Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Do or Die List #bucketlist

So bucket lists are pretty common these days. Everybody has a list of things they want to do or accomplish. Actually, I call mine the “do or die” list since I’ll either do them or die before I do. And I’m making good headway on it. To date I’ve:
  • Designed my own shoes. This is not as hard as it sounds. Shoes of Prey allows you to choose the style, material, heel size, embellishments, etc., and basically design your own shoes. So I did. My “writer” flats are leather uppers with a newsprint design and a black bow. Dressy and wordy. In other words, perfect for me.
  • See a tall ship. Ever since I was a little girl watching Errol Flynn pirate movies, I wanted to see a three-masted ship. I’ve actually seen several now, some of my favorites being the Star of India in San Diego, and the USS Constitution in Boston. I love the creaking, beautiful ladies of the sea.
  • Gamble in Las Vegas. I wanted to see Las Vegas at least once during my lifetime. It was everything I’d dreamed, a loud, colorful, overstimulating world unlike anything I’d ever experienced. But I almost forgot to gamble. On the last day of our Las Vegas trip, right before we left for the airport, DH and I took all our quarters and shoved them in a series of slot machines. When we finished we had $1.50 more than when we started. We won!
  • Inspire a song. This one I completed with the help of Angela Correa of the band Correatown. I helped Kickstart her album Pleiades, and in return she wrote a song with one of my poems in mind. My poem was written about the first time I opened myself to a lover after my divorce. Angela’s song “Distillery” has that same feel with its lyrics encouraging the listener to “give yourself another chance”. I think it’s beautiful.
  • Publish a book of fiction. Checkmark! You're on my blog where I talk about my fiction. If you look to the right, you'll see photos of my covers with links to where you can buy them or you can check out the tab above titled "Aidee's Books". Mark this one as done! 
Of course I haven’t finished everything on my list. Still to do is:
  • Attend a performance of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture where actual cannons are used for percussion. I love Tchaikovsky and the 1812 Overture. I’ve actually had a couple of opportunities to see this but always managed to be too ill or out of town...but I so want to hear this piece of music and feel the boom of the cannons in my chest and in my feet, battering at my ears just as the crescendo culminates.
  • Join in a food fight. I realize how silly this seems, but it sounds like so much fun. You know you want to. We could even have rain ponchos and gloves.
  • See the Northern Lights from the deck of a cruise ship. This one is probably a long way off for me. The Aurora Borealis is notorious for being unpredictable. Even if I managed to take a cruise during the right time of year (which for me is impossible because of my day job), the light show still might not appear. But I can dream.

  • Knit a sweater I don’t mind wearing. I’m almost there on this one. I’ve knitted a poncho and three-fourths of a nice duster, but not a sweater yet. Must find more time to knit!
  • Get a small tattoo. I’ve never managed to get a permanent tattoo although I’ve had several temporary ones. It will probably be small and hidden, maybe a just word.
  • Sleep overnight on a train. There’s something exotic about sleeper cars and the swaying motion of a train. One of my favorite movies (that I consider better than the book) is Murder on the Orient Express starring Albert Finney. The beautiful furnishings, the sense of adventure, all call to me. Who knows, Belmond Hotels has a version of the Orient Express still running a route from Paris to Istanbul. Maybe one day I’ll get to sleep overnight on it! 
 So I’m interested—what cool things are on YOUR bucket list?

Friday, March 3, 2017

Nominative Determinism and Fictional Characters

Originally coined in 1994 in New Scientist magazine, the term "nominative determinism" is basically the idea that a person's name affects their destiny. It can lead them to a career, such as Tito Beveridge who grew up to craft a vodka that is now a popular favorite. Or Usain Bolt, one of the fastest Olympic runners in history. Or maybe this guy:

The ancient Egyptians believed that your name was part of your soul and that your soul would survive as long as your name was spoken.  The Puritans also knew the power of names.  They named their children with personality traits they wanted them to have like Faith, Hope, Charity, Obediance, Abstinance, Constance, Rejoice, and even Silence.

