Monday, August 31, 2015

How I formed my characters and what characterization means to me

I'm crazy about  a good story, but without great characters it's impossible to hold my attention. When I started writing my first novel, Pretentious, I knew the plot and that my main character was a good boy who made a promise to his dying father that he would take care of his family. The promise made at twelve would have been difficult for any sixteen-year-old teenager to keep when hormones began awakening and other boys were playing sports, going to games, and taking girls to dances at school.

I also knew that he would be very mature where running the family business was concerned, but very young emotionally. So my character gets confused and frustrated, and he has a temper. Another thing I knew about him was that even though he is a born leader, his goodness would constantly wound him. Once all that came together - in like three minutes, Danny Rosani was born.

His co-star was a little harder. It took me a while to understand Aryn, but her biggest flaw was more subtle. Rather than facing her problems, she runs away. Why? Because her Mother abandoned her leaving a deep seeded lack of trust of anyone truly being loyal or wanting her, but she's a strong girl on the surface and we pick up her issues as the story unwinds.

The image of Danny formed in my head, as did Aryn. I've found it hard finding the right images when making teasers for all my characters. I've had to change Aryn a bit because of it.

Another character that formed in my head was my angel in Veiled Memories. Ilan is a strong warrior who is on the immature side, leaning too much on his best friend and comrade who falls. He's powerful, willful, rebellious, heart-broken and frustrated, and a total sweetheart. He hasn't worked in more developed countries so at times he's quite naive. His partner is no nonsense and kept him in line until the day of his demise. It's no wonder Ilan falls in love with the woman from his next assignment, both of them are feeling really vulnerable.

I've studied emotion and gone over numerous character sheets taking what I found valuable in each, until I made one that is completely my own. It addresses things like scars and secrets, who knows those secrets, relationships with family, and even the style in which they dress. Something I picked up as important by watching some of the chiseled creations in anime. The character sheet also addresses what my characters learn throughout their journey.

I created a Beran in Reflections, A man who is half bear, who struggles with blood lust while he lives with a female centaur named Selene. The centaur is his natural enemy and he must live with the fear and guilt of a possible attack on the female he loves more than anyone else in the world..

My characters come from all over, but with the exception of one, they all began in my mind. I am unable to share the image that inspired my main character in The Covens of Misty Haven, but I fully intend to write the artist and ask for permission before the release date.

What is important about the creation of fictional characters to you?

Hi Everyone,

Jena Baxter here. I've decided to revamp my blogs a little bit.

Meet the Author will remain and showcase new Authors and others in the writing world, but it will no longer post every Wednesday.

This blog will still have character interviews on occasion, but it's going to be my personal blog from this point on. I still intend to focus on my characters pretty often, but there will be some serious posts now too. I will still be sending posts out on Monday, with the occasional special post during the week.

My Writer's Prompt blog on Tumblr will be moving again by the end of the week.

I'll be posting the new blog for this week later today.

Thank you for being patient with the changes.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Character Madness Monday.

An Interview with Alia Stark 


The Gathering: Book One of the Lia Fail Chronicles

Please introduce yourself.

Hello. My name is Alia Stark. I was born in Los Angeles, CA, when there was a Los Angeles… or even a California.  I have…or had… 2 sisters and a brother. I graduated from USC, Marshall School of Business.  I’m a widow. I lost my husband, Paul, a few years ago. And I’m a mom. Oh, and I’m the ruler of Lia Fail. The queen of Lia Fail. 

What’s Lia Fail? How do you pronounce that?

(Laughing) It’s a colony. We sit on the mountains that used to be the Santa Monica Mountains, above what was Lake Hollywood, not far from the old zoo. And it’s pronounced Lee-ah Fall. It means Stone of Destiny ( We’re known as the Pagan Village, but pretty much anyone is welcome in our colony. 

My late husband Paul and I started building the Fail after everything settled down. After the disasters calmed down, we knew we needed a place to keep our kids safe. So we found equipment and supplies and started to build, more and more survivors came to us. We just ended up being in charge.

