: These are too cute and funny for words.

I hope you love these articles as much as I do!

See you next month,

~SAT

Wattpad Bad Bloods Steven Short

Wattpad Bad Bloods Steven Short

For those of you who are reading the Bad Blood Prequel on Wattpad for free, Steven’s origin story was posted! Read Steven’s story now. Not going to lie, I totally ship Catelyn and Steven. Here’s a preview:

“You’re gonna die here, boy,” he said, “or you’re gonna leave.”
Valentine’s Day was meant for love, and though my mother had married on such a lovely day, the world worked opposite for bad bloods.
I was no longer welcome.
I was lucky that I’d been welcome for fourteen years, and he knew it.
“Consider yourself lucky,” he said, spitting at my feet. “I’m only lettin’ you leave alive ‘cause your momma.”
I looked over his shoulder, trying to find her eyes, but she had stepped away a long time ago. “Mom—” I started to shout, but a sharp pain snapped my face back.
Heat rushed across my cheek, fire burned beneath my skin, pain etched itself into my bones. I could no longer see. My head spun, but I felt dirt beneath my fingertips. I had fallen down.
“Now get outta here, boy,” he said.
I always imagined he would call me Steven.
You’re gonna have a stepdaddy, she had told me weeks ago. A daddy.
Mine had left long ago. And now, it was my time to leave, too.
That or die.
And I didn’t think I was brave enough to die.

Continue reading on Wattpad, and get the first book in the Bad Bloods series for FREE on all platforms.

Bad Bloods: November Rain

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#BookRelease Bad Bloods: November Snow!

25 Jul

Bad Bloods: November Snow released today!

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Bad Bloods: November Snow

Bad Bloods: November Snow

Bad Bloods: November Snow

Bad Bloods: November Snow

Bad Bloods: November Snow

When Daniel and Serena unite, their accidental relationship becomes the catalyst for a twelve-year war to continue. Exposing the twisted past of a corrupt city, Daniel, Serena, and everyone they know will come together to fight. But Serena has another battle. After a political rumor threatens their lives, Serena must leave her family and join the political front against her will. To survive apart, Daniel has to separate his love from his hatred and join forces with his worst memory to secure Vendona’s war. But very few of them will survive to see the last day. Bad blood or human, a city will burn, snow will fall, and all will be united by catastrophic secrets and irrevocable tragedy. 

GET YOUR COPY TODAY

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Of course if you haven’t read the first book – Bad Bloods: November Rain – here are those links.

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I also want to thank all of the bloggers who’ve written reviews for November Snow so far! I am blown away every time someone takes the time to read my work, let alone review it. I cannot express my endless gratitude, but thank you a million times.

Black Words, White Pages: I bawled like a baby at the end of this book. I highly recommend this story to all to read and enjoy!

Daydreaming Books: This book was an emotional roller-coaster! So much happened in this book, I couldn’t entirely believe my eyes. Recommend it? Yes!

The Book Forums: Wow…I mean this as a compliment, November Snow ripped out my heart, then stepped on it…Then laughed at my dead heart on the ground. End the end, Bad Bloods: November Snow is an amazing read that I recommend to everyone.

OMG Books and More Books: Filled with suspense, action, and unexpected twists, Bad Bloods is one of my favorite duologues this year. I strongly recommend this book to anyone. My heart broke in the end, but I loved every minute of this book.

Read, Watch, and Think:  A lot more action, twists and turns making it an amazing finale. The language is satin smooth and the narration quality is what makes the author’s book to die for. It’s a fabulous series.

Babbling Books: Truly, Thompson has done an incredible job here of story weaving. Just wonderful. Don’t underestimate your need for tissues here people, don’t do it. Prepare yourself with tissues and a cuddly stuffed animal.

Crazy Beautiful Reads: The best duology I’ve ever read! Action packed. Fast paced. Heartbreaking. The ending brought me to tears and made my heart melt.

Thanks to your reviews, Clean Teen Publishing already confirmed a sequel! I’m writing it right now, and if you want more information on it, be sure to check out my Saturday blog posts. We’re also in a second print run!

