Monday, October 08, 2012

I Could’ve Been a Contender!…Or at Least Not Phobic…


CinderellaOne of my favorite television shows is ABC’s Once Upon a Time. I love this show because we receive a glimpse into the lives of time-honored and much loved fairy tale characters. We discover their stories—like how did Snow White and Prince Charming meet before the fated kiss? Why did Rumpelstiltskin choose to become an evil, magical imp instead of the loving, self-sacrificing father he once was? How did the queen become an embittered, warped, rage-filled evil bi—I mean, sorceress? It’s fascinating—the histories, choices and events that shaped them into Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella and Pinocchio are fascinating.


In August, our chapter hosted a program present by author Carrie Lofty called “From Clichés to Keepers”. She spoke about these same events that establishes a character’s inner-self and the psychological repercussions that affect their behavior and emotions. What altered a heroine’s path from rebellious, high-spirited child to biddable, don’t-rock-the-boat woman? What event ingrained a fear of snakes inside an otherwise fearless hero? Carrie asked us to participate in an exercise, sharing a significant turning point in our lives. She also wanted us to consider what our lives would look like now or what kind of people we would be if the event had not occurred.

I immediately knew my turning point. When I was five, I attended Messiah Lutheran Day Care Center. That summer there was an infestation of Daddy Long Legs. They were every-freaking-where! One hot day while eating lunch out on the playground, a couple of spiders crawled up my arm and—unbeknownst to me—one disappeared inside my Doritos bag. Imagine sprinkling those last, all-important crumbs—cause we all know the bag isn’t truly finished until you upend the crumbs on your tongue!—on my palm and discovering an eight-legged freak amid the chips! Oh Lawd! Up until that point my only fear was water pooling in my bathing suit and dragging down my top to expose my itty-bitty, non-existent boobies to my class! But after that point I developed a horrible, debilitating case of arachnophobia. And as twins often share many things, my sister did, too. We even stapled the spider section together in the Encyclopedia Britannica so we wouldn’t flip to it by mistake! Unfortunately, the fear hasn’t abided. I still haven’t watched that part in Return of the King. I’ve never watched  the movie Arachnophobia—had nightmares for two weeks from the trailer alone! If the Daddy Long Leg infestation hadn’t happened, well, I wouldn’t have heart palpitations every time I see a web. Aaand I wouldn’t sit in the car during a hot summer’s day sweating off five pounds waiting on my husband to get home so he can kill the spider on the front porch.
Under His Wings Cover
I started thinking about my characters and their life-changing events. In Under His Wings, my upcoming release from Ellora’s Cave Publishing, my heroine Tamar was the only survivor in a terrible plane crash. Up until the accident she’d been a fun-loving, daredevil type who enjoyed rock-climbing, sky-diving and camping. She was fearless. But after waking up in a dark wreckage on a mountainside and having to climb over tangled, bloody corpses to freedom, she developed crippling fears of the dark and flying, grounding her figuratively and literally. Which really throws a monkey wrench in falling in love with a hippogryph…

Cover loveandprotect_msr
In Love and Protect, my romantic suspense available from Ellora’s Cave, the hero, Sean—a hawt lead guitarist in a rock band—learned a hard lesson early in life. As a child, his drug-addicted mother abandoned him on a playground, teaching him even the one who is supposed to nurture, love and protect you cannot be trusted. This lesson was compounded when he was thrown into the cruel mercies of the foster system. It ingrained in him the need for control. He became a man who sought the connection of physical pleasure but feared true intimacy.


Stroke of Midnight coverMy heroine from Stroke of Midnight, an upcoming release from Ellora’s Cave based on the Cinderella fairy tale, is a brass-balls, no-nonsense businesswoman that wields sarcasm with the skill and deadliness of a dragon-slaying prince. Rowyn’s parents divorced when she was a child, and her embittered mother alternated between using Rowyn as a pawn against her father and belittling her when she didn’t achieve her mother’s impossible expectations of perfection. As a result, Rowyn built impenetrable defenses around her heart. A sweet, desperate-to-please child grew into a woman who rejected others before they could reject her.

