Saturday, September 19, 2015

Social Issues in Entertainment Reading

I am very concerned about many global social issues from climate, over population, pollution, extinction of species, and the loss of native habitats, to food production and the inhuman manner in which many food animals are being kept, religious extremism, war going on for over a decade, the destruction of antiquities. And that's just a start.  So many issues, so little time. Am I a worrywart? I wonder sometimes if it isn't my age as I worry about my grand-children's future. I think of them and concerns enter my mind about the uneven quality of education across the United States, the cost of higher education, the increase in income inequality, failing infrastructure, and a democracy showing signs of changing into a plutocracy. I tell myself I'm using foresight, but maybe I'm just that worrywart. I don't think so, but maybe. I believe in human ingenuity, but for all the creativity, imagination, invention, and philosophy of humans in general, I find the species lacks any interest in foresight as to what might happen from their ingenuity.

Do any of these topics occur in my stories? Yes, even though I write scifi/fantasy. From the outcome of a cataclysmic century in Magic Aegis, to corporate control and manipulation of employees in Crewkin, to genetic manipulation and indoctrination for super soldiers in Nanite Warrior, my stories contain social outcomes arising from some of today's issues. I like exploring where an issue might go, what might happen, and how humans will react. It might be hubris, but I like to believe perhaps I provide my readers a look at issues they can relate to without the histrionics of today's argumentative and often disbelieving population. I also believe such inclusions add to my story's depth, add to the setting and plot line, and even to the characteristics of the characters.

While I don't think all novels have to include social issues as part of the story, I do think issues are often the heart of a story, if only personal or family related issues. These are often based on social issues, too. Topics like abuse, and PTSD among veterans, homelessness, poverty, misinterpretations of law, and the ethics and moral issues in contemporary society.

What current issues are important to you? How often do modern social/global issues take place in the stories you read, no matter what era or genera you write?

Please be sure to see other author's opinion on this topic:
Skye Taylor
A.J. Maguire 
Beverley Bateman 
Margaret Fieland 
Marci Baun
Victoria Chatham 
Connie Vines 
Bob Rich
Rachael Kosinski 
Helena Fairfax 
Judith Copek

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Stereotyped Characters?

Have you ever started reading a new story or author and realize you've met the characters before? Chances are you've run into a stereotyped character.

According to Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary a stereotype is "to believe unfairly that all people or things with a particular characteristic are the same." In daily life, stereotyping is an us vs them mentality. Race, gender, religion, education, age, nationality, employment, economics, status, abilities, disabilities—you name a difference, there's probably a stereotype to fit it. In daily life, no matter how unfair, they are often hard to escape (watch commercials), but in stories, it might not always be such a bad inequity.

I think in writing, stereotyping creates cliche characters, making shortcuts for the author, especially in secondary characters. Little thought is wasted on these minor characters. You mention a word such as 'butler' or 'blonde' or 'biker' and a perception enters the reader's mind.  Another type of stereotyping I've encountered is when reading many volumes from the same author. Sometimes the same characters show up with different names, blended into author-concentric stereotype. I might be guilty of this offense, but I believe these stereotypes develop because they emerge from the same imagination. It takes work to break out of such patterns. This type of stereotyping might even appeal to some readers since they know what characters they will encounter when reading that author's material. I've also read stories where a character (main or secondary) begins as a stereotype but before the story's end, has metamorphosed into something so much more.

This said, are there genres of reading that stereotype men and women?

Oh yes.

In romance, just look at the book covers: muscular, '6-pack' alpha males with brawny chests and huge biceps, often brunette, and with weapon in hand toting proficiency so they can be labeled 'protective.' Another stereotype is super bad boy who only need a woman's love to bring him to the straight and narrow (BS).

Women in books have been stereotyped for decades, but thankfully, some of those stereotypes are breaking down. Beware, however—new ones develop: the new powerful woman, the CEO or female elected official. Power, you know, after being considered 'chattel' for hundreds of years, goes to a woman's head only to prove the ancient adage 'women need controlling.' AND WOMEN (the largest book-buying demographic) are buying into these tomes.

