Character visualization and WIP, Detours in Time Series. #amwriting #scifi

Image (c) Enrique Meseguer via Pixabay

I’m playing with visualization as the character of Ellie grows stronger in my mind.
Ellie appears across several timelines in Undercurrents in Time (Detours, Book 2), shows up in my WIP, “Malachi,” (2020) and will feature in an upcoming novel (2021?). Who is the mysterious Ellie?
Start reading the Detours in Time series today and get to know the intriguing cast of characters! Available in Kindle, print, or Kindle Unlimited: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0711ZW6XF
Photo Credit goes to Enrique Meseguer via Pixabay.

 

Series link:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/bookseries/B07F5WPK72/kindle/ref=sr_bookseries_null_B07F5WPK72

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Dance of Life. #poetry

2006. Ballroom dance practice.

Blackshoe2IMG_0009 2009, before I retired these shoes.

 

Dance of Life by Pamela Schloesser Canepa, (c) 2019

Please don’t tell me how to dance
and don’t critique my dance
This dance is life and is not a dance with death,
it is a dance with what I’ve been given.
Don’t check the boxes while I dance
My dance is what I’m feeling inside
My dance is where I am in life…
It changes all the time.
To think I used to wear those shoes,
I danced away depression and blues.
Did I worry about a judge?
I also forgot to bear a grudge.
Now here I am, sneakers and yoga pants
and I still at times break into dance.
Sometimes the flow of words is my dance,
Sometimes comforting a child is my dance.
Don’t stare and check your boxes,
the dance is the story, a story, partly fiction
the story is me, the dance is survival
One can only live through self-expression.
I am not within the box,
and no one else draws my lines
so join me if you dare, or laugh along.

Yes, laugh, I said. It means that we’re alive.

Weekend Coffee Share. A Bird’s Eye View

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Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at Eclectic Alli .  The weather looks beautiful, but I’ve been moving slow this morning.  I also have had some coursework, and I am almost done.

Last night, I went with my mom and my son to a Mexican restaurant with a really hip, cool vibe.  It was packed, so we sat at the bar.  After a while, a guy comes over, and I recognized him as one of my cousins.  We are all glad to see him and chatted for a good, long while.  He travels a lot.  It was really nice though, to feel connected to family beyond our small unit.  He tells interesting stories, but my family is awesome story fodder.  🙂

I am going through growing older and having new health issues pop up, having to go through tests.  Throw a prayer my way, please.  I may or may not need it, but it is greatly appreciated.  Enough of that.  No need to worry.  It makes me wonder, if I were a bird or a spirit looking down on my life, what would I think?

 

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Which makes me think of my writing life and experience.  I posted this on Facebook this morning: The space that a story inhabits is important. I have been drawn in by spaces and places, as in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and the movie, Bladerunner 2 as well as in The OA, my new Netflix obsession.
Visualizing yourself in a place or places adds a level to any story. On the left is a crude map I drew of a few city blocks in Undercurrents in Time during my drafting. These blocks also appeared in Detours in Time, but the street names changed due to events and time shifts in that first book.  (Of course, all this followed by an invitation to read my books and a link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0711ZW6XF in Kindle, K.U., or print.)  Shameless self-promo done, but it is Independent Bookstore day!  They carry everything.  One independent bookstore in Jacksonville called the Book Nook carries my books, but I’ll work on expanding that.

I am sorry coffee was brief today, but I do recommend that you watch The OA if you like mystical sci–fi or anything uber weird.  It is delicously weird, but full of hope.  Imagine if, in the worst of moments or crises, you could leave your body because your spirit was free.  The thougth is quite addictive.  See?  I am off to a massage now.  Must relieve a lot of stress caused by worry, no doubt, and the constant drive to be better.  Well, maybe that and getting older.

Have a great day, my friends!