How these characters over come their fears and hang-ups—or persevere in spite of them—are as wonderful to read as witnessing them defeat a serial-killer psychopath, discover the identity of an obsessed stalker and stand up to a tyrannical mother. Now my happily-ever-after where I can kill a spider or even look at a picture of one without flipping out hasn’t arrived yet… But hey! One can dream!

Tell me a life-changing event in your life or one of your characters. Or just make fun of mine! I’m giving away a $15.00 Amazon Gift Card to one lucky commenter on October 9th! Also a comment here qualifies you for another entry toward the KINDLE FIRE for US residents only! Remember, the more times you comment during the Blog Blitz, the more entries you have!

Also, if you’re in the Birmingham area—or are willing to travel here—Southern Magic is hosting their annual Readers Luncheon on November 3rd with fabulous keynote speaker, Sherrilyn Kenyon and welcome speaker, Dianna Love! On top of that, count in many more of your favorite talented authors, wonderful food, free books, awesome baskets and a bag full of swag! Check out the details here! Hope to see you there!

28 comments:

Lisa J said...

I have so many phobias I'm not sure what my defining moments are.

I feel your pain with the spider thing. Unfortunately, I have no one to kill them for me, so I have learned to throw things at them with deadly accuracy.

Ingrid Seymour said...

I am happy to report no phobias :) I can tell you about a life-chaging event, though. I received a scholarship to study here in the USA. There I met my husband, who is so wonderful I left my mother land for him!

Ingeborg said...

I grew up in Australia and there are huge spiders there, the size of my hand. They are harmless but creepy. One time there were two on the bathroom ceiling and I had to get my brother to take them outside before I hopped in the shower. I was afraid one would fall on my head.lol
Kit3247(at)aol(dot)com

Cari Hislop said...

Life changing moment...easy! The day my friend introduced me to the internet back in '96. Before that day I hated computers! She'd found this dating/friends website for people who shared our faith. I ended up marrying the first guy I wrote to - hence my move to England and my forthcoming 15th anniversary. (My friend came across her dream man a few weeks later and their fifteenth anniversary is coming up)

Just last night my hero came out of his cave to save me from a large eight legged intruder! The spider went out the window and the Goblin got a big hug!

Suzanne Johnson said...

My life-changing event was being a New Orleanian in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina struck. Everything in my life changed. And for the first time, I decided to try my hand at fiction writing. I regret Katrina, but I can't regret where it led me!

Meda White said...

My phobia is...tornadoes. I moved to Birmingham in March 2011, just in time for that fateful April day of severe weather across our area. While the tornado didn't hit us directly (it was 1/2 mile away), it was still too close for comfort. Now, every time we get bad weather, especially at night, my husband knows to look for me in the basement. The spiders down there don't even phase me.

Naima Simone said...

Hi, Lisa J!
LOL! Wow, that's rough with the phobias! Start alphabetically? Snicker. I tell you, Lisa, I need your talent of learning to throw with deadly accuracy. The only thing I am any help with after my husband or son kills a spider is getting them tissue. I can't even go near it after it's been squashed to heaven and back! Well, hell and back because that's where they spawn from...

Naima Simone said...

Hey, Ingrid!
Bless you! And those of us who suffer from the phobias are not jealous in the least...sorry. Couldn't say that without shaking my fist at you! LOL!!

What a cool life-changing event! Now there's a happily-ever-after ending!!

Naima Simone said...

Hi, Inge!
I've always wanted to visit Australia until about three years ago when--you guessed it!--I saw a special on National Geographic about the variety of spiders that are there! Good God! *shudder* Now I just look at the beautiful pictures of the country! TWO?? In the bathroom?? Give me the knife-wielding maniac in the Psycho shower scene any day over THAT!! LOL! Your brother is my hero!

Naima Simone said...

LOL!! Cari! That's a great life-changing story! And one that's still in the making fifteen years later! Awesome. Aaand he saves you from spiders?? Oh yeah, that internet was a life-changer for you!

Naima Simone said...

Hi, Suzanne!
Oh yes, Katrina is definitely a life-changer. I've heard you speak about it before, and I still cannot imagine how upside down your life was tossed. But, as a fan, I can't regret the path you now follow because of it. I LOVE your books!!

Naima Simone said...

