Tag Archives: CAPTIVE

Make It Work!

581865_4881958959508_1434331787_nWhen teaching his students, Sensei Advincula can be heard saying, “Make it work.” This means that sometimes an individual needs to adjust a basic, effective principle or concept in order to make it work for them. This could be as simple as blocking and countering with groin strike rather than a strike to the throat if you are much shorter than your attacker. Why would I reach up when my target of opportunity (the groin) is closer?

Adjusting, adapting, and overcoming doesn’t only apply to martial arts, it applies to life. And writing…

Each year Scott and I send for Sensei Advincula to come stay with us for a weekend of martial arts training. During one of our sessions this year, Sensei taught us knife-fighting techniques with the Flesheater, the combat knife he designed.

Something during our training session (Perhaps the mention of reaming?) sparked a question about a technique I used in my book, CAPTIVE. When I asked Sensei about it, I learned I goofed up my sword fight choreography. That night, over a cup of tea at the kitchen table, I read the scene to him and learned something important about Claymores.

A Claymore is a long sword with a heavy, straight blade that was used in Scotland, especially in the Highlands, during the 15th – 17th centuries. The word Claymore was derived from a Celtic word meaning great sword. Its average length was 55 inches. Because of its weight (5 – 8 pounds), it had a long hilt for a two-handed grip. I’d learned all this from my research. However, I had imagined the hands were positioned one on top of the other like you’d hold a baseball bat. Sensei explained this wasn’t the case. The hands are positioned further apart to give leverage to hold and maneuver the weapon.

Hand position makes a difference when writing about how the weapon is used.

Sensei explained Claymores were wielded mainly against multiple opponents with sweeping and slashing movements. The weight could penetrate through armor. It was not typically used for thrusting or piercing or fighting one-on-one.

Fortunately, my futuristic gladiators used sweeping and slashing techniques to try and kill each other. Unfortunately, they were fighting one-on-one and also used thrusts.

Okay. No big deal. I’ll just adapt and change their weapons to broadswords instead. The art on my book cover already displays a sword with a smaller hilt. (Side note: I think the art department cut the length of the Claymore’s handle in order to downplay the Historical feel to the cover. See version 1 and 2 below.)

1st draft

1st draft

Final cover

Final cover

After Sensei left, I researched some more and got myself confused with all the conflicting information I read. It appears to me that broadswords don’t have quatrefoils (the four circles on a Claymore’s cross guard) like you see on CAPTIVE’s cover. And that broadswords have basket hilts. Yikes! I don’t want to ask my editor if the art department can redo my cover because I goofed up. Who wants to be known as that author? I also don’t want to keep a mistake in the book. Now what?

MAKE IT WORK!

I decided to make up my own name for the sword so it can look like what’s already on the cover and do damn well what I want. After all, I’m writing fiction. If I want my gladiator’s weapon to be a long, one-handed sword with a Claymore inspired design, than so be it. 🙂

Now I just need to come up with a name. I thought about Gladmor or Gladimor. It’s a shortened form of the Latin words gladius mortis, which (according to Google translate) means Sword of Death. I like that it kind of still sounds like Claymore. But my husband thought it sounded too happy.

Then I thought about one of the moves in our kata and suggested Dragon Tongue.

What do you think? Do you like Gladmor, Gladimor, or Dragon tongue? Or do you have a better name for this sword? I’d really love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.

~K.M. Fawcett

Advertisements

Going For The Groin

Erik and me on Tsuken Island (Okinawa – 2011) Click the picture to fully appreciate Erik’s expression. 🙂

A while ago, I had received an entry back from a writing contest. The judged submission included a scene where my hero and heroine were caged together to breed gladiators for the Survival Race–a blood sport where the last man alive wins. My hero was eager to mate. My heroine…not so much. In fact, Addy fended off Max’s advances with a knee to the groin.

Addy’s knee-jerk reaction (sorry bad pun) was quick and effective. I liked it. The judge didn’t. Her comment was that my heroine “wouldn’t have been able to knee the hero in the groin because men protect that area all too well.”

What! Was this judge serious?

Was she really suggesting that a woman shouldn’t target the groin? Ever? Apparently she has:

  • Never taken a self-defense class. I don’t know of a self-defense instructor who doesn’t teach how to strike the groin. It’s a great target for a woman to strike because it doesn’t require strength to cause debilitating pain thanks to sensitive nerve endings.
  • Never practiced a martial art. Not only do martial artists learn how to protect their groins, they learn countless ways in which to strike them too. Seriously, it’s almost an art in and of itself. You can strike it with your heel, the ball of your foot, a knee, a shin, a hip, a punch, an uppercut, a back fist, an elbow, a ridge hand, and a slap just to name a few. We haven’t even talked about weapons yet. Oh, and don’t forget the grab and squeeze! A Chinese woman actually killed a man earlier this year by squeezing his testicles.
  • Never heard of the no hitting below the belt rule in sports. Even in MMA (Mixed Martial Arts), a fighting sport that lets you get away with a lot, doesn’t stand for that. I found 31 fouls in the rulebook on the UFC website. Number seven is no groin strikes of any kind.
  • Never heard of a protective cup. Again on the UFC website, the first piece of protective equipment required is a groin protector for the men. Not to mention companies insuring martial arts schools require them too.