Malachi’s Zodiac Sign-Aquarius. #characterbuilding #WIP

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They don’t bear their soul, they trust no one.  Malachi is a side character in Undercurrents in Time who is hired briefly to help Dr. Milt Braddock secure some of his scientific secrets by scoping out the competition.  Why?  Because Malachi is good at being sneaky and fitting it everywhere.  He doesn’t bear his soul, what he bears is a made up fiction to fit any given situation.  Malachi is also now the main character in my work in progress, tentatively titled, Malachi.

I’ve used Zodiac details to flesh characters in the past, such as Tabitha in Detours in Time and its sequel, Undercurrents.  It really helps me get into the character and imagine them as a flesh and blood person.   Malachi is an excellent actor and well, a good liar.

From  https://www.yourtango.com/2016285888/fascinating-way-you-tell-lies-per-your-zodiac-sign   WHo lies best?  “Like Geminis, Aquarians are creative and witty storytellers. Their lies may be too good to be true, but they deliver it so flawlessly that people end up believing them.”

From  https://maripiermorin.com/en/2018/02/12/aquarius-kids-are-too-cool-for-school/

“If you have an Aquarian in your life, you know how goddamn independent they are. Supposedly, they need space to love you back – pfff. So if you let them have their personal freedom, you’ve won half the battle.”  Malachi totally relies on himself but finds himself in a financial, emotional, and moral battle in his youth which has the possibility to create a turning point.  Not to mention, when someone is so dishonest with the world (and perhaps, himself), relationships are either a struggle or non-existent.

Aquarians, in the above article, are termed “Too cool for school.”  “To put it simply, they just have this je-ne-sais-quoi without even knowing they have it. Cool-kids like these come with a knack for starting and entertaining conversations with people of all kinds of walks of life. If I can give you a tip: Beware of the moment they switch from entertained to bored. It does happen quite suddenly if you’re a little too square for them.”  Malachi has an excellent gift of gab.  He wows all of his professors and puts on an excellent Hamlet.  He wows everyone until the day of mid-term exams.

Weaknesses- “You shut down your emotions like you shut down your laptop, right?”  Again, Malachi avoids his family because of the drama that surrounds them, and he has lied to most of them since childhood.  He rarely shares his feelings with anyone.  He’s a young man living in a new town, failing out of college because having deep discussions with your professor is not enough to pass, and struggling to find a new life plan that also provides food and shelter.  He knows he must survive on his own, so indulging in his emotions is a luxury he can’t afford.

Another Aquarian weakness:  “Idealistic because you think it’s the same as being realistic.”  I wasn’t sure if that fits Malachi.  Though people change in times of scraping to survive.

You’ll have fun reading about Malachi, and maybe you’ll be familiar with his struggle for identity as he finds himself in a world of deception.   I even enjoyed remembering being in my young twenties, looking at myself through a new lens, trying not to judge myself and others as I was taught as a child.  This book is not sci-fi per se, but Malachi  is linked to many characters from my sci-fi series, Detours in Time.  One example is Ellie, whose identity and place in the space–time continuum is slowly being revealed, even to me.  Characters can tend to do that.

Overall, this book is devoted to the character Malachi, and the people he comes across, the development of ihis identity, and his struggle to discover just what kind of person he is.

There will be more behind-the-scenes hints in the next few months.  This one is going to stew on the stove, as I slowly fit it in with many other goals I am seeking this year.  Look for it in 2020!

My First Ever WP Blog Post Repurposed, “Nikki Giovanni, You Inspire Me!”

I have recently been reminded that I’ve reached my three year anniversary of blogging with WordPress.  I have not regretted a moment, except maybe the times when I didn’t feel like I could post more than one a week.  This first post was quite fitting, as it documents a turning point of inspiration, and why I bought that little notebook that helped me become confident enough to remember fleeting thoughts and piece them together.  I was lucky to win tickets to a rare speaking engagement!  Without further ado:

Reflections From July 16, 2015 (that I wrote in my little notebook):  My inspiration comes from many people and places, but one that is quite memorable is the poet, Nikki Giovanni.  I am fired up right now, because I got to hear her read at a luncheon today!

