When I devise a story, 99% of the time I don't have an agenda because I'm writing by the seat of my pants. I've read several mainstream fantasy/sci-fi books where the author has something in particular they wanted to get across to their readers and its interwoven with the plot. I don't know how writers can do that. I figure they must be expert plotters. LOL! But in stories like these, the plot can sometimes become bogged down or even swallowed by the social message they wanted to convey. I love reading action-adventure or character driven plots but when it comes to the social politics, my attention wonders.
Usually, my only agenda is to simply write a story that draws two people together. I have an idea what the story "should be" but so often the characters take a left turn away from my intensions. So even if I decided that I would "preach", the sermon would be ditched somewhere before the halfway point. I'm not mad about that. :-)
The same can't be said with themes. Unwittingly, some of the same themes have popped up in most of my work. Love, obviously, because I do write romance. Family… and I think this comes from me because I have such strong feelings and ideas when it comes to being a family, whether you are born to one or have collected people who become your family. These two topics are always a strong part of the story and woven into the story without me even trying. They are the primary reasons why I read romance myself.
I took a slightly different approach with Death Mask. By the title alone, anyone can guess what one of the themes is. I started Death Mask with two purposes in mind. One, to write an urban fantasy MC romance. Two, to weave death through certain elements and characters. If you read the guest post I wrote for Jamie Lynn Miller's blog on the 14th, Why The Theme of Death, it delves into the research I did. I always try to use some of the fun, interesting, and lesser known information that I glean from weird topics of research into my writing. Not only did I use some of what I found, I also searched for quotes on death that would complement each chapter. This is the first time I set out all these pieces I wanted to use in the story and consciously made the effort to include all of them while still—mostly—writing by the seat of my pants.
I thought it would be harder, not that it wasn't difficult just not on the level I'd assumed it would be. The only real problem I had -- every time Griffin entered in the same room as Misery, he was pushing… No, there was no pushing, Griffin would practically jump Misery and 3k later I was deleting a sex scene. Griffin was such a strong character and he resisted my will to wrangle him into going slower. Not kidding. I trashed five sex scenes. LOL! Griffin didn't want to behave.
Besides Griffin branding the story as his, the other thing that I didn't expect was how happy I was while writing this story. Not to say that I'm not happy when I'm writing, but there was something about this story, despite all of these concepts of death woven throughout, that made me absolutely giddy. I finished and was bounce-in-my-chair feeling good. Then later when I edited, the same happiness sat on my shoulders and I was grinning so wide that my cheeks started hurting because I couldn't stop. If that is what happens when I write with a purpose, then perhaps I'll try it more often.
Thank you for stopping by and reading!!
Series: Black Harbingers MC
Author(s): Lexi Ander
Cover Artist: Kirby Crow
Categories: Gay, Urban Fantasy, Fairy Tales, Roughhouse Raiders
Length: 43,000 words
Release Date: November 9, 2016
Grim Misery, the President of the Black Harbinger Motorcycle Club, discovers a wounded warlock and four werepups aboard the club's LSD shipment. And the news kept getting better and better. Not only is the warlock sitting on the edge of death, he's illegally bonded to the werepups, which could trigger a war with the werewolves—and he turns out to be Misery's estranged husband.
Years ago, Griffin turned Misery away to be with another warlock by the name of Marcheso Aldo. Misery left everything behind, even his family, but couldn't shake the heartbreak Griffin caused. With Griffin thrust back into Misery's life, he discovers things aren't as they seem... and everything is about to get much, much worse.
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"Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live." ~Norman Cousins
"Prez, you're gonna want to take a look at this." Nightingale, Sergeant in Arms of the Black Harbingers MC, called to me from the tail end of the box truck that recently arrived from the docks. The products the vehicle carried included the much-awaited shipment of LSD for the city's elder vampires. The goods were late by one week, and I had some agitated parasites on my hands. If someone so much as fucked with the shite, they would be in a world of hurt, because I had no qualms feeding the arseholes to the bloodsuckers.
The clubhouse for the MC was a repurposed three-story library. The block had been slated for demolition after World War II to make way for a strip mall or some such. I loved the building, with its Grecian columns, marble floors, and the liberal use of dark woods. She had character, and after I greased a few palms, she became our clubhouse, our home.
