Thursday, May 31, 2018

Character Interview with Pia Donovan from So Much It Hurts by Dellani Oakes



For this interview, I wanted someone the polar opposite of Wil VanLipsig. That required going to a completely different book, because all the Lone Wolf characters waver to toward the darker side. That cannot be said for Pia Donovan, who tends to be a bit perky. Don't hold that against her, she's a wonderful girl.

What is your story?
My story is told in So Much It Hurts
Who are you?
My name is Pia Zamora Donovan. I'm a 22 year old music major.
Where do you live?
I just moved into this great old hotel in the heart of a huge city! Way different from Kearney, Nebraska, let me tell you.
Are you the hero of your own story?
I wouldn't say that. I'm not particularly heroic.
What is your problem in the story?
I'm doing my best to forget this creep I was dating, as well as my bitch of an ex-roommate. They got pregnant and married one another. Now that I've met Flynn and Yancy, things are so much better.
How do you see yourself?
I'm determined, driven, excited about my new experiences, and intimidated by City life. I'm certain I can make it work, though.
How do your friends see you?
Out with the old, in with the new! My old friends probably saw me as stupid for staying with Steven. My new friends don't know him, (and don't want to), but they see me as confident, happy and full of life. This is the me I was before Steven, and who I want to be.
How does the author see you?
She sees me as I see myself, only more. She found a core of strength I didn't know I had.
Do you think the author portrayed you accurately?
Very. It's like she heard my voice in her head! How cool is that?
Do you have any special strengths?
Being the daughter of a college professor, I learned to adapt to change every time we moved. I wasn't very good at it when I was little, but my family helped me a lot. I learned to be confident, and I never lost that.
Do you have any special weaknesses?
Does chocolate count?
Do you have any skills?
I can sing and play a wide variety of musical instruments.
Do you have money troubles?
Doesn't every college student?
What do you want?
I want to finish my education so I can start to teach music and share my love with children.
What do you need?
I need to make up my mind about something. It's really bugging me.
What makes you happy?
My new friends and home make me happy. Flynn and Yancy make me even happier.
What are you afraid of?
I'm afraid I'll do something awful and break someone's heart, the way mine was broken.
What makes you angry?
Stupid people who are mean to each other – for no reason.
What do you regret?
I regret I ever gave my love to Steven. He didn't deserve it.
Are you lucky?
I wouldn't have thought so a year ago, but yes. I'm the luckiest woman alive.
Have you ever failed at anything?
How long an interview do you want?
Has anyone ever betrayed you?
Yes. My ex-boyfriend had an affair with my roommate, got her pregnant and dumped me so he could marry her. They're blissfully happy.
Do you keep your promises?
When I make a promise, I keep it.
Are you healthy?
I rarely get sick, which is a blessing.
What was your childhood like?
We moved a lot, because Mom was in school and then getting her first jobs, but it was good. I have a bunch of brothers and sisters, who helped me learn to adapt and make friends in a new place.
Do you like remembering your childhood?
Very much. I have a great family and we always have a good time together.
Did you get along with your parents?
Yes, I still do. Mom has been with me all through this crap with Steven. She wasn't very supportive when I started dating him, and now I see why.
Have you ever had an adventure?
I'm having one now!
What is the most important thing that ever happened to you? Why?
Meeting Flynn and Yancy, as well as everyone here at the hotel, has been the best thing ever.
Was there a major turning point in your life?
I made the decision to apply to the City University because it's got a world renowned reputation. I needed to get as far away from Steven as I could. Then I was accepted and everything just fell into place. I know this is where I'm meant to be.
Was there ever a defining moment of your life?
Yes, when my suitcase caught in a hole and Flynn helped me.
What is your favorite color? Why?
I love so many, but dark, dusky reds and pinks just make my heart sing.
What is your favorite food? Why?
My dad has a Mexican restaurant. He makes cinnamon rolls to go with the chili, and I love them. Every time I smell them baking, it makes me feel like I'm in his restaurant back home.
What is your favorite beverage? Why?
Is anything better than coffee? Didn't think so.
What is your favorite music? Why?
I love nearly all music. There are a few exceptions; pop schlock, rap crap and that trippy shit they play in clubs. It's not music, it's garbage with a beat.
Name five items in your purse.
Only five? Whew! Phone, keys, wallet, sunglasses, lip balm.... You want me to keep going?
If you were at a store now, what ten items would be in your shopping cart?
I put off grocery shopping, because I hate it – So... One of everything that isn’t fish, beets or rutabagas. Or nuts.
If you were stranded on a desert island, who would you rather be stranded with, a man or a woman?
If I were there with a woman, she'd probably bitch the whole time about how hard the sun was on her skin, or that it was bleaching out her hair. Yuck! I'll take a hot man who knows what he's doing in bed—and a large umbrella. 'Cause, you know, the sun is bleaching out my hair!
How do you envision your future?
Teaching music and happily married to a great guy.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

