Deadly Ever After

Archive for the tag “character expo”

NIGHT MOVES Meet the Characters: Erin

Today’s Brew: Water, it’s Sunday evening and I have to be up at 4 AM for the first time in a long time.

by Kristen

One of my favorite parts of releasing new books is introducing you to the characters. They’re people who lived inside my head for a better part of a year, talking to me, helping me tell their story. Now they’re ready for the world to meet.

NIGHT SONGS comes out March 26, so I’m going to introduce you to all major players in the book in the next few posts. If you can’t wait to own the book, which I totally can’t blame you for, it’s available for pre-order on Smashwords and Barnes and Noble!

First up: Erin Monticelli

Pink hair and tattoos Erin

Who the hell is she? Erin is Melanie’s long lost best friend from childhood, and she’s also Drake Bonham’s other woman.

What does she do? Erin is a travelling fetish model, a job she created so she could support herself while she traveled with Drake.

Travelling fetish model, you say. Yes. A photographer friend of mine that I’ve worked with forever does fetish work. He tends to work with a lot of the same models, and over the years they’ve become my friends. A lot of the girls book work all over the country, doing videos, photo shoots, conventions, and club appearances. Some of them are pretty famous in the genre. I love their confidence, not only in their bodies, but to pick up and go to where the work is. These are business women. Go ahead, tell me they can’t possibly be making any money. Sex sells, remember? And that trip I took last summer to the UK, you know the two week one? Paid for with the profit from these fetish videos.  I find the whole thing so intriguing, that I created Erin in tribute.  All of the fetishes Erin mentions in NIGHT MOVES are indeed real.

Why I love her: Erin is unapologetically the person she wants to be. Tattooed, pierced, pink haired, and hot, Erin uses this to her advantage to get what she wants. Being a sex bomb takes confidence, and Erin’s got it. It doesn’t always win her a lot of female friends, but the guys certainly don’t mind. Erin also knows that she’s working with a ticking clock. She knows she’s not going to be able to model forever, and she understands what she means to Drake, whether she likes it or not. Erin truly lives in the moment.

Erin from Night Moves. :)

Enough of me telling you about Erin, here she is in action:

“Um, yeah. Mel, you don’t know about the blood?”

“Sort of. I don’t know.” I sighed. “Tell me.”

“Have you drank from Ryder yet?”

I almost spit up my drink. “What?”

She pushed harder against my ear and spoke slowly. “Have you drank his blood?”

I pulled away from her, horrified. “Seriously?”

She dissolved into a fit of giggles. “Girl. Don’t knock it until you try it. It’s like traveling to another dimension.” She almost swooned. I still hadn’t recovered from the shock. “Words don’t describe unless you’ve experienced it. It’s like what ecstasy wishes it could be.”

“I thought people stopped doing E years ago.”

Erin rolled her eyes. “Not the drug, silly. The real thing.” Welcome To The Jungle began to blast from the PA, and the lights fell over the room, delighting the crowd. Erin grabbed my arm a little too hard. “Showtime!”

Erin got up to dance in front of the table, but I wasn’t in the mood. Ryder was in perfect character, joking and teasing the fans in front of the stage, playing the happy band mate, but it seemed obscene knowing how miserable he really was.

And the blood! How could I think about anything else? I could hear my own thrumming through my veins, my muscles clenching at the thought of drinking from Ryder.

“Let’s put on our own show.” Erin snapped me back to reality by grabbing both my arms to guide me out of the booth. I wrestled one hand free so I could bring my fresh drink along. It had been a long time since I’d put on a public performance. Who was I kidding? Before Ryder, I wasn’t even wearing cute underwear anymore.

God. Poor Jamie, he probably wished for death just so he could be rid of me. I had practically been a corpse myself.

Erin raised my hand in hers, spinning me around underneath it. She’d managed to clear out a space near the stage for our dance floor. The guys that surrounded us leered as their girlfriends looked disgusted. I wanted to run back to the table, but I knew Erin wouldn’t let me. She’d drag me right back. She shimmied down the side of my body, placing her hands on my waist to slide back up. I swayed back and forth with the rhythm in an effort to not look like a total ass.

I looked up at the stage. Drake couldn’t take his eyes off of Erin. Of course, four feet above us he had the best seat in the house. Erin’s cleavage swelled out of her black lacy corset top. A big pink bow held her in place like she was a present. I snuck a look back at her, but her eyes were locked on Drake as she nestled her butt into my hips and we rocked back and forth in unison. I looked over at Ryder and rolled my eyes. He just laughed.

I followed Erin’s routine for the rest of the concert. Our dance floor had closed in a bit, as people tired of watching our show and went back to viewing the one they paid to see. After the band took their final bow, a group of girls lingered near the stage, presumably pleading with the roadies to help them meet the band.

“They’re so stupid.” Erin threw her legs over mine. We were back in the booth, finishing off our drinks. The band usually did some sort of meet and greet after the show, so there was no need to hurry back to the bus.

Only three days into this and the bus already felt like a coffin. Windowless, airless, cramped. Of course, I was traveling with the living dead, so it made sense. Maybe Erin didn’t have it so bad in her own car. At least she could open a window.

“Hey, Erin!” A skinny, pretty girl in an off the shoulder T-shirt and torn jeans approached the table, flanked by three of her nervous looking friends.

“What’s up, Catelyn?” Erin’s body language screamed for this girl to go away louder than the fake smile she plastered on her face. “Great show, huh?”

“As always.” Catelyn looked at me, trying to figure out how I played into things. “We were just wondering if you knew about any after parties or anything.”

“Now why would I know something like that?” Erin sat up straighter. I couldn’t tell if she was offended or surprised.

“Well, you know, since you and Drake—”

Erin leaned forward, placing her hand over Catelyn’s. “Drake and I are just friends. Nothing else. I don’t know what he does. I’m just spending time with my girlfriend, like you ladies are. You know, girls’ night out.” There was a bite to her words.

Catelyn’s friends looked at each other, sharing disappointment and maybe a little disbelief. Whatever it was, they weren’t getting what they wanted at this table.

“Right, girls’ night,” Catelyn repeated, her face falling a little. “Have fun, ladies.”

The group left us to our own devices.

“Who the hell were they?”

Erin fell back, drink still in hand, rolling her eyes. “Oh they’re Soul Divider super fans. I’d call them groupies, but even Tommy won’t touch them. The band hides when they see them. They’re so pathetic. They’ll sit outside anywhere they think the band is, for hours.”

“Like we used to do?”

“Fuck no. Mel, we were never pathetic. Those girls are in their thirties. I think some of them still live at home. This is all they’ve got. I mean, at least we have reaped rewards for our hard work. They must love being frustrated. Unless they’re doing one of the roadies, gross, they certainly aren’t getting anything here.”

“Maybe that’s not what they want.”

“What the hell else would a bunch of cougars follow a band around for? I mean, don’t they want their fantasy to come true? After five or so years following them around like pathetic little puppy dogs, they should have moved up from the meet and greet line or moved on.”

“Well–” I don’t know why I felt like I should defend these girls I didn’t even know, but for some reason, I kind of felt bad for them. They obviously wanted something. From somebody. “Maybe this is their fantasy. And there are five guys in the band, and how many women trying to get in their pants? Not everyone can be successful. If everyone could have them, no one would want them.”

“I guess you’re right.” Erin slid out of the booth and smoothed her denim mini skirt. “But it’s still pathetic. I’m going to call it a night. I have a shoot in the morning.”

“In Milwaukee?”

“Nope, just outside of Chicago. That’s where you’re headed in a few hours.” She kissed my cheek. “Have fun tonight. I’ll meet up with you at the hotel tomorrow.”

“Promise you’ll be careful? This all scares the hell out of me.”

“I will. I’ve worked with this producer before.”

“Producer? Are you sure it’s not porn?”

“Porn doesn’t really have a definition.” She giggled. “You just know it when you see it.”

I gasped. “Erin!”

“No, it’s just some silly little video. You’d be shocked what gets guys off.” She turned to walk away, but looked back and me and smiled. “God, I love the sickos.”


Because the Night Character Expo: Callie

Today’s Brew: I’m praying for Starbucks. I’m coming to you from the Independent Author Symposium in Warwick, RI today. I wrote this post in advance.

by Kristen

I’ve seen so much through Callie’s eyes in the last two years, it’s almost as hard to tell you about her as it would be to tell you about myself. You know when someone asks you that question and you hem and haw and can’t come up with anything because to you, it’s all so obvious?

"The Muse" SO Callie. SO. Callie.

This picture came with the “muse” caption already on it. And this is EXACTLY what I picture Callie to look like. The coincidence is almost eerie.

Simply put, Callie is a hopeless romantic.  It’s love that brings her to Las Vegas, love that keeps her there, and love that does her in. She thinks with her heart rather than her head sometimes, and it always gets her into trouble. It’s something that can be frustrating to watch, but hindsight is 20/20. We hate her decisions, but we’d all do the same exact things in her shoes.

Callie marches to the beat of her own drummer in all aspects of life. A homeschooled kid from a hippie family, she doesn’t have the pretense of celebrity and fashioned obsessed girls. Callie takes chances and trusts too easily. She doesn’t have a mean bone in her body, but don’t think for a minute that makes her a pushover. She loves to create things, from her own clothes to food that won’t kill you. She doesn’t fit into the stereotypical groupie mold. She wears tie dyed skirts, peasant shirts, and china doll slippers.

It was truly a coincidence that I named her Calliope, after the muse of lyric poetry. Some girls just have something that makes the boys in bands stop and notice, and Callie’s got that thing. It’s not a tangible quality. It’s the sum of many parts.  There’s nothing sexy than inspiring someone else to create art, and that’s what the muse does.

Callie will always have a special place in my heart. We learned a lot about writing books together. We got knocked down, then stood up, dusted ourselves off and said “eff you” together.” It makes my heart swell when readers say they sympathize with her actions or that she seems “real.”  I’m not sure what the future has in store for Callie (I’m currently working on We Own the Night), or the books, but so far, it’s been a hell of a ride.

Meet Blade: Because the Night Character Expo

Today’s Brew: Still rockin’ the pumpkin spice K cups.

by Kristen

Today I’m introducing you to Bradley Bennett. That’s Blade to you.

When Because the Night was still called Immortal Dilemma, hell, I actually didn’t even think it even had a name yet, I wanted to write Callie into a completely terrible house party scene that made her pretty much hate her life. Don’t tell me you’ve never found yourself at some disgusting random party house in the early hours of the morning, with mixed drinks in old juice bottles and people screwing in the bathrooms.

Oh, that’s just me and Julie? Whatever. I guess know I know why Callie acts up when I leave her to her own devices.

I never expected her to meet someone at that party. But without warning, Blade walked in and asked to sit down next to her on a filthy couch cushion (sans couch.) At first, I thought of him as this kind of goofy Bill and Ted type character. But then something else happened.

He stuck around. I liked it, and so didn’t Callie.

I never intended to write a love triangle, but Blade had other ideas. I’ve said many times that I let my characters take the driver’s seat, so I went with it. I modeled him after Casey James, the country singer and American Idol contestant. I had such a crush on Blade when I wrote the book that any time a Casey James song came on the radio (he’d been nowhere for years, and then I decide to base a character on him and he has a hit record? I am just that good, people.), I’d get all giddy.

Later on, when my Pinterest addiction came to be a thing, I found that the model Christopher Brown was even more Blade than my original Blade.

Blade (Christopher Brown)

A lot of my early readers have had a soft spot for Blade as well. He’s that guy who’s got his shit together, but he still knows how to have fun. He takes Callie on simple dates that are awesome. He’s comfortable just hanging around. He’s comfortable in his own skin.

Or so we think.

Blade is someone who had a taste of the dark side, and realized he’d rather grow up. He finds a girl that he thinks is different than everyone else in Vegas, and falls really hard for her. Little does he know that Callie will drag him kicking and screaming back to the dark side.

Blade is someone who knows what he wants, and when he doesn’t get it, look out.

Too Much Fun With Kat: Running Home Character Expo

TODAY’S BREW: It’s S’mores flavored!

by Julie

Running Home is almost real! In nine days you’ll meet all of the vampires, the doomed, and the fighters in person, but until then I will give you a character at a time.

Kat is a favorite of…well, just about everybody’s, just like the real life person who she ended up morphing into a bit; our very own Kristen Strassel.

She’s a red-headed kitten of a woman, with an unassuming heart, and a romantic sense of adventure that gets her into too much trouble. Kat will try anything, with a smile on her face that begs you to come along for the ride. That almost childlike enthusiasm is why she ran away to the big city, where she crashed and burned, sending her back to her hometown of Ossipee, and her forever friend, Ellie Morgan.

Ellie and Kat are opposites in every way possible, which always makes for the best friendships. But Ellie, being who she is, is a little suspect of her attachment to Kat, and feels there may be something bigger at play that keeps them together when they need each other most. (Bit of a spoiler.) Kat keeps Ellie from becoming a complete introvert, worrying at her complete disinterest in humanity, and constantly setting her up with some guy that Ellie just cannot click with. But, in that Kat way, she always gets Ellie to agree to her cooked up plans, which while not always safe, do always turn out to be interesting.

Childlike enthusiasm personified.

Kat is not a bimbo, but she plays one on TV. Not the conniving ditz who plays dumb to get all the guys, our Kitty Kat is a little insecure about how quick she really is, and tends to only show the side of her that is bubbly, outgoing to a fault, the life of the party, and a hopeless romantic, if not well-schooled in the ways of men. It’s the ability to see that there’s even more to this delight of a girl that makes Ellie so attached to her and the life she leads, makes Roman look at her like a little sister to be protected, and makes our resident psychopath, Chris Lynch, fall for her.

She’s quicker than she lets on.

When fate drives Lynch to the sad excuse for a law firm that Kat dominates as a receptionist, her search for Prince Charming sends her into his arms. But for a man that only equates love with the need to possess in the sickest ways possible, it is a dangerous road she travels, and one that Ellie, Nicholas and Roman bear the burden of to the bitter end.


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