U is for Ursula #AtoZChallenge

For the A to Z Challenge, I have chosen the theme of antagonists.

On my normal blogging days, Monday – parenting and Thursday – writing/publishing, I will tie that day’s topic to antagonists but on the other days (Tuesday, Friday and Saturday), I will write about antagonists from movies, TVs or books. On Wednesdays, my Quote of the Week will be from an antagonist that matches the letter of the day. Enjoy.

U is for Ursula, the sea witch and antagonist from Disney’s The Little Mermaid (1989). She is half octopus/half human and all evil. Ursula uses a combination of magic and deception to achieve her goals. She cares not for the less fortunate that she proclaims to help.

Instead, what she wants most is to seek revenge on King Triton and rule the Sea in his place. She uses her cunning ways to trick his mermaid daughter Ariel into trading her voice for a pair of human legs. If Ariel can get the prince to fall in love with her in three days, she will remain a human. But Ursula isn’t about to let that happen. She continually sabotages Ariel before succeeding in getting King Triton to give his life for his daughter’s.

One of Disney’s best and most terrifying villains, Ursula is voiced by American actress and comedian Pat Carroll. And like Oggie Boogie, this is a villain with an awesome song. Check it out.

And in case you want to check out my other antagonists from the challenge…

A is for Apocalypse

B is for Bad Boys (parenting)

C is for Cruella de Vil

D is for Darth Vader (Quote)

D is for To Die for Cake (Recipe)

E is for Evil (Writing)

F is for Freddy Kruger

G is for Gollum

H is for High School (parenting)

I is for Iron Monger

J is for Jafar (Quote)

K is for Killers (Writing)

L is for Loki

M is for Maleficent

N is for No (parenting)

O is for Oggie Boogie

P is for Professor Moriarty (Quote)

Q is for Questions (Writing)

R is for the Riddler

S is for Sauron 

T is for Technology (parenting)

T is for Technology #AtoZChallenge

For the A to Z Challenge, I have chosen the theme of antagonists.

On my normal blogging days, Monday – parenting and Thursday – writing/publishing, I will tie that day’s topic to antagonists but on the other days (Tuesday, Friday and Saturday), I will write about antagonists from movies, TVs or books. On Wednesdays, my Quote of the Week will be from an antagonist that matches the letter of the day. Enjoy.

We live in a high-tech world. Yes, today is the letter T, and I am talking about technology. Now there are many wonderful things about technology – all the data available at our fingertips, it can be time saving and allows us to see and learn easily about far-off places. However, in the spirit of keeping with the antagonist theme, technology also can be a bad thing.

Studies have shown that using technology changes how a child’s developing brain works. While there are good things (learning and multi-tasking), there are just as many bad things about technology. Kids spend up to seven hours a day using cell phones, video games, MP3 players and computers. They do this instead of interacting with others (learning social skills or gaining empathy) or doing physical activity (which can lead to obesity).

Technology can shorten attention spans and affect children’s ability to fall asleep leading to tired children.

Studies have also shown that it decreases children’s ability to remember facts. They may know how to look it up online, but they don’t retain what they researched (probably because they know they can look it up again when they need to.)

And this doesn’t even get into the cyber-bullying or the fear that kids will share too much personal information online.

Yes, technology certainly comes with a cost. But if we understand that cost, we can do things to minimize it by monitoring our children’s use of technology and establishing guidelines for its use. There can be a happy balance between playing video games and watching YouTube videos and just allowing children to play and use their imagination.

And in case you want to check out my other antagonists from the challenge…

A is for Apocalypse

B is for Bad Boys (parenting)

C is for Cruella de Vil

D is for Darth Vader (Quote)

D is for To Die for Cake (Recipe)

E is for Evil (Writing)

F is for Freddy Kruger

G is for Gollum

H is for High School (parenting)

I is for Iron Monger

J is for Jafar (Quote)

K is for Killers (Writing)

L is for Loki

M is for Maleficent

N is for No (parenting)

O is for Oggie Boogie

P is for Professor Moriarty (Quote)

Q is for Questions (Writing)

R is for the Riddler

S is for Sauron 

S is for Sauron #AtoZChallenge

For the A to Z Challenge, I have chosen the theme of antagonists.

