Freaky on Fridays: Freaking Over James Rollins

 

On Tuesday, June 21st 2011 James Rollins is releasing his seventh book in the Sigma series. A description from Amazon:

From New York Times bestselling author James Rollins comes a novel of boundless imagination and meticulous research, a book that dares to answer a frightening question at the heart of America: Could the founding of the United States be based on a fundamental lie? The shocking truth lies hidden within the ruins of an impossibility, a lost colony of the Americas vanished in time and cursed into oblivion. A place known only as The Devil Colony

Deep in the Rocky Mountains, a gruesome discovery—hundreds of mummified bodies—stirs international attention and fervent controversy. Despite doubts about the bodies’ origins, the local Native American Heritage Commission lays claim to the prehistoric remains, along with the strange artifacts found in the same cavern: gold plates inscribed with an unfathomable script.

 During a riot at the dig site, an anthropologist dies horribly, burned to ashes in a fiery explosion in plain view of television cameras. All evidence points to a radical group of Native Americans, including one agitator, a teenage firebrand who escapes with a vital clue to the murder and calls on the one person who might help—her uncle, Painter Crowe, Director of Sigma Force.

 To protect his niece and uncover the truth, Painter will ignite a war among the nation’s most powerful intelligence agencies. Yet an even greater threat looms as events in the Rocky Mountains have set in motion a frightening chain reaction, a geological meltdown that threatens the entire western half of the U.S.

 From the volcanic peaks of Iceland to the blistering deserts of the American Southwest, from the gold vaults of Fort Knox to the bubbling geysers of Yellowstone, Painter Crowe joins forces with Commander Gray Pierce to penetrate the shadowy heart of a dark cabal, one that has been manipulating American history since the founding of the thirteen colonies. 

But can Painter discover the truth—one that could topple governments—before it destroys all he holds dear?

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About Writing on Wednesdays: What Kind Of Character Do You Have?

Faith Hunter, Ed Schubert and Larry Correa discussed their thoughts about character development in this panel at Stellarcon.

The focus was on the protagonist and how to create him or her with the something extra that makes a reader’s eyes pop out. Something more than eye color, hair color, weight or height. The something that makes them keep reading and want more.

You love your character. S/he is the best thing since sliced bread. Naaaannnh! This is a huge red flag that your character is bor-ing. Part of the story is the flawed character that needs improvement. To keep the reader interested your character must grow and change through the end of the book.

However, your character can’t just change without warning. Something has to make the character see him/herself clearly. This is the point where the character transitions from good to bad or vice versa. The character must make a choice that determines his or her path for the rest of the book. A choice that helps decide how your book ends.

Readers must be able to relate to your characters. Some ways to humanize characters: have them fall short of a goal; have low self-esteem; break a code of honor; unable to complete a task; make them clumsy; have bad luck; have ill-health; have a phobia; not the sharpest marble; be shy or walk away from something because it’s too hard.

Flaws to give your character: they’re judgemental; they have a temper; they’re impatient; they’re arrogant; they’re introverted; they’re a loner; they’re overconfident; they’re weak; they’re ignorant; too rigid and won’t change easily; prejudiced against race, religion, etc.; they’re amoral or too promiscuous.

A deeply flawed character discussed was Dexter from Showtime. A TV show based on a series of books. He is an example of a bad character who is fun to write. If you are not familiar with the show or books he is a serial killer.

I saw the first two seasons of Dexter before I cut Showtime loose. The premise was his stepfather saw the trait in him and directed his energies to killing other serial killers. The twist is he works for the police. I liked the show and now I’m thinking I should check out the books although I’m sure they’re nothing like the TV show.

Characters who walk a very narrow line between good and bad are Anne Stuart’s stock in trade.  In general her male protagonists are amoral but somehow she always manages to make them likeable if a little scary. True love puts them on the right path. Of course it’s a wide path.

 If you’re interested in these type books try Anne’s books from the Ice series or Ritual Sins. In case you don’t know and you’re interested, Jeff Lindsay writes the Dexter books.

Be careful when writing a character like Dexter or Bastian from Black Ice. It would be all too easy to antagonize your readers instead of enticing them to read more.

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Tracey Is Fine

I am not putting this under Freaky on Fridays because as I explained to Ruth several blogs ago when you are called because your child has been in a car accident it’s not a freak out but damned stressful.

Tracey was in a car accident Friday night and as it happens we weren’t called but by sheer luck, God looking out for Tracey or whatever you choose to call it we showed up at the scene of the accident. The chick didn’t have her cell phone.

 A couple of days ago Paul and I decided we were going to see the special extended version of the Lord of the Rings films that are showing at a theatre in Greensboro for the next three weeks. From our home it is about a 45 minute drive to get there.

Twice, let me repeat twice, I went to Fandango to purchase tickets on-line but kept thinking no I need to go to the theatre to get the tickets because I was uneasy about buying the tickets online. I had tickets reserved but kept clicking off before the final confirmation.

Paul and I made a night of it. We went to the theatre first and got the tickets for Tuesday night then talked to the ticket guy about Fandango and how it worked. To be honest I felt incredibly dumb for wanting to wait and talk to someone first. Old and dumb but maybe my unease wasn’t about Fandango so much as it was about a premonition of sorts.

Let me also point out that Paul is not fond of going to Greensboro or to the movies. The fact he was so enthusiastic about both was such an unusual response for him I kept wondering if I should check under the bed for a pod or something. Weird.

Next we went to Barnes and Noble and then dinner. The last thing we did was visit Ed Mckay’s Used Books. Ok, I’m a book nerd. By this time I’ve called Tracey several times with no response. The Natural Science Center where she works is in the general area where we were but as far as I knew she should have been home. 

We were supposed to get her something to eat on our way home so I checked with my mom to see if she was there but no such luck.  After I hung up I fussed over her whereabouts as we passed a police car sitting over in a parking lot to our left with its lights flashing. Paul says he thinks that’s Tracey. Huh?

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Freaky on Friday: Post Apocalypse

I can’t say I was totally freaked out by the announcement the world was going to end on May 21, 2011 at six o’clock, by time zone no less. But. It was a little freaky.

Just a niggle in the back of the brain. I joked saying I just wanted to be sure my hair and teeth were brushed by six, just in case. You know what? Six o’clock came and went and I forgot to notice. As apocalypses go this one was ho-hum.

But Angela you ask, don’t you believe? Well yeah but the Bible makes it clear no one but God knows the date and I know of no reason to believe that David Camping has been more blessed than the rest of us.

You know I actually felt sorry for the dude. I thought at least he has the conviction to stand up for what he believes in and put his reputation on the line. How many people are willing to do that? To literally put their money where their mouth is? Not many. But then he went and opened his mouth again.

Yep. The apocalypse was spiritual and is taking place now. It will end in a physical apocalypse on October 21, 2011. No time given as of yet but he has advised we will be consumed in a fireball. The idea of being consumed in a fireball does freak me out a little. Maybe that’s the point.

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Curio’s Past, Shhh.