Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Next big Thing

OK so my friend and fellow author Jax Cassidy tagged me in the Next Best Thing blog hop. Totally unexpected as you can see, so what I'll be doing is answering a few questions about the book I'm working on.

What is the working title of your book?

Full circle.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

 I have thing for werewolves as heroes/ heroines add to that the trope of being an outsider and there you have an idea that nags me in my sleep and characters that demand their story be told.

What genre does your book fall under?


 Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

You know I don't  think in terms of actors. I know what my characters look like in my head and I know that my readers will eventually form their opinion of what the characters should look like. but Ria my Heroine looks a bit like Zoe Saldana with curly hair.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

 In a pack of werewolves, a half human isn’t exactly at the top of the food chain, but she's exactly what the pack and it's alpha needs to survive.

 Will your book be self-published or published by an agency?

This series will be self-published.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I'm going to say three months, but really the process of editing takes a lot longer.

 What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I'd love to say that it compares to some of my favorites, but honestly my heroine is a little softer than the heroines I read about.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

It deals with change and self discovery and how a large  family (the pack) comes together while under attack.

So I’m supposed to tag other authors to blog next week (1/02/13) hopefully you'll discover someone new:

Christopher Beats one of the guys that grace my table on occasion. Good friend, historian,  devoted papa and awesome writer of steam punk noir.

Katie Reus another of my  girlfriends and gifted writer of Romantic Suspense and Paranormal Romance.

KC Burn another of my friends and chapter mate and yet another gifted writer.

and last but not least
Charlee Aldeen another chapter mate, author and owner of the Smart Girls Love Sci-Fi blog.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Alone at Disney.

I've never spent any time alone at Disney or any one of the other parks. Lets face it if you're going to the Parks you're going with someone else.   The day job, gave me that opportunity this weekend.  I get to show international students around Central Florida; and where do international students like to go? You got it. Any theme park.

This weeks selection Disney's Hollywood Studios. Why because it is the most adult of the parks and the Osbourne family lights of course. Now I have to say that a co-worker was there for part of the day with me, but after she left and since the students had dispersed. I. Was. Alone.

Yep so what's girl to do. I had hours to kill and a hurt back. That ruled out The Tower of Terror and the Rocking Roller Coaster. So I made my way back to Toy Story. Hey it's fun! 3D and I get to shoot stuff. The wait was an hour long, but since I was alone and had hours to kill, that wasn't a problem to me.

Waiting in line by yourself if you don't have an active imagination or aren't used to using the powers of observation must be torturous. I listened to two guys behind me complain about the wait,while also plotting ways to show a former girlfriend how she'd lost out.

As far as I could tell it involved, making millions, wearing a Hugo Boss suit and accidentally meeting her when she had a baby. It was important to the dumped one (The shorter of the two) that he meet her when she was pushing the stroller, while wearing the Hugo Boss suit. When this event occurred, he would smile, compliment her on her baby and suggest that they meet up sometime. At which point if she hadn't already, she would realize the mistake she'd made.

I was hard pressed not to snicker. I controlled myself, because what's the fun in having to wait inline if you can't listen in on other peoples conversations. Now mind you these guys were not unattractive just obnoxious, because as soon as this particular conversation ended they noticed that, I was by myself.

Which meant that the taller one bumped into me at least twice in an attempt to see my face and the shorter one decided that positioning himself in my line of sight whenever it was possible was a good idea. Needeless to say I kept my eyes unfocused.

Which led to the other interesting thing that happened in line. The cast members were momentarily startled when I announced that I was a party of one. There was a quick  blink, a nod of the head and then it was business as usual.

Then there was the fact that I was childless. It gave me a chance to observe the parents in the crowd. Parents who looked tired but determined to get the most out of every penny they spent in the effort to get here. Parents with tired screaming children in tow. Long suffering parents with well behaved children in the lead. Parents waiting while the other parent grabbed a frozen margarita or some other alcoholic beverage at the first sign of the bar opening late in the day. ( not judging)

I saw what I looked like at any given point in the day. Then the lights came on and I missed my family, because there is one thing being alone in the park doesn't give you, that moment when you're all together looking up at a magnificent display and you feel closer than you have all day.

My students got that, and for that I'm happy.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Guest post- Qwillia Rain- Learning Styles for Characters

It's time for another guest post to close out 2012. Let me introduce you to my friend Qwillia Rain

I met Qwillia one long weekend on the Isle of Palm, South Carolina. I met up with her again over the years at Moonlight and Magnolias.  She's a free spirit and the author of the Diablo Blanco series. A former teacher Qwillia has decided to give us a lesson today in learning styles.

Learning Styles for Characters
Even characters have to learn, so what better way to help them grow as “people” than to know how they process information and how it effects their perception of other people or situations.

I originally discovered learning styles when I attended my first RWA National Conference in Denver in 2002. I used the information in my teaching and it only made sense to apply it to my writing. So, I’ll try to make it painless to understand.

Learning is done using three elements of the mind: conscious, subconscious, and unconscious. When you take information in in order to store it to your memory, it requires the use of the subconscious and unconscious as well as the conscious. The way it usually works is you take the details in through your conscious, use your subconscious to create an image, action, or words that allows your unconscious to make sense of the information and store it away to be used later.