OKAY. ONE MORE TIME.

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Thanks for making a girl’s dreams come true,

~SAT

#BookRelease Bad Bloods: November Rain!

18 Jul

Bad Bloods: November Rain released TODAY!

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Bad Bloods: November Rain book reviews

Bad Bloods: November Rain book reviews

I cannot express how grateful I am to be here today. Bad Bloods was my first publication, but it is so much more than that. On March 16, 2003, my mother suddenly passed away from a drug overdose, and I was left with an overwhelming range of emotions to cope with. At eleven years old, I decided I would live my life doing what I wanted to do, and I began researching and writing novels. I finished the original Bad Bloods two years later, and in 2007, it was published. Now, almost a decade later, my first book is getting a second chance, and I’ve been blown away by everyone’s support. For every little girl or boy out there who has lost a parent, know that there are millions of opportunities and people out there that love and support you. Follow your dreams!

Bad Bloods: November Rain

Bad Bloods: November Rain

Bad Bloods: November Rain

Seventeen-year-old Serena isn’t human. She is a bad blood, and in the city of Vendona, bad bloods are executed. In the last moments before she faces imminent death, a prison guard aids her escape and sparks a revolt. Back on the streets determined to destroy her kind,

Serena is spared by a fellow bad blood named Daniel. His past tragedies are as equally mysterious as her connection to them.

Unbeknownst to the two, this connection is the key to winning the election for bad bloods’ rights to be seen as human again. But Serena is the only one who can secure Vendona’s vote. Now, Daniel must unite with her before all hope is lost and bad bloods are eradicated, even if it means exposing secrets worse than death itself. United or not, a city will fight, rain will fall, and all will be threatened by star-crossed love and political corruption.

GET YOUR COPY TODAY

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Bad Bloods: November Snow releases July 25, 2016! And that’s not all. Thanks to all of your lovely reviews, Clean Teen Publishing has given me the thumbs up to continue to series already! 

Special thanks to all the bloggers supporting the release today! Congrats to Rebekka from Instagram’s Book Prints for winning a signed paperback of Bad Bloods: November Rain!

A Journey Through Life, Love, and Imagination, The Avid Book Collector, The Book ForumsOMG Books and More Books, Chris Pavesic, Endless Reading, Book Prints, Mel’s Shelves, Crazy Beautiful Reads, Book Keeping, and Books by Betsy!

I also want to thank all of the bloggers who’ve written reviews for November Rain so far! I am blown away every time someone takes the time to read my work, let alone review it. I cannot express my endless gratitude, but thank you a million times.

