Monday, February 23, 2015

Character Madness Monday - Today's Interview: Joey from Balancing Act

By K.T. Stephens

Available April 1st, 2015

Tolor’s snouty nose comes into view as he sniffs to make sure no one else is there. Almost satisfied, his eyes peek past the doorway. He smiles, pushes a clump of hair behind his ear and bounces into the room.

A new file folder sits on the coffee table.

cla clop, cla clop, cla clop.

Tolor hurriedly sits on the folder as Colovere enters the room.

The way he smiles almost seems menacing on a unicorn, but Tolor knows it’s genuine.

“There’s no need to sit on that folder, my friend.”

Tolor looks around. “What folder?”

Colovere nudges his horn into Tolor’s shoulder. He jumps out of the chair and the file falls on the floor.

“Ouch!” He eyes the papers. “Where did that come from?”

Colovere snorts. “Pick them up. You’re the host this week.”

Tolor rubs his shoulder a moment longer before bending to retrieve the paperwork.

Someone knocks on the door.

“Come in, come in,” Colovere calls.

“What a rude way to usher in a guest for an interview,” Juliette says leading a teenage boy into the room.

Entering behind them, Brayden eyes the boy suspiciously.

Juliette sighs, “Would you please take him home,” She tells Colovere.
Brayden folds his arms against his chest. “I’m not go –“

“Ouch!,” Brayden yells, backing out the door as Colovere threatens to stick him in the butt cheek again.

Tolor winces, sympathetically. Then brightens. 

“It’s Joey,” He says enthusiastically. He shakes Joey’s hand and motions toward the chair with his other paw. “It’s so good to see you.”

“Yeah, sure. Whatever. Ms. Stephens told me to say thanks for having me.” He sits quickly, casting a suspicious eye on the beran. “She also told me to answer your questions and don’t be sassy.” He slouches in the chair. 

“So you’re my interview today.”

Juliette pulls up a chair and sits beside Joey. “You two know each other?”

“No,” Tolor says. “But being the freak of nature we beran’s are, I know most of the people that work for the circus.” He clears his throat. “Now quiet down so I can start my interview.”

Juliette frowns, but does as she is told.

Joey slumps further down in the chair and glances at Tolor from between strands of hair partially covering his eyes. 

It’s great to have you, Joey. Would you tell us a little bit about your story?

“Ohh, that kind of interview. I thought I was going to get chewed out. Again.” He brightens, sitting a bit straighter. “Sure. See, my brothers and I are tightrope walkers. That’s why we joined the circus. I’m really good.” His brows draw in. “At least, that’s what my brothers and everyone else tell me.”

“It sounds like you having really protective brothers. I hope they aren’t as bad as Selene's,” he says glancing toward the door. “Are you all pretty close?”

Joey shrugs. “I guess. We take care of each other. The twins are eleven years older than me and like to boss me around. Things are good when they don’t drink our pay away, but I’d still rather be with them than anywhere else.” 

Tolor nods. "I agree, there's nothing like spending time with family. Juliette, Selene and Colovere are my family now."

He frowns. "The notes I have suggest your parents were abusive. What was it like being separated from them? Were you glad to go with your brothers?"

“I don’t like to think of my parents much. My brothers told me our mom and dad went to jail because they were dealing drugs or something. If they weren't sleeping then they were yelling at us. I don’t miss them at all. Not a bit. I have my circus family.” 

Joey’s answer sounds a bit forced, so Tolor changes the subject.

“The circus. I’m so jealous. What’s it like working there?” Tolor glances at the sheet of paper wedged between his claws. His eyes bulge. “The tight rope? I know you mentioned the rope earlier. But what kind of men allow their younger brother to take up tightrope walking?” Shakes his head. “What’s this world coming to? What if you fell, have you ever fallen?”

“I've fallen plenty of times,” Joey says, laughing. “Mason, the owner of the circus, makes me use a safety net during the actual performances. But that’s why we practice every day, so we don’t fall as much. If our acts weren't dangerous, no one would come to see us perform, right? But the three of us are really good. That’s why I used to get so angry with Lewis. He practiced a lot, but never got any better. So now, I’m figuring I’ll help him find a different act—one that he’s better at, ya know?” 

Tolor bends forward, speaking in Joey’s ear. “I hear you’re tough and you have a fondness for spray paint. Want to go spray some walls and bridges when we’re done? I can get a group of young berans together. How fun would that be?”

Joey grins. “I sneak out late at night. You guys are welcome to come along, as long as you keep your growls to yourselves.”

Juliette rolls her eyes. “That’s called graffiti, Tolor. It’s illegal.”

"Only in his world. Not ours."

