Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happy Leap Day 2012!

If there were ever a day to do something special or epic it would be today. Leap Day only comes around once every four years so go big, go crazy. 

We can thank the Romans for designating February 29th as leap day. An extra day to keep the seasons in tune. The Gregorian calendar came up with a better formula in the 16th century. That same division of four is what we still use today.

For the ladies Leap Day is a very special one. If you’ve got a fella who needs to put a ring on it, put one on him instead. In the 5th century St. Bridget complained to St. Patrick about women having to wait on a man to propose. St. Patrick relented and set aside February 29th as the day the fairer sex had the right to ask for her beau’s hand in marriage. Victorian traditions say that the proposing lady should be wearing a red petticoat first.

What if he says no? Well then, he owes the rejected lass a fine. As laid down by Scots Queen Margaret in 1288, the man must give the jilted lady fair a kiss, a silk dress or pair of gloves. However, this is 2012 inflation and all so, if he says no, gals ask for something sparkly. Or fast, red and says vroom.

Unless it’s in Greece then it’s thought to be unlucky to be married in a leap year. Other leapish folklore around the world includes a belief that children born in a leap year will be unruly, or that crops planted such as beans or peas planted will grow down and a long the ground instead of the vine climbing up. There are many traditions and superstitions around leap day and leap year.  

Whether you chose to make February 29th an extra day of work or play be sure it’s a day to remember. You’ve got four years to plan for the next one.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Author Chat with CP Bialois Author of Call of Poseidon

Gladiator's Pen welcomes Author CP Bialois to the Ludis! Refill your mug and sit back as we chat with the author of Call of Poseidon. 

Who is CP Bialois:
 I was born and raised in Pennsylvania and as a child I got into everything. Mostly things I shouldn’t have. To keep me out of trouble, and to save their sanity, my dad tried to get me interested in various things. Being all boys like army, construction, cowboys and indians, and superhero toys. He used them and movies to help me find an interest aside from tearing the house apart. It worked but no more so than when we began learning to read in school.

For me “Watch Spot run” didn’t hold my interest so I struggled to learn to read because of it. I wanted fun things to do and to his credit my father bought a stack of comic books and began teaching me to read with those. The teachers couldn’t believe how I went from one of the worst readers to one of the best because of comics and I’m sure she’s still in disbelief to this day. If she remembers me.

Since then I’ve written short stories here and there on various topics until one day I broke through the thirty page barrier and wrote my first novel. I still don’t know how I did it, but thanks to the support of my wife and friends I now have several books ready to be edited and published over the next year or two.

Are you a full time writer or do you bring home the bacon with a “day job”?
 I’m a full time writer but I’m also looking for something to help subsidize what I’m doing. I’ve also taken up editing, reviewing, and doing what else I can to help other authors achieve their goals.

Most writers are avid readers, do you prefer to read the same genre you write in?
 Yes and no. There’s no question that if you want to write something you have to read book in that genre to understand it better but my interests are all over the place. I do try to read similar works to what I’m working on in an effort to keep me motivated but I’ve found, for me at least, that reading out of the box stimulates me more and adds to the story.

What was the first story you ever wrote?
 Wow, that goes back a long way. I’d have to say it was a two pager about the Transformers after I saw the episodes “The Return of Optimus Prime”. It was about the potential for their war to be over and to finally have peace.

Do you outline or fly by the seat of your pants?
 I use a combination of both. I know in my mind how I want the story to start, what I want to happen, and how to end it but the rest I let it go and see where the story takes me. Often times it creates a major headache with continuity when its time to edit.

Describe your writing place? (you can provide a pic if you like)
 In general I can write anywhere but I prefer the local library or Starbucks. As long as I can sit comfortably with my headphones I’ll pound out a story.

Tell us about your latest release, Call of Poseidon.
 In Call of Poseidon, a conch shell that allows the person holding it to summon the power of Poseidon resurfaces in the Museum of Natural History in New York.

The night of a preview showing, an Illuminati agent steals the Conch shell Poseidon gave to his children ruling Atlantis to return it to it’s proper owners. To catch them a disgruntled police detective and a rookie FBI agent  are teamed together to find the agent and conch shell before it’s too late.

Where did the inspiration for this book come from?
 I’ve always been a big fan of mythology, Greek, Roman, and Norse so one day I was kicking around an idea about bringing it into the current day. It originally was a short story idea that developed into something more than I expected.

Did you learn something new about yourself or writing while working on this novel?
 Definitely. The biggest experience was that I could write a novel. Before all I could write was a maximum of thirty to forty pages. When the last page was done it was like a restraint disappeared for good.

What authors have influenced your own writing?
 For me Stephen King, Sue Grafton, Margaret Weiss, Tracy Hickman, Tom Clancy, and Mark Twain are at the top of the list.

What is your favorite coffee house drink or treat?
 Mochafrappucino from Starbucks. It can’t be beat.

Do you have any works in progress for us to look for in the future?
 The Sword and the Flame series scheduled to begin publishing towards the end of March. It’s a two book fantasy series in the vein of Dungeons and Dragons and Dragonlance. I’m also editing a science fiction novel called The Last World where Earth is the final existing colony from a once galaxy sized empire of humans. 

What would you like to say to your readers and/or fellow writers?
 I hope they enjoy my work as much as I do creating it.

