Liam Taggart, the Alpha

I’ve been working on stuff for the website; biographies and the like.   I thought I’d share one with you.  

This is Liam’s and I’m quite proud of it.  I love the background I created for him.  

Take a look:

 

Liam Andrew Taggart

Age: 41

Height: 6’

Weight:  240

Pack Status:  Alpha

Supernatural Status:  Alpha of the Four Claw Pack, Alpha of Alphas of Scotland – ruler of the Lycans and Therianthropes in Scotland.

Appearance: 

            Human:  Liam is stocky, a big guy.  He has broad shoulders capping a torso that tapers slightly in at the waist.  Muscles ripple and flex under his skin as he moves, his muscles are naturally long and lean, defined without having that bodybuilder look.  Long legs are often encased in denim, regardless of the weather, that hides the power in them.  He’s heavy but it’s all muscle.

 Thick black hair falls across his forehead to drape across strong black brows, when he hasn’t made it stand on end by running his fingers through it in aggravation.  Equally thick lashes frame almost expressionless deep, green eyes.  Those eyes warm up when they land on Anna but otherwise show very little emotion.  His eyes do, however, turn yellow when he is angry.  Crinkles caused by stress and amusement and joy are already making an appearance, faint though they are.  He has a strong jaw, straight teeth and sensual lips framed by laugh lines deeper than the marks at the corners of his eyes. 

After Dagda touches him with his club in Demon Plague Liam has a silver streak at the center of his forehead.

            Wolf:  Liam’s Wolf is huge at close to two hundred pounds.  He stands almost four feet tall at the shoulder.  He has strong, nimble legs, a strong back and yellow eyes.  His fur is a deep midnight black that seems to absorb light. 

After the touch of Dagda’s club, he has a small silver lightning bolt that streaks from the end of his snout towards his left ear.

            Background:  Liam grew up as the son of an Alpha’s son.  He was groomed from birth to be the Alpha and yet he was still expected to fight his way through the ranks. He was made to study the laws, not only of their own pack but of Supernatural world.  He was involved in all pack business at his father’s side from a young age.  He joined the pack as an Omega and worked his way to Alpha.  He made friends with Marcus at an early age and they stuck side by side.  He watched his father die at the hands of an unscrupulous Wolf named Rick who thought only about himself and the power being the Alpha would lead. 

It was then that Liam learned the difference between a true Alpha and a poser.  A pack, he learned, has an energy connection that binds each Wolf to the one above, below and beside him.  That energy flows from the Alpha.  A poser weakens a pack and, left in place too long, will destroy it.  Liam had been an Epsilon, four down from the Alpha, when Rick took the pack by force.  Rick sanctioned a battle between the then-Beta and the thug he wanted in place.

Liam and Marcus buried their parents, spirited Liam’s mother away, (she died six months later of a broken heart), and then talked strategy.  They waited six months, building their strength and steadily taking the pack by energy and stealth.  Then Liam invoked the law involving paternal and hereditary rights to the Alpha position: Ascensionem Filius, Ascension of the Son.  There was nothing Rick could do but show up to the challenge or be labeled a coward.  Once Liam won the challenge, he set Marcus up for a challenge to Rick’s old Beta.  The fight never happened for the other Wolf ran.  After that, traitors were routed and the pack swore fealty to Liam.

Liam and Marcus have been Alpha and Beta for almost twenty-five years.

Liam is a contradiction – dead serious about everything and yet ready to see the humour in everything; ruthless and cold, yet overflowing with love and affection for his Wolf family.  He is often stressed, usually pressed for time about something and generally buried under paperwork but he is always ready to hear from his pack. 

            Weaknesses:  Liam’s only weakness is also his greatest strength:  his utter devotion to his pack.  It can make him blind to trouble within his pack.

            Strengths:  His devotion to the pack makes Liam a forward thinker and someone careful to consider the consequences of every action he takes personally or the pack takes as a whole.  His is able to see almost all sides of any situation and act accordingly.  He is physically strong, well skilled in offensive and defensive fighting techniques and a damn good shot. 

            Abilities:  He is a true Alpha; the power of the pack flows from him and back to him.  Because of that power exchange he is able to sense his Wolves, within a certain radius.  He has a natural charisma and magnetism that draws people in and bends them to his will; he can sometimes deliberately magnify that.  He is a shape shifter and can shift from Human to Wolf to Human with a thought as often as needed, requiring less resting time between shifts than the rest of the pack.