And you’re a queen?

(Laughing) Yes. As we became the leaders, someone suggested we be the presidents, but no one really wanted that. They wanted us to take over, to make the decisions. The rules we had seemed to work, so the next thing we knew, we were a monarchy. It works for us. But the other colonies have different rules. St. Paul’s, Bethel Israel, Crystal Shade, WeHo and Pasadena, they all have presidents. The Buddhist colony, they all run it together. Whatever works.

So tell us your story…

Oh, Okay… well, there was the last great war, so everything is gone now. No more countries, or states, or cities… no governments like we used to have… at least, none that I’m aware of. It’s been thirteen years. We’ve survived. Well, most of us have survived. There are quite a few colonies now. Most of them seem to be religiously based, not all, but most. Well, we all decided to get together every six months…the colonies I mean. We all come together at The Gathering.  We remember to be patient and tolerant of other people and their beliefs. 

During this Gathering though, things have gone all wrong. There is something evil out there, and it is after me and my family. But my friend are there with me, and Sean. Sean Lantry. He’s the Captain of the guard and one of my best friends. 

Is it scary or a love story?

It’s both. There is a lot of love, as well as evil and ugliness. Adventure too.

You mentioned above you’re a mother. How many children to you have?

(Laughing) I have eleven children.


Yes… I would have sixteen, but I lost five of them. My children are Kaley, Alisha, Chris, Tanner, Sara, Coeli, Rebecca, Brian, Lisa, Brandon and Amanda. Frank, Colleen, Cassie, Gail and Steven – Those are the children I lost. 

I’m so sorry.

Thank you. It’s hard sometimes, but the ones I have now are healthy and I think happy. It eases the pain, but they’re never far from my thoughts, and some days are better than others.

Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend? 

No, not at the moment… but there is someone… nevermind.

Are you sure you don’t want to elaborate?

No, next question, please.

Who is the scariest person in your story?

Oh, well, that’s really up for debate. There are at least five truly horrible people… but I don’t want to ruin anything for anyone.

(Laughing) Okay, I understand that.  Is there anything big that is planned for The Gathering?

Oh yes! One of my daughters is getting married. Alisha. She’s going to marry Vance Worley. 

Is this the first wedding of your children?

Oh yeah… I’m not that old. My youngest is five.

(Laughing) Sorry. If you could be anything you want to be, what would you be? Why?

I guess I would be exactly who and what I am now. I’m a pretty happy person, despite the hardships and bad things that have happened to me in my life. I really love my life. 

What’s your author like?

Shannon? She’s a lot like me, I guess. We’re both strong willed, independent, leaders. I think there are things about me she wants for herself. But again, I think she’s pretty happy. She likes what she does. 

Do you think she portrayed your part well?

Oh, yeah! She nailed it. She knows me inside and out. She doesn’t pull any punches. The Lia Fail chronicles can get gritty, dirty and ugly, but that makes it real. At least that’s what I think. I may not like everything that has happened to me, but that’s life. 

Do you have any pictures to share?

Sure, here you go. Pics of me, my kids and the books I’m in so far. 

So far? How many books is Shannon writing?

As far as I know, she’s writing at least 5 full novels and the stories in between. She might even do some spin offs, but I’m not sure she’s there yet.

Wow, well, Thank you for taking the time to talk to us today. 

Thanks for having me. I hope people read the books. It’s a great ride!


The world as we know it is gone. There are no more countries, states, or cities.  No more traditional government... only survivors who have created a new world made up of small colonies.
It has been thirteen years since the last World War and the village of Lia Fail sits peacefully above the Hollywood Reservoir in the Santa Monica Mountains.  The settlement is making ready to host the fall Gathering. A time to remember the past as well as discover new loves, old friends, family, and fun, but just as the festivities begin, the people in Lia Fail begin to experience strange goings on they can't explain. Unseen forces attack several guests and friends begin to distrust friends.  When they receive news of a horrific massacre, they realize they must face an impending dark evil that threatens to destroy the tranquil village.  