I love her smile here, and her lack of make-up or artifice.  She is herself, at home and comfortable in her own skin.  The first day I heard of her, I was not any of those things.  I was 20 years old, unsure of myself, finding myself the only one of my peer group in college, and how I got in I wasn’t always sure; I certainly assumed for several years I would not be going.  My self-esteem was hinging on some “boy” I was having some “sort of” relationship with while in college.  I thought about it, and him,  entirely too much.  Should I keep it going?  Should I forget it, tell him it wasn’t what I wanted or fulfilling me spiritually?  Geesh.  What a waste of time, mulling over such a wishy-washy situation.  Had he wanted more, I probably wouldn’t have, so why wasn’t it that simple for me?

Fact is, I was in college, being challenged, and enjoying that greatly.  I was working part-time, not always enjoying it, but I was paying bills, albeit barely.  I was going home to an apartment that was partly mine and a roommate who, it turns out, was not as great a friend as I thought.  I didn’t even always want to hang out with her.  I was not a drunk or a partier, (maybe twice a month), but I was somehow just at an emotional low.  Maybe I was short-changing myself? I wanted more emotional fulfillment.  So, I had read something by Giovanni and then saw this quote from her, that somehow just really clicked with me; I even copied it down and put it somewhere safe to look at again and again.   Here it is:

      “There is always something to do.  There      are  hungry people to feed, naked people to  clothe, sick people to comfort and make well. And while I don’t expect you to save the world I do think it’s not asking too much for you to love those with whom you sleep, share the happiness of those whom you call friend, engage those among you who are visionary and remove from your life those who offer you depression, despair and disrespect.”

― Nikki Giovanni

I was wasting all this time with some college boy who didn’t even care if I thought about him, living in an apartment with a friend that was no longer a friend, and feeling unfulfilled.  The only thing that fulfilled me at that time was diving into the Literature and texts I was assigned.  Oh, and some of them really saddened me.  There was Gothic Literature such as Mary Shelley.  Existentialism.  I really felt it all.   But I survived.  I moved back home with Mom for the remainder of college, continued working, and paid for a lot of my own college.  I made time for other friends, and my college relationship pretty much ended when he went away to an out of town school.  But Nikki’s words stuck with me.  There is a world out there in need,  why should I stay in here in my own head worrying about things, when I can go out there and make my world better?  And look at all the energy we sometimes spend on an unhealthy or one-sided relationship, or even friendships that no longer serve us, when there is so much more to do?
You could say I live her advice.  I suppose the last part of her quote is what I put to use back then, regarding who you should engage among you, and who you should remove.  Lord knows, I had to practice it many times repeatedly over the course of my life.  I also took a good amount of advice from the Bible, but how confusing that can be to a young person.  Nikki’s quote on sick people, hungry people, those needing clothes, is also a reminder to someone like me who had all that I needed.  I was getting an education, but it wasn’t making me happy and I felt so alone.  I can say that got better.  It is also true that I struggled with depression at times.  I had to sometimes just do something good for another person in need.  Sometimes I had to just get busy and get out of my head.  Analyzing existentialism or the deeper meaning of Gothic Literature can be a gloomy subject.  But it was very deeply satisfying when I could take a break and do a good thing, or have fun in the sunshine for a while.  One day, I would like to be able to consider myself a successful writer.  There is no amount of money or number of books I will assign to that.  Giovanni herself said something like that today, about how money won’t fulfill you.  You just need to have some of it to stay alive.  It thrills me to say that Nikki Giovanni has influenced me.  I’d like to put that on the back of a book one day!
And as for teaching,  yes, like Nikki said, we need more black children to grow up, get educated, and go into space!  We need them to become scientists, like  Neil deGrasse Tyson. (Who, by the way, is really cool!)   It is much needed for the equality of the races.   Imagine, if I could turn the right student on to a book about space or time travel, and in turn, encourage him to explore space!  Such an honor it would be.  It gives me something to remember when I look at that sea of faces every August.  They all have the potential.
Nikki also mentioned how our language is changing.  (Look at the definition of marriage.  Just recently it was decided by the Supreme Court that two women or two men can now marry).  Think of the definition of equality; she mentioned how a black man and white woman could not have married 60 years ago.  The world is changing and so is our language.  We need to observe and we need to write about it.  So I am writing right now.  She said, “Everyone go out and buy a notebook to write in today.”  I already have one.  I thought it was lost, but it has turned up again!  And I also have this space here for writing.  So I am inspired again!   Indeed, there is so much to do.    Life is good!