Perhaps the appeal of a stereotype is that a reader can see some of the traits of a stereotype in themselves, so identify with the character.

But characters can be based on other characters. It happens in crime/suspense novels with both detectives/investigators and criminals. How many of current TV shows have a Sherlock Holmes type detective? (I'm hooked.) How many super intelligent criminals have you encountered in reading? More over, it is cross genre typing: Is Bones a reincarnation of Spock? Is Booth really Captain Kirk? Is that why I like that show so much?

Why does this happen?  I believe the main reason is that a certain stereotypes sell stories, whether  in print, TV or film...until they don't. Then the publishers/producers look for the next hot selling character type and publish stories with those character profiles. The reading public goes through trends often identified by generational shifts and major social crisis, and these changes can help create those stereotypical profiles. They may go out of style and disappear only to return at some future time.

For the last few years we have been going through the super intelligent 'nerd' stereotype. 
And the 'bimbo' girlfriend never seems to go away, or the too smart, unattractive spinster stereotype.

How do I try to prevent stereotyping in my writing? I've used two methods.

The first is determining my characters' personality styles. The Personality Self-Prortrait (1990) by  John M. Oldham, MD and Lois B. Morris, delineates personality types. Dream up a character and then decide on his or her character personality pattern. There are thirteen recognized personality styles. We all have some of the characteristics of each, but it the dominant pattern that counts. For example, do you want your character to be excessively emotional and dependent on a relationship? Someone who is vivid, spontaneous, and  flirty, with an over-the-top personality? Someone who hogs attention and praise and is excessively concerned about appearance? They would have dramatic personality style and could slip into a histrionic personality disorder. The information in the book is fascinating.

The other method involves Jungian psychology delineated by archetypes, or characters with a purpose. These include heroes, mentors, threshold guardians, heralds, shapeshifters, shadows, and tricksters. While these might sound like stereotypical castings, they are not. As Joseph Campbell in The Hero with a Thousand Faces, and Valdimir Propp in his study of Russian Fairy tales, certain characteristics of plots and characters seem to have deep psychological impact and importance in the purpose of stories. While readers might not notice this, almost all story arcs display these characteristics. If you want an easy introduction, read Christopher Vogler's The Writer's Journey, Mythic Structures For Writers.
Check out the following author blogs on this topic (always fascinating reading!):
Beverley Bateman
Connie Vines
Rachael Kosinski
Anne Stenhouse 
Skye Taylor 
Fiona McGier
Helena Fairfax 

Saturday, August 8, 2015

A Commonality Among Languages?

At MIT's Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Professor Edward Gibson and two grad students, Kyle Mahowalk and Richard Futrell, have been looking for links between all languages. The billions of people on Earth use 6500 different languages, all having distinct sound and meaning structures (and different alphabets!). However, Gibson, Mahowalk, and Futrell think rather than sound or meaning, languages may share an organizational method. All languages seem to put words that go together close together. In other words, and from what I understand, all languages put describers and modifiers close to the word they effect, so language syntax may have a link. 

Cathleen O'Grady in her article 'MIT claims to have found a "language universal" that ties all languages together' posted this two days ago at Ars Technica. Huffington Post has a video interview with Edward Gibson, PhD. on the findings of the study.

While this isn't much help to my learning Russian words words and tenses, it might be helpful when I start putting the words I'm learning into some meaningful utterance. But hey, no hurry, I'm still stuck on the alphabet.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Bow-wow and Me-oww in Stories

Since Lassie Come Home and Black Beauty animals have been characters in fiction, but this topic is about using them in stories from the human viewpoint, not the animal's viewpoint. Can animals be characters or are they just part of the plot or setting?