“Doesn’t matter.”

“Whoa, guys.” Joey holds up his hands. “Don’t get all excited on my account. I don’t mess up important things with my art. Honest. Anyway, I thought you wanted to know more about the story?”

Abashed, Juliette and Tolor sit up straight and smooth their clothing. Tolor clears his throat.

"So I've been hearing there’s a new guy at your circus? What’s he like? I might be able to take him out for you if I can sneak out of Jena’s head long enough.”

Joey shakes his head. “Naw, we’re good now. I used to get really pissed at Lewis, ‘cause everyone paid attention to him and not me. See, he had problems with the slackline—that’s a different line than a tightrope. It’s wider and has more give to it. Anyway, I didn’t understand what Lewis was going through. All I saw is that everyone was nice to him and hated me. Especially Tiny. He’s our strongman.” He twisted his hands together. “See, Tiny’s so cool. And I really wanted him to like me. And the only way he noticed me at all was when I messed with Lewis.” A twinkle lit his eyes. “So I messed with Lewis. You’ll have to read the story to see what happens, Tolor.”

“I'll be looking forward to it. What’s your author, KT Stephens, like? Jena’s head is always so scattered. I don’t know how we manage to stay sane here sometimes.”

“She’s pretty cool, but I know exactly what you mean. Being in her head is like riding the Octopus at the side show carnival—centrifugal force all the time. But, she loves our circus and has about twenty stories written about all of us. Sometimes we get our own story—like mine—and sometimes our people are scattered through a bunch of them. I’m hoping she’ll think I’m important enough to be in a couple more.”

Tolor nods. “Do you feel like she portrayed you properly?”

Joey taps his forehead. “If she understands what’s going on up here, yeah, I think she did a good job. Hey, I’m a teenager.” He jumps out of the chair and starts a slow hip grind, arms raised high. “How hard can it be to understand what makes me do what I do…” bump, “…act like I act…” bump, “and be what I… be.” He stopped. “Okay, so I’m not perfect. I get that.”

Tolor and Juliette laugh.

"Anything you would change?” Tolor asks.

“Just that next time I’m in one of her stories, I’d like for Ms. Stephens to let Terri, the dog trainer’s daughter, fall in love with me. Or at least worship me from afar. That girl is HOT!” He saunters back to the chair.

"Wow, she is a pretty one. Looks a little scary though, maybe you you be careful not to make he mad in the meantime." 

Tolor Looks over his notes. "Who is Tiny? He sounds like someone who might make a good dinner for a beran.”

“Oh, you don’t want to mess with Tiny. He’s our strongman and holy crap, he’s huge. Almost bigger than you! You know that guy on WWE—John Cena? The one with the huge muscles? Tiny makes Cena look, well… tiny. I swear, the man is at least six-eight. But like I said, he’s cool. He’s like the second in command of the circus. People really respect him, you know?”

The beran's head tilts. "Is there anything you might like to share that we didn't cover?"

“We talked about Terri, right? About the worship from afar deal? Okay, then I’m good.”

"Any advice you might give a fellow character?”

Joey winks at Juliette. “Just be a hard ass on the outside with a soft gooey center. Chicks love that.” He clears his throat. “At any rate that’s what Tiny and my brothers tell me. Maybe you shouldn't write that…”

Tolor's ears twitch. “How about gossip? Our fellow characters love gossip”

Joey draws back and lifts his chin. “I never gossip. That’s a girl thing.” He leans forward and lowers his voice. “Jeez, buddy. Wait until Juliette leaves, would you?”

Juliette smirks and Tolor glances at the clock and stands. 

“Our time is up, but great interview, man. Maybe we can do this again sometime. Any last words?"

“I’m guessing Ms. Stephens would want you to know that my story is in an anthology of other YA stuff by different Scribophile authors. Oh, and it’s going to be released on April 1.”

He stands and pumps a fist into the air. “Tightrope walkers do it balancing!” Joey drops his fist and grins sheepishly. “My brothers told me to say that. I’m beginning to understand what it means.”

Author, K.T. Stephens writes YA and children’s books and is especially enamored of the circus. Just mention acrobats and strongmen and she’ll jump headfirst into this world of magic, color and precision and take you with her!  She also has published adult literature under the pseudonym Katie Stephens. Her latest release is a romance story in the anthology Love Least Expected called Alphabetical Disorder. And you’ll never believe it’s about the circus. Or will you? 

You can follow K.T. Stephens at  Facebook

Balancing Act is one of thirteen stories in the YA anthology Seven Deadly Sins: Pride, set to release on April 1, 2015. Six more anthology sets are in the works for later dates.

