Browsing the Riley Parra category...


After ten years of writing, ten years of envisioning characters and wondering what they would look/sound like in real life, I’ve finally gotten an answer. Allow me to introduce you to Detective Riley Parra (Marem Hassler) and Dr. Gillian Hunt (Liz Vassey). Anyone who has ever written a novel will know how this feels. It’s surreal and it’s cool and it’s so, so amazing. I suppose there was a chance that it could’ve gone off the rails, but the casting is so good that I feel like I was writing the characters specifically for them (even though Gillian’s hair in the books was red… a minor detail that I am ABSOLUTELY FINE with surrendering ::g::)

If I ever write more stories in the Riley Parra universe, know that I’m doing it with these two in mind. They are Riley and Gillian, and that’s all there is to it. 😀

Riley and Gillian



Welcome to the year of Riley Parra!

Big things are happening this year, including filming of the webseries beginning later this month! We’re within weeks of the show actually getting on the road. I can’t wait to see these amazing people bringing my characters to life. I was already blown away by Marem reading Riley’s lines, and that was before she dove in with both feet preparing to become the character. So I can only imagine what she’ll be bringing to the table when the cameras start rolling.

Here’s hoping everyone has a fun, safe, exciting 2017!

Riley Parra Cast

CONNOR TRINNEER – Samael
LIZ VASSEY – Gillian Hunt
KARL E LANDER – Marchosias
CONNOR KELLY-EIDING – Sweet Kara
MAREM HASSLER – RILEY!
LUIS KELLY-DUARTE – Muse Skaggs
MAEVE QUINLAN – Nina Hathaway
PAUL EIDING – Father Jacob
WHITNEY MIXTER – Wilma



One of the first shows I was ever a huge fan of was Star Trek TNG. There was a guest star in one episode, a young woman played by Liz Vassey who had been hurt in a Holodeck accident. Then I was a fan of Wings. Liz showed up there, too. And in Quantum Leap, Early Edition, CSI, Castle. Even shows that critics foolishly ignored like Maximum Bob, The Tick, or Push Nevada (Push would totally have been a huge hit in the Internet age, BTW). She’s like the Stan Lee cameo of shows I thought were great. She’s Nikki in Nikki & Nora! She’s Fury Leika in Dr Horrible!

SHE’S GILLIAN HUNT IN RILEY PARRA.

This woman I’ve been a fan of almost as long as I’ve been a fan of television is going to bring to life one of my characters, and I’m just completely over the moon freaking out about it. I knew when we got Marem we ran the risk of Gillian not being quite amazing enough to match her, but I can let go of that fear.

I always wondered what it would be like to see one of my couples brought to life. So far the Riley Parra casting exceeds even my wildest imaginings. And this brings me closer to becoming Joss Whedon, who also had a webseries featuring Liz. But I made her a main character AND gave her lines. Suck it, Joss! 😉

We’re 83% funded but there’s still time to help out!

Marem Hassler Liz Vassey Maeve Quinlan Karl E Lander

Marem Hassler
Liz Vassey
Maeve Quinlan
Karl E Lander



The crowdfunding has begun! We’re at 60% and there’s 25 days left, so plenty of time to get your pledge in to help bring this show to life. The campaign page has a concept trailer which shows ACTUAL FOOTAGE of my characters! (Side note: the other woman in the video is NOT Gillian. It looks like it could be her, but it’s not). They’ve also announced three cast members: Marem Hassler as Riley Parra (which we’ve known for a long while), Karl E Lander as Marchosias, and Maeve Quinlan as Nina Hathaway. Hopefully we can announce a lot more cast members very soon! ::fingers crossed::

If you want to help out, donate here! If you can’t, that’s fine! Help us spread the word as far and wide as possible!



A few weeks ago, CBS aired the final episode of Person of Interest. It was an early but not unexpected ending, which gave the show time to wrap up their storylines. The result was a series that lasted five seasons and just over 100 episodes. It was a show that told a story with a distinct beginning, middle, and ending, a show that had elements of its endgame hidden in some of the earliest episodes. The characters were given appropriate (if tragic, in some cases) final chapters. And when the last scene faded to black, we were left with a show that had told its story and was closing the book.