I love animals of all ilk, even spiders...when they're outdoors with other nefarious insects, not in the house, please. That goes for mice, rats, snakes, and other pests considered vermin indoors. But I'm not talking about those types of animals, and yes, they have their place and purpose and may appear in stories for similar reasons. Nothing is worse than being hunted in the dark by an animal with night vision, enhanced hearing and scent detection that has lost its fear of humankind. And remember, it was a flood of rats covered with fleas that wiped out a third of the human population with bubonic plague in the Middle Ages. So an animal's presence in a story isn't always a warm, cuddly, or fun feature, but I love encountering them in stories.

Characters carry out the plotline in stories. That's stating the obvious, I know. Named characters are important ones, unnamed ones are usually part of the setting or placeholders referred to by their profession, sex, or species: policeman, nurse, doctor, saleswoman, doorman, woman, man, dog or Siamese cat. Even in English grammar it explains if an animal is named, its pronoun becomes he or she (a character), if unnamed, it is called it (a placeholder).

B&W BB is watching you, and she is as fast as her name.
A human character owning many pets shows something about that that character, but not about the pets. A character's treatment of an animal or pet tells the reader many significant things about that person's good or evil tendencies. A trained police dog or service animal with their human partner, on the other hand, takes on the aspect of a character—they have personality and a definite function within the story.

Often pets in family situation stories become part of the family, so become characters, and often perform important functions in the story. Characters who have become isolated for one reason or another, might have animals as companions that become more important to them than any human, which happens in my story Acceptance. The protagonists, Kissre, is estranged from her human family. As a mercenary in a Renaissance type setting, her horse and her dog are her family. Both animals have important functions within the plot, too.

I use animals as characters because if you own pets, you know they already are characters. Each one’s personality is slightly different from the other. Pets can be great secondary characters, both for good and evil purposes. Dogs and cats, even horses, can make a person laugh, sigh in comfort, feel compassion, or fear for personal safety. They are entertaining, encouraging, loyal and non-judgmental. They usually are not inherently evil unless misused by humans, a situation that can cause intense tension in a story, so pets are good at showing the best and sometimes the worst in their human counterparts.

In reality, dogs and cats are often used for their mental healing capabilities, reaching people sunk into their own minds because of trauma or age, people tuned out on worldly matters. A pet animal can sometimes return these lost souls to themselves even if only temporarily. Maybe physically, too. Recent investigative studies shows that the resonate waves of a cat’s purr can heal bones and muscles—as reported in Scientific American. Wouldn’t that make an interesting character in a science fiction or fantasy story?

This article is just an animal lover's opinion on animals in fiction, but science is proving animals are not the purely unthinking instinct driven disposable-if-humans-so-desire creatures. Studies are showing they are more intelligent than many people want to believe. Besides, instinct still drives humans as no condescending name calling about stupid animals, hear?

The following authors are also covering this topic on their blogs. Please check out what each author has to say.
Skye Taylor
Beverley Bateman
Victoria Chatham
Connie Vines
Margaret Fieland
Rachael Kosinski
Kay Sisk
Judith Copek
Marci Baun
Diane Bator
Anne Stenhouse

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

All Things Thirteen

Do you think thirteen a  lucky or unlucky number? It goes both ways. Many people get hung up on thirteen—fear it, avoid it—we still have buildings without a floor labeled thirteen as if jumping from twelve to fourteen changes the reality. The Roman calender had one day each month called the Ides (Beware the Ides!) which in most months fell on the thirteenth — so maybe this wariness about the number goes way back in time. Yet, the U.S. was founded on thirteen colonies and our national seal is full of 13 representations, so shouldn't this be a lucky number?