All the authors are members of the writing site Scribophile. You can follow along with the progress of the first book in the series blog here - Or on Facebook

If you're a writer, check out Scribophile here

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Carriage Trailer

A Taste of today's Character Madness Monday. The Carriage

Character Madness Monday: The Carriage

Available Now on

Tolor hops onto a square, bends as he growls and scrapes the ground with his sharp claws before righting himself, but still balancing on one of his feet.

Selene tilts her head, the sweat on her forehead shows she's more than a little bit skeptical.

Colovere snorts, while Juliette covers her mouth to hide a burst of laughter.

"Try it," Tolor says. "It's fun. All the cubs in my village played it."

"It would be near impossible for me to do that, and if I tried it would hurt my hooves!" Selene tells him.

Alexis and Ezra enter the room with Brooke and Amos. Mr. Bowen, Ezra and Amos' Father, follows behind with Cora, the maid, and Mrs. Brentwood.

Alexis crosses her arms. "What are you doing, Tolor?"

"Playing hopscotch. I'm trying to teach Selene and Colovere, but they aren't getting it." He scratches his furry head.

"That's not a hopscotch," Alexis says, rolling her eyes.

Juliette laughs.

"It's a crossword I made for our guests to play at the party," Alexis adds.

Tolor frowns. "Well it looked like a hopscotch. See here ..." He traces along a vertical length of squares with one hand.

Juliette pulls him off the crossword. "One-Two-Three!"

"Congratulations on your big day!" Everyone yells in-sync.

Ophelia enters carrying balloons in her teeth.

"Wow, Amos," Alexis says. "Black balloons. Guess they knew you were coming."

Amos clenches his teeth with a low growl. "Do you know how much I hate you?"

Ezra places a hand on his shoulder. "Yes, brother. We do, but as Alexis would say ... 'Give it a rest.'

Juliette's boyfriend Brayden, hands out glasses of cider, "Made fresh from the apples in the meadow," he says.

Everyone graciously accepts the sweetartly refreshment.

Ophelia rubs noses with Colovere. "The balloons were actually left over from Valentine's Day. We had a small party behind the mirror. But this isn't about us. I want to hear your favorite quotes from your story."

"No more hiding behind Jena's imagination now."

"Our favorite quotes," Mr. Bowen says, his fingers stroking his beard. "My favorite quote was:

“I knew the cost. I’m an old man, Ezra.” A tear trickled down his cheek.“I lost one son. I refused to lose another.

"I was so strong. A good Father you know. Taking care of Ezra like I should."

Juliette smiled. "What about you, Alexis? What was your favorite?"

Alexis blushes. "Mine was a tie between Charles Dickens, and the first time Ezra held me. it was after I had a nightmare of the asylum."

She crossed her arms over her chest as if holding herself. “I’m not like you, Ezra.” Her voice was toned with frustration. “Where I come from, a man can hold a woman without it ruining her reputation. Sometimes people just need to feel safe, or they want to show affection. There’s nothing wrong with that.”
"Indeed," Amos says. "Time for my favorite."
Mr, Bowen and Ezra frown.
His eyes glowed red, full of the hatred he’d carried all our lives. His skin so pasty white, it almost glowed in the darkness. He hissed his rage and my eyes widened as I watched long fangs protrude down from lips barely tinged pink. Saliva dripped from them.
“I’ve waited a hundred years to kill you.” 
Brooke rolls her eyes. "Some things never change."
"Time for a change in topic," Juliette says, handing a piece of paper to Brooke.
"A mad-lib? I love mad-libs."
Ezra chuckles. "Our bookworm. Okay, we have to leave soon so get that posted for our guests."
Cora grabs it. "Yes, Master Ezra."
"Thank you, Cora."
"What is this mad-lib about?" Mrs. Brentwood asks.
"It's the scene where Alexis crashes in the carriage," Cora Says. "All the readers have to do is fill in the boxes and click the 'lib it!' button to create a funny story all their own. Have fun everyone, and thank you so much for coming to our party. If you read the book, please consider leaving a review on Amazon or Goodreads. We characters like to know how we're doing on occasion. If you're enjoying our blog, please consider signing up for the newsletter, or following."

  • name of friend:
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"Thank you for coming everyone," Alexis waves. "I hope we can meet up again soon ... And like Tolor always says. Buy a book so the Authors will keep your favorite characters around.

Read it free on Kindle Unlimited, or buy your own copy for .99 cents.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Character Madness Monday: Today's Interview 

Merlin from Rolf's Quest.

A Sneak Peek

Tolor walks in with a sheet of paper, clears his throat and sits down.
“Hello Everybody. Today we have—“

Colovere enters, hooves clip clopping on the tiles.
“Sorry, Tolor. This is my interview.”

