Your story is just one more facet

I’ve been thinking this week about Stories and how when they are framed for different mediums, the creators focus on different aspects to emphasis.

When I was in the 3rd Grade we read ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ by Dahl and watched the 1970s movie staring Gene Wilder. Our teacher asked us what the differences were between the movie and the book, making us think about not just the details, but how in a movie, you have to have the action flowing and in a book, you have to focus on some breaks in the action so your reader can breathe. She was doing it to show us why you can’t usually watch a movie that was based on a book to totally get the impact of a story. Yet, she also inadvertently was exposing me to the truth that no story is set in stone when it comes to adaptation.

That’s what I love about our world though. A good story usually is universal. Look at all the Superhero movies that we have out in the world right now. All of these stories were based off of comic books and graphic novels cataloging these character’s lives. There is no way a comic would completely work as the only script for a movie. You need to consider lighting, sound, and different shots of action. Then of course, there is the editing, where all the real magic of the story comes together.

When I was in high school I read a ton of Japanese Mangas. I wanted to read Manga all the time because the stories within them were so beautiful and so easy to get through, yet they usually held a lot of emotional and intellectual impact. One of my favorites from high school was a high school Romance story called MARS by Fuyumi Soryo. MARS was about two broken people who wind up making each other stronger and overcome a lot of tragedy and sadness together. It was one of the first times that I had seen a book approach suicide and rape with such a focus on the survivors of those events.

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By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20450557

Now, there has been some decay in it’s message as the work in question is about 26-20 years old. Attitudes and understanding about suicide and rape has changed. But at the time, it was what truly my first encounter with subjects that serious put in such an understandable manner.

I have been a romance junkie since I was a kid, ok. So the romance is beautiful, but what touched me more was the focus on the two people trying to WORK through their problems and coming to terms with what it took to survive and thrive in the real world. That was a story I loved when I was in high school, but what I didn’t know until this week was that Taiwan had actually developed a live-action drama series by the same name in 2004. I wasn’t too sure about that when I first learned of it, but I was curious.

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Source: http://www.gtv.com.tw/Program/B051420040731U/picture.htm

The only other Asian-Style live action dramas I’ve seen aren’t really dramas. There was a live action Sailor Moon back in the 2000s that I’ve seen, but it was by it’s nature a bit goofy and silly. I was not prepared for the absolute seriousness that the creators of MARS the TW-drama was going to take. Not at all. Because they do. They treated the source material with the greatest respect and went at the entire story with a few interesting changes.

They aged up the characters from being in high school to being in College. As an adult, of course I find that sort of thing easier to relate to. It also made the wildly uneven scheduling and the extreme amount of class-missing that happens with certain characters a lot easier to understand for me. While they do the best they can to focus on the way that Soryo framed her shots and artwork, mirroring many of the scenes from the book, the drama also gives the viewer the experience of feeling what the characters are going through by having their actors focus on their facial expressions, the dynamic change that comes from a character making connections in their head as opposed to the Manga style that allows a reader to hear a character’s thoughts.

It’s why I’ve been taking such care with my current story and work in progress. I want the reading medium to give as much as impact as possible when I finally publish what I’ve working on. So I’ll be over here, polishing the facet of my story until it gleams.

Friendly Fridays – Dellani Oakes

On this edition of Friendly Fridays, I’d like to introduce a longtime family friend, Dellani Oakes.

Oakes went to school with my parents back in the good, not-so-old days of their college years and has worked for the last few years in romance and science fiction. Settled in Flordia, she is a indie and small press publisher and has been writing full time since 2002.  Dellani has published five books and several short stories. Her newest novel, Conduct Unbecoming is a sequel to her Teague McMurtry series following The Ninja TattooToday she joins us from her blog over on http://dellanioakes.wordpress.com/.

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Thank you Dellani

April, thanks so much for inviting me. I’m delighted to be here.

AH: First off, let’s let the readers get to know you. What genre do you write in?

DO: I write mostly romance, though different permutations of the genre. I have an historical romance set in St. Augustine, Florida in 1739. I also have contemporary romantic suspense novels, a sci-fi (futuristic romance) series as well as a romantic suspense set in 1976.

AH: Will you tell us about your latest book?

DO: My latest book is called Conduct Unbecoming. It’s a contemporary romantic suspense set here in Florida. It’s a sequel to my novel, The Ninja Tattoo and features a few of the same characters, as well as adding new ones. A body turns up on the beach and Teague’s friend, Nadeya, is the prime suspect. Her best friend, and ex-girlfriend of Teague’s, asks him to find Nadeya and keep her safe.