 

What do you think?  I think the biographies will help my readers understand the characters better.  Help the readers love the characters more.  It’ll be great!  😀

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Rust, Iron and Colour

Good Sunday morning, boys and girls!

How are you?

Yesterday was my daughter’s end-of-year dance recital and I finally got to see her entire jazz routine with costume and her group!   She looked great.  She did really well, particularly in her solo.  Congrats on a great year, GK!

See?   Pretty girl.  And she did so, so well.

See? Pretty girl. And she did so, so well.

I’m definitely having issues today but I am cheerful anyway and I have been really looking forward to showing you these pictures.

There’s this little shop in Lucan, Ontario that we drive by called Lucan Architectural.  Their yard is full of colour and awesome shapes and textures and every time we drove by I’d say, “Pictures!  Must take pictures!”  Finally, we did.  We were on our way to the city when Peter pulled into the shop instead.  I was like a kid in a candy store.  I did remember to ask the owner if she minded.  😉  She didn’t so I took pictures of textures and bits and pieces of works I liked.

With so many things to photograph and so many pictures in the end it was hard to choose just a few.  As it is, I still have ten pictures to show you.  I couldn’t decide where to start so I think we’ll just go in alphabetical order.  *laughs*

All the pictures have been ‘shopped to show them to their best and bring out what I liked best about them.  I’ll detail the changes …as much as I can remember, really should start making notes.  😉

Yeah.  I’m in a mood.

Pictures!

Oh yes, before I do that, I do have a piece of business.

I started the giveaway a few days ago.  I was hoping a FEW people would enter but I’m not seeing it.  There are only three entrants (sorry dollface, but you’ve got a book AND I have something else in mind for you).  Enter!  Spread it around!  It’s a small contest but I think it’s worth the few minutes it’ll take to get into the contest.  Only the first one is mandatory and I’ll give you the answer right here:  She’s a Vampire-Werewolf hybrid.  (Spread that around too 😉 )   You have the option to get seven tickets in the raffle.  ENTER!  😀

Okay, photos.  I was a little shaky in the hands on Sunday so there may, sadly, be a few blurry bits and pieces.

I love this first one.  I did the auto levels, toyed with the contrast and brightness and adjusted the RGB levels to enhance the red.  Basically, I played with the buttons until I liked the picture.  *chuckles*

Weird combination of Big Bird and Kermit the Frog, isn't he?  Cute though, in a weird kind of way.

Weird combination of Big Bird and Kermit the Frog, isn’t he? Cute though, in a weird kind of way.

This next is the center of a deep purple butterfly.  I liked the contrast between the pretty paint and the rust and welding remains.  I did adjust the RGB to make the purple deeper, like it is in real life, since the camera didn’t quite pick it up.

((Okay, for those of you reading this as soon as it’s published, I accidentally clicked Publish, it’s not done yet, come back in an hour))

Pretty, no?  Lots of contrasts here.

Pretty, no? Lots of contrasts here.

This is a macro shot of a small butterfly that was part of a perpetual motion garden decoration.  I love the colours in the rust, the light and dark reds and oranges mixing with the brown.  I like the hammered dents and I particularly like the way this shot came out with the depth of field.  I did much the same to this that I did with Birdie up there.  

It's adorable!

It’s adorable!

This next one can only be called creepy.  He’s a clown-esque snowman with the way the weld marks are on his face.  There wasn’t much to be done with this photo; a touch of adjustment to the light and contrast.  I cropped it to make the face the focus and just left it to stare out at you.

Relentlessly staring.

Creepy.

Creepy.

 

I’m including this one not because it was particularly good or even one of my favourites, though I do like the wings.  No, I’m including it because of the stone.  When I took the shot, I wanted to capture the juxtaposition of the stone and the iron work.  The stone is a soft, polished piece of white with green striations.  When I took the picture, the stone… Well, you’ll see.  I did nothing to this picture but the auto-levels; it needed to speak for itself.  

It looks like I photoshopped the stone in eh?  No such thing.  It's glowy-er in black and white.

It looks like I photoshopped the stone in eh? No such thing. It’s glowy-er in black and white.