Words for Thirteen 
Cardinal: Thirteen
Hindu-Arabic: 13
Roman: XIII
13 has no divisors

Roman: tredecim (thirteen), tertius decimus (thirteenth)
Greek:  dekatria and as a prefix triskaideca-

Time and Holiday Associations:
Friday 13 – a day of bad luck sometimes tied to the Last Supper where thirteen individuals were present which lead to the Crucifixion on the following Sunday, and sometimes said to have started when King Philip IV of France in an apparent wealth grab had the Templar Grand Master and many of his high ranking Templars arrested on October 13, 1307. This lead to the torture and burning of those arrested and the ultimate end of the Templars. Friday the 13th is an unlucky day to most in the Western world. Some even have a a fear of the number thirteen, triskaidekaphobia (tris-kay-dek-ah-fobia). Who thinks these words up? That's just as scary. It's made up of Greek numbers 3 and 10. And to mix thirteen with Friday? Read this article.

However, not everyone considers Friday the 13th unlucky. Triskaidekaphils also exist.This might include everyone at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York, whose 13 founders started the institution in 1819.

Science, Technology, Measurement:
  • Baker’s dozen, long dozen, devil’s dozen
  • Aluminum (Al) thirteen element in periodic table 
  • Thirteen-hundred hours (1 PM)
  • Title 13 of U.S. Code outlines purposes of US Census Bureau
Social, Family and Religious References:
  • Teenage years begin at thirteen
  • In Japan, Friday the 13 is considered an exceptionally lucky day
  • Egyptians held 13 as a lucky number. It represents the final steps of the stages of earthly existence.
  • British sailors refuse to put to sea on the 13th of any month.
  • There are thirteen Buddhas in the Indian Pantheon
  • Twelve Disciples plus Jesus at Last Supper equals 13 participants
  • 13 mystical discs surmount Chinese and Indian pagodas
  • The hilt of the sacred sword in the Temple of Atsusa in Japan is formed of thirteen objects of mystery
  • Thirteen is the sacred number of the Mexican snake gods.
  • Friday, October 13, 1775, the Continental Congress voted in Philadelphia to fit out two sailing vessels, armed with ten carriage guns, as well as swivel guns, and manned by crews of eighty, and to send them out on a cruise of three months to intercept transports carrying munitions and stores to the British army in America. The Continental Navy grew out of this legislation and as such, it constitutes the birth certificate of the navy. 
Tarot Divination: Card thirteen is the Death card representing transformation, change, or destruction followed by renewal. So, okay, death is to be avoid as much as the number thirteen, but in this instance death isn't always dying, but change.

More Thirteen Associations:
  • 13 original American colonies
  • 13 stripes on U.S. flag (original flag also held 13 stars)
  • US National Seal: 13 levels on the pyramid on seal's backside; 13 stars on emblem over the eagle which holds olive branches with 13 leaves, and 13 olives and in the other claw, 13 arrows; eagle covered by shield with 13 strips and the mottos "e pluribus unum" and "annuit cœptis" each have 13 letters. Well, there were 13 colonies!
  • Thirteen is widely used in the occult and is a fatalistic number of great power.
  • With the spread of the early Christian Church, it became widely known that thirteen people dined at the last supper. By implication, it would be unlucky for thirteen to eat together as one of their numbers might die before the year was out.
  • Thirteen represents transcendence from body existence to spiritual existence.
  • It is the number associated with necromancy.
  • Thirteen is the number of immortality (Christ plus 12 disciples) 
  • Apollo 13, on journey to moon, is famous for "Huston, we have a problem." 
Games, sports:
  • In card decks the King is the thirteen card  
  • Friday the Thirteenth—movies
  • Ocean's Thirteen—movie
  • Thirteen, 13—title of many books and movies
  • Apollo 13—movie

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Characters: Too good? Too Evil?

There is a precipice each character stands on. One side is too good to be true, the other side too evil to exist. What makes a character too good to believe? How evil can any character, main or secondary, become before they are irredeemable?

Characters are meant to entertain readers, often educating them through their experiences as well. While I have read stories with ‘perfect’ characters, either good or evil, they fail to engage me as a reader. Perhaps because a perfect person does not exist. Everyone makes mistakes, some intentional, some not. And even if a person has perfect morals, is highly intelligent and wise, and is perfectly considerate at all times, others aren’t, and they can get the ‘perfect character’ into shit-loads of trouble. The world also frequently delivers unexpected comeuppance to both the deserving and the undeserving. Besides, what’s entertaining or educational about a portrayal starting off and continuing with perfection?

