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Blog hop posts. Hops are joint efforts by multiple bloggers to share.

This week’s MFRW BookHooks offers a sneak peek at Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire, my upcoming military science fiction novel with romantic elements. In this scene, the not-quite-human Six offers a canteen of water to the immortal king. Four other immortals are watching. The scene is from Pietas’s point of view.


A canteen of water and a friend #Pietas #SciFi #MFRWHooksSix slid their canteen off over his head and held it out to Pietas.

Accepting anything from a human, an altered one at that, had violated every instinct at first. To take from an enemy, yes. Always. Let one give you something as if you needed it? Admit a weakness before an enemy?


But this was Six.

Pietas took it.

Ultras could go days without water, but they consumed it when they had it. He wiped one dusty hand across his mouth. The satisfaction of assuaged thirst never failed to please. What simple things in life brought pleasure! In captivity, he’d dreamed of even a drop to cool his tongue. He’d sworn he’d never take water for granted again.

Six had offered water to their companions during the climb, but the entire lot refused anything a mortal’s lips had touched. Yes, Six was a quasi-immortal, but to the others, that gave him even less status.

Pietas wavered on few things, but on this? Should he call the man human, mortal, quasi-immortal, or ghost? He’d elected to choose as the mood struck. But one in particular annoyed Six.

“Thanks, ghost.” He thrust the canteen against Six’s chest.

Staggering, he swore in Spanish. “Find another name for me.”

“Tell me your mortal name then.”

“You know I can’t.” Six scratched his cheek. “Gotta protect my family. If your kind knew who they were, they’d slaughter them. You wouldn’t, but them?”

Now they were getting somewhere. “So you do trust me?”

“Pi, there’s more honor in your left big toe than your entire race combined.” He tipped up the flask but then paused. “No offense.”

“None taken. But we’re stranded, my friend. Unless a miracle happens, by the time we get off this world, your family will be long dead.” He added, “No offense.”

Six finished his drink and plugged the container. “None taken. Sorry. Can’t do it.” He lifted the strap back over his head and settled it onto his shoulder, the canteen at his back. “Seriously, Pi, your people hear you call me you-know-what, it’ll give away I was Ghost Corps. We both know what they’ll do to me.”

Admit a weakness before an enemy? Never. But this was Six. #SciFi #Pietas Click To Tweet

Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire
What if you were marooned on a barren world? No food. Few survival tools. You’re genetically engineered. No matter how agonizing the wound, you survive. No matter how you die, you come back.
It could be worse. You could be here alone. But that’s the problem. You’re not.

Available for preorder on Amazon Nov 11-Dec 28. Purchase on Dec 29, 2017
Free on Kindle Unlimited

Join the Forged in Fire tour and get free goodies! 

A canteen of water and a friend #Pietas #SciFi #MFRWHooks



In my books, the immortal king is Pietas. He’s in nearly everything I’ve written. With good reason — as king of the immortals peopling my stories, he’s a major character even when he’s not present. His influence in my story world is galaxy wide.

I began writing the Bringer of Chaos series to understand him better. As I’ve written and explored his psyche, I’ve learned far more than I anticipated.

My upcoming novel about him (Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire) is science fiction with romantic elements. It has no profanity or explicit content, but it does have violence.

The book also has a ginormous “kitty” who adores Pietas and follows him everywhere. Tiklaus, the sentient panther who adopts him, protects Pietas without reservation. Although Tiklaus does not speak, they are able to communicate on a telepathic level, using limited, rudimentary language. For example, Tiklaus sends the word “do” to show a command is heard and understood. “Do” also implies “please” or “thank you” depending on the situation. Wait till you find out what Tiklaus names Pietas! The panther’s name means “loyal warrior.” The animal was great fun to write.

What is the immortal king doing?

This Friday, Nov 10, I start a 20 day tour with Crystal Reviews to show off the cover for this new book. Although the book isn’t releasing until Dec 29th, it will be available on preorder.

One of the giveaways during this tour will be an exclusive download of Endure, a 39 page full color illustrated book of quotes by Pietas. The cover is above. You don’t have to do anything or sign up for anything to get this book. Just visit during the tour.

Here are a few sample quotes from the book:
* Would you conquer? Then learn to endure.
* To forgive means to endure betrayal.
* Friends come and go. Enemies endure to the end.
* I might not prevail over adversity, but I will endure. Adversity will never prevail over me.

