X is for Xenomorph #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.

X is for Xenomorph, the alien antagonist from the movie Alien film series. The species debuted in the film Alien (1979) and reappeared in the sequels Aliens (1986), Alien 3 (1992) and Alien: Resurrection (1997). The alien also shows up in Alien vs Predator (2004) and its sequel Aliens vs Predator: Requiem (2007). ]

While in the first film, these creatures were just called an alien or an organism, it is in the second that Lieutenant Gorman refers to them as Xenomorph.

These aliens are unique antagonists because they are dangerous in several different forms. The Queen Aliens lay eggs. And from these eggs come the first antagonists known as “facehuggers.” These creatures attach to the face of a living host. From there they insert into the host an embryo known as a “chestbuster.” After a period of gestation, these creatures erupt violently from the host’s chest, resulting in the death of the host. The “chestbuster” than matures into an adult form. These adult aliens are the drones or workers for the Queen.

This species has one goal – the propagation of its species. In order to do that they need hosts and will destroy any lifeform that poses a threat to them. That whole chest busting moment definitely makes these aliens a scary 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)

Q is for Questions (Writing)

R is for the Riddler

S is for Sauron 

T is for Technology (parenting)

U is for Ursula

V is for Voldemort (Quote)

W is for Witches (writing)

Today’s Featured Author – Devra Robitaille

Please welcome author Devra Robitaille to my blog. Her book, The Dream Stealers, came out in February.

Interview

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am a retired professional musician and composer; I have had many interesting and exciting phases to my life, I’ve lived in London, Los Angeles and Las Vegas, worked in musical theatre and traveled all around the world.  I have a great family and lots of dogs, I consider myself very lucky to have seen and done so much on this beautiful planet.  As a writer I try to give back now—hopefully, good family values and uplifting spiritual ideas to young readers.

Where were you born and where do you call home?

I was born in London, England and I now live on the Sarasota Bay in Florida’s beautiful Suncoast.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I’ve always been what my daughter would call a “book-nerd” – as a little kid in London I had a window seat high above the street.  I would crawl in between the double glazing and pull the curtains closed behind me, and it would be me and Jane Eyre, or me and Heathcliffe enthralled together in a bubble galloping across the windy moors or dancing a waltz in the candlelight.  So the leap from reader to writer was easy and smooth.  As an adult I have written scripts and musicals, books and articles, even poetry when I was young.

How much of yourself, your personality or your experiences, is in your books?

Honestly, probably more than I think LOL  I try to be outside looking in to the world I create, but I’m sure that just by virtue of me being the writer, the choices that I make for the characters are choices that come from me.  Even if the book is about a puppy dog, which is pretty far away from me, a bit of me will sneak in, how could it not?

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

Yes, I have almost finished my next book, it’s called “the Henge” and it’s set in the Bronze age.  It’s a rollicking adventure, but more than that I cannot say at the moment (she smiles enigmatically)

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 go in fits and starts, some days if I am inspired I sit at the computer for ten hours straight, then I might take a few days off to go wander and tarry……I love to kayak, and bike, I live on the water so there are always amazing birds and fish and dolphins and manatees to watch and chat to, but when I am in the throes, so to speak, I am oblivious to everything around me.  I do discipline myself, but I also cut myself some slack as I recognize the need to breathe in as well as out  😊

What is the best thing about being a writer? The worst?

The best thing is being self-sustaining and self-motivating, I love being inspired and being caught up in a whole new magical world of my own creation; the worst thing is having to slog at the computer, especially the busy work, like proof reading and editing and correcting typos and spelling, Oh don’t get me started…..Since I come from England I was educated with British ways of spelling and punctuation, so I have to make sure everything matches.  I do admit I can get grumpy during those times (sheepish grin)

Please tell us about your current release.

My most current book for young adult readers, not the children’s series, is called “The Dream Stealers.”  It’s a fantasy space adventure and It’s a really fun read, if I do say so myself.

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

It’s a “coming of age” story about a young girl and her journey through the universe to find her father.  I’m fond of her because she starts out, as any fifteen-year-old, uncertain and afraid (somewhat snarky too) and as the book progresses she learns self-confidence and some mad skills.  I hope my readers are cheering for her as she stumbles along and matures into a wonderful young woman, captain of her own space crew, and ends up saving us all from the Dream Stealers.  As far as disliking, well the villains of course, but sometimes one can be fond of a bad guy, or at least admire the sheer dastardliness of how his mind works.

Can you tell us a little about the black moment in your book?

There are a series of black moments that are resolved by the characters, I guess my favorite is when my characters’ spaceship falls into a rip in space that is a trap set by said Dream Stealers to suck them into their dark and malevolent planet, the Planet Zott.

