Character Profile: Toby

A place to call home coverCharacter name: Toby

Parents’ names: Mother’s name was Missy, father unknown

Character’s Date of Birth: June 1, 1988

Place of Birth: Northern California

Book appearing in: A Place to Call Home: Toby’s Tale

Profile: Toby’s life begins as a carefree puppy on a farm in northern California.

Through a series of fateful events, Toby is taken across the country without his beloved sister. On his quest to find a place to call home, Toby encounters and endures the best and worst of humanity as he comes face to face with sorrow and joy, fear and courage, and ultimately, with the power of love.

Ideal actor or actress to play in film adaptation: Since the best format for adapting “A Place to Call Home” to film would be animation, the question is what child actor would best portray Toby for voiceover purposes? It would be fun to have someone who is an unknown play Toby’s voiceover role.

Character Profile: Dinky

Kibble TalkSeries the character belongs to: Kibble Talk

Character name: Dinky

Character’s Date of Birth: It was sometime in April of 2011, but since he didn’t even has his eyes open yet, he couldn’t read the calendar. I’m figuring April 4th, but just to humor him, I read him the poem. He definitely feels he is fair of face, but also full of grace – he did win a dog show contest, after all. He’s also loving and giving (Friday), as long as you’re not asking for his tiara. Sunday is a possibility, because that day is “fair and wise and good and gay.” He thinks that pretty much sums him up, though it leaves out “most brilliant dog in the universe,” so he’s wondering if we can make a day for that?

Place of Birth: The kitchen floor, but Dinky assures us that there was a very comfy blanket for his mom and even a cardboard box for her to put her puppies in. It was all very cozy. Plus, snacks are always nearby when you are in a kitchen. He thinks humans should try having babies this way.
Book(s) appearing in: Kibble Talk, Dog Goner, What Dat?

Profile: Dinky is an enormous Great Dane who should be called a Great Talker. He is the pet of Tawny, a nine-year-old girl who discovers that when she eats dog kibble, she can hear and talk to dogs. Dinky wants only one thing in life: to be a tiny lapdog. Unfortunately for him, his head is the size of a lap dog.
Ideal actor or actress to play in a film adaptation: Even by the end of Book 2 in the series, there’s only a handful of Kibble Talkers in the world (people who can hear Dinky talk), so he would need a voice-over actor. Dinky says he would like Liam Neeson or James Earl Jones to read his lines, but as I reminded him, his voice is, well, dinky. I suggested Kermit the Frog, but Dinky only walked away – said he needed to find a favorite slipper or book of mine to chew up.

 

Character Profile: ​Shanna Blaine

Shattered TrustCharacter name: ​Shanna Blaine

Parents names (if known): ​Audrey Rose and Martin Blaine

Place of Birth (if known): ​Salt Lake City​

Book appearing in​SHATTERED TRUST​

Profile:

Her long auburn hair, cut in a layered style, curled softly over her shoulders. In addition to her lovely tresses, brilliant emerald eyes were her most striking feature to say the least. That light sprinkling of freckles decorating her pert nose was like the icing on the proverbial cake. She was twenty-nine years old but looked years younger. So why she had never landed a man permanently was puzzling​.​

Ideal actor or actress to play in a film adaptation:

​Brigid Brannagh​

Reblog: 7 Point-of-View Basics Every Writer Should Know

This article reposted from BookDaily.com explores the subject of point of view in writing.

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Boudicca:  Britain's Queen of the Iceni

Boudicca: Britain’s Queen of the Iceni takes a Celtic-British point of view.

In writing lingo we refer to point-of-view (POV) as the character through whom we tell the story. We get into the head of a particular character and see the story through her eyes. Sometimes we have one POV through the whole story. Other times we have multiple POVs.

Recently while reading a book, I became confused with some of the point of view changes. It was a really good story in many ways, and the author has had a long term writing career. So I was surprised to have to slog my way through several spots of hopping from one head to the next.