Track the immortal king

You’ll be able to find Pietas every day by going to the tour home page or by coming here. If you’d like to host the immortal king, you can sign up for that here. The tour host who gets the most comments during the tour will win a $25 Gift certificate (winner’s choice: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Starbucks).

Preorder the immortal king

You can preorder between Nov 11th and Dec 28th.

Tweet the immortal king

Click the box below to share a tweet about the king.

Where is the immortal king today? #Pietas #SciFi Click To Tweet


Welcome to Book Hooks! This is a blog hop with Marketing for Romance Writers authors. Click links at the end to visit the other hops. Today’s post is on character mentions. How to find any mention of a character in any of your books. It’s easier than you think.

If you’re writing a series, it’s easy to casually slip in a mention about a character from one book into another book. But what if you also mentioned that he is left handed? Or that he was born in Chicago. Or some other detail? When you’re writing yet another book, how do you go back and find all those places? Here’s a snippet from my book the Tarthian Empire Companion, to show you how.

Find character mentions on your computer

Here’s a cool trick if you have several books and you want to find out which book mentions a character. Create a separate folder and into it copy each of your books. Don’t put your originals in there. MAKE COPIES. Take out any bit at the end of the book that mentions upcoming stories (such as sneak peeks) that might contain the character’s name. You want only the actual story in these documents. Keep this folder. You’ll be surprised how handy it is for searching details when you write a series.

Now that everything is together, look at your folder menu. You’ll see something like “Tools” at the top. Your computer might call it “Organize”. Click that, and open Folder Options. Click the Search tab. Under “What to search” there are two choices. Pick the one that says “Always search file names and contents.”

When you click in the search box and type a name, the program will show you which book has the character’s name.

NOTE: It warns that this might take several minutes, but since you’ll mainly use it for searching this folder, that’s fine. I use it routinely on all folders, and it’s a great way to find info I’ve lost or a document for which I can’t remember the title. I have a 2 TB hard drive and to me, it’s not that long — maybe a few seconds. Click OK to save the option. Don’t worry. If it does prove to be too long for everyday use for you, you can easily change it back.

Think about the name before you assume the person is mentioned. For example, if you have a guy named Van Smith, both those words have other meanings. Does one character drive a van? Does the other have a Smith and Wesson? Does someone who is a smith live in Van Nuys? Be sure you know how the word was used within the document if it has shades of meaning or uses. If you aren’t sure, open the document, use CTRL+F (or CMD+F for Mac) and type the name. Then you’ll know for sure. But rather than open each document for each character, it’s super quick to type it once and search all the books at the same time.

Because I have two different versions of the same book from two different publishers, I wanted to know what/who was used in each. When deleting or adding material, it’s easy to remove a mention. So I added a copy of each version and changed the document name to include the publisher’s initials. To quickly change the name, select the document and press F2. Once the name is highlighted, make any changes needed.

I used this method when writing the Tarthian Empire Companion. The book has a listing of all my characters and place names, a history, and much more. I intended it as a companion book for fans of my various series. It quickly became my own go-to for details. Had I spelled homeworld as home world or home-world? This book is my definitive answer (It’s homeworld, btw).

The companion also reveals many of the secrets I used when creating all the worlds in my science fiction series. Download the Top Stops version here (shorter but lots of images). Here’s where to get the full book.

Where to find the Tarthian Empire Companion

Barnes and Noble
CreateSpace (Print)
Print – Walmart
(FYI – the print version is illustrated and in full color. Beautiful, but expensive. I suggest going with the online version. For a book chock full of world-building, it’s a bargain.)


This week’s BookHooks offers a sneak peek at my upcoming book, a military science fiction novel with romantic elements. What is the hottest kind of fire?

Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire

Humans created the Ultras, a genetically enhanced race, to defend mankind. Instead, Ultras became their greatest threat. With the help of traitors, humans captured half a million of the immortal warriors.

Exiled to an alien world with no tech, no tools, and no resources, their leader, Pietas must protect his people, find food and shelter and unite them. But before he can, he must regain command from a ruthless adversary he’s fought for centuries–his brutal, merciless father.

Ultras are immortal, and no matter how they die, they come back. Reviving after death isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Some wounds heal instantly and a few take time, but battered and broken trust? Immortals may heal, but a wound of the heart lasts forever.

In this scene, Pietas performs a ritual at the urging of his friend, Six.

