Today I have the pleasure of having JC Andrijeski, author of the Allie’s War series, here to talk about character creation. JC’s writing flows along, her characters taking on a life of their own – and now we know why! She’s in the middle of a blog tour and kindly let me join in the fun! While I’ve only read the first book in her series so far, I can say I was hooked and can’t wait to read the rest of them!
So go grab your coffee and see this post through to the end (it’s a bit long but totally worth it). Leave a comment if you write your characters this way also, or if you don’t, what do you do instead. Now, here’s JC! Continue reading Guest Post: JC Andrijeski
His body was molded to hers as he held her wrists, one above her head and one at her side, so she couldn’t draw her knives. His hair was sweaty from their wrestling – her to get her knives, him to prevent it – and it spiraled his hair into bronze clumps that he tried to get out of his eyes by angrily shaking his head. His face was close enough for her to feel his breath puff against her skin. He had her up against a wall, quite literally, and her options for getting out were dwindling, so she did the only thing he wouldn’t see coming.
She kissed him. Continue reading The Kiss of Distraction
“Ever feel like the life you are living isn’t your own?”
I looked up, startled out of my own ponderings. The look on her face was so earnest, I felt the need to answer – but how? My life has been much more complicated than the princess would ever know. Between wars, betrayal, fights, deceit, my life hadn’t been of my own choosing in a long time.
“I believe you are asking, are we in control of our own lives, as opposed to letting someone else dictate them for us, Highness?”
Miranda scoffed. “Please, call me Miri when it’s just us.” She sighed. “I feel the need to get away and just be Miri sometimes. With you, I feel that I can let everything else go – the kingdom, the war – and just be myself.” She smiled, a shy, small curving of her lips. “Whoever that is.”
What to tell her? Not that I could tell her anything, really, for fear of losing place – my life – whether due to our innocent chattings or to my mission. But there she was, staring back at me with her grey eyes full of…hope. Need. I took a deep breath and let it out slowly.
Staring into the fire, I began my story.
As the sun set, the land changed. The green trees turned dark, bulbous ghosts flying in the darkening sky ready to grab on to anyone passing too close. The rolling hills created a sea-wave effect as the carriage bounced passed, up-down up-down. The clip-clop of the horses hooves as they struck down invaded the silence and interrupted the cricket’s song until the only noises were from the horses themselves. Even the carriage inhabitants seemed to realize it was not the time for talking, each turning their thoughts inwards.
The house that came into view was more of a castle. The thick stone walls encompassed the building and yard, engulfing everything within its reach. The iron gate barred their path, ornately but firmly refusing passage to unwanted visitors. The single tower emitted a light – the only one besides the setting sun that was visible.
A small sigh escaped from within the carriage. The horses snorted and huffed as they slowed before the approaching gate. The last of the sun drifted behind one of the rolling hills.
“Ho, who goes there?” The guard on duty came out from his post, adding his light to the darkness as if trying to repel a thick cloud with only a handkerchief. The carriage driver hopped down and conferred with the guard softly, then resumed his post to guide the horses through the gate the guard was opening.
“Welcome to McKinney Manor.”
I smoothed my hands over the fine silk, feeling uneasy in this costume. The dark blue material complimented my eyes, the greys made my dark hair look even darker. My hand slid across my knife belt hidden on my right thigh. Its presence was comforting, even under the layers of material. I’d had to sneak it in place when Mari wasn’t looking. She wouldn’t have approved.
They had stripped me of all my other weapons, stuffed me in a dress, and demanded I parade around smiling – I was keeping the knife.
I looked around the room. The other women in their fancy dresses gathered in small groups, looking around at the other people and whispering. Most of them found her eyes as she swept the room, and went back to furious whispering. Other couples graced the dance floor, spinning and twirling in intricate patterns with smiles lighting up their faces.
How I once wished that was me out there. The love shining from the eyes of the man holding me, gazing at me with such tender care as I smiled back under lowered lashes. How we would spend the night dancing and drinking and laughing, then retire, grateful for the time together yet anxious to be with our family again. How the children would laugh as we told stories of our night away.
No. I shook my head, clearing away the fantasies lurking in the dark corners of my mind. No, there will be no gayety tonight, only forced laughter and smiles while I lured my target away from the crowds with the hinted promises of more intimate times together.
Tonight, I had a mission.
Feet already in motion, Cassie spared her friend a glance over her shoulder as she ran through the banquet hall. Arrows pierced the air,
the tapestries burst into flames. The crowd burst into motion,scattering in an attempt to find shelter from the attack. Dishes
clanged to the floor, people screamed, but none of it registered in Cassie’s mind.
All that mattered was escape.
Spinning around a fallen Lady, Cassie careened into a hard body. She bit back a scream, slapping at the wall of chest with her left hand
while digging for her dagger with her right. Before she could get her dagger free she felt a strong grip on her wrist pulling her towards
the shadowed wall of the room. She strained to pull away, her mind not registering the hooded figure as familiar. Fingers closed over
“Shh.” Hot breath spilled down her neck as her captor whispered into her ear. “Stop fighting, Cass, we don’t have time.”
Nodding, she turned to see the Prince’s eyes looking out from the cloak’s hood.
She kept her eyes downcast, but that didn’t stop him from noticing
her. Her dark hair tumbled in curls down her back, tiny springs
coiled and ready to be pulled upon. Her tanned skin accented by the
deep blue of her gown and the white lace of the trim, a style that had
come and gone yet looked fresh and new on her. Her hands fidgeted at
her sides, drawing his attention to her flared hips outlined in her
He had to know her.
Breaking away from his group of nobles, he strode towards her.
“Highness? A word?”
Damn. Not now, he thought, though he almost said it aloud also. “Sir
Isaac, I was just about to…”
The tall man took his arm, steering him away from his goal towards the
man’s own daughter. “Never mind, Highness. I saw you coming and I
knew you’d want to meet my Katherine. Ah, here she is!”
He spared a glance over his shoulder to see grey eyes looking back at him.
She paused, wiping the sweat from her head with the back of her hand. The sun beat down on her small clearing, melting the dusting of snow that had fallen overnight. The need to keep her mind from wandering rather than a need for firewood had driven her out of her bed early, the songbirds greeting the daybreak with an enthusiasm that she lacked.
Now that she’d stopped chopping the firewood, she noticed how quiet it was around her. Hefting her axe, she slowly turned around, searching for the cause of the tension. Her corner of the woods was typically left alone, too far from any roads to get to easily and too out of the way for anyone to stumble passed.
Not that anyone knew she was there.
I hope, she thought. Glancing at her hut, she shifted her stance, not quite able to shake the feeling that someone was watching her. The hair on her neck prickled up, increasing her unease. Her head spun around at a cry from her horse gave her the direction she needed.
She only got to take three steps before they were upon her.
Her name whispered through his head, seeking out the hidden corners he had abandoned years ago. Her figure danced behind his eyes, taunting him as she walked away. Her auburn hair fell in loose curls to hug her figure as she swayed her hips, her sword moving in time with her strong stride. She didn’t look back.
You sent her away, remember? Right, the less distractions, the better. He fingered his sword hilt, trying to banish her from his thoughts and turn them to the task at hand. Soon, his troop would be leaving, and he would need all the concentration he could muster. Instead, all he could think of was running his hands up her curves, her muscled body leaning into his…
“Highness? Are you even listening?” His squire shook his head. “Forgive me, Highness, but shouldn’t we be preparing for war? Not mooning over some nobody.”
Sighing, Lucas refocused on the maps in front of him.