As I thought about the POV issues, I realized that during the last ten years, POV “rules” have grown more firm. Editors, agents, and readers want clear, concise, easy-to-read stories. Head-hopping can brand us as an amateur. That means we have to understand some of the basics that go into having clear POVs.

1. Strategically pick the number of POV characters. We can’t get into the head of everycharacter in our books. Nor should we randomly or haphazardly pick POV characters. We should usually try to narrow down those characters we want our readers to care most about—usually the main characters (hero and heroine). Sometimes, I’ve seen writers tell snippets of the plot from the POV of the antagonist to add tension.

If we add too many POVs, we risk confusing our readers. We also risk developing shallower characters since we’ll have less time in each person’s head, giving our readers less of an opportunity to get to know and thus love the characters.

2. Introduce all the POV characters within the first few chapters. We won’t want to all-of-a-sudden halfway through the book throw in a new POV from one of our characters that hasn’t had a voice yet. It’s best if we introduce all of our POV characters fairly early in the story.

3. Delineate POV changes by a line break or chapter break. In other words, we need to make it very clear when we’re switching to someone else’s POV. Hopping heads halfway through a scene just doesn’t work anymore (if it ever did).

If I want to change POV, I finish the scene first. Before I change POV, I move to a new stage, new setting, and new plot point. Of course, this means before starting each scene I have to determine which POV character will help accomplish the goals for the scene most adequately. And if I need readers to “get in the head” of another POV character during that scene, then I have to SHOW the reactions (or wait to recap their thoughts when their POV comes along in a later scene).

4. After a POV break, clarify the new POV within the first sentence or two. I usually try to use the new POV character’s name in the first sentence. And if not, then I weave it in the second sentence so that my readers are clear right from the start of the scene whose head they’re in. If switching among first person POV, I often write out the character’s name/title at the start of the scene or chapter.

5. Bring in each POV character regularly. I don’t perfectly alternate scenes between my hero and heroine. Sometimes I may need a couple of scenes in my heroine’s POV or vice versa. But I try not to go too long in one person’s head. For those writing with three or more POVs, the juggling can get even more complicated. But we have to remember to keep all the balls in the air.

6. Beware of making POV scenes too short. Story pacing will play a role in how long our scenes are. When we find ourselves changing POV every few paragraphs or multiple times per scene, then we may begin to annoy our readers. If we don’t have a long enough scene, then perhaps we don’t have enough goals and need to consider how we can combine the scene with another.

7. Once in a POV, stick with it carefully. When we get into one of our character’s heads, we need to do the best we can to see, hear, taste, touch, smell, and think about everything the way that particular character would. The more we can stay deeply inside our POV character, the more alive that character will become to our readers.

Remember, we can’t have our characters noticing things about themselves that they wouldn’t normally see. If in doubt, use the mirror test: Am I describing something about my character she would see of herself (i.e. the protruding blue veins in her hand)? Or would she need a mirror to notice it (i.e. the color of her own eyes)?

If she needs a mirror, then she shouldn’t be thinking it about herself (unless she really is looking into a mirror, which incidentally has become a clichéd way of having characters describe themselves).

What other POV tips do you have? What’s been your biggest struggle in handling POV changes?

About the Author:
Jody Hedlund is an award-winning and bestselling author of inspirational historical romances.

As a busy mama-writer, she has the wonderful privilege of teaching her crew of 5 children at home. In between grading math papers and giving spelling tests, she occasionally does a load of laundry and washes dishes. When she’s not busy being a mama, you can find her in front of her laptop working on another of her page-turning stories.

You can catch her on her website www.jodyhedlund.com where she gives great advice for writers and Twitter where she gushes about reading, chocolate, cats, and coffee.

This article originally appeared on www.JodyHedlund.blogspot.com

Reblog: The Magic Formula

Today’s post from Abraham Hicks is timely for this start of the holiday season:  appreciate what you have right now.

