I recently did an interview with Feed my Reads. (you can view the original here.) You can find Feed my Reads here, or just Google them, but you should seriously check them out. I love what they're doing. I also wanted to share the interview with you. If this is your first time stumbling over the dream, some of this will sound crazy. I hope that makes you curious rather than frightens you away. If you've been with me for a while, I hope you'll laugh and enjoy the behind-the-scenes of the dream for a moment of your day. Without further introductions, here's the interview.
Hi there, please introduce yourself and tell us which book we are talking about today.
Hello, I’m Ophelia Kee, the author of the urban fantasy paranormal romance books collectively known as the Draoithe Saga. (Draoithe is Irish Gaelic for druid, in case you were wondering.)
It’s hard for me to talk about a single book in the saga because I see the entire saga as one story. I’ve broken it into multiple series and miniseries comprising novels, novellas, and short stories for the reader’s convenience and for me to keep track of everything happening in the dream.
Considering that, I wanted to touch on the deleted scenes from the first series in the saga, Draoithe: Kingdom Rising. It includes seven novels and two quick reads. I want to focus on the second novel, Druid Fox.
Getting a book to fit the length it should be can be a challenge as you end up cutting things out, so please do tell us about the book's deleted scenes -
You aren’t going to believe this, but I cut about 18 scenes from that story once I finished writing it. For those who may have read my blog posts concerning how I write, that might not seem so crazy. For everyone else, a bit of an explanation is probably in order about how I could cut what amounts to 30,000+ words from a story and still have a novel of over 50,000 words.
Politely, I’m a discovery writer. The characters dictate the story they want to tell in my mind, and I’m the dutiful scribe who sits down and writes what they tell me. More bluntly, I’m what’s called a chaotic pantser. I write scenes. They aren’t always in order, nor do the scenes always belong to the same book. It’s rare that only one or two characters are talking. Usually, several are vying for my attention at the same time. It’s the loudest ones who get written first, even if the quieter ones go on repeating until I tell their stories as well.
Considering that, it won’t shock anyone that I wrote most of the scenes from the first three novels and two short stories all at the same time, and discovered that Google Docs has a character limit. Laugh. It’s funny even if I’m not joking.
When I finished them (Is any story ever really finished?), I then had to sort the scenes out, so I had the storylines for the characters straight. See, a lot of the events between characters occur simultaneously with those of other characters, so the scenes were all mixed together. I broke the one story into three novels just so I could finish writing the third through seventh books. It’s crazy, I know.
After all of that, I realized the second tale was way too much. It was crowded with the backstories of the main characters in four different novels that were seriously interrupting the flow of the dominant story about Fox and Artie. So I knew I had to get out the knife.
How hard was it to cut out the deleted scenes, and was it harder with any specific ones?
The back stories for Luke and Eli and for Fox and Artie weren’t that hard to cut. That was about 15 scenes altogether. Once I cut them out and reworked them, however, they basically became short story prologue tales for the first two novels. Two more scenes dealing with the slimy contractor (Frank Grimes) wound up in a much later series in the saga and became part of the book Blood Demon. So I wasn’t too upset.
It was the last three scenes, which dealt with Luke and Ryker’s past and explained how Luke met Fox via Artie, that seemed to have no place to go. Perhaps they could have been written in as a prologue for the fourth novel, Dragons Come, but even then they just didn’t really fit. I didn’t want to throw them away because they answered a question one of my beta readers raised after reading Druid Fox, which was why they’d been written in the first place. In the end, though, they never were added back to that series.
If you could go back and change things, would you leave any of the deleted scenes in?
No. The reason why I cut them, and why I wouldn’t go back and add them, is because you can essentially read the first seven books and feel as if you have the complete story. The question “How was a new immortal kingdom built?” is fully answered at that point without those 20 deleted scenes.
I did eventually publish the two prologue tales as free stories and later published the remaining three random scenes as free bonus material at the end of Synner and Sainte, which is part of the series I affectionately refer to as the Extras from the Dream. That series has become the remedy for the book hangover that seems to occur with the books in the dream.
If you’ve read any of the early tales in the Draoithe Saga, then you’ll likely have wondered about some things that were mentioned in the first few books. Check out these skeletal outlines, Deleted Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor, dealing with Luke Mendez and Ryker Talbert from a time before Draoithe existed. There’s also a scene dealing with the first time Luke met Fox and sniffed Artie.
Deleted Hero Scenes
from the Cutting Room Floor
8 years before he met Eli (2007)
Finally, a couple of weeks of relaxation. He might sleep for days, or at least sleep in late for a few days. His men deserved it after that last mission. He needed to shift. The direwolf inside was aggravated and wanted free. That meant no way was he going anywhere near his sister’s place. Chicago was out of the question. He was far too much animal.
