Quotations on Character

Love these little words of wisdom.

charles french words reading and writing

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“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.”

                                                                     Maya Angelou

M0015415 Sophocles, from the bust in the Lateran, Rome.

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“All men make mistakes, but a good man yields when he knows his course is wrong, and repairs the evil. The only crime is pride.”

                                                                          Sophocles

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“Knowledge will give you power, but character respect.”

                                         …

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WOLF NOTES: An Uncommon Interview – Matt Fuchs

081Welcome to WOLF NOTES, where interview questions stray from the rest of the pack. It’s nice to know the usual stuff like where an author gets their inspiration and why they write, but sometimes we need a little fun in our lives. Say hello to Matt Fuchs.

megreenshirt3Matt Fuchs writes speculative fiction. In his novella Rise of Hypnodrome, published with CCLaP in 2015, a political faction called the Lifestyle Party rises to power under the presidency of Deepak Chopra and rolls out a policy agenda to maximize personal happiness. Matt tells stories about enlightened AI and fringe political ideas taking over. Links to his work appearing in Compelling Science Fiction, Centropic Oracle, Allegory, Every Day Fiction, and more can be found at fuchswriter.com. Other endeavors include law review articles on the first amendment and magazine pieces about adventure eating. He hasn’t figured out yet how to combine the two topics.

Wolf: If you could be any animal in the universe, what would it be and why?
Matt: The backward-aging jellyfish. When it starts to die, it can reverse the aging process to the larva stage and then it grows into an adult again.

Wolf: That’s really cool. What is the strangest food you’ve ever eaten?
Matt: I’ve tried a bunch of stuff including worms, crickets, and tuna eyeballs. But the food that I physically rejected, as in threw up on an East Village sidewalk, was a goat platter covered in a curry called p’haal, which is laced with spices that Indian farmers smear on their fences to keep elephants from their crops.

Wolf: I think I’ll stay away from that one. What is the nicest thing you’ve ever done to your characters?
Matt: I turned a character into a god. Can’t beat that.

Wolf: What is the meanest thing you’ve ever done to your characters?
Matt: Dying alone. It’s happened to quite a few of my characters!

Wolf: You’ve just been turned into a plant. Describe yourself.
Matt: I need people’s emotions to photosynthesize. Sunlight and nutrients do nothing for me, but I crave human sadness, jealousy and enthusiasm, especially when these feelings are experienced within a few feet of my leaves. It makes me grow and blossom. Apathy makes me wilt.

Wolf: If you could have a super power, what would it be?
Matt: The ability to change the timespan of a given day from 24 hours to any duration of my choosing.

Wolf: I’d love to have that one! If you had to pick a weapon, what would it be and why?
Matt: It’d be a weapon of the mind like telepathy. I would communicate responsibly to make the world a better place, or I’d more likely end up planting ideas in people’s heads about me being ridiculously smart and good-looking.

Wolf: What five items would you want to have in a post-cataclysmic world?
Matt: Number one, a machine that magically produces rivers of cold brew coffee. My tennis racquet. At least one other person so I don’t have to make friends with beach balls. Books for entertainment since it’s boring when everything is destroyed, unless zombies are chasing me. Also right after the apocalypse a time machine would be great!

Wolf: Great ideas. Describe a meal you would be served while visiting another world.
Matt: Humans are the enemies of the species inhabiting this world, so I’ve disguised myself as another breed of alien, one that’s on better diplomatic terms, to avoid capture. I’m hanging out with the emperor, who serves me a delicacy stolen from earth. Pan-fried humans! What do I do?

Wolf: Don’t have an answer for you. What story are you working on now?
Matt: A single dad raising his young daughter who is 60 percent robot.

 
Social Media Links: @FuchsWriter

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Mirage

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“Damn it, Joe. We’ve been searching for hours. That pet of yours could be anywhere.”

Joe bit his lip as he scanned the landscape. “She’s just playing hide and seek. We’ll find her.”

Billy wiped the sweat from his face. “No we won’t. That chameleon could be right in front of us and we wouldn’t see it. You should never have let it outside.”

“Wasn’t right to keep her locked up. Creature like that needs to fly.”