Where to find CP Bialois and his books.
Twitter: @cpbialois

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Dark Attraction

You pull up to the pump at the gas station, across from you is a guy (or gal for the gents) filling up his Harley. His heavy boots echo on the concrete as he shifts his feet, there’s a darkness to him, a look in his eyes that tells you he’s probably seen the back seat of a few squad cars.

Yet you almost overfill your car as a fantasy plays out in your head. Your mind is saying, “he’s bad news, babe.” The rest of you is saying, “ohhh yes, he is.”

Bad boys (girls), we have this wild attraction to them that seems to border almost on obsession at times. Why?  What draws us to the thing we know we should turn and run from?

I admit to being a goodie goodie at times. I never skipped class, never got into trouble. The only reason I know what the inside of a cop car looks like because my dad worked for Miami-Dade as a mechanic supervisor.

But if the hottie on the Harley had said, “You want a ride?” My answer would have been, “Hell yes.”

Something about being “bad” is sexy. I believe it’s the idea that these men and women live outside the box. There are rules and guidelines we strive to follow in every aspect of our lives. They show their disapproval of mainstream ways with defiance.

Bad boys and girls don’t care what other people think about them. They do what they want and how they want to do it. It’s a kind of freedom from pressures and restrictions we feel in everyday life. We see them standing there giving off a vibe of indifference to expectations and see it as a kind of strength. Strength and self-confidence, is sexy.

Especially if it’s clad in tight black jeans and a leather jacket. Maybe next time I see Mr. Harley I’ll ask him for a ride around the block.

This post is part of the Blogs Gone Bad blog fest and Fellow Writers Blog Hop For more great posts on blogs gone bad and romantic notions click on the links. Happy Reading! 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

James Spence: Silent but Deadly

Seance is one of my favorite movies. Co-ed Lauren is haunted by a little girl who once lived in the building before they became part of the college dorms. During Thanksgiving weekend the dorms are abandoned but for Lauren, her four friends and the ghost girl.

That is until the students hold an impromptu séance in an attempt to communicate. The little girl Cara was already here on our plane but James Spence the building’s maintenance man wasn’t. The pot induced ceremony unleashed Spence who was ready to reclaim his building.

What made Spence, played by Adrian Paul of Highlander fame, such a great villain was the fact he said maybe four sentences the entire film. Not being able to voice threats and taunts Paul had to show us how bad Spence was going to be in a scene with facial expressions and body language. There was no denying his intent or meaning even though he was silent.

The way he held his body, even the tilt of his head would send a chill down your spine.  Those cold blue eyes said I’m gonna get you. A performance spine tingling enough to win "Best Dramatic Feature" at the Eureka Springs Digital Film Festival. One by one Spence takes them on uttering not a sound. Next time you don’t hear anything go bump in the night… turn out the lights and make sure Spence isn’t hiding under your bed. 

How Do Characters Go Bad

Every story needs a bad guy to make the hero shine. Without Dracula, Johnathan Harker would have just been a wimpy solicitor. Luke Skywalker might still have become a hero as a squad leader in Star Wars, but, with the help of a shove from daddy Darth he became a more awesome and memorable character as a Jedi Knight.

The villain and their background has everything to do with how heroic a hero will turn out to but what’s the recipe for turning a character to their dark side?

One cup of attitude, two tablespoons of thorn in the side…. No that’s not really how it works. Characters go bad for the same reasons people do. It could have been something they were born into, a family history of malevolent behavior.

 For example gangsters, as in Al Capone not pull up your pants wanna bes.  Most of these stories are about men who were taught the “family business”. They were raised in a world where bad things are a lifestyle choice.

The character’s environment can play a part in how they turn out in life. If their childhood was spent hanging with the wrong crowd the behaviors could stick with them in adult hood.

A drug king pin could have been a kid who’s family struggled for every slice of bread on the table. Unable to cope with the lack of food or money they started selling dope on the street corner for the local king as a way to buy the things working a legitimate job couldn’t.

There is a theory that it’s genetic, that some people are just born bad. The parent was a violent person so the child will be also. There have been a few books and movies based on this evil gene theory.

A villain doesn’t always have to start off bad. Somewhere in their past a line was crossed. Either a loss or event that triggered their sinister ways.

Outlaws can have many shades of black and gray as to how bad they really are. One thing a writer needs to be cautious of is how hated the character can become. He or she has to have something likeable about them.

At least one quality or vulnerability that gives them a touch of humanity, something a reader can relate to. If a bad apple gets too rotten it starts to turn all of the other apples in the barrel. That’s what happens when a character is too cruel or harsh. It taints the rest of the story and can turn a reader off very quickly. 

By the end of a story the villain is usually overshadowed by the hero, but, a well written bad apple gets noticed.

So what are you waiting for? Join us this week as Outlaw’spRose hosts Blogs Gone Bad and celebrates the bad boys and girls of fact and fiction all this week! 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Something dark and sinister is coming to this blog and others. The dark side comes to Gladiator’s Pen for Blogs Gone Bad blog fest  hosted by Outlaw’s pRose, starting February 12.

The week long fest will be a fun ride on the wrong side of the tracks with fiction and muses about the darker stories and characters we love to lothe. Channel your inner villain and sneak over to Outlaw’s pRose and sign your blog up.

Why join a blog fest? 
1. It will give you an excuse to write something different than your blogs normal content or challenges you to write outside your box. 
2. It helps connect your blog to new readers and find great new blogs for you to read too. 
3 It's FUN!  

What are you waiting for? Go sign up and think bad things!  Blogs Gone Bad blog fest