A theoretical paradox that exists, however, for the perfect ‘good’ character is bound to win, and the ‘perfect’ evil character cannot lose.The good must have flaws to overcome to make their win worth while, while the perfect evil character has no flaw that can lead to defeat. Even ancient gods and goddesses in mythology were never perfect. They were very powerful and often morally impaired.

If, as the cliché states, we learn from our mistakes, then characters should prove the platitude. Most good stories contain the basically good character who struggles against his or her evil inclinations and works to accept or improve their imperfections. Readers identify and empathize with the imperfection of both main and secondary characters. This lets the character become entrenched in the reader’s mind.

Readers like characters who display various degrees of hypocrisy, disobedience, laziness, impulsiveness, deceptiveness, and even meanness. These characters are more interesting. Less than perfect characters bring questions to the reader’s mind. Does this person remain the same or change? Do they help or hinder the story’s outcome? Do they receive their just deserts?

Heroic characters can be irresolute, obstinate, dissolute, possessive, rash, vulgar, blustering, discourteous, self-absorbed, or ridiculous. It is when they face their shortfalls and imperfections and seek to do better that they often turn the story’s direction. These are characters who will fall into situations where they have to face themselves to dig their way out of the holes they have created.

Extraordinarily evil characters do exist in literature and create gripping tension in the storyline. This is the uber-intelligent serial killer like Hannibal of real world stories, or Voldemort of the Harry Potter series, and Sauron of the Lord of Rings of fantasy stories. With all of these horribly irredeemable characters, an unsuspected Achilles's heel exists.

In many stories there is a point where ordinary characters also traverse into the irredeemable. There is recent tendency to paint evil characters as sociopaths or psychotics. Since between 1% and 4% of U.S. population are sociopaths, but only 20% of prison inmates, it shows how prejudice and uneducated the public is about such a diagnosis. Most of those diagnosed with these conditions are not sadistic killers, and cannot be recognizable in ordinary encounters.

For me, evil occurs when anyone goes after a personal goal with no-holds-barred, no care of who they injure or destroy, game-the-system tenacity. That desired goal is often some form of wealth, power, religious fervor, or revenge. Eventually the character loses his or her soul, and that’s when, for me, they become truly evil, irredeemable characters.

So who are your favorite heroic or diabolical characters?

Follow this topic at these authors blogs:

Skye Taylor
Beverley Bateman
Judith Copek
Marci Baun
Connie Vines
Rachael Kosinski
Helena Fairfax
Fiona McGier

Monday, June 22, 2015

Word with a History: Mile

Mile has a few definitions, the most well-known being the measure of a certain distance. In 1592 during the the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Parliament established a mile as 1,760 yards (5,280 feet). The reason for this is also an interesting tidbit of history as it deals with Anglo-Saxon divisions of land, but a different story from where the word mile is derived. In this instance it is a noun, but we also use it as an adverb indicating a great distance or far such as: her math skills are miles ahead of her peers.

The Middle English word mile came from the Old English, mīl, which came from Latin’s milia, which came from milia passuum, or literally, thousands of paces. Milia was plural of mille meaning thousand. This makes it sound metric, but it was not. Mile begins
with the Roman Legions, the Roman Army, and logistics, although the Romans didn’t know the word logistics, which is a French word first used in 1861 and is basically the art of calculation. Logistics deals with all the stuff soldiers need like weapons, food, uniforms, lodging, etc., and how to obtain, distribute and store it. In other words – organization.

During their era, no one planned or organized better than the Romans Legions. They had to! 