“Well it flew alright, probably into the next county. Let them deal with it.”

“I’m not giving up.”

“Well I’m hot, tired, and I’ve seen at least four disappearing ponds. I need a drink.”

“Let’s just check the next few sand dunes. She’s got to be close.” He gave a shrill whistle and trudged up the next sandy slope. “Come on baby, where are you? Come to papa.”

“Get real, Joe. It’s a bloody reptile, not a dog.”

Joe felt heat flush his face. He glared at Billy. “She’s smarter than any dog.”

“Not even close. My…what the….”

Sand shifted under Billy’s feet, and he tumbled down the dune. A pair of fist sized golden orbs peered at Joe, then Billy’s prone figure. Rows of jagged teeth appeared and a rumbling laugh filled the air.

“There’s my little Mirage,” said Joe. Her tail thrashed back and forth as he scratched behind her leathery wing. “You showed him who’s smarter. Great camouflage.”

Billy sighed. “You win, but you’re concept of size is really skewed.”

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WOLF NOTES: An Uncommon Interview – Peter Pollak

081Welcome to WOLF NOTES, where interview questions stray from the rest of the pack. It’s nice to know the usual stuff like where an author gets their inspiration and why they write, but sometimes we need a little fun in our lives.

This week Peter Pollak stopped by for a visit.Selfie.2015

Wolf: Welcome to Wolf Notes, Peter. Tell us a little about yourself:
Peter: Born in upstate New York to refugee parents from Nazi Europe, I wanted to write stories from the time as a teenager I finished Thomas Wolfe’s Look Homeward Angel. That was the first time I realized what writing could accomplish—namely, it could give me a vehicle to reveal who I am, what is important to me, and at the same time give pleasure to others. Not equipped at that point to write anything anyone would want to read I postponed that ambition until I retired from my careers as a journalist, educator, and entrepreneur in 2007 and told myself, “it’s now or never.” Six novels later, I’m not ready to slow down.

Wolf: If you could be any animal in the universe, what would it be and why?
Peter:  A lion because I was born under the sign Leo.

Wolf: What is the strangest food you’ve ever eaten?
Peter:  Some of my own cooking.

Wolf: That’s funny. If you had to pick a weapon, what would it be and why?
Peter: That depends on the circumstances, but if someone dangerous was about to break down my front door, a double-gauge shotgun would be handy.

Wolf: What is the nicest thing you’ve ever done to your characters?
Peter: Give them a voice. Of course, they’re not real, but they represent reality as I see it. They become real to many of my readers as well.

Wolf: What is the meanest thing you’ve ever done to your characters?
Peter: Put them up against insurmountable odds and really nasty antagonists.

Wolf: You’ve just been turned into a plant. Describe yourself.
Peter: As a plant I lack consciousness and therefore can’t describe what I don’t know.

Wolf: Do you consider yourself a cat person, or a dog person?
Peter: Dog person. Cats are too independent while dogs can lift up one’s spirit by the way they welcome you when you’ve been away or take them out to the park to play.

Wolf: While walking in the woods you come across…
Peter: While walking in the woods, I come across signs of a struggle in a small clearing. There’s fur and blood on the ground and broken branches and matted down grasses. I begin to search the area to find clues to what took place, and at first I come up empty, but then I see it . . . the outline of a body. I’m almost afraid to approach given that the victor might be near by, but I have to know if it’s still alive. The body is partly hidden by a thicket of brush. I move closer one step at a time and start to push open the bush, but prickles grab at my hands and shirt. I pull back. Picking up two branches from the ground, I use them to part the bush. What in the . . .? The body is covered in grey fur, but has legs and arms like a human. It is the size of a child and its head resembles a rodent with a snout rather than a nose. I poke it with one of the sticks. It doesn’t move. “I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” a voice says. I jump back and turn around. There stands a tall creature with an elephant head—a short trunk and large ears, but the eyes—the eyes are human. I’m not sure how I made it out of the woods alive, but I’m warning you. Stay away from the university’s forest preserve. You may not come back alive.

Wolf: Makes you wonder what they are experimenting on. If you could have a super power, what would it be?
Peter: All of them.