AH: What was the inspiration behind your current novel?

DO: Several friends read and loved The Ninja Tattoo. One in particular simply adored the main character, Teague. She asked—more specifically, demanded—that I write another book with Teague. She wanted to be in it and she wanted to kiss him. I’d already toyed with the idea of doing another book with Teague and Vivica, so I did. Adding Aileen was easy. She’s a great character and I foresee her coming into other books in the future.

AH: Will you tell us about your writing process? Do you listen to music or have a specific place you like to write?

DO: I describe my writing process as well oiled chaos. I don’t have a set time to work, but snatch time throughout the day, to write and read through things. I also spend time preparing for my radio shows (I do 2 a month) and set up my blog pages and twitter feed.

AH: Music is a must when I write. I frequently use music to block out the sounds of the household. I often use it for inspiration, particularly if I am pacing a fight scene.

DO: My office used to be the north end of the dining room, but since our middle son moved, I took over his bedroom and made it my office. It’s pretty cluttered, but it’s comfy. It’s nice to be able to get away from the noise so I can concentrate on my writing.

AH: Now. For some fun questions:

Cats or Dogs?

DO: I love both, but I’m allergic to them both—especially cats. I like the independence of felines and the unyielding adoration of canines.

AH: What is your favorite thing that you’ve ever written.

DO: Oh, that’s a tough one. I love most of my books (others I just like a lot). Admittedly, I’m very fond of The Ninja Tattoo, but I also love Conduct Unbecoming. A lot of that is because I, too, adore Teague. He’s a very special guy. I also admire Vivica, who has her vulnerabilities, but steps up when she has to.

AH: What is your favorite class in DnD or other Fantasy based RPGs?

DO: Depends upon the game. I’ve always loved magic users, although I ran a dwarf warrior in one game. (He died horribly) When I played Ultima Online, a world wide online RPG, my favorite character was a bard. The bards could make monsters and animals fight or play music to keep things peaceful. Comes in handy on a dungeon dive. I still liked my spells, though. I really love hurling fireballs at things.

If it’s something like Cyberpunk, I’m gonna choose to play a solo. Since most of our games turn into firefights, I like to be able to defend myself.

AH: Which of your characters would most want to punish you for what you’ve done to them?

DO: Hard to say. I try not to torture them too much, but sometimes it’s inevitable. Probably Frank Atherton, in the novel Bad Fall, which I’ve been sharing on my blog. He’s shot at, brain washed, tortured, kidnapped, brain washed again and nearly freezes to death. I think he’d have quite a lot to say to me, were he to come alive. He’d have to thank me too, though. He gets to have some pretty hot love scenes with Marka.

AH: What is your least favorite word?

DO: If we put aside the vernacular, which we shall, my least favorite word is nice. It’s over used and sort of a wash out. It’s not like splendid or spectacular. Nice lies there taking up space when another, better word could be used instead.

I had a high school English teacher who said, “There are two words I never want you to use in this class. One is Nice, the other is Swell.” That has stuck with me all these years.

AH: And finally, what is your favorite book?

DO: Must I have but one? That’s like asking me what my favorite band is. If I were to choose the first book to really impact me, I would have to say Star Man’s Son by Andre Norton. I became a non-reader in third grade. I had a teacher and school librarian gang up on me, telling me I couldn’t possibly read a particular book on my own because it was too advanced. I read on a sixth grade level at that time. Nothing on grade level interested me at all.

My mother took me to the city library and introduced me to a friend of hers, who was head librarian. She took me to the young adult section and told me I could pick any book I wanted. I remembered Andre Norton’s name because my mother had met her. I plucked Star Man’s Son off the shelf and read it at least a dozen times. That book is one reason that I write sci-fi now.

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You can purchase Conduct Unbecoming, book 2 of the Teague McMurtry Mystery series HERE at Amazon and HERE at Smashwords.

Dellani also runs a radio show on Blog Talk Radio 2x a Month. Go check her out!

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/rrradio/2014/10/11/the-talented-delightful-dellani-oakes-joins-me-on-books-bards

Friendly Fridays – Elizabeth Belyeu and Secondhand Shadow

So I’m going to be adding a segment to my Fridays. I’m calling them Friendly Fridays or, “Hey go check out this awesome blog.”

I promise that if I am going to promote someone and know the person I am promoting outside of an admiration/fan setting, I’ll let you know.

