#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 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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