So you can read my books

Monday, May 14, 2012



1.) Your characters must breathe:

Whether Fae Queen or Victorian ghoul or abandoned street orphan -

Your characters must possess relatable characteristics:

      A.) Sibling rivalry

      B.) Thwarted ambition

      C.) Lost Love or Never Having Been Loved

      D.) Depresssion

      E.) Humor under pressure - even if it's gallows humor.

2.) The fantastic seems real if ...

      A.) All the senses are engaged in novel ways

      B.) The spectacles catch us by surprise, spinning our expectations on their ears.

            1.) Tree trunks breathing like bark lungs.

            2.) Blossoms singing.

            3.) Lovely does darting closer to us so that we notice their needle teeth.

            4.) Tasting the color of the sunset.

Now did I practice what I preached in this scene from BEST OF ENEMIES?
Three mortal teens (Alice, Becca, and Trish) have survived Tuatha de Danann treachery to now enter for the first time through the shimmering gates of St. Marrok's :

The black gates slowly opened inwards, and Becca whispered, “I guess we ain’t tardy.”

“Lucky us,” grumbled Trish.

We walked cautiously through them.  My feet became mist.  I slipped between Becca and Trish, lifting them up as I floated above the sparkling gravel.  We would enter on our own steam as it were, touching not what could be cursed ground.

Becca cooed, “Oh, neat!”

Trish smiled at me, and then frowned.  “You thought the ground was booby-trapped somehow, didn’t you?”

I nodded, willing a bit of my spirit to touch each of them.  Now, we three would be anchored to each other.  Even in Avalon, the power of three was a force to be reckoned with.

Becca eyed me.  “You did something else, didn’t you?”

“Outside I will tell you exactly what.  Here, inside the lion’s den, we must beware of what we speak aloud.”

Trish looked all around us.  “Oh, my!”

St. Marrok’s stunned me.

Trees, majestic and towering, branched a canopy of lush green over our heads.  Exotic blossoms were in full bloom on every branch, lilting tunes whispering from their petals.  It was a dream described in greenery, golden flowers, and verdant trunks breathing as if with lungs.

White does scampered among the trees, looking innocent and beckoning.  I blinked my eyes to clear them of fae glamour and saw their needled teeth.  Snow flittered down upon the bubbling fountain to our right.  I blinked again.  The flakes were tiny skulls melting in the frothing blood being spouted by the marble fountain in the shape of a grotesque human heart.

Tall statues of brooding, sad scholars and elegant fae ladies looked down upon us.  The scholars were whispering, whispering.  One caught my eye.  His stony lips moaned:

“Along Faerie paths, the resting place of the soul.”

Becca grumbled, “Hell of a school song.”

One statue of a tall, troubled fae lady whispered, “The Sidhe are like beautiful children, oh, so charming, but oh, so without conscience.”

Trish said low, “Can we go now?”

“Too late,” laughed a young human-looking girl as she scampered up to us.     

She was dressed in huge hiking boots, frayed jeans, and black tank top.  She pointed at Becca’s similar wardrobe and squealed.

“That is so neat!  We dress alike.”

She leaned in close.  “On these first paths, the new students drift like beautiful clouds, passing from the shade into the sun, looking like they are searching for their souls.”

She frowned.  “But not you.  Why?”

Becca snorted, “Why not?”

The newcomer laughed wide … and cold.  “Why not indeed?  You can call me Maxine.”

Not that her name was Maxine.  But that we could call her that.  How informative of her despite her subterfuge.

Becca put out her hand which I knocked down, and I said, “We are the Three Musketeers.  We were sure that you were D’Artangan.”

“Maxine” laughed for real.  "I like you.  You talk like a Sidhe.”

Becca looked thoughtful for a moment, and then smiled with only her lips, murmuring, “Better than talking like a ‘he,’ wouldn’t you say?”

Maxine laughed again.  “My, but you are fun, too.   The three of you might just live out the day.”

{Many thanks to the incomparable artist, Leonora Roy!}


  1. Yes, your artist is amazing. I want an outfit like that for my wife. That will go on the list with the Underworld Kate outfit I'm sure.

  2. ...a fine example of characters that breathe, that all but step off the page to sit next to the reader under a setting sun.

    That's the trick, my friend. Fooling a reader into not realizing that he'd just knocked out fifty pages, having experienced a drama real enough to touch and smell.

    Well done ;)


  3. Exposing the raw senses, drawing your reader into the sights, scents, tastes, touch, and sounds...well done with the magic, Roland.

  4. Alex:
    It's convincing your wife to wear it that will probably be the challenge -- and Kate says that spandex/leather outfit is a little taste of Purgatory to wear!! But I still freeze-frame her in it! LOL.

    And yes, Leonora Roy is a genius.

    So good to see you here again. Me being forced to squeeze internet time in minutes at work is the pits. I can't visit my friends like you!!

    I tried to catch some of that fae magic in a prose bottle -- after all, they might take it personally if I failed!! Thanks for visiting, Roland