Tabitha’s Character Zodiac, a Detours in Time character study

Tabitha Hansen of Detours in Time.  Photo via Pixabay.com.

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This is a source idea I read about online somewhere for NANOWRIMO inspiration as I wrote the second of my books starring Tabitha, a character in the time travel series, Detours in Time.  Tabitha, a.k.a Pinky, is in her early thirties.  In book two, she no longer answers to the moniker Pinky.  She says it’s too childish.  Her hair: not exactly blonde, not exactly dark.  Some call it dirty blonde, while others call it “touched with honey.”  Her body stature: small. She is a picky eater.  Height: 5’6.  She is built like a dancer.  Eyes:  hazel, sometimes brownish.  Maybe amber.  I don’t know; I’m going on the word of her best friend and partner, Milt.  Let’s be glad he remembered her birthday (3/28/1967).  Skin: beautiful.  Tans easily, with dark eyebrows.  Reminds me a little of the movie star, Ashley Judd, in her thirties.  Just lovely.  Long, skinny fingers on her hands, and toes to match.  Long, thin arms.  Loves to dance.  She actually went to dance school for a while, but also loves art.  She draws, paints, dreams.

She’s a student when she meets Milt, but after graduating, she works in an art gallery because it brings more money than trying to sell her own art.  She is prone to moodiness and flights of fancy, yet, set in her ways.  Her parents are deceased, and she has one brother, two years younger, who is a little, let’s just say, wayward.  Has his own issues and struggles.  Family is so important to her, and she is also a loyal friend.  Just don’t get on her bad side.   While she loved the Flashdance fashions from the eighties, her go-to wardrobe in the nineties consists of jeans, Doc Martens or Chucks, and rock-n-roll or progressive band t-shirts.  But watch out, she can also rock a little black dress and will dress up for the art gallery when it is called for.

Listens to: Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Elvis Costello, U2, Sting, The Police, The Who, The Cowboy Junkies, Smashing Pumpkins, and a lot of music from that alternative/progressive station.

Particularly true for my character are numbers 1, 3, 6,7, 10, 12, 13, some of which almost made me consider making her a Gemini, but that didn’t set well with her. 🙂

The idea that inspired me was to match my character to a Zodiac sign, and make it hers.  I know little about any signs other than my Gemini sign, so I found a helpful article about Aries at http://www.yourtango.com/2015261912/13-brutal-truths-about-loving-aries-as-written-by-aries  by Andrea Zimmerman.  It is easy to see my character Tabitha in this zodiac description.

The article is titled “13 Brutal Truths about Loving an Aries, (As Written by One)”  What are our Aries friends like?

     “We’re fiery. We are a fire sign, so this should come as no surprise. I’ve been described as “fiery” my whole life, which after many years of introspection, I’ve come to realize is both a compliment and an insult. (I choose the former.) On the pro side, this means when we walk into a room, we bring a LOT of energy. Mostly good energy. Some bad, depending on our mood.”

Like I said, don’t get on Tabitha’s bad side.  She’s a pistol, for sure, but fiery can also mean passionate, and if she loves you, she will love you deeply and without faltering, as is also mentioned in this same article.

     “We have an ego…. Aries women need people who both stroke our egos when we need them to (which, admittedly, is a lot) but also can keep us humble. Have fun with that balancing act!”

In fact, there are times when Tabitha has Milt, whom she meets when he hires her to clean his university office, outright confused.  This is a little difficult for him, as he is a university Science professor who is socially awkward.