If men “protect that area all too well” then why is it necessary to make safety rules, and hard plastic or steel shields? Hello! The reason is because you only need a small amount of pressure to create a lot of hurt. A finger flick can make a member sore.

Granted that the groin may not be the opportune target every time. Men can and do protect that area. But not always well enough, and not when they least expect it (the latter was the case in my scene). If they protected themselves 100% of the time, there wouldn’t be hours of footage on YouTube and America’s Funniest Home Videos with surprise hits to that most tender area.

Needless to say, I didn’t change that scene. It’s a good thing too, because my editor’s comment upon reading it was, “Good Girl. Ha!”

So what do you think? Do you agree with the judge or the editor? I love hearing from you. Please leave your thoughts in the comments section.

By the way, if you’re interested you can read this scene in my debut novel, CAPTIVE, available now for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other retailers. Captive releases electronically April 1st and in print April 2nd.

~K.M. Fawcett

Judge A Genre By Its Cover Results

On Monday’s blog we had a little fun with the cover of my debut novel, CAPTIVE. Thank you to all who have checked out my cover, and to all who have voted on its genre. In the past three days, we had 329 views and 41 votes. I don’t know what happened to the other 288 people. Either they were the same 41 people checking back to see how the poll was going, or they were reading Rayna’s Ten Fun Fact About Wonder Woman, which was the second most popular blog post since Monday. 🙂

This is how the 41 votes broke down:

  • Contemporary Romance   0 votes         0%
  • Futuristic Romance            6 votes       14.63%
  • Historical Romance          18 votes       43.9%
  • Paranormal Romance      10 votes       24.39%
  • Erotic Romance                  3 votes          7.32%
  • Romantic Suspense           4 votes          9.76%

I must admit I was a bit surprised at the results. But…before I tell you what the genre is, I have some other news I’m thrilled to share.

Melinda informed me that my book is up on Amazon! I am so excited. I nearly wept when I saw my title, name, and the pre-order button. I didn’t cry, though, because my kids would have thought I was crazier than I already am.

ME: I have an ISBN number! It’s official baby!!

KIDS: Uh, Mom, are you okay?

ME: And three “Likes.” Oh my god, three people “Like” me!

KIDS: Ooo-kay (said in that drawn out what-the-heck voice teens and pre-teens do so well.)

I didn’t tell the kids that one of the “Likes” was my own. Hey, if I don’t “Like” myself, then how can I expect anyone else to? 😉

The cover image isn’t available on Amazon yet (at least it wasn’t at the writing of this blog), but the page count is – which I find amusing. How do they know the final number of pages? I haven’t even received the second round of revisions yet. You can also read the book description. I’m not sure who writes those (editor? marketing? someone else?) but I loved it.

Hmm…I just noticed Amazon’s product description says the book is ranked #650,922 on the best sellers list. Geez…that’s a big freaking number. *shrugs*  Anyway, CAPTIVE will be available electronically on April 1, 2013 and in paperback on April 2. You can also find it online at Barnes and Noble. And it’s already on sale there.

Okay…so back to the topic of the blog post…What genre is this cover?

It obviously isn’t a contemporary. Everyone got that right. It’s not an erotic romance, although there are some steamy scenes. 😳 And it’s not a romantic suspense, although there is an escape and a chase.

If you haven’t already clicked through to read the book description, it may come as a surprise to you that the majority of the voters were incorrect. CAPTIVE: Book 1 in the Survival Race Series) is not an historical romance. Yes there is a broadsword in the story, and gladiators.

But… these gladiators are fighting to the death on an alien planet and gambled upon for sport.

The novel isn’t set in the future time-wise, but I think it would still technically be considered a futuristic romance because of the alien world. You could argue that futuristic falls under the umbrella of paranormal. Okay, lets say both are correct. If we combine the futuristic and paranormal votes, we get 16, which is 39.02%. That’s still less than the 43.9% of votes for historical. This means that nearly half the people picking up the book expecting knights in shining armor will be disappointed if they chose this book based on cover alone. It’s a good thing Amazon lets you read before you buy.

I wonder if I should have added another category to my poll. Fantasy Romance. Since there is a mix of past and future in the book. Perhaps that is the element the cover is most conveying? Would you have chosen that if it were an option? If you had bought the book thinking it was a fantasy, would you be disappointed? Hmm…

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Please leave them in the comments section.

