#MFRWauthor ~ Let’s Just Get Through Halloween, Mmkay? (@KA_Raines)

MFRW’s Week 41 Blog Prompt: “Pre-Christmas Catalogue Blizzard. Hate them or love them?”

Okay, I’ll admit it. I wasn’t 100% certain to what, exactly, this topic was referring. It’s the word “blizzard” that threw me. I’m guessing we’re not talking about a literal blizzard, since a Christmas Catalogue blizzard seems like the stuff of nightmares (not to mention paper cuts). Therefore, “blizzard” used in this context must mean some sort of pre-Christmas catalogue frenzy. I’m suddenly picturing ugly-Christmas sweater-donned Stepford wives ordering truffles and fruitcakes in front of tastefully decorated mantles. Their plastered smiles never leave their Barbie-perfect features as they peruse the pages. *shudders*

Ugly-Christmas sweater-donned Stepford wives aside, “pre-Christmas” implies “before Halloween.” I could be wrong here and it means directly after Halloween. However, before I’ve even shelled out the money for over-priced yet shockingly cheap Halloween costumes (quite the conundrum, if I do say so myself), we’re being bombarded by the next big money-making holiday on the very next aisle over. All Hallows’ Eve and the birth of Christ are all the same to retailers, I suppose.

Don’t get me wrong; I love Christmas. I love hot chocolate and Christmas lights and Christmas music and peppermint mocha and…more Christmas lights. But I also enjoy celebrating one holiday at a time. Oh, and I’m pretty sure there’s a holiday involving family and good food somewhere in between Halloween and Christmas (for all of those, like me, living in the US).

Regarding catalogues specifically, I didn’t actually realize anyone ordered from them anymore. Personally, I do all of my shopping online and have for a couple of years now.


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#MFRWauthor ~ Corn Mazes & Bike Trails & Pumpkin Patches – Oh, My! (@KA_Raines)

MFRW’s Week 40 Blog Prompt: “It’s a sunshiny day, what do you do?”

Fall. I love it. So. Friggin’. Much. Don’t get me wrong; every season has its perks. I’m hugely fond of the Christmas season, but being in East Texas we don’t see a lot of snow. Just a lot of cold rain, which means a lot of wet, cold mud. (While I realize everyone who lives in areas who get snow view it as overrated and possibly a nuisance, I view it as magical). Spring, of course, means flower blossoms and the scent of honeysuckle, and it’s cool enough that I can sit on my patio and enjoy the view of the pine trees bordering my backyard without the risk of melting.

I loved summer as a child, and it still has its merits. I love campfires and s’mores and swimming and boating and rafting and beaching. However, lately these fun trips have been few and far between (what with COVID and trying to finish school during summer semesters). And did I mention that summer in East Texas is humid and hotter than hades? While during the spring I sat outside with my daughter while she played on her slip ‘n slide and swing set, by summer the heat and mosquitos had largely driven us indoors.

But, oh, fall, how do I love thee! I can sit on my patio and enjoy the trees again! My kids and I can hit the bike trail!

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We’ve already been out to the corn maze and pumpkin patch on the first sunshiny Saturday when the temp didn’t rise above 80, and we’re looking forward to going back for the Halloween festivities in a couple of weeks. Before COVID, one of our traditions was to visit Six Flags Over Texas for their annual Fright Fest, but my kids and I won’t be doing that this year (I put our memberships on pause). Still, I’m sure we’ll make some new traditions as a family!

What are your favorite things about fall? Do you have any Halloween traditions? Be sure to let me know in the comments!


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#MFRWauthor ~ I Want to Believe (That Mulder and Scully Were Totally Doin’ It) by @KA_Raines

MFRW’s Week 39 Blog Prompt: Favorite TV Show of all time? Why?

I’ve become hooked on a number of TV shows over the years – and have even become moderately obsessed with others. I went positively gaga over The Walking Dead. I watched every season of Orange is the New Black. I witnessed Walter’s downward spiral in Breaking Bad and felt a number of emotions including outrage as I feverishly watched the first three seasons of The Handmaid’s Tale (and am currently experiencing a ridiculous amount of frustration as I impatiently await the next season).

The X-Files: 12 episodes to get you ready for Mulder and Scully's new  series | Gillian Anderson | The Guardian

I don’t have a particular genre that I enjoy more than another. As long as there’s good storytelling, acting, and dialogue, I’m all in. However, there has only been one show that – in my opinion – has had it all: drama, original storylines, humor, cooky conspiracy theories, an intelligent, fiery heroine, and her handsome, somewhat eccentric wise-cracking partner – and at its core an untouchable friendship comprised of an underlying sexual tension. I am, of course, talking about Special Agents Dana Scully and Fox Mulder and the formula that cooked up The X-Files. This formula has since been replicated, but not as successfully. Every week, I was on tenterhooks

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waiting to see what sorts of shenanigans Mulder and Scully would get themselves into. Every week, when presented with an unsolved case, Mulder would present a crazy theory backed by no evidence, Scully would scoff and roll her eyes, tell him he was ridiculous, and by the end of it, Mulder’s crazy, ridiculous theory would turn out to be correct. It was predictable in this manner, but it was fun all the same.

Arquivo X volta em julho com as 11 temporadas na Amazon Prime | Metro Jornal

Perhaps the most enjoyable part, other than the creative, paranormal storylines, was Mulder and Scully’s interactions. Their chemistry was obvious, but it was deliberately downplayed by creator Chris Carter, who insisted that Mulder and Scully would never become romantically involved. Eventually, however, even Carter couldn’t deny the onscreen romance he’d created, and he jumped onboard the ‘Ship Wagon. When Scully became pregnant on the show, it was only confirmed later that the characters had, in fact, been carrying on an off-screen romance for some time. Perhaps, in retrospect, it was a calculated move on Carter’s part: The more he told fans a romance wasn’t in the cards for their favorite characters, the more they’d want it!

Mulder + Scully Dancing | X files, Mulder scully, David duchovny

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#MFRWauthor ~ Bromance? Or Nomance (K.A. Raines)

MFRW’s Week 38 Blog Prompt: MM Books: write them? Read them? Why or why not?

When I was a teenager, I was a huge Anne Rice fan. While not blatant, there are homoerotic undertones to her writing, specifically detectable between her male protagonist vampires Louis and Lestat, as well as between Louis and Armand in Interview with the Vampire. It’s not blatant, and as a younger reader I wasn’t aware that there was anything to be read between the lines. It wasn’t until I became more mature and reread the first few books of Rice’s Vampire Chronicles that I picked up on it – and found the prospect appealing. Literature and film of the past century have painted the vampire as charming and alluring, qualities that would assist in drawing in unsuspecting prey. Such fodder is inherently erotic, and the idea of multiple deceitfully charming predators is too delicious an idea.

While I have a personal preference for hetero stories – it’s what I primarily write – it’s certainly not a requirement, as I’ve developed a healthy appreciation for stories featuring men only. What can I say? I love men and the wide variety of packages in which they come. I love charming vampire antiheroes. I love dirty, crossbow-wielding zombie-hunters. I love biker-gang bad-boys. Well-dressed federal agents (preferably FBI, not IRS). Just give me MEN. Like in this video…

Thanks for reading and be sure to comment and tell me: What’s your favorite non-canon MM fantasy from any movie, TV, or book series??

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#MFRWauthor ~ I Like Big Flaws (and I Cannot Lie)

MFRW blog prompt: “As a reader, what attracts you most to a character?”

From literature to film, I am most intrigued by male characters who are psychologically damaged – yet not beyond redemption. I like the outcast or scoundrel who might be concealing a softer side (Han Solo, anyone?). I like complicated antiheroes capable of redemption (How about Anne Rice’s Lestat?). These men come in many different packages. They might be handsome and charming in the conventional way. Or they may hide behind snark to conceal their insecurities (Severus Snape?). No matter the genre or medium – novel, film, or TV – I want to see men who are imperfect and flawed, their facades concealing more than meets the eye.

As for women, make them strong, assertive, and confident. I want to see (or read about) The Walking Dead‘s Michonne kicking ass and getting the hero – even if the ass-kicking itself is metaphorical rather than literal – or Katniss Everdeen with with her bow. This desire is why I wrote so many strong female characters into my debut novel, The Infiltrator – probably the only female-dominated zombie novel ever written – while I portrayed male characters as more prone to emoting than the women. I wanted it to bend gender stereotypes (as well as bend genres). Also, I simply enjoy writing about broken, fucked-up men.

My character preferences for damaged men and strong women can be seen in my current WIP as well, which is also a dystopian romance featuring two empaths whose mental battles are sexually charged. For this novel I chose to use several tropes including fated mates and enemies to lovers – and even a couple I might have made up (is fuck or die a thing?).

Excerpt from my as-yet-untitled WIP:

She closed her eyes. Centered the surging energy. Felt the pressure behind her eyes once more, imagined it flowing outward. She could almost see it. See where she needed to center it. She focused on his mind. Felt his resistance, as solid as a steel wall. All she needed was a crack, a small way in, then all she had to do was squeeze

She screamed at the effort, and for an instant—just an instant—she felt his barrier bow beneath her assault. With a heave, she pushed once more, felt the fissure form. And then she was in. Just as she concentrated the energy and began to squeeze, she was bombarded by images: A small boy with dark hair crouched in a corner. And a woman crying—

Jahnna was yanked up suddenly by her wrists. Her eyes snapped open as she was shoved violently out of his mind once more, the connection severed. He was angry, but he was also…she didn’t know what he was. She knew he could hurt her if he wanted to, but he was just staring at her, breathing heavily through his nose. Oddly, she thought he might kiss her. If he did, she would bite him—hard enough to make him bleed.

Thanks for stopping by! I’d love to hear from you! What are your thoughts? What kind of characters do you like to read about?

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