Hey, Meda!
What a terrible introduction to Birmingham! I remember that tornado, too! We were without power for days! Thank God that's all the damage we suffered though. Then the one this past January was just a street over! This area was hit very hard! I have to admit though...given a choice between our basement and the tub...well, I'll let you figure that one out...Snicker. I'm such a chicken...

bmkaplan said...

My life changing event was having children. It made my life so much better.

Naima Simone said...

Hey, Bmkaplan!
I like to joke that the best things about my kids are the tax credits--and that's still true. snicker!--but okay, it isn't the BEST! They are wonderful and definitely changed who I was and am! Good one!

Jane said...

I do have a fear of heights, but it's not as bad as some people have it. I'm hoping one day I'll be able to conquer this fear by attempting to bungee jump.

Naima Simone said...

Oh wow! Jane, for real? Bunjee jumping?? That's courageous!! Maybe one day I can look at that scene in LOTR: Return of the King..that'll be my starting point! You go, girl!

RedPeril said...

Well, I don't really have a phobia. Unless you want to count my irrational aversion to Precious Moments Figurines...and Cher. >.> It's fairly easy to avoid both.

I often think that people are largely composed of life-changing moments...traumatic, dramatic, or just the plain old internal epiphany. They're the inciting incidents for new stories in our lives. I might be a touch paranoid, but I actually worry when I've gone an extended period of time without any of those moments. >.>

I'm good for right now. ^_^ Having kids was my most recent life-changer. But my favorite is still the day I decided I was going to leave my little Minnesota home town and go on a massive roadtrip across the U.S. and Canada. Without that trip and all it's life-altering craziness, I wouldn't have met my husband, ended up in the south, or had my kids.

Shadow said...

I love that show too! The different times, the magic, the characters and the stories they come from! I love it all! Your books sound great! Thanks for sharing!

Naima Simone said...

What, Red Peril? No sweet, cherub-faced figurines? No "If I Could Turn Back Time" and leather-strap-and-fishnet body suit?? LOL! That's hilarious...and I'd count those two as phobias just because!

I, too, think life is composed of several of those life-changing moments. And like you, if I hadn't decided to leave the north to come south for college, I wouldn't have met my husband or had my kids!

Thank you for sharing!!

Naima Simone said...

Hi, Shadow!
Don't you just love Once Upon a Time? It's one of the shows my husband and I make a point to watch together every Sunday evening! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

Twimom227 said...

I love that you grant permission to make fun of your spider incident! That would have scared me for life as well.

I know it's cliche, but truly, having my children (2) is life altering. As my first born's 9th birthday approaches in 2 days, I can't help but reflect how much everything about me and where I am in the world has changed mostly for the better! ;-)

Naima Simone said...

Hi, Twinmom!
I don't think it's cliche-ish at all! Children change us--in one way or another. Giving birth, raising them, learning from the--they are life-altering moments! I don't underestimate their power at all!

bn100 said...

No phobias. The books sound good.

bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

Donna Coe-Velleman said...

I was suppose to do volunteer work on the Rosebud Reservation during the summer of '77. Unfortunately about two months before I was to go I had a bad car accident. I was okay but not my car.

I had the choice of getting another car or going. Funds were tight. Well the car won out, I needed wheels. I sometimes wonder what my life would have been if I had gone. By staying, a relationship I was in deepened and I eventually married him. We've been together for 36 years now.

Naima Simone said...

Hi, bn100!
You're fortunate to be phobia-free! Thanks about the book, too!

Naima Simone said...

Hey, Donna!
Now that's a life-altering decision! You're not kidding. But who would've thought buying a new car would lead to the love of your life and 36 years strong of marriage? I'd say you hit the jackpot. I remember in college I had the opportunity to go abroad and study in England for a school year or transfer to another university. A huge dream of mine was to one day visit England, but I ended up transferring. And because I did, I met my wonderful husband. So I truly understand your life-changing decision! Cool story!!

CrystalGB said...

My life changing event was when my mother passed away suddenly in January. Life has not been the same without her.
Crystal816[at]hotmail[dot]com

Naima Simone said...

And the winner of the $15.00 Amazon Gift Card is "Ingeborg"!! Congratulations!! If you haven't received the Gift Card yet, drop me an email at naima.simone@yahoo.com! Have fun with it!

And thank you, everyone, for making Monday so much fun with your comments and stories!! You're all awesome!