There are people passing around petitions for a sixth season on Netflix. I’m not signing any of them, even though I count Person of Interest as maybe my favorite show of all time. I don’t want more. I don’t want forced plotlines and watered down versions of the greatness that came before. Too often, shows overstay their welcome just so they can say it’s still on. I loved The Good Wife, but my love for it waned hard and fast to the point where I haven’t even started the final season. Stargate SG-1 reigns supreme as my favorite show, but even I admit the last few seasons weren’t its best (although I’ll be forever grateful we got to know Vala). I’m not happy that there will never be any new Person of Interest, but I’m very glad that we got what we did and that it never went downhill in terms of quality.

That’s the importance of ending. I’ve written a few series in my time, and the first two had very distinct endings. The Claire Lance series was created with a fifth book in mind because I knew it wouldn’t make any sense to have her running endlessly. There had to be an end to her road. As much as I loved her and I loved writing for her, I had to give her peace eventually. The same thing happened with Riley Parra. I didn’t know exactly how long she would go on (it ended up being five books as well). I could have written her until the end of time and been very happy to do so. But I knew that eventually she deserved to rest. She deserved a happy ending. Her supporting cast deserved their endings as well.

I’m currently writing two series that I’ve planned to be ongoing: Underdogs and Trafalgar & Boone. The former is on book 5, with no ending in sight. I’ve crafted that series to have built-in finales every few books. The third book ended one story, and book 5 begins a new arc, with standalones sprinkled throughout. Ariadne and Dale will continue to grow and evolve. The stories will begin and end so new readers can slip in whenever and wherever they want. But eventually I will either end or slow down the series to give Ari and Dale a final ending so they can have some peace, too. Trafalgar & Boone is a bit trickier. I’m not sure how many books will be in that series when all is said and done, but I’m definitely planning for more than five. Seven seems like a nice number, but we’ll see what transpires with the plot.

These days, everyone seems obsessed with continuations. The story must go on, the show must be renewed, the movie must have sequels and spawn a franchise. All good things come to an end, all stories need to eventually stop. The book needs to be closed so a new one can be opened. As much as I loved writing Riley and Claire (who may return in a series epilogue novel… stay tuned) and Ari and Trafalgar & Boone, I know eventually I’ll write them all for the last time. And while that’s sad, I’m excited about the possibilities. It changes how I’ll write them because I know there won’t be a chance to get it right later.

And then there’s the old adage: “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” And once the story is done, you have the full story in front of you, and you can go back to the beginning to relive the story you loved knowing how it will all come together in the end. If the series keeps going in perpetuity, soon you have thirteen novels full of references to past stories that you half remember and would be incomprehensible to new readers. At that point it’s virtually impossible to give the series a graceful ending, so instead it just fades away. No one wants a story they once loved to fade into a pale shadow of its former self.

“The End” only means the story has stopped being told. It will always be there, waiting for you when you’re ready to revisit it.



For all those Tello subscribers and followers who are wondering “Just who IS Riley Parra?”, allow me to educate you!

Riley Parra is a cop in a town gone to hell. Over the years certain parts of the city have gotten so crime-ridden that even the police refuse to go there anymore. Dubbed No Man’s Land, these fringe neighborhoods are where law-abiding citizens are only welcome as victims even when the sun is up. Riley grew up in No Man’s Land, so she refuses to stand idly by while her city is eaten alive from the inside out. During the course of her latest investigation, she stumbles over the shocking truth that the decline of her home is because angels and demons are real, and they’re doing battle in No Man’s Land. Declared champion for the side of good, Riley teams up with her guardian angel – undercover as a mortal to better protect Riley and aid her in the coming battle – and a beautiful medical examiner that Riley must keep at arm’s length for her own safety. If demons want a fight, then Riley and her friends are more than willing to give them one.

The short-story series was originally released episodically online, then collected into “seasons” and released as ebooks. Now Tello is looking to turn them into an honest-to-goodness webseries, but they want to do it right. That means money, and that means getting the word out and making sure people want this. I know people want this! We just have to make our voices heard!

So if you have Twitter, tweet from here! If you don’t have Twitter, leave a comment here and I’ll point Tello to this post so they can see you!



Signal boost!