Richard Mann LinkedIn

I am happy and thankful that Richard Mann will narrate “Catherine de Valois” in 2015. Gratitude for the small things opens the door to receiving bigger dreams and goals — like my dream to immigrate to England and work with Mr. Mann in person instead of from 3600 miles away.

“If you will make this small effort to appreciate you and what is yours NOW, you will soften, so quickly, any resistance that has been keeping you apart from the things you want. 

It is the magic formula that you’ve been looking for. 

It is the key to your blending. 

It is the key to your allowing. 

It is the key to you getting what you want. 

It is the key to your abundance, your clarity, and to your stamina. 

It is the key to your energy. 

It is the key to your vitality. 

It is the key to your flexibility. 

It is the key to your wellness. 

It is the key to all things that feel good to you. 

Make some small effort, every chance you get, at looking at where you stand NOW and doing your best to soothe and appreciate you NOW, to soothe and appreciate your NOW.” 

Abraham Hicks

 

 

Reblog: History of Halloween

Merry Samhain everyone!  In honor of Samhain and Halloween, I am re-posting a lovely article I found this morning  by Benjamin Radford of Live Science about the history of Halloween.  Enjoy!

 

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Halloween is the season for little ghosts and goblins to take to the streets, asking for candy and scaring one another silly. Spooky stories are told around fires, scary movies appear in theaters and pumpkins are expertly (and not-so-expertly) carved into jack-o’-lanterns.

Amid all the commercialism, haunted houses and bogus warnings about razors in apples, the origins of Halloween are often overlooked. Yet Halloween is much more than just costumes and candy; in fact, the holiday has a rich and interesting history.
Samhain

Halloween, also known as All Hallows’ Eve, can be traced back about 2,000 years to a pre-Christian Celtic festival held around Nov. 1 called Samhain (pronounced “sah-win”), which means “summer’s end” in Gaelic, according to the Indo-European Etymological Dictionaries. [Related: 13 Halloween Superstitions & Traditions Explained]

Because ancient records are sparse and fragmentary, the exact nature of Samhain is not fully understood, but it was an annual communal meeting at the end of the harvest year, a time to gather resources for the winter months and bring animals back from the pastures. Samhain is also thought to have been a time of communing with the dead, according to folklorist John Santino.

“There was a belief that it was a day when spirits of the dead would cross over into the other world,” Santino told Live Science. Such moments of transition in the year have always been thought to be special and supernatural, he added.

Halloween provides a safe way to play with the concept of death, Santino said. People dress up as the living dead, and fake gravestones adorn front lawns — activities that wouldn’t be tolerated at other times of the year, he said.

But according to Nicholas Rogers, a history professor at York University in Toronto and author of “Halloween: From Pagan Ritual to Party Night” (Oxford University Press, 2003), “there is no hard evidence that Samhain was specifically devoted to the dead or to ancestor worship.

“According to the ancient sagas, Samhain was the time when tribal peoples paid tribute to their conquerors and when the sidh [ancient mounds] might reveal the magnificent palaces of the gods of the underworld,” Rogers wrote. Samhain was less about death or evil than about the changing of seasons and preparing for the dormancy (and rebirth) of nature as summer turned to winter, he said.

Though a direct connection between Halloween and Samhain has never been proven, many scholars believe that because All Saints’ Day (or All Hallows’ Mass, celebrated Nov. 1) and Samhain, are so close together on the calendar, they influenced each other and later combined into the celebration now called Halloween.
Costumes and trick-or-treating

The tradition of dressing in costumes and trick-or-treating may go back to the practice of “mumming” and “guising,” in which people would disguise themselves and go door-to-door, asking for food, Santino said. Early costumes were usually disguises, often woven out of straw, he said, and sometimes people wore costumes to perform in plays or skits.

The practice may also be related to the medieval custom of “souling” in Britain and Ireland, when poor people would knock on doors on Hallowmas (Nov. 1), asking for food in exchange for prayers for the dead.

Trick-or-treating didn’t start in the United States until World War II, but American kids were known to go out on Thanksgiving and ask for food — a practice known as Thanksgiving begging, Santino said.