~K.M. Fawcett

Can You Judge A Book’s Genre By Its Cover?

I received my final cover art for my debut novel, CAPTIVE, due to be released electronically and in print by Grand Central publishing’s digital imprint, Forever Yours in April 2013. Yay! I love how the color scheme pops on the screen!

I don’t want to say much more about the cover art because I thought we’d have a little fun on Attacking The Page. Can you tell by the cover alone what genre this book is? Obviously by the sexy couple you’d know it’s a romance novel, but what romance sub-genre would you expect to read? (Hey, no peeking at my bio for hints.)

Here is my cover. Click on the image for a larger view.

Here is the poll – It’s my first poll, so I hope it works:

Poll closes at 9:00 pm EST on Wednesday 10/24/12. Don’t forget to visit again on Thursday to see if you guessed correctly. 🙂

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section!

~K.M Fawcett

The Problem With Heroes

Okay, I’m doing something different on the blog today. Usually I try to share my thoughts or pass on some karate knowledge or writing tips. But I’m stumped and I need YOU to share your thoughts, knowledge and tips with me.

The problem is my hero.

I LOVE my warrior hero, Max, from CAPTIVE (book one in the Survival Race Series). He’s an alpha male. Strong, capable and fierce. He is a tortured loner…until the heroine comes along, of course. 😉

So now that I’ve been writing book two, I created a different alpha hero. He’s still a warrior, strong, and capable, but not so fierce. He’s a leader of his people, not a loner.

I think I’ve written my heroes differently enough from each other as to avoid them being cookie cutter.

The problem is…

I don’t feel that my Book Two Hero (B2H) is as strong of a hero as Max.

Also, I fear Max overshadows him in the few scenes they share in book two. Max’s reactions are immediate, physical, and fierce. B2H is a leader; his reactions can’t be physical every time. For some reason, this is making him appear weaker to me.

How do I show B2H’s strength/power without making him physically stronger or have physical reactions to situations? I want to avoid cookie cutter heroes.

I tried Googling, “How not to make your heroes all sound alike” but came up with nothing, which means I’m probably not on the right track. Can you help? Whether you’re a writer or not doesn’t matter to me, any thoughts are welcome in the comments section. I’d love to hear any advice, tips, or links you’d care to share. If you are a published author, how did you make your alpha heroes different? Especially alpha heroes in the same series. Thanks!

~K.M. Fawcett

Summer Writing

Me, Rayna, and Melinda at the Grand Central Publishing book signing (RWA ’12)

This summer has been tough. Great, but tough. The end of June and beginning of July was spent working 12 – 16 hours a day on my revisions for CAPTIVE. I was so entrenched in my own world that I forgot to eat. I know that’s difficult to believe. I’ve never forgotten to eat before. Ever. But I did! In fact, one afternoon I took out some ground beef from the freezer to defrost so I could make tacos for dinner that night. I went back to my revisions and a little while later my daughter asked if I could tuck her into bed. I checked the time and it was 9:30! Where had the day gone? I had no idea it was so late. Who knows what the kids ate that night (probably chips and popcorn) but we all went without dinner. Bad mommy. 😦

On July 13th I finished my revisions five pound lighter (note: as a registered dietitian, I DO NOT recommend Revision Hell as a means to weight loss. There are easier ways. Trust me on this). I caught up on some housework I neglected for a month and then left for California five days later for family vacation, karate training with Sensei Advincula, and the Romance Writers of America conference. I’ll write more about RWA and my first ever book signing in a future blog. I returned home for four days (just enough time to wash loads & loads of laundry) before leaving for Lego Brickfair in Virginia where my son displayed his awesome D-Day moc of the invasion of Normandy (moc = my own creation). Click on the image to enlarge it. I got back on Sunday night and apparently had lost track of time again. I totally forgot it was my turn to blog this week. Ack! Hence no blog post last Monday. Bad blogger. 😦

The good news is: with my trusty laptop, I can write anywhere – hotel rooms, airport, airplane, Brickfair. The bad news is: when writing in public places, people tend to interrupt me to discuss their books or their idea for a book they’d like to write someday. I don’t mind discussing these things at all, but it does eat up my precious writing time. *sigh*

Of course, writing at home during summer vacation isn’t much better. I’m constantly being interrupted by kids needing something – usually it’s food or a ride to/from dance lessons, band practice or karate class. Cooking and driving tend to eat up a good chunk of writing time too. Unfortunately, I’m the type of writer who needs A LOT of time to think and create. I can’t squeeze in 20 minutes of writing here and there. It takes me that long to get back into my world after a disruption.

So although I love my kids and the sunny weather, I find myself wishing September 6th would just get here already. I long for uninterrupted writing time again. I’m probably the only person on earth eagerly awaiting summer’s end. Tell me…does anyone else out there want school to start now? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

~K.M. Fawcett