So Much It Hurts is available from Tirgearr Publishing




Tuesday, May 29, 2018

I Love Dialogue from Indian Summer Revisited by Dellani Oakes



Malin Dimas is a history major, who plays the guitar for love and money. He's just met an amazing new woman, and has landed a new job playing and singing at a local restaurant. He gets an annoyed call from his sister, Tess, because he told their estranged father before he told her. He's just described Carina, his new girlfriend, as symphonic.

"Wouldn't you like to be described as symphonic? I think it's pretty cool."
"I'd love it, but Gary doesn't know any words that big. He gets as far as hot and sexy and starts to drool. I'm thinking of breaking up with him."
"Why's that? I thought he was great in bed."
"He's okay. Clay was better."
"What?"
"I'm kidding. We never got that far. Not that I wasn't interested, but we knew you'd kill us both if we even tried it. He kisses well, though. Is he dating anyone?"
"Yeah, he is," Malin sounded very annoyed. "I can't believe you liked Clay."
"Malin, I know you're just a guy and all, but Clay is nearly as gorgeous as you. It makes me sick to say that, but my brother is one of the best looking men I know, and his dick wad friend is pretty damn jacked and hot and I'd do him in a heartbeat."
"Tess," Malin was getting uncomfortable. "Remember that conversation where it was way too much information?"
"Yeah, so?"
"So, we've reached that point again, only it's your turn."
"Grow up, Malin! I like sex just as much as you do."
"Not listening."
"I'd venture to say I'm nearly as experienced as you are."
"Still not listening."
"I did have a thing with your friend Benji a few months ago. He's kind of kinky, but the things that man can do with his tongue!"
"Tess!"
"What?"
"Bye."
He hung up, flushed and angry. He really didn't think Tess had screwed Benji because she was always complaining that he smelled like last week's dirty laundry. He still didn't like hearing her talk like that and he certainly hadn't appreciated what she had to say about Clay.
"Who was that?" Clay asked him in passing.
"That was Tess."
"Oh, yeah? How's she doing?"
"She misses you and your tongue."
Clay wiggled his tongue around looking confused. "Me? What for? I thought she hated me."
"Hell if I know. She's in one of her moods."
"Ooh, Evil Tess has come out to play. Must be a full moon." He looked up at the sky.
"Clay, did you ever do my sister?"
"Do what? Oh, Do your sister. No. Not that I wouldn't want to, she's smoking hot."
Malin gave him a black look, saying nothing.
"But in a purely virginal and totally untouchable way. I'm going over there now where no one wants to murder me."
He scrambled over by Dana and started making a mess while he tried to help her clean up. She lunged angrily at him with a fork, so he left her alone too and shuffled over by Carina where he hoped he was safe.
"Damn, he's in a bad mood. I think Mal needs to get laid."
He glanced at Carina and blanched. Her expression was very nearly as deadly as Malin's.
"Sorry. Big mouth, small brain." He wandered off, picked up some of Malin's equipment and followed him to his van. "Now what was all that about? Is Tess mad at you?"
"She was. I told Dad about the recording contract."
"Before you told her? Are you insane?"
Malin gave him another black look.
"Forget I asked. You didn't say anything ugly about Nora again did you?"
"No."
"Okay, that's progress."
"You seriously didn't ever—you know—with Tess?"
"Malin, we've been friends a lot of years. I've seen your sister damn near naked on any number of occasions. And, though I was very, very tempted—even when she threw herself at me one night at a party, I said no."
"Threw herself?"
"I swear! Would I lie about that?"
Malin didn't say anything. It was a tough call. Clay would lie if he thought it was what Malin wanted to hear. On the other hand, he would tell the truth if it kept him from getting a beating.
"You might." He loaded his amplifiers into the van.
"True, there are times I might. This isn't one of them. I swear!"
"What party?"
"Um, my twenty-first birthday. I did kiss her. That I did do. It was mildly fantastic," he mumbled quickly. "More than mildly. The other thing—no way."
Malin grabbed his friend and rabbit punched him in the gut. "Good. I'd hate to have to kill you."
"What if I married her and made her blissfully happy by giving her multiple orgasms every night for the rest of her life?"
Malin glared at him over his shoulder as he walked back to the restaurant.
"Okay, that wasn't helping either. I think we've made great progress here tonight. Really!" He trailed behind his friend as he helped load the equipment.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Character Interview with Wilhelm VanLipsig The Lone Wolf by Dellani Oakes



What is your story?
What makes you think there is one?

Who are you?
Colonel Wilhelm VanLipsig, Galactic Marines, retired

Where do you live?
On my ship, the Loup Garou.

Are you the hero of your own story?
I'm the hero of every story.

What is your problem in the story?
Some pscyho son-of-a-bitch wants me dead and then he wants to take over the universe. The usual.

Do you have a problem the wasn’t mentioned in the story?
Yeah, I'm 86 years old, look like I'm 26 and I've been changed so much by the Marine doctors, I don't think I'm even quite human anymore.

Do you embrace conflict?
I embrace and make love to conflict. Or I face it, look it in the eye and roar until it backs the hell down.

How do you see yourself?
I am death, pure and simple. If you see me coming, then you've got about 10 seconds to say your prayers.

How do your friends see you?
I don't really have any friends.

How do your enemies see you?
My enemies don't see me. I kill them before they know I'm there.

How does the author see you? Do you think she portrayed you accurately?
The author thinks I'm dead sexy, smoking hot, jacked and dangerously seductive. She's not wrong.
What do you think of yourself?
I'm the coldest hearted asshole this side of the galaxy.

Do you have a goal?
Get the other bastards before they get me.

What are your achievements?
I'm not really allowed to talk about that. It's classified.

Do you talk about your achievements?
Never. First thing you learn in the Corps—loose lips get you killed. The only people who know what I've done are the others who were there with me—most of them are dead.

Do you have any special strengths?
My battle plans have made the textbooks. One general said, "VanLipsig's battle plans are a Symphony of Destruction with each movement bathed in the blood of the enemy.

Do you have any special weaknesses?
I can't carry a tune.

Do you have any special skills?
That's classified.

What do you want to be?
I am what I am, what more is there?

What do you believe?
I believe in honor and I adhere to it.

What do you regret?
I regret the fact that I wasn't there for the people who needed me.

What, if anything, haunts you?
The faces of everyone I've ever had to kill.

Are you lucky?
For now. Eventually that luck will play out.

Has anyone ever betrayed you?
Yeah. And I killed her for it.

Have you ever betrayed anyone?
Never. That would be dishonorable.

Do you keep your promises?
I don't make promises.

Are you honorable?
It's the core of who I am.

Do you have any distinguishing marks?
My left eye is a cyber eye and I have a deep scar on my left cheek. I also wear an eye patch.

What was your childhood like?
My father was a sadistic bastard who beat me for every possible infringement of his authority. Eventually, I opposed him in everything, because I refused to believe he could ever be right.

Did anything newsworthy happen on the day you were born?
According to my old man, hell opened its doors and spit me forth. When I was young, that hurt me. Now, I suspect it was true.

Did you get along with your parents?
I cared about my mother, she was a great lady. I hope I see my old man in hell. I have every belief that neither of us will make it to heaven.

What is the most important thing that ever happened to you?
That's a tough one. Probably the most important thing was when the Marine doctors did their enhancements. I haven't been the same ever since. It certainly changed my entire life forever.

Was there ever a defining moment of your life?
Meeting Matilda. She has made me become the man I wanted to be and couldn't seem to find on my own.

What is your most closely guarded secret?
If I told you, it wouldn't be a secret now, would it? Telling secrets gets you killed.

Do you have any hobbies?
Does sex count?

What is your favorite color?
I don't have one. It never seemed very important.

What is your favorite food?
I'll eat anything but Mango Macaroni Surprise. The surprise is that it's completely inedible.

What is your favorite beverage?
Morwellian Brandy because it's the only thing that can give me a buzz.

What is your favorite music?
The 1812 Overture because it reminds me of a simpler time.

What is your favorite item of clothing?
I don't really care what I wear as long as it doesn't bind in the crotch or itch. But I always have my gunbelt, even if I'm naked.

Name five items in your purse, briefcase, or pockets.
Pocket humidor full of cheroots, lighter and my gun. I don't carry anything else. Too much stuff slows you down and can identify you when you're dead.

If you were stranded on a desert island, would you rather be stranded with, a man or a woman?
What the hell good would another man on an island be? A woman, preferably a brunette with lots of stamina and a killer figure. It would be nice if she was intelligent too, but that's not a requirement.

How do you envision your future?
I try not to. Life is the here and now.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

I Love Dialogue from Alton and Velda by Dellani Oakes



Alton is a Wood Sprite, his fiancee Velda is a River Nymph. Their friends, Revanth and Astrid have a problem—he has been turned into a horse by an evil witch. The four stay the night at an inn. In the morning, Revanth is mysteriously gone from the stable.

"Where's my horse?" Alton demanded. "I left him here, in your care, last night. Where is he?"
"What sort of horse, good sir?" The groom appeared somewhat touched in the head. His speech was slow and deliberate.
Alton wasn't sure the man understood him, but he described Revanth in detail.
The groom shook his head. "Warn't narry sech horse here when I come to work dis mornin'. I check 'em all. I'd o' remembered a horse that sleek—all black, you say? And a stallion? Rare, that is."
"Very rare, hence my irritation that my—horse—is—gone! See here, this is his bridle and saddle."
"Likely run off," the groom said, scratching his stubbly chin.
"He wouldn't do that."
"Why not? All animals like freedom like us folk."
"Not Revanth. Who's the law around here?"
"You don't need the law, young master. . . ."
"The name is Sir Alton of Lyndon Mead. Not young master. I want the sheriff or constable—whoever the authority is here."
"You be wanting Tom Joyce, t' Magistrate."
"That will do. Where is he?"
"Out back. He owns the tavern."
Alton barely thanked him. He went behind the tavern and found a stout, balding man. His pants and shirt were homespun and grubby from hard work. He was trying to fix a wagon wheel without much success.
When Alton approached the tavern keeper turned toward him, touching his forehead in respect. "What can I do for ye, milord?"
"My horse is missing from your stable. I saw him put up last evening. My traveling companion curried him before bed. His tack is where I left it, but my horse is not."
Tom Joyce pulled on his forelock. "Well, then. It appears we've a problem."
"Do you think so?" Alton said, surprise in his voice.
The chubby man had enough intelligence to know he was being chastised. He frowned. "No need to be like that."
"There is, I'm afraid. I have places to go. I need my horse."
"He's worth a lot of money, is he?" The older man's expression changed subtly.
Alton frowned, leaning over the much shorter man. "He's worth more than your scurvy life, old man. He's the war horse for a knight of the realm. The mud in his hooves is ten times the cost of this flea ridden tavern. If you know where he is, I'll have him back. If by your ineptitude, you're hoping that the thieves will spirit him away, let me assure you." He took a step closer. "There's no place he can go where I can't find him. And when I do, I'll make it my business to come back here, lay you open from groin to gorge—nice and slow. Am I clear?"
"As crystal." The taverner gulped, his flabby chins bobbing nervously. "Some lads may have took him," he mumbled. "Early this morning. They might have walked in and led him out, like."
"And what direction might they have gone?" Alton played with the hilt of his sword.
"They might—might be taking him to the horse market. Down to West Farland."
"And how does one get to West Farland?"
"Follow the road for two days—or the faster way is by river, about a day."
Alton stepped forward, touching the man's shirt with his fingertips. "You had best hope I find him swiftly and without hurt, or I will be back and I'll do what I promised." He stepped back. "Out of curiosity, how often do horses go missing from your stable?"
"Fairly often, my Lord," the man replied with a leer.
"Then you'll accustomed to guests who don't pay," Alton replied. He turned away once more.
"Now see here!" Tom bellowed, coming hastily after the Wood Sprite.
Putting a hand on Alton's shoulder, he intended to stop him. He found himself looking at the business end of the Wood Sprite's dagger mere inches from his eye.
"My horse is worth more than your house and land. It's only fair that you not only gift us with our night and meals, but guarantee our safe passage. And if my horse or friends come to harm, no place on this Earth will be safe for you—neither land nor water. Are we clear on that?"
The man blinked nervously, not daring to nod for fear he impale himself on Alton's blade.
They made a hasty departure on foot, following the road to where it crossed the river. Alton knew either he or Velda could pick up Revanth's trail.
© 2018 Dellani Oakes

Thursday, May 17, 2018

How to Get Inside the Head of a Pesky Character by Dellani Oakes


Sometimes, it's not easy getting into the mind of a character. That can be problematic, because you need to know them inside and out, to properly depict them on paper.
To that end, some authors like to use a character interview, answering as the character. There are some where the questions are directed at the author, about the character. I don't like these as well, because it doesn't force me to think like that other person, I project my interpretation of them onto the questions—if that makes any sense?
An author friend of mine, Pat Bertram, kindly shared the list that she uses. I have added, subtracted and fiddle about to suit me, but the majority of this list is hers. Thank you, Pat! It has been very helpful over the years. Sometimes, you will be surprised at what the characters say!
Answer the questions which are most applicable, and don't use the ones that make no sense. For example, if a character lives far in the past, he's not going to have a lighter and cellphone. If he's in the future, he might not have car keys.
Next week, I will share an interview of one of my characters, using these questions. I was stunned (and somewhat alarmed) at how he answered them.

Below is the list of questions. Feel free to borrow it and modify it to your own needs. Happy Writing!

Who are you?
What is your story?
Where do you live?
Are you the hero of your own story?
What is your problem in the story?
Do you have a problem that wasn’t mentioned in the story?
Do you embrace conflict?
Do you run from conflict?
How do you see yourself?
How do your friends see you?
How do your enemies see you?
How does the author see you?
Do you think the author portrayed you accurately?
What do you think of yourself?
Do you have a hero?
Do you have a goal?
What are your achievements?
Do you talk about your achievements?
Do you keep your achievements to yourself?
Do you have any special strengths?
Do you have any special weaknesses?
Do you have any skills?
Do you have money troubles?
What do you want?
What do you need?
What do you want to be?
What do you believe?
What makes you happy?
What are you afraid of?
What makes you angry?
What makes you sad?
What do you regret?
What is your biggest disappointment?
What, if anything, haunts you?
Are you lucky?
Have you ever failed at anything?
Has anyone ever failed you?
Has anyone ever betrayed you?
Have you ever failed anyone?
Have you ever betrayed anyone?
Do you keep your promises?
Are you honorable?
Are you healthy?
Do you have any handicaps?
Do you have any distinguishing marks?
What was your childhood like?
Do you like remembering your childhood?
Did anything newsworthy happen on the day you were born?
Did you get along with your parents?
What in your past had the most profound effect on you?
What in your past would you like to forget?
What in your past would you like others to forget?
Who was your first love?
Who is your true love?
Have you ever had an adventure?
What is the most important thing that ever happened to you? Why?
Was there a major turning point in your life?
Was there ever a defining moment of your life?
Is there anything else about your background you’d like to discuss?
What is your most closely guarded secret?
What is your most prized possession? Why?
Do you have any hobbies?
What is your favorite scent? Why?
What is your favorite color? Why?
What is your favorite food? Why?
What is your favorite beverage? Why?
What is your favorite music? Why?”
What is your favorite item of clothing? Why?
Name five items in your purse, briefcase, or pockets.
What are the last five entries in your check registry?
What are the last three books you read?
If you were at a store now, what ten items would be in your shopping cart?
If you had the power to change one thing in the world that didn’t affect you personally, what would it be?
What makes you think that change would be for the better?
If you were stranded on a desert island, who would you rather be stranded with, a man or a woman?
How do you envision your future?

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

Demon's Destiny, book one of the Dark City Guardians by TW Knight

Demon's Destiny is book one of the Dark City Guardians. Garrett Duex Sabres is handsome, wealthy, brilliant and a demon with ...