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Guest Author - Maggie Blackbird

Guest Author - Maggie Blackbird

Characters Always Get Their Way

Yes, they really do.  I know that may sound strange—characters getting their way.  But when I sit down to fast-draft a novel, I always stress the characters are writing it, while I’m simply taking dictation.  I don’t get a say until self-edits start!  Want proof?  Here’s your proof.

The When We Were Young series wasn’t supposed to happen.  At the time, I was immersed in writing another m/m romance.  But when René Oshawee made an appearance as the chief at the training seminar the two other heroes were attending, his character intrigued me.

Who was this handsome man who held the two heroes spellbound?  Why did he draw people to him?  And of course, he knew my antagonist of that novel quite well, since the antagonist, Keith Harlow, was BFF’s with René’s older brother, and Keith had watched René grow up.

So after I fast-drafted the first novel, I began Keith’s.  René’s role was meatier than the first novel.  I also had more backstory for him.  Enter Billy Redsky, a rebel René had a love affair with in their youth, while René’s parents had been fostering Billy.  I loved the connection of these two characters so much, I wanted their novel to be the third story in the series these books were becoming.  But there was a problem…

Billy insisted to better understand his complex relationship with René, I needed to write a short story about their youth and the love affair.  Boy, was that asking for trouble, because the short story became a full-length manuscript.  At the time, Billy was thirteen in the draft and René was seventeen.  I found their age gap didn’t work for publication, so I shelved the manuscript and began fast-drafting another one.  This time Billy was fourteen and René seventeen.  I stopped drafting ¼ way into the story because Billy said for the umpteenth time, he had to be older.

Voila.  He was right.  Once I began drafting Billy at fifteen and René at seventeen, their ages worked.  I also wound up with an entirely different novel.  My finished product became Two Princes, the first book in the When We Were Young series.  Originally, the series was supposed to be a trilogy (with the titles of Crazy Life, Crazy World, and Crazy Love), but Billy got his way again.  He’s feisty like that.  I also understood to complete their character arcs, I would need a fourth book.  So there you have it.  Real Warriors is set to release soon.  As I write this guest post, I am doing proofs with my proofer.

Here is what a few people are saying about the series.

“This is undeniably one of the best young adult novels I have read.” –Five Star review
“Aside from being a wonderful coming of age story, I always enjoy learning about the author’s culture and history.” –Five Star Review
“The When We Were Young series is undoubtedly one of the best YA series I have read.”—Five Star Review
“This is probably the best book I’ve read from this author. It’s an incredible coming-of-age story, engaging and well-written.” –Five Star Review
“A fantastic Young Adult, coming of age series, that ticks all the boxes to make it a great read.” –Five Star Review
“Grab your copy of this multi-faceted story and follow the family dynamics and personal development of the characters you will learn to care about along the way.” –Five Star Review
“If you don’t read Knight Moves, you’ll regret it. This is really the best YA novel I have read.” –Five Star Review
“This is my ninth book from this author, and my absolute favorite.” –Five Star Review



To win over the chief’s haughty son, a drug-dealing punk from a dysfunctional family must risk the only two things he has: his reputation and freedom.


Billy Redsky, a rebellious punk who loves art and nature, is saddled with a welfare-leeching, alcoholic mother and criminal older brother who are the joke of their Ojibway community. Sick and tired of being perceived as a loser, Billy deals drugs for his older brother to earn quick money. He hopes if he buys a dirt bike, he’ll finally impress the chief’s popular and aloof son, René Oshawee.

When the two are forced to serve detention together, a friendship begins to bloom, but much to Billy’s frustration, René keeps putting him on ice. To make his biggest dream come true if he finally wants to call René his own, Billy must make a huge decision that could cost him everything.

BOOK TWO: TOY SOLDIERS (Sequel to Two Princes)

Once a thief, always a thief, and if he can’t win the heart of the boy he loves, he’ll steal it.


Billy Redsky’s made one of his biggest dreams come true, but there’s a problem. Even though the boy he loves is mere footsteps across the hall from his bedroom, they might as well live a country apart because claiming René Oshawee’s heart is more difficult than Billy anticipates.

Much to Billy’s disgust, René can’t accept his true self, so he’s incapable of loving someone else. And all he cares about is living a life the chief and his wife foresee for their youngest son.

If Billy is to finally have what he truly desires, he must stop René from running away from who he really is and face the man in the mirror, or what they share will never blossom into true love.

BOOK THREE: KNIGHT MOVES (Sequel to Toy Soldiers)

Although they’re torn apart, they still hold a piece of each other’s heart.


After receiving his grade twelve diploma and marking his eighteenth birthday, René Oshawee cannot fight the temptation seventeen-year-old high school junior Billy Redsky blatantly offers now that what they share has become taboo.

When their secret romance is blown into the open, Billy’s foster parents send René to Toronto to complete the last of his schooling under the supervision of a family friend, leaving Billy behind at their Ojibway community.

Now Billy and René must make the biggest decision of their lives—fight for the true love they know they’ll never find with anyone else or go their separate ways.

BOOK FOUR (Coming Soon): REAL WARRIORS (Sequel to Knight Moves)

The courage of a warrior is a must on their new path, or they’ll never grasp their happily ever after.


Just when eighteen-year-old Billy Redsky believes he’s holding his happily ever after in the palm of his hand, he must practice what he’s learned in ceremony to face two more tests—share with the world his love for René and let go of the past.

But that’s not so easy. René is terrified of exposing their secret to anyone else but his family. As for Billy’s brother, he has no intention of changing his criminal ways.

Only a miracle can help Billy reach his final destination on the “red road” his Ojibway ancestors once walked. For his dream to come true, he must look deep inside of himself and trust the creator he follows.

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