Tolor’s brows creep up to his hairline. “I’m the interviewer here. Go find an apple or something.”

Colovere grabs the back of Tolor’s shirt with his teeth and swings him out of the chair into Selene’s waiting arms.

“Time to go big guy,” Selene says covering his mouth and pulling him out the door.

Merlin sits quietly on a stool with his staff in his hand and chuckle. “I like a unicorn with attitude."

Juliette walks in and places a pair of glasses on his nose.
“Thank you.”

Colovere turns to Merlin.

"My apologies, sir. Would you like to continue this in the meadow?"

"It’s raining right now, but if you’d like I could change that. No, never mind. I’d rather finish my cup of mead."

“Okay then."

"Today I want to introduce you to our newest friend, Merlin from hmm? by Author Aubrey Wynne, who like Jena, sleeps too much."

Colovere holds up a hoof in a proper unicorn greeting.

"Welcome Merlin. Can you tell me what the name of your story is? I'm afraid Tolor failed to jot it down."

"Rolf’s Quest"

"Thank you, Merlin. Good title. What’s it about?"

"Let’s say I made a woman a bit angry when I cast a spell on her. Her heart wasn't cooperating and I got impatient. So she trapped me in a tree to teach me a lesson. I had to depend on the first born of each generation to free me by finding genuine love without the use of magic. Not many people know I had a son. Six hundred years and not one of those self-centered boys could break the enchantment."

Colovere shakes his head with a tsk. "I don’t understand why women are so temperamental about being cursed. You should see how Juliette gets some days."

"Your story sounds interesting, Merlin. I heard Jena say you’re a bitter old man."
He snorts trying to hide a chuckle.

"Of course I’m bitter. I taught Vivien everything she knew and then she turns one of my most powerful spells against me. Women. They are the bane of my existence."

Colovere rolls his eyes. “And I thought we gossiped too much. Lie down on the couch and tell us what made you that way?”

"You are right about the old part. If I lay down on the couch after this warm wine, I’ll take a nap. I’m fine, let’s move on."

"Okay then, who is your favorite co-star in your story and why?"

"Absolutely Rolf—he was my last hope. His father had ignored his true love because she wasn't titled. Didn’t realize it till she died giving birth to Rolf. The Arbrecs are a hardheaded bunch. So I took over his training at the age of 10. He reminded me a lot of Arthur. Good boy, he was. Not real happy living with me in the Enchanted Forest, at first, but he came around."

"Um hmmm. I’ve heard you have a pretty awesome cave out there."

"Do you feel like Aubrey portrayed you properly, or is there something you would have done different?"

"I think she did a superb job in almost all aspects. But I still do not believe I deserved to spend so many centuries in a Hawthorne tree."

Colovere leans in. “Any good gossip on your end?

"Well," (leans forward and lowers his voice) "did you hear Eleanor of Aquitane found Henry II with another woman? Rumor has it she pulled the woman from the bedchamber by her hair. Ah, I’d love to be a fly on the wall in that palace. Now there’s a woman."

"We unicorns hate flies but that will certainly be an interesting tidbit to share."

“This fact sheet says you have a pretty feisty girlfriend. What makes her special to you?”

"I do. Vivien is fire and ice. Never know which she’ll be from one day to the next. But she’ll come around. This time I’ll hold my tongue—and my magic—until she does. One thing I took away from that imprisonment is patience."

"A good plan."

"If there was one thing you could change in your story, what would it be?"

"I’d get out of that damnable tree faster. But my manservant kept me company. He’s a faithful one—took good care of Rolf too."

The glasses fall off Colovere’s long nose.

"You have a servant? I want one. What’s it like?"

"If you can’t get out much, they are vital. But for me it was more having the sound of a human voice around so I didn’t lose my mind."

“He sounds more like a cherished friend than servant.”

Colovere glances at the clock.

“I’m afraid our time is up for the day. Is there anything you want to add?"

I hope you read my little historical fantasy. It’s part of a great Valentine’s anthology with several different genres: Love Least Expected. Nine stories, in all I think. But you’ll like Rolf and Melissa’s story. And if you do, look for my tale to come out next. Oh, the look on Vivien’s face when she realized…Or just watch the book trailer. Some magic there, if you don’t mind my saying so."

Okay folks. Thanks for joining us with Merlin from Rolf’s Quest, by Author Aubrey Wynne.
You can check him and his friends out at

Or purchase his story at Amazon, B&N, Kobo, AllRomance

Follow Aubrey Wynne

Support your favorite characters. Buy a book so their authors will keep them.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Character Madness Monday: Today's Interview - Alexis from The Carriage

Tolor carefully picks up this weeks file with long claws. "Juliette, why is it addressed to Juliette?"