Two thousand plus years ago they governed an empire stretching from England to the Middle East and from the Germany to Northern Africa depended on its Legions. Their armies conquered most of that territory. The army’s logistic problem was how to get legions from one location to another and how to determine how long it would take.
From Wikipedia Commons -- Roman Legion marching
Along with being warriors, Roman soldiers were skilled craftsmen and builders of roads, bridges, walls, fortresses and aqueducts. They built roads and marked out the distance of a mile with a mile marker along the side of every road.

So what was the distance for the mile measurement?

One thousand double paces, which was one step with each foot or five feet, of a Roman Legion or about 5,000 feet.

If you know how many miles a desired location is from the current point where your army is located, and the average time it takes the legion to cover a measured distance, you know how much time is needed to get your troops from here to there in the empire.

And the word military? It comes from Middle English (first know use 15th century), derived from the Latin word militaris, from nominative milites (plural) and miles
(singular) meaning soldier.

We also have vast miles of roads now called interstates and expressways mapped out in miles (in U.S.). Will they last as long as Roman roads and mile markers?

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

All Things Twelve

Plato chose twelve for establishing weights and measures, and coinage. In his ideal state it represented the enveloping universe. Twelve may have lost out with coinage and weights, but with it so intimately bound to our measurement of time it certainly continues to represent the enveloping universe.

Words for 12
Cardinal: TWELVE
Hindu-Arabic: 12
Ordinate: Twelveth
Roman: XII
Basic Math: 2x6, 3x4
Roman word duodecim, duodecimus
Greek words of Twelve: dodecca
From Anglo-Saxon: 'Twelf', meaning two left over

Time and Holiday Associations:
  • December is 12th month
  • Twelve Days of Christmas
  • Jan 5th (or 6th) is Twelfth Night
Time, Science, Technological, & measurement:
    • 12 months to a year
    • Two twelve hour rotations to each day. 
    • 12 inches in a foot
    • Magnesium Mg 12, periodic table
    • Dozen=12, 12 inches = 1 foot, Two fathoms = 12 feet
    • First abundant number (divisors  sum is greater than the number) the sum of 12's factors is 16 (1+2+3+4+6), which is also a square number (4).
    • 12 cranial nerves
    • 12 pairs of ribs
    • 12 notes in chromatic scale
    • 12 banks in the Federal Reserve system
    Religious Associations:
    • Twelve Disciples (Apostles) of Christ: "The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst." Rev. 21:12
    • Twelve tribes of Israel
    • Twelve Angels of Paradise
    Twelve Associations:
    • 12 Apostles
    • 12 Days of Christmas
    • 12 signs of zodiac
    • 12 Virtues (love, wisdom, truth, justice, peace, equilibrium, humility, strength, faith, joy and victory)
    • 12 princes of Ishmael
    • 12 apostles of Osiris
    • 12 sons of Jacob
    • 12 Gods of Olympus
    • 12 labors of Hercules
    • 12 members on a jury
    Games, sports:
    • Queen card in deck of cards
    • 2 dice have 12 sides – highest sum in dice
    • Dice boxcars = 12, 2 dice both showing 6 up.
    • Checkers has 12 pieces on a side.
    Prophetic references: Twelve is the number of fruition in the manifested universe and a ending to established order leading to reincarnation.

    Astrological Association: · House of Pisces. Persons born from February 19 to March 20.

    Tarot Divination: The hanged man is card twelve and an upright card means wisdom and prophetic power in spiritual matters, or a pause in one's life where decisions are temporarily suspended. It is good to remember self surrender leads to the transformation of the personality where material temptations conquered. A reversed card indicates arrogance, paying more attention to the physical appearance while ignoring spiritual matters, possibly a false prophecy and a general waste of effort.

    Literature, Folklore & art:
    • Twelfth Night - play by William Shakespeare
    • Twelve Days of Christmas (song)
    • Twelve Dancing Princesses (folktale)
    • Twelve Foundations of Aristotle
    • Cheaper By the Dozen, book by Frank Bunker Gilbreth, made into 2 movies.
    • Many novels and music named either 12 or Twelve
    • Dirty Dozen - movie
    • Twelve Years a Slave - movie
    • 12 Monkeys - movie
    Common usage:
    • Cheaper by the dozen
    • Twelve Pack

    Saturday, May 23, 2015

    Has Romance Changed?