Nominative determinism has been going on in the fictional world as long as storytellers have existed. Because unlike real life where a parent names a child and then they grow into a name, writers can give clues to a protagonist's character with their name. Who remembers the cold and calculating "Roger Chillingworth" of The Scarlet Letter, torturing and leeching off the other characters emotionally? Shakespeare made the ultimate pun in naming one of his characters "Nick Bottom" in A Midsummer Night's Dream and then turning him into an ass. Or maybe you'd like a more recent example, like "Remus Lupin" from the Harry Potter franchise. His first name harkens back to Remus and Romulus, the mythological Roman twins suckled by a she-wolf. And his last name Lupin is similar to the word lupine meaning wolf-like.

With nominative determinism in mind, I named Forbes Pohle, the protagonist of The Applicant and The Break-in. He is named Forbes because the character comes from a background of wealth. The name is taken from the business magazine Forbes, which regularly posts about wealthy individuals. His last name is reminiscent of Frederick Pohl or Poul Anderson, both science fiction authors. As my book was also science fiction, I thought this was quite fitting.

So the next time you sit down to read a book, think about a character's name and how that might reflect the story they inhabit. You might discover a little about how the author shaped the character!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

A Playlist for Darker Dreams - Songs for The Moonlight Market

I often put together playlists of music after I finish writing a story. It helps me re-experience the story in a more rhythmic way, the melodies and lyrics catching on memories of my prose.

For THE MOONLIGHT MARKET, the playlist is both dark and dreamy as well as hopeful in all the right places. You can listen to it on YouTube or on Spotify.

  1. Nine Inch Nails – Closer
    This song is definitely dark, animalistic, and reminiscent of a random hookup which is where THE MOONLIGHT MARKET starts. Cory and Sanderson are both using sex and lust as substitutes for what they really crave.
  2. Linkin Park – Numb
    This song is full of the frustration that Cory, Sanderson, and even Cory’s sister, Poe, feel at the beginning of the story. They are tired of living up to the expectations of others and want to break out of their numbness to find their own way.
  3. The Police – Every Breath You Take
    The claustrophobic nature of this song embodies not only the restrictions that Cory and his sister Poe live under, but also the debt hanging over Sanderson being controlled by the sinister Weaver of Dreams.
  4. X Ambassadors – Renegades
    The Moonlight Market looms large in this song. All three characters escape to the weird and wonderful uncertainty of the Market. They break out of their routine and enter a world of magic and dark fantasy.
  5. Candyman – Theme Song
    I always thought the piano at the beginning of this theme was a gateway to the strange. In the scene where Cory stands beside a steam calliope belting out a demented tune – this is the tune.
  6. Hadouken! – Levitate
    This is the acrobatic act that Sanderson’s family performs. Their flips and feats of strength are almost levitation. This song would be the one that Cory heard as he watched the performance. 
  7. Evanescence – Bring Me To Life
    Cory may have come to the Moonlight Market to find his missing sister, but it is Sanderson and the magic of the Market that awaken the long dormant wants and desires inside of Cory.
  8. Fiona Apple – Hot Knife
    This is another awesome song depicting the relationship between Cory and Sanderson. They melt for each other but the knife’s edge is always between them in the form of Sanderson’s debt and Cory’s single-minded mission to find his sister.
  9. Madonna – Frozen
    Another song about Cory. Before meeting Sanderson, he’s frozen. It’s only when he comes to the Moonlight Market and views Sanderson in the magical world he comes from that Cory starts to thaw to him.
  10. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Red Right Hand
    This song with its tolling bell reminded me of Sanderson and the ill-advised debt that he made with the Weaver. Similar to the character in the song, his action of handing Cory over to her makes him guilty, and brands him with his betrayal.
  11. The Cure – Lullaby
    This song definitely reminds me of the villain of THE MOONLIGHT MARKET. She even sings a lullaby to Cory as she begins to weave his memories into her tapestry, taking his soul along with it.
  12. One Republic – I Lived
    This song is the bittersweet prayer Cory has for his sister as he realizes that she needs to live her life. And it’s also Cory’s song. Broken out of his rut of privation and survivor’s guilt, he has tasted freedom and wonder at the Moonlight Market and he’s not going to give up the sparkle and magic it has brought to his life. The weekend at the Market has changed him too much. He is ready to transform.
  13. Kelly Clarkson – Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)
    This is the feelgood ending of the story. Both Cory and Sanderson have survived the nighttime and the dangers of the Moonlight Market. They have come out better on the other side. Their life awaits. 
What about you? Have you read The Moonlight Market? Do these songs fit or do you have some you’d like to add?