Tello Films is excited about Riley, but they have to know everyone else is, too! It’s going to be a big undertaking and they can’t make it blindly. They have to know you guys are out there! They want to know what kind of support they can expect for their investment. So click the following link and get the word out! Spread it far and wide and let them know that you want to see Riley and her cohorts brought to life! If you’re sick of TNT teasing Rizzoli & Isles while never delivering, make your voice heard to producers who will actually let the detective and the medical examiner make out with each other! (full disclosure, I wrote the first Riley story before Rizzoli & Isles came along, but even if I hadn’t, I’m sure a Detective/ME pairing would have cropped up in my writing somewhere. ;))

This can only happen if the fans and the support is there! Click this link, tweet the tweet, and then spread the word as far and wide as you can. If you want to support this but don’t have a Twitter, let me know and we’ll see if there’s an alternative you can use to get the word out.



Ten years ago, I sat in a car waiting to go onboard a ferry wondering, “How can I get out of this?”

I’ve spent the time since asking, “How can I get back?”

 

On July 10, 2004, I was away from home for the first time. I was on a trip to a Stargate convention in Vancouver, and through lots of planning and setups it had been decided that it would be much easier to meet up with friends near Seattle and just drive up rather than dealing with customs at the airport. Crossing the border in a car was, I imagine, infinitely easier than flying, and I’m basing that solely on how long the lines probably would have been. At that point Seattle was just a convenient stepping stone for me. I didn’t give it a second thought. When the people I met up with planned a side trip on the drive up to Canada, THAT was when I started having second thoughts. They wanted to go whale watching, which would have involved being on two boats. I was in no way a fan of that idea, so I spent most of the morning trying to think of ways to get out of it without looking like a dork.

People who have only known me for the past couple of years may be frowning at their screens right now. “You didn’t want to go on a boat? You didn’t care about Seattle?” Yep. I had no interest in Seattle. I actively tried to get out of going to San Juan Island and I only went to save face. If someone had given me the red pill/blue pill option of getting out of it with no stigma, I would have without a doubt stayed on the mainland.

I’m not sure when the shift happened. I think it might have been on the ferry to the island. It was just so beautiful and peaceful, and I remember walking around the ferry deck and just staring at everything. I got so many pictures of that ferry ride that I almost didn’t have enough film for the actual island. We went whale watching, and that might have sealed the deal. I was on a little boat out in the middle of this vast body of water (land was in sight, but I was farther from it than I’d ever been) and there were KILLER WHALES close enough to touch. They were playful buggers, too… they spent most of their time hanging out around another boat. When we turned to go back in they immediately came over and chased us. You could almost hear them saying “Aw, come on, don’t go away! We’ll play with you too!”

Afterward we were waiting for the ferry and I wanted to call my parents with an update. So I had to find a payphone (ten years ago! It’s like the past!). There was one between two restaurants, and I looked out over the harbor while I was talking. That’s the moment I think about when my mind wanders back to that day. I remember standing there in the mid-sixty temperatures (in JULY!) and thinking, “This place is special.” At the time I was setting my original stories around Chicago just because it was Random Midwestern Town. That day I decided I would move my characters to a Pacific Northwest island. Why not? What could it hurt?

To this day, I think the Squire’s Isle setting was a big part of what made On the Air special. It was a fine story and I stand by it, but would it have been as good if it was just some random town? Maybe. But I built up my little island during that story, and I fell in love with it in the process. I fell in love with the idea of this beautiful little paradise tucked away in the corner of the country where one woman took a stand and changed things for everyone who lived there.

Ten years have passed. I was an unpublished author standing on an island en route to a Stargate convention. Now I’m a published author who has an official Stargate SG-1 title to my name. I made the conscious decision to move my characters to Washington State, and when Tello decided they wanted to produce Riley Parra, I couldn’t help but laugh when they said they would be filming it in Chicago (of all my stories, that one has the most Chicago-ish setting). It seems ironic that I made the changes, got to this point, and now I’m back where I began but in a much bigger way. I went to the convention as a fan, and now I’m a tie-in author. I moved my characters away from Chicago to give them life and now a producer wants to bring some of them back. It has a beautiful full circle feel to it.

Ten years ago, I was dragged to an island I didn’t care about. I spent maybe a grand total of four hours there, but in a much more accurate sense, I never really left.