Now that you understand the parts, here comes the next bit. There are three methods of input: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Each of your inputs apply to one of the parts, so you can be: 
  • Kinesthetically Conscious, Visually Subconscious, and Auditory Unconscious (KVA); 

  • Kinesthetically Conscious, Auditory Subconscious, and Visually Unconscious (KAV); 

  • Visually Conscious, Kinesthetically Subconscious, and Auditory Unconscious (VKA);

  •  Visually Conscious, Auditory Subconscious, and Kinesthetically Unconscious (VAK); 

  • Auditory Conscious, Kinesthetically Subconscious, and Visual Unconscious (AKV); 

  • Auditory Conscious, Visual Subconscious, and Kinesthetic Unconscious (AVK)
…and what does this mean?

A KVA learner takes in information through emotions or movement (Kinesthetic), processes it by drawing or creating a picture (Visual), and stores the data with words or sound (Auditory). Example: KVA students in a dance class, will stay completely still so they can see how the teacher demonstrates the movements and listens to the step by step instructions until they can connect the words and images before they actually move.

A VKA learner takes in information through watching (Visual), processes by movement or emotions (Kinesthetic), and stores the data with words or sound (Auditory). Example: VKA students in a dance class will watch the teacher at the same time they move through the steps slowly and talk to themselves, repeating the instructions quietly to themselves.

An AKV learner takes in information through words (Auditory), processes by movement or emotions (Kinesthetic), and stores the data by creating a picture or drawing (Visual). Example: AKV learners in a dance class will listen to the instructions (Auditory), move through the steps slowly, repeating the more complicated steps (Kinesthetic), and they will create a visual record to refer back to (Visual).

You can deduce the other three learning styles from these three.

When you look at these learning styles for your characters it means that depending on their input and parts connection, how they react to a situation is going to be different than another person who may have a different learning style. And that is a good thing, it means “conflict”.

How do different learning styles equal conflict? Well, let’s say we have a hero who is a KVA, a heroine who is VKA, and a villain who is AVK. Here’s where the conflict comes in. The hero processes information using pictures and words; he formulates plans using those pictures and his gut/emotion. The villain plans using visuals, but he rarely deals with his emotions and only when his own wants are being thwarted. He’ll often be charismatic and a smooth-talker, because words are his biggest tool. The heroine knows things instinctively, her gut tells her when things are good or bad, and she takes everything in visually, but she processes information using her emotions/feelings and words.

How does this create conflict?

Well, the hero (unless he’s hyper kinesthetic/empathic) will tend to limit his emotional responses while dealing with a known situation. He’s going to go into logic mode (VA) and focus on the plan. The heroine, on the other hand is going to be firmly in kinesthetic mode, especially if there are a lot of emotions flying around. The villain will go into charmer mode, his smooth-talking ways and ability to visualize his success will allow him to believe any lies he has to tell. The irony will be that the heroine will probably pick up on the villain’s lies before the hero does, because her subconscious kinesthetic will ping like crazy while the hero will be focused on the “image” of what the bad guy would be doing.

In a less stressful situation, in simple conversation there’s going to be more conflict, because the language each of them are going to use will not match. Kinesthetic Conscious people use “feeling” words when they talk. They use words that indicate movement, feelings, emotions, etc. Visual Conscious people use words that correspond to sight, images, pictures. Auditory Conscious people use lots of words; long explanations that run in circles without really making a point or answering a question (think politicians). This is going to put the characters at odds with one another, because the feeling/movement words from the hero, isn’t going to make sense to the heroine because there are no visuals to clue her into what he’s saying. While the villain will overload the hero and heroine with too many words that have no meaning, empty information and phrases that they’ll have to dig through to find what he really meant.

Knowing the conscious input of the characters will also give you a hint about the major setback/black moment of the story. The input of the conscious will give you the element that needs to be overloaded in order to push the character into fight or flight mode. A kinesthetic conscious hero will end up freezing, even momentarily, when his emotions overwhelm his logic (think the heroine tied to a chair with a bomb strapped to her chest and the hero freaking out emotionally) he won’t cry or yell or run around flailing his arms. He’s going to freeze and his mind is going to spin through one possible plan after another, his logic is going to try to work, but his emotions will be zinging like a pinball bouncing off the extra points bumpers, so logic will not activate.

Too much visual stimuli will freak out the visual conscious person. If you have too many images, pictures, too much movement or activity zipping around the heroine, it’ll be like a caffeine overload, she won’t know where to look or what to concentrate on.

For the villain, too many words from other people and the inability to get a word in edgewise is the most likely the best way to throw the bad guy off.

Knowing the learning styles of your characters, or establishing the learning styles of your characters, can help you in creating realistic and compelling conflicts between characters. It can give you a number of tools to ratchet up the tension between the characters and make the story into a roller coaster ride of miscommunication and frustration.

Thank you Qwillia for an informative post. I hope you'll think about teaching this as a workshop someday. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The fashion stylings of PG and AZ.

The guys decided last week was the week of argyle.

See the sweater as exhibit b.

Why yes PG has a pair to match almost every outfit and yes those are driving loafers.
And then AZ went old school