 

This next little guy is my favourite picture of the month.  He was also my favourite critter on display.  I want him.  He’d be so worth the $110 and yet, I can’t bring myself to spend that much money on something like this, no matter how adorable he is.  I removed the colour by pulling the Saturation all the way over to -100.  Then I upped the contrast just a bit to highlight some of the shadows.  

His name is Leroy.  It just seemed to fit.

His name is Leroy. It just seemed to fit.

This next little guy is tiny, especially in comparison to our friend Leroy there.  He’s a hanger for a dinner bell but he’s only about six inches long from the tip of his nose to the wall.  I cropped the picture to focus in on the best part – his face.  Hit the auto-levels then undid that and toyed with Curves.  I sharpened it once and then called it good.

We're just missing Rocky here.  Peter thinks he looks like a reindeer but, really, he's a moose.

We’re just missing Rocky here. Peter thinks he looks like a reindeer but, really, he’s a moose.

Two more pictures left, because I removed one.

I took this shot originally because I liked the bright colours conflicting with the welding scars  (I like the word ‘scars’ versus using ‘dirt’ or something) but as I played with the adjustments it turns out that’s not why I took the picture at all.  I took it because of the textures.  The smooth and the rough, the sharp and the soft.  I moved the saturation down to -80 and liked the subdued colouring so much I left it that way.

The change in colour highlights the textures.

The change in colour highlights the textures.

Last photo!  And this is the second best (after Leroy).  These cute little birds were part of another perpetual motion thing.  I liked them because they’re so fat and round and adorable.  I also liked the rust pattern.  And it’s that pattern I chose to highlight as I played with Photoshop.  I hit the auto-level, liked that.  Then I upped the contrast a bit and played with the colour balance to get the reds more front and center.  I love the results.  

Such adorable little things.    Could have put on in my hand.

Such adorable little things. Could have put on in my hand.

And that’s it for me folks!  My brain is staging a strike so I’m going to stop forcing it to do things that require coherent thoughts.  For a little while at least.  I need to do some work, since I lost a whole day yesterday.   And yes, this means the blog is really done this time.  *laughs*

Muah!

And don’t forget to ENTER!!

 

!!!GIVEAWAY TIME!!!

It’s giveaway time!

It is time to giveaway the books and book thongs that I have long been promising.  Facebook is at 152 likes!  I am thrilled!  

The giveaway officially started a day or so ago and I’ve just realized how invisible it really is.  So here is the link:

 

Witch Hitlist Book Giveaway

 

It’s small but it’s mighty.  Enter!  Have fun with the last question!  

And as a hint for the first question:  Anna’s Hybrid form is made up of two of the most popular paranormal creatures in current fiction trends.

An Anthology, a Photo and an Update.

Greetings!

Boy, oh boy, I’m a bad, bad girl.  I have neglected this little space here for the last two weeks.  I had a short photo blog planned for last weekend.  Two blogs, really.  One to talk about the anthology and one to showcase a few pictures.  There were a few problems.  One, last Saturday we got busy and I never did get to the anthology blog (part of that is because I let the way things are going to come out – or at least start – percolate and I couldn’t, for the life of me, come up with an opening).  Then Sunday morning…

Well, Sunday turned out to be a really, really bad day.  I’ve talked a bit before about being gluten, corn and soy intolerant.  One of the things I’ve always felt was absolutely safe was jam/jelly.  In a commercial jam you expect to find fruit, sugar (at least two forms), pectin, colouring, flavouring and preservatives.   What you don’t expect to find is a five ingredient jam with the second being corn syrup.  Wal-Mart’s Great Value brand jam is just that.  We found that out the hard way.  I was violently ill for several hours.  So no blog found its way out of my fingers that day either.  It took me two days to recover.  The following two days were spent catching up on my editing of HW2 and being without internet at my home.  (Provider is a jackass)  Friday was… stressful and busy.

I am here now though and I would like to tell you about an exciting project I’ve just taken on.  Kallysten is an author I like not just for her books (which are wonderful, sexy, provocative) but for herself.  I don’t know her personally but everything I see about her, the things she does and the cheer she does them with, make me like her.