  • A Reader’s Review: “A dark and insightful dystopian read! Thompson is an immensely talented writer. I was reminded of events from history such as the witch trails and the Holocaust, not to mention contemporary events surrounding the modern day diaspora of those from war torn countries which has resulted in the pressure of immigration on other nations, which  some are fearful of. A top read for readers of Young Adult fiction and/or for those who are seeking a thought provoking read.”
  • The Bookworm Who Lived: “I’m so hooked on this story and I am excited to start November Snow as soon as I’m done writing this review. I definitely recommend this book!”
  • Daydreaming Books: “November Rain was a great read. The plot and the characters were pretty interesting and I was hooked from the very first page. The writing was smooth and easy to read and the pace was fast throughout the book. I easily finished this book in two sittings, it was hard to put it down. I am so excited to read the next part and see what happens! Recommend it? Yes!”
  • Black Words-White Pages: “This book is addicting and very fast paced. I highly recommend this story to read this amazing story.”
  • Between Folded Pages: “You’ll need to pick this one up if you’re looking for a great quick read about wonderful characters in a corrupt world.”
  • Tranquil Dreams: “November Rain is a fun read and very much a page turner!”
  • Chic Nerd Reads: “If you’re into X-men and corrupt government, then pick this up!! I am so left wanting more!! The writing is awesome and super easy. The story is fast paced and you will fly through November Rain. The plot is easy to understand, and once you’re into the story, you just get everything that’s going on. I am definitely going to read more from this author.” 
  • The Bookie Monster: “This is one of those ‘you can’t put it down’ books. Thompson builds the tension of the election and its importance slowly and with care. She develops her characters fully and with great attention to detail. She is a masterful storyteller.”
  • Mel’s Shelves: “I’m looking forward to reading more!”
  • OMG Books and More Books: “Captivating, strong and thrilling. I recommend November Rain to anyone who loves dystopian and learning the real meaning of trust in a world where trust is just an imagination.”
  • Ronnie’s World Blog: “November Rain was thrilling and exciting and gets readers excited for more. It really focuses on the attributes of family, friends and loyalty, which was really refreshing to see in a dystopian novel. I will definitely be continuing on with this duology.”
  • The Book Prints: “A fast paced fantasy, sci-fi story full of exciting characters with their own fascinating abilities and background stories. Didn’t disappoint one bit! For fans of Red Queen and Shatter Me: this one is definitely something you should check out!”
  • Babbling Books: I’m looking forward to delving into the next book to see what unfolds for the characters as I get deeper into the story.
  • Read, Watch, and Think: Fresh and alluring. November Rain is an amazing treat. I loved it and can’t wait to be an avid fan of the series. The series is definitely going to be worth drooling over.
  • The Book Forums: I recommend November Rain for EVERYONE but especially fans of dystopian and SCIFI. A great novel… It was full of strong characters each with their own background and an interesting world.
  • Crazy Beautiful Reads: Fast Paced. Intriguing. Gripping. Just like any other book she wrote, this one stands tall. An epic read that will take you in from the very first page and not let you go. A real page turner.

OKAY. ONE MORE TIME.

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Thanks for making a girl’s dreams come true,

~SAT

If you missed it, my latest episode of Coffee & Cats is now on YouTube! 

I say 10 Things Authors NEVER Say. 

Oh, and Pokemon!

#MondayBlogs: Writing Tips for a Trilogy or Series

4 Jul

So, you have an idea for a trilogy or series. Awesome! Writing a series can be a lot of fun. I mean, who doesn’t want to spend more time with their characters and worlds? But many aspiring writers aren’t sure where to start, and writing a series is a lot of work. With these three steps, though, it might be a little easier than you think.

1. Determine the arc for the series—and each book

This step is important for your series whether or not your books will be standalones or need to be read in order. Each book should have an arc (and don’t forget that every character in your series should have an arc, too). On top of that, your overall series should have an arc. This means each book is building up to something by itself and working together to build up to something bigger. One easy way to do this is to consider your “sub-genre.” Maybe your first book of your paranormal romance trilogy will be a mystery (Who is the villain?), while your second book will be a thriller (We have to run from the villain!) and your last book will be your adventure (We have to go after the villain!). This method ensures each book brings something new to the series, while also working through an overall arc (in the example’s case, defeating the villain). Again, this is only one method, but you can mix and match to study your series and determine if you are keeping your books fresh and exciting but also unified.

Writing Tips for a Trilogy or Series

Writing Tips for a Trilogy or Series

2.  Keep Notes

Consistency is SO important. You might think you know your characters from top to bottom, but chances are, you don’t. We’re only human. We can only remember so much, and as your cast grows and changes, it gets harder and harder to remember every little detail. That being said, you must remain consistent throughout each book. You wouldn’t want a side character who is allergic to chocolate in book one to eat chocolate ice cream in book five. Same goes for scenes. If you’ve said a door was to the right, it better be to the right in the other books, too. Personally, I keep a file on places and characters, and I create an overall timeline. What’s a timeline? This tracks years before and during the books. This means if I have a character who says she broke her leg at five years old in book one, she says she was five in book three, not nine. Another file I keep is a summary of what was told to each character in previous chapters so I know what my characters know from scene to scene. It seems easy to remember, and it might be for some, but sometimes, we have to go work on something else or step away for a few months, and it can be hard to remember when you return. Keeping notes is never a bad idea.

