A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP
— Leonard Nimoy (@TheRealNimoy) February 23, 2015
I love Buzzfeed. They come up with some of the most inane, time-sucking polls and quizzes in existence. I’ve taken many of them. I know where I should live, which 80’s song best describes me, what my romantic style is like, which 80’s action movie hero I am (Indiana Jones), and I even know which Star Wars character I am, (Han Solo.) I know what kind of warrior I am, (Pirate – big surprise there,) and what my personal style is. The one quiz I never needed to take was the one to tell me what kind of man is my “type.”
It started out as a joke with my friend and editor Laurel Kriegler because the question pops up with amazing regularity, “Who is Blade Devon?” I have addressed the issue here in my blog and in interviews. I’ve fielded questions and taken suggestions on social media. Nobody seems to buy that Blade was originally inspired by Errol Flynn. He must be based on someone else, someone walking around today.
But I had to look closely at the question. Who is he? Well, I have to say that physically, Blade is my “type.”
I read an article about Francois Brunelle, a photographer who located what he calls “couples” or people who look alike; doppelgangers, if you will. They are strangers with uncanny resemblance to each other and Brunelle photographs them together. Curious about the coincidence, I read a little further on the subject and found a reference to there only being roughly 500 facial “templates” or types. (My apologies, but at the time, I didn’t realize how important that little tidbit would be so I didn’t bother bookmarking the article.) The idea that there are only 500 or so facial types triggered a memory of the “Golden Ratio.”
The Golden Ratio, or Phi, is a mathematical formula for calculating the symmetry of the human face that we link to beauty. Dr. Stephen Marquardt has made quite the study of it and is considered to be the expert on Phi. The idea is that the features of most attractive faces have a higher percentage of alignment with Marquardt’s beauty mask. This made sense to me because when I studied art and drawing many years ago, I studied proportion and the Golden Ratio.
Now where am I going with this?
Well, if there are only 500 or so different facial types, and a certain percentage of those are symmetrical enough to fall into line with the Golden Ratio, then perhaps there is a formula for finding the face of Blade among the faces I consider my “type.” I took several photos of attractive men and I studied them for similarities to Blade. I divided them into two categories of men generally considered attractive and men who strongly appeal to me personally. I limited my search to men with the basic bone structure I attributed to Blade: high cheekbones, long, lean jawline, barest hint of a cleft in his chin, devilish smile… Okay the lopsided, devilish smile isn’t exactly bone structure, but it helps to narrow the choices, especially when it comes to choosing between twins, and I also limited my pictures to those taken of men when they were between the ages of 25 and 35, or thereabouts.
I found an interesting collection of men who do fall into that category. Here are a few whose handsome faces have made an impression on me, one way or another –
And it was while going through these pictures, looking for some clue about Blade that I found something I wasn’t expecting, and I found it in the person of a young Sean Bean. Yep. That’s a tattoo and it says “100% Blade.” Interestingly enough, he got that tattoo when his favorite football team won a championship. It has nothing to do with me and is a happy coincidence. You believe me, right? The grin on his face tells a different story, but ignore it…if you can.
Many years ago my husband, who is a history teacher, got hooked on a television show starring a young Sean Bean called “Sharpe’s Rifles.” I must admit, I also enjoyed the show…and once commented that if my characters ever needed to be cast in a movie, “that guy” would make a great Blade.
I suppose it was with that in the back of my head that I went searching through stock photos, looking for a model who could stand in for Blade. I had my criteria. I knew my “type.” I was looking for a “Sean Bean type.” I was looking for “that guy.”
Quite by accident, I stumbled across a very talented photographer named Andrey Kiselev who had recreated an image reminiscent of the iconic Game of Thrones poster (the one featuring a pensive and weary Sean Bean.) I dismissed the picture because armored guy with a sword wasn’t exactly the look I was going for. But something about the picture drew me back for another look.
The model definitely had a Sean Bean look to him, rugged, handsome, a little dangerous with a glint in his eye. I just knew he’d have a lopsided grin. So I took a closer look at the photographer’s work and, sure enough, in other photos of him, he had that crooked smile I can’t resist.
But I didn’t want a smiling Blade on the cover of my book. I wanted a man with a concerned look, a man who looked ready for action. I was looking for a man who was like a tightly wound spring, all potential energy just waiting for his moment to act. That’s when I found “that guy.”
I have no idea what his name is. I’ve seen him on only one other cover, in the guise of the ancient warrior with a sword and a battle weary look. But he has the bone structure, the lopsided smile, and as I’ve seen in other pictures, a wealth of charm and charisma, and a certain warmth. For my purposes, this guy is the public face of Blade…and definitely my type.
Yes, I have a type. Like I said, I limited my search to pictures of men between the ages of 25 and 35 (though the model I chose appears to be a bit older,) I stumbled across an old picture of Sean Bean that I wasn’t expecting.
When I saw it, it drove home to me just how ingrained “my type” is. I had to do a double take because at first, I mistook him for someone else. Someone who is most definitely more my type than anyone else.
I showed these pictures to my husband and after being taken aback, Dale threw back his head and busted out laughing.
Yes, he agrees. I have a type.
During a television interview while she was involved with Timothy Dalton, Whoopi Goldberg said something that resonated with me about her attraction to him. She leaned forward and canted her head as she is wont to do and lifted her finger to her ear explaining that Dalton had the kind of voice that a woman wants to wake up to, “right here.”
Oh yeah, I nodded with complete understanding. Dalton definitely has THAT VOICE.
There is something about THAT VOICE. It isn’t a particular accent that curls my toes. It’s a tone, a deep-chested timbre to the low, male voice that is foreplay for my ears. I know I’m not the only one who feels that way about certain tones of voice. My husband has a thing for throaty female torch singers. He’ll say of his favorites that they “make my eardrums hard.” He says my voice is never sexier than when I’m so sick that my voice sounds like I have a three pack a day habit.
Oh, I’ve heard scientific reports on human attraction and sexuality talking about tone of voice and why it appeals. Yeah, yeah. The bottom line for me is that certain men just have a voice with depth and resonance that for lack of a better term “makes my eardrums hard.”
Matt LeBlanc turned it into high camp on the TV show Friends when his character Joey would affect a smoldering look, a rakish smile and intone, “How you doin’?” My husband is possessed of THAT VOICE which he rolls out for his own amusement and quotes the Joey line. Having THAT VOICE is like having a super power. One must never use it indiscriminately. With great power comes great responsibility.
I can think of a handful of actors and singers with THAT VOICE. Dalton, of course is one, as are Sam Elliott, Sean Bean, and Russell Crowe. In my mother’s day, it was Sir Richard Burton, Lee Marvin, and Telly Savalas. I will admit that I adore hearing their voices. As far as singers go, I’m partial to crooners. Dean Martin still makes me swoon. Simon LeBon’s performance of New Moon on Monday has been quite accurately referred to as “panty dropping.” Jim Morrison had it, too. For a real treat, I love to listen to Duran Duran cover of The Doors’ Crystal Ship. I can’t decide who did it better, Morrison or LeBon. They both make my eardrums hard.
Whose voice does it for you? I’d love to know.
Wow! Has it been over a month already since I last posted? How time does fly.
Even writers need time off and this girl is no exception. I am a bit of a workaholic, but only when it comes to writing. When I am in the throes of a book, it consumes my every thought every minute of the day. Not a problem if you’re single and childless, but when you have a husband and three rambunctious children at home, it can create issues. After the flurry of wrapping up the end of the school year activities of recitals, awards ceremonies, parties and the like, I took a much needed break.
I kicked things off with a girl’s getaway weekend on Anna Maria Island, Florida with my BFFs, an amazing group of women who have encouraged, and inspired me for nearly a quarter of a century.
Our linchpin, Robin, is the very lady who got me my first paying job as a writer for the Tampa Tribune back in 1990. At the time, she was a photographer/multimedia specialist for the paper. She twisted an editor’s arm to give me a shot, then gave me a kick in the pants to produce. The rest, as they say, is history. Over the years, Robin’s career path has rambled through Real Estate, retail sales, and a few other ventures while she and her husband put themselves through school. She has a Master’s in Education and is a science teacher. She is the bright sun around which our system of sisterhood revolves. The credit for this enduring cadre lies solely at her feet. She brought us together. She organizes the getaways. She is the brains of the outfit. The fact that she has stood by my side through my best and worst days and loves me still is a testament to her big heart and forgiving nature. She was kind enough to wait until I had my eldest son before she and her husband decided to start a family. From the start our boys were inseparable. She is the only other parent I know who relies on canine obedience training as a basis for raising children. An avid reader herself, she has threatened me with dire consequences if I do not produce BARRON’S LAST STAND in a timely fashion.
Robin’s sister Kim is an ICU/Critical Care nurse by day and our cruise director by night…or whenever. Kim has a sense of glam and whimsy that takes a simple weekend and makes it into an event. There is no such thing as a simple meal with Kim around. Both sisters are foodies and when you send them for groceries you end up with gourmet fare that makes you wish you’d brought trousers with elastic waistbands. They both inherited their artist mother’s sense of aesthetics. Kim has a romantic eye for beauty. A sensualist by nature, Kim’s goal in life is to wring every drop of pleasure from the experience as possible. Kim reminds us to be in the moment. For someone like me, always looking at the overall plot and how it all works together, Kim brings my brain to a screeching halt and reminds me to stop thinking and breathe — enjoy the salt air, the warm sun, the cool water, and the decadent smorgasbord of the senses all around me.
Michelle is the steady hand at the helm. Robin and Michelle have been besties from childhood. Michelle served briefly in the US Army as a mechanic, but her dream was to fly. So, Michelle took lessons, got her license, and has flown the news chopper for local television and currently flies crews out to offshore oil rigs. Michelle is the voice of reason in our group. She is the soft-spoken conscience who asks the right questions, listens from the heart when we need to vent, and cuts through the crap when we try to delude ourselves. Her opinion is valued because it is seldom volunteered. Her wit and wisdom keep us laughing. Though we know we’ll never keep up with her, it doesn’t stop us from getting off the couch and following her out the door to our next adventure as she heads out with a gleam in her eyes.
We have raised our children together, helped one another move, scraped each other up off the floor when life kicked us so hard we didn’t think we would ever get up again, cleaned each other’s homes, celebrated triumphs and grieved losses together. We have forged memories and laughed until our sides ached. We have been friends so long that we are more family than anything else. No matter how far we move from one another, we always manage to come back home, back to our cadre of sisters. These are the women who knew me when I was young, thin, and full of big dreams. These are the women who have held my hand through every mistake, and put up with every embarrassing gaffe and misspoken word I’ve ever cringed to recall. We have all fought health issues, financial setbacks, marital problems, and dramas enough to keep Women’s Entertainment in screenplays for the next decade. We are one another’s biggest fans. We get together as often as time, family, and careers will allow.
They are as much a part of me as the characters I create. You will find a bit of each of them in every character I write, as well as shades of our friendship in the relationships between the characters in my books. They are my sounding board, and my compass. These are the women I look to for guidance when I lose my way. They are the sisters of my heart and without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
I just thought you should meet the women who inspire me.
I was tagged by T.A. Munroe at meanderings to talk about my main character. In the past I’ve spoken about Blade…a lot! But since I’m at work on BARRON’S LAST STAND, it goes to reason that Bo really hasn’t gotten a fair shake in all this talking.
1. What is the name of your main character? Is she fictional or an historical person?
My main character is Bo Barron. She is completely fictional in as much as I can tell without having contact with the rest of the universe.
2. When and where is the story set?
The setting is a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, more or less. I write primarily space opera, so THE BLACK WING CHRONICLES series is set in a distant galaxy known as the United Galactic Commonwealth. The Commonwealth is a more or less representative body divided into the Seven Allied Sectors, each ruled by a hereditary Sovran, with the Outland Fringe remaining autonomous. Each sector has a body known as the General Council with systems sending a representative known as Councillors. The Councillors are selected depending on the governmental structures of the planets or systems themselves. The seven Sovrans come together in a Sovran Council to regulate free trade and territorial disputes across the Commonwealth. The result is something with a blend of sleek, highly advanced cultures in the Inner Commonwealth of the first three sectors, cultures with more a mix of technology and agriculture in the Outer Commonwealth, and pockets of wild-west style lawlessness outside of the main shipping lanes where piracy, slavery, and all sorts of nasty things thrive.
3. What should we know about her?
Bo is a Councillor. She is a noble. She is The Barron, the leader of her people and Commanding General of the precision combat unit known as The Black Wing. She has been wrongly convicted of treason and sentenced to execution, but her people arranged for her escape into exile in the first book of the series SOVRAN’S PAWN. Of course, in the first book, Bo has just come of legal age. By the time BARRON’S LAST STAND rolls around, seven years have elapsed. Bo is no longer an idealist or an ingenue. She has lost everything and everyone who meant anything to her. This has left her bitter, angry, jaded, and dangerous.
4. What is the main conflict?
The main conflict in the series is Bo’s quest to find her father and clear her name so she can return home with honor. Unfortunately for her, her Sovran wants to take over the Commonwealth and he wants to use The Black Wing to do it. The way her people’s alliance with the Second Sector is worded, The Barron is in direct command of The Black Wing and must be petitioned for their deployment. The other obstacle in her Sovran’s path is Blade Devon, an elite commando and covert operative of the First Sector who answers only to the First Sector Sovran…and he is perhaps something else as well.
5. What is the personal goal of the character?
Bo’s goal is simple. She just wants to go home with honor and reclaim her rightful place as leader of her people. She has no interest in the interstellar politics. She just wants to be left alone to do the job she was born to. But when it all comes crashing down around her, she is forced onto the political stage as a renegade, and driven into exile in the seedy underworld. At that point, Bo’s goal is to find her kidnapped father and to survive. All the while, she is falling in love with the mysterious Blade Devon, who is “mad, bad, and dangerous to know,” and she can’t tell from one minute to the next whose interests he is really serving.
6. What is the significance of the title of your book?
SOVRAN’S PAWN is basically what Bo and Blade are. They are pawns in the game between two Sovrans maneuvering for control over the Commonwealth. HERO’S END is significant for more than one reason which becomes apparent when you read it, but basically, it is the end of Blade’s career as a two-dimensional holofeature hero, and the end of Bo’s blind trust in him as her hero. BARRON’S LAST STAND is for the turning point in the book and the culmination of the series when Bo stops running and hiding and makes her defiant last stand against the forces that have ruined her life and taken or threatened everything she loves. This is foreshadowed in Chapter 21 of SOVRAN’S PAWN by the mention of the epic poem “Requiem For The Broken Wing.”
When dark clouds gather,
when the wind howls
through the Bluestone Valley
and whispers through the trees
atop the Gallis Highlands,
when the light of hope
on the rising thunder will come
the Black Wing,
screaming through the darkness
like the avenging hand
of the Maker.
The Barron make his last stand.
Bo’s internal monologue goes on to state:
“If she had any lingering doubts about the plot to assassinate her, the poem dispelled them. With her doubts went her fear. If she hoped to get herself and Chase out of this alive, she needed to keep her head. Her ancestors, immortalized in the epic poem known as Requiem For The Broken Wing, had faced a no-win situation and fought fiercely to the last man. Like them, she intended to give a good accounting of herself before drawing her last breath.”
7. When can we expect the book to be published?
SOVRAN’S PAWN and HERO’S END are already available. Just follow the links to the right. BARRON’S LAST STAND will be available sometime in 2015. That’s all I can say right now. I am also working on some Bo Barron short stories to tide my readers over in the mean time.
Next up is TM Hunter. Be sure to check him out. Also, click back, too, to see what characters came before. Thanks for reading!
One of the reasons BARRON’S LAST STAND is making such slow progress is because I’m having similar issues with my second born and his school. I wish his teachers and the school administrators would read this post
First of all, THANK YOU for the outpouring of support, stories and help. Please continue to comment on my post Common Core and Vegan Zombies if you want. I read all comments. I might not respond to everyone because, if people have signed up to follow any further comments, I could blow up their e-mails.
This said, the “Dreaded Parent-Teacher Meeting” went rather well. For the record, this private preschool has been wonderful. We love the teachers and they love The Spawn. I know they are doing these “evaluations” because they get directives from the
Borg public schools. Blech.
My husband went with me (so someone would have hold of my leash). We offered insight into our unorthodox home life and explained that The Spawn has two introversive parents both working in non-structured creative fields.
And he is FOUR.
We (Dad and Mom) were also run through the…
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Not my normal post, but I was having a discussion on Facebook about the importance of holding men accountable for their choices and not letting them behave like mindless beasts by blaming bad behavior on female immodesty.
I like the message in this post. No means no. Yes means yes. Silence is not tacit consent.
Yesterday, the news invaded my classroom. I think the kids aren’t paying attention. I think the kids only care about the news as it relates to Justin Bieber. I think they aren’t listening or capable of advanced thought. Every single time I think one of those things, I sell out the ninth-graders that come traipsing through my room every day.
It started when I picked this poem to go over different ways to look at poetry:
If she says something now he’ll say
it’s not true if he says it’s not true
they’ll think it’s not true if they think
it’s not true it will be nothing new
but for her it will be a weightier
thing it will fill up the space where
he isn’t allowed it will open the door
of the room where she’s put him
away he will fill up her mind he…
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Last night in bed, I commented to my husband about a Twitter conversation between two authors I know who — without prompting from me, I swear — were discussing how much they enjoyed reading SOVRAN’S PAWN and how they looked forward to HERO’S END. Given my past few days, it was a much-needed shot of encouragement.
My darling husband said, “You’re a writer’s writer.”
I nodded, feeling a bit full of myself. I liked the sound of that.
“That’s kind of like a singer/songwriter,” he went on.
Knowing his preference for the singer/songwriters, I took it as a compliment.
“Other artists love and admire your work, but you’re doomed to obscurity because you’ll never have the commercial success other pop writers enjoy.”
I smacked him upside the head and rolled over.
…finds me hard at work on the third installment of THE BLACK WING CHRONICLES – BARRON’S LAST STAND. Still no release date set, but I’ve started thinking about cover art. Here are a few mockups, complete with the swirly watermark which won’t be in the final cover. I’m not yet ready to sit down with Tomomi Ink (a.k.a TK Toppin) and hash out a final cover, but this gives me an idea of the direction I may want to go with it. If anyone has any preferences please say so in the comments.
Also working on a joint project with another author specializing in a completely different genre. This project would be a complete departure from my comfort zone and will be published under a pseudonym.
On a more familiar front, I’m also working on a Space Opera/SF Romance from my archives that has popped up on my blog before: THE LOST DOMINA.
And lastly, I’m preparing to offer HERO’S END as a paperback once again. Stay tuned for more on that front as it develops.
I’ve said before that the second act, or the meaty middle of a story is the part in which the writer tortures his or her characters, throwing rocks at them to chase them up a tree and then throwing more rocks at them to drive them ever higher into the precarious limbs that will no longer support their weight. If you doubt me, you can find the link to that post HERE.
This morning, io9 posted a similar story. Since I like to have what I say validated, I’m kindly sharing the link for your consideration. Thanks to the folks at the io9 web site. If you don’t follow them, I highly recommend.