    This month's round robin topic is about romance novels and how we as readers perceive the changes happening, which, for me, is a lot. During the last decade or more, romance novels have changed, perhaps longer, really, or since the turn of the century. Before then, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and historical romance titles had been around for a long time, but they had well-defined plot and character requirements and publishers didn't accept new works that broke those rules.

    I'd like to say women's empowerment made the difference in romance novels, but that has been happening since the 70s and through the 80s and 90s contemporary romantic female protagonists, unless widows, were largely virgins, and their occupations were traditional: secretaries, teachers, or nurses. Today's woman protagonist can be leading scientists, CEOs, doctors, pilots, military officers, private investigators or police investigators, truck drivers, madams; you name it.

    I think one of the biggest influences was the emergence of e-books, although romance elements have always been present in other genre. One well-known male author I read back in the 90s said all novels contain a hint of romance since most stories involve at least two characters of the opposite sex. Now, it's even with the same sex. Still, the romance genre held that the romantic relationship was the predominant element. It seems many print publishers failed to notice changing reader interests, which for several years made e-books the only growing market in publishing. Cross-genre plot lines (take the genres of romance, erotica, historical, mystery, horror, western, suspense, fantasy, and science fiction, and mix two or three together in one story and you have a another genre) stories that would not be accepted by the print publishers found homes with on-line publishers, and then found audiences.

    During the last decade sex scenes as well as women's occupations have changed in romance novels. In today's novels, even those not labeled erotic, most contain very explicit sex. Women, the majority of romance readers, are people who enjoy sex; although, they still seems to search for the one-and-only man, which considering divorce and breakup rates might be a mythical concept. The HEA (happy ever after) plot is also changing to include happy for now.

    One new event is the emergence of the 'new adult' genre, supposedly for the out of high school to early twenties reading audience, although some male protagonists have been in the early thirty's. These stories usually contain very explicit sex scenes. I do have a problem with the 'new adult' moniker being so close to young adult, which is for preteen and early teen readers. I think uninformed purchasers could easily buy new adult for the younger crowd, which could create problems.

    I'm also interested in how new sex orientations will affect future romances. We already have gay romances. Will we also have asexual, demisexual, and transgender novels? I think so. Everything changes and to stay interesting, traditional plot and genres need to reflect changes in society.

    Check out more opinions on this topic. Visit the following pages:
    Beverley Bateman
    Fiona McGier
    Connie Vines
    Skye Taylor 
    Margaret Fieland
    Helena Fairfax 
    Anne Stenhouse 
    Marci Baun 
    Diane Bator
    Rachael Kosinski

    Saturday, May 16, 2015

    All Things Eleven

    Eleven As a Symbol
    Cardinal: ELEVEN
    Hindu-Arabic: 11
    Ordinate: Eleventh
    Roman: XI
    basic math: 1 + 10, no divisors Roman words of eleven: undecim,undecimus
    Greek words of eleven: endecea
    Anglo-Saxon word for eleven: 'Endleofen', or one left over after 10 fingers
    Time and holiday references:
    • November
    • eleventh month
    • 11:00
    Science, Technology References:
    • Sodium (Na)
    • Eleven year cycle of sun
    Games, sports references:

    • Football team, only 11 men on field during play
    • Jack (cards)
    Prophetic references:

    • Eleven is the number of revelation
    • transcendental enlightenment and martyrdom
    • It represents the combination of God (1) plus the World (10)
    Astrological Association: House of Aquarius
    Tarot divination: justice: justice will be done; balance is required, well balanced mind.

    Common Usage, slang references:
    • eleventh hour
    • elevenses (mid-morning snack)