On my normal blogging days, Monday – parenting and Thursday – writing/publishing, I will tie that day’s topic to antagonists but on the other days (Tuesday, Friday and Saturday), I will write about antagonists from movies, TVs or books. On Wednesdays, my Quote of the Week will be from an antagonist that matches the letter of the day. Enjoy.

S is for Sauron, the main antagonist in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings (1954). The title refers to Sauron who created the One Ring to rule the other Rings of Power as the ultimate weapon to conquer and rule all of Middle-earth.

In the books, Tolkien never provides a detailed description of Sauron but he is known to change shapes. In some films he is portrayed as a humanoid creature but in others he is a disembodied eye. But no matter his form, his power is immense. He corrupts and controls wizards such as Saruman and spirits such as the Black Riders to do his bidding. He also has enough power to control an army.

In the latest film rendition directed by Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings trilogy 2001-2003), Sauron appears in humanoid form during the forging of the Ring and up to his losing it. After that he appears as a disembodied eye atop a dark tower where he watches over the land of Mordor.

And in case you want to check out my other antagonists from the challenge…

A is for Apocalypse

B is for Bad Boys (parenting)

C is for Cruella de Vil

D is for Darth Vader (Quote)

D is for To Die for Cake (Recipe)

E is for Evil (Writing)

F is for Freddy Kruger

G is for Gollum

H is for High School (parenting)

I is for Iron Monger

J is for Jafar (Quote)

K is for Killers (Writing)

L is for Loki

M is for Maleficent

N is for No (parenting)

O is for Oggie Boogie

P is for Professor Moriarty (Quote)

Q is for Questions (Writing)

R is for the Riddler 

R is for Riddler #AtoZChallenge

For the A to Z Challenge, I have chosen the theme of antagonists.

On my normal blogging days, Monday – parenting and Thursday – writing/publishing, I will tie that day’s topic to antagonists but on the other days (Tuesday, Friday and Saturday), I will write about antagonists from movies, TVs or books. On Wednesdays, my Quote of the Week will be from an antagonist that matches the letter of the day. Enjoy.

R is for the Riddler, the supervillain and adversary to DC Comic’s Batman. Edward Nigma (aka the Riddler) first appeared in the comics in 1948. He delights in incorporating riddles and puzzles into his criminal plots. He is a smooth-talking character with a high IQ who often sends complex clues to Batman and the police.

The Riddler is often seen wearing a green suit and bowler hat or in a green unitard with questions marks printed on it. And of course there is his infamous question mark cane.

Frank Gorshin played the Riddler in the 1966 film Batman. Jim Carrey portrayed him in Batman Forever (1995). Carrey’s charismatic performance was one of the highlights of the film. (“Riddle me this, riddle me that, who’s afraid of the big, black bat?)

And in case you want to check out my other antagonists from the challenge…

A is for Apocalypse

B is for Bad Boys (parenting)

C is for Cruella de Vil

D is for Darth Vader (Quote)

D is for To Die for Cake (Recipe)

E is for Evil (Writing)

F is for Freddy Kruger

G is for Gollum

H is for High School (parenting)

I is for Iron Monger

J is for Jafar (Quote)

K is for Killers (Writing)

L is for Loki

M is for Maleficent

N is for No (parenting)

O is for Oggie Boogie

P is for Professor Moriarty (Quote)

Q is for Questions (Writing)

Today’s Featured Author – Jenn Bregman

Today I welcome author Jenn Bregman to my blog. Her legal thriller, The TimeKeepers, will be released on May 4th. You can pre-order your copy on Amazon.

Interview

Where were you born and where do you call home?

Williston, North Dakota.  I bet you’ve never had that response before!  We moved around a lot when I was a kid — places like North Dakota, Minnesota, Oregon and Illinois, and then finally landed in Denver when I was in junior high school.  I loved the variety of moving and I loved trying to understand how each place was different, or the same.  At this point, though, I consider myself to be “tri-coastal,” and equally at home in Los Angeles, New York City, and Denver.

What or who inspired you to start writing?

My Dad.  He was an avid reader and great writer. He was an economist who could tell a financial “story” like no one else. He never really edited my work in the traditional sense, rather he would ask questions to force me to come up with my own answers.  Questions such as: “Are you satisfied with that adverb?  Does it say exactly what you want to say or can you find a better choice?”  You know, exhausting questions. 🙂

Have you started your next project?  If so, can you share a little bit about your next book?

I’m about 1/3 into the sequel and can’t wait to work on it every day.  It’s the continuation of Sarah and Sam’s relationship, set in New York City, with a blood-tingling plot.  It is years afterwards.  They have changed and so has their relationship.  Spicy.

Do you write full-time?  If so, what is your work day like?  If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?

I write 4-5 hours per day.  Any more, and I’m just not efficient.  I have my tush in the chair at 5:00 a.m. and then can work until, at least, 7:00 before the rest of the house gets up.  After that, I fit in another 2-3 hour chunk depending on the demands of the day.  Having that almost sacrosanct two hour period first thing in the morning, though, is critical.

Please tell us about your current release?

The TimeKeepers is a fast-paced legal thriller that plunges headlong into the depraved underbelly of big money, big law, conspiracy, and murder.  Attorney Sarah Brockman is young, idealistic, and naïve.  Having left Big Law in search of work that would make a difference, she finds herself barely scraping by running her own personal injury firm working for clients who can’t pay and pursuing causes she can’t win.  Then a random horrific car crash shatters everything and she’s staring into the darkest shadows of Big Law greed and murder.  Facing off against a cunning and deranged adversary, Sarah must navigate a kaleidoscopic landscape of characters including a sharp-witted socialite, a felon and occasional crackhead, and a shameless Mexican raconteur — all while kindling a tender romance with her boyishly handsome new love, Sam, who’s been following the same trail . . . but from the other end, and the wrong side of the law.  As invisible strings pull her ever closer to the core of the conspiracy, she wonders if the strings are being pulled for good or for bad?  And will she be on the side that wins?

How did you come up with the title?

Most lawyers bill their clients by the hour, usually in six minute increments.  As a lawyer, you must carefully keep track of your time every day, noting what matter you are working on, for how long, and for which client.  It is laborious; everyone hates it, but it is a necessary part of the practice of law.  On some days, all you feel like is a “timekeeper.”

Which of your characters is your favorite?  Do you dislike any of them?

I love almost all of my characters, or at least parts of them, for different reasons.  There is only one character in the book who I wholly detest.

What is the most difficult thing/scene to write in this story?

You will know it when you read it.  It was critical to understanding the story and a certain character in it, but it was almost impossible to write.

Tell us a random fact about you that we never would have guessed?

I LOVE cheese. 🙂

Book Blurb

Attorney Sarah Brockman is young, idealistic, and naïve. Having left Big Law in search of work that would make a difference, she finds herself barely scraping by running her own personal injury law firm working for clients who can’t pay and pursuing causes she can’t win. Then a random horrific car crash shatters everything. Now she’s staring into the darkest shadows of the very system she’s dedicated her life to upholding, filled with corrupt judges, dirty cops and attorneys, offshore banking, massive fraud, and twists and turns through the highways and byways of Southern California, Mexico and the Cook Islands.

Facing off against a cunning and deranged adversary, Sarah is aided by a sharp-witted socialite, a felon and occasional crackhead, and a shameless Mexican raconteur. All while kindling a tender romance with Sam, her boyishly handsome new love, who has been following the same trail but from the other end – and the wrong side of the law.

Sarah feels invisible strings pulling her ever closer to the core of the conspiracy. But if she’s just a pawn in someone else’s game, are the strings being pulled for good or for bad? Or, even, both? And will she be on the side that wins?

About the Author

Jenn Bregman is a white-collar criminal defense lawyer who has practiced in both Los Angeles and New York City, where she worked on some of the most notorious cases of our time.  A veteran of Big Law and member of Mensa, she is a graduate of the University of Denver and UCLA Law School and has been published in the UCLA Law Review and Los Angeles Lawyer magazine.  A marathoner who loves pugs and hiking giant mountains, she lives in Los Angeles with her husband, and their, oh so busy, five year old twin boys.

You can find out more about Jenn on her website or follow her on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

The TimeKeepers will be released on May 4, 2017 as a softcover book and will be available wherever books are sold (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.). E-book versions will be available via Kindle and Nook.

Q is for Questions #AtoZChallenge

For the A to Z Challenge, I have chosen the theme of antagonists.

On my normal blogging days, Monday – parenting and Thursday – writing/publishing, I will tie that day’s topic to antagonists but on the other days (Tuesday, Friday and Saturday), I will write about antagonists from movies, TVs or books. On Wednesdays, my Quote of the Week will be from an antagonist that matches the letter of the day. Enjoy.

Today is the letter Q, which is for Questions. A good way to get to know your antagonist is to conduct a character interview. This fun exercise can give you a lot of insight into your antagonist, and the better you know him/her, the easier it will be to bring them to life.

You can either get someone to ask you a list of questions or play both the interviewer and interviewee. But all responses should be done as if you are the antagonist. This means that their word choice, manner and attitude should be reflected in their answers.

The key is to ask open-ended questions so your character has to elaborate beyond a simple “yes” or “no.”  So instead of asking, “Were you scared when you were kidnapped?” ask “What was going through your head at the moment you were grabbed?”

Try to stick with questions that will benefit your story. You want to uncover the goals and motivation of your antagonist. And you might just uncover some of their soft spots too.

Need help coming up with questions? Here is a website that lists 50 Questions you can ask your antagonist.

And in case you want to check out my other antagonists from the challenge…

A is for Apocalypse

B is for Bad Boys (parenting)

C is for Cruella de Vil

D is for Darth Vader (Quote)

D is for To Die for Cake (Recipe)

E is for Evil (Writing)

F is for Freddy Kruger

G is for Gollum

H is for High School (parenting)

I is for Iron Monger

J is for Jafar (Quote)

K is for Killers (Writing)

L is for Loki

M is for Maleficent

N is for No (parenting)

O is for Oggie Boogie

P is for Professor Moriarty (Quote)

P is for Professor Moriarty (Quote of the Week) #AtoZChallenge

For the A to Z Challenge, I have chosen the theme of antagonists.

On my normal blogging days, Monday – parenting and Thursday – writing/publishing, I will tie that day’s topic to antagonists but on the other days (Tuesday, Friday and Saturday), I will write about antagonists from movies, TVs or books. On Wednesdays, my Quote of the Week will be from an antagonist that matches the letter of the day. Enjoy.

“Rest assured, if you attempt to bring destruction down upon me, I shall do the same to you. My respect for you, Mr. Holmes, is the only reason you are still alive.” ~ Professor Moriarty (the criminal mastermind from Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows – 2011)

And in case you want to check out my other antagonists from the challenge…

A is for Apocalypse

B is for Bad Boys (parenting)

C is for Cruella de Vil

D is for Darth Vader (Quote)

D is for To Die for Cake (Recipe)

E is for Evil (Writing)

F is for Freddy Kruger

G is for Gollum

H is for High School (parenting)

I is for Iron Monger

J is for Jafar (Quote)

K is for Killers (Writing)

L is for Loki

M is for Maleficent

N is for No (parenting)

O is for Oggie Boogie