Alia Stark, the queen of Lia Fail, must face this malevolent force alongside her oldest and dearest friends.  The fate of her people, the lives of her children and freedom itself rests in her hands.  Will she have the courage to do what must be done… and at what price?  

This is the beginning of a journey that will change all of their lives forever.

The Gathering: Book One of the Lia Fail Chronicles is the first in a new Paranormal, Fantasy, and Adventure Series.
This book contains adult situations and is intended for a mature audience.

From The Gathering to The Bridging:

After the battle at the Black Castle, the survivors have returned and peace has once again settled on the village of Lia Fail. Follow the changes that have transpired in Alia Stark, as well as her family and friends, in this omnibus of tales.

From The Gathering to The Bridging is a collection of short stories from the Lia Fail Chronicles covering the gap of almost two years from the end of The Gathering and taking the reader into the next novel, The Bridging. A Wish, A Touch, A Kiss, A Birthday (Bonus Story) and A Storm contain vital information in the continuation of The Lia Fail Chronicles. Meet the newest members of the Fail, explore new love, adventures and magic, as we travel From The Gathering to The Bridging.


S. L. Dearing was raised in Westlake Village, California and grew up in Phoenix, Arizona. She attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and then spent several years studying at Los Angeles City College’s renowned Television/ Film program. She has worked on several film projects in many capacities: directing, writing, First Asst. Director, Etc. Shannon has been writing since grade school. Over the years she has written several screenplays, poems and short stories.

She currently works in an administrative capacity in Century City when she is not writing. Writing since grade school, Shannon only discovered her passion for writing years later and over the years she has written several screenplays, poems and short stories as well as her current published work.  

Her first series (The Lia Fail Chronicles) has several books available at most retail outlets - The Gathering and From The Gathering to The Bridging. In addition, several of her short stories are currently available at Amazon. Several of those stories are from these anthologies: Apocalypse: An Anthology by Readers and Authors, Paranormal Anthology with a TWIST, & Stalkers (Published by Cynthia Shepp and Rene Folsom) and All Our Love (published by Novel Grounds).  She also has a piece in Love Potions, Lotion and Lore (Published by Karen Pierce-Gonzalez).

Shannon is a multi-genre and mash-up author, unrestricted by content, only interested in telling the story that is screaming to be told. She currently lives in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, CA with her two cats.

Purchase The Gathering: Book One of the Lia Fail Chronicles here:

Check out S. L. Dearing's Amazon page and other published work here:

Follow S. L. Dearing:

Monday, August 17, 2015


Character Madness Monday

An Interview with ‘Cerys’

for The Forgotten Princess of Mona

Book One of The Dragon’s Treasure.

Q. What’s your name?
A. Cerys.

Q. Cerys? Is that spelled K-E-R-R-I-S?
A. I don’t know how to spell but you said it right.

Q. How old are you?
A. (Holds out six fingers) I’m eleven!

Q. Tell us about your story.
A. It’s mostly about me I guess but it’s also about a lot of other people. Some of them are good and some of them are bad. When I was born, my mother died and I was sick. After my father disappeared, my stepmother took over our kingdom. She doesn’t like it though. I think she’d rather be back where she came from.

Q. So your stepmother is the queen?
A. Uh-huh. I’m the Princess of Môna.

Q. Is Môna the name of your kingdom?
A. Uh-huh. It’s an island! Domie tells me it’s part of a bigger place called Brit--…Brit-something. I can’t remember. I don’t always think very well.

Q. Britain?
A. Britannia! That’s it…Britannia!

Q. And who is Domie?
A. He’s my father’s friend and he takes care of me because no one else wants to. His real name is Domelch but I call him Domie. He’s a Pict.

Q. A what?
A. A Pict! You know…from far up north where the other Picts live.

Q. Oh. Is your story a scary one or a love story?
A. Some of it is very scary. I have lots of bad dreams and sometimes they come true. My stepmother scares me sometimes too.

Q. Does she beat you or lock you in your room?
A. (Laughs) No, silly. She’s not like the stepmothers in the stories Domie tells me. (Stops laughing) She just doesn’t care about me and doesn’t want me around very much.

