Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Character Profile Brian Nickerson

Brian is a soldier to his core. His father was a soldier and when he got out he trained his boys to be soldiers. Brian is the older of two boys. He is also the only one that followed his father's love of the military. His younger brother Dylan is far more intellectual as well as passive. he never felt the call to serve.

When Brian was 13 he befriended a foster boy from down the street taking on the leadership role and in a not so subtle way replacing his own younger brother. His new best friend, Kyle, and he would go on to join the Army just as they were taught. They trained together, fought together and even witnessed tragedy side by side.

Kyle knew that things were different when they came home though Brian was stubborn and refused to acknowledge that he needed help. Kyle began going to counseling even though Brian teased him about it. When Kyle wanted to join the support group Brian still insisted it was a ridiculous idea though he did come along.

As time goes on in Sharing Strength Brian's issues grow and he develops different types of relationships with the various other members of the group. He is a very integral part of the story and a character I hope many will recognize so that hopefully they can see and help when the signs of PTSD show themselves.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Character Profile Dr. James Kurtsman

Sharing Strength is about a group of people diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. They come together in a support group to learn from each other and share concerns with one another. The man that leads the support group is Dr. James Kurtsman.

Dr. Kurtsman is a cancer survivor that focused his psychological practice on grief counseling for many years. He did some family therapy but after his wife died, also from cancer, he left private practice. He had stayed by his wife's side and even tried to help her patients after she died but he just felt that he was lost in his own grief.

Once he left private practice he took up gardening and threw himself into fixing up his classic truck. He reads about upgrades in every issue picking out projects to add to his growing to do list. He has a relatively happy life though he starts feeling like he needs to help people again though he isn't quite sure about reentering the world of private practice.

As he is contemplating his next steps he receives a call from a partnering psychiatrist from his former office. He had a group of people that had ptsd and he was looking to form a support group for them. Because of doctor patient privilege he feels it would be best for another to lead the group so he asks Dr. Kurtsman. agrees immediately to help.

He has a hard time reaching them at first but does build a level of trust eventually with the tiny clan. He slowly learns their stories working to make connections. He does everything he can to try to help them find peace. To teach them methods of coping with their issues.

Some of the members are more willing to work on their problems while others hide away. They all exhibit different symptoms as well as side problems. He weeds through each person's emotion struggles trying to find the best path for each of them In the end not everyone in the story is able to survive their plights and Dr. Kurtsman holds their hands as the grieve the loss of one of their own.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Character Profile Jasmine

Jasmine is one of two main women in the book Sharing Strength. She is 20 years old and loves photography. She wanted to be a professional photographer for many years though she no longer believes she has the talents and abilities needed to make her dream a reality.

 When she was 15 years old she began dating a guy that she thought was going to be the love of her life. He was a few years older than her so she tended to believe he was smarter just based on age. He was sadistic. He tortured her physically and even more so psychologically. He told her she was nothing without him. She came to believe that if she messed up he would leave her and she would die alone. When she did get out of line he would hit her while telling her why she had brought it on herself.

She hid the bruises from everyone, refusing to acknowledge the reality of the situation for four years. It was only when he went so far during a fight that he threatened to kill her that she finally fought back. Her survival instincts took over making her struggle desperately to live. She did escape him and charges were pressed but she still blamed herself. The torment she survived took such a dramatic toll on her psychologically that her friends and family pushed her into therapy where she was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder.

After a few months of intense sessions her psychologist asked if she would be interested in attending a newly forming support group. She agreed hesitantly and did attend the meetings. She befriended another, slightly younger, girl that was also a part of the group. She became something of a big sister to the younger girl and tried to support her all while trying to find her own identity again. She interacted with the other members and together they formed a type of family unit dealing with triumphs and defeats alike.

Jasmine is a very personal character for me as she is based in part on events I encountered as well. I hope you enjoy getting to know her and taking the journey with her in Sharing Strength.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sharing Strength preview

Here is a small unedited excerpt from my newest WIP Sharing Strength

Brian Nickerson was a soldier to his core. He had been raised by a soldier and there had never been any question about what he would become when he got older. His younger brother had been expected to follow the same path but he grew up and chose to go to school and study philosophy. As far as Brian was concerned we was weak and no longer a part of the family.

He had found his best friend when he was thirteen years old. Kyle was a foster kid that moved in down the street and while he was very outgoing he was still kind of a follower and Brian was happy to lead. They had been close, like brothers themselves and though Kyle was six months older he had always acted as the younger brother.

They had graduated high school and joined the Army together the next day. They went to basic training together and served in combat missions as part of the same unit. Kyle received commendations and high praise from his superiors while many felt that Brian was unfocused and egotistical causing him to get passed over for promotion repeatedly. Even though Kyle outranked him Brian was always the leader between the two.

They both saw combat and when they returned stateside both suffered nightmares and flashbacks although Brian refused to admit he had any concerns. Kyle on the other hand recognized that he needed to talk and when he tried with Brian he just got laughed at. Now here they were again with Kyle trying to get help and Brian acting like it was a big joke.

Dr. Kurtsman may not have known all of this but the dynamic between the two men and the military background jumped out immediately. For one thing Brian had an Army t-shirt and fatigue pants on with boots while Kyle was wearing jeans and a polo shirt. They were both in decent shape, though Kyle’s physique stood out even under the unflattering garments he chose.