Pietas’s long hair, full of static electricity from the wind and storm, settled over his shoulders and adhered to his neck. He could not lift his arms to gather it himself but he did not want the others to see he needed help nor did he want Six fretting over it.

The man blamed himself for the injury. Yes, Six had bound Pietas. It had been Six’s duty to do so. In truth, those who had placed Pietas inside the pod and refused to release him were to blame, but no matter how often he reminded Six of that, the ghost refused to relinquish his guilt.

Six dug into his pockets. “I think I have another strip.” They had torn several from a ragged shirt. Six wore the biggest piece around his neck. He set down his pack and opened it.

“Six,” Pietas hissed. He did not turn his head, but looked toward the others. “Leave it!”

The ghost glanced up at him, then the immortals, waiting ahead. “You want the women messing with your hair? Is that it?”

He closed his eyes, counting to ten. To a hundred would not erase this embarrassment. “No.” When he beheld Six, the man had the discourtesy to smirk. “Don’t look at me in that tone of voice.”

The man chuckled. “We should have cut your hair before we set out.” He rummaged through his kit, which held all Six owned when he’d been abandoned on this world. Little more than survival gear.

“I never cut it except in ritual.”

“I know.” Six withdrew a boning knife used for it.

Before every battle, Pietas performed the solemn rite to affirm superior strength and prowess. The ghost had been the first human to see it carried out, albeit the first half from a distance while hiding.

Six stood. “Maybe you could perform it now.”

“How like you to see the easy solution. But there are a few elements missing. No fire. No water. No mask.” He gestured toward the oncoming storm. “No time.”

“Haven’t you ever heard of pretending?”

“One cannot ‘pretend’ a ritual.”

“What a boring childhood you must’ve had. Why not?”

Pietas opened his mouth to answer. Shut it again.

Six lifted one eyebrow. “Do you want to go into that dark hole and meet up with your people without performing it?”

“No, but there’s no time.”

“Rain’s coming.” Six jerked a thumb toward the forest. “Like I said, you have to go in there or you won’t reunite with your people. Are you going to stand out here making excuses, or do this?”

“Ghost, this ritual is important. It deserves respect.”

Blah, blah, blah. That storm is bearing down on us.” A few drops of rain splattered them both. “See? Or maybe you’d rather have your sister help you with your hair every morning.”

“Fine!” With a resigned sigh, Pietas capitulated. “How do you propose we ‘pretend’ my ritual?”

Six tucked the knife into his belt and held out his cupped hands. “This is fire.”

Pietas hesitated.

“Come on, Pi.” Six wagged his cupped hands. “This stuff is hot.”

“Of course it is.” A smile slipped onto his face and refused to leave. “It’s pretend fire. That’s the hottest kind.”

“Remember, you do this naked. Unzip your robe or whatever it is you’d wear.”

Pietas mimed removing his silk robe. He plucked one hair and laid it across Six’s hands, feeding it to the fire. “As fire has victory over life, so I have victory over my enemies.” He passed a hand through the imaginary flame. As he had in the real ritual, he hissed at the scorching heat. He cupped his hands over Six’s, a symbolic end to the flames. “I am powerful, as fire is powerful.”

“Next is air, right?”

“Yes.” He lifted both hands, made fists, and yanked them back. “I own the wind. I prevail over the breath of my enemies.”

Again, Six cupped his hands. “Water.”

“Water submits to my presence the way enemies submit to my will.” He scooped his hands into the bowl, lifted his arms and pictured the liquid dripping down them. “The blood of my enemies trickles into the pool of time, is absorbed, and forgotten.” He bent and pushed both hands through his hair. “My mind is clear. I do not waver.”

Six held his hands flat, waist high. “The pond.”

Pietas ducked as if to submerse himself, then rose, throwing back his head. “My body submits to my will. No pain defeats me. No fear touches me.” He brushed his hands down the length of his body. “My will is absolute. I am bigger than any fear. I prevail in every circumstance. I face every foe. I vanquish every enemy. I overcome. I am indomitable. I am invincible.”

“Black face paint for the mask.” Six held out his hands.

The ceremonial mask represented a splash of blood across his face received during battle. Dipping two fingers of each hand into the bowl, Pietas outlined a bandit’s mask up over his dark eyebrows to the area beneath his eyes. He brushed his fingertips over his eyelids and met Six’s gaze.

