Book Cover Reveal: Eve & Adam

My sister, Jessica Kjeldsen, has designed my book cover for a short story I’m planning to publish soon. I’m really excited that Eve & Adam will be live soon – probably in November! The cover design’s whimsical, hopeful appearance is what I had hoped it would be, because it’s both ironic and symbolic. We’re both into covers that shy away from the cliche of a woman looking off into the distance. I am very grateful that she could really grasp the feel of my story and be able to design it.

So, here is the cover! Let me know what you think, if you wish. :)

Design by Jessica Kjeldsen

Design by Jessica Kjeldsen

Writing From The Opposite Gender’s Point Of View

There have been quite a few people whom I’ve spoken to about writing, either writers or non-writers, who have asked me if I find it difficult to write from the male perspective as a main character. My answer is always no and they seem surprised at this.

There are a lot of authors who do write from the point of view of the opposite sex, so I find it interesting when speaking with other writers that some of them do find it a challenge and wonder how I’m able to do it. A lot of people describe me as very “feminine” or “girly”, but that’s just what they’re seeing on the outside. On the inside, I’m much more “gritty” and I feel almost genderless.

My answer to them is pretty simple: We’re all just people. I’m not silly enough to claim that there is no difference between men and women, but I do believe that there are differences within each gender that are greater because of personality types, different cultures, opposing ideals, etc. I’m probably more different, on some levels, than many other women than I am from a lot of men.

I guess that the best way to simplify my point to this post is that I relate best to those who are damaged in some way, but who are also idealists and enjoy talking/thinking about random, commonly viewed “useless” topics. This personality type can be difficult to find in real life, no matter which gender you are looking at, but they’re easy for me to write about.

It would be very challenging for me, at this point in my life, to write about a 40-something family woman with a glamorous career. I’d probably throw her into some sort of thriller scenario that would challenge her privileged sanity, but I still don’t think I’d get her down right. Not yet. The same would go for a man with a totally different persona from me, such as a sociopath business tycoon who likes to kill those who won’t close a business deal with him. But I’d like to get there one day maybe.

Right now, I’m all about writing for the under dogs, the near-suicidal wrecks or the bullied, traumatized young people who are trying to do the right thing and keep going. But I do want to be at the level where I’m open-minded enough to take any random character and be able to write them believably.

When writing as a dark, brooding male character, I can imagine that I am him as easily as I can imagine myself. I put on a different hat, as any writer does when they write about any character, and I become him as I’m writing.

So, this is my long, somewhat off-the-beaten-path answer to the writing in another gender question. I really don’t think we are all that different from one another – men and women, I mean. If we are different, it’s probably more of a personality/culture/socio-economic thing than a gender thing. That’s my belief, anyway.

In conclusion, I would say that as writers, it’s most important that we keep writing about what we’re passionate about. It’s good to challenge ourselves, of course, but write what you love, and if you love writing in one gender more than the other, stick with it! Don’t feel bad if you’re not into writing about someone of the opposite sex as the main character, but don’t rule it out either.

Do you find it difficult or easy to write in a different gender? Do you tend to stick with a certain theme for your characters? Be heard. :)

Snakes In The Garden

They’re everywhere, the snakes. Sometimes when you think you see a butterfly or a rabbit, it’s only a snake in disguise. You need to look into their eyes, you see. Study them. Do they seem to lose interest or take flight the moment that you mention something important?
Of course, the most frightening of serpents are the venomous ones, how they’re waiting in the tall grass for you to step close enough for them to render you helpless, or dead.

“No one cared who I was until I put on the mask”- Bane.

The birth of a murderer, a suicide victim, or an abuser often takes place at the hands of bullies.

It started out as a good day for him. He had received straight As on his report card, his Dad started speaking to him again, and his Mom even smiled at him that morning. He was invited to a party that weekend. He wouldn’t have to be alone on a Saturday night for once.

Then, they came. It was all a joke. No one wanted him at the party. They had invited him only for the sake of ruining him. His anger mounted, overcoming his depression. His fury was so volatile, he couldn’t even feel the pain from the blows.

That was when he put the mask on and never looked back.

On Creativity, Introversion, and Being Social

Not-shy

 

“Being antisocial again?”

“You have to put on the facade that other girls use if you want more friends.”

“You can try to not to be so introverted.”

“Everyone likes him because he’s got that Type A personality.”

“Wow… you’re weird.”

“You’re not an introvert. It’s just in your head.”

People are getting better at accepting the wide variety of personality types that exist in the world. Compared to when I was a kid and a teenager, I have met many more people who can get why I am quiet and they accept that introversion is not a personality disorder. That being said, there are still a lot of people who do feel that introverts are holding themselves back or that they are shy or they should try to remove themselves from their perceived shell. 

What people first need to understand is what extroversion and introversion is. Introversion does not apply only to social situations. Introverts gain energy from being alone, from creating or reading or thinking. Extroverts gain energy from other people and thrive on social situations. Introverts are more sensitive to external stimulation, such as noise, people, or taste. Extroverts, on the other hand, function better in busier situations. They are drained by prolonged silence and not enough external stimulation. 

One personality type is not better than the other. In fact, many introverts can find balance by being friends with extroverts, and vice-versa. 

Introverts are not shy. When I think of an introvert, I actually think of “Quiet confidence.” There are different types of introverts as well. I am a part of the “Idealist” introvert personality type (Taken from the Myers-Briggs Personality Test) and these people are the dreamers, creators, artists, therapists, and writers of our society. They can do these things because they can function very well at working alone. They prefer to do so. Being inside of their own heads allows them to conceptualize stories, artwork, problems, or ideas easier than the other personality types. 

While we may not be the life of a party (Though this can happen on rare occasions as well), we’ll be those people sitting on a couch willing for someone interesting to sit down and entertain us with a philosophical discussion. 

Introverts benefit the world in many different ways, just as extroverts can and do.

Is it “all in my head” that I prefer most evenings to myself so that I can write, read, or sketch artwork? No. Is is strange that I prefer to have a close group of friends? Nah. Am I timid? Not a chance. In fact, I will be the first person to tell someone off when they make a racist comment or make light of rape. It’s actually bemusing how often I find myself in such situations, but despite my supposed timidity, I seem to usually be the one who has the strength of character to defend other people. So I do.

Introverts are introverts. It is not something that they can overcome, or something that they are pretending to be because of bad experiences. Introverts simply re-charge and function better when they can get plenty of alone time. They still enjoy going out, spending time with friends, and many of them enjoy loud concerts or night clubs. They really enjoy conversation, and will be exceedingly glad when they meet someone whom they can finally talk to for hours without becoming that drained. The key is being around less people rather than no people. 

What introverts need is balance. Most of us do not wish to be alone in the true sense, but we long to be left alone long enough to get our work done. We need meaningful relationships and amazing friends as much as everyone else. We like to have fun and be recognized in a group, but we do not want to be the center of attention in that group. We may go for days without wanting to go anywhere, but then there will be days that we want to get out and see new things. We want to be appreciated for our strengths rather than demotivated for what others could consider to be our weaknesses. 

There is a world of difference between antisocial behavior and introversion. In fact, more people should look up the word “antisocial” because it actually refers to sociopaths. 

If you’re an introvert, which you probably are if you’re writing and blogging, be proud of that fact. 1/3 of people are introverts, so we are in the minority, but I also kind of like that.

How in the world could we write if we spent most of our free hours of the day talking? Instead, we usually listen to our characters talking in our heads so that we can write them down. How cool is that?

What about you? Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Or, are you somewhere in between? Have you received flack for not being an extrovert at social functions? 

What was left of the HMS Wind

Peter gripped his tattered journal with both hands. What was left of the HMS Wind would be escorted by the French back to France. The remaining Crown’s naval officers and the sailors would be prisoners of Napoleon for God only knew how long. Peter’s worst fear had once been that he would be torn apart by cannon balls. Instead, most of his fellow midshipmen had been killed as well as the ship’s curt surgeon. The brave had passed on, leaving him to face a worse wave of fear.

His isolation was cut short when one of the older sailors climbed below deck.

“Peter? I wondered where you were. Though you might have jumped over board.”

“I’ve contemplated doing so.”

“Oh?”

“You’re implying that you want me to elaborate?”

The sailor shrugged. “We’re as good as dead now. Our lucky captain didn’t pull through.”

Peter knew that he wouldn’t survive, but the news sent a dull pain through his chest.

“You’re going to just sit down here and sulk?” muttered the seaman.

“On the contrary.”

“Huh?”

Peter put his journal on his hammock. His hands felt empty. He strode to the lantern hanging on the wall, yanked it from its resting place, and then ran to the hold. He threw the lantern at the straw floor and watched the flames grow. He passed by the aging seaman on the way back up to the main deck.

“We’re all as good as dead, as you mentioned,” said Peter. “I hope you’re good at swimming.”

I Don’t Want To Be

“Are you a sociopath?”

“I don’t want to be.”

She nodded slowly, turning away from him.

“I can’t really feel emotion, except for anger,” he continued. “Even for my mom. I tell her that I miss her, but I don’t. I don’t care when people stop talking to me or if I lose a friend. I don’t care at all.”

“I understand that you can’t help this…”

It still hurt her that their blossoming, intriguing friendship was about to come to an end because he could no longer use her for his own gain.

“It’s cold. We should go inside,” he said.

She longed to follow him up the stairs back to his place, but something urged her to go in the direction of her unit.

“You would be better off not to have emotion. Life is easier that way,” he said.

“I can’t do that. I want to help people and fix the things that are messed up in this world. I could have been one of those women born in a third world country…”

“I don’t think like that.”

“I know you don’t.”

She passed him and walked toward her front door.

“Good night,” he called.

She looked up at him once more, standing on the third step, staring at her with a blank expression, his empathy darker than the overcast night sky.