Did the story turn out the way you planned from the beginning? If not, what change happened that you didn’t expect?

The story began to almost write me as I went along….the characters seemed to be guiding me to take them to the places they wanted to go, it was an amazing journey of inspiration, as the characters experienced things, I was experiencing all sorts of synchronicities in my life as I wrote.  And in the end, I am proud of how it turned out.  I am planning a sequel, once I am finished with the hundred and twelve balls I am juggling at the moment.

If you could be one of the characters from any of your books, who would it be and why?

I love that question.  I have written a book about Santa called “The Efficiency Claus” It’s a fun hoot of a story with lots of cake and baking as the elves of Santa’s kitchen have to form a resistance movement to save Santa from his own evil Chief of Staff.  I’ve always been fond of Mrs. Blythe who is the head baking elf and I think there’s more than a bit of me in her.

Do you have a specific snack that you have with you when you write?

Well, being British I have a taste for tea, proper tea, not that watery weak kind.  So I have a cup beside me at all times, topped up by my very nice and helpful daughter, Asia. (who will also attest I am grumpy when proof-reading, or if my tea runs out—Tea-poca-lips now!)

Book Blurb

Devin’s thrilling story of courage in the face of ruthless greed and skullduggery begins on Earth. Devin is a fifteen-year-old girl who lives with her scientist father who has invented a laser spaceship, the Traveler, and when he goes for a test run the machine returns without him. Devin bravely sets off to find him and learns how to fly the Traveler, encountering many odd and magical characters en route. She ends up on a breathtakingly beautiful planet called Vega which is the headquarters of the Dream Council, where she meets her guides, Ryan and Olam and finds her father again. She discovers that the universe is threatened by underhanded and dastardly bandits called the Dream Stealers who lurk in the border regions between dreaming and waking, attacking dreamers and stealing their dreams. They sell the dreams on the black market leaving their victims trapped in an agonizing wasteland, mere shadows of themselves. The Dream Council is organizing a resistance movement to vanquish the Dream Stealers and recapture the dreams and return them to the dreamers. To her amazement Devin discovers that she is not an earthling, but an alien with incredible talents and she bravely steps up to play her part. She enrolls in the flying academy on Vega to learn to become a fighter pilot in the reconnaissance squadron and begins her inspiring journey of defiance and victory.

About the Author

London-born Devra is a prolific composer, songwriter and keyboardist, as well as an author of books for kids.  She had a successful career as a professional musician in England, playing keyboards and touring with Mike Oldfield of Tubular Bells fame, before moving to America in the nineties. Devra now lives in Florida with her family on the Sarasota Bay, and is a consummate foodie, baking lovely cakes and deserts. She continues to write and compose for the theatre, but has discovered a new love, writing for children and young adults.

Devra has written five books, the three books in The Muffy Series: Muffy and the Dog Catcher, Muffy’s Florida Adventure and Muffy and the Medicine Cat are a trilogy of funny and heartwarming chapter books for children. And for older readers, The Efficiency Claus, a rollicking Christmas Tale featuring reindeer, elves and cake, as the workers at Santa’s compound fight to free Christmas from Santa’s tyrannical chief of staff, and The Dream Stealers.

You can find out more about Devra on her website.

You can purchase The Dream Stealers on Amazon.

W is for Witches #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.

The Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz, the old witch in Hansel and Gretel, and the Sea Witch from The Little Mermaid – yes, today is the letter W, which is for witches.

In many stories, the witch is the antagonist. She is portrayed as haggard, old, and grotesque. And her use of magic is for her own gain. They are the bad girls of the story but just because you are using a witch as an antagonist doesn’t mean you need to stick with this type of stereotype.

Witches don’t have to be old with a wart on their nose. They can be tall and seductive. Or perhaps they are the petite blond with an angel’s face. And they really don’t have to be evil at all. But this is a post about antagonists so for today the witches will be on the wrong side of our protagonist.

Whether you stay with a stereotype or try to go the total opposite way will depend on your story. But as with any antagonist, be sure to spend time getting to know them and understanding what motivates them. And make sure there is a reason your story needs a witch with magic verses a normal human. The antagonist needs to fit the story.

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)

U is for Ursula

V is for Voldemort (Quote)

V is for Voldemort (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.

“I’m going to kill you, Harry Potter. I’m going to destroy you.
After tonight, no one will ever again question my power. After tonight if they speak of you, they’ll only speak of how you begged for death. And how I being a merciful Lord… obliged.” ~ Lord Voldemort (the power hungry antagonist from the Harry Potter books/movies. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – 2005)

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)

U is for Ursula

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