Recently she posted a blog about creating a second anthology to sell for breast cancer awareness/research.  I took interest and mulled it over.  It was only a day or two before I emailed her and volunteered. (Why?  Because my favourite aunt-in-law had breast cancer last year.  She had a double mastectomy and a lot of chemo.  She’s thriving now and I’m grateful.)  I don’t expect that she’s going to take ALL of the stories she sent, I’m sure her editor will have a thing or two to say about the size of the book, but I’m going to do my damndest to make sure I make the final cut.

“What will you write about?” you ask.

Good question.

At first, I thought I’d write about Marcus and Chelle, a sexy interlude between the two of them that shows how they feel about one another.  Then I thought about the lady, a very dear person to me, who has yet to be written into the Highland Wolves book, even though she is part of that group that so inspires the characters.  I thought about her enduring love affair with the man who inspired Doug.  And I thought that this is the perfect way to write her into the books.  Make it a Highland Wolves 2.5 novella.  

That, my friends, is that.  It’ll be Doug and McKenna (not so sure about the name as yet) and a steamy story that includes the pink.

I haven’t been taking many pictures.  It’s like the camera in my brain is defective lately but I do have a few.  Most of the pictures I see in my head happen when we’re doing 100 km/h down the highway.  Difficult to take them to say the least.  This one here is my favourite.  It came out absolutely beautifully right from the get-go so all I had to do was tweak the levels just a touch and resize it.  It’s a staple of Ontario summers.  It’s creepy as all hell and yet beautiful in its way.  We call it a mosquito hawk and I have no idea what it’s really named.  It eats the bitey little buggers though so I leave them alone.  This one landed for a rest on the picture window in the living room.

Lovely shot isn't it?  I like the lines.  The focus is in the right place.  The background is perfect.

Lovely shot isn’t it? I like the lines. The focus is in the right place. The background is perfect.

The Update:

I do need to speak to my brother about how the website is coming since he hasn’t said anything but I am working on the things that need done.  I’ve been doing the first edit on HW2 so I can write a teaser for it.  It’s funny that I have to reread the thing so I can tell you what it’s about.  I knew the basics but getting a feel for the book again will help write something compelling.  

I will admit that I have been doing two things almost to the exclusion of everything else – the editing and reading J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series.  Man I love those books!  My kids hate that I’m reading them because I get lost in the book and tune out everything else.  “Mom!  MOM! Did you hear ANYTHING I just said?” is the most common refrain heard from my son.  To me, that’s the hallmark of a great book.  

My point is that the character write ups for Liam, Marcus and Chelle haven’t been done.  I am thinking now that I need to do Doug and McKenna too, if I’m going to feature them in a novella.  That’s okay.  I’m glad of the work.  I do need to poke my brother though.  We need to get this site up and running.  

And we’re off for the afternoon.  We are going to a small outdoor fetish fair – what?  Is it that you thought it was kept to my characters?  Ever hear the adage ‘write what you know’? 😉 – and to do some errands.  I’m on a mission to find purple potatoes.  😀

Be well.

Muah.

Suddenly Spring!

Good Sunday to you!

I believe that here, on Ontario’s west coast, we have suddenly leapt from winter into summer.  We’ve hit temperatures of 22°C (that’s 72°F to those of you not hip to the metric system 😉 ) this past week.  Perfect weather if you ask me.  Last weekend it was snowing!  Life is suddenly in full bloom and colours are everywhere! 

I have spent the last couple of days largely outside, (which has, apparently, managed to cover my keyboard in pollen.  Ew.), with my camera in hand a great deal of that time.  I have taken pictures of people at the beach, including this beautiful shot of the motorcycles on the pier:

It's slightly off kilter, I know.

It’s slightly off kilter, I know.  I was playing with the rotate options and this is a 5 degree tilt.  Makes it kind of surreal, eh?

Most of my pictures have been macros of the life that is growing.  I have a rather long list of pictures to show you – a dozen or so and it’s pared down! – so I’m just going to get right to it.  With the exception of the next two shots, which were done with the Pop Art setting on my camera, all these pictures are done in the Super Macro setting.  All but two photos – Peony in Grey and Colour of Rot 2: poster edges – have had only a little tweaking and that was to simply press ctrl+shift+L to get the levels auto adjusted.  Most of the time that works out well to give me the lighting I see through the viewfinder.  