     “We’re adventurous. We’ll try almost anything once. But if we don’t like it (or we aren’t that good at it) the first time around, we probably won’t want to do it again.”

Of course, Tabitha is adventurous!  She agrees to join Milt (Dr. Milt Braddock, that is) on more than one time travel journey.  Though she may not be as open-minded as he is, (where he is more perceiving, she is more judging), she is curious enough to get in that vehicle and take the leap!      

     “We’re big-picture people. Small details don’t interest us. We think broadly about projects, ideas, and goals and what it will take to get the job done. Minor details are less interesting to us. We’ll take care of ’em if we have to — after all, we value accountability — but we’ll probably do so begrudgingly.”

I liked this description, because it does seem to describe some dreamers and artistic types, and Tabitha is definitely one of those.  She paints some interesting images in Detours in Time, images which seem to come to her mind fully formed, and she discovers a new artistic medium in Undercurrents in Time to express her emotional state.  Milt, on the other hand, seems like the small details guy.

     “We’re aggressive. At getting what we want, when we want, and how we want it. Please step aside and get out of our way. Best not to compete with us because you’ll probably lose.”  Like I implied, don’t get Tabitha angry, but if you are on her good side, she’ll defend you to the death.  You can witness that in book 1 and 2 of the Detours in Time series.    

     “We’re assertive. That’s just a nice way of saying that we say almost anything we want to, especially around people who know us extremely well. We might lock it up around your parents or your boss because apparently “restraint” is a societal norm (who knew?) but understand that it’s so freaking difficult for us to not say how we feel.”

I have to chuckle here, because this character trait definitely comes into play in Detours in Time Book 1, when they first get to the future.  In face, Milt is so beside himself over her reactions to their surroundings that he tricks her into being silent for a good part of one or two chapters, much to his later regret. 🙂

    Thank you to Andrea at yourtango.com for the inspiration.  I thank you all for joining the fun!  I thought this was a good strategy that someone else could use, or, perhaps I just entertained and distracted you for a few minutes.  Writing this series has been a journey, a journey of the mind, and while I had many distractions like fender benders, family issues, and full-time work, the world of the Detours in Time characters has been such a fun escape for me.

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You can preview or start reading the Detours in Time series today by clicking here: Detours in Time.  It’s available in Kindle, paperback, or read free with Kindle Unlimited.

Detours in Time has earned a Literary Titan Award for sci-fi and the title of Official Selection in Young Adult Sci-fi/or Horror in the New Apple Literary Summer E-book Awards.  Read the book reviewed as “a great way to spend a few hours in both another world and another time!” –Tome Tender Book Blog

An Ode to Vonnegut. Brilliance Takes its Own Path. #poetry

With great respect, this is a portion of a response I completed for an assignment on Gifted Learners who also have another diagnosis; in this case, I chose Vonnegut, an accomplished writer with a mood disorder.  May he rest in peace.  ❤

 

From “A Speculative Perspective”  by Pamela Schloesser Canepa (c) 2018

 

I  spent my life thinking,

Imagining, responding with feeling

Struggling with identity and loss,

At times, emotions reeling.

 

I didn’t do it their way

(You don’t have to, my friend).

Some brains work differently;

Mine won’t conform or bend.

 

Opportunities before me,

A scholar I could have been.

Though I did not make the grades…

I still built worlds with my pen.

 

***I have been fortunate enough to learn many things in a course for teaching Gifted students.  Not all gifted students will graduate with honors, and not all are gifted in the same way.  Some students have special challenges in addition to being intellectually different from their peers.  I enjoyed this recent assignment in which I could study a bio of a gifted or brilliant famous person who also had a disability or mood disorder and then respond with either a written analysis or poem about them and their challenges.  From the list, I chose Vonnegut and have since started to read that Vonnegut book I bought for my Kindle months go.  I’m so glad I did!  Having dealt with mood disorder in a loved one, I have often worried about their place in society.  Reading Vonnegut’s bio and background truly inspired me and warmed my heart to see that he lived a long, full life.  We all have our own path.