 



To anyone who thinks my writing has dried up this year, you would not be wrong! It looks like I’ve gone from 100,000 words a month to barely anything at all. The truth is that I AM writing, it’s just that it’s stuff I can’t share, and it requires a heck of a lot of detail work. Firstly I wrote the first draft of an official Stargate SG-1 novel for Fandemonium! I adore SG-1, but the pressure of writing something that was contracted and would have to pass through MGM’s filter was… daunting. I wanted to go through every scene with a fine-toothed comb to make sure it was juuust right. But I got a draft I’m happy with, the contract is winging its way overseas as we speak for their John Hanc– wait, what’s the British version of a signature? The… Magna Carta? Well, whatever it’s called.

Secondly, Tello Films asked me to write a script for a webseries based on Riley Parra! So I had to devote some time to getting that just right and perfect. Plus I had to teach myself how to write a script! Scrivener is amazing, and amazingly intuitive, but there was still a bit of poking that needed to be done before I could produce anything on it. And there were a lot of changes that had to be made story-wise… for instance, if I didn’t alter Priest’s introduction to the series, there was a chance she wouldn’t show up at all. As important as Priest is, that would be wholly unacceptable. But I found a way to get her in without compromising the story. I think it’s gonna be great. ;D

Now one of the main things that people may be scrambling for is another Underdogs story. The production of those may seem to have dried up a whole lot lately, and I can’t blame that on Riley/Stargate. The problem there is… time. There’s barely a month (about six weeks, I think) between “Beware of Wolf’s last scene and opening scene to Dogs of War. That’s not a whole lot of time to have stories. There’s also the fact I’m writing these semi-chronologically, and right now (March 2014) is AFTER the events of the third novel (which takes place during the month of January 2014) so I’m sort of stuck thinking of what they’re doing now (uh, assuming they both survive Book 3. YOU NEVER KNOW. I could pull a Joss Whedon (I will not pull a Joss Whedon (at least not with this particular novel))). I could always go back and fill in some space between Underdogs 1 and 2 (and that’s what I’m planning to do) but the muse doesn’t like throwing things in reverse. I want to address things that happen in Dogs of War, but I know I can’t do that until summer (at the very least).

So I do have inspiration, I have a lot of stories for Ari and Dale. I just can’t tell them without spoiling you for some big developments that are waiting to be explored in the novel.

And that’s the gist! Big projects all around, a little life stuff I won’t go into, and trying to get back into the swing of things while also knowing I could be called away at any moment to work on one of the big projects. I started this year knowing I more than likely would not hit 1,000,000 words again, so I’m not too bummed that I’m not keeping up with the past few years’ output. The few things I HAVE written are so big that I’m not worried there aren’t more little stories to share freely. Maybe now I can focus on those little stories a little more. ::fingers crossed::



In February of 2009, I started writing a story based on several different inspirations that somehow turned into an urban noir thriller detective story in which a hard-edged police detective teams up with an earthbound guardian angel to defend a city against the forces of evil. In other words, four years ago I started a story I would never in a million years expected to write. I had such little faith in where it would go that I called each story “episodes”, and I bundled them together in seasons so I could quit writing them when I got bored.

Four years, five seasons, and 725,000 words later, I am putting an end to the Riley series. Not because I was bored of it or I was finished, simply because I loved the characters so much that I felt as if I owed them an ending. It’s a bittersweet ending, and I’m not saying everyone ends the story in one piece (have a hankie ready), but I finally gave them closure. It’s sad for me, too, because I’m really going to miss writing these characters. The relationship between Riley and Gillian is one of the favorites I’ve ever created. Caitlin Priest is probably one of the characters I’m proudest of having created. And this world was epic, and so much fun to play with. Like Claire Lance before her, it’s hard to say goodbye but I know I would feel worse if I just kept putting them through the wringer.

Without spoiling anything, there is a chance I could come back and pick up the story a year, or two years, or a decade into the future. The city would be vastly different, but it could be interesting to see where the story is after the Reign of Riley.

So settle in and get ready for the end. Season 5 is up at Smashwords right now, or you can wait until tomorrow to buy it through the Amazon link in my store (so I can get a little kickback from your purchase ;D). And once you’ve read it, good bad or indifferent, please leave a review! Reviews are of the good. And if anyone wants to leave a review for Season 3 on Amazon, it’s lonely out there. But it’s not really that important since Seasons 1, 2, and 4 all have glowing reviews. People can extrapolate that the third season is more of the same ;D)

I hope everyone enjoys the final chapter of Riley’s story!