On the ground floor, to the rear of the building, were two bay doors. Semis could back up to one of them, allowing people to walk into the bed without using a ramp. The second bay, vehicles drove directly onto the dock. Granted, unloading the boxes was harder, but we didn't have to worry about prying eyes and for this shipment, we needed complete privacy.
By the tone of Night's voice, I wouldn't like what I'd see. One of the prospects had been sent to retrieve the truck from the docks. Not quite members of the MC, prospects were initiates working through the probationary period. Simply put, they were the club's gofers. They did anything and everything the brothers asked of them. They guarded the bikes in public places, manned the doors at the parties, and made sure no one unauthorized entered the clubhouse. If a brother's old lady needed to go somewhere, a prospect escorted them. The list of shitty duties was endless. At the end of the probation period, the brothers voted the prospect in or out, but until then, the prospect did what they were told, without complaint. Our newest prospect, Tinman, who'd picked up the box truck, stood off to the side looking concerned, but not afraid.
"The truck was where you'd said it'd be, Misery. There weren't any problems and no one followed me," he said, without prompting.
When I rounded the rear of the non-descript vehicle, the door was rolled up, exposing the back of the compartment, stacked with boxes. Nightingale stood with his arms crossed over his chest, his cut hidden by the muscular bulk of his arms. At one time, he'd been a Noble Fae. From which court, I'd never asked. When most preternaturals came looking to join the Black Harbingers, they left behind who they once were. The brothers only cared about the here and now, content to leave whatever hell they'd escaped in the past. We all carried secrets best left undisturbed, and we let sleeping dogs lie, so to speak.
Those who didn't know of Nightingale's origins wouldn't have believed he belonged to that waif-like race. He'd shed his litheness, becoming a motherfucking powerhouse of strength and muscle. Even his unnaturally-white hair, which many people assumed the poor bastard had gone gray early, didn't soften his appearance. Most bikers didn't have facial piercings because they stumbled into too many fistfights, but not Night. He wore a ring in the right nostril and two in his bottom lip that he fiddled with when something bothered him, like now. When he met my gaze, his green eyes were troubled. Then the scent hit me.
When I went to ask what the fuck he was waiting for, Night placed a pale finger over his lips, biding me to listen. The sound was faint, but the soft whines of some kind of dog or… Well, fuck me sideways.
"Someone find Hog and Lalios." My request was made in a low voice, but the brothers jumped to it as if I'd yelled. Perhaps they felt my tension or they, too, scented the blood wafting from the back of the truck, now that the door had been raised.
More than one person drew a weapon. Grabbing the handrail on the side of the door, I readied to climb into the back.
"Misery," Night called to me softly, but I ignored him.
Even if werewolves had hidden in the truck, I didn't worry about my safety. The sound of the pitiful, tiny snarls and growls intensified when my heavy boots struck the bed. Pausing to listen, I couldn't hear an adult voice among the pups. With the scent of blood heavier in the confines of the cabin, I surmised the parent was severely injured. A werewolf in pain was a dangerous creature, more animal than man. Blinded by the agony, instinct would take over, and he, or she, would attack first to protect their young. If that were to happen, then I was the one equipped to handle the werewolf. Sure, I could be hurt like anyone else, but I was hard to kill. Living for almost two hundred years had proven that.
Listening intently, I heard three, perhaps four distinct voices, which was surprising. Nowadays, werewolves lived longer than they did five hundred years ago. When they became the stuff of folklore, people stopped hunting them. Since they lived a more peaceful existence, the number of litters they birthed dropped off to where pups were now born singly to couples every hundred years or so. The young were precious to the packs and there being four here made my skin crawl with foreboding. The day kept getting better and better.
The giveaway will run through midnight on November 25th.
Must be 18 or order to participate.
Giving Away Two (2) Signed Paperbacks of Death Mask
Lexi has always been an avid reader, and at a young age started reading (secretly) her mother’s romances (the ones she was told not to touch). She was the only teenager she knew of who would be grounded from reading. Later, with a pencil and a note book, she wrote her own stories and shared them with friends because she loved to see their reactions. A Texas transplant, Lexi now kicks her boots up in the Midwest with her Yankee husband and her eighty-pound puppies named after vacuum cleaners.
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