The gremlin enters, "grabble grabble grabble grabble." He takes the file and pops Tolor on the head with it.

"What was that for?"

"Grabble, grabble."

Juliette enters the room and laughs.

"It's my turn to do the interview, Tolor." She rubs the knot on his head and gives the gremlin an 'I'm not pleased with you,' sort of look.

He grabble, grabble's his way to the corner.

Tolor shrugs. "It's okay I guess." He glances at the cover. "She looks pretty upset to me, anyway. Reminds me of you when you arrived in Zylphia's world".

Juliette smooths her hair. "I'm certain I didn't look that bad."

"Here she is." Tolor says, walking toward the door. "I'll see you later."

Juliette smirks at his back, then smiles at Alexis as she reaches for her hand.


Alexis steps back. "You're not going to kiss my hand like Ezra does are you?"

Juliette arrows her eyes, ignores her and pulls up a chair.

"Have a seat."

Alexis sits.

"Wow, you look stunning. You fixed your hair and everything," Juliette says, feeling a little inferior.

"Well, Jena told me to look my best. A girl does what she can."

"You told her we were doing this?"

"Of course I did. I don't keep secrets from my author like some people I know."

Juliette sighs.

"Don't worry, as long as the unpublished characters remember their place and don't tell their secrets, she's good with it."

Juliette huffs. "Well, there's nothing we can do about it now then, is there? Lets just move on. 

What's your story about?"

"It's about me - and Ezra of course. My sister Brooke, I'm sure you've seen her around Jena's imagination. She gets mad at me and chants a spell that sends me and a carriage crashing into the Victorian Era, where Ezra finds me of course. He's so cute and such a gentleman. 

"I'm pretty mean to him at first, but after he helps me out when I get in trouble for stealing a tomato, I warm up to him. Geez, can you believe it? Jena made my life miserable over a stupid tomato."

Juliette nods knowingly. "She tried to starve me for awhile too. I have no idea what I would have done without Selene, Colovere and Tolor." Shudders.

Alexis nods. She's harassing Lily now. The woman in the angel story. At least that's what Brooke told me."

Juliette shakes her head. "I know Jena can get a little mean sometimes, but I bet you forgave her the moment you saw the hottie she had planned for you."

Alexis chuckles. "You know I did. Isn't he delicious? I never got why Cora didn't hit on him. She was his servant and a pretty one too. She was a good friend of mine."

Juliette smiles. "So what happened to make you warm up to him?

"Well, Ezra isn't like other guys. I mean, he was a bit of a stalker but I did finally get him to go away. He's polite, and kind to everyone. Even his good for nothing brother, Amos."

"Amos. I heard he tried to kill you."

"He did," Alexis says with wide eyes. "But I can't share more on that right now. Too much of a spoiler."

"Understood. I'm just glad you're here now."

"I am too. Anyway, Ezra tries everything he knows to get me home but it was an almost impossible quest. Then we got in a fight and that slowed progress down too."

"I'm sure it did," Juliette says. "What about Ezra? How is he doing these days? My file says Amos did actually murder him. How is it he's still alive?"

"Well, again, I can't give too much information out yet, but his father knew a man that could raise people from the dead. I know. It sounds totally creepy, but Ezra's not creepy at all."

Alexis looks at her watch. "Sorry, but I need to go. I have to meet Brooke for lunch, we're going to look for the witch that gave her the potion she used to curse me."

"Why would you do that?"

"Sorry." Alexis giggles. "No more spoilers today."

Juliette shifts irritably. "Not much of an interviewee are you? Any last words?" Before I strangle you?

Alexis smiles devilishly. "Well, I do have one little secret."

Juliette bends forward to hear better. "And that would be?"

Jena is going to release the e-book for .99 cents for the first week. After that it will be 2.99, available at Amazon and Smashwords. She'll also have a paperback copy available on Create Space.

"That is a surprise. I'll be looking forward to reading it. Thank you for visiting us today, Alex. Tolor is trying to arrange a small party on your release date. Any ideas when that will be?"

"Jena hasn't told us yet, but I scanned her thoughts and the goal is February sixteenth."

"You're pretty sneaky, aren't you?"

Alexis laughs."Look whose talking. You're one of the character's that has parties, gossip sessions, and interviews behind her back."

"I suppose that's true.

Thanks again for joining us today, Alexis."

"So that's all for today folks," Juliette says standing and taking Alexis hand to bid her a proper goodbye. "We'll see you all next week."

The Carriage - February 2015

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