Wolf: So you’d be a super super hero. There is a door at the end of dark, damp corridor. You hear rumbling. What do you do?
Peter: I’ve come to the end of a dark, damp corridor. I entered the corridor in the basement of a university building that is no longer being used while searching for the right office to renew my parking permit. It was out of that ridiculous curiosity that always gets me in trouble. I just had to know where the corridor went. I stand in front of the door debating whether to open it when a sound that I must have been ignoring breaks through my consciousness. It’s a rumbling sound like water rushing through a channel with nothing impeding its progress. The door is my only hope. I reach for it and then . . .

Wolf: The world is about to end. What is the first thing you do?
Peter: Tell the nut-job who keeps telling me that to get a life.

Wolf: Which of your characters is your favorite?
Peter: I like Nick Grocchi, the protagonist in my first novel, The Expendable Man, because he represents an everyman­­––someone who isn’t in a great place in his life in part because he’s the kind of person who doesn’t think much about the future. He just acts on his instincts and as of late they have failed him. Now all of a sudden he’s in deep do-do and he’s got to change his approach to life if he’s to have any chance of surviving.

Wolf: Describe a meal you would be served while visiting another world.
Peter: I guess I’m supposed to eat what’s on the plate that’s been placed in front of me, but I can’t really describe it because I’m on another world and don’t even know the language. I look around and everyone’s looking at me. No one is eating the food in front of them. I look down at the piles––one looks like head cheese, another like large un-ripened grapes, and the third is a red puddle that resembles blood. Instead I pull out a Snickers bar and take a bit and pass it to the person on my right. “Try it, you’ll like it,” I tell him/her/it.

Wolf: What story are you working on now?
Peter: I’m revising my fantasy novel that I call The Way. It’s a coming of age story involving multiple protagonists which is probably why it has taken me years to finish. At the same time I’d like to make some progress on another thriller—this one featuring a female FBI protagonist who comes from the most unusual background.

Wolf: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Peter: Read, play Words with Friends, watch a very small number of TV shows with my wife—small because I can only find a small number worth watching, play golf and especially take walks when the weather permits.

Wolf: Why do you write—is it to make money or fulfill some void in your life?
Peter: The answer is neither of the above. I’ve nurtured a story telling craft over the course of my life by reading and trying to write stories to the point where I have what I think are some interesting story ideas and I’d like to find out if I can pull them off. Writing to me is like doing the crossword puzzle in the newspaper. Every morning I can’t wait to get to that day’s puzzle to see if I can find the proper word; in terms of writing I sit down wondering if I can find the proper sentences to make the characters come alive.

Social Media Links:

Website: http://petergpollak.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pgpollak
Twitter: @petergpollak
Linked-In: http://www.linkedin.com/in/pgpollak/

Picture(s): Attach as separate JPG file(s).

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WOLF NOTES: An Uncommon Interview – Cindy Young-Turner

081Welcome to WOLF NOTES, where interview questions stray from the rest of the pack. It’s nice to know the usual stuff like where an author gets their inspiration and why they write, but sometimes we need a little fun in our lives.

For the first interview of 2018 I bring you Cindy Young-Turner.

cyt_photoCindy Young-Turner has been writing for most of her life. At age twelve, she won her first writing contest, a local contest in her small hometown in Massachusetts calling for stories written in the style of Edgar Allan Poe. Thus began her love of stories that are dark and fantastical. She believes genre fiction can be just as well written and valuable as literature. The universal themes of love, hate, revenge, and redemption are present regardless of whether characters live in the distant future, on other planets, or in fantastical realms. By day she is an editor for international development projects. In her free time, she works on inspiring her characters to fight for change and justice in their imaginary worlds. Her published works include the fantasy novel Thief of Hope and a short prequel, Journey to Hope.

Wolf: If you could be any animal in the universe, what would it be and why?

Cindy: A meerkat. They’re just cool.

Wolf: What is the meanest thing you’ve ever done to your characters?

Cindy: I’ve done a lot of mean things to my characters. Suffering is good character development, right? My heroine has people she cares about killed in front of her and she’s also tortured. But she survives and is stronger for it.