“Luke, be safe.” Ryker saluted him as he picked up his duffle bag and walked out of the airport into the sunny skies of southern California. The beach was where he needed to be, too.
Ryker was a great guy. It was too bad what happened to his wife. The man would have surely left the service for her a long time back if she had not died in that accident. Luke wound up with the benefit of having a competent man working with him on most of his assignments. But still.
He grabbed his luggage when it came around on the belt and headed out to hail a taxi. He went straight to the house he had rented for the next two weeks. Luke spent too much money, but hell, he never spent any, so why not?
He was sitting on the back deck above the sand watching the surf and listening to the people walking on the beach and the seagulls when he saw her. She was almost too small to be a woman. Platinum blonde hair that did not look bleached. But it was the smell of snow on the pines that wafted up to him as she passed the house that got him up and moving. She smelled like a dog the way he smelled like a dog. She was a shifter. There was no doubt about it. No way was he letting her get away from him.
By the time he got down to the beach, she was long gone. But he tracked her enticing scent to a house down the beach. It was privately owned and was gated. He saw the security cameras watching him as he approached the property. It was dark. He was tired.
He turned back to the rental house and found his glass of brandy on the porch where he had left it. Luke drained the glass, walked into the house, toed off his shoes, stripped off his army t-shirt, and let his body fall onto the bed. Tomorrow, he would find out about the mysterious woman. He was deep asleep when the phone rang at nearly three in the morning.
He dropped his bags at his hotel room and took a cab to a bar near the beach. He needed a drink and to look at some women. Maybe he would get lucky. Even if he did not, seeing a few feminine faces would be a sight for sore eyes. He was sick of looking at the men on his crew. They were good guys, but women were special, soft, and beautiful. They smelled good. That was a good enough reason to look at them alone.
Luke thought he stayed in the military because his wife had died, but it was all he had going for him. His marriage had been broken and heading toward divorce court before the accident. She had not wanted him to stay in the military, but what else did he know? Nothing. He was better off working with Luke and following orders than trying to make it on his own. But that did not mean he liked the men he worked with the same way he liked a pretty woman. Too bad there was not one that would just claim him as is.
Cars. That was what he was good at. Why did the universe not just make women like automobiles? If his skill with all things driving could transfer over to his love life, it would be perfect. Oh well, maybe he should just be happy, love cars, and watch beautiful women. If that was his lot, so be it. No car ever tried to change him.
He had a few beers at the bar and watched a ball game without much enthusiasm. It was getting late, and he had decided that he had enough booze in him to unwind and sleep well. He paid his tab, stepped out of the bar, and pulled out his phone to call a cab back to the hotel when he heard a woman scream.
Ryker moved. Women should not scream. He scanned the parking area, looking for the enemy. He saw her struggling with an asshole twice her size. The fool punched her. Ryker saw red.
No one should beat on a woman. They were soft, weaker. Men wanted to be men only because of women. They made homes. The asshole needed to learn some manners.
He was bigger than Ryker, but that did not matter. He needed to save the girl.
“Let her go,” Ryker demanded that the fucker let the woman go free. Even half-drunk, he was not worried that he could take the man down. Years of training made him good at that, even if he was getting older.
The abuser let her face Ryker.
“Call the cops ma’am,” Ryker told her just before his fist connected with the jerk’s face.
Ryker kept the man moving, ducking the punches and landing body blows. The asshole got in a couple of lucky hits only because Ryker had a few too many beers. He should probably drink less when he was off duty, but he never drank on assignment. So he was making up for lost time only to have a fat lip because of it.
A few minutes later, the squad cars showed up. They all took a ride downtown. The woman corroborated his story. The cops wanted to be sure that he stayed out of trouble, or they were keeping him for public intoxication. That meant he spent the night in jail, or he called Luke. He needed his commanding officer to bail him out.
When the man picked up, Ryker felt bad. He had been asleep. It was almost three in the morning.
“Hello?” Came through the line.
“Luke, man, I need your help. It’s Ryker. I’m downtown. There was a girl... And an asshole. I lost my shit. Can you pick me up? I don’t want to spend the night in the holding cell.”
The man laughed. “When are you ever going to learn to stay out of other people’s fights? Yeah, I’ll be there. Give me a half-hour.” Luke was great.
“Thanks, man. I owe you one.” Ryker grinned.
“Good. I will cash it in later.” Luke hung up. The cops took off the handcuffs, and when Luke showed up, they released him into his friend’s custody.
“Let me guess? An asshole hit a girl in front of you?” Luke asked as they left the station.
“You know me well, man. You know me too well. Sorry to bother you. But shit, I can’t watch a guy beat on a woman. I just can’t. Makes me sick. I might throw up just thinking about it.” Ryker admitted.