3. Be Open

Writing a series is hard, even with a plan. But don’t fret! We all know that writers aren’t completely in charge of their characters, worlds, or ideas. Sometimes, the protagonist throws a curve ball, and everything changes. That’s okay! Think of writing a series like a road trip: You know where you’re starting, you probably know where it’s going to end, and you might have places you want to visit in between. But there might be some surprises along the way. Embrace them, and keep going. That’s where the fun is. And don’t give up! Following your dream is worth it, even if you have to rewrite that dream a couple of times along the way.

Original posted September 5, 2013

In this article, I discuss lessons I learned while writing my first two trilogies.

~SAT

A new review came in for November Snow! “Truly, Thompson has done an incredible job here of story weaving. Just wonderful. Don’t underestimate your need for tissues here people, don’t do it. Prepare yourself with tissues and a cuddly stuffed animal.” – Babbling Books (Seriously, listen to her advice. Tissues will come in handy.)

Catelyn's Story on Wattpad

Catelyn’s Story on Wattpad

This week, Catelyn’s Story released on the FREE Bad Bloods Prequel on Wattpad. This is also the first origin story seen from the Southern Flock’s perspective. They formed later than the Northern Flock, so from now on, you’ll see stories flip back and forth between the two flocks. If you ever wondered why the groups of bad bloods are called flocks, this origin story explains why! In Bad Bloods, Catelyn is Serena’s best friend. Here is a preview: The girl was pretty enough for plenty of crimes. Read her story by clicking the link.

Pre-Order Bad Bloods

November Rain, Part One, releases July 18, 2016

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November Snow, Part Two, releases July 25, 2016

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#WW KC Event and Character Interviews

21 Oct

Poster_Small_V - Book shop signingTonight I’ll be at Headrush Coffee and Tea Roasters in Kansas City, Missouri for a paranormal chat and book signing. We’ll be discussing local folklore that went into The Timely Death Trilogy, and having great coffee and tea while doing so. I’m even bringing some Halloween goodies for you to take home, so come on out and say hello.

Since I’m rather busy today, I thought I would do something fun on today’s blog post. Below, you’ll find two character interviews, one with Eric and one with Jessica, the protagonists of The Timely Death Trilogy. I’ve never posted something like this before, but I hope you’ll enjoy it!

teaser3

Eric’s Character Interview

 Destined to fight to the death at age eighteen, you’d think Eric Welborn would be a jittery mess sitting in front of us, waiting for questions about his impending doom, but he’s as cool as can be. You wouldn’t even guess he has six months left before his final battle. In fact, you’d probably assume he was a regular high school kid, wearing just jeans, a white T-shirt, and…headphones, which he loves, dearly. We practically had to beg him to take off his headphones.

“The music I listen to varies—mainly because I’m generally using it to tune out the small noises I can hear no matter what form I’m in—but I do love it. Right now, I’m listening to Bohemian Rhapsody. If I had the time, I think I’d be a musician.

This last sentence sparks our interest. “If you had the time?” we press, only for him to nod and list off his daily activities. Early morning jog, half day of school, three hours of training with Urte (known as George Stone to some), dinner, and probably more training. It’s amazing he has time to sleep, so we had to ask, “If you had a choice, would you give up being a shade to have a normal, human life?”

“For me, that’s a tough question. If I already had a normal, shade life, it probably wouldn’t be tough.” We’re quickly reminded that Eric isn’t normal in either of his lives. “Not really being human is tough enough, but also being a descendant in my shade form?” He shakes his head. “It’s definitely been a lesson.”

He recalls the moment he found out he wasn’t just a shade, but a descendant, and how it shaped him among his peers as the odd one out, even if it did mean he was also worshipped. “That’s why I found peace in Jessica. She didn’t know who I was.”

We swoon at the reminder. “Where would you take Jessica on your next date?”

He laughs, but it doesn’t hide the fact that he has blushed. “Oh, I’d like to take her everywhere.” We even see a light in his eyes that wasn’t there when we started. “Anywhere we go together is an adventure.”