Wolf: What is the nicest thing you’ve ever done to your characters?

Cindy: Offered them a chance for love and happiness. But sadly it doesn’t last that long.

Wolf: Do you consider yourself a cat person, or a dog person?

Cindy: Definitely a dog person. I don’t mind cats, but I’ve never wanted to own one. One of the first things we did after we bought a house was get a dog. 

Wolf: While walking in the woods you come across…

Cindy: A strange door in a tree. Of course it must be a portal to somewhere magical. I open it and step through. I really hope I’m right about it.

Wolf: If you could have a super power, what would it be?

Cindy: I would love to be able to teleport.

Wolf: You and me both. There is a door at the end of a dark, damp corridor. You hear rumbling. What do you do?

Cindy: I consult the other members of my adventuring party and we convince the hulking warrior to bust in the door. He takes the brunt of the dragon fire while the rest of us sneak in to loot the room.

Wolf: Sounds like fun, except for the warrior. What five items would you want to have in a post-cataclysmic world?

Cindy: A pocket knife, a book on edible plants and medicinal herbs, pens, paper, sewing needle. I’m not sure how long I would survive but maybe I could prove myself useful to a group that would take me into their enclave.

Wolf: What story are you working on now?

Cindy: I’ve been working on Thief of Destiny, which is the sequel to Thief of Hope, my first novel. Sydney, the heroine, is going to some dark places in book 2. Seeing so many people you care about die does impact your psyche a bit. I’m also working on a separate novel about a would-be executioner.

Social Media Links:

Website: http://www.cindyyoungturner.com
Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads

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Star Touched Book Signing January 6th

Didn’t get your copy of Star Touched yet?

Start 2018 right.

Come meet me on January 6, 2017 at the Barnes & Noble in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

You can pick up a signed copy of Star Touched and enter for a chance to win a prize.

By the way, If you are a Pre-K through Grade 12 educator, Barnes & Noble is offering 25% off most books, toys, games, movies, music, and more while you are there.

January 6, 2018
1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Barnes & Noble – Washingtonian Center
21 Grand Corner Ave.
Gaithersburg, MD 20878

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Farewell 2017 – Welcome 2018

The release of Star Touched made 2017 an exciting year.

20171128_100215Fifi and I made the rounds, from the Baltimore book Festival in Maryland, readings in Annapolis, MD, signings in Florida, Pennsylvania, and San Antonio, Texas. 503720171031_093023

 

 

 

 

Here are a few reviews of  Star Touched.

“Loved this book! It reminded me of the Dragonriders of Pern series, in a good way. (No dragons, but some common themes.) It moved at a good pace and had plenty of surprises, which all made sense in context. A very interesting world with believable characters. I intended to read it slowly, but could not stop myself from finishing it in a few days. Although it wrapped up the main conflict, I noticed there’s an opening for a sequel. Hoping that happens soon! Until then, I’ll have to re-read it, knowing all of the characters’ history and seeing how that changes my reading experience.” – Joanne Brazinski20171210_130610

Amy-Florida-10-23-2017“With Star Touched, Kaplan had me reeled in right from the start. I was able to place myself right in her story as if watching like a fly on the wall. The characters came alive with true raw emotion which left me wanting more. I don’t see this as a young adult book at all. My feeling is that any age group could relate and enjoy this story. It has something for everyone, but I most enjoyed the plain decent humanity of her main character. She has definitely opened the story for a sequel which I will be waiting for patiently.” –  Irene L. Henderson

book festival 2 2017“I really enjoyed everything about this book. It was engaging, entertaining and exactly what I needed. It pulled me in from the first page…I didn’t want to put it down.
Can’t wait to see what the next book brings!”

Now it’s time to welcome 2018.

I’m kicking off the year with a book signing at the Barnes & Noble in Gaithersburg, Maryland on January 6. If you’re in the area, come by and say hi.

Later in the month I’ll be visiting one of the Maryland Writers’ Association’s teen groups.  RavenCon 13 is April 20-22 this year and I’ll be there. Then on May 25-28 look for me at Balticon 52

Have a Safe and Happy 2018!

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