Luke clapped him on the back. “It’s cool. At least with you, the reason’s always legitimate. Where are you staying?” Luke called a taxi.
He rode back to the hotel. Luke headed off. Sleep. Ryker needed sleep.
Just before the sunset, he remembered the woman from the evening before and stepped off the deck onto the beach just in time to see her walking by. He followed her, caught up to her, and called out to her.
“Ma’am, ma’am. Wait. I need to speak with you.” She turned to look up at him as she reached her gate.
She had startling grey eyes, and she was beautiful, almost like a porcelain doll. She was smaller than he generally preferred a woman to be, but only a fool would not see how strikingly gorgeous the little woman was.
She waited for him expectantly. “I’m sorry. I hate to bother you. You will probably think I am crazy, but could you give me a minute? See, I think you might be able to help me. I think you might be like me.” Luke tried to explain, but he found himself tripping over his tongue.
How did a man ask a woman if she might be a dog? It was just not a normal conversation.
“Artie, who are you talking to?” A man’s voice came from inside the gate as it opened. Luke turned to see a man a bit shorter than himself but with a regal bearing standing there, waiting, no doubt, for the pretty little lady who smelled so enticingly like snow on the pines.
“I’m not sure, Duncan. I think he is confused.” Artie answered the man quietly.
“Come inside. I will deal with him.” Duncan never looked at Artie. His focus remained on Luke. Her fingers trailed through his hand as she passed. There was no doubt they were a couple. She loved him, and he protected her like a treasure.
“What do you want, Wolf?” The man practically growled the words. Luke grinned widely. This man smelled like Artie. That was somehow very canine to him. He would not have known if she had not had that hint in her scent.
“How do you know that I am a direwolf? That’s what I want. I never met anyone like me before that I was sure. Will you talk to me, please?” Luke asked and admitted what he was for the first time to another person. This man, Duncan, knew. Luke needed to know more.
The man eyed him for a moment. “Never look at my Artie again. She is mine. I will never share her. Do you understand?” Duncan waited.
“No, I don’t understand, but I don’t want Artie. She just smelled very much like a dog. No offense. I need to understand. Will you help me?” Luke asked.
The man finally nodded and reached out his hand. He clasped forearms with him and invited him into the house. “I am Duncan O’Sullivan. Please call me Fox. This is my mate, Arturista Jonsdottir. Please, have a seat. What do you drink?”
Fox offered him a seat on an expansive deck overlooking the beach. He had a glass of scotch on the rocks on the table next to his deck chair. He had been watching Artie as she walked along the beach.
“It’s nice to meet you. I’m Luke Mendez. Brandy, if you have it. Neat please.” Luke spoke as he took the offered chair.
“Military man. Well, that fits. Direwolves are usually pack leaders. You seem like a bit of a lone wolf to me. How is it that you are here seeking information?” Fox asked.
Pack leader? There were enough direwolf shifters like himself to build a pack? That was news.
“It’s a strange story, but when I was thirty-five, I shifted into a direwolf for the first time. At first, it was a bit scary, but it was cool too. I could see better, hear better. The scents and touch were crazy better. I set up a camera to film it. That was how I figured out what I was. But until I smelled snow on the pines, I never met anyone else that I was sure was like me. I need information.”
Fox laughed. Then he told Luke about the price. Luke nodded and promised to keep the information to himself. Fox spent hours answering questions. Artie brought more drinks. They talked into the night and exchanged contact information. When Luke left, Fox clasped forearms with him again.
“It was good to meet you, Luke Mendez. You are welcome to my home anytime. Just don’t look at my Artie as if you have any interest in her. Truly, she is everything. For her, there is nothing that I would not do.” Luke thanked the man and walked back to his rented beach house with his head swirling with information.
He was not ready to walk away from the military, but when the day finally came, he thought he might like to help others like himself. He could not be the only one lost without a clue.
Maybe he could build a retreat. It could be a sanctuary for other canine shifters, a place where they could go to get help and information, as well as be what they were. He would have to think about it, but eventually. It was not as if he had any better use for the trust fund his parents had left him.
Where can we purchase the book?
The Thread is literally free everywhere. If you can’t find it, email me and I’ll send you a link on your preferred platform. If it isn’t on your preferred platform, I’ll add it there if I can.
Druid Fox was eventually combined with Arctic Fox and Big Bad Wolf to form The Council as volume 2 in the Draoithe Saga. While the individual stories are all free or for sale on my Payhip site at https://opheliakee.com, The Council is for sale just about everywhere e-books are sold.
KOBO, NOOK, APPLE Books 2 Read
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I want to thank Feed My Reads for allowing me the opportunity to talk about my books,
Thank you for your support, Sincerely, -OK