“Mass solicitation rituals are pretty common, and are usually associated with winter holidays,” Santino said. While one tradition didn’t necessarily cause the others, they were “similar and parallel,” he said.
Tricks and games

These days, the “trick” part of the phrase “trick or treat” is mostly an empty threat, but pranks have long been a part of the holiday.

By the late 1800s, the tradition of playing tricks on Halloween was well established. In the United States and Canada, the pranks included tipping over outhouses, opening farmers’ gates and egging houses. But by the 1920s and ’30s, the celebrations more closely resembled an unruly block party, and the acts of vandalism got more serious.

Some people believe that because pranking was starting to get dangerous and out of hand, parents and town leaders began to encourage dressing up and trick-or-treating as a safe alternative to doing pranks, Santino said.

However, Halloween was as much a time for festivities and games as it was for playing tricks or asking for treats. Apples are associated with Halloween, both as a treat and in the game of bobbing for apples, a game that since the colonial era in America was used for fortune-telling. Legend has it that the first person to pluck an apple from the water-filled bucket without using his or her hands would be the first to marry, according to the book “Halloween and Commemorations of the Dead” (Chelsea House, 2009) by Roseanne Montillo.

Apples were also part of another form of marriage prophecy. According to legend, on Halloween (sometimes at the stroke of midnight), young women would peel an apple into one continuous strip and throw it over her shoulder. The apple skin would supposedly land in the shape of the first letter of her future husband’s name.

Another Halloween ritual involved looking in a mirror at midnight by candlelight, for a future husband’s face was said to appear. (A scary variation of this later became the “Bloody Mary” ritual familiar to many schoolgirls.) Like many such childhood games, it was likely done in fun, though at least some people took it seriously.
Christian/Irish influence

Some evangelical Christians have expressed concern that Halloween is somehow satanic because of its roots in pagan ritual. However, ancient Celts did not worship anything resembling the Christian devil and had no concept of it. In fact, the Samhain festival had long since vanished by the time the Catholic Church began persecuting witches in its search for satanic cabals. And, of course, black cats do not need to have any association with witchcraft to be considered evil — simply crossing their path is considered bad luck any time of year.

As for modern Halloween, Santino, writing in “American Folklore: An Encyclopedia” (Garland, 1996), noted that “Halloween beliefs and customs were brought to North America with the earliest Irish immigrants, then by the great waves of Irish immigrants fleeing the famines of the first half of the nineteenth century. Known in the North American continent since colonial days, by the middle of the twentieth century Halloween had become largely a children’s holiday.” Since that time, the holiday’s popularity increased dramatically as adults, communities and institutions (such as schools, campuses and commercial haunted houses) have embraced the event.

Through the ages, various supernatural entities — including fairies and witches — came to be associated with Halloween, and more than a century ago in Ireland, the event was said to be a time when spirits of the dead could return to their old haunting grounds. Dressing up as ghosts or witches became fashionable, though as the holiday became more widespread and more commercialized (and with the arrival of mass-manufactured costumes), the selection of disguises for kids and adults greatly expanded beyond monsters to include everything from superheroes to princesses to politicians.

Staff writer Tanya Lewis contributed to this article.

 

Character Profile: Unwanted

lumpy ducklingSeries the character belongs to (if any): Weaver Tales
Character name: UnWanted
Parents names (if known): My mom was an elf, but my dad was a gnome, so I only have half the magic.
Place of Birth (if known):

I don’t remember. I left my mom when I was young

Book(s) appearing in:

The Weaver, The Wishing Well, The Lumpy Duckling

 

Profile:

Unwanted is a misunderstood gnome-elf who grants wishes that complicates problems instead of resolving them. First he gives Mary odd little yarn charms instead of helping her tell a better story. Then he makes Molly’s family even more mean than they were before she made her wish. Most recently, he all but killed Wheezy’s best friend, Lumpy after she made her wish.
Ideal actor or actress to play in a film adaptation:
Dobby the house elf or the Travelocity gnome