On to the photos!

Aside from auto-levels, this is exactly the way this pic came out.  Fantastic isn't it?

Aside from auto-levels, this is exactly the way this pic came out. Fantastic isn’t it?

I love the way the white of the petals glows in the heart of shimmering green grass.

I love the way the white of the petals glows in the heart of shimmering green grass.

For my first macro, I have a favour.  If you know what kind of tree this is PLEASE tell me!  I can’t find it anywhere and it’s driving me crazy.  I prefer to identify and label my pictures with some degree of accuracy, especially when it comes to the plants.  

A friend called it "Frustration Tree" and for now that works.  *laughs*  Beautiful isn't it?  I think the stripes in the purple petals are awesome.

A friend called it “Frustration Tree” and for now that works. *laughs* Beautiful isn’t it? I think the stripes in the purple petals are awesome.

 

The first in my tree stump mini-series.  This is a broken old stump in the front yard. It looks like cooling lava.

The first in my tree stump mini-series. This is a broken old stump in the front yard. It looks like cooling lava.

So does this one, more so than the last.  The colours are astounding.  And it led me to do this...

So does this one, more so than the last. The colours are astounding. And it led me to do this…

...poster edges.  I wanted play with the filters to see what I could do.  I wanted to see if I could make this even cooler.  And I did!

…poster edges. I wanted play with the filters to see what I could do. I wanted to see if I could make this even cooler. And I did!

This is an ancient dried out heap of a tree stump in the back yard.  Lichen grows quite handily here.

This is an ancient dried out heap of a tree stump in the back yard. Lichen grows quite handily here.

I took this photo with the macro setting and applied the auto-levels.  I'm not sure why it turned out like this but I think it's phenomenal. I think the way the yellow stands out against the bizarrely purple background is striking and fun.

I took this photo with the macro setting and applied the auto-levels. I’m not sure why it turned out like this but I think it’s phenomenal. I think the way the yellow stands out against the bizarrely purple background is striking and fun.

The strawberries again.  They're so pretty and so very tiny.  The blooms are about the size of my middle fingernail.  They didn't want to be in sharp focus - I tried half a dozen times - so they glow gently in soft focus.  Very pretty.

The strawberries again. They’re so pretty and so very tiny. The blooms are about the size of my middle fingernail. They didn’t want to be in sharp focus – I tried half a dozen times – so they glow gently in soft focus. Very pretty.

Tiny leaves at the very tip of a raspberry cane.  Both leaves together would have fit inside a quarter.

Tiny leaves at the very tip of a raspberry cane. Both leaf groups together would have fit inside a quarter.

This teeny bloom looks like an iris to me.  It's growing in the grass and is smaller than a Canadian nickel. The detail on such a small thing is amazing.

This teeny bloom looks like an iris to me. It’s growing in the grass and is smaller than a Canadian nickel. The detail on such a small thing is amazing.

I stood over a small group of peonies growing in the garden and took this photo on super macro.  I decided to see what it would look like in greyscale and loved it.    There is very little missing detail and the dark plant is striking against the white quartz mulch.  Never put in rock as a garden accent/mulch. It's awful.  Pretty for a while, but awful.

I stood over a small group of peonies growing in the garden and took this photo on super macro. I decided to see what it would look like in greyscale and loved it. There is very little missing detail and the dark plant is striking against the white quartz mulch. Never put in rock as a garden accent/mulch. It’s awful. Pretty for a while, but awful.

Lastly, my favourite.  There is a large Snowball Bush beginning to leaf in the backyard.  Soon it will bloom into thousands of tiny pink & white flowers but for now it's the leaves.  I was trying to capture this unfurling but I had to look up because the bush is tall.  So I changed my mind about the composition as soon as I saw what was coming through the viewfinder.  The silhouette is much better than what I was going for and this is my favourite picture for this week.

Lastly, my favourite. There is a large Snowball Bush beginning to leaf in the backyard. Soon it will bloom into thousands of tiny pink & white flowers but for now it’s the leaves. I was trying to capture this unfurling but I had to look up because the bush is tall. I changed my mind about the composition as soon as I saw what was coming through the viewfinder. The silhouette is much better than what I was going for and makes this  my favourite picture for this week.  Have a wonderful rest of the day.  Muah!