When we ask if we can tag along on their next adventure, he confesses to wishing for more alone time. So, before our hearts melt entirely, we shift away from his current love and ask him for others. “Who is your celebrity crush?” We also promise not to tell Jessica.

He takes a moment before answering, “Robert Duvall. The Judge is a movie everyone should see.” He elaborates and tells us films from the heart matter most. He wants to feel something when he’s done.

We agree to watch it and ask him for one last favor—to answer fan-submitted questions. He smiles, nods, and says, “I don’t mind at all.”

Perfection.

The first one is from Katie Harder-Schauer from Just Another Girl and Her Books. She wants to know. Chocolate chip or oatmeal raisin cookies? Eric prefers chocolate.

Melanie Newton from Nerd Girl asks, Favorite superhero? What super power do you wish you had? This one was difficult. Eric was on the fence between Gambit and Deadpool. As for powers, he thinks baking is a superpower, and he wishes he were better at it. Until then, he hangs out with his stepmom, Mindy.

Ojan Borot asks, Assuming that you could just pack a suitcase and leave town. Where in the world would you like to go for a vacation, and is there one thing specific there that you’d like to see? Eric explains that he doesn’t know if he can leave town or not—he’s never tried—but he would love to take Jessica to Paris or Spain so she could study her painting further…and to eat dessert.

When we ended the night with a huge thank you, he ended it by disappearing right in front of us, leaving only a plume of smoke and our hearts behind.

teaser3

Jessica’s Character Interview

She once thought she was ordinary girl with an ordinary life, but that all changed when she moved back to her birthplace. Adopted and moved away from her hometown as an infant, Jessica Taylor didn’t expect anything when moving back to Hayworth, Kansas, but it certainly changed her life forever.

“Moving wasn’t hard. I’m used to moving. My family has moved a lot,” Jessica explains as she offers us tea with honey. We gladly accept, and she takes a moment to sip hers. “But I suppose this move was different. It was a move back, and my heart told me I had to find out what I could about my parents while I was here.” She laughs like it’s a silly thing, now that she knows what she does. “No one could’ve guessed this. No one.”

She surprises us by telling us she revels in surprise. In fact, she describes her last six months as an adventure, one she hopes hasn’t ended yet. “No true adventure ever ends,” she adds before saying it’s the artist’s heart in her that enjoys mischief, mystery, and magnificent madness. We applaud her on her alliteration, and she laughs at all the school subjects we ask her about.

“I’ve always loved English. I especially love reading,” she says, “but painting is my favorite pastime. One day, I hope to turn my passion into a career.” In the meantime, she’s fighting lights to the death, but we wonder what the world holds for her after the war (if it ever ends).

She leans back and stares at the ceiling at this, a small hint of a smile on her lips. It’s no wonder Eric crushes on her. “I think”—she pauses—“if I can help people find their passion, and I can help them follow it, a teacher of sorts, I’d be very happy.” She shoots us a smile. “It’s the teachers in my life who’ve helped me the most.”

We ask her about her teachers, Ms. Hinkel from homeroom and her friend Jonathon, a painting mentor, and Urte, Eric’s trainer who has surely helped her, but she focuses on Eric first. “He showed me how to fight first, but most of all, he allowed me to be fearless, to show myself how to fight on my own. Independence as the foundation of coexistence is a beautiful thing.”

When we ask her if this is the definition of love, she blushes. “Love isn’t a definable thing, but it’s lovely, nevertheless.”

We agree, asking her about other parts of her life she loves. She brings up tea, and puppies, and friends like Crystal, and the way sunlight comes through the trees. She wishes to study painting more, to see more exotic places in the world, and she hopes to build a house one day. You know, because buying one isn’t as fun. She has many dreams—silly dreams, serious dreams, and dreams in between—but most of all, she tells us her life’s philosophy. “We should always keep dreaming.”

~SAT

Other announcements include the fact that the paperback of Death Before Daylight released! Finally! I sent out the news via my newsletter. In future newsletters, I’ll be looking for lucky readers to read my next publication early. If you’re interested in that, sign up here.

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