While the guys fought what was obviously a never ending battle, the young girl in the corner had slowly been sliding along the wall in the direction of the snacks. She had nearly reached her destination when she saw the doctor watching her and froze. He smiled and stood up. She immediately stepped back but only a few feet. She wasn’t sure what he was doing or who exactly he was. He walked over and picked up the box of donuts and held it out in her direction.

Wordlessly she stepped forward and snatched one before retreating back into the shelter of the shadows. Dr. Kurtsman gently unfolded a chair and put it down at the edge of the circle of light, facing the group. He backed away but kept his watch over her. Once he had retreated back to his seat she decided it was safe and crept into the offered chair, moving silently as though afraid of her own sound.

The guys stopped bickering for a minute when she sat down, surprised by the sudden invasion of the circle but almost immediately returned to their private disagreement. Meanwhile Dr. Kurtsman wondered down to see if the man that had stormed out was still around or if he had changed his mind. He found Craig outside quietly smoking and looking at pictures on his phone. There was also a young lady in the parking lot watching cautiously from the safety of her car.

He smiled and waved an acknowledgement and she waved back, sans the smile. She seemed to be having an internal version of the argument happening back inside. Sighing with her whole body she seemed to come to a decision and exited the vehicle, pulling her jacket slightly tighter and, with head lowered to avoid eye contact, brushed past the two men and stalked into the hall.

She had to slow her gate when she encountered the darkness, allowing her eyes to adjust momentarily but then resumed making a bee line for the coffee and quickly setting up a chair. She kept her eyes on the ground and sipped the luke warm caffeine. She fished out a cookie from her bag and nibbled on it daring a fast glance at the rest of the group. She needed this group to help but had serious doubts anything could help her and wasn’t sure she deserved the help even if it were available.

The two men outside appeared to be older, one quite a bit so, but there were a couple inside that seemed closer to her age. Then there was a very nervous looking little feather weight on her left. This poor thing was shaking and looked like she could bolt at any moment. She felt compelled to say something to her but just as she summoned her courage the smoker and old man wondered back in. This seemed to suggest that things were about to get started.

As Craig took his seat, Dr. Kurtsman moved his chair into more of a circle location and stood behind it, leaning forward and looking over his tiny flock. He looked over at the girl at the edge of the light and motioned for her to move closer. She hesitated but slid the chair into the circle, obviously favoring to be closer to the other female and distancing herself as much as possible from any of the men.

The feuding young men quieted down in anticipation and looked at him with quite different looks. Kyle waited patiently for guidance while the disdain from Brian was painted on his face. Craig was watching him, arms folded guardedly and the women were both wearily observing the men and somehow seemed to be simultaneously trying to disappear.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Something New

I have been writing realistic fiction for most of my life between poetry and my stories both long and short. I have recently become inspired to stretch beyond my comfort zone trying different genres. I am quite excited about this new direction yet apprehensive in many ways.

I am creating a series that uses aspects of fantasy and paranormal. I have never attempted to create my own world or used these devices in my writing before so this will be an adventure for me. I am maintaining the setting of Earth and I am planning to stay within the U.S. since I have the most experience here.

All of my books and stories completed previously have been stand alone stories so this being a series will be a challenge but I am passionate about expanding this part of my writing as well. I want to create a group of books that could be read in any order but also all tie together in a collection. I am currently brainstorming about the first one and the research alone has been very interesting.

It is based on the 7 deadly sins and each book is created around one of the sins. The characters from each will interact though the main character will change from book to book. As I research the angle I have chosen I have seen a strong sexual component to the sins. I had expected this for Lust, perhaps even Envy, Greed and Gluttony but I have found that sex runs through most of them and so I am considering making this a more adult series and adding an erotic subtext to the stories.

I will be sharing Character Bios as I develop them. I hope my readers enjoy them as much as I have been enjoying creating them.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Rescue Me Inspiration

A few months ago I was scrolling through all of the posts on facebook. I shared animals that needed to get out of shelters, liked updates from friends and commented on a few upcoming events. I was about to close facebook and go do something else for awhile when I came across the pained and yet beautiful face of an abandon senior dog. He name was Abigail and she was 16 years old.

She had been abused, neglected but love had been denied. Her face had mange removing the fur. Her eyes had cataracts. I looked at her and my heart broke. She was so depressed, so fragile, and worst of all, she was completely alone. I immediately started trying to figure out a way to help her but while I was in the midst of my own attempt there was a man with far greater resources and a capacity for love that is unmatched who had chosen to step up.

He adopted Abigail determined to bring her back to health so she could live out her golden years in a home with love. Sadly shortly after finally being given the home and love she so deserved Abigail's tired little body gave up. She went home to heaven where she would never hurt or fear again and the man that loved her held as she went, crying and loving her the entire time. He is a hero to me.

In her name he created a charity, Abigail's Fund. I have very limited resources but I am so inspired by him and his love for this special dog I have decided to use my talents to do the one thing I can. I am creating an anthology of poems, pictures and short stories that once published will be donating all the proceeds to Abigail's Fund.

Anyone interested in submitting or that would be willing to help with the book please feel free to contact me either comment here or on my facebook author page or the page for the anthology itself Rescue Me - Animal Anthology.