Deadly Ever After

Archive for the tag “Ellie Morgan”

Branding Vs. Bite Me, I Write What I Want


By Julie

Edits on RUNNING AWAY will be finished by March first, and while my beta readers dig in, I move on to the next project.

And with that, comes the initial worry of, “Well, shit. My readers aren’t ready for this.”

RUNNING AWAY feels very cohesive in character to RUNNING HOME to me, as well it should. The few people who have read THE HARPY, which is currently on submission to publishers, got an eyeful of Charity Blake, who, shall we say, has quite a bit more edge than Ellie Morgan. Charity would as soon give you the finger as make out with you in public.

March’s project is final edits on a book that I’ve let sit for a while, waiting for me. And it’s as different from THE HARPY as that book is from RUNNING HOME. There has been an excerpt or two on Deadly Ever After of THE ANIMAL, and it’s certainly not going to be for everyone. Erotic, aggressive, and in some parts probably offensive, it very well may not appeal to the same readers as RUNNING HOME. I have to wonder if I’m broadening my horizons or upsetting my readers by giving them Trent and Min, and all the debauchery the two are capable of.

The best part? Today’s plan is plotting my newest book, and man alive have I struggled with whether or not I should write this. Because naturally, the progression from Japanese vampires to a bitter, vengeful, punk Harpy, to an obsessive compulsive man possessed by a defiled sex god is straight to young adult. Naturally.

Yeah, that’s right. The adventures of an Egyptian sex god and the beginning of a young adult novel, all in the same month. Right after that, I might be making INSCRIPTION, my short horror story series that never seems to go away into a full length novel. And THAT features a teenage boy. So YA horror.

My mantra is to write the book you have to write. Don’t listen to what the trends are, don’t worry about what the Joneses are writing. Write the book that itches at your soul like a wound that won’t quite heal, and there will be an audience for it. Anything that ignites that much passion in you is going bleed onto the page, and that kind of power gets heard. I firmly believe it.

But then you’ve got the other side of life, which is branding. Am I making myself unpredictable? Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Am I right in relying on my voice and unique style to carry me through these wild ideas I have and make them have mass appeal based on that alone? Am I right in thinking that if the author connects with readers now more than ever, then my readers will expect me to write something unexpected, wild, often brash and always strong? Is it me selling the story, or the story running off without me?

What are your thoughts on sticking to the straight and narrow as opposed to giving all your work the attention you think it deserves? HELP ME, PEOPLE, I’M DYING.




Running Home Character Expo: Nicholas


TODAY’S BREW: The end of my S’mores coffee. Now I must drink coffee like a peasant.

By Julie


Before the masses meet my main man, Nicholas French, you guys do.

Nicholas is a bit of a celebrity among the Shinigami vampires. The classic ‘men want to be him and women want to be with him’ golden boy that does everything just a little better than everyone else, and never lets you forget it. One of those guys that everybody likes almost as much as he likes himself. Sincere underneath the sarcasm that will bite your face off, what you see is what you get with Nicholas, once you dig deep enough, if you get that close.

When Ellie gets her first glimpse of him, he looked like this:

But usually, he’s more like this:

He may look really good in a tux, but he’s a lot more of a thermal shirt, tee shirt, shirtless guy, living deep in the woods in a cabin he and a few of his fastest friends built, filled with a bunch more stuff that he built, all of which help hide him away when he can’t take being Nicholas French, public spectacle anymore.

His connection to Ellie is evident right away. Only he knows why, and he’s not telling. It makes things agonizing for Ellie much of the time, knowing that there is more to how they feel about each other, and having to trust Nicholas when he says it will all make sense one day. Nothing ever makes sense for Ellie Morgan, and when Nicholas shows up, filling all the gaps she’s always lived with, she doesn’t care to wait to uncover any more mysteries. As usual, Nicholas knows what’s best, and the rest of us are just along for the ride.

You may have noticed, Nicholas looks a lot like Robert Downey Jr.


So, if you had another vision of him, sorry. But this charming, mature, painfully witty, well-read, martial artist extraordinaire is Nicholas French in every aspect, right down to his voice and eyes that can almost make his snarky comments for him. He’s perfect. And like any perfect man, he has depths that stay hidden even from him at times, making him not just another pretty face. And arms. And hands and abs and thighs.

Wait, what was that? Oh yeah, blog post!

I don’t want to tell you about Nicholas’s life here, or why he’s a vampire, or what the Shinigami truly are. I don’t want to tell you what tortures my Nicholas….Ellie’s Nicholas, whatever….but you’ll know soon enough. I promise surprises with this character that you won’t soon forget.

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.


Digging Deeper: What It Means To Julie

TODAY’S BREW: Chocolate Cherry Hazelnut. I made it up.

For those who know me, I have been very quiet recently, haven’t I?  For those who really know me, you know I have been tirelessly editing Running Home.   You have seen my short stories, probably know my mouth on Twitter, but I assure you, Running Home  shows a different side of me.  One I have protected for a long, long time without really knowing it.

Kristen nips at me often to stop making changes to the novel.  It is unbelievable to have someone that you trust that way to tell you that your novel is good just the way it is, and not to listen to everybody.  I am not one to take criticism personally.  Kristen actually thinks I greet it with too much enthusiasm…every suggestion I take with an “I can do that!” go forwardness.  But when it came to this particular critique, I shied away, mentally ran screaming, and denied the need for it:

Dig deeper. .  

I have known my MC, Ellie Morgan for 5 years.  She doesn’t “speak” to me, the way other writers claim happens, I am her boss.  She is part of me, and I am the controlling part.  She came to me when I needed her most as an outlet for my fear of change, my fear of death, my fear of failure.  After I had a baby.  To think that I hadn’t poured myself into her enough to make her someone readers connect with was not only painful, it was absolutely terrifying.

You hear the phrase “dig deeper” all the time when it comes to critiques, and it never bothered me, until it was applied to Ellie.  I have edited Running Home to perfection, in my opinion.  I have made it exactly what I want it to be.  I felt finished, done, laid out.  Exposed to a degree.

Because without ever saying as much, Ellie has my own overwhelming fear of death.  It’s the only thing that I truly feel I cannot conquer, the one thing that has stripped me of so much.  It’s something that has become so much a part of me, to put it out in novel form, risking rejection of my very imagination, was a welcome difficulty.  You see, I am not one to give in to much of anything.

Ellie’s also representative of my feeling that I am meant for something I will never find.  The idea that I cannot even express my disjointedness from the world is a difficult failure to admit to.  And failure is right up there in things that scare me a bit.  I know in my heart that I hesitate at success for fear it won’t happen.  For fear that I will see my limits, and they won’t be good enough.

So when I was told to “dig deeper,” I was spent.  It sent me into a depression that is still painful to think on. Insomnia, pointless crying, lack of energy, weird eating patterns, clingyness, it was all there.  I finally had to face something that I never wanted to belive.  It was no longer scary to think of my fear of failure, my fear of never finding my true purpose, even my bone-deep fear of inevitably being abandoned by the people I love.

My real fear in making Ellie deeper was that maybe, just maybe, there was nothing else. She was me, and I had finally been, ultimately, just not good enough.

What if this was all the depth I had?  What if I was that surface that there was no more of me to give?  Had I finally really reached my limit, and had nothing else to offer?  Was there something in me that I would never be able to find?  Is this all there is?  No amount of soul searching to uncover my hidden depths was as painful as thinking I just didn’t have any.

So, following a month long, in-depth, heart-rending re-reading of Running Home, I think I have finally nailed it.  And maybe the most important lesson in all of this for me, is that if you don’t find Ellie compelling enough, then you don’t find me compelling either.

And I know myself better than that.  I hope you all want to know, too.

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