Without further adieu, please go check out an up and coming author, Elizabeth Belyeu.

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She has recently published her first novel, Secondhand Shadow with Astraea Press. In Belyeu’s first novel, heroine Naomi is pregnant and struggling with finals when she accidentally stumbles across the troubled and brooding Damon, a mysterious boy with an even more mysterious past. Through a connection that neither of them quite understand, Naomi is pulled from the normal world of tests, work and pregnancy cravings, into a dangerous realm of Shadows. Belyeu introduces a fascinating and unique world, creating a new entry into the paranormal romance genre.

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I sat down with Belyeu over email this week and discussed a few things that most authors don’t get asked during their book releases. There have been some great interviews about her writing style and goals but I thought it would be fun to discuss things a little differently.

AH: What is the worst thing you ever wrote?

EB: Aw geez, do I have to ‘fess up to bad writing? Fine, I’ll throw my grade-school self under the bus. I wrote this story about a lamb named Amanda that got lost in a hurricane and was trying to find her way home. There was no coherent plot whatsoever. Nothing that happened actually made sense. And there were literally entire pages consisting of the words “She walked on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on…”

AH: Marvel or DC?

EB: I’m primarily a Marvel girl; I have definitely enjoyed some DC stuff, mostly the Batman movies and the Young Justice animated show, but on the whole I prefer the “feel” of Marvel.

AH: If you could base a novel anywhere, what areas would you avoid and why?

EB: I CAN base a novel anywhere, thank you very much, but I enjoy sticking to places I actually know. It’s both easier and more fun to evoke a place I remember than to come up with one from whole cloth, and I think it comes across as more real anyway. Probably the last place I would want to set a novel would be the Middle East. Aesthetically it doesn’t appeal to me, I’ve certainly never been there, and I would definitely screw it up and mortally offend a whole bunch of people.

AH: Tell us, would you date any of your characters?

EB: In a way I feel like I date all my characters, at least all the ones who are involved in any kind of romance with each other… I have to understand the point of view of both lover and beloved, if you follow. But are there any I would bring to life and go out with? Well, I’m enough like Naomi that me and Damon might work out, actually.

AH: If you were an alcohol-imbibing person, which one of your characters would you most like to drink with?

EB: I don’t drink, as you know, but I also kinda don’t even want to drink? So that’s a tough question. I feel like Naomi and Damon would be fun up until they started with the PDA, which they would. Paris would probably be a lot of fun; he’d get snarkier and snarkier until he fell asleep on the table.

AH: Cats or Sexy Robots?

EB: How sexy are we talking? ‘Cause I’m thinking David 8 levels of sexy and if that’s the case, then let me tell you which one I would rather have curled up at the foot of my bed.

AH: What imaginary animal are you most afraid of and why?

EB: TOLKIEN’S VARIOUS ENORMOUS SPIDERS. Shelob, Ungoliant, your little grandkids in Mirkwood, I am looking (or actually not looking) at you. On the other hand, do zombies count as animals? ‘Cause I cannot deal with zombies at all.

AH: What is your least favorite word?

EB: Scrotum. It just sounds so gross and weird and the accompanying mental images are also gross and weird. So naturally my brother likes to sneak up behind me and whisper it in my ear.

AH: If you were trapped in a group of people that you couldn’t stand being around, how would you get out?

EB: Excuse myself to the bathroom and never come back. Failing actual escape from the premises, stay in the bathroom with a book or iPod until they’ve gone away. Experience has taught me the effectiveness of these methods.

AH: Name three of your least favorite foods and how you would eradicate them from the earth.

EB: Sweet potatoes, baked beans, and V8 comprise my Short List of foods that I don’t merely dislike, but physically cannot eat without gagging. I would hire teams of warriors with flame throwers to track down every one of them in existence and burn them to ashes.

You can buy Secondhand Shadow from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords.

And go check out Ms. Belyue’s blog! She’s found over at https://elizabethbelyeu.wordpress.com/. She updates regularly about writing and life as a newly published author.

 

DISCLAIMER: I happen to know Elizabeth in real life. We are quite good friends and she has been a huge encouragement to me over the last few years in getting back on the writing horse and working hard to master my craft. However this blog post was completely my idea and I am pleased to be able to claim friendship with someone as talented and interesting as she is. Please consider checking her out and reading her book. She’s worked very hard on it and it is a very good work in a market that has not be open to new paranormal material in a while.