Finding a mixture of awe and respect threw him out of the moment. He faltered, unable to recall what came next.

Six offered the knife hilt first.

The man had seen the ritual performed once, from a distance, yet he’d remembered each step. Six wouldn’t have known the next part was performed by Pietas’s sister if no trusted partner or friend was at hand. The time Six had seen it done, Pietas had not yet considered him either one.

How wrong he had been. The man was more than both.

The hottest kind of fire burns within the heart. --Pietas Click To Tweet


That feeling when you think you're explaining--but you're not #Pietas #scifi #MFRWhooksIn this scene from the military science fiction novel Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire, the hero, Pietas, has discovered a familiar item on an alien world. He points it out to Six, explaining in detail so his friend will understand.

Explaining isn’t always easy

Not far from the waterfall, they found sandy soil and the start of shrub with orange blossoms.

“Look, Six.” Pietas stooped to run a finger across the plant’s dense florets.

“It’s like a cross between daisies and sunflowers. What is it?”

“Helichrysum. There are over six hundred species of this plant on Earth. They come in every color except blue, although my mother’s been working on that. You’d know it as Strawflower or Immortelle. It’s edible as a seasoning.” He picked a leaf, sniffed it, held it for Six to smell.

“Reminds me of my grandmother’s kitchen. Like rosemary.”

“The oil is good for arthritis. Joint pain. Clear skin.” Standing, Pietas brushed off his hands. “There’s a break in the growth up ahead.” He approached and went down on one knee.

Six squatted beside him, boots crunching the dry soil. “You know, we’d have made it here a lot quicker if you didn’t have to study every plant we came across.”

“I don’t study them. I identify them. But I’m not looking at plants here.” He pointed. “This is a trail. The tracks are from ungulates. Popular with terraformers. They put them on every colonized world. These are artiodactyla, to be precise. Bovidae. Probably a derivative of aepyceros melampus.

“You know, Pi, when you say things like that, you think you’re explaining, but you’re really not.”

“Animals with split hooves. Even-toed. Lightweight impalas. Antelopes.”

“What, you couldn’t say antelopes?”

“I just did.” Pietas got up, dusted off his ragged pants.

Six stood. “So, this is how it’s going to be?”

The other immortals had gathered a small distance away. Pietas shot them a glare and they scattered, pretending not to listen.

He returned his attention to Six. “How what’s going to be?”

“You’re back among your own people, so you talk like them. Showing off your three thousand years of education.”

“Hard to do since I’m not yet two thousand. My mother was chief scientist in the terraforming industry. She fed me taxonomy along with my milk.”


“Classification of organisms by structure and origin. As in, I’m Ceramin perpetualis. You’re Humanus originalis. Or you were. Your metamorphosis makes you Humanus pseudo-perpetualis, or something similar. I thought mortals taught this.”

“Well, excuse me! But my fourteen years of school didn’t quite prepare me for the level of science you take for granted.”

“You have that much education?”

Six’s dark eyes narrowed in a warning.

Despite himself, Pietas laughed. Drawing Six away from the others, he leaned in close. “I apologize. I was showing off.”

“Thank you. My point.”

“No, no. I wasn’t apologizing for speaking above your level of understanding. I teach you. Do I not?”

“Well, yeah, so what’s the apology for?”

“Showing off in front of my people.”

“Showing off how?”

“Banter. Joking with you. Most of them,” he nodded toward the four immortals, “have never had what I have.”

“Which is?”

Did the man not see it? Pietas smiled. “A human friend.”

Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire
Rated PG13 for violence (no explicit content or profanity)
Humans created a genetically enhanced race to defend mankind. Instead, the Ultras became humanity’s greatest threat. With the help of traitors, humans captured half a million of them.
Exiled to an alien world with no tech, tools, or resources, their leader, Pietas, must unite them. Before he can, he must regain command from a ruthless adversary he’s fought for centuries–his brutal, merciless father.
Ultras are immortal, and no matter how they die, they come back. Reviving after death isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Some injuries heal instantly. A few take time. The pain of battered trust and a broken heart, though… That lasts forever.

This book will be released soon and is subject to final edits. The final version may be slightly different from the one presented here. Please join the Romance Lives Forever Reader Group — you’ll get four free books right away and be the first to know when the book is available.

Read book 1: Bringer of Chaos: the Origin of Pietas, available free on Kindle Unlimited


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