Fun Fact Friday: No Sophomore Slump

On Sunday, I typed the last words of the first draft of “Overshadow”. If you haven’t heard me talk about “Overshadow” yet, it’s my second book (book two of the Shadow Imperium series). I was even more excited and nervous about it than I was about “Foreshadow”, my first novel and the first book in the Shadow Imperium series. I was excited because I really wanted to continue Raena, Logan and Andrei’s story. I was nervous because it’s my second novel. I had a hard enough time completing the first one. Could I do it again?
I’ve heard it said that a lot of people want to write a book, but very few (2%, research says) actually do. Even fewer complete a second book. Some do, but the second book just isn’t quite “as good” as the first. They call this the “sophomore slump”. Granted, no one has read “Overshadow” yet. Even my beta reader hasn’t finished it. I don’t know if it’s any good. I hope it is. All I know is that I had a lot of fun writing it, and I cried when I finished it.
It probably makes me sound crazy to say that I cried when I finished writing “Overshadow”. I didn’t cry because it was over. I cried because I got so caught up in Raena’s emotions that I felt as though I were experiencing everything with her. She’s become so real to me. If that makes me crazy, so be it. I’d rather be a little crazy if it means I’m able to bring readers a believable character.
“Overshadow” is far from being done. It still needs editing and expanding. This was just the first draft. I’m already outlining book three, tentatively titled “Queen of Shadows”. I’ll probably cry when that one’s done too. Hopefully by then, you will all be able to follow Raena’s story with me. I hope you love her as much as I do.
© Brea Essex 2011 ~ No part of this site (written or artwork) may be reproduced in anyway whatsoever without express written consent by Brea Essex.

Fun Fact Friday: The Literary Love of my Life

Well, the wait is over. Today’s the day I’m going to talk about Kellin from The Chronicles of the Cheysuli, my first “literary crush”. I’ve mentioned him in previous posts, which you can find here and here.
First, just look at him. Isn’t he hot? The cover artist did an amazing job on him. (In case you’re wondering, the woman on the cover is named Ginevra—and yes, Genevra from my Shadow Imperium series is named after her.)
You can’t tell in this picture, but Kellin’s eyes are green—this is what started my obsession with guys with dark hair and light eyes (particularly black hair and green eyes—hello Logan Conner!).
Now, I don’t want to ruin the book(s) for everyone, but I’ll do my best to summarize Kellin sans spoilers. Kellin is first introduced at the end of the previous book, called “Flight of the Raven”. At the beginning of “A Tapestry of Lions”, Kellin is ten years old. His grandparents and his great-uncle have raised him since infancy. A tragedy prompts a radical change in Kellin’s personality.
Fast-forward ten years. Kellin is now an adult and has turned his back on his heritage and the prophecy that has been the focus of his people for generations. The only thing he hasn’t turned his back on is his title of Crown Prince, although he ignores the responsibilities that come with it.
At this point, Kellin’s become cocky, self-absorbed—you know, all my favorite qualities in a fictional hero. He’s a drinker and basically a man-whore (neither quality are ones that I like) but there’s still something redeemable about him. It must be the whole tortured thing. His family has spent generations serving a prophecy that Kellin is the last “link” in. He’s the one who’s supposed to fulfill it—but he’s doing everything in his power not to.
I don’t want to give away the ending, so I won’t tell you if Kellin ultimately fulfills the prophecy or not. You’ll have to read it for yourself.
As I mentioned before, Kellin was one of my inspirations for Logan Conner from my Shadow Imperium series. The other was Darien Shields (Mamoru Chiba, to use his Japanese name) from Sailor Moon—I know, I know . . . I have a slight anime obsession. But more about that (and Darien) next week!

© Brea Essex 2011 ~ No part of this site (written or artwork) may be reproduced in anyway whatsoever without express written consent by Brea Essex.
*Disclaimer: I do not own the photo used in this post.

Fun Fact Friday: How I Name Characters

A lot of people ask where I get my characters’ names. I actually pull names from a variety of sources. Sometimes, they pop in my head. Sometimes I use a name suggestion that someone else gives me.
However, there are four main sources that I use to find names:
Ø    Baby naming websites. The one I use most often is This website gives the name meanings. Also, if you know what you want a name to mean, you can do a meaning search and a list of names will pop up.
Ø    Name generators, such as I like this one because you can plug in different nationalities, if you have a feeling for what you want.
Ø    Other books. Now I won’t “steal” a unique name, but if I find a more common name that I like, I’ll add it to a list for future use.
Ø    Social Security Name Index. I use this sometimes if I’m writing a story set in the real world and I have a character that needs to be a certain age. I approximate their year of birth and then look at the popular names for babies who were born that year.
I have one more “secret source”. It’s not technically a source, actually. My husband and I kept a running list of names we were considering for our children. Now, we don’t have children yet, but we’ve tentatively decided on names. I sometimes use the names I liked that he rejected in my writing. In fact, the names that we have decided on crop up in my writing . . . I’m not going to tell what they are though.

Fun Fact Friday: One Ring . . .

I’m back with Fun Fact Friday! Today, I’m going to talk about something that’s been an inspiration to me:  my grandmother’s ring. Please excuse the poor photo. I couldn’t find my camera and had to use my phone.

Now, this ring is just a piece of costume jewelry. It reminds me of a signet ring, which is probably how my Nana wore it (she had really tiny hands!). It may not seem significant, but it’s the only thing of my Nana’s that I have. I like to pretend that she bought it after I was born, because the stone resembles my birthstone, topaz (or citrine).
This ring is what inspired Raena’s citrine necklace in the Shadow Imperium series. Citrine is traditionally used for protection, which is why the necklace is given to her. Several of my works-in-progress also involve amulets or signets that serve various purposes.
Now, I’m not particularly superstitious, but I do like to wear this ring when I write. It sort of makes me feel close to my Nana, which is comforting. And I won’t necessarily say that it’s good luck or anything, but I did wear it to my math final last month . . . and I got the highest grade in the class. Of course, that could have been due to my seven-hour-long marathon study session the day before, but who knows?
I’ll be back with some more “fun facts” next Friday! Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for the next installment of “Bemused”!

Fun Fact Friday: Similarities

Today kicks off Fun Fact Friday, where I’ll be posting various facts about my books, my research, and myself.
A lot of the time, an author’s different characteristics will find their way into their characters. I don’t necessarily mean that the author will make the characters fictional versions of themselves, but sometimes there will be similarities. So, just for fun, here are five similarities between my character Raena Davenport from the Shadow Imperium series and me:
  1. We’re both addicted to diet soda.
  2. Our favorite colors are teal and emerald green (although not together).
  3. We’re both afraid of mirrors in the dark.
  4. Kelp grosses us out.
  5. We’re both completely convinced that wooden piers, no matter how stable looking, would collapse with one strong earthquake.
I’ll be back next week with some more facts!

New Blogging Schedule!

Hi all! Beginning tomorrow, I’m going to be blogging every day. Here’s my new schedule:

Sundays:  Six Sentence Sunday:  I’ll be posting six sentence long teasers of my writing. Brought to you by

Mondays:  Character Archive:  I’ll be posting character interviews, “castings”, and also songs from my play lists.

Tuesdays:  Writing Prompts:  I’ll be using writing prompts from Writer’s Digest to write some shorts.

Wednesdays:  Why I Love Wednesdays:  Posting on various things I love, brought to you by 
I’ll also be posting my challenge from Escape! at

Thursdays:  Moira’s Blog:  My character Moira from Team Promethiad will be taking over the blog to write about her experiences on Escape!, as well as her illicit relationship with Toby from J.F. Jenkins’ Team Introv3rsion

Fridays:  Fun Fact Fridays:  I’ll be sharing facts about me, my writing, my research, etc.

Saturdays:  Short Story Saturdays:  I’ll be sharing an exclusive serialized story featuring my Muse Lorelei. We’ll be following her as she goes through her training to become a Muse. (Ever since I gave her a name, she’s been clamoring for her own story. Since she’s been cooperating with me so well lately, I thought I should give in!)

Be sure to check back tomorrow for Six Sentence Sunday for another sneak peek of Foreshadow!