#LifeBooksWriting: Character Inspiration

Firebird was the first book I’ve written in which real-life people inspired most of the characters. Let’s start with Alex Volynsky, whose was influenced by the largest number of actual human beings, beginning with former Philadelphia Flyer Eric Wellwood.
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Eric’s career was sadly cut short by a horrifying on-ice accident that became the story behind Firebird. Fortunately, he’s coaching now, just like Alex.

Next we have one that might be all too obvious: The Great 8, Alexander Ovechkin.
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He’s big, he’s Russian, he’s one of the greatest hockey players in the world, and he’s named Alex. Physically, though, Alex Volynsky doesn’t resemble him much. (You can check out my Pinterest board for that.)

The third major inspiration was Tyler Seguin.
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I don’t find Tyler all that attractive I’M SORRY PLEASE DON’T HURT ME. He’s an inspiration mainly for the party-boy reputation that made him famous (or infamous) in Boston.

Stephanie Hartwell was specifically modeled on two lovely ladies who can rock a blond pixie cut: Carey Mulligan and Michelle Williams.
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Brandon Johannson’s inspiration comes from former Flyers goalie and current analyst Brian Boucher.
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Oh, look, that's me with Boosh.
Oh, look, that’s me with Boosh.

Jacob White is absolutely intended to be a Canadian version of Jake Voracek.
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Other people contributed in various ways, and pieces of myself end up in every character, but now you know the major influences behind Firebird‘s cast.

Be sure to grab a copy of Firebird before the sequel releases on July 26!

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Official Blurb: What’s Left of Me (The Firebird Trilogy #2)

I am pleased to reveal the official blurb for What’s Left of Me (The Firebird Trilogy #2), releasing July 26!

Recovering from years of living the superstar hockey life wasn’t easy, but now Aleksandr Volynsky finally has everything…

He’s married to the love of his life, expecting a daughter, and has a new job as an assistant coach with his old team, the Buffalo Gladiators. His happiness is short lived, however, when a sexual assault allegation surfaces, and Alex is forced to cooperate with an investigation for a crime he didn’t commit.

Stephanie Hartwell is juggling her dream job with marriage and motherhood, but she’s not convinced she’s doing any of it well…

Stephanie’s stress level goes from bad to worse when she’s diagnosed with a serious illness. Battling declining health and the critics who question her commitment to Alex in light of the allegation, she makes a decision that could change their relationship forever.

Alex is afraid he’s about to lose everything—especially when he sees Stephanie’s friend kiss her…

Devastated that his life is spiraling out of control again, Alex turns to his friend, Natasha, a Russian pop star. Convinced that Stephanie and her friend Brandon are having an affair, Alex resumes his self-destructive behavior.

What Alex doesn’t know is Stephanie has been conducting a secret investigation of her own. She learns the truth behind the sexual assault—a truth no one, especially Alex, expects.

With everything now out in the open, can Stephanie and Alex commit to a fresh start for the sake of their daughter, or will the ghosts of their pasts finally tear apart everything they have left?
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In other exciting news, Firebird is in production as an audio book! More details to come, but look for it later this year on Amazon, Audible, and iTunes.

Updates!

Apologies for being utterly terrible at updating this blog with real posts lately. This year is going to be my busiest yet, so I thought I’d do a quick round-up of what’s coming in the next nine months. I hope you’re as excited as I am!

1. What’s Left of Me (The Firebird Trilogy #2): Officially in production. Release date is July 26!

2. Beautiful Things: Now that I have the rights back since the original publisher went kaput at the end of 2015, I’m releasing a second edition. This one will be revised and expanded, so if you were wishing for more of Mitzi and Wolfrik, you’re going to get it! I’m aiming to have this out sometime around the end of June. Doubly excited about this one because a dear friend and fantastic artist is doing the new cover. More details soon!

3. No One on Earth: This is a m/m sci-fi romance novella I’m writing for After Glows Publishing’s winter holiday anthology. First draft is done!

4. “The Wind Whispers ‘Witiko'”: OK, so I spent YEARS trying to sell this story, and at WHC 2015 in Atlanta, I was fortunate enough for one of Black Mirror Press’s co-owners to sit beside me. We struck up a conversation, exchanged info, and a few months later I was invited to submit to their first anthology, Snowpocalypse. My wendigo story finally sees the light of day!

5. Prison Made of Mirrors: My novella-length dark fantasy retelling of Snow White, with Vikings and werewolves, releases from Vagabondage Press later this year.

Things Not So Set in Stone:

Upcoming projects include the final book in The Firebird Trilogy (as-yet untitled, but I’ll be starting work on it within the next few days), the paranormal romance I’ve started three or four times now and finally figured out where I want to go with it, and a romance short story for a project I can’t talk about yet. I’ve also finished a vampire short story that I’ll be submitting for anthology consideration. Other things possibly happening this year if I have time: a m/m shifter romance novella and a holiday hockey romance novella.

I think that’s everything!

Help FIREBIRD Win!

Firebird is eligible for The Romance Reviews’ Readers’ Choice Award!

In the Nomination Round, Firebird has to garner at least 50 nominations within the time period in order to qualify for the next and final round. The nomination will start on March 14 and end on March 31. Nominate the book here: http://www.theromancereviews.com/viewbooks.php?bookid=19804

Thank you for your support!

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Join Me for Get Your Jingle On!

Tomorrow from 3-4 pm EST, I’ll be taking over the Get Your Jingle On! Facebook party. Giveaways, sneak peeks at book #2 in The Firebird Trilogy, and more!

Join here! https://www.facebook.com/events/905215276213389/906466816088235/