Q. Why is that?
A. She just wants her son to be the king instead of me becoming the queen, even though he’s younger than me. His name is Elian but he’s nice. He’s really my half-brother and we play a lot.

Q. Oh. If you could be anything you want to be, what would you be? Do you want to be the Queen of Môna?
A. (Looks down into lap and almost whispers) No. I just want to be like everyone else.

Q. Why? You seem like a very nice girl.
A. Thank you but I have lots of headaches and sometimes I don’t speak very well. Some people say I’m simpleminded but others just call me a moron. I st-stu-stutter and I’m not very good with my hands either. Most people are scared of me but I don’t understand why. I just want people to like me and not treat me like I’m different. I guess I am though.

Q. Does your fur mat and pull? I was just wandering because I have a mat right now and it really hurts.
A. (Grinning) You’re silly! Domie gets like that sometimes when he drinks that honey stuff. My hair gets messed up a lot but ‘Wena always helps me brush it. Sometimes she braids it too. I really like that.

Q. Who is ‘Wena?
A. Her name is Owena but I call her ‘Wena. She’s a little older than me and she’s supposed to be helping my stepmother here in the manor but she spends most of her time helping me and Domie.

Q. Who is the scariest person in your story?
A. That’s easy! Hwch ddu Gwta!

Q. Hoook the who?
A. (Laughing again) Hwch…ddu…Gwta! She’s this tailless, black pig that walks like people do. She talks to you without moving her mouth and says the meanest things. Domie won’t talk to me about her but I know he’s really scared of her. I am too and I wish she would get out of my dreams.

Q. What’s your author like?
A. He’s really nice but I wish he wouldn’t make so much bad stuff happen to ‘Wena.

Q. Doesn’t he like her?
A. Oh I know he likes her! It’s just that he…well, he just makes bad things happen to poor ‘Wena.

Q. Why?
A. (Looks left and right before whispering) He told me once that he only does it to make me a better pro—protag--…ohhh I don’t know the word!

Q. Protagonist?
A. That’s it! What’s that though? Do you know what it means?

Q. I think it means ‘good person.’
A. Oh. So that means that all the bad things that happen to ‘Wena are my fault? Like my mommy dying?

Q. No, of course not. It just means that your author might be more of a jerk than you think he is.
A. Oh. (Smiles wide) Alright!

Q. Do you think he portrayed your part well?
A. I don’t know. I’m not a very good storyteller. I guess so though, because at least he introduced me to Talorc!

Q. Talorc? Who is that?
A. He’s my dragon friend! At least, I think he’s a he. Uh-huh…he’s a he. I named him after my father!

Q. Does your author sleep as much as Jena does?
A. (Shaking head) Oh no. No one sleeps as much as she does! Hwch ddu Gwta once told me in a dream that she would make me sleep my life away just like her. Then she told me that I would die screaming on a spear point!

Q. Oh. Ummm…that’s nice, I suppose. Do you have any pictures to share?
A. Sure! I’ll have my author send one along with this when he’s done. You’re a nice bear-man! Bye bye!

Author bio: Guy Donovan has worked on both television and feature films as an animator and storyboard artist/designer for Marvel Films, Hanna-Barbera, Sony Pictures, DreamWorks SKG, and Warner Bros Feature Animation, amongst others.

When the traditional animation business dried up in the early 2000’s, he “chose to get out” of the industry rather than “being thrown out of it.” He then began working for the U.S. Government in return for a steady paycheck, allowing him to continue his wasteful habits of eating and providing for his family.

Guy lives in North Dakota with his wife and daughter. With the publication of “The Forgotten Princess of Môna: Book One of The Dragon’s Treasure,” he is thrilled to return to the world of storytelling. He is currently completing books two and three of The Dragon’s Treasure Trilogy: “A Cold, White Home” and “Memories so Distant and Brief, Yet Ever Green.”

Dragon’s Treasure FB link:

Amazon buy link: