Paranormal/Fantasy Romance Author

LKF

LKF #17 – Eris’s Name

Little Known Fact #17 – Eris’s Name

Eris is the main character of ERIS (Eternal Truths, Book 1). But then, that’s obvious from the name of the book.

How did I choose her name?

Several things contributed to me picking that name:

#1 – Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, an animated film from Dreamworks Animation back in 2003. Cute film. I recommend it if you want a good laugh with an interesting plot. I’m a Michelle Pfeiffer fan, and I loved her portrayal of Eris, Greek goddess of Chaos. I fell in love with the name then and there.

#2 – CHAOS. The meaning of her name says it all and describes a lot of what happens in the book. While I probably should have named the heroine for the Chaos Eternal Truth book Eris, I liked it better for this heroine. Plus, that would have been redundant in the Chaos book… and a little confusing and a lot cliche.

#3 – Originally, Eris was supposed to be a little more accident prone and/or the cause of accidents in others. I was supposed to have weird things always happening around her or to her. That got axed with the first draft of the story. I showed a few instances of it in the current incarnation of the story, but ultimately took out a lot of the overt stuff.

LKF #16 – No-Name Sultan

Little Known Fact #16 – No-Name Sultan

Those who have read ERIS (Eternal Truths, Book 1) might wonder why I never gave the sultan a name. I mean, everyone knows about the crusades and the sultans during those battles are well documented. So why not pick one of those men and name him in the book?

Simple — that’s the history of THIS Earth. ERIS takes place in an alternate universe on a different Earth that is similar to this one in many ways but very dissimilar in many more ways. The are tons of historical differences in the Plain Sight universe that I just couldn’t get into with ERIS because it would have slowed the flow of the book. I hope to touch on a few of those differences in later books set in that universe.

Since the sultan is only mentioned and not an actual character, I figured I could slide without naming him. As well, people can’t point to a history book and say my facts are wrong, even if it is an alternate universe.

You might have also noticed, I didn’t name the king either. 😛

LKF #15 – Lucien’s Model

Little Known Fact #15 – Lucien’s Model

To keep from describing the same guy over and over, I try to get models from the internet. It’s usually just something I can look at while writing the character. For ERIS (Eternal Truths, Book 1), I was mostly depending on imagination for Ranulf, but for Lucien I had ample help from Luke Goss.

I love looking at that man. Luke Goss played Prince Nuada in Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Nomack in Blade 2, and several other parts that I enjoyed watching a great deal. When I saw a picture of him sporting a head full of blonde peach fuzz with a beard to match, I knew that was who I wanted as my model for Lucien. Hell, if this ever gets turned into a movie, I want him to play Lucien. 😛

If you do an image search for Luke Goss, one of the first pics that shows up is the one I was staring at while writing Lucien.

LKF #14 – The Real CGC

Little Known Fact #14 – The Real CGC

In ERIS (Eternal Truths, Book 1), I mention the Certification Granting Company, which is CGC for short. Well, those in the know about comic books know of the real CGC — Certified Guaranty Company. It’s the off-branding I mentioned in LKF #10 again.

The real CGC does grade comic books (this means appraising a comic for its value). Though I did embellish some things, I also got ahold of a very nice person at CGC’s customer service and bombarded him with all sorts of questions to help with the authenticity of the comic grading operations.

Eric D. is mentioned in my book dedication for all of his help. I’m sure he thought I was some weirdo (writers get that a lot when researching weird things), but he was nice enough to keep emailing back and forth with me until I got the info I needed. I still have those emails.

LKF #13 – Eris’s Hair

Little Known Fact #13 – Eris’s Hair

As I said in an LKF #7, I tend to put a bit of myself in all of my books. Not only the books themselves but my heroines as well. Eris got her hair from me.

Yup, I have dreadlocks. I’ve had them for going on 4 years now. They are down to my shoulder blades, guaranteeing that I lean back on them all of the time. I’m going to keep growing them just to see how long they get before I get sick of them and cut them back to a more manageable length.

I gave Eris dreadlocks for two reasons:

#1 – I wanted to give a heroine my hairstyle. Simplest reason of all. Back when I was writing ERIS (Eternal Truths, Book 1), I had just gotten my hair locked. As the old adage goes — write what you know.

#2 – Eris would be going back in time. She needed a hairstyle that required little to no maintenance since hair care products for black women would be hard to come by in the Middle Ages. It was either dreadlocks or let her hair revert into an afro.

LKF #12 – Blanket Hog

Little Known Fact #12 – Blanket Hog

The below excerpt is my favorite scene out of ERIS (Eternal Truths, Book 1). I laughed myself silly while writing it. It is somewhat inspired by real life.

My hubby and I are both blanket hogs. We found this out as newlyweds sharing a bed for the first time. Those first few nights we played tug-o-war, and not in a nice/fun way either. We both like to cocoon while sleeping. To keep the sleepy time peace, we decided that we both needed a comforter of our own.

Obviously that isn’t an option in the Middle Ages, so Lucien had to come up with a different solution. 😛

EXCERPT:

Eris lay on the bed, just as he thought she would. He locked the door and then went to the bed. The girl had wrapped herself in her cloak and slept on the thinnest sliver of the bed she could manage. If he nudged her, she would fall on the floor.
A small shiver shook her body, and she clutched at the cloak more.
“Little idiot,” Lucien grumbled under his breath. He pulled the blanket from the end of the bed and spread it over her.
Eris made a little squeaking noise then her whole body loosened as she relaxed under the blanket.
Lucien walked around to the opposite side of the bed. He undressed, dropping his clothes where he stood, and got under the blanket. He was on the edge of sleep when Eris shifted. He stiffened in anticipation of what she would do.
She reached toward him. Instead of stabbing a knife in his back, she grabbed the edge of the covers near his neck and yanked. He didn’t understand her goal until the entire blanket was wrapped around her, leaving him in the cold.
He lay there, bared to the chill air, and wondered why he found the entire situation amusing rather than annoying. The brazen little wench had stolen his covers. He glanced at her. And what’s more, she looked pleased with herself that she had.
Did Ranulf have to endure the same?
It didn’t matter what she’d done with Ranulf. She wouldn’t be doing it with him. He grabbed the blanket and pulled.
Eris whimpered.
He stopped pulling, and she resituated the blanket around herself once more. Her pleased expression returned. Lucien let her savor her victory for half a minute before he pulled the blanket.
Again, she whimpered. He didn’t let that stop him. He situated the blanket over himself once more and presented Eris with his back. She tugged at the blanket, but he had a firm hold.
She finally stopped.
Lucien thought she’d fallen into full sleep once more. Instead, she reached toward him again. Her hand landed on his back. He jerked as her ice-cold fingers brushed his skin. The woman was frozen.
She patted his back a few times and then shifted so she was pressed against him. A small sigh left her lips, and she relaxed.
Meanwhile, Lucien was wide awake in more ways than one. Thoughts of sleep fled as his lower body sprang to attention. Eris shifted, pressing herself against him and forcing one of her legs between his.
He tried moving away but stopped when her sounds of protest returned. He wondered if Ranulf slept in like manner every night. It would explain why the man was in his bed more often than anywhere else.
Lucien looked over his shoulder at Eris. She looked pleased with herself again. Whatever she dreamt about, whomever she thought she held, the doing of it had made her happy. But, sleep wouldn’t come to him so long as she was coiled around him like creeping ivy.

LKF #11 – Two Books?

Little Known Fact #11 – Two Books?

Back in the submissions process, right after I finished writing ERIS (Eternal Truths, Book 1), I had toyed with the idea of splitting the book in half to make it more appealing to certain other publishers who wouldn’t have taken a 150,000 word book.

Those who have read ERIS can see where a natural break would have occurred. You also see that such a break would have left the book on a nasty cliffhanger. Despite what some people may think of me, I’m not that evil. Okay I am that evil, but I didn’t want to do that to my book.

Another reason I didn’t split it in half was because I would have had to spend a chapter in the second book recapping the contents of the first book. Recaps are only useful to those people who pick up the second book first. For everyone else who is reading the books in order, it’s just an annoyance.

Thankfully, Siren Publishing was more than happy to take the book as one complete title.

LKF #10 – Off Brands

Little Known Fact #10 – Off Brands

In ERIS (Eternal Truths, Book 1), I mention a few companies that are very reminiscent of companies that actually exist — Black Horse Comics and KyotoPop, to name a few. This is more than me being cute/clever.

I do not want to mention copyrighted/trademarked properties in my books in case the copyright/trademark holders get pissy and decide to sue. That is always a worry when mentioning a company or brand in a commercially available product, like a book. So I change one little thing that keeps it close to the original name. This is a trick I learned watching anime.

If the anime production company doesn’t get sponsorship or permission from a company to use their brand or copyright/trademark, they simply change one letter in the name or change the colors of the brand. For instance Pocari Sweat (a very popular drink in Japan) becomes Pocari Sweet or Podari Sweat in most anime. Close enough that everyone knows to what product the anime is referring, but far enough away that the company cannot sue them for using the name without permission.

I also mentioned a very famous action actor, whose movies I absolutely love, in ERIS — Van Petrol. How many people realized who I was talking about?

LKF #9 – Dragons?

Little Known Fact #9 – Dragons?

The below excerpt is partially based on a real conversation. When I was working at Wally World, I had a conversation with a co-worker about the managers doing something altruistic for the overnight stockers… I think it was something like letting us go home early with pay. I asked my co-worker if there were unicorns in his land of make-believe, referring to the fact that the managers would NEVER do anything like that, ever.

My co-worker answered the question with a resounding yes and then added that he had dragons and fairies as well. I got such a kick out of that. I had to add it to my book.

Oh, and on another note, Lucien isn’t just being cute about there being dragons and unicorns. ERIS (Eternal Truths, Book 1) is the book that introduces the Plain Sight Universe, one of the seven alternate Earths/universes I created as part of my Multiverse. Plain Sight Universe is the Earth that has dragons and unicorns, but most of the inhabitants don’t know that. Readers will be introduced to those dragons and unicorns in later books.

EXCERPT:

“So, you both want to take me to this premiere as a way for me to choose which one I want to date?”
They nodded.
“What if I don’t want to date either of you?”
Lucien said, “We would accept that and remain friends.”
Eris snorted and gave Lucien a skeptical look. “Uh-huh. Are there unicorns in your land of make-believe?”
“Yes, dragons too.”
That made her laugh. She couldn’t help it. He’d answered with such a straight face.

LKF #8 – Siblings and Sequels

Little Known Fact #8 – Siblings and Sequels

Eris has three siblings in ERIS (Eternal Truths, Book 1). I already mentioned in LKF #4 that the next Eternal Truths book would not be about Kaylie, Eris’s younger sister. I also mentioned in that post, as an aside, that Kaylie would get a book of her own. That book is planned, plotted, and just needs to be written. Her book will go more into depth about the family reunion dinner I glossed over in ERIS.

Eris has two other siblings — Benkei and Declan. Benkei will not have a book of his own. He will make a few cameo appearances in other books, but his story is pretty much told in ERIS.

Declan and Jarl (another mainstream menage, m/m/f this time) have a very interesting story that is part of another series I hope to start in two years, possibly three. It all depends on my writing schedule and how fast I finish the books I have planned ahead of it.

LKF #7 – Geek At Heart

Little Known Fact #7 – Geek At Heart

I am a geek at heart. I love playing video games like Age of Empires, Soul Reaver, and Devil May Cry. I have an extensive comic book collection. I used to be a die hard X-Men fan until Marvel married Storm (Ororo Monroe) off to Black Panther (still pisses me off just thinking about it). Nowadays, I collect more manga than comics. I also watch a ton of anime, because I love Japanese culture.

Each of the above are themes that show up in ERIS (Eternal Truths, Book 1). I try to put pieces of myself in each of my books. Actually, it’s not that hard to do. I would have a harder time trying NOT to put pieces of myself in my books.

I figured the few geeks in the romance reading community would get a kick out of that aspect of ERIS. And while I have never done any role-playing, I have a huge respect for those who do, so that made an appearance as well.

LKF #6 – Long Book

Little Known Fact #6 – Long Book

At 160,000 words (504 pages), ERIS (Eternal Truths, Book 1) is not a short book by any stretch of the imagination. I did not originally set out to make it that long. It just happened.

When I finished writing, I tried to find a way to cut the book back. I couldn’t find any one scene that was expendable. I would either be cutting the romance or the plot. Either way, the book would suffer.

When I submitted ERIS to Siren Publishing, the book was 150,000 words. 10,000 words were added during the editing sessions to flesh out certain scenes such as the one below.

EXCERPT:

“What the hell is this?”
Eris gasped and spun around, confronting Pete. He’d followed her to the fourth room. She had been so caught up in her own triumph at getting the notes from Mr. Sebastion without too much fuss that she hadn’t even noticed him.
Pete walked passed her into the survey room. He looked around then back at her. “Answer me, Eris. What’s going on?”
“It’s another survey room.”
“Oh yeah? For who?” He gestured behind him. “There’s only one desk and one chair and, unless I’m mistaken, that’s your laptop case. What are you doing?”
She stared at him with wide eyes.
“I came back last night because I forgot my MP3 player. When I saw your car, I got pissed since I thought you might be doing something with Ranulf or Lucien after I warned you not to.”
“Pete—”
“After seeing this, I only wish you were. Tell me you aren’t pulling overtime just so we finish this project by the eighteen month mark.”
“No. This…” She looked around at the room.
No matter what she said, Pete would be angry. She sighed.
A sense of inevitability closed around her. She walked the notebooks to her workstation and set them down before she faced Pete.
“Well?” He crossed his arms and gave her his best disapproving father look.
“These are all the comics Clayton’s team graded. They’re all wrong.”
Pete dropped his arms and looked around again. “What do you mean they’re all wrong?”
She put her hand on the stack of notebooks. “For one thing they are missing Mr. Sebastion’s grade notes.”
“Mr. Sebastion? What the hell is he doing here? He’s on Clayton’s team now?”
“He and Susie had a falling out a few weeks before this project started. Brian swapped him for one of Clayton’s graders to keep the peace.”
“More like to keep Mr. Sebastion from shoving his cane up Brian’s ass.”
Eris agreed silently.
“Okay, that doesn’t explain why you’re the only one in this room.”
As quickly and precisely as she could, Eris explained the situation from the moment Ranulf brought her attention to it until the point Pete followed her.
Pete clenched his hands at his side. “I don’t know who I want to kill first—Brian or Clayton.” He faced the doorway.
Eris grabbed his arm and pulled. “No, Pete. Don’t. It’s not worth it.”
“The hell it isn’t!” He yanked his arm away from her and then faced her, his eyes blazing with his anger. “Why they hell did you lie to them, Eris? This is bullshit. You don’t fix other people’s problems. You make them do it. What the hell type of team leader are you?”
Eris stared at him in shock. He hadn’t yelled at her like that since she was in high school.
“I can’t believe you didn’t open up your mouth and tell someone. Anyone. Me! Why the hell didn’t you at least tell me?”
“Pete, stop,” Lucien said in a cold voice.
Eris almost hit the floor.
Lucien and Ranulf stood in the survey room doorway. Neither man looked very pleased.
How many people had followed her? Was anyone else waiting to yell at her?
It didn’t matter. All of her precautions had met with ruin. She sank back against the desk with her head in her hands.
Pete put himself before Eris, guarding her. “This isn’t her fault.”
Ranulf said, “So we heard.”
Eris wanted to cry at the disappointment she heard in his voice. She’d betrayed a trust. And, after she had promised herself that she would repay them for all the kindness Ranulf and Lucien had shown her.
Ranulf stepped out of the doorway. “Pete, walk with me.”
Pete didn’t budge.
Lucien walked forward, stopping one stride before Pete. “Leave.”
There was a wealth of danger in that one word. It made Eris’s skin crawl. She’d never heard Lucien sound so angry before. She actually witnessed Pete slinking out of Lucien’s way. Pete never backed down from a fight.

LKF #5 – Flash Cameo

Little Known Fact #5 – Flash Cameo

The below excerpt is the appearance of Stephanie Burke (also known as Flash) in ERIS (Eternal Truths, Book 1). Of course, her last name isn’t listed, but rest assured that is her.

I am good friends with Stephanie Burke and spent several days bouncing ideas off of her about aspects of ERIS. I even mentioned her in the book dedication.

Stephanie makes an appearance in a few other stories I have planned, and she’s likewise putting cameos of me in a few of her books. Whenever I need a commanding female character, she’s the first person I think of and she just made this scene perfect.

EXCERPT:

Ranulf’s breath tickled her ear as he whispered, “You said to stop you at three. It’s two after.”
She gave in to a tiny shiver. Oh, tonight was going to be hard. Ranulf and Lucien would see to that. Any sane person would bail, sensing the trouble on the horizon. But, she wasn’t any sane person.
She looked at her watch then confirmed the time with her laptop. “She’s late.”
Ranulf straightened. “Who?”
“Hold on.” She pulled out her cell phone and punched in the third speed dial option. The phone rang three times before someone answered.
“Brue speaking.”
“Hi, Daddy.”
“Hello, my lovely daughter. How do you like the dress?”
“I will probably like it just fine when I see it. Who did you send?”
“Stephanie. What do you mean when you see it? She’s not there yet?”
“No.”
“She left almost two hours ago. She should be there.”
“Well, she—”
Ranulf’s cell phone rang.
“Hold on a second, Daddy.” Eris watched Ranulf answer his cell.
He nodded and said to the person on the other end, “Yes, Grant. She’s sitting beside me.” He asked her, “Are you expecting a woman named Stephanie?”
“That I am.”
Ranulf said to Grant, “Let her through.”
Eris said to her dad, “Never mind, Daddy. She’s here. Sorry to worry you.”
“Don’t forget to mention me.”
“I won’t forget.”
“Have fun.”
“I plan on it.”
“Don’t do anything stupid.”
“Bye, Daddy.” She snapped the phone shut and stood.
“Stephanie?” Ranulf asked.
“Yup. She’s my dress’s courier, and she’s helping me get ready.”
“Why would you call your father to find out about your dress?”
She smiled. “He made it.”
“He did?”
“Yup. My father is a designer of couture formalwear. When I told him what I wanted the dress for, he gave me half off the price.”
“I saw how much was charged to the expense account. That is still fairly steep for half off. Besides, you’re his daughter. Shouldn’t you have gotten it for free?”
She snorted. “You don’t know my father. I don’t even think free is a word in his vocabulary. But, he said he’d refund the money if the shop is mentioned on TV or in a magazine.”
“How mercenary of him.”
“My father dreams of celebrity clientele. If my showing up on the red carpet in one of his creations gets him that, then I’m more than happy to oblige him with a plug.”
Ranulf opened his mouth to say more when a loud, feminine voice cut him off. “Eris! Where are you, hon? We’ve got work to do.”
Eris’s smile turned into a grin. She called back, “I’m coming, Stephanie.”
“Hurry the hell up. Have you taken your shower yet? Did you do the upkeep on your locs yesterday? Where are you?”
Eris didn’t get a chance to answer as the woman walked into the survey room. Stephanie’s tall, lithe form commanded the attention of everyone present. She looked over the people in the room before her gaze settled on Ranulf.
She held out her keys to him. “You can unload my car. Take him—” she pointed at Chad, “—with you. And be careful with the equipment. It’s fragile.”
Eris said, “Stephanie, you can’t—”
“Why are you still standing there? Get your ass up those stairs and take a shower.”
“But he—”
“—is perfectly capable of carrying my stuff.”
Ranulf said, “Eris, go and get ready. Chad and I can handle the unloading.”
“You’re sure?” Eris asked.
Stephanie said before Ranulf could answer, “That’s what he just said. Your shower is calling. Get.” She held out the bag she carried. “Here’s your underwear and shoes.”
“I have underwear.”
“Your dad sent these. He made them specifically for that dress.”
Eris took the bag with no further argument. If her dad had made the underwear, a rarity in and of itself, then she chanced the wrath of hell by not wearing it.
“The room at the top of the stairs,” she said.
Stephanie nodded.
Eris turned and almost ran into Lucien.
His mischievous grin let her know he’d snuck up on her purposefully. He reached past her, brushing her arm with his chest, with his hand out to Stephanie. “Lucien Riordan.”
Stephanie took his hand and shook it. “Available.”
Lucien laughed. He stepped closer to Eris as he released Stephanie’s hand. “I’m not.”
Eris dodged around him. “I have to get ready.”
She ran all the way to her room and shut the door.
How was she supposed to get through the night if just being near Lucien had her all hot and bothered? It was just a simple kiss.
She sighed.
It may have been a simple kiss, but it had held the promise of much more.
At least Ranulf’s presence meant Lucien couldn’t do so much. What he still could do had her worried. Not about what Lucien would do but how she would react to it.
“Here’s to a memorable evening.” She toasted with a fake glass then pushed away from the wall and headed for her shower.

LKF #4 – Eternal Truths

Little Known Fact #4 – Eternal Truths

Some people might be wondering why I named the series Eternal Truths and what said eternal truths are.

Very simple. The Eternal Truths are those principles that exist across every race, religion, and world:

– Chaos
– Order
– Creation
– Destruction

ERIS (Eternal Truths, Book 1) is all about time, also known as order. While some may think the second book in the Eternal Truths series will be about Kaylie (Eris’s sister), it’s not. Kaylie’s story is a tangent rather than a continuation (and yes, I plan to write it too).

Each of the Eternal Truths books will deal with one of the above listed themes. The next book will be about Destruction. I hope to have that book written in the next few months. Until it’s finished, I have no way of knowing when it’ll be published. Know that I am working hard. 😀

LKF #3 – The Start

Little Known Fact #3 – The Start

One question I always get asked is how I come up with my plot ideas. Each book has a different story. For ERIS (Eternal Truths, Book 1), I wanted to see what would happen when a black heroine is tossed back in time.

I love Time Travel Romance. Seeing the hero have to deal with, and actually acknowledge, that the heroine is (A) from the future, (B) not a witch, and (C) telling the truth that she is from the future is very entertaining.

I originally started writing so I could introduce a black heroine to Paranormal Romance since I couldn’t find it anywhere. It was only a matter of time before I tackled Time Travel.

Of course, I had to be careful. I didn’t want to send my heroine back to the United States slavery days. First, that’s way too much research that I’m unwilling to do. 😛 And second, it would be hard to write a believable interracial relationship in that time period without getting bogged down in the politics of the day. Something else I didn’t want to do.

I decided to go further back in time to the Middle Ages, during the Crusading eras when Moors captured in battle were brought back to England as slaves, thus seeing a black woman wouldn’t be that odd.

Once I figured out the time period, the plot grew from there.

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